None of us can predict the future: it is the undiscovered country and there are no maps. Yet we all want to know what will happen because it helps us feel secure. Every new year we look to the prophets and ask if there is any word from the Lord. Sometimes there are quite a few – do you remember “2008, the year of the gate”? I do! I make a point of keeping track of what national voices have said – not just in January and February, but throughout the year. If the Lord is speaking it is good to know what He is saying and it is our responsibility to listen and test these words, especially if, as in 2008, a number of people were saying the same thing. If we treat ‘prophetic utterances with contempt’ we are on dangerous ground (1 Thessalonians 5v19). I for one want to be in step with the Spirit and His times and seasons (see Embracing the Season)
We all have different gifts and we all prophesy in part, so you won’t be surprised if I choose to talk about what I see in the numbers – especially if you read 20:20 vision! Maybe if we put it together with what others see there will be a few guidelines for 2011, a few signposts to follow on this unknown path… That is up to you, but eg. check out Paul Leader on Martin Scott’s Perspectives blog as well if you like.
I have been drawn into numbers by the Holy Spirit: strange but true. (There is a story about bumping into the number 52 a lot on the Mercy Cry journey on the 10.10.10 post.) I don’t always like it, but there it is… I have even been jokingly dubbed ‘the Carol Vorderman of the spiritual world’. So of course in thinking about the new year, I am going to ask questions about no 11. I have had a lot of experience of 7 and 8 and 5 and 9 and 10 and 12… but 11? Where in Scripture is 11?
“The eleven” came into being at Jesus’ betrayal – at the Last Supper in fact, as He dipped his bread in the bowl and passed it to Judas (John 13v27) and they remained “the eleven” until Acts 1 and the Upper Room, just before the Spirit came. At that point Peter understood from Scripture that the numbers had to be made up to 12 again because the 12 patriarchs of Israel were being mirrored in the foundations of the church that was about to be born – a new covenant and a new day. But 11 ‘held the fort’ between the Cross and Pentecost, between the end of one era and the start of a new one. So 11 is the ultimate transition number, between 10 – testing and affliction – and 12 – authority and government.
More transition?! Yes – it is an ongoing process. We had endings and new beginnings in 2007 and 2008, but this birthing is taking longer than a few months. There is a whole new era in view (see Paul Leader’s post and A New ERA on this blog): that kind of paradigm shift takes time – death, burial and resurrection – the testing of the desert before the release into power. The Lord is not in such a hurry as we often are! He has plenty of time and wants us mature and ready to partner with Him.
I see 11 as a real marker and watershed. Imagine the ‘legs 11’ (anyone play Bingo?) standing one each side of a line. When the rain hits the watershed it flows one way or the other. From that dividing line it cannot mix again: once across it the water flows into a different valley, a different river. It is a pivotal time and there will be no going back: we are crossing over into a new era for the kingdom and work of God in the nation and nations. As Martin Scott pointed out, they became 11 because one fell back… and was no longer able to continue the journey.
Here are some good examples of no 11 at work in this way: first Matthew 11:11: ‘Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he’. John the Baptist IS the archetypal transition man! This verse itself demarcates between the old season of the prophets – of whom John was the last – and Jesus’ kingdom coming in: he marked the dividing line between past and future and a whole new level of anointing being available to us all. While speaking of new anointing for a new time, it can also be inferred that having waited for 10 days in the Upper Room, the Spirit fell on the 11th day!
Armistice Day: 11 am on 11.11 is another example of the ending of one era and the start of another. The end of the Great War, the time the guns fell silent, the time we still remember with silence every year – marked for all time. The ‘war to end all wars’ (though it didn’t) followed by complete social change, women’s suffrage, etc.
Then there have been 2 9/11‘s that are both markers in our recent history (I mentioned this in 10.10.10). 9 is the number of fruit and gift: in 2009 we talked a lot about it being time to come to maturity and fullness, completeness as sons of God. If a time came to fulfillment (9) and a watershed was then marked(11) it could not look more like what happened on September 11th 2001 when the World Trade towers fell and the ongoing ‘war on terror’ was conceived followed by the subsequent ‘stand-off’ between the capitalist west and Islamist extremists that has altered all our lives… or the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9th November 1989, which signalled the end of the Communist Era and finally brought freedom and democracy to the Iron Curtain countries.
All these were watershed moments and markers. 2011 promises to be the same sort of time… What do you think? Where are you in your story? This is surely going to be a make or break year for us! So lets be prepared and be blessed, ‘stay alert, watch and pray’, keep in step with the Spirit. It is both the best and worst of times but I am not the only one who is convinced it is a new era – and it is our time!