Our Now-Time, Spiritual Setting
The apostle John in the book of Revelation brings this together for us:
Then an astonishing miracle-sign appeared in heaven. I saw a woman clothed with the brilliance of the sun, and the moon was under her feet. She was wearing on her head a victor’s crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in labor pains, in the agony of giving birth ~Revelation 12:1-2, TPT.
The Passion Translation’s (TPT) note on this shows us a wonderful picture of victory:
“The church is figuratively spoken of as a woman. The description of her “clothed with the sun, and with the moon (which symbolises the powers of darkness) under her feet” points to the victorious church about to give birth to a company of believers who will do the great works of Jesus and spread the brilliance of his glory throughout the earth. The overcoming bride of Christ is also seen as a woman “clothed with the sun.” See Gen. 37:9-10; Song. 6:10″ ~note a.
Enter the dragon! The next verses of chapter 12 describe the apostle John’s vision of how Satan fell from heaven and is now relegated to the environs of earth and the heavens.
Revelation 12:13 sets our battle scene:
Now, when the dragon realized that he had been cast down to the earth, he set off in pursuit of the woman who had given birth to the man-child ~12:13.
It’s important to note that the “man child” to whom the woman is giving birth is not Christ, for Christ had already come and gone! TPT’s note ‘ i ‘ on 12:13 puts it this way:
“The man-child is a company of believers who have overcome the dragon. They are the symbolic 144,000 victorious ones. See Rom. 8:17; 1 Cor. 4:8; 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:12″ ~note i.
So, we have Jesus’ Church represented by the woman. She’s in labour and seeking to give birth to a company of victorious believers. But the dragon who is Satan, seeks to wipe out the woman with a flood ~vv13-17. In verse 17, the apostle records this:
Then the dragon became enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the remnant of her offspring who follow the commands of God and have the testimony of Jesus ~Revelation 12:17, TPT.
~TPT’s note ‘k’ on v17: “That is, they have the character and nature of Jesus. It is the power of the faithful testimony of Jesus (not ours) that has power to overcome the devil”.
Ah ha! So there’s Jesus’ testimony and then there’s our testimony. Jesus’ testimony has power to overcome the devil but ours is powerless – this is indeed the teaching of scripture. A good book to “lay that out in our minds” is Watchman Nee’s, The Latent Power of the Soul. But even Jeus said:
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life ~John 6:63, ESV.
It’s the spritual life and power that’s in the spiritual words that Jesus, the Spirit of Christ gives us through our knowledge of God’s word that alone have the power to overcome the supernatural, slanderous, accusing, maligning, lying and deceptive works of the devil.
When Holy Spirit inspires such an ownership claim of God’s Word in our hearts through prayer it becomes a powerful, spiritual claim that’s able to crush and dismantle the strongholds of Satan’s kingdom.
The Church’s Foe
“We are our own worst enemies”, is a common coloquialism. Well, I guess we are, in our natural state. So, let’s identify Revelations’ beast, and see where all this is headed.
The apostle John records another part of his vision in Revelation 13:1: “Then I saw a wild beast rising from the sea with ten horns and seven heads”, TPT. It’s important to acknowledge translator Brian Simmon’s note ‘a’ on 13:1.
“The word beast (therion) is also used in the Bible for an evil person or in describing the sinful nature of man. See Eccl. 3:18; Pss. 22:12-13; 73:22; 1 Cor. 15:22. Therion is found extensively in classical Greek describing wicked or pathetic people. Plato (Phaedrus, 204b) applies it to people: “A flatterer is a horrid creature [therion] who does great harm.” See also Aristophanes, Clouds, 184″ ~note a.
Never in my 30-or-so years of Christian pilgramage have I been able to make a whole sense of meaning to such passages, especially of Revelation, until these joining explanations came with The Passion Translation!
The dragon shared his power, throne, and great authority with the wild beast ~Revelation 13:2(b).
So, Satan’s “throne of power and authority” depends on his use of the sinful nature of man in all its manifestations. The Message translation’s description of these is a good source of comprehension, and of contrast with a truly spiritual life:
“It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
“This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely” ~Galatians 5:19-23, MSG.
Further, we see the beast again in Revelation 13:5-6, “The wild beast was given a mouth to speak boastful and blasphemous words … So the wild beast began to blaspheme against God, blaspheming his holy name and his dwelling place…”.
Notice, that people’s sinful natures are used by Satan to blaspheme God’s dwelling place, to ridicule, degrade and render ineffective God’s Church! This power has been given to the beast, and I believe it’s been given by God or at least allowed by God so that we learn to discern good from evil :in: His Church. Let’s see.
The apostle John goes on to describe the works of this ‘throne of power’ thus:
I saw three unclean spirits like frogs belched from the mouths of the dragon, the wild beast, and the false prophet … The demonic spirits assembled the kings together at the place called in Hebrew the “Mount of the Governor” ~Revelation 16:13 & 16, TPT.
Again, Brian Simmons’ note is important here: “(Mount of the Governor) Or “Armageddon.” The Greek word for “Armageddon” comes from the word meged, which can be translated “precious fruit,” “excellent,” “choice things,” “pleasant things.” Armegeddon can also be viewed as a realm where both good and evil is gathered together. The battle on God’s great day includes the war within the hearts of mankind” ~v16, note h.
There are some choice passages in God’s holy book that identify and explain the difference between “flesh”/mankind’s sinful nature and “spirit”/the original intention of God for the way that we can now live by God’s Spirit. e.g. Romans chapters 6-8 and the Galatians 5 passage cited above.
Therefore “a realm where both good and evil is gathered together” (Armegeddon/the Mount of the Governor), can also refer to the battle between flesh and spirit :in: God’s Church where Satan ‘delights to take’ strongholds of divergence from God’s truth and turn the Church or churches from the powerful realm of using God’s word to defeat his kingdom. This is the warning of this article. May Holy Spirit open our eyes.
In this next section, I will attempt to describe the main spirit of darkness and its unique manifestations that’s by-and-large, remained undected among worshipping believers and church leaderships and leaders, which has had this plan, plot and ploy of a subterfuge – which is the use of deceipt in order to achieve its goal of diverting God’s people from the use of His prophetic word’s powerful, dark-kingdom-destroying claims.
Spirit of this Age
Demonic spirits can be named and names go with a claim of delieverance, but names are descriptive only and will be effective if they suit and match-in-spirit, the character and nature of that spirit. It’s the spiritual force of the authority of the claim, not the name itself that effects the deliverance. That’s why we need Jesus’ testimony, the testimony of His word against that spirit, not our own testimony(ies).
So, for the purpose of this article, we’ll just call it: the Spirit of this Age.
For, just as I’ve been describing, we live in the Church Age where we’re in the midst of this spirit war. The apostle John in Revelation reveals the truth of our authority over Satan’s kingdom in veiled terms, but yet again, it’s described by Brian Simmons who seems to put it perfectly in his note on Revelations 20:1-2.
Then I saw a mighty angel descending from the heavenly realm, holding a heavy chain and a key—the key of the deep. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent known as the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years ~20:1-2, TPT.
note a: “Satan has been bound since the death and resurrection of Jesus. We now enforce the judgment that took place on Calvary. The thousand years is an obvious metaphor of the time in which we live (2 Peter 3:8). We are given the authority to “overpower the mighty man and tie him up” and plunder his goods (Mark 3:27). See also Matt. 12:29; John 12:31; Col. 2:15.
It’s the church people’s use of the prophetic Word and of the prophetic Voice of God as described above, that this spirit is contesting against, and it’s doing it through an ancestral and religious stronghold of leadership succession in the churches.
This ancestral and religious stronghold manifests through church people’s “political play” and is “ridden upon” by this spirit through such people’s carnal, sinful and unbelieving ways.
The core operation of political play is that of competition for notoriety and the seeking after a personal security that’s of a soulish, not a true spiritual authority, based upon, and arising out of, an ignorance of the way of God’s grace and mercy, and an ignorance of the truth of the way that God has justified us and given us Christ’s righteousness.
I think we really need to settle with God about such things and abide in Christ, as His word says:
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” ~Isaiah 30:15, ESV.
and: ~Isaiah 32:15-18,
Context: It’s like: “We’re alive…
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
(As God’s people, we are trees of righteousness: a forest!)
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
(We are “a fruitful field”, for He makes us lie down in green pastures ~Psalm 23)
and the result of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places ~Isaiah 32:15-18, ESV.
So, let’s let the Word of God sort this Spirit of this Age out!
Jealousy and a Henchman
The following quote is the note from a, in this Psalm’s title of the Passion Translation’s text:
“For this episode in David’s life, see 1 Sam. 21:1-9; 22:9-23.
“The Edomites, although close relatives to the Hebrews, were bitter enemies to God’s people. In spite of Doeg’s lineage – who was an Edomite – he became a high-ranking official in Saul’s kingdom. He also ‘put to the sword’ all the priests of Nob – 85 of them; and all the household of Ahimelech: men, women, children and livestock, when the other soldiers of Saul’s refused to do it! ~1 Sam. 22. Herod the Great, who slaughtered the babes of Bethlehem, was an Edomite.
“At the time David wrote this psalm, Saul had already attempted to kill him sixteen times.
“Ahimelech, the caretaker of the sword of Goliath, was a descendant of Eli – one of God’s people, and a true Israelite”.
Ahimelech was a priest but was murdered by Doeg along with his whole househhold of 85 priestly people, and all for the sake of king Saul’s jealousy of David. It’s the character of this relationship between king Saul with his jealousy for his right as a king, and Doeg who’d become Saul’s “do as I say, man”, that describes this Spirit of this Age.
King Saul was jealous of the chosen king: David. He had his jealous follower: Doeg the Edomite as his right-hand man, who also followed Saul’s instructions blindly, resulting in murder and wholesale slaughter; and so too the spirit of this world’s jealousy of God’s right-ways: Herod’s type of a way, resulted in wholesale murder of the babies of Ramah.
Herod the Great, who slaughtered the babes of Bethlehem, was also an Edomite.
Leading up to this episode in David’s life, was his covenant with Jonathan where Jonathan exposed his father’s jealous, murderous, sworn pact against David to kill him and warned David of it. This was the start of David’s “exile”.
And, isn’t it just the same over the “showbread issue”, which arises from these same chapters in 1 Samuel, which is that of ~Mark 2:27? This is where-and-when Jesus replies to the Pharisees who were jealous for their own “lawful way”, just like king Saul: to “sustain their kingdom”, saying: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”.
What is Lawful, the Case of the Showbread
It seems at this time, as through our churches have a way of worship that’s “made for man”, not that we’re leading and conducting our worship as if it’s designed by God so as to fulfil His desires for the fruit of our worship, that we’d be equipped to reach people in the world.
There was a prophetic word spoken by Murray Newman at the Australian Christian Churches, District Conference in Port Macquarie on September 8th 2018. Murray claims to be a current-day, new covenant prophet.
He said: No longer call your church services: services, but call them equipping sessions.
Murray ministered from Ezekiel 17 about the River of God flowing from the Temple. His major theme was teaching prophetically, how God wants the Church to be like a pregnancy coming true. That’s something that concurs with these writings! and the woman-figure of Revelations.
Just how to design our church meetings as equipping sessions, is up to each church leadership, but whilse we have a latent jealousy for doing things our way and will not yield to God’s prophetic Voice and building a Kingdom Culture in our churches, “the woman’s pregnancy” will be a still birth!
It would be expedient in God to heed the warning and promise of 2 Chronicles 20:20: “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed”.
With the same issue of the showbread in Matt. 12:7, Jesus replies with similar words but with a different stance: “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent”, just like that spirit of worldly jealousy murdered the innocent priests of Nob and all Ahimelech’s people!
These were innocent people, and they showed David mercy. Ahimelech even made a plea to Saul when Saul accused him of treason against him, but Saul only wanted to sacrifice them to his own jealous whim, to protect his right to pursue David.
And, isn’t that the ‘staging right’ of some of our church practices? We call people out to the altar as if their cases are worse than ours and practice our magic show religion over them with hands being land on them and ineffective prayers being prayed for them, neglecting all-the-while to wait on Holy Spirit for the Word that would heal them.
Isn’t such ‘leadership’ ‘cranked up’ upon the jealous pursual of a right to be the clerics, the outstanding priests, the commanding masters, the only ones to whom people can go for the remedy of their troubles, maladies and aliments? Let me temper that! For I do believe in the role of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and in the Biblical and spiritual power for calling for the elders ~James 5.
The Spirit of this Age is after the priesthood of all believers and church leaderships are responsible before God for training and equipping each believer as a priest for Him!
Jealousy is a cruel master, for they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands but David his tens of thousands”, and everyone knew! So king Saul had a public case for his jealousy against David, for David was seen to be the nation’s hero, but in his humility, he would not “touch the Lord’s anointed”.
God had his season for king Saul’s kingship, and David determined not to interfere with that even though he was being horribly persecuted by God’s anointed. And so it seems to be for prophets and prophetic people in many churches today. That Spirit of this Age is rampant in the churches that persecute such prophetic people and many leaders remain blind to it’s operations, clinging to their own latent jealousy.
Again, the issue of the showbread is raised in Luke 6:5, where Jesus simply says: ““The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”.
It may be a spirit of jealousy inherited through ancestry, but it manifests itself through pride having to make sacrifices in order to justify its wrong motive(s) and for justifying its rights to positions and power, whereas our Lord said: “the greatest among you shall be the servant of all”, and in effect: receive My kingdom as a child would (v37) ~Mark 9:33-37, just like David :in: his sixteen times of persecution from king Saul, even so: served Saul!
Conversely, our Lord set up the Sabbath with mankind in mind! For even David’s men had ‘kept themselves from women’ for the sake of their ‘holy crusade’ even though they weren’t going out to war on this occasion, the occasion of seeing Ahimelech at Nob.
So David’s men were taught to be holy; but also as Jesus said: “even the priests who serve on the Sabbath, must break the law by eating amid their duty”, so God had us in mind all along! God is not motivated by jealousy, but by His promise to fulfil His word: David! I-Have selected you as king, and you will reign. It didn’t look like it at this time.
Did you pastors and leaders hear that! “God is not motivated by jealousy, but by His promise to fulfil His word”. It seems to me that most pastors “court the favour of God” and want God to manifest in their churches but underlying it all is this Sprit of this Age, this latent jealousy for their position as leaders and they’ve ‘spawned it’ among their people.
If God is motivated to fulfil His word, then let’s speak it! But if latent jealousy is your hideout, then repent. For God’s word, spoken by anyone with a jealous heart for the glory of their own position will be tainted with all those traits of the flesh, but when it’s spoken from a servant’s heart for God’s people’s sake, then it has God’s power in it.
A Spiritual Solution: Jeremiah’s Commissioning
Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”
Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”
And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”
Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word” ~Jeremiah 1:9-12 NKJV.
The New International Version of the Bible renders verse 12 this way: ““You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled”.
The NIV has a note for “watching”: “The Hebrew for watching sounds like the Hebrew for almond tree”. But the NIV makes it sound like the Lord is watching over the person to see if they will speak and fulfil His word.
Whereas the Amplified gives it this sense: “Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a branch or shoot of an almond tree – the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter. Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.
And the NKJV seems to put it in the context of Jeremiah’s commissioning:
“I-Am ready to perform My word”.
Because: God had already touched Jeremiah’s mouth and said:
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
(So, the words I-Have put in your mouth, I-Am ready to perform these, for:)
See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”
For it is the WORDS of the prophets/prophetic people, that do these things over nations and kingdoms: uproot, pull down, destroy & overthrow, to build and to plant, according to the words that God puts in our mouths! ~see Hosea 6:4-6, ESV.
So, let’s be done with the Spirit of this Age and any parocial vision and operation of churches/church leaderships who display these symptoms of denying God’s prophetic Voice by neglecting their church’s responsibility for equipping the saints.
We are a company of true believers, bought forth by God’s Word of truth, that same word that Jesus’ true bride has become pregnant with, through her intimacy with our King and has bought us forth/given us birth as a royal priesthood, as His chosen generation and as His holy nation here on earth as we are in heaven.
But none-the-less, despite all persecutions, let us hold forth the Word of truth from our mouths as the sharp, two-edged sword that it is, and by our prophetic speech, dismantle, crush and abolish one-by-one the strongholds of Satan’s lying strategies and works, putting them under God’s people’s feet.
Shalom, beloved of our Lord.
Pic. 1: Mount St. Helens errupted in the early 1970’s I think it was, which is something like the previous two church Reformations, one by Martin Luther in the 1500s restoring the Protestant teaching of justification by faith and imputed righteousness, and one “in the throes” of more recent Pentecostal revival movements, like Azusa St. and the Vineyard Church’s magnificent revival and reformation’s effect. Anyone may be able to identify many other revival and reformation events, but they’re erruptions, all!
Such events have major effects on the ways we worship! and upon church culture.
But time has lapsed, just like the picture shows. The landscape of our combined churches’ faith efforts, has blossomed with ‘wild and gay’ worship services, a litergical progression for the worship service and a leadership style that, by-and-large, tends to exclude God’s prophetic Voice and deny His Kingdom Culture in the churches’ operations. Albeit, the landscape of the Church – let’s say the western Church in particular – has bloomed as the result of such revivals and reformations. Glory to our King.
Another caveat. I’m all for outrageous worship that’s Godward in churches, don’t get me wrong. He is enthroned in the praises of His people and worship is the place of the transferrance of His spiritual gifts to us, and for our people.
Pic 2: There is a tidal surge of God’s grace coming our way, but it won’t be recognised nor adopted for the godly and true functioning of churches unless and until each church ‘takes on board’ and seeks grace from Holy Spirit to operate in ‘the prophetic’, employing God’s prophetic Voice and training the saints for works of service by it, and then building this Kingdom Culture until our King returns, for “who is that ignorant servant who knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?” ~Matthew 25:26. For:
Why would you say, “But it’s none of my business”?
The one who knows you completely and judges your every motive
is also the keeper of souls—and not just yours!
He sees through your excuses and holds you responsible
for failing to help those whose lives are threatened.
Revelation-knowledge is a delicacy,
sweet like flowing honey that melts in your mouth.
Eat as much of it as you can, my friend!
For then you will perceive what is true wisdom,
your future will be bright,
and this hope living within will never disappoint you ~Proverbs 24:12-14, TPT.
Listen to me and you will be prudent and wise.
For even the foolish and feeble
can receive an understanding heart
that will change their inner being.
The meaning of my words will release within you
revelation for you to reign in life.
My lyrics will empower you to live by what is right.
For everything I say is unquestionably true,
and I refuse to endure the lies of lawlessness—
My words will never lead you astray.
All the declarations of my mouth can be trusted;
They contain no twisted logic or perversion of the truth.
All My words are clear and straightforward to everyone
who possesses spiritual understanding.
If you have an open mind, you will receive revelation-knowledge.
My wise correction is more valuable than silver or gold.
The finest gold is nothing compared to the
revelation-knowledge I can impart.
Wisdom is so priceless that it exceeds the value than any jewel.
Nothing you could wish for can equal her.
For I am wisdom, and I am shrewd and intelligent.
I have at My disposal living-understanding
to devise a plan for your life.
~Proverbs 8:5-12 The Passion Translation