Saturday, November 30, 2013

Big Authority Shifts (9) Place with Jesus

When the devil lost his place in the spiritual realms, people who trusted in Jesus gained a place there with him. Heaven is not a nice place we go when we die. Forty days after his resurrection Jesus ascended (went across) to the spiritual realms. All those who follow Jesus were are raised with him and are now seated with him in the spiritual realms at the right hand of the father. This is our place.

Paul explained the significance of Jesus’ ascension of for understanding authority.

God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:5-6).
Christians who are born again of the Spirit have a place in the spiritual realms. We continue to walk on earth, but spiritually we are seated with Jesus in the spiritual realm. This reality is perceived by faith and Christians need to be more aware of it.

Paul had earlier explained the significance of where we are seated in Jesus.
seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come (Eph 1:20-21).
When a person chooses to follow Jesus, they continue to live on earth. From a physical perspective, they appear much the same. However, they live in a different spiritual place. Paul explained that a believer is raised up with Jesus and seated with him in the presence of the father. This is important for understanding spiritual authority. The right hand of God symbolises authority, so we are seated in the place of authority. This is real authority. It is above the principalities and powers in the spiritual realms who rebelled against God and dominate the political powers on earth. All Christian authority must come from our place in Jesus, where we are already seated with him in the spiritual realms.
Christians live in two worlds. We go about our lives in the physical world in the same way as other people. At the same time, we also live in the spiritual realms, where we are seated with Jesus in a place of victory and authority. This double reality only makes sense if we understand that the spiritual realms exist in parallel with the physical realms overlapping and interlocking with them.

Before Jesus, the devil had a place in heaven and humans were shut out of the spiritual realms. Now he has lost his place, and we have gained a one. Our places have been switched.

When we are born again of the Spirit, our ability to see into the spiritual world is partially restored (Eph 1:18). As we walk in the Spirit and grow in faith, our insight into the spiritual realms should increase, but it will never be complete.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away (1 Cor 13:9-10).
This side of the final resurrection, we never have a totally clear view of the spiritual realms, so people with prophetic insight have an important role in explaining the link between events in the spiritual realms and those on earth.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Big Authority Shift (8) Lost Place

The cross and resurrection of Jesus brought a massive change in the spiritual realms. Until this time, the devil and his angels had a “place” in the spiritual realms. When Jesus ascended into heaven, they were forced out, because they could no longer go before God and accuse humans.

The accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony…;
woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short (Rev 12:10-12).
When the devil tried to accuse humans of sin, Jesus would step forward and explain that his blood had paid the penalty, so they were innocent in God’s eye. If Satan responded that they have not repented and believed yet, Jesus would tell him to wait and see what would happen.

Once the right to accuse humans was gone, the devil and his angels lost their place in heaven. Michael and the angels fought against them and they were thrown down on to the earth. Jesus had already seen Satan being thrown out of heaven.
I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18).
John witnessed the same event.
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven (Rev 12:7-8).
This was a dramatic change in the spiritual realms. Most Christians do not understand this, but it totally changes the authority situation in the universe. The devil and his angels can no longer move freely in the spiritual realms. They are confined to the place where the spiritual realms meet with the physical world (the area in black in the diagram).
When Jesus died on the cross to atone for human sin, the devil lost his place in the spiritual realms, because his right to accuse humans was destroyed by the blood of Jesus. His victory on the cross destroyed the authority of the spiritual forces on earth by reversing the fall.
Having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Col 2:14-15).
The cross and resurrection eliminated the accusers right to be in heaven. He was cast down upon the earth, but that did not help him, because he had lost his authority on earth too.
The dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth… the dragon was enraged and went off to make war (Rev 12:13,17).
He went off in a huff, because his wings had been clipped.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Last weekend was the fiftieth anniversary of the death of President Kennedy. It did not get much attention in my part of the world, but here is what I wondered about the event.

It now seems that the report of the Warren Commission was severely flawed. There seems to be strong indications that the US security establishment was heavily involved, possibly with the support of future President Johnson.

The political consequences are now history, but what would be the spiritual effect, if the security establishment assassinated the president and then covered it up. I would expect that they following would gain a dominate place among the spiritual principalities and powers that control the nation.

  • Violence
  • War
  • Destruction
  • Deception
Were these more evident after the assassination of the President? They certainly are now. The problem is that these spirits were well established in the United States before JFK entered the political scene. Nevertheless, if his assassination was organised by people in high place, these spirits would have significantly increased their spiritual control over the nations.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Big Spiritual Shfts (7) Jesus

God sent Jesus to earth when everything on earth was ready. The prophets had announced the Messiah and described his ministry. People like Anna and Simeon were praying for Messiah, which gave God authority to implement his plan to send his son to earth. This was risky, because the devil would not give up his authority on earth without a fight. If he got he had been given a chance, he would have killed Jesus, and removed the son of God from the earth. The wise men nearly set the cat among the pigeons when they went to Herod to find the king, instead of following the star to Bethlehem.

Jesus entire ministry was a struggle over authority. Before starting on his ministry, Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days and nights. Towards the end of the fast, he was tempted by the devil. The final temptation offered Jesus authority over the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:6-7). Jesus rejected this authority, because he knew that accepting it would place him under the devil’s authority, which would compromise his own authority.

When Jesus began his ministry, the crowds were drawn to him, because they were amazed because by his authority

He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law (Matt 7:29).
When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man (Matt 9:8).
Jesus claimed authority to forgive sins, and healed the sick to prove his authority.
I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins (Matt 9:6).
The centurion in Capernaum recognised Jesus authority, because he knew about authority as a Roman official. He said,
Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me (Matt 8:8-9).
Before Jesus sent out disciples, he gave them authority.
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority (Matt 10:1).
They needed authority, because it was central to what Jesus was doing on earth.

The ordinary people recognised Jesus authority, but he was quickly caught up in a conflict with the religious and political authorities who controlled Israel. They challenged Jesus and demanded that he prove his authority by giving a sign.
The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this" (John 2:18)?
Jesus did enough signs to choke them, but they continued to challenge his authority.
Jesus entered the temple courts, and while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked “And who gave you this authority” (Matt 21:23)?
When he refused to respond, they tried to get him into trouble with the Roman authorities by asking trick questions about taxes.
They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor (Luke 20:20).
Jesus responded to the religious authorities by questioning their authority.
The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that.. the one who rules like the one who serves (Luke 22:24-25).
Jesus arrest produced an argument about authority between Herod and Pilate.
When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time (Luke 23:7).
Herod refused to exercise authority in the case. Pilate was Rome’s representative in Jerusalem. He had authority to act on behalf of the emperor, and the immense military power of the empire stood behind. He claimed authority to crucify Jesus.
Do you not know that I have authority to release you, and I have authority to crucify you (John 19:10)?
Jesus responded by challenging the legitimacy of Pilate’s authority.
You would have no authority over me, unless it had been given you from above (John 19:11).
Jesus reminded Pilate that he could not touch him, unless God allowed it.

Jesus was God’s ultimate solution to the authority problem. His death, resurrection and ascension radically changed the "authority situation” on earth. His victory on the cross took back the authority on the earth that Satan had stolen. The basis for his authority was human sin. Jesus death on the cross paid the penalty for human sin. This eliminated the basis of the devil’s authority. The cross defeated Satan and took back his authority on earth.
God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Col 1:13).
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he declared that his death and resurrection had changed the authority situation on earth.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Matt 28:18).
Jesus claimed that he had won every struggle of the ages. A dramatic change in authority on earth had taken place.

Jesus did not get busy with his authority. He could not keep authority over earth that had been given to him, because he was going back to the spiritual realms from where he had come, so he gave authority back to the humans living on the earth. He did not delegate it to empires, nation states or local kings. He did not give authority to democracies. He did not give it to bishops or pastors. Jesus gave his authority to the ordinary people living on earth.

There were two different responses to Jesus gift of authority.
  1. Those who accepted the gospel received authority over their own lives and were set free to serve God. Jesus earned all the sovereignty over the earth. He did not keep it for himself, but handed it over to the saints, those who believe and receive the Holy Spirit. Daniel explained what Jesus did with his regained authority.

    Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High (Dan 7:27).

  2. Those who rejected the gospel received the authority that Jesus offered, but the immediately lost it again, by continuing to sin, which passed back to the devil by default. Some lost their authority by submitting to political powers, who were came under the dominance of evil. Jesus gave that authority back to all the people who had lost it. Unfortnately most people did not retain it, but were tricked into believing that the devil still ruled the world. The devil now only has authority on earth, where he can trick humans into surrendering their authority to him.

Jesus blew out the ugly barrier that had been created by human sin. This restored authority to humans who trusted in him, which gave God much greater scope to work on earth.
Christians gained authority over their lives and their institutions. God gained authority to work in their lives and their institutions through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Big Authority Shifts (6) Place on Earth

God needed a place on earth. Sin and the fall had given Satan a place in heaven, but God was shut out of the earth. To restore the earth back to his people, he needed a place on earth where he could operate.

God could not act on earth, unless a humans with authority on earth invited him, so he needed loyal people and a place to work.

  1. God needed some people on earth to give him authority to act.
  2. He needs a place free from evil, where he would be free to work.
  3. He needs people to carry the Holy Spirit into the world.
The Abraham/Moses consortium provided God with a place on earth from which he could work. Abraham brought a burial cave at Hebron, which gave God a toehold on earth. When the people Israel called out to God, he was able to lead them into the land of Canaan and make a covenant with them.

The covenant with Israel marked a big shift of authority on earth. In return for rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, the children of Israel agreed to submit to God’s authority. This was a big change. Under the covenant with Adam and Eve, humans had absolute authority on earth. They could kick God out of the world, if they chose. The covenant with Moses offered similar blessings, but human authority was significantly constrained. Under the covenant with Moses, the Israelites could no longer reject God’s authority and push him out. If they rebelled against him, they could be ejected from the land, instead of God.
But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess (Deut 30:17-18).
This shift in authority was a huge step forward in God’s strategy. He now had a place and a people. His people could give him permission to work in the world. They could give him authority to deal to the empires that attacked them. God had a place on earth where he had authority and his will could be done. It would be a beachhead from which he could launch his redeeming salvation to the world.
Christians supporting the modern nation of Israel often do not get this. They see Israel has a permanent homeland (place) for the Jewish people. That is the wrong way round. God gave the land to the Jewish people forever, so he would have a permanent place on earth. Modern Israel is a secular militaristic nation. Religious Jews have rejected Jesus, which cuts them off from the Holy Spirit. A few Christians have established small places in Israel that are open to the Spirit, but generally is not a place where God has authority.

Establishing the children of Israel in the land of Canaan was an important authority shift. For the first time in history, he had authority to operate freely in one piece of the earth. He also gained a group of loyal people to release his power on earth and carry the Holy Spirit into the world. With land and a people, he could start doing some serious work on earth. His goal was to expand from Canaan out into the rest of the earth.

God had to work for 2000 years to get a place of authority on earth. The covenant with Israel gave him a land to work in and a people to work through. This was not perfect, because his people would not always obey him, but it was a great start.

God no longer needs one place on earth, because the blood of Jesus means that he Holy Spirit can dwell in the heart of everyone who believes in Jesus, so he now has a million places all over the world. He does not need one piece of land as his place any more. Since the cross, Now Satan has lost his place in heaven, so God is now well ahead in the game.

God intended Israel to be a light to the nations. If they submitted to his authority and covenant, they would receive great blessing. The surrounding nations would see the blessing, and choose to submit to God’s authority, so they could share in the same blessing. As they nations freely submitted, God authority on earth would expand. Unfortunately, Israel rejected God’s authority and chased after the ways of the nations. The surrounding nations saw Israel under a curse, so they wanted to have nothing to do with its God.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Big Authority Shifts (5) Rainbow Covenant

The first sign of spiritual life on earth was Enoch, the first human prophet since Abel (Luke 11:51, Jude 1:14). He began a line of prophets that released the ministry of Noah (Gen 5:29). Noah’s prayers gave God authority to send the flood that would sweep away the evil that had swept through the earth. He was even more important, because the covenant that God established with him became an important tool for dealing with evil.

The Rainbow Covenant gave God permanent authority to bring judgments against serious evil, without needing to get permission from the people on earth. It allows God to act against evil in a season when prophets are absent from the world. The rainbow was not a sign that there would never be another flood. It was actually a promise that God would not need to send another flood, because he would never let conditions get so bad on earth that it needed to be destroyed. God promised to prevent evil from getting so strong that it has potential to destroy the entire earth.

Noah was the father of all who would live on earth after him, so his covenant bound everyone on earth from that time on. Speaking on behalf of his descendants, Noah gave God permission to intervene whenever evil is rampant. This increased God’s authority on earth. He had given authority over the earth to man, so he could not intervene on earth without getting human permission, if evil was taking hold.

The Rainbow Covenant did not give God a free hand on earth. Most of the time, it does not apply, because the situation is not bad enough. However, God gained permission to intervene on earth whenever evil gets strong and destructive. The Rainbow Covenant was a serious crack in the wall built against God. The powers of evil had shut God out of his creation, but Noah opened the door a chink, and let him back in.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Big Authority Shifts (4) Millennium of Darkness

This one is not a shift, but the consequence of the previous two shifts.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they handed authority over the earth to the spiritual forces of evil. This was a huge disaster, because it left God powerless on earth. He still had authority in the spiritual world, but his authority on earth was gone. This was painful for him, as he was committed to sustaining the earth every day, but had lost authority to get involved in the world that he loved. It would take all his wisdom and power to turn this situation round.

Once God was squeezed out of his universe, the powers of evil got to work and really messed it up. A big mess needs a big salvation. God planned to achieve through Jesus, but he had a lot of patient work to do, before he could bring it to pass. Jesus could not be sent into the world immediately after the fall, because God did not have authority to send him and protect him. The forces of evil would have destroyed Jesus, before he had begun his ministry. God had to start slowly rolling back evil and putting in place a long-term strategy to constrain evil and restore authority to good people.

God launched a long-term strategy to achieve this restoration, but the first few thousand years were a hard struggle. From the death of Abel until the next prophet Enoch, no one called out to God. For more than a millennium, he was shut out of the world that he had created. During this long season, God only received rare opportunities to gain an influence on earth. He used each of these very wisely, but was not able to make much progress.

The genealogies of Genesis 5 and describe life on earth in the centuries after the fall. For nearly a thousand years, nothing of spiritual importance happened on earth. God was shut out of his creation, so he could not hold back the forces of evil. He had no choice but to leave the people of the earth to their own devices. With no one praying, the Holy Spirit was entirely shut out of the earth. Under these conditions, evil advanced in a terrible way. All human developments were twisted for evil purposes.
The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Gen 6:5).
When God gave Adam and Eve dominion over the earth, he meant what he said. He was not half-heartedly giving authority, thinking the he could take it back if things turned sour. That would have been dishonest and God does not work like that.

Most Christians do not believe that God has given dominion over the earth to humans. They just assume that he can intervene whenever he chooses, and actually expect him to intervene all the time. They assume that if he cannot do what he likes when he likes then he is not sovereign, but that is not true. A sovereign God can sovereignly restrain his authority. He can give authority to someone else and not intervene when things go wrong, but still be sovereign, because that is what he decided to do.

This belief that God controls everything and can intervene whenever he chooses, honours his power, but turns him into a liar, because it implies that when he gave authority and dominion, he was just kidding. The only other possibility is that it was conditional on obedience, but no conditions were given.

We need to adjust our thinking on this issue. God gave dominion over the earth to humans. There has been some wheeling and dealing with the devil since then, but God has not changed his position. Humans have authority over the earth. That means that God can only act on earth, if he is given permission by a human. He can only act in a place or activity of life, if the humans who have authority over it permit him.

We find this strange, but that is the way that God has decided it should be. Perhaps, it makes us uneasy, because it switches responsibility for what happens on the earth to humans, so we cannot blame him for the evil that occurs. More importantly, it switches responsibility for Gods activity on earth to those who have chosen to serve him. He is constrained, unless we release him to do what he needs to do.

The millennium of darkness was a terrible season on the earth, but it proves that God is true to his word. He had given dominion over the earth to humans, so he could not intervene without getting permission from humans with the necessary authority. Unfortunately, permission was not given, so he was powerless to act on earth.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Big Authority Shifts (3) Place in Heaven

When Adam and Eve sinned, they handed their authority to the forces of evil and released a curse on the earth. This was a serious, but the change in the spiritual sphere was equally important, because it gave the devil and his powers a place in heaven. The book of Revelation explains how they lost this place, when Jesus ascended into heaven.

He was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven (Rev 12:8).
We sometimes miss the importance of this verse. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, the Devil had a place in the spiritual realms. The Greek word translated “place” is topos. It refers to geographic place, but we find the geography of the spiritual world difficult to understand. What it means that the Devil had a part of the spiritual realms where he was free to operate.

The Bible does not tell us when the devil fell, but I believe it occurred at the same time as Adam and Eve fell. If the devil and his powers had just rebelled in the spiritual realms, God could have cleaned them up quickly, because his angels outnumber the rebels two to one (only a third fell). However, when the satan rebelled, he quickly deceived Adam and Eve, and they surrendered their authority to him, so he gained authority on earth where his powers could operate.

Once humans sinned, he stepped up to be their accuser before God. He became,
the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night (Rev 12:10).
He should have stayed away from God, whenever he came into God’s presence, he would accuse people on earth of sinning, and that gave him a legal right to be there. Taking the role of accuser gave the devil a place in the spiritual realms where he and his evil angels could operate.
We can see this happening at the beginning of the book of Job. Satan was able to come into the presence of God and accuse Job of sinning. He was lying, but he accused Job of looking out for his own skin, and only loving God, because God had blessed him.

One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied… "Stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face" (Job 1:6-11).

Satan and his angels had a place in the spiritual realms, as long as they could accuse humans of sinning. Humans kept on sinning, so they evil angels continued to have a place in the spiritual realms.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Big Authority Shifts (2) Fall

Adam and Eve soon surrendered their authority to evil, by disobeying God and eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. To understand the seriousness of this action, we need to understand an important principle.

When we agree with someone,
we give them influence in our lives.
When we submit to another person,
we give them authority over our life.
By agreeing with Satan’s lies about the tree, Adam and Eve gave him influence in over them (Gen 3:6). When Adam and Eve submitted to Satan’s advice, they gave him authority over their lives. Sin placed an enormous dark barrier between them and God. This authority shift placed them under a curse, and changed everything.
This transition dramatically altered the authority situation on the earth. God had given control to humans. The representatives of humanity had given authority over the lives to the devil. This gave the forces of evil significant control over the earth. From that day forward, humans only have partial authority, because the spiritual powers of wickedness have usurped substantial authority. This is why Satan could boast when he was tempting Jesus.

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendour, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to (Luke 4:4-6).
Although he is a liar, especially when boasting, in this case he was close to the truth. He had authority over the kingdoms of the world, because it has been given to him, by those who had been given authority by God.

This transfer of authority created a huge problem on earth and explains why evil has often been rampant on earth. God had the power to put things right, but he did not have authority to act, because he had given authority on earth to humans. God is trustworthy and faithful, so he does not change his mind or go back on his decisions. He does not say one thing and do another. His promises are irrevocable, so despite humans making a mess of their authority over the earth, God could not just take it back and intervene on earth.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Big Authority Shifts (1) Delegation

Ten big authority shifts with cosmic implications occurred when events in the physical world brought a massive change in the authority situation in the spiritual realms. Understanding these events is critical for understanding the working of authority.

1. Human Authority on Earth
When God created the world he gave dominion over the earth to humans.

Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion (Gen 1:26).
God gave humans authority over every living thing upon the earth. This was an amazing gift. Creating something wonderful and beautiful and giving authority over it to someone weaker was a risky decision, but this bold act transferred authority over the earth from God to man. The earth became our domain and sphere of control. This is confirmed in Psalm 115:16:
The highest heavens belong to the LORD,
but the earth he has given to man.
God has full control over the spiritual realms. The angels do his bidding without resistance. However, he has given authority over the earth to us.
Giving humans dominion over the earth was a big call, because once dominion and authority are given, they cannot be taken back. God understood the risk, because he said that if they rebelled, “they would be as gods” (Gen 2:5). They would not just have the power to decide good and evil, but would be “gods” controlling a world that had previously been created by God.

God gave humans authority over the earth without recourse, so he could not take it back, if they abused their authority. He could not demand his authority back, even if it were handed to the devil. One reason that Jesus had to come as a man was that authority on earth belongs to humans in perpetuity. Only a human could hold that authority, so if it was lost, only a human could take it back.

When Jesus went to the cross, he was doing what his Father had done before him. He was making himself helpless in the hands of men who had the power to harm him. That is what the father did when he gave dominion and authority over the earth that he created to humans. He made himself vulnerable to humans who had the freedom to rebel against him. He was committing himself to sustaining the creation, even if his creatures shut him out of it. He made them free to be atheists, while living the life that he created. This was cross behaviour. The Father made himself powerless before with the people he had created.

God was so confident in what Jesus and the Holy Spirit would do that he was willing to take this huge risk.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength (1 Cor 1:25).
God was confident that he would achieve his purposes, even with one hand tied behind his back.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Implications (3) Politics

Understanding the impact of the spiritual realms explains why political change usually fails.

Christians get stirred up about political issues. This is often expressed through allegiance to a political party. When their party loses an election, they feel like the end of the world has come. When their party is elected again, they feel like guilt has returned. Despite these emotional ups and downs nothing much changes. Changes in political power usually bring more of the same.

The reason is that politicians work in the physical world, but ignore the spiritual dimensions of life. Changing in the political world cannot take place until the spiritual principalities that control the political world are changed. Their influence means that political change produces more of the same.

The elections of both George W Bush and Obama seemed like huge [political shifts, at the time, but during their presidencies very little changed. The reason is that they are both controlled by the same principalities and powers as the previous presidents. Despite the change in personnel, the presidency is on the same trajectory as it has been on for at least the last two decades.

Christians seeking to bring about political change will be disappointed if they fail to understand events in the spiritual realms.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Implications (2) Physics

The existence of the spiritual realms means that scientists studying the physical world to understand its origins and the way it functions, are going to get is wrong, because they are only observing part of reality. People who only look at half of a situation should not be taken seriously.

I recently read an article in the New Scientist (28 September 2013) by Matthew Chalmers called Seeing Triple that discusses the fact that our world has three dimensions (ignoring time). Scientists are uncertain about whether three dimensions occurred by chance, and a different number would have been just as possible, or whether three dimensions are necessary for our kind of existence.

Physicists have wrestled with this perplexing question of space’s essential threeness for a good while now—not, it must be said with much success. Our best theories of nature supply no clue as to why space might have three dimensions, rather than two, or four, or 5.2. Even worse, the drive for ever-grander replacements keeps finding hints that the magic number is anything but three (p. 35).
Chalmers notes that string theory needs at least six extra spatial dimensions.
String theory says that fundamental units of reality are not point-like zero-dimensional particles, but one-dimensional strings. The tricky bit is that these strings need at least nine spatial dimensions to move into preserve the theory’s mathematical consistency. The extra six are assumed to be “compactified” at scales of a billionth of a trillion of a trillionth of a centimetre (p.36).
I do not know enough to have an opinion on whether string theory is correctly but I am intrigued that empirical scientists need to postulate additional dimension of existence to explain what they are observing in the physical world.

Physicists are currently reading the book with half of the pages stuck closed.

We do not have any understanding of the structure of spiritual reality. I am not even sure if it is possible, but if we can theorise but sub-atomic reality, we might eventually be able to theorise about the nature of the spiritual.

If empirical observation of the spiritual world were possible, a different physics would emerge.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Implications (1)

I recently completed a series of posts on the interactions between the spiritual and physical realms. Before I go on to describe some Big Spiritual Shifts, I will discuss three significant implications.

The first implication of spiritual/physical interaction is much easier to know than to live. I am sure that most who people read my posts and thought, “Yeah, I knew that”. There may be a little disagreement on the details, but most would agree with what I outlined.

Yet, I would challenge that very few Christians live at the intersection of the physical and the spiritual, as Jesus did.

The modern world view is so secular/materialist that it is hard to escape. I suspect that most Christian are influenced more by what they see on television (an unreal world) than by what they see God doing in the spiritual realms.

I know that I have to constantly remind myself to lift my eyes above the things of the world, and keep my eyes on the things that are above.

We respond to what people say and do. Jesus responded to what he saw his Father doing. If I had met the woman at the well, I would have quickly categorised her as a loose woman. I would have felt some sympathy, but it would have come out of pride that I am better than her. And everything would have remained the same. Jesus saw beyond the rough veneer of a mean life, and knew that God was going to use her to transform her village. He knew that the key to her heart was that she was a shutdown worshipper.

We react to events as they occur to us, but rarely think about the spiritual events behind them.

We see the suffering caused by Typhoon Haiyan, but we do not understand the parallel events in the spiritual realms.

We hear John McCain’s call to bomb and Iran and assume that it is just another neocon speaking. We do not think about what is going on in the spiritual realms that he is reflecting.

We need to move from understanding spiritual reality to living it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (15) Kingdom Come

When Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray, he taught them how to pray in the Kingdom of God.

Your will be done in the earthly realms,
as it is done in the spiritual realms (Matt 6:10).
In the spiritual realms, the angels rush to do the Father’s will (Ps 103:20). The kingdom comes on earth when people rush to do his bidding in the same way as the angel in the spiritual realms. When the Holy Spirit prompts and people follow his guidance, the kingdom will come.

Paul said the same thing in a different way when he explained that God’s goal for history is for there to be unity between the spiritual and physical realms.
He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ (Eph 1:9-10).
When the times are fulfilled, things in both the spiritual and the physical realms will come into unity by being submitted to Jesus. His kingdom will have come when all authority in heaven and on earth has been brought back under him.

I often hear Christians say that they are going to change, because God has released angel of victory, or has opened the windows of heaven. Yet nothing really changes. These voices are confused, because they do not understand that God does not have a free hand to do what he likes on earth. He has given authority on earth to humans. He has provided everything we need through the cross and the Spirit. He needs humans with authority to release him to deliver what Jesus established.

I will explain some of the Big Authority Shifts in the next few posts. I will show have humans gave God authority to carry out his will on earth.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (14) Binding and Losing

Jesus teaching about binding and loosing makes more sense, if we understand that we live in a place where the spiritual and physical realms. The keys do not represent power for the head of the church. They represent our ability to influence events in the spiritual realms.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matt 16:19).
The prayers that we pray here on earth have an influence in the spiritual realms. If the church on earth binds and evil spirit operating I the spiritual realms it would be bound. A prophetic declaration made on earth can release angels to go to work in the spiritual realms.

Christians cannot experience victory on earth, until the victory has been established in the spiritual realms. The good news is that Jesus gave us authority to influence things in the spiritual realms. That is why Jesus repeated his promise about binding and loosing.
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven (Matt 18:18-19).
The pathway to action is as follows (see the arrows below).
  1. The Father declares his will in the spiritual realms where he dwells.

  2. The Holy Spirit hears everything that the Father speaks to the son.

  3. The Holy Spirit speaks to a group of Christians who have gathered together and tells them what the Father wants to do.

  4. The Christians pray and prophetically declare what God is doing.

  5. Their prayers bind the forces of evil and their declarations release the angels in the spiritual realms.

  6. The angels work with the Holy Spirit to achieve a victory over the powers of darkness.

  7. When the victory is achieved in the spiritual realms, the church can accomplish what God wanted done on earth.

Humans are essential in the process for two reasons.
  • We have authority on earth, so the Holy Spirit needs our permission to work on earth.

  • We will struggle to achieve God’s purposes for us, until the conditions are right in the spiritual realms.

Paul explains how this works.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds (1 Cor 10:3-4).
We live in the physical world, but we do not use physical weapons. We use divine power to achieve victory in the spiritual realms, which makes our words and service effective against strongholds on earth.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (13) Current Situation

Interactions between the physical and spiritual realms are critical for the development of authority on earth and in heaven.
At the time of creation, authority was split.

  • God had absolute authority in the spiritual realms.

  • The humans he had created were given over the earth.

The authority situation was changed by the fall.
  • God maintained his absolute authority of most of the spiritual realm.

  • The devil gained authority over a place in the spiritual realms.

  • The devil tricked humans into surrendering their authority to him, so he gained authority over the earth (Luke 4:6).

The cross changed the authority situation.
  • God maintained his absolute authority in the spiritual realms.

  • The devil lost his place in the spiritual realms.

  • The devil and his angels are spiritual beings so they still have an existence in a confined place on the edge of the spiritual realms.

  • Jesus released authority to those who trust in him. They have authority over their own lives (freedom) and over the sphere of life on earth that are under their authority. They have authority over the houses and businesses that they own.

  • The devil and his angels continue to have authority in the lives of the people they can trick into rejecting Jesus victory on the cross. This gives them authority on earth, but it is not real authority. The cross turned them into trespassers in a place where they have no legal authority to be.

  • Political powers continue to exercise authority on much of the earth. This gives the spiritual powers great authority to work their evil schemes.

As the kingdom of God advances, these spiritual squatters and usurpers will be squeezed out of the earth. Their authority will be totally diminished. Until that happens, authority on earth is currently divided.
  • At one level, it is exercised by people and institutions operating in the physical world, but at another level, actors in the spiritual realm have influence.

  • Areas of life where Christians have authority (including their lives) are under God’s authority, if the person is obedient to God.

  • Areas of life that are under the authority people who are not Christians are mostly under the authority of the evil one, often without their knowing.

God’s kingdom comes when his will is done on earth as it is in heaven, ie alignment of the heavens and the earth. To be ready for this, we must understand the connection between authority on earth and on authority in heaven.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Spiritual Interaction (12) Now

To do God’s will on earth, we must understand what is being done in heaven. We do not need to indulge in occult practices to get this understanding. That would place in bondage. We learn about events in the spiritual realms by listening to the Holy Spirit. He sees and hears everything spoken in the spiritual realms.

When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come… All that belongs to the Father is mine…The Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you (John 16:13,15).
The Spirit knows everything that is happening in the spiritual realms. An important part of his role is telling us what Jesus and the Father are saying and doing. Jesus promised that he would reveal it Gods will to us. Once we know his will, we can declare it and pray it into being.

Hearing the truth proclaimed in the spiritual realms is essential. For God’s will to be done on earth, he needs humans living on the earth to give him authority to do his will here. Paul explains how the Holy Spirit teaches us God’s will.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us (1 Cor 2:10-13).
God declares his will in the spiritual realms. If we listen to his Spirit, he will tell us all that we need to know. The next verse is a key.
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words (1 Cor 2:13).
This verse is important. Human wisdom misses half of what is happening in this universe. True wisdom results from being taught by the Spirit. He explains spiritual realities to us in Spirit-taught words.
People who reject the Holy Spirit’s calling cannot understand the importance of the spiritual realms.
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit (1 Cor 2:14).
They cannot be seen through human eyes. This is why the rulers of the world are blind to what is really happening.
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor 2:8).
Herod and Pilate thought they were getting rid of a minor political nuisance. In fact, they were bringing about a massive victory in the spiritual realms that would change the direction of history. They were releasing the Kingdom of God, which would sweep away their kingdoms and continue forever.

Pauls concludes this bit of teaching by saying that we have the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). That does not mean that we are theological educated, or even that we understand the truth. We have the mind of the spiritually anointed one, if we can understand the interaction between the spiritual and the physical realms. We receive this understanding by listening to the voice of the Spirit.

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul explained why this is important.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:1-3).
We are easily distracted by things that happen in the world. That is mistake. We have been raised up with Jesus, so we should fix our hearts on the things that are happening in the spiritual realms. Paul goes on to explain why.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Col 3:4).
When Jesus appears, what we have established in the spiritual realms will be revealed. The houses and businesses that we have built on earth will wither into insignificance.

High as a House

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (11) Parousia

When Jesus returns at the end of the age, the gap between the spiritual world and the physical world will be completely removed and everyone will be able to see into the spiritual realms. The appearance of Jesus will be a massive interjection of the spiritual dimension into our physical world.

Jesus return will bring a change of seeing. The spiritual realms that are currently hidden from the people on earth will be opened up for everyone to see. Paul wrote of the “manifestation of Jesus’ appearance” (2 Thes 2:8). He was explaining that the spiritual dimensions will open and be visible to everyone on earth.

The limits of our human seeing make the physical world appear bright and real. The spiritual dimension seems distant and dim to us, as it must be perceived by faith. When our seeing is changed, the physical world will fade into obscurity. As the spiritual world comes into clearer focus, we will be stunned by its glory. Jesus does not come back to earth. He appears when the spiritual world is opened and joined with the physical world for everyone to see.

When our spiritual eyes are opened to see clearly, the spiritual dimensions of life will suddenly be real. When the curtain is pulled back, the indescribable glory of Jesus will be revealed. Once they can see reality clearly, everyone on earth will see Jesus seated on the throne at the right hand of the Father. He has always been there, but from a human perspective, he will seem to have appeared.

The appearance of the earth and sky will be totally changed. With the physical and spiritual dimensions merged, earth will seem much less grand. Physical things will not have changed, but we will be seeing them in correct perspective for the first time. We think that space is immense, but when we see the spiritual realms, it will suddenly seem small. As we see the glory of the spiritual realms for the first time, Jesus will be revealed, while earth and space shrink away.

Our Other Azalea

It is called Melford Flame.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Spiriutal Interactions (10) Unveiling

When John’s life was drawing to a close, he was given a unique ability to see into the spiritual realms.

On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it”... I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me (Rev 1:10-12).
He did not have the words to describe what he saw, so he took words like emerald, crystal, rainbow, glass, sea, thunder, gold, lampstand, snow, that describe some of the most amazing things in this world, and jumbled them up to describe what he saw in spiritual realms. We should not assume these are literal descriptions. John was doing his best with words designed for describing a three-dimensional world, but he was actually describing the indescribable.

The Greek word translated “revelation” is “apokalupsis” (Rev 1:1). It means unveiling or uncovering. Our focus on the physical dimensions of life hides the spiritual dimensions and gives us a false view of reality. The spiritual world was unveiled for John and he got a glimpse of reality as the angels see it. Jesus gave him this revelation to show that our view of reality is only half the truth.

The world assumes that a visionary person sees something that is half-real. The truth is opposite. The physical world that we see with our human eyes is only half of reality. The spiritual world unveiled to John in his vision is the other half that we usually miss. John struggled to grasp all that his prophetic eyes saw, but he carefully recorded everything for the benefit of those coming after him. The main purpose of the book of Revelation is to increase our awareness of the spiritual realms. To get a true perspective on reality, we must see things in heaven and things on earth together. Revelation gives us the other side of reality.

John gained a massive insight into what was happening in the spiritual realms, but he found it difficult to do justice to the beauty of the spiritual glory.

Our Clematis

We shifted this from our old house. It seems to be as happy as we are.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (9) Early Church

Stephen was filled with the Spirit (Acts 6:5), so when he was about to be stoned, he described what he could see in the spiritual realms.

When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:54-56).
The Jewish leaders saw a man preaching. Stephen saw Jesus seated at the right hand of God. That was the reality that was shaping events on earth.
When Peter was in prison, he was released by a spiritual intervention.
Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists (Acts 12:7).
King Herod had locked Peter up. Something different was happening in the spiritual realms, so he was set free.

My Azalea

This is an azalea that I planted back in the winter. It is still small, but has flowered well.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (8) Pentecost

Sin closed the spiritual realms off from human sight. Jesus death and resurrection dealt with the problem of sin. His ascension opened up the spiritual realms for those who trust in him. Jesus followers perceived by faith what he had seen naturally. The Day of Pentecost was a massive intervention from the spiritual realms.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (Acts 2:1-4).
The spiritual realms opened up and observers heard and saw a violent wind and fire. The believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, which gave them continuous access to the spiritual realms. They were equipped to speak languages that could be understood in the spiritual realms, but not by people on earth.

Spiritual gifts are an intervention from the spiritual realms into the physical world.
Now concerning spiritual gifts, I do not want you to be ignorant… There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work... All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines (1 Cor 12:1,4-6,11).
Paul said we should be informed about “spiritual gifts”. However, the word gift is missing from the original text. A more precise translation would say, “I want you to know about the spirituals”. Paul wants us to know about the spiritual realms, so we can facilitate intervention from there into the spiritual world by exercising them.

When I speak in tongues, I am speaking a language from the spiritual realms that other humans cannot understand. Receiving a word of knowledge is hearing words being spoken in the spiritual realms. I hear them because I am walking in the Spirit and he enables me to hear what is being said in the "room" next door. The people who are stuck in this room need me to tell them what is being spoken on the other side of the wall. A word of wisdom is insight received from the spiritual realms. These spiritual gifts support our interaction with the spiritual realms.