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Graduality, Suddenness & the Visionary Internality
of the Second Coming
There is an inexplicable graduality yet suddenness to the coming of the Lord we are in process of encountering. I have always felt that the picture of the dawning day best portrays this reality—the graduality of the light in the sky and the suddenness of the first ray that actually pierces the horizon.
The day of the Lord has been seriously dawning now for about 180 years, though as with the dawn, it is impossible to pinpoint when dark first sees the lightening of the sky. In all cases, we still await the true piercing of the horizon in which the Son of God actually appears to an immortalized people. Many have and continue to mistake the glow of dawn for the fully risen day.
Something to keep in mind is that the dawning of the Lord’s day is a “visionary” event. That does not mean what it sounds like. It does not mean that the coming of the Lord is something that happens only in what we call a “vision.” No. What I mean is that the coming of the Lord is an event that happens as much from the inside of human spiritual perception as it does from the outside.
It requires an internalized transformation to actually be able to “see” the coming of the Lord. The Lord can come as the sun, but if you are blind, you won’t know that He is here because you won’t see Him, even though He is indeed here. As John Wesley so oft taught based in Hebrews, “Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.”
So the sun rises gradually and then pierces the horizon. But one must still have eyes to see it happen. It will happen whether one can see it or not. And one can only benefit from it if he can see it. This is why the Lord says the day of the Lord comes as an unexpected, unperceived “thief in the night.” Those taken are the ones who have the eyes to see Him when He comes.
This brings me back to Margaret MacDonald’s astounding 1830 vision of the Lord’s coming in just these terms. (For those unaware, this is the seminal vision that birthed the modern carnalized perception come to be known as the pre-tribulation rapture.) Here again is what she said:
Here I was made to stop and cry out, "O it is not known what the sign of the Son of man is; the people of God think they are waiting, but they know not what it is." I felt this needed to be revealed, and that there was great darkness and error about it; but suddenly what it was burst upon me with a glorious light. I saw it was just the Lord himself descending from Heaven with a shout, just the glorified man, even Jesus; but that all must, as Stephen was, be filled with the Holy Ghost, that they might look up and see the brightness of the Father's glory. I saw the error to be, that men think that it will be something seen by the natural eye; but 'tis spiritual discernment that is needed, the eye of God in His people….
I said, "Now shall the people of God have to do with realities... now shall the glorious mystery of God in our nature be known... now shall it be known what it is for man to be glorified." I felt that the revelation of Jesus Christ had yet to be opened up... it is not knowledge about God that it contains, but it is an entering into God... I saw that there was a glorious breaking in of God to be....
I felt that those who were filled with the Spirit could see spiritual things,... while those who had not the Spirit could see nothing... so that two shall be in one bed, the one taken the other left, because the one has the light of God within while the other cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven.
So it is that internal visionary capacity must meet the external reality of the Lord’s physical appearing. The Lord is physically real now. He sits glorified at the Father’s right hand. He sits with the same body in which He ascended and was beheld and touched by the disciples. With that same body He returns over the horizon, whose glow we have long known. But He will still only be seen by those with internally transformed eyes, a transformation that corresponds to their entrance into immortality.
As John said, “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” And as the angels said, “He shall come in the same manner you have seen Him go”—not just meaning the mode of return, but the conditions surrounding it—returning to appear only to those few followers ready to see Him since His resurrection, remaining otherwise present but invisible to all others during those 40 days. “In that manner shall He come,” is what the angels were saying.
He will be here, and so will the immortals. Heaven will have indeed at last come to earth in full manifestation. And yet that manifestation will not be evident to the world nor even to those who have His Spirit but insufficiently to connect with the perception of His arrival. (At what point the “every eye shall see Him” phase of His return kicks in and the decisive world overthrow and replacement is carnally manifest, I don’t feel compelled to answer right now. It will be enough to me to be able say “He really is here!”)
Visions like the one below only confirm the increasing intensity of the glow and imminence of “The Appearance,” and the change to immortal glory synced to it.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve out spent the visionary capacity I have, finding myself deeply unsatisfied and now more aware of my blindness of what is to come than of what I can see at the level to which I have attained. I’m ready for another new internal birthing to glorified vision. I would want to believe that it could be that “final” transformation that meets His appearing.
But a reality check gives me pause, suggesting we are still not really there yet. (I’m sure Margaret probably felt she was ready too in 1830!) I’m all for another round of glory in fulfilling of present prophetic destiny as we still know it in the flesh. But wouldn’t it really be nice if…?
Whatever the change at hand, I eagerly await and welcome it.
Be blessed as you ponder the following.
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
THE MOUNTAIN AND THE CITY
by Kriston Couchey
Dangling from the edge of the cliff, I struggled once again to pull myself up unto the level plain before me which capped the top of the mountain. At least one hundred times in the last 10 years I had come to this same place in my climb only to lose my grip and fall back down with bumps and bruises to a ledge far below the cloud line. Many times I had passed above the clouds in my journey into a place of clear vision only to slip and fall back down again confused.
This time, as I inevitably began to slip again, a voice rang out to me, "Do you trust me?" It was Him! He appeared in brightness before me with an outstretched arm. I knew in my heart now why I fell so often. I felt fear! Fear of losing my own life. The same fear the Israelites in the desert felt when the clouds and smoke covered the holy mountain and they ran because they feared to die. This fear was really unbelief in Father’s ability to take care of me if I let go of everything; even my own life!
I then realized that letting go of my own life was His goal all along, and the struggle to save my life must end now. Fear did not leave, but I made the choice, like a little child I reached out to His outstretched hand and surrendered to the unknown, Trembling I reached out and said, "Yes, I trust you..."
I wept as His presence surrounded me and I was swept up in His arms of love. Fear vanished and what overtook me was peace. I no longer had any need to worry, I was standing in a broad place with His love and peace overshadowing me and I was safe, but more importantly, He was my God. He had told me years ago that He would be my God, and now I knew He was. He said, "It's not that you tried, it's that you died! Your trying and finding only failure led you to the end of yourself, trying was never going to get you unto this level plain.”
It was my Father who held me dear and spoke tenderly to me. I was wrapped in His continual presence that drove out all my fears and blanketed me with peace. I had been here before, but only as a revelatory experience to help me press on to seek out this place with Him. I began to realize that what I had seen and experienced as divine revelation in the Spirit had now become a reality.
“You have been a witness to the truth”, He said. “Up till now you have been given revelation as a witness to others of the truth I have been speaking to them. By the mouth of two or three is something established; My Spirit and the revelation given to my many witnesses have helped establish my kingdom in the hearts of my children who have been seeking me. But, the day of simply being a witness of revelation alone is coming to an end, and the day of the manifestation of that revelation is beginning.
The brightness of His glory kept me from seeing His form clearly, but I could now see His eyes; eyes of love that were swirls of fire. I then asked the question, “But, what about those witnesses who have not made it here yet? What will become of them?” He replied, ‘There are still more that will overcome and meet me here. But, at this time many of my witnesses have themselves been overcome.
He then stretched out his hand and pointed to the plains below the mountain. “Behold Babylon!” He said. As far as my eyes could see on the plain below, there was a mass of humanity as the sea, churning, moving, and crashing together in confusion. In the midst of this sea of humanity was a large city set upon seven hills. I realized that much of the churning and motion was from the movement of people and beasts bearing burdens in and out of the city. They were bearing these burdens to and from the four corners of the plain which seemed to have no end.
The city itself was sprawling, and it was hard to see where it began and ended. It was built as a mass of confusion with no regular pattern to its towers and buildings. Yet all of its structures were made out of worthless material; shards of broken wood, hay, and stubble.
And as I looked more closely I saw that the burdens borne by beasts of burden and men were the same worthless materials, yet men were hoarding and trading these “treasures” as if they were precious.
My eyes then followed a trail of traders to the base of the mountain upon which I stood. To my shock I saw that much of the mountainside was covered with small enclaves of buildings made out of the same worthless materials. Most of these people milling about the structures below the level of the clouds, yet I could see through these clouds without difficulty. A few who had traveled above the clouds were busy climbing. The numbers of people on the mountain were not as numerous as those on the plain, but the trading of the goods of Babylon back and forth among the separate enclaves had the same effect of confusion that dominated the masses on the plain.
“Who are those people?” I asked, pointing to those on the mountain. He replied, “Some of these are journeying their way to the top of the mountain as you have already done. Others who have built and settled on the mountainside have been overcome by the lure of Babylon.”
In horror I began to recognize some of the people and places that on my journey that I had once tried to become part of and left in dissatisfaction. At the time of my travels, these places had seemed so elegant and alluring. But from the top of the mountain their appearance was that of disheveled and appalling shanty towns, fashioned together with wood, hay, and stubble.
“These places were built by those given my revelation and gifts to help men come to the top of my mountain,” He said. “Many of these like you also had revelation of the top of the mountain, and gathered men unto themselves to share that revelation. They have built their shanty towns of wood, hay, and stubble around the very revelation and gifts they were given to bring people here.”
I then noticed some of the enclaves had signs that read “The New Jerusalem” He continued speaking, “Many of these have had a revelatory vision of the New Jerusalem, but have settled for the praise of men, and have believed the delusion that they are building the Holy City.”
I noticed that some dissatisfied people were leaving the larger enclaves and beginning to make the trek up the mountain. Others, who had also recognized the bankrupt state of the shanty towns, began to gather themselves in smaller groups and began building their own disheveled shanties apart from everyone else. To my amazement they began building again what they had just left, only smaller. Everything built by man on the mountainside was simply an extension of the nature of Babylon; in fact every structure on the plain and on the side of the mountain looked like Babylon.
Then He spoke, “When Satan offered the nations of the world to the Son he offered the Babylon you see. Satan thought these manmade glories were a treasure the Son could not refuse. But, the Son saw the works of men’s flesh for what is was; wood hay and stubble, and so has everyone who has made it to the top of My Mountain. These shanties are the works of men, built by the wisdom of men, in order to make a name for themselves.”
I queried again, “If this is your mountain, how is it that these are building upon your mountain with wood, hay, and stubble?”
He answered, “They remain because I am merciful and patient. I have sent prophets to warn these of the dangers of their mixture. These places also serve the purpose of causing those truly seeking me to recognize Babylon for what it is and move up higher in their journey. ”
The Day will reveal all men’s works for what they are, and that which is not of me will be burned up, and that Day is now come upon men.
I had one more question, “So what is this mountain?” He replied, “This is the place where heaven meets earth, where the divine becomes one with creation. This is the mountain spoken of in the book of Daniel which dashes to pieces the nations of the earth and covers the whole earth. It is My Unshakable Kingdom!”
THE HOLY CITY
He continued, “You have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.” I dared to ask, “If this is mount Zion, then where is the heavenly Jerusalem? I don’t see any city.” It was then that I began to see His form clearly, and to my surprise Jesus Himself stood before me, I looked to His eyes and saw they had not changed; it was the same eyes of love swirling with fire. To add to my recognition He said, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father. I AM one with my Father.”
It was then I saw others gathered in robes of white on top of the mountain singing praise to God. Companies of angels surrounded these worshippers unified in worship to God. He said, “You can only see the New Jerusalem clearly when you see me clearly. These gathered here ARE the New Jerusalem. These are the city prepared as a bride for her groom! This is my bride, the one whom I have chosen to become one with! I will dwell in and with her forever and my glory shall be seen in her and upon her.” The contrast of what I had seen of the nature of the city below and the nature of the city above made me speechless as it sank into my being the meaning of what I just heard.
He said, “These are my witnesses who have overcome by the blood of the lamb, the word of their testimony, and have not loved their lives (the carnal mind) unto death. These are my brothers, and sisters the sons of God who have chosen the narrow way and made the same journey of death to self you have made. The number of overcoming witnesses is reaching completion. Just as at Pentecost 120 persevered until my coming, so I have a remnant that have persevered and overcome to bear witness with My coming Glory. I have been gathering unto Myself the firstfruits that shall bear witness that the King has come and the Day of the Lord is here.”
He then disappeared, but the sense of His presence and peace within me and around me was palpable and I knew He had not left me, I turned to behold the wonderful scene of complete unity of worship and adoration to God with the accompanying angels and my heart wept in praise to God! His Spirit spoke from within me, “Go and join them, you have a place among them!”
I stepped forward led by the Spirit to an open space between two worshipers and for a brief moment looked around and noticed a few I knew and loved, but fewer than I expected. It seemed people from every race of men were joined together in a song of praise that rose higher and higher. I wept with joy and love toward my Father at the sound of it. I began to sing the deep crying in my heart and it began to form into a song that fit in perfect harmony with those around me. Joy and peace like a river flowed from our hearts as the song continued.
Suddenly the Spirit spoke within and said, “Look around you!” I looked around me at the others worshipping and saw a resemblance to Jesus in each one that I had not noticed before. I then looked into the eyes of these and saw the same eyes of love swirling with fire that I saw in both Father and Son.
Suddenly from within me the Son began to speak, “The top of this mountain is the heavenly place where heaven has already come to earth, where My will is done on earth as it is in heaven; it is the merging place of these two realms. These who have overcome and abide on this mountain ARE in heaven and on earth at the same time; and are even now one with heaven and with each other, even as I am one with my Father. But their oneness is founded upon a greater truth; they have become one with Me and My Father. It is in this oneness with My Father (that what is true unity) and I that the people below will know that I have been sent of My Father.”
Then Father himself began to speak within me, “The day of My Son’s coming is here, but it is beyond the scope of men’s understanding or ability to grasp as to how He is coming to men. The Holy City descending out of heaven comes as ONE with the Son and one with Heaven, He is coming in and among the Holy City, the Bride, My sons, My witnesses, as they descend to the valley below bearing witness with the Presence of My Glory in and upon them. They will bear witness first to those who are on the mountain, and then to all the earth. All that is wood, hay, and stubble will be burned as Babylon falls in the face of My Glory. Even those who have seen by revelation what is about to transpire cannot fathom what is happening, it is beyond the ability of men to comprehend.”
“As my sons go forth, this mountain will cover all the earth, for it is my kingdom, and all the earth shall be covered with My Glory as the waters cover the sea. The earth itself will be renewed as heaven and earth merges and becomes ONE as a result of My coming in and among my sons, and all that is not of me will be removed.” Suddenly, as if by silent command, the sounds of worship ceased as the host of those in white stood side by side in perfect alignment prepared in silence ready to move out. An angel put a trumpet to his lips and prepared for a blast. The Spirit within me cried, “Behold He Comes!!”
Behold, I come quickly; hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown. He that overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out no more, and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God which is the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from and with my God, and I will write upon him my new name.
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Page created August 16, 2014