In the previous article we started a new series on the revelation of the cross. This revelation doesn’t just give us insight into what Jesus went through at the crucifixion, but what we go through in stages of our lives when our lives are joined to the Lord’s in fellowship. Each of the stages of the cross are experienced by the bride of Christ as they walk intimately with God throughout their life. Embracing the cross when these stages become apparent is paramount for seeing transformation in our own lives. God is after nothing less than the complete transformation of his bride into the image of his son, and the cross is the instrument of glory, pain, and power that He’s chosen to accomplish this purpose. Only when we yield to this truth and embrace the cross when God is offering it will we be able to experience this transformation to walk in greater Christ-likeness than we’ve ever known! Let’s continue with this series and dive deeper into the experience of the cross!
VISION: I SAW THE WHOLE WORLD GOING THROUGH THE CROSS
Years ago I had a vision. In this vision I saw the entire world, all of creation, every man & woman that has ever lived, who’s living now, and who will ever be born on this earth; I saw every system of man, every titan of industry, every mountain of influence all “passing through the cross”. The old rugged wood of the cross became like the very body of Christ and everything and everyone passed through it, whether they wanted to or not.
As everything passed through, everything was cleansed, purified, transformed, & judged. All that remained on the other side was of the kingdom of God. Love made it through the cross, because love is of God!!! Faith made it through, hope made it through, worship made it through, because these things are of God and are eternal. Only that which was of the kingdom and of God made it through. When I came out of this experience I immediately thought of this scripture:
“11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
There is no salvation without fire (vs.15). Our life’s works, our very spirits, souls, and bodies will be offered up to the fire, and salvation will come by that fire. Salvation will come through the cross.
You might say, “Stephen, I thought salvation already came through the cross? Aren’t I saved now, as I’ve believed on Christ and his redeeming work on the cross? Aren’t I already saved because I’ve believed the gospel, repented, and followed Christ?” My answer would be to you, yes, all that’s true. Yet the bible is clear, there remains a “fullness” of the salvation that we’ve known through walking with God that will be made fully manifest in the future, not just for us but for the whole world (Rom.8:22-24;1 Jn.3:2;).
For us that fullness comes at the resurrection, when we experience the fullness of this redemption spiritually, soulishly, and bodily (being given our resurrected bodies & lives at that time). For the world, sin is removed and the burden of the oppression the earth has been groaning under for centuries is relinquished, and somehow spiritually speaking it’s because us and all of creation have gone through the cross to experience the fullness of the death, the life, and the resurrection of Christ! This is the miracle of the “Day of the Lord”. This is the second coming of King Yeshua, when the lion shall lay down with the lamb (Is.11:6), and the swords shall be beaten into plowshares (Is.2:4). It’s coming saints, and oh what a glorious day it will be as the earth and all of creation welcomes the return of the king!
THE PAIN & PATIENCE OF THE CROSS
13 “For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,
14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”
Jesus was made to “patiently endure” the pain, the suffering, the humiliation, and ultimately the death of the cross in order to obtain the promise. Those who follow Christ and pick up their cross must be prepared to do the same. Those who carry precious promises will never see them fulfilled without enduring the painful patience of the cross. If you do receive a promise without this, then your promise was not that precious. It was cheap and didn’t cost you much.
Understand that the death of the cross is not a quick mercy death. At Easter time churches do “stages of the cross”. Why? Because the cross is not a one step ordeal. There are stages to the cross, and because of this one must know the supernatural love of God that produces supernatural patience in order to endure (1 Cor.13:4).
The first stage of Jesus’ cross was betrayal from a friend that He loved, namely Judas. The first stage brings with it a sting, a shock, and a trauma that then must be endured and managed moving forward until one is on the other side of the cross & can receive resurrection power for healing & restoration. While the pain and crushing of the cross is being endured, one must know the patience of God to let the Holy Spirit have his way and fully work the death of the cross in and through you. One must let the cross life be so deeply developed in their heart and soul, which is what God is truly after. This is all unto resurrection glory and transformation!
OVERCOMING THE ARMIES OF DARKNESS AT THE CROSS
7 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I’ve spoken from this scripture a lot over the years because it’s meant so much to me personally, in helping me to endure the trials I’ve undergone for the last several years. I’m always amazed at the fact that Paul had to pray three times here before He got an answer, and even then it was not the answer Paul was looking for. It was an answer from God, but not the answer that Paul expected, and I’m telling you my dear reader that there's a message in that.
Always remember, God is God and you are not. He can answer you however He wants, but know this: when He does answer you, it’s always exactly what you need to hear! When God does finally move on your behalf, know that it’s according to wisdom and He has your best interest in mind. You can trust him with his answers and you can trust him when He moves, even if his answer and movement wasn’t what you were asking for or expecting!
A Vision of Zeus Flogging Jesus
Recently I had a vision of the king of the mythological Greek gods Zeus. In this vision He was towering over the Lord in the streets of Jerusalem as a giant. His shirt was off, his form and physique was flawless, and He was whipping Jesus mercilessly as He was carrying his cross to Golgotha. Each time a lash landed on the back of the Lord, Jesus lunged forward and I saw thorns and splinters from the old rugged cross sticking into his body all over.
In Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians He spoke of being given a thorn in the flesh as well as a “messenger of Satan'' who beat him day and night (2 Cor.12:7) (which I believe speaks of a principality’s assignment against Paul over a prolonged period of time). I believe the thorn to represent the damage done to a believer when a principality sets their sights on them & targets them for destruction. The thorns and thistles in scripture represent curses. This is why Jesus was given the crown of thorns to rest on his brow, because the brow represents man’s curse from sin (Gen.3:19). When Jesus bled from his brow it represented that his blood broke the curse of sin over us! So although Paul was walking in revelation and freedom He still had a thorn. He still had a principality (a messenger of Satan) that unleashed hell against him, and as a result I believe Paul was “feeling” the effects of a curse that had come against him. You can feel the effects of a curse and still not accept a curse as you stand fast in the finished work of the cross.
When I saw Jesus being filled with all those splinters and thorns from the cross, as the principality was buffeting him on his way to the cross, I knew that the Holy Spirit was telling me that Jesus absorbed every curse, every trial, and every attack that could ever come from Satan, his principalities, and his entire demonic army. Because of this, we can walk in complete freedom and confidence knowing that whatever comes against us Jesus has already died for it! Whatever comes against us has already been disempowered by the cross! Isn’t that amazing?! But in order to enter into that victory you must embrace your cross with the Lord and follow him.
I pray today's article has been a blessing to you! Be on the lookout for part three coming out next week!
In His Service,