“You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot”. (1 Peter 1:18,19)
While on one hand many people recognize that the main channel through which God blesses us is our parents, on the other hand, the above passage speaks of the futile legacy of empty tradition, which is capable of stifling our behavior and compromising the development of our personality.
Our ability to keep traditions is Satan’s favorite target through which he attempts to establish and perpetuate his own purposes. In this way, he can seize not only one generation, but a whole family lineage.
“Those from among you shall build the old waste places, you shall raise up the foundations of many generations, you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.” (Isaiah 58:12)
Many ways or paths must be restored. Many have not only lost their house key – they have lost their way home. They are distant, lost, their family has been ruined and its foundations have been destroyed. This becomes a chronic pattern that passes from generation to generation. God is seeking for intercessors in each family. God wants to find you; someone who has the understanding to repair the breaches, map out the roots problems, and rescue the family from the devastating accusations of the enemy.
It is necessary to better explain what is meant by the futile way of living which, through tradition, we receive from our parents. Spiritual breaches left by our parents produce consequences and influences in successive generations. It is important to point out that children inherit the consequences but not the guilt of the sins of their fathers. When Adam chose to sin, death entered his descendants who we refer to as the human race. That is a consequence of Adam’s sin. We inherit not only the sin of Adam, but the debt and its respective consequences. For example, if a woman has AIDS and gives birth to a child, is the child guilty of being born with AIDS? Of course not! However, even though the child doesn’t bear the guilt, he or she will suffer the consequences. This is the definition of a legacy. In Lamentations Jeremiah explains the situation of the people of Israel in captivity by stating this principle:
“Our fathers sinned, and we know more, and we bear their iniquities.” (Lamentations 5:7)
These consequences come in the form of curses, bondage, misfortunes, pernicious spiritual influences, physical illnesses and many other problems which make life difficult and which attempt to provoke the same behavior that sustains the breaches that were opened in previous generations. This is the principle of how the spiritual legacy is created.
We must not interpret these legacies in a fatalistic manner, but rather, as realities which can and should be changed through the restoring power of Jesus. Jesus emphasized this perspective when his disciples asked him about a man who was born blind:
(And his disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, it was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.” (John 9:2, 3)
In this situation, Jesus chose not to emphasize the “why” of the situation, but the “so that”. They already knew the “why”, but they were still blind regarding the “so that”. There was a dose of fatalism that needed to be removed. Together with the whole picture of necessities, misfortunes, curses and possibilities, the impossibility of a miracle coexists. Jesus is this possibility of a miracle.
Therefore to sum up all of our problems by virtue of this hereditary component is a mistake, but to ignore it is a more serious mistake. We need to deal not only with the guilt regarding our own sins, but also with the consequences of the unresolved or un-confessed sin of our parents and grandparents. In this way, we will stop speaking about hereditary curses and start talking about hereditary blessings.
When a scene is repeated across several generations it can be defined as an iniquity. Iniquities can cause curses which bring whole family lineages into bondage that need to be confessed in intercession.
When the relationship between parents and their children is broken, the children’s relationship with God is directly affected and a malignant insensibility penetrates their hearts. God desires to have a relationship with us as our father. This can be a huge challenge if we have broken off our relationship with our parents. He wants to teach us to be parents. He wants to elevate us to this level of maturity. This is one of the secrets of spiritual fruitfulness.
When we have unresolved problems with our parents we tend to limit our relationship with Jesus as a mere friend and avoid God’s divine role as our spiritual father. The more we insist on a relationship with God without resolving our relational problems with our parents, the more we become like an island. Our tendency is to establish a superficial relationship with God.
The truth is that our parents and the nature of our relationship with them function like spiritual lenses through which we see the nature and character of God. They are the filter of the revelation of God in our lives. If the lens is broken or obscured, we will have a distorted view of God.
When our knowledge of God is corrupted, it is easy for us to accept the lies of Satan. Every person that is rejected by their parents ends up being adopted by some demonic entity. This is how we get cut off from our spiritual identity, and this quickly compromises our relationships and hinders us from taking possession of our inheritance.
Orphanhood produces isolation and segregation. Every depressive thought of loneliness and self-rule comes from this feeling of being an isolated island in the sea of humanity. Many who come to Christ still see God as a celestial Santa Claus; a distant father who sometimes comes around to give them a gift or two.
Christ’s ultimate objective is to bring us to the father. For many people this is more painful than we can imagine. We have to overcome traumas and learn about motives and behaviors we have never received.
The father figure is connected to true worship. If Jesus mentioned true worship, it is because there also is a false worship. The place of true worship was allegorized by the most holy place in the tabernacle. Jesus showed the route to redemption through which he wants to lead us.
“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
The main enemy of this verse is the spirit of orphanhood. Jesus completed a statement assuring us, “I will not leave you orphans” (John 14:18). It is fundamental for us to know Jesus, but it is even more important that we allow him to lead us to a revelation of God as our father.
THE TRUE TABERNACLE
The tabernacle contained three parts and each section had its own entrance. There was the outer court where the bronze altar was located. Everyone had access to this area. The holy place was located inside and had the candle holder, the table and the show-bread. Only the priests had access to this room. The third room was the holy of holies, “. . . Behind the second curtain stood the holy of holies, containing the golden altar of incense and the Ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, and containing a golden urn filled with some of the manna with which God feed his people for 40 years in the desert. It also contained Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat” (Hebrews 9:3-5). Only the high priests had access to this room.
The doorway that gave access to the atrium was called “the way”. The first veil; the doorway that gave access to the holy place was called “the truth”. The second veil; the doorway that gave access to the holy of holies was called “the life”. This is why Jesus prophetically said: “I am the way, and the truth and the life and no one comes to the father but by me.”
Tearing through the veil in the direction of true worship
Going to the first door, you have access to the forgiveness of sins. You are on “the way”. The bronze altar testifies that are sins have been judged in Christ. Here we become sons of God and call out to his heart, “Abba father”. We began to cry out to him and desire the fatherhood of God. This outcry continues to bring us into the heart of God.
Out of this flows a life of brokenness, a process of inner healing that begins to release us. Repentance is the first level of revelation that brings us in touch with the kingdom of God who is our father. God is not only “all-powerful”- he is our Father.
There is a distance however, between “the way” and “the truth”. It is necessary to tear through the veil of truth. It is possible for you to be on the way and still not be in the truth. There is a lot that we still do not understand or have been able to discern. You may have many corrupted ideas and philosophies, and irrational beliefs that block your relationships with people and with God. As we get to know God, he begins to reveal to us our own hearts and as a result our motives and character begin to change.
To tear the veil of truth, we have to eat the show-bread by the light of the candlesticks. A responsible life of meditating on the Word of God in light of the revelations of the Holy Spirit brings us to a greater level of revelation and transformation. We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. There is no such thing as revival, without the revelation of the Word. I am not referring to simply growing in information, but revelation from God. Most of the time, information never becomes more than mere knowledge, and can even give birth to a spirit that will further distance us from God. Revelation is always accompanied by his comforting presence. Revelation has the connotation of being personal and intimate. We need to not only have the truth taught to us, but the power of the truth revealed to us. This is the path to worship.
In the same manner, there is also a distance between “the truth” and “the life”. A person may have much revelation and still be a wounded person full of arguments. The holy of holies is a place of full surrender; a place of total death and total life! To be in “the life” means to be a person who is totally healed, whole, seeking peace with everyone and sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord. This is the place where we see God.
This access to the fatherhood of God is based on a heart that is totally reconciled to the parents. When we open our hearts to our parents our eyes open to other people and to God. We can only see the glory of God through a heart that is reconciled with its parents. From this flows worship in spirit and truth and a fruitful life of ministry. The revelation of God the Father introduces us to the level of worship!
The burning belly of Molech as a prophetic nightmare of abortion
Centuries before Christ, Molech was a demonic entity worshiped by the Ammonites. Their worship of this entity was detestable. Molech was a huge statue with arms and hands extended and curved inward to form a giant altar of burning coals. In another version, he was made with an open throat and abdomen full of fire in which children were thrown and burned alive. God completely prohibited this type of practice in Israel saying:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire . . .” (Deuteronomy 18:10)
But over time the people of Israel entered into apostasy and began to practice this horrendous idol worship. God, in a cry of disappointment, confronted the situation.
“They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into my mind.” (Jeremiah 7:31)
Just as this verse claims, the main altar of Molech in the city of Jerusalem was located in the famous Valley of the son of Hinnom. An interesting point is that during the time of Jesus this valley where children were murdered as burning sacrifices to Molech had been transformed into the garbage dump of Jerusalem, and had become a truly cursed place. Even more interestingly is that Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, made a direct comparison of this valley to hell:
“If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, then, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:47, 48)
In any land fill or garbage dump there are worms which feed off of the organic waste, breaking down the cells. There is also fire which incinerates and consumes all that is flammable. In other words, there is decay and destruction. Clearly, Jesus mentioned the Valley of Hinnom to use an earthly example in an attempt to explain the spiritual concept of hell in a way that was easier to understand. When Jesus mentioned this terminology “fire of Gahanna”, he was referring to the man-mad hell, where the nation burned its children as human sacrifices to Molech.
Nowadays this Valley is frequently visited by tourists, and it is common for some people who go there to worship the Lord to identify this part of the tour as the famous “worship service in hell”. In fact, the word hell, which has its origin in Latin, comes from expression “valley of the son of Hinnom” which in the Hebrew language is “Gahanna” (or Hades, in the Greek language).
The “high places of Topheth” is another term which identifies this Valley and has a significant meaning. The word Topheth refers to the drums which were played at a deafening volume to drown out the screams of the children when they were burned alive to Molech.
“For he who requires blood requires them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.” (Psalms 9:12)
The historic fact to be considered is that this Valley where the parents ritually murdered their children was transformed into a garbage dump; an earthly version of hell. We must understand the implied analogy at this point to children who are murdered in their mother’s womb. Jesus compared this field of blood, which would later become a garbage dump, to hell itself. This is also a depiction of the mother’s womb where the blood of abortions has been shed.
We can spiritually define abortion as a sacrifice to Molech performed on the altar of the womb. Abortion is the religion of Molech which promises prosperity to all of its worshipers. Oddly enough, they were trading prosperity for sterility in the family.
This may shock you, for now, that is my objective. It is important that we comprehend the spiritual consequences of abortion. A womb subjected to an abortion is also subject to the decay and destruction of evil spirits. It becomes a human garbage dump. These entities act as “worms” or as “the destroying fire of Molech”, resulting in sterility, infirmities, tumors, cancer and serious menstrual problems. Abortion invites a truly intra-uterine hell.
Abortion has an effect on future conception and live births where children are being formed in the tomb of their own murdered brothers or sisters. In terms of spiritual heritage, each unredeemed abortion is an open door to be afflicted by the spirit of death through the future generations. This is also one of the most powerful causes of bankruptcy. When parents invest financially in the murder of their own child, the financial situation of these people is subjugated to the spirit of death. To overcome this is necessary to administer a thorough act of redemption and deliverance.
Many women who have had abortions seek out spiritual help. This is good because I know that abortion is covered up by most people. Many of these women start their dialogues with words such as: “what I am about to tell you I have never told anyone else!” When someone musters up enough courage to make a confession like this, it breaks the bonds of darkness and they are able to be freed from the pain caused by guilt.
When a person has the courage to confess involvement in an abortion (often for the first time), it is important to spiritually disconnect the effects of the abortion considering specifically the details related to the method used. If a child was sucked out, poisoned, pulled out, etc., it is fundamental to spiritually remove these mechanisms of death from that person’s life.
Suddenly, all of the emotional and spiritual weight can overflow into powerful deliverance for these women… The purifying fire of God can come over their lives. All of the pain caused by evil spirits is cast out through their crying, shouting, and vomiting.
To the extent that women who have had an abortion begin to feel forgiven by God, they can begin to forgive others as well. It is much like the painful process of childbirth, but deliverance can be birthed in a wonderful way. The feeling of tons of weight can be removed from shoulders; as the human spirit comes alive once again. The spiritual burden, the emotional torment, the wounded memories, the curse of death, and all that an abortion which is the yoke of Molech entails can be cast off in the name of Jesus.
I am aware that a number of people who read this post will end up hating and despising me for bringing up such a radically sounding thesis. I truly wish to offend no one but I feel compelled to speak what I believe with all my heart is true about what abortion represents in the spiritual realm. I believe that God condemns all abortion as murder and thus sin. The bible teaches that wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. There is forgiveness for those who are willing to recognize and repent the evils of abortion. God really does forgive . . . and his forgiveness is complete and his grace is sufficient to not only forgive but also to restore what is spiritually lost through abortion. So in the spirit that seeks to reconcile those who have gone through or contributed to an abortion to God, I offer the following of what I believe is God’s perspective concerning abortion.
“When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble.” (Psalm 9:12)
We cannot speak of orphanhood without addressing the subject of abortion. The spirit of orphanhood is homicide and its preferred crime is abortion this is how many people are still tied to the altar of Molech. Spiritually, a covenant is made and perpetuated through the shedding of blood. Just as our covenant with God is based on the blood of Jesus, Satan, the arch-imitator of God, makes his covenant with those who offer him the blood he requires of them. Satan’s authority is always based on human unrighteousness and criminality.
Abortion is the most satanic version of the sacrifice of Jesus. Those who have an abortion are not merely giving an offering, but they are offering a sacrifice; and not just any sacrifice, but a human sacrifice; and not only a human sacrifice, but a sacrifice of their own child. Some people affirm that blood is “spiritual currency”. If blood is spiritual money, then abortion is the most valuable currency available.
The main altar of Molech today is the womb of a woman who has aborted her child. This is a very strong statement, but it needs to be said. Many women are walking with a life and body that are cursed and they need to be freed.
“They served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood” (Psalm 106:36-38)
The Bible is very clear in explaining that when innocent blood is poured out on the earth, the land becomes contaminated. This gives spiritual rights for territorial spirits to install themselves. This is the true explanation for haunted or cursed places: any house, neighborhood, or territory that manifests strange and chaotic spiritual and physical manifestations also possesses a terrible history of bloodshed and Satanism.
Studying the books of Joshua and Revelation we can better understand the principles of redemption here that involve two basic elements of divine justice: blood and fire. In the case of the Canaanites who had bathed the territory in blood sacrifices to Molech, Baal, etc., many cities needed to be destroyed and their inhabitants killed so that the territorial curses could be broken and the evil spirits removed. God didn’t intend to put his people in a territory that was infested by demons, but rather into a land that was cleared of all contamination.
A certain pastor in Germany once related a list of curses, social problems and strange spiritual symptoms that occurred in the region where he lived. No evangelical church had ever been able to survive in that region, and his church continued to have serious difficulties after many years of persistent work. When the history of the city was examined it was soon discovered that it had been the headquarters of one of the main Nazi concentration camps in the area. The blood of tens of thousands of people had been cruelly shed there, and that is what had allowed the a demonic infestation in the region.
When Saul shed the blood of the Gibeonites with whom Joshua had made a covenant to protect their lives, it was only a matter of a few years later that famine broke out in Jerusalem during the reign of David. Even though Saul himself was dead, the whole city remained under a terrible curse. After three years of famine, David discerned the spiritual nature of the situation and appealed to God.
“Now David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and said to him, ‘Why are you alone, and no one is with you?’.” (1 Samuel 21:1)
The cause of the famine was masked by the strong terminology used by God “Saul and his bloodthirsty house. . . killed the Gibeonites”. There had been shedding of innocent blood in the breaking of a covenant. The curse was broken and the land once again became fruitful only after seven men from the household of Saul were killed. We can understand more deeply the value of the death and sacrifice of Jesus to redeem the nations when we consider the descendants of Saul who had to be killed in order to cast off the curse upon the land.
Going back to the testimony of the history of the human race, we can clearly see the same connection between shed blood and the spiritual contamination of the earth. God was explaining to Cain the consequences of this crime:
“And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” (Genesis 4:10-12)
This passage reveals that Cain’s crime mainly affected the earth. The same curse that came over him was connected to the earth which became less productive and the stage for his vagrancy.
When innocent blood is shed on the earth, territorial spirits begin to enjoy the spiritual compromise that we can call the territorial right to possession. They inhabit this territory which is delimited by blood and begins to afflict anyone who lives there. This curse lasts until the territory is redeemed.
The body as an altar of death – abortion
I have explained all of these things so that we can better understand the consequences of forced abortion. During abortion, blood is spilled inside the woman’s body. So it becomes contaminated soil and is infested by demonic spirits. Let’s substitute “child” for “brother” and “body” for “ground” in Genesis 4:10-12 so we can better see the implications: and the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your child’s blood is crying to me from your body. And now you are cursed from your body, which has opened its mouth to receive your child’s blood from your hand.”
After an abortion, many curses and infirmities settle in. Sterility, miscarriages, chronic menstrual problems, tumors, pain, and constant and abnormal infirmities in the reproductive organs are some of the physical symptoms of abortion. And the psycho-emotional symptoms of abortion are usually guilt, depression, severe emotional pain, sexual frigidity, conjugal blockages, etc…
Most people ignore the fact that abortion is actually a spiritual pact with the “god of death”. This allows a demonic infestation that not only torments a person physically, but, above all, brings on a demonic and torturous inability to forgive others and to receive God’s forgiveness. Molech becomes a parasite that feeds on this open wound in the soul.
When Molech possesses someone through an abortion, everything that one had of life, health and hope begins to die. Productivity in all areas of life is strongly hindered, and the family line is strongly punished and affected by the spirit of death, depression and failure. In a way of speaking the womb becomes a living hell.
In the next post I will attempt to expand the biblical support of the spiritual implications of forced or voluntary abortion.
During Israel’s dark days of idolatry they sacrificed their own children to the burning belly of the altar of Molech, the abdominal idol of Ammon. This child sacrifice represents the most abdominal betrayal that parents can practice against their own offspring. Spiritually this child sacrifice still happens today in various forms and is just as abdominal as it was in the days of ancient Israel.
“And they built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.” (Jeremiah 32:35)
Every person that has been cut off from the relationship with his or her parents has experienced the feeling of being an orphan. Orphanhood is one of the most aggressive levels of rejection that a person can experience and constitutes one of the greatest spiritual barriers to obtaining a true and intimate relationship with God. The freedom and the right to know God as a true father are taken hostage, and many people become victims of an insincere and enslaving relationship with God that is based on guilt, self-righteousness and religiosity.
Spiritual roots of the nations
In some countries of the world, many children have never met their fathers and in thousands of cases the name of their father doesn’t even appear on their birth certificate. Many afflictions are directly related to the statistics that demonstrate one of the main aspects of the spiritual makeup of these countries. The spiritual heritage of many families in these countries has been traumatized by orphan-hood for centuries. We can verify these effects by analyzing the history of these countries with respect to any of three main branches from which their primary cultural and spiritual roots stem.
The first are the indigenous tribes who inhabited countries like Brazil and other South and Central American countries before the arrival of the white man. These tribes worshiped the dead, practiced cannibalism and many other types of immorality. The second were the Portuguese and Spanish invaders who brought with them a mixture of Islam and Christianity. They brought along the legacy of the Inquisition and the Crusades as well as the idea of an angry, punishing god that was not a father figure. The third was several types of African witchcraft which was absorbed by and mixed together with Catholicism to produce syncretism. In North America while to a large extent these three branches of influence are not much of a factor there are important spiritual roots that need to be researched to better understand the spiritual forces that affect our spiritual heritage.
Orphanhood, atheism and Satanism – the Russian model
Fatherlessness is the fruit of being disappointed by one’s own father, life’s most important authority figure. This disappointment has the power to cut off our ideas and undermine our capacity to trust others. Profound disappointment with one’s family generates existential disbelief. This can easily generate such a deep skepticism that it results in atheism. Fatherlessness produces atheism and atheism leads to Satanism. Invariably, when you ask an atheist or a Satanist how his relationship with his father is, the response immediately reveals his spiritual dilemma.
Ask yourself why it is that atheists defend their “faith” in the nonexistence of God with such passion and in some cases extreme hostility. If you ask such people how the relationship with their father is almost invariably they will respond with something like: “I hate my father! As far as I’m concerned he doesn’t even exist.” For some reason these people have blotted out the name of their own father from the roster of the world’s population. They hate their fathers and attempt to deny that they even exist. This is the reason why they do not believe in the existence of God: they lost their faith in God because they lost their faith and their father. The day that they forgive their father almost certainly will be the day that they will believe in God!
The absence and abandonment practiced by fathers produces the sensation that God doesn’t exist in the soul of their children. All moral protection is removed and the conscience becomes cauterised producing direct contact with the voice of Satan. This is how we can understand the direct connection between atheism and Satanism. We can produce a Satanist doctrine through the inversion of roles between God and the devil. In other words, God is a cruel man who takes pleasure in the frustration of humanity while the devil is the “loving father” that we never had.
In Russia, many fathers are alcoholics and society is ruled by a matriarchal family system which produces fatherless children who are victims of irresponsibility, separation of parents and abandonment. In general Russians have embrace communism as a hope for social improvement.
The promises made by communism however have never been kept, creating disillusion and strengthening the cords of unbelief. Communism has not only imposed an ideological steamroller that destroys identities and motivation, but it also has stolen the moral conscience of the population.
By supporting atheism they end up falling into Satanism. Satanism is not something new in Russia; it came after the fall of the Iron Curtain. It has for a long time been well spread out and highly organized throughout the nation. In fact, the biggest communists are not only atheist, they are Satanist. There are many indications that Karl Marx himself was deeply involved in Satanism.
In Russia it is rare to find someone who comes from a family whose parents didn’t separate. The author of these broken relationships that separated the generation of the fathers from the generation of the children is Molech. The job of Molech is to kill the children and destroy fatherhood, disseminating a penetrating feeling of fatherlessness and rejection.
In the case of Russia, which apparently became a victim of this fatherless mentality, the spirit of religion and worship of the dead is very alive. The state and the government are deified. Communism has been practiced and reverenced as a religion and the great proof of this is the mausoleum of Lenin where his corpse has been venerated since 1924, a true alternative to the “dead God” right in the Red Square.
There is a reason why Russia is the world capital for murders and abortions. The average woman has seven abortions with some having as many as 18. Abortion has been used since the era of communism as the official method of birth control.
All of this should call to our attention to what could possibly be the most serious problem in the world, where a blood covenant is perpetuated through the spirit of death: the worship on the altar of Molech.
In the New Testament it started with John the Baptist
John the Baptist was the man who laid the foundation for the revival that culminated in Pentecost and self-perpetuated for more than a century. What was his secret, what was his message? It is of fundamental importance that we comprehend what really produces true revival so that we can maintain it. If we embrace only the synonyms of revival, we can lose it just as easily as we receive it.
First of all, true revival begins with people whose hearts are totally given over to the Holy Spirit. Secondly, true revival always extends to the church. After that, it spreads and wakes up unbelievers and non-Christians. Finally, it brings reformation to society in general. I am not suggesting that the earth will become heaven, but simply that the light will prevail over the darkness and righteousness will dethrone injustice. If there is a genuine revival in a nation, the history of this nation will change.
To understand what happened at Pentecost, we need to return to John the Baptist, the apostle of the revival, the man who prepared the way of the Lord.
John continued where Malachi had left off
Between the Old and New Testament there is a period of 400 years which began with the end of the ministry of the prophet Malachi and began with the ministry of John the Baptist. After this long prophetic silence, the voice of God returned to Israel. What was the last message before this biblical silence of 400 years? Malachi had prophesied:
“And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with the curse.” (Malachi 4:6)
And what was the first prophetic message after the silence was broken? It was the same! There is continuity between Malachi and John the Baptist even though they were separated by a long chronological gap. This is the message that connects the Old to the New Testament, that unites Jews and Gentiles and that fixes the world: restoration and reconciliation of the family – the foundation of true revival. This was the prophetic path of the whole Ministry of John the Baptist.
“And he (John) will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:16, 17)
The main route of rebellion that locks people up in jails of sin comes from unresolved conflicts between parents and children. Family reconciliation dethrones rebellion, invokes prudence and trains the church. The apostolic and prophetic ministry of John the Baptist leveled the ground in the spiritual world:
“As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:4-6)
Few people were able to notice this, but hell was being torn apart. The fear of God came, and the nation was under a baptism of repentance. There were “atomic explosions” of public humiliation, confessions of specific sins and mass conversions that were tearing apart the state of religious confinement that Satan had formerly imposed.
“Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” (Matthew 3:5-6)
An attitude of genuine humbleness shown by a collective confession of sins removes captivity, destroys curses, dislodges territorial spirits and heals the earth.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
During John’s revival thousands of prodigal parents were returning to their children and thousands of prodigal children were returning to their parents. There was a tremendous amount of confession of sins. The baptism of John was one of confessing sins. Public repentance was producing family reconciliation on a major scale. These people’s way of thinking was being renewed, and they were willing to change their attitudes. In response they asked what they should do. John wasn’t in anyway superficial; he never smoothed over the people sins and much less tolerated their religiosity. His message demanded not only repentance but also the fruit of repentance: lives converted and families healed.
Even Jesus prophetically subjected himself to the baptism of John, which was part of the new revival. At that moment the heavens were torn open to a new move of the Holy Spirit and to the voice of the Father.
“And the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, thou art my beloved son; with thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)
Before Satan and demonic principalities fell from heaven, the Holy Spirit came down through the ministry of John. Demonic spiritual structures were being strongly confronted and the principality of the nation was losing his right to operate. Political and religious governments felt the shocks of this move of the Holy Spirit and faced the same confrontation.
Repentance through naming and confession of sins, acts of reconciliation and prophetic witness are the most aggressive attitudes of spiritual warfare that silence every demonic argument and accusation. This is what prepares the way and straightens the path for true revival. (Matthew 3:3). Principalities and powers totally lose their ability to operate and are obligated to retreat. Demons cannot stand the anointing that brokenness and unity bring and are easily cast out. This is why Jesus ministry was marked with deliverance and healing. Evil spirits were being dislodged with an authority that amazed the religious class. Jesus declared that he saw Satan falling from heaven during those days (Luke 10:18). Satan had lost his strategic position by which he controlled the mentality of the people. Surely a great harvest was ready to come.
We must not fail to recognize that the man who worked to obtain this legality in preparation for the ministry of Jesus was John the Baptist. He cleansed the heavens and spiritually leveled the earth. Satanic principalities in heavenly realms and territorial spirits were destabilized.
During John’s ministry people repented, confessing their sins, changing attitudes and behavior, and reconciling with their families. This is how we see Satan fall from the sky over city or nation.
In Jesus’s ministry we can observe the collateral effects of this: Demons were being cast out, sick were being healed, miracles were flowing, multitudes were being saved and taught, and true disciples were being trained. Jesus was following the tracks of the path made ready by John.
The path was opened up, a powerful church realigned with the will of God began to be formed. John prepared the way for their “revival in person”: Jesus. And Jesus, through his life and death on the cross, prepared the way and passed the baton for the collective revival: the Holy Spirit. The first church wasn’t distracted by the power it received: rather, it responsibly channeled it to disciple the nations. Each member did his part.
The true pillar of sound revival consists of reconciliation and restoration of families through the power of the cross. This point can make the difference between a move of God and a profound transformation by God; between a visitation of God and a residing of God on earth; between a breath of God and a lasting revival.
Sensational signs or Biblical signs of true revival
I am not impressed by remarkable spiritual manifestations in church meetings. At times, I have seen some people who fall under the spirit; others laughing, crying, jumping, dancing or roaring like lions; others worshiping, prophesying, or speaking in other tongues, etc. all of this is very good and even necessary because this consoles and edifies many individuals in the body. The presence of God is emotional and the manifestation of his gifts is useful and strengthening. With all respect I say that I’m not impressed by these people because what they are experiencing doesn’t mean that their lives are being changed. In many cases this may only signify an encouraging and therapeutic touch of God for those whose life is emotionally and spiritually stressed. For many who find themselves in a depressive state this comforting by the Holy Spirit has its rightful place. Even so this is merely a superficial work.
However, when I see people in a meeting, moved by the Holy Spirit, confessing sins openly, humbling themselves, recognizing their guilt, revealing their secret sins, exposing their shame, renouncing the hurts of traumas, forgiving and releasing those who have offended them, paying restitution for defrauding others, reconciling relationships, taking a stand on their morals, that is when I perceive the fear of God and that is impressive! This is the aroma of the fire of true revival, an environment of true deliverance and spiritual conquest.
Revival through the family
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. (Psalm 68:5, 6)
TURNING THE ATTENTION TO THE FAMILY
The above passage reveals that it is God’s clear goal to heal, support, and preserve the family. In his infinite mercy, he is willing to make good on the losses and injustices which have been suffered. The family was planned out to be the proper environment, the emotional womb which generates healthy children, destined to consistent spiritual growth.
It has been clearly proven that people born outside of the protection and love of a family environment become insecure. This insecurity manifests itself in various forms of self-rejection and rebellion. This is where the deepest problems of any individual are rooted.
The most intense areas of spiritual warfare don’t begin outside in the world where the demons are throwing a party. The primary spiritual battlefield is inside the walls of the church, and is the most arduous strategy of the enemy’s attack, which is always characterized by a form of infiltration. In other words, it is in the mind, the family and the church that we will face the greatest Satanic investments. The point of attack invariably begins with the principle of attacking the authority figure. “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” (Matthew 26:31)
The main pillar of the family is the father figure, who is the divine reference point for the children and the wife. The absence of the father figure imposes a state of widowhood and orphanhood that destabilizes the family environment, provoking insecurity and a lack of protection. This is why Satan appears as the father of orphanhood.
We must not deceive ourselves: the strategy of attack of the enemy is against the father figure. This is readily evident in observing world religions. In Brazil there is a matriarchal religious system, run primarily by female patron Saints that, under a pretext of intercession, block the relationship with God the Father.
In Catholicism there is a big “mother of God” with the “Little Lord Jesus” in her arms and a father that never appears on the scene. This world outlook has manifested itself in the family situation shipwrecking relationships. Almost all the problems related to the wife and children are collateral effects of a father who for whatever reason, failed in fulfilling his proper place in the family. What we see so much of nowadays due to adultery and alcoholism are families with absent fathers, a “supermom” who takes on all the responsibilities, and due to her impulses motivated by insecurity becomes a “home Sargent” with the children suffering all the collateral effects of this inversion of roles.
As incredible as it may sound, in all the cultures of the world, the most common expression of Satan is as a “mother”. This is emotionally very strategic. Satan is an expert in transfiguring himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). These are frontal attacks, however subtle, against the fatherhood of God.
In the above passage from Psalm 68, God is presented as our main reference point for fatherhood. While the devil is the father of orphanhood, God is the father of the orphans, the protector of widows and the restorer of families. He has never abdicated this position in relation to the human race. Even though the human race has become lost through sin, he still adopts us thereby redeeming our sonship.
Jesus gave up his right as the “only begotten son” of God to become the “firstborn” of many brethren. Through the incredibly expensive price of his death and resurrection, he included us in his kingdom and family. We have been taken hostage by death, victims of our own sins. We were separated from God, but Jesus paid the price for our ransom and brought us back, giving us the Holy Spirit that cries out “Abba father!” Through his sacrifice he brought us into his family; not as slaves to religiosity, but as true children of God who can enjoy total liberty and have intimate access to the heart of the Father.
This is the dynamic of family restoration. The fatherhood of God exposes the company of loneliness, opens the prisons of rejection and makes the personality prosper. However, for God to break the chains of fatherlessness in our lives, we must first break the chains of rebellion in our lives. As long as we fail to do this, we will live in a totally sterile spiritual and emotional realm. We must choose to release our rights as victims and be baptized through the ministry of reconciliation.
“And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6)
The curses of the land are directly related to the destruction of the structure of the family principle. This is the heart of the battlefield. The human race has been a victim of a satanic conspiracy to control the family. Sins, family conflicts and misalignments have the tendency to self-perpetuate, adversely conditioning successive generations. Many times it is not easy to resolve such situations and disarm these schemes of curses. It requires not only the search for a correct diagnosis through intelligent spiritual mapping, but also an adequate treatment and the whole process of renewal, instruction and transformation of the mind.
The spiritual leader and the family
In life we juggle many balls. Most of them are made of rubber, and if we drop them we are able to pick them up and continue juggling. The family, however, is like a glass ball. If we drop this ball, it will break. And if we lose it, we will lose the game of life. There is no success that can compensate for failure in the family. Ministry, friends, work, finances and even health are all rubber balls. If we lose them, we can easily get them back. However, if we lose our family, the spiritual trauma, especially for a leader to continue to be a leader, will be fatal.
In these situations not only have many leaders fallen to the wayside, but many churches also have been traumatized and imprisoned in terrible legacies of morality, division and curses. This path leads in the opposite direction of revival.
And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4)
This passage establishes the motivational platform of the citizens of Babel. Wrong motives can suddenly fragment the process of growth. This verse shows us four transgressions which make up the motives of those people and caused their unity to result in a doomed process of confusion and dispersion.
Let us build for ourselves – self-centeredness and possessiveness
In developing the work of God, a self-seeking attitude of building it for ourselves is very dangerous. The hidden motive of building it for ourselves expresses open rebellion against the Lordship of Christ. It is not the style of leadership but the spirit of leadership that can be a problem in this respect: whether we consider ourselves owners or stewards, masters or servants, pastors or rulers. To lead is to guide, to serve and to care for. What is the true motive behind our ministry? Are we serving the church or using the people?
In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul states that God gave pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc. to the church. He didn’t say that God gave the church to pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc. Leaders belong to the body of Christ but the body of Christ does not belong to leaders.
When leaders feel that they are the owners of the ministry, they begin to manipulate people. Leaders begin to see their own objectives as primary and people as secondary. Their prayer life of is substituted for excessive demands on people and their dependence on God is replaced by the manipulation of their staff. They make their own decisions independently of God’s authorization, and thus rebel against God’s will. All of this happens very subtly and under the cloak of spirituality.
This was one of the most serious sins of the religious class of Jesus’s time. This is why he confronted them with various parables one of which is the rented vineyard (Matthew 21:33-34), the evil steward (Matthew 24:48-51) and others. These are the people who coerce others to do the work of God. These people stop being servants and became masters. Jesus leaves us with the key question:
“When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” (Matthew 21:40)
When we lose the recognition that we are mere stewards, the enemy begins to inject various strategies of control which begin to wear us down and destroy our relationships. Manipulation, domination, greed, disguised extortion, and various other attitudes motivated by insecurity and fear of losing control and reputation will implode our relationship with God and place us in a spiritual situation in which even though we feel confident, in reality we are on the verge of collapse.
A tower whose top will reach into heaven – megalomania
God is great and certainly has great things for each one of us. However, he never starts with something big and ready to go. The motivation based on megalomania usually is host to pride and arrogance. This motivation can cause us to stumble over a whole series of divine principles such as humility, faithfulness in the little, unity, etc.
All of us are impressed with big and majestic things. Maybe the greatest danger of this type of motivation is that it leads us into forgetting about God. This type of moral amnesia has brought many empires to total destruction. This was the divine verdict over the people of Edom, who arrogantly went too far in their judgment against Israel:
The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you ascend as high as the eagle, And though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down,” says the Lord. (Obadiah 1:3-4)
Re: the great Temple of Jerusalem, Jesus said that there would not be one stone left upon another that would not be knocked down, because they had forgotten God and rejected the prophetic word. They got so stubborn after the success that they had achieved that they were unable to discern the divine visitation. Under the pretext of protecting their religious structure, they assassinated the Messiah – God’s revival in person. They locked themselves into so many rules and regulations that they lost the essence of relationship with God.
They became insensitive to the presence of God to such a point that they not only “did the work of God without God” but also “did the work of God against God”.
The danger of large religious structures is that they makes us feel untouchable, so secure that we no longer need God, thus the Holy Spirit retreats together with his blessing. When this happens we feel that we are above divine correction, and we ourselves define the height of our fall.
Jesus took us out of an empire, the “power of darkness”, and transferred us into his “kingdom of love” (Colossians 1:13). The words “power” and “kingdom” are motivationally antagonistic just as “controlling” and “serving”. When a church stops being part of the kingdom it becomes an empire, megalomania, self-sufficient motivation is placed in check.
Let us make a name for ourselves – idolizing a reputation
Self-affirmation and the love for fame are dangerous tendencies that also reveal a personality imbalanced by insecurity.
Are we building a tower or an altar? A tower is a memorial and a monument to itself. An altar is a place of total surrender to God. This is the basis of true worship. What are we building for God? The Bible says that Saul built a monument on Mount caramel in his own honor. His motivation in making his kingdom into a tower brought his kingdom to decadence and chaos. He was sternly rebuked by God.
David also went through a similar situation being tempted by Satan in the same way. He sinned against God by counting his people, trusting in the growth and potential of his army. He sinned against God ignoring that: “the horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” (Proverbs 21:31).
In the end though, David repented and submitted himself to divine correction. To demonstrate his attitude of humility he built an altar to God on the threshing floor of Araunah, where Solomon later built a temple. In this way he had the promise of his reign sealed by an eternal covenant which fulfilled itself in Christ.
We must not build our identity solely on what we do. Intimacy with God is the greatest key deployed in the formation of our identity. We must not simply seek out the ministry. This can be a way of further feeding our insecurity and running from God’s dealings with us. We must first seek the Lord, and he will establish us in his ministry.
We must not seek out a position because of the advantages we can get from it. Instead, we must serve the body of Christ through our gifts. By exercising them, in due course we will be placed where we belong. We shouldn’t seek the affirmation of men; rather, we must focus on God’s approval so that he will show us approved before men.
The lust for fame is a temptation that has overcome many. Fame in this case is a “reward” that the devil gives so that people do not become that which God planned them to be. Every time we become intoxicated by vainglory, self-worship or fame we move further away from our identity in God.
The way for us to become what God wants us to be is worship. Worship releases the revelation of our identity. But self-affirmation shuts us up even more in structures of insecurity.
Lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth – (“stay” instead of “go”) – possessiveness and apathy.
This defensive attitude reveals the heart of those men. They were being strongly motivated by fear and insecurity. A motive based on self-promotion does not lead us in the great commission, but rather the “great omission.”
God’s original plan for the earth is revealed in the first chapter of the Bible:
“And God bless them, and God said to them, “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28)
Once again the original plan of God, which is spelled out later in the New Testament through the great commission of Jesus, is confirmed to Noah, the new beginning of the human race: and God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:11)
The intention of God was to fill the earth. When we lose the goal of filling the earth with the knowledge of the glory of God, then confusion, division and the lack of understanding enters in. When we sin against the responsibility to disciple nations, we are compromising the quality of the growth.
The most efficient strategy of sanctification is evangelism. Evangelism makes the difference between those who whose feet are sunk into worldliness and those whose feet are shod with the preaching of the gospel of peace and clothed with the armor of God.
We lose the blessing when we stop being a blessing. When the church loses the view of the lost world and becomes a “tiny empire”, it is a sign that is being controlled by insecure people and no longer guided by the Holy Spirit. This explains why there are so many people who still haven’t heard the gospel. This seeming unity based on fear and insecurity buries the authority of the church and endangers the quality of the growth.
The antidote to this toxin that sickened the motives of humankind in Babel only came at Pentecost through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The first thing the Holy Spirit did was to break the religious sophistry that fed the bias and apathy of the church in relation to the Gentiles.
The first message of Pentecost was a view of different people of various languages. This apostolic missionary vision reached its peak with Paul, the greatest apostle to the Gentiles. The primitive church maintained the quality of growth because it had a distinguishing characteristic: the boldness to witness. They brought the gospel to the hands of the known world. Biblically they were more than a witness, they were martyrs. The Greek word used for witness in the New Testament is “martyrs”. They paid the price of obedience and evangelized the world and their generation.
Unfortunately there is a generalized evil in the church: many want to find a way to serve God without the direct involvement in the great commission of making disciples of the nations. More than ever the church needs a “touch of eternity”.
The obedience to Jesus’s command to “go” is the key to unity, understanding and ministry complimentary of the body of Christ. This was the last commandment Jesus left us. When we don’t do what God has commanded us to do we begin to do what he has commanded us not to do and this is where curses, confusion and divisions begin. The church which becomes an end in itself is condemned to the same destiny as the Tower of Babel.
If in any way we are not directly involved in the great commission, we can be certain that there is something very wrong with “our gospel” and with our lives.
What does the last commandment of Jesus mean to us; a “great opinion” in which only some must be involved? A “great omission” because we feel that it is not for us and therefore must only apply to others? Or “the great commission”, the commandment for everyone in which we have a commitment to fulfill our part completely?
One simplified version of Babel was exemplified by Jesus himself in the New Testament. He speaks of a man who prospered so much that he tore down his barns and built even larger ones. The motive of this man was founded in personal interests and in seeking out security in this world. This is when the church becomes a barn and a platform to guarantee success and human comfort. But suddenly a verdict is heard:
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)
Has your church become a “missionary barn”?
What are you building, a tower or an altar?
The implications of growth
The quality and type of growth is a major key to revival. Every growth process has a price and brings a set of consequences into operation. Growth can be a two-edged sword bringing either great blessing or multiple problems and problematic people. The reality is that we simply produce fruit according to our own kind. This is the law of reproduction that governs all aspects of our nature. Our motivations also determine the kind of seed that we are planting. Diseased and sick people preach a sick and contaminated gospel; this is the negative side of growth.
Another aspect of growth is that it flows from God. Paul declared: “I planted. Apollo’s watered. But God caused the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6) this is one of the greatest secrets in life. We can plant and water, but the growth is by nature, supernatural; it only comes from God. Jesus states the same truth in a challenging way:
“And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27)
No one grows 17 inches (which is one cubit) taller from one day to the next just out of eagerness or desire. It is necessary to have good health and patience throughout the growth process.
Jesus warns us against anxiety which can become a dangerous enemy. By ignoring this warning, many leaders end up obstinately following a “miracle recipe” for growth which dispenses with the natural development of people who have been proven and approved by God. Molding a person’s character requires a lot of work and can take more time than we imagine. Growth that lacks the support of stable and consistent leaders may be a great time waster, and even lead to stagnation.
The prospect of rapid success has always been a point of temptation. Someone once said that a leader’s greatest enemy is success. Success is like a minefield. Satan assures that many seductive schemes are strategically placed in this minefield such as arrogance, self-sufficiency, authoritarianism, impatience and primarily pride and vainglory. Becoming successful is often not very difficult and many are able to attain success. However, very few are able to remain successful. This is where many stop building an altar and begin building a tower. The altar is divine, the tower is human.
A disproportional anxiety for growth transgresses the laws of process and has become a snare to many pastors who end up becoming victims of methods that, despite being effective, violate the ethics, the will and the timing of God. They end up building without first laying a foundation. This type of growth can work for a period of time; however, it won’t withstand the coming storms of life and ministry.
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.” (Proverbs 21:5)
Many leaders, due to a fear of losing people and the resources they represent, avoid confronting their own sins and properly dressing their own wounds. They end up compromising the principles and values of the kingdom of God. This is a terrible way to sow spiritual seed because it sacrifices revival in favor of growth. When we lose the zeal for sanctification our growth becomes vanity and at best, a waste of time and resources. It is easy to understand why some churches grow so rapidly and afterwards fall apart and dwindle just as rapidly. The gospel without the cross produces weak, vulnerable and incapable churches.
More than ever we need to invest in character qualities, producing pure motives in people that yield lives centered on the moral principles of the kingdom of God and a gospel that glorifies the cross. Motivation, values and message are the three dimensions of the cornerstones of discipleship. Without an authentic foundation in this, the development of disciples is destined to failure.
Corrupted motives, a life full of “power” devoid of principles and a gospel without the cross represent the cornerstone of a crisis of holiness, which in turn, leads to a crisis of leadership the likes of which devastate the church today.
THE ROOT OF CONFUSION
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:5-7)
Growth can suddenly become contaminated and even turn cancerous. This was the terrible tragedy of Babel, which represents the second downfall of the human race.
In this case it is clearly evident that unity is the indisputable principle which produces growth under any circumstance. The big question however, is the motive. Growth is inevitable, but the motives establish the quality and the destiny of the growth. The motives determine the character, and the character determines the destiny. A correct principle can be totally unbalanced by a corrupted motive. This is the way which the devil strategically undermines biblical principles of growth.
We can learn principles from the history of Babel: between being divided and having the wrong type of growth, the former is the lesser evil. Therefore, it is indispensable that we know how to learn from divisions and correct our motives for growth. Without this the church can suddenly stop being an altar of God and become a tower honoring the human personality.
Many mysteries are contained in this critical phase of conflict, in which it is fundamentally important to discern if it is time to insist on a formula for growth or to learn from the disappointments and suffering caused by divisions and then be able to grow on the right foundation, which is God’s glory.
Before we can grow, before God builds us outwardly, he will excavate and dig foundations and probe us to encounter firm soil in our lives. He will birth right motives and a solid character in our personality. This is an arduous and painful job. It is a path of tests and situations in which our values and principles will be checked in the minutest detail and our motives will be profoundly examined and corrected if need be. God only builds upon foundations that he himself establishes.
At Babel there was a community that was building foundations upon reprehensible motives. There is no lasting unity when motives are wrong. Even if a principal is right, a corrupted motive transforms such a situation into a time-bomb. It is only a matter of time until it all erupts into chaos. Unity inspired by wrong motives is in truth a seed of division and confusion.
It is important to add that it is not always the devil who is the author of division. God sometimes creates division in righteousness thereby condemning our obscured and corrupted motives. It is up to us to discern the source of such division, whether it be satanic or God sent, with the spiritual tools that He has bestowed upon us. We may rightly begin by edifying an altar to God’s glory, but let’s be careful to maintain the humility and spiritual perception necessary to protect us from the degeneration of our efforts to the construction of a tower as a monument to “human efforts” and initiative.
One of the collateral effects of the gospel of material prosperity is that it limits people to the level of superficiality and suppresses intercession. At best, people will become concerned for their own financial needs and personal problems. This eventually prevents these people from receiving blessings and prolongs their personal suffering. Job’s situation was only restored when he took his eyes off of himself and began to intercede for his accusing “friends”. It was through his intercession that his own suffering was eventually terminated and reversed.
A life of praying for only our own personal needs can quench the gift of intercession in the church. This emphasizes self-satisfaction to the detriment of true conquests for the kingdom and produces people who are ineffective in spiritual warfare thus compromising quality growth of the church.
We need much more than a magic prayer from a “super pastor” mentality that only succeeds in addicting people to prayer lines. People become accustomed to dumping their problems and responsibilities on others, and unfortunately due to the ignorance of many churches in how to deal with such attitudes these people are often treated in ways that only reinforce their problem. The preaching of the gospel that focuses exclusively on human needs, and not on the cross and Lordship of Christ has been corrupted by secular humanism. Such needs focused preaching is valid in evangelism but it must not be the spiritual “bread and butter” of church doctrine.
In this context we can understand the strange warning that Jeremiah received from God:
“Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.” (Jeremiah 7:16)
The people in this case didn’t need to receive prayer; they needed to take a stance. Not only does God not listen to prayers that exempt those who offer them from assuming their moral responsibility, but such prayers betray spiritual apathy and promote religiosity. This is very subtle because the tendency is to end up learning that any type of prayer is good. By praying without discernment, we can be inciting spiritual indolence in others.
People frequently approach pastors and church leaders for prayer. Whenever possible these leaders should evaluate the request and the spiritual posture of the person. They must try to listen to the person and also hear God, by doing this tremendous results can be obtained.
After a time of ministry a woman asked me to pray for her and bless her emotional life. I like to be useful, so I asked her if she could be more specific. She began to expose all of her suffering and then ended up revealing also that she was living with a man who wasn’t even a Christian. I explained that my prayer would not have any effect as long as she didn’t repent and break up the relationship. I told her frankly: “I can only pray for you if you are truly ready to change the situation.” This confrontation changed her life forever.
Many people today are facing financial problems. I have heard the same story many times; “pastor, I have gone to many prayer meetings and have asked many men of God to pray for me. The little I had I gave, and later things got worse! Nothing seems to work!” When we come across this type of situation, we usually find many unresolved things such as defrauding others, unpaid debts, possession of stolen or shoplifted goods, swindling and even fraudulently writing of checks against negative balances! I’m speaking about Christians!
These people need to make a genuine stance of repentance and restitution much more than they need to receive a magic prayer. Sometimes I repeat what God said to Ezekiel: “even if Noah, Daniel and Job, the greatest intercessors of the Bible, were to pray for you, if you haven’t taken an adequate stance, God would not move one hair on your head”. God isn’t moved by our self-piety or by an introspective attitude of spiritual self-judgment, no matter how much we are suffering. This suffering sometimes is the way that God chooses to challenge us to take a spiritual stance against something of which we are blind to or have even chosen to ignore.
God acts according to principles. Prayer needs to be supported by coherence with the principles of the kingdom of God.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)
This type of confrontation that deals with the roots of the problem produces a much greater effect than a “powerful” yet blind prayer which wasn’t birthed through spiritual discernment. When people are confronted at the root of their problems, producing fruit of repentance, the prayer of faith will have a great effect.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)
People who have come out of witchcraft and the occult which is becoming more and more common nowadays are used to obtaining things easily. Feelings, money, problems, etc. are taken care of rapidly through a magic formula or simple witchcraft. Yes, it actually works. Witchcraft with all of its “spiritual technology” is very compatible with this third millennium in which everything is computerized, robotized and remote controlled. This is why witchcraft has spread as never before and is now “in vogue” in developed countries.
In the same way, may come to church expecting the same type of quick easy results. The result is religious hypochondria. There are lots of people who are totally weakened, dependent upon others, negligent in seeking the face of God, morally empty and easily impressed and seduced by mysticism. They are not willing to take a stance to pay the required price. Instead, they seek out someone to whom they can transfer their problems. Instead of making disciples, many Christians are reproducing parasites, propagating a cheap grace and irresponsible healing of people’s wounds. This pattern of Christianity without the cross must be eliminated in order to see revival and the advance of God’s kingdom.