By Grant Marshall – January 2021
The book of Ecclesiastes begins thus: 1 There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven-
I want the reader to pay attention to the ‘time appointed.’ In the Hebrew the word used for an appointed time is ‘Moed.’ I also want us to define the difference between a time and a season. A few years ago, I found myself on a ministry trip to Israel. We managed to get permission to hold a meeting in the garden of Gethsemane. It was here, after a period of prayer, that the Lord showed me the difference. To be honest, I had not even been contemplating the question specifically. It was as if the Lord wanted me ask it . The Lord showed me the answer through the visitation of a small tortoise that sped across my path, just in front of my feet.
Seasons, are defined by the rotation of the earth around the sun. In these seasons we mark off, generally, quarters of the year. They change in climate and bring with them their own peculiar nature. We have no choice in what they bring. The seasons can bring life and decimation. They can bring fruit and crop, famine and feast. Every year is different. Though we have no choice in what the seasons bring to us, we can as we have found out, influence what they bring. Certain crops, flora and fauna, emit their beauty, fragrance and nutrition to the living world. Man’s influence on our God given ecosystem has affected its delicate balance, and now we are reaping the consequences.
Times, however, are a little more unreliable because they are based on conditions. For example: certain flowers can bloom out of season, simply because the conditions are right. We can have a warm spell in winter and spring can seem to come a little earlier. Sometimes a child can be born earlier than expected, all down to the conditions that surround it in the ecosystem of its mother.
We speak, as believers, of being in a season of something. Seasons have time limitations put upon them, but times and events come become the conditions are right and there is not designated any length for them.
Let us look at the season or the time we are in now.
Every believer in Christ, by which I mean a follower of our Messiah Jesus, by consent is acceptant of His life and allows Christ to become sovereign. The new believer immediately consents to giving up their life in exchange for the one that God has for them, by being born again of the Spirit, allowing a transformation that will give us access into the realm and presence of God. Whereas once, we did not understand Him, we can now learn to. Whereas God was far away, once, He is now near. When we were far-off, by being under the ownership of Ha’satan, we now because of God’s great and merciful purchase — the redemptive sacrifice of Lamb of God — belong to Him.
Our fallen nature began the process of regeneration and rejuvenation. God began to make us or remake us into who we should be or once were. In order for us to become malleable in the hand of the great potter, our earthen vessels must be emptied of ourselves. The process is hard, because the old contents are claggy, and like the tea that stains the inside of a cup, it needs to be scoured, making the inside of the cup squeaky clean. The process of this remake, will depend on what purpose the potter deems for his new creation. I think of the extraction of the old man as being like Marmite; it just does not want to come out of the jar. I apologise to those who don’t like Marmite. I love it, and have it most days on some homemade bread. I have developed a technique now that gets the stuff out of the jar without it falling off the knife and coating the outside of the jar.
I have noticed over the years that my own personal thoughts, those regarding my nature, the changes, the influences of my past, the echoes of thoughts and the responses I would have had at one time, constantly float to the surface of the pot. They unsettle me at times and then I am disappointed and never completely satisfied. I want to be a better man and husband, kinder, more patient, stronger, gentler; better in all the fruits of the Spirit. Make no doubt, there is only one judge who judges me harder than I judge myself and that is God. I do not believe for one moment that I am better at anything than anyone else. I am acutely aware of my abilities and skill levels at certain things.
Having never formally trained in anything, I have found that determination, time and practice, experience and application, and of course the need to learn something, have proven my course in attaining the levels I find myself at in most things. All in all, I’m just an average guy who has been given the gift of Christ, and in this gift, I rest in the knowledge that in Him I can do what He calls me to do.
As I have said, to be a vessel used by God, a person has to be processed. He has to be cleaned from contaminates, broken, softened, soaked, kneaded and compressed just like the clay. He then has to be reshaped in expert hands, left on the shelf until the potter returns to put him in the fire. It is said that the heated clay vibrates a particular tone when it is ready to come out from the intense heat of the kiln.
I loved pottery at school. I was pretty good at it. I even had permission to use the potter’s wheel and everything else after classes. Years later, I looked at taking it up again. Having not the resources to purchase or even run a kiln, I found a local potter. I asked if he would fire my pots. He said he would, but as a potter who earned a living at it, he said it could only happen when he was not doing his own pieces. You see, although the outside of my own pieces would have looked ok, any imperfection or air bubble in them would cause an explosion under the intense heat and destroy his work.
This is what is happening to all of us, as believers. We will not enter our heavenly abode unless we have gone through a similar process. There simply cannot be any imperfection in us. God has to remove the air of this world from us. Our time will come, but for sure we will spend some time on the shelf, curing before we enter the fire.
Our confidence and trust must be in God. He must increase and we decrease to the degree that we can do nothing without His hands around us. We are all being reshaped, bent, battered and hammered, just like the iron in the blacksmith’s hands, and in the greater analogy, the cosmos, in which immense forces and powers pull and extract every atom apart and join them together again. As human beings, we are frail and infirm. Our bodily functions can fail at any time, leaving us infirm for a season or a time. Despite our arrogance and knowledge, we are extremely vulnerable and weak. We are a liability to each other and to the cosmos. At the same time, God has given every believer, in relationship with Him, the ability and permission to affect creation, whether on our blue planet or in the space that surrounds it, or indeed in the spaces in-between. When we find our final allocation in the world to come, it will not be by our own efforts but by God’s great pleasure, love and sovereign judgement.
Creation is going through great change, or should I say continuing on a path that will bring for us phenomenal, unprecedented and extraordinary change. These changes will affect every realm, spiritual and physical. The enemy of our souls and the adversary of God, is not happy.
The substance of his world is passing away. We see in the book of Exodus that whenever Moses performed the acts of God in front of Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s magicians were able to copy them. Satan is the counter-creator, unable to create anything original. He is the ultimate illusionist, wizard of wizards. His responses to God’s creation is to create confusion and doubt. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. There was chaos and a void – a gap that lacked the light. God brought order to it.
The plan of the adversary of God designed his new scheme before the world began. So we must understand that this world is not ours. We are in it to show that the pure image of God cannot be duplicated. When this world passes away and all creation is made anew, God will inhabit it. There will be nothing organic within it. Spirit will dwell with Spirit.
In this world of Hi-tech, illusion, lies and fake news, how will we know what is counterfeit? I learned many years ago that experts, trained in detecting counterfeit money and stamps, don’t spend hours looking at the fakes — they study the real ones.
I have written before, that this time of isolation and lockdown, because of the Covid pandemic, (personal beliefs aside) is every believer’s chance to get himself into the ark and learn to listen to the voice of God and to recommit himself to His instruction. In this divine cell, we will transcend the restraints of this world into the spiritual realm. The scaffolding of religion will fall and religious restraints will be broken. The believer will emerge in the understanding with power and freedom. We will understand ourselves through periods of fasting and repentance. We will leave our tent of meeting, renewed with a new resolve and back bone.
Know this: the crisis of faith that has now come upon the world serves at least three purposes: to bring unbelievers to Christ, to strengthen believers in Christ, and identify those who will lose their faith.
Nonetheless, Colossians 1:16 tells us that, “ All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing.”
With the evidence against, stacking up, that’s hard to believe isn’t it? But there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. Every season in every year brings different events and outcomes. Agricultural crops produce different yields: sometimes abundance, sometimes lack. 2020 was a severe year in weather patterns and crop yields. Devastation and slow-down has been the overriding trend across the global economy. The gospel is referred to in agricultural, military and building terms. Using agricultural terms we see the examples of fruit, harvest, wheat, tares etc and even Israel is referred to as the fig tree.
There is nothing that can prevent the Word going out, only our doubt and disobedience. Have no doubt, God will remove all of this. Anyone who harbours this duo, has no place in the divine cell.
Finally as we come to the end of this article, I am going to share with you the conjunction of C’s. This weekend the Lord revealed to me a parallel that aligns the current Covid pandemic situation with the coming apostasy. The forces of the world and the kingdom of God are converging rapidly. The world through its satanic counter-plan, which is being allowed by God for this purpose, has developed a system which is dividing those who believe in it, that is in its offering, and those who do not. The Covid pass is the certificate that will clarify your position in society. If you have been marked as one who has taken the test and received the vaccine, you will now receive your tick in the passport box. You have been targeted and bought, and can benefit from travel, journey further afield, resume your family relations and even go back to work. The doors of your home are now unlocked and you are free. Because of your faith in the system, you are now a bonafide covid citizen.
In the system of the Kingdom, we are targeted, tested and marked. We make the decision to receive the mark of God and are certified by the blood of Messiah. We become blood bought citizens of the Kingdom of God and we are vaccinated and made immune by the blood of Christ. We become bonafide Kingdom citizens.
As the two realms converge, conflict arises and a crisis of faith occurs. The fallout and devastation on business, the economy and the personal loss of wealth and through death, will force many to reconsider their belief system. As a result, many will begin to fall away from their faith and tradition, believing that God does not answer prayer, is not loving and has failed them. Many will become bitter and turn away. Some will of course learn of their mistakes and return, but others will reject God totally.
However, what will emerge will be those who remain, and those who will enter the Kingdom, because they have called out to the Lord.
This is the collision of C’s: Conjunction, (an alignment in spirit and the physical) Cosmos, (planetary conjunction and cosmic events) Climate events, and a time unique in Creation) Calamity, Chaos and Confusion, Covid, Cash-Crash, Counterfeit, Conflict and Church.
There is a Convergence occurring now in so many realms that it is absolutely bewildering and utterly staggering. What has seemed impossible is now happening. Each generation is subject to its own part to play in the redemptive plan. The generation that witnesses the beginning of the end will have much to bear. We know that our Lord is coming back soon. May the strength that comes through His grace be with us as events unravel.
As this age draws to an end, the final thrust for the presentation of the light of the gospel, will go out into possibly the darkest time of human history. The responsibility upon the generation of our day is seek the Lord in how we do this in an ever increasing secular world.
Let us continue to watch and pray, brothers and sisters.
The Spirit and the Bride say ‘Come’.
16 Furthermore, I saw under the sun that in the place of judgment there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, “God will judge the righteous and the wicked, since there is a time for every activity and every deed.”
18 I said to myself, “As for the sons of men, God tests them so that they may see for themselves that they are but beasts.” 19 For the fates of both men and beasts are the same: As one dies, so dies the other—they all have the same breath.a Man has no advantage over the animals, since everything is futile.
20 All go to one place; all come from dust, and all return to dust.