Truth or Consequences?
As deliverance ministers, Mitsi and I ponder and discuss a number of things we see as life unfolds. A recent topic of discussion was this: the way the people of the Bible thought (those being of primarily Hebrew or Semitic descent) vs. the way most modern Americans think. Let’s classify this generally as Eastern vs. Western thinking.
The way most Americans think is by and large a product of the Greek empire. From Wikipedia:
Classical Greek culture had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean region and Europe, for which reason Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western civilization.
The Greek world is widely regarded as having given birth to scientific thought by means of observation, thought, and development of a theory without the intervention of a supernatural force. Thales, Anaximander and Democritus were amongst those contributing significantly to the establishment of this tradition*. It is also, and perhaps more commonly in the western imagination, identified with the dawn of Western Philosophy, as well as a mapping out of the Natural Sciences.
*He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ” ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” (Isaiah 7:6-8)
While I believe the Greeks contributed immensely to the world for our benefit, one thing they overshadowed in their pursuit of knowledge and understanding is the belief in the unseen, the spiritual, the supernatural. In a nutshell they believed that if you can’t prove it through science, then it doesn’t exist. That philosophy has carried over through the centuries to our modern-day Americans, even those who believe in the unseen God of the Bible (Christians and Jews).
Because of this style of thinking, I find it sad when I see people who do not connect the bad things that happen in their lives as consequences of their beliefs, behaviors and decisions, and also a as a consequence of their ancestors’ beliefs, behaviors and decisions (I’ll explain this in a moment). I am not saying that everything “bad” that happens in one’s life is a consequence of beliefs, behaviors and decisions, but I would say we have found in our ministry and from our study of the Bible that a huge part of it is.
Eastern Thinking vs. Western Thinking
In contrast to Western thinking, take Biblical Eastern thinking examples:
Later, Jesus went to Jerusalem for another Jewish festival. In the city near the sheep gate was a pool with five porches, and its name in Hebrew was Bethzatha. Many sick, blind, lame, and crippled people were lying close to the pool. Beside the pool was a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw the man and realized that he had been crippled for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be healed?” The man answered, “Lord, I don’t have anyone to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up. I try to get in, but someone else always gets there first.” Jesus told him, “Pick up your mat and walk!” Right then the man was healed. He picked up his mat and started walking around. The day on which this happened was a Sabbath. When the Jewish leaders saw the man carrying his mat, they said to him, “This is the Sabbath! No one is allowed to carry a mat on the Sabbath.” But he replied, “The man who healed me told me to pick up my mat and walk.” They asked him, “Who is this man that told you to pick up your mat and walk?” But he did not know who Jesus was, and Jesus had left because of the crowd. Later, Jesus met the man in the temple and told him, “You are now well. But don’t sin anymore or something worse might happen to you.” (John 5:1-14)
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. (John 9:1-3)
But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, (this is a CURSE) because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.” (Acts 8:9-24)
Are you seeing the connections between sin and the outcome, between choosing evil and the consequences? That’s what most Western thinkers DO NOT SEE. They are blind, as the Bible says. They don’t see that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction–but not just in science.
The Hebrews knew that there were consequences for sin. A westerner might think this way: “Oh, if my wife catches me cheating on her, there will be hell to pay.” The connection is that there will be hell to pay from the wife, but how about from God? How about something less obvious: if someone exhibits regularly boorish behavior such as swearing like a sailor, drinking too much, cutting people off on the freeway and flipping them off, cheating on their taxes, stealing office supplies, etc. etc. will something “bad” happen in their lives that they never connect to the consequences of this lifestyle and their sinning? Here’s what God says:
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow. Those who sow to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; those who sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galations 6:7-8)
The words we choose to speak are spiritual and have consequences.
Notice in the Acts passage that the former sorcerer, Simon, who became a Christian erroneously believed he could buy the power of God with money, and Peter spoke a curse over him. Simon not only did not dismiss the curse—as just about every American I know would have, believing that curses are not real—but he also begged Peter to reverse the curse by praying for him. As a professional sorcerer, Simon knew that curses were real things and really worked to achieve their end, because apparently we can infer that he made a lot of money by placing curses on people and working witchcraft.
This belief in curses is lost in American society today because of Greek, western thinking. But did you know the word curse is found in the King James version of the Bible over 160 times? We always say if you feel like you’re “cursed”, you probably are.
Most Western Christians dismiss curses by using this scripture:
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galations 3:13-14)
We agree with this scripture, and that’s why we can break curses and cast out the demons that came to work the curse to the person’s destruction. The breaking of the curse is not automatic, as most Christians erroneously believe, just like being saved is not automatic. You have to do something to be saved: you have to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart (Romans 10:9). Likewise, you have to do something to reverse a curse.
Sins of the Fathers
Take the passage above from John 9. This is another way of thinking that has been completely lost in most of America’s churches: that the sins of our ancestors pass down to those living if they are not repented of. This concept was really hard for me to grasp for a while, but there it is right there in the Commandment #2:
You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. (Exodus 20:4-5)
Once I started pondering and meditating upon this, I started seeing patterns in families—horrible patterns. Many times you’ll see children of alcoholics are alcoholics; children of abusers are abusers; children who come from uneducated people stay uneducated; children who come from poverty stay in poverty.
You might attribute these to social behaviors. But you will also see patterns of sickness and disease that run through families that are ghastly. Doctors might blame it on “bad genes”. I’m saying it could be “bad spirits”, because whatever is happening in the unseen spiritual world around us affects the seen physical world. (Remember, Spirit created matter, not the other way around. So Spirit has a higher influence than matter.)
Here are two examples of what I am talking about:
I know one man who married a woman whose (1) mother had breast cancer; (2) older sister had MS and died; (3) daughter had Crohn’s Disease; (4) son had ADHD and had a hard time in school; (5) twin sister had ovarian cancer; (6) then she herself got breast cancer. And you want to blame all this on bad genes? I mean, how bad can genes be?? There has to be another explanation. These are good people.
I know another man who married a woman whose brother and sister-in-law BOTH got cancer (different types) and died young leaving behind several young children to this man’s care. Then this man got colon cancer (fortunately caught it early). Now he and his wife are BOTH unemployed and have been for some time (both of them regularly go through periods of unemployment) and now his wife is diagnosed with MS. Again, how many bad things can happen to good people?
I know yet another family: The father died of colon cancer. The mother died suddenly and unexpectedly from complications from a blood thinner she was taking combined with an upper respiratory infection she got from fatigue after helping her son plan his wedding – she died just a couple of weeks after he wed. A couple of years later–and not yet 30 years old –he came down with Hodgkins Lymphoma, went through all the treatments, was pronounced cancer-free, started having headaches a couple of weeks later, and they found a tumor at the base of his brain. He went through all kinds of awful treatments again, had to go into rehab to re-learn to walk and talk again. As of this writing he is recovering, after much prayer. But I mean, this young man is one of the nicest, most polite, well-raised, intelligent people I have ever known. His poor sister has been a basket case of worry. There has to be a curse of death running in that family. But they are all Catholics, so it’s difficult to teach them any of these things – paradigms run deep.
I propose the sins of the fathers might have something to do with all this calamity. If you think about how many generations four generations back is, these are your great-great-grandparents. Did we even know them? How do we know whether they did sinful things to bring curses down the line to innocent people? Yet God says, hey folks, this is the way it works – you bear the consequences for the sins of your ancestors. I made a way out for you through Jesus. But you have to take the appropriate action if you want your liberty. Don’t just sit there – do something!
Other Eastern Thinking
Now you might be thinking, “Oh, those silly Hebrews, they were so primitive in their thinking, so uneducated, soooo ancient in their ways. We are so enlightened today. We are so advanced compared to what they had to work with back then – oh, hold on, I have a text on my iPhone.”
Well, I’ve got news for you. Like Solomon said, there’s nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9). Just look at all the “Eastern ways*” that have invaded our American society. Acupuncture, yoga, transcendental meditation, reflexology, palm reading, tarot card reading, horoscopes and so, so much more. All these things came from eastern pagan religions and spiritual practices, and yet glib Americans just flutter to them like a moth to a flame, not realizing they are going to get burned. Americans will agree they work and they have a vague understanding that there is something spiritual behind these things, but yet they reject the Hebrew way of spiritual thinking. Consequences, consequences.
*Isaiah 2:6 For You (God) have forsaken Your people (Jews and Christians), the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with eastern ways; They are soothsayers like the Philistines, And they are pleased with the children of foreigners.
So I’m just stating this argument in hopes that someone will meditate on these thoughts and consider whether this is truth. See if you can hear the Holy Spirit say to you, “This is truth!” The purpose of this article is to help you in your spiritual walk, not to judge or condemn.
I will end with one last sad and sobering thought.
In our ministry over many years we have run across a number of Christians—both leaders and laity–who completely reject the deliverance ministry. I’m often surprised when “mature” Christians reject our message because I would have thought the Word of God was second nature to them. I mean the Bible says Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:8). And he told his disciples (that includes us) things like, “cast out demons” (Matthew 10:8) and “I give you the power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm you” (Luke 10:19), etc. So if you reject those words, then are you rejecting Jesus’ work and mission and purpose? Whose side are you on, anyway?
Many times the rejection is quite vocal and strong. Clearly to us, the demons in that person have really got a grip on them. It’s probably due to the fear in the demons of being kicked out of their dwelling that causes the reactions in the people that are so violent. It’s unfortunate for them, because it empowers their demons to deceive them to the truth even more, which may lead to their destruction.
We have seen a pattern of the consequences among people we have tried to talk to about deliverance who reject us so dramatically, and it’s not good. We have seen a number of clergy and other Christians who have really fallen into the hands of Satan’s destruction. We do not have an explanation for why the punishment is so severe – only the Lord knows. But here is what we can tell you:
If a Christian tries to present you with a new idea or a new teaching that does not fit into your paradigm or your “box”, do your best to hear them out. Judge what they are saying against the Word of God like the Bereans in Acts 17:11. (If you don’t know the Word of God, that’s the first thing you need to fix.) So one of two things is going to happen: either this new teaching is a lie or it’s the truth, and you just may not know about it, never been taught it, never had it revealed to you before. (It really helps to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, who is the “helper”, and will help you discern truth and lies.) And it may help you, and it may be God trying to get through to you through one is His children who hears Him better than you do. I leave you with one last scripture – one more piece of advice from Ecclesiastes 5:2:
Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.