Henry Gruver

Watch Henry share his amazing testimonies in these two sermons below. In the first one, you’ll most likely want to skip to the 45:00 minute mark as that is when he starts speaking.

In this one, you’ll probably want to skip to the 1:29:00 as that is when he actually starts speaking there.

Esau, Edom – A Type of the Flesh

Biblical typology adds so much extra richness to the stories, sometimes it is quite amazing. I think we’ll see that today, as we take a closer look at Esau.

Establishing the Types: Flesh and Spirit

Let’s start with what we know about Esau. First, he had a twin brother – Jacob. Before they were born, it was prophesied that the older would serve the younger, upsetting the natural order of things. Esau, of course, was the older, and the two brothers constantly had strife between them. In Genesis 25:30-34 we read:

“And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom.  But Jacob said, “ Sell me your birthright as of this day.”  And Esau said, “ Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”  Then Jacob said, “ Swear to me as of this day.”So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.(emphasis mine)

Esau became known as “Edom” because he wanted the red stew. Edom means red. For roughly the next two thousand years his descendants after him would be branded with this single rash act of stuffing the belly (Phil 3:19). Isn’t that amazing? Think of why we’re called Canadian, or American, or Chinese, or whatever… can you imagine taking your national identity from a single instance of stuffing your face with stew? And yet that’s just what happened here.

Esau was serving his flesh, and in the process, he despised his birthright, which had been given to him by God. He sold his birthright – the right to be the next leader of the family – in favor of feeding his flesh. He valued his God-given right to leadership equivalent to a bowl of stew.

As a result, Esau becomes a type of the FLESH all throughout the Bible, wherever you find him or his descendants, the Edomites.

Jacob, on the other hand, was also a very flesh-serving fellow. He did anything he could to get ahead in life, from taking advantage of his brother’s weakness to get his birthright, to out right full-on deception to steal the blessing, to craftiness in dealing with Laban to get his flocks. But there was one thing that separated Jacob from Esau – Jacob had a heart for Lord, and Esau did not. Through a series of events, God revealed Himself to Jacob, ultimately culminating in an all-night struggle that left Jacob knowing his weakness, finally submitted to God, and given a new name… Israel (Gen 32:24-30). Israel means God rules, power with God and man, or Prince with God.

As such, Jacob is a type of the fleshy man who has been saved by God and given a new name – a spiritual name – and made a new creation. He is a type of the renewed SPIRIT of man in submission to God. His descendants, the Israelites – when found in contrast to the Edomites – are also a type of the spirit.

When we are born, each one of us has a FLESH nature as well as a SPIRIT nature – they are twins. We are separated from God due to Adam’s sin, and we are in need of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ to reconcile our spirits to God the Father. Once saved, we are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17) in Christ, and our spirit is grafted into the family of God (Rom 11:17), given the right to be called sons of God (John 1:12).  On the other hand, our older brother the flesh, is not saved, and in fact is sentenced to death (Rom 8:13).

The Edomites

PetraAll of the stories about the Edomites and the Israelites now serve to illustrate this central theme, the struggle of the flesh against the spirit. To further establish this picture, the Edomites settled in a land that was very mountainous. In fact, they literally carved out their dwellings from the mountains. Today, the most famous of these remains is Petra, and as you can see in the picture, these were not simple “cave-dwellers!” Mount Seir was their capital city, and was considered an impregnable fortress. Enemies had to approach through extremely narrow canyons, and defenders could be perched high up above and easily slaughter any invading army with impunity.

To me, this is yet a further illustration of the flesh making its dwelling in high and lofty pride, impregnable to attack, unwilling to submit or admit wrong, considering itself aloof from all others. Furthermore, the dwellings were carved straight out of the rock, speaking of a hardened heart which we know is exactly what pride produces.

The Amalekites Attack

The first time we bump into the Edomites is when the Israelites have just left Egypt… a type of the world. In typology, this is the picture of Israel’s salvation experience. They cross the Red Sea in a spectacular and powerful water baptism where all their old enemies are cut off and thoroughly destroyed. They’ve been miraculously blessed with bread from heaven (Jn 6:35) and water (Jn 4:14) from a rock (Ps 18:2) and… then came Amalek (Ex 17:8).

When Israel left Egypt, the Egyptians gave them tons of gold and riches as a “parting gift.” Thus Israel was carrying with them the wealth of Egypt – not insignificant! Amalek happens to be the grandson of Esau, and Amalek’s father’s name was Eliphaz (Gen 36:16). Eliphaz means “my god is fine gold” and Amalek took his father’s and his grandfather’s nature literally, and decided to swoop in and steal Israel’s gold (blessing).

Whenever we gain something in the spirit, watch out for Amalek – he will come to snatch away whatever victory you’ve gained by whatever means is available. John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” Amalek is like the birds of the air that devoured the seed as soon as it hit the ground (Luke 8:5).

In this particular story, the only way the Israelites overcame the Amalekites was when Moses held out his staff with both hands, from on top of the mountain. Looking up from below, the soldiers would have seen a silhouette of the cross. When Moses lowered the staff, the Amalekites were winning, but as long as that cross was lifted up over the battle, Israel had the victory.

Much more could be said about Amalek, but I’ll leave that for another post. For now though, know that Amalek as a type of the flesh empowered by demonic forces (birds of the air), will take any opportunity to try to steal our blessings and freedom that we have in the spirit.

The Edomites Block Passage to the Promised Land

The next time we cross paths with the descendants of Esau, it is when Israel wants to cross Edomite territory to get to the land promised them by God (Numbers 20:14-21):

“Now Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. “Thus says your brother Israel:‘You know all the hardship that has befallen us, how our fathers went down to Egypt, and we dwelt in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians afflicted us and our fathers. When we cried out to the Lord, He heard our voice and sent the Angel and brought us up out of Egypt; now here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your border. Please let us pass through your country. We will not pass through fields or vineyards, nor will we drink water from wells; we will go along the King’s Highway; we will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory. ’”

Then Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through my land, lest I come out against you with the sword.”

So the children of Israel said to him, “We will go by the Highway, and if I or my livestock drink any of your water, then I will pay for it; let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.”

Then he said, “You shall not pass through.” So Edom came out against them with many men and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.

Note how the Bible records this as a conversation between two brothers, and not between two nations? So here’s the question of the day that each one of us ought to ask:

–> Does my flesh ever prevent my spirit from breaking through to its promised inheritance in Christ?

–> If so, HOW?

Of course the answer to the second part will be a bit different for each one of us, but I can assure you, the answer to the first question is undeniably YES for all of us. The flesh ALWAYS tries to block the spirit from its inheritance. The flesh has its own agenda, and that agenda is always antichrist. Remember, “antichrist” actually means “in place of Christ” and in that sense, the flesh is always seeking preeminence, and that is always at the expense of Christ. The two are mutually exclusive.

The Edomites Conquered by David

Fast forward a few hundred years, to when King David is establishing his kingdom. There’s this little verse in 2 Samuel 8:14 that never meant much to me, until I saw Edom as a type of the flesh:

“He also put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David ‘s servants. And the Lord preserved David wherever he went.”

David is a type of the overcomer in Christ, so he fits in perfectly with our picture of Israel being the renewed spirit. David and Saul are another chapter of the spirit versus flesh battle, but in this little verse we see the Edomites pop up again… However David, as a type of overcomer, has turned the tables on the Edomites and made them his servants. This is a great picture of conquering the flesh (1 Cor 9:27), and giving it no opportunity to rebel; however I believe David fell short of what the Lord truly intended.

In the New Testament, Paul tells the Ephesians (Eph 4:27) “do not give the devil a foothold.” He also goes even further and says “put to death the works of the flesh” Rom 8:13. We are not to tolerate the works of the flesh – even under guard – but rather we are to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24).

Amaziah – Conquering Flesh with Flesh

“Then Amaziah strengthened himself, and leading his people, he went to the Valley of Salt and killed ten thousand of the people of Seir. Also the children of Judah took captive ten thousand alive, brought them to the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, so that they all were dashed in pieces.

But as for the soldiers of the army which Amaziah had discharged, so that they would not go with him to battle, they raided the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth Horon, killed three thousand in them, and took much spoil.

Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them. Therefore the anger of the Lord was aroused against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, “ Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?”

So it was, as he talked with him, that the king said to him, “Have we made you the king’s counselor? Cease! Why should you be killed?”

Then the prophet ceased, and said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not heeded my advice.”” 2 Chronicles 25:11-16

This is a bizarre little story, and even more strange if you read the preceding verses. However, I think the lesson here is that Amaziah tried to conquer the Edomites through his own strength – “Amaziah strengthened himself.” When you start reading the chapter, it almost looks like he was going to go to battle in faith; he turned away the Israelite mercenaries he’d hired. But then he strengthens himself, and proceeds to toss 10,000 captives alive off a cliff… and adopt their gods for himself!

The secular kings of the day understood that if they conquered another nation, their gods were clearly stronger than the conquered nation. Look at Pharoah’s reaction to the God of the Israelite slaves… he mocked Him. The Babylonians and others all did the same. If you conquered someone, clearly, your gods were stronger than theirs.

But Amaziah actually took the gods of the people he had conquered – the Edomites/Flesh – and made them his own! He began worshiping the gods of the flesh, rather than the Living God, Yahweh.

I think the takeaway from this story is that when you try to conquer the flesh through the means of the flesh, you will end up serving the flesh. In other words, flesh will always win. You cannot put to death the flesh through works of the flesh, because the flesh will never commit suicide. It must be destroyed by the work of the spirit.

How many times have you seen someone try to lose weight, and take up smoking instead? Or they try to lose weight, and become addicted to working out? Perhaps they think they talk too much, and instead they become perpetually silent. Satan always tries to get us off the moderate middle ground. He doesn’t care which extreme we’re at, so long as it is an extreme and not on the straight and narrow with Christ. If you yo-yo back and forth from fleshly position to fleshly position, he’s happy with that – just so long as we’re not attacking the flesh from the spirit!

The other takeaway from this story is that when we’ve decided to worship the gods of the flesh, the voice of the Spirit will cease. The prophet was silenced, and Amaziah no longer had the benefit of God’s advice and direction for his reign. The same holds true in each one of our lives – if someone deliberately chooses flesh over spirit, they should not expect to hear much from the spirit until there is some repentance.

Perpetual Enmity

Any time throughout history that Israel was attacked by another nation (Egypt, Babylon, etc), the Edomites would always take the opportunity to slip in from the south and attack at the same time (more details here). Israel’s armies were focused elsewhere, and Edom saw it as a great chance to slip in and kick ’em while they’re down. When the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, the Edomites were cheering them on, laughing at the Israelites’ misfortune. And when the Israelites fled from the Babylonian invaders, the Edomites stood at the border of their land with their armies and turned the Israelites back, once again refusing them entry, sending them straight into the Babylonian swords.

Throughout history, the Edomites took every single opportunity to steal, kill, and destroy their brethren the Israelites. There was never any mercy, never a missed opportunity – it was sheer vicious hatred.

“Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it, and say unto it, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate. I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord. Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end” Ez 35:1-5 KJV

In the KJV, it says Edom has a perpetual hatred for Israel (See also Amos 1:11). Other translations render that as ancient hostility, eternal hatred, everlasting enmity, and perpetual enmity. This actually describes the problem of the flesh quite perfectly: the flesh has an everlasting hatred and hostility against the things of the Spirit.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:7-8

In Romans, Paul says “the carnal mind is enmity against God…” that is its very nature, and the flesh cannot change its nature anymore than a leopard cannot change its spots. Indeed, the flesh cannot submit to the Spirit. It’s not even that it refuses, because that implies choice – it simply cannot fulfill the law of God, it is completely contrary.

So here’s another big question:

–> Do we really discern and understand the true nature of our flesh, according to Jeremiah 17:9?

Do you understand that your flesh is inherently evil and dead set on the destruction of anything that Christ has done or wants to accomplish in your life? Once we begin to understand how vicious this flesh nature is, we begin to see why Paul said in Romans 8:13: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

I’d like to clarify that when I’m speaking about the flesh, I do not mean our physical body, although that plays a role. Our bodies are not inherently evil; they were created by God, and although we struggle with the consequences of sin (sickness, disease, etc), it does us no good – nor does the Bible ever teach – that we ought to literally destroy any part of our bodies. Paul said to put to death the deeds of the flesh… not the flesh itself. We are talking about the flesh nature within each one of us. The desires of the soul (James 1:14) are intimately connected to our body of course, and yet are distinct. There are doctrines floating around that we ought to literally beat our own bodies into submission via torture, cutting, or whatever other means – let me say that these are demonic doctrines and I do not in any way advocate them. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19-20) and must be treated and respected as such.

Our flesh nature on the other hand – the desires and will of our soul – must be brought into alignment with the spirit.

Herod the Edomite

Remember Herod? The ruler that killed all the baby boys at the time of Jesus’ birth? The guy that killed John the Baptist for speaking the truth? The guy that crucified Jesus? Was eaten by worms? Yes, I know they’re not all the same man, in fact there were several Herod’s over that time period, but their family line was Edomite.

In 164 BC, the Jews conquered the Edomites, but by 126 BC they had to reconquer them. This time, they forcibly converted all the Edomites to Judaism, even though they weren’t Jews. From this time forward, the Edomites lost their identity as a distinct nation, and became part of the Jews. There are many interesting rabbit trails that we could talk about, but I’ll stay on topic so we can actually get through this.

So by the time of Jesus, the Edomites (ie flesh nature) were thoroughly integrated into Jewish life. It is not surprising then, that we see that their religion had turned completely fleshly, to the point that Jesus was often openly rebuking the Pharisees.

“They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”

Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.”

Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father — God.”

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:39-44

The flesh will try to appear spiritual wherever possible, but you cannot change its true nature. Jesus saw right through the smoke show, and called a spade a spade.

The Good News

If it seems to you like this article has gotten progressively more depressing the further we got, that is by design. You see, we must begin to see our flesh as God sees it. The problem of course, is that we’re so used to relying on it that we actually think it is good for some things, if not for everything. The other problem is that pride blinds us (Ob 1:3). Something must cut through that pride, that flesh nature, to reveal to us the true nature of our flesh, because if one thing is certain, our flesh will never do that on its own.

The good news is that we have now been made a new creation in Christ Jesus, and we no longer have to live by the flesh! In Romans 6-8, Paul really develops this theme. Our flesh nature has been crucified with Christ, our spirits have been made and raised anew, and we are no longer are slaves to sin. With that said, in Romans 7, Paul describes the battle between the flesh and the spirit – the old man and the new man. As long as we are in these bodies, we will continue to have this struggle. That doesn’t mean we can’t be victorious, I believe it is possible to live a victorious life. But it does mean, that like David, we need to be constantly on guard against the flesh.

Ultimately, the flesh will be completely destroyed. And that, my friend, is good news!

Obadiah – Victory over the Flesh

Obadiah is a small little book. Blink, and you miss it – it’s only 21 verses. But the whole thing prophecies destruction against Edom. Read it now, it won’t take long. First, it starts out talking about the pride of the Edomites, and then it gets into the various manifestations of pride: violence, indifference, gloating, exploitation, all of which the Edomites were guilty of. Chuck Smith has a useful commentary on Obadiah here. Throughout the little book, God prophecies how Edom will be utterly destroyed.

At the end of Obadiah (17-21), a very beautiful picture begins to emerge:

“But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau shall be stubble; they shall kindle them and devour them, and no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,” for the Lord has spoken.

The South shall possess the mountains of Esau, and the Lowland shall possess Philistia. They shall possess the fields of Ephraim and the fields of Samaria. Benjamin shall possess Gilead. And the captives of this host of the children of Israel shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath. The captives of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the South.

Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.

How many times in the Bible is the Spirit likened to a flame of fire? Flames appeared over the heads of the disciples in the upper room. The fire fell on the altar of sacrifice, and burned up the flesh that was presented, representing our own flesh there on the altar. Here, the house of Jacob and Joseph (ie Israel) represents the Spirit, and surprise surprise, the flesh… Esau… is the fuel!

There are many Biblical examples of dying to self; Esther is a great one that comes to mind. The life of the cross is one of absolute surrender.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”” Matthew 16:24-25

The Israelites (born-again members of the body of Christ) are prophesied to possess the territory of the flesh, Esau. When Christ returns, Paul says that we will all be transformed (2 Cor 3:18); we will be given a body like the one that Jesus had after His resurrection. No longer will we have a flesh nature to deal with, but our body will be fully submitted to our spirit, in the proper order it is supposed to be.

In the meantime though, we are to give no quarter to the work of the flesh in our lives. We are to conquer it and keep it under close guard as David did, and even put it to death entirely as Paul did. More could be said about how this theme is developed in the New Testament, perhaps I will update this later on. In the meantime, I pray that God reveal to each of us the workings and nature of the flesh in our lives, in light of the victory of Christ!

Esther – Acting Like A Queen

Esther is an interesting book, because never once does it mention any of the names of God. And yet, I believe it is a beautiful picture of how we are to relate to Jesus Christ, as our King. Yes, I’m well aware that King Ahasuerus wasn’t exactly the epitome of perfection; however all “types” in the Bible are just that – imperfect pictures that help us in some way understand the true subject.

Nevertheless, I know many commentators have taken the view that the king in the book of Esther is rather evil, and so we have to go against that grain in order to get to the real point of the story. To push us in that direction a little, here are seven ways that King Ahasuerus / Xerxes is a type of Christ:

  • He was King of kings, ruling over most of the known world at the time (Esther 1:1).
  • He was served by 7 eunuchs who desired nothing for themselves, and only sought the interests of the king, including preparing his bride for him. This is a picture of the Holy Spirit that glorifies Christ in everything (John 16:13–14) and prepares and equips the church for every good work.
  • He was served by 7 wise men who provided counsel. Again, this is a picture of the Holy Spirit as the Counselor (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is often associated with the number 7 (see Rev. 4).
  • He had a wife that rejected him… think of Israel and read Isaiah & Hosea.
  • The King’s command could not be altered (Esther 1:19).
  • If you approached the King in the wrong way, you died (Esther 4:11). Think of Uzzah & the ark of the covenant (2 Sam 6:6-8).
  • The King was served by innumerable vessels of gold (us) that were each unique in design and beauty (Esther 1:7), filled with wine (type of the Holy Spirit) that each could drink of as much as he desired. The Holy Spirit has been poured out abundantly, it is up to each person how much we are willing to “drink” and to be filled by Him.

If you find other similarities, let me know in the comments below. For now though, we’ll move on to Esther. There’s a lot that can be said about Esther, and it kind of breaks down into two main categories: her preparation, and her purpose. Today we’ll take a look at the latter.

I’m assuming that you’re already familiar with the story of Esther, and her path to the throne, but in chapter 3 we learn that Haman the Agagite (Amalekite) came up with a plan to destroy all of God’s people. In chapter 4, we read how Esther finds out about this plan, via Mordecai, and comes face to face with the fact that she is the only one who has a chance at averting this crisis. Worse yet, the very act of approaching the king could cost her her life (Esther 4:11).

Willing to Die to Self

And thus we come to one of the most central verses in Esther…

“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” Esther 4:16

Jesus calls us to die to everything that is of our flesh, take up our cross, and follow Him.

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”” Matthew 16:24-26

Esther had essentially “gained the whole world” in her position as Queen of the largest empire on earth, and yet if she was not willing to (potentially) lose her life, she would definitely lose it, against her will due to Haman’s plan. Now, let’s make this a bit more personal, because I don’t know anyone who is in a position quite like Esther found herself in, and yet, we can all relate.

What all is wrapped up in our “life” that Jesus talks about? Is He talking about literal physical death? Yes, I think so, and yet I believe it is much deeper than that. Most of us will never (Lord willing) be called to literally give our lives, and yet that’s what we each must do, day by day. Our life is the old man that Paul talks about in Romans, it is the flesh he talks about in Galatians… it is everything of our soul that wants to serve or rely on self. Self-preservation, self-idolatry, self-strength, self-importance, self-righteousness… the list could go on and on, but simply put, is anything that puts self ahead of Christ.

Esther’s enemy here is Haman… a type of accuser of the brethren who speaks nothing but lies all day long in the presence of the King, just to see what he can get away with. Think about that for a moment…

“Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate them.” Esther 3:8

Esther’s response starts off with being willing to die to everything she thought she had, including being willing to lose her life, if necessary. That’s a perfect picture of the overcomers that we read about in Revelation:

“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Revelation 12:10-11

Frank Bartleman was one of the leaders of the Azusa Street revival in the early 1900’s. I’ve read some of his books, and I believe he was a very humble man – humbler than most you’re likely to run across today. Yet one day God spoke to him, and said “If only you were small enough, I could do anything through you.” That’s an incredible statement, and speaks volumes about just how much dying to self really needs to happen. Most of us have no clue how deep our self-serving nature truly goes. Every time I think I’ve died to something, I realize it was just another pebble kicked off a big boulder that still remains.

It is interesting that Esther decided that if she died, she died… before she fasted. To me, that says she’d already done a lot of dying to self prior to that point, and in fact, her preparation for the throne speaks of that. A lot of people may have used that time in fasting to try to find the Lord’s will in the situation… “Lord – should I really be willing to die when I approach the king?” Of course, this itself is a battle with the flesh that is seated in unbelief, because we know Jesus’ command has already been given, that we are to die to ourselves (Matthew 16:24). Instead, presumably Esther used the time to seek the Lord’s favor, and for direction on exactly how to go about this – the fact that she actually would was never in doubt (Esther 4:16).

Esther Approaches The Throne

Despite having just spent three days in intense fasting, Esther pulled it together before she approached the king. Keep in mind that three days without food is one thing… three days without food or water is a whole other thing. Beyond three days, your very survival is called into question, and dehydration is not a pleasant way to go. All of the Jews are now in a state of truly dying to self, seeking the Lord. Anyhow, despite having gone three days without food or water, Esther cleans up, gets out her best royal robes, and prepares to see the king.

Jesus is no stranger to the hurt and the broken, and in fact He loves for people in this state to come to Him (Matthew 11:28). However, the picture here is not approaching the outer court, but rather, the inner court. That’s where the King sits on His throne and rules from. That’s the Holy of Holies, where the angels praise Him continually. And I believe there is a difference in how we enter those two areas, how we approach King Jesus.

Esther needed to enter the inner court, where the king was on his throne. She needed a judgment in her favor. And to get in there, she put on her royal robes, not sackcloth. There’s a problem when we only ever relate to God from the position of a beggar: “please God, I need ______.” I’m not saying we can’t or shouldn’t ask God for things, that’s not what I’m saying at all. But we are to approach the throne of grace boldly.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Sackcloth and ashes is is for mourning, not for being bold, so what exactly is meant by boldly approaching? I believe the answer is found in the combination of dying to self and wearing the royal robes.

“Awake, awake!
Put on your strength, O Zion;
Put on your beautiful garments,
O Jerusalem, the holy city!
For the uncircumcised and the unclean
Shall no longer come to you.
Shake yourself from the dust, arise;
Sit down, O Jerusalem!
Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck,
O captive daughter of Zion!” Isaiah 52:1-2

We are clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 61:10, Philippians 3:9), and for you and I, that represents our royal robes. Holiness and righteousness is crucial to “seeing the Lord” because no flesh shall glory in His presence (1 Corinthians 1:29).

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” Hebrews 12:14

It is by faith that we please the Lord (Hebrews 11:6) and not by mourning/dying, and yet we cannot truly have faith until we have died (to self). When we combine the two, total death to self and total faith towards Christ, accepting His sacrifice for us and His righteousness for us, that is when we truly gain favor with the King. I’m not talking here about making Him love us more or less – He loves all humanity equally and that will never change. But favor activates His power toward us. We cannot truly accept His sacrifice for us in all its fulness, until we accept the tremendous depth of our need for it. Any identification outside of Christ has to go, it will not be accepted in the throne room. Our own righteousness is as filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6) and will most certainly not be accepted as royal apparel!

Esther did not come before the throne begging, but she came knowing that she was queen, and acting like it. We have been seated (that speaks of authority, in the throne room) with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), and we do well to remember that position… in all humility! If in truth we have been seated with Christ as Paul says, then when we relate to Christ outside of that position we’ve been given, it reflects a double-mindedness in us, and an unbelief as to our position in Him. And unbelief will prevent us from entering His rest (Hebrews 3:19).

The Favor of the King

“So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter. And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!”” Esther 5:2-3

Now Esther receives favor from the king, and in fact, this is the first time in the book that she is called “Queen Esther.” The king extends his scepter toward her, and this speaks of authority, and she humbly came and touched it. There’s a lot of protocol for approaching an earthly king, and I believe there is protocol for approaching the King of kings as well. Everything in Esther’s approach and bearing speaks of humility, faith, and a selfless desire to please her king. There is not one bit of arrogant self-serving pride in her, such as got Vashti kicked out of the palace. Even her very request was designed to please the king.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7

Do we really have the king’s best interests first and foremost in our minds when we pray? Or do we sometimes seek the Lord for things that are, when we dig deep enough, self-centered in nature? Sometimes this distinction is difficult to determine, but that’s where we need the help of the Holy Spirit and the word (Hebrews 4:12) which can separate even soul and spirit. When our desires are truly in line with His, then our joy will be complete (John 16:24).

So the king actually offers Esther up to half of his kingdom, though of course in her humility, she merely asks him to dinner. This is really the pinnacle of the whole story, because once Esther has gained the favor of the king, everything else is simply working out the details. I believe this is a picture of the millennial reign of Christ, in which He will share His authority with His bride (Revelation 20:4-6). What a promise for those who are willing to lay down their lives to follow Him!

Jesus REALLY Cares For YOU

I’ve often read the story of Jesus calming the wind and the waves in Mark 4:35-41, and there is so much we can learn from it. How He first gave the disciples a command to cross, and then expected them to function in faith in accordance with that command (Where Jesus sends you, He will provide and power is available by faith to calm the storms you face). How Jesus rebuked the wind – the root of the problem – first, rather than the waves. How He spoke so simply, and yet with such authority that heaven and earth instantly obeyed.

Today, re-reading that story I noticed the disciples self-centered plea for help: “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” You see, the disciples, even in the literal presence of Jesus, had allowed fear to overtake them. Fear is by nature self-centered; it only thinks of self. It may think of others at times, but always in connection with how it affects self.

Then we get into Mark 5:2, where immediately Jesus is met by a total madman. Naked (read Matthew 8:28-34 and Luke 8:26-39 for more details), living in the tombs, incredibly strong, tormented, destructive and self-destructive. Today we would just about call the man a zombie. He was totally outcast, the best the townspeople could try to do was to restrain him with chains, to keep him from hurting himself and others, but even that did not work due to the sheer strength of the demonic legion within him.

When people are demon possessed, they are not in their right minds. Proverbs 25:28 says that a man without self-control is like a city without walls… anything can (and will) enter and take up residence there. In Luke 8:29 it talks about how the demons drove this man into the wilderness, which is exactly what demons will do to you. They will isolate you from anyone who can help, they will cause you to be rejected so much that you just flee.

So Jesus cast out the legion of demons from this man, and sent them (at their request) into the herd of swine. Why pigs, specifically? I believe that since pigs were considered unclean animals according to the law of God, these unclean spirits felt some kind of draw to them.

Once all the dust had settled, and the townspeople arrived on scene, they found this once-mad man clothed, sitting peacefully, and in his right mind. What an incredible picture of salvation! The townspeople however, cared more about their economic loss than this man’s welfare, and perhaps afraid that Jesus might do more harm to their livelihood, pleaded with Him to leave. Thus, He got back on the boat and crossed back to the other side again, without having even preached to the townspeople (well, it doesn’t record this anyhow).

As I got to that point, my eye was drawn back to the top, where the disciples said “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?

Suddenly I saw so clearly the contrast – Jesus was in the midst of this epic journey across a raging storm-filled lake, all for the purpose of saving one man (in the other gospels, it mentions two – I believe Mark mentions only one partially because he may have been the worse of the two, and partially because I believe he was trying to make this point) who was terribly, utterly lost and rejected by absolutely everyone. And right in the middle of that, his disciples say “Don’t you even CARE about us? C’mon, can’t You DO SOMETHING!?”

Truly, the disciples (and us!) have NO IDEA just how much and how incredibly deeply Jesus truly cares for each one.

Towards the lost, He was willing to cross the great divide; God became Man, He suffered, was beaten and died, all while the world was saying “Don’t you even care?” – the ultimate insult coming out of the ultimate self-centered misunderstanding/deception.

Towards us, who are now saved, He wants to extend that care towards the lost, through us. Does that mean He cares less for the saved now? Of course not. But, now that we are saved and have been given a measure of faith, He expects us to start using it. “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Jesus cares just as deeply about the saved, but now He wants to extend His reach by using the saved to get the lost.

If we can only take our eyes off ourselves, and put them on Jesus where they belong, we’ll start to see how that is possible.

 

 

 

 

Revelation 8:11 – Are a Third of the Waters Becoming Bitter?

And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea:and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

Revelation 8:8-11 KJV

In recent years we’ve had two unprecedented (to my knowledge) disasters in the oceans: the BP Oil Spill (started April 2010) in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Fukushima radiation leakage (March 11, 2011). Sure, we’ve had oil spills before, but not like this. And yes, we’ve also had nuclear disasters before (ie Chernobyl), but again, not like this.

Are a third of the waters becoming “bitter” to the point that many men are dying? Are these events at least a partial fulfillment of the verses in Revelation above? In the passage, it references the rivers and the “fountains of waters,” and these two disasters are ocean (seas) based. Is there a connection? I don’t know – I’m just pointing things out here.

I believe that the book of Revelation, being prophecy, is fulfilled on several different levels. I believe it effectively lays out history as we’ve known if for the past 2000 years since Christ, plus I believe it speaks of events that are best perceived spiritually in the last days, and I also believe that it has a physical interpretation as well. For instance, the seas refer to the spiritual life of man, and an interpretation along these lines is meaningful. Mountains are spiritual powers, and so a huge demonic power thrown into the sea of man’s spiritual life would necessarily pollute and poison the spiritual life of the people. Interestingly, if you want to join the cloud of witnesses, you must evaporate (be saved) out of the sea of human spirituality… There is much more that could be said along these lines, but I don’t really want to get into it here. The reason for the post is the third possible interpretation of Revelation – the physical signs in the world around us. Is that what we’re beginning to see happening around the world today?

Read the links and draw your own conclusions – I’d love to hear them in the comments below. The list of links below is far from conclusive, but rather just a sampling to get you thinking. If you know of others that bring out another aspect of the story, please post them in the comments below and I will include them.

Radiation in the Pacific:

Here’s a good collection of more links, for the curious.

Interestingly, the Pacific ocean covers approximately one third of the earth’s surface, according to Wikipedia.

Oil & CoRexit in the Gulf of Mexico:

A Message of Idolatry & Repentance – David Wilkerson

I came across this short message from David Wilkerson, and it impacted me enough that I wanted to re-post it here, in the hopes that perhaps even one other person might be blessed by it.

One of the idols he singles out is TV. I have not had a TV in my house since I moved out of my parent’s place (7+ years ago), and I’m very happy that’s the case. As such, I’ve been sensitized to seeing it’s effects on those around me, and I wholeheartedly agree with David. It’s funny when the cable companies call, and I tell them I don’t have a TV… and they’re dumbfounded. Absolutely everything on TV – yes, even the “news” and the so-called good shows – is tainted by the occult and the dissociative spirits that come down from higher up in the networks. That’s a subject for a much larger post than this, but believe me when I say I can feel it (spiritually) when a TV is on in the room, and even watching the news, I feel that spirit hit me instantly.

Although I talk about TV here, it doesn’t escape me that the spirit of idolatry is not limited to TV, and even if you don’t have a TV, there are plenty of other ways this can creep into your life.

So, without saying anything further, here’s the message. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Forbidden Gates: Book Review

I just finished reading Forbidden Gates by Tom & Nita Horn. The full title is quite a mouthful, “Forbidden Gates: How Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Nanotechnology, and Human Enhancement Herald The Dawn Of Techno-Dimensional Spiritual Warfare.” You can find it on Amazon here.

The first part of the book deals with some of the basics you might encounter in any other book on spiritual warfare. The fact that demons do indeed exist, that they do indeed have power, and that they are subject to the name of Jesus Christ. Tom & Nita were involved in exorcism ministry for quite a while, and as such they have a lot of experience with this kind of subject matter.

The second part of the book talks about how technology has changed, and is changing, the spiritual battleground. For instance, television, and the internet, have made various kinds of sin and bondage so much more accessible than in any previous generation. The point being that with advances in technology, many times the technology ends up being used in a way that can bring bondage rather than freedom to people. I’m constantly sickened by how people are literally addicted to soap opera TV shows that rob them of their free will, inject into them new thoughts and value systems, and become their main source of conversation and thought life. If you disagree, I’d be happy to hear about it in the comments.

In Forbidden Gates, the authors go far beyond talking about the internet though. Truly that is pale by comparison with what is coming upon us, or is in fact here already. No, we’re primarily talking about transhumanism. If you’re unfamiliar with transhumanism, it can take several forms. One way is to tinker with human DNA, adding to it or editing it in such a way that it is no longer original, with the end result being some form of augmentation. Or, you may have heard of the singularity, whereby scientists want to merge humans with machines, effectively creating a race of cyborgs. Or, it might take the form of splicing human and animal DNA together to create a truly hybrid creature with elements of both humans and whatever else they add in the mix.

Regardless of it’s form, transhumanism is strictly off limits according to the Word of God.

“You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material.” Leviticus 19:19 ESV

I won’t even touch the reference to seeds there (think Monsanto) but look at that reference to breeding cattle with a different kind. We’re not talking about interbreeding amongst the same kind here, like for instance coming up with new forms of dogs. You breed a wolf with a basset hound, and that’s ok because God created them to be able to do that. They’re of the same kind. But if you cross a zebra with a monkey, now you’re transgressing God’s commandment.

That same thing applies to humans, which is what happened in Noah’s day, before the flood. There’s a strong argument to be made that when God says Noah was the only one perfect in his generations, that He was in fact talking about Noah’s DNA.

“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Gen. 6:9 KJV

Keep in mind that prior to this, the fallen angels had mated with human women, thus mixing kinds – angelic and human – and many believe that was only the beginning, but that in fact the fallen angels were also involved in mixing humans with all kinds of animal DNA as well. Where do you think all the old cultures on earth have all their stories of these mysterious half-human gods? They’re even mentioned to some extent in the Bible.

So when Jesus says “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” (Luke 17:26 KJV) I believe that refers to the whole package – not only just lots of sin on the earth, but the full expression of Satan’s attempt to destroy the seed of man, and thus render humanity ineligible for salvation.

That’s what is at the root of this, because a woman crossed with a snake (Medusa for instance) or a man crossed with a bull (Minotaur) has not been created by the living God, and thus does not have a spirit. It may have a soul, in the sense that it exhibits characteristics of the soul like independent and intelligent thought, emotions, speech, and the like, but it does not have a redeemable spirit. Thus, it is a perfect vehicle for demons to inhabit, thus providing the spiritual component to the creature. As such, this half human monster may in fact be much more powerful than your average human, more intelligent, and also empowered by demons in a very direct fashion.

In Forbidden Gates, the stark reality is presented that mankind has already crossed the threshold of the forbidden. Our scientists have already begun merging humans with all kinds of non-human things, and we’ve only just begun. Governments are throwing incredible resources behind these projects in an effort to develop the ubermensche that Hitler always dreamed about. Don’t you think the US government would pay handsomely for super soldiers that were faster, smarter, stronger, and more blood thirsty than their enemies? Of course they would. And they are.

In the short video below, you’ll see the trailer for the book. Be warned, it is a bit graphic, but the authors deliberately made it so because this is exactly what we’re facing. We’re not facing another news headline here. This is a wake up call. We’re facing real living beings that are twisted, demonically empowered monsters that will open us up to a whole new kind of evil that most people would never think could exist outside the realm of science fiction.

The book was well written, but I wish the authors had spent more time at the end on true power that we have in the name of Jesus. I’ve long understood the parable of the wheat and the tares (Mat.13:24-30) to be an illustration of how both the kingdom of God (wheat) and the kingdom of Satan (tares) will both grow to full maturity before the time of the end. So, we are not to be disheartened when we hear things like transhumanist monsters coming on the earth, but instead, we are to press into Christ all the more, knowing that our security is in Him. Try reading Psalm 91 with transhumanism in mind, and let me know your thoughts!

As a side note, why do you think it is that the tares are gathered first in that parable? Doesn’t that sort of tip the idea of a pre-trib rapture on it’s head? Too many Christians think that they will not be around to see these things happening, but in fact they are already happening, and guess what, we’re still here. It’s time to figure out that faith is for today – in the midst of trials and tribulations – not for being yanked out of them before they happen.

In Isaiah 43:20 we read:

“The beast of the field shall honour me[God], the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.” KJV

I looked up the word jackals, and found this is the definition: h8577. תַנִין taniyn; or תַנִים tanniym (Ezek. 29: 3), tan- neem«; intensive from the same as 8565; a marine or land monster, i. e. sea- serpent or jackal: — dragon, sea- monster, serpent, whale. AV (28) – dragon 21, serpent 3, whale 3, sea monster 1; dragon, serpent, sea monster dragon or dinosaur sea or river monster serpent, venomous snake.

Now I’m no translation expert, but it seems to me that jackal is an odd choice amongst a collection of creatures like that. Perhaps the translators didn’t see how the others could fit.

I think it’s possible that this verse specifically refers to any and all of these strange beasts we may see coming on the earth… truly monsters as we would understand them.

The other word, owls, or ostriches in the NKJV, literally means “daughters of the owls.” Again, this could be a reference to transhumanism I suppose. Normally, that might be a bit of a stretch, but seeing it is right beside all the monsters, maybe not…

At the end of the day though, even these beasts from beyond the Forbidden Gates are subject to the name of Jesus Christ, and an will be defeated by His Church.

You can find Forbidden Gates on Amazon here.

The Archon Invasion and the Return of the Nephilim

I just listened to Rob Skiba’s full four hour (yeah, it’s long) lecture on The Archon Invasion and the Return of the Nephilim. You can find the two part series in the Youtube videos embedded below. I highly recommend settling in and going through the whole thing; you will find that although the subject starts way back in Genesis 6, it is once again coming on the scene with increasing importance. I only recently came across the term transhumanism (roughly defined as making humans better in some way, ie as a cyborg, or by creating hybrid humans with some other thing) recently, though I quickly realized it is all around us. You can’t pickup a book or watch a movie without seeing the transhumanist theme flowing through there… and think back to how long this has been accepted and idolized in myth and lore!

Some well known examples: Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Superman, Ironman, the Hulk, nearly every Lord of the Rings character, everything related to vampires, pretty much every comic book character… that’s just a tiny list, and I admittedly don’t watch much TV or movies, so I’m relatively naive about this stuff. But I see enough to know that it’s all over the place. Science fiction films and TV shows nearly all include some form of transhumanism now, many rely on that as a cornerstone of their storyline.

Of course, all this goes WAY back to the ancient civilizations who worshiped these transhuman creatures: Pan (half man, half goat), Molech / Chemosh (half man, half cow), Dagon (half man, half fish), Sphinx (half man, half lion), Minotaur (half man, half bull) and many more.

Rob Skiba builds a strong case that in Genesis 6, the “watchers” or “Archons” or “sons of God” decided to take human women as their wives. This produced beings that were half Archon, and half human. I’m still not entirely clear what an Archon is, but for now, let’s just call them rebellious angels of a fairly high order. Anyways, the offspring were called “Nephilim” and became giants.

Yes, we’re talking about real giants here folks. Goliath was about 9-12 feet tall; Og king of Bashan was more like 15 feet tall, and there are archeological remains of giants much, much larger. Combining archeology, myth and historical sources, we can estimate these things may have grown as high as 150 feet. Can you imagine how much that would eat in a day?! Think that’s crazy? For a modern day example of how this is possible checkout LigerLiger.com to see a 900 lb half lion, half tiger with no growth inhibiting genes functioning. The thing just keeps growing.

The Nephilim were all destroyed in the Flood; however Rob Skiba explains how he believes some of their DNA was carried through by one or more of Noah’s son’s wives. Noah himself was of pure lineage, as was his wife we believe (she was the daughter of Enoch). That makes his sons pure, but what about the wives? After the Flood, Nimrod apparently discovered how to activate the Nephilim gene somehow, and grew to be a giant or giant hunter. Rob explains this in far more detail than I am here.

Thus we have giants still on the earth when the Israelites are taking the Promised Land.

Ok, now fast foward to today. Rob Skiba explains how as part of their punishment, the Archon were chained in darkness for 70 generations. Without getting into the math here, that ends roughly in the early 1900’s. Since that time we’ve had incredible technological progress. Prior to the Flood, there is a lot of evidence that there was also great technological progress, except for hundreds of years… we’ve only had a little over a hundred years of massive progress. Think of what could be possible by people so much closer to the source of this intelligence, who lives 5 times as long as we do and could learn and work for that whole life span? Personally, I believe that in many ways they were actually technologically superior to where we are today, though I’ll leave that discussion for another day!

Today we not only have transhumanism all over pop culture, but we also have plenty of reports of “alien” abductions and the like. The whole topic of aliens is an interesting one. I’ve been on-and-off interested in the subject for a number of years. Originally, it was this bizarre fascination with the strange stories I read. Then, as I read more and more credible accounts of these encounters, I started wondering what the heck was going on. Was there life from other planets? It seemed the evidence was mounted too high to simply discard, yet I didn’t know what to do with it, from a Biblical worldview standpoint. Then, a couple years ago I came across some Christians with ministries to those who had been abducted by aliens. These Christians helped put things in perspective for me, revealing that the so-called aliens are demonic in nature, and they are indeed subject to the name of Jesus. Now, most recently, I’ve started seeing how the “aliens” are in fact related to the Nephilim of scripture, and that they are back at their old tricks of creating animal-human hybrids. Furthermore, this is the end-game plan of the anti-christ – in fact the anti-christ himself may well be a hybrid being.

So with that introduction, I hope you’ll take the time to watch through Rob Skiba’s excellent series below. Keep your mind open and your Bible at hand, and may the Holy Spirit lead you into all truth as you submit to Him. (Jn 16:13)

God wants to dwell in His children

In 1 Samuel 4 and 5 we have the story of the ark of the covenant being captured by the Philistines. In 1 Samuel 4:3, we read:

“…Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.”

The Israelites had turned the ark of the covenant into an idol; they had disassociated it from God Himself, and were now trying to use it like a lucky charm, just how the pagans did with their own idols. God cannot be manipulated by human machinations, and when man does try to manipulate God for his own purposes, he will inevitably fail.

30,000 Israelites died that day, including their priestly leaders, Hophni, Phineas and Eli. 30 is the number for spiritual maturity in the Bible: David and Jesus both entered their ministries at 30. In this story though (1 Sam 4:10), we see that 30 thousand died! I believe this indicates Israel had completely lost their spiritual maturity. 30 is also the number of fruitfulness, and in this case, they had totally lost all ability to produce righteous fruit before God.

So that is the background story, right? Then the ark gets captured, and brought to the Philistine cities. God will not be subject to any idol, and so we see the idol of Dagon being dismembered during the night. If you haven’t read this story recently, you should; there is a lot more in here than I’m touching on today.

Then next thing that happens is that tumors start breaking out on the Philistine people all over the place. They start moving the ark around from city to city, but everywhere it goes, it carries a deadly curse with it.

In 1 Sam 5:11 we read:

“”Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go back to its own place, so that it does not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.”

The thing that struck me as I read this was that despite Israel having proven their total lack of spiritual maturity, and their total lack of respect for their God, God was still arranging events so that the ark of His covenant could get back among His people.

Despite their rebellion, they were His people, and the Philistines were not! God wants to dwell among His people!

There’s a similar story in Numbers 23, where Balaam goes to curse the Israelites, and God looks down and says “there’s nothing wrong with them!” Balaam ends up blessing Israel instead. Looking from the outside in, God sees His people through the lens of Christ’s sacrifice, and sees us holy and set apart for Him. As such, He wants to dwell among us and have fellowship with us.

From the inside, God of course does not condone sin, and the Holy Spirit always brings conviction of sin in order to bring about true experiential holiness among His people.

Why I Left The Prophetic Movement: Review

I read through “Why I Left The Prophetic Movement” by Andrew Strom in nearly a single sitting today. Right from the start, he got my attention with tales of deception and false signs that are happening all over the place in today’s “Prophetic” movement, which ties in quite nicely with other things I have been reading about and studying lately.

I’ve been concerned about this whole gold dust and feathers issue, as I couldn’t really see how it would fit into a genuine move of God. Other manifestations are a little more easy to discern, especially serpent-related behaviors like hissing, writhing on the ground, jack-knifing, and the like.

What Is True Revival?

In “Why I Left The Prophetic Movement” Andrew Strom makes a clear distinction between these false signs and the work of the Holy Spirit. The major distinguishing factor, or question to ask, is this: “Is this done with a sense of God’s holiness, and above all, repentance?”

He spends a lot of time on the repentance issue, saying that repentance is really the only true mark of a revival. When people come face to face with the presence of God, they will not immediately be filled with thoughts of prosperity and blessing and happiness. Far from it. Andrew gives examples all through history of revivals where the first mark is always repentance; a deep anguish in a fresh understanding of just how sinful we are before God. It is only once this repentance has happened that the renewing work of the Holy Spirit can come. This second step, following just after, is where we see the signs and wonders, healings, great joy, and true worship. However, you can’t have the second step without the first, and if you do… then you have a counterfeit work of the spirit.

The first part of the book focuses a lot on recounting various experiences that Andrew himself has had as part of the Prophetic movement, and he also shares quite a few letters he received recounting other people’s experiences. These stories really serve to illustrate the things that are wrong with that movement today, and of course strengthen the underlying reason for the book: “Why I Left The Prophetic Movement.”

The second part of the book moves away from the bad stuff that is happening, and starts looking at what true revival really is, what we can expect to see in one, and how we can be involved in starting one. Every revival throughout history has been started by at least two or three people praying, travailing before God, breaking through into His throne room, and “praying down” a revival. The next revival will be no different… Are you one of those people?

Andrew points out that what we need now is in fact much more than a Revival; we need a Reformation, which is 10 times worse in terms of the impact on the flesh. A true Reformation shocks the world system to the core, overturns all kinds of doctrines and sacred cows, every established idol of the flesh.

Another thing he mentions is that there appears to have been a regular wave of revivals in America, since its foundation, roughly once every 50 years. This lines up with the Jubilee cycle, which I found interesting. What greater expression of a Jubilee can we have today than a true revival? If this pattern is in fact established by God (and I tend to agree with him that it is), then we’re coming due, or indeed overdue, for the next. Andrew’s fear is that we may miss our opportunity because of the hardness of hearts and unwillingness to hear the message.

The book ends with a call to Christians to make the decision now to begin “praying down a revival.” To make the decision now to set their backbone against the tide when it comes.

“Why I Left The Prophetic Movement” doesn’t pull any punches, though I believe at the same time it is brought in a spirit of love. Rarely are names named, but instead the call goes out in a more general fashion.

Ezekiel 22:30 “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”

I pray that God will find men and women prepared and ready to stand in the gap when He comes looking.