Note: “D” in this article refers to the predominant religion in the Middle East (also known as “the religion of peace”), while “Ds” refer to the adherents of that religion
The end time enemy of the Church is the spirit of the D religion
Unless decisive action is taken, Iran is poised to put nuclear weapons in the hands of the followers of Mohammed. To me it is clear that this is the time at which fundamentalist “Ds” want to realize the restoration of the former golden age of D. Their approach is dictated by the spirit of D—by the spirit that drove the prophet Mohammed to proselytize his religion in the Sixth Century through the power of his sword. It is the same today: D is to be promulgated by physical force, war, and conquest. Recall the two kidnapped western journalists who were released after they “converted to D.”
For some, World War III has already begun—the “clash of civilizations” of the last days. What should be the response of the Church of Jesus Christ? The Church has encountered the enemy in different incarnations in its long history. The enemy of the Church during these endtimes is the spirit of D, the ultimate spirit of anti-Christ. Our response should obviously not include physical war—that is the responsibility of our nation’s government and military—but our response is war in the realm of the spirit. However, I am not talking about the kind of spiritual warfare with which the Church is already familiar. I am not talking about prayerwalks and prayer gatherings in public places. I am talking about the war that Jesus commanded us to prosecute until He returns.
Luke 10:9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’
The only way that “Ds” will take the gospel seriously is for them to consistently witness powerful miraculous signs done in the name of Jesus Christ. Otherwise they will continue to view our gospel as a corrupted religion. The Church must take the gospel in the power of signs and wonders to public places where the world can see the visible proof that Jesus is the only way to the Father.
John 10:37 Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38 But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
This is the warfare that two thousand years ago Christ commanded the Church—not just a few anointed superstar evangelists—to wage until He returns. So far the Church has disobeyed this command and failed to execute it.
But in these last days the Lord is restoring the spirit of power and boldness to the Church for real war…
In Scripture we find different ways by which the Lord heals infirmities through His people. Two of these ways can be classified as the authority to heal on the one hand, and the gift of healing on the other hand. These two have different functions. Luke 9 describes the function of the authority to heal.
Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave thempower and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
The power and authority to heal and to drive out demons is given specifically for the context of preaching the kingdom of God to the lost. For those who do not yet believe, seeing miracles can be an aid to faith in Christ. In contrast, the gift of healing is given primarily to build up the body of Christ, that is, those who already believe in Christ. The Apostle Paul, referring to the function of the gifts of the Spirit for the body of Christ, taught:
1 Corinthians 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
In Chapter 14, continuing to teach on the purpose of spiritual gifts, Paul adds:
1 Corinthians 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.
It would appear that the primary venue for the manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit is in gatherings of believers. In such meetings believers are ministered to, strengthened, and blessed in various ways. Among other benefits, believers can be healed from their infirmities as the gift of healing is manifested. For example, as believers worship the Lord in a gathering, the presence of the Lord may appear and the sick are miraculously healed.
We see then the difference between the gift of healing and the authority to heal.
Let’s take the analogy of the United States of America. When America is threatened by foreign enemies, she sends out her armies to fight. The American military has unparalleled power. Through displays of “shock and awe” it is able to defeat the enemy. This is analogous to the Church sending out believers to proclaim the Kingdom of God to the lost, heal the sick, and cast out demons. Awesome power is released as they exercise their authority over disease and demons by rebuking them and commanding them to go in Jesus’ name. The sick are instantly healed and testify of God’s healing grace. The message of the gospel is confirmed by the miraculous signs and precious souls enter the Kingdom of God by putting their faith in Jesus Christ. The Church is indeed capable of putting on such displays of “shock and awe”—that is, signs and wonders—to defeat the enemy. We have seen this happen time and time again after disciples of Jesus are taught to exercise their authority to heal the sick.
The normal picture back home in America, by contrast, could not be any more different. Soldiers and tanks and incredibly destructive weapons are not needed in the streets. There is no need for displays of military might or “shock and awe” in our neighborhoods—those are reserved for our nations’ enemies. Instead, we enjoy our peace and prosperity. We celebrate our blessings at various holidays throughout the year. We like to give one another gifts, especially around Christmas time, to bless and encourage one another. This is analogous to believers blessing one another with gifts and manifestations of the Spirit during their gatherings.
However, if we take an honest look at the Church, we see that there is not yet a healthy balance between “military” and “civilian” activities. (Writers in the past referred to these as sodalities and modalities, respectively.) Most of the activity of the Church today consists of “civilian” gatherings of believers where they are built up through the word of God and manifestations of spiritual gifts. Rarely does the Church send out believers as a well-trained and well-equipped “military” force to engage the enemy kingdom. Rarely do we hear of armies of believers going out to the lost to heal the sick, cast out demons, and save souls through the preaching of the gospel. The awesome “signs and wonders” that the Church is capable of displaying against the enemy kingdom is yet to be seen.
However, there is now in some quarters of the Church an awareness of the necessity of going out to engage the enemy. For some reason it does not consist of the visible “shock and awe” of miraculously healing the sick and proclaiming the Kingdom boldly in public as commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ. So far it consists of spiritual warfare “in the heavenlies” through prayer gatherings in public places and during prayerwalks. (We may note without passing judgement that there is debate within the larger body of Christ concerning the scriptural nature of such warfare against demonic beings.) But it must not end there. We must obey what Jesus commanded us to do in the earthly realm:
Luke 10:9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’
As the recent war in Lebanon clearly showed, air bombardment alone cannot win a war. Ground troops must be committed. During these last days the Lord has revealed to us how to train and equip foot soldiers to win the war on the ground and take actual territory for the Kingdom. We are now able to equip believers to heal the sick the way Jesus and his disciples did to demonstrate to the world that the Kingdom is near. Souls actually escape from darkness and enter the Kingdom of God by putting their faith in Christ. It can no longer be simply theoretical; the victoriesmust be seen here in reality.
John 14:12 Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me, the works that I do he shall do also, and greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father.