I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one (1 John 2:12-14).
The express purpose of God in the life of every child of God is to bring forth the image and likeness of His Son in us. As it is with natural childhood development, we go through stages of maturity and growth as we develop into mature sons and daughters of God. The Lord Jesus is not going to marry a bride that does not reflect the blameless perfection revealed in His Person. Although the power of His blood and the work of the cross bring regeneration to dead-in-sin lives, there is still a cooperative work of the Spirit of God in our lives that is purposed to bring us to maturity in both Christ’s character and power. The Father will have a bride without spot or wrinkle for the Son of His love. The blood removes the “spots” (sin and iniquity), and heat and pressure remove the wrinkles (as in ironing)!
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse (Mal. 4:5-6).
One of God’s primary purposes for raising up and restoring prophets and prophetic ministry in the church in these last days is to bring generations together. This not only includes generations of old and young in the earth, but also joining past generations together with the current generation, who will complete their mandates and fulfill their purposes. (Hebrews 11:39-40.) There are multi-generational promises, anointings, ministries, mantles and blessings held in a spiritual trust fund for the end-time generation that fully embraces the Lord in intimacy and obedience. The prophetic or “forerunner” ministries in the earth today are called to heal the breach that exists not only between the age groups, but also between the “fathers” of the ages past and the current generation. God calls for fathers-leaders to arise who will fully take hold of His promises and join hands with both the saints from ages past and the youth in the current age. These fathers-leaders are called upon to take the first step in the process of restoration and deliverance.
(This article is a continuation of the previous article on “The Apostolic Shift – Part 1”)
Becoming a “Nail Scar” in His Hand
Paul, Timothy’s spiritual father, tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12: don’t let anybody look down on your youth but be an example. The first place in the New Testament the word for “example” (Gr. – tupos) is used is in John 20:25:
The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’
Thomas was absent in the first encounter with the Lord Jesus after the resurrection. The others tell Him of seeing and communing with the resurrected Lord, and he says, “I will not believe unless I see the nail scar (tupos).” This is what the lost, hurting, sin-loving, hell-bound masses are crying out for – a nail print! This is the beginning of true ministry. This is where the veil of unbelief is lifted off the hearts and understanding of the lost, blind and skeptical (Eph. 1:17-20), and where the Spirit begins the work of transformation in lives. This happens when people encounter the “nail scar” – the physical imprint of His life in us!
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.
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.
Acts 3:19-21: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”
Rev. 18:1-5: “After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 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. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.’”
“Have you heard the latest prophetic word?” “Have you heard the latest revelatory teaching?” “The move of God at (fill in the blank) has to be the beginning of the final move of God in the earth!” “There’s no need for the local fellowship anymore, your business can be your ‘church’ and missions organization!”
“The ‘Bridal Paradigm’ has fulfilled all my longings and questions! The ‘Seven Mountains’ teaching has finally set my heart to rest because now I know my destiny! Praise the Lord, we can now all come to rest because all our questions, desires and destinies have now been answered!”
I have literally heard with my own ears statements like these. Such is my personal observation of how many in the “charismatic” wing of the body of Christ have acted and reacted for many years. Everyone is looking for “IT” – the one thing that will bring revival, rest, healing, fulfillment…again, fill in the blank. The enemy continues to keep hungry, but deceived Christians from coming to rest on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ by the excitement that many leaders continue to foment. I know this, because I have done “IT” in the past.