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MIGHTY SCENARIOS... GO BEHIND THE SCENE AND DISCOVER THE GOD OF HEAVEN’S ETERNAL PATTERNS FOR HIS INTERVENTIONS ON EARTH
How do we relate to God's extreme scenarios, which display His sovereign interventions in the affairs of men?
How do we handle and relate to his judgments and grace, his righteousness and mercy?
This blog is meant as an introduction for an out-of-the-box consideration and a more accurate understanding... for a greater freedom in our relationship with him as well as a clearer interest in what He sovereignly does.
The Scriptures give us a deep insight in quite phenomenal sequences of events recording some of God's effectful decisions and moves in the global community of nations.
The famous stories about Israel's exit out of Egypt, the journey through the wilderness and the re-conquest of the land given by God the their forfathers, are not the narratives focused upon in this document. Neither it is the supenatural assignmnts given to the judges or the unusual lives of the kings and their spectacular regimes. The attention of the reader will be led to the much more famous 'christian' celebrations: Christmas, the resurrection and the ascension of Christ, and Pentecost. These are recorded in our calendars, at least in the Western nations.
Christmas is celebrated by the millions every single year and maybe therefore it is a true challenge to look away from the presents, the Christmas tree, the carols, and the joyful family-gatherings. And all of this is definitely dear to our hearts and represent fundamental stones in Western civilisations. To challenge their presence and even to remove them for our minds and cultures would have unexpected and deep effects. Maybe irreversible so our coming generations would wander around in life without the spiritual and moral compasses essential to a society built on hope, justice and compassion. Neither Halloween, Valentine’s Day or Black Friday come close to fill the absence of these celebrations. Actually their increasing success is a symptom exposing their absolutely hopless poverty and emptiness.
Easter is also a wellknown event: the death of Jesus on the cross and the following resurrection. We know quite well the big lines. Maybe we are not in the same state of mind as in the case of Christmas, but we do have the invasion of rabbits, eggs and a dream about better weather linked with a legitimate longing for true Spring and Summer.
When it comes to Pentecost we might be even less clear. Both in our contemporary society and in quite substantial parts of the Christian church.
There is not much to say about the Ascension... well... He left them and went back to Heaven.
However there is a challenge in cleaning up the mess, filling the holes in our insight and addressing superficial knowledge. New understanding must replace previous understanding. There must be some serious adjustments and corrections made in the light of the new or updated insight. It is an expected scenario in normal life. Continuous evaluations, adjustments and corrections are necessary.
It is a tremendous help to consider Christmas at a totally different time than Christmas. Otherwise the tree, the decorations, the presents, the good food and our excited descendants might distract us from the core and reality of the matter.
Then there is the barn, the animals, the star, the men from the East, the incense and myrrh, and the gold. In our pursuit for understanding it is definitely helpful to separate Christmas from the celebrations in family and church.
The same is the case when it comes to Easter and its scenario in the garden of Getsemane, the walk from Herod to Pilate, the open-air trial, the horror of the Roman torture and the bestiality of crucifixion. Then the empty tomb and what followed. Our minds can easily get overwhelmed and our emotions overstimulated by pictures we have seen and movies we have watched.
We are familiar with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the sound of a mighty wind in the upper room, the discples' speaking in tongues, Peter's words which cut the hearts of many. Of course we especially love to know about the thousands who were born into the Kingdom.
These absolutely outstanding events with their different scenarios and similarly differents components inspire, stir and tell us a lot. They are extremely rich in details and meaning. They speak so loud that it is difficult to hear and see anything else. But we have to. I had to and I did. The discoveries are liberating.
"IIn the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so.” Gen 1,1-9
A lot happens in this passage, to say the least. Light is created. The waters were separated, og the continents appeared. Powerful events, but nothing unexpected though. Everything is created as God speaks it into existence. No big bang, physically or spiritually. We don't even know if God shouted or spoke loud. why should He? There was no audience and therefore no ovation or cheerings even though God does have ‘talent’. The Spirit and the Word were the central combined forces at work and all that had to come to existence, be shaped, function and develop did so immediately. No special effects to add to this cosmic drama and explosive firework of creation. God ‘worked’ and the earth stopped being empty and void. A world was created. Meaning and destiny were manifested.
In Exodus we find a second breathtaking story:
"In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain. And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do." So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever." So Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, 'Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.' When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain." So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, "Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives." Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.” Ex 19,1-20
"And God spoke all these words, saying: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. "You shall not murder. "You shall not commit adultery. "You shall not steal. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin." So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.” Ex 20,1-21
Here we witness God's accurately planned and strategic intervention in the life and journey of the people, an extremely decisive moment, because the israelittes are presenty out of Egypt, but still not yet in the land of promise, the territory God had given to Abraham and his descendants. He did have something on His 'heart' and he wanted to instruct the nation, from the highest to the lowest, so to say. And when it took place, it was truly explosive. Moses recorded the picture:
What effect did it all have on the people, who were gathered before the mountain and were spectators to this stunning 'show', when the forces of nature manifested? They watched from a distance, the Scriptures tell us. And they gave Moses a sad message:
"You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die."
At creation we see God intervene and a whole universe is created. But at Sinaj we see God intervene and everything created was shaking. Even the people witnessing it are shaking. In both events God spoke. He didn't set up a show to impress or convince Man. In the first narrative Man didn't witness His creation. But in the second he did, and reacted in stead pf responding to His presence and words.
The reaction of the people was fear and their response was: Don't speak to us, not understanding that this very kind of Word and Spirit which had created a whole universe for God, could also create a nation for Man. And Man under God. Just a nano percentage of this was physical, but the rest was spiritual and had unprecedented national perspectives. The whole event was set up to start a conversation with the nation. God wanted to lift them up and take them into a partnership with Him. Therefore they had to know Him, hear His voice and discover the magnitude of His resources,... exactly what both Moses and Aron were introduced to years previously.
The first project was fragile but succeeded. The second attempt tragically failed.
Then a third story to settle the matter:
"And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time." And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, "It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!"« 1Kg 19,1-4
"And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" So he said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life." Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" And he said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life." Then the Lord said to him: "Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him."” 1Kg 19,9-18
Here again we witness God’s intervention, different in nature and goal though. At creation there were no human audience, at Sinai a whole nation was brought together. But here at the mountain to which God had brought him, God came and addressed Elijah's situation. Again we are eye-witnesses of an explosion of nature forces:
All of this was truly unusual, but this was not the most important issue. The core of the matter (like at creation and at the Sinaj-summit) is God's voice.
Where does all this take us?
People can witness God's mighty interventions on Earth and at the same time totally misinterpret the situation and ultimately miss, overlook and overhear its substance, which leaves the rest absolutely and empty. Man is an island in the cosmos.
At Mt Sinai people are paralised by the free expression of nature forces, and totally overheard God’s voice, which brought a precise instruction and definition of their ultimate destiny, His longterm will for the nation, a plan which reaches all the way to us living in the 21st century:
They were amazed and scarred by the physical effects of God’s presence, but totally unimpressed and unoverwhelmed by the governmental preeminence of the Word and Spirit.
What about Elijah? Same scenario. But he acted differently than his forfathers. Actually God helped him and asked him to stand in His presence, fearless and attentive so He could speak to him. Og He did speak to Elijah words of hope in stead of suicide, words of detailed perspectives in stead futurelessness:
There is an onvious and direct link between powerful actions and events, and powerful Word and Spirit.
""For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard. Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live? Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord Himself is God; there is none other besides Him. Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire. And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day. Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time."” Deut 4,32-40
In this passage we meet these two components.
First in verses 32 to 35, where fire, struggle, signs and wonders, wars, strong spirit and lifted arm, great and fearful deeds are mentioned. All this happen on earth and should help them to be extremely attentive... on what? On what He speaks. In verse 36 instructions are given, and heard in the fire. It means heaven and earth do work together.
Then: verse 37 to 39 speak about great power, mighty and bigger nations, the conquest and possession of huge territories taken from their enemies. Immediately after this description they were challenged (verse 40) to keep His commandments and instructions.
"He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude. "Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always. ” 5Mos 10,21-22 and 11,1
And 11,2-7 about actions and 8-9 about words.
The same pattern again and again... mighty works which can easily fill us with fears, but also draw our hearing and attention to His word following His deeds.
Look at this as well:
"Know today that I do not speak with your children, who have not known and who have not seen the chastening of the Lord your God, His greatness and His mighty hand and His outstretched arm - His signs and His acts which He did in the midst of Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to all his land; what He did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and their chariots: how He made the waters of the Red Sea overflow them as they pursued you, and how the Lord has destroyed them to this day; what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place; and what He did to Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, their households, their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel - but your eyes have seen every great act of the Lord which He did. "Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land which you cross over to possess, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord swore to give your fathers, to them and their descendants, 'a land flowing with milk and honey.'
'And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.
"Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth. "For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do--to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him - then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.
"Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. ” Deut 11,2-28
Do you see the pattern?
The life of Peter provided a very relevant and instructing example. When God showed him a vision three times, Peter reacted and didn’t respond. Actually a challenging one... he simply rejected God’s talk. Reaction but no response and resistance. The leson was simple:
"What God has cleansed you must not call common." Acts 10,15
It could be understood as an ordinance valid for the jewish dietary laws, but it went significantly deeper than that. It dealt with absolutely everything God calls ‘clean’. When He does, the case is closed. Peter had to align because there would many issues and situations in the future when this lesson would settle the matter.
But the case was not solved for Peter. The text tells us, that he was confused and ‘wondered for himself’ (Acts 10,17) for a certain period of time. But God moved on and let him handle the mental and theological tornado alone. Then he heard his name called by somemen who stood outside his house. God drew him out of the purposeless meditation. There was definitely a purpose, but God had closed the case and He led him into a process initiated and monitored taking him to a place of re-consideratiom and new alignment. All this mist be seen in the context of his future journey with God and role in the nation.
Peter is stretched to his limits, but he moved:
Peter: “Not so, Lord…” Acts 10,14
Ånden: “Arise therefore, go down…” Acts 10,2
Ånden: “Go with them, doubting nothing.” Acts 10,20
Peter: “For what reason have you come?” Acts 10,21
Svar: “To summon you to his house, and to hear words from you…” Acts 10,22
Peter: “God has shown me…” Acts 10,28
Peter: “In truth I perceive…” Acts 10,34
“And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished…” Acts 10,45
Peter: “And he commanded them to be baptized…” Acts 10,48
From mental reluctance and theological resistance, the Spirit led Peter to clarity ad conviction. He is so settled that all weakness and undecisiveness have left him. Now he gives orders, he leads the congregation with a firm attitude. And they responded with the same conviction and strength:
“Then they asked him to stay a few days.” ApG 10,48
Let’s walk together. Let’s have these narratives in mind as we look into Easter, and later into the ascencion, Pentecost...and ultimately Christmas.
Keep en eye on my blog as a new manual will be published Spring 2019. In that manual I will go through these four major events: Christmas, Easter and the Ascension as well as Pentecost. Stay tuned, keep udated, walk with Him. Listen until you hear. Hear and hear and hear... until you really hear!
“Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" Matt 4,3-4
These were the words of the Son as He came under great pressure, the pressure of both the devil’s presence and his words.
That’s the ‘place’ where the first Adam failed and with him God’s plan for Mankind collapsed... for a while.
These words of Jesus are identical to what the Father told Moses and the nation of Israel when they were under great pressure:
“"Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.“ Deut 8,1-3
Here we are spectators to a intense verbal turbulences. But the conclusion is crystal clear: The words proceeding from God’s mouth will uphold His people through imparting divine life. Obviously it is not the Bible as a book, as no book proceeds from God’s mouth. But God definitely speaks through the words of the book, because He is its author.
So what is the Word for 2018? We are priviliged to have spiritual fathers like Helen & Dr Jonathan David who are able to download revelational guide-lines, and the echo in our hearts is clear and immediate:
Strategic men of stature | Positioned in prophetic precision | Creating significant moves
These three components are to be found as God spoke to His people in the desert of Sinai, even though in an implicit way. But they are evident as we observe the beginning of the public life of Jesus.
He had developed stature since his first years:
“Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Lk 2,51-52
Stature doesn’t come through human success, or experience. Spiritual stature comes solely through God’s dealings with us. In the life of His Son, it was developed through 30 years of training and dealings. The same is said about the nation of Israel in the verses mentioned above: “God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart.”
He was getting positioned in prophetic precision:
“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."” Matt 3,16-17
“Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil ... Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him ... And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned." Matt 4,1,13-16
He was firmly positioned in the Spirit and in prophetic destiny for earthly regions and populations.
He created significant moves:
“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him--from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.” Matt 4,17-25
And yes He was the starting point of an extremely significant move, to say the least. The move was built on a stature developed through 30 years of walking with God in Heaven and his parents on Earth; it was established when His position in the Spirit was vindicated by the Father. But the move was small in its first and most important phase, the selection of His heirs, 4 men in total. It spread to the synagogues and through them to all people. Even geographical speading became a reality as crowds came to Him and followed Him.
These elements are quite significant and seldom recognized, but ignored... sometimes intentionally as Christians dislike processes and change.
The last few years in my assignment have been extremely as I have been increasingly involved in youth, something I did at the beginning season of my work in churches... youth-camps, youth-choir, youth meetings, youth magazines, youth conferences, youth evangelism and mission and much more. And now as I have reached my late 60’s it is there again but on a totally different level. Primarly because God has brought me to a new “place” in Him and into a new level of partnership with Him in the fulfilment of His agenda. And it’s also because he is intensifying His for clear and obvious reasons:- The development of the European nations
- The condition of His House, the church
- The heavy attack on the coming generations to abort what God is working on behind the scene.
The last is not new as it has happened in crucial times and seasons primary to a massive intervention from God in the life of individuals and of the nation, events which propelled Kingdom-history into a new season with irresistible spreading.
+ It happened for Abram and Saraj. It was not abortion because they couldn’t get children, but the enemy of God’s plan found alternative options... an obvious was Eliezer.
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward." But Abram said, "Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!" And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." Gen 15,1-4
God loved Eliezer, honored him, used him... but He pursued an other option, His own.
“Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived ... So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram ... Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her." Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.” Gen 16,3-4,15-16 and 17,15-22
Drama takes place on the scene. God came, spoke about His plan, cancelled Abram’s plan and left him.
+ It happened in Jacob’s family as Joseph became a target because God chose him to prepare a way for Israel out of Egypt.
But the truth was:
“Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, "Make everyone go out from me!" So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph; does my father still live?" But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. And Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come near to me." So they came near. Then he said: "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, 'Thus says your son Joseph: "God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry. You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children's children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have. There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine." Gen 45,1-11
“Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's household. And Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim's children to the third generation. The children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were also brought up on Joseph's knees. And Joseph said to his brethren, "I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here." Gen 50,19-24
+ It happened to Israel on a greater scale, on the national level. A new Pharaoh rose in Egypt and was the instrument to destroy the nation under the heavy yoke of slavery.
“And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do." So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever." So Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” Ex 19,3-11
+ It happened for Jesus as king Herod chased Him to kill Him while He was just a baby.
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him." When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son." ... But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child's life are dead." Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, "He shall be called a Nazarene.” Matt 2,13-15,19-23
And it continued even after he stepped into His assignment... which was to destroy the works of the enemy. The devil had a plan for his own survival. God had a plan to overcome and raise a generation of sons who would overcome like His Son did.
“So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.” Lk 4,28-30
The devil didn’t get Him in His life-time and His death was definitely not the work of the devil. No, He gave His life.
“Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last. So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!" And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.” Lk 23,44-48
He rescued a criminal’s life while on the cross... no, He was not powerless.
“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." Lk 23,39-43
All physical elements manifested.
He took the keys of death and of the Kingdom of death from the hands of the devil... no He was neither limited nor intimidated.
His Father removed Him from the kingdom of darkness... yes, He was fully connected to heaven.
God even used the devil to advance, intensify and accelerate, consolidate Kingdom-advancements:
“So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.' "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4,24-31
Jerusalem reached a ‘boiling point’:
“So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.” Acts 5,11-16
He came to destroy the works of the enemy:
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1Joh 3,8
+ It happened to the first generation of the Kingdom-Church. It went from revival to resistance, from people-movement to people-murder, to genocide.
In this booklet we will have a look into a specific situation and season in the life of the nation of Israel, also called the captivity-time in Babylon. We have already seen how close Israel came to national abortion and mandate cancellation which happened in the days of Abraham and again in the days of Moses.
The historical context is given to us in the book of Chronicles and in the book of Kings:
“Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zebudah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him. And the Lord sent against him raiding bands of Chaldeans, bands of Syrians, bands of Moabites, and bands of the people of Ammon; He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken by His servants the prophets. Surely at the commandment of the Lord this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the Lord would not pardon. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? So Jehoiakim rested with his fathers. Then Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place. And the king of Egypt did not come out of his land anymore, for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the Brook of Egypt to the River Euphrates. Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother's name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done. At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, as his servants were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his servants, his princes, and his officers went out to the king of Babylon; and the king of Babylon, in the eighth year of his reign, took him prisoner. And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land. And he carried Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. The king's mother, the king's wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. All the valiant men, seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths, one thousand, all who were strong and fit for war, these the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon. Then the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin's uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah ... Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then the city wall was broken through, and all the men of war fled at night by way of the gate between two walls, which was by the king's garden, even though the Chaldeans were still encamped all around against the city. And the king went by way of the plain. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and they overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his army was scattered from him. So they took the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and they pronounced judgment on him. Then they killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him with bronze fetters, and took him to Babylon. And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord and the king's house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls of Jerusalem all around. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive the rest of the people who remained in the city and the defectors who had deserted to the king of Babylon, with the rest of the multitude. But the captain of the guard left some of the poor of the land as vinedressers and farmers. The bronze pillars that were in the house of the Lord, and the carts and the bronze Sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried their bronze to Babylon. They also took away the pots, the shovels, the trimmers, the spoons, and all the bronze utensils with which the priests ministered. The firepans and the basins, the things of solid gold and solid silver, the captain of the guard took away. The two pillars, one Sea, and the carts, which Solomon had made for the house of the Lord, the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure. The height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the capital on it was of bronze. The height of the capital was three cubits, and the network and pomegranates all around the capital were all of bronze. The second pillar was the same, with a network. And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the second priest, and the three doorkeepers. He also took out of the city an officer who had charge of the men of war, five men of the king's close associates who were found in the city, the chief recruiting officer of the army, who mustered the people of the land, and sixty men of the people of the land who were found in the city. So Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, took these and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. Then the king of Babylon struck them and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive from its own land. Then he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, governor over the people who remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left. Now when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah--Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan the son of Careah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men. And Gedaliah took an oath before them and their men, and said to them, "Do not be afraid of the servants of the Chaldeans. Dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you." But it happened in the seventh month that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck and killed Gedaliah, the Jews, as well as the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. And all the people, small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose and went to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chaldeans. Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He spoke kindly to him, and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life. And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king, a portion for each day, all the days of his life.” 2Kg 23,36-37 24,1-17 and 25,1-30
A similar record of these spiritual declines and lack of people with a life shaped by God, a voice tuned into His voice and a stature developed under God’s purposeful and gracious dealings, leading to nationals disasters can be found in 2Chr 36.
Years later as the nation was in babylonian captivity Jeremiah wrote a letter to the exiles. His words will be the frame of this booklet because of its actuality and relevance. When God’s people leave their wal with Him and there are no sign of repentance and change, and not even a consciousness about the situation -not to speak about understanding- then God is ‘forced’ to act. At least to speak.
An example is to be found in the book of Malachi where God is recorded to say:
“You have wearied the Lord with your words.” Mal 3,17
And the people replied:
"In what way have we wearied Him?" In that you say, "Everyone who does evil Is good in the sight of the Lord, And He delights in them," Or, "Where is the God of justice?" Mal 3,17
That’s the situation. Then God has to act and he does act because He is not passive, He is zealous with His people, for the nations and their peoples, societies and institutions. He is also zealous for the investment He has made in our lives.
Unfortunately in the confused world of Christianity, confusion originating in revelational ignorance, double-mindedness and unholy alliance with secular humanistic ideologies, these words heard and penned down by Jeremiah have been lowered to the usual individualistic level where it is all about I, me and my:
First God is speaking:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jer 29,11
Great words... we loved them... Israel loved them. What we might have paid attention to is that God said: “I know the thoughts that I think...”
However the question which is left with us is: Do we know what He thinks besides the comforting fact that He said that His thoughts were to give us a future and a hope? We do know what we think. But do we seek His presence and intimacy, do we walk in such a way that these thoughts are released and the future and the hope, He mentions is made known to us?
Personally I doubt.
Most christians are interested in future and hope but not really in what will bring it to them... His thoughts. This is of course my personal view. Legitimate though. What we seldom see is that God is speaking primarly to Israel and about Israel. ‘You’ is not me or you, it is Israel in exile in Babylon. But we unconsciously forget or consciously ignore that. The issue here is the thoughts about the future and hope for Israel as a nation. In the same way God knew about the situation of Israel in Egypt and heard the cry rising to His throne, their sufferings, their dislocation, God also knew Israel’s situation in Babylon and ‘heard’ the hopeleness ‘expressed’ in their inability of singing the songs of Zion.
So God thought thoughts of deep peace and extreme generosity, giving them future and hope.
“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord.” Jer 29,12-14
The key-word here is ‘then’ which indicates that the flow of thoughts and wordfs continue and become more detailed. ‘Then’ means simply ‘because of what I just mentioned for you’.
So basically God is saying: I have thought thoughts about you, your present situation and your future... therefore call upon me, talk with me, seek me, and I will be found by you. meaning: We will meet and talk.
But we have ‘used’ these words when we feared exam at university, when we sat in the dentist-chair and faced pain, when there was too much month at the end of money, when we felt sad and depressed. Can we do that? Of course, because God is a good father and an expert in giving key-words to help us at key-moments. But is it the core of the issue? Not at all. Our person is never the core of the issue. His love and plan for human mankind are... and we must be a part of it and make our contribution according to His call, grace and mandate.
The core of the issue is the nation of Israel, God’s firstborn Son, His entrance-point into the family of nations, His partner in the advancement of the Kingdom on Earth and the retreat of the kingdom of darkness.
Summa summarum... to use the words recorded in Jer 29,11-14 on a birthday-card to you uncle or niece is sweet, but it is abuse. What is the problem with that? There are two problems:
- We keep reading the Scriptures in a very limited and poor way which determines the ‘water-level’ in our lives.
- Our present limited and/or distorted understanding blocks the way for more understanding.
Both are extremely damaging for our lives, for our respective missions and assignments and consequently for the people who should have been affected by our lives, also called our next generation. So let’s be teachable and hear what the Spirit says to the Church.
SHINE IN BABYLON
This the first major commandment and challenge God is sending to the exiles in Babylon. As previously mentioned God was fully aware of their life-conditions as well as their mental and emotional conditions:
“By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" How shall we sing the Lord's song In a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth-- If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy. Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, "Raze it, raze it, To its very foundation!" O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed, Happy the one who repays you as you have served us! Happy the one who takes and dashes Your little ones against the rock!” Ps 137,1-9
Well God’s prophetic Word reached in an extremely infected situation. His challenge to them might have been considered as a provocation, almost a declaration of war. But it was not war against Israel as God spoke about peace and not evil, future and hope. But there was any war in God’s prophetic challenge to them, it was war on their self-pity, blindness and hopelessness. God sovereignly overruled it all. He had done it before while they were stuck in Egypt and unable to hear, respond and align with the message of freedom... because of the hard work (Ex 6,9). Here again God will show that His mighty hand can lead them out. Actually he led them in, by using king Nebuchadnezzar. But God was behind it.
Now they are stuck and overwhelmed again. But His first message was not “Let’s get out of here... now!”. His message was: “Shine in Babylon!”
I can hear a huge and loud ‘WHAT?’ rising from their hearts and mouths.
Shine? Never... let’s repay them as they have served us, let’s dash their little ones against the rock! Which let’s destroy the present nation and let’s kill their future.
God said: SHINE!
You might think: When did He say that? Did He say at all?
Not explicitely, but implicitely.
God said in Jer 29,4:
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon.”
And again later:
“And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” Jer 29,7
You were carried... I have caused you to be carried away captive.
Can these two statements go together? Absolutely. That’s the definition of ‘God at work’. The human tool to fulfill God’s plan was a heathen king; nevertheless God was totally and sovereignly in charge. There was absolutely no way the plan could get aborted, deviated or highjacked... not even negotiated. God had His own calendar. Still has.
Nebuchadnezzar carried them by camels and carriers, but God was the Heavenly good Shepherd of Israel. This was judgment but not rejection. Judgment in the Kingdom is an absolute positive and constructive thing. Being judgmental is very different. Judgment builds on guilt brings righteousness, peace and joy. Being judgmental builds on shame and brings humiliation, rejection and worthlessness. Cain was judged but not rejected, the same was the case for king Saul. The same for Israel as a nation.
Joseph was carried to Egypt, but God caused him to be carried and He had ‘an eye’ on him. He was neither harmed, killed nor deviated.
So God brought them there for a very specific reason which lays outside the purpose of this document.
Then God said:
From Jerusalem to Babylon
It seems to just be a useless geographical detailed for the human understanding. Maybe just useless. But nothing God made sure reached the pages of the bible is useless. There is always a context which can give the seemingly useless detail a deep and instructing -yes, even an eye-opening- meaning. Therefore the bible is a coded revelation and God invites us to step into partnership with Him: A relationship to the Father giving identity and position, a relationship with the Son forming sonship, a fullness of the Spirit making every heavenly thing accessible in due time. In this partnership God will instruct us and deciffer revelation.
This was God’s challenge to king Saul, but Saul never stepped into this ‘place’ of picking up revelation in his spirit and heart. He had moments of revelational knowledge but there was never a journey, and therefore never a longterm mandate. Samuel had and David definitely had.
From Jerusalem to Babylon...
For the human understanding it is just a geographical information.
For the Kingdom-believer, for the one who has en eye to see and an ear to hear, and a well-tuned spirit, it means much much more. It means that everything which had been given to them, formed in them, established inside of them, spoken to them, transferred to them since the days of the forefathers Abraham and Sarah, all what had been developed by the Kingdom-statesmen -Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Ester and Ruth, Samuel and David, all that they had to carry with them to Babylon.
They were carried.
God caused them to be carried.
They had to carry something with them from Jerusalem ...
... and let it shine in Babylon.
It means that they might arrive in Babylon empty-handed but surely not empty-hearted.
Everything which had been established in their lives and community through the centuries, sometimes through enriching provision and other times through intensive pain. We do remember the dramatic but powerful picture of Jacob worshipping God bowing on his stick because he fought with God and his hip had been harmed. But his name was changed from Jacob into Israel... and Israel became the name of a whole nation. Still is, and still will be.
When Daniel and his three friends landed in the Babylonian arrival terminal which might have looked like the train station in Auschwits or Treblinka, the chief of the eunuchs, the top royal headhunter Professor Ashpenaz selected them
“Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans ... Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.” Dan 1,3-4,9
What Daniel and his friends carry with them was seeable, it was tangible. There was a radiation, an influence. the bible even tells us that God let a personality-fragrance be sensed by Ashpenza. Something which they carried created an almost immediate good-will. It was in them, on them and all over them and came all the
way from Jerusalem to Babylon. Now it was shining in Babylon. Did they do anything? No. What was there was felt and sensed. It was obvious even if they didn’t realize its value and influence. Ashpenaz did.
To shine is simple. Nobody teaches the sun to shine.
To bear fruit is simple. Nobody teaches the tree to bear fruit.
All which is mentioned about these four youths was not the product of their educational programme in Babylon. It was already there and effectful at arrival. What happened after that was something else, and we will come back to that a little later in this document.
How do we know? Because the text says so:
“... some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles, young men...”
The king knew what to look for, teachability and lineage:- Descendants... because they were already well-formed: children of Israel, descendants of kings and nobles. The foundation was of high quality.
- Youth... because they were not yet totally formed: they were still young. He would add some babylonian education to the good already existing foundation.
Christians and churches look for skills and talents... and money. King Nebuchadnezzar had money and he gave money. Such a different world! Nevertheless God expocted them to let shoine what He had shaped inside of them. And they did.
King Solomon knew about it:
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold. The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all. A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished. By humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches and honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards his soul will be far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender. He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail. He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor. Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease. He who loves purity of heart And has grace on his lips, The king will be his friend.” Prov 22,1-11
All these issues mentioned by king Solomon are internal signs that the person has been formed, shaped and sharpened over time, not overnight. ‘Deep form’ and not ‘fast food’. It is the difference between coal and a diamond. It is the difference between habitation and visitation.
- A good name
- Loving favour
- The rich and the poor
- A prudent man
- Humility and the fear of the Lord
- Thorns and snares
- Train up the child
- The lender and borrower
- Sowing and reaping
- Work with the rest of the passage
How do we shine in Babylon?
Establish an intensive and purposeful walk with God, nurtured as well as developed and monitored by the fathers in the House, which will form markers in your life.
The rest is available in the booklet "EDUCATE THE COMING KINGDOM-ARCHITECTS". Mail me to purchase a copy...
A couple of years ago, I was challenged to read the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) and the first five books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the book of the Acts of the Apostles).
On this scriptural journey, I rediscovered that the Bible is an extraordinary and extremely unusual book in the sense that:
- God is its author, even though He obviously used imperfect, but dedicated, humans to pen it down.
- Much is told through stories about human lives and how God can raise them and partner with them to execute His will and fulfill His agenda for the best of all humanity.
- There is no way we can go beyond the narratives and discover more than obvious principles without God's help, as the real content is reserved for those who seek Him wholeheartedly and walk with Him in peace and love, and with courage and determination.
- The people mentioned in the Bible were real humans and they are exposed with their strengths and weaknesses – they were not demigods (half human and half divine) like in mysticism and religious myths.
"Genesis" means beginnings. It is very meaningful to understand that the word “beginnings” is not only to be acknowledged as the chronological beginning in a sequence of events. It rather means the most significant issue, or “the one part that stands for the whole”, as someone has put it, or the most basic principle.
So the book of Genesis contains eternal patterns. Together with the following four books of Moses, it is an incomparable foundation for Kingdom understanding. I would say that the four apostles' books – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – together with the book of Acts are a similar foundation.
As I repeatedly read and studied these ten books, certain highly significant issues began to shockingly dawn on me, and it reminded me of the words of Moses:
"Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass. For I proclaim the name of the Lord: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He."
God is truly great, He is surely the Rock, He is perfection and justice, truth and righteousness...and the amazing thing is that teaching drops as rain, words distill as dew. Extremely decisive and influential but clean, light and fresh. This is exactly the way it happened: truth rained on me, slowly and quietly, but clean and clear.
For the very first time I looked into previously hidden patterns of God's operations and began to comprehend.
Remember that God never hides things from us, but He hides things for us.
After the phenomenal narrative of the Creation, the focus is on Man, his life, his mandate, his decisions, his actions and reactions as well as his mistakes and tragedies. The focus is also on his family, the first families on Earth, their strengths and their deficiencies. From one family comes a nation, the first nation “under God”. It is called: God at work.
In the “Pentateuch” of the New Testament we recognize similar patterns. The focus is on the Son of Man and His work with a little group of men. We read about His life and their lives, His mandate, His and their decisions; their actions and reactions as well as their successes and failures. The focus is also on His family, the Church which had never before existed. So many parallels.
1. The Father's ultimate dream – not easy
God created Man and reached out to him immediately. He blessed him, spoke to him and installed him in a global administrative and governmental assignment – also called work.
But things went wrong, tragically wrong. In the next generation murder took place as Cain killed his only brother Abel. The first fratricide was a reality. It was dark and evil, and it would not be the last one. Two people became four, and then four became three.
It didn't stop there. It spread rapidly to all mankind.
God sought a representative partner to care for, administrate and rule the globe. At least a region for a beginning. But it took time.
At creation God worked:
And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.
Later God found Noah, in many ways an unusual and righteous man among his contemporaries. The testimony of the Scriptures is clear. Noah was a man of faith:
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Noah found grace; he was just and he was blameless, and walked with God who blessed him:
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God ... And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him ... So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth."
Gen. 6:8-9, 7:5, 9:1
But something seems not totally in order.
Order had come into creation, but disorder crept in into humanity. It was extreme and it showed a strong capacity to spread – and it did. But as time went God was still looking for the right man in the successive generations. He didn't take a step back as in the days of Creation, and "saw that it was good". He saw that evil was present and that it was spreading.
God looked at Noah, whom He had blessed, and He was pleased with what He saw in him. God's grace made him unusual, but the words "in his generations" leave an awkward impression. Somehow Noah displayed a tragic greatness. Surely Noah didn't do evil. The Bible is clear.
But there is question which remains: If he didn’t do evil, what did he do then?
In a similar situation, Abraham was different. He broke the paralyzing passivity; he acted and pleaded for the rescue of human lives in the region of Sodom and Gomorrah:
The Lord said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know." Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
The cry was great, and it made Abraham raise to greatness. Let's then look at Noah:
And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
But Noah remained silent.
In Noah's situation, Abraham might have stopped at the gate of the ark and brought the issue to God and negotiated with Him on behalf of a perishing mankind.
In a similar situation, Moses asked God to wipe him away in order for the nation to live:
Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin." Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, "Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin--but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written."
Noah remained silent.
In Noah's situation, Moses might have refused to enter the ark just with his own family. Do animals have more worth than humans?
God is obviously not looking for a man whom He can bless, a man to whom He can give grace so he stands blameless and righteous in his own generation. God is looking for a Kingdom representative, a ruler, a partner and a leader, a global shepherd who is willing to stand for his own generation.
He is looking for a Son representing and partnering with the Father for the global good.
Righteousness is not leadership.
God is looking for a leader.
Maybe we have overlooked a specific element in the famous statement of Jesus, when He said:
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Could it be that we have unconsciously changed “His righteousness” into “my righteousness”? Or consciously, because we didn't want to understand what Jesus really said and meant. However, the question is relevant and worth a sincere and open-minded consideration. And to migrate from “my” to “His” is extremely stretching for our ego, for self. The same is the case for moving from “in his generations” to “for his generations”. God's righteousness is so much more than my righteousness, even though it is a fact that in His righteousness we have been made righteous. But “His” goes beyond that. It goes far beyond me and my need for redemption and perfection.
Noah was surely made righteous and graced by God, which made him stand higher in his days. But how tall was he in the “days of God”, the “days of the Kingdom”? The “days of his generations”? Or the “days of heaven on earth”, as God told Moses. Noah was not there. He did differ from his generation, but he didn’t do anything to make his generation differ from previous generations. Obviously, he was not a generation changer or a generational leader.
Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
This is what Jesus said about the days of Noah. Normal “days” with eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage...normal human days. Inside the frame of this normality, abnormality emerged and spread rapidly. The presence of Noah had no effect and brought no change. The situation was not properly addressed and arrested. He put his hands into the building of the ark, but he didn't put his heart into the destiny of mankind outside the ark. Yes, he obeyed, but there is obedience that meets the minimum requirement, and obedience that takes initiative to go beyond the basics.
Jesus spoke about obedience in one of His very first training sessions because He wanted to raise the children and seed of Abraham and not the children and seed of Noah:
"Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
The scribes and Pharisees did obey, and their obedience was the root of their righteousness. But Jesus told them that the Father was pursuing another level of righteous life and obedience. It was another “place”, so to say, the place where the Son lived, as we will see later in this document.
Therefore Jesus repeatedly said that He wanted His next generation to be “where” He was. Live like He lived, and obey like He obeyed, like Abraham obeyed. We think that the “place” He spoke about is Heaven. Yes, it is, but it is Heaven on Earth, not Heaven in Heaven. At least not yet.
Shall we say that Noah could be called least in the kingdom of Heaven? Or one of the least? You might ask: Did he break any commandment? The answer is simple: He obeyed the explicit one about building the ark, but he broke the implicit commandment which was the least one, the one regarding God’s creation and His love for mankind. And God watched Noah. His disobedience of the least commandment, which actually was the greatest, disqualified him from leadership and influence in the Kingdom and consequently in the nation. He didn’t look after his next generations. Getting his children married was not the equivalent of transfer of legacy. Abraham made serious mistakes, disobeyed some basic principles, but didn't break the least commandment. Remember that there was no Law of Moses in his days. There was God's law, Kingdom laws. Therefore Abraham qualified for leadership, for influence and for legacy. He stood before God, he acted and spoke, and he taught his children and children’s children. Noah didn't.
Peter wrote about the days of Noah:
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit ... when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water."
1 Pet. 3:18, 20
Righteousness is not leadership, responsibility is.
Adam failed on this account; he failed regarding personal responsibility. Cain failed too, and he failed regarding moral responsibility. Noah was not much better. He failed on global responsibility.
There is obviously not much progress, but God is patient in His pursuit. By the way, what does the “divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah” mean? What was God waiting for? Could it be that God was watching Noah and expected him to rise to another level and move from being the father of one rescued family to being the father of a living nation? I do wonder.
Maybe this is the reason why Noah is considered by the Jewish sages to be a foolish shepherd and Moses to be a faithful shepherd. The name Noah, they say, means "comfortable" in Hebrew. During the 120 years of building the ark no change or influence was detected in his social environment. Nothing seemed to be affected by the blessing and the grace God poured out over him. However, he and his family found a lot of “comfort” in God's blessing, grace and favor.
The words of Jesus about righteousness present another important element, which is speaking aloud. He called the person who did and taught/spoke the commandments “great in the Kingdom”.
Leadership is: speaking.
Noah remained silent.
Abraham came near to God and spoke.
As we will see later, Moses had to learn to speak and he spoke.
But did God expect Noah to speak to a generation whose heart was under heavy evil influence, a generation who might not even be able to listen and hear anything any longer? This generation might have been like Cain, who didn't listen to the warning against sin which was crouching at the door of his life.
Listen to what God said to Ezekiel concerning this matter:
And He said to me: "Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me ... I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God.' As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse - for they are a rebellious house - yet they will know that a prophet has been among them ... You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious."
The beginning of the life of Moses is absolutely fascinating when it comes to this:
But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children." Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?" And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." So the maiden went and called the child's mother. Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, "Because I drew him out of the water."
Isn't it amazing to see Moses lying in another ark on other waters, the waters of the Nile? His mandate and his life will be connected to rescuing a whole nation from the "waters of slavery". By rescuing the nation of Israel God fulfilled his word to Noah, a word quoted by Isaiah, the prophet:
"For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," says the Lord, your Redeemer. "For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," says
the Lord, who has mercy on you.
God spoke not only about the days of Noah, or his generations, but about the "waters of Noah", the waters which destroyed all mankind except for a family of eight individuals.
Isn't it amazing that during the 120 years of Moses' life (Deut. 34:7) a whole nation was saved from downfall, while Noah used the same amount of years to build the ark for himself and his family? It seems like Moses took over a mission which had been left by Noah.
Now let's move further...
What happened to him and his family after the flood? First, they walked out of the ark. Then what did he do?
Somebody described the situation: "The man of God has become a man of the soil. The upright man has become a drunkard. The man clothed in virtue now lies naked and unashamed. The man who saved his family from the flood is now so undignified that two of his sons are ashamed to look at him."
When the heart of man was corrupted and evil spread through the nations, God regretted He made Man. Then God was pleased with Noah and saved him. It might be right to assume that God was extremely sad. Most of all because the whole mankind had perished. Secondly because He watched the alarming decline of this man's life and home (His righteous, just, blameless, blessed and gracious man). God saw how the whole situation accelerated and aggravated, realizing that this family was actually the new humanity.
Noah was righteous before the flood and after the flood. He was blessed and had favor before God. But could it be that his lack of responsible leadership and consequently his silence under the utterly dramatic sequence of events had become a seed in his heart and mind, a seed which germinated and ultimately initiated his free fall after he left the ark? He planted a vineyard and got drunk on his own wine. Would it be appropriate to think that Noah struggled with thoughts about the recent global destruction and its enormity? Did he think about what he could have done? Was he shocked by the fact that obedience and passivity, obedience and silence, obedience and irresponsibility could go perfectly hand-in-hand; that blessing, grace and immaturity could coexist so easily and peacefully?
What about his family, then?
The three sons Shem, Ham and Yafet grew up in the pre-flood society characterized by a culture of evil, violence, demonized spirituality and sexual immorality. They were a part of the generation in which Noah is mentioned as the only just man. They saw their father's outstanding spiritual position of blessing and grace. Later they were rescued because of him. They lived close to him and surely watched his undiverted focus, his determined obedience and consistent work for God. But they might also have noticed his passivity and “heard” his silence. Ham's offence against his father had its root in that polluted environment. He was enraged by his father's nakedness, which might be the loud expression of his spiritual absence, moral passivity, verbal silence and visible resignation. Kings, emperors and nobles are clothed. As a person, God had clothed him in grace and righteousness, but as a national statesman Noah was still naked.
And Noah is said to have lived 300 years after the flood, until the day when...
Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.
Noah was alive. His children and generations were alive as well. But still absent, passive and silent. This is the tragedy of Noah and his family. So much leadership potential, such an outstanding position before God, so much insight as he walked with God, so much courage, zeal and consistency when he built the ark. But no influence, no report of his or his descendants' contribution.
Jewish scholars mention that Noah lived ten years after the dispersion, and that Abraham was forty-eight years old then. It doesn't seem that either Noah or his children raised their voices regarding the tower project. Noah built an ark to rescue himself and his family. Now the people were building their own “ark” (in the form of a tower) to rescue themselves from whatever might happen in the future, whether of the devil or of God.
Therefore God had to come down. When His man was absent, God had to be present. When His man was silent, God had to speak. When His man and family could not become His building on Earth, the people had to be scattered and their project (building and city) had to be stopped.
But Abraham was on the way. He would stand, and he would speak and he would take responsibility...and he saw afar the city whose architect and builder was God Himself.
The rest is available in the booklet "THE KINGDOM BRAND | THE DYNAMICS & WORKFORCE". Mail me to purchase a copy...
THE KINGDOM OF GOD, ITS PEOPLE, ITS PLANS, ITS DYNAMICS, ITS RESOURCES AND ITS CHURCH ARE UNSTOPPABLE.
My statement is: The Kingdom of God, its people, its plans, its dynamics, its resources and its Church are unstoppable because they are rooted in, nurtured and protected by the power of genuine Kingdom beginnings.
Being unstoppable is linked to beginnings.
Paul wrote to the Philippians, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). He is unstoppable, and so will His work in us also be. And so will we be.
It is absolutely mind-blowing that in the rst years following the liberation of the concentration camps, most of the greatest rabbis did not even mention anything about what had happened. Their focus was the future: weddings, children and children’s children, education and instruction. Not museums, but schools.
My statement is: The people of the Kingdom are unstoppable because as Kingdom beginnings take place, their power is inside them and among them.
Unstoppability develops as we discover, understand and align with Kingdom beginnings. The chapters 2 to 4 of the book of Matthew give us a detailed record of the beginning of the earthly life of Jesus, the Son of God. Even He lived in total dependency and with natural limitations, faced hidden barriers, but nevertheless undertook an aggressive undercover work with high-level political and religious persons; and God looked after Him, protected and led Him in phenomenal ways. Nothing stopped Him and the Father’s agenda and purposes.
To be unstoppable is established inside us when we are introduced and instructed regarding our assignment – it is God’s mandate from the beginning. This assignment is what was given to Adam and Eve:
Unstoppability builds on the following:
1) The centrality of the Son The power of Kingdom beginnings is what God has initiated through His own mandate according to His purposes.
He does it in His own way and time. We must therefore understand and stick to what has existed from the beginning: God’s model. The ultimate goal is God’s Man as His representative and agent of change in His immediate environment (life and work) and in the life of the community and even the nation. Just forget “ministry” for a while.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:15-18:
He said to them: “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus answered him,
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For esh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Jesus was fully aware that a major new Kingdom beginning had taken place. He received revelation from His Father, but now a man stepped into that dimension. A new era had dawned. The coming Church
will be made of people like Peter, and hell will rightly fear and be overcome by people like them (the Church).
Jesus said in Luke 10:21, 23-24:
In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth...” Then turning to the disciples He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
Jesus was fully aware of a new Kingdom beginning. And He played a central role, to say the least. Just have a look at His “beginning” on planet Earth as it is recorded by Matthew. Then watch how His life, and even the end of His life, gravitated around Him. Even earth and hell were deeply shaken and a ected.
This passage from Hebrews 1:1-4 settles the matter:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when
He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
We must prepare ourselves for the right attitude, reply and alignment as He moves forward and creates advancement for the Kingdom. When God opened the eyes of Stephen, he saw Christ standing, not sitting. It speaks about responsibility and determination. We might have become romantic through years of reading Psalm 23 about
“The Lord is my shepherd”. Maybe we read into something in the text, maybe we dreamt about a helper and carrier. He is those things, but He will take us to a place where we can carry the Kingdom without messing it up with our limited human thinking, hijacking it for sel sh plans, or even collapsing under its weight, requirements and agendas. He is truly the King of kings. Do what is necessary.
2) An intentional and ongoing focus on God’s leadership and instruction Paul encouraged the church in Colossae with these words:
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
The “seeking” and the “setting of minds” involve neither passive contemplation or silent amazement. They are for the purpose of instruction and corresponding alignment when we lay hold of it. This leadership and this instruction are to be protected from all that is inspired by self-centeredness and ambitious agendas. In this light, the centrality of the Son does make sense. And we begin to understand the reason for the strong words of Jesus: “Get behind me Satan!” Peter had come to realize the central position and role of Jesus, but then
a few moments later the divine revelation was on the verge of being diverted by human rationalism. There was de nitely a need for the strong leadership of the Son and for His continuous and ongoing instruction to protect the emerging revelation and enable it to take root and form the person.
For this very reason Jesus instructed the disciples to not rejoice
in what had happened, that the spirits were subjected to them or because of His words reporting that He “saw Satan fall like a lightning from heaven”, but to rejoice that their names were written in heaven, the place wherefrom they could expect further instructions for further Kingdom advancements.
Psalm 23 is a passage mostly used when we go through demanding times and it seems that our resources are very limited. Aside from these instances, it is used at funerals. This psalm and the song
“Amazing Grace” are quite similar in that sense.
But does Psalm 23 only contain this type of message? Is it all about being carried by the Good Shepherd, about resting by the cool waters and being safely protected in the midst of our enemies? I don’t believe so. This interpretation has been mostly formed (distorted) by religious illustrations. It gives us the wrong picture of a sheep which is the
focus of all heaven and earth, and of multiple enemies. This is not the case. The focus is not on the sheep, or its di cult journey described throughout the verses. The focus is on what is mentioned in the
very last verse: the House of God. And let me mention my personal discovery, which might challenge most of you. What about linking the last verse of Psalm 23 with the rst verses of Psalm 24? More about this a little later.
The rst point to remember is that Jesus is the Way. Love Him, walk with Him, trust Him, worship Him, and be changed in His likeness. This will lead to the second point, which is a question: What is the road, what are the elements of the journey? And that’s the issue where Psalm 23 helps us tremendously.
So let’s study this psalm nr 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your sta , they comfort me, you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
“The Lord is my shepherd;”
Our rst point was about the centrality of the Son of God and we nd it here already in verse 1: “The Lord is my shepherd”. It speaks loud and clear and removes all confusion about roles – His role and ours.
Now let’s look into this “shepherd” title and have some deliverance – deliverance from religious distortion. What is the role of the Son? What did David see as he wrote these words? He saw a leader and instructor as well as a protector. The nature of His leadership is pastoral. The word “pastor” in Greek means simply a shepherd. Jesus is the leader, instructor and protector of the believer who is walking on the Kingdom road and taking the Kingdom journey to develop
a life connected to Heaven like the Son had, and have in uence on professional and social environments as well as human situations like the Son had. What does “pastoral” mean? It means that He looks after me and my needs while I walk, while I am trained, tested, challenged, stretched and formed. This is the true context of His shepherd role.
“I shall not want.”
This simply means that every resource I need during this training process and spiritual education will be provided by Him. It’s not about my personal needs, even though He is great and generous enough to take care of those – even when we live our own life, by our own values, pursuing our own goals our own way, and making our own decisions. But here we don’t talk just about Christians; we talk about Kingdom believers.
Why admit us into the school of the Spirit, the school of Kingdom representatives, without providing the materials and the means?
We need righteousness to not fall back into slavery and shame. We need peace – He is our peace. We need joy, because His joy will be our strength when the journey drains us. We must reduce sel shness to passive silence, as we let go of human skills, talents, tools and connections to receive new ones, better ones. Why should the coach of a team of marathon runners keep his theoretical knowledge and practical experience for himself? He will lead us and instruct us.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.”
The road is demanding; the process is challenging. Our emotions can swing, our thoughts can spin out of control. Our will can consider resigning. So our pastoral leader is looking after us and leads our emotions, will and minds in the right direction. He will not allow us to be deviated from our position of righteousness. We might struggle, but not as slaves; we do so as sons and daughters in the process of becoming heirs and kings. We might feel feeble, but it is temporary as we get stronger. Whether we fail or succeed, we are sons and daughters of the King, and we will represent Him in our professional and social spheres. We will minister with His resources in human situations and circumstances.
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your sta , they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;”
Remember, we aren’t speaking about the usual Christian life with its ups and downs, hills and valleys, sunny moments and shadowy ones. We are talking about the training journey of the believer to change into the likeness of the Son, and carry the mandate to its completion. What, then, is the valley of the shadow of death? It represents simply when we feel like dying. And we will do so. Flesh will be challenged, sel sh agendas strongly addressed, egoism and narcissism exposed, and they must die. No death of self, no resurrection of Spirit-life. And David wrote that we should not have fear in that situation. We will not go under, but we will rise from the ashes of the re which has burnt the self. No evil will take advantage of the situation, of a vulnerable moment as the old man decreases and loses its strength, and the new
man increases but has not reached much strength yet. We will be fully protected. As the Father operates as our surgeon, the room is totally sterilized and virus-free. And when we feel the vulnerability and the nakedness, He will comfort us because we are on the right road.
Let’s go back to the illustration of the coach of the marathon team. Why should he not provide for a medical team of doctor and nurses, physiotherapists and a mental coach to assist the team in its e orts?
“You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
Not only is there leadership and instruction taking place, not only
will the needed resources be made available, not only will there
be a peaceful atmosphere and a righteous position surpassing all understanding and challenges, not only will there be a protection so the enemy is unable to take advantage of the situation and God will continue to fellowship with us, feed us and strategize with us...but something beyond all that will take place. Something supernatural will ow into our lives which is neither connected to the past or to the present training situation, but to the future and our role, our mandate and assignment, both individual and corporate. David spoke about oil on his head, a cup running over, goodness and mercy following him all the days of his life. It means in all roles, assignments, challenges, situations and circumstances. It means all relationships, including family, personnel and sta , ministers and heads of departments. It also means all international partnerships. It may even mean in times of distress and war, con icts and catastrophes.
Then we have reached the last verse:
“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
This last verse is not the end. It is the platform for a new development in him and in the nation. It is the strategic base for operating in
his multiple assignments, roles and challenges. That is the table of orientation from which he can look into the national and international landscape with prophetic perspective and God-given understanding and instructions. There is a price to get to that place, and the price is to change into the likeness of the Son. He paid the price for the place, we pay the price to get there.
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again
and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are
rst will be last, and the last rst.” Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid.
Why were they amazed and afraid? He was their good shepherd. And He led them, instructed them, provided the resources they needed on their journey – He exempli ed Psalm 23 with them. The way He operated with King David, He operated with them. And in the same way, He wants to operate with us.
But as previously mentioned, I don’t believe David’s text ends at verse 6. It continues in Psalm 24:
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?
What preoccupied King David’s mind was not being a miserable
sheep caught in an extremely di cult journey. His mind was on God’s purposes for mankind, for planet Earth, and therefore for His House on Earth, a mountain in the Spirit. Why? Because it is in the House that the training, the shaping and sharpening for Kingdom assignments in the society are supposed to take place. His focus was to get to that place, which is what Psalm 23 is all about. Then he was positioned to look “out” into his mandate: the nations of the earth. This location in the Spirit is what David called the “house of the Lord” and that’s the place where he would live forever, a place where everything with heavenly presence, personal life and Kingdom mandate come together. It is
also what he called the “hill of the Lord” and God’s “holy place”. God is in the Outer Court for a certain purpose; He is also to be found in the Holy Place for another purpose and He is in the Holiest Place with His fullness for His plan.
To in uence the earth, to function in its fullness, to touch the world
in a meaningful and lasting way and to operate upon the seas of the nations – which are people – you must be located on His hill and in His holy place.
How do we get to this point? Read Psalm 23 and you will nd everything needed to reach it.
In the Outer Court we experience God’s unconditional love. In the
Holy Place we experience His enabling grace. And in the Holiest
Place we experience empowerment. From there we experience God’s favor. So love, grace, empowerment and favor are all di erent. Love doesn’t increase or decrease. The rest do because they depend on stewardship.
Daniel turned away from certain things (food and drink); John the Baptist turned away from certain things as well. It is not religious
or legalistic activity, but turning down desirable things in order to receive favor. As they left aside things they desired for themselves, they became desirable in the eyes of God. Being desirable came from acting rightly. They turned away from the desirable in their own eyes. The least in the Kingdom is greater than John the Baptist who is the greatest. Not for pride, but for accountability. Put aside the desirable to increase in favor. All these processes happen in the Holy Place and they qualify us for experiencing favor in our mandate and its practical secular expression in the form of professional assignments.
This must be a principal issue in our lives and in the Church, an intentional and ongoing focus on God’s leadership and instruction through true fathers.
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The Bible is an amazing book and its texts can operate in many different ways on human hearts when the Holy Spirit is orchestrating the process. Some parts contain records of human lives, other parts detail political developments. It entails the everyday life of families, sometimes letters to churches, other times letters to persons. Sometimes it is very doctrinal and quite ‘advanced’, and other times very personal and practical. The stories are about people, their relationship with God and their journey in the Kingdom (or lack of those aspects).
But it is much more than stories. In biblical narratives people are far from being angelic beings; they are not demigods. And God is not semi-human as in religious myths. Here we meet reality.
In this passage of a letter from Apostle Paul to his mentee and spiritual son, Timothy, he is very human:
“I fought the good ght, I nished the race, I kept the faith.” 2 Tim. 4:7
Paul had reached the end of his life and made a personal statement. Very short and substantial. These words are placed at the end of a letter full of many deep thoughts and guidelines, but we must pay attention to them even though they are few and simple.
Timothy surely did pay attention.
Paul’s letters carry a lot of revelation and insight, but occasionally
he freely wrote about himself. He was not teaching, disserting or proclaiming...he was talking. Why is it important? Why did such simple words and considerations nd their way into these weighty documents? The reason is simple: Everything which is heavenly must nd an earthly expression. It does not need to be through spectacular events challenging natural laws like earthquakes, storms, thunder and lightning. It surely can happen that way, but the highest expression
of Heaven must be in Man and through Man, as Man is God’s highest creation; de nitely higher than manifestations in the nature. What God intends to create, shape and develop in Man goes far beyond and is more breathtaking than thunder and earthquakes.
Earthly systems (political, social and educational) are created, administrated and developed by Man. Through Man, Heaven can come to Earth and begin to regulate and reform the systems which govern communities and nations. Through Man, Hell can in ltrate Earth and spread darkness and destruction.
For this reason, the enemy of God and His plan is also the enemy of Man, because Man is intended to become God’s partner. The enemy was looking for Jesus, not primarily as the Son of God, but as the Son of Man...and he did so immediately after His incarnation, His earthly birth.
Therefore, the writings of Paul about himself are essential, as we are allowed to look into his life and observe how he represented the Kingdom of Heaven in a way that in uences the kingdoms of the earth, and how he established a legacy that perpetuated to the next generations.
So Paul wrote:
I have fought the good ght. I have nished the race.
I have kept the faith.
Surprisingly, his own person is at the core of these words. Paul is speaking about himself. Why not about Jesus? Why not about God’s grace? Both are surely there, but only implicitly. The point is that the value of being God’s partner on Earth must be understood, your own value at your workplace, in your neighborhood, at the university, the hospital, in your music band, rugby team or political party, or even in the supermarket.
These words are not weak words. He is not saying: I survived all the wars.
I just made it over the nish line.
I still believe in God.
Not at all. His heart is set; his hand is not shaking.
And now the crown of righteousness is waiting for him. There is not a shadow of doubt.
So, let’s have a look at these three statements, and may God refresh our spirits and enlighten our minds so we can hear His voice and understand the nature and content of His call and its goal.
First of all, we must understand that the main issue in this statement from the hand of Paul is neither the ght nor the faith, but the race. Therefore, Paul continued and wrote about the crown and the trophy, not the ring where the ght took place, and not about his heroic acts of faith. It is about a mission, an assignment. It all gravitates around the race.
Some Christians are very ght-focused and others are faith-focused, but most of them are not race-oriented.
We must be.
As you read this volume, keep this in mind: the race is the central issue.
Now let’s get started, and we start with the fight.
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I am both amazed and concerned about what christians are posting in social medias. I am also both amazed and concerned about the content of the messages delivered in churches. Maybe I am exaggerating, but it seems that...
... what is said is absolutely obvious... it is common sense, psychology 101. I have even found out that both Buddha, Confucius and some hindu gurus express the same thoughts.
... this fact speaks loud about what some people need to hear, and what some want to hear. Both personal conclusions are extremely sad.
Some say that God is coming down on our level. Yes and no. Yes He did when He sent His Son into our world, became 100% Man while He still was 100% God. He lived under the exact same conditions as we and He ful lled His assignment. So he came down on our level once and it was the last time He did. When He did that He raise us up on His level. No more coming down on our. In Christ He came down, but Christ opened the way to rise. From that very moment we meet Him on His level. We ful ll His requirements. We align to His plans and will. We invest in His agenda. Speaking about our level is the sign that we might have received salvation but not understood it.
God is not a man, He is outstanding.
The Church is not an organisation, or an association or a cultural house... the church is unusual, divine, extraordinary, supernatural; the Church is outstanding.
God’s plans are not professional carreers blessed by God... they are supernatural, outstanding.
In this document we will have a look at this “OUTSTANDING” issue:
God is OUTSTANDING.
Therefore what He has prepared for His sons and daughters have the same nature. And consequently...
... relationships are OUTSTANDING. ... the journey is OUTSTANDING.
OUTSTANDING GOD Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s eld, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.”
Paul wanted to bring their attention to the fact, that God is outstanding in everything He says and does. The problem is that it is difficult if not hopeless for Him to partner with people who are childish and carnal. How can they be His fellow workers? His field, His building? Even His representatives?
What about praying in the name of Jesus?
Relating is not an issue. God could dwell among the israelites, look after them, defend them, heal and rescue and forgive them as well as lead them through the wilderness even though they lived under a limited covenant, their hearts were hard and unchanged, their necks were sti which means there was a reluctance and even a resistance to look in the same direction as God. They had their own focus and targets. Oh yes they wanted God, but in their own way.. They wanted His blessings but used them for their own purposes... meaning abuse them. The blessings of God are meant to lead us to the God of the blessings, know Him, honor Him and choose to be led by Him.
In the same letter he wrote:
“Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
Certain issues must become very clear for us in order to see these dynamics become a workable reality: to be the eld He has cultivated and developed, to be the building He has built and which He will ll
with His glory and power, to be His fellow workers so they can be involved in changing communities and societies: neighborhoods, workplaces, companies and educational institutions.
Let me give a statement at this point:
Man receives and responds Man administrates
God gives growth
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The Kingdom Mandate is about nations.
An attentive reading of the whole Bible will let this dawn on us:
The Earth belongs to its Creator... everything in it, the world (nations, societies and its institutions), and all who live in it.
Man is God's creation and was initially placed in the Eden-region to guard it, to grow it and govern it... this is a prophetic model and pattern.
Man fell and was put out of the region and his initial mandate and function.
Immediately the Father planned for man's full redemption, because the heart was eternally damaged.
Man was meant to be God's representative and influential agent on Earth.
There is no mention about Church... yet. He destroyed the physical temple to build it inside man's heart. Therefore: first things must be first again. When we have a clear understanding of the accurate global frame again, the nature and role of the Church will become clear for us as well. This is the chronology in the Son's words recorded in the 16th chapter of Matthew verses 17 to 19. And it is the chronology today. Unchangeable and non-negotiable.
When God speaks, three major issues are addressed:
1 He speaks about His Earth, its nations and how He will bring them back under the Kingdom,
2 He speaks about His Son and His work to save Man and transform him into His likeness,
3 He speaks about His partnership with Man, and consequently the partnership between His Men, so His will can be done on and with Earth, as it is in Heaven.
Remember: God does not explain Himself, He reveals Himself.
The Kingdom Mandate is built on three elements: God - The Christ Man - The nations.
"His Man" will become important. The bible from God's friend to the electrified words of the His Son -"I will build my church..."- is all about His strategic men and women, their connection and partnership with Him... in spite of hearts of stone, and stiff minds. The 11th chapter of the letter to the Hebrews is much more than a catalogue about the so-called heroes of faith. It is about God's nobles.
I believe that the first five books of the Old Testament together with the five first books of the new Testament are inter-related. In the next few years we will understand what we have neither seen nor understood before. Both record the rise of God's nobles.
God is selecting, calling, forming and training, testing and will ultimately gather the nobles, not the rulers. Why not rulers? Because rulers are children inside! Therefore Jesus warned his men against their mentality.
King Solomon wrote: "Woe to the land whose king was a servant and whose princes feast in the morning. Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time for strength and not for drunkenness."
The nobles God is selecting, raising, forming, training and testing do not have power in themselves. But their king will look for them, and he will position them accordingly to their nobility and stature and empower them for the purpose of initiating and monitoring changes in their jurisdiction for the benefit of all.
This is the place where the Kingdom-church comes into the picture. You may call her the Zion-church.