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-by David Orton.

"These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished
from the presence of SaulÂ…warriors who helped him in battle."
(1 Chronicles 12:1).

Before every historic visitation of the Spirit God has sent forerunners.

John the Baptist set the pattern. As a voice crying in the wilderness he
prepared the way for the ministry of Christ.

Likewise, John Wycliffe, the ‘morningstar of the Reformation’, blazed the
trail for Martin Luther. Frank Bartleman, as a prophetic intercessor, for
William Seymour and the Azuza Street outpouring. The Latter Rain and
Healing Revivals of the late 1940Â’s prepared the way for the Charismatic
Renewal of the 1960Â’s and 70Â’s.

And again, there is a prophetic forerunner movement preparing the way for
the next move of God – for what I believe will be the greatest
manifestation of Christ that history will ever record. It will be the
closest approximation of the kingdom of God on earth yet. And will be
ushered in by an unprecedented level of the supernatural – in fact it will
far exceed what we read of in the Book of Acts and in revival history –
the glory of the latter house will truly be greater than the former (see
Hag 2:9). God has kept the best wine until last (see Jn 2:10) – and as the
scripture declares, "The end of a thing is better than its beginning"
(Eccl 7:8).

But how will this happen? Through the forerunner spirit.

David symbolises for us the full manifestation of the emerging kingdom of
God. It has been said we relate to Adam racially, to Abraham redemptively,
to Moses corporately, but to David regally. He typically represents Christ
and his kingdom. So, as we study DavidÂ’s life and reign we learn how the
kingdom works and increases in the earth.

DavidÂ’s preparation for the throne began in Bethlehem. Here, his first
anointing, through Samuel the prophet, signalled his regal destiny,
thrusting him into the oft-perplexing processes toward its fulfilment.

On the heels of this anointing, and subsequent meteoric rise, David was
driven into a fugitive existence. Pursued by SaulÂ’s jealous attacks he
fled to the wilderness finding refuge in AdullamÂ’s Cave and later in
Ziklag. Here he was joined by the first intake of warriors who became
known as DavidÂ’s "mighty men".

These became the forerunners of his kingdom.

It was they who not only prepared the way for DavidÂ’s second and third
anointing, but also ultimately turned the kingdom over to him,
establishing his reign over all Israel.

In identifying with David and the prophetic word over his life they blazed
the trail for a new order, for the transition from the Saul-system to the
"new thing".

But let us understand the full import of their actions.

They were aligning themselves with a fugitive outlaw. At a surface glance
David clearly had no future. Saul was secure as King. The monarchy was
safe in his hands with no indication of change. At his eventual death
numerous family were able to succeed to the throne as the need arose. A
dynasty was now in place and David was in the cold.

So, in aligning themselves with David these ‘mighty men’, the forerunners
of the kingdom, had burned their bridges – there was no going back. They
had turned there backs on all that the established order promised –
security, a future, a reputation, and promotion.

We must, therefore, ask what motivated them. Admittedly, with the intrigue
of court life and frustrated ambition, some may have defected to David out
of less than noble motives. However, the course of DavidÂ’s life in
relation to his "mighty men" suggests otherwise. They remained faithful to
David and the kingdom for life. Apart from the betrayal of Absalom
(DavidÂ’s own son) and his co-conspirators there is no record of division
or subterfuge among the "mighty men" themselves.

So, let us look at the character of these men to discover something of the
forerunner spirit.

Their defining attribute, as we turn to Scripture, was "bravery" –

"Some Gadites defected to David at his stronghold in the desert. They were
brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear.
Their faces were the faces of lionsÂ…" (1 Chr 12:8).

As warriors they proved themselves by outstanding acts of bravery in
battle. Jashobeam raised his spear against 800 men and killed them in one
encounter (see 2 Sam 23:8 & 1 Chr 11:11). Eleazar, as one of the three
mighty men, stood his ground against impossible odds even when the rest of
Israel retreated, gaining a great victory (see 2 Sam 23:9,10; 1 Chr
11:12-14). Likewise, Shammah, in the face of IsraelÂ’s fleeing troops took
a stand, again bringing victory (see 2 Sam 23:11-12). When holed up in
Adullam it may have been these three who, as a spontaneous gesture, broke
through enemy lines at risk of their lives to bring their
commander-in-chief, David, a wished-for drink from the well of Bethlehem
(see 1 Chr 11:15-19). And we dare not forget Benaiah who "performed great
exploits" by striking down two of MoabÂ’s best warriors...

While these men were possessed of outstanding physical bravery, more
importantly, they had already displayed great moral courage in joining
themselves to David. Forsaking the comforts and accoutrements of SaulÂ’s
court they faced impossible odds with DavidÂ’s outlaw band. They had
already selflessly abandoned themselves to David and, perhaps more
significantly, to the word of the Lord over his life.

"These were the chiefs of David’s mighty men – they, together with all
Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land,
as the Lord had promisedÂ…" (1 Chr 11:10; also v 1-3).

Their alignment with David was not just the gung-ho daring-do of youthful
men, but a considered commitment to prophetically revealed destiny. They
were fully cognizant of SamuelÂ’s word over David and the different spirit
by which he was animated. This discernment of prophetic purpose then
demanded their all. The call of the kingdom wrenched them from hearth and
home, from all that was nearest and dearest. As Jesus said, ‘‘If anyone
comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and
children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my
disciple" (Lk 14:26). Every human relationship – every security and
personal right, must be layed down to pursue the call of the King and his
kingdom. It demanded the forsaking of all their prestige and position in
SaulÂ’s regime.

Their battle prowess was, therefore, only a reflection of a life already
laid down.

It is significant that repeatedly these men swam against the tide. In
battle they stood their ground while others retreated. While all fled in
one direction they went the other. They did not go with the crowd. Nor
will those who hear the call of the kingdom over the cries of
self-preservation. Others may but you may not.

This is the distinguishing mark of the forerunner – in the face of
impossible odds they move into the kingdom animated by a force of spirit
others do not possess – "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the
kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold
of it" (Mtt 11:12).

Having heard the voice of destiny they have settled the question of
ownership. They are no longer their own – and so, in the heat of battle
they are able to lay their lives on the line. They are able to offer
themselves in sacrificial feats of bravery, and thereby, see God work on
their behalf. God plus one will always create a majority!

And so, what to the natural eye was impossible became possible. GodÂ’s
providences fulfilled his promises. Men and circumstances, despite
impossible odds, were moved by the hand of providence toward the
fulfilment of DavidÂ’s prophetic and kingdom destiny. Saul and his system
were taken out of the way and the Davidic order established in its

But the challenge remains for us – will we go with the flow, with the
established order, or make the break? Will we pursue selfish advantage, or
the high call of the kingdom? Will we, as DavidÂ’s mighty men, "fight the
good fight of faith", standing alone in the face of a system hostile to
the heart of God? And will we submit to the circumcision of heart that
tears us away from Saul and his value-system?

Before we conclude I need to explain my understanding of the Saul-system.
It is not primarily a denominational or organisational structure – it is
not so much how we do church, rather, it is why we do church. Our
structures have only served to institutionalise the underlying idolatry of
self. SaulÂ’s besetting sins were, and ours still are, self-will and
self-preservation. In all human community, including the redeemed, this
creates a false value-system, which is only then served by structure. This
was the motivating force behind Babel – the first community – when they
declared, "Let us build a towerÂ…to make a name for ourselvesÂ…" And so,
these sins of the heart motivate and animate the Saul-system – and are
therefore more or less common to all denominations, churches, and
ministries. This is the source of all denominational-ism and

There are many today who are looking for the new order – for community
transformation and the increase of the kingdom. But as with DavidÂ’s
kingdom there are two categories of "mighty men" – those who gathered to
David in the wilderness (Adullam and Ziklag), and those who gathered later
at Hebron (see 1 Chr 12:1 cf v 23). The former were a small band of
initially 400 (and later 600; see 1 Sam 22:2; 27:2; 30:9), the latter
numbering many thousands (see 1 Chr 12:23-37). So, what was the
difference? The death of Saul. After his death they came out of the
woodwork, flocking to DavidÂ’s support at Hebron. But we must ask who will
have the greater reward – the ‘wilderness band’ or the ‘Hebron band’?

Let us be unequivocal – the Saul-system will ultimately fail. And when it
does there will be an influx of souls into the heart of David’s camp –
into the very heart of our heavenly David himself. These, as in DavidÂ’s
army, are still described as "mighty men". As warriors and forerunners
they will still be instrumental to the increase of the kingdom – they are
still part of the advance guard. But this ‘Hebron band’ will be second to
those who had already identified with David in the wilderness. While Saul
was still alive – and at the loss of reputation, prestige, and position,
the ‘wilderness forerunners’ were the cutting edge of the advance guard.
They blazed the trail for the less intrepid, for the coming ‘Hebron band’.

In this Third Day of the Church, the ‘third anointing’ at Hebron and the
fullness of the kingdom is imminent – but there is still time.

We are facing some choices – will I wait for the convenience and comfort
of Hebron, or will I go to David now? Will I hold on to the status and
security of the visible structure, or seeing that which is invisible will
I let go? Am I willing to go to Christ now, and suffer with him outside
the camp?

Sure, he is in the wilderness, sure I will lose my reputation, sure this
is not the populist line – but what a joy to know that I have fulfilled
destiny, that I have responded to the heart-cry of God, so that –
"When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I
will seek" (Psa 27:8).

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