We are in times of great pressure and significant change. Personally, since I did the Omegaman radio program, the Spirit has been speaking of profound change coming for me and the way I function in Kingdom purposes. Not only for myself, but for the whole of the remnant, the chapter ahead will be completely unlike the chapter that has gone before. Oh, we say we know this, but mental assent and actual experience are poles apart. We have been traversing the transition bridge of the month of Elul and at the time of writing, there are ten days until the year 5782 begins. I have titled this bog ‘severing and separation. Firstly, let’s discuss the severing we are experiencing (and then in pt 2, I will share about the separation in more detail).
This transition bridge is like a birth canal, propelling us towards the breaking of a new chapter and once the birthing is complete, the umbilical cord is severed and clamped off. Huge change is the order of the day of birthing. No longer is oxygen and food delivered via the mother’s bloodstream, through the placenta – no longer is passive receiving the order of the day. From the moment of birth onwards, the child must use its own mouth and effort to draw forth nourishment from the breast of its mother. Instead of floating in the umbilical fluid, the child begins to experience gravity for the first time and every movement is more difficult, but muscle and strength is being developed on every limb! Instead of the muffled hearing and dim seeing available in the womb, there is clarity of sound and sight. The birth canal has shifted the child from a narrow and increasingly cramped place of preparation and equipping to a wide-open space with profound possibilities. In the new chapter, everything the womb time has built into the child can be exercised and put into practice.
All these changes sound positive and exciting but the sudden entrance into a completely different way of being can be very stressful. A baby is quite helpless when it first emerges into the world outside the womb. It needs a lot of help!! And it needs to be clothed…
A friend and I were discussing Joshua, the High Priest, as he stood before the Lord in the book of Zechariah chapter 3. Garments are always associated with function spiritually. There is a moment between the removal of his high-priestly garments and the endowing with rich garments, where Joshua finds himself naked to a large extent. And here we have a severing and separation from an old season – in fact, a cutting off of an old way of being and an old identity! In the chapters which follow, we discover Joshua is going to function in a priestly and kingly anointing BUT he doesn’t receive two new clean sets of clothes, each tailormade for the function they represent. No, he gets one set of new garments – garments of state, which are fit for the new measure of authority he is going to carry. But, in that moment when his priestly garments are removed, consider the thoughts that may have crossed his mind. If he wasn’t going to function correctly clothed as the High Priest, what was he going to do? Nothing was explained to him beforehand. He was just disrobed. This must have been disconcerting! In fact, he had fulfilled this function for so long, if he wasn’t robed as the High Priest, who was he? How did he fit into God’s detailed blueprint? What was he supposed to do? Such is the sense of identity and functioning crisis when the garments of an old chapter are completely removed. And so there has to be a severing of soul ties with an old mantle before one can effectively walk in the robes for a new and very different season. This is part of what is being left behind in this month of Elul. The disorientation and turning away from what has passed has to be deeply and completely dealt with, because with the challenges that the new chapter holds, we need to be fully focused and have no strings binding us to the old familiar way of being and doing.
Perhaps this is why God organized for a worm to be completely dismantled and liquified in the cocoon. Same building blocks but emerging into a completely new way of being! No wonder Zechariah calls for Joshua to also receive a clean turban or mitre for his head. This symbolizes a fresh mindset. Our thoughts tend to run in familiar train tracks and when we are used to functioning in a certain way, we can almost do it blindfolded or on autopilot. But the old way of thinking is not going to work for garments of state. Most of the High Priest’s functions were done away from the eyes of the common man in the street. He represented the nation before God in the Holy of Holies. A king however, must appear before others, make judgements, decree and rule in righteousness.
Consider also the manchild, once growing comfortably hidden from the naked eye in the midst of the Bridal Company. In the woman and of the woman, yet separate – a part of those who set themselves apart as holy unto the Lord and yet being prepared in secret to fulfil a different function. It is said that during the journey down the birth canal, the baby experiences the same sensation as someone who is crucified; the pressure on the ribcage, the spiraling downward without sight. This transition bridge is certainly a time of dying to the old, safe and familiar surroundings and having no choice in the matter. It is not the baby that moves itself along the birth canal. Increasingly violent contractions ensure that the child will emerge into the new way of being. Is it the same child? Yes, but every part of its experience once the birth is complete is new and strange. The only familiar thing is the sound – albeit, exceedingly clearer and louder than before - of its mother’s and father’s voices. Such is the change we are facing.
The same sense of loss of an old familiar garment and function is experienced by a woman whose husband passes away. Is she the same woman after his death? Yes, but now she is no longer a wife. So, then what is her function? When she wakes up in the morning and there is no-one to make breakfast for, what is she supposed to do? The feeling of disorientation and loss of bearings is common amongst those who lose a loved one. And this is why it is so important to base our sense of identity in who we are in the Kingdom and not what we do for the Kingdom. First and foremost, we are the Beloved of the Lord. He may call us to leave old areas of function or lay down certain ministries, but we can move on secure in His love and our identity as His beloved. Our worth is never measured by how much we do visibly for the Kingdom. We are called to walk in intimacy with Him and out of this love walk, fruitfulness flows without our striving to bring it about. If we find ourselves struggling with laying aside an old garment, perhaps we have allowed our sense of identity to be woven into the garment rather than in who we are in Him. It is time to sever soul ties with old garments, old functions. It is time to forget what lies behind, no matter how good, how fulfilling, perhaps how beneficial to the Kingdom and to press forward to lay hold of that which lies ahead. A tree does not cling to its autumn leaves, no matter how familiar. The nakedness of winter must be allowed to come , because it precedes the fresh garments of Spring and a new season of fruitfulness.
So, remnant of the Lord, change is the order of the day. Whatever the Father’s individual plans for each of you, one thing is certain, the chapter ahead is going to be very different and will take some getting used to. It is not going to be comfortable. We are going to be learning new ways of doing old familiar things. We are not going to be leaning on our own understanding but leaning heavily upon the direction and guidance of His still small voice. Old daily activities will fall away as our time will be taken up with new instructions and blueprints. For many, our whole external environment will be different as we are led to new geographical locations, often very hastily. The preparation for these moves both emotionally and practically may have taken months and years, but there are going to be some suddenlies with translocation. And our social and friendship circles are going to be dramatically sifted. This has happened to some extent already as the rollout of the pharmakeia has brought divides in family and friendship circles but expect to see an even greater sifting as the Father removes some and adds others. New is hard, change is stressful. Loss of the dear and the familiar is a grieving process that, for many of us, is being walked through emotionally now even before the total severing happens. Thank Him for the blessing old friends have been and bless Him for new saints He is adding into your life. Ask for grace to let go and for comfort in the loss of those who are going in different directions or even going home. He is the God of all Comfort!
Surrender your fellowship circle to Him. He knows all hearts and those He removes must be released with blessing – even if they leave cursing you! We are all being moved into our endtime platoons and assignments and you are being located according to His Heavenly blueprint for you. Remember the Israelites came out of Egypt marshalled in ranks! You may not end up standing next to your dear friend of the last 20 years. As hard as this is, you need to allow the Lord to move you, both emotionally, mentally and spiritually to the new place He has appointed for you to stand. It will be detrimental to cling to the old and spend all your energy fanning the flame of an association that the Father is shifting. It does not mean you do not love your friend, but your focus cannot be on the friendship instead of what the Father has for you to do. Moving forward requires both spiritual maturity and surrender. However, soulish ties must be broken both for the good of the person you are releasing and for your own emotional welfare. Bless and release one another into the fullness of His purposes and pray for one another in the days ahead and make contact as the Spirit leads, but do not cling to one another. Let your total dependance be upon the Lord and find your greatest satisfaction in His friendship first and foremost.
As you journey forward, set a guard before your mouth and only share as the Spirit leads. Do not be sharing every detail of His instructions with all and sundry. If you do so, you will be giving the enemy useful information to derail and destroy you. Do not cast your pearls before swine. If you find someone seems open to input, first ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything He wants you to say to this person. Do not be flattered and led into entangling conversations on controversial topics at this time. Often you hold your ground spiritually by holding your peace. Do not feel the need to explain yourselves to those who unjustly accuse you. Get used to being misunderstood and thought ill of. If we use our energy to defend our good reputations then the enemy has an easy task preventing us getting to where we are going. Jesus made Himself of no reputation and took on the form of a servant. You do the same - be utterly obedient to the Father's leading and let other people think what they will. It is His approval that matters.
On that note, when I was meditating upon the change of garment of Joshua and the manchild coming forth and being caught up to throne rule, I pondered on the garment which would be endowed for that exalted position, and immediately all I could see was the weave of a piece of hessian. Another name for this is sackcloth. This rough garment is a far cry from what we would imagine garments of state look like, yet it is the garment of choice of the two witnesses (Rev 11:3), who operate in a ruling and decreeing anointing, even as they call people to repentance. Sackcloth is the garment of a bondslave, one who has died to his old life and his personal ambition and desires and lives only for his Master’s pleasure. Sackcloth is also connected to mourning, intense intercession and repentance (Joel 1:13, Matt 11:21). Even kings put on sackcloth when they were doing serious business with God. It does not mean they have lost their authority. On the contrary, sackcloth is a way of bowing one’s knee and heart before an infinitely greater King. In the days ahead, ministry is not going to look anything like it did in the church age. The days of the one-man shows are over. The times of names in lights and fanclubs and plush offices is over. Oh yes, Babylon may have them but those who have understanding of the times are moving forward outside the city gate in the footsteps of the first Bondslave of the Father.
Those who are wise are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit away from the known and the familiar into total dependance on the very same God Who led and fed His people daily in a completely supernatural way. Yes, the days of slavery in Egypt were predictable and therefore in some kind of miserable, perverse way, provided security, but as all that formed the structure of the nation of Egypt was shaken to its knees by God’s judgements, the only way for God’s people to go was forward, throwing their full weights upon the authenticity and dependability of His spoken Word. He has never been known to fail and the realm of the impossible is where He does His best work. And remnant, the God Who is the same yesterday, today and forever, will again lead and guide you on this journey of profound change. Don’t cling to things, cling to Him. Seek His Kingdom. He knows what you need. And He will unroll the scroll of your blueprint one step at a time in order to protect the contents from the enemy’s watchful gaze. Don't get frustrated that you can see so little of the map for the days ahead! Be at peace that as long as you are awake and watching, He will not be late in moving His strong right hand and making a way where there seems to be no way. And His angels are dispatched to minister to you and aid you on your way.