“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”
Beloved Family… it has occurred to me that when Joshua made the statement quoted above, to all outward appearances, it seemed as if he was leading Israel into an utterly impossible and hopeless quest. I say that because, at that time, the people he was leading had inherited the slave mentality and rootlessness, and socially and politically bankrupt state that had been the lot of their parents and recent ancestors. They did have some of the riches the Lord saw fit to supply for their parents when they were leaving Egypt years before. But they still had no place to call their own. All they knew was the nomadic existence of wilderness living. And they had already proven themselves to be timid and totally lacking in the aggressive assurance that would empower them to appropriate what God had assured them already belonged to them… a land and home of their own, that flowed with ‘milk and honey.’
Very few among them felt any hope or confidence of actually overcoming and displacing the well-armed and deeply entrenched Canaanite peoples that were currently in possession of the land that God said now belonged to them. So, when Joshua made this memorable statement in their hearing, no doubt many believed he was a crazy man that was harboring a death wish.
“When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan!” (Emphasis added.)
So at that time, the mood that prevailed among most of Joshua’s followers was one of fear and paralyzing hesitation. And I believe that the Lord wanted to use their situation as an object lesson, to teach disciples of every generation a very vital lesson in matters that concern the Faith of God’s chosen Jewish and non-Jewish people. Here is the lesson:
When it comes to how bad and ominous and threatening things may appear to your perceptions… and how hopeless your circumstances and situations make you feel… and how intimidating the people around you may seem to be… NONE OF THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES COUNT! There is only one matter to be taken into account:
Is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob really and truly the one true God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things and all beings, or not?
If He is utterly Perfect and All-Sufficient, in every way and on every level as He claims to be, then we can rest and rejoice and rely upon His Perfect Faithfulness and Infinite Omniscience and Omnipotent Power and Absolute Authority to see us through anything and everything. And, in that case, there will never be any real reason for us to hesitate or be afraid, or decide that we’ve reached a point where we have to draw the line on how much we can trust and rest in Him.
If what God has revealed about Himself is actually true, then we will never reach a point where we have legitimate cause to ‘draw the line’ and decide to terminate our Exodus Journey at that point and proceed no further. And, if we do decide to draw the line and stop… it will be at that point where we will stop following the leading of God’s Living and written Word… and choose the place for ourselves where we will eventually perish in the wilderness… in no man’s land.
Nothing Can Stop Him
So this is quite a lot for potential disciples who are being trained and equipped to face the powers of Darkness in deadly combat to grasp, absorb and learn to walk out, isn’t it? Nevertheless, this is what Scripture is revealing: Our infinite God can be trusted to an infinite extent! And nothing that He has created will ever have the authority and power and ability to defy Him or stop, or even delay the ever increasing establishment of His Word’s Authority and Government as He advances, generation by generation, all across the created universe.
God has revealed that no matter what the powers of Darkness may try to do or say to make it appear as if we have no chance of succeeding and winning this war we see raging all around us… He wants us to remember and stand on the solid ground that comes from knowing our Infinite, Omniscient, Almighty God as He really is… and holding fast to the fact that He, through His Living Word made flesh, has already routed the enemy and won the war… and the issue is fully resolved and eternally finished! In other words, God gives us airtight assurance that we have nothing to fret over or be anxious about, thanks to what He reveals in His Torah… in Genesis 1; 2:1-3. On the contrary, He assures us that despite the tragic carnage and destruction caused by the fall of our first parents in Genesis chapter 3, even so, because of who God is and what He has already done to deal with what happened… we can afford to rest and rejoice in Him, ALWAYS! (Philippians 4:4-9)
So, despite how the news of our present era may sound and appear to us; and despite the knee-jerk negative responses those things will make us feel in our gut when they first hit us, what we’re seeing and hearing swirling all around us is not really bad news at all. In fact, it’s wonderfully good news! And this is always what mystifies fallen human beings that have not yet been redeemed, regenerated and equipped with the spiritual eyes and ears that equip them to abide with God and share in His communication ‘wavelength’. Only those that are already His, and who enjoy the wonderful Gift of being filled and fueled by His Holy Spirit can be privy to the Reality and Truth that what God has said about having already won the war with the powers of Darkness and their deceived, enslaved minions… is absolutely true!
I say that this is impossible to grasp by those that are not yet equipped, because the strife, confusion, rage and contention that are raging all around us is the very sign that is letting us know just how awesome our Heavenly Father truly is and how utterly effective and successful His Living Word’s Absolute Authority and the relentless Advance of His Takeover really are! God’s Word and Spirit are truly with us, just as God promised. And He is making the Presence of His risen Son alive and real and electrifyingly effective and discernable from within our Spirit-filled inner being! He has placed what is Eternal within His regenerated people… and that equips us to bring with us the Presence of His risen Son into every temporary, fleeting situation and circumstance we encounter on Earth! Thus God’s Holy Spirit is able to work in us and through us and among us, doing exactly what He promised He would be doing in the Last Days! And the conflict and rage and opposition we continually encounter is the unmistakable sign that God’s Word and His Promises are absolutely Real!
“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of Living Water!’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (Emphasis added.)
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you!”
“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.” (Emphasis added.)
So, even though the world of our day seems to be on a speeding train to Hell, God keeps sending His Word and His Spirit to Earth to pursue it and continue to woo and draw it in hopes that it will stop resisting Him and finally realize who and what He really is! And meanwhile, we of this generation who have been called to follow God’s Word are being trained and drilled and equipped to stand and hold the awesome Blood Covenant Ground that God’s Perfect Faithfulness has given to us and entrusted to our care. We are to stand our ground and resist whatever the powers of Darkness may try to do to bluff, frighten or tempt us to do to the contrary. We are to persevere in the obedience of our faith until the lies and bluffs of our enemies are exhausted and they run completely out of resources, strength, and the ability and will to keep attacking us.
The day is coming soon when they will be ultimately and totally exposed for the frauds they truly are. And then the struggles will end, and we will completely overcome and begin to enjoy the inevitable Eternal Fulfillment of God’s Revelation concerning His Son, and His Commandments and Promises. That is what God has promised to us. And so, despite how things may look and feel and sound at this time, He is, even now, in our hearts and in our midst… providing everything we will ever need to withstand and overcome and persevere to the very end, with awesome effectiveness! We won’t be able to see and grasp this tangibly… but we are perfectly equipped to appropriate and enjoy the full benefits of this by the obedience of faith… faith in God’s Perfection and Infinite Credibility and Trustworthiness.
The Lord has clearly warned us about the need to allow Him to make brand new creations out of us. We must exchange what we are to start with, for the new creation that God intends to make of us. Therefore, we dare not decide to stay with the ‘hand’ that Adam and Eve originally dealt to us. The original life, identity and natural tendencies and urges we inherited in the DNA our ancestors passed on to us must be exchanged for what God offers to us in His Living Word and Holy Spirit. So, what humanistic people in this world call “MY LIFE” is totally unacceptable to Almighty God. None of that will pass His Righteous Judgment. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob views what we’re born into originally as nothing more than living Death! Here is one example of how God’s Reality and Truth directly contradict the common humanistic perspectives and attitudes of most of the human race:
“Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord. “For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”
And this revealed Truth underlies what our Lord endeavored to explain to His fellow first century Israelite, Nicodemus, who, although he was a highly respected member of Israel’s spiritual elite class, still, obviously, did not have a clue as to how seriously God takes the condition in which the human race is trapped. Unless something drastic happens to change what we are, unless something outside of us can radically exchange our original earthly life and existence we inherit at conception, we will not be equipped to enter and operate in the Kingdom of Heaven. Because he was born Jewish, and inherited the deeply embedded Israelite religious traditions and strove diligently to follow the prescribed lifestyle of the spiritual leaders of his people, Nicodemas assumed that he was therefore, ‘saved’ and ‘okay in God’s sight.’
And, unfortunately, our present generation has scads of people that, in their own way, make the same disastrous assumption. They labor under the same false man-originated beliefs and assumptions Nicodemus was embracing and trying to live out. But Yeshua showed him how wrong he, and people like him, really are. And what he said stunned Nicodemas and shook him to his very core. But whether anyone likes it or not, what Yeshua revealed at that time is absolutely True for us all.
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again (spiritually regenerated by God) he cannot see (much less enter and become part of) the Kingdom of God!” (Amplification and emphasis added.)
And, a few verses later, Yeshua went on to add the very crux of the issue that continues to cause so much strife and division upon this fallen earth. It is the issue of the incompatibility of the natures of the two different and separate human races that populate this Sin-corrupted, dying world and its systems:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have Eternal Life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the Judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the Darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the Truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God!”
And there’s the rub and the source of enmity between the two different human races, beloved friends. The activity of one race originates from fallen, Sin-corrupted, anti-God sources. And the activity of the other race originates from Almighty God! The first race is therefore, demon-driven, while the second race is Spirit-filled and empowered. God will accept what comes from His own Word and Spirit, but He will never accept what comes from His demonic enemies!
So when I see all of the strife and divisive turmoil roiling around the globe between those who are ‘born again,’ and those who still do not know anything about this critical fact and the issues that flow from it, I can see that what Scripture revealed is being demonstrated in living color and thus it is being fulfilled and God’s Word is proven to be true. It’s easy to see the total incompatibility between the two diametrically opposed human races. That explains why there is always so much conflict, turmoil, hatred and opposition in this world. And so, rather than being alarmed by what is going on, I believe we can afford to feel greatly encouraged, even though our national and international strife and turmoil have reached unprecedented levels of intensity and pain and are stirring up ominous levels of many different kinds of threatening emerging realities. At this time, people in America are even starting to fear the ominous unthinkable possibility of another civil war! Civil war is nothing new in human history, but the intensity and malice and destructiveness of the civil strife that will tear human societies apart in the Last Days will have no precedent or equal in previous human history.
But in the midst of all that is going on in our so-called modern technological world, I remember texts in which God’s Word makes some stunning promises to those who are His own… to those who choose to become His own faithful and obedient disciple servants. And these promises are what Joshua and other past generations of God’s faithful people were able to stand upon. They appropriated the guaranteed assurance that was theirs. This is what enabled and empowered them to stand firm and persevere and overcome… no matter what was or was not happening. They stood their Ground regardless of any temporary circumstances or situations they had to endure and deal with.
“But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham My friend, you whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.
“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; you will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, and will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, and the storm will scatter them; but you will rejoice in the Lord, you will glory in the Holy One of Israel!” (Emphasis added.)
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
The Lord is telling us that regardless of anything we will encounter in our day, we can afford to rejoice and rest in Him. He will always keep us covered under the Shadow of His Wings. And He will continue to separate those who belong to Him, from those that refuse to bow before Him and acknowledge His Absolute Authority over all of Creation. But after He separates those who are His from those who are not, and begins to deal with His enemies by exposing and devastating their Sin-corrupted empires and devices, He requires those who are His, to demonstrate the vast differences between the two races so that those who do not yet know God and His Word, may be drawn and attracted to Life and Light. And if that demonstration actually takes place, those who do not yet know God will see and experience the Reality and Truth and Goodness of God, and they too will desire to receive and have what they see the disciples enjoying as they abide with their ever-Faithful Lord and Master.
This is the real issue underlying all of the perpetual strife and conflict that we see taking place between the Holy Spirit of Almighty God… and the legions of demonic unclean spirits that infest the minds and hearts of the people they hold captive and incessantly ravage! God’s Word and Spirit are on the hunt… tracking and searching out those who are in desperate need of what only God can give to them. The strife and division we see are essentially taking place between God’s spiritual beings that serve Him… and those demonic spiritual beings that have chosen to be His enemies, because God’s enemies are reacting to the relentless approach of the Presence of Almighty God! The spiritual conflict that rages between them is what is also registering in our physical dimension of time and space! The demonic powers are in a panic because there’s nothing they can do to prevent or stop or deflect the oncoming Approach and Takeover of God’s Living, Creative Word made flesh!
“They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.
“Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
“And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.
“Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened. Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. And they began to implore Him to leave their region.
“As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and REPORT TO THEM WHAT GREAT THINGS THE LORD HAS DONE FOR YOU, AND HOW HE HAD MERCY ON YOU!” And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.” (Emphasis added.)
Notice what was really going on: The animosity and strife that filled the atmosphere weren’t being caused by the natural human social, cultural, political and economic conflicts that always plague this fallen earth. Those things are not causes; they are the results of other forces and activities that are heavenly and not at all earthly in origin. The turmoil we see is a reflection of the repercussions that bleed into this dimension from the spiritual realms. It is the war that has been raging between the Heavenly Hosts of God since Satan and his demonic powers of darkness first chose to rebel against Almighty God! That conflict is what afflicts the rest of Creation, including Earth; and it injects noxious lethal toxins that devastate and destroy whatever men try to do and achieve in this fallen world. What we experience in this ‘vale of tears’ is essentially the repercussive impact of whatever goes on in the spiritual regions of the heavenly realms! God is revealing through all of this that His Word is Supreme and Preeminent over all things, and that the day when He is installed on Earth as King of kings and Lord of lords is approaching relentlessly and inevitably!
So this account in Mark’s Gospel shows us that what we’re experiencing here on Earth, is a result of the enormous impact with which the Perfect ever-advancing Presence of God’s Living Word continues to terrify the demonic powers of Darkness that continually delude and enslave human beings, setting them at odds with their own Creator! The Lord isn’t here to attack, belittle or demean their human victims! He was sent by His Father to cover their spiritual nakedness and vulnerability to their demonic enemies! He’s here to take back from the powers of Darkness what has always truly been His! Father sent Yeshua here to set all humans free from the chains of their enslavement to the Father of Lies! He is attacking that enemy and his forces and destroying their lies, deceptions, traps and snares… on our behalf and for our sake!
“The people who walk in Darkness will see a great Light; those who live in a dark land, the Light will shine on them. You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; they will be glad in Your Presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian. For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
“For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the Government will rest on His shoulders; and His Name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His Government or of Peace, on the throne of David and over his Kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this!”
This steady advance of God’s Word, invading the dark realms of the Serpent, is what these texts are describing to us! Yeshua’s approach continues to greatly jar and alarm and terrify demonic spirits that are in His way. His approach arouses them to a boiling point of frenzy! And we can see this happening to those spirits that were infesting that poor demon-oppressed man that Yeshua encountered. The man couldn’t help himself. He naturally felt compelled to act out what his demonic oppressors were feeling at that moment.
But dear friends, that wasn’t a bad thing. What was going on with him, as far as he personally was concerned, was the very first step in his ultimate salvation and restoration! That first inevitable negative recoiling reaction he experienced at the approach of the Lord’s Perfect Holy Presence, was the first step of the process that was necessary to break his demonic chains and set him free! The same thing happens to each one of us who are set free from the awful demonic possession under which all fallen flesh languishes. It’s the first step of our reconciliation journey that ultimately bonds us to the One who is sent by our Father to rescue, redeem, restore and fulfill us!
So what we see happening in many of the worldly people around us is causing them to register the inevitable rage and hatred and opposition that we all feel when God first confronts us. At that initial stage, people who are at odds with their Creator feel as if they are being threatened by a cosmic ‘Meat Grinder’ that is here to destroy them! But that too is a deception foisted upon them by the Serpent. They are not being threatened with Death… The one who is Eternal Life is calling them out of Death and Darkness, and into His glorious Life-giving Light! And after they see the Light and respond to God’s call to Salvation, He will lead them into the other stages and phases that will follow. And that process will lead them into personal experience of the gloriously good and joy-producing outcomes that God has always had in mind for His beloved human beings.
I can’t help but think about this as I observe the very same thing happening all across our nation and throughout the entire world! Just consider once more the demoniac’s initial condition and his immediate knee-jerk reaction to the approach of Yeshua. It appeared to be totally negative and hostile! But the man was not expressing himself! He was acting out the terror and rage of the spirits that had taken possession of him! Can you see that the same thing is happening today, to many, many people. They rear back and hiss like serpents at anything that even hints of God and His Word and His people. They react like that because all they know at that time is Darkness and Living Death. They believe that the state they occupy is life, because they do not yet know their future Redeemer. This is what Mark was showing us in his Gospel account:
When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones… and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” (Emphasis added.)
Dear ones, the words that came out of that man’s mouth were not actually his words. They were originating from his demonic oppressors! At that initial stage of this encounter, there was absolutely no compatibility between the Perfect Presence of God’s Word made flesh and the demon-possessed, Sin-corrupted flesh of the poor man they were infesting and possessing. The human victims of the demonic oppressors naturally feel and express the revulsion, antagonism and enmity toward God that their demonic oppressors feel toward God. They also act out the malice of their captors by acts of self-destruction! The man in this account gashed himself with stones. And today, people attack themselves with addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography and many other kinds of self-destructive behavior! These helpless victims of unclean spirits must serve as the image and likeness of what is infesting them; thus they embody and express what is going on with their demonic captors. They must do that because they can’t have a truly independent existence and identity of their own. The powers of Darkness have robbed them of all of their original God-given birthright privileges and abilities! And that’s what happens whenever any human has been enslaved and remains totally captivated in the chains of Self-adoration by the powers of Darkness.
This is what Genesis reveals. This is the state we inherit from the moment of our conception! And, to one extent or the other, we all exhibit the traits and characteristics of our oppressors and pursue the agendas they impose upon us. So when Yeshua comes after any one of us, the inevitable conflict begins, and the human begins to feel the angry, God hating, repelling impulses that his or her spiritual taskmasters have injected into his or her human makeup. Thus a bitter warfare always exists between the Perfectly Righteous and Pure Nature of God’s advancing Word, and the fallen, Sin-corrupted nature we inherit from our parents. Those two natures are utterly incompatible with each other; and that is why they are always at war. Unclean spirits that inhabit so many people can’t bear to be in direct contact with the Presence of Almighty God, or His Living Word, or His Holy Spirit, or any humans that have been ‘born again’ and are now at total peace with God and filled with His Holy Spirit.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”
We are truly ‘born again’ when the Spirit of God is free to form Yeshua’s Perfect Humanity, Character and Disposition within our personal makeup. After God’s Word strips Death away from us and fills us with His Spirit, God’s own Eternal Life is imparted to us. Then the Perfect Presence of Almighty God, in all of its Fullness, can abide within us and Yeshua’s indwelling Presence begins to radiate out of us! And that is what has such a jarring impact on the people and situations that we encounter. No unclean spirit or fallen Adamic human flesh can bear to be in the Holy, Righteous Presence of Almighty God, which we are privileged to bear within us. And that’s why that demon-possessed man, because of the absolute incompatibility between his nature and Yeshua’s Nature, couldn’t help but express that horrid and violent demonic reaction that was registering and being expressed from deep within him! The resident demonic spirits within him were the ones that were screaming and raging and recoiling so violently from within his tortured flesh.
It’s always that way at first… when the Presence of God’s Living Word comes to fulfill His Father’s will and proceeds with His mission to rescue the devastated human slaves of the Serpent. But the Lord isn’t sent to torment or abuse or despise us poor humans. He is sent to break the deadly grip the Serpent has on us. That’s why He summons us to follow Him out from the Serpent’s Darkness… and into His Heavenly Father’s Glorious Light! This is always what God intends. But while we are still His enemies, it appears at first to us that Yeshua is an enormous threat. And His Holy Presence first appears to be overwhelmingly terrifying because the evil that resides in our flesh cannot stand to be close to His Holy, Righteous Purity. The Word of God overwhelms whatever is in us that did not originate with Him. That is what causes our flesh to recoil in horror. What is in Him goes directly against what is in us, as long as we still languish under the dominating malice and oppression of unclean spirits.
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in Heaven. But, whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in Heaven.
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his (radically independent) life will lose it, and he who has lost his (radically independent) life FOR MY SAKE will find it! (Eternal Life in God)” (Amplification and emphasis added.)
When we can grasp what is really going on and what God is revealing through these texts, we see that He’s warning us of what must inevitably happen as His Word’s Authority and Rule over this fallen world relentlessly continue to spread and deepen and take over more and more of the demon-possessed realms of Darkness. So beloved, I make no apology for being repetitious. We MUST have a firm grasp of what is going on in our day. And so I ask you to ponder yet again, the words of Isaiah that describe the coming of the Messiah into our midst:
“The people who walk in Darkness will see a Great Light; those who live in a dark land, the Light will shine on them. You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; they will (eventually, after they come to know You, they will) be glad in Your Presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
“For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian. For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
“For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us (to serve as our Covenant Representative and Champion before God); and the Government (of Almighty God) will rest on His shoulders; and His Name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace!
“THERE WILL BE NO END TO THE INCREASE OF HIS GOVERNMENT OR OF PEACE, on the (Eternal, Heavenly) Throne of David and over his Kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with Justice and Righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this!” (Emphasis added.)
And, in the light of this… ponder what Yeshua Himself said to His first century listeners:
“I have come to cast Fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division. For from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Emphasis added.)
“You who are far away, hear what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge My might.” Sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling has seized the godless. Who among us can live with the Consuming Fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?” He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, he who rejects unjust gain and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; he who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil.”
Matthew 16: 24-27
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the Glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds!” (Emphasis added.)
So take a deeper look at what you see going on in our own contemporary world… in every state and community and nook and cranny of our nation… and all around the globe. What do we see? We see strife and division taking place, don’t we? And we can even feel it trying to arouse and stir up our own fallen flesh! All of that arousal of our fallen flesh takes place between us and total strangers we may happen to encounter. And it’s even taking place between us and our fellow believers at times, and with the very people to whom, naturally speaking, we are the most intimately connected! This negativity, rancor, suspicion, hostility and aggression literally saturate our politics and the media and the academic platforms and the entertainment industries and our street corners, neighborhoods and households. God is dealing with us all… just as He said He would.
Do we not see that same intense demonic opposition being hurled against God’s Living and written Word… and against those who are entrusted by God to proclaim the Reality and Truth of His beloved Son? Do we not see violent, deadly persecution and undermining and attacks against those who strive to honor and obey God’s Word and His commandments… even within much of that enormous bazaar called, ‘Christendom’, that is made up of all of the competing organized, man-directed religions, factions, sects and denominations?
Beloved, the same scenario we read about in the Scriptures is continually taking place. Sometimes it takes place within us, and at the same time it is also going on all around us! And that means that this is a dreadful and most uncomfortable and threatening time for all of the unclean spirits that are infesting the people and institutions and structures of our current generation. What has been taking place throughout the past centuries, is repeating itself in the present era. And this is why the Lord’s disciples… ESPECIALLY the Lord’s disciples… must endure the rigors of their boot camp training. Every trace of that demonic God-less residue with which we are conceived must be crucified and eliminated before we will be fit and ready to be deployed and assigned to any particular sector of the spiritual conflict that is raging throughout God’s wounded Creation.
Conflict rages on every continent, nation, and nook and cranny of this current generation and version of our fallen world! The enemy is quickly running out of resources and time… and he knows it! And the enemy knows that God is relentless in His quest to rescue as many humans as possible. Father never stops endorsing and backing up what He sent His Living Word to do! So the devices of the dark powers are being hunted out and stripped naked and exposed for the lies and frauds they truly are. And our God is always abiding within, and hovering over those faithful disciples who are not ashamed of the Gospel and do not hesitate to proclaim the excellencies of their Covenant God, in season and out of season. So… is that conflict not leading to a very good conclusion?
Father Is Intent to Redeem and Restore
The Word of God is here, abiding in and around His own. He is in our midst to be the Covering that insulates our sinful nakedness from the Judgment of Almighty God’s Perfect Standards of Righteousness and Truth! And that is why He keeps separating those who are His from whatever and whomever is not yet His. And He will not stop doing this, until Father announces to us all that the time He has allotted to us for repentance leading to salvation, has expired. But until that time arrives, Father’s aim is for all of mankind to become His once again. And He wants no human to have to enter eternity in the doomed company of His demonic enemies. Those unclean spiritual beings have already made an eternal choice to rebel against and resist their Creator. So they are already condemned. But Father is earnestly intent on doing whatever is possible to redeem and save and restore each and every human that will finally submit to the Authority of His Word, and avail themselves of the Great Salvation and Redemption that He sent His Holy Spirit to apply to us. And God has entrusted the honor to the Last Days disciples, to embody and proclaim His beloved Son. They are to demonstrate through their yielded, crucified flesh, His Perfect Nature, Character and Disposition to those who still remain His enemies. In this way, He will attract, accept, reconcile with and redeem and become one with, as many of His current enemies as possible.
Father is always calling to anyone who will believe and obey His Word. And He begins the salvation process by separating them and leading them out from among the rebellious people that are not yet ready to repent and receive their salvation from Him. He separates His own from the rest and immediately enrolls them into one of His training centers and begins their boot camp training and transformation process. And after their basic training is complete, and God’s Spirit has transformed and prepared them to be combat-ready, He entrusts them with the commissions and assignments He has reserved for them and sends them back into the fallen world and stations them in their assigned sectors of deployment where they begin to play their parts in God’s Invasion of the realms of the powers of Darkness.
This is what is behind the enormous, worldwide ‘Separation Process’ that we are seeing and experiencing. God’s Word is what causes all of this division and conflict in our midst! The Holy Spirit is leading the entire human race into an enormous, well-defined funnel-like separating process. Those who believe and obey God’s Word are inducted into the Lord’s Invasion Force. And He will teach them to follow Him along the ‘Narrow Path’ that leads to Eternal Life. But those who refuse to forsake their radically independent existence will, by rejecting God’s Word, actually be choosing to follow the Serpent into the depths of his eternal condemnation, doom, and eternal Separation from God.
So at first, God’s Word leads us out from the midst of those who still resist and rebel and disobey Him. And this separation process continues throughout the disciple boot camp training of disciples of every generation. The separation process never stops until the recruits are able to fully identify with God’s Word and are fully focused upon being His image and likeness. Then, because God never gives up on any of us this side of Eternity, He continually sends His Word’s Spirit-filled disciples back into the world, to seek out those who are still lost. And, as more and more humans see and experience God’s Word as He lives and works through His disciples, more and more people understand, and obey God’s Word. Then the Spirit of God separates them as well, from everything they used to be, and cling to and believe… before they began to believe and obey God’s Word. All men must know that God’s Infinitely Righteous Nature is Perfect and Complete. So He will never ever change! And that is why, in order to become compatible with His Nature, we are the ones who must change!
So all the strife and contention we keep seeing is giving us clear living proof that the Perfect Presence of God’s Word is faithfully at work in our midst! This strife leading to the separation of the two conflicting human races is the very sign that Scripture said would appear whenever the Presence of God’s Living Word truly is at work within and among God’s human creation.
“At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.” (Emphasis added.)
The Word’s relentless, unstoppable Takeover is in effect! He is here in our midst… continually separating His friends from those who still insist on remaining His enemies. But His intent is not to abandon those enemies. His intent is to work through the obedient faith of His disciples, as they keep bringing His Presence back to them and demonstrating His Reality and Truth to them… until they become fed up with their personal misery and emptiness and finally turn to Yeshua, so that He can fulfill and satisfy them completely and make them His own at last.
The legions of condemned unclean spirits that infest the spirits, souls and bodies of rebellious radically independent men and women, recoil and scream in fear and hatred because they are eternally opposed to their Creator. That’s why they writhe in bitter opposition to His Approach. And they violently oppose anything or anyone that would represent and remind them of Him! People scream, rant and lash out at us because the spirits that dominate them know that there’s nothing they can do to stop the Spirit that indwells us. Bit by bit, person by person, whatever the demonic enemies of God have pirated for themselves, will continue to slip through their grasp and move further and further away from their malevolent, toxic influence! And they know that there’s nothing they can do to stop the Lord from advancing further into their domains and ultimately, taking over completely. He is attacking and devastating their demonic slave masters… in order to set all of their captives free:
“The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
“Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your Power; in holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew. The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
“The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses; He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. He will drink from the brook by the wayside; therefore He will lift up His head.” (Emphasis added.)
The Lord has promised that after He returns to Earth, His faithful disciples will appear with Him and will assist Him in the administration of His Government over the entire Earth:
1 Corinthians 6:1-3
“Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?”
“And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant…”
And so the demonic spirits screech and scream in fruitless protest. And they continue to back peddle, losing more and more ground, in their inevitable total rout and ultimate defeat. This is why we’re seeing so much conflicting boiling energy all around us.
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations. For anyone of the house of Israel or of the immigrants who stay in Israel who separates himself from Me, sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet to inquire of Me for himself, I the Lord will be brought to answer him in My own person. I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from among My people. So you will know that I am the Lord.” (Emphasis added.)
So beloved, we must remember what our Lord is here to do, as we bear His Perfect Indwelling Presence in our hearts and in our midst, into the future. The world isn’t reacting to us… it is reacting to the Lord who abides within us! He is the one that continues to stir up all of this strife, contention and separation that we’re experiencing all around us and even within our own hearts and souls. He is taking what is His, and separating it from what is still not His. That is not a bad thing! It is proof-giving evidence that God is with us, working in our midst, just as He promised He would do! When we can see Him in the midst of what is going on in this world, disciples should be very encouraged and realize that what is going on is very, very good!
But those who see this as something bad, and who feel as if they are ‘losing’ amid the tumultuous changes and turmoil we’re all experiencing, need to take a deeper look at what is happening. I pray that they will finally get a clue and see the Light that God promised would begin to shine in the midst of their profound darkness. They need to keep looking at what is going on, until they finally realize that the Light of God’s Word is causing all the turmoil. If they do, they will finally realize that the Light isn’t an oncoming freight train that is about to pulverize them. It is the Approach of The Good Shepherd… the one and only True Source of Eternal Life. He is looking for them and drawing them out of their dark lairs. He’s coming for all of us… to bless us and set us free from ourselves… and from the demonic tormentors that have deluded us into daring to place our poor pathetic selves on the Throne that belongs only to the one True Living God!
If someone’s subjective choice remains fixed on Self-life and its pursuits, and the Lord’s disciples continue to come near, the conflict will be stirred up. But when people around us finally repent and choose to follow God’s Word, He will become their Messiah too and will lead them out of their imprisonment and sentence of Eternal Death. He will no longer be terrifying to them. In fact, He will actually become One with them! And that will be the most wonderful thing that could possibly happen to any of us!
“Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”
“When He got into the boat, HIS DISCIPLES FOLLOWED HIM!” (Emphasis added.)