Where Is Your Faith?
We all have pet peeves - intrinsic little foibles that drive us mad and set our moods afire. When these things occur the affect is tantamount to the running of jagged fingernail over chalkboard – only felt on a deeper, more instinctual level. This study touches on one of my biggest pet peeves, for to my way of thinking our subject has no legitimate place in the Body of Christ.
The vexation of which I speak is that of unbelief – a sad and comprehensive lack of belief in the supernatural from within the church today. Yes, you read that correctly - a grotesque lack of substantial belief in the supernatural from within the Body of Christ. If this declaration is no cause of concern to you, it may be time for honest self-examination; for the absence of this seminal building block within the church should be a major concern to us all.
It’s a widely accepted axiom that faith has become a sickly apparition of its former self throughout western culture. You may have encountered this in your own walk and wound up scratching your head in wonder that such a condition could have so deeply permeated our ranks. The trend is maddening – perhaps constituting the most confounding paradox ever recorded. But how was this allowed to come to pass?
First let’s prime the pump:
a. Is not belief in God in itself an acknowledgement of belief in the supernatural?
b. If one’s belief in God is genuine, should it not (by extension) equate to belief of His Kingdom in the heavenly realms? If one can accept the paradigm of a Heavenly realm (Paul reported being taken to the 3rd Heaven), does this not extend also to the devil and his demonic realm residing in what is commonly called 2nd Heaven?
c. When did Angels stop ministering among us as recorded throughout scripture (and specifically in Hebrews 1:14)? If this activity never stopped, why should it be incredible for a mortal to encounter one on occasion? Did not the writer of Hebrews say we might?
d. Where is the scripture foretelling the forfeiture (or halting of) miraculous signs throughout the Body of Christ? If we believe that these things were common in the first three centuries (because of meticulous accounts of supernatural events), what is the base logic supporting the notion that the Holy Spirit was of a mindset to change directions and recant His powerful works on Earth? Find this directive in scripture and I shall immediately repent of everything that is to follow.
e. There is a painful disparity that has yawned between God’s promises of a powerful movement in His Body and the current reality of a church that is woefully bereft of said activity. Those who love the Lord (and care to honestly examine the issue) explain the phenomenon by purporting a “change of tactics” due to a saturation of the Holy Spirit over the past 2000 years. This theory states that there is no longer a want or “need” for God to manifest in the old “miraculous” ways, since all who love the Lord receive the Holy Spirit from the moment that we take Jesus into our hearts. This theory goes on to suggest that the Holy Spirit is contented to work quietly among His children – rarely seen in power so that faith may result from a lack of supernatural movement. This well-intended yet wrong-minded theorem is the most compelling of the arguments that I will address in the assertions to follow.
f. Even prophesy – which Christendom teaches was real in the days of scripture (and was even reported to be common in the first churches), is now considered to be a debunked practice by many in the Body of Christ. Those who propagate this notion insist that the practice of sending “word” (or “Rhema word”) to an individual through prophetic utterance was abandoned by the Holy Spirit because of the aforementioned Holy Spirit “saturation”. This theorem states that God is now of the mindset to speak directly to individuals in His Body, negating entirely the need for a delivered Rhema word. Though this theory contains elements of truth (the Holy Spirit does indeed speak to us in this common manner), it is short-sighted and ultimately unscriptural.
The net result is a Body that is sadly lacking in power; self absorbed, carnal-minded, and attention-deficient. We are governed by clock-watchers who are anxious to “move services along” so that we can get on with OUR lives - relegating our “beloved” Savior to little moments of devotion to which He has been carefully assigned. A church comprised as such will never see anything beyond the scope of the provincial, thereby reducing claims of supernatural activity to the ridiculous – the domain of disturbed and delusional Christians attempting to re-ignite fires that have long gone out.
The Apostle Paul prophesied the coming of this sad condition in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:
“1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
One would naturally expect the ungodly to have little or no faith in beings that flitter unseen about us bathed in golden-light. It strains credulity, however, that the very group of individuals which call themselves by the name of the one and only God would have so little belief in such things. How could have our faith become so thin? Could this be the age of the apostate church after all?
Jesus prophesied about this time in Matthew 24:12:
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…”
By citing “the love of most”, it’s vital to understand that our Lord was not referring the world, whose love is not all expected. He is referring to those from whom love should be the norm. He was talking about us, dear ones. If in your heart there is produced a knee-jerk reaction to recoil from this truth, consider carefully the state of affairs around us. Look closely and you will see that the love to which Jesus was referring isn’t only the love that should be directed toward Him, but to love in general.
The family unit is failing all around us as the institution of marriage is assaulted by luke-warmness and depravity. Divorce has become so common that many are opting to forgo marriage entirely. It is starting to ring true (for those who are cognizant of this sad state of affairs) that we’ve raised up whole generations of individuals who know little (or nothing) about self-sacrifice or the love of others – ignorant of what true love really is. How can one who is ignorant of undiluted love claim to love anyone other than themselves? By extension, how can people in such a condition ever make a pretense at truly loving God?
We see no power in our churches because we have so little faith. We have so little faith because we lack devotion to the One from whom our faith is derived. We lack devotion because our love has grown cold toward anyone beyond the scope of that which touches us directly. Thus has arrived the age of the pipe-dream – of 15 minute-fame and fortune unencumbered by responsibility toward our fellow man. Meanwhile many of our churches combat this worldliness by injecting copious helpings of glam-tested programming into their local body, cleverly designed to attract the masses. They promulgate programs promoting love and mercy (appropriately), while ignoring almost completely God’s other (equally important) virtues of justice, purity of heart, and holiness – without which none will see His face.
Hell is rarely mentioned.
Many of our books and programs are focused on things of this earth. They teach us how to make our lives more prosperous and meaningful here; even though God instructed us to train our sights into the next world where true riches await those who run a good race. These charlatans want us to forget that we only have a few quick years on this globe, and this in an attempt to turn our gaze from the epiphany that initially drew us from the impermanence of this realm. We start our journey with Jesus seeking God’s salvation from the unwise practice of building sand castles that dissolve the moment a strong tide rushes in. This clarity is then stolen by many ministers who use slick marketing and insidious scripture-twisting catch-phrases like “name it and claim it!”
The end result is an infrastructure infected with narcissism and profiteering. We find our minds drifting to the football game even before the pastor has finished his opening remarks – or to the restaurant and how terrible the lines are likely to be. We become impatient if worship lingers beyond a few excited minutes of vibrant clapping that might dare to rouse us from slumber; and even this rarely results in actual “worship” as our gaze wanders around the crowd to case our surroundings and take stock of others in attendance.
Woe to us, my fellow little ones – we are imperiled.
When pressed on the matter, it is startling to find how little we truly believe. Want proof? You need only turn within and answer the following questions with an honest heart:
a. If one was tell you that there are confirmed reports of blind receiving their sight, the lame walking again, removed organs restored, and limbs re-grown, would you believe them?
b. If one was to report that one had seen the Lord Jesus – and that the Lord had given him/her a message to tell others; would your brows rise in bald disbelief?
c. If one were to report that a dead man had risen from his coffin three days after death with a message of repentance on his decaying lips – would you smirk knowingly?
All of these statements are true and even commonplace for those whose eyes and ears are open to what the Great Rhema of God is doing today. And yet a vast majority of those who might answer those questions would have to admit to, (a.) “no”, (b.) “yes”, and (c.) “yes”.
Once again, children – we are gravely imperiled.
Depend upon it – we live in amazing times. Prophesy is being fulfilled at an alarming rate and our Savior's return is eminent; though not by the manner in which most have been taught. Many eye-witness accounts of supernatural experiences are being reported from all over the world. The blind are indeed seeing, the lame are indeed walking, and even the dead are rising. Yet we of the west nod condescendingly at these stories and (if in a magnanimous mood) toss a pebble’s-worth of belief at the phenomenon before allowing Sports Center or Nick-at-Night to put the matter out of our minds.
Our Bible tells us that miracles were once commonplace and for centuries at a time - and yet now we act as though miracles have been invariably confined to antiquity. My answer to this ridiculous notion is thus: If such is the extent of your belief in God, why do you bother with the faith at all? If you truly espouse this thinking, then you have either (a) been deluded into following a religion that exhibits no more actual power than the nearest Elks Club, or (b) you have fallen for the great lie that our God has somehow changed; or has lost interest in interacting with His children as He did for millennia.
Thus the million-dollar question: Where is your faith?
Belief in God is an acknowledgement of belief in the supernatural.
It remains a strange irony of life that seminal truths are usually the simplest and most obvious before us. We search and seek and strive for answers only to find that the greatest are found under our very noses and in broad daylight. Such is the nature of restoring a deeper and more tactile faith within the Body of Christ. For that is what we are truly seeking – a faith that is nearer than the reach of your finest concordance, richer than the most esoteric of Man’s cleverest axioms, and far deeper than the hour and a half to which many Christians restrict our Lord each week.
Here you must pause and honestly ask yourself: If the power of your faith begins and ends among the annuls of ancient writings, how then does it differ from other faiths that are forever buried in the silt of mythology? If you have nothing more to show for your faith than a belief system that seems to have no immediate impact on your life, how does your God differ from the statues around which the ancients once prostituted themselves?
A very real God watches this apathetic behavior in His children and wonders the same thing.
So here is the undiluted truth…
Theology (the scientific study of God) is a worthy tool for learning, but it is never to be mistaken as the substance of our Faith. To truly believe in our Holy Father is a far cry from the yeast-laden cranial comfort food that many have espoused in an effort to suave a guilty conscience and give meaning to life’s unanswerable questions. Many have marooned God in the dominion of the mind – among dusty manuals and philosophical blathering to be plucked from the desk when one is restless or bored. Philosophies of man, even when packaged as theology, fare little better than wax candles exposed to the heat of a blistering sun when compared against the light of The Way.
Therein lies the rub. Our Father isn’t a “subject” to which we may become enamored – He is the consuming fire to be sought and worshipped. Though it remains true that we must study the Word of God, the question (like so many others) becomes one of motive. Are you studying to truly seek His face and know Him more intimately, or do you have other motives for study? Seek Him with all your heart and you will invariably be drawn into Godly wisdom as you study the Word. But if you pursue wisdom by including the Bible as one of your material resources, the end result will be frustration and disillusionment as you obtain a base knowledge about God while forever missing His Glory. He wants to be known, not studied – and there’s more beauty in the tiniest gesture of brotherly love than in the most gorgeous twist of poetic prose that has ever been constructed.
Get out of the head and return to the heart, and you will find your King.
To believe in God is a return to the child-like wonder that we knew in the first years of discovery. To the Sunday school classroom where we sat in little chairs open-mouthed and awe-struck, learning for the first time that God once parted the sea and rained fire down on Mount Carmel. This is true belief – to know that we serve the One who sees all, knows all, and loves all (but wickedness) with an undying passion. To truly believe is to expose oneself to the God of Heaven, the inexorable and eternal – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – who gives us our every breath and powers every heartbeat. There is nothing detached or esoteric about Him – He is with us, in us, and around us. To believe in God while ignoring His supernatural nature is asinine detachment – delusion of the highest order.
We are in the habit of quoting the Bible by stating, “With God, all things are possible”. It is high time we start living like we believe it.
It’s a package deal
If you’re inclined to embrace the point that was made in the previous section, then we can take the next logical step without delay. True belief in God is to strip away the worldly view and know that He is real and powerful beyond our ability to imagine. With such knowledge comes all that He told us about His Kingdom – as well as all that we were warned against concerning the enemy.
Heaven is real. Hell is real. Angels fill the air around us, as do the devils and demons that are bent on our destruction as well as their own. The war of the heavens is an absolute and you are one of the objects of that fight.
Too many are playing with the notion of the supernatural as though it is a hobby in which we are free to indulge on a whim. We see this in the movies we watch, the television we consume, and the books that we read. Pop-culture today is inundated with the occult. Our children and young are daily assaulted by the darkness of mythology as authors and screenwriters flood the market with wickedness. At first blush this would indicate an elevated level of faith in the supernatural, even if unwisely focused on the wrong side. Alas, even this is wishful thinking. The reason so many are consumed with objects of the occult is because so few believe in anything that cannot be seen. Thus (in their minds) it stands to reason that the supernatural world is a tapestry of fantasy which cannot constitute an actual threat.
They read about and watch programs that feature abominable myths like vampires and werewolves – creatures that heretofore were fictional objects of scorn and evil to be repelled and killed by virtuous means. The paradigm has long-since shifted so that these foul and twisted beings are handsome magical creatures that are “good at heart” and forever conflicted by their condition. They must have human flesh or blood to consume, but are torn with that momentous plight and have therefore become new incarnations of the “good-hearted-rebel” to which so many of our foolish young seem to flock. If you have ever known a girl (or woman) who is explicitly drawn to “the bad boy” (despite the horrible ruin such a man will doubtless bring into her life) then you understand the mentality that the enemy espouses in order to fuel this newest craze in pop culture.
Melodramatic blathering, you say? You need only visit your nearest bookstore and peruse the section dedicated to teens and young adults to see this for yourselves. What you will find is that a majority of the titles concern angst-riddled love stories about vampires, witches, werewolves, ghosts, dragons, wizards, and even zombies. In each case the objects concerned are sanitized versions of previous mythological creatures bearing the same name. Handsome and beautiful, cloaked in darkness and seducing our young with expressions that are just as misunderstood as a teenager is likely to feel. It is a minefield of danger, brothers and sisters – accepted by far too many placating parents as “no big deal” or “harmless fantasy”. Flee from this genre at all costs, for it is the spirit of death – a demonic principality spat right out of hell.
There is much evidence in God’s Word to support what I am telling you, and one need only appeal to the basest logic to see it. At several points throughout the Bible our Father strictly forbids the practicing of the magic arts, including spiritists (today’s psychics), mediums, magicians, and all other forms of witchcraft. The penalty in Israel for indulging any of these was death without exception. So you believe that God is truth and always speaks it? Then ask yourself why He would mandate such a fate if the practice isn’t (or wasn’t) “real”?
There are only two sources of power in the supernatural, and one is a mutated, corrupted, and diminished version of its former self. The first (of course) is God – who alone holds the power of creation and all that billows forth from His magnificence. The second is the devil – who once being a Godly creature of significant power, allowed himself to be corrupted by pride and hatred into the abomination that he has since become. Please don’t be deceived – there is no comparing these powers. God towers over satan as we do the amoebae, and even this is a crude and unworthy comparison. Our God has the advantage of having created satan, whereas most humans aren’t even sure what an amoebae is. God is true power and the enemy must console himself with parlor tricks and lies in order to maintain his foundering kingdom. Ruined by a snare of his own device, satan fooled himself into thinking that his power was original – only to find that it was actually derivative. Once unplugged from the only source of true power (and this of his own doing), he found that he was ill-equipped to even contend with other arch angels, far less the King of Glory.
And as it pertains to this discussion, here is the bottom line: For a human to work in the supernatural (or exhibit power derived thereof) he or she must appeal to one of these two sources – there is no third party or exclusive alternative. There is no skirting the issue or walking the fence that divides these juxtaposed kingdoms. To appeal to one is to hate the other – our King has made that clear.
The Lord cares far too much about our spiritual development (and eternal destiny) to ladle out cheap thrills in an undignified attempt to garner worship. He is thus disinclined to distribute such power except when necessary and with great care, for our walk with God is by faith and by faith alone. By contrast, the enemy is all too happy to give the little that he has to a human if doing so means damning that soul to hell in the process. You may be asking, “Do you mean to say that you believe in black magic in this enlightened scientific age?” My answer to such a question would be, “You bet your life I do, and I can prove it in scripture.”
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
22 But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.
7 But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness.
7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars —they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Anyone who has ever read the words of God (as well as those who have the great honor of speaking to Him personally) can attest to the fact that our Lord does not waste a single syllable. Even when joking (or indulging sarcasm), He speaks complete truth with absolute transparency. If He does not want you to know something, do not be surprised when He says as such – very matter-of-factly. Thus an exclamation mark is applied to the last of the scriptures that are listed above. In that scripture, Father articulates the things that will (if indulged) get a person thrown into the lake of fire.
As you can see for yourself, the underlined portion speaks of those who practice magic arts – those who have appealed to the enemy for a few measly parlor tricks in an effort to work “wonders” and seem important among his/her fellow man. Don’t kid yourself – such individuals are indeed given certain supernatural abilities, though the cost is higher than these poor souls can realize. Nowadays we mock the notion of someone “selling their soul” to the devil in exchange for “this or that” – but this is only because most of us (including Christians) no longer believe deeply enough to take the demonic realm seriously.
All of this (when summarized) can be extrapolated to a single salient truth. To believe in God means that we must believe what He has told us concerning His kingdom and about the filth that rules the underworld. You cannot accept parts of that universe while randomly omitting others, although many make the attempt to their own peril. You cannot embrace the palatable portions while weeding out the less savory aspects of the supernatural realm. It is all a part of the same saga – and the fight that rages in the heavens impacts far more than just we humans.
Angels are still on the Job
We now proceed under the assumption that you have accepted the truths that were stated in the previous two points: That (a) to believe in God is to believe and embrace the reality of a supernatural realm, and that (b) to embrace such knowledge means to accept all that we have been told in God’s Holy Word concerning those kingdoms. The question then becomes – how are these forces comprised and how do they interact with us?
The answer to this portentous question is actually one of utmost simplicity. Nothing has changed.
Angels still serve our Holy Father and are therefore assigned to minister to His children until such time that those children are extracted from the world (usually in the process of death). These ministering and guardian angels are then re-assigned to new arrivals (babies) and the process repeats – over and over until our Lord returns to bring the final curtain down on this world.
After years of researching the matter, it is safe to assert that there is a heavenly creature assigned to nearly every task imaginable. There are angels who (as stated in Revelation) collect the prayers of the saints so that those prayers can be waved before our Father as fragrant incense. There are angels who collect our tears, scribe angels who are meticulously gathering every word that is uttered upon the earth, and angels who are assigned to forces of nature that modern science would have you believe run “on their own”. The list goes on and on – angels who specialize in healing, who minister in times of grief, who deliver messages, dispense justice, and angels whose specialty is the praise of our God and the ministry of music.
Then there are the great warriors of God comprising “The Host”. Listed throughout the bible as “The Army of the Lord (Joshua 5:14), its arch angel is Michael, who was also listed in Daniel as “the prince who protects your people (Israel)”. According to Enoch (whose apocryphal writings are quoted in scripture), there are seven arch angels who have been given the administration of the entire angelic realm – all in perfect submission to our Holy Father and to our King Yeshua, forever praised.
Then there’s the enemy…
According to Isaiah and Revelation, a third of these beings joined the devil in his rebellion and were cast out of heaven by those who remained true to their God. These twisted and mutated beings are called demons and thus comprise the brood that works tirelessly against the children of light. For mankind to ignore them is a grave error, for they flourish in the lives of those who thumb their noses at the existence of the demonic realm. They have but one overreaching purpose – to serve their master by enticing God’s children to join him in rebellion, thus sealing their souls to an eternity of horrors that were never created for them. Consumed in hatred and loathing the light, they are a gruesome horde whose damnation is sealed and whose time is short. Doubt not that their greatest wish is to find you sealed with them in death – writhing in agony as they exhaust themselves torturing you. This will come to pass for any who reject the merciful salvation of our God, which was provided at great cost on a rocky hill called Golgotha.
Miracles are real and still happen
Today’s westernized Christian has contented himself with the notion that miracles are part of the faith, provided they remain within “acceptable” theological parameters. A lump vanishes or a rash disappears, and we are rightly exultant to have witnessed a miracle of God. But surely you can see where the disconnect sets in as we attempt to justify this sort of provision against the miraculous signs and wonders that were listed in the pages of the Bible.
Please don’t misunderstand – I am not diminishing the aforementioned healing scenarios, for they are indeed a manifest movement of the Great Rhema of God. The point I am making is that these scenarios are but one of many miraculous things that our God wishes to perform among us – things that are even now occurring around the world in broad daylight for those who believe.
Were I of the mindset to indulge the urge, I could easily fill many pages detailing first-hand accounts of miraculous signs that are being witnessed around the globe. For the sake of brevity, however, I will instead refer you to any decent internet search engine – which if cleverly employed will produce these witnesses en mass. Dead men are indeed rising, limbs are indeed being restored, and wombs that were removed are returned and have produced healthy children. People are being taken into Heaven to witness all that our gracious Father has prepared for those who believe in His only Son, and there are also those who have drawn the assignment of reporting the horrors of Hell. These examples barely scratch the surface of this surge in the supernatural, which will only continue to increase in the coming years.
And now it is about to get serious.
The great outpouring of God’s Mighty Holy Spirit is at last upon us. Abba will soon stand and send Rhema forth in power, and the impact is going to shake the Earth to its very foundations. If despite its scriptural roots you have never heard of this outpouring, you shouldn’t be surprised. The enemy wants nobody to receive it and has done yeoman’s work building an opposing consensus within the Body of Christ. No matter – this anointing is going to happen whether the enemy likes it or not, and not even it’s most ardent detractors will be able to ignore it.
The best way to describe this outpouring was perfectly framed by Bob Jones in 2011:
It is the 2nd Pentecost.
Our Father is releasing to His children the gifts of healing, signs, wonders, and languages. All of these and much more will abound in the outpouring, for all that occurred in the book of Acts will now return on a much larger scale and with far greater power. The Body of Christ will be renewed and millions who are now sleep-walking will be awakened from their slumber. Holiness, righteousness, justice, and purity are now returning to take their place next to other virtues on which the church has been singularly focused these past 45 years. The days of “grace without consequence” and “eternal security” (as framed by Calvinists) are over - Jesus is raising the standard in His Body.
Much scripture bears witness to this time, but none is greater than John 14:12 where Jesus’ words are recorded as such; “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
Scour your historical memory banks and answer honestly – has anyone arisen on the earth since our Lord’s ascension who worked in miracles, signs, and wonders even greater than what Jesus did? This is, of course, a ridiculous exercise in rhetoric; for the answer is a resounding no. Taking our Savior at His word, we must therefore conclude that the time of which He was speaking is a time yet to come; when a great anointing will burst forth from our Holy Father as never before.
That time, brothers and sisters, is now.
You may asking yourself, why? What is the larger point? Doubtless, God is able to do all things and could accomplish his ends without our help. But don’t you see that this assertion walks headlong into the answer of the questions that precede it? It is true that Jesus could (with a snap of a finger) annihilate the universe and all life within it. On a lesser scale, He could easily accomplish the things that were promised in the Great Outpouring without our help. Simply put, He doesn’t want to. He desires to do this through His children – to act in keeping with his magnanimous and gracious nature, which has always been to cultivate in His babies the Godly virtues and accompanying power that we were created to exhibit.
It was mankind who, having received the gracious gift of Earthly dominion in the garden, betrayed our Heavenly Father by giving that authority over to the father of lies. Most of us can recount with little difficulty the horror that this betrayal has given us – poverty, sorrow, selfishness, pride, sexual immorality, a myriad of death, and the agony of grief that accompanies each of these. As such, it must be mankind who (through a total surrender of self-will combined with God’s astounding power of sanctifying transformation) will finally correct that error and see this world restored to its one true King. The result of this surrender will be the manifest presence of Jesus Christ in His Children – working in signs and wonders as we engage the enemy in a battle of the ages that was foretold by the prophet Joel and will culminate in the coronation of our Messiah Yeshua.
He will conquer the world and take His throne in Jerusalem as foretold. It is our great honor to participate in this historic crescendo, the net result of which will be the greatest harvest of souls since the world began.
Don’t believe it? Hang around – you will see these things for yourself soon enough.
The organized church has been impugning, slandering, persecuting, and murdering the prophets of God since the dawn of time. It was thus during the millennia that preceded the birth of Christ, and the practice has continued in the millennia since. One might have thought that such a thing would cease with the advent of the Kingdom of God, but empirical evidence makes an iron-clad case to the contrary.
Name a prophet in the bible and there’s a very good chance that the individual in question was likely persecuted or martyred. Fact is, the column of prophets who died natural deaths is a razor-thin pancake of a line next to the towering colossus that is the juxtaposed column representing those who left this world via the instrument of murder. And here is the rub, Beloved – with very few exceptions, the murderers were those who called themselves worshippers of God. Jesus characterized the trend thus:
New International Version (NIV)
47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them.48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.
Are there any words to adequately describe the bravery and self-sacrifice of God’s prophets? Knowing that their message would likely be ridiculed and rejected, they still brought forth the Word of the Lord at great personal cost. Those who were calling poor Jeremiah a liar and heretic were the very ones accepting the words of Isaiah as true Word of God – forgetting that poor Isaiah ended his tenure on earth stuffed into a log and sawed in half for the words he brought during the wicked reign of Manasseh. The same was true for Jeremiah – who after death suddenly found acceptance among the descendants of the very ones who persecuted him.
It is the highest of callings, and contrary to popular belief within the Body of Christ, is a vocation that God has never halted.
The book of Acts list many brothers and sisters in Christ who were working in the full gift of prophesy. Although there are theologians who purport that these post-atonement prophets differed somehow from those who worked in the Old Testament era, the facts say otherwise. These men and women manifested God’s gift of seeing and prophesying with great consistency to what was common before Jesus was born. Paul spoke of the gift often in his epistles, going so far as to list it with four other groups which have since been labeled “The Five-Fold” (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Preachers, and Teachers). Moreover, the granddaddy of all prophetic works was written by the Apostle John at the end of the first century on the isle of Patmos – a book called “Revelation”. In this book John reported the following utterance:
New International Version (NIV)
10 …Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”
And now history is repeating itself. The church is doing the same thing to its prophets and seers that the pre-Christ church did to their prophets.
There are brothers and sisters all over the world who have been handed this sacred torch. Some see the Lord’s form and hear His words – others are given messages in dreams as was foretold of this time in scripture. Some are permitted to hear His voice, catch His fragrance, and many have been called up into Heaven (or taken into Hell) in order to receive revelation for God’s children.
Don’t believe it? Upon what do you base your skepticism? A mountain of evidence can be brought forth from God’s word to support the assertion that The Holy Spirit still operates in this manner. These Christian prophets meticulously confirm their messages in the Word of God, since no true Rhema-Word will ever contradict the Bible. Do you actually have evidence that these individuals are false, or are you refusing them (as many do) without the common decency of actually reading what they were given?
There are countless examples of uncanny accuracy pertaining to these prophets as they are vindicated by the fulfillment of the Word that God gives them. Yet they continue to be persecuted – not only by the world, but by the very church in which they came to know Jesus as Savior. They are subjected to public ridicule, unceremoniously removed from pastoral duties, and are constantly impugned as unbalanced charlatans. Surely men like Jeremiah and Ezekiel would watch these trials from Heaven and nod knowingly, as it is an eerie replay of their own plight thousands of years ago.
Galling though it is, we must here give credit where credit is due – for the enemy has struck a masterful blow over the past few decades by sending throughout the flock a sufficient number of false prophets and opportunistic thieves (masquerading as faith-healers) in order to foment in the Body of Christ an epidemic of “soft apostasy”. Let us be clear: It remains true that we are under orders to test every spirit and vet a prophet (through the Holy Spirit) to be sure that the Word that we are given is true Word from God (usually by the agreement of two or three witnesses). What we have in the church today, however, is a total shutdown on the matter of prophesy (in many quarters) throughout the Body of Christ. This is a grievous evil and must be immediately rectified.
Wisdom is proven right by her actions, and she is about to vindicate her children in the 2nd Pentecost. For in this day when “seeing is believing”, many who have suspended belief regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit are about to have their eyes opened in a most alarming manner. They will bear witness to the Glory of God and to the restoration of His prophets as they take their rightful place in the church. This will happen before their very eyes, and sooner than they think.
Though there are many pitfalls that can lead Christians into dangerous water and shipwreck them on the rocks of apostasy, I would like to address two in particular. The first pitfall is somehow convincing oneself that one can evolve to a point where a repentant spirit is no longer necessary. Many who live under the influence of Calvinism fall prey to this falsehood. The second pitfall is becoming “so knowledgeable” that the thirst for His knowledge is replaced by the pride of teaching others. In such a state, many a good teacher has become that hard-headed ideologue who can tolerate nobody’s dogma but their own – personally affronted at the notion of being taught on the smallest matter. Avoid this at all costs – for when the head hardens the heart is sure to follow.
Heaven isn’t big enough for you and your pride, and long after we are glorified the learning will continue. Even after a trillion years with our Father, we will be no closer to achieving His greatness than we are right now. Even if we were to study with the finest minds or discourse with Yeshua Himself on the deeper mysteries of God, those trillion years would still find us woefully short of the silly goal of knowing all that He knows. It is beyond us, Children. By extension, if a trillion years are insufficient to learn all He knows, how could we possibly hope to make the tiniest dent in His vast array of wisdom over the trial of a single lifetime? How dare we ever get to the point when we have cut ourselves off from the childlike wonder that once captivated us when studying His Holy Word? Brothers and sisters, we must retain (at all costs) our unquenchable thirst for His revelation – the joy of new discovery as Father unveils hidden manna from the Bible that was somehow “not there” the most recent time we read the passage at hand.
Does this not apply to you? I certainly hope that it doesn’t. But ask yourself honestly as you reflect before your God: When is the last time you sat in simple company truly ingesting a word of knowledge as it was shared from the beaming face of a brother or sister enraptured by revelation? When is the last time you felt this way yourself? Chances are, you were probably sent there to be taught by means of their utterance, but even if their revelation was wrong-minded (or scripturally unsound), did you not love the passion in their eyes? Even if they needed guidance, did you not (after gently correcting them) love them for digging hungrily for the mysteries of God? Did you not encourage them to continue along that path of discovery? Surely you recall bible studies as a young one – sitting over coffee or pastries caught up in the joy of discussing God’s marvelous love until the wee hours of night? Do you recall how seamless was the jump from the study of His word into the rapture of worship? Did worship and study not constantly overlap?
When is the last time you felt the beat of a euphoric heart because of the tiniest morsel of discovery that shattered a preconceived notion or thumbed its nose at your trusted concordance? When is the last time you sought His face and found eternal truths more precious than the sum of earth’s wealth; plucked from an obscure passage and handed to you by a loving Father? Do you recall that beautiful time? Before the scourge of opinion set up like hardened concrete in your heart, forever sealing into place pet theorem that was never meant to be more than stepping stones to the next discovery as you went further up and further in with your God?
Brothers and sisters, it is impossible to learn enough – we never “arrive”. The Word of God is living and breathing – sharper than a double-edged sword. When is the last time it breathed into your life?
In your heart of hearts and in the wee hours of the morning, would you not sell all that you have to experience that joy again? You can, you know; for He awaits you. The true Master – the one and only Rabbi. In his arms is love itself, in his hand is your provision, and in His eyes is the light of truth. If you return to Him you will find what you seek, and not only from scripture but by direct revelation of our Father’s Great Rhema. If, however, you only seek to learn about Him, even this pursuit will elude you. We have but one teacher and you are not He. We are His “tahl meed” (disciples) learning together – ever evolving as we seek Him with all our hearts.
Repent, Dear one – return to your first love.
Repent of your opinions – repent of your agendas. Cast them out as you would a filthy rag so you can receive the actual Glory of God. He is coming to us in power and not as in times past. Please do not miss out on what He wants to give you because your hands are too full. Release your grip on the arrogant notion of understanding all that “God can or will do”. If your fists are clinched around pet doctrines, then by definition you are ill equipped to receive. To receive, your hands must be open and they must be empty. Rediscover that God is infinitely higher than we, and that our best laid plans are rubbish in His sight. Cast your agendas away and all your cares on Him. Die to yourself – crucify your own will and cry out for His. Empty your heart of foolish worldliness and the silly desire for man’s approval. Resolve to be an empty vessel for His Glory and that is precisely what you shall receive.
Repent for abandoning the joy of discovery in exchange for the mirage of prestige. Take up with a sincere heart the cry of the Apostle Paul, whose staggering wisdom would doubtless outstrip the wisest among us:
1 Corinthians 2:2
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
In another scripture, Paul warned that “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Understand that the Holy Bible was not written to make men wise, but to draw mankind into an intimate relationship with its author. Seek to know Him with all your heart and Wisdom will come along for the ride.
Take heart, Brother and Sisters – if you are feeling the sting of conviction, I know precisely where you are and how you feel. I too spent years reading the Bible “lid to lid”, over and over – and with each pass felt increasingly confident in my own knowledge of the things of God. I consulted (like you) “great minds” in order to galvanize my opinions for what cannot be nailed down through scripture in black and white. Instead of contenting myself with “this could be what the Lord was saying here,” I was all too happy to finally declare, “I’m absolutely certain He was saying this”. For some of these things I was doubtless correct, for His word does not breed confusion. I have since learned, however (by the Grace of the Author), that I was horribly mistaken on several topics about which I once spoke with cringe-worthy certainty. With this beautiful and terrible discovery came one clear directive:
There is coming a day when we will all be translated. Many of us will meet this happy moment through death – eternally sealed into our Father’s great abundance and forever freed from the curse of carnality. Some of us will find this translation in “the twinkling of an eye”, but the effect will be the same. Forever sealed; never again to be tarnished by human nature or the curse of sin. Until then, the most “holy” among us must be prepared to repent of the tiniest thing that may still be lingering within your heart. Thinking that there is nothing within you in need of repentance is a sure-fire way to know that there most definitely is.
Sadly, we find that the teaching which many in the Body of Christ have received concerning repentance is completely wrong. We are taught that within the sanctification process (spiritual maturing) the need to repent should lesson as we draw closer to God. Like all of the enemy’s great deceptions, this one is masterful because it contains elements of truth. For it is true that a Christian should need to repent less and less about sinful behavior with the onset of spiritual maturity. We should not be chronically falling into the same snares or traps (sin), but learning and growing and developing into the creature that He saved us to become.
If our repentance is sincere, He picks us up and brushes us off – forgives us by His grace. And here is where many Christians foolishly close their minds. Grace isn’t only for salvation, but to provide His children the ability to walk straight paths before Him. Grace saved us out of that sin and through that grace we repent of sins which ensnare us along the way – but this is only the beginning of Grace, not the sum total.
His Grace is sufficient to help us remain above sin – to train us so that we can detect these traps before they ensnare us again, and to teach us how to avoid them in the future. Rest assured that the enemy will meet victories of willpower by introducing new snares that may also trip us up – but the process repeats and His Grace comes to the rescue. This is the patient love of our God and one of the marvels of His Grace, for this occurs until we are matured and are finally translated beyond the enemy’s taunts. But know this - receiving God’s forgiveness while contenting oneself to remain a spiritual infant (embracing what I call “Fall-down theology”) is an insult His Grace. If His Grace does nothing for your behavior to distinguish you from the world, it doesn’t say much about His power does it?
It’s time we stopped shaming our King and profaning His Holy name by using His Grace as a shield for wicked behavior. Grow up in Christ – Repent!
So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
A repentant heart is the key to walking humbly with our God. The truth of repentance (that very few are taught) is that growing closer to God allows Him to start the beautiful process of refinement – the great and terrible crucible in which we are heated like metal to be purified. This can be a wholly unpleasant experience, for it feels like it sounds and is often quite painful. Yet it is through refinement that we find metal producing impurities that standard cleaning cannot bring to the surface. He refines us to bring forth these deeply hidden flaws, and it is our act of willful obedience and repentance that gives Him the authority to remove those things. This painful and wonderful experience repeats until death (or translation) if one is sincere in drawing closer to God – for He is holy, and to walk with Him is to become more and more like Him. Therefore we find that drawing closer to God produces more repentance, not less – and it is a miraculous thing to behold.
Repent, Dear Ones – come to your God and seek His refinement in your life. Let him fire up the crucible and put you through the flame; and what He will produce in your life will stun and amaze you down the line. It matters not how long you have known the Lord or how knowledgeable you may have become in the Word of God. If you are truly seeking His face with a humble heart you will find things coming before you (through refinement) which reveal His holiness and your need to become more like Him. When He shows you these things, rejoice – and repent!
Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon through His children in the aforementioned Outpouring of Abba’s Awesome Holy Spirit. Those who are walking with Him (submitting to the crucible) will be delivered from the world and the trial to follow. With this outpouring will also come a great renewal in the Body of Christ – a profound paradigm shift with which many of its leaders will not be pleased. Then will come the discovery that should have been common knowledge all along – that it is not their church at all, but that they are only shepherd servants entrusted with tending His flock. The church belongs to our Holy Father, who is forever praised, Amen!
Here I’m reminded of the childhood game “hide and seek”, where the seeker calls out a countdown as other children hide. In due course the counting child cries, “Ready or not – here I come!”, which is what I feel the Lord saying to His people at this time. The moment has arrived for His long-awaited return and many are not ready to receive Him. Do not doubt that His will shall be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Ready or not, children, our King is coming and sooner than you think.
Please be ready.
Your brother and servant in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Mark Scott Grimmett