Joseph Herrin (04-10-2013)
Three years ago this month I posted a series titled Wilderness Survival for Christians.
In this series I wrote of the coming days of tribulation where the Spirit of Christ will direct the people of God into a wilderness experience. The focus of the writing was to share with the saints how they might prepare themselves to survive, and even thrive, in days that will see a great many Christians fall away from the faith, and a significant number lose their lives. The counsel set forth in this series was not carnal. It did not focus on building a bunker in the national forest, or converting one’s money to gold and silver. The counsel was in accordance with those things I have been setting forth in recent posts. It stressed the need to simplify one’s life, to jettison the accumulated baggage of years of materialistic living, and to yield oneself to be directed by the Holy Spirit in all things. Following is an excerpt from that book.
In 1999 the Father spoke through a young woman in the church of which I was both a member and a minister. He said, “I am about to lead some of you through some very difficult experiences. These experiences are to prepare you for the days that follow which will be even more difficult.” I have walked in the fulfillment of these words. I have been led through wilderness ways, often without companion or friend. (Like Joseph in Egypt.)
These experiences were intended for my development as a son. They served to humble me, and to teach me Yahweh’s ways. Many things that were once a large part of my life fell by the wayside. Some things simply cannot be carried into the wilderness. They are burdensome and make the journey too difficult. This was a lesson the pioneers learned as they traveled west across America in the 1800s.
When God calls a people to surrender all, and to follow wherever He would lead them, they must begin to make decisions about what must be kept, and what must be left behind. In my case, these decisions were thrust upon me. In order to follow the leading of Christ, I had to leave home, vehicles, furnishings, and many years of accumulated possessions behind. Yahweh provided no means for me to continue to hold onto these things.
Many pioneers heading to the American West started off with too heavy a load. This placed a strain on the wagon, and on the animals pulling it. In soft, wet, or rough ground, the wagon would become stuck. Many goods were abandoned along the way. Some cast away pianos, china cabinets, and other things which they had previously been unwilling to surrender. When their forward progress was brought to a standstill they had to evaluate what things were truly essential. Things that were not absolute necessities were thrown to the wayside.
I am reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy as he instructed him about the proper attitude towards the goods of this world.
I Timothy 6:7-8
For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
People of God, eleven years ago (now fourteen) I had a large house on nearly an acre of land in town. I had a household of goods. Our closets were full, as was our garage. We were overloaded with the goods of the world. This encumbrance prevented us from following the Father wherever He would lead.
The Father led me to a radical departure from the life I had been living. He instructed me to quit my job as a computer professional and to follow Him. I anticipated keeping most of my worldly goods, but the Father had other plans. He began to strip us of many things accumulated through years of indulgent living. Christians in America have little concept of how materialistic their lives are.
As God begins to lead a greater number down wilderness pathways they will quickly learn that they must do with much less. Some will try to carry the maximum amount possible.
About a year after the Father directed my family to follow Him wherever He would lead us, He had brought us to a place where everything our family of four owned would fit into a 28-1/2 foot long motorhome. There was tremendous liberty in this. We could go wherever the Father directed. We were not held back by our possessions.
Many have criticized me for leading my family to such an experience. In the mindset of American culture, including the American church, such Spartan living strikes many as cause for reproach. I am persuaded, however, that a great many in the days ahead will be brought by the Father to choose whether they will follow Him and leave the world behind, or cling to the things of the world.
"So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”
If you are to survive your wilderness experience you need to let go of the things of this world. Some will make foolish decisions as they seek some way to hold onto possessions that have taken hold of their hearts. Their journey will be far more laborious because they started off trying to carry too much with them.
In recent posts I have stated that it is the will of the Father that His people yield all of their possessions to the direction of His Spirit to be disposed of in any manner that He should choose. I have shared that surrendering one’s possessions to Christ, unburdening oneself of the world’s goods, should not be considered an exceptional act. It was the normal experience of Christ, His apostles, and the church of the New Testament.
The recent posts have elicited a number of objections. Some have written to me with sincere reservations about whether such a life is appropriate for the sons of God today. Others have been carnal and churlish in their responses. One brother even declared that the cost of discipleship is NOT universal. He suggested that Christ’s words were intended only for the apostles.
I was truly taken aback by this argument, being surprised that any saint with a modicum of familiarity with the Scriptures would suggest such a thing. Yahshua’s words regarding the cost of discipleship, and the surrender of one’s possessions, were clearly addressed to all who wished to follow Christ and be His disciple.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys.”
Yahshua said to him, “If you (a young man, not one of the apostles) wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
"So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his possessions.”
And when Yahshua saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." And those who heard it said, "Who then can be saved?" But He said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." Then Peter said, "See, we have left all and followed You." So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life."
In the series I posted several years back I included an explanation of the Scripture above.
Many have misunderstood the message of Christ in these words, for they have mistakenly equated “the eye of a needle” with a sewing needle. Camels do not go through the eye of a sewing needle, so this makes little sense. In the days of Christ cities were surrounded by walls for protection against invading enemies. Gates were set in the walls to allow people and materials to come and go. These gates were closed at night and in times of danger, but it was still necessary to allow a limited flow of people in and out. Therefore, built into the large gates was a small door which could be opened to let a man in or out. This small door was called “the eye of the needle.”
Camels at the time were used for transport of goods. They would be piled high with merchandise and goods to be traded. If a man came to the gates after they had been closed and needed to enter, it was possible to go through and take his camel along, but it was very difficult. The master of the camel would have to take all the merchandise off of the camel, and the camel would have to go through the gate on his knees.
This is a picture of how a rich man must enter the kingdom of heaven. Getting on one’s knees speaks of humility, and removing all the goods from the camel’s back speaks of the necessity of Christians being unburdened from their possessions.
That the early church widely practiced the surrender of their property, and the giving of their money to charity, is revealed in numerous places.
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles' feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.
These Scriptures, and others, reveal that it was the common practice of those who became disciples of Yahshua, to literally and personally embrace the commandment to “sell your possessions and give to charity.” This was not exceptional behavior. Nor was it just for apostles, though the apostles led by example in this area.
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
What these scriptures reveal is the normal Christian life. I realize that those who read this blog may still have reservations about yielding all they have to the will and direction of the Lord. Such actions are viewed as radical, and indeed they are. Being a disciple of Christ requires a radical commitment. This is why Yahshua counseled people to weigh the cost of being a disciple before they publicly declared their intent to follow Him.
There are people who read this post who have families, even young children. I had a wife and two children when Yahweh called me to this walk in 1999. I had no money in the bank, no church supporting me. Yet the call of Christ was for me to divest myself of the material possessions I had accumulated in previous years, and to follow Him wherever He would lead. To say I was full of apprehension would be an understatement. Nevertheless, I followed, and Yahweh has proven faithful to meet every need.
I have been praying recently for the Father to reveal His mind clearly to me regarding the message He desires for me to proclaim, for I do not wish to lead any astray. I not only desire to proclaim truth, but seek to declare timely truth. I want to know what it is the Father desires to have spoken to His people at this moment in time. Yahweh has been affirming the message He has appointed to me by giving me further understanding of the pattern observed in the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob.
Joseph was raised up by Yahweh to save a remnant in a time of worldwide calamity.
And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.
When the famine was spread over all the face of the earth, then Joseph opened all the storehouses...
The Scriptures record that the famine of Joseph’s day lasted for seven years. This experience serves as a type and shadow of the worldwide tribulation that the Scriptures prophesy for the end of the age. It too will last for seven years.
To understand how the famine of Joseph’s day relates to the great tribulation that occurs at the end of the present age, one needs to perceive that Joseph stands as a type of Christ. I have shared the following information in other writings.
Both Joseph and Yahshua were dwelling in glory and honor with their father when their father asked them to leave their glory and go check on their brethren. Both submitted to their father’s will freely. Both Joseph and Yahshua had their outer garments stripped from them. Both were numbered among the transgressors. Both men experienced a death and resurrection experience (Joseph was reported dead by his brothers, to be found alive many years later.) Joseph’s brother Judah proposed the idea of selling him for 20 pieces of silver. Judas (the Greek form of Judah) sold Yahshua for 30 pieces of silver. Both faced temptation and overcame it. Joseph was tempted by Potipher’s wife and refused her sexual advances. Yahshua was tempted by Satan in the wilderness and rejected his proposals. After enduring suffering, both were raised to a position of glory and honor.
These are but a few of the many parallels between the lives of Joseph the son of Jacob and Yahshua the Son of God. In this post I would mention a few more. Both men went directly from being numbered among the transgressors to a position of ruling and reigning. By comparing the type of Joseph and the antitype of Yahshua, we see that Pharaoh serves as a figure of God. It was Pharaoh who elevated Joseph to the throne, even as it was Yahweh who elevated Yahshua.
Consider also the following: When Joseph was sent by his father to check on his brothers, Joseph’s brothers spoke of killing him, and later reported to his father that he had been killed. This was followed by a long period in which Joseph was not seen by his brothers. We find a parallel in the life of Christ in that He came to His own, but His own received Him not. Yahshua was put to death by His own people. This led to a prolonged period when Yahshua was not seen among man, for He ascended to His Father.
After considerable time elapsed, and Joseph had bestowed upon him authority and great glory, he appeared again to his brothers. At Joseph’s first meeting with his brother’s in Egypt, they did not recognize him. So too, at Yahshua’s first appearing in Israel, His brother’s did not recognize Him.
When Joseph’s brother’s returned a second time, Joseph revealed Himself to them. At Yahshua’s second coming He will also reveal Himself to the nations. The Jews who crucified the Son of God will recognize Yahshua as their Messiah and mourn.
“And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem...”
Presaging the above event, there was much weeping, and sorrowful repentance, among Joseph’s brothers when he revealed himself to them at their second meeting.
The parallels between Joseph and Yahshua are profuse and profound. I want to share with you one parallel the Spirit shared with me this day as an affirmation of His will. I have been sharing with the people of God that they are to let go of their worldly possessions, for a time of great distress is at hand. It is the will of Yahweh that His people trust HIM for all they need to survive in coming days. This too has its parallel in the history of Joseph.
After Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, he told them that they were to leave their homes in Canaan, and relocate to a place Joseph would prepare for them. This is symbolic of the church being called to leave their comfortable lives and follow Yahshua wherever He would lead them. The famine had already been in the land for two years when Joseph directed his brothers to abandon their homes and relocate to the place he would provide for them, but things would get much worse. There were still five years of famine left.
“There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, lest you and your household and all that you have be impoverished.”
Keep in mind that Pharaoh is symbolic of God as you read what follows:
Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh's house that Joseph's brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your beasts and go to the land of Canaan, and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you shall eat the fat of the land.’ Now you are ordered, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come. And do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”
Do you see the parallel to the present hour? Once more the people of God are entering a time of worldwide calamity. Yahshua and Yahweh have promised to care for the people of God even as Joseph and Pharaoh promised to care for the family of Jacob. Pharaoh told Joseph’s family to not concern themselves with their goods. Why was this detail added to the narrative? It has little purpose if one does not discern that the Bible is a book of parables. Spiritual truths are conveyed through historical accounts.
The antitype of this command of Pharaoh is found in Yahweh’s directions to His people in this hour. The Spirit of Christ is calling for the sons of God to lay aside their earthly possessions, to free themselves up to travel, that they might follow Him wherever they are directed. Look again at the image of the covered wagon displayed earlier.
Pharaoh provided wagons for Jacob’s household. It was a long journey from Canaan to the land of Goshen. These wagons would become mobile habitations for the journey. The sons of Jacob, their wives and children, had to severely limit the amount of goods they carried with them. Pharaoh told them to not concern themselves about their goods, for he would provide all they needed.
So too is the Father declaring to His people that they are to let go of their former manner of living. Let go of your accumulated possessions. Prepare yourself to go wherever Yahweh says go, and to do whatever He says you are to do.
Let me share something from this story related to timing. AFTER we read about Joseph’s brothers leaving Canaan to relocate to Goshen, the narrative of the book of Genesis tells us that the money failed in Egypt and in all of Canaan.
And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, "Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone."
People of God, NOW is the time to surrender your life to follow Yahweh. There are many signs that point to the impending collapse of the world financial system. The people of Cyprus serve as the canary in the coal mine. What occurred in that small country will soon happen throughout the nations. Your money will be seized. Your savings will be lost. NOW is the time to act, before it is too late.
I know the arguments that arise. I hear them all the time in the e-mails I receive. The counsel I am sharing is NOT for a chosen few. To yield all of one’s possessions to the direction of Yahweh is required of all who would be Christ’s disciples. Will you surrender all your possessions to the Lord?
I have not chosen this message of my own initiative. It is Yahweh that has placed His message in my mouth. Like Pharaoh, He is saying, “Do not concern yourself with your goods.” If He says give it all away, then do so. He has promised to care for you in the calamitous days ahead. Will you trust Him?
Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
II Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of Yahweh move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
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