Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Grim Reaper - Part 2

The following message is part two of a newsletter from the Omega Church & Ministries Center.  I was reminded of this article via a dream I had last night, and am posting it here for the edification of others.

In the last issue of The Omega Times, we discussed the root, response, and consequence of patriarchal rebellion. We examined how the doctrine of a Jezebel spirit inspires hatred of a father by encouraging disrespect for patriarchy.

When people choose their own way, come against rightful authority, and seek to do things opposed to the word of God, it is because they hate the image of a father. Sin is personal to God, whether we realize it or not. God stated it this way, "And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them." (I Samuel 8:7)

God's response is to send forth the spirit of Elijah to confront this Jezebel doctrine. Just as in the days of Elijah, God will call on the people to make a choice - if the Lord be God, then serve Him. If Baal, then serve him. What is the precursor to this point of decision? A supernatural display of power. It must be shown once and for all who God really is so that the faith of man may be established, not in word but in a demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

The time of harvest is a volatile time, a time of decision and of war. In this edition of the newsletter, we will look at the steps the Church must take in order to prepare for the harvest.

Preparing for Harvest

"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.Joshua 1:9

As the children of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, God repeatedly instructed them to be strong and of good courage. He had taken them through the wilderness to teach their hands to war. Now was the time to put into practice what they had learned. One of their first challenges was to cross the Jordan River. In describing the crossing, Scripture says:

"And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and 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, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan." Joshua 3:15-17

Because it was the time of harvest, the banks of the Jordan had overflowed. It was physically impossible for the estimated 1.5 million Israelites to cross the Jordan with all of their provisions in their own effort. This is the first lesson that God needed to teach His people: you cannot make this journey in your own strength.

God was also using this experience to confirm His anointing on Joshua; showing that He was with Joshua just as He had been with Moses. Further, with the exception of Joshua & Caleb (and their families) this was a new generation of Israelites. Their fathers had been killed off in the wilderness due to their stiffnecked rebellion, so these people had no first-hand knowledge of how God had delivered them from Egypt. They needed a show of God's power to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was able to bring them into the land He had promised. Lastly, it was a sign to Israel's enemies that God was coming in power to restore His people.

Notice that the waters were cut off at the city of Adam. This represents a transition into a new inheritance. In the Garden of Eden, God placed Adam in charge of creation; he was given dominion over the earth. God established a patriarchal order as a reflection of His own authority in the earth. Yet, the devil beguiled Eve into disobeying God's words and she in turn seduced her husband into doing the same. This fall of man birthed the beginning of the Adamic nature; an upside-down kingdom where man became the opposite of what he was created to be.

Instead of being God-conscious, man became self- conscious. Instead of being led by the Spirit of God, man was led by his five carnal senses. Instead of being under the protective headship of a patriarch, man was cut off from his head (Jesus) and subject to the whims of the devil.

Believe me church, I don't care what society says, matriarchal rulership is a curse from God. (Isaiah 3:12) What was meant to bring life (Eve) became death to man because proper headship was usurped. The consequences of that perversion have continued throughout time. The only thing that could turn the tide and reconcile man back to God was the death and resurrection of Christ. Through the cross, the lineage of Adam is cut off and we are made partakers of a Godly inheritance, a divine nature. The parting of the Jordan River at the City of Adam during this time of harvest is symbolic of our being crucified with Christ. It is the blood of Jesus being applied to our souls that allows us to "pass clean over" Jordan into God's promises.

The harvest is described in Eastons Bible Dictionary as follows:
The season for gathering grain or fruit. On the 16th day of Abib (or April) a handful of ripe ears of corn was offered as a first-fruit before the Lord, and immediately after this the harvest commenced. It began with the feast of Passover and ended with Pentecost, thus lasting for seven weeks.

Look at the timing of the season of harvest: it begins with preparation for the Lamb's death and continues to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit as the the church is endowed with power from on high. "Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn." (Deuteronomy 16:9)

The church has entered a new season. As we prepare to reap a harvest in the world, God is raising up a new generation from among the young. God is through striving with a people who will not go; a people who have seen His work and been a partaker of His blessings, but have become complacent in their relationship with Him. Under the leadership of patriarchs who have come out from Egypt and dedicated themselves in service to the Lord, God will bring this new generation into a confrontation with the enemy so that His kingdom will be established in the hearts of men and His promises fulfilled. Preceding this fulfillment is a re-establishment of the order which He has ordained.

"And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, and command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. 

And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day." Joshua 4:1-9

Before we can move on to claim the promise, we must re-establish the patriarchy of God. Having cut-off the old, Adamic nature, we have become born again into a new lineage. God commands the Israelites to set-up a memorial of twelve stones, one for each of the patriarchs of Israel as a reflection of the foundation upon which faith must be established. Just as Jesus' death killed the Adamic nature, Joshua by himself sets up a memorial at the very place where the Jordan River was cut-off. And just as Christ tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him, each tribe had to carry a stone to establish the same memorial in their lodging place.

As they come out of the Jordan River, Scripture states that Israel encamped in the east border of Jericho. Here, God does one of those things that just might leave you scratching your head.

"At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised." Joshua 5:2-5

There are times when you might wonder just what God is doing. Times when to the natural eye, it seems like God has brought you to a place where there is no possible way of escape. I can envision that this could have been one of those times for Israel. They had made it through the wilderness. They had made it across the Jordan. They were ready to fight, and God says to circumcise them.

Can you imagine being Israel at this point? Camped by Jericho, at the enemy's border, and God eliminates their ability to fight and defend themselves. Positioned right outside Jericho, they could have been taken out by the enemy at any given moment. Worse still, they had to stay there in that place of vulnerability until they had healed enough to move on.

Again, the natural man might say, "Um, God. Don't you think you should have circumcised us before we crossed the Jordan? I mean, why bring us right to the enemy and then place us in the most vulnerable state we could be in. We are like sitting ducks." Yet, this is exactly where God wanted them.

Many of us wonder what God is doing in our lives. We are in a position where it seems as if the devil can destroy us at a second's notice. Yet, this is also a place where we learn complete dependence upon God. If God does not stay the hand of the enemy, if God does not provide supernatural protection and provision, then we will be destroyed. The sheer circumstances of our situation are enough to compel us to seek God like we never have before, and it is from this place that we are given marching orders.

Remember, the harvest commences with the Passover, but continues to the coming of the Holy Ghost. In Acts 7:51, Stephen stated to the people, "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." Before we can engage in battle with the enemy, all resistance to the Holy Ghost must be removed. A circumcision of the heart will make us pliable to God and allow us to hear His words so that we can know what to do. It also eradicates any flesh that could contaminate His words of life as they come through us to reach the lost.

The world's image of the grim reaper has his sickle poised to destroy, but God has extended His hand to save. All God is looking for is a body that has been prepared to do His will; He is looking for laborers. The question is, who will sign up for the task?

For those who will, prepare for battle. Don't lose hope. Be strong and of good courage.

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