In speaking to the church in Thyatira, Jesus reveals himself as having eyes of fire and feet like brass. In other words, Jesus says he sees the situation in Thyatira. He stands in that situation to judge it and bring correction.
Fire and brass in the scriptures refer to God’s judgment, purification, and refinement.
For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:2
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. Luke 12:24
And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So, he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Exodus 3:2
They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains and took him to Babylon. They made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. 2 kings 25: 7
I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. Leviticus 26:19
Your sandals shall be iron and bronze; As your days, so shall your strength be. Deuteronomy 33:25
Then I turned and raised my eyes and looked, and behold, four chariots were coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze. Zechariah 6:1
Jesus tells the church at Thyatira that he sees their good works, faith, and service in the kingdom of God, But he also sees something else. He sees that God’s people have allowed “that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”
To understand what Jesus is referring to metaphorically, we have to go to the biblical story of Jezebel. In the Book of kings, Jezebel was a woman married to the king of Israel. This was an unholy union. To secure peace, Ahab, the king of Israel, allied with the Phoenicians. (modern Lebanon, where the cities of Tyre and Sidon were located)
Jezebel seduced King Ahab into worshipping the Tyrian god Baal-Melkart, a nature god. In other words, he allowed a seducing spirit or doctrine of demons to sway him away from worshipping the God of Israel. The church at Thyatira also allowed this seducing spirit to have a place in their congregation.
Jezebel was a zealous worshipper of the nature god Baal-Melkart. This god required allegiance to the earth. The elements of the earth were glorified through this god over the God of all the earth. The church of Thyatira allowed the nature god to have a place. Jesus makes it known to the church of Thyatira that this is idolatry. Glorifying the creation over the creator.
In the same way that the nature god was allowed to spread its teaching in Thyatira, there are parts of the church today that allows the Jezebel spirit to teach nature worship. The “save the planet, climate change” radicals have invaded God’s church today! There is an obsession in our culture with nature worship. Parts of the church today have gotten on that bandwagon.
For more info on that, I refer you to this article,
Jezebel seduces God’s people to worship nature. Jesus views this act as fornicating with a false god and partaking in fellowship with it.
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. Revelation 2:20
God gives “Jezebel” a chance to repent.Those associated with this seducing spirit, Jesus calls out of that false teaching. He also gives a warning to those who will not repent.
“Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into greattribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:22,23
Many times, if we don’t repent of our sins, we end up reaping the consequences. This includes tremendous hardship, sickness, and even death.
Baal worship includes the following nature-ordinated practices. As God’s children, we must examine ourselves to see if we have allowed fornication with this seducing spirit.
Jezebel taught dependence on Baal instead of Yahweh.
This dependence encourages mixing pagan ideology with Christianity or adopting parts of pagan ideas and practices into the church. By doing this, one enters the depth of Satan or commits spiritual fornication with demons. (Sorcery, or the false prophetic that uses pagan practices. )
What are some examples of Pagan practices?
Observance of special times of pagan seasons, ceremonies, and festivals. Such as Halloween, Easter practices, some Christmas practices.
Sacred spaces such as worship in particular places, at venerable monuments, earth-based devotions, observation of celestial bodies.
Devotional worship of ancestors, safe spaces, nature worship.(environmental ideology)
Rites and ceremonies, like practicing magic or using demonic methods for personal benefit.
Personal spiritual behaviors inducing self-promotion, such as wearing charms, burning candles or incense, chants, occultic mediation, and Yoga. (You can’t sanctify this practice!)
Devotion or worship of demons by use of shrines, crystals, holy water, sacred stones or feathers, charms, self-procured visualization, mantras, chanting, prayer beads, astrology, fortune cookies, use of essential oils or sage for purification, worship of nature objects, worship of Gia.
Use of symbols such as dream catchers, pentagrams, medicine wheels, tree of life jewelry, Celtic or Norse symbols, upside down cross, all-seeing eye, lucky charms, wishbones, celestial objects, feminist or false rainbow signs.
Jesus warns that adhering to these things releases demonic influence, resulting in sickness, poverty, and possible early demise.
Jesus admonishes his church because he loves it. He wants his people to repent and get right with him.
But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 2:24-29
Pergamos was a church where the Lord brought the two-edged sword. The audience that Jesus was speaking to would understand what he was referring to. The two-edged sword used in Roman warfare was called the gladius Hispaniensis. It was used in battle when an enemy was approaching from both sides. The gladius Hispaniensis was deadly when swung to the left or right.
A two-edged sword does twice as much damage to the enemy because it was forged with two edges, allowing for better thrusting effects. A double-edged sword is more effective at penetrating through armor than a single-edged sword. An enemy cannot grab a two-edged sword in battle like a single-edged sword. The Lord likens his word to a double- edged sword that can do damage to the enemy. God’s two-edged sword is alive and active. It is quick, filled with life, effective and powerful.
God’s two-edged sword can also pierce or penetrate to separate or divide the soul and the Spirit. That is, a division can be made by the word of God in a person between what comes from the soul (mind, reason, intellect, emotions) and what is from the innermost being or spirit of man. (the eternal being) In other words, God’s word penetrates our being to discern what is from the soul and the spiritual person. God’s word discerns the thoughts and motives.
The sword of the Spirit is a part of the Christian’s armor in fighting battles with the devil.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of Spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:10-18
The Lord addresses the church in Pergamos with his two-edged sword. He tells them that he knows their work. (their labor in him) He also recognizes that they are living in an environment that is satanic in nature. The Lord sees that the church are standing in his power and might, making a firm stand against the devil’s wiles to steal their faith.
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges. I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”
Using his two-edged sword, the Lord also sees that the church in Pergamos has allowed a doctrine of demons to creep into their midst. While the church at Pergamos trusted in the name of Jesus, they were compromisers of the gospel in a pagan culture. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which the church in Pergamos allowed to operate was antinomianism[i]in nature. That is the doctrine that teaches Christians can retain sinful habits and worldly ideology and still be saved.
“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.”
The two-edged sword came to address this false doctrine. To point it out by exposure and then to offer a remedy. That remedy is repentance. Acknowledging sin and turning away from it. Failure to follow the Lord’s instructions results in getting into a battle with the two-edged sword.
“Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Revelation 2: 16
The Lord warns the church at Pergamos to repent from the false doctrine of loosey goosy grace. The Lord himself says that he hates that doctrine.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11
The Lord makes it clear where he stands about a Christian living in sin, as the Bible describes. God’s mercy will thrust his two-edged sword at the believer’s heart.
The Lord desires all to repent and come to him for forgiveness. God’s word will fight against those who hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. To those who still live in the sins that they were redeemed from.
For those believers that repent, the Lord says he will extend to them his mercy and eternal life.
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it.” Revelation 2:17
Smyrna was once an illustrious Hellenistic-era Greek city. It was one of the leading centers of Greek settlement in western Anatolia. (Area in Turkey) Smyrna was a hub for Armenian and Greek culture even after the Turkish occupation centuries later. Smyrna remained so until the Turks destroyed the city in 1922.
Smyrna was located at the mouth of the small river Hermus at the head of the sea, reaching far inland. This enabled Greek merchant ships to sail into the heart of Lydia, making it a major trade route between Anatolia and the Aegean Sea.
Smyrna arose as a center of power during the 7th century BC. A strong military fortress was built there by the Smyrnaean Ionians. In 133 BC, when Attalus III died without an heir, he left his entire kingdom, including Smyrna, to the Romans, who made it a part of the Roman province of Asia. Pergamum was the capital.
Smyrna continued as one of the leading seaport cities of Roman Asia. Smyrna was very anti-gospel because of the notoriety of its many pagan temples. It was a cosmopolitan, prosperous city and a religious hub. To change the order of things was to mess with people’s pocketbooks. (much like today)
Christians were extremely persecuted inSmyrna. They were put to death at the stake and by beasts in the Roman amphitheater. Christians could have their property confiscated, taken as slaves, abused, and tortured. The price of being a Christian in Smyrna was very high. The church in Smyrna was poor, downtrodden, hated, and persecuted.
Today persecution is rampant in much of the world, like Smyrna. God’s people are ridiculed, put in prison, and even put to death. To the Smyrna church, God says,“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10
The Smyrna church was persecuted because they refused to bow to the government of the day. The Smyrna church refused to burn incense to the emperor. That is, they refused the anti-Christ policies of the day. They stood in faith while slandered, fired from their jobs, fined, robbed of their livelihood, persecuted by false brethren, and cast into prison. The Smyrna church stood in the power of the Lord’s might in their hour of trial. They refused to give in to the secular ideology of the day. They would not compromise.
Jesus was pleased with the Smyrna church. He encouraged them in their suffering. “He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.” Revelation 2:11
The second death is the resurrection of damnation, where the unsaved will be cast into Hell. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28-29
Are you part of the Smyrna church? Suffering for your faith in Jesus Christ? Peter tells those suffering for their faith, “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, strengthen, confirm, and ground you.” 1 Peter 5:10
This is what the Lord says to the Smyrna church. “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:8-11
Jesus tells us in scripture to be on the alert against the devourer. He says the devil is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-10
We must know about lion attributes since Jesus said Satan is like a lion.
The lion’s roar can be heard from about 5 miles away. Like the lion, the devil makes such a loud noise that all his enemies can hear him. The lion roar is used for intimidation. When the lion makes noise, all his potential predators and foes know to stay out of its territory. Satan makes noise to keep from being challenged. He does not like anyone to challenge his authority.
The lion is a strong beast. It has powerful legs and large teeth to hold and pull down its prey. The devil also has powerful strongholds and a devouring mouth to take hold of its prey.
While Satan has several unsavory characteristics and wicked devices, I would like to concentrate on the lion’s devouring capabilities in this blog.
The lion prefers to attack weak prey. Lions usually do not go for any animal that will give them a strong fight. Lions will stalk their prey. That is, they will look for weaknesses. The lion hides in the grass, watching their potential prey. The lion will then move closer and closer, looking for an opportune moment.
Reaching the prey at proximity, the lion will use a quick charge to either ponce on its prey or knock it over.
Once caught, the lion will either break the prey’s neck or suffocate its prey. Then the lion will devour its prey. Often the lion will begin to devour the prey while it is still alive. This pounce aims to stop the struggling or to avoid sharing the prey with scavengers.
A devouring predator is addressed in the scriptures more than a few times. To devour means to eat quickly or consume entirely. Satan has a ferocious appetite. Like the lion, the devil devours its prey.
The devourer comes in many forms, with many different avenues for attack (locusts, cankerworms, caterpillars, palmerworms, and the tongue), but all have the same objective, to consume entirely.
Jesus uses the illustration of a lion because this shows how Satan gets in to devour. Once in then, he may use whatever method (due to the personal sin) is pertinent to use on the victim.
In order to have victory over the devourer, Jesus calls us to be watchful in prayer. He says to be sober-minded and alert. In other words, be serious and knowledgeable about the devil’s devices. Jesus also says to resist the devil in faith, which brings us to the next point.
Resisting the lion may sound to some like being awfully presumptuous but think of it this way. Shouldn’t we have an effective escape strategy when we could be a possible victim of the devourer? Well, good news because the Bible provides one.
The lion has natural weaknesses. These weaknesses are significant because there is a Biblical parallel to them.
When a lion charges, do not run! Instead, take a stand against him. Make loud shouting noises and wave your hands. Also, use pepper spray. A lion is intimidated by loud noises and aggressive behavior.
Running from a fight with a lion is a sure way to end up devoured. It is the same with the devil. Satan, like a lion, can sense weakness and fear. Jesus tells us to resist him in faith. That means to fight against him and oppose his attack!
How do we do this? In the same way, a lion attempting to make a charge is opposed. By making a joyful noise unto the Lord! Satan hates the sound of loud declarations of faith. Both with words and with song!
Although the lion is a strong beast, it has poor eyesight. It relies more on smell and sensory perception. In other words, Satan has no revelation of the word. He knows jots and tittles but does not understand the ways of the Lord. A good saturation of scripture in the heart and mind deter demonic attack. The sword of the Spirit is our pepper spray! ‘It is written’!
The devil cannot stay where the scriptures are applied in a situation. First, the devil is not privy to revelation and because praying God’s word releases the kingdom of God to operate. Jesus always honors his word. He watches over his word to perform it.
Lions are unable to run very fast. They tire easily. Giving the devil a good fight in the power of the Holy Spirit will send him fleeing!
The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.Psalm 34:10
Lastly, the Lord himself will rebuke the devourer for our sake! Jesus will back us up as we fight the good fight of faith i his name. He will make us more than a conqueror through him! He will raise us up on eagle wings! He will cause us to have the victory over that roaring lion!”
I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your land, and the vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit,” says the LORD of Hosts.Malachi 3:11
This blog is the final blog on the thief! Below are links to my other platforms.
I was about to wrap up my series on the thief with one last blog, but the Lord brought to my attention a thief pertinent for today to mention. The first time we hear about frogs is in the book of Exodus as one of the 10 plagues.
This is what the great LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs. The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. The frogs will go up on you and your people and all your officials. Exodus 8:1–4
As we can see frogs are considered in Biblical terms to be a plague or a pest which hits the world system in times of God’s judgement in the earth. God judges the world based on the criteria of sin but also on its treatment of his people. While this is true in the past it is also true today. One can quite easily make a correlation between intense persecution of the Lord’s people and natural calamities, confusion, and misfortune. You will find this in nations, cities, and individual lives. It is a spiritual principal. Put your hand or mouth to one of God’s kids and watch your life go down the toilet.
Whoever blesses Israel will be blessed, And whoever curses Israel will be cursed. Numbers 24:9
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.Galatians 3:14
How then does this make the frog a thief? The frog is a thief if you do not live in the land of Goshen or are under the blood of the lamb. While this is true of the unbeliever it can also be true to the disobedient or ignorant Christian. (see my blog on ignorance)
Just because I know that the blood of Jesus Christ was shed for my salvation, (The Israelites were God’s people prior to the plagues of Egypt) does not mean I’m protected automatically. I must APPLY the blood of the lamb on the door posts of my home or life. That is, I must acknowledge this grace by pleading the blood of Jesus before God’s throne for my constant protection.
You see it is the angel of death who must see that blood covering your life! (Just so you know the spirit of death is a demonic power not a good angel.) When Satan sees you have applied the blood of Jesus to your life, he cannot harm you. Some Christians equate the Lord on the same level as other gods. The whims of the gods is a term used to mean that the gods do as they please with mankind, depending on their mood. In other words selection based on preference.
God is no respecter of persons. All his promises are ‘yes and amen’ to those who trust in God for them!
Beloved, concerning all things I desire thee to prosper, and to be in health, even as thy soul doth prosper. 3 John 1:2
My people PERISH for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6
God’s people will have tribulation and persecution, but they also will if they trust the Lord, triumph over them all! (another topic)
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19
During God’s judgement on the Egyptians, he sent a plague of frogs. In Egypt the common marsh frogs dwell. These frogs are not poisonous or harmful to touch BUT they are a terrible annoyance if they overpopulate. They can get into everything!
God allowed these frogs to overpopulate to the point of disaster for the Egyptians! The Lord in doing so was actually bringing them a message. In Egyptian culture, the frog was a symbol of life, and fertility. In other words, prosperity. Rather than giving glory to God (YAHWEH) for their blessings the Egyptians worshiped a god like frog.
In overpopulating Egypt with frogs, the Lord was revealing who was really in charge of all things, but also that the god they worshipped was now turning against them. This is another spiritual principal in play. Whatever you put your trust in (make an idol) besides the Lord, might very well end up becoming a problem.
They shall be turned back and be utterly put to shame, Who trust in idols, Who say to molten images, “You are our gods.”Isaiah 42:17
They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusts in them. O Israel, trust thou in the Lord: he is their help and their shield. Psalm 115: 8,9
Another mention of frogs is in the Book of Revelation. Also, a last days curse or plague to humanity.
And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits, as it were frogs. Revelation 16:13
The interesting thing about these frogs are that they are lying spirits. Why would God depict lying spirits as frogs? Have you ever heard frogs croaking? Frogs go ballistic just before rainy season. They croak on a constant basis and if you live near them, they will keep you awake at night! The noise is constant to the point of being harassing. Frogs during mating season will not shut up!
Notice that these frogs come out of the dragon. They originate from Satan’s domain. They come out of the mouth of the beast or world system and the false prophet. (s)
While this is a specific end time event it is also an end times judgement in the earth. Biblical illustrations are many times past, present and future. These frogs or unclean spirts make a lot of noise. Each frog competing with the other frog to get people’s attention. The Greek word unclean in this text is akathartos, to be morally lewd, foul, and demonically inspired.
Sounds about like today huh? A whole bunch of lying spirts croaking to get people’s attention!
These frogs are a last days plague coming out of the devil’s mouth through his false prophets or deceivers in the world system.
Jesus told us to be careful what we hear! In other words, be discerning. The frogs are croaking really loud today! Many are confused. Many who have put their trust in secular wisdom (idols) are beginning to see the tree through the forest! Rainy season is here! New life always comes in rainy season!
Apply the blood of Jesus over your life every day! Paul told us to PUT ON the helmet of salvation. Wear your armour in the midst of this end times war. We are in a battle! Pray up!
The best thing to counter false news is the good news! The good news is that when it rains it pours!
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.Matthew 24:14
In the 58th chapter of Isaiah, the prophet speaks God’s heart concerning his people’s spiritual condition.
The prophet points out the nation’s sins.
The Lord never wants to bring judgment on anybody, but if his people will not repent of their sins sometimes he has to. The objective is to get our attention.
Before the Lord does this, he always gives his people a warning. He reveals to them where they have missed it and what they need to do to get it right.
“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”
The rest of the chapter deals with the sins that his people have committed. In order to repent or get right with God, we need to know what to repent of. Sometimes we are so self-righteous that we don’t see our sins. God has to point them out to us.
When things start going wrong in our lives, and our prayers begin to bounce off the ceiling, we then ask God. “What’s going on?”
More often than not, we have become entangled in something God calls sin! With sin in the way, our prayers will not be received. Some people don’t realize this, but our prayers will go unanswered unless we repent of what it is we are doing that is displeasing to God.
‘Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
Chapters Isaiah 58,59 point out a whole bunch of things that displease the Lord. Many of which we have been guilty of.
He then uses the spider analogy to give us a clear idea of what our sins do to us. Not only does sin hurt the Lord but our sin hurts us too.
God likens falling into sin like falling into a spider’s web.
Spiders, or the devils are predators. They tempt us to sin. The devil can only tempt us however, in an area of our life not yet surrendered to God.
In Job 8:13-15 the Lord tells us that the serpent (cockatrice) hatches poisonous eggs and the spider weaves a web for those who forget God. For those who live like hypocrites, and for those who put their trust in the ‘spiders web,’ or in the enemy’s deceptive devices.
When we leave God out of our lives or even a part of our lives, the serpent comes along and presents to us his ‘grand’ ideas. He gives us worldly wisdom with independent thoughts that, when hatched, become an ensnarment to us! The next thing we know after a while, our house comes crashing down all around us!
Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider’s web. He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. Job 8:13-15
We need to understand the serpent’s methods, so we don’t get trapped in a spider’s web. Although the serpent is the instigator of the entrapment, he uses the spider to do the entrapping. After all, the web must be woven by a spider because spiders, by nature, are the weaver of webs!
The spider’s objective is to catch prey. Some spiders may sit in their webs, hoping for some poor guy to come along and fall in, but this is not always the case! Some spiders use strategies to catch their prey. After the spider has weaved its web of lies, it then takes a sticky lasso cord to entangle its prey.
Deception has a way of wrapping us all up in entanglement. We become ensnared in our deception.
Trusting in our own strength is like putting our trust in the spider’s web. It is a deceptive entrapment to trust in our own might, intelligence, and prowess, leaving God out of our decisions.
When we become our own god, the serpent can hatch his poisonous eggs in our big fat ego!
After that, the spider comes along and weaves for us a master plan. We got it all figured out! We know how to solve this problem! We got it covered!
Oh, how many times we fall for that web of deception! Making decisions without consulting the Lord, trying to fix a wrong thing to make it right, building our own empires! There’s that sticky lasso! Getting us all caught up in entanglements concerning the affairs of this life!
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. Proverbs 28: 26
Some spiders will even mimic their prey in order to avoid being detected. They look so much like a nice Christian or a good person. They have a lot of good advice to give. Then before you know it, you’re trapped in the web of deception! Why didn’t I just pray about that person first?
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8
There are even spiders who will run their prey down! They camouflage so you can’t detect them, then when you see them for who they are they try hunting you down! You can’t get rid of them! Ever have somebody like that in your life? Constant harassment!
Well, if I had sought the Lord on that friendship, I would not be in this kerfuffle!
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20
Lastly, some spiders are poisonous. If you get bit by one of those, you are in big trouble! How often do we decide to trust a person or situation without consulting the Lord? Then we end up getting bit where it hurts! For me, more times than I can remember!
Like I told you in a previous blog; sometimes it takes a hammer to fall on my head before I get it. But better late than never.
Now I am learning to listen more closely to the Holy Spirit’s inner promptings. Greenlight, yes! Red light, don’t go there!
Before the prophet Isaiah tells God’s people why they ended up eating rotten serpent eggs in the spider’s web, he shows them their sin. If you look at those or any other sin for that matter, you will find a common theme: ‘refusal to submit to the Lordship of God (Jesus Christ) and doing our own thing.’
That is sin in a nutshell! If we are not submitted to God, we give Satan a place in our lives. Whether it is all of our lives or a part of our lives.
Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7
The devil sets traps for his prey. While entrapment may be criminally illegal, the devil doesn’t care about legalities. He knows our weaknesses, what we may be susceptible to. That is why he is called the tempter.
Spiders often build webs in our homes! In our garden or somewhere else on our property. That is why we have to be on the alert. Keeping our eye out for those webs!
When one is entrapped, they lose control. Stuck in a situation that makes them feel trapped. Deception is a spider’s 🕸 🕷
Sin is a deadly poison! It is a rotten serpant egg! No matter how good it looks, if we ingest it, we could die! At the very least, become sick!
There is a way out, though. God, in his mercy, provided one for us. It is called repentance. Turning back to God. When we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and purify us from all the sin’s unrighteousness!
Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sin! That means he took our place. Aren’t you glad that he did that? Otherwise, we would be stuck forever in the web of deception, eating rotten serpent eggs!
If you need to get it right with the Lord today, why not seek him? He said in his word that he will never turn you away! No matter how far you’ve gone from him. He loves you and longs for you to turn to him for his forgiveness and healing.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
In our thief series, I would like to draw your attention to another adversary. I’m sure you have heard of this one. SWINE have not been given a bad reputation for nothing!
So much controversy over this creature, and with good reason! Swine are interesting animals. For one thing, they are highly intelligent! They are social animals that use their snouts as sensory receptors. They have good memories, are inquisitive, emotional, playful, and very strategic in their mission!
Why do I mention this? You should realize that Swine are not to be underestimated by any means.
Pigs, like people, have similar digestive systems with similar diets. Both are omnivores who dine on meat, roots, and seeds.
The book of Leviticus tells us that under the law, Swine are to be avoided as edible meats. The reason is both metaphorical and physical. (Leviticus 11:27)
Physically Swine have a similar digestive system as humans. In fact, Swine are very similar to humans in genetics, anatomy, and physiology. 
Swine were considered unclean under the law because rather than eating grass strictly, they ate just about anything else!
Swine are not able to digest cellulose. Swine eat calorie-dense food. Plus, they are not too particular, either. They will even eat human corpses and feces.
Swine carry parasites that, even when cooking, may not be destroyed. Swine meat can carry trichinosis, which will cause sickness and sometimes even death. It is recommended to cook pork very well done! Trichinosis is a health problem worldwide.
Historically speaking, some civilizations have always avoided eating pork. Namely, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Israel. However, the Romans loved eating pork.  Romans also sacrificed Swine to their gods.
Now we come to the metaphorical aspect of the Swine. In the New Testament, Jesus says to his disciples, ‘Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6
Swine were considered unclean under the law of God, but they also metaphorically meant Gentiles or unbelievers. Since the Gentiles have come to salvation because of the sacrifice of the lamb of God Jesus Christ, we can deduce that Swine today, metaphorically speaking, are the unbelieving or those outside the New Covenant of God or his promises.
By New Covenant, I mean the one that has replaced, and may I emphasize replaced, the Old Covenant. Obedience to the letter of the law has been replaced by life and liberty in the Holy Spirit!
Now I know some Christians believe we are still obligated to obey the law, and some, even today, want to bring the born-again Gentile under obligation to Jewish festivals. These, however, are wrong doctrines.
The Bible says explicitly that the Old Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant!
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:6-13
What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Galatians 3:9
Therefore, the law was our tutorto bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by FAITH But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. Galatians 3:24,25
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:4
Having said that, let’s look at why Swine in reference to the ‘unbelieving’, are adversarial to the Christian.
Swine though intelligent from a secular perspective, have no spiritual understanding. This includes ALL not born again by the Holy Spirit or those not believing God’s word. Like Swine, they cannot digest spiritual food.
Jesus tells us not to cast pearls before Swine. This is significant! Jesus references pearls in his teaching because pearls were one of the most desired gems in the world, particularly in Israel. Since pearls were and are rare and costly, they are considered highly prized items. The Bible uses the pearl as a standard by equating them with spiritual wisdom. Spiritual wisdom is far superior than pearls. 
Jesus tells us in his parable that the kingdom of God is more desirable than pearls.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went, and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46
As you can see, valuable pearls should not be thrown at Swine, who will trample all over them! Not only that but Swine, not valuing pearls, will also attack the one throwing the pearls at them!
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:6
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 1 Peter 3:3,4
This admonition covers unbelievers as in the unsaved, but it also covers those who don’t believe all of the Bible within its proper context. These “believers” do not believe the Bible says what it says. Now keep in mind there are inferences in the Bible not specifically stated that can be interpreted according to one’s limited understanding. However, attacking someone who does not have the same revelation in the word of God that we have is a sin. Bottom line.
Correcting wrong doctrine has scriptural application BUT we are never to attack the person on a personal basis. Many of us have believed error in one way or another over our lives, but God did not condemn us. He corrected us in his love. Keeping this in mind, let us pray for the one we perceive is in error. If they are open, we can bring correction to the error. If not, we should not continue fellowship as it may produce strife and all kind of demonic attacks in our lives.
From personal experience, I have been on both ends of the stick on this one! Let me share with you what I learned.
Being in error about certain scriptural doctrines, I limited myself because I did not (because I was not open) receive the blessings of that spiritual application. I suffered for many years because of it. Paul made reference to coming behind in a gift.
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly await the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:7
We will not receive those blessings if we are closed to certain scripturally stated premises.
For example, many believe that speaking in tongues is not for today. The scriptures they give to support this belief are out of context and inferred by denominational interpretation, not explicitly stated scripture. Actually, some scriptures specifically say that tongues benefit the believer.
I mention this topic because it is a highly controversial one.
That being said, the non-tongue speaker will not receive from the blessing of praying in the Holy Ghost! Is this a big deal? It is if you want to use one of the weapons of our warfare to battle the powers of darkness. You can do a scripture study yourself on this topic.
A genuinely open person searching for truth ALWAYS looks at both sides of an argument. To ignore one side is to bias which means, as the scriptures confirm, one wants to believe a lie because it benefits them in some way.
Let me give you another argument. Some Christians do not believe in divine healing, while others believe in divine healing, but don’t believe its for everyone. They believe God picks and chooses who he heals and who he does not. I was one of them until I had a Holy Spirit encounter and revelation of the word of God.
According to God’s word, it is God’s will to save, deliver, and heal everyone. Are all saved? Are all delivered? Are all healed? No!
Why is that? If you study the scriptures, you will find that the fault always lies with the person. Reasons are given in the Bible why a person does not receive from God. The number one reason is UNBELIEF. (To find out more, check out my blog link)
I have actually met people who do not want to be healed! They will not say this outright, but their actions reveal it. One person I was sharing scripture with on healing had a particular disease. This lady headed up a support group for those suffering in this area. She loved her leadership role and had a close-knit friendship with the women in her group. She rejected the scriptures I gave because (I perceived by the Spirit) she did not want to give up her position in that support group.
Some people want to continue being sick because they get a financial benefit from their sickness.
I have met others who like their sickness because it gives them attention. Everyone at church fawns all over them. They get catered to and receive many benefits! One person I met would go so far as to attack people preaching healing because they did not want their lie exposed.
In my Holy Spirit encounter, which I will share with you, the Lord spoke to me loud in my spirit two things. He asked me a question. Are you ready to deal with things? I instinctively knew this was the condition of my heart. I said, “Yes, Lord.”
Then he gave me a command. He said, “Take up your bed and walk!”
I was becoming sick with a disease and was seeking the Lord about it. I did not want the sickness at all! In obedience to God I rejected the devil’s lie. I began trusting God for my healing. (another topic)
I learned a lot of things from that experience.
Doctors don’t have all the answers. They often prescribe drugs that, while beneficial in one way, may give you a lot of terrible side effects. If you don’t believe me, check out your meds’ labels!
God does use doctors, don’t get me wrong, but they are not the end all to be all.
We need to be personally led by the Holy Spirit in our healing journey. I was healed progressively in order to teach others that you don’t have to give up hope. God is there to answer your problems when you diligently seek him!
Sin and unbelief will hinder healing! Not always, but many times this is the case!
I was unaware of all the junk in my heart until the Holy Spirit started revealing things to me little by little. Our junk hinders God’s blessing in our lives. Including healing.
My healing was and is progressive. Again, this is used to help others receive their healing. God does do miracles immediately, but not always.
My faith was increased in the area of healing. Now I teach others about healing and pray for them to be healed.
Now back to the swine adversarial topic. If we try to minister in an area where people are not open, many times, we will get attacked. If any person wants to be ignorant, scriptures tell us to let them be ignorant. (1 Corinthians 14:38) We should remove ourselves as best we can from the adversarial situation, continuing to pray.
Swine prefer to wallow in mire rather than admire God’s pearls. Swine are humans with ungodly attitudes. When we have a revelation from the word of God, we need to pray for wisdom in ministering that revelation to others. Persecution comes because of the word’s sake. (Mark 4:17) Casting pearls before Swine will only end up causing us unnecessary pain.
Ask the Lord for open hearts to share the word of God ! This way, you will cast pearls before those who value their great price!
In this next blog, I want to expose another tactic of the enemy that he uses to kill, steal, and destroy. This is the bewitching spirit.
We hear about this spirit in the book of Galatians. Paul asks these new converts in Galatia, ‘who has bewitched you?”
Before we get into this demonic culprit, let’s do some background context.
Galatia was a major region of north-central Turkey. The name Galatia came from the Gaul inhabitants who settled in the region in 278 B.C. The Gauls were a Celtic people who invaded Greece in the 3rd century B.C. Two centuries later, in 25 B.C., the area became a Roman province.
Paul’s missionary work resulted in the conversion of some of these Galatians (Gauls)from polytheistic paganism.
The Judaizers Paul refers to were both ethnic Jews and Gentile converts, who continued to observe Jewish customs and laws. These sought to persuade Christians that one had to adhere to Jewish customs and laws to be saved.
Not only did these Judaizers bring in their religious practices to mix with Christianity, but they also brought in their elitist attitude. In other words, they thought their ways were better than the gospel of grace given by the Holy Spirit. Better than God’s method for salvation, which is grace through faith in Jesus Christ APART FROM works or deeds of the law.
For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8,9
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5
In the book of Galatians, Paul addresses the problem of adding works to salvation. He exposes these false teachers. Warning against adding anything cultural or social to the gospel for justification before God.
How does he do this? By asking them a question, ‘Who has bewitched you?”
This is significant. Paul is making a correlation here between witchcraft and adding works to the gospel. To understand precisely what he is talking about, we must know what witchcraft is!
While it is true that blatant practitioners of the dark side use witchcraft, it is also true that witchcraft is used by regular people and carnal Christians. That might be a new concept to some of you reading this blog, but if you understand witchcraft, you will know what I mean.
The Bible defines witchcraft as a work of the flesh. That means it is a sinful behavior not necessarily equated with blatant sorcery, although it can be.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
Witchcraft, according to the scriptures, is a work of the flesh. Paul tells the Galatians that they are being bewitched by the Judaizers because they are being removed from the true gospel of grace into another false or perverted gospel. (Galatians 1:6)
Paul says that even if an angel came down from heaven and preached another gospel to them, don’t believe it! Paul tells the Galatians that he received the gospel of Jesus Christ through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, not from men. He said those who preach a false gospel will be eternally cursed or lost. (Galatians 1:7-9)
I would like to point out that the scriptures tell us that adding works of the law to our salvation is a false gospel.
Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Romans 3:28
While most Christians don’t adhere to Jewish customs and laws, some may still add works of the law to their salvation. To understand this fully, we must define what ‘law’ is.
According to Hugh Evander Willis, Indiana university of law, the definition of law (which I will paraphrase) is a rule of action prescribed by some superior that the inferior is bound to obey. Civil law he defined as “a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a state, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong. These have two main concepts: (1) the concept of a “superior” and (2) the concept of command. The law according to Hugh Evander Willis is a scheme of social control.
The law of God was given by Moses for much the same thing. For social control of the sinful nature through rules and regulations to have a society operating justly. Since this was not a perfect system, God also set up animal sacrifices as temporal atonement for the sins of the people.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterward be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Galatians 3: 23-25
Falling from grace is when the law is added to salvation as a justification rather than faith in Jesus Christ alone.
This brings us to the thief culprit. The bewitcher who operates in witchcraft.
To bewitch means to attract or interest someone by manipulating them through influence in order to have power and control over them. That’s the definition of ‘bewitching’ in a nutshell.
This is a method used by many in the church to control others. Witchcraft is a carnal act. It is a sin.
To manipulate in order to control another person for our own benefit or to keep them under our thumb in any way is to practice witchcraft. Whether a bully club or a honey pot is used to do it, does not matter!
Formal witchcraft uses these methods! According to the formal operation of witchcraft, Elemental magic or Elemental manipulation is a craft using demonic influence to control. Whether it’s to control the natural elements or a person or persons.
In much the same way, people not formally practicing witchcraft are, in fact, witchcraft practitioners if they are using manipulation to control another person(s).
The term witchcraft comes from Old English wiccecraeft.Wicca (masculine) or wicce (feminine). It denotes one who practices sorcery or charming. That’s where we get the word, charm from. (the power or attribute of delighting or arousing admiration.)
The bewitcher had developed the art or skill of manipulation, charm, indoctrination, groupthink, mind control, and enchantment over others through manipulation.
Paul calls this art of witchcraft a work of the flesh. In other words, it is a sin in which carnal Christians participate. To manipulate or control through artful means for one’s advantage at the detriment of another is the art of witchcraft.
Using control through condemnation, guilt, intimidation, fear, charm, or other manipulative means is practicing witchcraft. To bewitch is to charm through deceit in order to sway a person’s thinking.
The Judaizers were adding Jewish customs and practices to the gospel of Jesus Christ to control others. Paul says Gentiles DO NOT have to observe Jewish holidays or cultural practices to be saved. (Romans 2:12-29)
However, other forms of social control are used in the church to control others. When someone, even preachers influence by the flesh in order to get someone to do something they want rather than allowing Holy Spirit to do his job, (which is to teach, counsel, draw, influence, and control), then they are operating in a spirit of witchcraft.
Does that mean that God does not use people? No, it does not. God uses people to administer his gifts, but the Holy Spirit is the controller of another person, period! The teacher or preacher’s job is to instruct in scriptures, then leave the rest to God. Using scriptures out of context to manipulate, dominate, and control other people is a sin. It does not matter, even if it’s for a good cause!
How can you know if you are being bewitched? By the fruit that results in your life!
Bewitching through manipulation, domination and control causes condemnation, guilt, an inferiority complex, feeling not good enough, you don’t measure up, powerlessness, defeatism, fear, and other negative emotions. There is a difference between Holy Spirit conviction and condemnation.
Holy Spirit convicts through love. He tells you your problem then gives you a solution, like a Father correcting his child. He does not use a big stick to tell you to measure up or else!
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. James 3:17-18
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1,2
Spiritual abusers use witchcraft to manipulate, dominate and control others. They tell you that if you do not adhere to such and such, then you are not good enough. They give you guilt trips and condemnation in order to make a person feel inferior. It’s their craft! A form of control. Some even use honey sticks. ‘If you do this, we will do that for you’!
Let me give you some examples.
When I was a young Christian, I began attending this church. Lo and behold, I found myself in the middle of a split! One side wanted to do things one way, and the other side wanted to do things another way. I hardly knew anybody because I was new to the congregation. As it turns out, the leader of one side wanted to secure my vote. (Why I could vote anyway was beyond me) This leader told me that if I voted for their side, I would be given my own bible study. I didn’t have to be a mature believer to know that was wrong, so I found another church, getting out of that mess!
If you have been saved as long as I have, you probably remember the days of the prosperity preachers. Today some still do the same practices. In those days, preachers would use all kinds of ways or gimics to get your money! Manipulation was rampant! Thank God I stayed out of that stuff! The Bible clarifies that giving to the Lord is a free-will offering that should be delivered from a cheerful heart, not because of necessity or because you have to or don’t measure up.
God does not need our money. He owns cattle on a thousand hills. The scriptures tell us how to give and how to receive. Each is to be led by the Lord in their giving. Using manipulative methods to get someone’s money is a form of witchcraft.
Offering special privileges if you do something is a form of witchcraft. Brow beating from the pulpit by using scriptures taken out of context to make one feel inferior or manipulate them to perform something is witchcraft.
Playing someone through manipulation to do something or buy something is witchcraft. Jesus said to let our conversation be yes or no. In other words be straight up! Many marketing methods used by Christians today are witchcraft. They use misleading click bate, sensationalism, and downright deception for gain. A good product will sell based on its worth. Just tell the truth about what you are offering! Then leave the rest to the Lord.
One last example (there are others) is the use of condemnation. This is also rampant in the church. To make disciples for themselves, some teachers, preachers, and church leaders bewitch others to see themselves always in perpetual need. Constantly feeding spiritual baby food, keeping the people ignorant, constantly having prayer lines, constant inferiority blasted at the sheep from the pulpits. It’s just horrible.
Jesus said…go and make disciples for him, not for yourself! The teaching ministry exists to train, instruct in righteousness, and mature God’s sheep, so they don’t need your services anymore! Making disciples means letting the sheep go when it’s time. Letting go when they are ready, when they get itchy feet to leave home. Helping the lambs mature so they can go out and do the work of the ministry! You wouldn’t let your young adult son or daughter stay home forever, would you? It is the same with sheep or those we mentor or disciple. The objective is to train them in the ways of the Lord then let them go!
Paul gives a remedy for the Galatians who have been bewitched. He tells them that they have been justified and made righteous before God by faith in Jesus Christ without the deeds of the law.
To be justified means that a person has a reasonable and acceptable basis for something. In common law, this is a type of defense. This defense exempts the defendant from liability because the defendant’s actions were justified.
In other words, the defendant will not suffer the usual penalty for their actions in a court of law because they had a valid justification. The defendant could not have been asked to act any differently in this situation. (Cornell law school legal information institute)
It is the same with God’s law. The shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ is our justification for the penalty of sin. (Hebrew Chapter 9)
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Romans 3:28
Paul tells the Galatians that he is now dead to the law (It’s an old method) so that he can live for God by faith in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in him!
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Returning to old methods by adding works of any kind for our justification is slavery, according to Paul. Bewitchers want to make slaves to be under their control. (Galatians 4)
Bewitchers want to bring you under their laws, customs and forms. They seek to bind you to a custom, practice, or rule of conduct in order to control you! Witchcraft is the manipulation of the flesh. It is a skillful art used by bewitchers to control others.
God’s Holy Spirit brings the fruit of righteousness; Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against this fruit, there is NO LAW! (Galatians 5:22-23)
The next culprit the Bible talks about for the Christian to be aware of is the scorpion.
Scriptures tell us that the Christian is given power over serpents and scorpions, but did you ever wonder what scorpions mean?
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents, scorpions, and over all the enemy’s power, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:19
Scorpions are lobster-shaped insects about 2 or 3 inches long. These give a venomous sting through their tails from a gland at the end of their tail. When a scorpion stings, it secretes a poisonous fluid into the wound or a prick on the skin within one or two minutes.
Scorpions live in tropical climates. In the Bible, these creatures lived in the wilderness of Sinai.
It is interesting to note that unless you happen upon the scorpion’s territory, you probably won’t meet one, but if you do enter their territory, you must be watchful in prayer, so you don’t get stung by one!
Scorpions are usually found in dry and dark places. They may be hiding under stones or in the ruins of a building.
Most of us will avoid places where scorpions live, but if you have a ministry to reach those living in darkness, you may meet up with a scorpion, maybe more than one! This is why Jesus says that he gives us authority over scorpions.
Scorpions attack in a very threatening way when they are not hidden. If a scorpion sees you on its territory, it may move towards you threateningly with its tail up, ready to strike!
However, most of the time, scorpions are hiding. For those who live in the desert or are walking in the desert, these scorpions might be hiding in the crevices of walls in a house, under stones in the yard, or in empty containers. Even in dung heaps!
In Deuteronomy 8:15, Moses tells the people that God led them out of the wilderness with its fiery serpents and scorpions.
The wilderness experience is an uncomfortable place to be. It represents a time of testing, refining, and temptation. There are many scorpions that live in the wilderness!
Scorpions dwell in dry places where there is very little rain. The Lord likens the place of scorpions to a place where there is no life of the Spirit. A religious or secular place. A place where the rebellious dwell.
And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though (briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, (though they are a rebellious house.) Ezekiel 2:6.
God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Psalms 68:6
Even though the sting of a scorpion is rarely fatal, it is a very painful experience. God likens the words and body language of the rebellious who dwell in a dry land to be extremely painful. They are filled with bitterness, anger, scoffing, rejection, and ridicule.
I Kings 12: 11 tells us that the scourge of scorpions is synonymous with being scourged with whips with bits of metal.
The same type of whipping that Jesus received from the Romans after being given over by the religious leaders. (the world and religion)
Then Pilate, therefore, took Jesus and scourged him. John 19:19
Receiving tongue lashings from others is like getting a scorpion bite! Words hurt. The Bible tells us that slander and backbiting are like the sting of a scorpion.
A slanderer or backbiter is a false accuser. One who defames others. They bring an evil report against someone. The motive is usually to undermine someone’s character. The root cause is always envy.
Backbiting is defaming others. To speak against them with a motive to ruin their reputation. (2 Cor. 12:20)
When the religious leaders handed over Jesus to the government of the day, their motive was envy.
For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. Matthew 27:18
To be envious is to feel discontented or resentful because of someone else’s possessions or qualities.
When a person slanders, they are trying to undermine. In this way, the slanderer raises themselves in a higher position because pointing out others’ faults undermines any good qualities.
The religious people did this to Jesus. They found fault with him. Jesus healed on the Sabbath, ate with unclean hands, and sat with sinners. All the while, though, they were envious of him. This was because of their pride.
Being religious, the religious people of Jesus’ day studied the law. Every jot and tittle of it! Then here comes this upstart with great wisdom and healing powers showing them up!
The religious people rejected Jesus because he upset their way of doing things! We don’t do that in our church! Who told you to do this? Where are your credentials? How many years of Bible school do you have?
The Bible tells us that slanderers are foolish because they do not fear God. They do not fear the consequences of their words or actions against others. (Proverbs 10: 18)
However, the Lord tells us not to fear the sting of scorpions or slander because he has given us authority over them. We are called to tread on snakes and on scorpions. To tread is to walk on or set our foot on. How do we do this?
We tread on scorpions with our gospel boots. Wherever we go we go in the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! (Romans 15:29)
By presenting the truth of the word of God wherever we go, we tread on the slander of others. Those words will lose their power. Others will see our fruit. They will see because God will show them that he has called us.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19
This is God’s strategy for dealing with scorpions. Whether they be secular or religious. We present the Gospel wherever we go, and God will defend our reputation.
Jesus tells us that when we ask for the power of his Holy Spirit, we will never receive a rebuke or tongue-lashing.
Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? Luke 11: 12
When we go to the Lord, he always gives us bread to eat. Manna from heaven. It doesn’t matter how many degrees we have or don’t have. Holy Spirit gives wisdom to the simple. Child-like faith receives more of God’s grace than any kind of education.
Not that education (religious or secular)is bad in and of itself because the Lord can use it if it’s yielded to him BUT never does man-made education replace Holy Spirit wisdom, knowledge, and power!
If you envy other people’s gifts and callings, how about seeking the Lord in Spirit and truth? Dwelling in a dry land is very disheartening. It will keep you from experiencing the rain of the Spirit. God has a special call tailor-made just for you! Unique gifts only you can impart to others! You will find them as you dwell in the secret place with Jesus!
Who shall dwell in the Lord’s temple? He who does not backbite with his tongue. Psalms 15:3
In our next part of the series on the thief, I would like to share with you what Jesus called the wolf or wolves. Jesus often used metaphors to explain spiritual concepts. For a few reasons. One was that he did not want his enemies to pounce on him before his time, so he could not speak openly about spiritual things. Jesus said that those with eyes would see but not see, and those with ears would hear but not hear. In other words, the enemy would not understand what he was saying because he used code. Also, Jesus used parables because some things in the natural are parallels to some things in the spiritual realm.
Another reason that the Lord uses parables is that he does not give his wisdom and knowledge to just anybody. To not cast his pearls before swine, he speaks in signs and symbols to his prophets for the most part. In this way, a prophet or one of his followers will seek out a matter. That is, they will search the scriptures diligently and pray for insight. Those faithful in applying and giving out his treasures to others will be given more treasure from him. In this way, the Lord separates the true disciple from one who is not in for the long run.
In the same way, if you gave your child everything they wanted then they may become lazy, ungrateful, and develop a privileged mindset. I don’t think I have to say more for most parents to get what I’m saying.
Using the metaphor of the wolf or wolves, Jesus reveals to us another way the enemy operates. Satan is a wolf, and his demons are wolves. They come to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10) Jesus said he was the Good Shepherd, the door to the sheep. The sheep are protected by him.
In John 10, Jesus says that those who came before him claiming to be the sheep’s Shepherd, their door, protector, and provider, were thieves. His true sheep did not hear them because they knew the sound of the true Shepherd’s voice.
Then the Lord gives us a critical point in John 10 in discerning the difference between his voice and the false shepherd’s.
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
So, the first key in discerning if someone represents the Good Shepherd or is a hireling is whether or not they give their lives for the sheep. Look for this sign right away, (regardless of what a person says with their silver tongue, because Satan’s cronies can quote scripture) does the person give to the sheep with their very lives? Do they pour forth themselves for the sheep’s benefit, or do they take from or fleece the sheep for their benefit?
A faithful Shepherd, Jesus said, warns the sheep when the wolf is coming. When disaster comes, does the Shepherd warn the sheep, or does the Shepherd abandon the sheep?
This is another key indicator. Warning the sheep when trouble is coming indicates a true shepherd. If danger is coming and the sheep are not warned, then the sheep are susceptible to being ravaged by the wolf!
A true Shepherd cares about the sheep, so when trouble is coming in their direction, the true Shepherd warns the sheep. The hireling does not care about the sheep. They care more about themselves.
The objective of the thief is to steal, kill and destroy. The wolf analogy reveals how this thief operates.
In Jeremiah 5:6, the wolf is called a destroyer.
Genesis 49:27 says the wolf is ravenous and devours the prey,
Ezekiel 22:27 gives a clear description.
Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey by shedding blood and destroying lives to get dishonest gain.
Jesus said that false prophets are wolves. They pretend to be sheep but are inwardly ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15)
Jesus also said that he was sending his disciples out among wolves. So be as wise as a serpent in discerning who these wolves are and be innocent as a dove. In other words, don’t be like them!
Paul warns in Acts 20:29 that after he went home to be with the Lord, savage wolves will come into the church, not sparing the flock.
Here are other indicators to look for in a hireling or wolf in sheep’s clothing. They are false prophets speaking words not given to them by God. This includes scripture because Satan loves to quote the Bible. Giving truth with just enough error to lead the sheep astray. This is to get dishonest gain. (Ezekiel 22:27)
Many today are preaching the gospel for personal profit. That is dishonest gain because the tithes and offerings belong to the Lord. They are to be used for the furtherance of the kingdom of God. That does not mean the shepherd cannot get provision, but it does mean having responsible stewardship with finances. We may not know all the ins and outs of what a minister does with God’s money because doing our works in secret is a part of our walk with God, but discerning other factors in the lives of ministers will give us indicators of character.
Let us examine the wolf parable to see what character traits to look for in discerning a false Shepherd. Most of the time, wolves hunt in packs. Their pack consists of family members. You can see this in the lives of false Shepherds, teachers, and prophets. They have a network of family and friends working on their team. They hire in rather than source out to qualified individuals. Why is this? Accountability. If the ministry team are family members, the less likely to expose or call out a family member for mismanagement.
This is why the hirelings go undetected for years sometimes. It is good to have a few nonfamily members on your ministry team. Keeps you watching your life and ministry like scripture exhorts us to!
Wolves are expert hunters. They assess their prey carefully, looking for weakness, the right conditions, things in their favor, right timing. Wolves use whatever they find to their advantage to cease their prey.
In the same way, false shepherds, false teachers, and false prophets prey on the weak. Those needy, sick, and infirmed. They give them false promises, false hope, and constant attention. Now that sounds harsh, you may think because the weak need those things. However, let me point this out. Hirelings don’t really want the sheep to get well. They keep the sheep returning for more false words because their motive is to fleece the sheep to death!
When Jesus was here, he taught the sheep how to pray, grow in the faith, abide in the vine, and search the scriptures to learn about him. Paul did the same thing! The purpose of the Shepherd is to feed the sheep. This is another indicator to look for. Are you getting fed? Being taught to mature in the Lord, or are you constantly being fed baby food where you stay where you are forever?
In hunting for sheep to take down, wolves do what is called herding. They will dart back and forth to cause confusion and prevent escape. This happens when a sheep tries to escape a pack of wolves. Most of us have heard the testimonies of those who have experienced spiritual abuse. They are made to feel like they are the perpetrator instead of the victim, made to feel shame and confusion.
When this happens, sometimes the weak sheep are taken out. They leave the fold, never to return, and some who have been hurt go into revenge mode. Trying to bring the wolf down by themselves! A wounded sheep can be dangerous. The persecuted will often become the persecutor.
Wolves do not attack a sheep quickly and directly. If they did, the sheep would die of shock or be damaged goods. Not suitable for eating. To bring a sheep down, the wolves seize the sheep from behind or by the nose. In the same way, a false shepherd or false prophet will not attack directly. They come up from a blind side or by leading the sheep astray.
The false shepherd or false prophet knows the weakness of their prey. They don’t come right out and tell you what they really believe. They wait until they have led the sheep by the nose a bit. When they have made some new friends, become a part of the group, and are made to feel needed and that they belong. Then they move in for the kill.
Wolves work as a team. Their hunt is masterfully coordinated! They know how to defend themselves, being well aware of the danger if they are found out. The hireling gets the sheep in deep. Too deep to fight back for the most part.
Another type of wolf that is dangerous to the sheep is the lone wolf. This wolf is independent and strong-willed. When the lone wolf leaves the pack to strike out on its own, it has to become highly cunning to survive. The lone wolf looks for new territory. Some place or someone where there are no other wolf packs. The lone wolf looks for another wolf. Someone to partner with to form a new pack. Then the cycle repeats itself. The new guy who comes to town should be thoroughly vetted.
I experienced this scenario once. A new guy came to the church I was in, claiming to be a prophet with a message for that church. Soon he was in their ministry having meetings. That guy browbeat so many people that many left that church, never to return. He was pointing out everyone’s sins without love and compassion, but he could not see the pride and arrogance in his own life!
Long story short, there was a conflict, and the guy left, BUT he left a trail of disaster. That’s what the thief does; he destroys like a ravaging wolf. Since then, that church has had turnovers, splits, and scandals. It is good policy to not let in a lone wolf knocking at your door!
In conclusion, the thief in this blog is the wolf who comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Taking heed to what our Lord Jesus has taught us from his word about this thief, we can look for the signs. When we see the wolf coming in our direction, we should high tail it out of there! Also, we must warn the other sheep.