Walking Circumspectly

Rev. Dr. J. Patrick Bowman

Western society is in a time of upheaval and uncertainty. Mores and morals are being turned on their heads as forces, seen and unseen, attempt to implement a new way of thinking and living. The changes we are experiencing now have evolved slowly over the last half-century, a little here and little there, line upon line and precept upon precept. The church has primarily slept or been complicit as the enemy has implemented his strategies among us. What British historian and philosopher Arnold Joseph Toynbee said about civilizations could also be said of the church. He wrote, “Civilizations, I believe, come to birth and proceed to grow by successfully responding to successive challenges. They break down and go to pieces if and when a challenge confronts them which they fail to meet.” This same man of words observed, “Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now.” Keep in mind, Toynbee died in 1975. I wonder what he would say today, some 46 later?

 In Jeremiah 6, the prophet, in speaking of the impending captivity of Jerusalem, lays out the folly of its leaders and people:

13 “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. 14 “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. 15 “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down,” says the LORD. 16Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 “And I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’ 18 “Therefore hear, O nations, And know, O congregation, what is among them. 19” Hear, O earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, The fruit of their plans, Because they have not listened to My words, And as for My law, they have rejected it also. (Jer 6:13-19 NASB)

The redemptive verse in this section of scripture is verse 16: “Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.” God gives a prescriptive way out of their sorrow, but they will not heed His word, hear His voice, and continue to reap the harvest of their folly. The Israelites knew what the ancient ways were. They knew where the good way was. They knew the covenants and law of God, but these became irrelevant in their everyday lives. They were still practicing religion, but God rejected it. In Jeremiah 6:20 God asks, “For what purpose does frankincense come to Me from Sheba And the sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable and your sacrifices are not pleasing to Me.”

Jump ahead with me some 650 years later to the city of Ephesus. Ephesus was the major port city in what is modern-day Turkey. Sea routes and overland trade routes intersected here. Being a center of commerce, trade, religion, philosophy, and sin, it was the cosmopolitan haven for new ideas, exotic and erotic practices, and cultic rituals in that entire region. The apostle Paul made a short visit to Ephesus on his second missionary journey. During his third missionary trek, he stopped again, staying three years, planting a church, establishing a Christian witness the entire region was influenced by.

About ten years after establishing the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote a letter to them from a Roman prison. His central theme was the ecclesia, the called out, the redeemed of God. He told them what God had done for them in Christ and how the church should live together as His body. Paul had concerns for them because they lacked in some areas of understanding and practice. In chapter 4, verse 17, Paul begins a more direct instruction on the Christian walk, admonishing them on ways of living they should put aside. In chapter 5, he starts by laying down a new standard for their behavior: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph 5:1-2). As he continues, again naming actions that they should refrain from, Paul summarizes much of his earlier thoughts in saying:

7 Therefore [or because of what I’ve already said] do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you” (Eph 5:7-14).

The following three verses are what I want to focus on in this message. Paul again starts with “therefore.” “15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:15-17). The King James Version renders this first phrase, “See then that ye walk circumspectly.” The Amplified Classic states the entire passage as, “15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), 16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:15-17 AMPC).

Let us look at this word circumspectly a bit closer. Circumspect means to look around. According to vocabulary.com, “Near synonyms are prudent and cautious, though circumspect implies a careful consideration of all circumstances and a desire to avoid mistakes and bad consequences.” This definition is clearly in line with the context and content of the biblical text.

Just as Ephesus’s heathen culture was a constant backdrop to the work God was doing in the Ephesian church, we now find ourselves in a similar situation. Surrounded by ever-increasing evil, corruption, and recklessness at every level of society and government, we must consider all of the circumstances as we move forward. Desiring to avoid further complacency and its dire consequences, we must buy back the time we have spent being complicit.

Some thirty years after Paul’s letter, Jesus dictates a letter of His own to the Ephesians. Revelation 2:1-7 reveals Jesus’ instructions to the apostle John:

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: 2’ I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent. 6 ‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7’ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

Looking back to Jeremiah, we can see how imprudent Israel was living, the very opposite of circumspectly, and the consequences this brought upon them. Could it be we should look back at Israel’s example, stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it? Is it time to heed Paul’s direction for Ephesus in evaluating who we are and where we are headed as a nation and church? Is it time we consider what Jesus had against a church that thought it was doing everything right but had lost its first love?

If we fail to do so, we fail to live purposefully and worthily and accurately as sensible, intelligent people, understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. We then open ourselves up for self-deception, a condition much worse with more significant far-reaching consequences. I turn once again to Toynbee in closing: “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.”

Wrestling with Warnock Round 87

From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 13- Tabernacles – The Feast of Restoration, continued

And how shall this exceeding glory be manifested? By the very shaking of the heavens and the earth. Paul quotes this passage in Heb. 12:26 and assures us that this shall be fulfilled in the Kingdom of the saints. We dealt somewhat with the shaking of the heavens in a previous chapter. The very unseen powers of the heavenlies must be toppled from their thrones; yea, even now are they beginning to feel the impact of heaven-tremors as the Sons of God begin to mount up with wings of an eagle to take unto themselves their God-given authority in the Spirit. “Be strong… Be strong… Be strong” is the threefold prophecy of comfort and encouragement to the builders of the Temple, to the priesthood, and to the remnant. For it is in the spoken word of prophecy that power and strength shall be imparted to the builders, enabling them to use the tools of their ministry in the one hand, and to fight with the Sword of the Spirit in the other. With similar words of encouragement, and with a similar purpose in mind, the apostle Paul exhorts the saints: “Finally, my brethren be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:10-12). It is this wrestling with the spiritual hosts of wickedness in “the heavenlies” that shall cause the very heavens to shake and Satan and his hosts to relinquish their kingdom into the hands of the Sons of God. Everything that can be shaken is going to quake and fall before the Sons of God. And then into the very heavenlies shall they ascend, first of all in the Spirit, to take possession of the kingdom left vacant by the casting out of Satan. and his evil hosts. Then shall they be in a position to administer peace and life and blessing to a Church and a world that are in bondage and under oppression.

ZECHARIAH’S PROPHECY (See Zech. 4)

Zechariah likewise prophesied words of encouragement to Zerubbabel and the remnant who laboured on the temple. In what way would the Lord encourage the builders in the colossal task that lay before them? Well, the Lord would give the prophet a vision that would explain the means of their success. How helpless they were! How would the Lord encourage them? And so Zechariah looked, and what did he see? Mountains of stone and timber and mortar? Huge labour battalions marching down from Babylon to help them? Great machines to aid in their seemingly impossible task? Ah no! But he looked, “And behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon and two olive trees by it.” A very simple illustration, and meaningless perhaps to many: two olive trees pouring their oil into a candlestick.

Zechariah himself did not know what it meant; and so God gave him the interpretation. GHW


We must take possesion in order to be in a position to administer the Kingdom of God in the earth. In a description of “Yearning for the Heavenly Country,”[1] Seedbed Publishing speaks of John Wesley’s views of spiritual warfare:

John Wesley described the Christian life as consisting of “continual warfare.” The spiritual struggle involved in faithful living is real, in Wesley’s view. It means that we need “every moment” to be watchful and to pray so that we don’t fall into the temptations that surround us at every turn. Because the Christian life is a spiritual life, it intersects the spiritual realm. For Wesley, our own spirits are under the influence of spirits we can’t see with our eyes—the Holy Spirit, of course, but also angels and demons that seek to do us either good or ill.

Well known for his “practical divinity,” or writings on the practical life, Wesley was also wont to venture into more speculative territory when it came to his writing on spiritual warfare. He was fascinated by the role that angels play in our faith. He believed strongly that we need to be aware of the danger that Satan and his demons represented to us. Wesley could also become captivated by thoughts on what the “heavenly country” from the book of Hebrews might be like—a restored creation for a redeemed humanity in the kingdom to come. 

[1] https://my.seedbed.com/product/yearning-for-the-heavenly-country/

My question to you is, “Are we ready to put on the full armor and fight for that which is eternal?”


When We Feel Ignored

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Do you ever feel ignored? Undoubtedly we have all felt at one time or another that someone refused to take notice of us. A store clerk processing our purchase with little more than a glance can leave us irritated. A request for product information that goes unheeded can leave us annoyed. A friend not acknowledging our feelings concerning a critical issue can leave us raw. When we are bypassed, disregarded, slighted, or overlooked repeatedly, anger can set in.

I am exploring this issue with you out of recent personal experiences. I have been waiting for some paperwork that should have been in my possession nine months ago. I have been diligent in contacting the party every month or so, reminding them that they promised me last month that I should receive it in a week or two. I have gone through the irritated, frustrated, and raw stages and am now at the point of anger. But there is another stage that has begun to sneak up on me. That stage is questioning my self-worth. Why have they not responded to my requests? Am I not worthy of their consideration in this matter? Are my feelings, and therefore my sense of justice, not warranted?

But then I also think if my self-worth can be so easily challenged by others’ actions, what is my self-worth based on? Psychology tells us that having a sense of selfworth means that you value yourself, and having a sense of self-value means that you are worthy. Yes, I agree that self-esteem is essential to our overall mental health and a sense of well-being. But whether we are talking self-worth, self-value, or self-esteem, there seems to be too much self! Ultimately, I need to find my worth not in myself but outside my self, feelings, and human frailty, and my need for human affirmation.

In Deuteronomy 31:6-8, in Moses’ last counsel to the nation of Israel, we find the heart of God for his people. In speaking of their future conquest of Cannan, Moses says,

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Our ultimate self-worth must be grounded in the fact that we serve a God who will be with us. He will not fail us or forsake us. We need not fear or be dismayed. Does this mean we will not suffer because others ignore us? Does this mean we will not feel frustrated, annoyed, raw, or even angry when we are bypassed, disregarded, slighted, or overlooked? I doubt it. But it does mean our self-worth is safe with the One who finds us worthy of His love.

Wrestling with Warnock Round 86

From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 13- Tabernacles – The Feast of Restoration, continued

The implication is clear, and the indictment against sectarianism is with no uncertain voice. If the Body of Christ is betrayed for the sake of base gain, or for one’s own Personal interest in this sect or that, then all our vaunted claims to revival and great mass conversions are empty. Is it not true, that the people assemble together to co-operate in some great mass effort for revival, and after it is all over they run “every man unto his own house…”? Back they go to their little sect and attempt to build it up with the new converts brought to birth by the revival effort. And God blows upon their work by His sifting, testing, trying Spirit; and “Lo, it came to little.” Hence the drought, the lack of spiritual power and blessing; the absence of any real fellowship with the saints or unity of the Spirit; and the reason there is no latter rain. God has called the drought, and therefore at His word the Heavens have withholden their dew.

ZERUBBABEL FACES THE CHALLENGE

Zerubbabel (who was in charge of the building of the second temple), and Joshua (who was the high priest), and the remnant of people, obeyed the voice of God as spoken by the prophet, and “they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts.” (Hag. 1:14). We have already considered in some detail the story of their labours and their problems. But God was with them.

Zerubbabel means “Sown in Babylon,” and Joshua is the Hebrew for “Jesus.” Is it not true that we have all been planted in Babylon, that great city, the city of all manner of abominations, religious and otherwise? But some have heard the call, “Come out of her, my people” and have been transplanted into another land, the land of their true calling. “Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.” (Heb. 12:22, 23).

HAGGAI PROPHESIES ON THE LAST DAY OF THE FEAST

It has been assumed that Haggai was probably born on a Feast day, because his name signifies “Feast of Jehovah.” However, an amazing passage of scripture in his prophecy reveals that Haggai gave utterance to one of the Church’s choice promises on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Therefore he was truly named “Haggai,” which signifies “Feast of the Lord.” One might wonder why the Scriptures go into such detail at times, in giving us dates and seasons which seem to be meaningless to us. God no doubt has a great plan in it all, and as our eyes become enlightened to the riches of His Word, many delightful surprises are there to greet us. And so we read, “In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying…” (Hag. 2:1). The seventh month, and the twenty-first day of the month! In other words, in the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles!

Just imagine what concern and heartache must have gripped the holy prophet of the Lord as he looked down upon this second temple, slowly rising from the dust–but so very, very incomplete, and far from being a glorious temple. And now on this great day, the last day of the Feast, when the memory of every true Israelite would naturally revert back to the days of Israel’s glory and power in the days of Solomon’s magnificent kingdom–Haggai would likewise be thinking of the great and tremendous heritage which they had lost because of the captivity. The magnificence of Solomon’s temple was utterly unsurpassable. There is nothing in the annals of history to compare with it, past or present. How could this feeble remnant begin to erect a structure even comparable to that wonderful temple? How discouraging their work must have been as they contemplated the glory they had lost! But at that very moment, on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the word of prophecy came upon him and he cried to Zerubbabel and the remnant:

“Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing! Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord: and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith Lord of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Hag. 2:3-9).

Notice the repetition of the phrase, “Saith the Lord of hosts.” God wants us to make no mistake about this: God hath spoken and not man. True, our feeble attempts at restoration are nothing compared to the glory of the early Church, the Temple of the living God erected in apostolic days. But God hath promised: “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former…” Neither Zerubbabel’s Temple nor the Temple of Herod could begin to compare with Solomon’s Temple. But God was not speaking of the earthly house; He was speaking of the Temple not made with hands, composed of living stones. And the “Desire of all nations” would be the Glory of that Temple. And so Malachi prophesies: “And the Lord, whom ye seek. shall suddenly come to his temple…” (Mal. 3:1). All nations–yea the creation itself, are waiting eagerly for His appearing, even for the “manifestation of the Sons of God.” (Rom. 8:19). Nor shall their hopes and expectations be disappointed. GHW


There is need in the body of Christ to root deeper and grow taller as the people of God. Living beneath our potential as the children of God has become the “norm” for many Christians. The seeds of vision the Lord sowed in our spirits at our conversion have for the most part had a hard time growing in the hard, stony, thorny soil of our souls.

Three prophets spoke to Israel after their return from a 70-year captivity in Babylon.  The prophets employed rebuke, exhortation, comfort, and direction as God worked through them to help a cast down generation of His people rise to the prophetic occasion of the hour.

The key scripture is Haggai 2:9: “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.” We have a glorious future before us. Not after we leave this earth and these human bodies, but upon this earth in these vessels made of clay. The key to seeing this greater glory of the latter house is to believe it can happen and will happen in us and through us, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zec 4:6).

Wrestling with Warnock Round 85

From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 13- Tabernacles – The Feast of Restoration, continued

THE PROPHETS ENCOURAGE THE BUILDERS

Just how long the work ceased on the temple we do not know. And just how long the work on this Temple is going to be hindered, we do not know. Perhaps God in mercy will do a quick work. Nevertheless, despite all the opposition and all the obstacles, the work shall continue. Has the Lord not raised prophets to encourage the builders, just as He did for Israel? With the builders, we are told. “Were the prophets of God helping them,” encouraging them in their task. (Ezra 5:2). Is it not the purpose of prophecy to speak unto men words of “edification, and exhortation, and comfort?” (1 Cor. 14:3). Edification! Building up! It is the work of prophecy to edify and build up the saints as they labour in this holy Temple of the Lord. The opposition will continue from within as well as from without–but the prophets of God are there to exhort and comfort the saints in every hour of trial.

Once again there were efforts to hinder the work, and the matter was referred to Darius, but permission was granted and the work continued. In fact, he even ordered that timber and salt and wine and oil be given the builders to help them in their task. And so they built and they prophesied… “And they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo.” (Ezra 6:14).

HAGGAI’S PROPHECY

Haggai’s prophecy is most enlightening, in view of all these facts that we have mentioned. For Haggai and Zechariah were God’s special prophets sent to Jerusalem to encourage the builders in their work.

His first task was to cause the people to realize that the hour had really come for the House of God to be built. The problem is the same today: “This people say, the time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should he built.” But God gave Haggai a simple word of wisdom, and it was enough to settle that argument. “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?” (Hag. 1:2, 4). You have your comfortable churches; and, of course, that is all right! You have beautiful carpets, and tapestry, and stained -glass windows, and beautiful furniture… there is plenty of time for that. But you have no time for the restoration of God’s beautiful House, the Temple not made with hands, the Temple made of “living stones.” Is it not a fact, a solemn fact, that the beauty and glory of the Church of Christ has been sacrificed for the natural beauty and refinement of our places of assembly? The people have no objection to this extravagance whatsoever. But let a group of saints declare their intention of restoring the walls of the heavenly Jerusalem and seeking God’s face for a restoration of early apostolic power and glory and unity in the congregation of the saints, and there is no time for it!

“Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.” (vs. 6). And well might the Church of Christ consider her ways. “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” (vs. 6). It seems almost perplexing and mysterious sometimes when we consider the ways of the Church. We read of great revivals, of mass healing meetings, of thousands getting converted or filled with the Spirit, But when the hour of testing comes, where is all this glory of which we have boasted? How many really continue to show evidences of salvation when the revival passes on to the next town? How many retain their healing when they get back home? How many keep filled with the spirit? We are not suggesting that these great Healing or Gospel ministries are not genuine. There will be the false, of course; but God has raised up mighty ministries in the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring healing or salvation to the nations; and much has been and is being, accomplished compared to what we have seen in the past. But little, very little compared to what these ministries should produce. We looked for much; and then God blows upon our efforts in the great fanning-mill through which we all must pass, and where is the wheat? Does it not seem to have disappeared with the chaff? And, “Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.” (Hag. 1:9). GHW


I want to look at the last few lines of this section. They are important. “We looked for much; and then God blows upon our efforts in the great fanning-mill through which we all must pass, and where is the wheat? Does it not seem to have disappeared with the chaff?” I am saddened, as I hope you are, every time a man or woman of God falls because of scandal in their ministry. And I believe Haggai gives us a key to why this happens. “Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.”

If we look at these verses closely, I believe an application can be made regarding ministers and ministries. We will see that as a minister focuses on his own house, that is his own needs, his own comforts, his own desires, his own kingdom, the temporal things of this life, he can lose focus on the eternal, the Kingdom of God. Jesus warns about this in Matthew 6: 19-34 with the key verse being 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” When God adds a blessing, there is no sorrow.

Wrestling with Warnock Round 84

From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 13- Tabernacles – The Feast of Restoration, continued

GREAT OPPOSITION

It would be most enlightening if we could take time to examine in detail the opposition that was raised–against the faithful remnant who laboured on the second temple; for it is a clear picture of what is now transpiring, and what shall yet transpire, as this new Temple begins to rise into her glory, First there was the opposition of the people who dwelt there in the land. Their request was, “Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do.” (Ezra 4:2). But Zerubbabel discerned their true nature, and refused to accept their help. No doubt he was condemned for not co-operating with this noble gesture, and this desire for fellowship. But Zerubbabel’s action was certainly confirmed in what followed: for immediately they sent letters to the King of Persia, demanding that the builders be forbidden to continue their work. Their argument was quite a modern one: “Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.” (Ezra 4:13). There are many “kings” in the Church today, collecting toll and custom from the people, and the restoration of the Church is going to bring about their downfall. In the first place, they were never ordained of God. In the second place, instead of shepherding the flock they are fleecing them. In the third place, when the Church is properly established there will be local elders in each assembly to guide the flock, and there will be no need for a permanently residing pastor. Every minister of God should carefully examine himself in the light of God’s controversy with the shepherds of Israel, and make his calling sure:

“Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed; but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.” (Ezek. 34:2-4).

There seems to be very few real, genuine shepherds, who are prepared to lay down their lives for the sheep. It is no wonder, therefore, that the false shepherds do not want to see the Temple of God restored, and the gates set up! Their revenue shall be endamaged when this happens. And so they persuaded the authorities in Persia to forbid the progress of the work; and the work ceased. GHW


The Lord God is very jealous over His people. He will not put up with shepherds who insist on fleecing His people and healing their wounds slightly. In Jeremiah 3:15, The Lord says, “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.” And in Jeremiah 23:4, “’I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,’ declares the LORD.” With the new temple will come new leadership. Leadership placed in authority by God, not by man. And once again, these under-shepherds will know the heart of God and lead His people to calm, clear waters and pastures of plenty.

Wrestling with Warnock Round 83

From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 13- Tabernacles – The Feast of Restoration, continued

WHY THE REJOICING?

“And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” (Ezra 3:11).

The present work of the Holy Spirit in re-establishing the Temple of God and its spiritual order of worship, has really just started. But we can thank God, nevertheless, that the pattern has been revealed, and that the foundation has been laid. Perhaps it is not too evident to some, because the building is just under construction. It is not our purpose to try to prove that the foundation of apostles and prophets has been relaid. Nor is it really the minister’s responsibility to prove any doctrine to anybody. His duty is to minister the Bread of Life to the hungry. If they can receive it, they will be nourished: if they cannot, then perhaps we could administer the sincere milk of the Word that they might grow thereby. According to every man’s ability to receive, and their stature in Christ–so may God enable us to minister the words of life. And let us realize that we are sent to feed Christ’s sheep, and nourish His people–and not to fill them with doctrines and theories which will not profit. These things, therefore, are written only for those who can receive them; and for none others.

We realize, therefore, that perhaps there are very, very few who can discern the foundation of the temple being relaid in this day. And of course it is most difficult to see a newly laid foundation, for it is usually almost obscured amidst the concrete forms and the supports and the heaps of broken stones and boards that cover the ground. But the Choir of Praise continues to exalt the Lord, and the saints continue to sing one to another in prophecy, because they can see that the foundation has been laid, and the temple is beginning to take shape.

“Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built (literally, are being built) upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (Eph. 2:19, 20).

“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles (1 Cor. 12:28).

The time is at hand when God will vindicate who His ministers are, and what their place is in this new Temple. For these ministries are not by human-appointment, nor by self-appointment, but by Divine appointment. Until now perhaps there has not been any great need for recognized leadership. We have been in the wilderness; and you really do not need a guide until you start travelling through strange territory. But those days are about to end. We stand on the brink of Jordan, Before us lies a good land, a great land, a rich heritage in the Spirit. But it is strange territory, As of old, therefore, God is establishing ministries which shall lead the way across Jordan; and the people must be prepared to follow.

“And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host, and they commanded the people, saying, when ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.” (Josh. 3:2, 3). This is a new way. We have not passed this way heretofore. And with this new way, there shall arise new dangers, new problems, new perplexities. Such terrible days are ahead, and such deception shall be manifest by the adversary, that the saints must know who God’s ministers are that they might follow them into this good land. Said Paul, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1). GHW


In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus tells us, “15Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19” Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20“So then, you will know them by their fruits.”

One of the problems we have in discerning the false from the true is that we look at the fruit which is hanging from the tree (outward appearance) and fail to taste the fruit to see if it is truly firm, ripe fruit, sweet to the taste (inward reality).

Looks can be deceiving. Remember when Samuel went to Jesse’s house to anoint a new king to replace Saul, He at first looked on the outward appearance of Jesse’s sons, but hearing the Lord reject each one. “Have you another?” Samuel asked. “Yes, my youngest, but he is with the sheep.” “Go get him,” commanded Samuel. “We shall not sit and feast until he arrives.” And when David came, God told Samuel, “This is the one. Anoint him.”

Jesus continues in Matthew 7, “21 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. 22” 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?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”

Wrestling with Warnock Round 82

From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 13- Tabernacles – The Feast of Restoration, continued

We know God has a great and eternal purpose for all His precious saints, and when His plan is revealed we shall glory in the wisdom of God who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” But it is becoming increasingly evident that the pattern of the remnant in Israel who returned to Jerusalem is the immediate pattern for this hour. And as then, so now, a group of people who have really seen the vision of what God is doing, have assembled together as one man. It is the vision of the Body of Christ. It is the vision and assurance that there must arise out of the dust of Jerusalem a Holy City, a Beautiful City, and a Temple not made with hands–a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle. “Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem…” (Isa. 52:1, 2). This whole passage speaks loudly of this day and hour in which we live, when the glory of God is about to be restored to the once-holy city of God, even the “heavenly Jerusalem.” “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.” (vs. 8, 9).

THE FOUNDATION OF THE TEMPLE LAID

“And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord…” (Ezra 3:10).

The first feast of Tabernacles that they observed was before the foundation of the Temple had been laid. Therefore the real meaning of the Feast was lacking; but it did promise great things to come when the days of restoration were over. That was in the first year of their return from captivity. Now the second year had rolled around, and God had enabled them to lay the foundation for the temple. There was great rejoicing, therefore in the camp of Israel, to know that God had prospered their work, that the foundation was laid, and that the work was progressing. Hence there was cause for great rejoicing.

THE PRAISE OF THE MUSICIANS

“And they sang together by course (or, alternately) in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” (Ezra 3:11).

It is not without Divine purpose, therefore, that the ministry of spiritual song and music is being restored to the Church. Actually it is the voice of prophecy. We read, therefore, “Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals…” (1 Chron. 25:1). No doubt there was usually prophetic singing accompanied by the musical instruments; and together it formed this great prophetic orchestra and choir. And because it is the voice of prophecy, that is why there is a work of deliverance wrought when songs are sung in the Spirit, or when instruments of music are played in the Spirit. David, you will recall, drove the evil spirit away from Saul, as he played upon the harp. It is the voice of God; and it is a ministry, as it was in the case of the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. Asaph means Gatherer; Heman means Faithful; and Jeduthun means Choir of Praise. What a wonderful description of what is generally called the Heavenly Choir. “The Choir of Praise!” Sung by those who are “Faithful” in their ministry; and to “Gather” the saints together in the unity of the Spirit.

It is not difficult, then, for us to understand why the Choir of Praise has been restored to the Church. The Temple service is being restored. The saints are singing “by course,”–that is, “alternately” in prophecy one to one another, because once again the Lord’s Temple is being restored. GHW


There has been so much happen in the arena of worship music and prophetic worship since Bro. Warnock wrote this book in a late 1940s. I am not sure if he approved of the changes he saw prior to his death in 2016, although I suspect he embraced many changes yet questioned others. I do the same. I have seen those who are “Faithful” in their ministry; and “Gather” the saints together in the unity of the Spirit. I have also seen those who are faithful to their egos, and gather the saints together in the spirit of the flesh. The same can be said for all areas of Christian ministry.

In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus presents a parable: “24Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, ” The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25“But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26“But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 27“The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28“And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 29“But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

Wrestling with Warnock Round 81

From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 13- Tabernacles – The Feast of Restoration

As we have considered the spiritual significance of the glory and power and wisdom of Solomon’s kingdom, so now let us consider the spiritual significance of the days of restoration, following the captivity. Both temples and both periods of history are applicable to our day: Solomon’s day speaking of the glory and power and wisdom of the Church; and the days of Restoration showing in what manner the lost glory is to be restored.

As for the days of Restoration, it will be of particular interest and profit to us if we consider carefully the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah–because these four books deal particularly with the return of the remnant to Jerusalem following the captivity, and their attempts to restore the walls and the temple and the order of religious worship. Ezra was a priest; Nehemiah was the governor of Jerusalem; and both Haggai and Zechariah were prophets of the Lord who encouraged the builders in the great tasks which lay before them.

THE FIRST FEAST OF TABERNACLES AFTER THE CAPTIVITY

The remnant who had returned from Babylon to Jerusalem were determined that all things should be restored according to the original pattern. And so they kept the Feasts of the Lord also in their due season. “They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings, as the duty of every day required” (Ezra 3:4). They could not keep the feast in its fullness, for the foundation of the house of the Lord was not yet laid, but they observed the pattern as best they could, and God honoured their faith. And now as the first rays of this glorious Feast begin to appear on the eastern horizon, we have every reason to rejoice–knowing that the days of restoration are here. And little by little we can see how the pattern is being unfolded before our eyes.

THE PEOPLE ASSEMBLE AS ONE MAN

“And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves as one man to Jerusalem.” (Ezra 3:1).

This, of course, is the foundational truth of this whole revival which God has given the Church, and one of the first revelations that came forth: that God would now at this time bring His people together to form one body. At the beginning it was hoped that the Christians everywhere would catch the vision, and that before long the whole Body of saints would become one vital, living organism, united together in the bonds of the Spirit unto one common purpose. But it is becoming apparent that only a remnant are returning to Jerusalem. The vast majority are content to remain in Babylon, for they have grown up in that state, and know nothing of the glory of God which once rested mightily on the Temple of God. They are prosperous enough; and the venture which a few fanatical Israelites have started upon is so utterly hopeless and fantastic that they will have nothing to do with it. Just imagine a small group of Israelites, with no natural resources (for they were a captive people), and very little perhaps in the way of education or business and administrative ability–venturing off to a land they had never seen, to a city utterly wasted and desolate, and starting to erect a temple comparable to Solomon’s! And so the majority, the vast majority, were content to remain in Babylon, with only about fifty thousand of the multitudes in Israel thinking it worth their while to go up and start work on the temple. GHW


Proverbs 29:18 in the Amplified Bible says, “Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].” We also hear in Zechariah 4:6, “Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of armies.” It may seem at first that these verses have nothing in common. But they do. They both have to do with the Holy Spirit accomplishing what man alone would fail at. The fifty thousand who returned to Jerusalem had a vision. They may not have seen it fully in Babylon, but there was inspiration to return to the Holy City. But even with a vision, there is need for the Holy Spirit to take control and add His might and His power to that vision. There will always be a remnant who will yield to the Spirit and see great things done in their midst.

Wrestling with Warnock Round 80

From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 12- Tabernacles – The Feast of Glory- The Events of the Seventh Month Blend Into One, continued

IS GOD TEASING THE SAINTS?

God forbid! Hath He spoken and shall He not do it? Hath He promised and shall He not bring it to pass? Did He not mean what He said concerning the Holy Spirit, that He was given to search out the “depths of God,” even the things that have not entered into the heart of man? Shall the prayer of the Son of God go unanswered? And were His words falsely spoken when He declared, “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them?” Shall the first Adam who brought desolation and chaos into the world be permitted to live almost a thousand years, and the sons of the Last Adam be accounted blasphemers and fanatics for preaching Divine Health and Divine Life? Shall men like Enoch and Elijah reach out and appropriate translation by faith, and the brethren of Christ be accursed for cherishing a similar hope? Shall the All-wise God account Himself a fool according to His Beloved Son, for not sitting down first and counting the cost, and see whether He is able to lay a foundation for a glorious Temple, and not able to finish it, while scoffers and passers-by ridicule His feeble architectural plans? Shall the gates of Hell continue to prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ? Shall the great Husbandman admit defeat, and thrust in the sickle before the grain is ripe and fully formed in the ear? Shall He prove the impatience of His Spirit by cutting down the grain before it receives the early and the latter rain? Shall He impart gifts of the Spirit to His people and set the ministers of Christ in the Church for the perfecting of the saints, and then rapture them all before they attain to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ? Shall He serve good wine in the beginning of the feast, and reserve the diluted mixture for the last? Shall a God of wisdom, in the unfolding of the greatest drama of the ages, make a spectacle of the saints before angels and before men, and culminate the Acts of the apostles with the tragic blunder of Modernism and present-day apostasy? Shall the Wisdom, the very manifold wisdom of God in the Church, which God intended for display even now unto the principalities and powers, degenerate into the wisdom that is earthly, sensual, and devilish? Shall demons and hosts of wickedness continue to have a free hand as they barter with the bodies and minds of God’s people? Shall God not rise up in vengeance on behalf of His elect? Is God not concerned about vindicating His great Name, while the nations rage against the authority of Zion’s King, and make His heritage a desolation? Shall the ever-increasing glory of the New Covenant give way to the transient, fading glory of the Law? Or shall the ministration of God’s power in the passing glory of the day of Moses, exceed the ministration of God’s power in this day? Shall God not restore the years that the locust, the caterpillar, the palmerworm, and the cankerworm have eaten? And shall not the glory of this latter house be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts? Shall all creation, yea the children of God themselves,–groan and travail in birth-pangs for the manifestation of the sons of God, all to no end or purpose? And if Zion travail, shall she not bring forth? Or shall the sons be brought to the birth, and God shut the womb?

No! A thousand times no! God’s Sons shall yet be manifested in this great hour of the Church’s sorrow and travail; and shall display before this wicked and perverse generation the unveiled glory of God in a manner not hitherto revealed or even imagined. The prayers of sorrow and bitterness and travail throughout this long wilderness journey of the Church from Pentecost until now–have all been bottled up in the heavenly vials, and soon they shall be poured upon the world in great Heaven-shaking events, dethroning the powers of darkness and of Satan, and establishing the overcomer in authority on Zion’s mountain. GHW

%d bloggers like this: