Joseph Herrin (03-23-09)
Many a time and much have they afflicted me from my youth up...
I arrived safely in New York. There was evidence of tremendous grace along the way, as well as many testimonies revealed by signs (literal road signs). I had just gotten started, and had not left Macon yet, when the Lord drew my attention to the road signs that marked the highway I was beginning my thousand mile journey on. The numbers struck me so profoundly that I pulled over when I observed them again, and I took a picture.
Eleven is the number of Joseph who was the 11th son of Jacob. Joseph also lived to the age of 110.
Twenty-two is the number of flesh cutting, removing wickedness, and it points to both the judgment of God and the work of the cross.
When I saw the number 11 and 22 together atop this sign, the Spirit impressed upon me that this road I was on was symbolic of the journey God had led medown for many years. I also was impressed that it had much to do with the message He would have me deliver to His people that I would meet with at my destination.
I did not know of any symbolic meaning to the number 129, but I knew there was only one chapter in the Bible that bore this number, and it was Psalms 129. After snapping the photo, I sent it via my cell phone to Patty Hunt on Long Island, to let her know I was on my way. When I spoke to her I told her that the Spirit of Christ had impressed upon me the significance of it, and I would have to dig out my Bible at some point and read Psalms 129. I spoke with Patty again later that evening, and she was very excited as she told me that the Spirit of Christ had given her a profound witness to read Psalm 129, and as she did she was amazed at what was recorded there. The Psalm contains eight verses, and I will include them here.
A Song of Ascents.
Many a time and much have they afflicted me from my youth up - let Israel now say - many a time and much have they afflicted me from my youth up, yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows. The Lord is righteous; He has cut asunder the thick cords by which the wicked enslaved us. Let them all be put to shame and turned backward who hate Zion. Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withers before it grows up, with which the mower fills not his hand, nor the binder of sheaves his bosom - while those who go by do not say, "The blessing of the Lord be upon you! We bless you in the name of the Lord!"
This Psalm speaks of Yahweh’s dealing with Zion. It is interesting to note that this is "A Song of Ascents." The word ascend means to climb higher, and Zion is the name of the highest hill in Jerusalem. It was there that David set his throne, and in Scriptures it is depicted as the place where Christ appears in the midst of His overcoming sons and daughters.
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.
I have noted before that Christ is here depicted as a Lamb, for He was the sacrificial Lamb of God. Lamb’s were used by the Jews for sacrifices, and Christ laid down His life meekly, as a lamb, and embraced the cross that was appointed for Him.
"He was led as a sheep to slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He does not open His mouth."
Zion is a symbol of all those who ascend to the high places with Christ. The Scriptures are clear that there is only one way to ascend to these places. We must meekly embrace sorrow and suffering. All those who would save their lives will in the end lose them. It is only those who hate their lives who will keep them and stand with Christ on Zion’s hill in the ages to come.
I testified in a recent post of the Lord speaking a word of prophecy through a sister in Christ named Debbi Rennier. The Lord gave this word to Debbi, to inform me of the message and ministry He would have me to deliver to His saints to whom He would send me. The prophecy is contained in Acts 14:22.
Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."
The road sign that met me at the beginning of my trip to New York provided a profound second witness to the message God would have me to share with the people of God. All those who will be found with Christ upon Zion’s hill will share a common testimony of trials and suffering. They will be able to declare, "Many a time and much have they afflicted me from my youth up..., yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows."
The image of the earth being plowed is a parable of the flesh being crucified. Man’s flesh was formed of the dust of the earth. If left to itself the earth will bring forth thorns and weeds. So too will man’s flesh. It is only by being subjected to experiences that cut the flesh that the weeds and thorns are removed and the land can be turned into a garden to bring forth fruit for the praise and glory of God. God will take Zion’s waste places and transform them through tribulation.
Indeed, Yahweh will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Yahweh; Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody.
A brother in Christ wrote to me a few days ago and shared a prophetic experience with me. He went on a long walk in the city where he lives and becoming hungry he went into a store to purchase a bag of tangerines. He ate some of the fruit on his trek back home. As he did so the Lord opened his mind to understand that a parable was being acted out.
This brother in Christ has walked a separate life for many years. He has been as a stranger in a strange land, literally being a foreigner living in the United States. He has experienced a separation from many Christians in the religious system as God has called him to walk in truth and righteousness, and he has suffered many things. Like the walk he took that day, what he has gone through has seemed to be a long and arduous walk, and at times we need some refreshment along the way lest we faint.
The Lord will cause those who have taken this journey to Zion to be refreshed by the fruit of the Spirit of Christ that comes forth from their lives. Though their land may have been painfully plowed, and those who set themselves as enemies of Zion have lengthened the furrows (extending our suffering) the result will be very positive in the end.
The Spirit of Christ has often spoken to me through the symbolism of Joseph, the son of Jacob. He is a symbol of the overcomers. Even as David set his throne upon Zion’s hill, so did Joseph ascend to the throne in a day. But before ascending, Joseph experienced a long journey, and he could truly testify that he had suffered many afflictions from his youth up. The outcome of this process was glorious, for Joseph was arrayed in rich garments and given authority over the nations. His suffering resulted in much fruitfulness.
Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall. The archers bitterly attacked him, and shot at him and harassed him; But his bow remained firm, and his arms were agile, from the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), from the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; May they be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.
People of God, this message is found everywhere throughout the Scriptures. Those who would be found with Christ on Zion’s hill must pass through may tribulations. They will then be counted worthy to supply bread to the nations and to instruct others in the paths of righteousness.
He sent a man before them - Joseph - who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of Yahweh tested him. The king sent and released him, the ruler of the people let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions, to bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his elders wisdom.
The role of a Joseph company in this hour is to instruct the people of the King’s house. All must understand and embrace the ways of God. There is no path to an overcoming life that does not include a cross. The Scriptures testify of Joseph that he was given authority "to bind" the king’s "princes at his pleasure." Joseph did not do this with evil intent, but to teach the elders of the people wisdom. Christ condemned the religious leaders of the Jews for manifesting a different spirit.
"They tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger."
Joseph’s life is symbolic of Christ’s own. Christ also laid a burden upon the shoulders of all men. He declared,"If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). A difference is observed in the lives of Joseph and Christ when compared to the religious rulers. Both Joseph and Christ took the burden upon their own shoulders before they set it upon the shoulders of another.
We learn compassion and gentleness by the things we suffer. I know that there is no path to an overcoming life apart from many experiences of tribulation. I know that I must tell my brothers and sisters, the princes and elders of my Father’s household, that they must also bear this same burden, but I have not been unwilling to experience the same. Yahweh is sending me forth to "strengthen the souls of the disciples," to "encourage them to continue in the faith," and to declare to them the understanding that "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."
Saturday evening as I was driving through Virginia a brother in Christ who resides in Texas called me. When I got to a rest area I pulled over and returned his call. I had never spoken to Danny before. He had heard from a sister that I had previously passed through some trials similar to what he was experiencing, and this sister suggested he might call me to receive some
encouragement. I was blessed to encourage him to continue in the faith, and I offered words to strengthen his soul to pass through these experiences as an overcomer.
The next morning I was preparing to get back on the road when Randy Simmons called me. We spoke for a bit and I shared with him what the Lord was testifying through the road signs. I could sense the change in Randy’s voice when he heard me speak of the message of Psalm 129. Randy told me that he had been driving in Georgia the same day I left on my trip and the Lord directed his attention to the road he was on. He was on Highway 129.
A short time later Randy called me back and told me he had spoken with his wife Kim, and she had also been driving somewhere that same day when God drew her attention to a sign for Highway 129.
The Lord is testifying that all those who are called to be found with Christ on Zion’s hill must experience these things. All must pass through many tribulations in order to enter the kingdom of God. At this season the Lord will lead many of His people to walk this road. Many are hearing the Lord calling them already to begin a walk of faith, surrendered to the leading of the Spirit, that is leading them into trials. These trials include those of provision. The trials will include family and friends misunderstanding the path you have been called down. For many, the following words of Christ will be fulfilled.
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace , but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it."
People of God, I know the pain and difficulty of such experiences. I have a great compassion toward others who are willing to follow the Lord into similar experiences. The natural tendency of the Adamic nature is to reject the message of suffering. Many react negatively to the message of the disciple’s cross. Some respond with angry words and violent actions. It seems preferable to some to strike out against a messenger of the cross than to take up the cross, but there is no other way offered by God to an overcoming life. The difficult and sorrowful experiences Christ will lead His people down may seem to never end. It may seem that the furrows have been lengthened as the plowing of the flesh goes on and on, but there is an end. When I left Macon, Georgia I set the trip odometer on my van. When I arrived on Long Island it showed that I had gone one thousand miles.
Years ago as the Lord was speaking to me concerning the journey He was to lead me on, He spoke to me through an oriental proverb. "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." There is an end to the journey. It will seem long and wearying at times, but God supplies an abundant grace to all who would travel the road to Zion. He refreshes the souls of His people along the way. There are many rests, and wells of refreshing. There is fruit to eat to sustain us, and Yahweh comforts His people by telling them that they are with each step getting nearer to the place where they will be able to stand with Christ on Zion’s mount.
God has given me many signs during my trip to Long Island, New York. He has given me a clear indication of the message I am to speak to His people. Saturday, March 28 , I will be sharing the word of the Lord with any who th desire to come and participate. We are still ironing out the details of the location and time. I will post this information as it becomes available, but I encourage all who are in this area to seek the Lord to know if He would have you to attend.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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