In order to comprehend, more clearly, the enemy’s tactics, as well as God’s plans, we need to have an approach that looks at our own local church or people and also at the body of Christ as a whole (worldwide). Two main issues that prevail in our world today are: – The destructive wave – The spiritual darkness
1.The destructive wave
In spirit, this wave looks like the sea wave; it rises and lowers, and it keeps drawing nearer and nearer to us. What does this means? The sea, in the Bible, refers to the nations or peoples, whether believers or non believers. In a sea we can either see ships or people swimming. The same is true in spiritual matters. The ships (i.e. the churches) are the believers and those swimming in the sea are the non believers. We are all on an ongoing journey until we reach our final destination. The destructive wave (which is the enemy’s plan these days against our generation) is trying to reach and destroy both the believers and the non believers; those in a ship and those who aren’t. Certainly this doesn’t sound strange to us as we constantly hear stories of catastrophes, accidents, fatal diseases, etc, happening in a rate that has never been recorded before. Where then is the expected divine protection provided for the believers; those sailing in a ship? The early Christians used to build their churches in the shape of the Ark of Noah. By this they wanted to say: “we are sailing in the sea of the world towards an ultimate goal but we are always protected from outward waves and floods because we are in the Ark (as the Ark was isolated from the water and not affected by the flood). This should have been the case with the believers in all generations. But what happened? We allowed the waves of the flood and the waves of destruction to enter our Ark. How? By opening the windows of the Ark. Noah was instructed to keep all the windows closed till he sees the water beginning to lower down. We, however, opened the windows by saying: ‘we need to experience this and taste that, it wouldn’t matter if we do so and so, etc.’ We have been warned many times that such and such is a sin or not biblical but we took no heed. Thus the waters of the sea and the powers of temptation began to flow in us and destroy our spiritual values and principles. Psalms69:1-2says: “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.” We allowed unclean, blasphemous and materialistic things to enter in. We were deceived by listening to those who say: “don’t be isolated and narrow-minded, don’t be such a person who lacks experience of worldly things; this is too much, test this matter, it won’t harm!” This is the same voice of the serpent that spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden; speaking in a new deceiving way! We are thus the ones who freely opened the way for the destructive wave to come and reach us. It is our own responsibility. The bible warns us in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and 7:1 that the Church of God must be totally separated from worldly things: Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among [them] I will be their God, And they shall be My people”.Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty”. 7:1- “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” The bible thus tells us that if we lose our calling, we lose His fatherhood. We thus become sons and daughters of the world. 1John3:10 “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother”. John8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and [does not] stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”
This darkness is increasing more and more around us. It is also drawing near us affecting our minds, spirit, senses and relationships. Let us reflect on our days and years to try and understand the enemy’s tactics regarding spiritual darkness. Some years ago, there weren’t as many spiritual books and materials as there is now. Nowadays, with the access to the internet and different Christian broadcasting channels, we can easily receive spiritual material while in our own homes; check lexicons through the internet and have access to any scholastic material needed. In the past, however, in spite of the scarcity of spiritual materials available compared to what we have now, there was a lot more spiritual light and less darkness. This might sound weird and contradictory but the reason behind it is the presence of the fear of God. There were little spiritual knowledge compared to today, but the fear of God was greater and this preserved the light of God’s presence around His people. Now, there is more knowledge but little fear and hence darkness is sweeping towards us. What then makes the knowledge increase and the fear of God decrease? Let us examine the quality of the “light” (spiritual light) of these days and compare it with the light of previous days. The light of previous days that was accompanied with the fear of God resembled ‘lit candles’ that produce light, which may not be so shining or powerful, but where the lit candles keep melting. This makes it a precious, costly light as it results from lives consecrated to the cause of the gospel, lives of real followers of the Crucified One in the narrow path. This is the light that also carries life alongside it. Philippians 2:15 tells us “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world“. Verse 17 then says: “Yes, and if I am being poured out [as a drink offering] on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all”. This indicates the strong link between the real light and a life poured for Christ and His Kingdom. Other biblical references like 2Corinthians12:15 tell us: “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.” Real light can never stream out of a mere study and research, but it is a life that must be lived and experienced before it can be preached or spoken about to others. It is a costly life experience but one which streams life as a result of obeying the truth. Only then can it be understood, followed, and applied and can bring life to those who hear it and receive it. Nowadays, we have a lot of resources and study materials which we constantly check for new ideas and contemplations and use in our preaching. Sadly, the spiritual knowledge is there but without life nor genuine light; as it is not shinning through Jesus, the only source of true light. Jesus said: in John8:12 “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life”. When the devil saw that the believers turning to intellectual knowledge only, without readiness to pay the cost of following the truth, this gave him the chance to mix up the light with confusing thoughts. That’s why, we hear now about strange things that the Church of God is beginning to embrace i.e.: homosexuality, abortions, abusing the children, even up to permitting killing as a way of defending self. God is looking for those who are shining with the light of Jesus to expose the artificial light. 1 John 4:6 reminds us that in the end times, there will be the activity of Falsehood Spirit. “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error”. We thus need to guard against such confusing plans of the devil who wants to encircle the lives of the believers to ensnare them and bring them into captivity and thus make them lose their freedom in spirit. The most important question now is: How to guard against these evil devices: the destructive waves and the false enlightenment? This leads us to an important biblical truth that will help us expose and discern these confusions. This is: Spiritual Circumcision. Deut 30:6 “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers [did,] so [do] you.Romans 2:29 “but [he is] a Jew who [is one] inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise [is] not from men but from God” The verses clearly show us that the circumcised condition keeps the heart and senses alert in spirit. When we accept Jesus Christ as our saviour, we receive this circumcised condition spiritually. However, as we walk in our spiritual life and go through different life spheres, some dust may accumulate over our inner heart and senses, bringing upon our spirits a state of impaired sensitivity and making our spirits less sharp. This means that the state of uncircumcision happens when the spirit of the world and the worldly things invade us and intermingle with our old nature causing a spiritual barrier around the spiritual heart and senses, and bringing about spiritual confusion. Jer9:25,26 says “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that I will punish all [who are] circumcised with the uncircumcised Egypt, Judah, Edom, the people of Ammon, Moab, and all [who are] in the farthest corners, who dwell in the wilderness. For all [these] nations [are] uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel [are] uncircumcised in the heart” The prophet, in the above verses, rebuked Israel in his attempt to awaken them from spiritual sleepiness. What he is really saying to them is: “do you think that you are circumcised and different from the gentiles who are uncircumcised? The reality is that you are both uncircumcised!” How shocking this statement was to them! He continues to clarify that the Gentiles are uncircumcised according to the flesh, but Israel are uncircumcised in the heart. In an earlier chapter (Jer 7:2-4), he said to them:“Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all [you of] Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD [are] these” And then in verses 22-24, he said: “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you’.Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels [and] the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.” God is after the hearts, not the external things and doings. Paul explains the same truth to the church of Romans in his letter to them (Romans 2:25-29) For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?.And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfils the law, judge you who, [even] with [your] written [code] and circumcision, [are] a transgressor of the law? For he is not a Jew who [is one] outwardly, nor [is] circumcision that which [is] outward in the flesh. But [he is] a Jew who [is one] inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise [is] not from men but from God. This is exactly what Stephen meant in Acts 7:51-53 when he spoke to the Synagogue during the time of his trial saying: “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers [did] so [do] you. “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, .who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it”.
Practically then, how can we achieve this state of sensitivity and keep ourselves in a state of circumcised heart and senses?
We need to consider the following 2 steps:
We need to remind ourselves with the truth of the word of God and take God by His words and exercise faith so that He sends His spirit to deal with our hearts. Deut30:6 says: “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live”. We also need to be sensitive to His conviction and repent and shake off the dust of the worldly things and re-consecrate our lives anew to Christ. This will make us sensitive in spirit. Isa52:1, 2 “Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean Shall no longer come to you. Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!”
2. Specific step: strong
According to the early fathers’ times, the church used to look to the acts of Jesus as a continuous source of Divine grace. Jesus is not a historical man; otherwise His acts will be limited to the days of His own life. But Jesus is God incarnate. So all His acts are not limited to days and history. He can’t be confined to days and times. So, His birth, for example, is not just a historical event, not just a day, 24 hours. It is rather a prolonged day that is full of mysteries and has special spiritual impact. It is an occasion that we can come to again and again and each time we do so, it brings us anew to His manger and to the day the Father sent His son to be always with us, “Emmanuel”. The same applies to the day of circumcision. It is known from the scripture that Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day (Lk2:21). So the church in the old centuries used to celebrate this day every year as a day that will bring to them annually the grace of His circumcision. What is this grace? We read about it in Col2:11 “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ”.
We can thus sum up the practical steps as follows:
1) Shake off the dust of the world. 2) Be cut off worldly things. 3) Receive the grace of the spiritual circumcision from the mysterious act of Jesus’ circumcision. The story of Moses and circumcision mentioned in Ex 4:24-26 is worth adding here as well. The above tackles one aspect that will help restore the church to its sensitivity and genuiness. There is, however, another very important aspect that the church needs so that it may be restored to its calling. This aspect is the aspect of the ‘Prophetic Voice’. A pure prophetic stream is missing from the church and a lot of impurity and confusion occurs due to reliance on the flesh. In the Old Testament, in the days of Moses, we read is Numbers 11:29: Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them. Also, in the New Testament we read: Jn16:13-15 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own [authority,] but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare [it] to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare [it] to you”. In the early centuries as well, the church used to ask the Holy Spirit, the Prophetic Spirit, to pour repeatedly over the believers. (as we pray in the prayer of the third hour in the Agpia)
What is the Role of the prophetic spirit in the church today?
Let us look at the story of the Samaritan Woman in John4. To understand the prophetic implication in this story, we need first of all to know who the Samaritans were and what their issues were. John4:9c tells us:”For Jews have no dealings with Samaritan”. The real issue of the Samaritans is described very clearly in 2Kings17:24–27,33,41 “Then the king of Assyria brought [people] from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed [them] in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities And it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, [that] they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed [some] of them. So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The nations whom you have removed and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the rituals of the God of the land; therefore He has sent lions among them, and indeed, they are killing them because they do not know the rituals of the God of the land Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, “Send there one of the priests whom you brought from there; let him go and dwell there, and let him teach them the rituals of the God of the land”. 33: “They feared the LORD, yet served their own gods — according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away” 41: “So these nations feared the LORD, yet served their carved images; also their children and their children’s children have continued doing as their fathers did, even to this day” So, the above verses show us that the Samaritans are people whose worship was a mixture of God’s worship and Idols’ worship. Idols’ worship, as we all know, is Satanic in origin. This same mixture is happening in the church nowadays. Satan, the prince of this world, is trying hard to introduce thoughts and ways into the church of God, to mix up the Divine rules with his own rules; (hence homosexuality and all this staff we spoke about earlier is entering the church of God). So prophetically speaking, the church has turned to be a Samaritan church. Notice that the bible sometimes metaphorically refers to the church as a woman (Luke15, Eph5) How though, did Jesus deal with the Samaritan woman? John4:15-19 “The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here”, The woman answered and said, “I have no husband” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband, for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet”. 25: “The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ).”When He comes, He will tell us all things” 40-42 “So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard [Him] and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world”.Jesus has all the offices of the church, mentioned in Eph4:11, working in His ministry.“And He Himself gave some [to be] apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers”. So, Jesus approached the woman with His prophetic ministry, and helped her to gradually discover His person. Through her, He then brought all the Samaritans to know Him as the Messiah, Saviour of the world v.41, 42 “And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard [Him] and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world”. So, the real genuine complete prophetic anointing can bring back the church of today, the so called Samaritan church to its own real calling as the Holy Church of God, the Bride set apart and prepared for the second return of Her Bridegroom. Let us also look at the story of the blind man in John 9. This is another prophetic story and has deep meaning within it. The story shows us that the people of God can sometimes lose their spiritual sight. Jesus dealt with this blind man in a way, different from how he normally dealt with the blind. He normally dealt with them by a word or a touch; but here he sent the blind man to the lake of Siloam to be washed. In this story, Jesus was dealing with both physical and spiritual sight. John9:17 “They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet”. 35-37: “Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God? He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him”. And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you”. We need to regain our inner spiritual sight that can reveal to us the real divinity of the person of Jesus. This will lead us to a new understanding of the mystery of Christ and thus bring us back to real deep worship, bowing down as the blind man, saying to Him: you are the Son of God and you have redeemed us by your blood! Rev5:9 “And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation”
You are worthy, Lord. Blessings, honor, glory and power be to you, our Lord and Savior! Amen