Monday, July 29, 2019

Last Judgment

During the times when kings ruled Israel, judgment was not like a modern courtroom, with prosecutor and defence lawyers, where guilt and innocence are decided on the basis of evidence.

People stood before the king. He would make a decision on the basis of allegiance. He rewarded the people who had given him allegiance and fought with him. He punished those who been disloyal or slacked off. An example is given in 2 Samuel 19. Shimei had mocked David, so he lost everything except his life, and he was lucky to retain that. Mephibosheth and Barzilai had blessed David and supported him, so they received gifts of land.

The great white throne judgment described in John’s vision was not a guilty or innocent judgment before judges. It was a reward scene after a great victory in battle, based on allegiance and service in support of the king. The victorious king is giving out his rewards to the people who have supported him consistently.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Plight and Solution

God created the earth as a place to have fun with the people that he created in his image. That desire has never changed. God still wants to make the earth a garden where he can frolic with his people.

The problem that Jesus came to solve was not human sins, although they had caused many of the problems that he came to resolve.

  • The problem is not God’s anger.
  • The problem was that humans had given up their authority on earth to the powers of evil by submitting to them.
  • Their shift in allegiance had changed the authority situation on earth.
The fall was a shift in allegiance.
  • Adam and Eve shifted their allegiance from God to themselves.
  • The wanted to pick and choose who and they would obey. The wanted to obey God some of the time, other voices at other times. The serpent was able to speak to them, because they had already shifted allegiance in their minds, and were willing to listen to voices other than God.
  • Unfortunately, they were tricked by the devil. Allegiance to self usually become allegiance to the spiritual powers of evil, often without realising what has happened.
Jesus came to earth to resolve a twofold problem created when human withdrew their allegiance to God.
  • The spiritual powers of evil owned the earth. Earth was still a mess, not a garden.
  • The spiritual powers of evil owned the people on the earth. They have the right to poke, deceive and push them into doing evil.
Jesus came to earth to resolve these problems by,
  • Getting back authority over the earth.
  • Getting back the allegiance of the people living on the earth.
The good news is that we are rescued by allegiance (faith).

Friday, July 26, 2019

Paul Apostling

Paul always had an apostolic impact, even when he was fighting against Jesus.
After Stephen was martyred a great persecution arose.

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria… Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison (Acts 8:1,3).
Paul’s persecution caused believers to go out from Jerusalem into Judea and Samaria. This is what God had wanted to happen, but most believers and the apostles hung around in Jerusalem because they thought that was where the action was. Part of the problem was that the apostles had stayed when they should have gone.

Jesus had told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the power of the Holy Spirit. Once they had received power, they were to go into the world and preach the good news, beginning in Judea and going to the ends of the world (Luke 24:47, Acts 1:8). Instead of obeying Jesus’ challenge and going out, too many believers were still waiting in Jerusalem. Even the apostles were in danger of becoming bishops, because they were unwilling to be sent (apostled).

Paul’s persecution got the church going out to the places Jesus had told them to go to, although the apostles did not get the message.

The modern church has the same problem. See Governmental Apostles. Perhaps we need more Pauls, of the before and after type.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Love and Submission (7) The Father and the Son

Many people see authority as prior to submission, ie authority requires submission. God the Father has authority, so Jesus the Son must submit to him.

If they really understood authority, they would put it the other way around. Relations of submission and authority would be quite different.

Authority can be obtained in two ways.

  • Authority can be taken, usually taken with threats of force.
  • Authority can be given, by some agreeing to submit to the wisdom of another.
Authority is not something innate in a person’s character.

If the relationship between the Father and the Son begins with the authority of the Father, it cannot be something innate in the person of the Father. The Father would only have authority over the son, if he could force the Son to obey him. This would be domination of the Son by the Father, or Imposed Authority. The Son would be subordinate to the Father, so not truly divine.

The only way that the Father can have authority over the Son is if the Son freely submits to the Father, creating the authority of the Father. Free submission creates the authority of the person submitted to. This authority is temporary and limited. The person given authority only gets authority over the aspects of life that are submitted to them. If the person submitting withdraws their submission, the authority created disappears.

The relationship between the Father and the son must be a relationship of submission and authority, in which the Son gives authority to the Father by freely submitting to him. The submission of the Son would come first and create the authority of the Father.

If there is something innate in the God the Father that means that Jesus has to obey him, then that is not really authority. That would be domination of the Son, which would mean that he is not equal with the Father, but subordinate.

There is no place for Imposed Authority in the Trinity. The Father would never impose his will on the Son. He would not threaten him, if he chose not to obey.

If the Son submits to the Father, it will be because he loves him. Therefore, at the point where the Father tells the Son what to do, he has no authority. Rather, the Son creates authority for the Father by freely submitting to his command. There is no need for the Father to “exert authority” or “express authority” because the Son loves him. Instead, the Father receives authority from the Son, when he freely submits to his will.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Love and Submission (6) Business

Business authority is free authority. A business begins when some people with skills and spare assets hand authority over them to a business organisation that they create. Pooling assets increases their effectiveness.

Businesses have limited and temporary authority. Investors can sell their shares in the business, at any time. Lenders can terminate their loans, when they fall due. Employees can resign from their employment. No one has to buy the goods and services produced. The temporary authority over wealth and life that has been submitted to the business can be withdrawn at any time. If the business is liquidated, the authority it exercised evaporates.

Employees have to submit to their employer’s authority, but that is the condition of their accepting employment with the business. They agree to submit to their employer for a specific part of their week in exchange for a specific wage or salary. The employer pays for the submission of their employees, so the employees do not have to love their employer. If the employer gets violent, or loses their respect, employees can resign from their position.

Many people feel like their employer has imposed authority over them, but that is not true. An employee can end their employer’s authority in their life at any time, by resigning. This is the difference between an employee and a slave. Slaves cannot resign from their owners. They are stuck under their authority. An employee can resign. It might be economically painful, if they have difficulty getting new employment, but they do have that freedom.

Businesses operate under Free Authority, which is the best type of authority. They can give instructions to their staff, but they cannot use physical force to make them do things against their will. Only governments have that power. A business can only exercise Imposed Authority if it is empowered by a government.

In the modern world, business have colluded with their government to gain additional authority that God has not given. Limited liability and other corporate laws have allowed businesses to become very large with enormous hierarchies of monopoly power. These huge conglomerates provide great opportunities for the powers of darkness. They concentrate their efforts on the senior management, because it gives them control over vast resources. These people tend to have big egos, so the power plays are usually successful.

God prefers family businesses. As the Kingdom of God advances, large businesses will be chopped up and spread around. Smaller family-owned business will abound.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Love and Submission (5) Fathers and Sons

The relationship between a father and a son begins with love, not authority. When a baby is born, all the father can do is love and provide for his son. He has no authority to tell his baby son what to do, because the son cannot speak or understand commands.

As he grows the son submits to his father authority, because recognises his father’s love. The father can reinforce his authority by picking up the son and carrying where he wants him to go. He can also strengthen his authority with sanctions, such as timeout or loss of privileges.

If the father threatens physical force, he might obey his father out of fear, but that is not ideal. Physical discipline creates imposed authority, because the resulting submission is due to fear, not love.

When the son gets older, he realises that he does not have to obey his father, if he does not want to. The father’s authority can disappear, if his son does not understand his father’s love.

Adult sons usually leave their father’s home. They will continue to appreciate their father’s advice, so the father still has limited authority in his son’s life.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Love and Submission (4) Elders and Husbands

The scriptures do not give elders authority. Elders are commanded to watch over people, serve them and protect them. But they are not given authority to control them.

Because we are engaged in a spiritual battle, new Jesus-followers are encouraged to submit to elders. This free action gives authority to the elder (an elder does not have an innate authority). They only have authority that is created when someone submits to them. If the people submitting lose their respect for the elder and withdraw their submission, the elder loses their authority.

Elders often demand that people in their church submit to them. This is a false understanding of authority. If people must obey them, they are exercising domination and control, which is a distortion of true authority. True authority is given freely by submission, it cannot be demanded.

The same applies to husbands and wives. Wives are urged to submit to their husbands (just as husbands have to submit to the will of their wives, because they love them). Husbands do not have an innate authority that allows them to demand that their wives obey them. Demanded obedience is actually domination.

Submission that cannot be freely withdrawn at any time, is domination and control, not true authority.

Christians should stop claiming that they have authority, because they are male or mature, or have been appointed to a particular role. They should earn authority, by loving, serving and demonstrating wisdom.

A person with authority can issue a command and know that it will be acted on. This can occur for two reasons.

  • The person with authority has power or the ability to compel the person to obey. The soldier obeyed the centurion, because he knew that if he disobeyed, the whole wait of the Roman Empire would come down on him. This is Imposed Authority.

  • The person receiving the command loves and trusts, the person issuing the command and has freely chosen to submit to them. I call this Free Authority. A person gains authority when someone freely submits to them, because they love them. The person submitting actually creates the authority of the person they submit to. That means that they can take the authority away, if they lose their trust, and stop submitting.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Love and Submission (3) Active not Passive

Submission in the New Testament is active, not passive. The Greek word “upotasso” means to place yourself under another. The person submitting actively places themselves under the person that they have chosen to submit to. This is a free action. This gives the person that they submit to authority in their life. It also means that they can remove the authority if they decide not to submit.

Christians often present submission as passive. They assume that a person with authority can demand that others submit to them, but this is a distortion of true authority. Submission is a choice.

If a person has to submit, then they do not have a choice, and they have lost the freedom that God created in them. Demanded submission is domination.

True biblical submission is voluntary. If the person with authority is unreasonable, immoral, or unlawful, the people who have submitted to them are free to withdraw their submission.

Submission has to be earned with love and service. If they person with authority stops loving and serving, they will lose their authority, because people will stop submitting to them.

A person who submits creates the authority of another person. This gives them the power to destroy the authority too, if it goes wrong. Allowing people with authority to demand submission, eliminates this protection, and encourages domination and control. This is wrong. Authority must be controlled by the people submitting. This is the best protection against tyranny.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Love and Submission (2) Why

Love and submission are inseparably entwined.

It is obvious that husband and wives should love each other. This means that they will also to submit to each other. Which is what Paul said.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph 5:21).
So why does Paul say that wives should submit to their husbands (Eph 5:22) and that wives should submit to their husbands (Eph 5:25)?

I believe that Paul’s presentation reflects their weaknesses, not their strength.

Many men tend to be so task focussed that they can easily become so absorbed in their calling that they begin to sacrifice their wives and families to the cause. They need to be reminded to love their wives. They often get puffed up about their wisdom, so they think they know what is best for their wives. The solution is love. Because they are strong, the natural sin of men is to slip into domination. In the worst case, this becomes violence. The antidote is love.

Women usually understand much better how relationships work, so they can slip into manipulating a relationship to get what they want. The antidote for manipulation is submission. Women love their children, so they can be inclined to put their needs before God’s work. If they love God and their husbands, they will sometimes need to submit to what God is doing, even if it has a cost for their family.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Love and Submission (1)

Love and submission are inseparably entwined. The common teaching that husbands love and wives submit fails to understand that there is no love without submission.

Love is not self-seeking (1 Cor 13:5).
When you love someone, you want what they want, more than what you want. You cannot help yourself. So when you love someone, you find yourself submitting to their will more often than to your own will. If you don’t, you probably do not love as much as you think you do.

Likewise, Christian submission is freely given out of love. Submission that is demanded by someone because they are superior or higher in the hierarchy is not true submission. True submission is a free response to love and wisdom. Demanded submission is domination.

Submitting to someone who loves you is easy, because they want what is good for you. This is why it is easy to submit to Jesus.

Jesus was the wisdom (word) that was there at the beginning and created all things (John 1:1-3). He did not need anyone to tell him what to do. Yet he loved to submit to the will of the Father (John 5:19).

Love and submission are different sides of the same coin.

  • You cannot truly love without submitting.
  • True submission requires love.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Meritocracy Trap

I listen to some of the podcasts released by the London School of Economics. They have guest lectures from many leading economists, so it is a good way to catch up on what economists are up to.

The best lecture I have heard in the last few years was a talk by Daniel Markovitz called the Meritocracy Trap. Anyone who wants to understand what is happening in the modern economy and society should listen to it. He is not an economist, so he is easy to understand.

During the nineteenth century, a clash occurred between the traditional aristocracy, who lived on inherited wealth, the capitalists, who became rich with new businesses that emerged during Industrial Revolution, and the working classes who moved to the cities for low-paid hard work. This struggle between land, capital and labour dominated the next century.

Markovitz explains that a dramatic change has occurred in the last half century making the old struggles irrelevant. He explains that super-elite incomes now come from work and not from capital. The richest people in society now work for their incomes. They get and increasing share of their income from work and effort.

Most of the income in the elite groups share has not come from a shift of income from labour to capital but from a shift of income from one kind of labour to another. From the middle-class labour to elite labour.
The poor always worked long hours. In the past, elites did not work hard. Now it is elite labour that works long hours.
The top quintile works four to five hours more a day longer than it did mid-century. This represents a shift in work towards the elite.
This change brings a huge change in the way inheritance works. He explains.
The way that elites transfer their privileged status to the next generation has changed from bequests to adult children on the death of parents to through investment in human capital of young children while parents are living.
Markovitz explains that although the super-elite think they deserve their status, the system is stacked in their favour. For example, the education of their children at elite universities is almost fully subsidised. They also exercise considerable political power.
The top percentile has political influence, the bottom quintile has none. A massive complex of income and wealth defence has emerged. The super-rich has substantial influence over the laws that regular them and how they comply with the law. In the past, people got rich by working for the state. Today professionals get rich by working for people who are fighting the state to protect the wealth.
This change is a problem because the super-elites have distorted the direction of national economies for their benefit, to the detriment of other groups in society.

Markovitz is effective at diagnosing the problem, but his solutions are not really useful, because they rely on government interventions. That only solution is Jesus teaching on Unrighteous Wealth and the implementation of his solutions.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Freedom and the Gospel

Our freedom is in Jesus. The only freedom that really counts is the deliverance from the spiritual powers of evil that he wrought for us on the cross.

War rarely establishes true freedom, because the tumult and violence of war allow the spiritual powers of evil to have a field day, so people on both sides are made worse off.

I don’t know of any situations where economic sanctions have produced freedom and advanced the gospel. The ordinary people suffer, and the powerful get rich on the black market.

The efforts of the United States to impose freedom and democracy by war have a pretty ugly record. An honest observer cannot pretend otherwise. Iraq is still a wreck. The Iraqi church has been dramatically weakened, because Christians have been forced to leave the country. Libya has gone from having the best health care and education in Africa to been a disaster. Yemen is currently being wrecked with US support and weapons. The twenty-year war in Afghanistan has produced terrible suffering and very little peace. The gospel has gone backwards. Bombing Vietnam produced a disaster in Cambodia.

Relying on governments to provide freedom is a mistake. Even in the United States, government surveillance and controls are reducing freedom.

The gospel can prosper in places where dictators rule. In the twentieth century, the gospel has been far more effective in China with limited political freedom, than in the United States with greater political freedom.

In the nations like Iraq, which the United States has invaded or imposed sanctions, the gospel has done badly, because the local people see their nations being attacked by a Christian nation and resent it. You can go with a gun and the gospel and expect to be taken seriously.

My confidence is in Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God cannot be established by political and military power.

I have written about these themes in more detail in my books Kingdom Authority and Government of God.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Kingdom of God

The Kingdom is not an adjective that can be applied to church programmes.

“Kingdom” is a noun. We need a vision of a different kingdom.

  • The Kingdom of God is a different government.

  • The Kingdom of God is a transformed society.

  • The Kingdom of God is a different way of living.

A kingdom is a people living in a territory controlled by a king. They serve him and obey his laws.

The Kingdom of God is a group of people living in the same area and committed to obeying and serving Jesus.

So what does the Kingdom of God look like in practice?

  • The building block of the kingdom is a group of people who have chosen to follow Jesus. They listen to the Holy Spirit and follow his leading and guidance.

  • They choose to become a community of people living in the same neighbourhood, so they can support each other.

  • They love one another. They serve each other, because they love one another.

  • The people of the community love and serve everyone in their neighbourhood. Most of the people who have not chosen to follow Jesus are drawn to him, or get pulled into the community’s activities.

  • The leaders are wise people that provide guidance, without using control, intimidation or manipulation.

  • It is not clear how they became leaders, but everyone trusts them, because the love and serve the community. People submit to them because they trust them.

  • The leaders love each other and submit to each other. They check with each other before making decision that will affect the rest of the community.

  • The leaders have balanced giftings that enable them to complement each other. One is quite black and white. Another is good at establishing connecting with people they do not know. Several had a shepherd’s heart.

  • People who choose to follow Jesus give away their unrighteous wealth. This is used to support people in need and to pay restitution to people who are the victims of crime.

  • The community provides social support for anyone in the community who falls into trouble. They do the same for everyone living in the neighbourhood.

  • Deacons use the money that is given away to support the poor. They teach them how to live more responsibility and support themselves.

  • The community protects everyone in their neighbourhood from spiritual attack by standing against the spiritual powers of evil.

  • The community provides protection for everyone in their neighbour against attacks of violence, by prayer and solidarity.

  • Leaders of the community find or provide employment for their neighbours.

  • People who follow Jesus, save more and spend less. This frees resources for starting businesses that benefit the community and neighbourhood.

  • Leaders provide wise and fair decisions to solve legal disputes over property for everyone in the neighbourhood, including those who do not follow Jesus.

  • The leaders provide justice for everyone in their neighbourhood, who experienced theft or violence.

  • They ensure that criminals provide restitution. The community pays the restitution to the victim, if the criminal refuses to pay it.

  • Different groups of people meet together frequently to pray.

  • Different groups of people gather together to worship.

  • The leaders send teams of people out to start new communities in other neighbourhoods. This is how the Kingdom of God expands.

More at Kingdom of God.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Spiritual Authority (7) Dealing with Government Spirits

When the people of a city or nation submit to their political leaders, they give them authority over their lives.  If the powers of evil get to control the people at the top of the political hierarchy, they gain authority over all the people submitted to them.  Concentration of political power leverages the authority of the powers of evil.

The spiritual powers that control political leaders are called government-spirits in the Bible (this is better a translation of the Greek words than the popular expression principalities and powers).  Some, like Prince of Persia, take the name of their nation (Dan 10:20).  They have immense authority on earth, despite their defeat on the cross, because people submit to the leaders controlled by them.  Political leaders have legal authority over their people, so attacking them gives the government-spirits control over cities and nations.

Focusing on individual people is a very inefficient way for the powers of evil to use their shrinking power.  If an evil spirit gains control over one person, it can make that person’s life miserable, but that is all.  By getting control over a political leader, the same spirit can make an entire nation miserable.  The powers of evil amplify their power by attacking people with political authority.

The power of evil is mostly an illusion, but concentrating on a few powerful people has allowed the forces of evil to magnify their pathetic power.  Controlling human political power has amplified their authority out of proportion to their strength.

In the modern world, political power has been centralised and consolidated as never before.  The leader of a modern democratic nation has greater power and authority than an emperor in Old Testament times, because they can control every aspect of life in their city or nation.

The political systems of great nations are extremely dangerous, because one person has control over hundreds of millions of people.  The devil can gain huge power on earth, by deploying a few strong spirits to get control of the president of China, Russia or the United States.  By getting control of these leaders, the government-spirits get authority over everyone submitted to them.  Concentration of human political power gives vast power to the government-spirits that control it.

In an excerpt from chapter 14 of my book Kingdom Authority called Dealing with Government Spirits, I list seven tools for dealing with these powerful spirits.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Spiritual Authority (6) Obstacles to Spiritual Victory

Although Jesus defeated the spiritual powers of evil, they have persisted in power for more than two thousand years. Christians need to understand the reasons why, and realise that it is not always going to be that way.

Scraps of Power
Since the cross, the powers of evil have lived on scraps of authority by retaining control over people who do not believe they are defeated. Two big obstacles allow them to retain authority on earth. These must be removed before the Kingdom can come in its fullness. These two obstacles are described more fully in my article called Obstacles to Spiritual Victory. This article is an excerpt from chapter 14 of my book called Kingdom Authority.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Spiritual Authority (5) Solution

The solution is to form a community that can remain as separate from the power of the political leaders as possible. If a body of believers submit to each and pray for each other, most of the authority in their lives has been given to those believers and to Jesus, so they will be relatively safe. This is why it is so important to form Kingdom Communities.

People living in Kingdom Communities do not need the resources or authority of the state, so political leaders have very little authority over them. They only submit when they are forced to, but they do it unwillingly for the sake of peace. This keeps them relatively free.

The key is to love and serve people. The people you will serve will learn to trust you and will gradually submit to your wisdom. If a group of people are doing this together and submitting to each other, they will relatively free. The greater the love, and the more effective the service (without control), the greater will be the submission, and the greater the authority.

The full series is here.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Spiritual Authority (4) Winning the Victory

We cannot defeat a spirit that we are indirectly submitted to through submitting to leaders. Because were submitted indirectly, the spirit has authority over us, so we cannot tell it what to do. This is why the same government-spirits have remained in control of nations for a long time, despite the prayers of godly Christians. The leaders of the nation have more authority than the godly people praying.

This problem can be beaten in two ways:

  • These government-spirits will lose their authority when people stop trusting them and withdraw their submission to them. The book of Revelation describes this happening at a time when the Jews come to faith in Jesus again. Events will occur that destroy the faith that people have in the power of human governments. They will withdraw their submission from the governments that control them. The authority of political power will evaporate. When this authority is withdrawn, the power of government-spirits will collapse, and along with that much of their power of evil spirits over human institutions.

  • One thing that can destroy their power is the leaders withdrawing their submission to the government-spirit that controls them. If they repent of the sin that holds them under the Spirit's power, that spirit will lose control over them. Usually, these spirits use pride and love of power and control to keep a hold on political leaders. If the leaders repent of these sins, and in a united way, renounce any activities motivated by those sins, the government-spirit that controlled them loses their power.

This is unlikely to happen in the short-term, because the government spirit and its helpers keep the political leaders under their control. Even if one repents, they others are likely to follow.

Removal of submission destroys authority. The authority of government-spirit can be broken, either by the people withdrawing trust and submission, or the leaders withdrawing submission. The latter is more likely than the former.

Getting into the government is not a solution. People need to compromise with political power to get political power. This compromise would put them under the power of the spiritual powers of evil that control the nation or city, so they would be no better off.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Spiritual Authority (3) Empowered by People

The spirits that control an institution such as a government have been given authority over it by its leaders. When the leaders submit to the leading of evil spirits, they give those spirits authority in their lives. However, because the members of the institutions are submitted to their leaders, the spirits get authority over them too. The spirits have authority over the leaders, who have authority over the people, so the spirits have authority over the people. Put the other way, the people submit to the leaders, who submit to the evil powers, so they are implicitly submitting to the evil powers to, often without realising it.

The only way they can escape from this control is by withdrawing their submission from their leaders. This removes the leader’s authority over them, and eliminates the power of the spirits controlling the leaders, over their lives. The problem is that it is hard to leave a nation-state. The only way to escape the authority of the government is to migrate and go to another nation-state, but that just puts you under the authority of other controlling spirits. If you remain in the nation-state where you were born, then the leaders and the spirits that control them have some authority over you. The best thing is to stand apart as much as possible from the power of the state.

When Christians start praying against the government-spirit that controls their nation the situation gets tricky. They have the authority that Jesus has given them, but his authority is still not recognised in much of the earth. The problem is that if the Christian binds the government-spirit and commands it to leave, the leaders of the nations are speaking words or taking actions that invite the spirit back. One person is saying the spirit must leave, but the leaders are staying it can say. The leaders of the nation have more authority in the nation than the Christian praying, so in these struggles, the leaders win, without realising it, and the government-spirit remains.

Getting lots of Christians to pray against a government-spirit does not make much difference, because all the Christian’s are indirectly under its authority, so they will be unable to defeat him. In these situations, numbers do not count. It is authority that wins the day. One person with authority outweighs hundreds with none. The political leaders have far more authority in their nation or city than any group of leaders, especially if they are submitted to them.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Spiritual Authority (2) Michael and Prince of Persia

The evil spirits that get control of nations are called government-spirits (principalities). The Prince of Persia was a spirit who gained control over Persia in Daniel’s time. This spirit had authority in the Persian empire. He controlled the Persian emperor.

When Daniel prayed, the Prince of Persia was able to hold back the angel that was coming to Daniel with an answer for twenty-one days. This was not because the Prince of Persia was physically stronger, it was because he had authority in Persia where Daniel was living. Daniel was submitted to the ruler of Persia, so he was indirectly submitted to the Prince of Persia (Dan 12-14).

God sent an angel called Michael to assist the angel with the message. They did not win, because two are stronger than one. Rather, Michael is a ruler-angel with authority over the Jewish people. The message the angel had was for the Jewish people. It did not affect the current emperor of Persia, because it applied to the future. It was a religious message rather than a political one. In this context, Michael’s authority was greater than the authority of the Prince of Persia, so the message went through to Daniel.

This was not a power struggle, but an issue of authority. The message was for the Jews, so Michael had more authority over it. The message of this passage is not persistence in prayer, although is important, but understanding authority.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Spiritual Authority (1)

Before engaging in spiritual warfare, we must understand the truth about the reality in which we live. The first of our weapons of spiritual warfare is the belt of truth.

Take your stand with the truth like a belt around your waist (Eph 6:14).
If we don’t understand the truth about spiritual reality, we will lose the battle. If we stand in the truth that God has revealed, we will go onto victory.

The second spiritual weapon is justice.

and putting on the breastplate of justice (Eph 6:14).
To achieve spiritual victory, we must have an understanding of God’s justice as outlined in the law of Moses. If we do not understand the nature of true justice, we will be defeated again and again.

The truth is that we need to understand that we are involved in an intense spiritual war. There are no easy victories. If there were, then evil would have been driven out of the world a few hundred years after Jesus completed his ministry. The battle is tough. The spiritual powers of evil know that they are defeated, but are fighting hard to desperately hold onto power. They know that their days are getting short, but they will not give up, because the alternative is total defeat.

The spiritual powers of evil are using their two best weapons, Israel and political power, to hold to power. As long a the Jews reject the gospel of Jesus, and humans trust in political power, they will be able to hold onto a place of power.

In many local situations, there is not Christian with sufficient authority to deal with some of the challenges that arise. The politicians usually have greater authority than an individual Christian or group of Christians.

The spiritual powers of evil usually concentrate their forces to attack the leaders of an institution. If they can get the leader or leaders to participate frequently in a particular sin, the leaders are submitting to the spirits that are seeking to control them. If several leaders engage in the same sin, over time, the evil spirits get serious control over the institution. Often it will be a spirit of pride or a spirit that loves power and control.

Once government-spirits get control over the leaders of a nation, they do not let go, so the same spirit will control a nation down through the ages. This why governments often carry on in the same way, even when elections put one human government out and another in. The parties have different policies, but they are controlled by the same government-spirit, so they behave in the same way.

The powers of evil prefer working through nation-states, because they are the institutions with the most authority. Governments exercise enormous authority, so the spiritual powers of evil get a better bang for their buck. They can really leverage their power.