Archive for December 2013

Heaven – The Cloud of Witnesses, part 3   Leave a comment

This entire company of people is relying upon us to become everything God called us to be so that they are made perfect.  That is a huge responsibility!

We have been studying the great cloud of witnesses spoken about in Hebrews chapters 11 and 12.  (See the previous 2 postings for more on this subject.)  This group is composed of all the over-comers who died in the faith from Adam to the present time.  They fought and ran the race but did not receive the promises.  They only saw and embraced them from afar. (Heb.11:13)  The last 2 verses of chapter 11 always puzzled me.  It says they “received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (complete).”   While I don’t pretend to fully understand this, recent prophetic experiences along with study and revelation have begun to shine some light on it.  Let’s look at some other scripture passages referring to this group.

Dan. 7:21,22  says that the horn of the adversary will wage war with the saints and overcome them … until … the Ancient of Days comes and renders a verdict in favor of the saints and they take possession of the Kingdom.  For thousands of years our enemy has been waging war against us.  Millions of our brothers and sisters in Christ have been martyred along with all their gifts and callings.  All that they would have done for the rest of their earthly lives was stolen from them and those acts of injustice by the enemy were recorded in the God’s books.

Rev. 8:3-5  ( the vision of John for a future time) talks about a great angel who has a golden censor in his hand.  Much incense was given to him so that he might add it to “all the prayers of all the saints.”   And the smoke of the incense, which is the prayers of the saints, went up before God.  Then the angel took the censor with the fire from the altar and threw it to the earth and there followed peals of thunder, flashes of lightening and an earthquake.  All the prayers of All the saints – this cloud of witnesses that prayed and prayed and did not see it in their time.   All their prayers have been captured in Heaven along with their tears and God will repay.  He will render a verdict in favor of the saints and they will take possession of the Kingdom forever. (Dan. 7:21,22)

This is the eternal perspective of the cloud of witnesses. The enemy will be judged and they will be rewarded.  But how do you and I fit into that picture now? How do we help to make them perfect or complete?

What God is in the process of doing in these days is amazing!   We are going to be the beneficiaries of things we haven’t even sown, of centuries of prayers of martyred saints and those who didn’t see the fulfillment.  God is pouring out all the gifts and anointings and commissionings that have ever been stolen from the Body of Christ back into this generation!   Jesus said in John 4, those who sow and those who reap rejoice together.  Millions of our brothers were sown like a seed and now that’s coming to harvest and we will reap the very things that the enemy stole from them.

Saul of Tarsus and the stoning of Stephen is a good example of this principle.  Stephen was a member of the early church who was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit and did great wonders and miracles among the people. (Acts 6 and 7)  He was falsely accused and stoned to death.  Saul, who was holding the coats of the people who were throwing the stones, was wrecking havoc in the church at that time, persecuting them and casting them into prison.  So as he was consenting to the death of Stephen, God picked him out for an object lesson.  It was as if the Lord  said to the enemy, “You took one of my best men so I’m going to take one of your best men – and turn him into the Apostle Paul.”   When Saul was converted he began to make 10 times more trouble for the enemy than Stephen had.  If satan had understood that principle he might have left Stephen alone.  Can you imagine Stephen, who had now joined that great cloud of witnesses, watching Paul do great exploits for the Kingdom of God and cheering him on?   Paul was now operating under the same anointing that Stephen carried and finishing what Stephen began to do when his life was cut short.  Now Stephen would be ‘made perfect or complete’ by what Paul was able to accomplish.  Stephen would reap the reward along with Paul.  “Those who sow and those who reap rejoice together.” (John 4:35-38)

Of course we also have our own callings to fulfill, not just to finish what someone else began.  But the point is that it’s pay-back time now and God is freely giving us all that we need to finish this great task. Ask and you shall receive! He can take the anointings of the great men and women of old and multiply them and then pour them out on a body of people so that when they achieve the fullness of that mandate the cloud of witnesses will share in the fruit of it.

Remember that they surround us and have a vested interest in what we do. (Heb. 12:1)  May we run this race and finish well, accomplishing all He put us here to do … for them, for our children and grand-children, but most of all for Him.

* Much of this weeks posting has come from the studies of Paul Keith Davis.  I am including the link to his archived webinars where you will find more on this topic and many others as well.  http://www.whitedoveministries.org/index.cfm?zone=Docs/WebinarArchive/WebinarArchivePage.htm&page=LiveStream

Heaven – The Cloud of Witnesses, part 2   Leave a comment

In the previous post we began to look at the cloud of witnesses that Paul describes in Hebrews 11 and 12.  Let’s take a closer look to see who they are, who they are not and what role they play in the times we are in and the times to come.

The first thing necessary to understand is this … it is God alone that we are to seek.  While He often chooses to minister to us in many different ways through people or angels, our focus is to be on Him and not them.  Just as we do not  pray to angels or worship them, the same applies to the cloud of witnesses.  1 Tim. 2:5 tells us that there is only one mediator between God and man and that is Christ Jesus.  He is the only one worthy of our worship and He is the only one to whom we pray.  But this does not mean that there is no interaction with them.  There are times when we are permitted to see angels, to receive the messages or the help they come to bring us.  The same is true of those in the cloud of witnesses.  They can be used as messengers as well.  These are not people you are apt to see on a regular basis even though Paul tells that we are ‘compassed about’ or ‘encircled’ by them.  But there are times when the Lord chooses to just let us have a glimpse of them as I did in the experience I related in the last post.  This was crucial to my understanding at the time and very precious to me.   It gave me courage to know I had made the right decision.

Who is this cloud of witnesses?  Paul describes them in the previous chapter.   In fact, if you read Hebrews chapter 11 and keep going into the first few verses of chapter 12 it will be self explanatory.  They are those who overcame and died before us.  They are from every generation from Adam up to the present.  Paul only listed and referred to those up until his own generation but the books were not closed and have been added to in every generation since.  They are not angels or other forms of Heavenly beings.  They are men and women, flesh and blood who were born and lived on the earth, became over-comers, died in the faith and have now gone to Heaven.

They have been given the right to watch us and see how we are running this race. (Heb. 12:1)  It’s like a relay race and it’s now our turn to run.  They are cheering us on toward the end but much more than that.  They are also messengers whom God will use on occasion.  The whole book, The Final Quest by Rick Joyner, is basically about experiences that Rick had with these people in Heaven.  They told him about their own failures and cautioned him to avoid the same traps.  Many of them explained that they should have had a higher rank in Heaven and why they failed to achieve it.  Their messages to him were crucial to help keep him on the right path.  And his writings of those experiences have been instrumental in helping us stay on the path as well.

There is a call going out now to “rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way and of the sin which holds onto us so tightly, and to run with determination the race that lies before us” so that we will not be ashamed at the end. (Heb. 12:1 Good News Bible)

This subject will be continued in the next posting.