Several times, I’ve had ministers give me business cards that stated, “Apostle (their name)”. I’ve also been asked to speak at churches where the senior leader is titled “Apostle (their name). The title someone carries should FOLLOW the fruit of their life and ministry/work. I’ve known too many friends who served in the military, especially in theaters of war, who have been on the field of battle with recently commissioned, but green and untested officers, given charge of their platoons or squads. Their horror stories of theirs, and everyone else lives put in grave jeopardy because of these untested, though titled officers were all too often a correlation to what we’ve seen emerge in the body of Christ over the last two decades.
Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, ‘I am strong.'” Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD. “Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow– for their wickedness is great.” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. – Joel 3:9-14
Believers are presently being exercised to make decisions, and not to have them made for us as children. We are faced with decisions that will have far-reaching and powerful effects and consequences now and in the ensuing weeks, months and years.
Just as the first Tabernacle of David stands as a type and shadow of the city of Zion, the tower of Babel and the Babylonian kingdom serve as the template to understand the nature of the mindset of Babylon. The nature of Babylon is both political and religious. Genesis records the construction of the tower of Babel.
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. Therefore its name is called Babel (Gen.11:1-9 NKJV).
Here is a perfect picture of the independent nature of man working in cooperation with dark, spiritual forces, trying to build a world utopia without God. This is the same nature that is now maturing and guiding the world system.
- Alec Motyer in The Prophecy of Isaiah, p. 201, sums up this nature of Babylon like this:
“To want nothing but this world is to end up with nothing but want…(v. 10) What multitudes experience in the microcosm of personal experience will finally reach its appointed universal climax in the collapse of the whole this worldly fabric of life, built on earth’s resources by human wit and work, without recourse to God….
“What could encapsulate this better than a city—the largest and most distinctive human product and the setting and would-be realization of humankind’s earliest endeavor to structure life (Babel – Gen. 11: 1-9)…In a word, without what only God can provide. The city of (confusion/emptiness) lives without the ordering, life-giving hand of God, opting for a life on its own, within itself, depending on itself…spinning on the wheel but having dismissed the Potter, its ever changing shapes and fashions not dictated by purpose but by whimsy….
“Humankind’s great world city is ‘the city without meaning’, where they thought they could find on earth and in themselves all they needed for secure community and a future, and they found only disorder, division and meaninglessness. Thus Isaiah looked through the Babylon he knew to the ongoing spirit of Babylon…and finally to the ultimate Babel where at length humankind’s self-sufficiency would bring their whole world about their ears…Life in the city of meaninglessness is a lonely and scary thing.”
Babel literally means confusion/emptiness. When pride is completely unbridled one can imagine their work is perfect, when in actuality it is void of meaning, representing nothing. What made Babel especially dangerous was the unity of the people in their purpose. They were committed to their independent work to build their own way without God. It is that same mingling of pride and fruitless purpose that will characterize this global city once more.
Babylon is the place of unrestrained sin, pride, self-reliance and darkness. The reason it is emerging with great strength once more is because it is connected. Technology and economics have bridged the communication God disrupted at the time of Babel. Now the entire globe is unified and brought together like never before. People can be half way across the world and joined together in a video conference and able to conduct business. This self-centered, self-serving mindset which believes they can manage without God will now be a global mindset that will rule over geographic areas. However, God will intervene through the agency of His global city of Zion!
We will steadily and continually experience the dismantling of systems that are not ordained by God. As the city of Zion exercises dominion through intercession and worship, the Babylonian system will crumble. This is what we see in Rev. 18:2-4:
And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.” And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”
This is also what Isaiah records in his apocalyptic vision recorded in Chapters 24-26.
The city of confusion is broken down; every house is shut up, so that none may go in. There is a cry for wine in the streets, all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. In the city desolation is left, and the gate is stricken with destruction. When it shall be thus in the midst of the land among the people, it shall be like the shaking of an olive tree, like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done. They (notice the shift – the city of Zion) shall lift up their voice, they shall sing; for the majesty of the LORD they shall cry aloud from the sea. Therefore glorify the LORD in the dawning light, the name of the LORD God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea (Isaiah 24:10-15).
O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things; your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For You have made a city (Babylon) a ruin, a fortified city a ruin, a palace of foreigners to be a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore the strong people will glorify You; the city of the terrible nations (Babylon) will fear You. For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. You will reduce the noise of aliens, as heat in a dry place; as heat in the shadow of a cloud, the song of the terrible ones will be diminished. And in this mountain (Zion) the LORD of hosts will make for all people a feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees. And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” For on this mountain (Zion) the hand of the LORD will rest, and Moab (representing human pride and self-reliance) shall be trampled down under Him, as straw is trampled down for the refuse heap (Isaiah 25:1-10).
This judgment is the direct result of the voluntary love and worship of God from Zion, which releases judgment and dismantling against Babylon and it’s coalition of demonic power and human pride, self-reliance and ingenuity. The scripture tells us this judgment is executed by God’s worshipping/warring remnant (Psalm 149:5-9).
What is the city of the “terrible nations” built upon? It is built upon an unrestrained fallen human sin nature in rebellion to God. In 1 Peter 5:13, we see that Babylon is a spiritual dimension: “She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son.” Peter is writing from Rome and Rome is described as “Babylon”, a city built on seven mountains that is totally given over to the demonic. Rome literally crumbled from within; this is well documented in a classic historical book: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. He gives five central reasons for the fall of the Rome’s decline.
- The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home.
- The continuous large tax increases while simultaneously giving away free bread and providing circuses to entertain the populace.
- The continual mad craze for pleasure and sporting events becoming increasingly brutal and immoral.
- The increased build up of armaments to defend themselves, when the true enemy was within (the decay of individual responsibility).
- Finally, religion faded into form and ritual, no longer having the power or influence to guide the people. The parallels to current society are obvious. Every nation’s decline begins with spiritual apostasy which is followed by moral decay which gives rise to political anarchy.
Worldwide spiritual apostasy is recorded in 2 Thess. 2. It is a perfect reflection of what is happening today.
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2:1-12 NKJV).
We are seeing the restraining grace of the Spirit of God be lifted from every aspect of society. No longer can Zion and Babylon co-exist. The gulf between these two global cities is a daily increasing chasm. We will choose to join the harlot who rides the beast or we will choose the mountain of the Lord. What we will begin to see in the world as the grace of the Holy Spirit is removed is man’s fallen nature will arise in full, unrestrained maturity. Spiritual powers of darkness will be released in unrestrained activity and the powers of nature will be released in unrestrained activity. As this is happening, there will come a concentration of God’s grace, power and glory in the unified body of Christ (Zion), fulfilling the Lord’s prophecy of being a “city on a hill” (Isaiah 60:1-3).
There is a great warning in the book of Revelation for Zion. The Lord says “come out” of the global, harlot-city Babylon, lest you share in her sin and judgment. That is the call for His body/bride to separate from the Babylonian system. The previous verses of Isaiah are fulfilled only as a result of the bride entering into her purpose as a warring lover who worships and intercedes to advance the kingdom of our Lord. Concurrently, while the kingdom of Babylon continues to fulfill the lust of their flesh, Zion is gathered and assembled as a worshipping army. As Zion worships, judgments are released (Psalm 149:5-9; Isaiah 40:10-13).
As both these global cities emerge, the battle between them will continue to rage. All of creation feels its effect. This is why the earth continues to experience unusual geo-physical events. The continued increase of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, and drought are a part of the war. In his presentation, “The Perfect Storm” John Paul Jackson provides a thorough understanding of how this battle will involve economics, geo-physical, religion, politics and war. You can view his presentation right here, just by copying and pasting the following link into your web browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRTglw2Q8o0
God has been trying to get our attention for some time. He is disturbing every area where man has placed his trust. He is revealing who truly has the power. But as in every preceding generation, we are hard of hearing and slow to learn. The recent erratic weather patterns shut down a third of the United States with snow. Another third of the U.S. population was shut down by unprecedented rain. A third of eastern Australia was flooded while the British Isles were shut down for 3 days.
From 2010 throughout the past year, the world has been buffeted by weather extremes. In 2010, floods devastated sections of Great Britain, Italy, Pakistan, western Africa, Haiti, Albania, Australia, the Philippines, Russia, China, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil and Portugal. In the U.S. there was record-breaking flooding throughout the country. The Midwest experienced floods from North Dakota to Nashville, Tennessee. There were floods throughout the Northeast and the year concluded with unprecedented flooding in California. Simultaneously, both Africa and Australia experienced severe drought in some areas of the country, while other areas were flooded.
Earthquakes have increased in both frequency and magnitude causing interruption in communication, the increase of numerous diseases, as well as loss of life. (You can go here: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/eqstats.php to see the dramatic increase in earthquakes both in the U.S. and around the world.)
In recent years, we have seen mysteries from massive groups of birds and fish dying around the globe. From Arkansas to Louisiana, to Italy, New Zealand, Brazil, Great Britain and many other places. There is no clear explanation for any of this. However, interesting enough what is being offered is that “these things have always happened but because we are ‘globally’ connected we are able to observe patterns more readily.”
There are two fragrances arising on the earth today. One is the fragrance of iniquity and self-indulgence. It is a stench in the nostrils of God. The other, is a sweet aroma that rises from His bride as she offers sacrifices of praises and lifts her voice in prayer. The battle in full array is a portrait of two opposing global forces which are both taking ground and building their forces for ensuing battle. This battle is all about worship! Who and what we worship will determine the mountain we will defend, the place where we will ultimately abide and the glory and provision we will either receive or miss.
The war between light and darkness has raged from the beginning of time, but now is escalating at an unprecedented rate of speed as it draws everyone into the fray. Soon we all will be forced to choose sides and fully engage. What we have watched and witnessed from a distance will soon come knocking on our door. In relative apathy and silence, we have allowed darkness to encroach and shroud every aspect of society. Now the lines of demarcation will clearly delineate the two emerging, opposing global forces: Zion and Babylon. Catastrophic and cataclysmic events will reveal the best and worst which reside within all of mankind. World shaking events will expose the weaknesses of every structure we have tried to invent and erect. What we have been able to cleverly disguise and hide behind will be brought out into plain view for all to see. Who we are and what we believe will be clear to everyone. What is the nature of these two global powerhouses: Zion and Babylon? To whom will you align?
Faithful Servants Needed!
In Luke 12, Jesus tells a parable about a faithful and a wicked servant.
And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. Luke 12:42-48 NKJV
How do we prepare for destiny? It is not accomplished independently. It is attained through community and a joining of the generations. Just as we are transitioning as individuals, God is transitioning generations. The generation that has led us is now shifting to an advisory capacity. Like Moses, they have been forerunners; they have led the way into the depths of God. Now they are needed to counsel and advise the next generation. Leaders like Bill Johnson, Lou Engle and Mike Bickle represent a transitional generation that can join generations together. They are “raising up” the next generation to recognize their destiny before they are ensnared by the cares of this world.
What is your dominion gift or gift mix? We are in a kairos (God’s right time) moment. We must get in line with God’s order and His timing. Now is the time to begin to walk in our dominion gift. Until intercession is established, things never fully work correctly, and therefore operating in our dominion gifting in the culture is greatly hindered. God created man first for intimacy and from that position we are to rule and reign. The word “mediocre” literally means “half way up the mountain,” which is a picture of those who will not accept the discipline and dedication necessary to see the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose. Part of this discipline is character development and learning to prevail in prayer. “Halfway up the mountain” is a picture of those who do not completely answer God’s call and quit somewhere in the process of training and discipleship. Most people quit during this transitional phase (between the actual change, and the full enactment), because it’s the place where our relationship, character and commitment is tested.
What is transition anyway? It is a defined leaving of the familiar we have been in, and going through a narrow, confining passage, to an unfamiliar place. It’s a place that holds no name because it is the space between where we were and where we are going. If we observe a bundle of smashed grapes, we can no longer identify the distinct, beautiful, plump, ripe fruit. It is not what it was; it is not yet what it is to become — juice or wine. More grapes, additional ingredients and time all play an integral role in the transformation of the grapes to the desired, new state. Many of us are like these grapes; we are ripe fruit presently being squeezed through a narrow place. Just like the grapes, the Lord is changing us into who He has called us to be. Transition is what we pass through to become; it is the place of transformation.
Punitive Judgment and Then Wrath
The Lamb will release punitive judgment out upon the earth and its inhabitants in one last, merciful attempt to drive people back to Himself in repentance, and save them from eternal damnation. But it will only serve to prove His justice and judgment righteous and true as the reaction comes:
Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed– by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm. But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Rev. 9:13-21)
And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:7-8)
The parable of the unjust judge has its resolution in the final statement above by the Lord Jesus. The Lord brings a contrast between earthly, unjust judges who may pass sentences depending upon their moods and convenience (or lack thereof), and that of the just and righteous Judge of the earth. We’re told that the Lord is aware of every injustice with which His saints have been afflicted and that every injustice will be requited when He gets the cooperative cry of faith and agreement from the saints on earth. But implicit in this parable is the reality of voluntary suffering that comes to the saints through injustice. This voluntary suffering (or in most cases, IN-voluntary suffering!) is part of the training process by which He conforms us to the image of the Son, who is the epitome of One who suffers injustice. Once these remedial judgments come to the saints of God, thus bringing us into full maturity and union with the Son, we then partner with Him in releasing His judgments into the earth with the main view to bring a harvest of souls.