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Posts tagged ‘Ezekiel’

Why Can’t We See the Church’s End-Times Role?.


Star of David

In my last article on the unique roles between Israel and the church, I spoke of the analogy of a wedding and emphasized the pandemonium that so often can precede the ceremony itself. It is actually this time and during this hour that before Christ is to return to the earth as the bridegroom that He wants His bride to focus upon.

We need to fully address the relationship betweenJew and Gentile to bring forth healing and reconciliation to the many issues that keep us separate, including much of the divide that the enemy himself is also fueling to keep us apart from our roles. Please click here to review part 1 and part 2 to gain a fuller understanding of the roles of Israel and the church in the last days.

The Prodigal Son Through Jew and Gentile Brothers

To continue, let us take a look at the story of prodigal son, reflecting upon the Jew and Gentile sons through the New Covenant thus far. (See Luke 15:11-31.) The Gentile has mostly received it first, who in this analogy is the older son and has been faithful to oversee His Father’s house (the church). However, at this time and the time coming, the Jewish son now returns in full repentance, as is prophesied through the word of G-d, thus fulfilling G-d’s covenants and promises to Israel, as they must come into a spiritual awakening and cleansing, which has been written and foretold despite their resistance. For Yeshua has said that He will not return until they say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the L-rd.”

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be … great” (Zech. 12:10-11, NIV).

For G-d’s words and covenants must be fulfilled, please also read Ezekiel 36:22-28 to fully understand this context from the Scripture. For while G-d has always planned to restore Israel spiritually so that they actually come in at the end to redeem His Jewish family, the emphasis on these Scriptures makes clear to us that it is not only for their sake, but rather for the sake of His holy name that His words, promises and covenants to restore them must be fulfilled.

This in itself is crucial for us to comprehend at this time, because His plan is to show His glory to the world through their rebirth. Therefore, if we truly want the L-rd to be glorified upon the earth, we must come into agreement with Israel’s spiritual awakening, making it our top priority. Because it is this plan as well as our association to it that will help to usher in the end time outpouring upon the earth along with the L-rd’s return. For what does Scripture tell us that Israel’s reconciliation will be but resurrectionpower! (See Romans 11:15.)

Referring back to the prodigal story, let us reflect upon the different reactions here between the father and the son to fully see this picture between the heart of man through the brother and the heart of G-d through the Father. Because only operating in the Father’s heart will enable us to fulfill our role to love Israel as our own. This must take place first within us through the Spirit in a family reconnection that can only come through faith.

What a dramatic difference here in the way in which the father and the son respond, and we will never be able to love Israel through the heart of the brother, which has so clearly reflected the church’s response to Israel through the ages as well as the weaknesses of our own humanity. I address this issue in its entirety in my new book The Ezekiel Generation (on bookshelves this month), which I would encourage you to read.

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Has Our Bloodline Been Affected From the Past?

I know this is a difficult, delicate and sensitive matter for us to process from our past, for we cannot undo what has been done. While we are not responsible for anybody’s actions other than our own, this does not necessarily remove the influence of our ancestral past if it has not been properly renounced and repented of, as the sins of the fathers travel to the third and fourth generations and can still influence us and our actions (Ex. 20:5).

Sometimes in our own walks, do we not have to overcome or renounce our own ancestral influences (the sins of our fathers or mothers)? I know I have done so with things my parents or grandparents moved in. And so it is the same with anti-Jewish sentiment, which has unfortunately been very strong in the bloodline of the church from the past. Just look at racism, for example, and how it had its effects on all believers.

As a result, I believe the enemy has been using this against us without our knowledge, which I am bringing to light at this time. For the devil can only attach himself or his strongholds to some form of disobedience, which in this case has been keeping us veiled and separate from our own role to love Israel as ourselves and to provoke them to jealousy (Rom. 11:13-15). I believe it is this generational bloodline issue that has been clouding and blinding our spiritual sight regarding Israel to the unity that the Father is looking to bring now amongst His family, so that He may work His will through us so the end may come.

I ask you in all honesty and sincerity and only raise these issues for the sake of G-d’s healing and reconciliation, because there is no condemnation in Christ. However, I believe that our bloodline needs to be cleansed from the past, and it is preventing us from coming into the great role to help G-d release His breath and life back into His first born child (Ezek. 37:9-11).

But how can we honestly expect to have clean and pure revelation and understanding regarding Israel and the church and end-time theology when our own church history has been so dark toward the Jewish people? When our own ancestral actions toward them have been in complete contradiction to our calling to release G-d’s mercy back to them, to draw them to jealousy through our own intimate relationship with their G-d, who is now our G-d? After all, whose vine are we grafted into? And is the family of G-d complete without Israel’s awakening? (See Romans 11.)

This is why I believe the church has not yet gotten the full download from G-d regarding Israel and theend times, because the enemy has been using the bloodline to keep us apart. He has been using the actions of our ancestry against us. I call this generational anti-Semitism, and one does not necessarily have to be anti-Semitic to still be affected by it—although when this is in our bloodline, it is much easier for us to be anti-Semitic.

Alternatively, when generational anti-Semitism is in the bloodline, I believe it allows the enemy to cloud and confuse, so much so that we can even love Israel and yet still be confused regarding our theology. This so easily explains why in our modern day, amongst many of our evangelical groups as well as many other believers, there is almost a romantic association to the land and yet still no real connection to our unique role, which is to help give them life. We seem to be more concerned about the land than we are to reach the people, which is of much greater significance.

If the enemy can keep us separate from this calling, which I believe starts in prayer and repentance, it enables him to keep dominion. He knows when Israel comes in, he is finished, because the L-rd is coming back! Just think for a moment of those churches located in more heavily populated Jewish areas. How can they not have a special focus and burden in wanting to somehow reach the Jewish people? And yet this is so often not the case. Could there be something wrong with this picture?

Up to this point in our theological positions, we have not yet seen any personal connection between the church and Israel in the end times, that G-d is going to redeem them all by Himself. However, as I have already pointed out in earlier articles on this subject, I believe this is in great need of correction, as both the Father and the Son are waiting for our earnest intercession that can only come through a spiritual reconnection in His family—through us receiving the Father’s heart for Israel.

I believe now is the time for us to address these delicate issues and to allow the Holy Spirit to break off any ungodly influences from the past that this generational bloodline issue is still causing. For certain, this is a most sensitive subject but one that we must be willing to face, because judgment always begins in the house first (1 Pet. 4:17). Please earnestly take this matter to prayer, whether you agree with it or not.

To be continued …

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Grant Berry is a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus and author of The New Covenant Prophecy and The Ezekiel Generation. He has founded Reconnecting Ministries with the specific focus to help the church reconnect spiritually to Israel and considers it vital to the kingdom of G-d in the last days. His message focuses on the unity, love and healing that the Father wants to bring between Jew and Gentile yet clearly points out the differences and misunderstandings between the two groups. Now is the time to look more carefully into this mystery to make way for healing and reconnection in the Spirit. For more information, please visit reconnectingministries.org.

The Law and the Heart.


For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Hebrews 8:10

Recommended Reading
Ezekiel 36:26-27 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2036:26-27&version=NKJV )

Twelve years ago today, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. The record of the lives lost and damage done is being recorded in an underground museum in what was the foundation of the World Trade Center‘s “Twin Towers.” But the records are written even more indelibly in another place — in the hearts of those who lost loved ones on that day.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

God first wrote His laws for Israel on tablets of stone. When man proved incapable of obeying those laws, He promised to write them in a more accessible place — in the hearts and minds of His people. That is how the New Covenant was portrayed by God through the prophet Jeremiah. The internalization of God’s law is made possible by the permanent presence of the Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

Give thanks to God today for His Holy Spirit who empowers you to walk in a manner pleasing to God. Then be sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings as He calls God’s will to mind.

Sinners cannot obey the Gospel, any more than the law, without renewal of heart.
J. I. Packer

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Daniel 4-5

By David Jeremiah.

A Sound From Heaven.


And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. —Acts 2:2

Sound is the vibration of air molecules; the Greek word translated “sound” here is echoes, which means “to reverberate.” Acts 2:6 says, when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together. The word noised” is phoneo, meaning “to publish” or “to proclaim.”

Luke is telling us in these two verses that the multitude heard a voice echoing like a mighty rushing wind and the phenomenon was made public. On Pentecost, God spoke life to the church in much the same way He created heaven and earth. Ezekiel prophesied to the wind, and the army came alive (Ezekiel 37).

When God speaks to us, His Spirit reverberates in our human spirit. We can then speak the oracles of God and allow His message to reverberate in the hearts and spirits of others (1 Thessalonians 1:8).

What has the Spirit deposited in your heart that you are burning to speak? What message from the Lord are you passionate to share with others?

Lord, open my mouth and baptize me in fire so that
I may share Your Word with anyone who will listen.
Empower me to speak Your message. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

How to Prophetically Lay Siege to a City.


cindyjacobs
Cindy Jacobs
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Ps. 24:1, NIV).
This powerful proclamation points to the lordship of Christ over the entire earth. In the light of Psalm 24:1, the searching question we ask ourselves is, “Has the lordship of Christ been realized in the life of my own city?”
To know the answer, it is necessary to read our city and its culture in the light of God’s Word. We need to not only read God’s Word, but to view our city in the light of God‘s world. For some, this may be a new concept. Most of us are more used to studying the Word of God for use in our personal lives—and so we should. However, God’s Word extends to the whole world. The earth is the Lord’s.
What Has Happened to God’s World?
Frankly, as we examine the cities in which we live, many would have to say, “Truthfully, there is a lot about my city that is not godly.” As more Christians throughout the world have come to realize the spiritual condition of their cities, the church is experiencing an awakening concerning our responsibility to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done,” not only in the life of the church but in the life of our cities.
What has happened to God’s world? The Bible states that Satan has declared himself the “god of this world.” Satan has effectively built strongholds around our cities and the people groups of the world. He is holding captive billions of souls who will spend an eternity in hell if we do not learn how to storm the gates of hell on their behalf.
As we minister to leaders across the nations, we find many who are suffering intense discouragement. Often the labor in the harvest fields has been so long that strongholds have been built in their minds concerning their situation and city. They begin to wonder if their city can ever be taken for the kingdom of God. Will they ever see revival come?
Ed Silvoso describes this kind of mental stronghold as “a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes the believer to accept as unchangeable something that he/she knows is contrary to the will of God.” He also shares that many have simply been prisoners of war in their own churches. Satan doesn’t mind if they have a few visitors and a little bread and water but gets greatly disturbed if they talk about evangelizing their whole city.
Ezekiel 4: A Prophetic Pattern
The army of God is on the move and ready for battle strategy. A new breed of watchmen is emerging across the nations. This breed is ready to lay siege to its cities.
Ezekiel 4 gives a prophetic pattern for establishing the lordship of Christ in your area. Ezekiel was called of God to perform an intercessory act over the city of Jerusalem, much like Joshua when he was called to march around Jericho. Ezekiel’s prophetic intercession provides a model—with principles found throughout the Word of God—on how to intercede for a city against spiritual strongholds.
Elijah Lists Prophetic Resources
As you read Ezekiel 4, you will find these principles, which can help you develop a strategy to discover Satan’s strongholds in your area:
1. Make a Map
 
“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it” (Ezek. 4:1).
God desires to reveal strongholds to His intercessors concerning their area. Ezekiel was told to make a map. This concept, called “spiritual mapping,” has been largely uncovered by recent pioneers in spiritual warfare such as George Otis Jr. Otis says we need to strive to see our cities and our nations as they really are, not as they appear to be.
From historical study, Ezekiel most likely made cylindrical maps, which were placed at the corner of temples depicting not only the geography but the history of the kings and nations. Ezekiel did warfare over the iniquities of the generations using these maps of history. In other words (either by natural knowledge or revelation from God), he researched the strongholds in Jerusalem and mapped them out.
2. Set an Intercessory Strategy
 
“Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it” (v. 2).
The spiritual mapping of a city can be used to develop a strategic plan to tear down the strongholds of the enemy. Ezekiel was instructed in verse 2 to “lay siege walls” against the city. These were movable watchtowers that were placed near the walls or strongholds of the enemy to spy out, research and weaken the besieged stronghold.
Watchmen were placed in these towers to give information for strategy. These watchmen harassed the enemy from a high place that was purposely built for war. The Lord has placed His watchmen throughout the world whom He has anointed to spy out, research and harass the enemy through intercession.
3. Implement the Strategy
God told Ezekiel to build a ramp or earthen mound against the walls. He was also told to build camps and lay battering rams against it (v. 2). Today this is accomplished through unity in prayer with pastors and leaders, prayer in local churches and the formation of “camps” of prayer groups for the city. These groups pray the prayers that are the “battering rams” against the gates of hell in the city.
4. Build a Wall of Protection
“Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel” (v. 3).
Ezekiel was instructed to take an iron pan and place it as a wall. This wall offered protection against the fiery darts of the enemy from the besieged stronghold. We can build a wall by claiming the protection of God in our lives (Ps. 91). To withstand Satan’s counterattack, we need to keep these walls in a state of repair through personal holiness and right relationships with God and man.
It’s the release of Satan’s captives. It’s the evangelization of the world. As we lift up the cross of Christ and tear down Satan’s standards, surely the power of the blood of the Lamb will heal our lands and draw all men to His lovely name.
Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE.
Cindy Jacobs is a respected prophet who travels the world ministering not only to crowds of people but to heads of nations. Her first calling is and always will be prophetic intercession. Each year, she travels and has spoken on nearly every inhabited continent to tens of thousands. Yet in her heart is the memory that Jesus left the ninety-and-nine to go to the one. Generals International is an international church movement, reforming the nations of the world back to a biblical worldview. It achieves societal transformation through intercession and the prophetic. Jacobs has authored seven books and loves to travel and speak, but one of her favorite pastimes is spending time with her husband, Mike, and their children, Daniel and Mary Madison, along with her five adorable grandchildren.

Ezekiel Prophecy Reveals Major Future Alliance Against Israel.


Vladamir Putin,Mahmoud Amadinejad
Russian President Vladamir Putin (l) and Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad

Ezekiel 38-39 foretells a massive future invasion of Israel by the armed forces of six nations. Five of those nations are identified in Ezekiel 38:5-6 with the names they bore in Ezekiel’s time.

The first nation, Persia, is now the modern state of Iran. It is currently ruled by an Islamic fundamentalist government that is building significant military power, including the development of nuclear weapons. It has openly declared its commitment to the annihilation of the Jewish state of Israel.

The second nation, Ethiopia, was not the same as modern Ethiopia. Instead, it occupied the area later known as Nubia. Today it is known as Sudan and is dominated by an Islamic fundamentalist government that is using brutal means, including crucifixion of Christians, to attempt to establish a pure, Islamic state.

The third nation, Libya, the western neighbor of Egypt, is also an Islamic nation today. It is strongly anti-West and anti-Israel, and Western intelligence has been informed that Libya has hired Eastern European and former Soviet military scientists to aid its development of military power.

The people of the fourth nation, Gomer, were also known as the Cimmerians. They originally lived north of the Caucasus Mountains in the southern part of what is modern Russia. In Ezekiel’s time, they had settled in what is now central Turkey.

The people of the fifth nation, Togarmah, were identified by Josephus as the Phrygians (Antiquities, I. 6, 1 [126]), who settled in Cappadocia, now eastern Turkey.

Considering the location of the fourth and fifth nations in Turkey, it should be noted that the present secular government of Turkey is being threatened by Islamic fundamentalists. As a result, some leaders fear that Turkey could become another Iran. If that happens, all the nations named in Ezekiel 38:5-6 will be characterized by a militant Islamic hatred of Israel.

The Identity of the Leader of the Invasion
The five nations of Ezekiel 38:5–6 will be led by a sixth in the future attack against Israel. God gave three identifying marks for that leader.

The Leader’s Name
The leader will be “Gog, of the land of Magog” (see Ezek. 38:2). Jerome, a prominent church leader (345-420 A.D.), declared that Magog was located north of the Caucasus Mountains, near the Caspian Sea. Josephus (Antiquities, I. 6, 1 [123]) and Greek writers associated the name “ Magog ” with the Scythians. According to the revised International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the major group of Scythians lived near the Black Sea “from the Caucasus around to the Danube.” It appears, then, that the land of Magog was located near the Black and Caspian Seas north of the Caucasus Mountains, in the southern part of 20th-century Russia.

The Leader’s Political Position
The leader is identified as “the chief prince” or ruler “of Meshech and Tubal” (see Ezek. 38:2; 39:1). Classical Greek writers called the people of Meshech the “Moschoi,” and Assyrian records referred to them as the “Muski.” This group settled in the area of Armenia, “where the borders of Russia, Iran and Turkey converge.”

The people of Tubal were located in the central part of Turkey immediately west of Togarmah.

The Leader’s Geographical Location
Gog’s location is “the north parts” (see Ezek. 38:15; 39:2). The Hebrew word translated “parts” means “extreme or uttermost parts.” Since Ezekiel was a Hebrew prophet, he would refer to geographical locations from the vantage point of his homeland. Thus, his statement in 38:15 indicates that when Gog leads the six-nation attack against Israel, he will come from his location in the extreme or uttermost parts directly north of Israel. Russia is the nation situated in the extreme or uttermost parts directly north of Israel.

From what has been observed, it appears that Russia will lead the future invasion against Israel foretold in Ezekiel 38-39. Why would Russia do this? One reason is anti-Semitism. Before Communism, Russia was notorious for brutal persecution of Jews. While Communism held an iron grip on the government of that nation, it suppressed the outward expression of hatred for Jews. Now that Communism has lost that grip, at least for a while, anti-Semitism has been allowed to raise its ugly head again.

Some members of Pamyat, a strongly anti-Semitic organization that wants to rid Russia of all Jews, blame all of that nation’s problems on the Jews. Some have even accused Jews of being the source of the AIDS virus. As a result of these ominous trends and the lifting of Communist rule, a mass exodus of Jews from the former Soviet Union has been taking place since the early 1990s, with the majority returning to their ancient homeland of Israel.

There is another reason for Russia to lead the future invasion—a desire for status. According to an independent secular intelligence agency, officers of the armed forces of the former Soviet Union believe that Russia can still have superpower status, even without Communism, if it will ally itself with Islamic nations against Israel.

In line with this, early in the 1990s, an official Soviet government spokesman stated that young people in the nation’s schools are being required to learn Arabic as their second language because his government had concluded that the future of their nation lies with the Islamic nations of the world.

The Time of the Invasion
In Ezekiel 38:8-16, God declared that this future invasion of Israel would take place “in the latter years” and “latter days.” That would be after Israel has been regathered from the nations to its homeland and feels so safe and secure that it will have no defenses of its own (see verses 8, 11–12, 14). There has been an amazing regathering of Israel to its homeland since its re-establishment as a nation state in 1948, but certainly Israel does not feel so safe and secure there today that it has no defenses of its own.

Since the Scriptures indicate that there will be no warfare during the future reign of the Messiah (see Ps. 72:7; Isa. 9:6-7; Mic. 4:3-4), this invasion cannot take place during the Millennium. Is there any time between now and Christ’s Second Coming to establish the Millennium when Israel will feel so safe and secure that it will not maintain its defenses? It appears so.

According to Daniel 9:27, at the very beginning of the future seven-year Tribulation period, the Antichrist will enforce a strong covenant with Israel. It will so strongly bind Israel to the Antichrist that he will regard that nation as an extension of himself and his empire in the Middle East. As a result, through that covenant, the Antichrist will guarantee Israel’s national security. This guarantee will cause Israel to feel so safe and secure that it will discontinue the costly burden of maintaining its defenses.

This feeling of security will not last long, however. In the middle of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will begin to decimate Israel (see Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15-21); thus, the nation will feel safe and secure only during the first half of the seven-year Tribulation. It appears, then, that the invasion of Israel by Russia and its Islamic allies will take place during the first half of the Tribulation, perhaps shortly before its midpoint.

The Invader’s Attitude and Actions
The invaders will think that since Israel has let down its military guard, it will be their opportune time to strike and plunder its resources (see Ezek. 38:10-13). As a result, they will launch such a large invasion force that it will seem like a massive cloud covering the land (see Ezek. 38:9, 15-16).

God’s Attitude And Actions
God’s initial action will be to pull these invaders into Israel for His own sovereign purpose (see Ezek. 38:4, 16; 39:2). When they attack, His attitude toward them will be characterized by fury, jealousy, and fiery wrath (see Ezek. 38:18-19). He will then actively intervene to destroy the massive invading force through a fierce earthquake, landslides, self-destructive panic, pestilence, excessive rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone (see Ezek. 38:19-22).

The destruction of the invading army will be so extensive that the mountains and open fields of Israel and a valley near the Dead Sea will be congested with corpses. God will bring fowl and beasts to eat many of them. It will take the Jews seven months to bury the remainder of the dead and seven years to destroy their weapons (see Ezek. 39:3-5, 9-20). If this invasion takes place shortly before the middle of the Tribulation, this destruction of weapons will continue into the early part of the Millennium.

God’s purpose for all of this will be to glorify Himself before Israel and all the nations—to so impress them with His existence and power that He will have life-changing influence on them (see Ezek. 38:16, 23; 39:7, 13, 21-22). Many Jews and Gentiles will be saved during the Tribulation (see Rev. 7). No doubt the fulfillment of the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy will be one of the means through which God will bring people of that time to Himself.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Dr. Renald E. Showers is an author and an international conference speaker for the Friends of Israel. For the original article, visit foi.org.

 

{ Day 32 }.


This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to set fire to you, and it will consume all your trees, both green and dry. The blazing flame will not be quenched, and every face from south to north will be scorched by it. Everyone will see that I the Lord have kindled it; it will not be quenched. Ezekiel 20:47-48

The enemy has assaulted the people of God. He has weakened and destroyed our foundation of the knowledge of God. He has sought to defeat us by diluting our passion for Jesus and diverting us from our divine purpose. Satan has done his job well. But the blazing light and majestic loveliness of the knowledge of God are about to shine into the community of the redeemed, and all the dark forces of hell will not be able to overpower it.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Shine Your glory in my heart, Lord, and cast out all the darkness Satan has tried to place within my life. Destroy his attempts to keep me from following Your purposes for my life.

In His arsenal, God has reserved the secret weapon
of all the ages—the awesome knowledge of
the splendor of the person of Jesus.

By MIKE BICKLE.

Break Into Your Season of God Fulfilling His Promises.


(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

God created each one of us for His glory. Therefore, you can move from a place of desolation into prophetic fulfillment of His destiny for you.

Have you ever waited so long for a promise to manifest that you lost hope? The Bible clearly tells us that we don’t live down here on Earth with our sights set only on what is temporal, but we are to have a view of eternity and operate from that perspective. Even in our greatest hour here on Earth, our best is still ahead.

God will give us grace to endure what is going on in our temporal world until we come into the fullness of our eternal destiny. But God has a wonderful plan for our temporal existence that will flow into our eternal communion with Him.

The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11, NKJV)

God has given us promises for salvation, inheritance and spiritual life on which we can base our future. We discover His plan for our destinies through our covenant relationships with Him.

He may reveal His desires to us through an urging or intense desire that He stirs within us. We may also have supernatural encounters with God through His Word, or through dreams, visions, miracles or prophetic words that we receive.

Each time we respond to the Lord in obedience, we see progress in the realization of our earthly purpose. God works all things together for good to position us properly so that His plans can be fulfilled. This process and progression is called prophetic fulfillment.

GOD’S NOW TIMES In the natural cycle of life there are seasons, and every one of them has a time frame. Some seasons are filled with desolation, but there is a time when God’s promises are manifested—when desolation ends and prophetic fulfillment begins.

That was the case in our family when 10 years of barrenness came to an end with the birth of the first of our six children. When a time of desolation or wilderness ends and a new season of promise begins, those are God’s now times.

In Daniel 9 we see a biblical example of the end of desolation and the beginning of a season of prophetic fulfillment. When Daniel began reading the prophecies of Jeremiah, Israel had been in captivity in Babylon for 70 years and was still in bondage (see v. 2).

Suddenly, Daniel understood that now was the time for the prophecy to be fulfilled. The 70 years of desolation Jeremiah had prophesied were completed, and the time had come to break out of captivity (see Jer. 25:11).

Daniel came to an understanding that the season was changing, and Israel needed to break out of captivity. He turned to God through prayer and supplications and began to deny himself through fasting (see Dan. 9:3).

By doing these things, he reconciled himself with God, as a representative of Israel, and broke out of the season of desolation. This allowed the Israelites to begin to move into their future.

Through His promises to us, God is breaking off desolation personally, corporately and territorially—and hell hates it. Any time you are getting ready to break forth into a new season of prophetic fulfillment, Satan will oppose you and try to keep you in the desolation of the past. As you move forward, be aware of the following three-step process:

1. God gives an intercessory call.
Intercession always proceeds what God is doing to break desolation from our lives. We need to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to align ourselves with His mind and connect with His heart. As we come into agreement with God through His intercessory call to us, He will propel us out of desolation and into prophetic fulfillment.

“Intercession” is defined as reaching or meeting someone to pressure them strongly to change a situation. Hebrews 7:25 states of Jesus, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

The Spirit of God will co-labor with us and reveal our way out of desolation. But we must pray until we gain the strategy for moving forward and taking a stand against the enemy, who will seek to keep us bound. God will not only break us out of our wilderness, He will cleanse, renew and restore us to a place of communion with Him.

2. God revives unfulfilled prophetic destiny.
Jeremiah had prophesied that Israel would go into captivity and serve the king of Babylon for 70 years. As Daniel received the prayer burden from God, he was able to understand this word that Jeremiah the prophet had spoken and know that it was now time for the power of desolation to be broken and restoration to begin.

Some of our grandparents and great-grandparents had incredible destinies that were never realized. We need to know how their prophetic inheritance became captive to the enemy. We also need to see how the generational blessings of God have not been fulfilled in our families.

My father was a man with a great deal of potential, but the path he chose brought corruption and defilement. He died a premature death, and his destiny was never fulfilled.

When the Lord revealed to me His overwhelming love for my earthly father and the incredible plan He had for my father’s life, I said, “Lord, let me not only come into the fullness of my own life, but let me accomplish the things that were meant for my father in his generation that were sent astray by his alignment with the enemy.”

Prophetic destiny is often tied to the generations of our families. To have prophetic fulfillment in our own lives, we need to allow the Lord to revive the unfulfilled prophetic destiny in our family line and give us a success mentality of completion and fulfillment.

3. God calls you to prophesy your destiny. God has chosen to use us to bring His will to Earth. He calls us to come into dialogue with Him, listen to His voice and gain prophetic revelation so that the hope of our calling can be fulfilled. He asks us to take that revelation and prophesy it into the earthly realm.

DECLARE YOUR FUTURE
Throughout the Bible, we see examples of God’s people making prophetic declarations into their situations in order to see His will come about. Such was the case in Ezekiel 36 and 37.

The Lord told Ezekiel that even though Israel (signified by the “bones” in Ezekiel 37) had been scattered, He was going to bring them back together. Then God gave Ezekiel an understanding of Israel’s prophetic destiny that he was to declare into the earth.

Ezekiel 37 contains four levels of prophetic declaration that can help us to understand the process of prophetic fulfillment. In each level, there comes a place where prophetic fulfillment can stall. Understanding how the process can stall will help us proceed into the next dimension of prophetic fulfillment.

1. Coming together. When Ezekiel took the words that God gave him and declared them into the desolate situation that had overtaken Judah, things began to happen. The same is true with us.

When we see God’s prophetic destiny in our lives and begin to declare it, something will happen. However, we have to release faith before we can see the results with our eyes. Faith comes first.

When Ezekiel first prophesied, there was a rattling noise and the bones came together, and then the sinews and flesh covered the bones. In the first level of prophecy, when we prophecy what God has promised us, we hear a new sound and see a new structure coming together. We even gain a portion of the plan to move forward. However, just having a plan is not enough (see Ezek. 37:7-8).

2. The breath of life. Ezekiel had seen the bones come together and the flesh appear, but there was no breath in them. Something was not yet working to produce prophetic fulfillment. So the Lord said, “Go back and prophesy to that part that has not received life” (see Ezek. 37:8-9).

Notice that He told Ezekiel to prophesy to the part that was not working and command it to come in line with God’s plans and purposes. When we encounter a snag in declaring God’s word, it does not necessarily mean that we have not heard God or that we have failed. It often means that we need to enter into another level of prophecy in order to see life begin to emerge.

3. Spiritual warfare over hope deferred. Ezekiel saw an army result from his prophetic declarations. But as those in the army began to speak, they said that they were filled with despair (see Ezek. 37:10-11).

When we become filled with despair, our faith for the future can easily be depleted. Lost hope often works with rejection and causes us to feel isolated, as was the case with this great army. Hope deferred can also release a spirit of infirmity (see Prov. 13:12)

We must fight against whatever the enemy is doing to try to steal the life that God has breathed into us. Deal with the issues that have discouraged and defeated you. Facing the problems of the past releases you to move forward into hope.

EZEKIEL’S VISION OF THE LIVING WATERS.


Ezekiel 47: 5 and 11

Sermon by:

Rev. H.A. Bergsma

PUBLISHED BY

PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE

OF THE

FREE REFORMED CHURCHES OF NORTH AMERICA.

(January 2005)

              LITURGY:

 

Psalter 279

Law of God

Psalter 152

Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 47: 1 – 12

Text: Ezekiel 47: 5 and 11

Congregational Prayer

Offerings

Psalter 357

Sermon

Psalter 127

Thanksgiving Prayer

Psalter 346

Doxology: Psalter 413

 

 

Congregation of the Lord,

Extended periods of drought give rise to great appreciation for rain.

How wonderful, when, after a dry spell, it rains again!

It makes all of nature revive again.

It seems then that nature itself comes to life again.

How good it is to see dried up riverbeds carry fast flowing waters again; to hear the rush and splash of water where once there was nothing but cracked, dried-up mud.

How refreshing it can be, even in terms of fragrance, when a dry garden or a dry lawn gets its necessary showers again.

Water is then a blessing of wonderful proportions.

For instance, when I visited Western Canada once in springtime, I quickly became aware that the farmers and ranchers were particularly pleased because their rivers and canals were filled with water, either by the rains that came down, or from the snow melting in the mountains.

They were pleased with this abundance of water, because the year before had been a particular dry spell.

Now, water has been a very valuable commodity in the land of Palestine for as long as it has been in existence.

Extended periods of drought were well known in the land of Palestine; parched fields, wilting crops, and dried riverbeds were not uncommon, and once the waters came again, it was, invariably, a literal revival for the land and for the people.

It is no wonder then that the flowing of water has taken on a spiritual dimension in the Bible and has, at times, acquired the label of “living waters.”

In this hour I invite you to visit the prophet Ezekiel with me as he is busy receiving a vision of a river of water, and let us concentrate particularly on the verses 5 and 11 of Ezekiel 47 of our text … Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. …

But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.”

Let us consider these words by the following heading and division …

EZEKIEL’S VISION OF THE RIVER OF WATER FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRACTICE TRUE RELIGION

  1. 1.      The River of Water of this Vision
  2. 2.      The Dark Side of this Vision
  3. 3.      Interpretation of this Vision

Congregation,

Ezekiel finds himself in a situation that many of us would love to find ourselves in, especially on hot and dry summer day … swimming in a river … swimming in a place that is suitable for swimming, called “Waters to swim in.”

The only thing different with Ezekiel is that it is only “virtual-reality” with him, because it is a vision of a river of water, and it is in a vision that Ezekiel finds himself swimming in this river.

What is happening?

Well, God is communicating with Ezekiel by way of a vision.

This happened more often in Old Testament times, and meant that God had something to tell that was of a spiritual nature.

In other words, it was something of an “object –lesson” for the people.

In our text too, God has something to tell Ezekiel, and through Ezekiel, God has something to tell us, which, you can be sure, will be of a spiritual nature.

This is why I feel it necessary to divide this message into several parts … explain to you the vision itself; say something about the dark side of this vision; and give you the interpretation of this vision.

The vision itself then begins with Ezekiel seeing the temple at Jerusalem.

And it is an unusual sight by the temple at Jerusalem … there is water flowing out of the temple, particularly from under one of its doors, that is, from the gateway facing the east.

Apparently the water is mysteriously bubbling-up within the temple, first flowing past the altar of sacrifice, and making its way out of the temple by flowing forth from the threshold of the east-gate.

As Ezekiel observes this unusual occurrence, we are told that he also observes the flow of this water, which is of an unusual nature … the further the water flows from the temple, the deeper and wider and stronger the flow becomes.

Apparently, there is someone with Ezekiel to help him measure the flow of water, and who is identified as a man with “a line in his hand.”  (v.3)

A quarter of a mile away from the temple, the stream of water appears to be ankle deep; another quarter of a mile it is knee-deep; then up to his waist; and before the stream is a full mile from the temple, it is a river of water, so deep and wide that you cannot cross it by walking through it, in fact, it has become a river good enough to swim in, called in our text “Waters to swim in.”

Quite unusual, to say the least, because normally, the further you get away for the source of the water, the less volume of water there is, and the smaller the stream becomes.

But here it is the other way around … the water increases in volume and strength, and the stream becomes a veritable river the further it goes forth.

It ends up becoming a river, which has such a broad expanse that its waters cannot be passed over and are like “Waters to swim in.”

There is something else quite unusual about this river of water: it has great healing qualities.

The path in which it flows brings healing and restoration to the land, even if the land happens to have been desert before.

Trees in many varieties grow in lush abundance at its banks, and all of them are of the fruitful kind, bearing new fruit every month.

Every type of fruit, growing on those trees, is said to be good for food, and, so we are told, even the leaves of those trees have value, apparently having medicinal qualities.

The wildlife existing in the waters of this river is noteworthy too!

The creatures are of the healthiest sort.

Not only is there is a great abundance of fish, but a great variety of them as well, and all of them flourishing and abounding.

Indeed, listening to a description of this river of water, we may draw the conclusion that these waters are nothing else but living waters and of a most desirable quality.

I venture to say that this river is not all that much different from the rivers that ran through the Garden of Eden, or Paradise.

It is a sight to behold, and no doubt, Ezekiel is thrilled with this part of the vision.

I’m sure that if you owned some property you would love to have such a river running through your property … abundant in volume; good for the land; good for the wildlife; good for the vegetation; even good for your health.

But, as much as I hate to bring it up, Ezekiel also sees a dark side of this vision, which we must consider in the second place.

This dark side is only given to us in a few lines and is articulated in our second text-verse, verse 11 … But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.”

Right in the middle of this wonderful description of a river with living waters, there is this one line describing a scene so jarring and out of place, and so contrary to what we have heard and seen so far.

Here is a part of the scene, obviously belonging to the overall vision, called “the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof” which do not fare well; which in fact do not benefit from the healing qualities, and, so we are told, “shall be given to salt.”

Now, when a plot of land is “given to salt” it means that such a plot of land is rendered unfruitful, due to the fact that salt has been sown in it.

It may have been a fertile piece of land at one time, growing rich and plentiful crops, but if it is given to salt, it becomes a useless piece of soil, good for nothing.

In Bible times, it was part of warfare, to sow the enemy’s gardens or lands with salt.

We have an instance of this in Judges 9:45, where a city, or a city’s gardens and lands are sown with salt.

There we read … And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.”

And in Deuteronomy 29:23 we have an example of a land, given to salt, where it is described as … “ the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath.”

A land sown, or given to salt is therefore a land that is dead.

Well now, this is how it is with the miry places and the marshes that Ezekiel has to look at as part of the vision.

These places do not suffer from drought; there is no lack of water in these places as such; there is some water present there, but they are called “miry places” and “marishes.”

In other words, we have here a description of swamps and marshes.

No doubt you have seen such places … swamps and marshes.

In such places the water does not flow; it is at a stand-still; the water is stagnant; green algae often lies on the surface, and dead, broken trees hang in it and around it.

And no doubt such places smell horribly as well and are often mosquito-infested, if not infested by other sorts of creepy-crawly creatures of the dark.

Indeed, this is the dark side of the vision shown by God and seen by Ezekiel.

You and I may come to the conclusion already that these miry places and marshes are not attractive sites, and certainly do nothing to enhance the beauty or the health of the land, and are not fruit producing by any means.

In fact, we are told that such places shall be given to salt … and you know now what sort of judgment this means for the area.

The vision of living waters, and the dark side of it … the miry places and the marshes.

But now, as my third consideration: the interpretation of this vision.

Obviously, there is a spiritual meaning to it.

Right on the forefront already is the interpretation for Ezekiel and for the people of Israel, who, by the way, were in the time of Ezekiel in exile.

The interpretation for them is … that the land of Israel, and its people, would be restored again, watered, healed, and become a food-producing land and nation again, with a future!

This vision is therefore meant as a comfort for Ezekiel and the people in exile, and an encouragement for them.

But there is a larger spiritual interpretation of this vision; and it is one that should speak to us too.

God is saying something to us too by way of this vision.

What does this water bubbling up in the temple mean?

Allow me to suggest that it is a picture of the grace of God, particularly as it comes by way of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 46: 4 also speaks of it … “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.”

Jesus Himself speaks of it in a somewhat similar way in John 4:14 … “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life”

And in Revelation 22:1 we have something similar again … “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

So you see, water, particularly a river of water, or living waters, have a spiritual dimension that closely resembles the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This Gospel is with God Himself; it bubbles up within Him, so to speak; God Himself is the source and fountainhead of these spiritually living waters.

And these waters run first past the altar, that is, the altar of sacrifice … the cross … upon which Jesus Christ has given His life and shed His blood.

These waters gain potency, life-giving and healing qualities and blessings therefore, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

And then these waters flow forth from the threshold of the temple; remarkably, from the east-gate of the temple, facing the east; that is, facing the direction from which Jesus Christ has risen from the grave and back to life.

Remember Easter and the “Eastern skies’? … They speak of the hope of new and renewed life; the hope of the resurrection.

And the resurrection is certainly central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Well, it is from the eastern direction that the living waters of the Gospel of Jesus Christ flow forth.

And indeed, the Gospel of Jesus Christ did originally issue forth from the Sanctuary and from Jerusalem.

After Easter and Pentecost, wasn’t it preached by the apostles first in the temple of Jerusalem? … even from the threshold of the temple?

You can read of this in the early chapters of the Book of Acts.

Matthew Henry expresses it wonderfully well in his commentary on Ezekiel, where he too speaks of the Gospel of Christ, “which went forth from Jerusalem, and spread itself into the countries about, and the gifts and powers of the Holy Ghost which accompanied it, and by virtue of which it spread far and produced strange and blessed effects.”

You see, as the stream went forth, it grew in volume, in strength, in breadth and in width, till it became “waters to swim in.”

So it is with the Gospel of Jesus Christ; as it progresses, it increases on many fronts.

This Gospel has flowed forth through the ages with increasing volume and has gone forth into the nations.

On a more personal level, this Gospel of Jesus Christ has come into your life with increasing strength.

And for you who have come to faith, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has made you acquainted with the grace of God through Jesus Christ.

It may first have seemed to be ankle deep, but then it rose to be knee-deep, and up to the waist, and finally became like waters to swim in … and now you see the grace of God all around you; grace lifts you; grace guides you; the grace of God has become your life and way of life; grace … amazing grace has become like waters to swim in.

Have you not found it so, my friend?

Hasn’t the Gospel of Jesus Christ become like living waters for you?

Hasn’t it brought you into the knowledge and the experience of the grace of God in Christ Jesus?

If not, let me urge to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to believe it.

It will be like living waters for you.

These living waters will be of greater value to you than any rain falling upon a dry and thirsty land.

These living waters of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will refresh you, bring healing of heart and food for the soul.

These living waters of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will become your joy and life … they will become waters to swim in.

I urge you: believe the Gospel; believe on Jesus Christ; receive the grace of God, and become part of the beautiful and bright side of the vision has described for us.

Of course, there is the dark side if the vision as well, … about the miry places and the marshes.

These are a description of the people who have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ … the water has come to them so to speak … but they have not believed the Gospel; in fact, they have rejected the Gospel, by not believing on Jesus Christ.

They have become like swamps and marshes … religious and church going? Sure!

But they are like stagnant waters; there is nothing bright about them; nothing healthy about them, and soon to be destroyed by salt.

Dear people! Examine yourself.

Is your religion still like a swamp or a marsh?

Are there no refreshing things to be said about you, and no fruit to be found with you?

Are things still stagnant with you; no progress; no growth; no increase?

If so, you must be urged to repent of such a life, because remember, in this vision of our text, God makes known that He hates miry places and marshes, and unless you repent of the mire of sin and your marsh of deadness and unfruitfulness, you too will be given to salt.

But let this not be the last word of this message.

Let me give you yet, what I believe is a striking example of what it means to be in waters to swim in.

And with it I wish to close this message.

I’ll have to admit that this is a somewhat different way of closing a sermon than usual, because it will be done with a poem, … a rather lengthy poem, but I believe a very gripping poem.

It is a poem written by C. H. Spurgeon, a well-known preacher of the nineteenth century, who occupied the pulpit of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London England for many years.

Apparently this was the last poem he wrote before he died.

The text for this poem is to be found in the words “I will make the dry land springs of water.”

Here it goes …listen carefully …

All my soul was dry and dead Till I learned that Jesus bled;

Bled and suffer’d in my place, Bearing sin in matchless grace.

Then a drop of heavenly love Fell upon me from above,

And by secret, mystic art Reached the center of my heart.

Glad the story I recount, How that drop became a fount,

Bubbled up a living well, Made my heart begin to swell.

All within my soul was praise, Praise increasing all my days;

Praise which could not silent be: Floods were struggling to be free.

More and more the waters grew, Open wide the flood-gates flew,

Leaping forth in streams of song Flowed my happy life along.

Lo! A river clear and sweet Laved my glad, obedient feet!

Soon it rose up to my knees, And I praised and prayed with ease.

Now my soul in praises swims, Bathes in songs, and psalms and hymns,

Plunges down into the deeps, All her powers in worship steeps.

Charles Stanley: 10 Ways to Know You’re Following the Holy Spirit.


Girl-following-in-filed
(© Britvich | Stock Free Images)

Not sure if you’re being led by the Spirit? Here are a few key Scriptures to help discern.

1. The Holy Spirit guides us into God’s will.

Ps. 143:10: “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.”

2. The Holy Spirit guides us to pray God’s will.

Romans 8:26-27: “The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. … He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

3. The Holy Spirit guides us to live by God’s Word.

Ezekiel 36:27: “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”

4. The Holy Spirit guides us to obtain God’s promises.

Ephesians 1:13-14: “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.”

5. The Holy Spirit guides us away from sin.

Galatians 5:16: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

6. The Holy Spirit guides us into the truth.

John 16:13: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

7. The Holy Spirit guides us into our ministry.

Luke 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

8. The Holy Spirit guides us to see what God has given us.

1 Corinthians 2:9-13: “‘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. … We have received … the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”

9. The Holy Spirit guides us by His power.

Zechariah 4:6: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

10. The Holy Spirit guides those who belong to God.

Romans 8:14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

Source : CHARISMA NEWS.

CHARLES F. STANLEY

Pressing Needs.


Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. —Hebrews 4:16

The prayer of intercession is urgent prayer on behalf of a pressing need. We live in a world filled with pressing needs!

God said, “I sought a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30). What a tragedy that for a lack of even one person who would pray, destruction fell on many!

The Day of the Lord is drawing near. Judgment such as the world has never known is coming upon this earth.

God is looking for spiritual warriors who will stand in the gap for the hurting, the helpless and the hopeless. Will you join the ranks?

Your commitment is to pray without ceasing, in all situations, with all kinds of prayers, and at all times.

Teach me Lord, how to stand in the gap and pray. I trust You to show me the needs to pray for and that Your Spirit will pray through me. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

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