Because we are at the end of the Church Age, and the beginning of transitioning into the Kingdom Age, many are going through difficult and trying wilderness experiences. These wilderness experiences are for a purpose that we must understand and accept, if we are to be fully prepared for the outworking of our calling and ministry.
Two of the Biblical transition messengers, Moses and John the Baptist, were each taken into an extended wilderness experience to be prepared for the transition in their times. Today, we also are living in a time of transition. Therefore, many are being called apart by the Lord to be “made ready” to fulfill their part in all that is about to take place in both the Church and the nations.
“Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.” Luke 3:2
Spiritual new beginnings often begin with a wilderness experience in the privacy of our personal relationship with the Lord. Here, separated from all else, we interact with the Lord, alone.
John the Baptist was called apart into a desolate place for a very specific purpose. Later, when asked who he was, his response reveals the deep work of preparation that had taken place during his time in the wilderness.
“He said, I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as Isaiah the prophet said.” John 1:23 NASB
In effect, John the Baptist said, “I am so emptied of self, that I have become the expression of the voice and feelings of another (Jesus), in every aspect and part of my being.”
At this present time, there are those who are being moved upon by the Holy Spirit in order to be “made ready” that they might respond as John the Baptist did. These are being prepared to become prophetic voices through whom the Lord will not only speak His word, but so fully reveal Himself that it will appear as if they had become Jesus, as His life will noticeably be reflected through their lives.
Moses spent 40 years in a wilderness experience that prepared him to bring deliverance to the Lord’s people of his day. There is much in his experience that applies to us today. Therefore, we should prayerfully study the life and ministry of Moses to see the parallels with the needs of this present day.
“And after six days, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John his brother, and brings them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with Him.” Matthew 17:1‑3
Notice that this happened at the end of the “sixth” day. Since Scripture gives no indication of the time frame for this “sixth day,” it can be said that this is a reference to the end times.
“But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” II Peter 3:8 NAS
The list of genealogies in Scripture confirms that man has been on the earth for 6,000 years, or six, one thousand year days. This indicates that we are at the end of the sixth day of man’s time, and approaching the seventh day of the Lord’s Millennial Kingdom rule.
Moses and Elijah speak of two end-time ministries, which at this present time are beginning to function again in power and authority.
At the height of the ministry of Moses, he brought the Lord’s people out of “commercial bondage.” They were forced to make bricks without straw, or today, money not backed by gold, which relates to the intense financial pressures that most face in our day and time.
At the height of Elijah’s ministry, he dealt with the prophets of Baal. Through a visitation of fire (the manifest glory and power of the Lord), false religion was destroyed, and the Lord’s people were set free from “religious bondage.” Today, through the gradual increase of the manifest presence of the Lord, many are being set free and transformed.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” II Corinthians 3:18
Before Elijah could be used, he had to sit beside a brook until it dried up. He then became dependent on provision received through a widow who had only enough for one meal for herself and her son. Before Moses could be used, he had to be taken into the wilderness and reduced to the point at which he told the Lord that he could no longer speak.
“And Moses said to the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since You have spoken to Your servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” Exodus 4:10
Moses knew that he was called. He had attempted in his own strength and ability to fulfill his calling, but he failed and fled into the wilderness, unknowingly into the perfect will of God for him.
“And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.” Acts 7:23‑25
The purpose of the wilderness was to bring Moses to the end of his natural ability, and into the place of complete dependence upon the Lord. In Acts 7:22 we read, “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” The Lord desired to use the capacity that this training in Egypt had created, but not the ability itself.
The greatest of human abilities could not accomplish the deliverance of Israel from their bondage. Moses had to come to a place of emptiness so that all of his trust would be in the Lord.
“And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.” Acts 7:30
Moses was so capable that it took forty years for him to come to the full end of all his human ability. Understanding this principle will help many who are confused about the reason for the seemingly never ending dealings that they are experiencing at this present time.
“And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.” Exodus 3:4
It is important for us to understand that the Lord’s intervention came only after Moses had been so totally reduced from all of his ability and self sufficiency, that finally, he noticed the Lord’s manifested presence in a burning bush, and turned aside to stand in that presence.
The fact that the bush burned, but was not consumed, tells us that it had been following Moses for quite some time, possibly for 40 years. While Moses was religiously progressing toward the mountain of God, the Lord had been there all along, patiently waiting.
“When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came to him, Saying, I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. Then said the Lord to him, Put off your shoes from your feet: for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Acts 7:31-33
The Lord revealed Himself to Moses as “the God of the present.” The experience that Moses had at the burning bush relates to the end-time restoration of the glory of the Lord, and to His Parousia – His manifest presence in the end-time. In a similar way, the Lord has a present word for each of us, and He is waiting for us to respond.
“Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: But the Lord shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1‑3
We are living in a time when the Lord will begin to appear to us, in order to prepare us for the closing out of the Gentile Age, and the setting up of His Millennial Kingdom. We can learn much from the experience of Moses, and his being prepared for the deliverance of the Lord’s people in his day.
“I have seen, I have seen the affliction of My people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you into Egypt.” Acts 7:34
Previously, Moses had attempted to deliver Israel in his own strength and ability, but now he stood in the manifest presence of the Lord to receive the enabling power of the Lord. He had attempted to work for the Lord, but now, he received a present word from the Lord and is ready to allow the Lord to work through him.
It is one thing to be called, but it is another to be sent. The first time Moses tried to deliver his brethren, he knew that he was called, but utterly failed. Now he is being sent. Notice that the Lord said to him, “Come, I will send you.” Our personal relationship with the Lord, and the time that we spend in His presence, are of primary importance and foundational to all that we do.
As we turn aside to “wait” upon the Lord, seeking to better recognize His voice so we can respond to His presence and learn obedience, we will gain experience in following Him. Only then will we receive the necessary divine enabling to fulfill the calling that we have received.
When the Lord told Moses to take off his shoes, He was saying, “You have gone as far as you can go in your own strength and ways. Now you must walk in My shoes with My strength, and by My Word alone.”
Many today are feeling that they have gone as far as they can go, and are so worn out that they are considering giving up. Little do they realize that only now are they ready to begin an effective ministry.
All they need do is to “turn aside” into His presence and wait before the Lord. In Exodus 2:14‑15, Moses had trembled and fled from Pharaoh. Now, something quite different is about to happen. Pharaoh will tremble before Moses, and finally let the Lord’s people go (Exodus 12).
The power of God, manifesting through Moses, brought the world power of that day to its knees.
In the same way, there is an urgent need for those who will again stand in the “presence” of the Lord, in order to receive a “burning present word” that will affect the Pharaohs of our day and time, and bring the deliverance that we so desperately need.