Martin Collison who sometimes comments on A Mending Feast emailed me something recently which he quietly calls “a picture.” He says it was “an impression stamped upon (his) mind,” which is akin to a vision, I would say. (It’s an experience he has from time to time.) In any case it strongly impacted my spirit, and I thought I would pass it along.
I had a picture come to me this week. I saw the lectern on the stage of a church; one of those stands that preachers rest their notes on. Then an eagle came down; swooped down and landed on the lectern. The presence of the eagle cut the atmosphere and it carried such spiritual authority. It brought certainty and definitiveness where there had been vacillation. Its authority could not be denied. Many in the congregation ran at its mere appearance on the scene even before it opened its mouth. I knew that the eagle was a symbol of the true prophet and it would tear down falsehoods within the church. Many would not want to hear the words he would speak so they ran for the exits.
I recognize this to be one of our greatest needs—if not our greatest need—the true authority of Christ in the churches. There’s an old song that’s right in line with Martin’s “picture.”
Touch your people once again
With your precious holy hand, we pray;
Let your kingdom shine upon this earth
Through a living glorious church;
Not for temporary deeds,
But to restore authority and power:
Let a mighty rushing wind come in;
Touch your people once again.
How deeply we need this—the restoration of spiritual authority and power—this mighty rushing wind of the Holy Spirit that returns to us the authority of Christ. Martin says the presence of this eagle “cut the atmosphere.” It “carried such spiritual authority.” In fact the eagle is one of the faces of Christ as portrayed in the cherubim (Ezek. 1.10). And so when this “eagle” speaks all doubt disintegrates. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself has spoken… and all the place is pregnant with His authority.
Martin adds this:
I have been wondering recently whether we who are the Lord’s and seek to carry the fullness of the Kingdom are not yet fully aware of the contention of the enemy against us.
I wonder that myself. I think we are largely unaware of the extent to which the Enemy resists us. For certain, he has always resisted the coming forth of this kind of authoritative word—and will do so vehemently when it begins to break forth again. I have seen it happen in the past, and I know we are going to see it again. God’s adversary (and ours) is dead set against His authority. In fact this is what he challenged from his beginning; it’s what garnered him the name change from Lucifer to Satan.
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high (Isa. 14.13,14).
This is a glimpse into the rebellion among the angels that the Bible hints at in two or three places, and which the Serpent succeeded in contaminating the family of man with. As a result we see this same Satanic resistance to the true authority of God all through history—as when Pharaoh decreed the destruction of the newborn Hebrews… as when Herod the Great did the same thing at Bethlehem of Judaea, seeking to wipe out any chance of the true king of Israel coming to the throne of David… as when Ahab’s daughter Athaliah sought to destroy all the seed royal out of Judah (2 Chr. 22.10).
We see it also in Satan’s resistance to the true prophetic word—as in Jezebel’s campaign to exterminate the prophets of the Lord (1 Kings 18.4). Ultimately she zeroed in on the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19.2). Her husband Ahab went along with her in all this—reluctantly no doubt, but too weak willed to resist her. We see the same spirit at work when Herodias sought the head of John the Baptist. Her husband Herod, again reluctantly, went along with her too. And we see this same “Jezebel” in The Revelation riding upon a scarlet-coloured beast “drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17.6). “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints…” (Rev. 18.24). She who calls herself a prophetess—and Christ reproved the church of Thyatira for going along with her—is thirsty for the blood of the prophets. For she stands against the true word of God—the testimony of Jesus Christ. It is the Spirit of prophesy that is hated—the testimony of Jesus Christ.
And for this very reason the church must be this “lectern” Martin saw with the eagle upon it. The church must have this prophetic Testimony, this authoritative word, with the presence of the eagle permeating all. I believe it is a corporate thing, this eagle, and not just one man. Paul called for the earnest prayers of the saints at Ephesus that he might have liberty to declare the word of God boldly—and make known the “mystery of the Gospel” (Eph. 6.18). He, the mighty apostle, could not function independently. He’d been given the revelation of the body of Christ on the Damascus Road, and ever after he recognized his need for the other members of that Body. He was continually calling for the prayers of the saints. He needed their support as Moses needed Aaron and Hur to stay up his arms. Yes, it was Paul’s mouth the word went forth from, but it was a joint operation of the body of Christ that enabled it. Paul sought the same thing from the Colossians, “that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds…” (Col. 4.3).
I believe we are going to see this eagle in church again—this kind of authoritative word, this kind of anointing. But let us be ready for the consequences. The Enemy does not take kindly to this kind of Gospel going forth—the kind in which the eyes of sinful men are opened to see what the mystery of Christ is all about. The true Gospel of Christ is a very powerful Gospel, a high and far-reaching Gospel. It’s a Gospel that must go forth in the power and authority of the eagle. And when it does there is going to be prey for her young ones.
Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?
She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.
From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off.
Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she (Job. 39.27-30).
Lord, open our eyes! How near-sighted we have become, and blind! No wonder our young people are in the condition they are in—worldly minded, with little or no interest in spiritual things. Can they be blamed? What kind of Gospel do we have for them? We must have more for them than games and pizza on Friday nights at the church—along with a little side of MacWord, as a friend calls it. Oh, you protest, but how else can we get them in? We’ve got to give them games and pizza… and the heavy metal rock music they’re into, or their reggae, or even magicians if necessary, and clowns to entertain them. Anything to get them to come! So we can slip in that little gospel MacWord on the side.
Here’s another way to get them to come. Shut all that down, and cry out like this: Jesus, call your eagles to church—those who dwell and abide upon the Rock, and whose eyes see into the distances of the Spirit… and bring nigh what they see afar off! Then there will be prey for our young ones—the mystery of Christ—the revelation of God in once-fallen man. Then there will be young eagles growing up in our midst—a whole new kind of young people!
And our Adversary the Devil will have to cope with the consequences.