Before the church heads into the tribulation, the Lord will prepare it. In fact the Lord will reestablish Himself as the head of the Church. The church today is a business, an organization with a top-down structure. But the problem is Jesus isn’t at the head of it. In Ezekiel 34 we read of God’s pronouncement of judgment against leaders who are not caring for God’s people but were only truly caring for themselves, then also of God’s promise to place his shepherd over his people.
7 ” ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : 10 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them…22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd.
This uniting of the one, true Church, with Christ as the head is something I long for. And it will come because Christ will lead His Church through the tribulation. We will not go scattered and alone. He will lead His people safely through. That doesn’t mean there will be no martyrdom. It means our lives cannot be taken from us, but God could call us to give up our lives as Christ and the apostles did. Read this vision of what is to take place as the church/Church heads toward the tribulation.
RETAKING the SHIP
I dreamed I was aboard a luxury liner, the good ship Christendom,
converted curiously enough from a battleship, cruising blissfully
through a lazy blue ocean. The cruise ads had promised clear
skies, a great time, fun entertainment with some of the greatest
speakers and singers of our time, and feast upon feast of a vast
array of culinary delicacies from around the globe.
For some odd reason I had the impression this was supposed to
be a family cruise but the wealthiest were atop in the luxury suites,
quite isolated and protected from the rest of us who were secured
in various levels of the ship each according to our rank of importance
and wealth. Somehow, it didn’t feel right.
Aside from a growing uneasiness that something wasn’t quite right
on this vast cruise ship, I was enjoying myself listening to great
teachers and wonderful singers all the while surrounded by a few
One night, as I climbed into my bunk, I felt the ship begin to rock.
It was a gentle rocking but soon the ship was tossing and heaving
like a fish needing air. People were being thrown out of their bunks
and began scrambling to get to the decks. Were we sinking?
I staggered like a drunken man up the stairs to see a sight
unthinkable. The deck was rocking violently and everything that
could be shaken was being shaken. Baggage and luxuries were
being thrown overboard by the cresting of the waves and it seemed
the ship would split into timbers. And through the swirling fog I
saw what looked like another ship: a pirate ship?
We were being boarded and overtaken. It happened so fast there
was almost no resistance. Some from the upper decks were
shouting, “You cannot do this. We are the lords of this voyage.”
And a shrouded figure I took for the Captain of the attacking vessel
stepped out of the shadows and replied simply; “It is not to be so
among you for there is only one Lord.”
Within a few minutes many of the passengers and crew were in
chains for not having “lawfully boarded,” while the rest of us were
ordered to different decks. The whole ship was in ordered turmoil
as everyone aboard was assigned a new place. A man named
Mr. Prophet, who had been in irons for most of the voyage for
“Speaking Mutiny” against the now deposed former Captain who
ironically wore his same chains, was summarily released and
placed into the watchtower to be the eyes of the ship.
A woman named Mrs. Intercessor who was serving in the galley
as a lowly cook was sent to the deepest hole in the ship. I
wondered about her punishment and asked one of the shining
soldiers why this was so. He smiled and said, “She is close to
the Captain’s heart and needs the silence to be alone with him to
hear his heart clearly. She has cried out to be released into this
‘punishment’ for many years. It is a station of great honor.”
Others tried to use their former rank to demand an audience with
the Captain but he ignored their swagger and boasts seeming
instead drawn to the meek and lowly of heart, giving no regard to
a person’s rank or status.
The ship’s powerful self-propelling engines were unbolted and
dropped like useless, dead weights into the forgetfulness of the
ocean! A mast went up and in a moment, she was transformed
from running under her own power back into a sailing ship. Her
ancient armory that had been locked tight was opened anew and
her weapons were remounted transforming her into both a sailing
ship and a warship. Many of the singers quit entertaining and
began to offer up worship on the warship. An order was given to
the speakers, “Quit merely speaking and teach by example. To
your labor stations!”
Some who had beaten their fellow passengers during the voyage
were publicly humiliated as a quick trial took place. Those who
had abused their fellow passengers were allowed to remain on
the ship and surprisingly were treated as guests of the Captain,
but even what they had was taken away from them. There was a
fast redistribution of wealth and duty as everyone was released
into a place that somehow suddenly felt “right.” We were no more
divided into passengers and crew, but all simply crewmembers,
fellow shipmates united under one Captain.
The Captain assembled the whole ship’s company and, while
holding a bottle of new wine in his hand, spoke quickly. “I come
to liberate, not enslave! I have come to reclaim what is mine by
birthright. I have retaken this ship that the pirates stole from me.
She is no more christened The Christendom, but her true name,
the good ship Salvation!”
He broke the bottle of new wine over her bow. “All who will may
board her freely for the price to sail has been paid in full. We set
sail for my Father’s kingdom. Rebels and mutineers, beware! Your
day of retribution draws swiftly near. Behold, I come quickly!”
A cheer went up from the crew as the sails were hoisted and a
sudden wind from the deepest Heaven began to blow, propelling
her towards an unseen land. My last sight was seeing her proper
Captain at the wheel with his joyous face yet set like flint for the
voyage to come. I sensed troubled waters of tribulation brewing
and knew that only with the true Captain at the helm would we
safely reach our destination.
© 2004 SheepTrax Media