A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Israel and God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Israel and God. Show all posts

October 4, 2020

End Times Revival: Does The Bible Prophecy It?


I must admit I have wrestled with this question for quite awhile. And what I am going to present to you is my evolving position on this subject. This is where I am today. I am well aware of the modern-day "prophets" who preach that an awakening in the spirits of men will lead to a worldwide revival before the awesome Day of the Lord. I never want to discourage anyone or be perceived as against a revival, but I honestly do not see a Biblical interpretation of an End Times Revival.

And please hear me .... that is not to say that revival isn't real or does not happen. I do not have any authority to declare that. Throughout history, Revivals have occurred in times of need -- the Protestant Reformation in the 17th Century; the 18th Century Revivals led by John Wesley and George Whitefield; the three Great Awakenings in America (18th-19th Centuries); and the Asuza Street Revival and the Toronto Blessing in the 20th Century, to name a few. And I know the heart of "the Church" is to see Revival. But it doesn't take a very discerning spirit to recognize that there has been no revival in the Church that has defeated the wickedness in the world. In fact, the Church that resides in the building has been more about maintaining their position of compromise and accommodation in order to try and remain relevant to modern society [and to keep their status within man's law]. But this position has only seen wickedness and lawlessness rise while abdicating any power and authority they might once have held to change the world. That has left the Body of Christ sitting on the fence in a Laodicean, lukewarm posture.

That being said, I do see revival in the midst of small groups who recognize that the Holy Spirit has left the Church building, and who are willing to be true Disciples of the Lord and take His Gospel of the Kingdom outside the building, wherever they are led. This Body is the Ekklesia, the representatives of God's government on earth; those willing to go on the offensive and take God's Truth of who we were created to be, in spite of opposition, whether from unbelievers or believers. And when discerning that Truth [in all things, including today's prophecies of a worldwide revival], I go to the Bible to see what Jesus prophesied.

Nowhere do I see Jesus telling us to look for such a revival before the end of the Church Age. In Matthew 24, His Disciples ask Him for signs that will signify the end of this Age and His Coming. He warns not to be lead astray by those saying they are coming in His Name. That includes false prophets and teachers, which are not necessarily men who are seeking to deceive others, but may be deceived themselves into thinking they are hearing from God. Jesus goes on to say that we will hear of wars and rumors of wars; nations and kingdoms rising up against each other; famines and earthquakes. Then comes tribulation and martyrdom; being hated by all those who hate Him. Then a great falling away will occur, meaning there will be those who stumble in their faith and will betray their fellow believers in order to save themselves from persecution. The lawlessness will cause hearts to grow cold, and love will escape them. Jesus says the one who endures [and perseveres in their faith to survive the persecution] will be saved [delivered; rescued]. 

Jesus doesn't sugarcoat it. It's going to be difficult to live on this earth as we get closer to His Return. Nowhere do I see Him say that we can expect a Revival to ease our suffering and usher Him in. In fact, rebellion comes first, which results in the falling away and hearts growing cold. Again, I pray for revival and rejuvenation and renewed strength among those who are willing to contend in fervent prayer [as the Ekklesia] in order to hold up the appearance of the Man of Lawlessness, who will set things in motion for Jesus's eventual Return. I recognize the purpose of the cycle of Revival throughout the history of the world because it snatches victory out of the hands of the Enemy every time someone repents and receives Christ as their Savior. Revivals please the Lord because the Father doesn't want to lose even one of His creation. Revivals are real and we can most definitely pray for them to happen because that is how the Gospel of Salvation has advanced across the globe. And now I see the revival in the Ekklesia advancing the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is what Jesus came preaching, and what I think is spurring the Enemy to advance his kingdom of wickedness and lawlessness.  

Even as the Church grows "cold", there will always be pockets of Believers who remain "hot" to share the Gospel of the Kingdom; leading people to repentance, then salvation, and on towards entering the Kingdom of God on earth. And I believe the number of people who exemplify that kind of "revival" will be relatively small in number. You see, those I hear prophesying today of a great worldwide revival resulting in millions of people becoming part of "the Church" doesn't seem to correspond to Scripture. If that were so, wouldn't the Bible reveal an expanding and extension of the Church Age instead of it growing cold? I don't see the Word telling us that the Church will be purified in the Last Days. Instead it will "fall away".

I hear modern-day prophets using Scripture such as Psalm 22:27-28 to justify that this worldwide Revival is going to happen: All the ends of the earth shall remember and return to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations. But when read in context, I believe this is referring to the Millennial Kingdom, the 1000-year reign of Christ after His return. And I also witness many today who like to take such snippets of Scripture as Joel 2:23 to point to a Revival in our time: Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. I, too hope for vindication as we pray that Father God will forgive our complacency, our contentment, and our self-satisfaction in our selfish deeds. 

I know the American Church sincerely desires a Great Revival because we can no longer ignore the immoral state of our nation. We are awakened to how we have failed as the Church in living up to the covenant made with God when those first faithful servants stepped foot on this ground. We've always been a prosperous and blessed nation, and we see that identity in jeopardy. We're more divided than ever along racial lines; the Freedoms enshrined in our Constitution seem to be slipping away; and more people are leaving the Church building because they are not being fed in the Word. They intuitively know that there is more to walking in the footsteps of the Lord than church attendance, and their spirits are hungry for a true encounter with Jesus to discover their purpose on this earth. 

These are the people seeking personal revival and they will be the ones who advance the Kingdom of God -- right up until the moment of the corporate revival of the Jews. This is the promise of Revival in the Bible! This was made so clear to me some years ago when a dear friend opened up the Lord's revelation through Romans 11. For the first time, I saw that the Remnant of Israel [those who choose to call on the Name of the Lord], will receive their salvation and reclaim their original status as the nation who will lead the world to the knowledge of God. And the fullness of saved Israel will bring about the Glory of God on the earth, as Jesus returns and defeats Evil. Then all those who are saved will enter into the Millennial Kingdom. 

So, we can take heart that revival is real! It will happen as it has always happened -- in small pockets and in cycles. And we should pray for those revivals, because as Gentiles grafted into the cultivated olive tree that is God's Chosen People, it is our faithfulness to expand the Gospel of Christ [in both Salvation and Kingdom messages] that will provoke Israel to jealousy in the coming End Times, and they will want the security we have in Christ. While revival might not look like what we hear being prophesied throughout the modern Church, it will look like whatever God intends to use to redeem the world. Pray about what your part in that revival looks like, and how you can become part of God's Promise to Israel and the world!

Jeremiah 30:17     For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’


November 29, 2018

Understanding the Wife of God and the Bride of Christ (Part 1)

     I'm about to tackle a very difficult subject that, frankly, I haven't quite figured out myself. I will tell you this ... I am increasingly hearing Christian women refer to Christ as "my Husband" [which I think is Biblically incorrect]. Furthermore, I have never heard a teaching on this subject matter anywhere in the Church. And since this topic has risen in more than one conversation I've had in the last few months, I think perhaps it's time that I explore what the Bible has to say so that I can respond in a responsible manner in the future. So, thank you for indulging my journey to discover what the Word has to say on these important issues.
     First of all, I have to admit that I never gave much thought to the difference in these identities, or what impact understanding them might have on how I walked out my faith. But as I dug in to see what the Word reveals on the matter, I was actually astonished at how some of our modern theology has disregarded [as well as distorted] the true identification of both the Wife of Yahweh and the Bride of the Messiah. As I said, I'm still figuring all this out myself, but this is what I've come to understand so far...
     I've always been blessed by the extreme love that God has had for His people Israel. And the relationship He has had with them since He entered covenant with them resembles that of a marriage. In Exodus 19, His declaration to them reads like a wedding vow: Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people... And when the people responded, All that the Lord has spoken, we will do, it was their vow to be faithful to that wedding covenant.
     True, the word "wife" is not mentioned in this particular passage, but as one looks upon the history of Israel's relationship with Yahweh, there are Scriptures that make it clear as to her relationship with Him. We are all familiar with how quickly Israel abandoned her covenant with God to be holy and faithful as a virgin bride, and began worshiping false idols and chasing after other lovers. Both Jeremiah 3:14 and Isaiah 54:5 make it clear that God considered Himself married to Israel ... Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you (Jeremiah), and For your Maker is your Husband—the Lord of hosts is His name—and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth He is called (Isaiah).
     God loved Israel so much that He sent prophets and judges to try to convince the unfaithful people to return to the marriage covenant He had established with them. Time and again, they would go astray and backslide. Finally, running out of patience, God declares, "And I saw, even though [Judah knew] that for this very cause of committing adultery (idolatry) I [the Lord] had put faithless Israel away and given her a bill of divorce; yet her faithless and treacherous sister Judah was not afraid, but she also went and played the harlot [following after idols]" (Jeremiah 3:8). It was at this time in history that the northern kingdom of Israel [including 10 of the twelve tribes] was taken into captivity by the Assyrians and dispersed throughout the known world. It would be a little over 100 years later that the Southern Kingdom of Judah would be taken into exile in Babylon. But it is clear from these passages that God considered the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel as His wife.
     In a nutshell, this is how the course of events took place: The Marriage Contract. The entire format of the Book of Deuteronomy is that of both an ancient treaty and an ancient marriage contract. In this book, Moses took all the various facets of the three earlier books and presented them in the form of an ancient marriage contract. In this book we find the marriage contract signed between Israel and God whereby Israel becomes the Wife of Jehovah. The Acts of Adultery. In Jeremiah, Chapter 3, Israel is compared to a wife who has turned away from her husband, and in verse 20, the Bible says, Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, So have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel, says Jehovah. The Separation. God spent nearly 100 years, [as the Book of Isaiah shows us], sending judgments against Israel, in the hopes that she would return to covenant. The Divorce. When judgment and separation failed to produce repentance, God had no choice but to serve a bill of divorce to His beloved nation. The Lord said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it.  She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore (Jeremiah 3:6-8).

      But make no mistake about this ... although Israel was served a bill of divorcement, God has not abandoned them and the Bible makes it clear that there will be future restoration and a new marriage contract between Israel, Judah, and God. It couldn't be more plainly stated than in Jeremiah 31:31-34: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” This is the glorious hope of a future reconciliation between God's treasured people and the One who has loved them with an undying love. 
     By now, I hope you can at least reflect on the idea that God considers Israel as His wife, and He as her husband. I think there is a mistaken theology in the modern Church that says we Christians, as the Bride of Christ, are married to Jesus and He is our husband. In the next post, I would like to take a look at who is the Bride of Christ; what is the significance of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; and how is the Wedding Feast different? I think it is incumbent upon us as serious students of the Bible, and the redeemed children of God, to understand these distinctions and their significance for us in the Kingdom of God. We need to know who we are!

Hosea 2:16      And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’