"End Time Generation"  (February 2011)

I, for one, believe that we are living in the time which the Bible refers to as “The Last Days”.  Every time we turn around we are hearing prophecies concerning the last days.  One prophecy that continues to come up, from many different sources, is that God is raising up the young people in this generation to do exploits for Him.  There is coming a great revival among the youth of the land and they are going to be the ones who get a hold of the fire of God and turn their world upside down for Him.  Personally, I am thrilled.  I want to see this happen.  I want the youth to get a fresh revelation of who Jesus is and take it everywhere they go.  I have tried to help young people by encouraging them to seek the Lord and mentoring several who have a call on their lives.  The devil has fought the youth of this nation so hard for so long, I want to see them turn from him and wholeheartedly turn to Jesus.  I do believe that the Lord is doing this.

But at the same time I hear these prophecies, I have wondered where the older generation fits into all this.  When you hear these prophecies, it leaves you with the impression that the rest of us had our chance and missed it, now the Lord is turning it over to another generation.  I couldn’t help but wonder- have “we”, us who are older and served God for longer, missed the day of our visitation?  Is it too late for us?  Did we really have our chance and blew it?  If that is the case, then it leaves us feeling hopeless.  What is the use?  Why try, if it’s too late?  How discouraging!

As I pondered this the Lord spoke to my heart and gave me a renewed hope.  He wants me to share it with you.  “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)  Most often the definition of “generation” in the dictionary, and in the Bible, deals with a group of individuals who were born around the same time and are in the same age category, or live in a particular time span.  But this is not always the case.  In the verse above the word generation means:  to become a particular people; kind; family; the aggregate of many individuals of the same nature, kind, sort.  It is not necessarily referring to age specifically, but to any group of people which have a common bond.  Those who have received Jesus Christ as Savior have come into the “family” of God; are of like precious faith; make up the Body of Christ.  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1;12)  “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” (1 John 3:1a)  “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:10)  We are now ”God’s people”- through faith in Jesus Christ.  So this verse is not talking about a generation in the sense that we usually understand what a generation is- a certain age bracket or period of time.  It is talking about a people who belong to God.  “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)

I believe that God is raising up a people (a generation)- not just one certain age group- in these last days that will show forth His praises.  We tend to “categorize” and “separate” people- even in the church.  We break them down into groups- by age, by gender, by race, by denomination, by ministry gifting, by appearance, by financial status, by education, etc.  Separated we cannot fulfill the work that Jesus left for us to do.  This is why I believe this end time generation is not referring to only the youth.  “And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised, because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].” (Hebrews 11:39,40- Amplified Bible)  The writer of Hebrews was instructed by the Holy Spirit to pen these words because we all (the whole family of God, even those who have gone on before us in death) are not complete, or made perfect without each other.  This being the case, how can one “age specific group” be complete without the rest of us.  Still yet the scriptures say, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16)  As the Body of Christ and family of God, we are joined together and supply what the next one needs. 

Let’s look a moment at the children of Israel in the wilderness.  From this account, I believe we can see a spiritual parallel of sorts about what this “end time, chosen generation” will be like. 

The people who entered into the Promised Land were the last generation in the wilderness.  There will be a final generation on earth that one day will be leaving “this wilderness” heading to our “promised land”.  “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13)  “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2:11)

These are the characteristics of this last generation: 
“Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:  Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me.  Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.” (Numbers 14:28-30)  

Because of their unbelief a whole “generation” (those who were over twenty years old) did not enter into the Promised Land, but died in the wilderness.  The only ones who were allowed to enter in were Joshua, Caleb, those who were under twenty years old at the time they refused through unbelief to enter into the land the first time, and those who were born after that while in the wilderness.  So we see that this final generation was comprised of everyone ages sixty and under.  They weren’t divided into individual age groups.  They went out of the wilderness and into the land as one company- each had their individual gifting and part to play but they were one unit.  This end time generation that will show forth God’s glory will be unified (one company)- in one mind and one accord with one purpose.  “That ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27b)  “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” (Acts 2:1)  “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5,6)  “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.  Till we all come in the unity of the faith.” (Ephesians 4:3,4,13a)

They will be one group, but diverse.  “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:16-18)

This generation will come out of the “wilderness”.  Those places where their faith in God has grown and their trust in Him has increased.  They know that He has been their source and provider and that it is nothing that they posses on their own.  They know that He is powerful and faithful to His promises.  He has proven Himself to them over and over in the difficult places they have walked.  They have wrestled with the forces of darkness and have overcome, coming through the temptations strong in the Lord and the power of His might.  “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.” (Luke 4:1,2,14)

They are those who have had their hearts “circumcised”.  “Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.” (Joshua 5:5)  “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.  And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” (Deuteronomy 10:16;30:6)  Circumcision of heart means to cast away from yourself all corrupt affections and inclinations, which hinder you from fearing and loving God and yielding to His will.  

The children of Israel “came out”- they came out of that dry and barren wilderness into a land that was flowing with milk and honey.  What I see happening is a “generation” (a group of God’s people) that are “coming out” too- in a spiritual sense.  There is a group of people who have come out of the mindset that Christianity it all about “church”.  Christianity is about a relationship with a Loving Savior who purchased us with His own blood on the cross.  It is about surrendering to His lordship over your life.  It is about dying daily and taking up your cross.  It is about following Him- wherever He goes and wherever He leads, regardless of the cost or sacrifice that it may entail.  Christianity is not about the church building and the activities that take place there, it is about the Kingdom of God.  This generation that is raising up at this time is becoming more and more Kingdom minded.  “And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.  And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” (Luke 4:43; 9:2)

As you know there was a terrible earthquake in September 2010 that hit the town of Christchurch in New Zealand.  Although it was a 7.1 earthquake, no one, thankfully, was killed.  Recently, I learned that there was a minister who wanted to hold an outdoor worship event to publicly thank God for showing mercy and goodness to the area by sparing lives.  As he was organizing the event he was getting much support, including from the Christchurch City Counsel.  Everything was falling into place until he went to the church leaders.  There was not one who was interested in being a part of the worship event.  Some said they would not support it, others said they would not attend, and some did not even return his phone calls.  The Pentecostals, Charismatics and Evangelicals of Christchurch had made virtually no public sound at all, but the secular world did- they picked up on it and held a free concert for the people.  This is not the end of the story.  On February 22, 2011, another earthquake hit Christchurch.  This time many died and buildings collapsed- including several churches.  The AP News story reported:  "The churches that dot the city felt some of the worst of the temblor's wrath.  Spires toppled, stained glass windows exploded, walls cracked and masonry fell... Outdoor services also were held at other churches and at a library, where attendees arrived on bicycle or on foot and sat in folding chairs..."  Fox News described what happened- "Parishioners came together Sunday in parks and on the lawns of churches broken in New Zealand's earthquake to pray for the dead and missing.  They sought togetherness and an answer to the question on everyone's mind: Why?"  In one article I read, the writer said the February quake was actually an “after shock”.  Why do I bring this event up?  I am not saying that I am a prophesying but God uses symbolism to reveal many things to us- the Bible is full of it.  It is interesting that an earthquake of this magnitude- 7.1- hit the town of Christchurch and did not do any damage.  It was intended to be an attention-getter.  Perhaps what happened at “Christchurch” is symbolic of what the Lord is doing in “His” church.  I believe He is beginning to shake His church and get our attention.  If we don’t acknowledge Him in it, we too might face an “after shock”.  The Bible says that He will shake the things that remain and that judgment begins first at the house of God.  If we refuse to get out from behind our four walls, if we refuse to come together in unity, if we refuse to give God the glory and honor that He deserves, if we don’t fulfill the Great Commission and touch lives that are hurting for Jesus, then the “after shock”- repercussions of our actions, or lack of them- might be what it takes to get us refocused.  “They sought togetherness and an answer to the question on everyone's mind: Why?"  Will He have to bring a “shaking” to get us focused on His kingdom instead of on our buildings and religious programs?  Is that what it will take, or will we humble ourselves and begin once again to “seek first His kingdom and righteousness”?  In regard to the end time generation let me say that if God does bring a shaking to His church, it is because He loves us and desires that we all be included as part of this generation. 

We have been talking about this end time generation.  There is one more thing that I want to mention from the story of the Israelites in the wilderness.  Not only did they “come out” but they “went in”.  Those who came out of the wilderness were those who possessed the land.  You might be going through a wilderness trial at the moment.  It may seem as though there is no end in sight.  It may look as though you will die there.  There is no sign of life, everything seems dead.  Don’t despair, remember what we read about Jesus.  It was after He went through the wilderness that He came out in power and began the work of proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven.  Our wilderness experiences empower us.  It is after them that we emerge more powerful for the Lord’s use.  There is a transformation that takes place in the wilderness- old things die and new things are born.  “And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.  And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise:  All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.” (Joshua 5:3,4)  Not only did all the people over a certain age die, but all the men of war died too.  The warriors that took the promise land were a new “breed”- born in the wilderness.  They had not got their training from Egypt (the world).  They were newly circumcised- representing a fresh dedication to the Lord.  It took this kind of warrior to drive out the enemy and possess the land.  If we are going to take the land from the enemy and possess it for Christ, we are going to have to become a “new” person.  A consecrated, dedicated, sold out follower of the Lord.  One who is bold and fearless in his service to the Lord.  One who has placed Jesus on the throne of their life and surrendered to His will.  These are the ones who “show forth the praises of our God”.  This is the kind of person who makes up the end time generation.