God delights to speak to me through numbers, and He gave us some significant ones at this time. After receiving the money from the brother in Canada, I paid our telephone bill, electric bill and all other bills up to date, as well as buying some groceries. When I balanced our checkbook to see how much money we had left to use for moving, the balance came to the unusual number of $888.77. It struck me immediately that the Father had chosen to speak to me through this number, so I went to an online site where E.W. Bullinger’s book on the Biblical significance of numbers is located, and I was surprised to find an entry called Eight and Seven Together. Of these two numbers together he writes:
Seven means, as we have seen, according to its etymology, that which is spiritually complete or satisfying; while eight denotes that which is superabundant or satiating. Hence we often find these two numbers associated with these distinctions.
My rejection by the ministers of this body, who declared my teaching to be heresy and who told me that I would not even be allowed to partake of communion with them, occurred the very day after I had heard from my landlord that his son was moving back and they needed us to move out in two weeks. The temptation was present to shake the dust off of my feet and move away from this area and never fellowship with this people again. It was not in my heart to do these things, however, so I quickly rejected these thoughts that the enemy brought to my mind. I truly loved this group of people, and I was not willing to give up my hope that God would yet lead them forward into their inheritance in Christ. I hoped that they might yet not shrink back from a walk of faith and life in the Spirit.
The morning after my meeting with the ministers, I told my family about all that had transpired. I told them, despite the fact that I would be considered a heretic, and regardless of my being limited from any teaching role among them, I still desired to stay and intercede for this people. I asked my family if they were willing and desirous of staying under these circumstances and they all said they were. As a family, we committed to continue to attend services and to love the people and pray for them, though I knew the news would quickly get around that I had met with the elders, and the outcome of the meeting would be noised about.
My family and I bowed before the Father and told Him that we were willing to remain and intercede for this body of believers, and we asked Him, that if this were agreeable to Him, that He would let us know by opening up a suitable place for us to move into that was in this same area. It was a remarkable thing that the first house had been available to us and had been so suitable. It was an even more remarkable thing when we found a second house in this same rural community, and once more we did not have to look for it, but God brought it to us at the hands of a couple who had driven all the way from Illinois. God revealed in a profound way that He was very pleased with our request to remain and intercede.
The significance of the numbers eight and seven is that God found our willingness to put aside all offense in order to intercede for these people to be a satisfying thing in His eyes. He found our willingness to despise the shame and endure reproach, while asking the Father to bring these people into their inheritance in Christ, to be a complete and mature response. We were willing to suffer for the sake of others, and this satisfied the heart of Yahweh. The etymology of these numbers testified that our being at this home for this purpose was an acceptable offering in the sight of God. It was “spiritually complete or satisfying” to the Father, and the aroma of this sacrifice was “superabundant and satiating” to Him.
God testified even further concerning this matter of making an intercessory offering for this people. Our amazement grew when we saw what other testimonies God had set to our obedience in remaining here to pray for the people, rather than choosing to leave with an offended heart. The house was located at 308 Levie Road, and it was impossible to not see the name of the priestly tribe in this name. The owner’s last name was King. So this property bore the remarkable testimony of kings and priests.
And from Yahshua Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
It was the duty of the priests to present the sacrifices to God, and as a nation of kings and priests it is the calling of all of God’s elect to offer to God sacrifices that are acceptable and well pleasing unto Him. Christ is the forerunner for all of the elect. He bids His disciples to follow where He walked. As He took up the cross, so are all of His disciples commanded to take up their cross and follow Him. If He willingly bore reproach as an evildoer, so too will His disciples be asked to bear similar reproach. If He laid down His life for those who treated Him with despite and ill will, then so too will the elect of God be called to lay down their lives for those who have rejected them.
God spoke to me much about this call to intercede for others while we lived at this home on Levie Road. He taught me much concerning the saints’ call to lay down their lives for others. Daily I was brought to pray for the ministers who had rejected me. When I met them at church I continued to hug their necks and speak a blessing to them. I did not turn my love away from them, nor did I call down fire from heaven to consume them. I continued to ask God to bring them into their inheritance in Christ.
We were to experience much pain while we lived in this home, and we were to endure some more storms. As a testimony to what was to occur in our lives spiritually, God once more provided natural signs to attest to what was coming. Within the first few weeks there were repeated thunderstorms that passed through the area. The winds were so severe that they blew the underpinning loose from under the house, and I had to put it back in place and reattach it. This happened two or three times, as thunderstorms would pass through the area quickly.
On the last occasion when this occurred, my son Josiah had gone over to the barn to get some eggs from the chickens before the storm arrived. The wind began blowing, with lightning striking in close proximity attended by loud boomings of thunder. Josiah had not yet made it back, and I was thinking about looking for him when my wife hollered and said that Josiah was crawling through the yard. She thought he had been struck by lightning. I flew out the door and was by his side in a moment. He was a pitiful sight crawling through the yard on all fours.
I asked him what had happened and he said that when he had seen the lightning that he had decided to hurry to the house and he went to change his gait to a run, pushing off suddenly with one leg, when his knee twisted. He fell to the ground and sat the eggs down in the grass and was proceeding to crawl to the house. Tony and I helped him into the house. His knee was tender for some time, and he walked gingerly for a week, or so, but he healed up quickly. This event was a foreshadowing of a tremendous spiritual storm to come where my son would once more play a central part.
My mind was gripped with the image of my son crawling through the yard, and great compassion filled my heart for him. I thought of David crying out in grief over his son, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” It may seem strange that these words came to mind when I witnessed my son dragging himself through the yard, for my son’s condition was nowhere near the extremities of that young man Absalom. Josiah was my only living son, however, and it was an emotionally moving experience for me to see him in this way.
After the storm I noticed that the air conditioner would no longer come on. It had been damaged by a lightning strike. When I went to check on this problem I noticed that the brand name of the air conditioning unit was Payne. This was the same spelling as the town we lived in where we knew so much pain. What a prophetic sign this would prove to be. Although the landlords replaced the unit within a few days, the old unit sat in the yard next to the house until the day we moved out.
The emotional pain we were to know at this house, and the great wrestling of soul and spirit, were to be the greatest we had ever experienced. Though I had known longer trials, I had never experienced any trial that would be as intense as that which was coming. That which is spiritually complete and satisfying to God often comes attended with great wrestling and acute pain. God pronounced His satisfaction when Abraham was willing to offer up Isaac, and before we left this home on Levie Road I would also be faced with a similar test.
I was to learn more about the Father’s heart through the painful experiences I was about to walk through. Just as Yahweh wanted Abraham to learn more of His character and heart, so too did He want me to discern more of His great and terrible love. Even in Abraham’s day, God had already determined to give up His Son Yahshua as a sacrifice, and He wanted a friend with whom He could share the knowledge of what it had cost Him. In asking Abraham to perform a similar act, Abraham would be able to touch the heart of Yahweh in a way that only those who are willing to make such deep sacrifices can. Abraham was called “the friend of God,” and a true friend will willingly share the joys and the sorrows of another.
Yahweh wants others to know His heart, His sacrifices, His pain and sorrow. God is not some automaton that lacks feelings. He did not embark upon the plan that would lead to the death of His beloved Son without emotion and pain. What He experienced is inexpressible, for never has the love of a father for a son been more pure, and never has there been a son who was more pleasing to his father. Even as the Son knew great agonies in the Garden of Gethsemane as He contemplated drinking from the cup of suffering that would lead to His separation from the Father, so too did the Father drink from His own cup and know His own agony.
The Father was about to give me a small taste of the depths of sorrow He was willing to endure to redeem a fallen creation. Even as He stood in intercession on behalf of the world who had rejected Him, so I was being called to stand as an intercessor for this group of believers.
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