Saturday, 25 October 2014

Testing in the Wilderness

If you find yourself in the wilderness at the moment, there are different reasons for it.

A preacher in the Wort&Geist movement here in Germany which began in 1999 and spread rapidly among those disaffected by the emptiness in the charismatic church here, and which has predictably, become extreme and heretical, (and has since decreased in numbers) teaches that if you are in the wilderness then you are out of the will of God. The teaching is based on the faith/prosperity teachings of Kenneth Hagin and writings of E.W. Kenyon. Enough said.

It seems that after someone has been involved in idolatry, the only way for the Lord to deal with him is in the desert. In Egypt, Israel was deeply entrenched in idolatry and the worship of false gods. In Hosea 2:14, after decrying the spiritual adultery which the nation was committing against Him, in their worship of Baal, the Lord says that He will lead Israel back into the wilderness. 'Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness, and speak kindly to her.' God's longing is that we would repent. Romans 2:4 says ...'the kindness of God leads you to repentance'. Whatever we might think of the wilderness and its dryness, emptiness, barrenness, storm-prone, earthquake-prone character, one reason for being there is to rid us of everything which hinders us from following the Lord alone.

Another reason for being in the wilderness is so that we can be humbled and tested.
Deuteronomy 8:2 says, "You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not."

In leaving Egypt, Israel had to travel through the desert. There was another way to Canaan; the Way of the Philistines, now called the Via Maris, or Way of the Sea, the main trading route between Egypt and the nations of the Fertile Crescent as far as Babylon. This would have been faster but more dangerous in as far as there were bandits, as well as the Philistines to face there, and Israel, who had been slaves, unused to warfare and were travelling with women and children, quite apart from the fact that they were carrying a large amount of loot which the Egyptians had given them, would have been unable to defend themselves against inevitable attacks. So the wilderness was the safer option. King David would later say, when faced with three choices as the penalty for the sin of counting Israel's warriors of Israel (2 Samuel 24:14) "Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands." 
Israel in the wilderness would be in God's hands and would have to learn to trust Him there, and there were five main lessons and tests which God put before them:

Test no.1 : Listen to the Lord's Voice and Obey Him.
Exodus 15:25-26
“If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”
By worshipping false gods, and therefore by living an unhealthy lifestyle, the inevitable result would be disease and death. We all know about unhealthy lifestyles. False gods these days; demons of selfishness, can take all shapes and forms. By listening to His voice and obeying Him, the Israelites would avoid the traps set by these demonic entities, and remain healthy. If He lives in us, so can we.

Test no.2: Do exactly what He says: Walk in His Instruction.
Exodus 16:4
'Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. He gives bread, His 'rhema' word, as instruction for our walk. It's not only the 'what' that we should do, but the 'how' as well, if He lives in us.

Test no.3: Thank Him in every situation (don't test Him).
Numbers 13-14
"....Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it." (Numbers 14:22)
Israel had seen so many examples of God's provision and goodness to them time and time again, and yet, in each new situation, the majority of the people grumbled, complained, spoke negatively against the Lord and Moses, and refused to believe that God was for them and loved them. Here was a new situation. All they were required to do was to spy out the land. They weren't told to conquer it at that point. The Lord was using this situation to find out who trusted Him. Those who didn't would die in the Arabian desert over the next 40 years. It would have been Israel's ruin to have taken such an unbelieving horde with them into Canaan. They would never have succeeded in taking any of the land, had the grumblers gone with them. 
What Israel should have done, and what we are enabled to do, if He lives in us, when faced with a new challenge, is to thank the Lord for it (Ephesians 5:20) and in it (1 Thess. 5:18). The opposite of grumbling and complaining is to say, 'thank you'.  Mealtimes come to mind. Children (and some adults) will grumble if food that they don't like is placed before them. If they say 'thank you' to the one who prepared it for them, it is a blessing for him or her. Isn't it wonderful to know that we can bless the Lord by thanking Him in difficult circumstances? We can show Him that we trust Him, even though we don't enjoy the challenge. The reward is His peace, His presence and joy.

Test no.4: Trust Yeshua to fight your battles with the sword of the word of God.
Exodus 17:8-13
'So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.' (vs. 13). Jesus (Yeshua) is our 'Joshua'. It's trusting in His word, that goes out of His mouth (Rev. 1:16) which conquers the enemy. We do not need to be afraid at all, if He lives in us, we have heard His word, the rhema word which His Spirit speaks to us, and we can stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. 2 Chronicles 20:17 ..."You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.”

Test no.5: Worship and love Him in the beauty of the Holy of Holies.
Exodus 33:9-11
'Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.'
Isn't this beautiful? Joshua would not depart from the Tabernacle. He stayed in the Presence of the Lord because he loved Him. Joshua was not a Levite. He was from the tribe of Ephraim (Numbers 13:18), but his practice of remaining in the Tent of Meeting is a foreshadowing of our Yeshua, who didn't leave the Temple when His parents brought Him there for Passover when He was twelve (Luke 2:41-49), but remained behind, because as He said, He had to be 'in His Father's affairs'.
In the same way, if He lives in us, we need never leave the Temple. We are His temple, and we can remain in His presence all the time and gaze upon His beauty. 

Psalm 27:4: 
'One thing I have asked from the Lord
that I shall seek: 
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, 
to behold the beauty of the Lord 
and to meditate in His temple.'

The pre-condition for passing these tests is if He lives in us. We can do nothing without Him and if we don't have Him, then we can do nothing because we won't hear His voice, much less be able to do what He says. 
2 Corinthians 13:5 says. "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?" The wilderness tests us, humbles us, to see what or WHO is in our hearts.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Happy Sukkoth!

 Unusual Sukkoth storm over Israel on October 8th. 

Blood Moon - total lunar eclipse seen over the USA, Tishri 15.





Prophecy given via Lance Lambert at Mt Carmel, Israel, in April 1986

In view of the current world situation, I thought it appropriate to bring this prophecy to attention once again. Having had the privilege to have been at the Prophetic Gathering in Jerusalem in 1986, this word has remained with me ever since. 


'It will not be long before there will come upon the world a time of unparalleled upheaval and turmoil. Do not fear; it is I the LORD who am shaking all things. I began this shaking with the First World War, and I greatly increased it through the Second World War. Since 1973 I have given it an even greater impetus. In the last stage, I plan to complete it with the shaking of the universe itself, with signs in sun and moon and stars. But before that point is reached I will judge the nations, and the time is near. It will not only be by war and civil war, by anarchy and terrorism, and by monetary collapses that I will judge the nations, but also by natural disasters: by earthquake, by shortages and famines, and by old and new plague diseases. I will also judge them by giving them over to their own ways, to lawlessness, to loveless selfishness, to delusion and to believing a lie; to false religion and an apostate church, even to a Christianity without Me.
Do not fear when these things begin to happen, for I disclose these things to you before they commence in order that you might be prepared, and that in the day of trouble and of evil you may stand firm and overcome. For I purpose that you may become the means of encouraging and strengthening many who love Me but who are weak. I desire that through you many may become strong in Me, and that multitudes of others might find My salvation through you.
And hear this! Do not fear the power of the Kremlin, nor the power of the Islamic Revolution, for I plan to break both of them through Israel. I will bring down their pride and their arrogance, and shatter them because they have blasphemed My Name. In that day I will avenge the blood of all the martyrs and of the innocent ones whom they have slaughtered. I will surely do this thing for they have thought that there was no one to judge them. But I have seen their ways and I have heard the cries of the oppressed and of the persecuted and I will break their power and make an end of them. Be therefore prepared for when all this comes to pass, to you will be given the last great opportunity to preach the gospel freely to all the nations.
In the midst of all the turmoil and shaking, and at the heart of everything, is My church. In the heavenlies she is joined to Me in one Spirit, and I have destined her for the throne. You who are My beloved, whom I have redeemed and anointed - you are mine. I will equip and empower you and you will rise up and do great things in My Name, even in the midst of darkness and evil. For I will reveal My power, and My grace and My glory through you. Do not hold back nor question My ways with you, for in all My dealings with you I have always in mind that you should be part of My bride and reign with Me. Do not forget that this requires especial discipline and training. So yield to Me that I might do a work in you in the time which is left, for I plan even during all this shaking that the bride will make herself ready.
And in the midst of nations on earth, seething with unrest and conflict, I have set My Israel. Yes, I say My Israel, even though they walk in disobedience and transgression, in the stubbornness of their hearts, divorced from Me through unbelief. Nevertheless, always remember that I made them enemies of the gospel for your sake. I the LORD, I Myself blinded them and hardened them that salvation might come to the gentiles in fullness. Yet they are still mine, beloved of Me with a tender and an undying love. They are My kith and My kin, and I love them. Shall I give them up for all that they have done to Me, says the LORD? Yet I have surrendered them to sorrow, to anguish of heart and to continuous suffering. But I have never given them up. In all their afflictions I was afflicted, though I neither delivered nor saved them from death. Nevertheless I have been present; I the King of Israel, I have been present, although unnoticed and unregarded, in all their sufferings. There was no gas chamber, no massacre in which I was not present. But now the time has surely come when I shall receive them, for I will reveal Myself to them and with astonishment they will recognize Me.
For in the midst of these judgments multitudes upon multitudes will be saved across the nations. You will hardly know how to bring the harvest in, but My Spirit will equip you for the task. And to Israel will I also turn in that day, and I will melt the hardening which has befallen her. I will turn their blindness into clear sight and tear away the veil on their heart. Then shall they be redeemed with heart-bursting joy, and it will become a fountain of new and resurrection life to the whole company of the redeemed.
Do not fear for these days, for I have purposed that you should stand with Me and serve Me in them. Fear not, for I love you and I will protect you and equip you. I, the LORD, will anoint you with a new anointing and you will work My works and fulfill My counsel. You shall stand before Me, the LORD of the whole earth, and serve Me with understanding and with power, and you shall reign with Me during these days. Above all I call you to be intercessors.

It is significant that in 1917, during the First World War, the British Balfour Declaration resulted in Jews beginning to return to Israel. This was a Shmita year (Biblical 7- year cycle.) 
1945 marked the end of the Second World War and the the Holocaust. This was also a Shmita year. 1973, the year of the Yom Kippur War in Israel and when the US lost the Vietnamese War, was also a Shmita year. Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark entered the European Economic Community. The original World Trade Center featured landmark twin towers, opened on April 4, 1973. 

The twin towers fell, precipitating the next massive world shaking, on 09.11. 2001, followed by a huge stock market crash, which was also a Shmita year. 


We are now in the 7th year of the present 7 year cycle, which ends next September 13th, 2015, a Sunday. It will be interesting to see if anything happens between Friday, September 11th 2015 (Elul 27) when Wall Street closes - and Sunday September 13th - Elul 29, the end of the Shmita year. 
See Jonathan Cahn: 'The Harbinger' and 'The Mystery of the Shemita' for more information.

More importantly, we need to be focusing our eyes on Jesus alone. What is He saying to us? Are we being obedient?



Sunday, 11 May 2014

Jesus said, "According to your faith, be it unto you".




It's impossible to avoid seeing posts about theological arguments if you frequent social networks and have connections to believers, particularly in conservative evangelical camps. As a new believer I grew up with a particular eschatalogical viewpoint and vehemently stuck to it. However, one comes across opinions of all shades in Christendom and in the church we used to attend until 7 years ago, eschatology (as well as other contentious issues) was neglected, for the simple reason that no-one really knew how to talk about it and it was considered easier to avoid it.

When we went out of organised church, I spent a lot of time, as many do, searching in the internet for people who had gone through the same kind of experience as we had gone through, and found many who had come out of organised church, especially in America. Their input has been really important to me. I think of Stephanie Bennett in Florida, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/koinonialife/info Michael Clark in Idaho, http://awildernessvoice.com/ and the late Jay Ferris http://lovinglikegod.com/ in North Carolina. The networks where I found myself, through contact with them, brought me into contact with opinions of all kinds. I was brought up in the UK,  and now live in Germany, far from the kind of conservative evangelical churches many in the US were brought up in and were influenced by. So I haven't been affected by that kind of religion, and sometimes feel unable to relate to the kind of reaction many who have come out of that kind of organised religion have, when looking back. The religion I came out of was nonetheless just as dangerous and misleading, perhaps because it was more subtle in some ways.

Anyway, part of my journey away from religion has included forays into the camps of people who espouse other eschatalogical persuasions than the one I grew up with. Their views challenged my own, but one thing began to become more and more important to me... Most of these people were no longer focused on their own theological position; they were far more focused on Jesus alone. HE was their all-consuming passion and they deliberately chose to walk away from theological arguments ABOUT Him. This made a deep impression on me. I have been influenced for many years by strong theological opinions, but the fact that the lives of those who held these had not been changed BY what they purported to believe made me see that it isn't our theological opinions which are important, but a strong relationship with the Lord Jesus Himself. A child has no idea about the arguments between pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib raptures or the Koiné Greek used to back up such arguments, but a child can receive revelation from the Holy Spirit and love the Lord with all his heart. 

HUGE amount of marketing and money are spent on the whole rapture question. How can this be  money well spent? Websites are given over to it and monumental arguments take place over the issue. How can this be time well spent? 

 The other day, a thought occurred to me. Jesus said, 'According to your faith, be it unto you'... (Matt 9:29). The men to whom Jesus said this were healed of their blindness. But we cannot receive anything from the Lord except by faith in His word, on any matter, whether provision, healing, wisdom, foreknowledge etc. And it occurred to me that perhaps this whole rapture question is the same. 

I wonder if perhaps the various eschatalogical positions are ALL correct? It's just a question. 

Maybe it just depends on a person's FAITH, where he will end up - in the rapture, pre-trib or after, post-trib, or none? Maybe all the arguments we have about the subject are fruitless discussions ... if we spent our time looking to Jesus alone and spending time in His presence, (after all, we become like the One we worship -  Psalm 115:8) our faith would grow, because He would give us revelation as we look to Him. We have to watch out that our focus isn't on theological positions, but on the One who loves us. He will lead us, give us whatever revelation we need, as we come to Him.


Monday, 2 December 2013

The Mithras Tree - reposted.

Since this particular post has been getting quite a few hits recently, I thought I'd re-post it as a new post. Last night, I had a long discussion with my German parents in law, who we were visiting, who love the German traditions of keeping Christmas the way they always have. Our 19 year old son, who is sentimental about Christmas too,  decided to be delibrately provocative and ask why we don't have any decorations up at home...'Christmas is SO lovely!' I wasn't keen on being drawn into a long discussion and quietly said what I felt the Lord giving me to say, but our son wouldn't leave it alone, and it ended up with father-in-law being thoroughly offended and leaving the table in a sulk. In the end I simply said to my mother-in-law that the Lord had shown me these things and that if I compromised with what He had shown me, then I would be being disobedient to Him, which would result in my relationship with Him being broken. As He is everything to me, what He has told me to do must come first, even if it means that those nearest and dearest to me cannot understand and even decide to withdraw from me. She was touched by this and was silent. 

Anyway, the accepted Roman date for the obligatory celebration of Christmas by Bishop Liberius of Rome, was AD 354.
A century before, Tertullian had written," On your day of gladness, we (Christians) neither cover our doorposts with wreaths, nor intrude upon the day with lamps. At the call of public festivity, you consider it a proper thing to decorate your house like some new brothel. We are accused of a lower sacrifice because we do not celebrate along with you the holidays..." Today, the Saturnalia's Lord of Misrule has been exchanged by Santa Claus, god of modern materialism and self-indulgence. Only the name has changed.
.....................................................................................

It’s that ghastly time of year again - which I have been putting out of my mind for as long as possible, all the while knowing that it was inevitably creeping up on me. A friend wrote me an e-mail recently and mentioned the Christmas tree in the context of the Tree in the Garden of Eden and it got me thinking.
Genesis 3: 6 describes the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as follows: it …‘was good for food, and … a delight to the eyes, and … desirable to make one wise.’ If Adam and Eve ate from this tree, in disobedience to the Lord’s warning not to do so, they would ‘surely die’, which is a Hebraism meaning ‘to die eternally’.
But the Tree of Knowledge was beautiful. It was full of tasty, delectable fruit (a rabbinical tradition says that the tree was a fig tree, from whose leaves Adam and Eve later made themselves aprons) and provided a short cut to wisdom if man would stretch out his hand to take it. What could be more reasonable and sensible than to do so? Wasn’t God being
mean to deprive man of such a wonderful source of provision?
The choice that Adam and Eve had before them was the choice between their reliance on Christ, the Tree of Life, (the God who walked in the garden in the cool of the day; the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world) to provide for their needs, for light, love, food, wisdom, right-standing with God - and the choice for self-reliance, which, instead of resulting in freedom, caused enslavement to the Tempter.
Eating from the Tree of Knowledge was man's deciding what was right for himself – to do good or evil, instead of simply and humbly obeying the word that God had spoken and remaining in peace, and pace, with his Maker.
It was common practice from the earliest days of disobedience to the word of God for pagans to cut down a tree, which to them symbolized the tree of life, (but was actually the opposite) decorate it, set it up and worship it, in rites of abandoned sexual immorality. They called it an Asherah pole and it symbolized male sexuality. Men and women would lie with priestesses and priests of the pagan cults of Canaan in order to ensure the fertility of the land. The result was widespread practice of child sacrifice.
Ever since that time, man has chosen his own way above the clear word of God. For example, God gave a calendar for the year to his people, in which seven feasts prophetically pointed towards the first and second coming of the Anointed One.  The tribes of Israel who were cut off from Judah in the days of King Rehoboam ended up under the rule of King Jeroboam, (1 Kings 12:28-32) who …‘said in his heart,
“Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.” He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. And he made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people who were not of the sons of Levi. Jeroboam instituted a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast which is in Judah, and he went up to the altar; thus he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves which he had made. And he stationed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised in his own heart; and he instituted a feast for the sons of Israel and went up to the altar to burn incense. Even the Jews of Judah did not keep the feasts as they should have done. 2 Chronicles 30:26 says of the Passover feast kept in the days of King Hezekiah that … ‘there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.’ So the Passover had not been kept as it should have been since Solomon’s days. In 2 Kings 23:22 it says that such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah.’ Even Hezekiah had not kept the Passover as King Josiah did.
As followers of the Way it is clear to us that the Anointed One, the Messiah Yeshua fulfilled the first four spring feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost) at His first coming and that He will, at His second, fulfil the last three; Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles. In Him, we are made righteous, so now, it isn’t the keeping or the not keeping the feasts which is important, but our being ‘in Him’, who perfectly kept and is the fulfilment of the Law.
For the first three hundred years after the church was born, no-one paid any attention to the keeping of birthdays of any kind. They were considered to be pagan and avoided by followers of the Way.
Someone has said that the church first became an institution in Rome. Certainly by AD 336, in an attempt to maintain power over what she considered to be her people, just as Jeroboam had nearly 1000 years before, this increasingly Babylonian travesty of a church had instituted a new feast, the celebration of the birth of Christ. This was to syncretise the pagan cult of Mithras, the Roman sun god, borrowed from Zoroastrianism, into the arms of the Roman church. Mithras, who was worshiped under other names like Tammuz, Osiris, Baal, Apollo and Baldur in other cultures in Asia and Europe, in keeping with the fertility cult, had his birthday at the time of the winter solstice, December 25th. It seemed expedient to the Roman church to bring all pagans under her skirts by amalgamating the sun god’s birth and that of the Son of God. The feast was celebrated with the decorating of palm trees in the Mediterranean and eventually, pine trees in Northern Europe.
By the 16th Century, Germany was celebrating Christmas by the decorating of fir trees and by the 19th, Britain was doing the same, after the Christmas tree was introduced by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s German husband. Mithras Trees spread all over the world after that, thanks to the British Empire.
 Today, Christmas is still kept by the decorating of a fir tree. Presents are laid under it, garlands, lights and goodies hung from its branches; all because we insist on doing things our way. Children are told that it they are good, Santa /satan will bring them good things; if bad, they’ll get the stick - just more indoctrination into the teaching of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Where is the teaching about grace? It’s not about how good we are or how bad; all of that is useless to bring us to God.
The Tree of Life is Yeshua Himself – and if we choose Him, we need no other tree. Will we worship Him who is invisible to everyone but those who have faith, rather than taking our eyes off Him and gazing at the perishable tree which is good for physical, temporal food, a delight to the eyes and desirable to make wise? It’s only kept for two weeks, after all. After all the materialistic self-indulgence is over, it’s thrown away. Why do we set such store by rubbish? And for those who buy an artificial tree and put it away for the following year, the same principle applies; it’s still not the Tree of Life.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

May I live by His Life!

'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!' (Rom 11:33)
 
Why do men look for wisdom and knowledge anywhere else but in Christ Jesus alone? Col 2:3 says that in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge dwell in bodily form!
 
And yet we run around here and there, trying to get understanding for our lack of wisdom, from books, conferences, seminars, the internet; we seek advice from people who appear to have more knowledge and education than we, we rely on the wisdom and rules we have leaned from parents, school, college, employers, the media, religion, wherever we have gleaned wisdom from. But this is all worldly wisdom and it doesn't bear the LIFE of the Spirit of God because it doesn't COME from God.....
 
Where is the LIFE? John 1:4 says, 'In Him was LIFE,...'
 
As purported followers of the Messiah Yeshua, are we living from the Tree of LIFE; are we filled with His LIFE, or are we still living from the Tree of KNOWLEDGE?
 
We need to ask ourselves this question: What was the first knowledge that Adam and Eve attained through their disobedience? '.....And they knew that they were naked...' (Gen 3:7.)
 
In the awareness that they were naked, they felt self-aware; they felt insecure and weak for the first time and to cover themselves, they sewed themselves aprons of fig leaves. Before they had eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, they were only aware of living in the Presence of God. His Light clothed them. '...and the LIFE was the light of men.' (John 1:4) They didn't need anything else. The Presence of God led them in all they did. They depended entirely on Him and were content to do so. They knew nothing except God and His beautiful Life, filling them with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. They were innocent children, trusting in their heavenly Father for everything.
 
What did knowledge bring to Adam and Eve apart from the awareness that they were naked?
'But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' (Gen: 2:17 KJV).
 
The result of eating of the Tree of Knowledge was death. And we see this same principle time and time again in countless ways; where man, who is spiritually dead, rejects LIFE,  he chooses death, and runs after many schemes, inventions, scientific discoveries, to cover up, make up for, substitute his insecurity, his weakness, mortality, his lack of control, with devices of his own making. These lead inevitably to more death.
 
What good is knowledge when all it brings is death? And why do we still insist on running after our own schemes or devices when the Lord has provided all we need in Him?
 
'So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.
“Look,” says the Teacher, “this is what I have discovered: “Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things—
This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.” (Ecclesiastes 7:25,27,29)
 
The word of schemes here is חִשָּׁבוֹן (chishshabown ), and in another verse, it refers to catapults and weapons of warfare like crossbow machines.
 
'And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented H4284 by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. (2 Chron.26:15 KJV)
 
Another word for devices is מַחֲשָׁבָ (machashabah ), which is connected to the above;
 
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts H4284 of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen.6:5 KJV).
 
All of man's ingenuity only leads to more death in the long run. We make weapons to defend ourselves, or attack others who would try to attack us, we try to extend our lives by health programmes and medical research, we attempt to discover things to increase our knowledge, to improve ourselves so that we can feel better about ourselves, because knowledge begets hunger for more knowledge, because deep down there is this insatiable desire to be LIKE GOD.
 
We seek to regain the pure knowledge of God which Man once had, which was a free gift, but which he lost by his own disobedience, by his deliberate decision to act on the foreign thought which the serpent/satan had planted in his mind.... the worldly thought that he must do something to be like God. In other words, knowing God was considered of less importance than being like Him. And by deciding to be like God, Man lost everything: 1. the knowledge of God, 2. being like Him (ever since then, man has demonstrably shown that he is anything but like God... but he still tries) and 3. his own life as well.
 
And so he decided to FEED on knowledge rather than FEED on the WORD and SPIRIT of LIFE. He decided to make his own wisdom his guide.
 
Now. All this is old hat as far as many Christians are concerned. They will say, 'Yes, yes, I know all that!'
What we fail to realise is that we are still far from walking in the truth, as long as we live by the old knowledge we have.
 
Where are the areas where we still do this?
 
In Colossians 2:3-4  it says: '....Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.'
 
What are the satanic, 'beguiling words' which deceive us into making worldly wisdom our guide, rather than Christ Himself?
 
May I suggest that these beguiling words can be the things we learned from our parents? The things we picked up at school, work, college, from friends, the media...the things we imbibed from our past experiences - even bitter experiences, disappointments, failures; dare I even say it, from our Christianity?
 
All our doctrine is of no use if we don't have the LIFE. It might keep us from outward sin in the eyes of others, but it won't give us LIFE. We still stick to the principles of death. And they will result in death. The fleshly problems will still be with us. All our righteous-sounding Christian rules, even those we put together from the New Testament... and those we patch together from principles in the New Testament, to make a safety net in case we stumble... they are not the LIFE. Only Jesus in us is the life. His quickening Spirit, leading us in all the multitudinous areas of our daily lives, as only He can, because He knows what is best for each one of us, better than anyone else does, is the One we need to listen to and follow.
 
All our rules and regulations, 'Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”, (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (Col.2: 23 NASB).
 
Jesus rejected satan's temptation to turn stones into bread by saying, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” (Matt.4:4)
By this the Lord was rejecting the wisdom of the serpent, the 'Prince of this world' with his worldly wisdom, and choosing the wisdom of God, GOD'S Word...the Word made alive by the SPIRIT of GOD. He chose the LIFE, not the serpent's KNOWLEDGE.
 
Satan was effectively saying, 'If you change these stones to bread (which being the Son of God, you can certainly do) you can keep yourself from dying.' Now this was very good advice. It is certain that without food, the body will eventually pack up and give up the ghost. Jesus had been without food for 40 days and nights and we are told that He was beginning to starve. So what satan told Him was undoubtedly true.
 
BUT... Jesus knew of a HIGHER wisdom. He knew that His life depended on His Father alone, not on any worldly wisdom or counsel, so He rejected the advice which sounded so good.
 
In just the same way, we are encouraged to listen to the Holy Spirit's voice IN ALL THINGS. Our life is now hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3) and we are no longer to be led by our own thoughts, ideas, wisdom, the things we learned in the past, no matter how 'good' these may sound.
 
Jesus said,  "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal LIFE, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” (John 6:27). He told us that His flesh and blood are our life... that is, His LIFE living in us...
 
“Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no LIFE in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal LIFE, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the LIVING Father sent me and I LIVE because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will LIVE because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will LIVE forever.” (John 6:53-58
In John 5:39, Jesus said, "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have LIFE. '
 
We might say the same today. We study the word of God to gain knowledge, but does it really benefit us? Doesn't it just add more to our pride, our self-satisfaction, our security in ourselves? Does it give us LIFE? Are we more joyful, are we freer, is there more praise and thankfulness in our hearts? Are we more forgiving, more spiritually beautiful, do we show more love for others because of it? Are we brimming over with Jesus? 
 
If not, then all our knowledge and good ideas, our rules and principles, what we have gained from past experience, (fruit of the Tree of Knowledge - food which perishes) are frankly useless. They are all destined to 'perish with use'...(Col.2:22) they are dead words.
 
Jesus took all the old worldly wisdom, rules, regulations, knowledge on the stake with Him, when He died. There are no more rules for those who are His. We are free. Free to follow where He leads.
 
Now, some may say that this is all very dangerous. It could lead to all sorts of irregular activities!
 
What does 'irregular' actually mean? I looked it up.
 
Etymologically, it comes from the late 14th Century, and means, 'not in conformity with Church  rules!'  http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=irregular  In other words, institutional, Roman Catholic, or for the sake of argument, any other denominational church, rules.

Jesus took the church rules on the stake with Him when He died.
He also took our old man, our fleshly, sinful nature onto the stake with Him, when He died. This has now been neutralised. The flesh no longer has power over us because we are no longer controlled by the law of sin and death but the law of the Spirit of LIFE. (Romans 8:2)
 
So now we are to live and walk by the SPIRIT, (Galatians 5:16-25) not by rules and regulations, which are only useful for sinful man, to restrain his flesh. If we are in Christ, sin no longer has a hold over us, because we are living to please Him alone, and not ourselves. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!
 
This could be very offensive to some, who in their pride, think that by keeping to what Paul and others write in the New Testament about church practice and moral behaviour, they will be able to please God. May I suggest that they actually just create a new set of rules to live by? Except that they don't live through them; they don't experience LIFE because of them; they are not able to, because it's only by being led by the Spirit that we experience LIFE. It's only by living in intimacy with Jesus that we will have His LIFE.
 
This is why this kind of life is offensive and seems dangerous to many. Because they rely on their own wisdom to keep them from falling, instead of the Life of Jesus within them. Their pride in their own wisdom blinds them.
....“Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and LIFE."' (John 6:61-63) 

What if the Lord told you to go into a porn shop, and didn't tell you why? Would you be able to hear His voice well enough to know that it was Him speaking, and not your flesh? What if He told you to buy a lottery ticket? What if He told you to drink wine or any other alcohol in a bar, or anywhere else for that matter (particularly for Americans)? What if He told you to do something, that if you did, all your family and friends would call you the worst sinner and you would lose your reputation for spirituality and goodness? Would your old rules rise up and say, 'Thou shalt not?'
 
What if He told you to marry a prostitute? Or bake your bread on human excreta? Or offer your child, your only child, as a human sacrifice? Or cut a baby in half? Or talk to a heathen, immoral woman, alone at a well, knowing full well that your reputation would be lost?
 
All these examples, of course, are just some of the things which God Himself told some of His beloved followers to do... All of which demonstrated the wisdom and knowledge of God... in hindsight.
 
If Hosea, Ezekiel, Abraham and Solomon (and Jesus Himself) could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit  how much more can we, who have the Holy Spirit living inside us, if we have come to know and follow Jesus?
 
But that's just the thing. None of these knew what would happen if they did what the voice of God was saying. They could have lost everything. Reputation being the very least of them.
 
We are called to trust Him...trust the LIFE in us. It's a walk of faith, not trusting our own understanding, but trusting the LIFE in us, that He knows better than we do what He's doing, even when our own minds naturally rebel against it and say, 'This is madness! This goes against everything I have ever been taught, everything I KNOW.'
 
This is why Paul could say, in  1 Corinthians 2:2, '"And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling..."'
 
If we rely on what we know, then we despise and belittle the death of Jesus, which dealt with both our sinful nature and the rules against sin, because we rely more on our wisdom and knowledge to protect us than His LIFE.
 
1 Corinthians 1:23
...but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews (the moral ones) and foolishness to Gentiles (the intellectual ones),...
 
Galatians 6:14
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
 
1 Corinthians 1:30
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
 
Yes, because it's not KNOWLEDGE that we are called to live by, but the LIFE of Jesus.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Babylon Revealed ("Come Out of her…" Revelation 18:4)


Thanks to:
Clay Sikes 6/12/04  www.lighthouseprophecy.com
God is equipping His remnant people with an understanding of the times. It is not His desire that His very elect be deceived, thus He is raising voices in the wilderness to proclaim prophetic truth for this hour in which we live. This teaching is heavily influenced by several prophetic voices, including Joseph Herrin and Arthur Burt, who believe the mandate in Ezekiel 33:6,
"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood."
This word is a shot across the bow of our proverbial boats to warn us, to encourage us, but most of all, to awaken us. Let us awaken from the slumber of self-will, presumption, and apathy that we may follow the steps that have been ordered for us since the beginning of time. Let us be willing to share this word with others and not shrink back when opportunity knocks.
Joseph Herrin recently wrote, "Babylon is a land of works where man must accomplish every task and fulfill every mandate. Babylon knows nothing of rest and faith. Oh yes, Babylon speaks very much about faith, but it is a faith that is rooted in man's ability. Babylon's faith is founded upon man's ability to envision some end and to see it through. Babylon is built with blueprints, and planning sessions, and organization, and fund drives, and pep rallies, and the sweat of untold men and women. Then when it is all said and done and some project has come to completion, the people of Babylon feel justified to stand and proclaim:"
"Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built…by the might of my power…?" (Daniel 4:30).
"Zion, however, is not seeking to build anything of her own will and initiative. Zion is a people of faith. Zion knows that salvation is of the Lord, as is sanctification, and as is glorification. Zion does not labor to build a city, for she seeks a city not built with hands whose builder and maker is not man, but God. Zion does not seek to work for the approval of Yahweh, she works because she is approved by Yahweh…Zion is a city of rest. This does not mean that those who are of Zion are doing nothing, it means that they are doing nothing of their own initiative. They are doing those works that God prepared beforehand for them. They are not dreaming up their own works, nor are they stretching out their hands to labor in fields to which they have not been sent."
In April of 1988 God began dealing with me about this very time in which we now live, and about understanding the difference between the World's System and the Kingdom of God. He spoke a powerful prophetic word to me that has not only sent me on a quest to understand, but also produced life-changing events as slowly I am learning to walk in the Kingdom. It is my destiny to continue this search for truth, and share it whenever possible. A true watchman can not only see through darkness, but also articulate what is being shown. I pray the voice of the Lord is heard in this word (John 10:2-4).
It began on an afternoon jog with God speaking clearly, "Forego the world's system for your reward and gain the Kingdom's method of receiving. If you engage the world's system you will be dependent upon it for your reward." Without realizing it at the time, God was speaking Revelation 18:4 to me, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues." I knew I was being called out of something much better than anything I had experienced, but wasn't sure of what. I also knew I was being called into something, but wasn't sure of that either. Was it my business; was it my church, the town I live in, my group of friends, or simply my method of doing things? I didn't have a clue. During much of the last sixteen years, God has revealed the dichotomous nature of these two systems, especially in the realm of personal experience. When I touched one system it produced life, while touching the other produced death. Experientially, I began to see a pattern.
I have touched the World's System with severe consequences, while touching the Kingdom with equally drastic results on the opposite end of the spectrum. Some are aware of my testimony. You can argue my doctrine, but you cannot argue my testimony. As stated, one produces death, while the other produces life and it more abundantly. One is based upon my goodness, good ideas, good intentions, creative ideas, and motivations, while the other is based purely upon entering His rest, ceasing from my own works and being obedient to do what the Father has said.
These two systems are constantly competing for our alliance and affections. Most of our training, indoctrination, and natural inclinations are aligned with one, while the spiritual force of God, the peace within us, is aligned with the other. One is natural, the other Spiritual. One requires that we think, analyze, toil and strain to succeed (Genesis 3:17); the other requires prayer, hearing God, and obeying (Genesis 2:15). One requires us to work for things; the other allows things to work for us. One is based on works, the other based on obedience.
The amount of lordship that we maintain over our lives relegates which of these two systems we are most tied to. Again, self-will, coupled with intellectual logic and reason epitomize the World's System, while faith, trust, hearing, and obeying God are aligned with the Kingdom. In the World little is accomplished without toil. Toil is work that is accomplished only with great and painful effort. We labor in the Kingdom of God, but the Lord's yoke is easy and His burden light. In His Kingdom, far more is accomplished with less effort. All toil brings weariness, but the labor in Christ, regardless of whether it is secular or a Spiritual endeavor will bring rest and refreshment. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest in your souls" (Matthew 11:29).
The World's System or Babylon in human form IS ME DOING MY OWN THING! Babylon is all about me; my ideas, my great works, my goodness, the righteousness I have attained for myself through my works. Much of what we see in the Institutional Church today is man doing man's thing. Much of what we see with most Christians, and I include myself, IS ME DOING MY OWN THING! The system that I engage the most is the system to which I belong. Does the Spirit lead me, or am I led by my own ambitions, good ideas, intentions, and conveniences? Make no mistake about it; at the risk of redundancy, Babylon screams that righteousness can only come through works. God's word says something different.
"So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts" (Ephesians 4:17,18).
"Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness" and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." So then, no more boasting about men!" (I Corinthians 3:18-21)
Most are caught short in understanding the Holy Spirit's desire to guide and lead with specific instruction. There are others who have progressed beyond the point of the first group, but who will not yield to the Spirit when it is not convenient. And then there are those who after hearing a bit of God's instruction act presumptuously calling their presumptive efforts GOD, and blaming Him when things don't work out! This is not Sonship as described in Romans 8:14 "Those that are led by the Spirit of God are the Sons of God," nor is it walking in the Kingdom. Those who truly walk in the Kingdom are completely yielded to the Spirit of God and will wait patiently upon the Lord to speak or move before they themselves move. If we are not completely yielded, we are yet engaging the World's System because we remain dependent upon ourselves. The instant we divorce ourselves from self-dependency and self-will is the moment we enter the Kingdom and its benefits.
Perhaps we are beginning to see that Babylon is not a place or even a system as much as it is a condition of man's heart. Much of what we call the Church today is an outcropping of Babylon, just as we could say about other physical evidences of Babylon; American corporations, the stock market etc., but these are simply limbs from the tree, not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is the condition of man's heart, which says, "I don't need God!" It is man's supreme confidence in himself: his intellectual prowess, his expertise, his financial might, or political power. We see this spirit in individuals, institutions, governments, business, armies, churches, and sports to name a few.
Our ability to hear and obey is dependent upon the depth of our dependence upon Him. If we are not hearing, we are not depending, and many unfortunately have yet to learn to completely depend upon God. How dependent was Christ, who is our example, upon the Father (John 5:30)? TOTALLY!
Here is where the rubber meets the road. It is not enough to conform to Christ in outward form and actions. OUR CONFORMITY MUST BE INTERNAL. Without internal conformity we will never see true Kingdom life upon this earth, and we will be called "lawless" on our day of judgment. We can act like Jesus and even perform the way Jesus did, and still be rejected by heaven. What is internal conformity? Internal conformity is simply doing the will of the Father; seeking God, hearing His instructions, and obeying.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, BUT HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME: YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS" (Matthew 7:21-23).
Matthew 7:21-23 in NIV calls those who are not submitted to the will of the Father, "evildoers." How many well-meaning Christians do you know that are Spirit-filled, but not Spirit-led? God's word calls them "evildoers." How can you do the will of the Father if you do not regularly hear His voice? (John 10: 2-4) Have you seen those with extraordinary gifts to preach, heal the sick, do miracles, and yet felt no witness to them as strong men of God? Many prophesy, cast out demons, and perform miracles, yet do not do "the will of the Father." These men, despite their outward appearance, are not walking in the Kingdom upon this earth, nor will they enter the Kingdom of heaven according to Matthew 7:21-23.
We can put on a show for, and even fool man with our external conformity to Christ, doing miracles, prophesying, and preaching the gospel, but until we line up inside with an internal conformity committed to hearing God and obeying, we are lying to ourselves and to the people we lead. Internal conformity is being the Father's son; being led of the Father's Spirit: a Romans 8:14 Sonship. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. He realized that of His own self He could do nothing (John 5:30), which really means that He had a revelation that any works outside the boundaries of the Holy Spirit's leading would profit little. Jesus existed to do the will of the Father, and so should we. Lawlessness is acting on your own initiative independent of God's Spirit. There are many Shepards leading sheep, who themselves have never become sons. The spirit of Babylon is alive and well and explains the chaos and powerlessness that we see in most churches today.
Jesus never did anything outside of hearing from God. He did nothing on His own initiative while remaining totally submitted to the government of God. He is our great example of what INTERNAL CONFORMITY is all about; He is our key to walking in the Kingdom upon this earth and the key to our entering the Kingdom of Heaven when our journey is finished. How can we have faith for what we have not heard: anything that is not done in faith is sin, so to move without hearing, to act without a confirming word (which often is the inner witness of the Spirit producing peace), is to act foolishly.
Through God's mercy and grace, many of us have survived being Spirit-filled, yet not necessarily Spirit-led Christians. For some of us, the consequences have become greater and greater, the fire of the consequences revealing the level of importance in taking time to hear and obey. Those who have experienced these consequences have an incumbent responsibility to share this word and subsequent testimonies with those who have not. Let us become that voice in the wilderness teaching that there is much more to our Christian life than simply being Spirit-filled, that they too can become Spirit-led.

 www.lighthouseprophecy.com