1. Is Now the Time to Enter?
By Duane Stewart
The time had arrived; a time looked forward to by Joshua and Caleb, who for forty years had been waiting for that great day of promise. A promise time from God had now arrived, a time when the Israelis were to enter the land God had promised to Abraham and his descendants.
Time of Opportunity
While Joshua and Caleb had remained faithful to God’s promised inheritance to the children of Israel, the remaining ones of Israel were but the offspring of those who had come out of Egypt and were now standing in their place of opportunity. The opportunity now available was one of entering into the land of promise and taking hold of their inheritance.
In this, Joshua speaks to the people in Joshua 3:5 by declaring, “And Joshua said to the people, sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you”.
In requesting of the people to sanctify themselves, Joshua was asking the people to separate themselves from everything that was unclean and devote themselves wholly and completely to God.
Today, are we not also hearing from the latter day prophets of God who are declaring a like kind word? A word that is declaring that the kingdom of God is, at this point of time, enlarging itself as it becomes God’s present day purpose to cover the whole earth.
A word, which has a like kind promise as given to Joshua and is now a promise to be fulfilled in a first-fruits people who are likewise taking the land. These first-fruits are receiving the promise and establishing the kingdom of God in the earth.
Receive and Become the At Hand Kingdom of God
Joshua 1:3 & 9, “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. … Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”.
When Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is at hand”, this declaration draws our attention to this truth. A truth that was God’s purpose from before the foundation of the earth. A truth realized by a people who would receive and become God’s kingdom.
How is it that a people can receive the kingdom for which God has purposed for this earth, His creation?
The promise was given to Eve concerning a seed that would come forth in due season. This promised seed would crush all opposing authorities that stand against God’s purpose. This promised seed, awakened in Abraham to be passed down through the house of David, was finally to appear through the Virgin Mary at the birth of Jesus Christ, who is that seed.
In this promised son, He became the seed that when planted within receiving humanity, He has but one purpose. That purpose, to bring forth after its own kind, bringing forth a Priest/King ministry upon the earth to usher in and establish Gods promised kingdom.
Is this not the trumpet sounding out throughout the land, as the prophets of today proclaim that the appearing kingdom of God has come?
Religion and Carnality Are Missing the Kingdom
Meanwhile large portions of the Christian Community, faulty in their proclamations because of the carnality that exist within their camp, they have missed the mark. They have, as the Pharisees of old, robbed the people of the life that Jesus made available through His death, burial and resurrection.
These carnal minded leaders have twisted the truth to establish their own religious activities and orders while leaving God on the outside. Luke 11:52 speaks, “Woe to you lawyers! Because you have taken away the key of knowledge, you entered not yourselves, and those approaching, you hindered”.
Likewise, today, there remains among us an order of religious mind-sets that not only refuse the truth, but by their legalisms, they erect barriers to hinder those who are seeking the truth.
Have you not noticed that among a large portion of the Christian populace today, the doctrines and traditions being practiced have a tendency to put the fulfilling of God’s word into a far-off position? Some are even calling God’s word nothing but fables. This mind-set is robbing the people from a present day God.
These are holding on to something that might only happen in the future if it is to ever happen? By constantly putting a present tense God off into the future, they establish for themselves mind-sets that do not know a present day indwelling personal God.
Like the children of Israel, in refusing God and His leading word, a wilderness journey has been the Christian Communities path. They have never entered into the promises of God, the Promised Land, the kingdom of God. This results in generations falling away and dying in the wilderness of confusion to never know God’s fulfilling promises.
A New Generation
However, what is happening now? Like in Joshua’s day, a new generation has now come forth and are joining themselves with Christ as they stand on the banks of this modern day promise land which is the kingdom of God.
A word is echoing forth throughout the earth, the time has come to take the kingdom. Therefore, sanctify yourselves, separate from the old wilderness ways, and prepare yourselves to enter God’s Kingdom as promised.
Even now this kingdom is being established here on earth. Have we not heard of such a day as this? Unto those who are willing, they can forsake the bondages of carnal minded doctrines and traditions. That is, the old wilderness mind-sets established upon murmuring and complaining. Established mind-sets that steal, kill and destroys the life of God within a people. This causes spiritual death among them and leaves them to die in the wilderness journeys.
Nevertheless, unto those willing, a new way of life begins. Yes, today’s spiritual Joshua’s and Caleb’s are standing forth and finding themselves joined to a generation of people that are willing to take the land.
A New Day of Equipping the People of God
Yesterday’s deathwatch is over, life is beginning to flow forth and God is equipping a people for the works of ministering the kingdom of God. This equipping of the ministries is not to be just the former rains, nor just the latter rains, but rains of both former and latter at the same time. This rain is equipping these end-time people to function within a present tense God.
Eph. 4:11-16, “And he gave indeed the apostles, and the prophets, and the evangelists, and shepherds and teachers, for the complete equipping of the saints for the work of service, in order to the building up of the body of the anointed one; till we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the full stature of the anointed one; so that we may be infants no longer, tossed and whirled about with every wind of teaching which is in the trickery of men, by cunning craftiness in systematic deception; but being truthful in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, the anointed one; from whom the whole body, being fitly joined and united, by means of every assisting joint, according to the proportionate energy of each single part, effects the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love”.
Is this not speaking of an order of people who no longer identify with that life-style which tosses a people back and forth, the results of doctrines established by the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting?
In the above scriptural setting of Ephesians, the phrase “equipping of the saints” speaks of using the gifts given by Christ to mend, prepare, and enable the people to function as vital, spiritually functional people, while sanctifying themselves to take the kingdom. These people are those who become new men walking, no longer bound by the old wilderness ways, but they are learning the ways of Christ, while putting off the old man, they are renewing their minds.
Eph. 4:20-24, “But you have not thus learned the anointed one; if indeed you heard him, and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus; to put off, according to the former course of life, that old man, corrupted by deceitful desires; and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and be you clothed with that new man, who, according to God, has been formed in righteousness and holiness of the truth”.
Relational Reality of God and Man
Let us recognize a truth, a truth, not as man has perverted it, but as it has been written about and displayed in the Garden of Eden concerning the relationship between God and man. Gen. 2:25, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed”. “Not ashamed” as used in this verse is relating to us “a relationship of purity, which involves our status with God, a righteousness that enables man to walk with God in the cool (spirit) of the day.”
By dwelling with God, fellowshipping with God and standing in obedience to God, this enables each vessel to stand before God unashamed. This returning original purpose of God is the process of man’s sanctification back unto Him.
God’s promise is to establish His covenant with a people that will then cause them to be separated from their former rebellious ways.
Separated From Past Ways
Ezek. 16:62-63, “And I will establish my covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done, says the Lord God”. In this scripture, being ashamed is the results of remembering the path we walked before coming into God’s covenant and realizing that our deeds necessitated the atonement.
“Naked”, the word used in Gen. 2:25 above, is the Hebrew word “ARUM” which carries the meaning of “wise” as it is interpreted again in Gen. 3:1 when speaking of the serpent as being more “subtle” or wiser than any other beast of the field concerning worldly things.
This implies that they, the man and woman, knew only God, up to this point, and were not ashamed before God. However, the serpent, wise in knowing evil and not ashamed to question the truth of God’s word, tempted the woman who succumbed to the temptation.
Such like kind activities continue on today as we see in the world about us a generation of people who are likened unto the serpent and not ashamed to question God’s word. These are questions stated, not to gain truth, but are inspired to question the validity of God and His word.
Arising Generation to Declare God’s Kingdom
But also, in the world today, another part of this same generation is standing up to declare, God and His word is yea and amen and it will not return unto Him void. But His word shall birth forth into a realm of maturity to manifest all that God declared.
God’s declaration, to make a people into His likeness that a kingdom might be established in all creation as God accepts His right to rule and reign through that people. A people becoming the Priests and Kings of God, a many member group of sons becoming the expressed image of Christ throughout the land.
In this truth, a season has come, a time has arrived when, like Joshua and the children of Israel, a new generation is being inspired of God to go forth and take the land. A people, no longer feeling the tug in their hearts to return to the bondage of Egypt (dark, narrow, carnal life-styles), but they press their way forward in conquering the land and taking possession of their promised inheritance.
Is this the time?
The question that stands before us is, “is now the time to entertain the fullness of God’s promise?” In entertaining God’s promises, are we willing to take the land knowing that we have this agreement with God?
Deut. 31:3 & 6, “The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you and you shall dispossess them, Joshua [Jesus] himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said. … Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One that goes before you. He will not leave you nor forsake you”.
Our inheritance, set apart in God and prepared for us during this the last of the last days, is now opening up for us that we might see, understand, receive and manifest.
1 Peter 1:3-5, “Blessed be that God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and unfading, preserved in the heavens [invisible spiritual realm] for you, who are guarded by the power of God, through faith, for salvation prepared to be revealed in the last times”.
Again the question which was stated in the title of this writing, “Is now the time to enter?”