Report From The Tower
"You Could Miss This"...this is the warning that the Lord has been giving to me over the last few weeks as it has become increasingly clear that we are in the midst of revival here. Revival is always something that can be truncated by disobedience. Sometimes, disobedience can result from something that seems so trivial as a lack of proper focus. We are an easily distracted people and the enemy of our souls knows it! I have been waiting for the last two weeks for liberty in the Lord to write about everything the Lord has been speaking with regard to this train of thought. I had thought that I was in danger of delaying to write because of some fear of man over what I have in my heart to discuss, but events of the last few days have shown me that it was God Himself who has been delaying me, waiting until He had imparted to me the totality of the warning.
Clearly, there are so many things in life that can derail a disciple that a multitude of books could be written about them...indeed many HAVE been written. That is not my purpose here, but I mean to discuss a couple of things that can arise in and around the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ when that disciple has it all going in the right direction. What can happen when you are doing just about everything right that might cause you to miss out on a desperately needed time of revival?
One thing that I believe the Lord has shown me over the years is that we can get out of balance, which can cause us to get out of focus with the Lord. The Lord has taught us that "you have not because you ask not". In the same way, you cannot find the Lord unless you seek Him. It happens only rarely that you come into a good thing from the Lord when you are not looking for it and praying about it. Our Lord has many attributes...Salem Kirban identified seventeen of them. What would happen if we were only to seek the Lord regarding a few of those attributes? Some years ago, one of my friends wrote an article entitled "judgement mongerers", so this is not a new concept. I believe it might be possible that one might become so totally focused in on a line of prophecy that he or she is receiving from the Lord, ostensibly regarding judgement, that they or you might miss or not be able to see when any good might come. We all need refreshing, even in the midst of oncoming judgement.
I have seen the outworking of this in one man I walked with. He came to believe that nothing good from God could come to any man unless that man was walking with him and doing what he was telling him to do. This is a slippery slope that causes one to become a manipulator. I warned him many times about this to no avail. When you think about it, the deification of our ministers contributes to this. Many people tend to put ministers on a pedestal, imputing godlike powers to them. Accompanying this is their expectation that the minister will walk in perfection. I have seen this done with living ministers, especially prophets. Usually, it does not end well, especially if the minister listens too closely to this kind of adoration and praise. We also tend to ascribe qualities of perfection to our biblical characters as well, even though we know that Jesus Christ was the only man who ever walked this Earth without sin. We can all accept what I have written without much disagreement while we are dealing in the macro, but when we enter the realm of the individual, people will tend to be offended. Can you see any possible faults, for example, in the life of the prophet Isaiah?
Scripture ascribes no sin to Isaiah. There is no clear levy of fault upon him. I have sought through many histories and he certainly is a man highly regarded, yet we know that in some way not clearly laid out for us, Isaiah did not attain to earthly perfection. Can we look at his life and even dare to find an area where he might have missed it, even just a little bit? For most, this is borderline heresy. They will attack me for doing so, but when I see Isaiah in the prophetic banquet meeting in heaven, I intend to discuss this very subject with him. So, I will present my line of questioning here. I would not go so far to accuse Isaiah, but I have my questions, so here they are.
Archbishop Ussher came up with a time line for biblical history and C.I. Scofield reduced it to a chapter by chapter presentation. In utilizing this method, we find that Isaiah was active in prophesying from 760 BC to 740 BC. Then followed a twenty seven year silent period that ended in 713 BC. This is argued against by some who say that several of the chapters in the twenties were written during the period around 725 BC and let us even grant them that divergence. However, one thing is clear: Isaiah did not say one thing about imminent revival in Israel during that twenty seven year period. He did clearly write once, in the year 726 and it is documented in Isaiah 14:28-32. He spoke at this time when wicked King Ahaz had passed away and Hezekiah was ascending to the throne, yet Isaiah still said nothing about revival or turning back to the Lord. Isaiah only spoke about judgements pouring forth out from the North, which to him, related to his prophecy, oft repeated, that the Assyrians were going to pour forth from their land and overrun Israel and Judah. This year, 726, is the year that marked the commencement of revival in Israel under Hezekiah and this revival had a straight, dramatic and uninterrupted run until 713 BC, when we find the Assyrians have come forth to threaten Judah. We find that Isaiah emerges and is seen alongside Hezekiah during this time and we witness the dramatic miracle of God's defense of Jerusalem against the military threat that the Assyrians made against Judah. An angel of the Lord came forth to destroy the attackers.
We know from the study of Isaiah that he did not prophesy about the great revival that arose under King Hezekiah in 726 BC. He had no advance alert about it from God in so far as we can tell. We also know that he was apparently fixated on judgement, especially judgement that was to come forth out of the North and most specifically originating from Assyria. We also know that he ended his mostly silent period of twenty seven years when Assyria did come forth against Judah. I think I know what happened to Isaiah because I have had a few things like this happen to me and as one prophet to another, I will ask Isaiah, when I see him, just why he believes that God did not show him the revival that arose under Hezekiah in advance. I will have one other question for Isaiah.
I would like to know why our book of 2 Chronicles does not document any involvement of Isaiah whatsoever in the first thirteen years of the revival of Hezekiah? Isaiah, why did you not participate in this revival? There were many very difficult issues to solve during the early time of that revival. There were many tough theological answers to be obtained. Isaiah was regarded as the prophet to the royal family and this was now the third king to ascend to the throne during his time of ministry. Why were you not mentioned there, along side of Hezekiah, in seeking God for answers about what to do about a passover celebrated one month too late, or how to deal with some passover celebrants who had not ritually cleansed themselves and who still wanted to eat the passover. I make no accusations, but I will ask Isaiah these questions. I think I know what happened to him, as I have seen it happen to me here in America. I can tell you with certainty that I would have told you that you were completely crazy if you had told me twenty years ago that America would still be spending dollar bills in the year 2017. Yet, here we are, still going to the stores and the malls...and shopping online. God has his timetable for bringing prophecies of judgement to pass. They will fall when either the set time for them arrives or when He has exhausted all other remedies. Fundamentally, we know this, and yet day by day, we have been preparing for the collapse of everything we have known. Days have turned to weeks and months have turned to years, and still we wait. It would be quite easy to miss the arrival of something good.
There is another way you and I might miss it and it has more to do with Satan and his schemes than it has to do with any weakness or fault that we might have. I will touch a bit more on this in my next article, but Satan has been scheming about you as a disciple from the day that it began to be apparent that you might enter into the walk with Jesus. Satan will do everything in his power to try to convince you that you do not have to become a disciple and endure such hardness; such deprivation; such death to self and such sacrifice. Failing in that, do you believe that he will stand by and watch helplessly when you successfully navigate through your initial tests that you endured during the days of your illumination? Paul wrote in Phillipians that he had suffered the loss of all things. Many of you have suffered loss in like manner, but the schemes of Satan do not end after you have suffered a little while, when you have become settled and established in the faith. Satan has developed schemes to trigger later in your life: at a point when you are very near to entering into the time of your greatest fruitfulness. I believe that one of Satan's greatest and most effective schemes are those that bring discouragement and despair to the disciple at just the time when the disciple has been called by God to go up to the mountain of the Lord in high praise. Revival is just such a time. We must put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, but it can be a hard thing to do when you are going through a pre-planned, coordinated assault from the devil. These assaults can take many forms and involve many things. Your car may blow up. Your marriage may blow up. Your business may suddenly dry up. You may get fired from your job suddenly with no warning. All your friends may turn on you and abandon you. Whatever reputation you may have had may suddenly evaporate because someone you were tied or linked to abandoned God. As I said, it may take many forms, but there is one type of assault that is most treacherous. Satan will attach an imposter; a false brother or sister, in close proximity to the disciple.
I will say it again: every true, power disciple of Jesus already has a false brother or sister, a complete imposter, who has been assigned by Satan to get as close to you as that one can possibly get. For all you know, you regard this person as a complete servant of God: a true disciple of Jesus Christ, yet it is all a ruse. Did you ever wonder about it, that when Paul was listing all of the incredible things that he suffered in his second letter to the Corinthians, he mentioned that he had fallen into the hands of false brethren, which he listed right after he listed all the perils he had fallen into in the sea, the wilderness and among the heathen. It is an incredible peril to fall into the hands of false brethren. This is the way it has always been: Christ suffered at the hands of Judas and David suffered at the hands of his closest and wisest counselor Ahithophel. I have seen this happen to me a few times over the years. I had thought that such a person: this one or that, would be walking with me all the way to the return of Christ and then suddenly, that one had fallen away and become a complete apostate. Sometimes, they simply turn against you and throw you overboard, but many times, they suddenly become apostate from the entire faith of Jesus Christ. They become someone who is a complete stranger to you and in beholding it, you are in danger of being shaken. The strategy of Satan is to detonate such an imposter in your life at just the opportune time to stunt you in your upward reach in Christ Jesus...to cause you to pull down your hands and drop your head at just the time when you should be reaching higher in Christ and looking up for your salvation to appear, for the set time to favor Zion has arrived and you are God's house...God's Zion.
Phil Driscoll sang about it more than twenty years ago: about being God's soldier. He said, "though it hurts you, leave the dead". You cannot allow anyone or any thing to deprive you of this revival right now. You must break on through: press on through the heartache, the trials, the hurts, the wounds and touch the garment of your master. You need healing right now and He is here. Don't miss it for anything. Yes, the times of judgement will come in due time, but for now, you need to be filled, once again, with the Holy Spirit of God. Thanks be to God that He designed us in such fashion, in the gospel, that we can be filled, and be filled and be filled again. Fill us, once again, Lord Jesus, with your Holy Spirit. Revive us again, oh Lord, that we may serve you with a pure heart. Bring repentance and a powerful wave of holiness and separation upon us, that we may walk as aliens in this present age and bring forth your great exploits, to the glory of your name. Amen.
Stephen L. Bening
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