"You Give Them Something to Eat"
"Consequently, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision." —Acts 26:19
What I have come to believe concerning the Lord's glory and its manifestation in the church is supported by many Scriptures. Yet, it was through a night vision in 1971 that God granted me insight into His plan. In this spiritual encounter, I saw a great metropolis languishing under the weight of a deep and terrible darkness. Chiseled upon the faces of those in this wretched society was the image of hopelessness. The place was desolate of real life and the time for a recovery seemed long past.
I was with a group outside the city. We were not part of the darkness, but had been "baptized" in a glorious and powerful light. During the vision, I actually experienced the power of this light surging up from my innermost being. It coursed out through our hands like streams of laser light; a visible splendor shone from our bodies, especially our faces.
Suddenly, out from the city the great multitude began to grope their way toward us - thousands of people. Soon all were calling on the name of the Lord. As we laid our hands upon them and prayed for them, they also received the light.
The vision passed, and though I continued to lie in bed, I did not return to sleep. As dawn broke, I opened to the book of Isaiah. As a new Christian, this was the first time I was reading through the Bible. I turned the page from the previous day’s reading and there, for the first time, I read Isaiah 60. The words bolted into my mind like lightning, then shook my insides like thunder.
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth,
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you,
And His glory will appear upon you.
And nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
It says, "darkness will cover the earth." This was exactly what I saw in the vision! It proclaimed, "the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you," precisely describing what I had seen in the vision! It was as though I had actually stepped into the future and experienced a fulfillment of this prophecy. The Holy Spirit and the Word, working in divine symmetry, revealed that the glory of the Lord would be manifested in His people at the end of the age, and that "nations," currently languishing in darkness, would come to Christ!
Today many people are excited about the harvest. However, in the early seventies and through the eighties the idea of "multitudes coming to Christ" was not a common expectation. With the threat of nuclear war ever present, most Christians were not thinking, praying, or acting like revival was coming. What most expected was a nuclear war with the USSR and either the rapture of the church or the beginning of the great tribulation.
It was against this backdrop of fear and unbelief that the Lord spoke to me of the harvest. Today several hundred thousand souls each week come to Christ worldwide. Still, even this is small compared to what God is going to do in the days ahead.
As important as the harvest is, however, the primary focus of the vision was not winning the lost; it was on the ascendancy of Christ’s presence in the church. The Father’s priority is that the Lord Jesus be lifted up: The coming great harvest will be the result of Christ's presence! It will not be our programs or methods that bring this harvest into God's barns; it will be the glory of the Lord.
A Third Witness
The vision released within me lofty expectations for the future, while the text in Isaiah grounded my feet on the firm path of God's eternal Word. Still, the Lord was not done with me, and one more witness was about to come. After I read Isaiah, my next reading in my daily progression took me to Matthew, chapter 14. As I read, I paused after verse 15, which reads, "The disciples came to Him, saying, ‘The place is desolate, and the time is already past; so send the multitudes away.'"
This Scripture recalls the time when Jesus miraculously fed the multitudes. As I read, I noticed similarities between the vision of the multitudes in darkness and this scene from the Gospels. Both depicted a place of desolation and both communicated the sense that the situation was beyond remedy. Yet in spite of the apparent hopelessness of each, multitudes were ministered to in both.
Of course, there was no theological connection between the two texts; not even the most imaginative Christian would ever reference Matthew 14:13-21 with Isaiah 60:1-3. Yet, the Lord was speaking something that would personally affect me for the rest of my life. In response to the disciples urging Jesus to send the multitudes away, He answered,
"They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!"
And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish."
And He said, "Bring them here to Me."
The result was that "He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward Heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes" (Matt. 14:16-19).
Jesus had taken bread, blessed it, and then broken it. Again, I paused. This time it was because of a peculiarity concerning my last name: in Italian, Frangipane actually means "to break bread." Was the Lord using the meaning of my name to connect the feeding of the multitudes with the the conversion of the city in the vision?
Later that morning, I related the vision and the Lord's promise from Isaiah to my wife, Denise. I then told her about the feeding of the five thousand. I mentioned how I felt, that during the time of the end, when the world would seem utterly desolate and lost, the Lord would use us like He used the loaves to feed the multitudes. Then, in an effort to truly amaze her, for the first time in our young married life I explained that our last name, Frangipane, actually meant "to break bread." It was at that point my wife told me the meaning of her maiden name, Piscitelli. Incredibly, her name meant "little fishes."
Little Is Much With Jesus
Long before God had called Noah, Abraham, Moses, and many others in the Bible, He had affirmed the foreknowledge of His eternal purpose in the meaning of their names. For us, He did likewise: He revealed the DNA of our destiny in the meaning of our names!
Between the vision, the text in Isaiah, and the meaning of our names, I am convinced that a period of great glory and harvest awaits the church. Through the account of Christ's feeding the multitudes, the Lord also warned us to expect people without a similar vision to try to dampen our spirits. In this regard, you may have read criticism of this ministry on the Internet. Every critic is angry about one primary doctrine: the teaching I present that there is one last great outpouring coming before the church is raptured. I love it that I am persecuted because of a vision from God! Hallelujah! The fact is, while the critics seek to distort and slander, the vision of God and the great harvest is continuing in nations around the world.
Thus, when Christians complain the harvest "is already past," or that society has become too "desolate," it would be an error for any of us, either by our words, doctrines or actions, to ask to "send the multitudes away." The Lord has made it plain: it will not be too late or desolate for Him.
The Lord has proven many times that, as Christians, we do not need to stockpile resources before we attempt the "impossible." As long as we remain "blessed and broken" in the hands of the Master, our few loaves and fish are enough. What we have learned is that Jesus does not need a lot to work His miracles; He just requires we give Him all we have.
Scripture Cannot Be Broken
To my wife and me, the prophetic meanings attached to our last names tell us that the purposes of God are preordained. However, for all that these things mean to us personally, it is upon the Scriptures that faith must rest. Dreams, visions, and supernatural "coincidences" are still subjective experiences which must be confirmed and established by the written Word of God. We rest upon God's Word because Jesus said, "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
Thus, the Lord assures us that His Word ". . . shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it" (Isa. 55:11). Regardless of the current spiritual condition of Christianity, every promise God has made concerning His glory in the church, His purpose with Israel, and the harvest at the end of the age—every word will have its day of fulfillment! With the Almighty, it is never a matter of if His word will come to pass but when and with whom.
Yes, the hour is late; true, our cities are desolate. Yet Jesus still speaks powerfully to my spirit. As little qualified as we may be, if we truly give our all to Christ, He will bless us and break us, and then fill us with glory to reach multitudes. Indeed, what He said to His disciples, He says to all: The multitudes do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.
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The preceding message is adapted from a chapter in Francis' book, The Days of His Presence published by Kingdom Publishing and available in hardback edition and eBook.
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