A Journal for Bible Teachers

The Emerging Church

The Emerging Church

And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him” (Isaiah 59:16).

Several years ago this verse came alive to me while studying the life of Rees Howell. This verse served as a catalyst in helping to establish his ministry as a mighty intercessor of God. Today, when one looks around at the events taking shape in the world, one can feel the heart and passion of God in looking for such an extension of His name. Where are the world leaders who can point the way? Who has the answers to the myriad of problems that are evident throughout the earth today? A verse which typifies the world’s condition is found in Psalm 82:5: “They know not, neither will they understand: they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.”

Indeed, the world is out of course. It has lost its moral bearings, losing in essence its ability to even determine right from wrong. More specifically, however, the question can be asked: Where is the church? Is she capable of being God’s mouthpiece and example? Is she equipped to prepare the way for the mighty Christ, as did John the Baptist? I believe that God is preparing such a people; a church that will stand out from the crowd; a group of believers that will have the ability to stand in the gap, to distinguish right from wrong, to desire to become the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Keys from the Tribe of Zebulun

The tribe of Zebulun gives three very specific keys which helps to pinpoint the preparation that is necessary to be part of this emerging church. “Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.” (1 Chronicles 12:33 ).

The modern day applications for us can be as follows:

  1. Knowing how to fight spiritual warfare.
  2. Unity.
  3. Wholeheartedness.

Each of these points could be covered extensively. We will highlight the salient points for this article.

Spiritual Warfare

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

The Tribe of Zebulun were expert with all instruments of war. The weapons that are necessary to the bringing down of spiritual strongholds in various nations require us to become expert with all instruments of war. The emerging church must have the capacity to dispossess the enemy from their habitations. Ephesians 6:10-18 identifies many of the weapons that are at the church’s disposal, but there is another key that I would like to put emphasis on. Consider this portion of the Lord’s prayer. “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10). Jesus lays out the order for true effectual prayer. First, there is the recognition of a sovereign God in heaven. Then there is the acknowledgement of the holiness and awesome majesty of God. When we become acquainted with the holiness of God, we then begin to understand more of His heart and of His ways. We then come to know more of the establishment of His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

This is where real spiritual wars take place. We need to pray into being the will of God on earth as He has declared it in heaven. There can be the mistake of engaging in spiritual warfare foolishly or ill advisedly. This can be the result of not truly knowing the will of God. God’s will is revealed through intimate relationship with Him. God desires to establish His kingdom on earth through the medium of the church. Jesus has gone before us and made a way for the church of the last day to be victorious.

Those who embrace the message of holiness will learn to become effective in all instruments of war. In the final siege upon earth, the saints who accompany the Lamb are those whose garments have been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb. This involves choosing to pick up our cross and following on to know him. “And the armies which were in heaven follow him upon white horses, clothed in fine line, line, white and clean. (Matthew 16:24).


The Tribe of Zebulun knew how to keep rank. They understood their position and functioned accordingly as one. A very real testing that is found in the church today is on this subject of unity. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133 :1). The constituents of the spices upon Aaron’s beard were costly. I feel that one of the last bastions of the enemy’s strength lies in his ability to divide the brethren. If successful, it undermines the church’s ability to afflict permanent damage upon his kingdom. It is common to see church leaders contending on various issues.

Consider this exchange amongst the disciples of Jesus as He was nearing the cross. “They said unto him, grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.” (Mark 10:37). This resulted in some friction and contention. However, several days later the brethren were united in one accord in the upper room. This allowed the Holy Spirit to be released upon them thus bringing to birth the early church. Recognizing the tactics of the wicked one is much of the battle. Nehemiah was a man who had a close relationship with God. Because of this relationship he had the plan and tactics of the enemy revealed to him. “And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, everyone unto his work.” (Nehemiah 4:15). This resulted in a diminishing of the enemy’s strength and power. Let us endeavor to keep the peace one with another that we may then learn to keep rank, thus allowing that true unity to flow amongst the brethren.


The Tribe of Zebulun was not divided in their heart. Clearly, this is an area where the Lord is working today. “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26). The church as a whole likes to inhabit the middle ground. As Jesus commenced in His ministry on earth. He began to demand more from His disciples. Jesus makes a clear distinction in John 6 where He reveals those who serve Him for the blessings from those who serve Him for whom He is. He then poses this question to the twelve: “Will ye also go away?” Peter responded and said, “Lord, you alone have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67-68). The Lord is removing the middle ground in our day. Conditions will cause us to either become wholehearted or otherwise. “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16). A people who know the heart and the ways of God will characterize this emerging church. This involves a tremendous price. David prayed that God would examine and try his heart. (Psalm 26:1-2).

A whole heart represents the manner of king and priest that the emerging church is called to be. “And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever” (1 Samuel 2:35). “But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee” (1 Samuel 13:14). “And hast made us unto our God kings and priest: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10). The day will reveal what is truly in our hearts. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). A man with a double heart has a double mind. Such a man is incapable of being the standard bearer that God is looking for today. May we open ourselves wholly to the Lord so that we too would not be of a double mind.

We are living in exciting times. There is travail in the earth for the manifestations of the sons of God. All of creation longs for this emerging church to come forth. This church serves as a real threat to the camp of the enemy. There should be no understating of his desire to vanquish this move. May the keys of Zebulun encourage us and strengthen our resolve to be partakers of this glorious privilege of being the light showing the way to Christ–A church prepared to become the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ.

About the Author

Rev. Timothy O’Connell is an ordained minister of Zion Fellowship International, based in Waverly New York. He has served as a missionary in India for several years and has an extensive understanding and knowledge of the mission field. He is an excellent teacher of the Word. and is currently the Principal of Tung Ling Bible School (Singapore), and is also the Dean of the School of Leadership. He and his wife, Joanne, are currently based in Singapore.

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