by C. Parker Thomas

“And it shall come to pass in that day, the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” Zech. 14:6-9.

Evening is that short period of time between sunset and complete darkness. It is the close of a day. In the scripture sense, it means the close of a period of time in which God has dealt with man in a certain way. It is the close of a dispensation.

Dispensations of time are invariably punctuated by dark periods of judgment appropriately called “night.” Though the darkness of night sometimes seems long and terrible, it must give way to the dawn of a new day.

The night can be likened to the death struggle of a closing dispensation and the birth pangs of a new day.

Invariably, the close of a dispensation is preceded by a twofold message. First: The message is one of warning of the impending judgment and wrath. Its purpose is to arouse and stir the people to repentance. It is a prophetic message of mercy and warning to save the people from the wrath to come such as Ezekiel (3:17-21), Noah and John the Baptist Matt. (3:1-10) were given.

Second: The message is a herald of faith and hope that looks beyond the night and sees the dawn of a new and glorious day. As the night shades of sin and unbelief settle upon the world, “the Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings.” Mal. 4:2, Isa. 60:1-5. From the garden of Eden to this day, sin has obscured man’s knowledge and relationship to God. To begin with he walked and talked face to face with his Lord and creator. After sin entered, man has been able to see, at best, “through a glass darkly.”

Zechariah, the prophet, speaks of a day when light is neither clear nor dark, neither day nor night. I personally believe this day Zechariah refers to is the day or dispensation of grace. Paul, the apostle, was the chief steward of the gospel of grace. Eph. 3.

In reference to this day or dispensation, Paul said, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that what is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part: but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Cor. 13:9-12.

Though the early church started out in a blaze of glory and light, it was soon obscured by the entrance of sin and unbelief. Through the perfect ministry of Christ and the early church, we have a picture of man walking in the full orbed light of glory and power.

Christ’s first coming set the example by showing us how it was done. Then, lest we think such a ministry was far above us mortals of Adam’s race, the same works were done through the church after Pentecost. Thus, the better covenant was confirmed through Christ, the head, first and then the church, which is his body.

From the apostasy of the early church until this day, this mixture of light and darkness has been allowed to prevail. Except for times of refreshing, none have been allowed to walk in the glorious light of the ministry of Christ and the early church.

I must add that, though many have tried, such a ministry is not possible until the restitution (restoration) of all things as referred to by Joel and Peter. Joel 2:23-32, Acts 3:19-25. The covenant has been desolated. Daniel 9:27, Ezek. 20:37-38.

Though he has been with us in an individual, personal way, his corporate presence has been missing. Only when Christ is in our midst will we have power to loose and bind on earth. Matt. 16:18-20. Only then will the desolated covenant be in effect. Christ’s presence to give assurance of salvation, grant times of refreshing and manifestations of the Spirit is only in part as Paul says in I Cor. 13:9.

Only when that which is perfect is come will there be a full and complete expression of Christ in the earth. There were no failures in the ministry of Christ and the early church. Only a few years later we find the Corinthian Church beset on every hand with sin, sickness, confusion and rebellion. Even as Paul the apostle had a thorn in the flesh that could not be removed, Timothy had a stomach condition plus other infirmities. Instead of laying hands on Trophimus and healing him, Paul left him at Miletus sick.

Many, not understanding this truth, have misapplied such scriptures as Heb. 13:8. They have erroneously trumpeted out truths as proof texts that the Lord will do exactly the same things today as he did during the days of his flesh.

Great multitudes have flocked to the healing campaign on the strength of the misapplication of such scriptures with great glowing promises of miracles, signs and wonders.

Poor, crippled, blind, demented, diseased and dying humanity have travelled long distances of great hardships and expense to these meetings on the strength of the advertising, advertising that magnified the great, great man! and promises of healing and miracles all out of proportion to actual results.

Though we know Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, he will only express or manifest himself according to the prophetic word of God. He was the same during the thirty year period before he was declared to be the Son of God with power, but manifestation had to await the preparation of John the Baptist and the prophetic day of unveiling prophesied by Malachi in 3:1. In fact, he was the same during the days of all the prophets but God’s dealings with man have changed over the centuries according to the state and need of man.

Another thing that regulates the expression of Christ in the earth is the human vessel through which he expresses himself. As a human infant on his mother’s breast, Jesus Christ was the same yesterday, today and forever, but the expression of Christ was limited because of the immaturity of the human vessel. No doubt Paul had spiritual immaturity in mind when he said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” I Cor. 13:11.

These same factors today, the immaturity of the church, the body of Christ and the time element involved, regulate the expression of Christ in the earth. Consequently, two things must happen before there can be a full-orbed expression of Christ.

The human vessel, the body of Christ, must come to maturity and the prophetic timetable must be fulfilled. The first outpouring of the Holy Spirit could not come until after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, John 7:39, and the day of Pentecost was fully come.

Likewise, the ostracized and despised disciples who had forsaken all to follow Jesus of Nazareth had to be taught and prepared by the personal ministry of Christ. Perhaps the greatest lesson they had to learn was subjection to their head, Christ, and to one another.

But there was unity and subjection when the mighty Christ came to his body, the church, on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:1.

And the same works he did through the body of Jesus of Nazareth, he now began to do through his multi-membered body, the church.

Likewise must this end-time church be taught and prepared by the Spirit of revelation before it can enter into its ministry. The mixture of darkness and light has prevailed long enough. We have just enough truth to be saved by grace through faith. In fact, not too many years ago the people in the old line denominations would not dare say that they knew they were saved. They were taught this was presumption bordering on blasphemy.

All we have had is a little truth mixed with tradition and error. The time for the separation of the two is upon us. The light and the darkness must each be gathered to itself. Because of the obscure condition, we have called good evil and evil good. We have shouted and “amen”ed some things that should have been condemned. Likewise, we have condemned and set at naught some things that were of God.

The evening time light is beginning to shine. The light that will rightly divide and set in order must shine even more and more unto the perfect day. Prov. 4:18.

The church must awaken and put on its beautiful garments and purity and strength. Too long his name has been blasphemed because the world has seen so little in us compared to all of our great promises.

Like Jacob of old, we have been so weak and vacillating until we have been unable to speak a “thus saith the Lord” with authority. The messengers have been despised and rejected. The world has seen so little of God in us that they asked the question, “Where is their God?” Joel 2:17.

But, hallelujah! this is all going to be changed when the Lord restores his church. “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I speak: behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth!” Isa. 52:7.

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wonderously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.”

“And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” Joel 2:23-32.

The first rays of this evening time light must awaken the church to her glorious heritage. We have all been taught so often and so long that things would get worse and worse and at the last moment the Lord would come and catch us up out of it.

We have shouted and sung, “I’ll fly away, Oh glory!” so long until we have been blinded to everything else. While the bridegroom tarries, the wise virgins slumber and sleep right along with the foolish virgins. “Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.” Isa. 52:1. The strength and the beautiful garments are ours through the covenant promises. Eph. 5:27 and Rev. 19:7-9. They must be put on for the wedding. The bride must look and be her very best.

As the light increases, so will the darkness. The climax of the ages is at hand. The long awaited showdown between Christ and the anti-Christ must come. All mankind will be involved in this great struggle. “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand.” Dan. 12:10.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Verse 130 says, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

The light in this evening time is simply the revelation of God’s word, the word that has been hitherto shut up or sealed to carnal eyes. It is the hidden mystery of the word reserved for this evening time hour being opened to the body of Christ.

Daniel got a glimpse of things that had to be shut up and sealed till the time of the end. Dan. 12:4, “...he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” John 12:35. Though just enough light has been given to nurture and keep alive the church, there has been so much darkness. Truly we have been wandering in this semi-darkened wilderness not knowing where we were going, like the children of Israel in view of the promised land on numerous occasions but never able to cross over into their glorious heritage.

Jesus said, “if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” True freedom, deliverance, redemption, perfection and fullness of the Spirit can only come to the body of Christ functioning as one.

Faith to lay hold of the promise of God “cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” hearing that goes beyond the organ known as the ear and enters the heart (spirit and soul) of the man. And the word that is heard is more than the letter or text that is given out. It is the revelation of God by the Holy Spirit given to the heart of man. This alone can build the church of Jesus Christ. Matt. 16:17-18.

The religious world has presumptuously tried to build his church with the letter of the word only the result is Babylonian confusion. The true revelation of God, though coming through a hundred different human vessels, will agree one hundred percent.

Feelings, phenomenal experiences, signs, wonders, healing miracles and manifestations of the Holy Ghost as we have known them in the past will not bring the unity and deliverance our hearts cry out for. Truth alone can unite and set us free. A gracious God has given us a taste of all these blessings and yet the religious world as a whole is still wandering in the wilderness more confused and divided than ever before. Oh, I know there is a great ecumenical movement underway to unite the Babylonian religious world into one great camp. But this is the spirit of anti-Christ who always counterfeits the true move of God.

This is the seven women (complete apostate church world) of Isa. 4:1 who want their reproach of being divided taken away while they continue to eat their own bread (doctrines) and wear their own apparel (robes of false righteousness). They want the name of “Christ” with the outward appearance of being one but they insist on their own doctrines and self- esteemed robes of righteousness. They want to hide behind the name only. And the man they are going to turn to will not be Christ but anti-Christ dressed up as Christ. Herein is truth to him that has ears and heart to receive it.

A picture of the true church is given in verses 2-6 of Isaiah 4. The daughters of Zion, the true church, are going to be purged and washed of their filth by the spirit of judgment and burning. The light of the word must increase until it becomes a consuming fire that will burn away the filth and dross of false doctrines and break the stubborn wills or men that separate the true body of Christ.

Please notice that the daughters of Zion (plural) of verse 4, after the purging and washing in Mount Zion (singular) in verse 5. Though Zion, the true church, will be made up of many assemblies, she will be one. The presence of Christ, symbolized by the cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night, will be there. Hallelujah! Praise God forever! I want to be a member in good standing of one of these assemblies of Zion.

The presence of Christ in that assembly makes it truly the body of Christ in the earth. His presence in his body will be our defense. Zion will indeed be a place of refuge and a covert from the storm that most certainly will burst upon this wicked rebellious world.

This true church, pulsating with the power and very life of Christ, will be the secret place of the most high. Psalm 91 is a prophetic picture of this glorious and victorious church.

Arrows will fly by day, terror will come by night, pestilence, plagues and evil on every hand, but those abiding in the shadow of the almighty, in his church will be safe. During this carnage of human suffering and terror with thousands falling on every hand, his truth will be our shield and buckler.

Like the dwelling of the children of Israel in the land of Goshen during the time of the plagues and darkness upon Egypt, there will be light in every true assembly of Zion. Ex. 10:22. The line of demarcation between the two will become clear and legible to those who have eyes and ears to see and hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. However, for most of mankind, darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the people. Isa. 60:2.

The light will increase as we are able to bear it. As the light increases, so will our responsibility and judgment. The Ananiases and Sapphiras will be cut down. The time must come when the light will be so awesome and great until the uncircumcised and the unclean will not dare to come in among us. Isa. 52: 1, Acts 5:13.

However, the body of Christ which is the very bread of God and the cup which blesses with the communion of his blood must first be purged and purified. I Cor. 10: 6-17. The leaven of sin must go before the glory of the latter house comes and fills that temple. Haggai 2:9, Isa. 60:1.

Though there is still much darkness mixed in with the light, the Holy Spirit is drawing together little bands of hungry sheep who are submitting to a deep hidden work of the cross in their hearts. Spectacular and outward manifestations are becoming less and less. That which would attract the sign seekers, flesh revelers and kingdom builders is on the way out. Before the Lord is through, we will be saying, “And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.” Deut. 6:23.

These who are gathering themselves together unto Christ in his body are like the misfits of Israel having no part nor lot in the programs and schemes of men. I Sam. 22:2. Their David (Christ) is always without the camp in the place of reproach and shame. Heb. 13:13. They are sick of pouring their dollars, energy and time into building Babylon’s walls that only separate the true body of Christ.

Along with these little bands of hungry sheep, the Lord is preparing and raising up true shepherds from their midst that will not flee when they see the wolf coming. Some of these roving ones that stay in no place very long, but moving where the grass is greener or the pressure is less exacting, might be wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing.

The false church system will continue to be preyed upon by the chameleons, but the body of Christ with the light of revelation and discernment shining ever brighter will begin to recognize and expose wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Our present responsibility is to walk in such light as we have and remain open and receptive to greater light when it comes. John the Baptist with his message of repentance and baptism for remission of sins, Mark 1:4, was the revelation of God for that hour. Jesus said he was a burning and shining light and men were responsible to receive it. John 5:35, Luke 20:1-8.

However, John bore witness of the greater light which was to come, on whom his converts were to believe. But it is significant that Jesus, the greater light, did not by-pass nor ignore John and his message. In fact, before he entered his own ministry, he honored John and his message by being baptized himself. It is even more significant that the great anointing that declared Christ to be the Son of God did not come upon him until he submitted to John’s baptism.

Likewise, if we go on to the glory that is to be revealed, we must honor and receive the light that is being given now. This means honoring and receiving those through whom the light is being given.

As we recognize and become subject to the body of Christ in this move of the Spirit, we recognize and become subject to Christ. We have tried to serve the Christ of the sky long enough.

If the group you worship with does not have this evening time light and there is no such group available, begin praying that The Lord will undertake in your area. I believe the hungry sheep everywhere are going to come into it. Until greater light comes along as in John the Baptist or Jesus of Nazareth, you are responsible to honor and obey such light as you have even if it is coming through some modern scribes and Pharisees. Matt. 23:1-3. As of now, men capable of leadership who have this vision are few and far between but the Lord is training some and getting them ready.

The “voice” ministry which is pioneering this message is bearing the brunt of Satan’s attack. The enemy will do everything in his power to destroy them and stamp out this move of God if he can. These men who must lead the way need our continual undergirding of prayer.

May the Lord bless you to receive this light and humbly walk in it. It is going to shine more and more unto the perfect day. Prov. 4:18.

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