AND HOW I ALREADY WISH IT WERE ACCOMPLISHED.
(This article was originally published in September, 2020)
“See that you do not refuse Him Who speaks. For if they (the children of Israel who were led out of Egypt into the wilderness to worship God) did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.’ Now this, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12 25-29)
2020 is the year God gives His Church vision about the near future.
We’re not going back.
We’re in an hour that’s a Jeremiah hour for some and an Exodus hour for others. It all depends on whether we let the Lord lead us through the tumult that’s upon us.
The ideology that the tribulation will not happen to believers is a major stumbling block for many in the body of Christ as this pre-trib-rapture world-view is not preparing the hearts of sisters and brothers to endure what’s coming.
The tribulation is mounting. In many ways it’s already upon us. The good part is, it means our Bridegroom, King and Judge is coming. The bad part is, before He arrives to reign, everything in heaven and earth that has been made will be shaken: Marriages. Families. Schools. Churches. Governments. Economics. Foreign relations. Racial hostility. The arts. Big cities. Small, one street towns. Friendships. Hearts. Attitudes. Opinions. Freedoms. Principalities. Strongholds. Powers. Pride. Vain speculations. Histories. Testimonies. Arguments for and against God. Everything.
And in America, where we enjoy such wonderful freedoms and opportunities afforded to us by our nation, the shakings will be most severe.
I can say this by logic, and not prophecy. When a fire destroys a region (like its doing across the western United States right now) the poor man loses little, because he has accumulated little. But the rich man loses much because he’s invested in, and secured much.
Honestly, in this hour, “Blessed are the poor” indeed. (Matthew 5:3) Blessed are those who look at the world and everything that’s about to be shaken (see list above) and say, “I choose to take all that I have and NOT INVEST IT IN what I see that is being shaken and burned, but invest all that I have in Who it is that is coming.” This man, Jesus says, “will inherit the Kingdom of heaven (that’s coming to earth)” (Matthew 5:3)
When we hear of calls to repentance, we should ask three questions:
A. What is God calling us to repent FROM? (ie. sin, unrighteous thoughts, godless ideologies etc.)
B. What is God calling us to repent UNTO? (ie. righteous living, obedience to God, love for God and neighbor.)
C. What is the INTENDED OUTCOME of deep and thorough repentance? (ie. Revival. Restored national freedoms, civil justice etc.)
In essence, we need to ask ourselves the question: “Am I repenting in order to get more of the shakeable stuff, or the unshakeable stuff?”
I’d like to suggest that we question the calls to repentance in light of Hebrews 12 and that we repent of (turn away from, and receive a heavenly mind about) all that can and will be shaken – cause folks, that’s where 2020 is going.
If we repent unto any “shallower” level, we will be deconstructing our house that’s in the path of a flash flood, and rebuilding in a forest that’s about to be “consumed by fire”. Get the picture? The fire that’s come to the earth (and will only increase) is not something that we, in our American can-do purchasing power, can stave off with “united prayer that binds demonic forces” or “good government” or…
IT’S OUR GOD WHO IS THE CONSUMING FIRE!
John the Baptist declared, “One mightier than I (the one Jesus called ‘the greatest man whoever lived’ [Matthew 11:11]) is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit AND fire.” (Luke 3:16) The fire is not a synonym for the Holy Spirit. John means (Hebrews 12:29) “consuming fire.” The fire that Jesus talks about in (Luke 12:49) “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled… Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.”
What is this “division” but the shaking and separating our hearts from everything that can be shaken, so that only what cannot be shaken remains. (Hebrews 12:27)
What does this mean?
What this practically means for us is this: the Lord is calling us (and the whole world) to “seek My Face” (Psalm 27:8) so that He can give us His perspective about EVERYTHING that’s in our heart. If it’s in our heart, He’s about to shake it. EVERYTHING. And if we still have inordinate attachments to that which is being consumed by fire, we will do two things (again by logical human observation, not by prophecy)
1. We will curse, revile and murder others (you know, “those people” who are ruining our world of civil righteousness) Beloved, there are times when “I am the one” who is ruining my wife’s civil righteousness. And I love her – and I’m the one she loves most. The division and degree of shaking separation goes even to our one flesh, and our own soul. The shaking is so severe that we will even curse our own flesh, and our own soul.
2. We will curse God. We will despair and question the wisdom of “putting our trust in Him.” (Psalm 2:12) Through all the turmoil of “everything being shaken”, we may maintain an exterior posture of a “Christianized life” – attending Church gatherings, reading the scriptures, even prayer and doing nice things for others – but inside, our hearts will grow cold, resentful, even hostile toward Him. We will not intimately adore Him. We will treat Him like a stiff principle and not a wonderful King Who’s invited us to engage Him face to face.
Through all the shaking that’s amplifying around us, if our heart attitude is not, “My selfless love for Him and His ways must increase, and everything else (the way I think about social justice, the longing I have for my Church, the dreams I have for my profession, the way I cherish my marriage, the hostility I hold toward my enemies, the hope I have for my nation, the plans I’ve made for my children’s future, my happiness, my friendships, my…) must decrease” (John 3:30) we will leave our soul open to ruin.
The Holy Spirit warns: “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day (when God brings His consuming fire) will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (One of God’s reasons for releasing judgement is to increase our reward.) If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)
In a nutshell, the rub of this passage is, “Today, allow the Lord to test, judge and purify our hearts of the malice, hostility, self-justification, demand for rights, impure thoughts, unforgiveness, hatred, murder, alienation, war, pride, selfish-ambition, desire for self-security and ease, worldly indulgence and covetousness – everything that can be shaken.” (In America, it’s a LOT! We’ve been able to accumulate a lot of shakeable stuff – with impunity.)
The Lord is saying, “America. American Church, it’s time to let go of the stuff that’s not going with you on the Exodus. Don’t be like Pharaoh. Don’t resist My judgements. Don’t try to repair what I am dismantling. If you do, your heart WILL harden, and you will put what is most precious – our relationship – at risk. Come to Me. Let Me inform you about what is about to happen; what you need to let go of, and what you will want to bring in abundance. I’ll make it clear to you, if you only ‘Seek My face’. (Psalm 27:8)”
Beloved, the judgements of God are here. We’re heading into the fire. (Many of us are already there – and don’t know it; haven’t even been taught that that kind of thing could happen to a Christian.) Today is a day to understand what it means to deny self (and all the stuff that’s precious to self), take up our cross, and follow after the One Who is coming, Who alone can open our eyes to everything that it eternally good, and secure that unshakeable stuff for us. (Luke 9:23)
This is what the judgements are for.
This is why the fire is here.
The judgements will divide – they will divide and separate those heart attitudes which do not fit under the administration of the coming King, from that which magnifies the administration of the King; they will even divide and separate those who are yielding to the King and those who are not.
“This is evidence of God’s righteous judgment, to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which in fact you are suffering.” (2 Thessalonians 1:5) [NET]
Father, give us, give the Church in America Your 2020 vision.
JSB • Originally posted in September, 2020