The Hebrew Year 5779 is fast approaching on Sept. 9-11, 2018, and God is bringing Zion fire to His churches in this new year. Mt. Zion refers to a location where the grace of God manifests. Zion fire is a fire that will start with the people of God first, a fire in those saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ that will then spread to the unsaved.
According to Scripture and specifically Hebrews 12:22-24 (NASB),
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven; to God, the Judge of all; and to the spirits of the righteous ones made perfect; and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant; and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better than that of Abel (Heb. 12:22-24).
Since Zion fire is coming, what must the church of Jesus Christ do to prepare itself? First, we must keep our own lamps burning. For Christians are called the light of the world.
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How do we do this? Scripture shares how Moses received instructions on the mountain concerning the building of the tabernacle, and one of the instructions revolved around the oil for the lampstand.
In Exodus 27:20-21, the word says, “‘You shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of olive pressed for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall arrange it from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a perpetual statute for the children of Israel for generations to come.”
The Lord wanted His lampstands burning night and day. We are the lampstands that He is calling for a constant burn. As Zion fire approaches we need to recognize we are the instruments with the assignment to not let our lamps fizzle out.
As a member of the body of Christ, there are different stages of growth from infant, to child, to teen and finally adult. As the mature or adult members, we should have our lamps burning because we have harvested enough oil in our vessels.
When olives are pressed out and the oil flows into the vats it goes through a process of grinding and pressing under specific heat-controlled conditions. This type of pressing in the natural concerning us, God’s church, comes from trials and temptations and going through a process with God where we do not run from our God or our issues in a trial, but we choose to run to Him as our place of refuge. Jesus Himself went through a pressing process in the Garden of Gethsemane before His death, as the word Gethsemane comes from two Hebrew words, gath which means, a place for pressing oil or wine, and shemen, which means grease as from the olive, richness, anointing, fruitful and oils.
Oil pressing is a process the church cannot run from, but it has benefits for our lampstand to continue burning. When we draw close to God in the midst of our trials He uses this pressing into Him as an opportunity to put oil in our vessel. Using the spiritual disciplines during our times of trials, praying, fasting, giving, worshipping and studying the Word of God will help us draw near during the difficult times and this will mature us in the trial.
Let’s look at the Parable of the 10 Virgins as guidance of what Jesus is teaching us, regarding, the importance of having our vessels filled with oil for Zion Fire to burn bright in a dark world.
In Matthew 25:1-13, the Parable of the 10 Virgins reads:
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be like ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps, but took no oil with them. But the wise took jars of oil with their lamps. While the bridegroom delayed, they all rested and slept.
“But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps have gone out.’
“The wise answered, ‘No, lest there not be enough for us and you. Go rather to those who sell it, and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they went to buy some, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Afterward, the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us.’
“But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matt. 25:1-13).
Apparently, the wise virgins according to the Greek word, phronimos, had cautious character and practical skill during their trials. They took the oil in their vessels with their lamps. The word “vessel” in the Greek is aggeion, from the root, agkale, which means “bend,” “ache” and “curve.”
In other words, our vessels or our temples are clarified as a place of bent or ache. This is the place where the oil was put. However, the other five virgins were clarified as being lazy in the pressing process. This means that during their trials and temptation, when the pressing on them became too much, they chose not to be changed in the process. They did not work out their issues with wisdom and alertness. They did not draw near to God in the process, so He called them foolish. The foolish ones asked for the oil of the wise ones.
Matthew 25:8 says, “But the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps have gone out.'”
But the oil was in their vessels or broken places of their soul. It could not be bought from them. It had to be acquired in the pain or pressing.
The wise even sent them away to go buy oil elsewhere, but the Word says they never came back with any. As a matter of fact, when they returned, the Scripture never says they had oil, it just says they asked to be let in, and the door was shut because they didn’t get ready with their oil. Pressing is a process in life, and you must be looking to your Savior daily as you press so you build confidence and intimacy in relationship with Him.
I wondered, Who are these people selling the oil in their alabaster box? This pressing comes with a cost, and they found no one to give theirs away. It was too costly, as it was only true to the broken vessel itself. If it is not your own oil, you won’t find true value in it. It is a counterfeit, as it came at no cost to you and was not pressed out through the relationship you personally had with God in your trials. In other words, you cannot buy another’s oil to grow spiritually.
To sustain Zion fire, you must come with your own oil in your own lampstand. Then you are ready to be a light that will not burn out because you are wise and trust Him in the trials. You now shine brighter and can light the world. Only the mature can keep their fire burning when the trials come, and the enemy tries to put out your zeal for God.
At the end when the foolish virgins wanted in, verse 12, He said, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.”
Knowing Him means we must labor with Him; we must turn to Him in the midst of our trials and temptations; we must be willing vessels broken but ready to be intimate with Him in the breaking and the healing.
How much oil is in your vessel? Understanding that is a key to how long you will burn in the revival or Zion fire, the church fire, without burning out.