Summer 1995 Edition - Part Two
THE CONSUMMATION OF ALL THINGS:
Jubilee in the Holy Land
"Awake O Israel Put off thy slumber! and the truth shall set you free; For out of Zion comes your deliverer in the year of Jubilee!"
This 1970's song by Merla Watson seems to summarise the expectation, the deception and the confusion now surrounding the coming Millennium.
Biblically, the words refer to the coming Lord Jesus returning to restore his Chosen People. However, this literal meaning is now being obscurred by a new interpretation of prophecy.
The previous article (The Three R's) took a look at the steps the Church is taking towards transformation. The turning point was referred to there as the "Shalom" of the world - peace, righteousness and all things in order.
Other words being used to describe this event are Tabernacles and Jubilee, and they have more to do with the new age than the Bible. These terms, although based on the biblical feasts of Israel, are being spiritualised, and applied to the whole earth and to all peoples. They describe the consummation of the ages in terms which deny Jesus Christ his role as Saviour and Messiah, and replace the Blessed Hope of His return with that of a new world order.
Tony Campolo, writing in "The Kingdom Of God is a Party" describes both Shalom and Jubilee as symbols of the coming kingdom. He points out the social benefits of the Year of Jubilee when debts were cancelled, land was returned to its original owner and slaves and prisoners were set free. However, since this biblical concept of Shalom/Jubilee is difficult for many to grasp, he choses to describe it as God's Party. (p.21)
It's Party Time!
If we are to believe the pronouncements of the Toronto leaders, that Party has already begun! Already the new wine is flowing, the rejoicing has started, and the waters of life are flooding out of the restored Temple, [the Church!] in order to "heal the nations". (Ezek 47)
But Campolo also links the feasting and rejoicing with Tabernacles, (symbolising God dwelling with man) and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (when Body and Bride are finally united in One) (p.28)
This union was described by "prophet" Paul Cain as the spiritual return of Christ to dwell in the House of God - his people. In many cases what is promised as the zenith and goal of the Church on earth is a spiritual possession, not the visible personal return of Jesus Christ. The crisis now looked for, and the event supposed to transform all things, is the descent of the Shekinah Glory as God returns to a purified people and a restored earth.
Let researcher Ed Tarkowski take up the story in Part Five of his study on the Laughing Phenomenon, serialised in the magazine "Christian Conscience" and also available as a tape set and a booklet. (Details follow).
JUBILEE FOR THE WORLD
Tabernacles! Jubilee! Celebration! Uncontrollable Joy! There is not a Christian on the earth today who is not being influenced toward a global celebration in the year 2000. But does Scripture indicate there will be a worldwide celebration drawing the world to Christ at the end of the age? No, Scripture does not. Rather, it gives a picture of just the opposite: a Church under severe persecution in that world. Then what are we to think of such invitations to celebrate Tabernacles and the Year of Jubilee as one global family? Into what are we being led?
In Part Two of this series, we examined an audio tape by charismatic leader Alan Vincent in which he said that God is "moving the Church from the Day of Atonement to Tabernacles."
And according to Robin McMillan and Steve Thompson, "we will never fulfill our destiny and calling" until "we understand and partake of this feast [Tabernacles] as we have both Passover and Pentecost,... We must discover the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles and 'celebrate' it along with Passover and Pentecost...What God did among Jews in Jerusalem, He is going to do among humanity and worldwide. Pentecost will come to maturity in the Feast of Tabernacles." (Robin McMillan and Steve Thompson: "Beyond Pentecost," The Morning Star Journal, Vol. 4 No. 3, 1994)
In later segments, we saw that the foundation of this Toronto "move of God" is Latter Rain replacement theology, in which the Church replaces Israel and carries the blessings of Abraham to the nations. Scrutinizing this teaching, we pointed out that the agenda itself is evolutionary: the Church cannot fulfill its destiny until it celebrates the Feast of Tabernacles. This celebration will result in the manifestation of men as Sons of God filled with joy.
According to Pastor Bill Randles, the move to celebrate an endtime Tabernacles can be traced to the Latter Rain prophet/teacher George Warnock: "An interesting example of the evolutionary model of the church is a little book written in 1951 by George Warnock called 'The Feast of Tabernacles'. This book is a virtual primer of Latter Rain, Manifested Sons of God teaching,... a pattern for the progress of the church through time. Starting at Passover, which is Calvary, the church has [to] come into the Feast of Tabernacles, which to him represents God's consummate purposes for us, the Last Days Church. When we come into Tabernacles, which was a tremendous time of celebration for Israel, God will finally dwell within His people." (Pastor Bill Randles, "Weighed and Found Wanting" pp. 58-59)
The joy of the Feast of Tabernacles is now being linked by Latter Rain adherents to the Old Testament Year of Jubilee (see Leviticus 25). Interestingly, although the Year of Jubilee hasn't been kept by the Jews for millennia, the idea is being spontaneously resurrected by various groups as the ultimate celebration of the upcoming year 2000.
You may never have heard of Jay Gary, but he is one very influential person heavily promoting a Jubilee celebration in the year 2000.
One of his long list of high-level posts was consultation director for the Global Consultation on World Evangelization by AD 2000 and Beyond [GCOWE 2000], held in Singapore in 1989. Following the Global Consultation, Gary became coordinator of the newly founded Global Service Office which promised to "serve any group that had AD 2000 plans."
It's impossible to name here all of the Church movers and shakers with whom Gary has connections, but when he started his own Celebration 2000 Project, his Advisory Board read like a who's who in Global Evangelization. Gary also networks with the March for Jesus organization, which yearly attracts millions of Christians into the streets, and in 1994 he was the Colorado coordinator for the March.
With Jay Gary sitting in such powerful places, his influence among global evangelization leaders toward the celebration of Jubilee is disconcerting, to say the least.
Discussing Jubilee, in his book "The Star Of 2000", Gary writes, "In ancient times, the law of Moses called for a year of liberty every 50 years. You can read about it in Leviticus 25...the Year of Jubilee was inaugurated by the blowing of the great ram's horn trumpet [of jubal] throughout the land. Thus began a year-long festival, marked by cancelling out-standing debts, returning land to original owners and freeing indentured servants...I believe the year 2000 will be experienced as a once-in-a-lifetime Year of Jubilee. Jubilee 2000 is the most powerful image we could use to talk about the bimillennial of Jesus" (pp. 75-76)
In his book, Gary mentions four previous "images" for the year 2000, and then shares the "mega-image" which will "help us live out a new vision": "When shared, a new AD 2000 mega-image, like a stone thrown into a pond would send imaginative possibilities that ripple to the shores of our social boundaries...it would provoke cracks in our preconceptions, shift our misconceptions and help us live out a new vision together in a new world...I consider the fifth mega-image, Jubilee 2000, to have the greatest potential to define and develop the bimillennial era." (p. 74)
It appears the stone has been cast. Our "preconceptions" are already being cracked - wide open. The scriptural endtime scenario is being changed from the promised blood of martyrs to a Church evolving through Tabernacles to Jubilee to bring the Church to maturity.
Is Gary, like the Latter Rain believers, looking to the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth before Jesus' return? He describes Jubilee as "the culmination of joy." If you've wondered where the people of the "laughing God of Tabernacles" will end up, it will be in the Year of Jubilee, expecting their "joy" to be brought to fullness.
POPE'S JUBILEE PLAN
Now we find another religious leader, Pope John Paul II, making the same call to celebrate the Year of Jubilee, through the release of a 72-page papal letter, entitled "The Coming of the Third Millennium: Preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000," released on November 10, 1994. The document "recommends that every 50 years a special year of social justice be proclaimed, debts be cancelled and the oppressed be freed." In Section 51 of the letter, the Pope calls for a World Jubilee for the year 2000.
But the idea of a Great Jubilee is no new thing to John Paul. In Article 23 of the new document, he writes, "Since the publication of the very first document of my pontificate I have spoken explicitly of the Great Jubilee, suggesting that the time leading up to it be lived as 'a new Advent.' This theme has since reappeared many times, and was dwelt upon at length in the encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem. In fact, preparing for the year 2000 has become as it were a hermeneutical key of my pontificate."
The Pope is no longer suggesting, but is himself acting upon plans for the Year of Jubilee in the Holy Land. He has called on his cardinals to work with him on an ambitious plan for world peace that includes meetings of Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders in Bethlehem, Jerusalem and on Mt. Sinai in 1999.
Israel is attracting Church leaders and others who seem to believe that they can bring about the climax of the ages - the birth of the new world order and its rulers - by hastening the return of the Jews to their land and helping them attain peace. This misconception is supported by the convergence of various anniversaries and important events:
Church leaders also seem to think that they can bring resurrection life and transformation to the whole world through the fulfilment of the New Testament prophecies about Israel's restoration and "fulness". They plan to act as midwives to Israel as she comes to "birth" as a restored nation. Then both Gentile and Jew will be joined into one mega-church, the "One New Man", in order to win the world and bring in the kingdom.
Having achieved the "fulness" of the Gentile Church, as they suppose, in the current outpouring of the Spirit, now according to Rom 11:25-27 they look for Israel to be restored.
Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? Rom 11:12 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? (Rom 11:15)
The evolutionary nature of the Manifest Sons doctrine dictates that by a process of restoration the Church reaches full maturity as the Corporate Christ on earth. This Body of perfected believers attains such unity with Christ that they are transfigured into glorified resurrected bodies, are enabled to cast out Satan and the evil heavenly hierarchy, and thus take their place as rulers of the earth.
The idea of a small elite group governing the world is not new. It is present in many religions and ideologies, including Nazism. One council of elders is being convened at the World Forum in San Francisco in October to "oversee the next stage of human development". The Forum is being arranged by the Gorbachev Foundation. According to its President, Jim Garrison, the Forum will "change the lives of billions of people on the planet".
Will all these groups, Christian and secular, one day merge on the basis of their desire for a renewed earth and a perfected mankind? Will they celebrate Jubilee as one planetary family?
"The Laughing Phenomenon" by Ed Tarkowski: A six-tape series on the history, manifestations and future realities. $25 per set from the address below and also now available is a 58-page booklet containing the same material, $7 from: Ed Tarkowski, PO Box 233, McKean, PA 16426 USA
WHAT'S GOING ON IN ISRAEL?
Israel seems to have become a focus for revivalist, restoration and globalist organisations!
International Prayer Conference in Jerusalem for AD2000 Spiritual Warfare Network Jan 10-16 Theme: Hab 3:2
Benny Hinn - ministry visit sponsored by Ari Sorko-Ram of Maoz from April 1st 1995
Morris Cerullo, Larry Lea, Ulf Ekman: "Israel Proof Producers" Training Conference, June 3-5 1995
"Feast of Pentecost" celebration, June 1995 in Jerusalem, many organisations including Oral Roberts University with the Government and Municipality of Jerusalem. Advertisement for this: "Join us and experience our Lord's peace and majesty marking the beginning of a new era in the Holy City"
John Arnott and other Toronto leaders in Israel Nov 6-8th 1995, sponsored by Ari Sorko-Ram, (advert in "Spread The Fire").
"Jerusalem 3000". International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, in celebration of the 3,000th anniversary of Jerusalem
"Jerusalem Celebration 2000" for the 2000th Birthday of Jesus sponsored by: Church Growth International, Israel Ministry of Tourism in co-operation with AD2000 United Prayer Track. Speakers include: David Yonggi Cho, Robert Schuller, Jack Hayford, C. Peter Wagner and Tom Pelton, founder and president of March for Jesus USA.
MATTHEW CHAPTER 18:
There are certain well-designed loopholes that give heresy a helping hand.
One of them is the "thou-shalt-not-judge" accusation that says you are "sinning" if you challenge false doctrines and abusive practices; another is the "touch-not-the-Lord's-Anointed" ploy. This implies that elders and leaders are a cut above the rest of us, and anyone who disagrees with them is "in rebellion" not only against the elders but against God. I can illustrate this with a letter I recently received:
This poor man has been taken by a lie. By putting the "shepherds" on a higher plane than the "mere sheep"; he ends up deifying them and so is hamstrung when it comes to opposing error.
There is one passage in particular that I want to consider. Matthew 18 is often quoted when anyone dares to question unbiblical doctrine and practice in the Church.
The two descriptive words "trespass" and "fault" set the scene for this passage. The Greek word for trespass [HAMARTANO] means to shoot wide of the mark. You missed it! You blew it! You made a mistake, wronged your brother or sister, hurt him. Now you should be reproved, corrected, rebuked by the person you hurt, and that's the meaning of the Greek word for "fault".
But watch and see how this passage is used (abused!): a minister with a worldwide following spreads a false doctrine without check, publicly, openly and in every possible medium - (newsletters, articles, tape recordings, conferences, etc.) When this teaching is challenged he quotes Matt 18 and say that no challenge is acceptable unless it takes place (a) in private (b) personally and (c) exhaustively.
THEN he puts so many obstacles in the way of those who write to him requesting a meeting that he removes any chance of fulfilling the Matthew 18 conditions!
An example can be found in Dave Robert's book on Toronto, "The Toronto Blessing". (Page 113) "Any public denunciation in church or in print that does not observe the principle of Matthew 18:15-17 has to be questioned. Have we met the local representatives of those we criticise? Were there witnesses?...has the matter been raised with the local, national or international leadership...only when we have sought dialogue and it has been rebuffed or broken down can we righteously air our public misgivings about named individuals or organisations in the body of Christ."
Imagine trying to correct ANY public teaching on the basis of these requirements! By the time witnesses had been found and cross-examined, local, national and international private interviews with the leaders had been arranged, and sufficient time had been given to make sure these had completely "broken down" - [but how could you tell?] - the teaching has gone right round the world! Who benefits most from this arrangement?
In any case, certain teachers have been approached privately on a number of occasions and have not taken any notice. How many times do you suppose Kenneth Copeland (for one example) has been privately corrected about his Word-of-Faith errors? Yet he has not deviated from his teaching one iota. Now, according to Matthew 18, he ought to be treated as a heathen. Yet he continues to teach. These men are just not prepared to play by their own rules!!
However, looking at Matthew 18 in context, it is quite obvious Jesus was teaching about offending a brother, not about doctrine. Look at the verses opposite once more. They speak about your "brother" (or sister) who "trespasses" against "you" personally. Later verses confirm this: "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven". Matt 18:21
Now there is a world of difference between Joe Bloggs deliberately denting your car, and an world-famous Church leader preaching that Jesus Christ received the nature of the devil and needed to be born again in the pits of hell. One affects just you and Joe, the other affects every member of the Body of Christ.
The first situation means that you DON'T gossip about Joe's spitefulness all round Church nor stand up to denounce him publicly at the first opportunity. You go round to Joe's house and have a chat about it, and try to thrash it out in private. Only after this would you take it further.
But the second situation is one that Paul and the other Apostles faced frequently as they went about preaching the gospel. How did they deal with it? They opposed false doctrine publicly, and named names! They treated it like a cancer that had to be cut out of the Body before it spread! (2 Tim 2:17) No, we are not called upon to "forgive" false teaching, but to oppose it!
APPEASEMENT - THE WRONG POLICY
The real intent of this "Matthew 18" ploy is to gag the opposition. Most of us know about the policy of "appeasement" before the Second World War. The treacherous piece of paper waved by Chamberlain was a futile attempt to maintain peace by bowing to the demands of Hitler and Mussolini.
Brothers and sisters, there is no "appeasement " with the works of the enemy!! We do not meet satan behind closed doors to barter with him and to agree to overlook his plans.
If we see the members of our Family being led astray, and do nothing, then we will be held accountable for the consequences. If we agree to be silent in the face of teaching that is clearly unbiblical, then thousands may suffer as a result of our fear. The only right and loving thing to do is speak out boldly. And may God give us his grace and wisdom for this vital task!
CANADA'S PC HYMNBOOK
The hymn Onward Christian Soldiers is too "militaristic" for the new politically-correct hymn book approved by the 34th General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in Ottawa this June. Hymns which refer to man, or God as male, are also out. God is now considered both male and female, as in the following hymn, titled "Bring Many Names, Beautiful And Good"
Mother God, working night and day; Planning all the wonders of creation.
Setting each equation, genius at play; Hail and Hosanna, strong Mother
God! Warm Father God, hugging every child; Feeling all the strains of
human living. Caring and forgiving till we're reconciled; Hail and Hosanna,
warm father God.
BISHOPS AND GAYS
Bishops of the Anglican Church met in March to consider their stance on
homosexuality. In a pastoral letter issued after the week-long meeting
in Windsor they said that homosexuals living together in stable relationships
could live lives of "genuine Christian character", despite being at variance
with conventional Christian morality.
civil ceremony as an alternative to Christian baptism is to be proposed
in Parliament. The ceremony would be con-ducted by a Registrar on the
same basis as a marriage service, and would consist of a "welcoming ritual
and a responsibility agreement".
PHYSICAL BLESSING IN DOGS?
of the antics reported at Toronto-style meetings may be the result of
physical manipulation rather than the power of God. American scientists
have discovered that a condition called "narcolepsy" - the uncontrollable
urge to sleep - is caused by interference in the forebrain, an area also
known to be important in emotional con-trol. After tracing brain signals
in dogs, the scientists say that narcolepsy, in which sufferers can exper-ience
a sudden loss of muscle tone causing them to coll-apse, can be triggered
both by laughter and strong emotion.
recent stroke is the latest in the list of ailments to have afflicted
61-year-old John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard churches. The first signs
of ill-health appeared in 1986 when Wimber suffered a heart attack. Recovering
from that, he was diagnosed as having cancer in the nasal cavity in early
1993. He rapidly lost weight due to the radiation treatment, and those
more accustomed to the teddy-bear look of his photographs were shocked
to see his emaciation. The cancer left him weakened and speech came with
difficulty. On 10th January of this year, Wimber had a stroke which has
put him in a wheelchair. Although Wimber remains international director
of the Vineyard, he has handed over the pastorate of Anaheim Vineyard
to Carl Tuttle.
BOB JONES RESTORED
The group known as the Kansas City Prophets who came to prominence in the late '80s and early '90s had two figureheads in Paul Cain and Bob Jones. But Jones was the most colourful figure, with his visits to Heaven, frequent visions, "golden senses" and ability to smell demons amongst other things. In 1991 he was removed from public ministry by the Vineyard leadership having confessed to various "serious sins" including sexual misconduct. Since then has been driving the prophetic movement from the rear of the bus. Now however, Jones has been restored to ministry by Rick Joyner, who said the Lord told him that his ministry, Morning Star, "won't move forward to a new level" without Jones. This was announced at a conference called "Prophetic Vision For the Last Days" run by Morning Star in May. (CIS message)
NEW PENTECOST IN JUNE
The United Pentecostal denomination in America advertised widely, using full-page adverts in national newspapers in America, that God had promised to pour out his Spirit "as at Pentecost" on June 4th 1995. They claimed that at least 10,000 people would receive the blessing, leading to worldwide revival that "will bring millions into the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour". The UPC, an amalgam of the Oneness Pentecostal groups, are "Jesus Only" believers who claim that Jesus is the One God who has revealed himself in different ways. They practise footwashing as a church ritual. (CIS message)
Plans for Britain's first Christian cable channel, Ark2, were unveiled in London in May. The aim of the station is "to get people to discuss moral and ethical issues". The station needs to raise £1 million before its launch date of next April. (Daily Telegraph, 17th May)
MAINSTREAM - NOT !!
a conference held at Swanwick this Spring, a new national network was
launched under the auspices of a group called Mainstream in order to link
Baptist leaders who are looking for charismatic renewal in their churches.
The Conference was a "leaders only" event to test the waters for the new
network called "Word & Spirit" Speakers included Rob Warner and Roger
Forster, and manifestations of the Toronto Blessing were in evidence at
the meetings. The Mainstream group publishes a small newsletter. If you
see a copy, you can be assured it is nothing to do with Banner Ministries!
I want to begin this edition of the Supplement with a reading from Psalm 26. I was so impelled by the Lord to read this Psalm recently that I had to turn on the light and get out of bed at 1.30am in order to hear what the Lord would say to me. Here is the Psalm:
There is much to learn from this Psalm. I was particularly led to the repeated word "integrity" This Hebrew word, in its plural form, is the THUMMIM in the high-priest's breastplate as an emblem of complete Truth. Perfect uprightness, honesty and truth should be displayed by the Lord's ministers. But note also that David equates "integrity" with keeping himself separate from evil-doers, idolaters and hypocrites in the congregation.
Reading this Psalm caused me to meditate on two present dangers:
(1) The danger of diluting the Lord's work by fellowshipping with those who are going deeper and deeper into deception.
(2) The danger of damaging the Lord's work by adding to it in the flesh.
I have often been criticised for my "independence". Indeed, apart from my stand against deceptions, this is the one thing that offends most people - that I preach SEPARATION from error and call upon true believers to "mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them". Rom 16:17
However, I have never counselled anyone to depart from the fellowship of true believers - quite the opposite! I urge any who can meet with other believers to do so. That is one reason why I instituted and support the Adullam Register which tries to link like-minded believers, for fellowship.
Equally, I have never urged anyone to defy a genuine ministry of eldership nor to rebel against wise biblical counsel and correction.
TO WHOM ARE YOU ACCOUNTABLE?
I recognise the need for order in the Body and I respect those whom God has called to be servants (ministers) to that Body. But when it comes to our individual walk with God, as Spirit-filled believers, I happen to believe that the Holy Spirit given to us will "guide us into all truth". (Jn 16:13)
I trust to the word of God which not only calls us to separate ourselves from all that is counter to sound doctrine, but also teaches us that we no longer need a Priest as mediator between God and man, nor an illuminated Master to unveil the mysteries of God's word, for we all, from the smallest to the greatest, know God in our hearts. (Jer 31:34)
We are all individually and corporately responsible for seeking the guidance of God, and we all submit to one another as equals in the Body.
"The elders which are among you I exhort --- Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. ---- Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble". 1 Pet 5:1-5
For Jesus Christ is our HEAD, our MASTER, no other. We have a God and Father in Heaven, and we are to appoint NO SPIRITUAL FATHERS amongst us, as some today are calling us to do.
"But be not ye called Rabbi [Teacher]: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters [leaders]: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." Matt 23:8-12
Notice how any who are called to serve the Body are to take the humblest places in it. The word "minister" actually means SERVANT. This has been forgotten today when Ministers and Ministries (like the Rabbis of Jesus' day) desire the places of high esteem and the adulation of the masses. They see themselves as set over the Body as rulers and authorities, no longer as its servants.
The respect that scripture tells us to have towards those who are called as leaders is a far cry from the sort of servile obedience demanded by many self-appointed "apostles and prophets" today.
THAT ATTRACTIVE OFFER MAY BE A SNARE
Almost as soon as I was called into this ministry, the enemy tried to cause me to compromise. He offered me delightful prospects, plenty of help, money, ease and comfort - friends and fellowship and partners along the way. Sounds good? The only problem was that I would have to "submit" all my thoughts and actions to others, who would then decide whether I would be allowed to speak out against error.
I now know, ten years on, that this particular group would have severely curtailed my ministry and diluted what I had to say.
It is necessary to avoid the snare of compromise, which comes from fear. Some fear standing alone, unable to believe that God will uphold and guide them, and unwilling to bear the loneliness. Others fear that they will make mistakes, and therefore hand over their responsibilities to committees or "coverings".
Some shy away from boldness, believing that all we do must be innocuous and inoffensive. Others dread criticism and rejection, and thus water down the message until it offends no-one. But Psalm 26, verses 4 and 5 say that David maintained his own integrity and would not associate with the deceived: "I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked".
Verse four in the New King James reads: "I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, nor will I go in with hypocrites" and this shows the root meaning of the word VAIN more closely, for it implies those who bring an abomination into the House of God.
Those who promote the activities of a false spirit in the House of God are actually idolaters who are desolating the Temple. Secondly, David rejects the company of "dissemblers" or hypocrites who are actors playing religious games, covering up their real intentions in order to put up a good front for their own lives and ministries.
In this Psalm David says he has no intention of sitting down in friendship and fellowship with such people, and no intention of coming to an agreement with them, much less of worshipping with them.
So much for separation - but what about union? These days, when the call is not for submission, it is for "unity". Individualism is no longer prized; the aim is amalgamation.
All this speaks to me about the future of Banner Ministries and about the way forward for the true Body of Christ in this country.
I see a danger for individuals and small ministries if they join forces to create big-name ministries, for I believe God's will is for us to keep small and humble, dependent on Him alone for support. We must all paddle our own canoe.
Naturally, I am submitted to others in the matter of correction, and I also keep open lines of communication between myself and those who are in similar ministries. But there is a world of difference between sharing information and actually joining up together with other ministries!
I believe God has established a network of like-minded workers, like a flotilla of little ships, (some barely sea-worthy), like the dedicated fleet of little craft that crossed the Channel to save our troops in Dunkirk. Each craft has its Captain, independent of all others, except for lines of communication that are vital in times of war.
But at no time has the Lord indicated that these separate (and often very different-looking) craft are to join together into one mega-organisation - an aircraft-carrier, perhaps. The danger of creating such an unwieldy ship would be that it presents too large a target to the enemy, and also that - once struck - ALL the troops would be lost at a stroke.
So, unless the Lord Himself dramatically changes the course of his work here in Banner ministries, I will never be formally and officially joined to any other ministry.
GOD'S CHURCH IS BEING CALLED TO THE CROSS
Also, I will never be part of an attempt to circumvent the glorious and necessary crucifixion of God's Church in this country.
Shall we join in the chorus as Peter says to Jesus, who has just announced his intention to go onwards to death on the Cross: "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee". Matt 16:22
Shall we rebuke the Lord for bringing us into hardship and isolation and pressure and suffering? Shall we deny the Cross by trying to replace it with our own more successful path to victory?
Peter in his human thinking could not accept that dying was necessary, that the pain of the Cross must be endured, that the seed must be planted before the grain will spring up to be harvested. Peter was not thinking as God does, but as man does - thinking in terms of success, dominion, power and advancement. He failed to see the real secret of eternal life - that we must die in order to be born again in God.
God has graciously brought us out of the Egypt of the false churches and the oppression of the dominionist priesthood. Shall we who have entered into this barren wilderness, trusting only to the daily manna from heaven and the water from the Rock - shall we who have set out on this glorious journey now look back and lust after the fleshpots of Egypt?
Are we going to grumble now at the deprivations of this wilderness; and form ourselves into a company who can once again worship as we did back in Egypt?
Are we hankering now for that old familiar religious system: - we must have certainty and security and leadership; we need an object of worship; we feel insecure with a God who is Spirit! So the people gave their golden earrings to Aaron and he made of them a Golden Calf. (Exodus 32)
The Israelites soon got tired of hardship, tired of feeling insecure, tired of having no god to lead them. In the same way, in our own wilderness we could be tempted to say: Away with this hardship of having to seek the Lord for ourselves, and search the scriptures for ourselves, and pray for the truth ourselves! We want to be led, we want to return to the security we once enjoyed in our heated pews.
So shall we deny the glory of the Cross and avoid the pain of this fiery cleansing by creating an man-made escape-route? Something that (although pleasing to the flesh) would perpetuate all the fallibility and imperfection of the old ways. Something that would not loose us from the bondage to priestcraft, nor crucify our desires for comfort, security and ease.
I would view any such moves as counter-productive to the clear command and guidance of the Holy Spirit, who has guided us thus far by his grace and will surely lead us on to victory - but HIS victory, not ours!
God Himself is already gathering his people together, but he is doing it quietly, supernaturally and without revealing his plans to the enemy.
His word to us has been "seek the shelter of the Rock". We do not believe that this is the time to look for a new thing, a dramatic renewal of the world Church, a restoration to greatness and fullness under the powerful leadership of modern-day apostles and prophets. We do not see glory directly ahead, except the glory of the Cross. We see trials and anxieties and pressures, and a great falling away from the faith.
Although there may come times of "revival" - for we will need the reviving power of His Holy Spirit to protect us, inspire us, guide us and empower us for witness - this is not the revival that most of the Church seeks. It will not affect the great majority of churchgoers; it will not transform all society and create a restored heavens and earth. It will simply raise up his small Remnant of battered and long-suffering people to the task of evangelism, reaping the last Harvest before we are called home.
Thus any talk of restoring Church and society by any means other than the personal, visible return of the Lord Jesus is premature, misleading and ought to be rejected.
Speaking for myself, I will be lifting high the Banner that God has entrusted to me, by his strength alone, standing firm against compromise and dilution, and content to remain small and invisible until the End.