Ministry in Tribulation... Know thy Enemy
The last couple of newsletters have discussed in some detail, the spiritual environment which will face the Christian church (the invisible body of believers, not the man-made buildings and organizations created by man) in this last hour before the end. In our last letter, we explained about how the spiritual environment has changed. We further explained that the major change in picture was the intensified efforts of Satan and his devils in the end time. The problem in our warning has been the church's lack of knowledge regarding the end-time operations of Satan and his devils.
If one is going to know the enemy, they must understand how they are organized and how they carry out their operations. Many portions of scripture explain this information in detail. The clearest scripture (but not the only one) is Ephesians 6:12 as follows:
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Emphasis ours)
Here, the Apostle Paul names several ranks of devils which we must be aware of. He is not giving us a ranking system, but rather is naming various types of devils which are likely to cause the church problems.
To give you a better picture, we need to explain who these devils are and what they are supposed to do. Principalities are devils which are often in command of legions of devils. When Jesus dealt with the Gadarene demoniac (see Luke 8:29 et seq and Mark 5:1 et seq) the devil who called himself "Legion" was probably a Principality. They normally command a group of about 1,000 to 3,000 devils; the Bible never specifies and the devils themselves are not going to give you an accurate number. Principalities normally work under the supervision of Ruling Spirits or "Kings" who are often in charge of specific tasks in the Satanic Kingdom.
Ruling spirits sometimes have names in common with Biblical kings that opposed and/or oppressed Israel or Israeli-Judah kings which were regarded as doing "evil in the sight of the LORD." Other times, they can inhabit idols and promote their name and ideals in that manner. That is why people could serve idols and do so with conviction. Most of the gods from Greek, Roman, Nordic and other mythologies come from the names of devil rulers. As a result, they can be in charge of various sins, various evil activities, and even various locations. (Consider the Syrians' incorrect assumption in I Kings 20:28. King Ben-Hadad was not a fool, he had to come by this information in some manner.) The important thing to remember is that when you see an organized evil operating in an area, you can expect that a ruler is working the situation. Christians need to get together and pray against these devils. When you get together to pray, ask the LORD to identify the name of the ruling devil causing the problem. Once you know the name of the offending devil, start praying against him by name! Then you can call for angels of G_d to come and make war against the ruling devil, his attachments of principalities, and their assorted operating groups of devils.
Another devil to be concerned about when you pray against various principalities is the "powers" or specialists. Normally, they are sent into a situation to provide direct assistance to a certain ruling spirit. They are often the ones who bring about various terrorist acts such as bombings, assassinations, sudden sickness resulting in death and other activities which people in their normal senses do not commit. They often work on a given task and when they are done, they are moved on to some other task. A good example of this would be what happened to Judas Iscariot. "And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly." (John 13:27) Apparently, the only way Judas could have betrayed Jesus is with the help of Satan. However, after Judas had betrayed Jesus, he was clearly very remorseful and proceeded to commit suicide. That is why many mass-murderers are normally nice people who would never hurt anyone. Their only sin is allowing one of these devils to possess them. Once that devil possesses them, they are capable of doing almost anything. Unfortunately, when the devil gets the person to do the evil act, they leave shortly thereafter. That is why deliverance workers are often incapable of doing much for one of these individuals. Their efforts would be better spent trying to repair the emotional and physical scars the devil left behind. Those working on the individual must work to insure the conditions do not exist for a subsequent repossession.
These specialists also work for the devils who operate as "Spiritual Wickedness in High Places." Rank-wise, these devils can be principalities or rulers, depending upon how important the high place is to Satan. High Places can refer to governmental entities, religious entities, and/or groupings of people who are in a position to influence the world system.
Within the realm of religion, they work to control the decision-making processes of the particular entity. In too many cases, they have so infiltrated the system so as to control who goes where. For example, these devils will wrest control of the bishop of a church. Once they have that person, they will use them to insure that only cooperative individuals are promoted into positions of power within the organization. Within some church organizations, when the bishop lays hands upon you to ordain you as a pastor/minister, you may actually be getting a devil which will "assist you in your ministry."
One of the errors people make with Ephesians 6:12 is to use the verse to say we should never take the battle to people. This sentiment would be correct only if devils never inhabited or took residence in people. Unfortunately, that means that you have to indirectly battle the people before you can battle the devil directly.
Devils have a major limitation which requires them to often use human agents. They are unable to change or otherwise adjust human situations on their own. As a result, they not only use people to carry out their untoward work, they organize people into groupings to achieve their larger and greater goals.
These groups can be churches, lodges, governmental entities, or anything else were a group of people are working together in some common effort. Unfortunately, when devils control a group, they do not trouble themselves to tell the group they are running things. Instead, they are more than happy to deceive people into thinking they or G_d is the one in charge.
One of the most important aspects of knowing your enemy is to know how they are organized, what kind of management structure is being used, and most importantly, who is making the policy decisions within the organization.
Almost without exception, most Satanic organizations are hierarchical in nature. They are quite fond of using the pyramid do define their organizations. Quite simply, the head of the pyramid is usually one person. That head will then have between six to twelve "Vice-Presidents" who will be responsible to him. (Despite all the "women's liberation" rhetoric, females rarely run things, even in the liberated Clinton Administration!) These Vice-Presidents will in turn have between six and twelve division managers who will report to them. The division managers will then have six to twelve middle managers who will report to them. The middle managers will in turn have between six and twelve foremen who will report to and be responsible to them. The foremen will each be responsible for a workgroup of people.
Interestingly, you find that a lot of business organizations are designed in just that manner. While such an organizational structure seems to be very logical and effective, experience demonstrates that the opposite is true. The full pyramid organization is heavily bureaucratic and often discourages individual creativity at the lower levels. These people are also inhibited from making any kind of decision. Instead, the lower level people are obliged to take their situation to a higher level being who may in turn be obliged to take their situation to an even higher level. The problems with this system begin with communications and end with confusion. The good idea which started with a low level being will probably end up getting lost in the bureaucracy of confusion.
To understand the counterfeit, let us take some time to look at the Biblical model. This way, you can see how G_d wanted the church to develop and suddenly, the counterfeit will be easy to spot.
Church Leadership... Biblical Model
When Christ instituted the church, He did not install a "Pope and a College of Cardinals" to manage and direct his church. Instead, he instituted a flat structure which encouraged believers to grow, develop and then operate with the world system. The only leadership the Bible ever talks about comes from groups of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. However, this leadership was not designed to rule over the people under then, but as more of a service mechanism.
The Apostle only has authority as he a) is given it by a local church and, b) is recognized as an Apostle by the people whom the Holy Spirit has quickened them to know the person is a prophet. I have no problem with a person claiming himself to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. The proof though will come when G_d shows me that the person is an Apostle. The same holds true of anyone who call themselves Prophets. They can get on the radio and say they are a prophet, but if I do not get a witness in my spirit, their claim is worthless to me.
The title "Pastor" is one of the most overused terms in all of Christendom. Used only once in the New Testament and eight times in the Old Testament (and most of the time in a very negative usage) the office has been given more prestige than it deserves. Instead, the office is more one of guidance and direction than it is supervision. However, unlike what you see today with the professional pastor, the Biblical model suggests that the person be someone who works and lives within a community. Further, this person must be someone whose life can offer new Christians a model which they can base their own lives upon. For this reason, a church should have several pastors available. As we approach the end, pastors need to take a personalized approach to their work, to give young Christians a model which they can use to develop their own lives upon. One caution, this should not be a cloning process. Every person must be an individual in Christ and they must have their own personal relationship with G_d. In the end, it should be only G_d who forms their character and develops them in their growth.
The Evangelist is the only role which has effectively survived within the Biblical model. When you use the Phillip of Acts as your model, you can see that they are the marketing end of the church. Their job is to get a grouping started and then pass their grouping on to Apostles who will turn the grouping into a church. The Apostles will then turn the church over the Prophets, Pastors and Teachers who will provide a form of leadership. Once the Apostles come in, the Evangelist is obliged to leave and move on to other fields.
Teachers come in many stripes and varieties. Often times, they also have another role within a church. Prophets are often teachers in that they often are required to explain why they are doing what they are doing. Apostles often are teachers for the same reason. Pastors become teachers because they must explain why they are giving an individual a certain type of guidance. Other times, teachers reside in the body and give instruction to people on an as needed basis. One thing which is absent in the Biblical model is the teacher who instructs hundreds of people. The model suggests that a teacher should have only a few students at a time. More to the point, they should be teaching younger people.
But as you study the Biblical model, you do not see any group of people rising to the top. Management remains in the hands of the Holy Spirit who is there to give direction and guidance to the individual believers. The Apostles, Prophets and Teachers are there to provide assistance, but not to lord over the body. If the church is to have a collective direction, it must come initially from the believers who are hearing the same word from the Holy Spirit. Elders and Deacons rise up when that collective direction develops to a point where leadership is needed. One must beware when the church organization starts to take on a hierarchical approach. When you see "District Supervisors" start to rule a church via the leadership, you can be assured the enemy is starting take over the organization. When you see one Bishop ruling over a given territory, it is likely the enemy has taken over a church.
Using the Biblical Church Model to Dismantle the Works of the Enemy
Once a true church has developed within a community, good ministry opportunities will develop. At the top of that list will be many confrontations with the enemy. When they see a good church group develop, they will do everything in their power to stop it. However, if the church organization is properly developed, they will not be successful.
The flat church organization model as defined in the Bible defies devils because they are unable to determine just who is running the organization. When the evangelist comes in and brings a group of believers together, he looks to be the leader. But by the time the devils can react to what has happened, the evangelist is gone and some guys called apostles have moved in and taken over, or so it seems to them. But as the group develops into a church, the leadership decentralizes and they are unable to determine who they should attack. For when the Holy Spirit directs the church's operations, various people can rise up at various times to perform various tasks. If the devils decide to attack one person they perceive to be a leaders, the Holy Spirit will move others to counter-attack from another side. This will leave the devils caught in the middle, and if the church knows enough to surround them and cut off their communications, they can literally destroy and dismantle the operations of the enemy in a community.
The problem comes when someone in a group tries to take the place of the Holy Spirit in a church. Once we see any one person or persons exercising too much authority and leadership within a church, they become a viable target for demonic attack. The devils then move in and attack hard. If the person has a root of pride within them, they will try to withstand the attack themselves. When they do that, one of two things is going to happen to them. They are either going to get destroyed in some untoward manner or they are going to sell out and compromise their church. At that point, the devils will manage the group, as that group will cease to be a true church.
If someone starts to rise up and start replacing the Holy Spirit, the Believer is obliged to pack up and leave that group. For once that person develops a root of pride, the chances of changing them becomes remote at best. Besides, there is nothing wrong with departing from the group and continuing to pray for them.
The Work of the Flat Church Organization - The Proactive Approach
Once the church organization has gone beyond the development stage, the Holy Spirit will start to point the church into specific directions. Many times these directions will be in direct defiance to a main working of the enemy. What that working is will depend upon what the Holy Spirit tells directs a given church to do.
To give an example, remember back in the early 1980s when a lot of people started seeing the emergence of the New World Order. What they saw was not wrong. Instead, it was part of an elaborate warning to get people praying. What I do remember with a lot of those words was the admonition to pray that these things would not come to pass.
One church I was familiar with took these warnings to heart and decided to attack the Illuminati in the heavens. After they had maintained their attack for a couple of years, the devils started complaining to them that their church's prayers had hindered the devil's works and set them back ten years.
Now that ten years has come and gone. Suddenly the prophets are warning of the coming New World Order and not saying that we can pray to avoid this. Instead, the words are that we should prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here in the United States, we have passed the point where we can change or even forestall the judgment which is coming. Instead, we are to prepare for it, both spiritually and physically, AS THE HOLY SPIRIT LEADS US INDIVIDUALLY.
Furthermore, the time is come when we can no longer use the physical building to unify us. Better we should tear that building down and build a spiritual building based upon the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The time is come when we need to reinvent the church in the Biblical model with the Holy Spirit as leader, Jesus Christ as the bishop and protector of our souls, and G_d the Father as our G_d and Refuge.
The Final Battle - Preparing for the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ
The true churches of the Jesus Christ are in a unique position prior to the coming of our Lord. We are not to fight G_d's battles for Him, but we must be ready for whatever action the LORD might have us to take.
The times have changed and we must adjust so we can do what the LORD would want us to do. Many of us will be asked to work behind the scenes to fight the work of the enemy without any hope of getting any earthly recognition or praise. Instead, we will be called heretics, reactionaries and much worse. Thanks to the new Highlander doctrine now being taught via the USA Network, Superstation WGN, Fox Network and Canadian television and generally among the New Agers of this world, they will now want our heads. (Rev. 20:4) I do remember Jesus telling us to sell our garment and purchase a sword. (Luke 22:36)
The general word for this time will be hostility and hatred. For the first time in centuries, we here in North America are to join the rest of the world in being truly hated for "His Name's Sake". Many of us will be hunted down and murdered as criminals, simply because we Love and Serve the LORD. Some would say that what happened in Waco was just a beginning. If you consider recent statements from Ms. Reno, our illustrious Attorney General, persecution of Christians, real or imagined, will soon be underway.
Still, there is important work to be done. We are here for a purpose. Now is the time for us to ascertain what the purpose is to be.
Financial and Economic Alert
During the past few months, a lot of publications have come out suggesting a stock market crash is about to take place. These people then turn around and suggest that you should purchase gold, diamonds or some other precious metal investment from them as a hedge against a falling market. Indeed, these are perilous times, but to write a newsletter or sell any product based upon fear or panic is less than ethical.
To be honest, these individuals who promote the fear and panic in the financial markets are doing the rest of us a major disservice. Remember the boy who cried wolf too many times. That is what these people are succeeding in doing. For while they cry out crash and depression, the stock markets continue to break records and rise and unprecedented levels. Anyone who followed these gloomsters' advice has to be looking at what they did not make by maintaining their stock and bond portfolio.
When you understand that fear and panic are not feelings which come from G_d, you need to reconsider what they are saying. We feel a time is coming when the stock market will crash, but knowing exactly when is not easy to figure out. When I was interviewed on the Seventieth Week Magazine last year, I agreed that there would be a stock market crash, but I also warned that before that crash, the market would go up a while. (Which it did!)
After doing our analysis, we feel a crash is coming, but only after a few conditions are met. The real key in all of this is interest rates. Much of the money in the market is loaned money. As a result, what happens to the market will be a function of what happens to interest rates. If they go higher, the market will go lower because the increase in the cost of money will force many investors to liquidate their portfolios and pay off their loans. If interest rates go lower, the cost of money will decrease and people will be encouraged to buy more securities. That is one reason why the Clinton Administration tries to keep interest rates as low as possible. That way, interest on the federal debt goes lower, the stock markets go up, and the Clinton Administration can brag about how they brought about an economic recovery.
Interest rates are funny though. They go up when the economy gets stronger and they go down when the economy gets weak. Sometimes though, when short-term interest rates go lower, long-term rates start to go higher. That is what is starting to happen now. When this does happen, much of the borrowed money starts getting financed with short-term loans instead of long-term loans. Then when the long-term interest rates start to go lower again and the short-term rates go higher, investors then want to refinance their debt with the cheaper long-term notes. The problem is that most lenders would rather keep their people in shorter-term notes so they can make more money. This situation increases the cost of money for most investors, which forces them to sell their securities. This selling force will bring a major downward pressure on the market, bringing about the crash everyone has been talking about.
The wise investor should do two things. First they should weight their portfolio in several types of investments. About 50% of their portfolio should be in some kind of common stocks. Another 10-15% should be in gold, silver or some other hard currency. Another 20-25% of the portfolio should be in some kind of foreign currency, (not foreign currency futures) such as Swiss Francs where the currency is strong and stable. The last 20% should be saved in dollars for any type of emergencies.
The second thing the investor should do is watch interest rates. When they see long-term rates get higher than short-term rates, a warning bell should go off. Then they should consider selling their stocks and moving their money out of the country. Even if the Federal Reserve starts moving its discount rate higher, a warning bell should go off. When interest rates go higher, then the market will go lower.
In any case, we should not panic when we consider our investments. Markets go up and down for a reason. We just have to watch and wait. This letter will also try and help you out from time to time.
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