Just over two years ago this ministry released a prophetic article called “The Terrain Has Changed“. It turned out to be the most widely responded-to article we’ve shared in several years of posting prophetic words and teachings on the Christian internet. For many months responses poured in from all over the world affirming the witness of many in the Body of Christ to the article and its timeliness. I still receive emails from people having recently read it for the first time. The following article follows on from The Terrain Has Changed and is our final Diggers List post. If you have not yet read the “terrain” article for yourself I strongly recommend you do so as it will assist in receiving and understanding what follows. May the Lord grant us ears to hear.
THE BURNING CITY
Between September 2002 and February 2004 I was given a series of seven visions in which the Lord Jesus Christ led me through a wilderness He called “the valley of the kings”. The first six of these were primarily relevant to my own spiritual growth and will probably never be released to the Body in general. The seventh and final vision, which unfolded from September 2003 through to February 2004 is what I am going to relate here. At that time I was not released to share this vision, nor did I have enough understanding of it to do so. However, I made reference to it in “The Terrain has Changed” which I posted through our Diggers Email List in February 2005, when I wrote the following paragraph:
“Recently I was given a vision of a great walled city that was burning. The burning city represented the false church. The gates of this burning city were locked tight, but from a small, hidden side entrance in the walls of this great city a remnant of ragged, wounded, thirsty people of all ages were staggering out into what looked to them like an arid wilderness. However, waiting in that wilderness were others with unlimited supplies of Living Water from which this remnant were given drink. They were then shown revelation of Christ as their Sabbath rest and given manna to eat. Those waiting to minister to them in this way were the forerunners. There was more to this vision that I am not able to share at this time, but the Lord wants His people to know that He has furnished a table for them even in the wilderness.”
Here now is the detailed vision received through September 2003 to February 2004 as I recorded it at that time. I will share my understanding and interpretation of it immediately following the vision.
VALLEY OF THE KINGS 7, September 2003: Again I was riding behind the Lord, He on a white horse, dressed in a crown and kingly robes of purple. The landscape was dry and flat, a barren desert. Scattered about on the ground were pieces of metal, dry bones, and rusting armory. It became evident we were riding across a battlefield. As we rode, we came upon a military tank to the left of us. It was completely unmarked and uncamouflaged, just a plain brown all over. I could not see the occupants, but knew it was manned and lethal because as we approached it turned its sites and gun towards us. The gun protruded out of the centre of the tank’s front, aiming straight at me, and I became aware whoever was inside it badly wanted to destroy me. The Lord, however, was not at all disturbed, simply looking back briefly with the casual comment, “It cannot harm you – you are with Me.” We stopped and He dismounted, straight in front of the tank. He assisted me to dismount, put His arm around my shoulder and pointed off to the distance. He was speaking, but I could not make out what He was saying. I said “Lord, what are we looking at?”
I heard the voice of the Spirit say “look and see”, and then saw for the first time, in the far distance, a great walled city with skyscrapers reaching far into the sky. I waited, watching, but no explanation came. Finally, I said, “Lord, what city is this?” hoping I might be given a glimpse of the heavenly city. I then saw flashes of light rising up from the city into the sky, but these weren’t the light of glory. They were more like violent explosions similar to images of a warfront on the TV news and I began to understand this was not that city I hoped it would be. He spoke: “This city represents the cities of earth. It might be any city. The cities of the earth are in turmoil.” That’s all He said, but in my spirit, I became even more intensely aware we were standing on a battlefield, watching a warzone. The entire world was a battlefield. I did not like this place and longed for a cool, green place with water. I felt as if the Lord would have more to say about this when He was ready.
In February, 2004 during a time of deep worship, the vision continued: The Lord and I were standing at the same distance from the walled city as in the previous vision in September, but this time we were leaning against an old-fashioned car. The car was brown in colour and very solid, much like one of those old cars from the nineteen-fifties that we used to see the Queen or Prime Minister touring in – very strong, very sturdy, very reliable. I could see that the city was well and truly on fire now. The Lord was saying nothing and I looked again at the car, wondering what we were doing, leaning on this car, just standing here watching (rather casually I thought) while this city was burning. It occurred to me that the only thing noteworthy about this car was its solidness and strength. It was unattractive in colour, not eye-catching to look at and had no obvious added options. In fact it seemed to blend well into the surrounding desert, plain and unadorned, but the sense was that it was very trustworthy and mechanically sound. I knew not to speak, but to myself I wondered how long we were going to just stand and look at this city burning. I couldn’t see inside the city, just the high walls and flames rising above them. I knew a lot of people inside the city were suffering, and started to feel concerned for them. Then the Lord spoke: “Watch”.
As I watched with Him from a distance, it seemed like a small gateway in the wall of the city opened just slightly. Out of the opening came a stream of people, heading towards us. Most of them stayed in a straight path moving closer to us, but some of them left the crowd and went off in other directions looking for something. I heard the Spirit say, “they will perish in the desert.” The majority stayed in a loosely formed group moving towards us, and as they came closer I could see they were in a very bad state. Again to myself I thought “Who are they?” and heard Him answer: “They are refugees – they are looking for refuge from the world. They are looking for Me.”
As the people came closer I noticed there were many women and children, as well as men. People continued to make their way out of the city in small groups of twos and threes joining the growing stream. The first ones had reached us by this stage and I saw they were disoriented, exhausted and barely able to stand. All of them were dressed in the same drab brown torn rags, women, children and men, and filth and dirt was streaked down their faces and over their bodies. They seemed to be malnourished and very thirsty. Some of the people, just as they drew close to us, threw their hands up in the air as if to dismiss us and wandered away out into to the desert. Even though they had come so close, they did not believe we could have anything to offer them, or they wanted something else. I knew I’d never see them again.
The Lord then suddenly spoke again: “Give them water”. Startled, my immediate thought was “From where?” Then looking around I saw an animal skin filled with water hanging from the car behind us. I then noticed a silver coloured metal ladle in my hand so began to scoop out water and pass it to those closest in front of me. They were desperately thirsty and I needed to keep drawing more water and passing it to them. As more people from the city were now reaching us and crowding in at the back, I told those in the front to give water to the ones further back that I could not reach. The water did not run out and I found when the ladle was passed to the back, another one was in my hand. Not only were the people drinking the water, they now started pouring it over their heads and then their bodies, and the dirt and grime was being washed away. With each scoop of the ladle there was enough water for them to drink and also pour over their whole bodies.
My attention was then drawn to the sky, which I noticed was growing darker as if night was approaching. Without thinking about it, I suddenly laid down on the ground in front of the people, as if to rest. When I did so, all of the people did as I had done, laying down on the ground to rest. I did not tell them to do this, they simply watched and followed what I had done, as if they had never seen it before. I heard the Lord say “in the morning you will give them manna”. End of Vision
My comments on this vision:
The Lord called the burning city “the world”. In this context, the world is not a collection of nations, oceans and geographical landmarks as we are taught in school. Jesus spoke of a spiritual world system hostile to the Kingdom of God that would one day come to an end (Matt. 13:22, 39-40; 16:26; Luke 4:5; John 8:23). This world system embodies three major spiritual sub-systems or ‘kingdoms”. These are politics, commerce and religion. In Revelation 18 we read that the kings of the earth (political) and the merchants of the earth (commercial) will weep and mourn at the fall of the great spiritual city, Babylon, with whom they traded in many commodities, including ‘the souls of men’ (religious) (Rev. 18:12).
It’s important to remember that the Bible speaks of the “world” and the “church” as two separate spiritual entities. However, a great section of institutional Christianity is now so entwined with the world system that it would be virtually unrecognisable to the first apostles and early church members as the church Christ established. In other words, much of what is today called the church is not the church Christ is building, having become so compromised and at ease in the world as to be indistinguishable from the world. Sadly, much of institutional religion has joined itself to the tri-part world system that enslaves men, (Babylon). Please note I am not here speaking of specific individual churches or assemblies of believers. I am speaking of a religious belief system where man himself has wrested control from the Spirit of God and where individuals and denominations vie for power and influence over the souls of human beings. The true church of Christ is and has always been a spiritual structure, not dependent on the world for its existence, sustenance or continuation. For those who may be wondering where their own individual church or fellowship fits into this vision I can only advise you to seek the mind of the Spirit for your own direction. To whatever extent any individual assembly, house church or religious denomination seeks to enslave and dominate people, however subtly, that group is still caught up in a false religious mentality. The Bride-church is currently on a journey into freedom from false religion and none of us have yet arrived at the end destination. Let us all therefore proceed with humility and courage.
Christ continues to build His church as He said He would but through His Spirit and not through institutional religion. The burning city represents the world system inclusive of the false apostate church who calls herself the Bride of Christ but who is not. “The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore.” (Rev. 18:23) .
The ragged, abused and weary people escaping from the burning city represent both believers and unbelievers. The believers among them are those who can no longer endure the compromised religious system and are desperately seeking freedom outside its walls. These people did not realise their tragic and needy state. Some were so damaged, disoriented or bitter they wandered blindly in other directions away from where healing awaited them.
The Water, the Rest and the Manna
The Lord Himself is going to rise up as the Great Shepherd of the Sheep (Heb. 13:20), reclaiming His Bride-church, so that she will testify of Him “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” The Holy Spirit has quickened Psalm 23 as an insight into the next part of this vision, and I believe what He has given here is a blueprint (one of many) for ministering to those emerging from the burning city in the days ahead.
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
I was first instructed to give the people water and though I thought I had no water I found I had all I needed miraculously supplied. As those in the front rows began to drink and wash they became strong enough to pass the water back to others still coming, and it did not run out. This water is the living water of the Holy Spirit which the Lord will pour out for His people . “For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.” (Rev. 7:17) These are still waters, not in the sense that they do not move or flow, but in the sense that they bring peace. They are a perpetual fountain of fresh, living water that is available to us (beside us) continually. . The term “still” in the original Hebrew comes from a root word meaning “peaceful rest”. Those who partake of these waters of peace need never fear thirsting again, for He Himself will satisfy them with His own Spirit. (John 4:14; 7:38).
I believe the first step in ministering to those emerging from institutional religion is the deep drinking and soaking of the Spirit of God that will bring peace, healing and deep delight in Jesus. This water is applied as the people learn to yield to the Spirit in unhindered worship in Spirit and truth. Many will discover for the first time the joy of ministering to the Lord in the beauty of holiness as His own royal priesthood.
In the vision I did what seems like a strange thing. I laid down as if to rest. This was demonstrated rather than spoken and the people observed and imitated me. The Lord is leading His people into a place of abundant rest and refuge, but this is a place spiritually discerned and found only in Him, the Shepherd. His rest will not be found through any building, denomination or physical place of worship on this earth. He alone will be the dwelling place for His Bride-church and He will not allow her to be enslaved any longer by a system that requires her to earn her rest. Institutional Christianity has become a place of multiple rulers where believers are rewarded with recognition and higher position according to how hard they work for the system. They are conformed to the system rather than conformed to Christ. Conversely, the Kingdom of God is a theocracy where One rules and those who have entered His Kingdom have ceased from labour and are being conformed to the image of Christ by the power of the Spirit (Heb. 4:10). People coming out from the institutional system do not know how to rest from dead works because they have never been shown. Their leaders have not been able to demonstrate a lifestyle of spiritual rest in Christ because they too are captive to the same mentality. Therefore those coming out of the system need time and grace to enter that rest by faith and revelation of Christ as our Sabbath Rest.
After demonstrating spiritual rest, I heard the Voice of the Lord instructing: “In the morning you will give them manna”. In the scriptures manna represents the pure doctrine of the Word. The Lord intends to nourish His people by being the Living Bread for His emerging Bride-church so that she will live by Him and through Him alone. “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from Heaven, not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live for ever. ” (John 6:57-58).
When the sheep have been refreshed by living waters and led into their place of refuge, then will they be ready to eat freely of the green pastures the Lord our Shepherd has provided. As they receive nourishment from the richness of His pastures, their souls will be restored with healing, refreshment and spiritual rest. (Please note spiritual rest is not inactivity – it is a ceasing from fleshly striving.)
The Lord will lead His Bride-church into paths of righteousness for His own Name’s sake. He is jealous over His Name and therefore will have for Himself a people worthy of that Name.
I believe in this vision the Lord, in His mighty wisdom, has given a three step blueprint, a pattern if you like, for ministering to those escaping the “burning city”, and it is this:
*Allow them first to be soaked in the Spirit of God and let their thirst for the reality of Christ be satisfied. Let them discover they are not slaves, but sons, not laity but priests. Anointed, Spirit led worship is a major key in this first step;
*Show them what spiritual rest is. Let them learn to cease from their striving by the demonstration of those who have gone ahead and found Jesus as their Sabbath-rest. This foundational truth cannot be taught by someone who has not begun already to walk in it.
*Then, begin to feed them Living Bread. Let them be nourished, strengthened and released into freedom through the Word of truth permeated with the Spirit of truth.
(Please note the blueprint given above was the one given to me, but that is not to say there are not other diverse blueprints being given to others in readiness for the days ahead.)
The Harvest and the Net
While preparing and praying about this prophetic posting I was allowed to see something I had not seen previously when the vision was first given. The Spirit asked me: “Where will these ones go when they have soaked, rested and fed?”
I looked again and saw many of them, now strengthened and free, were returning to the burning city intent on helping rescue those still emerging. I did not see any re-enter former places of worship. Rather they stood in the streets and the byways, and around the outskirts of the burning city. There they watched, prayed and made themselves available to those who themselves had decided to flee the flames of the burning city. I looked again and saw that those who had gone deepest into the city were passing emerging “survivors” on to those further out, who would do what was needful and then again pass these survivors on to others who had training in specific areas. I saw assembly points such as the one I had seen earlier in the vision where those with blueprints ministered to the people with the pattern of the blueprint they had been given. A great connected living net of believers began to emerge where each one carried out his or her task with effectiveness, devoid of fuss, each joined to others as the Spirit Himself connected them. There was no central organisational body or headquarters on the earth, yet each knew what to do and did it in co-operation with the Spirit and the others to whom they were joined. And in this way were they all connected to one another, with the Spirit overseeing the entire operation. This all took place in much darkness, but those in the great network could see and find one another without any difficulty at all, though they themselves could not be easily seen by the world.
A WORD TO THE FORERUNNERS
Finally, the Lord has given a new word to the forerunners which follows below.
There is coming a unity, there is coming a joining and a knitting. Search your hearts. Do you not know deep within the travail of the Spirit for that which He will bring forth? I have watched while man strives to build that which is Mine only to build, and I have seen the workmanship of man. It will not stand, for I will blow with a mighty Wind and all that is not Mine will be blown away like chaff. Do not be deceived, for the house I preside over is a house of the living and not the dead. You will know what is Mine for what is Mine will carry the sweetness and power of My Life and not the stench of death.
The church that I am building is joined and knit together by the Spirit, where the only wall is a united wall moving forward against the enemy of your souls. It is a walled city set high on a hill, not divided against itself but fortified against the enemy. It is a city of refuge for many, a living, breathing entity powered by the very breath of Heaven, the Ruach ha Kodesh, founded and undergirded by the Word Himself. Be prepared now to move toward one another as the Spirit knits hearts and minds. It shall not be by the might nor the power of men, but the Spirit of the Lord. In this unity, in this company shall you contend with horsemen in the days that lie ahead of Us.
Let those of you who have been called as forerunners listen and sharpen your senses once again for the movement of the Spirit in your midst. To those who have grown comfortable I say arise and do not be lulled again into sleep for the Spirit is always moving, always stirring, always revealing. Beware comfort, beware the murmuring of your own flesh and the desire to be accepted by the world. Do you not understand yet that the world and all that is in it is condemned to destruction?
Many of you were called as forerunners many years ago and even that which was new has become now a place of ease and comfort for you. I am sending out a new sound to you. I want you to hear the trumpet call but many ears have grown dull with the waiting. Hear now what the Spirit says to you. Arise and look to the state of your dwelling place. Wash your faces and gird your loins again. For there is a new place for you, a place of knitting, a place of joining, a place of “us” and not “I”. It will not look like that which you have observed and rejected, it will not feel like it either. But you have been given the Spirit for this very purpose so that which is Mine will be known and recognised by that anointing that rises up in you, and in those of the same Spirit. Have you not been learning to trust My Spirit in this way? You must do so if you are to stand in the days ahead. Have you not been learning from My Spirit how to wield My Word as His Sword? You must learn the ways of the Spirit and My Word together if you are to be a warrior for My Kingdom.
I am raising you up now as a company of overcomers. Where you have run so often alone, tracing out paths for others to follow, I will now merge you together as a company upon the face of the earth. You will be knit to others by My Spirit and so I will have a true representative Body upon the earth. The freedom you have gained in the Spirit will not be restricted or hindered, but rather will be completed as the Spirit joins and knits and weaves as a Master Craftsman. Your part will be to follow closely and learn His ways in this new terrain.
I told you I would not leave you orphans on the earth. I told you nothing in Heaven or earth would ever separate us, not persecution, nor trials, not death, nor all the forces of hell. I told you I would build My church. I told you the gates of hell will not prevail against you, My church. The living stones must now be brought together for my dwelling place in the Spirit. This is the word you will hear in the days ahead, this is the clear trumpet sound going forth from Heaven. Let the living stones now begin to find their places, each fire merging with others, each bringing their own light and illumination to the whole, a city set on a hill and a place of refuge for the hungry and thirsty. Let my company of overcoming forerunners arise and lead the way, no longer isolated and separated, but a company riding.
END OF WORD
Lord, let your Kingdom come, let your will be done, and let it be on earth as it is in Heaven.
The Lion has roared. Who shall not fear? The Lord God has spoken, who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:8)
Great South Land Ministries Australia
Copyright 2007 Cheryl McGrath, Great South Land Ministries, Australia. This article may be copied or reproduced freely providing copyright notice and contact details remain intact. It may not be displayed on an Internet website without prior permission of the author.