Do you remember back in the day when we were into spiritual warfare? We would try and identify, territorial spirits, and what type of demon was behind some person’s bad behavior or what types of evil spirits were at work behind unwholesome situations? During the 80’s and early 90’s there was an unbalanced un-scriptural overemphasis on the messages around this subject. These teachings would overflow into how they were put into practice. For example, the casting out of demons, the manifestation of demons, like people falling on the floor, crawling like a snake in a Church service.
We had all night prayer meetings and hundreds of us would all be binding demonic strongholds over our cities, or certain neighborhoods. There were so many extremes. Remember the groaning in the spirit until a breakthrough or roaring at the devil? I will tell you a funny story.
I used to be an interpreter in a good size church in Amsterdam. That day we had a guest speaker who was going to teach us on spiritual warfare. I had been interpreting several sessions already and my voice was now getting hoarse. This preacher was telling the crowd that Jesus is described in the Bible as the Lion and the Lamb. He said that when it comes to dealing with the devil, we must be like Jesus the lion and roar at the devil like a lion would. Imagine, here I am standing next to this preacher and I am interpreting every sentence, using his speed and tonality. He then starts to roar, ROOOOOAAARRR! Really loud through the microphone. Next it was my turn, but my voice was gone. As I attempted a big roar, out came the soft sound like that of a sheep, behehehehehehehe, just like a little lamb. Lion and the Lamb, get it, huh?
Hahaha, it was embarrassing. 500 people could not hold their laughter. Well, it was funny. It was also pathetic that such a message could find its way to the pulpit and be presented as supposedly the authoritative Word of God.
Oh man, how many of those Church services have we attended where at the beginning of the Church service, we would bind the devil and loosen the Holy Spirit. I do not know what happened during the week, in between the Sunday services, but someone must have come into the building and loosened the devil and bound up the Holy Ghost, because on the next Sunday morning service we had to bind the devil and loosen the Holy Ghost all over again. Haha. (A joke Evangelist Ed Elliott tells a lot)
I also remember meeting many Christians in those days who were living in the reaction to this excessive spiritual warfare movement. They did not want to talk about binding demons. They were afraid to even mention the devil. To them talking about those things was like opening the door to the spiritual influence or attack of the devil. So, they preferred to avoid the subject altogether. It was obvious this was more a response of fear than one of confidence that comes from faith. No matter where people were or which side of the fence they were on, they both had their unhealthy extremes.
Next, I noticed that in the late 90’s going into the 21st century to this day, many Christian Ministries seemed to have backed away from operating in the spiritual authority and power we have in Christ altogether. I am talking about my observations when I visit a Church, or flick through Christian TV or radio channels. It seems to me many preachers and Christian ministries present almost an anaemic condition. They look sophisticated. They are practised speakers. They changed their fashion, they now use night club lighting in their meetings, and the music,… well the music sounds all the same to me. The same kind of flowery music that you cannot honestly expect to be the musical taste of everyone on the planet we are supposed to reach. I agree that there are sometimes some good moments I catch from TV preachers, and worship bands, but they are few and sparse. Please believe me when I say that I would love to attend a great Church meeting where truth is taught under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, where God is moving, and people’s lives are touched and changed.
I closed my Ministry organisation back in 2006, because I wanted to re-evaluate the whole concept of Ministry for me. In my opinion there were too many preachers then who were competing to be the most popular and seemed less interested in accurate exegesis and hermeneutics of scripture. I have basically been out of touch with what goes on in the Ministry and Church world since then. Throughout those years I spend my time studying the scriptures, spending time with God in prayer, but I have not been a member of any Church group. I could not be involved for my own peace of mind and for the benefit of the people of a potential Church I would visit. That is because I have grown so fed up and inpatient with legalistic views, and manipulative schemes to pull money of people, and most of all the blatant constant errors within the overall teaching of the scriptures, so I would rather just stay away.
Now when I occasionally view some Christian TV channels, only for a brief moment, I am shocked to see that in fourteen years, absolutely nothing has changed. We used to preach God’s greatest move was just around the corner. The biggest revival ever was about to hit the planet. The Church of Christ was going to grow and whole nations would bow to the Lordship of Jesus. What happened? 14 to 15 years later nothing has changed. Everything is still the same, except that the Church in general seems to flow in much less power. Those preachers I used to look up to, now look tired, broken and worn out. They have grown older. They are wearing t-shirts now instead of a dress shirt and tie. Some have grown beards. They seem to be stuck in their message. You might think that is a good thing to be teaching the exact same message. However, I would argue that there must be some discernible growth in understanding scripture as we go along. There should be a more depth and insight into the things they taught 15 years ago. But no, they are still preaching the same old dispensationalism, still preaching the tithe, and still preach that God will directly or indirectly punish people and many will go to hell.
“we are now in the middle of the biggest move of God. The pandemic and global scare has put the world’s population in a state of shock. But it has also become the biggest consciousness awakening the world has ever experienced. It has caused many to re-evaluate what is really important. Things we took for granted, a hug, a walk along the neighborhood, a job and laughter with colleagues, spending time with a loved one, family gatherings. The things that seemed trivial, during this oppressive scare hanging over everyone’s head around the world has people longing for these invaluable moments again. That is why God can move more than ever, because hearts are longing for love again. If a person is opened to receive love, they are open to experience God in their life. Look out, with regards to this pandemic, lock-downs, and political tyranny, God is moving all over the world upon the hearts of people, and we are going to see a U-turn on this whole situation on a massive scale. The entire double cross smokescreen pulled over the worlds eyes is about to be removed. It is happening now. Remember Jesus’ enemies are His footstool, He rules the nations with a rod of iron. Iron is used as a symbol of something that is unbendable. Christ rules according to His unbendable Word, His unbreakable New Covenant of Grace and Peace. The Spirit of God is moving, the holy angelic forces of heaven are deployed, the Victory is His and we are more than conquerors. The forces of evil are stepping back, their evil constructs are crumbling, their influence is broken, and captives are set free through Christ the Savior of the world. A moment of apparent darkness and time of crisis, but then the truth is remembered, soon, soon very soon the world will come together and heal. They will rejoice, and be grateful, and give glory to God, the possessor of Heaven and Earth. I know things look gloomy at this point but look to the Lord. There is still one more thing to come, it will seem scary, and yes it will be a moment of darkness, but though it may be briefly perplexing, it is really a good thing, and then the glory of the Lord will reveal everything, and it shall be good. Trust Him”.
Isaiah 60:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
Important is to admit that during those days of the “spiritual warfare” movement we did get hold of a powerful truth that needs re-exploring. We must re-evaluate, filter out the errors and extremes and allow for a much better and more practical scriptural application of this material to emerge. Back in the day I have literally seen a lot of people be delivered from demonic oppression. Paradoxically, I have also seen that binding demons did not change a person long term. In some cases, their condition became worse. Yes, I have witnessed some stupid things as well. Obviously, you cannot cast out calories from your food, you cannot cast out the works of the flesh. There might sometimes be a spiritual entity at work through the work of the flesh, but flesh simply is a reference to the human innate inability to become righteous. We used to walk around seeing demons behind everything. Like demon terminators we would bind whatever was loose and loosen whatever was bound. That mentality is psychologically harmful. We are not supposed to be so demon conscious that it pre-occupies and distracts from the goal. The goal being, living in communion with God.
I have seen Christians make such a big drama when a person falls to the ground foaming at the mouth and some horrid voice begins to speak. Just tell them shut up and come out in the name of Jesus. You do not even have to shout at them or make a scene. They do not want to obey, but they must obey, and they have no choice. You have holy angelic beings on your side assisting you as if you are Christ Himself. They will drag the demons out and throw them in the bottomless pit and keep them there if they need to.
We did do some extreme and wild spiritual warfare. When we prayed and bound the demonic power of the satan-church in the red-light district of Amsterdam back in the early 90’s it only took a few weeks, and the black painted building closed its doors forever. As a large group we would march into the red-light district singing praises and worship, then stand in front of the satan-church building, raise our hands, and pray and bind the devil. I am telling you, say what you like, but it worked!
What happened to the Church of today? Have we forgotten we can effectively take authority over the devil? Especially in a time like this? The Church of Christ all over the world is called to take her stands again. The corona virus is what it is, a virus. You want to fight it only with natural means, well that has got us in this right mess in the first place. What is corona virus compared to the leprosy which Jesus healed when He laid His hands on the leper? We can not deal with this in our own strength. We must stand in the authority and power of Christ and every and any variant strain of virus will have to desist. We can and must forbid the spiritual forces of darkness their influence in the governments of the world. We can ask the Father, knowing that He hears us. Knowing that God has answered our prayers, we can know that He is at work in the hearts and lives of political leaders around the world.
The following question was put to me recently: what position or place does the devil have according to a full preterist?
The person asking stated: “You write here in the article (the book of the covenants) that the devil continues to affect the world.
But how can that be? Where it says in Revelation 20 verse 10: And the devil who seduced them is cast into the lake of fire, the lake that is filled with burning sulfur, in which the beast and the false prophet are already. There they will endure terrible torments day and night forever and ever. Since the book of revelation was fulfilled in the 1st century, how can it be that the devil is still supposed to be up to mischief on earth? Something cannot be right here”.
This question is a particularly good and a logical deduction if you can accept that the book of Revelation was indeed fulfilled in the first century. In preaching a typical dispensational message you might hear the explanation that the two books which the devil hates the most is Genesis and Revelation. That is because Genesis 3:15 prophecies the defeat of the devil, and in Revelation the devil is cast into the lake of fire and so shows his end.
Those who hold to a futurist eschatology obviously see that ending of the devil as something that will occur sometime in our future.
My hypothesis in a nutshell:
The book of Revelation is a violent display of the change of the Covenants. The Age of the Old Sinaitic Covenant was evil in that sin gave opportunity to the devil to accuse Israel before God. That old Covenant was a ministry of death because it was the strength of sin and condemned the sinner. Until atonement was made to refresh the Covenant the devil had opportunity to condemn people before God. In the New Covenant sin is remembered no more. Humanity was made completely righteous in the risen Christ and reconciled with the Father. The New Covenant has completely excluded the devil from any opportunity to bring accusation based on sin. If a believer knows and understands their position in this New Order in Christ, they can walk in complete freedom from any influence of the devil. Did the historic event of the destruction of the elements of the Old Sinaitic Covenant in 70 A.D. spell the ending of the devil’s position as god of that age? Positively yes, but for those who do not have this revelation, (which is to date the majority of people in the world) the devil will just continue to seek opportunity to influence them. This is one of the main reasons to proclaim the true Gospel and spread the Good News. Not to get people to accept Christ so they don’t go to hell. No one is going to hell and all of humanity was redeemed in Christ. Yet, people must be set free from spiritual blindness by realizing the truth. The revelation of the truth will also break any influence of the devil in people’s life.
The Writing of the book of Revelation.
We must realize that many of our translations do not do justice to the original Greek. The other added element that causes a misunderstanding is the ancient Hebrew idioms and symbolism’s, which have traditionally been explained by western theologians, many of whom have not understood ancient Hebrew imagery.
I am not the model representative of the Preterist or Full Preterist persuasion. That is because many who do have a partial or full Preterist Eschatology also still believe that hell or the lake of fire is a future destiny reserved for the wicked and that there is an eternal damnation and separation from God for the unbeliever.
The quick distinctions within the Preterist perspectives is that of Pantelism and or Partialism.
Pantelism is all inclusive: Pan means all or altogether, whole. Telos means complete, fulfilled, fully accomplished, realised, perfected, or consummated. Christ redeemed all of humanity.
Partialism is exclusive: it is a view of “many or most people will be unbelievers and will go to hell or the lake of fire”.
Pantelism is not Universalism (or ultimate reconciliation). The contradistinction of Universalism and Partialism, to Pantelism differs greatly from their basic assumption that to the Universalist and Partialist being saved is all about one’s “eternal destiny”. In a Pantelist view there is the saving from sickness, disaster, destruction, or danger, i.e., the saving from the destruction of Jerusalem 70 A.D and the saving in the form of the eternal redemption meaning the eternal reconciliation of the world with God in Christ, which obviously also includes eternity in heaven.
Revelation 20:10 King James Version (KJV)
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Many Christians tend to take the Book of Revelation literal. If you try to understand the Book of Revelation with a literal approach, then you are going to come up with unbalanced doctrines and extremely weird explanations. There are several things we need to understand when looking at the Revelation. It was written by the Apostle John who himself was a bit of an odd character. All you must do is look at the Gospel of John and then first, second and third John. In those writings we learn a lot about his personality style and his character. His writing style was Hebrew and contains a lot of ancient Hebrew idioms and symbolisms. He preferred to express himself with a lot of emotion. Each personality style prefers to use the words which in their communications express that personality style. Personality styles, which are more analytical tend to use more words that express thinking, understanding, comprehending, knowledge, information, facts, data, etc. However, the Apostle John was a man who used words that emphasised feeling. Especially when you go through 1 John. There he uses words like perceive and feel. Right in the first chapter he talks about how they touched the Saviour. We can see that he puts an emphasis on the five senses, particularly the hearing, seeing, and handling i.e., touch. Going through the rest of the chapters he talks about how we can feel and believe the love that God has towards us.
The Book of Revelation is written containing more than 400 ancient Hebrew symbolisms and idioms. Hebrew language uses a lot of visual and feeling (kinaesthetic) words, which are emotionally loaded. Sometimes dreams are the way the sub and unconscious mind processes past experiences, current stresses, and future anticipations. Reading through the book of Revelation it is almost as if you enter the dream world of the Apostle John. At times it reads like a nightmare and then changed into this glorious exuberant experience in the throne room of Yahweh. The logic seems to be all over the place, just like in a dream world.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the emergency response of the Governments around the world, it is my observation that whole populations have entered a degree of shock state. The situation has impacted everyone’s life. If you have ever gone through a traumatic phase in your life, you know that during that period your state of consciousness drastically changed. I would describe it as though our external reality seems to implode whilst the awareness to our internal reality explodes. There is a huge shift from external to internal awareness. This causes us to begin to evaluate our true priorities in life and remember the things that are truly important. It leaves us coming back to our roots, realising that our relationships with our loved ones are of real value, not the house, the car or material things. This type of shift in our consciousness also causes us to become more spiritually focussed. One thing that is also quite common going through such a phase is that we become more acutely aware of our dreams. In fact, sometimes it would seem as though elements of our dreams flow over into our daily waking moments. This has something to do with the intensity of the trauma and is also much determined by our personal internal sensory acuity.
Have some of you not said that what we are currently going through in the world is almost like the movies or like a dream?
From what I can tell, because of this intense global collective trauma, we are currently experiencing the biggest shift in consciousness this world has ever seen. For some it is more intense than others, but everyone is affected to a degree or another. I wonder how you can now transpose your own personal experience to a people who lived in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee during the first century. They were a people with a glorious culture with a glorious religious and spiritual heritage that went all the way back to the first people Yahweh created. They were a chosen people, set apart from the rest of the nations. They knew their God and possessed a reasonable insight into the message of their Prophets. Many had come to believe that the age-old prophecies about the Messianic Age were beginning to be fulfilled since the arrival of their Hamashiach Yehoshua (Jesus Christ). Since His ascension into heaven, for almost 35 years they had been eagerly awaiting His return to judge their persecutors and usher in the promised Kingdom of God so they could obtain their redemption into heaven. They knew that event had to happen in their generation, because Jesus had told them it would, and the Apostles made a sure effort to elaborate on His Olivet discourse in all their letters to the churches.
In his book “Final Decade before the End” Ed Stevens writes; Summer 62 – The Book of Revelation was most likely written sometime between John’s arrival on Patmos in the late Spring or early Summer of 62 and the Neronian persecution in late 64 when he was most likely killed. It obviously had to be written before July 64 when some of the signs predicted in Revelation began to occur (e.g., the Great Tribulation or Neronic persecution). My best guess is that Revelation was written in late 62 soon after John had arrived on Patmos (Summer 62), nine months before Paul was released from his first imprisonment (Spring 63). That would explain how both Peter and Paul were seemingly familiar with the contents of the Apocalypse when they wrote their epistles (1 Peter and Hebrews) in late 62 or early AD 63.
A late 62 date for the Apocalypse would also mean that the seven churches had received their warning to repent by late 62 or early 63, over a year before Paul was arrested the second time and wrote his second epistle to Timothy (AD 64), in which he stated that “all who are in Asia [i.e., evidently including the seven churches] had turned away from him” (2 Tim. 1:15). It appears that John’s warning to the seven churches in Asia (AD 62) went mostly unheeded. *
By the time John’s Revelation was shared among the believers, Christians were just about to enter their suffering of the intense Neronic persecution. They were going to have to go into hiding. Some had already lost loved ones. During the three and a half years of persecution they could not openly meet anymore. They had to stay indoors, often hiding away from society. Imagine the trauma. Yet, the more intense their suffering the more they were filled with the fulness of God’s presence, and the more they could experience His empowering grace and uplifting love.
The more their external reality imploded the more they became tuned into the powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit operating through them. They knew their saviour was about to come back. They knew the dead were about to be raised on that great day of the resurrection. They knew that if they were alive at His coming, their mortal bodies would instantly be transformed into a glorious immortal body, and that they would meet the Lord in the air with everyone else and go to heaven. Wow, what a massive thing to look forward to. Imagine what kind of mental and emotional state they must have been in. As if they were dreaming.
The Apostle John had a sudden vision on the Isle of Patmos whilst all this stuff was going on. Having a vision of that calibre meant that he had fallen into a trance. For that period John entered a part awake part dream state. That is what trance is. You know when you are about to wake up in the morning, still half asleep. You are still dreaming, but you are becoming aware you are also waking up. In medical terms this is called Alpha state. It is a phase you pass through until you are fully awake. Most of the time people forget what they dreamed about. Sometimes, depending on how intense the dreams were, you can still feel the emotions, and remember some of the images of that dream as you start your day.
I am curious how you can place yourself in that moment in time more than 2000 years ago. It is somewhere, around 62 A.D. You are on the Greek Island of Patmos. You have arrived right at the spot where the Apostle John was praying. Revelation 1:10 says that John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. Here you are watching John. He is going into his trance, or rather, he is in this state, he describes as being in the Spirit. He is disconnected from his immediate surroundings in the natural. It is like he has entered a dream state. This, is not a normal dream state, because here Jesus appears to him, whilst in Alpha state. Here is John, an odd character who prefers to express his views using words that describe his internal kinaesthetic, and visual sub modalities. He is also a Hebrew with a rich knowledge and insight into his culture and spiritual heritage. Immediately, as he begins to come out of trance, he must record everything he saw. The Holy Spirit is upon him and inspires him to know what he should write down. Even though the Holy Spirit dictates the words to him, the Lord works through John’s personality. John is still one foot in his dream state whilst he calls his scribe to write down everything, he tells him. Tradition tells us that the Apostle John employed a Greek speaking Jew named Prochorus as a scribe, who is one of the first deacons recorded in Acts 6:5. And as Prochorus furiously writes listening to John, you watch the book of Revelation develop absolutely loaded with imagery and pictorial language relevant to what is happening in their world at that time.
In the next articles on this topic of “binding and losing”, we will discuss Revelation 20:10 more in depth.
I will discuss the symbolism’s of the beast, and the false prophet, and the devil who was cast into the lake of fire.
I will provide a more complete outlook on Rob Bell’s presentation on the “binding and Loosing” principle, from his book “Velvet Elvis”, and many more ideas that may provide a powerful revelation of our glorious place in Christ and the already completed defeat of the devil.