Friday, December 27, 2013

The Flaming Sword

Flaming Sword, by Amanda Labrie
I have written previously about the Lord's holy fire in my article, Holy Fire Baptism, and now I would like to show you something you may not have seen before in Scripture. I want to first prove from the Bible that the Lord Jesus Christ carries a flaming sword, and then share a testimony of a divine revelation that confirms this.

The Word of God is a Sword
The Holy Spirit spoke through the apostle describing the Word of God as being sharper than any double-edged sword: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb 4:12).  The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, penetrates further than any other sword.  It reaches places that no open-heart surgeon can ever reach. It actually pierces between soul and spirit, and judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts.

Jesus is Called the Word of God
Jesus is the Word of God, according to the apostle John.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Joh 1:1) and “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Joh 1:14)

A Sharp Sword Proceeds from His Mouth
When John saw the risen Lord Jesus Christ on the Isle of Patmos, he said, “In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.” (Rev 1:16)

Jesus said, "And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this: (Rev 2:12)

Jesus said, “Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.” (Rev 2:16)

The Lord fulfills what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah, who said, "He made My mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of His hand He hid Me; He made Me into a polished arrow and concealed Me in his quiver." (Is 49:2).

The Lord Slays the Wicked with the Fiery Breath of His Mouth

The apostle said that Jesus would overthrow the evil, antichrist ruler with the fiery breath of His mouth.  "And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming."  (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

The fact that He is able to overthrow the lawless one with His breath implies that it is fiery breath, which the prophet Isaiah explicitly declared. As I have written about in my article, The Holy Fires of Hell, the prophet Isaiah described the Lord in his wrath with flames coming forth from his mouth.  He said, "His lips are filled with indignation And His tongue is like a consuming fire; His breath is like an overflowing torrent..." (Is 30:27-28).  Jesus slays the wicked with His lips! “He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked” (Isa. Isa. 11:4). 

The apostle John wrote: “He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’ Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, ‘Come, assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.’ And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.” (Rev 19:13-21)

Fire from the Mouths of the Two Witnesses
During the 42 month period of Great Tribulation, the Lord will give His two witnesses power to destroy their enemies who try to harm them, which they will do with fire that comes from their mouths. "If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die." (Rev 11:5).  If He gives such power to His witnesses, don't you realize that He Himself possesses even greater fire power?

Fire From Heaven Consumes the Wicked
The apostle John received a revelation of the future, final battle against satan and his evil hordes.  He wrote:

"When the thousand years are over, satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Rev 20:7-10)

The Lord's Fiery Countenance
Although the Bible does not say explicitly that the Lord's sword is a flaming one, here are some more reasons why we might assume it is. 

The apostle John described His fiery countenance like this: "I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance." (Rev 1:12-16).

Since His eyes are like blazing fire, His face is like the sun shining in all its brilliance, and His feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace, we see a definite continuity of the fire theme from His head to His feet.  Every aspect of Him shining brilliantly and He even holds seven stars in His right hand.  So it would be consistent for the sword that proceeds from His mouth to have the same aspect to it.

The Lord's Flashing Sword
In the Song of Moses, he sang about the flashing sword of the Lord: "I lift My hand to heaven and solemnly swear: As surely as I live forever, when I sharpen My flashing sword and My hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on My adversaries and repay those who hate Me. I will make My arrows drunk with blood, while My sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders.” (Dt 32:40-42, NIV). 

Some other Bible versions refer to it as "My lightning sword," since the Hebrew word baraq means "bright, lightning, or glittering." (Strongs). The Lord grasps His flaming sword that flashes brightly like lightning. He grasps it in judgment. And with it He will take vengeance on His enemies and repay those who hate Him.

The Flaming Sword That Turns in Every Direction
The flaming sword was originally stationed near the garden of Eden to keep fallen man from partaking of the tree of life:  “So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Gen 3:24).

Since Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, He would never give a sword to any created being that was greater than His own sword.  We know from Scripture that fiery breath and a sharp sword both proceed from His mouth.  Therefore, it is my sincere belief that Jesus has a flaming, two-edged sword that turns every which way.  If you do not believe it is a flaming sword of fire, then you must suppose that our Lord has a metal sword sticking out of His mouth.

Lord Jesus, You are El Gibor
You are a mighty Man of War
Arise now with your flaming sword
Eternal praise shall be yours forever more.

-- Anonymous adult, Verses to the King


Confirmation from Revelation to Samuel
Samuel Oghenetega
I have written in a separate post about the Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetega, a fourteen year old Nigerian boy, which happened in June and July of 2013.  In that visitation, the Lord referred to His flaming sword of fire a few times as follows:

Prepare for the rapture
The Lord gave Samuel a message for His Bride. "Prepare for the rapture. It will be like a dream."  The Lord gave him Mt 24:29-31, and he saw a picture of the people being caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and the caption said, “Come, My faithful servants.”

The Lord said, "There shall be wars and earthquakes before I come. I will heal the sick. Keep on praising me and I will rise with my flaming sword to fight."

Hell shall not prevail
"I shall hear and answer the cry of my very elect. I shall stand with my flaming sword against the darts of the devil, and satan and hell shall not prevail over you. The grace that thou seekest shall I deliver unto thee."

Pray for the salvation of your soul and other souls
"If you want me to save others, keep on praying for them and I shall arise with my flaming sword. And I and Michael the archangel and his hosts shall war and fight and shall deliver them."

Jesus rebukes satan to his face
Samuel said: “Then from 11:00 to 11:54 PM, He gave me the diagram of Lucifer himself.  And this is what he’s saying: ‘No! Humanity cannot be saved from my hand.  I am Lucifer! No, no, no!  Linda (Ngaujah) did her own damage.  Ezekiel Moses did his own.  Michael Sambo did his own.  Abraham Yakubu did his own.  And…No, no, no! This little boy, Tega Samuel Immanuel wants to cause (cost) me more damage.  Beelzebok and Jozebok, prepare the army for battle.  This must not happen.  Prepare for battle. No, no! I was cast out from heaven.  Now I am in my kingdom, which is hell fire. What have I done to deserve this damage.  It was only humanity that chose hell. No, no!  I shall be prepared for battle. I am Lucifer, and no one can take away humanity from my hand!’

“So after that, Jesus Christ now answered. Jesus said with anger (at that time his eyes were red), ‘I, the Lord of hosts, rebuke you, satan! Did you shed your blood for their souls? You wicked and unfaithful servant of My Father’s house! Because you want to overthrow My Father, and you did not succeed, then you are cast away.  Why are you now complaining?  I shall kill you with my flaming sword of fire.  In our last battle I will, at the last day of My Father’s judgment. And My Father shall be seated in heaven, and watch I and you and your armies fighting, and I shall prevail over thee, and the name of My Father shall be glorified.’”

When Samuel heard the Lord say to satan, "I shall kill you with my flaming sword of fire -- in our last battle I will, at the last day of My Father’s judgment," it seems to agree with the passage of Scripture I have already quoted in Revelation 20:7-10.

Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Be not afraid, son, I am with thee, and Lucifer shall not overcome thee, because I have chosen you.”

Samuel says, “After I finished drawing the diagram of Lucifer, I fainted. They could not carry me. I became as heavy as sand.”

Putting it All Together
The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and Jesus' name is called the Word of God. Furthermore, the Scripture teaches that He will destroy the lawless one with the fiery breath of His mouth, and His wicked enemies with the sharp, two-edged sword that proceeds from His mouth.  I believe it is a flaming sword that turns every which way, burning with His holy fire, which the Lord clearly revealed to Samuel Oghenetega.

The Lord instructed us to keep on praising Him, and to keep on praying for the salvation of others' souls.  He reassured us that He would hear and answer the cry of His very elect.  He promised to arise with His flaming sword and fight against the devil and his demons on our behalf.  He shall deliver His chosen ones from the enemy.  satan and hell shall not prevail over us. And He shall deliver unto us the grace that we seek.

The Lord said, there shall be wars and earthquakes before He comes. He is going to shake this world one last time.  He is coming right away.  He has sent His angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Behold, the day of our Lord’s wedding is at hand." Repent! The Lord has spoken. Only the ones who are truly seeking the Lord with all their heart will be spared from the coming judgment.  The Lord is coming only for a holy people, ready, without blemish, without wrinkle and without defilement.  He is not coming for those who have walked away from Him.

As the Scripture says, "Every Word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar." (Pro 30:5-6) For there are "those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth." (Pr 30:12).

The only way we can have purity and holiness in our lives in these last and evil days is through repentance, the blood of Jesus, and the holy fire.  The third and final baptism with which He’s going to clean up His Church is the baptism of fire.  He’s going to make us ready to turn loose this world.  It is a holy fire, because it is not produced by man. It is produced by the one, true, holy God.  It is a promise for the believer, according to Mt 3:11.

If you love the holy fire of God, then you are wise.  Ask the Lord to purify you with His holy fire from everything that will not pass through the fire as purely from Him.  Ask Him today for the Holy Fire Baptism.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Flaming sword" graphic by Amanda Rae Labrie.

Author's note If you enjoyed this post, please see Opportunities to Serve the Body of Christ.  You may also enjoy Holy Fire Baptism, Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetaga, Linda Ngaujah Revelation of Heaven and Hell, The Refiner's Fire, The Three Elijahs, The Burning Ones, The Holy Fires of Hell, and The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer. You find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and you can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."  Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

God Has Not Rejected His Jewish People, Has He?

Dohány Street Synagogue, Budapest
Some of you may be aware that Hungary has a large population of Jews. Today the estimated population of Jews living in Hungary is around 120,000,with 110,000 mostly concentrated in Budapest.  In fact, the Jewish synagogue in Budapest, known as the Dohány Street Synagogue, is Europe's largest.

Since I have lived in Hungary for nearly five years as a missionary to Eastern Europe, in June of 2012 I had the privilege of visiting that synagogue in Budapest, as well as the Jewish Heritage Museum, and the Jewish sector of Budapest. You can read more about that tour of mine in my Hungarian Jewish Heritage article. Next to the nation of Israel itself, the countries with the highest population of Jews are first and foremost the United States, then France, Canada, Russia, Argentina, Germany, Brazil, Australia, and Ukraine.  Hungary is fairly high in the ranking beneath those countries.

We know from Scripture that the apostle Paul always preached the gospel first to the Jew's when he entered a city.  And he wrote, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile." So it seems that we should also have that same heart!

However, I have discovered that Jews are accustomed to antisemitism from Gentile people, which is racial prejudice against them.  In fact, I was surprised to learn that antisemitism is quite common among Christians! Jews often seem surprised when Christians treat them with love and respect.  Yet that should not be! God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew, so why should we?  As the apostle Paul said, "For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen." (Rom 9:3-5).  The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Hebrew patriarchs. And of course, Jesus Himself is a Jew!  He loves the precious Jewish people and wants to save them, too.  For Paul also said, "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus." (Eph 3:6). 

Inside The Dohány Street Synagogue, June 2012
I have developed a blog called Yeshua the Messiah.  On this blog, I share my testimony, Why I Trust in Yeshua, and I write various evangelistic articles that help to show from Scripture that Jesus Christ is the Jewish Messiah.  Some example are Yeshua Ha'Maschiah in the Tanakh, The Brit Chadashah is Jewish, YHWH as Both Father and Husband to the Hebrews, Is the Trinity Originally a Hebrew or Christian Concept?, Yeshua is Yahweh, HaShem - The Name, and The Amazing Sign of Yonah. Although I have tried to develop the blog in a way that is somewhat culturally relevant for Jews, using some of their linguistic expressions and preferred ways of writing the name of God, we would like to clarify that we ourselves have not become Messianic Jews.

As the psalmist said, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 'May those who love you be secure.'" (Ps 122:6)

Please Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the salvation of the Jewish people.  And please use the Yeshua the Messiah blog yourself, as you share Jesus with your Jewish friends and loved ones.

Attribution notice:Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.

Author's note I invite you to see these related articles of mine: Why Paul Lived Like a Jew Among the Jews, Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?, Keeping Sundays Holy, and The Law Established Through Faith. You can access the Main Directory of this blog at the Home page for Seeking the Lord, and you will find my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

God Exalts the Humble and Brings Down the Proud

Daniel's Answer to the King
Today I want to show from Scripture how God exalts the humble, but brings down the proud. Below I've laid out the selected examples from the book of Daniel, showing the actions in the left column, and the corresponding consequences for those actions in the right column.

Actions Consequences
Refused to defile themselves: “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.” (Dan 1:8) 1. Given health and beauty: “At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king's choice food.” (Dan 1:15)

2. Given knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom: “As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.” (Dan 1:17)

3. Promoted and distinguished by excellence: “The king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's personal service. As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm.  (Dan 1:19-20)
1. Pleaded for mercy from God: “So Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would give him time, in order that he might declare the interpretation to the king. Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” (Dan 2:16-18)

2. Gave glory to God and took no credit: “Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven;” (Dan 2:19b)

“The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, ‘Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?’ Daniel answered before the king and said, ‘As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.’” (Dan 2:26-28)
Promoted:
1. “Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.”  (Dan 2:48)

2. “And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king's court.” (Dan 2:49)
1. Refused to bow down to idols: "There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up." Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? (Dan 3:12-14)

2. Testified of their faith in God: "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."  (Dan 3:17-18)
Promoted:
"Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego to prosper in the province of Babylon." (Dan 3:30)
1. Lived in ease and luxury: "I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace. (Dan 4:4)

2. Became proud: "Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, 'Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?'” (Dan 4:29-30)

"But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so proud that he behaved arrogantly…” (Dan 5:20a)
1. Deposed and glory taken away: "While the word was in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you…” (Dan 4:31)

“…He was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him…” (Dan 5:20b)

2. Sanity Taken away: “…and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.' "Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws. (Dan 4:32-33)

“He was also driven away from mankind, and his heart was made like that of beasts, and his dwelling place was with the wild donkeys. He was given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven…” (Dan 5:20-21)
1. Praised God: “…recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.” (Dan 4:25b)

"But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.” (Dan 4:34)

“…He recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes.” (Dan 5:21b)

2. Repented and acted righteously: "'Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor...'" (Dan 4:27a)
1. Sanity, majesty and splendor restored: "At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom," (Dan 4:36a)

2. Sovereign rule reestablished: "and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me." (Dan 4:36b)
Committed profanity, idolatry, debauchery: “Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.” (Dan 5:1-4) Executed and kingdom taken: "This is the interpretation of the message: 'MENE'--God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. " 'TEKEL'--you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. " 'PERES'--your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians." (Dan 5:26-28)

That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.” (Dan 5:30-31)
Rebuked the King for his sin: "Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this, but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not glorified.” (Dan 5:22-23) Promoted and honored:  "… you will be clothed with purple and wear a necklace of gold around your neck, and you will have authority as the third ruler in the kingdom." (Dan 5:16)

“Then Belshazzar gave orders, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a necklace of gold around his neck, and issued a proclamation concerning him that he now had authority as the third ruler in the kingdom.” (Dan 5:29)

“It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they would be in charge of the whole kingdom, and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss. Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.” (Dan 6:1-3)
1. Lived a godly, faithful life: “Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.” (Dan 6:4)

2. Consistently prayed and thanked God daily: “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.” (Dan 6:10)

He trusted God.
1. Rescued from harm and death: "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime." (Dan 6:22)

“Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” (Dan 6:23)

2. Prospered in a period of judgment: “So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” (Dan 6:28)
1. Accused a true prophet of God: “Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.” (Dan 6:4)

"Then they answered and spoke before the king, 'Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.'"  (Dan 6:13)

2. Conspired together and used political power to do evil:  Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: "King Darius, live forever! (Dan 6:6) 
Executed: “The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions' den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.” (Dan 6: 24)

Scripture Meditations
Here are some other passages of Scripture that speak of God exalting the humble and bringing down the proud.

And Mary said: "My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. "For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. "For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. "and his mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear him. "He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. "He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. "He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed.” (Luk 1:46-53)

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1Pe 5:5-6)

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, " God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. (Jas 4:6-10)

"'To the arrogant I say, "Boast no more," and to the wicked, "Do not lift up your horns. Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak so defiantly."' No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another." (Ps 75:4-7)

Putting it All Together
There are too many examples to enumerate in Scripture, in which God brings one person down, and exalts another.  The righteous Hebrew, Mordecai was exalted from his humble place, and Haman, the evil adviser of the king, who plotted against the Jews, was executed.  The righteous shepherd boy David triumphed over the evil giant and all his wicked enemies, while they were brought low and killed.  King Saul who attacked David was humbled and mortally wounded in battle, ending his own life in suicide.  Herod who executed the apostle James and tried to do the same when he imprisoned Peter, died a horrible death when he allowed men to idolize him and failed to give God the glory.  This same principle is found all throughout Scripture.

I close with this poem, which you can make your own prayer to the Lord. It's called, I Want to be Like Daniel.

Lord, I want to be like Daniel
Praying, thanking, and trusting You;
Always humble, holy, and ever faithful,
Rebuking sin, no matter who.

And I know You will take care of me
Making me prosper and succeed,
Giving me wisdom, understanding,
Insight, favor, and all that I need.

--- Anonymous

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted. 

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I recommend reading my articles God Chooses the Weak ThingsYou're Better Off Following Jesus, The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer , God's Supernatural Hand During Crisis, and The Eyes of the Lord. You may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar. You may also access my blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Is a Woman's Hair Her Head Covering?

Up until about a year ago, my wife and I had always believed the woman’s covering was just her hair. However, through some of the divine revelations the Lord has given to the Church through His sons and daughters, He has shown us that women should wear a head covering. 

For example, I have written about Claire Andoun from Cameroon in my articles, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations and Garments of Godliness. Sister Claire once lived a life of sin and disobedience to the Lord, but now she lives holy for Jesus, and she also wears a head covering.  In the seven divine revelations I have written about, if you watch the videos of sisters Linda and Ayo, you will see they are wearing head coverings.  In that article, I also wrote that sister Olga from Russia said, “My dear sisters…when you come before the Lord, please cover your heads. How can you stay in God’s presence with your heads uncovered?  And you’re not ashamed? Don’t defend yourselves by saying, ‘The Lord says this is only for wives. It’s not for me.’ Sisters, when you come before God, you must cover your heads.”

The apostle Paul wrote:

“But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.”

“A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.” (1 Cor 11:3-11).

If our hair is our covering, then why do we men take off our hats when we pray?  Even Paul refers to this, saying, “A man ought not to cover his head.”  He meant that men must not cover their heads when they pray or prophesy.  He said, “Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.” If a man’s covering was his hair, then how could he avoid having his head covered when he prays or prophesies? He would have to shave his head.  However, it’s not speaking about a man’s hair, when it says he ought not to cover his head. Paul was speaking about a man wearing something on his head. 

My parents taught me as a child to remove my hat when I entered a church, and I learned in the military to remove my headgear before I began praying or eating.  What would you think if your pastor wore a baseball cap or a cowboy hat while he prayed or preached? I have only ever seen one preacher wearing a hat while he preached, and he looked very strange to me.  It just didn’t seem right. 

Therefore, if we apply the same thing to women, we must admit that her hair is not her only covering.  That is the God-given one for sure, but she should have a sign of authority on her head when she prays or prophesies.  Paul said, “Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head.” If you think he is referring to her hair, then you believe he meant that she should not cut all her hair off.  But let me show you why it would make no sense for him to say that. He said, “For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off.”  So if the only covering a woman needed were her hair, then in order for her to have her head uncovered, it would mean her head was shaved.  Put differently, if the covering were hair, he wouldn't say, “Let her also be shorn,” because for him to refer to her as uncovered, she'd already have a shaved head! Yet Paul could not have meant that, since he said, “If a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off.”  He referred to cutting her hair off as something distinctly different from not wearing a head covering.

And speaking of cutting off a woman’s hair, it’s very common today for women to wear short hair like men.  But Paul wrote, “It is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved.”  He was using the natural order of things regarding men and women’s hair, in order to teach a spiritual lesson. As is the natural, so is the spiritual.  Just as it is a disgrace for men to wear long hair and women to wear short hair, so men must not cover their heads when they pray or prophesy, while women should in fact cover their heads during these special times in the Lord’s presence.

Michael Thomas Sambo teaches:

“Christ is the Head of the man and man is the image and glory of God. The man is the head of the woman and the woman is his glory. During worship: prayer, prophesying or preaching, the man should not cover his head. During this formal period, Christ is the One in headship and God's glory is to be seen. If a man covers his head at this period, it shows he has covered the headship of Christ and the glory of God. During this formal period, man is not in focus, he is not in headship and the glory is not his but God's, hence his headship and glory are to be covered. This is visibly done by the veil on the woman's head. Angels who minister to the saints during worship expect submission to this rule by Christ's followers. Outside this formal period, the wearing of any kind of veil by man is not an offence as long as it befits a believer and does not transgress the law of decency.”

“Similarly, outside this formal period, the woman is not under obligation to be veiled. This is because her long hair ‘Is a glory to her for her hair is giving her for a covering.’ Covering her head with a veil is only required during worship, after which she is at liberty to leave her head uncovered by a veil. Her hair could be seen on her to her glory in her normal living. Her hairdo must be decent and befitting to a believer. She must avoid hairdo that changes her hair from the natural to unnatural. That will be lying against the truth and grieving the Holy Spirit. She must not plate gold or items of beauty and fashion into her hair. She should avoid the use of jewelry and the art of dressing for show.”

I agree with brother Michael’s view on this.  My wife and our daughters have found a place called Garlands of Grace, that makes beautiful head coverings for women, like the ones pictured in this article, and all the ladies in our house look pretty in them.

An evangelist named brother Ezekiel Moses has been to heaven and hell and back, and received many revelations from the Lord.  I have published his testimony in my article Ezekiel Moses Testimony of Heaven and Hell and spoken with him by phone. The Lord also said something to him, which is not mentioned in this video.  He said to brother Ezekiel, "Can a woman pray without covering her hair?  Think about it."  That is essentially the same question the Holy Spirit asked through the apostle Paul, who wrote: "Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?" (1 Co 11:13).  Ezekiel says the Lord specifically told him women must cover their hair when they pray, and honor God, as it says in 1 Corinthians 11:3-11.

I once shared these verses with a sister in Christ, who had asked me why my wife and daughters cover their heads, and the next day she wrote to me saying, “I read the verse you gave me and now I understand, that there should be another covering other than the hair. Then when I went to bed, I kept dreaming of someone telling me over and over that woman should cover her head when praying. And the person quoted 1 Peter 3 as the other verse I should read. Whether this was from the Lord or my mind, I don’t know. But today for the first time in my life, I covered my head when I went to church and it just felt right.”

Each person has to hear from the Lord on this.  But if you really want to know what pleases Him, and you seek Him about it, He will lead you into all Truth.  So please prayerfully consider these things.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted. Photos of the woman  and the girl with head coverings, courtesy of Garlands of Grace.

Author's note: Also see Godly Attire & Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Rachael Mushala Testimony of Hell, Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Sister Ayo - a Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Restored Truth, The Highest Form of Slavery, and Walking in the Perfect Will of God. I also recommend Ten Articles on Modest Apparel by Free Grace Broadcasters.  You can find my complete collection of blogs at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Whom Are You Seeking?

I’d like to ask you a question that Jesus often asked.  Whom are you seeking?

In the garden of Gethsemane, when Judas arrived with the Roman cohort and the commander, and the Jewish officers to arrest Him, Jesus asked, “Whom are you seeking?” (Greek, τίνα ζητεiς or tina zeteis).  That’s found in Jn 18:6. They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.”  And when He said, “I AM,” the Scripture says they all drew back and fell to the ground (Joh 18:6).  In the modern English versions, it may say, “I AM He,” but the Greek simply says “eimi” meaning “I AM.” It seems they were so stunned when He spoke this that it had the effect of knocking them to the ground, as if the power of God hit them.  In fact, it so immobilized them that He had to ask them a second time whom they were seeking, once again confirming His identity to them, and inviting them to come and arrest Him.

Likewise, when Mary was standing outside the empty tomb, Jesus asked the same question, “Whom are you seeking?” (Greek, τίνα ζητεiς or tina zeteis).  However, she did not recognize Him until He said her name, “Mary.”  Then she realized who He was.  She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). (Joh 20:16)

This is a great question to ask: “Whom are you seeking?” (tina zeteis).  The infinitive form of the word zeteo means: “1) to seek in order to find; 1a) to seek a thing; 1b) to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into; 1c) to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after; 2) to seek, i.e. require, demand; 2a) to crave, demand something from someone.” (Thayer).  So another way to phrase this may be “Whom are you seeking in order to find?”

Everyone is seeking someone. Some people are seeking a soul mate – that perfect person who will love them just the way they are.  Others are seeking a guru to guide them into deeper spirituality.  Others are seeking someone to give them money, or someone to provide them with a great paying job.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father, except by Him.  He is God’s Son, He is love, and loves you more than anyone in the universe ever could.  He is the one who will lead you into a deep spiritual relationship with the Father.  He will not only save your soul, but also provide for your temporal earthly needs as well.

Jesus asked Andrew and John, “Whom do you seek?” (tina zeteis).  "Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God!' The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, 'What do you seek?' They said to Him, 'Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?' He said to them, 'Come, and you will see.' So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour." (Joh 1:35-39).  The phrase "tina zeteis" can mean either "what do you seek" or "whom do you seek."  And obviously Andrew and John were seeking the Lord to be with Him wherever He was staying, since John the Baptist, whose disciples they were, had declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God.

Seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness
Jesus said, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mat 6:33).  It's important to note that He said to do this "first" above all other things you need to seek.  Make His kingdom and His righteousness your chief aim, and you will have all you need.

He Who Seeks Finds
Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Mat 7:7-8).  He who seeks finds.

Seek the Lord Like Fine Pearls
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Mat 13:45-46)

God wants you to seek Him: “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;” (Act 17:26-27)

Seek the Lord with selfless love for Him, not for selfish gain: “So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus. When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, ‘Rabbi, when did You get here?’ Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.’” (Joh 6:24-27).  After these people ate the fish and the loaves He had multiplied, they sought Him for more of that natural, perishable food.  He said we must seek Him for eternal life and rewards.
 
Whatever it Takes, Seek Him

Zaccheus was seeking to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature.  (Luk 19:3).  Since he was short, he had to take extraordinary measures to seek the Lord.  Since he would not be able to see over the heads of the people in front of him, he climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus. He was willing to do whatever it took.  This kind of seeking always gets the Lord’s attention. Just as the Lord decided to eat at the house of Zaccheus, when He saw how the man sought Him, the Lord will commune with you when you seek Him in extraordinary ways.

You Must Seek the Glory of God
Jesus said to those who sought glory from men, "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (Joh 5:43-44).  He did not seek man’s glory but glory from God.

Paul said we must seek for glory and honor and immortality. “[God] will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. (Rom 2:6-8)

Jesus sought the glory of God: "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Joh 7:18)

Do Not Seek a Wife
These days there are ads for websites dedicated to women seeking men, men seeking women, even men seeking men and women seeking women.  People are looking for their dream partner.  Paul told the Corinthians who were single not to seek a spouse. “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.” (1Co 7:27).

However, he said that if you do marry, you have not sinned.  It's not a sin to marry someone of the opposite gender who is in Christ, but it should not be your aim to seek after a wife or husband. Seek the Lord.  Pray about it, and let the Lord take care of all your needs in His timing and His own way.

Seek the Things Above
Paul said to seek the things above that are in heaven.  “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Col 3:1)

Seek the Good of Many Others
Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. (1Co 10:24)

Paul sought the salvation of many: “Just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.” (1Co 10:33)

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, (1Co 13:4-5)

Jesus is Seeking the Lost
While we need to seek the Lord, we need to realize that He is seeking to save the lost. "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luk 19:10).  If you are lost, the Lord is seeking you.  It’s time you begin seeking Him, too!  And if you are already saved, you should seek the lost to save them, by proclaiming the good news, as Jesus did.

The Father Seeks People to be His Worshipers
Just as Jesus is seeking the lost to bring them into the kingdom, this is the Father’s heart.  The Father seeks for people to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Jesus said, "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. (Joh 4:23)

The devil is Seeking Someone to Devour
Just as God is seeking true worshippers, even the devil is seeking people, except that his purpose in doing so is to destroy them.  He is seeking someone to devour.  “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1Pe 5:8).  The devil is seeking for victims with the same intensity that a hungry lion seeks for prey to devour. Knowing that the devil is doing that, our seeking the Lord, His kingdom, and the lost must be stronger and more intense than the devil’s seeking.

Putting it All Together
Seek His kingdom and His righteousness, because he who seeks finds. Seek the Lord as if you were searching for fine pearls.  God wants you to seek Him. Seek the Lord with selfless love for Him, not for selfish gain.  Have an attitude that whatever it takes, you’re going to seek Him, even in extraordinary ways.

You must seek the glory of God like Jesus did. Seek for glory and honor and immortality.  Do not seek a wife.  Don’t seek wealth.  Seek the things above.  Seek the good and the salvation of many others, not your own comfort and benefit.  Jesus is still seeking the lost as He did during His earthly ministry, and we should, too. 

The Father seeks people to be His worshipers, so that He might bless them.  On the other hand, the devil is seeking people, too, in order to destroy them. 

Whom are you seeking? And what are you seeking? Whatever it is, I can assure you it will never satisfy you.  I can tell say that with certainty as one who sought the things of this world before I knew Jesus. Only the Lord can satisfy the yearning in your heart for love and fulfillment. He is the great I AM. Only He can fill that void inside you.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Seek My Face" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.  

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I recommend reading my articles   Taking Heaven by Force, Crying Out to God Loudly, Pressing on Toward the Goal, and Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God. You may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar. You may also access my blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What's Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel?

The prosperity gospel is very popular today in America.  Everyone wants to be rich.  I am not advocating poverty or saying all Christians should take a vow of poverty.  But the test of prosperity is even harder than the test of poverty.

The prosperity preachers say that wealth is evidence of godliness.  Yet Jesus taught that we cannot serve God and wealth.  "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (Mat 6:24)

And Jesus [also] said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  (Mat 19:23-24)

The eye of a needle was the gate into a city.  When camels returned from abroad, loaded with merchandise, they had to get down on their knees outside the city gate, so that all the merchandise could be unloaded from their backs, so they could enter through the narrow gate. 

Jesus said we must "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it." (Mat 7:13)

"So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions." (Luk 14:33)

The apostle Paul said, "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1Ti 6:10; cf., 1Ti. 3:3; Heb. 13:5).

The prosperity preachers are living in luxury, in multimillion dollar homes, often flying in their own private jets.  I know of one Christian couple that run a non-profit Christian ministry, and own his-and-her mansions one street apart in a gated community.  I know of another preacher who built a three million dollar home for himself, paid for by the church he pastors.  Don't they read these same Scriptures?  What men value highly is detestable in God's sight (see Luke 16:15).  If you want to know where their heart is, then just look at where their treasure is.  "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Mat 6:21)

The psalmist said of the wicked, "Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth." (Ps 73: 9).  And at one point he envied the prosperity of the wicked.  But after the Lord revealed to him their final destiny, he said of himself, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you." (Ps 73:25).  Let me encouraged you to read the entire Psalm 73.

The apostle John put it like this: "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1Jn 2:15)

The apostle Paul described himself and his ministry team as "poor, yet making many rich" (2 Co 6:10), just as our Lord Jesus Christ, who "though he was rich, yet for your sake He became poor" (2 Co 8:9b).

Paul said, "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed." (1Ti 6:17-19)

James said, "Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?" (Jas 2:5-6)

He said God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith.  And it is true that the poor are still more open to the gospel than the rich.  Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.” (Luk 4:18) James said that it is the rich who oppress you and drag you into court.

James also said, "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! ...You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter." (Jas 5:1-3, 5)

I feel sorry for those Christians who live like this, especially the preachers, because they are storing up treasure on earth, which our Lord warned against.  And they seem to avoid the teachings in Scripture about The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer.

The spirit of the wealth lovers
I would like to show you from Scripture how the love of money causes people to harden their hearts to the gospel.

Luke 16:13-14 - The Pharisees were lovers of money, so they scoffed at Jesus teachings on wealth.  Out of envy they falsely accused Him and had Him crucified.

Acts 16:16-24 - The masters of the fortune-telling slave girl saw that their hope of making a profit was gone, due to Paul's actions, and they proceeded to have the apostles beaten and imprisoned.

Acts 19:23-34 - The silversmith Demetrius and workmen of similar trades felt that their prosperity from their business of making silver shrines of Diana was endangered by Paul's preaching against false gods.  So they reacted angrily and started a riot to oppose the apostles.

John 2:14-21 - The money changers were angry because Jesus took away their ability to earn money selling sacrifices in the temple, so they retorted to Him, asking who gave Him the right to do that to them.

Mt 8:28-34 - The herdsmen and all the people of their town, who heard about Jesus sending the legion of demons into their pigs, implored Jesus to leave their region.  They did so, probably because of the negative impact it had on their pig business, and the financial loss they took, when all the pigs drowned in the sea.

Luke 16:19-31 -  The rich man who lived in luxury every day did not care for Lazarus, the beggar at his gate, who lived in poverty and misery.  He hardened his heart to the needs of Lazarus, and only took care of himself.  The same way that he hardened his heart to the poor, he also hardened it to the Scriptures.  Just as he would not listen to the cry of the poor, he would not listen to the Law and the Prophets, so he ended up in hell.

1 King 21:1-16 - Jezebel used spirituality (a fast) as a ruse to have Naboth falsely accused of evil, in order to get him executed, so that her husband could take his inheritance (assets), because Naboth would not give or sell his inheritance to her evil husband Ahab the king.

The same way these people hardened their hearts because of wealth, people today reject the gospel for it.  They may not even think they are rejecting the gospel.  Perhaps they think they already believe the gospel.  But if someone preaches the truth of God's Word to them, such as the verses I shared at the opening of this post, they may disregard it.  And if someone speaks to them about God's standard of righteousness and holiness, they might actually become angry with that person.  If a Christian becomes angry with another believer for proclaiming in Jesus name that we must live holy lives and seek God's righteousness, this reveals their spirit.

I  believe God blesses His children and prospers us.  I don't believe He wants us to live in lack of anything.  In fact, in Christ, we possess all things.  But in my opinion, the so-called "prosperity gospel" that is being preached today is not the true gospel.  It causes people to wander from the truth.  And in the end they pierce themselves with many griefs.

The Secret of Contentment
We must be content, as Paul was, whether living in plenty or in want.  He said, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Phil 4:12).  He not only knew what it was to have plenty, he knew what it was to be in need.  They key was that he had learned the secret of contentment in any and every situation.  He said that godliness is great gain, when it is accompanied with contentment (see 1 Tim 6:6).

The Pattern
The prosperity preachers are preaching a type of self-ism, the fastest growing religion, which they have disguised to look as if it is Christian.  Their teachings make it seem as if God existed for us and not the other way around. They talk as if God is our trained seal who has to jump through our hoops. They speak only of blessings and not about the need to suffer.

Being Rich Yet Very Poor in God
Unfortunately the Church of the western world in these last days has become like the wealthy Laodicean church. Jesus said to the messenger of that church, "Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see." (Rev 3:17-18)

The messenger of that church said, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing." But the Lord said, "you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked." They were not cold toward God!  They considered themselves disciples.  But they were not hot either.  The Lord said they were lukewarm. "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. o because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." (Rev 3:15-16)

They thought they were wealthy, but in God's sight they were not.  Rather, they were just the opposite.

Howard Pittman's Testimony
On August 3, 1979, Howard Pittman, a Baptist minister for 35 years, died while on the operating table during surgery.  He appeared at the gates of heaven, and believed that he had served God faithfully for many years.

Howard said, "God proceeded to tell me just what kind of life I had really lived. He told me what He really thought of me and even others who did as I had. He pointed out that my faith was DEAD, that my works were NOT ACCEPTABLE, and that I had labored in VAIN. He told me that it was an abomination for me to live such a life and then dare call it a life of worship. Furthermore, He said to those who do it, they are in danger of experiencing His everlasting wrath."

He continued, "I could not believe He was talking to me in this manner! I had served Him for years! I thought I had lived a life pleasing to Him! As He was enumerating my wrongs, I was sure He had me confused with someone else. There was no strength left in me to even move, let alone protest, yet I was panicking within myself. No way He could be talking about me! All of these years I thought I was doing those works for God! Now He was telling me that what I did, I did for myself."

"God told me that He would not accept this kind of worship in the day of the Pharisees and He certainly was not about to accept it now in this the Laodicean Church Age. He put it to me as plain as words and actions could make it."  

In the end, Howard was given another chance to live for the Lord. He went all over the world, testifying about this experience. He said, "For those who call themselves Christians, this is the Laodicean Church Age in which we live. A high majority of so-called Christians are, in fact, living a deceived life. They talk Jesus and play church, but do not live it. They claim to be Christians and then live like the devil. They have bought the great lie from Satan who tells them that they are alright. He tells them that it is alright to go to church on Sunday and attend mid-week services but as far as the rest of the time is concerned, they are to get all they can out of life. As far as their Christian life is concerned, they believe they are comfortable and have need of nothing and as a result, they are only lukewarm Christians if Christians at all."

I encourage you to listen to his entire testimony on the video below or read Howard Pittman's testimony here.



All Prosperity Preachers Are Headed for Hell
Lastly, I would like to share with you a prophetic revelation about prosperity given to my sister Rachael Mushala from the Lord Jesus Christ.  I have written about her in my article Rachael Mushala Testimony of Hell.  And on October 15, 2014, she wrote the following words on her blog in an article called Warnings From God To Preachers and Their Followers:

"The Lord was really angry about prosperity gospel preachers and He said, 'They have populated hell. All they talk about is prosperity, they don't warn my people about sin. What is money if you lose your own soul?'"

"Jesus was really sorrowful and He said, 'ALL PROSPERITY GOSPEL PREACHERS ARE HEADED FOR HELL, because they have misled my people. My people now think Christianity is all about blessings and they do not tell them about repentance. My churches are full of sin and all they tell them is prosperity. They are all headed for hell unless they repent.'"

I recommend reading her entire article for the full context, as the Lord singled out specific prosperity preachers for her to expose, namely Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and T.B. Joshua.

Likewise, as I wrote in my article Ibrahim's Experience in Hell, brother Ibrahim saw the present condition of lost ministers who are going down to destruction.  I recommend reading that article about his experience, but many of the lost ministers he saw were prosperity preachers, including Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and T.B. Joshua, as well as Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Rod Parsley, Myles Munroe, Mike Murdock, Paula White, Pastor Donnie McClurkin, Duncan Williams, and many others!

Putting it All Together 
As we have just seen in God's Word, you cannot serve God and wealth. We are commanded not to love this world or the things of this world. It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, and the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil. Therefore, to be a disciple of Jesus, a man must first give up all his own possessions.  You need to learn the secret of contentment in any and every situation.

Jesus and Paul both became poor, and were not like the prosperity preachers of today.  God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom. Sadly, miseries are going to come upon the rich in these last days.

Beware of "people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain" (1 Timothy 6:5).  If you are caught up in the teachings of the "prosperity gospel," please consider what you have just read in God's Word today, and amend your ways.

Take care, brethren, that you are not like the Laodicean church.  And if you are, then buy from the Lord gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.  The Lord said, 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent." (Rev 3:19)

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Rev 3:13)

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I recommend reading my articles Ibrahim's Experience in Hell, All Things Handed Over to Jesus Christ, The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer, Holy Fire BaptismAvoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian, and Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations. I also recommend Kenneth Hagin’s Forgotten Warning by J. Lee Grady.  You may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar. You may also access my blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.