Part III (continued)
A Strategy For Surviving The Flood
"As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." Mt. 24:37-39
"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Hab. 2:14
I don't know what it must have been like for those living in Noah's time when it first started to rain. I'm not sure whether the people had seen rain or not. But given the kind of raucous pleasure-drunk sort that they were, I imagine a lot of them were at first fascinated by the rain, even giddy about it. I imagine that when the showers first started, many were out there just frolicking and splashing around, having a big bash. But it wasn't long before the reality would set in. Soon these people would realize that this novel thing in which they rejoiced was come to destroy them.
Like the storm in Mt. 7, Noah's flood is also a prophetic type of the last days outpouring of the Spirit. Habukkuk describes an end time flood of the Spirit where the knowledge of the Lord's glory overflows the whole earth. If we see this as the meaning of both Noah's flood in Mt. 24 and the storm in Mt. 7, a whole new understanding unfolds before us—one that helps us perceive the true nature of our dilemma and develop a strategy for solving it. Here in Mt. 24, Jesus is telling us that the "Spirit storm" in Mt. 7 will reach such proportions that it will parallel Noah's flood for worldwide catastrophic effect. There will eventually be no refuge from the Spirit's presence—including His mucky byproduct of fleshly delusion—as He mounts to become an earthwide tidalwave preparing the coming of the Son of Man.
What we have called the "Latter Rains" of the last 100 years have been but the opening scattered showers of what is to become an inescapable torrential downpour. This rain will not stop. Nor will it remain localized. Eventually the entire sky will rain worldwide. The scattered pentecostal ponds and streams resulting from these rains will eventually become an earth-covering flood that leaves no dry ground. Every church, yes, all flesh—even all the earth—will have to deal with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and with the laodicean garbage it churns up—whether they want it or don't, whether they believe in it or not. There will be no church that will be "safe" from this flood. Even the most Spirit-rejecting fundamentalist churches will eventually be unable to hide from it.
Seeing the Spirit's outpouring as an inescapable flood puts our dilemma into a new light. As we ponder how to preserve our relationship to the Truth, the option of whether we will engage the Comforter in the process is stripped from us. No longer is the question, "Should we risk engaging the spirit-filled community or should we isolate?" The question now is, "Since His flood is inevitable, how shall we survive in the Truth amid the tide?"
- The Sea Lovers and "Landlubbers": Two Failed Responses to the Flood
Basically, there have been two general responses to the Spirit's surge in the modern church. One is from those who welcome the power of the Comforter with abandon, viewing His coming itself as the end of salvation. These are people who love to play in the rain and love to swim. They love the ocean and flock to places where there are tropical downpours. They are spiritual Hawaiians whose battle cry is, "Surf's up!" Their ability to swim speaks of their skill in the anointing. These saints know all about the Comforter's ministries and know how to artfully minister their gifts within His gracious flow in the spirit-filled community.
The only problem is that this surfing set cannot swim long enough in the sea they love to ride out a worldwide flood. The rain they adore now is soon to put the water over their heads forever. At present, they have the luxury of coming back out on the beach when they get tired, and in from the rain when they've had enough. But eventually, there will be no more beach and no more beach houses! What then? This is the plight of the deluded (or shall we say "deluged?") church that loves the Comforter. By virtue of this misguided fleshly devotion, these who trust in the anointing become the debris that muddies the waters for others.
But then there are the "landlubbers." These are the people who don't mind the sea as long as it's 100 miles away. They fear the sea and the rain. Most of them do not know how to swim and don't want to know. Others know how to swim, but have had bad experiences where they nearly drowned. All these people are persuaded of the ocean's dangers and believe that their salvation can only be found on land. "Higher Ground" is their hymn of choice. These saints are spiritual Arizonans who prefer the mountains—and they are expert climbers. The land represents the structure of their understanding as they interface with the word of God. The mountains represent the heights of their understanding, study, and devotion to the Scriptures.
With each increasing surge of the Spirit in the church, the landlubbers simply pull up stakes and move to a higher elevation. So far, that has not been too hard to do. But despite their trust in higher ground, the tidal surge of the Spirit is still going to overtake them sooner or later. "Tidal Wave—Coming to a Church Near You!" could be the spiritual marquee of the hour. Eventually, the highest peak of human understanding will be covered by the flow of the Spirit.
- The Lovers of Truth: Caught in the Middle
In between these two courses are those of us who love the Truth. Having tasted of the Father's intimacy, we turn one way to look at the land, and know that saving truth is not preserved there. The land sustains only a form of truth, but is dead and dry. And the sea is going to overtake it anyway. We can never become scripturally brilliant enough to outclimb the Spirit.17
But then we look at the sea. And though we recognize it is of God and that we need its moisture, we see that the truth is not in it either. Salvation cannot be found by swimming the flood. It is going to swallow us anyway! We can never become skilled enough in anointed ministry to outswim the Spirit and preserve ourselves from delusion.
The truth is neither in the land nor in the sea. It is only found in us"—Christ in you, the hope of glory." Yet our inward truth also tells us we must somehow negotiate the sea if our relationship with the Lord is to survive at all, never mind fulfil its purpose. Whether we love the sea or fear it, the fate that awaits us all is the same—death by drowning. What we need is a strategy for developing in the Father's truth that shows us how we can permanently ride on top of the flood of the Comforter, and turn what would destroy us into that which will save us.
There remains but one solution...
Part III cont..... Building An Ark For The Soul