“The Changing of the Guard”
By Duane Stewart
We, as a people of God, are coming awake to this truth, that there is a change going on that seemingly does not follow in line with the history of church affairs. All that history can tell us is that man’s desire to promote the gospel has been a distorting, confusing mess that wars against the unity of the Christ instead of cementing it together as one. By casually observing the religious climate around us, we notice that the condition of the visible church stands in fault as darkness increases within her ranks and on ever side. Note the conditions of the individual offspring coming out of family units without any discipline, which promotes an all about me, what I want, do what makes me happy, mindset. Family units that, for the most part, have removed God from the home and replaced Him with alcohol, drugs, sex and pornography which creates an atmosphere of excepting abortion, same-sex marriages and divorce without restraint.
What about a society where entertainment, education, politics, and carnal religions have promoted life-styles (mind-sets) that extract God from abiding among them? This, being done through television, films, educational tools and laws, man has rejected God and His commandments. Meanwhile, they promote immoral, unrestrained lust and desires as well as so called alternate life-styles that oppose God’s standards. These laws and life-styles are establishing an order that births spiritual darkness as they seek to make good – evil and evil – good. Is it not true that all these things are on the rampage, seemingly without any type of restraint?
Just where does the visible church stand in the face of all this darkness? What has it done to oppose such darkness? It is important for the church to see that a time has come when, in this season of God, He is demanding an accounting, a change. What is it that transpires when God brings forth such a change? It is a fact that history, when involving the children of Israel and the church, reveals that change means that all things released from God, for any given time and season, will run its course. When each season has completed what God intended for it to achieve, that season fades away for a coming of another time and season. As the former season fades away, it is because its purpose has been completed and incorporated within a coming seed. This seed is then carried into the next season where God’s planted new season progressively matures and begins to manifest God in a greater expression.
The church, as we have known it from our past until now, is standing in a time and season of a great needed change. There is a changing of the guard going on in like fashion as the children of Israel when they stood on the east side of the Jordon River while waiting to enter the Promised Land. It would be well to note that these Israelites had been in a like-kind position years earlier. However, because of rebellion and fear, they refused to obey God, and in their rebellion, they reacted in self and selfishness as their rebellion overcame them. This disobedience sent them back into the wilderness for another thirty-eight years, a journey that became their day of judgment as the whole generation that came out of Egypt died in that wilderness, save two.
Now, thirty-eight years later, another time comes for them to enter the land of promise. Nevertheless, let us note the changes that needed to be made, a changing of the guard before they could enter in. Joshua now replaced Moses, God’s chosen man used to lead them out of Egypt. Deut. 31:2, “And he [Moses] said to them, I am one hundred and twenty years old today [God’s number used to mean the end of the flesh]. I can no longer go out and come in. Also, the Lord has said to me, you shall not cross over the Jordon”. Understand that the flesh and the desires it represents cannot enter God’s promised land.
Moses, the lawgiver, speaks to us of the law he types that is unable to come into the promises of God because of the flesh and its inability. With the number 120 speaking of the “end of all flesh” this points to a large portion of the Christian community of today. Why, because they have allowed themselves to become prisoners to the “law of death”, the carnal flesh man. Meaning they are not accepting the liberty of life which God released to His people by the sent Holy Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:6, “who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter [law] kills, but the Spirit gives life”.
Herein, the carnal church system finds itself a prisoner to the old covenant of death, meaning that its external code, which was by the old covenant, produces spiritual death. A death because the law, while showing us our need, is powerless to meet that need. Recognize that only the Holy Spirit sent from God gives life. It is not by following religious creeds, mental philosophies nor fleshly works which cannot birth righteousness. Righteousness comes only from the inward power of the Spirit of God, which enables us to keep God’s new covenant Law, which is His nature.
Why is it that the Christian community seemingly always reverts to incorporating laws and carnal guidelines in which to live by? (Read Heb. 8:6-13). Could it be, that from the fall of Adam, man has an inward desire to be a god unto himself? For this cause, man, left to his own devices always seems to institute for himself an order of daily life that promotes self and self’s image. With this drive, unchecked, man ultimately creates for himself a life-style wherein God is not really wanted. With man, having that inner need for a god, he establishes for himself an order of religion that keeps the one true God at a distance while making himself his own god. While the one true God requires only obedience, man makes for self a life-style that feeds self and all its desires and appetites. Therefore, while having a form of godliness, man denies God His right and His power to rule over him.
Though having the opportunity to receive the promises of God, men refuses to enter in, fulfilling a like natural response as those wilderness journeying Israelites who refused to enter God’s promises. 2 Tim. 3:2-5, “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such turn away!”
This scripture points to the fruit which had its beginning, first with Abrahams natural seed and then secondly with the offspring of the church. This fruit has progressively matured through the decades of time until now. When is it that this fruit comes to a head? 2 Tim. 3:1,” But know this that in the last day’s perilous times will come”. This word “perilous” is a word that describes a society that is barren of virtue but abounding with vices.
In all this, we see the great need that exists today for a changing of the guard. This means that God is now ready to present Himself to His creation in a new measure. All that has gone on in God before this present day has run its course and accomplished that for which God sent it. Therefore, the old day, the old guard, the old understandings that has presented God to us in the in-part measure, the measure we have known Him has been fulfilled. Our yesterdays are now being replaced by a new day and a new guard. New God given understandings are ushering in a full measure of God that is to manifest the “fullness of these end-times”. Does this mean that all our yesterdays were in vain? In no way, for they have brought us to this day, a day that shall surpass all the days that have gone on before. With each new day, God brings forth a greater manifestation of Himself and has now brought forth the people who shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2b, “…but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is”. In this wise, His people, this new guard shall be like Him.
Even as God spoke to the children of Israel in preparing for them to cross the River Jordan, He is likewise speaking to His people today. Deut. 31:3a, “The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you;” Did not Jesus also speak to the disciples concerning coming into this place of fulfillment with Him? John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also”. Speaking of coming into that dwelling place in God wherein His people shall come to dwell. Likewise, this new guard people shall cease from their own labors as they rest in God. Herein they manifest Christ in the earth, a finishing up of His building, His dwelling place, the establishing of the kingdom of God in earth.
God’s promises remain steadfast today, even as He spoke to Joshua through Moses in Deut. 31:7-8, “…Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you, He will be with you, and He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed”.
Likewise, in our day, we see a generation, a new guard ascending before God and they are taking the kingdom. With the seventh trumpet beginning to sound as proclaimed in the book of Revelation, these loud voices are sounding out today to declare this kingdom. Rev. 11:15, “Then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”.
This released anointing, by the declaration of heaven, is an anointing that shall bring amazement to all creation. This new guard shall usher in the light of God with such magnitude that the darkness of this world’s governments and religions shall crumble and completely dissipate. The accusers lie shall be uncovered to remove the deceit that has had the world bound and in his grip. The Holiness of God will flow like a river as the new nature of restored man establishes the nature of Christ in the earth. The sin, sickness, corruption and immoral behavior of the world shall receive healing and deliverance as God releases Himself in and through His people.
Yes, there is a changing of the guard. God’s new day is upon us and we shall see the salvation of the Lord. God shall establish His ways in all the earth, for in and from Mount Zion (God’s remnant and first fruits people); God shall reign and establish peace. Micah 4:1-3, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion the law [nature of Christ in the first-fruits] shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [revised and purified true church – His bride]. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore”.
The words “teach” from the above scripture means “to instruct, direct, to point, shoot, and aim, throw, cast in a straight manner”. The primary meaning is “to shoot straight” or “to direct the flow” of something. A derivative of “teach” is “rain”. Another derivative means, “Teacher, one who aims and throws his directives in a straight way, one who points out the truth”. Thus, the foundation of this new guard, with Jesus the head and His body of first-fruits, they guard the word and declare that He is what He is, spirit and truth. God’s rain has and is falling upon the earth to water this seed of truth. God’s truth has been planted and He is now harvesting His first-fruits. Amen and Amen, the time for the changing of the guard has come.