The first response to the vision of gathering as “My People of Faith,” in 1500 BC focused largely on life as a nation. It ended after several generations of ignoring God’s guidance and resulted in their scattering among the nations of the world. (a) [see end notes for all Scriptures]
The second historical response to God’s New Covenant was introduced by Jesus Christ and became known as the Kingdom of God. The renewed vision became a spiritual experience and did not involve a place, so believers remained scattered among the nations. They would learn to experience “God with us” everywhere they lived. (b)
However, Old Testament prophets also declared there would be an eventual gathering to fulfill God’s purpose as A People; “At that time, declares the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people… And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth…He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” (c)
There would be a time in history when the New Covenant Kingdom experience was no longer in scatterings, but in gatherings. “When I bring them back from the peoples (scatterings)… then I shall be sanctified ‘through’ them in the sight of the many nations.” (d) And, “When the Lord will have compassion on Jacob (physical aspect) and again choose Israel (spiritual aspect), and settle them (people of faith) in their own land (natural locations), then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob (national function).” (e)God gathers them to Himself, not a place.
So, how do we understand today’s gathering and anointing vision of God’s “My People”?
The Armor of God
The prophet Ezekiel reported a vision he saw regarding the gathering of “People of Faith.” In the vision, God identified three gathering developments. (f) The first directive was, “call the bones together” so they would have a cohesive purpose to their existence. God then said “cover the bones with flesh” making them natural people. Lastly, God said, “Breathe the spirit of life upon the slain,” (dispersed) so they become spiritually inspired people, equipped as a defensive army.
We want to recall what the defensive armor of God is: Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (dividing accuser)…with truth…righteousness… the gospel of peace… faith…salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (g) The armor of God is not natural weapons of warfare but godly attitudes, expressions, and actions.
It is insightful to note how the three activities in Ezekiel’s vision relate to the three revealings of the last 500 years. The Reformation of 1500 AD revealed a cohesive reason to respond to God apart from a religious system (bones). The Great Awakening of the early 1700s made faith more relatable to everyday natural life (flesh). Ever since the early 1900s, Spirit Baptisms have drawn people into more active fellowships with God (spirit). (See one of our recent blogs, The Third Calling-Vision to Be God’s People at https://bit.ly/ThirdCallingVision.)
During these insightful revealing times, the discovery of a “New World” in the western hemisphere added fuel to the desire for the freedom to follow God in daily life. The idea of living free of overbearing rulers and free to worship according to the perceptions of their heart was quite a draw. Could they really be free in this life to live and prosper from their God given talent and ability?
The armor of God is not natural weapons of warfare but godly attitudes, expressions, and actions.
Freedom to Worship Draw People Today
After the Great Awakening revivals, in 1776 the newly formed United States of America emerged as a leader around the world in forming republics where people could elect their governing authorities. People began to find freedom from the two class systems of elevated rulers and devalued people.
The unparalleled freedom to live and prosper inspired the creation of many new products and services to ease life’s struggle. As the concept of capitalism began to flourish, new levels of peace and prosperity came. A new middle class emerged as freedom allowed people to try, fail, and try again. This is just like God’s concept of repentance; we realize error and make efforts to be and do better.
The freedom to be responsive to God’s guiding presence has improved the living conditions of millions throughout the world. As Ezekiel’s gathering of bones and flesh is infused by the presence of God’s Spirit (with us, among us, and in our midst), people are inspired to be creative, productive, and be prosperous. Such fulfilling successes come in efforts to improve both natural and spiritual life.
The freedom to worship and be responsive to God’s guiding presence has improved the living conditions of millions throughout the world.
Choosing the Better
Overcomers rise above the destructive ways of the world’s systems. Believers can be like planes that function within the limitations of gravity yet soar above its restrictions. The vision of “God with us” animates “People of Faith” as the “Body of Christ” and enables us to successfully function in this world by arising its restrictions.
The vision of God’s Kingly reign is a working function of people that accept God’s guidance and prosper at what we put our hands to, relatively free of suppressing overlords. This is the vision God gave to the people of the Old and New Testaments. This is the vision God began reviving 500 years ago as He began delivering, gathering, and anointing people of faith all over the world.
As visionaries see the vision God provides, we move more intently beyond past and even current perceptions. We actively “work out” into daily life “what God is working into us…and appear as lights in the world.” (h) We are also able to help others in each of our areas of activity.
We want to remember; “our faith in God is as dead (useless) if not accompanied with our righteous works.” (j) We cannot be complacent and assume God will fulfill the vision without our active involvement. We must be involved, countering bad policies and supporting improvements lest we complicate the blessings God wants to shower on us.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (k)
Let us exercise our right to choose the better and let our influencing voice be heard and counted. This is a peaceful and powerful way to counter the efforts of all enemies of God bent on division and destruction. The “productive good and destructive evil” (l) systems of this world do not need to be in control, thwarting God’s purpose in our gathering as “People of Faith.”
Let us exercise our right to choose the better and let our influencing voice be heard.
a) Ezekiel 34:5-6; 36:19; Isaiah 56:8; Psalm 44:11; b) 2 Corinthians 9:9; Acts 8:4; c) Jeremiah 31:1, 8, 10; d) Ezekiel 39:27; e) Isaiah 14:1; f) Ezekiel 37:1-14; g) Ephesians 6:11-17; h) Philippians 2:12-15; j) James 2:20, 26; k) Galatians 5:1; l) Genesis 2:17
Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder