The Individual and Collective Perspectives
Sep 08, 2011
Much of what I write speaks of the corporate body, rather than of individuals. No doubt this is a cause of some questions or apparent disagreements. In yesterday's blog about the current prophetic year, I wrote about the Declaration of Identity in terms of a progressive entry into a new calling and a new way of thinking. It is as if we have to wait until Tabernacles this year to actually experience this.
What about experiencing it now? I assure you that I have been experiencing much of this already for many years on a personal level to the extent of my own revelation. But beyond this personal experience, and regardless of how well I may succeed in the outworking of this calling, God is also working with a body of people.
For instance, I can speak of the New Creation Man within me and within you, based upon Paul's teaching in Romans 6 and 7. We are to live according to the new man (Christ in you), rather than the old man (Adam). Yet when Paul speaks of this in Eph. 2:15, he was speaking of a collective body of people. Christ's work on the cross had made TWO GROUPS into "one new man."
It is no different when Paul speaks of the "temple." Each of us is a temple of God, Paul says in 1 Cor. 3:16, and yet there is also a collective temple that God is building (Eph. 2:20-22), built upon the apostles and prophets. We are individual temples within a larger collective temple.
We must learn to consider both levels in order to understand the full truth.
So when I write that God is doing a particular work in this current Prophetic Year, I do not mean to imply that we have not already experienced it on a personal level. People have had great experiences with God since Adam. But God also has a bigger plan for His creation that goes beyond the mere individual. He has been building a temple out of "living stones" since the beginning. And since each individual is just one stone in that temple, this big temple cannot be completed until the overcomers in the final generation have been brought to maturity in Christ.
Many of you have already experienced the glory of God in some manner. Many have already ministered out of the spirit man within you. If so, you are most likely one of those individuals who are being put together with others to do the greater work yet to come. That greater work has more to do with specific times in history when the next great move of God hits the earth.
We have been anticipating "the outpouring of the Spirit" in our time. We believe that it will be the final and greatest move of God since the beginning. God has an appointed time for that to happen, and it will coincide with the day that all of the individuals who are called to this work have been prepared in their hearts to do the work. Only God knows the timing of this.
So when I speak of the body of Christ and the way in which God is preparing our hearts for a future ministry, I am not speaking not of individuals per se, but of a collective body of believers.
The prophetic patterns revealed to us in each Prophetic Year speak of the divine plan for the body of Christ as a collective unit. If you already know your place in Christ and have been able to accept the forgiveness of sin in the blood of Christ, able to know your position in Christ, able to overcome the natural feeling of inadequacy that is in your soulish man, able to identify yourself with Christ in you--then perhaps you are already adequately prepared for the work ahead.
But, like Caleb and Joshua, you must wait for the rest of the body before you can enter the Promised Land on a collective level.
I have no doubt that Caleb and Joshua were overcomers in "the church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38). They were individual overcomers long before the Jordan crossing. Their job was to lead by example and to teach the faithless Israelites how to have the quality of faith that was necessary to be an overcomer. They had plenty of work to do in the wilderness before crossing the Jordan as a nation.
It is the same with us today. Whatever level of faith you have achieved by your experience with God will determine your ability to help the rest of the body until that appointed time to enter the Promised Land collectively. You need not wait until a future time to begin experiencing God and doing that which you are called to do. Do it now to the extent of your ability. Just realize that IN ADDITION TO your personal calling and ministry, there is also a historic plan that God is working out, of which you are just one "living stone" out of many.
That bigger plan cannot be fulfilled until the body is complete that is called to do the work.
There have been many subtitles on this big divine plan, many moves of the Holy Spirit. There may be more to come. But I believe we are nearing the time of the last great outpouring of the Spirit that will involve overcomers from every past generation. That final move will of necessity require the resurrection of those past overcomers, in order to unite them with the living overcomers into one body. This will be the historic fulfillment of the autumn feast days, which I wrote of in my book, The Laws of the Second Coming.
The overall purpose of this work is expressed in Dan. 2:44,
(44) And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed...
After Christ's first appearance, a kingdom was set up under the anointing of Pentecost. It was, however, patterned after King Saul, who was crowned on Pentecost as a type of this kingdom. It was real, but imperfect. It was an interim kingdom that would lead us to the enduring kingdom (Ps. 89:29). In the past 2000 years, we have been living in the interim kingdom of Saul and its Pentecostal anointing. We are now transitioning into the enduring kingdom of David with its Tabernacles anointing.
Even as David had followers prior to his coronation as king, so also have there been followers of David throughout the past Pentecostal Age. They usually find themselves in trouble with Saul. There are also Jonathans in Saul's house who love David and have the heart of an overcomer. These often get in trouble with Saul as well (1 Sam. 14:44; 20:30-34).
So on an individual level, we do not have to wait for the enduring kingdom to be set up. There is much that we can do here and now. In fact, if we are faithful in doing these things today, it shows that we are qualified for greater things to come, not only in our own life time, but also in the kingdom to come.
For this reason, we do not merely look to the future in order to minister at a later time. Neither do we sit and wait for a future kingdom doing nothing. This is not a "do nothing" belief system. Instead, we are now building the future. We are not just waiting to be overcomers, but we act on the assumption that we ARE overcomers--and live accordingly. We are not waiting to be perfected, but we understand that "Christ in you," the New Man, the second "I" in Romans 7:17, is already perfect and is incapable of sin. As we identify with that "I", we reckon the old man to be dead, forgetting the past, and moving on in the life of Christ.
This we do now as individuals, because we believe that we are part of that greater body of overcomers who have lived throughout all past generations. Yes, even the saints of the Old Testament did not have to wait for the appearance of Christ to participate in this body. They had faith in Christ also, though they knew Him by the name of El Shaddai and later as Yahweh (Ex. 6:3). Hebrews 11 shows that none of these overcomers sat on their hands doing nothing.
Let us follow their example of faith.
Dr. Stephen Jones