Saturday, May 10, 2014

Double Jeopardy - Deception and Bondage of the Bride of Christ

Joseph Herrin (05-10-2014)























1999 Movie Double Jeopardy
(Note how the reflection of the sailboat forms the image of a knife.)

With the death of prophet Bob Jones who has had such an influence upon Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) and Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries, I believe it to be profitable to share with the readers of this blog a prophetic experience I had some years ago through which  Yahweh revealed to me a profound message that relates to these men and their ministries. The manner in which the Father spoke to me was very unusual both in its specificity and the deep impression it left upon me. My understanding of what the Father was speaking has grown in clarity over the years as I have observed the deception and bondage of the body of Christ that He was warning me about.

I was raised from the time of my childhood in Baptist churches. In my late teen years and early twenties my family attended a Southern Baptist Church in Georgia that was becoming more accepting in its attitude toward spiritual gifts and their exercise during congregational meetings. Manifestations of spiritual gifts were still rare, however, and it would not be until I was in my thirties that I observed the gift of prophecy exercised in my presence. This first occurred at this small Southern Baptist Church, and later at a non-denominational fellowship of believers that I joined at the time I met my wife.

Over the course of some years the non-denominational church began to exhibit more openness toward a free exercise of spiritual gifts and a freedom in worship among the members of the body. This included the twirling of banners during times of praise and worship, people lying prostrate on the floor, and a greater frequency of words of knowledge, prophecy, and speaking in tongues. Although the leadership of the church did not promote such moves as “The Toronto Blessing,” or “The Brownsville Revival,” in hindsight I can discern that the practices and beliefs of these movements were making inroads into many churches at the time, including the one I was attending.

There were certain denominations that were more accepting of these manifestations and teachings, such as the Harvest Cathedral churches, and Vineyard churches. The lead pastor at the church I attended also led the music, which was a major part of our local church experience. Praise and worship were deemed as important as evangelism and Bible teaching. The leadership obtained much of their music from the Vineyard churches. Consequently, I now perceive that a steady transformation was occurring at our local fellowship. There was less emphasis upon the teaching of the Scriptures, and a greater emphasis upon what was termed “the prophetic.”

In the 1990s, when I was in my 30s, I had my first introduction to Morningstar Ministries and to Rick Joyner. I had read his book titled There Were Two Trees in the Garden, and I found it to be insightful, though not radically transforming. Some years later someone shared with me Rick Joyner’s writing titled The Hordes of Hell Are Marching. This was an entirely different type of writing. It was written in an allegorical form, and was largely prophetic in nature. It was highly captivating as the descriptions in the writing were exciting in their fantastic descriptions of the battle between the church and the forces of evil. This writing that was originally posted freely on the Internet was later expanded and published as the book The Final Quest.

I believe all the ministers at the non-denominational church I attended had read this book and were excited about it. I was eventually appointed as a minister in this congregation, and I also considered the message contained in The Final Quest to be representative of the exercise of true spiritual gifts.  I still see much of value in the book, such as the emphasis on being anchored in the word of God and being clothed in the garment of humility. Sadly, these are areas in which both Rick Joyner and the other ministers at Monrningstar have turned aside.

The leaders of the church I attended began to speak more of Morningstar Ministries, and began using some of their music in our services. A greater emphasis on “the prophetic” became evident. Looking back I can see how the church was being influenced by what was going on in these other ministry organizations even though we had not officially joined any of them. The influence of organizations like Morningstar Ministries goes far beyond the churches affiliated with them. With the advent of the Internet, and the easy distribution of books, videos, and audio messages, the thoughts and beliefs of an organization are disseminated widely, crossing readily across denominational lines. In the past couple decades since the advent of the Internet I have observed that even the silliest of ideas “trend” among the churches. It is almost as if there is an unseen hand scripting the life of thousands of churches, easily directing their focus upon the doctrine or practice of the moment.

I did not discern these things very well as long as I was a member of these churches. The saying “I couldn’t see the forest for the trees” appropriately describes my experience at the time. I was being carried along to a great degree, swept up in the current of the changes that were taking place. That is not to say that I had no concern about some of the things that were occurring. I was concerned about some of the things I discerned to be excess, or departures from the Spirit of Christ and truth. These concerns were generally focused on specific issues or events, however. I was not seeing the larger picture of how the church was being moved away from a focus on Bible teaching, sound doctrine, obedience and sacrifice to a focus on emotional experiences and prophetic manifestations.

In the late 1990s I saw Morningstar Ministries as something very positive. Having read a number of Rick Joyner’s books (The Final Quest, The Call, The Harvest), watched videos of their church services, and participated in local worship where Morningstar music was performed, my perception of Morningstar was that it was a Spirit directed and empowered ministry that was focused on leading people into a Holy Spirit directed life. I deemed their openness, even promotion, of spiritual gifts such as prophecy to be a very good thing. I continue to value spiritual gifts, but at the time I was not practiced at discerning legitimate spiritual gifts from the counterfeit. I did not observe any testing of words of prophecy among the leaders of the church, and I did not practice this discernment as regularly as I ought to.

In 1999 I began to experience conflicts with the other ministers at my local church. There were five of us altogether. The issues in which we differed had to do with obeying God, walking by faith, and the proper understanding of the governmental order of Yahweh. The conflicts were not over the manifestation of spiritual gifts, or an emphasis on prophetic words. At the end of 1999 I was rejected by the other four ministers of the church who declared that they could no longer walk with me in ministry. This was God’s way of bringing me out of the Babylonian confusion of the Christian religious system that I was only beginning to understand. I had been an active church member from my childhood, and accepted many practices and doctrines for no other reason than they were the only practices and doctrines I had ever been exposed to. Yahweh, in His mercy, led me out of the church that He might begin to teach me Himself, and to bring me to consider many aspects of the life of the church that I had never questioned before.

Coinciding with this time, the Father had recently directed me to leave my employment as a computer manager at a county hospital and to follow Him wherever He would lead. When I was put out of the church I was truly cast adrift. I was 38 years old in 1999 and had been in attendance in church several times a week for most of my life. Being a Christian and attending a local church were inseparable concepts in my mind. I had heard Hebrews 10:24-25 quoted from church pulpits ad infinitum, as the concept of church attendance was drummed into the minds of church members.

Hebrews 10:24-25
And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

Finding myself unchurched, unemployed, and facing many changes in life, I began to consider my options. I was free to go anywhere, not having anything to hold me to the area of Central Georgia where I had been living for nearly two decades. I had a sister who was married who lived in Southwest Mississippi not far from New Orleans where her husband worked. I had another sister who lived in Evergreen, Colorado. Both of them suggested that I should relocate to their area and find new employment there. I had also recently begun corresponding with a minister and his wife who lived in the Seattle area where they led a church on Whidby Island. They had invited me to relocate there so I could be part of their church and be mentored by them.

I did not discern at the time Yahweh’s purpose in bringing me out of the church. I assumed that God would lead me to another church where I could be part of the life of the body of Christ. I did not discern that He was leading me out of the Christian religious system so that I could be taught of Him and learn what true Christian discipleship is all about. As I considered my options, one thought that came to mind was that I could relocate to North Carolina and become part of one of the Morningstar Churches. In my mind, they were the epitome of a Spirit directed body of believers, and I wanted to become all that Yahweh desired me to be.

Immediately after I was cast out of the church by my brothers in Christ I arranged for my family and I to go spend a week at my older sister’s home in Mississippi. She has children the age of our own son and daughter, and our families had always enjoyed spending time together. I figured that my wife and children could visit while I spent the week in prayer seeking the will of the Father to know the next step for us. My sister’s family has a house and some acreage in a rural area. It was a perfect environment for me to sit on their front porch each day with a notepad, my Bible, and a pen in hand, praying and listening for the Lord to speak to me. I went with an expectant attitude, for I reasoned that Yahweh surely knew I needed His direction, and He would not withhold it from me.

I have shared part of this experience in the autobiographical book Evidence of Things Unseen. Yahweh truly met my expectation and revealed many things in a very clear manner as I sat on my sister’s porch day after day. Yet, there is one part of my experience that I have never posted publicly before. I believe the Father would have me to do so now.

I want you to understand my mindset at the time. I had left my employer some months earlier. I was dealing with financial pressures due to following the Father in this matter. I had just been cast out of the church we had attended, in which I was a minister. I was feeling battered, bruised, and beset by many adversaries and had a pressing need to receive direction from Yahweh. I did not comprehend yet what His purposes were in bringing me out of the church and out of my former job. I was very much desperate to know the Father’s mind that I might have some clarity and peace in my life.

After I had been at my sister’s several days, my wife came out to me one evening as I was on the porch waiting before the Father. She told me that they would all like me to come in and watch a movie with them. In my heart I did not want to watch a movie. My focus was on hearing from God, and I did not want any carnal, or worldly activity to interfere with my pursuit of this goal. I was inclined to tell my wife that I did not want to watch a movie, but the Spirit of Christ stopped me. I suddenly had no peace in my heart at the thought of telling her that I would not join them for the movie. I thought perhaps that Yahweh wanted me to show some attention to my wife and my sister, and to not be a rude guest, so I relented and told them that I would join them.

I had no idea what the movie was about, and after viewing it, it is not a movie that I can recommend to anyone for entertainment. The movie is rated R as it contains a sex scene between a husband and wife, as well as profanity and violence. A point I would share for consideration is that we do not live in a ‘G’ Rated world. Yahweh has at times led me to dwell among a people of much sin and wickedness where I was daily confronted with profanity, obscenity, drug abuse, sexual impurity, and violence. I spent over three years at the Father’s leading at an inner city rescue mission, and have twice spent time in jail where I shared cells with rapists, murderers, child abusers, and other immoral individuals. I learned much through these experiences, and was not corrupted by them. I did not view them as entertainment, however, nor take pleasure in the sin that was present.

Our heart attitude in any experience makes a great difference. If we are finding pleasure in sin then we stand condemned. I can truly say that I did not find pleasure in watching the movie Double Jeopardy. It is not the type of show that my soul is attracted to. Its dark themes of betrayal and revenge are repugnant to me. There are many aspects of this movie that would prevent me from choosing to watch it as entertainment. Similarly, there are a number of television programs today that focus on life inside of prison. Many people watch these shows for voyeuristic pleasure, being captivated by the violence, evil and profanity portrayed in these environments. I have no desire to watch such programming. I find these shows to be offensive and detestable to my soul. I was quite eager to be released from jail so that I would no longer have to hear the daily din of profane and obscene speech, or to observe the degradation of mankind in such close confines. Despite this fact, I can tell you that my two experiences of being in jail were God ordained for my spiritual profit. There is no contradiction here.

As I began watching the movie Double Jeopardy, I became aware almost immediately that there was a prophetic element to it and the Father had something to speak to me. My attention therefore became focused upon looking closely at the details of the movie to discern what was being communicated.

Double Jeopardy features Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones as main characters. The movie opens with Ashley Judd sitting on the shore of the Puget Sound in the Seattle, Washington area. Her small son is with her, and she is teaching him to fish. Some of the first words spoken in the movie are between Libby (played by Ashley Judd) and her son Matty. Libby points to a beautiful sailboat out on the water, and draws her son’s attention to it.

Oh Matty look! See that? See that big boat out there? She is the prettiest boat on Whidby Island. It’s the Morning Star.











 Libby and Matty Looking at the Morning Star

I had read something prior to this that explained that in dreams and visions vehicles often represent ministries. I have since experienced the Father using vehicles to speak to me of this very thing. A sailboat represents a specific type of ministry. Because it is wind powered a sailboat signifies a Spirit empowered ministry.

I did not perceive anything in this opening scene of the movie because I was not yet listening closely. I did not hear Ashley Judd tell her son the name of the boat. A few minutes later the boat appears again. The movie shows Libby and her husband holding a party at their house. Their house is right on the waterfront. When the party is over and most of the guests have departed, Libby’s husband Nick says that he has a special surprise for her. He tells her to close her eyes. There are actually two versions of the movie that present the next scene in different ways. In the video I watched at my sister’s house, Nick tells Libby to open her eyes, and sailing into view right in front of her is the sailboat she had been admiring earlier with her son. The name of the boat is clearly displayed on its bow. As it sailed into view I was struck at once as I saw the name Morning Star appear. The Father at once quickened my spirit and I knew the reason He wanted me to watch this movie was that I might perceive something He wanted to speak to me.

For weeks I had been asking Yahweh for His direction. In the previous days my entire focus had been upon petitioning the Father to give me guidance for my life. I was listening for His voice, and had an anticipation that He would speak to me. My expectation, however, was that He would speak in a certain way, communicating His thoughts to me as I sat before Him. He had indeed been doing this very thing, but I was caught off guard when He chose to use another form of communication to speak to me. My sister had thousands of videos to choose from at the local video store. Why had she been led to this particular movie? Why did my wife and sister have a sudden interest in urging me to join them to watch the movie? Yahweh often orders our experiences in unexpected ways. I was expecting Him to give me words to write in my notebook, and He had chosen an additional means to communicate to me.

















The movie tells a story of betrayal and deception. Nick and his wife live a very affluent lifestyle. Nick’s business is failing and he has kept this information hidden from his wife. Nick is also having an affair with Libby’s best friend. He concocts a plan to escape his financial predicament and continue living an affluent life. He decides to fake his murder, and chooses to use the sailboat to do it on. He goes sailing with his wife, and as they are anchored offshore he puts a drug into her wine to make her sleep. When she awakes she finds blood on her bathrobe, and all throughout the boat leading up on deck. She follows the trail of blood and it leads over the railing. On deck there is a sharp knife. In her panic Libby picks it up and at that very moment a Coast Guard vessel arrives through the fog and the crew see her with her bloodied clothes holding a bloody knife. All evidence makes it appear as if she has killed her husband. Adding to the appearance of guilt, life insurance policies had been taken out on both Libby and her husband just four months earlier for two million dollars, naming her as the sole beneficiary.

Libby is arrested on suspicion of murder and is eventually sentenced to seven years in prison. She asks her best friend, the one who has been having an affair with her husband, to take care of her son Matty. Libby somehow is able to give the money from the insurance policy to her friend who, unbeknownst to Libby, has arranged to move to another city with Nick who is very much alive.

Before I speak about the message to the church to be discerned from this movie, I would mention how the Father used it to speak to my specific situation that I had been seeking Him earnestly about. In the movie Libby is sent to prison. While there she discovers that her husband is still alive, but she is unable to prove it while incarcerated. She serves six years in prison, and her whole thought is to get her son back when she is released. Getting back in contact with her son is hindered by the fact that she is placed on parole upon her release and has very strict guidelines on where she can go and what she can do. She has to break the law and violate the conditions of her parole in order to pursue her son. She becomes a fugitive from the law. Tommy Lee Jones plays the role of Travis Layman, Libby’s parole officer who goes after her. (It is not the first time Tommy Lee Jones has played a lawman chasing a fugitive.)

Libby begins tracking the places her husband has been while she was in jail. She is led first to Whidby Island to pick up the trail. She is then led to Evergreen, Colorado.











Evergreen, Colorado Sign in the Movie

When I saw this sign I definitely knew the Father was speaking to me. This sign represented the third place I had been considering relocating to that was shown in the movie. The first was Morning Star. The second was Whidby Island where the pastor and his wife lived who invited me to relocate there. The third was Evergreen, Colorado where my younger sister lives. When I saw this town mentioned in the movie, I definitely knew the Father was speaking something. There are many movies that mention Denver, Colorado, but I had never seen one before that mentioned Evergreen. The chances of that happening were indeed remote. The trail did not end there, however. In Evergreen Libby learns that her husband’s next move was to New Orleans. This was the fourth location in the movie that I was considering locating to.

In New Orleans Libby catches up to her husband and confronts him. She tells him that all she wants is her son back. The son, however, is not in New Orleans. He has been sent to a private boarding school. At the end of the movie it is revealed that this private school is in Georgia. Georgia is the fifth location in the movie I had been considering. It was where I already lived. Not only did the movie list all five places I had been praying about in regard to where the Father wanted me to live, but there was a parable revealed in that Libby was searching for her son and finally found him in Georgia.











St. Albans School in Georgia
(Note the cross on the sign)

Interestingly, Saint Alban is remembered as the first Christian martyr in England. He was killed by beheading. I have written elsewhere in my writings that beheading is symbolic of the Christian disciple removing his head to take Yahshua as Head of his life. Yahweh was communicating to me that my school of discipleship where I would learn submission to His will was in Georgia. It was there I would find the Son of God even as Libby found her son in Georgia.

I can see these things very clearly now in hindsight, but at the time, although I recognized the prophetic nature of this movie, I was not fully persuaded by the message it was conveying. I recognized that the movie ended in Georgia, and I accepted that Yahweh might have chosen Georgia to be the place I was to remain. I was much less clear about Morningstar. I knew nothing beyond the books I had read by Rick Joyner, and the videos and music of Morningstar. I did not yet connect Morningstar with deception, betrayal, and bondage of the bride. Due to my lack of understanding, Morningstar continued to be a very attractive option in my eyes. Like Libby admiring the boat from the shore, from a distance Morningstar Ministries appeared very desirable to me. I saw it as representing all that was desirable in a Spirit directed and empowered church.

Consequently, about a month later I planned a trip to Wilkesboro, North Carolina, where one of the Morningstar churches is located. I wanted to see if there was an open door before me, and I asked Yahweh to guide me as I went. I drove my family from Georgia to my sister’s house in Mississippi once more. There, my wife and I borrowed my sister’s pop-up camper and left our children while we traveled alone to North Carolina. I had reserved a campsite not far from the Morningstar church for the week. My plan was to visit the church, talk to some of the ministers, and see if I could find employment in the town.

From the beginning God gave me no encouragement in this venture. As we drove to my sister’s house the first state line we came to was the Georgia/Alabama line. The Chattahoochee River forms the border between the two states. It was bright sunny weather in Georgia as we set out, but as soon as we crossed the bridge from Georgia the skies clouded up and it rained on us all the way to Picayune, Mississippi. From there, it remained overcast and raining all the way to North Carolina. Wilkesboro truly looked like a dreary, unwelcoming place as we drove up alone under sunless skies and drizzling rain.

There was a retreat being held at the Morningstar church while we were there. It was very difficult to see any of the staff members of the church. I was finally able to speak to the pastor there on the second or third day. He was very cold and unsympathetic. He gave me no encouragement at all about moving there and joining the church. When I told him I had a desire to be trained in the use of prophetic gifts, which was something that I thought Morningstar emphasized as one of their main callings, he informed me that they had a program for training people in the prophetic that met one night a week. He informed me that I would be welcome to sign up for it the next time it was offered. I was very disappointed, to say the least.

We attended a Sunday morning service at the church, and I was equally disheartened by what I observed. Though the church was packed out, not a single person came by to greet my wife and I. We sat alone as strangers in the midst of a packed house. The music seemed mechanical, bereft of any true spiritual life, and the message was uninspiring. The service itself was cut short to keep the retreat being held at the church on schedule. Acceding to the plans of man seemed more important than being guided by the Spirit of Christ.

As I looked at the city of Wilkesboro through the steady drizzle and the unbroken overcast skies, it looked to be a very bleak and uninviting place. I had no strength to venture out and look for a job there. After three days it seemed that every door was shut. The skies appeared to be brass so that even praying proved to be difficult. We canceled our stay early and the campground owner was gracious to refund us the difference. It was still raining when we left and it continued rainy and overcast back to Mississippi. We picked up our son and daughter and drove back to Georgia. Remarkably, at the very moment we crossed the bridge back into Georgia the sun broke through the clouds and the weather cleared. I had not seen the sun, or blue sky, since we had left Georgia at the beginning of our trip.

This was Yahweh’s confirmation to me that I would find the Son right here in Georgia. Georgia has remained my home base since that time in 2000. It has proven to be the place Yahweh appointed to be my private school of training in dying to self and living for God.
(To be continued...)


Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

2 comments:

Bobby D said...

Amazing! The odds are astronomical that all 5 places were in this movie. God can surely answer our prayers in astounding ways! Can't wait to read part 2.

Keith said...

Wow!! I, too, can't wait to read part two of Double Jeopardy - Deception...........