Joseph Herrin (03-01-09)
There are many new readers of the Parables Blog, and due to this I often find that it is needful to clarify some of the things that the Lord has taught me over the years. I realize that many people who have just recently begin reading the posts here will not be familiar with the background of this minister, and the lessons the Spirit of Christ has taught me over the years. Some are therefore confused, or misunderstand, when they read a post and are not aware of the context in which it is written. This context includes the many deep lessons the Spirit has taught me over the years.
Let me also remind readers here that I am unable to reply to you if you use the comment feature on the Parables Blog. Your e-mail address is not provided to me when you use this feature, and in many cases your name also shows up as simply “Anonymous.” If you want to ask me questions, please send me an e-mail. You can find my e-mail address at the bottom of the homepage of the Heart4God website. (www.heart4god.ws)
Following are two comments that were submitted to yesterday’s post.
Really appreciate your articles Joseph! Just wanted to ask you, are you saying you believe all believers will live in a physical wilderness in tents?
I'm in Canada (less than an hour from the US border), and obviously any large scale catastrophic events in the US will have a very great impact on us here. Yet the Lord has spoken to our family that we will be living in a large stone house just outside the city and that He will prosper us greatly in order to provide for the needs of the saints. He's also shown us that we will be traveling around and freely preaching the Gospel.
As the Lord has shown us, do you believe that during the coming tribulations there will be believers who will prosper in material wealth (as well as spiritual) to be used to care for His people and proclaim His Gospel?
Brother Joseph, I hear what you are saying in your blogs and appreciate the warnings, but please understand just because the Lord has led you to get rid of everything and camp out of a van does not necessarily mean the Lord is calling all His children to get rid of everything except the bare necessities and live in tents.
I understand the condition of the majority of the Body of Christ and the fact that most probably will lose a lot if not all of what they have because they have lived more for this world than for Him. However, I think you still need to be a little more balanced in your writings. There are saints such as my family that are dedicated to the Lord. All our debts are paid off except our home. We are praying that it either be sold or paid off, but the Lord has said to wait. It's honestly hard to wait. He has not spoken to do any other preparation for right now so He is not going to lead all saints to do exactly as you have.
There are faithful saints who are listening to the Lord. We will still have to believe God to provide whether we live in a tent or a home. Not all saints who've lived prosperously been more attached to this world than to Him, but I know you know this already. I know you are just trying to warn, but if you are not careful you can unnecessarily cause some saints to do things that God hasn't called them to do because you believe most if not all saints are to get rid of everything and camp out.
Not all are going to necessarily lose everything. Some of us may be putting people up in our homes and properties that have no where else to go so I don't believe all are called to purchase tents and camp like you. We will still probably have to rough it one way or another, but you are also limiting what God can do in what you are sharing.
Please understand I'm not trying to be critical, but you can also cause unnecessary fear and panic if you are not careful. We are not supposed to fear, I know, but there are saints trusting Him to the best of their ability and are not perfect in faith yet. He is more merciful than that. Bless you brother and thank you for sharing with the saints.
Both of these comments are excellent and deserving of a response, so I thought I would include them here. The Lord will surely lead each of His children to a variety of experiences in coming days, and not all will experience precisely the same. The one universal experience that will be common to all of Yahweh’s children will be that they must all hear His voice and be led of the Spirit in all that they do.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
The absolute need of being led of the Spirit in all that we do is a truth that the Spirit revealed to me early on before He ever called me into a ministry of teaching. The second book I ever wrote is titled SABBATH.
It does not speak of some carnal ordinance to be observed one day out of seven, but of the deep and foundational spiritual principle to which the Old Testament shadow points. I will quote here from a chapter in that book.
Today mankind frequently associates the term Sabbath with a day that occurs once a week in which physical work is not performed. This is viewing Sabbath on a purely physical plane, and it leads to many false understandings. When one understands Sabbath aright they will understand that a person can be in a state of complete rest before God while physically they appear to be laboring. The Jews did not understand this so they condemned Yahshua and His disciples as Sabbath breakers. The Jews saw Yahshua’s disciples threshing grain in their hands on the Sabbath day and they condemned them for it (Matthew 12:1-8). Similarly they condemned Yahshua for healing on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:10-14).
The problem for the Jews then is the same problem many have in Christianity today. Men look at things outwardly, on the surface, without discerning what it is that God is intending. Yahweh desires that all men come to a state of rest before Him. He desires that men should cease from their own labors and that they only do the things He leads them to do. Yahweh desires for man to come to an end of personal initiative; for man to set himself to do nothing that arises from his own soul. This is the Sabbath that He desires.
Yahshua proclaimed that He was Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). His whole life was an example of true rest before the Father. The essence of this rest is found in His following words.
"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
Yahshua therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”
Yahshua said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.”
"For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.”
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”
In these words, which Yahshua often repeated, we see what it is to truly enter into God’s rest. Entering into His rest is a ceasing from one’s own labors (Hebrews 4:10). Sabbath is not defined by what a man is doing externally, it is defined by being in a state of perfect harmony and agreement with God. When a man no longer seeks his own will; when he no longer goes his own way; when he is no longer guided by his intellect and reason; when he has died to all personal initiative; when he only does the will of the Father - then he has entered into rest.
It is revealed in Yahshua’s words that the rest we are to enter into extends even as far as the words we speak. Yahshua proclaimed that He did not speak a word of His own initiative. He only spoke that which the Father gave Him to speak. This is perfect rest. It is true Sabbath.
It mattered not whether Yahshua and His disciples were doing something physically that looked like work on the Sabbath day. If they were doing the will of the Father then they were at perfect rest, they were fulfilling Sabbath. Sabbath is not determined by external observation, it is an inward state of complete agreement with the Father. Sabbath is perfect obedience. It is doing precisely what the Father wills for man to do, no more and no less.
When Yahshua was condemned by the Jews for healing on the Sabbath, He revealed to them what true Sabbath was, but they did not have ears to hear it.
And for this reason the Jews were persecuting Yahshua, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working."
In another place Yahshua said that He was always beholding the Father, and He was doing those things He saw the Father doing. Yahshua healed on the Sabbath day because He saw the Father healing on the Sabbath day. This is what He declared to the Jews that they did not understand. True Sabbath is doing what the Father is doing. True Sabbath is obedience to what He reveals we are to be doing.
If Yahshua had observed the Father healing on the Sabbath day, and He had refused to do so Himself, He would have been a Sabbath breaker. When the Father makes His will known to us in any instance, we are at rest when we obey. We fail to enter into rest when we refuse to obey.
The Jews only saw the external type that was given to represent Sabbath. They saw the Law which said that work was not to be done on the seventh day. Yet they failed to see what the Law was truly typifying. Yahweh was not concerned that man should rest from all physical labor one day a week. However, He was immensely concerned that man should not do anything that originated outside of the will of God. The Laws concerning the Sabbath day were merely types and shadows, but the Jews could not get past the types and shadows to see the true fulfillment.
Yahshua was fulfilling Sabbath completely by never doing anything of His own initiative. Sabbath was not fulfilled by adhering to that which was a shadow of the Sabbath. Yahshua walked in the substance while the rest of the Jews were walking in shadows and figures. The Jews would refrain from physical labor one day a week, but they failed to truly walk in Sabbath. If they had known true Sabbath rest they would not have condemned one who was walking in complete harmony with the will of the Father.
The whole Godhead is in a state of Sabbath rest. There is only one will, the will of the Father. The Son is in complete agreement with the will of the Father as He carries out His will. Likewise the Spirit is in complete agreement with the Son, carrying out His will.
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
Yahweh is looking for man to also enter into this place of rest where there is no initiative anywhere in creation other than Yahweh’s own initiative. When the Father wills one thing, and others will something else, no matter how noble or good it appears, this is defined as striving. Striving is willing something that has not originated in the mind of the Father.
Christianity is striving continuously. They are always willing things the Father is not willing. They are continuously setting their hands to do things which they have not received by the Spirit of God. It does not matter how noble or right it seems. A person can share the gospel with another human being and be striving. A person can heal the sick and be striving. A person can cast out a demon and be striving. A person can prophesy and be striving. A person can perform all manner of miracles and be striving.
Let me also add, a person can make preparations for the coming days and also be striving. I have not counseled any person to go out and purchase a tent in order to prepare for coming days, nor to store up food, or move out of the city. The spirit has directed many of God’s children to do such things. The counsel I give to all of the saints is to be very attentive to the voice of the Spirit and to do precisely what He directs you to do.
I have reiterated this in many posts recently, but I know it is easy to miss this counsel when one does not understand the depth to which this matter has been ingrained in the understanding of the one who is writing. I have written twelve books to date, and in everyone of them you will find this principle of being led of the Spirit in all things to be a foundation upon which all else rests. I will include another quote from the book The Road From Babylon to Zion.
This is actually the key distinction between Babylon and Zion. Babylon initiates great works and then asks God to bless them. Babylon has the appearance of great industriousness and her progress seems evident to all. But Babylon’s works are the works of man. Babylon may be doing the same kind of works that Yahshua performed, but she is doing them as she sees fit, not by command of God. Babylon is not Spirit directed, she is soul directed.
The soul of man devises many plans that seem noble and right and which find the approval of others. As we saw earlier, some of these activities include prophesying, casting out demons, and performing miracles. These activities also include feeding the hungry, proclaiming the gospel, building ministries with noble sounding purposes, and the list could go on and on.
The majority of the saints have been taught to judge things according to sight. If they observe a man casting out a demon they judge such a one to be righteous and holy and pleasing to God. If they see a person performing an authentic miracle they conclude that this person certainly bears the stamp of God’s approval. If they see a person operating a charity to care for the poor, they will also assume that it must certainly be of God. Yet Yahshua said that “many” would come to Him in the day of judgment and proclaim that they did such things in His name, but He will deny even knowing them.
This is a large part of the trouble of coming out of Babylon: Babylon looks good on the outside. This is the same struggle that those who followed Messiah faced when He said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and the Pharisees, you can in no wise enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The Pharisees looked good. They prayed. They fasted. They tithed of all their substance. They meticulously kept the Law... Yet, they were relying on their own works to gain approval before a holy God.
Yahshua told the story of the Pharisee who stood proudly in the Temple and looked with disdain at the tax collector who was on his face before God. The Pharisee pompously prayed, “I thank you God that I am not like this sinner.” Yet Yahshua said the sinner went home JUSTIFIED while the Pharisee found no regard before God. The sinner threw himself on the mercy of God, offering no works, making no bargains, pledging no promises, trusting wholly to the character of God to deliver him. He simply asked for mercy and he believed God would be merciful.
The paradox today is that it is often the most righteous looking people who are the chief citizens of Babylon for they are working hard to find approval before God. They are striving laboriously to appear righteous. Many a minister has spent his entire life working to find the approval of God and of men, and he has yoked the people who follow him to the same burden of works. They may accomplish many remarkable things, but before God it is all striving and dead works for they are not born out of faith in the completed work of Christ. As the Galatians who began in faith and then tried to continue in works, such ones have become severed from Christ and He has become altogether worthless to them.
Looking at a church externally, how can you tell which ones are of Babylon and which are of Zion? They may both be performing the same activities, but one body is striving to be judged as righteous, while the other is resting in the knowledge that in Christ, Yahshua the Messiah, they are already righteous. One is seeking to overcome the flesh, the world and the Devil by imitating the works of Christ, the other realizes that Christ has already overcome all and they are in Christ and He is in them. One body is expending their very life to be approved before God, and the other proclaims that they have died and their life has been hidden with God in Christ Jesus, Yahshua the Messiah.
These are things that are not easily quantified and observable, but Babylon is living life from a point of striving to be approved before God and man while Zion is resting in the life of the Son. Zion is a people of faith.
Perhaps nowhere is this identity of Babylon seen more clearly than in the judgment that was brought upon Judah and Jerusalem when they were given over into the hands of ancient Babylon. The duration of Judah’s and Jerusalem’s captivity was prophesied to be seventy years. This time period was arrived at based on the number of years that they had failed to let the land know its sabbath rests.
Every seven years Israel was commanded to not till the land, nor plant, nor harvest. They were to let the land enjoy a sabbath, an annual rest. They should have taken a lesson from Cain. “Give it a rest Cain. God doesn’t want your sweat and your labor. He wants your faith.” Even so, the people of Israel were commanded to demonstrate the principle of rest and live by faith every seventh year. They were to trust God to provide everything they needed. But man has a problem with faith. Man wants to trust in his own works to carry him through.
Judah and Jerusalem had not given the land a rest in 490 years. This means the land had missed seventy of its sabbaths. As a judgment against their lack of faith Yahweh had the people carried away into captivity and for seventy years the land knew rest. For seventy years there was no one to till and to plant and to harvest.
II Chronicles 36:20-21
Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of Yahweh by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.
This is the difference between Babylon and Zion. Babylon is a land of works where man must accomplish every task and fulfill every mandate. Babylon knows nothing of rest and faith. Oh yes, Babylon speaks very much about faith, but it is a faith that is rooted in man’s ability. Babylon’s faith is founded upon man’s ability to envision some end and to see it through. Babylon is built with blueprints, and planning sessions, and organization, and fund drives, and pep rallies, and the sweat of untold men and women. This is why when all is said and done and some project has come to completion, the people of Babylon feel justified to stand and proclaim:
"Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built... by the might of my power...?”
Zion, however, is not seeking to build anything of her own will and initiative. Zion is a people of faith. Zion knows that salvation is of the Lord, as is sanctification, and as is glorification. Zion does not labor to build a city, for she seeks a city not built with hands whose builder and maker is not man, but God. Zion does not seek to work for the approval of Yahweh, she works because she is approved by Yahweh.
Zion is a city of rest. This does not mean that those who are of Zion are doing nothing, it means that they are doing nothing of their own initiative. They are doing those works that God prepared beforehand for them. They are not dreaming up their own works, nor are they stretching out their hands to labor in fields to which they have not been sent.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, what I am saying in the recent posts is simply this: The Lord has led me, and many other families, such as the family of Sean Scott whose testimony I shared yesterday, to experience many things which are unknown to most Christians in Western nations in this hour. The Spirit of Christ has been leading people to sell their possessions and to follow Him wherever He would lead.
Many trials of faith have been encountered. There have been trials of provisions, trials in health, trials in safety, trials in facing many fearful situations and circumstances. Yahweh has led many of His sons and daughters to make themselves vulnerable in profound ways and to trust Him for all their needs. As they have done so He has watched over them as a mother hen does her brood of chicks. He has cared for them, sheltered them, and provided for them. He has led them in difficult places to prepare them for an even more difficult day ahead.
I am convinced that Yahweh would have led a great many more through similar circumstances to prepare them for coming days, but many were not willing. Many of God’s children would not even consider that God would ask them to live in any manner that was different than that of their worldly neighbors. Vast multitudes of Christians have bought into the lie of a prosperity gospel where they have equated material acquisition with spiritual blessing, repeating the error of the Laodicean church.
God would surely have led ALL of His children through many situations and circumstances that would have prepared them for coming days, but a great percentage of His children are not surrendered to be led of the Spirit of Christ in all things. They have been choosing for themselves where they would work, what they would spend their money on, where they would live, etc..
By failing to be submitted to the leading of the Spirit they have not been prepared for the days of trouble which are now at hand.
No, I do not think that all of God’s children will dwell in tents in coming days. I think that many will, but not all. Nor am I suggesting that all of God’s people should sell their homes, or purchase a motorhome. I am not suggesting that they should all stock up on food and water, or make other preparations. I am suggesting that every child of God should be inquiring of the Lord as to how He would have them to prepare for the days ahead. We must all be led of the Spirit in all things.
In coming days the MAJORITY of Christians will rue the fact that they did nothing to make themselves ready spiritually or physically. The spiritual preparation is found in surrendering to be led of the Spirit in all things. We are spiritually prepared by learning to discern the voice of the Spirit of Christ, and obeying Him in all things. He surely would have led many more sons and daughters through difficult circumstances if they had been willing, but most were not willing. Seeing that the majority of their fellow Christians were at ease in Zion, they would not consider any different experience, even though they greatly needed to develop hardship and endurance that they might be toughened up for a difficult day.
The physical preparation will be as varied as the spiritual experiences God would lead His children through. What we do to prepare must be at the initiation of the Spirit of Christ. Anything else will be striving.
So please understand the context in which I am writing these blogs. If you have not read the book SABBATH, I highly encourage you to do so. All who would be numbered among the overcomers in Christ must enter into His rest.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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