“Offenses–The Offended and the Offenders”

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If you are one who takes offense at racial epithets, mean-spirited remarks, lies that are told on you, the demeaning tone of a supervisor, or even the Word of God that doesn’t conform with what you’ve been taught or believe, then what I am about to share is for you. It is my prayer that this entry will help shore up breaches in your spirit through which the devil is able to shoot his fiery darts of offense.

First of all, offense is a trap of the devil designed to wound, trip up, cause one to stumble and thus impede spiritual progress. The Greek noun translated offence is SKANDOLON. W.E. Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words defines this word as, “The name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence, the trap or snare itself,…….In the New Testament, SKANDOLON is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way. Sometimes the hindrance is in itself good, and those stumbled by it are the wicked.”

When I read this definition, I immediately thought of a mouse trap. The bait is attached to a mechanism that’s spring-loaded. When the unsuspecting mouse goes for the bait, the spring is released and the mouse gets caught in the trap. It is imperative to realize that the offense itself, no matter what it is, is a trap and the desire to give in to one’s emotions to feel hurt and bruised is the bait. Once the bait is taken, you will be nursing your wounds and out of commission as far as your destiny is concerned until you’re healed. Some people never get over the wounds of an offence and are useless to the kingdom of God. They carry their wounds to their graves.

Imagine, if you will, a world class distance runner who endures an arduous training regimen over a period of several months and sometimes years to prepare for one race. He is mentally focused on his goal of winning. At the sound of the gun, he’s off. As the race progresses, he allows nothing to enter his mind that would distract his focus; then suddenly he feel a tingling sensation in his thigh. He tries to ignore it but as he continues to run, he pulls up lame with a torn hamstring. He will never finish the race and all his hopes and dreams of winning are dashed. In a similar manner, when we take offense, we become hurt, wounded, distracted, and unable to proceed spiritually. In most cases, the offended individual will lose hours of sleep wondering why someone said what they said about them; or worse, they try to defend themselves against an accusation or a perceived wrong, never realizing that valuable time and energy is being redirected from the race at hand to drama that has nothing to do with his or her destiny.  They have in effect pulled up lame in the race of life.

Take a look at Psalms 119:165 – Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.  Nothing shall cause them to stumble.  It is not God’s will that his people take offense at the provocations we face every day, but in the event that immature Christians are offended/stumble, Jesus said in Matthew 18:6,7,8,9 – But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. It is a very dangerous thing to be one by whom offenses come. (7) Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh! (8) Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. (9) And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Does this mean cutting off your hand or plucking out your eye literally? I think not. If you have a problem with lust and an attractive woman who is seductively dressed comes into view, are you to pluck your eyes out? One sister said, “Just turn your head the other way.” That might work, but there is no place on the planet where there aren’t beautiful women dressed seductively. Further, not looking at a beautiful woman does not deal with a heart full of lust.

Here is my take on these scriptures: Again, in Psalms 119:165 we are told that when we love the Word of God, we have great peace and nothing offends us. The key to not being offended or stumbling is the love of the Word. If there is a propensity in any of you to stumble at the provocative images of the opposite gender that bombards us on a daily basis, then focus your spiritual eyes on the Word and by doing so, you will remove the cause for stumbling and, in effect, pluck out your natural eyes. Job 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? Why didn’t he say “look upon a maid?” Our thoughts are inextricably connected to our eyes and our attention. Whatever thoughts you allow sanctuary in your mind, good or bad, your eyes will go where ever those thoughts lead you. Unfortunately, Many Christians stumble in this area.

Another kind of offense that causes stumbling comes in the form of insults, a lies, or abusive language. A perfect example is found in 2 Samuel 16:5 – 14: (5) And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth and cursed still as he came. (6) And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. (7) And thus said Shimei when he cursed, come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial. (8) The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief because thou art a blood man. (9) Then said Abishi the son of Zeruiah unto the king, why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. (10) And the king said, what have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah. So let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, curse David. Who shall then say, wherefore hast thou done so?

This is an amazing story. Most of us would have given Abishi the green light to take off this guy’s head but instead, David refused to take offense. He chose rather to place himself in God’s hand and, by faith, walk out the trial in which he now found himself. (vs 12) “It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.” When you refuse to be offended and put yourself in a position of humility, you bring God’s presence into a situation to vindicate you. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. Isaiah 53:17.

Finally, I would remind you of the struggles of the early Christian martyrs. They were scourged, and tortured in such inhumane ways that it really beggars description.

If they could refuse to take offense in order to finish their race, how much more should we be willing to immerse ourselves in God’s word to such an extent that offenses no longer bother us. They become like water on a duck’s back.

In Christ,
Aubrey

Make A Demand On The Kingdom Of Heaven

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Jesus often used natural earthly principles to reveal heavenly kingdom truths.  He was quite adroit at using simple concepts we all understand to unveil the profound mysteries of Heaven.

Similarly, It is my desire in this writing to use the historical struggles of the African American people in this country to reveal how to receive the promises of the Kingdom of Heaven, so please indulge me.

The following words are enshrined in the American Declaration Of Independence:  “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Unfortunately, these words did not apply to the black citizens of this country and as a result, my natural ancestors were enslaved and brutalized in a repressive barbaric system.

Conversely, many of my spiritual brothers and sisters who operate in the same repressive system are enslaved and brutalized by satan and his minions.  What is so amazingly remarkable about this scenario is the fact that we have been delivered from the authority of this system and translated into the Kingdom of Heaven, Colossians 1:13.  Moreover, we are commanded by the King to come out of this system and be separate, 2 Corinthians 6:17.

The question them becomes, how can a people who are in bondage secure the rights of freedom that rightfully belong to them?

Before I address the spiritual aspect of this question, let me first deal with this question as it relates the history of blacks in America.

The Civil War was a seminal moment in the history of blacks in America. Ostensibly, it was fought over the issue of state’s rights, but the pink elephant in the room all along was slavery.  More than 600,000 men paid the ultimate sacrifice, shedding their blood on both sides of the issue.  By God’s grace, the blood of the union liberators, and the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, freed blacks from the hellish bondage of involuntary servitude.

From 1865 to 1877, the country went through a period of reconstruction, during which time, blacks tasted freedom for the first time.  They were elected to political office and wielded political power. The words of the Declaration of Independence were within their grasp.  It was a freedom, however,  that was short lived.

The KKK, the armed wing of the Democratic Party and the powers that be, rose up during this time terrorizing and intimidating blacks to surrender the freedoms granted to them by emancipation, and once again blacks found themselves enslaved – relegated to roles of second class citizens.  For the next several decades, they endured the shame and inhumanity of segregation and jim crow.  Justice for blacks was nonexistent during this time.  Churches were bombed, black men were lynched and emasculated.  Those who were guilty of committing such heinous acts were almost always exonerated by all white juries.

In the midst of the inhumanity inflicted on them, there arose a sense within the black community that death and severe beatings would be preferable than living any longer in such degradation; hence, the civil rights movement was born.

in 1954, the Supreme Court ruled against segregation in the landmark decision Brown vs Board of Education.  This was officially the beginning of the civil rights movement in this country.  A year later, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger.  This act of defiance launched, in earnest, the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King had studied the tactics of Gandhi who brought down the British empire a few decades earlier by civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance.

Dr King and the millions of other blacks who followed him placed a demand on those lofty words of the Declaration of Independence and refused to live any longer as serfs.  As a result of their courage, sacrifice, and determination, the promises of the founding documents of this country now extend black citizens of this country, too.

Frederick Douglass encapsulated their struggle when he uttered these powerful words in 1857:   Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.”


Truer words have never been spoken than those spoken by Frederick Douglass in 1857.  “Power concedes nothing without a demand…”   

The promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness held within the grip of this worldly kingdom had to yield to the righteous demands of citizens who refused to be victimized or brutalized any longer.  They employed civil disobedience and nonviolence to secure the freedom that rightfully belonged to them.

It would probably shock many of us to know just how many of God’s people are living in bondage to a certain degree.  Many are sick, poverty stricken, and intimidated regularly by satanic powers.  What is so sad about this reality is that Jesus bought and paid for our freedom with His precious blood.  The price has been paid and yet, like blacks of my father’s generation in this country, many Christians are not enjoying the freedom that Jesus bought and paid for and wants us all to have.

How do we as citizens of the Kingdom of God place a demand on heaven to receive what is rightfully ours?  I’m glad you asked.  In the same way that blacks demanded their freedom but without nonviolence and disobedience.

The Violent Force of Faith

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The answer is found in Matthew 11:12.  Unlike Dr. King and Gandhi, disobedience and nonviolence is useless in God’s Kingdom.  The exact opposite is true in the spiritual realm. Those who come hesitantly to God’s throne receive nothing.  The VIOLENT in faith comes BOLDLY into the throne room, Hebrews 4:16.   Those who are disobedient receive nothing, obviously, but the obedient are recipients of God’s blessings. Those who, (in a nonviolent manner), qualify their prayers with the qualifier “if it be thy will” receive nothing in most cases, but those who know the will of God will pray accordingly and receive from Heaven, 1 John 5:14.   One must first know the will of God before praying, Ephesians 5:17. Faith begins where the will of God is known.  

Jacob, when needing a blessing, did not hesitantly approach God using  the weak and impotent, “If it be thy will, would you bless me?” type of prayer.  Instead, he laid hold on God’s messenger/Heaven and refused to let go until his request was granted.

Yes, my brothers and sisters, a demand of VIOLENCE is required to secure the promises of the Kingdom of God.  Obviously, Jesus is not talking about taking the Kingdom of God with Guns and natural warfare.  That would be impossible. Rather, He is talking about the violence of faith and the obedience of sons who willfully submit to a loving heavenly father.

Consider Mark 2:3-12.  A man with palsy was carried on a bed by his friends to the house where Jesus was teaching.  When they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd, they tore up the roof and lowered the impotent man right before Jesus’ eyes. Wouldn’t you love to have friends like that?  It requires the violence of faith to do that – a type of mentality that throws caution to the wind.  These four men were driven by their love for their friend and by their knowledge that if they could get to Jesus they could receive.  They were willing to pay any price. Jesus hasn’t changed, my friends, nor has the requirements to receive from heaven.  The same reckless abandon that secured their blessing will secure yours.

Another case in point is the Syrophoenician woman whose daughter was possessed with a devil, Matthew 15:21-28.  Her first request was to Jesus Himself, but He ignored her.  He answered her “not a word.”  That response alone would have knocked the wind out of the sails of most christians today.  “It must not be God’s will” they would have reasoned.  This lady, however, was made of a different mettle.  She seems weak and helpless but she was actually violent in her approach to Jesus.  She shifted her focus from Jesus to His disciples.  She was relentless in her pursuit of heaven’s blessing.  She “dogged” the disciples to such an extent that they asked Jesus to relieve them of her incessant pleas by sending her away.  She then came again to Jesus and worshipped Him beseeching His mercy.  Jesus then utters what should have been the coup de gras.  “It is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.”  She was ignored by Jesus, ostracized by His disciples and after worshipping Jesus, she was still rejected by Him.  

In spite of all the aforementioned setbacks, the violent faith she possessed refused to ease the demand she had placed on heaven.  Only faith could have responded with the finale statement the woman made after Jesus called her a dog.  “Truth Lord,” she said, ” yet the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”  This response was so amazing that Jesus replied, “O WOMAN! GREAT IS THY FAITH!”

What can we glean from this encounter?  Once a righteous demand has been made on heaven’s resources.  Under no circumstances relax or ease the demand until the request is in your hands.

Another pertinent example is the  importune friend in Luke 11:5-8.  More than any other bible narrative, this story is the epitome of violent faith and determination.  

What is importunity?  Outside of the bible, I have never heard this word.  The Greek word is “Anaideia”  It means Shameless Impudence.  It wasn’t his friendship with this man that got him the bread, it was his importunity, his persistence, his shameful impudence.  If you add all of this up, you come up with violent kind of faith.  So, keep on asking; keep on knocking; keep on seeking, and you shall receive.  Luke 11:9 literally means to keep on asking, seeking and knocking. 

There are times when relationship alone is not be enough to secure heaven’s blessings.  Shameless, persistent faith, however, can do what relationship alone can not.

In 2010, I began to experience dizziness to such an extent that many times when I would be standing or praying and the room would begin to spin.  It became so alarming and disconcerting that I decided to go to the doctor (I am not opposed to doctors).  I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and placed on medication. For several years, I took the meds but the symptoms persisted even with the medication.  I remember being at work one day and dizziness came over me so badly that I thought I would have to leave work but fortunately, it subsided after a while.

During a time of prayer in February of 2016, I decided to make a demand on heaven for what I knew belonged to me – healing.  “Healing is the children’s bread.”  On my knees, in my prayer closet,  I received my healing.  Immediately, I was challenged with the thought of whether or not to continue taking the pills.  I decided that God is sovereign and that a pill does not determine whether or not I live or die.  Hebrews 2:14,15 came to my mind.  Fear of death has always been a part of life’s equation that equalled bondage for God’s people.  Fear of dying will keep you on the pill, the needle, or the treatment.  Any kind of fear or anxiety about dying will throttle the kind of faith that is needed to seize heaven’s promises.  So, I decided that I would rather die than be in bondage to satan.  

I would like to point out that African-Americans, from a natural perspective,  in order to be free had to have the same mentality.  They would rather die or face severe beatings rather than live any longer under the brutal conditions they were forced to live under.  

After not taking the pills, that night, I thought I was going to have a stroke. Alarming symptoms came upon me.  I had to hold onto the walls to walk to the bathroom.  I was so dizzy, I thought I would fall.  The side of my body felt as if it would go completely numb.  Satan would tell me that I was going to die if I didn’t get back on the medication.  The death card, however,  could no longer be played against me.  I would rather die, than be in bondage.   I held on to the promises and kept firm my demand on heaven for what was rightfully mine, Matthew 8:17.  This battle went on for a few months, but gradually, through my persistence, and God’s grace and faithfulness, the symptoms melted away.  Praise God!  No more dizzy spells!  I am free from high blood pressure!  It has been over a year now.  

In summary,  disobedience and nonviolence worked for Gandhi and for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in this worldly kingdom.  These men, however, would have been disappointed in God’s kingdom.

Those who receive from heaven are those who are willing to offer to heaven violent faith coupled with obedience to God’s Word.  As I have already said, nonviolence and disobedience will not work in the Kingdom of God, but the same willingness to die and lay everything on the line – life and treasure is a commodity that will worked naturally for African-Americans and will work spiritually for God’s people.

Such was the case with the woman who had the issue of blood, Mark 5:25-34.  It was against the law for a woman who had an issue of blood to touch a rabbi. Under normal circumstances she would have been stoned.  She knew that and yet, she in essence laid her life on line to be healed, and her righteous demand being a daughter of Abraham brought heaven’s blessings to her.  

There has to come a point in your life where death is a better option than living a life of degradation, slavery, and humiliation.  I cannot go out like that brothers and sisters, and neither can you! 

I would like to pray a prayer for you.  You may be in bondage to some degree or another.  Heaven has your freedom.  It is yours for the taking.  I will add my faith to yours and violently we will seize the blessings that Jesus bought and paid for with His blood.  Pray this prayer with me and receive.

Father I thank you that you have given me all things that pertain to life and godliness.  Freedom belongs to me!  Healing belongs to me!  I now reach out to heaven in the name of Jesus and I receive and accept what you have freely given me.  Sickness!  Be gone!  Bondage! Jesus has set me free!  From this moment, I am free and I curse any spirit that would try to convince me otherwise.  Thank you Jesus for your grace and for the working of the Holy Spirit in my life.  Amen.

Spiritual Warfare

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As we move towards the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, our ability to seize and maintain spiritual ground as well as withstand satanic assaults is of paramount importance.  Therefore, I want to offer some things I think will help you in your fight of faith. (If you’re in any fight other than the fight of faith, you’re in the wrong fight.)

First, let me say that effective spiritual warfare presupposes a holy and godly life. I know that in today’s christian culture words like holiness, sanctification, and selflessness are passe.  They are, nevertheless, pillars upon which our lives as believers should be based – 2 Corinthians 7:1.

It would be utter foolish to live a compromised sin-laden life and expect to be victorious in any kind of warfare with the forces of darkness.  Instead of victory, one would become cannon fodder for the devil.

Ephesians 6:10-18 gives the believer instructions on how to be a successful soldier in God’s army.  In the 10th verse we are told that God is the source of our power. Without His power and authority we are helpless against satan.  We are never to depend on any natural ability we may have.  neither a good education, physical strength, eloquent speech or any other ability in which natural men tend to trust will help when faced with satan’s forces.

God’s power emanates from the rightful authority conferred on His people by Jesus Christ - Luke  10:19.  The Greek word used for power in this verse is exousia.  It simply means  authority – the legal right and freedom to act.  There is a different word, however, translated power in Acts 1:8.  The Greek word used is dynamis.  It means the Ability to act.  We get the word dynamite from this word. Think of it this way; a police officer has authority/exousia conferred on him by the local government.  He has a legal right to confront, apprehend, and stop law breakers.  He also has a service weapon and other tools such as a taser or a baton.  These weapons give the officer the ability to use force if necessary in exercising his legal authority.

In the same manner, even though the believer has legal authority to act in behalf of the Kingdom of God, without the power/dynamis  of the Holy Spirit, authority alone may not be enough.  We need the power of the Holy Spirit to enforce heaven’s mandates here on the earth.   We have a mandate to raise the dead, heal the sick, and cast out devils in order to extend God’s mercy and grace to dying sighing fallen humanity and advance the Kingdom of God.  We essentially plunder hell to populate heaven.

I have never understood why there is such opposition against the baptism of the Holy Spirit among christians.  Facing hell without the weapons God has given us is like a police officer trying to enforce the law without a weapon or going big game hunting without a gun.  If you are a christian and you don’t have the baptism of the Holy Spirit, simply ask your father for it and He will endow you with this Marvelous endowment of power - Luke 11:13.

In verse 11, we are told to put on God’s armor i.e., having our loins girt about with truth; having on the breastplate of righteousness; having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all take the shield of faith to quench the fiery darts of the devil; put on the helmet of salvation; and take the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.

Now that we are protected by the armor of God, and we are aware of the source of our power, we must know who the real enemy is. The war is not against flesh and blood.  According to verse 12, our fight is against hell itself.  Paul enumerates the ranks of satanic forces with which we contend – Ephesians 6:12.

This enemy has stealth technology! You cannot see him. We do, however, see his devastating effects all around us. He lurks in the invisible spiritual world and uses unsuspecting fallen humanity as agents of evil purpose.  The Apostle Paul calls him the “…prince of the power of the air….” Ephesians 2:2.  He even uses ministers who appear to be messengers of light but in reality are ministers of darkness - 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

As formidable an adversary as he is, we must realize that the greater one indwells us and empowers us and gives us victory in every challenge we may face in life – 1 John 4:4.  We are more than conquerers through Him that loved us – Romans 8:37.  According to Luke 10:19, we have been given authority to tread on ALL the power of the enemy.  We win!

Having been given God’s power and armor and knowing who the conflict is against, we must also know where the theater of this drama is played out.

Take a look at 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.  Notice that the theater of this war is in the mind. We have to contend with mental strongholds, imaginations, and disobedient thoughts. Whoever controls our mental machinations has the spiritual high ground and thus access to our hearts and innermost council.

First we are to pull down mental strongholds.  A stronghold is a mental fortress built up around false assumptions and ideas that are totally contrary to the word of God.  A mental stronghold is designed by satan to keep that which is within safe and that which is without out. It is impossible to break though a stronghold with human reasoning and persuasion. Only the word of God with its irresistibility and marvelous light can tear down walls that have been built up in some cases over many years.  Once a false idea comes face to face with the power of the anointed word, it has to bow. Praise God! The scripture says that the religious leaders were not able to resist the Spirit and wisdom by which Steven spake – Acts 6:10. They were brought face to face with their error and exposed, but they chose to cling to darkness.

Another aspect of this mental struggle is our imagination. Our imagination is an integral component in bringing to pass the dreams God has placed in our hearts and His plans and purposes for our lives. Someone once said that our memory replays our past and our imagination pre-plays our future. It’s easy to see then how vitally important our imagination is.

Satan works overtime to taint and disrupt our imaginative process because our lives flow in the direction of our imagination. God has given all of us dreams of His plan and purpose for our lives. As we are obedient to Him, our lives flow in the direction of those dreams He has placed in our hearts.  Is it any wonder the devil and demons fight so viciously to corrupt our imagination.

Men, because of their predisposition to visual stimuli, are particularly susceptible to having their imagination corrupted. One of the many ways the devil gains access to the mind is through pornography. Pornography is an epidemic among Christian men. And with the advent of the computer, one can view pornographic images from the privacy of one’s own home, and no one will ever know.  What you may not realize is that you’re allowing the devil to set up a beach head in your mind from where he has access to your heart. Those images become so imbibing that once you’re ensnared, it’s not easy to get free.

Children also are known for their vivid imaginations. It’s a wonderful part of their developmental process. Many of them have dreams of being fireman, doctors, policemen, preachers, etc.  We activate and encourage their imagination by giving them toys that are not only used for play but are also used to help zero in on areas where they may be gifted.  Their imaginations soar when we tell them that they can be anything they want to be.

Thomas Edison is a good example:

Thomas Edison

This a a poignant story and points out 3 things

  • More than reading, writing and arithmetic is taught in the public schools. in fact the whole school system is designed only to train up children to be good citizens of a state in rebellion against God.
  • Home schooling is a vehicle through which parents can control what goes into malleable young minds and instill godly principles in their children.
  • God’s dreams that are sown in the mind and heart, will come to fruition when guarded against encroachment by negative demonic seeds.

It is in these formative stages of life that the devil tries so desperately to gain access to young minds. He uses tv, computers and a host of other things to corrupt young minds, but probably the most effective tool he uses is the public school system. Make no mistake about it; the whole purpose of public education is mind control.  The public schools are indoctrination centers.  By the time a child has gone through 12 years of secularization unchecked, they have no moral compass and little if any regard for God’s word.

So, we have a huge challenge ahead of us. We are fighting not only for our own hearts and minds but also for the hearts and minds of our children. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 is ammunition for the fight.

We are to bring every thought unto obedience to Christ. This is called renewing the mind; being kingdom minded; being Word minded; having the mind of Christ.

No thought is to go unchallenged. We are to refuse entry of every thought that is not in line with God’s Word. Does this mean that bad thoughts will not cross my mind.  Of course not.  It means that we don’t have to accept bad thoughts or entertain them.  Birds can fly overhead, but they cannot roost in my mind.  In Proverbs 4:23, we are told–Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.  One translations reads, “guard” your heart for out of it flow the “forces” of life.  How are we to do this?  Well, the mind is the road to the heart. If we remain single minded on the word of God, our hearts will be secure and full of faith and power.

Finally, It is vitally important to keep the supply lines open – Ephesians 6:18. Praying in the Spirit with all kinds of prayer i.e., the prayer of petition, intersession and thanksgiving (1 Timothy 2:1), the prayer of importunity (Luke 11:8), and the prayer of faith (James 5:15) all serve this purpose.

These are what I call supply routes.   They serve to keep the believer in contact with heaven and provide a conduit through which needed supplies can flow from heaven to strengthen and sustain the Kingdom Warrior.

An active prayers life also provides the believer with instructions and wisdom from the King about how respond to attacks that hell may mount against us. Praying in the Spirit is a very powerful resource that allows believers to tap into unlimited supply reservers.  Whatever we need can be obtained by using these supply routes to access heaven’s vast and unlimited supply.

Now, let me give you a check list to gauge your readiness as a soldier:  As you read these, imagine me sounding off this list and you responding,”CHECK.”

1. Are you living a holy and godly life without worldly compromise?
2. Do you know the source of your power and authority?
3. Do you have on spiritual armor as enumerated above?
4. Do you know with whom you are warring?
5. Do you know where the theater of the war is being fought?
6. Have you pulled down mental strongholds that would make you vulnerable to attack?
7. Are you using your imagination as a tool to keep you on the path to victory?
8. Do you guard the portals of your mind against invasion of foreign
thoughts?                                                                                                                                      9. Are the prayer supply routes open?

If you answered check to this list, there is no devil or demon that can ever defeat you.

 

Kingdom Finances vs World Finances Part 2

The Tithe

building-the-church

I have tried to draw a distinction between Kingdom of God economics and  world economics.

The difference between the two are literally like night and day, darkness and light.

The world system operates on the buying and selling system . Goods and services are exchanged for money.  The more money one is able to acquire, the more comfortable one will be able to live in this world.

It is easy then to see how in the world system, the acquisition of money can become one’s raison d’etre.  In this way, the world economic system is designed to enslave all who are engaged in it – Luke 16:13.  Jesus was crystal clear in this text that your allegiance can only be to Him or mammon not both.  You will either love one and hate the other or be devoted to one and despise the other.  

He is not saying that we should hate or despise money which is an inanimate object.  It is a tool used by the wicked demonic rulers of the system.  

Rather, He is saying you cannot really love or be devoted Him without hating and despising the system which requires its devotees to become slaves to money.

Even the innocuous concept of working hard to achieve the success. is at odds with Kingdom economics.  Hard work has its benefits.  The scriptures teaches that if we don’t work we shouldn’t eat, 2 Thessalonians 3:10.  In fact the first thing God did after creating man was give Him a work assignment.  Adam was the first gardener.  He was commanded by God to tended and keep the garden of Eden  

The problem arises when men and women give themselves as slaves to this wicked system in order to have the accouterments of worldly success.  The acquisition of wealth and all of its trapping is vanity  without having the peace of God. Many have gone thousands of dollars in debt to have a nice home, car, etc, or to get an education in preparation for working within this system in order to acquire things.

All of this is against Kingdom economics.  Debt enslaves the borrower - Proverbs 22:7.  We are commanded to owe no man anything – Romans 13:8.  I would rather live in a hovel with the peace of God than live on a palatial  estate without God’s peace.  I would much rather have divine revelation than have a Harvard education.  An education prepares one for success in this system.  Divine revelation prepares one for success in the Kingdom of God.   

The Kingdom of God liberates all of its citizens by the blood of Jesus and by obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ – Galatians 5:1.  Therefore, we should never get entangled with Babylon’s/world’s political system, religious system, and for the purpose of this treatise, Babylon’s economic system.  

One area where I think most Christians fall prey is the concept of the tithe.  The “Christian” Industrial Complex led by CEO – pastors is built and sustained by the tithes of the sheeple.  This kind of pyramid scheme has absolutely nothing to do with faith or Kingdom finances.  

What faith does it require for a preacher to figure out that if he has, let’s say, ten tithing families in his church with each family earning $100.00 a week, that he will receive $10.00 weekly from each family.  It doesn’t take faith to count.  All he has to to do is trot out Malachi 3:10, bludgeon them periodically with this scripture to make sure that they legally and dutifully continue to tithe in order to avoid being cursed.  

The real curse, my brothers and sisters, comes when the law is mixed with the grace of God.  It doesn’t work.  When we attempt to keep part of the law, a couple of things happen:

  1. We become debtors to keep the whole law and therefore are fallen from grace.
  2. We become severed from Christ.

We cannot keep part of the law without becoming debtors to keep the whole law  – Galatians 5:3-4.  No one is justified by keeping the law,

It may surprise you to learn that the tithe being such an integral part the “Christian” Industrial Complex  is not taught in the New Testament nor is it a part of Kingdom economics.

Proponents of the tithe will argue that 1) The tithe preceded the law and is therefore efficacious during the church age and 2) Tithing is the foundation to  receiving God’s provisions for His people.

First, tithing indeed preceded the law.  It was a one time voluntary act by both Abraham and Jacob - Genesis 14:20 and Genesis 28:20-22 respectively.   

Let me point out a few things about these two patriarch’s act of tithing.  

Abraham was not required by God to tithe.  It was done once on a voluntary basis.  It was not done in order to receive blessings from God.  Notice that God FIRST blessed Abraham with a tremendous victory over his enemies along with the accompanying spoil, and then Abraham tithed, an amount he himself set.  

Similarly, Jacob made a vow that if God FIRST blessed him he also would tithe, an amount he himself voluntarily set.  

How does this square with the constant drum beat of the prosperity prophets cajoling the sheep to first tithe in order to receive the blessings of God?  For leaders who would fleece the sheep but not feed them, hear what God says in Ezekiel 34:1-10

In closing, let me point out that everything in the Old Testament is a type and shadow of what we have in the New Testament.  That would include the tithe – 1 Corinthians 10:11.  

The tithe is only a type of a New Testament reality.  In the Old Testament, God’s people owned the 90 percent and were stewards of the tenth, the tithe.  The New Testament reality is that we own absolutely nothing.  We are not even our own; we are bought with a price – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  Instead of being stewards of the 10th as they were under the law, we are steward of it all.  Everything I have belongs to God.  It is now incumbent upon me to stay in vital contact with Heaven so that I might know where the King would have me give and share Heaven’s resources over which He has made me steward and how much He would have me share.  He may require me to give a 10th but he also may require me to give everything I have.  This is why a life of faith and trust is so important because when I have the assurance of faith that God is my source and not a job or the world system, I relinquish all control over my life and place myself in God’s care .

 It’s very easy to dutifully give a tenth every pay period.  That kind of legalism requires no faith and more importantly no contact with Heaven.  Seeking Heaven, however, to acquire the mind of God as it related to giving requires not only faith but love and a giving heart.

Secondly, the foundation of New Testament provision is not Malachi 3:10 but Matthew 6:33.  After a foundation of seeking first the Kingdom of God is laid, we can then build upon the foundation  righteous works of giving according to Luke 6:39 and sowing financially according to 2 Corinthians 9:6.  

When we put these Kingdom principles into practice, we are assured that God will provide for His own not matter what is going on in Babylon.  The markets can rise or fall but the righteous will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that will always be green.  

One of my favorite provision scriptures is 2 Corinthians 9:8.  I particularly like the Amplified rendering of the text:  And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation.]  

Children of God and fellow Kingdom citizens, if you do the things I have outlined above, you will be wonderfully provided for (Philippians 4:19) during the difficult days ahead.

Come Into The Light

silhouette-of-the-woman-dancing-during-beautiful-sunset-natural-light-and-darkness_4drqudacg__M0000

It should come as no surprise to any discerning Christian that an incredible darkness has descended on the world.  The Bible warned of such a time of darkness in Isaiah 60.2.   It is palpable and unlike any darkness I’ve ever seen.  Isaiah, again, captures the zeitgeist of our age when he said in Ch 59:14-15:  “ … judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.”  (15) Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.”  

Truer words have never been spoken.  Just look around you, brothers and sisters. Lies rather than truth rule the day.  Righteousness and morality are no longer held in high regard.  Instead, the righteous are held in utter contempt by those of the world.  The opprobrium of the world falls on anyone who doesn’t walk in lockstep with the perverted views of world orthodoxy.

Lesbians, bisexuals, gays, transgenders and gay marriage are to be accepted as normal or else.  To reject this kind of deviancy is to be labeled as one who hates.

Another case and point of how morally bankrupt this country and the world has become is the recent undercover videos of planned parenthood doctors discussing hacking up unborn babies and selling parts to the highest bidders.  If you thought that those who are perpetrating such heinous crimes would finally be brought to justice,  think again.  They, instead, received and invocation of God’s blessings given by Barack Obama in a speech he gave to that organization a few months ago.  Astoundingly, those who made the undercover videos and exposed barbaric practices were indicted and brought up on charges.  The article can be found here.  Indeed, the truth has fallen in the streets; justice stands afar off, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

I was invited to Charleston WV,  capitol of the state in which I live, by a friend to attend a Franklin Graham prayer rally.  I declined.

Brother Franklin is traveling the country enlisting Christians to vote in an attempt to reverse this country’s descent into total darkness.  Think about this, friends.  Is the Christian vote really an answer to the intractable problems the world is facing?  Do we have Bible precedence for Christians getting involved in the political process?  I don’t think so.  Early Christians turned the world upside down, but not by getting involved in the political affairs of this life – 2 Timothy 2:4.  They did so by the power of the gospel and the authority of the name of Jesus.  

Jesus’ prayer for His assembly in John 17:9-19 embodies what the believer can expect from the world and what our mentality toward the world and its darkness should be.

Let me point out a few things about this prayer.  Jesus made it perfectly clear that He wasn’t praying for the world – vs 9, (not even Israel).  The world in the text is the ungodly system which included, according to THAYER, “The ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ.”  

So, with all due respect to Franklin Graham and his acolytes, it is impossible to have the mind of Christ vis-a-vis the world while at the same time trying to change a hostile world by becoming politically involved.  This is particularly true when you consider vs 16.  We have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Son – Colossians 1:13.  

World is mentioned 13 times the John 17 text.  Do you think the Holy Ghost is trying to distill wisdom to us about us having a right mentality toward the world?  Of course He is.  Here are a few things we can extract from this prayer:

  • We are NOT to pray for the world – vs 9.  
  • The world hates us – vs 14.  
  • We are kept from the evil of the world and set apart by the gospel – vs 15,17.  
  • We are to be in the world but not a part of the world - vs 11,16.  
  • And finally we are sent into the world – vs 18.  

Are we sent to vote and place our Christian imprimatur on godless politicians in a futile attempt make our lives better in this world?  Au contraire!   Rather, we are sent to preach to gospel to all creation.  We are to go into the hedges, highways, and byway compelling people to come into the kingdom of God.  We are to plunder the kingdom of darkness by shining the light of the glorious gospel on the darkness of fallen humanity.

Yes, friends, the world is getting darker.  The cup of iniquity is full.  The sword of judgment has has been unsheathed, and nothing is going to change until the stone cut out of the mountain without hands smashes into the kingdoms of the world and breaks them to pieces – Daniel 2:44-45.  Therefore, it behooves us as God’s people to come completely out of the world in order to avoid the judgement that is soon to fall – 2 Corinthians 6:17, Revelation 18:4.

Isaiah 60:2 paints a very bleak picture of the world.  The depths of darkness into which fallen humanity will sink is unimaginable.  Conversely, Isaiah, in the same passage offers hope to those who are righteous and are following hard after Christ.  While darkness is descending on the damned, God is arising on the just and His glory is seen on them.  Hallelujah!  So, awake thou that sleepest, arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light - Ephesians 5:14.

It is time, brethren, to COME OUT OF THE WORLD.  COME OUT OF ITS POLITICAL SYSTEM.  COME OUT OF ITS FINANCIAL SYSTEM AND COME OUT OF ITS RELIGIOUS SYSTEM.

The Truth About Women Preachers

woman with bible

I recently read an article titled, “God Never Called a Female to Be Pastor.” This statement presupposes that the writer knows everyone that God called both past and present, and none were women.  If you agree with this kind of broad statement, I would like to ask you a question.  There are 2 scriptures in the Bible in which elders were ordained (Elders were in the 5-fold ministry), Acts 14:23 and Titus 1:5.  Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in all the cities where they had preached and Paul also commanded Titus to ordain elder.   My question is–can you name one man that was ordained at this time?  You can’t because we don’t know the names or the genders of all those that were ordained.

In Genesis 29:9, Rachel was a shepherdess.  The Hebrew word used is RAAH (pronounced RAW-AH) – Strong’s # 7462.  The same word is used in the 23rd Psalms and throughout the old testament.  In Jeremiah 23:2, the same Hebrew word RAAH is translated Pastors.  Rachel was a Shepherdess/Shepherd/Pastor; take your pick.  Let me remind you that the old testament is types and shadows of the new testament. What the old testament conceals, the New Testament reveals and fulfills.

Having said all that, I’d like to point out that there are no Old Testament scriptures that make a women subservient to a men based on gender.  In fact, before the fall, God gave dominion to both men and women together as a species and not to man by virtue of his gender, Genesis 1:26, (Man was created male and female and they ruled creation together).  It was only after the fall that husbands began to rule their wives.  God states in Genesis 3:17 that the husband would rule over the wife.  Notice that the scripture does not say that men would rule over women based on gender or other men for that matter. He is specifically speaking about the relationship of husband and wife.

With that in mind, I will later share some New Testament scriptures that those who are opposed to women in ministry use to justify their position, but indulge me for a moment as I touch on some outstanding women leaders of the Old Testament.

Have you ever looked at Micah 6:4?  Here is the NIV version of that same passage: “I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.”  It is clear from the text that Miriam was also a leader along with Aaron and Moses.

Deborah was also a great leader among God’s people.  God raised up Deborah and used her to deliver His people from their enemies.  Her leadership during a time of national crisis has secured for her a place among Israel’s greatest champions.

Huldah the prophetess was another outstanding female leader of God’s people. In 2 Kings the 22nd chapter, Josiah the King discovered a book of the Law of the Lord in the temple. Realizing the great wrath of God that was against Judah, he sent Hilkiah the priest Ahikam, Achbor, and Shaphan to Huldah the prophetess,  2 Kings 22:13.  King Josiah sent 4 men including a priest to a woman to inquire of the LORD.  Was there a man that they could have gone to?  I’m sure there was, but at that time, she was God’s voice to the king, to the people, and to all Judah. These are some salient examples of women leadership in the Old Testament.  One would have to be intellectually dishonest and or spiritually blind to deny that these women were great leaders of God’s people.

These are anecdotes of women in leadership under a system that was extremely restrictive towards women.  Are we to assume that the glorious liberty we all have through the New Covenant by the shed blood of Christ is more restrictive than the Old Covenant?  I think not.

Now, let’s take a look at what the New Testament really says about the role of women in the church.  Here are a few favorite scriptures of opponents of women in ministry: 1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:11, and 1 Timothy 3:1.

Before I get into these passages, I would point out that there is no Greek word for wife and there is no Greek word for husband. Woman and wife are translated from the same Greek word, Gune (GOO-NAY).  Likewise, man and husband are translated from the same Greek word, Aner.  Therefore, one has to determine from the context of scripture whether the writer is referring to women in general or wives, men in general or husbands. As we take a look at the scriptures, keep in mind that in Genesis 3:17, the husband’s rule was only over his wife.

1 Corinthians 11:3, Is Paul saying that man by virtue of his gender is the head of any and all women? Of course not! The only woman that I have authority over as a man is Mrs. Thomas. I am not the head of Mrs. John Doe nor do I have any authority over her in any shape or form by virtue of my gender, and God does not expect Mrs John Doe to be subject to me because I’m a man. Ephesians 5:22-23 harmonizes perfectly with the previous verse.  Obviously, this passage is dealing with the relationship of a husband and wife. Amen? I submit to you that the only man a wife has to be subject to is her husband. In the case of single Christian women, they are subject to their parents and church elders as also are men under their leadership. All of us married or single are to be subject to those who have the rule over us in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is probably used more often that any other scripture  by those opposing women in ministry.  Is this a universal law forbidding all women to minister?  If so, then churches with the most draconian rules against women are, themselves, condemned because women are allowed to sing and testify in those churches.

Is it possible that Paul was correcting a problem of wives disrupting services by asking their husbands questions (Women were uneducated and scripturally illiterate at that time).  Obviously the latter because Paul instructs them to learn from their husbands at home.  So, again, this passage is dealing with the dynamics of the husband-wife relationship. If you interpret this passage any other way, you have to be consistent and strike Acts 2:18 from the bible.

Another scripture used to heap condemnation on woman who have the temerity to answer the call of God on their lives is 1 Timothy 2:11-12.  Again, wives were to be in subjection to their own husbands, and they were not permitted to teach or have dominion over their husbands. Once again this harmonizes with Genesis 3:17 and the other scriptures I’ve cited.

Let’s go deeper. In the aforementioned scriptures, Paul uses the gender specific words, Gune and Aner to describe wives/women and husbands/men respectively. In most cases the context in which these words are used speaks to the relationship of a husband and wife in an assembly, obviously.

Paul uses a different word, however, in 1 Timothy 3:1.  This text is not about the husband wife dynamic but about men and women who aspire to the positions of bishop and deacon.

Instead of using the gender specific word Aner, which would have ended the debate on whether a woman could be in ministry, he uses another word–Ei tis.  Ei tis is a Greek word that refers to whosoever or whatever.  The NIV correctly renders the (GK) Ei tis in this verse “anyone.” The Numeric New Testament also correctly renders the (GK) Ei tis in this passage “one.”  This passage should read: Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone set his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task NIV.  So, if we’re honest, we can conclude from this scripture that anyone can be a bishop, if of course, he or she meets the qualifications enumerated in verses 2 through 7.  Are you still with me?

The qualifications for men who aspire to be bishops or deacons are enumerated in 1 Timothy 3:1-10,12.  The qualifications for women who desire to be bishops or deacons are found in 1 Timothy 3:11.

The qualification of “husband of one wife” was cited by a preacher who outright rejected my exegesis.  “A bishop has to be a man,” he said,  “because he has to be the husband of one wife,”

To answer the “husband of one wife” question, take a look at 1 Timothy 3:11-12. Both the KJ and the NIV use the phrase “must their wives” in verse 11.  The words “must their” is not in the original manuscripts but was added by the translators. Therefore, context dictates that “women” has to be the correct translation.  Paul is obviously not addressing the husband-wife relationship as in the aforementioned passages.  He’s not talking about the wives of deacons but women who aspired to the office of deacon or bishop.  The Numeric New Testament and The American Standard Bible are better translations of verse 11.  Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things, ASV.

Further, men aspiring to be deacons or bishops were required to be the husband of one wife along with the other qualifications listed.  Notice in verse 8 of 1Timothy 3, Paul uses the phrase “In like manner” or “Likewise” which connects the qualifications for both bishops and deacons.

Women who aspired to those offices had to be grave, not slanderers, temperate, and faithful in all things.  Obviously, they could not be husbands because they were women.  We know, however, that women could be deacons because Phoebe was a deacon.  She was not the husband of one wife, so that particular qualification was for aspiring men who wanted to be bishops or deacons. Women who aspired to those offices only had to be grave, not slanderers, temperate, and faithful in all things.

In Romans 16:1, the Greek word Diakonos is translated servant in this passage, but in 1Timothy 3:12 the same word is correctly translated deacon. (By the way, the word deaconess is not in the Bible)

Here are some facts:  Phoebe was a deacon; as such, she had to be proved, 1 Timothy 3:10; She had to meet all the other qualifications laid out for a woman aspiring to that position.  The Church at Cenchrea was to assist her in whatever matter she had need of them.  She was sent by the apostle Paul, and she had authority.  Also, this is the only place in the Bible where the qualifier deacon “of the church” is used.  Anyone can be a deacon simply by serving, but Phoebe’s position was one that required testing, and meeting certain qualifications.  Only those who met the criteria could be considered deacons of the church.  So, if you still want to argue that women can’t hold positions of leadership in the church, your argument is against these scriptures.

Before I proceed, I would like to share some Bible uses of the Greek word, Ei tis, MT 16:24.
The word man in this passage is also translated from the Greek word Ei tis, which means whoever, whatever, whosoever. Himself is a personal pronoun referring to Ei tis. A similar scripture is found in 1 Cor. 14:2.  Paul is obviously talking about men or women.  The Bible is replete with scriptures like these.  A few are: MK 4:23, MK 9:35, MK 11:25, Romans 8:9, James 1:23, and 1 Corinthians 8:3.  It is clear that these scriptures are referring to both men and women.  In light is these scriptures, 1 Timothy 3:1 has to be viewed the same context.  Amen?

Interestingly, when speaking about the 5-fold ministry, Paul uses a similar word that refers to mankind.  He uses the GK, Anthropos which also means men or women:  Ephesians 4:8.  Ephesians 4:11 spells out the gifts that he gave to ANTHROPOS, men & women.  I know this is difficult to receive and it cuts against the orthodoxy, but THIS IS THE TRUTH.  According to this passage of scripture, Anthropos, men or women could be in the 5-fold ministry.

In Romans 16:7, Paul lists Junia, a female apostle, as being of note among (The operative word here is “among” not “by”) the apostles.  Early church fathers and scholars alike all regarded Junia as a female apostle.  Chrysostom wrote:  “O how great is the devotion of this woman that she should be counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!  Origin of Alexandria (c 185-253 AD) regarded Junia as a female apostle; so did Jerome (translator of the Latin Vulgate).  There is a consensus also among modern scholars that Junia is a woman.  It wasn’t until the 13th century that Archbishop Giles of Rome added an s to Junia in an attempt to change the name from feminine to masculine.

Dr Dennis Swift wrote concerning Gile’s sleight of hand:
“Giles cleverly added an “s” to Junia thinking that he had changed it to a male name, Junias. However, your sins will find you out because the proper male ending would have been “ius” not “ias”.

According to Daniel B. Wallace, no instances of the name Junias have surfaced in Greek literature (absolutely not one). We have numerous examples in Greek literature and on ancient grave inscriptions of the name, Junia, and it is always in the feminine form.”

Later translations of the scriptures followed Giles in this misogynistic attempt to erase the fact that Junia was a female apostle, but the KJV, ASV, and the Numeric New Testament all correctly render Romans 16:7 Junia.

let me share a few facts about the ministry of Priscilla and Aquila.  Romans 16:3,4,5 and 1 Corinthians 16:19 says that Priscilla and Aquila’s home was used as a meeting place for the church.  Priscilla and Aquila obviously pastored a this church in their home.  Amen?  Priscilla and Aquila expounded to Apollos the way of God more perfectly, Act 18:26; both Priscilla and Aquila traveled with Paul in his missionary work; they were both fellow workers with him in Christ Jesus, Romans 16:3; Both Priscilla and Aquila risked their lives for Paul, Romans 16:4.

In fact, in all of the scriptures referencing the ministry of Priscilla and Aquila, with the exception of Acts 18:2 and 1Corinthians 16:19, Priscilla is always mentioned first.

Consider the following passages: Acts 18:18, Acts 18:26, 2 Timothy 4:19.

This order is very important and telling.  In Bible times, women were seldom mentioned, much less being mentioned ahead of their husband who were in the 5-fold ministry.  Most will agree that Aquila was a pastor.  Can you imagine a Pastor in today’s culture receiving a letter from another minister or ministry and his wife, who is not even in the ministry is addressed first.  It would read like this– Dear Mrs. Priscilla and Pastor Aquila.  It would be considered disrespectful and insulting to say the least.  When writing to any couple, a letter is always addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Paul, however, accorded this woman the utmost honor by always mentioning her first in order.  I have to conclude that Priscilla was very prominent in ministry, and was probably used more prominently than her husband.  Truly, in Christ there is neither male or female.

I think it’s interesting to note that the translators of the KJ Bible put their bias on full display when they translated Acts 18:26.  The KJ version has Aquila first in order, but the Numeric New Testament, the American Standard Bible, The New American Standard Bible, The New International Version, and the Amplified Bible correctly has Priscilla first in order. Here is the ASV:  And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila had heard him , they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more accurately.  It is unconscionable that men, because of their bias against women, would twist the scriptures.  Unfortunately, many men who read these sound teachings will choose to hold on to their biases and traditions rather than accept the Word of God

How do you explain Galatians 3:28? “….In Christ there is neither male or female….”

Finally brethren, In this coming move of the Holy Ghost, God is going to use His sons and daughters and handmaids to prophesy and do many marvelous works. The world, once again, will be turned upside down.

I encourage you to look at these scriptures and study them without any preconceived notions or ideas.

To my dear sister’s in ministry,  I pray that this treatise will arm you with the scriptural knowledge needed to silence any misogynistic attack on the legitimacy of your calling.

A Tale of Two Israels

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
-Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

As most of you know, Charles Dickens wrote those famous lines in 1859.  The story is set during the French Revolution – a time when society was turned upside down.  The aristocracy who enjoyed all the privileges and comforts of the upper class was violently ousted and the underclass was, for the first time, embracing freedom and human rights.  For the underclass, things were better than ever but for the aristocracy, things could not have been any worse.

This dichotomy could aptly be applied to the nation of Israel.  The religious hierarchy had, by unbiblical traditions and policies, divided the nation between the religious elite who supported and maintained the status quo and the common people who longed for the promises and blessings of Abraham.

For centuries, these two groups coexisted and had all of the appearances of being knit together by a common set of ordinances and laws delivered to them by their patriarchs.  Appearances, however, can be deceiving.  

The religious leaders and the elite espoused a very rigid, legalistic view of the Word of God.  The common people, on the other hand, longed for the simplicity and profundity underneath the letter of the Word delivered to them centuries earlier.   

Jesus was the embodiment of God’s Word,  John 1:1).  He was also the catalyst that exposed and divided Israel and thus shined a light on false-feigned worship and true worship, Luke 12:51. 

Image Courtesy of Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts at Patheos Blog
Image Courtesy of Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts at Patheos Blog

The division between the two was consummated by the death of Jesus.  As Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished,”  He bowed His head and yielded up His spirit to God.  At that time the temple veil which separated the holy place from the most holy place was torn from top to bottom.  It is said that the veil was 6 inches thick and required 300 priest to move.  So, the ripping from top to bottom could not have been done by human hands.  I should point out here that the ripped veil represented several things.  1)  Animal sacrifices would never again be accepted by God, Hebrews 10:14.  2) Their temple, Jesus said, was left desolate (empty), Matthew 23:38.  After He spoke those sad words, He departed from their temple.  God will never again live in a temple made by human hands; “natural” Jerusalem will never again be a place of worship, John 4:21.  Last, the ripped veil represents the flesh of Jesus which was torn to provide access to the throne of God by the blood of His sacrifice. Carnal priest are no longer needed.  As spiritual priest, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices daily and are granted entry into the very throne room of God, Romans 12:1.  Praise God!

The Apostle Paul describes the duality of the nation in Romans 9:6.   Paul is clearly saying that there is a group within Israel that is not really Israel. They bear the name Israel; they go through all of the motions of closeness to God but in reality, their hearts are far from Him.  Their rejection of God’s son demonstrated that they did not know God, John 8:19.

Jesus, again, delineates between the two Israels when He said in John 16:20 that one group, the world, would rejoice at His death and the other group would lament and mourn.  It should be obvious that Jesus is speaking about His death and resurrection.  Those who were truly children of Abraham mourned and lamented when He was crucified.  The “world,” however, rejoiced.

Just ask yourself: who was mourning when Jesus died and who was rejoicing?  

Jesus’ disciples and those who loved Him were the ones mourning;  the pharisees, the religious leaders, the political leaders and the elite were the ones rejoicing.  Jesus said they were the “world.”

I should point out that anyone who rejects the Lord Jesus, Jew or Gentile, is considered the world.

Now, having said all this, I would like to trace a connecting thread from John 16:20 back to the prophet Zechariah who began his ministry circa 520 BC.  

THE HOUSE OF DAVID AND THE INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM

 Zechariah 12:10

I know that dispensationalist will chafe at what I’m about to reveal concerning this prophecy in Zechariah, but I feel very strongly that this is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me.

Just as there was a duality in Israel in the days of Jesus.  The same phenomenon exists in the body of Christ today. There are those in the body of Christ today who see only the dead letter and whose approach to scripture is completely carnal.  Conversely, there are those who are hungry for and willing to receive the spirit underlying the holy writ. The latter will receive what I’m about to share the same way I received it from the Lord – with great joy, hallelujah!  

First, let me point out a position that many, if not most, dispensationalists hold vis a vis Revelation 1:7; the Jews at the second advent will look on Him whom they pierced and at that point mourn for Him and receive Him as their Messiah.  This position is false on so many levels.  

  • First, faith does not come by looking or seeing John 12:37.  The unbelievers saw all the miracles and yet rejected Jesus.  Faith, instead, comes by hearing the word of God Romans 10:17.  I don’t know of any other way of acquiring faith.
  • Second, and more importantly, the real Jews looked on Him whom they pierced at least 2000 years before the second advent.  It is incontrovertible that Zechariah’s prophecy in Zechariah 12:10 was fulfilled at Calvary,  John 19:36-37  

Now that we’ve established that Zechariah 12:10 was fulfilled at Calvary, let’s unpack this gift God has given us and see what’s inside.

The text is clear that God will pour out a spirit of grace and supplication on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (I will share more about the inhabitants of Jerusalem in a subsequent post.)  

I need to reiterate that all of this was taking place at the cross.  The house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem received a spirit of grace and supplication at the cross; the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem looked on Him whom they pierced at the cross; the house of David and the inhabitants Jerusalem mourned for Him as one would mourn for an only son at the cross.

The Cross of Jesus

Who then are the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem?  

They certainly aren’t the ones rejoicing.  Are they?  The “world” was rejoicing at that time John 16:20.  Jesus said the “world” would be rejoicing at His death. Amen?  

On the other hand, His disciples and those who loved and followed Him were the ones who were mourning for Him as one mourns for an only son, just as Jesus said in John’s gospel.  And of course, we know that they looked on Him whom they pierced.

In summary, the ministry of Jesus exposed a divide in Israel – a divergence of two groups of people and the emergence of the inhabitants of spiritual Jerusalem.  

One group was inhabitants of natural Jerusalem which is a type of Hagar and is in bondage.  The other group inhabits spiritual Jerusalem, the mother of all and is a type of Sarah, the free woman.  Galatians 4:25-26

To be continued…