The Changing Church Part 1 of 8
What a wonderful God we have Who will let us know when He is about to make a major change in His Church. Because of His great love for us all, He wants us to know this particular imminent change He is effecting.
Exactly forty years ago, it was this the Lord spoke to me: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak. . .” (Habakkuk 2:2,3). Forty is God’s number of “probation, testing, ending in victory or defeat.” Taken from the book, Interpreting the Symbols and Types by Kevin J. Conner.
This revelation series is for the body of Christ. It is not for an elect group who are “superior” to the rest, for we are all important to Him. It is simply targeted at a small, forerunning band of isolated believers who are wondering, “Are there others who are hearing in the manner and context as I am?” May you be comforted to know that you are not alone. He cares. I care. Eventually, you will be enabled to bless the rest of the church!
Forty years ago, the Lord also began by revelation throughout His Word—in visions and dreams—to put together in my heart and mind that which would later make up the contents of this revelation series. Please enjoy what has taken me four decades to understand. May you grow quickly in the movement of God that I am simply calling The Changing Church.
-Penny David Sheahan
Do you know the Church is pregnant? Have you heard? The Church is with child! As in the coming birth of John the Baptist, those around the hill country of Judea exclaimed: “What manner of child shall this be?!” (Luke 1:66).
Questions flooded my mind 40 years ago when the Lord showed me an amazing vision, but no one understood! Some were indignant and asked, “Why would God do such a thing? I do not believe it is of God.” So, I searched the Scriptures and found in Revelation exactly what I had seen: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing at birth, and pained to be delivered” (Revelation 12:1,2).
There was more revelation—separation within the body of Christ. I received vision after vision; eight in all, and then Scripture after Scripture. No one believed or understood what God was saying – “There is a new move coming in the Church and it will be different than the present move; entirely different!”
There are several interpretations to the Scripture used in this vision. Certainly we see Israel bringing forth the Messiah Yeshua. We see end time foreshadowing of Israel bringing forth the Jewish believer. The interpretation God gave to me, however, is that of His church; the child representing the overcoming church; the woman representing the comprising church.
Theologically, there is a principle that allows for sequential fulfillment of the same Scripture. This is called “progressive, prophetic fulfillment.” What indicates to us, though, that one of the interpretations of the woman spoken of in Revelation 12 could be the Church at all? There are several clues. In the first place, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as a woman throughout the Scriptures. She is the “bride adorned for her husband” in Revelation 21:2, and a wife to Christ as explained in Ephesians 5. If indeed, the woman is the Church, in this interpretation, who is the man child she bears? Why is it separate from the main body of believers?
We learn about a man-child in two places in the Bible. The first is in Revelation 12:5: “And she [the Church in our interpretation] brought forth a man-child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up into God, and to His throne.”
The second place a man-child is mentioned is Isaiah 66:7,8: “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” The book of Hebrews refers not only to Israel, but also to the Church as being part of Zion: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn.”
So there we have the church established . . . but what in the world is a man child? The properties of a child are quite different from that of a man. A man is stable, rational, mature. A child, however, is caught up with spontaneous activity, thirst for knowledge and exploration, sense of wonder, risk, and trust” (Excerpt from Personhood, Leo F. Buscaglia, Ph.D.).
Can these seemingly diverse properties be “integrated into one harmonious personality?” The answer is YES. Recently, I was trying to communicate this idea of integration to another minister. The reply was, “It’s not scriptural!” I responded, “Yes it is—yes it is!”
Jesus would never admonish adults to become as a little child if it were not possible! In fact, He said we must do so to enter His Kingdom! “Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it ‘” (Mark 10:13-15). A man-child, a trusting, mature Christ-like person is just what God wants!
So, as the woman travails and brings forth, all eyes focus on this magnificent child. Who is this child? I have heard from God that this is His new move in the Church. “She bore a man child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up to God and His throne” (Revelation 12:5,6).
This man-child was lifted to the THRONE of GOD; the overcoming place of ruling and reigning with Christ. This man-child from his position of authority will, in fact, usher in a greater power; a greater degree of demonstration of the Kingdom of God on this earth. It will be a new man with a new way of living; a Christ-way of living, functioning in amazing authority and oneness with Him who sits on the Throne!