1. What is a Forerunner?
The day of our Lord’s return is drawing nearer and nearer with each passing day. If we use God’s Word as a means of interpreting all that has been happening globally around us (i.e. recent political, economical, social, religious and natural upheavals) and paying close attention to key events that Jesus said will precede His second coming, e.g. the return of the Jewish people to the land in Israel (Matthew 24: 32-34), the impending preaching of the Gospel to all people groups (Matthew 24: 14) and the increasing intensity of political and religious tensions, and natural disasters (Matthew 24: 6-8), it becomes very clear that we are very likely to be living in the generation in which our Lord returns (Matthew 24:34)! The Second Coming of Jesus then ceases to be distant concept, but a real and near approaching event that most of us will live to see, experience and most importantly, be a critical part of!
Unfortunately, most people get nervous or dismissive when the nearness of our Lord’s return is being mentioned. This is due to a lack of a right understanding of how to respond in preparation for the second coming, and the identity of Jesus when He returns.
Just before His first coming, God raised up John the Baptist (Luke 1: 76-79) to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3). John did this by telling the people that one “mightier than I” is coming and how they should respond (Matthew 3:1-12). What John had done is essentially what being a Forerunner is about: to prepare the way for the Lord by preparing people to respond rightly to Jesus in light of His Second Coming.
Forerunners are messengers who proclaim ‘now’ what the Holy Spirit is ‘soon’ to emphasise in a universal way across the nations. They are ‘one short step’ ahead of what the Holy Spirit is about to openly release so they can prepare the people to respond rightly to Jesus by making known God’s plans, thereby enabling people to make sense of what will happen before it actually happens. Forerunners are people whom God partners with to bring new understanding or paradigms of God and His End-Time activity and plans. In addition, a Forerunner also needs to preach who Jesus is when He returns (i.e. as a Bridegroom, King and Judge) so that people will have the right understanding of Him at His Second Coming.
In short, Forerunners are the VOICE of God!
2. Why does God need Forerunners?
Whenever God is about to do something ‘new’ or ‘unprecedented’, he will raise a VOICE to announce, declare or make sense of it. God Himself had told us that ‘surely He does nothing unless He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets’ (Amos 3:7). The Forerunner ministry is therefore a Proclamation Ministry. God reveals His heart to the Forerunners and give them understanding and revelation (1 Chronicles 12:32; Jeremiah 3:15) so that they will proclaim His Word and Truths in order that the church and the nations will be able to make sense of what is happening around them, in light of God’s sovereign plans in these last days. Why is this important? The prophet Joel prophesied that the Day of the Lord (i.e. the last days) will be great AND very terrible (Joel 2:11), i.e. there are both positive AND negative dimensions. The Day will be great and glorious for those who align themselves to God; terrible and unbearable for those who stand against God.
The Day will be great to the redeemed as they experience the greatest manifestation of the power of God ever seen in history. It will include supernatural provision, direction (Psalm 91; Jeremiah 31:9), and protection (Goshen principle of Exodus 8:22-23; 9:4, 6, 26). The miracles seen in the book of Acts and the book of Exodus will be combined and multiplied on a global scale. The ‘great’ aspect of that Day will include the outpouring of the Spirit with extraordinary miracles (Joel 2:28-32).
The Day will be terrible to the rebellious as it will be the most severe time of God’s judgments ever seen in history (Revelation 6-20). The ‘terrible’ dimension of the Day of the Lord speaks of judgments against the Antichrist’s empire in the seals, trumpets, and bowls judgments (Revelation 6; 8-9; 16-19). Many people, including those in the church, will take offense at God (Matthew 24:10), fall prey to false teachings (2 Thessalonians 2:10) and fall away from their faith (1 Timothy 4:1) if they do not understand God’s heart, what He desires to accomplish and how He is going to execute His love, grace, will and judgment before Jesus returns. There is thus an urgent need in this hour to restore the First Commandment to first place (Matthew 22: 27-38) and draw the Church back to wholehearted love, so that the Church strengthen and not waver in its trust and confidence in God in times of great testing.
In addition, many so-called believers may not even recognize who Jesus is when He returns if they do not understand His identity (Matthew 24:23-27). It is unfortunate that many in the Church now have a distorted and biased view of who Jesus is. The Bible tells us that Jesus will be returning as a Passionate Bridegroom (Song of Songs), Transcendent King (Isaiah) and Righteous Judge (Revelation). God will use Forerunners to accurately preach who Jesus is when He returns so that His beloved will respond rightly to Him (Psalm 2:12).
Therefore, God is raising up the Forerunners in the spirit of Elijah (Luke 1:17) to warn, prepare and make ready His people for Jesus’ Second Coming, so that they will understand and be in agreement with what (and why) God is doing.
3. What can we do to be Forerunners?
Forerunners are the voice of God, not the echo. It is about hearing God’s voice, knowing His heart and then communicating God’s message to His people and the nations. There are a few things that we must seek to do constantly and intently to prepare ourselves to be Forerunners:
Seek the Lord, Read and meditate on God’s Word (Psalm 27:4; Daniel 10:12; Revelation 1:3) – Set our hearts to know God and understand His ways, and to ask God for greater revelation of His Word so that our hearts will be fascinated (Song of Songs 1:2-4) and we will be able to discern the truth. We must also take time to study the key messages of the last days, i.e. End Times, Intimacy, Understanding Israel, etc.
Fast and Pray (Isaiah 58; Luke 18:1-8) – To position our hearts to receive more freely from God and press in till we see God’s promises fulfilled, e.g. grow in intimacy with Jesus, prophetic revelation of the End Times, greater understanding of the times and season we are in, experience the power of God in personal ministry, fulfillment of God’s promises to our city or nation, etc.
Speak boldly (Jeremiah 3:15, 20:9; 23:28-29) – To propagate and declare the messages on God’s heart to the Church and non-believers. We must do this to the best of our capacity and abilities, in every sphere of life and society. We must be lovers of the Truth and not ashamed or afraid to preach it as it is (2 Timothy 1:8).
It is extremely important for us to understand that being a Forerunner is not an end by itself, or a ‘status’ in the ministry. It is a continuous process of growing in a deeper partnership with the Lord and saying ‘Yes’ to being used as a vessel for Him. It requires an intense commitment to love God, seek Him and walk in His ways. One of the greatest rewards is that we will ‘rejoice greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice’ (John 23:9).
4. Will YOU?
We are now standing at an extremely critical juncture in the course of human and biblical history. The clocking is ticking and Jesus will return soon. God is now sounding the trumpet and gathering like-minded believers whom He can trust and partner with to usher in the return of His beloved Son. ‘For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.’ (2 Chronicles 16:9). The only question that we need to answer right now is: Will we say ‘Yes’ to Him? Will YOU say ‘YES’?
by Loh Kok Leong
One Thing Ministries