Meaning of “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting”

 
“In Chhattisgarh we dealt with a young woman who was severely demonized. That particular case took us 3 days instead of the usual five minutes. The Lord had sent a message to me about [prayer and] fasting before we had left Delhi and I didn’t know why until I got there.
 
She was a young girl in her early twenties. She came to a large meeting of about a thousand people in a church. When she came up for prayer for a skin issue it seemed like no big deal. I laid hands on her and then the trouble began. She went backwards and screamed in agony. The spirits threw her body around, and locked her jaw so she could not speak. We stayed with her for at least 4 hours that afternoon while she was partly unconscious and overcome with these spirits.
 
 
  
This is the sister with me…as you can see my eyes are closed…I was so tired!
 
Her mother, brother and sister were there in shock. They later told me that they had never seen her like this and she went to church and read her Bible on occasion. Every time I attempted to touch her she screamed in agony. It was a battle I had never seen before. When I got home there was some backlash from it I believe with another attack of the shingles as well. There is definitely a hierarchy to some of these spirits. Glad for the teaching from the Lord on it and to experience it on the field.

I knew then why the fasting was important. Thank God for the help!
 
We worked with her a second day, and she came to the training still exhibiting some bondage even though most had left. Initially, these spirits were very strong and settled in her and crafty. Many times the pastors around me would ask her if she was okay and if these spirits were gone and she would nod her head and say yes. I would have her look me in the eye and seconds later she would manifest again. That happened many times.
 
Eventually on the third day, they had invited us to their home. There I heard stories of hauntings and still some Hindu worship going on. We counseled them to get rid of those things and went through the house and rebuked. Glad to have had much experience in this area anyway. 
 
She is doing well now and I look forward to seeing her again next time I’m in Chhattisgarh. Her brother said he didn’t believe in things like that and has since changed his mind he said! The sister had later said that she ventured into a forbidden temple area (on a road trip with friends) and saw an evil spirit. She fell sick immediately and was not the same since. She slept most of the time and was not her usual self. It wasn’t until the meeting that the truth came out.
 
Thank God she is delivered and I am grateful for the experience and meeting a new friend and sister in the Lord.”
 
-Shelly Ragen from her 2016 Mission Trip to India
 
 

Denial (of reality) in the Church


Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Based on this Scripture, in some streams of the Church we are taught that after an infirm believer prays to God asking him for healing, he or she first believes that the healing has already take place. If this condition is satisfied, than the believer will in fact be healed in reality. But if the healing fails to materialize—and it often does—it is therefore attributed to the believer’s lack of faith. The blame is laid at the feet of the sick person.

How should we evaluate this?

Since the subject is miraculous healing, we need to know what the New Testament teaches about the healing of physical infirmities. After an examination of the Scriptures, we see that the New Testament never taught traditional healing prayer, that is, we pray and ask God for the healing and then leave the results up to Him. Jesus never taught his disciples to pray and ask God to heal the sick as is done traditionally in the Church today. Rather he taught them to heal the sick using the power and authority he had given them (Luke 9:1-2). Even James in his Chapter 5 did not teach traditional prayer for the sick. Instead he taught elders to “pray over” the sick, which upon critical analysis is not the same as to “pray for” the sick. What James taught in his Chapter 5 rightly follows what Jesus taught, that is, healing the sick with power and authority.


What James taught


Moreover, although Jesus did commend some believers who had received miraculous healing from him because of their faith, he never told anyone that they were not healed because they lacked faith. Although faith is indeed important (although not always necessary) in being healed, Jesus never taught that a lack of healing is due to a lack of faith.

Scripturally speaking therefore, Mark 11:24 should not be applied to the context of healing—an area where traditional prayer to God is not a primary factor but rather the exercise of power and authority by believers over the disease.

That is why when Mark 11:24 is applied for healing it often does not work. Nevertheless, believers are taught to continue believing and confessing that they are healed. Everyday they confess that they are and have been healed despite the persistent symptoms of the infirmity. (In some sense, they are to be commended for their clinging to what they have been taught, albeit erroneously, from the Word of God despite the harsh reality of their symptoms.)

But sadly as we have seen, what they have been taught based on Mark 11:24 is not clearly supported by the overall context of Scripture. Their persistence therefore in believing and confessing and claiming that they are already healed can at times amount to little more than denial of reality.

If the Church, however, studies the New Testament Scriptures closely to learn how to minister to the sick, many more infirm believers will be healed than we see now.


Self-Deception in the Church?

 

 

Jim1

Bali, Indonesia: stroke victim walks & talks in Jesus’ name

Indonesia has more Muslims than any other country with the fourth largest population on earth “My time in Sumba (Indonesia) was again tremendous. Hundreds came to the Lord and close to thirty Merapu tribal people included. Major stories are a man with cataracts, and a stroke victim in Bali who could not speak or walk without the aid of a cane for a year. He could only motion with his hands what he wanted. This one I have on video taken by a cell phone a few moments after I had ministered to his legs…

About a year ago this man (of Hindu faith) had had a stroke. He could not walk without a cane plus the help of an aide as well as not being able to speak. He is a well-known artist and has not been able to continue to make a living. On August 2 there was a high school reunion in which the two ladies in the video attended. They befriended their school mate due to his situation and began to visit with him almost everyday since the 2nd of August. I taught a mini course at the ladies church on a Sunday evening and they brought me to his house the next day. Turns out this day was his birthday. With the aide of a lady he was led to a “birthday table” and motioned through his hands that he would like a drink of water. I was able to share the Gospel with him and I asked if I could minister to his legs. The result was immediate as he stood up and began to walk. The cell phone video starts as I began to minister to his voice box for him to speak. The results are documented in the video. He is now a follower of Jesus!!  A Merapu tribal woman delivered. I had to put my fingers on her tongue as her whole body was cramped like a stroke victim as she lay on the floor. Even her tongue was cramped too. Here are photos of a fellow from the Merapu tribe on the island of Sumba. In the second photo below he is counting my fingers as he is healed from his cataracts.

ministry to man with cataracts

 

catact man Sumba

 

The Merapu tribal people drive a 4-foot carved stake into the ground on the right side of every house. Usually each stake has an image of a head of sorts.”

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  – Received August 2015  from missionary Jim Hathaway who trained with The Elijah Challenge in 2008

Reports from Jim Hathaway

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Jesus heals paralyzed Hindu man in Orissa, India

Reports from Subodh Kumar Jena

Orissa, India

In the first week of October 2014 we had a one-day meeting in a place called Khariar in the district of Nuapada. There were around one hundred and twenty people, both Hindus and Christians, who attended the programme.  

 

 

There were many people healed from several diseases such as back pain, eye infection, high blood pressure, fever, asthma, and so forth. But one of the healing testimonies and one involving deliverance were very significant.

A Hindu man named Patel had been paralyzed for many years. He was treated with several medications and had spent much money, but he never felt any change in his condition. Just a few days before our meeting he came to know about Jesus and his healing miracles. He had an expectation to receive healing from Jesus.

He came to the meeting with the help of a family member since he did not have the strength even to walk. Everybody knew him and had seen him before. After the preaching we ministered to him. Wonderfully he was touched by the Lord and received strength in his legs. He got up and started to walk. Praise the Lord!

 


A Hindu woman had been possessed by a demon for many years. She was not able to stay still but would wander here and there. The people were not able to control her. She would scream and shout if anyone tried to restrain her. Her husband had taken her to many sorcerers (witchdoctors) but she was not set free. The family had lost all hope of her being healed from the demonic affliction.

But when they heard about our programme they decided to give it a try. Praise the Lord she was miraculously delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

Texas woman with congestive heart failure walks around & feels well after disciples minister to her

Strength returns to woman with congestive heart failure 

In Palestine, Texas The Elijah Challenge was taught for a small group of disciples to equip them to bear greater fruit for the kingdom of God. The Lord confirmed the teaching from his word with various miracles.

On Saturday we were eating lunch with the disciples in between training sessions held in our host church. A gentleman we did not know (but known by the others) who had not come for any of the earlier sessions on Thursday and Friday walked in and sat down at the table. He looked over at us—fixing his gaze on us for several seconds. Choking on tears he began to prophesy to us in the Spirit, saying things to the effect that we were “anointed” and real servants of the Most High. We did not know what to say.

Below are some highlights of the Training… 

Vivian, a sister in her late sixties, had congestive heart failure as well as a bad knee and severe varicose veins. She was not able to walk a few steps without getting out of breath. But after the Palestine believers laid hands on her, she was able to walk up and down the aisle again and again without feeling any shortness of breath. The pain in her knee had vanished and her bulging varicose veins were shrinking. 

Sister Paula had served in the first Iraq War and in Saudi Arabia. She returned to the US suffering from a host of infirmities, among which was extreme lethargy and lack of energy. After the believers laid hands on her, she went outside and ran around the house feeling her strength had returned. 

Some of the disciples were greatly stirred by the teaching, and want to obey the Lord’s command to “heal the sick and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God is near you.'”

November 2014

 

Nearly deaf boy healed in the name of Yahshua the Messiah


Tom Linebaugh of the Tower Light Guys


Testimony of miraculous healing from Tom Linebaugh

“We have seen many miracles in the name of Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ).

One that stands out is a young boy about 5 years old with severe ear problems, not able to hear very well. As I had him place his fingers in his ears, I held his hands. I started commanding healing into his ears about seven times.

As I commanded healing into his ears his body kept bouncing left and right, like he was reacting to something going on in the spirit realm. He said what was happening was very loud and coming from both sides at different times as his body bounced side to side.

Afterwards he had better than average hearing—that is what I asked for when I left him. When I saw him again a few days later, he was back to the same poor hearing. The spirit in me welled up with anger against this attack on him. With my fingers in his ears I aggressively commanded healing and that the spirit of deafness would leave and not come back in the name of Yahshua the Messiah.

The good news is he is now healed and delivered. The doctor reported a week later that his hearing is back to 100%.

The odd thing is his sister came down with the same problem later. But she was also healed and delivered very quickly by Yahshua the Messiah through faith in his name.”

 

Editorial: “Yahshua” or “Jesus”?

The name of Jesus is of course pronounced differently in different languages. Believers who speak English traditionally pronounce his name “Jesus”, while believers in China pronounce it with a different sound according to the Chinese language. Arabic-speaking believers might call him by the name “Isa.”

Recently there are English-speaking believers who now call the Messiah by his original Hebrew name “Yahushua” instead of “Jesus”—which is said to be based on “Iesous”, a Greek/Latin corruption of his original Hebrew name. (“Yahushua is the true name of the Messiah”)

Is there a preferred pronunciation of the Lord’s name? For example, is he more pleased when we address him by his Hebrew name “Yahushua” than by the perhaps less accurate name “Jesus”? Or is the Lord more apt to answer prayer when we lift it up in his name in Hebrew instead of some other language?

I think not. The important consideration is not the exact pronunciation of his name, but rather that we know him personally as our Lord and Savior and that he lives in us by his Spirit.

First let’s take a familiar illustration. Let’s say my legal name is Robert—my “real” name. However, my family members call me by my nickname “Bob.” Acquaintances outside of my family will call me by my formal name “Robert.” But it makes no difference to me whether those who know me call me “Bob” or “Robert.” I will respond immediately to those I know.

In the same way, if we have a personal relationship with the Lord as Scripture teaches, the exact form of the name by which we address him should not be a major consideration. If we feel obligated to address him by his name in the original Hebrew because it seems to be more accurate, then by logical extension shouldn’t we also learn to pray in the Hebrew language as well? This kind of thinking carried to its logical end has led to the (formerly) required use of Latin in Roman Catholicism and in Islam the “sacred language of Arabic.” But the Way is different. We know the Lord not through a particular language, but by faith in him regardless of what language we speak.

In Acts 3 the Greek text tells us that Peter healed the lame beggar in front of the temple gate by faith in the name of “Jesus” or “Iesous” in Greek. (If Peter actually spoke the words in the local Aramaic dialect, we do not know exactly what form of the Name he used.) Here a very powerful miracle was performed in the name of “Jesus.”

We personally have seen many miraculous healings take place when authority is exercised in the name of “Jesus.” Many trained English-speaking disciples have also witnessed miracles when they minister healing in the name of “Jesus.”

Non-English-speaking disciples we have trained have also seen powerful miracles when they issue commands in the name of “Jesus” in their own native language whatever it might be.

Some servants of God in Indonesia when ministering healing to Muslims in the context of evangelism do not use the traditional Indonesian form “Yesus” but rather “Isa” which is the Lord’s name in the Arabic language. Miraculous healings continually take place in the name of Isa. It’s likely that when a dead woman was recently raised back to life before a crowd of Muslims in Indonesia, the name of “Isa” was used.

And of course we have received testimonies of the sick being healed when precious believers like Tom Linebaugh above minister in the name of “Yahshua.”

Perhaps most interesting is how Peter raised the dead woman Tabitha in Acts 9.

40 …Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.”

Notice that Peter—in whatever language he was speaking at that moment—did not even say the name of Jesus. Why? Because of Peter’s intimate relationship with the Lord, he did not need to say “in the name of Jesus” every time. It is not a mantra—as is the case in witchcraft and idol-worship—but a relationship. This is clear from the incident related in Acts 19 involving the seven sons of Sceva.

Acts 19:13  Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

Far more important of course then the exact form of the Lord’s name we use is our personal relationship with him. If we go beyond this, we might be inching toward legalism which could hurt our relationship with him.

Therefore whatever form of the Lord’s name with which we are comfortable—whether “Yahushua”, “Yahshua”, “Jesus”, “Isa” or in whatever language we speak, let us be assured that he hears us. He lives in us by faith.

 

 

Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare Revisited—Is Scripture really INSUFFICIENT as it implies?

More articles on Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare 

December 2013

The area of Colorado Springs in the state of Colorado is lovely and has drawn quite a few Christian ministries, some of them quite well-known, to base their headquarters there. But recently the area has experienced more than its share of terrible disasters. Catastrophic fires have ravaged the area in 2012 and then again in 2013. Because the natural terrain was razed by the fires, the area was then submerged by rainwater coming down from the mountains. Affected by these disasters are the many God-fearing believers whose homes were destroyed by fire or flood. Since not all the homes were sufficiently covered by insurance, those Christian families affected must be suffering from unimaginable hardship. To add insult to injury, this was followed by another (as in Columbine) shooting in a Colorado school.

Then in late 2013, Colorado received the dubious distinction of becoming one of just two states in the US where marijuana was legalized.

Is there more than simply a natural explanation for these events?

One explanation could be that the enemy despises the Christian ministries concentrated in Colorado Springs, and so has focused his wrath on that area. They are being “persecuted because of righteousness” according to Matthew 5:10. Perhaps, however, that explanation may be a bit simplistic given the magnitude of the disaster upon sincere believers in a God-fearing area like Colorado Springs.

Might we explore the possibility that believers are being subject to the enemy’s wrath because we have been unwittingly misled and committed the sin of presumption?

Colorado Springs is the birthplace of a Christian ministry which popularized the teaching and practice of “strategic-level spiritual warfare.” According to this widespread teaching, believers are to directly address territorial spirits in the heavenly realms, rebuking them and commanding them to leave a specific geographic area. This is for the advance of the gospel in that area.

Since it is for the purpose of freeing people in a certain area from the power of the devil thus making them receptive to the gospel, this teaching may be well-intentioned. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ never specifically commanded his disciples to engage in such actions against high-level, powerful demonic beings in the heavenly realms. He clearly commanded us to preach the gospel to the lost, to heal sick people, to cast out demons from demonized people, and to make disciples. This is ground-level warfare for the body of Christ on earth. But there is no such corresponding command to perform “strategic-level warfare” against demonic beings in the heaven realms.

The manual Confronting the Powers was written by a well-known Christian author to explain this type of spiritual warfare. A review of this book was published in the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Spring 1997 — Volume 10:18. In THE GOSPEL AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE: A REVIEW OF CONFRONTING THE POWERS, Moody Bible Institute professor Dr. John F. Hart writes:

“In Confronting the Powers, spiritual warfare is handled like a Western social science involving case studies, innovative experimentation [italics ours], and the gathering of data from all sources. [The author of Confronting the Powers] writes: ‘Nevertheless, certain people such as shamans, witch doctors, practitioners of Eastern religions, New Age gurus or professors of the occult on university faculties are examples of the kind of people who may have much more extensive knowledge of the spirit world than most Christians have.’

…[The author of Confronting the Powers] would have us believe that all innovative methods involving spiritual warfare are amoral. As his defense for experimenting with new techniques for discovering the spirit realm, he cites the debates Christians have over amoral issues such as erecting church buildings, celebrating Christmas, using instruments for music in church, and preaching in stadiums…

The false assumption is made that every NT believer has authority over the demonic world and therefore can investigate and interrogate demons, sifting for profitable knowledge to advance God’s kingdom. No mention is made of God’s commands that seeking information from the spirit world is strictly prohibited…”

…The supposed inadequacy of Scripture becomes the unconscious grounds for appeals for experimentation: “If we are not satisfied with the fruit of our current evangelistic activities, whatever they may be, strategic-level spiritual warfare might at least be worthy of some experimentation” (p. 152, Confronting the Powers).

…One major unit of the first chapter is entitled, “Radical Varieties of Prayer.” “Experimentation” is also a common word he applies to strategic-level spiritual warfare (e.g., pp. 20, 27, 33–34, 152).

From this review, we can conclude that even the primary promulgator of strategic-level spiritual warfare in the Church today is aware that the Lord never commanded his disciples to engage in such warfare. He admits that it is experimental in nature. Therefore it is not scriptural. What is the justification for the practice? In his own words above from page 152 of Confronting the Powers, the author writes: “If we are not satisfied with the fruit of our current evangelistic activities, whatever they may be, strategic-level spiritual warfare might at least be worthy of some experimentation.

The foremost propagator of spiritual warfare essentially believes that Scripture is insufficient in preparing and equipping us to preach the gospel effectively, and that therefore we must look elsewhere outside of the Bible. We must disagree with his position.

We are now seeing that with effective understanding and implementation of ground-level warfare as found in the New Testament, evangelism can in fact be fruitful. By healing the sick and casting out demons as Jesus did, as he taught his disciples in the gospels and as carried over into Acts, we can in fact be satisfied with the fruit of our evangelistic activities. Therefore we do not need to experiment with very risky strategic-level spiritual warfare which is in part based on understanding gleaned from pagan sources.

Reports of effective evangelism WITHOUT the use of “spiritual warfare” 

I submit to you that it may be dangerous to “experiment” in the invisible realm of the supernatural where there is darkness and potential danger. Even the apostle Peter waited for a command from Jesus before attempting to step out of the boat on the Sea of Galilee to perform the supernatural feat of walking on the water. In the same way, before we attempt to move in the realm of the supernatural, we should have a clear command from the Lord to do so. What would have happened to Peter if he had simply stepped out of the boat in presumption without having been commanded by the Lord to “come” to him?

In the same way, when we engage in direct warfare with powerful demonic beings in the heavenlies without having been authorized and commanded by the Lord to do so, we are taking a potentially dangerous risk. Such high-level demons can be angered by our presumptuous attacks and decide to retaliate with fury against us personally and against our loved ones. The retaliatory attacks can include debilitating sickness and mental disease. And the Lord is not obligated to protect us in such a situation because he did not command us to attack them. Such suffering is not “persecution because of righteousness”, but rather unnecessary trials due to our own presumption and disobedience.

Numbers 14:44  Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD’s covenant moved from the camp.  45  Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.

When in their presumption the Israelites attacked the Amalekites and the Canaanites, they suffered severe defeat at the hands of their mortal enemies. God clearly chose not protect to them. 

We ought therefore to consider the possibility that the recent disasters in Colorado and Colorado Springs in particular are neither coincidence nor “persecution because of righteousness.” They may likely be retaliation by the enemy for years of attacks against regional powers and principalities by very sincere but misled believers—action not commanded by the Lord. And do we see “revival” taking place in Colorado Springs because of the spiritual warfare?

Recently we had an opportunity to sit down for fellowship with an Indonesian pastor. Now in Indonesia the practice of this type of spiritual warfare is widespread. Every year there are huge gatherings of believers in stadia where they pray and also conduct strategic-level spiritual warfare. But after several years of such repeated gatherings, some Indonesian leaders are begin to ask questions. What is the fruit of such warfare? Is it really having any effect on evangelism? I would say that one “positive” effect is indeed making Christians “feel good about themselves” for having “done their part” in world evangelism. (What about actually preaching the gospel to the majority followers of the Prophet in Indonesia?) On the opposite side are the painful retaliatory attacks against well-meaning and sincere believers and their families.

The teaching and practice of strategic-level spiritual warfare may be but another passing fad in the history of the Church. Like the extreme teaching of prosperity, it will fade as believers see the truth. Scripture, properly understood and applied, is sufficient to equip us for the task of the Great Commission. We do not need to experiment with practices gleaned from examining the spirit world of “shamans, witch doctors, practitioners of Eastern religions, New Age gurus or professors of the occult on university faculties” as suggested by the author in Confronting the Powers. Knowledge gleaned from such sources—despite whatever particles of “truth” can be sifted out—will ultimately be from the father of lies. We submit to you that Scripture is indeed sufficient to equip us for effective evangelism and to fulfill the Great Commission—as we have already experienced on the mission field. If we really claim to believe in the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, let us act upon that pillar of our faith in the all-important area of proclaiming the kingdom of God to the lost. Let us reject techniques derived from studying the practices of “shamans, witch doctors, practitioners of Eastern religions, New Age gurus or professors of the occult on university faculties.”

“Sola Scriptura”—by Scripture alone.

More teaching on this subject—including testimonies of unnecessary suffering when believers engage in spiritual warfare

 

 

  

 

 

Examining the practice of “binding and loosing” from Scripture


Articles on Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare


Matthew 16:19  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 

Matthew 18:18  “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Based on these Scriptures, some teach that believers can bind Satan, bind powers and principalities and also loose God’s angels to do their will.

However, the practice of binding and loosing in such a fashion is not seen in the ministries of any of Christ’s disciples as recorded in Scripture. So being conservative in our interpretation of Scripture, we do not bind and loose as is commonly taught and practiced. We do not practice spiritual warfare in the sense of directly rebuking and driving out territorial spirits from geographic regions. Jesus never commanded his disciples to perform such actions; neither does Scripture record Him performing them.

Understanding exactly what Jesus meant by “binding and loosing” is problematic. As applied to spiritual warfare, there is a possible interpretation which is quite the opposite of what spiritual warfare proponents believe. When we bind and loose on earth through preaching the gospel, healing the sick, casting out demons and making disciples as Jesus clearly commanded His disciples, we cause changes to take place in the heavenly realms. The grip of powers and principalities on a region is loosened as the kingdom of God comes in manifest power in that region and as people turn to Jesus in repentance.

There are Scriptures in Luke which support this position.

Luke 10:17  The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18  He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 

As the disciples cast demons out of afflicted people on their short mission trip, Satan was falling like lightning from heaven. What they did on earth—healing the sick and casting out demons—caused changes to take place in heaven: Satan fell like lightning and his kingdom suffered.

Therefore the Scriptures in Matthew where Jesus taught binding and loosing could mean the very opposite of what the proponents of strategic-level spiritual warfare believe. We have not been commanded to bind and loose in the heavenly realms, and when we presume to do so we are not effecting positive changes on earth for the gospel. Rather, when we mind our own business and do what Jesus clearly commands by healing the sick, casting out demons, preaching the gospel and making disciples, we are effecting positive changes in the heavenly realms and loosening the hold of territorial spirits over the region.

 

 

The King who will rule by force with a scepter of iron

Luke 19:11  While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.  12  He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 

Jesus is teaching about his Second Coming to earth.

13  So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 

These ten servants represent us disciples who are called to serve Jesus’ interests on earth during his absence and before he returns.

14  “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’  15  “He was made king, however, and returned home.

This would appear to refer to Christ’s Millennial Kingdom during which he will rule over the unwilling nations “with an iron scepter”, that is, by force (Revelation 19:15; Revelation 20)

Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. 

This may refer to our appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ, where “each of us will receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

16  “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’  17  “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ 

The first servant was rewarded with a high degree of authority to rule with Christ in his Kingdom because of his high degree of fruitfulness for His Lord during His absence.

18  “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’  19  “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ 

The second servant was rewarded with a moderate degree of authority in return for his moderate degree of fruitfulness for the Lord.

20  “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth.  21  I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ 

The third servant was perhaps a bit too smart for his own good, thinking that all the hard work that he would do during his master’s absence would be entirely for his master’s benefit—there would be nothing for him. So why should he work so hard? And what if he lost what the master had entrusted to him? After all, the master was a hard man.

There are likely not a few believers today who think in a somewhat similar same way about serving their Lord Jesus. They are already “saved by grace through faith, not by works.” So why work hard for the Lord?

22  “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow?  23  Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ 

The master called this third servant a “wicked servant.”  For someone who hopes to inherit eternal life, these words are not terribly comforting.

24  “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’  25  “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’  26  “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 

The third servant ended up with no reward at all—no authority at all to rule with Christ in his Kingdom. And the words “even what they have will be taken away” are especially ominous. Whatever that could possibly entail for a believer, it is definitely not good.

27  But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.'”

In the Millennial Kingdom, the nations will be forced against their will to submit to the rule of the King. The time of grace and mercy will have passed, and the King will rule with a scepter of iron with the help of his faithful and fruitful servants.

But at this moment we are still in the dispensation of grace.

 

 

Is it necessary to store your treasure in heaven in order to inherit eternal life?

Luke 18:18  A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

The ruler’s question to Jesus is quite straight forward. He wants to inherit eternal life, and is inquiring about the requirements. We might want to note that the ruler is an Israelite.

19  “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.  20  You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'” 

According to Jesus himself, the requirements for eternal life begin with obeying five of the Ten Commandments from the Law of Moses. This can be a bit surprising given Paul’s well-known teaching in Ephesians 4 that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

21  “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 

From the time he was a boy, the ruler was a “good”, law-abiding Israelite.

22  When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.

It was not enough for the ruler to obey the five commandments Jesus quoted. He also had to sell his possessions and give to the poor. The man had great treasure on earth. In order to be saved, he had to store it in heaven by divesting himself of it. Not everyone of course has great treasure or is wealthy on earth, so not everyone is required to do this in order to inherit eternal life. Some are in fact poor on earth.

The point is to store our treasure or wealth in heaven—for where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (Luke 12:34).

How many of us who hope to inherit eternal life have actually obeyed Jesus and stored our treasure in heaven? Today in our materialistic culture it is difficult to do so. It is easy to put our hope and find comfort and peace in what we have stored up on earth in our various financial accounts.

Luke 12:16  And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.  17  He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’  18  “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.  19  And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘  20  “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  21  “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

This in fact summarizes the mindset of our culture. We place extreme emphasis storing up things for ourselves but we are not rich toward God. The Lord says to us, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

Finally, Jesus said to the young rich ruler:

22b Then come, follow me.”

This is the requirement which we modern day preachers say is necessary to be met if we want to inherit eternal life. We must trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and we must follow him. Yes, absolutely.

But according to Jesus what does it mean to follow him? It means:

          • obeying God’s commandments, and
          • storing our treasure in heaven.

We are saved by grace through faith. And saving faith must and will result in obedience to God’s commands as well as storing our treasure in heaven.

For some of us, storing our treasure in heaven may actually mean doing what Jesus commanded the young rich ruler to do—“selling everything he had and giving to the poor.”

23  When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.

24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!