Forerunners proclaim the coming of the Lord and the events surrounding the His coming. They prepare others by announcing the things that are about to happen so that people can get ready. John the Baptist was a key forerunner for Jesus’ first coming. His life gives us insight into the role of a forerunner. End-time forerunners and their role are spoken of often in the Word (Isa. 62:10-12; Jer. 23:20, 30:24; Dan. 11:33-35, 12:9-10; Joel 2:28-29; Mal. 4:5-6; Mt. 17:11; Acts 2:17-21; Rev. 11:3-6; 13:18).
Forerunners seek to live fully in God’s present purposes while preparing for the future. They live in both time frames. In the present, they seek to glorify God by sharing truth, and demonstrating signs and wonders that confirm His Word. The manifestation of Holy Spirit will continue to intensify as the time of Jesus’ appearing gets closer. Unprecedented revival is coming upon the earth. Forerunners live to win the lost, heal the sick, set the oppressed free and make disciples in the here and now. At the same time, they invest their energy studying what God has to say about the end-times so that they will have a deep understanding of Him and His future plan. Simply knowing a few end-time scriptures is not sufficient. Forerunners must grow in their understanding of scripture so that they can prophetically speak about the time to come.
The forerunner ministry announces Jesus’ second coming and seeks to awaken others’ expectation and interpretation of this unique timeframe in history. The goal is to help people to understand what Jesus is doing and to agree with Him rather than resist Him. Elements of the end-times include revival, judgment, deception, and persecution. One must have a balanced, biblical perspective and an understanding of Jesus’ heart in order to correctly interpret the interplay of these elements. Many will be confused and overwhelmed. Many will be fearful, angry and offended. They will not understand how a God of love could allow such tragedy and hardship. Even believers, in their lack of understanding, will be tempted to turn their backs on God. God tells us, there will be a great falling away and the love of many will grow cold (Matt 24:10-12). Forerunners will help people receive Jesus’ love and comfort instead of being offended by Him. They will bring right understanding of God’s judgments. God’s judgments are an expression of His love for His children. He is intervening to deliver the oppressed and to end the reign of tyrannical oppressors. God always offers His mercy to the oppressed and the oppressor, to anyone who will repent and receive it.
In Titus 2:13, Jesus’ return is called “The blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” He is coming again to rule all the nations and His judgments are to remove all oppression and rebellion against God from the entire earth. This is the fullness of the “good news.” But it will not come peacefully. Matthew 11:12 says, “From the day of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” John the Baptist was a forerunner. He knew his calling from birth. He was not physically violent, but he was inwardly violent against all that opposed God within his own heart. As his confidence in God grew, he demonstrated holy boldness and was able to speak with great authority. Yet, when he was imprisoned, even he sent his disciples to question Jesus about who he was. Jesus’ response shows us that all of us will be tempted to be offended at him when we go through suffering. Forerunners confront these contradictions within themselves, and as they overcome and receive more of the Kingdom within, they gain a confident boldness that is able to help others do so as well. Jesus also said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. – Matthew 10:34 Jesus is clearly saying that following Him will not be peaceful, it will stir up conflict and result in persecution, even from our closest friends and family. Many today, especially in America, are not prepared to endure this type of conflict. Other believers around the world have lived this for years, but in America, we have had such comfort and ease. We don’t want conflict, we seek comfort. Forerunners are called to help others press through this discomfort and embrace the path of suffering.
Forerunners are called to know the generation of the Lord’s return. No one can know the hour, but we can know the generation. Knowing the generation requires being able to read the signs of the times. The Bible tells us what signs to look for, both positive and negative. Noah did not know when the rain would come. He didn’t even know what “rain” would look like, but he knew God had given him an assignment that was for his generation. Unfortunately, the rest of the people on the earth didn’t have a clue about the time they were living in. They were too busy “living their lives.” Paul teaches that we should know the “times and seasons” related to Jesus’ second coming (1 Thes 5:1-6). Jesus tells us to be watchful , be alert, be ready and pray (Matt 24:42, 25:13; Luke 12:35, 40; 21:34, 36).
God is bringing forth forerunners who understand His heart of love in the midst of judgment like Ezekiel and John did. By knowing the Word in its sweetness and its bitterness, they will partner with the Spirit to proclaim the truth of God’s heart to others, and expose Satan’s lies as he tries to create offense toward God. Forerunners are voices that prepare the Lord’s people for His return by dislodging the accusation against God in the hearts of others. Our hearts must be established in confident love before our God who is love. There is no contradiction in His personality as He releases His end-time judgments. God will be manifest as the Warrior-King openly battling against His oppressors to deliver and vindicate His people.
For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it? Joel 2:11