“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
The Planting of the Lord, by Randall D. Kittle

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While praying for the Church, I was reminded of one who had said that the Church was a slumbering giant about to awake. As I prayed about this “great awakening,” this is what the Lord revealed.

What He Revealed
The Lord showed me an enormous tree with a trunk at least five feet across. He asked me to tell Him what type of tree it was. As I stared up at this very large and very tall tree, the leaves that I could see seemed to be compound leaves, each in groups of three, but I could not identify what kind of tree it was. The bark looked like that of an oak tree, however, the leaves that were visible looked nothing at all like an oak tree.

Suddenly I noticed a large vine, perhaps three inches in diameter, which had grown up the trunk of the tree. The leaves that I had seen and was trying to use to identify the tree were not those of the tree at all, but only of this vine. As I looked about the trunk of the tree, I saw that there were 'those who were carefully tending to this vine. I soon realized that the vine was poison ivy and that the massive tree was in fact an oak tree.

The Lord instructed me to take an axe and to cut down the vine. Despite the protest of those who had been tending to the vine, I then took an axe and cut through the stalk of the vine. As the vine quickly dried up, the tree — now receiving its full sunlight — became thick and full of life.

What Does It Mean?
The large oak tree: The true church of God, which is about to be revealed to this world as large, strong, and alive. Even those who serve the Lord will be surprised by the immense size and strength of His church.

The vine: This vine of poison ivy is the work of Satan — an imitation of the true Church. This false church from the father of lies looks pleasant to the eye, but it is poison to all who would embrace it.

Those tending the vine: Those who are mistakenly caring for the form and structure of this false church, instead of the true church of God.

His Church Uncovered
Leaves are the quickest and easiest way to identify a tree. Just as these superficial and externally visible structures help us to identify a tree, it is also by the externally visible things that the world identifies the Church. The manmade structures of a false church have been used by the enemy to cover and enshroud the true Church so that the world would not see nor understand the Church of God.

2 Timothy 3:5 says that in the last days there will be those who are “holding to a form of religion, although they have denied its power.” This “form of religion,” this false church, may have many good characteristics, but it has not the life of Jesus in it. This vine is not the true vine because it is not rooted in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the True Vine …” (John 15:1). Those who are mistakenly caring for this false church may be sincere in their desires — but that only makes them sincerely wrong.

A large vine growing up a tree does more than just obscure the tree from recognition by cloaking it, it also weakens and steals life from the tree. The vine does this directly to the tree through its attachments, and indirectly by blocking and occluding the light of the sun from fully reaching the tree. When the vine is removed, life and strength return in fullness to the tree.

We must learn that all that appears and is accepted as “church-life” may not be rooted in Jesus Christ. Let us cut down and remove all that is not from Him. Only after we cast off the grave clothes of this false covering can we truly have the life and strength that God desires to give us, and reveal to the world.
“That they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).


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