This is the word I have been hearing from the Lord:
One woe is past, behold two more are coming. The first woe afflicted the body. The second will afflict the soul. The third will afflict the spirit.
The first woe has shaken the foundation of that which can be seen. The second will shake the foundation of men's minds. The third will shake the foundation of men's relationship to their God.
Do not be like the foolish man who built his all on the sandy foundations, for the woes will wash away like a flood what is not built upon the rock. The one who has built his foundation of life upon My words in body, soul and spirit will stand after these woes have passed.
These are the times of purification of My church—My bride—to become a shining light in the darkness ahead.
A year ago when I sought the Lord for the upcoming year (2020), I did not know or expect such a word which would so soon after be manifest to the whole world.
As 2020 unfolded, the results of the pandemic transformed what was considered "normal" in the daily affairs of mankind.
In particular, the impact on the body of Christ has been both encouraging and fearful. On one hand, the church (read: active believers in Christ) has been emboldened and courageously adapted to find new avenues to reach the lost and to restore dropout believers to their community.
On the other hand, the increase of total numbers of dropouts from the church has exploded: 30-60% of formerly active church attendees are now dropouts from church gatherings. These added to the pre-pandemic stats that found 4 out of 7 believers were church dropouts, has increased the total number of dropouts in the US to either 5 (or 6) out of every 7 believers!
Let's put it another way:
Today in the U.S., 71-85% of believers who profess Christ are absent from any meaningful relationship to the local church—the body of Christ.
Indeed, believers around the world are being tested in their faith. Some are persevering and coming closer to Jesus.
Many are not.
On Jan. 1, 2021, I came before the Lord as before. However, for a few months prior, in late 2020, I have had the beginnings of the word that came to me already embedded in my spirit:
"One woe is come; behold two are yet to come: The first afflicted the body. The second will afflict the soul. The third will afflict the spirit."
On this first day of 2021, the word of revelation at the beginning of this essay came forth. I do not claim to totally understand it, but in my meditations, here is what I sense:
- As has become apparent now, the first woe has drastically impacted the physical world and body in many ways: death, sickness, isolation, disruption at home work and social life ... Many things have been noted about the current and even yet unknown effects of this current woe.
However, this is sure—from the perspective of the body of Christ, every believer is being tested:
What do you believe? How then shall you live?
This too is sure—the purification of believers' hearts is underway.
- But if indeed another woe is coming—one that will afflict the soul—what of this?
The soul—the intellect, will and emotions—is on a different level than the physical world and body.
Having already seen the pandemic affecting some people's emotions and will, what would a woe that specifically afflicts the mind of man look like? Many may speculate on the "what," but it is apparent that the impact of such a second woe may include some or all of these effects on men:
The degradation and exposure of so-called knowledge or truths that men hold to that will be proven false and deceptive. This false knowledge has been used to build false foundations for men to live and abide by in every sphere of life. There are literally thousands of these false beliefs around the world.
When believers live and abide by such worldly knowledge or standards rather than kingdom truths, their foundation will fail in the coming second woe.
Man's determination, or will, to abide by his conscience and what he innately knows is good—to love God and men—will be severely tested. Under such a woe the "I" in man will either decrease or increase.
The corrupted will in a man will say: I will ascend to heaven (safety) ... to the heights ... To make myself like God ... I will do in all things what is best for me and what I desire is how I will judge.
The will in a man submitted to God will say: I will humbly seek His will for my life and I will not try to "save my life" at all costs, but I will lose it in order that God may be glorified in all.
When believers continue to live by the corrupted self-centered will of men rather than abide humbly in the will of God, their foundation will fail in the coming second woe.
The varied emotions of men—love, hate, anger, fears, resentment, compassion—will rise to the forefront to lead or drive men to action.
Many unredeemed men and even believers are driven by their emotions. However, man was never designed to be led by emotions. Just look at Proverbs 25: 28.
The coming woe will greatly test the self control of men.
When believers continue to allow emotions to dictate their actions rather than exercising God-given self control, their foundation will fail in the coming second woe.
- But what of the third woe? The woe that will afflict the spirit of man—that will shake the foundation of their relationship with God?
Once again, the "what" of such a woe is probably unknowable in advance. However, the characteristics of the spirit of a man may give insight into potential effects.
Since God is Spirit and those who truly worship him must do so "in spirit and truth," we know that the communication God and man have is spirit to spirit. And the spirit communicates through faith, hope and love. These three are the essence of the very life of the spirit of a believer. Without these, a believer is not. He is simply an unredeemed man.
When believers let go of faith in God, hope in his Salvation and goodness and love for his fellow man rather than pursuing faith, hope and love, their foundations will fail in the last woe.
"The safety of the believer is in My Body—the body of Christ—My church. The rebellious one who remains outside will fall—and great will be their fall."
Can you imagine, across the world, billions of brightly shining points of spiritual light, shining onto the lives of those in darkness?
It is coming.
So, in this season and through the decade the answers to these questions are being formulated by the Spirit in each believer:
What do you believe? How then shall you live?
May He find the answers He desires in us as this season progresses.
May each one humbly submit to the purifying work and be counted as one such brightly shining point of His light.
Louis Posthauer is the founder of Hunters of the Harvest, a ministry focused on equipping the local church to reach and restore dropout believers. Posthauer consults with pastors and church leaders wishing to tap his expertise to mobilize their congregation with a biblical strategy to reach the dropout believer. He has been actively involved in the local church for 40 years and currently serves as a lay leader at Calvary Community Church in Houston. For more information, visit huntersoftheharvest.org.
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