Our beloved fellow Last Days Disciples, this new series of articles is titled “Marching Orders for the Stephen Generation” and its purpose is to enhance our understanding of what we Last Days Disciples can expect in the coming days… and what our Father has already provided for us in the midst of everything and anything we may face. This series will strengthen and solidify the firm foundation of Truth that Holy Spirit has been imparting to our FMM family and will increase our resolve to fulfill the exhortation we find in Ephesians 6:10-18 (TLV):
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist when the times are evil, and after you have done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm then! Buckle the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. Strap up your feet in readiness with the Good News of shalom. Above all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Ruach on every occasion, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, keep alert with perseverance and supplication for all the kedoshim.”
We begin with the Original Marching Orders to bring into focus the enhancements found in the Marching Orders for the Stephen Generation. And the reason for that ‘upgrade’ given to us by the Ruach HaKodesh is because we live in uncharted territory… generations before us never faced the kind of things we do. They could not have conceived civilizations slowly self- destructing after decades of demonically inspired lies and deception. Those who lived during the days of great revivals and outpourings of the Spirit would never have imagined how those fires could have died down to smoldering embers.
So knowing how much the written and Living Word has revealed about the Last Days, I exhort you to take seriously the level of equipping this series offers as we work together to advance the Kingdom of our God and prepare for the coming of His beloved Son.
Love, Mum Nancy
(First received in 1988)
Marching Orders for
The Stephen Generation
(Updated adaptation made in 2021)
The Lord gave me the original ‘Marching Orders’ in the summer of 1988. Soon afterward, He started sending the downloads for what would eventually develop into the material that the Ultimate Journey Ministry shares so successfully today with those who participate in that ministry’s support group disciple training.
But after the Lord gave me the new assignment of cooperating with Him in giving birth to this current Follow Me Ministry, the Marching Orders are just as pertinent and necessary as ever. Only now we’ve updated them to reflect the atmosphere and urgency in which the Last Days disciples of today will be required to operate.
I call these Last Days Special Forces Disciples: ‘The Stephen Generation’, because they will finish constructing the ‘Highway in the Wilderness’ that will prepare the way for the Return of our risen Messiah. (See Isa. 40). And they will do it amid some extremely difficult and often dangerous circumstances… regardless of the cost to them. So they’ll have to do their work while resisting and opposing the forces of Darkness when the age-old war between Good and Evil reaches the zenith level of its intensity.
And since they’ll have to learn to persevere in their service to the Lord in dire and apparently impossible situations, they will be very aware of the fact that only the actual Presence of the risen Lord will be able to see them through. They will have to know what the disciple Stephen (in chapters 6 and 7 of the book of Acts) knew, and do what he did when it was his time to render his unforgettable service.
The Stephen Generation will have to be prepared and equipped to maintain the supernatural martyrs’ mindset focus that the valiant, unstoppable, disciple Stephen maintained and displayed, during his final moments on Earth. Nothing could deter or stop him or the other martyrs! They follow the totally focused example of our Lord! And authentic Last Days disciples will have to do the same. So the training true disciples receive is of vital importance. And that training is what these meditations are meant to help us unpack, explore, absorb, digest, and… embody… as we go through our ‘boot camp’ preparatory stages.
God’s Blood Covenant Ways
“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat.
“Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why do you spend money for what is not bread? Your wages for what does not satisfy?
“Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, so that your soul may live! I will make an Everlasting Covenant with you, the Trustworthy Loyalty to (My Eternal Living Word made flesh, the Son of) David. Behold, I made Him a Witness to the peoples, a Leader and Commander for the peoples! (Isaiah 55:3-5 TLV, Amplification and emphasis added)
Dear ones, notice that what God is counseling Israel to do in the text above corresponds very well with what our Marching Orders are meant to help us to do in our Last Days generations. Notice also that the contrast God makes between the Self-life striving of the Israelites (who are still sons of Adam’s disobedience) and the freely given ‘Rest’ God offers to us all. Rest is what is enjoyed by Israel’s faithful Remnant people, who live by what Paul called ‘the obedience of faith.’ (See Romans 1:5; 16:26) Those who trust in what God has already done through His Living Word, and wholeheartedly choose to receive it by becoming one with His Word, can afford to abide in and enjoy the Fullness of God’s Perfect Finished Works. And that shows us the difference between what Scripture delineates as ‘Spirit’ vs. ‘Flesh.’ Flesh is this world’s inherited Self-asserting method of operation. It is the innate desire in fallen human hearts, for radically independent, flesh-driven humanism (religious or otherwise) … which is abject slavery to Self!
Self-life is living according to ‘the Flesh.’ Flesh forces its unbelieving, rebellious proponents to labor and agonize in ceaseless Self-absorbed striving. If you could actually live as a radically independent agent, you’d be responsible for all the work that needs to be done. And you’d also be fully liable for the blame that would follow, whenever your work would inevitably prove to be deficient and inadequate, you would have to pay the full penalty for all your failures. That is what Self-life earns for you. And that is enormously different from the Spirit-imparted freedom and rest that are the birthright and inheritance of God’s authentic Blood Covenant sons and heirs. The difference between God’s Way and the ‘way of all flesh’, is enormous! And that’s what Isaiah, and other prophets were inspired to address. God wanted His chosen people to see what He sees, and to learn to operate in His Spirit, rather than slavishly relying on their own natural wits and devices.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts!” (Isaiah 55:8-9 TLV, Emphasis added)
The Lord was unpacking for His chosen people more of the vast difference in meaning and significance between the two ‘circumcisions’ He was requiring of them. The first was ‘circumcision of the flesh.’ He required that right after He liberated them from the agony of their Egyptian slavery. That was the starting point, just as it had been for Abram. The scar on the flesh of their males was as if God had taken Egypt’s slaves away from the Pharaoh and his people, and put His own perceivable brand of ownership upon them for His own purposes. And that mark on the flesh is similar to the ‘brand’ that farmers and ranchers burn into the flesh of their animals to indicate their ownership over certain specific animals.
But of course the chosen people were far beyond mere animals in value, dignity and capabilities. They were human beings… designed and created to be the image and likeness of God! And humans can think, imagine, be creative, and exercise free will such as choosing to love, obey and serve another. And that is something no other animal species is able to do the way we can. So God requires more of humans. They are to go much further and deeper in their relationship with God. So He inspired Moses to teach the Israelites, and those non-Jews who chose to come with them, about that mysterious ‘circumcision’ that concerns the human heart!
Immediately after delivering that vast company of several million souls from their slavery in Egypt, He introduced them to the realities of being His people… from now on! Now they had to take on a new God-given identity, purpose, commission, and destiny as free men and ‘children of God.’ Physical circumcision of the males was the identifying sign that denoted this new calling. And that was what God had also required Abraham and the males of his household to undergo centuries earlier. But He also intended to take them all further… and teach, train and equip them to freely identify themselves as belonging solely to God… by the way they thought, chose, judged, acted, reacted, and interacted from the depths of their hearts! In other words He intended to teach them the depths, or the major league level of Blood Covenant Loyalty, Faithfulness and Love. And that is not of this world!
At the elementary entry level beginning of their Covenant relationship with God, the Israelites ceased to be the slaves of Egypt (which symbolized separation from this fallen world). Thereafter, Israel’s ownership transferred over, from Egypt, to the exclusive service of God. So He fully intended to ‘bring them up to date’ with the deep Covenant Bond and faithful, loving, ‘to-the-death’ loyalty and devotion that developed between God and their original ancestor elders, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
“And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “This is what you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.Now then, IF you will indeed OBEY MY VOICE AND KEEP MY COVENANT, THEN you shall be (1.) My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me (2.) a Kingdom of Priests and (3.) a Holy Nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” (Exodus 19:3-6 NASB, Amplification and emphasis added)
We Are Blessed To Be A Blessing
So the Lord began to create the infrastructure they would need to begin to fulfill the promise He had made to Abraham:
“My heart’s desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing. My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, AND IN YOU ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH WILL BE BLESSED!” (Genesis 12:2-3 TLV, Emphasis added)
But naturally, at first, even though physically, externally and politically they were now free men. And as far as the world around them would be concerned, God had marked and set them aside for His service, but… in the wiring of their brains and the programming of their minds, they were still Egyptian slaves! So now that this first Exodus generation received the same Covenantal circumcision of the flesh that their patriarchs had entered into centuries before, something else that went much deeper was needed. But that would require much teaching, training, discipline, formative repetition, time, and Divine Patience.
So God began to inspire Moses to write out what the Israelites would thereafter call ‘Torah,’which in their Hebrew language meant ‘God’s Teaching and Instruction.’ This would be the training tool God would use to help His people begin to develop their true, God-given identity and the ultimate sense of purpose and set of values and priorities they would need to learn in order to serve as the true image and likeness of His Living Word!
But as already mentioned, they still had their original earthly Adamic Self-life perspectives and the quasi-Egyptian mentality, attitudes, and habits they had developed since birth. So, although their outward geographical location was quite different, inwardly their brains and nervous systems and the programming of their ‘onboard mental computers’ were naturally still calibrated according to their original natural Adamic worldly settings. So, first God took them out of Egypt and separated them so He could teach them His ways without interference and distraction. Now the challenge was for Him to take the Egypt they had smuggled out with them… out of them, so He could replace it with the brand-new wiring and programming that would be compatible with His mind, His ways and His ultimate Creation-redeeming and restoring purpose.
And, at first, Israel tried to comply with God’s instructions. They started to follow God’s Word (Torah teachings) but they were still forced to do that with the same original wiring and programming equipment they started with. And, of course, that equipment was calibrated and configured for the earthly lives and ways they had developed while they were slaves in Egypt! At that time, it was all they knew!
So, that’s why I say that physical circumcision is an external sign that is like a brand, a mark of ownership, identifying Israel as God’s property. But on the inside, those who made up the first Exodus generation still were full-blown Egyptians at heart! And so when the Lord led them out into the wilderness, they still had a tremendous amount of mental and emotional ‘resistant drag’ that kept making them want to pull back, turn around and return to their former comfort zones. In their minds and hearts, Egypt (this world) was still HOME! And, as long as that situation was allowed to continue, their hearts would not truly belong to God. They would remain suspicious, alien, strangers at heart, still automatically configured to hesitate and hold back, and to resist and complain the further Moses led them away from ‘Home.’
They still had an enormous amount of boot camp training to undergo that would force them to grow, mature and learn… and then embrace the changes that their Exodus trek from the ways of this world would require. Before they could actually be able and fit to grow and develop into their new identity and calling, they had to have a huge change of heart. They would have to get to the point that they could believe God, and trust Him enough, to be willing to want to change, with wholehearted sincerity and desire.
Belief and Trust (head knowledge) Must Become Unwavering, Absolute Belief and Trust (heart knowledge.)
Until that happens, people aren’t able to grow, mature, and develop the radically different and very necessary sets of spiritual perspectives, attitudes, aspirations, thought and reaction patterns within their brains, minds, wills, and hearts! Until that happens, they won’t be able to stay focused on their God-appointed Destination… and be emotionally ready to actually invade and take over the ‘Land of Promise’ that God had already set aside for them.
The physical covenant sign or scar on their flesh proved they had been ‘circumcised’ unto God as His property. But a mere brand on one’s flesh, doesn’t change the set of paradigm patterns with which a person’s mind and brain are programmed and conditioned. That’s why the act of branding animals obviously does nothing to change their minds and ways. Branded cattle will not transform into sheep or deer. They’ll always be cattle. With, or without a brand, animals remain the same as ever. And that is why their owners must always confine them with external fences, pens and corrals.
Thus those who tend herds must always be on duty to watch over their animals and make sure they do not scatter in all directions, and perish! And at first, this is what Torah’s purpose and function was meant to be.
“Now before faith came, we were being guarded under Torah—bound together until the coming faith would be revealed. Therefore the Torah became our guardian to lead us to Messiah, so that we might be made right based on trusting. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. For you are all sons of God through trusting in MessiahYeshua. For all of you who were immersed in Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah.There is (therefore) neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed—heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:23-29 TLV, Emphasis added)
So it is with human babies and toddlers. They may be born to royal families, or to paupers, but the babies know nothing about that. They are all the same regardless of what family and situation they inherit by birth. That’s why we all need to be taught, trained, disciplined, and prepared… with massive repetition… to be properly hardwired, programmed and conditioned to operate successfully in the adult life that our unique personal circumstances of birth have set before us.
So, when it comes to God, and His chosen image and likeness Blood Covenant friends, He must give them more than just an identifying external physical scar to help them to be all that they were born to be. Children need cribs, play pens, and secure fenced in play areas for their own safety and survival. Thus they are governed by externally imposed safeguards and boundaries. But the time comes when they need internal safeguards and boundaries and limits built into, and developed within, their hearts, their minds, wills and affections. They must be trained and equipped to think and choose for themselves and know enough to be able to do what is right and true, and to avoid what is evil and false, even without external prods or constraints.
Each Last Days Disciple Must Make A Personal Exodus
This is especially true after we are spiritually regenerated and are made to be brand new creations! We are born to be ‘slaves’ to our inherited Adamic Self-life and natural worldly ways and conditioning. So we too must leave our original life and place in this fallen world. And that requires us to make a profound radically deep ‘Exodus’ of our minds, hearts and wills, to prepare and transform us into what God has in store for us, now that we truly belong to Him.
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My Covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
“For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord: “I will put My Law (Torah) within them and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for (thanks to their immersion into My Spirit) they will all know (‘Yada’ in Hebrew) Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for (after Messiah makes Full Atonement for them) I will forgive their wrongdoing, and their sin I will no longer remember.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 NASB,Amplification and emphasis added)
So God reveals that we all need to undergo steady progressive growth, development and vastly different mental and emotional curing and conditioning and maturing, while He, by the Power of His Spirit and Authority of His Word, makes radical transformative changes within our fallen nature, changing our hearts by ‘circumcising’ or cutting away the original Self-life radically independent ways we inherited from our Sin-corrupted first parents. And then He can teach us to allow His indwelling Word, to live out God’s ways through our yielded, cooperative, crucified Spirit-empowered and directed flesh.
“What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised that I said to you, ‘You all must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can these things happen?” Nicodemus said. Yeshua answered him, “You’re a teacher of Israel and you do not understand these things? Amen, amen I tell you, We speak about what We know and testify about what We have seen. Yet you all do not receive Our testimony! If you do not believe the earthly things I told you, how will you believe when I tell you about heavenly things?” (John 3:6-12 TLV, Emphasis added)
In God’s Blood Covenant Kingdom, there are various ascending levels of INTERNAL Covenant ‘branding’ or ‘heart circumcisions’ that must take place in those who are destined to transform into the image and likeness of God:
“So now (that you’ve reached this point of your journey), O Israel, what does Adonai your God require of you, but to fear Adonai your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serveAdonai your God WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, to keep the mitzvot (commandments) of Adonai and His statutes that I am commanding you today, for your own good?
“Behold, to Adonai your God belong the heavens and the highest of heavens, the earth and all that is in it. Only on your fathers did Adonai set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them—you—from all the peoples, as is the case this day.
“CIRCUMCISE THE FORESKIN OF YOUR HEART therefore, and do not be stiff-necked anymore. For Adonai your God is God of gods and Lord of lords—the great, mighty and awesome God, who does not show partiality or take a bribe. He enacts justice for the orphan and widow, and loves the outsider, giving him food and clothing.
(Remember, God didn’t just choose and redeem Israel for her own sake. He had a world-changing purpose in mind for her. Israel was intended and created to serve as God’s chosen instrument through which to bestow the ‘Blessing’ He intended to give to all of the families of the earth!)
“THEREFORE LOVE THE OUTSIDER (The Gentile), for you were outsiders in the land of Egypt. Adonai your God you will fear—Him will you serve. To Him will you cling, and by His Name will you swear. He is your Praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt with 70 persons, and now Adonai your God has made you like the stars of the heavens in number!” (Deuteronomy 10:12-22 TLV, Amplification and emphasis added)
So notice the verse in this next text from Isaiah, which I cited it at the beginning of this chapter:
“Behold, you will summon a nation you do not know, and a nation that did not know you will run to you, because of Adonai your God and the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you!” (Isaiah 55:5 TLV, Emphasis added)
This was a hint of the awesome days of The Ultimate Fulfillment that, even now, are still waiting to unfold in Israel’s future. That Ultimate Fulfillment of her destiny, which is still ahead of us, will bring the completion of what God had promised to Abram the Chaldean in the very beginning when God first introduced the idea of establishing a Blood Covenant relationship with him. At that time, Abram was still a pagan moon-worshipper! He knew nothing about this Living God that had just recently invaded his space! So God had to begin an ongoing, progressively developing relationship with His chosen friend, and the family and nation of descendants that would require great patience and loving forbearance on His part, to say the least. I say that because of the supernatural enormity of what God intended to do through them… on behalf of the rest of the entire world!
The Covenant promises God made to Abraham were given to a man that had recently been a total idol-worshipping pagan! And at that time, there were no categories in existence such as ‘Jewish people’ or ‘Gentiles’ or ‘Judaism’ or ‘Christians’ or ‘The Bible’, etc., etc. There was only this mysterious Living God… and all the fallen, mortal, Sin-corrupted rebellious humans that covered the earth. And at that time, all the humans that inhabited the earth were pagan sons of fallen Adam’s Disobedience!
So, God began His Salvation/Restoration process by choosing one man from among that mass of pagans. He separated him and his family from all the rest and began to train them for His service. And He began to reveal His Plan of Salvation and Redemption to them… so that eventually… God could fulfill it all… through a future Special Descendant of Abram who would, in the distant future, be born into this world.
He would be Authoritative and Powerful enough to serve as the Covenant Representative Champion on behalf of fallen Adam, and all the rest of his descendants besides! He was to be ‘The Seed of the Woman’ that was foretold in Genesis 3, shortly after the fall of the first two human beings, Adam and Eve. The Lord had promised to the Serpent:
“I will put animosity between you and the woman—between your seed and her Seed. HE WILL CRUSH YOUR HEAD, and you will crush His heel!” (Genesis 3:15 TLV, Emphasis added)
So notice what the apostolic writings of the Renewed Covenant apostles say about this unique Promised One:
“There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing while the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption (as descended from the first fallen Adam), raised in incorruption (as descended from God’s Living Word made flesh, the Last Adam!) Sown in dishonor, raised in glory! Sown in weakness, raised in power! Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body!
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam (God’s Living Word made flesh) became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is of the earth, made of dust; THE SECOND MAN IS FROM HEAVEN!” (1 Corinthians 15:40-47 TLV, Amplification and emphasis added)
The Human Covenant Bloodline Begins With Abram
So, with Abram, God began to fulfill the promise He made to the Serpent. God created a natural human bloodline through Abram, that would eventually produce the Covenant Representative and Champion of the entire human race, Messiah Yeshua (the Seed of the Woman). And, although Abram, at first, was clueless about all of this, it was nevertheless, what God had in mind from the very beginning:
“Then Adonai said to Abram, “Get going out from your land, and from your relatives, and, from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
“My heart’s desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great SO THAT YOU MAY BE A BLESSING! My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, AND IN YOU ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH WILL BE BLESSED! (Genesis 12:1‒3 TLV, Emphasis added)
So, in the course of the development of Abram’s family… He selected one of Abram’s descendants, Moses, to serve as an instrument through whom He would continue the education, sanctification, and spiritual regeneration of His chosen people. And through Moses, and the prophets that followed him, God began to precondition His people to be able to recognize the Word of God, so that, when the time would come for ‘the Seed of the Woman’ to appear in their midst, they would know who He really was:
“Adonai your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst—from your brothers. To Him you must listen. This is just what you asked of Adonai your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly when saying, ‘I cannot continue to hear the voice of Adonai my God or see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’
“Adonai said to me, ‘They have done well in what they have spoken. I will raise up a Prophet like you for them from among their brothers. I will put My Words in His mouth, and He will speak to them all that I command Him. Now whoever does not listen to My Words that this Prophet speaks in My Name, I Myself will call him to account!” (Deuteronomy 18:15-19 TLV,Emphasis added)
When we dig into the Scripture accounts, we see a very gradual unfolding of the true meaning of that Covenantal relationship God had been developing between Himself and Abraham, and his physical and spiritual descendants. And after the promised Messiah arrived in their midst, God began to deepen and extend the relationship He had established with the Jewish people of Israel, to all the rest of humanity. Thus He began to make good on the promise He made to Abram in the beginning!
“So Peter began explaining to them point by point, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision—something like a great sheet coming down, being lowered from Heaven by its four corners, and it came right to me. I looked inside, considering it carefully, and saw four-footed creatures of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
“But I said, ‘Certainly not, Lord! For never has anything unholy or unclean entered my mouth.’But a voice from Heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has made clean, you must not consider unholy.’ This happened three times, and then everything was pulled up to Heaven.
“At that very moment, three men arrived at the house where we were, sent to me from Caesarea. The Ruach told me to go with them without hesitating. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. He reported to us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon called Peter. He will speak words to you by which you will be saved—you and all your household.’
“As I began to speak, the Ruach ha-Kodesh fell on them, just as on us (believing Jews) at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John immersed with water, but you will be immersed in the Ruach ha-Kodesh.’ Therefore if God gave them the same Gift (of the Holy Spirit) as also to us after we put our trust in the Lord Messiah Yeshua, who was I to stand in God’s way?”
When they heard this they became quiet, and they glorified God, saying, “Then even to the Gentiles God has granted repentance leading to Life!” (Acts 10:4-18 TLV, Amplification and emphasis added)
So we see that it took a long painful stretch of time to get at least some of the Jewish people ready for such an enormous leap in consciousness and lifestyle. In fact, it totally shocked and stunned Peter and the other Jewish disciples of Yeshua when the Lord sprang this enormous ‘surprise’ on them. And it’s obvious that this ‘surprising leap’ is still, even today, ‘mostly under construction’!
For centuries the Jewish people have gloried in the reality of having been ‘chosen’ out from all the other people groups of this world, to become the ‘Beloved Bride of God’! So in the culture, mentality and traditional lifestyle Israel developed over the centuries, in their minds and hearts, they felt compelled to create a religious, cultural, and societal ‘Wall of Partition,’ by which they separated themselves from the rest of the world… the Gentile World.
And, for generations, the peoples that lived and developed their traditions on both sides of that wall, have remained content with that separated arrangement. So to this day, most Jews and Gentiles have a deeply engrained ‘Us vs. Them’ mindset and lifestyle. Both groups have become very comfortable with, and agreeable to, that time-honored but disobedient God-defying arrangement. So here’s another ‘hint’ concerning the Renewed Covenant to come, that Father hid within the revelation He gave to Israel through Moses. Notice the contrast He makes between merely being circumcised in the flesh, and being circumcised in the heart:
“CIRCUMCISE THE FORESKIN OF YOUR HEART THEREFORE, and do not be stiff-necked anymore. For Adonai your God is God of gods and Lord of lords—the great, mighty and awesome God, who does not show partiality or take a bribe. He enacts justice for the orphan and widow, AND LOVES THE OUTSIDER, GIVING HIM FOOD AND CLOTHING. THEREFORE LOVE THE OUTSIDER, FOR YOU WERE OUTSIDERS IN THE LAND OF EGYPT!” (Deuteronomy 10:16-19 TLV, Emphasis added)
So now we can see the enormous difference God intends to make, not only within Jewish hearts, but also within Gentile hearts, in relation to how each of those two groups view and think of, and are willing to, interact with each other in the presence of their common Creator/Redeemer God. And realize beloved, that when God’s Living Word made flesh, Messiah Yeshua, arrived on the scene in the First Century, there was an actual physical stone ‘Wall of Separation’ that separated Jews and Gentiles in the temple precincts of Jerusalem. So the practice of keeping the two groups separated continued even until the temple worship and priesthood system and Judaism as they had developed to that time, were destroyed by the Roman legions in 70 A.D.! And that age-old discrimination and suspicion and resentment leading to total separation, was religiously protected and maintained by both sides!
Tragically, in many modern minds and hearts, that God-condemned Wall that Yeshua’s death destroyed has been faithfully reconstructed and is maintained by disobedient people of both groups… to this very day! When Father sent His Living Word to become one of us, to launch and reveal the glories of God’s New (Renewed) Blood Covenant that Israel’s prophets had been announcing for centuries, He had us in mind! He was planning to use His faithful Jewish and non-Jewish Israelite Remnant disciples as the instrument of the Last Days, with which He intended to clear away the rubble left by that ‘Wall of Separation’ and every other wall that divides and continues to divide the minds, hearts and lives of Adam’s fallen descendants.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, as on Aaron’s beard, the oil which ran down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; for the Lord commanded the Blessing there—Life forever.” (Psalm 133 TLV, NASB)
God’s Covenant Love will, in the end, reach out in all directions, to all Jews and to every Gentile ethnic group that still lives at odds with our Messiah. He will reach out to all who remain trapped in demon-infested, God-less Darkness. And He will bring those from among them that will repent of their Self-adoring ways, out of that Darkness, and into the Light of God’s Salvation, Redemption, Reconciliation, and Full Restoration!
But in order for Jews and Gentiles to become fully prepared and equipped to obey and fulfill God’s awesome Plan… both of them will truly have to be crucified to everything they thought they were in the past! Both Jews and Gentiles will have to die to whatever they thought and strove to be in the past, not just theologically and theoretically, but in actual real-life Reality! Only then will they be ready to make a successful Exodus from Self to God, and from Flesh to Spirit, and from being Two… to becoming One New Man in Messiah!
“Therefore remember that previously you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the people of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
“But now in Christ Jesus, you who previously were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our Peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the Hostility, which is the Law composed of commandments expressed in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two One New Person, in this way establishing peace; and that He might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
“So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a Holy Temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a (Regenerated Human) dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:11-22 NASB,Amplification and emphasis added)
“Now as Yeshua was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter and Andrew his brother. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men! (And that includes even the Gentiles!)”
“Immediately they left their nets and followed Him (not having any idea of all the tremendous gut-wrenching personal changes He had in store for them).” (Matthew 4:12-20 TLV, Amplification and emphasis added)
Additional Articles in this series (available at www.follow-me-ministries.org website)