The MINISTRY of the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement is the five-fold evangelistic, restorative and renewal assignment which the Lord has given us to accomplish. This is often termed, “the vision of the Watchman”.
The Lord Jesus often spoke of His ministry on earth in those days (cons. Lk. 2:49; 24:25-27; Matt. 20:17-22; Jn. 9:4-5; 12:46). The apostles on their part also often related or mentioned their ministry while they were engaged in same (Act. 1:15-17, 21-22, 24-25; 4:18-20; 6:1-4; 20:24; 26:12-20; 2Cor. 4:1; Eph. 3:8-9).
a. An Instrument Of Restoration To The Roman Catholics & Other Jerusalems
RESTORATION here implies bringing back those things lost in the course of time due to (inter alia), the influence of the world and unwariness as to the schemes of satan. To mention but a few, the following have been lost by the people in the course of the past centuries:- new-life experience of genuine Christians (i.e. regeneration) (2Cor. 5:17; Jn. 1:13; Tit. 3:5), the apostolic mission of church leaders (Acts 6L2-4; 4:19-20; 20:17-27; 1Cor. 2:1-5; Col. 1:28-29; 2Tim. 4:1-2); the exemplary life of Christian leaders (1Thess. 2:10; 2Cor. 4:1-2; 6:4-10; 1Tim. 3:2-7); the practically holy nature of the church (1Pet. 1:14-16; Lev. 11:44); the vibrant/evangelistic nature of the church due to the presence of the in-dwelling Holy Spirit (Act. 2:41-47; 4:32; 8:1, 4); the Christ only nature of the church (Act. 1:8; 1Cor. 1:23; 2:1-2; Gal. 1:3-9); the praying nature of the church (Act. 1:14; 4:24; 12:12; 21:5); the unworldly nature of the church (Jn. 17:14-16; Rom. 12:2; 2Tim. 2:4; Heb. 11:24-25; 1Jn. 2:15). It is these things and much more that the Movement was ordained and established by the Lord to restore. The vision that has been given is one like that of prophet Isaiah and apostle Paul (see Isa. 62:1-4, 6-7; Acts 26:16-18).
The Roman Catholic Institution happens to be the Jerusalem of the WCCRM. This is because the brethren were part of the people, pursuing the vision from within until the vision was rejected and those pursuing it thrown out. Nonetheless, there are now other ‘Jerusalems’ due to the fact that people from other quarters have embraced the Movement. As a result, we now have an additional mandate to these other quarters.
b. A Means Of Light To Sinners In All Other Quarters, Than The Jerusalems
APART from the several millions of people who constitute our Jerusalems, discussed in sub-section (a) above, there are several other billions of people around the whole world, who cannot distinguish between their left and their right in the matters of worship of God, faith in Christ, the Bible, heaven and hell, the soul, etc. To these too has the Movement been sent as a means of light, as in the following Bible instances (Mk. 16:15; Lk. 2:30-32; 24:46-47; Jn. 1:6-8; Act. 26:16-18).
Among these billions of people are atheists, free-thinkers, philosophers, various categories of religious sinners, indifferent people and a host of others wallowing in other forms of darkness. Nonetheless, our vision is that of what happened when the Lord Jesus went up and down the whole land of Israel (Matt. 4:13-16; Isa. 9:1-2; 42:1, 4; Jn. 4:28-30, 40-42; Matt. 11:4-5), as well as what happened when the evangelists went to those cities in those days (Act. 8:4-8; 14L27).
c. A Means Of Oneness, Restoration And Renewal To The Body Of Christ; The Church
THIS is the aspect of the vision of the Watchmen that little-minds do not readily perceive, due to what is on ground. Howbeit, it is as authentic and sure as the other aspects.
Meanwhile, the Body of Christ, the Church is in shreds (as it were). There is so much ‘mind your own business’, competition, etc., in the entire Body. Where it appears there is some attempt at what the Lord prayed for (Jn. 17:9, 11, 20-23), it may be mere relationship of those in the same category. The much that may be said to have been done in respect of the real thing is so infinitesimal in comparison to what is desired. The reasons for this situation are legion in number, diverse in nature and magnitude. In fact, those who read and appreciate the Lord’s prayer to the Father on the oneness of the Church in Jn. 17:9, 11, 20-23, and His purpose of giving various ministries in the Church as recorded in Ephesians 4:11-13, keep asking the question:-“will this thing (this oneness) ever be?”. “Is there any hope actually for achieving a glorious Church as described (Eph. 5:25-27) for the Rapture?”
On Restoration And Renewal Of The Body, it is clear the world has affected a larger section of the Church, so that the ancient landmark of not being Jews or Greeks in all areas of life, but another race (as the early church was defined to be, and as the Lord declared – (Jn. 17:14-16), is fast becoming unreasonable and unnecessary for many. Also, the ancient landmark of being vibrant and militantly evangelistic (Act. 2:41-47; 4:32; 8:1, 4), has been removed. The list of regrettable things can continue.
It is to such a Body that the Lord has sent the Watchmen at this end-time. Our vision is a Body, as described in Jn. 17:9, 11, 20-23; Eph. 4:11-13; and 5:25-27. This however does not imply that all will come under one umbrella or one name-tag.
d. An Instrument of Healing To The Sick & Deliverance To The Possessed & Oppressed By Devils.
IT is usual with God to include for every aspect of man, the soul, spirit and body, in His packages. This is the reason the Lord Jesus came preaching and teaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God for the benefit of man, in particular, the soul and spirit, as well as setting the captives free, healing all manner of diseases and delivering the afflicted and possessed by the devils (cons. Is. 61:1-3; (Lk. 4:16-21), Matt. 4:23-24; 11:4-5; Acts. 10:38). In keeping with rule, He Himself sent His disciples and apostles with the like package as the Father has sent Him (Matt. 10:1-8; Lk. 9:1-2; 10:1,9; Jn.20:21).
Because of this rule, the Lord has included the above aspect into the vision that He has given the Watchmen. Testimonies abound of healings and deliverances as Watchmen minister everywhere, and in all meetings, but particularly, the Charismatic hour fellowships, to prove the above assertion.
e. An Instrument of Warning To All That Will Be Lost Eventually
ALTHOUGH this 5th aspect of the vision of Watchmen is incorporated in the first two, it is needful that it be mentioned here separately. A number of reasons underline this specific mention. The whole world in these closing days is at ease, wallowing in the evils of blood-letting through avoidable wars and through abortion, apart from wickedness, satanism and occultism, sexual immorality (to mention but a few), as though there is no danger whatever (cp. Zech. 1:14-15). This was the case with the people of God at the time of Ezekiel, hence his ministry of stern-warning to the people (Ezek. 3: 17-21;33:1-9).
Surely, multitudes of people will go to hell for blocking their ears and closing their eyes (as others have already done) (Ps. 9:17; Matt. 8:11-12; 25:41; Mk. 9:43-48; Rev. 21:8). But given God’s nature of equity, they should be shown the danger and warned sternly about it (cp. Ezek. 3:17;33:7), hence this aspect of the Watchman vision on a specific note.
On another note, the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement is:
A place where God has placed His name, His Spirit and power
A place of encountering the Lord
A place of revelation knowledge
A place of worship of God in spirit and in truth
A place where stones are turned into pillows
Remember, the word “Catholic” in our name is used in its original sense, i.e., “universal” or “for all”.
- The Holy Bible, consisting of 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament, is the inspired word of God. It is the final authority in all matters concerning Christian conduct and work. (2 Tim. 3:16,17; Prov. 30:5-6; Rev. 22:18-19).
- The Godhead consists of three separate, distinct, and recognizable personalities and qualities, perfectly united in one. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are different Persons in the Godhead, not merely three names for one Person. (Matt. 3:16,17; 2Cor. 13:14; Matt. 28:19,20).
- Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was born of the virgin Mary. He was crucified and He died, was buried, but rose bodily the third day. (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18,25; Rom. 1:4; 1Cor. 15:3,4).
- All men are totally depraved, sinful and guilty since the fall, rendering them subject to God’s wrath and condemnation. (Ps. 51:5; Job 14:4; Rom. 3:23; 5:12-17; Mk. 7:21-23; Eph. 2:1-3).
- Repentance is a complete turning away from all sins and their deceitful pleasures and is required from every sinner before he can truly and effectively believe in Jesus with saving faith. (Pro. 28:13; Isa. 55:7; Ezek. 18:21-23; Mk. 1:15; Lk. 24:46,47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 20:21; 2Cor. 7:10; Heb. 6:1-3).
- Restitution is making amends for wrongs done against our fellowmen, restoring stolen things to their rightful owners, paying debts, giving back where one has defrauded, making confessions to the offended and apologising to those slandered. It is necessary, so as to have a conscience void of offence toward God and man. (Gen. 20:1-8, 14-18; Ex. 22:1-7; Lev. 6:1-7; Num. 6:6-8; 2Sam. 12:1-6; Pro. 6:31; Ezek.33: 14-16; Matt. 5:23-24, Lk. 19:8,9; Acts 23:1-5; 24:16; Jam. 4:17- 5:6).
- Justification is the act of God’s grace by which one receives forgiveness and remission of sins and is counted righteous, standing before God as though one had never sinned. It is received through faith in the atoning blood of Jesus. At the time of justification, the justified is also REGENERATED. By regeneration is meant the act of God’s grace, whereby a spiritual change is wrought in the heart of man, making him a new creature and enabling him to live righteously, soberly and godly in this present evil world. (Ps. 32:1,2; Isa. 1:18; Mic. 7:19; 2Cor. 5:17-21; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8,9; Tit. 3:5; 1Pet. 1:23; Tit. 2:11-12; Eph. 2:1,5).
- Water Baptism is essential to our obedience after reconciliation with God. Water Baptism is one immersion (not three) “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” as Jesus commanded. (Matt. 3:13-17; Mk. 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; 8:38,39; Rom. 6:4,6).
- The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus Christ so that all believers (all members of the family of God) might partake thereof regularly to “shew the Lord’s death till He come”. The emblems used are “unleavened bread” and the juice of “fruit of the vine”. Anyone who eats and drinks unworthily brings “damnation“, punishment and chastisement upon himself. (Matt. 26:26; Lk. 22:17-20; 1Cor. 11:23-30).
- Sanctification is a definite act of God’s grace subsequent to the new birth (regeneration), by which the believer’s heart is purified and made holy. It is an instantaneous experience (distinct from gradual maturity of some believers) and is obtained through faith in the sanctifying blood of Jesus Christ. Purity of heart and holiness of life are central to Christian living. (Lk. 1:74,75; Jn. 17:15-17; 1Thess. 4:3,7,8; 5:22-24; Eph. 5:25-27; Heb. 2:11; 10:10-14; 13:11,12; Tit. 2:11-14; 1Jn. 1:7; Heb. 12:14; 1Pet. 1:14-16).
- Baptism in the Holy Ghost is the infilling of the heart of the sanctified with the Holy Spirit at baptismal measure and the enduement with power from on High. It is usually accompanied with the speaking of a language unlearned previously, referred to as “speaking in tongues”. Speaking in tongues is not taught people, since it is ‘as the Holy Spirit gives utterance’ to the baptised. (Matt. 3:11; 1:8; Lk. 3:16; 24:49; Jn. 1:30-33; 7:37-39; 14:16,17,26; 15:26; 16:12-15; Acts 1:5-8; Mk. 16:17; Acts 2:1-18; 10:44-46; 19:1-6). The gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today. (1Cor. 12:1-31; 14:1-40). Also the rule is “purity before power” (cp. Heb. 1:9).
- Redemption from the curse of the law, Healing of sickness and disease, as well as continued Health are provided for all people through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. (Ex. 15:26; Deut. 7:15; Ps. 103:1-5; Prov. 4:20-22; Isa. 53:4,5; Matt. 8:16-17; 1Pet. 2:24; Mk. 16:15-18; Lk. 13:16; Jn. 14:12-14; 10:10; Acts 10:38; Jam. 5:14-16; 1Jn. 3:8; 3Jn. 2; Gal. 3:13-14).
- Personal Evangelism is a God-given and God-ordained ministry for every believer. Jesus commanded and God requires every believer to be a compassionate and fruitful soul winner, bringing others to Christ. (Matt. 28:19,20; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:46-49; Jn. 17:18; Acts 1:8; 8:1-4; Ps. 126:5,6; Pro. 11:30; Dan. 12:3; Ezek. 3:17-21).
- Marriage is binding for life, Monogamy is the uniform teaching of the Bible. Polygamy is contrary to God’s perfect will and institution. The Bible forbids a believer marrying an unbeliever. Also, under the New Testament dispensation, no one has a right to divorce and re-marry while the first companion lives. When a person becomes converted, necessary restitution, on this line, must be done without delay if one has married wrongly. (Gen. 2:24; Deut. 7:1-4; Jos. 23: 11-13; 2Cor. 6:14-18; Pro. 31:10-31; Mal. 2:14,15; Rom. 7:2,3; Eph. 5:31-33; Matt. 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mk. 10:2-12; Lk. 16:18; Jn. 4:15-19; Gen. 20:3-7).
- The Rapture (commonly referred to as the first phase or stage of THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST) is the catching away from the earth of all living saints and all who died in the Lord. The Rapture will take place before the Great Tribulation and can happen any time from now.
“In a twinkling of an eye” with a moment’s warning, “the trumpet shall sound” “and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”. (Jn. 14:1-3; Lk. 21:34-36; 1Cor. 15:51-58; 1Thess. 4:13-18; 5:4-9; 2Thess. 2:5-7; Phil. 3:11,20,21; 1Jn. 3:1-3).
- Resurrection of the dead is taught in the Bible as clearly as the immorality of the soul. Every individual who has ever lived will be resurrected, some to honour and glory and others to everlasting shame and contempt. (Job. 19:25-27; Ps. 71:20; Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2; Jn. 5:28-29; 1Cor. 15:12-57; 1Thess. 4:13-16; Heb. 6:1-2; Phil. 3:8-11; Rev. 20:4-6, 12,13).
- The Great Tribulation will occur after the Rapture and will be a time of terrible suffering on earth. It is also referred to as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Matt. 24:21,22,29; Rev. 9:16; Mk. 13:19; 2Thesss. 2:3-12; Rev. 13). During this time, the Antichrist will take possession of this world for a reign of terror. He will not be a system or organisation but a person – a supernatural, diabolical being, in the form of a man, who will blaspheme and proclaim himself to be God (Dan. 8:23-25; 2Thess. 2:7-12; Rev. 13:1-10).
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb will take place above, while the Tribulation continues on earth. (Rev. 19:1-10).
- The Second Coming of Christ will be just as literal and visible as His going away, and He is coming to execute judgement upon the ungodly. He will also, then, set up His Kingdom and reign on this present earth for a thousand years. (Zech. 14:3,4; Matt. 25:31-46; 26:64; Mk. 13:24-37; 2Thess. 1:7-10; 2:8; Jude 14,15).
- Christ’s millennial Reign is the 1,000 years’ literal reign of Jesus Christ on earth, which will be ushered in by the coming of Jesus back to earth with ten thousands of His saints. At this time, He will judge the nations that dwell upon the face of the earth. (Jude 14,15; 2Thess. 1:7-10).During this time the devil will be bound. (Rev. 20:2,3). It will be a reign of peace and blessing. (Isa. 11:6-9; 65:25; Hos. 2:18; Zech. 14:9-20; Isa. 2:2-4).
- The Great White Throne Judgement is when God finally judges all (the living and the dead, small and great) who have ever lived on the face of the earth, according to their works. This is after the Millennium. At this time the final judgement known as the ‘White Throne Judgement’, will be held. All those, from all ages, who have not yet been judged (believers’ judgement, as sinners before, was accomplished by Christ on the Cross. (Jn. 5:24; 3:17-19)) will stand before God at this time. The devil and his angels are judged at this time also and sent to the lake of fire forever. (Dan. 12:2,3; Matt. 10:15; 11:21-24; 12:41,42; Jn. 5:28,29; Rom. 2:15,16; 14:12; 2Pet. 2:9; Jude 6; 1Cor. 6:1-4; Acts 10:42; Rev. 20:11-15).
- The New Heaven and the New Earth“wherein dwelleth righteousness” will be made by God and the redeemed shall dwell with God forever. This present earth which has been polluted by sin will pass away after the Great White Throne Judgement (Ps. 102:25,26; Isa. 51:6; 65:17; Matt. 5:18; 24:35; 2Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 21:1). No unclean thing will be there. We shall know each other, our knowledge having been perfected. There will be no more curse upon anything. There will be no more night. The glory of the Lord will be the light thereof. (Isa. 66:22; 2Pet. 1:2,13; 1Cor. 13:12, 1Jn. 3:2,3; Rev. 21:1-7; 22:1-5).
- Hell-fire is a place of everlasting punishment where sinners (all who do not have their names in the book of life) will suffer torments for ever and ever.
It was prepared for the devil and his angels, (Matt. 25:41) but God has decreed that the wicked and those who forget Him and reject Christ shall also be cast there because of their sin and neglect of His salvation. Ps. 9:17; Matt. 25:46; Lk. 12:4,5; 16:19-31; Matt. 5:22,30; Mk. 9:43-47; Rev. 14:10, 11; 20:10, 2-15).
NB. All that is discussed hereunder on this project is revelation-knowledge. By revelation-knowledge we mean, “knowledge brought directly and expressly into the heart of a believer or a man of God by the Holy Spirit” (eg. Matthew 16:15-17; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10; Galatians 1:11-12; Ephesians 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13,15-17).
THE Lord has designed a definite 3-fold End-time Project. As stated earlier, the project, a world-wide programme is comprised of: (i) raising a great army of believers of the various denominations for an imminent great harvest of souls; (ii) bringing about a great harvest of souls into the kingdom, as well as a mighty revival in the entire Church (comp. Acts 4:32; 5:14; 6:5; 13:45 ); (iii) fulfilling what the Lord has termed “the pre-rapture necessity” (Ephesians 4:11-15; 5:27). Hereunder are some further information on each aspect of the project.
Pix: A Cross-section of participants at the International Gospel Ministers Conference Of The Hour (IGMC), The Vehicle For Prosecuting The Lord’s Three Fold End-Time Project.
Besides, the picture includes that of a great multitude of Christians with the believer’s tools for effective Christian service.
Let us now view the said army in its various outlooks.
(a) AN ARMY WITH LOINS GIRDED WITH THE BELT-ARMOUR OF TRUTH (Ephesians 6:14)
The Lord, being the God of truth and truthfulness (see Deuteronomy 32:4; Romans 3:4; Hebrews 6:18), and knowing that only the holder of truth and the truthful shall be established (Proverbs 12:19), is raising a great army of believers, whose loins will be constantly girded with the girdle of the truth of God’s Word and with truthfulness (Ephesians 6:14; John 8:32). This is exactly what He had commended and commanded both of old and in this dispensation (see Proverbs 12:19; Zephaniah 3:13; Malachi 2:6; Zechariah 8:16; John 8:32; Ephesians 4:25; 6:14).
The above is however different from what is on ground among many in the Church today. These days, multitudes in the Church (the ministers and the laity alike) are, not only double-tongued, insincere and hypocritical, but also manifest the craftiness or cleverness of sinners and even outright lies to get along. Aside this, many hold to, not the truth of God’s Word, but errors coined out of God’s Word (whether deliberately or unconsciously).
But note this:- As the military belt fastens the soldier’s uniform to his body, and as the lace of his boots fastens the boots to his feet, and as the prophet’s girdle fastens his prophet’s garments to his loins, so the truth of God’s Word and truthfulness girds (fastens) the believer’s other armours on him. Therefore the Lord is raising a great army of believers who will be girded, not only with the truths of God’s Word, but also with truthfulness, as they speak the truth in all matters and at all times (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 4:15; John 8:32).
(b) AN ARMY WEARING THE BREAST-PLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (Ephesians 6:14; Isaiah 59:17; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Romans 13:12)
In the physical, the breast-plate, the piece of armour plate worn by soldiers or other combatant security agents to protect the breast (the chest) and the organs within, is of cardinal importance.
It is in this light that we see righteousness as a spiritual breast-plate. Righteousness spoken of here is not only the righteousness of Christ, imputed to the believer (Romans 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:9 ), but also the believer’s personal right-living (Matthew 5:20; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Ephesians 6:14; Philippians 1:11).
The coming army is one that will be made to constantly wear the spiritual breast-plate of righteousness. It is a great army of believers that will perceive sufficiently that righteousness exalts a man, a family, a congregation or a nation (see Proverbs 14:34).
The picture seen is that of an army of believers who are ever conscious of right-living, being mindful of what they think, say or do; how they relate with others within and without, and what people say of them within and without (consider Acts 24:16; 1 Timothy 1:5). It is an army of Christians, who will not want to constitute a stumbling block to any person(s) in whatever way, as much as in them is (Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9). Furthermore, the coming army is one that will not only know about the good, but will go all out to do good.
Meanwhile, we know what is on ground – “too much God, but too little good”, “too much religion, but too little righteousness”.
(c) AN ARMY WITH FEET SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE (Ephesians 6:15).
The above statement can be paraphrased thus:- An army whose feet are fitted with the readiness and resolution that come from the gospel of peace.
The coming army is a resolved one, always ready to move and to act (Daniel 11:32; Ephesians 6:10). Knowing and having the benefits of the gospel of peace which they have believed, they are ever ready and resolved to march ahead, overcome all temptations, oppositions and persecutions, advancing the gospel as they march on. ( eg. Acts 4:17-31; Matthew 4:1-1 ).
As it were, their resolution and readiness that come from the benefits of the gospel of peace protect their spiritual feet that they be not wounded and stopped by Satan’s pricks on the way, like the soldiers’ shoes (greaves) that protect their feet from dangers, so they could move on and fight.
(d) AN ARMY WIELDING THE SHIELD OF FAITH (Ephesians 6:16)
This is yet another state of the coming army that gladdens the heart. It is evident that one of the reasons believers of today have not attained their set goals (though legitimate and good) is because there is no faith of the child in them (see Matthew 13:58; 17:20; Mark 6:6). It is also true that the darts and machinations of the wicked one have affected many in the area of their health, business, finances, marriage, career, child-bearing, ministries, etc, because they could not wield enough faith to stop the manoeuvres of the wicked one (compare James 1:5-7; Hebrews. 11:6; Isaiah 7:9).
The army that is in preparation is altogether a different one, in that, its members will be made to be members of the elders’ forum (Hebrews 11:1-2, 4-5, 7-12, 17-35). What a great experience that will shortly be!
(e) AN ARMY WEARING THE HELMET OF SALVATION (Ephesians 6:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8).
This is yet another status of the coming army, whose significance is not in question. It is an army whose members are not only saved in the now, but are also bent on being saved eventually.
The above is in contrast with what is on ground in the Church of today. In the Church today (Church is used here to embrace all who profess christianity — the so-called orthodox Churches, the evangelicals, the pentecostals and the charismatics), there are multitudes of people who have no genuine experience of repentance from dead works, saving faith in the death of Jesus, which lead to forgiveness of sin, impartation of God’s Spirit of adoption and regeneration (consider Acts 2:38-39; 3:19). Those of them in the so-called orthodox churches have been erroneously made to believe they are saved because of the sacraments they have participated and do participate in. Those of them among the evangelicals may have come to erroneously believe that they are saved because of some mere mental acceptance of Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. On the part of those among the pentecostals and charismatics, they think they are saved, just because they now have very serious convictions that God exists and does miracles, of which they may have been partakers, though they do not have definite experience of regeneration.
But in the coming army that the Lord is raising, that indisputable and indispensable experience of genuine salvation will not be less than the ratio of the saved to the unsaved among the disciples of the Lord Jesus (consider John.13:10; 17:12).
(f) AN ARMY WIELDING THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT AND THE SPIRITUAL SWORD OF THE BELIEVER (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12)
On the one hand, the word of God is the sword that the Spirit of God uses as the sons of God declare it in faith (Eph. 6:17). On the other hand, it is the spiritual (non-man-made and unseen) sword that the believer uses to defend himself, ward-off the fiery darts of the enemy and appropriate God’s blessings to himself (Eph. 6:17; Matt. 4:4-11).
The coming army is one that has been made to drink of the word, having their senses charged with the spiritual current in the word (Colossians 3:16; Deuteronomy 6:6; 11:18; John 6:63). As a result, the two-way use of the infallible word of God is operational among them.
(g) AN ARMY, WATCHING AND PRAYING ALWAYS IN THE SPIRIT WITH ALL PERSEVERANCE (Ephesians 6:18)
Naturally, “being vigilant always and ready to act” is the watch-word of those who are in lasting conflict with others. The on-coming army, realizing that it is faced with the last days opposition (and a stiff one for that matter), and with the need of vigilance and ceaseless Spirit-led prayer, is an army whose entire membership are watchful prayer warriors. This will be so because, it is an army endued with the Spirit of supplication (eg. Acts 1:14; Zechariah 12:10).
It will not be a forced-exercise. As the stream or river, because of the gradient in its course, is not forced to flow, so they, because of the influence of the Spirit of supplication, will not be forced to watch and pray night and day. The Lord Jesus was not forced to pray; it was in his blood to watch and pray (Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12; 11:1; John 8:1-2). The apostles were not forced to pray; they gave themselves to watching and praying night and day (Acts 6:4; 1:14; Phil. 1:4). The Scottish revivalist, John Knox was not forced to pray; he rather prayed ceaselessly with great pathos. Martin Luther was not forced to watch and pray; history tells us he prayed all night most of the days he was wanted. The early church was not forced to pray; they rather prayed ceaselessly (Acts 1:14). So, the coming army is an army of supplication and one that watches.
(h) AN ARMY HARNESSED WITH FRUITS AND GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT FOR IMPECCABLE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND EFFECTIVE SERVICE TO THE LORD.
So far we have seen that the on-coming army of Christians the Lord is raising is one with loins girded with truth, chest covered with the breastplate of righteousness; one ready and resolved through the gospel of peace, wielding the shield of faith, wearing the helmet of salvation and wielding the sword of the Spirit and the spiritual sword of the believer. It is also an army continually watching and praying in the Spirit with perseverance.
But apart from the above, it is an army harnessed with fruits and gifts of the Spirit for impeccable Christian life and fruitful/effective service. The picture is very clear. The multitudes will be filled with the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning of the church and as was promised for this end time (Acts 2:4; 4:31; Joel 2:28-29).
As a result, the Spirit’s fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance will flow substantially, making them impeccable Christians (see Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; Psalm 92:13-14). Besides, they will be adorned with the Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, insight, faith, teaching, prophesying, discernment, healing, ruling, etc, that make Christian service effective.
In summary and in other words, the army of believers that is in preparation can be described as an army that will be adorned with the beauty of Jesus. The song developer by inspiration wrote:
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wondrous compassion and purity;
O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine,
Until the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
In this song, the beauty of Jesus referred to comprises just His wondrous compassion and purity. But the Lord is revealing that the coming army will be adorned with all the other details of Jesus’ beauty not shown in the above song, eg, Jesus’ wisdom, power, insight, knowledge, love, humility, prowess, prayerfulness, faith, evangelism, etc.
Remember, all that was found in the life of Jesus in the days of His flesh, being the first begotten into sonship of God, are typical of what should be found in the lives of his true disciples, being the other begotten into sonship of God (consider Matthew 10:25; 11:29). Jesus’ experiences are the apex, while His disciples’ experiences should be substantial measures. So, the coming army, simply put, is an army adorned with the beauty of Jesus in its entirety.
2. 2ND ASPECT OF THE PROJECT:- BRINGING ABOUT A GREAT HARVEST OF SOULS AND REVIVAL IN THE CHURCH
(N.B. We are still discussing revelation knowledge)
THE entire world is now even over-ripe for a great harvest of souls and a mighty revival in Christians and the Christian faith, hence the Lord has decided to bring same to pass.
Hitherto, darkness of every sort has filled the whole world, even much more than was observed by apostle John in about 90 AD when he wrote his epistle (1 John 5:19). There is incredible religious darkness in the form of development of false religious beliefs and practices, as well as adherence to erroneous dogmas and practices by millions who profess Christianity (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Peter 2:1-2). There is also darkness every where in the form of outright occultism, spiritism or Satanism as men seek power and protection outside of the Holy Spirit of God (1 Timothy 4:1). There is the darkness of atheism. What about the darkness of pleasure-seeking and materialism that have filled the minds of billions of people all over the world? ( 2 Timothy 3:1,4).
Besides, there is the darkness of ridiculing the absolute truth of God’s word and calling it pluralism; of worshipping of other gods and calling it multi-culturalism; endorsing perversion and calling it the life of the unreligious or an alternative life-style; of murdering unborn babies and labelling it legitimate. In fact the volume of darkness that has covered this present world is too large to be piece-mealed here.
It is this very situation that has made our present world very ripe for the hand of the Lord to descend on it, seeing that He often allows the climax of men and devils, so that He may prove Himself incomparable in His power, wisdom, strategy, sovereignty, etc., when He comes to deal with all their works to deliver His elect. Did He not allow Satan to do his worst against Eve before He came down to shame him by establishing a means of reclaiming mankind through the woman that Satan had deceived? (consider Genesis 3:1-19). Was not the world of Noah mad with self-will and sin, reaching the apex of their offences before He showed Himself stronger than they? (Genesis 6:1-3, 5-7; 9:10-12, 17-23). Did not Abraham and Sarah outlive their age of fruitfulness before He put the situation to nought by giving them Isaac? (Genesis 21:1-5). Did He not allow Satan to do his worst against Joseph before He shamed him completely by making Joseph ruler in Egypt and succourer of his brethren? How about allowing Nebuchadnezzar to reach the height of his pride and arrogance before He sent him into the bush to eat grass like oxen? (Daniel 4:28-33). Didn’t his son or grandson (Belshazzar) reach the height of abomination before He killed him? (Daniel 5:1-9, 17-31). What about the fact that the children of Israel were allowed to emigrate to and remain in Egypt for over 400 years till they had reached the height of slavery and till all hope was lost before he struck, and at such a time as was recorded? How many years of darkness passed between the prophets Malachi and John the Baptist, when the light shone again?
Indeed the world has made itself very ripe for the Almightiness of the Lord to appear. They have reached the stage that the Lord takes delight in dealing with decisively. So He has decided to deal with it. He has decided to shake the world such that, the mighty, the feeble, the rich, the poor, the learned, the unlearned, the old and the young will melt under the fire of conviction of His Spirit and His children among them return to Him. He has decided to judge and shame the gods of false religion, violence, multi-culturalism, perversion, blood-letting, atheism, occultism, etc, as He shakes their foundations to let off His children whom they have trapped hitherto (compare Exodus 12:12).
There is surely a sound of a great harvest and revival of souls ahead, one greater than all the previous ones put together. People of all calibre will throng the places of truth to worship and serve Him. The power of the Spirit of God will sweep over the nooks and crannies of this world once more to cause multitudes to embrace the truth and to revive the church and consolidate the Christian faith. What is about to happen has been illustrated with the abundance of rain of prophet Elijah (1 Kings 18:41-45).
3. 3RD ASPECT OF THE PROJECT:-FULFILLING THE PRE-RAPTURE NECESSITY (Ephesians 4:11-15; 5:26-27)
WITHIN the above Scripture passages is an outline of what has been termed the pre-rapture necessity. Remember, a necessity is something that must inevitably exist or occur.
Pre-rapture necessity are those experiences that must be in the church of Christ before He descends in the cloud to call her up. They are as follows:- (i) unity of faith in the church (Ephesians 4:13); (ii) having knowledge of the Son of God and (substantial) measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13); (iii) having a church glorious, without spot and without wrinkle (Ephesians 5:26-27).
These are experiences that many in the church today are at a loss as to how they will be, considering the situation on ground. They are wondering how unity of faith can be achieved, given the present utter dismembership of the church, and the myriad of differences in what is believed in most of the Christian issues. They are further confused as to how we all could come to sufficient knowledge of the Son of God, and to the measure (substantial measure) of the stature of the fulness of Christ, when presently there is so much peripheral and worldly Christianity. Besides, they are perplexed as to the possibility of having a church without spot and without wrinkle, when obviously, multitudes of people in the church, members and ministers alike, are focussing on other things than purity.
Nonetheless, God’s word outlining these necessities must be fulfilled, notwithstanding whatever situation that is on ground meanwhile (Psalms 119:89; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:18; 24:35). Remember, God’s promise to bring back to Canaan (with great substance) the descendants of Abraham (even before they existed) from a nation that would enslave them for centuries was fulfilled to the very letter (Genesis 15:13-16 with Exodus 3:1-10; 14:30). So, the issue of bringing about this pre-rapture experiences in the church of Christ is not negotiable. Let us now proceed to analyse what will be in this regard:-
(a) UNITY OF FAITH OF THE BELIEVERS (Ephesians 4:13).
Unity of faith implies that what one believes on any given Christian issue, is what the other believes.
There are many major and minor matters of the Christian faith in which there is meantime disparity in the convictions of the people, but the Lord has set himself to work-out the necessary unity of faith. He is already at work in this issue through His Spirit, convicting individuals on this or the other matter, causing them to make necessary adjustments.
Further to this, as interactions and friendship continue through such forums as the IGMC of the hour, the issue of unity of the faith continues to be achieved, until a rapturable church having unity of faith will have been achieved. So before the rapture, there will have been unity of faith as stipulated.
(b) HAVING KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD AND (SUBSTANTIAL) MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULNESS OF CHRIST (Ephesians 4:13).
Knowledge referred to above is not head-knowledge, but saving knowledge; that which only those who have Christ’s or God’s indwelling Spirit can have (consider 1 Corinthians 12:3; John 17:2-5). It can be illustrated with the knowledge that one has of one’s bosom friend; the knowledge the wife has of the husband and vice-versa; the knowledge the servant has of his master, whom he is living with.
The Lord is set to work out this knowledge and is doing so right now and will continue as He unfolds His programmes and His true children engage in them, just as of old (consider Matthew 16:16-17; Philippians 2:13).
Apart from the said knowledge, there is the issue of the rapturable church having substantial measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (verse 13). We know that the Lord Jesus has the fulness of all Christian experiences (John 1:16; Colossians 1:19; 2:9), and that it is out of His fulness we do receive (John 1:16). Seeing that this is one of those inevitable experiences prior to the rapture, the Lord also is bent on working it out for the rapturable church, even at this tail-end of the church-age.
(c) HAVING A CHURCH GLORIOUS, WITHOUT SPOT, WITHOUT WRINKLE (Ephesians 5:26-27)
This is the 3rd aspect of the pre-rapture necessity that must be. While He was here on earth, Jesus commanded us to be pure, without spot and wrinkle (Matthew 5:20, 48). Through His apostles He later repeated His command, that the Church be glorious, without spot or wrinkle (I Peter 1:14-16; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:24; Hebrews 12:14).
He is coming at the rapture to take and present to himself a glorious church, without spot and without wrinkle (Ephesians 5:26-27). Apostle Paul, knowing this, strove to build up the church of his day to that rapturable point, in case the Lord came during his time (Colossians 1:28).
A quick look back into the lives of some of the brethren that have passed-on to glory will confirm that the Lord is ever mindful of a glorious church, without spot and wrinkle. We know many, who had some premonition that they were going to pass-on, and were definitely inspired or ministered to by the Holy Ghost to make their ways right, and they did so and passed-on. So, achieving this third aspect of the pre-rapture necessity is a concluded issue in the Lord’s project ahead.
REASONS UNDERLYING THE LORD’S 3-FOLD END-TIME PROJECT
|BOTH in the natural and spiritual realms, there is hardly anything that is undertaken without some reasons behind it. So there are some reasons behind the Lord’s 3-fold end-time project. There are two principal reasons underlying the project, namely, (i) the time now in heaven (as was revealed earlier by the Lord); (ii) the fact that these days have been declared “the day of the Lord”. We shall now consider these reasons in some details.|
1. FIRST REASON – THE TIME NOW IN HEAVEN
NB. As before intimated at the beginning of this discourse on the Lord’s 3-fold end-time project, what you are about to hear on this matter of the time now in heaven is still purely revelation-knowledge. Once more, revelation knowledge implies knowledge gotten not through good human judgment or learning, but knowledge expressly brought down into the heart of a child or man of God by the Holy Spirit (e.g. Matthew 16:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
THE information on the time now in heaven is a very unique one in the sense that it is addressing a very hidden issue. This revelation was expressly given to the general pastor of the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement (the writer of this book) on the 16th of April, 1999, in Padova-Italy, as he was about to address some Christian folks on entirely another issue on that fateful Sunday morning service. The express message that was dropped into his heart 3 minutes to the time of delivering the sermon he had prepared was that the time now in heaven is 5 minutes to 12.00 midnight. The text that was quoted immediately following this information was Matthew 25:1-12.
As he mounted the podium, the following message, other than the one he came to deliver flowed spontaneously by the Holy Spirit through this human vessel.
THE MESSAGE PROPER
Looking indepth into the text quoted by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 25:1-12), on which this revelation-information on the time now in heaven is based, we see a number of issues that must be considered carefully, from which we will realize and agree with the Holy Spirit that the time now in heaven is truly 5 minutes to 12.00 midnight. These issues are as follows:- (i) the ten virgins that waited for the bridegroom; (ii) the bridegroom himself; (iii) the foolish virgins that had no oil in their vessels; (iv) the wise virgins that had oil in their vessels; (v) the slumber of the virgins; (vi) the marriage proper; (vii) the midnight and the midnight call.
i. THE TEN VIRGINS THAT WAITED FOR THE BRIDEGROOM (Matt. 25:1-11).
As we know, the Bible often uses symbols to represent actual or real things. For example, in Jesus’ parable of a man that sowed good seed in his field (Matthew 13:24-30), the man that sowed the good seed represents Jesus; the field represents the world; the good seed represents the children of the kingdom, while the bad seed (the tares) represents the children of the devil, and so on.
Here in Matthew 25:1-12, the ten virgins (or the bride) represent the entire children of God, the church, or believers who have been born into the kingdom of God through repentance from dead works, and faith in Jesus, and the impartation of the Ernest of God’s Spirit. The apostle Paul called the Corinthian Christians virgins, whom he had betrothed to Christ Jesus, the bridegroom (2 Cor. 11:2). So in the parable of Matthew 25:1-12, the ten virgins spoken of represent all believers who profess to be waiting for the Lord Jesus.
ii. THE BRIDEGROOM (Matt. 25:1,5-6,10-12).
Common knowledge shows that once there is the bride, there is the bridegroom also. In this parable, the bridegroom is the Lord Jesus himself. Both Jesus and John the baptist confirmed this. And Jesus said to them (in answer to John the baptist’s disciples’ question), “can the children of the bridechamber (Jesus’ disciples) mourn, as long as the bridegroom (Jesus) is with then? (Matt.9:15). Also John the baptist (in his testimony to Christ) said, “he (Jesus) that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice…” (Jon. 3:29). Obviously therefore, the Lord Jesus is the bridegroom to whom the bride has been betrothed and is waiting for.
iii. THE FOOLISH VIRGINS THAT HAD NO OIL IN THEIR VESSELS (Matt 25:2-4,7-11).
The foolish virgins that had no oil in their lamps when the bridegroom came represent those believers so called, whose lives will lack righteousness, faith, love, humility, sobriety, evangelism, prayerfulness, zeal and all the other Christian virtues that will make believers rapturable. They are those whose hearts will be chocked up with the mundane things of this world, though they may have been born again originally and profess to know God (cons. Luk. 21:34-35).
iv. THE WISE VIRGINS THAT HAD OIL IN THEIR LAMPS (Matt. 25:1-4, 6-9).
The wise virgins are the opposite of the foolish ones. They are those children of God, who know that without holiness, no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14; Matt. 5:20; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:24; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; 2 Pet. 3:11). They are those who use the mirror of the word of God they hear to discover their faults; who are continually built up with all these Christian virtues that are lacking in the foolish virgins (Col. 2:6-7; Jude 20). They are those who refuse to yield to temptations through diverse circumstances in order to be worthy of their Christian calling and of heaven at all times (Eph. 4:1-3; Col. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:11-12).
v. THE VIRGINS’ SLUMBER AND SLEEP (Matt. 25:5).
Here it is stated that, “while the bridegroom tarried, all the virgins slumbered and slept”. Yes, as the virgins (the bride of Christ) engage in the various activities of this world, often oblivious of the imminence of the bridegroom’s return, they are sleeping (as it were). To bring out this point clearly, let us consider the pre-occupation of a young lady who is about to wed; who is waiting in the parent’s house to be picked to the church to meet her husband for the matrimonial ceremony. While this lady is waiting for all arrangements to be concluded, every bit of the thoughts of her heart is about the wedding that is about to take place. In contrast, the pre-occupation of the bride of Christ, now waiting as the bridegroom delays his coming is different. This lack of 100% pre-occupation with, plus the unmindfulness of the imminence of the bridegroom’s return by the bride is what is symbolized with slumbering and sleeping. But please note that in reality, the depth of the slumber or sleep of the foolish virgins and that of the wise virgins is not the same. While the former is in deep sleep, the later is half-asleep-half awake (as it were).
vi. THE MARRIAGE PROPER BETWEEN THE BRIDE AND THE BRIDEGROOM(Matt. 25:6,10).
The marriage that is pictured here is the one between Christ, the bridegroom and the children of the kingdom (His church), the bride. This marriage was earlier spoken of by the Lord Jesus in His parable in Matthew 22:1-14.
At the rapture, that is, the catching away of the living saints immediately following the resurrection of the dead saints, revealed in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, all the saints (the bride of Christ), both the living and the dead will proceed to the marriage-proper with their bridegroom, their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This marriage ceremony will be held in the heavenly places while the great tribulation is holding on earth for the disobedient (Matt. 25:10; 1 Thess. 4:15-17; Rev. 19:7,9).
vii. THE MIDNIGHT AND THE MIDNIGHT CALL (Matt. 25:6).
Here is the point that will bring us to the realization of what time it is now in heaven. We know that those who are asleep usually get into deep slumber at midnight and beyond. What then is the midnight symbolizing in this parable? Hear this:- the midnight SYMBOLIZES THE PEAK of the various activities and incidents that will influence the virgins (the bride of Christ or children of the kingdom), making them (if allowed) to lose all their righteousness, their faith, their patience, their sobriety, their prayerfulness, their evangelism, their interest in the things of God, their mindfulness of the bridegroom’s return, and so on, thereby rendering them unworthy for the marriage with him.
Among these distabilizing, distracting and demoralizing activities and/or phenomena are (i) the increase of knowledge and the running to and fro for it (Dan. 12:1-4); (ii) the end-time mad pursuit of the mundane, such as, marriage, money, eating and drinking (Luk. 17:26-30); (iii) the economic, political and social ills and problems of these last days (Matt. 24:3,6,7; 2 Tim. 3:1); (iv) the terrible increase of various kinds of vice (2 Tim.3:1-5); (v) the increase in false religious persuasion and in false teachers and doctrines (Matt 24:3-5,11; 2 Pet. 2:1-2; 1 Tim. 4:1-3); (vi) the prevalence of great compromise and outright backsliding by multitudes of Christians (2 Thess. 2:3), etc.
It is exactly AT THE PEAK of these things and its consequences on the bride (referred to symbolically as the midnight) that the sudden call to meet the bridegroom will be made (Matt. 25:6). This call is that referred to as the Lord’s shout; the voice of the archangel; the trump of God (1 Thess. 4:16).
We have already seen what the midnight stands for, namely, THE PEAK of the various activities and/or phenomena in the world that will distract, distabilize, demoralize and pollute the bride of Christ and all men. We have also seen that it is at this PEAK that Christ will return.
Looking critically at the volume of today’s distracting, distabilizing, demoralizing and polluting situations all over the world, who is that real believer or minister who will not agree with the Holy Spirit that we are just about to hit the climax (THE PEAK) of these things, at which time the Bridegroom will return?
Look into the newspapers; listen to the electronic media outfits for news on current events; look around you in the villages, towns and cities of the entire world; all these destablizing, distracting, demoralizing and polluting activities/phenomena are speedily building up every passing moment. And all indicators are showing that we about to hit THE PEAK (the midnight). So we are indeed 5 minutes to 12.00 midnight.
WHAT A GREAT COGENT REASON THIS IS, NECESSITATING THIS PROJECT!
2. 2ND REASON UNDERLYING THE PROJECT:-IT IS THE DAY OF THE LORD
WE shall treat this second reason underlying the Lord’s 3-fold end-time project by (i) defining and illustrating the term, “It is the day of the Lord”; (ii) showing that it is indeed the day of the Lord
(i) THE DAY OF THE LORD, DEFINED AND ILLUSTRATED
By the day of the Lord we mean, a time or period when the Lord comes on board (as it were) to deal specially and decisively with unGodly situations in the world or in His Church, which the devils or human beings (in their ignorance or indifference to God’s sovereignty) authored, manipulated and prospered, which He has hitherto allowed and endured.
From this definition, it can be said that the time or period, during which such situations were allowed by the Lord to linger, are the days of men and the devils. There is always the day of the Lord following the day of His enemies.
The Scriptures, as well as history are replete with records of the day of the Lord, usually following the day of His enemies. A few examples here will suffice to prove the point.
After God’s creation of man, and adorning him with a substantial measure of His glory, and giving him dominion over all things (Genesis 1:26-28), the Devil moved-in to mar the relationship between the man and his God, thereby removing the glory and destroying the dominion (Genesis 3:1-19). The period of this temptation, yielding to it and the consequences could be regarded as the day of the enemy, the devil. But then, there followed the day of the Lord, representing the period of God’s intervention to undo what the devil had done (cons. Genesis 3:9-10 and Luke 2:21-22,25-33).
After the deluge of Noah’s time (which itself was the day of the Lord), there was another day of the Lord, when the Lord planned and executed the scattering of the entire people of the then world from their self-will and vain-glorious project of building the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).
There was yet another day of the Lord in the course of time. This was the period of planning and executing the activities that led to the final liberation of the nation, Israel from Egypt (see Exodus 1-14). That day of the Lord followed a 400 (plus) years’ day of the enemy, earlier predicted by the Lord (Genesis 15:12-16).
Let us now take one example from the New Testament during the early-Church period. There was this sorcerer, Simon, who had for so long bewitched the entire people of Samaria, whom they ignorantly regarded and revered as the embodiment of the great power of God (Acts 8:9-11). The period of this man’s devilish activities was the day of the devil. But then, at the appointed time in God’s overall programme, the day of the Lord came, as Philip preached Christ and the kingdom of God with the attendant demonstratiom of the Spirit and power of God, which made mockery of what the sorcerer had done. Following what happened during this day of the Lord, Simon lost out and his followers went their ways (Acts 8:12-25). So much on the definition and illustration of the day of the Lord.
(ii) NOW IS ANOTHER DAY OF THE LORD INDEED
Using apostle Paul’s language, we make bold to say, by the word of the Lord, that we are living at the threshold of another day of the Lord in the history of this world. The following preview of a few operations in this day of the Lord will suffice to clarify the point.
It is a period in the which the Lord has elected to build-in His glory into His human angels of His Church (see Revelation 1:20; 2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7,14), to the point that their glory (God’s nature, power and the gospel message) will lighten His Church and the world at large, (comp. Revelation 18:1), so that the salvable could be saved. It is a period when multitudes will respond to the preaching of the cross of Christ, as these human-angels bring about a very strong witness and proof of God’s sovereignty and the infallibility of His word, as it was in the early Church (comp. Matthew 15:32; Luke 8:45; Acts 4:32; 5:14; 13:45). Hitherto, it would appear the devil has had a field-day, tying the multitudes down with all kinds of machinations. There has been relatively very poor response due to the lack of glory in God’s servants.
Beside the above, our present world, for a very long time now, has been terribly infested with all manner of satanic activities, ideologies, pursuit of the mundane, etc. From the North to the South, from the East to the West of all nations, millions of people mill around in the pursuit of the vanities of this world without any awareness of, or regard to the eternal well-being of their souls. But the day of the Lord is with us in which He will move into the midst of the people to cause such tremendous shaking with His diverse miracles that will draw multitudes to the Gospel, which will in turn set multitudes free from ignorance, sin and their consequences (cp Isaiah 40:10; 42:13-14).
Come to Christendom, over a very long period now, it would appear that Satan has been asking the Church, “where is the oneness that your Master prayed for;” “what can you do about the errors, lies and occultism that I have sneaked into your midst?” However, the day of the Lord is certainly with us, the day that will witness irresistible exposition of the truth of God’s word, and the exposition and destruction of lies, error and occultism, as it was during the early days of the Church (Acts 8:9-13; 16:16-18; 17:16-23). Besides, this day of the Lord will also witness that unity of the believers which all well-meaning ministers and members of the Church have been yearning for (Eph. 4:11-13).
Note this: All these items of operations that constitute the second aspect of the reasons behind the Lord’s 3-fold End-time Project are in agreement with some aspects of the project itself (see analysis of the project).
The question now is, who among His servants of the present day is willing to consecrate himself/ herself for the Lord’s use, having heard of the project, and such great cogent reasons behind it.?
GOD’S STRATEGY FOR EXECUTING THE PROJECT
HAVING seen the details of the Lord’s 3-fold end-time project ahead of us, and the reasons behind it, someone, like blessed Mary, may now be asking, how shall these things be achieved? (Luke 1:34). In other words, how has the Lord planned to raise the great army of Christians for the imminent great harvest of souls, bring about a great harvest of souls proper, and revival of the church and fulfil the pre-rapture necessity, all as detailed in the previous sections of this treatise?
The following is an outline of the Lord’s strategy for executing the said project:
He has scheduled to make and use mighty men of valour to produce the said great army of Christians, bring about a great harvest of souls and revival of the church, as well as fulfil the pre-rapture necessity.
Remember, the Lord is the One working by His excellent Spirit, while His mighty men of valour are His instruments (Zechariah 4:6; Psalms 127:1; John. 14:10; 2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
Let us proceed to discuss the making of the Lord’s mighty men of valour, as we (a) describe them; (b) consider the pre-qualification of the prospectives; (c) discuss the medium for their build-up (d) consider their build-up and (e) preview the short and long term results.
(a) HIS MIGHTY MEN OF VALOUR, DESCRIBED
This is the term that was used here and there in the Old Testament to address men who had all that it would take to lead an army into victory, or to deliver the oppressed from their oppressors (Judges 6:12-14; 11:1; Joshua 1:14; 8:3; 2 Kings 5:1). In the New Testament, both the Lord Jesus and John the Baptist were described as mighty men (Luke 1:15, 32). They were mighty, not in the sense of being physical warriors with special endowment like the ones referred to above, but because of the measure of the Spirit of God and His gifts and fruits that were in them (consider Luke 1:15, 17; John 3:34; Acts 10:38). The apostles of the Lord were also mighty men of valour, having also been filled with the Holy Ghost and the associated gifts and fruits (Acts 4:33; 2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
God’s mighty men of valour that He has scheduled to build-up will compare favourably with the Lord Jesus and His apostles in every respect — in Holy Spirit baptism, the associated gifts and fruits; in ministry; in insight, in all that it takes to be truly men of God or able ministers of the New Testament, able to raise an army of Christians for the Lord (consider John 14:12; Matthew 10:25).
(b) PRE-QUALIFICATION OF PROSPECTIVE MIGHTY MEN OF VALOUR
There are surely certain pre-requisites that those who want the Lord to mould them into mighty men of valour (or able ministers of the New Testament) for the project ahead must fulfil.
The following are the cardinal ones:-
i). They must be saved
ii). They must have bought the vision (that is, the vision of the said project)
iii). They must have been called into ministry
iv). They must love righteousness and hate iniquity
v). They must be lowly in heart
vi). They must be jealous of the Lord
vii). Their horse must be before their cart
(i) THEY MUST BE SAVED
It is an irony that someone aspiring to be used of God mightily does not have a genuine experience of salvation. Anyone who listens carefully can hear the challenge of men and angels to such a person saying, “physician, heal thyself” (Luke 4:23 compare Romans 2:21-22). This was exactly the case with certain vagabond Jews and the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:13-15).
Because of the necessity of salvation before service, Jesus told those who wanted to serve before being saved to first of all believe in Him for salvation before talking of working for God (John 6:28-29).
It can be said without fear of contradiction that if the Lord Jesus needed to be saved, He would have done whatever that was required of Him to be saved, knowing the inevitableness of being saved before serving. He proved this point when He submitted to the baptism of John the Baptist, since that was part of the basic things required of the Jews at that time for salvation (Matthew 3:13-15).
It is a futile exercise to seek to serve the Lord without having experienced genuine salvation and remaining saved continually. Remember Judas, who was with the Lord and went out to serve with the rest, yet was a thief and a devil (consider Matthew 10:1-8 with John 6:70; 12:6).
There are some “ministers” today whose testimonies of salvation are vague. They have no clear-cut testimonies of having repented of their sins and having believed implicitly on Jesus as is commanded those that seek to be saved (Mark 1:5; 6:12; Acts 3:19; 20:21). One of such ‘ministers’ testified that “there was a prophecy about him by some mighty witch doctor that “a mighty man of God” would be born by his mother, which prediction came to pass, hence he began to see visions and do miracles, even at the age of six years.” What a demon-possessed person such is!.
(ii) THEY MUST HAVE BOUGHT THE VISION (Proverbs 29:18).
Buying the vision implies that they have considered this project, been convinced of its authenticity, whole heartedly embraced it and decided to be party to its execution. Not only this, they have also decided that they will not lose the vision. Such people have done well to obey the Lord, who commanded that we buy the truth and sell it not (because it is precious) (Proverbs 23:23).
The importance of having vision (which makes it mandatory that the prospective mighty men of valour buy this vision) cannot be overemphasized. Where there is no vision, the people perish (fail) (Proverbs 29:18). Whether it is the pastor or the businessman or the student or whosoever that has no vision (something he is given to, and earnestly pursuing), nothing is then propelling such a one. So he cannot work hard and is bound to fail.
(iii) THEY MUST HAVE BEEN CALLED INTO MINISTRY
This is another pre-requisite for those who wish to be built-up into mighty men of valour for God’s use in the project ahead. The Lord Jesus was called (sent) into the ministry by the Father (John 4:34; 5:23, 24, 36; 8:29; 20:21). The apostles and some of His early disciples have clear testimonies of the Lord Jesus sending them into the ministry (Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-3; 20:21; Matthew 10:16).
There is a number of ways someone can receive God’s calling into ministry. Below are a few of such ways:-
Directly through the ministration of the Spirit of God by dreams, visions, the inner voice of the Spirit of God, or unquestionable and strong persuasion in the heart, or clear and undoubtable dissuasion from secular things, and the like (Isaiah 6:1-8; Acts 9:3-6, 14-16; 13:1-2).
Through a genuine prophetic or apostolic utterance of a proven man of God (Judges 4:4-9; 1 Timothy 4:14).
Through the appointment and laying on of the hands of a real man of God or men of God on a willing soul because of the need of expansion of the particular ministry to which the one belongs (Joshua 2:1; 1 Timothy 4:14; 1:1-4).
It is to be noted that there are those who go into ministry without being called. They run, even though they were not sent (compare 2 Sam. 18:19-30). They have some ulterior motive at the back of their minds for becoming pastors, evangelists, etc (Romans 16:18; Philippians 3:18-19; Titus 1:10-12; 1 Peter 5:2). Let the ministers that seek to be part of this project ensure they are called.
(iv) THEY MUST LOVE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATE INIQUITY (Hebrews 1:9)
Loving righteousness and hating iniquity is the trade-mark of those whom the Lord usually builds-up and uses tremendously. Noah was used by the Lord tremendously because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity (Genesis 6:5-7, 8-9). Abraham said to Lot (a junior), “we be brethren, let there be no strife between me and thee”, an evidence of a heart that loved righteousness and hated iniquity (Genesis 13:1-9). So God used him greatly. Joseph hated the unrighteousness of his brothers and loved righteousness and the Lord used him mightily (Genesis 37:2). We have the testimony of Scriptures concerning others who loved righteousness and hated iniquity and what great things the Lord did with them (eg. Hebrews 1:9; Acts 24:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:10).
Is anyone buying the vision of this project and already picturing himself a mighty man of valour, let such a one tread the road to exaltation — the road of loving righteousness and hating iniquity (Proverbs 14:34; Hebrews 1:9).
(v) THEY MUST BE LOWLY IN HEART
If one could see God’s list of the things that have prevented many of His servants from being developed fully and used mightily, lack of lowliness of heart is among the items. It is an irony that the Lord said, “of myself I can do nothing, as I hear (am taught) I judge…” (John 5:30), but many of His ministers of today say, “we need no further teaching from anybody, no more challenges by anybody”. But those who have gotten to any appreciable level of prowess in ministry know that being lowly in heart is the key to rising high (Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 14:7-11).
The lowly in heart learns and grows through other ministers, workers, babes in church and even from unbelievers. After all we were enjoined to hear (learn from) what the unjust judge said; from what the unjust steward did and even from what the ants do (Luke 18:6; 16:1-9; Proverbs 6:6).
Those that have reached the point of being teachers of others only, and having no humility to learn anymore from anybody or anything are certainly living in sin, and may have reached the stage of not realizing anymore that they are poor, wretched and blind, since there are no more new challenges. Surely it will take lowliness of heart to develop to full potentials and become a partaker of the Lord’s end-time project (Phil. 2:5-11; Luke. 14:11).
(vi) THEY MUST BE JEALOUS FOR THE LORD
The prophet Elijah said, ” I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword: and I, even I only, am left…” (1 Kings 19:10,14). Here the prophet was testifying that he regarded the Lord as the only sovereign One, the only Creator whose adoration must not be shared to any other being. He regarded His house as the highest of all scared places, so must not be polluted. He saw His word in the perspective that God himself saw it, so it must be obeyed and must not be tampered with. He saw the Lord as the best who must be given the best of worship, attention, gifts, service, etc. He was also testifying that, because of who the Lord is, and consequently the highness of His house, His word and His work, he (Elijah) will go to any length to oppose anyone and anything that will tarnish the Lord’s image, or pollute His sanctuary or go against His word and His work.
The Lord Jesus also showed that He was jealous for God, His house, His word and His work. Did He not become righteously angry with the religious sinners of His day that were polluting the temple with buying and selling? He tumbled their tables, poured out their money and drove their animal-wares away and put them all into confusion (John 2:13-17). Did He not drive Peter, even Peter behind Him, tagging him ‘the devil’ for attempting (even unknowingly) to prevent Him from completing the lofty but painful assignment the Father gave Him? (Matthew 16:21-23).
The jealous of the Lord are usually mindful that:
Only the Lord should be worshipped (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11).
Only His truth should be taken, observed, disseminated.
Only the name of the Lord should be magnified.
His physical house be respected, kept holy and not polluted, including being angry with unclean spirits that inhabit and pollute the human-body-sanctuaries of the Lord (compare John 2:13-17).
The church (the body of Christ) be kept holy, vibrant and worthy for the Lord to dwell in by His Spirit.
All God’s children be obedient, fruitful and pleasing to Him (eg. John 8:29; Matthew 3:16-17).
All services unto the Lord in any form be undertaken with all the heart, tirelessly and happily too.
The best of gifts be given to Him (Exodus 25:1-5; Malachi 1:6-8).
All His wondrous works be testified of, so that adoration and praise could return to Him (eg. Mark 5:18-20). This list is not exhaustive by any means.
It follows therefore that all who want the Lord to develop them into mighty men of valour must follow this way of being jealous of the Lord.
(vii) THEIR HORSE MUST BE BEFORE THEIR CART
It is common knowledge that putting the horse before the cart is the fruitful arrangement. Otherwise is madness.
What does putting the horse before the cart signify? It implies that, in the life of the minister who wants to be built up and used of the Lord, as God is proposing, the pleasure of the Lord, resulting from his (the minister’s) exemplary life-style, his labour and the resultant soundness of the church he is running or intends to run, the effectiveness of his ministry, the growth of the church, his commitment and sacrifice, his appreciation of the work of God, etc, are his pre-occupation (John 4:32-34; 5:30; 6:38; 2 Corinthians 11:28; Acts 20:24).
Unfortunately, many today are otherwise. Their pre-occupation is what they stand to get from ministry — money, house, honour, name, cars, the king’s food, etc (Rom. 16:18-19; Philippians 3:18-19; Titus 1:10-11; 1 Peter 5:2). Ninety percent of their endeavour is prompted by these things. Such persons have put the cart before the horse and the natural result is obvious; everything is stalled.
Now, on realizing that there is no progress from God, nothing is coming in, they turn to gimmicks, human methodologies and the like. They turn to accommodating and importing erroneous strategies, lowering standards and devising all sorts of means to bring the people, because the people must come in, bring their substance, so they can still have what is their priority. Are there not some that have gone into outright occultism with the name of the Lord Jesus because they put the cart before the horse and God refused to progress and prosper them?
Note this: The secret of getting spiritual height, honour, good food to eat, good house to live in, health kept and maintained by the Lord, wife, children and self protected by the Lord, is to make His pleasure one’s priority (Matthew 6:33; John 8:29). Remember, the faithful servant (only) is worthy of his wages (Matthew 10:9-10). Thou shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn (1 Corinthians 9:9; Deuteronomy 25:4).
THE MEDIUM FOR MAKING THE MIGHTY MEN OF VALOUR
We recall that, while treating the Lord’s strategy for executing His 3-fold end-time project, we showed that He will build-up mighty men of valour, use them to produce the great army of Christians, which will lead to the great harvest of souls and a mighty revival of the church, as well as to the fulfilment of the pre-rapture necessity — building a universal church that is fit for the rapture.
We also recall that, while treating the issue of building up His mighty men of valour, we first described them and went on to consider the 7-point pre-qualification of such.
Now, we will conclude the entire treatise with (a) discussing the medium for making the coming mighty men of valour, (b) showing the result that follows.
To get a clearer view of what is meant by the medium for making the mighty men of valour, consider the fact that there are workshops for training and producing craftsmen, technicians and engineers, grounds for training drivers, higher institutions of learning for training various categories of academicians and professionals, military facilities for training military men and so on.
This implies therefore that the Lord, as a matter of necessity must have a medium for building His coming mighty men of valour. He has accordingly chosen one, which He has surnamed, “THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD’S HOUSE”. What is this mountain of the Lord’s house? It is this special ministers’ forum termed the the INTERNATIONAL (AND INTER-DENOMINATIONAL) GOSPEL MINISTERS’ CONFERENCE OF THE HOUR (on a regular basis). Let us now view this medium in the light of what is written concerning the mountain of the Lord’s house in Isaiah 2:1-5.
In a nutshell, one commonly acceptable literal rendering of this passage (Isaiah 2:1-5) says that, during the millennium, Christ’s kingdom will be literally established over and above all nations and kingdoms, having His millennial headquarters or temple in Jerusalem. At that time, all nations of peoples will be taught by Him from Jerusalem and the effect is the universal peace that will be all over the places.
The Lord has revealed (and we make bold to announce) that, He has chosen the forum of the INTERNATIONAL GOSPEL MINISTERS’ CONFERENCE OF THE HOUR (on regular basis) as the MOUNT OF HIS GLORY (all that He is known for), from where He will make mighty men of valour for His end-time project.
THE LONG AND SHORT-TERM RESULTS
(a) LONG-TERM RESULT
We have already seen the long-term result of the Lord making and having mighty men of valour. Through them He will raise a great army of Christians that will bring about a great harvest of souls and a mighty revival of the church, as well as produce a universal church fit for the rapture.
(b) SHORT-TERM RESULT
Aside of the above long-term result, which is the same as the revealed project, there is a short-term result that the raising of the mighty men of valour will produce. What He revealed about this is termed “arriving and dwelling in Jerusalem”
ARRIVING AND DWELLING IN JERUSALEM
To facilitate a quick understanding of what is meant by “arriving and dwelling in Jerusalem”, we need to know a few things about the physical city of Jerusalem in the state of Israel and some of its fascinations.
The city of Jerusalem is located on a cluster of hill-tops and valleys (with the valleys having no housing developments). The height of the city from sea level is 762 metres (2500 feet).
For one to reach Jerusalem, one has to ascend it, beginning at a point on the highway as one approaches it (say from Tel-Aviv on the West), until one gets to the hill top city of Jerusalem.
As a Christian, it is fascinating to arrive Jerusalem, as one visits and experiences the sites of Holy Bible incidents. The following readily come to mind:- the different points on Jesus’ way to the cross — the garden of Gethsemane, the place of His judgment and condemnation, the place of crucifixion, the point where His body was anointed for burial, the place of His burial, etc. There are also such sites as the tombs of the prophets, the Mount of Olives from where He ascended to heaven. Indeed, it is a wonderful and enriching experience to arrive physical Jerusalem.
Here now is the meaning of arriving and dwelling in Jerusalem, once the mighty men of valour are made. It means, “arriving and dwelling at such a spiritual level (or realm) that brings immediate wonderful and enriching experiences to the mighty man of valour himself, his family, the local assembly and whosoever that comes under his ministration. There, at this realm, faith, insight, authority, love for the Lord and for men, name it, flow unhindered, with their attendant results” (consider Acts 5:12-16; 8:5-8; 10:38).
Looking back at all that have been discussed in this treatise, one is forced to shout, WHAT A PROJECT THE LORD HAS DESIGNED! BLESSED ARE THEY WHOM THE LORD HAS CALLED INTO IT (Psalms 65:4).