Part 4/4 Intensifying Darkness and Light

Intensifying Darkness Alongside Intensifying Light

The Brutal Battle

If His intent for our life with Him on earth is that spectacular and if He is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure its fruition, then we have a problem. There is an occupying force to be reckoned with. For heaven to arrive, for New Jerusalem to “come down” as Revelation emphatically points out, Babylon must be replaced. Destroying the enemy’s handiwork was a main focus of our Lord, and that holy destruction not only continues to this day, but is intensifying. Aspects of Babylon will not go quietly…things will get ugly. The prophets ominously warn that nations which refuse to acknowledge their true Creator and King will not only not be rewarded with provision and protection, but will experience the opposite.

Isaiah prophecies that obstinate nations will either change their ways (which many have done) or come to ruin and Zechariah cryptically says that, in the end times, nations that do not look to Yahweh will suffer economically to the point of horror and starvation. The battle is real, it is violent and innocent people will suffer. God hates all of it. He yearns for heaven and wholeness for EVERY nation, He yearns for it more than we do. But He will not allow evil to continue to thwart the magnificent destiny He has for mankind.

“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague He inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment…of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles,” says Zechariah (Zech. 14:16-21). Nations that have hated God’s people Israel and have attacked her either will change their ways and repent or face the dire consequences of their hatred and brutality and suffer economic despair (no rain).

In a previous chapter, Zechariah describes the health of his provided-for people: “They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be. Grain (that requires ‘rain’) will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women” (Zech. 9:17). A few chapters later He contrasts the state of health of His people with the condition of the obstinate attackers: “Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets and their tongues will rot in their mouths” (Zech. 14:12).

Recent (2016) news headlines have brought the world’s attention to Syria and her peoples’ desperation and starvation resulting from their civil war. A headline in the Smithsonian Institute’s online magazine reads:
“Is a Lack of Water to Blame for the Conflict in Syria?
A 2006 drought pushed Syrian farmers to migrate to urban centers, setting the stage for massive uprisings” (Joshua Hammer, June 2013)
“Water loss documented by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a pair of satellites operated by NASA and Germany’s aerospace center, suggests water-related conflict could be brewing… GRACE measured groundwater usage between 2003 and 2009 and found that the Tigris-Euphrates Basin—comprising Turkey, Syria, Iraq and western Iran—is losing water faster than any other place in the world except northern India . During those six years, 117 million acre-feet of stored freshwater vanished from the region as a result of dwindling rainfall and poor water management policies.

In Syria, a devastating drought beginning in 2006 forced many farmers to abandon their fields and migrate to urban centers. There’s some evidence that the migration fuelled the civil war there, in which 80,000 people have died. “You had a lot of angry, unemployed men helping to trigger a revolution,” says Aaron Wolf, a water management expert at Oregon State University, who frequently visits the Middle East.”

Significantly, this is the same Syria which has warred against Israel, attacking her three times (1948, 1967, 1973) since her physical restoration.

Zechariah (and Haggai) go on to warn that in the end times the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will experience chaos—the attackers will turn on each other. Are we living in this time of shaking? Both prophets say that one aspect of the Day of the Lord which ushers in the world-wide glory of God will be Israel’s enemies entering into a panicked state and attacking each other. Tragic and incredible when we look at the historically bizarre “Arab Spring”—the ‘natural’ explanations for the Arab Spring are threefold: 1) dissatisfaction of the people with their government, 2) shocking economic inequality between the citizenry and 3) a tech-savvy youth who can now see how other parts of the world are living and want in. But behind the natural reasons is the Lord allowing the sowing of Islamic falsehood and Judaism-hatred to finally be reaped. In the vast majority of these Arab conflicts (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Sudan and to a lesser extent, Mauritania, Omar, Djibouti and Western Sahara), one group of Muslims is fighting another, an incredible fulfillment of Zechariah’s and Haggai’s prophecies (Zechariah 14:13; Haggai 2:22).

Jesus is longing for His people to awaken and arise to the

present day emergence of heaven on earth.

The world-wide glory we’ve seen blossoming down through the ages and which has escalated with the restoration of Israel in 1948 (as incomplete as the restoration is), is not uniform. While flowers of heaven are indeed blossoming, so too are weeds.
Pockets of light are intensifying alongside pockets of darkness (Isaiah 60:2). Jesus said that at the end, the wheat would be mature—it would be recognizable as wheat (Matt. 13:24-30). Sons of God would look and act like sons of God. The kingdom, heaven, would have grown to maturity. And the weeds, they too would have grown to maturity—they too would be recognizable.

It’s not just ‘nations’ that can be described as full grown weeds. Individuals’ dark hearts will become darker. The maturing of the old nature will yield chaos. Hidden sins, habits and thoughts that used to be manageable, used to be controlled, if left unchecked will take over. Ugly habits that once could be covered will be laid bare in the public domain. Ugliness will get uglier…believers and unbelievers alike (whether a prayer was said ten years ago won’t be the issue, current yieldedness will be) will feel trapped and buckle under the weight of their intensifying slavery. Depression, drug use, visits to psychologists will all increase as will fist fights on airlines, in concert line ups and at grocery stores. Weeds fully grown. A quick glance at the news headlines reveals this is already in full swing, yet it is nothing compared to what will come.

Of course, if a seed of darkness that is sown will grow to completion, so too will a seed (you) of light! Sons and daughters of the kingdom will shine with divine splendour. Abundance, freedom and revelatory insight will explode. Glorious peace, love and joy in the Holy Spirit will come quickly on the heels of acts of truth and goodness. In fact, your growth in glory will accelerate at a supernatural speed.

The freedom will be wild and unprecedented—wheat, the way God dreamed it up in the garden, fully grown! You, a new creation, experiencing an abundance of blessings, both material and spiritual.

So, there is a ripening of evil alongside a ripening of righteousness. This is where we are at. The ninth inning has started. It is right at our doorstep. The Day of the Lord, the terrifyingly glorious battle whereby all His enemies, all the darkness, matures, is defeated and placed under His feet, so that love and peace and joy dominate the six o’clock news, is unfolding. God’s unstoppable plan.

 

Strange Evangelical Farming

At some point the sons of God had to manifest (Romans 8:19). Did we think that would never happen? At some point the body of Christ would grow, form, advance, change, mature, transform, transfigure (anything, other than ‘wait’). He planted divine seed in us—so why are we so uncomfortable with the thought of it growing? Our dear Lord asked His Father for us to be as one with the Father as He was (John 17:20-22). Do we really think that ‘on earth’ prayer will be left unanswered? How far was He willing to go? So insanely far that he invites us into his unfathomably intimate relationship with his Dad…for eternity past it was just Father and Son and that union is now forever altered: Father, Son and YOU!

We are “new creations”. This newness, Paul tells us, grows from glory to intensifying glory (2 Cor. 3:18). Our old human nature is being replaced with a new nature. Yeshua did not die to create better versions of ourselves—nicer Adams. As a “firstfruit” he died and rose to create more of Him, more sons of God. The Holy Spirit who is increasingly filling us cannot sin—he doesn’t know how to sin, and we are being transfigured into Spirit.

We are very strange farmers. In our bizarre world of agriculture, you plant a seed and wait years, centuries…and nothing happens. Well, something happens…many more seeds get planted. That is the goal on our faithless theological farm…plant as many seeds as possible that don’t really grow. Then, one day…a tree! From seed to tree in the twinkling of an eye! And we boast about the power of God that will be unleashed upon His Son’s return that is able to take that unimpressive little seed and instantly turn it into a full, glorious tree. Pardon me? I guess the author and perfecter of our faith just got it wrong?

Jesus is longing for His people to awaken and arise to the

present day emergence of heaven on earth.

 

The Mysterious Power of Unification and Sonship

No, heaven grows (it’s a process), New Jerusalem descends (it’s a process) and you are entering the fullness of Christlikeness (it’s a process). (At first I thought his mustard seed-turned-tree was a tree of evangelism. The number of converts would start small and grow. Fifteen years later I realized it was actually a Kingdom tree—though I didn’t exactly understand what that meant. And fifteen years after that, I see what Jesus actually said: it is a heaven tree).

When Paul says the Father’s will is for “all things” in heaven and on earth to be together under one head, Christ, (Ephesians 1: 9,10) he is describing heaven and earth’s separation thinning; he is boldly proclaiming it is God’s design to have the cultures and societies of this world become the culture and society of heaven. He is simply stating that the Lord’s, and our, prayer (‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’) will be answered “yes”. (Would it not make sense that as the separation thins, as the two realms merge, we begin to see evidence of that? The American boy whose story was turned into a book and movie went to heaven (he never died) and visited heaven while alive, interacting with deceased relatives as well as with Jesus; a reputable pastor who engaged in a discussion about the end times with Joshua (the high priest in the book of Zechariah) when he appeared in the pastor’s London hotel room; Paul who visited the third heaven, and the American minister who claims he met with the apostle Peter at a Denny’s restaurant, are examples of a functioning staircase between two realities. That Staircase, which accommodates both the ascending and descending, lives in us (John 1:51; Gen. 28:12).

Our old thinking was limited to very separate and concrete distinctions: earth = one reality (now), then, afterwards, is heaven, the other reality. Our blurred vision created sharp boundaries—but sharp vision will enable us to see blurred boundaries. Both the living and the once-living (who are awaiting their resurrection bodies) are in Christ. There is one Christ, one ‘body” of Christ…not two. As it progresses to completion, there are real ramifications.

You are manifesting (literally, ‘unveiling’ or ‘uncovering’) Jesus, becoming his brother—a son of God…and now is the time. All of creation is holding its breath, on tiptoe peering over the fence, to see you! That decaying and tiptoeing creation will begin to dance as the Christ-like church flows in full power…

“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Luke 4: 18,19).

Creation waits for the sons to be revealed because of what sons do! They set the enslaved free. They rule the nations.

“For the creation waits in eager expectation for (Christ’s Second Coming? No, for…) the sons of God to be revealed” (Romans 8:19).

Heaven emerging. Sons of God maturing. Creation healing. Darkness intensifying. Forces colliding. Prophecy increasing. Revelation mysteries unfolding. Enemies submitting. He is living inside of us as a corporate sparkling river which brings to life the dead things it touches (Rev. 22:1; John 7:38). Inside of us He is the tree of life producing an abundance of fruit for all the nations of the world as well as leaves for their healing (Rev. 22:2; Ez. 47:12)! Body of Christ, there has never been a time like this. Yeshua ‘endured the cross’ and ‘despised the shame’ for the joy this time will produce.

Jesus is longing for His people to awaken and arise to the

present day emergence of heaven on earth.

Body of Christ, now is the time to lean into the Lord. Be still…be quiet and hear His heart. Rest. Rest and be one with Him.

He yearns to whisper to you. You were not created to be in the bleachers at this moment in history, you were created to co-labour with Yeshua in reconciling everything (EVERYTHING) to Himself. He is infusing your leaves with power to heal the nations! And now is the time….

Get low. Be wary of old habits, old answers, old theologies…even good ones. Be careful of them. Get low. Bow.

To Ponder…

Is it dawning on you, as it has me, that Father is much better than we had originally thought?

Did you use to attribute all of our “Western” luxuries (i.e. your boat, clothes, dinners) either to luck (“be thankful you were born in North America!”), or to the result of our brainpower?

Are you holding on to your theology humbly, taking everything to Jesus instead of to your pastor or favourite author? Do you ultimately look for your answers in the Book or the God of the Book?

Does fear rule your discernment? Do you fear deception more than you trust Jesus?

Does it surprise you that despite evangelical scholars (New Bible Dictionary) linking worldwide restoration with Israel’s restoration as prophesied by Isaiah, many of us in the pews haven’t heard a single sermon on the subject in our entire lives?

Is it shocking to you that the Bible teaches that heaven comes to earth, that it starts small and that it grows?

Do you see your neighbourhood as the Garden of Eden (or what should be and will be the Garden of Eden)?

Are you surprised that you somehow glossed over the angels’ proclamation (at baby Jesus’ birth) of peace ON EARTH?

Is it a new idea to you that Jesus waits in heaven until all His enemies are made His footstool?

Does it thrill you that Christ is increasingly filling His bride with His glory and presence? That intimacy between bride and groom will deepen to the point of your thoughts becoming His thoughts?