Joseph Herrin (01-25-09)
This post consists of several short topical teachings. These are derived from recent e-mail correspondence. As the questions were excellent, and many others have surely pondered similar matters, I thought I would post them here.
Note: Let me remind the readers again that I am unable to respond to questions sent to me using the “Post Reply” function of the blog as your e-mail address is hidden from me. The following question came to me a couple days ago via this method, but I had no way to write them back directly. The reader wrote an excellent question that arose in their mind as they read the post on Christ’s Appearance In His Saints, and I will answer it here:
Christ Appearing on the Mount of Olives
What about His feet touching the Mount of Olives. You say that He will not be seen physically, but what about where we are told that His feet will touch the Mount of Olives and He will come through that eastern gate?
Just as clouds are not to be interpreted literally, but serve as a parable, a type and shadow, so too do the elements mentioned here. The reference to Christ’s feet being upon the Mount of Olives is found in the prophet Zechariah:
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
The Mount of Olives serves as a type and shadow of those servants of Christ who are anointed ones. In the writing “Black Oil Anointing” I have described the symbolism of anointing and how it is derived.
The anointing oil used in the Temple to light the lamps and the golden candlestick was derived from the crushed flesh of the olive. The people of God are pictured as an olive tree, and the individuals as olives. The apostle Paul used this symbolism when speaking of Israel being an olive tree which was broken off and the Gentiles being grafted in as a wild olive branch (Romans 11).
Christ will appear upon those anointed servants of His in the day prophesied by Zechariah. These ones have allowed their flesh to be crushed, having submitted to the cross appointed to them, and Christ will descend upon them. On the Mount of Olives is the Garden called Gethsemane, whose name means “olive press.” It was there that the flesh of the olives was crushed to extract the oil. So too will Christ appear on those who have followed Him through Gethsemane where there soul too was brought to a death experience that the anointing of the Spirit might be fully revealed in them.
It was on Gethsemane that Christ said:
"My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me."
If we share in the suffering of Christ we will also share in His glory. For this reason He is depicted as descending upon the Mount of Olives.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
His appearing on the East side speaks of the rising of the Sun (Son) upon a people made ready for His return.
"But for you who fear My name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. And you will tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing," says Yahweh of hosts.
There is a great similarity between this passage from Malachi and that from Zechariah. Both speak of a day of battle and of warfare. Christ will appear IN HIS SAINTS and will through them wage war until every enemy has been conquered. The Eastern gate faces the rising of the Sun and it speaks of those who are in readiness and looking for the appearing of the Son of God.
Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
In the arrangement of the camp in the wilderness there were three tribes camped on each of the four sides of the Tabernacle, which was in the midst of all. On the east side were Judah (Praise), Issachar (He shall bring a reward) and Zebulun (Habitation). These three also reveal a parable of great wonder.
There will be Praise at the rising of the Sun (Son of God) upon His people. He (Yahshua) shall bring a reward to those who are looking to His rising. These ones will become the Habitation of God. The Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled IN THEM. God will be seen to be dwelling in glory IN man.
Fasting and Hearing God’s Voice
Several people have written to me recently concerning the topic of fasting. One brother in Christ asked me of the relationship between fasting and hearing the voice of God more clearly. I shared the following with him.
Fasting is an active demonstration of the spirit man rising up to rule over the appetites of the flesh. These two are always contrary to one another as Paul declares in the 5th chapter of his epistle to the Galatians.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Our bodies, with their appetites and passions, are symbolic of the land of Canaan of which we are to take possession. We receive these bodies from Adam, and they are just like that ancient land that was filled with idols, abominable sins, and contained many giants, walled cities and fortresses. It requires warfare to subdue the land. Fasting is an act of warfare.
Christ said that the Kingdom of God is within you. He also said that the kingdom of God suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. It requires a real battle for us to subdue the flesh when it begins clamoring for us to satisfy the noisy appetites that are making their voices heard. Yet Christ within us is our Champion, and He has said that we will never be tested beyond our ability to overcome (I Corinthians 10:13). He will always provide a path to a victorious ending.
We must become violent men of spiritual warfare to subdue the clamoring voices in our flesh. I have actually experienced intense battle in this area when I was younger (in my 20s) where I found myself driving down the road shouting to Satan and speaking forth words of faith as I warred with great temptations in a period of fasting. In this most recent fast God promised a great grace to those who would obey, and I truly found this to be true. As I looked back upon this 40 days I could scarcely believe it had been that long. I cannot remember a time where the days seem to have gone by so quickly.
Going back to the symbolism of our bodies being as the land of Canaan of which we are to take possession, the Scriptures also describe the promised land as a land flowing with milk and honey. Milk is often used as a symbol of God's word in the Scriptures, and sometimes honey is also.
I Peter 2:2-3
Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Christ, of course, is the WORD of God, and He will fill this land of our flesh with an overflowing of His presence. We will become a land flowing with milk and honey. You can see the relationship of fasting to hearing from God in this regard. As we wage war with our flesh, subduing the appetites, we become a land flowing with milk and honey, which are symbols of God's word. His word begins to flow in us.
I can attest to this being my experience as my fast progressed. Particularly in the last week of my fast, and ever since I have ended, the word of God has come with great clarity to me. He has been affirming His word with many witnesses, and I have had an uncommon assurance that I have rightly discerned His mind. His honey is in me even as Samson declared "Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet" (Joshua 14:14). Samson literally took honey from the dead body of a lion. The eater was not eating anymore when something sweet (honey) came forth from it. Has not God set marvelous parables throughout His word?
We see in these things a relationship to fasting and the WORD of God being found in us. We must crucify the flesh with its passions and desires, and then we become a land flowing with milk and honey.
Heads Will Roll
This past week I was sent a writer’s comments on Revelations 20:4:
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Yahshua and because of the word of God...
I was raised in Baptist churches where a literal interpretation of this passage was taught. It was often cited that the guillotine would be brought back as a form of punishment in the last days. I reader forwarded the comments of a Bible teacher who was providing some evidence that this would come about soon.
There is often a physical fulfillment to Scriptures, but we would be remiss to overlook the spiritual substance to which these natural shadows bear evidence. Revelations is a book where truth is “signified” (Greek semaino - to show forth by signs) (Revelation 1:1). This verse in Revelation also has a spiritual understanding, and should not be viewed on an exclusively literal level.
In the book The Mark of the Beast I shared the following insights on this passage:
Let us return now to that which is written of the overcomers. John records that "they loved not their lives even to death." Is it not plain now that he is not speaking of physical martyrdom, but of the working of the cross in their lives? The overcomers are overcomers because they have attained the victory over their own bodies and the beast nature that resides in the flesh. That John is using symbolic language to speak of spiritual matters is further revealed as we look at another Scripture relating to the overcomers.
Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Yahshua and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
The word beheaded here comes from a Greek word that occurs nowhere else in Scripture. It denotes having one’s head cut off with an axe, which was a common enough type of capital punishment in Roman days. We read in the gospels where Herod beheaded John the Baptist in this way. But this was not the only method employed to martyr the saints. Many of the early saints in Roman times were crucified. Some were stoned to death. Many were taken to the forums and given to wild beasts such as lions. Others were burned to death as "Roman Candles," and there were many other such ways in which the saints have suffered death at the hands of their persecutors.
We have to conclude that the Holy Spirit is not seeking to convey with these words that only those who are physically beheaded are numbered among the overcomers and will be given the honor of reigning with Christ during the Millennial period of the Kingdom of God. Rather, the words used to describe this beheading are filled with symbolism and are intended to be understood figuratively.
In an earlier chapter we read of the overcomers being sealed in their foreheads with the names of the Father and the Son. This typifies one who has taken Christ as their Head, and they have no head of their own. These overcomers have the mind of Christ, and they live no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. In I Corinthians Paul employs symbolism of one’s head being related to authority and submission. He writes:
I Corinthians 11:3
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
If a man has Christ as his Head, then this indicates that a man has no head of his own. He must figuratively cut off his head in order to take Christ as his Head. A man must die to his own will, initiative and desires that are found in his head, and he must take Christ’s head as his own. Man must live for the will of Christ, not only calling Him Lord, but living as if He is Lord. He must take Christ’s desires for his own, buffeting his body and keeping it in subjection when he should find desires arising which are contrary to the desire of Christ.
No man can take Christ as Head and keep his own head at the same time. God does not desire two-headed monsters. So all those who are overcomers must lose their own heads. This is the spiritual understanding of John’s words in Revelation. He is not indicating that the guillotine will be brought back into fashion in the last days, which is an idea many prophecy teachers are promoting. He is saying that the overcomers will be beheaded by receiving Christ as their Head in place of their own head. They will be perfectly resigned to the will of God in their lives, not pursuing their own agenda and goals, but living to do the will of God.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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