Friday, March 13, 2009

Affirmations to American Pie, and the Premature Restoration of the Wicked

Joseph Herrin (03-13-09)

Recently the Spirit of Christ spoke a profound message concerning the end of America as a nation using the song American Pie by Don McLean and the Continental Connections flight that crashed in Buffalo, New York as witnesses to the sober message being declared. If you have not read about this sign and prophetic word, you can find a description of it at the following links:

Two days ago a sister in Christ, who has just recently begun reading the posts on the Parables Blog website, informed me of a very remarkable affirmation to what was shared in the above articles. She had been looking over a large number of prophetic words on a prophecy website when she came across one written two years ago by a man in Australia.

The prophecy, which was originally given in 2007 related a dream that Tim Ryan Price had after being led of the Spirit over a prolonged time to inquire when the next major judgment on America would occur. Time wrote that the Lord told him that judgment would fall in two years (from the 2007 date), and God spoke to him in the dream in an unusual way. He relates it in the following manner:

In the dream I woke up in my bed at night, and a message from the Holy Spirit started to play through my radio (that I have in real life). In the dream, I knew it wasn't from the radio, because it wasn't plugged in, I knew it was the Holy Spirit depositing this message right into my ears. The message that played was a broadcast from the 'Prophecy Club' (that Stan Johnson runs in real life). At the end of the broadcast, the song 'American Pie' started to play (and if you read the lyrics to that song, it is sobering indeed).

When I woke from this dream, it was the first time I've ever woken from a dream from the Lord and actually felt the dread and weight of what is coming with such force. The reality of what is coming just stunned me.

I do not know if Tim Price is aware that the song American Pie was sung at Barack Obama’s recent presidential inauguration. 500,000 people stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and sang along with the song, which includes the lyrics “This’ll be the day that I die. This’ll be the day that I die.”

When I posted a blog previously that included links to short video segments showing the huge crowd at the inaugural concert singing these words, the link did not show up in the e-mail version that was mailed out. I am therefore going to share the links here once more.

Link to a half million people singing “American Pie” at Obama’s Inaugural Concert.

(22 seconds)

Barack Obama at the same concert singing the words “This’ll be the day that I die.”

(11 seconds)

The articles I posted on this topic were written AFTER the crash of the Continental Connections airplane with three musicians aboard. It was written AFTER the inauguration where this very unusual song selection was chosen. In the minds of those singing it, it was likely chosen because the inauguration was taking place near to the 50 year anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, a tragic event in the music industry that the song American Pie commemorates.

However, the dream and prophetic word related by Tim Ryan Price were received BEFORE the Continental Connections crash and BEFORE anyone had an inkling that Barack Obama would be America’s next president and he would sing the song American Pie at his inaugural concert.

When I read this word I sought to verify that it had indeed been written prior to these events. The sister who sent it to me had read it at a website I was unfamiliar with, so I did a Google search to find an early posting of the word. I found the word posted exactly as she sent it to me on the End Time Prophetic Vision website. This website keeps archives of all of the words posted. The words are posted weekly, and it is therefore possible to determine when a word was given. I found it had been posted there in March of 2008, a full ten months before the inaugural concert and 11 months before the plane crash.

Following is the complete text of the word:

Judgment In 2 Years
Tim Ryan Price
Gold Coast Australia

On the 20/9/07 the Lord gave me a dream in answer to a prayer request of mine. The Lord had put on my heart to start asking Him when He will allow the next major judgment to fall upon America. This request stayed with me for around 10 weeks, when one night, the Lord spoke clearly again to me through a devotional saying ASK AND IT WILL BE GIVEN UNTO YOU. I asked, and a few nights later I had the following dream:
The form of a person appeared right before me, though I couldn't see the person clearly, and it was told to me, "TWO YEARS, IN TWO YEARS" (the judgment will fall).
In the dream I woke up in my bed at night, and a message from the Holy Spirit started to play through my radio (that I have in real life). In the dream, I knew it wasn't from the radio, because it wasn't plugged in, I knew it was the Holy Spirit depositing this message right into my ears. The message that played was a broadcast from the 'Prophecy Club' (that Stan Johnson runs in real life). At the end of the broadcast, the song 'American Pie' started to play (and if you read the lyrics to that song, it is sobering indeed).
When I woke from this dream, it was the first time I've ever woken from a dream from the Lord and actually felt the dread and weight of what is coming with such force. The reality of what is coming just stunned me.
I share this because as it says in Amos: 3v7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. v8The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?
And what I experienced in the dream closely matches with the type of prophetic experience that occurred in Job: 4v15: Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair on my body stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; there was silence; then I heard a voice saying...
Forewarned for us often means being able to be forearmed and prepared. The Lord gave Noah ample warning of what was coming, not only to physically prepare, but spiritually as well. We can all ask the Lord, "in light of the coming judgment Lord, what is your will for us?" In knowing His will, we can have perfect peace knowing what is coming- knowing that He will save and prepare His own.
There is always His specific will for us, for the specific times and purposes in our lives, and the in relation to the world around us.
[End of Word]

I want to relate to you another unusual affirmation to the message found in the posts titled The Day the Music Died and America’s Swan Song. Another reader who is new to the Parables Blog, having read these posts, shared the following account with me.

This woman had been seeking a way to converse with her teenage daughter about the character of the days that lie ahead. She wrote to me the following account:

Well, some of her friends have taken a trip to Greece this week for it is February school vacation week for us here in Boston. The trip was for the jazz band at our high school. The kids were to play on a vacation cruise around the Greek islands. On the way back at the airport in Greece, their Jazz band teacher, Mr. Wrenn had a heart attack and died on the spot. I thought about it and felt that the Lord wanted me to look up the name. Well, a wren is a songbird, and he was a jazz band teacher, and I feel this is yet another confirmation of the day the music died.

Some people have asked me why I write so much regarding the judgment that is to come. Some think that to do so is to promote fear. It is not my intent to promote fear, but rather to alert God’s people to those things that are coming which will indeed be very calamitous. If a people were caught unaware by sudden destruction around them, then many would panic. Panicked people tend to make decisions that are driven by fear and which often prove hurtful to themselves and others. My repeated message to the children of God has been to urge them to prepare themselves spiritually and physically for those things the Spirit of Christ testifies are coming.

To know how to prepare onself spiritually, one must understand why days of great calamity are coming to America and the nations. What will be experienced is the judgment of God. The people of God need to discern why Yahweh is pouring forth judgment that they might separate themselves from all association with those activities being judged. For many years the Spirit has been crying out the words recorded in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 18:4-5
Come out of her, my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

What is it that the Spirit of God is calling His people out from? It is spiritual Babylon, a land of idolatry and confusion. The recent posts on the death of the pastor at First Baptist Church of Maryville, Illinois reveal some of the traits of the harlot church system in this hour. A church that has been espoused to Christ as a pure virgin has defiled herself with the pursuit of many competing affections. When Christ would entreat His people to follow Him through many experiences that would lead to their deliverance from all fleshly defilement and bondage, they have instead chosen to pursue that which satisfies the flesh.

There are many perverse things being proclaimed from pulpits across the land today. There are a myriad of ministers who have convinced the sheep of Christ’s flock that they can serve both God and mammon. They have made crooked the straight ways of the Lord, and God will pour out His plagues upon both the shepherds and the sheep.

The shepherds and sheep alike have lost all spiritual discernment. Having served the flesh so long, they no longer recognize even gross sin and deception. This was recently observed during the Lakeland, Florida debacle that the immoral, covetous and spiritually impure man Todd Bentley foisted upon a slumbering church.

Sadly, it is now being reported by Rick Joyner on the Morningstar website that Todd Bentley is being fast tracked back into a public ministry.

Rick Joyner is even soliciting donations to revive Fresh Fire Ministries. It is reported that during the past nine months that Todd Bentley has divorced his wife and married the younger woman (and former Fresh Fire staff member) with whom he was carrying on an adulterous relationship. Is this what Rick Joyner and the leaders of the prophetic movement call spiritual restoration?

Rick Joyner gives some emotional story about pulling people out of the sewer to justify his actions with both Todd Bentley a Jim Bakker. I believe his analogy is wrongly cast. He is not pulling repentant men out of a sewer. He is getting down in the sewer with them and proclaiming that it is actually a pool of fresh water with just a few unpleasant things floating around.

Rick Joyner handled handled Jim Bakker’s “restoration” in a similar manner. There has been no confession and admission of the depths of depravity that these men were involved in. There cannot be spiritual restoration while men continue to cover their transgressions, making only a token admission of wrongdoing while diverting attention away from the truly abominable practices they were engaged in.

The following link provides an insider’s view of many of the grievous sins that took place.

I read Jim Bakker’s book I Was Wrong when it came out. I discerned then that there was much amiss with the spirit of the book. Jim Bakker spent time chastising others such as Jerry Falwell for their deception and covetousness and selfish ambition. A truly repentant man would admit that his own actions were as bad as, or worse than, any of the men around him. He would confess that God was just in allowing him to experience the bitterness of the deception he himself perpetrated upon others, and he would have no accusations against any man, knowing that his own sins loomed so large in the eyes of God.

There was no mention of the homosexuality that Jim Bakker was engaged in, or the myriad number of adulterous relationships among all of his family and staff members. There was no admission of the embezzlement of gifts that were intended to support the “ministry” of PTL, but which were instead diverted to become personal possessions of the Bakker family. He confessed only that which he could no longer deny, while covering over the majority of his transgressions.

Rick Joyner was instrumental in restoring Jim Bakker back to ministry, as he has also been with Bob Jones, a man who was inducing women to undress for him in his church office that they might “stand naked before the Lord” and Bob might better prophesy over them. Now Rick Joyner is doing the same abominable thing with Todd Bentley.

God is merciful and forgiving, but He also demands integrity and truth in the inner man. These things are absent among the men who are being “restored.” The focus of these men is not upon satisfying a holy God, but rather upon getting back to business as quickly as possible after having put out a raging fire. This is folly. The fire should have been left to consume all that could be consumed until only that which could stand the fire of God remained.

Immediately after Todd Bentley was whisked off of the public scene Rick Joyner counseled people to not speak about the even more serious transgressions that had occurred and were not made public. Now it seems that these things have been forgotten. All is being swept under the rug.

Let Todd Bentley come forth and confess his deception of multitudes of people. Let Him confess the tactics employed where people with serious injuries and sickness were turned away from the platform in droves, when he was advertising a healing anointing was present. Let him confess his covetous spirit and the heinous sin of seeking to profit from what people perceived to be a work of the Holy Spirit. Let him confess his manufactured prophecies that proclaimed that there were people present that God wanted to write out a check for $10,000, a tactic employed nightly. Let Todd Bentley confess his drunkenness and adultery and worse transgressions that he was participating in even while leading a “spiritual revival.” Let Rick Joyner and all those involved denounce the profiteering that accompanies their “ministry.”

There is much that is impure and deceptive in that which is being promoted as prophetic ministry today. The saints of God need to heed the call of the Spirit to “come out of her My people.” The plagues of God are about to be loosed, and woe to those who have not separated the holy from the profane.

People of God, there is a passage of Scripture that describes the lives and actions of these men. It is rarely preached on today, but I can think of no more appropriate application than that which is observed in the lives of these men. Please read the following words of Scripture and consider that which is being communicated.

II Peter 2:13-19
They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but he received a rebuke for his own transgression; for a dumb donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.

Flee from the houses of confusion and deception while you have time. They are about to be consumed in fiery judgment.

Note: As I was preparing to post this, I received the following word written by Zac Poonen which was forwarded to me by Andrew Eberly. It is a very fitting word considering what has just been written.

Warnings To The Church For The Last Days - Zac Poonen
"The forces (of the antichrist) will defile the holy place and put a stop to the daily sacrifices......He will flatter those who disregard the covenant of God, and thus win them over to his side. "But the people who know their God will be strong and do great things. And those with spiritual understanding will have a wide ministry of teaching in those days. But they will be in constant danger, many of them dying by fire and sword, or being jailed and robbed.

"Eventually these pressures will subside, and some ungodly men will come, pretending to offer a helping hand, only to take advantage of them. And some who are the most gifted in the things of God will stumble in those days and fall. (Dan.11:31-35 - Living).

This is a passage that refers to the last days, and so there are many warnings that can be found therein for the church for the spirit of the antichrist will be found even within the church (1 John 2:18,19).

Defiling The Church With Impurity
The spirit of the antichrist seeks to "defile the holy place" (v.31). There is tremendous opposition to the message of holiness and righteousness from Satan. The spirit of the antichrist also encourages "disregard of the covenant" (v.32). The new covenant promises a life of victory over sin. But the antichrist tells believers that it is impossible to live such a life.

The main reason why our own ministry as a church has been opposed in the last two decades throughout India, has been because we have preached holiness and righteousness. We have proclaimed the fact that "sin need not be master over us any longer" (Rom.6:14), that "those who love money cannot love God" (Lk.16:13), that "those who are angry with and despise others are guilty enough to go to hell" (Matt.5:22), that "those who lust after women with their eyes are also in danger of perishing in hell" (Matt.5:28,29), etc., Since these words of Jesus are unpalatable to the vast majority of believers, they have opposed us.

We have stood against the unscriptural salary system for Christian workers (something that was unheard of in the first century) and the unscriptural begging for money that characterizes Christian work in India. This has earned us the wrath of those who make a living through their preaching, and who build their private empires thereby.

We have also stood against personality-cults in the church, popery, denominationalism, Western domination of churches in India, and the unhealthy dependence on Western leadership that has hindered the development of the church here. This has infuriated the cultic groups.

Satan's aim is to corrupt God's sanctuary in one way or the other. He places his "forces" (Dan.11:31) within the church, in order to destroy God's work from within. The history of Christendom reveals how these forces have succeeded in corrupting group after group, and movement after movement, through all these 20 centuries.

The main reason for the church's failure has been that the watchmen whom God appointed in the church did not remain alert and awake. How did Satan succeed in putting these watchmen to sleep? In some cases, by making them afraid to speak the truth lest they offend some people - especially the rich and the influential. In some other cases, by making them wife-pleasers, and lovers of money and of good food.

In some cases, the watchmen themselves got tired of facing constant opposition to their message, as they sought to maintain God's standards in the church. And so they toned down their messages to please men. In Hebrews 12:3, we are told to consider Jesus "Who endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that we may not grow weary and lose heart". Who were these sinners who opposed Jesus? They were not the prostitutes or the murderers or the thieves in Israel. Nor were they the Romans or the Greeks. No. The sinners who opposed Jesus constantly, were the Bible-thumping preachers and religious leaders in Israel. They were jealous of Jesus and finally killed Him.

If we follow Jesus, we will face opposition from the same group of people even today. Our greatest opposition will come from the preachers who have lowered God's standards and corrupted the church. These will be Satan's chief agents to oppose us. It is very easy for us to get tired of facing this constant opposition, and to get discouraged.

Satan tries to "wear down the saints of God through persecution" (Dan.7:25). The only way to overcome is by looking at the example of Jesus Who faced opposition constantly, until He was killed by His enemies. We too must be willing to "be faithful unto death." Any preacher who is unwilling to face opposition until the end of his life, will end up as an ear-tickling preacher, who will "flatter people to win them over to his side" (Dan.11:32), and end his days as a compromising Balaam.

Our calling as a church is to preserve God's standards at any cost in our midst. We have to be on guard against the forces of the antichrist at all times. Paul had preserved the church in Ephesus in purity, by God's grace, during the three years that he was there. But he told the elders when he was leaving that he was certain that corruption would come in, after his departure (Acts 20:29-31). And sure enough, it did, as we read in the Second letter to the Ephesians (Rev.2:1-5).

The Daily Sacrifice

We read further in Daniel 11:31, that one of the things that the antichrist will put an end to is "THE DAILY SACRIFICE". Jesus constantly spoke to His disciples of a daily sacrifice - a daily sacrifice that he Himself had in His life: "If anyone will come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross DAILY..." (Lk.9:23).

This message has been eliminated by Satan from Christendom. And so the holy place has been corrupted. When the preaching of the cross disappears from any church, sin and worldliness soon take over. The way into the most holy place lies through the rent veil (the crucified flesh). There is no other way to dwell with God, The Most Holy One.

That was the way for Jesus - and there is no other way for us either. Did you take up the cross yesterday? Maybe you did. But that was sufficient only for the evil appointed for you to face yesterday (Matt.6:34). Today is another day. And you have to offer your body and your self-will as a sacrifice again today. Today you have to die to your lusts, to your anger, to your pride, to your love of money, to your love of man's honour, to your bitterness etc..

These lusts are still present in your flesh, and will be with you as long as you live. That is why you need to have "a daily sacrifice", right until the end of your earthly life. Is there a daily sacrifice in your life? If not, the spirit of the antichrist has certainly deceived you.

Jesus was anointed with the Spirit at the same time as He was baptized in water. Jesus being immersed in the River Jordan symbolized His accepting death and burial. This was to teach us that the way to live under the Spirit's anointing was by accepting death to Self. In baptism, we are pushed into the water in God's Name, and we accept it, knowing that the one who pushes us into the water will also lift us out of it. So must it be when we face situations in life where we are pushed down and oppressed in any way. We must recognize that God is "delivering us over to death for Jesus' sake" in such situations (2 Cor.4:10,11).

And when we accept death to our self-life, we can be certain that the God Who led us into that death will raise us up too. If those who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit in past decades had maintained the daily sacrifice in their lives and in their churches, they would have had tremendous power and influence for God in our land. But Satan succeeded in sidetracking most of them, by leading them to emphasize speaking in tongues, healing, working-up of the emotions, and various forms of religious activity, instead of the way of the cross.

The only way to overcome Satan, and to preserve the power of God in our lives, in our homes and in our churches, is by maintaining the daily sacrifice at any cost, without any compromise whatsoever. Those who have read the HIDDEN TREASURES paper over the years have read this message of "taking up the cross daily" again and again. But very few among them have been gripped by it.

Herod "used to enjoy listening to John the Baptist" (Mk.6:20), because John the Baptist was a fiery preacher, interesting to listen to, unlike the boring Pharisees. Many enjoy reading HIDDEN TREASURES for the same reason. But they do not become any more spiritual than King Herod!! There are some who read HIDDEN TREASURES in order to get fresh points - which they don't find in other books - for their sermons. Since God Himself has said that He is against those who steal messages from others (Jer.23:30), there is very little hope for such preachers - who are always looking out for points for their sermons, instead of judging themselves and allowing God to speak to their own need.

If, for example, you are offended because someone did not give you the respect that you think you deserve, or because you were not given some position of responsibility in the church, that is a clear indication that the daily sacrifice has been eliminated from your life. If you die to Self, you will never get offended with anything or anyone at any time.

True And False Prophets

We read in Daniel 11:32, that those who are influenced by the spirit of the antichrist will use smooth words (flattery) to draw people to themselves. The one unmistakable characteristic of every false prophet in history has been flattery. And the one unmistakable characteristic of every true prophet has been rebuke. False prophets flatter people in order to win them to their group, or to build their own kingdoms, or to get honour, or to get money, etc.. Many of these false prophets correspond faithfully with people, in order to retain their personal hold over them. Their letters will not however contain words of rebuke and correction (like the letters of the Lord and of the apostles contain - as we read in Revelation 2 and 3 and the epistles). They will only contain words of appreciation, commendation and flattery. Remember that smooth words will only defile your heart with pride and self-satisfaction. Words of rebuke on the other hand will cleanse your heart and make it pure. Jesus said "Those whom I love, I reprove and I discipline" (Rev.3:19).

Rebuke is one mark of Divine love.

When God sends a prophet into our midst, to rebuke us, that is a proof of the fact that God loves us. When God forsakes a church, it will "no longer have a prophet in its midst" (Psa.74:1,9) to rebuke it. Instead, it will have preachers who preach smooth words (2 Tim.4:3,4). That is a sad condition for any of God's people to be in. In Revelation 2 and 3, we see that even though five of the seven churches there were in a bad shape, yet the Lord had not forsaken them as yet. The proof of this is seen in the fact that He sent a prophet (John the apostle) to rebuke and correct them through his letters.

John had strong words even for the elders - words such as, "You have left your first love....You are spiritually dead....You are wretched and poor and blind and naked". If those elders and those churches did not respond to those words of rebuke, and repent, they would be forsaken. Once the Lord "takes away the lampstand" (Rev.2:5), He will not send His prophets to rebuke that church any more. The false prophets will then take over, and smooth words will be heard regularly at the meetings, Sunday after Sunday!! This has happened in church after church, in generation after generation, throughout these twenty centuries. And it is happening all around us today.

It is at such a time, that there is a great need for those "who know God, who are strong, and who will do great things for Him" (v.32). Because they know God, they will fear no man. But there is only one way to know God - and that is through the daily sacrifice. The veil has to be rent if we are to enter into the Most Holy Place where God dwells. So don't ever allow the daily sacrifice to be taken away from your life. If your husband or wife treats you badly - DIE. When you suffer unrighteously - DIE. If your brothers betray you and hate you - DIE. As you die to your Self-life, you will get to know God and Jesus better.

The Right Attitude Towards Our Enemies

Even if people scheme against you to harm you, you don't have to worry. God will take care of you and He will deal with your enemies as well. "He Who keeps you will neither slumber nor sleep." (Psa.121:3,4) And since God is constantly awake, we can afford to go to sleep.

In the book of Esther, we read of Haman and his wife staying awake a whole night, scheming and plotting against Mordecai and preparing a 75-foot gallows to hang Mordecai on. (A 10-foot gallows is actually sufficient to hang a man. But they made a 75-foot one, so that everyone in the city would be able to see the hanging, so that Mordecai would be humiliated even further). But Mordecai was fast asleep, and God took care of him. The gallows that Haman prepared for Mordecai finally became the very gallows on which Haman himself was hung (Esth.5:14; 7:10). God is an expert at turning the tables on Satan.

Your enemies may go from house to house, speaking evil against you, scheming your harm, and even seeking to "hang" you. But you need not fear. They themselves will hang on the gallows they prepare for you. We have seen time and again, that those who have secretly schemed against us in the church have had the tables turned against them always. We haven't found any delight in seeing such brothers hang on the gallows that they prepared for us. We have always forgiven them and blessed them, and hoped that they would repent and find their way back into the church. But God's laws cannot be changed:

"The man who sets a trap for others will get caught in it himself. If you roll a boulder down on someone, it will roll back and crush you. God catches the wise in their own craftiness" (Prov.26:27 - Living; 1 Cor.3:19).

No-one can avoid reaping what he has sown. So what should we do, when people plan to hang us? SLEEP!! For "God gives His beloved sleep" (Psa.127:2). In Acts 12, we read of Herod imprisoning Peter, planning to kill him the next morning. But God gave Peter sound sleep that night (v.6). The angel of the Lord then went down, woke Peter up, released him and sent him home (v.7). But that is not the end of the story. The angel of the Lord paid a second visit to earth, and this time he smote Herod and killed him (v.23)!! God turns the tables on Satan again and again.

Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. But what happened to Judas? He died even before Jesus died (Matt.27:5). If you fear God, you need not fear the Hamans or the Herods - or even the Judas Iscariots - who plot your harm. No-one can fight against God - or against God's church - and succeed. Many have tried to do that in past years - but they have all failed, without a single exception. We are on the victory side.

Persecution Is Inevitable

That does not mean that we will never be persecuted or killed. We read in Daniel 11:33, that in the last days, godly people will be attacked, imprisoned and killed. True servants of God are always persecuted. James was killed by King Herod (Acts 12:2). No angel came to set him free. Abel was killed. Every true prophet in the Old Testament was persecuted. (Acts 7:52). John the Baptist was beheaded. Jesus was crucified. Stephen was stoned to death. Paul was beheaded. History tells us that Peter himself was finally crucified - and no angel came to rescue him then. As far as we know, all the apostles, except John, were killed. Many God-fearing missionaries have been killed in heathen lands.

The Bible clearly teaches that the church will go through the great tribulation before Jesus comes, and that many of God's finest saints will be killed during that time (Rev.13:7). Some of God's finest saints have been killed in Communist lands even in our lifetime. God's purposes are different for each person. But one thing is certain: If you desire only to glorify God in your earthly life and to walk in the will of God, you will be immortal until your life's work is done.

"Those who have spiritual understanding will have a wide teaching ministry in the last days....... Wise leaders of God's people will share their wisdom with many others."(Dan. 11:33 - Living, and Good News Bible).

On the other hand, there will also be many in the last days "whom the Lord hates, who go around sowing discord among the brothers" (Prov.6:16-19). We do not fight against such people, because we refuse to fight with flesh and blood (Eph.6:12). We fight only with Satan, and we leave it to the angel of the Lord to deal with all our human opponents. Many years ago I decided that I would never fight with any human being concerning any matter - and I have never regretted that decision. When anyone comes to quarrel with me, I either keep quiet, or get up and go away. When people accuse me by letter, I do not reply. It is sheer waste of time to reply to such people. I only forgive them, bless them, love them, AND LEAVE THEM ALONE. I want to concentrate my energies on fighting Satan. I have realized that God can deal with these agents of the Accuser better than I can. Vengeance belongs to Him (Rom.12:19).

We read further in Daniel 11:34 that "many will join with these evil men in their hypocrisy." Many will become hypocrites in a time of persecution. They will act like wholehearted brothers when in the midst of the church, and talk about judging themselves and taking up the cross etc., but when they are in the midst of their worldly friends and their unconverted relatives, they will seek man's honour and behave with them and speak with them in such a way as to be accepted by them.

There are many believers today who having a root of bitterness within them have defiled many others in the church (Heb.12:15). But God has been long-suffering with all of them, and so they are all still in the church. But in due course, they will all be exposed (if they don't repent), and then they too will fall away, like others before them. If we know God, we will remain "rooted and grounded in love" (Eph.3:17) - and rooted in the church too. If others hate us and betray us and kick us out of their houses, we will forgive them, love them and wait for another opportunity to serve them. And when that opportunity arises, we will be quick to grasp it, to bless them to the best of our ability. No-one will be able to make us evil. If another person's evil behaviour makes us evil, then we too become servants of Satan like him. We are told that in the last days, "even those with insight will fall" (Dan.11:35).

But if they humble themselves and judge themselves, there will be hope even for them. They can then be "refined, purged and made pure" (v.35). Those who don't judge themselves however will fall into Satan's hands, even though they had insight and understanding of God's ways at one time. Today is the day of grace, and those who repent and judge themselves can still ascend to great heights spiritually. But you have to be honest and you have to walk in the light.

This refining and purging will carry on until "the end of time" (Dan.11:35), so that God can fulfill His goal of conforming us to the likeness of Christ. So we must not expect an easy time on earth, until Jesus comes. In the world we shall have tribulation - CONTINUOUSLY.

A Daniel-Ministry And A Lucifer-Ministry

Daniel (who wrote this prophecy) was one of those men whom God could use in his generation. When he was a 17-year old young man, "he determined in his heart not to defile himself" (Dan.1:8). And when Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah saw young Daniel taking a stand for the Lord, they too got the boldness to stand for the Lord themselves (Dan.1:11). They did not have the courage to stand on their own. But they became bold when they saw Daniel's stand. There are many people like that today, who do not have the boldness to stand for the Lord alone, but who are waiting for a Daniel to take a stand. Then they will join him.

Will you be such a Daniel? Will you say, "I will not defile myself. I will not seek to please the king, or the commander, or any backslidden elder, or anyone. I shall stand 100% for what the Word of God says." There is a great need for a Daniel-ministry in our land today - men and women who will "lead many to righteousness" (Dan.12:4). That verse does not refer to preachers who preach about righteousness, but to those who lead others to righteousness - by word and example.

We read in Scripture of yet another ministry - and this is the exact opposite of this "Daniel-ministry" - a "Lucifer-ministry". In Revelation 12:4, we read that Lucifer succeeded in getting millions of angels to follow him in his rebellion against God. Why did God permit Lucifer to lead so many angels astray? So that heaven could be purged of all the disgruntled and rebellious angels. Their evil hearts would not have been exposed, had not a Lucifer arisen in their midst to lead them in their rebellion against God.

And so, even today, God will allow brothers and sisters to have a Lucifer-ministry in the church. They will be permitted by God to go around from house to house backbiting, accusing, telling lies and speaking evil, so that all the disgruntled, rebellious and worldly believers in the church can be identified, exposed, gathered together and taken out of the church so that the Body of Christ can be purified.

God will not stop those who are engaged in such a Lucifer-ministry from moving around the church, any more than He stopped the original Lucifer in heaven, millions of years ago. That is Divine wisdom. We are never to fight with such brothers and sisters either.

God Himself will preserve the church, and at the right time, He will destroy those who defile the church (1 Cor.3:17). But God is long-suffering and waits many years before He judges - because He does not want anyone to perish, but wants everyone to repent. In Noah's time, He waited 120 years. But when God does judge, His judgment will be severe. It is foolish therefore to boast that a church has never had a split. There was a split in heaven itself, among the angels, right at the beginning. Such splits are necessary, for "there must be divisions, so that those who are approved (by God) can become manifest" (1 Cor.11:19).

The light has to be separated from the darkness. That is not a split. It is a cleansing. Without it, God's testimony on earth will be corrupted. All of us can have either a Daniel-ministry - building unity and fellowship in the church - or a Lucifer-ministry - sowing discord.

We cannot be neutral. Jesus said that those who do not gather with Him are scattering people away from Him. There are only two ministries in the church - gathering and scattering. (Matt.12:30). May we have grace and wisdom to live in these last days, as God wants us to live, so that the church can be built as a pure testimony in every place for the glory of God's Name.

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1 comment:

Michael Kane said...

What a message from Zac Poonen! A hard message yet so needed by me. Thank you.

Michael Kane