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Tape Eighteen

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1 Tape Eighteen on Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:45 pm

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The Traditional Antichrist
We are now going to jump into chapter 13 of Revelation. As we begin to read, these are verses that are most often turned to today in order to look for this personification of the antichrist that we’ve heard so much about in our lives. And the antichrist has been any of a number of persons in history. If you’re a student of history or you’ve been hearing Bible prophecy taught for any length of time then you’ve heard that the antichrist is anybody from Muscilini and Hitler all the way up to our most present personifications, or thought as such in Henry Kissenger and other men.

Some felt that it was Gorbachauf because he had that birthmark on his forehead because it apparently looked like a wound that had been healed. And that’s pretty bazzar, it takes more faith to believe that than it does to believe what the word of God says. Here we go!

Revelation 13
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy

Keep The Perspective
Now let us remember before we read even another verse. This is a book of signs and symbols. If we deter from that understanding, then things will become distorted. The plumb line we need to follow here is the very first verse of the first chapter, signs and symbols. Remember where John is when this is given to him. As he’s standing there on this great day and the heavens open to him and he sees everything we’re reading about in this book as he’s given a panorama view of the vision. Remember this is still where he’s at. He’s still in this same vision. No time has elapsed, it’s folded from the four horses right into this.

Understand this book is written in prophetic language. We don’t “need” to take these things literally, but we understand that these icons and symbols have a deeper meaning behind them. They mean something, they refer to something. Remembering that, understand what he just saw then is not some horrific special affect monster that came up out of the Mediteranian see, but that it was a symbol referring to something else.

2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority 3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints

The “Word” Is About “The Word”.
Let’s also remember as we pause for a minute here in the middle of the chapter, that this book is written to the first century believers. What may be vague and veiled to your understanding with all these bizarre images. What may be difficult for you to understand was elementary and easy for the first century church this book was written to. They understood things from a covenantal perspective from the beginning. They didn’t have to unlearn all the things we’ve had to let go of in all our years of tradition and (I’m sorry) doctrines of devils that have been taught to you in this book.

I’ve said this so many times that you may have become weary in hearing me say it, but this book is not a book about anything other than a revelation of Jesus Christ. It isn’t about the tribulation or exclusively about the antichrist even though we are gong to see a reference to it here, it’s not the emphasis or reason to become an alarmist. It’s not about all the fanciful ideas that we’ve been sold by the fear-mongers, spiritual terrorists that have tried to scare the hell out of us to keep us from going to hell. It’s about Jesus.

Hebrews quoted Psalms 40:7 when he says he came in the volume of the book. When I read the Bible I’m not looking for the devil, I’m looking for Jesus. Every line and every page and every sentence. This isn’t hype, this is truth.

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

I’m going to mess your mind up real bad in this. None of this is what we’ve been taught to think it is all of our lives. And I’m being bold and brazen just in saying that.

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six

Understand “Then” Before Grasping “Now”
Are we ready to go now? Okay, looking back on verse one, let’s consider what John saw on this panoramic view that God gave him. He sees this beast coming up out of the sea. If he is standing on the island of Patmos, which is where he was when this vision came to him, it is an island out in the middle of the Mediterranean ocean. Keep in mind we are considering this book from a historical perspective before drawing from the spiritual application it contains as well. We can not, I know there are many things I keep repeating, “Verily, verily I say unto you, and again I say unto you . . .”

But I want to make sure you understand that this is the key that unlocks the door of Revelation. We can’t understand what it means now until we understand what it meant to them back then. We want to approach the book with presumption. Preconceived ideas, principles, that turn into principalities in our own minds which dominates our thinking and causes us to read things with the wrong lens.

Seeing Rome
So, what did it mean then, as John is standing on this God-forsaken island and he’s looking out over this open vision that is given to him in prophetic language, and he sees a beast rising out of the sea. He’s looking in the direction of Rome. Rome was responsible for putting him there. Nero was the man who considered John to be a threat to all the Roman empire because this man had been there at the cross to see this Jesus die. He’d been at the tomb and saw first hand the stone rolled away and experienced the resurrection. And he also, like Paul, had been used greatly to spread Christianity all over the Roman empire.

So when he looks out across the waters and sees this beast rising up out of the see, if you take a look at a geographical map at that part of the world, you’d know that Rome is down on a peninsula called “Italy”. Right? It looks as if it just rises out of the sea because it extends down, this body of land extends down into the mediteranean. So when John looks out and sees this in the vision, he’s seeing this massive empire, the largest empire in that era, the greatest empire in any era as it was like an octopus extending it’s tennicles of enforcement in every direction.

John sees this Roman empire, like a beast, rising up out of the sea. This makes a lot more sense than some of the things we’ve been taught doesn’t it? If we understand more fully the context from which John is writing in as well as the symbols also. How can we just assume the word “beast” refers to the Roman empire? Not only does it refer to the Roman empire, it also refers to not only the political system, but the religious system as well. As was in the first century, so it is today.

Origin of Beast
The greatest threat to the church of the Lord Jesus is the political as well as the religious system. They walk hand-in-hand. Look at the word beast there in verse one. Where’s the first time you see the word “beast” used? In Genesis, “Now the serpent was more subtle than all the “beasts” of the field.” We know it wasn’t referring just to a snake that slithered around on the ground, but it was what was empowering the serpent. This is why whenever there are serpents that are unleashed and begin to strike the children of Israel in the wilderness, we’re to pay attention to the details that led up to the event. The reason they snakes were released was because of the rebellion of the Israelites against God.

This is where the Lord instructs Moses to form a brazen serpent and put it up on a pole and all those that look at it will be cured of the curse. Just as the serpent was lifted up on that pole, the cursed of all beasts, so Jesus was lifted up on a cross, becoming the curse of all men. Just as all who looked upon the serpent of brass, which again, symbolizes judgment, they were healed of the curse, so to are those that look upon Christ who died on the cross, to remove judgment, we are healed from the curse of sin.

Many of us are always looking at serpents that are crawling around on the ground, rather than looking at the serpent that has been lifted upon a pole. Some of us are struggling with things we can’t get delivered from is because we’re always dealing with the creepy crawling things of our flesh rather than looking at the one who has become sin for us and was put on the cross on our behalf. When Jesus said he’d become a worm, he was not a man, you know why he became a worm? He became a flesh-eating worm. So that when he got on the inside of you there would be nothing left but the things God planted in you to grow and nurture and become mature in him.

Sea = “Fallen” Humanity
So, who is this beast? He’s the serpent in the garden of Eden, he’s a dragon in Revelation, all grown up. He’s transformed from a snake to a dragon. When John sees him come up out of the sea, it reminds me of the first passage of Scripture in Genesis 1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form and void and darkness covered the face of the deep. God’s creation is not in a struggle with him, but fallen creation is. In fact, from there on, throughout Scripture you see this image, whenever the sea is refered to, it’s always referring to fallen humanity. Isaiah 57 speaks of the wicked being tossed to and fro like the sea. So whenever I see a reference to the sea, I know he’s speaking of humanity. He’s referring to carnal nature.

The Heads of Rome
Scripture says a double minded man is lost in all his ways. He’s like the sea that is tossed to and fro. It’s filled with all kinds of creatures. The deep in you. In fact Luke 8 when Jesus approaches the man with a legion of demons, remember that? And Jesus said “what is your name? And their response was “legion for we are many.” Remember what they begged him for? “Please don’t send us back into the abyss, back to the deep.” They wanted to stay on dry land, they didn’t want to leave the land, they wanted to stay. So, this first beast that he sees, it’s obviously Rome. It has 7 heads and 10 horns. If you turn to chapter 17 of Revelation, you’ll see what the 7 heads are.


Revelation 17
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. 12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

Not only does Rome sit on seven hills, but Jerusalem also sets on seven hills. And there are seven kings, five are fallen, one is, the other is not yet come. (verse 10) I’ll deal with the details of this passage more in-depth when we get to chapter 17 but for now, you can see clearly the identity we’re looking for and who it’s referring to.

Incidentally, horns represent power, in case we hadn’t already covered that. This beast that we read about in 17:12 as well as here in chapter 13, they are the governors that are over these 10 imperials. Rome had 10 different districts it was divided up in to. The 7 heads are the line of Kings, remember he said five of them are fallen, one is, the other is not yet to come. These are 7 Ceasors. John isn’t speaking figuratively there, he’s speaking from his own experience.

Understanding History
I don’t know how much you know about this era in history, but Nero who was one of the most wicked of all. It’s very incumbent upon us to study history other than just books that have to do with Scripture and see how it all falls together. Josephus, Fox’s book of Martyrs are books I’ve already referred to that gives us more information of that day. We are ignorant, many times, because we choose to be, we’re ignorant also because we accept and allow others to teach us tradition rather than truth.

Crowned as “Holy”
At any rate, Nero is one of these heads he’s describing here. And notice it says on one of these heads, his name is blasphemy. That is a direct contrast to the high Priest of the tabernacle because of what he wears on his own head. When we sing “holy” to the Lord, that isn’t just some accranym that we throw out there to fill the air with noise about. When we sing out the words “God is Holy” we’re singing that there is nothing in creation is like God. He’s in a category all by himself.

The priest would wear across his forehead a miter that had an inscription across it saying “Holiness unto the Lord.” Now, you can’t see it and some don’t understand, but the Bible is already clear on it that God has already engraved on your own mind declaring “holy unto the Lord”. The mark of the beast is as old as the book of Genesis and was taken by a man of the name of Adam it manifest in one of his sons who was born with his adamic nature by the name of Cain who had a mark on him. Stop reading the current prophetic word of the day and see what the Word of God says.

Warped Crownings
We’re not talking about your social security card number, your credit card, bar codes or anything else. The reason this particular crown stuck out is because as the priest wore names across their head depicting the holiness of God, this one we see here is depicting blasphemy. One who claims the authority of another, be it unauthorized. And what we need to understand is, these Ceasors of their day wore crowns that had the word “Agustus” engraved across the front of them because they claimed themselves to be God.

They required worship as if they were God. If they discovered you were a Christian, they forced you to either renounce Christ and declare Caesar as God, or you were beheaded. Many have taught, including myself, that this is what’s to happen in the future, but the truth is, it’s already happen and it’s still happening in the world today. Whenever I declared that Jesus was Lord of my life, because I was born with the mark of the beast in my mind. Ecclesiastes 3 says that man at his best is a beast. I had the mark of Adam in my mind. I thought like him, that’s the reason why the Bible says

Romans 12
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The renewing of your mind. That’s why Jesus was crucified on a hill called skull. Because the death that we experience in Adam was because he chose to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil rather than from the tree of life. It marked that man’s mind. And every human being that has ever come out of his loins has the same mark on his mind. Religious or pagan, we would rather eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil rather than from the tree of life.

When I was born again, there was my head taken off because I renounced the antichrist and I embraced the Christ. And I lost my head. Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus. There’s not much more to be said about that.

Truth About Idolatry
But Ceasar worship was common. Nero commanded complete obedience. In fact, he erected an image of himself that went 125 feet high. Have we not been reading about an image in this passage of Scripture? We’ve been waiting on an image being built over in the middle east somewhere and the image is in the middle of you. It’s between your ears. Image is the root word of imaginations. Idolatry, if I were to have an idol setting here in front of me, it’s merely a manifestation of what’s in my mind.

When men make idols it’s just a manifestation of what’s in their minds also. It’s a product of what’s in his mind and his hands. His mind conceived it and his hands made it, that’s what idolatry is. That’s not just relegated to what happens in third world countries. There are many that drive their idols to church on Sunday mornings and others live in their idols. Others feed idols. There are others that come to church on Sunday morning, which is to be a temple, and they’re to be temples and they’ve worshiped men who’ve they’ve let become idols to them because they don’t realize they are gifts from God in earthly vessels.

This is why they call on them every time they get into a fix rather than calling on Jesus, you call on men. There is one mediator between God and man and that’s Jesus. Men are used by God, but it’s through Jesus. When we worship the creature instead of the creator, that’s what that all means and we’ve been warned not to fall into that trap.I just happen to be used by God by standing here at the pulpit and let his words flow from my mouth. But the when I step down from this platform I’ll be just as dumb and full of flaws as I was before I walked up here. But he just decided he’s going to reach in and take his hand like putting it in a glove and use me for a while.

Man of Sin
The name of blasphemy, that’s what he was talking about. These cesars that were terrifying and killing, Nero and the others. In fact, many believe the man of sin that Paul talks about in 2 Thessalonians 2, the man of sin, historically speaking, it referring to Nero because he built an image to himself and required people to worship him. I believe the man of sin is the sin of man, we’ll talk about that later. All Christians were persecuted during this time. Here’s a little bit about the man Nero. When you hear some of these things, you’ll understand why he calls him a beast.

2 Corinthians 2
1 Now, friends, read these next words carefully. Slow down and don't go jumping to conclusions regarding the day when our Master, Jesus Christ, will come back and we assemble to welcome him. 2Don't let anyone shake you up or get you excited over some breathless report or rumored letter from me that the day of the Master's arrival has come and gone. 3Don't fall for any line like that. Before that day comes, a couple of things have to happen. First, the Apostasy. Second, the debut of the Anarchist, a real dog of Satan. 4He'll defy and then take over every so-called god or altar. Having cleared away the opposition, he'll then set himself up in God's Temple as "God Almighty." 5Don't you remember me going over all this in detail when I was with you? Are your memories that short? 6You'll also remember that I told you the Anarchist is being held back until just the right time. 7That doesn't mean that the spirit of anarchy is not now at work. It is, secretly and underground. 8But the time will come when the Anarchist will no longer be held back, but will be let loose. But don't worry. The Master Jesus will be right on his heels and blow him away. The Master appears and--puff!-the Anarchist is out of there.


2 Corinthians Continued
9The Anarchist's coming is all Satan's work. All his power and signs and miracles are fake, 10evil sleight of hand that plays to the gallery of those who hate the truth that could save them. 11And since they're so obsessed with evil, God rubs their noses in it--gives them what they want. 12Since they refuse to trust truth, they're banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions. 13Meanwhile, we've got our hands full continually thanking God for you, our good friends--so loved by God! God picked you out as his from the very start. Think of it: included in God's original plan of salvation by the bond of faith in the living truth. 14This is the life of the Spirit he invited you to through the Message we delivered, in which you get in on the glory of our Master, Jesus Christ.


Editor’s Note
There are reasons why I choose to continue using the Message Translation, coupled with laying out the entire context. For one, you can easily compare one translation with another and get an even greater or broader understanding of what’s been said. And the context issue is that we’ve too often pulled one-liners out of passages that were intending to mean something all together different. I want to break away from that which is another reason for the different translation, the Message Translation is very difficult to pull one verse out from the thought that’s being relayed, making it easier to get the whole message and not just a piece of it.

Thessalonians 2 “in” Context

With that in mind, understand why Paul is writing this passage in the first place? It was not to put to rest some of the rumblings about a rapture. This is why it’s sort of a red flag to me that the word is no where in Scripture. If Paul were addressing the Rapture issue here, wouldn’t it seem only fitting that he’d call it that? One of the problems Paul was dealing with is the fact that this church had accepted a doctrine that Jesus had already returned, thus their shock and amazement at what was about to happen next.

But Paul puts that to rest by plainly stating that specific things have to happen first. But let me begin by pointing out the fact that verse one has also been misused by the escapist theory. He specifically states that when Jesus comes, we’ll gather together. It’s preached that this means the rapture as everyone will be gathered in heaven, but that’s not accurate. He’s not saying we’re going to be taken up, caught up, taken away . . just gathered together for his coming. This means that we know ahead of time otherwise how would we know to gather together? Coming together of one mind. It’s the same picture as with the 10 virgins; 5 wise and 5 foolish, when the bridegroom came they “went out to meet him.” Not so that he could take them away, but so that they could bring him back into their dwelling place.

I find it interesting also that we preach that no man knows when the rapture comes, it just happens, yet Paul states here that certain things will happen before he comes, implying that Paul does know more about the coming of the Lord than what the church claims to understand. That verse they use that no man knows, not even the Son, it taken out of context as well. He’s not talking about a rapture their either, he’s talking about the fulfillment of a promise. All the way back to Pilate and the religious Jews pressed for Jesus’ crucifixion, Pilate even stated that Jesus was an innocent man but they yelled all the more to let Jesus blood be upon them, and their children.

Their rejection of Salvation was also their open invitation to judgment. The collapsing of a religious system was the judgment to the nation. The fact that they were so steeped in it’s laws was what actually pulled them into the judgment on a personal level. “They” were the ones with the God-given ability to bring the things Jesus described into reality. That’s why Jesus said he didn’t know, it wasn’t up to him to release the judgment, it was up to the people to call it into existence.

But the point here is, Paul is addressing those that are stirring up confusion by preaching a different gospel, just like what Paul was having to address in the book of Galatians . .same thing. People were rising up with twisted interpretations, bringing division and confusion into the church and Paul was running from church to church putting out the fires and reinstating the truth of Christ in that you’re saved by grace not by works, and Jesus won’t come back until certain events take place.
End of Note


Same Song, Different Verse

It’s really not any different in that sense today. There are still countless pulpits being used as launching pads for doctrines of men, but the problem is, there are no Pauls around to stand up and say “you’ve run yourselves off the road”. So anyway, Paul knew that the old religious system was still standing and Israel was still putting their identity in it. “That” had to yet be removed.

The “falling away” that he speaks of is the corporate, national rebellion from the truth. Jews out to kill Christians, sound familiar? It’s not about events that will take place 2,000 years later and the whole world will grow cold. It’s about the religious Jews rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, the nation of Israel as a whole, choosing law over life. Then the revealing of the antichrist was the setting of the stage for Nero and those that followed him. If there was ever a man that was beant on being antichrist, it was him. This was the platform from which Paul was speaking of, not some mysterious disappearing of the church 2,000 years from then. From the time when this letter was written, to the time when Israel collapsed was literally months or a couple years at the most. (end note)

A Few Things About Nero
Nero murdered many members of his own family including his own pregnant wife as he kicked her to death. Nero also enjoyed dressing up in clothes made out of hides of animals. He regularly raped prisoners, male and female as he was a homosexual as well. He still required people to call him God. He was the one that originated the idea of a Roman candle which is not the one we watch on the fourth of July, but it’s the one where he’d take Christians and coat their bodies with wax and tar and set them on fire and let their burning bodies be the light for his nightly garden parties.

It was an aphrodisiac to him, it turned him on to watch this terrible thing unfold. He loved watching Christians being tortured to death, then he would spawn out of that all kinds of various sexual perversions. He sounds like a beast doesn’t he? Before we get into the head wound in verse three, let’s first touch on the illustrations of the leopard, bear and lion. This is in connection with Daniel 7 because Daniel had the same vision.

Why does he see him in that way? How many of us have been in churches over the years and have had many people bring out these elaborate charts and try to explain away these things? It’s been said the reason we see 30 minutes of silence in heaven in revelation is because God is giving all the theologians and scholars 30 minutes of silence to get all their charts in the proper order. Someone added that they’d heard it was to allow the women to remain silent . . .all tongue and cheek of course. We’ve already learned what the woman in Revelation represents and it’s not a physical woman, but instead it’s the soul of man. The woman giving birth was the church.

Leopard, Lion, Bear
Now, the reason why he used the symbolism that he did is because for one, a leopard is quick isn’t he? He’s a quick animal. A lion, actually it’s the mouth of a lion that’s being addressed. A lions mouth tears and rips, there’s nothing that can resist it, not to mention the fear it instills in all creatures with it’s deafening roar. The feet of a bear, the weight and the influence of it when it stands up there’s nothing that can defy it. It’s just as intimidating as the lion’s roar and the leopard’s speed. This is the way John is seeing this whole Roman empire that’s before him. It’s swift, tenacious and intimidatingly powerful

And it says the dragon, who’s the dragon? Chapter 12 says he’s the old serpent that was cast down to the earth. The dragon has given this beast his seat and his great authority. And I saw his head . . .

3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast

The Wounded Head
Whenever we see a verse like that, instead of looking for a Russian president with a birthmark on his head, or we shouldn’t look for someone who’s going to be killed in the future and raised from the dead because Jesus is the only one that has the power of resurrection. That’s important everyone understands that. The devil has no power to raise anyone from the dead. Did you hear what I said? “Unto Jesus has been given the keys of death, hell and the grave.” If you’re waiting for some person to be possessed with the devil to die and then be raised again, no.

Once someone who doesn’t have the spirit of resurrection in them dies, they can’t be raised from the dead unless the power of God raises them and then judges them. So I’m not looking for some phony antichrist that’s to be killed or an assassin to shoot and kill some guy with a lot of Charisma. No, whenever I see someone who’s had a headwound and he’s been revived, I need to go all the way back and see what the Bible has to say about it and in Genesis 3 where it says the seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent.

Satan Cast into the Bottomless Pit
Even though when Jesus dies on the cross and says “It’s finished” and see those of you who’re waiting for Satan to be bound and cast into the bottomless pit at the coming of the Lord. It’s already happened! Colossians 2 says that Jesus spoiled principalities and powers when he was raised from the dead. Jesus came, it says in Acts 10, to destroy, you know if I destroyed this pulpit right now, in the definition of the word, you wouldn’t even find ashes or dust or any evidence that it ever existed.

The definition of the word destroy that’s used there in Acts means to totally annihilate. So the argument is, if the devil is destroyed, then what are we having a problem with? The dragon has been defeated by our knight named Jesus who wounded him mortally, but he still has a mouth. What most of us are dealing with is not so much the devil himself, but the memory. If Colossians says he spoiled the principalities and powers, do you believe he finished the work on the cross? Do you think Jesus was the seed of the woman of Genesis three?

When he arose from the dead, Ephesians says that “all” power, not some power or some now and some later, but all power has been given to him in all of heaven and earth. He has the keys to death and hell and the grave. He has the keys of the kingdom. He’s left the devil “keyless”. I’m not bringing a railing accusation. I’m just bringing what the word of God says. Far too long we’ve been double minded. We’ve exalted Jesus to one degree, while at the same time, we’ve also given the devil his place as well. In most Pentecostal and Charasmatic churches there will be more said about the devil than about Jesus.

The reason why the devil shows up so much in your life is because you talk about him more than you talk about Jesus If you would talk about . “the power of life and death is in the tongue”. . . if you would talk about Jesus!

He’s been stripped, Scripture says. Jesus made a show of him openly. It’s not that he will be defeated, it’s he was defeated. In most of the stuff we want to blame on the devil, isn’t him at all, but the mark on our minds that we continue to let manifest in our lives. Jesus wounded him to death at the cross didn’t he? This beast, but this deadly wound was healed. How can we understand this?

The Healing of the Wound
Lets be brought up to speed historically with what happened and go from there. By the time the second century rolls around, Christianity has invaded the whole earth. In fact, if you read the book of Philippians, you’ll discover that as Paul was imprisoned when he wrote this, by the time he got to Rome, members of the household of Caesar were getting saved. Can you see the impact of the reversal that was happening there? The house of the Caesar, the Caesar that enforced all people to acknowledge him as their God, yet the power of the gospel had infiltrated into the very house that had set out to kill it!

Acts 17
2As was Paul's custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he interpreted the Scriptures to the people. 3He was explaining and proving the prophecies about the sufferings of the Messiah and his rising from the dead. He said, "This Jesus I'm telling you about is the Messiah." 4Some who listened were persuaded and became converts, including a large number of godly Greek men and also many important women of the city.[a] 5But the Jewish leaders were jealous, so they gathered some worthless fellows from the streets to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. 6Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers[c] instead and took them before the city council. "Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are here disturbing our city," they shouted. 7"And Jason has let them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, Jesus."


The whole world, Acts tells us, had been turned upside down. By the third century, which was a terrible, terrible thing to happen, but Christianity had become the religion of the whole empire. But something happened, the tables turned and the thing got turned around. The reason for that is because what we need is not some legislative tolerance toward our freedom to worship. You can’t legislate righteousness. In fact, the church grew leaps and bounds when it was being persecuted.

[b]The Church of the Revolving Door

Do you realize if we did the mathematics and statistics on the church of Jesus, right now, we would come up, not with net believers but with a loss of believers. The reason isn’t because people aren’t being born again. But it’s because as they allow God to come into the front door of their hearts, the back door is open as well. And they’re apostatizing. Proportionately there are not any where near as many Christians today as there were in the 4th century and it’s due to the fact that we’re not persecuted enough. Does that sound radical to you? Look at the pattern from the beginning.

Growth Requires Persecution?
The church, in it’s conception, was not protected from the enemy at all. In fact, you can go even further back to Jesus himself. He was murdered by the very ones that proclaimed his arrival! And that wasn’t enough, that’s why the disciples went into hiding after his death. They were scared out of their minds that they’d be next. And, as Scripture and history will tell you, they were next.

Once the Holy Ghost came into the church in the upper room and introduced supernatural structure to the body of Christ, immediately came the persecution that forced the new believers to pull up their stakes and move into unchartered waters. But as they did, so went with them the power of multiplication in the body of Christ. But now, we’ve decided the way to establish the church is by electing and throwing our faith into men in high positions that will keep the ungodly at bay while we worship God under the protection of our own man-elected government.

We’ve Revived the Wounded Head
The reason why the early church grew in such prolific ways is due to the persecution. But things got turned around. His head (Satan’s) had been fatally wounded at the cross, but he revived because we gave him opportunity. They started out powerfully strong. When Jesus died, that was the ultimate nail in the perverbial coffin for Satan. Not just his death, which was the shedding of blood for all of us, but his resurrection was even more powerful. The act of overcoming death proclaimed that the effectiveness that Satan once had on this earth had come to a final end.

And then another forty days went by, symbolism of maturing and testing again. Jesus’ ministry started with 40 days of testing in the wilderness, and ended with 40 days of revealing his kingdom. 10 days after his ascension into heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit and when he came to the upper room, God did to Israel what United States did to Hiroshima only in reverse. The explosion of the Spirit came and Israel was the epicenter as it went out from there.

Just Like Jesus Said in Matt. 24
In Acts 1:8 Jesus speaks of this very picture. It will begin in Jerusalem, then spread to all of Judea, then into Samaria, then into all the ends of the earth. That is the pattern. And that’s exactly what happened. Just as Matthew 24 spoke of as well. It went out and covered the land as lightning covers the east from the west. And it did it all in a generation’s time. It became obviously apparent that the head of the beast was truly crushed. But then, the beast recovered.

He Changed His Tactics
Things got turned around. His head was wounded, but it revived. The persecution stopped. The devil finally figured it out that the harder he tried to stomp out the power of God, the more that it spread. So he changed tactics. What would I do if I were the devil? I would disguise myself to smell, look, and act like a Christian, if I had the ability to transform myself from the serpent and dragon into an angel of light, I would use that to my full advantage. Which was also already prophesied to us, he changed into an angel of light. He camaflogued himself to look like us. This way, rather than eliminating us, he’d simply introduce compromise.

I would get you to compromise and give you all the liberties and privileges that you want. You know of the saying you have to spend money to make money? Well, you have to “appear” life-like to get close enough so you can steal, kill and destroy those that have experienced true life through Christ. I would make it easy for you to be a Christian. “I would give you legislative representation that would draw a lot of religious attention to the nation so that I could redirect the emphasis from Christ, who is all power, and I’d turn it into a political campaign which in the end, would defeat the pure truth of the simple message through the means of complex knowledge of law.”

Revelation 13
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months

This beast we see here in verse five was given power for forty-two months. We’ve seen this before haven’t we? 42 months or 3 ½ years is a broken 7. We’ve already talked about what this 42 implies. 42 generations from Adam to Christ, we read about that in Matthew. Now, this beast, ruled for 42 months, or 42 generations, from Adam to Jesus. Prophetically speaking, until the seed of the woman was manifest and crushed his head. Think about that, from the garden of Eden to the birth of Jesus was 42 generations. During all that time, the dragon would be constantly speaking blasphemies against God and he had power . . until the cross. Then the 42 months came to an end.

6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven

Now what is “that” talking about? He blasphemed not only God, but also his tabernacle. Who is his tabernacle? “You” are his tabernacle. Know you not that you are a temple of the Holy Ghost and them that dwell in heaven? What does that mean? Them that dwell in heaven, does that mean that this thing that possessed Nero and the others that followed him would stand and look up to the heavens and curse God?

When he talks about blaspheming God’s tabernacle and those that dwell in heaven, is that what he’s implying? This is hard for some to embrace because to many of us, when we think of those in heaven, we immediately categorize that in a file of an after death destination. Dying and going off somewhere. Ephesians 2 states

5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus

Past Tense!!!!
Emphasis on the word “hath” it’s past tense. It doesn’t mean that’s what happens when you die, but it’s already happened. You’re not going to set in heavenly places later after your spirit leaves your body. The accommodations have already been made to allow you to enter into that place now. To sit with him, to “rest” with him in those high places and not individually, but “together”. A unified body in it’s perfected completeness. It’s not something to look for in the future, it’s to realize that’s where we are now! Heaven is not anywhere near as far as you think it is.

Phillipians states that our citizenship is in heaven. That’s not something that’s “going” to happen. A side note on perhaps why this was so profound to the readers of Philippi. Philippi is a colony that was not geographically connected to the Roman empire. But it considered a part of the Roman empire, even though it wasn’t connected.

And even though, I’m confined to the limitations of this body. I can not travel in thought, I can’t walk through walls like Jesus did in his resurrection body (physically, showing another spiritual truth that there’s no barrier when you walk in the spirit) That still doesn’t mean, even though I’m “removed” from heaven in those terms, that doesn’t mean I’m still not a citizen of heaven.

He That Hath an Ear . .
The reason why this is so important as we see in verse nine he interrupts himself and reminds us of how we’re to listen. “he that hath an ear, let him hear”. We’ve heard this several times in earlier chapters. Why does he keep saying that? He’s not saying he that hath “ears” plural, but here that hath “an” ear. He’s not talking about your physical ears, this letter is written to the “bondservants” of Jesus Christ. Remember a bondservant is one that has a pierced ear.

And they didn’t receive that until after they’d already served 6 years. 6 is the number of symbolism to understand with this concept also. After you’ve served 6 years and through your relationship through those years, you’re no longer serving because you have to, or because you owe a debt, but now you’re doing it because you want to.

That’s the difference between those that serve God because they don’t want to go to hell, or those that serve him because they want to go to heaven, both these concepts are based on works, but they’re still under the rule of debt. They have yet to acknowledge their Sabbath. Once they come to that realization then they’re transformed from serving out of works to those that serve him through relationship. Both still serve God, but one is bound when the other is free!

Pastoral Platforms of Fear and Intimidation
We’ve all experienced preachers that build reputations on altar calls. They build their sermons around manipulation and call it conviction. They build their messages around the fire of hell and the abandonment of heaven to motivate you to react to the altar call, and then later when you’re struggling to keep up with the laws of religion, they hold you over a barrel of bondage by reminding you that you made a commitment that day when you walked up to the altar and now you have to conform to the church’s standard of what a Christian is.

The thing the church has missed when trying to align itself with the church of Acts was, when Peter was preaching, the people couldn’t wait to find out what they had to do to be saved. They were the ones imploring him to tell them what they needed to do. His response to them was simple, repent. It wasn’t a long pious prayer to God with proper religious lingo. It was, quit doing the things you’re doing when the Holy Spirit brings them to your attention.

But the point is, rather than being manipulated by a preacher to approach the altar, you should be driven by the spirit to go. These are the experiences that become life-changing and you won’t need to worry about being a religious statistic that corporate leaders are governed by and encourage their Pastors when they see the numbers of first-time believers filling out their salvation cards on the rise.

We need to stop proclaiming what the church isn’t and focus on what it is. We can’t neglect it’s current condition, but we do need to understand much of the reason for it’s current state is because of our current proclamation. Preach a defeated church, and you’re going to get a defeated church! God told John as we’ll see later, that he wasn’t to measure the outer court, which is comparing what we do physically to where we are spiritually.

Temples of Bondage
We limit ourselves by our ignorance to what the spirit means because even though we’ve convinced ourselves we have an ear, the message can’t get in because our minds have transformed our temples into prisons and as a result our hearts are on a lock-down. But the Sabbath has arrived! The end of the debt has been paid! The six years of forced labor are over, and now, it’s time to be a servant as a volunteer based on love through relationship with Christ.

When the servant chooses to be his master’s servant because he loves him, the master then takes him to the threshold, or the door of his own house. This door is Jesus. See, this is the bottom reason why many out there and even in here are struggling with many of these truths that I’m sharing with you here now. It’s not because you don’t have the capacity to, but it’s because you haven’t made the decision in your own mind that you’re going to be free from your own agendas and your own selfish will.

Removing Self-motivation
You’re not serving Jesus just for what you can get out of it. What if, I had a news flash from heaven right now and it said that everything that you’ve been told about what Jesus was going to give you after you died and gone to heaven. Or what if I told you that tomorrow everything you’ve accumulated over all these years, all your gold and silver, all your trinkets, everything that you thought Jesus gave you is Jesus, work and all.

Some argue “No, when I came to Jesus Scripture says he’d give me all that.” I want to tell you that stuff is moth and rust. Scripture says we’re not to seek those things that men lay up. Things that moth and rust doth corrupt. Matthew 6. This isn’t about silver and gold. This isn’t about toys. This is about Jesus. Jesus is my inheritance. I don’t serve him for the gold and the silver or the cars or because he gives me a nice house to live in. I serve him because he died for me and he bought me!

Pierced Hearing
I’ve had my ear pierced. I haven’t kind of had my ears “touched” with the truth. I haven’t had my ears itched as it were. Remember, because the Bible states that there would be people that would heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils because they want their ears scratched. Does God not want me to have things then? No, he just doesn’t want things to have you. He doesn’t care what you drive or live in or where you go or what you have as long as whatever it is, doesn’t have you.

Can you let that go? Can you drop those things around you right now? If he came to you at your home and simply said, let go . .could you do it? He is my inheritance. I’m not serving him for some mansion with streets of gold. That’s self-centered. Get your nose out of your navel and get your eyes on Jesus. Has your ear been pierced? You say you’ve been a Christian for more than six years, this isn’t about a tangible length of time. This is about the symbolism of the number, not the number itself.

It’s about you coming to the end of yourself, six, the number of man. And you find your identity, your fulfillment, in him and he pierces your ear. Your spiritual hearing. Jesus said my sheep know my voice. Why do you suppose he said that? Because he had his ring of eternity in the ears of the bride who’s been pierced at his threshold. Once he’s got us pierced, he then can lead us anywhere he wants to. He’s not just scratched our ear, but he’s pierced us.

There are still many that don’t understand what I’m talking about because what I’m speaking are the mysteries of the kingdom, the very same thing that Matthew 13 is speaking about. There are many in the church that choose to have their ears scratched with things they want to hear rather than have them pierced with things that require devotion and commitment.

10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

There are two arch enemies the Christians had in the first century, one was the Romans, the other was the Jews. This is not intended to come off as anti-Semitic, but it’s history as well as Scriptural. John 19 states it clearly that it was the Jews that cried out “Let his blood be upon us and our children.” They brought the curse upon themselves whether the current day politically correct Jews like it or not.

Killed by the Sword, Die By the Sword
Here Jesus is saying those that have killed by the sword, die by the sword. The sword they killed Jesus with wasn’t a physical sword as much as it was a spiritual one. Their very words put Jesus to death. And his word brought judgment to them. It was the sword of the word of God. They came into a league, the Roman government.

If you go to John 19 you’ll read that as Jesus was brought to them by Pilate and Jesus was standing there bludgeoned and bloodied with a crown of thorns on his head and Pilate declared to them, “Here he is! Here’s your king!” What was their response? “We don’t have a king . . .Caesar is our king.” When they said that, they became the harlot they’d been all those centuries. The reason this is so profound is because if there’s anything the Jewish people hated it was idolatry or anything that was made in the image of an idol they were quick to condemn.

But they embraced the ultimate of idolatry when they took Caesar as their king. They took the mark of the beast. That’s the reason why the nation of Israel has gone through such persecution, it has nothing to do with my love or respect for the Jewish people or any other people group because it’s about a people group. Jesus has torn down that middle partition. There is neither Greek or Jew, male or female in Christ. It’s not about one nation over another.

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

Comes out of the Land Instead of the Sea
The first beast came up out of the sea, this one is coming up out of the earth or the land. Which without running down all the references, this beast that comes out of the land is the apostate nation of Israel. Because whenever the Bible refers to “the land” it’s always referring to Israel coming into their inheritance. The land that God had given to Abraham, and he calls them a beast as well because they joined in a league with the Roman government in that they hate the Christians. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 24 that there’d be many that would come and claim they are Christ and here we see this beast is coming from the earth “like” a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.

You know who Paul’s worst enemy was? The Judaizers. (Pronounced “Judee-izers) He’d go and preach, people would be saved and miracles would occur, then these guys would follow him and try to dismantle everything that he’d gone and established. Who were these people? They were ones who were of the Jewish faith, that had embraced Jesus but they also required you also embrace the laws of the Jews. They had not come full into the fulfillment of what Jesus had done.

These Jewish false prophets appeared to the church as a lamb, but they were wolves in sheep’s clothing. This is why Jesus warned about them early on in Matthew 7 that they’d be coming and their cunning ways, if left unchecked, would tear the church apart.

12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

The mark of the beast, this is extremely important. If there’s anything that is used as a means to deceive God’s people today it is what is categorized as the miraculous for the supernatural. This all has to do with measuring the outer court that’s still for us to get to later on. But it’s all tied in with how we measure ourselves with the truth. If you have two people that come in and they say two different things, but one of them just laid hands on someone and they were healed immediately. Which one of these two people would you be quickest to believe?

Because of what we “see” with our physical eyes, we make a mental decision as to whether or not we’ll receive the words being spoken. A person’s demeanor may be the key to reaching those that the person is trying to reach. Simply because they come across as likeable, or believable or what have you. This is very much how the theory of rapture more than likely infiltrated into the church in the first place. Men of God didn’t take the time to notice the pattern of the true before making changes to the teachings that had been passed on to them. And now it’s embedded so deep in the church today that it comes as an appalling shock to hear anyone suggest the rapture isn’t going to happen.

Slight of Hand

But again, false prophets don’t start out that way, they start out with a unique gift that not many others understand or operate with. But then it becomes more of and obstacle in the church rather than a relief. In the first century church, there were actually prophets that could perform certain miracles by the slight of hand. That’s not a term that I came up with, Paul talks about a slight of hand, a cunning and twisting of the word of God.

The thing that I think the church needs to be alerted to right now is not the old cult. But we need to be concerned about the things that make themselves as angels of light and find their way right into our ranks. We are always judging people by their gifts rather than their fruit. The very elect can be deceived. And we think just because . . . you understand that the gifts and the callings are without repentance. Just because a man has a gift, doesn’t mean that he’s being used by God.

Gifted Without Repentance
That’s one thing the church has had to mature through. We’ve lived long enough through and age of scandals, where we sit stunned. “Dear God, I can’t believe that so-and-so was just caught doing this, . .we sent money. I called and people prayed with me” . .so on and so forth. But you’ve got to remember that the gifts and the callings are without repentance. What that phrase means is, God doesn’t revoke the gift he gave you because you walked away from him. God’s love and gifts are given unconditionally. If he were to take them back because you chose to live however you pleased without him, that would be under conditional situations.

Some time ago there was a man who had been greatly used by God and walked away from it and was out in the secular world and on a whim decided he’d go back into the ministry. He never went through any repentance or restoration of any kind, or properly submitted to authority. So he called his daughter and asked her to be a musician for him in his ministry and she responded “But Daddy, you’re not even saved.” And he said “Ya, I know but it’s the only thing I know how to do.”

Enough Philosophy, More Discernment
That’s the reason why it’s so important that the church today has, and exercises the gift of discernment. The church today is glutted in knowledge, very very shallow in discernment. Paul prays in Phillipians “I don’t pray that you’ll increase in knowledge, but in discernment.” Most of us don’t really need that much more teaching, we just need and increase of discernment.

Wrongly Judging Authority According to Operation of Gifts
The scary thing to me is there are places today all over the country where people gather together around men that really don’t even have a valid gift from God. They’re just working out of their own charisma. Sometimes they can even muster up sensational things and because we are in love with sensational things that we can’t see the difference. In fact it goes back to where I began this, people quickly judge whether or not God is moving in the services according to how often the gifts are being exercised or how many people are being healed.

We don’t call people up and give everyone a prophetic word or we don’t call people up and everyone gets healed. We can’t work that up, it does happen on occasion, but it’s not something we conjure up with our own planning. The spirit of God distributes the gifts severally as he wills. But you understand if I said “let’s go home everybody” that if we are discerning and we understand what God is doing at any given moment, that what has happened here in the last few minutes is just as powerful as if 100 blind people just got healed.

That’s why people are so suspect to the hype. These guys have the ability to perform miracles to call fire down from heaven. God help us be able to discern the difference between gifts and the giver. The charisma of men and the spirit of God. I want to hear the voice of the Lord. Not a religious peddle pusher. What we want to experience is the losing of our minds. Some may think that is some suedo spiritual talk, I know over the past several years the importance of the fact that this is what needs to take place in all of our minds. I’m not talking about a nervous break-down, but the Bible talks about in the book of Psalms that men would come to a place where’d they be at their wits end.

When I’m Weak . . .
One of the best things in the world that will ever happen to you is when you get to the place where you don’t know how to do anything anymore. Because the thing that’s the most popular thing today is the how-to, the how-to, the how-to. And it’s not about how, but about who. Who do men say that I am. I don’t want to seek his hands anymore, I want to seek his face. If I can have intimacy with him I don’t care if I never see another miracle. Do I want miracles? Yes, but understand, it’s the “children” of Israel that knew the acts of God, but Moses, a man, a mature man knew the “ways” of God.

So get more exited about God rather than the manifestations.


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