Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Ministry to the Few - Part Three

Joseph Herrin (01-27-2010)

Genesis 45:7-8
And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God...

Is it not amazing that even as far back as the first book of the Bible we read that God had His focus upon a remnant? The above words were spoken by Joseph to his brothers who had sold him into slavery, resulting in years of sorrow, loss and disgrace. Joseph was seventeen years old when God gave him dreams of ruling over his brothers, but until he was thirty Joseph knew humiliation and suffering. He would be thirty-eight years old before his brothers came before him the first time, and the words above were spoken at their second appearance when Joseph was thirty-nine.

Have you done the math yet? That is twenty-two years between the time of Joseph’s dream and the fulfillment of it. For those who want to test this matter against Scripture, I will provide the references for you.

Genesis 37:2, 5
Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth... Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him...

Genesis 41:46
Now Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt.

Joseph stored up grain for seven years, during a time of plenty. It was in the second year of the famine that Joseph was revealed to his brothers and his dreams realized.

Genesis 45:6
For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.

Joseph had therefore been in Pharaoh’s service for nine years when he was revealed to his brothers. He was thirty-nine years old.

The twenty-two year period between the giving of the dreams of promotion, and their fulfillment, represent that period all the sons of God must pass through in order to be fitted for service. God gave me the understanding of the significance of the number twenty-two some years back as I was enduring a fiery purging, and since that time the meaning of this number has been affirmed in many more instances. In the book Evidence of Things Unseen I shared the following regarding this number.

The Spirit has for quite some time spoken to me through numbers, and I noticed the prevalence of a certain number when we moved to this home. The house number was 2231, and the road we lived off of was County Road 22. When the Spirit showed me I was to use my push mower to cut the large and lush lawn, the first thing I noted was that it was a 22" mower. I began to wonder about the significance of this number, and I was certain it had something to do with cutting grass, that is, removing sinful flesh. Before I was to leave this house, which would be our residence for two months, the Spirit revealed the significance. I did a search in my Bible software for the number 22 and I came up with the following.

Jeroboam, the king who made all Israel sin with the two golden calves he set up reigned 22 years and God cut him off (I Kings 14:30). Ahab, the king who did more evil than all the kings who preceded him because of his wife Jezebel, reigned 22 years and God cut him off. Furthermore, the Scriptures record the following about these other wicked kings:

II Kings 8:26-27

Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah the granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. He walked in the way of the house of Ahab and did evil in the sight of Yahweh, like the house of Ahab had done, because he was a son-in-law of the house of Ahab.

II Kings 21:19-23

Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was Meshullemeth the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. He did evil in the sight of Yahweh, as Manasseh his father had done. For he walked in all the way that his father had walked, and served the idols that his father had served and worshiped them. So he forsook Yawheh, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of Yahweh. The servants of Amon conspired against him and killed the king in his own house.

The number 22 has a correlation to wicked kings. As saints we are a nation of kings and priests, and there are among the saints those who are also wicked, for they have allowed the flesh to rule in their lives and have not dealt with it as they ought to. The number 22 speaks of cutting off this wickedness from our lives, even as my 22" mower was used to cut the grass that surrounded my new home on County Road 22. Another astounding confirmation of the symbolism of this number came at this time when a sister in Christ who sends out a daily Scripture, was led by the Spirit to send forth the following:

Ephesians 4:22

22 Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion...
Amplified Bible

God often foreshadows spiritual realities with natural symbols, and the pattern is “first the natural, then the spiritual”. My grass cutting in the natural, symbolized a flesh cutting in my life. Whereas I thought I was ready for God to use me in this special ministry toward others, I learned that I still had more flesh to be removed from my own life.
[End Excerpt]

Prior to this, the Father had shown me the relation between mowing grass and cutting flesh. He has used the imagery of grass to symbolize flesh in the Scriptures.

Isaiah 40:6-7
A voice says, "Call out." Then he answered, "What shall I call out?" All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of Yahweh blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.

Joseph had eleven brothers who were at ease in Zion while he was undergoing a difficult stripping of his former nature. It is not coincidental that Joseph, having endured years of suffering, was promoted above all of his brothers and made ruler of Egypt. All the world had to come to Joseph to obtain grain to sustain them in the seven years of famine. When the world was famished, Joseph had storehouses filled, and grain so abundant that it could not be counted.

People of God, this appears as a great paradox, but the way to be filled is by being emptied. The road to famine is a path of fatness.

Luke 6:21, 25
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled... Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger.

Proverbs 14:12
There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

Joseph’s brothers chose the path that seemed right to them, and so too are the majority of believers today. They love the doctrine of prosperity, of blessing and ease and comfort. They are pursuing the path of least resistance. Few are the ones who have surrendered to follow the Lord wherever He would lead. Only a remnant are surrendering their flesh to the fiery altar of God that it might be reduced.

Joseph’s brothers did not escape the fiery trials of Egypt. His brothers did not avoid slavery and imprisonment, sorrow and hardship. All the children of God must pass through the fire of purging. Yet those who pass through as forerunners while their brothers are at ease will receive a greater glory. Joseph’s brothers bowed before him.

The invitation is being given by God at this time to follow wherever He would lead. The path passes through Gethsemane and onto Calvary. Christ, like Joseph, is our forerunner. He tasted suffering before His brothers, and He has therefore obtained a name greater than all others.

Christ desires that others might share in His glory. He is inviting His sons and daughters to walk the path He has trod. Some have answered this call, and these will soon lead a larger number through similar experiences. The Spirit has been characterizing these forerunning sons as a “Joseph Company.”

It should not seem unusual that Christ can be symbolized by Joseph, and so too can these sons who follow in His footsteps. Christ and His disciples are one. Christ is the head and we are the body.

Joseph passed through many years of a very difficult preparation to fit him to receive authority and power. Joseph used the things entrusted to him to preserve the lives of others. Joseph never sought vengeance on his persecutors. He was a type and shadow of the Son of God who on the cross spoke the following on behalf of His tormentors who were putting Him to death.

Luke 23:34
Then said Yahshua,” Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

People of God, when the Father revealed that I would be sent to jail by some who were close to me, He began speaking to me of the deep principle of forgiveness. Two of the last writings I posted before being imprisoned were Saviors on Mount Zion - Reconciling the Creation to God, parts one and two.

If you have not yet read these writings, I urge you to do so. They are critical teachings that all who would receive ruling authority and power must embrace.

While in jail I encountered many professing Christians who were eager to testify of the suffering they had known in their lives. Do not be deceived! There is no honor or reward for suffering for one’s own transgressions.

I Peter 2:20-23
For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously...

Not only must our suffering be due to obedience to Christ, but in our suffering we must respond after the pattern observed in the Savior. There is no credit in suffering for sin. Neither do we receive favor from God if we suffer for righteousness’ sake while manifesting offense, bitterness, or a spirit of vengeance. We are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.

The Spirit is testifying that days of distress and suffering are coming to the body of Christ. Most will seek a way of escape, but a remnant will seek a way through that will honor God. Our Father is raising up shepherds to encourage His people to endure the coming struggles, and I am privileged to be among those shepherds. I have received grace as I have passed through trials, sorrows and loss over the past decade that I might encourage others in their hour of testing.

II Corinthians 1:3-7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

Is it not amazing that the Scriptures are so pregnant with this message of suffering, yet it is seldom heard from the pulpits of Christendom today? One must go outside the camp of Christianity to hear the message. Even as the Jews closed the synagogues to the early apostles and disciples, so too do those who rule in the body of Christ shut out those who would proclaim a message of necessary suffering.

Philippians 1:29-30
For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

I do not seek to magnify myself by speaking of the things I have been led to suffer. I share them with you that you might be prepared to experience the same. The Spirit of Christ has testified to me that He has allowed me to suffer the loss of all things that I might speak with all confidence the words of Paul above. My sufferings were not only intended for my perfecting as a son, but that I might encourage others who must experience “the same conflict you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.”

The early saints experienced the loss of all their earthly possessions. So have I. They experienced the abandonment of family, of brothers, sisters, parents, wife and children. So have I. They experienced hunger and thirst, and being poorly clothed. So have I. They experienced sickness and injury. So have I. They were cast into prison. So have I.

And so too will YOU, if you will commit yourself fully to following the Lord, refusing to shrink back out of fear, or to deliver yourself through carnal means.

Hebrews 10:32-39
But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence , which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Suffering for obedience to Christ is not some doctrine that I received in a Bible college. It is not theory, but experience. I know that most Christians have not yet suffered for their obedience to Christ. If you have not, do not worry, your opportunity is close at hand. These things are not to be dreaded or feared, but rather to be embraced and patiently endured. It is all intended for your perfecting as a son that you might be granted glory, power and authority in the ages to come.

The apostle Paul encourages the body with these words:

II Corinthians 4:17
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison...

As I look back over the past decade, it appears as but a moment. So too will the days ahead pass quickly, and all who endure will sing the praises of God who stood by them every step of the way, saying, “You are doing great. Don’t stop now!”

Our Father wants His children to attain to the inheritance prepared for those who overcome. There is a remnant who will have a heart to not fall short that they might not forfeit any good thing the Father has prepared for them. It has been such a desire that has ever kept me moving forward, fearing lest I should fall short and the Father take no pleasure in me.

In this last hour the Father will do a quick work among His people. Because it is a quick work, it must be an intense work. He has put it upon my heart to go forth across the country and encourage His elect to stand in these days. I need only look back at the things I have passed through to know what is coming to many others.

Seeing that the Father has chosen one of His weakest, most timid, physically broken, and fleshly sons and has caused me to stand, I am persuaded that He can lead anyone through the days ahead. There is no son or daughter so deficient, so weak, or bound by sin that He cannot carry them through the coming days. He will not be stinting in supplying you with all that is needful to enable you to stand. Look to Him. He will see you through.

When you look back at the fiery furnace you have passed through, you will realize that the only thing to have been consumed by the flames are the cords that had you bound. What a glorious expectation.

John 12:23-26
Yahshua answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be...”

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Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063


Houston said...

What does this mean in relationship to what you are saying about suffering and working for Yahveh. Mat 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that was a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.
Mat 20:2 And when he had agreed with the laborers for a shilling a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
Mat 20:3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle;
Mat 20:4 and to them he said, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
Mat 20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.
Mat 20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
Mat 20:7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard.
Mat 20:8 And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
Mat 20:9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a shilling.
Mat 20:10 And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a shilling.
Mat 20:11 And when they received it, they murmured against the householder,
Mat 20:12 saying, These last have spent but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.
Mat 20:13 But he answered and said to one of them, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a shilling?
Mat 20:14 Take up that which is thine, and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee.
Mat 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good?
Mat 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.

Joseph Herrin said...

Dear Houston,

The parable Christ spoke must be understood in the context of His conversation with the Jews. The Jews were the first to be called by God to be a peculiar people unto Him. For 1,500 years they had been entrusted with the Law and the Prophets. Because of this they expected to receive greater reward than those who came to Christ at a later time.

Christ knew that the Gentiles were to become part of the people of God, for Yahweh would make those who were not a people, into His people.

In the Jewish mindset it seemed unjust for the Gentiles to be made equal partakers of the inheritance of the saints. See Galatians 3:11-29 to read Paul's words on the equal inheritance of all people.

I believe this is the understanding of this parable of the Savior.