Malachi 3 is quite clear about the reasons for the Refiner’s fire arriving unannounced in the Church. There are priests operating in unrighteousness and the fire’s dealings result in them, once again, offering offerings in righteousness. Isaiah 66 is equally as graphic in its description of the Lord’s dealings with the hypocrites and those who do not fear Him amongst His people.
Isa 66:15 For behold, the Lord will come in fire, and His chariots will be like the stormy wind, to render His anger with fierceness, and His rebuke with flames of fire. Isa 66:16 For by fire and by His sword will the Lord execute judgment upon all flesh, and the slain of the Lord will be many.
The coming of this fire is not optional. Our God is a consuming fire and the Body which claims to represent Him in the earth must experience this cleansing before God deals with the rest of the nations. Judgment begins at the House of God because we have knowledge of the Truth and yet do not always live by it or allow ourselves to be transformed by it. We know this and are repeatedly warned in the Word of God to make sure our lives are in alignment with His standard of holiness and separation from the ways of the world. Yet we often put off making the changes that are necessary. This is a very dangerous way to live as it exhibits a lack of the fear of the Lord. Beloved, let us learn from the horrific price paid by those in the areas recently ravaged by natural fires. Be alert, ever on guard to keep yourself free from sin or guilt (psalm 18:23). God is not mocked. What a man sows, that will he reap.
One thing that struck me about the recent fires in South Africa, London and Portugal is that they came suddenly in the morning watch while most people slept - and by the time the warning had been given, there were literally minutes until the fire was at the door of those warned. One of the victims of the fire in the mountains near Knysna, South Africa, was a young woman named Madré (meaning ‘mother’) who was 8 months pregnant. She warned her neighbor in the early predawn hours on her mobile phone, saying she could see the glow of a fire on the horizon and would let him know more shortly. Half an hour later, the fire was at the neighbor's door and he escaped with only his wife, dogs and important documents. Later he returned to find Madré, her husband and son burnt to death outside their home. They had been overcome while trying to flee. It was the day of the little boy’s 3rd birthday.
What a horrific tragedy and yet it contains a prophetic parable. Beloved, the ministry of the watchman is never more needed than in this day and hour and some of the watchmen who warn of the imminent arrival of the Refiner’s fire may give their lives as an offering on the very soil where the harvest will later come in. The age of 3 is when children were weaned in ancient Jewish custom. Abraham gave a feast on the day Isaac was weaned, because he was moving from a diet of milk to meat. This little boy speaks of the manchild, whose life is laid down as an offering for the sake of the Kingdom, along with the woman who brought him forth. Beloved, your ‘birth day’, the day you come forth to function in your endtime mandate, is also your death day; the day you separate totally from all your own desires and plans to live from that moment for Christ alone. Paul said, “Death is at work in me that life may be at work in you”.
It is time to live soberly and alertly. You may only have been warned of a ‘glow’ on the horizon, but take it seriously. The day of the Lord is here. The day that burns like an oven has arrived. We know this (if we have ears to hear) from the statements that were made by the neighbor as he recounted what had happened:
“My house started burning. I saw Judgement Day. Coals of fire were raining down from the heavens. I was ready to die...He said the flames were not close to the ground. “They were carried by storm winds in the tops of the trees. We were waiting on rain from Cape Town but then it rained fire. The whole Garden Route is burnt down.” He said after the flames had passed over his farm he went to his neighbours, where he came across their corpses. "The scene looks apocalyptic" Tony and Madré were both engineers. They were found near their vehicles, probably overcome by the flames while trying to flee. Tony was lying on top of his wife and child. “My house and life’s work have been destroyed”.
The Church is waiting for the heavy latter rain but it seems the fire will precede it! This is important to note. If we prepare for heavy rain, we do it in the natural by battening down the hatches and staying indoors. Preparing for fire requires a totally different form of preparation. The only sensible thing to do is to gather that which is of great value and flee from your position BEFORE the fire arrives. However, with this fire, the inhabitants of the town could only gather on the beaches and wait for rescue there. Normal exit routes were cut off. Do you hear this in the Spirit, Beloved? WE have entered a day when ‘normal ways of dealing with things’ is over. Radical steps must be taken in order to escape the things coming on the earth. Don’t be found asleep and unprepared for the day we have entered. Put on the armor of God and pray in the Spirit as never before. Two nights ago, I was woken up just after midnight by an audible voice which said twice, “Wake up and fight!” Do you have your sword at hand?
The Word tells us that men are like trees of the field. This fire that spoke of Judgement Day was carried from tree to tree by the hurricane force wind. (Remember Isaiah 66:15 which tells us the Lord’s chariots are like stormy winds). Every tree was affected. Vehicles represent ministries. Some will try to escape the Refiner’s fire by turning to their ministries to preserve them and carry them through this fiery visitation, but this fire deals with both man and ministry. During the recent fire in Portugal, most of those who died were burnt while trying to escape in their cars. Your ministry may have taken you many places and served your purposes for years but the Refiner’s fire is going to sweep right through the midst of it and put a stop to the momentum of every one which is not living in holiness. In every place where unrighteousness is found, where men have built with wood, hay and stubble on the foundation of Christ, everything will be destroyed. Some saints will find their life’s work destroyed and they themselves escaped with nothing to show for it.
1Co 3:12 But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 1Co 3:13 The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. 1Co 3:14 If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward. 1Co 3:15 But if any person's work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire.
The fire chief in the area said that it was “an extraordinary fire. The blaze, initially only in the treetops, was so hot that buildings and trees 300m ahead of the inferno started burning”. Do you see what this is showing us? When you see the Refiner’s fire blazing in someone’s life, it is going to spontaneously ignite the working of the Spirit of Judgment and Burning in the life of those who are seen to be ‘further ahead’ in life and ministry. This fire will deal with both prophet and priest and only that which is built with gold, silver or precious gems will survive. The rest will be reduced to ash. Those who fear the Lord will be released with joy, but the wicked amongst the ranks of the Body of Christ will be removed by this cleansing fire.
Mal 4:3 And you shall tread down the lawless and wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, says the Lord of hosts.
The Refiner’s fire brings a separation and differentiation between those who fear God and those who do not. This was graphically depicted by the account of one Christian woman who runs a number of safe-houses in the same Knysna area: ‘She said smoldering coals surrounded her house and were even on the veranda and on the grass bank, but “the house didn’t burn”. “Everybody here says, ‘God has had his hand on your things’,” she added. None of their business’ safe houses were damaged in the blazes and the people in them were safe’. Yet another testimony told of a woman who had been prompted by the Lord a week before the fire to do a Jericho march for 7 days around her house. When the fire swept through that neighborhood, her home was untouched by the flames. Yet another picture that did the rounds of social media in the days following the fire showed a burn line just outside the front door of a home. The inhabitant told how her young daughter always insisted on praying for angelic protection round their property every single night. This was her habitual daily request – an acknowledgment of the need for Heavenly assistance. Do we live like this, Beloved, daily aware of our desperate need for God and His shelter? Or have we become self-sufficient, bustling about our daily responsibilities without giving the Lord more than a brief arrow prayer from behind our steering wheel?
When I read of Madre’s warning of a glow on the horizon, I was reminded of a dream I had some months ago. In it, my husband and I were on top of a high hill with some other people, who I was only dimly aware of because it was pitch dark. Suddenly, a line of fire appeared some distance away along the top of a low range of hills. We could only see there was a hill because of the flames. We all commented but were not unduly concerned. Then a short while after that the flames appeared again, also blazing above some hills, but these ones were higher and much closer. Everyone standing with us became a bit more unsettled but did not move. My husband and I, however, realized that the fire was moving rapidly to where we were located and the only option we had was to move quickly somewhere else. We turned round to look behind us and there was a river bed which was full of round smooth stones embedded in the ground like a path. Immediately, a phrase popped into my head ‘the good old paths’. This was the only way of escape – to return to the good old paths and follow the way of the ancient riverbed.
Jer 6:16 Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls
Shortly after this dream, I visited a wine Estate called Lourensford. To my amazement, there was a path laid with the same smooth river stones as in my dream, and I knew the Lord was continuing to speak and give more understanding concerning my dream. ‘Lourens’ means ‘victory’ and a ‘ford’ is a narrow crossing place. This stone path led away from a huge bridge construction project that was going on, toward the winery and in front of it was a huge sculpture of a vine root. The Spirit stressed the direction of the path away from the construction projects of men towards the One Who is the Rootstock of Jesse, spoken of in Isaiah 11; the One Who is the True Vine.
Isa 11:1 AND THERE shall come forth a Shoot out of the stock of Jesse and a Branch out of his roots shall grow and bear fruit. Isa 11:2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him--the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord-
What was significant was that the bridge being constructed was not over a river or any form of natural water course. It was actually a counterfeit bridge set up just to beautify the gardens and was lined by jagged rough stones in wire baskets, which gave me a sense of the souls of men held captive within the ambitious building projects of unscrupulous men in the church system. It was definitely not the narrow crossing place to victory and was only being built to give an appearance of a water supply in the area. The narrow crossing place to victory (the good old path) led away from this pretentious construction to the place where the storage vats and source of the best wine was to be found.
Beloved, if we are emerge unscathed from the fast approaching fire as dense darkness covers the earth, we must move rapidly away from the grandiose flesh-filled projects of spiritually ambitious men and place our feet upon the good old paths which lead us to the place where we will find rest for our souls. The glow is on the horizon and there is little time left to relocate yourself spiritually speaking. Let the watchmen stand up and send out the warning and may those who hear have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
(part 3 to follow)