For Such a Time As This
Elwin R. Roach
We live in a time the world has never known: Global wars, the diabolical plague of ISIS, mass killings and bombings upon the innocent, millions imprisoned for crimes committed against none other than themselves, government protecting Checkerspot Butterflies and New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mice while genocide of babies by abortion escalates. Nations are crumbling. Rampant debauchery floods the earth while homosexuality is accepted and lauded as a god-given lifestyle. Gross immorality and political corruption are seen at every level. These are only a few of the unbelievable atrocities that have been building greater by the day and sweeping over the world in a deluge of unprecedented measures. And we pray, "What can be done in such a time as this?
Should we speak up or continue our vigil of keeping silent with hopes that it will all go away? And then we are reminded of a scripture that has to do with all this:
"If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 (ESV).
Those were the words spoken to Esther that we hear in the Spirit and is also for us today. She received that admonition from her elder cousin, Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter after the death of her parents. This scenario took place in Persia about 100 years after the Babylonian captivity, and that which led up to what he told her was when king Ahasuerus threw a lavish festival, and on the final day of the merrymaking, he summoned his ravishing queen, Vashti, for the purpose of flaunting her beauty to his guests. However, she refused. Filled with anger, and at the advice of counsel, the king stripped her of her royal position. Some historians say that she was also beheaded.
To find a new queen, Ahasuerus hosted what we would call a royal beauty pageant, and Esther was chosen to sit on the throne in Vashti's place, while Mordecai was given a minor part in the Persian government of Susa.
Mordecai discovered a plot to assassinate the king by two of his chamberlains (valets/eunuchs). He told Esther about it, and she reported it to the king, and their plan was foiled. The two were promptly hanged.
During this same time, the king's highest official, Haman, hated the Jews and he especially hated Mordecai for refusing to bow down to him in defiance to the king's decree. Haman plotted to have every Jew in Persia put to death. Not knowing that Esther and Mordecai were Jews, the king bought into the plot and agreed to annihilate the Jewish people. Meanwhile, Mordecai learned of the plan and shared it with Esther. He compelled her to sway the king away from his agreement with Haman to annihilate the Jews. She then risked her life by approaching the king with her plan and invited the king and Haman to a banquet where she revealed her Jewish heritage to the king, as well as Haman's diabolical plot to have her and her people killed because of his hatred of Mordecai. In a rage, the king ordered Haman to be hung on the very same gallows he had built for Mordecai.
Mordecai was promoted to Haman's position and the Jews were granted protection throughout the land due to Esther regarding the words to her: "...Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" And now, likewise to us: "Who knows whether we have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
In every age, for every purpose and every situation--God has always had His man, His woman, or people on the scene for such a time as this. They were always made ready to be His instrument to bless, to challenge, to correct, or whatever the need required, and today, there is a sense of destiny resting upon God's apprehended ones which will be revealed in the time such as this.
Moses was such a man as this, one of whom God chose even before of his conception. The first phase of his preparation was forty years in Pharaoh's palace, and then another forty years on the backside of the desert, making him always ready for such a time that presented itself. Very often, we view the preparations with our eye on the final hour of deliverance and victory. However, there must also be a present time such as this. Such a time as this is often when we are tending the sheep, whether is taking them to green pastures, to a mountain stream for fresh water to drink, or slaying the bear, the lion, or wolf.
Notwithstanding, there is another time such as this for which creation groans, and we ourselves groan for that time to come and be made known. And be sure to understand, that we will not be late for that appointed time. Since God has called us to it, He will make sure that we arrive on time. A good example of this is laid out in a short letter quoted recently:
"This truth is graphically illustrated by the testimony of a dear brother, Douglas Clark. He writes, 'On Friday, June 30th I drove to Battle Creek Michigan to meet some friends at Don Pablo's for dinner at 5 p.m. I estimated it would take me one hour and forty-five minutes to get there. Unfortunately I left ten minutes late, plus I had to get gas, take an alternate route due to construction, and to top it off, I got behind a slow moving farm vehicle for about five miles. As I reached my destination I pulled into the parking lot, found a parking space and turned off the ignition. I glanced at my watch to see the time and it was five p.m. to the second! In a thousand attempts I could not have made that happen. There were so many variables, yet I managed to arrive at the appointed time.
"'This is what the Lord is doing with each of us individually. We are often filled with stress thinking we are running late, taking an alternate route, or dealing with some obstacle in our way, yet God's plan will be accomplished right on schedule. He has taken all the variables into consideration! It is happening with all of us individually, but the sweet surprise that awaits us is that our individual experiences will supernaturally fit together in such a way that will display a corporate picture of the body of Christ for the entire world to see at God's appointed time. This will be in contrast to what man is doing through his hierarchical and horizontal control. No matter how hard we try, WE CAN'T MAKE GOD'S THING HAPPEN. There is a divine order that has been preordained and nothing we can do will hasten it or prevent it. God's promise to Abraham that his descendants would be so many in number that they would be uncountable, like the dust of the earth, was a promise that Abraham could not bring about by his self-effort. The same is true for us. Although we can share what is already in our hearts as living truth, we must wait on God to initiate what He says He will do.
"'Isaac, the promised son, was the seed of Abraham, but he was conceived by divine intervention. Like Abraham, this is where we get confused. We each feel the heartbeat of the Holy Spirit and the inner knowledge that God wants to manifest Himself in and through His people. It is the waiting for the appointed time that challenges us, and exposes the 'self' life that refuses to be still. Notice that God's timing always happens in a way that is impossible for man to fulfill. 'Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son' (Gen. 18:14, NIV). Sarah didn't conceive until it was well beyond her time to bear children. The best we can do in our attempt to help God fulfill His purposes is to conceive an Ishmael!
"'Two opposing moves are unfolding in the earth today, and yet each of these manifestations will fulfill His purposes. One will reveal the futility of man's efforts as it seeks to tighten its grip upon God's people, refusing to let God's people go! The other move will manifest the nature and life of God in His people independently, completely orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. The move of futility that even now is revealing itself is very much like what happened to Saul. He was told to wait in Gilgal seven days until the appointed time when Samuel would join him. He did wait the seven days, but just when he was so close to being obedient he rushed ahead, deciding to offer up a burnt offering to God. Then just as he finishes Samuel shows up! He was so close but he failed to wait for the appointed time. (That's when Samuel rebuked Saul, saying, Obedience is better than sacrifice!). The appointed time is not just about the appointed day, but the appointed moment! You won't find a clearer picture of what is happening today than Saul's example. Just when we are so close to experiencing the manifestation of the kingdom of God in the earth many have surmised the situation and have decided it is up to us to make things ready. The judgment of those who are like Saul will be severe. Yet when their plans come crashing down, the Holy Spirit will come to them in reconciliation and they will be saved through the flames of fire!'" -- Excerpt: FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE, Part 137, by J. Preston Eby
For many years the body of Christ has been in the process of being made ready, and they have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this! They are the Sons of God, the manchild to be brought forth in due season! They are the Manchild comprised of many saints. Comparing literal numbers of the entire body of Christ, they are surely a minority; but even so, God's plan will be made manifest in them. And that plan is for them to establish God's Kingdom for every eye to see. In the meantime, these awesome people, peculiar people, shall walk the path of God's chosen as the shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day of glorious manifestation. Proverbs 4:18.
A PECULIAR PEOPLE FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
For don't you know that "You are a chosen
generation, a royal priesthood, an
holy nation, A PECULIAR PEOPLE; that
(for such a time as this) YE SHOULD SHOW FORTH
the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His
God's chosen generation is called peculiar, and I must say--"peculiar" fits very well with those who use this verse as a license to act more like court jesters than noble saints. Over the years the meaning of peculiar has digressed from its original meaning. With today's English, it is defined as something odd, strange, queer. At best, it is just something that doesn't fit, and that which is peculiar has little value or practical use. However, the first definition for peculiar in Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary is quite different: "private property, special; belonging exclusively to one person or group." With this before us, we can see why the translators of the King James Version of the Bible used this word, and we will notice the Hebrew and Greek definitions shortly.
The verse Peter wrote about God's chosen people being peculiar was quoted from the book of Exodus:
"Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and *keep My covenant, then ye shall be a **peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine." Exodus 19:5. One translation renders it: "Now therefore, if you obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is Mine." (NRSV). And the Emphatic Diaglott has Peter's verse as: "...a People for a purpose; that you may declare the perfections of Him who called you from Darkness into His wonderful Light."
to hedge about (as
with thorns), that is, guard;
generally to protect,
(Strong's Exhaustive Concordance).
This peculiar people, peculiar treasure, treasured possession, people for a purpose, has a much more profound meaning than simply being a number of religious people who act a little strange. From the definitions of this word, we will paraphrase the verse: You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a special possession which is over and above all else, a purchased acquisition of high value who is shut up, preserved, and saved unto the appointed time of God's purpose, when you will show forth the glory and perfections of Sonship from Him who has called you out of darkness into His wonderful light for such a time as this. This doesn't sound like a people who are coming across as peculiar odd-balls in the world, and it is certainly not! It is one of the most honored callings and chosen body of people anyone could ever imagine as being in the mind of God, one that creation is groaning and waiting for. And now we wonder, what is required to qualify as being PECULIAR; that is, being a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation?
Perhaps this will help: "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, THEN ye shall be A PECULIAR TREASURE unto me above all people..." Exodus 9:5.
At first glance it looks fairly simple and easy to do; but when each point is brought to our attention, not to mention the definitions of the words in particular, it gets a little more difficult. For the ones who are walking this path, it is everyday living in the presence of their Lord. They hear His voice and those who hear the voice of the Son of God live. It is not the same, however, for those who fear His voice and rely on Moses to hear for them.
It is one thing to embrace a secondhand word that is void of life, and altogether another to become one with the First-person Word. For people to abide by church doctrines that their pastors say that they must do is much easier for some than to turn aside to see the burning bush and hear the Voice of the Lord for themselves. To hear from another and walk naturally as having been told requires nothing but physical obedience, and there is no change to the person. There is little difference to this than being told by a boss on the job what to do and the person carrying out the order. Hearing such a word from another man or woman and religiously or dutifully doing it does not transform anyone. But to hear the voice of the Son of God can be very painful to the carnal man. Although it causes one to live, it first kills the old man of the world.
The scriptures say that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God. Well, it is also a fearful thing to hear His voice; that is, for those who do not walk in the Spirit. You see, "Because the carnal mind is *enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7. Men of mere religious fortitude can follow to the letter every word their overseers say to them, but not so otherwise. Although they may not admit to it verbally, their lives express and cry out: "Speak to us and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." Exodus 20:19.
*Enmity: echthra, (from echtho) hostility... opposition. echtho, (to hate); hateful (odious, or hostile); usually as a noun, an adversary (espec. Satan)
Religious people, like Israel of old who knew not God nor wanted to know Him, have always had a problem with hearing for themselves, and it has been their perpetual demise. Peter said something about it: "And a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed." 1 Peter 2:8.
What was it that they were appointed? And wherein were they disobedient? In the context from where Peter was quoting, there were two contributing factors: not obeying God's voice and not Keeping His covenant: "Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me..." Exodus 19:5.
Those rejecting His voice and failing to keep his covenant are unlike those who have an insatiable desire for the living word that Peter called a peculiar people. These peculiar ones have tasted that THE LORD is good. 1 Peter 2:3. That which they have tasted is not merely good doctrine--it is the living word, the Lord Himself. He and His word are one. When you hear His Word you hear Him, you taste Him. This is different from hearing a word about Him. If we only hear about Him, we may gain knowledge, but knowledge puffs up, as Paul wrote, while love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1). And let us be reminded that God is love.
We have tasted the Good Word, and we know that only God is Good, as Jesus said; nevertheless, even though many have tasted Him, not all are necessarily numbered among the peculiar people. For after tasting, there must be obedience to what is heard, as well as keeping the covenant-- hedging about, guarding, protecting, and diligently attending to it.
Do we want to be peculiar people? If so, let us never disallow the living Stone. Some may think that they could never disallow Him; but there are ample numbers, multitudes for that matter, who confess Jesus as their Lord, while disallowing the living Stone in their lives. And they never give it a second thought that they have done so. They profess His name, but their profession is more in the world than in the Kingdom of God. They work the works of man and not His works. Paul said: "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Titus 1:16. This is a strong indictment against people who profess Jesus, but in their works they deny Him by doing their own religious thing.
However, this is not the makeup of those who are peculiar. Praise God, for "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood....Ye are a chosen generation, a *royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."1 Peter 2:5, 9.
*royal: basileios, from G935; kingly (in nature) 935. basileus...(through the notion of a foundation of power); a sovereign.
You see, we can never work hard enough or long enough in our natural might to show forth the wonders of God; for not only is it impossible for flesh and blood to inherit the Kingdom of God, it is impossible for either to do His works.
We ourselves are a spiritual work. We are His handiwork who are called to good works. We are lively stones having been made alive by Him who is life. A spiritual house is not a 'church building', it is a house made up of you and me. The priesthood does not consist of men who are set in positions by other men. No man can ordain other men to the high calling of God's priests. He alone is the authority to do so. This priesthood is royal, it is kingly, it is ordained by the High Priest Himself. It is not after the order of Aaron or Levi who administer the dos and don'ts, and who are always subject to blemishes themselves. The royal priesthood is after the order of Melchisedec who has no beginning or ending, who is Priest and King, and who by nature fulfills the law of God. The people of this generation have joined the company of the elect out of all ages. They make up a holy nation, a race that is dreadfully majestic. They are sacred, blameless and consecrated unto God.
There are some, however, who question where they are in Christ. We have heard them say that they fear missing out on this high calling, that with all their shortcomings they simply do not have what it takes to be a son of God. Their fear of not being manifested with the rest of the His holy body keeps them searching, ever searching for the latest and greatest revelation and present day teaching. Searching out the truth of a matter is the honor of kings, this is well and good; for I too want that to know the great mysteries of God. I earnestly desire the most recent, up-to-date, anointed doctrines the Spirit is pouring into His people which can be a very real part of hearing the voice of our Lord. Sadly, however, it can also be a natural zeal that has nothing to do with
being part of a peculiar people who are hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord, and who are also keeping His covenant. But this is not the case with many. Even so, it does not stop them from worrying whether they are spiritual enough, or even smart enough, to be numbered among the sons of God. The fact is, most of them are overly concerned, which is their greatest handicap. Not only are they hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord, they are also keeping His covenant.
They may not always hear; but when they do, their obedience is unquestionable. And they are to be commended for keeping His covenant. This covenant, of course, is not the law of Moses. The old covenant (testament) was instituted by God and it was between Himself and Abram. It was initiated when He passed through the carcasses that were cut in half by Abram. The old covenant was only a type of the New Covenant, which is now between Jesus and His Peculiar Treasure.
When the shed blood of Jesus is drank, when His torn flesh is eaten, and when it is esteemed as good -- then I will declare with all confidence -- you are keeping His covenant. Therefore, whether you can quote one scripture, whether you can teach or preach two minutes worth of Kingdom truth, or whether you have any fellowship with like-minded saints -- if you are hearing and obeying, and you are keeping His covenant -- you are peculiar. You qualify, which makes you a rare treasure of high value which was purchased by a great price. And I will also say that you will manifest great valor when the covering is removed! You are a valued portion of the unblemished pearl of great price.
Furthermore, this unblemished pearl was unearthed and called out of darkness and into His marvelous light. The whole of it is a special possession which is over and above all else. It is a purchased acquisition of high value. And there is more. This rare gem, this nation, this priesthood, this people--will show forth the praises of Him.
The word praises in this verse is more than lifting hands and voices upon high. It comes from the Greek word arete and according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, it carries the thought of "manliness (valor), i.e. excellence". In all other places of the book of the New Testament where this word is used, it is translated virtue.
Although spiritual praise is a high and holy thing, and it is the heartbeat of our souls, this is not the subject in this case. This generation, the holy nation of God has been made ready to manifest the valor of their Lord in unprecedented excellence. Those of the royal priesthood, the members of this kingdom of priests, are waiting to be unveiled so they can declare their perfections in Christ. They are anxious to 'flex their muscles' and show forth their Manliness. This desire to display themselves is not due to vanity, but so others may know Jesus. Moreover, such manliness does not speak of infants, babes, adolescents, or even a bride but speaks clearly of the manifestation of the Sons of God. It is the unveiling, the exhibition, if your please, of His Peculiar People! And these of the high calling will not only be seen and known by the world as a whole, but by the chiefs, the kings, the presidents, the leaders and priests of the church system. Some will repent as their hearts are transformed while others, like Haman, will be hanged on the gallows of God's justice.
The church leaders will minister the truth while the nations' legislators will rule in righteousness. The sons of God will minister to the leaders and rulers of the governments and church systems of man. The gospel, the good news, of the ages will be declared to those who rule over the nations, over every kindred, tongue, and people--saying, worship God! The rulers of the earth will fear God and give Him glory.
When the mighty move of God's Spirit causes the scales to fall from the eyes of the leaders of secular and religious Babylon, they will worship and glorify God in a true and living way. It will then be heard reverberating throughout the heavens and the earth--"Babylon is fallen, is fallen!" Preston Eby wrote of this in his series, From The Candlestick To The Throne, #167.
And fallen she will be. The great harlot will not be able to file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in any courts of the earth or heavens to have her debts forgiven; for she will be utterly destroyed with nothing left of her to file anything.
The world is surely in shambles, and like Haman, factions of the government hate you and me. They loathe every member of God's anointed and have plotted of destroying them all, one way or another. But it is wonderful to know that judgment has been decreed upon this infamous Haman, while GOD'S PECULIAR PEOPLE have come to the kingdom FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS!
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