Joseph Herrin (10-25-2010)
“I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!”
The Greek word for “fire” is “pur.” It is the same root word from which we derive our English words pyre and pure. There are also associated words such as pyrotechnic, purify, purge, etc.. Yahweh, in His role as Creator, has established an indelible link between fire and purity in the midst of all He has made. On this terrestrial sphere, the surest way to purify most things is to subject them to the presence of fire.
The same is true about mankind. It was surely man that Christ had in mind when He uttered those words found at the beginning of this post. Man’s flesh was formed of the dust of the earth, and Christ has come to cast fire upon the earth. It is by experiencing fiery trials that we are made pure.
I Peter 4:12-14
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.
I Peter 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Yahshua Christ…
Most Christians are aware that there are especially severe trials prophesied for the end of the church age. As the woman (church) brings forth mature sons, she must experience birth pangs. The entire creation will also partake of these birth pangs, with the goal of bringing forth full stature sons in the image of God.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
Last year the Father directed me to purchase a school bus that had at some time been owned by a church. The bus is highly symbolic, Body by Carpenter, and speaks of that work the Father will perform in this last hour to purify a bride for His Son’s return. The only remaining symbol indicating that the bus had once been used by a church is found on the side.
Note the cross and the flame on the side of the bus. This symbol is used by the Methodist Church.
Although it certainly symbolizes something else to a church that has rejected the cross that Christ said every disciple must bear, the symbol of the cross and the flame are very relevant to all who would be Christ’s disciples. There is an afflicted path that leads to life, and few there are who find it. This path has been described by Christ and His apostles through the imagery of bearing a cross, and fire.
It is unpopular among Christians today to speak of suffering as the means by which Yahweh would purge, purify and refine every son. The apostle Paul testified that our heavenly Father will scourge every son whom He receives. If these sorrowful and painful experiences are not coming our way from the Father’s hand, then we are not sons (Hebrews 12). The church has forsaken the message that it is appointed to them, not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for His sake.
For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
Many who read this blog are familiar with my testimony. The Father has called me to be a pioneer and an explorer, going down this path of loss, sorrow, and suffering before the majority of saints in my generation. In 1999 I accepted the call of the Father to follow wherever He would lead. The path He appointed to me included rejection by fellow ministers and saints. I was put out of the church I was a minister in, and years later was told at another body that I could not teach or even take communion with them.
Among my extended family, I became a pariah. Surrender to the will of the Father, particularly when it leads to sorrow, pain, and difficulties, is rejected as sound doctrine among both those in and out of the church today. Yet, there is no doctrine that is more sound than the preaching of the cross. Tragically, the church accepts that Christ had to suffer while rejecting the concomitant truth that they too must suffer to be His disciple. When they reject this truth, they also reject those who are walking in truth.
Christ was not speaking idle words when He told those who were gathering around them that they could not be His disciple unless they hated father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and even their own life. There has always been only one method by which Yahweh purifies His sons and transforms carnal creatures into spiritual. It is through suffering.
The church today has adopted a theology that declares that all is accomplished by belief. The focus is upon thinking certain things about God and His Son. It is true that these things are important, but they are incomplete apart from a surrendered life. The Son of God was perfected by suffering, and so are all sons of God.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect…
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
I Peter 2:21
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps
This last verse is ignored everywhere by the church today. Believing things about the Christ is one thing. Even the demons believed, and they confessed that Yahshua was the Son of God. What, if anything, are the majority of Christians doing that is any different than that which the unclean spirits did?
And demons also were coming out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Son of God!” And rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.
What the demons were not doing is the same thing the majority of professing Christians are not doing today. They did not submit their lives to be ruled by the Son of God.
“And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
And what is it that Christ said? Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell us.
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.”
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it.”
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”
Thus, by the mouths of two of three witnesses, this testimony has been established. Yet, this message is rejected by the church today. They proclaim a message of Christian belief separated from the same radical obedience manifested by the Son of God.
People of God, my experiences of the past eleven years have been painful, but they have been profitable. I no longer have my own home and furnishings. I have become a stranger to my extended family, and my own wife and son have departed from me. The Father has preserved only one family member, my daughter Kristin, with whom I am in fellowship. The reason for this is obvious. She too has accepted the message of the cross, and of a life surrendered to be lived for the will and pleasure of Yahweh.
The experiences of the past eleven years have included a heart attack as discipline for my uncontrolled appetite for various foods that please my flesh. It has included periods of homelessness, and three years spent at an inner city Rescue Mission. These experiences have even included time spent in jail for obedience to the Son of God.
I am fully persuaded that none of these experiences would be uncommon among Christians in Western nations today if the church was embracing the cross. It is only by rejecting the cross, by refusing to follow Christ wherever He would lead, and to do whatever He would require of them, that Christians are able to maintain such comfortable lives of ease.
Christ, however, is not coming back for a sensual, unwashed, sin stained, and immature body. He is coming back for those who have made themselves ready. He is coming back for a bride who has been washed through the fire and has come forth pure.
The past few days I spent time building beds and shelves in the bus the Father has called me to convert into a fit habitation.
Beds in the Bus
The bed frames are seen in the picture above. The area above the beds will be used for storage. There will be a curtain suspended from under the shelf along the edge of the bed near the aisle to provide privacy. Paneling will be on either end. There will be a wall and doorway on the side of the beds closest to the camera to separate the bedroom from the rest of the living space. I also left enough room between the beds and the bathroom for storage. The space will easily accommodate several of the standard size rubber storage containers on either side.
The beds were placed in this location due to the wheel wells, which can be seen under the beds. You may notice that the wood used for the beds is stained. I was able to use some lumber stored under the edge of a shed that randy Simmons had collected about ten years ago when working on a construction job. Much of the wood in the stack has been eaten up by termites, and some has water damage, or stains, but I was able to find suitable solid lumber among it for this project.
When I went to pick out a paint to be used on the beds, I was drawn to a paint made by Behr that is called Ultra Pure White. How does one become Ultra Pure? Only by being subjected to the fire.
Beds Painted in Ultra Pure White
The paint I selected was both a primer and a painter. It was also the most expensive paint I looked at, being about $36 for a gallon. It required two coats to seal in and cover the stains in the wood. This too is a parable. The Father is able to take men and women whose lives are soiled by the filth of sin and this world, and to make them come forth in purity. There is a cost to obtaining this righteousness. It is not obtained simply by confession and belief in a set of doctrines. It is acquired through affliction.
And one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?” And I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.”
There is a cross and a fiery path set before all who would be disciples of Christ. The first things (Revelation 21:4) must be experienced in order to attain to the joy unspeakable that is soon to be seen. Let us also set our eyes upon the joy before us, that we might endure the cross.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
End Note: To be apprised of what is happening in America, an insightful perspective can be found in this six minute video by a retired Lt. General in the U.S. military.
Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
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