BY MIKE MCCLUNG (ADAPTED FROM HIS BOOK RESTORING THE RUINS)
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God (1 Cor. 2:9-12).
God is infinite, so there can be no limit to experiencing all He is or has. The only limitation we have is fear and unbelief. The Holy Spirit desires to lead the church past anything we have ever known so that we might receive the full release of His glory and power in these last days.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:13-14).
The Lord Jesus lived and ministered in a flesh and blood body, just like ours, and that body experienced the glory of God (Matt. 17) and could not die unless He allowed it (John 10:17-18). Through it He performed miracles: healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons and destroying the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8.) Jesus fully entered into the original purposes for man (Gen. 1:26-27) with His final act in laying down His life as the once-for-all sin offering for the sins of the world. This is the life to be fully entered into by the body of Christ. We will be joined to the Head in unbroken communion before He returns, beholding His glory and abiding with Him where He is (John 17:21-26), and doing even greater works than He did. (John 14:12.) This is a part of the blessing that flows between generations, connected through the power and promises of God. With each successive generation, the promise/inheritance should be expanded and gain momentum and scope. Abraham passed it to Isaac, the child of promise, and Isaac subsequently had a double portion – Esau and Jacob. Esau despised and forfeited his inheritance and it came to Jacob, who then released it to his twelve offspring. The twelve eventually became a mighty nation that threatened even the most powerful kingdom on earth at the time – Egypt. The twelve became a nation that was called to dispossess and execute God’s judgment upon the demon-worshipping nations in Canaan, and possess the land originally promised to Abraham, thereby revealing even greater glory of God. Each successive generation should be gaining more kingdom ground, operating in more power, experiencing more of His presence and glory, seeing more peoples and nations turning to the Lord, and destroying more of the works of the devil than the previous generation. The only thing that stops this spiritual, generational synergy and expansion, is when there arises a generation that “does not know the Lord.”
When all that generation (the one that followed Joshua) had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger. They forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies (Judges 2:10-14). This, tragically, is what has happened to the church. Beginning in 312 A.D., Christianity became an institution instead of a living organism joined to the Head. Through institutionalizing the church, the philosophies, methods and systems of men replaced the simplicity of devotion to Jesus. The church should be taking its direction and life only from the Lord Jesus and not from the reasonings and systems of men. Paul stated in Eph. 1:13-14, that the best the early church experienced – Pentecost – was only the “down payment” of what God intended to reveal and do in and through the church in the earth. Sadly, we have not yet experienced the full measure of Pentecost. But, there is a discontented generation that is arising, under new leadership that will not settle for the weak, watered-down, glory-less Christianity for which their predecessors have settled. They are the “Joshua” company.
Joshua was the leader chosen by God to take over when Moses passed away. His primary qualifications for this monumental task were that he hung out in the presence of the Lord all day and ministered to Moses as a servant. Because Joshua voluntarily made himself a servant to Moses, he experienced all Moses did, and became the recipient of his ministry mantle and authority.
So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.” Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. Now the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights (Exodus 24:13-18).
In Numbers 13:17-33, we read of the experience when Moses sent spies into the land. And they went up through the South and came to Hebron; Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. The place was called the Valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the men of Israel cut down there. And they returned from spying out the land after forty days (Numbers 13:22-25).
The spies brought back a “down payment” of the full inheritance. I’m glad Joshua and Caleb were with them, because I sometimes think it was their insistence on doing this that resulted in a small portion of the produce of the land being brought back as evidence. They knew the people would not believe it without experiencing it. The Israelites had a track record of unbelief and rebellion. We must understand that for the body of Christ to press into possessing the full inheritance of the Lord now, there must be some who will go in and bring back some of the produce of the realm of the Spirit to ignite faith, confidence and endurance. The Lord has been restoring His glory and power in the church over the centuries since the Reformation. But with each subsequent spy who enters the land (such as Luther, Wesley, Evan Roberts and William Seymour), there comes those who are bound in fear and unbelief who criticize, find fault, and listen to the accuser’s accusations against God, dishearten the people of God and shut down the flow of restoration and generational blessings and power.
Just one cluster of fruit the spies returned with was so large and heavy that two men had to carry it on a pole stretched between them. Neither Joshua nor Caleb, nor any of the rest of the spies, ever suggested that this “down payment” was the full inheritance. Numbers 13:20 says that it was the “first ripe grapes,” or first crop of the season. The season’s harvest was just beginning to ripen! The church has never fully possessed the promises of Pentecost, much less the fullness of the end-time harvest, which would begin with the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall. The Lord has been restoring the glory of Pentecost to the church to get us ready for the fullness of the harvest at the end of the age that was symbolized in the feast of Tabernacles. Joshua and Caleb and their generation only experienced a foretaste of what the Lord wants to do and release before His return. Pentecost was a firstfruits harvest, just like the fruit the spies returned with was a first of the season crop. Every generation received a call and mandate to possess the fullness of this inheritance in their time, but they did not. Many individuals experienced it, and several groups began to enter it, but never went far enough. We are living in a generation that will see this land possessed. The Lord is presently raising up leaders, like Joshua, who will be able to lead the body of Christ into the warfare necessary to defeat the powers of darkness squatting on our inheritance.
A NEW GENERATION ARISES
After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them– the children of Israel” (Joshua 1:1-2).
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him (my emphasis), ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’ Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so (Joshua 5:13-15).
“It’s okay to enjoy a little bit of our inheritance, but everyone knows that it’s impossible to experience the whole package because that’s only for heaven or the Millennium, after the rapture. It’s okay to be filled with the Spirit, speak in tongues, heal a few sick people, see glimpses of His glory, and occasionally experience His blessings, but everyone knows that because of the giants in the land, it’s impossible to enter that realm and LIVE there!”
The answer is all that has been given: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ… (Eph. 1:3).
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
t is true that we become what we behold. What are you beholding?
What spiritual blessings are you experiencing and appropriating?