The City of Ancient of Philadelphia, (Modern name Alaşehir) was founded by King Attalus II Philadelphus (r. 159–138 BC) of Pergamon. The city was named for the King’s love for his brother, his successor. (Attalus II, 159–138 BC)
The city was called “Philadelphos,” meaning “one who loves his brother.”
Under Roman rule, Philadelphia became an imperial cult of emperor worship. Philadelphia was also known for having earthquakes, which may be why Jesus promised the church of Philadelphia that he would make them a ‘pillar in the temple’ if they were overcomers in his name.
The church of Philadelphia had challenges. Not only were they persecuted by Roman secularism but also by religious opposition. This combination makes for shaky ground if one is not grounded on the rock of Jesus Christ.
Jesus told the church of Philadelphia that they had a little strength. In other words, they were holding on while the shaking was going on all around them. They did not deny his name in spite of persecution.
Sounds like today, huh? Shakings, persecutions, hardship.
This shaking is not only coming at the Lord’s church from the world and the religious folks but from inside their inner circle! From family and friends!
There is a lot of shaking going on right now in this world. The sifting has started. The tares are being removed from the wheat!
Are you a weary pilgrim wandering through this world of woe? Misunderstood? Rejected for your faith? Hated because you belong to Jesus Christ?
Well, hold on dear believer, don’t let go of the helm of the Lord’s garment! Praise him in your storm! He has your back!
The church of Philadelphia was promised preservation from temptation if they continued to be faithful. The Lord promised to see them through! In the same way God has promised to see us through every trial and temptation.
Not only that, but the church of Philadelphia was promised eternal blessings where they would be honored in the Lord’s future kingdom! If they held on to his promises!
Whatever shaking you are enduring right now, friend, remember that the Lord will hold you up. He has all the keys to the kingdom of God. That is why he mentioned this to the church of Philadelphia.
Jesus Christ alone has the power to open and close doors! Seek him for He can open or close the doors to your situation.
Knock and keep on knocking! He will not fail you! He has the key to your deliverance!
“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Revelation3:11
The seven Spirits of God are the seven-fold operation of the spirit of God, as referred to in Isaiah.
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. Isaiah 11:1-5
The seven stars are the seven angels of each church, and church age.
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; Revelation 1:4
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Revelation 1:20
The seven churches are the seven churches that existed at the time this prophecy was given but also the church ages. Of which we are in the last church age.
However, every individual can learn from the address Jesus makes to the churches, pertaining to specific things that please and displease the Lord. In this way we can have our hearts dealt with and come into alignment with God’s perfect will.
It is important to note that salvation is a free gift not based on our works. However, blessings in this life and rewards in the next are dependant on the way we live our lives in this world. God wants us to be overcomers, not just sinners saved by grace.
That being said, lets take a look at the Lord’s exhortation for the church of Sardis.
First of all, Jesus exhorts Sardis to be watchful. Being watchful was an exhortation Jesus continually made to his disciples.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 2 John 1:8
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Matthew 24:42
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13
So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:6
Then Jesus tells Sardis, strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die. To tackle the meaning of this verse we have to break it down.
Strengthen sterizo in the Greek means to set fast, turn resolve, to confirm in ones mind.
Remain loipoi in the Greek means to remain as a remnant.
Which are ready to die apothnesko in the Greek means to be slain, at the point of death, perishing.
In other words, make up your mind with firm resolve to be a part of the remnant of God and die to that which hinders you from achieving that goal! (my paraphrase)
Jesus tell Sardis this because I have not found thy works perfect before God. Revelations 3:2
Obviously, Sardis was asleep, not watching and not dying to self. To find out what may have been the cause, we need to look at what kind of environment they were living in.
Apparently, Sardis was a flourishing city. It was known for its great wealth. The decline of Sardis was gradual but final.
There is an important lesson here. During times of prosperity God’s people may be tempted to let our guard down. Not being watchful in prayer. Not dying to our carnal nature.
God in his mercy sends waring. Always warning before judgment.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and
If therefore thou shalt not watch,
I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt
what hour I will come upon thee. Revelations 3:3
Prosperity in this world is a double-edged sword. It can be used for good. To further the gospel, blessing in this life, BUT it can also be used to destroy. Make us weak in spirit, slothful in prayer and watching, concerned with the affairs of this life.
Jesus warns his church of this tendency towards spiritual apathy during times of blessing. He says STAY AWAKE! BE WATCHFUL IN PRAYER! STAY SEPERATE FROM THE WORLD.
Then the Lord gives Sardis an incentive for obedience to his word.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Revelations 3:4,5
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelations 3:6
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
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.
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
Most of us know that having pride is a sure way to fall on our big head, but did you know that pride manifest in different ways?
One creature that is used to illustrate pride is the peacock. To be “proud as a peacock” is a saying used to mean a vain or self-centered person.
Vanity is a form of pride that, while seemingly obvious may also be just as subtle. That is vanity may be hiding in a very obvious place!
Most of us know that the proud peacock struts his stuff for all to see. The peacock may not even be lying about his beauty! Peacocks are very beautiful!
The male peacock’s plumage spreads in a big way to attract. Those feathers are pretty awesome!
Pride puffs up. It is pompous, vain, boastful and egotistical! (Romans 11:21, Proverbs 21:4, )
The peacock has a beautiful plumage! God has gifted the peacock with dazzling gifts! The problem with the peacock, however, is that the peacock takes all the glory! It seems to me I have read about another character in the Bible so puffed up with vain glory that he couldn’t see past his beauty! That guy was blinded by his beauty which ended up being his downfall!
I have mentioned the peacock as a thief because this character steals glory from God!
The peacock is so blinded by his gifts that he does not even realize what he is doing! Have you ever seen one of these vain peacocks?
Their pictures are everywhere! It’s all about them! They boast about themselves in a big way! Don’t get me wrong; to market your business or ministry, you have to be out there, but the peacock is way out there! Also, peacocks takes most of the glory for themselves, giving Jesus only a thread.
The problem with the peacock is that the peacock has an exaggerated sense of his own importance. But the peacock is just being himself, you may argue.
Fine feathers, plumage long and sleek! So beautiful! Why shouldn’t the peacock strut his stuff? After all, God has given him those gifts!
True, but that is the problem! God gave those gifts, so God should get the glory!
Vanity is trusting in one’s own importance. God hates vanity because it brings no profit!
Vanity cannot deliver anyone! Vanity is a useless thing to trust in!
And turn ye not aside: for [then should ye go] after vain [things], which cannot profit nor deliver; for they [are] vain. Samuel 1: 12-21
Vanity rejects God’s word, replacing it with their word. Their way of doing things!
Following secular mindsets, patterns of self-image and self-glorification. This is what the world does! The world boasts continually about themselves! The world takes the glory, giving God none or only a tidbit!
And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that [were] round about them, [concerning] whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them. 2 Kings 17:15
Vanity is one of the seven deadly sins. Vanity is a sure way to end up in the has-been heap!
Remember that the peacock is open game for the predator! Those beautiful feathers strutted about will attract the enemy ! He sees the peacock coming a mile away.
Surely every man walketh in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up [riches], and knoweth not who shall gather them. Psalm 39:6
It is far safer to trust in the Lord, putting our confidence in Him by displaying our gifts in a way that is not so obvious! Not so in your face! A little humility goes a long way!
Jesus is the best example of that! Though he was God in the flesh, he did not feel the need to be showy about it! (Philippians 2: 5-11)
Vanity trusts in one’s own power and ability! After all, those gifts are pretty awesome!
God, however, says, don’t trust in anything (even your gifts) but trust in him alone.
The word ‘vain’ means to be empty. To be worth nothing, having no good purpose.
All the peacock’s beautiful feathers will not do the peacock any good if he ends up on a roasting stick!
Vanity is a form of pride. The peacock likes to look good to others and to themselves.
Vanity is being preoccupied with one’s achievement. Constantly having to prove one’s own worth and success. Vanity is being overly proud of one’s qualities or giftings. Vanity is self-conceit. Vanity is vain, empty, and worthless because pride rejects the giver of the gift.
God tells us to trust in Him. Not in the peacock, no matter how beautiful he looks! (Psalm 118:9)
Humbling ourselves is using our gifts in such a way that Jesus Christ gets the glory! His word is promoted over our word! His glory is seen through us!
Being humble will give us God’s favor.
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Don’t get side tracked by all the peacocks out there!
Keep your gaze on the one who is fairer than ten thousands! For Jesus Christ is all together lovely!
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)
Jesus relays a parable in the book of Matthew explaining what happens when we are ‘sleeping’ rather than watching in prayer.
But be sure that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. Matthew 24:43
Watchful is a term for being alert concerning spiritual matters, being attentively observant, and exercising care or restraint.
That being said, I want to draw your attention to another type of thief that comes in when we sleep, both corporately as a body and as individual Christians.
This thief comes along, and plants tares after the word of God is sown.
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. Matthew 13:24
This is a kingdom principle. When the seed, God’s word, is sown on the earth, the enemy comes along immediately to sow tares. You can know you are sleeping and not being watchful if you have yet to consider this spiritual principle.
The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. Luke 8:11,12
“So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Mark 4: 26-29
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. LUKE 8:11
Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 1 PETER 1:23
The enemy sows tares. The enemy, the devil, is a thief. He comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He does this by coming along after the seed is sown to sow his tares.
What is interesting is the interpretation of the word tares. It is the Greek word zizanion. This isa type of Darnel that resembles wheat. Darnel, known as Lolium temulentum is a false grain. It is an annual plant of the Lolium, Poaceae family. Which are types of grass.
Darnel grows in the same areas as wheat. In fact, it looks so much like wheat that it is often mistaken as wheat. Darnel however is a toxic grass.
Eaten in enough of a dose, Darnel can actually kill a person. Darnel seeds will make a person drunk. It was used at one time to make beer.
The Latin word for Darnel is L. temulentum. It means ‘to get drunk’.
Darnel looks similar to wheat until the ear appears.
Farmers have to separate Darnel from the true harvest. Darnel today is removed by sorting machinery that separates it from wheat.
On closer observance, wheat can be distinguished from Darnel. Darnel has thinner spikes than wheat. However, if Darnel is plucked out too soon, the true wheat will be damaged.
At harvest time, the Darnel and wheat can be more easily distinguished.
Watching in prayer is making sure the seed that is planted is indeed wheat. We do this by observation or discernment in the Spirit.
Seeds can be separated before planting, but sometimes this process is difficult, so Jesus tells us to wait until harvest time. Then, it will become clear which is wheat and which is not.
Sometimes people look and act like real Christians, or a ministry may seem to be of the Lord, or the message preached may seem sound, but after careful observance, we find that it is really Darnel, not wheat.
Also, sometimes wheat and Darnel grow together. There is a mix, and we need to be able to separate.
It is easier to spot a blatant false way than one that seems right but is slightly off. Since a little leaven will eventually grow, it’s best to separate ourselves from false wheat before we get choked out!
One way to discern false wheat from true wheat is by comparing what the word of God says to what is being put forth. This is not so easy. Sometimes one must dig deeper to find false wheat. What looks true may be outright false or have some false attributes.
All of us have been duped at one time or another by false wheat. That is because false wheat looks almost like true wheat. How can we know for sure what is true and what is false?
By doing what Jesus said, ‘watching and observing’. We must look closely to see if something is off. The Bible gives us guidelines on what to look for in this regard. I am not addressing in this blog blatant doctrinal error or cultish behaviors, (although that is part of the Darnell problem); I am talking more about distinguishing what is Biblically true from what is almost true.
Paul tells us that false teachers or false messages put people in bondage. Even if the word being presented has some truth in it, if that message is imposed upon another person, it becomes a work of law rather than an act of grace.
Paul tells us not to impose our views or our conscience upon others. While some have a clear conscience about eating meat, others do not. Some may feel that wearing makeup, jewelry, tattoos, what one eats, or how one worships is wrong. If a view is imposed on another person, then it becomes to them a form of law. Even if that view is grace to us. (Romans 14:1-23)
Christians should always operate in a graceful spirit. That does not mean we give license to sinful behavior, it means being respectful and graceful in our operation toward others. Even if we do not agree with them or practice our relationship with the Lord in the same way.
Let me give some examples.
Some Christians feel to get up and pray every day at 5 o’clock in the morning. Nothing wrong with that, but if they impose it on others, then it becomes a form of spiritual abuse. Law is imposed rather than grace being exercised.
That makes it, Darnell. False wheat. Why? Because everything, if it is not done in love with the objective of perfecting the saints for their spiritual growth, is law.
The law brings death because no one can keep all of its stringent requirements! My grace may be someone else’s law!
Paul tells us that whatever bothers our conscience is a sin! We don’t know another person’s issues, culture or life journey. To impose our lifestyle on other people becomes a sin! It does not matter if it’s a good thing or not!
This Darnell I’m addressing is the Darnel of the law instead of grace. It can cover a whole bunch of things. The point is that grace is loving another person who does not live up to our standards!
Now the guy who gets up and prays every day from 5 am until 6 am, then goes to work all day, and then gets up at 5 am the next day and does the same thing has a pattern of prayer that works for him. However, the retired grandma who spends all day in prayer has a different schedule.
She gets up and works in the garden, praying and worshipping. Then she prays as she cooks dinner, prays while she shops, prays after dinner in her rocker, and prays before bed.
Shall Grandma impose that on all the people who have to work all day?
What about the biker or gang member who gets saved and has tattoos all over them? Should we condemn that guy for having tattoos before he was saved? Impose our law or grace on him?
What about the new believer addict in recovery? Should we impose a strict law-based schedule on that guy who doesn’t even know how to live straight, let alone adhere to a bunch of religious requirements?
Do you see the point? Spiritual adherence without love is the law. It is a form of Darnell.
The Pharisees tried imposing their stuff on Jesus all the time. He called it obeying jots and tittles.
Paul calls it ‘touch not, eat not, handle not’. (Colossians 2:21)
Legalism is Darnell disguised as wheat.
Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment after loving God is loving others.
Paul said that if we have faith to move mountains but don’t have love, then we are nothing.
Love is the greatest pursuit. God’s love is revealed through his grace. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
God’s grace teaches us to live godly. Living godly is being an example to others, not imposing our way of doing things on others.
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
In conclusion, Darnell is fake wheat. It is poisonous. It can even kill.
The law kills, but grace through Jesus Christ brings life. This is the true wheat. God’s word in the flesh! The word of Grace!