House Church Gathering (9-9-23)
“All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both met and overcome with answerable courage.”
Pilgrims – The chosen vessels of the Lord that started a new thing in the wilderness of America. (Explain the difference between the puritans and the separatists/pilgrims.)
When the Church of England demanded more rigid conformity to its rituals and rejected the right of individuals to hear “unauthorized” preachers, William Brewster decided to separate from the Church and to covenant with other Christians in his area to form a Scriptural congregation in his home (i.e. a separatist house church).
More than any other man, John Robinson, the separatists pastor, prepared them to take dominion over the wilderness of America to the glory of God.
As a young teenager, William Bradford, the future governor of Plymouth for 33 years, reasoned that the Church of England was unbiblical and left it, joining the separatist church started by Brewster. While confined in bed with a long illness, he read the Bible continuously, gaining this insight. (Author of History of Plymouth Plantation.)
The Mayflower Compact: A covenant to God and one another (1) For the glory of God (2) for the advancement of the Christian faith (3) for the honor of their king and country. Our nation was covenanted to God.
The Lord sifted a whole nation to bring out a people for His purposes. It was a new thing with the right people, at the right time, in the right place of His choosing; the wilderness of America.
Isaiah 40:1-5 – Isaiah is often referred to as “The Messianic Prophet” because of his numerous prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus.
1 "Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God.
2 "Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity [“perversity, depravity”] has been removed, that she has received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."
3 A voice is calling, "Clear the way [“a road, a journey, a manner, a habit”] for the Lord in the wilderness [“a desert, a wilderness, uninhabited land”]; Make smooth [“straight, level, upright”] in the desert [“a desert; from 6150 (in the sense of sterility)”] a highway for our God.
4 "Let every valley [“a valley, a steep valley, a narrow gorge”] be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low [“sink down, be humiliated, to set in a lower place”]; and let the rough ground [“deceitful, sly, slippery, steep, hilly”] become a plain [“a level place, uprightness; fig. straightness”], and the rugged terrain [“roughness or bound up, impeded, the impassable or mountain chain”] a broad valley [“properly, a split, i.e. a wide level valley between mountains”];
5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Israel had sinned greatly against the Lord. His people had waded deep into depravity with their idolatry, injustice, immorality, and negligence to His words of warning through His messengers. Through His judgments on the nation by her enemies, God would spare a remnant through whom would come the Messiah and His new kingdom.
The first 39 chapters of Isaiah speak of the period when the Assyrian’s ruled over them. Chapters 40-66 prophecy of the coming exile in Babylon. Right at the beginning of this future prophecy through Isaiah of Israel’s being enslaved again, there is a future promise of God’s deliverance. His mercy would be revealed after their being doubly chastised by their enemies. This phrase is used in a couple other passages as well within the Bible.
Most Israelites ignored the Lord’s cry through His prophets in the Old Testament. They had a false sense of security in Him. Many in the church today, while joining in the sin of the world, tragically choose to believe the same, that they will be protected from His soon coming wrath on all the nations while willingly participating in the wickedness of the world. If not repented of, it will cost them their place at the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Revival In The Wilderness
That it was time to prepare the way of the Lord “in the wilderness” was a prophetic statement regarding things to come. This is exactly what John the Baptist proclaimed when he appeared on the scene during the heavy-handed rule of the Romans over the Jewish people. I see this as a type and shadow, revealing what it will be like on earth for God’s people when He returns (Isaiah 46:10). The oppression against us will only increase, causing those who are not under the power of the delusion to look up and cry out to God for the last, great end-time deliverance.
John came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying;
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near [1448- “to draw near, to approach”].” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight [2117- “straight, level, straightforward, upright, true, sincere”] paths for him.”
The purpose of his forerunner ministry was to prepare people’s hearts for the first coming of the Lord. We too must make the necessary preparations in anticipation of His second coming. Straight paths are upright paths; fruits of true repentance.
Similarities between first and second coming;
(1) Heavy-handed rule of government over the people (the Romans).
(2) Highly structured, well organized religious system that operated in the flesh.
(3) John the Baptist, an “unauthorized” preacher (not from their schools), was not welcome in their pulpits. He was forced by man, called by God, to operate outside of their corrupt system.
(4) When standing right in front of them, they didn’t recognize the very God they claimed to be worshipping. Because of envy and jealousy, they then, in the plan of God, killed Him.
The forerunner ministry is the sign that the Lord is about to draw near. Its purpose is to warn people to prepare their hearts for the imminent coming of the Lord. When this ministry appears, in the wilderness, outside of an inhabited area (i.e. the church in general), you can be sure that the appointed time of the Lord for His return is near. This is why it’s time to repent, if necessary, to make things right before the Lord within us. I see this occurring within the remnant of His people in our nation at this very moment.
The Smooth Pathway (Isaiah 40:3)
Two major obstructions today that I have observed among God’s people are rebellion, and the religious system that operates on its own authority. Both are about to be dealt with swiftly and thoroughly. They have become a hindrance for many, within and without the church, to see the Way in (John 14:6).
The lowly valleys being lifted up, and the prideful mountains and hills being brought low represent a level place of humility that all mankind must come to in order to be joyfully received in the coming of the Lord. It’s important to note that the Hebrew definition for the “valley” that will be exalted is “a valley, a steep valley, a narrow gorge.” This “narrow gorge” represents the narrow way of suffering in Christ that the “few” in Him will cross over at. Because of their willingness to follow their Lord, having become united with Him in the likeness of His death, they will be highly exalted in the age to come with great authority.
The Lord declared that the “rough ground” must “become a plain,” and “the rugged terrain a broad valley.” Per the original Hebrew words, “rough ground” is defined as “deceitful, sly, slippery, steep, hilly.” While “plain” is defined as “a level place, uprightness; figuratively, straightness.” The deceitful, slippery slope within us must become a place of sure footing in Christ through uprightness of heart.
The Lord’s “New Thing” In The Wilderness For His Chosen Ones
Isaiah 43:18-21 – This is one more confirmation that the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit will not be in the “highly-populated” churches, but in the “wilderness” places, the current uninhabited, desolate places. As it was the first time Christ came, the forerunner ministry like John’s is crying outside of the highly structured, corrupt religious system of our day.
18 "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing [“new, fresh, renewed”]! Now it springs up [“to sprout, to spring up, to grow up”]; do you not perceive it? I am making a way [“a road, a journey, a manner, a habit, a course of life”] in the desert [“a wilderness, uninhabited land”] and streams [“a stream, a river”] in the wasteland [“a waste, a wilderness, a desert, a desolate place”].
20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen [“select, a choice one, a chosen one, elect (of God)”], [This is the way of the few chosen ones among the many who are called; Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 13:22-30]
21 the people I formed [“to form, to fashion, to frame”] for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
The following insight is from the Bent Double Bible study;
Isaiah 48:6-7 – “From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, ‘Yes, I knew of them.’ This is the word of the Lord I’m declaring to you right now.”
He is doing a new thing in our day. We have not known these things before. To keep us dependent upon the Lord, they have never been revealed. It just wasn’t time. The Holy Spirit is revealing hidden things unknown to us.
1 Peter 1:5 clearly states that God has a “salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” To those with ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church, that time is now. The word “revealed” comes from the Greek word apokalupto. It is defined as “to uncover, to lay open what has been veiled or covered up, to make known, to disclose what before was unknown.” The Lord is making known in this “last time” His way of escape for the final deliverance of His people. It will test all of our hearts. We have never gone this way before (Joshua 3:4).
Isaiah 48:9 – “For my own name's sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off.” This is the ONLY reason He has not already poured out His wrath on the church within our nation. He will not hold back forever though. I see a large black cloud quickly approaching our land. It will bring down things we never thought possible on our soil (see the Bible study Washington’s Vision And God’s Judgment Of The Powerful).
The following insight is from the Bible study Meat In Due Season:
How Does This New Thing Happen?
By faith. Hearing that it’s time (Romans 10:17), and then doing what the Spirit is saying to the church, He will then bring it into existence. Hearing and believing, which involves our cooperation, is the key to unlock heaven’s will on earth. As we walk in belief, doing what we are led to do, or not to do (i.e. works) by the Spirit, faith is brought to completion (James 2:22).
(The following insight is from the Bible study Contrary Winds.)
The Woman And The Serpent
Revelation 12:1-6– The woman who gave birth to a son flees into the wilderness where God has prepared a place for her to be “nourished” for 1260 days/42 months/3-1/2 years.
1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet [see Romans 16:20 below], and on her head a crown of twelve stars;
2 and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor [5605- “to feel the pains of childbirth, to travail”] and in pain to give birth [5088- “to bring forth, bear, produce”]. [See Hosea 13:13. Also, these are the “burden bearers” (Gal.6:2, Neh. 4:10, 2 Chron. 34:13), the co-laborers.]
3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.
4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour [2719- “to eat up, to devour, to consume; to exploit, to prey upon”] her child [5043- “offspring, posterity”]. [This is the origin, from Satan, for “live-birth” abortion.]
5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.
6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness [2048- “solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited”] where she had a place prepared by God [see John 14:2-3], so that there she would be nourished [5142- “to nourish, support, to feed, to make to grow”] for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
As in Genesis, chapter 3, the woman and the serpent appear in great opposition toward each other, but this time the outcome is different. God uses her to bring forth His purpose on earth which the devil always attempts to destroy. He is always attempting to devour that which the Lord gives birth to on earth. In his first letter, Peter wrote the following;
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering [3804- “an enduring, undergoing, suffering, misfortune, evil, calamity, affliction”] are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
(1 Peter 5:8-9/NASU)
The woman in this passage is said to be “with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.” I believe this is where we are today. She, the one in the Body of Christ who is the most intimate with her Bridegroom, is again in labor (see Galatians 4:19, and Mark 6:48) and is currently undergoing much pain and affliction in her life. Through this revelation we can understand the times we are in and why the true church is being so vigorously opposed at this moment in history. As with Mary in the birth of Jesus, it is through the Bride’s labor and pain with that which the Lord has impregnated/infused within her that the purpose of God will be birthed on earth.
The Danger Of Doing God’s New Thing Man’s Way
(1 Chronicle 13:7, 1 Samuel 6:7, 2 Samuel 6)
The ark of God had been captured by their enemies, the Philistines, during the corrupt priesthood of Eli.
Because of the tumors that broke out on them, they decided to send it back to Israel on a new cart.
Years later, when David became king, he desired to bring the ark of God back to Jerusalem, also on a new cart, like the Philistines.
1 Chronicles 13:7 – “They moved the ark of God from Abinadab's house on a new cart, with Uzzah [ooz-zaw’; “strength”] and Ahio [akh-yo’; “brotherly”] guiding it.” (NIV)
This looked like a wonderful brotherly movement, but when Uzzah, the man of "strength," stretched out his hand to hold up the ark, he was struck dead by God. It's a picture of man attempting to uphold the move of God in his own strength. In these last days, when the Lord returns to His rightful throne on earth, we must be very careful how we handle His presence. Anyone who attempts to operate in the flesh will in like manner be struck down, quickly, so as to place the fear of the Lord in everyone else.
1 Chronicles 15:1-2 – “After David had constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, ‘No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.’” (NIV)
1 Chronicles 15:12-14 – “He said to them, ‘You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way [NAS “the ordinance”; KJV “due order”; NKJV “proper order”].’ So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel.” (NIV)
David, after the fear of the Lord had been placed in his heart through the death of Uzzah, searched the word of the Lord and found the proper way to handle God's presence. For those called to carry His presence, consecration was the key. It's ours as well.
A Final Warning:
The appointed time for the Lord’s return is upon us. As seen through David, the way to bring God’s presence back to Jerusalem, the place of his throne, had already been given by God to His people. After being rediscovered through previous revelation from Him, they did what He had ordained and great joy followed with His return.
Understanding His way at the end of this age is also just as crucial for us lest some die in trying to usher in His presence their way. For those with ears to hear, and eyes to see, He is now revealing His way, in His new thing. It will not happen in a denominational setting because they would claim it under their banner. Even so, “Come Lord Jesus!”