Culture Changes And Demon Chasers

by:  Lonnie Lane

According to Jewish customs, there is a time of betrothal, or a covenant agreement to become husband and wife, in what we call an engagement period. During that time, the man prepares a house for his new bride, often a wing or an adjunct part of his family home, while she prepares herself by making what she will need as a homemaker as well as sewing her bridal garment. Before the Lord returns for His purified bride, there is also a time of preparation. Yeshua said before He left for heaven, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). Sounds rather bridegroom like, doesn’t it? His Father’s house is the family home of every believer that ever lived. What fun that will be. Think of all the people throughout history we get to be with. I sometimes tell God of people I’d like to meet when I get there. Not just Biblical people, but historical people. Who would you like to meet and get to know? How about the past generations in your family who walked with the Lord over the centuries?  

As you see, Yeshua went to prepare the family home in which we will live with Him forever. The bride, on the other hand, is preparing lovely as well as practical items for her new home and the crowing achievement, her bridal gown. This is what the Bible says about the preparing of the bride of Yeshua:  “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8). She, that is to say we, are given the material with which we are to clothe ourselves. The material which we are given is the righteousness of God. If we weren’t given this righteousness, we would have none, but God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The fine linen is what the priests wore when serving the Lord. She is given this “fine linen” as a symbol that she has been ordained by God as “holy unto the Lord” (Exodus 28:36), just as the priests were. The bride of Messiah ought not take this lightly or glibly. We have been called to be holy unto God! While there is much joy in the calling, it is not to be regarded as anything but a supreme privilege and treated with the utmost respect that God has called us to Himself. (Some of us may need to make a bit of an adjustment in this regard.)

That we are given righteous garments and promised the return of our Bridegroom is not the end of the story. There is more. There’s His part and then there’s our part in this preparation of the bride for the coming of our magnificent bridegroom. It is for us to take this righteousness we have been given and clothe ourselves with it. He gives is to us, we do the clothing ourselves. We have to put it on, to wear it so that we are identified as being clothed in righteousness. That is to say, we are maintaining a state of having been cleansed of and forsaking all unrighteousness so that we are seen by others as bearing the righteousness of God. But still there’s more. 

Notice it says, “righteous acts” which is also translated as “deeds.” For us to sit all nice and clean and comfortable, wrapped securely in His righteousness, but to do no “righteous acts” with the righteousness we’ve been given is not preparation as the bride. If we’ve been saved but are stuck in a do-nothing apathy while people around us are perishing, we’re not preparing ourselves for His coming. Not infrequently when I write these articles, writing what I believe God is saying, I have the distinct sense that God is speaking to me first and holding me accountable too. So I’m speaking to myself here, not just you.  He gave us the garments of righteousness, but unless we make use of them, we are not acting wisely. Now before I go on, I want you to know I’m not saying, well, you, or we, better just get up and start doing something for the Kingdom. I’m not meting out condemnation or judgment here either. What I am saying is that I believe with all my heart that God is about to make some major paradigm changes in His people, changes that will bring about a readjustment in our Kingdom perspectives that will be of Biblical proportions! We could try to do these things, but unless we are under the anointing of God, it won’t work. The changes must come from God. We begin to cooperate with God to position ourselves for these changes by putting our trust entirely in Him, for only He can do it.

...and then there's our part in this preparation of the bride for the coming of our magnificent bridegroom...

These changes will be preparation for the days that may be ahead of us and for the soon coming of our King and Bridegroom. We are not ready for Him yet. We are not presently a suitable Bride for Him. We are too world-ridden and compromised. We are not lights in the darkness as we likely will need to be in order to be able to know where He is in the darkness. People get confused in the dark and don’t know which way to go. We don’t always know where safety is when we’re in the dark. We can trip and fall. Believers too can get confused about what truth is in times of spiritual and moral darkness. But there is a way out of the darkness, even if it’s all around us. There’s a way to avoid falling. Because where He is there is no darkness: “Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You” (Psalm 139:12)If we are maintaining our trust in Him and continuing to act righteously, we will be where He is, and we will be able to see clearly and understand correctly what is going on and what the real issues at hand are.

Okay, maybe this is the worst case scenario, but I’m using it to make a point. Daniel is talking here about the coming of the anti-Messiah (anti-Christ) in the last days. He says, “By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many” (Daniel 11:32, 33). What this says is that a covenant exits, presumably the covenant of God, the Bible, but the anti-Messiah is able with his seductively enticing and right-sounding words, to turn, it appears, people to godlessness who might not have turned to godlessness previously. This leads to acting wickedly - and not just wickedly, but wickedly against the covenant. I’m reminded of where Yeshua, in talking about persecution of the believers, said, “…an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God” (John 16:2b).

It would seem that these people are sufficiently deceived as to believe they are acting in ways that are godly, or at least right or why would they? Who does what they know is flat out wrong? It’s not rational, so evidently these people are really misperceiving right from wrong. BUT, in the midst of all that are “the people who know their God.”  These people are taking action –  righteous action in the face of profound unrighteousness. Under the anointing of God, they display the strength He gives to them and act righteously. In the midst of great confusion and the distortion of truth, they are able to provide godly insight and understanding so as to rescue others from the darkness. Now, if that’s an end time scenario God allowed Daniel to see and write, then should we really be in the end times, or even if we’re not, we would do well to give ourselves to God for Him to make us the people of light regardless of what darkness may come. We hear about the glory of the last days church. That is really likely to be us. We may be the people the church has been waiting for two thousand years. We are also hearing the words of many prophets today that are speaking of God’s preparation of His people, of a maturity and glorious effectiveness that God is about to unleash upon His people, that we will be the lights in the darkness we were created to be.

A dormant gifting is as useless as one you have never received.

Perhaps these acts of righteousness are like the oil for the lamps of the Ten Virgins, only half of whom had their lamps full of oil so only half of them were ready when the bridegroom came. Do you remember the story? “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps” (Matthew 25:1-3. Note: The Kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven refer to the same realm of God.)  To be prudent is to employ a good use of judgment or resources. The Holy Spirit is the best “resource” I can think of for anything. The oil is representative of the anointing of the Spirit of God which is given for the work of service in the Kingdom. To be prudent then is to put to use that which we receive through the Holy Spirit, such as gifting and His empowering to accomplish Kingdom business. The anointing of God is the most powerful resource for doing that work.

It further seems the prudent had lamps which represent the word of God, as in “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). These people acted on the word of God to bring the Kingdom to others. But what was lacking in the foolish virgins, even though they had the word so they knew what was expected of them, was the oil of the Holy Spirit that is given when needed for ministry purposes. A dormant gifting is as useless as one you never received. So there is no further oil of anointing poured out to us if we are not using what we’ve been given. The foolish virgins, even with their Bibles in hand, were without sufficient oil so that even their lamps were in darkness. So they were in the dark when the bridegroom came and couldn’t see to get to Him. The wise, on the other hand, had much oil to keep their lamps lit so even though it was dark, they had a sufficiency of the Spirit of God to be able to meet the Bridegroom when He came. The foolish, who were not accustomed to receiving instructions from the Holy Spirit, or making use of Him as their  resource for doing the will of God, did not have what it took to get them to the Bridegroom when He finally came. The word is not enough to enable us to negotiate the darkness; we need the anointing of the Spirit of God to illuminate the word and show us the way to go, so we know how to get into His presence even in darkness.

This causes me to soberly consider the various references in the Bible to times of spiritual and moral darkness that would come upon the earth before Messiah returns. Yeshua couldn’t have made it clearer that His followers are to be a light in the midst of darkness. Nor could He have made it clearer that being that light is a series of acts, of Kingdom manifestations, not just being passively “Christian” hoping someone will notice. Perhaps you’ve heard the quote often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi who is reported to have said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary use words.” I don’t see that as Biblical. Yeshua said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). In order to preach, we must use words. But words weren’t all He meant either.   

As Yeshua was righteous in Himself, so we have been made righteous in Him. But as Yeshua fulfilled the will of His Father in proclaiming the Kingdom and bringing people to God, so are we meant to be as He was. The followers of Yeshua were never meant to be sanctioned away and cloistered among ourselves or ineffective so that we have no influence on those around us. Nor were we meant to be indistinguishable from the ungodly, any more than He was. We were meant to be status quo challengers, culture changers, and demon chasers. Add to that, word-of-God preachers and power wielders. That is His power in love, power to heal and deliver and set people free. All of which take words: “Be healed”, “satan be gone”, “Stand up and walk,” “In Yeshua’s name…” That was the plan. It still is.   

 We must come to understand what God considers as a bride worthy of Him...

 

But I’m not a preacher, you say. Have you ever tried? Every one of us can speak the word of God in what it means to you. If you’re Yeshua’s you have a testimony, probably a whole lot of them, of where He has affected your life for good, of where He has protected you, rescued you, helped you in some way, and made Himself real to you. When He chose the twelve, “He appointed …that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons” (Mark 3:14, 15). It wasn’t just to preach, but to do what He did and preach about what He preached about, which was the Kingdom of God.  Then He demonstrated it by healing sicknesses, casting out demons. They go together.  The Kingdom of God has no sickness and no demons. So when He, and then His disciples preached and acted accordingly, it brought Kingdom reality. These were acts of righteousness. Perhaps you’re saying, “Yeah, but they were the disciples, the Apostles, not little ole’ me.” Well, that’s true, but they were just the initial disciples whom He called, and He called them first of all to “be with Him.” That’s the first prerequisite: being with Him. He may have made the twelve His closest compatriots in the Kingdom, but they were to disseminate all they had learned from Him and take it to “all the world.”  That includes you, doesn’t it? Remember also, that the acts of righteousness among the believers were to share with those in need, to feed people, to meet needs in very practical ways. Sometimes just kindness is an act of righteousness that can greatly affect another person’s life. Just as the bride took her prep time to make things of a practical nature for her marriage, so we too are involved in things of a practical nature that can equally be acts of righteousness as healing and deliverance.

I’ve said all this to say, that those of us who comprise the bride are in a significant time of that preparation.  We must come to understand what God considers as a bride worthy of Him. Not just any bride will do. She must be a suitable bride for the Master of the Universe! All brides take much care as to what to wear on their wedding day. We see the first people who make up their part of the bride, His early disciples, fully clothed in the “linen robes of righteous deeds.” The joy and the power that characterized Yeshua’s life was, in the same way, lived out by His disciples. And I don’t mean just the twelve, or the seventy, or the hundred and twenty, but the thousands who came to faith in Him as they were 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 (Acts 2:47).  I long for days when that will happen again.

Just as Yeshua walked in the peace of God, so did they. Just as He interacted easily among the people, ate with them, sat with them, taught them, told them stories, prayed for them, laughed with them, healed them, performed miracles among them, fed them, loved them, and enjoyed them, so did His followers. Just as He embraced children, and reached out to the demon possessed, the lepers, the prostitutes, the hated tax collectors, just as He blessed the needy and the greedy, so did His followers. No one who wished to come to Him was in any way rejected. No one! He was a delight to be near, and so were they. If they weren’t, there wouldn’t have been such a dramatic increase in their numbers. As Yeshua had exhibited God’s love and power to make people whole, so did they. As He lived in God’s presence, so did they. Most of us today have not experienced what the first believers did, neither in our effectiveness nor the joy, because they go together. When we do what He did, we share in the joy of heaven.

We may have before us the greatest opportunity to be free in Messiah Yeshua and to welcome Him, as the bride who has properly prepared ourselves with what He has given to us. Let’s begin with this challenge. We hear much talk of the darkness that is manifesting in the world today. Worry, worry, worry! We really cannot differentiate between what is true and what is not; lies abound. None of it is sure. None of it can be. Only the word of God can be sure.

The following prophetic word was given by Paul Wilbur recently: “Our enemies are fear, doubt and unbelief. They come to destroy. Give them no place, no thought. Only consider what is above, what is written, what God says. The word of God is sure and certain. Below is unbelief and instability. For the enemy wages war with uncertainty, with what might happen, with worry. War against this with a spirit of praise and confidence in who I am, says the Lord. Only what I have said are words of certainty and I will establish what I have said. That which is unshakable will be established. Keep your mind on My word which will be established for eternity. Meditate on My word and you will stand on solid ground, and in a stable place in times of instability, you will not be moved. Lay hands on the sick and they will recover. The prayers of the righteous avail much. Through them you can overcome the instability of wickedness. Saturate your minds with the word so you are anchored in it as your homeland, and you will not be destabilized when times of difficulty come.”

 

Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2011. 

 

 

Lonnie Lane

For Lonnie's other articles, check out our Exclusive Articles and Resources, especially the section on One New Man.

Lonnie Lane comes from a family of four generations of Jewish believers, being the first one saved in 1975. Lonnie has been in church leadership for many years, and has planted two “one new man” house fellowships, one in Philadelphia suburbs and the other in Jacksonville, Florida, where she now lives near 6 of her 8 grandchildren. Lonnie is the author of “Because They Never Asked” and numerous articles on this website. She has been the Producer of Messianic Vision's radio and TV shows and the International Prayer Co-Coordinator for Messianic Vision's intercessors. Click Here to order Lonnie's book, "Because They Never Asked."

 

Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif.  All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

 

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