GOD HAS PREPARED A BANQUET!
BY: CHRISTINE BEADSWORTH firstname.lastname@example.org
We are living at a time when it is vital for the Church to have understanding of the times. No longer can we cluster in holy huddles and ignore the rest of the world going to destruction. God’s heart is moved by the cries of the lost and the hurting and the Church of the Firstborn upon Mount Zion is about to be galvanized into action for the purpose of extending the Kingdom of God and to bring in the harvest. The earthquake in the Indian Ocean is to be used as a tool in God’s hand for His glory and His praise. What seems like a scene of devastation and destruction has laid the table, so to speak, for the presentation of the manifestation of His purposes, prepared before the foundation of the world “before the fault lines were formed or any of the continents created, God was planning ways to reap the harvest and reach the souls for which the Lamb was slain. This backdrop of darkness and hopelessness will serve to cast a spotlight on the unfolding of His end-time purpose“ a Bride, clothed in the glory of God, reaching the lost with the irresistible love and compassion of Christ!
We read in Isaiah 25:6 that God will prepare a feast, a banquet of good things:
˜And in this mountain the Lord of Hosts shall make a feast of fat things for all the people, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of refined wine on the lees.”
This sounds delicious and, at first glance, conjures up an image of His people having a party and eating the most delicious foods. However, this is not actually what it says and this interpretation is just another example of the mistaken belief which the Church has fostered for years “that God pours out His blessings for us and us alone to enjoy.” This is what, up until now, has made the Church of Jesus Christ largely ineffective and unfruitful in the earth. If we look closely at this verse, we see that the feast is prepared not just for the Church, but for all peoples. What God has prepared on Mount Zion is not a “bless me” party but something that will feed all the people of the earth.
If we look more closely into the kind of banquet that God has prepared, we discover something else amazing. “We, the Church, are not partaking of the menu, WE ARE THE MENU! Now before you switch off your computer in disgust, allow me to explain. The Word says firstly that God prepares a feast of “fat things”. This is the Hebrew word “shemenâ,” which means: grease, especially liquid (as from the olive, often perfumed); figuratively richness: – anointing, X fat (things), X fruitful, oil ([-ed]), ointment, olive
In other words, this is a feast of the anointing, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that causes fruitfulness. Where else is this outpouring going to take place but in the lives of His Church, the Church of the First-Born? Then we can go forth declaring the year of His favor:
(Isaiah 61:1) “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is on Me; because Jehovah has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to preach the acceptable year of Jehovah and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the mantle of praise for the spirit of heaviness; so that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that He might be glorified.”
Does that not sound like a feast for the needy of the earth? God does not want us to wait for the world to bring their needs within our four walls. “He wants us to be the portable ark of His presence, bearing within our earthen vessels the anointing that breaks the yoke and sets the captive free; the healing oil that binds up the broken-hearted and exchanges their mourning veils for the oil of joy and gladness! God is making us “fat things full of marrow;” He is anointing our heads with fresh oil, an overflowing anointing that does not run dry, fit to meet whatever need we come into contact with. We are the light of the world and the day of the “greater works” is here!
The banner pictured with this article depicts the mighty river of blessing and provision the Lord is pouring out on Mount Zion for all the peoples of the earth because He wants them to taste and see that He is good. God is wanting the lost to not only hear the good news of God’s love but to actually experience for themselves His character, which is “goodness.” It is His kindness which leads us to repentance and as the hurting and broken experience the outpouring of His love and power through us, their hearts will be turned from serving vain idols to serve the Living God. In essence we, the Church are to be God’s “take-outs or take-aways” from the kitchens of heaven; taking the manifestation of His goodness to the ends of the earth, so that the glory of the Lord may cover the earth as the waters cover the sea!
The Holy Spirit will be moving on the hearts of many of His people in these days as they view the scenes of devastation following the tsunami. He will propel laborers into the harvest field of these countries; men and women moved by the compassion of Christ and laying down their lives for the widow and the orphan, the broken and the homeless; taking the light of Jesus into the darkness of the aftermath of this catastrophe. God will use this event to liberate His people from passivity and religion and thrust them into the fullness of their inheritance. Did He not say, “ask of Me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance?” Church, it is time not to ask for an inheritance of silver or gold or things that perish and pass away but to cry out to the Lord for souls “an inheritance” that is beyond the reach of dust and decay. We are all desperate for our portion of the promised land but we need to grasp the fact that the promised land is not a physical place or a mansion or a fat bank balance and fancy cars, it is a Person, Jesus Christ – and our assigned portion is the revelation of Jesus within us. This is the hope of glory. The glory is not something that comes to us but something that is released within us as we are obedient in stepping out and carrying the presence of Christ to a needy world. We are the feast of fat things; Christ in us is the menu of the day and the world is desperate to be fed with the True Bread of Heaven.
The other part of the feast God is preparing on Mount Zion is “wines on the lees,” in fact “refined wines on the lees!” Wesley explains that wines that have been sitting for a long time gain strength and after this, they are drawn off and refined. Have you been waiting for years for the fulfillment of your destiny in Christ? Well, God has been busy turning the water of the Word within you into wine, strong wine and it is now the Third Day of the feast and He has saved the best wine until last! The word for “well refined” is “zaqaq” and means: to strain, (figuratively) extract, clarify: – fine, pour down, purge, purify, refine.
Have you been through a purging, purifying process? Well, now you know why! God is about to serve you as an accompaniment to His main course, the meat of His Word! He has prepared a banquet and the invitation is going out to the lame and the broken to come and feast on the goodness of God. This is what you were born for. This is your destiny “to be part of a mature, anointed portable feast for the peoples of the earth. The time has come to be poured out. Will you accept the Lord’s invitation and say, “here am I Lord send me,” or will you continue to be settled on the lees and complacent? This is dangerous because wine gets beyond the stage of being drinkable and becomes spoilt, acidic and rancid tasting, good only to be thrown out. God is wanting to set apart those who have accepted His invitation as Zeph 1:7 says. This is your chance to be dusted off, be uncorked and released into your destiny in God. If you want to preserve your life, you will lose it (Matt 10) but if you are willing to be poured out for His glory, you will save your life. God is searching His shelves, looking for mature, rich-tasting wines to serve to the people of the earth. This is your time, say, “yes Lord, pour me out for your glory.”
The restaurant is Mount Zion and the menu is a manifestation of Jesus Christ in love and power. As the poor and needy come to dine Isaiah 25:7 says that God will destroy the veil that is over the head of all nations: ”And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering which covers all people, and the veil that is woven over all nations.”
I believe this not only refers to the veil over their spiritual eyes that is taken away when they come to belief in Christ, but also to the veil of mourning that covers the nations where disaster, be it earthquake or war or famine, has struck. We have seen so clearly in these last few days the profound wretchedness and despair that has come as a veil upon the nations that have been struck by the tsunami. Many, many people have lost loved ones and all they own. This is an opportunity for the Church to arise and be the light of the world. Isaiah tells us that dense darkness covers the peoples but the glory of the Lord has arisen upon us. It is time for the Lord to remove the reproach of His people from off all the earth, as Isaiah 25:8 says. What is this reproach? It is mentioned in Isaiah 26:18:
(Isaiah 26:18) “We conceived; we have been in pain, we gave birth to wind. We have not brought about any salvation in the earth; nor are the people of the world yet born.”
This speaks of a lack of fruitfulness, of no harvest coming in. But now, on this Third Day, the Lord will remove that reproach from His people. No longer will the Church be barren and unfruitful, religious and lifeless. He has been preparing His vessels in the fires of affliction and the vessels of honor are coming forth in this day. The fast He has chosen is for us to be the feast He has prepared for all peoples:
(Isaiah 58:6) “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed ones go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to break your bread to the hungry, and that you should bring home the wandering poor? When will you see the naked and cover him; and you will not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break out as the dawn, and your health shall spring out quickly; and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”
Christ within you is the hope of glory. The dinner bell has rung and Mount Zion and the Church of the First-Born invite the hungry and the poor and the broken to come and feast on a meal that is without cost. Do you hear the sound of the trumpet in the heavens as the invitation goes forth?
(Isaiah 55:1) “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat. Yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”
Let the feast begin!