Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
From the beginning it has been God's desire to commune and have fellowship with His creation, man. But because of man's disobedient and rebellious heart towards the commandments of God, he was sent out of the Garden of God's presence.
". . . He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." Genesis 3:24
When man fell from his innocency, God drove him from the garden. He sat cherubim (plural - more than one) at the east end of the garden. The cherubim protect the Holiness of God from fallen man. [See "Mercy Seat" by G. Kirkpatrick]
Cherubim are also seen in the Holy of Holies. When God gave Moses the design for the Ark of the Covenant, two cherubim were to be above the Mercy Seat. The Mercy Seat was where God would meet man. If all God's preordained conditions were met then God would appear above the Mercy Seat on the Day of Atonement. Only the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies once a year to atone for Israel's sins. The Cherubim were there to protect the holiness of God from fallen man.
God set Cherubim at the entrance of the garden to prohibit man's access to the Tree of Life. In their hands, He placed a flaming sword (singular - one). There is only one flaming sword. The word flaming means "consuming fire". The Bible reveals, "Our God is a consuming fire", Hebrews 12:29. The Bible speaks of two kinds of fire; first there is the fire of God's judgment; then there is the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The judgment fire destroys the flesh because of sin. The cleansing fire destroys the sin nature in the flesh so that man may live unto God.
The word used for sword is used 407 times in the Old Testament and means anything from "a short dagger," to a "long sword used in battle." The word sword also means "tools used for cutting stone." God's use of the sword in our lives is Spiritual.
In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he spoke of putting on the whole armor of God. One piece of that Spiritual armament is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, Ephesians 6:17. With this insight we can understand that the flaming sword (singular) God placed in the hands of the Cherubim is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God that is administered by the consuming fire of God.
God's Word reveals this sword turned every way to keep sinful man from the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is in the presence of God. When man chooses the mixed fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he must be separated from the presence of God. Man has been trying to come back into the presence of God every way his heart can imagine. But he refuses to cease from partaking of the mixed fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.
Man is unable to return to God's presence because he does not understand, nor allow the Spiritual application of God's Word to do its life-changing work in his life. Only the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit can guide man through the gate to enter back into the presence of God. If man is to enter back into the presence of God, he must pass through the flaming sword. The flaming sword turns every way to purge man from his carnality, sin, and immaturity until the sinful, fleshly nature of man is dealt with. God has prepared a way for sinful man to nter through the gates into the eternal city of His presence and protection. Jesus stated,
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." John 10:1
Those who try to come back into the presence of God without allowing the flaming sword to have completed its work in their lives will suffer the same judgment as those who are thieves and robbers. Paul proclaimed in his letter to the Romans,
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23
The word sin is HARMATRIA and means "missing the mark." All have missed the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. All have come short of His glory, unable to enter again into His presence because they have refused to pass through the flaming sword. If man is to once again enter into the garden of innocency, the presence of God, and partake of His glory, then the flaming sword must be applied to every aspect of his life. God created man for His pleasure. His desire is to have a people that He can commune with as He did in the garden.
The Bible gives us many examples of God's promises to His people. The Old Testament relates several examples of valiant men who encountered the flaming sword and became victorious overcomers, once again to enter into the gates of everlasting life.
Today, as in the days of old, God is searching for a people who will enter once again into His presence, and partake of the Tree of Life that has been prepared for man from the beginning of God's creation. From Genesis to Revelation, God's intended purpose for His creation has been to prepare a people to overcome and dwell in His presence. While John was on the Isle of Patmos, Jesus revealed to him His intended purpose for His creation, man.
"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14
Those who keep His commandments will have a right to the Tree of Life. John had written earlier,
"Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what His Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you." John 15:14 & 15
Those who keep His commandments are the friends of God. They are no longer in the servant realm, but have come into a place in God where all things that Jesus has heard of His Father He will make known unto His friends. This is God's promise. His friends are those who have passed through the flaming sword, and as Paul proclaimed, "have been sanctified and cleansed by the washing of water by the Word," Ephesians 5:26. God has prepared a way for man to return to the Tree of Life. Jesus revealed to John;
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Revelation 2:7
If we are to partake of the Tree of Life that is in the midst of the paradise of God, there must be an overcoming in our life. This overcoming has always been explained as overcoming death, hell, and the grave. But there is more to overcoming than overcoming the last enemy, death. There is much revealed in God's Word about the overcoming we must do in our lives, here and now.
Overcoming is to be an every day, life changing force in our life. We must pick up our cross daily, and die to the sinful nature of man. There will be no entering into God's presence (paradise) until the old, Adamic, sinful nature of man has been cleansed by the water of the Word. Only then can we again enter into the presence of the Father. There is only one way to reenter the garden and that is by passing through the flaming sword. The flaming sword alone will reestablish the righteousness of God in his creation, man.
The Word pierces asunder even the bone and the marrow of all thoughts and intents of our hearts. We must allow this quick and powerful two-edged sword to do its cutting away of all that is ungodly in our lives, Hebrews 4:12. Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the new creation, man.
"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Ephesians 4:24
Only the two-edged Sword, the Anointed Word of God, wielded by the Spirit of God can bring forth this new creation, man. It is only when we allow the Sword of The Spirit to circumcise our hearts from the old, fleshly nature, that we can enter again through the flaming sword into the paradise of God's presence, where there will be no death nor separation for all eternity.
As the truths of God's Word are revealed through the Spirit of Truth, we discover this flaming sword doing its cleansing work in every man, woman, and child of God who desires to be used of God. God has given us His Word that we may learn and understand His intended purpose in every one of His created beings.
As we study God's Word, we can see this flaming sword doing the work in every man He used in the Bible. The flaming sword appears in many forms. Through obedience man can go through the flaming sword to enter into God's presence to once again hear the voice of the Father.
Abraham is called the Father of Faith. Abraham entered through the flaming sword to hear the voice of the Father. He was called upon by God to offer Isaac, his promised seed, as a burnt offering unto the Lord. God tried Abraham's faith through this fiery trial in his life. Abraham was required, by God, to travel to Mt. Moriah. This journey would take three days. There, he would offer Isaac, his son of promise, as a sacrifice unto God. We can only imagine how long the journey seemed to Abraham; the sleepless nights as he interceded for the life of his promised son. But Abraham knew:
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness..." II Peter 3:9
Abraham knew God had promised him this son. Abraham exercised his faith, believing that God would keep His promise. The writer of Hebrews records,
"By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." Hebrews 11:17-19
Abraham had faith that even if Isaac had to be killed and burnt on the altar, God would keep His promise. He believed God, and God accounted it to him for righteousness. Even if God chose to take Isaac, Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead to keep that promise. Abraham spoke to the young men that made this journey with him,
" . . . Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you." Genesis 22:5
By faith, Abraham knew God would keep His promise to him. God spoke to Abraham that his seed would be called through Isaac. Abraham stood on this promise. But it was not until Abraham raised the knife to thrust it through the heart of his promised son, that Abraham heard the voice say,
". . . Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me." Genesis 22:12
Abraham had entered through the flaming sword into the presence of the voice of the Father. If we are to enter through the flaming sword, it must be through obedience to His Word and to His voice. God has no pleasure in those who draw back and become disobedient to His voice or His Word. Abraham knew...
". . .the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him." Hebrews 10:38
The next man who encountered the flaming sword in his life was Moses. This time the flaming sword was in the form of a burning bush.
"And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt." Exodus 3:2-3
It was required of Moses to turn aside from his daily activities to witness this phenomenon; a bush that burned and was not consumed. It was when Moses turned aside from his daily activities that the voice of God spoke to him out of the burning bush.
". . . Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." Exodus 3:5
When Moses turned aside, he passed through the flaming sword into the presence of God, where he could hear the Father's voice. Forty years earlier Moses had made the decision that would change his life. Moses became obedient to the voice of God and came into His perfect will. The writer of Hebrews recorded,
"By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. Hebrews 11:24-26
Moses had a choice to make. He could have remained in Pharaoh's palace with all its amenities, but he chose, instead, to suffer afflictions with the people of God. Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt (the world). All God's people have this same choice to make if they are to enter again into the garden of His presence and dwell with the voice of the Father. We must become obedient to the Father's voice and choose to do His perfect will. By the Spirit, Moses knew what the writer of Hebrews proclaimed to all the earth:
"For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." Hebrews 4:3
There are those who will enter into His rest in the hour we now live. Others will enter into His rest after the cleansing fire of God's wrath. But all will learn, as Moses, that God's works were finished from the foundation of the world. Moses knew this and became a willing vessel to be used in whatever God called upon him to accomplish.
Moses would suffer forty years with God's people in the wilderness. It made no difference because he had turned aside from his own labors to do the perfect will of the Father. Moses' life would never be the same after he entered into God's presence at the burning bush.
The next man who entered through the flaming sword into the presence of God was Joshua. When Joshua crossed the Jordan and entered into the promised land...
". . .he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so." Joshua 5:13-15
The journey had been long for Joshua. For forty years in the wilderness, he and Caleb had stood alone as witnesses of God. Israel could have entered their promise land forty years earlier, but fear and those who did not trust their God had caused this forty year delay. This land was promised to Abraham's seed many years before. Now Joshua stood face to face with the Captain of the Lord of Hosts. He was the head of all God's heavenly army.
God spoke to Joshua to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground in the presence of God, Himself. He had not only entered past the flaming sword, he was in the presence of that flaming sword in the hand of God. God, Himself, had prepared the way before Israel and God would go before them to clear the land. God had prepared Joshua for this meeting for many years. It is recorded of Joshua,
". . . Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle." Exodus 33:11
During the whole journey in the wilderness, Joshua had stayed before God, interceding for the people and for Moses. He was called Moses' minister, Exodus 24:13. Jesus told His disciples,
"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant." Matthew 23:11
The word for servant is DIAKONOS. It is the same word used for minister. Those who are greatest in the kingdom will be servant of all, Mark 10:44. Joshua had a servant's heart. If we do not have a servant's heart, we cannot pass through the flaming sword into the presence of God.
Joshua never doubted, nor feared, from that day forward. He faced every battle with the knowledge that God had prepared his way. He was victorious in every battle because he had witnessed the flaming sword in the hand of the Lord of hosts.
The next man to enter through the flaming sword into the presence of God was Gideon. Gideon was called by God to rid the land of the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared unto Gideon,he was hiding from the Midianites. The angle spoke to Gideon,
". . .The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour." Judges 6:12
Gideon did not feel much like a mighty man of valor. But God knew Gideon's heart. And God knew Gideon would do what He asked. When the Lord appeared to Gideon, Gideon asked...
"Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." Judges 6:13
Gideon was a man who desired to see the miracles of God. He believed God was the same yesterday, today, and forever. God informed Gideon he would use him to rid the land of the Midianites. Gideon spoke to His special visitor,
"Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again." Judges 6:18
The word present means "sacrifice or offering." Gideon desired to bring a sacrifice before the Lord.
"And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight." Judges 6:19-21
The fire of God consumed Gideon's sacrifice. Gideon had entered through the flaming sword into the presence of God to hear God's voice. God proved to Gideon that He was the consuming fire in his life.
Gideon built an altar and called it Jehovah Shalom. The Lord spoke to Gideon to take two bullocks and throw down the altar of Baal his father had built. So Gideon took ten men and destroyed the altar of Baal and cut down the grove. Baal is the god of agriculture; the god of increase and plenty. If we are to enter through the flaming sword into the Father's presence, we must destroy the altar of Baal in our Father's house.
Gideon amassed an army of thirty-two thousand men to fight the Midianites. God spoke to Gideon that he had too many men, because Israel would become conceited and believe that they had wrought the victory by their own hand, and would not give God the glory in the victory. Judges 7:2
God told Gideon to send home those who had fear and were afraid. This cost Gideon twenty-two thousand men. The battle the Lord has for us to fight cannot be fought with the fearful or the faint-hearted. God told Gideon to take the ten thousand men he had left down to the water, and choose only those who lapped the water like a dog. Those who got on their knees to drink were to be sent home. This cost Gideon another nine thousand, seven hundred men. God only wanted those who were alert to what was going on around them. Those with their faces in the water were not prepared for the battle. Gideon set the battle in order and divided his remaining three hundred men into three groups, Judges 9:7-16.
"And he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers." Judges 9:16
Gideon's army was informed:
"When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The Sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." Judges 7:18
When Gideon blew the trumpet, all three hundred were to blow their trumpets and shout, "The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon."
"So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came into the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The Sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." Judges 7:19-20
When the people blew their trumpets, they broke their vessels of clay and the light they had in their vessels shown through all the camp of the enemy. The trumpet represents the voice of prophetic utterance. We cannot enter into the presence of the Lord until our earthen vessels are broken to reveal the light of God that has been covered by the old, carnal, flesh nature of man.
Paul spoke of this light as the glory of God that we have in our earthen vessels:
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." II Corinthians 4:6-7
Until these earthen vessels are broken, the glory of God cannot be released. When Gideon's army broke their vessels of clay, they were able to enter in through the flaming sword. When the light of God shown in the enemy's camp, they turned on each other, and the Midianites were destroyed from Israel's life.
The word Midian or Midianite means "contention and strife." When our earthen vessels are broken, we will cease from contention and strife. We will, again, cry out that the Sword of the Lord has done its work. And we can, again, enter into the presence of the Father to hear His voice and partake of His glory.
The next man to enter through the flaming sword into God's presence was Isaiah. Isaiah had been a prophet in Judah for a number of years when God took Him in a vision into His presence.
"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple." Isaiah 6:1
As Isaiah came into the convicting power of God's presence, the holiness of God caused Isaiah to cry out,
". . . For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Isaiah 6:5
Isaiah cried out, "I am undone." The word undone means "to come to an end of one's self, self nature, self rule, and selfishness." Isaiah had entered into the presence of God, and had seen the glory of the Lord of host. He became keenly aware of the uncleanness of his lips, and the lips of the people of Israel. What Isaiah had spoken in the past was not totally clean before God. His words had been tainted with the flesh, and unacceptable in the presence of God.
"Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar." Isaiah 6:6
The coal, or ember, the Seraphim had in his hand was taken from the altar of incense. This is the altar that is set before the Holy of Holies. The coal, or ember, was used to offer incense before God day and night. Incense is the symbol of praise we offer up before God. Isaiah's praise was not pure before God because it had the element of flesh mingled with the Spirit of praise.
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth." John 4:24
Our God is Spirit and we cannot worship Him with our fleshly words. Our lips must be cleansed so that our praise before God is pure and acceptable in His sight. Jesus proclaimed,
"It is the Spirit that quickeneth (makes alive): The flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life." John 6:63
What we do and speak in the flesh has no profit to God. Only that which is accomplished in our lives by and through the Holy Spirit is acceptable in sight of God. The words that Jesus spoke were Spiritual. His words promoted life because they came from the Father and were not tainted by the flesh. They were spoken from clean lips that had been cleansed by the coals from off the Altar of Incense.
When the Seraphim laid the coal on Isaiah's mouth, he spoke to Isaiah, "Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged," Isaiah 6:7. This experience changed Isaiah's life. His ministry and his prophecies would never be the same from that day forward. He had entered through the flaming sword and stood in the presence of the Father.
Isaiah's mouth was cleansed from speaking anything except that which he heard the Father speak. It was only three short chapters later that Isaiah prophesied the coming of Jesus, Isaiah 9. The 53rd chapter of Isaiah speaks exclusively of the life and ministry of Jesus. Isaiah is called the Messianic prophet because he foretells many things of the Saviour. After Isaiah's mouth was cleansed, the Lord spoke,
". . . Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." Isaiah 6:8
Isaiah's lips were cleansed. He was ready to be sent. When the Lord asked, "Whom shall I send", Isaiah's heart cry was, "Send me!" God has His men today who have stood in His presence and have had their mouths cleansed by the coal from off the altar. God is sending these in this last hour of time to inform His people. The only ones who will be accepted in His presence are those who are created in righteousness and true holiness; those who have passed through the flaming sword, the cleansing Word of God; those who are without spot or wrinkle; those who have come again into the image and likeness of God. These will enter into God's presence and commune with Him for all eternity.
Isaiah's life was totally changed. The flaming sword had turned every way in his life, and he was prepared to be sent. Isaiah's words today are still doing their cleansing work in men's lives.
The next man who entered through the flaming sword into the presence of God was Jeremiah. Jeremiah was called from his mother's womb to be a prophet to the nations.
"Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah 1:4-5
God revealed Jeremiah's pre-existence in the Father. God had called him and ordained him before he was conceived in his mother's womb. Paul wrote of this foreknowing in God's chosen vessels,
"According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. Ephesians 1:4-5
Paul also wrote to the Romans:
"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom He justified, them he also glorified." Romans 8:29-30
God foreknew, predestined, and chose us to be conformed to the image of His Son. The word image has two meanings: first, "representation." We are to be a representation of the Son while we walk on this earth. Secondly, the word image means "manifestation." We are to manifest the life of Christ in our lives on this earth. We are only able to do this when the flaming sword has done its work.
We were predestined unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ. When was this accomplished in our lives? Before the foundation of the world. Those God has predestined He has called; those He has called He has justified; and those He has justified, He has glorified. Peter also spoke of our predestined life in the Father.
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." I Peter 1:2
We are the elect according to the foreknowledge of God. We have been sanctified through the Spirit. As God begins to open this revelation in our lives, the words of Jesus, as recorded by John, become more clear,
"Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you." John 15:16
God has chosen us, as He did Jeremiah, before we were conceived in our mother's womb. Jeremiah's whole life was one of sacrifice and service, and because of his obedience to the voice of the Father, God filled Jeremiah with this flaming sword. Jeremiah proclaimed,
"Wherefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make My words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them." Jeremiah 5:14
The flaming sword is the devouring sword in our lives. Jeremiah proclaimed, "And this people wood." Wood is the symbol of flesh. The Word that God put in Jeremiah would consume the flesh that was resident in the people's lives. The flaming sword will consume the old, Adamic, carnal nature of man if it is applied in our lives.
Jeremiah was faithful, but there came a time in his life when he became weary in the battle because of the Word that God had given him to speak. The rejection, the separation, and the ridicule began to take its toll, and Jeremiah began to shrink back from the calling of God in His life. Jeremiah cried out to the Lord,
"O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily." Jeremiah 20:7-8
Many times we feel as Jeremiah, that God has given us a calling that is too hard; and that God has been unfair in giving us the message of the judgment that is coming upon the earth. And we cry out, "Why me, Lord?" Jeremiah came to this place and he made his decision,
"Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name." Jeremiah 20:9a
Jeremiah felt that he could no longer make mention of the Lord. In his weariness he would speak no more in God's name. The people did not appreciate Jeremiah, nor did they desire to hear his words. The people plotted against him,
"For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him." Jeremiah 20:10
The people's desire was to silence Jeremiah, to come against him, to shut up his words. Jeremiah had become willing to let this happen. God was not! God had a calling in Jeremiah's life and when he tried to quit, he realized this calling.
"But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." Jeremiah 20:9b
Jeremiah had no choice. The flaming sword was shut up in his bones. The consuming fire of God could not be quenched, nor be ignored in Jeremiah's life. God spoke to Jeremiah,
"Is not My Word like as a fire? saith the Lord and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" Jeremiah 23:29
God's Word is like fire to consume the old, fleshly man. God's Word is also a hammer that breaks the stony heart of man. We must allow God to crush our stony heart to powder if He is to make us into His new creation, man. Jesus revealed,
"Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." Luke 20:18
God is preparing us to enter through the flaming sword to stand pure and holy in His presence. We must fall upon the Word and be broken. This is when we come to repentance in our life. The old sin nature must be crushed in order for this to happen. The Holy Spirit must fall upon us and grind us to powder so that God can bring forth the new creation, man, in the earth.
Jeremiah had entered through the flaming sword into the presence of God. He was hearing God's voice. The Word God spoke through Jeremiah is still a fire in men's bones, and His Word is still a hammer to break men's stony hearts and lead them to the Messiah. It took a halting in Jeremiah's life. Paul revealed this same thing to the Corinthians,
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." I Corinthians 6:20
God has purchased all those who are called by His name. We must allow the flaming sword to cleanse our lives that we may glorify God in our bodies and our spirit which are God's. The flaming sword must be allowed to do its work if we are, again, to stand in the presence of God and hear the Father's voice.
Paul was a man who had all the religious credentials. Paul proclaimed:
"Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more. Circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me those I counted loss for Christ." Philippians 3:4-7
If any man could boast of his accomplishments in the flesh, certainly Paul could, but there was a change that came in Paul's life. The Apostle Paul was taken through the flaming sword to stand in the presence of the glorified Christ.
In his zeal to serve the God of his fathers, Paul persecuted, imprisoned, and killed many early Christians. But Paul encountered a life-changing circumstance on the road to Damascus. A light, brighter than the sun, shown all around him and a voice spoke out of the Light and said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" Acts 9:4. Paul fell on his face before the Lord. Paul's walk, his speech, and his life would never be the same. Paul entered, again, through the flaming sword into the presence of the Almighty God. Nothing could make Paul deny this experience when he passed through the flaming sword. Imprisonment could not shake him. Beatings could not shake him; stoning could not. Even the chopping block could not make him deny that experience in his life. Paul witnessed of this experience before Kings.
When we pass through the flaming sword into the presence of God, we, too, must fall prostrate before the Lord. It will change our walk, just as it did Paul's. We can have the same testimony as Paul, when at the end of life he stated,
"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." II Timothy 4:6-8
Paul, the persecutor of God's early church, became the man whom God would use to write one-third of the New Testament. He would become the apostle to the Gentiles to evangelize the whole known world. He had the religious credentials. He kept the Law. But it took a face-to-face meeting with the ever-living God to put the fire of God's Word in the mouth of Paul.
We, too, can have this fire if we love His appearing. Paul's experience is necessary in every life. We, too, must have his testimony. Are we ready to be offered on the altar? Have we fought the good fight? We must finish our course. We must enter through the flaming sword to, once again, dwell in the presence of the Father.
God is raising up a people in the earth who will be His ministers of fire. As God revealed to Jeremiah,
"Because ye speak this Word, Behold, I will make My words in thy mouth fire and this people wood and it shall devour them," Jeremiah 5:14.
Jeremiah was God's minister of fire. The writer of Hebrews stated,
"And of the angels he saith, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire." Hebrews 1:7
These ministers of fire will have the Anointed Word of God in their mouths. When they open their mouths, this Word will be a consuming fire to consume the wood (flesh) in those that hear.
The Bible speaks of this Anointed Word as the two-edged sword. The Psalmist wrote,
"Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand." Psalm 149:6
Those who have the high praise of God in their mouths and the two-edged sword in their hands will become these ministers of fire. The writer of Hebrews revealed that...
"The Word of God is quick (life-giving) and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
The word quick means "alive, living, and powerful." The word powerful is the word ENERGES and means "effectual and active." The Word of God is the living, effectual, active Word of God working in our lives to make us the ministers of fire so that we will be able, through the Spirit, to resist and overcome the gainsayers in our lives.
On the Isle of Patmos, God revealed to John the two witnesses who will prophesy during the three and one-half years of the Wrath of God. These will have entered through the flaming sword. Their mouths will have been cleansed with the coal from off the altar. The fire of the Anointed Word of God will come out of their mouths to consume their enemies.
"And I will give power unto My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed." Revelation 11:3-5
There has been much controversy as to who these two witnesses are. Many proclaim it is Enoch and Elijah because they did not go by the way of the grave. Other's proclaim it is Elijah and Moses who appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. As we study these two witnesses, we begin to understand that they represent two peoples. There are two olive trees and two candlesticks, not two individual men.
As we seek the identity of the two olive trees and the two candlesticks, we need to look to Paul in his letter to the Romans,
"And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree." Romans 11:17
The olive tree is natural, or ancient Israel.
On the Isle of Patmos, Jesus revealed to John who the candlestick represents,
"The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." Revelation 1:20
The church is Spiritual Israel. God's two witnesses in the time of His judgment are natural Israel (Jews who have come to Jesus) and Spiritual Israel (the church age). These are God's witnesses during the time of great wrath upon the earth. There are two olive trees and two candlesticks; two and two are four. If these were men, there would be four men, not two.
God revealed to John, "If any man hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouths and devoureth their enemy, and if any man hurt them in this manner. They must be killed." The fire proceeding from the two witnesses is the flaming sword, the power of the Word of God that He has anointed in their mouths to consume their adversaries.
God is preparing His ministers to become a flame of fire, to minister the Anointed Word of God in power and great authority. Jesus came to bring the sword. He is going to place this sword in the mouths of His witnesses on the earth. This is going to be a fire in their bones that cannot be quenched nor put out.
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34
Jesus came to bring the Sword of the Spirit. The Sword of the Spirit is the two-edged sword. This is the sword He is putting in His anointed's hands to change their lives. Then He will put the consuming Word in their mouths to consume those who will not be changed.
Jesus spoke of these anointed ones He has in the earth:
"For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist." Luke 21:15
When these anointed ministers of fire open their mouths, their words will be fire to consume the adversaries. They will not be able to gainsay (speak against); nor will they be able to resist the Anointed Word of God. It will be a hammer to crush any resistance to what God is speaking through His ministers of fire.
There is much talk today about entering in behind the veil. We cannot enter in behind the veil into the presence of God unless we pass through the flaming sword. The writer of Hebrews spoke of those who enter in behind the veil,
"Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil." Hebrews 6:19
We have a hope that is an anchor of our souls, that will make us sure and stedfast in our relationship with our God. But only those who have passed by the flaming sword and have entered within the veil have this hope in their lives. This is the veil of the flesh. When the flaming sword is allowed to consume the fleshly man, then the ministers of fire will come forth with the high praises of God in their mouths and the two-edged sword in their hands.
God is calling a people into this place in Him. Those who are called of God must have the obedience of Abraham in their lives. They must be willing to do as God directs, no matter what the cost.
They must turn aside as Moses to hear God's voice and know they are standing on holy ground when they enter into God's presence.
They must have a servant's heart, as Joshua, willing to stay in the presence of God until the work God is doing in their life is complete.
They must be as Gideon, who will destroy the altars of Baal, the god of plenty in the Father's house. They must become part of Gideon's army that will break their vessels of clay so that the light God has put in their vessels can shine forth into all the earth. These will become that city set on a hill.
They, as Isaiah, must have their mouths cleansed with the coal from off the altar. Their praise and worship before God must be pure and acceptable in His sight.
They must, as Jeremiah, have the Word of God as a burning sword shut up in their bones. This Anointed Word must become a fire in their mouths.
They must, as Paul, lay prostrate before their God. Their walk and their speech must forever be changed. Death itself cannot deter these from their appointment to stand pure and holy before the throne of God.
The flaming sword must turn every way in our lives to cleanse us, that we can once again stand in the presence of the Father to hear His voice and come into His image and likeness without spot or wrinkle. Then we will become God's two witnesses in the earth.
We must become those ministers of fire who minister the sword that Jesus brought to earth. If we are to stand before the King of the whole earth, the flaming sword must complete its work in our lives. God has prepared the way. We need only to walk in it. When we come face to face with the Lord of Hosts, His drawn sword will fight our battles and we will become victorious in Him.
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Revelation 2:7