“Come Out of her…” Revelation 18:4
God is equipping His remnant people with an understanding of the times. It is not His desire that His very elect be deceived, thus He is raising voices in the wilderness to proclaim prophetic truth for this hour in which we live. This teaching is heavily influenced by several prophetic voices, including Joseph Herrin and Arthur Burt, who believe the mandate in Ezekiel 33:6,
“But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.”
This word is a shot across the bow of our proverbial boats to warn us, to encourage us, but most of all, to awaken us. Let us awaken from the slumber of self-will, presumption, and apathy that we may follow the steps that have been ordered for us since the beginning of time. Let us be willing to share this word with others and not shrink back when opportunity knocks.
Joseph Herrin recently wrote, “Babylon is a land of works where man must accomplish every task and fulfill every mandate. Babylon knows nothing of rest and faith. Oh yes, Babylon speaks very much about faith, but it is a faith that is rooted in man’s ability. Babylon’s faith is founded upon man’s ability to envision some end and to see it through. Babylon is built with blueprints, and planning sessions, and organization, and fund drives, and pep rallies, and the sweat of untold men and women. Then when it is all said and done and some project has come to completion, the people of Babylon feel justified to stand and proclaim:”
“Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built…by the might of my power…?” (Daniel 4:30).
“Zion, however, is not seeking to build anything of her own will and initiative. Zion is a people of faith. Zion knows that salvation is of the Lord, as is sanctification, and as is glorification. Zion does not labor to build a city, for she seeks a city not built with hands whose builder and maker is not man, but God. Zion does not seek to work for the approval of Yahweh, she works because she is approved by Yahweh…Zion is a city of rest. This does not mean that those who are of Zion are doing nothing, it means that they are doing nothing of their own initiative. They are doing those works that God prepared beforehand for them. They are not dreaming up their own works, nor are they stretching out their hands to labor in fields to which they have not been sent.”
In April of 1988 God began dealing with me about this very time in which we now live, and about understanding the difference between the World’s System and the Kingdom of God. He spoke a powerful prophetic word to me that has not only sent me on a quest to understand, but also produced life-changing events as slowly I am learning to walk in the Kingdom. It is my destiny to continue this search for truth, and share it whenever possible. A true watchman can not only see through darkness, but also articulate what is being shown. I pray the voice of the Lord is heard in this word (John 10:2-4).
It began on an afternoon jog with God speaking clearly, “Forego the world’s system for your reward and gain the Kingdom’s method of receiving. If you engage the world’s system you will be dependent upon it for your reward.” Without realizing it at the time, God was speaking Revelation 18:4 to me, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.” I knew I was being called out of something much better than anything I had experienced, but wasn’t sure of what. I also knew I was being called into something, but wasn’t sure of that either. Was it my business; was it my church, the town I live in, my group of friends, or simply my method of doing things? I didn’t have a clue. During much of the last sixteen years, God has revealed the dichotomous nature of these two systems, especially in the realm of personal experience. When I touched one system it produced life, while touching the other produced death. Experientially, I began to see a pattern.
I have touched the World’s System with severe consequences, while touching the Kingdom with equally drastic results on the opposite end of the spectrum. Some are aware of my testimony. You can argue my doctrine, but you cannot argue my testimony. As stated, one produces death, while the other produces life and it more abundantly. One is based upon my goodness, good ideas, good intentions, creative ideas, and motivations, while the other is based purely upon entering His rest, ceasing from my own works and being obedient to do what the Father has said.
These two systems are constantly competing for our alliance and affections. Most of our training, indoctrination, and natural inclinations are aligned with one, while the spiritual force of God, the peace within us, is aligned with the other. One is natural, the other Spiritual. One requires that we think, analyze, toil and strain to succeed (Genesis 3:17); the other requires prayer, hearing God, and obeying (Genesis 2:15). One requires us to work for things; the other allows things to work for us. One is based on works, the other based on obedience.
The amount of lordship that we maintain over our lives relegates which of these two systems we are most tied to. Again, self-will, coupled with intellectual logic and reason epitomize the World’s System, while faith, trust, hearing, and obeying God are aligned with the Kingdom. In the World little is accomplished without toil. Toil is work that is accomplished only with great and painful effort. We labor in the Kingdom of God, but the Lord’s yoke is easy and His burden light. In His Kingdom, far more is accomplished with less effort. All toil brings weariness, but the labor in Christ, regardless of whether it is secular or a Spiritual endeavor will bring rest and refreshment. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest in your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
The World’s System or Babylon in human form IS ME DOING MY OWN THING! Babylon is all about me; my ideas, my great works, my goodness, the righteousness I have attained for myself through my works. Much of what we see in the Institutional Church today is man doing man’s thing. Much of what we see with most Christians, and I include myself, IS ME DOING MY OWN THING! The system that I engage the most is the system to which I belong. Does the Spirit lead me, or am I led by my own ambitions, good ideas, intentions, and conveniences? Make no mistake about it; at the risk of redundancy, Babylon screams that righteousness can only come through works. God’s word says something different.
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:17,18).
“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about men!” (I Corinthians 3:18-21)
Most are caught short in understanding the Holy Spirit’s desire to guide and lead with specific instruction. There are others who have progressed beyond the point of the first group, but who will not yield to the Spirit when it is not convenient. And then there are those who after hearing a bit of God’s instruction act presumptuously calling their presumptive efforts GOD, and blaming Him when things don’t work out! This is not Sonship as described in Romans 8:14 “Those that are led by the Spirit of God are the Sons of God,” nor is it walking in the Kingdom. Those who truly walk in the Kingdom are completely yielded to the Spirit of God and will wait patiently upon the Lord to speak or move before they themselves move. If we are not completely yielded, we are yet engaging the World’s System because we remain dependent upon ourselves. The instant we divorce ourselves from self-dependency and self-will is the moment we enter the Kingdom and its benefits.
Perhaps we are beginning to see that Babylon is not a place or even a system as much as it is a condition of man’s heart. Much of what we call the Church today is an outcropping of Babylon, just as we could say about other physical evidences of Babylon; American corporations, the stock market etc., but these are simply limbs from the tree, not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is the condition of man’s heart, which says, “I don’t need God!” It is man’s supreme confidence in himself: his intellectual prowess, his expertise, his financial might, or political power. We see this spirit in individuals, institutions, governments, business, armies, churches, and sports to name a few.
Our ability to hear and obey is dependent upon the depth of our dependence upon Him. If we are not hearing, we are not depending, and many unfortunately have yet to learn to completely depend upon God. How dependent was Christ, who is our example, upon the Father (John 5:30)? TOTALLY!
Here is where the rubber meets the road. It is not enough to conform to Christ in outward form and actions. OUR CONFORMITY MUST BE INTERNAL. Without internal conformity we will never see true Kingdom life upon this earth, and we will be called “lawless” on our day of judgment. We can act like Jesus and even perform the way Jesus did, and still be rejected by heaven. What is internal conformity? Internal conformity is simply doing the will of the Father; seeking God, hearing His instructions, and obeying.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, BUT HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME: YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Matthew 7:21-23 in NIV calls those who are not submitted to the will of the Father, “evildoers.” How many well-meaning Christians do you know that are Spirit-filled, but not Spirit-led? God’s word calls them “evildoers.” How can you do the will of the Father if you do not regularly hear His voice? (John 10: 2-4) Have you seen those with extraordinary gifts to preach, heal the sick, do miracles, and yet felt no witness to them as strong men of God? Many prophesy, cast out demons, and perform miracles, yet do not do “the will of the Father.” These men, despite their outward appearance, are not walking in the Kingdom upon this earth, nor will they enter the Kingdom of heaven according to Matthew 7:21-23.
We can put on a show for, and even fool man with our external conformity to Christ, doing miracles, prophesying, and preaching the gospel, but until we line up inside with an internal conformity committed to hearing God and obeying, we are lying to ourselves and to the people we lead. Internal conformity is being the Father’s son; being led of the Father’s Spirit: a Romans 8:14 Sonship. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. He realized that of His own self He could do nothing (John 5:30), which really means that He had a revelation that any works outside the boundaries of the Holy Spirit’s leading would profit little. Jesus existed to do the will of the Father, and so should we. Lawlessness is acting on your own initiative independent of God’s Spirit. There are many Shepards leading sheep, who themselves have never become sons. The spirit of Babylon is alive and well and explains the chaos and powerlessness that we see in most churches today.
Jesus never did anything outside of hearing from God. He did nothing on His own initiative while remaining totally submitted to the government of God. He is our great example of what INTERNAL CONFORMITY is all about; He is our key to walking in the Kingdom upon this earth and the key to our entering the Kingdom of Heaven when our journey is finished. How can we have faith for what we have not heard: anything that is not done in faith is sin, so to move without hearing, to act without a confirming word (which often is the inner witness of the Spirit producing peace), is to act foolishly.
Through God’s mercy and grace, many of us have survived being Spirit-filled, yet not necessarily Spirit-led Christians. For some of us, the consequences have become greater and greater, the fire of the consequences revealing the level of importance in taking time to hear and obey. Those who have experienced these consequences have an incumbent responsibility to share this word and subsequent testimonies with those who have not. Let us become that voice in the wilderness teaching that there is much more to our Christian life than simply being Spirit-filled, that they too can become Spirit-led.