In the wake of many disappointing elections in the United States and upheaval in Brazil because of their elections; in light of what is happening worldwide as the rumblings of war grow louder and longer such as in Tigray of Ethiopia, Ukraine of Europe, Taiwan, and the Middle East; and in the reality of tyrannical governments, such as China’s and Myanmar’s and North Korea’s, continuing to constrict and clamp down more tightly on their people, it is powerfully clear that we must live in the truth of 2 Peter 3:10-18.
“10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.14Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…17You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”
Think about that. The heavens are going to disappear with a great roaring, crashing sound, and all will melt with extreme fire. And all the earth, everything held too dearly right now, will be loosed from the word of God’s great power, and will burn with an unimagined intensity until liquified, and will never be found again even if one sought to find it.
What then are we holding onto so tightly?
The affect of the knowledge that God’s kingdom is coming and that we are very much apart of it, and the hope of a new heavens and new earth and the conclusion of the present world is to be the cause of an inward change in us that in turn causes an “up-turn” of inner beliefs that leads to an alteration in outward behavior (https://biblehub.com/greek/391.htm). And this modification of behavior is to be one of holiness and reverent devotion to God. Verse 12 then goes on to explain that as we live out this holiness and reverence we will be “looking for and hastening” the day of God. To be “looking for and hastening” means we are eagerly and expectantly looking for this culmination of all things, and are earnestly desiring it above all else. It is not that we bring it into being by anything that we do or say or think. No. But it does mean that we are looking for it with every fiber of our being, our hearts singing and singly looking for it, awaiting with intense eagerness the coming of our King and His kingdom.
Dear reader, this is what God would have us doing now. He does not want us full of gloom and doom because of the disintegrating of this dying world and the death even of America. He does not want us disillusioned because of corrupt politics. He does not want us distracted by elections and talk of election fraud nor because our candidate did not get elected.
There are those who have tried their best recently to resuscitate America. They have poured their hearts, their time, their energy, their prayers, their money into saving her. The same is true also of other nations of this world such as Tigray, Myanmar, Brazil, Ukraine, Russia, China, Taiwan, Israel, Canada, and the list could go on indefinitely. But these nations are passing away, and we must not forget that God is still in charge. He sets up leaders and nations, and it is He who brings them down, even by bringing to power those we know are unworthy (Job 12:23; Psalm 75:7; Daniel 2 and 4). And we must not forget that this world is passing away! It is all being “loosed” as God intended long ago when He first created it. It is apart of His magnificent plan. This is that moment. This is that time.
Dearly beloved of Christ, our great God, Savior, and coming King is reminding us that He is “loosing” the world – He is letting the world go. And as He lets this earth go, we are to let it go too. It is time. And we are therefore, according to 2 Peter 3:14, to “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…” This means we are to be morally blameless, untainted by this world, faultless, and at peace – whole in our minds, hearts, and our unity with each other as the body of Christ.
Let us not get caught up in the error of the wicked that Christ cannot possibly be coming soon (2 Peter 3:1-7). Let us not become cynical or sarcastic regarding the eternal hope that we have. Let us not become weary and lose our mooring, our anchor and become like a helpless ship stuck on the sands of the shore. It is imperative that we keep our eyes on Jesus, our hopes in the coming of our Lord alone, and our minds set on things above and not on earthly things. Jesus warned us of all that is happening so that we would not be taken unawares, we would not be taken aback, we would not lose hope. He lovingly told us all we need to know in order that we might remain steadfast, firmly rooted in Him, planted upon the solid rock foundation of the eternal faith of the unchanging Christ.
Fear not little sheep, our Shepherd knew this day was coming, this valley of the shadow of death. There is nothing new in this to Him. He is in charge. He is in control. The devil can do nothing but what God gives him leave to do it. Thus, as Isaiah 50 states, 7“…the Lord God will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.” Rest in this unchanging fact, and “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity!
There are two very important questions to be asked at this time in history as the world goes mad and all “heck” breaks loose. When Jesus returns will He find faith in the earth? And, in whom do we really trust?
I have been reflecting on the situation in Afghanistan, and that led me to further reflect on other persecuted Christians around the world, and Americans who may lose their jobs due to the vaccine mandates and on American Christians who have actually taken the jab. Who are we trusting?
It seems that now is a crisis of faith moment, a testing of our faith, a trying in the fire of affliction. This is when we find out not just what we are made of, but what we really believe and who really has our trust.
On our U.S. money is the statement, “In God We Trust.” But is it? Or have we trusted in money? Have we trusted in our job? Has money and our job been our security? Oh, we talk a good game, saying our faith is in God who provides for us. But, so often we have deceived ourselves into believing that our faith is in God when really it is in America, the Constitution, the rule of law, our political leaders, our doctors, our surgeons, our medications, our job, our bank account, our military, our family and on and on. Is it any wonder that we crumble? Is it any wonder that so many succumb to fear? Is it any wonder that some would rather take the jab than lose their job or their special privileges or their insurance money or their ability to go to the doctor or get surgery?
Were the Alfghans trusting in American troops or God for their needs, their protection, their hope? And what of poor, sick Chinese Christians who had been receiving money from the government only to have it cut off unless they would worship the president of China? Are the Chinese Christians going to surrender Jesus for insulin or food? Are the Alfghan Christians going to crumble because the U.S. military is gone, or are they going to remain steadfast knowing that their protector and provider is and always has been God? How about American Christians facing vaccine mandates?
It’s time to stop playing games with God. It’s time to mean what we say. It is time to really surrender all: all our money, all our time, all our hopes, all our confidence, all our bodies, all of our job, all of our education. It’s time to place it on the altar. After all, it’s not really ours. We are simply the stewards of God’s money, God’s time, God’s gifts, etc. We must quit clinging to the things of Earth – for the Earth is passing away. It is time to let the Spirit of God search our hearts and know what lurks in the deep corners of its chambers. In the words of David in Psalm 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Let us not be found to be trusting in chariots or horses like the Israelites, but instead be trusting in our God. As David also says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God,” (Psalm 20:7). Really if we trust in anything above God, it is idolatry. Plain and simple.
There is so much more coming to us in here in America, so much more. Should the Lord tarry, more baffling events are about to unfold before our very eyes. Let’s get our hearts right now. Let’s get our eyes on Jesus now. Let’s not be shaken now. Let’s choose to trust in God and in Him alone NOW.
In the Roman army their shields had to be oiled or else they would crack. And a Roman soldier did not want a cracked shield or else they would be a dead soldier. Secondly, they would saturate their shield with water before battle. Why? Because the enemy often lit their arrows on fire. Thus, a dry cracked shield would ignite in flames. However, a well oiled, watered shield would not.
Our shield as Christians is that of faith (Ephesians 6). But, our shields are on the verge of cracking unless we oil them by being filled afresh with the Holy Spirit and water them with the Spirit inspired word of the living God. Without this, our faith is cracked and ready to catch fire with the fiery darts of the enemy who is out to steal, kill and destroy us. For more on the shield of faith please refer to this link: https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/we-are-at-war-the-shield-of-faith/
I want to remind us of Matthew 6. Mr. Tony Koretz of A Minute To Midnite quoted this passage from Matthew tonight, and I felt it quite fitting. It’s actually what spurred me on to publish this brief message tonight. “24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” Matthew 6:24-34.
So, in what or who is our faith? Jesus after telling the story of a poor widow who persistently presented her case before an unjust judge, asked the poignant question, “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
Like a book that’s hard to put it down even when it’s over, it is difficult to shake the dust of this Earth off us. But, we must in order to pick up the sequel which is far better than the first, for it’s all about a conquering, eternal King of a majestic Kingdom that will never pass away and a Bride of resplendent beauty who will reign with Him forever.
Jesus is coming soon. Let’s be found with hearts like Job who declared upon losing everything but his wife and his life, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…” (Job 13:15). After all, “the trying of your faith worketh patience.4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:3-4). And let us also say with the three Hebrews who were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace, “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” And as Joshua said, “Choose this day whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). May Jesus find this kind of trust in us. May He find faith in us.
Scrub out those spots, Bride of Christ! Iron out those wrinkles. Shake out that dress. Fix up you hair. Get on your jewels. Our Beloved is coming! Let’s be ready!!!!
“…He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
The Shepherd leads us. Just think on that. God leads. No matter what hell is breaking loose. He leads. In all things, He leads. So much in the world is topsy turvy right now, and getting more so every minute. But He leads. Something is about to happen that will change everything yet again. But, He leads. Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy us. But God is leading still. And though He leads us through the Valley of the Shadow or seats us in the presence of our enemies, and we can’t see clearly and all is foreign and frightening, He leads. He is Emmanuel – God with us. And though we may not always understand the whys or hows or whats or whens of life, we never have to wonder where God is because He is our Shepherd who is always leading, and He is always with us.
What does “lead” mean?
We could say the above till we are blue in the face though, and we still may not grasp the meaning of what it means for God to lead. How does a Shepherd lead? Does He herd the sheep from behind? Does He round them up on all sides? Does He crack a whip like cattlemen do with cattle?
According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, to lead means “to guide on a way especially by going in advance.” To be at the head of the group. It also can mean, “to direct the operations, activity, or performance of” and “to guide someone or something along a way.” So, one can lead by being at the head, by directing, and by guiding.
The Hebrew word being used here for “lead” is nachah (5148), which is different from the word used in verse 2 (5095) of the Shepherd when he “leads me beside the still waters.” In verse 2, the Shepherd’s leading was specifically to a refreshing place, a restful place (https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2021/05/12/psalm-23-i-shall-not-want/). The meaning here, however, is “ to lead, guide”, “to govern” or “transport”, “to lead forth”. Furthermore, its verbal form is that of Hiphil Imperfect which is a causative verbal form wherein someone or something is causing another to do something. In other words, the Shepherd by leading is causing His sheep to follow. The Shepherd is out in front, not behind, not to the side. The sheep only know where to go because the Shepherd goes there first, and when they see Him moving, they inevitably follow. He picks the path. He clears the path. He walks the path. He treads the path. He leads by example. He calls to the sheep and the sheep know His voice, and eagerly respond. Indeed, the sheep probably know their Shepherd best from behind, because a good little lamb is always following and a good shepherd is always leading.
This makes me think of Moses when he asked to see God’s glory in Exodus 33. “18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” (emphasis mine).
Even as the sheep see the back of the Shepherd more often than not, especially when going to another place for grazing, even so, Moses saw the LORD’s back as He passed by on that incredible day. God’s glory was seen from behind. From behind. Think about that.
So, the question, therefore, is not “who” is leading or where is God, for clearly God is leading, directing and guiding. The question is: where is He leading us? Where does He want us to follow?
Before we get into what righteousness is, let’s begin by defining what path means here in Psalm 23. Is it a new trail? Is it an old trail? Is it long? Is it short? Is there anything implicit in the word for path that will help us to better understand what it is? And if it seems a bit over the top to study the word path, it is not. Each time I think to overlook a word because its meaning seems clear, a majority of the time I am astounded when the meaning of a simple word is made even more clear when looking at its Hebrew or Greek definition.
Now, without further ado, let’s proceed!
The Hebrew word for path is magal or magalah (4570) meaning “an entrenchment or track”. In Hebrew it is nearly always important and helpful to investigate what a word’s root is, for it sheds more light on the its meaning. In this case, its root is an unused one meaning “to revolve”. In Scripture magalis a word that is used of the encampment of an army, for it was “circular” and was “entrenched” for the sake of defense. In 1 Samuel 17:20 this exact same word is used of the camp of the Israelites when David traveled to check on his brothers and the progress of the battle on behalf of his father Jesse. It says, “And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.” (emphasis mine). The word in this sense “may mean either, (a) the circular rampart round the camp; or (b) a barrier formed by the baggage waggons round the camp; or (c) the place where the baggage waggons of the army were kept,” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges Commentary). According to the Pulpit Commentary “Strictly the word means a wagon track, but the primary meaning of the verb is to be round. This was the shape of camps in old time, and they were protected against surprise by having the wagons and baggage placed round them.”
In other passages the word is translated as “way” or “path,” like one that is worn by wheel tracks as in the wagon trains of the old west. It is a deeply, well-worn, narrow path. And though the path may not literally be circular, what is implied by this word is that it is used repetitively.
And these paths are not just any paths, but are paths that lead to lush, restful pastures and cool, refreshing, quiet waters. However, they also lead us to overwhelming places like the valley of the shadow, and to dangerous places in the presence of our enemies. These are not paths of entertainment nor of pleasing yourself or paths of individuality or paths of self-preservation. These are paths of righteousness.
So, what is this righteousness exactly?
In Hebrew the word is tsedeq (6664) meaning “rightness, righteousness,” which comes from an unused root (6663) meaning, “to be just or righteous.” It has everything to do with “what is right, just, normal; rightness, justness, of weights and measures.” (Bible Hub). Righteousness is moral, ethical, and judicial. It is to be on the side of the law, morality, and ethical behavior in all situations no matter the consequences. Righteousness is “the conformity to the claims of higher authority and stands in opposition to… lawlessness,” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary, pg 458). Thus, righteousness is the crucifying of our way of living and the complete surrender to living life God’s way.
Incredibly, God is our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6) and is righteous in all of His ways (Psalm 145:17). Along with being truth and just, He IS righteous (Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 45:21; Jeremiah 12:1; John 17:25). His right hand is full of righteousness (Psalm 48:10) that reaches to the heavens (Psalm 71:19), and the heavens declare His righteousness (Psalm 97:6). And incredibly, righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14; 97:2). God’s righteousness will be forever and His salvation from generation to generation (Isaiah 51:8).
That being said, what does righteousness look like? Job 29 gives the best example of what righteousness in living color looks like when Job says, “11 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.17 And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.” (emphasis mine)
In this we see the heart of God, for God expressed His righteousness through Jesus, by saving us through Him. After all, He left His glory…to save us. As Philippians 2 says, “5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus descended from His majestic throne and position of equality with God. Why? Because He saw us wallowing, destitute and condemned in sin’s muck and mire, enslaved and tormented, blind, deaf, lame and hopeless. And God, selflessly came down…to seek and save that which was lost….and went to the cross, for your sin and mine. After all, the Gospel is a revelation of God’s righteousness. As Romans 1 states, “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (emphasis mine)
Jesus: Righteousness Personified
Jesus walked on the paths of righteousness when He lived and moved among us. Just Him being here was righteousness in action. Everything He was was righteous; everything He did was righteous. He even was baptized to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3). Jesus did not need the baptism of repentance. He was sinless. He was perfect. He was God in human flesh. He was righteousness itself. Nevertheless, Colossians 1 so adeptly says that He was and is the first in all things, and thus, He also lead the way in baptism to fulfill all righteousness.
Matthew 3:16-17 says, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Emphasis mine) Just as God in the beginning after creating on each of the 6 days of creation said at the close of each creation day “it is good,” God the Father says the same in this passage. When He says “I am well pleased” He is saying “it is good.” The word in Greek for “pleased” is eudokeó (2106) meaning, “I am well-pleased or think it good.” This is beyond amazing.
Furthermore, the Father calls Jesus “My beloved,” which is agapétos (27) in the Greek. The word in Hebrew for “My beloved” is dodi (1730).
What does this have to do with paths of righteousness? You’ll see.
Think on this a moment… Jesus was called “My beloved.” The word “My” implies that first and foremost, He was God’s. 100% – every breath, every thought, every word, every cell, every hair of His head, every desire, every action – all of Him was 100% God’s. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” (Colossians 2:9). Secondly, the word “beloved” is incredibly powerful. Looking more closely at it, we find that the “word beloved in Hebrew is dodi which is where the word David comes from and is really a form of the word yadiyad which means beloved friend.The word yadiyad is the word yad which means hand repeated two times meaning hand in hand.” (Chaim Bentorah). Now, David was the apple of God’s eye, a man after God’s own heart, and the one through whom Messiah would come. Not just anyone is called beloved. Only those who are super close, intimately connected, hand-in-hand are called this.
When God said those words to Jesus, He was in effect declaring Him righteous, one in heart with Him, holy and set apart. This baptismal scene fulfilled Jeremiah 23 which says, “5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (emphasis mine)
Paths of Righteousness
So, when the “beloved” Shepherd leads us on paths of righteousness, He leads us in His own footsteps as the One who has walked hand-in-hand with God, and the only One who is the first born of all creation declared “good”. And “Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps,” (Psalm 85:13). These paths are the Gospel lived out in living color.
Do we have to do something to become righteous? No. After all, there is no one righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10), and all of our righteousness are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Thus, God did what we cannot do. He accounted us righteous, like Abraham (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4; Galatians 3:6; Philippians 3:9), for when we believed in Christ’s death and resurrection we believed unto righteousness (Romans 10:10). It is a gift to those who receive it. And thus, even as Christ is “beloved” we are now beloved too (Ephesians 5:1). And we are new creations in Christ; the old has passed away, and all has become new (2 Corinthians 5).
The way of the Shepherd’s steps are the well-worn Gospel paths of salvation by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ (Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2), of loving God with all of one’s heart, soul, strength and mind and loving one’s neighbor as one’s self (Luke 10:27); for indeed, the world will know us by our love for one another (John 13:35). As it states so succinctly in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear [beloved] children;2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.”
For His Name’s Sake
And we are not on these paths for our own selfish purposes, for there is no room for selfishness on the narrow paths of righteousness. You see, we are on these paths not for our own gain or purpose, but rather, for God’s name’s sake. We wear the name of Christ – “Christians”. And one day we will have His name manifest on our person. As Revelation 3:12 says, “and I will write upon him my new name,” and Revelation 22:4, “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” We wear His name, and will some day literally wear His name.
When Jesus came as the beloved Son who was righteousness in the flesh, He did not come for His own pleasure, but rather, He came to fulfill the purpose of the Father. Even so, we as His sheep, are called to walk in those same paths of righteousness and fulfill the purpose of God, not for our benefit, but as Ambassadors of Christ. And ambassadors never represent themselves, but represent the kingdom and king from whence they’ve come. In other words, they do all for the sake of king and kingdom. We too are to do this. We represent Jesus and His eternal Kingdom, and thus, we are to walk in the righteous edicts of that Kingdom – for His name’s sake. After all, He forgave us all of our sins, FOR HIS NAME’S Sake (1 John 2:12). So, having received so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3) and having been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21), why would we not deny ourselves, take up our crosses (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23) and follow Him on paths of righteousness for His name’s sake?
We are not invited to follow Christ in righteousness because we are good or worthy, but rather, because He is good and worthy and has fulfilled all righteousness. We are invited to follow in His righteous footsteps, however, for His name’s sake. First John 2:5-6 says so clearly, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (emphasis mine) Selflessly. As a servant. Meekly. Holy. Obediently. Godly. Justly. Righteously.
As the Bride, let us be robed in righteousness “as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10) — for righteousness is what makes us a glorious Bride. As the priests of Christ let us be clothed in righteousness (Psalm 132:9) — for it’s what sets us apart for holy service. As soldiers of the cross, let us be suited up in the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6), even faith and love (1 Thessalonians 5:8) — for it’s what guards our hearts that are the well-spring of life (Proverbs 4).
Our King is not of this world, and He is coming for us very soon. Let’s keep our robes of righteousness white and without wrinkle. The trumpet of God is about to sound. Let’s be ready!
For part 1, part 2, and part 4 of this series please select the links below:
This dream is definitely connected with the other Coverstone dreams and bears a strikingly similar message, and though each dream is potent and provocative in and of itself, this one is stunningly breathtaking. With the powerful pictures depicted in the other dreams as well as in this one we can gain a better understanding of what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches.
The dream opens with a landscape of ice and snow (the end of winter) and a thick fog that covers the land. As the fog lifts (The fog lifting has to do with what was once hidden will now be disclosed), the outline of the Southeastern U.S. appears, and one’s attention is drawn to the churches of these states from which smoke is rising and wherein Christians are weeping, wailing, repenting, and fervently praying. They are confessing their sins. They are getting rid of their chains and that to which they were in bondage. They are praying for the salvation of family members. They are fervent, and their prayers grow louder and more intense as the smoke of the incense of their prayers rise from church building after church building. It is then that the snow and ice begins to melt around the churches, and the Christians emerge to view how God has answered their prayers. They are stunned to see gray, putrid mud. It seems that all are disappointed that God did not answer their prayers for a restoration of the land, a great revival, and they disgusted by the stinky mud of death and decay. After all, all is dead. No leaves are on the trees, no vegetation on the land, no fresh water, no beauty to behold, no hope for restoration or newness of life. It is then that a voice comes from heaven saying twice and even more firmly the second time, “Work with the mud you’ve been given.”
However, there are several that are so disgusted, disillusioned, and disappointed that they abandon the group, and march off in search of greener pastures saying, “We will find better ground and the god that will honor our prayers.” This is a lot like the Plumb Line dream wherein after God shakes the Church, and there are those who stagger out of it and away from it denying that they belong to such a Christianity as this–the type that includes suffering, economic collapse, the call to holiness and the judgment of the United States of America.
After their departure, a “Cloud” appears in the Midwest, and the group of believers from the South, North, West and East of America begin their harrowing journey through the gray, putrid sludge to the middle where the “Cloud” of God hovers over the grayest and foulest and most decayed part of the mud. This “Cloud” of course is God’s presence, just like the Cloud in Exodus that led the children of Israel out of Egypt and through the Wilderness, and was the same that came down upon Sinai, and was that which filled the house of the Lord in 1 Kings 8.
What could the foul smelling mud be??? Second Corinthians 2 sheds some light on this, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” In other words, to the unsaved Christians stink. Why? Because we smell like death. How do we smell like death? Because of the cross; because of the death of Christ, and because of our dying daily to our ourselves and taking up our crosses and following Him. This is a sweat-smelling savor unto the Lord, but not to the world.
As they begin trudging through the sludge, the sound of howling wolves are heard approaching, and before you know it, they are surrounded by a hundred or more black wolves who do all within their power to intimidate and discourage and insight fear in the “mud walkers” that they might vacate the mud. They are active and rabid, and their tracks fill the mud. This reminds me of one of Coverstone’s much earlier dreams from back in July about the wolves entering the churches and tormenting the pastors and getting the sleepy congregants to wake up and throw fits regarding what their pastors were preaching. But the believers trudge on in perfect unity, so much so that when one of them looks up to view the Cloud they all look up at the same time. And everyone is helping each other, pulling, carrying, encouraging, much like the September dream of a “Solemn Assembly” wherein believers were holding one another up and helping the weaker ones to remain faithful in prayer. This draws my heart to Hebrews 12:11-12 that says, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees…”
Furthermore, this scene of great exertion explains why Jesus in the “Renewal of the Bride” dream told the Bride to rest up so that she might be ready to run. In other words, the Bride needed to be “abiding” in Him, be at rest in Him, pressing in to Him, dwelling beneath the shadow of the Almighty, so that she might be able to endure the trial that was coming just before Christ calls her home.
And so the “mud walkers” marched on beneath a clear blue sky over terrain of mucky, ashen gray, and the closer they get to the Cloud, the mud gets thicker and deeper and the wolves were able to draw closer. At that point the wolves actually were allowed to bite them, whereas before and earlier on, the wolves had been pulled back before they could even reach the Christians. Furthermore, it was noted that the wolves were being accompanied by and provoked by people at the outer edges of the mud who were wearing masks with skulls and demon’s faces and witches’ faces on the masks. These people were screaming curses and blasphemous words at the Christians calling them “haters and dividers,” and they threw sticks at them that resembled arrows as well as stones.
It was at this time when things really got hard, even beyond difficult, that several exited the mud. These were helped by those in Occult masks on the sidelines. As soon as those exiting reached the edges they were given masks, and they joined in with the jeering at the Christians who remained faithful saying, “The mud is not God’s plan. He has deceived you, and yet you follow without thinking for yourselves.” Again, this makes me think of the Renewing the Bride dream, and why she had be be hidden with Christ in God, and why she needed to rest in order that she might have endurance to complete the race for which we are called heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Then Jesus appears wearing white and holding a scepter with angels all around Him, and He states, “My ways are not your ways. Your spiritual legs will be strengthened through agony; your witness will offend the naive and those who have no fear of me. Bracing gives way to fire, and those braced must remain on the path. My command is ‘come out from among them, separate yourself’ as the chaff is about to burn, and their smoke will fill the skies.”
At this point emerald green lightning streaks across the sky, and a flash of light lights up the entire country. Jesus then says, “I am coming soon, and my reward is with me. Stay faithful until I come.” This draws one’s attention to Matthew 24:27 and the gathering together of believers to Christ. The passage says, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Indeed, our King Jesus is coming SOON! And when He does so, lightning will light up the entire world, from Japan to America to Europe, and He will take away His Bride unto Himself. And then He will turn and reveal Himself in judgment upon this world.
What It All Means
What is about to come will puzzle Christians who have and will be seeking God fervently. Christians are so convinced that when we pray that God will answer in a certain way. Concerning America, Christians believe that when they repent and turn from their wicked ways that God will hear from heaven and heal their land. However, God’s purpose for America is to judge her. Her time is ending. Not only this, but time itself is coming to a close. The Tribulation/Jacob’s Trouble is nearly upon the world. The New World Order/One World government is being established. This is not just any time in history. This is not just any situation. There is a bigger plan, a larger agenda, and truly God’s ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts our thoughts. Yes, Christians need to repent. Christians do need to turn from their wicked ways, their idolatry, their bondage to things they maybe have not to this point even considered sin. It is indeed time to return to holiness, for without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Jesus is coming back for a Bride without spot or wrinkle that is washed by the water of His word (Ephesians 5:27). What we are about to endure is all about making us holy (Hebrews 12). But, our returning to Him at this time in history does not mean that America will continue or that time will be extended. We are at the tail end of the age. And God is judging America before He turns to sift and test all nations of the earth (The Franklin Dream). For the kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever. We as Christians must shake off the notion that things will get better in America. We as Christians must repent because we need to repent, and see sin for what it is. Then, we must boldly share this with everyone, even those who will not listen. This is true revival. This is true awakening. And may we take it as a compliment when we are reviled, when we are blasphemed, when we are cursed, for they did this to Jesus. Matthew 5:10-12 says, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
We as Christians must come to the realization that God’s Kingdom is coming and the King is coming SOONER than we can even imagine. All those promises of old are about to come true. We as Christians must get our eyes off of our earthly hopes and dreams, our earthly loves and desires, even our American dream. For no matter how good all of that is or has been–and it has been beautiful–, our hope, our dream, our love, our desire must be for “His Kingdom come; His will be done.” It’s time to set our minds on things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). Now is the time. There will be no other.
The birth pangs are coming faster and faster, one on top of the other, as the earth continues to travail and groan. “And I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath; blood and fire and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come” (Acts 2:19-20; Joel 2). “…and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places” (Matthew 24:7b). “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken,” (Luke 21:25-26).
This indeed, is unfolding right now such as never before in history. Yes, there have been signs and earthquakes before, but not one right on top of each other and simultaneously in nation after nation. And before I continue, the word in the Greek for “earthquake” does not merely refer to earthquakes but to all disruptive, devastating activity such as floods and tornadoes and hurricanes.
There have been 39 active volcanoes (as documented in June); hail the size of melons; strange sunrises such as the illusion of 5 suns in China and the ‘devil’s horns’ on the Persian Gulf; all-red rainbows over Canada and Washington state, new kinds of lightening called ‘giant jets’, ‘red sprites’, ‘blue jets’, ‘blue starters’, and ‘upward lightening’, to name a few, as well as mysterious green lights called ‘green ghosts’ lighting up the night sky; ginormous dust clouds swirling all the way from Africa to the U.S.; tremendous flash flooding worldwide; scorching, merciless wildfires in Australia; a record breaking heat wave in Siberia along with hundreds of historic wildfires burning; locust plagues; 50 mile wide swarm of ants that can even been seen from space; over 4 million acres burning in Russia,; unusual June snowfall in Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, and Idaho; countless sink holes opening up; hundreds of earthquakes 5.0 or higher; an increased number of hurricanes predicted, and devastating tornadoes.
When the Bible speaks of a wonder it is referring to a miracle that is observed with the eyes that is “startling, imposing or amazing.” A sign is a miracle with a “spiritual end and purpose,” demonstrating the “finger-marks of God.” These work in tandem with each other, and draw one’s attention to God. “These two words refer not to different classes of miracles, but to different aspects of the same miracle.” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, pg 1286 (#4592) and pg 1378 (#5059))
And the signs and wonders of God can be seen everywhere these days, and below are a list of links to convey this incredible fact. Jesus said we’d see these things, and we are. If you’ve not yet seen these or heard of these, it’s time to see them. It’s time to get your eyes off of the nightly news drivel or the novel you’re reading or the sports rerun you’re watching or the cup of coffee you’re drinking or the make-up you’re applying, and it’s time to look up into the skies. It’s time to notice what is happening all around you — even in your hometown. It’s time to see and know that odd and awesome and crazy things are happening. Jesus is coming back — the signs are everywhere. All we need to do is see them.
A Multiplicity of end times headlines from around the world. This includes earthquake activity and volcanic eruptions. 5 minute mark. “Prophecy Update End Times News Headlines – 7/15/20,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqQbDSNxq8U
Earthquake/Volcanic activity is happening in New Zealand, Indonesia, Mexico, etc. The list of seismic activity worldwide begins at the 5 minute mark. “Prophecy Update End Times News Headlines – 7/15/20,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqQbDSNxq8U