A Time for War and a Time for Peace (Article ID 269)
A Time for War and a Time for Peace
Dale M. Sides
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 8
Across the body of Christ a line from a familiar praise song—“I hear the sound of the army of the Lord”—can be spiritually heard echoing from the mountaintops into the valleys below. The prophets have discerned the message and delivered it to the apostles so that they can prepare and release the troops into battle. The purpose of this army of the Lord is not just to conquer for the sake of conquering, but “to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1b).
I recently returned from the annual meeting of the International Coalition of Apostles where I was amazed to hear so many global Christian leaders confirming this message. I do not believe there has ever before been in the history of the Christian church so many who have heard the same sound and have prepared to move together in unity to do such a major work for the kingdom of God.
Yes, there is a time of peace and a time for war. Even in the physical realm, we are witnessing the reality of what is happening in the spirit. It certainly appears that there are more wars going on upon the earth now than ever before in the history of the world. How reassuring it is to know that the Lord is a man of war (Exodus 15:3) and that there are twice as many angels on our side as there are those against us (Revelation 12:3 and 4; 2 Kings 6:14–17). So, not only is it a time of war, but also it is a time of victory.
As in every wartime situation, our peacetime plans and pursuits must be reevaluated, and our personal goals must be put on hold in order to collectively march toward our aim of victory. In December of 1941 when the Japanese bombed
Never before have the times been so demanding, as they are now. Many, many countries are spiritually perceiving the possibility of victory and claiming their countries for Christ.
Yes, now is a time for war and for all good men and women to come to the aid of their King. It is time for us to rescue the perishing, to care for the dying, and to free the captives. Not only is Jesus Christ the King of Glory but He is also the King of the planet! The kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of Christ.
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Revelation 11:15
Self-sacrifice is the passion of great men and women. Many people, including Jesus Himself, have bled and died so that we could be free. Whether you enlist or are drafted into the army of the Lord—now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of our kingdom.
As those words reverberate through our spiritual senses, “I hear the sound of the army of the Lord,” let us be willing to make those sacrifices—both collectively and personally. Jesus suffered for us. It is our turn now.
1. Staff writer, “Revival in
2. Justin Long, “The World’s 10 Spiritual Hot Spots,” Charisma, January 2005, 25.
3. Ibid., 26.
©2005 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
A Word for Prophets about "Pollyanna" Prophecy (Article ID 5)
©2001 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Adding to the Church (Article ID 180)
Adding to the Church
By Dale M Sides
Years ago I was introduced to the most effective means of evangelism that the Christian church has ever known. It worked in the first century church; it worked when I first heard it, and it works now. The principle of adding to the church is simple—it is “each one win one.”
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (emphasis added) Acts 2:47
The word “added” in Acts 2:47 is the Greek word prostithemi. Looking at the etymology of the root word and understanding the meaning of this word will unveil the most effective means of evangelism ever invented. The root word, tithemi, means to put something in place. When the prefix pros, which means near by, is put with tithemi, we get the meaning of the word that is translated “added.” It means to put something in place and then put another thing with it.
To add means to put something with something that is already in existence. Even in addition equations, when we say 1 + 1 = 2, we are saying, “Take one and put another one with it and you have a total of two.” This is the perfect word to convey the perfect method of evangelism. Put someone with someone else. This is what happened in the first century church. (See Acts 2:41, 5:14 and 11:24.) A person was added to the church by being put with another one.
This process, even though simple, conquers major problems which prevents people from being grafted into the church and growing into mature Christians. Lack of love, lack of relationship, being rejected, lost in the shuffle, forgotten on a church roster, or being overtaken in sin are all treated in this method of evangelism. The one person being grafted into the church is cared for, loved, educated, and overseen by the one who the Lord has put with him or her.
This means of adding to the church has been replaced by modern day methods and thereby we have been robbed of our God-given privilege of helping people grow into becoming mature Christians. Even now methods of evangelism diminishes the importance of each one of us operating the ministry and word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18–20). Evangelism has come to mean bringing in a high profile personality to win the lost. Sharing the Word of God and the message of Jesus Christ on a one-to-one basis has become a thing of the past. Even if someone happens to stumble into the church building, the pastor has to offer an altar call to get the person to make a decision about Jesus Christ.
We rely on television programs and advertisements to inspire people; billboards to announce the message of Jesus Christ; Yellow Page ads to tell the location of the fellowship, and an answering machine to give directions and times of the meetings. Even in our well-meaning methods, we send a bus around to pick people up instead of having the one with whom the person has been placed to go get them.
The list goes on. We have a pastoral committee to visit the “new comers,” if one happens to walk in. We have membership classes to educate them, and in a very progressive system, we have cell groups where relationships can be cultivated. We have greeters to welcome the masses at the door and cards for them to fill out so that we can follow up with “them” (how impersonal) so that they can be visited by the membership committee.
Have enough sacred cows been crucified yet? In addition, we have whole ministries devoted to feeding the poor because each individual is not fulfilling his or her own Christian responsibility of loving one another. We have marriage ministries, counseling ministries, and teen ministries to handle strained and lacking relationships because we have basically violated the principle of “each one win one.”
According to Derek Prince’s ministry, only about ten percent of people saved at “crusades or conventions” ever walk into a church. We have commercialized the Great Commission—it does not say to evangelize the world but to make disciples of them. Hello Houston, we have a problem.
This scenario has recently been brought to my attention because new laws in the nation of India have been passed in several states making it illegal to hold public meetings to evangelize the lost. This has greatly upset the Christian leaders because the method most commonly employed is to bring in Reinhardt Bonke, Benny Hinn, or Lee Jae Rock to dazzle the crowds with miracles. (My hat is off to the these servants of God who would gladly decline the invitation if the people themselves would do the witnessing.) It appears that the devil has once again pressured and persecuted us into doing the will of God.
I have asked, and will do so again in the future, how China has managed to continue to add to the church when they could not do public meetings. The answer is that each one has won one.
Before being too quick to jump on the Indian church or to criticize the method evangelism in America, lets come back to the real problem—it is you and me. May I be so bold and confrontational as to assume this? We feel we are too busy to help someone and have them added to our lives. We work all day and therefore must play at night to accommodate our excessive desire for entertainment. We use the same excuse of not witnessing or helping that one person that we do for not paying attention to our children or other family members—we are too busy. I bet that blind Bartimaeus, or Lazarus, or the woman at the well, or the madman in the tombs of Gadara was glad that Jesus had time for them.
Perhaps another reason that this has come up in my mind is that the Lord added a young man to my life recently. I tried giving the Lord the same excuses as I just mentioned. (Maybe that is why I know the reasons so well.) Anyway, the Lord and His “encouragement” won over my opposition and I am now completely engulfed in his life and therefore his eternal destiny. Do you know what I found? I do have enough time to be involved with him. It may be just a phone call a day or a lunch visit per week, or in my case, a hunting excursion every now and then. Guess what? It has remade my perspectives of witnessing and the love of God for an individual.
God will put a special person in your life and give you the opportunity to work with that one. When you realize the Lord has done this for you and that person, it will make a bond that will add that person to your life and to the church of Jesus Christ—not to the church as an organization but as an organism.
Adding to the church is an individual joy, privilege, and responsibility. It not only helps the church of Jesus Christ to grow, but it helps you grow too when you take the responsibility. You become the teaching ministry and the counseling ministry. You may get to feed the poor through benevolence or clothe someone as offerings to the poor. In my case, the young man that the Lord has given me is in school to become a high school teacher and a football coach. I am being allowed to sow not only into his life but into all the kids he will teach and impact.
Adding to the church is best accomplished by each one win one. The Lord will give you the person He wants you to graft into the church and Body of Christ. If someone did it for you, then you know what it has meant to you. If no one did, then you now realize what it could do for someone else. The relationship with “your one” may be incredibly sensational or it may be low-profile with no one but you, the person, and God knowing what is happening. The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10
©2003 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
An Apologia on Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare (Article ID 189)
An Apologia on Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare
By Dale M. Sides
Philippians 1:17 records that the Apostle Paul was set for a defense, or an apologia, of the gospel, and I am too—specifically concerning the subject of spiritual warfare. My desire was already aflame, but a recent discovery from an apocryphal source has motivated me into action. It seems that the ink is not yet dry on articles concerning this rediscovered truth from the Word of God, and already critics, working as unsuspecting agents of the enemy, are lambasting it. Of course, we should not be surprised, since this is nothing more than a counterattack and a predictable ploy of the enemy, wanting to take away our newly recovered weapons.
In all warfare, opposing factions try to control the opponent's weaponry; a disarmed country is a weak (and usually defeated) nation. This is true in spiritual warfare and in the spiritual kingdom of God too. In this sense, Satan is the initiator and prime mover behind this objective of "gun control." He wants to disarm the Church because the Church is finally attacking him and assaulting the gates of hell. We should believe in gun control too, but our definition should be to control the direction of the muzzle and hit what we are aiming at, instead of turning our munitions over to our enemy.
The reason Satan is attacking the subject of spiritual warfare is because Christians are hitting him and hurting him. We need to stay on the offense concerning our assault on principalities and powers and not be swayed by lies that are coming forth, even if they are coming from within our own troops. We hear such preposterous statements as, "No geographic place has been changed by doing warfare prayers," or "Dealing with principalities and powers is not the Church's responsibility," or "The Church does not have authority in the heavenlies." We must at least give the devil credit for one thing—he is the consummate liar.
This counterattack has infuriated me—obviously at the devil, but also at the Church for being so wimpy and allowing herself to be tossed to and fro by the deception. As great as my zeal has been and my desire to write an apologia for strategic level spiritual warfare, this new discovery has added fuel to my fire. While reading ancient records recovered out of the Vatican Library at Rome, I found a reference documenting spiritual warfare like nothing I had ever seen or heard. It is recorded in a book entitled The Acts of Pilate1 in a chapter reporting Herod Antipater's (the governor that condemned Jesus to death) defense to the Roman authorities for his actions against John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth. This reference is an amazingly clear documentation of strategic level spiritual warfare in the early Church, and what makes it even more damning to the devil is that it was made by one of his own children and henchmen of the "faith." God preserved it and has revealed it now to equip His end-time army and shut the mouths of the critics. Hallelujah!
Disclosing the statement made by Herod Antipater in The Acts of Pilate is a major emphasis of this article, and I will do so in a more detailed degree; but I would never dare declare a secular source before laying a Biblical foundation. So, first let's revisit biblical documentation of the operation of spiritual warfare.
Basic Tenets of Spiritual Warfare
The militaristic terms "spiritual warfare" and "strategic level spiritual warfare" relate to the Church waging warfare to gain a tactical advantage in the heavenly conflict, either by proactive measures or reconnaissance, over principalities and powers. Opposition to this concept is comparable to those who discounted the advantage that airplanes would be to foot soldiers before ever seeing one fly. Strategic level spiritual warfare does not negate the necessity of, or reduce the importance of, ground forces in the army of the Lord. The Church has always needed, and still needs, the faithful, advancing, foot soldiers in the army. There could never be a replacement for the courageous missionaries and evangelists that venture into the spiritual arena to witness to those who have never heard the gospel. Strategic level spiritual warfare is the operation that prepares for their successful deployment by weakening the strongholds of the enemy.
Spiritual warfare represents to the Church what the air force does to the military preparedness of any nation. This is "Basic Weaponry 101." Before launching a ground assault, archers of old would shoot their flaming arrows, or catapults would unleash boiling pitch or oil, upon enemy emplacements. King David, as the little ruddy youth, taught Goliath this lesson with a flying rock between the eyes before he faced him hand-to-hand and chopped off his ugly head. Presently, the same strategy is used in physical warfare with aerial ordinance deployed before the release of ground forces.
I think about the Desert Storm campaign when the Allied Forces attacked Iraq because they had invaded Kuwait. The campaign was, at best, marginally successful by driving back the invaders with the use of bombs and aerial assaults, but because no foot soldiers ventured into "harm's way," the regime remained intact. Aerial assaults only weaken defenses so ground forces can enter and occupy a region. In short, air force and ground forces hold the same relationship as strategic level spiritual warfare does to missionaries and evangelists. It is not a matter of either/or; it is both/and.
So, when accusations are made against strategic level spiritual warfare, we can use the same logic. The problem is that the critics of our spiritual air force are shooting "friendly fire" at our own forces with anti-aircraft weapons from the enemy's arsenal. Even if they do not make direct hits on our intercessors and "prayer force," they still demoralize the cause by spreading dissension and confusion. Regardless, the battle continues, and we must still fly our missions whether we are recognized or accepted or appreciated.
The Keys of the Kingdom
Strategic level spiritual warfare is basically the Church directing angels into battle against principalities and powers. Jesus gave this power, authority, commission and command to the Church when He gave us the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19). Once a basic understanding of this warfare is gained, we will begin to see many Scriptures that document the authenticity of this practice. Anytime the Church is seen in conflict with principalities and powers, this practice is inferred and/or implied. A prime example of this scriptural documentation is Ephesians 3:10.
To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Ephesians 3:10 NKJ
Notice that "by the Church" is how principalities and powers learn of God's manifold wisdom. The Church is commissioned by Almighty God to teach the disobedient fallen angels their lessons. Also notice that verse 11 states that this is the eternal purpose of Christ Jesus. God wants them taught a lesson!
According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 3:11 NKJ
This warfare is waged utilizing legitimate keys of the kingdom; the Church on earth releases, or looses, the might of God's army (the angels) into the heavenly battlefield. We see an amazing truth about the keys of the kingdom when we look at Matthew 16:18 and 19 together. These keys either lock or unlock the gates of hell.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:18–19
The battle on the earth is determined by whoever dominates on earth—heaven or hell. And who determines that? It is mankind that has the keys of the kingdom. If the gates of hell are prevailing, it is because the Church has not used the keys to loose angels into battle and, therefore, has not bound the powers of hell. We see evidence of this strategy when Jesus, immediately upon His return to earth, looses an angel to bind Satan for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1–3).
Matthew 16:17 gives more detail on how strategic level spiritual warfare should be waged. It tells us that the keys of the kingdom are revelation decrees—truths revealed not by flesh and blood, but by the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, missionaries and evangelists should be making their moves by revelation as well. Do critics rebuke them for charging headlong into a death-dealing situation without the cover of the air (prayer) force? No. They are counted as brave, fearless warriors—but so was Custer! The salient point is not just possessing the courage for battle, but the accompanying wisdom as well.
As the Church, we must learn to direct spiritual warfare by revelation. Coordination between the air force and foot soldiers is an absolute must to minimize casualties and maximize results. When fleshly prayers are offered in the name of spiritual warfare, it induces judgment from the critics. Let's stop the criticism and start the coordination.
Angels move when sons and daughters of God issue revelation decrees given by the Holy Spirit. Angels do not move against the Satanic kingdom just because someone shakes his fist at the devil and yells from the top of a building or a mountain. The standard of spiritual warfare is revelation from the Holy Spirit, not anger or fleshly desire for retribution.
Battling Principalities and Powers
Principalities and powers are the fallen angels cast out of heaven when Lucifer deceived them into following him (Revelation 12:3,4,7). War is still going on between them and the true angels of the Lord. The Church's place in this battle is to steward the keys of the kingdom. We bind principalities and powers by loosing angels into battle against them.
Jesus called principalities and powers serpents and scorpions.2
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19
Notice that Jesus did not say to be afraid of them, but that "nothing shall by any means hurt you." As I have traveled across the United States and overseas, I continually have people, who were once engaged in the battle against the unseen hosts of Satan, come to me with a long face and a defeated look saying, "I heard that I do not have authority against principalities and powers, and I read in a book that if I get involved in this then I will get hurt." My response to them is this, "The person who wrote that in a book will have to give an account to God for it. It sounds very, very spiritual, but unfortunately, it is not scriptural."
Jesus said, "They shall take up serpents . . ." (Mark 16:18a). This is not talking about handling snakes. It is a reference to the celestial representation of Ophiuchus.3 He is the celestial king that is wrestling a serpent and stomping a (the) scorpion. Taking up serpents is the command of Jesus to battle principalities. Unfortunately, the writer of propaganda saying not to get involved in strategic level spiritual warfare (causing fear to spread through the army of the Lord) heard a couple of horror stories. He is doing the same damage to the Church as the ten spies did in Joshua's time, when they caused the children of Israel to be afraid.
And they [the ten spies] gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight. Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. Numbers 13:32–14:1 NKJ
However, we are not only told to battle against the spiritual forces of darkness, but also that they were already defeated at Calvary.
And having spoiled [disarmed] principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it [the cross]. Colossians 2:15
Calvary paid the price for the defeat of the fallen angels. We overcome Satan and his kingdom by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and by not loving our lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11)—not by hiding under a rock and being afraid. We are in a battle that absolutely shall be won. As the old saying goes, "Yes, we are in a fight, but the fight is fixed." It was fixed at Calvary.
Other references about principalities and powers clearly show that this is war between angels and fallen angels. The following one in Psalms shows our responsibility in this battle.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings [principalities] with chains, and their nobles [powers] with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 149:6–9
The two-edged sword has a blessing edge and a cursing edge. We praise God and call angels with one edge; with the other one, we curse the devil and execute judgment on principalities and powers. Notice that we are supposed to bind kings (principalities) and nobles (powers) with our words. This honor have all his saints.
Documentation from The Acts of Pilate
With the many books that have been written on the subject of spiritual warfare and this short synopsis, let's move on to the newly found documentation of this practice from The Acts of Pilate. Yet, before covering this, I must add a few points of explanation.
From time to time, I have been criticized for reading and teaching from apocryphal books. If you would bear with me in my folly, I would like to briefly mention my position on this. In no way, do I equate apocryphal books with the Bible. My beliefs are unquestionably based upon the accepted canon of the Scriptures. However, there is a solid knowledge pool from which we can draw if we can discover the beliefs of individuals that lived in antiquity. This is especially true of the Jews who lived at the time of Christ and the Christians who lived in the first century.
When the Roman Legion under the direction of General Titus burned Jerusalem in 70 A.D., much of the related literature of the people of that era was lost too. Perhaps the richest literary find since the recovery of the lost Temple scrolls by Ezra was the exhuming of the Dead Sea Scrolls from the caves in Qumran. Detailed knowledge of Jewish and early Christian society was basically nonexistent until their discovery. From these scrolls, we can reconstruct their practices and even their beliefs.
One of the main aspects of their society that I have been able to derive from the Dead Sea Scrolls was the practice of strategic level spiritual warfare. I have thoroughly documented this in my book Angels in the Army (the promised sequel to God Damn Satan),4 which gives a detailed report of the War Rules (the nineteen rules of engaging the enemy that were employed by Israel dating back to the time of Moses). These nineteen rules are loaded with insight into strategic level spiritual warfare. They were not Coptic or Gnostic practices, but fundamentally Jewish and early Christian.
In The Acts of Pilate, we find another gold mine of historical background. These works, however, do not come out of the Dead Sea Scrolls or from a Jewish source, but out of the Roman archives. The background of these documents, and how they were found, is quite interesting. Although it does not directly relate to spiritual warfare, this explanation will add to the credibility of the source that I am about to quote.
In 1856, a German researcher named H.C. Whydaman reported to Reverend W.D. Mahan of De Witt, Missouri, that he had spent over five years in studies at the library of the Vatican. There he had found over 560,000 volumes of writings, many of which were the history of the Christian Church. Rev. Mahan was so impressed with the report and the existence of actual testimonies of people who had witnessed the life and ministry of Jesus that he began a quest to diligently study these and find the records himself.
Twenty-seven years later, in 1883 (after the Civil War in America), Rev. Mahan embarked on a journey to discover the manuscripts. With the assistance of two men, Drs. McIntosh and Twyman, who were learned in the necessary languages, they visited and conducted extensive research at the Vatican Library in Rome and in the Jewish Talmud in Constantinople. The Acts of Pilate is a compilation of the records they found. They had been archived and stored for almost 2,000 years! The records are absolutely fascinating. They even contain reports of the shepherds who saw Jesus' birth, an interview with Mary and Joseph when Jesus was twenty-seven years old, and, of course, the report of Pilate as he gave testimony of his dealings with Jesus of Nazareth.
(Incidentally, I have read from other sources that Jesus appeared to Pilate after the crucifixion and resurrection, witnessed to him and forgave him. The records from this book also verify that Pilate and his wife became confirmed believers in Jesus, and were finally martyred in Rome for their beliefs.)5
Now, back to the issue of the documentation of strategic level spiritual warfare from The Acts of Pilate. Chapter IX, "Herod Antipater's Defence Before the Roman Senate in Regard to His Conduct in Bethlehem," contains a record of Herod trying to justify his persecution and slaying of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth. He was obviously trying to expose certain beliefs of the Jews and rationalize his ill treatment of them. The following is a quote from Herod Antipater recorded on page 127 in The Acts of Pilate. In this quote, he gives a brief but vivid description of the Jewish Christians of his day:
Miracles are as common as poor physicians. The Essenes6 are noted for both. They prophesy, work miracles, see visions, and have dreams, and stand in poor reputation as quack doctors. They pretend to know all about angels, ghosts, and spirits; they profess the art of managing ethereal citizens in transatmospheric regions.
The ending portion of this quote is the most comprehensive statement about strategic level spiritual warfare that I have ever uncovered from ancient manuscripts. A closer look shows exactly what Herod Antipater said about the Jews and Christians who lived in this era. It indicates a clear belief in strategic level spiritual warfare.
The bracketed insertions are my additions according to word usage and context:
They [the Jews and Christians] profess [say this about themselves] the [practiced] art of managing [not just knowing or talking to, but marshalling them through direction and command] ethereal [celestial or heavenly] citizens [angels] in transatmospheric [across the atmospheric] regions [territories].
Even though a notorious unbeliever and persecutor of the Christian faith made this statement and it was intended as a criticism of their beliefs and practices, it still bears proof that this is what the Jews and Christians believed and practiced. What Herod said about the believers of his era is an exact description of believers who are operating in strategic level spiritual warfare even now.
In my own words, Herod said:
These people do miracles; they prophesy, they do works of power, they see visions and have dreams. They say that they know about angels, ghosts and spirits and even profess to command angels in territorial regions.
This sounds like people I teach and train in spiritual warfare. They are spirit-filled and do all sorts of miracles. They see into the spirit realm and discern angels and principalities and powers. They command the angels into battle using the keys of the kingdom, and therefore marshal the battle between territorial spirits. They bind and loose; they shut the gates of hell and help the Church to prevail.
The power and volume of Herod's testimony needs to be heralded from the rooftops. This is even better than any contemporary assessment, because it comes from a proverbial child of the devil who lived during the time of this practice. He was not lying about what he said. He was trying to belittle them for their beliefs. What a discovery! What a revelation! What a delicate, preserved gem of truth, protected by the hand of God.
The basis of An Apologia on Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare is the text of the Bible, not an apocryphal book. However, the testimonies of the practice of early Christians and Jews living during the time of Jesus and the early apostles verify the operation of strategic level spiritual warfare in the early Church.
Perhaps even this will not stop the mouths of the critics. The true intent of this article is not to stop the mouths of the critics, but to undergird the practice of the true heroes who venture into the spirit realm and engage the enemy. For those who will not be convinced, let the Word of God as quoted by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:38 be my closing statement to you, "If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant."
For those of you who would not be ignorant, give little regard to the critics. If critics had deterred Jesus, He would still be working in the carpenter's shop in Nazareth, and we would still be in our sins.
God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love as you command the warring angels into battle through revelation, thereby helping His saints and future believers. Take up serpents. Demonstrate the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and powers. Overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb, the word of your testimony, and love not your lives to the death.
Be vocal in your operation of this God-given command. Be not ashamed of the testimony of His gospel. Prepare the way for the foot soldiers, and stay the course. Be not weary in well doing. In due season, you will reap if you faint not.
1. The Acts of Pilate, ed. Rev. W.D. Mahan, trans. Drs. McIntosh and Twyman. Kirkwood, MO: Impact Christian Books, 1997.
2. Dale M. Sides, "Principalities, Powers and Demons," Episkopos, (October 1999).
3. E.W. Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars, (1893; reprint Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publication, 1972), 56–58.
4. Dale M. Sides has authored two books on spiritual warfare, God Damn Satan—Subduing the Evil Kingdom Through the Power of Biblical Cursing (available through the LMCI website, www.LMCI.org.), and Angels in the Army—Commanding the Heavenly Host into Battle (forthcoming).
5. [Pilate?], "Letters of Herod and Pilate," in The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden (Iowa Falls, IA: World Publishing, 1974), 269–281.
6. The Essenes are the same group of individuals who are attributed with believing the prophecy of Jesus that the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed and therefore were the ones that preserved and hid the scrolls in the caves in Qumran—the Dead Sea Scrolls.
©2003 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
An Exposé on Psychics: Who They Truly Are and How They Truly Work (Article ID 236)
An Exposé on Psychics:
Who They Truly Are and How They Truly Work
Dale M. Sides
The airwaves of the world are buzzing with psychics strewing and spewing their predictions into the minds of Christians and non-Christians alike. Psychic phone lines are jammed with over $300 million in calls per year.1 Who are these self-proclaimed prophets and prophetesses? Are they a genuine gift to misguided and searching people, or are they a subtle substitute for the prophetic giftings that God has given to the world and the body of Christ?
1-900-dial-a-psychic is a lucrative business offered by the world due to the church’s negligence in responding to people’s genuine needs through the gifts of prophecy. We want to examine psychics—who they are, why, and how they truly operate, but all to the end of provoking the church to “1-800-dial-a-prophet,” not “1-900-dial-a-profit.” The church has the means through the gifts of prophecy to supply what psychics have counterfeited, if the church will seek to serve the world through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Who Are Psychics?
A psychic is a fake—one who pretends to read minds and foretell the future. They supposedly reveal information about the future, which is not actual knowledge of the future but selected information gleaned from demons off of the “spirit net.” Psychics are deceivers who dupe ignorant people into thinking that they (the psychics) possess supernatural knowledge that will help them. It is all for a price—for their hire and for preparation of demonic entry, enticing the victim to delve deeper into the occult.
To begin with, the actual word “psychic” is a clue, to those who have eyes to see, that these are imposters, posing as something they really are not. Psychic comes from the Greek word psuché which is the word for “soul” and “the realm of the mind.” In choosing this word to depict their function, their goal is to con innocent people into believing that they have the ability to read the minds of others and counsel them in their decision making.
In reality, psychics are low-level spiritualists who have tapped into the spirit realm and are receiving spiritual information. They, in fact, harbor demons who connect them into the frequency of the spirit net where information about people is shared and swapped by other demons. Psychics receive their information from their spirit contacts, or “spirit guides,” as they are called in spiritualist’s terminology. They attempt to dazzle unsuspecting victims, to swindle money from them, and to bait a snare for them.
Why are they not just called spiritualists instead of psychics? Because they do not want people to know that they are obtaining their information from demons and are not actually reading someone’s mind. They are first-level spiritualists, who have developed the art of tapping into the spirit net and receiving information from demons. They are charlatans, honing their skills with a view toward moving themselves and their victims of deception into the bigger leagues of astrology, necromancy, séances, and even Satan worship.
How They Work
You can get an idea of how a psychic works by reading about the witch of Endor from 1 Samuel 28. The witch of Endor had a familiar spirit who connected her to the spirit realm and allowed her to “divine” information from the spirit net. Many people think that familiar spirits are just demons who are familiar with other people. There is some hint of truth in this because psychics and necromancers have spirit guides who do have a limited knowledge of the lives of individuals. However, the greater truth lies in the literal meaning of the word for “familiar spirit,” which is the Hebrew word ‘owb. This means a hollow jar or jug from which emanates a reverberating sound, much like a muffled echo.2
This usage of “familiar spirit” is particularly revealing because it discloses how necromancers and even psychics work. The reverberating echo or distant type of sound comes from the demon using the yielded person’s vocal cords and faculties of speech. The distinct reverberating sound comes from the time delay between the receiving of the information from the demon and the processing time through the person’s soul or mind and then out through his or her vocal cords.
The Spirit Net
The information that psychics receive comes from what I have referred to as the spirit net or spirit network. I have used this phrase enough to necessitate defining it. The spirit net is the network of communication used by demons, principalities, and powers to share information about the people whom they are targeting for deception and have chosen as candidates for destruction. It is much the same as we would use an internet to collect and categorize data. In this system, much like the internet, information can be downloaded or uploaded. Evil spirits likewise, within their spirit net, “plug in” to share and collect information about those whom they are targeting.
Psalm 64, using the phrase “workers of iniquity,” gives a description of the spirit net used by demons, principalities, and powers to share information about people.3
Hide me from the secret counsel [spirit net] of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity [demons, principalities, and powers]: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep. Psalm 64:2–6
To be reminded, lest we slip off onto a rabbit trail, we are investigating how psychics work, and are particularly searching the intricacies of the spirit net—the source of their information. The spirit network is woven of sharings from a secret counsel (verse 2) that are dispatched communiqués (verse 3) aimed at destroying their target or victim (verse 4). Evil spirits, as workers of iniquity, commune together and share information to lay a snare (verse 5) for the innocent and ignorant. They diligently search for information that will destroy the victim (verse 6). This is information gleaned from the spirit net, and it is available to those who consult and contract with demons as their “spirit net server.”
Psychics open themselves to the spirit realm, just the same as astrologers, necromancers, wizards, witches, soothsayers, and Satan worshippers.4 The Bible groups all of these categories into one phylum and calls them all “diviners.” The different name of each group gives the activity or information each of these groups divine, i.e., astrologers to predict the seasons and time, witches to curse people, and Satan worshippers to pay homage to their lord. “To divine” simply means to tap into the spirit net by accessing a demon who will open the lines to allow information to be downloaded. A psychic divines, or taps into the spirit net, to receive information about a person in order to dupe that individual, deceive them into making a financial payment and potentially win a convert to the occult.
The fact that the spirit net shares intel about iniquity5 (Psalm 64:6) reveals much about the source of information that psychics receive on people. Demons are assigned by spiritual principalities and powers to “crack open” special persons for demonization and/or spiritual influence. Also, a demon, of his own volition, targets a victim that he wants to inhabit. Demons study the iniquity of a person by consulting their genealogy and habit patterns6 and post the information on the spirit net, thereby availing the information to other seekers. Psychics download it and deceive the person into believing that they have special power. In reality, they are spiritualists and receivers of demonic information.
The end result of this scam is not just to siphon money off of innocent victims, but to awe them with supernatural power. This is all within the flow of the occult and is where all the related “arts” of psychics: astrology, psychometry (using physical objects to derive information about others), and voodoo, etc. converge into a common understanding. “Occult” means “hidden,” and these pretended arts hide the fact that they are fueled by demonic intelligence to try and deceive innocent people into consulting Satan and his minions instead of the true God.
Psychics and other operators within the occult do possess God-given gifts of being sensitive to the spirit realm and are probably individuals whom God has called to operate in the prophetic and intercessory ministries.7 Satan has cleverly targeted them to divert their abilities to work for him and his kingdom. He has deceived them into working for him by paying them mere peanuts, while the true God promises the more abundant life, now and in the ages to come. (In my personal observation, if psychics are so powerful and have such great ability to see into the future, then why do you see their places of business in their own homes in lower real estate areas? Should they not be ensconced in plush high-rise office buildings, instead of being found on dilapidated roadsides, marketing their wares through flashing, gaudy, neon, palm signs?)
Psychics are not mind readers, but are, in fact, spiritualists who glean information off of the spirit net. They dazzle people with pretended predictions about their future based upon the iniquity that they download off the spirit net. They do not know the future, but forecast it based upon the information they receive from demons. Then they prey upon people’s weaknesses in order to scam them for money and open the doors for them to participate in future occult activities.
Psychics appear to have great information about people, but actually they share tiny little tidbits about a person’s inner secrets and iniquities which they obtain from fellow demons and the demonic spirit net. The true God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ does not run a spirit net on you. He is a very close and personal God, holding your secrets in the hollow of His hand. The only time He divulges them is to help you overcome them, and He does this through the prophetic giftings of the Holy Spirit. These giftings are operated by sincere, loving believers intent on helping you, not for individual profit or notoriety.
God knows that at times people need help and are lost in a world of deception and hurt. He implemented gifts of the Holy Spirit to equip people to help those individuals who are desperate and need some answers. But the answers He gives through the individuals operating prophetic gifts vastly differ from the poison that is spewed out through psychics.
The Holy Spirit pours out His gifts and power on those individuals genuinely seeking to help others, not for personal gain, but for the godly profit of the person in need of help.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. Acts 2:17–18
The Greek word for “prophesy” is propheteuo. The Strongs Concordance usage #4395 says that this is: to foretell events, divine, speak under inspiration, to exercise the prophetic office. Prophecy is God’s original concept standing in contrast to the counterfeit of the psychic’s lies and deceptive manipulation of innocent, needy people. These are gifts given to His servants, not charlatans and shysters. Genuine prophecy includes knowledge of the future and incredibly accurate advice on matters pertaining to life and godliness. If psychics have gained such notoriety through counterfeit trickery, think what genuine good the true operation could be for those in need.
Maybe the church should offer a 1-800-dial-a-prophet phone line instead of the world offering a 1-900-dial-a-psychic. The counterfeit has been 1-900-dial-a-profit instead of the church serving the world with its gifts by offering a 1-800 number for genuine reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ.
Psychics have told the people of the world a lie instead of the church offering them the truth. Has it been for profit? Absolutely, but it does document the tremendous need in the world today. People are so desperate that they are willing to call a 1-900 line to get an answer or stop by a sleazy, roadside den of thieves to try and get a handle on their problems.
Is the problem that the psychics have been greedy and dishonest, or that the church has been lazy, non-accommodating and afraid? The answer is “yes” and “yes.”
What Will the Church Do?
Let’s apply the solution and move on to what we should do next. How many churches will operate a 1-800-dial-a-prophet ministry? Are we afraid of criticism? Are we afraid of errant prophecies? Psychics have not been afraid.
On a daily basis, psychics are pilfering people out of the world and into occult practices with no competition or confrontation coming from the church. Can psychics lie better than the church can speak the truth in love, being led by the Holy Spirit? Can each church not offer a free service of helping people with genuine prophetic gifts? Whether the church does this or not, psychic practices are condemned by God. But what will God say to the church at the Judgment Seat of Christ when the devil and his children of mammon have outwitted and outworked the church?
Will it be 1-900-dial-a-psychic, or 1-800-dial a prophet?
1. A 2000 statistic mentioned in “The Burning Man” article by Thomas Horn from WorthyNews.com.
2. Wilson, William. Old Testament Word Studies, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1978), 57.
3. For more information about this section of scripture, see Understanding & Breaking the Schemes of the Devil by Dale M. Sides (Bedford, VA: Liberating Ministries for Christ International [LMCI] 2000), 10–11.
4. For a more comprehensive listing of occult activities, a suggested source is Deliver Us From Evil by Cindy Jacobs, available through www.regalbooks.com.
5. Dale M. Sides, Perfect Redemption, LMCI, TA14 gives great detail on iniquity and how the blood of Jesus eradicates it. (Also forthcoming as a written publication through Liberating Publications Incorporated.)
6. Understanding & Breaking the Schemes of the Devil, LMCI, 17–22.
7. Realizing and Fulfilling Your Personal Ministry (forthcoming publication from LMCI, presently in tape-set form available through www.LMCI.org).
©2004 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Arm Yourself with Suffering (Article ID 2)
©1998 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Balancing the Person and Principles of Christ (Article ID 179)
Balancing the Person and Principles of Christ
By Dale M Sides
It seems that Christianity struggles between extremes. Some believers magnify the importance of the Spirit above the Word while others exalt the Word above the Spirit. Some groups mandate strict adherence to laws and regulations while others float along with little or no care for guidelines—whether right or wrong. Some dogmatically swear by the organization of their ecclesiastical body and then others have no structure at all. It seems the one place where Christianity has become unified is that we are all divided.
Some of these issues may be inconsequential, but in balancing the person and principles of Christ, it is absolutely necessary that we have these values defined and weighed out in exact proportion. Look at the potential calamity of missing either of these issues.
What happens when someone misses knowing the person of Jesus Christ?
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:22,23
Likewise, missing the principles can result in some serious consequences too.
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. John 12:48
Nowhere is this unbalance more evident than in the two covenant promises of God to His children who walk with Him: health and wealth. There are godly men and women walking in righteousness and true holiness, knowing the person of Jesus, but they are poverty stricken and proverbially sick. On the other hand, there are godless people who laugh at Christians. They know the principles of God and they walk in prosperity and health, but they do not know the person of Jesus Christ.
I have personally witnessed this tragedy in the recent days of my ministry. In India, I have met some of the most godly men and women of my entire life and yet they struggle for their existence. (I mean for their existence—not to make two car payments, but to afford one bicycle.) On the other hand, in Wilmington, North Carolina, I walked down a boat slip where if I could have one of those luxury toys sold and the proceeds donated, it would be enough to finance our ministry in India for the rest of my life.
On the health issue, why can’t Jack Lalane or Billy Blanks carry a Bible and preach Jesus? Why do preachers carry the stigma of being overweight more than physically fit? (The fact that I have been studying healing in Communion lately makes this unbalance even more apparent.) Is there a charismatic Christian that knows what Leviticus 11 teaches?
As badly as the scales are tipped, it gets worse when the “extremists” begin to criticize the other side and look down their noses at others. Wealthy businessmen disdain clergy and vice versa; people who exercise (and even other Christians) laugh at believers who believe in divine health. Do you think it is possible that there is an unseen force trying to divide us? Maybe his name is Satan, the accuser of the brethren.
Enough! We have a problem. Granted, coming from a Biblical perspective, we would rather have the person of Jesus Christ than the principles, but being children of God means we do not have to choose which one we get because we can have them both. So, how do we get this nebulous balance?
First of all, we cannot deny that there are two sides of the issue of the person and principles of Christ, and we must give both of them attention. The common approach has been to radically move from one side to the other. We focus on one side with all the fervor and zeal we can find, and then, when we see the other side of the balance beam dipping, we run back to the other side to “beef-up” that end. For those trying to balance the person/principle “thang,” we study, study, study and as our intellectual side rises, our spiritual-mindedness drops. Then we pray, pray, pray but we can’t find our Bible.
Then in our frustration we say, “I’ve had it with the ‘beef-up and slide to the other side’ approach.” We say, “Okay, I’ll never be spiritually minded, so I’ll be a Bible Head.” Or we say, “I’m not the studious kind, so I’ll do the praying and let someone else tell me what to believe.” Both are bad choices, and we are running out of options.
In our final attempt of being balanced Christians, we say, “I know what I must do. I must cut back on my extremism and not be so radical on either the person or the principle side.” We say, “The answer must be to water down and minimize each side of the scale and then sit in the middle with no real effort to either be strong in person or in principle.” Wrong again. This leads to being lukewarm (Revelation 3:16).
The solution to the dilemma is not to excuse radicalism but to be radically balanced. We must approach each side of the scale with equal fervor and zeal. We must pray, fellowship with the Lord, journal our conversations with Him, write Him letters, stay on our face before Him and whatever else we can do to know Him as the Person.
Likewise, we must approach the principle side with the same excitement. We must read the Bible, do word studies, digest Christian books and magazines, listen to tapes, engage in stimulating conversations with other “principle zealots,” and practice and teach what we learn.
We must with equal commitment be as radical on one side as the other. We must build strength on both sides of the scale at the same time. Otherwise, our options are limited to fanaticism where we run to one side and forget the other, or being lukewarm where we minimize the importance of both facets and cease to be committed to either.
Is it too much to hope for that Christians could be both godly and prosperous, as well as healthy and spiritual? Regardless of those issues, we need to focus on both sides of our walk with the Lord: the person of Jesus Christ and His principles. We do not need to be “religious” and choose one or the other. We must be radical on both sides of the scale and build both of them simultaneously and faithfully if we are going to be balanced.
©2002 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Current Church Trends (Article ID 19)
Dealing with Multiple Personality Disorders (Article ID 12)
Dealing with Multiple-Personality Disorders
by Dale M. Sides
During a deliverance session of casting out demons in an Exercising Spiritual Authority class recently, I told the students that the points I was teaching would cover 95% of the situations where demons had access to someone. In my mind I knew that dealing with multiple-personality disorders would take some special handling that I was not going to publicly teach. This was basically the 5% that I was referring to, and that has prompted me to write this information in order to supplement the materials that I usually teach in the class.
Therefore, this expose on the subject is directed toward individuals that have some background knowledge on the subject of demonology. It is however simple and straight forward enough for even a novice to understand, but I would suggest in practically applying this to partake of some basic instruction on demonology—either in an Exercising Spiritual Authority class or from some other reliable source.
In the class where I made this statement, as you might expect, the unpredictable occurred, and a situation arose of this nature. Although these disorders are not common enough to publicly teach in every class, enough of these exist to warrant instruction. Therefore I submit this information to further enhance your understanding and ministering capabilities. I will give you some background on how multiple personalities develop, some illustrations of these, and how I have personally dealt with them. The purpose of all of this is that the people are reconciled within themselves and ultimately to the Lord.
If you have never heard of this scenario before, it may seem a little strange at first. If you are unfamiliar with this, additional understanding will help if you are ever faced with this. I was first introduced to this in ministering to people that absolutely swore that multiple-personality disorders were absolutely not demonic. Having some background in the spirit realm, I knew that it was related to the presence of evil spirits, but I could also see that there was something else going on that I had not yet put my finger on.
While in Washington DC last year, a lady asked me if these disorders were soulish or spiritual. My response to her was, "Both. If you deal with only one, the deliverance will not be complete since you may cast an evil spirit out, but if the "portal" though which it has access is not closed, the demon will only come back later." She was elated to hear this since that is what she had been taught at a ministerial training course, "Healing through Deliverance" from Elell Ministries in Toronto, Canada.1
Understanding Multiple-Personality Disorders
A background understanding of demonology, spirit, sold and body, and some biochemistry will add a deeper perspective on this. This type of spiritual malady is typically passed along to psychiatrists, and actually many seminaries teach ministers to not deal with these. Hopefully this study will help you if you are called upon to deal with a related situation, since the Word of God tells us that we are able ministers by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, we are equipped spiritually to handle these as you are led by the Holy Spirit. With this background information you may not need to defer this to others, especially to psychiatrists that have no knowledge of the spirit realm. If you do need some additional assistance, then perhaps this will give you valuable understanding to better communicate the needs of the person.
A multiple-personality disorder, or MPD, is a form of schizophrenia. The word "schizophrenia" is derived from the Latin root schizo- split and phrenia- mind. By strict definition, this would be a divided soul. Do not confuse this with being double-minded, which is a case of the same mind going in two directions. Schizophrenia is not simply a distraction or a temptation, but is an actual partitioning of the mind or soul. This is not someone being strongly tempted or even seduced by an evil spirit to go a different way, but is when the person actually changes personalities and often does not even remember what transpires when the other personality is active. The schizophrenic would be a soul or mind that is actually divided, partitioned or fragmented into different parts. This would indicate that the same spirit of man would have different personalities. Schizophrenia indicates two personalities, like Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde, but MPD indicates multiples, or possibly more than two personalities. This is also becoming known as an Associative Disorder within psychiatric medicine.
Obviously this is not normal, and therefore is a spiritual matter. There is an evil spirit involved in this "soul-split," but the problem in ministering to this is not just in casting out the spirit, but also in determining what allowed the initial entry to the spirit. As in most all cases of demon occupation, the reason why the demon has access and is in the person is because a "legal" portal of entry gave him access initially. In most situations this is sin, but in this case, as we will see, it is usually extreme trauma. The rule in demonology and casting out demons is: when evil spirits are removed the cause of occupation must be known and the entry portal must be closed to keep them out.
43 "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 "Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Matthew 12:43-44
Shutting the portal of access is the focal point in all deliverances and in the case of an MPD this is especially true. This would be similar to eliminating alcohol from an alcoholic for deliverance to be complete. This is vital and often when not dealt with properly makes for a worse situation afterwards. (This is often the case when spiritually uninstructed people, even psychiatrists, deal with these.)
"Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first." Matthew 12:45a
The portal of entry for a MPD, or soul-split, is extreme trauma. The trauma is so severe that the person, as a mechanism of mental self-preservation and trying to survive a desperate situation, develops an unusual and specific case of denial. As opposed to completely denying that the situation happened, a fragment of the soul is compartmentalized to deal with the pain. The separate personality develops out of this compartment. In other words, instead of totally denying the incident, the individual creates a separate personality to deal with it instead of personally handling it. The compartment of the soul is divided from the rest of the soul and hence is fragmented.
The typical scenario where this fragmentation arises is at a point of extreme trauma. It could be a frightening experience such as a near death encounter, or witnessing a murder, or being raped, or sexually abused, or a severe injury. It could even be when someone is deeply rejected or humiliated, etc. At the time this happens, because the trauma is almost unbearable, the individual experiences this most extreme form of denial and thereby the fragmentation of the soul causes the ensuing dilemma of multiple personalities.
On the spiritual side however, at the same time of the trauma an evil spirit enters the person because certain biological conditions and mental instability allows the spirit access. Therefore, the initial access of the evil spirit in a MPD and where the fragmentation of the soul occurred is the same place. This is also thereby where the other personality originates.
Psychologically, when the trauma is so intense, the body will autonomically secrete adrenaline. Adrenaline, or epinephrine, is a super-concentrate of sugar that produces extra ordinary strength in the body in times of stress and actually prevents demons from gaining access to neural pathways at that time. However, when denial occurs, this is an operation from the will and thereby creates a condition whereby an evil spirit may gain access into the body.
(Repetitive secretions of adrenaline are a major factor in demons gaining control in people in many situations, not just in MPD. Often individuals become "adrenaline junkies" and seek situations that cause this natural secretion, and thereby open the portal for demonic control. The demon then is actually the one that receives the satisfaction and convinces the person that whatever the activity is that creates the situation is "fun." Perhaps one of the more recently accepted places where this adrenaline surge is prompted is in video games or "virtual reality.")
The personality disorder will emerge when at time of stress, especially in a related event concerning the initial trauma. An adrenaline surges will occurs (body), and the portal of the initial, un-reconciled offense (in the soul) will allow the evil spirit to take control (spirit). It may appear that the problem is in the body and the soul, but actually the evil spirit is the one that reopens the alternate personality. The problem is not the adrenaline, but the un-reconciled trauma that gives the demon access. The only remedy is to treat the soul, not the body.
Medications given to treat mental disorders are substances that either have high ionizing properties or are depressants that slow body metabolism down. The ionizing substances build artificial neural pathways around the actual location in the brain where the memory of the initial trauma occurs. The depressants keep the body in a slower metabolism where the individual is less likely to secrete adrenaline.
Obviously the treatment is not to prevent adrenalin from being secreted, which is a natural process, but to treat the initial trauma. When dealing with this, often, but not always, the person will default into the alternate personality and actually begin conversing with you from inside the fragmentation. This is not hypnotism or psychological manipulation, but allowing the personality to emerge so that the trauma can be dealt with and the portal whereby the evil spirit enters can be closed. A novice may unknowingly thing that this is an evil spirit manifesting itself, but is the other side of the partitioned soul. The partitioned soul is injured and will be seeking help. If an evil spirit emerges and communicates during this time, it will be to prevent healing.
Often the personality will be the same age as the person was when the trauma occurred. It probably will have the similar traits that the scenario generated. For example, if the trauma was terrifying then the personality will be extremely fearful, or if the trauma was sexual, then a sexual imbalance will be manifested. If the situation dealt with an injury, surgery or a related physical accident, then continual infirmity may be manifested in the body. The solution is to eliminate the fear or anxiety that the initial incident caused. This should be done by ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
I will give you a couple of examples to show how these fragmentations occurred and how they inter-relate with the evil spirit that was demonizing the person. In these, I will also show how the trauma was ministered to and then the evil spirit cast out, thus making the deliverance complete. The specific way this is accomplished is obviously in being led by the Holy Spirit. These examples are given to show how patterns, but not a specific method of deliverance. These illustrations are true accounts but enough variation is given in each one to prevent divulging privacy.
A middle aged woman, just at the hint of life threatening situation such as a car pulling out in front of her, would break down into terror and begin shaking uncontrollably. In a ministering situation, a word of knowledge was given that at the age of 12, she watched a horror film and was terrorized from that point on. At the time of the terror, she fragmented in her soul and an evil spirit entered at the same time. At times of threatening fear, the spirit would take control of her. In ministering to her, a young girl’s personality was observed. The trauma of fear was ministered to the young girl by leading her to the Lord and thereby the portal of entry of the demon was closed. The evil spirit was then cast out and the middle aged woman taught about applying the blood of Jesus in the presence of fear and how to quote scriptures to stop the onslaught of a returning demon.
An older woman at the suggestion of a relationship with a man would break down into uncontrollable anxiety. Upon ministering to her, a small child’s personality emerged. As the child was question, it was discovered that her dad had unduly punished her to the point of suffocating her. The demon would seize her at the time when she became closely associated with a man. The personality of the small child was led to forgive her dad and to trust the Lord for His protection. The spirit of fear was then cast out and the child was told, "It’s okay to grow up now. The personalities were merged back into reconciliation and the older woman taught about how to handle anxiety and the threat of dealing with men. She was delivered from the anxiety and released to having meaningful relationships with men.
A man would unpredictably say and do sexually perverted things when in life’s normal activities. Upon ministering to the man, it was discovered that he was made to have sexual relations with his uncle as a small boy. The pain was so great that the fragmentation occurred and when saying or doing sexually perverted things, he would not remember doing them. In a ministering situation, the initial offense of the uncle was discovered, the personality of the young boy forgiven of the shame and led to the Lord to forgive the uncle. The spirit was cast out and the "door" to sexual perversion was closed.
An older woman would actually fragment into a different person and become intensely hateful toward anyone around her. This happened at certain times of threatening situations when anyone of a "superior" authority would be working with her. Upon ministering to her, a young girl’s personality emerged and when questioned, it was discovered that her fragmentation occurred when her brother raped her. The young girl was led to forgive him and the spirit of hatred was cast out. (There were other personalities present with her that had to be dealt with also.) The older woman was counseled to apply the blood of Jesus to thoughts of hatred and given scriptures to memorize to strengthen her soul against offense in this area.
Practical Keys to Ministering to MPD
In dealing with these disorders, it is good to know that if there is one fragmentation, it is quite possible that more than one will exist. This is because the individual is prone to this special kind of denial and would respond the same way as before in another potentially traumatic situation. Also, evil spirits are gregarious and like the company of others. They may open the door for others to come in to invade the mind and body at other traumatic times in the person’s life. Watch for more than one.
These illustrations show patterns of deliverance. Specifically, when the trauma is identified, the portal whereby the spirit entered is revealed. Then by ministering to the situation and to the specific personality, i.e. quelling the fear by trusting in the Lord, or forgiving the person that performed the rape, or letting God deal with the person if forgiveness is in order, the door whereby the evil spirit is demonzing the person can be closed. Once the door is closed, then cast the spirit out. (If the spirit is cast out before the door is closed, then if the door is not closed immediately, then the spirit will return and usually with more wicked spirits with him.)
One of the major keys in generating wholeness is to merge the fragmented personality back into wholeness with the real person. This can be done by dealing directly with the personality and giving the spiritual solution to the fragmented personality. This may even mean leading the personality to salvation and actually telling it that it is okay for it to go grow up now or simple that it is not needed anymore and that it can go away. When you are talking to the fragmented personality, you are not talking to the evil spirit unless the gift of discerning of spirits reveals this to you.
Once the fragmentation is removed by dealing with the personality and merging it back within the real person, then the evil spirit MUST be cast out, and since the portal whereby it has had access is now closed, it can not come back. Accompanying instruction must be given to help build strength in the soul where the fragmentation and weakness has been. Giving specific scriptures to memorize and use during difficult times will be more helpful.
Be very cautious about advising anyone about medication. If you do, you are liable. The medical professionals operate through diagnosis; spiritual counsel is given by Epignosis.2 If the person is on medication and asks you what to do, you may want to direct them back to their doctor to ask about "tapering off" the medication. Their success involves spirit, soul and body.
It is very important to apply the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, since even though the person may seem victimized by the event he or she nonetheless is accountable for their own life of denial. If they apply the blood of Jesus to forgive the sin and close the access of the evil spirit into their life, remember to instruct them to forgive the person committing the offense, if applicable, and also to forgive themselves. The person must be counseled and told how to handle problems that reoccur. They should verbally apply the blood of Jesus if the spirit tries to re-enter and should emphatically re-state their deliverance and the legal grounds of their wholeness.
This article has been written and directed toward someone having knowledge of the evil spirit realm and some experience in dealing with casting out demons. This is not meant to be exhaustive on the subject but more of an overview of this particular problem. Obviously the only way that this can be adequately dealt with is through revelation by which certain details are revealed and casting out demons by the working of miracles.
Obviously, the person that had the fragmented personality and in whom the evil spirit was will need the oversight, continual care and counseling as the Holy Spirit directs. Love, understanding and acceptance is necessary. The input of the specific Word of God that will minister to the weakness of the person’s soul will obviously be needed. Each situation is different, but through the power of the Holy Spirit and His leading, you are an able minister and can handle these difficult situations.
I have since read the books related to this course and attribute much of my understanding to this source. It is the most thorough teaching and practical application of these truths of which I am aware.
©1999 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Devil, Give Us Back Our Teenagers! (Article ID 46)
Devil, Give Us Back Our Teenagers! !
by Dale Sides
Not long ago, I released a tape entitled "Devil, Give Me Back My Money." It was distributed around the country and overseas and has helped thousands of people become free from financial persecution. My prayer is that this sharing will receive the same attention and distribution. However, if patterns of logic hold true, faith will have to move this message instead of popularity because the topic of money overshadows the importance of helping teenagers.
In the previously mentioned teaching, I frankly described a revelation vision of being ushered into the devil's bank vault by the Lord Jesus Christ. In the vision, I saw wrapped packages lying all around. When the Lord asked me if I knew what these were I responded, "Yes, Sir. These are blessings that the devil has stolen from your people." As the topic of the first teaching relates to this article, the devil has stolen a greater reality than our money -he has stolen our teenagers.
The devil has captured our teenagers. Even though we did not ask for this, and were born into this campaign; nonetheless, the war against the devil rages on. Lucifer (as he was called then) initiated the aggression when he attacked our Father. After deceiving a third of the angels and relegating them along with himself to the depths of eternal torment, he focused his mayhem on the apple of God's eye - God's children. After dethroning Adam, he drew first blood. Cain, the devil's child, murdered Abel. He has continued harassing God's people since then. As David said, "Is there not a cause?" If these causes are not enough, he tortured and killed our brother, Jesus Christ. Regard- less of whether Christians are angered by that mutilation, we are still at war with our adversary, the devil. Along with all the past atrocities, presently, the latest act of cowardice and treachery he has committed is that he has stolen and kidnapped our teenagers.
"… when public prayer in schools was refuted, the United States Supreme Court committed the highest act of tyranny and treason ever imagined in the history of the United States…"
There are two major rules of warfare. #1 All is fair in love and war. #2. To the victor goes the spoils. Included with the spoils of warfare is the option of kidnapping and manipulating the people you have conquered.
But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil therefore shalt thou take unto thyself and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. Deuteronomy 20: 14
Unfortunately, the Christian church often thinks that the rule of "love never fails" applies to war with the devil. Love certainly failed against him. He was the most honored cherub when he committed high treason against God. Love does not work against him. The devil understands only one thing- exercised power! The church should teach him a lesson.
"We may stand and sing, "God Bless America " until we turn blue, but unless we bring forth the actions to indicate that He is me Sovereign God of this nation, God will not bless America."
The church has been given authority over the devil (Matthew 28:18-20). We have everything we need to recapture our rightful possessions. We have the God-given gift of holy spirit, the commander in chief (Jesus Christ) standing with a two- edged sword in his hand and the host of the angelic army of God at our disposal. We have the authority to use it all.
The church is no longer a baby church. It is a mature body with all the resources needed in order to take back what has been stolen from us. (Once we have broken through and recaptured our teenagers, we need to remember to take all the other women and children who have been illegally stolen too.) The only lacking articles in the believer's arsenal of spiritual warfare are the willingness and courage to engage the enemy and take back what he has stolen.
If we continue to allow Satan and his hordes to stealthily sneak across enemy lines to plunder and steal, he will continue to do so. The scriptures report that he is a thief. He will always act true to his nature. It is bad enough that he has stolen the money Christians need to faithfully perform their ministries. But he is also stealing our most valued commodity - our next generation.
Those people who say that "God is in control" should reread their Bibles. It is true that the final victory is guaranteed, but the things of this earth have been put under man's stewardship by God.
If we let the devil have it, he will continue to take it. Adam gave the authority away; Jesus came, took it back and gave it to us. The question is, "What are we going to do?" Better still, "What are you going to do?"
Would anyone deny that the American youth has been kidnapped? They may still be here in body, but in spirit, they are gone. How could this have happened?
This is a hard saying but must be realized- Satan spiritually conquered the United States of America in 1962. We should have listened to Joseph McCarthy. Maybe even by then it was already too late. By political deception, while the American Christian passively languished over the self-proclaimed victory of world war II and self-centeredness, Satan crept up from behind and cut the throat of the Statue of Liberty. He infiltrated the Supreme Court and voted God out of this country.
With one stroke of a pen when public prayer in schools was refuted, the United States Supreme Court committed the highest act of tyranny and treason ever imagined in the history of the United States -they kicked God out of our schools, turned the nation over to Satan, and told God that He was not the God of our nation.
After God had this nation founded for religious freedom and a home for liberty and Christianity, the United States government told God that He was not welcome in the schools of our youth. What the Supreme Court did was no less than what Darius did when making it illegal for Daniel to pray according to the laws of the Medes and Persians (Daniel 6).
In an unabashed attack against God, the elected officials of the United States publicly declared that God was no longer the God of our nation. This decision represented a 3% consensus of the population of the United States. The 97% continued sleeping and refused to do anything about it. In retrospect, the adult and teenage population should have revolted against this tyranny. The decision to disallow prayer in the schools was a biased, unsubstantiated attack against the Christian principles of our nation. It was planned, spawned, and executed by Satan. And it was as successful as it was deceitful.
God had the United States of America founded as a stronghold of freedom and a home for Christianity. Because of the sovereignty of God, this country excelled to prominence in every aspect of nationalism. God had caused the United States to be victorious in every military campaign in its history. He bared His arm and kept the United States from being overrun after the worst assault in the history of our nation at Pearl Harbor. Even after this, the American nation allowed Satan (in his predictable, subtle method) to conquer the stronghold of freedom.
The deception was so subtle that most Americans are still unaware of it 30 years later. As devious as Satan is, he is predictable. After conquering a nation, he endeavors to dominate it by indoctrinating its youth with doctrines of demons. America, wake up!! Satan is now in the later stages of dominating the United States of America. As hard to accept as this sounds, the overwhelming evidence of life styles should be convincing enough. Some would even try to deny this reality, but the enclosed charts about the degradation of American society will certainly establish the validity of the above statements.
Recently, Madeline O'Hare, a confirmed atheist and the proponent of removing prayer from schools, has been rumored dead. Her associates are covering up her death in fear of losing all of the money that has been donated to the foundation designated to preserving the "atheist" viewpoints and keeping prayer out of schools. They are also fearful that Christians may find her body and curse her. (Since these are atheists, who do they think will enforce a curse?) We, as Christians, do not need to find her body to curse her, she has already cursed herself by defaming the name of God. The curse awaiting her is the eternal flames of hell. May she and all her followers burn in hell and receive the retribution and wrath of God for their actions of infamy. May the ashes of her dead body be sprinkled over the graves of the dead teenagers she has been responsible for. She will discover that there is a God when she bows before him at the resurrection of the unjust. May the Lord reward her for her work.
"School prayer" was just the issue that Satan used to accuse America before God. The Supreme Court is the highest "judging body" in the land. They passed a legal proclamation that God was not welcome in our country. They followed suit by legalizing abortion. This further infuriated God.
"Few were aware that the focus had been subtly taken off God in schools and replaced by the environment. ‘One Nation Under God’ became ‘One Nation Under Government.’"
With the public proclamation of "God get out," Satan deceived Americans into turning against God. God will judge individuals at the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment, but He judges nations in the present time. He administrates either mercy or wrath on nations according to their works.
This may come as a shocking statement to American chauvinists- God is not an American. Is it not obvious that the United States has done something that has angered God? What was once the greatest nation in the world, now is the most indebted nation in the world with the highest per capita crime rate. We may stand and sing, "God Bless America" until we turn blue, but unless we bring forth the actions to indicate that He is the Sovereign God of this nation, God will not bless America.
With God's hand of blessing out of the way, Satan rode into the schools on the road that the founding fathers of our nation paved. The men who gave their lives to establish "One Nation under God", intended for youth to honor God and to be educated with "In God We Trust." The road our founding fathers paved for educating our youth now carry Satan's cargo and doctrines instead. Now his philosophies are being taught to our youth.
Since the "Happy Days" of the 1950'5, satan has been rapidly indoctrinating our American youth. The 1960's left an unparalleled era in American history as testimony to Satan's victory. The assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy further divided the country. The Vietnam war, the music of the times and drugs served as fuel for teenage rebellion. American youth rebelled not only against their parents and all forms of authority, but especially against God. It was one thing for America to be conquered, but then, the teenagers were not only quickly indoctrinated away from God, but were secretly and swiftly swept into the occult.
The "occult", similar to its first cousin, "cult," means "hidden meaning or secretively operated." Teenagers were rapidly, yet ignorantly, led as lambs to the slaughter into the occult. Discipline became a dirty word, causing teachers to lose control of their classrooms. The "New Age" theory of "worshipping the created thing" (such as the environment) and "mother earth" replaced prayer in schools. (Worship of "Mother Earth" is nothing more than the Baal worship in the Old Testament.) Few were aware that the focus had been subtly taken off God in schools and re- placed by the environment. "One Nation Under God" became "One Nation Under Government." Satan does not wear a red suit when he is sitting on local school boards and voting "new age" educational material into the curriculum.
Parents became, and still are, overly consumed with money and careers. Raising of children has been relegated to the "electronic baby sitter"- television. Television gladly contributes its part to the occult curriculum. More and more programs advocate violence, illicit sex, magic and astrology. "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" have been replaced with "The Simpsons" and "Power Rangers."
Over the last decade the problem has compounded. The later stages of total domination is at hand. The young rebels of the 60's have grown into older rebels and have born and raised even more rebellious ones. Now Satan is further strengthening his grip on the populus by taking the next generation deeper into the occult. The danger is that the first generation of rebels who were educated during the 1960's are now the age of elected officials. Many "teen vets" of the 60'5 are now effecting legislation that will further sell the remainder of our national godliness to Satan and make it easier yet to capture the younger ones.
"Parents are daily handing over their God-given rights of raising their children to the government."
Over the past few decades the problems of an occasional fight, someone getting high, drunk, or getting pregnant has moved from the high schools to the middle schools, if not elementary schools. Alas, Satan is not satisfied with the teens. Now he wants all the little ones.
Parents are daily handing over their God - given rights of raising their children to the government. Children are legally being granted the right to sue their parents. Parents are being arrested for disciplining their children. Parents are continually being made into circumstantial idiots by television sitcoms. (And they still let their kids watch them.) Daily, the American family is being divided farther and farther by Satan as he continues to dominate the American populus.
Guns, drugs, and crime are just the veneer on the surface. The real cause of the violence among the teenagers is "the spirit of rebellion". This exists because the master rebel, Satan, is the school superintendent. The popular teenage games: "Dungeons and Dragons" and "Magic - The Gathering" actively teach how to operate demons by instructing them to send curses on others. There are covens of witches in basically every high school in America. Astrology is one of the major sponsors on MTV, and this is just a break in the action as popular music groups use enchantments to conjure suicide spirits and prepare our teens for the ultimate aim of stealing, killing, and destroying.
These hard words are for these hard times:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, un- thankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; II Timothy 3:1-4
Enough of this madness! "Devil, Give Us Back Our Teenagers!!" In the process of getting back our teenagers, we will get back our country Our country and our teenagers are purchased possessions of Jesus Christ. The devil stole them. We need to aggressively unite and take back the things that have been stolen from us.
If we learn from what Satan did in the 1960's we can see what needs to be done in order to take back what he has stolen from us. As in all war, the lesson is "divide and conquer". The nation was divided over Vietnam. Roman Catholics were divided against Protestants when John Kennedy was elected president. The hatred of blacks against whites raged when Martin Luther King was killed. Teenagers rebelled against their parents and churches when "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" crashed down on their heads. Teens then ultimately rebelled against all discipline and authority when drugs were dumped into our country .These were all devilish maneuvers to divide the country .These were only possible be- cause the unifying element of godliness had been removed.
Our strength must be drawn from the unity we have in knowing our Lord Jesus Christ. Our common foe is the devil - not each other. Christians must stop acting like the previous generation and stop attacking each other on trivial, doctrinal matters. Will we continue "to bite and devour one another and be consumed one of another?" Is the real issue, "Black versus white," or "God versus the devil?" Will we be like the past generation and be lulled to sleep while watching television and say, "Let someone else do it." If this is your attitude, then resign yourself to keeping this attitude when your teenager, or one that is close to you, gets addicted to drugs, gets shot in a drive-by shooting, gets thrown in jail, gets pregnant, or ends up consulting an astrologer in- stead of seeking God for answers.
We must unite and take our teenagers back
The church need no longer be a baby infant, confined to surrendering at the hands of an inferior foe. By refusing to be blown about by insignificant, divisive doctrines, it becomes fully capable of waging war on an inferior foe. God's people have always been victorious when they have applied God's method of victory. These principles are learned from studying accounts of spiritual warfare in the Old Testament.
#1. Each one of us needs to get on our knees in humble prayer for God to come to our rescue.
#2. Each one of us needs to get on our feet to "stand" against the wiles of the devil.
#3. We all need to stand together and fight against our common enemy J not against each other.
God is very direct about the action to take when His people are kidnapped. God recorded His will in His Word in order for us to know what He wants us to do. As the accounts of Godly- initiated aggression are studied, the clarion fact emerges that when anyone attacks you and kidnaps your people, it is time to go to war and get them back.
"Our strength must be drawn from the unity we have in knowing our Lord Jesus Christ."
God answers His peoples' prayers. He intervenes and sends deliverance to break the bondage of the devil. Perhaps the most familiar and vivid account of this is the rescue of the children of Israel from the slavery of witchcraft in Egypt. When God's people prayed for deliverance, God retaliated with destruction and vengeance on their enemies. Under the direction of Moses, mil-lions of Egyptians died learning the lesson that God will not tolerate his children in captivity unless they themselves tolerate it!
And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.
And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them. Exodus 2:23 –25
"The Word of God establishes the grounds as to when it is right to aggressively go to war. It is when God's people are captured and taken hostage. "
As we pray for the release of our teenagers, we should also humble ourselves and ask God to forgive our nation for the sin of following after other gods. Support and get involved with any and all united prayer groups. If Christians cannot unite in doctrine, they can always unite in prayer for the rescue of our teenagers.
Many accounts in the Word of God illustrate the following two principles of prayer: 1. ) stand up, and 2.) stand together. The first record of genuine Godly aggression (except for the vindication of God against the disobedient angels in Noah's time) occurred when "Father Abraham" avenged the capture of his nephew, Lot.
And when Abram heard that his brother [nephew] was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. Genesis 14:14
Notice that Abraham did not negotiate peace terms. He and his servants stood up and stood together. He gathered his trained servants, pursued the enemy, and took back what had been stolen. This first armed aggression by a servant of the Lord was to rescue a person. He also garnered the spoils of warfare. He took back what was rightfully his own and then he took other "booty" from the enemy. Then, in what is the first occurrence of the tithe, Abraham shared with Melchezidek a tenth of the spoils he took in the victory .
The Word of God establishes the grounds as to when it is right to aggressively go to war. It is when God's people are captured and taken hostage. This lesson of Godly spiritual aggression continues in Genesis 34.
Jacob's daughter, Dinah, was raped and kid- napped by a neighboring people, the Hivites. Shechem, the son of Hamor, the prince of the Hivites, after defiling Dinah then wanted her for his wife. After pretending to arbitrate peace terms by requiring the men of the Hivites to be circumcised, the sons of Jacob avenged the rape and kidnapping of their sister.
And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. Genesis 34:25-27
They stood up and they stood together. First they brought back their sister who had been stolen. Then they took the rest of the goods. This is war - look at what else they did.
They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. Genesis 34:28, 29
One of the main prizes for conquering a people is to take the children. Satan has been practicing this for many, many years.
"We need to parallel or match our zeal and commitment to at least be at the level of what Satan is doing."
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god,. and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god" And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes," Daniel 1:1-3
Nebuchadnezzar took the gold out of the temple and the finest young people as his spoil for conquering the nation of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar, as an agent of Satan, took such youths as Daniel, Hananiah, Misheal, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego).
This is what Satan has done in every country of the world he has conquered. First, he gets a strong foothold in the nation. Then he trains the youth of the nation to follow him and thereby dominates the nation. This is the pattern seen in every domination throughout world history. In contemporary times, the examples of Stalin and Hitler seem most pronounced. The indoctrination of the youth is always the method of completely dominating a nation and overtaking it from within.
Just as sure as the Elamites kidnapped Lot and the Hivites raped and kidnapped Dinah, Satan has captured our teenagers. It has been done with deceit and treachery; nonetheless, they are captured as much as Lot, Dinah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It is time for us to remember Moses, Abraham and Jacob and avenge the theft of our youth !
Practically we must begin with prayer for the release. Then we must stand up and get in the fight. Consider volunteering to do some work in your nearby youth programs. Ask local pastors if they need help with their youth groups. Ask the Lord what you can and should do. Reaching one teenager is the key to reaching the others.
The message that teenagers are listening to today concerns their own power and identity. Teach them to identify with Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:29) Show them how to operate the power of God and tell them that they have authority over the devil. Not only is this where the fishing is best, but it is also where the next generation of fishermen are. Be prepared when you fish for teenagers. The "Youth Pond" has "No Trespassing" signs posted around it. They have been posted by the devil. He thinks he owns these ponds.
I once heard it said, "1 am a fisher of men, not a hunter of demons." My response is: you can- not fish if a strongman has a "No Trespassing" sign posted. Fight for and claim the ground that Jesus Christ won for you. Back the strong man down. Curse him and bind him in the name of Jesus Christ. You have the authority of Jesus Christ to preach the gospel to every nation, kindred and person on the earth. Personally, my statement is: "I like to hunt and fish."
"The message that teenagers are listening to today concerns their own power and identity."
Each of us needs to begin on our knees. Then each of us needs to stand against the wiles of the devil. Next, we need to move as a united force into every level and strata of society and culture and be aggressive in the spiritual campaign. Then, united we stand to proclaim, "Devil, Give Us Back our Teenagers!!'
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: Ephesians 4: 13
"We should demand that the Supreme Court and our other elected officials recant of their devilish atrocities."
In closing, a good exhortation for all of us to remember is Romans 11: 14.
If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. Romans 11: 14
The Greek word for "provoke to emulation" is "paraze/oo". It is composed of para- parallel and ze/oo- zeal. We need to parallel or match our zeal and commitment to at least be at the level of what Satan is doing. His children and agents are viciously assaulting the kingdom of our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ daily. Are we going to idly sit by and let these atrocities continue with- out retaliating?
The words of our Lord Jesus Christ should echo in our ears.
And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Luke 10: 18
Satan is a dethroned and defeated enemy. Jesus beheld him being cast to the ground like a meteorite burning up as he bounced off the face of the earth.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
You are more than a conqueror. Satan has ransacked our country and is holding our teenagers in captivity. Let's go get them back! !
Remember that Satan and his demons are subject to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20
Let us rejoice even more when we see the names of teenagers written in heaven. Let us preach to our teenagers the same message as Paul was commanded to preach.
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power [authority] of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Acts 26: 18
1. Get on your knees in prayer to God for the release of our teenagers.
2. Get on your feet and stand against the wiles of the devil.
3. Stand together in rescuing our teenagers from the kingdom of darkness.
When we do these three things, then we can rejoice together as we see their names written in the kingdom of heaven.
Boldly we proclaim: "DEVIL, GIVE US BACK OUR TEENAGERS!!!"
©1998 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Don’t Forget the Gifts of the Spirit (Article ID 178)
Don’t Forget the Gifts of the Spirit
By Dale M. Sides
Recently, I have been disturbed about the neglect of the gifts of the Spirit—not from those who do not recognize the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but from those who have it. This concern piqued when I heard that Oral Roberts shared the same concern recently at the International Charismatic Bible Ministries Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
That this neglect is happening is not in question, nor who is behind it either. Statistics show that there is actually a measurable decline in this focus.1 We are at war and my concern is that if our weapon of power evangelism is subtly taken away from us, then the losers will not just be us, but those who have never heard the name of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit has some things going on. Historically, a lot of things began happening around the early 1900’s. This period serves as a hallmark for the movement of revival around the world. Even though there were technological advances made during that time period, the mainstay of breakthrough was the advent or return of the gifts of the Holy Spirit being poured out on the church. The harvest is arriving in heretofore untold proportions. Is a counterattack predictable?
When the gifts of the Spirit began moving in the church, the Holy Spirit had a witness of the kingdom of God. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came that He would enable us to be witnesses unto the uttermost part of the world (Acts 1:8). People may gawk at the spoken word and even criticize evangelism, but when the power of God shows up, it shuts the mouths of the critics. In the first century church, the witness of Philip the Evangelist to Simon the Sorcerer (history records him as Simon Magus) caused even the great magician and counterfeit power artist to believe (Acts 8:13). He was actually baptized and was dumbfounded at the miracles that Philip did. Do not be deceived: the power of God will stupefy unbelievers and it will add numbers to the church like nothing else. Likewise, do not be deceived: the devil will counter the move of God.
Yes, the church has had an emergence of the gifts of the Spirit and it has caused great revival. The news media tells us that Islam is the fastest growing religious movement in the world, but Islam is inflating its numbers by digging a well and building a mosque in a village in Africa and claiming that the whole village is Islamic. Islam is growing but ask the Hindus in India where the real threat is; they will tell you that it is charismatic Christianity. The power of God is pounding the devil—plundering hell and populating heaven—but in warfare, there is always retaliation!
The strategy that Satan is using to counterattack this movement of God is slick and it is going on undetected in many places. He is countering the power movement of the gospel with spiritual lethargy, but the “big gun” is subtle distraction. Satan is encroaching in the church with New Age doctrine and causing it to lose its power focus.
If spiritual warriors and intercessors who really have their ears close to the lips of God were polled and asked what the counterattack on the church is, you would find a unanimous agreement. We have become focused on good things such as “self-help” items. Meanwhile, the urgency of the baptism of the Holy Spirit has been relegated to a less important role. These self-help programs need to be closely scrutinized because New Age deception is continually being sown into the church. These programs subtly take the focus off of the kingdom of God and place it on the individual.
New Age programs encroaching in the church can easily be spotted by asking this question. Is this program good for the kingdom or is it good for me? Issues like How much do I weigh? or How good do I look? or Am I bringing forth my maximum potential? or Am I making the right financial investments? may have a place in the Christian curriculum, but not at the expense of power evangelism through the gifts of the Spirit. Remember that Satan is not a fool. His strategy is not to come in a red suit with a pitchfork and blatantly try to get you to deny Jesus. He will come in the form of a doctrine that will get you to look at yourself instead of looking to God. If we forget how this works, we could ask Eve. I’m sure she would remember the lesson.
The next time you walk through a bookstore, either Christian or secular, look at the titles. Ask yourself the question, “Is this book saying, ‘What about me?’ or ‘What about God?’” You’ll be amazed at how many books are pushing self-help items and how subtly the church has been diverted away from the power evangelism message that the Holy Spirit has been trying to bring and further. Remember that this is the “Information Age” and that Satan will adapt his methods according to current times and culturally acceptable norms.
God is concerned with you being helped, but what better help could you get than through the Helper Himself (John 14:16 NKJ). The Holy Spirit has been sent to equip us for the Great Commission and to disciple nations for Jesus—not the “Great Omission,” where we leave God out of the formula for Christian success.
The point is have we neglected the gifts of the Spirit? 1 Corinthians 12:31 says to covet earnestly the best gifts, and the context of this verse reveals that the best gifts are those that will make our ministries more functional for the Body of Christ. All of us are members in particular with various callings and responsibilities. Individually, however, we need to covet the specific gifts that will make us better witnesses for Jesus. If you have the ministry of an intercessor, the best gifts for you are diverse kinds of tongues, faith, and discerning of spirits. If you are a counselor, you need word of wisdom; or if you are a teacher, you need word of knowledge and the utterance gift of prophecy.
The Holy Spirit is pouring out word of wisdom, word of knowledge, the gift of faith, workings of miracles, gifts of healings, prophecy, discerning of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues for the purpose of making all of us more effective witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, there are other subjects in the Word of God as important as the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but we should follow the Holy Spirit in determining which ones we should study.
We need to be cautious that we are following the Holy Spirit and not religious spirits in our Christian curriculum. There is an “another Jesus” mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:4 that is moved by “another spirit” and “another gospel.” All of this needs to be understood in the light of being allured away from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Have you neglected the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Only you can answer that question and getting the answer is as simple as asking Him. My exhortation is, as the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:1,2, “Bear with me in my folly . . . for I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy.” We need to stay as focused as a chaste virgin and have eyes only for the coming Bridegroom.
The harvest at the end of the age is on. The Holy Spirit is pouring out power in behemoth portions. I conducted a deliverance session in India for 1,300 people and saw demons running out of them like “scalded dogs.” Don’t get left out and miss what the Holy Spirit is doing by neglecting His gifts. The greatest help you can get is from the Holy Spirit and one of the greatest helps you can be to others is to introduce them to the Helper Himself.
1. C. Peter Wagner. Spheres of Authority. Colorado Springs, CO: Wagner Publications, 2002: p. 47
©2002 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Establishing Churches through Apostolic Team Ministry (Article ID 11)
©1999 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Exercising Spiritual Authority (Article ID 182)
Exercising Spiritual Authority
By Dale M. Sides
The bread and butter of Liberating Ministries for Christ International since its inception has been the class on Exercising Spiritual Authority. This is not just because the class is so great, but because this is the heart and soul of our ministry and what we are called by God to serve the Body of Christ. We thank the Lord for all ministries and what they provide to the Body of Christ, but this is our slice of the pie that the Lord has given us to serve. Since this is our field and calling, we want to remind you to exercise your spiritual authority wherever you go and whatever you do.
When you stop and think about “exercising spiritual authority,” just the words alone make you stick out your chest and claim who you are in Christ Jesus. You are a super-spirit being and a miracle waiting to happen. The world and Satan’s kingdom want to keep you from knowing this, and even if you do know it, he wants you to forget it. This is war, and predictably, stealing someone’s weapon is a clever ploy. Are you policing your spiritual domain? Are you doing more listening in the spirit realm or more proclaiming? Are you the thermometer or the thermostat?
As a reminder (for those of you who have taken ESA), God put you in charge of your spiritual sphere of influence. We are not supposed to be tiptoeing though the garden but patrolling it. We often think about how dastardly Adam and Eve behaved on their watch, but it is no different now. You have a garden and you are on duty. What goes on during your shift is your responsibility.
I often get letters from people who ask me to pray for certain things: jobs, relationships, ministries to be fulfilled, disobedient children, and even money. Let’s revisit some basic Bible. This may not be review, but regardless, it is good information. So, get ready for a good lesson on spiritual authority.
“Prayer” is the Greek word proseuche. This is the noun form; the verb is proseuchomai. This word is used so much that we have forgotten to see what it really means. The root word to which the prefix pros is attached is euche. Pros means “toward,” but the word euche is the main root that defines what prayer means. (Remember that this is an explanation of what people are asking for when they want prayer, or it is what people do when they pray.) This explanation of what prayer is will change your prayer life forever.
Euche, the root word, is the word for “vow.” It is Strong’s usage #2171 and is used in Acts 18:18; 21:23, and James 5:15. So, in actuality, a literal definition of a prayer would be “a vow directed toward someone.” (Usually, but not always, in the biblical sense, this is directed toward God.) However, we have so overused the word that we have assumed that it means “a request.” Wrong! That is a different word deisis. (For a complete listing of the words describing our communication to God, see 1 Timothy 2:1.) When the word “pray” is used, it is the overall generic word that means to direct a statement toward God. In other words, “a prayer” can also mean “a prophetic declaration as a spiritual command.”
There is an operation of exercising spiritual authority to flex your spiritual might and muscle instead of asking God to do everything for you. We also need to revisit what God has already released to us and the devil may be blocking from coming. Ask yourself this question: If Proverbs 3:27 says to withhold not good from someone when it is within your power to give it, then is God withholding His goodness from us when we ask it from Him? Obviously not! So then, why do we not have the things we need? The answer is that God gives, but the devil steals.
Many times Christians want to deny their responsibility and spiritual authority by saying that everything that happens comes from God. (These are called Calvinists.) They may sound very spiritual, but they are certainly not scriptural. The devil is on the planet and prevents the good things of God from reaching God’s people. It may sound super spiritual to say, “Well, brother, God put this yoke on me to slow me down so that I would remember Him.” NO! The devil put the yoke on you, and God allowed him to do it so that God can see what you will do when you are under fire.
In reality, the exercise of your spiritual authority is just a part of your “SAT” (Spiritual Aptitude Test). Like the collegiate SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), we have a test that we must take to qualify for the millennial kingdom. As the collegiate SAT has math and English categories, so our Spiritual Aptitude Test has categories of authority, love, stewardship, and obedience (these can be remembered easily through the acronym ALSO). It is our cumulative score that will allow or deny our entrance. God is giving you a chance to prove yourself to Him.
God made the heavens and the earth. He threw Lucifer out of heaven to the earth (his name is now Thud). He then turned around, made mankind, and put us on the same piece of real estate as He put the devil. Why did God put mankind and the devil on the same place? The reason is for us to punish the devil (Luke 10:19; Ephesians 3:10) and for the devil to test us (Job 1–3). This is why we count it all joy when we are tried. We count it joy because it gives us a chance to show God the true metal and measure of our character.
Also, in the love category there are a few spiritual authority questions too. God wants to know what you will do when you see someone being beat up. It is like seeing a woman getting mugged or a guy being pummeled by a gang of hoodlums. Will you stand by and watch it? Will you walk away in indifference? Will you cower in fear? Will you call the police (which is not the right answer because you are the police)? Or will you personally go over and get in the fight?
Exercising spiritual authority is your opportunity to prove yourself to God. Those individuals who want to discount accountability and say that everything comes from God may say, “God knows everything, so I do not need to prove myself to God.” Again, this sounds like a very spiritual answer, but unfortunately for them, it is not scriptural. Fourteen of the twenty-five times “prove” is used in the King James Version of the Bible, it is used of God proving us, or of allowing us to prove ourselves to Him.
There is a fight going on. What are you going to do? The fight is in your garden. What will you allow? The fight is over the people in your sphere going to hell or not. What are you going to do? The fight may even be over your own children, grandchildren or parents. What are you going to do? These are not just spiritual authority questions, but love questions too.
To those individuals who prove themselves worthy by warring a good warfare (1 Timothy 1:18) and exercising the spiritual authority the Lord has given them, the Lord will grant to them a place of distinction in the coming kingdom (Revelation 2:26–27). They will rule with Him!
Remember, you were not sent here to be the thermometer, but the thermostat. You are on the earth as God’s kingdom enforcer, not to be a victim, but a victor. You were not sent here to be a passive observer, but a kingdom shaker. You were not sent here to listen to the devil, but to command him. You were not sent here to be ruled over, but to rule over.
What’s going on in your garden? Exercise spiritual authority!
©2003 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Fear Not! (Article ID 69)
by Dale M. Sides
In light of the recent happenings in the USA, here is some Liberating News.
Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. Isaiah 51:7
Throughout history, nations have marched against nations, and even though we would like to be immune to these attacks, believers are not isolated to events happening around them. There is even the iniquity of a nation that oftentimes angers God and when God imputes His wrath, the lives of believers in that nation are affected (Isaiah 1:4). But through all of this, God knows those who are His and remains faithful to His people; He comforts them and encourages them to not be afraid.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day. Psalms 91:1 –5
Believers in the United States are no different than believers in any other country. Christians in the United States may have been sheltered from things in the past, but the courage of believers is unrivaled in any part of the world. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God and have been rescued from death. We have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. Colossians 1:13
God will take care of His people. Wars have been going on since the fall of mankind. We are no different than anyone else. If you have confidence in your own strength, you will be afraid, but if you have confidence in God, you will do valiantly. He knows how to deliver the righteous in the day of trouble.
Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies. Psalms 60:12
And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them. Deuteronomy 20:3
Isn’t the aim of terrorism to terrorize people? If we are not terrorized or demoralized, then terrorism loses. The bottom line of terror is fear and when we boil fear down and take a close look at what it is made of, we see death. It is the fear of death that gives strength to all fears. Whether it is the fear of life ending for yourself or a loved one, death is the strength of fear. Why would anyone be afraid of bombs or guns or sudden tragedy if they knew that they could not die? Jesus has the keys to death (Revelation 1:18).
Franklin D. Roosevelt said during World War II, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear in and of itself can only live in the mind of a man or woman that is afraid to die. We cannot fear death because we have already died. This is what separates Christian believers from the rest of the world.
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 NKJ
To live free from fear, the exhortation in Colossians 3:1 and 2 must be applied. It is the remedy for fear and the gnawing pains of trepidation that fear causes.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1,2 NIV
We must live our lives by setting our minds [affections] on things above. Things of the earth perish and corrupt with the passing of time. We know that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came that we could have life (John 10:10a).
Fear imprisons the soul because of the fear of the death of the body. We have eternal life because of the superior life of the spirit. We refuse to be afraid. Yes, God will take care of us, but if something should happen and our bodies were destroyed, we would still have eternal life. We have escaped the fear of death.
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14,15
The Word of God applies to us now as well as to all believers of all ages. When we look to God we will have no fear. He has promised to take care of us, whether we live in these bodies or out of these bodies. When we refuse to fear, we deny from the devil what he is trying to steal from us—our peace and confidence in God.
Even as often as the Twenty-third Psalm is quoted, it still offers great comfort to those who are tempted with fear. The rod means protection and the staff means sustenance and resurrection. We need to let the Word of God speak to offer us the comfort we need in times of fear.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod [protection] and thy staff [sustenance and resurrection] they comfort me. Psalms 23:4
We will fear no evil!
©2001 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Fruit of the Spirit: Producing Christ-like Character for a Lifetime (Article ID 326)
Fruit of the Spirit
Producing Christ-like Character for a Lifetime
Dale M. Sides
In 1972, as a junior at North Carolina State University, I was asked to teach the Bible at a small group meeting that we held in our dormitory. My major was forestry and I had been studying fruit at the time, so I decided to do a teaching on the fruit of the Spirit. I had recently received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and I knew the verses on the fruit of the Spirit were found in Galatians 5, so with great zeal I set forth to prepare myself. I learned something then that is still true 35 years later—producing fruit takes time.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5: 22–23 KJV
Combining what I had learned in the natural realm and the spiritual realm about fruit, I came to the following conclusions:
The Greek word for fruit is karpos. It simply and literally means “fruit,” but notice that it is in the singular, indicating that all these attributes are wrapped up together. In other words, they are all in one and inseparable. Fruit is also commonly referred to as “produce,” meaning it is a product or result of the labor or energy that was put out to bring it forth. Therefore, we could call the fruit of the Spirit the produce or result of the Spirit.
Galatians was written as a reproof to believers who were allowing their flesh to run wild instead of faithfully disciplining themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit. The leading of the Holy Spirit is what produces the fruit of the Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to subdue our flesh with its passions and to bring forth the good character that is inherent within the seed. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convict the world of sin (John 16:8). The errors of our way and the strength of our flesh can only be overcome as we yield to His conviction and rely upon His strength. It takes time and patience to develop our faithful dependency upon Him. If a plant only received its nourishment sporadically, it would not develop properly. Consistent, perpetual nourishment is necessary to produce a healthy plant with healthy fruit.
But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it [cultivate it] and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:15
In the natural realm, we know that it takes more than pulling weeds to produce good fruit; likewise, in the spiritual realm, it takes more than denying the flesh to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. While we still need to pull the “weeds” out by putting off the flesh and dedicating ourselves to holiness and purity, I believe it’s possible for some fruit of the Spirit to be produced even in the midst of weeds. Years ago, I had a garden that was overgrown with weeds, yet I still discovered beans and tomatoes existing amongst them. However, they were hard to see and certainly not thriving. This is what happens to the witness of our Christ-like character—it will be obscured from view when weeds are allowed to overshadow it.
I once knew a man who was a dedicated drunk, and yet he was probably the best-hearted person I had ever met. However, those who knew him did not mention his good heartedness first and foremost when they spoke of him; they simply referred to him as a drunk. People generally will focus on what they can easily see; when the weeds are wild and overgrown, they are what will stand out in a person’s character. In other words, even though our garden may be producing fruit, if we do not weed it, that Christ-like character will be less visible. The Holy Spirit is faithful to point out the weeds to us as we yield ourselves to His conviction.
The fruit of the Spirit displays the character of Jesus Christ. I must confess that in my years of teaching on the subject of the Holy Spirit, I have committed the error of overemphasizing the gifts over the fruit of the Spirit. As I have matured spiritually, I can bear witness that the Holy Spirit is not only the provider of power for miracles, but He is also our inner witness and strength—urging and empowering us to become good people. We become good people as we produce good fruit. (Remember that goodness is a part of the fruit of the spirit.)
All the potential qualities for fruit lie resident within the seed God implanted within us at the time of our new birth. The Holy Spirit provides all the necessary factors to produce the character of Christ in an evident manner, and as we follow His leading these qualities will begin to manifest themselves in our lives: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Each one is a character trait of Jesus that will grow and mature and make us more and more like Him. Jesus said that when a tree does not bear fruit, it would be cut down and cast into the fire (Matthew 3:10). When a tree ceases to bear fruit, its worth is over. This should serve as an incentive to produce more fruit in our lives!
If we feel we have been slack in this area of our lives, we know we can repent and that God will be faithful to forgive us. However, we need to begin now to patiently and faithfully discipline ourselves to pull the weeds out by yielding to the inner convictions of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to prune and nourish us (John 15:2 and 5).
It takes the faithful work of the Holy Spirit working on us day by day, week by week, and year by year to produce a man or woman who looks like Jesus. It requires our submission to the working of the Holy Spirit—to pull out the weeds He reveals to us and walk in obedience to His leadings.
He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6
These were some of the truths that even as a junior in college I was able to share in that little home group in my dorm. All these years later, I can say that the depths of these truths have become more of a reality as I have endeavored to tend my garden throughout my life. I know now from experience that it truly does require diligence and persistence to produce fruit that remains and to possess that Christ-like character for a lifetime.
When I ended my sharing in that college dorm many years ago, I left them with these words from Jesus, as I do now:
By their fruits you shall know them. Luke 6:44
©2007 Liberating Ministries for Christ International
God Is in Control!/? (Article ID 185)
God Is in Control!/?
By Dale M. Sides
As awesome and powerful as the phrase “God is in control” can be, it can also be grossly misunderstood if it is not explained and discerned properly. This phrase can renew strength, vigor, and commitment to help a stunned victim stay the course and keep pressing toward the mark. Or it could convey that God controlled the circumstances regarding the death of a child. Properly applied, it could serve as a reminder that God will have the final say and has a way planned where there is seemingly no way, but unfortunately, this popular phrase could also be used to communicate that God is responsible for everything that takes place in the world. This phrase must be stipulated to remind us that even though God is omniscient, He has granted freedom of will to mankind. Just because God knows something will happen, does not mean that He makes it happen.
As much trust as this statement may produce, it also can subtly leech away both faith and evangelism. When people sit back and say, “Why should I get involved? God is in control,” they do not understand the importance that God has placed on them and their actions. For example, I recently heard a very wonderful believer say, “Yes, I know my friend has an incurable disease, but we are not alarmed. After all, God is in control.” This statement could have meant to totally trust God, but it could also have implied to take no aggressive action of faith. Similarly, we could say, “Millions of people in India have never heard the name of Jesus, but take heart, God is in control,” meaning that this is God’s fault or that God is the Judge and will have the final say-so at their judgment. Or it could be misunderstood to just sit back and not make any efforts in evangelism. The dilemma that it leaves is: Should people accept everything the way it is or make efforts to change things?
The purpose of this article is not to undermine the belief in God’s sovereignty or to eradicate this phrase from Christian vernacular. The purpose is to properly define the need to take action, or, on the other hand, our need to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13).
This certainly will not be the last word on this subject, and certainly is not the first one either. This topic touches on the discussion of man’s will versus God’s sovereignty that was debated between the Pharisees and the Sadducees and between the Calvinists and Armenianists in millennia and centuries past. The purpose of this is to call attention to the fact that the phrase “God is in control” needs further clarification. Can we categorically assert that God is control without stipulating the facts around the case? Does it mean that God is totally in charge of everything that goes on around us? Does this mean that God is responsible for murders, suicides, and abortions? This is the danger of leaving this phrase unchecked. It can lead (and is now leading, in many people’s understanding) toward the doctrine of fatalism.1 If not explained, these words will bring in a damnable heresy—that God is responsible for everything that happens on the planet. This phrase has just enough accuracy for it to be accepted and yet, erroneous conclusions are drawn when the phrase is not brought into sharp focus with the whole scope of Scripture. The dangerous end is that a false understanding of God is developed in which God is blamed for everything. This leaves no room for the free will of man or satanic plans and ploys.
The problem with blaming everything on God is that it quickly degenerates the good name of God. Romans 8:28, a beautiful verse of Scripture, is more and more often being misapplied to mean that God is working everything out to His own good. When we hear, “All things work together for good to them that love God,” it is being used to mean that whatever happens, God orchestrates it. More recently I have heard, “The devil is a pit bull on God’s choke chain and can do nothing unless God allows him to do it.” All of these concepts have elements of accuracy, but they can also be traced back to the error of not fully disclosing the facts around “God is in control” and not allowing for the free will of mankind or the intervention of Satan and his minions.
The examination of this phrase is not meant to criticize anyone, or even to remove it from the Christian’s vocabulary. The purpose is threefold: to defend the good name of God; to clear Him from the blame that Christians are unknowingly heaping upon Him; and to halt the leeching away of faith and evangelism. This article is not meant to call into question God’s omniscient rule over the universe, or to undermine people’s trust that God can take care of them in any situation. It is intended to be an exposé of the particular phrase, “God is in control,” and to call attention to the need of more fully understanding that God is not the cause, nor should He be blamed for everything that happens in the world today.
Who Is in Control?
Recently a friend of mine, Kevin Porter, a wonderful minister from Stayton, Oregon, commented upon this subject in the best way I have heard it described. He said, “‘God is in control’ is a correct doctrine, but it is not a complete doctrine.” I could not agree more. Whenever this phrase is used, related facts must be stipulated or else it appears that God orchestrated everything to take place at His prescribed time and according to His predetermined will.
Someone else once asked me, “If God is not in control, then who is?” Although the question was rhetorical, my response was, “Whomever God put in charge should be in control.” I also added, “Shall we debate who is responsible, the baby sitter or the kids, if the kids sneak out the back door and set the garage on fire?” This is not to negate that God can, and does at times, create situations and place people in them to prove and increase their character. When these things occur, God is in control of the test, but each person is still in control of their will and how they respond. So, is God in control? The answer is both yes and no. We cannot categorically say that God is in control because He has relinquished to each person the control of his or her own will.
God has put you in charge of your will. So is God in control of you? The answer must be stipulated and qualified. If someone jumps off a building and dies, was God in control? If someone smokes cigarettes and dies prematurely, did God stick the cigarette in that person’s mouth? If God is in control of everything, then why does He demand we live a repentant life? If God is in total control of you, then why does He tell you to keep your body in subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27)? If God is in control of you, then why did Jesus say in Luke 21:19, “In your patience possess ye your souls.”
In years gone by there was a reasonably prominent belief system called Deism. Its principle tenet of belief was that God put man on the earth and then took His hands off and let man do whatever he was going to do. In other words, their belief was that God adopted a policy of “non-intervention.” Thomas Jefferson held to this belief. This explains why he wrote a version of the Bible and left out all of the miracles.
This aspect of Deism’s system of belief has a marginal merit for consideration. It goes like this: God does not usually intervene unless we ask for help. He placed mankind on the earth as His authority (Psalm 8:4–8). He allows mankind to manage the planet and usually does not intervene unless He is asked for help. Asking for help is called prayer. This explains situations like those we find in Genesis 18:23–33, when God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah until Abraham made intercession for the righteous people to be saved. God was also going to destroy the whole nation of Israel for worshipping the golden calf until Moses asked Him not to do it (Exodus 32:31–33).
God intervenes in the schemes of mankind when someone asks Him. God has put mankind in charge of the earth (Psalm 115:16) and will help if He is asked to help. That is why, in Matthew 6:10, Jesus told us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
So, who is in control? The answer is simple. Whomever God put in charge should be in control. When God relinquishes the control, whomever He gives it to has it. If the control is neglected, the person in charge is accountable. If the person in charge asks God for help, then God has the right to intervene. Mankind is being tested and graded on how he uses his freedom of will. If he tries to do it by himself, then he fails—not only at the task, but also at the test.
God has put mankind in control of his own will!
All Things Work Together for Good?
A frequently misapplied verse is Romans 8:28. People try to make it say that God is responsible for everything that happens and will make everything good in the end.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
This verse is often quoted to explain everything and anything that happens on the earth. If someone gets hit by a car or some catastrophic event occurs, you can hear sincere believers say, “Now brother, you know that all things work together for good to them who love God.” Then closely follows the next predictable statement: “Relax, God is in control.”
The context of Romans 8:28 shows the ministry of the Holy Spirit working in people to pray for one another. This verse should not be used to say it is God’s will anytime something good or bad happens. Is God in control when a person shoots someone? How does that work together for good?
A while ago, a friend of mine lost his wife and two daughters in a terrible car wreck. It is true that over time he has become stronger because of his dire situation. To say, however, that God is in control, meaning that it was His will for this to happen because it would cause this man to grow spiritually, is a travesty against the good name of God. Without stipulating that God was able to help this man and strengthen him is not fair to God. He did not orchestrate this man’s ordeal, but did help in his healing. Yes, God knew that it would happen, but absolutely did not make it happen. This situation did not work together for good for them who loved God, because the ones who loved God suffered destruction. God is not the Destroyer—Satan is.
What about Satan—Is He in Control?
God gave free will to Lucifer/Satan. In Isaiah 14:13 and 14, Lucifer says in his heart, “I will ascend . . ., I will exalt . . ., I will sit . . . and I will ascend.” He was perfect in the day he was created until iniquity was found in him and he sinned (Ezekiel 28:15). Satan has free will: he operated independently of God then—and he operates independently of God now.
It has been said, “The devil is a pit bull on a choke chain that God is holding. He cannot do anything that God does not allow him to do.” I challenge that statement. God has not put you on a choke chain and the devil is not on one either. Satan certainly has limitations, just as all created beings do, but God does not hold him and then release him to commit mayhem. This is another example of taking a single section of Scripture and building a doctrine upon it. This misapplied doctrine is running loose because of a misunderstanding arising from the book of Job—that Satan got permission from God to attack Job. No, he got limitations from God, not permission. Satan has permission to attack God’s people because he has freedom of will.
We learn from the first two chapters of Job that Satan got limitations from God concerning the attack on Job. From this section of Scripture we understand that God, because of His omniscience, uses Satan to test us. There is also little doubt that God limits what Satan can do to us. Proponents of the theory of “a pit bull on a choke chain” left out the first five verses of the book, which introduces the whole subject of Job and his dilemmas. These five verses lay the foundation for the book of Job.
Something happened in Job’s life that caused him great consternation and perhaps fear (Job 3:25). It was related to his sons and daughters. The Bible says they were eating and drinking. (This phrase also describes what the children of Israel were doing when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments.) Were Job’s children being promiscuous? Were they taking part in idolatrous practices? Job was afraid they had cursed God. It is interesting that his children were repeating the same practices (for which Job had been offering sacrifices) when the snare of Satan was sprung on them (Job 1:4,13). In other words, there was sin in the camp. Job’s children had sinned and Job had a break in his wall of protection—He feared retaliation.2
Some Christians have developed the idea that God “sics” the devil on a person because He is bored and wants to see what the person will do when the devil attacks. This is the same concept of the pit bull on the choke chain. In Job’s case there was a cause that allowed this scenario to develop. God is a righteous God and does not use people for entertainment. It is true that God initiated the conversation about Job, but this was because Satan, in his going to and fro on the earth, had not been able to touch Job up to that point. But when Job had fear in his life, either the door opened for this attack or God wanted to strengthen Job’s character (by removing the fear and possibly a little pride, too) while building more patience and humility.
God allows Satan to do certain things to us in order to prove us. This allowance is not to cause our destruction, but rather for us to learn and grow stronger. In Judges 3:1 and 2, God left several nations to test the children of Israel so that they could know war. God tests us and we need to be aware that He does it. God put parameters on Job’s test, but Job opened the door for Satan to do more than what God allowed by giving Satan permission himself.
God allowed Satan to attack Job’s soul and body, but not to kill him. It is very clear that God did not authorize Satan to take Job’s life, but there is another possibility in the scenario—that Job authorized the taking of his own life. After the tests were administered, Job grieved for seven days and nights without saying a word. After the test was given, if Job would have raised up his voice and praised God, it would have been over with, but that is not what happened. By his will, Job personally opened the door for Satan to come against him.
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. Job 3:1
When Job cursed his day, Satan did not need to go to God and get permission to attack. Job personally granted it to him. When Job cursed the day of his birth, Satan began to work Job over. Satan was limited to not taking Job’s life, but when Job cursed himself, it opened the door for Lucifer to tempt Job into taking his own life. (This was the purpose of Eliphaz’s vision. See Job 4:12–21; 6:8,9; and 7:14–15.)3
The important principle is this: Yes, at certain times God allows Satan to prove us, but not destroy us. When we, by our own will, use our mouths against ourselves, we give Lucifer permission. At this juncture, God is not in control—we are because God relinquished control to us. The devil does not need to go to God to get permission if we personally grant it to him because God put us in charge of our own lives with our own free will.
Was God in control of Job’s temptations? The answer is both yes and no. God allowed Satan to test Job, so Job was not in control of the test. However, Job was in control of his own will and how he responded throughout the testing. Job relinquished control of his will when he—not God—cursed the day of his birth. So both God and Job were in control at various points.
Even if someone holds to the idea that the devil is a pit bull on God’s choke chain, consideration must be allowed for someone walking inside the range of the chain and sticking his leg in the dog’s mouth. If a person does this, is God responsible? No. Likewise, was God in control of Job’s mouth? Certainly not! When Job cursed the day of his birth, he personally gave Satan permission to come against him. Every time Satan comes against someone, it is not because God allowed it. It could be, and often probably is, because the people involved issued an invitation through their own words or actions (sins).
In a similar vein of logic, if God is the one who unleashes the devil and demons against us, then why did Jesus give us authority over demons (Matthew 10:1; Mark 16:15–18)? Theoretically, if these demons are doing God’s will (if they are working for God), then Jesus went against the Father’s will by giving us authority over them. We know this is not true (John 5:30).
So, is Satan in control? It is true that Satan is allowed by God to do certain things, but just because something happens to us does not mean that God sent Satan to do it. Satan operates as an independent agent apart from God because he has free will. Are we to believe that Lucifer went to God and got permission to deceive a third of the angels into following him (Revelation 12:4), and then consequently that God threw Lucifer out of heaven for doing what God gave him permission to do? No! Satan had, has had, and still has free will. God will chain him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:2), and God knows what he will do when he is released (Revelation 20:3, 7–9). Does this mean that God is going to make him do it? No!
Satan has free will; we have free will. We will all be judged for what we do with it. God, by His sovereign design, has allowed each of us to control our destiny by operating our own free will.
It is good to be reminded that the ways of God are past finding out. He does not need us to tell Him what He can or cannot do. We are aware that He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9,10). Because God knows the end already, He is therefore prepared to make a way for us to escape. No one is denying that God is omniscient. In the end, God is the one who will ultimately be in control because He will have the last word on the Day of Judgment.
We need to be aware that doctrines of fatalism may come upon us when we blindly say, “God is in control.” It is often convenient for people to just accept everything that is happening to them and attribute it to God, because they do not want to accept responsibility for their actions. Nor do they want to invest the effort to separate truth from error, or attack from trial.
Certainly, we all should want God to be in control to perform His perfect will. We can do our part to see this come into fruition by yielding our wills to Him. We also know that there are things going on around us that are not according to His will because many people do not yield to Him, so let us please not attribute Satan’s mayhem to God.
We can rest assured that God has never been fooled (Galatians 6:7) or taken by surprise. Therefore, God always has an escape route planned for us (1 Corinthians 10:13), even if we transgress His will. With all this knowledge, we need to accept that God placed our destiny in our hands. Based upon the exercise of our own will and our own decisions, we will one day stand before Him to give an account of ourselves. We hope to hear Him say, “Well done.”
As we humble ourselves to do God’s will and place ourselves under His mighty hand, we want to submit to Him and place Him in control. However, with all of this in mind, we cannot simply say that just because something happens, God made it happen and He is in control.
We need to fully operate the God-given sanctity of free will by defending the good name of God. He is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). There is none good but God (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19). We also need to become strong in faith. We need to not accept everything that comes along as the will of God and blindly say, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” We need to be aware that we have an enemy—and Jesus gave us authority over him. We need to remember our God-given, joyous responsibility of holding forth the Word of Life to others, and not just commit their salvation to fatalism and say, “God is in control.”
When using the phrase, “God is in control,” don’t forget that God’s integrity weighs in the balance of your statement. Don’t forget that God gave you faith to call upon Him to bring His will to come to pass on the earth. If you don’t call on Him, how will it come? Don’t forget that God gave you a mouth to speak His word and reconcile men and women to Him (2 Corinthians 5:18–20). If you don’t speak for Him, how will they hear (Romans 10:14)?
Is God in control? Make sure to stipulate your answer, because God in His omniscience gave you control over your own free will and will hold you accountable for the decisions you make, including statements about Him. God does not make everything happen, but, praise the Lord, He knows what will happen. Even though we have free will and control of our lives, God makes a way for us in the midst of adversity.
1. Fatalism is a belief that mankind’s destiny is forever sealed and therefore can never be altered.
2. There are 26 usages of the word “iniquity” in the book of Job (listed only behind Psalms and Ezekiel in frequency). This could also show a generational curse of fear or promiscuity working behind the scenes.
3. An unpublished article entitled “The Significance of Eliphaz’s Vision” by Dale M. Sides is available from LMCI upon request.
©2002 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Have Salt in Yourselves and Peace With One Another (Article ID 187)
Have Salt in Yourselves
and Peace with One Another
By Dale M. Sides
When the Word of God says that Jesus called “the twelve” together, because the twelve were called apostles, it means they were having an apostles fellowship. The account in Mark 9:33–50 is such a record. It was a meeting designed for apostles. When Jesus sat down and called the twelve to Him, it was a serious time to deal with a serious subject. This subject is just as crucial today as it was then, and the teaching He gave to the original twelve apostles should be as though the ink is still wet on the page.
The following article is a textual exegesis of Mark 9:33–50. It is a lesson on unity—the benefit of having it and the consequences of not striving for it. The conclusion emphasizes what Jesus wanted the apostles to have and to remember.
Have salt [lasting commitment] in yourselves, and have peace [unity] one with another. Mark 9:50b
This instruction is directed to apostles and must be specifically applied to them, but because it is recorded openly in the scriptures, it is for everyone to read and know. The truths included here are for all believers to know and to be able to hold all apostles accountable. The conclusion is simple but the context in which it is set should burn a hole in the heart of every apostle and believer. These are words of warning and caution given to the highest office in the church. Jesus taught the apostles of His day and time and is also teaching those of today the promise of eternal rewards for properly fulfilling this calling. He also levied the threat of gehenna for those who selfishly abuse this office.
It seems that “apostle” is a major buzzword within the Body of Christ now. There is no doubt that this ministry is alive and functional within the Body of Christ, but there are also self-appointed individuals claiming this office who only see it’s given recognition and prestige. When the requirements and threats are clearly spelled out, it may cause those particular people to reconsider their claim to this function. For those genuinely called to this office, this word from the Chief Apostle will serve as a reminder that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church and He will tolerate no selfishness or rebellion in the army, even among His generals.
This is a prophetic word given to apostles. Unlike some delivered today, this message is from the Prophet of all time and none of His words have ever fallen, or will ever fall, to the ground—since He is the Incarnate Word. Be prepared and be forewarned—these are hard words coming from a Hard Man (Matthew 25:24) directed toward potentially “hardheaded” leaders in the church. Jesus does not pull any punches in this teaching and discourse. Generals in the army must give orders but they must also be able to take them. Regardless of how many stars are on someone’s shoulders—only One has a crown on His head. Jesus is in charge!
This is a lesson on unity. It is not a request; it is a command. It does not come from an underling; it comes from the King of Glory, the Commander in Chief, the Chief Apostle and the Judge—the One Who has the power and authority to grant eternal rewards or cast His servants and apostles into gehenna (Matthew 10:28).
And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. Mark 9:33,34
The word “disputed” is the Greek word dialegomai. It means “through discourse,” or in common language, “argued.” The twelve argued about who would be the greatest. In the context, going back to verses 1–10 and 30–32, we can figure that they were discussing who would be in charge after Jesus died. Who would be the Big Man?
And he sat down, and called the twelve [to an apostles meeting], and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. Mark 9:33
The word “first” here is protos. This means “foremost in importance” not “foremost in rank.” In other words, they were not arguing about who would be the most responsible. They argued about who would have the most prestige.
(While I was in India, I taught these same truths to some mighty men of God—apostles to the church in India. It was not unlike any other leaders fellowship. Beforehand, these men were walking around sizing themselves up, comparing themselves among themselves, counting churches and assessing the “pecking order.” It is predictable in an apostles fellowship. At this time within the teaching, however, the same strange silence hung over this group in India just as it did with the original twelve apostles.)
This place in Scripture, perhaps more so than any other, demonstrates the greatest enemy of the apostolic ministry—ambition. Each ministry has an imposing enemy: apostles—ambition; prophets—rejection; teachers—intellectualism; evangelists—recognition; and pastors—security. The devil targets each ministry with its particular vice. Ambition is the major enemy of the apostolic ministry. Jesus knew this and was trying to “nip it in the bud.”
An apostle is a visionary. He or she dreams about places where no man has gone before. It is not a weakness; it is a strength. But in the visionary places where he or she may ponder, they must remember that the whole army must move in unison, and that it is composed of the Lord’s people—not theirs. Though apostles may be first in vision, they must be last in ambition and put others above themselves.
Caring for People, Not Position
The Master Teacher used a visual aid to communicate about this enemy—ambition, and the danger of magnifying an apostolic function over the children of God.
And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. Mark 9:36,37
Notice that He took the child in His arms. Then He said, “Whosoever shall receive one of such children, receiveth me.” The emphasis was on the one child. Holding the child in His arms, He reproved the apostles by bringing them back to the basics of the ministry—it is about one person being cared for—not about fulfilling your ambition.
At this point, the Apostle John interrupts the Master with a question. On the surface it may seem out of context, but Jesus utilizes this as a perfect illustration of the deceit of ambition.
If They Are Not WITH Us, They Can Still Be FOR Him
And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us; and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. Mark 9:38–40
John’s question illustrates exactly this enemy called ambition and the effect it can have on someone’s judgment. Who in his right mind would rebuke someone for doing the work of the Lord? Yet, it is done time and again in places all over the world. When someone does not have the “right” title or is not sanctioned by the “right” group, then judgment often is passed on them as being “against” the inspecting group. Remember that it was an apostle who rebuked a servant of the Lord. Why? Because the man who was casting out demons was not with their group.
Did it occur to John and does it occur to modern day apostles that the Lord might be doing something they do not know about? Jesus obviously had commissioned others to do work that were not of the twelve. He had sent out seventy others with commensurate authority.1 The Commander of the Army does not need to confer with the leaders in the army to make a decision. He may have things going on in different areas that does not pertain to a particular leader. In this army, we operate on a need-to-know basis. Sometimes, gentlemen and ladies, you do not need to know.
For example, there may be evangelical movements that are not charismatic. There also may be an intercessory army that does not affiliate with ministries sent to feed the poor. There may be family-oriented ministries that do not have direct fellowship with deliverance ministries. Remember that someone who does a miracle in His name is with us, not against us.
This is the curse that comes with ambition; it causes someone to think that they have the “corner on the market.” It caused division among the twelve and it can spread to the whole Body of Christ. Jesus said that whoever is not against us is for us.
The context of unity is beginning to build and will culminate with “have salt in yourselves and peace with one another.” Yet before Jesus brings the teaching to a conclusion, He introduces the reward/punishment or benefit/consequence motivation into the explanation.
Rewards or Punishment?
For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.2 Mark 9:41,42
There are rewards given to people who serve other Christians (Hebrews 6:10). Oftentimes we think about our witness to the unbelieving world, and forget our duty to each other. Because this verse speaks of giving water to those who belong to Christ, it is talking about service within the Body of Christ. Be especially good to the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).
When a little one is offended (back to the context of the children of God) by an ambitious man or woman who is “merchandising” one of them for self-gratification, punishment will come instead of rewards. Merchandising little ones (inclusive of any of God’s children) happens when fulfilling a ministry becomes someone’s focus instead of helping people and building God’s kingdom. This is very dangerous evidence of the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes (Revelation 2:6), meaning someone—nike (conquerer) laos (person)—who dominates people for his or her own gain. “Offend” is the Greek word skandalizo and means to purposely use someone for personal gain—again demonstrating the fruit of ambition.
Jesus now heads toward the conclusion of His instruction to the twelve. Remember that it is specified for apostles—the twelve. These are the generals in the army who have the most committed to them and will have the most required of them as well. This is where the sayings get hard.
The Punishment of Gehenna
In verses 43–48 of Mark 9, Jesus Christ discloses a punishment for apostles who are consumed with ambition and do not strive for unity. Before we discuss these offenses that gain someone entrance to this punishment; it is good for us to briefly mention what this place is.
Gehenna is without a doubt a place of punishment. The flames of fire directly demonstrate this.
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell [gehenna], into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:43,44
Even though the purpose of this article is not to doctrinally discuss the existence of gehenna, rest assured, you do not have to believe in it to go there. Isaiah 66:24 definitely shows that this is a place of punishment.
And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. Isaiah 66:24
Doctrinally, there is a dispute over gehenna.3 Some equate it to hades—another word translated “hell”—while others believe it is a separate place of punishment. Some believe that hades is the place of punishment of the unrighteous or unsaved dead, while gehenna is the place of punishment for the righteous, or saved dead. Wherever or whatever it is, it is certain that the righteous dead may be there if they do certain things. Mark 9:43–48 is one of the most convincing sections of scripture to document this truth.
It is my personal belief that gehenna is a place for apostate ministers. I believe it will exist in the heavens along with the outer darkness, while the millennial kingdom takes place on the earth. The outer darkness is a place of separation where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth while missing the millennial kingdom. This is reserved for people who did not know any better or were just lazy. Gehenna, on the other hand, is a place of punishment for people who knew better and actually transgressed the commandments of God with full knowledge.4 Without question, gehenna is a real place and the authority on this is not I, but Jesus Christ the Judge.
The far better place to be is not there and the way to not be there is to obey the Word of God. To help you accomplish this, along with preserving the strength and purity of the Body of Christ, is the purpose of this article.
I mentioned to you before that these are hard sayings from a hard man. Jesus is a Hard Man when it comes to someone dominating His people and building himself up as “another Jesus” and a false apostle (Revelation 2:2). Please do not receive these words as a statement of condescension from me, but as a word of warning from the Chief Apostle. I likewise am in the same possible condemnation. Personally I would hope that gehenna is a figure of speech, but I cannot apply private interpretation of the scriptures by my own choosing. (It will not change the truth anyway.)
If we respond with maturity and humility, it would be better to be safe than to be sorry. We therefore need to respond to the instruction given in Mark 9:43–48 and either repent for being disobedient or be instructed to not be disobedient.
The Lord warns against three conditions where ambition can lead an apostle into deception. These admonitions are clear and need to be avoided for the sake and safety of the Body of Christ, for the rewards of apostles to be preserved, and for punishments not to be incurred.
The Offending Hand, Foot, and Eye
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:43–48
The offending hand, foot, and eye are likely ways that an apostle is deceived by ambition. The hand refers to what he or she is doing. The foot refers to the way he or she is walking. The eye refers to the way he or she is looking at others. All of these are tainted by ambition.
The offending hand will be discussed first. The hand pertains to the way you are doing things. If you as an apostle imagine that you and you alone are the only one doing the “proper” works of God, remember that the Lord has not called you to be His counselor. This kind of prejudice is apparent in those who think that they have “the” power of God—while they are living in sin. Others look at fellow apostles and think “how deceived they are” because they are doing the wrong thing. Remember that your Brothers and Sisters were not called and commissioned by you.
Cut off your hand and enter into life of the kingdom to come. This does not mean to stop your works (we will see this as the exhortation is given to “have salt in yourself”) but rather it means to quit exalting your works above others. Quit rebuking others, inwardly as well as outwardly, for being different. Remember our Brother, the Apostle John, who rebuked the man casting out demons. Jesus said that those who are not against us are with us.
Second is the offending foot. The foot refers to the way you are walking. Do you think you are walking on an inside track to heaven and are in the good graces of the Lord while others have been led astray? Maybe you have a beam in your eye and your fellow apostolic brethren have a splinter in theirs.
Do you think that your doctrine is the pure doctrine while all others are deceived? If so, you are deceived. We all have errors in our doctrine and desperately need God’s mercy. Jesus said that it was by their fruit and their love that others would know them (Luke 6:44, John 13:35).
There are specific demons trained in particular church doctrines to try to keep the Body of Christ divided. They are called religious spirits and are anchored in the stronghold of pride––the pride of being right and being better than others.
It is better to cut off your “stronghold” of doctrine and humble yourself instead of being thrown into gehenna. Once again we see that the issue is ambition; wanting to be better than others and have an inside track to God’s favor. Humble yourself and realize that a point of view is just that—a view from a point. To have the whole view, you need others’ views in order to get the whole picture. Have you ever heard about the seven blind men trying to describe an elephant? It must have been funny when one declared it was long, flexible and had air coming out of it; and another said it was stiff, unmovable and flat on the bottom. We are in serious deception when we think that because we have one point of view, we understand the whole thing. All we have is our own point of view.
Lastly is the offending eye. The eye implies how you are looking at others. Do you think that you are better than others because you have more responsibility or more success? If you have more success in measurable numbers, it is only because you have been given more grace (and mercy).
Are you looking at others with a glare of disdain—thinking you are better than they are? A friend of mine once jokingly said, “The key to unity is simply for everyone else to repent of his or her wrong doctrine and come over here and have fellowship with me.” Are you looking at others through the eyes of love or through the eyes of scrutiny? Eyes of love are wide open but eyes of scrutiny are squinted closed and looking through narrow slits of self-righteousness.
Pluck out your critical eye and look to build others up instead of promoting yourself. If you must look at yourself, imagine how God sees you. Think about the mercy He has had on you to allow you to even be born-again, much less to serve Him.
These three things, the offensive hand, foot, and eye, are the fruits of ambition. All of these started with the apostles disputing over who would be the greatest. Ultimately, the harvest of ambition is gehenna!
Repentance is not just for people who apostles preach to—it is for the apostles also. Apostles are being tested now too. The test does not stop when you are ordained. Actually, it really begins then. The most difficult scenario to handle in ministry is success. Are you looking at your works as being better than others? Do you think you are walking on an inside track to God’s favor? Do you spiritually squint when you see another brother who is not “with” you?
Your works would be tried by the test of fire—the fire of gehenna.
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day [at the Judgment Seat of Christ] shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 1 Corinthians 3:13,14
Your work as an apostle will stand if it does not burn. If you have faithfully built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and not the platform of man’s institution, your work will stand. What a pity it will be to see a man or woman of God fall to their face in tears and anguish when they stand before the Lord and see their whole life go up in smoke. As bad as that is, He will then say, “Depart into Gehenna! You destroyed that which you were sent to build.”
We all know that this will happen, but we need to be forewarned so that it does not happen to us. Peter, James, John, Matthew, Joseph, Thaddeus, Thomas, etc. were not immune to this possibility, and neither are we. We need to repent of our ambition and serve the Lord who called us.
The concluding exhortation from the Incarnate Word will summarize what everyone, especially apostles, need to do.
Have Salt in Yourselves and Peace with One Another
For everyone shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. Mark 9:49,50 NKJ
Jesus said that salt is good. Salt is a preserver5 and thereby conveys a lasting commitment—your lasting commitment. You may have done well; you may have been at the ministry a long time. That is good, but if your salt has lost its saltiness, you have lost your flavor. In other words, if your commitment has lost its meaning, what good is the commitment?
Jesus concluded by saying, “Have salt in yourselves.” This means that your commitment is good. Your vision and desire to accomplish things for Him is good. You are faithfully discharging your office in zeal. This is His exhortation to you—you are doing well.
Then He said, “Have peace with one another.” The peace with one another is not just to get along with your neighbor. The context is to have peace with your fellow apostles. Repent of your self-righteousness. Cut off your hand—the works whereby you think you are better than others. Cut off your foot—the way that makes you think you are more special than others. Pluck out your eye—the way you are squinting at others and thinking that you are better than they are.
Have peace with one another. The key to unity in the whole Body of Christ is unity among apostles. If apostles embrace other apostles, the members of each army will embrace each other. If we speak only those things that edify one another, then the Body of Christ will be stronger. This is a lesson that can be learned by all.
To have peace with one another—look for those things that you agree upon. Admire the goodness in each other and the godliness of each other’s character. Admire each other’s commitment and offer to help.
Don’t look to be better than others. Look for ways to make them better than you. Refuse to offend the little ones. Bury ambition. Cut out the part that offends. Maintain your rewards and negate gehenna.
Have salt in yourselves and have peace with one another.
1. Jesus gave authority to the twelve and also to the seventy to cast out demons and to heal the sick, etc. The twelve represents the apostles and the ministry to the whole universal church, but the seventy represents the number of elders in the nation of Israel and relates to authority given to elders in a local congregation. Both have authority and need to work together to see the church built and be properly administrated.
2. The word “sea” is figuratively used at times to represent the other darkness—a place of separation during the millennial kingdom for those not earning rewards. Gehenna (verses 43, 45, and 47) will exist during the same time frame but is not just a place of separation; it is a place of punishment. See Dale M. Sides, “The Outer Darkness,” Episkopos Tape #16, Bedford,VA: Liberating Ministries for Christ International, October 1997.
3. The Zondervan Pictorial Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 2, pages 670-672.
4. Dale M. Sides, “Salvations of Man” series, tape #14, Bedford,VA: Liberating Ministries for Christ International.
5. Webster’s Living Dictionary of the English Language, Chicago, Illinois; copyright 1977
©2001 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Healing and Health (Article ID 235)
Healing and Health
Dale M. Sides
While preparing to present a new class, Exercising Spiritual Authority over Sickness and Disease, I swung the pickax at an old familiar verse and hit a new vein of priceless, spiritual gold. The verse is a faithful, ol’ standby that every preacher everywhere uses at one time or another. It is 3 John 2.
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 2
It seems that my understanding (and that of the vast majority of the body of Christ) has been to render this verse as saying that God wants us to be healed. I don’t believe this is a proper interpretation. Even though He does want us to be healed, this verse says that one of His greatest desires is for us to be in health. Healing is a verb, and health is a noun. One (healing) is an action; the other (health) is a condition.
“Health” is the Greek word hugiaino, which is a passive verb indicating a state of being. It reflects a condition rather than action—the condition being one of wholeness and health. The Greek words for healing, therapeuo and iaomai, are also verbs, but they are action verbs. These words are not conditions, but actions that will contribute to, or determine, the resulting condition. God’s great desire is not just for us to receive healing, but to maintain that gift and see it cultivated into a healthy condition.
The difference between these two words, healing and health, is worth considering, especially since God so highly desires health (and prosperity) for us. Health, being a noun, is a continual state of well-being. It includes the aspects of spirit, soul, and body, and it is God’s great desire that we live that way—not just to receive a healing and then continue to need more gifts of healing in individual portions.
The subject of prosperity has been handled much the same. We have interpreted 3 John 2 to say that it is God’s will for us to receive more money rather than to continually live a good life and have a good journey, full of blessings and repeated successes. Prosperity is a noun and a condition, rather than a one-time action. God wants us to perpetually live in prosperity—not just to receive a little extra cash in the mail.
This subject of healing and health is very close to me in my ministry. The Lord, through a revelation dream over two years ago, told me that He was going to teach me things about healing in Holy Communion that would be a major blessing to the body of Christ. This has already begun to be fulfilled and is still ongoing. At the end of the revelation dream, He specifically said, “I want a healthy bride.” Time and again, in going back over the dream, I can distinctly remember Him saying that what He wanted was a healthy bride, not just one upon whom He must continually pour out healings.
It seems that Christianity (as well as the world) wants a continual flow of healings to be poured out by the Lord. If you ever want to see a non-Christian or even an agnostic or atheist pray, watch what they do when they get really sick. They will fall down on their knees and pray to God to remove the affliction and take away the pain. Do you think that maybe this could be one way God finds an opportunity to remind people that He is still God?
While praying over this subject recently, the Lord said to me, “Most Christians, and especially charismatic ones, want healing, but they do not have the discipline to maintain health.” Upon sharing this with my mentor and spiritual father Apostle John Kelly, he told me that the Lord had recently spoken to him on a similar vein and said, “I (the Lord) supply healing, you (My people) are supposed to supply the health.” What a word! What a revelation!
The Lord is continuing to distribute His grace and healings upon His people. I know this and am seeing continual manifestations of it almost daily. But, in addition to this, I believe He wants us to see that we must maintain a healthy environment in order for the healing to take root and flourish. In other words, we have a responsibility to give the Lord “good ground” in which to grow His crops.
Lately, as I have been teaching Exercising Spiritual Authority over Sickness and Disease, I have seen a number of really breathtaking miracles of God’s grace being delivered to His people. Throughout the classes, the Holy Spirit has worked to open people’s eyes to the truth that they need to repent for sins they have committed against their own bodies. I believe this is a major reason for the healings we have been seeing during these classes. They are beginning to realize that they have a responsibility to maintain their physical health so that the miraculous healings that the Lord imparts to them can stick. (I hope to be able to teach this class more and more so that you can attend one of these.)
I am in the process of outlining a new booklet entitled The Satanic Deception of Knife and Fork, which will serve as a sequel to Understanding & Breaking the Schemes of the Devil. This will show the deception and snare of the enemy against our bodies and how we have been fed lies (or at the very least we have not been fed the truth) about the responsibility we have to care for our physical tabernacles.
We all have the responsibility of stewarding our physical bodies as tabernacles of the Holy Spirit. The Christian church gasps in horror when they hear about Antiochus Epiphanes slaughtering a pig on the altar of the temple in Jerusalem in 168 BC, but are we not committing a similar desecration when we pollute our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit, with impure food? Doesn’t 1 Corinthians 9:27 tell us to keep our bodies in subjection? This includes diet, rest, and exercise.
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1 Corinthians 9:27
What I have recently seen in ministering supernatural healing to people is amazing. When God’s people repent for the improper care of their bodies and commit to take positive actions so they may receive and facilitate the gift of healing that God will give, amazing numbers of healings will be manifested.
The Holy Spirit is our assigned Helper, and He will assist us. Has it ever occurred to you that He would help in the care and stewardship of your physical body? By giving you revelatory counsel, He is preparing you to receive the grace of God in supernatural manifestation. Maybe He will tell you to eat better or exhort you to learn more about improving your physical lifestyle. Regardless of what the Lord tells you to do, you are still responsible to obey and maintain health while God supplies the healing.
In closing, remember what I told you in the opening of this article: Health is a noun and a condition, as opposed to healing, which is a verb and a one-time action.
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 2
God, above all things, wants prosperity and health for you.
©2004 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Healing in Holy Communion (Article ID 234)
Healing in Holy Communion
Dale M. Sides
Originally, I was going to entitle this article “Healing in Communion,” but then I realized there was more to this than just the simple act of the religious ritual of communion. If healing were available merely by eating a piece of bread and taking a sip of wine in a liturgical setting, then Christians all over the world would have received their healing already. That obviously has not occurred. The power of healing is not just in communion, but in Holy Communion.
I have been teaching on healing in Holy Communion for quite awhile and have witnessed a considerable number of medically verified healings. This is not a fluke or a scam; there are both medical and scientific facts supporting this reality. This article will help to pave the way for you to receive this vital truth. If it is news to you, then praise the Lord, Liberating News is fulfilling its intended purpose.
So the reality that there is power from God available within the covenant He made with mankind, called Holy Communion or Passover, to heal the physical body as well as the injured soul, should be without debate. Psalm 105:37 KJV states that the children of Israel, after partaking of the first Passover, came forth without one feeble person among them. Also, according to 2 Chronicles 29 and 30, when King Hezekiah reinstated the holiness of Passover, all those who partook of it were healed. In 1 Corinthians 11:23–30, a warning is made to all those who receive the Lord’s Supper unworthily, that there will be the consequences of weakness, sickness, and/or a premature death. The reciprocal is true too—Holy Communion brings strength, health, and a full life when taken as Holy Communion, and not “just” communion. Both the Old Testament and New Testament agree—there is power in Holy Communion to heal, and there are consequences for partaking of it in an unprepared and unworthy state.
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 1 Corinthians 11:27–29
Not only is it advantageous for you to prepare to receive Holy Communion, it is also very risky to take it otherwise. Health and prosperity are available in Holy Communion, but just taking communion (without the holy) could be opening the door to receiving consequences instead of benefits.
This is why I stipulated the difference between communion and Holy Communion. Holy Communion taken in the proper way requires that the person be prepared to receive the sacraments. Each believer should “examine himself” to be purified and in a worthy state. This answers the question of “If there is healing in communion, why have I not seen it or received it?” The reason is that there is a preparation whereby the person becomes ready to receive what God has for them. These benefits include various kinds of healing and prosperity.
In the first Passover, where the flesh of the Passover Lamb was eaten and the blood was applied to the doorposts, God demanded a time called “Preparation.” This period of time is referred to in John 19:14.
Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. John 19:14a
Exodus 12:1–6 stipulates that a lamb be taken into a house on the tenth day of the first month and then sacrificed on the fourteenth. All this time, the people were to be readying themselves mentally to receive what the Lord had for them. In addition, they were to remove leaven (representing sin) from their homes. They went through a preparation process before they partook of the Passover meal. Likewise, we in the New Testament (who are under the New Covenant) also must ready or examine ourselves before we take Holy Communion, corresponding with the Passover meal under the Old Covenant.
The word “holy” is hagios in the Greek, coming from the root word hagnos, which means “completely pure.” The time of preparation, which under the Old Covenant was five days, required the partaker to set time aside to sanctify himself to be reminded of the covenant which he had with God his Father. It seems that in the present-day church, rather than taking five days to prepare, five minutes may be the maximum time given before taking communion. That time is usually when the person is waiting in line to fulfill his or her religious obligation.
Healing and prosperity in Holy Communion are covenant promises that God has made to His children whether they are under the Old Covenant or the New. It is a family thing that does not include unbelievers, or for that matter, covenant breakers, even if they are His children. Do you want healing in Holy Communion? Then the days of walking up to the altar and gulping down some wine or juice to wash the sticky wafer off of the roof of your mouth are over! You must prepare your heart to receive the blessings that God has for you.
To properly ready yourself to take Holy Communion, so that you may receive the promises of prosperity and health, you must set time aside to allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart to reveal anything that is not well pleasing in the sight of your Holy Father. The covenant that God the Father made with you through the blood and flesh of Jesus is the promise of health and wealth for you. Your side of the covenant is that you make Jesus your Lord and abide by the rule of that covenant—holiness!
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1
But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15–16
After researching the subjects of healing and Holy Communion, I have discovered that the anointing of the Holy Spirit resides in both the wine (juice) and bread. (It is passed into them when the bread is broken and thanks are given for the cup.) When taken internally, the elements come into contact with fresh, holy flesh, and actual regeneration begins to occur. Continually taken, in a holy state, the sacrament of Holy Communion will generate health in an individual for years and years. I personally knew of a man in India who had taken Holy Communion daily since being born again. When I met him, he was 85 years old and had never been sick or even had a cavity in his teeth. It appears that holy elements will stick to and regenerate holy flesh. However, when these same elements come into contact with unholy flesh or thoughts (due to unconfessed sins of the body or mind), caustic results can ensue.
Taking Holy Communion would be similar to adding a homogeneous (of the same origin) substance to another like substance versus putting a heterogeneous (not of like origin) with another substance. For example, remember when you put chocolate syrup (homogeneous) in milk? How easily it dissolved and changed the color and flavor of the milk! On the other hand, have you ever put lemon juice (heterogeneous) in milk? It curdles and will not dissolve. When Holy Communion is taken into a holy body, healing will predictably follow, but when the holy elements come in contact with an unholy environment, not only do benefits not occur, but sometimes consequences will.
I do not believe there are any elements in the world more holy than the sanctified, purified elements of Holy Communion. When they come in contact with a purified and worthily prepared vessel, the benefits of healing in the body will occur. Likewise, when they come in contact with a renewed mind, prosperity will ensue.
Holy Communion is just that—it is holy. Do not count the blood of Jesus as a common thing by just taking communion without being prepared (Hebrews 10:29). Take the time to examine and ready yourself, showing respect to the Lord for the sacrifice of His body and lifeblood that He freely gave for you. Partake of Holy Communion the way God requires and receive the benefits that Jesus paid for.
There is healing in Holy Communion.
©2004 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Humanism (Article ID 186)
By Dale M. Sides
A prophetic word must be delivered to the universal church of Jesus Christ dealing with the encroaching lie of humanism and its erosion of our Christian belief system. Even though this word may not be popular, it is a present truth that needs to be recognized because the lie of humanism is a cancer eating away at the Body of Christ. This perversion of truth is destroying our vitality and laying the foundation for the religion of the antichrist from which he will endeavor to deceive the very elect. The writing of this word is not directed toward any one person or specific aggregate of believers, but is for the whole Body of Christ. We all, both Christian believers and leaders alike, need to heed this warning. This subtle danger has been growing among us and has now gained a stronghold in our generic Christian belief system.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1911, humanism is “in general, any system or thought or action which assigns predominate interest of the affairs of men as compared to the supernatural.” The Second Edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary says that it is “a contemporary cult or belief calling itself religious but substituting faith in man for faith in God.” In a simple statement, humanism is the belief system that subtly magnifies the importance of mankind above the importance of God. To bring this into proper focus, it is Baalism with a modern veneer; it is worshipping the created thing above the Creator.
As we understand humanism and see its effects, we will see that it is encroaching upon the church and modern beliefs through the New Age movement. Although nature worship may seem novel today, it is simply an age-old belief with a face-lift. We see this doctrine introduced in the Garden of Eden when Satan said, “ye shall be as gods.” The strategic culmination of this lie will be seen when the antichrist, as a human, sits in the temple of God to be worshipped—elevated to the position of God and endeavoring to show that he is God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
The belief system of humanism has existed throughout history, but its recent invasion into the church of Jesus Christ through New Age beliefs has made it become a “clear and present danger” to the Body of Christ. It is now operating very cleverly under the guise of compassion where mankind and the care of mankind are elevated above the purposes of God. Telltale signs of it are clearly seen when churches do not preach holiness but substitute convenient beliefs that elevate the human element and require no obedience to Almighty God. More and more, we see that churches are built for the comfort of people and not for the presence of God. When social issues become the dominant theme in churches, instead of biblical truth, and the purposes of God are relegated to a secondary priority, it is certain that the disease has infected and contaminated the doctrinal system of those congregations. Humanism is cloaked as a counterfeit compassion where the greater focus is on the creature rather than on the Creator.
This doctrine will be the cohesive force to pull all religions, even Christianity, into a false unity. This is the pillar of the antichrist’s one-world religion. This is the doctrine that will endeavor to deceive the very elect of God in the end times (Matthew 24:24). Since this is a prophesied end, hopes of reversing its effect on the world are futile—that is until Jesus appears on the scene and throws the antichrist and his damnable heresy into the lake of fire. Since there is a prophecy of this encroachment, this exposé may not reverse the whole belief system. However, it can serve to enlighten those who would not be deceived into following the mass hysteria and “band wagon” doctrine that is engulfing the world in the wake of its flow.
New Age Encroachment
We must realize that the devil, in his attempt to deceive the world, is not going to jump out from behind a tree, dressed in a red suit with a pitchfork in his hand and say, “Okay, I’ve come to deceive you and prepare for the coming of the antichrist.” He is going to subtly divert individuals away from following God by baiting them with whatever he can. Ultimately, he will expose the hook in the bait but most assuredly, he will adapt and repackage his age-old methods to fit modern times.
This New Age belief system that will unify world religions is nothing more than the Old Testament disclosure of Baal worship in a new package. It is worshipping the created thing above the Creator. We see this in references to Mother Nature, Greenpeace, Free Willy, and “Tree Huggers.” Baal worship had groves of trees on a hill, which we now call “save-the-environment.” It had “free love” and sexual practices that are now called personal liberty and/or choices. If we really want to take off the gloves and call a spade a spade, Mother Nature is nothing more than the Queen of Heaven. Nature worship has always been a big deal because people need something to see when they have no revelation of the true God.
As dangerous as nature worship was and still is, it pales in comparison to the real aim of Satan’s deception—to steal God’s glory. What better way to deceive people than to get mankind to worship God’s ultimate creation: humans? This is humanism. You have to give Satan credit—this is one of his better ideas. He has taken the most prized creation of God—His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10), His under-ruler and companion—and deceived it into worshipping itself. When a man sits in the temple of God showing that he is God, Baal worship will crescendo.
Incidentally, to show the folly of man and humanism, someone said to me recently, “Do you think the antichrist could possibly be a clone—someone created by mankind with the ultimate gene pool of perfection?” My response was, “Good question, but only if the “brain trusts” could get a copy of Jesus’ DNA, and I don’t think His is for sale.”
It seems that if anything proposes to aid people, then the practice of it gets lauded to the heavens. It seems a simple matter to appeal to a congregation by telling them that a particular method or resource will “help” the people. It automatically becomes legitimate and is authorized in houses of worship and by church authority. Shelves of Christian bookstores are lined with self-help titles of books, magazines, and periodicals that emphasize the bettering of one’s self. We see items all the way from Christian diets to the anointing of making money. Please don’t misunderstand me, many of the items serve a good purpose, but the question we must ask is: Is the purpose to build people as a separate entity without contributing to the person’s destiny to serve God? If so, then self-helps are serving mankind instead of mankind serving God. As clever as this is, a discerning eye of spirituality can easily see through this ploy. Mankind, even one’s own self, can very easily become the center of one’s focus instead of God.
I see this clearly as a frequent traveler to the nation of India and observing Hinduism, the native worship of that particular land. For example, Transcendental Meditation has become a commonly known practice for self-helps but beneath the surface, it conjures the same demons and false gods as Hinduism. My good friend, an apostle and minister in Fairfield, Iowa, the headquarters of TM1 in the United States, told me that local pastors in Fairfield have told their congregations to avail themselves to the TM practices to help them relax. They even tell the flock of the folds to go to the TM chapel and meditate in order to facilitate this. In other words, to facilitate the comfort of the people these leaders say, “Forget about the commandment to not have any other gods and go meditate.” Through this practice, man and his comfort have become the focus of belief and not God. We see the same thing in yoga or martial arts. We can get so focused on the importance of people that we often fail to see that the activity violates the commandments of God. The logic becomes what does it matter as long as it helps the person?
Another prime example of a self-help tool in the church is the prayer of Jabez. Please do not misunderstand me, the actual prayer of Jabez was and still is a good prayer, but the reason the booklet has sold millions is because it is a “bless-me prayer.” People could use the increase that comes from praying the prayer for the good of God and the kingdom, but all too often the focus is upon the person’s gain and not upon God. We need to be mindful of 1 Timothy 6:5 NKJ, which says to withdraw from those who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
Are We Having Church for God or People?
There is a growing movement in Christianity to have our churches more comfortable for people than they are for God. Is the measure of a good church the presence of God or the thickness of the cushions in the pew? Do we tailor-make our services for the convenience of people, giving orders of service to ensure that we dismiss on our timing and not God’s? Do we rehearse our church services in a methodical fashion to make sure that nothing new or unknown interrupts the flow of worship? Do we try to inhibit any movement of the Holy Spirit by making sure that spontaneity and congregational involvement in the church service is discouraged?
Some of these elements are explained under the heading of “all things must be done decently and in order.” They may have an element of good in them, but when the whole picture is put together, the acid test is still this: Is the church man-oriented or God-oriented? This is just another example of how subtle the worship of the created thing over worship of the Creator can be.
What? Homosexuals in the Pulpit?
As volatile as this next statement may be, it needs to be made in light of the worship of mankind being elevated above God’s opinion. Homosexuality is strictly banned and is called an abomination in the Word of God (Leviticus 20:13). But now in major Christian institutions, this blight upon Christian behavior and moral conduct is being considered under their doctrine of inclusion. This is nothing more than a continuing perversion of man’s opinions having preeminence over God’s precepts. Romans 1:26 and 27 gives the details of God’s opinion of such behavior, but we in the church oftentimes gives more earnest heed to the opinions of mankind than the opinions of God as stated in His Word.
The acceptance of homosexuality is a manifestation of how New Age beliefs have encroached upon the church. It is obviously not new because God had a solution for it long ago. It was punishment and the eradication of the evil thing in Sodom and Gomorrah. Oftentimes the accepted Christian norm for these actions now are to either ordain the offender or to send them for counseling while we subliminally accept their behavior. This is nothing more than a perversion of worshipping the created thing instead of worshipping the Creator.
These issues would not be issues at all if we understood true compassion versus counterfeit compassion.
God commands us to love one another (John 13:34), but not at the expense of loving Him first (Matthew 22:37–40). The subtlety of humanism is that the emotional compassion for people outweighs our allegiance to God and the importance of obeying Him rather than man. Is it possible to love people more than God? Of course it is and that is a blatant sin of idolatry. The first and great commandment is to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and this is the only mandate that cannot be overemphasized. Throughout the Word of God, there is always a balance of understanding when viewing perspectives of the truth. Extremism (when one point of view is magnified at the expense of another) has all too often become the norm in Christianity. We dare never magnify the importance of mankind at the expense of the purposes of God. When it is, counterfeit compassion emerges.
Unfortunately our concern for people surpassing our allegiance to God is often witnessed in Christianity and this is the basis of counterfeit compassion. This has grown up around us and subtly overtaken us; without notice we have been diverted from the righteous judgments of God and are worshipping humanity rather than worshipping God.
In giving an example of humanism and counterfeit compassion, I would expect to see the rage and fury of humanism explode upon me when I mention Mother Theresa. Being a convener of apostolic fellowships in India, I am rather well versed in the opinions of native Christian leaders in India concerning her. Mother Theresa was no doubt a wonderful person with a great compassion for people, and she helped thousands of them. However, it is well known among the national Christian leaders in India that she forfeited witnessing privileges concerning Jesus Christ in her ministry. She was commended, as she should have been, for her demonstration of goodwill and helping the underprivileged, but to appease the government of India and to not offend the Hindus of Calli, she magnified people at the expense of her allegiance to God. Even though canonized by the Roman Catholic Church and revered and loved by millions, she was a major proponent of humanism. Seeing her stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ will be very interesting. This is an example of counterfeit compassion when the value of humans and even physical life is elevated over the commandment of God to proclaim the great commission.
Certainly, the Bible encourages us to do good—to feed the poor and to visit the fatherless and widows. This is true love and shows an element of compassion but it can easily be perverted if humanity and the importance of humans are emphasized over the importance of God. We must love others because of God’s love for them and us, not instead of God’s love for them.
Love Never Fails?
We have all heard the quotation “love never fails.” Is this an unconditional statement that always applies, or a conditional statement made to Christians who are trying to get along with each other in the church? Question: Did love fail in dealing with Lucifer? The Word of God very clearly itemizes the punishments of Lucifer’s disobedience (Ezekiel 28:13–18). He was banished from heaven and sealed with a fate of doom and punishment. Did love fail with Lucifer? The obvious answer is yes. Will it fail with certain people? The answer is again obviously yes since we see certain of them being thrown into the lake of fire with Lucifer. So, there is a place where the commandments and judgments of God are supreme over compassion and even forgiveness. The place of the balance between compassion and judgment needs clarification because humanism makes no provision for punishment of people, since people are the supreme cause of its existence.
Even though vaguely related, the issue of punishing children for disobedience arises at this juncture too. Humanism has no provisions for punishment because it has elevated people to the highest tier of importance and has no higher realm of judgment than self-preservation. Humanism will condemn a parent for disciplining a child. When the Bible says to spare the rod and spoil the child, humanism will even contradict itself when disallowing benefit/consequence if the consequence includes punishment. Along these same lines, humanism denounces capital punishment. Although this may seem deeply spiritual, it is not biblical.
Is War Justified?
Humanism will place the value of human life above the value of God’s righteous judgment. We need to recognize that God is supreme in His judgment over mankind and that man was created in the image of God and not God in the image of man. We also need to be reminded that when the importance of mankind is elevated above the commandments of God then true justice and righteous judgment will appear as harsh or unfair.
Even though the book of Ecclesiastes tells us in chapter 3 that there is “a time of war and a time of peace; a time to hate and a time to love,” humanism will disallow God working through others to inflict punishment where punishment is due. It counts it an unrighteous thing when God charges righteous judgment. Humanism will deny these realities and not allow the existence of war or punishment for disobedience.
(Please be reminded that I am not opposed to true compassion and the withholding of merited judgment against people. My point in discussing these issues is that humanism will deny God the righteous choice and decision of punishing disobedience.)
At the writing of this, a coalition of nations is attacking an evil regime (Saddam Hussein’s) and thousands upon thousands of people are demonstrating in the streets. Humanism is their platform, decrying justice for a mass murderer. Why? Because humanism has elevated itself to lofty heights and has made the rights of mankind supreme to the judgment of God. Within humanism, there is no place to police itself.
Recently on a church bulletin I read: If we Christians are to love our enemies and instead we are attacking them, then how can war with Iraq be right? If I had the time and inclination to discuss the issue with the pastor of that church, I would have asked him, “Who is the Prince of Peace?” He would have rightly said, “Jesus.” Then I would have said, “That same man will descend from heaven with the armies of the Lord to impute judgment on the ungodly for their ungodliness in their ungodly habitations (Jude 14,15). So then by your logic, is Jesus the minister of sin?” God reserves the right to punish evil, but humanism (the religion of that Christian minister) denies Him that right.
Certainly Christianity is the belief of a kind and forgiving God, but the Lord of the Host (army) is used four times more than any other description of God in the Old Testament, and “sell your coat and buy a sword” is used the same amount of times (one) as “turn the other cheek.” Love and forgiveness are valid concepts in Christianity, but so are punishment and retribution. Forgiveness and mercy are more commonly emphasized because humanism is more popularly taught at seminaries than spiritual warfare.
The First and Great Commandment
The subtlety of the devil’s deceptive move of humanism upon people is clearly seen when we view the first and great commandment and its relationship to the second one.
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. Matthew 22:36–38
This seems easily understood, and then the second is like unto it.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:39
The subtlety and success of humanism is not to negate or deny either of these commandments, but to reverse the order of them. The devil transposes the importance of these commandments and therefore establishes the doctrine of humanism. As I mentioned before, Satan has not come to us dressed in a red suit, but in a two-piece suit, standing in pulpits trying to convince us that social issues are the matters at hand rather than spiritual ones.
Humanists recognize the need to love individuals and to care for the more unfortunate ones. They will feed the poor, but will they witness to them? They may tolerate them but will they confront the evil in them? Will they be motivated to love and care for the needy by guilt or by obedience to God?
We must realize that this perversion of our belief system is a very, very deceitful thing. Yes, God has put tenderness and care for others deep in our hearts, but when the United Way shows pictures of starving children, are we moved by our emotions for people or by our allegiance to God?
This is a very, very tricky matter. The following biblical example will show how tricky it is and help to clarify the importance of the issue.
A Biblical Example of Humanism
Matthew 16:23 NKJ deals with perhaps the strongest rebuke ever given to a believer. Jesus looked Simon Peter, the leader of all the apostles, straight in the eye and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan!” The context of this occurrence reveals the subtlety of humanism and also the Lord’s admonition of how serious it is to the overall belief system of a person.
It would do us all well to remember the more remote context of this rebuke. Just two verses before, Peter was lauded to the highest honor by Jesus saying it was not flesh and blood which had revealed to him the identity of the Son of Man, but the Father in heaven. Then while in an honorable position, Jesus bestowed upon him the keys to the kingdom. However, only four verses later, the leader of all the apostles and the man to whom the keys to the kingdom were given was publicly and sharply rebuked and exposed that Satan was working through him! What caused Peter to err in such a fashion? Humanism.
It is interesting that this section of Scripture is the one referenced by Roman Catholicism conferring the first papal office upon Peter. Will they likewise be so consenting as to grant the first pope the first rebuke for satanic humanism? No one is immune.
In the context, Jesus had been telling His disciples that He would be crucified. Peter in his well-meaning (but deceived) state, rebuked the Master by saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” Jesus looked Peter in the eye and said, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
No one wanted to see Jesus die. If anyone would have bathed Peter’s words in solace and comfort, it would have been the shepherd and bishop of his soul, Jesus Christ. However, Jesus rebuked Peter, knowing the dire importance of standing firmly on the will of God in the face of suffering.
In a personal question, do you savor the things of men more than the things of God? Will you deny God’s punitive retribution on mankind if it violates your comfort? Would you deny God (as if you could) the privilege of venting His wrath on disobedience? Do you personally think that you are above punishment for disobedience? Do you think that love never fails and do not consider that it has failed and is continuing to fail? These personal questions are asked not to condemn you, but to show you that neither you, nor I, nor anyone else, is immune to the doctrine of demons of humanism.
The strength of humanism is its subtlety. We all are possible offenders and violate the commandments of God by elevating man and even the care of man above the will of God.
Mercy and Punishment
Oftentimes it can be overheard in Christian conversation the point/counterpoint of God’s mercy versus His judgment. As interesting as this discourse becomes, we can now easily see that its tenets are in humanism also. Look at how deceptive the argument has become. The opposite side of mercy is not judgment, but punishment.
To visualize a balance between mercy and punishment, imagine a scale with equal portions on both sides. If we put total love and unreserved forgiveness on one side of the balance scale, then we must put deserving punishment and godly retribution in an equal amount on the other side. One problem we have had with the encroachment of humanism is that we have not balanced the mercy side with the punishment side.
Therefore, when we begin viewing true compassion and forgiveness, we do not have a true system with which to define it. This again shows us the fallacy of counterfeit compassion. True compassion means that God loves mercy and withholds punishment, but without punishment, mercy has lost it strength. Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek and love our enemies, but He also said to sell your coat and buy a sword.
When dealing with mercy and punishment, the verb “judge” is the action that is taken, and either mercy or punishment will be the result of the decision that is made. Surely God delights in mercy (Micah 7:18), and He does withhold His punishment—at least until people begin taking His goodness for granted, and then He is quick to remind them who He is and who is supreme. Remember, God is not a man that He should lie. What He says, He will do. Examples of this are abundant throughout the Word of God. When Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the Lord in Gilgag, it was an example of God’s righteous retribution on disobedience. Likewise, when God had mercy on David and did not require his life for having Uriah killed, God showed His mercy. The point of this discussion is not to debate whether God was righteous in directing Samuel to do this nor is it to negate the charge against David, but to show that God does mete out judgment and mercy. One time punishment came, and the other time mercy came. Imputing punishment does not mean that God is unrighteous.
Following this line of consideration, King Saul was also judged for his disobedience. He was weighed in the balances and was found wanting and was rejected as king over Israel. Does this mean that God did not love Saul? Does this mean that God unjustly punished Saul? Did God not have mercy on Saul?
These are valid questions, but humanism gives no answer because the advancement of mankind is its aim. Conversely, true faith is the advancing of God’s purposes and allowing God to decide what is best for mankind. God does prefer mercy, but He also charges retribution for disobedience.
Some people have said that in the New Covenant God’s punishment was eradicated. This test of logic must be judged against the “counter example” of logic. Elymas, the sorcerer and false prophet, was smitten blind in Acts 13. Ananias and Sapphira died for tempting God in Acts 5, and the seven sons of Sceva the High Priest were severely injured by the demon they were trying to exorcise. It is accurate to say that the blood of Jesus availed much more forgiveness, but we cannot afford to allow humanism to be elevated above true godly belief, even when the forgiveness of the blood of Jesus is considered. My contribution to the discussion is that God did not change when His covenant changed. More of God’s mercy is availed to us by the blood of Jesus, but because Jesus died on Calvary does not mean God’s nature or His desire to carry out His perfect will was changed.
Another example of humanism invading the church is the subject of the nation of Israel. Many members of the church of Jesus Christ have become well informed over the past years of the need to pray for Israel. This is a major breakthrough in church doctrine to replace “replacement theology.” Yes, Israel is the viable interest of world politics, but this does not eradicate the prophecy of God’s punishment still to come on them. This brings the subject of humanism and godly judgment upon Israel into a more focused perspective. In the church’s zeal to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, let’s not be blind to the fact that they must still go through the time of Jacob’s Trouble before the end comes (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:24).
If, in our haste to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we overlook the approaching fulfillment of the end-time prophecy of Jacob’s Trouble, we could be praying against the will of God. This happens within the church because of the influence of humanism. Its effect is to cause us to not recognize that God still has unfulfilled judgment against Israel.
These examples have been cited to show that God’s judgment is going to fall on the earth and that we cannot magnify men above God’s judgment.
Humanism, by the self-defining terms included within this article, is when we savor the things of men above the things of God. We must never allow ourselves to elevate man’s importance above the commandments of God. Humanism has carved out a tenet within our society called, “the god of our belief system” and also “the god of our comfort.” These belief systems will not allow individuals to venture into the consideration of God’s judgment upon the people of the earth.
We can see the growing emergence of a one-world religion and the coming reign of the antichrist. Humanism is worshipping people; Greenpeace is worshipping nature; Save Willy is worshipping animals, and Tree Huggers are worshipping plants. Mother Nature and Baal are on the same team and Satan is preparing the antichrist to be the captain.
Yes, we can see humanism growing in many places, but the most dangerous place is in the church. Are the very elect being deceived?
Humanism is a growing concern among all Christians and subtly will leech away sound faith and doctrine. When mankind and social issues become more important than God and righteous judgment, the encroachment has come upon us. All Christians should be on guard against this perversion of doctrine. This is an ever-growing concern for ministers and all believers who have regard for the sanctity of truth and the preservation of a godly belief system.
Idols of the Heart (Article ID 1)
©1998 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
If You’re Discouraged – Get Back Into the Fight! (Article ID 16)
If You’re Discouraged –
No New Patches on Old Garments: New Churches for New Wine (Article ID 237)
No New Patches on Old Garments:
Dale M. Sides
While simply reading the Bible early one Saturday morning, the Lord began opening my understanding to truths that I believe will bless many who are trying to find and fit into churches. These startled me enough to immediately commit them to writing and to offer apologies to individuals whom I have wrongly counseled in the matter of finding a proper church.
The concepts He began revealing to me are from Matthew 9:16, and they are set in the context of Jesus' teaching on placing new wine in old skins.
Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:14–17
The truth concerning the patch on an old garment has laid alongside the wineskin analogy for millennia and, to my knowledge, has received little attention even though it shares a parallel, and additional, truth. Both illustrations present the reality that Jesus had brought something new to the church scene. John’s disciples had come questioning why Jesus’ disciples did not fast according to the customs and existing traditions. When Jesus gave His answer by sharing these two analogies, it must have splashed light and new revelation all over their faces. What He said was simply: You cannot put new things in old systems. The new thing will be stifled, and the old system will be destroyed.
There is an abundance of material on the new-wine-in-old-skins concept (i.e., the new wine can cause the old to bubble), but the dominant fact remains that new wine in its fermentation produces carbon dioxide and will expand and burst an old, dried skin. Notice that Jesus was concerned that both the new and the old systems would be preserved. To emphasize this, He said at the end of verse 17, “and both are preserved.” Jesus is concerned about the new wine and the old wineskins. He does not want the new wine stifled nor does He want the old wineskin ruptured.
It’s common knowledge that old wine is better than new, but if the new wine is not preserved by being put into the proper container, then someday there will be no old mellow wine. In addition, those who introduce the new wine must recognize that someday theirs will be the old wine. For example, many of the church leaders in Europe who prayed down the Iron Curtain are now standing in opposition to the newer apostolic reforms. To put the bubbling movement of apostolic reform into their networks would quench the fire and/or destroy their ministries. It may be desirable to reform the old system, but it is not feasible.
Being a reformer myself, I usually identify with new wineskin dilemmas, but I must keep in mind that there is usually a lot of resistance to the new wine of the next movement of God that comes along. Someday I may very well find myself in opposition to the next “new thing” that God is doing unless I stay flexible and open to change. The truth remains that the Lord is concerned about the preservation of both new and old.
We would all be better off thinking of ourselves as old wineskins or, more specifically, as “newer” old wineskins, then later as “not-as-new” old wineskins, and eventually as “older” old wineskins. Maybe this kind of thinking would help us to stay a little more flexible to change and the new things that God wants to bring to the church.
But, going back to our cloth analogy, again I am amazed that it has lain side by side with the wineskin truths, and yet, to my knowledge, has never received any exposure. The same truth is being shown in the cloth analogy as in the wineskin one: Putting new things in old systems will destroy the old and stifle the new.
Here is the lesson—given a condition that there is a tear in an old garment, there are a number of ways to repair it. Each way reveals how to match people to churches or how not to match them. The four methods we will look at are:
1. Putting a new patch on an old garment
2. Stitching a matching old patch on an old garment
3. Shrinking a new patch and then putting it on an old garment
4. Stitching a whole new garment
Each of these methods will yield a predictable result and provide varying degrees of success when applied to the concept of integrating a believer into a church. Considering these four possibilities will add tremendous wisdom when “church hunting” or replacing a leader in an established system.
Even though I only lack 12 semester hours from having a Bachelor of Science in Textile Engineering, it does not take a college degree to anticipate the results of these four approaches. However, being a church planter and overseer for over 30 years gives me even greater insight when viewing these from a spiritual perspective. By experience, I can assure you that for each of these patching methods, there remains a predictable outcome. I could use many examples to support this; however, my experience and/or examples are unnecessary in light of the truths that Jesus Himself revealed through these analogies. If we had taken heed to these lessons from the start, we would all be much better off now.
Putting a New Patch on an Old Garment
Even though this method is one that Jesus cautioned against—putting a new patch on an old garment—it still is one way of mending an old garment. When we think in terms of people looking for the “right” church, we see that this method relates to putting believers with new ideas into existing, stable, and maybe even stagnant (old) churches. We have probably all seen this happen many times and observed the division and damage caused to the churches, as well as the hurt caused to the believers with the new ideas. Even though this can be done, just the same as new wine can be put in old skins, the outcome will be disastrous. The new patch (representing the believers with the new ideas) will pull and tear on the already established system and create a hole bigger than the one that existed before they endeavored to fill the gap.
This approach not only disrupts a comfortable and seasoned group, but it also impedes the growth of the new believers. The new patch (or new wine) produces a strain on a stable condition, and often the pressure of shrinkage in the new cloth (or the pressure of the fermentation of the new wine) stretches the old system to the point of rupturing. The new wine blows it up, and the new patch pulls it apart. Many times, new wine proponents suggest that the old wineskin should stretch to accommodate them, but this usually does not happen. Generally speaking, the new patch needs to detach from the existing condition in a compassionate move to save the old system from damage, collapse, and/or ruin, and be attached to a conglomerate of individuals with similar goals and spiritual aspirations.
Stitching a Matching Old Patch on an Old Garment
This method often supplies the best solution to a stable environment, but finding such a match is oftentimes not easy. When a pastor or church leader moves on, retires, or dies, the church is usually left with the dilemma of matching a leader to the established system. If the church decides to initiate growth or institute any other changes at this time, making the wrong match (unshrunken cloth or new wine) could compound the problem. However, with the right match (an old patch), they will have a greater probability of success.
A common problem that occurs is when churches want to hire a youth director or pastor with the view of invigorating the youth department at the church. You can already see storm clouds gathering on the horizon. Youth always want a new wineskin, regardless of the youth pastor. So, when the new youth pastor is hired, he is going to have to appease both the youth and the established leadership. He must revitalize the youth and still not bust the system. I normally do not use this phrase, but here goes—good luck!
In circumstances where this is the correct choice, often we find that the Lord has been at work to raise up an associate pastor (or another colleague) to continue the work of the former leader and transition it into the future growth of the church. New patches on old garments will not work.
Shrinking a New Patch and then Putting It on an Old Garment
This method yields a poor solution because it mandates washing the life out of a person in order to get him or her to fit into an existing system. The sad part is that this is an indication that the system is being magnified at the expense of the person. It would be far better to find an already shrunken patch (as discussed in the last procedure), meaning someone who comes out of a similar system, than to shrink someone to fit a hole. It is much more ideal to fit the patch to the size of the hole instead of shrinking the patch to fit the hole. This is a major problem in “churchianity” and is the root of control and domination. Christian ethics demand a greater emphasis on the individual than on the system.
For example, magnifying the system above the person is the same logic Caiaphas used in sacrificing Jesus at Passover. Leaders often become pharisaical when the system becomes more important than the individual. This is a major managerial dilemma. I have seen whole ministries destroyed by utilizing this logic. The founding values of an organization (or in the case of Christianity, an organism) should determine the path they take regarding this predicament. Jesus’ attitude was always one of love for the individual taking precedence over the system.
And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. Mark 2:24–27
I feel that the re-emergence of the apostolic ministry may offer a solution to this dilemma of trying to fit into a system as a new patch on an old garment. This appears to be the new wineskin for the present and offers new growth and more individual liberties than are offered in existing systems of church government. I have ministered in denominations of very large congregations numbering in the thousands that have hundreds of full-time pastors squeezed into a system that is controlling them rather than releasing them. At the same time, I have ministered in apostolic networks of over a million people that release God’s people and have seen these individuals rightly magnified over the system. Perhaps with the quenching of the apostolic ministry in the early church, the system began to be valued above the individual believers. No more preshrunk patches!
Jesus said that new patches cannot be put on old garments, and my contribution to the discussion is that they also should not be shrunken to fit the hole. If so, the system is more important than God’s people. Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; likewise, the church was made for man and not man for the church. Clearly, the individual is more important than the whole and must not be made to fit the situation, but the situation should be matched for the person.
This is the place where I need to ask people to forgive me for suggestions and counsel that I have given over the years. My formative years in Christian leadership were spent in a group that was segregated from the body of Christ and even criticized all other Christians in an attempt to build itself against the case for unity. When I finally escaped from that system and helped others out of it, in my zeal to reintegrate with the body of Christ, I zealously counseled others to join churches. Although this seemed like good counsel and did work for many, the greater counsel would have been to direct them to find the corresponding place suitable for their giftings. In many cases, they would have been better off to use the next procedure (stitching a whole new garment), instead of shrinking to fit the hole or tearing the existing garment (church). I hope that all those who shrunk to fit the holes didn’t quench or grieve the Holy Spirit while trying to find the place where they fit in.
If you are one of those people, please forgive me. I cried out so badly for forgiveness from disunity that I, through ignorance, sacrificed the individual for the sake of the whole. How wonderful it would be if we were all led by the counsel of the Holy Spirit rather than the counsel of others. Unfortunately, when those of us with leadership responsibilities are called upon to offer guidance, there may be times when our perspective is not correct. May God have mercy on all of His leaders. Perhaps this is why it says, “Grace, mercy, and peace,” in the opening verses of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus (epistles addressed to leadership).
Stitching a Whole New Garment
This option is the same as new wine in new skins. Since new cloth cannot be stitched into old garments, we have only one option left for it. It must be stitched into a completely new garment or there is no use for it. This is the reality of what Jesus was trying to communicate when responding to John’s disciples. When they asked Him why His disciples did not fast, He responded by saying that His disciples did not fit the form of the existing structure, even though it was John the Baptist’s. Jesus’ disciples were cut from a new cloth and, therefore, could not fit into the existing garment. They had to become a completely new garment.
I have seen this scenario many times, and I have even been involved in it myself. Many have tried to fit into an existing church, but it seemed to pull apart at the seams (pardon the pun). The solution may be to launch a whole new church and group of people, rather than try to fit into an existing one or to be added on as an appendage. There is an option that has recently resurfaced in church government—the home church. The home church was a revelation of the Chief Apostle Jesus. He met with people quite often in their homes, and found a greater freedom there than in the synagogue. (See Liberating News Volume 4, Number 1, “The Home Church: Revolution or Re-Evolution?”) Many times individuals need the freedom to fulfill their destiny and find they cannot do so inside an existing system.
This does not mean that establishing a home church or a new ministry is to be a divisive thing done without leadership and/or proper oversight. There certainly are times when an individual is not qualified to oversee a home church, but this usually becomes quite apparent when no one comes to the home group or when no one stays after they do come. With the return of apostolic and prophetic church government, individuals with giftings and commitment sufficient to coordinate and lead a home group can have proper coverings and leadership to help them. This is exactly what Jesus did with His ministry. Jesus set the standard Himself, and then turned the helm over to Peter and the other apostles when He left. The home was the accepted meeting place and the pillar and foundation of the truth until Constantine began building cathedrals around AD 330.
There is a new wave swelling in Christianity. This is not to criticize the old wineskin, but it certainly means that some people just will not fit into that system. New worship is emerging. New power is erupting. New commitment is flourishing. New ideas are being birthed, and new leadership is arising. New wine cannot be put into old skins, and new cloth cannot be stitched onto old garments.
We cannot put new cloth on old garments. The old garment needs to be preserved by patching it with matching cloth, not by shrinking a new piece and then stitching it. There is a season for new growth just as there is a time when new garments need to be stitched. The church is expanding under apostolic and prophetic leadership, and the home offers an ideal environment for that growth to occur. Let’s not put the new cloth in places where it will tear a bigger hole. Let’s put it into a whole new garment. There are new wineskins for new wine, and there are new garments for the body of Christ, just as there are old patches for old garments.
Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 1 Corinthians 14:20
If we have failed in this, let us ask for forgiveness and repent. Jesus wants both the new wine and the old wine preserved. No new patches on old garments—that both the new and the old may be preserved.
©2004 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Our Covenant Keeping God (Article ID 177)
Our Covenant Keeping God
By Dale M. Sides
While I have been teaching a class called Covenant Healing in Communion, I have been continually reminded that our God is the God of all gods. No one keeps covenant like Him. When Solomon dedicated the temple, he said,
O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts. 2 Chronicles 6:14
Our God is Yahweh. There are others who claim to be gods, but none of them—in heaven or in earth—keeps covenant like our God and Father. He makes promises and He keeps promises. He gives His word and He keeps His word. What He says He will do, He does. There truly is no God like Yahweh.
When a covenant is made, it means that a deal, or a pact, is made between two parties. Both parties agree to abide by the arrangements made and swear by an oath that they will keep their end of the deal. (Or, as it is said in the southern part of the United States, “hold up your end of the stick.”) God has entered into covenants with numbers of people throughout the history of mankind. He made a covenant with Noah that He would never again destroy the earth with water, and He also made a covenant with Abraham that He would provide Abraham a seed for his inheritance. In these instances, along with all others, our God keeps His word.
According to 2 Chronicles 6:14, there is no god in heaven or earth like our God who keeps covenant with His servants. Examples of this are as abundant as there are false gods. The queen of heaven (Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17–19,25) who flows under so many names has no reliability. She will not covenant with anyone and what she requires today may not be good enough for tomorrow. Allah, the god of Islam, has never guaranteed that any female will meet his standard and go to his heaven. He refuses to commit himself.
The inconsistencies in all other writings, apart from the Bible, only further documents the truth of 2 Chronicles 6:14. There is no god like Yahweh. You can almost feel the despair of Job when he said, “Oh . . . that mine adversary had written a book” (Job 31:35). Hey Job, don’t count on it. Job was confused because of the devil’s attacks. The devil first attacked Job’s children, then his possessions, then his body, then his marriage, and then his relationships. That is because the devil changes the rules whenever it benefits him. This reminds me of a valuable lesson I learned from turkey hunting, but it is also true when dealing with the devil and all other gods. “The only thing predictable about them is that they are unpredictable.” Think of how exasperating it must be to worship a god who has no faithfulness. Think of the fear and uncertainty that must brood in the worshipper. Aren’t we thankful that our God wrote a Book?
Notice further from 2 Chronicles 6:14 that our covenant keeping God requires that we keep our part of the agreement too. He keeps His covenant with those servants who walk after Him with their whole hearts. Many times people have wondered if God truly keeps His word when they do not see the results they want to see, when they want to see them. We must all realize that a covenant requires that both parties keep the requirements and God expects us to walk after Him with our whole hearts. This applies to anyone who makes a covenant with God—whether they are Christians or not.
This brings up a good question to ask: Are people who are not Christians under covenant with God? Has God agreed to bless them, heal them, care for them, and provide for them? The answer is that if they have never entered into covenant with God and asked Him for these blessings, God is not obligated to bless them.
It is easy enough for Christians to accept that unbelievers must make the covenant with God by accepting Jesus as Savior, but after the initial commitment, Christians must keep the covenant too. According to 2 Chronicles 6:14, we keep covenant with God by walking after Him with our whole hearts. God requires that we do more than just say we are in covenant with Him; we must walk in His ways and live according to His commandments.
Under the Old Covenant/Testament (“testament” is the same Hebrew word as “covenant”) God provided freedom for the children of Israel when He broke the stronghold of Pharaoh because they entered into covenant with Him at the time of the Passover. He fed them with manna, gave them water from the rock, defeated the armies of the heathen, led them by the cloud of the Holy Spirit, and finally brought them to the Promised Land. But only those who continued to follow after Him actually entered into the Promised Land. God was faithful to provide, but His people had to be faithful to follow Him too.
The same is true of Christians in the New Testament or New Covenant. God likewise provides freedom, sustenance, protection, direction, and hope. We must follow after Him with our whole hearts. Galatians 6:7–9 has a message to New Testament covenant keepers:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:7–9
God has integrity, and what He says He will do He will do, but the same is true when God says He will not do something. For example, if someone with integrity tells you that he will meet you at 8 a.m., you should expect him to be where he said he would be and you should expect him at the time he said he would be there. Likewise, if he says that he will not be there at 8 a.m., you should expect to not see him there regardless if you go and look for him. My earthly Dad has been faithful to keep his word to me. If he said he would do something, he did it. But likewise, if he said he would not do something, he did not do it.
Too many times people have not followed after God with their whole hearts, yet they still expect God to do what He promised to not do—keep covenant with unfaithful people. As a result, people question His integrity and reliability. Sometimes these people raise their fists toward heaven, defy God, and challenge His love. They say, “How could God let this happen to me?” (Actually, when God does not do what they want, it is a manifestation that He is still a covenant keeping God.) We should expect His faithfulness to be manifested in equal proportion, both in doing what He says He will do and in not doing what He says He will not do.
Yes, our God is a covenant keeping God. It is impossible for Him to lie (Hebrews 6:18). He is reliable and what He says He will do, He will do, just as He is reliable to not do what He says He will not do.
The good news of the covenant is that God is the keeper of His word. He keeps His word and fulfills what He has promised. Our God is Yahweh. No god in heaven or in earth keeps covenant with His servants like Him.
©2002 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Overcoming the Spirit of Balaam (Article ID 9)
This way is actually called a "method." In Ephesians 6:11, the "wiles" of the devil is the Greek word methodia, or method of operation. This method is disclosed by studying scriptures that relate to this deception.
Verses of scripture relating to deception map out the method of this evil spirit. Two particular verses, Ephesians 4:1423 and 1Timothy 4:1, reveal this snare.24 This is cleverly cloaked to go undetected until the victim is already captured. In searching out this understanding, we must go slowly and use great care to uncover this. It takes attention to detail, much like walking through a minefield, and in spiritual warfare, if you miss one detail, you lose—your legs and/or your life. It is necessary to give your total attention to this snare in order to understand it. This includes patience and attention to detail.
Ephesians 4:14 and 1Timothy 4:1 reveal the key ingredients of this method of operation. They are doctrine and deception. However, the effectiveness of this method is not just in recognizing these ingredients, but also in knowing how they work together. 1Timothy 4:1 shows this.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, [1 Timothy 4:1 NKJ]
Briefly stated, an attack from the spirit of Balaam comes from a seducing spirit that is familiar with a weakness in a person and that weakness is caused by doctrines of demons. The weakness is known by familiar spirits because of the generation past of an individual or by that which the person has voiced. In a well-executed plan, the demon will seduce the individual to actually "commit" the transgression by tempting the individual to go astray from the right way. Demons speak to the spirit consciousness to follow the right way—but according to a corrupt motive. Invariably, self-service or greed replace service and loyalty to God. That is just what happened to Balaam.
They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; [2 Peter 2:15 NKJ]
In the situation of Balaam, he was tempted with the wages of unrighteousness. It is directly implied that Balaam had an ongoing weakness for money because he "loved" the wages of righteousness.25 The seducing spirit then offered him a bribe to go against the will of God, and he ran greedily after the reward of unrighteousness.
Woe to them [certain men that turned the grace of God into greed]! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error [deception] of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. [Jude 1:11 NKJ]
No one would run greedily after a wage of unrighteousness unless a previously held doctrine existed in the mind. From Revelation 2:14 it is well documented that the attack from the spirit of Balaam comes in the form of a doctrine that is held in the mind. So, the method of operation then is implemented when the seducing26 spirit speaks to the spirit consciousness of man to allure him away from the will of God by deceiving him into following a wrong way.
This deception is much the same as all deception. It starts with doctrines of demons being implanted into someone’s consciousness through either spoken words or the examples of others. The seducing spirit then, being familiar with the person’s wants and desires, speaks to the spirit of man to tempt him to pursue his desire. In the condition of forsaking the right way and following the way of Balaam, the weakness is to love money and self more than the will of God.
Perhaps the doctrine of demons that lives in the mind could be the manifestation of a lifestyle that the person really wants to have, or maybe it is a belief that being rich is the definition of success, or in a perverted sense, that "gain is godliness." These words are rarely spoken as a doctrine but become an accepted norm of society, especially in a situation where ministers do not rise up and teach against this perversion. This is why the exhortation is so strong against ministers personally getting caught in this downward spiral, because if they do, they certainly will never speak against it.
Ministers become the target for this spirit in an effort to take an entire congregation or whole ministry down with him. Words which comprise these doctrines of demons tempt ministers just as they do others, and ministers are just as prone to temptation as others. (Maybe the temptation for additional money would not be so compelling if everyone paid their tithes and removed the concern of not having enough.) The devil continually bombards everyone (especially ministers) with words like: "Look at so and so. He has really done well. He really has a successful ministry." Or thoughts like, "If you were really successful, you would have everything that the world has to offer."
The doctrine of loving money more than the will of God has become accepted throughout many parts of the world because this spirit has had its way without confrontation. We may think that the United States of America has a corner on the market, but remember that Paul, Peter and Jude wrote about this in the first century. It is consistent with the fallen nature of man to walk by the senses and thereby trust in only what they can register. It is the nature of fallen man to worry about the future and to trust in uncertain riches. That is why it is necessary for ministers to rise up and confront this lie—not to be taken in by it.
The far-reaching ramifications of this spirit are only too painfully obvious. More money is spent on dog food in America than is spent on foreign missions, and the "god-of-my-comfort" rules the minds of people who do not "endure hardness as good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ."
The reason this deception has happened and is happening is two fold: 1. The ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ have been bought off by the spirit of Balaam and will not confront the church, or 2. The church has been bought off by the spirit of Balaam and will not confront the ministers.
Regardless of the reason, it must be confronted. Remember what Jesus said . . .
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. [Revelation 2:16 KJV]
Protection from Deception
Have you heard about the pretty young lady seated next to an elderly man at a business convention? The man quietly leaned over and asked her, "Would you spend the night with me for $100,000.00?" The young lady, looking around to see if anyone else had heard the proposition, and seeing that no one else did, replied with a crooked smile, "Yes, I will."
The older man then said, "How about for $25.00?" The young lady in astonishment said, "Just what kind of a girl do you think I am!" The older man then replied with the same crooked smile on his face, "That, my dear, has already been determined. Now we are just haggling over the price."
The point is this: Do you have a price? If you do, the devil will pay it. He offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, but was turned down because Jesus’ commitment was not for sale. He offered Judas thirty pieces of silver and got a contract. Why? It was not because of the amount— it was because the concerned party either did or did not have a price.
The key element of protection from deception is a simple question: Do you have a price?
Years ago, I was privileged to be the delivery person of a gift of healing to an aged minister who, unknown to anyone else, was dying from a heart disease. He was astonished by the fact that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were still in operation, especially since his denomination did not believe this and was adamantly against any teaching of that kind. By the mercy, grace and power of the Living God, he was instantly healed of the heart disease.
A couple of weeks later, he visited me and shared that he was having another problem with his "other" heart—his spiritual one. He said, "If I testify of the healing and the power gifts of the Holy Spirit, I might lose my job and retirement pension. If I lose my job, I will not be able to preach and help others." Then he whispered, "What am I supposed to do?"
In a response far wiser than my years, the Holy Spirit came upon me as I said, "Are you willing to give up your position and retirement pension?" His head fell down into his hands and he visibly shook under the pressure of the question. After a short while, he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, "Yes. I would be dead before I could collect any of the pension if it were not for the goodness and power of God. Yes," he said, "I will gladly testify of the power of God regardless of what any man does to me."
With a breath of faith, assurance and revelation, I told him, "Then testify. In the name of Jesus Christ, you will not lose anything, but the Lord will promote you in the eyes of your critics." To make a long story short: he did and he was. He has finally gone home to be with the Lord, but before leaving, he outlived most of his critics and continued to testify about God’s goodness and helped many, many people.
The point is: he did not have a price.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the God and Father of Jesus Christ and your Father, too. He has not changed. He was once a jealous God and still is. He will not have any other gods before Him.
It is very easy to determine if you have a price. Ask yourself this one question: Is there anything I am not willing to give up to God? Whatever you answer is will be your price. If you have something you are not willing to give up, the spirit of Balaam has influenced you.
Will you pray this prayer? "God take from me what you did not give me!" Likewise, let me ask—do you pay your tithe? Is your commitment to God more valuable than your money? Your answers to these questions will determine if the spirit of Balaam has its fingers around your spiritual throat.
The only protection from deception is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. This means coming back to your first love and loving not your life to the death. Christianity is not a game. The truth of it is simple. If you have a price, you are in trouble. Money may buy a lot of things, but it cannot buy you honor and righteousness in the sight of The Judge.
If you are under the influence of the spirit of Balaam, you have a price and you must repent!! If you do not have a price, you must be vigilant. The only protection against the spirit of Balaam is obedience and allegiance to our one, true God.
A Word to the Ministers
This demonic deception can only be prevalent in the church if ministers either are ignorant of it or intentionally allow this to go unchecked. The exhortation to all of us about this spirit’s influence is exceedingly strong because of the Lord’s commandment to remove it from the church. The strength of Satan’s attacks against instructed believers, such as ministers, is in rationalization, but the antidote for this is the simple statement: "God is no respecter of persons and I am not the exception." Please prayerfully consider these words as I have written them—not in an accusatory manner, but in an urgent sense to remove this influence from the church.
These may seem like very hard words, but the author of 2 Peter 2 was not Peter, but God Almighty. Verse 1 says that the false prophets and teachers (ministers who had been influenced by the spirit of Balaam) denied the Lord that bought them. The following exhortations throughout the whole chapter are to blood-bought, spirit-filled, born-again Christian ministers.
The spirit of Balaam causes the damage listed in verse 2.
This destruction of the church is why Jesus is so direct to those who teach the doctrine of Balaam. Now this does not mean someone will stand in the pulpit and proclaim, "gain is godliness." It says in verse 1 that these individuals "privily" or secretly bring in damnable heresies.
"Heresy" is the Greek word "hairesis" which in its root form means "a choice." The damnable heresy is when the minister chooses which portion of the Word of God he will preach. That makes the minister a false prophet or a false teacher by virtue of not fully speaking the whole truth for the one true God.
You do not have to stand in the pulpit and declare something false to be a false minister. You can be guilty by not preaching the whole Word of God. When someone chooses not to confront those who are under the influence of the spirit of Balaam they are responsible for bringing this damnable heresy into the church. This spirit worked on Old Testament priests in the same way. Look at what God says about the priest that would not speak up and confront people being tempted by this spirit.
But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.
And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you [the priests or ministers], and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
The account in Revelation 2:14 says that the doctrine of Balaam caused the children of Israel to eat things sacrificed to idols and commit fornication. Those specific things could apply now, but it is more directly understood to have a spiritual interpretation, too. This could mean that a minister being influenced by the spirit of Balaam would teach the congregation that it is okay to give first place to your career, or that it is okay to not put God first in everything. (This amounts to spiritual adultery, or serving another god.) No respectable minister would ever dare to say these things, but the demon that influences him would keep him from confronting these issues. This doctrine of Balaam could either be spoken, lived by example or even lived by default, meaning not confronted.
We have yet to mention what Jesus said about this spirit. Should we be surprised to find that He directed His remarks to the Pharisees, the religious leaders and well-instructed believers? From the record in John 9 and 10, He said . . .
The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. [John 10:13 NKJ]
Since we are into asking hard questions, here are a few more: "Are you afraid of losing your job if you address certain subjects? Are you representing God or your own best interests? Is caring for the sheep "family business" or simply a career?" You can be sure that the false prophets and teachers in 2 Peter 2 started out with a genuine calling, and that no one is ever intentionally deceived. Yet the truth remains that certain ministers sold out to the spirit of Balaam.
If an attitude of representing anything else but God (which includes your own interests or a denomination’s) overtakes you, eventually the same scenario will befall you, as did Balaam. Running after a reward may not be quite so blatant in the beginning, but eventually will degrade to the point where the you will not stand up for God for fear of rejection or loss of reward.
The consequences of a minister falling into this trap are greater than just the destruction of his life and ministry; it involves the whole church being taken down by this evil spirit. The reason that Jesus hates this spirit is because the false shepherd will ultimately merchandise His people27 and not feed them. The ultimate object of this spirit’s trap is to get a minister to live a life of compromise and to fail to confront others on the subject of commitment and/or giving. This kills the growth of the whole church and invokes the curse of God upon them.28
There is a final word about how deeply this spirit of Balaam can deceive someone:
but he [Balaam] was rebuked for his iniquity [rebellion]: a dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice restrained the madness of the prophet. [2 Peter 2:16 NKJ]
Balaam was rebuked for chasing a bribe and was so deceived that he would not even respond to the supernatural voice of a donkey. (The angel of the Lord almost slew him for it.) This deception can go very deep, to the extent that it takes a major confrontation to change one’s ways. The Lord’s chastening29 comes first because he loves you, his minister; and also because His love for His bride will not tolerate anyone seducing His bride away from Him.
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? [1 Peter 4:17 NKJ]
Though these final words have been to ministers, all Christians share the responsibility of not allowing the spirit of Balaam to overtake them and also to see that the spirit does not gain a foothold in the church. These are hard words but not as hard as the words will be at the judgment seat of Christ for those who have disobeyed the Lord.
We can only overcome the spirit of Balaam by being obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ. We must all realize that none of us are immune to attack, but we must draw a hard line in the sand about having a price for compromise. The way we overcome the spirit of Balaam is by not having a price and by repenting for where we have not been obedient to the Lord. Most importantly, do not let its influence stay in the church. We serve a merciful Savior and a loving God who give us commandments for our own good and benefit. Yet the consequences for not adhering to this admonition are severe. The Lord Himself said…
©1999 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Psychotropic Drugs: New Age Pharmakeia (Article ID 329)
New Age Pharmakeia
Dale M. Sides
Psychotropic drugs, known by most as “antidepressants,” are contributing to suicide rates around the globe.1 The Associated Press reported on May 12, 2006 that GlaxoSmithKline and the US Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to doctors concerning the antidepressant Paxil.2 The letter warned that Paxil may raise the risk of suicidal behavior in young adults, and it was accompanied by changes to the labeling of two different versions of the drug. The knowledge of the increase of suicide and other side effects linked to these drugs is clearly known to the pharmaceutical manufacturers and to the FDA, but it appears to matter little, since no real changes have taken place outside of the obscure (“black box”) warnings placed on the drug packaging. Could this have something to do with the billions of dollars that the sales of these drugs provide for the pharmaceutical companies as well as their lobbying interests in Washington DC? Even with their known detrimental effects, the FDA continues to allow them to be developed, marketed, and distributed to a grossly uninformed public.
Because of this societal and economic trend, I have little hope that this article on the function and danger of these drugs will change the opinion or habits of the general populace. However, I do have hope that the Christian segment will heed the admonition that these drugs are, in fact, a new version of pharmakeia and are not God’s solution to the mounting problem of depression. It is not my intention to criticize those who have used or are presently using these medications, but to point out God’s answer to depression and, in the process, to expose the risk of taking these drugs.3
Pharmakeia is a Greek word used in Galatians 5:20, Revelation 9:21, and 18:23. It is the word from which we get “pharmacy” and its derivatives. As we look at this word in the Scriptures, we realize that there is a much deeper meaning to it than merely “drugs.” In Galatians 5:20, it is translated “witchcraft” (KJV), and the occurrences in the book of Revelation are even more accurately translated “sorceries.” (The NKJV translates it in all three verses as “sorcery” or “sorceries.”)
In Aramaic, the word is harsuta—an extended form of the noun harse, consistently translated as “sorcery,” supporting the translation of pharmakeia into the same word. According to The American Heritage Dictionary, “sorcery” is defined as “the use of supernatural power over others through the assistance of evil spirits.”4 Could it be that the use of psychotropic drugs (antidepressants) increases the availability for demons to infiltrate the human mind by opening up chemical doorways, or portals, and that this could result in demonic rule over the patient’s emotions and thought patterns? If this is true, which I believe it is in many cases, it is my opinion that the use of psychotropic drugs (antidepressants) may be a New Age practice of sorcery that has crept into society and is now encroaching upon the church.
What people do not know can certainly hurt them. Misinformation and ignorance has led many to unwittingly surrender themselves to the effects of these drugs, which in numerous cases has resulted in demonic rule over their emotions and thought patterns.
There is no doubt that our culture is facing a growing problem with depression.5 The increasing numbers of those diagnosed with depression is a real concern, but the solution is not to drug them into an artificial state of euphoria. God does have a solution to conquer and overcome depression, and it does not come out of a bottle—it comes off the pages of the Bible and is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. The Bible was meant to be our constant anchor in a stressful and confusing world, but oftentimes Christians have allowed laziness and apathy to keep them from reading it and meditating upon it daily, as they should.
I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. Job 23:12
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”Matthew 4:4
The Holy Spirit is faithful to guide us into all truth as we read and meditate upon the Scriptures—He does His part as we do our part. When we fill our minds and hearts with the words of life, He is then able to strengthen us in a way no pill can. His words actually heal the wounds rather than just numb the pain.
Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16
What is a Psychotropic Drug?
A psychotropic drug is nothing more than an antidepressant. The word “psychotropic” actually gives us a clue to how it works, just as the word “antidepressant” provides us with an idea of its intent or goal. The root word for “psychotropic” is the Greek word psuche, which means “soul.”6 The soul includes the mind.7 “Trop” is a prefix defined as “a turning or a changing.”8 A derivative of this word is “tropism,” which means “the turning or bending movement of an organism or a part toward or away from an external stimulus, such as light, heat, or gravity.”9 A literal meaning of psychotropic would be “a mind changer” or “a mind bender.” In other words, a psychotropic drug is a mind-altering, mind-bending drug. When the mind is bent or altered, an opening is created that accommodates an easy access for demons. Pharmakeia have been used since ancient times to do this,10 but in our present culture of secular humanism the diminishment of ethics has not only opened wide the doors to facilitate them, but it has also enabled the merchandisers to profit enormously from them.
A quote from HealthyPlace.com, a website that favors the use of antidepressants, says the following:
Most antidepressants are believed to work by slowing the removal of certain chemicals from the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters (such as serotonin and norepinephrine). Neurotransmitters are needed for normal brain function and are involved in the control of mood and in other responses and functions, such as eating, sleep, pain, and thinking.11
Serotonin and norepinephrine are naturally occurring hormonal chemicals placed in our bodies by our Creator for a purpose. Psychiatrists believe that when they are not released in the proper amounts, one of the consequences can be depression. For this reason, depression has been medically described as “a chemical imbalance in the brain,” although there are some researchers who would dispute this, saying that the chemical imbalance is caused by the depression (a simple case of which came first—the chicken or the egg?).12 At any rate, it is this rationale that justifies the prescription of a chemical substance (many times a synthetic form of one or both of these hormones) as the cure, or more accurately, a balancing agent. Unfortunately, their solution of adding chemicals alters the normal processes of the patient’s thinking, creating the potential for other problems, such as suicide, which according to Luke 8:32 and 33 is caused by demons.
The article from HealthyPlace.com goes on to say:
Antidepressants help people with depression by making these natural chemicals more available to the brain. By restoring the brain’s chemical balance, antidepressants help relieve the symptoms of depression.13
Most of these antidepressants are classified as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They endeavor to inhibit the absorption of serotonin, demanding more of it to be produced by the brain. Consequently, the brain function is altered, and in some ways even slowed down, affording demons the opportunity they need to “hop on”—like hoboes climbing onto a train. Some researchers believe depression is already related to several sections of the brain moving slowly.14 The brain activity that is initially stimulated by these drugs often evolves over time into adrenal exhaustion.15 This accentuates the pre-existing problem of depression, causing the person to sink down even further into lethargy. This listless attitude welcomes a wide variety of negative thoughts—worry, fear, despair, and hopelessness—often ending in suicide. This is the slippery slope of depression, and antidepressants can grease the slide.
Psychotropic drugs introduce unnatural chemicals into a natural system designed by God. They are synthetic chemicals engineered by pharmaceutical companies who are playing God. Their researchers have plugged chemical possibilities into their computers in order to develop molecular shapes and substances that appear to fix one thing, but with devastating consequences. It’s like throwing a hand grenade into your kitchen to kill a mouse under the cabinet. This is why all the side effects and possible dangers need to be posted (and their list is usually longer than the list of benefits). Some common names of psychotropic drugs with their brand names in parentheses are:
The names of these chemicals do not sound very “natural,” do they? This particular group of SSRIs works to retard serotonin absorption in the body. Other varieties work to suppress both serotonin and norepinephrine.
Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a common culprit in teen suicide too.16 It operates differently than an SSRI by targeting another neurotransmitter, dopamine. It is a blatant stimulant, rated higher than caffeine and lower than amphetamines. It binds itself to the dopamine in much the same way as the SSRIs bind themselves to serotonin, and it slows down the absorption rate into the body. Ritalin is a stimulant which offers a pleasurable effect to the recipient—usually a youth diagnosed with ADHD.17
The following quotation about psychotropic drugs is scary:
It is well known that many of the student mass murderers were being prescribed mind-altering psychiatric drugs. T.J. Solomon, the 15-year-old from Conyers, Georgia who shot six classmates in May 1999, was on Ritalin; Eric Harris, 18 years old, the Columbine killer, was being prescribed the antidepressant Luvox; and Kip Kinkel, the 15-year-old from Springfield, Oregon who killed both parents, two schoolmates, and wounded 20 other students on May 21, 1998, was being prescribed Prozac, one of the most widely prescribed among the antidepressants.
These are not isolated cases. Of the estimated 2 million kids under 18 years of age in America who have been prescribed Ritalin, Luvox, Prozac, Paxil, and other antidepressants and psychiatric drugs, many have committed violent acts, even killings. Many others are walking time-bombs.
On March 6, U.S. News & World Report documented other cases of violence connected to these types of drugs. In 1995, in California, 16-year-old Jarred Viktor was convicted of first-degree murder for stabbing his grandmother 61 times. Ten days earlier, Jarred had been prescribed the antidepressant Paxil for his pre-existing problems—drinking, drug abuse, and threatening suicide. The article reports how 13-year-old Matt Miller committed suicide in Kansas (he was found hanging in his closet) after taking the antidepressant Zoloft for a week. The Miller family has filed suit against Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft.
Articles in the U.S. magazine Health and Healing, and in the British daily, The Observer, charge that Prozac, produced by Eli Lilly company, has the effect of producing akathisia, a condition of severe agitation and disorientation, which they describe as a fuse for violent outbursts. A study conducted by Dr. David Healy, director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Wales, found that Prozac produced violent behavior in mentally healthy volunteers, and claims the drug may have been the trigger for many violent acts, including murders for which people are in prison.
But by far the most horrible revelation to date is the documentation that increasing numbers of infants, toddlers, and pre-school children are being zombified with psychiatric drugs produced for adults, before these children can even learn to talk, let alone read.
According to an article in the Feb. 23 Journal of the American Medical Association, entitled “Trends in the Prescribing of Psychotropic Medications to Pre-Schoolers,” poor children, especially black children in the United States, are being prescribed the dangerous drug Ritalin (methylphenidate) in unprecedented numbers, at younger and younger ages, with the number of prescriptions having increased more than 300% during 1991–95 in two study groups. The use of Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride) is just as abused; the article says that a psychiatric newsletter, citing marketing data compiled by the Food and Drug Administration, reported that in 1994, some 3,000 prescriptions for fluoxetine hydrochloride were written for children younger than one year of age!18
The effects of these drugs are devastating the world, and yet they continue to be manufactured and marketed in spite of the evidence against them. We cry out for children’s rights in many areas—why not this one? Perhaps it is the money being made by pharmaceutical companies and their lobbying power that prevents the FDA from taking action to protect children. The best way to protect them, however, is to inform parents—as the common slogan says: “Parents, The Anti-Drug.” When we examine the way in which these drugs work, you will join the ranks of those who are crying out. We may never change the way the world views things, but at least we can be informed enough about these to not allow them to have control over us or our loved ones.
How Do Psychotropic Drugs Work?
Antidepressants, or psychotropic drugs, most commonly work by attaching themselves to the neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are the naturally occurring substances in the brain that occupy the space between the synapses of the nerve endings and allow the electrical energy to “jump the gap” between nerves. Of the 30-or-so neurotransmitters that have been identified, researchers have discovered associations between clinical depression and the function of three primary ones: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These three neurotransmitters function within structures of the brain that regulate emotions, reactions to stress, and the physical drives of sleep, appetite, and sexuality.19
Antidepressants are chemically engineered to raise the levels of serotonin in the brain in order to elevate the mood of the individual. Since most of the production of serotonin occurs in the pineal gland, this tiny cone-shaped gland subsequently becomes the target of the drugs.20 The pineal gland is located in the diametrical center of the brain and has been touted by mystics as the organ of spiritual perception.21 When certain of these drugs are ingested, or injected, into a person’s body, they stimulate this gland to produce a euphoric effect in their mood and thinking patterns.
When we start to understand how the pineal gland affects our minds, we will also begin to see why these drugs are so dangerous. This little gland sits directly beneath the two brain halves at the top of the spinal cord and works in conjunction with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to collectively control most of the endocrine secretions in the human body.22 Mystics have long believed that if the pineal gland is triggered, it can catapult the person into a higher spiritual realm.23 Psychotropic drugs target this gland and endeavor to raise the mood levels of depressed people up to a higher realm.
When these drugs activate the pineal gland, the door is opened to a spirit realm where demons are anxiously waiting to invade the body. Adolph Hitler was a major believer in this theory and used drugs frequently to enter the spirit world and get his direction.24 (LSD was developed in 1938 by Albert Hofmann—during the Third Reich reign and Hitler’s rise to power and insanity.) The following quote shows that Hitler used these mind-altering drugs, and the negative legacy he left behind provides a vivid example of the effects of them. History records that he suffered from depression and ended up committing suicide.25
Hitler was enthusiastic enough to enhance his occult powers further. He was already using some meditation techniques he learnt back in the East, but that was too slow a progress for him. Earnest Pretzsche, a book dealer, introduced Hitler to a psychedelic drug containing mescaline and peyote. This produced clairvoyant visions that made Hitler believe he had opened the door to the reigns of supernatural powers, powers he could use for his own purposes.26
In reality, using drugs to raise mood levels is not only dangerous, but it is a form of idolatry that substitutes pharmaceuticals for what only the Holy Spirit can accomplish in the true sense. When people enter this euphoric state, they are much more prone to erratic behavior because of the openness of their minds to the influence of demons. Look at this report on the effect of psychotropic drugs on the pineal gland:
The possibility of pineal gland involvement as a part of “neuroendocrine dysfunction” in some of the psychiatric diseases has received special attention in recent years. The discovery of a cascade of receptors and the action of many psychoactive drugs on [the] pineal gland supports the concept that the pineal gland can be considered as a suitable model system for assessing the action of psychotropic drugs. Psychotropic drugs, particularly antidepressants—both tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors—when administered either to animals or to patients suffering from depressive illness affects the pineal gland function and melatonin concentration. This raises the possibility that the beneficial effects of these drugs may relate to their ability to alter the pineal gland function and melatonin secretion. The occurrence of seasonal affective disorders and their response to bright light treatment implicate melatonin as a “bio-chemical marker” for these disease states. In view of these facts it can be suggested that [the] pineal gland does play an important role in the etiology of mental diseases, especially affective disorders.27
Psychotropic drug manufacturers purposely target the pineal gland in order to alter its function. These SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) change the brain’s activity in this vital gland by increasing its melatonin secretion.28 In effect, limiting the uptake of serotonin takes the low spots out of a person’s mood, but melatonin, on the other hand, raises the level of brain activity to a euphoric state. The goal of these drugs is to balance out the “low” spots by raising the whole level of brain activity. Whether it is Prozac, Ritalin, or self-prescribed illicit drugs, the effect is basically the same—in layman’s terms, it is to attain a “high” through a process of changing the action of these neurotransmitters.
A major problem with antidepressants has always been the varying dosages and kinds of drugs needed to continually adjust the amounts taken.29 Why? People are different and their daily encounters, circumstances, and environments vary as well. God, however, has made humans fully functional to handle all of life’s situations. Sometimes we need the serotonin to calm us and, at other times, the melatonin to raise us up. Mood shifts and mood swings are a part of life, and God programmed these natural secretions into our bodies when He made them. If God designed our brains to naturally emit these chemicals when needed, doesn’t it make sense that they will operate most efficiently when our minds are energized with His light?
Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. Psalm 18:28
The best solution to depression is not medication—but meditation on the Word of God. If the problem is really in the mind, wouldn’t it make more sense to put the remedy there (in the mind) rather than in our mouths? Some pills may promise relief, but the only pill that will work to actually cure depression is the “gospill.”
The Godly Solution
Just recently I was ministering to a man who had been taking six prescriptions of antidepressants. In the middle of the session, the Holy Spirit revealed a huge truth to me. When I spoke this to him, he immediately repented. By the Spirit, I said to him, “The demon of depression entered you when you spoke the word vow over yourself: ‘I can’t handle this anymore.’” When we speak words of defeat over ourselves, we are directly contradicting the truth of Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Our society seems bent on convincing us of our weaknesses and then trying to placate us with crutches that can provide no true support or healing.
I shared this incident with Dr. Henry Malone, a renowned deliverance minister and author of the widely known book, Shadow Boxing. Dr. Malone said, “The confession of ‘I can’t handle this’ is a huge discovery. It is a word vow that opens the door for a spirit of depression.” He also said, “This is the major confession of people who commit suicide.”
The truth of the matter, regardless of the situation, is found in Romans 8:31: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
In looking at Godly solutions to depression and alternatives to psychotropic drugs, we need to look at the things of God first and go to Him for our deliverance. In his book on Biblical Foundations of Freedom: Destroying Satan’s Lies with God’s Truth, Art Mathias delivers some very powerful words about the use of psychotropic drugs masking the problems for which only God has the answers:
Pharmakia and sorcery can only offer a chemically-induced peace, and there is no deliverance from the real enemy. There is a more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31). Christ offers us peace of mind during this earthly life.30
When we have depression, what does the doctor prescribe? An antidepressant drug designed to bring us back into chemical balance. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good about ourselves. An antidepressant attempts to make it last longer in the nerves’ synapse. It cannot produce more serotonin. The real cause for the shortage is the anger, stress, and fears that are in our life. But, the doctor cannot address the spiritual dynamic that caused the chemical imbalance in the first place. Taking the drug causes us to avoid dealing with the real underlying spiritual problem.31
There are many examples of medications that only cover up real problems. Western medicine is designed to treat symptoms. When the symptoms are the root’s cause, as in injuries or other traumas, it works very well. But the symptom is usually not the root cause. We need to learn to depend on God and discover those areas of our lives that do not conform to God’s teaching. When we confess and repent [of our] disobedience, then the peace of God that passes all understanding floods over us, and His joy becomes our joy.32
Depression is a real problem, and it absolutely needs to be treated. Basically speaking, it is a pot-hole in the highway of life. Sometimes we hit these and need help getting out. In that case, the better solution is “Bible in the brain” rather than “pills in the mouth!
Some physicians, even Christian ones, have suggested that these drugs could be used on a short-term basis to achieve a state whereby the person can cope with the situations at hand. I have little problem with this except that any alternative treatment to the drugs is rarely used.33 My concern is that the world is endeavoring to introduce New Age solutions to solve age-old problems that have always been curable by Bible on the brain. My point is that antidepressants, or New Age pharmakeia, are not the answer to age-old problems. Instead, I propose a remedy that has stood the test of time—it has worked before, it will work now, and it will live and abide forever.
While doing research for this article, I actually did find a psychologist who has created an alternative method. Dr. Len Ochs of OchsLabs has developed a practice of recycling excess electrical energy out of the brain, changing it into an FM radio signal and feeding it back into the brain.34 What a brilliant concept!
Dr. Och’s method of treatment introduces nothing new but recycles the existing energy. God’s solution of Bible in the brain uses existing energy as well, but goes even further by including a heavenly dose of energy that comes directly from the words and power of the Holy Spirit.
I found myself in one of these depression pot-holes recently and needed some help getting out. I began saturating my mind with the Bible. In the process of reading it, the Lord directed me to a scripture that gives His answer for depression.
My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word. Psalm 119:28
Literally this verse says: “My soul droops because of depression: strengthen me according to Your Word.” The answer for depression is to fill up the pot-hole with long-term realism and hope from God. True enlightenment does not come from pricking the pineal gland with unnatural chemicals or slowing down serotonin absorption in the brain, but from the entrance of God’s promises contained within His Word. When we shine His light into our situation, we can then see the way out of whatever pot-hole we may find ourselves in.
The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130
These verses out of Psalms, and many others, offer a true solution to dealing with depression. Psalms 42:11 and 43:5 echo the same concept as Psalm 42:5 below:
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. Psalm 42:5
Psalm 119:11 gives a super-strength prescription to heal the mind.
Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11
Hiding the word in your heart has an amazingly simple meaning—it means to memorize it! When we memorize scripture, it saturates our minds and permeates our hearts. The more we quote it aloud and meditate upon it, the more potent and effective it becomes to our minds. If we did this faithfully every day, I believe we would see genuine deliverance instead of a short-term stopgap that often does more damage than good.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
As the simple revelation of reading and memorizing the Bible for mental peace and joy came upon me, I also realized that since the Bible is living and powerful (energetic), it has the power not only to heal my mind but to make it stronger too. I also found it helpful to extract new, fresh oil out of the Bible by memorizing new verses. I had lots of old ones, but I needed a “fresh squeeze.”
My dad told me that if someone got sick enough they would take their medicine. This is as true with those who suffer from depression and need to change their mental diet and begin exercising their thought processes as it is for people who need to change their physical diet and exercise their physical bodies. When people truly get a revelation of a sickness they have and its relation to their bad diet and/or lack of exercise, it becomes a wake-up call to them, and they will (perhaps for the first time in their lives) change their habit patterns in order to save their lives.
A New “Prescription” for Depression
It is interesting that the words “medicate” and “meditate” come from the same Latin root—medi. This root word means “to measure” or “to take appropriate measures.”35 So, whether you medicate the body or meditate the mind, the same truth applies. It means to take the right amount to do the job.
One of the major dilemmas of prescribing a psychotropic drug is just that—to find the adequate amount to do the job. Unfortunately, the constantly changing moods of a person taking the medicine can make this a hit-or-miss proposition. On top of this problem is the fact that it takes at least a couple of weeks up to a month to get the drug into the bloodstream and dissolved into the proper neurotransmitter. Monitoring patients closely enough to get an accurate assessment of their improvement presents a huge challenge for medical practitioners, so they often will either continue prescribing the same amount, or in some cases, gradually increase the amounts until they think they’ve reached the proper measurement. Do you see why I call it “hit or miss”?
I have a new “prescription” or cure for people suffering from depression. It is oral medication—quoting the Bible out of your mouth. It also involves a mental medication, which in fact is meditation. This “medicine,” simply stated, is to memorize one verse of Scripture each day. Depending upon the seriousness of the condition, increasing the dosage by two or three verses a day is allowable. There is no danger of overmedicating or over meditating. You cannot overdose on the Word of God!
The verses of Scripture we have covered, like Psalm 119:28 or Psalm 42:5, show the validity of this remedy. The kind of “medicine” that is needed is determined by the mental condition of the patient. (The word “patient” also ironically shows the quality that is required for this to work—faithfulness.)
In other words, “Dr. Jesus’ prescription” is: one verse a day keeps depression away. Memorizing these verses hides the Word of God in your heart, and I believe this method will produce a quicker result than merely reading them. Even when our souls are melting from heaviness, those words of life within us will give us the strength we need (Psalm 119:28). They will give us light and understanding (Psalm 119:130). When trouble and anguish overtake us, they will be our delight (Psalm 119:143), and because of the love that we have for His words, we will have great peace, and nothing will be able to cause us to stumble (Psalm 119:165). I believe the most effective method of taking this “medicine” is to quote the Scriptures aloud. Romans 10:17 says that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This is the tried, proven, and highly recommended practice that has yielded consistent results for millennia.
Dr. Jesus is the best choice for determining which Bible verses to memorize. He has sent the Holy Spirit to search our hearts, and He knows the mind of the spirit (Romans 8:27). He alone is capable of constantly monitoring the condition of the patient, and best of all, He is available 24/7 for follow-up advice and counseling.
This method (Bible in the brain) is the most effective way to treat depression. The only “downside” to God’s solution for depression is that it may decrease the sales of New Age pharmakeia! The best benefit, however, is that our Heavenly Father will get the glory and credit He is worthy of as the testimonies of these joyfully healed believers are spread around.
The Bible reveals additional remedies that could be used for depression that augment and support the straight words of life; however, keep in mind that the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit still guide us into the use of these:36
Each of these is worthy of its own study, and I believe it would benefit you greatly to eventually research and utilize them all as healing agents in your life.
The words of life found in the Bible are our necessary food, and they have stood the test of time. They are the words of the Holy Spirit penned by holy men of God (2 Peter 1:21), and they contain the power to regulate the brain, including neurotransmitters and the pineal gland.
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63
How about memorizing some new verses to squeeze some fresh anointing oil out of the Bible? We do not need New Age pharmakeia to conquer the dilemmas of our day-to-day lives. We need hope in God and a renewed mind (Romans 12:2) according to the standard of the Word of God. Meditation (Bible on the brain), not medication, is the better solution.
In closing, please remember that my purpose in writing this article was to help show a better solution—God’s remedy—for treating depression. It was not my intent to judge or condemn anyone who is presently taking psychotropic drugs or to say that they are sinning by doing so. I am also not suggesting that anyone should immediately stop using these drugs; in fact, if someone’s body has become accustomed to them, stopping too quickly could cause a negative reaction. What I am suggesting, however, is to immediately begin employing God’s solution through the methods described in this article. As the words of life begin healing your soul and mind, I believe you will be able to wean yourself off the use of these drugs. I further suggest that you conduct your weaning process under the advisement of your medical provider.
1. Bruce Bower, “Suicide Watch: Antidepressants Get Large-Scale Inspection,” Science News Online. “In the past 2 years, public and government concerns about a widely used class of antidepressant drugs have grown. There have been indications that these selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, may cause people to try to kill themselves.” For more information, please see http://www.sciencenews.org/articles20040724/fob1.asp (accessed June 9, 2006).
2. Associated Press, “Paxil May Increase Suicide in Teens, FDA and GlaxoSmithKline Warn,” May 12, 2006, http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,195274,00.html (accessed June 14, 2006).
3. As a matter of a disclaimer, I am not suggesting that anyone stop using these drugs. I am not a medical doctor; I am simply endeavoring to add light to a dark subject. If someone’s body has become accustomed to these drugs, stopping them “cold turkey” could cause a great deal of damage. A weaning process from these pharmaceuticals under the direction of the medical prescriber is an option to consider.
4. The American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition, Version 3.6a (San Francisco, CA: Softkey International, Inc., 1994).
5. The following sites document increases in suicide rates: http://www.fathersforlife.org/health/cansuic.htm, http://prvateschool.about.com/cs/students/a/teensuicide_p.htm, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000871.htm,
6. The New Testament Greek Lexicon, http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=5590 (accessed June 15, 2006). The third definition for psuche is: “the soul—the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul, etc.). (Based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary.)”
7. Lester Sumerall, Spirit, Soul, & Body (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1995), 81.
8. American Heritage.
10. R.H. Charles (translator), The Book of Enoch (Bristol, Great Britain: The Longdunn Press, 1997), 35. 1 Enoch 7:1: “And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants.”
11. “Antidepressants: Medications for Depression,” http://www.healthyplace.com/Communities/Depression/treatment/antidepressants/index.asp (accessed July 17, 2006).
13. See note 11, above.
14. Bruno Dubuc, “Parts of the Brain that Slow Down or Speed Up in Depression,” The Brain from Top to Bottom website, http://www.thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_08/d_08_cr/d_08_cr_dep/d_08_cr_dep.html (accessed June 14, 2006). “In general, several regions of the brain are less active in people who are depressed than in people who are feeling in top form. The reduced activity in these areas probably explains why depressed people experience feelings of lethargy and exhaustion . . . Certain parts of the parietal lobe and of the superior portion of the temporal lobe are associated with attentiveness to the outside world. These parts of the brain work more slowly in people with depression, which confirms the observation that people with depression are constantly focused inward on their own dark thoughts.”
15. Charly Groenendijk, “Serotonin & the Pineal Gland,” AntidepressantsFacts. Article last updated on March 11, 2003, http://www.antidepressantfacts.com/pinealstory/html (accessed July 20, 2006). “If a patient continues to ingest a particular SSRI-antidepressant over a prolonged period of time, eventually the body’s adrenal glands may lose their efficiency and ‘Adrenal Exhaustion Syndrome’ will be the end result.”
16. Maria Filidei, “The Creation of Senseless Violence; Psychiatric Drugs and Kids Who Kill,” http://www.worldnewsstand.net/health/ritalin2.htm (accessed July 19, 2006).
17. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website, “NIDA InfoFacts: Methylphenidate (Ritalin),” http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofacts/Ritalin.html (accessed July 19, 2006).
18. Michele Steinberg, “Re: Ritalin=Violence,” printed in the Executive Intelligence Review, March 24, 2000, http://www.usenet.com/newsgroups/misc.health.alternativemsg06914.html (accessed July 20, 2006).
19. Prentiss Price, Ph.D., “All About Depression: Neurotransmitters and Neurons,” http://www.allaboutdepression.com/cau_02.html;(accessed July 19, 2006).
20. Groenendijk, “Serotonin & the Pineal Gland.”
21. Institute for Innovative Blind Navigation, “The Pineal Gland,” http://www.wayfinding.net/pineal.htm (accessed June 18, 2006).
22. Groenendijk, “Serotonin & the Pineal Gland.”
23. Jim Marrs, Rule by Secrecy (New York, NY: HarperCollins, Perennial edition, 2001), 161. “‘When the Third Eye [believed by many to be the pineal gland between the eyes] had been opened to a full vision of the Akashic Record [the mystical hidden record of mankind], the initiate [of the Secret Doctrine] became a living witness of the whole evolution of the world, and of humanity.’” (Jim Marrs is quoting Trevor Ravenscroft from his book, The Spear of Destiny.)
24. David Bay, “Study Antichrist Through Study of Hitler,” Cutting Edge Ministries website, http://www.cuttingedge.org/NEWS/n1017.html (accessed July 25, 2006).
25. NNDB (Notable Names Data Base), “Adolf Hitler,” http://www.nndb.com/people/197/000025122 (accessed July 25, 2006).
26. Wes Penre, “Hitler and the Secret Societies—the Occult Life of Adolf Hitler,” ©Illuminati News, http://www.illuminati-news.com/hitler-occult.htm (accessed August 16, 2006).
27. Srinivasan V., “Psychoactive drugs, pineal gland and affective disorders,” Institute of Physiology, Madurai Medical College, Tamil Nadu, India. Article on NCBI website at http://www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=PubMed&list_uids=2675194&dopt=Abstract (accessed July 25, 2006).
28. Groenendijk, “Serotonin & the Pineal Gland.”
29. Barbara Hodgson, Robert Kizior, Saunders Nursing Drug Handbook, 2004 (Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company), 219–220, 427.
30. Art Mathias, Biblical Foundations of Freedom: Destroying Satan’s Lies with God’s Truth (Anchorage, AK: Wellspring Publishing, 2003), 180.
31. Ibid., 183.
32. Ibid., 183.
33. Len Ochs, Ph.D. uses a low energy neurofeedback system (LENS) to produce a measurable change in the brainwaves. His method has proven to be of “enormous benefit to help them [those suffering from depression] reclaim their potential.” To find out more about this alternative method, access his website at: http://www.ochslabs.com.
35. American Heritage.
36. Dale M. Sides, “Overcoming Depression,” audio CD LP83, April 26, 2006; may be ordered through Liberating Ministries for Christ International.
©2006 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Realizing Your Personal Ministry (Article ID 13)
Religious Slavery: The Deception of the Hindu Caste System (Article ID 268)
The Deception of the Hindu Caste System
Dale M. Sides
For over 2,700 years, the Hindu caste system has held the people of
The caste system of
Slavery comes in many packages, sizes, and forms. It is just the next step in the process of one person or people group dominating another. It can be spiritual slavery through the use of evil spirits and perceived superiority; it can be mental slavery when intellectualism berates and condescends to those of lower education or esteem; or it can be physical slavery when the “owner” is legitimized to physically do “what thou wilt” to the slave. Although all three of these forms of slavery are obviously harmful, there is a fourth form of slavery that is even more severe: religious slavery. The religious slavery of Hinduism has deceived the dominated people into sincerely believing they are inferior to their ethnically “superior” masters.
When I talk about
How Did It Begin?
To understand the religious slavery of the caste system, it will help us to take a look back over
Every conquering kingdom partook of the exotic riches—especially the women—of the land. Through polygamy and lust, they began growing their own little tribes (similar to African or Native-American tribes) which gradually developed into full-blown subcultures and eventually into castes. Each ruling kingdom, from the Persians all the way down through the Greeks and Europeans, chose the lighter-skinned native women and began developing the tribal castes. As this pattern repeated itself over time, the resulting generations produced fairer and fairer- complexioned offspring. These people, already divided, began taking on their own racial identities according to their skin colors, with the indigenous darker-skinned Dravidians being at the low end of the developing caste system. The unwritten rule in
In the struggle for supremacy within the ethnic order, guess what? Predictably, the caste that used religion as their strategy to guarantee and validate their superiority became the “top dog.” That caste was, and is, the Brahmins. The Brahmins are the slave masters and dominators of
The Brahmins have overpowered and reduced the indigenous Dravidians of India to an almost unspeakable condition of poverty and depravity. In the villages outside the cities, people live in dearth and illiteracy, in dirt floor homes without electricity and running water. At the local shrines set up in every village, the people worship territorial spirits and their Brahmin priest, who frequently empties the collection box at the nearest temple. Inside the cities, the religiously deceived lower castes congregate in slums, living anywhere they can. You are considered to have a good job if you can sleep where it’s dry. Many of them live beneath tarps or in sun-baked brick 6’ x 6’ houses with as many as six or seven people. They live in these conditions regardless of the cold or rainy weather, and many times these dwelling places are located right next to the filth of an open sewer. Because of the lie of reincarnation that saturates Hinduism, they listlessly exist, believing that they are destined to live this way as punishment for their previous sinful lives. Again, this is a prime example of classic religious slavery. It is hard for us to comprehend, but they honestly believe they deserve to live this way, which leads them into total compliance with their menial existence. Because of this belief, they freely relinquish themselves to the control of the Brahmins and other upper castes.
Here is a quote from a revolutionary lower caste Christian leader. The Brahmin priests fear him because of his boldness. While many of his ideas are outside the norm, his understanding of slavery is not.
When a ruling ethnic group wants permanently to maintain slavery over another ethnic group once defeated [defeating] them, [it] forms a new philosophy to justify enslavement.
If the ruling ethnic group is a minority; and the enslaved ethnic group is majority, it is natural for the ruling minority to have a fear about the majority group—that they would unite together and dethrone the minority at any opportune time. Therefore the ruling minority group is forced to keep the majority weak by fragmenting them into so many divisions and making the divisions to hate and degrade each other. In
This is the exact condition of the lower caste peoples of
Brahmins conveniently arranged the Hindu religious festivals at harvest time to extort even more money from people. Consequently, now the Braham caste owns most of the land, factories, industries, and obviously the seats in the Parliament in
National Geographic Magazine5 did a special on the Hindu caste system that really showed the depth of discrimination. However, although they accurately reported that profession, bloodline, and/or ethnicity determine some castes, they did not show the religious side of this atrocity. The social differences within the caste system helped to cause division amongst the masses, which gave more control to the lording Brahmins. (It is always easier to control a divided people.) The worship of idols was an easily employed tactic to scare the lower castes into offering larger and more ludicrous sacrifices in order to appease their gods and stay their wrath. This is a very effective merchandising of souls.
These Brahmins also syncretized the existing indigenous practices of self-inflicted physical pain and self-sacrificial rituals into this developing belief system to further enslave the people. More and more monies were siphoned off the people to build temples that were dedicated to fallen angels, the spirits behind the idols that adorn them. More and more myths were deified into legends of gods having bodies of men and animals. With no standard or limitation on their deceptive exaggerations, the myths turned into colossal lies of disproportionate surrealism and incredulous conclusions. These stories were invented to mystify and scare the people. Meanwhile the coffers were still being filled and emptied morning, , and night. High castes got higher and low castes got lower—the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Mere human priests became revered as immortal and subsequently were allowed to break the bounds of morality. Who could possibly question them? The Brahmins were presumed to be infallible and to possess divine authority much as the Pope in Roman Catholicism.
Pray for Mercy
Poverty, living in filth, and the humiliation of performing tasks like beasts of burden are huge prices to pay for the worship of idols. But when one examines these deluded people, they are found to be beautiful-spirited lovers of peace who have become victims of cruelty and religious witchcraft. Yes, they have lost their self-worth by prostrating themselves at the feet of idols created by higher castes to deceive them. They have lost any economic advantage they once had by the extortion of their money and goods perpetrated by this same deception. It is true they are sinners and worthy of God’s wrath (as anyone is without Jesus), but we must remember that they are victims of deception and ethnic domination. Yes, these are cursed, idol-worshipping Dravidians, but before we judge them too harshly, remember that they have been raised on a consistent diet of falsehoods in a system of religious slavery. May God have mercy on them even though they are bowing down to idols and evil spirits.
It behooves us, through the compassion and mercy of our Lord, to faithfully pray for these people. Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give,” (Matthew 10:8). We are accountable to see that others receive the same freedom we have been given. Intercede on behalf of these victims of slavery and domination so that God will flex His arm and show Himself strong for them. Pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out more and more laborers for the ripened fields of
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36
1. African-American slavery lasted about 200 years; the caste system of religious slavery in
2. The American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition. Electronic version 3.6a 1994, SoftKey International Inc.
4. Dr. M. Deivanayagam & Dr. D. Devakala, International Racism is the Child of India’s Castesim (Ayanpuram, Chennai-600 023.India: Dravidian Religion Trust, 2004) 17.
5. Hillary Mayell, “
©2005 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
©2005 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (Article ID 3)
Suffering: Shut Up, and Take the Pain! (Article ID 15)
The Antidote for Anxiety (Article ID 181)
The Antidote for Anxiety
By Dale M. Sides
Recently I picked up the February 24, 2003 issue of Newsweek magazine and read an article on anxiety through which the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Isn't it interesting that the children of the world are wiser than the children of light in discerning the trends of people? They must have a higher motive for reward that causes them to think.
Anxiety is raping our society. Want a good stock tip? Invest in pharmaceutical companies that are selling sedatives and mind altering drugs. From now through the time of Jesus' return to the earth, times are going to get worse and worse and the world will be selling more and more drugs. Tough times are promised and prophesied, so we probably will not be able to reverse the trend. But do we Christians have to deal with anxiety the same way as unbelievers? No!1
When I was inspired to study this, I began in the Bible and continued on into the secular realm. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edtition says that anxiety is "a state of uneasiness as about future uncertainties; a state of intense apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a threatening event or situation, often to a degree that the normal physical and psychological functioning of the affected individual is disrupted." One of the things I discovered is that fear and anxiety are quite different, and knowing the difference between the two will help to show the treatment of them.
Fear is a "clear and present danger." It is caused by a real event that threatens injury, more physical than emotional. Anxiety, on the other hand, is apprehension of a future event (although it can be sparked from a memory of a past event). It is a "clear and future danger" and threatens injury, more emotional than physical. So in one sense, if anxiety could be called fear, it would be called fear of the future. Regardless of what we call anxiety, it is a perception and is not real in the sense that the danger actually exists; it is the dread or possibility of lurking danger.
According to medical research, fear is registered in the portion of the brain called the amygdala.2 It erupts when the physical senses receive signals of a danger presently occurring. The thoughts are processed through the prefrontal cortex, where the will of man resides. In the prefrontal cortex, the danger is assessed either as being actual or just an alarm. For example, if your little brother jumps out from behind the door in a dark room, the prefrontal cortex processes the information and causes your alarm system to back down and therefore keeps you from strangling him. Response to fear is usually either fight or flight.
If the prefrontal cortex discerns that the situation is real and that you need to react, the impulse travels through an organ within the brain called the stria terminalis (a horseshoe-shaped arrangement of nerves) to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus secretes hormones into the blood stream and causes you to physically react—by releasing adreneline, tensing up, or by increasing your pulse. Fear is real.
Anxiety, on the other hand, emerges from the stria terminalis. In other words, the origin of anxiety does not come from signals of the physical senses giving an alarm of present danger, but from memories of past events already stored in the brain. If the perceived danger reaches the hypothalamus, the body will react just the same as if a terrifying horror had actually happened to you. Anxiety is a product of the imagination.
Understanding how anxiety occurs will reveal the solution or antidote for it. This is what happens: When a situation occurs that causes someone to associate it with a related experience in the past, the body will respond the same way it did during the first incident. It does not even have to be the same category of experience, just something that could spark the memory. The hormones that are released then cause panic, increased respiration, adrenaline flow, headache, acid indigestion, etc. The prefrontal cortex is bypassed in assessing the situation because the triggered memory has already been recorded as a dire emergency. When the anxiety reaches the hypothalamus, the body will respond accordingly.
Now that we understand the difference between fear and anxiety, we can determine the solution to each of these culprits. Since fear is an actual event, action needs to be taken to quell the threat. But anxiety, since it is not a response to a present threat but a reminder of a past one, can only be remedied by an anchor of hope that will keep the mind from slipping when the perceived threat comes. In other words, fear can be remedied by action but anxiety can only be remedied by strong hope. Psalm 119:114 says, "Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word." The antidote for anxiety is to memorize Scripture to prevent the apprehension from reaching the place where the body reacts.
When anxiety begins to run in someone's brain, a plethora of Scripture needs to flood the mind before the chemicals get a chance to be secreted. We need more Bible and less drugs. We need a greater focus on the truth that will make us free, rather than trying to focus on circumstances that will hinder us (John 8:32). We need more memorized Bible verses and less TV and movies. We need greater discipline of the mind than devotion to recreation.
People have wondered why anxiety is at an all-time high. There are two main reasons: (1) Perilous times are upon us and are getting worse day by day. (2) Undisciplined minds are at an all-time high also. We may not be able to stop trying times from coming, but we can be prepared for them when they come. Yes, we need to put back some supplies and stock up on food and water, but how about also building a supply of Bible verses?
We are living in a time of wars and rumors of wars. Pestilences, earthquakes and famines are on the exponential rise. In the last days, perilous times will come (2 Timothy 3:1). Instead of taking more and more pills, take the Gospill. Instead of having just food stored in the pantry, have some Bible stored in your brain. Memorize Scripture. Meet uncertainty with the strong hope of the Word of God stored in your mind.
1. Dale M. Sides, "Antidote for Anxiety," Liberating Partners audiocassette tape, LP050.
2. Geoffrey Cowley, "Our Bodies, Our Fears," Newsweek magazine, February 24, 2003, 43-49.
©2003 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
The Apostle/Prophet Relationship (Article ID 323)
The Apostle/Prophet Relationship
by Dale M. Sides
The Apostle/Prophet relationship is of paramount importance in the body of Christ and since it forms the foundation upon which the church is built, God spared no expense in defining this relationship between His Son, Jesus Christ, the Chief Apostle and John the Baptist, the model prophet. The relationship between these two men forms a model for all leaders in the church to observe and learn how to establish and maintain this vital contribution to the whole body of Christ.
These lessons are absolutely fundamental for unity and the advancing of the Kingdom. The understanding of this relationship is becoming more important as we see apostolic and prophetic ministries taking shape in these present days. Since Jesus and John both had the calling to announce the coming of the kingdom of heaven, it becomes more demanding that we understand these ministries and their inter-relationship as we proceed toward this same reality in the last days. The purpose of examining the relationship between Jesus and John is to learn the lessons from this model and apply them in the church today. We need to see what was right and possibly what went wrong.
In examining the apostle/prophet relationship through this model, we will scrutinize the enigma of why John asked if Jesus was the real Messiah or should he look for another (Matthew 11:3). This section of scripture has baffled Bible students for many years, but the key to unlocking it is to see that the apostle/prophet relationship of Jesus and John did not produce everything it was supposed to. We will also postulate the contribution John the Baptist could have been to Jesus if he fully functioned and ministered properly alongside the Messiah during their earthly ministries. So, be prepared to sacrifice some sacred cows of tradition to discover the value of this relationship. John was isolated, without the needed direction of apostolic oversight and a prime candidate for the Jezebel spirit to target. Realizing the volatility of such statements should cause great caution. But with the valuable understanding of this relationship at stake, we must take off the gloves and read the Word of God for understanding—not view it as tradition.
With the church approaching not only its finest hour, but also its most trying time, the lesson of the relationship between apostles and prophets must be learned and never forgotten. The purpose of this article is not to undermine the ministry of John the Baptist, but to learn the lessons of this relationship now. In learning these lessons and applying them, we will have the foundation upon which the present kingdom of God on the earth will prevail. However, in failing to learn and apply them, we are constructing nothing more than a house cards on a crumbling foundation. We must not be surprised to see Satan doing his best to destroy these relationships, trying to prevent them from re-emerging, and endeavoring to keep these dynamic ministries apart. Hopefully we can learn from the successes and failures of our predecessors so that we will not be ignorant of Satan’s devices, but wise unto the ways of our God.
We see the need for two walking together all the way from the Garden of Eden to the two witnesses during the Great Tribulation. We also see the burden of walking alone from the deck of the ark to the top of the cross. “It is not good for the man to be alone,” (Genesis 2:18 NIV) not only applies in the relationship of a man and woman, but also in the advancing of the kingdom of God. Moses had Aaron, David had Samuel, Peter had John, and Paul had Silas. Jesus said, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be for them of my Father which is in heaven,” (Matthew 18:19). Didn’t Jesus send out His disciples by twos?
The flip side of that coin is: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
The relationship of apostles and prophets is profiled in the Old Testament, but is absolutely documented throughout the New Testament as well. There are eight occurrences where both of these words and ministries are found in the same verse. One of which, from Ephesians 2:20 NKJ, says the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” Little else is needed to verify the importance of gaining the understanding of this relationship. If it is lost (or not regained) the building will fall.
The relationship of Jesus Christ the Apostle and John the Prophet was planned before their births. John preceded Jesus in age, arrival and recognition, but it was all with the view toward preparing the way for the coming of the Apostle Jesus. These two were foreordained to announce the coming of the kingdom of heaven just as the two witnesses (Revelation 11) will do in the future.
Jesus and John
Without a doubt, God’s plan was to establish the Word of His kingdom by the mouth of these two witnesses (because by the mouth of two witnesses the truth is established, Deuteronomy 19:15; 2 Corinthians 13:1). Even the birth of these two great men shows God’s plan for them to be the apostle and prophet to bring the priesthood to Israel and the kingdom of God to earth.
We date the birth of John the Baptist from the course of Abia, the priestly order of Zacharias, his father. John was conceived about June 24 and Jesus six months later. Can you believe that Jesus was conceived on December 25? (That’s right—we have the celebration down, but we celebrate the wrong thing.) The important aspect of this is that the birth of Jesus was not chronicled according to the Jewish calendar or even the Feasts of the Lord, but according the conception of His cohort John. Jesus’ conception was marked six months after the conception of John the Baptist, showing their interconnection even before they were born.
And in the sixth month [of Elisabeth’s pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. Luke 1:26–27
They were a pair—ordained of God, preplanned by God, with a mission from God. They were not the Blues Brothers. They were the true twin towers: Jesus, born by divine conception, and John, filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb.
Understanding the Ministries
To grasp the importance of this relationship, we must see the strengths and weaknesses of each ministry—what each needs and contributes to the other. Many fine books have been written on each of these ministries but our focus is to see the relationship between each other.
The Ministry of the Apostle
The apostle is a visionary, the leader to launch new ideas and advance the kingdom of God. He marches to the beat of God’s drum and has ideas that usually extend past his age and life expectancy. His strength is that he focuses on the horizon, but his weakness is that because he is so focused on the future he loses sight of the present practicality. Likewise, he does not have much of a rear guard—therefore he needs the ministry of a prophet to supply prayer coverage and counsel.
Jesus is the consummate apostle, with none of the weaknesses previously mentioned, but with the divine balance of both apostle and prophet. Nonetheless, the prophetic ministry of John the Baptist was supposed to contribute things to Jesus’ ministry that no one else could have, particularly the announcement and witness of who Jesus was.
The Ministry of the Prophet
The prophet is a spokesman announcing and heralding God’s will. He can, and usually does, announce something coming in the future (Amos 3:7). Often the announcement is the coming of an apostle or an apostolic era. All of the Old Testament prophets announced the coming of Jesus the Apostle and the new covenant. A number of so-called prophets in the Old Testament functioned as apostles, i.e., Noah, Abraham, Moses and David, but they are called prophets because they all announced the coming of the True, First, Genuine and Chief Apostle, Jesus Christ.
Once the apostle arrives, the prophet is supposed to support him and cover the apostle’s back. (This is possibly where John the Baptist missed it.) The prophet supplies the prayer coverage and counsel, and has the hotline to God’s throne; he can see what is coming around the curve—the apostle provides the direction. While the apostle stays the course, the prophet scouts for the enemy. One without the other has blind spots, but with each other they form a Godly team with vision, strength, staying power, an awesome offense and an impenetrable defense.
The weaknesses in the apostle/prophet relationship in the model of Jesus the Apostle and John the Prophet are obviously with John. We will see that John perhaps could have contributed things to Jesus’ ministry that possibly would have caused the nation of Israel to accept Him as Messiah, and that if he had joined ministries with Jesus his life could have been spared and their joint mission accomplished.
These are hard lessons but it is obvious that God wanted Jesus to succeed in redeeming the whole nation of Israel. Something fundamentally went wrong.
An Example of a Prophet-poor Apostle and an Apostle-less Prophet
Even though our model is Jesus and John, another example given in the Word of God of the relationship between the apostle and prophet will demonstrate the need for each other’s ministry. The combination is Moses and Elijah. Both of them appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, showing the divine relationship, and many believe that they will be the two witnesses during the Great Tribulation, confirming this alliance.
Moses had a very weak prophet in Aaron, and Elijah had no apostle at all. When Moses went to the top of Mount Sinai, Aaron was seduced into making a golden calf. Aaron lacked direction and became servant to the people. Aaron said, “I threw this gold into the fire and look what came out,” (author’s paraphrase). Also, when Moses was about to strike the rock (which denied him entrance to the Promised Land) where was Aaron? Where was Moses’ counsel when he needed it? Moses was a prophet-poor apostle.
On the other hand, Elijah had no apostle. He was the prototypic prophet. His warfare was “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” While demonstrating some of the greatest works of power ever seen, he lost his orientation when attacked by the Jezebel spirit. He thought he was all alone, even to the point of wanting to die. We will see that the same thing happened to John the Baptist too. He lost his direction because he had no connection with the Apostle Jesus and lost his life to the Jezebel spirit on account of it.
Not that God needs me to vote on who the two witnesses will be, but wouldn’t it be something if it were Moses and Elijah? I live to see that day when each partner of the Two-Witness Team will be supported by the other comrade-in-arms worthy to stand shoulder to shoulder in that day of battle. What a day that will be when the Devil will truly see an apostle/prophet team united in the cause of the kingdom with war on their minds and retribution of wrath unleashed with the fury of Almighty God.
The Relationship between the Ministries
The relationship between the apostles and prophets is noticeable by many apostle/prophet teams, but the model of Jesus and John the Baptist reveals this in a very clear light. We will see this relationship by their example and it will be verified by others also.
The Prophet Announces the Coming of the Apostle
When Mary walked into Zacharias and Elisabeth’s home in Judea and spoke to them, the babe (John the Baptist) leaped in Elisabeth’s womb. This was the first meeting between Jesus and John.
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. Luke 1:41
For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Luke 1:44
This is the joy the prophet should feel with the advent of the apostle. He looks forward to the day and announces his coming. He may not know him in the flesh but he recognizes him by the Spirit (John 1:31–32).
This was the prophetic fulfillment of John the Baptist—that he would announce the coming of the Lord and prepare the way for him.
And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:16–17
He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. John 1:23
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; Luke 1:76
We see the function of the prophet announcing the apostle by John carrying Jesus’ sandals.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Matthew 3:11
This usage of bearing His shoes shows that John was to walk with the Lord and announce His arrival. In three other places (John 1:27; Mark 1:7; Luke 3:16), John is quoted as saying that he was “not worthy to unloose” His sandals. This means to serve Him, but to bear His shoes from Matthew 3:11 shows that he was to travel with Him and announce His coming. The ministry of the prophet is to be a spokesman and this is his primary function.
Even though the Bible does not call Moses an apostle, it is quite obvious that He walked in that league. We can see the apostle/prophet relationship between Moses and Aaron. Aaron preceded Moses, even in age, and announced him to Pharaoh.
And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. Exodus 7:1–2
God sent the two of them together. When Moses went before Pharaoh, Aaron announced who he was and spoke for him. Moses did not speak—he had a stick and a stutter—but Aaron had the words. The prophet announced the apostle.
Likewise, the same is true of David and other kings who were apostolic in function. Samuel (the prophet) preceded David (the apostle) and announced him as the true King of Israel. Similarly, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet blew the trumpet and announced Solomon as King (apostle). The list continues: Samuel announced Saul, Elijah announced Jehu, etc.
This is also seen to a degree with Paul and Barnabas. Barnabas was sent as a prophet to Antioch to check on Gentiles being added to the church. Barnabas went to Tarsus and found Paul, brought him to Antioch and recognized his ministry. Even though both Paul and Barnabas were ordained apostles, Barnabas was to serve as the prophet in the team, and he did in fact announce Paul and bring him to the fulfillment of his apostolic ministry.
In a related sense, concerning the application of the prophet announcing the apostle, this also includes prophecy of a coming era. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Isaiah, etc. announced the coming of the new covenant. (Even Abraham looked forward to that day.) Similarly, in our present time prophets have been announcing the coming of the Lord and the apostolic advent for quite a few years. The announcement may be of an age and not an individual.
The Apostle Leads the Team
Once the apostle arrives on the scene, the prophet responds with joy. We have seen how the babe in Elisabeth’s womb leaped for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice. When the apostle arrives, the prophet must realize that the apostle is the one who God has ordained to direct the mission, and that he (the prophet) must allow the apostle to lead. This is clearly seen in the Jesus/John relationship.
Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. John 3:28–29
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. John 1:29–30
John also realized the coming of mightier ministry.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Matthew 3:11
Jesus likewise saw the need for His leadership, stepped forward and took the lead.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Matthew 3:13–15
Jesus did not hesitate to lead and in this point, John recognized the authority of the apostle and carried out the order.
The congruous callings on Jesus and John are obvious: both preached and heralded the coming of the kingdom of heaven. This was their ordination and destiny and it was to be done by both of them.
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:1–2
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17
Jesus the Apostle was called by God to lead this movement. John announced its coming and the coming of the apostle, but then Jesus took the helm. Whether John actually followed Jesus in this calling is a matter we will consider—not in judging John, but in the understanding of the prophet’s responsibility to follow the apostle and provide protection, prayer and counsel.
The Prophet Follows the Apostle
One of the more commonly known statements made by John the Baptist is that, “He must increase and I must decrease,” (John 3:30).
Potentially, this is one of the major pitfalls of the apostle/prophet relationship. The prophet is called out first and he announces the coming of the apostle. Then when the apostle arrives to fulfill the movement of God, the prophet must recognize this and fall in line behind the apostle to guard, pray for and counsel him. The prophet’s ministry may be first, bigger and moving with more momentum, but the anointing is to announce, whereas the apostle’s is to actually carry it out.
This is the place where the real focus of this article must be directed—toward understanding this in the church today.1 First Corinthians 12:28 tells us that apostles are first in order and rank in the church and prophets second.
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:28
This is the order whereby the Holy Spirit working in men and women in these ministries establishes the church and the kingdom of God. The apostle is first and then the prophet must submit to his authority. This can be difficult for the prophet to announce the apostle and then move to second in command. We will see that John may have had difficulty doing this and may have even failed at this. Another example of this is Barnabas and Paul.
The fact that Barnabas announced Paul is without question, and initially, Barnabas introduced Paul to the apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27). Then when Barnabas was sent as a prophet to Antioch, he brought Paul with him as a teacher (Acts 11:25–26). They were both ordained apostles and were sent from Antioch (Acts 13ff).
Things seemed to be going along well in the relationship until Paul was moved to the leadership position in Acts 13:13. It is not coincidental that John Mark left the apostolic team at that time. One may conclude that he could not handle the changing of authoritative positions; he was Barnabas’ nephew (Colossians 4:10).
When the positions changed and Barnabas became second in the listing, he should have recognized this transition and began to flow in the prophet’s ministry to support Paul. This relationship completely broke down when he did not follow in this calling and left the relationship when the issue of John Mark going on the second missionary journey came into question (Acts 15:39). The unfortunate result of this is that Barnabas is never mentioned again in the book of Acts.
(It is also interesting to note that after this parting of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15:40 that Paul took Silas—a prophet according to Acts 15:32—to complement the team and give it the apostle/prophet balance as was the will of God.)
This example of Paul and Barnabas, or Barnabas and Paul, shows the importance of the prophet following the apostle after he has been announced. It is potentially a big problem; therefore this is the real crescendo and exhortation of this article.
The Prophet Protects and Advises the Apostle
The prophet must offer counsel to the apostle in this team. The apostle is a strong leader and needs a strong voice as counsel. Look at the voice of a prophet to an apostolic figure in the Old Testament. An example is David and Samuel. It also applies to Saul and Samuel.
And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him. 1 Samuel 19:15
When the David was in trouble, he headed toward the prophet for help.
So David [apostle] fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel [prophet] to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth. 1 Samuel 19:18
After Saul heard of David being with Samuel, he sent three groups of people to capture David. Saul finally went himself and when he arrived, the power of the prophet’s anointing convicted him. David was a king with an apostolic profile, but his anointing alone could not convince Saul. However, Samuel the prophet stripped Saul to his bone and showed him the error of his way. This is the power of the prophet’s anointing.
This illustrates the function of a prophet to an apostle in two ways. One way, for David, was to go to the prophet for help and advice. The other way was that the anointing of the prophet was the only thing that could turn the deception of Saul (also an apostolic profile).
A New Testament example of a prophet providing protection and counsel to an apostle is Agabus and Paul from Acts 21. Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, but all along the way, the Holy Spirit had been witnessing to him not to go there (Acts 20:23; 21:4,9). Finally, as a last resort, the Lord sent Agabus, a well-known prophet (Acts 11:28), to turn Paul from his course of destruction. It did not work. Perhaps it was because the rightful prophet to speak to Paul was not Agabus but Barnabas.
Many people believe that Paul should have continued going to Jerusalem thinking that it would eventually lead to Rome. This is another sacred cow that must be crucified. We have often idolized men of God from New Testament times thinking that they are so different from us and that they could never make a mistake. I mention this in the context of the warning of a prophet, or the counseling of an apostle. We would also do well to remember that Jesus is the only perfect one. This helps us to approach the subject matter at hand. Paul certainly made mistakes—and it appears that John the Baptist did too.
The Apostle Keeps the Prophet Directed
It is obvious that something is missing when a great man like Elijah is deceived by the squeaky voice of a wicked witch like Jezebel. Nonetheless, prophets have feet of clay and lack attributes that apostles are supposed to contribute to them. Elijah, like John the Baptist, was susceptible to the spirit of Jezebel.
A prophet, because he keeps his eyes on the future and on details, loses his orientation. If he gets separated from the apostle, he may just keep going around in circles.
Nowhere is this truth more clearly manifested than with John the Baptist. Jesus said that among men born of women that there were none greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11), but when he got separated from Jesus and under the influence of the Jezebel spirit, he was so disoriented that he wondered if Jesus was the real Messiah.
Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” When the men had come to Him, they said, John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Luke 7:18–20 NKJ
The Jezebel spirit attacks the prophet through rejection.2 We have already seen this in Elijah. After the whole nation turned to Yahweh, Elijah should have rejoiced but Jezebel retaliated against the prophet and isolated him. This set Elijah up for rejection. The same thing happened to John the Baptist. All prophets that preach repentance have this propensity.
John had the whole nation stirred up and all he had to do was join with Jesus. Jesus the Apostle would have protected John from the spirit of Jezebel, and John would have delivered the people and the momentum of the ministry to Jesus.
Jezebel isolates through rejection and the apostle is supposed to guard the prophet from it. John was rejected—possibly because his disciples left him to go to Jesus. The problem was that John should have taken them, but instead Jezebel3 took John.
This brings us to the salient point of our study: to consider the contribution of Jesus the Apostle to John the Prophet, and likewise what could have been John’s contribution to Jesus the Apostle.
Did John MIss It?
The things said here are mostly phrased in questions. We certainly want to honor the friend of the bridegroom (John 3:29), however, we must remember that Jesus is the only man that ever lived who was perfect. We must consider the evidence of scripture over the traditions of men.
The point in discussing this is not to cast a shadow on John the Baptist, but to learn the role of the prophet with the apostle—with the view of doing it right and utilizing this great provision.
We must also consider that in God’s first attempt to rescue Israel as a nation by the sending of His Son, something broke down and the desired result did not happen. We realize that God has never been surprised, and knew it would happen, but we cannot argue with the fact that He had a plan in mind when He sent John in the spirit and power of Elijah.
Early in the ministry of John the Baptist, we see a contradiction between what Gabriel said to Zacharias about John, what Jesus said about John the Baptist and the actual testimony of John himself. This will prove beyond a doubt that John was not perfect and possibly was under the influence of the spirit of Jezebel even before he baptized Jesus.
Luke 1:13–17 gives Gabriel’s testimony of John. Verse 17 states clearly that John was the promise of that prophet, coming in the spirit and power of Elijah. This was prophesied from Malachi 4:5, 6. Gabriel said . . .
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17
Jesus likewise said that John was that one.
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias [Elijah], which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear let him hear. Matthew 11:13–15
But when John was asked this question (of himself), he denied it.
And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. John 1:19–21
Perhaps the influence of the Jezebel spirit had already come upon this mighty prophet. Maybe this is the indication that he desperately needed the steady hand of Jesus the Apostle to direct him, even at this early time in his ministry. It is apparent from his lifestyle that he was not afraid of confrontation, but for whatever reason when John said, “No,” to the question, it categorically gives us proof that he was not infallible. He was that prophet prophesied to come in the spirit and power of Elijah and to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, etc.
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. Malachi 4:6
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17
John’s ministry was to announce the coming of the Lord—so when Jesus’ ankles broke the plane of the water on the river Jordan, John’s prophecy had come to pass. He no longer was accurate in saying, “Repent the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He should have said, “The King from heaven is here.”
Why didn’t John, upon seeing the dove descend and remain on Jesus and hear the voice out of heaven, walk out of the water behind Jesus? We will never know for sure, but we will explore this situation so that the same thing will not come upon prophets today when they see and recognize the ministry of apostles.
When Jesus walked out of the water, He was driven of the Spirit into the wilderness of Judea (Mark 1:12,13). After the stint in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Nazareth of Galilee (Luke 4:14). After reading the scroll and announcing that He was the Messiah, His life was threatened (Luke 4:28,29). He moved His mother and brethren out of harms way to Capernaum (John 2:12). After a short while, He returned to Jerusalem (John 2:13), and on this visit cleansed the temple of the moneychangers (John 2:14–17).
Jesus dwelt around Jerusalem for about a year before returning to Galilee, then called out His disciples and launched out into his ministry.
After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. John 3:22
During this time, John was continuing to baptize.
And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. John 3:23
Why? Why was he continuing to baptize after Jesus entered the scene? This caused some friction among John’s disciples and they asked him a question. Look at the context of these verses. Something is wrong.
Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John 3:25–26
The question about purification quite possibly was: “Who has the real baptism, you or Jesus. Am I pure by his baptism or your baptism?” Also, when they said, “all men come to Him,” that indicates John’s disciples had left too.
To John’s credit, he clearly told everyone that he was not the Messiah and that Jesus must increase and he must decrease (John 3:30). But why did he not join Jesus? His ministry paralleled Jesus’ ministry for almost a full year. Was it competition? It is a valid question because John’s disciples said, “all men come to him.”
What would have happened if John had simply put on his sandals one day and gone to where Jesus and His disciples were baptizing. Potentially, the world could have been a totally different place. They would have been the apostle/prophet team of all ages. (Could we conjecture that if he had joined Jesus, and the nation of Israel accepted them, that they would have been the two witnesses prophesied of in Zechariah 4:12–14?)
John 4:1–3 poses another interesting question.
When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. John 4:1–3
It could be that Jesus got out of the competition and left Judea for Galilee. There is a hint of conflict in Luke 5:33. Why didn’t John go with Jesus? If John had gone with Jesus to Galilee, John would not have been there when Herod showed up to put John in prison, and he would not have been thrown in prison. If he had not been thrown in prison, the spirit of Jezebel would not have claimed his life.
My supposition is that perhaps even after John fulfilled the first part of the prophet’s ministry by announcing the apostle’s coming, he did not fulfill his latter part of it by joining the team. Maybe it was Jezebel that clouded his thinking. Maybe it was his pride, or maybe rejection secluded him. Whatever the reason, Jesus left and John stayed behind. John was put in prison and was killed.
Can you imagine Jesus and John walking the country of Judea, Samaria and Galilee? John would preach and draw the crowd and Jesus would heal. Jesus would teach and John would preach repentance. Can you imagine the crowds? John already had the country’s ear. The people of Judea knew that John was a prophet. Jesus only admitted that He was the Messiah when directly asked. Why? In the mouth of two witnesses, two witnesses, two witnesses . . . the truth is established. Jesus was not supposed to testify of Himself—that was the prophet John’s job. What if John walked around with Jesus and said, “Here is the Son of David, hear Him.”
Can we take this a step farther? Can you imagine John the Baptist leading the white colt toward the temple saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of Yahweh; Hosanna in the Highest.” The scribes and Pharisees were already afraid of John. Is it possible that they would have led Jesus to the temple, where John the Baptist (possible heir apparent to the position of High Priest) would have coronated Jesus as King? They probably would have taken Jesus and crucified him anyway that the scripture might be fulfilled, but can you imagine John prophesying to the nation that Jesus was raised from the dead? Then can you see Pentecost with the requirement for all Jewish males to attend—to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and initiate the nation of Israel’s priesthood?
If it was God’s will for John to die then why did Jesus mourn him (Matthew 14:13)? Jesus rebuked Peter when he questioned the Lord’s death, saying “you savor not the things of God, but the things of men.” Jesus savored the things of God and mourned John’s death. Perhaps we will never know conclusively but we can see holes in John’s logic and actions. I do not believe it was God’s primary will for John the Baptist to die. I also believe that God’s plan was to have Israel accept Jesus as the Messiah and turn the priesthood over to the nation. But the Devil killed the witness that could have turned the tide.
All of these things could have happened if the prophet had joined the apostle.
What Is the Lesson?
It is relatively common knowledge to those who are trying to flow with the Holy Spirit that prophets were called into prominence during the 1980’s. Likewise, the same group recognizes the movement of apostles that has emerged since the 1990’s.
My point is this: can we not learn from the model of Jesus the Apostle and John the Prophet? The prophets have done their job of announcing the coming of the King and the end times. They have also done a reasonably credible job of preaching repentance and the emergence of apostles. Now what?
Will the prophets sit by and try to continue in their ministry and miss the apostolic provision that the Holy Spirit has sent to the church? Will the apostles act as if they are complete without the prophets? Will each ministry admit its weaknesses and the other’s strengths? Will they join each other now?
We have postulated what might have happened if John the Baptist had “thrown-in” with Jesus. Now we can postulate what might happen if the strong, prophetic ministries worldwide would now recognize the emergence of the apostolic ministries and come alongside them. The apostle/prophet relationship is the foundation of the church. This union could produce the foundation of the revival for which we all are praying.
I submit this to you: it is the prophet’s responsibility to come to the apostle, not the apostle’s responsibility to get the prophets. Jesus waited for a year for John to come to him. The apostle cannot come to the prophet and commend himself. The prophet must listen to the Holy Spirit.
If the prophets go to the apostles in our citywide churches, we will have the leverage to move pastors. Apostles trying to do this by themselves only appear to be building their own kingdom.
A word for the prophets: If Elijah and John the Baptist were corralled by Jezebel, are you immune? Jezebel not only intimidates prophets, but she also allures them into her trap by seduction. Maybe John the Baptist could not see the union with Jesus because she had blinded him. John watched his ministry dwindle away because he was supposed to go with Jesus. Wouldn’t it be better for you to just go over, take your followers with you, join forces with the apostles and establish the Kingdom?
Go take your city, your state and your nation, but you cannot do this by just prophesying. The anointing of the apostle will mobilize what you prophesy.
A word for the apostles: Can you really get along without the prophets? The indicator of a movement of God turning into a denomination is the demise of the prophets. You need them and they need you. Can you admit the weakness of being so visionary that you can’t see the enemy in your own backyard? Will you listen to the prophets? Will you ask for help?
A word for the church: These are the best of times and these are the worst of times; we are gathering the harvest while persecution and martyrdom abounds. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If we do not hang together, we will most assuredly all hang separately.”
Jesus the Apostle and John the Prophet were both martyred. This may be the fate of apostles and prophets in our time as well.
These ministries need your prayers. These ministries need your recognition. These ministries need your support. Unity must increase and division must decrease. Pray for reconciliation to start at the foundation—with the apostles and prophets.
1. The New Testament order and call of the prophet seems to have been redefined from the Old Testament in some ways. In Old Testament times, prophets were called by God and oftentimes walked without the leading and fellowship of an apostle, i.e., Elijah. This may explain why so many of them were persecuted and martyred. With the coming of Jesus Christ (the Chief and First Apostle) and the apostolic ministry being released, they then had apostolic oversight to help them in their ministry. It is interesting that after the coming of Jesus, the greater documentation of the prophet’s ministry is to fellowship and walk in harmony with the apostle.
2. The five-fold ministries, by their very nature, have blind spots and weaknesses. Apostles are visionaries and lack detail-mindedness (like Paul forgetting who he baptized, 1 Corinthians 1:16). Their enemy is ambition. Prophets see beneath the surface and therefore more details than apostles. They are exhorters and preachers of repentance. Because they are “loners” their weakness is rejection. Teachers are educators and as such are organized thinkers and often complete the revelation given to apostles and prophets. Correspondingly, their enemy is intellectualism. Evangelists are crowd-gatherers and charismatic preachers. They draw the crowds but, likewise, their enemy is recognition. Pastors are the anchors of stability for local congregations. They protect the fold for the sheep. Their strength is also their weakness—their security. They can get too comfortable and can lack direction, or become too protective and keep other ministers from helping to feed the sheep.
3. The reference to Jezebel and John is tied to Phillip’s wife Herodias. Herodias, the wife working behind the scene, was the cause of John’s death (Matthew 14:3–8).
©2002 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
The Baptism of Fire (What Causes Division within the Church?) (Article ID 328)
The Baptism of Fire
(What Causes Division within the Church?)
Dale M. Sides
We hear such horror stories about division in the church, but in truth, there is a righteous division that Jesus stirs up. While we all know that the enemy sows seeds of discord to cause division, most of us do not stop to consider that there is also a division sown by the Holy Spirit. This division occurs through the baptism of fire that Jesus spoke of in Luke 12:49 and 50. Passion and purpose burn within us when we are ignited by this baptism of fire.
I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Luke 12:49–50 NKJV
I believe that Jesus was not only referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit in these verses, but also of an individual call of God that is ignited within the heart of one’s soul. It is a calling of sacrifice and purpose that God has predestined for every believer. For Jesus, it was His sacrifice to die for us all. This purpose burned within Him, and He proclaimed that He was “distressed” until its fulfillment. Moses’ baptism of fire and calling was kindled at the burning bush when he was commissioned to free God’s people. Elijah’s purpose and baptismal fire was to destroy Baal. For Joshua, it was to conquer the Promised Land; for David, it was to be a man after God’s own heart; for Paul, it was to deliver the revelation of the great mystery to the Gentiles; for Martin Luther, it was the message of justification by faith. For you, it is that specific call of God that makes your heart burn with passion and purpose.
This kind of baptism cannot be extinguished because it is ignited by a revelation of the Holy Spirit. This fire will burn to consume us until that call is accomplished. Jesus is the One Who lights it within us, and even if it is suppressed, it cannot be put out.
This kind of baptism divides people, churches, and even families. Right after Jesus spoke of the fire He would send to the earth and the “baptism to be baptized with,” He continued:
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division. Luke 12:51
There may be a lesson in this message that we all need to hear: division is not always bad! Many times people are led by the Holy Spirit with different ideas, purposes, and motives than those overseeing them or the organization with whom they are serving. When this happens, it is wise to recall that this could be the kind of division Jesus was referring to in Luke 12:51. An understanding of this and the proper handling of it with God’s wisdom can prevent the heartbreak of a negative schism. It’s important to know what Jesus meant regarding this positive kind of division so that we do not try to quench this baptism of fire within others or ourselves.
We have been confused about the subject of division for far too long. The word “division” in Luke 12:51 is the Greek word diamerismos. The root word, diamerizo, means “to divide into parts and distribute.”1 In this case, it would mean to divide and distribute the vision. In other words—let each one have his or her part. (This is in direct contrast to a negative kind of division that happens when carnally-minded Christians focus on the flesh. Schisma, the Greek word used for “divisions” in 1 Corinthians 1:10, means “to split, to rend, tear asunder.”)2
“Dividing the vision,” means allowing each person to have their own part. When properly understood, it is the basic principle of ultimately fulfilling the great commission of Matthew 28:19 and 20 and Mark 16:15–18.
The word “commission” is a Latin derivation—with the root word misseo and the prefix com. Misseo is “mission,” and com is “together.”3 The way the great commission is accomplished is by everyone fulfilling his or her own mission (calling). Christ has placed each member in the body as it has pleased Him (1 Corinthians 12:18). He orchestrated it in such a way that our ministries are interconnected to one another’s, even though they are separate callings. If released properly, we will complement, encourage, and sustain one another with the supply we each contribute. There is no discrepancy here, for we see the following in 1 Corinthians 12:
And if they were all one member, where would the body be? [There needs to be a division, or a distinguishing, between the callings.] But now indeed there are many members, yet one body 1 Corinthians 12:19 NKJV
The burning of our individual callings and purposes can affect many of our interactions with those closest to us. It can impact relationships between parents and their children or between overseers and those they are responsible for, which certainly includes church leaders and their congregations. The next two verses will help to reveal the meaning of the baptism of fire that generates this righteous division:
For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Luke 12:52–53
This baptismal fire can divide a house—whether it is a church or an earthly family. Notice the division between the hierarchy in the family—father against son, mother against daughter, and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law. Herein is the lesson revealed: the baptism of fire can divide relationships within our families, churches, and amongst peers.
When Jesus births a passion in someone, those who are spiritually wise will discern and direct it—not try to snuff it out. The Lord is the administrator of the church, and He alone is responsible for assigning duties to people. When He gives the baptism of fire, He creates it as a spark of passion and purpose. It is fueled by the high-octane zeal of the Holy Spirit; this is the fire that compels great men and women to sacrifice themselves for the cause of Christ. Jesus determines the calling to which a person is committed, and He directs that individual’s steps to carry it out. By doing this in every single member of the body of Christ, He is birthing the kingdom of His Father into the earth. Many times the individual passionate calling that He places within a son or daughter will be different than the one He has burned into his or her spiritual overseer. It is at this point that the division occurs.
My exhortation is this: fathers, let your sons go when the seat of their pants catches on fire for God. Don’t try to put out the flame because it doesn’t look like yours. Mothers, don’t try to snuff out the fire of God in your daughters because they are passionate about something different than you. Encourage them in the way they are being led and let them burn for His purposes and plans. Mother-in-law, just because your daughter-in-law does things differently than you, don’t hide her under your bushel basket. Put her up on a candlestick, and let the baptism of fire burn!
The truth remains that Jesus came to send fire and division on the earth. The word for “send” is the Greek word ballo. It is an aggressive word that shows an active distribution. In other words, Jesus causes it!
We all need to recognize that there is a difference in the callings we each have; we need to have the grace and love to release one another into those callings without lauding our own over someone else’s—or thinking that theirs should conform to ours. Only then will we be able to properly operate as the beautiful body of Christ we were designed to be by the Master.
We have probably all experienced to some degree the attempted quenching of the fire within us to fulfill our individual calling, and we may have been the one on the other end attempting to snuff out someone else’s baptism of fire. Whether we are in a position of authority within the body of Christ or are walking under the authority of another, we need to understand this truth. It is crucial that we allow one another to walk within their God-given calling and that we encourage them to accomplish what is burning within them.
Here is a good word for the leadership in the body of Christ who are endeavoring to hold their people to their leadership’s own vision: let God’s people go! Direct them as a good shepherd, not as an owner. They belong to Jesus, and He may well be the Initiator of the passion that is causing the division. He is the Baptizer of fire. Do not quench the fire of the Holy Spirit.
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division. Luke 12:49–51
1. Harold K. Moulton, The Analytical Greek Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corporation, 1978), 93–94.
2. Ibid., 394.
3. Online Etymology Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=commit, accessed November 15, 2006.
©2006 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
The Consecration to Minister (Article ID 10)
The Consecration to Minister (Bearing the Iniquity of the Priesthood)
The Cyrus Anointing (Article ID 327)
The Cyrus Anointing
Dale M. Sides
There is an amazing word given by the prophet Isaiah concerning a Gentile king by the name of Cyrus. What makes this prophecy stand out so distinctly is that Isaiah actually calls Cyrus by name and prophesies that he will be a mighty supplier of wealth for God’s kingdom. King Cyrus fulfilled this word approximately 200 years later by walking in obedience to the divine call of God upon his life. I believe that throughout history, there have been those who God has foreordained to be ministers of wealth in the world.1 Because Cyrus was such an outstanding example of this ministry, I have dubbed this calling, “the Cyrus anointing.”
Who [the Lord] says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’” Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut: “I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, am the God of Israel. Isaiah 44:28–45:3
Cyrus ended up becoming one of the most prominent kings throughout the annals of history.2 His significance to the Jewish nation was vital, in that God personally called him to be the one to finance the rebuilding of the temple. How amazing that the Lord saw fit to foreordain a great Persian king to be a supplier of wealth for His kingdom! He is still calling out these great “kings” to supply His kingdom today.
The Cyrus-anointed men and women who are used of God in this way are also called ministers of liberality (Romans 12:6–8; 2 Corinthians 9:10–15), and they are a destiny within themselves. Some of you reading this article have that destiny. For you Cyrus-anointed ones out there, check out what the Lord said about this mighty man and see if it speaks to your heart:
Not only was this prophesied by Isaiah almost 200 years in advance, but then about 100 years later, it was confirmed by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:11–12; 2 Chronicles 36:22–23; Ezra 1:1–2). If you were Cyrus, would you begin to understand that God was trying to send you a message? Likewise, if you are a latter-day Cyrus-anointed minister of liberality, the message for you is the same: God has foreordained you to be a supplier to build His kingdom. Even now as you read about Cyrus, the Holy Spirit may be bearing witness within your spirit, stirring up this ministry and calling within your heart.
My prayer to the Lord is that the men and women who presently have this ministry can be released to fulfill their destiny, just as Cyrus was. These are the ones whose hearts pulsate to finance the purposes of God’s kingdom. This ministry needs to be liberated just as much as the others. The Lord has called us forth as kings and priests (Revelation 1:6), and many believe this ministry is the calling of a king.
As we read the next verses in Isaiah 45, we see the bigger picture of this compelling call upon King Cyrus. His purpose was to establish Israel and God’s kingdom.
For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things. Isaiah 45:4–7
When a Cyrus-anointed minister of liberality receives this word and calling, he or she will need serious prayer protection. I pray that the intercessors (priests) in the body of Christ will rise up and recognize the need there is right now for them to stand in the gap for these ministers of liberality. They need to pray for these “kings” to have the divine favor and wisdom necessary to obtain the wealth of the wicked for the kingdom of God. There are strategies and witty inventions that the Holy Spirit can download into the spirits of these men and women that can help them bring this about. Cyrus-anointed ministers are not only a gift to the church, but a much-needed weapon in these last days. They also need prayer to protect their souls from the temptations of pride, greed, and self-centeredness.
There are two main snares that the devil uses to bait ministers of liberality—power and money. The Bible tells us that money, in and of itself, is not the problem—it is the love of it that is the root of all evil. Those who fall into this trap do so because they begin to crave the things money can do for them or buy for them more than they crave the Lord. As long as they continue to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, they will be protected from this snare. One of the main things that they will continually need to remember is that God is the One Who has prospered them.
Jesus said it was hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23). People at this level of authority and prestige are easily swayed by the seduction of power and money, so for a man of Cyrus’ stature to be open to the Lord’s plan is indeed a rarity.
I believe Cyrus’ character (which was benevolent and kind) was equal to his anointing. Instead of abusing his wealth, he was generous with it. This is the type of person God can easily work with. In contrast, we see Pharaoh, whose hardened and rebellious heart towards God and his cruel domination over the Israelites brought about death and destruction to his own family and nation. Both kings ruled over God’s people while they were in captivity, and yet, each had a very different response to the words of the Lord. Pharaoh’s pride and arrogance was a stark contrast to Cyrus’s humility and generosity.
Like Cyrus, there is a destiny on men and women who are used of God to build His kingdom. Cyrus set a great example of the foreordination and fulfilling of that calling. He also provided an illustration of the grace and humility that is required to give so freely from our resources. When the Spirit of the Lord stirred up Cyrus, he decreed that the Lord God of heaven had given him all the kingdoms of the earth and that God had commanded him to build a house for Him at Jerusalem (Ezra 1:2–4). Cyrus knew it was because of God’s generosity and power that he had his wealth, and he understood the corresponding call of the Lord upon his life. What a revelation!
Please join with me in prayer for those who have this great call of God on their lives:
Father Yahweh, bless the Cyruses in this world who have the ability and the grace to be used of You. Protect them from pride and the deception of Satan, and stir up their spirits as you stirred up Cyrus’. Lord, show them Your favor and give them strategies to advance Your kingdom. Release them to fulfill Your calling and destiny. Anoint their eyes so that they can see Your hand on their lives and Your desire to use them. Father, release the Cyrus anointing upon Your people who have the heart to finance and build Your kingdom. Amen.
1. Dale M. Sides, The Ministry of Liberality (What it Takes for a Rich Man to Enter into the Kingdom of God) (Bedford, VA: Liberating Ministries for Christ, International, Inc., 2001).
2. For more information on Cyrus and his merciful dealings with the peoples he conquered, go to the following Internet websites: http://www.farsinet.com/cyrus/cyrus_just_ruler.html and http://www.iranchamber.com/history/cyrus/cyrus.php.
©2007 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
The Great Escape (Article ID 77)
The Great Escape
by Dale M. Sides
While my wife and I were praying one morning, the Lord brought to our remembrance one of our partners who was experiencing a very difficult battle with a rebellious teenager. By the Holy Spirit, the following verses came pouring out of us:
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 2 Corinthians 4:8,9
A quick glance at the context of these verses reveals a dynamic truth that we all need to hold in our minds daily. Even though we may be troubled, perplexed, persecuted and cast down, we have a hope—a hope of The Great Escape.
Our great escape from the problems of this world is summarized in the concluding verses. We may be perplexed and troubled, but we hold on to the hope that someday we will be delivered from the despair of this life and experience eternal life in our heavenly home.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
A man recently said to me, “Christians are using their rapture theories as an escape mechanism.” He continued to say, “All they want to do is get away from their troubles—and they do it by looking for Jesus to come and take them away.” I thought about the Christians I know that have to pray each day for their daily bread. I also thought of men and women struggling through trying times of loved ones lying on sick beds and dying. I thought about my Christian brothers in Sudan, China, Nepal and India that have to worship in dimly lit rooms.
Righteous indignation rose within me as I looked at his fancy clothes and plump belly hanging over his belt. I said, “Your hope is in this life. You are secure in your money, your medicine and your insurance policy. Your trust is not in the Father, but it is in the world.” I said to him, “You are exactly right. Many Christians do look for an escape and if you suffered the same way as they do, you would do the same thing.”
The words in 2 Corinthians 4:8 and 9 have deep meanings to Christians that suffer. Each of the conditions that come upon us—being troubled, perplexed, persecuted and cast down—has a deep meaning. The corresponding words: not distressed, not in despair, not forsaken and not destroyed gives us the solution. The solution of each condition shows the same reality—the great escape. Here is a modern translation of verses 8 and 9.
We are squeezed on every side, but not confined with no escape. There are things we do not understand, but there are things we know for sure. The enemy pursues us, but we are not abandoned by our God. We are “shot down” but have not “crashed and burned.”
There is always an escape. To be wise as a serpent (Matthew 10:16) means that try as you may, you cannot back a snake into a corner. We always have hope. While we are dying in our flesh, we are spreading the hope of eternal life to others. We know that He Who raised up Jesus from the dead will raise us up too. Though our outward body is perishing, our inward man is new day by day. We might be suffering now, but at least we are stockpiling rewards.
We dare not look at physical things, but things that are eternal. If we die, we will live. We long to go home. The Holy Spirit is our token of eternal life. While we are in our physical bodies we are not with the Lord, but someday we know that we will be with Him forever by faith in Jesus Christ. So while we are here, we labor to be well pleasing to Him.
Christians that push the fight of faith suffer persecution. Others may try to sign a peace treaty with Satan and the world, but those people who are on the front lines are looking for the help of the Lord and rescue from the crossfire. Soldiers must endure hardness while civilians rest comfortable in their easy chairs.
We have a hope. We might be squeezed and not have all the answers, but we know the final score. We might live on the earth, but this world is not our home. We may not be as close to the Lord as we want to be, but someday we will be with Him and see Him as He is.
We all have the same spirit of faith; therefore we speak the same thing. We have the great escape. We choose to look at things that are not seen—the hope of eternity with our Lord. The world may criticize us and tell us that we are living in “escapism,” but we know that we are focused on “real estate” and not on flammable soil.
We keep our eyes in the sky from whence cometh our help. We have a retirement plan that is out of this world. Someday down the path of time we will stand in the presence of the Lord. We might be persecuted Christians, surrounded and squeezed by circumstances, and we might be perplexed parents with no apparent answers in sight. We might be rejected by the world but we know Who holds the future, and our names are written in the Book of Life.
Life is not womb to the tomb. We await the great escape.
©2002 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
The Home Church: Revolution or Re-Evolution (Article ID 233)
The Home Church:
Of all the revelations that Jesus Christ the Chief Apostle brought to the earth, the revolutionary concept of the home church was among the great ones. This truth is re-emerging now as we approach the closing of the end of the age and prepare for His second coming. The Holy Spirit has already brought the gifts of the Spirit back into prominence, and He is now returning the ministries of apostles and prophets to the forefront of the body of Christ for solid church government. He is also endeavoring to re-evolutionize church structure by bringing the home church revelation back to light. This is a cutting-edge revelation that the church must heed to prepare for the harvest that is surely to come preceding the second coming of the Lord.
The word “re-evolution” is my personally-coined word to depict what I believe the Holy Spirit is doing to revamp church structure in order to handle the harvest that even now is coming in. This made-up word has the flavor of both revolution and evolution. I believe that the church is headed toward revolution, perhaps even civil war, if it will not peacefully re-evolve back to the revelation of the home church that Jesus brought to the earth. That the change is coming is not debatable, but how the church handles it and how adaptable it will be to receive what the Holy Spirit is saying, concerning this change, will determine if we go through re-evolution or revolution.
Jesus, as the First and Chief Apostle, brought earthshaking ideas—such as a new kind of love and the covenant relationship with our Abba Father (not just with our God). Many of the doctrines He taught broke the existing mold of understanding, but the revelation of the home church shook the practical foundation of religious structure. From the day He walked out of the synagogue and began ministering in Peter’s house, a shaking began that left the religious belief of temples made with hands as one would leave behind day-old bread. This brought the Master face-to-face with people, and it gave Him the availability to minister to and amongst them that the home church still offers today.
And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. Luke 4:38–40 KJV
It is an amazing revelation and paradigm of truth when the Word of God says that Jesus “arose out of the synagogue.” The church needs this startling revelation just as Israel needs to realize that Jesus was no status quo believer. It is no mistake that the Bible says Jesus arose out of the synagogue, because the same truth is given in Mark 1:29. The truth is that Jesus started off in the high profile place of accepted worship, but when He cast out a demon on the Sabbath, the new wine began stretching the old wine skin. The controlling pressure of religious politics drove Him out of the synagogue and into the home. He left the synagogue so that He could freely minister to people. That pivotal day when He went to Peter’s house and began ministering in the home changed the face of “cutting-edge” church structure forever. The trail of the home church follows Jesus throughout His ministry from Peter’s house to Lazarus’ house to the home in Capernaum, all the way to His last fellowship on earth—the Last Supper in the upper room of a house.
Now realize this: Jesus did not decry public meetings or synagogue worship, and neither do we. But these facts are blatantly obvious: it is impossible to disciple people from pulpits, and public meetings are only available at times when the church is not under persecution. The Apostle Jesus knew, and we must recognize too, that the base unit of operation of the church must be in the home—not the synagogue or cathedral.
The practice of home church meetings did not stop with Jesus. His disciples carried this on, and it is well documented throughout the first century. Mary, the mother of John, had prayer meetings in her home (Acts 12:12). We read in Acts 2:46, “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house,” indicating meetings in the homes. There were most certainly public meetings throughout the early church too, such as meetings on Solomon’s Porch (Acts 3:11 and 5:12), in the marketplaces, and by the seaside. As the heat of persecution heightened, and the need increased for positive growth in discipleship and relationships, church leadership moved more and more in the direction of centering the church in the home. Saul (Paul) had to find the church in the home to make havoc of it.
As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Acts 8:3
The church grew in homes all over Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the world.
Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Romans 16:5a
The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 1 Corinthians 16:19
Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in his house. Colossians 4:15
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,to Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house. Philemon 1:1–2
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Millennial Kingdom
The church was evangelizing the world when it was centered in the home, but a funny thing happened on the way to the Millennial Kingdom—the church met Constantine (ad 288–337) along the Appian Way. Constantine, the Roman Emperor (in an attempt to unify the Roman Empire), syncretized Christianity and pagan beliefs, watered down evangelism, and baited Christians out of the homes by building them cathedrals. The only Christians he then persecuted were the ones who would not join his party in his big buildings. (It is interesting that in all my reading of the Bible and apocryphal books, I have never read of a building being built as a church until Constantine built his around ad 325.) Along with the coming of the cathedrals came abusive control by the religious hierarchy and the beginning of the Dark Ages. The church continued in the dark until the light of the Scriptures from the Reformation brought them out.
In 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, only doctrinal reformation of the church began. To this date, a reformation of church structure has never taken root within the body of Christ. Protestant churches that boast of their reformation are still operating under the same structure learned from Constantine Catholicism in which the center of the church is the pulpit rather than the home.
To this point in church history, we have had some reformation of doctrine, and some reformation concerning church government with renewed truths of apostolic and prophetic administration overseeing the body of Christ. But the reformation of church structure will continue to languish in the Dark Ages until home churches are repositioned to their pivotal place.
If the body of Christ is going to accomplish its great commission of evangelizing the world, we must revolutionize the focal meeting point of the church into the homes and not continue centering it around the pulpit. They can mutually co-exist, but the church in the home must be the dominant structure if we are going to truly disciple people and win the lost. Home church re-emergence will revolutionize the church, but whether it happens through civil war and violent upheaval, or through a re-evolution back to the initial truth taught by the Chief Apostle, remains to be seen.
©2004 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
The Old Man is Dead (Article ID 166)
The Old Man is Dead
by Dale M. Sides
Christians are still struggling in the stranglehold of sin despite the victory given by Jesus Christ through the new birth. As devastating and wide spread as this problem is, there is a single, simple reason why we are not living the victory that is spiritually ours.
The reason reveals why Christians show up at the altar again and again, confessing the same sins, and why believers are still wrestling with the same problems that were dealt with at the cross and the new birth. This reason also shows why the church continues to display the same statistics as the world in helping—or failing to help—individuals who are in bondage to sin.
This is not a denominational issue: orthodox, evangelical, and charismatic Christians alike seem just as powerless as victims against sin. Individuals from every kind of Christian background attend group therapy such as crisis counseling or Alcoholic's Anonymous. In these groups, non-believers sit across the circle from these Christians and ask themselves, "Why should I become a Christian if these people have no more power or answers than me?"
Something must be wrong at the foundation of our belief system, especially since all these atrocities can be traced to the same root cause: We have either not known, or have not practiced the foundational truth of the new birth from Romans chapter 6—the "Old Man" is dead.
Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Romans 6:6
Yes, we (the Christian church) are still picking the fruit of sin because we have not laid the ax to the root and reckoned the Old Man sin nature dead. We have the solution to the problem if we do what John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:10. We must lay the ax to the root and reckon the Old Man sin nature dead.
If you are a Christian believer and are experiencing recurring sins, let me, in proxy for all Christian leaders, ask for your forgiveness for not teaching you this truth. This truth will liberate you from the tentacles of sin. Jesus paid for your freedom and gave gifts to the church to lead captivity captive. We, as your ministers and helpers in the faith, should have taught you Romans 6:6 the day after you were saved. Please forgive us!
As Christian leaders, we must re-examine our approach if the people under our care are continually repeating the same sin. Are we picking fruit or chopping roots? God will require us to give account for the stewardship of His people and how we lead them. The old adage applies: "If we do nothing different, nothing will change," and if we continue teaching the same stale "bread" rather than the words of God from the table of shewbread, His people will starve. Shall we continue to pretend that everything is okay?
No one, whether leader or believer, has to continue in the bondage of sin if we know this—that the Old Man was crucified with Christ.
Our thesis verse from Romans 6:6 says knowing this. If we know that the Old Man is dead, we will not be slaves to sin.
Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Romans 6:6
The book of Romans is the Magna Carta of Christianity. It is the Believer's Bill of Rights. It is the Christian Constitution that specifies your freedom from the world and shows how to cut the shackles off of your past. You must know the book of Romans and stand in the light of its revelation. Romans begins with revealing an invisible God to a rebellious people. It shows that it is His goodness that leads you to repentance and that by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, you were ransomed from the curse of sin and given the gift of righteousness. You were justified by faith and have peace with God. God loves you and He has made you one with Him through Jesus Christ.1
God does not stop there and say, "Okay, I've saved you but you must still stay in bondage to sin and the past and show me how truly dedicated you are to struggle with pain." No! God has paid the price for you to be liberated from the bondage of sin.
No one likes to be in bondage. God knew this and He is not only your Liberator but is also your Father who loves you and wants you to be free. Romans chapter 6 explains that when you were born again the old life (man) died and a new life (man) in Christ Jesus began. The context around verse 6 discloses great detail about your new life and the death of the old one. You were baptized unto death with Jesus so that you could be resurrected in life with Him. Don't you know this?
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Romans 6:3–5 KJV
The discourse of Romans continues its deliverance message with these two extremely powerful words: "knowing this." "Knowing this" tells you exactly what you need to know in order to not be a slave to sin. You must know that the Old Man was crucified with Christ. Axiomatically, if you are still in bondage to recurring and life-plaguing sins, it is because you have not known this: The Old Man was crucified with Christ; he is dead.
For he that is dead is freed from sin. Romans 6:7 KJV
You must know that the Old Man is dead. The problem is that Christians have not known or have not reckoned the Old Man dead and, therefore, have lived as though they still have a sin nature. Most Christians have never figured this out; consequently, they are strapped to a decaying, rancid, dead carcass, and they have even built a monument to the lifeless, executed rebel. As bad as that is, then they try to resurrect him by claiming that the Old Man "raised" his head.
A couple of years ago, I had a profound conversation with a great saint and tremendous man of God, John Kellogg. John and I found each other while bouncing over dusty roads in the mission field of Nigeria. Through deep conversations about our ministries, we discovered that we had some amazing similarities. While discussing Romans 6:6 and Galatians 2:20, John said, "Dale, I have wondered if I am weird because I do not wrestle with sin the way other Christians do." I replied to him, "Brother, you have no idea how thankful I am to have found another weird person who has that same freedom."
John and I discovered the key to freedom from sin. It is not hidden in some obscure chapter in the "Book of Hesitations." Neither he nor I are in bondage to sin. Conversely, many Christians still wrestle with the same sins and problems that they had before they were saved. Do you know why? The answer is that they do not know this—the Old Man is dead. When you know this, you will not be a slave to sin either.
Who is the Old Man?
No, the Old Man is not your dad or your husband. Actually, when you see who the Old Man is, you will realize that it is a trick of Satan to refer to anyone by this name. You actually curse someone when you call him by this name. The Old Man, whoever he is, is so corrupt and rebellious that God executed him with no hope of reprieve.
The Old Man is the old nature of your spirit that you had before you were born again. The Bible calls him by name. (Pardon my literary license of putting "Old Man" in capital letters; I want you to realize that he is a real person.)
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; Ephesians 4:22 KJV
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds. Colossians 3:9 KJV
This is the old spirit that lived in you before you were born again. This is the old nature of sinfulness, rebellion, and disobedience. It is also the nature of lust and selfishness.
In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Ephesians 2:2–3
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. Titus 3:3
The Old Testament prophesied that when you entered into the New Covenant with God, your old spirit, or your Old Man, would die.
And I will [in the New Covenant] give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit [the New Man] within you; and I will take the stony heart [the Old Man] out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19 KJV
This was also prophesied in Ezekiel 36:26 and Jeremiah 31:33. This is the reason why Jesus marveled when Nicodemus did not understand when He talked about being born again. He was talking about being born again of the Spirit.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit [of man]. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? John 3: 6–10 KJV
The Old Man is your old spirit; it is the heart of stone and rebellion that was once your nature and the life that ruled you.
Among whom [the children of disobedience] also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Ephesians 2:3
The purpose of this article is not just to know that the Old Man is dead, but to show how to reckon yourself to be dead indeed to sin and alive unto God (Romans 6:11). Ultimately, the goal is to live free from the bondage of sin, claiming your divine nature and spiritual rights of freedom and destiny.
To reckon the Old Man dead you must more fully understand who he is. You must dig deep to understand who the Old Man is (or was) and in so doing, you will dig his grave deep enough so that he can be buried—never again to be raised by guilt, theology, or demons trying to beguile you of your righteousness. This necessitates that we study the spirit of man, both old and new, and also to divide spirit, soul, and body.
Spirit, Soul, and Body
To grasp the fullness of this discussion, we must understand the makeup of mankind: spirit, soul, and body. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 asserts that mankind has three parts.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and pray I God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 KJV
Mankind is a spirit that lives in a body and possesses a soul. This statement is commonplace throughout Christian writings, but it is documented in scriptures such as Luke 21:19 and 1 Corinthians 9:27. Furthermore, Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word of God can divide spirit from soul, so they cannot be the same entity.
Your spirit is the very essence of who you are. You were created in the likeness and image of God (Genesis 1:26) and since God is spirit, (John 4:24) you are a spirit. When the outward house of your being is dissolved (2 Corinthians 5:1), your spirit will return to God Who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7). You are a spirit just as God the Father, Jesus the Resurrected Messiah, the Holy Spirit, angels, the devil, demons, principalities, and powers are. However, of all spirit beings, you have the privilege of living in a physical body so that you can co-inhabit both the spirit and the physical realms. The fact that you inhabit both realms makes dividing spirit, soul, and body a crucial issue of correctly identifying your true nature.
Understanding the Nature of Man
I received my Bachelor of Science from North Carolina State University in Natural Resource Management (that is just a glorified degree in hunting and fishing), so at least from an educational point of view I should have known the definition of nature. Unfortunately, educated fools are still in abundance and it was not until I studied "nature" from the Word of God that I understood it—and consequently, "the nature" of the spirit of man. In essence, nature means "without any additions, changes, or alterations." When someone walks in nature, it means that it has not been changed with skyscrapers or sidewalks. When someone says, "He is just naturally good-hearted," it means that he came from the factory as a good-ole guy. The nature of the word "nature" means the pure essence with nothing added. We just "naturally" understand this.
With the understanding of "nature," you know that your nature is not changed by adding to your intellect, or adapting your living skills, or altering where you live. As the old saying goes, "you can take the boy out of the country, but you cannot take the country out of the boy." Your essence is your spirit and the only way to change your essence is to change your spirit.
Your spirit is your nature. Behavior, which can be modified through education, is not your nature but the effects of how you have been taught or trained. Behavior modification occurs through education and inputting benefit/consequence or reward/punishment motivation, but your nature is the true essence of who and what you really are.
The usage of the heart of stone in Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26 shows the old nature of the spirit. It was hard, rebellious, and disobedient. This spirit was insensitive to God, so God put a new heart and spirit in His creation. Then old things passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17) and the new heart was created to be tender and very sensitive to God. When the old spirit died, the nature to sin died too. This is not the mind or the flesh, but the nature of the old spirit. Ephesians 2:3 shows the old spirit and nature before it was executed.
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Ephesians 2:3 KJV
Since your spirit is the actual essence of who you are, then you must understand what the soul is and how it differs from the spirit. The word "soul," like other important words, often gets tossed around and hardly ever defined. In the case of spirit and soul, usages of the word "soul" show that you are required to control your own soul—showing that you, as a spirit, are greater than your soul.
In your patience possess ye your souls. Luke 21:19 KJV
If you can possess and control your soul, it is obvious that you are greater than your soul. You are greater because you are a spirit. Likewise, the Word of God testifies "what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36).
We have almost deified the usage of soul, but it is really nothing more than your mind. Inclusive within your mind is the intellect, imaginations, and emotions, which combines to form your belief system. Therefore, you can control, possess, gain, win, lose, or forfeit your mind or soul. It is not your nature: it is your thinking apparatus. You can control or renew your mind, yet only changing your mind does not change you. You may even think differently, but why you think the way you do cannot be altered by education alone—that takes a change of the spirit or nature. Just because you think something does not mean you have to do it. Your spirit is dominant over your mind.
This presents a real problem with current practices of rehabilitation. People cannot be rehabilitated with education alone. Because behavior modification takes place in the soul, people may appear to be changed on the surface and even convinced that they have changed, but if their nature is still the same, the statistics show that they will be back—either to jail, rehab centers, or even the altar at the church. Current statistics reveal that, depending upon which survey you use, 66% to 80% of all institutionalized patrons will return. It is like my Dad would say of his boys, "You can dress them up, but you still cannot take them out." The nature of the spirit must be changed and behavior modification is just a learned activity.
Likewise, your body or flesh is not your nature either. Your flesh certainly has desires but they must be abated or you will be nothing short of a brute beast. Like your soul, fleshly desires are not you or else you could not control your passions. You do not have to carry out what you feel or desire because your spirit can dominate your flesh. This brings up a mandatory point of discussion.
The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible has translated the word "flesh" very poorly. The translators took the unfounded liberty of translating "flesh" as "sinful nature." This is deplorable handling of the Word of God. It is an interpretation, not a translation. There is a perfectly good word for sin in the Bible: harmartia. There is also a good word for nature: it is phusis. A good word for flesh is sarx. Millions of Christians are in slavery to sin because the NIV translators took the liberty of translating flesh as "sinful nature."
If the NIV translators were going to be consistent with their translation of flesh and sinful nature, then why did they not translate "flesh" in John 1:14 as "sinful nature"? Their illogic and perverse translation hangs them because if they had been consistent, they would have had to make Jesus "sinful nature" when He came into the flesh. The NIV has some reasonably good translation in it, but this work alone makes it a questionable choice for a good Bible standard. If you choose to use it as a standard, this should be clearly spelled out. (There are other reasons that cause it to be in question too.) Regardless of your translation choice, the flesh is not sinful nature. Let the texts stand for themselves. Flesh is flesh, sin is sin, and nature is nature.
Your spirit is your nature. Your soul or mind may be changed but it does not affect your nature. Likewise, your body or flesh has passions, but they are not your nature. Your spirit is your nature and when you are born again, your spirit changes; therefore, your nature changes too. Your very essence changes from being sinful in the Old Man to being holy in the New Man.
Years ago I read a book that confused me for a long time. It was written by a wonderful Bible scholar, E.W. Bullinger, entitled Two Natures in the Child of God. Oh how I wish Brother Bullinger were alive. I would love to thank him for teaching me so much. Then, using the same principles of biblical research that he taught me in his other works, I would like to teach him the truth of spirit, soul, and body and that it is impossible for two natures to exist in the same person.
There cannot be two natures in the child of God. First, the Bible says that the Old Man is dead. Next, by sheer definition of the word "nature," it is impossible to have two natures. Remember, nature means "without any additions, changes, or alterations." It is either one way or the other. The fact remains that the Bible says that the Old Man is dead—and if God executed him, then only a fool would try to raise him up.
Now you will see what happens when the Old Man dies. The root of sin is cut; therefore, the production of sinful fruit will cease if you do not allow "someone" else to seed the garden plot. These are very important issues in discovering the nature of man. Remember, your nature is your spiritual essence. If your spirit is not pure then you will not be pure. You must chop the root of sin to kill the fruit of sin.
Chop the Root and Destroy the Fruit
I mentioned earlier that John the Baptist said that the ax is laid to the root. He related the root and the fruit in the same verse.
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Matthew 3:10 KJV
He also said that if the tree is not bringing forth good fruit, then you need to lay the ax to the root. Question: What kind of fruit is being produced in your life? Is it good? If so, praise the Lord and help others lay the ax to the root of their "sin tree." If not, then it is time to chop out the root and cast the tree in the fire. If you chop out the root, you will not have to keep picking sinful fruit.
When Jesus introduced the topic of being born again to Nicodemus, God was not through with the subject. God took what Jesus taught and then began to further teach the Apostle Paul. Paul accepted the new birth, literally believed what Jesus said, and applied the truth to his own life. Paul said:
I [meaning the spirit of man] have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
I must point out the verb tenses in Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:6, and also Ephesians 2:3. They are all in the past tense. Galatians says I have been crucified with Christ. Romans testifies that the old man was crucified and Ephesians qualifies that you were by nature children of wrath. This is a past tense reality and if we would learn to put the Old Man in the past, we would do well too.
This is not a figurative coverage of a minor point; this is a literal truth of a major point. Paul literally interpreted what Jesus said about the new birth to the end that he said his Old Man had been crucified with Christ. He was dead to sin and alive to God. Paul literally believed that his old nature of sin was dead and that he lived by faith in the Son of God. So can you.
When you, like Paul, lay the ax to the root of sin, the foundation of sin in your life will be cut out. This is not talking about habit patterns, but motives and inward urges that literally die. All of this happens when you actually accept that you receive a new spirit and a new life from God.
Romans 6:3 says that you were baptized into Christ's death, and verse 4 says that when Christ was raised from the dead, you were raised too. When you realize and accept that the Old Man, meaning the old spirit within you, was crucified with Christ, the root that was producing sinful fruit in your life dies.
Romans 7:4–6 tells of the same literal acceptance.
Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:4–6
Colossians 3 says that you died with Christ.
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3
You must lay the ax to the root by accepting the literal truth of the Word of God that your Old Man nature of sin died with Christ. You do not have a sin nature living in you anymore. The life in you is the life of God. It prompts you to holiness and obedience, not sin and disobedience. This new nature living in you must be put on in your mind by reading and applying the Scriptures, but there is a new life in you and it must be allowed to reign. You must reckon the Old Man dead and yourself alive to God.
Since you have learned that the Old Man is the old nature of the spirit of man, this leaves three possibilities of where sinful thoughts that emerge out of you come from. Number one is from your mind; two is from your flesh; or three is from the suggestion of a demon.
Origins of Sinful Thoughts
It is perfectly reasonable to ask the question: If the Old Man is dead, then why do I continually have these old thoughts? The answer is very revealing and since spirit, soul, and body have been discussed, you can clearly see the possibilities.
First, when the Old Man was alive and dominated your life, he programmed your thought life. But even now after he is dead, his memory lives and the habits he taught you are still active. It is amazing to realize that the Greek text of the Bible does not tell you to "put off the old man." It tells you to quit acting like him (Ephesians 4:22), or since you have put him off to quit acting like him (Colossians 3:9).
To illustrate thoughts coming out of your own mind, here is an example of a dead man still affecting you. Suppose you're boss was mean, overbearing, and just genuinely a jerk. He would yell at you, call you names, and threaten to fire you daily. Then, praise the Lord, he fell down dead. Secretly, you would rejoice that he was gone, but you would probably still carry the habits of working the way you did before he died. To top this off, your new boss is wonderful. He is gracious, helpful, and very understanding. Work should be a great place to go now but, remembering how you were treated, you would still be afraid when you punched the time clock, or if you came back from break 15 seconds late. You would have to re-educate yourself after the new boss (New Man) came to take the place of the old boss (Old Man). In other words, sinful thoughts come from your old habit patterns of thinking. The Old Man is dead. Now you must remember or reckon (Romans 6:11) him dead.
Next, the flesh can certainly give you impulses and cause you to think that the Old Man is still alive. No. The flesh is not the Old Man; the Old Man is the old nature of the spirit of man. The flesh has desires (Ephesians 2:3; James 1:15; 1 John 2:16) and it must be controlled. Left unbridled, the flesh will destroy you, but the flesh is not your nature. As previously mentioned, some Bible translations call the flesh your "lower nature." That is not a translation but an erroneous interpretation. The flesh is not your nature; it is the house in which you live.
Next, thoughts contrary to your new nature could come from a demon. Not realizing that you are a spirit being has put you in a precarious position. For example, by not understanding that you are a spirit, you do not realize that you are in touch with the spirit realm and that evil spirits speak to you. By not understanding this, you dismiss the possibility that you could be hearing from the spirit realm. Evil spirits speak to you. They have a will and will perpetrate deception to cause you to commit an act sufficient enough to give them a right to come into you.
As morbid as this analogy is, here is a very vivid mind picture of how demons communicate with you and try to force a way into you. A demon, being a familiar spirit and knowing your past and your sins, will go the graveyard of spirits and dig up the carcass of your Old Man. He then eats the rotten carcass, full of maggots, puss, and filth. Then he comes to you and vomits the regurgitated lies into your spirit. Clever huh? He makes you think that you thought it by saying "I." Demons, speaking in the first person, will say, "I am worried," or "I want a drink," or "I hate him." If you do not know that you are in contact with the spirit realm, you may think that you are thinking this and attribute these thoughts to yourself or even to the old nature that you thought was still in you. When you recognize the spirit realm, you will realize that you have not been thinking, you have been listening—not to the Old Man but to a demon who has been feeding on the stinking carcass of the Old Man.
Whether you are listening to old habit patterns, the flesh, or a demon, the Bible still testifies that the Old Man is dead. You need to reckon him dead.
Reckoning the Old Man Dead
Romans 6:11 is the clarion verse of instruction that tells you how to reckon the Old Man dead.
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:11
"Reckon" is the Greek word logizomai from which we get the word "logic." There is a logic to see and follow in order to reckon the Old Man dead. It begins by confessing that the Old Man is dead and refusing to believe anything else. Say this, right now, out loud: "The Old Man is dead. I am a holy spirit." It not only feels good to say this but it feels right too. Say it again. This is the first step in reckoning him dead. Do what the Bible says: Confess it. Say it again, "the Old Man is dead. I have a holy nature."
Next, you must realize that the spirit in you is a viable, real entity. God said that He would replace the old spirit with one that would be sensitive to Him. When Jesus died, He paid the price for the Old Man to be crucified and executed. When you accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit came into you.
God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Galatians 4:6b
When the Holy Spirit came into you, He brought a new life. At that moment, the Old Man was executed and new life was re-created in you. When the New Man was electrified unto life, the Old Man was electrocuted unto death. The innermost part of your being was changed from corruption and disobedience into eternal life and holiness.
Now the logic of this is reasonable. If you were crucified, then it is Christ living in you. You are not a sinner; you are holy. Your nature is to be like Christ. Your nature is to be in harmony with God. It is normal for you to pray. It is your nature to want to read the Bible. You have really changed. Christ changed you. The Old Man is dead and you are alive to God
It is a principle: without fail, any time the Bible talks about the Old Man dying, it also talks about the New Man being put on within the same context. That is because it is part of the "logic plan" to put on the New Man. You do not just want to be dead to sin, but you want to be alive to God too. You have a new nature and a new spirit. This is the New Man who was created in righteousness and true holiness.
Who is the New Man?
The New Man is the born again spirit of man. He is a new creation in Christ Jesus. He is begotten of God and is truly righteous and holy.
...the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24b
This is you—the new you—in your spirit. You are truly righteous and truly holy. Your nature has changed and you have become a new creation by the Holy Spirit coming into your spirit.
The creation of the New Man is perhaps the most amazing miracle of your life. You were dead in sins and trespasses, without God, without hope, and with a nature of disobedience. But God, Who is rich in mercy, saved you.
Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). Ephesians 2:3–5
By God's grace, He created the New Man in you and changed your nature. The action whereby this took place is described in detail in Titus 3:4–5.
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4–5
The word "through" is the Greek word dia and serves as the causative agent whereby the new birth and the creation of the New Man took place. This says that the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit is how you were saved.
(Also notice the past tense descriptions of these actions. Ephesians 2:4 says that God loved us and verse 5 says He saved you. Ephesians 4:24 says was created and Titus 3:5 says God saved us. These all communicate the same thing—we have the New Man; he has already been created in us. This is not something we are going to get. We already have it. Hallelujah!)
It is amazing that evangelists work so hard to get people saved and then teachers do such a poor job of telling people what they received. When you got saved you were regenerated and renewed. This is the creation of the New Man and what you received at the moment of salvation.
The phrases "washing of regeneration" and "renewing of the Holy Spirit" are fantastic because they tell you who you are. Renewing of the Holy Spirit is a renewing action because it was first made new in Adam. When the first Adam lost the Holy Spirit as an abiding presence, the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45) paid for the renewal. Your spirit was re-created in true righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24). You have a renewed spirit.
Washing of regeneration is an amazing truth. Your spirit was washed by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. The word "regeneration" communicates a truth that will forever impact and change your perspective about yourself. The root word of regeneration, with the prefix and verbal ending removed, is the word "gene." You were re-GENE-erated at the time of the new birth. You received a new spiritual gene package. Where you were once by nature unholy and rebellious, now by nature and a new spiritual gene code, you are holy and obedient. This is the work of God and you bear the thumbprint of God in your spirit. You truly are holy and to act any other way is contrary to your true nature.
The New Nature
The Greek word for "nature" is phusis (Strongs #5449). Its root phuo (Strong's #5453) means "to be born." In other words, the only way your nature can be changed is for your birth to be altered. This is how you know that the only true rehabilitation must begin in the spirit and not just with behavior modification in the soul.
You have had a new nature created in you and to live any other way is contrary to who you really are. Romans 11:24 says that to be grafted into another tree is contrary to nature. Now, if you live any other way than godly, it will grate against your true nature.
To illustrate your true nature, fold your hands with your fingers interlocking. Now, is the right or left thumb on top? Whichever way it is, now unfold your hands and fold them together with the other thumb on top. It just feels weird, doesn't it? Another example is to try writing your name by using the opposite hand of your penmanship. This is how you feel in your spirit when you live contrary to your new nature. After being born again, it feels weird to sin and to not be godly.
In doing research a number of years ago, I discovered a disturbing fact. Approximately 75% of individuals in mental institutions in America are Christians. This disturbed me because these individuals have been re-created and now the Holy Spirit in them. What puzzled me was why the statistics of Christians were so high. Now I know the answer. They were born again and had a new nature, but they did not put on the New Man in their mind and live according to their new nature; consequently, they were driven insane by living contrary to their new, true nature.
By which [the principles of the Word of God] have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers [full sharers] of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:4
You have a new nature in the New Man and the Word of God tells you how to live according to this new life.
Living the New Way
You have already seen from 2 Peter 1:4 that if you put on the principles of the Word of God you can become a partaker of the divine nature. As you reckon the Old Man dead, you must put on the New Man in your mind. This is done by putting the Word of God in your mind, which will agree with the spirit you already have within you.
Colossians 3:10 tells you exactly what to do since you have this New Man created within you.
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Colossians 3:10 KJV
This verse is paragon of truth. The previous verse says that you have put off the Old Man, now you need to put on the new one. The New Man is renewed, or as the present participle should be translated, "is being renewed according to the knowledge of him (Him) that created the New Man." The New Man must be renewed according to the knowledge that he is truly righteous and holy, just as He (God) who created him (the New Man).
And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24
You are required to put on the New Man in your mind by the standard of God's righteousness and holiness. The first place you start is by saying and resolutely affirming that the Old Man is dead. Then, you put on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Romans 13:14) by receiving the Word of God and living by its standards. This will get your soul or mind to agree with the re-created spirit within you.
Colossians 3:12–14 is very specific about what we are to put on.
Therefore, as the elect [born again] of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. Colossians 3:12–14
The Old Man is dead. The Bible says it and now it is up to you to believe it.
You reckon the Old Man dead by refusing to believe that he is alive. You refuse to listen to the lies of old habits, your flesh, or demons. Now, you will build your logic by reckoning him dead and the New Man alive.
The New Man is created in righteousness and true holiness in the image of God. He was re-GENE-erated into life and renewed in your spirit. To live according to this new life, you must not only reckon the Old Man dead, but yourself alive to God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 summarizes it for you.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
The Old Man is absolutely dead. You can no longer tolerate religious jargon dominating your thinking and clouding your true identity. There is no "lower" or "sinful nature" in you. You were created in righteousness and true holiness. You are a new creature in Christ Jesus.
God electrocuted the Old Man simultaneously when He electrified the New Man. Old things are passed away and behold, all things have become new. You have one nature in you—it is to be like your Creator and Father.
The Holy Spirit will bear witness with your spirit when you are living contrary to your new nature. When you put the Word of God on in your mind and live accordingly, you will be living the new life in Christ Jesus.
Say this: "The Old Man is dead and I am a holy spirit. I have one nature in me and that is to be like my True Father. I am holy, pure, dedicated to God, and alive in the spirit realm. The Old Man is dead and I am a holy spirit."
The Old Man is dead. You are alive unto God. Eternal life has already begun for you. You will live forever as a regenerated spirit being, alive unto God in righteousness and true holiness.
To not be slaves to sin, you must know this:
...that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Romans 6:6
1. Romans 1:20–32; 2:4; 3:22,24–25; 5:1,8,11
©2002 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
The Vital Relationship between Pastors and Intercessors (Article ID 8)
©2000 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
The Week of Millennia (Article ID 17)
The Week of Millennia
by Dale M. Sides
©1999 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Unity - How to Stand Together Despite Different Christian Beliefs (Article ID 4)
Unity in Worship (Article ID 20)
©1996 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Victory Over Iniquity (Article ID 14)
Victory Over Iniquity
by Dale M. Sides
Warring Psalms (Article ID 238)
As God’s children and loyal heirs of His kingdom, Christians today enjoy a unique position within the Lord’s army. We are the duly-authorized officers who voice the commands initiated in heaven by the Godhead. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we “trumpet forth” the will of the Lord into the senses realm. At times this will involve speaking words familiar to our understanding, while at other times speaking in tongues will accomplish the transmission of directives to angelic forces.
Our application of this truth is fresh and formidable, yet the reality of mankind and angelic warriors working together is well documented in the Word of God. The Scriptures contain a wealth of information for the Christian soldier’s education and training concerning spiritual warfare.
Christians need to be re-educated on the subject of spiritual warfare, but not merely regarding the weapons of our warfare. They must especially be educated concerning a godly attitude of aggression against God’s enemies. Judges 3:1 and 2 tells us how God wants us to be trained and taught.
Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at least such as before knew nothing thereof. Judges 3:1–2 KJV
God uses our enemies to prove us. He not only wants to know of the love and compassion we have for others, He also wants to know if we have the resolute heart of David, Elijah, Jonathan, or Samson. He expects us to be taught how to war and how to engage the enemy. Don’t you think He keenly observes how aggressively we defend the “family name” or offensively engage enemies of the cross?
Likewise, we need to prove ourselves before the Lord. He wants to see if we will honor Him and His commandments, and He wants to see if we are worthy to reign with Him in His coming kingdom. Those who keep His words and carry out His orders until the end will be given the reward of reigning with Him as kings on the earth during His millennial reign (Revelation 2:25–27).
First of all, we must acknowledge that we have been born into a spiritual conflict that has been raging since Lucifer was expelled from heaven. Next we must realize that our enemies are not flesh and blood, but evil spiritual forces who are opposing the Lord’s kingdom and purposes in the earth.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
As New Testament believers, we should be well aware that our warfare is not against people. There is a spiritual warfare that we are all involved in whether we know it or not. In order to subdue the forces of darkness as instructed by our Commander-in-Chief, we must gain instruction and training.
What better training can we receive than that which God has already given us in His Scriptures? The prime biblical manual specifically for warfare (and worship) is the Book of Psalms. It was penned by the worshiping warrior, King David.
Proclamations of warfare are common throughout these beautifully written songs, and many of them are saturated with curses against the enemies of God. While some may tend to shy away from the imprecatory (cursing) Psalms, it behooves us to recognize that these are included in the God-breathed Word for a purpose.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16–17
The “all scripture” here refers not only to the New Testament, but the Old as well. Romans 15:4 tells us that the Old Testament scriptures (“whatsoever things were written before”) were written for our learning; for that reason we will look at these Psalms and glean the “learning” the Holy Spirit has for us.
Before looking at several of these warring psalms, we need to understand a word that is frequently used at the beginning of many of these imperative decrees. That word is “let.”
Usage of Commands Involving “Let”
When it comes to commands and the orders of obedience they declare, verbs in the imperative mood are the acceptable grammatical construction. Many English readers are unaware of how these function. Not only are most of us unfamiliar with their usage in the English language, but we are even less knowledgeable of their use or structure in the Hebrew or Greek languages, from which the Scriptures have been translated.
Commands can be issued in either the second or third person. Most English speakers or readers are familiar with the second-person construction, such as: “Run.” “Run” expresses the command, and the subject, “you,” is understood. This is a direct command.
When a command is indirect or in the third person, such as: “Let the angel of the Lord pursue His enemies,” “pursue” is the main verb and “let” expresses the imperative mood of that verb with “angel” as the subject. “Let,” in Hebrew or Greek, doesn’t actually exist as an independent word; it is usually a prefix or suffix (or in some cases, a jot or tittle) that signifies the mood of that verb to which it is attached. (It is an integral part of the verb.)
An example of this occurs in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 16:22.
If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. 1 Corinthians 16:22
“Let him be accursed” is a third-person singular command. Paul is speaking as the first person; to you, his audience, as the second person; but he is referring to yet another, who is the third person. “Be” is the essential command, and since it refers to a third party, the word “let” is required to communicate grammatically. We wouldn’t say, “Him be accursed!” Therefore, we interject the word “let” to render a more smooth translation from the Greek.
In modern English, we think of “let” as a term of permission, whereas in biblical usage, it is often an imperative term, involved in a command.
Many examples of this “let” construction are contained in the warring psalms. These are commands to engage the enemy—both to us and also to angels. This is documentation for the presence of both men and angels within the army of the Lord. Angels and men are both under orders from our Commander-in-Chief.1
Some Examples of Warring Psalms
Many of the Psalms are “warring” psalms, but for brevity’s sake, we will look at a select few. The excerpts we have chosen for this study are taken from Psalms 35, 69, 83, 109, and 149.
Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, And stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear, And stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” Psalm 35:1–3
These first three verses of Psalm 35 are direct commands in the second person. The next several verses, especially those using the word “let” are indirect commands in the third person.
Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor who seek after my life; Let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt. Let them be like chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the LORD chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the LORD pursue them. For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, which they have dug without cause for my life. Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, and let his net that he has hidden catch himself; into that very destruction let him fall. And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His salvation. Psalm 35:4–9
Vindicate me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness; And let them not rejoice over me. Psalm 35:24
This is another direct command voiced in the second person, followed by five indirect commands in the third person (including the one above).
Let them not say in their hearts, “Ah, so we would have it!” Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.” Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion who rejoice at my hurt; Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor Who magnify themselves against me. Psalm 35:25–26
David, the apple of God’s eye, was His anointed and appointed ruler of the kingdom of Israel. David loved the Lord enough to defend His good Name by slaying a blasphemous enemy, the giant, Goliath (1 Samuel 17:23–51). He was not afraid to speak out and denounce God’s enemies.
As the legitimate ruling authority of Israel, David issued forth commands into the spiritual realm, which were inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) for strategic spiritual warfare against those opposing God’s purposes on earth. Some of these directives have been recorded in his psalms for our example and education.
Let their table become a snare before them, and their well-being a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see; and make their loins shake continually. Pour out Your indignation upon them, and let Your wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; Let no one dwell in their tents. For they persecute him whom You have struck, And talk of the grief of those You have wounded. Add iniquity to their iniquity, and let them not come into Your righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. But I am poor and sorrowful; Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:22–30
Make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb, Yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, Who said, “Let us take for ourselves the pastures of God for a possession.” O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like the chaff before the wind! As the fire burns the woods, And as the flame sets the mountains on fire, So pursue them with Your tempest, And frighten them with Your storm. Fill their faces with shame, That they may seek Your name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be put to shame and perish, That men may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, Are the Most High over all the earth. Psalm 83:11–18
As we issue forth the command to deploy the angels into the spiritual battle in the heavens (Psalm 103:20), the spiritual enemies of righteousness are removed out of the way and we begin to see the evangelistic fruit of people beginning to seek the Lord and then eventually coming to know Him (2 Corinthians 4:4 says “the god of this world has blinded the minds of those that believe not”).
Set a wicked man over him, And let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is judged, let him be found guilty, And let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few, And let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, And his wife a widow. Let his children continually be vagabonds, and beg; Let them seek their bread also from their desolate places. Let the creditor seize all that he has, And let strangers plunder his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy to him, Nor let there be any to favor his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off, And in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, And let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be continually before the LORD, That He may cut off the memory of them from the earth; Because he did not remember to show mercy, But persecuted the poor and needy man, That he might even slay the broken in heart. As he loved cursing, so let it come to him; As he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, So let it enter his body like water, And like oil into his bones. Let it be to him like the garment which covers him, And for a belt with which he girds himself continually. Let this be the Lord’s reward to my accusers, And to those who speak evil against my person. But You, O God the Lord, Deal with me for Your name’s sake; Because Your mercy is good, deliver me. Psalm 109:6–21
Some may consider the preceding commands as harsh, but when we remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness, we recognize that we are enabling the angels to bring down forces of darkness who oppose and obstruct God’s purposes. We will see from the final warring psalm below that it is an honor for God’s children (His saints) to carry out His judgments on the earth.
Let the saints be joyful in glory; Let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand, To execute vengeance on the nations, And punishments on the peoples; To bind their kings with chains, And their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute on them the written judgment. This honor have all His saints. Praise the LORD! Psalm 149:5–9
When our Lord returns, may you be found faithful and clothed in honor!
For further study . . .
Out of 166 verses containing the word “let” in the book of Psalms, at least 104 usages are indirect third-person commands. The verses containing these usages are listed below for your reference.
Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee. Psalm 5:10
Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly. Psalm 6:10
Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah. Psalm 7:5
Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. Psalm 9:19
The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. Psalm 10:2
O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Psalm 25:2
Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Psalm 25:3
Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave. Psalm 31:17
Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. Psalm 31:18
Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. Psalm 35:4
Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them. Psalm 35:5
Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them. Psalm 35:6
Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall. Psalm 35:8
Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause. Psalm 35:19
Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me. Psalm 35:24
Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up. Psalm 35:25
Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me. Psalm 35:26
Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me. Psalm 36:11
Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil. Psalm 40:14
Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha. Psalm 40:15
Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. Psalm 55:15
Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces. Psalm 58:7
As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun. Psalm 58:8
And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. Psalm 59:14
Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied. Psalm 59:15
He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah. Psalm 66:7
Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. Psalm 68:1
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. Psalm 68:2
Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Psalm 69:22
Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. Psalm 69:23
Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Psalm 69:24
Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. Psalm 69:25
Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Psalm 69:27
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. Psalm 69:28
Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt. Psalm 70:2
Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha. Psalm 70:3
Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt. Psalm 71:13
Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? Let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed. Psalm 79:10
Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish. Psalm 83:17
The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved. Psalm 99:1
Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 104:35
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy. Psalm 107:2
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. Psalm 107:22
Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. Psalm 107:32
When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin. Psalm 109:7
Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Psalm 109:8
Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Psalm 109:9
Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Psalm 109:10
Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour. Psalm 109:11
Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children. Psalm 109:12
Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Psalm 109:13
Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Psalm 109:14
Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. Psalm 109:15
As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. Psalm 109:17
As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones. Psalm 109:18
Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually. Psalm 109:19
Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the LORD, and of them that speak evil against my soul. Psalm 109:20
Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice. Psalm 109:28
Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle. Psalm 109:29
Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 118:2
Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts. Psalm 119:78
Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion. Psalm 129:5
Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up. Psalm 129:6
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Psalm 137:5
If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. Psalm 137:6
As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. Psalm 140:9
Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again. Psalm 140:10
Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him. Psalm 140:11
Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape. Psalm 141:10
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand. Psalm 149:6
1. Dale M. Sides, Angels in the Army (Bedford, VA: Liberating Publications, Inc., 2004) 21–25.
©2004 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches (Article ID 18)
What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches
©1999 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.
Wisdom is Better than Weapons of War (Article ID 270)
Wisdom is Better than Weapons of War
Dale M. Sides
The other day I was reading the book of Ecclesiastes, and because the Lord has called me into a season of war, I immediately snapped to attention when I saw the following verse:
Wisdom is better than weapons of war. Ecclesiastes 9:18a
Throughout my time of studying and teaching on weapons—such as the armor of light (Romans ), the spoken sword of the Spirit (Ephesians ) and prophecy (Ezekiel ), and the angelic army (Isaiah 13:3–5)—I had never seen this truth concerning wisdom. This truth stopped me in my tracks: Wisdom is better than all these! I decided this revelation needed to be explored.
The context of Ecclesiastes 9:18 begins in verse 14 where we see the analogy of taking a city by wisdom.
There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. Then I said: “Wisdom is better than strength.” Ecclesiastes 9:14–16a
King Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, also penned Proverbs. I have heard that the 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs (written for youth) is just the right amount to allow one to be read each day of the month. Ecclesiastes reveals a greater depth or understanding (the standing under) of Proverbs. It is addressed to adults and has 12 chapters, which means one can be read each month of the year. Whatever this wisdom is, which is better than weapons, it behooves us to have a perpetual and habitual dose of it.
What is Wisdom?
Many years ago, I learned a definition of wisdom as, “knowledge applied.” This has served me well through the years, but I am beginning to see that there is much more to it than this basic meaning. More recently, I learned another definition of wisdom as, “knowledge of the future.” It is logical that knowledge of the future would be better than weapons of war because of the potential it would provide to plan out our strategy of victory. Although the first definition still holds true, we should also consider the meaning of knowledge of the future—especially in light of spiritual warfare.
In any type of warfare, one of the most powerful tools an army has is what the military calls “intel” (short for “intelligence”), which is knowledge of the enemy’s plans. It is good to know our opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, but how about knowing the future and what he is planning to do? This would be an incredible boost to the whole military concept of strategy.
All military planning involves trying to determine what your opponent will do and then preparing for it. Chess players try to predict their opponent’s strategy many moves ahead. In the movie Patton, which depicted the Allied Forces defeating Romel, General Patton (using his personalized expletives) said, “Romel, I read your book.” What Patton meant by this phrase was that he had successfully calculated what Romel would do. He was then able to lead the Allied Forces into victory by using that knowledge and making the appropriate maneuvers.
In establishing our
In the army of the Lord, we have a potent weapon to use against the enemy that is far greater than mere guesswork—we have a revelation gift of the Holy Spirit called the word of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8). Many times the word of wisdom is used in conjunction with the gift of discerning of spirits, generating a formidable means to gather the necessary intel of the enemy’s activities and plans.
In the Old Testament, we see Elisha utilizing revelation from the Holy Spirit to save the people of
Now the king of
Probable defeat was turned into victory for
God Knows the Future
Herein lays a great thing: Our God knows the future!
Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, “My counsel [including war counsel] shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9–10
Through words of wisdom given to us by the Holy Spirit He can, and will many times, tell us what will happen before it does. How much better is that than superior firepower and munitions?
How much more effectively can we walk if we know what will take place in the future before it happens? We have an advantage over the kingdom of darkness! We can know what they are planning to do ahead of time, as well as what to do about it. We can do what needs to be done before it needs to be done. John says that the Holy Spirit will show us things to come.
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13
Maybe instead of staying up late sharpening our swords, we should be petitioning God for future knowledge of the enemy’s troop movement or revelation of his ambush. Then we could ambush him while he is on the way to ambush us! He may try to strategize us and forecast what we will do, but a word of wisdom will absolutely show us what he is about to do, and it will foil his plans.
The Greatest Military Strategist
God Almighty, our Father Yahweh, is the greatest military strategist of the ages. He hid His battle plan in the great mystery which He later revealed to Paul.
However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Corinthians 2:6–8
He hid the secret of Christ in you (Colossians ) from Satan and his minions, knowing that a future time would come when He would be able to release the sons of God against the devil. We are an awesome weapon of His wisdom as we make known the will of the Father through obedience to the Holy Spirit.
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all people see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 3:8–11
Our God is not only the greatest military strategist, but the wisest too, and wisdom truly is better than any weapon of war.
Ask and Seek
Do you need to know the future? James 1:5 says that if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives freely.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
When the lives of Daniel and his companions were on the line and they needed wisdom quickly, they set themselves apart to seek mercies from the God of heaven.
Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. Daniel 2:17–22
Let’s seek mercies from the God of heaven in order to receive the wisdom we need to defeat the works of darkness and further the kingdom of our Lord.
Wisdom may be knowledge applied, but it is also knowledge of the future, and wisdom is better than weapons of war!
©2005 Liberating Ministries for Christ International, Inc.