Part 5: From Ziklag to Zion by Ern Baxter

From Ziklag to Zion is part five of The King and His Army Series- a powerful and still relevant prophetic series preached by J. Ern Baxter at the Lakes Bible Week in 1975. Based upon the prophetic significance for Christ’s Church of David’s perilous journey and the journey of the twelve tribes of Israel from Ziklag to Zion, graphically, with great insight and humor, Ern proclaims what it is going to take for the Church to enter in and lay hold of the Kingdom and succeed in it’s mission to disciple cities and nations and fill the earth with God’s glory!

In the kind of thing that I’ve been saying this week I realize I run the risk of being misunderstood, probably misrepresented and even the things I say being misused.  I was sharing with the brothers at lunch today something of my personal feeling, which I think is a safeguard against getting into the “we-they” mentality.  I feel I should say to you tonight that we don’t get into the attitude of “we are the people” and whoever “they” are – “oh well, we just feel sorry for them.” If you will notice (and it will come out again tonight) even though Saul tried to kill David, David always loved and respected Saul.  We should all read the 1st chapter of 2nd Samuel when the announcement of Saul and Jonathan’s deaths came to David, this is one of the most beautiful passages as David sings his song of lament over the death of the man who tried to kill him and Jonathan his son with whom he had such a deep covenant relationship.  As we will find out tonight, David’s love never seemed to slacken even after Saul’s death.  He continued to have a respectful affection for the very memory of Saul.  I don’t like to keep laying on you the fact that I have been 43 years in the ministry, but I have watched several revivals come and break on the rocks on exclusivism, and they said, “We have it – we are the people.” I want you to know that my brothers and I feel that whatever God is doing with us, we will never get into the exclusivistic camp, and we will hold solidly the position that every man who calls Christ Lord is my brother.  He may not be flowing in what I feel is right or what I am doing, but I am not going to allow myself to be painted into a corner.  I am going to love all of God’s people. 

More than that, while I am obviously not in favor of Head and Shoulders government, that doesn’t mean I am going to retaliate in kind.  Because Saul tries to pin me to the wall, I am not going to try and pin him to the wall.  I will continue to love those men I feel may be involved in Head and Shoulders government, and I think we have got to be careful, brothers and sisters, that we don’t equate Head and Shoulders government with things that we don’t personally like.  We must be very careful that we ourselves have been completely purged of Head and Shoulders attitudes, and I am not sure that we totally are.  Hang loose!  Keep a big heart!  Don’t get exclusive!  Don’t say “We and they” – it is “us.” All right, I think you will see the importance of that as we move along tonight.

Now last night we dealt with Ziklag, and tonight we’re going to go on to Hebron.  Hopefully, I will leave you in Zion while I go to Manchester.  (*Laughter*) You will notice in this very significant analogy of the Head and Shoulders government of the Kingdom versus the Heart government (human authority versus divine authority) that as I have laid this out that there have been places where I am not quite sure what it all means.  I think this is a healthy thing to do.  If you are not sure, say you are not sure.  Don’t make something up just to try and make people think you are an encyclopaedia.  I do know that this story is an analogy of what is going on because God is going to have His David be the ultimate Lord.  He will be supreme, as we have just seen.  When I say I don’t know what something means – I don’t.  If you know – write me a letter and tell me.  There are some very significant things, and one of them we’ll find tonight is that for a year and four months David was cooped up in Ziklag because he was restricted by reason of Saul’s design on his life.  For a year and four months there came to him day by day, men who were defecting from the Head and Shoulders regime of Saul – until we learned last night that there was an army like the army of God.  I suggested (and this is just my personal view) that we are at the present time at Ziklag.  I don’t think I’m just being critical.  I think it’s obvious – it’s just patently obvious that all over the world tonight government is crumbling. 

We are not just talking about ecclesiastical government – we are talking about government generally.  Head and Shoulders authoritarianism is crumbling because there was a day in the USA and in the UK and many other nations when there was a healthy, official recognition of the sovereignty of God.  In the last 100 years or so, with the coming of Jewish pragmatism into education and higher criticism into theology, we have lost our moorings and now human society across the world is in trouble concerning authority.  In America we are facing the possibility in this bicentennial year of announced threats that there will be indiscriminate bombings by extreme left and right wing political fanatics, so that we can expect any moment that a bomb will go off in the USA.  Now I don’t have to labor that.  I’m only saying it because I don’t want you to get the idea that I am some kind of obscurantist with a little view that is not proper.  Unless you don’t read the newspapers or know what is going on, the world is in trouble, because Head and Shoulders government, whether civil government or ecclesiastical government, is not the government of God!  Let me say this – that civil government ought to be the government of God, for the powers that be are ordained of God and a nation will only rise as high as it’s recognition of the sovereignty of almighty God in it’s affairs of state.  So I want to clear the ground on that.  And I don’t think that it’s any secret that ecclesiastical government is in trouble.  All over the world it is in trouble.  It is no secret that many denominations can’t get any young men to go to seminary.  I went to a great large seminary in Australia that at one time housed 400-500 ministerial candidates for one of the largest denominations in the world.  It was almost sad as I walked through this four-story building and saw the rotting mildew mattresses and was told that the best that they could manage was 17 students.  Churches in America cannot be manned by ministers because there are no seminary students coming up.

So when I am talking of Head and Shoulders government collapsing I am not talking through my hat.  I am simply making a point of the obvious, and that in it’s place, if there is any validity to the analogy I am drawing, if Head and Shoulders government is falling, then I have a right to expect that somewhere in the earth there is something comparable to David’s army in formation, and I believe I see it.  But I am warning all of us not to get into an exclusivistic attitude.  If you feel you are a part of what God is doing – hallelujah!  But don’t try and pin Saul to the wall.  If you catch him in a cave in a deep sleep, don’t cut his head off.  Let God take care of him.  Not only don’t be negative towards people that you feel are caught in Head and Shoulders government, but have a genuine concern for them.  I think you probably know what I am saying. 

Let’s turn to 2nd Samuel chapter 2.  Chapter 1 tells us about the death of Saul and Jonathan and the beautiful lament of David.  Notice how he finishes in verse 27.  “How have the mighty fallen!  Then it came about after Saul’s death …” Here’s another point where I am going to say that I don’t know what that means exactly.  But if my analogy is correct, there is coming a crisis when the army that is being formed in Ziklag has been forced out of the Head and Shoulders situation – that army is going to be released by what is referred to as the death of Saul.  Now follow closely:

“It came about afterwards that David enquired of the Lord saying, ‘Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?’ So the Lord said, ‘Go up.’ And David said, ‘Where shall I go up to?’ He said, ‘To Hebron.’”

Well that can’t be any plainer can it?  The Lord said, “Go to Hebron.” So David went up.  Verse 4, “Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah.”

The Meaning of Hebron

David had three anointings.  He was anointed by Samuel in Bethlehem, which anointing carried him through to the death of Saul.  Now he is going to move into a new dimension with added demands upon him.  He is anointed a second time.  I believe that this means that there is an increase in the intensity of the divine anointing and provision for the demands that these crises propose.  We can look for an acceleration of the activity of the Holy Spirit as we move on in God, and there will come new empowerments and new dimensions and new anointings to accommodate the new demands and the new confrontations and the new requirements that are being made upon us.  This thrills me!  Sometimes now I can hardly stay in my skin.  I think that if we get an increase in this anointing, I suppose the Lord will just have to toughen my skin a little bit.  (*Laughter*) “There they anointed David king over Judah.” So David’s second anointing equipped him to reign over the house of Judah. 

“And they told David saying, ‘It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.’” You remember Jabesh-gilead was the place that was besieged by Nahash on Monday night, and Saul got angry, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he cut up that sacrifice and sent it off to Israel and said, “If you Israelites don’t come and stand with me then this is what is going to happen to you.” The Israelites came streaming in, and Saul won a great victory.  Now the men of Jabesh-gilead had a sense of loyal responsibility and fond memory of what Saul had done, so they got his body and buried it.  “They told David saying, ‘It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.’” Now I want you to see David’s attitude. 

Visions and Dreams Belong Together.

I feel deeply tonight in the light of what I have seen in the past.  Please forgive me, but the Bible says, “Your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams.” Visions are made out of the stuff of the future, and dreams are made out of the stuff of the past.  If a young man’s vision isn’t tempered by an old man’s dream, then he will blow his head off.  If an old man’s dream isn’t inspired by a young man’s vision, then he will rot on the vine. They have got to go together.  I want you to know that I have seen revivals of considerable promise that went down the drain because there came an attitude of self-righteous exclusivism that said, “We are God’s people and no one else is.” If you happen to be among the 300, you are going to have to have the grace that Gideon and the 300 had when the thing breaks wider – to let the cowards that went home come and help in the mopping up exercise.

Verse 5, “And David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gildead and said to them, ‘May you be blessed of the Lord because you have shown this kindness to Saul your Lord and buried him and now may the Lord show loving kindness to you and I also will show this goodness to you because you have done this thing.  Now therefore let your hands be strong and be valiant for Saul your Lord is dead and also the house of Judah has anointed me kind over them.”

What’s he saying?  This is very beautiful.  David could have said, “Bless God – Saul is dead.  Now is my time for revenge.  I’m going to go up and clean up those people that didn’t join me at Ziklag while Saul was after my life.  I was tied down there for a year and four months, and those boys hung around Saul’s court and didn’t join me.  Now Saul’s dead I will go up and fix them.” Was that his attitude?  If you haven’t got a heart that is big enough for every man that breathes the breath of life – you haven’t got God’s heart.  You know a personal thing I have discovered – many a man whom other men call rank modernists and liberals whom I have got close to and cultivated their friendship – yet way down underneath all the debris that they learned in an unbelieving seminary – I found a spark of faith!  I don’t count any man out. 

As a young man I went to a Canadian city where I had an uncle by marriage who was the minister of a very modernistic church.  He came to hear me preach, and that night I mentioned hell.  Because of the relationship between us he figured he should have me for tea; so I went.  He started to talk to me, and he thought probably while he appreciated my zeal, that I was a bit unwise, and he started to give me the business.  I let him go on and on, and at last I looked at him and said, “If I were a young man whose heart God had touched, and I came to you to ask you what I should do to fulfil God’s purpose in my life – would you talk to me this way?” It was the word of the Lord, and he quietly said, “I’m sorry.” He said, “You may not believe this, but I gave my heart to Jesus Christ at a street service on the streets of Edinburgh, and I apologise.  I’ve drifted a long way.” We finished our evening, and the years went by literally, and I was then sharing in a great large auditorium down in eastern Canada, and an usher came to me and said, “There is an old gentleman outside, and he says he’s your uncle by marriage.  He gave his name and said he’d like to see you.” “Oh, I will come,” I said.  They took me through a side door and there standing outside of this great auditorium was my uncle all stooped with age, but his face was radiant.  He took my hand and said, “I had to see you.  I can’t come in – I’m not well enough to sit, but I had to come and tell you that since we talked together last I have got it back!”

Beloved have big hearts.  If you see some truths you are going to have to stand for them and be driven to Ziklag, but don’t let it touch your spirit.  Don’t let it make you bitter.  Don’t let it make you retaliate or become exclusive.  Don’t let it make you turn people off.  All kinds of people around you are hungry – never go by what a man is saying.  Many a time when a man is maddest – he is the weakest.  Remember when Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration and the disciples couldn’t cast the devil out of that boy?  Jesus spoke to that devil, and the last thing that devil did was he tore that boy up before he got out.  That’s like a bad tenant when he is told to get out, and he tears the wallpaper off before he lives.  You will find that when a man is most retaliatory to you – he is just about ready to cave in.

Verse 8, “But.” There is always somebody around to “but.” Goats butt with their heads.  When the sheep hear the voice of God, they say, “Baa … abba.” (*Laughter*) “But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army had taken Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim to Gibeon and he made him king over Gilead … even over all Israel.  Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was 40 years old when he became king over all Israel and he was king for 2 years.  The house of Judah however followed David and the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.” Saul is dead.  The major representation of Head and Shoulders government is dead, but the momentum carries on.  Abner took one of Saul’s sons and tries to carry it on, but it is a dead issue.  For seven and a half years this went on.  Let’s look at chapter 3.  “Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David.” That’s a long war.  David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually.  You see the issues are clear.  We want everything to happen quickly.  God is telling us in this story that they don’t happen quickly – that there is a crisis and a process.  This is the same with conversion.  Becoming a Christian is a gate and a path.  It’s a birth and a life.  It’s a crisis and a process, and what is happening in the world today is a crisis and a process.  Some of us want the process to happen with the crisis!  But the crisis I believe has already struck in this visitation of the Holy Spirit that is showing the Head and Shoulders government up for what it is.  The process of bringing the whole house of Israel under the lordship of Christ is not about another denomination.  I don’t want to belong to another denomination – I don’t want to belong to another part – I want to belong to the whole house of Israel!  I don’t want anybody left out, including me!  How many understand what I am saying?  Whether you agree with me or not – do you understand it?

Let’s turn to chapter 5.  At the end of the long war, Ish-bosheth is killed along with Abner.  Mephiboseth is the only one left of the house of Saul and he is lame in both feet.  Mephiboseth is the son of Jonathan and David and Jonathan had a covenant that David would be kind to Jonathan’s house.  Mephiboseth is brought into David’s house and puts his feet under the king’s table because of the covenant made with Jonathan.  However all the power is now gone out of the thing.  There’s nothing left – Abner is dead.  Ish-bosheth is dead.  There is nothing left now, but for Israel to come to David.  So we come to Hebron.  “Then all the tribes of Israel came to David and said, ‘Behold we are your bone and your flesh.  Previously when Saul was king over us you were the one who led Israel out and in.” Isn’t that interesting?  Even when Saul was alive and we were nominally loyal to him, we knew who the real king was.  Does that say anything to you?  “And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd My people Israel and you will be a ruler over Israel.’”

I was speaking on this one night in Fort Lauderdale, and suddenly God put faith in my heart, and I am going to tell you about it.  It may be purely a personal thing, but if it witnesses with you – hallelujah.  God put faith in my heart, and if you are caught as some of us are, when you are in a place where you are going to have to declare unpopular things, you may agree with what my friend says, “Every time God calls – He calls us to inconvenience.” I will never forget about 8 or 9 years ago, I was having one of those seasonal confrontations with the Lord, and He got me in my bedroom one day, and we really had it out.  I shouldn’t say “We.” He had it out.  He worked me over real good, and I shed all the tears that I could shed.  He took me into Isaiah and really worked me over.  About 5:30 pm I was at the side of the bed limp, and I said, “Well Lord – what do you want now?  You’ve got me beaten down here – what do you want?” He said, “I am going to make you a divider.” I said, “Thanks a lot.” (*Laughter*) “That’s great.  Going all over the country known as Baxter the divider.” But He went on to say, “The division will not come because you go deliberately to divide, but because as you declare the truth men will respond, and men will refuse, and there will be division.” Do you know that when they issue public relations about me to put in papers that they write it up and say of my ministry, “Ern Baxter is committed to the unity of the body of Christ”?  God knows that is the passion of my heart.  Yet when I come into an area and speak of the body of Christ, people scream, “He’s dividing!” They are not using the right word.  I am threatening.  Unity threatens – isn’t that amazing?  But when you talk about all God’s people in a given area coming together in the unity of the Spirit of faith, you will hear a scream to high heaven.  People will say, “Well, if everyone gets together – what’s going to happen to me?” Invariably, I am sorry to say, that comment comes from leadership.  If only they knew that their greatest joy and expression in ministry would be found in unity.  I haven’t found ministers anywhere in the world who have got into an experience of relating to other ministers that haven’t found it to be the most fruitful, delightful, blessed experience in the world. 

So the Lord said to me, “You’re going to be a divider.” As I was speaking in Ft. Lauderdale on this, “all the tribes of Israel” came.  God put a faith on my heart – I believe God put it there.  I am pretty sure He did.  I saw a new expansion of my own vision.  I had wondered in this move of God across the earth (which the Bible says is going to happen), whether there will only be a little bunch from here and from there.  Until that night something burst in my spirit, and I saw all the tribes coming.  All the tribes!  You say, “It’s a miracle!” Well, God specialises in miracles!  You say, “Baxter I just can’t see it.” Well, you believe a lot of things you can’t see don’t you?  Have you faith tonight that God can take all of our denominational tribes with their distinctive contributions and do a mighty work of grace when this crisis thing comes - where the Head and Shoulders thing dies – when God kills him?  Remember the other night God put him to death?  I don’t know what that means, but there comes a time when Head and Shoulders government is put to death, and God raises up spiritual authority.  Can you believe that there is a time when all the tribes will respond to King David?  Even those tribes that stood apart for seven and a half years will come – can you believe that in the purpose of God they will all come?  Hallelujah!  I believe it tonight!

Don’t be sticky about it.  Don’t say, “Well, we stuck it out for seven and a half years – where were they?” (*Laughter*) I read that parable about the fellows who came at the last hour and received the same wage as the ones that worked all day – that’ll fix you.  (*Laughter*) I will tell you something.  Bryn preached on Gideon and I was going to include that in one of my messages.  It was great and I enjoyed it tremendously.  Think of the 300.  Do you know quite apart from special rewards that the Judgement Seat of Christ will distribute and all that sort of thing – those 300 will have something that the rest of them could never have.  They can sit around at night and say, “Wasn’t it tremendous when that trumpet blew?  Glory to God!  When we smashed those pitchers – do you remember the goose bumps we got?” (*Laughter*) If you are part of the vanguard in this hour – if you are part of that body which has seen what is happening – if you are part of it, and then suddenly God does some protégée of power in the earth and whatever it means by the death of Saul and his house – and all of the tribes start to come, then don’t you dare keep them out and ask them where they have been!  You welcome them with open arms – but they won’t know about the wonderful days when you were the vanguard at Ziklag.  They won’t know about those wonderful days when you fought and won battles, and you were the minority – they won’t know about that!  You don’t have to be jealous.  You’ve got something that they can never experience!  Hallelujah!

Verse 3, “So all the elders came to the king at Hebron and King David made a covenant with them.” Notice they came.  They came.  Brothers and sisters we’re not going to have to coerce men – we won’t have to drag them – they will come!  When God does what He’s going to do, men are going to come.  Look at the end of verse 3.  “Then they anointed David king over all Israel.” This is his 3rd anointing.  He’s got to have a new anointing – he’s got a bigger job now.  His first anointing took him through to Ziklag.  When he went to Hebron and had to rule over Judah, he had to have a new anointing.  Now he’s got the biggest job he ever had in his life – he’s got a whole nation.  He must have a new anointing.  Brother if I’m right and we are still at Ziklag, then we have got two big jobs coming up, and we have got two anointings up the road somewhere.  Hallelujah.  You think we have had visitations in this revival.  You think this is marvellous?  Just think that there are two more and each is bigger than the other one.  The next one will be bigger than this, and the third will be better than that one.  Verse 4, “David was 30 years old when he became king.” Isn’t that interesting?  30 years old.  “And he reigned 40 years.” At Hebron he reigned over Judah 7 years and 6 months, and in Jerusalem he reigned 33 years over all Israel and Judah. 

Now let’s go over to Chronicles chapter 12 again.  We are going to break in at verse 23, and we are going to establish the purpose of God.  How many believe in the purpose of God?  How many believe God is going to work out His purpose?  He has got a lot of patience.  If this generation won’t go in – He can wait.  He will work out His purpose as surely as He lives.  So if you can find out what the purpose is, then go with the purpose.

All right?  Here’s the purpose.  Verse 23, “Now these are the numbers of the divisions equipped for war who came to David at Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul to him according to the word of the Lord.” Ladies and gentlemen you can fuss and fume and get upset and you can stomp and kick, but the Lord has willed that all Israel is going to come together, and in that hour they shall see eye to eye in Zion, and Christ shall be Lord in very deed in a time/space world through the power of the Gospel.

“The sons of Judah who bore a shield and a spear were 6800.” There’s balance again.  “Of the sons of Simeon mighty men of valour for war – 71, 000.  Of the sons of Levi – 4, 600.  Jehoda was the leader of the house of Aaron and with him were 3, 700 – also Zadok a young man.” I like that.  “A young man – mighty of valour and of his father’s house – 22 captains.  And of the sons of Benjamin, Saul’s kinsmen, 3, 0000 for until now the greatest part of them had kept their allegiance to the house of Saul.”

Are you listening?  Up until now where had their allegiance been?  Saul was a Head and Shoulders man, but where did they finish up?  With the Heart man.  Hallelujah.  So that Head and Shoulders fellow you just put a spear through yesterday, may have come in if you hadn’t killed him.  (*Laughter*) Verse 30, “And of the sons of Ephraim 20, 800 – mighty men of valour – famous men in their father’s household.  And of the half tribe of Manassah 18, 000 who were designated by name to come and make David king.” Designated by name – that whole tribe came together and they chose 18, 000 and said, “We want you to go as our representative to make David king.” Look!  All of these people are coming from Head and Shoulders government.  This confirms what I felt in the Spirit.  I think that what God has laid on my heart by way of warning tonight keeps coming up in my spirit – don’t spoil it!  They’re coming!  We are all coming!  I will not be part of the division of the body of Christ.  I will not rest night or day preaching the totality of God’s purpose, because I believe it is the will of God to not raise up just another group of revival people, but the hour has come for all Israel to come together. 

Let’s take the charismatic renewal.  I feel I have got to labor this thing.  I would not have believed 10 or 15 years ago that this could happen.  I couldn’t believe it!  If you had told me 15 years ago that I would share a conference with a Jesuit priest, a Franciscan priest, a Trappist monk, a Presbyterian minister and a Lutheran minister – all on the same platform, I would have said it can’t be!  But it’s been!  (*Laughter*) How did it be?  I’m not letting out any secrets – the ecumenical movement as such is dead.  It can’t get anywhere.  What is God doing?  He is shaking all our boxes and is bringing us together so we find ourselves in conferences and conventions and we are saying, “What is your tribe?” “Oh, I come from the Roman Catholic tribe.” (*Laughter*) “And what do you bring to the house of Israel?” “We bring discipline – we bring an understanding of authority.” Do you know what I’ve learned from my Catholic brethren?  I have been taught all my life to be a pulpit pounding, dogmatic, Roman Catholic baiting, thundering anti-papal … you get the point.  (*Laughter*) I have been told all my life that on the other side of the fence there are things that you wouldn’t believe … (*Laughter*) Last year at the Shepherds Conference when I arrived, they said you will be sharing a room with Father Francis McNutt, who I found to be a very beautiful man.  Someone said, “What’s it like?” (*Laughter*) I wonder what they thought – I don’t know what they expected.  He was a beautiful human being who loved the Lord and comes from a different background and says things I wouldn’t say, and I wouldn’t understand.  I say things he wouldn’t say, and he wouldn’t understand.  But I tell you, we had one or two spiritual crises, and we were able to comfort one another in the Spirit.  Then I went to another conference just a few months ago and shared a room with Ralph Martin – the editor of “New Covenant” – the great Charismatic Catholic magazine.  He had a bad cold and I caught his cold.  That’s the first time I caught a Roman Catholic cold.  (*Laughter*) I kept hearing a voice saying, “Go show yourself to the priest.” (*Laughter*)

Do you know what I have discovered?  I have discovered that when the tribes come together that they all bring something that we need.  It’s now 5 years since we held in the city of Seattle what we now call, “The 1st Charismatic Leadership Gathering in America.” There were some 35 of us who responded and when the meeting opened up the chairman was trying very diplomatically to set the scene.  I looked around, and that was an odd assortment of men I tell you.  There was a Jesuit, a Franciscan, a parish priest.  There were two outstanding Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists and Baptists – all sitting around the circle.  When the chairman got through making his introductory statements, the Jesuit priest simply said, “Brethren – I don’t trust you.” I thought, “Hallelujah – what a great way to start a conference.” (*Laughter*) Incidentally the charismatic brothers in Seattle at that time were sufficiently strong that they could bring us in, pay our return fares and promise us an honorarium.  That’s what can come from unity!  Seventy ministers in Seattle were now formed into a functioning body of flowing charismatic ministers in the city.  I thought – this is great.  There goes thousands of dollars down the tube.  You know though – it was the Word of the Lord for us?  Every one of us sitting in the room knew it was right.

The Holy Spirit then moved in and we all found ourselves in each other’s arms.  You could hear men saying to each other, “I trust you my brother.” Incidentally that Jesuit priest became one of my dearest friends to this very hour.  For a week we talked about everything.  I mean everything.  And you know what a bunch of ministers can be like when they get talking!  It is worse than a bunch of women at a bargain basement sale.  (*Laughter*) Never once did I hear a voice raised in acrimony or the sound of resentfulness.  We discussed whether a man could have a demon or whether a demon could have a man.  We discussed whether babies should be sprinkled or immersed.  Or whether adults should be immersed or sprinkled.  You name it – we talked about it.  We never came to ultimate decisions, but we talked about it.  We learned how to grow up in that meeting, and we learned how to sit together in basic doctrinal disagreement and finish up with our arms around each other celebrating the unity of the Spirit, not yet able to celebrate the unity of the faith.  Our hearts were together but our heads were not together yet. 

Everything was going fine until the middle of the week when the same Jesuit priest spoke up again.  He said, “I would like to have communion with you brothers.” I thought, “Boy you just about blew it on the first day, but you’ve fixed it now.” (*Laughter*) “This is going to be great!  What are we going to have?  Mass?  What’s going to happen here?” We had history in that room – hundreds of years of history!  The chairman with a twinkle in his eye said, “Alright, will Father So-and-so and Larry Christenson prepare the communion.” A Jesuit priest and a Lutheran minister.  I thought, “There’s irony for you.” (*Laughter*) They smiled at each other and said fine.  We went out to lunch and came back into the room to have communion.  Someone had gone to the college cafeteria and got some dinner rolls and put them into the center of the room with a bottle of wine and a chalice, and there the elements sat in stark simplicity.  We took our places around the table as we had done during the discussion.  What would happen?  What would take place now?  As we sat there, once again the Holy Spirit did what He had done the first day, and I still believe that I saw a preview of what is coming in this hour.  He moved in, and our hands were raised, and we were singing in the Spirit.  Oh, how we sang!  Suddenly we started to slip to our knees and nobody said anything.  I heard coming from voices, “I submit to you brother.” Now these were men whose books are on seminary shelves.  Men, who are names in the charismatic world.  It wasn’t a human submission.  It was the kind of submission that God wants us to have.  A spiritual submission.  I don’t believe in legal submission, but I do believe in spiritual submission.  I don’t want any submission from anybody that they don’t want to give me.  I don’t want any submission from anyone that I can’t respond to responsibly.  I heard them saying, “I submit to you my brothers,” and I was weeping, and others were weeping.  It was a holy time. 

I think I’ve talked to every man that was there and asked them, “Do you remember if anybody blessed the elements,” and no-one remembers them being blessed.  I think the precious Holy Spirit pronounced the blessing on the elements.  The first thing I know was that somebody was pressing some bread to my lips – the blessed Body of our Lord.  Through my tears I discerned a face of a brother, and he left the roll in my hand, and I blessed him and turned and shared it with my brother and left it in his hand.  Somebody pressed the chalice to my lips, and I passed it on.  It was communion.  It was no ritual.  It was the common sharing of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus.  As we were sharing having all partaken, suddenly across the room I saw a man, and he and I had a strained relationship for some time.  I think we both knew it.  It wasn’t talked about, but we were two men opposite.  Suddenly as I looked at that man something in me said, “Your life depends on getting across that room.” I made my way gently across the room and he turned to see me.  I threw myself into his arms and said, “All I ask from you, my brother is your love.” He gave me his love, and he gave me his life.  We are two of the closest brothers in the world tonight.  I started telling you all this to tell you that God is the God of miracles.  I think the miracle of healing a cancer or a tubercular lung is an easy miracle.  I think the miracle of blending human personalities, each of which is microcosm of the universe, is the mightiest miracle that God can perform.  He can heal your cancer, but can He heal your relationships?  Can He heal your stubbornness?  Can He heal your vengeful spirit?  Can He heal your memories?  Can He heal my desire to get back at you?  Can He heal my personality?  Brothers and sisters I feel in my spirit tonight that the Spirit of God is saying, that “the earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, the world and all that dwell therein,” and He is not going to let this thing wind up with a lot of moral poppers.  He is going to have kings and princes, men and women whose lives have been changed, whose personalities have been blended into the glorious community of the Redeemer, into the very Body of Christ, for He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son.  I believe in miracles.

Verse 32, “And of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times with knowledge of what Israel should do.  Their chiefs were 200 and all their kinsmen were at their command.”

If you check the others, you will find out that they are a pretty tight knit clan.  Maybe that’s why they had such discipline.  God could give them a knowledge of their times.  Don’t you see that as long as we are divided that there is a part of our total equipment missing.  I don’t want to be a namedropper, but I think most of you know that I have a relationship with some men in America.  Derek Prince, Bob Mumford, Don Basham, Charles Simpson and John Poole with others.  But those men are my immediate relationships.  We all come together on a Monday morning and a subject will come up that we have to discuss.  There will be four or five different opinions expressed over that subject, and then we will start to work it over.  I have seen us finish up this discussion, and every one of us would have been wrong had we been left to our original opinion.  I have seen us, out of the five of us sharing, come to a conclusion that is nothing less than the Word and truth of God come in community, and we have stood and lifted up our hands and praised God in sheer delight.  Do you know what it’s like to spend 40 years alone?  You say, “You weren’t alone.” I was alone!  I could go to a conference and meet a bunch of ministers.  I could go and have a milkshake with the Baptist minister, but I was alone!  I made my decisions up in that big office under the tower alone.  I made bad decisions, and I finished up a physical wreck and had a heart attack in 1958 at the same time – because I was alone.  If you had been alone, as I said last night, and suddenly you found out what it means to be in relationship, you know what it meant to me.  I walk into that room and see those brothers sitting there, and I know that at the end of our time together, it will not be my view or Derek’s view or Don’s view or Bob’s view, but it is probably going to be God’s view filtered through the five of us.  I said, “Oh God hasten the day when we’ve got the brains to realise that there’s part of us over there and part over there, and we wonder why we’re making so many boners and boo-boos.  We’re not together!  Where’s the tribe of Issachar?  The devil knows what he’s doing in keeping us divided, because he knows if the tribes ever get together, they will blow him clean off the face of the earth!  I don’t care to talk about denominations in an antagonistic way.  I consider them to be tribes.  I don’t think we can deny that we have a tremendous debt that we owe to almost every segment of the Christian thing. 

God led me in a very strange way because when He put me into the ministry, I thought which tribe shall I join?  But He didn’t let me join any tribe.  I became a pre-charismatic charismatic.  I started to hunt for truth and started to build a library and glean from all fields.  I read the saintly Anglicans – the godly Bishop Moule and his beautiful expositions of Ephesians and Colossians.  The erudite Bishop Lightfoot and Westcott.  I read the Congregationalists and drank deep from their streams.  The Hodges and Alexanders and the Presbyterian world.  The Institutes of Calvin and the Journals of John Wesley.  I became spiritually ecumenical years ago, so that when the charismatic thing hit I said, “glory to God – at last we’re going to get it together.” Because every tribe has a contribution to make, and I have faith to believe that tonight brothers and sisters that there is a new anointing coming that will bring us to Hebron.  There is a new anointing coming to enable Israel to come together under the lordship of Christ.

Now notice.  Let’s drop down to verse 38.  “All these being men of war who could draw up in battle formation came to Hebron with an undivided (or perfect) heart with one thing in mind and one only – to make David king over all Israel.” What is your passion tonight?  Is it to make Jesus Christ Lord?  If that is your one passion, then you are moving in the streams of God.  For God has declared that He is going to have His Son have pre-eminence in all things.  The oldest creed of the Christian era will become the battle cry of the redeemed united community, and you will hear it ringing across the earth, “Jesus Christ is Lord!” I don’t rebel against it.  What a thrilling thing it was for the Pope to finish the charismatic conference recently in Rome by finishing his address with “Jesus Christ is Lord.” I don’t rebel against it.  If we are going to get into the mud-slinging business, there is none of us here who haven’t got some skeletons in our tribal closet.  You want to discuss some of the dirt in historical Presbyterianism?  You want to discuss some of the dirt in historical Baptist circles?  You want to discuss some of the dirt in historical Pentecostalism or Plymouth Brethren circles?  Come on now – let’s be fair.  We’ve all got skeletons in our tribal closets.  But is it still God’s purpose to bring His people together, and already the committed vanguard is to be seen.  Where did you come from?  What are you doing here?  You didn’t come primarily on a doctrinal basis.  You came because a new anointing has visited the earth.  God is preparing a people to come under the lordship of His Son, and the committed vanguard is forming across the earth. and our greatest responsibility, if we are part of the committed vanguard, is not to ruin the on-goingness of God’s purpose because we are coming to Hebron!  And we are going to get another anointing!  Hallelujah!

Not only the fighters came to make him king, but the suppliers came too.  The last verse 38, “And all the rest of Israel were of one mind to make David king.” Whether they were fighters or suppliers – then what happened?  They became a celebrating society.  They had a party!  Someone said, “Man in one breath you can be so serious, and the next breath you are talking about a party.” Well you had better find the same kind of balance.  If you go around trying to carry the load of the world on your shoulders without some holy joy, you will have a breakdown.  I’m not going to have anymore breakdowns – glory to God!  No more!  (*Laughter*) I believe everything I’ve said to you solemnly – those things came out of the depth of me, but I believe that there is another dimension in God that’s just as real as that.  It’s a kind of dimension that will take you back to your caravans tonight, and you will drink some tea and Horlicks isn’t it?  (*Laughter*) And you will talk about the Lord; some of you young people will hold hands … I don’t know!  (*Laughter*) God has made us to be together.  He has made us to be social creatures – we want to belong.  We are reaching for one another.  I get on a plane tomorrow and can’t wait to get to Minneapolis and see my brothers.  They will say “What are those Englishmen like?” and “Is it safe for us to go over?” (*Laughter*) Dr. Charles Price – a great man in his day – I heard him in a great large conference just shortly before he died.  People held him in such high esteem, that they almost deified him.  So they took an offering for him and he said, “Many people ask me what I do with my money.  I buy ice cream.  I get hair cuts.” You don’t think of great men having ice cream!  Before I start travelling, I held such men in awe.  They need their trousers ironing and need pop!  God has made us for one another.  There are no big shots in the kingdom of God.  There are men that we esteem and love, but we all need one another.  Many ecclesiastical big wheels may miss what God is doing because they are going in circles.  The amazing thing was that when all Israel got together they had a party.  They had three days of party!  “They were there with David three days eating and drinking.”

Look at the last line of verse 40.  “There was joy in Israel.” Someone said, “That is a superficial ending to the whole thing.” Oh really?  Open your big ears and listen while I quote you a very important Scripture.  “For the Kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Joy.  Joy is the end product of righteousness.  Righteousness is right-ness, and our divisions are wrong-ness, and when we get the wrongness of our divisions straightened out, then we will have righteousness and peace with one another!  Then we won’t be pot shooting at one another and speaking evil of one another, but we will have peace.  And then we will have joy!  Hallelujah and we’ll celebrate the victory of our Lord.  We will have communion services a million miles wide! 

We have got to go to Zion.  This is good – but there’s something better.  The good can be the enemy of the better, and the better can be the enemy of the best.  Remember as long as there are Israelites who are not under the Lordship of Christ, you and I can’t experience the ultimate joy that will be ours in that hour when God gets it together.

Let’s go to Zion.  2 Samuel 5:6-10, “Now the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebbusites – the inhabitants of the land and said to David, ‘You shall not come in here – the blind and the lame shall turn you away.’” They said, “we won’t even put our best soldiers up – you can’t take us.  We Jebbusites are up here, and this is an impregnable fortress.  You try and come up here, and we will put our blind and lame, and they will push you off the cliff.” So David took it.  (*Laughter*) Verse 9 says, “So David lived in the stronghold.” He kicked the Jebbusites out and took over.  “David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David.  David built all around and became greater and greater because the Lord God of hosts was with him.”

Now let’s take another look at the same thing in 1st Chronicles 11:1-4.  We are backtracking just a little bit.  “Then all Israel gathered to David at Hebron and said, ‘Behold, we are your bone and your flesh; in time past even when Saul was king, you were the one who led out and brought in Israel, and the Lord your God said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel.’ So the elders came to the king at Hebron and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord and they anointed David king over all Israel according to the Word of the Lord through Samuel then (that’s an adverb of time) David and all Israel went to Jerusalem that is Jabez and the Jebbusites and the inhabitants of the land were there and the inhabitants of Jabez said to David, ‘You shall not enter here.’ Nevertheless David captured the stronghold of Zion that is the city of David.”

We are not marching to Ziklag.  We are not marching to Hebron.  We’re marching to Zion.  Have you noticed that throughout the Bible, Zion is God’s ultimate name for His corporate people?  We’re on our way to ultimate unity.  This is God’s world.  This is God’s age.  This is God’s plan and purpose.  You and I can’t see it now, but bless God we are getting a foretaste of it.  This stirring in the earth is just the beginning.  It’s the committed vanguard coming to the Lordship of Christ at Ziklag, and we’re going on to Hebron, and then all Israel will come and make covenant with our Lord, and then we are going to go on and take the heights of Zion and Jesus Christ will be Lord in very deed, and the rod of His strength will go out of Zion and this world will know what it means to have Jesus Christ in lordship over the earth! 

Please don’t reject what I’m saying, because if your rejection is unbelief, then to that degree you are hindering it.  Let’s believe God tonight.  Do you think it is the purpose of God for the devil to wreck nations?  You think it’s the purpose of God to have the redeemed community all torn up and in fragments?  Your common sense tells you that.  You don’t need a Bible to know that if the God who we know is the God He is, then this isn’t what He wants!  Has He spoken?  He has spoken, and He has said He will bring all things together in one in Christ.  Ephesians 1:10 says this is His purpose, that in this age which is called the fullness of time – this is the last age of the ages – in this age it is His purpose to bring together all in one in Christ.  He will do it whether you believe it or not – I declare to you that He has stated He is going to do it, and I believe He’s started to do it and won’t stop short of getting the whole bunch in.  Hallelujah!  Thank you for the privilege of being with you and sharing with you.  I go back to take to my brothers and the people in America the things that I have seen here.  We shall be praying for you and remembering you.  Keep big hearts.  Keep a big vision.  Don’t paint yourselves into corners.  Lay your love on everybody.  Love them, if they hate you.  Call them friend, if they betray you.  I pray God will give you such extension in your own spirit that you will have nothing to make you small.  That you have a heart as big as the heart of God – big enough to house a world if necessary! 

Amen.

(Watch for the posting of Ern Baxter’s prophetic message: THE KADESH BARNEA CRISIS! Also, if you are interested in receiving more of Brother Baxter’s teaching on the Kingdom, the Church, Apostolic Church Government and the Church’s Mission to the nations, see the Ern Baxter School of The Apostles Doctrine, Church History and Theology at the Apostles Theological Seminary, http://www.atsvirtual.org

Beginning May 15, 2007, ATS Chancellor George Kouri will be offering a new course dealing with PROPHETIC MODELS FOR AN APOSTOLIC REFORMATION. This dynamic and prophetically relevant course will be built around Brother Baxter’s prophetic insights drawn from his conference messages on The Kadesh Barnea Crisis and the King And His Army, dealing with the Israel’s reformation from Moses to Joshua and Saul and David. It will also deal with prophetic significance of the reformation of Israel under Ezra and Nehemiah. Brother Kouri is uniquely qualified to teach this course having labored with Brother Baxter as one of his Timothies and as an apostolic deputy for more than 18 years.)

No comments (Add your own)

Add a New Comment


code
 

Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.