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Preparing for the Translation
Becoming joined as co-laborers to the Lord’s work requires entry into understanding the way that He works. As is said, “He made known His ways to Moses” (Ps. 103:7).
Chief among the Lord’s ways is that He works by process. Things don’t just suddenly happen with God. They occur through purposed development and cycle. The entire creation witnesses to this. So too does the plan of salvation, which Jesus describes as one of planting, growth and harvest.
Within His ways of process, the Lord works by preparation. Preparation is the acknowledgement that the Lord’s saving processes don’t just happen by fiat, but require readiness on the part of those engaging them. This is true whether we are co-laborers in the processes or just the benefactors. (Readiness, for example, is required to receive healing as well as to enter into the ministry of healing.)
The Processes and Preparations of Salvation
Salvation is not just one single process, but embraces a series of stages, each marked by its own sub-development in the overall plan. Each stage requires its own preparation necessary to engagement.
This is true for instance of initial conversion. Hearers of the gospel must be ready to receive the gospel. A certain “plowing of heart ground” must occur (Jer. 4:3), enabling the hearer to enter into eternal life. Much evangelism is in fact ground plowing that prepares the hearts of people, seeking to incite hunger and thirst for eternal life, before it ever becomes a reaping of conversion.
This is true also of Spirit baptism. Though largely lost now in the minds of the “Spirit-filled” church, it remains that those to be truly saturated with (not just “dunked” and “washed over” by) the Spirit must come to a readiness brought forth by earnest prayer and seeking. That is the pattern established in Acts.
(It is also the pattern seen in birthing the modern Pentecostal movement. For years before the 1901 Topeka outpouring, numerous churches formed just out of intense prayerful search for fresh “fire baptized” Pentecostal power. It didn’t just suddenly fall out of heaven one day.)
Similarly, and as we are here to discuss, preparation is required for final translation, which involves its own process in the plan of salvation. As we approach the hour of rendezvous with the Lord via glorified immortality, the Lord is requiring a readiness through preparation in expectation of that change to glory. Only those so readied will be able to enter into that translation. (Mt. 25:1-13; Lk. 21:36; Rev. 3:3-4)
This means that to be ready for translation, a shift of heart must occur from focus on earthly endeavors to focus on heavenly expectation. Exhortations to a literal seeking of immortality and to new heavenly mindedness where Christ sits on the right hand of the Father must be heeded (Rom. 2:7; Col. 3:1-2). This especially requires a shift in our perception of the ministerial meaning of the “kingdom of God.”
The difficulty is that, throughout our earthly salvational sojourn, the Lord has created us for good works in Christ Jesus to accomplish here and now (Eph. 2:10). Those works have always been earth-directed, to be carried out until we inevitably “die.” They involve carrying out the mission and influence of God’s kingdom in this life to bring and mature still others into the foundations of faith and discipleship. And then we are “done.”
But as the growing season of salvation nears harvest to glorified life, our works are ordained to shift to a heavenly-preparatory focus—without expectancy of death!—where we no longer function from an earth-directed viewpoint, but from a fully heavenly-spherical vista, even as the angels have now, with whom we will be partnering. All this means that what diminishing earth-directed focus we still retain to that hour must become subject to this expectational shift.
Assumption: The Enemy of Preparation
As shifts into further stages of salvation draw near, the Lord specifically raises up preparational ministries to alert God’s people to their approach so we may re-orient our thinking (i.e., “repent”) into alignment with them. This is the ministry of the herald, the watchman and the forerunner. That ministry was originally uniquely personified in Elijah and John the Baptist, whose spirit is now in force again as we approach translation. (This ministry bears that spirit.)
Prior to the ministry of preparation, God’s people generally live under assumptions about what is to come. We are also oblivious to the fact that what is coming may be at our very doorstep. By assumptive knowledge of what has been prophesied to come, we believe we are therefore ready for it, just because we “know” it is to come. Therefore, there is nothing to “prepare” for. As such, we also usually take offense at any ministry that challenges such assumption.
Assumption of readiness for a prophesied event based in mere knowledge of its certainty is the enemy of preparation. It disables any possibility of participating in the event. Witness how few were those ready to recognize and receive the Messiah when He first came compared to the number of all Israel who “knew” He was coming.
The same is true now. And it is just as true among the supposedly illumined “prophetic” sector of the church as anywhere else. The truth is that, for generations the church has factually known of the “rapture” to come. But very few have ever believed any kind of preparation was required to participate in it. The church has assumed we will be translated just because we believe in the ancient prophecy of the translation.
Nothing could be further from the truth in the ways of God. The abundant exhortations to readiness already given by the Lord and His apostles—especially in Revelation—witness to the fallacy of this assumption. Indeed, the repentance call to preparation for translation is more imperative now than it ever was.
The Call to Prophetic / Intercessory Repentance
Again, what does preparation for translation mean? It means a shift away from earth-focused work, ministry and expectation toward spiritual devotion to the sense of the Lord’s imminence through round-the-clock prayer and the receiving of fresh preparational revelation from His Word, especially John’s Revelation.
It means that prayer and study into God’s heart and mind must become our way of life and daily bread. The irritating division between earthly attention and heavenly devotion must be reduced to where all earthly attention becomes subsumed within the expectation of the Lord’s appearing.
For the prophetic and intercessory sectors, this means a shift away from consumption with nation-focused burdens, and otherwise a subjecting of such legitimate burdens to the preparational mandate for translation. Right now, the bulk of prophetic / intercessory ministry thrives on belief that our “kingdom” focus is to change national cultures until some unknown point when Jesus will just assumptively magically appear to remove us all from the world.
Wrong! Such belief actually disables us from possibility for participating in the near term harvest to glory or receiving the real kingdom that can’t be inherited by flesh and blood. And when that change finally comes, the flashy mainstream ministry as we now know it will be found naked and ashamed, at a complete loss to understand how all their culture restoration prophecies could have failed and they could have been left behind.
The Tribulational Cure
The Lord and the apostles have made clear that nevertheless, the Lord will receive a great host to glory. The Lord will bring forth His full harvest of glorified salvation to His people. It will not be a mere remnant who enters final glory, but rather, “a great multitude that no one could count” (Rev. 7:9). How will this be so?
The Lord’s answer to the church’s earth-bound oblivion is the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation is designed to deliver the church from its failed unready state at the “thiefly” beginning of His return. It will destroy the spirit of assumption, driving the church rather to the intense preparatory intercession and seeking that might have otherwise delivered her ahead of it.
The church’s newfound motivation under trial will wipe out all the carnally-soiled national restoration beliefs as all the nations move toward final collapse (Rev. 16:19), bringing her through royal robe washing in the blood of the Lamb, purging her identity in Christ alone. That cleansing will ready the bulk of us for the final harvest gathering to glory at the end of that period. It will force the shift to heavenly-mindedness required to become translated.
But the good news is, we don’t have to wait for the Great Tribulation to do what the Lord is offering us now through our personal tribulations! We can hear the call to prepare for immortality by letting Him shift our focus off earth and onto Him, and by subjecting all our earthly promises, prophecies and burdens to our expectation for His appearing. That preparatory expectation purifies us so as to be able to enter our harvest to glorified life (I Jn. 3:2-3).
How to Prepare
To as many then as are able to hear it, hear this call to preparation for translation. Let the Lord lift you beyond this life’s personal and ministerial burdens to saturate you in the expectation of His appearing to you from within. Let adoration of the Lord, prayer and meditation on the Word govern your daily awareness. Make set apart time with the Lord your rule, not your exception. Live this way each day, one day at a time, becoming ever more sensitive to His Voice in the shadows of your spirit.
At the same time, distance your spirit from all voices of the world, far and near. Take distance from the “news” and especially social media, local, national and international. Believe none of it. Listen to no more than the Spirit allows you to safely hear for reflecting back to Him according to His purposes for you. Listen to nothing that stokes fear. Avoid vain conversations with anyone.
Also distance yourself from profitless discussions about the time of Christ’s return. Ignore empty arguments over “no man knows the day” and “but look at all the people who expected Him before and He didn’t come” and “but, you are so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good,” etc. These are all preparation-killers rooted in apathetic and assumptive unbelief. Let nothing kill your expectancy for the Lord’s appearing to you.
And finally, for the most devoted, steward your earthside burdens carefully. Do not let spiritual burdens for others or engagement of spiritual issues overtake your rest in the Lord’s Presence. Subject all terrestrial prayers, prophecies, intercessions and warfare to this rest and to this supreme watchfulness. By this, we will be so much better positioned to carry out our new assignments on the “other side” when we are taken. The transition may even seem seamless.
Be steadfast in these few maxims, and you will be found well prepared to answer the inner trumpet call at the midnight hour, stepping into your new Reality.
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Page created November 24, 2022