We all minister out of our own revelation and understanding. While there is only one ultimate "truth", that ultimate truth IS the person of God Himself. God IS truth... that does not make the truth God but it does set the eternal standard for what (or in this case who) truth is.
Almost every Christian alive would agree with the statement I just typed... that God is truth. Jesus claimed to be "the Truth" in John 14:6. Since Jesus is God, it is common sense that God is truth. When God speaks, whatever He says instantly comes to pass. This is why in Genesis He spoke the worlds into existence. He uses His ability to speak as his ability to create. We in our fallen minds try to prove what truth is because we work from the fallen assumption that we do not yet know. God on the other hand IS truth so whatever He says automatically becomes truth.
If God were to suddenly declare 2 plus 2 equals 5, our entire concept and system of understanding would instantly shift and be transformed to come into alignment with His new declaration. All of these thousands of years of human history and understanding would suddenly be obsolete as a new system where 2 plus 2 equaling 5 was now somehow holding the universe together. Don't forget, the only reason 2 plus 2 equals 4 right now is because God said it did. That's why it seems so logical and "normal" to us.
As I look back on my life, I have matured in my views of doctrine as I have come to know the Lord better and in a more real, deep and honest way. For example, I was raised in the Church of Christ where it is drilled into you from a very young age that if you die and are not water baptised, you will split Hell wide open. You can accept Jesus, believe with your heart, confess with your mouth, turn your life completely over to him and if you don't get water baptised, you are simply not going to go to Heaven. I believed that strongly in my teen years but then something happened. I began to read the bible for myself and I began to spend chunks of time with the Holy Spirit in worship both alone and with other believers. As those activities continued, my relationship with the Holy Spirit strengthened and I began to hear His voice more clearly. I still believe water baptism is very important and should be done as soon as it practical as an outward sign to everyone else of an inward change that has taken place, but i do not believe it is essential to salvation any longer.
I could list a lot of other areas that I have grown or matured in but Ill just share one more... and it's BIG today in churches. It's the doctrine of the tithe. The most quoted set of verses to support this doctrine are from Malachi 3:8-10. You have likely heard it several times... You have robbed God with your tithe and offerings...bring the whole tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house..etc" This raises several key questions.
What is the tithe?
Of course it would take me several volumes of books to write exhaustively about this topic, so instead let me try best I can to summarize and make what i consider to be valid points. My opinion of the tithe not being for today is not based only on what I am about to share with you, but on very deep study of many passages of scripture while asking the Holy Spirit for clear direction, conformation and proof...all of which He has delivered to me without fail in very clear, unusual and undeniable ways over the years.
Its a surprise to many to learn the original tithe didn't even have anything to do with money. In Leviticus 27, God sets out what the tithe is exactly. In verse 30 it spells out "of everything from the land" and that includes fruits, grains, animals that pass under a shepherd's rod and such. At no point is there a mention of any sort of currency or money in the tithe in that passage. Also see 1 Chronicles 31:5 and Deuteronomy 14:24.
So what was the tithe used for originally?
It was used to feed the Levite priests and their families who were required to minister and work in the temple round the clock on behalf of God's people. The Levites of the temple had no way of earning a living because their time was dedicated to the temple of God. the tithe was God's way of making sure these full time workers and their families can be taken care of back then.
1st Corinthians 16:2 is where Paul says "On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come". That is hardly a ringing endorsement of the tithe. In fact, The New Testament nowhere tells us, or even hints that modern Christians submit to the tithe doctrine. It DOES say however to not give under compulsion. It also reminds that God loves a cheerful giver. This infers that there is a Joy tied to spirit led giving and of course that Joy does not come from keeping the tithe law, it is instead a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
What is the storehouse spoken of in these verses?
In most churches it is taught that the modern church replaces the storehouse. The problem with this is that the lion's share of the tithe was not taken to the temple at all but instead to various Levitical cities. At first there were 48 Levitical and priestly cities. Later Judah had 13, including Hebron and Jericho. (Neh 10:37, Lev 25: 32-34, All of Num 35, all of Josh 20 and 21, 1st Chronicles 6, etc.)
The storehouse was quite small in relative terms and could not possibly even begin to hold the entire tithe from the entire nation of Israel. Ist Kings 6 has exact dimensions. This is because only the priests were commanded to bring their tithes to the storehouse. Everyone else's tithe went to the cities I mentioned earlier. In fact it was only one tenth of the original tenth that was to be in the storehouse. This is called "the tithe of the tithe" in Neh 10:38. Note also that only about 2 to 3% of the the Levites ever served at one time in the temple with the remaining 97 to 98% being in the Levitical cities. When you grasp this, Mal 3 takes on an entirely different meaning. When it says Bring "ye" the tithe into the storehouse... who is the "ye spoken of there? It is clearly the tiny percentage of ministering priests working in the temple at any given time. This very small group of Levite priests are who the Lord is talking to thru His Prophet, Malachi when he says you have robbed me in tithes and offerings.
Need more proof about the temple and what should have been brought there? Consider 1 Chronicles 31:11 and 12 as Hezekiah commands preparation for chambers in the house of the Lord. This was the temple David started and Solomon finished and it did not contain chambers to hold any sort of tithe. This was an error on Hezekiah's part and resulted in a build up of animals and skins that began to literally rot and never be used as God intended.
My single biggest issue with teaching the modern tithe is that it misses the fact that the temple was replaced, not by the church building, but by the indwelling Holy Spirit in the Temple of the believer's body (1 Corinthians 3:16 and 17, 1st Corinthians 6:19 and 20)
As with anything controversial in nature like this, you are going to need to get your bible out, study it and prayerfully consider what I have put forth here. If you believe after careful consideration that I am wrong about it, don't apply it to your life. It's that simple. on the other hand, if this helps you better understand the issue, then it has been worth it to share.
Talk about a trigger word... here it is.. Authority.
The word "authority" appears 91 times in the bible. There is absolutely no question we are called again and again in scripture to submit to authority. The question must be raised however of what (or who) authority looks like so we know two things clearly. The first thing we will know is who and what to submit to. The second thing we will know is who and what we are not supposed to submit to.
The biggest single mistake we make in this area is assuming that just because a person is in charge of something that they have Heaven's authority to be doing that thing.
The bible clearly draws a line between a person's position or title and their Heaven given authority.
In Matthew 7, Jesus has no earthly title. He is not in charge of anything or anyone. No one of earthly authority has given him any authority mantle yet the scripture says in verses 28 & 29, "And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." Even the people of that time had trouble seeing the difference between someone who truly had Heavenly Authority and someone who simply claimed that they did.
People miss stories like when David was the King and yet Nathan being a Prophet didn't roll over and submit to him just because David was the King. In fact, Nathan came and brought a prophetic word of correction to King David. Nathan was indeed a man of Heavenly Authority and while Nathan respected the office of the King, He held the honor of God's throne above that of David's. This is true in the heart of God's Prophet's today as well, there is a very healthy respect for all earthly authority but the throne of Heaven trumps all earthly thrones.
In Matthew 21, the modern people in charge counted on everyone believing they were the ones put in place by God with God's Authority. This is one reason why they publicly challenged Jesus' authority flat out by asking in whose authority Jesus was operating in and who gave it to Him. Take notice of that question... they weren't saying "this is fake".. they knew it was real.. they wanted clarity on the origin of the authority! While some had honest questions like that, the teachers of the law were trying to raise doubts about the validity of Jesus authority in the minds of the crowds. Jesus knowing their hearts refused to directly answer but instead gave them a riddle of His own and basically outsmarted them and left them standing there looking like fools. Point is that even though the teachers were in charge, Jesus did not honor them as leaders with Heavenly Authority because they did not have such. He did.
In Matthew 28 Jesus declares “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth". This is critical to see as it puts Jesus in the driver's seat meaning that He and only He dells out the authority of Heaven to others. After all, He's the only one that has any to give at that point and you can only give what you have.
Luke 7 is where Jesus heals the Centurion's servant. In it we see a couple very powerful things. One, we see one of the only times a person makes Jesus marvel. How would you like to be a person that it can be said about that you made Jesus marvel over you? Well, this guy did just that. It was because the Centurion came to Jesus with a proper understanding of the Kingdom of God being the Government of God and accordingly He knew Jesus didn't even have to be there in person, Jesus could just give the instruction and Jesus authority would empower the word and bring the healing and that is exactly what happened.
In Luke 10 authority is given to empower people to do certain things. In Luke 19 authority is given as a reward of being faithful but by far, Romans 13 is where most get all messed up. Here are verses 1, 2, and 3.
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
Notice that it does NOT say there is no one in charge that is not put there by God. It says there is no AUTHORITY except from God. Big difference. Hitler ruled Nazi Germany and slaughtered countless millions but he certainly did not have the authority of God, even though he was clearly in charge. Jim Jones, David Koresh and many like them have been in charge of their given organizations, but they had no true Heavenly Authority. If a person rents a police uniform for a costume party, they may look just like a police officer in every way, but in reality they have no real authority. At the same time, if a leader in the church has the title of Pastor, Apostle or Elder (or whatever), that in no way automatically gives them Heaven's authority. It just gives them a title in the natural and nothing more.
In fact, in the later chapters of Revelation, we see that the dragon gives out earthy "authority" (or the ability to be in charge of things) to the beast. This clearly shows that just because a person is in charge is no guarantee God put them there with Heavenly Authority. This is not Heavenly Authority from God spoken of in Romans 13. The authority of Heaven is handed out by Jesus Himself since He is the one who has it all in the first place.
When a person has authority, they have the right to represent and act on behalf of. For married couples, Paul uses authority as an example in 1st Corinthians. "The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does" in short, when a woman comes on to me and asks me to sleep with her, I do not have the authority to commit my body to her because the chain of Heavenly Authority now runs thru my wife for me and through me for my wife, both of us mutually submitted to God directly.
Its important to see too that authority as we now understand it will one day be done away with. Heaven is not ran by authority as God is God and doesn't need us to represent Him in Heaven as He is there in the fullness of His Glory all the time. It is only within the sin stained walls of earth that we are in need of Heaven's authority. (1st Corinthians 15)
In Summary, it becomes very important to see the difference between someone simply being in charge of something and being anointed with Authority from Heaven. You are only called by God to submit to those who do not violate clear scripture, not just anyone who happens to be in charge. If Jesus does not return until after the great tribulation, we as believers will be forced to choose between death and the mark of the beast. This will be enforced by people in charge, but with no heavenly authority.
I could keep giving many other examples, but the point is, a leader is not a leader just because they call themselves one. GOD has to call them one before they have true Heaven given authority. It then falls on US to discern who has that authority and only submit ourselves to those folks.
Volumes of books have been written about demonology and in the small space of this blog I don't believe I can add too terribly much to the mountainous volumes already cataloged by those who have gone before me. Within that, I will try to quickly lay out some basics and share some general truths to help modern believers along in their life's journey. I'm going to do several blog posts about this topic, not sure yet if I'm going to do them all in a row. or not but this is the first.
To properly understand the role demons play in a given person you must first get a proper understanding of the person. In other words, in many Christian circles it is mistaught that we are spirit beings. While this sounds nice, it is quite unbiblical. In fact, the real and true us, the person that makes up and defines our personhood is actually a soul. When God created Adam, he breathed His breath into him and man became what? A spirit being? No, man became a living soul. So the first thing you must grasp fully is that a human being is comprised of three parts but the eternal part that defines who we are is our souls. The devil is fighting ultimately for the souls of men. Proverbs says he who wins souls is wise. That is because we do not win a person's spirit because we are not spirit beings.
So what is all of this talk about our spirits?
As human beings, we all have a human spirit within us. It is the breath of God that activates our cells and serves as the tie or the connecting factor between our souls (who we really are) and our bodies (the shells we currently occupy). The bible says in Ecclesiastes that when a human being dies, their body returns to the dust of the ground and their spirit returns to God. (Ecc 12:7) Misunderstanding this passage has led many to the error based doctrine of inclusion which teaches everyone goes to Heaven even if they do not accept Jesus personally. This error is only reached when you mistakenly believe we are spirit beings. When you instead grasp that we are living souls, it makes perfect sense.
Now, what about this idea that a Christian cannot be possessed?
We've all heard that and it seems right on the surface. Once again we need to let the bible dictate what we believe. When we are born again, our human spirit is what gets born anew. Our bodies do not get born a second time, thats the mistake Nicodemus made in John 3 that Jesus had to correct by telling him that which is born of water (human birth) is water and that which is born of Spirit (spiritual birth) is Spirit. The human spirit by itself abides in a state of death. It's alive, if it wasn't it couldn't reproduce...but unless a conception is made, it will simply pass of into death, very much like the egg of the woman for example. The egg is not the woman and the egg alone is not a new person, it simply abides in a state of death. However, if a sperm penetrates and fertilizes the egg, it instantly becomes a brand new creature that has never existed before, the old, death based identity is gone and the new identity based on new life takes it's place. This is what Paul is talking about in 2nd Cor 5:17.
Our human spirit is what gets born again. Once our human spirit is united with God's Holy Spirit, a brand new spiritual birth happens within a person. For some, this process can instantly affect their soul and be very emotionally overwhelming while for others they may not feel a thing emotionally but rest assured, a spiritual rebirth is the fruit of what the Greek calls Sozo or an ongoing present tense verb for the english word Salvation. Point is, once a human spirit is born again, it is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise and can never be possessed by an evil spirit... but that is your human spirit, not your soul. Your soul can absolutely be influenced by, oppressed by or even possessed by a demon or many demons. This is why a spirit filled, born again Christian can absolutely be demonized and often not even know it.
This is a good spot to remind readers that biblically, the term "death" is not the cessation of life. Instead death is actually separation. Anywhere in the bible you see the word "death" you can replace the word "separation" and it will make much more sense to you. The prodigal son's father as one example reconned his son as dead. The son hadn't stopped existing, but he had separated himself from the Father. God reckons humanity as dead, until they are born again unto Him. Hell is spiritual death in that it is eternal separation from God.
Its important to understand that our souls do not get born again, that is the description of the process for the human spirit, not the human soul. The soul is made up of the mind, the will and the emotions. The process of renewing the soul is an ongoing, lifelong process the bible calls sanctification. there are three types of sanctification but that is another topic for a future blog. the one kind that matters in deliverance/demonology is called positional sanctification and as it's name suggests, it reveals there will be or at least can be a change in your position from one place to another...or more directly from one type or method of thinking to another.
Demons are sly and deceptive creatures. They are actually fallen angels with absolutely no mercy or compassion whatsoever. They cannot be compared to history's worst villains as they are the ones responsible for them. Demons enter most often with the passive permission of the victim, often at a very early age. They then go very much out of their way to remain undetected. their short term goal is deeper access to slowly over time take over the person's thinking entirely. The victim is usually completely unaware this is happening as the demon does two things simultaneously. One, it introduces demonic thoughts into the mind of the victim and two, it quietly blames the victim accusing them of the thoughts being their own.
A father is possessed and goes into his 5 year old daughter's bedroom and sexually abuses her. The child is instantly emotionally traumatized and overwhelmed. The human mind begins to search desperately for anything to make sense of what is happening and there waiting is a Spirit of Rejection. That spirit, much like the snake with Eve, presents itself as compassionate and whispers to the traumatized girl something along the lines of "I can protect you so this never happens again. The little girl doesn't have a completely conscience memory of this as again she is traumatized but demons don't care, again they are vicious and merciless. The little girl actually has the authority in Christ to tell it to leave her but she is so emotionally compromised that the offering of protection is welcomed and embraced.
From that day forward, more and more of what she feels to be personal thought do not originate in her precious little mind but instead are being fed to her by that Spirit of Rejection. She very well could start to overeat or not eat at all, she may withdraw and become anti-social. Now watch this... Her real personality doesn't change at all, but it does get used less and less as the ideas of the demon take more and more room and activity in her thoughts. This gives the illusion that her personality has changed. In reality, she is using it less and less giving the demon deeper and deeper access to her thoughts.
Lets say at 17 the girl goes to a church youth group and gets saved. Praise God, her Spirit is now Born Again. She is on her way to heaven when she dies, but that Spirit of Rejection is still lodged deep in her soul. This is where the real "torment" begins as the Holy Spirit and the demon spirit will both place vivid and clear options before her. Normal, everyday choices can become herculean tasks to her emotionally. Ideally she would get some counseling to understand what really happened at the age of 5 and some deliverance to get rid of that demon for good.
You are driving down the road full of the Joy of God with worship playing in your car. Suddenly someone honks their horn at you and cuts you off. You are for a brief moment emotionally compromised and in that small opening a Spirit of Rage makes an unspoken offering to you saying something along the lines of "that person had no right to do that, let me in and I'll give you some real power to show them who is in charge here". You like that idea as it helps you feel like you are back in control so you yield to the idea and that passive agreement allows the demon access. Suddenly within seconds you have gone from being influenced by the Holy Spirit to being influenced by a demonic Spirit of Rage. You were praying over other cars 30 seconds earlier, now you are speaking curses upon them and the devil sits and laughs as he knows he has tricked you into giving up your authority that Jesus died for you to walk in.
For time's sake, we'll wrap up this blog here but there is much, much more to come. Feel free to comment below and I'll try to answer any honest questions in future blogs.
I believe the term "friend" has been so devalued and misrepresented in our society and culture that the vast majority have no idea who or what a friend really is supposed to be.
You can be "friends" with someone on Facebook that you have never met in person or that in some cases may not really exist at all. You can be in Godless sexually active relationships knows as being "friends with benefits". You can read post after post online about how real friends never leave you or how people are tired of fake friends in their lives, and the list could go on and on.
What is a friend? Let's take a look at what the bible says. Proverbs 17:17 says a friend loves at all times. It goes on to suggest that a brother is born for adversity. Two powerful points are revealed in this single verse. One, a true friend in your life is going to love you at all times. That alone is going to reveal to most of you reading that your actual list of true friends is a lot shorter than you thought it was. The second thing this verse does is tie in a friend with a blood relative, a brother in this case.
In Jewish custom, a brother to brother relationship is no small thing. Bonding between brothers was (and still is today) critical. Birthright and inheritances would be transferred from brother to brother if the older brother were to die unexpectedly. Brothers had a certain expected right to partake of what the other one had earned. It was nothing for a brother to go into the house of another brother and get something to eat for example. The father who has many sons obviously has created many brothers. We that are in the Kingdom of God are indeed brothers and sisters under the ultimate fatherhood of God himself. Jesus himself identifies this incredible bonding and blood based relationship and expresses it thru the Apostle as he writes that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. I would suggest the reason that is no big deal to many today is because we have not understood what a big deal being a brother is. And more to the point of today's blog, we do not understand what a friend is and when we start to lose the integrity of the core family unit as we have in this generation thru homosexual glorification and other things of the sort, the natural fruit is the lack of understanding surrounding all relationships.
Mike Murdock coined a phrase that I use liberally when he suggests "I have never lost a true friend, only imposters." The more I travel life's road, the more I grow to appreciate and enjoy that Jesus is a friend and not just a friend but a friend who as the scripture says, sticks closer than a blood brother to me.
Being a Star Trek geek, I am reminded of the classic line in Star Trek 2 as Spock has just given his life to save the ship and everyone on board. Just before he dies he looks into Kirk's eyes and delivers one of the most defining lines in the entire Star Trek universe when he says "I have been and always will be your friend". This is so powerful with the millions of fans around the world in part because it awakened the Godly code built into themselves genetically that a true friend loves at all times.
I am very slow to call someone a friend. I have tens of thousands that I have met over my life, several thousand that i interact with online, several hundred that I interact with weekly or monthly as I live my life and maybe a dozen or so that are close to me that i very much care about and who I believe care very much about me... but a list of true friends, people who never stop loving me, people who consider me to be like blood family to them... that list is pretty short for me and it likely is for you as well.
As a closing note of challenge, I encourage you to take an honest inventory of your life and consider the words of Proverbs 18:24 that gives a big clue as to how we get these types of people who love at all times into our lives... No, I'm not going to post it here, stop being lazy. Go get your bible and look it up. I promise, it will be worth it.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.