Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Guest Post: Arni Klein of Emmaus Way in Israel 7/18/2017

Arni Klein
of Emmaus Way

As some of you know, last month a delegation of five from our congregation in Tiberias were ten days in the Far East taking part in six days of worship on a 19-story cruise ship along with 3000 believers and a crew of 2000. It was an unprecedented complex experience with ramifications at personal, corporate and global levels. Shortly before the trip began, I was reminded of how deeply the world was impacted by what took place in that region fifty years earlier and was impressed that this company of worshipers had been called and commissioned by the Lord to do something in the spirit realm designed to have a significant and far-reaching effect.

People’s perceptions and beliefs about the Vietnam War varied from one end of the spectrum to the other.  Many were convinced that our involvement was wrong and immoral.  Others believed it was a righteous cause justifying the high price paid in human lives.  There are many stories of how individual lives were saved by the US involvement in the region.  It is not our intention here to take a position on the motives, methods or morals of those making the decisions, or the ultimate effect it had on those directly involved in the conflict.  Regardless of the truths about underlying elements and individual ramifications, the war divided the US like no other single event of our day. The civil rights struggle, the exposed corruption in the government, and the string of high-level assassinations were all factors that also affected the spiritual atmosphere of the nation.  But none polarized and mobilized the population, as did the war in Vietnam.

The resultant societal breakdown was a primary factor in opening the way for a spiritual revolution that brought a mass of young people into the Kingdom of God.  Alongside the positive aspects of the spiritual awakening, many ungodly spiritual forces found expression that caused or enabled a generation to set aside long-accepted Biblical principles and beliefs.  ...

The sheer magnitude of the cruise, the likes of which has probably never taken place anywhere on the open seas, and surely not in the place we were, is something not to be considered lightly.  To coordinate something like this out of purely human desire, not to mention getting visas for some 1700 Mainland Chinese, would be unlikely if not practically impossible.  There were some challenges and difficulties along the way, but we can testify that the Presence of God manifest throughout the entire journey took us to places where words and sounds and any manner of human expression fell short of being able to adequately respond to His beauty and glory. In the light of it all, we are constrained to believe that something of global significance took place.  ...  For two weeks I was unable to connect with daily life or focus on anything except to mull over the cruise.  I was aware that my spirit was reaching out to lay hold of what this was from God’s perspective.  I had no choice but to be still.  My time was not my own.

Some days into this waiting period, a friend forwarded me a word delivered by someone known as a prophet spoken over a particular nation.  The word declared that over the next three years God was going to pour out untold blessings and wonders over this people, and that they would become the very platform for worldwide revival.  In all that was related, there was nothing about the people needing to do anything. There was no call to repentance, change, or any manner of preparation.  As the “prophecy” stood, it was solely a matter of God deciding that on a certain date, by a sovereign act, for no apparent outward reason, heaven was going to open.  It left me feeling grieved in the spirit. 

Words such as these have become normal and common within the Charismatic body, at least in the West.  Remembering back forty years, in the movement’s early days, it was not so.  But as time progressed, the focus on self, our identity, our calling, our portion, our anointing, our authority, etc. etc. grew and grew to where the person of God effectively ceased to be the central focus of the life of the Church.  Rather it was about what He does and will do…in particular for us.  As these thoughts ran though my mind, the spiritual fog that had engulfed me began to lift.

I got an email in response to a question I posed to someone about where they stood concerning the revelation they received about the central place of Israel in God’s heart and global strategic plan.  The lack of visible response was in stark contrast to the dramatic way God had spoken to them of their need to wake up to Israel.  A line from the mail jumped off the page.  It read, “I can't speak up in un-lived truth but will always speak up as prompted and led by Him.” 

The words un-lived truth...were the key to unlock the understanding my spirit was reaching for.  The scriptural discussion of faith and works immediately came to mind.  As faith without works is dead, so truth un-lived is dead. ... How does God view our seeing and knowing something as truth that is not part of our life that does not produce in us a contending…a pressing in…a battling through into full light?  ....There is no middle ground.  The existence of a sit-upon-fence is an illusion…or moreover, a deception.  To hear His voice and not respond immediately is to harden our heart and reject Him who is the living Word.  To lightly esteem what God values brings a bitter curse.  (See the literal Hebrew for Genesis 12:3)....Regardless of where we think we are and what we think we know, to not take into our heart what we recognize as God’s very truth is to reject it.  Actually, we are not rejecting an “it”.  It’s Him, Yeshua…the Truth… we are turning from. 
For some 25 years, we have traveled to the nations speaking about Israel.  Out of multiplied hundreds of meetings, we can recall only one where there was an outright rejection of the word we brought.  In well over half there was a clear acknowledgment of the message as truth.  However, in most of these situations, we have seen little if any follow-up to what was revealed.  

How can followers of the Lord not feel the need to battle and struggle until our hearts beat in sync with what our minds know to be true?  How can we know Him and love Him and not be moved by what moves Him? 
Perhaps the answer partly lies in the fact that the modern Western Church has generally grown up without understanding the fear of the Lord.  We emphasize that God is love and proclaim His grace, but somehow miss the fact that in the very chapter (Heb.12) that follows the great discourse on faith and of our coming to Mount Zion we are sternly warned, “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks” (vs.25). The chapter ends with…“our God is a consuming fire.”  
We would suggest that to understand the true nature of un-lived truth and how this unacceptable denial of life has gone virtually unnoticed will have a revolutionary effect on the Body of Messiah.  Most professing born-again believers have read the Scriptures and consequently know what is written about the significance of Israel, yet seemingly remain as yet unmoved.   Though this dynamic of non-response to truth extends beyond things concerning Israel, the place of Israel, both in Scripture and the daily news, makes it something of a universal “acid test”. 
Let’s connect a few dots to hopefully get the fullness of this picture.

Un-lived truth is un-loved truth.  In 2 Thess.2:9-10 we are told that to whomever does not receive the love of the truth, God will send a strong delusion, that they will believe a lie and perish.  It does not get more serious than this.  God asks, “Will you walk with me?  Will you go where I go?  Will you love what I love?”  He opens our eyes.  He shows us His heart.  We see how Israel is the key to His plan.  Will we cling to what is true?  Will we press in to lay hold of that for which we have been laid hold of?  Will we change our direction?  Will we change our thinking?  Will we align ourselves with His heart?  Will we cry out for Him to quicken us to be passionate for what He loves?  Will we wrestle in the spirit until His truth is alive in us?  Can the love of the truth be anything but a consuming fire?  This question hearkens back to the prophecy over a nation to which I referred earlier in this letter. 

We mark as a trend that began in the late 1960’s with the Charismatic movement, that personal experience became a primary measure of spiritual reality. Individuals with unique and dramatic gifts came to the foreground and were lifted up.  Ministry after ministry was named after the “anointed person of God”.  As the issue of gifts became more central, believers looked to people and spiritual experiences for motivation.  This has produced a spiritually-weak, emotionally-driven, blessing-oriented, man-centered church that is able to abide with un-lived truth.  The water has been slowly heating for fifty years.  Our frog is now quite cooked. 

The understanding to which we have come concerning the place of the worship cruise is that the Lord sent 3000 people to release His Presence in a region out of which came a literal revolution.  It awoke a whole generation to jump out of the pot.  (The fact that most climbed back in is another matter).  It may seem somewhat remote and subjective, but given all what we have experienced before, during, and after, we are constrained to present our sense that something has been released that will have a global effect.

When we arrived in Danang Harbor in Vietnam, which had been a main landing point for the US troops, something dramatic happened. The Israeli team was ministering in the main hall with about 1000 worshipers present.  The Spirit of the Lord brought us to nearly complete silence for about 30 minutes.  Not a small thing!  As far as we know, that was the only time anything like that happened during the cruise.  There was no doubt that God was doing something of significance in that place in that moment.  It felt like a repeat of a history -- that somehow something was released into the spirit realm destined to shift the focus and course of the present-day Church. 

This long awaited radical breakthrough is connected to an intimacy with the Lord beyond what we have corporately known to date.  In the Song of Solomon, there is a moment when the bridegroom comes calling and the bride is not immediately moved to respond. After what seems like a brief moment’s hesitation, she gets up only to find that her lover is already gone. Running out to look for Him she gets beaten in the streets. What a picture.  Are we ready to grasp this result of a mere momentary hesitation?  Is God really that sensitive?  The word of God is a two-edged sword.  On the one hand, while taking those living in truth deeper into God, it simultaneously releases a spirit of deception upon those who have not valued what they’ve been given.

Here then is a short-form attempt to connect the three dots that brought me out of my two-week fog.  The worship cruise was about a global spiritual release unto a radical shift.  The “God-is-going-to” prophecy highlighted the Cross-less bless-me “gospel” that has enveloped the Body in a lethal passivity.  The lack of conviction and discomfort in the face of perceived un-lived truth is a sign that the great deception has already begun. As a not-so-side note, following the election of Donald Trump a spirit of rebellion and division has manifested in the US, polarizing the nation in a way we have not seen since the days of the war in Vietnam.

If we have understood this moment correctly, to put it rather directly, those who do not contend for God’s passion for Israel will be consumed in the not-so-slowly-warming pot.  As it is written…they will believe a lie and perish.  To live as one out of time is to be established in eternal truth.

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