“ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES”
“When Shall These Things? Matthew 24: Part8… August 2008
We are told in Revelation 7: 3, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads.” First of all we are not to suppose that every sealed person walks around with some sort of conspicuous, visible mark upon their foreheads, like the thinking that is associated with the mark of the beast having multitudes believing that people will wear a visible mark upon their foreheads and on their hands. The forehead is used to symbolize the “mind” and in the case of Rev.7:3, it refers to God’s people having put on the mind of Christ, that ultimately translates into the “actions of Christ” and they are known by this as a “trade mark”. Many products are known by their trade mark, such as Westinghouse, Hoover, Colgate.
If you take a tour of the “John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts” in Washington D.C., you will see the presidential seal over the box where the president sits when he attends a performance at the center. If you watch on television, a White House briefing given by the spokesman for the president, you will notice that behind the spokesman on the wall is the presidential seal. A seal ascribes “authenticity” to a letter, a document, or a product. When products at the grocery store bear the letters U.S.D.A., it means that the United States Department of Agriculture has examined and approved the products.
We learn that Jesus Christ was a man “approved of God” but he did not wear a visible mark upon his forehead: He was approved by God anointing him with the Holy Ghost and with power, resulting in signs and wonders and miracles that God wrought by him. Acts 10:38. A seal can be referred to as “a seal of approval” but we should bear in mind that in the case of executing authority a seal carries clout. In olden times an ambassador or any person acting on behalf of a king would be given the king’s ring, or a written instrument sealed with the king’s ring (this was done in hot wax.)
For all intended purposes, the sealing of God’s people in the forehead should not be taken lightly for the significance it holds. A seal is defined to be an instrument of sealing, that which is used by individuals, corporate bodies, and states, for making impressions in wax, upon instruments of writing, as an evidence of their authenticity. (Yesterday I had a document notarized, and the Notary Person had to place his seal on the document to make it legal and for it to be acceptable to the Company to whom I am mailing the document).
We just read that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power resulting in the showing of signs and the working of miracles. Another allusion to the “seal” in action can be found in Acts. Let us look at another case in which the “seal” of God was put on public display for the record book, and most of all, for the glory of God. “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; (pay close attention) Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God (sealed of God) among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” Acts 2:22. We have yet another display of the effects of the “seal” that God had placed upon the apostles. “And with great power (the dunamis of the Spirit) gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace (divine favor) was upon them all.” Acts 4:33.
I have concluded many years ago, that inspite of greater knowledge and fanciful teaching, a failure to demonstrate God’s power serves as an indictment against us. If its knowledge we are talking about, Jesus had it all! If it is the skill of teaching God’s word, Jesus outshone us all. But in the final analysis he himself said, “If you don’t believe what I say, believe by the works that I do. His approval by the Father was openly displayed by the works he did. His approval was laid out for all to see, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him. I came into “Sonship” back in London in 1968 and was ordained that year by a representative of Sister Thelma Chaney of Lighthouse Gospel Fellowship. I met her years later in Brooklyn and she visited my mother in Jamaica and stayed in her home and ministered in the local Assembly.
But I really began to make long strides into the concepts of “Sonship and Kingdom” in 1974 in Baltimore, Maryland. I followed many greatly recognized ministries, and when I served as pastor in West Palm Beach, I had many of them come to Westgate Tabernacle to minister in conventions and special weekend meetings. I went to Chicago, Peoria, St. Paul, Morgantown, West Virginia, a number of places in North Carolina, Phoenix, El Paso, Albuquerque, and Alamogordo. More than twenty years later, I am in constant review of what has transpired over those years.
I will be the first to tell you that I had to learn how to lay aside “religion” and purely religious tendencies, much of which was created to impress the outer man. That is why when a leading minister fails in the eyes of the public it generates so much criticism—because of the longstanding “holier-than-thou” attitude that the masses saw. But in the midst of grasping more knowledge, have we allowed much of what was fertile soil for God’s power to germinate and grown into trees of life to fade away?
Some years ago I got a letter from a dear saint in Indianapolis who asked; “Brother Kennedy, are we still casting out devils and healing the sick? She said, the reason why I am asking is because I was in a meeting recently and a sister went into an epileptic sock and some of the members at the back called on the speaker of the night to come on back and pray for her. He refused, saying he was in Kingdom and doesn’t pray for the sick any more.” I am sure this is an extreme case, but it should leave us to think every time we leave a meeting where the teaching was just fanciful and superb, but no power of the Spirit was on hand to meet needs and brake down barriers. Perhaps I am missing something, but according to my observation, the more our knowledge increased, the less power we seem to demonstrate. (I do not mean a lot of noise!)
The disciples spoke with power, Jesus ministered with power and Paul concluded; “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” 1 Cor.2: 4. As far as his education went and his knowledge of Jewish law and customs, Paul could run circles around even around his equal. His could travel from place to place using flattering words and leaving his hearers in a tail spin by his eloquence, but he chose to demonstrate the power of the Spirit. Let me be quite frank with you my friend! Many times I settle down to listen to one of my tapes and half way through I turn it off and say to God: “Lord, it all sounds good, but something important is missing.” If it is all from my head, it is not worth recording or sending to members of the Body. And I think the worst part of this scenario is if I cannot discern for myself what is missing. I have listened to tapes on which the speaker does a fantastic job on “word study” and breaking down Hebrew and Greek so you and I can understand. But the entire package was as dry as Wise Potato Chips. It is the anointing that breaks the fetters and open the prison doors. It is the anointing that lifts the beggar from the dunghill and set him among princes. It brings heaven and earth so much closer together
Let us consider how we assess things that occur among the people of God as they pertain to the seal (approval) of God. Let’s assume that we attended a meeting in which great things occurred, such as powerful words of prophecy, deliverance and healing, and the impartation of gifts. As we drive home with our spouse, we say, “God certainly put his stamp of approval on this ministry tonight.” What’s wrong in this observation? We innocently determined that the result of the meeting is enough to merit God’s approval. In other words, we do, or perform to gain approval, but in truth it is the other way round. We perform and do, and get great results because we were already approved. Once again, let us repeat this! We do not DO to be approved, but we DO because we have been approved. It’s like a woman wearing a wedding band in the hope of getting married—that is the wrong way round. She wears a wedding band because she IS MARRIED!
Let us reflect upon the case of Jesus of Nazareth for a while. He was a man approved of God by miracles, and signs and wonders. But his approval (seal) was not given after he accomplished those things; rather, he accomplished them because he was approved (sealed). Here is what happened on the banks of the Jordan River. “And it came to pass that Jesus being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in whom I am well pleased.” Luke 3: 21-22. It was at this point that Jesus became the Christ—the Anointed One, and that anointing by the Holy Ghost was his “seal” just like you and I are sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise until the redemption of the purchased possession—our body.
Please notice that even with this great anointing and heavenly declaration from the Father, Jesus did not run off to turn cities upside down. No! He went up into the mountain to be tempted and tried for forty days. After being tested like steel being forged in intense heat, he returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee and his fame went through all the regions around. His approval came in the waters of Jordan and for the rest of his earthly ministry there was no more need for him to seek any further approval from God. The event of his baptism marked his receiving of a heavenly mandate, giving him all power in heaven and on earth to transact kingdom business. He could not move forward until he was 30 years old as the law required, and Luke said that Jesus began to be 30 years old when he was baptized.
The laws and the prophets prophesied until John, and hence we see Jesus coming forth saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15. He waited 30 years to move into his ministry, and after his baptism, he was tested as if by fire, for 40 days, after which he came into public view ministering in full power. He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read, and they delivered to him the book of Esaias the prophet. He carefully thumbed through it and found where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, (this was a statement of fact) because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; (remember what we said about the anointing just a while back? Jesus was not sent to do anything without the anointing, and this anointing was more than a good feeling) he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4: 17-19.
God never send forth anyone to serve as his minister without that person knowing what his or her task is all about. Jesus did not go forth trying his hand at whatsoever does work, experimenting his way to success. He outlined in concise details what his mandate was, and assured the public at large that he was anointed with authority and power to fulfill his mandate. So once again, let us repeat that his anointing was his “seal” and having this seal, he moved forward with the power that the seal conveyed. Because of this truth that now saturated his inner most being, Jesus looked the crowd in the eye and declared: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Luke 4:21. He was not bashful, neither was he presumptuous, claiming to be something or somebody that he wasn’t. He was so confident that even the prince of this world could find nothing false or illegitimate in him. He was not a “fluke”! He was not on the road to carve out a little kingdom for himself. If that were the case, he could have gotten that and more on the mount of temptation by saying “yes” to the tempter. Lo, I come to do thy will O God, was the motto of the Christ, who did not seek his own.
It was physically impossible for the “man” Christ Jesus, in 3 ½ years to spread the gospel throughout the Middle East. From the very beginning, Jesus put into practice that which just about all our churches fail to do. He did not groom a son or a close family member to take over after he is gone. Look around you, my Friend! Just about every prominent ministry we know of grooms a son to take over in father’s place, and they fail to train others, possibly because of the fear of “splitting” the organization. When I preached in Detroit, Michigan some years ago, the brother I stayed with told me that this particular Assembly is one of three that came out of the original Body. It was so large that on Sunday mornings, police blocked off several blocks of the city and directed traffic. The founder and presiding bishop became a man of notable achievements. People followed him in droves, but after he died the Body broke up into several pieces, why? Because during his lifetime and inspite of his brilliance and ministerial skills, he never groomed others to take over when he is gone, so his lifetime worked splintered and shredded.
Jesus knew upfront that his stay on earth would be brief so he had to move fast. He quickly gathered a handful of men around him, and began to teach them kingdom truths. Was he afraid of them taking over? My goodness! That was exactly the idea! And Jesus did such a remarkable job in just 3 ½ years that his teachings and his ministry continues to reverberate around the world today. Hallelujah! Moreover, the men that Jesus assembled together were not from the elite among the rabbis and rulers of the Jews. In fact, when some of these rulers sat to judge Peter and John, they marveled at their boldness, seeing they were “ignorant and unlearned men.” The ministry that has covered the earth today via television and radio is one that advocates “religious training.” We can go to Liberty Bible College in Lynchburg, Virginia, or attend Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah, or even Howard University School of Religion in Washington D.C. All of these institutions have their own agendas for those who are so inclined.
But Jesus did not send his disciples to the Academy of Religious Studies in Jerusalem, and even Paul who studied at the feet of Gamaliel, and prospered in the Jews religion above his equals being more zealous than they, when he came face to face with Jesus, declared: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (filth) that I may win Christ.” Phil.3: 7-8. See how, in order to be used of God, Paul went from being somebody of noble stature to a nobody. Long before New Testament times, we learn that Moses was a great man in Egypt: “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” Acts 7:22. But after forty years at the backside of the desert where he was drained and emptied of all he learned in Egypt, he told God at the burning bush: “And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” Ex.4:10. God had no plan to utilize what Moses had learned in Egypt. God did not see his training, knowledge and skills as a step in the right direction. It is so easy for us to use these human attributes to compensate for what we think God is doing or what he wants to use. Isaiah was already a prophet, but when he saw God’s glory he cried, “woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” His ministry suddenly flew out the window and he required that his tongue be purged with fire from off the altar.
Can you see how God works in the very opposite of us mortals? We pick up nobodies and make them great so that they can speak for God, while God picks up nobodies and make them great to speak AS HIM—as the oracles of God. The Church as we know it will never get it right because they work on the very opposite of what God acknowledges. Why didn’t Paul promote a religious school in Jerusalem or any other place of religious training? Here is his account! “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Gal.1: 11-12. We can listen to tapes, read sermons rendered by other people all we want, but God’s “seal” upon us means something very personal. It means “power to the individual” and responsibility by the individual! It means that each person is held accountable for the seal that he or she wears, and what each person does with the mandate that accompanies the seal. We cannot forget that Jesus said, “Occupy until I come” and in the scriptures, when he comes, he calls before him, all his servants to whom he gave talents to see how they did by trading. Each person is sealed and with it is given talents for each person to show a profit over time.
It is obvious that Jesus was well aware of his calling, for he spelled it out before all who were in the synagogue that sabbath day. But taking the subject matter one step further to our day and our time, the question is, “What is the purpose of our anointing?” Jesus said, “he anointing me to preach, to heal, to deliver, to bind up broken hearts and to open prison doors.” What is our anointing for? Or to make it personal ask yourself, “What is my anointing (seal) for? Is it more than attending camp meeting? Was it meant for more than attending a weekend meeting that has music, singing, even a little dancing and a few words of prophecy? What are we all about anyway? Did Jesus completely forget about us? Did he share or should we say “transfer” his mandate to us? Listen to how specific Jesus was in laying the gauntlet at our doorstep!
“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” John 20:21. Did you notice the term “even so”? That is an “equation” meaning on equal terms. All that my Father sent me to do, now, equally do I send you! I send you with the same “seal” that carries the same mandate and you now have my authority and the power I worked with. I now pass the work on to you, but you will not work short-handed. I am not sending you to build a shopping mall with a pair of needle and thread. When my Father sent me, he gave me all that the job required for a successful end, and now I send you completely furnished and fortified. How can we prove all these good words? Are they meant just to tingle our ears and propel us into a world of make-believe? The scripture has proven to us that Jesus kept his word to his disciples!
“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. (End of story? Disciples you are now on your own?) And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” Mark 16:19-20. Notice that it did not take a number of years for our Lord’s commission to the disciples to come into play and to produce fruit just as God intended.
The angel in Revelation 7 that ascended from the east speaks of a messenger that brought forth a message of a ministry that sealed the one hundred and forty four thousand. Jehovah Witnesses teach from a human perspective and the understanding of the “natural man” that these are the only people that will be going to heaven while the rest of witnesses will occupy the earth. The term “one thousand” cannot and should not be taken as a literal figure, like in the case of “all the cattle on a thousand hills are mine.” Does God owns only those cattle on a thousand hills? The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, but who wants to count beyond one thousand anyway? The same applies to the various thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20. It is easy and simple to run off and create maps outlining your idea of these thousand year periods as if God is ever going to be tied down to our understanding of his time. Many keep saying that a thousand years is like one day, and this formula is used in many writings on bible prophecy. But we are told in Psalm 90:4; “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” I think a watch in the night is about three hours, so the calculation of a thousand years being as one day falls short of how God counts time, for it could also be seen by him as only three hours.
In short terms I see the hundred and forty four thousand as a representative figure based upon twelve tribes and twelve apostles—12,000 X 12,000 =144, 000. But in truth, whether or not we understand all the minute details of what Revelation is saying, it does not alter what God has set out to do. It is nice to know and the wise will understand, but every man does not have the capacity to delve into the deeper things of the Spirit. The main emphasis of this particular letter is for us to understand more of what it means to wear the seal of God upon our forehead, meaning that we possess the mind of Christ, and that we as a group of called out people possess the same mind. Having Jesus say, “As my Father hath sent me, so send I you” is to remove all of our petty excuses, and have us move forward with great confidence that he who hath begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. We should walk each day in the knowledge that it is God who worketh in us, both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Phil.1:6; 2:13. The immediate apostles of Christ were not obnoxious or callous in their approach to the ministry. They were humble men, but they exhibited great boldness that came from the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and God confirmed their work.
To be continued...
Royce O. Kennedy