PART 2: Refining the New Wine

By Karen Connell

This is Part 2, from the article: NEW WINE REVELATION OR SPIRITUAL INTOXICATION that is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of my book, ANATOMY FOR DECEPTION: If Possible Even the Very Elect Will Be Deceived, in which I discuss the subject of “new wine.”

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Because the Word of God uses wine to symbolize Spiritual revelation it must be good wine that comes from a good vineyard and God calls His people to be His vineyard. But if a vineyard lacks proper care it will not produce good wine. Therefore, God appoints ministers to care for His people to see that they produce good fruit and good wine. However, reliable ministers are not always available. “Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness” (Jeremiah 12:10, KJV).

If we are to become a fruitful vineyard that produces good “tirowsh” wine, God must cultivate all Spiritual fruit and revelation in our lives. Therefore, we need pastors and teachers who will not compromise the truth and standard of His word so that we, the body of Christ, will become His fruitful vineyard. “My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:1-3,7, NKJ). “What more could I have done to cultivate a rich harvest?

Why did my vineyard give me wild grapes when I expected sweet ones?” (Vs. 4, NLT). “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry” (Vs. 7, KJV).

Wine experts consider several conditions to determine the quality of a fine wine. They are as follows:

  • Soil condition: Our lives must be properly cultivated as illustrated in the parable of the sower. All stones and thorns must be removed. (Matthew 13:3-23).
  • Well maintained vineyards: We must allow God our Father to prune us so we can be fruitful. (John 15:1-4).
  • Good quality fruit: needs proper light and water. (Isaiah 27:2-3).
  • Harvested at the proper time: A good vintage requires gathering the crop at the right time. God has His seasons for the new wine of His revelation to be harvested. (Ecclesiastes 3:2, Matthew 13:30).
  • Properly processed: We must be strained and refined. (Jeremiah 48:11).

An especially good high-quality wine is known for the following:

  • Clarity: It is clear (pure) and sparkling (joyful); not cloudy.
  • Sweetness: Not bitterness issues.
  • A Distinguishable Flavor of the fruit: The fruit of godly character is evident.

When God pours out the new wine of fresh revelation truth into His vessel, it is a time of excitement, celebration and joy. But it is also a time when things become stirred up within an individual or the corporate body that receives it. Therefore, in order for a new revelation to become pure, or clear to us, it must go through His refining process within us. After the initial stirring or excitement from a fresh outpouring, there eventually comes a time when things settle down so clarity can be achieved. In other words, God intends spiritual insight and understanding to be “poured from vessel to vessel” or shared with other members (vessels) in the body because this enables them to have input regarding the new wine.

God pours His new wine into His vessels which are new and also into renewed wineskins which are properly prepared to receive it. Otherwise, wrong ideas and false teaching may result from His new revelation. To explain, many who receive “new wine” revelation from God, but do not allow Him to deal with unwanted mixture in their wineskins, end up teaching things they should not. Thus they bring themselves under a curse because they are doing this work of the Lord in a deceitful manner.

“Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully, and cursed be he that keeps back his sword from blood. Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither has he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.” ‘Therefore behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I shall send him wine-workers who will tip him over and empty his vessels and break the bottles’ (Jeremiah 48:10-12, NKJV).

Moab, the incestuous child of Lot, was a relative of Abraham. I find this interesting because I see Moab representing a type of Christian who is the product of “spiritual incest.” By this I mean they are born again and raised up under leaders who never go outside of their religious clan, camp, stream or denomination – who are not willing to empty their vessel of pet doctrines in order to receive a fresh infilling of new wine from other vessels of God. He clearly wants us to hear and discern what others in the body of Christ preach and teach, who are not parts of our own little group, because they may have a completely different flavor of ministry. God wants interaction in His body which allows us to judge what others teach and believe – and allows others to judge what we teach and believe. This is how the valuable gifts of revelation and discernment are intended to operate within the body of Christ. Therefore, these revelatory gifts are essential in their operation if true unity and interaction is to take place in God’s universal church. “So let… [those inspired to preach or teach] speak, while the rest pay attention and weigh and discern what is said. But if an inspired revelation comes to another who is sitting by, then let the first one be silent. For in this way you can give testimony thus interpreting the divine will and purpose one by one, so that all may be instructed and all may be encouraged” (1 Corinthians 14:29-31, AMP).

Even though this instruction was given by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth, it contains a vital principle for interaction among body members that should be practiced among the universal body of Christ. What Paul taught requires discernment which creates agreement and true unity within Christ’s entire body. We are told to pay attention and discern what other body members teach and preach and to share any revelatory spiritual insight that we believe God gives us as a result. If we read and listen only to what our favorite group or denomination says, we may not become fully equipped as effective body members who are called to do the work of the ministry according to (Ephesians 4:12). We may end up doing the work of the ministry deceitfully, knowingly or unknowingly. “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully” (Jeremiah 48:10 KJV).

By hearing what other parts of the body proclaim, we can judge and discern if it is according to God’s truth. If it is knowledge we have lacked, it then becomes God’s inspired revelation to us. It becomes “new wine” poured into our vessel for our instruction and encouragement. If on the other hand we discern something that is not an accurate Word from the Lord, there must be correction and instruction or sound teaching as to why it disagrees. This is what the Apostle Paul did to publicly correct the Apostle Peter when he discerned that mixture entered the church at Jerusalem in (Galatians 2:14).

It is important to see how other parts of the body live and to hear what they preach and teach so correction can be given and received if there is error. Thus, seeing and hearing is necessary in order to give and receive encouragement. It always encourages me when I hear others preach or teach something that confirms what God has already revealed to me or corrects something, I may be embracing that is contrary to the Scriptures. Likewise, it is exciting when other body members tell me that what I have taught or preached confirmed what they heard God speak to them, or corrected and area of error they had embraced. This type of instruction and encouragement among body members knits us together and strengthens our faith immensely. Therefore, we must remember that there is not one group within Christendom that has a “corner” on the understanding and interpretation of divine revelatory truth from God. All true believers are given the anointing to know all truth (1 John 2:27). In other words, there are Christians within all camps, streams and denominations who have received various aspects of God’s wisdom “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church…” (Ephesians 3:10, NKJV).

Notice that the wisdom of God is called His “manifold wisdom.” This literally means His wisdom gives us many aspects and ways to see His truth in the Word. Therefore, since no one person or group has all “aspects” of God’s wisdom, each body member should be a contributing member. “Do you think that the knowledge of God’s word begins and ends with you? Well, you are mistaken!” (1 Corinthians 14:36, NLT).

The words of the prophet Jeremiah revealed that “Moab” type Christians are comfortably at ease with their “lees” which are also called “dregs” (Jeremiah 48:10-12). Lees represent what needs to be removed from our “wine” or spiritual understanding. Israel got comfortable with what God wanted them to get rid of, and they were not willing to embrace the needed changes which came from being poured into other vessels, thus they needed to experience “exile.” Exile is God’s way of moving us into new places so His predestined purposes can be accomplished. “Moab has been at ease from his youth; He has settled on his dregs [lees], and has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into exile” (Vs. 11, AMP).

Being emptied from vessel to vessel and “exile” depicts being removed out of one’s familiar comfort zone and forced to mix with “outsiders.” God wants us to mix with the rest of the body of Christ so we can pour ourselves into other vessels and can get rid of any lees or dregs which may be hindering our spiritual understanding. In other words, when we allow Him to pour us from vessel to vessel, spiritual things become clearer and clearer. If not, our personal taste for the way we like to discern or  see things never changes.  God says “…Neither has he gone into exile. Therefore his taste remains in him, and his scent has not changed” (Vs.11, AMP).

Exile is also God’s way of getting us out of our comfortable church pews so our wine can be poured into those vessels needing a revelation of Jesus of Christ as their Redeemer. Exile is an opportunity to pour what God has given to us into those who are outside of our comfortable area of familiarity. There have been many times in my life when God suddenly picked me up from a place where I knew He had placed me and sent me into exile, that is, away from my “comfortable” church. Every time this happened it was His opportunity to get rid of things in my vessel that clouded my spiritual understanding. As a result, I always came out of an exile experience with much more clarity concerning His Word and ways. I find that in times of exile, I am given opportunities to empty myself – to pour a fresh infilling of what God has poured into me into other empty vessels that need it. The Lord has His ways of turning our lives upside down when we settle upon our “comfortable lees.” In order to be vessels of honor, and not do the work of the Lord deceitfully, the dregs or lees must be left behind. His wine must be poured from vessel to vessel so it can become clear and sparkling. “Therefore behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I shall send to [Moab] tilters who shall tilt him up and shall empty his vessels and break his bottles [earthenware] in pieces” (Jeremiah 48:12, AMP).

The removal of lees that make wine cloudy makes it sparkly and bright. It is the “lees” of wrong teaching and misinterpreted Scripture that cloud our “wine” of spiritual understanding. Therefore, the dregs (another name for lees) are left behind when God pours us from vessel to vessel through interaction with other parts of the body of Christ. Dregs are used to make wine ferment and give it an “individual flavor.” If we resist change or fight against a needed “exile” our wine of spiritual understanding will turn  into  an  intoxicating  deception  because  it contains our own “flavor” of understanding, which we will go on to teach others. But if we allow God to pour us from vessel to vessel, He removes the lees to clear confused mindsets. If, like Moab, people will not empty themselves of the dross within, and are not willing to be poured from vessel to vessel on their own, God says that He will send “tilters” to turn their lives upside down. Then they will be forced into a place they did not want to go and have their lives broken in pieces. It is during those times that “Moab” Christians will have to be broken and humbled the hard way. It breaks God’s heart to see “Moab’s” resist to the point where they have to lose it all and be completely broken. But it is God’s intent that they come to their end, so He can bring healing and restoration. “My heart moans for Moab like soft flute sounds carried by the wind. They’ve lost it all. They’ve got nothing” (Jeremiah 48:36, TMB). ‘Woe to you, O Moab! The people have been taken captive. Yet I will restore the captives of Moab in the latter days,’ says the Lord. ‘Thus far is the judgment of Moab’ (Vs. 46-47, NKJV).

 Both Moab and Ephraim type Christians have one thing in common – drunkenness! This is because their minds are clouded by bitterness and pride. “Let her stagger and fall like a drunkard, for she has rebelled against the Lord. Moab will wallow in her own vomit, ridiculed by all…We have heard of the pride of Moab, for it is very great. We know of her loftiness, her arrogance, and her haughty heart. I know about her insolence,’ says the Lord, ‘but her boasts are false; they accomplish nothing” (Jeremiah 48: 26, 29- 30, NLT).

It is important to see that God also relates drunkenness, an Ephraim trait, to issues of pride. Christians who are not teachable and willing to receive the Word of the Lord from other parts of the body of Christ are in grave danger of being deceived. Because of pride, they will not allow words of correction to be spoken into their lives when they believe, preach or teach what is contrary to God’s Word. They are like the nation of Moab who was hostile to God’s people Israel. If you look at the history of Moab and Israel, you will see that Moab refused Israel access to their land. In the same way, “Moabite Christians” do not allow God’s people access to their lives. Moab refused to share bread and water with Israel, which is symbolic of a refusal to have “communion” by sharing God’s Word with the rest of the body of Christ. Both the Moabites and the Ammonites were involved with idolatry (doing their own thing spiritually) and with cursing God’s people. Because of this they were banned from the congregation of the Lord for ten generations. “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam, the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you” (Deuteronomy 23:3-4, NKJV).

Remember that the name “Israel” literally means “he who possess and rules with the authority of God” (CWSD 3478). Therefore, when Moabite or Ephraim type Christians reject opportunities for communion (true fellowship) through the sharing of revelatory truth, their rebellion and deception will cut them off from the Lord’s true congregation. This is how they become part of the apostate church because whatever wine of truth they do have from God eventually becomes fermented and spoiled by their lees, because they refuse to be emptied out and refilled. In other words, their wine becomes a mixture of deception. Yet, as much as it grieves God’s heart, He will allow Moabite and Ephraim type Christians to be broken until they reach their end with the hope of being restored. “Yet I will restore the captives of Moab in the latter days (in the time of their end), says the Lord” (Jeremiah 48:47, NKJV, parenthesis mine).

The Lord calls the leaders of drunken Ephraim type ministries “heads” over “verdant valleys.” These are leaders over prosperous looking ministries, who like Moab and Ephraim, have been overcome by the “yayin” wine of deception. “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valleys, to those who are overcome with wine!” (Isaiah 28:1-6, NKJV).

It is significant that the Hebrew word “yayin” (Strong’s 3196) which means intoxicating wine, expresses the idea of boiling up and foaming. Anyone who has ever seen something ferment knows that it boils up and foams. This fermentation happens when the bacteria mold from yeast is present in a substance. These things, mold, fermentation and yeast, were considered to be defiling to the Jews and it is not hard to understand why – they can make people sick or drunk! These defiling things represent anything that is contrary to God’s will, word or ways. I want to emphasize again the reason that God’s people get drawn into deception or spiritual drunkenness is because they trample upon His word, will or ways and become drunk with the deception (leaven) they embrace. This crown of pride must be trampled under our feet or it will cause us to be trampled on by the deception of the enemy. “The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, will be trampled underfoot” (Vs.3).

Another Hebrew word for “new wine” is “aciyc.” It means “fresh grape juice that has been trampled” (CWSD 6071). This word was used in a word spoken by the prophet Joel. “Awake, you drunkards, and weep; And wail, all you drinkers of wine (yayin), because of the new wine (aciyc), for it has been cut off from (or by) your mouth… The land mourns; for the grain is ruined, the new wine (tirowsh) is dried up, the oil (the anointing) fails. Be ashamed…” (Joel 1:5,10, NKJV, parenthesis mine).

In the context of these verses, the Prophet Joel described a lion which came up and brought destruction to God’s fruitful vineyard through drunkenness. The lion represents Satan who devours and destroys the vineyard through a counterfeit anointing which dried up God’s (tirowsh) new wine of true revelation. When this happens in the body of Christ—this results in drunkenness that causes one to speak against the truth, cutting it off from those who bring it. But there are grave consequences for speaking against the truth. Joel’s prophecy also describes how the pure new wine becomes dried up after it is trampled underfoot. Dryness as previously stated, is associated with confusion. When God’s people lose the anointing, there is no new wine and the new wine they do have becomes stale and intoxicating. Thus, there is a foaming and boiling up, which is symbolic of bitterness and anger issues. “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15, NKJV).

Simply put, bitter people have an anger that keeps them from appreciating God’s wisdom. Because anger is defended through pride, this will not allow them to see the lasting beauty of God’s Wisdom (truth). Deceived people forever seek answers  to their problems but fail to humbly repent and embrace the truth that would set them free. As a result, bitterness and pride cause them to become greedy for self-gratification. Deceived Ephraim-type Christians may eagerly seek wisdom or truth, but to them it is like a fading flower. Their search for truth is inevitably consumed upon their own lusts. To them truth… “sits in a fertile valley, but its glorious beauty will suddenly disappear. It will be greedily snatched up, as an early fig is hungrily picked and eaten” (Isaiah 28:4, NLT).

Because of greed, those in deception are forever asking God to help them with the painful consequences that bitterness produces in their lives. But they never look for the truth about WHY they are in such pain. This is because truth does not always sound pleasant, nice, or “Christian,” to them, so their pride and bitterness keeps them from asking the right questions and from receiving the truth. If however, the truth is honestly sought and humbly received, the truth will set them free! “And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong — you want only what will give you pleasure” (James 4:3, NLT).

As I studied (Isaiah 28:4), I was reminded of many in our ministry who are no longer here. Unresolved anger issues led them into deception and the enemy seized his opportunity to snatch them right out of the front door of our church! Have you ever noticed how prideful and angry people are so easily offended? They refuse to deal with the “three-fold cord” root issues of rejection, bitterness and pride which Jesus taught in the parable of the sower. When pride becomes a stumbling block, truth becomes a rock of offence. So they reject the truth! They refuse to apply it to their root issues. In other words, they do not allow truth to go deeply in their lives to create a healthy root system when it is clearly given. “Yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word (of truth), by and by he is offended” (Matthew 13:21 KJV, parenthesis mine).

In (Isaiah 28:4) it states that pride was “the crown of Ephraim.” Thus pride is what rules those who have a form of godliness in the apostate church, where Satan’s lies are the basis for the underlying issues of anger and lust as seen in the (John 8:44) principle, which is referred to in Chapter Four. In the context of (Isaiah of 28:4) the “glorious beauty,” is the fruitful Word of truth, which is quickly “snatched up” by “greed”. This is what the prophet Joel described and the point Jesus made in His parable of the sower. He taught that those in bitterness and pride often see truth as “glorious and beautiful” when they first hear it but become soon troubled or offended by it when it does not take root in their lives. “But when the sun rose, they [the seeds of truth] were scorched, and because they had no root, they dried up and withered away… this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy. But when it comes up against the rocky barrier of pride, it is quickly dried up because it troubles them” (Matthew 13:6, 20-21, AMP).

Prideful people must have their strong self-wills broken so they can willingly submit to the truth. Anyone who has had a rebellious child knows that a good spanking, or some other form of painful punishment, can cause them to bend their stubborn prideful will. Likewise, professing Christians who are ruled by their physical nature, and not by their spiritual nature, must be dealt with by punishment that pains their physical being. “Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart” (Proverbs 20:30, NLT).

Those of the Ephraim crowd also represent the part of God’s household who are like the prodigal son. Because of pride and rebellion, they end up living in a pigpen. Parents who truly love their child do not give into or ignore their sin because they do not want to allow rebellion to destroy their child. Like the father did in the parable, we must love these rebellious ones enough to allow bad things to bring them to their end. I too needed physical chastisement in order to wake up, come to my senses and truly repent according to God’s way. He says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19, NKJV).

We can also find the Ephraim crowd represented by the church of Laodicea. Jesus clearly described them and told John the Apostle what to write concerning them. “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God. I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:14-22, NKJV).

It’s important to examine what Jesus says to this church which aptly describes Ephraim-type Christians.

■ “You are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot” (Vs. 16). The first thing Jesus addressed was their mixture. “Ephraim has mixed himself” (Hosea 7:8-10). Laodicean Christians are also a mixed bunch. Like Ephraim, they are not completely cold (false) or completely hot (true). Therefore, Jesus says how their mixture makes Him feel. “I will vomit you out of My mouth” because their mixture makes Him sick (Vs. 16).

■ “You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ (Vs. 17). This bold proclamation is definitely another Ephraim trait. “And Ephraim said, ‘Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; in all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that is sin’ (Hosea 12:8, NKJV). The pride of Ephraim-type Christians produces a false image of themselves. They are deceived about their sin because they are prosperous. In other words, they prefer to see themselves as pure, when in reality, they are not. Jesus says “you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and have white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be exposed”(Vs. 17-18). The gold He told them to buy represents true purity but it comes with the costly price of His refining fire. This can mean trouble and trials that will allow things to be seen as God sees them so they can repent. They will have to pay the price of becoming humble which requires death to self and to the false self image they have erected.

■“Anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Vs. 18). Ephraim’s are dried up wineskins. They have lost the anointing of the Holy Spirit which gives them the ability to discern. I like what the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says about the eye salve Jesus said they needed. “The Holy Spirit’s unction, like ancient eye-salves, first smarts with conviction of sin, then heals: He opens our eyes first to our wretchedness, then to the Savior’s preciousness.”11 I am always amazed by how many professing Christians utterly lack true discernment and the unction of the Holy Spirit that causes us to see and intuitively know the truth. There have been many times that my natural mind said “yes” to something but the inward witness of God’s Spirit said “no” to my spirit. When I do not follow this leading of the Spirit and listen instead to my own human reasoning, I will always be deceived. “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you—you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true” (1 John 2:20,27, NKJV).

Those which the southern tribe Judah represents God’s true Saints. They live according to the will of the Spirit and not the will of the flesh. But those which the northern tribe of Ephraim represents are professing Christians who follow their old sinful human nature. Therefore, only those who are led by God’s Holy Spirit will yield to Him when He appeals to their conscience. “So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live” (Romans 8:12-13, NLT). “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit…” (Vs. 16, AMP).

In (Isaiah 28:5), the prophet speaks about a remnant of people who will finally yield to the truth, repent and come out of Ephraim type churches. This will not happen, however, until God’s chastisement comes through His judgments. God must judge His own household first before He can rain down judgment upon the heathen who fight against Him and follow the anti-Christ influence. I see God’s judgments as a catalyst for true revival among His household. Even though it breaks His heart to see the “Moab’s” broken and punished and the “Ephraim’s” go through judgment, we must remember that the purpose of God’s judgments is to restore and redeem those He loves. Judgment is God’s way of getting His rebellious ones to bend their will to His through repentance. “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself: ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained bull; Restore me, and I will return, for You are the Lord my God. Surely, after my turning, I repented; and after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh; I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth.’ Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still; Therefore, My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:18-20, NKJV).

God says that Ephraim’s need to experience a turning so they can have true repentance. The Hebrew word for “turned” in verse 18 is “shuwb.” It means to “return to the starting point” so there can be a “rescue and restoration” (CWSD 7725). Jesus says, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5, NKJV).

Is true revival all about repentance? Is it about starting all over from the beginning? Many are looking for a great worldwide revival among the lost, but I submit to you that God has to bring revival to the largest segment of His household first. “For the time has arrived for judgment to begin with the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17, AMP).

Jesus Christ is coming back for a glorious church which He describes as pure and holy. The Ephraim crowd cannot be a part of this glorious church until they are given a chance to repent so they can be made holy (set free and set apart from everything that defiles them). Again, this will not happen without God’s judgment falling upon them. But Ephraim type Christians do not want to talk about His judgment. They only want to talk about the blessings and the goodness of God, which is true in part. However, those who refuse to acknowledge the severity of God and are in for a rude awakening! “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell severity (by refusing truth); but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Rom 11:22 NKJV parenthesis mine).

God loves us enough to do whatever He must to bring us to repentance. Even if it means a good old fashioned trip to the “woodshed”; which means a good spanking to those of you who are too young to know about this kind of correction. I believe one of the greatest deceptions God’s people have embraced is the lie that corporeal punishment is child abuse. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15, NKJV).

God does not abuse His children, but He does believe in physical pain as an effective way to bring correction. “Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin, they have become for him altars for sinning. I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered it a strange thing. For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the Lord does not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins” (Hosea 8:11-14, NKJV).

 Notice how Ephraim-type Christians consider God’s law to be strange. They love to hear about His grace but not about His law! They do not worship God in spirit and in truth. Instead, they love to serve Him according to the means and ways of their flesh and soul. God is clear about not accepting those who try to worship Him while they love to indulge in their sinful fleshly ways. So much of what goes on inside the sanctuaries of Ephraim-type Christians is nothing more than altars for sinning and this will be punished. Yet God said there would be a remnant from this group who would yield to Him because of His punishment and turn in a place of repentance. “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn. Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’ For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the  hand of one stronger than he (Jeremiah 31:9-11, NKJV).

I firmly believe we have entered a time when God is gathering all the tribes of His Holy nation, including Ephraim, to Himself. One of the ways He will do this is through some very painful judgments which are always meant to redeem and restore those who are willing to “turn and learn” from them. Therefore, we must continue to seek God in order to understand His directives concerning those who have been scattered because of their rebellion and deception. Even though He promised to punish and chastise “Ephraims” His heart is to see them repent and not perish. But the choice to repent or perish is up to them. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance…Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:9,14, NKJV).

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