"Doth This Offend You?"
July 11, 1991
To My Friends in Christ Greetings.
If there is anything true about the Lord Jesus, He was a master of offense. It did not matter whether those He encountered were for him or against Him. At some point, Jesus Christ offended everyone he met. He offended the pharisees, his enemies (Mt. 15:12.) He also offended John the Baptist, his loyal friend (Mt. 11:6.) And He was the cause of offense to everyone in between—Mary, his mother; Mary and Martha of Bethany; Peter and the disciples; as well as the multitudes.
No one was exempt. Not even John the beloved disciple was exempt. For on the night of his arrest he said, "All of you shall be offended in me this night" (Mt. 26:31.)
We read in Hebrews that Jesus was tested in every way like us. If so, then we rightly understand that Jesus Himself had to deal with offense as much as He was the source of it. The climax offense He had to overcome was in that hour on the cross when he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
It is a mistake to believe that Jesus had complete and absolute foreknowledge of all things in relation to his Father's will while on the earth. The scripture says he "grew" in knowledge and wisdom. In coming to earth he emptied himself of his omniscience that in becoming like us, He would be our perfect example of one who could overcome every offense he would suffer in the course of ascertaining the Father's will (Php. 2:7 [ASV]; Heb. 2:10; 5:8-9).
Concerning following his Father, Jesus said, "As I hear, I judge" (Jn. 5). It was a moment by moment obedience whereby Jesus had to be obedient to making unpredictable turns in purpose and direction as the Spirit ordered. A good study of the ministry of Christ from start to finish reveals changes in course and message to which he had to adapt when initial intents were frustrated.
The point is this: The reason Jesus was a master offender of others is because He had to deal with master offense to himself in faithfully executing the oft-seeming capricious and unpredictable changes in the Father's directions and words. As Jesus meticulously overcame every offense laid before Him in following the Father and speaking His words, he became the willing de facto offender of all others who could not perceive the purpose of his course, or trace the reference point in the spirit for his otherwise outlandish comments and actions.
Jesus was an offender by default, not by choice. This made him subject to a perpetual two-edged sword in following the Father. He had to first deal with personal offense to himself over changed expectations for his ministry along with the inner hurt that came with giving hard words to others. Second, He had to deal with the negative reactions of people who couldn't stomach his apparent brashness, inconsistency, and unpredictability, and who could not have understood had he tried to explain himself to them.
If Jesus was subject to offense and thus to offending, and if he is indeed our example for life, then it follows that we His children are subject to the same two-edged sword. We must overcome the sense of offense we incur when the Father changes course on us. And we must overcome the offense of rejection, desertion and misunderstanding of others who are unable to give witness to our obedience to the Father at those points.
The higher our calling and the more deep our pursuit of God, the greater the offenses of God and man we must overcome. When Jesus hung on the cross, he was forsaken of God and man both. When He called us to bear our cross, it was to this same double-edged sense of offense we were called—hanging in isolation between our inability to understand God, and the inability of others to understand us, knowing only our obligation to raw obedience.
I am personally convinced that when Jesus called us to "'overcome as he overcame," it was to this matter of overcoming offense in God he referred more than anything else—more than overcoming of obvious sins and fleshly weaknesses.
The Purpose of Offense
But why offense? Why is it, as Jesus said, offenses must come? Why is it that our very relationship with the Father should be grounded on a cornerstone which is perpetually a stumbling stone and rock of offense to us (I Pt. 2:6-8)?
The reason is that offense is God's only way of preserving His sovereignty over us. It insures that we will continue making forward progress into Him without being sidetracked by the limitations of our understanding of His purposes for us at any point. God is infinite; His ways above our ways, His thoughts above our thoughts. Always. Moreover, the goal of our salvation is into Him, not some understanding of Him that may temporarily serve to house our growing salvation.
If these things are so, then it follows that He can never allow us to come to a final place of resting in our understanding about His ways. He can never let us come to some "ultimate" doctrine or practice lest our progress into Him should become short-circuited and we should stagnate on the framework of a dead understanding. For this cause, not long after we come to any point of understanding the "truth" about this, or the "right practice" about that, He has to offend us.
He has to challenge us by the Spirit to a new action or a higher understanding that threatens our new settledness in what we have just come to learn as the "right" truth or practice. We learn one thing from Him. Then He tells us something else that seems to contradict it. He tells us to do one thing. Then in the middle of it He tells us to do something totally opposite. We are miffed. And those who watch us gawk.
Every such place of offense is a point of testing. The Father uses it to prove what is in our hearts (Lk. 2:31)— to see whether we will go still further in Him, or become stuck at our last level of understanding and practice, or give into the unbelief of others who cannot identify with the Father's charge upon us.
So He offends us by the changes in course described above. Or He offends us by the words and actions of others who operate in the Spirit outside the confines of what we have previously understood to be acceptable to Him. Perhaps He speaks words to us through others which offend us. Or perhaps He calls us to speak words to others that we know will offend them.
At such points our hearts are revealed. We open our mouths to reveal either our unbelieving loyalty to our proud understanding and self-image, or else our quiet humility by which we wait on God to verify to our hearts the source of the strange new thing we have heard or seen. The offenses we encounter reveal the strongholds of unbelief to which we are still enslaved. The strongholds manifest themselves by our critical attitudes, our scoffing, and even our bitterness toward those things, we understand not and toward those who walk in them (II Pt. 2:12).
(Nothing is more deadly in a man of God or in a group of believers than a gift of true spiritual discernment and revelation that degenerates into a stagnant spirit of criticism and separation based on certain limited revelation of a teaching or practice.)
The question then becomes, how will we respond to the offense? Will we harbor our stronghold against the Father and against those through whom He has offended us? Or will we confess it in fresh humility before an All-Sovereign God? Will we consign ourselves to our last place of previous understanding and practice? Or will we recognize the Spirit of God working beyond us? Will we submit to that work so we can break through by faith into that next unknown realm in God?
We can either climb that next step up on the stairway into God. Or we can become a dead stone of example, embedded into that stairway over which someone else will have to climb. (I Cor. 10:11)
Working Out My Own Salvation over the Offenses of God
As one to whom has been committed a strong gift of prophetic insight and apostolic revelation, I have had as much experience as anyone in overcoming offense from the Father and offending others because of my faithfulness to do or say the things the Father has shown me.
Early on in my Spirit baptism (1976), when I first experienced this access to new revelation, God made it clear to me that my ultimate goal was to advance into Him— at whatever cost. The revelational understanding was a means to an end. But I was never to become "stuck" on any point of revelation or practice based on it—no matter how profound or advanced the revelation might seem to me. Nor was I ever to derive any sense of self-worth or esteem by my access to this understanding. This was a warning to me.
Over the years, I came to serve as the focal point for many new teachings. And I was faithful to voice those teachings. Moreover, the nature of my gift gave me a persuasive power of influence with those to whom I spoke. I spoke boldly to churches, families, and individuals. I wrote letters (like this one)— both private, and for circulation. I strove with pharisees and encouraged disciples.
But it wasn't long after I entered a new place of understanding that the Father would offend me by showing me something further beyond what I was teaching—something that would contradict what He had already given me, something exposing the incompleteness of what I was ministering. So He would call me to lay down the first revelation.
At such points I had a critical decision to make. Would I in humility lay down the revelation so I might keep pressing into Him? Or would I clutch the revelation, unable to lay it down because of the prices I had already paid to get that far, and because of the effect on those who had followed with me to that point?
Make no mistake. The stakes were always high at these points of choice— not only on my own pride, but on my relationships—churches, families, close individual friends. Please understand. When you have a gift of strong prophetic revelation with a pioneering character, you become a very influential person and a leader by nature. Many people come to look to you for direction. If you suddenly change courses on them because God tells you to lay down a teaching by which many have been fed, you risk great conflict through misunderstanding.
It's one thing to offend the pharisees who have no ear for you anyway. That's not so bad. But to lose the people who have been faithful to you—that hurts. You become offended at God that you must once again become an offense to your friends: "Will you also go away?" as Jesus said.
Despite the costs involved, however, God somehow always preserved me by grace to overcome each offense—to lay down the old and press into the new by maintaining first love of pressing into Him. I refused to love the revelations, and the teachings and practices they birthed. I refused to love the pride of understanding. And I refused to love the relationships I stood to lose. So it has been these 15 years, and still is.
Why does the prophet lose relationships? It's because those who follow with him are unable to share his final goal. Many follow with him whose final commitment is to the particular teaching he happens to be giving at the time. Their commitment is to the "bread" he gives them. As Jesus said, "You seek me not because you saw the miracles, but because your stomachs were filled."
Then when the Father commands the prophet to change the menu and lay down the teaching, the people are offended. They no longer receive the bread to which they have become accustomed. They can no longer follow on to know the Lord with the prophet. So they turn away, seeking instead to hoard yesterday's manna which now breeds worms.
The Lord does not want His people to become finally identified by particular teachings or practices— even though they must pass through them on their way to mature sonship. I am personally sorry for where I have failed to communicate to others that my first loyalty has never been to the truth God has brought forth through me. My loyalty has never been to a line of understanding nor to a practice based on such—despite the prices I've paid to uncover those truths.
Time and time again I've been made to see the infinity of God and the inadequacy of what I understand of Him at any point. The one enduring desire in me that has never changed from the beginning until now is the desire to know God.
The True Remnant: Overcomers of Veils
What is a "remnant"? A remnant is simply those who do not fail of the grace of God to overcome the Father's offenses in pursuing Him beyond their last level of relationship with Him and His People. Being a remnant does not speak to our holding a particular truth or practice others are unable to hold.
It speaks rather to our ability to keep transcending ourselves in our pursuit of God in every season in our generation. Those who abide in the grace of transcending themselves—from whatever previous line of thought in God—are God's remnant. It is those who overcome their own stumbling stones.
Today, God is calling out yet another remnant. This remnant is overcoming the stumbling stone of a veil and stronghold in the church that has never been overcome before. So unrecognized has been this veil that God is calling the remnant together from places in the body that none of them would have expected could be possible concerning the others. All are being surprised by God in this hour at the next stage of the Spirit in building His completed house.
What are "veils"?
In II Cor. 3, Paul describes Israel's inability to know the Lord as a veil. In I Cor. 13, he describes how the church also sees through a "dark glass." Even so, we believers are subject to layers of veils over our spiritual sight which separate us from God in our quest to know him. These veils shape His voice to us. They determine how we hear from God and what we hear.
In turn, the veils separate us from one another. Through our subjection to veils, the church is divided and unable to come together. The remnant however are those who succeed in overcoming their own veils and thereby break down walls of blindness to achieve new heights of unity in the church.
Some veils are obvious to us all (more or less). These are the veils of known sins in our life. We know that sin and fleshliness separates us from God and from others. It also shapes the way we hear God by warping and distorting it.
Other less visible veils requiring special spiritual discernment also shape the way we hear God and relate to others in the church. These are veils of blindness due to the operations of certain principalities and powers that function over regions and cities, and operate through the blood lines of peoples and families. The nature of these veils is to shape our hearing of God's voice in terms of our surrounding culture with its influences.
Such veils make it difficult for Christians of differing national backgrounds or regional habitations to relate to one another. Again, this veil produces a distortion in our hearing. It often requires the ministry of a propheticly discerning "outsider" to identify such veils over a people, a church, or an individual.
The Veil of Differing Ascension Gift Natures
But there is yet another veil over God's people, a veil which is only now beginning to be overcome in church history. Unlike the other veils, this veil is not due to sin or to the operation of evil powers over our lives. This veil does not produce a warping of the way we hear God, (although if failed to be overcome can lead to such warping.)
Rather, the veil of which I speak is a limitation on our hearing of God due to His impartation of a limited portion of His complete nature into our lives. Individually, these limited natures are referred to as "ascension gifts."
What are "ascension gift" natures? These are the gift-natures imparted to the the church at Christ's ascension, more commonly referred to as the "five fold ministry:" apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors and evangelists. Each of these callings carries a certain limited impartation of God's nature.
The limitation of the impartation of each calling shapes the way each calling is able to hear God's voice. Each calling hears God according to the restricted parameters of a limited "frequency band" in the Spirit.
Consider more closely:
· Those with the apostolic nature hear God's voice within the parameters of understanding for setting the church in order (ie, the establishment of church government and execution of spiritual governmental authority.) They also are given to unveil mysteries pertaining to the outworking of grace in the human race.
· Those with the prophetic nature hear God's voice within the parameters of expressing God's present-truth mind for the church in their generation, bearing expression of that mind to nations, church groups, families, and individuals. The focus of that mind is the establishing of spiritual righteousness and holiness in the lives of those to whom they minister.
· Those with the teaching nature hear God's voice within the parameters of structured mental grids pertaining to the clarification of issues with which the church must interface. They excel in the codifying of spiritual realities into understandable forms of established doctrine for the mind to grasp.
· Those with the pastoring nature hear God's voice within the parameters of His desire to tenderly nurture, encourage, and preserve the well-being of God's people as a flock (ie, group.) They hear God's voice for healing the hurting, showing compassion to those in need, comforting the weak. They excel in communicating God's loving nature to His people.
· Those with the evangelist nature hear God's voice within the parameters of God's desire to impart His saving grace to the outer world. The focus of their voice is the communicating of God's love to the lost world at large.
While there is some overlap in the impartation of these natures, the point for note is that, due to our subjection to our particular gift-nature, no one is able to hear the complete spectrum of God's voice to His People. We all hear a part according to the frequency alloted us. But no one hears all.
Til now, we have not recognized this veil over our approach to God, nor therefore our limitation because of it. As a result, there have been many differing voices in the church over which the church is divided. Moreover, we have had no basis for evaluating the other voices in the church other than to judge them by the evil veils we already recognize.
After all, if we assume that the nature of God's voice imparted to us is His only and complete voice, and we hear others speaking according to a different voice, and if the only veils we recognize that separate us are veils of sin, fleshliness, principalities, and powers, then we have had no alternative but to judge everyone else's voice as "false" through subjection to fleshliness or deception of principalities and powers.
We have erred in judging the truth or error, fleshliness or spirituality, and maturity or immaturity of the nature of others by our own nature. We have made false judgments about the rest of the church because they have not conformed to the ascension nature imparted to us.
Consider these divisions in particular:
Apostles and prophets have failed to recognize the pastoral calling nature. Because pastors don't speak as harshly toward sin as they do, and because they don't bring clear order to their churches, these have judged all pastors as unfaithful, compromising with sin, and undisciplined.
Meanwhile, pastors have failed to recognize and heed the natures of the apostles and prophets. They have judged prophets as proud individualists who fail to love and who cause division. They have judged apostles as "power mongers" who seek to take over control because of their initiative in correcting disorder.
Teachers have judged evangelists because they fail to follow up and instruct converts. Evangelists judge teachers because they over-explain things.
These are just a few examples. In all cases, the net result is that each calling has no alternative but to judge the others guilty of "operating in the flesh," measuring the deficiencies of the others against the strengths of their own nature.
From this point, the division sifts out into various groups who congregate and fellowship based on the hidden veil of their ascension calling. Likes attract. Apostle natures gather in isolated sparse fellowship to chew over church government one with another and to decry the lack of discipline in large church bodies.
Prophets commiserate with one another out in the deserts, preaching dry repentance to each other while decrying the sins of the visible church bodies, mutually licking and nursing their wounds of ostracism.
Meanwhile pastors huddle together in fear amidst their pastoral people, preaching love and quick to extricate any prophetic offender against pastoral unity, warning against individualist trouble makers.
Teachers gather together into closed intellectual societies to discuss books and criticize the shallowness of depth of the evangelical church.
Evangelists hold conferences on evangelism, start churches based on perpetuating evangelism, build all theology centred on evangelism, make conversion the summum bonum of spiritual experience, and criticize the rest of the church for talking to itself.
Though the veil of our ascension calling nature is not a warping of God's voice but only a limitation, it can lead to a warping if pursued indefinitely out of touch with the other natures. At such points, one's calling becomes open to being energized by religious spirits. In worst case scenarios, cults develop around strange isolated apostolic, prophetic, pastoral, or evangelistic teachings. Church history is littered with examples of these.
But Why the Veil?
It would seem that the division in the church caused by our inability to see past the veil of our own ascension nature is a bad thing. And it is— in one sense. Division in the church is always a poor testimony to the world.
But at the same time, let's recognize that God uses our personal incompletenesses and the divisions they cause to His advantage. God has never been taken by surprise over the church's inability to "get it together." God's plan for the church has been one of growth from imperfection toward perfection, from division to unity. If so, then the veils that have separated us over the centuries have served a purpose in the divine plan, each in its season.
This includes the veil of ascension natures too. Through our stumbling over the perceived deficiencies of everyone else's ascension natures, and through the divisive hurt caused by the failure of the others to recognize our calling and speak from God on our frequency band, God has been able to perfect us in our individual calling.
Those who have remained faithful to God in spite of the offences over their nature have found their nature matured and perfected. By this God has preserved a remnant to Himself of perfected ascension natures. (This accords with Paul's statement that the purpose of divisions is to manifest those who are approved [I Cor. 11:19.])
Most however have been offended to the point of no return. Many prophets and pastors alike have been set aside by their mutual offenses. Instead of overcoming the offense unto perfection of their nature, they have stumbled unto bitterness and mutual rejection. But those who have overcome the offenses have become as David's five smooth stones, each being prepared for eventually working together to destroy the giants opposing the church. They know who they are in God and what their own calling is—even if they can't relate yet to the vision of the other ascension natures. They haven't quit on God's purpose for them through bitterness.
Speaking personally as one with a prophetic-apostolic nature, I know what it is to be offended by others because of giving offense. I know what it is like to be kicked out of churches and houses, and set at arms length by friends-turned-enemies because they could not receive my words nor relate to my ascension-nature. I know what it is to be a "pariah" in a community, to be "blackballed" by all the evangelical pastors in a city, to be "stared at" in disbelief as I walk down a street, to be avoided because of my strange behavior.
I know what it is to be slapped in the face and cursed for taking a prophetic stand against hidden spiritual forces operating behind people which only I could see. I also know what it is to be deprived materially and financially, living by faith a day at a time because no group would accept me—always on the run from one place to another.
Yet in spite of all these things, none of the offenses suffered ever turned me aside from the pursuit of God and His will for me. By God's grace, they did not take root in me to reduce me to isolated bitterness. Rather, each experience worked to the perfecting of my nature.
Each conflict sharpened my prophetic vision, bringing me to greater heights of understanding not found in books or other ministries. I came to see through an apostle's glasses what was wrong with the North American church and the changes that needed to be made. My ascension nature became extremely fine-tuned.
Overcoming the Ascension Gift Veil
It is precisely for this purpose of individual perfection that God has left the veil between the ascension natures in place. Today there is a remnant of tried and true, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists in the earth who have overcome the offenses against them by the other natures unto perfection of their personal calling.
But now, in our generation God is calling forth still another remnant. To each in his own calling who has survived the offenses and is still pursuing God, the Father is laying a new rock of offense! He is now calling each one to transcend the veil of his own ascension nature so as to be joined together and united with perfected ones of the other callings.
By His Spirit, God is calling perfected outcast prophets and apostles back to church bodies where perfected pastors and teachers are being beckoned by the same Spirit to recognize and receive their ministry, and vice versa.
Til now, because of the veil, each ascension calling has been able to envision the church's restoration in terms of its own nature only. Each has seen itself as the force that will establish, drive, and characterize the church in its final restoration:
· Perfected apostles have said the restoration will be based on perfected government established by their remnant.
· Perfected prophets have said it will be based on the perfected holiness of faithful scattered ones like themselves.
· Perfected teachers have said the new true church will be brought into being by their perfected teaching.
· Perfected pastors have said the final church will be manifested by the perfected love which they will bring to it.
· Perfected evangelists have said the final manifest church will be manifest through a coming worldwide wave of evangelism which they will harvest.
In reality, all are right, yet all are wrong. To the degree that each has envisioned final restoration based on their nature alone, each has been wrong. The final restoration will only be accomplished by the bringing together of a remnant of perfected ascension natures out of the overall remnant of those who have perfected their natures. Now is the time that God is issuing this new offensive challenge to His perfected ones of every nature to overcome the veil separating them and come together as His mighty hand in the earth at this last day.
To become part of this higher calling, each must overcome both his knowledge of the deficiencies of the other natures as well as his memory of the hurts he has suffered at the hands of the other natures. Each must surrender the limitations of his vision-on-paper of the "true church" in order to enter this higher union of the Sovereign Spirit.
As God lifts this next great veil from within the church, those who fail to transcend their ascension natures will be relegated to a short-circuited ministry, void of the glory and power of God. The manna that hitherto fed each ascension nature separately will now breed worms and lead to cultism in those groups that continue fellowshipping only around the truths enunciated by their own nature.
Before the veil is lifted, God "winks" at our ignorance. But once it is lifted, He commands us to repent. There becomes no more excuse for our blindness. And if we continue in a good path past its ripeness, we will rot in it. This applies to perfected prophets in the confines of their deserts, and to perfected pastors in the confines of their worldly church jungles.
My Personal Hurdle
Scaling the wall of my own ascension nature has come with great struggle. After undergoing a tortuous process of perfection this last decade out in the isolated prophetic desert, it has been very humbling to heed this strange new call of the Spirit to lay down all my desert understanding and come again to a visible body of people.
Out in the desert, I was free to pursue God's call according to the way He made me to be. No one in the "churches" would listen to me and I was disgusted with the perpetual unbelief. So I gave up on the visible church and said, "Well if no one else is going to believe my revelation, I'll just pursue God myself." And I did. And I came to know who I really was in the Lord. I became perfected in my own ascension nature.
But I didn't understand that my ascension nature was only part of God's will for the church. I saw it as the only standard by which the rest of the church was to be measured. And I said, "I'll just follow God myself until God finally brings about a church that accords with my vision." Unknown to me, I was an adherent to a silent denomination based in my own ascension nature (despite being one whose nature decried denominations!)
I flowed with those who could flow with my nature—and only with those. I avoided those who were outside my nature, especially pastors and evangelists. I came to distrust anyone flowing in a highly visible positively-inspired ministry, knowing it couldn't possibly reflect the true church (ie, the church as defined by my ascension nature.)
Nevertheless, I began to reach a turning point just two years ago. After 6-10 years of pursuing God in the desert, I came to an end of myself. That is, I came to an end of my ability to pursue God any further according to the limits of my desert prophethood. I had pressed into God as far as I could, to the very limits my nature could allow— and came to a dead end.
I had no meaningful relationship. All sense of vision had dried up and dissipated into meaninglessness. My body could no longer bear up under the stress of constant moving and spiritual exploration of every group in search of the "true church." Spiritual fulfilment eluded me and I came to the border of a nervous breakdown.
It was at the bottom of this prophetic pit in abject weakness that I was able to respond to the Spirit's unexplainable leading to return to a visible body (and a large one at that.) I had to struggle against everything in my prophetic nature to both come and to stay amidst such a people. Everything at [the church] was predictably contrary to what I had received from God through the ears of my nature. Yet I had no choice. I obeyed in blind obedience.
For some time I continued to hover on that cross between heaven and earth, both offended by the Father, and serving as a predictable offense to leadership through what little I said. But unknown to me, I was being given to transcend that hidden veil I have written about in this letter. Moreover, they too were given grace to reach out to me and receive me in spite of what they could not understand about me.
As time has worked to save me the more, I have since been given the grace to hear this new wavelength in God—to hear God beyond the confines of my original frequency band, to appreciate and enter into a transcendent unity with the pastors here, to see a wider true church not defined by the limits of my ascension nature.
As a result, my entire personality has been set free—able to overlook the multitude of sins in this body revealed to apostolic perception. I've been given the grace to transcend my awareness of those things that transgress the laws of truth imparted to me by ascension gift. I have a new appreciation and love for others in the church I was unable to have before.
I deeply appreciate the pastors here, and the evangelists, and the other teachers, prophets and apostles as well. Nor am I tempted any more to seek out and huddle only with those jn this body who share my original ascension nature.
Above all, I have become free to enjoy life for a change. Gone are the silent legal taboos of what a "mature prophetic apostle" may or may not enjoy. Gone also is my de facto judgment of the "fleshliness" of others whose personalities do not conform to the image of maturity established by my ascension nature.
God is certainly much bigger in His People than I could ever have imagined. It's like being able to see the whole color spectrum after being able to only see one or two colors in my life.
It is not as though all God has imparted through my ascension nature is now void. But now I understand that He will blend the truth imparted through me with the truth imparted through the others. He is the masterbuilder, not I. He is the fulfiller of His prophetic truth revealed through His prophets, not His prophets (Am. 3:7.)
Moreover, as Sovereign God, He is capable of taking His remnants from visible bodies as well as deserts. And He can cut off those in the deserts as easily as He cuts off those in the visible bodies (Rom. 11:22-23.) He is capable of raising up a new generation out of an old one He must castaway. It is then He calls upon the Joshuas who were rejected of the first generation to lead the new generation into their inheritance. The new body can receive Joshua's vision of the Promised Land. No more contention.
Above all, I have learned that, as a scout for the larger church, it can be as bad to run ahead of the cloud as to lag behind it. I've been a scout in the desert. But God doesn't take scouts into the land themselves. He created them to return to help lead the new generation in. A scout who stays ahead of the cloud will fry in the front desert as much as a lagger in the back desert. In its season, the scout's truth will be imparted and received by the generation He was created to serve.
"Doth This Offend You?"
Over the years I've learned many things in God, and God has used me to teach many things to others. But after all is said and done, the one consistent thing I am left to declare about God is that He is the Great Skandalon —the One who offends us all in our puny unbelief. He is the Sovereign One. Everything He is, is greater than everything I will ever be.
If you can, forget everything you've ever heard me teach or preach about any subject. Listen to what you have heard here about the offense of the Lord. Are you able to grasp this? Are you able also to perceive the limitedness of your reflection of His nature?
Can you grasp the smallness of your understanding of His ways in the church? Do you apprehend the reality that no matter how far you secretly think you are in God, you will never come to the place in this life where you become exempt from being offended by the higher revelation of God?
If you think you grasp this, are you able now to transcend your limited nature once more to keep entering Him? Specifically, are you able to transcend the veil of your very ascension nature itself—that nature by which you hear God and that has formed the basis of your relationship to Him over the years?
We're not just talking laying down a teaching, laying down a doctrine, laying down a vision. We're talking laying down God-given nature itself whereby you have perceived all things concerning Him and His will for the church. Can you let God raise you into this new union He is establishing with the other ascension gift natures?
"On hearing it, many of his disciples said, 'This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?...From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him." Jn 6:60,66
This letter is being read by many people. Some are pastors over large flocks. Others are isolated prophets and apostles in small house fellowships. All have been burned at one time or other because of the other natures' offenses and inabilities to receive the same Word. God is challenging us one and all 'Today, if you will hear His [new] Voice, and harden not your heart," enter this next grace in the pursuit of God.
Let God bring you over the stronghold of offense in your ascension nature that would keep you back from this challenge. In humility, lay down what you think you know to be God's plan for the church based in your limited nature's concept of it. What is at stake is nothing less than our ultimate pursuit of God Himself.
"In the current situation, it is as if all the ministries were dominoes, and we each have a hand of them that represents our revelation of fivefold ministry structure and function. The Holy Spirit will tell everyone to lay his or her own hand down so that He can transform them. Then we will all pick up the same hand so that we can then come forth with one revelation for structure rather than five. Consequently, we can expect a great deal of reshuffling and playing out those hands during the 90's.
Many ministers, and especially apostles, will come forth in the 90's to declare presumptuously that they have the perfect hand for playing out the role of fivefold ministry. But do not become bound or boxed in by one person's revelation. That person's hand of dominoes will have to be laid down and shuffled again before full and proper revelation comes in the beginning of the twenty-first century."
Bill Hamon, Prophets and the Prophetic Movement, p. 184
I commend all who read this to God's grace, and exhort you to judge the spirit under whose influence you respond to this word.
'My soul followeth hard after Thee, Thy right hand upholdeth me." Ps. 63:8
written from Merrimack, New Hampshire
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created June 18, 2016