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Challenges and Callings of the End Times Discovering the Depth

Part 1

“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” 1 Peter 4:7 “And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”  Revelation 22:10, 11 If we deeply and seriously study and search the topic of the End Times in the Word of God, we will be surprised to come across things that we have not heard of before. Actually, only the surface of this topic has been touched, despite the many talks, comments and books that speak about the End Times. It must be understood then, that there would indeed be some sort of hindrance or masking of the real depth of this topic because it is one that digs deeply and ultimately into Kingdom matters, whether it be the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Darkness. It is, therefore, quite expected that the Enemy would do his best to mask the real revelatory matters related to the End Times. As a result, we are merely left with many songs and phrases like: “Maran Atha,” “O come, Lord Jesus,” “we love You Jesus and we are ready for Your Coming,” and that is all. Of course, this is important, but these are certainly not the real dynamics involved in this great topic that has an impact on all spiritual matters. I would like to mention some main points to sum up the dynamics involved in matters of the End Times. There are real challenges related to the End Times and, at the same time, there are real specific callings especially related to the End Times. It may not surprise us to know that many of the resources of the Redemptive work have not been released yet. The story of Old Israel is repeated with the New Israel. Let us look at some verses from the book of Joshua to clarify this point: “Now Joshua was old, advanced in years and the Lord said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.” Joshua 13:1 Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you?” Joshua 18:3 Joshua had led a whole series of battles to allow Israel to enter the land; he was the chief captain of all the battles. This was not an easy matter because every battle had a special strategy and a special plan which differed from one battle to the other. Yet, being a man of God, Joshua was able to lead the people into real and true victory. How? What are the main characteristics of the man of God? You may give me a long list of characteristics, but you may still miss the most important one. One of the most important characteristics of the man of God which was found in Joshua is that he learned how to know the mind of God. Joshua lived as a man of God in every step. He confronted real, powerful nations yet he was able to conquer them because he possessed another characteristic of the man of God related to the one above. Not only was he able to know the mind of God, but he also had an open eye that allowed him to see the unseen spiritual realm. Joshua was able to accomplish victories because he was actually working on two levels: namely, the seen and unseen levels. He was able to work on both the physicaland spiritual realms. Let us look at some references in this respect: “Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:12–14   Joshua was able to make the sun stand still for an entire day in order to accomplish this victory. What is the benefit of making the sun stand still for one whole day? The expected logical answer would be: to finish the work and accomplish the victory.  This actually happened, yet, do you think that this is the real and full purpose? I do not think so. What then is the full correct purpose behind this? Is it a usual thing for the sun to stand still for a day? Of course not, this is unusual.  Did God want to make a demonstration out of that, or even show off?  Certainly not! Therefore, there must be something valuable behind this incident. If I was in your place and I came across this passage while reading the Bible, I would surely pause before it and say that there must be a revelation here. So I would wait before the Lord for days, or even years, to discover this revelation. And as much as I waited before the Lord, I would begin to receive and understand the treasures and most valuable things stored in the biblical passages. This is one of the things that I learned from the Early Fathers’ teachings and lives. Through this approach, I was able to dig deep in the Word of God to find the treasures. What then is the important significance behind that special day? It was nearly sunset time and the day was ending. Both armies knew the day was coming to an end and that night was falling, yet, they were still battling. Then, all of a sudden, Joshua stood and told the sun to stand still and the sunset to stop. And so, the sun began to shine again causing both armies to wonder what was happening! On one hand, the army of Israel would have probably thought that this obviously meant that God was on their side. Yet, this is not the actual significance of this incident. On the other hand, the other army was probably deeply perplexed and completely broken in power. Do you know why? Is it because of some change in the physical weather? Of course not! The change in the physical weather was not an issue to them and did not matter at all. The reason behind their perplexity and loss of power was actually because they worshipped the sun. As a result of this occurence, they saw that their enemy, Israel, was able to speak to their god and make their god stand still. This incident meant that Israel had authority over their god. In turn, this meant that the God of their enemies was more powerful than their own god and hence, they would definitely lose the battle; all was over. Not only this, but there is more to discover in this part of the Scripture: “And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.” Joshua 10:11 The Bible states that the hailstones actually caused more deaths than the weapons. It is thus clear here that the heavenly hosts were working with Israel. From where did these stones come? Who threw the hailstones? The angels of God did this according to the order of God. Thus, the heavenly hosts were involved in the battle at that point. The heavenly hosts turned to be a heavenly army that worked with the earthly army of Israel under the leadership of Joshua. So, Joshua became a leader who can order even the heavenly hosts to work with him because he was able to know the mind of God. Do you remember what happened before the beginning of the battles? Before the battles started, the angel of God came to Joshua. Joshua asked him who he was and whether he was on their side or not. The angel replied saying that he was an archangel of God. (We read this in the last paragraph of chapter 5). In other words, this meant that the archangel of God came to Joshua to say – in the language of the spirit: “We are going to work together, I am sent by God to help you; whenever there is a problem, call upon me. I will be with you; I will throw stones over your enemies.” The man of God can thus work on two levels: the unseen and the seen. If there is a real man of God who has the full anointing on him, the hand of the Lord will be with him and the hosts of the Lord will work with him. Let us now go back to the main point to connect things together. Joshua finished all the battles in a very inspired way. Israel was already inside their land. However, at a certain point, Joshua told the people of Israel: “Why are you too lazy to possess what was given to you? There is a lot of land that is already yours, but you are not controlling and possessing them, you are not taking them. Why are you stopping? There are no more battles; all battles are finished, yet you still have to take what was granted to you.” In the Hebrew language, as we all know, “Joshua” means “Jesus” and both names mean “God Saves.”Because all of the Word of God is inspired, all of the Word of God is prophetic. Thus, every chapter speaks prophetically to us if we are ready and prepared to receive the prophetic dimension within it. There is a parallel here. Like Joshua, Jesus is also telling us that He has finished all the battles for us and that we are already in the land. Yet we are still not possessing the land that was given to us. Joshua was already old and he was telling Israel: “I am old and I still have not seen the fruits of the battles that can please my heart, the battles that have taken all my years, because you have not yet taken and received what was given to you.” We mentioned that there is a parallel between Jesus and Joshua. Does this mean that Jesus is old like Joshua?! Could Jesus be old?! Of course Jesus can not be old, but the prophetic word here signifies that 2000 years have gone by since Christ’s act of salvation on the cross. This is a long time; it is a long time for us and we have yet to take full possession of the land. Here is the important point: Because Israel, in the old times, failed to take full possession of the land, their enemies were able to be like thorns and trouble them greatly as the Bible states. I think we are all familiar with the history of the Church of God all over the world. Some scholars maintain that the Parable of the Ten Virgins mentioned in Matthew 25 signifies that the time came when all the virgins were asleep. All scholars agree that the Church began with great power, but then the Church fell asleep. Now, the Church is beginning to wake up because the Bridegroom is coming. Yet due to the centuries of sleep, there is a lot of mess and confusion. There are various and diverse thoughts, schools, ideas, spiritual organizations and spiritual activities in the Church all over the world. Each one is asking and wondering which direction to go and what is the proper and perfect way. Joshua, our Savior, Jesus, is saying: “Many years have passed and you still have not entered the full possession of what I have given you. Because of this, your enemies are able to put you down, hurt you, and bring many bad things into the Church of God.” They bring shame to Christ’s name and they bring a stumbling question to the believers. The stumbling question that many believers ask is: “Is it really possible to live a holy, victorious, Christian life in this Age?” Believers complain saying that they hear about bad things and bad sins in the lives of Christian leaders and hence wonder how it could be possible for them, being younger and weaker in the spirit, to be victorious. As a result, we give ourselves an excuse and this breaks Christ’s heart. Try to come close to His heart. He has much agony in His heart! In my spiritual walk, I have learned that when one tries to get closer to the Lord by praying a lot, reading the Word of God a lot, and waiting patiently before God, this person receives more light and is spiritually encouraged and hence finds himself longing to come closer to the Lord more and more. This person is not after understanding more about the mind of God, but rather desires to come closer to His heart. This is actually the guidance of the Holy Spirit for those who are sincerely led into deeper fellowship with the Lord. In this instance, we may think that when one is led in such a way to come closer to the heart of the Lord, that person will be filled with love and peace. This indeed must still happen, yet because of what we referred to earlier, the Lord’s heart is broken. Thus, when one comes closer to His heart, the first thing that person encounters is His agony. The Lord still seeks those who desire and are interested to come closer to His heart and for those ready for the cost. There is no other way than to enter into the full possession of what has been granted to us through the redemptive work of Christ and His Cross. When we begin to partake in the spiritual possession of the redemptive work of Christ, everything will change. Our eyes will be opened to see the hidden strategies of the Enemy because the Enemy has no power to cover or hide these strategies from the open eyes. In other words, if we are not yet partaking in our spiritual possession, the measure at which we are standing in the spirit will not help us understand or see the hidden strategies of the Enemy. This happens because the Devil is able to look and see the measure of grace of the believers in the Church of God. Thus, he will know that the measure they have at that particular instance enables them to see only up to a certain level. As a result, he can mask his strategies at that level. Then, the believer tries to see in the spirit, but because he does not have an open eye, he fails to see. Because we have learned to use our minds to work out things and because we have received a lot of preaching and teaching about these matters, we compensate the lack of spiritual vision by using what we know to interpret things. So, we say: “Oh, the strategy of the enemy is so and so.” This interpretation comes from the mind and not from a direct spiritual vision. Yet, if we receive our spiritual possession, our spiritual eyes will be open and we will have a higher measure of grace. Hence, we will be able to look and see clearly and the enemy will not be able to mask his strategies at that higher level. One can, therefore, expose all his strategies. Try to imagine two armies battling against each other,  where one army is able to know the whole battling strategy of the other side. What would the result be? There will surely be victory on one side and definite defeat on the other. Let us be truthful with ourselves. If we were to evaluate the spiritual situation at the moment, would we be able to say that the Church of God is in full victory – practically speaking, and not theologically – and that the army of the Devil is being defeated on a practical level? Is this the current situation? The truth is that we are fighting together, the Church alongside the evil powers; sometimes we are losers and at other times we are winners. Our Joshua, who from of old, is saying: “Why are you not taking your possession? 2000 years have passed and you are lazy and still not able to enter to possess all that I have granted you.” What then is the decision that we need to make now? Sometimes we fail to discern the necessary and required decision; this is the story of the Body of Christ everywhere in every meeting. We attend meetings. We hear teachings and enjoy them,  and then we pray a short prayer thanking God for the message and promising to do such and such a thing. But we do not make a decision, not because we do not want to make a decision, but because we are unable to discern the required decision. The Body of Christ needs to learn to see and understand what is happening so that we may get nearer to His mind and His heart. Every time we hear teachings, we are touched, we pray, and we take some steps that are blessed and that help us grow in the spirit. But we do not make the decision. The decision we need to make is simply that we need to take and receive the possession that was granted to us. This is the focus and the heart of the talk and message of today. “Possession” is the key word. Hence, we must move and find out how to enter into our spiritual possession. Our eyes will then be opened and we will be able to see the strategies of the Enemy to walk against them, and also learn how to obey God and know His mind. To conclude, I would like to highlight a very important point regarding the End Times. In the End Times, the Devil is actually preparing many diverse plans in order to take the Body of Christ by surprise so that he can  deceive and damage as much of the Body as he can. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Mathew 24:24 These are Jesus’ words to His disciples and they are also His words to us as His disciples. Jesus highlights here that the Devil is planning to win the battle even against “the elect”; he dreams of taking “the elect” into his net, into his trap. Who does “the elect” refer to? [Of course, I am not referring here to any theological significance of the word “elect” which is controversial among different denominations, but am only referring to the general spiritual meaning.] “The elect” simply refers to those who are supposed to be deeply rooted in Christ. It seems as though the Devil is ignoring most of the ordinary Christians here and there and is focusing mostly on “the elect”. If this was not the case, Jesus would have never highlighted it in such a way. The reason behind this is that the Enemy knows quite well that those who are wavering in their spiritual walk are more or less in his net. Even if they are not practically in his net, they have no effect nor impact on the dynamics of the End Times. There will be a real and actual battle at the End Times; a great battle that will have an impact on everything during the End Times. In this scene, many people will merely be on the sidelines while others will be actively involved in the battle inside the battlefield. Those watching what is going on from the sidelines will be of no value to the Enemy. What will they be doing on the side? They will be praying and singing. They will be participating in many battles, saying: “Devil, we break your power in the name of Jesus.”  In the council of the Enemy, when the arch devil comes to gather with his troops, he will tell them: “I want to tell you something very confidential. Do not confront these people; do not hinder what they are doing; they are actually helping us and serving our purpose; leave them to do such battles and try to make them see some manifestations that would make them think that they are victorious. So, for example, if you are harming or hurting certain people, stop doing this for some time so that they would think that they have won the battle and have pushed us away; this will be very helpful to us because this will keep them on the shore busy with this job. Let us focus all our energy on the elect who are standing in front of us confronting us all the time; we have a serious job with the elect.” I do not know how much you are in touch with what happens in the Body of Christ, especially pastors and leaders, all over the world. Every now and then we hear a story about one of the great men of God who has succumbed to  sin or moral issues. How does this happen? This happens because the Devil is now intensely and deeply involved with the elect. He knows that if he succeeds in breaking the power of the elect, he will easily confuse all the other believers. Everyone will be terrified and say: “My leader has fallen, how can I stand?” Let us now go back to our main title and theme regarding the challenges and callings of the end times: There are real challenges in the End Times, among which are the confrontations that aim to deceive and trap “the elect.” Because of this the Holy Spirit will not stand with arms folded, simply watching and smiling, telling us: “Try to walk in the spirit; pray a lot and fast and I am waiting to help you when you need.” The Holy Spirit will not do this, of course! The plan of the enemy is to entrap the elect through hidden plans that will take them by surprise. How can the Devil achieve this? He will actually confront them with weapons that they have never heard of before, never came in touch with, and were never trained how to push away or win a battle of such nature and such weapons. The Church of God has already gone through a lot of training in how to resist the different weapons of the Enemy. The Church has learned how to walk in faith, how to use the Word of God as a weapon, and how to use all the other spiritual weapons mentioned in Ephesians 6. Yet, there are still some other hidden weapons in the stores of the Enemy. Do you think that the leaders of whom we have heard who have fallen to bad sins were not trained in spiritual battling? They were indeed trained in spiritual battling. How then were they taken in the trap? They were actually confronted with something that they were not familiar with and hence were taken in. Therefore, the Holy Spirit, on the other side, is also preparing new weapons that have not been released before to take the Enemy by surprise. What are these weapons of the Holy Spirit? They are new callings, anointings, and gifts especially related to and prepared for the era of the End Times. This is part of our possession in the redemptive work of Christ. The cry of the Spirit now is: “Church of God, go, enter, take your possession so that you can be victorious; there are many things waiting for you, very high, very blessed, very powerful, and so wonderful, take them!” The question now is: Are we ready? Do we understand? Have we decided to remain on the side or enter into the battlefield? This is the point; this is the decision we must make. The Lord is waiting for us to say the word and make our decision. It is important, if you so wish, to spend some time in prayer before going for the break in order to allow what we have heard to sink in and settle deep in our spirits and not fade away. AMEN

Part 2

In the second part of this talk, I would like to speak about the Early Church teachings as one of the most important callings of the End Times. By this, I do not mean that the Early Church or the Early Fathers’ teachings are the only important calling of the End Times, but that they are among the most important callings. I mentioned earlier that there are new and special callings that will be released for the End Time battle.  According to what I have received from the Lord, my conviction is that going back to the Early Church teachings is very important and essential for the battle of the End Times.  I can put this in one short phrase as follows: “All the problems of the End Time Church have their answers and solutions in the Early Time Church.”  à Jer 6:16 (N.B.) The resources were buried and guarded [as what happened with the body of Jesus seeMatthew 27:62-67.] It takes a battle of faith to recover them. I would like to share with you five main points that highlight why going back to the Early Church teachings is very important in the End Times as a calling that will help in that battle. 1.The Foundational Apostolic Church/Calling Due to the various confrontations and difficulties that the Church faced over the centuries, which we have seen throughout the history of the Church, the Church slumbered then woke up and then slumbered again and woke up and so on. The Holy Spirit has special ways to help the Church wake up. To wake up the Church, the Holy Spirit usually pours a certain special outpouring that would shake the whole Body of Christ. However, because of our weakness, this outpouring of the Spirit that aims at waking up the Church has unfortunately caused the formation of new denominations leading to new divisions. For example, the Holy Spirit may pour a special hunger for the Word of God and for going deeper in the prophecies of the Scriptures. This should bring more light, more teaching, and various special spiritual foods from the Word of God. It usually starts very genuine, yet, over time, it becomes a certain denomination that focuses on such aspects. Other denominations then begin to go against this denomination in a negative way. Because of this conflict in the Body of Christ, the Church slumbers again. Then, the Holy Spirit comes with another special outpouring to wake up the Church with, for example, the gifts of the Spirit. As a result of this special outpouring, a wide living wave flows in the whole Body of Christ causing new zeal, new life and all these sorts of things. Yet, shortly thereafter a new denomination is formed causing a lot of conflict, confrontation and negative things. This goes on and on in such a way. The Holy Spirit will continue to pour out new life and new gifts to wake up the Church and will never stop. However, there is a very delicate point here to which we need to pay attention: Throughout the walk of the Church, as the Church slumbered, the Church usually drifted away from the path somehow. The Church then woke up with a new wave and a new zeal, yet no one looked back to see to what degree the Church had drifted, but rather continued with the new wave and new zeal.  The story explained above was repeated several times; sleep took place again and then another wave to wake up the Church came and so on and so forth. Here is the important question: Is the path in which the Church is moving aligned with the foundation of the Apostles, or has something pushed and drifted the Church here and there? The re-alignment with the apostolic thinking is so essential. How can this happen? This can happen by going back to the Early Church teaching as a checkpoint for our current convictions and the point we have reached. To clarify, let me give you a physical life example. These days we less frequently use natural foods, natural vegetables, and natural fruits and so on. We have a lot of processed foods; a lot of changes have taken place in the nutritional aspect. Of course, this affects the physiology of the body. For example, it can affect blood pressure where nowadays we notice that human blood pressure can rise to different levels than normal. In medicine, we learned that the normal range of blood pressure should be around 120 over 80. These days, because of what we eat and do, one may go to the doctor to check his blood pressure and find it 200 over 120 for example. The doctor will thus tell that person that he has a problem in his blood pressure. This person will ask: “Why?” The doctor will explain that there is a checkpoint against which they check the blood pressure. They have checked that person’s blood pressure in relation to what it should be and have found a difference between that person’s actual blood pressure and what it should be. That person’s blood pressure therefore needs to be re-aligned and re-adjusted to the normal level; otherwise, more problems may affect his health. The doctor thus puts him on a special regime and gives him some medications to correct the situation. Similarly, if we check what is happening today in the Body of Christ against the early teachings of the Church, we shall find some differences. Of course, we can never deny the new outpouring of the Spirit and the richness of that because this was actually the plan of the Spirit by which to wake up the Church. Yet, at the same time, we need to be quite aware that because of the weaknesses of denominational divisions, something has been added that needs to be checked against the foundational apostolic thinking in order to stick to the original outpouring and push away what was added. This can never be done without the checkpoint measure which is the “Early Apostolic Church.” It is true that the wonderful outpouring of the Spirit adds new things to the Body of Christ, yet this must be aligned with the foundational apostolic thinking and teaching. You may say: “Yes, of course, this is already happening; we check everything against the Word of God. Why then have divisions taken place?” Divisions actually took place because every sector of the Church began to see the Word of God in his own way. It is the same Word of God, yet every sector explains and understands it in a different way. However, the Early Church teaches us how they understood the Word of God in the era that immediately followed the Apostolic Era. It is very important to know, and always remember, that the Church of God all over the world in the East and West, continued in this one faith for four full centuries. Not one hundred years, but four hundred years. This one faith prevailed in the East and West despite all the differences in cultures, different ways of worship and different liturgies. They had one faith and one understanding of all the principles of the Bible because they were deeply connected to the apostolic way of thinking. But then, divisions began and everyone started thinking that each had the full truth. This is actually the big lie caused by the Darkness that entered as a result of our sin of division. Division is a sin that has consequences. It results in bringing about more darkness, so, every sector of the Church began to see Christ from just one angle. Therefore, we so need to go back to the Early Church to see how they understood all the main topics of faith. As an example, it is documented that the Early Church continued for a long time to pray the Psalms –in the way you may have seen in this community. They prayed the Book of Psalms in a special way with prostrations. They must have had a certain conviction in this respect; they actually knew that this feeds the spirit. However, throughout the centuries, different ways of prayer were introduced in the Church, all of which are blessed and are ways of expressing one’s faith and love to the Lord. Yet, while one is taking in and embracing the different ways of worship that were introduced into the Church over the centuries, one must also be realigned to the original picture because its purpose is to fill and feed the spirit. According to the repeated story of the Enemy, the Enemy may come and whisper in our ears saying: “You can’t put these different ways of prayer together; why do you want to go back to these old ways? Don’t be retarded spiritually; invent new ways.” One has to be realigned with the worship of the Early Church and at the same time there is nothing that can hinder the Believer from embracing different ways of expressing his faith in prayer. If we perceive and understand this principle properly, we will know that we cannot do without this picture of prayer of the Early Church because it feeds our spirits. But, at the same time, we also need other means to receive prophetic input and to feel comforted and directed in ministry and so on. There is no time to explain the differences now, but the highlights mentioned above need to be considered. 2. Bringing the Mind and the Heart Together The Early Church focused so much on the inner perception and reception of spiritual things. You may be familiar with the theological movement that appeared in Europe in the Middle Ages known as the “Enlightenment Movement” which maintained that anything that is not understood by the mind should be ignored and neglected. How sad!  How sorrowful! It is a very sad and sorrowful thing because it simply means that we have put God and His special revelations in a small box; one’s mind is a small box. God has created us in a special way giving us a heart that can embrace unlimited things and a mind that is so limited to help us and protect us from going astray. I will give you a very important example in this context: We all know that nowadays Bible studies and Bible courses usually follow certain steps where one reads the chapter or the passage of the Bible to be studied and then tries to discover a promise, a warning, or anything else that one notices in that chapter. After that, one understands what he noticed. By this, the truth has reached one’s mind and one has then to apply it in his life; it has to move from the mind to the inner life (i.e. to the heart) so that one can grow. Isn’t this what you are all familiar with? This method, however, is completely contradictory to the biblical teaching. I will give you two references as an example to clarify this. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4 The Apostle states here that life comes first, followed by light. Our current teaching –on the other hand –suggests that light comes first, then followed by life. We believe that we should understand first so that the light comes and then we apply what we understand in order to change our conduct. After we are changed, life will flow. This means that we follow the principle of light then life; whereas, Apostle John says that life comes first then light. Do you know why it is necessary to be so, as Apostle John states? It is because every truth in the Word of God is actually a deep revelation; it is the mind of God and hence I cannot put it in my mind; it is much wider. But, if I receive the biblical truth and revelation in my heart, the Holy Spirit takes it from my heart to enlighten my mind according to the caliber of my mind. In such a way, I receive the part of light that suits me. We are all very different in our thinking, cultures, and backgrounds, and all these things affect our minds. When one receives the measure of light that suits him, he can follow it and obey it easily. I want to remind you that quite often we receive things and take them seriously and try to apply them, but we fail and say: “We are not able to do that.” This happens because we do not follow the biblical principal: we need to receive the truth by faith in our hearts as life first and then wait for the Holy Spirit to reveal it in due time as light. The measure of light will then be very suitable for the person and will push him and take him through. Another reference in this context: “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.”  Psalms 119: 34 I mentioned above that the current teaching focuses on noticing something in the Scriptures, accepting it, and then understanding it. We follow the steps of “noticing (observing)” then “understanding”. Yet, the above verse says: “enable me to understand that I may be able to observe” and hence highlighting that “understanding” comes before “observing.” This may appear very challenging to our mind at first, and we may wonder how this can happen. Actually the “noticing” which we are called to see is not merely about having thoughts. When the Lord enables our mind to understand, we will be able to collect the treasure resulting from understanding i.e. the hidden jewel and revelation. One can then say: “Lord, I got it.” This will in turn help one to obey as well. The Gospel of Luke states that after the resurrection Jesus opened the minds of the disciples. Our minds actually have a lot of darkness and we need the Spirit to open our minds so that we can notice these things. 3. The Early Church lived a lifestyle that flowed throughout all the days of their lives as one stream without interruption, where they always had zeal for Christ’s Return, together with bridal love, humility, and purity. The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians tells us that, at that time, people began to abandon their jobs believing that the Lord was about to come. In this Epistle, Paul was correcting them. They had a zeal that was eating them up and they were getting ready at any cost for the sake of being prepared for His Second Coming. These were not words or songs, but an actual leaving of everything behind in order to focus on being truly ready and prepared as a Bride. In the Early Church writings, this is described as “Bridal Love.” Today, we rarely hear this term because it is almost lost from the experience of the Body of Christ. Bridal love is a very special love. The love between a bride and bridegroom is not at all like the love between a father and his son or between friends. There are different kinds of love. Bridal love is so special that when the bride has this kind of love, it is a sign of being ready for the coming of the bridegroom. The Early Church knew that the Bridegroom is holy and thus they kept themselves really holy, pure and could not touch anything that would defile them. Do you remember the story of Daniel during the time of the Exile? Daniel was not alone in the Exile; there were many people with him. Why was the king’s servant terrified when Daniel asked him to allow him not to eat the food of the king as though Daniel was asking something strange? It is because all the other Israelites who were in the Exile ate from this food; they gave excuses to themselves saying: “There is nothing that we can do; it is out of our hands; we are ready to eat anything because we are in exile.” The leaders in charge, in the Emperor’s palace, saw everyone eating and then all of a sudden, Daniel came up with a different strange idea saying: “I can’t eat this; this will defile me; I am for my Lord; I can’t touch any defiled thing even in exile.” The Early Church lived as such. They were always ready for the cost. Because of this kind of lifestyle, history tells us about thousands and thousands of martyrs. Nowadays, we compromise and have our excuses. We say: “There is nothing we can do.” However, there still are some Daniels who will say “We will never be defiled.” What is the secret behind this? The Early Church knew how to feed their spirits. When the spirit grows, it leads the whole being of the person in this path (described above). These days, our spirits are weak and are not growing, so, we are lead instead by our intellect, our convictions and the situations around us. Hence, we can not walk consistently all the days in such a manner of life. 4. Blocking the Plans of the Devil The Early Church calling is important because it blocks the plans of the Devil, especially those plans related to Christ’s Second Coming as the King to reign. The Bible tells us that Jesus will come as a Bridegroom and as a King. Christ’s return as a “Bridegroom” is related to our inner life and this means that we need to be ready and prepared as a Bride for the holy Bridegroom. Christ’s coming as a “King” means that we have to prepare the scene and the whole atmosphere for His reign. There are some important verses in the Bible that speak about the way He will come again. Unfortunately, this is again one of the principals that is missing from the current teachings of the Church. The Bible refers to the Lord’s Coming, saying: “Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You.” Zechariah 14:5 The above reference highlights that He will come with His saints. This is a reference from the Old Testament. Let us look at another reference from the New Testament: “…when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed…” 2 Thessalonians 1:10 The same thing is repeated in this reference; He will come with His saints. Here lies a very important principal –which I will not explain in detail here because there is no time and to avoid distraction –but, I can simply put it in the following words so that we may be aware of it: Jesus cannot come again without the saints being ready and having prepared everything for His Coming. In what ways and in what aspects should the saints be ready? The saints need to be especially ready in the aspect of lordship i.e. regaining Adam’s lordship (kingship) over the Earth. God gave kingship of the Earth to Adam. However, Adam lost it at the Fall and the Devil took it and became the Prince of the World.  Jesus regained and restored this to us through His redemptive work. Again, this is one of the possessions that was granted to us in Christ, yet, we need to put it into practice. We need to nullify the kingship of the Devil (as the Prince of the World) and regain our kingship of the earth. When this is achieved, He can then really come. Yet, if we fail to do that, we will be blocking the way for Him to come as King. Unfortunately, because our minds are not renewed enough, we think that Christ will come as a King with power and will push the Devil away and hence we will be able to raise up our heads and be victorious. Actually, this will never happen; it cannot happen that way! Jesus said: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble in heart.” Jesus is humble; He will never change His character. It is true that He will come in a majestic way, yet, He will still be humble; He will never use His Arm of Power as we might think. Jesus completed everything; we need to regain our kingship so that He can come as “The King.” Because of this, the Devil works hard to confuse this issue and make us (the saints) unable to achieve this kingship, so that he may block Christ’s coming as the “King.” The Early Church’s conviction and approach is very important in this context. This is because when the spirit grows, the mind is enlightened and the spirit becomes in control; hence, the person can be king over the territory in which he is called to live. 5. The Unity of the Church in Faith The Lord will not come to a divided Church or Bride. We all know quite well that we (the Body of Christ) are not one in our convictions and beliefs; different denominations have different convictions.  Due to the difficulty and sensitivity of this issue, Christians usually try to overcome this barrier by saying: “Let us unite in love while each one keeps his faith and convictions to himself.” In fact, this is merely a temporary solution for a deeply rooted problem. However, we still have to deal with the problem whatever it is. Here is the important question: How can we have one faith and one conviction while having completely different convictions over many topics? There is no other way we can reach this point except by going back to the Early Church to know how they lived with one conviction and one faith in the East and West for four centuries. Jesus can never come except when the Bride is truly ready by being One in faith. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:11 – 13 It is so clear here that we need to have one faith; we need to come to the unity of faith. This is clearly linked to reaching “the full measure of Christ.” This clearly implies that each one (each sector of the Church) sees Christ from one angle only. As a result, we are divided into sectors. If one is able to embrace other aspects or facets of Christ, one’s understanding of the Person of Christ will increase and one’s picture of Christ will broaden. By doing so, one will be adding to his own conviction the convictions of other sectors of the Body of Christ.  One will then realize that when he earlier refused the convictions of others, it was because he was not able to see some parts of Christ’s personality and rather saw only one facet. In the above verses, Paul states that when Christ was raised, He released five offices in the Church. However, these offices were released for a purpose which we hardly notice. Because of our selfishness, we unfortunately think that these offices are merely callings which we aspire for; each one wants to have one of the highest callings and boast saying: I am an apostle, or, I am a prophet and so on. However, we cannot separate the offices from their purpose. The offices aim at reaching “the fullness of Christ and the unity of faith.” Paul explains the ways and the steps to achieve this. He maintains that when the offices are truly released in their full measure, they will help the saints to grow in understanding the Person of Christ more and more and hence they become united in faith. Does this happen nowadays? Are denominations disappearing? Are we becoming one again? Do we have unity of faith? Actually, this is not happening, yet all the time we hear that there is an apostle here and a prophet there and so. If there were apostles and prophets here and there, there must be one church. I am not trying to say that there are no offices in the Church; we still see some manifestations of the apostolic calling, the prophetic calling and so on in the Church. These offices bless the Church and help the saints to grow; yet, they do not grow to the full measure of Christ or come to the unity of faith because the offices are not yet released in their full measure. When the offices are released fully, the apostles and prophets will have a revelation of God that will enable the Body of Christ to become united.  This revelation will open the eyes to see things which one did not accept before. The revelation will come with authority, light and life and thus everyone will accept it. As a result, we grow more and more, become able to see more of the Person of Christ and hence become united. Going back to the Early Church teaching will help a lot in releasing the full measure of the offices of the Church. They will be released with a revelation that will enable us to become united. The Body of Christ will thus be prepared as one Bride and this in turn will open the way for the King and Bridegroom to come. Amen

For the corresponding video of the above teaching please look here:

Part 1

“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” 1 Peter 4:7 “And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”  Revelation 22:10, 11 If we deeply and seriously study and search the topic of the End Times in the Word of God, we will be surprised to come across things that we have not heard of before. Actually, only the surface of this topic has been touched, despite the many talks, comments and books that speak about the End Times. It must be understood then, that there would indeed be some sort of hindrance or masking of the real depth of this topic because it is one that digs deeply and ultimately into Kingdom matters, whether it be the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Darkness. It is, therefore, quite expected that the Enemy would do his best to mask the real revelatory matters related to the End Times. As a result, we are merely left with many songs and phrases like: “Maran Atha,” “O come, Lord Jesus,” “we love You Jesus and we are ready for Your Coming,” and that is all. Of course, this is important, but these are certainly not the real dynamics involved in this great topic that has an impact on all spiritual matters. I would like to mention some main points to sum up the dynamics involved in matters of the End Times. There are real challenges related to the End Times and, at the same time, there are real specific callings especially related to the End Times. It may not surprise us to know that many of the resources of the Redemptive work have not been released yet. The story of Old Israel is repeated with the New Israel. Let us look at some verses from the book of Joshua to clarify this point: “Now Joshua was old, advanced in years and the Lord said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.” Joshua 13:1 Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you?” Joshua 18:3 Joshua had led a whole series of battles to allow Israel to enter the land; he was the chief captain of all the battles. This was not an easy matter because every battle had a special strategy and a special plan which differed from one battle to the other. Yet, being a man of God, Joshua was able to lead the people into real and true victory. How? What are the main characteristics of the man of God? You may give me a long list of characteristics, but you may still miss the most important one. One of the most important characteristics of the man of God which was found in Joshua is that he learned how to know the mind of God. Joshua lived as a man of God in every step. He confronted real, powerful nations yet he was able to conquer them because he possessed another characteristic of the man of God related to the one above. Not only was he able to know the mind of God, but he also had an open eye that allowed him to see the unseen spiritual realm. Joshua was able to accomplish victories because he was actually working on two levels: namely, the seen and unseen levels. He was able to work on both the physicaland spiritual realms. Let us look at some references in this respect: “Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:12–14   Joshua was able to make the sun stand still for an entire day in order to accomplish this victory. What is the benefit of making the sun stand still for one whole day? The expected logical answer would be: to finish the work and accomplish the victory.  This actually happened, yet, do you think that this is the real and full purpose? I do not think so. What then is the full correct purpose behind this? Is it a usual thing for the sun to stand still for a day? Of course not, this is unusual.  Did God want to make a demonstration out of that, or even show off?  Certainly not! Therefore, there must be something valuable behind this incident. If I was in your place and I came across this passage while reading the Bible, I would surely pause before it and say that there must be a revelation here. So I would wait before the Lord for days, or even years, to discover this revelation. And as much as I waited before the Lord, I would begin to receive and understand the treasures and most valuable things stored in the biblical passages. This is one of the things that I learned from the Early Fathers’ teachings and lives. Through this approach, I was able to dig deep in the Word of God to find the treasures. What then is the important significance behind that special day? It was nearly sunset time and the day was ending. Both armies knew the day was coming to an end and that night was falling, yet, they were still battling. Then, all of a sudden, Joshua stood and told the sun to stand still and the sunset to stop. And so, the sun began to shine again causing both armies to wonder what was happening! On one hand, the army of Israel would have probably thought that this obviously meant that God was on their side. Yet, this is not the actual significance of this incident. On the other hand, the other army was probably deeply perplexed and completely broken in power. Do you know why? Is it because of some change in the physical weather? Of course not! The change in the physical weather was not an issue to them and did not matter at all. The reason behind their perplexity and loss of power was actually because they worshipped the sun. As a result of this occurence, they saw that their enemy, Israel, was able to speak to their god and make their god stand still. This incident meant that Israel had authority over their god. In turn, this meant that the God of their enemies was more powerful than their own god and hence, they would definitely lose the battle; all was over. Not only this, but there is more to discover in this part of the Scripture: “And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.” Joshua 10:11 The Bible states that the hailstones actually caused more deaths than the weapons. It is thus clear here that the heavenly hosts were working with Israel. From where did these stones come? Who threw the hailstones? The angels of God did this according to the order of God. Thus, the heavenly hosts were involved in the battle at that point. The heavenly hosts turned to be a heavenly army that worked with the earthly army of Israel under the leadership of Joshua. So, Joshua became a leader who can order even the heavenly hosts to work with him because he was able to know the mind of God. Do you remember what happened before the beginning of the battles? Before the battles started, the angel of God came to Joshua. Joshua asked him who he was and whether he was on their side or not. The angel replied saying that he was an archangel of God. (We read this in the last paragraph of chapter 5). In other words, this meant that the archangel of God came to Joshua to say – in the language of the spirit: “We are going to work together, I am sent by God to help you; whenever there is a problem, call upon me. I will be with you; I will throw stones over your enemies.” The man of God can thus work on two levels: the unseen and the seen. If there is a real man of God who has the full anointing on him, the hand of the Lord will be with him and the hosts of the Lord will work with him. Let us now go back to the main point to connect things together. Joshua finished all the battles in a very inspired way. Israel was already inside their land. However, at a certain point, Joshua told the people of Israel: “Why are you too lazy to possess what was given to you? There is a lot of land that is already yours, but you are not controlling and possessing them, you are not taking them. Why are you stopping? There are no more battles; all battles are finished, yet you still have to take what was granted to you.” In the Hebrew language, as we all know, “Joshua” means “Jesus” and both names mean “God Saves.”Because all of the Word of God is inspired, all of the Word of God is prophetic. Thus, every chapter speaks prophetically to us if we are ready and prepared to receive the prophetic dimension within it. There is a parallel here. Like Joshua, Jesus is also telling us that He has finished all the battles for us and that we are already in the land. Yet we are still not possessing the land that was given to us. Joshua was already old and he was telling Israel: “I am old and I still have not seen the fruits of the battles that can please my heart, the battles that have taken all my years, because you have not yet taken and received what was given to you.” We mentioned that there is a parallel between Jesus and Joshua. Does this mean that Jesus is old like Joshua?! Could Jesus be old?! Of course Jesus can not be old, but the prophetic word here signifies that 2000 years have gone by since Christ’s act of salvation on the cross. This is a long time; it is a long time for us and we have yet to take full possession of the land. Here is the important point: Because Israel, in the old times, failed to take full possession of the land, their enemies were able to be like thorns and trouble them greatly as the Bible states. I think we are all familiar with the history of the Church of God all over the world. Some scholars maintain that the Parable of the Ten Virgins mentioned in Matthew 25 signifies that the time came when all the virgins were asleep. All scholars agree that the Church began with great power, but then the Church fell asleep. Now, the Church is beginning to wake up because the Bridegroom is coming. Yet due to the centuries of sleep, there is a lot of mess and confusion. There are various and diverse thoughts, schools, ideas, spiritual organizations and spiritual activities in the Church all over the world. Each one is asking and wondering which direction to go and what is the proper and perfect way. Joshua, our Savior, Jesus, is saying: “Many years have passed and you still have not entered the full possession of what I have given you. Because of this, your enemies are able to put you down, hurt you, and bring many bad things into the Church of God.” They bring shame to Christ’s name and they bring a stumbling question to the believers. The stumbling question that many believers ask is: “Is it really possible to live a holy, victorious, Christian life in this Age?” Believers complain saying that they hear about bad things and bad sins in the lives of Christian leaders and hence wonder how it could be possible for them, being younger and weaker in the spirit, to be victorious. As a result, we give ourselves an excuse and this breaks Christ’s heart. Try to come close to His heart. He has much agony in His heart! In my spiritual walk, I have learned that when one tries to get closer to the Lord by praying a lot, reading the Word of God a lot, and waiting patiently before God, this person receives more light and is spiritually encouraged and hence finds himself longing to come closer to the Lord more and more. This person is not after understanding more about the mind of God, but rather desires to come closer to His heart. This is actually the guidance of the Holy Spirit for those who are sincerely led into deeper fellowship with the Lord. In this instance, we may think that when one is led in such a way to come closer to the heart of the Lord, that person will be filled with love and peace. This indeed must still happen, yet because of what we referred to earlier, the Lord’s heart is broken. Thus, when one comes closer to His heart, the first thing that person encounters is His agony. The Lord still seeks those who desire and are interested to come closer to His heart and for those ready for the cost. There is no other way than to enter into the full possession of what has been granted to us through the redemptive work of Christ and His Cross. When we begin to partake in the spiritual possession of the redemptive work of Christ, everything will change. Our eyes will be opened to see the hidden strategies of the Enemy because the Enemy has no power to cover or hide these strategies from the open eyes. In other words, if we are not yet partaking in our spiritual possession, the measure at which we are standing in the spirit will not help us understand or see the hidden strategies of the Enemy. This happens because the Devil is able to look and see the measure of grace of the believers in the Church of God. Thus, he will know that the measure they have at that particular instance enables them to see only up to a certain level. As a result, he can mask his strategies at that level. Then, the believer tries to see in the spirit, but because he does not have an open eye, he fails to see. Because we have learned to use our minds to work out things and because we have received a lot of preaching and teaching about these matters, we compensate the lack of spiritual vision by using what we know to interpret things. So, we say: “Oh, the strategy of the enemy is so and so.” This interpretation comes from the mind and not from a direct spiritual vision. Yet, if we receive our spiritual possession, our spiritual eyes will be open and we will have a higher measure of grace. Hence, we will be able to look and see clearly and the enemy will not be able to mask his strategies at that higher level. One can, therefore, expose all his strategies. Try to imagine two armies battling against each other,  where one army is able to know the whole battling strategy of the other side. What would the result be? There will surely be victory on one side and definite defeat on the other. Let us be truthful with ourselves. If we were to evaluate the spiritual situation at the moment, would we be able to say that the Church of God is in full victory – practically speaking, and not theologically – and that the army of the Devil is being defeated on a practical level? Is this the current situation? The truth is that we are fighting together, the Church alongside the evil powers; sometimes we are losers and at other times we are winners. Our Joshua, who from of old, is saying: “Why are you not taking your possession? 2000 years have passed and you are lazy and still not able to enter to possess all that I have granted you.” What then is the decision that we need to make now? Sometimes we fail to discern the necessary and required decision; this is the story of the Body of Christ everywhere in every meeting. We attend meetings. We hear teachings and enjoy them,  and then we pray a short prayer thanking God for the message and promising to do such and such a thing. But we do not make a decision, not because we do not want to make a decision, but because we are unable to discern the required decision. The Body of Christ needs to learn to see and understand what is happening so that we may get nearer to His mind and His heart. Every time we hear teachings, we are touched, we pray, and we take some steps that are blessed and that help us grow in the spirit. But we do not make the decision. The decision we need to make is simply that we need to take and receive the possession that was granted to us. This is the focus and the heart of the talk and message of today. “Possession” is the key word. Hence, we must move and find out how to enter into our spiritual possession. Our eyes will then be opened and we will be able to see the strategies of the Enemy to walk against them, and also learn how to obey God and know His mind. To conclude, I would like to highlight a very important point regarding the End Times. In the End Times, the Devil is actually preparing many diverse plans in order to take the Body of Christ by surprise so that he can  deceive and damage as much of the Body as he can. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Mathew 24:24 These are Jesus’ words to His disciples and they are also His words to us as His disciples. Jesus highlights here that the Devil is planning to win the battle even against “the elect”; he dreams of taking “the elect” into his net, into his trap. Who does “the elect” refer to? [Of course, I am not referring here to any theological significance of the word “elect” which is controversial among different denominations, but am only referring to the general spiritual meaning.] “The elect” simply refers to those who are supposed to be deeply rooted in Christ. It seems as though the Devil is ignoring most of the ordinary Christians here and there and is focusing mostly on “the elect”. If this was not the case, Jesus would have never highlighted it in such a way. The reason behind this is that the Enemy knows quite well that those who are wavering in their spiritual walk are more or less in his net. Even if they are not practically in his net, they have no effect nor impact on the dynamics of the End Times. There will be a real and actual battle at the End Times; a great battle that will have an impact on everything during the End Times. In this scene, many people will merely be on the sidelines while others will be actively involved in the battle inside the battlefield. Those watching what is going on from the sidelines will be of no value to the Enemy. What will they be doing on the side? They will be praying and singing. They will be participating in many battles, saying: “Devil, we break your power in the name of Jesus.”  In the council of the Enemy, when the arch devil comes to gather with his troops, he will tell them: “I want to tell you something very confidential. Do not confront these people; do not hinder what they are doing; they are actually helping us and serving our purpose; leave them to do such battles and try to make them see some manifestations that would make them think that they are victorious. So, for example, if you are harming or hurting certain people, stop doing this for some time so that they would think that they have won the battle and have pushed us away; this will be very helpful to us because this will keep them on the shore busy with this job. Let us focus all our energy on the elect who are standing in front of us confronting us all the time; we have a serious job with the elect.” I do not know how much you are in touch with what happens in the Body of Christ, especially pastors and leaders, all over the world. Every now and then we hear a story about one of the great men of God who has succumbed to  sin or moral issues. How does this happen? This happens because the Devil is now intensely and deeply involved with the elect. He knows that if he succeeds in breaking the power of the elect, he will easily confuse all the other believers. Everyone will be terrified and say: “My leader has fallen, how can I stand?” Let us now go back to our main title and theme regarding the challenges and callings of the end times: There are real challenges in the End Times, among which are the confrontations that aim to deceive and trap “the elect.” Because of this the Holy Spirit will not stand with arms folded, simply watching and smiling, telling us: “Try to walk in the spirit; pray a lot and fast and I am waiting to help you when you need.” The Holy Spirit will not do this, of course! The plan of the enemy is to entrap the elect through hidden plans that will take them by surprise. How can the Devil achieve this? He will actually confront them with weapons that they have never heard of before, never came in touch with, and were never trained how to push away or win a battle of such nature and such weapons. The Church of God has already gone through a lot of training in how to resist the different weapons of the Enemy. The Church has learned how to walk in faith, how to use the Word of God as a weapon, and how to use all the other spiritual weapons mentioned in Ephesians 6. Yet, there are still some other hidden weapons in the stores of the Enemy. Do you think that the leaders of whom we have heard who have fallen to bad sins were not trained in spiritual battling? They were indeed trained in spiritual battling. How then were they taken in the trap? They were actually confronted with something that they were not familiar with and hence were taken in. Therefore, the Holy Spirit, on the other side, is also preparing new weapons that have not been released before to take the Enemy by surprise. What are these weapons of the Holy Spirit? They are new callings, anointings, and gifts especially related to and prepared for the era of the End Times. This is part of our possession in the redemptive work of Christ. The cry of the Spirit now is: “Church of God, go, enter, take your possession so that you can be victorious; there are many things waiting for you, very high, very blessed, very powerful, and so wonderful, take them!” The question now is: Are we ready? Do we understand? Have we decided to remain on the side or enter into the battlefield? This is the point; this is the decision we must make. The Lord is waiting for us to say the word and make our decision. It is important, if you so wish, to spend some time in prayer before going for the break in order to allow what we have heard to sink in and settle deep in our spirits and not fade away. AMEN

Part 2

In the second part of this talk, I would like to speak about the Early Church teachings as one of the most important callings of the End Times. By this, I do not mean that the Early Church or the Early Fathers’ teachings are the only important calling of the End Times, but that they are among the most important callings. I mentioned earlier that there are new and special callings that will be released for the End Time battle.  According to what I have received from the Lord, my conviction is that going back to the Early Church teachings is very important and essential for the battle of the End Times.  I can put this in one short phrase as follows: “All the problems of the End Time Church have their answers and solutions in the Early Time Church.”  à Jer 6:16 (N.B.) The resources were buried and guarded [as what happened with the body of Jesus seeMatthew 27:62-67.] It takes a battle of faith to recover them. I would like to share with you five main points that highlight why going back to the Early Church teachings is very important in the End Times as a calling that will help in that battle. 1.The Foundational Apostolic Church/Calling Due to the various confrontations and difficulties that the Church faced over the centuries, which we have seen throughout the history of the Church, the Church slumbered then woke up and then slumbered again and woke up and so on. The Holy Spirit has special ways to help the Church wake up. To wake up the Church, the Holy Spirit usually pours a certain special outpouring that would shake the whole Body of Christ. However, because of our weakness, this outpouring of the Spirit that aims at waking up the Church has unfortunately caused the formation of new denominations leading to new divisions. For example, the Holy Spirit may pour a special hunger for the Word of God and for going deeper in the prophecies of the Scriptures. This should bring more light, more teaching, and various special spiritual foods from the Word of God. It usually starts very genuine, yet, over time, it becomes a certain denomination that focuses on such aspects. Other denominations then begin to go against this denomination in a negative way. Because of this conflict in the Body of Christ, the Church slumbers again. Then, the Holy Spirit comes with another special outpouring to wake up the Church with, for example, the gifts of the Spirit. As a result of this special outpouring, a wide living wave flows in the whole Body of Christ causing new zeal, new life and all these sorts of things. Yet, shortly thereafter a new denomination is formed causing a lot of conflict, confrontation and negative things. This goes on and on in such a way. The Holy Spirit will continue to pour out new life and new gifts to wake up the Church and will never stop. However, there is a very delicate point here to which we need to pay attention: Throughout the walk of the Church, as the Church slumbered, the Church usually drifted away from the path somehow. The Church then woke up with a new wave and a new zeal, yet no one looked back to see to what degree the Church had drifted, but rather continued with the new wave and new zeal.  The story explained above was repeated several times; sleep took place again and then another wave to wake up the Church came and so on and so forth. Here is the important question: Is the path in which the Church is moving aligned with the foundation of the Apostles, or has something pushed and drifted the Church here and there? The re-alignment with the apostolic thinking is so essential. How can this happen? This can happen by going back to the Early Church teaching as a checkpoint for our current convictions and the point we have reached. To clarify, let me give you a physical life example. These days we less frequently use natural foods, natural vegetables, and natural fruits and so on. We have a lot of processed foods; a lot of changes have taken place in the nutritional aspect. Of course, this affects the physiology of the body. For example, it can affect blood pressure where nowadays we notice that human blood pressure can rise to different levels than normal. In medicine, we learned that the normal range of blood pressure should be around 120 over 80. These days, because of what we eat and do, one may go to the doctor to check his blood pressure and find it 200 over 120 for example. The doctor will thus tell that person that he has a problem in his blood pressure. This person will ask: “Why?” The doctor will explain that there is a checkpoint against which they check the blood pressure. They have checked that person’s blood pressure in relation to what it should be and have found a difference between that person’s actual blood pressure and what it should be. That person’s blood pressure therefore needs to be re-aligned and re-adjusted to the normal level; otherwise, more problems may affect his health. The doctor thus puts him on a special regime and gives him some medications to correct the situation. Similarly, if we check what is happening today in the Body of Christ against the early teachings of the Church, we shall find some differences. Of course, we can never deny the new outpouring of the Spirit and the richness of that because this was actually the plan of the Spirit by which to wake up the Church. Yet, at the same time, we need to be quite aware that because of the weaknesses of denominational divisions, something has been added that needs to be checked against the foundational apostolic thinking in order to stick to the original outpouring and push away what was added. This can never be done without the checkpoint measure which is the “Early Apostolic Church.” It is true that the wonderful outpouring of the Spirit adds new things to the Body of Christ, yet this must be aligned with the foundational apostolic thinking and teaching. You may say: “Yes, of course, this is already happening; we check everything against the Word of God. Why then have divisions taken place?” Divisions actually took place because every sector of the Church began to see the Word of God in his own way. It is the same Word of God, yet every sector explains and understands it in a different way. However, the Early Church teaches us how they understood the Word of God in the era that immediately followed the Apostolic Era. It is very important to know, and always remember, that the Church of God all over the world in the East and West, continued in this one faith for four full centuries. Not one hundred years, but four hundred years. This one faith prevailed in the East and West despite all the differences in cultures, different ways of worship and different liturgies. They had one faith and one understanding of all the principles of the Bible because they were deeply connected to the apostolic way of thinking. But then, divisions began and everyone started thinking that each had the full truth. This is actually the big lie caused by the Darkness that entered as a result of our sin of division. Division is a sin that has consequences. It results in bringing about more darkness, so, every sector of the Church began to see Christ from just one angle. Therefore, we so need to go back to the Early Church to see how they understood all the main topics of faith. As an example, it is documented that the Early Church continued for a long time to pray the Psalms –in the way you may have seen in this community. They prayed the Book of Psalms in a special way with prostrations. They must have had a certain conviction in this respect; they actually knew that this feeds the spirit. However, throughout the centuries, different ways of prayer were introduced in the Church, all of which are blessed and are ways of expressing one’s faith and love to the Lord. Yet, while one is taking in and embracing the different ways of worship that were introduced into the Church over the centuries, one must also be realigned to the original picture because its purpose is to fill and feed the spirit. According to the repeated story of the Enemy, the Enemy may come and whisper in our ears saying: “You can’t put these different ways of prayer together; why do you want to go back to these old ways? Don’t be retarded spiritually; invent new ways.” One has to be realigned with the worship of the Early Church and at the same time there is nothing that can hinder the Believer from embracing different ways of expressing his faith in prayer. If we perceive and understand this principle properly, we will know that we cannot do without this picture of prayer of the Early Church because it feeds our spirits. But, at the same time, we also need other means to receive prophetic input and to feel comforted and directed in ministry and so on. There is no time to explain the differences now, but the highlights mentioned above need to be considered. 2. Bringing the Mind and the Heart Together The Early Church focused so much on the inner perception and reception of spiritual things. You may be familiar with the theological movement that appeared in Europe in the Middle Ages known as the “Enlightenment Movement” which maintained that anything that is not understood by the mind should be ignored and neglected. How sad!  How sorrowful! It is a very sad and sorrowful thing because it simply means that we have put God and His special revelations in a small box; one’s mind is a small box. God has created us in a special way giving us a heart that can embrace unlimited things and a mind that is so limited to help us and protect us from going astray. I will give you a very important example in this context: We all know that nowadays Bible studies and Bible courses usually follow certain steps where one reads the chapter or the passage of the Bible to be studied and then tries to discover a promise, a warning, or anything else that one notices in that chapter. After that, one understands what he noticed. By this, the truth has reached one’s mind and one has then to apply it in his life; it has to move from the mind to the inner life (i.e. to the heart) so that one can grow. Isn’t this what you are all familiar with? This method, however, is completely contradictory to the biblical teaching. I will give you two references as an example to clarify this. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4 The Apostle states here that life comes first, followed by light. Our current teaching –on the other hand –suggests that light comes first, then followed by life. We believe that we should understand first so that the light comes and then we apply what we understand in order to change our conduct. After we are changed, life will flow. This means that we follow the principle of light then life; whereas, Apostle John says that life comes first then light. Do you know why it is necessary to be so, as Apostle John states? It is because every truth in the Word of God is actually a deep revelation; it is the mind of God and hence I cannot put it in my mind; it is much wider. But, if I receive the biblical truth and revelation in my heart, the Holy Spirit takes it from my heart to enlighten my mind according to the caliber of my mind. In such a way, I receive the part of light that suits me. We are all very different in our thinking, cultures, and backgrounds, and all these things affect our minds. When one receives the measure of light that suits him, he can follow it and obey it easily. I want to remind you that quite often we receive things and take them seriously and try to apply them, but we fail and say: “We are not able to do that.” This happens because we do not follow the biblical principal: we need to receive the truth by faith in our hearts as life first and then wait for the Holy Spirit to reveal it in due time as light. The measure of light will then be very suitable for the person and will push him and take him through. Another reference in this context: “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.”  Psalms 119: 34 I mentioned above that the current teaching focuses on noticing something in the Scriptures, accepting it, and then understanding it. We follow the steps of “noticing (observing)” then “understanding”. Yet, the above verse says: “enable me to understand that I may be able to observe” and hence highlighting that “understanding” comes before “observing.” This may appear very challenging to our mind at first, and we may wonder how this can happen. Actually the “noticing” which we are called to see is not merely about having thoughts. When the Lord enables our mind to understand, we will be able to collect the treasure resulting from understanding i.e. the hidden jewel and revelation. One can then say: “Lord, I got it.” This will in turn help one to obey as well. The Gospel of Luke states that after the resurrection Jesus opened the minds of the disciples. Our minds actually have a lot of darkness and we need the Spirit to open our minds so that we can notice these things. 3. The Early Church lived a lifestyle that flowed throughout all the days of their lives as one stream without interruption, where they always had zeal for Christ’s Return, together with bridal love, humility, and purity. The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians tells us that, at that time, people began to abandon their jobs believing that the Lord was about to come. In this Epistle, Paul was correcting them. They had a zeal that was eating them up and they were getting ready at any cost for the sake of being prepared for His Second Coming. These were not words or songs, but an actual leaving of everything behind in order to focus on being truly ready and prepared as a Bride. In the Early Church writings, this is described as “Bridal Love.” Today, we rarely hear this term because it is almost lost from the experience of the Body of Christ. Bridal love is a very special love. The love between a bride and bridegroom is not at all like the love between a father and his son or between friends. There are different kinds of love. Bridal love is so special that when the bride has this kind of love, it is a sign of being ready for the coming of the bridegroom. The Early Church knew that the Bridegroom is holy and thus they kept themselves really holy, pure and could not touch anything that would defile them. Do you remember the story of Daniel during the time of the Exile? Daniel was not alone in the Exile; there were many people with him. Why was the king’s servant terrified when Daniel asked him to allow him not to eat the food of the king as though Daniel was asking something strange? It is because all the other Israelites who were in the Exile ate from this food; they gave excuses to themselves saying: “There is nothing that we can do; it is out of our hands; we are ready to eat anything because we are in exile.” The leaders in charge, in the Emperor’s palace, saw everyone eating and then all of a sudden, Daniel came up with a different strange idea saying: “I can’t eat this; this will defile me; I am for my Lord; I can’t touch any defiled thing even in exile.” The Early Church lived as such. They were always ready for the cost. Because of this kind of lifestyle, history tells us about thousands and thousands of martyrs. Nowadays, we compromise and have our excuses. We say: “There is nothing we can do.” However, there still are some Daniels who will say “We will never be defiled.” What is the secret behind this? The Early Church knew how to feed their spirits. When the spirit grows, it leads the whole being of the person in this path (described above). These days, our spirits are weak and are not growing, so, we are lead instead by our intellect, our convictions and the situations around us. Hence, we can not walk consistently all the days in such a manner of life. 4. Blocking the Plans of the Devil The Early Church calling is important because it blocks the plans of the Devil, especially those plans related to Christ’s Second Coming as the King to reign. The Bible tells us that Jesus will come as a Bridegroom and as a King. Christ’s return as a “Bridegroom” is related to our inner life and this means that we need to be ready and prepared as a Bride for the holy Bridegroom. Christ’s coming as a “King” means that we have to prepare the scene and the whole atmosphere for His reign. There are some important verses in the Bible that speak about the way He will come again. Unfortunately, this is again one of the principals that is missing from the current teachings of the Church. The Bible refers to the Lord’s Coming, saying: “Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You.” Zechariah 14:5 The above reference highlights that He will come with His saints. This is a reference from the Old Testament. Let us look at another reference from the New Testament: “…when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed…” 2 Thessalonians 1:10 The same thing is repeated in this reference; He will come with His saints. Here lies a very important principal –which I will not explain in detail here because there is no time and to avoid distraction –but, I can simply put it in the following words so that we may be aware of it: Jesus cannot come again without the saints being ready and having prepared everything for His Coming. In what ways and in what aspects should the saints be ready? The saints need to be especially ready in the aspect of lordship i.e. regaining Adam’s lordship (kingship) over the Earth. God gave kingship of the Earth to Adam. However, Adam lost it at the Fall and the Devil took it and became the Prince of the World.  Jesus regained and restored this to us through His redemptive work. Again, this is one of the possessions that was granted to us in Christ, yet, we need to put it into practice. We need to nullify the kingship of the Devil (as the Prince of the World) and regain our kingship of the earth. When this is achieved, He can then really come. Yet, if we fail to do that, we will be blocking the way for Him to come as King. Unfortunately, because our minds are not renewed enough, we think that Christ will come as a King with power and will push the Devil away and hence we will be able to raise up our heads and be victorious. Actually, this will never happen; it cannot happen that way! Jesus said: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble in heart.” Jesus is humble; He will never change His character. It is true that He will come in a majestic way, yet, He will still be humble; He will never use His Arm of Power as we might think. Jesus completed everything; we need to regain our kingship so that He can come as “The King.” Because of this, the Devil works hard to confuse this issue and make us (the saints) unable to achieve this kingship, so that he may block Christ’s coming as the “King.” The Early Church’s conviction and approach is very important in this context. This is because when the spirit grows, the mind is enlightened and the spirit becomes in control; hence, the person can be king over the territory in which he is called to live. 5. The Unity of the Church in Faith The Lord will not come to a divided Church or Bride. We all know quite well that we (the Body of Christ) are not one in our convictions and beliefs; different denominations have different convictions.  Due to the difficulty and sensitivity of this issue, Christians usually try to overcome this barrier by saying: “Let us unite in love while each one keeps his faith and convictions to himself.” In fact, this is merely a temporary solution for a deeply rooted problem. However, we still have to deal with the problem whatever it is. Here is the important question: How can we have one faith and one conviction while having completely different convictions over many topics? There is no other way we can reach this point except by going back to the Early Church to know how they lived with one conviction and one faith in the East and West for four centuries. Jesus can never come except when the Bride is truly ready by being One in faith. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:11 – 13 It is so clear here that we need to have one faith; we need to come to the unity of faith. This is clearly linked to reaching “the full measure of Christ.” This clearly implies that each one (each sector of the Church) sees Christ from one angle only. As a result, we are divided into sectors. If one is able to embrace other aspects or facets of Christ, one’s understanding of the Person of Christ will increase and one’s picture of Christ will broaden. By doing so, one will be adding to his own conviction the convictions of other sectors of the Body of Christ.  One will then realize that when he earlier refused the convictions of others, it was because he was not able to see some parts of Christ’s personality and rather saw only one facet. In the above verses, Paul states that when Christ was raised, He released five offices in the Church. However, these offices were released for a purpose which we hardly notice. Because of our selfishness, we unfortunately think that these offices are merely callings which we aspire for; each one wants to have one of the highest callings and boast saying: I am an apostle, or, I am a prophet and so on. However, we cannot separate the offices from their purpose. The offices aim at reaching “the fullness of Christ and the unity of faith.” Paul explains the ways and the steps to achieve this. He maintains that when the offices are truly released in their full measure, they will help the saints to grow in understanding the Person of Christ more and more and hence they become united in faith. Does this happen nowadays? Are denominations disappearing? Are we becoming one again? Do we have unity of faith? Actually, this is not happening, yet all the time we hear that there is an apostle here and a prophet there and so. If there were apostles and prophets here and there, there must be one church. I am not trying to say that there are no offices in the Church; we still see some manifestations of the apostolic calling, the prophetic calling and so on in the Church. These offices bless the Church and help the saints to grow; yet, they do not grow to the full measure of Christ or come to the unity of faith because the offices are not yet released in their full measure. When the offices are released fully, the apostles and prophets will have a revelation of God that will enable the Body of Christ to become united.  This revelation will open the eyes to see things which one did not accept before. The revelation will come with authority, light and life and thus everyone will accept it. As a result, we grow more and more, become able to see more of the Person of Christ and hence become united. Going back to the Early Church teaching will help a lot in releasing the full measure of the offices of the Church. They will be released with a revelation that will enable us to become united. The Body of Christ will thus be prepared as one Bride and this in turn will open the way for the King and Bridegroom to come. Amen

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