Monday, March 30, 2015

Fighting Against God's Plan (3)

Some Christians have more faith in military power than in the power of the spirit and the victory of the cross. Despite Jesus amazing victory on the cross and the awesome power of the Holy Spirit, they expect the gospel to be unsuccessful. Reaching the Moslem world with the gospel is too hard.

Yet the same Christians believe that military power can preserve peace. The marines could bring Syria under control, quite easily.

This faith in military power is wrong. Military power always fails, because it releases the powers of evil. War releases a spirit of violence, which undermines the kingdom.

When we respond to evil with violence and war, we stir up more anger, which grieves the Holy Spirit and releases the powers of evil. Spirits of anger and hatred get control of the people that we resist. Military power cannot defeat evil.

  • When we rely on military power, the Holy Spirit flees.
  • When we use coercion against evil, he is squeezed out.
  • Whenever we resist evil with force, spirits of anger and hatred are empowered.
The Kingdom of God cannot be established by war, because as soon as war starts, the Holy Spirit has to withdraw. This creates a spiritual vacuum, which allows the principalities and powers to move in. War always makes a situation worse, even if the cause appears to be good. The forces of evil gain a stronghold on those who participate in the fighting, which allows them to steal the victory.

Christians with faith in military power tend to believe the following statements.

  • We must resist evil, or be overcome by evil.
  • Violence must be destroyed, before it destroys us.
  • We must defend our way of life, or be forced to surrender our faith.
  • We must use force against those who hate the gospel, or it might be lost.
  • We must defeat those who want to harm us, before they destroy us.
At the physical level, these statements appear to be true, but at the spiritual level, they are wrong. Violent people often harm good people. Evil nations sometimes invade peaceful nations. However, when we use force to defend our way of life, we may gain a temporary victory, but the Holy Spirit pulls back and the Kingdom of God goes into retreat.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fighting Against God's Plan (2)

The advance of Islam, together with the other three horsemen of Revelation are events that God allows in order to expose the hubris of political and military power. The powerful nations of the world respond to these events by seizing immense political powers for themselves. By gorging on political power, they allow the Terrible Beast described in Revelation and Daniel to emerge.

The Roman Empire was not something odd. It was just a typical empire from that time, but more effective, more ruthless and more powerful than others. The Beast of Revelation will not be something different or unusual in its time. It will not be something totally new and different, like in the in the Left Behind series. The Beast will just be a very powerful nation that uses military, economic and political power to control events all over the world. It will gather an alliance of smaller nations to assist it accomplish its purposes.

Christians who understand what is happening will oppose the Beast, but they will not fight it with military or political power, because that would be playing into its strength, because in a political contest, power will always win. They will speak against it prophetically, and the response will be savage. Many Christians will be martyred for challenging the militaristic and political heart of the Beast.

These prophetic Christians will be among the martyrs John saw under the altar, crying out for justice, when the fifth seal was opened (Rev 6:9=11). The first four seals cause trouble that allows Beast to emerge. The opening of the fifth seal allows it to persecute Christians.

A state of Israel based on political and military power is not God’s purpose for his people. He wants Israel to export wisdom, peace and law (Is 2:2-4), not military hardware. The current militaristic state will have to be swept away before God’s purposes can be fulfilled.

The Israeli people who have chosen military and power for their salvation will get what they want. The Beast of Revelation, which is the ultimate political and military power will invade Israel, and they will get such a dose of extreme military and political power that they will hate it forever (Dan 11:13-16).

God has allowed ISIS to emerge in the Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria, so that the Beast will invade the Middle East. This will take a while to happen, but the identify of the Beast will be revealed, when it invades the Middle East to try and destroy ISIS. American Christians who want to send the marines in against ISIS, are implicitly wanting America to the Beast of Revelation.

Christians who are advocating military force against Iran and ISIS will find themselves operating as cheerleaders for the Beast as it emerges. They will find themselves operating as horned prophets, advocating their enemy and opposing the purposes of God. Many will get sucked into deception and will not realise until too late that they cannot escape.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fighting Against God's Plan (1)

Many American Christians see Islam as a threat to their peace. They want to engage in war against the forces of Islam in the Middle East. Some are keen to bomb Iran. Others want to send the marines against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. They do not understand that they are fighting against God’s purposes.

God has allowed the revival of Islam as part of his plan for history. The seven seals of Revelation mark a transition from an old season to a new one. When Jesus opened the first of the seven seals, a man on a white horse carrying a bow rode forth (Rev 6:1-2). This horseman represents the revival and advance of Islam. (I explain this more fully at White Horseman).

The advance of Islam got underway with the Islamic Revolution in 1978 that overthrew a dictator that had been put in place by the CIA. This was also a fulfilment of Daniel’s vision of the two-horned ram (Dan 8:1-4).

Although this transitional event was part of God’s plan, the United States continued to engage in economic and political wars with Iran, but unsurprisingly they all failed. Jimmy Carter sent an invading force in attempt to rescue some hostages, but it crashed in the desert. In 1980, the US encouraged and supported an Iraqi invasion of Iran, but this failed too. Since then the US has continued a trade war against Iran but without success.

The US is currently using economic sanction to prevent Iran from refining uranium for nuclear power, something that they are entitled to do under international law. The US will fail in this effort too, because it needs Iranian support against ISIS in northern Iraq.

Each attempt to exert military power in the Middle East has strengthened the very forces that it has opposed. The reason that has happened is that they are fighting against God’s purpose. That will always end in failure, no matter how strong the military power.

The disastrous US invasion of Iraq not only destroyed the country, but established Iranian political influence in Iraq. The US did the dirty work to allow Iran to expand its power.

The US drone war against Yemen has brought Houti people to power in that Nation. They are a Shia group, which will more naturally align with Iran.

The persistent pointless US-supported, Israeli invasions of southern Lebanon lead to the emergence of Hezbollah as the most powerful political force in Lebanon. It is a Shia group sympathetic to Iran.

The US fight against Iran has failed, and actually made Iran into one of the most powerful influences in the Middle East. Fighting against a force that was released when Jesus opened a seal was a mistake. Fighting against God’s purposes is always unwise.

Iran will not invade Israel. It simply does not have the military capability to invade a country 3000 kilometres away across a desert. The possibility is only taken seriously by political leaders who need a bogeyman to justify their own political power and military expansion.

Iran will join with a military coalition that attacks the Beast in Israel in a battle that will be so bad that it will destroy the military and political power as a moral force forever. But that is well in the future.

Christian nations will not defeat the advance of Islam by engaging in a military war against it. The best defence against militant Islam is the gospel of Jesus preached in the power of the Spirit. The gospel will win whereas military and political power will lose with unexpected consequences.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Not Dominionism

A reader suggested that I am a proponent of Dominionism or Kingdom Now. Nothing could be further from the truth. The supporters of these views want to get control of the political and legal system, so they can establish the Kingdom of God by enforcing God's standards. They want to use imposed authority, which is anathema to God. It scares the people of the world, because they do not want the church, or Christians, telling them what to do. Fair enough, too.

What I advocate is the opposite of dominionism. It does not rely on political control or imposed authority. It is entirely voluntary and depends on people freely choosing to follow Jesus in response to the gospel and the prompting of the Spirit (this is Free Authority).

The big question is: Will the gospel be successful? Will the Holy Spirit be successful? I realise that I am a minority on this one, but I believe that the clear teaching of the scriptures is that the gospel and the Holy Spirit will be successful. That raises the question of why they have not been successful so far. Which is why authority is so important. The gospel and the Holy Spirit are currently constrained, due to the authority situation on earth, but that will change. When that happens the gospel and the Holy Spirit will be amazingly effective.

May book called Kingdom Authority deals with this issue. The first part describes how authority was lost. We can see the evidence of that. The latter part describes how it will be restored. God has a plan to achieve that, and the result will be amazing, but we do not see it yet.

The book of Revelation is relevant to this issue. Most Christians see it as a doom and gloom, with possibly a rescue, but that is wrong. Revelation is a book about authority. It describe the rise and accumulation of political power. However, one of the main themes of the book is that this power will be destroyed, not temporarily, but forever. It will not be destroyed by power, but by a shift in authority that releases the church to preach the gospel in the power of the Spirit.

So it all comes back to the same question. Will the Holy Spirit and the church be successful in accomplishing the purposes of God on earth? Most Christians say No, but Revelation answers with a resounding, Yes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Having a Ministry

A prophetic ministry is not something that we can have. All that we can have is the prompting of the spirit and relationships with people that give us opportunity to speak. Prompting and opportunity. That is all we can have.

We need to be ready for the opportunities, but in between them, we have nothing but potential and reputation. Potential is only of value if we keep our hearts right. Reputation might help others, but it is of no value to us.

When Daniel spoke to the King of Babylon he was a prophet. In between, these opportunities, he was just a bureaucrat working for a pagan government. In between, he did not have a prophetic ministry, he just had a job (as a slave) that gave him contacts with important people and a few opportunities to speak.

In between promptings, a prophet is just a man or women seeking to walk with God and hear him speak.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spiritual Gifts

The gifts of the Spirit manifest the power of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:7). When a gift occurs, his power is shown. His power shows in different ways depending on the gift.

  • Some gifts manifest in the mind of the person receiving the gift and gives them words to speak.
    • Word of wisdom
    • Word of knowledge
    • Prophecy
    • Interpretation of languages
  • The gift of language by passes the mind to manifest in words we do not understand.

  • The gift of faith attaches to words spoken to anoint them with power.

  • The gift of healing manifests in power flowing out of the person with the gift to heal another person who is sick. Often the power flows through the hand with which the person is being touched

  • The gift of miracles manifests in the same way. Power flows out of us to transform an object in the physical world.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Authority and Power (2)

For a Christian, getting rid of sickness has two phases. The first requires authority. We command the sickness to leave. The authority we have in Jesus causes the evil spirit that was inflicting the sickness to leave (Act 10:38).

The problem is that when evil spirits leave or stop harassing, they do not clean up their mess before they go. They leave a lot of garbage behind. They do no kill their viruses, before they leave. They do not take their arthritis with them, when they have been commanded to leave. We need the Holy Spirit to come in and restore the body that was sick to the way that God created it to be. He has the power to do that.

If the junk that the evil spirits leave behind is genetic damage or viruses, they can be passed onto subsequent generations.

In many situations, the command “Be healed in Jesus name” will be sufficient to complete both phases of healing. Sometimes we will need to specifically invite the Holy Spirit in to do the full complete clean up.

More at Healing.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Authority and Power

Healing needs both authority and power. The people saw this in Jesus.

All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” (Luke 4:36).
When Jesus sent out the apostles, he gave them authority and power.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases (Luke 9:1).
Authority comes to us through what Jesus has done on the cross and by raising us with him to the right hand of the father. Power comes through the Holy Spirit.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you (Acts 1:8).
The power of the Spirit flows from the believer to the person being healed. We can see this happening with Jesus.
And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick (Luke 5:17).
All the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all (Luke 6:19).
This is how the gift of healing operates. A person exercising this gift of the Spirit allows the power of the spirit to flow out of them to the person who needs to be healed.

The Holy Spirit does not have a physical body. He needs people to carry him the where he needs to be in the physical world. To heal people, he must work through people who love him.

The Holy Spirit has immense power, but no authority. We have authority on the earth, but no power. When we use our authority to give the Holy Spirit permission to use his power, we can do great things together for the Father. Without him, we can do nothing. Without our permission to act, he is constrained. By joining his power with our authority, we allow the Holy Spirit to do great works on earth for the Father (Kingdom Authority p. 118).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

High Places

The settlers on the Israel West bank are becoming increasingly violent and obstreperous. The reason is that they have built their settlement on the tops of hills. The Old Testament warned Israel again and again about the dangers of the “High Places” and warned them to get rid of them.

Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains, on the hills and under every spreading tree, where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods (Deut 12:2).
The high places, however, were not removed (2 Kings 14:4).
These places were where the Canaanites had worshiped their idols, so they are the dwelling places of demons.

The modern settlers have moved into these high places without any spiritual protection, so they are taken over and manipulated by these evil spirits that have rights there. The settlers have gone to the high places to gain control and power over the surrounding areas, but these are the wrong reason, because they link to witchcraft. The evil influence from the high places is the reason for their violent behaviour.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lawrence Summers

On his way to Davos, Lawrence Summers gave a talk at the London School of Economics. He argues that the Global Financial Crisis was partly cause by a glut of savings round the world. This argument is common, but Summers adds an interesting twist. He says that it has a technological cause.

In the days, when IBM and AT&T were the largest companies in the world, they were always borrowing. Google and Apple have taken over as the dominant companies. They both have massive cash surpluses. Apple is trying to give spare cash back to its owners.

A start-up used to cost millions. Now only $½ million can fund a start-up.

Summers claims that the cost of capital has changed in a way that affects the interest rate.

He suggests there is now a lack of demand for loans. He claims that governments should take up the slack. He suggests that this is a good time to invest in state infrastructure, such as schools and airports.

I think that this points to the problem. The state controls significant capital-intensive parts of the economy, but it always short of capital, because it only has cash flows. The state is not capable of making economic decisions. It only makes political ones. If the infrastructure was owned by private groups, they might be taking advantage of low interest rates to improve their capital.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Unnoticed Kingdom

A Kingdom Community will be submitted to Jesus by obeying his Spirit. It will not recognise the authority of local governments and rulers. It will not recognise their laws.

The “powers that be” will not recognise the Kingdom Community as a government, because it is based on free authority. Because they think in terms of imposed authority, they will not recognise it as an effective government, although it has seceded and set up an alternative government to the existing powers.

This is why it is a secret kingdom.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Romans 12 & 13

Romans 12 is addressed to Paul’s fellow Christians. He addresses them as brethren in Romans 12:1.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy… (Rom 12:1).
Paul teaches about how to overcome evil by doing good. The chapter parallels Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. Love those who hate you, and leave justice to God.

Romans 13 shifts to a different audience. The chapter begins by addressing all people, whether they are Christians or not.

Let every soul be subject…. (Rom 13:1).
People who are not Christians cannot be expected to love those who hate them. Paul says that all that is required of them is to submit to good judges applying God’s law. They will pronounce judgment against those who steal and these who assault or kill. This is required for order in society.

The distance between the two audiences is evident in Paul’s use of the word wrath (orge).

In Romans 12, Christians are to have nothing to do with wrath. They are to leave that to God.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath (Rom 12:19).
In the next chapter, judges are God’s ministers who execute wrath.
They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer (Rom 13:4).
We must submit to local judges so we have a clear conscience, but also that wrath may be executed effectively.
Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake (Rom 13:5)
More at Understanding Romans 13.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Untold Story

I recently read Inside the Banking Crisis: The Untold Story by Hugh Pym. Hugh is a journalist with strong links to the British Labour party and the British government, so he gets to talk to many of the insiders during the Banking Crisis in the UK. Not surprising the tone is quite self-congratulatory or self-justifying, and perhaps both.

I find it amazing how totally unprepared the bankers, the bureaucrats and politicians were for what happened. The bureaucrats in the Financial Services Authority, the Bank of England and the Treasury with responsibility for managing the banking system were totally surprised by the crisis. They were supposed to be the experts, but they were unprepared.

The Bankers were equally blind. They kept on pretending that things would come right, even as they were falling apart around them. The CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland argued that is bank did not need more capital, a few months before the government had to supply £20 billion of capital to keep it from crashing.

Hugh Pym makes the bureaucrats seem clever, because they were able to prevent total collapse of the banking system. However, they had committed £300 billion of taxpayers’ money into the banking abyss to achieve it.

How is that a great achievement?

It is a strange notion that spending the money of ordinary people to rescue the rich and powerful from their errors.

The worst thing is that the same people are still running the system.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

7000 years???

During the last two hundred years, many Christians have believed that Jesus return was just round the corner. They were wrong because their assumptions were wrong and their theology was flawed.

One of their false assumptions was that life on this earth is limited to 7000 years: 4000 to Jesus, 2000 for the church age, 1000 for the millennium. This doctrine is widely accepted, but is not in the scriptures. It should have died in 2000 AD when its time ran out, because the church age had gone beyond 2000 years. Some commentators have kept it on life support for a few more years by squeezing a few more years out of OT history to make it less than 4000 years, but the 7000 years doctrine will eventually fail.

There is too much in Daniel and the other prophets that has still to be filled for it to happen in 15 years, so the 7000 years doctrine is already on its last legs.

The biggest problem with the 7000 years doctrine is that it was based on the millennium doctrine. This doctrine was developed by people who did not understand the gospel of Jesus, or the role of the Holy Spirit. Strangely, they wanted a Rambo Messiah, like the Jews who opposed Jesus wanted, but which Jesus refused to be.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Slavoj Žižek and Charlie Hebdo

You have not made it as a blogger until you have quoted Slavoj Žižek. Here is my attempt.

Why do Muslims who were undoubtedly exposed to exploitation, domination and other destructive and humiliating aspects of colonialism, target in their response the best part (for us, at least) of the Western legacy, our egalitarianism and personal freedoms, including the freedom to mock all authorities? One answer is that their target is well chosen: the liberal West is so unbearable because it not only practises exploitation and violent domination, but presents this brutal reality in the guise of its opposite: freedom, equality and democracy.

We need to bear in mind the interconnection between the Decalogue and human rights, which, as Kenneth Reinhard and Julia Reinhard Lupton have argued, are ultimately rights to violate the Ten Commandments. The right to privacy is a right to commit adultery. The right to own property is a right to steal (to exploit others). The right to freedom of expression is a right to bear false witness. The right to bear arms is a right to kill. The right to freedom of religious belief is a right to worship false gods. Of course, human rights do not directly condone the violation of the Commandments, but they keep open a marginal grey zone that is supposed to be out of the reach of (religious or secular) power. In this shady zone I can violate the commandments, and if the power probes into it, catching me with my pants down, I can cry: ‘Assault on my basic human rights!’ The point is that it is structurally impossible, for the power, to draw a clear line of separation and prevent only the misuse of a human right without infringing on its proper use, i.e. the use that does not violate the Commandments.

The problem with Charlie Hebdo’s humour is not that it went too far in its irreverence, but that it was a harmless excess perfectly fitting the hegemonic cynical functioning of ideology in our societies. It posed no threat whatsoever to those in power; it merely made their exercise of power more tolerable.

There is nothing Islamophobic in condemning the Paris killings, in the same way that there is nothing anti-Semitic in condemning Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Kingdom Authority

The Kindle version of my book called Kingdom Authority is now available free from Amazon. The offer lasts for two days.

The Holy Spirit has immense power, but no authority. We have authority on the earth, but no power. When we use our authority to give the Holy Spirit permission to use his power, we can do great things together for the Father. Without him, we can do nothing. Without our permission to act, he is constrained. By joining his power with our authority, we allow the Holy Spirit to do great works on earth for the Father (Kingdom Authority p. 118).

United States Hiatus

The US presidential throne is currently empty. Obama was elected as an activist president to bring “Change we can believe in”, but nothing has changed. Everything that he has tried to change has failed and his followers are disillusioned.

Obama is now a paralysed duck. All he can do is the only thing he is could at, making grand speeches, that are applauded but ignored. The Obamas are like the British royal family, pretty people trotted out for ceremonial occasions and the covers of women’s magazines. The agenda in Europe and the Middle East is being set by Merkel, Putin, Cameron and Hollande. These are the four heads that Daniel saw on the goat (8:8).

The pres-idolators hate this. The presidential worshipers are angry. They will join together with a cheerleader congress to elect a powermongering, dictatorial president, who will make Wilson and Roosevelt look tame and feeble. This will be a disaster for America (and the world) and set it on the part to being the Beast. This might not happen in the next election. The US might need another crippled royal called Hilary or Jeb first to get people angry enough.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Two Saviours

We tend to operate with saviours. We have Jesus as a spiritual saviour to rescue us from spiritual problems, from guilt, shame and grief. However, we rely on another saviour for everything else. The political powers are our second saviour, which saves from violence, theft, poverty, sickness.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Consumerism and Politics

In many western countries, voters are becoming dissatisfied with traditional political parties on both the left and the right. The Economist explains that long-run forces are at play.

As the British class system has given way to a mish-mash of socio-economic groupings, tribal loyalties to Labour and the Conservatives have evaporated. Voters no longer belong to the left or the right. They have become political consumers who shop around. More recently, proud Scottish, nostalgic English or anxious green identities have counted for more than whether someone works on the factory floor or oversees those who do (The Economist 26/2/2015).
Consumerism now extends into politics.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Ananias and Sapphira

I have always been uneasy about the traditional interpretation of the incident with Ananias and Sapphira recorded in Acts 5. Jesus rebuked James and John for wanting to call judgment down on people who rejected Jesus, yet this incident seems more like their behaviour than Jesus behaviour.

Peter accused Ananias of lying to the Holy Spirit. It is clear that Ananias lied to Peter, but why charge him with lying to the Holy Spirit. That would imply that anyone lying to a Christian is lying the Holy Spirit. That seems a bit strong.

Anyway, lying to the Holy Spirit does not justify death or we would all be dead. There is no place in scripture that specifies death for lying to the Spirit.

The situation with Sapphira is even more strange. According to Acts 5:2, Ananias made the decision to keep some of the money. His wife knew about it and went along, but she was just submitting to her husband’s decision. That was a sin, but it does not seem to justify the death penalty. So why did Peter put a curse on her.

The other interesting question is why the couple were under such pressure to give all their money to the apostles. An examination of the relevant verses shows that an interesting transition had taken place. In the beginning those, those giving away their possessions distributed their money themselves.

Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need (Acts 2:45).
Within a short period of time, the giving was all going through the apostles.
Those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need (Acts 4:34-35).
The apostles had seized control of the giving process. This was a significant change that increased the power of the apostles. The apostles had committed to feeding a lot of people who were hanging around in Jerusalem, rather than being sent out as Jesus had commanded. This put tremendous financial pressure on the apostles.

Maybe this pressure caused them to begin putting pressure on the members of the church to give more money, which allowed sin to get in. Had Ananias and Sapphira succumbed to that pressure and then regretted it?

Did Ananias just die of shock? Did Peter reinforce the fear this produced, by declaring that the same thing would happen to his wife? I wonder if Peter was abusing the power of the Spirit in the same way that Elijah did when he set bears on the smart boys and got them killed (2 Kings 2:23-25)? I suspect Peter may have been abusing his power in an effort to get more money for the church?

Prophetic power must be used carefully. It should not be abused.