READY TO MARCH
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The return of Jesus Christ to the earth will mark the beginning of the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord will last for one thousand years, whether literally or figuratively. The Day of the Lord will commence with a tremendous battle. Christ and His resurrected saints will descend and drive all sin from the earth.
Before Christ can return, however, the saints, who compose the army of judges, must be prepared to serve in their appointed roles.
READY TO MARCH
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14)
I have written quite a bit about the coming conflict, the Battle of Armageddon, the return of Christ from Heaven with His saints and holy angels to drive Satan and all sin from the earth, and to install the Kingdom of God.
Some of the passages I have used are as follows:
- Isaiah 13:6-13
- Joel 2:1-11
- Micah 5:8-10
- Habakkuk 3:3-15
- Zechariah 14:3-5
- Romans 16:20
- Jude 14,15
- Revelation 19:13-21
As far as I can tell, each of the seven passages above is referring to the beginning of the Day of the Lord, the period when Christ shall descend with His saints and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Notice the reference to more than one army:
The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
And then the one army:
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. (Revelation 10:19)
The fourteenth verse may be referring to the two armies that always are involved in the Lord’s battles; but in the nineteenth verse the two armies are fighting as one great host.
As we approach the Day of the Lord, the conflict of the ages, we need to understand that in any Kingdom of God warfare two armies must be involved.
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” (Joshua 5:13,14)
Here we have the army of angels, I believe, and then the army of Israel. The angels help from the vantage point of the spirit realm, while the Israelite soldiers fought with their swords and spears.
The Israelites were bringing the holy Law of God in the Ark of the Covenant into the midst of the demons who prevailed among the Canaanites. As long as the Israelites obeyed the Lord and lived a holy life they were victorious. God was judging the gods of Canaan.
Notice carefully that the spirit army was not on the side of Israel or on the side of the Canaanites. The spirit army always fights according to the will of God, not the will of man.
There are preachers today who are encouraging the believers to command the angels so the angels will do whatever the believer desires. I think this is not advisable. The angels are the angels of God. They obey no one but God.
The angels obey Jesus Christ because God speaks through Christ. The angels will obey us only to the extent that what we are doing and saying are the actions and words of Christ, who in turn is portraying the will of the Father.
The Christian people of our day may imagine they are ready to march against the enemy. But they often are doing so in their own strength and wisdom. They do not understand that the armies of Hell are preparing for the last great battle. The cunning of the lords of darkness far surpasses our Christian foolishness, immaturity, and self-will.
The Kingdom work of the last days will proceed only as Christ is able to find saints who will lay down their lives so He can express His Life and will in them. This is of supreme importance to understand, because we have an abundance of man-centered, man-devised programs being presented to us—humanistic plans to “save a lost and dying world.”
I believe we of today have a false vision of the Day of the Lord. We are picturing the Lord Jesus coming to take His Church to Heaven. This is not a scriptural vision. The true picture of the last days and the return of the Lord is that of a fierce battle and of a powerful army. This is what we should be envisioning. This is what we should be preparing for.
A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come. (Joel 2:2)
Some maintain that the passage above is confined to an invading army of locusts. However the text of verses one through eleven of Chapter Two of Joel is parallel to other passages that clearly are referring to the Day of the Lord.
Christians and Jews may be awaiting with glee for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven. They simply do not understand what they are facing!
Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light—pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? (Amos 5:18-20)
I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us. (Habakkuk 3:16—NASB)
The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue. Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed. (Micah 5:8,9)
The army of the Lord will attack all the peoples of the earth, including the sinners in Zion.
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones To judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:14,15)
The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” (Isaiah 33:14)
The above verses portray accurately the events that will accompany the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth. The Lord will return with His holy ones and wage war against Satan and all his works in the earth, including his works in the Christian churches.
Can you see from this what a false vision we are holding, of Christians being caught up merrily to Heaven? We have been deceived, but now God is opening our eyes to the Scriptures.
When the Lord Jesus departed the earth He ascended from the Mount of Olives. When He returns we will descend to the Mount of Olives, and then move toward Jerusalem with His armies.
Before He descends to the Mount of Olives He will take a position in the air above us and from there the vast multitude of saints who have accompanied Him from Heaven will descend and take up their bodies from their places of interment.
As soon as those saints stand on their feet in their resurrected and glorified bodies, the Spirit of God will come upon the living believers, those who truly are abiding in Christ, and will replace their blood with the Spirit of Life from God.
As soon as the great period of fellowship has been concluded, the entire host will arise as clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then the Lord and His armies will descend to the Mount of Olives and the Battle of Armageddon will commence.
Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zechariah 14:3-5)
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
The army of angels commanded by Michael is fully organized and ready to descend and install the Kingdom of God on the earth. What, then, is holding up the redemption of the earth?
The problem is, the army of saints, the army of judges, is not ready to march.
The beginning of the overthrow of Satan is discussed in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation.
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
This indeed is a momentous event. These will be terrible days for the people who live on the earth because Satan will be living here.
But why hasn’t Satan been cast down previously? Why has he been allowed to war against the saints from his position in the heavens.
The answer is, there have not been enough saints to overcome him. Now a godly remnant has come forth.
How did the remnant overcome the enormous red dragon?
- By the blood of the Lamb.
- By the word of their testimony.
- By loving not their lives even to death.
The blood of the Lamb gives us the authority to stand up against the accusations of Satan.
The testimony of our life must conform to God’s Word in thought, in word, and in action. We must live in iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.
I think the third area of overcoming is being emphasized in our day. Can Christ find believers who will cease from their own works, including religious works, and live in His will every moment of every day? This is the rest of God, and we enter it by faith. So few, it seems, are willing to follow Christ into death to self.
There is a remnant today who will meet these three criteria, casting all else aside that Christ may live out His Life and desires in them. When the Father has been totally satisfied that a Gideon’s army has been found, He will empower Michael to cast Satan down to the earth.
We are at this hour now, according to my understanding.
The harvest-rain revival is on the horizon, I believe, and when it has been fulfilled the days of the rule of Antichrist and of the Great Tribulation will be here. In order to stand and serve Christ during this epochal period we will have to die in the Lord. The night is coming when no man can work.
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)
If we are to be raised (or changed) when Christ appears we will have to die in the Lord in the present hour. Joel’s army consists of dead-living saints. They are crucified with Christ and Christ is living in them.
We must be prepared if we are to be ready to march with Christ. Our consecration must be total. We must be serving the Lord diligently, obeying God in all matters. We must be called, then chosen because of our consecration, then proven faithful throughout numerous testings that call forth from our personality every bit of dedication and obedience. We must surrender each of our idols as God puts His finger on them.
It is necessary we understand that the war is fought by judgment. The angels exercise the imposition of force against the wicked, but they cannot do this until judgment first has been handed down.
All judgment has been given to Christ by His Father. Now Christ desires to extend the authority of judgment to the members of His Body. God has created man to be His judges. The angels can enforce the decree once the judgment has been decided, but the angels cannot determine what is acceptable to God and what is not. Such judgment is not their responsibility.
Because the historic war we are approaching is conducted on the basis of judgment and not by force alone, each saint who would participate must himself first judged. We cannot judge until we first have been judged. Therefore our preparation for the coming conflict, our readiness to march with Christ, consists largely of removing the areas of spiritual darkness that are found in us. It is time now for this removal of darkness from us to take place.
I have identified some areas of darkness. There may be many more that will surface as the Spirit deals with us. The reader will get the idea and make his or her own list.
- A lying spirit.
- A devious, manipulative spirit.
- A treacherous, faithless spirit; lack of integrity.
- Self-centeredness; self-love; self-will.
- An ungrateful attitude.
- Self-interest rather than principle.
- A perverse spirit.
- A gossiping, slandering spirit.
- An undisciplined tongue.
- The spirit of fear, cowardice, timidity.
- Fear of change.
- Fear of success/fear of failure.
- A sense of inevitability.
- Dread, worry, apprehension, despair.
- Not trusting God for the future.
- Anxiety, nervousness because of the problems of life.
- A man-pleasing spirit, seeking the approval of people.
- Lack of self-esteem, self-worth.
- A willingness to bribe or be bribed
- A spirit of indulgence
- A spirit of rage and murder.
- The desire to kill.
- A suspicious spirit.
- A jealous, envious spirit.
- All forms of witchcraft including fortune telling, tea leaves, astrology, seeking to bring something to pass by imaging it or believing or speaking it into existence.
- A desire to be seen as mysterious or as having supernatural powers.
- A false spirit of prophecy
- Grandiose prophecy.
- Indifference, complacency, lukewarmness.
- Smugness, offensive satisfaction with oneself.
- Self-pity, pouting.
- Self-justifying, defensive.
- Blaming other people.
- Sensitive, easily offended.
- Disobedience to God.
- Arrogance and pride.
- Pride of station.
- Pride of knowledge, of intellect.
- Talkative, verbose, garrulous, glib.
- Narcissism, self-worship, conceit.
- Idolatry, unclean attractions, soul-ties.
- Personal ambition and seeking preeminence, discontent with one’s appointed place, desiring to be important.
- Seeking to control another person; possessiveness.
- Rebellion against God and other authority.
- Unloving, unkind, unfriendly.
- Insensitive to the needs of others
- Exhibitionism, showing off.
- A lust for pleasure and entertainment.
- Partying, dissipation, drunkenness, orgies.
- Excessive pessimism, optimism, and enthusiasm.
- A morbid attitude.
- Antipathies and affinities.
- Unforgiveness, bitterness, rancor.
- An impulsive spirit.
- A compulsive, driving spirit.
- A usurping spirit.
- Changeableness, capriciousness, fickleness, flightiness, whimsical
- Recklessness, rashness, presumption.
- Brash, impetuous, tactless, shameless behavior.
- Boasting and bragging.
- Exaggerating is an unclean spirit. God would have us speak only the truth.
- Stubborn, perverse, obstinate.
- Filthy speech.
- Grasping, anything we cling to, that we can’t let go of, is an idol.
- A spirit of physical lust, an addiction to pornography.
- Homosexual behavior, lust toward children, and other perversions.
- Frigidity, the inability to love or be loved.
- An inability to recognize and cope with evil; naiveté.
- A sentimental, overly sympathetic, maudlin spirit.
- Romantic thoughts.
- Nostalgia, romanticizing the past.
- Lack of self-control.
- Man-hating and woman-hating.
- Cruelty, meanness, abusiveness.
- Silliness, foolishness.
- A desire to be seen as rough, tough, and violent.
- Threatening, bluffing.
- Stealing and dishonesty are unclean spirits.
- Wickedness, badness, vileness.
- Malice and spite.
- Being without mercy.
- Taunting and mocking.
- Unbelief and doubt.
- Fear of a lack of money or of material provisions.
- A scornful attitude.
- Judging, accusing, faultfinding, and criticizing.
- Disdainful of others.
- The spirit of revenge, vindictiveness.
- Supplanting and defrauding.
- All forms of self-abuse, masochism, suicide, self-destruction, self punishment.
- Gluttony, including a desire for sweets.
- Substance abuse, drugs, alcohol.
- Laziness, sluggishness, carelessness; habitual lateness and forgetfulness when not due to age or illness.
- Quarreling, arguing, debate, contention, dissension, discord.
- An irritable, cranky attitude.
- Meddling, busybody.
- Officious, know-it-all.
- Divisiveness, factionalism.
- A religious spirit, loving doctrinal correctness and rituals rather than Christ.
- An inflexible, doctrinaire attitude.
- A proselyting spirit.
- Bombast, pompousness, pretentiousness.
- Affectedly dainty, precious, overrefined.
- Sarcasm, teasing, quipping, joking.
- Insolent, insulting, disrespectful, rude.
- Surly, churlish
- Double-minded, weak-minded unstable.
- The spirit of vandalism, of destruction without purpose.
- Love for and trust in the spirit of the world.
- Being angry with God.
- Physically dirty, unkempt, slovenly, disorderly, boorish, coarse, loutish.
- Forgetting our spiritual lessons; unteachableness.
Each one of the behaviors listed above has the potential to destroy relationships, to cause conflict. They must be removed from the creation of God. The removal begins with those of us who desire to be ready to march with Jesus Christ in the Day of the Lord.
It may be noticed that some of them, such as anger and reasoning, are clean or unclean according to the circumstances. Sometimes God is angry. Sometimes God reasons with us. But more often than not our anger is not righteous. Also, we do not reason our way to truth, we obey our way to truth. Isn’t that so?
It is true also that being physically dirty may have nothing to do with a lack of inner holiness. It may be due to circumstances beyond the control of the individual.
Today the Spirit of God is directing us to work with Him as He removes these traits from our personality. When one of them is pointed out to us we absolutely must:
- Confess it clearly to the Lord.
- Denounce it as being an unclean spirit, unworthy of the Kingdom of God.
- Renounce it firmly, declaring we want nothing more to do with this area of darkness for eternity.
- Draw near to the Lord Jesus Christ for refreshing in our inward nature.
- Resist this spirit through the strength Christ gives us, should it ever approach us again.
There is more to developing a holy, wholesome personality than driving out uncleanness by taking the five steps we have mentioned. There must be a committed Christian life, including cross-carrying obedience to Christ, if we are to grow into His image.
There are believers who are so profoundly upset that much counseling is needed before they will have the strength to press forward into full deliverance. Yet the biblical goal is the stature of the fullness of Christ, and this always must be our objective.
We must patiently cast off each one of these personality traits. Each one is a door through which Satan can enter and direct our behavior. None of them is permitted in the Kingdom of God. This battle shall be waged until Satan has no part in us.
Only then are we qualified and competent to serve as one of the Lord’s judges. Only then can Michael be guided and empowered to remove all the works of Satan from the earth.
(“Ready to March”, 3815-1)