In 1990, following surgery and work-related burnout, I was pretty much house-bound for several months. During that long period of recuperation, God had my full attention. I had prayed a three-part prayer: (1) "Lord, reveal Yourself to me, (2) give me a hunger for Your word and (3) show me the meaning of Calvary." After hearing a riveting sermon on the crucifixion and everything Jesus suffered for us, I needed to know WHY He had to suffer and die. I wanted to know Him in a greater way, and He truly did answer my prayer. He gave me a hunger for the written word, and through it He revealed Himself to me. What a precious, beautiful, cleansing time!
During that first year, I learned the true meaning of the quickening of the mortal body by the presence of the Holy Spirit. In the natural, taking rest would have been vital to recovery from surgery and my emaciated condition. Many nights were spent in God's presence studying, writing, and praying, with only a few hours of sleep. Rather than the lack of sleep being a detriment to my recovery, I found the quickening power of the Holy Spirit provided much better rest. Oh, what sweet rest He gives!
My experiences throughout the years since that time have been beyond anything I could ever have hoped. So often I have wept as the Spirit has taken me from one truth to another. There have been tears of awe at the majesty of God. There have been tears of grief as I recognized how far man has strayed from the Lord in the past one hundred and seventy some years, and how apostasy has become so rampant. There have been many, many tears as I surrendered to the cleansing of the washing of water by the word.
As an eight-year-old child, I had prayed a prayer with my parents asking Jesus to come into my life. He met me then, and I have always remembered how clean and light I felt. Throughout my whole life He has been there, even though I have not always acknowledged Him. In the churches I attended over the years I was always busy trying to do all the right things to be a good Christian. But I never truly understood what it meant to be born anew until the Lord opened my eyes in 1990.
At that time, my merciful God began to purge me of all the old, dead doctrines with which I had grown up. He gave me a fresh new relationship with Him, and satisfied my hunger for Him with an even greater hunger for more. Only in Him can hunger satisfy hunger! There is no place I would rather be than in His presence, engrossed in deep study of His written word. The more I learn, the more I desire to learn--I am only beginning to know God in a way I never dreamed possible!
The meaning of Calvary
In asking the Lord to show me the meaning of Calvary, I was completely unprepared for the answer as He led me through years of learning at His feet. He took me from the Garden of Eden in Genesis, all the way to the end of Revelation.
One of the first truths the Lord revealed, was that tradition is widespread in the church, so I began to study all I could find in the bible about tradition. There were times when He awakened me in the night with clear understanding of Scripture passages, which were then confirmed by the word meanings from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries.
Following the study of tradition, the Lord led me to research how the Law had prophesied of Christ. This launched me into a study involving thousands of hours, reams of paper, and boxes of stick pens. It was in this research that He gave me a complete understanding of the need for the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Hebrew and Greek languages brought so much greater understanding, and with the written word and the Holy Spirit I was moved from joy to grief as I learned the reason Jesus REALLY had to die.
Calling Forth The Remnant is the full account of the meaning of Calvary--because of one simple, heartfelt prayer.
Why a remnant?
As the Lord took me deeper into the meaning of Calvary, He shared with me the anguish of His heart over the condition of the church that believes she is the Bride of Christ. The depths of grief in the Father's heart cannot be uttered. The only way to describe the picture of the church He etched on my heart is "masses (literally millions) of people, sitting in pews with hands folded awaiting Jesus' return, but not truly ready to meet Him." Whenever my thoughts turn to that picture I experience afresh the heartbreak our Lord must feel at the complacency of His would-be Bride. Paul's words in Romans 11:5 reveal a tragic truth: "Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace." (NKJV). Only a remnant will be saved, while millions who do not know Jesus will be lost.
In 1845, Charles Finney (1792-1875) said the church was "in a state of decline." And Andrew Murray (1828-1917) said, "No words can tell the sad state of the Church of Christ on earth. I wish I had words to speak what I sometimes feel about it." I believe Finney and Murray were speaking of the same falling away which Paul the Apostle said would take place before the Second Coming of Jesus.1
Paul was not speaking of "just a little bit of backsliding." The church is literally entrenched in apostasy! The Greek word for "apostasy" means "defection from truth."2 The church has strayed from Truth and the bible has been perverted. Her condition can be traced to basically one error. No person alive today can be accused of causing this defection from truth. We have all been exposed to "another gospel" of which Paul warned.3 The apostasy is massive, taking root in every aspect of what we know as Jesus Christ's "church." In spite of this far-reaching apostasy, there has always been a remnant of true believers who have remained faithful to Him.
Trust in man
We have been taught to respect and revere the reverends and the doctors who attended "Bible colleges" and seminaries. We have been led to believe that what they preach is always from "God's Word" so we must accept it without question. It would seem unthinkable to question anything they say. But they are simply passing on what they have been taught, with the same mindset, that they too would be wrong to question those in spiritual authority. In this twenty-first century, many of our Christian beliefs are based on man-made tradition, accepted without question because of trust in man rather than trust in God.
The prophet Jeremiah tells us we are "cursed" if we trust in a man of flesh, turning away from the LORD. We will be like a shrub in the desert, dwelling in parched places in the wilderness.4 There is a wilderness of parched places, called "churches," where the habitation of God is non-existent--and all because of trust in man. The hearts of many teachers, preachers, and hearers have departed from the Lord through trust in the man of flesh.
There was a time when the Gospel was preached with Power, and God's Spirit gripped the hearts of hearers. As time passed, the idea of preaching was carried forward, but the power of the Gospel was missing. At some point, God's written word has ceased to be "GOD'S word" in purity and has become man's word. Yes, preachers quote portions of the bible, but all too often the message has become the "letter that kills."5 Rather than preach the Word (Jesus Christ), they preach from "the word", creating ear-tickling masterpieces of oratory. We Christians can so easily be misled by something that sounds good—all because of our trust in man. Where are those who will be as the Bereans, searching the written word and beseeching the Spirit for wisdom to know the Truth?
You may be thinking I have no knowledge of the many churches and ministries where God is moving and lives are being impacted by the power of the Holy Spirit, but I am aware. There are places where God's Spirit is very welcome, and He is touching lives and drawing men and women to Himself. But it is a work of the Holy Spirit, not man's doctrine and fine speech.
In too many churches the Holy Spirit must penetrate man's presentation of the Gospel in search of hungry hearts. At the very core of belief in all of these places, there is a fatal error. This fatal error, the root of all errors, is UNCRUCIFIED FLESH.
Most people believe the problem in the world is sin. I am not denying there is a lot of sin, but the greater problem is this: the church has a flesh problem. This is not a conclusion I have reached on my own; the understanding has come with much heartbreak as the Spirit of Truth opened to me a very graphic word picture, as found throughout the pages of God's written word. Flesh is an age-old problem, but its manifestation has accelerated in the last two centuries.
The written word has become fragmented through the traditions of flesh-and-blood man. We have chosen the words of God we understand to create doctrines pleasing to our flesh. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. But we would not allow ourselves to be led. The church is ignorant of the simplicity of the Gospel. She has access to the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Spirit of Truth, so there is no excuse for ignorance.
A death has come to the church as she has plunged head-long into error, deception, and apostasy. She needs to be revived with Life from God. But in order to be revived, the church must die to self. The purpose of this book is to expose the cause of apostasy in the church, and how she can be cleansed of her spots and wrinkles, becoming a part of the remnant prepared to meet the Lord.
With the Holy Spirit's patient counsel, I was shown through the written word just how the devastating error has crept in. I had believed my theology was correct, but God undid ALL of my old theology and began to replace it with truth from His written word. At times, I would weep in agony as I came to recognize the error in which I, along with so many others, have been held in bondage. I was shown how tradition has kept people from knowing the Jesus of the bible. Paul the Apostle urged watchfulness so that no one spoil us "through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:8). Jesus also spoke strong words regarding the dangers of following tradition.
If only the church could fathom what is in the Father's heart and the price He paid in giving His Son to die! And yet man goes his own way, with his churchianity and his own attempts at righteousness. We all must give an account for what we have done with Jesus. We who name the Name of Christ, believing we are born-again, have a responsibility to read God's written word and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the Truth. If we do not, we will never know the true reason Jesus came.
The corporate Body of Christ cannot come to repentance and receive the Life she so desperately needs, for each individual must come to the Truth and be born anew [Greek: from above]6. Christ's true church (Ekklesia) is a large integrated body, consisting of individuals--denominational tags are irrelevant. All true born-again believers make up the Body of Christ. The true church is the living Body of the Living Savior Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. It is not about buildings and programs.
Flesh and blood
Our English language fails miserably in translating the inspired scriptures from the old languages. Single words had specific meaning, which take whole English phrases to articulate. To give one example, the Hebrew word for blood means "that which when shed causes death."7 In order to understand how the error came about, we must know the significance of flesh and blood according to God's eternal design. And without the understanding of flesh and blood, and life and death, we cannot begin to know the meaning of Calvary. Throughout the chapters I have included word meanings in the hope that this message will be clearer.
The message in the entire bible might be summed up in one sentence: Flesh is the reason Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh to destroy flesh because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
1. 2 Thessalonians 2:3
2. Greek #646
3. Galatians 1:6-8
4. Jeremiah 17:5-7
5. 2 Corinthians 3:6
6. Greek #509
7. Hebrew #1818