Summer 1996 (Part One)
STORM ON THE HORIZON
I was not among those who heard the chilling radio announcement that Britain was at "now at war with Germany". But it must have been an awesome moment.
Those listening to the declaration of war must have felt a deep sense of inevitability; that preparations would have to be made, and hearts would have to be steeled against impending losses and heartbreak. It was a watershed moment that we would not wish to repeat.
In some senses - though not of course in the same way - I have those feelings now, at the brink of what may be a period of instability and distress, certainly in the churches, but possibly also in the world.The elections in Israel, Russia, and the UK; the growing discontent over Europe; escalating conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the Russian satellite states; the growing militancy of Islam - all this and much more gives a feeling of alarm. How close are we to a major outbreak of war?
In every possible way - in society, in politics, in religion, in the Church - there are dark storm-clouds on the horizon. For believers who are anchored to the Rock, however, those dark clouds are not terrifying. On the contrary, as signs of the Lord's near return they are cause for rejoicing, even though they represent another challenge to our faith.
This article represents a few thoughts on the ways things are headed. It follows this basic outline:
The Toronto Blessing and allied deceptions have at least had one good effect - they forced wavering Christians to leave unsuitable churches. This was the Lord's plan. When the Israelites turned to idols in the desert, "the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment." (Num 16:20-21)
In order to be able to judge harlotry, the Lord has first to withdraw his own people: The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof... My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD. (Jer 51:42-45.)
The Lord prophesied that, because of the unbelief of His people, the literal Temple in Jerusalem would be broken into pieces and the stones would be separated and scattered, so that not one remained upon another. Now we have a living Temple, in which we are living stones. And now that Temple is being attacked and cast down, and those living stones are scattered and separated. (1)
Does this means the Church of God is defeated, overthrown? No! Quite the reverse. The Lord promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against the true Church. What does this scattering mean, then? I believe that we are experiencing a transition from the visible denominational "churches" of today back to the original Church of the Body of Christ. .
JESUS SUFFERED OUTSIDE THE CAMP
A friend recently wrote to me with some interesting thoughts on this subject:
Let's define 'church'. Biblically it has two meanings:
It is possible that the age of the church in terms of the second meaning may already be over or ending. A text that has bothered me for years: 'Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.' (Hebrews 10:25 NIV)
In the context of the second meaning of the word church I haven't done this consistently for years. It seems that I am not alone in this. I take very seriously the calling to all truth (Jn 16:13, Jas 1:5), not that I believe that I have it but that we were all called to aggressively pursue it without doubt. I simply can't assemble together with those who unrepentantly and repeatedly teach obvious demonstrable error. I tried but can't do it. I continue to assemble with other believers, privately and individually, but not under the second definition of the word church. In that sense for me, for now, the age of the churchES is over."
As this man testifies, many have either made a choice, or been forced, to seek fellowship outside of the conventional church system, "outside the camp". God has even made use of deception, persecution and rejection to drive believers out of churches that would have suffocated them in time. So, persecution has a positive side. For instance:
One excellent illustration of this present-day situation is what happened at Sodom. (2)
Sodom was a beautiful and fertile place (13:10) but unfortunately "the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." (13:13). Although Lot was grieved (2 Pet 2:7,8) he stayed on there, and even rose to a position of eldership, much to the annoyance of some! (Gen 19:9). However, God would not begin His judgement on the city before Lot and his family were safely out of the way, so angels were despatched to bring Lot out. (Gen 19:1)
Having listened to the angels' message of impending judgement, Lot tries to warn his friends and family - but they mock him. This is the period we are now living in, when some are staying in the "city" in order to sound the warning. But this is only for a short period of time. The Angels say "HURRY!" - "Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city". (Gen 19:15)
"And while he lingered ....." (verse 16) What is Lot's response? He hung around, thinking about it! He lingered! Can you imagine anything more stupid? What was he thinking of? His nice house and garden, maybe - the vegetables he was looking forward to eating in the Summer; the new patio he was building; his social work for the orphans, his next door neighbour who had been so friendly and lent him that oil when he ran out, his lovely family sitting round the table in the evening, his grandchildren playing with their toys in the firelight...it was all so familiar and peaceful. How could he believe it would end the way it did?
Despite its sinfulness, I don't suppose Sodom was without its attractions. When things are going well, it's difficult to imagine the destruction to come. Many churches are still attractive places to go, filled with fun and friends, and a secure sort of familiarity. But if you have heard God speaking to you about the teaching and activities there - it's time to go.
UNRIGHTEOUSNESS OR UNCERTAINTY?
To Lot, Sodom with all its wickedness was still his home with his family and friends, people he had known for years. Perhaps he was thinking of a way to warn them - it was heartbreaking to just walk out and leave them to their fate, and surely God would hear his prayers for mercy? And, if he came out "where would he GO?" The uncertainty of the new was more worrying than the sinfulness of the old.
"And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city." So God in his mercy told the angels to get hold of them and DRAG them out if need be! That was how urgent it was! How loving and kind God is. First he allows the stormclouds to gather, then the sky grows dark, then the first spots of rain begin to fall - all this is a warning. The Toronto Blessing is just the first indication of greater signs and wonders. It is time to take warning, and to "flee the city" as fast as possible.
Even then, Lot's wife didn't make it. She not only lingered, she looked back, (Gen 19:26) yearning in her heart for all the city meant to her. Often women do get more attached to people and places than men. But we must close our hearts to every form of emotional blackmail and obey the Lord. Jesus warns: "Remember Lot's wife!" Luke 17:32
The first wave of deception has already struck, and flowed back out to sea taking hundreds of struggling bodies with it. But there is a second wave, a tidal wave, a tsunami, about to roar in. It will crash down on those left idling on the beach and sweep them out to sea in an enormous nigh-irresistible wave of deception. It will be more subtle, and also more powerful than the last wave - and more far-reaching in its appeal. I believe that this next wave will TRY EVERY HEART. Those who avoided Toronto will now be put to the test, and no matter what denomination, what creed, what ministry, ALL will be forced to make a decision for or against.
Those who are already "on the Lord's side" (Exod 32:26) are beginning the process of a huge realignment within the Body. However, when the next storm breaks, many more will draw the line and look around for help. Without our encouragement, support and safe-houses they might feel too confused and vulnerable, too scared to run. So we must be ready for ministry like never before.
This is a time of preparation. We are being trained as the Lord's Rescue Services. If we use this time wisely, we will be ready for the tidal wave that will wash many in our direction. This time they will not just be the walking wounded, as with Toronto, but they will be like dead corpses washed up on the beach - we will have to give them mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to bring them round! We can only do that if we have prepared OURSELVES first.
This next wave, although hard-hitting, will not I believe throw those who have already made up their minds to serve the Lord. It will be a time of activity, ministry and - yes, even excitement and joy - as the waiting days come to an end and the purpose for our trials appears. Faithfulness and humility will be rewarded as the Lord takes up and uses the tools He has been preparing so lovingly and secretly. Many who are at present "nothings" in the eyes of the traditional church will become "somethings" in the Lord's service.
It's important not to keep looking to "names" to support and lead you. I believe some ministries and individuals that had been staunchly opposed to Toronto, may fall for this next deception. The one you depended on yesterday may lead you astray tomorrow. The only true Guide is the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth and reveals the Word as we seek to know God's will.
THE DEVILISH DELUSION
Many have been speculating on the nature of the next wave. For what it's worth, my guess is that the new deception will take the form of a REVIVAL. That is to say - not a genuine classic revival where people hear the preaching of the gospel, are convicted, and dramatically repent. Nobody could object to that. But this would be an awakening on a national or even a global scale calling for a radical change in society.
The difference is perhaps not obvious at first - many would applaud moves to create a new moral climate. It would be difficult to oppose a drop in the crime rate, or the abandonment of promiscuity amongst the young. But is a Christian lifestyle enough? Can any attempt to keep God's laws last long, given the inherent sinfulness and rebellion of man's heart?
Also, is God's ultimate intention to change this world? I believe not. Those who see the Church's role as a law-maker and peace-bringer to the nations would be in danger of supporting this new move. Likewise, those who have no theological difficulties with the idea of a massive endtimes revival. Anyone whose eyes are more focused on this earth than on the heavenly hope would be tempted to receive the awakening as a good thing. Not only those in the kingdom-dominion camp, but those who have previously vigorously opposed it would be affected!
You see, the aim for satan and his antichrist is to set up an earthly kingdom that mimics the kingdom of God. A false millennium, in fact. So anyone whose hope lies in restoring this present earth is barking up the wrong tree. (3) Some believe an advancement for the Church and for godliness can come about through supernatural power and signs and wonders; others see this happening in a more traditional way, but both are deceived. Those who are striving for a new order without jumping into bed with the globalists are deluding themselves. They are not perhaps aware of the political and spiritual forces they are invoking. Any major social change could not now be accomplished without buying into the ecumenistic, interfaith, humanistic agenda that is anathema to any true Christian.
Not only that, but it's unbiblical. The Bible speaks only of apostasy in the churches and increasing wickedness in the world leading up to the end, not a return to righteousness. Look around you - are things getting better, or worse? You be the judge! Any who are looking for things to improve at this stage of history have the seeds of deception within them waiting to take root.
What a trial of faith this will be! How difficult - or impossible - it will be to argue against good-hearted Christians who just want to "save the world". How can we come against revival and restoration without appearing to be terminally cynical? People are sure to write us off as doom and gloom merchants, stuck in a rut of condemnation. However, despite the temptation to give in to our emotions, we must stand firm on the Word of God. If society is suddenly moved by an impulse to change, if "love" is held up as the only way forward for every nation, religion and government - then we must not be taken in. However sweet the words and however powerful the message, we must bear in mind that "love" without "judgement" is unbiblical. Where there is no conviction of sin, there is no real heart-change, and where there is no born-again experience, spirits will remain blind to God.
Have you ever wondered why all the world worships antichrist and supports his kingdom? Is it because he comes with a harsh, terrifying dictatorial regime of unremitting evil? Obviously not! Nobody would be fooled by that. But men will follow what seems 'good' and right, sensible, decent and helpful. They will raise up on their shoulders one who comes as a saviour of mankind, one who is able to right the wrongs of the world, one who bring unity, peace, harmony and love to all.
Then how important it is right now to get our doctrine and eschatology straight! Whatever tends to make men believe that the world will improve, that the Church will rule over mankind and that goodness, righteousness and peace can come about before Jesus returns, will tend towards the acceptance of antichrist.
LUCIFER'S NEW MUSICAL KEY?
I have a suspicion that a new powerful form of music will also take centre stage in what is to come. This has been predicted by people like James Ryle, who still looks upon the Beatles as God's first (failed) musical attempt to change the world. Now he and others are teaching that a society-impacting music must arise within the Church to win men's hearts. He foresees a musical expression with all the magic and power of the Beatles, but with a message of spirituality and righteousness. Put this together with the phenomenon of angelic choirs turning up at some of the Toronto meetings, and you have an explosion waiting to happen. Already, CD's of Gregorian chant have topped the charts, and people are looking for something new. Can you imagine the scramble to buy a CD of authenticated angelic singing, put to a beat as hypnotic as the Beatles! [needless to say, the singing angels would be fallen ones].
Not only the Church, but also the new-age religion is hoping to reach all mankind with a musical message soon. I have just received news of a project to produce a "minute of connection" using music to link all mankind in the year 2000. I quote: "On January 1st of the year 2000 all inhabitants of the planet Earth accessible through all communication means will be linked to receive and share for one minute a message, that expressed in musical language, can be universally understood as a way to empower the individual and express its belonging to the global community."
It is designed as:
The promoters ask the question:
This idea comes from World Action for the Millennium. (4) The project has the backing of a whole list of powerful people and organisations, including UNESCO, and the UN-supported HABITAT II - [see article on the merging of Global Religion elsewhere in this newsletter.] Lucifer, who seems to have had a musical role before his fall, (Ezek 28:13-15) appears to be gearing up to use his talents on mankind.
THE COMING WAR
Modern-day zealots want to use the Name of Jesus, and the power of the Church, to transform the secular governments of our world and to raise up a new religious order. Just like the Jews in Jesus' day, they believe the land is theirs by right, and they want to take it by force. And, just like the Jews in Jesus' day, they will not allow anyone to stand in their way - even God Himself!
This so-called prophecy says it all: "As Jesus arose from the dead 2,000 years ago, so have I arisen in these days. As He conquered every foe by His resurrection, so have I come forth to claim the victory in these days."
WHO is speaking here? He makes himself distinct from Jesus, yet claims the same resurrection and victory. This is a sinister reminder right away that we are dealing with another spirit, another christ.
"For Jesus staked a claim over every piece of ground on this earth and I have arisen to fully possess it...This is the day when I will cast out the deceivers who have settled on land that rightfully belongs to Me...For this land belongs to Christ and His heirs and we are about to dispossess the ones who have falsely possessed it. Come one and all for we must fight for our rights. Do as I say and we shall surely reclaim our ground..." (5)
The imagery and "words" coming out of Toronto meetings are growing ever more militant, with visions of swords, warriors, war dances, battle head-dresses, armies and guided missiles being launched. At the Toronto Airport Anniversary celebrations, [January 1996] where Gerald Coates spoke, along with Paul Cain and others, it was said that: "some of us received war strategies that are not to be disclosed - some things are almost too sacred or holy to be revealed".
Again, at a conference held by Rick Joyner's ministry, MorningStar, it was reported that: "At one point, during four hours of worship, there were many manifestations of the war cry, a shout as one running into battle."
The doctrine behind the renewal also supports a war, one that will eliminate all remaining opposition to the new teachings. The book of Joel is being used as foundational doctrine by many groups today. There, they say, we find an all-out attack by an invincible CHRISTIAN army that will sweep every opponent out of its way and establish God's rule over all the earth. Two men this year had visions of a great army led by a Jesus on a white horse devastating the land, and they linked it to Joel Chapter 2 and to the current outpouring of the spirit at Toronto!
A veiled reference to Joel 2:7-9 can be found in the following extract from a new revival initiative called the Night Watch set up by Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda. Having experienced what they called warfare prayer, they: "...saw smart missiles going out while we were dancing. These missiles are able to go round corners, see through walls and seek and destroy the weapons of the enemy. God is granting us power to send out these missiles." Biblical prayer is never directed AT people or things, but always towards God the Father, through Jesus, by the Spirit. Whatever is going forth during the Night Watch, it is certainly not prayer! But something is being invoked in order to do battle with the "enemy" - and in many cases it is the beleaguered Christian who tries to withstand all this error who is perceived as the enemy.
DESPISED AND REJECTED OF MEN
"For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee." (Jer 12:6) (6)
We can perhaps find a clue about our current situation by looking at the events leading up to the Cross. Jesus came to offer eternal life - true liberty and forgiveness, yet his message was rejected, and he was betrayed and killed. Why? The opposition was double-edged:
Both these groups had a worldview, rather than a heavenly hope. And today we again see two groups who are seeking in different ways to save the world:
One camp believes that it is necessary to propel the world into a new age of the spirit, a transformation produced by a spiritual outpouring with signs and wonders. They see anyone who opposes them as anti-Spirit and governed by a spirit of religion. To this camp, it is not the Word, but spiritual revelations that are the key - and anyone who brings them back to the scriptures is going too far along the road to religious observance.
On the other hand, another camp believes in strict religious observance for all. They believe the world must be won by reconstructing society according to the laws of God. They generally believe that national Israel is finished with, and that the Church must gradually take over the world by spreading the knowledge of God. They reject spiritual methods, and believe that teaching the Word of God is all that is needed, bringing people one by one into obedience to the Bible. To this camp, world salvation can only come about by a return to the moralistic requirements of scripture. Those who disagree with them are damned because they do not go far enough.
Both these positions are extremes, and neither of them is truly biblical. They represent either end of the spectrum, the right and left of a pendulum swing, rather than the balanced position midway in between.
LEFT AND RIGHT
Just as we have extreme right (fascism) and extreme left (communism) in the world, so we have right and left in the Church. New-agers often make use of the left-brain/right-brain analogy, which I do not believe has a basis in scientific fact. However, for purposes of illustration we could say that there is a left-brained side of the Church which is the logical, intellectual, word-oriented side, and the right-brained side composed of the intuitive, mystical, spiritually inclined people.
Current thought is that if we combine Word and Spirit, we will end up with a whole-minded healthy united Church. On the contrary, I think it can be shown that these two camps are already united for they are two aspects of the same error, travelling on parallel tracks!
Leaders of the present renewal have been comparing the situation to that of the Civil War in America, with opposing sides - the "blues" (the spiritual ones) and the "greys" (the intellectual ones). They say these two sides are at war, and eventually the blues will win and push the greys and their "religious slavery" out of the way.
I do see two groups, but neither of them is representative of the true Church. Both the mystical hyper-charismatic "blues" and the judgmental, anti-supernatural "greys" are equally deceived and equally dangerous! (7)
I consider the mystical revelation-based belief-system and the legalistic, authoritarian, knowledge-based system to be two sides of one coin - they BOTH stem from Babylon, and they BOTH came to power through Rome. We know that it is the Babylonian/Roman religion which will rise to prominence and oppress the world in the endtimes. So far we have seen the mystical form of it in action, but I believe we will not come to the end of history without seeing a resurgence of the militant crusading zeal of the intellectual wing of the Church. And as always a small minority of "outcasts" will be caught in the middle, hated by both sides.
JUDGEMENT: HAVING YOUR WAY
God's judgement is often simply to give somebody over to what they most desire and hold to. To be given our own way is sometimes the greatest punishment we can bear.
The hyper-charismatic fanatics have been ruled by a spirit of harlotry for years and when God gave them over to it, it produced the manifestations that we now call the Toronto Blessing.
However, on the other hand the modern-day Pharisees have for years been ruled by a spirit of self-righteousness and condemnation. If they are given over to that spirit, it will produce a Saul indeed! Then that Saul-group, in jealousy and rage, will turn on "david" - the Christian Remnant - and hurl its darts of anger so as to do the most possible damage.
When David faced up to a huge giant who was an outsider to his people - Goliath - he took a stone, symbolising the power of God in the Word, and slew that giant.
However, rather than fight with Saul, God's Anointed who was in authority over David and his family, David chose to flee. He and his rag-tag band took to the caves and the desert places until the storm had passed, and that is precisely the way things are going now.
For some, this is cause for rejoicing! They are getting rid of the thorn in their side and removing the last barrier to unity.
Rick Joyner writes:
Only when all who object to the new teachings are cast out of the Church, says Joyner, can she enter into her "ultimate destiny" of glory. When the remaining true believers have thus been pushed violently "out of the midst" then a whole new "church" and "creed" will be set up - a world church including all beliefs, worshipping a subjective touchy-feely god who bears no relation to the founder of Christianity.
Yet God is still Sovereign, and He is using these circumstances to remove His people from the scene of danger. Like Lot, the Remnant Christians of today are coming out of Sodom.
(1) When Jesus said "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." [John 2:19-21] they thought he spoke of the physical temple, but "he spake of the temple of His BODY". When it seems as if the Church is destroyed, Jesus will raise up His Body, even from the grave. There is a terrible warning of judgement upon any who try to "destroy" the Living Temple. [1 Cor 3:17]
(2) Jesus and the New Testament writers used Sodom specifically used as a type of the coming tribulation - Luke 17:26-32/2 Pet 2:6-9.
(3) We should nonetheless be active in opposing evil, and doing good where possible.
(4) Project WAM. Communications for Human Development Association. C/ Luis Antunez n: 6 #3. 08006 Barcelona. Tel. (343) 415-67-51. Fax. (343) 415-24-40. E-mail: email@example.com; WEB http://www.cinet.fcr.es/CinetSpace/wam2000
(5) Prophecy given to Jane Williams, Christian Fellowship Church Columbia, Missouri on April 7, 1996
(6) Additional scriptures are: Matt 10:36/Job 19:13/Ps 41:9/Ps 55:12-14/Micah 7:5-7/Ps 69:7-9/Matt 24:10
(7) A picture of these two groups can even be found in Sodom and Gomorrah. The name Sodom is linked in Hebrew with a field of grain, or VINEYARD and also a hot scorching wind, a blight. The name Gomorrah has been translated by some authorities to mean "to bind closely, to treat harshly, to enslave".
(8) 'Morning Star Prophetic Bulletin', May 1996