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In Joshua 5.13-14 Joshua encountered a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand.  Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”  “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

The neutrality of the man whom Joshua encountered is not neutrality as we understand it, for he may be on neither side – Joshua’s nor Jericho’s – but the commander of the Lord’s army was firmly on the side of the Lord.

In the same way, an elect of the Holy Spirit must take a stand of neutrality so that you can likewise say, “Neither,” when asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” even by those who belong to the church or say and think they belong to the church.  It is a neutrality that is the evidence of an elect’s steadfast commitment to the work the Holy Spirit has set him aside for.  A work that may have nothing to do with the agenda and concerns of the church or her enemies, no more than the commander had anything to do with Joshua’s concerns or agenda nor the concerns or agenda of his enemies.

What was the commander of the Lord’s army doing there outside of Jericho that day?  An observer?  If that was the case, his sword would not be drawn.  A man with a drawn sword is a man who has come to fight.  But since he was not on Joshua’s side nor Jericho’s side, whom would he fight against?  The truth might just be that he was there that day to fight anyone who did not obey the Lord.  That perhaps, just perhaps, if the second generation of Israelites who survived the 40 years in the desert had failed to obey the word of the Lord that day, he might have been there to finish off both Israel and Jericho.  Certainly if the Israelites of Joshua disobeyed like the Israelites of Moses, they would have perished outside Jericho, for certainly the Lord was not going to be humiliated by His people a second time.

Likewise, the work and agenda of the elect of the Holy Spirit have this ‘neitherness’ about them when it comes to the matters of the church and her enemies.

Certainly, the complexity of the creature called the ‘church’ with her various traditions, practices, beliefs and doctrines is far too complicated to unravel without wasting an exorbitant amount of time.  Time that no longer needs to be wasted because the Lord has waited long enough.  And the interweaving of the fabric of the church with the kingdom of mammon is such that it would be impossible to separate the two using only words to counsel, direct and guide… and what it would take would be the equivalent of a man with sword drawn, of few words, just like Joshua encountered.  This was no time for a 40 days on top of the mountain for Joshua to be told and shown the whole plan and the reason for the plan, but rather, just a few words and a display of power (as in the drawn sword) was all that could be spared.

So then it is also for you.  The complexity of the task facing any one of you is so great that any attempt of untangling the church from mammon and a piece by piece, strand by strand untangling of the mess, that is, the practice and doctrine of the denominationals, is time wasting.  As the Lord once said, “Enough!” so it is also time to say, “Enough!” but this time not to some avenging angel to put his sword away, but for the avengers to draw their swords to cut through the entanglement.

So then the work is simple and the purpose clear.  It is not about the defence, rebuke or justification of one cleric’s teaching over another, but rather, it is the stretching out of the plumbline by which all teachings are tested.  That simple plumbline, you are reminded, is the command of the Father to the disciples of Christ, “Listen to Him!” and by that command all practices can be judged, for whoever is not practising the words of Jesus is he who will be swept away like the foolish builders who built on sand without a foundation.  For if those who heard the words of Jesus but did not practise them are like those foolish builders, as the Lord has said, then with what shall we compare those who have based their practice on words that are not Jesus’?

The restoration of the command to listen and the practice of reading and listening with the practice of the words of Jesus are like a man who has readied himself and has drawn his sword, polished and tested so that he can stand and defend himself.  Those who have heard the command, heard the words but have not practised the words, are like men who have not drawn their swords but can be run through by their enemies even as they are trying to draw their swords when attacked.  As for those who base their practice on words that are not spoken by Jesus, they are like men with wooden swords, whether they are drawn or not they will be run through.

For the arrival of the elect of the Holy Spirit is the signal the angels of the Lord have been waiting for like harvesters waiting for the command to begin the harvest.  The angels, as the Lord has plainly said, will be unleashed like a marauding army going through the ranks of people in the Kingdom of Heaven, and only those who have the word and power that is greater than theirs will be spared.  For as powerful as an angel is, no angel, not even the entire host of angels, is a match to the word or power of Jesus Christ and those who belong to Him, who have the same word and are entrusted with the same power.  However, those who are in the Kingdom of Heaven, who have been practising the words of others, will be the first to fall before the Lord’s angels, and then those who have heard the words of Jesus but have not put them to practice will follow.  And so, as the parable says, the tares are first removed and then the wheat, for that is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.  The kingdom that Jesus spoke of after His own people in His hometown of Nazareth drove Him out that Sabbath when He read the scroll of Isaiah to them and told them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

It was after this that He began to preach, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” Whereas when He first arrived back in Galilee from His sojourn in Sychar, the kingdom He preached about to the Galileans was the Kingdom of God, saying, “The time has come.  The Kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!” It is because there were those who refused to believe that the Kingdom of God was near that He spoke to them of the Kingdom of Heaven as a concession as it were.  So it will be and is for those who reside in the Kingdom of Heaven but who fill their lives with the practice of the words of other men ahead of the words of Jesus and those who have heard the words of Jesus but do not practise them, they may just be given enough time to repent and then be harvested, for God is merciful.

However, it is only those who have heeded the command to listen to Jesus, who have believed and repented to acknowledge the time has come, who will be like those with swords drawn at the ready to defend their ground so that the angels will pass over them.  For as the Lord has said, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” And the sin comes from disobedience to the command “Listen to Him,” and the evil that is done is when what is practised in His kingdom is not based on His word.

See now, elect, it is just like Joshua with Israel standing outside of Jericho, for the Jerichoans were those who practised the words of other gods and the Israelites were those who have heard the word of God, and the commander was there to see if they would put to practice what they heard.  Israel and Jericho were both in Canaan, just as those who practise words not belonging to Jesus and those who have heard the words of Jesus but do not practise them are in what is commonly known as the church.

For you must understand this, the false prophet (the antichrist) himself will come, saying, “I am the Christ,” so that those who follow him can call themselves ‘little christs’ too as Jesus has said, and Paul wrote to the Thessalonians this revelation:  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

So then the followers of the antichrist are not members of a different religion, but will be within the church itself, for the rebellion Paul spoke of is the rebellion when all pretension of obeying God and Jesus Christ whom He sent is cast off and the man proclaims his own commands that completely supersede the words of Jesus so that the words of Jesus are completely descended and only the title ‘Christ’ is retained… that is, it will be the ‘church of the Christ’ as it were, but not of Jesus Christ.  The temple of God where this doomed man will proclaim himself to be God is not a so called ‘third temple’ in Jerusalem, but rather, it will be in the church itself, for Paul in his writings has called the church the temple of God and the bodies of individual believers the temple of the Holy Spirit.

As for the nations that are not of the Kingdoms of Heaven or of God, they are the ones mentioned in Matthew 25.31-46 by the Lord and those who give shelter to the least of the brothers of Jesus (that is, those who “…does the will of My Father in Heaven…” “…hear God’s word and put it into practice”) will be welcomed into the kingdom God has prepared for them.  For when the rebellion occurs, when the antichrist (false prophet) allies himself with the beast and Satan, war will be waged on those who hold onto the holy covenant, but as the Lord told Daniel, “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered.  When they fall, they will receive a little help…” Some of that little help will be from the nations of the world who will not take part in the great rebellion, who will offer some food, shelter and comfort to those who cannot stand against the power and authority of the unholy triad and their kings because they do not know their God enough to firmly resist… for again as the Lord has said, “…but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”

So then, elect, in the confusion and complexity of the coming days, it is possible to be like a man with sword drawn, who can say to the leader of the people of God, “Neither,” when he is asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”  For the command is simple – “Listen to Him!” The example is clear – “…hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice…” The purpose holy – “…know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” The fulfilment of which is glorious so that “…men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” And the reward unmatchable – to have part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

And like the commander who faced Joshua and spared him because Joshua did what he said when he told Joshua, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy,” so likewise, those who hear and do what is restored to them will be spared.  Those who will listen to Jesus and put His words to practice will be able to withstand the flood of avenging angels of the Lord like a wise man’s house built into the rock.

Whose side are the elect on?  “Neither, but as elect of the Lord you are now here.”

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