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ONFS, Acrylic on Canvas, 114 cm x 58 cm (45″ x 23″), Prints and Cards Available
“The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19)
“Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.” (Psalm 24:8)
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 15:11)
“…your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:10)
We believers eagerly look forward to the day spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28:
“Then the end will come, when he [Christ] hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he ‘has put everything under his feet.’ Now when it says that ‘everything; has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”
Though we yearn for this, we do not yet see it fully manifest on the earth yet. That will not happen until Christ returns (Revelation 19:11-22:21). However, until that time we do see the kingdom of God powerfully advancing and progressively being established on earth, driving out the kingdom of darkness as it does so (Ephesians 2:1-7, Colossians 1:13-14).
We believers have the tremendous privilege of being part of the Lord’s army (2 Timothy 2:3-4), those who will not only rejoice in God’s final manifest victory at the return of Christ, but those who are also experiencing present victories in the progressive advancement of God’s kingdom here on earth today.
What a glorious joy it is to be a servant and a soldier in the Lord’s army, especially when we have been assured of certain victory!
One of the most powerful keys to being a mighty soldier in the Lord’s army is to be dead already, for the enemy cannot kill dead men. The Lord Jesus has said to us, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).
As God gives us grace to daily die to self, and as ALL of our desires and dreams have been crucified, we arise with the new, glorious resurrection life of Jesus Christ powerfully pouring forth out of us. Then, there is no searching of heart as we head into battle, no thoughts of turning back to preserve our own lives, for our only desire now is to do the will of our Father and to see his kingdom and his glory advanced on earth at all personal costs.
Such an army is ‘invincible’, for though it may be struck down, it can never be destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-11). May God give ALL of us grace to become this powerful kind of army!
Jesus did not shrink back from the death that would lead to God being glorified and to his kingdom being advanced throughout the whole earth. He fully embraced such a death, for he treasured the glory and renown of his Father and eternal victory for the kingdom of God more than he treasured his own physical life.
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!…Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:23-28, 31-32)
May we follow in Christ’s footsteps (1 Peter 2:21), for he is the Commander of the army. As he advances and we follow him, the army of the Lord advances in certain victory! May we consider Stephen who followed in Christ’s footsteps by sacrificing his own life (Acts 6:8-7:60). He became a seed that died and multiplied, advancing the glory and kingdom of God all over Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1) (See “The Martyr” (John the Baptist Artworks Series) and “One Kernel” (Believer’s Road Series).)
When we become men and women after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22), then the desires of God’s heart become our own. As a result, we do not waste our earthly lives by seeking our own pleasures, dreams and desires. Instead, we are wholly fixed on seeing the desires of God’s heart fulfilled here on earth. This moves us to pray “…your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:10). Our entire lives, all our thoughts, actions, time, prayers, finances and energies are all directed toward seeing this manifest on earth. We, the army of the Lord, are advancing! (See “A Man After God’s Own Heart” (Believer’s Road Series 2).)
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
We have been given powerful weapons to see the kingdom of God advance on earth. I have illustrated some of them in my painting.
Praise and worship are amongst the most powerful weapons of our warfare:
“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2)
“‘For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you [God]‘. All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD. Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel…He said: ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful. After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.’ As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Amnon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated…” (from 2 Chronicles 20)
“Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD.” (Psalm 149:5-9)
“The voice of the LORD will shatter Assyria; with his scepter he will strike them down. Every stroke the LORD lays on them with his punishing rod will be to the music of tambourines and harps, as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.” (Isaiah 30:31-32)
Fasting and intercessory prayer are other powerful weapons of our warfare:
“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” (Colossians 4:12)
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly as I should.” (Ephesians 6:18-20 within the context of spiritual warfare and the armor of God)
“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.
At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen….He said…’Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanidng and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” (from Daniel 10)
“And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him [Jesus], kneeling down to Him and saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.’
Then Jesus answered and said, ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.’ And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’
So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.'” (Matthew 17:14-21 NKJV)
This painting came to me during an extremely powerful time of prayer and worship. During this time, I had an impression about the Lord wanting his will to be done and his kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. In a sense, it was like the Lord and his heavenly army was willing but also waiting to do this (2 Kings 6:16-17, 13:14-19). When I saw that the Lord was willing, I realized that his people here on earth should also be willing and should pray that the Lord’s will be done here on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10) that it may be manifested on earth. This is similar to the principle in Matthew 18:18-20 that what is already bound or loosed in heaven can also be bound or loosed on earth.
The visual impression I received was that the willing army of the Lord was waiting in the heavenlies above to come manifest God’s will on earth. At the same time the willing and unified children of God were also praying for the Lord and his heavenly army to come down and manifest God’s will on earth. As the children of God pray in accordance with God’s will, the “gap” (confer Ezekiel 22:30) between God’s will being done in heaven and his will being done on earth closes until the two merge and God’s will is manifest on earth. I tried to visually depict this impression in my painting by the closing of the gap and the merging of the Lord’s heavenly army into his army here on earth.
“Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot arrows and scattered the enemies, bolts of lightning and routed them” (2 Samuel 22:13-15).
(See also “The Intercessor” (Spiritual Warfare, Victory, Freedom, Healing Series), “Intercession: Praying The Perfect Will of God” (Spiritual Warfare, Victory, Freedom, Healing Series) and “A Man After God’s Own Heart” (Believer’s Road Series)).