Message: < previous - next > : Reply : Subscribe : Cleanse
Home   : March 2004 : Group Archive : Group : All Groups

From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 13:29:40 -0600
MODERATOR:  The following is an absolute classic 
piece on 'Forerunner' ministries by Arthur Wallis.
Forwarded by:      <Intercessors.Network@...>

"The Forerunner - Preparing the Way"
-by Arthur Wallis.

"Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall prepare 
the way before Me: and the Lord whom you seek, 
shall suddenly come to His temple" (Mal. 3:1).

In preparation for a great visitation, God may raise up 
many messengers, each preparing the way of the Lord 
in his own appointed sphere. This is surely a day when 
God is looking for forerunners to blaze the trail of revival; 
not smooth preachers, but rugged prophets: men of the 
stamp of Elijah, who, with the hand of the Lord upon 
him, girded up his loins and ran before the king to the 
entrance of the royal city (1 Kings 18:46). Thus he 
demonstrated the spiritual work he was doing as a 
forerunner. On Carmel Elijah had prepared the way of 
the Lord, and now the Lord was coming "as the latter 
rain that waters the earth" (Hos 6:3).

Those whom God calls to such a ministry - and a 
call is essential - must be prepared for a pathway of 
unpopularity and misunderstanding. "You troubler of 
Israel" was the way Ahab addressed Elijah (1 Ki 8:17), 
and so this prophet whom God had sent to deal with 
the "Achans in the camp" (see Joshua 7:25) was 
himself accused of being one. John the Baptist 
demonstrates also this element in the ministry of the 
forerunner. Standing alone as the champion of 
righteousness, he unmasked the hypocrisy of the
religionists and even denounced the sin of the king 
upon the throne. This man, who was "much more 
than a prophet", was called to seal his ministry with 
his blood, yet he succeeded in preparing the way of 
the Lord. "Among them that are born of women there 
has not arisen a greater than John the Baptist" 
(Matt. 11:11). A forerunner must be one who can 
say, "I truly am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, 
and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob 
his transgression, and to Israel his sin" (Mic. 3:8).

Jeremiah was another forerunner. In a day dark with 
declension and judgment his fearless ministry 
helped to check the evils of the time, and prepare 
the way for a reviving that he did not live to witness, 
under Ezra and Nehemiah. The commission given 
him by the Lord is deeply significant:
"I have set you over nations and over kingdoms, to 
pluck up and to break down, and to destroy and to 
overthrow; to build, and to plant" (Jer. 1:10). It will 
be noted that there is twice the emphasis on the 
negative element as on the positive; two thirds of 
his ministry was to be destructive, and only one 
third constructive. This is characteristic of the work 
of a forerunner. Stumbling blocks of iniquity have to 
be taken up (Isa. 57:14) and stones of unbelief have 
to be gathered out (Isa. 62:10) if the way of the Lord 
is to be prepared. The very word "prepare" contains
this idea of casting out, emptying, and clearing as 
a field before planting. Destruction, ruthless and 
thorough, must precede the greater work of 
construction that is to follow. It takes a man who 
"fears no one but God and hates nothing but sin" to 
proclaim the message of the forerunner.

The Proclamation:
The first point to note in the proclamation of the 
forerunner is the place of visitation. "Prepare ye in the 
wilderness. . . make straight in the desert," cries the 
prophet. We should not be surprised to discover that 
God does not often choose the well watered garden, the 
fruitful field, or the luxurious forest as the scene of a
divine visitation in revival, for they have no need. He 
chooses rather the dry and weary land, parched and 
barren, whose yawning cracks plead to heaven for 
showers; it is here that God is pleased to come in the 
rain of the Spirit. The promise that "the glory of the Lord 
shall be revealed" expresses the very nature and 
purpose of revival. God therefore chooses the place 
which provides the greatest scope for the demonstration 
of that glory. When the spiritual wilderness is 
transformed into a paradise men exclaim "this is the 
finger of God"; they acknowledge that "the exceeding
greatness of the power" that has accomplished the 
miracle must be of God and not of men, and so the 
Lord alone is exalted in that day.

"Wilderness" is that which the farmer looks upon as 
unworkable, and therefore hopeless. Maybe that word 
is a fitting description of the sphere of your spiritual 
activities, that which has been for so long the scene of
your travail and tears, your labours and longings. 
When it seems a sheer impossibility that there should 
be a work of God there, take heed to the command, 
"prepare ye in the wilderness. . . make straight in the 
desert", for God has promised that "The wilderness 
and the solitary place shall be glad; and the desert 
shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose" (Isa.35:1).
Here is a message of hope for some discouraged 
servant. The God to whom no situation is impossible, 
has chosen the desert as the place in which to manifest 
His power and glory. "Strengthen the weak hands," 
continues the prophet, "and confirm the feeble knees. 
Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear 
not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, with 
the recompense of God; He will come and save you... 
For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and 
streams in the desert. "(verses 3-7).

Before this wonderful work of transformation can take 
place a way must be prepared, a highway must be 
made straight. But who is to do it? You! "Prepare ye. . . 
the way of the Lord," cries the forerunner. But how is it
to be done? "Beginning with me" is the first step. "And 
a highway shall be there, and it shall be called The way
of holiness" (verse 8). 

We need to pause to ask ourselves: Is my heart, is my 
life a highway of holiness for God? Have I swept away the 
stones of unbelief? Have the crooked places of 
unrighteousness been made straight? Have I taken up 
the stumbling blocks of inconsistency, unreality, and
worldliness? When the God of unsullied holiness moves 
in the irresistible power of revival, will He find in me the 
avenue He needs in this spiritual wilderness? If you 
cannot answer "Yes" to these questions, lay down this 
book and seek the Lord now. When revival comes it 
may be too late. It was said of David Brainerd, "God 
could flow unhindered through him. The omnipotence 
of grace was neither arrested nor straitened by the
conditions of his heart; the whole channel was 
broadened and cleaned out for God's fullest and most 
powerful passage, so that God with all His mighty forces 
could come down on the hopeless, savage wilderness 
and transform it into His blooming, fruitful garden." Here 
was one who truly prepared the way of the Lord in his 
own life, and God saw to it that His glory was revealed 
in revival. When it comes to the mighty movements of
the Spirit, every heart is either a highway or a hindrance.

"Moving to others" sums up the next sphere in which 
we must prepare the way of the Lord. Revival truly 
begins in us, but it does not end there. There must be a 
sense of responsibility towards our fellow believers who
do not yet feel the need or see the possibilities of the 
hour. "Write the vision, and make it plain. . . that he 
may run that readeth it" (Hab 2:2). Until the vision is 
written others will never read; until others read they will 
never run, as men with a mission, as those sent of the
Spirit. The vision must be written upon our hearts, upon 
our lips, upon our lives, if the way of the Lord is to be 
prepared in the lives of others. There must be 
expectancy in our praying, passion in our preaching,
boldness in our planning, and holiness in our living if we 
are to stir the saints. We must be miniature forerunners, 
each in our own sphere; it is not enough to prepare the 
way in our own hearts, we must prepare the way in the 
hearts of others. This is a ministry which demands 
steadfastness of purpose, desire, and expectancy, for it 
is fraught with disappointments.

Some seem to catch the vision at once, but setbacks, 
delays, or opposition take their toll, and they lose that 
vision. Others are slow to catch fire, but once aflame 
they are steadfast and irresistible in their burning.

The Promise:
When we have prepared the way of the Lord in our 
hearts, in the hearts of others, in the hearts of sinners, 
and in the heavenly places, then "Our God shall come, 
and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before
Him" (Ps. 50:3). We must expect a spiritual revolution 
if the wilderness is to be transformed into the garden 
of the Lord. God will see to the revolution if we will 
provide Him with the roadway. Herein lies the wonder 
of the promise. It is not our concern to transform the 
general situation, to deal with valleys and mountains, 
crooked paths and rough places, and whatever else 
may make up the spiritual wilderness. Give God a 
highway and He promises that "every valley shall be 
exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made 
low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the 
rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be 
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the 
mouth of the Lord hath spoken it". This is the revolution 
of revival: the wilderness turned upside down and inside out.

God is promising that this visitation will bring a reversal 
of values and a transformation of conditions. The 
valleys, abased and despised in the eyes of men, shall 
be exalted. The fear of God, obedience to His word,
reverence for His day, love of righteousness and truth 
and equity, and all the things which have become 
valleys and depressions, matters of no account, in the 
foolishness of man's thinking, shall be exalted to a place
of prominence according to God's original intention. 
Similarly, mountains of pride, unbelief, materialism, 
worldly cares, pleasures, ambitions and lusts shall flow 
down at the presence of the Lord. This is what God 
promises to do, in greater or lesser degree, in the 
visitations of revival.

Lastly, all the promise is gathered up and expressed in 
one final all inclusive declaration, "And the glory of the 
Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." 
Here is the highest and holiest thing in revival, the 
manifestation of God, the shining forth of His glory before
the eyes of men. It is the soul who, like Isaiah, has 
caught a glimpse of that effulgent glory - and one 
glimpse is enough to spoil him for all of earth - who will 
go forth, whatever the cost, to obey the divine command
by preparing the way of the Lord, that men too may 
behold that glory and be changed.

[-From "In the Day of Thy Power"
"-The Scriptural Principles of Revival"
by Arthur Wallis].