Archive for December, 2008

Revealing God’s Glory –

December 27, 2008

Now go to 1 Corinthians 1:26.

For consider your calling brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;..

We thought we might be wise. We strive to enter that class, but the truth is, we are a motley crew, you know.

…but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world (that’s you and me) and the despised God has chosen…

Now we’re talking about those that make up that company that is going to reveal God’s glory to old Lucifer himself and all of his minions and all of the other 2/3 in heaven as they are watching. It is the church that is going to manifest this ministry that is going to declare the administration of this mystery to rulers and authorities, thrones and powers in the heavenly places. This crew: the foolish, the weak, the base, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast except in the Lord. When it’s all said and done, there will not be a single one who can say, “I did it.”

He both wills and works. He is both the alpha and the omega. He both authors and perfects. When we understand that, we will understand where He is taking us. I’ll say this a dozen times in the coming pages: With God, He can take very little and do a whole lot, and He can take even less and do a whole lot more, but He can take nothing and do everything.

When you understand that, you’ll understand where He is taking us, not to sufficiency, not to capability, not to ability, but to inadequacy, insufficiency, inability, to nothing. He who would save his life would lose it, but he who would lose his life for Christ’s sake will find it.

It isn’t about us making and reinforcing and protecting and beautifying and adding to our life. That’s not the way. Everything that God is doing from the day that Christ has come, is a work of subtraction, not addition. He already has everything in Himself. He’s needing no more. He’s just needing less of us.

Daniel 12:1:

“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”

You can pretty well guess what time we are talking about, can’t you?

Verse 5:

Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river. And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?”

I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time…

You’ve heard that before haven’t you? Let’s continue,

…and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.

That word ‘shattering’ is a word that is used in a foundry or in metal making. It is a word that means pulverizing to dust. You can toss it into the breeze and it will be carried away: pulverized, carried away.

…and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people…

…all these events will be completed.

The last thing is the final finishing of the shattering of the power of the holy people. He has shattered their own strength so that He gets all the glory so that no man can boast before God, so that what He began, He has finished. The last work in you and in me, if we are going to be finished unto the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ is a bringing to an end to our own strength, our own power to where Christ is all in all. To the natural man and to the carnal mind, that is not good news. But to the man and woman born of the Spirit, that is Life. God is taking the nothing, and with that nothing, He is bringing forth the fullness of His Son and bringing an end to all other kingdoms. And Christ will be all in all and the Father will be all in all. All in all is how it says it.

END

The Harmony of the Universe –

December 23, 2008

 Back to Genesis chapter 1.

Some of you may be wondering if I am saying that evolution has a part in creation. There is not the least bit of scientific evidence for evolution. There is absolutely absent in all of the record any evidence for creation coming about by evolution. There is a great move among, what do you call astronomy and physics? Astrophysics! I subscribe to an astronomy journal and in the last several years this deep space telescope, Hubble, is just overwhelming us with the evidence of a creator.

You can not move the moon one degree further out or further in without destroying the earth. And, everything in this galaxy is like that. And yet, not a single scientist has looked up into the night sky and seen two of the billions times billions times billions of those things crashing. And they are coming to see that isn’t just in our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, which is medium sized, composed of just two or three billion stars and there are that many more galaxies of stars. But astronomers are seeing interdependence. It’s like they are all webbed together. And the universe is expanding near the speed of light. You see, there is no way, no way that the creation of new galaxies, the expansion and creation of all the new stuff out of the vastness of space, is happening near the speed of light and has since the beginning. Out of nothing, out of nothing. There’s no evidence for evolution but there is evidence that He did not create it a waste place and void according to Isaiah 45:18.

What I am sharing with you is not from John Brown. It’s held by many. And you do not have to hold this view for this to make sense. We’re in the trouble we’re in in the church because we are letting traditions translate for us and we do not need to do that. It is because of our traditions.

There is an exercise for seeing. If you say that you see, you are blind. But if you were to say “I cannot see,” you shall see. I cannot see what God is wanting to show me because my eyes are full of what He has already shown me. I cannot have new revelation if my old revelation is in the way. You cannot give me something if my hands are full. Seeing requires our coming to a place where we recognize we cannot see unless God shows it to us. And we need to come to God that way every time. It’s called being poor in spirit. It’s coming to Him recognizing, the only way we’ll ever see, the only way we’ll ever hear, the only way we’ll ever know, is if He reveals it – He hides it.

Go to Genesis 19:26. Before we read verse 26, what is the setting? Sodom and Gomorrah! Lot and his wife and his daughters are fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah. And as they are fleeing, Sodom is being destroyed and God tells Lot, “Don’t look back!” Someone looks back.

Verse 26:

“But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”

And that’s certainly a mistake because the word that says “became” is the exact same Hebrew word that is translated in Genesis 1:2 as “was.” “And she looked back and was a pillar of salt.” It’s the exact same word. It can be translated “was,” but it is often correctly translated as “became.” So when we read Genesis 1, verse 3, to say “became” is as accurate as to say “it was.” Now, you may want to choose to believe that the word is “was” and that is quite all right. But the word may mean “it became.” And I think the text of Isaiah 45:18 as well as the evidence indicated that something happened between the creation of Adam and Eve and the serpent beguiling them in the Garden. All of creation began at the first of those six days, and I believe there were literally six days in which this earth that became a waste place and uninhabitable, was created. But I don’t believe God created it a waste place or uninhabitable. There had to be a whole lot going on in the heavens in a very short period, possibly just a few years, for a third of those that God created in the heavenlies to all be deceived and cast down. Now I believe this because I believe the evidence speaks it but it doesn’t have to be interpreted that way. You choose. But I believe if you see it that way, you’ll see how much more glorious God’s way of working is. Because we were in God’s heart, perhaps not just for 6000 years. And when you see how it ends up and recognize what all has transpired just to get to the place where the bride of His Son, where His sons and daughters are coming forth.

 His Glory In All Creation –

After all the rebellion, all sin, all sickness, all death is done away, it then begins with the glory of the Lord filling the earth as the seas cover and manifesting itself throughout all creation.

You wrestle with it. You don’t have to accept that. But you’ve got to do something with it. Because if there is this galactic war, if there is this war in the heavens, and the evidence is there, both in your life and in the Scriptures, that it began somewhere and it had to begin somewhere before Genesis chapter 3, verse 1 and Genesis chapter 1, verse 2.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Am I saying there may be a creation prior to the heavens and the earth? Am I saying there is a possibility? Okay. I’m not trying to sell you on my interpretation. I’m trying to challenge you not to arrive at my conclusion but to recognize that there is this battle that began somewhere before Genesis 3:1.

I believe that, from my point of view, it greatly enhances an understanding of all that we have seen and are seeing and all that God is intending to do to recognize that the universe is much older than it seems. It has been around much longer than 6000 years which is really my explanation. I believe it answers the difficulties we have between Genesis 3:1 and Genesis 1:2 and that period of time, that small period of time. I think from verse 2 on is seven days. But I think before verse 2 there is an indeterminable time, and I believe it does not support evolution. I’m not in any way trying to support evolution, but I certainly believe that God has been building this for much longer than some allow.

There has been a much greater period of time for God to prepare things for us and His ultimate intention. 6000 years may be enough to make it as glorious as it could ever be but as I come to understand things, I see that it is far more glorious than I ever imagined that He has been working from. I don’t know when, but all of it has been in preparation for what He is about to do in conclusion as recorded in Revelation 19 – 22. That’s really all that I am saying. You don’t have to accept this but I believe that it is true. You might see it differently but you will answer many other questions that we’ve not been doing a good job at answering, and I don’t mean evolutionary questions. One of them would be the evidence. I’m not talking about carbon dating or any of that, but just the evidence of astronomy in terms of the speed of light and the time it takes for light to travel and how far away we know some things are. God could have created the universe in an instant. But He may not have. He might have taken a great amount of time to get ready for us.

Well, let’s continue. You don’t have to accept that, but I believe it’s significant for you to deal with it.

 God’s Purpose In Creation –

 Ephesians chapter 3. I am going to begin in verse 8. Now I am getting down to how He’s going to deal with what is going on.

To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to….WHO? …to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

God is so big. From the very beginning He had an eternal purpose that was to be fulfilled in Christ, but not Christ Jesus in heaven alone but by the many membered body of Christ. I’m referring to 1 Corinthians 12:12, which says that Christ is many membered.

The church is many membered but the church is the body of Christ. But Scripture makes it very clear in 1 Corinthians 12:12 that Christ is a many membered body. And that many membered body is called the ¹Ekklesia. And that Ekklesia from eternity past, that Ekklesian Christ, that body of Christ was intended to reveal, bring to conclusion and administration of this mystery that has to do with this rebellion. God is taking that which for a little while He has created a little lower than the angels, the Hebrew writer says, for a little while.

You know, you can not even find the earth with our most powerful optical telescope if it were placed on the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, you couldn’t even find the earth with our optical telescope, the most powerful optical. We’ve just discovered just recently that there is another 8 mile across planet in our solar system. Have you read that? They think it’s a ball of ice 8 miles across or may be larger than that, I don’t know. I mean, this earth is a little thing. When we talk about billions of stars in our galaxy, we’re not talking about the planets, we’re talking about suns. Here on this little, bitty, insignificant seemingly planet, which just takes 10,000 times 10,000 happenstances for it just to be able to support life. And then on this little insignificant planet of this modest sized star in the modest sized galaxy, He creates a little being that you can not even find from our near moon with a telescope – you and I.

There are these angels, which I’ve said before, who in heaven are day and night crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy. Holy, Holy, Holy, day and night. You’d think that would get boring, wouldn’t you? The uniqueness about these angels is that they have eyes all around them. And they can’t keep from seeing God’s glory.

Everywhere they look – HOLY ! HOLY !

It says they shout this out so loud that the thresholds of the doors of the temple in heaven rattle. It’s in the Scriptures. It happens day and night, for all eternity. We’re seeing a little bit but these angels are seeing everything. And they can’t keep their emotions from overcoming them and then they are crying out HOLY ! ! HOLY ! ! ! HOLY ! ! ! !

Day and night! And they are doing that now as they are looking at us. And as this mystery is being revealed, can you believe it? You know they must be saying, “Can you believe how He is doing this. I DON’T BELIEVE IT. GLORY ! !

Well, it’s the way of God.

Was It A Waste Place?

December 19, 2008

Let’s go back to Genesis chapter 1. In Genesis 1, down around verse 26 it says:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Has He made man yet? No, He has not! He’s just saying, “Let’s create man.”

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and rule…”

This word for “subdue” in both the earliest texts, Aramaic and Hebrew, what do you suppose the difference between “subdue” and “rule” is? This is before the weeds and things after the fall. This is before the need to work by the sweat of man’s brow. Come on! What’s the difference between subdue and rule?

Subdue means that you have to bring under rule. Subdue means there is that which is unruly. That’s the literal meaning. Subdue is to take that which is unruly and bring it under rule. At the creation of man, God said, “You are to subdue and rule.” Isn’t that interesting? Is this dawning on anyone where this is going? You have a problem getting Lucifer, Satan, as the angelic being, being created, being raised to being the anointed cherub and doing all the things the Scripture talks about him doing before he is cast down. He trades. He is the head of all music in heaven in one of the texts. He’s very busy dong heavenly things. And then, seeing his splendor and deciding to “I will,” he’s cast down. Before Adam and Eve encounter him in the serpent, God says to his newly created man, “You are to subdue and rule.” It means something. It may not mean what you think I’m implying, but it means something. You can’t just say it means nothing. It means something!

Let’s go to Genesis 1:1:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

The earth was formless and void…

If you have the New American Standard Bible there is a foot note that further defines “formless and void” as a waste and emptiness. Could the text read, “The earth was a waste place,” or literally, “and uninhabited or empty?”

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was a waste place and formless and void.”

You are pondering this, aren’t you? Then go to Isaiah 45:18. Here we have another one of the paradoxes of Scripture. Isaiah, under the Spirit of God is prophesying, and right in the middle of the prophesy, there is this little group of words in parentheses that has nothing what so ever to do with the prophesy. But they are there for a reason. Let’s read verse 18 of Isaiah 45.

For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the Lord, and there is none else.”

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was a waste place.” But He did not create it a waste place. When Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan was cast down to the earth, in Isaiah 14:12 and following, he was cast down in shame. Jesus says that he was a liar from the beginning. And yet, we know from the very beginning, he was perfect and a covering cherub. But from a particular beginning he was a liar. And he goes around like a lion seeking who he may devour. He does nothing but stealing, destroying and killing. It does not take much of an imagination for the sons of men to recognize that when ever Satan enters a life he steals, robs, destroys and kills.

I know many thirty and forty year old men and women who look fifty and sixty – absolutely ragged out with sin. You let a person spend much time with Satan and he destroys them. There’s nothing beautiful left in them. They are absolutely a waste. And, the point I intended to make is that when Satan was cast down to the earth, he did what was his nature to do – make waste. And I believe that it is because he was cast down here that it became a waste place. It wasn’t created a waste place. The Holy Spirit makes a point of letting us know that in Isaiah 45:18 it was not created a waste place. And yet it was a waste place but it wasn’t created a waste place.

I think it is the coming of Satan, the casting down of Satan to the earth that caused it be become a waste place. And that will be so in your life and mine. That’s all I wanted to add. We could have spent more time on it but I’ve made the point.

How Satan Got There

December 16, 2008

There’s someone else in the Garden. He’s already crafty. He’s already an enemy of God. Whatever happened in the realm of the heavenlies, it has already taken place because the serpent is already there.

Let’s go to Isaiah, chapter 14. How did this other personality get there? In Isaiah chapter 14, we have one of those prophecies where God sneaks in another prophecy. This happens often in many of the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. For example, in the 22nd chapter of Psalms we have the clearest picture of the crucifixion of Christ. This prophecy is woven into the midst of a Psalm with a totally different context.

By the way, God hides. Have I said that to you before? “It’s the glory of God to hide a matter; it’s the glory of kings to search out a matter” (see Proverbs 25:2). And we are a kingdom of kings and priests. He hides a matter. So some things can only be understood by those who are on the inside – to those whom he is going to show the mysteries of the kingdom. We’ll talk more about that later.

But here in verse 12, is a prophesy concerning the king of Babylon. Verse 3:

And it will be in the day when the Lord gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, “How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased!”

And so we have this taunt against the king of Babylon. We get down to verse 12 and something happens.

How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!

This is not the king of Babylon.

You have been cut down to the earth.

He comes from some place other than the earth.You who have weakened the nations!

But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven;

I will raise my throne above the stars of God,

And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.”

Who are we talking about? Satan! Most scholars, from early days of Israel, following this prophecy, they have held that this is referring to Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the devil. Why was he cast down to the earth? Well, the scripture tells us:

But you said in your heart, “I will…”

You will notice that five times in this Scripture he says, “I will…”

“I will ascend to heaven.”

“I will raise my throne above the stars of God…”

“I will sit on the mount of assembly…”

“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;”

“I will make myself like the Most High.”

This is the principle of Satan, the “I will.”

It is the principle of Christ; it is the precept of Christ: Not my will.”

The “I will” is what has brought Satan down. And Satan is not in your just voting for his will. He’s quite happy to encourage you to make your own will. He did not ask Adam and Eve to vote for him. He just asked Adam and Eve to vote for Adam and Eve, just like he’s been encouraging you to vote for yourself. You have not been called for your life or for your ambitions, for your desires. You’ve not been called for that. You’ve not been created for that. You have been created like I have been created – for the King.

We are like an automobile. Automobiles are made for gas. They can not run without the gas. You can push it along; you might even find a hill and push it up to the top and give it a little kick and it’ll be over the edge. You can run and jump in and ride it down but it is still powerless to be what it was created to be. Like a light bulb – a light bulb without electricity can be a very pretty light bulb in a very beautiful lamp and a beautiful lamp shade but without that for which it was created, it is worthless. It is the same for a lamp and oil or man and God. We might think this is life but this is not life. This is death. And the day that you eat of that tree, you will die. And on that day, spiritual man died. And, it wasn’t until Christ Jesus that the new birth, or regeneration, that man was finally able to be where God could plant His Spirit within them.

Not only has He created us, regenerated us, given us a new Spirit – I’m referring to Ezekiel 36, where God says, “I will put my Spirit within you.” We now have this capacity in Christ Jesus for the Spirit. It is the “I will” that is the principle of Satan. Some time before Adam and Eve encountering the serpent, the enemy has been cast down. This is important.

The Most Beautiful Evil –

Let’s go to Ezekiel chapter 28 where we have another one of those prophecies. We’ll begin in verse 11:

           Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him…”

Now, even though it starts out talking about the king of Tyre, it is evident almost from the beginning that He’s not talking about the king of Tyre for much of this prophecy.

        ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and  perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God;”

Listen to that. Where was this person?

“You were in Eden, the garden of God;

Every precious stone was your covering;

The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;

The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;

The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;

And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets was in you.

On the day that you were created they were prepared.”

He’s a created being. We read that from Colossians 1:16. He was created for Christ; by Christ; for Christ.

“You were the anointed cherub who covers…”

That’s not the king of Tyre. And just so you will know, at one time there were three anointed cherubs. If you look on the Ark of the Covenant, how many are there? Two! But there was one, perhaps there was just one at the beginning, I don’t really know, but it’s clear that,

“You were the anointed cherub who covers,

And I placed you there.

You were in the holy mountain of God;

You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created

Until unrighteousness was found in you.

By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence and you sinned;

Therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God.

And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,

From the midst of the stones of fire.

Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty,

You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.

I cast you to the ground;

I put you before kings,

That they may see you.”

And that is going on now. But, you’ve got to ask a question: When did this all take place, because Adam and Eve are young at this time? All you have to do is go through the chronology, genealogy, to the number of years to the first son to see that we’re down to just a handful, a couple of handfuls of years at most, that they encounter the serpent in the Garden. So, when was this one created who held this mighty place, who walked in God’s Garden of Eden? We’ve got a problem, don’t we?

Did God Say?

December 12, 2008

 It is so in your life and mine. The battle is not won here. When you understand that, you’ll understand why the weapons of our warfare are not insignificant, but they are powerful for the bringing down of strongholds, and powers. All heaven is waiting on is for us to lift the staff. All heaven is waiting for is for us to finally speak out of what Christ is speaking. But not in presumption; He does not speak to the presumptuous. He’s waiting on those who will allow Him to reign in their heart. He’s waiting on those who will draw near Him that Christ might make him instruments and her instruments of His life. He is teaching us the ways of the eternal kingdom. And if we will learn the lesson we will share the reign of eternity with Him. That’s the promise. This is the classroom. It really does not begin until He returns. And when that captures us, we will give all that we are and all that we’ve been entrusted with to the King and His kingdom that we might have our part in this wonderful thing that He is doing, raising up sons and daughters after His own Son. It’s a marvelous thing.

Well, anyway; I get excited about this. That’s what is going on. That is what is taking place. But, where did it begin? When did it start? Well, I believe the Holy Spirit wants to give us some understanding. Let’s go all the way back to Genesis chapter 3.

The entire Gospel is preached in Genesis 1, 2 and 3. The entire Gospel is fulfilled in Revelation 20, 21 and 22, if you can hear it.

In Genesis chapter 3, we are going to read the first few verses.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!”

You might make a mental note of this key question: Did God say?

You are lost if you have got to take what God said and say, “Did God say?” An illustration of this is that almost every one of you has little areas, little discipline areas, where in the strength of your quiet time you hear Him and you are sure of what you should do. But as soon as temptation comes, I’ll tell you what the first argument is: “Did He really want me to do this? Is this really significant to God? This surely has nothing to do with my walk.”

Now, come on – fess up. Isn’t it true? There is no place, once God has spoken, for us to question God saying – once He has spoken. The enemy knew, however, that Adam and Eve would succumb. He had already read the signs. God was not occupying that place of honor in their heart as God. And, when God is not honored as God in our heart, we need a lie, and the enemy is quick to bring us one. Next time you go to the refrigerator, or give up your quiet time for TV or whatever, you’ll be reminded of that. I put that on you by the Holy Spirit. I like this. I now see that I’m getting through. Well, that’s not the point of my reading this.

Look at verse 5:

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

And that’s the truth. God verifies that in verse 22:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.”

They did not become like God, knowing good and evil like God knew good and evil. They knew good and evil by knowing evil, having practiced it, having participated in it. God’s knowing evil is not because He has tried it. There is that difference. Someone pointed it out to me one day. It’s important.

But God said the very same thing Satan said. Satan does not come at us with three dollar bills, thirty dollar bills, three hundred dollar bills; it looks like the real thing except it does not honor God as God. But, here’s the point, here’s the question that the Lord has snuck in on us: How did he get there, this serpent?

Daniel’s Prayer –

December 8, 2008

 Let’s go from here to Daniel chapter 10. But in order for you to understand Daniel 10, you need to know that in Daniel 9, Daniel is reading the book of Jeremiah. And Jeremiah has prophesied that this bondage of which Daniel is a part will last for 70 years. And Daniel starts counting to determine where they are in the 70 years. And then he says, “My goodness, it’s almost over!”

And so he sets himself to praying. And in Daniel chapter 9, he prays for a period of time and it brings us to Daniel chapter 10. Let’s start reading at verse 2:

In those days, I, Daniel had been mourning for three entire weeks. I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightening, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.

And here we have this angelic being on the twenty-fourth day coming to Daniel.

Now go with me down to verse 12. Then that angelic being says to Daniel,

“Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days…”

This is the twenty-fourth day so the very day that Daniel sets to praying for understanding and for the will of God to be accomplished, the Father sent this angelic being to Daniel. But the angel couldn’t get there for twenty-one plus days. And now the angel refers to the prince of the kingdom of Persia.

Now, the Babylonian kingdom in which Daniel was raised up as a man of wisdom under Nebuchadnezzar has fallen. And when that kingdom fell, the Mede-Persian kingdom was raised up and Daniel again made his way to the top. And he, in this place of authority in this heathen nation, is praying for his people and their captivity according to the words of Jeremiah. And while he is praying for understanding of the prophesy of Jeremiah, God sends this angel, and this angel says that the prince of Persia withstood him. What man could withstand this heavenly angel? You immediately recognize that the person the angel is talking about is not an earthly prince. There is one in authority who is a prince over the nation or nations, as we will see, the nations or kingdoms of men. Here is this prince who is reigning over the Mede-Persian Empire and this prince seems to sense that something’s up because this significant angel, right from the throne of God, an angel with real authority, is coming. And this prince is strong enough to withstand the heavenly messenger for at least 21 days.

Let’s continue in verse 13:

But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days, then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.”

Now, here we see Michael, the angel also referred to as a prince. So we are talking about angelic beings who are confronting each other. We are talking about not a kingdom but we are talking kingdoms in conflict. And this prince of Persia, this prince that reigned over this natural nation of Mede-Persia, he withstood the angel of God for 21 days, until behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, “came to help me.”

Evidently, Michael and whoever else was there finally overcame the prince of Persia and the angel made it to Daniel to help him understand.

But, it’s not over yet. Go down to verse 20. After it is over, the angel says,

“Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia.”

It looks like he’s having to fight to get out but that’s not it at all. He’s not fighting to get out,

“so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.”

What empire finally overcomes the Mede-Persian Empire? This is prophesied and written in the Word, the words of God, before it ever took place. The nation that the angel is prophesying that will overcome the Mede-Persian Empire is the Greek Empire. And if you continue reading Daniel you’ll discover that the nation that follows the Greeks, the Roman Empire, is also prophesied.

This angel is going back to fulfill the words of Jeremiah and bring an end to the Mede-Persian Empire. And how does he do it? He does it by overcoming the angelic princes and powers and rulers in the heavenly places. He assists another heathen empire. God says, also in Daniel, in several places, that the kingdoms of men are not in the hands of man. God sets kings and princes in office. He raises up nations; He pulls down nations. He reigns.

Oh, there are those rulers and princes and world powers and spiritual powers but God is orchestrating them by His angelic forces. And so He brings down the Mede-Persian Empire, first in the heavens, and once it falls in the heavens, then the Greek princes and rulers in the heavens, who are also arrayed against God, they actually have been helped by God, once they take over in the heavenlies, then it is written what is going to happen on earth.

Now, what in the world does Moses holding up a staff have to do with Israel overcoming their enemies? When the staff went down as his arm got tired, how in the world did that affect the battle? The answer is, because the battle is not ours. Am I communicating?

The Kingdom of Evil

December 6, 2008

                    If we go to Ephesians 6 verse 11, we have a description of the devil as a schemer. But we see under the devil that there are kingdoms. These are called “powers” and “rulers” and “world forces” and “spiritual forces” all of which are arrayed against us. And we are in that battle. And you have no option. If you’ve not heard this before, you have heard about it now. You are without excuse. You’ll not be able to stand before Him and say, “I didn’t know.” And our enemy has been so good with his deceptions.

            I’ll just share this little story. If we are in a war and it is galactic in proportion and in this earth there are two fronts – one is in the East and one is in the West.  And in the East the church is gaining ground, we are growing at a fantastic rate, unprecedented in history, and there are few casualties. And on the other front, the casualties out number the victories; we are losing ground; we are being defeated on almost every front. And if the side that is winning is the East and the side that is losing is the West, which forces do you want to be on? What front would you choose?

            And, it is exactly that way. The church in the West on the North American continent is declining, and the figure is something like 50,000 a month in members here. Every year there are fewer churches and less numbers.  It has been going this way for some time. But in the East there is the largest church growth in all of history – twenty-five to thirty-five thousand a day in China. If I were to ask you, which front would you choose to be on, the one where we are winning or the one where we are loosing? I know intellectually what you would choose. But why would we choose the West? Well, we could choose it out of mission but why do you think most choose it? If the enemy was going to build a concentration camp, this is how he would build it. He would make it so nice no one would want to leave. It is so comfortable and so more than normal, why would anyone choose to go anywhere else? Am I communicating? We are in a battle. And unless we have this context in our paradigm, we will not be ready for tomorrow. We have been chosen for this front and it’s not going to remain as it is.

            I heard a brother refer to the younger generation, the “X” generation,  as the generation of the harvest. I believe this is the generation, the generation that is coming up now. Some of you are that age. This new generation is not enamored with my generation’s values. They are looking for authenticity. They are looking for relationship. They are looking for the real thing. I believe that’s true for many in America today. But it is going to take a changing generation to turn it around. It isn’t gong to turn around by our just doing better at what the world does. That’s why we’re in the predicament we are in in the West.

            Well, you see this front here, and you see this battle in this world. There are levels of authority and kingdoms, all under the god of this world, the prince of the air, Satan, the devil himself.

 

Kingdoms Created By Him and For Him –

             Let’s go to Colossians chapter 1. Speaking of the incomparable Christ starting in verse 13:

    For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

   He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation… The first born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him.

             All of these rulers and powers and world forces as well as spiritual forces that are arrayed against us were created by Him and for Him. And a third of all that exists in their rebellion with Lucifer, in joining Lucifer, were created by Him and for Him. He could have just in a word snuffed them all out some time in the past, but He did not. And the reason He did not is because He needed to express something to them that they were yet to grasp, as well as the two-thirds that were observing, and to us. And I want you to get a glimpse of that. The unique and wonderful thing that God is doing in the midst of this has to do with both and it pertains to us. But, here we again see these thrones and dominions, rulers and authorities, all have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.

War in the Heavenlies

December 5, 2008

A History of Kingdoms –

 

 

          We’re going to begin with a little history lesson and we’re going to go back in history a little further than you’ve probably gone before, particularly when we talk about kingdoms. And this is the issue. The issue is kingdoms, plural. The issue is there is something going on in creation that has to do with kingdoms. Most of the time when we hear the gospel of the kingdom taught or preached, most of the texts go back to Israel, looking for God’s pattern for Israel. And it is there. It is a very good pattern. But the issue of kingdoms precedes Israel. And, so we will be looking at that. We’re going to be talking about kingdoms. I want you to hear the history and to at least start understanding the context in which Jesus comes preaching the gospel of the kingdom. And so, we are going to look at the issue of kingdoms and go back to where the conflict begins.

            My objective, of course, is for you to have this context but it is also to help you to see that whether you choose to be or not, you are already in the battle that is of galactic proportions. And my objective is for you to see how crucial and vital and key you and I are in bringing this to a conclusion, and seeing the awareness of God’s way. His ways are just not man’s ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. He is doing something that is just awesome. It boggles the imagination. It is as extreme as in The Lord of the Rings, this little Hobbit child is discovering that the entire future rests on him. J.R.R. Tolkien was a Christian, and although he did not intend for it to be a Christian novel, it certainly has some interesting parallels. But, if you think that’s extreme, wait till you see what is in store for you. Just keep reading.

 

War in the Heavenlies –

 

            So, we are going to begin in Ephesians 6 with the war in the heavenlies. In Ephesians 6 we come to the text concerning the armor of God in verse 10.

 

   Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Verse 12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

 

            Wow! You could read, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against rulers, presidents, parliaments, kings in this world,” but you quickly recognize that’s not at all what it is talking about. We must have in our paradigm; we must have in the context of all of our thinking, that there is a battle going on. We, just by being in Christ, have been drawn into a battle and you have no choice. If you are not standing in this battle, you will be a casualty because He has a very clear intent for you and I in this battle and it is not to be casual observers; it is not to be totally distracted with other things. And so we must grasp that. There is a battle going on. And our struggle is against rulers, against powers, against world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The Pearl of Great Price –

December 2, 2008

            One last text. Go to Matthew chapter 13.  Jesus is talking about the kingdom of God here. It is a powerful chapter. There are a number of keys in this chapter. In verse 45 Jesus is speaking:

 

   “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.”

 

            Now, it has been taught, and I have taught too that we are the pearls and Jesus sold all that He had and gave up His entire life to purchase the pearl. I want to suggest to you that you are not the pearl, nor, am I. The kingdom is the pearl.

            Have you ever been collectors of things; stamp collectors, coin collectors, match box collectors, baseball card collectors, and things like that? I’ve collected too. I remember that for a time I collected a particular kind of coin. You know, once you get to collecting, you are always looking for that coin that is worth more than you’ve got but you hope that when you do find it you can buy it for a bargain. I was always looking for the best coin that I could afford to add to my collection.

 

            But, here’s this pearl merchant and since he made his living trading pearls, he really knew pearls and their value. He is at a flea market and he’s come across a pearl that is at a stall of someone who may not know what its worth. He’s rummaging through some things and here in this old, cracked and chipped cup is this lone pearl. And he picks that pearl up and he’s looking at it and it comes to him, “I’ve never seen a pearl like this. This pearl is worth more, a thousand times more than all I possess.”

            And he’s looking at that old man behind the table and he’s thinking, “I wonder if he knows how much this is worth? He must not know it’s worth anything. It’s out here and so available.”

And so he says off handedly and just for curiosity’s sake as if he’s really not at all interested in the pearl, “How much is this worth?”

            And the fellow behind the table says, “How much do you have?”

            Ahh! Oh, he may just have an idea that this pearl is worth a bit. But, the merchant thinks about it and begins to realize that if he doesn’t pick this up quick, somebody who might know value of pearls is going to come along and pay the price and might be able to pay more than he’s got.

And so he thinks, “I’d better start with what I’ve got.”

So the merchant says to the old man, “Well, I have an idea of what this is worth and I’ve got about $32,000 in the bank and I’ll give it all to you.”

            And he jumps in his heart because he knows he’s got a pearl that is worth a thousand times the $32,000 he’s got in the bank. He’s just got a bargain.

            Then the merchant says, “That should leave me just enough to get home on.”

            “What do you mean?” says the old man.

            “Well, I’ve got $10.50 in my pocket.”

            Well then, that’ll be $32,010.50.”

            “Are you going to dicker over $10.50?”

            “Yep!”

            “Well, I guess I’ll have to find another way to get gas for the car.”

            “Oh, you’ve got a car?”

            “Well, yes…”

            “It’s going to cost the car too.”

            “But, how am I going to get home?”

            “You’ve got a home? Then it’s going to cost $32,010.50, your car and your home.”

            “Well, I guess we can live in a tent.”

            “You’ve got a tent?”

            “You can have it all. I guess my wife and kids. . . . “

            “You’ve got a wife and children?”

 

            The kingdom of God is like a pearl merchant who upon finding a pearl of great price, sells all that he has, all that he has, all that he has.

            This gospel of the kingdom which is the power of God unto the promise that all of us have been hungering for is going to cost us our all.

            And, you have the witness of the Spirit that it is worth more than all you have. I want to challenge you to come after this pearl. Its worth a thousand times more, ten thousand times more, all than you’ll ever see. It’s worth is so far beyond what you can even imagine. Its worth makes all the gold in these billions of galaxies of our universe pale. But it’s going to cost you your all.

 

            Well the merchant considers it, knows it is worth it and says, “Okay.”

            Then the old man says, “Actually, I’ve got so much, I really just need someone to manage it for me. So, you keep it. I’ll entrust it to you. But remember, it’s mine. And if I have a need of it, you’ll know whose it is.”

 

            And that is what our Lord has done. He’s not made us destitute, and He’s not pushed us out into the cold. He’s just asking for it all. He’s not satisfied with a tithe. A tithe has been our way out. All is the way in, entering into this salvation, this eternal life, this kingdom.