Not long after we arrived in Japan in the fall of 1982, I was asked to teach a class at the Munakata Free University, a community program of teaching on various subjects about which people in the city may have had an interest. Such subjects included art, pottery, music, calligraphy, sewing, cooking, etc. Once a month a well-known professional would come and give a lecture on a particular subject matter. My subject was that of “situational problems in the world.”
At that time, and even today, one of the most talked about problems was that of war. I did some research and found that one of the major causes of any war was that of the aggressor wanting (or needing) more land in order to continue its existence. This was the particular case in World War II when Japan began its aggressive expansion into and occupation of countless countries in Asia, including China, Korea, Formosa (now Taiwan), Indonesia, The Philippines, Malaysia, and many more. Since Japan had very few natural resources, they felt it necessary to expand its rule and occupation into countries that had resources. *(refer to end note). It may have been my lack of vocabulary and communication skills, but needless to say, it was difficult teaching this group of mostly Japanese men. The class did not continue very long.
The idea of wanting control of more in order to build a regime, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual, is very evident today in our world, and will become even more evident as we face the future. World countries vie for position and control of their economies, people and even religion. Demonic powers in the spiritual realm also volley for control and power of domains. We’ll see this increase more and more as we approach the end. We can easily call it, ‘The One World System of Economy, Politics and Religion.’ Some may say, “Yes, I’ve read the end of the Book, and I understand what’s happening today.”
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” —Matthew 24:12-14
As Christians, if we want to be able to stand in the perilous times that are ahead of us, we need to be constantly being filled with God’s Word and Holy Spirit.
I’d like to take you way back in history and take a look at something that happened when twelve spies went into Canaan, the land which God promised Israel, to spy out the land. The story is found in Numbers 13:21-33.
Grapes in The Land
21 So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath. 22 And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. 24 The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence. 25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.
26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. 28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. 30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
Twelve went. Ten saw that the inhabitants of land were bigger than they. “We cannot do it,” they said. “We cannot go in and drive out these giants. There is no way we can occupy this land.” Their attitude was one of unbelief, and unbelief disappoints God. The Word says, “I CAN DO all things through Christ (the Holy Ghost), who strengthens me.” God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, the whole works, but they did not believe His Word of promise.
They were to go in and possess, that is drive out the occupants. What may be occupying our hearts, our lives, our emotions, our bodies, our churches? Sin, bad habits, attitudes, unforgiveness or unbelief? If we want to go in to the land of the great awakening and revival God is about to pour out on the world, we’ve got to drive out these kind of inhabitants that dwell in OUR hearts and churches.
Two brought back a good report, plus evidence of the goodness of the land. In scripture, GRAPES and wine always speak to us of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ first miracle was that of turning water into wine. These grapes that were brought back as evidence of the abundance in the land were not the kind of grapes one buys at the supermarket. Here’s a picture collage of what the grapes of Eshcol actually look like.
Don’t be surprised, because The Holy Spirit is represented in this cluster of grapes. The cluster is H U G E. So is the eternal vastness of the Holy Ghost!
Can you envision the immensity of the Holy Spirit now? Immensity, my that’s a big word. It means “vastness, enormous extent.” That’s what the Promised Land had to offer, but because of unbelief, all those that were over twenty years old were forbidden to enter and be partakers of God’s promise.
In these last days, if we who call ourselves Christians are destined to go in and occupy the realm of miracles, signs, wonders, healing and the salvation of multitudes as God promised in His Word . . .
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh (the good and bad): and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
. . . then we need to believe there are grapes there. We need to believe the Holy Spirit is the same today as He was yesterday! Take another look at that huge cluster of grapes on the left in the photo above. See if you can begin to count the number of grapes, one-by-one. Each work (grape) the Holy Spirit has performed since He was poured out on the Day of Pentecost far outnumbers whatever figure which you can imagine. This scripture declares there will be a move of God’s Holy Spirit on all people, good and bad. There will be healings, deliverances, miracles, signs, wonders, unimaginable visitations of God and multitudes of people from every tongue, tribe and nation who “call on the Name of the Lord.” God is interested in the one-by-one, but the only way to reach them is through the ministry and gifts of the Holy Spirit being operated in and through the local church.
Yes, folks, there are grapes in the Promise of The Father —
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Jesus commanded them to not take another step into the future without the endowment of power that is made known by the Baptism of The Holy Ghost, His fruit and His gifts. Endowment: provision with a permanent source of power. How about you?
The Eye of A Needle
Luke 18:18-27 — 18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
On the other side of any needle’s eye is a vast area that cannot be measured. Simply speaking, on the other side of a needle’s eye is eternity. The area cannot be measured; it goes on for infinity. However, on this side of a needle the area becomes very narrow, and possibly even darkened by our shadow because we stand in the way. So now you can understand how it is impossible to go through a needle’s eye. Our ways of thinking, our personal and church traditions, doctrines and culture get in the way so much that all we can say is, “No way, it’s impossible to get through the eye to the other side.” That’s what the disciples said, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus went on to tell them how to get through the eye. Humility. Lay it all down: Your ideas, learned concepts, denominational barriers and so forth. If we learn to humble ourselves put away our adult ways of questioning everything, and accept what the Word of God says about the Holy Spirit, as little children with simple faith (i.e. believing what God’s Word teaches about the Holy Spirit), we will slip through the eye into the vast, eternal realm of the Kingdom of God. About which Paul said, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans 14:17
- end note: Contrast this wording — Since the church has very few spiritual resources, it is necessary for her to earnestly and ardently go in and possess all the resources of the Holy Spirit which God has promised. — i.e. Greater works than those Jesus did, gifts of healings, miracles, faith, salvations, signs and wonders, supernatural visitations, etc.