Acts 2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind,
and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when tthis sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”
But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ GOD SAYS, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT AND THEY SHALL PROPHESY. AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. For David says of Him,
‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’
“Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT ONE OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID HIS FLESH SUFFER DECAY. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:
‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Small & Waiting, Betrayed & Afraid
And on the Day of Pentecost it is the book of Ruth that is read in the synagogues, the story of a Jewish man taking a Gentile bride. It is the Jewish Feast of Weeks—“Hag Shavu’ot,” from Leviticus 23. This is the second of the pilgrim feasts when Jews would come from all over the world to celebrate this feast, and when the book of Ruth is read in the synagogues.
This particular Day of Pentecost, however, was one like no other. There was a very small church comprised of a very miniscule percentage of the population of the Jews who lived in the land of Israel at that time. Possibly no more than five hundred committed followers of Jesus existed, and we can only be sure that one hundred twenty of those were really solid in their commitment. As the lines get smaller and smaller, the circles concentrically begin shrinking: we have the apostles, the seventy, the one hundred twenty, and then five hundred or so—a very small church. But the church on the Day of Pentecost was the church that was waiting for something to happen. It was waiting for an anointing. (The the Hebrew word “mishchah,” the Greek word “chrisma”). It was a church that was not anointed. More than that, this was a church that had been betrayed. It had been betrayed not simply by enemies who pretended to be friends, it was betrayed by men among their own number. Describing Judas in the Old Testament, Jesus speaking through the Old Testament prophet says, “My friend lifts his heal against Me.” (Ps. 41:9; Jn. 13:18) Judas was called the friend of the Lord.
There are two kind of people who are going to be very close to Jesus: people who really love Him, and people who are backslidden. That is what was happening at the Last Supper. The apostle who Jesus loved was reclining on His chest on one side, but on the others side was Judas. Jesus will always leave the ninety-nine to go after the one.
Backsliders and very holy Christians both have something in common. Backsliders are under the continuous conviction of the Holy Spirit to repent, to return to Him. Jesus does not abandon backsliders, they abandon Him. He gives Judas the place of honor, and by giving Him the sop at the Last Supper, He gives Him the sign of acceptance, beseeching Him to repent. Backsliders are under the continuous conviction of the Spirit. But very holy Christians have the same kind of problem. They are also very close to Jesus, but the closer someone gets to the Light, the more they see the dirt and the little specks that all the people do not see. Very holy Christians usually do not have a very high opinion of themselves because they are too close to Jesus to be that deceived.
The early church was betrayed by one of its own, by one of its own who was one of its leaders, hand-chosen by the Lord Himself.
The second thing that is characteristic of this church is that it is such a small percentage of the Jewish society and it is quivering and it is terrified. Its leaders are afraid. Jesus died for them—He gave them a promise, but its leaders were afraid. The church was afraid. It was very small. Other people were caught up in their own religion, but the church was not only not anointed, it was betrayed, it was very small and it was afraid. And its leaders were afraid. There is no question that this church was a church that had no power, had no anointing and that was sold down the river, but all of the sudden, something dramatic happened.
The Outpouring of the Spirit
We have to understand the Jewish background of “Hag Shavu’ot” to understand this. He begins talking about “I will pour out.” Different liquids represent the Holy Spirit from different aspects. The “new wine” is the joy of the Spirit in worship. Oil—“shemen” in Hebrew, is the anointing of the Spirit. But the idea of rain water—fresh, clean rain water being poured out is “chay mayim:” “living water.” In John 4 Jesus says, I will give you the living water (Jn. 4:10-14), but in John 7:39 He says what the living water is:“this He spoke of the Holy Spirit.” Different liquids teach about the Holy Spirit from different aspects.
So this outpouring draws on the language of rain to teach about an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The whole idea comes from a lot of places in the Old Testament, one of which is Isaiah 44:3...
‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;
The outpourings of water have to do with outpourings of the Holy Spirit.
In Israel we have the early and latter rains. These correspond to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the Church and at the end. When this happens the result is that the Spring rains prepare the Spring harvest and the Autumn rains prepare the Autumn harvest. This has a spiritual equivalent.
The rabbis tell us that the Torah—the Law—was given to Moses on this same feast, the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of Pentecost. Only when the Holy Spirit was given on this anniversary of Moses giving the Law, something happened: when the Law was given on Mount Sinai, 3,000 fell; but when the Holy Spirit was given 3,000 were saved. Grace is greater than the curse of the Law; one undoes the other. The society was under a curse, but this outpouring of the Holy Spirit had the power to break that curse and to give a harvest.
Who Gets Anointed?
But look who gets anointed. Is it the Church who gets anointed? No, it is not. It is not the Church who gets anointed. Look at Acts 2:32. Who gets anointed?
“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:
‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD,
“SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’ (Act2:35)
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Jesus was anointed, not the Church.
What Peter was drawing on here was Psalm 133. To understand Pentecost, we have to read Psalm 133.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
(Now notice this...)
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes. (Ps. 133:1-2)
Aaron is the High Priest. Hebrews tells us that Aaron the High Priest is a symbol of Jesus. In the epistle to the Hebrews, He is our High Priest. The oil is poured on Aaron’s head by Moses, and it goes off of his head, over his body, down his shoulders, down his arms, all over his torso, and down to his feet. To get the oil on the hands, on the feet, on the shoulders, on the torso, we have to be under the head. One reason the Body of Christ is not anointed today is because it is not under the headship of Christ, it is under the headship of man.
We can have a very able hand, a very good foot, but it is useless unless it is attached to the body. And the body is useless unless it is under the head. The anointing is poured on the Lord Jesus. If the Body of Christ is not under His headship, it is not going to be anointed.
Unity of the Spirit
But then there is something else. What happens after the Church is anointed? They were all together, of one mind, of one accord. What does Psalm 133 say?
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity! (Ps. 133:1)
It is talking about the unity of the Spirit. If there is not a unity of the Spirit, there is no anointing. Another reason there is no anointing in the Body of Christ today is because there is not a unity of the Spirit; there is a unity of man. The Holy Spirit in Hebrew is “Ruach Qodesh”—the Spirit of Holiness. There can be no unity of the Spirit where there is an absence of holiness.
I firmly believe in the gifts of the Spirit, always have, and practice them myself. But it is one of my most frequent complaints (because I believe it is the complaint of God Himself) that the level of carnality and worldliness among Pentecostals and Charismatics is much higher than it is among Baptists or Plymouth Brethren or fundamentalists. Of all the churches in the Bible, it was not the legalistic or nomianistic Galatians, or the confused Thessalonicans that had to be reminded of the Holy Spirit, it was the charismatic Corinthians. That is equally true for today. There is no unity of the Spirit if there is an absence of holiness.
The first commandment is, “I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not make other gods (or have strange gods) before Me.” (Ex. 20:3) And the second commandment in the original Hebrew is this: “You shall not make a graven
image of anything in heaven above or earth beneath...you shall not bow down to them or serve them.” ( Ex. 20:4-5) In the north of England there are many people who are born-again Christians who are saved out of Roman Catholic backgrounds. They come out of that church seeing the truth of the Gospel, seeing that what they were taught and brought up to believe is not what Jesus taught. When someone bows down before a statue and lights candles and prays to the dead it is referred to in Hebrew terms as a “familiar spirit.” It is an act of idolatry and superstition. It is an utterly abhorrent sin.
To tell someone in the name of Christian unity that they can continue to practice this sin is no different than telling a homosexual who gets saved he can stay homosexual, or an alcoholic who gets saved to keep drinking, but that is exactly what is happening. There is no anointing because to be anointed is to be under the headship of Christ, not the headship of men who are teaching things contrary to Christ.
Secondly, the body must be unified. But the Holy Spirit—the unity of the Spirit—is the Spirit of holiness. When there is open immorality, open idolatry being practiced in the name of Christian unity, there is a problem.
I read the book by the Right Honorable George Carey. (What is “right” and what is “honorable” are issues I will not go into. It is not my place.) Nonetheless, the book is called The Meaning of Orders, a call by this person who claims to be a born-again Christian to reunite with the church of Rome. Those who are a saved Roman Catholic know very well that they are said to have left the one, true church. Unless one goes to confession and returns to mother Rome, they are going to hell. We can accept the other quote/unquote “Protestants” because they do not know any better. So on one hand, this church is telling them they are going to hell because they left it, but leaders in their churches, in their denominations, are uniting with these people, going into idolatry. Why is there no anointing?
The Spirit of Truth
But He is not only the Spirit of holiness, He is the Spirit of truth.
There are two kinds of division. One kind of division is not of God; the other kind of division is very much of God. The kind of division that is not of God is that division which divides Bible-believing Christians from each other; the kind of division that is of God is the kind that separates Bible-believing Christians from ones who do not believe it. Or worse still, who say they believe it, but their lives show differently. He is the Spirit of truth; He is not the Spirit of error. No one can build the unity of the Spirit based on error.
When we see people saying we are saved by the sacraments, we should pray to the dead, we are going to atone for our own sins in Purgatory—when that is being taught and we see born-again Christian leaders saying that it is OK to believe that and we should be one with these people, that is the spirit of error; it is not the Spirit of truth. Paul says there will be factions among you to prove which is true. (1 Co. 11:19) There are factions that are of God. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring unity, I came to bring the sword, to bring division.” (Lk. 12:51)
I see the same thing in Ireland that I see in Israel. When a Jew gets saved it is said, “You betrayed your people” because Christianity is so associated in the Jewish mind with anti-Semitism and the pogroms and the inquisitions and the holocaust. “You betrayed your people. You have become one of those people who murdered your ancestors.” In Ireland it is the same. When a Roman Catholic gets saved it is seen that way. “You have become a Protestant. You have become part of the people who perpetrated the Potato Famine, and the war crimes of Cromwell, and the genocidal war crimes of the Puritans—the people who divided our land.” They are seen as a traitor to their people.
It is very difficult for a Jewish person who gets saved to explain to his family the difference between a “Bible-believing” Christian and what his family think Christians are. And it is very difficult for a Roman Catholic, in Ireland particularly, to explain the difference to his family between a “Bible-believing” Christian and what they think a “Bible-believing” Christian is, which to them is a Protestant. I know a case in Belfast where a Roman Catholic girl got saved. She came to an Assemblies of God church—a Pentecostal church, and the priest told her if she did not return to “the holy mother the church”, he would have the IRA deal with her.
He is the Spirit of truth; He is not the Spirit of error. No one can base a unity of the Spirit on error.
I am not talking about secondary doctrinal issues that exist among all of us. I am talking about the essential issues: how are we saved, the authority of God’s Word, the definition of sin. If it is not under the Head, there is no anointing going on the Body. And if the Body is not united in the Spirit, it is not going to be anointed.
It is the Same Today
Look at the church today. What do we have? The same thing as on the Day of Pentecost. On the average Sunday in England, 1.2% of the people go to church. Most of those are Roman Catholics who believe it is a mortal sin to miss mass. It seems like “Mother and Son Day,” “Memorial Sunday,” Christmas and Easter drag the overall statistics up to about 8% a month in England, but it is only 1.2% of the people who go to church on a given Sunday, and most of them are not saved. We are a very, very small minority, the same as the first Christians.
Secondly, we have very, very little power. Very little real power.
Thirdly, we too have been betrayed, and we have been betrayed by those we count among our leaders.
I used to be a Baptist—a Baptist who believed in the gifts of the Spirit, but I was a Baptist. I had to leave the Baptist church even though my own church stood with me because of the leadership of the Baptist Union who entered the Ecumenical Movement to be united with the Roman Catholic church and with liberal Protestant churches. I oppose this. I know many, many people in the Baptist church who knew it was wrong, but they were afraid to rock the boat. They were afraid to say anything about it.
There is an organization called “The Church’s Ministry to the Jews.” It is evangelical Anglican. When they learned there was going to be an evangelical Archbishop of Canterbury, they were elated. They thought, “That is it; we won! Hallelujah! Thank You, Lord, for such a faithful, faithful leader!” He became the Archbishop of Canterbury. He went on the radio with a chief rabbi, denounced giving the Gospel to the Jews, withdrew his patronage of the church’s ministry to the Jews, and totally went against the cause of giving the Gospel to the people of Jesus. Paul said the Gospel to the Jew first and they will be judged first if they do not accept it (Ro. 1:16), but “No,” says the Archbishop. Even a liberal would not have gone that far. This is the same one who wrote this book telling us we should go back under Rome.
About 2,000 evangelical Anglican clergymen signed a petition asking him to stop the worship of foreign gods in Anglican churches like Canterbury Cathedral, where they have Tibetan monks (Lamaist monks who believe the Dalai Lama is the incarnation of God), African witch doctors, Brahman priests from Hinduism, Muslim Imams, Orthodox rabbis and the rest of it, all getting together with the Anglican and Roman Catholic clergy in Canterbury Cathedral. “No,” says this born-again Christian leader, “I respect all religions.” In 1 Corinthians 10 and Deuteronomy, other gods are “demons” (Greek—“daimonoi,” Hebrew—“shedim”). “No,” say our leaders, “we respect all religions.”
Why is there no revival? Why is there no anointing? That is some idea of unity. Think about what is happening.
In England one out of every three males have a police record—a criminal conviction—before the age of 30. One out of three! In the inner cities it is one out of two, and in certain Council Estates it is more than three out of four. One-third of all children are born out of wedlock. In certain places like Liverpool it is two out of three and it is socially accepted. The crime rate is going through the roof. There are over two million auto break-ins every year in England. But it is growing at the rate of 32% a year! That is what is happening out there. This society is going to the wall. But the reason this society is going to the wall is because the people who God has called to prevent it from going to the wall are not anointed. Why are they not anointed? Because they have been betrayed, because they are afraid, and because they are not united. At least not united in Jesus.
Many people have concocted all kinds of ways to deal with this problem. Nobody in their right mind will look out that window and think everything is alright. Wigan has the best rugby team in the world. Nothing wrong with rugby, it is a good game. But every Sunday that stadium, for the game, will be filled with people every time. Nothing wrong with rugby, it is a good game, but it is only a game. It is not going to matter a million years from now. Those children in that Council Estate, one of whom out of three are going to wind up in jail, they are going to matter a million years from now.
If we were to have a heavy metal concert with a rock band that openly admits to Satan worship, they would sell out. If we were to have strip club, the place would be filled. But when we have a church that is not preaching the truth, yet claims to be the Church, it is no worse and no better than a strip club or a heavy metal concert or whatever. There are different ways that people have tried to get this anointing they say we all need.
The Charismatic Movement is twenty-five years old in England. Look out there; is there any anointing? Where is the revival? I got saved in a revival. I saw what a revival is. I saw tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of hippies saved. We were out there getting stoned out of our minds, getting venereal disease, and radically changed by the power of Jesus overnight. I saw revival. I saw what it is like when there is a revival.
When Wesley had a revival in the north of England, the society was radically changed. The crime rate nose-dived, immorality plummeted, social injustice plummeted. Building societies to get housing for the working classes, the school system, literacy for the working classes, things like the Guardian newspaper and the trade unions to defend the rights of the disenfranchised, prison reform, hospital reform, slavery abolished in the British Empire, child labor abolished in the British Empire (children 4 years old were digging in coal mines in Wales and in Newcastle)—those things were changed directly because lives were changed by the power of Jesus. That is a revival.
To see a revival today, go to Korea. To see a revival today, go to Kenya. To see a revival today, go to Brazil. To see a revival today, go to Indonesia. To see a corpse, come to the western world. Look at the characteristics.
Anointed for Burial
Teaching in the Bible in the original Greek: “didaskein” (which is like a Bible study), something called “homilia” (which is like a sermon), and something called something called“kerygma,” which is preaching of the Gospel, mainly to the unsaved. This is Peter’s kerygma, and he begins talking about Jesus from two aspects: the suffering Jesus who was crucified and the conquering Jesus who had dominion.
This comes directly from Judaism: “HaMashiach ben Jozef” and “HaMashiach ben David:” the Messiah who is the son of Joseph and the Messiah who is the son of David. First Jesus comes as a suffering servant like Joseph, but then He comes as a conquering king at His return like David. In His First Coming He comes as a suffering servant; when He comes back to set up the Millennial Kingdom He is a conquering king like David. The point is this: before Jesus was anointed for dominion, Jesus was anointed for burial.
For it was fitting for Him .for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. (Heb. 2:10)
Jesus did not need to suffer. He did not have a fallen nature for God to deal with. But He underwent a process theologians call “kenosis,” and He identified with us even though He had no sin. For our sakes He put Himself into a position where God had to perfect Him by suffering as an example to us and to win the victory for us on the cross. Before the Lord Jesus was anointed for dominion, He was anointed for burial. Before the Church can be anointed for dominion, it has to be anointed for burial. It is very easy to see why all of these well-intended (but I must say unscriptural) formulas for anointing have not worked.
The Charismatic Movement is twenty-five years old in England. Can we say the schools are any better? Is there any less crime? Is there any less homosexuality? Any less divorce? Any less racism or hatred or social injustice? Are more people coming to church? Are more lives being changed? Is there any less sexual abuse of little children? No, there is more. After twenty-five years, what do we have to show for it? Nothing – absolutely nothing. I remember people saying with well intentions that this Charismatic Renewal was the key. This Charismatic Renewal had a unity, but it was not the unity of the Spirit. “It is OK whatever your church is, whatever your church believes. If you want to be a Roman Catholic, you want to pray to the dead, you go ahead.” No anointing.
Then there is the name-it-and-claim-it people: “Faith-Prosperity,” that is the key. Go to America; the only key they have now is the key that locks them up in jail (the ones who have been caught already – the others are still wanted men). These people have made “born-again” a household joke coast-to-coast, and these same people (and same kinds of people) are coming into this country even at this minute, even at this very hour. Faith-Prosperity proponents say that is the key to getting the anointing. “Just believe it, brother. Reach out and claim it by faith.” Well, if we want to know about faith, the best way to begin is by reading the faith chapter, Hebrews 11.
and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.
(“Believe God for that Cadillac ®, brother. Just believe God you are going to prosper, your business will prosper. Believe God you are going to grow, your church will grow.”)
They were stoned, they were sawn in two...
(Why? Because of their faith.)
...they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword...
(Why? Because of their faith.)
...they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute...
(Destitute! Impoverished! Their faith did not make them rich, their faith made them poor! They were not hoping in this world, they were hoping in what is going to come. I am not saying we should trust God for poverty, but we should trust God whether we have riches or poverty.)
(They experienced sickness.)
...(men of whom the world was not worthy)...
(Living in mansions in Beverly Hills? No.)
...wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval... (How?)
...through their faith... (Heb. 11:36-39)
These so-called people who say their so-called Faith-Prosperity Movement is the key to the anointing, they are not teaching faith in Jesus, they are teaching faith in “faith.” This is faith. Anointed for dominion? Yes, but anointed for burial first.
I have seen so many failed businesses up and down England and all over America coast-to-coast. Christian businessmen who, wanting to pull through, understandably were seduced by these people telling them, “Just write a check for 500 and God will bless it and multiply it back”, and they did it. Now, if God tells you to write a check for 500 or 5,000, you do it, but you let God tell you, not some conniver.
The Charismatic Movement promised something, but it could not deliver. Why? It is not scriptural so it could not produce an anointing.
The Faith-Prosperity Movement promises something it cannot deliver. No one has to believe me, all they have to do is talk to one of the thousands of Christians who lost their businesses or their homes or their jobs. Why? Because it is not scriptural — no anointing.
About the most ridiculous and pathetic of all these man-made ideas for anointing (well, actually there are two) is the Restoration Movement. To restore something it has to be something that existed to begin with. It began with Arthur Wallace in the late 60s. He wrote and said a lot of good things, although a lot of wrong and very unscriptural things, but it began in the 60s. The movement has been blossoming for about 16 years. Where is the revival? They cannot deliver any revival because they are trying to restore things that never existed.
The first is not apostolic authority, but their version of apostolic authority. Their version of apostolic authority is not the version of apostolic authority in the New Testament. What they call apostolic authority is something known as “heavy shepherding.” It never existed in the New Testament, so they are trying to restore something that never existed. The second thing they are trying to restore is Kingdom Now theology, the idea that we are going to conquer the whole world for Jesus, set up His kingdom, then He is going to come back. This view says it depends on us. It does not depend on the return of Christ as such, it does not depend on God’s prophetic plan of which Israel and the Jews play a pivotal role — it does not depend on that, it depends on us and our movement.
Many people propagate this: Roger Forster, Terry Virgo, Gerald Coates. In America it is the likes of Kevin Connor and Rick Godwin. There are people who are trying to come to England now with this stuff from the States. It is what they are teaching. That movement has been around 16 years. Where is the revival?
No Such Place as Hell?
I firmly believe in Bible-believing Christians standing together and proclaiming Jesus. The March for Jesus seems to be a good idea to me in and of itself. But what do we do when the people who organize the March for Jesus say, “Jesus did not die to save people from going to hell, there is no such place”? Someone can march all they want, but if they do not think that the lost are going to perish, do not expect God to bring a revival through their marching. That is what Graham Kendrick believes. The man is an excellent hymn writer, but that is exactly what he believes: there is no such place as hell. That is what Roger Forster believes. And they are leading all people in these marches with this philosophy, thinking they are going to bring revival.
The apostles said, “Save yourself from this wretched generation.” (Acts 2:40) They knew about the Lake of Fire that burns forever and ever, as it were. The preaching of Wesley, the preaching of Spurgeon, of anybody whoever God every anointed to bring revival talk about the holiness of God and the judgment of those who reject the Gospel. Today, what do we have? The leaders are saying there is no such place.
I had a tremendous respect at one time for John Stott. When liberalism was at its real apex theologically, he stood up for the Gospel and the authority of Scripture. I respected him personally, but not doctrinally — I never thought much of his sermons or his books, but I respected him. Now he is telling his people there is no such place as hell.
It is Not Scriptural
These are the leaders. How is there going to be a revival? Do these people really think — really think — that they are ever going to stop what is happening to this society? Do they really think with leaders like this we are going to stop society from going to the wall and seeing revival with man-made ideas, a false unity? Of charismania? Of Kingdom Now theology and Restorationism? Of Ecumenism, sometimes going into open idolatry? They think they are going to bring a revival?
The Kingdom Now movement has been here sixteen years. I just watched a video recently of what happened in the Docklands Arena. I watched it again. We all know what happened with Mr. Wimber and his Kansas City Prophets. They came and they said revival is coming in October of 1990. He said, “We are the Joel’s army”. And then the other Kansas City Prophet came out and he said, “We are going for 100% accuracy — none of God’s Words will fall.” So what he is saying is he is speaking God’s Words and it is going to be 100% accurate. “I do not care what anybody says, you are going to go out of here seeing a visitation and a revival.” That was 2-1/2 years ago. In the last 2-1/2 years since the visitation and the revival, which was predicted by them to commence in October of 1990, more mosques have been built in England than churches. That is the truth.
I am not knocking or throwing rocks at anybody or anybody’s intentions or motives. I believe that people who get caught up in this nonsense are sincere people. I believe they are people who really are concerned with what is happening to this country and who really want to see Jesus lifted up and to see souls saved. I believe the people who are getting caught up in all these movements really have good intentions. But the devil knows they have good intentions; therefore he puts them on a road, a road to nowhere.
Once again, the Charismatic Movement has been here over twenty-five years. It made a promise it cannot deliver. Why? Because it is not scriptural.
The name-it-and-claim-it Faith-Prosperity people, if we really look at what they believe, if you we at the doctrines of Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin, it is their own doctrines, their own books. They quote E. W. Kenyon, “Jesus did not win the victory for us on the cross, He did it when He descended into hell.” That is what they believe. The cross is not central to their theology. But look how popular it is among people who want to have their ears tickled. But what happens? It cannot deliver. Their businesses go bankrupt anyway. They made a promise they cannot deliver. Why? It is not scriptural.
The Restoration Movement, the Kingdom Now Movement, they make a promise they cannot deliver. It should have happened in October of 1990, but it did not happen. They go around marching, making these proclamations: “Now is the time for us to march upon the land,” they are saying. “We are building a kingdom of power, not of words.” Well I have heard their words, where is the power? They have not got any.
We have had these people coming (again I am not slinging mud, I am just stating facts) like Rick Godwin and David Shearman. They come and they are giving these seminars such as “Training for Raining.” We hear what they are saying: “Thank You, Lord God, that Your kingdom is advancing forcefully, that Your kingdom is advancing mightily.” Whose kingdom? Satan’s? One-third of the kids in this country are going to wind up in jail! 1.2% of the population goes to church on Sunday, most of them are not even Christians! More mosques are being built all over! Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, New Age is being taught in schools, even the Church of England schools. They are teaching children to use condoms in sex education in schools. Whose kingdom is advancing forcefully?
These people may be perfectly honorable in their motives and their intentions — I am not attacking them. What I am attacking is their doctrines. I do not question these people’s sincerity or their integrity; it is not for me to judge, but what is for me to do is to say that what they are teaching is scriptural or not. (A) I look in the Bible and I see that it is not scriptural, and (B) I look out there and I see one thing: they all promise something they cannot deliver.
What is the Answer?
Peter says what happens on Pentecost is a shadow of what will happen at the end of the world. He did not say “this is that,” in Greek it is “this is like that.” (Acts 2:16) There were no signs of blood and fire and vapor as it is stated in the text from Joel 2, those things did not happen on Pentecost. It says “this is like that.” Somehow what happened then is a shadow of what happens at the end. What happened then teaches us what happens at the end. At the end, once again, we have a body that is been betrayed, we have a body that is afraid, that is miniscule, whose leaders are terrified, and that is not anointed.
The central theology of the Kingdom Now people, the Manifest Sons of God, or the Joel’s Army teaching is all the same. What these people do is engage in something called “Gnosticism.” Instead of dealing with what the text says exegetically, they read things into it which it does not say, claiming some kind of revelation. But they say something about Joel’s army which is not what it says in Joel.
God's Word through Joel
Joel is someone who prophesied very little for his own day, in fact almost not at all. He prophesied almost exclusively for the end of the world. But we know he either prophesied right at the beginning of the start of the Babylonian Captivity or right before it, and he is talking about the armies of Babylon. And look what it says…
Blow a trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm on My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
For the day of the LORD is coming;
Surely it is near,
(Now that is an eschatological statement – it is about the end of the world.)
A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and thick darkness.
As the dawn is spread over the mountains,
So there is a great and mighty people;
There has never been anything like it,
Nor will there be again...
(He is talking in his own time, about Nebuchadnezzar’s army of Babylon. That is what he’s talking about for his own time, but he is saying this teaches about the end of the world.)
A fire consumes before them
And behind them a flame burns.
The land is like the garden of Eden before them
But a desolate wilderness behind them,
And nothing at all escapes them. (Joel 2:1-3)
The Kingdom Now people say that this is them, their movement. And it describes this army. But look what happens with this army…
“Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
And rend your heart and not your garments.”
Now return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.
Who knows whether He will not turn and relent... (Joel 2:12-14a)
In other words, Joel says if the people repent, God will call this terrible army back. And what happens to this army?
“But I will remove the northern army far from you,
And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land,
And its vanguard into the eastern sea,
And its rear guard into the western sea.
And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up,
For it has done great things.” (Joel 2:20)
God is going to judge and destroy Joel’s army, but that is who John Wimber says he is! John Wimber actually says, “We are the locusts.”
“Then I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten,
The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust,
My great army which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25)
He called it His army, but it is His army in the sense of Nebuchadnezzar, the army of Babylon. It is an evil army. The way God judges His people is by bringing other evil people against them to make them repent. He has always dealt with Israel that way. That is the context. It is an evil army that God is going to destroy, but the entire Kingdom Now philosophy is based on the fact that we are this army, or at least they are, those in their movement.
But what happens in the midst of all this prediction of doom and gloom?
“It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28-29)
If there is a repentance, God pours out His Spirit and calls His judgment back. That is the key to the anointing. That is the key to get what the Kingdom Now people promise but cannot possibly deliver. That is the key to get what the Ecumenical people promise but cannot possibly deliver. That is the key to get what the Faith-Prosperity people promise but cannot possibly deliver. That is the key to get what the Charismatic people promise but cannot possibly deliver.
Joel’s army? The church is not Joel’s army; Joel’s army is what is judging the church. If we repent, God will recall that judgment and pour out His Spirit. That is the key.
That is what happened in the early church, and that is what is happening today. We have been betrayed, we are small and quivering, our leaders are afraid, and we are not anointed. It is all going to the wall. There is one hope: We repent or we perish. God bless you, and thank you.
God bless, †††
James Jacob Prasch
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