The Terrain Has Changed

A Word From the Lord Received 31st January, 2005

This prophetic message was received from the Lord on 31st January, 2005. However, due to the weightiness of this message, there has been a necessary time of carrying it and waiting on the Lord before releasing it widely. In Ezekiel chapter 3 we read that Ezekiel was given a prophetic decree to Israel in the form of a written scroll, and instructed to “feed your belly and fill your stomach” with the message. The apostle John, on the isle of Patmos, similarly was instructed to eat “the little book” which in his mouth was sweet as honey, but in his belly became bitter (Rev. 10:10). The Lord’s Word should always taste sweet and desirable to His people, because it is Spirit and Life, but there are times when we must allow for the full “digesting” of His prophetic Word within before we can share it appropriately and accurately. At the time of writing, this message has therefore been twenty one days in the digesting. . May we be granted ears to hear.

BACKGROUND

The prophet Jeremiah had been in a situation where the men of his home town, Anathoth, had threatened to kill him because of the Spirit’s anointing resting on him, by which he prophesied (Jer. 11:21). Anathoth was city of the Levites, one of several cities granted to the descendants of Aaron by Joshua (see Numbers 35:2-3, Joshua 21). The Levites were the priestly tribe responsible for sacrifices and strict administering of the law, and among the Levites, Aaron’s descendants were considered the most holy, representing an elite priestly class. It is believed that some of Jeremiah’s own relatives were among those who threatened his life if he did not cease prophesying. For the purposes of this article Anathoth and its inhabitants are symbolic of a religious system based on legalism and works. In Jeremiah chapter 12:1-4 we therefore find Jeremiah, indignant at this recent experience, questioning the Lord over why He allows wickedness and injustice to continue unpunished.

However, before addressing those issues, the Lord imposes His own questions to His servant Jeremiah. “If you have run with the footmen and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan? For even your brothers, the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; yes, they have called a multitude after you. Do not believe them, even though they speak smooth words to you.” (Jeremiah 12:5-6) The same two questions that the Lord posed to Jeremiah form the basis of this prophetic message to His church in this current day and hour.


 

A WORD TO THE FORERUNNERS

“If you have run with the footmen and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?” Jeremiah 12:5

The first section of this message is addressed to the Lord’s “footmen”, or forerunners. In Old Testament times the footmen were selected soldiers who ran ahead of the main army in order to scout out the land and prepare for its arrival.

The church worldwide is currently experiencing a severe season of transition and change that will ultimately reveal the true Bride of Christ and expose an antichrist religious system built on the false foundations of man’s pride and intellect. The word “antichrist” does not mean “anti-Jesus”; it means “anti-anointing”. It is a mindset that despises and persecutes anything or anyone born of the Spirit of the Living God, who is the Anointing. The Name Jesus Christ means Jesus the Messiah, (or Yeshua Ha Meshiach), the ANOINTED ONE (Psalm 2:2; John 1:41; 4:25,26; Luke 4:18, Hebrews 1:9; 2 Corinthians 1:21). Let us not be deceived – the antichrist mindset acknowledges Jesus, but denies His Anointing, thereby exalting flesh over the Spirit. In the present season, the Lord is busy establishing His own church as He said He would, even while a false religious system blindly continues to expand and represent itself as “the church of Jesus Christ.” Let us understand this time of transitioning is NOT simply about whether to hold meetings in church buildings or in houses. To argue in such terms is to diminish the immensity of the Spirit’s present work in the church as the Bride is being called out and prepared for the final stages of this current age. It is about the Spirit and the flesh, who are at war (Gal. 5:17). Only those who live and are ruled by the Spirit of God will discern the nature and timing of the Spirit’s work in the church (1 Cor. 2:14-16)

Many of the Lord’s servants, in the wisdom and timing of the Lord, were called as forerunners in this transitioning process and have been “running ahead of the army” for some time now, even years. These are those who the Lord called out of denominationalism in order to form an arrowhead for the Spirit’s thrust of major reformation of the “ecclesia”, or those who are called to be Christ’s (Romans 1:6.) In a spiritual sense, these forerunners have been scouting the newly emerging landscape, adjusting their vision and their footsteps to the unfamiliar terrain and gathering necessary understanding of previously unexplored expressions of “being the church”, as opposed to “going to church.” For a great many of these forerunners the experience of being part of that “arrowhead” has been a costly one in terms of extreme loneliness, isolation and unjust accusations of rebellion from those they once walked with in the Body. However, the lessons they have learned and the brokenness gained from having endured and overcome in this place will prove to be of immeasurable benefit to the Bride in the days to come. These forerunners are the “nameless, faceless” ones spoken of by several prophetic voices during the nineteen nineties. For the most part they have been hidden and crafted by the Lord until His perfect timing and they will not look like or sound like the former leadership models the church has come to rely on. Some of these footmen-forerunners have been scouting ahead for (what seems to them) a very long time, and their weariness is being compounded by discouragement and frustration as they wait for the movement of the main army. For those of you reading this who recognise yourselves as part of this company, the Lord has a specific word:

He says “the terrain is now changing. This new terrain is no place for footmen and requires the power of horsemen. How will you transition to the next stage of what I am doing if your strength has already run out? Let each one answer for himself and herself. Let each one seek Me for the answer, for you cannot do such a thing.”

As I contemplated this question in prayer, I considered the weariness and discouragement I had been personally battling throughout the first weeks of the New Year, and I knew that I did not have an acceptable answer. I was then given to see that indeed the only way for the forerunners to keep pace was in the fullness of Christ and the total emptiness of themselves. This truth was etched further into me in recent days as I was led into a deeper understanding of what it means to “love our lives not unto death.” This is not something that we can do by determining to do it. The strength of “self” as central to all things is so solidly entrenched in the human heart only the love of Christ Himself can bring each of us to a place where we love His Life more than we love our own. It is only then that we truly begin to understand the often repeated statement: “it’s not about me, it’s about Him.” No matter how many times we say it, or assent to it’s truth, we cannot walk in it until the power of His Life in us has broken the power of “self-consciousness”, “self-exaltation” and “self-preservation”. Then it is that we can truly witness with Paul “It’s no longer I that live, but Christ…….”

As I allowed the Holy Spirit to search my own heart for the answer the Lord was seeking, I was reminded again of the account of Elijah in 1 Kings 18:44-46.

Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!”. So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, “Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.” Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

Even as the storm clouds dramatically and suddenly rolled in upon Elijah, so too is the spiritual atmosphere in and over the church experiencing dramatic and irreversible change. Even those who have been waiting and praying for such change will be challenged by the magnitude of the shaking and rearranging the Lord is determined to bring to His household. Yet, here we see that not only did Elijah contend with the horses of Ahab, he ran by foot ahead of them. How? By the Spirit of the Lord alone, for there was nothing in Elijah’s own strength or stature that could enable him. Horses represent power. There is a way for the footmen to contend with the challenges of this new terrain and run with the horses and horsemen, and it is in the power of the Spirit and by no other means. The Lord is asking if His forerunners are ready to adapt to this new terrain, which will require a shift in focus.

The Lord continued to speak: “Many of the footmen have run individually, aware only of their own footsteps, their own path, and their own goals. But now the terrain changes and they must see what I see – a company of horsemen riding. And they must see themselves no more, but see the company, and themselves as part of that company. They must take in and adjust to the wider view.”

If you are a forerunner or part of a forerunner ministry, the message is to look up, look around, stop what you are doing long enough to survey the new surroundings. For things are changing and the isolation many have known in this place is going to pass away. The Lord wants His forerunners to be ready and alert to the new season. There is grace and strength for the discouraged and weary, but the new terrain requires submission to the Spirit and dying to the fear of man as never before. Stay close! There is no other Rest but the Lord. He will enable you!

A WORD TO THOSE WHO TRUST IN PEACE

And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan? For even your brothers, the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; yes, they have called a multitude after you. Do not believe them, even though they speak smooth words to you.” (Jeremiah 12:6)

The second section of this prophetic message is addressed specifically to another group who I have chosen to call “those who trust in peace”. I will expound on this after I have addressed the understanding of the “floodplain”. As the Lord continued to unfold this prophetic message for His people, I asked what was meant by the phrase “floodplain of Jordan”. He revealed the following:

“The floodplain of Jordan is where the enemy comes in like a flood. I am raising up a standard. That standard is My Spirit and My Bride together, saying “thus far, no further.” My people must consider whether they are ready for the floodplain and how they shall survive there.”

The Hebrew word for floodplain can also be translated “thicket”. The floodplain of the Jordan River in Israel in Jeremiah’s time was known to be covered with dense jungle-like vegetation inhabited by lions. It was considered a dangerous and unpredictable part of the country, and not a safe place through which to travel.

There are those among the Lord’s people who, due to their love for His church, have up until now chosen to remain in fellowship situations where they are aware that known areas of sin are being tolerated in various forms. That sin might either be within the leadership, or being “winked at” (knowingly tolerated) by the leadership. These ones I am speaking of do not condone the sin, in fact are distressed by it, but have chosen to stay on in watchmen and intercessory roles for the love of the Lord’s people. Some, for the same reasons, have chosen to remain in fellowship situations where they are continually grieved by a controlling “rulership” mentality in leadership, spiritually abusive behaviour and/or an atmosphere of carnality and denominational competitiveness or elitism. In all of these situations the Sprit of God is grieved and quenched, and His authority in the church hindered. Please take note, this is NOT a word to those who have a personal gripe towards leaders who have corrected them or not esteemed them in the way they feel they deserve. This is a word to those many unknown and genuine intercessory watchmen, shepherds, prophets, apostles, and all other lovers of Christ and His Body who weep and travail over the church in the secret place with no desire for recognition or glory for yourselves. I believe you will know who you are. This place has been difficult and often painful for these seekers of peace to endure, but they have remained to intercede and influence in the hope of change. Thus they have sought and waited for peace in the Lord’s household. Many, like Jeremiah, are asking, “how long, Lord, before you deal with wickedness in Your house?”I hear the Lord replying “and how long will you mourn for Saul?” (1Samuel 15.35 and 16:1)

The Lord’s word to this group of believers is this:

“You have cried “peace” and trusted in that “peace” even as the floodplain has risen around you. You have desired peace with those who did not see things the way you do and at times your desire for this peace has led you into unsanctified mercy. Even when your brothers, who have chosen the house of their (earthly) father have dealt treacherously with you, you have continued to trust in the peace process. I have allowed this for a season, but there is a time when the seeking of peace becomes appeasement, and the longing for peace leads to compromise. But now the terrain has changed and the flood plain of Jordan is upon you. The Jordan represents the Cross, where all compromise ceases. Indeed the Jordan represents even a cross-road where ways separate. Yes, even compromised relationships die at the Cross, where a man’s enemies shall be those of his own household.”

This is a strong word, and I believe the Lord was speaking of the “household of faith” (Gal. 6:10) when He spoke of dying to compromised relationships. I am not implying in any way, nor do I believe that He was speaking of the covenant relationship of marriage. The “father” He is speaking of are those “spiritual fathers”, who seek to draw unto themselves the devotion of His own Blood-bought people that rightly belongs only to Him. These false rulers use the people of God as building blocks to erect their own kingdom. The Lord said “do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in Heaven.” He was not speaking about family or mentoring relationships, He was saying let no-one take the pre-eminent place of your Heavenly Father. Yet, in His household are many “brothers” whose first allegiance is clearly to other “fathers” such as their pastor or another ministry leader, their denomination, or their particular stream or movement. This is fear of man and idolatry, producing false submission and false grace. The Lord is coming with a sword to His house, and it is a sword of separation. No, His Bride-church will not be divided, but she will be separated from the compromised institutional system that clings to a form of religion devoid of the power of the Cross, from whom she is to turn away (2 Timothy 3:5).

A word of caution here to those who might be tempted to quote that well-worn but unscriptural phrase “Well, there’s no perfect church” – DON’T. The Lord is extremely serious about this message and indeed this subject, and will not be mocked. The privilege of fellowshipping with other believers is not first and foremost a social activity, like club membership. It is a corporate expression of a holy priesthood expressing Spirit and truth worship to a holy God. It’s time we humbled ourselves and asked Him to show us how He sees His church, instead of expecting Him to see it the way we do. There is only one church, and it is the Lord’s desire that His church should indeed be perfect (John 17:23; Eph. 4:13; Col. 1:28; Heb. 12:23). The one church comes together in diverse assemblies that are made up of people in various stages of being perfected into a holy and effective Bridal company. However, not one of us should be defending or excusing an assembly where individual and corporate holiness is not highly valued and actively pursued along with grace.

As the Lord continued to unfold the message, I was given to see an open doorway. In His wisdom and timing, He has allowed that doorway to remain open between the spiritually dead religious institution the world calls the Christian church, and the spiritual house of living stones the Lord Himself is building. The two have been freely mingling amongst each other in every gathering of believers, regardless of whether that gathering was in a denominational or independent setting.. But I also saw that because of this opening a multitude of demonic religious spirits had gathered and now stood ready with the intention to pursue, overtake and destroy the living church, the Bridal company. I saw and understood by the Spirit that the Lord’s Hand of constraint had held back this demonic horde from His called and chosen ones as they were becoming prepared and assembled before Him. This church of living stones was born at Calvary when blood and water flowed forth from the dying body of Jesus, and is destined to demonstrate to the principalities and powers the mystery of the Father’s manifold wisdom (Eph. 3:10,11). I believe it is now the wisdom and timing of the Lord to close that open door so that the true and false church will be separated from one another. When the Lord closes a door, no man can open it (Rev. 3:7). The Lord will have a living church that is not mixed or tainted by the world. Furthermore, in His grace, He will remove all bridges between the two to remove the possibility of compromise for His elect. He did not allow me to know any specific time frame for this process.

Therefore there is a call going forth to those who have trusted in peace. These are those who have been patiently waiting for things to get better, and have remained in places of fellowship in the hope of change, or out of loyalty to friends, family and leaders. The call is to follow the Lamb wherever He goes, even into unknown and unfamiliar territory outside the walls of establishment. I was strongly impressed by the Spirit that a day of choosing was upon His people, and that to avoid that choice is indeed to make it. I urge anyone who is currently fellowshipping in the kind of situation I have already described above, or where you know in your heart that men are building their own kingdoms at the expense of the Lord’s, to search your heart motives for remaining. I encourage you to seek the Lord for confirmation of this prophetic message, or otherwise, and if He directs you out of that system do not hesitate, trusting Him for further direction as you humbly wait on Him. The Lord continued to reveal that as He brings about this impending separation between the true and false churches, the distance between them would become increasingly wider.. We need to understand that those who refuse to compromise and choose to follow the Lamb at any cost will be persecuted and hated by the false religious system. However, those who hear His direction to go forth to Him “outside the camp” and refuse to make that choice will find themselves at the mercy of the religious spirit which is the spirit of antichrist. Under such a system they will have no defence against unrighteous deception and lying signs and wonders, and in danger of falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3-11).

WHAT OF THOSE WHO DO NOT SEE THE DIFFERENCE?

The Lord has said that He is providing a way out for those who have been wounded and abused in the false system but who do not yet discern the false from the true in order to choose between them. 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.

As I contemplated the things that the Lord had shared with me to pass on to His people, a painful sense of my own inadequacy and weariness began to grow and again I knew that I myself could not answer His question. I could only acknowledge “I do not know how I will survive on the floodplain of Jordan, Lord. I do not know how to answer you.” I should have known that was all He was waiting for, for He Himself is always our answer. I then saw in the Spirit one single set of footprints leading through deep, muddy, sandy soil and I understood that the only way to survive on the floodplain is to walk in His footprints for He has walked before us. His footprints led to the Cross where I understood that the Spirit and the Bride must meet with Him, but though this is a place of self-denial I saw that it is not a harsh place. Those who come this far will find it a place of joy as they commune with the Bridegroom in the fellowship of His sufferings. It was for the joy that was set before Him He endured the Cross. But the footprints did not stay at the Cross, though they paused there. They led on to a tomb where the stone had been rolled away, and then they led away from the tomb. He has triumphed over death and the grave, and the footsteps, now etched in Blood, led to the very Throne Room of the Father.

Still I said “But Lord, what of those who stumble, or who are distracted and look away momentarily from the footprints, and so fall on this floodplain?”

With a roar He answered “I AM IS FAITHFUL!”. And then came the familiar Voice of the Shepherd, as gently and as sweetly as I have ever heard it: “Shall I not show faithfulness to those who have born faithfulness to Me? I will not leave them to the mercy of the enemy. I shall lift them and carry them on My shoulders, for I AM YOUR FAITHFUL SHEPHERD. I shall carry them until they are strong again, and then I shall set them down again amidst the faithful remnant, and we shall journey on.”

CONCLUSION

There are those who will hear and receive this word, and those who will discard it. There are many who will be offended by it. I certainly did not find it any easy word to receive or deliver. However, having done so, I leave it in the hands of the Lord to bring this message to those who need it through the power of His Spirit.

I wish once again to stress that as the Body of Christ moves further into the transitional process, we must grow beyond merely defining this transformation in terms of whether to meet in traditional church buildings or houses. There are believers meeting in houses who are still captive to the “temple” mentality with its hierarchy and law-keeping. And there are believers meeting in denominational church buildings who are free enough to meet with the Body in any physical setting because they understand that the true church finds unity and fellowship only in the Spirit. This transition is about much more than the mechanics of where the church should come together or how the church should function corporately. It is about whether to continue compromising with a flesh-dominated religious system, or abandoning compromise for the spiritual house of living stones, at any cost. Eventually, every believer will have to choose one of those two places. May the Lord give us grace and humility to understand this is all about Him, and not about us.

“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” (Matt. 12:30)


 

Copyright 2005 Cheryl McGrath, Great South Land Ministries, Australia.This article may be copied or reproduced freely providing copyright notice and contact details remain intact. This article may not be displayed on a website without prior permission from the author.