The Spirit of Elijah and Forbidden Ideas

The Spirit of Elijah and Forbidden Ideas

There are some ideas that seem to be forbidden in Christian apologetics.

One forbidden concept is that a dead person’s spirit cannot show up again on Earth. Thus, it is said about the story of Saul appearing to the witch of Endor that what showed up at the witch’s summons was a demon.

However, it was not a demon, it was the spirit of Samuel. The witch was an experienced witch, people recognized her as such, and that is why she was recommended to King Saul. The witch, upon summoning the spirit of Samuel and believing that her familiar spirit would show up masquerading as a human spirit, as was the routine, was terrified because what showed up was the real spirit of Samuel.

Another forbidden idea is that a human spirit cannot indwell another human. In the Bible, there is one recorded case of this happening, as we shall see.

Although they rarely happen, God does allow these unusual spiritual things to happen. He has, is, and will continue to allow and perform things that men cannot understand, imagine or accept.

A different kind of “death”

The Bible mentions only two men who were taken up to Heaven with their bodies: Enoch and Elijah. They did not die a mortal man’s death, but were taken away with their mortal bodies. In the case of Jesus, it was different: Jesus’ body died on the cross, was resurrected in a body that had been transformed and later was taken up to “the clouds” in this transformed body.

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah. And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years. And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. (Genesis 5:21-24)

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. (2 Kings 2:9-12)


Moses died a natural death. He was not taken up, but God Himself buried him.
And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan… (Deuteronomy 34:1)

And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. (Deuteronomy 34:4-6)

However, for a specific reason known only to God, his body was required in Heaven:

Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 1:9)

The devil also had a specific reason to fight against Moses’ body being taken to Heaven.

I am sure that there are many reasons that God wants certain people to go up to Heaven with their mortal bodies, but in searching the Bible the only reason I find is in the transfiguration story.

The Transfiguration

And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. (Matthew 17:1-3)

Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus. The spirits of two dead men appeared to a group of men. This is one of the “forbidden ideas” of Christianity, but God allowed it.

Elijah had been taken up with his mortal body, and Moses was not. He was buried, but later an Archangel came to take his body up. Was his body needed in Heaven so that he could appear along with Elijah to Jesus?

Notice that Jesus’ body also was transformed, even if momentarily.

Other Special “Bodies” in the Bible: Abraham and his Visitors

And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground. (Genesis 18:1-2)

The Bible tells us that the Lord (and the two angels) appeared to Abraham, but when Abraham looked, all he saw were three men.

And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetch a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. (Genesis 18:6-8)

If the Lord appeared to me, the last thing in my mind would be to get in the kitchen and start cooking! So Abraham was still thinking they were men, and extended the customary hospitality to them, inviting them to rest and have a meal. The “men” accepted, and they ate.

And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do. (Genesis 18:16-17)

And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. (Genesis 18:22)

Abraham at some point figured out that one of the men was the Lord, and he stayed with Him, but the two men went on their way to Sodom. The two men were angels:

And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; (Genesis 19:1)

Lot also saw them as men, and prepared a meal for them:

And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. (Genesis 19:2-3)

So they ate again, and not only did they have the ability to eat, but they also had the power to destroy a city:

And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. (Genesis 19:12-13)

God is a Spirit, angels are spirits; however, it appears they can inhabit human bodies that function as a normal human body. They can also appear and disappear. We cannot distinguish them from other human beings (this is how we could entertain angels unaware, Heb. 13:12.) Whether these three human bodies were put together specifically for this event or this was done some other way, we don’t know.

Jesus in His Transformed Body

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)

The doors were shut and maybe even locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus in his transformed body came and stood in the middle of them, either walking through the closed door or through the wall or just appearing. This transformed body had the wounds that his previous body had, although we know his previous body was much more battered than just the wounds in his hands and side.

The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. (John 20:25-27)

As before, the door was shut and he appeared in the midst of them.

After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. (John 21:1-6)

As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. (John 21:9-15)

It is implied that Jesus ate breakfast with them, in his new body that could appear and disappear.

The Advent of Jesus Announced by the Prophets

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:1-5)

The advent of Jesus was announced by the prophets, saying that God would send a messenger to prepare the way before his advent, as a voice that cries in the wilderness saying to prepare the way of the Lord. The time came for both the messenger and the Messiah to be conceived, and the enemy did not like it a bit.

And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. (Matthew 11:7-10)

As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:2-8)

John the Baptist was to prepare the way of the Lord. He had to come into this world before the Lord. Even before he was conceived, violence started in the Kingdom, for the enemy was opposed to his conception.

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 11:12-15)

The Complete Jewish Bible says it this way: “…the Kingdom of Heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent ones are trying to snatch it away.”

Elizabeth, the mother of John, was an older woman and had been barren. Being of a priestly linage and not being able to have children, she felt cursed. A spiritual force would not let her conceive. Whether it was God’s design, keeping her womb virgin for the time of the advent of John, or it was the enemy’s design, we don’t know. But Jesus did say, “From the days of John the Baptist the Kingdom suffers violence.”

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. (Luke 1:5-7)

The enemy was fighting the plan of God for redemption, trying to stop the conception of John. As Sarah’s womb was closed until the time that Isaac would come into the world, so Elizabeth’s womb was closed until the time John would come into the world.

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall 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 a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:11-17)

And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. (Luke 1:23-25)

The Lord’s Conception

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. (Luke 1:26-31)

The angel continues:

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:36-37)

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:39-44)

Elizabeth’s baby, John, leaped for joy when Mary, carrying Jesus in her womb, drew near. It was the spirit of Elijah already in John who recognized the Lord.

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. (Luke 1:56)

Mary returned to her house, three months into the pregnancy and starting to show. She was a virgin and conceived supernaturally, by the Holy Spirit. The custom in those days was to stone women who conceived out of marriage. Here was the opportunity the enemy had for violence. The enemy worked in Joseph’s mind and emotions to have Mary stoned. He did not want to do it, but it was the law, and he had to think about the reaction of the people. He did not want to bring the law upon her in public, but in private. God intervened.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (Matthew 1:18-25)

Later the violence shows up again when Herod hears about the child, and he wanted to have him killed. God intervenes again.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Matthew 2:12-16

John Starts His Ministry

As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight, John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. (Mark 1:2-4, 7, 8)

John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not. He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! (John 1:26-36)

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? (Matthew 3:13-14)

John knew there was someone coming who was mightier. God also spoke to John revealing who that person was. John knew not only that the person was the Son of God, but also that He was the Lamb of God. This term had significance for the Jews, and John did not hesitate to identify Jesus as such. The spirit of Elijah was in John since his conception, and while still in the womb, John recognized the Messiah who was also in the womb. Later, God confirmed to Jesus who He was, but John already knew Him, because of the spirit of Elijah. Jesus said:

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 11:12-15)

After John the Baptist was beheaded:

And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:9-13)

The Spirit of Elijah Departs from John

The apostle Norman Parish pointed this out in one of his lectures: when John the Baptist was put in prison by Herod, he was soon beheaded by order of Herod. Since the end of his life was imminent, the spirit of Elijah left him. Only at that time did John have doubts about Jesus being the Lamb of God:
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? (Matthew 11:2-3)

When John’s disciples departed, Jesus spoke to the multitude about John:

For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 11: 10-15)

The spirit of Elijah dwelled in John from his conception until shortly before his death. It was later that Elijah appeared, along with Moses, at the mount. (Matthew 17:1-3)

Interesting Stories from Guatemala

Apostle/Pastor Norman Parish of Guatemala, speaking at a deliverance minister’s conference, shared with us two stories. Because of the nature of these stories, he said he would not share them any place other than a deliverance minister’s conference.

The first story was about a young man who was a member of his church. He was a farmer, uneducated, and his Spanish vocabulary was very limited. He was very devout and worshiped the Lord.

One day this farmer brought a word for the congregation. When he delivered the word, his countenance and his speech changed, and he used words that were not familiar to him. It was a very solemn moment and every one was astounded when they heard him. Norman Parish explained that an angel had entered the young man to give this word.

Norman Parish reasoned that if demons, who are spirits, can enter human bodies, then angels can enter human bodies when directed by the Lord.

In the second story Pastor Parish and two elders ministered deliverance to a very sick man and commanded the demon to manifest. Something manifested and they tested the spirit. They asked the spirit three questions, and the spirit answered according to the scriptures.

One question was, “How did Jesus come?” The spirit answered “in the flesh”. A demon will not give that answer, Norman said, and if it does, it will say a counterfeit phrase like, “in the blesh” instead. The spirit then said that he was the Angel of Death and that he had been sent by the Lord to prepare the man for leaving his body, because his hour had come.

A Personal Testimony

I was about four years in the Lord and was entering the deliverance ministry. The Lord impressed on me to join a Spanish-speaking church that I did not want to attend.

I spoke to the pastor and his wife about deliverance, and the pastor said that if I wanted to teach deliverance in his church, I had to join the church. I joined the church and was there about two years, but he did not give me opportunity to teach deliverance. Instead I taught the adult Bible class.

There was something fishy going on in that church, and I wanted to leave on several occasions, but the Lord would not let me leave.

Once, during an evening service, a member of that church, a humble man, came to the front with his guitar to sing. He sang to the Lord truly worshiping Him, and I got caught up in the anointing. I had my hands up and my eyes closed, worshiping along with the man.

The ceiling was low, and there was a light fixture above me. My head was back, and I could see the light shining on my eyelids. After a while, the light seemed to become larger and more intense and came into my body through my eyelids. Immediately I felt a pressure in my stomach area, reaching up to my throat. I felt a tremendous urge to open my mouth and scream, but I held myself back because I did not want to disturb the singer. It was very hard to control.

Finally, when he finished, I let it go. I was amazed as I was giving a message in tongues in a very, very loud voice. I had always wished I could give a message in tongues but I never could. This is the only one I have ever had.

I could hear myself, of course, and I realized that the message was not a “feel good” message. In fact, I had the feeling it was a rebuke. The tone of the speech was just that way, which anyone can perceive in any language. When I finished, I opened my eyes which were looking in the direction of the pastor, and he was looking back at me with a terrified look on his face. After he regained his cool, he gave a very short interpretation which had nothing to do with the tone of the message.

I have wondered many times about this event. I have known many Christians whom God used for messages in tongues, but they never commented to me about a light shining in their eyes or an inside pressure to give the message that was hard to control.

Now I believe it was an angel who entered me to give this message. This is why I had such a loud voice. This is why I have not given any other messages in tongues during services. This event was a one-time event.

Final Thoughts

Knowing what the Lord has done, we must be prepared to entertain angels. Could we discern an angel? There are many testimonies of angels helping people who did not realize it was an angel who helped them until the angel disappeared, because the angel looked just like a human.

We also need to remember that an angel can enter a human body, if only momentarily, when ordered by the Lord.

In the case of John the Baptist, we have seen that a human spirit of a deceased man (Elijah) entered one man to empower him (John) for a mission, and after everything was accomplished, the human spirit that was empowering John left. This was done by order of God.

We have also seen that two deceased men’s spirits (Moses and Elijah) appeared to Jesus and the disciples who were with him. Peter, who was so frightened later, was not frightened at this appearance at all.

I knew a woman who lost her only son in a tragic accident. She did not have the strength to take it and was thinking about suicide. Her son appeared to her and told her that he was in Heaven, that he was very happy and to please stop crying for him. She told me this herself, and at the time I did not know what to believe. This lady was very intelligent and stable, and I could not dismiss her story as a hallucination. But I did not want to believe it. I believe it now. We have a compassionate God!

Let us think about this, let us train ourselves to discern, and let us expect marvelous things from the Lord.

Principles of Military Strategy

The Principles of Military Strategy

Somewhere on the Internet many years ago, I found a website that listed principles of military strategy. I was looking for this because I was comparing spiritual warfare to earthly warfare. Although much of the Bible is a historical recording of the many battles of the Israelites, could this not also serve as an allegory of our life as believers? We are supposed to engage in daily spiritual warfare with our enemy. The scripture says that we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (II Corinthians 11:2). Is that really true in your life?

We have heard so many Christians tell us things like, they don’t pay attention to Satan, or deliverance ministers find a demon under every rock, or deliverance ministers give Satan more glory than they do God, etc. Of course, we disagree with all of this. Here are some scriptures, and I am sure there are many more, that we should know regarding the warfare we are in, whether one chooses to accept this truth or not.

The principle of mass – all things being equal, sending a single tactical allied unit to combat a single tactical enemy unit will result in 50% chance of victory. But when you have God on your side, you have a 100% chance of victory.

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (II Kings 6:15-17)

Selecting decisive objectives (by knowing your enemy). Do you really know your enemy and his devices?

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (II Corinthians 2:11)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (I Peter 5:8)

Taking the initiative away from your foe. Take the offense, rather than the defense – use our God-given authority.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… (II Corinthians 10:4)

Concentrating your resources at the decisive point. Who is your “resource”?
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. (Psalm 24:8)

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles. II Chronicles 32:7-8

Coordinating the movement of your resources to meet your objective. God is our resource.

Come near and rescue me; redeem me because of my foes. (Psalm 69:18)

Maintaining unity of command. When the commander-in-chief speaks, you’d better obey.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

Coordinating your tasks to achieve maximum effectiveness. Your #1 task is to pray.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

Maintaining secrecy until it is too late for your opponent to react. Go to the secret place of the Most High to get your battle plans.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)

Employing unexpected elements such as deception, speed, creativity, and audacity. Turn the tables on Satan, he’ll never know what hit him.

The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1)

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

Keep your plans as simple as is needed to accomplish the task. KISS: Keep it simple, saint!

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (II Corinthians 11:3)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Choose a flexible strategy so you can adapt to changing conditions. Employ all of the spiritual disciplines.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Organize for maximum efficiency. Here is an example of efficiently organizing an army for success and following God’s instructions to a T.

Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.” So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the LORD and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” And he ordered the people, “Advance! March around the city, with the armed guard going ahead of the ark of the LORD.” When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the LORD went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the LORD’s covenant followed them. The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. But Joshua had commanded the people, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” So he had the ark of the LORD carried around the city, circling it once. Then the people returned to camp and spent the night there. Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the LORD and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets kept sounding. So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days. On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.” When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:1-20)

Maintain a positive morale even in the face of set-backs. Be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Habakkuk 3:17)

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Maintain momentum until success is accomplished. Fight the good fight of faith.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10)

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9)

There is Something in a Name

There is Something in a Name

A few years ago, I was listening to a Christian teaching where a vague statement was made about one’s name, in that there may be a meaning behind one’s name that might portend a destiny. The speaker also alluded to the fact that one’s name might also convey a positive or negative feeling or aura to people, all subconsciously of course. This teacher went on to say that in Heaven, we will get a new name written on a white stone:

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. (Revelation 2: 17)

The Bible says that God also has named the stars: He counts the numbers of the stars; He gives a name to each of them. (Psalms 147:4)

It got me thinking about names. Is there a significance to naming a child, beyond a traditional family name, or because a parent likes a particular name? Why do they like that particular name?

I picked up a book on names, and the first name in the book was “Aaron”, a Hebrew name which means “light bearer”. I had dated a Jewish man named Aaron who owned a lighting store. I wondered if he knew the significance of his name.

My mother wanted to name me Michelle which is the female version of Michael, a Hebrew name that means “who is like God?”. However, my father named me Madeline, a variation of Magdalene. Magdala was a city on the Sea of Galilee with a tower. The name Madeline can mean “high tower” or “tower of strength”. So here I have two (at the time of my birth) non-Christian, non-Jewish parents who both wanted to name me a name that had a Hebrew origin…..

My maiden name was Burton, a British name meaning “fortified town or settlement”. So Madeline Burton – a tower of strength / fortified town.

My first husband’s last name was Hyatt, another British name meaning “lofty gate”. So, now I am a tower of strength in a fortified town with a lofty gate – sounds like the new Jerusalem:

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Revelation 21: 10-21)

The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man’s measurement, which the angel was using. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.

My second husband’s last name was de León and we know his family was from Spain, so presumably from León. León means “lion” in Spanish. Now we know there were a lot of Sephardic Jews in Spain before the Inquisition, so could de León be short for “Lion of Judah”? So could I be a tower of strength in a fortified town with a lofty gate from the Lion of Judah?

Well, I have since found through DNA testing that I am indeed Jewish at least on my mother’s side. Could the Lord have been telling me something through my names? ( I have told Him on a couple of occasions that I don’t feel like a tower of strength, but I think that’s what He is trying to make me into….)

I propose that sometimes we are named a particular name for a reason.

Let’s see what the Bible has to say about names. From Genesis through Revelation, there is much written about the significance of names. People would name their children a certain name for a reason.

  • The angel told Mary to name her son Yeshua (Hebrew for the Greek version we know as Jesus) because Yeshua means Salvation. Salvation was Jesus’ function when He came to earth.
  • The angel told Zechariah to name his son Yochanon (Hebrew for the Greek version of John – the Baptist) which means God’s Grace – makes sense since John’s job was to prepare the way for Jesus’ coming. Jesus came because of God’s grace toward us.
  • God himself changed Abraham’s name for Abram and Sarah from Sarai. Abraham means “father of many”, while Abram means “exalted father”. Sarah means “princess”, while Sarai means “my princess”. Notice that both name changes “ indicate a step from local to global, or specific to general” (from
  • Isaac means laughter. Sarah laughed when she heard she was going to have a baby in her very old age, so that’s what she named him. I imagine Isaac had a life full of laughter.
  • Leah and Rachel both named their boys, the 12 tribes of Israel, specific names for a reason. They must have known there was future significance in their names, their destiny.
  • When Hannah couldn’t get pregnant, she cried out to the Lord until he “opened her womb”. She named her first son Samuel, which means “God heard”.
  • When Lazarus was raised from the dead (Lazarus is the Greek for the Hebrew Eleazar or El’azar), God helped him from death. Lazarus means “God has helped”.
  • Deborah was one of the strongest women in the Bible. She was a wife, a prophetess and a judge and went out to war with the men. Her name means “bee”. What do bees do? They make sweet honey, work diligently on a team (a hive) but they can also sting if provoked. Remember Muhammed Ali’s phrase, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”? That was Deborah.
  • One of the most significant name changes in the Bible was when Jesus renamed Simon to Peter. It is said that this name was a prophetic sign of the amazing change that Peter would have after Jesus resurrected. As you recall Peter was a paradox of behavior and emotions until after Jesus resurrected and the Holy Spirit came upon Peter with power. He was never the same again. He went from a “pebble” as Simon to a “rock” as Peter.
  • Hadassah is interesting. She was renamed Esther, you might have heard of her. Hadassah means “myrtle tree”. You might wonder what a myrtle tree has to do with what Esther did, basically saving the Jewish people from annihilation. I like this translation of Isaiah 55:13:

13 Cypress and myrtle trees will grow in fields once covered by thorns. And then those trees will stand as a lasting witness to the glory of the LORD.

Well, after all these centuries, Purim, the Jewish festival of Esther is still going strong. Esther / Hadassah, the myrtle tree, certainly stands as a lasting witness to the glory of the Lord for her part in God’s deliverance of the Jews from genocide.

The Jewish website, states “ A name defines a person’s essence. Choose carefully….. The naming of a Jewish child is a most profound spiritual moment…. naming a baby is a statement of her character, her specialness, and her path in life…… Naming a Jewish baby is not only a statement of what we hope she will be, but also where she comes from.….It is important to choose a name that will have a positive effect, since every time it is used the person is reminded of its meaning.

As I write this, I know two Christian women named Dolores (meaning: sorrows), one who just discovered she has colon cancer and one who just had a heart bypass. Could there be a connection? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t name my child “sorrows”.

My mother was named Mitsouko which is Japanese meaning mystery. I told her that totally fits because after she became a Christian she has unraveled many mysteries of the supernatural.

Let’s look at our current President’s name, Barack Hussein Obama. Barack is a variation of the Hebrew Baruch, which means blessing. Hussein means handsome one. So how would you like to be named after a “blessing” or “handsome one”? Look where he is today. Or would you rather be named “sorrows”?

This is just a brief commentary on naming. I challenge you to research your own name and ask the Lord about its significance. If you are naming a baby, do your homework and think about that child’s destiny. I leave you with this:

Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 3:12-13)

Deliverance vs. Exorcism

Deliverance vs. Exorcism

We recently saw Bob Larson on ABC’s Good Morning America AND Nightline and we wanted to comment in this article about him and others who conduct exorcisms and deliverance, and what the differences are between the two.

While Bob may be performing a good work for the Kingdom of God in his “exorcism” ministry, what we saw on TV smacks of “show business”. Several years ago, Mitsi and I were looking for a new church home and we visited MANY churches for a period of time trying to find a church that felt right to us. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay long at too many because the Holy Spirit would keep telling me “show business”. This would usually happen during the worship. I would be trying to get into the flow of the Spirit and lose myself in worship, but I couldn’t because the worship was more like a performance than a worship “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). I would get to a point where I couldn’t stand the phony feeling I was sensing and would have to leave.

Bob and others like him are using “props” to perform their exorcisms. Using “holy” water, crosses and Bibles, as shown on the above-mentioned shows, is more like Catholic church exorcisms. However, the only “prop” we ever use is olive oil as anointing oil. (We do NOT use any store-bought “special” anointing oils – see Ex. 30:33.) We don’t even use the Bible to touch people with, unless the Holy Spirit directs us to, because the Bible is a only a printed representation of the Word, the true sword of the spirit (Eph. 6:17, John 1), which is all we need to take authority over the spirits. Just our spoken word, combined with the belief/faith/knowledge of who we are in Jesus, is enough to weaken the demonic stronghold, provided the one ministered to has repented all sins.

Now Bob has his daughter and two of her friends (called the Teenage Exorcists) performing his style of exorcisms, and they are about to appear in a reality TV show. So, more show business.

I noticed on the ABC shows that when Bob does his exorcisms, he needs up to four people to hold down the person being ministered to. In our ministry, we have rarely if ever had to hold anyone down. I also notice theatrics in Bob’s ministry as well as others, such as the raising of the voice and arguing with the demons. More show business.

Bob also has a set fee of several hundred dollars for his time. We ask for a donation of whatever God leads the person to give. If they don’t have money and can’t give a donation to our ministry, that’s fine too.

So we minister deliverance and Bob and the Teenage Exorcists minister exorcism. You can see some of the differences above that I noted on the TV shows. What other differences are there?

Both ways expel demons, but one way is possibly less stressful and more successful. Here are some differences:


  • Ministry only to believers in Jesus (unless the Holy Spirit directs otherwise)
  • Only use anointing oil (unless the Holy Spirit directs otherwise)
  • Calmly command demons out, no theatrics
  • No need to hold people down (with rare exceptions)


  • Ministry to anyone, believers and non-believers alike
  • Props include holding a large cross, sprinkling holy water, laying Bible on body, wearing special “priestly” garments
  • Raised voice, theatrical
  • People needed to hold down those ministered to

Perhaps the biggest difference is that we minister only to believers, which affects the power of the demons. This is why you might see more “theatrics” with an exorcism. The Bible says that deliverance is the children’s bread (Matt. 15:26), so unless the Lord directs otherwise, God’s children are all we minister to. Because God’s children are under a covenant blessing that others are not, the ministry is calmer because the demons know that WE know our authority in Jesus.

So, if you want show business, you can easily find it in churches and exorcism ministries. If you want the blessings of Jesus’ true deliverance power, seek out a deliverance minister who is grounded in the Word and is not interested in show business or theatrics.

End Times Discernment

End Times Discernment

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)

Who calls Jesus Lord?

Who calls Jesus Lord? Only those who have been “born again” and have made a commitment to follow Him and to obey His teachings. This is the first step for a man or woman to become what the Bible calls a believer.

There will be a time when every knee will bow and every tongue will acknowledge that Jesus the Messiah is the Lord.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Thus, calling Jesus Lord is significant. No one can call Him Lord but by the Holy Spirit. So those who call Jesus “Lord” are a specific group of people.

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (1 Corinthians 12:3)

Demons refuse to call Jesus Lord. Any deliverance minister knows that if they can get a demon to call Jesus Lord, the demon will weaken and can be cast out easily. So there is something very important in the spiritual realm about calling Jesus Lord.

The will of the Father.

Not every one that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven…. (Matthew 7:21)

Jesus, teaching His disciples, let them know that not everyone that calls him Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven! How can this be? This must have been an eye-opener for those following Him. What a shock!!

Jesus followed by saying “…but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

This is the second step to take in order to enter Heaven!!! DO the will of the Father!!

At what time in history did Jesus say this?

Jesus was an Old Testament teacher. His Bible was what we call today the Old Testament. Who came up with this name? It is entirely wrong. It gives the impression that it is all used up, wrinkled, addled and good for nothing! It seems to mean: We had an old God and now we have a new one.

Maybe this is why hell has enlarged its mouth.

Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoices, shall descend into it. (Isaiah 5:14)

Why am I saying this? Because the Old Testament is where Jesus’ followers can find the will of the Father. Nowhere else. I am not saying to discard or disregard the New Testament, because everything written there is based on the Old Testament.

Years ago, I met a girl who was crazy about Jesus. She loved Him, she adored Him, she was always talking about Him and wanted to be like Him. And she carried a thin Bible–the New Testament.

I asked her:
– Why only the New Testament?
– Oh, I don’t want anything to do with the Old Testament.
– Don’t you want to be like Jesus?
– Oh, yes! I want to be like Him.
– Well, His Bible was the Old Testament.

She was in shock! She said she had never realized that. She got a new Bible.

No matter how long you have been saved, find out what God wants you to do from the entire Bible.

Even with signs and wonders…

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (Matthew 7:22)

They called Him Lord, and in His name:

  • They prophesied.
  • They cast out demons.
  • They performed many wonderful works (healing the sick, raising the dead, walked on water, stopped storms, multiplied food, were transported, brought the power of God over people and objects and many other spectacular things).

If there had been TV in those days, they would have had their own show. If there had been The Elijah List, they would have been contributing words there. If Sid Roth had been around, they would have been interviewed by Sid. They would have been featured on the cover of Charisma Magazine. Believers would have flocked to their meetings, conferences and revivals, no matter how far they were, to be thrilled with the mighty, spectacular things that God would do through them.

The gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29)

The anointing and gifts God gives you are not taken back by God. A man can be performing miracles, healing people, and casting out demons, and he might think he is going to heaven because of all the mighty things he is doing, yet by having the wrong motives, attitudes, secret sins and not doing the will of the Father, he will not enter heaven.

Your salvation is forever, but you may lose it.

I never knew you.

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:23)

The Hebrews used the word “know” to denote an intimate, “bare all” relationship. No secrets, no deception or concealment, giving themselves away to the other person.

When Jesus said, “I never knew you,” He meant that they had kept much of themselves away from Him, they were not sincere and not willing to let go of certain things for Him. They had kept their own wills and wants in their lives, whether adultery, fornication, greed, lying or whatever sin gave them pleasure and they did not want to forsake. They did not obey the law of God and did not the will of God.

Since the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, they could continue in their ministry with signs and wonders, keeping their private life of sin. And any other excess they willed.

At the end, they could not enter Heaven.

  • They lost their salvation.
  • They did not work it out with fear and trembling.
  • Their names were once written in the Book of Life but were later blotted out.

He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)

The new Christian is like a sculptor to whom God gives a block of precious heavenly marble and tells him, “There is a cross inside. Carve out the excess marble to find it!”

Some will chisel out what is not wanted, and at the end of their life, they will have made a beautiful cross.

Some will chisel here and there, but will be distracted by other things and will think that taking out the excess is not fun at all, and at the end of their life have not worked out their cross.

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)



Job 33:14-16 NIV
14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—
though no one perceives it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people
as they slumber in their beds,
16 he may speak in their ears
and terrify them with warnings,
17 to turn them from wrongdoing
and keep them from pride,
18 to preserve them from the pit,
their lives from perishing by the sword..

God speaks to us through dreams, no doubt about it. Because we have been brainwashed into western, carnally-minded thinking instead of spiritually-minded thinking, we miss messages from God that could have a positive impact on our lives. Here is your wake-up call to start paying attention to your dreams. Read your Bible for plenty of examples where God spoke to people in dreams, like the two Josephs and Daniel and others.

Not every dream is from God. Some are just your brain “defragging” and some are from Satan. I had a recurring dream for years and years when I was a teenager all the way to adulthood about smoking cigarettes. I never tried even one cigarette because I knew-that I knew-that I knew that I would become addicted. So Satan sent me these powerful dreams, so that I would wake up in the morning and want to smoke – that desire would not leave me all day long. I constantly resisted, for years. The dreams finally stopped, but I would say those dreams were definitely not from God.

Usually, you will know if a dream is from God. They will be relatively clear, have some kind of order or conclusion, you have some feeling that there is some kind of compelling message, and you will probably remember it when you wake up. If you only have fragments, ask God for the rest, He can give it to you.

A dream is like a puzzle or a riddle or a metaphor and it requires thought, prayer and interpretation. God wants to draw you to Him so you will ask Him for the meaning. A night vision doesn’t require an interpretation. It can be like a prophetic vision, but while you’re sleeping.

Twice I’ve had night visions that were set in my current home. In the first one, I saw myself getting out of my current bed in the middle of the night because I heard a sound in the house. I walked through my dark hallway to my living room and looked out the window. I saw in the moonlight or the street light that my garage door was open. It frightened me because I thought someone had entered the house. But all of the sudden this peace came over me because somehow I knew there was no one in the house. End of dream.

A week or so later, we had a storm come through my neighborhood and we had a series of power outages in the middle of the day. I worked late that night, and I got home about 7:30 pm. As I pulled up the driveway, I saw the garage door was up. I was horrified. I determined that the power outages must have somehow triggered the door to come up. I had left the inside door unlocked and I was afraid someone had entered my house and maybe robbed me. I quietly opened the door and called my cat. She appeared and I felt some relief. Then I tip-toed through the house, looking into closets and behind the shower curtain. Everything was intact. Then I remembered the dream and I felt peace. God had given me that dream to tell me that everything was going to be okay.

The other night vision was set in my bedroom, in the same bed, while I was sleeping on my side facing away from the door. My recently deceased father came through my bedroom door and walked through my queen size bed to my side. He looked about 30 years old. He said, “I have something for you.” I was mad at him for dying, and I said angrily, “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?” Now, my alive father would have responded instantly and angrily to my words. But this new spiritual father gently said again, “I have something for you.” He handed me a magazine (he was always reading Time, Newsweek and National Geographic) that had a message on the cover just for me that I won’t go into here. But it seemed like this was his way to tell me one last thing that he didn’t get to tell me before he died, and God allowed it. It gave me peace.

One time I was going through a terrible period at my job. Something had happened that day that was humiliating, depressing, and caused me to think I would not have my job much longer. I had a dream that night where I was in a huge building that was some kind of fine arts performing venue with red carpeting. I was carrying a small Chihuahua in my arms, and I knew I had to get to the staircase across the room. But between me and the staircase were dozens of black bulls lying on the carpet sleeping. I tip-toed past them so as not to wake them. But when I got to the staircase, they started to come after me. I turned around only to come face-to-face with a bull that was on my tail. His face looked like a man-demon, all contorted. The horns looked like corkscrews, very menacing. And this bull was mad.

I tried to run up the stairs as fast as I could, but I was frustrated because I had this little dog in my arms and I couldn’t grab the stair rail so I could go faster. I got to the top of the stairs and somehow I knew if I climbed through the window, there would be a staircase down to the outside of the building where I would be safe. I climbed through only to find myself on a ledge with nothing but concrete below. I started to get vertigo, and still holding the dog, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “JESUS! HELP ME!” The vertigo instantly stopped and I went back through the window, and that was the end of the dream.

When I woke up, I knew this dream was from God. I took and pen and paper and ask the Lord what it meant. Here is what I wrote down:

“My gifts and callings are irrevocable. You have been gifted with a faith and trust that is unshakeable. Remember that when the earthquakes come to shake you. Stand firm, stand fast, watch the Glory of the Lord, He is mighty to save. The bulls, the demons, will try to get you and scare you, but they cannot. Cling to what is precious to you, (the dog, which represents my relationship with Jesus, I believe – loyalty) to what you love and never let it go. Trust in Jesus, you don’t need to grip or hold on to anything else (the stair railing, solving problems in my own strength). The name of Jesus is powerful to save. There will be uphill battles (going up the stairs) but I am there through them all, close to your heart (the dog again was close to my heart, both physically and emotionally – I love animals). Keep your confidence in Me.” The performance hall with the red carpet represented my job, where I have to “perform”.

I told the Lord, “Okay, I’ll try to remember this.” I sat down to finish putting on my make-up, and I heard very loudly in my spirit, “Bulls of Bashan!” I knew that was from the Bible. I Googled it and found Psalm 22. I read it and felt the Lord speaking encouragement to me. Now, this psalm is always associated as a prophecy about Jesus. But He spoke to me through this psalm, and I just cried at cried at His tenderness. Here is an excerpt – remember how I felt about my job at this time:

Psalm 22
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people. (THIS IS HOW I FELT THAT DAY)
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the LORD,” they say,
“let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, LORD, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

There are several methods of dream interpretation. Make sure you study Christian dream interpretation methods. John Paul Jackson and Mark Virkler have good methods. I read Dream Dreams by Steve and Dianne Bydeley. Dream Interpretation: A Biblical Interpretation by Herman Riffel is another book to consider. Dream Language: The Prophetic Power of Dreams, Revelations, and the Spirit of Wisdom by James Goll is another one.

The best way to interpret dreams is to just ask the Lord for His help in giving you His spirits of wisdom, understanding and knowledge (Isaiah 11:2) to interpret. Then act on it.

Once Delivered, Always Delivered?

Once Delivered, Always Delivered?

Usually, we run into Christians who completely reject the idea of demons, much less demons actually inhabiting their bodies and souls. But lately, we’ve been running into Christians who have actually “been through” deliverance, and what they reject is going through it again.

We feel that people need to understand that deliverance is actually a life-long process. As long as your breathe, demons can and will be in the vicinity. Why? Because we have a sin nature that causes us to sin, and we live in a sin-filled world that affects us in ways we may not realize.

Let’s look at some examples:

Have you ever been to the doctor? Did you ever go back? Yes, you have probably been to the doctor dozens of time in your life. Why? Because you get something fixed, and something else crops up. You wouldn’t say, “Well, I went to the doctor when I was third grade, so I never need to go again.” Doctors treat your body. A deliverance minister is a like a doctor for your soul.

What about daily activity? What about the guy who got angry at you because you were driving too slow because you were talking on the phone? You could tell from your rear view mirror that he was spewing profanities and curses on you. If you’ve studied anything about curses, you know they are real. Do you want all the curses that some foul-mouthed stranger spewed all over your soul to stick with you? Who knows what he said or what he wished would happen to you? If you have someone pray deliverance prayers over you from time to time, you can cover that.

Usually the first few times someone goes through deliverance, there are some pretty heart-wrenching memories and situations to ask the Lord to deal with, many rooted in childhood. Yes, it can be a tough, but it’s worth it to receive Jesus’ healing and put things behind you. It will help you grow in the Lord. Then typically afterwards, deliverance is “maintenance”. Maybe some soul ties with people you have conflicts with need to be broken, or maybe you are having some fears about something that need to be dealt with, or maybe some medical issues that we could cast demons out of. Could be anything that you need to seek the Lord about. If you’re sensitive to the Holy Spirit, He will tell you.

In the meantime, I feel sorry for folks who CLEARLY are dealing with horrible issues in their lives of physical health or emotional well-being, and they don’t want any help because they’ve “been through” deliverance. They want your prayers, but they don’t want deliverance prayers. Of course, the Lord delights in ANY prayers He hears from His children (Prov. 15:8), but since Jesus spent 1/4 to 1/3 of His ministry casting out demons–which many times actually physically healed a person–it seems logical that we should spend an equal amount of time in spiritual warfare.

The Love Affair with Pork

The Love Affair with Pork

Recently I posted this article on my Facebook page and not one single person made a comment. I wrote, “I stopped eating pork about 10 years ago. Here’s why. Read it if you DARE! Maybe the God of the OT was just looking out for our best interests when He told us not to eat pork. Maybe Paul was wrong to tell us ‘all food is good to eat’. This is ‘food’ for thought. This is not the only article out there about this either…..”

I happened to speak to one friend of mine who read it, and he said it scared him to death. My gut feeling is that people read the article and kept mum, or started reading the article and stopped out of disgust or not wanting to know the truth.

Funny how the scripture says, My people perish for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

Years ago, it dawned on me that I had misinterpreted Peter’s vision in Acts 10 of the sheet that was lowered from Heaven full of unclean animals. Here is the passage:

9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. 17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. 19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” 21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?” 22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

Like most people, I erroneously interpreted this passage to mean we could eat all the unclean things now that God had previously said in the Torah we couldn’t eat. After all, everyone eats pork and shrimp and catfish in Texas. What’s the big deal? But upon further investigation, I realized that this vision was a metaphor for the Jews not excluding Gentiles from salvation (Jews=clean animals; Gentiles=unclean animals), as it says further down in the passage. It really was not referring to food.

Why does God communicate with us this way instead of being straightforward? I am sure a Bible scholar could answer this, but here are my guesses: (1) He wants us to think; (2) He wants to test us to see if we have really hidden the word in our hearts; (3) He wants us to sharpen our ability to discern good and evil; (4) He wants us to seek Him in prayer when we don’t have the answer.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)

When I decided that perhaps eliminating pork from my diet might be a good idea physically and spiritually (I say spiritually, since God told us NOT to eat it, and if we do the opposite of what God says, that is called sinning and there are consequences to sin that might not be immediately visible), I discovered that this whole pork subject was quite the spiritual issue. Here are two stories to relate, but there are more.

In the first story, I was doing the Disciple bible study at the Methodist church I was attending at the time. We were on this Peter passage during this particular weekly meeting. We were meeting in the home of a woman whom I will describe as very elegant, very calm, almost a zen-like quality about her. Never raised her voice, never showed drama, very demure. Then, when we were all discussing this passage, I said that I didn’t think this passage was talking about food, therefore, it looks like we really shouldn’t be eating pork. I barely finished my sentence when this woman absolutely erupted in anger in front of the entire group. I’m sure my eyes were as big as saucers. I looked around the group and there were a few other surprised faces. At that moment I realized that the pork-eating topic was a much more spiritual issue than I had realized. What on earth would make this woman so drastically explode like that but a demon who did not want her to stop eating pork?

Another time, I was at the home of some dear friends of mine, and the husband, who was getting his PhD in “Religion” from Baylor University, and who had donned a pretty arrogant demeanor, volunteered to make omelets for breakfast. He asked me what ingredients I wanted and gave me some choices. I made my choices and they did not include the diced ham that was on a plate. He asked me, “Why don’t you want the ham, Mandy? What’s wrong with the ham, Mandy?” He continued to taunt me and lecture me. It took me quite by surprise. If it had been cheese or chives or mushrooms or onions, I don’t think this would have happened. Clearly the pork-loving demon in him was hard at work.

Upon further investigation about clean vs. unclean animals, you will find a common thread among both groups, but let’s take unclean animals like pork, catfish, shrimp, oysters, etc. That is, they are scavengers, they eat garbage, they are bottom feeders, and/or their digestive system is unsophisticated, so they retain toxins in their meat that clean animals might not retain. I liked the following commentary that I found on a website called

One thing one learns when exploring the Bible – God is very practical. There are some quite good medical reasons for following the food health laws. Here are some of them.

All ‘clean’ animals are ruminants. That is they have four stomachs. This ensures a much more thorough processing of food than is possible with one stomach, and less pollutants are stored in the flesh. It has also been discovered that ruminants are not subject to flesh worms. These can be acquired from eating the flesh of almost every other animal. The pig, which got special mention as ‘unclean’, stores poisons in its body fat. A snake cannot kill a pig. The poison is just stored in the fat under the skin and is ingested by anything that subsequently eats that pig. Many outback Australian properties keep pet pigs around the home buildings to deal with snakes which come in plague proportions when the cracks in the ground, where they live, are closed by the swelling of the earth after rainfall. Pigs love snakes – they suck them up like spaghetti. My wife grew up with pet pigs that were kept for this purpose.

Concerning the flesh of the pig. With today’s hygienic methods of raising these animals it is unlikely they would carry the same risk as one raised in the wild, but consider this: the meat takes 4 days to digest in the bowel instead of 2 for ‘clean’ meats. Bowel cancer has been linked to excessive meat consumption and if the length of time spent in the bowel has anything to do with it then pork is twice as bad as beef.

Likewise the birds that are clean have an organ called a ‘gizzard’ which again permits the bird to process its food more thoroughly.

Most of what we call ‘sea food’, prawns, crabs, shell fish etc. are filter feeders. What they do is clean up the pollution in the oceans and store it in their bodies. Oysters for instance thrive best downstream from sewerage outlets. When one eats these creatures the pollutions become more concentrated in our own bodies. Calcium kidney stones for instance are often the result of over indulgence in these foods. Fish without scales, like sharks and catfish, are scavengers and are at the top of food chains. Their bodies will contain a much higher level of pollutants than creatures further down the chain.

Now one more thing to consider: When Paul said that all foods were good to eat (see I Timothy 4), what was he defining as food? We have to put on our thinking caps here. Perhaps a pig was not considered food any more than we consider eating a cockroach as food. Does that thought make you nauseated – putting a big crunchy cockroach, antennae and all, in your mouth? Perhaps Paul had the same thought about pig meat. We can’t assume that just because it’s common to eat pork today and consider it meat or food, that that’s what they were doing in Paul’s day. In the US, some of us would probably become nauseated at the thought of eating dog meat. Well it’s a meat, isn’t it? Other cultures eat dog meat. But is it food? Not in the U.S. You have to put the food argument in its cultural context.

Bottom line is, eat pork at your own peril, physically and spiritually.

The Rock

The Rock

Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.  But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great. (Luke 6:47-49 NKJV)

This scripture is easy to understand, but I want to point out something in it. We would lay a foundation for a building on a rock base. If we do not have a layer of rock on the surface of the ground, then proper engineering requires that we would drill holes in the ground until we found the rock layer, and then we would insert pilasters or pour concrete into the holes to hold the foundation up.

But Jesus did not say “the rock layer”… so, why “the rock” ? What rock?

In another part of the scriptures there is a reference to ”the rock” also:

And the Lord said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” (Exodus 17: 5-6)

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. (Numbers 20: 7-11)

The children of Israel were in the desert, and they were  thirsty. God did not tell Moses to strike “a rock”, but to strike “the rock.” How did Moses know which rock to strike? It was a particular rock, and Moses knew which rock it was and where it was. In fact, all the children of Israel knew what rock it was and where it was. These were the descendants of Jacob/ Israel who were in Egypt  for 400 years or about 4 or 5 generations ( Moses died at 120 years old but not of old age).

Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” (Genesis 15:13,14)

How did they know the rock? Who gave them this  rock? Where was it given? When was it given? The children of Israel knew who they were, and knew who their ancestors were.

When Joseph, the younger son of Jacob was ruling Egypt, there was a famine in the land where his father and brothers were.  Because of the famine, Jacob came to Egypt with his family and satyed there. This happened to Jacob when he was younger:
Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” (Genesis 28: 10-21)

The next chapter says: Then Jacob went on his journey…

Jacob did not leave the stone behind, he took it with him. It was not a huge stone, it had served as a pillow. When he went to Egypt, he took his anointed stone with him. It was his point of contact with his dream and with God. All his children and his children’s children knew the story of this stone. This story went down the generations. The children of Israel were carrying the stone, it was a special stone, one which could be “spoken to.” It was a living stone.

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion
 A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, 
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, The stone which the builders rejected
 Has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling
 and a rock of offense.” (1 Peter 2:4-8)

For generations the Israelites knew about this stone, and they kept it.

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10: 1-4)

What has happened to the stone?

The Bible does not make any other reference to the stone, but historians have mentioned it. It is said that when the children of Judah were being exiled to Babylon, Jeremiah the prophet took the stone to safeguard it. It is said that he took the stone and the two daughters of the last king of Judah with him to Spain, and he married one of them to the Jewish prince of Zaragoza. He then sailed to Great Britain (as it is called now) and married the other princess to another prince and left the stone there.  Historians say that the stone is kept under the coronation chair of Great Britain. It is sometimes referred to as “Jacob’s Pillow” or the “coronation stone”.

Back to Luke 6: Jesus was saying that building your life is like building a house on the right foundation, the foundation being Him, The Solid Rock, so that our trust in Him will make us overcomers  through any adversity, temptation or weakness.

Be of Good Cheer

Be Of Good Cheer

One of the most curious things in the Bible to me is the story of Lot’s wife in Genesis 19:

15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that hesaid, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.”

18 Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! 19 Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. 20 See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.”

21 And he said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.”

Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

23 The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

I have often wondered if she literally became a pillar of salt, or if this is some kind of expression to describe what she looked like when she died due to looking back. The scripture says that God rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. I looked up brimstone and it means “sulfur”, which also happens to be a substance which comes out of volcanoes (in addition to fire and gray ash). I wonder if some kind of hot ash fell on Lot’s wife killing her as she lagged behind the rest of the family, thus she turned into “salt”.

Nevertheless, whatever happened, the scripture says she turned into salt because, and only because, she looked back, after being sternly warned NOT to do so. Even Jesus warned about not looking or turning back in Luke 17:31-32 and in Luke 9:62:

31 “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

In Genesis 19:26 it seemed to imply that Lot’s wife lingered, as the scripture says she was “behind” him. It appears she really didn’t want to move on, even after the miracle of the angels taking them by the hand and out of the city, and their warnings of the danger of being “consumed” and “destroyed”. She STILL looked back. I guess the temptation was too great to see what was happening to her home, her town. Maybe she was sentimental. Maybe she didn’t like change. Maybe she had a rebellious heart. Maybe curiosity just overwhelmed her. It must have been quite a sight to see fire and sulfur from heaven falling on a city.

My point is the temptation for us to look back is great, great, great. And I do speak for myself. I have a weakness that I need God’s help with, and that is to look back at my life with regret. Regret for decisions I’ve made or not made, regret for sins committed, regret for relationships lost, regret for unfairness done to me, etc. Oh, I could have some kind of pity party, but Jesus told us to “remember Lot’s wife” and NOT look back, in order to preserve life.  Remember, the angels said the same thing: “Do not look behind you….lest you be destroyed.”

So, what causes us to look back? Who causes us to remember all our failures, our weaknesses, our mistakes, our stupid decisions, our acts of evil or hatred that we regret? It might be the Lord, so that we will repent and ask Him for his forgiveness. But if we have done this, and we are still plagued with regrets, what is going on? Maybe we have a little help from the enemy. And we know we must FIGHT the enemy, who is a spirit, through spiritual means.

One of the best spiritual warfare scriptures in the Bible is found in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

For this article, let’s just consider the underlined passage above.  We must bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Jesus. So, if Jesus said, “remember Lot’s wife”, in other words, “don’t look back, don’t look behind you, so you can preserve your life and be fit for the Kingdom”, then we had better bring the thoughts into captivity that are making us do the OPPOSITE of what Jesus said. It is time for warfare, and we’d better get busy. We cannot be LAZY about not fighting the enemy, or we will be CONSUMED and DESTROYED.

There is another interesting passage in Jeremiah chapter 7 about going backwards. And notice how angry the Lord is about it, again referring to burning a place, hearkening back to Sodom and Gomorrah:

20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place—on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.”

21 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat. 22 For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. 23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. 25 Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. 26 Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.

So, once again, we find a warning of not listening and not obeying (like Lot’s wife), and going backwards as a result.  This thing of lagging behind, looking back and going backwards is serious stuff in God’s eyes, and it all has to do with not listening and not obeying to God’s voice, but to the voice of the enemy instead.

So, if Jesus said “remember Lot’s wife”, we should remember Lot’s wife, not look back, and not have a pity party, because if we don’t, we will be going backwards, and that is abhorrent to God. Oh, and there is something else Jesus said that we need to remember every day, though sometimes it’s hard. He said in John 16:33:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

So, here is yet another command from our God: to be of good cheer.  He’s not saying, if you feel like it, cheer up. No, he is giving a command. Be of good cheer, be of good courage, be encouraged, be cheerful. Be peaceful with a smile. “I have overcome the world.”

So, if we don’t obey what God told us to do, that is to be of good cheer, we are in sin. It’s as simple as that.

So to sum up this lesson:

  • Don’t look back, don’t go backwards. Listen to the voice of God and obey Him only.
  • Take every thought into captivity, especially the ones that make you look back.
  • Then be of good cheer. He has overcome the world.

Just as you have gotten into the habit of looking back and wallowing in self-pity, you can get into the habit of squashing those thoughts by saying, “Stop! Stop! Cancel! Cancel! I am NOT going to think about that! I am going to take that thought into captivity right now! I remember Lot’s wife, and I am NOT going to look back! I am going to be of good cheer, because Jesus told me too! And I want to be FIT FOR THE KINGDOM!”

Then as a wise man once told me, you PUT a smile on your face, even if you have to take your fingers and pull your cheeks up to make yourself smile!  Ask Jesus to put His peace in your heart and before you know it, those nagging memories will stop plaguing you. And now you’re ready to share the peace and joy that only Jesus gives with a broken world.