Monday, April 28, 2008

Wilderness Lessons

Wilderness Lessons
Joseph Herrin (04-28-08)

The Spirit of Christ has wonderfully awakened my understanding to some insights into the coming work of preparing the Bride of Christ through a fiery wilderness experience. The understanding has come in the midst of much heartache as I have watched a brother brought to the edge of turning back from following the Lord down paths designed to cut away the flesh in order to release the fragrance of Christ inside. The understanding has come through contemplating the life of Moses as he led the children of Israel through the wilderness.

Moses is one more spiritual type that relates to the Joseph Company who must accomplish this work of preparing the body of Christ for burial that a new spiritual creation might arise. As I sat down to write this article I first checked my e-mail and I found that a brother in Christ had sent me a copy of Jane Leade’s prophecy of 1679. I have this prophecy posted on the Heart4God website. I am convinced it is a true word that has specific bearing to the work being accomplished at this hour in preparing some principal servants to bear unusual anointings in the hour to come. These anointings will be for the purpose of preparing the Bride for the return of the Bridegroom.

I realized that it was of the Lord that this word arrived in my inbox this morning, and that I should read it again. Yesterday and today have been particularly grueling in spiritual warfare, and I went to bed last night feeling worn from the intensity of the battle. This prophecy speaks of the great difficulty to be faced by those chosen to be prepared for this end time work, and they are exhorted to “hold fast,” and “quicken their pace,” for they must endure to the end. As I read what was sent to me I was particularly drawn to certain sections that the sender had highlighted in red. The first such section spoke of Moses serving as a type of these last days ministers. As I was preparing to sit down and write about Moses in this very relationship, I knew that it was the Lord who had ordered my steps once more. Following is a section from Jane Leade’s prophecy.

Thus Moses, Joshua, and Aaron may be considered types of some upon whom the same Spirit will come, yet in greater proportion. Whereby they shall make way for the ransomed of the Lord to return to Mt. Zion; but none shall stand under God but those who have become "tried" stones after the pattern and similitude of Christ. This will be fiery trial through which a very few will be able to pass or bear up in it. Whereby the waiters for this visible breaking forth are strictly charged to hold fast, and wait together in the unity of Pure Love. This trial will be of absolute necessity to all for the clearing away of all remaining infirmities of the natural mind, and the burning of all wood, hay, and stubble. For nothing must remain in the fire, for as a refiner shall He purify the sons of the Kingdom...

None but those who have so ascended and received His glory can condescend and communicate the same, being thereby His representatives upon the earth and subordinate priests under Him now. He that has ascended and glorified has made Himself, as it were, our Debtor. Consequently, He will not be wanting in qualifying and furnishing certain high and principal instruments who shall be most humble and as little regarded as David was, whom He will dignify with honour and priestly sovereignty for drawing to them the scattered flocks, and gathering them into one fold out of all nations.

Therefore, there should be a holy emulation and ambition stirred up among the bands of believers that they may be of the first-fruits unto Him that is risen from the dead, and so be made principal agents for Him and with Him, that they may be, if possible, of the number of the First-born of the New Jerusalem mother. All true waiters of His Kingdom in Spirit, under whatsoever profession they may be, ought to be numbered among the virgin spirits to whom this message appertains. Be watchful and quicken your pace.

The entire prophecy can be read on the Heart4God website at the following link:

Moses: Wilderness Guide

This writing will particularly look at Moses as a type of this last days minister, for he truly exemplified one who was an Explorer and Pioneer who was chosen to serve as a Guide through wilderness paths which he had already traveled. Consider this pattern, which is discussed in the writing Explorers and Pioneers to Serve as Guides. Moses went into the wilderness for forty years, this being a time when God reduced him until the man who was mighty in word and deed, educated in all the wisdom of Egypt, was humbled and confessed, “Lord, I cannot speak.” Moses walked this path prior to his kinsman being called to walk the same course. In this way he was enabled to act as a helper to the children of God. His presence among them was a testimony of Yahweh’s grace as He supplied a man of experience and understanding of the ways of Yahweh, to shepherd them through the wilderness.

After Moses’ forty year experience, he then went through an identical period whereby he bore a tremendous anointing from God to accomplish this extraordinary work that bears great prophetic import to these last days. Moses was a man who spoke to Yahweh face to face, having seen His glory, and whose own face was transfigured as he saw that which others did not. This is a testimony of those who will be accounted as instruments of Yahweh as they too have gone through wilderness places, submitting to the cutting away of the flesh and learning humility. These will receive anointings of power and wisdom that have not yet been observed among the elect of God from the day of Adam to this hour. These will truly do “greater works” than Yahshua, for it is the desire of Christ that His disciples should share His glory (John 17).

Those who have been in wilderness places must hold fast. The hour of their ministry is at hand. What trials remain are necessary for their preparation. Great grace is released to all those who have offered themselves as a free will offering to be purified by their Savior and Lord. He will bring them into a release from all the bonds of the flesh. Fear, pride, unbelief, lust and anything else contrary to righteousness will be fully excised and they will be transformed with a radiance that will shine forth to be observed by all.

For those who have been in the wilderness, walking alone, enduring humbling experiences, the process has seemed long and wearying at times. Yet no return to Egypt has allured them. As with Moses, the same is true of them.

Hebrews 11:24-26
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.

The reproaches have seemingly been without end. Ill treatment has often been the portion of those being prepared. The wealth, pleasures and success of brothers and sisters in the world has been withheld from them. Yet there is a reward of which Christ will not be stinting. It will surpass the treasures of Egypt. Those who have borne reproach with Christ will be honored by the same for their very willingness to do so. Because they esteemed the fellowship and pleasure of Christ more than that of the world, He will be their portion. They will ascend the mountain into His presence. They will sing a new song which none else can learn.

Revelation 14:1-5
And I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.

What cost must be borne to attain to this number? These ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes have followed Him to a cross. They have submitted to this process of death. Because they have, there awaits an hour of resurrection and glory.

Those so transformed will not merely stand around and appear glorious. Like Moses they will have a charge delivered to them. They will be called to lead the children of God out of all that pertains to Egypt. These must prepare the Bride to meet the coming Bridegroom. All that they have passed through must be experienced by the rest of the body of Christ.

Only recently has the Spirit given me understanding of an experience that I passed through about three and a half years ago. After my wife departed from me, being unwilling to drink of the cup of suffering presented to me and her, I was led into the wilderness where I spent two forty day periods camping in a tent in the Oconee Forest of Georgia. This was a time of great trial, but also tremendous grace. I knew hunger, cold, loneliness, fearful circumstances, and even weathered a hurricane while sleeping in a small tent with trees crashing down in the woods around me. I lost about forty pounds in a matter of months, as the Lord showed through a physical parable the spiritual work to be accomplished.

After the first forty days the Lord brought me up out of the wilderness, manifesting a provision that very moment as a brother in the Philippines was directed by the Spirit to wire me some money. The next day a brother in Australia did the same. Then after two days of rest I returned to the woods and experienced a second forty day period. The events of this second period were in almost every way more severe. The weather was colder (ending in December), my food was more scarce (the last 17 days I had only water), and even my supply of water was cut off and I had to severely ration it.

At the end of this second period the Lord once more released me. As I got into my car I looked at my trip odometer and the mileage read 240. I knew this was a witness of the Lord as I had just completed two 40 day periods in the woods. I often wondered at the reason for this period being doubled in my life. I wondered if it spoke of a need to be doubly refined. The Spirit has now revealed the pattern through the life of Moses. He went through two 40 year periods in the wilderness. The first alone. The second leading the children of God.

The truth, however, is that Moses was refined in each of the events. As he led the Israelites through their own experience, he was met with trials he had not known the first time around. He had to endure the complaints and grumbling of the people of God. He had to endure unbelief and hardness of heart. He witnessed the fear of the people, and the hateful actions that resulted from those who would not conquer fear (some even spoke of stoning him).

In this second forty year period Moses was able to experience the very things that Yahweh experiences as He bears patiently with mankind. How much grumbling does He endure? How great are the complaints that meet His ears? How long does He bear patiently with fearful and unbelieving children? And through it all Moses came to understand the ways of Yahweh, and to share in the fellowship of God’s suffering heart.

Psalms 103:7
He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.

Those who will be a part of this company to lead the people of God through wilderness places will also come to experience the suffering of God. Their second time in the wilderness will also prove to be a time of trial, albeit different than their first experience. During this second pass they will walk face to face with God. They will share His burdens and know His heart. They will even stand in intercession for those who are unbelieving and complaining, as did Moses when he entreated God to not destroy this grumbling generation in the wilderness.

During the first time through the wilderness, Moses was himself reduced until he could be entrusted with power. During the second time through he walked with great power. Egypt was destroyed by the power of the plagues. The waters of the Red Sea parted when his staff was raised over it. Water poured forth from a rock in the wilderness. Manna rained down from heaven to feed the people. The earth split open and devoured his opponents. The Sun stood still as he raised his arms in prayer to Yahweh. If Moses had not chosen to suffer the reproaches of Christ of a free will, he would not have been prepared to bear the power of Christ’s Spirit. Only a humble man or woman can be entrusted with such power. Even so, Moses wielded this power once in anger and was disqualified from leading the people fully into their possession.

This failure in the life of Moses is one to consider closely by those who must pass through the wilderness a second time. There must be a mature selflessness exhibited by those who will lead the church through the wilderness. They must not be personally offended, even when the fear and unbelief of the body is directed at them, and their leadership. This Company of Guides must always manifest humility, not concerning themselves with personal words of attack, or actions against their person. They must seek always the Lord’s pleasure, and act only according to His heart. When He is merciful, they must be merciful. When He is patient, they must be patient. In this way they will come to share the character of the One who is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep.

It should be noted that Moses often “waxed hot.” Not all anger is unjustified. There are times when Yahweh is also angry, and those who represent His character must do so faithfully. It is anger arising from personal offense that must be laid aside. Such anger always leads to transgression if not quickly checked. It brings about a further refining, a deeper dying to the desires and passions of the flesh, when we are put in such situations where we must bring every emotion into subjection to the Spirit of Christ.

Signs of Danger

There are many warning signs that should be heeded by those who follow guides through the wilderness of purification. The failings of Israel will be the same failings of the church in coming days. The things that disqualified them will also disqualify many and leave their dead bodies in the wilderness. In coming days there will both be faithful overcomers after the similitude of Joshua and Caleb, and a host of others who will fall short of the desire of God.

Hebrews 3:16-19
For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

A heart of unbelief does not arise without reason. There are various contributors to its development. One of these is an absence of prayer and Bible reading. The children of God must feed upon that which feeds the spirit man. The Israelites despised the manna that God provided for them. They cried out for Moses to give them “flesh” instead. When a person feeds on that which is fleshly, while despising that which is spiritual, they will always increase in unbelief for faith is a fruit of the Spirit. A believing heart is nourished by spiritual food. The Word of God is Spirit breathed. It must be eaten, chewed, and meditated upon.

Time must also be given to waiting upon God to hear His voice. Thus we observe Joshua always in close attendance to Moses. When Moses went into the Tent of Meeting, Joshua waited at the door. When Moses ascended the mountain, Joshua waited at its base. Had the rest of Israel done the same they would not have entered into transgression with the golden calf, and into drunken and sensual behavior.

A heart of unbelief cannot be hidden. What is in the heart comes out of the mouth. The children of God constantly allowed their lips to speak words of unbelief. They defamed God with their accusations.

Exodus 14:11-12
Then they said to Moses, "Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."

Those who speak such things exhibit not only their unbelief, but an absence of honor and fear of God. If a heart of unbelief, and a tendency to murmur, are not quickly identified and dealt with, they will eventually lead to a decision to turn away from the path God is leading His people down. Yahweh is determined to expose that which is in His children’s hearts.

There are many who will hang around for a season, not wanting to be found outside of a work in which God is manifestly present. Yet, hanging around is not a true victory if one is complaining and speaking words of fear and unbelief the entire time. Yahweh will always bring His people to a place of choosing whether they will trust Him, or turn away in unbelief and fear. He often does so by leading His children to face some giant before which they appear as grasshoppers.

Numbers 14:2-4
And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! And why is Yahweh bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" So they said to one another, "Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt."

If a person does not address a spirit of unbelief in their life, they will find it growing stronger until the day comes when God leads them to follow Him to a place they are unwilling to go. With their words they will begin to bring accusation against the guides Yahweh has provided them, as well as against God Himself. They will say, “God is asking too much of me. He knows this is more than I can handle. It is unfair of Yahweh to add to tests I am already facing. Isn’t it enough that I have followed Him this far? Shouldn’t He be satisfied with the fact that I am here?”

If one maintains such an attitude they will find that a day comes when they seek a new leader to take them back to Egypt. Many will fall away in days ahead. Many will deny the Lord who saved them and return to the world. They will speak of the unfairness of all that they were called to do. They will accuse God of not caring for them, and asking them to do the impossible at great peril to themselves and their families.

Please understand that I am not saying it is wrong to find oneself struggling with fears and doubts. Such weaknesses are common to all men. Yet when these fears and doubts arise we must cry out to God asking Him to help us in our weakness. It is an entirely different matter to allow one’s voice to arise in a cry of help, as to use it to voice complaint and accusation against God and His leaders. Yahweh is near to those who are fearful. He is a God of much tenderness and compassion. He knows our frame, that we are but dust. He is near to those who cry out to Him. But, grumbling and complaint reveal a judgment against God’s character. It is as if we say, “I do not believe God will help me, so I will not ask. Rather I will accuse Him of a lack of understanding and compassion.”

It is easier for the carnal man or woman to complain than to ask God to help them. Complaint indicates that we do not admit that the cause of our reluctance to follow God is due to our own weakness. Because we do not admit the fault to be with self, we are able to avoid responsibility for correcting the problem. Instead, the fault, and the responsibility are placed either in God’s lap, or on the one He has appointed to lead.

If you find yourself being led through wilderness places and are tempted to complain when fear and doubts assail you, then guard your tongue closely. Do not allow yourself to sin with your lips. To do so brings the judgment of God.

I Corinthians 10:9-12
Let us not try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Yahweh will lead all his children through the wilderness of trials in coming days. Many will be purified and made radiant. These will learn to trust Yahshua as they never have before. The reproach of Egypt will be rolled away from them. And many will fall away.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

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