*This is Part I of II
Last week I was able to not only sit under the teaching of, but meet personally and have lunch with a massive hero of mine. David Hogan ministered at the first Dead Raising Conference in Washington and we were honored to be able to attend. Words cannot begin to describe those 2 days. So much revelation was released into my heart. Trying to describe David Hogan is, as I have found out recently, extremely difficult. How do you describe someone who regularly raises the dead and confronts principalities? What do you say to someone to express the sheer magnitude of being able to meet someone who is and will be historically recognized as one of the greatest missionaries and apostolic workers the earth has ever seen? I have found myself at a loss for words more than once concerning the subject.
However, I feel some level of ability to express two words that the Lord brought to the surface and I feel they relate directly to our time overseas. The first directly relates to Sonja and I and our personal walk. Hogan continually brought up a handful of scriptures. One of them really hit me and spoke to several things we have had to deal with recently.
Zechariah 2:5 For I,’ says Yahweh, ‘will be to her a wall of fire around, and I will be the glory in the midst of her.
This sums up everything one would need for life. A wall of fire as protection and the glory of God in the midst. The visual is so powerful.
The single most frequently asked question we are asked concerning our trip besides how long we are going to be gone for is this; “Is it safe there?”
Even typing that question is infuriating to me. It is so illogical to anyone who claims any semblance of a Christian knowledge. Everyone from family to close friends and acquaintances ask us this. Perhaps it is the misguided and misunderstood sovereignty of God that is taught by misled pastors and leaders. I have no understanding how even the most landmine riddled country in Africa could be any less safe than Twain Harte, California. Either the fire of God is a wall about you or it isn’t. It really is that simple! Either He is good to His children or He isn’t, physical location has nothing to do with the equation. I understand that some may attribute this to not having children or being young and holding a poor understanding of risk. In response, I would pray that I never allowed myself to get educated out of a total trust in God. You may be old and cynical but I still hold to the truth that is written, that He is provider, protector, and deliverer.
His wall of fire surrounds us. His gallantry extends to those who need it, not the pew warmers who are so quick judge those who actually walk out the gospel. I trust Him to protect me as I ride my motorcycle, I trust Him to bring in the finances we need, I trust Him with our health and our future, nothing is off limits. Nothing changes with a shift in location. He is STILL a wall of fire around us. Perhaps we trade the common cold for malaria but His fire consumes that too.
And what resides with us in the middle of that wall of fire? Oh! My soul soars! The Glory of the Unmade One dwells in the middle! That which all of Creation whispers of. The Shekinah that persists through Eternity and time. That Holiness that emanates from the throne and across the sea of glass dwells in me! In our fire-walled compound of love. Just the thought gets me whacked! Haha, so intoxicating is the reality that we are surrounded and consumed. What more is needed to continue in the work of the Gospel? We have the wall of fire before and behind us and we have the Glory to breathe in. We are completely marinated in the Glory of God.
his revelation in Zechariah completely settled anything in my heart that was unsettled. Let the doubters and fear dealing “wise men” shut their mouths and ingest their own venom. As for me, you can find me inside the walls of fire, plastered on the Glory of God that dwells within.
Happy Rapture Day Eve!
I really hope that this day is remembered next year so we can make a big deal about it then. It has been too fun.
In case you have been living in a hole or under a rock or in a hole underneath a rock you will know that tomorrow marks the day that Harold Camping of FamilyRadio.org claims Christians shall all be caught up in this ambiguous “rapture”. Luckily for those left behind they have a few more months (October) until the earth is destroyed according to Camping as well.
As one who likes to poke fun at pretty much anything and a quasi-anarchist, it has been great fun to watch the impact this guy and his mobile rv army are making. I can’t help but think it is one big troll on the whole world.
In all seriousness though there are a lot of people falling for this thing and that’s unfortunate. The same thing has happened in the past and has literally destroyed lives. Waves from the book, “The Late Great Planet Earth” are still shaking and forming people’s theology on the end times. Since the late 70’s there has been a movement of people with an urgency, that I would take the risk of saying was demonic in its nascent,. It consisted of the general thought of “get saved quick, Jesus is coming back!
This same sentiment is reflected in most modern churches and even in some large, spirit-filled, prayer movements. Fear, whether acknowledged or not, is the muscle behind this message. Fear that you’ll be “left behind”, fear that you won’t have, “the oil of intimacy” enough to last you through the horrible night that this earth is becoming. Fear, fear, fear. Right in the middle of this message the enemy has set his snare.
I too felt this fear for years. This looming thought of, “there’s not enough time, I need to spend what is left of my life going to the uttermost parts of the earth!” Feelings of anxiety seemed to always sneak up on me. It felt like time was running out. I didn’t really think about what was going to happen when time ran out all I knew was that I didn’t want it to. Everyone said bad things happen when there is no more time left. Then I went to a little country on the eastern side of Africa called Mozambique. I went to a missions school that was under Iris Ministries. One day during school my entire view on eschatology was flipped and I was never the same. I went from living in a false sense of urgency and panic to overwhelming peace and assurance. I’m afraid it might not be that earth shattering to you though.
Heidi Baker was speaking about the “End Times” (Dun, dun, duuun) and she said…
“You don’t need to worry about it. Jesus doesn’t know and He’s not worried about, why should you be? Jesus isn’t running around heaven panicking, He is in rest. He IS rest. Do your thing, go snorkeling, get married, have kids, follow your calling, and let the end handle itself.”
For whatever reason that rocked me. It felt like I was given permission to live. Up until that point I felt obligated to race as fast I could to every country I could afford and spread the news because who knew when Jesus would decide to split the sky?
Therein lies the greatest danger in an overemphasis of this perverted view of the “end times”. The feeling that you can’t have a life, it won’t matter anyway when we’re all out of here. Don’t worry about your job, we’re leaving soon anyway. Actually don’t bother resting or enjoying life either because every second you spend dawdling is a second you could have been saving someones soul, now their eternal blood is on your hands, can you live with that? Well, can you? I know most people probably don’t take it to this extreme but it is the realistic development of those kind of thoughts. You don’t have time.
I don’t claim to have my eschatology settled or even close but I know that most of the teaching out there is total crap. It’s authored by fear and distributed by the saints. I do my best to live life peacefully with the knowledge that I am on God’s path and He has given us promises that I expect Him to keep. A good book I recommend that has a victorious and hopeful view of the “end times” is Victorious Eschatology by Harold Eberle. It is profound. I’m not saying I believe everything in there but it sure left me feeling a lot better than the panic that so many proliferate.
Lastly, I got thinking about Camping and his crew of followers. What must they be feeling right now? They must be on the craziest buzz knowing they are hours away from the greatest event in history. I thought about how I would feel if I actually believed that Christ was returning tomorrow. I don’t think He is but…what if He is? The very thought sets my heart at a faster rate. Can you imagine actually knowing. Waiting till that hour? All your prayers, tears, pain, groanings, dreams, secret desires, everything will be met by the Man descending out of the clouds. I can’t even imagine!
What is it going to look like when end of time butts up with the beginning of Eternity?
What does it feel like when there really is no more time left? That split second between time, mortality, and earth and eternity, immortality, and heaven. What does that one second look like?
It’s probably why Jesus is going to surprise us, so that we won’t go mad. I would probably lose control. Forget driving around in wrapped rv’s, I would run through the streets like a lunatic proclaiming His eminent return. I can hardly wait till we meet Him face to face. In so many ways, in my weak faith and shallow intimacy I feel like it’s not even real. As if all of my life has been about this, this Man, and yet when it comes to meeting Him the thought is too glorious. Actually meeting the God-Man.
We will meet Him face to face. All we have talked about will be a reality. All the discussions and musings and debates and prayers in the night will quieted by the gaze of the Bridegroom. It won’t matter any more. The Desire of the Nations will fulfill their desire and everyone will know in that moment. It’s nuts isn’t it?
This is a coming reality, whether tomorrow or the next day or in a year or in ten. For those that love Jesus, we will be enraptured and be with Him without misunderstanding or hazy mirror. No more secrets, no more longing, just perfect serenity.
So if that is tomorrow than tomorrow can’t come soon enough but if it’s later I’m going to keep going with what I have and do my best to love those in front of me. All the while remembering that my Bridegroom is waiting for me, like I am waiting for Him, and we will soon be one, without the veil.