“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to REPENT, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man Whom He has ordained.”Acts 17:30-31
Last year, many prophets marked Passover, as the final day that COVID-19 would ravage America. None had foretold of the plague’s arrival, but now, after failing to predict it’s departure at Holy Week (two weeks prior) they claimed to have heard from God: “It would cease at the end of Passover”. Christian periodicals trumped these false assertions. Millions of believers used these proud statements to bolster their ire against evil forces at work in our world.
On April 17, 2020, the day AFTER PASSOVER Johns Hopkins recorded the following information: 4593 Corona virus related deaths.
Instead of ceasing on this date, the date marked a record number of contracted cases – and more COVID deaths than any prior day. I don’t need to tell you where the statistics went after that. The judgment of the Lord has proven to be very “real”; the prophets and their prophecies, very “wrong”.
As we continue in this hour of trouble, it is wise for believers to keep the failure of these prophetic messengers in mind. Many redacted their accounts, shifting their presentiments to the day of Pentecost. When those forecasts also failed, many turned their attention to the political firestorms that raged throughout the summer and autumn of 2020. These same soothsayers, declared a landslide victory for the incumbent President – someone who was currying their favor, turning their churches into campaign rallies, and injecting poisonous, contra-Christ rhetoric into the body of Christ. Throughout the rest of 2020 it was primarily his narrative, (and tragically not the Lord’s) that ruled the hearts of millions of evangelicals. Rather than humble ourselves before the Face of our Deliverer, (Isaiah 40:26) we allowed ourselves to get caught up in conspiracies to explain away our need to face our own unrighteous ways. We took up his rage against civil rights, foreigners, political enemies and traitorous allies rather than prayerfully, intently examine His scriptures and let the Holy Spirit identify the sin, rebellion, impurities and worldly attachments in our own hearts.
This continued unabated, for even months after the election, as our indignant Commander-in-Chief, in spite of 72 failed local court cases, the determination of 16 conservative Governors and AG’s, and the assertions of his own cyber-security chief, Attorney General and Vice-President, continued to foment hate-filled storylines to explain away the embarrassment of his defeat.
And through it all, the failed prophets of spring, became the failed prophets of the fall, became the failed prophets of winter. In spite of a string of endless prayer rallies, feverish prayer initiatives and bogus endeavors to counter the alleged election fraud, their champion left office after a pathetic, yet violent insurrection attempted to keep him in power at the final stroke of midnight. Every step of the way, encouraged and not discouraged by the prophets.
“And many false prophets will appear and deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)
“Your prophets saw visions for you that were worthless whitewash. They failed to expose your sin so as to restore your fortunes. They saw oracles for you that were worthless lies.” (Lamentations 2:14)
“The prophets prophesy lies.The priests exercise power by their own authority. And my people love to have it this way. But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes!” (Jeremiah 5:31)
The poison that gave rise to the many, many false prophecies in 2020 still courses through the veins of our body in 2021 – greatly undiagnosed, ignored and even justified by many. Over the past three months the urgency has receded. The spirit has returned to a mode of pretense. But the same proud spirit refuses to hear; refuses to bend; refuses to come near the Lord’s circumspect gaze, and refuses to turn from its wicked ways.
What was 2020 all about?
I’ve written, but more importantly prayed, a great deal about what the Lord is/was speaking to the Church over this past year. The most simple way to state it is “2020 was about the Lord arresting the Church’s attention, inviting millions of saints, churches and ministries to ‘reason together’ with Him in His tent of meeting over the state of our heart, and the nature of our ways.” In a word, the Lord is judging His household and calling us to repentance.
Now, four months into 2021, the Church that was embroiled in false prophecy, self-justification, and hostile idolatrous nationalism continues with the same poison in her veins, believing that they are all the more persecuted for their own righteousness sake; unmoved by the pressures that the Lord is putting on their heart; and while still raging with accusatory anger, are plying God’s favor to receive the ascendency of revival within their old, corrupted wineskins. It is as ludicrous today, to believe the Lord will pour out new wine in this hour as it was to believe the Lord was going to abruptly crush the plague without the people of God giving ourselves to repentance last spring.
The Lord is delivering His people from this wicked, evil age, and we, the body of Christ in America are intent on bringing all of our idols with us while we mock, condemn and disparage the wicked culture we’re leaving behind.
We’re no different than the Pharisees, who were filled with their own self-justification as they displayed their disdain for the lost while refusing to extend themselves to their salvation with compassion.
The Lord will not have His Bride this way. If we’re intent on remaining in this condition, He will let us, but He will not have “us”. He is the Lord.
The fact that He is Lord means He calls the shots. He determines our way. He leads. We follow. He calls. We respond. To press Him for blessing and more power in an hour when He’s calling us to abase ourselves and repent of the way we’ve been using our power is an insurrection spirit. It’s telling the Lord, we will have Your Kingdom our way. It’s that serious.
When the Lord calls the Church to repent, it’s time to repent. Any alternative course of action is not only unwise, it is unworkable.
When Jesus rebuked the “rich” Church at Laodicea (Revelation 3) as “poor, wretched, blind, naked, and miserable” they understood that they needed to stop investing in their old definition of wealth and repent before they would be able to “sit with Jesus on His throne”.
In Isaiah 1 the prophet declares the summons of the Lord to a people who had equal problems hearing the clear voice of the Lord:
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! for the Lord has spoken:
“I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me;
The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider.”
Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters!
They have forsaken the Lord; they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel; they have turned away backward.
Why should you be stricken again?
You will revolt more and more.
The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints.
From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment.
Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a hut in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.
Unless the Lord of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah.
Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah:
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.
“When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts?
Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me.
The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies – I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood.
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil, and learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 1:2-20)
It would have been one more sign of their self-indulgent ways for the Children of Israel to seek His provision for their conferences and worship festivals while the Lord was calling them to “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.”
At Sinai (Exodus 32), when God confronted Israel with her idolatry the people understood they’d go no further toward the promised land until they repented and let the Lord remove the cultural adultery from their midst.
The Lord is calling the Church in America to respond to His judgements. It’s time to repent. Any other course of action, pursuit, strategy, zeal, or focus is not level-headed. When the Lord is telling us our foundational ways are unsound – He means for us to let Him demolish our old ways, so that He can establish sufficient ways that will support the house of His choosing. Any effort to continue to build on old foundations is not only futile, it is insubordinate.
When the Lord of the Church calls us to repent, it’s time to repent. Any alternative course is not only unwise, it is unworkable.
When the Lord commanded His disciples to “remain in Jerusalem” and “wait and pray” (Acts 1), they would have missed the promise from the Father had they “taken their liberty” of the city and “not prayed”.
Beloved, there IS a sure Word from heaven coming to the Church in this hour. It is THE GLORIOUS remedy to all our fears and maladies! One that vastly outshines the alternative many of us have become fastened to. But we must enter into it.
The good news is, availing ourselves of this remedy, while vigorous, will be the most exhilarating, healing and empowering thing we can do in this hour. It’s where we meet HIM.
Yes. I still believe this, one year later. Only with more urgent intensity coming from Jesus that His Bride trust His leadership and respond to His judgements.
I deeply believe, if in gathering after prayer meeting after Bible Study after staff meeting, the whole Church were to embrace the Lord’s exhortation in this hour, press into the New Testament paradigm of corporate prayer (more ardently that we’re pressing into learning new technology), humble ourselves, and deeply repent of our unrighteous ways – we would experience the Holy Spirit’s wind of viral repentance, mourning, prayer-filled humility, can’t-make-it-stop-surrender, longing, abasement, adoration and utter yieldedness to the approaching Bridegroom.
Throughout our nation, this “spirit of (Isaiah 40) repentance” would launch the household of God into a new expression of Kingdom power that
a.) the Word promises,
b.) would dethrone our cultural/political idols,
c.) would release billions from demonic bondage,
d.) explode the conventions of 21c western churchianity,
e.) unite the Bride, together with the Voice of the Holy Spirit,
f.) would usher in a world-wide harvest of souls,
g.) pierce Israel with the revelation of their Messiah, and
h.) together we would hasten the return of our King.
JSB • April, 2021