Most folk with whom I associate believe as I do that we just could be the generation that will be around when Jesus returns. The generation before mine and the generation before that and preceding generations going back to the days Jesus walked the earth have also said this. Many foolish things have been said and done in this time but it does not negate this event in any way. Jesus told us many times that He would return and so He shall.
His reply started with a warning not to allow anyone to deceive them. The bible teaches us in such places as 2 Timothy 3:1-9 about deception in the last days, so it is good to heed the warning.
He told us to look at two things — Israel and the Church.
Jesus said that the generation that witnessed these things happening would not pass away until all the things He spoke about happened and He returned.
With respect to the church, look again at what He said here-
One reason for the preaching of the Gospel is to establish a testimony or witness. Jesus did not tell us that the world would necessarily accept it, but that there would be no excuse by anyone in saying that they never heard!
Certain folk say that we don’t know when He is returning. I once thought that, but we will know! Yes… we will know. It might not be to the split second as regards time, but we will know the season. 1 Chronicles 12:32 tells us that the Children of Issachar know how to discern the seasons in God. Few people today bother to check.
One of the most powerful illustrations the Lord showed me about the timing factor is found in Matthew 25, when Jesus was speaking about end time events. Do not confuse things as often happens. End time events take a multitude of various aspects and they are not necessarily all to do with the Church.
Part of the work that precedes Jesus’ return is, I believe, a kind of literal changing of the guard.
There are definite seasons in nature, or Spring, Summer, Autumn and winter. Each season differs from the other and in the plant kingdom changes occur just as God intended when He created everything.
I like stone fruits. Cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums are my favourites, but the fruit is only found in summer time. In autumn, the leaves begin to fall off the trees. In winter, they can look like dead sticks, but in spring...ahhh, spring… flowers start to appear signalling new life. Without such changes, we would not enjoy those sweet, juicy morsels.
I am convinced that in Gods spiritual seasons, similar things happen. The feasts of Israel were seasonal, so why not things relating to the spirit?
Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. Psalm 81:3
Jesus’ birth was like that.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, Galatians 4:4
The bible principle:
In Genesis chapter 12:1-4, God instructed Abram when he was 75 years of age to leave everything that was near and dear to him and move to the place of His appointment. After Lot’s departure in Genesis 13:14, God started to reveal His plan, that included posterity (Genesis 13:15). Thirteen years later, after the incident that let to Ishmael’s birth, God started speaking again. He had been silent for 13 years!
The covenant was renewed by God. Abraham had effectually broken that first one with his involvement with Hagar. He said, when Abram was 99 years old that he was making a covenant that said he would be the father of many nations and changed the man’s name from Abram to Abraham. See Genesis 17:1-9. We now know that Abraham, became the father of Isaac, who became the father of Jacob who became the father of the tribes of Israel. There was a natural progression of father to son whereby the inheritance passed down the generational line. In a manner of speaking this could be a kind of changing of the guard.
Exodus 2:1-2 gives the account of Moses’ birth. A new season was about to begin and in Exodus 12, Moses led God’s people into a new era. At that point, the Hebrew calendar changed and a new beginning commenced. Forty years later, another new beginning was about to commence. Moses’ life comprised three distinct periods of time, each of 40 years duration. The number 40 is associated with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement. It is the product of 5 (representing grace) and 8 (representing revival and renewal).
Where did Joshua come from?
Why did Moses pick him?
What had he been doing?
Fast forward to Exodus 24:13. God had called Moses up to the mountain and he took Joshua with him. Please look at the verse-
And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. Exodus 24:13
The future leader of the nation of Israel...the man who was to take God’s people into their Promised Land was a servant to the man of God. Herein is a very important principle. Good leaders...and I mean really great leaders come at the right time, in the right place, for the right purposes and most times only emerge after much prior preparation. I shall elaborate more as we continue.
We take up the story in 1 Kings 17 where the prophet Elijah is first seen. Other than saying he was a Tishbite, he seems to be a mystery man. I do not know where he came from or what he had previously done, but he suddenly emerged as if out of nowhere and went straight into action. I urge you to read 1 Kings chapters 17 and 18, but now look at 1 Kings 18:42-43. Here, he prays for rain and told his servant to look for it. The servants name is not mentioned! I am of the opinion that this is Elisha.
When Jezebel threatened him, Elijah fled to Beersheba ad abandoned his servant! He traveled a day’s journey into the wilderness where God ministered to him and here instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha to take over!
In 2 Kings 2, Elijah was taken up in the chariot of fire and Elisha picked up his mantle. Please note that Elisha was already anointed! He took on Elisha’s anointing as well.This was a changing of the guard!
Turn with me to 2 Kings 13:14-21. This is the account of Elisha’s terminal illness. In the account, he wanted to pass the anointing on and unfortunately did not succeed. The man who could have been the recipient missed the opportunity. His faith level was not up to par. His commitment was not as good as it could have been or should have been, with the result that he died before passing the anointing on. On this occasion, there was no changing of the guard.
John the Baptist:
Luke chapter one describes the birth of John. Luke 1:17 declares that John would pave the way for the coming Messiah. Matthew 3:1-3 says that John came as the man who would prepare the way of the Lord.
When Jesus started His ministry, a changing of the guard occurred.
His ministry needs no elaboration here. He went about doing good, healing the sick, preaching and teaching about the kingdom of God and trained a group of people to take over His ministry. He started with 12, then 70, then on the Day of Pentecost, 120 people gathered together and from Paul’s saying in 1 Corinthians 15:6, there were 500 brethren.
His commission is seen in Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20 and John 20:21.
Church history reveals how His mantle had been picked up by people like you and me and so it continues.
There are many fathers of the faith who are role models...men and women who have pioneered works and moves of God over the generations. You can conduct searches of your own to see some of them. Every one had an input into the Church. Obviously not all they said and did has been carried on in the spirit in which it was originally given, but they did make a contribution.
I will focus more on some of the more recent leaders I know.
The man who had a major impact on my life was Kenneth Hagin. I was fortunate to spend a week of ministry with him in Australia back in the 1970 era. It was during that time, the seed of what is now Bashan Ministries was planted.
As you know, there are no instant success stories. To be best of my understanding, every one of the leaders I have mentioned all spent a considerable time in proper preparation before launching out into their ministries. I’ve touched on the 40 year periods of Moses’ life; the servanthood of Joshua and Elisha before and it seems that this is how God prepares His generals. No one enters the military and immediately sits behind the desk of a general. Boot camp comes first. Then there are periods of additional training and promotions unit they are promoted to higher positions.
In my secular career, I joined the PMG department in Australia as a telecommunications technician as an apprentice. After that training, I studied and was promoted to a Senior Technician position. Then came terms of officer in charge of various workplaces (mostly on relief work) and then came the day when I was promoted to the assistant technical manager of a very large district with some 250 operational staff. When I finally left what became Telecom then Telstra, I was the National Administrator of an arm of the project that computerized Australia’s telephone exchange network.
The point I am making is that this took time in which I had to learn things, mature in areas, accept responsibility and generally prove myself.
I believe that this is like what is needed in the Church. Paul told Timothy not to appoint a novice to a position of responsibility. A pimply faced bible college graduate really should not be the pastor of a church for example. We expect that after some maturity and experience he could become the senior ministry of a good bible believing church.
Kenneth Hagin went home to be with the Lord along time ago but his legacy has been passed down chains of command to others. Perhaps some of that rubbed off onto me.
My mentor is Pastor Bill Winston from Chicago. In 2015, I transferred my ordination to him and in essence sit under his ministry. Although I am an independent non denominational ministry, I relate to him and I am finding that his banner or anointing is also coming over me.
In my turn, I mentor others around the world. Some have asked me to be their Bishop. Some have asked to join my organisation.
Should Kenneth Copeland, who mentors my mentor, go home, he will leave a legacy to others down the line.
If Doctor Bill Winston also go, I suppose that his son David will pick up the mantle and keep the ministry running. I also hope that some of the BWM anointing will come on me.
This is an aspect of the changing of the guard. I will hasten to add that I use this for illustration purposes only. I am not planning to leave yet and I believe that I will still be around when Jesus comes back. What people like Bill Winston and I are doing is training people like you.
This is a very important part of my whole ministry. This web site is devoted to teaching.
Training others to take over, is preparing them for a changing of the guard if occasion dictates. If not, we are nevertheless doing what Paul said.
As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me.
Training others, or preparing to pass the baton on to others is precisely what I mean. It is a progressive unfolding of God’ revelation. He wants the Church to reveal His manifold wisdom to principalities and powers. He wants the church to grow to full maturity. I see that there is still much work to do in such areas.
I will bring this to a conclusion with this-
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
Previous generations never entered into this. Some never saw it. The word of God is complete and we cannot add to it or detract from it, but we have not really seen it. We haven’t really had the revelation of what it means.
I believe that when the Church does grasp such truths, we will have reached that stage of maturity and Jesus can then come. Perhaps there will be more changing of the guard, but what if...what if the last changing of the guard was the last we will ever have?
Think of it.