Monday, April 24, 2017

Faith and Allegiance (4) Switching

Matthew Bates has a long discussion about the link between continued allegiance and good works. Good works is expressed allegiance.

I think that there should have been more emphasis on the act of giving allegiance. We become a Christian by switching our allegiance from the world to Jesus. We are actually switching from unwitting allegiance to the spiritual powers of evil to allegiance to Jesus.

A switch in allegiance is a pivotal moment with permanent consequences. Once Simon the Zealot switched his allegiance from his zealot group to Jesus, he could not go back. If he had tried, they would have perceived him to be a spy and tried to kill him.

If a soldier in Saul’s army went to live with David in the Cave of Adullum and switched allegiance he could not go back. If he tried to meet with his old friends in Saul’s army, they would kill him because he was a traitor. If he were a senior officer, they would have tried to kill him anyway, because he would know too much.

Switching allegiance is a life and death issue.

When give allegiance to Jesus, we are withdrawing our allegiance to the spiritual powers of evil. They are not happy.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Faith and Allegiance (3)

Allegiance is a good word, but unfortunately, modern people are not familiar with the concept.

American Children make a pledge of allegiance to the US flag. Unfortunately, a flag cannot issue commands. so this pledge can be made without any need for obedience.

The flag represents republican government and the US Constitution. The republic is considered to be of God, so pledging allegiance to the constitution does not conflict with any allegiance to him.

However, the constitution provides liberty. It provides people with freedom to do what they like. It does not require obedience to God.

This vague allegiance to a flag is totally different to allegiance to an ancient king. Once you gave allegiance to a king, he owned you. You became his property. He could make you do whatever he chose. He could send you on a mission that would result in you being killed.

The king owned everything. You could only hang on to your property, if he allowed it. He was free to take the best of your property, if that suited him. Samuel described this well in his warning to Israel (1 Sam 8).

If you withdrew allegiance to a king, he would probably kill you.

Allegiance is a serious business. It is quite different to standing in a circle under a flag.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Faith and Allegiance (2)

The Greek word translated faith is “pistis”. The related verb is “pisteuo”. It is often translated as “believe”. In his book called Salvation by Allegiance Alone, Matthew Bates explains that the word “pistis” is much broader than faith, although it sometimes does mean faith. He explains that the pistis has three dimensions.

  • intellectual agreement
  • proffessed fealty
  • enacted loyalty.
Bates says that intellectual agreement with the gospel is not enough. God expects allegiance to Jesus.

I would put it this way. The Greek word for faith included the following elements.

  • Intellectual assent to the truth of the gospel
    Jesus is the son of God.
    He died on the cross,
    rose from the dead
    and ascended into the spiritual realms.
    He is now seated at the right hand of the father,
    far above all spiritual authority.
    The person choosing to follow Jesus must believe these facts about Jesus are true. This is belief.

  • Trust in the reliability of God
    We decide to trust God
    He can be trusted to do what he says he will do.
    He is good, so he will do good things.
    He has the power to do what he says he will do.

  • Transferring allegiance to Jesus
    We are saved by giving our full allegiance to Jesus.
    We renounce all other loyalties,
    to the world and to the spiritual powers of evil.
    We give ourselves to be be subjects of Jesus.

We can give allegiance by declaring, “Jesus is Lord” or “Jesus is King”. This is a bit problematic, because the words “Lord” and “King” do not have much content in the modern world. We also declare our allegiance by baptism. That is why baptism is so important for getting free from the spiritual powers of evil. A person being baptised is renouncing any loyalty to them. They are declaring to them that they now fully belong to Jesus.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Faith and Allegiance (1)

When I wrote a summary of the gospel last year I used the word allegiance to describe our relationship with Jesus. Here is the good news in in my words.

Good News
God has installed a new government. Jesus came to earth and lived a good and generous life. He amazed the people with his wisdom and healed broken lives, but he was killed by the political and religious leaders. However, God raised him from the dead and gave him a place of supreme authority in the spiritual world.

Jesus new government is different from any government that we have known. Human government have always exercised authority imposed from top down with police and military power. This makes them vulnerable to the spiritual power of evil, who picked off the people on the top and then manipulate them to wreak havoc on earth. This is why human governments have been so disastrous, and so many have been evil.

The government of God is based on love, not power, so all authority will be freely submitted freely from below to those the people love and trust. This leaves no room for the powers of evil to work, because Jesus death on the cross set those who trust him free from their power.

Challenge
God’s new government has come. He is calling people all over the world to shift their allegiance to Jesus, and become part of his new government that his emerging on earth.

My Response
Jesus has done a lot for me, so I have chosen to follow him and do his will by following the voice of his Holy Spirit.

So I was intrigued to see that Mathew Bates has just released a book called Salvation by Allegiance Alone. I have just finished reading this book.

I like Bates’ approach to allegiance and faith. It reflects my experience in choosing to be a follower of Jesus many years ago. I was not buying a ticket to heaven. I was switching my allegiance to a new leader. I chose to give allegiance to Jesus because I trusted what he had done and the wisdom of his Spirit.

A switch in allegiance is a pivotal moment with permanent consequences.

However, allegiance is tricky concept in the modern American world, where the predominant allegiance is to flag and the political system. Not many want to switch their allegiance from that to Jesus. Most want to serve both masters, so split allegiance becomes weak. More on this in the next few posts.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Three Things

I observed three things last week that were a little disturbing.

  1. Serious deception – Politicians and their followers will accept a lie if it will get them what they want, especially if they dislike the victim.

  2. Massive hypocrisy – Feigned outrage at an enemy that does bad things, while turning a blind to a friend that does greater evil.

  3. Immense love for bully power.

All these lead beastward.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Territory

We should focus our prayer on the places where we have authority. We have authority in our lives and our family’s lives. We have authority in the lives of people who have submitted to us. This is why groups of believers need to submit to each other for spiritual protection. Three or for four people who are united by love and submission can be together spiritually in the same way as Jesus is with them (Matt 18:20). They can establish a spiritual space where Jesus reigns.

However, establishing spiritual space for Jesus to operate is not enough. The principalities and powers operate through the political authorities that control physical territory. To eliminate their power and replace it with the Kingdom of God, Jesus needs to extend his authority over physical territory.

Territory is important. We need a better understanding of the relationship between authority and territory. Jesus currently controls very little territory in most cities. He has authority over the homes of his followers and church building. He has authority over any businesses that are owned by Christians.

Looking down on the city from above, it would look like several thousand dots, scattered all over a map of the city (with each dot representing a family, church building or business). Between the dots would be swathes of territory controlled by the enemy.

If a general looked at this map to come up with a strategy to expand Jesus’ territory, he would say, “This is hopeless”. Jesus army is scattered and isolated. They are not a threat to the enemy, not matter how vibrant their worship when they come together on Sunday. They can be picked off one at a time, and that seems to be happening.

God’s strategy is essential. We must operate where he leads. A wise general would generate his troops together and establish a few strongholds on the ground and secure them from attack. He would then push out from these strongholds into places where the enemy is weak.

The spiritual powers of evil cannot be everywhere at once. We can overcome them by working where they are weak. They tend to concentrate on the centres of power (civic and religious), because that is where their power is amplified. They are usually much weaker on the edges of life at the edge of the city.

We should work together to establish spiritual enclaves where the spiritual powers of evil are weak. From there we can push back against the power of darkness from a position of strength. As the enclaves expand, the principalities and powers that control the city will be weakened as their authority is fragmented.

The principalities and powers operate through the political authorities that control territory. We must be ready with a system of authority over territory for when they are defeated. (I explain how this can happen in my new book called Government of God). Otherwise, an alternative political power will rise and establish imposed authority over the territory. The principalities and power will use them to recover their spiritual authority over the territory.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Praise is the Power of Heaven

A common teaching is that praise breaks the powers of darkness. This is stated as truth by many worship songs, but it is not in the scriptures.

Years ago, I attended a large worship service in the city centre. A team of a dozen musicians led the worship in a very polished manner. The singing was enthusiastic and the presence of God could be felt. As we were singing a song about the Jesus seated on the throne in heaven, the Holy Spirit allowed me to hear what the evil one was saying. The voice I heard said:

Who cares;
I am winning.
You can do what you like in here,
I am winning out there where it all happens.
You can sing about heaven as much as you like
I am winning in the world where it counts.
Praise is good. It is the right way to enter God’s presence, but praise does not change the authority situation on earth.

The principalities and powers that dominate a city or nation are there because they have been given authority to be there, by people with authority. They are quite happy for God’s people to gather and praise, because it leaves authority in the world unchanged.

We are in a season when worship has been marvellous, with great new music and songs, but the situation in the world has got worse. More of the same will not change that.

The same season has seen a huge amount of prayer, but it has not been effective in breaking the darkness. It may have prevented the situation from getting worse, but it has not released the massive victory many expected. Instead, many intercessors have been battered. More of the same will result in more of the same slow decline.

The powers of darkness are there, because they have been given authority to be there by people with authority. They will refuse to go while their authority to be there remains. No individual Christian or group of Christians has authority to make them go, because the people who let them in have greater authority in the city.

This is the challenge we need to resolve. It will take more than praise. It will require a greater understanding of authority.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Law and Judaism

In his book called Islamic Exceptionalism, Shadi Hamid points that the nation of Israel has shown very little interested in implementing God’s law in the political sphere.

After the second Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 AD at the hands of the Romans, Jews would, for more than eighteen hundred years, find themselves living as minorities under the rule of largely Christians and Muslim powers. This meant that Jewish law could not be implemented by the state. Judaism had to make its peace, to the extent that it could, with non-Jewish rule. Delineating between the political religious realms became necessary, sometimes even a matter of life and death. Legal thinkers had to adapt their understanding of the laws accordingly. In exile, rabbinic Judaism, particular in the Talmud and subsequent commentaries, became preoccupied with personal and communal responsibilities rather than political rule.

With the founding of the state of Israel, Jewish law and its relationship to the state became relevant once again. By the time, the Jewish states earliest citizens were just as much of product of European concepts of religion and state as they were their own. The new state, being democratic was a reflection of the preference of its citizens, and these had now been indelibly marked by secularism. Religion would play an important role in public life, just as it did in the Untied States, but few questioned the mostly secular, foundations of the Israeli state. On this there was a wide-ranging consensus, even if it has eroded somewhat with time. Meanwhile, Ultra Orthodox movements, as illiberal as they may be, have little interest in re-creating or returning to an invented past. They seek to guard, rather than dismantle, the long, rich tradition of rabbinic Judaism, a tradition that had, for nearly two years, little to say about law and governance (p.44).

Instead, Israel has copied America’s democratic militarism.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Law and Government

In his book called Islamic Exceptionalism, Shadi Hamid explains that Christians have mostly been ambivalent about law and government.

That the Christian tradition seems ambivalent about law, governance and power is no accident…When Jesus died on the cross, he, in effect, released man from the burden of law. With the coming of Christ, salvation is achieved through faith in Jesus Christ rather than through observance of the law.

Christianity’s story of salvation is one of progression, with humanity passing through different states of spiritual development. Jewish or Mosaic law was provisional, meant for a particular time and place and for a particular chosen people, whereas Christianity was universal and everlasting…. The Mosaic Law was never intended to be either universal or eternally binding.

In short, it is not so much that Christianity has little to say about law, it that this ambivalence, or even opposition, to law was a feature of Christian theology during its early development.

In later centuries, Christian no doubt played a powerful role in public life, but this did not lead to legal development. As Ralston writes, “Simply put, there is nothing resembling a developed Christian account of public law in the New Testament.” This had important implications: “Christian theology, especially in the medieval period, primarily, divides ecclesial law from civil law into distinct sphere of society. Ecclesial laws govern the church and civil laws govern the public” (p.48)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Geopolitics

Alfred McCoy has written an good article called Washington's Great Game and Why It's Failing. Anyone interested in geopolitics should read it.

The article possibly explains why Washington is so spooked by Putin and Russia.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

False Hope

I am amazed at the number of Christians who have put their faith in President Trump to rescue America.

Tiberius was a relatively good Caesar, and a great general. Jesus did not prophesy that when Paul got to Rome, Tiberius would come to faith and establish the kingdom.

Pontius Pilate was a relatively good procurator. Jesus did not prophesy that he would be surrounded by prayerful people and becomes a leader in the kingdom of God.

Jesus praised the faith of the centurion who wanted his servant healed, but he did not prophesy that the centurion would become procurator over Jerusalem and establish the Kingdom of God there.

I have no confidence into Donald Trump.

I have no confidence in the Republican party.

I have no confidence in the Democratic party.

My confidence is in the victory that Jesus established by dying on the cross, rising from the dead and ascending into heaven.

My confidence is in the Holy Spirit moving in power when small groups of people live and proclaim the gospel in Jesus name.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Territory

In Christendom

All territory belonged to Jesus, because the emperor owned the land, and he belonged to Jesus. They churches role was to teach the emperor and his people how to be good Christians.

In Post-Christendom

Jesus has no territory. All territory belongs to the spiritual powers of evil. We need to win territory for Jesus one house at a time.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Faithful Presence

I have just completed David Fitch’s latest book called Faithful Presence. He has some great insights, so it is worth reading.

However, I have this nagging doubt that presence is not enough. Jesus was not just present, he made his home here on earth (tabernacled among us). He told his disciples to go and stay in a home in the place where he had sent them.

I believe that people going out to share the gospel must go and live in a place to have real impact. That is the theme of my book Being Church Were We Live.

So I was interested to hear David say in his discussion about the Benedict Option, that when he and some of his friends planted a church in Westmont, Chicago, they decided to live within six blocks. Six blocks is probably four too many, but living close together has contributed to the effectiveness of their community.

I am surprised that David did not push this a bit more in his book, as it seems to be important. As he says,

Faithful presence must be communal reality before it can infect the world.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

MIC (9) Tough Battle

The spirit of Manipulation and Intimidation for Control (MIC) is hard to beat. Elijah had God with him, but Jezebel outlasted him.

Elijah’s front-on challenge against Jezebel failed. He stirred up a mob to destroy the prophets of Baal, but Jezebel was able to force Elijah to flee in fear (1 Kings 19:1-3). She was still alive and influential when Elijah was taken up to heaven.

When Elijah recovered, God gave him a strategy that would undermine Jezebel more effectively destroy her influence, without the need for head-on confrontation. He anointed Elisha has his successor, Hazael King of Aram to weaken Ahab’s family and Jehu to destroy Jezebel (1 Kings 19:15-16).

This strategy took time.

Hazael did not becomes King of Aram until after Ahab and Elijah had died. After ruling for a dozen years, Ahab’s son Joram went to war with Hazael. He was defeated and his injuries eventually caused his death (2 Kings 8:28-29). After Jehu became King of Israel, Hazael overpowered Israel throughout its territory, as the Lord reduced its size (2 Kings 10:32). Hazael oppressed Israel through his reign (2 Kings 13:22).

A new generation of leaders had to emerge and replace the old leadership before Jezebel could be removed. The young men surrounding Jehu were the next generation of leaders. They had lost respect for Jezebel, so they were glad to support Jehu as King (2 Kings 9:12-13).

When Jehu approached Jezebel’s palace, some eunuchs threw her over the wall and she died when she hit the ground (2 Kings 9:32-33). They had been her loyal servants and political organisers, but they switched their allegiance to Jehu. Perhaps they had becomes disillusioned with her.

Jezebel gained authority when King Ahab and the other leaders of the nation gave her authority. She could not be destroyed until the people who had given her authority had changed their allegiance. This destroyed her corporate stronghold in Israel.

Jezebel’s influence extended beyond Israel into Judah. Jehoshaphat had been a good king, but his son Jehoram married a daughter of Ahab (probably Athaliah). He walked in the ways of Ahab. He brought evil to Judah (2 Kings 8:16-18).

When Jehu killed the king of Judah, his mother Athaliah tried to seize control of Judah. She organised for all the royal family to be killed. This was the same method as Jezebel had used against Naboth. She ruled Judah for six years (2 Kings 11:1-3).

Athaliah was foiled by her niece Jehosheba, who hid a baby son of the king with the high priest. When he was seven years old, Jehoida the priest crowned Joash as king organised for the military leaders in Jerusalem to protect him. When he entered the palace and took his place on the throne, Athaliah was killed. This brought the influence of Jezebel to an end. Joash reigned for forty years (2 Kings 11).

God’s strategy worked, but it took time, and the right people had to be in place. He used external player to destroy Jezebel’s power base.For example, Joash had to be hidden until the time was right. Jehosheba was an outsider, but she was ready to act.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

MIC (8) Victory for Christchurch

God has a strategy for dealing with this stronghold over Christchurch.  He will not attack it head on, as the casualties would be too great.  He will defeat it by working from the edges and demonstrating his grace by healing unbelievers who live there.  When God heals a person listening to the gospel, it is an act of grace, so the MIC spirit has no authority to obstruct the healing.  The unbeliever is not under the authority of church leaders, so they are not bound by their commitments.

Sharing the gospel with people who do not know the Lord and seeing them healed is the most effective witness to Jesus.  Healing prayer for unbelievers is the key to defeating the stronghold that controls Christchurch.

The gift of healing is primarily for unbelievers.  It is essential for confirm the power of the gospel.  One reason that the modern gospel is so ineffective is that the gift of healing has been shut up in the church.

People with a gift of healing should focus on praying for the lost.  Praying for Christians is often messy, because they have too much junk, and need to have faith.  It also provokes the MIC spirit unnecessarily.  Prayer for unbelievers will usually produce more fruit.

God is raising up an invisible army in Christchurch that will win back the city for him.  They will gather in small groups on the edge of the city, where they will not be noticed, either by the church, or the spiritual powers of evil. 

The MIC spirit is strongest at the centre of the city where political and religious power is focussed.  This makes the city centre a dangerous place to be.  Starting there would be a mistake.

These small groups of Christians will be totally committed to Jesus.  They will be drawn together by love for him and bound together by commitment to love each other.   They will be able to support each other through the struggles and storms that come.  They will stand together in Jesus while everything around them is shaken.

These followers of Jesus will have laid aside the things of the world that would encumber them.  They will live simply on what God provides. They will share everything with each other and the people around them.

The anointing of the Holy Spirit will be upon them.  As they follow his leading, he will release his gifts among them.  They will be mighty warriors in prayer and be able to deal with anything that arises.

These people will be prepared for distress and equipped for victory.

When they share the gospel, they will pray for the sick.  When people are healed the power of the gospel will be confirmed and the love of God manifested.  Many will come to faith in Jesus.

As their numbers grow, the leaders will move out and start new groups.  Lights will come on all over the place on the edge of the city.  As the groups multiply, they will move towards the centre of the city.  They will squeeze the MIC spirit from the outside, but because they are so many, they will be hard to attack.  Because small groups are united by love, there will be no use of manipulation or control, so the MIC spirit will struggle to get a foothold against them.


Centreless City

When this invisible army is in place, the spiritual, political and business powers entwined together at the centre of the city will be swept away by an economic crisis.  Those with authority will flee, because they are scared of the responsibility.  Power structures will collapse as their resources disappear.

God will build his kingdom from the edges, as the invisible army rises up.  This will be the time for the frontal attack.  Without political, religious and business powers to work through, the MIC spirit will be dramatically weakened.  It will not be strong enough to resist the invisible army.

The people of God will move into the centre of the city in the power of the spirit.  They will care for people who are struggling.  The gospel will advance in the power of the Spirit.  Many sick people will be healed.

God’s Kingdom will come in Christchurch and will shine as a prophetic light to the nations.  All the authority in this city will be submitted to Jesus and Christchurch will be filled with his glory.  The Lord’s presence will be so strong that his glory will be visible.



Monday, March 20, 2017

MIC (7) Corporate Stronghold

A corporate spiritual stronghold is put in place by civic or religious (sometimes both) submitting to a powerful evil spirit in the past, so it has to be broken by the current corporate leaders.  If the religious and civic leaders of Christchurch agreed to renounce the stronghold that is controlling their city it would lose its power.

However, this is unlikely to happen.  The religious and civic leaders of Christchurch will find it difficult to agree.  They would also have to commit to forgoing the use of manipulation, control and intimidation.  Some leaders who have relied on these tools for a long time would find it hard to function without them.  Fortunately, God had another way that he can defeat this stronghold.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

MIC (6) Protection

The key to protection from a corporate stronghold like
MIC (Manipulation and Intimidation for Control) is for two or three people in the organisation or church to stand together and resist the Jezebel spirit in unity.

The two or three must see.  They will see what the spirits are doing.  They will continue to submit to their leader, but in a different way.  They will do what their leader is asking them to do, but they will see the spirit behind his request and silently resist it.  They will submit to his requests, but not to the spirit behind them.  They will pray for their leader’s eyes to be opened, so he can see how the enemy is using him.

The two or three will agree.

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them (Mat 18:19-20).

Where two or three people are gathered in Jesus name, he is there in the midst of them.  They can commit to supporting each other.  They will be united by love.


The two or three will agree to watch over each other, and if one is being attacked, they will resist it together.  They will agree that the MIC spirit has no right in their lives.  They will agree in commanding the spirit to stop harassing the one being attacked.


By submitting to each other, two or three people can create an island of safety within a dangerous organisation.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

MIC (5) Vulnerability

People who belong to an organisation in which the leaders (usually one leader) rely on manipulation, control and intimidation are vulnerable to the MIC spirit.  This is true regardless of whether the organisation is a business, a government agency, a church, the city council, or a club or society.

Any church where control and manipulation are at work is not safe, because the MIC spirit has authority to resist the name of Jesus and shut down the gift of healing.  We need to be alert,

Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith (1 Pet 5:8-9).

When the principalities and power have such a stronghold over a city, attacking them directly is unwise.  We need to be careful about confronting the MIC spirit (Manipulation and Intimidation for Control), because we may not have authority to deal with it, if civic and religious leaders have put it there.

In his book, “The Needless Casualties of War”, John Paul Jackson gives a number of examples of sincere Christians taking on spiritual power that they did not have authority to deal with.  Each one received a severe spiritual beating.

Jackson says that these spirits are hard to deal with because they operate in the second heaven, but that is wrong.  They are hard to defeat, because they have been given a place by people with political authority.

One young girl had seen a demonic principality sitting on the dome of the college administration building at the place where she had begun studying.  Within a week of engaging in warfare against the spirit, she was struck with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, and eventually had to leave her studies behind.

The management of the college had authority over it.  They had far more authority than the young girl.  They had given the spirit permission to be there, perhaps unwittingly.  To attend the college, the girl had to submit to the college management.  This put her under the authority of the spirit that controlled the college, so she was beaten up.

The city fathers and spiritual leaders in Christchurch have far more authority than ordinary Christians, no matter how strong their faith.  When Christians stand against the MIC spirit, the greater authority of the leaders who have given this spirit a stronghold in the city, nullifies their limited authority.  Civic and religious authority trumps the limited authority of ordinary Christians.

Friday, March 17, 2017

MIC (4) Mode of Operation

The MIC spirit operates in several different directions. (MIC is Manipulation and Intimidation for Control).

1. Leaders

The leader of the organisation or church can be deceived into using manipulation and control to get their vision fulfilled.  When they face opposition, they slip into intimidation to overcome it.  A leader can use their spiritual authority to intimidate people into following their guidance.  For example, they might warn the person that they will lose their “covering” if they reject their leader’s advice.  Usually it will be more subtle.

The leader’s vision is good, so they believe that the end justifies the means.  They get to build something for God, but he does not realise that he has unwittingly allowed the Jezebel spirit into the foundation of his work.  It will keep popping out to harm it.

Leaders will often get their way by sending subtle messages to the people opposing their vision.  These messages will often be delivered by loyal supporters.  For example, when a person is troublesome, the leader might say the right words to the right people, to ensure they are side-lined.  Or they can make sure that they do not knowing what is going on.

All leaders in Christchurch should look at themselves and ask if their control of people is opening the doors for the MIC spirit.  If it has been part of their life for a long time, they might not be able to see it and will need to ask a wise person who can see more clearly.  That person will not be a wise friend who only sees good in them.  It will more likely be that pesky wise person on the fringe who is often a nuisance, because they always ask annoying questions.

2. Loyal Supporters

The leader will have loyal supporters who back him.  They may see the manipulation and control, but will turn a blind eye to support the cause.  They will sometimes be able to dampen down the worst effects of the spirit of control and tone down the intimidation.

Obadiah was in charge of Ahab and Jezebel’s palace.  He managed to hide a hundred prophets in two caves.  Yet he still had to do Jezebel’s dirty work, and hunt down Elijah when he had prophesied the drought (1 Kings 18:3-5).

This is the dilemma faced by a close support of a leader under the influence of the MIC spirit.  They will often have to choose between loyalty to their leader and doing the right thing.

3. Members

The members of the organisation or church have to submit to their leader.  They must support the leader’s vision, or move out.  However, they do not get to flourish in their ministry.

There were a hundred prophets in the land in Ahab and Jezebel’s Israel.  However, they had to hide in caves.  Israel was in tumult so it needed prophets, but they were not effective, because they were shut away in caves. 

In an organisation or church where the MIC spirit has control, the gifts and ministries of many members will be stifled.  If they are used, they will be distorted to support the leader’s vision.  Many will be frustrated and feel like they are shut up in a cave.

4. Opposition

People who oppose the MIC spirit will be attacked.  These attacks can often be quite ruthless.  Elijah had to cross the Jordan and go into the dessert and hide, because Ahab and Jezebel were trying to kill him. People who oppose the MIC spirit will often find themselves shunted into the wilderness.

Jezebel stirred up scoundrels to speak lies against Naboth when he refused to hand his vineyard over to Ahab.  They accused him of hating God and the King.  The MIC spirit will often use gossip and lies against those who oppose the leader it controls.

5. Prophets

Wise prophets can expose the MIC spirit, but they should expect intense opposition.  When Jehoshaphat and Ahab got together to war against the king of Aram, the court prophets urged them on.  When Jehoshaphat asked for a real prophet, Ahab said there was one called Micaiah but he always prophesied bad things.

Miciah said that he saw a spirit of deception agreeing to manipulate Ahab into war.  Micaiah’s words were fulfilled and recorded permanently when Ahab died.  An arrow shot at random hit his back where he had no protection and killed him.  He was actually slain by the manipulation and control of the MIC spirit that led him into the wrong battle. 

Micaiah opposed the MIC spirit, but ended up in prison for his troubles.

Elisha intervened when Ahab and Jezebel’s son sent to Baal Zebub for help when he was sick.  He sent the messengers back with a message that he would die anyway (2 Kings 1:3-5).


Thursday, March 16, 2017

MIC (3) Messages

Jezebel works in the background by sending messages to get her work done.  These messages were mostly lies intended to intimidate. Sometimes they were flattery to entice.

When Elijah killed the prophets of Baal, she sent a message to him, warning that he would be dead in a day.  That was a lie, because his life was in God hands, but it still had the desired effect (1 Kings 19:2).

She dealt with Naboth by sending a letter to the nobles and elders of his city.  The letter lied about his character, but told the city leaders what to do.  They carried out her instructions (1 Kings 21:9).

When Jehu came to kill her, she called out her message. This time she used flattery, but Jehu was too ruthless to be taken in (2 Kings 9:31).

The MIC spirit (Manipulation and Intimidation for Control) has stifled the gift of healing in Christchurch by delivering a negative message to Christians living in the city.  When a person who has been prayed for by the church dies, it prompts people to say, “God does not heal everyone” or “God could have healed them, but he chose not to”.  “It was God’s will that they died”.  These words are not true, but grieving Christians often believe the negative message and blame God for the death of the person that they loved.  By doing this, they unwittingly take offence at God. 

In a city where the leaders have taken offence at God, the Holy Spirit cannot do many miracles.  Nazareth took offence at Jesus, and he could not do any great work there (see Rock of Offence).


Negative Power

Mark 6:5 is an amazing verse.  “Dunamis” the Greek word for explosive power is used twice, with a negative.

And he had no power (dunamo) in that place to do any mighty work (dunamis).

Jesus was the Son of God, who had come down from heaven. The Holy Spirit had come upon him when he was baptised.  Yet in Nazareth, he had no power (dunamo) and he could do no mighty work (dunamis).

Why was Jesus powerless?  The cause was the declarations made by the people for Nazareth in the previous two verses, denying that Jesus was the son of God, and denying his wisdom.

Where did this man get these things?” they asked.  “What’s this wisdom that has been given him?  What are the remarkable miracles he is performing?  Isn’t this the carpenter?  Isn’t this Mary’s son (Mark 6:2-3)?

Negative declarations by people with authority in a place can shut down the power of God.

The MIC spirit cannot shut down the power of the Holy Spirit.  He is much too strong for that.  What this spirit can do is speak messages to people in authority in a town or city.  If they accept and declare the message, they have authority to shut down the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is how she killed Naboth (1 Kings 21:9).

The same thing has happened in Christchurch.  The MIC spirit gave a false message to the leaders of the church when people they had prayed for died.  “God can decide not to heal a person”  “God does not heal everyone”.  When the leaders declared these words, the power of the Holy Spirit was shut down.  He has no power in the place nor can he do any mighty works there.

Church leaders have authority in the city.  When believers are praying for people to be healed in Jesus name, their words from the past seep down and stifle the Holy Spirit.  MIC created a Rock of Offence, which has quenched the Spirit’s power.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

MIC (2) Fruit

The MIC spirit produces bad fruit.

1. Kills the Prophets

Jezebel always attacks people who resist her control and intimidation.  She seeks to kill the prophets and other people who oppose evil.

  • When Elijah embarrassed the prophets of Baal, she took offence and threatened to kill him (1 Kings 19:2).
  • Jezebel took offence at Naboth when he refused to given in to Ahab’s demand for his land and had him killed (1 Kings 21:1-16).

2. Breathless

The Holy Spirit and the MIC spirit cannot work together.  People in an organisation or church that is influenced by the MIC spirit will find themselves spiritually breathless, because the Holy Spirit is quenched.  People with strong giftings will find themselves shut up in caves and unable to function.

3. Blocks Healing

The MIC spirit inflicts sickness on those who come under its power.  Jehoram King of Judah married a daughter of Ahab (and possibly Jezebel).  After Elijah wrote a letter challenging his immoral behaviour, he was struck with an incurable disease of the bowel and died (2 Chron 21:18-19).

Sickness is the favourite weapon of the MIC spirit (Rev 2:22).  That is why people with healing ministries have always struggled in Christchurch.  Although the Pentecostal movement arrived in Christchurch many years ago, and the charismatic renewal brought an awareness of the Holy Spirit to the more traditional churches, they have struggled to get victory over sickness.  The Holy Spirit has moved in many amazing ways, but the gift of healing never has been free and powerful in this city.

This Jezebel spirit seems to be able to resist the name of Jesus and block prayers for healing. It refuses to surrender to the name of Jesus, because it was put in place in the name of Jesus.

If Christian leaders have given the evil spirit permission to be there, it may claim that they have surrendered their authority to it on behalf of Jesus.  It can refuse to surrender to the name of Jesus, because it claims authority given “in the name of Jesus”.

This stronghold seems to have the power to resist the gift of healing.  This is why many prayers for healing in Christchurch have not been answered.  People have blamed God, but the real cause is the Jezebel spirit.

4. Fear and Dread

The MIC spirit has the ability to feed fear and dread into people who oppose it.  After his victory on Mount Carmel, Elijah was attacked by fear and dread, and fled for his life (1 Kings 18:3).

People who are afraid are easier to manipulate and control. Fear allows ruthless leaders to gain greater political power. 

5. Harshness

Churches influenced by the MIC spirit will be weak in pastoral care.  Ahab sent Obadiah out to find hay for their horses (1 Kings 18:5).  Ahab and Jezebel cared more for their horses than they cared about their people who were starving to death.  They should have been killing their horses to feed their people.

In a church where the MIC spirit is strong, pastoral care will be poor.  The leaders will be so focussed on their ministry and the tools needed to support it that people who are suffering and hurting will often be neglected.

6. Money Manipulation

Leaders influenced by the MIC spirit will be tempted to use money (or people with money) to get what they want.  Ahab took gold and silver from the Lord’s temple and used it to bribe the King of Aram to withdraw his attack against Israel.  Using the Lord’s wealth in this way is a serious sin.

7. Political Alliances

The MIC spirit loves political alliances.  Ahab and Jezebel formed an alliance with the King of Israel to attack Damascus (1 Kings 22:4, 2 Chron 18:1; 22:5).  Our only alliance should be with the Lord.  Christian leaders should be careful about alliances with political authorities, because it can lead to compromise.

8. Compromise to Survive.

When they come under attack, the leaders influenced by the MIC spirit will compromise to survive.  When Jezebel and Ahab were attacked by Aram, they offered their silver and gold and the best of their children to the invader to appease him.  This appeasement led to further demands, which they eventually had to resist (1 Kings 20:1-12).

Compromise is always tested.  Leaders who compromise to get things done will eventually be tested and required to compromise again.  Even when he won a victory, Ahab could not avoid compromising with his enemies (1 Kings 20:30-34)

The MIC spirit makes leaders vulnerable to compromise with evil.

9. Political and Religious Collusion

Jezebel loved to collude with religious leaders.  She had 400 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah sitting at her table every day.  Their religious power strengthened her ability to intimidate people.

When religious and civic leaders collude together, they strengthen each other’s power.  The church should be acting prophetically and challenging the civic leaders.

10 Decline

The consequence of Jezebel’s influence was that God began to reduce the size of Israel.

In those days the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel (2 Kings 10:32).

An institution that is controlled by the MIC spirit will shrink in size, even though good things seem to be happening.  The leaders may appear to be effective, but the fruit will not follow.

Monday, March 13, 2017

MIC (1) Christchurch Stronghold

Christchurch is controlled by a powerful evil spirit that has established stronghold over the city.  Over the years, many people have made the call that Christchurch is controlled by a Jezebel spirit, but few have realised how powerful it is.

A corporate stronghold gets control of a city when the religious and political leaders all participate in a common sin such as pride, intimidation or manipulation to enhance their leadership.  This corporate sin allows the evil spiritual power behind it to gain spiritual control of the
city.

This Jezebel spirit was given a place by civic leaders when Christchurch was being established.  Unfortunately, church leaders colluded with it by relying on manipulation and control too.

If Christian leaders have given the evil spirit permission to be there, it may claim that they have surrendered their authority to it on behalf of Jesus.  It can refuse to surrender to the name of Jesus, because it claims authority given “in the name of Jesus”.

Manipulation and Control

When we think of Jezebel, we think of seduction and witchcraft, but this spirit mostly works through manipulation and control, with a bit of intimidation thrown in.  The Jezebel spirit has authority in any organisation or church where control and manipulation are at work.  Those who submit to its leaders are opening themselves to the spirit of Jezebel.

This spirit can work through women, because they are sometimes skilled in manipulation.  However, it is more likely to work through men, because they are often in positions of authority that they find hard to handle.  They slip into manipulation and intimidation to keep the situation under control.

The Jezebel spirit uses Manipulation and Intimidation to Control people that are a threat to it (MIC).  For that reason I often refer to it as the MIC spirit.

Christchurch Beginning

The MIC spirit came to Christchurch with the early settlers.  Although the leaders of the Canterbury Association were godly men, it took much manipulation and manoeuvring to get the settlement under way.  This gave the MIC spirit a place right at the beginning.  Once Christchurch was established, the civic leaders maintained tight control using moral pressure to keep people in line.

The church followed the same pattern, using manipulation and control to pressure people into conformity to Victorian values.  This collusion between church and civic leaders allowed the MIC spirit to establish a stronghold over the city that has continued to this day.

City leaders still use intimidation and manipulation to get control of the council and achieve their purposes.  Although the Holy Spirit has moved in Christchurch, many church leaders have continued unwittingly to use manipulation, intimidation and control to keep their people in line.  This collusion has given the MIC spirit authority to control the city.  This broad base of authority makes this spirit hard to beat.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Storm Fire Earthquake


Christchurch has experienced storm, earthquake and fire.

1. Storm

In October 2000, a severe storm
damaged Christchurch.  Winds reached 180 kph and many buildings had their roofs lifted off.  The newly established Lyttleton Marina was destroyed; 20 boats sunk and dozens of others were damaged.  The marina itself was smashed into little pieces.

2. Earthquake

In September 2010, the Darfield earthquake struck.  It was followed by a more serious earthquake in February 2011.  180 people were killed by collapsing buildings.  Thousands of buildings were damaged and most had to be demolished.

3. Fire

In February 2017, fire raged on
the Port hills at the southern side of Christchurch.  A dozen homes were destroyed and a new adventure park with facilities for downhill trail biking was severely damaged.

People are now saying that Christchurch needs a break.

Christchurch does need a break.  But unfortunately, when civic and religious fathers allow a Jezebel spirit to establish a stronghold over their city, it will not get a break.

The key is 1 Kings 19:11-12.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

After destroying the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, Elijah had fled in fear and dread into the wilderness, after Jezebel threatened to take his life.  When he collapsed in exhaustion, God sent and angel to cook a meal for him.  After he had eaten, God led him for forty days and nights to a cave on Mount Horeb, the mountain of God.

God spoke to him and asked him to stand in the presence of the Lord and watch.  The Lord was not in the storm.  He was not in the earthquake or the fire.  These were attacks by the spiritual powers of evil stirred up by Jezebel to intimidate and destroy Elijah.  However, God had placed him in a cave where they could not hurt him.

God spoke to Elijah in a gentle whisper.  He told Elijah what to do to get rid of the evil kings that dominated Israel.

These verses apply to Christchurch.

Many Christians said that the earthquakes were God’s judgment on Christchurch.  Some will say that the fire is a judgment, but that is not correct.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.

These events were attacks by the spiritual powers of evil led by the Jezebel Spirit that has a stronghold over the city.  They know that God has a great plan for this city.  He plans to establish his kingdom here in a way that will be light to the nations.  They were trying to destroy the city, before it happens.

The earthquake failed to destroy God’s plan.  It actually strengthened it by destroying the centre of the city where power resides.  The spiritual powers of evil are now trying to obstruct God’s work in the city, by using the fire to feed fear and dread into it.  They know that fear makes people easier to control.

We must be clear.  God was not in the storm, the earthquake or the fire.  He spoke in the quiet whisper that followed.  God has many prophets hidden in caves in Christchurch.  Now is the time for them to stand in his presence and listen to his still quiet voice.

God will explain to them how to destroy the evil stronghold that controls the city.  He will explain to them how he will establish his kingdom in the city. Elijah confronted Ahab and Jezebel after Naboth was killed (1 Kings 21:20-24).  The destruction of the house of Jezebel and Ahab was initiated by a prophet proclaiming God’s word and then running to safety (1 Kings 9:1-10).

The latest enemy attack on Christchurch has failed.  God will soon release events that will see his Kingdom come to fullness in the city.

Restoration

The storm, earthquake and fire points to how God will bring restoration to Christchurch.

  1. A spiritual storm will shake the foundations of the church and sweep away everything that is not built on Jesus and empowered by the spirit.  This is what Graeme Cooke prophesied.

  2. An economic earthquake will sweep away the political economic structures that controlled the city from the centre.

  3. The fire of the Holy Spirt will fall on God’s people and the gospel will go forth with healings and miracles following.  God will confirm his word with signs and wonders.  As the gospel advances, the kingdom of God will come to fullness.


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Division of Labour

For a while, I have wondered about the division of labour between the Holy Spirit and the holy angels.

Who Does What?

The Holy Spirit is the sustainer of life. He does not resist evil spirits, because he has to sustain their life while they are doing their evil, so it would not fair for him to disrupt their power. He is committed to sustaining all life, regardless of whether it has fallen or not.

The angels resist the spiritual powers of evil on the Jesus behalf. They are skilled resisters. Apart from carrying messages, resisting is their main task. Michael resisted the spirit controlling Persia (Dan 10:20).

The Holy Spirit is creative. He does not destroy stuff. The angels destroy the junk that the spiritual powers of evil leave behind when they are pushed out of territory.

When healing cancer, the angels destroy the cancerous cells that the spiritual powers of evil have created. The Holy Spirit creates new cells to replace them.

The Holy Spirit undertakes creative miracles. He can restore limbs and organs. Angels destroy the viruses and bacteria and other junk that the spiritual powers of evil use to create sickness and disease.

God has destroying angels.

  • A destoying angel killed the people of Jerusalem, when David sinned (2 Sam 14:15; 1 Chron 21:16).

  • An angel destroyed destroyed Sennacharib’s army, including his cmmanders and officers (2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chron 32:21).

  • An angel of the Lord struck down King Herod (Acts 12:23).

    The first born of Egypt were stuck down by a destroying angel (1 Cor 10:10; Ex 12; 33; Heb 11:28).

The Holy Spirit is loving and good. The angels do the dirty work that the Holy Spirit cannot do, because the has the character of God. He cannot touch evil.

The Holy Spirit cannot deceive, because he is the Spirit of Truth. God used a deceiving angel to draw Ahab to his death (1 Kings 22:22). This was a good spirit from the presence of God, not an evil spirt. It went out and acted as a lying spirit to deceive Ahab. Lying was not its natural character. The angel lied for God’s purposes. The Holy Spirt could not have lied in this way.

Angels will be judged (1 Cor 6:3). However, the standard of their behaviour will be different than for us. Followers of Jesus are accountable to his standard as outlined in the Sermon on the Mount. Angels can do stuff that we are not allowed to do. They can use force against evil. They do not need to turn the other cheek, but will be judged according to whether they have done God’s will.


Monday, March 06, 2017

Patriotic Prophets (6)

Stanley Hauerwas made the following comments about Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Trump is quite pious and his religious convictions run dangerously deep. But his piety is not a reflection of a Christian faith. His piety is formed by his understanding of what makes America a country like no other.

Trump proclaimed Jan. 20, the day of his inauguration, a “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.” Patriotic devotion? Christians are devoted to God, not to any nation. Trump defended his call for a day of patriotic devotion by drawing attention to his other claim — taken on faith — that there are no greater people than American citizens. Faith in Trump’s view, though, requires belief in those things for which we have insufficient evidence.

There is nothing, in Trump’s view, the American people cannot accomplish as long as we believe in ourselves and our country. But Christians do not believe in ourselves or our country. We believe in God, but we do more than believe in God. We worship God. Nothing else is to be worshiped.

Christians have a word to describe the worship of that which is not God: idolatry. Idolatry, of course, can be a quite impressive form of devotion. The only difficulty is idolaters usually end up killing someone for calling into question their “god.”

Trump’s inauguration address counts as a stunning example of idolatry. His statement — “At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America and through our loyalty to our country we will recover loyalty to each other” — is clearly a theological claim that offers a kind of salvation.

Christians believe that only God demands “total allegiance.” Otherwise we run the risk, as Trump exemplifies, of making an idol out of some human enterprise.

The evangelistic character of Trump’s faith should not be missed. He suggests that we will rediscover our loyalty to one another through our total allegiance to the United States.

This explains why so many American Christians are such passionate supporters of Donald Trump. Patriotic Devotion is common amongst them, so it is not surprising that Donald Trump’s devotion resonates with them.

It also explains why patriotic prophets are popular amongst American Christians.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Patriotic Prophets (5)

I hate false assumptions. I am offended by people equating their system of government with the Kingdom of God. This has been common in Christian history.

  • After Constantine, Christians assumed that the Roman Empire could be a vehicle for the emergence of the Kingdom of God.
  • A thousand years later, German and Austrian rulers of the Holy Roman Empire believed they were bringing in the Kingdom of God.
  • The British people assumed that their parliamentary monarchy equalled the Kingdom of God.
  • Many American Christians were taught in their high school civics classes that their republican form of Government aligns with the Kingdom of God.
None of these assumptions are true. The Kingdom of God has a king, and his name is Jesus. Any other system of government is an inferior, alternative government. God may use them to accomplish his purposes, (as he used Egypt and Babylon), but he does not bless them.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Patriotic Prophets (4)

Someone prophesied in the United States.

We have an assignment to save this nation.
This is a confusing message.

God will save people and families. He wants to bless communities.

But he is not interested in saving or building nations. Nations are mostly a political construct.

God is not interested in nation states, as they are an alternative kingdom, providing an inferior salvation. He will build his church and expand his kingdom. That is his only objective.

He will build his kingdom among some of the people living in America, if they will listen to him and obey. But he will not build the United States, because it is not his Kingdom.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Patriotic Prophets (3) Nations

God promised Abraham that he would make him a great nation (Gen 12:2). He did not promise him that he would become a great nation-state. There is a big difference.

The Hebrew word for nation is "goy". It refers to a great horde of people.It is the word also used to describe the gentiles.

God was promising Abraham that his descendants would be come and enormous people. He was not saying that they would be a great nation state with a powerful government.

When the New Testament speaks about nations, the Greek word is “ethne”. It does not refer to a nation-state, but a tribal or ethnic grouping. We should remember this when we are prophesying or reading the prophecies of Revelation.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Patriotic Prophets (2) Scope

We must understand the scope of God's blessing.

We need to be clear where God’s blessing lies. He blesses people who trust him, and bodies of people who love each other and obey him. He extends his blessing too three or four generations. He blesses the children and grandchildren of parents with faith in him. This is a huge amount of blessing.

God has not promised to bless any kingdom or national government, because he has his own kingdom that he is blessing. He has not promised to bless the American nation state.

God prefers to bless his kingdom, wherever it is emerging. Nation states may need to wither away, before the Kingdom of God can come in fullness.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Patriotic Prophets

When asked about his prophecy about Russia, Bob Jones said that there are too many patriotic prophets in the United States.

Many American prophets are prophesying patriotism instead of the truth.

I am staggered by the patriotism that distorts so much of the prophecy coming out of America at the current time.

Here are some examples,

The prophetic ministry will continue to anoint America's leaders moving forward just as they anointed Trump in this election, but their voice and authority shall grow." (Stephen Powell)
Nations outside the USA remember this: as the USA goes, so goes the world. The Lord is not just setting the USA unto divine order in 2017, but also the world (David Tomberlin)
We are moving into a year of "Trumpification" here in the United States like maybe no other year in our history. This word was coined to represent the effect of our next President on the affairs of men. This is a time where, regardless of political allegiance, we as Christians in the US must desire for revival to impact our nation with a shift for righteousness and morality. We have heard a slogan for months from our incoming President that he desires to "Make America Great Again." (Gale Sheehan)
This man is unstoppable because I'm unstoppable. My Kingdom is unstoppable, and this man has a mandate from Heaven; he has momentum that is not his own. His movement will not dissipate, it will grow, and it will reach beyond the borders of American governing. It will inspire; it will stir up a nest (Stephen Powell)
The Glory of God Falling on the White House …United States of America, the new day is upon you marked by My glory with a beacon of hope and breakthrough (Lana Vawser)
The contrast with the biblical prophets is stunning. Amos and Jeremiah were not cheerleaders for the kings of Israel and Judah. They held a plumb line against the nation and tested the hearts of the people.

The OT prophets promised wonderful things, but they were conditional on the people turning back to God. The promises of the patriotic prophets seem to be unconditional. They will happen, because "God is sovereign". No change needed.

Jesus brought the good news of the kingdom of God, not the goods news of a nation state.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Discipleship

The early church did not emphasize evangelism or social reform. It emphasized discipleship and Christian community formation. Evangelism and social reform followed.
Howard Snyder

Saturday, February 25, 2017

No Love

A civil government cannot love. It must set rules and enforce them. Political authorities cannot love. They can take money from some people and give it to others. They can force people to do things that they do not want to do. The can stop them from doing doing things they want to do. But political authorities cannot love.

Political authorities cannot build the Kingdom of God, because it is a kingdom of love. They are cannot serve the kingdom, because they cannot love.

My new book called the Government of God will be available on Amazon.com in May this year. In this book, I will explain how God’s government is radically different and better than any government we know. The coming of his kingdom will radically change the operation of government on earth.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Spiritual Powers of Evil

Political power cannot work, because it amplifies the authority of the spiritual powers of evil. They concentrate on attacking the political leader or king. Once they conquer him/her, they have control of the entire nation.

We think democracy is superior to kingship, but nothing is different. The spiritual powers of evil would through the democratically elected leader in the same way as they work through kings. That is why elections seldom bring change. The spiritual powers of evil transfer their control to the new leader, and things continue the same.

Since kings and political leaders are the instruments of the spiritual powers of evil, we should recognise their true nature. We may have to submit to their power, because they are stronger than us, but we should pretend that they are good.

The individual people may start good, but they will not be strong enough to resist the stronghold that controls their nation. Thus political power always leads towards evil and away from the Kingdom Of God.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kings are Evil

God gave his perfect system of government to Moses (voluntary judges applying his law). Allowing Israel to have a king was a serious compromise, because having a king proved disastrous for Israel.

This should not have been a surprise, as the king idea was copied from the evil nations that surrounded Israel. Good cannot spring from evil. Samuel warned that kingship would be a disaster, would rob their wealth, divide their families and steal their freedom.

The problem is that political power corrupts even a good heart. Saul was a good humble man, but political power wrecked his life.

David had a beautiful heart as a youth. He loved God and worshiped him with a humble and contrite spirit.

Yet David turned out be a terrible king. He copied the nations around him and went to war each spring. That was never God’s plan.

David committed adultery with the wife of a loyal friend. That was bad, but he had her husband murdered by a devious use of state power.

He had broken four of the Ten Commandments.

  • You shall not kill
  • You shall not commit adultery.
  • You should not covet your neighbour's wife.
  • You should not bear false witness.
David robbed his people of justice. Absalom was able to seize power by helping the people who had suffered injustice under David’s rule.

David appointed a taskmaster to seize the surplus wealth from his subjects . He appointed another to run forced labour gangs (2 Sam 20 24). There was no justification for this harshness in the law (where all government isvoluntary). Slavery was used to build the temple. What a contrast with the tabernacle which was built gladly with voluntary labour.

At the end of his reign, David made another mistake and took a census of the people. God gave him a choice of consequence. He chose a punishment that would hurt the people, but leave him untouched. This was an ugly thing to do. Only when thousands of people had died in the plague, did he change his mind and chose a different option, but it was too late.

David was by far the best king that Israel ever had. Yet he committed all the evils that modern despots are condemned for.

David was a skilled fighter and very successful in war. He would have a great temporary military leader. If he had gone back to being a sheep breeder and poet after defending Israel, he would have been a great man.

All the other kings of Israel were worse than David.

Solomon committed adultery and idolatry. He used forced labour and slavery. Many other kings followed idols. Most were violent and fostered injustice.

Israel was not kept safe, (the reason they wanted a king) but were continuously invaded and impoverished by foreign armies. The kings’ mistakes eventually led the nation into exile.

For the people of Israel, the kingship was a massive mistake. This was not surprising. Attacks by their enemies were the natural consequence of forgetting God. They thought that a king could protect them, but that would be impossible, while their forgetfulness continued.

For modern people, placing their hope in a political leader is the same mistake.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Salvation by Works

Christians know in their lives that they cannot be good by their own effort. They realise that they need the fruit of the Spirit to be good. Yet many think that good can be advanced by the effort of politics and kings. Unfortunately, without Jesus and his spirit, any good achieved by political power will quickly evaporate, because it is based on human works.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Common Good

Common good based on state power is not good, because it prevents the coming of the Kingdom of God by providing a weak substitute. It makes people think they can have the benefits of the kingdom without giving allegiance to the King.

Common good is not good, because only God is good.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

No Criteria

People will argue that governments do good. The problem is that when it comes to governments, we do not know what “good” means. The bible does not give criteria for assessing a government, because they are not part of his plan.

Only God knows whether the actions of government are good, because only he knows whether the action fits with his purposes.

If the people have forgotten God, the government cannot protect them from the consequences. That might appear to be good, but if it prevents the people from turning back to God, it is not good. What may appear to be good is actually bad, because it leads away from God. Political actions that appear to be good, may be bad, if they cause the people to stop trusting God.

The only way a government be sure it is doing good by applying the Law of God in God's way (voluntary judges). Unfortunately, that never really happens. Moreover, the government action would be unnecessary, because it would happen anyway.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Perfect System

God showed how he wanted a community of people to live together in the Land in Exodus and Deuteronomy. He gave no government, as we know it. He gave no group of people to make laws or rule over the rest.

He simply gave a set of laws and promised to raise up voluntary judges. The Israelites rejected God’s way and chose a King. Samuel is clear that this was a massive step down.

We are no better. We reject God’s way and chose democratic politics (rotating kings in a permanent kingship). Consequently, we are now reaping the whirlwind.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Plan B?

In his book called Kingdom Conspiracy, Scot McKnight argues that kingship was plan B for Israel. That is not right. The kingship was plan X, an evil plan.

Kingship was not a suggestion by God. The people chose to have a king by copying the evil nations around them. Yet copying the nations was exactly what God had told them not to do.

God relented and gave them a king. He was able to use some kings to achieve his purposes, but they were never part of his plan.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Caesar

Jesus said to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Everything is God’s, so Caesar has nothing. Jesus rendered nothing to him, except for surrendering to the brutal power of his soldiers.

A Christian cannot be a democrat or a republican, because they owe their allegiance to Jesus.

Christians cannot give their allegiance to a political government, whether it is democrat or republican, because it is an alternative king.

Christians must give full allegiance to Jesus and his Kingdom, so they cannot give their allegiance to any other king.

Christians cannot be willing citizens of a nation state, because the nation state is an alternative kingdom.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Politics

In Kingdom Conspiracy, Scot McKnight is good when he says that the Holy Spirit works through the church. Kingdom work is always in the church.

However, he does not go far enough. He allows a place for politics and government. He says that they can do good, but it not kingdom work.

If Jesus is Lord, we must acknowledge that politics is evil.

Political governments are evil.

They can do things that appear to be useful and good, but they lead away from the Kingdom of God.

Christians have to acknowledge their power, but we must not expect them to advance the Kingdom of God.

Jesus had nothing to do with political power. He saw the Roman Empire, as well as the Herodians and others who colluded with them as his enemies (Mark 12:13). He loved them, when he encountered them, but they remained his enemies.

We must love our enemies, not pretend they are good.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Nature of Politics

The vehement and angry argument going on between Christians about Donald Trump is disturbing. It reveals the nature of politics

Politics has winners and losers, so it always leads to division.

Politics accentuates fleshly behaviour.

Politics sometimes appears to do good, but it always leads away from the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom cannot be extended by political power.
Politics relies on coercion and force, and these are anathema to the Kingdom of God.

Political power massively amplifies the authority and power of the spiritual powers of evil that gain control of kings and governments (principalities and powers). This is why human governments always demand more and more power and ultimately becomes evil.

I cannot understand why Christians obsess about political power, when they have such a wonderful gospel. The Kingdom of God is much better news.

Friday, February 10, 2017

What?

When I realised that the US Presidential election was a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I thought that the nation must be under a curse to have such a terrible choice.

I now find the vehement and angry argument between Christians about Donald Trump equally disturbing. Some Christians are prophesying a great turn around for the nation, but I cannot see how the Holy Spirit can work in such a divided body.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

When Politics becomes Lord

Sean Palmer writes about Jesus is Lord.

Jesus, Peter, and Paul were tortured by the state because they would not deify the state! They said, “Jesus is Lord.”

“Jesus is Lord,” was never simply a private commitment governing personal ethics centered around the nuclear family. When Paul tells the Colossians that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God,” he is spitting into the face of the god who was visible everywhere, Caesar. What the contemporary church misses when we say “Jesus is Lord” is that those words, all by themselves are a slap in the face of worldly political powers. All of them! When we are baptized and declare “Jesus is Lord” we are determining that we stand against any and all powers that are in any way antithetical to the will of Jesus, including our own choices.

Yet by the standard of the first Christians, our modern proclamations of Jesus fall woefully short. When modern Christians say “Jesus is Lord” we mean it in a privatized, insular way foreign to the disciples. What we mean is that from this point on I will make particular personal commitments regarding how I organize my life. I will try to live with integrity, character, and personal ethics. It’s spiritual veganism.

Claiming Jesus is Lord has become something we do because we choose to make some tweaks to better our individual moral code. Mind you, this isn’t bad. When Christians are able to live up to our stated goals, the world is made a better place. But that’s not nearly close to what it means to call Jesus Lord. Rather, the claim that Jesus is Lord means we reject everything and everyone who attempts to place him or herself in lordship. I worry that we no longer believe Jesus is Lord — at least not in the politically-threatening, turn the world upside down way it did in the early days of the church. To state it bluntly, the politics and priorities of Jesus have become subservient to the platform and priorities of our chosen political parties.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Christian fatalism

A view known as "meticulous sovereignty" is common among many Christians. On this view, believers say that whatever happens to them – good, bad, or indifferent – is part of God’s plan. They believe that God has a perfect plan for their life, and that everything that happens is his will. I call this heresy “Christian fatalism”.

One form of Christian fatalism is the widespread belief that Donald Trump was elected, so he must be God’s choice for president. This is not necessarily true. Plenty of kings and presidents rise to power contrary to God’s will.

Meticulous sovereignty is actually closer to Islam than to Christianity. Islam teaches that everything happens is the will of God. This belief leads to passivity in the face of evil.

Fatalism makes people feel better when things go wrong, but it makes people passive when they have a bad experience. They must grin and bear it, because it is God’s will.

Christian fatalism is not the message of the scriptures. The people living on earth are caught up in a struggle between good and evil. God has many victories. But sometime they spiritual powers of evil have their way. Our role is not to passively submit to whatever happens, but to join with God in resisting evil.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

New Nationalism

The Economist has an interesting comment on the re-emergence of nationalism.

The new nationalism owes a lot to cultural factors, too. Many Westerners, particularly older ones, liked their countries as they were and never asked for the immigration that turned Europe more Muslim and America less white and Protestant. They object to their discomfort being dismissed as racism.

Elite liberals stress two sources of identity: being a good global citizen (who cares about climate change and sweatshops in Bangladesh) and belonging to an identity group that has nothing to do with the nation (Hispanic, gay, Buddhist, etc). Membership of certain identity groups can carry material as well as psychological benefits. Affirmative action of the sort practised in America gives even the richer members of the racial groups it favours advantages that are unavailable to the poorer members of unfavoured groups.

Nationalists dislike the balkanisation of their countries into identity groups, particularly when those groups are defined as virtuous only to the extent that they disagree with the nation’s previously dominant history. White Americans are starting to act as if they were themselves a minority pressure group.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Trump Sanctions

Amidst his flurry of activity, Donald Trump imposed additional economic sanctions on Iran. This is a rite of passage for any American politician wanting to be taken seriously as a foreign policy leader.

Since the Iranians gave the US a black eye in 1979/80, (the movie about Operation Eagles Claw has not been made yet), they have been the favourite victim for United States politicians looking for someone to bully. Their crime was to throw out the son of the dictator that the CIA and MI6 imposed upon them in place of a democratically elected government in 1953 (for the benefit of BP Oil). Many sanctions have been in place since that time.

Donald Trump imposed sanctions because the Iranians tested a ballistic missile (something they are entitled to do under international law) and Yemini Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi frigate. The Saudis have been bombing and wrecking Yemen with American support of the last couple of years. Trump does not realise that Houthis and Iranian Shia are about as different as Pentecostals and Anglicans.

The White House spokesperson mistakenly said that the Houthis had attacked an American ship. I suppose that was a reasonable mistake, because the US probably supplied the ship a long with $billions of military equipment they have supplied to the Saudis.

Trump confirmed that the Iranians are fostering terrorism. He does not seem to realise that Shia terrorism is not a problem these days. The real problem is the Sunni terrorism that has been sponsored and financed by the Saudis all over the world. Yet all American presidents have turned blind eye to this Saudi duplicity, because they love their oil and the armaments industry needs the sales.

The Iranians began developing the technology for missiles after the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Back then, before his nasty phase, Saddam Hussein was an American ally. With American encouragement and reconnaissance support, he invaded Iran. Vastly outgunned, the Iranians engaged in a World War 1 style defence with massive casualties. Nearly a hundred thousand civilians died, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of military deaths.

Saddam Hussein launched chemical weapons against Iranian cities using ballistic missiles. Iran had no missiles to strike back against Iraqi cities.

Americans are scared of Iran, but the military spending is far greater among their neighbours in the Middle East.

Gulf Cooperation Council member countries (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and their flunkies) spend approximately $98.5 billion on their militaries annually, compared to Iran’s $10.6 billion. Data released by the U.S. Congressional Research Service indicates that the GCC acquired $38.5 billion worth of new arms between 2004 and 2011, thirty-five times more than Iran’s acquisition of $1.1 billion for the same period. Similarly, data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute indicates that the Gulf states have a massive lead over Iran in terms of spending on military munitions.

In addition to cutting-edge military wares, the Gulf countries enjoy access to superior American training, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems, and Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Battle Management capabilities (C4I/BM).
Americas should be more concerned about their Middle Eastern clients, as they are armed to the teeth with weapons and technology supplied by the USA, the UK and France.

Iranians are spooked by this massive military build up by their traditional enemies. That is why they want better weapons.

The Iranians should not complain too much about Donald Trump’s feeble sanctions. Others have been far tougher. When Ronald Reagan was president in 1988, the US navy shot down an Iranian airliner killing 290 crew and passengers, many of the woman and children, by mistake of course.

Treaty of Waitangi

Today is Waitangi Day in New Zealand. On this day in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown and the Maori chiefs of the tribes of New Zealand. This country was unique, because the indigenous people were not conquered, rather the British settlers and the Maori tribes reached agreement on how they could live together.

This was a brilliant start. I cannot think of any other country in the world where such a thing happened.

Unfortunately, the British settlers did not carry on the way that they began. They got greedy for land and brought in the troops to defeat Maori who were unwilling to sell their land. Land confiscations continued up until the First World War. In one large city, land was taken while the adult men were away in Europe fighting for the British.

Fortunately, that was not the end of the story. Over the last half century, successive government have negotiated treaty settlements to make restitution for the stolen land. I explain the reasons why this restitution is important in an article called the Treaty of Waitangi.

The process has not been perfect. But it has bought peace between the races, something which is missing in many parts of the world.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Religion in Society

Shadi Hamid made some interesting comments to the Economist about the role of religion in society.

In less religious or post-Christian societies, a mainstream Christianity is no longer capable of providing the necessary group identity. But that doesn’t mean other ideas won’t fill the vacuum. In other worst, be careful what you wish for: an America where religion plays less of a role isn’t necessarily a better one, if what replaces religion is white nativism....

The Trump phenomenon reflects the failure of Christianity to offer a convincing political formula for the 21st century, and the tendency for new ideologies to fill the void. Christianity has gradually lost its ability to offer a resonant politics for most Americans and Europeans. If religion can no longer speak to our politics, then people will search for something that approximates its certainty and conviction. What makes these substitutes more dangers than a politics infused by mainstream Christianity is they that are less coherent and principled.


Saturday, February 04, 2017

Soverignty

Ben Davis has an interesting comment on sovereignty at Jesus Creed, where he reviews a book called Divine Providence by Bruce Reichenbach.

Sovereignty, he suggests, invokes the image of a political relationship, namely, that between a governing ruler and the governed. On this score, not everything that happens aligns with the governors will, nor does he/she get to determine the outcome of everything they want. The scope of the governor’s rule is set by the freedom allowed for their people. If significant freedom is granted, then it stands to reason that the governor is limited in their range of action – assuming, of course, they continue to respect the integrity of this arrangement. Thus, “In granting significant freedom to their subjects, sovereigns make it possible for their authority and will to be freely obeyed and also freely resisted,” Reichenbach notes. Furthermore, “If sovereigns command their subjects to do some act and if the subjects are free, they can refuse – although at the same time they must bear the consequences of their refusal.”

Thursday, January 26, 2017

When Fear Comes

Chris Hedges draws on Alexander Solzhenitsyn to give a sober warning about the resistance to state power in an article called When Fear Comes.

The more despotic a regime becomes, the more it creates a climate of fear that transforms into terror. At the same time, it invests tremendous energy and resources in censorship and propaganda to maintain the fiction of the just and free state.
Only a few are brave enough to resist.
“Before societies fall, just such a stratum of wise, thinking people emerges, people who are that and nothing more,” Solzhenitsyn writes of those who see what is coming. “And how they were laughed at! How they were mocked! As though they stuck in the craw of people whose deeds and actions were single-minded and narrow-minded. And the only nickname they were christened with was ‘rot.’ Because these people were a flower that bloomed too soon and breathed too delicate a fragrance. And so they were mowed down.”

“These people,” he goes on, “were particularly helpless in their personal lives; they could neither bend with the wind, nor pretend, nor get by; every word declared an opinion, a passion, a protest. And it was just such people the mowing machine cut down, just such people the chaff-cutter shredded.”
Most people just sit quietly and hope, but that is foolish.
Those who steadfastly defy the state will, if history is any guide, be decapitated one by one. A forlorn hope that the state will ignore us if we comply will cripple many who have already been condemned. “Universal innocence,” Solzhenitsyn writes, “also gave rise to the universal failure to act. Maybe they won’t take you? Maybe it will all blow over.”

“The majority sit quietly and dare to hope,” he writes. “Since you aren’t guilty, then how can they arrest you? It’s a mistake!”
The entire article is worth a read.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New Prince Same Old Principalities

A new prince sits on the American throne.

Unfortunately, the election has not removed the spiritual principalities and powers that have shaped and controlled the United States for many decades. They are still in place and stronger than ever.

An election does not change the spiritual power; it just changes the people that the spiritual powers control. This is why things usually carry on the same when a new president or party is elected to power. The same spiritual powers are in control, so nothing changes.

So, although Obama wanted to be a man of peace, he could not escape the influence of the spirits of war and violence, and ended up fighting five and a half wars.

Likewise, Donald Trump, whatever his intentions, will find himself fighting pointless and destructive wars.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

God is on the Throne

You will have heard people say “God is on the throne, all is well in the world”.

I want you to know that the spiritual powers of evil are roving throughout the world looking for people to devour. They are cheats and do not abide by the rules. They will often attack the people who are going hard out for God. So when something goes wrong, do not assume that it is God’s plan, it maybe an attack of evil that needs to be resisted.

The bible promises that if we resist them in unity with others, the spiritual powers of evil will flee.

God is on the throne, but we still have to resist evil.

Friday, January 20, 2017

God is Sovereign

You will have heard people say, “God is sovereign”. The assumption is that everything that happens is his will, so we must accept it graciously.

I want you to know that “God is sovereign”, but that does not mean that everything that happens is his will.

A soverign God could create angels and sovereignly give them freedom to rebel against their creator.

A sovereign God could sovereignly give authority over the earth he sovereignly created to the people he had created. He could sovereignly decide to give this authority without recourse. He could sovereignly agree that he would not take the authority back from humans if they messed up; even if they gave it to the spiritual powers of evil.

So a situation where the spiritual powers of evil have authority to do evil on earth is consistent with the sovereignty of God.

God is sovereign, but that does not mean that evil cannot happen. He sovereignly created a world, where it could, because he had a greater purpose.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why did God allow it

You will have heard people say when something bad happens, “Why did God allow it”.

I want you know that God did not allow it. Humans allowed it, and we must not blame God.

When God created the earth, he gave authority over it to the people he had created. When they submitted to the tempter, they surrender their authority to the spiritual powers of evil. This means that bad spiritual powers have authority to work evil on earth. So when something bad happens, they are usually responsible.

So instead of asking why God allowed it, we should ask why humans allowed the spiritual powers of evil to have their authority. We do not like that question, because we already know the answer. Humans are stupid. So it is just as well that we have a glorious saviour and redeemer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Grieving

I have been quiet on the blog for the last couple of weeks. We have been grieving the loss of an important member of our family. Our eldest son’s wife died on New Years Eve after a short, but nasty illness. Kate was just 35 years old, a school friend of our daughter, and the mother of four of our grandchildren. The youngest is 18 months and the oldest is eight and a half years old.

Her memorial service was held last Saturday. About 600 people attended, and Kate was really honored by the many people she had touched, as a friend, young mother and secondary school teacher.

Kate trusted the Father and was an amazing witness to Jesus. She had a zeal for sharing the gospel and loved praying for the sick. She wanted to be wherever the Holy Spirit was moving.

Kate had an amazing openness and honesty. Because she was so real, she had an amazing ability to see the good that God had put in people. And she had such a compelling way of saying what she saw that it just had to be true. And the beautiful thing was, that many became the good that she saw in them, because she loved them and prayed her words into life.

From a grandparents’ perspective, Kate was a wonderful Mum
Her joy in caring for her children was amazing. Seeing her singing to the two little boys in the bath was a delight. Kate’s wisdom in nurturing and training her children was special. Her ability to love her children was inspiring.
The way that she actively enabled us to be part of their lives and love them
has been precious. We were privileged to have her as part of our family and giving us the next generation.

At her memorial service, I spoke these words.

I want you all to know that this is not God’s will.
He will bring good from it,
but it was not God’s will for Kate to die.
The God Kate served is good.
He is love.
He is our Father.
He does not want young mothers to die,
because he created them to love.

It is the thief who comes to steal and destroy.

The Bible says that we are engaged in a war
against evil forces in the spiritual realms.

In every war, there are casualties.
Unfortunately, it is usually the brave ones
on the front lines that get caught.

Kate was passionate about serving Jesus
But she was willing to take a hit for him,
because he had taken a massive hit for her.
So it’s OK to feel angry.

I feel angry when I think about what we have lost.
Just don’t be angry with God.
Kate loves him, so that would make her sad.

If you need to blame someone,
be angry with the evil spiritual powers
that took her out.

But don't be angry too long
that will leave you hurt.
Do what Kate would do.
Talk to God about your anger and your pain
He is a good listener
Find his peace.
We are at peace because Kate has gone to be with Jesus, the one she loved, but we feel very sad for her children who have lost their mother, and her husband who has lost the one he loved before fourteen years of marriage were complete.