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Earthly events occur in a realm that is bound by time and space (location). The spiritual realm has no such boundaries or limitations. The interaction between the earthly and the spiritual, then, involves a unique link that blends time with the timeless, and spacelessness with distance.
The link is seen in Moses' warfare against Amalek, when God says that He will have war with Amalek "from generation to generation," or one revolution of time to another, or from year to year. I read a story in 1982 of a prophet who was told by God that something was going to happen on a particular date. The date came and went, but nothing happened. He complained to the Lord, who then told him, "Let it go round a year." He did, and the event occurred the following year on that date.
This particular revelation had a monumental effect on my life at that time, because that very day (Dec. 4, 1982) was one year after my resignation as pastor of a church. I immediately understood that somehow God was working in a one-year cycle with me. I knew that my wilderness experience was beginning to come to an end.
As it turned out, there were 5 main dates involving my entrance into the wilderness, and those same 5 dates the following year were my steps OUT of the wilderness as well. From then on, I have been able to observe many such revolutions of time where God revisits a particular theme (event) on the same dates year after year.
All of these are based upon the principle of spiritual warfare in God's statement about Amalek found in Exodus 17:16. It is as if we do warfare here as the earth passes through a particular spot in its orbit. The next year, we pass through the same spot, and though some conditions have progressed in the battle, it is still the same battle being fought in that location. We simply drive through the battleground year after year without stopping.
Each time we engage in spiritual warfare, the war seems to end after a time, but then we see it repeated in a different way, as if someone decided to rewrite the book using the same theme but introducing different characters in the story.
So if spiritual work is really effective, and we "win the battle" at any point in time, why must we continually fight the same battle the next year, or the next? That is the big question that I faced in the early years. The same question was raised in the recent watch dates from Nov. 1-5, 2009. Why would we have to see a repeat in 2009 of an earlier court battle fought on the same dates in 2001?
The key is to keep in mind the timeless nature of the spiritual realm. It is all one battle in the spirit, but here on earth, where time and space exist, that single battle in the heavens is broken up into pieces. Or we revolve around the sun and find ourselves back in the same point of timeless space where we see the battle continuing to be fought. But because there is MOVEMENT in the spirit as well as on earth, each year we see new characters fighting the same battle.
A biblical example of this is found in Heb. 4:3,
"For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said: 'As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,' although His works were finished from the foundation of the world."
His works were finished? Jesus said in John 5:17,
"My Father is working until now; and I Myself am working."
Furthermore, Rev. 13:8 speaks of "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." If He had already been slain, then why would He need to be crucified in 33 A.D.? Was He slain a second time?
It is only by understanding the timeless nature of the spiritual realm that we can grasp these things in our time-bound minds. In the spirit there is only one event, but when it translates into earthly terms, it breaks up into a series of events occurring on a linear time line. It is like a prism that takes the single beam of white light and refracts it upon a screen, separating and spreading the colors.
Jesus was thus slain from the beginning in the timeless realm, but when the Light of the World came through the prism at Bethlehem, He had to walk out His ministry in Time and be slain at the appointed time. He obtained the full victory at His resurrection. If the victory has already been obtained, then why must we still labor to attain the victory in our own lives? Why must we engage in spiritual warfare at all? Was it not all finished at the cross?
Yes and no. The primary purpose of Time is to allow each generation of mankind to enter into that timeless victory of Jesus Christ. We who know the Scriptures can proceed with faith and confidence that the victory has already been obtained at the foundation of the world. The outcome has already been determined. History is rigged to produce a certain outcome. And it is our training ground, our opportunity to participate in that victorious battle. In so laboring, each generation learns the ways of God by experience, and this causes them to mature and grow up into Christ.
The yearly cycle, of course, is just one small part of the picture. There are many time cycles to consider. Each is unique, and it is not often known ahead of time the cycle on which a spiritual victory will manifest in the world. The more we experience, the more we realize how complex is the mind of God and how little we really know. When I was a teen-ager, I knew everything. But as time passes, I know less and less each day.
Having kept records since 1981 (and more complete records since 1985), I have been able to observe many time cycles. Watch dates come easy for me, mostly because certain dates have come forth year after year, each with a new situation following an original theme.
December 4 is one of the original dates in my own experience, being the start of my 1981-1982 wilderness experience. I call it my "crucifixion day," since I was asked to resign from a church in Las Cruces, NM. A year later to the day, my wilderness experience began to end. In 1985 we saw a rerun of the same battle, as the earth orbited around that point in spiritual space. I have seen partial patterns repeated every few years.
In each repeating pattern, however, we see progression. It is a repeat, not a duplicate. It may only duplicate itself if there has been no progression in our lives since the original experience. But as we grow, we need not fight the exact battle again. We move on toward victory.
Now in 2009 it has worked out that we are holding a winter conference in Dallas on Dec. 4-6. At the same time, we are watching for the next sign in the story of Elisha to be fulfilled. It is the sign of the Shunamite woman's son being raised from the dead in 2 Kings 4:18-37. But this story comes in two parts. First, Elisha sent his servant to lay his staff on the dead child. This did not work. So he came in person and raised the boy from the dead.
In the bigger picture, this pictures Pentecost and Tabernacles. The Church under Pentecost was given the authority to raise the dead, but the authority wielded by the servant yielded nothing. (Pentecost is about learning obedience as a servant.) When the authority is exercised by the sons of God through the feast of Tabernacles, the dead are raised.
So the conference on Dec. 4 is being held on "crucifixion day." It is an important first step in the sequence. But there will be another gathering later, which will fulfill Part 2 of this story in our particular context. Of course, keep in mind that we have been seeing all of these Elisha stories played out in "sign language," so I am not suggesting that anyone will be literally raised from the dead.
Nonetheless, the patterns clearly mark the path ahead.