The chorus of a popular gospel song in the 1970s went like this: “Roll back the curtain of memory now and then; show me where you brought me from and where I could have been. Just remember I’m a human and humans forget, so remind me, remind dear Lord.”
Recently the Lord did just that! One morning; last September He reminded me of my early beginnings in this end-time walk, bringing to mind the things he revealed back then. Just prior to that September morning, I was impressed to scan my first notebook, which I had begun in 1969. What prompted me to start a notebook was when a very dear friend handed me a notebook filled with blank paper. She proceeded to say that the Lord had impressed her to give it to me, and also tell me I was to start recording His words to me. So I did! It didn’t seem too important at the time however, because with the memory of a twenty-year-old, I thought, “how could I forget anything”! Well, as most of us can now testify, with a few decades added to the twenties I am only too glad that my friend obeyed the Lord and I took her advice.
Upon scanning the book I was amazed at the depth of what God was showing me in this earliest stage of my walk. The first truth He revealed was that in the new work He was establishing, He would replace man’s fallen human nature with His Divine Nature! This preliminary work was to inaugurate the coming in of the spiritual Feast of Tabernacles. His words rang so loud and clear to my spirit that it seemed as though the essence of His entire end-time work was encapsulated in this one message. This anointed word became the foundation of my spiritual quest for the years ahead.
Perhaps it was because of the comparison of the spiritual shallowness of this day, or that a long time had passed since recalling those early days, but whilescanning the notebook I feltas though I were back in the late sixties being blessed all over again. The innocence and freedom of that era surrounded me, as when my children were young and life’s challenges were small.
One of the first things I came upon in the notebook was a poem written by my mother. As I reread it, I was again enveloped in her sweetness. What joy! Feeling her sweetness along with the Lord’s presence I felt renewed, as Isaiah said: “… the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”(40:31).In that moment the limitations of an aging body melted away; I felt as though I could do anything! A moment in God’s presence makes one know that when, in His appointed time, He fully manifests His presence, fleshly problems will cease: they will vanish for limitations do not exist in the presence of Almighty God!
Standing in my kitchen that September morning, pondering my experience and feeling the aura and strength of God’s presence, the title of this writing quietly wafted into my spirit: – “GETHSEMANE, – HAVE YOU BEEN THERE?” Though the feeling of the moment was sweet, and the presence of God uplifting beyondwhat words can describe, I also realized that those years when God called many of us out of the organized church into this deeper understanding were our “Gethsemane” years, and they were now becoming a vital part of our lives: the years that formed and shaped our future are being applied in reality.
In mid-sixties the Gaither recorded a song, the chorus of which said this: “Have you had a Gethsemane? Have you prayed in despair? In dark of those weary hours did the lord meet you there? Have you had a Gethsemane? Have you prayed in the night through? Have you shed tears of agony when no hope was in you? Have you prayed, “if it be thy will may this cup pass from me? But if it’s thy will, dear Lord, I will bear it for thee?”
Most of us who were called out at that time could answer yes to these questions! We knew what it was like to be broken before the Lord; we knew what it was like to have our lives turned “ upside down and inside out”; and feel rejection from those in our inner circles who merrily went on their way enjoying “ the good life”, not sharing our desire for more of the Lord. An insatiable hunger for God’s anointed word pushed us forward in our quest. Those times experience a mighty out pouring of His spirit, when God sought and called out those who would respond to his seventh-day message of life and immortality.
Oh what joy those who responded received from the many things learned at that time and how blessed we were by those who tutored us in God’s fresh word for that hour. And under the joy an unquenchable yearning compelled us to continually seek more of His presence in our lives. Yes, we did at the same time experience a painful Gethsemane, but sustenance and life from His Word undergirded us. That word imparted the needed buoyancy to walk above what otherwise could have seemed unbearable. Those early years with their training were the foundation of how we are now to live; our former teaching must become our way of life.
The whole experience of that September morning lifted me into another dimension, reminding me once again: “This world is not my home”!
Also, to my delight, I discovered a dream from 1971 recorded in my notebook; – delighted because I had all but given up looking for it thinking, except for my recall of its main details, the rest was lost in memories of bygone days. Regretfully, I did fail to record many things back then. Upon rereading this dream, I was once again amazed at what God was revealing to me in this early stage of my end-time walk. Here is my dream.
“I was sitting in the balcony of the large church we formerly attended watching activities take place on the platform. A young lady, who was a music leader in the church for many years, took the microphone and began talking in the capacity of master of ceremonies. As she related things, a movie was been shown of a girl’s choir, and as various things happened, the audience would laugh. There was a lot of action as the girls performed, and one tall blonde girlsin the front row swirled around, catching the top of her dress on something. Because it was skimpy to begin with, the top of her dress pulled off down to her waist.
I was horrified that such a scene would be shown in church but everyone else just laughed. Righteous indignation welled up in me until I stood to my feet saying: “I don’t see how anyone can make such a mockery out of worship!” I wanted no part of it! I began making my way up the ramp towards the top of the stairs that led down to the main foyer to exit the building.
As I hastily made my way, a strong spirit stated descending over the place. Suddenly, before I reached the top of the stairs, a voice boomed out a message in tongues from the main sanctuary, a message of judgement saying that it was too late, judgement had already begun. The pressure was intense as the spirit increase, and a dreadful heaviness came over me. From that point on it was a struggle to get out of the building.
When I finally reached the main foyer, the lighting was dim and all the people were swaying in unison; all were getting sucked into what I discerned to be a spirit of delusion. The main choir director, not the young lady in the beginning of the dream, was now acting as a dance caller, chanting: “come do the naked man’s dance, come do the naked man’s dance”, in a seductive monotone way. As the phrase repeated over and over, the descending power became stronger and stronger! I was struggling to get out of the building as quickly as possible, but I began to wonder if I would be able to do so. The spirit was so strong I felt as though I were choking. As I continued making my way through the foyer towards the exit door, I loudly exclaimed over and over again: “Not me, my God knows who I am! Not me, my God know who I am! Not me, my God know who I am”until I finally got out of the building. I knew God was helping me get out but the oppression was overwhelming.
Upon reaching the street I was fearful to look back because of the description words the dancer caller was chanting, – fearful of what I might see. When I did look, I saw an entire congregation dancing a slow monotonous dance in unison, completely under the control of another power and lost forever. It was like Hell had moved up to earth and this was as much a part of hell as if death had physically happened.
The people were fully clothed so I knew the message meant those who were spiritually necked, like the reference made in Revelation to the Laodicean church. As I looked back through the glass foyer door, I saw a young lady with dark hair and red suit amongst them. She was very close to me and I was heartbroken that she, too, was caught in the delusion.”
Sadly my friend did get caught in the delusion of that time. Prior to the dream we would often get together and talked excitedly about the things the Lord was showing us, but things changed.
II Corinthians 6:17 says: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” Over forty years ago God was showing me that the church world was about to be flooded with a spirit of delusion. Paul warned about this: “Because they received not the love of the truth … God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (II Thessalonians 2:10-12)
Those of us who came out of the organized church at that time, we who did receive “the love of the truth”, responded to God’s seventh day message. Then we were sent into a “wilderness” of trials and testing while those around us continued to enjoy “pleasure in unrighteousness”. It was in those wilderness years where our love for God’s truth would be proved! Often we did not understand why so many trials, and what we certainly didn’t comprehend was that in these God’s-appointed trials He was actually showering His favour on us! The church was at crossroads back then, and through our trials God was choosing for us the best way to travel in the years ahead. We were too young in the Lord to realize that the pathways formed in our “wilderness” years would lead into the kingdom age! Had we not been favoured by the tribulations sent to purge our flesh, we would have gone into delusion along with those who “received not the love of the truth”!
As early as the mid-sixties, prior to this dream or even hearing of the end-time message, I had already begun to earnestly seek the Lord in my desperation for more of His presence in my life. I recall once determining to stay on my knees for one hour, which at that time was unusually long, to see what God would do. Well, – nothing dramatic happen! But looking back, the determination formed from my dedication prompted me to persist in my quest.
At the same time both my husband and I sensed a spiritual shallowness in our church, so we decided to try out different ones in the area hoping to find one that would teach us deeper truths. But not one was to be found! So we settled back into the former one, becoming even more involved with their programs, perhaps thinking they would assuage our void.
What I didn’t realize was that all the time God was answering my prayer, though not in the way I had anticipated, nor did I recognize His answer when it came. He simply “pulled me out by my root” and moved me to another state; away from family, friends our singing ministry, etc., – all that was familiar. There He stroked up the furnace “seven times hotter” causing me to go through the greatest time of testing I had ever experienced, and that testing plunging me into my Gethsemane years! Through it God would come to say: “not my will but thine be done”. And I did come to the place of surrendering my will, but my flesh was often distressed by the situations into which His will led me. Looking back, however, once the pain subsidedso I could see things through the eyes of the spirit, there is not a single situation I would choose to reverse. I simply thank God for His faithfulness in my short sightedness.
About five month after the dream of the spirit of delusion, the Lord moved us again. This time to Denver; we started attending a large church, the pastor of which had moved us to Denver after engaging my husband to manage their convalescent hospital. A short time after we startedattending the church, an after-service meeting was announced. Though the service was geared towards young people, we decided to go anyway. It was in this meeting where I first encountered a situation similar to the one in my dream. The meeting started with a young man, who had long hair hanging down past his shoulders, entertaining the crowd. He was singing into the mike in a very effeminate way, in soft whispery tones. The young man’s spirit sickened me and again my spirit rose up indignation!
I turned to my husband and said: “I have to leave!” briefly I explained my dream, (which I had not told him about,) letting him know that I felt the same spirit in the dream coming over this meeting. He could tell by my drastically-changed demeanor how deeply moved I was, so he didn’t question my need to leave. Because I needed some time to regain my composure, we decided to stop at a restaurant on the way home. At the restaurant, we accidentally ran into the pastor and his wife. Still deeply moved I blunted out what had happened in the meeting, and how this ungodly music was entering their church. I don’t know what they thought, though the pastor’s wife seemed to receive it, but my spirit calmed after delivering the message so apparently part of the reason for my experience was to give pastor and his wife this warning.
Well, as we all know, little by little this music, under the name “Christian rock” (an oxymoron), invaded the music scene and today it is prevalent in many churches. The delusional Laodicean spirit has so taken over that most people, as in my dream, are unable to discern the spirit they are under. Because many leaders desire to please people more than a Holy God, they lower their standards to the point they become numb to their lukewarm state.
The lowering of standards, along with the gradual replacing of the genuine gospel message that bore a spirit of conviction, brought the church to where it is today.
It can even be traced back to the years when I was growing up, when worldly entertainments such as movies and dancing were not considered appropriate for Christians. Not because they were “bad” in the fifties, in fact they were tame in comparison to today, but parents who lived in the true spirit of Pentecost knew that such entrainment fed the canal soul.Many, however, were so accustomed to living carnal lives they were unable to discern the wrong in the worlds amusements. Thus compromise produced lukewarmness.
So little by little, in the fifties and sixties, Christian teens, along with others, were caught up in worldly entertainments. Their former desire to gather in prayer meetings or other spiritual events warned, and the compromised church launched into the Laodicean age. If anyone spoke against worldly activities they were “legalistic”, a term used to intimidate people back then much like the word racist is used to intimidate people today. Some compromised from the pressure of not wanting to be called “party spoilers”! Granted, restricting worldly activities was legalistic to those living in carnality, but not to the older and spiritually wiser who discerned between legalism and Godliness! Hollywood was coming strong on the scene then, and Godly people discerned the spirit that spawned Hollywood; the spiritually-minded saw what lay behind the touted “innocence”.
To be sure, young people especially need to be kept busy in wholesome things. Everyone needs refreshment and recreation, and there are many good things for all to enjoy. Both young people and their elders are responsible to discern what is wholesome. But as a whole, today’s culture presents that which is based in appeasing the fallen life. Those seasoned in the life of the spirit, who desire the deeper things of God, are not satisfied with such. Hebrews exhorts us to follow holiness, “without which no man shall see the Lord” (12:14)
The purpose in what is presented here is to point out principles of holiness and explain why some have errantly been branded legalistic by those who yet foster carnal desires. Those who do not embrace or comprehend God’s ways inevitably falsely accuse others who do desire to live a life separated from the world. Timothy says: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II 3:”12)
Hebrews speaks of the heroes of faith who suffered persecution and died before receiving their promise: “…they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. … A city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”(11: 16&10). Our “city” is found in the foundation principles of the life God builds for us.
And know that living a Godly life is not synonymous with boring! It is simply going through life being stimulated by the inner joy of the Holy Spirit rather than being stimulated by the outer world. One seeking God’s highest is spiritually drained by things of the world that may in themselves seem innocent. Scripture admonishes: “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”(Ephesians 4:24). Again, the point here is to clarify God’s higher standards and reveal the ways in which Satan works himself into natural life as he attempts to capture weaker vessels through “innocent” attractions. Many years ago the Lord showed me in a dream that Satan is so prevalent in the midst of everyday life, the ordinary dealings of man, that most people are not cognizant of his presence. They see their thoughts and actions as normal rather than being influenced by another power.
The prophet Isaiah, speaking of the one called Lucifer, said: “You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; … I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly … I will make myself like the most High”(4:13-14 NIV). Though Lucifer was cast out of heaven for desiring this exalted position, his desire didn’t change! He merely transferred it to earth. He became as god on earth by seducing Adam and Eve to disobey their God and heed his advice. And though fallen man doesn’t recognize it, Satan is his god because the carnal life is controlled by the one who contrived its birth in Eden!
In Eden, Lucifer’s (or Satan’s) seduction initiated Adams need for a physical covering. Through the carnal life Satan maintains jurisdiction over that covering. Because the physical body was the result of disobedience, the body itself became its own innate chastisement. Through it we are subject to Satan’s attacks and the frailties of its wasting condition. In this sense sickness and affliction are the Lords harness which provides a way for Him to guide us back into prefallen life. Paul says it this way: “For we who live are always delivered unto death ….that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”(II Corinthians 4:11 ASV). As we overcome the flesh life, the body starts becoming whole and resistant to Satan’s attacks. But until the root that provides ground for Satan’s attack is removed we will not be entirely freed from the body’s infirmities.
This principle is what lies at the hearth of the rapture debate! Because Adam chose to disobey, until we, his lineage, choose to overcome his transgression, this body can only be “caught away” into spiritual realms through physical death. God’s intent is for His people to overcome death! John’s message to the seven churches in Revelation was centered in overcoming! As long as there remains in us desire to be a part of the canal world, we are weighted down in the death that reigns in our physical bodies. “For to be carnally minded is death …” (Romans 8:6).
But as we choose to turn from each area in us that resonates with carnal life, (and that can only be done as God reveals it to us) we increasingly translate into higher spiritual places that are resonant with heavenly life. This is the principle by which we overcome the sentence of death and are caught away into spiritual – or heavenly – realms. This is real joy!
Paul states: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”(I Corinthians 15:22). It is in the last days of the end time that God calls a people out from the complacent multitudes to overcome this last enemy! And those willing to die to the attractions of this world are the ones who will overcome death and re-join life in spiritual realms. “In Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (26). Whenthe sentence of death is destroyed, Satan loses his power over us.
In Genesis 3:14, God pronounced judgement on the serpent for his deceptive wiles that brought death’s sentence upon His children. “Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:” As already stated, as long as the nature remains unchanged, the serpent finds sustenance in it, – in fallen man’s dust – to perpetuate his “”crawling” forward in time through the “belly” of physical reproduction. Through this means he retains ruling power and reproduces himself in every generation; most are too immersed in his entrapments to see through the maize recognize him.
John the Baptist recognized him! He called the serpent’s offspring a “generation of vipers…” (Matthew 3:7). Because John lived a simple life in the wilderness he was not immersed in the entrapments of his day! Messiah enabled him to discern the evil of this world’s system and detect the serpent’s presence. And Yeshua recognized him! He also called them a generation of vipers. “…How can ye, being evil, speak good things? “… Serpents, offspring of vipers, how should ye escape the judgement of hell?”(Matthew 12:34, 23:33). The serpents, Yeshua addressed were of Eden’s lineage.
Church history records that after every mighty outpouring of Gods spirit on a new generation, the “serpent” appears to entice them back into carnality. We share the same history of our early fathers, – backsliding Israel! DNA repeats! A sinless line cannot descend from sin-ridden fathers! And just as the children of Israel declined into sin and idolatry every time God brought judgement on them to reset their course, so their lineage has done. It’s important for us to see that the Israelites did not start out worshiping the world’s idols; rather idolatry came in little by little. Often it started through kings or other men who married foreign gods to the nation. “They have done something God hates … the men of Judah married women who worship foreign gods.”(Malachi 2:11 NCV). Soon the worship of idols became popular, even desired, spreading to the rest of the people. Sin is like a disease, unless cured it spreads until it contaminates all in its pathway.
It is puzzling how blatantly Israel could fall into the same trap over and over again, but it gets easier to understand when one acknowledges that we do the same thing! Perhaps we don’t bring in physical idols and set them on our mantles, nor bow down and worship them. No! But many worship the same idols the world worships: the same sports heroes, movie stars or other figures of notoriety! (Once I was told of a pastor who cut his service short so he could get home on time to watch football game! One wonders how much freedom God’s spirit had move in his service.)The fact is that the church has become so much like the church, one can hardly tell the difference, – as my dream foretold!
Paul says: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold thetruth in unrighteousness;” (Romans 1:18).We have the glorious privilege of knowing and teaching God’s truths, but the same God who privilegesus with His Word holds us responsible to LIVE according to the Word!Because He has entrusted us with His Word, our lives must glorify Him, and “… cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, [thus] perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Corinthians 7:1). Conforming to the world’s standards does not glorify God! Paul goes on:“Because … when they know God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations … their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:18). Vain refers to things that have no purpose – worthless futile things! To what use are the vain things of this world to those who seek better things? Knowing they are of no use, let us cast “… down [down] imaginations and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God … bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; …” (II Corinthians 10:5)
Acts 15:29, addressed to the believers in Antioch, says: “…abstain from meats offered to idols…” The reason they were told to abstain was because when the pagans partook of meat offered to their idols, they believed they actually entered into covenant with the idols, and became one in spirit with their idol. Today we need to consider this ancient belief lest we in any way enmesh our spirit with that which God sees as unrighteous. If we are serious about advancing in God’s kingdom, let us heed Paul’s further admonition to the Romans:“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies – [presenting all your members and faculties] – as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world – (this age) [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind – [by its new ideas and its new attitude] – so that you may prove [for ourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you] (12:1-2 Amplified)”
In the fifties, when some of today’s popular entertainments were first being accepted, many were not willing to leave their compromised ways. Five decades later their compromises have fully bloomed into the Laodicean age and are deeply rooted in the lives of many sincere Christians. One weakness of prior decades that causes today’s culture was that the messages coming from most of the pulpits were only evangelistic in nature. And while that message is important, new-born Christians also need to be instructed in discipleship. Yeshua’s admonishment just prior to His ascension was: “Go and make disciples of all nations ….teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)Unless new-born Christians mature and become disciples they will be unable to discern between that which is of God and that which is of this world. “…strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.’’ (Hebrew 5:14)
As a whole, this Laodicean age has produce waning Christian fervour. Carnal activities outside of the church have been prompted, but now carnal practices inside the church are accepted as well. For example, the seeker-sensitive church, fast gaining in popularity, has a policy to not do or say anything that could make a parishioner uncomfortable. Certainly nothing can be mentioned about sin or the restraining of self, lest any met at the door with coffee and doughnuts be offended!
But the message of the gospel is an offence! Yeshua said: “Blessed is he, whoever shall not be offended in me” (Luke 7:23). : “Blessed is he” who is not offended by the deeper truths He taught that spiritual life. The watered-down truths of today feed soulish life. We are warned: “In the last days … men shall be lovers of their own selves… high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; … from such turn away” (II Timothy 3:1-5)
Matthew recorded that those who did many wonderful works in Yeshua’s name were told by him: “depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (7:23). Why did Yeshua answer them this way? Because He knew that though the wonderful works were done by the Holy Spirit, areas of their souls were yet carnal. We know of many in the past who did wonderful works for the Lord and yet their personal lives collapsed because soulish desires ruled their actions.
The same principle is true of our nation. Rampant carnality and debauched living are prevalent in America and they are bringing judgement on us. Revival interspersed in this nation’s history temporarily balanced its stability, but now it is tottering on the edge of collapse! Someone recently said, when Shirley Temple, America’s child idol, died, that God spoke: “America’s childhood is over! America must now face the results of its rebellion and be judge as an adult.’’
The same can be said about God’s children! This day requires maturity! God no longer winks at our “innocent” indulgences, inward or outward. And inward idols can be more damaging than outward ones. God is after the core of our being so He can transform us from our very roots! It’s time for us to allow God to replace our fallen proclivities with His Divine leading and follow His path into kingdom life.
God’s Divine leading will bring us through these last days, which are the culmination of time when all is to be fulfilled. Ephesians says: “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ …” (1:10). We are in the “fullness of times”! The fullness of times means that the time for Satan’s reign is also is also increasing. Fallen nature is displayed everywhere! In fact the new Age Movement’s mantra is that their inner self come into fullness. They tout “Christ in you” but their Christ is the fullness of their self life! We too tout “Christ in you”, but our Christ replaces our self life. With John we say: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (3:30). These two belief’s battle for pre-eminence, – the children of darkness coming into fullness and God’s children coming into fullness. Our fullness is realized when Christ is revealed in us! “… Christ in you, the hope of glory:”(Colossians 1:27). Christ in us is the only thing that will bring His kingdom into reality.
God, throughout past centuries, purified many vessels who accomplished mighty works for building up of his kingdom during their time. But God has waited for His end time people, “… God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:40)until God’s transforming work is completed in His entire Body, His kingdom cannot be established. No matter what interspersed revivals have accomplished, eventually carnal rule again took pre-eminence. Carnal rule, perpetuated again through fallen man’s carnality, is the instrument though which Satan works to keep God’s children in bondage. The removal of this root of evil, – man’s fallen carnal nature, is a basic requirement for entering kingdom life. It came with Adam’s fall and Adam’s lineage must overcome it! If one is to comprehend God’s plan for the redemption of His earth this truth MUST BE UNDERSTOOD!
God is preparing the condition of the world to establish His governing body where earthly powers now rule. The first step is to remove all fallen and evil forces. Malachi speaks of “… a day coming that will burn like a hot furnace, and all the proud and evil people will be like straw. On that day they will be completely burned up so that not a root or branch will be left …” (4:1 NCV).Neither root nor branch means that remain by which it can produce itself nor tarnish the glory of God’s kingdom. The “proud and evil” will not survive the earth’s cleansing.
God is now calling to the rest of His harvest for His final ingathering of “… His wheat into His garner;”( Matthew 3:12). Many of the presence generation are responding to His call. But those coming in now not only face persecution looms on the horizon! The way is becoming increasingly hard.
Jeremiah complained because of the hardness of his way. “Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgement: wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? Wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.”(12:1-2). Jeremiah was suffering while God was blessing those fully imbibed in “the good life”! He felt pressed beyond endurance, the way we felt during our gethsemane years. But God how hard to press Jeremiah, for He was forming one of the greatest prophets of all ages! For this high calling God could not allow anything to remain that would weaken Jeremiah’s prophetic role. A high calling demands a high price! We too complain when God pressed us beyond seeming endurance. Are we willing to pay the price that Jeremiah paid?
God responded to Jeremiah’s complaint: “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”(12:5). Jeremiah’s pressing came in a time of relative peace and safety, as when we were called out during the time between the fifties and eighties. We didn’t realise how grateful we should have been that our Gethsemane years came in a time of relative peace outwardly. And just as Jeremiah, so were we being hardened and proved so that when the times of peace and safety are gone we – as he – will be prepared to “contend with horses”. Today, those responding to God’s call also face the difficulty of outward circumstances because “Jordan’s banks” are swelling to heights previously unknown on our nation.
Remember it was during the time of the swelling of the Jordan that Joshua led the children of Israel over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. It was then that God began to magnify Himself through Joshua’s leadership. When the “…feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water,(for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, … and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground….” (Joshua 2:15-17). This miracle is far less spoken of than the miracle of Moses parting the Red Sea, nevertheless it is as profound. Both Moses’ and Joshua’s leadership began with God parting the waters which were preventing His children from furthering their journey. And notice that it says that the waters were cut off from the city Adam! To be sure that has significant meaning.
The term “swelling of Jordan” is a Hebrew idiom implying pride and boastfulness. It infers going one’s own way without constrain or control. The swelling waters are coming to us at the end time as the arrogancy and unbridled actions of man and his governments rise beyond human control. But through the “swelling waters” God has a specific intent for His people. The Hebrew root word for swelling points to rising up to be gloriously exalted in triumph! And just as God began to magnify Himself through Joshua’s leadership as he faced the swelling waters, is this not swelling powers of evil that think to control the times and seasons? The greatest trials bring the greatest victories! It is through victory over sin and death that we rise and ascend to the place in “our” city of Adam, before death entered the body.
Many years ago, I dreamed I was talking on the street in front of the church we attended in the fifties. A dear sister in the Lord – a great prayer warrior who had gone to be with the Lord – was standing on the street in front of our church. The ambiance in the dream exuded a relaxing, easy, peaceful atmosphere. In my dream I had come back to her from the 80s to say: “Sister France, you have no idea how difficult it is to live now, nor how stressful life has become.” If that statement could be made in the early eighties, albeit in a dream, can you imagine howmuch more it could be said of today, three decades later! An unbelievable change has transpired since the eighties, but God will use the change to bring us over the swelling tide of evil and carry us across the turbulent waters of death on dry ground! We will not be swept away in its turbulence if Christ controls our vessel.
Returning to today’s scene, we view a culture formed by this generation, many of whom have tested the depths of what would have horrified even carnal Christians of earlier decades. All you need do is look at them to know of what I speak! Debauched living is openly displayed! Our reaction out to be pity, however, for what they display originates in dissatisfaction and a lack of spiritual food. They mire themselves deeper and deeper into darkness hoping to assuage their empty souls. Lamentations cries:“Mine eyes do fail with tears … because the children and the suckling swoon in the streets of the city. They say to their mothers, where is corn and wine? When they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers’ bosom. … Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine hearth like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of the street … the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.” (1:11-12, 2:19, 4:4)
Lamentations, in particular, pictures many of today’s youth! And God will answer their cry, many of whom cannot even hear their own cry! God’s answer will come with a high price to the whole nation, however, but through its chastisement God will bring the younger generation through their Gethsemane.
GETHSEMANE! HAVE YOU BEEN THERE? The first part of the Gethsemane is from an unused word, gath, meaning: a wine press! The Feast of ingathering, or Tabernacles, comes in the autumn of the year at the culmination of the grape harvest. To get wine from the grapes they must be pressed in the wine press. Our “Gethsemane pressing” recreates us into a new vessel. As God remakes our vessel, He is pouring the new wine of kingdom life into us, making sure that nothing of the old remains.”if you can’t think in a new in a new way, if you can’t accept what I am to do, you will burst. You will not be able to accept the expansion of this new wine. This new wine shall cause many to expand in their understanding of the ways of God. Because some are not equipped, and some are not prepared… their wineskins shall burst.”
The result of our pressing has brought us the privilege of standing at the crossroads between the opening of the kingdom age and the closing down of the church age. God worked through several decades to posture us in this chosen place, at times enabling us to pass through what seemed like impossible straits.
Though the dregs of Gethsemane God has prepared a people to do the most significant work ever accomplished on this earth; – to plant the atmosphere of heaven on the earth and build the foundation of His kingdom God said: “I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.” (Isaiah 51:16) This kingdom “… shall never be destroyed:… it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)
Though we drank the bitter cup of chastisement, those times are receding. Awake,- awake, stand up, [thou] which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury;… hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out. … Thus saith thy Lord the LORD … I have taken out thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of fury; thou shalt no more drink it again:”.(Isaiah 51:17,22). It is now time to loose ourselves from the past, with its memories.The entrance price into God’s kingdom demands the shedding of our past, the good as well as the bad! Our present focus must be on our future; – the work He calls us to do in this critical hour.
The angel to the church in Philadelphia was told to write: “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no-one can shut, and what he shuts no-one can open. I have placed before you an open door that no-one can shut.” (Revelation 3:7-8. NIV). The key of David is the seventh-day message of life and immortality; the message of a people spanning the time between the church and kingdom ages without passing through physical death. No one can open this door except God, who does the supernatural work.
God always prepares His people for what is next coming on the scene. His call to john the Baptist was: “prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”(Matthew 3:3). God’s call comes to us through Isaiah. “Go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up [raise up] the highway … lift up a standard for the people.”(62:10)we are called to prepare the way into kingdom life; to set up a standard for those coming in behind us.
Each move of God through past centuries was called to prepare the way of the Lord for their age, so that in finality of ages God would have a people standing before the open door of His Kingdom. We now stand before that open door! The key that opens the door – the gateway into kingdom life – is given through Gethsemane’s overcoming experiences.
Then, when God has removed the death that works in us, “…the life …of Jesus … [is] made manifest in our mortal flesh.”(II Corinthians 4:11). The result of enduring Gethsemane’s painful process is that God’s Divine nature is placed within us. There His life takes ascendant power over our lives. In Eden’s garden Adam failed, but in Gethsemane’s garden the last Adam won! HALLELUJAH! And Yeshua’s victory is ours! We are victors in the place of Adam’s defeat.
God’s righteousness, through His ascendant power in His overcomers, is what goes forth to wrestle the dominion of this world away from the hands of Satan, its usurped ruler. God’s army is called to wield His sword of righteousness and rule with His “iron” rod. “Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: …” (Revelation 19:15). The NIV says: “He will rule them with an iron sceptre”. The words rod and sceptre are interchangeable. What is His sceptre? “Righteousness will be the sceptre of your kingdom”. (Hebrews 1:8 NIV).Righteousness is the sceptre by which God rules the nations of the earth! And Isaiah says: “…When thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”
Revelation 19:15 goes on to say: “… he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Before God establishes righteous rule, He first pours out the fierceness of His wrath on those who reject him, “the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars …” (Revelation 21:8) Isaiah says: “…with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked” (11:4) Sinners, lying helpless in the of His wrath! But to the faithful God promises: “I will … keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)
The purpose of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom is to overthrow man’s governments and establish Divine Government in the earth. In the battle, God cannot allow anything to remain in us that would make us vulnerable to defeat. When an eradication of the effects of man’s governments from the hearts of men is completed, and a people walk in His Divine Nature, the fallen age will transition into an age buoyed up by the righteous principles of God Himself. Those filled with His righteousness will rule with His sceptre and bring healing to the nations of the earth. “The Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings; …” (Malachi 4:2)
And know this, in the remaining time of solitude; the hush between the changing of ages, God is doing a final work to free us from any remaining ties that would keep us attached to this world, for its systems are coming down as God’s kingdom arises to seize its former dominion!
Isaiah declares God’s message to all who stand before the open door:“… put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments … for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean … how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings ….who says to Zion, “Your God reigns” … Break forth together into singing … for the LORD has comforted his people …. The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” (Portion of 52:1, 7-10. RSV)
Courtesy:- THE VOICE
Maxine G. Hedlund
Chaska, MN 55318 USA
The Voice of the Seventh Angel