by haRold Smith
from Jerusalem, Israel
I awoke from slumber this past week to see the Lord. Whether it was a dream or a vision, I do not know. His Hand was outstretched and contained a fire. He said, "Redemption draws near." (Luke 12:49).
"Thus says the Lord: 'Behold, I am against you and will draw forth My sword out of its sheath and will cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked. Because I will cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall My sword go out of its sheath against all flesh from the south to the north, And all living shall know, understand, and realize that I the Lord have drawn My sword out of its sheath; it shall not be sheathed any more.
"'Sigh therefore, son of man! With breaking heart and with bitterness shall you sigh before their eyes. And it shall be that when they say to you, "Why do you sigh?" that you shall answer, "Because of the tidings. When it comes, every heart will melt and all hands will be feeble, and every spirit will faint and all knees will be weak as water." Behold, it comes and it shall be fulfilled, says the Lord God.'" Ezekiel 21:3-7
"Then He spoke to them a parable: Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly; for it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." Luke 21:29-36
There have been many rumblings from across the spectrum of His Body recently with many predictions of what is to come, how it is to happen and what it will look like. Scripture tells us to 'despise not prophesying' (1Thessalonians 5:20) but to 'judge all things' (1Corinthians 2:14-16). (click on hightlighted reference for scripture) Once the emotion, sensationalism and fear mongering have been stripped away from these prophecies, there remains a consistency that Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit) seems to be speaking and that we should give an ear to. What becomes apparently clear is the Spirit of the Living God is giving us an indication that His Kingdom is close at hand - soon to burst upon 'all flesh'.
With Israel's only remaining ally in the world, the United States, avidly seeking to play poker over an outstretched hand with Israel's sworn enemies - coupled with an intent to undermine Israel's leaders into carving up the Land in the name of 'peace', Zechariah 14:1-2a is quickly becoming a reality (see "All Nations", "Gathering & Giving", and "Obama Administration Slams Door on Israel!"). That this last skirmish Israel waged against Hamas in the Gaza was not the catalyst to propel us into this prophesied realm was a surprise to many and reinforced the notion that only YHVH knows the outcome of events. Even the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) was prepared to wage a multi-front war. Israel's current Prime Minister designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, is marking the next few months in anticipation of a larger conflagration. The scriptural definition of 'judge' (judgment) means 'to decide' and the next series of encounters will certainly trigger a domino effect that will bring decision to the doorstep of many nations as to where they are aligned in relation to Israel.
Yeshua said from the scripture quoted above that when you see these things begin to happen, the generation in which they begin will not pass away until all is fulfilled. We are that generation. When Israel was conceived as a nation on November 29, 1947 at the signing of her declaration of independence, this generation was thus marked and set apart from all others (Isaiah 11:11-12), The collapse of the financial and economic markets of the world is just the beginning to this tumultuous age in which we are privileged to live.
What brought Hitler to power in the 1930's was the complete collapse of the financial and economic markets of the era. The currency became worthless because there was too much currency chasing too few goods - the definition of inflation. A wheelbarrow full of money was required to buy a loaf of bread - if one could be found. Hitler promised change and he delivered on his promise - he changed the world. It was in a willingness to cling to the prosperity coming with that change and remembering the recent hard times they had just come through that the people turned a blind eye to what was ushered in alongside the change. What is being ushered in among 'change' today is the insidiousness of an evil that flies below the radar while the more flamboyant failures of that change captivate our attention (see "Forget bonus outrage, what about �ShariAIG�?" for just one example). The new administration in Washington is throwing everything they can find at this collapse to try to 'fix' it. The reality is nobody knows how to fix it - so they just print more money. ask for more power and implement more 'change' not comprehending the vulnerability that change exposes. The first three months of 2009 have seen the United States borrow 493 billion new dollars - historically unprecedented. (see "Treasury To Borrow" and, "China says US Debt Losing Favor").
What has come upon the earth in the last six months has eclipsed everything that has come before. What is coming will eclipse that and is to touch us all - 'all flesh'. As in times past, what seems insignificant in the changes acquiesced to today will be setting the stage for an even harsher tumult to come. How are we, as believers, to weather this storm? I know, I know - I am stepping on a lot of toes of folks who believe we are going to be lifted out of it all to a place above the clouds where the sun always shines. But, what if we are not? What if, as Yeshua exampled in His Life, we are to remain - to bear witness to the Truth in the midst of catastrophe all around us? (John 18:37), Will we still believe? Will we have been prepared? And, if so, how is that to happen? Will it just magically fall on us when the time comes?
I think not. For our faith to remain intact in times of intense crisis requires us to be EXERCISED in that faith day by day. To KNOW He is Good regardless of what we see, what we hear, what we feel or what we think comes from an exercise of faith in the midst of tribulation over and over until it becomes a part of us (Romans 5:1-5). This is the Life He led and He said if we don't embrace His Life, we are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37-39).
When I began to run into rapture theology some years back, I looked, but could not find it in the Book. When I heard men teach it I could see where they drew their conclusions from, but everything that the Lord had been teaching me up to that point I had found to be clear, concise, simple to understand and found from cover to cover in the Book - not cobbled together from this verse and that. This wasn't. All the pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib theories I found quite confusing and a source for a lot of dissention and division among believers. I also discovered that the word "rapture" did not appear in the Book. In fact, I found that it did not appear in ANY language until around the mid 1800's which I found curious because the Book says that He has ALREADY given us everything that pertains to Life and Godliness (2Peter 1:2-4), and if there was more He would have told us (John 14:2). To not do so would make Him a respecter of persons, preferring men of one era above another (Acts 10:34). He is not going to give something to us that He didn't give to those early believers. What I DID find as a consistent theme from one side of the book to the other is "he that overcomes TO THE END, to him will He grant the Crown of Life" (Revelation 2:10, Revelation 12:11, Genesis 49:18-19, Matthew 10:22).
So, not knowing any better, in my na�vet� I just went to the Lord and said, "what about all this?" He said, "Here is what I want YOU to do. I want you to prepare your heart to go all the way through to the end. That way, if I come before it all happens, you can rejoice. If I tarry and come in the middle, you can still praise Me. But, if I don't come until the very bitter end - you won't be disappointed. You will still be able to believe." I have found those words to still be living in me after 40 years.
Everything written in scripture will come to pass exactly as it is written. But guess what? When He came the first time He fulfilled everything exactly that was written about Him - but, no one recognized it until AFTER the fact because it was veiled for a particular time. Most had already made up their minds as to HOW He was going to appear and, because they were looking for an EVENT, they missed the PERSON. In that regard, I believe His Second Coming will be much the same as His first - it is veiled for a particular time and if we are looking for an event, we will miss the Person who lives within us and among us today. There is more to this Spirit walk than we know and understand. That is what makes Him YHVH.
In the end, it doesn't really matter what anybody believes about when or the manner in which He comes - just that He's coming. If I get up every day, looking for Him TODAY, then, whenever He comes, I'll be there. Yeshua said when you see the leaves begin to turn on the tree, you know the season is near (Matthew 24:32-33) - which means He wants us to be aware of the times in which we live, and I am, but all the stuff that is going to happen is going to happen because He said it would, not because I develop a doctrine about it or write a book about it. He didn't commission me to go change anyone's view on it - just to go live it. There is a problem that arises, however, if we are NOT living with an expectancy of 'going through it'. The problem emerges as an unpreparedness when unforeseen circumstances confront us.
I sat across from a young man last week whose life had been shattered. He and his lovely wife have two small children of 3 and 6 years of age. They had been described to me as avid believers that were being used of the Lord in the 'prophetic' realm in a mighty way. This young man had invited another male believer, who was out of work and had no place to go, into his home in an act of charity to provide him an opportunity to gather his life together. The man repaid this act of kindness shown to him by seducing and impregnating the wife in the course of three months, then, subsequently, the two left to seek a new life together leaving my new friend with the responsibility of caring for the children.
After describing the events leading up to this affair, I was struck by the words that began to fall from the lips of this young man in the middle of the devastation engulfing him. It is understandable that in the middle of your life falling apart around you, there would be a sense of trying to grapple with reality - but, this fellow began to reveal himself in a manner I was not expecting. His conversation showed a real disconnect between theology and reality as he kept veering into what I call 'tradition-think' - verbalizing scriptures in an attempt to overwhelm reality with positive thoughts.
He began to recount all of the 'words' God had given him about the 'ministry' he and his wife were to have together. He spoke of how God had revealed to him where he would be when the 'rapture' occurred, then launched into a discourse on the end time, the marriage supper of the Lamb and the millennial reign of Christ. He spoke with knowledge of a lot of scripture but none of it was applicable to his current circumstance. What struck me as discordant was that not once in the midst of his turmoil had he mentioned anything that indicated even a remote intimacy with Yeshua. He would speak with conviction about all the 'spiritual things' that surrounded a walk with the Lord - but, not OF Him.
My young friend had nothing to anchor him in his moment of suffering and he had nowhere to turn with that grief but to the tradition he had been taught and embraced as 'the Word of God' instead of the Person. He simply could not understand why the "Word of God" he so believed in had failed him. He had not been duly EXERCISED in the Life Yeshua demonstrated and called on us to follow (Hebrews 5:8, Mark 8:34). Now, I know that what I am about to say is going to step on some more toes because this line of thought has come to be embraced as popular teaching coming from the early faith preachers of this most recent generational wave of the Holy Spirit. But, the FACT is that in the first chapter of John, v.14, it is clearly stated that the WORD (logos) became FLESH and dwelt among us.
a) a word, uttered by a living voice, that embodies a conception or idea.
I immerse myself in scripture every day - but scripture is simply scripture. Scripture is not the Word - Yeshua is THE WORD. Scripture speaks OF Him, but is NOT Him. Scripture is not a substitute FOR Him. Yeshua and the early church only had the scripture of the Torah to validate the essence of the Father they heard through Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit). They knew His Voice, they heard Him speak Spirit to spirit (John 10:26-28). He says in this passage that if we DON'T hear His Voice - we CAN'T believe.
Yeshua Himself backed up this premise in John 5:39 when He said you, "search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." HE is the Word. The scriptures are scripture. There is NO LIFE in scripture. I know - I have been a printer for most of my life. I know the consistency of ink and paper. I know how books are made. Those words are merely ink on paper packed into a book - that's all. You can set it on fire and it will burn. When I had my recent heart attack, I had a book of scripture lying open on the table in front of me. I picked it up and laid it on my chest. Nothing happened. There is no power in the Book. The Power lies with HIM. HE subsequently healed my heart - not the Book. HE is the Word - none other. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word that comes from the mouth of God (Romans 10:17, Matthew 4:4). God speaks to our hearts, causing a 'glow' in our spirit and faith is deposited in us to give us the unction to do what He is saying. All scripture does is to VALIDATE what we are hearing - that 'glow' - as the Voice, the Word of YHVH (see "Hearing His Voice").
To 'believe' as used in Romans 10:9 is the Greek 'pisteuo' and means to adhere to, cling to, rely on, trust in, to fashion our life after. It is also found in Genesis 15:6 in the Hebrew to be 'aman' and means to stand firm in, to be found reliable in, to be faithful in doing. As the father of our faith, Abraham exhibited his belief in what the Father was saying to him by causing his actions to adhere to the words God had spoken the very day he heard them (Genesis 17:23) and, because he exhibited his belief, it was "counted to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6). Abraham didn't even have a 'Book'.
Romans 4:12 says Abraham is the father of all who 'walk in the steps of that faith' he exhibited in haEl haNaAman (the Faithful One). To 'believe' REQUIRES an alignment of our life to the Words and Life of Our Lord. It is in the dual action of sealing our confession before men with our lips and then the follow through of an embrace of the Life of Yeshua He exampled before us in scripture. To those who exhibit this belief, to them are given the power to BECOME the Sons of God (John 1:12-13). Access to that power does not come from performing mere lip service to believing. It is the evidence found in our walking out of that Life that brings us into righteousness.
If we are not careful, we will put ourselves in the position of worshipping scripture instead of Him by embracing teaching that has come from what we consider a 'reputable source' without putting forth the due diligence of ferreting out every word we hear before the Lord. From the beginning, scripture was only meant to point us into the direction of, to give us an understanding of this Spirit Person. The manifold revelation of YHVH rests inside of each of us who 'believe'. That is why it becomes inherently important to dig your own well into Him and find that abundant spring within you. In the story of the 10 virgins, 5 of those virgins didn't make it - but, yet, they were still virgins. The distinguishing trait of those virgins (and of those that won't make it today) is that they keep going to other virgins to find their oil (Matthew 25:1-13).
The highest I can encourage you to is to press into Him today while it is still Day. Learn of Him and become acquainted with Him in the intimacy that is afforded us today - for tomorrow will soon come and the Day will become dark and you will need His Oil you have gathered in your lamp today to light the way through the darkness then. Listen to everyone, but depend on no one but Him. Scripture will validate what we hear through Ruach haKodesh as being Him (Revelation 19:10b). He is faithful to lead us into Truth IF (big little word) we allow Him to by not being determined to follow our own way.
|"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." John 16:13|