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Generational Building: Eternal Covenant

This is part 2 of the topic Generational Building. Generations are incredibly important in how God stewards prophetic promises and builds out his kingdom in the world. Let’s look at how God uses covenants as a thread, weaving through multiple generations and how it impacts our world today.

There’s a massive universal party going on in heaven and on earth in Revelation 5. Everyone everywhere is praising the Lamb of God because He has won His bride of every tongue and tribe and people and nation. 

In verses 9 and 10, we see the word ‘tribe,’ which can be translated as ‘family’ and may best represent the idea of an expanding family in Hebrew. 

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The story’s beginning

In the beginning is the Word. That is Jesus who was with God. God creates time and space. 

The first creation act is a prophetic proclamation, “Let there be light.” In the natural realm, light shone bright. In the spiritual realm, a living eternal word was activated. 

We’re looking prophetically forward in the future when Jesus steps into time at his birth. He is the light of the world to come. 

At the fall in Eden, God speaks, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. He shall crush your head, and you shall strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15. 

The early church’s exegesis saw a messianic prophecy here, the final victory of the seed. 

In the passage’s actual grammatical sense, the word ‘seed’ better fits with the plural meaning ‘posterity.’ I believe the passage reflects both Jesus as the seed who crushed Satan via the cross and the subsequent generations of his seed that crushed the head. This is in God’s promise for us all. 

It was the living prophetic word that breathed life into Adam and Eve. That word promised them hope of crushing Satan through their generations, and it carried down through the lines of Seth, Enoch, and Noah. 

The Word proceeded to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, calling him from the land of Ur. That living word ran in a generational thread from Abraham to Jesus and then from the resurrection to the bride of Christ. From the church, it runs towards a crowded throne room, where there will be a party in heaven one day. 

Hebrews 11: 9,10 speaks regarding Abraham:

“By faith, he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” 

Abraham had his eyes on the heavenly city where all his generations would dwell. 

Did you know that genetically, everyone traces back to Father Abraham just by how ancient he is? When that Living Word of God has come full circle and has coursed through the generations, we will be in this tribe. The expanding natural and spiritual family joins in the static worship of the Lamb. 

The Divine Coincidence

We will return to Abraham shortly, but I want to share a story. Several years ago, I was in a soaking session with Alberto and Kimberly Rivera. During the hour, I was asking God about generations. 

I asked him if a family lines up with this call. Is there an increase, a divine coincidence? The church began, and Pastor Brian Smallwood stood before worship to tell us there would be special guests. After worship, Brian introduced the guests and then had Congressman Joseph Pitts share the word. 

First, Congressman Pitts says, “Some of you sitting here today are descendants of the Mayflower, the early pilgrims who came to the shores of America. You need to know that inheritance is important to God.” 

Our mission name, of course, is Inheritance Fire, based on four generations of missions in Southeast Asia, but now it felt like God was highlighting several hundred years earlier as my ancestors trace all the way back to the Mayflower. 

Next, Pitts begins speaking of growing up in the Philippines. He’s 25 years my senior, but he speaks of going to Faith Academy and playing the old Japanese war caves, just like I did as a missionary kid. Then Pitts begins to share about the prisons and drug trade in Colombia. We didn’t work there at the time, but we were pretty exposed to the drug cartels from our work with INfire. 

Next, he talked about Burma, which we now call Myanmar. He told stories of people we personally knew, even though he didn’t mention their names. 

He talked about little-known ethnic groups like the Wa people, with whom our family has a history. 

At this point, the sermon had so many little coincidences. My wife and I were both crying. Then, the pastor got up and requested Congressman Pitts to close the story of Adoniram Judson, the first Protestant missionary sent from America to Burma. 

Pitts shares about two sentences on Judson, and then he goes into the story of my great-granddad. 

I didn’t know what to do. We were brand new at the church, so I went to David Fitzpatrick, one of its founders, and began to stammer about what had just happened. 

David brought me up to the front, and I introduced myself as the great-grandson of William Marcus. I shook Pitts’ hand, and he had me finish the White Pony story

After the service, we were invited to visit Washington, D.C. Just days earlier, David Fitzpatrick had been visited by a friend and her son, Zadok, who was maybe 11 or 12 years old. 

Having never heard the White Pony story, Zadok imagined it out, telling it through this what-if scenario on their drive to David’s home. 

When they shared it with David, he was shocked and said, I know some people you really have to meet. 

The White Pony Story 

There is a story that began over 120 years ago in the jungles of Southeast Asia. It is the story of William Marcus Young, who worked as a missionary pioneer in places where white men never set foot. 

A man of deep and fervent prayer, William passionately cried out for many years, “Lord, Lord, help me to win thousands and thousands of souls for you.” 

Many difficult years passed with no breakthrough. But then, one day in 1904, William Marcus was standing in the local city market preaching, gesturing with his open Bible, gleaming in the sun and dressed in the white western wear of the day. 

He unknowingly fulfilled an oral tradition held by a local tribe about a white man with a white book who would one day reveal the true God. William Marcus’s prayers were answered as thousands began coming into the kingdom of God year after year from this gentle tribe. Miles away, a tribe of headhunters was also soon to be introduced to the true God. 

A well-known tribal wise man spoke to 12 village elders and encouraged them to go on a trek to discover the true God. He laid his hand on a donkey and said, follow this animal I have blessed. And follow it they did across jungle-choked mountains and sudden valleys. 

After weeks of travel, the donkey led them to a well and stopped. William Marcus Young was down in the well digging. The elders looked down and asked excitedly, “Can you tell us about the true God?” 

At that time, William Marcus had only a few tribal assistants and was already overwhelmed with several new believers in recent years. 

When the delegation begged him to return with them, he promised: “If I cannot come to you, my sons will come to you. If my sons cannot come to you, my grandsons will come to you. And if my grandsons cannot come to you, my great-grandsons will come to you.”

Over 100 years later, the word of this righteous man was fulfilled when God sent the great-grandson of William Marcus Young to this people without knowing the promise given at the well. 

It’s a pretty amazing story, isn’t it? When all this happened at the church, I knew God was confirming to me and the church the importance of generations. 

Start a generational trend.

Generations have obviously played a huge role in my family’s journey, but I want to make it clear that it doesn’t matter if you can’t see anything useful in your own family line today. 

For one, you can always ask God and be watching and waiting for a moment to speak prophetic blessing into your own family line. Start a generational trend. 

Also, spiritual inheritance can be pushed all the way down into a burnt tree stump, but like Isaiah says, “There is still a holy seed.” 

You may feel there isn’t much hope for your line, that it’s dead and buried, but spiritual inheritance can always be resurrected. That eternal word in seed form is always waiting to be brought back. 

Pray for a spiritual revival, a promise in your own family line. 

Abraham’s rescue of slaves and Lot

Now, back to Abraham. The first time God definitively makes a covenant, not just a promise with Abraham, is in Genesis 15:18. 

It follows Abraham’s extravagant offering. In Abraham’s day, a war arose with four kings facing off against five kings. The four invading kings defeated the five and then ransacked Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his possessions included. 

Lot, if you recall, is the nephew who ripped off Abraham, taking the best lands. You may also remember this is Sodom and Gomorrah, which would have been equivalent to a liberal-thinking LGBTQIA+ culture of today. Abraham received the news and had compassion for this community. 

He sent more than 300 of his personal militia and his three Amorite chieftain allies to rescue them in the dark of night. They saved all the recently enslaved people and gained rich spoils. Abraham tithed 10% to Melchizedek and gave all his prophets, including the recently enslaved people, back to the five kings. This gift was the spoils of many kingdoms. 

God responded shortly after this by launching a covenantal promise, “Look towards heaven and number the stars. If you’re able to number them,” then he said to Abraham, “so shall your offspring be.” 

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Abraham just had a big win. The plunder from five kingships, four other marauding kings, and any previous plunder of the other regents. 

He has defeated these men with his little band. He’s rescued scores of slaves. Then he has communion with Melchizedek. 

Many scholars believe this was Jesus, but regardless, Abraham has the respect of an influential religious leader. He could have said in his heart, “I can now become king in Canaan,” but instead, he gives it all away. It is more blessed to give than to receive. 

Through extravagant giving, we nullify the spiritual power of materialism and set the table for covenant. Radical giving opens itself to the power of breakthrough, and our things become prophetic assets with heavenly purpose instead of dragging on our time and our energy. This is the test of receiving kingship. 

Will we do it our way and seize the day, or wait for God to seize us into a holy purpose in his timing? 

Directly following Abraham’s offering, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man Ishmael shall not be your heir. Your very own son shall be your heir.” And then He, as God, brought him outside and said, “Look towards heaven and number the stars, if you’re able to number them. And then he said to him, so shall your offspring, that is your generations, be. And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15, 4-6. 

A few verses later, in verse 18, we read for the first time the Lord covenanted with Abraham there. God says, “I’m going to give you generations.” 

The prophetic covenant requires three things to mature. 

It needs a true act of justice that confronts the powers of money, sex, and politics. That act of justice is a confrontation requiring an opposite spirit. In Abraham’s situation, this was extravagant generosity. 

This action opens us to a covenant in which God’s purposes are deeply imprinted and worked out through the covenanted generational line. 

In modern times, we are enough of a ‘now’ generation that we sometimes miss the grand and vast evolution of what God is doing. 

We are invited to be part of something mind-blowing and bigger than our generation can touch. 

Consider this God’s invitation to you today to explore how he may want you to build from a deeper and more meaningful generational perspective. Let’s build something amazing.