First posted: May 29, 2005
In this article, we share on how Scripture prophesied of a Church with a "broken net" evangelism. In a future article, we will study how that "broken net" will be changed in these latter days.
In Luke chapter 5, the Holy Spirit declares the following:
"1And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship." (Luke 5:1-3)
Notice that Jesus finds the fishermen in a state of "idleness". He saw the two ships "standing by the lake" (v2), but the fishermen were "gone out of them". This is a prophetic figure of the spiritual condition of the men that He found on that day. They had a mighty spiritual calling of God, but they were not aware of it. Because of this, they had resigned themselves to a simple, earthly life as fishermen of literal fish. They definitely believed in God, and they believed in God's prophetic voice, but they had convinced themselves into thinking that the "higher spiritual callings" were for "chosen men" like the priests, the Pharisees and the scribes. They would honor God by trying to follow the Mosaic Law to the best of their understanding. They would tithe and celebrate all the official religious feasts, but the True Living God was nothing but a blurry image in the distance. These men were trapped in the Girgashite spirit of earthliness and religious conformity. They had unknowingly delegated their spiritual calling to others.
When the Lord entered into one of the two ships (Simon's ship), He asked Simon to separate the boat "a little from the land" (v3). Why? Because Jesus had arrived that day to separate those men from the comfort of their earthly, land existence so that they would begin venturing into the "uncertain" waters of their spiritual calling. He arrived that day to separate them from their Girgashite life so that they would enter into their prophetic calling. As we have said before, the Girgashites are the spiritual antithesis of the prophetic anointing, and God's "remedy" for Girgashite believers is always to send them other believers who will give them a strong prophetic impartation.
When Simon agreed to separate his boat a little from land, he was accepting God's challenge to begin venturing away from the monotony of his Girgashite life. Jesus then sat down and began to teach from the ship (v3). Why did He sit? Why didn't He stand up so that the crowd would see Him better? To answer this, we must go to the following passage:
"28Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Luke 22:28-30)
Many times in Scripture, "sitting" is associated with persons who sit to make judgments. Therefore, the Lord "sat" in Luke 5:3 to judge the Girgashite lives of those who were listening to Him on dry land. He was there to confront them with the fact that they had a higher spiritual responsibility before God than the one they had assigned themselves. Biological creatures live, breed, and then die. However, we, as human beings, differ from the rest of creation in that we are called to be One with God. No other member of creation can say that, and to ignore that fact is equivalent to reducing ourselves to mere biological creatures, to mere animals without a higher calling.
As Jesus taught from the ship (Luke 5:3), He was acting as a prophetic teacher. As we have said before, the prophetic and the teaching ministries are somewhat "contrasting" in their natures. Therefore, teachers who are in the flesh turn into anti-prophetic, Girgashite teachers of tradition. When teachers grow in the Spirit, they mature into prophetic teachers.
After having taught them under a prophetic anointing, Jesus then challenged Simon to go a step further:
"4Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." (Luke 5:4)
As we have said before, Girgashites focus on what is visible, meaning that they live their lives based on what their natural mind can see. When Jesus approached Simon and asked him to separate his boat a little from land so that He could use it as a "teaching pulpit", Simon had to place his trust in a man he did not know. Jesus was an "itinerant preacher" who was rejected by the religious leaders of those days. Yet, Simon was willing to take the risk of allowing this itinerant preacher to use his boat to teach His "strange" teachings. Jesus had no "visible religious authority" that Simon could recognize with his natural mind. Therefore, the mere fact that he had allowed Jesus to teach from his boat shows that his heart was willing to recognize some of the invisible spiritual authority inside of Jesus. This was the first step that Simon took on the road to freedom from the Girgashite spirit. In a spiritual sense, Simon already had his "spiritual boat" a little distance from Girgashite land and into the prophetic waters as he listened to Jesus teaching from the boat.
Jesus was now calling Simon to forsake the safety of land altogether and to "launch out into the deep". In a sense, Jesus the teacher was giving Simon a real-life "exam" on what He had just taught. This is how Simon answered the "exam question":
"5And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." (Luke 5:5)
As we have said before, Girgashites are "sleep-deprived workaholics". Therefore, it is not surprising that Simon and his peers "toiled all night". Why did they catch nothing? Because, prior to Jesus' physical arrival, He had already sent out His judgment word against the lives of Simon and the others. By not allowing them to catch anything, God was showing them how empty and pointless Girgashite life is. As we have said before, God's spiritual judgments always bring to the surface any sin or iniquity that is hidden underneath. The unsuccessful "all-nighter" by Simon and his partners was a physical manifestation of their invisible spiritual barrenness. In essence, God cursed their work that night, but it set them up for their eventual repentance and mighty conversion.
As a Girgashite, Simon was prone to using his natural mind to analyze things and make decisions. He had fished all night and caught nothing. Therefore, there was no logical reason to expect that he would catch anything now. Besides, Simon and the others were expert fishermen, while Jesus was an "itinerant preacher". Simon could have very easily responded by saying,
"Jesus, you are a great preacher. That teaching you just gave us was wonderful, but I've been a fisherman all of my life. I know what I am doing. You stick to your preaching, and I will stick to my fishing, OK?".
Because of their methodical nature and their zeal for "efficiency", teachers (and Girgashites, when they go astray) believe in the "division of labor". Therefore, Girgashites believe in the weight of "expertise", and they believe that each task should be left to its respective expert. The mechanical work should be left to mechanics, medical work should be left to medical doctors, and political work should be left to the politicians. The "division of labor" is not wrong in and of itself, but Girgashites place so much faith on "expertise" that they become incapable of discerning the potential in others when that potential is not backed up by an "expertise résumé". They box people inside "expertise areas" and judge their words and actions based on "external credentials of expertise" and not on the inherent value of those words and actions. Girgashites kill spontaneity, and they place others under oppressed containment.
When Simon agreed to follow Jesus' "fishing advice", he was once again breaking with his Girgashite past. He was able to discern that Jesus' words were true, even when there was no "physical evidence" to back them up. In the phrase "at thy word" of Luke 5:5, the word "word" was translated from rhema, which, as we have seen before, is associated with the prophetic anointing. After a life of anti-prophetic "Girgashiteness", Simon was beginning to learn how to hear and move in God's prophetic rhema word.
When Jesus told Simon to go out into the "deep", He was challenging Simon to take the full quantum leap from his Girgashite life over to a prophetic life in the Spirit. By allowing Jesus to teach from his boat, Simon had come to the edge of the river, and God was now calling him to cross that river.
The phrase "let down" in Luke 5:4 was translated from the Greek word chalao, which literally means, "to loosen, slacken, relax". Interestingly enough, chalao is derived from the word chasma meaning "chasm, gulf". Therefore, Jesus was saying to Simon,
"Relax your mental paradigms, because that is the only way that you will cross over the chasm into the realm of the Spirit. Let yourself go, and allow the Spirit to move freely through you".
When Simon followed the prophetic instructions that Jesus gave him, this happened:
"And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake" (Luke 5:6)
The word "inclosed" was translated from the Greek word sugkleio, which is derived from two words:
As we have said before, the evil spirit that is most related to the promotion of worldly unity is the Canaanite spirit. Since Canaanites value "mutual pleasing" more than the truth, they abhor judgments because judgments "divide" people, separating the "good" from the "bad". Canaanites love the "feel-good" sensation of "unity", and they hate the fact that judgments take that gooey sensation away. They pressure people into relinquishing their inner convictions so that they can all "come together" and "get along".
Since Canaanites promote a "unity" that is based on emotional, social pressure, they can never forge a true unity, because true unity can only come when people's inner cores are compatible. You can "get along socially" with another person, even if that person is completely incompatible with your inner core. However, to truly be "one" with the other person, both of you must be able to view (i.e.- judge) the world in the same way. Both of you must hold the same things to be "true", and you must reject the same things as "false":
"14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)
[Notice that true unity requires the same "belief system", which implies sharing the same "judgment criteria". The word "unbeliever" in verse 14 is much more than just a simple reference to "non-Christians". It refers to a person who does not believe the things you believe, even if that person is a "Christian".]
Most of us have known people who are easy to get along with in occasional social settings but who turn into "unbearable human beings" once you get to know them "up close and personal". Why? Because their "inner core" is completely different from yours.
"And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
[The "third thread" is a truth that is independent from the other two threads in the cord]
As we have said before, truth and judgments are inextricably intertwined in Scripture, meaning that true unity between two human beings can be forged only if they expose themselves to judgments. It angers me to hear "Christian" marriage counselors who try to "reunite" broken marriages by simplistically exhorting each party to "forgive and forget". As we have said before, Scripture clearly shows that forgiveness is impossible without genuine repentance (Luke 17:3). In other words, we cannot forgive another person if the other person refuses to repent. In such a case, Scripture calls us to confront that person, not to forgive him or her (Matthew 18:15-17). We are called to forgive others just as Christ forgave us (Colossians 3:13), and Christ forgave us of our sins when we repented, not before!
In the name of "unity" (and not in the name of "Truth"), "Christian" marriage counselors exhort spouses to forgive the other spouse, even when the other spouse has not admitted his or her mistake. This only works to hide problems back under the rug. Marriage counselors should act as "independent arbiters" who expose both parties to God's truth and judgments. The counselor must exhort each party to seek the truth and to judge each other out of a zeal for righteousness, and not out of a sense of personal revenge. As we have said before, Canaanites are anti-judgment, but they are very quick to judge those who dare to judge them, and their judgments are usually driven by personal, emotional resentment and not by an impartial evaluation of the facts.
For two people to truly come together, they must allow their inner cores to be molded into the same "shape", and that molding takes place as both allow the same sword of judgments to cut into them, reach their inner core, and shape them from the inside out:
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
[As we have said before, the word "discerner" was mistranslated from the Greek word kritikos, which literally means "judge"]
People, especially Canaanites, utterly dislike the "unpleasantness" of "judgment exchange". They prefer to skip that unpleasantness and go straight to the "kiss and make up" part. Canaanites hate the pain provoked by the piercing judgment sword. They don't care about permanent transformation. They only care about emotional gaiety in this life.
The Lord God, however, "sees" things in a different way:
"14The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? 15He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; 16He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. 17Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off." (Isaiah 33:14-17)
The "devouring fire" of verse 14 above is God, who is "Consuming Fire" (Hebrews 12:28-29). Whosoever wants to be One with Him for Eternity must be willing to expose him or herself to the purifying fire of His judgments. Those who run away from God's judgments in this life will not behold the "King in His beauty" (v17). Those who do not allow their "inner core" (i.e.- their heart) to be purified by the fire of His judgments will never see the Face of God (Matthew 5:8).
As we said at the top of this section, the Greek word for "inclosed" in Luke 5:6 is derived from the word sun -- which has the connotation of "union" or "unity" -- and kleio -- which means "to shut". Therefore, the "enclosing net" of Luke 5:6 speaks of something that is trying to "unite" the fish into a closed, cramped space. The "fish harvest" in Luke chapter 5 was obviously a supernatural manifestation induced by the Spirit of God. Therefore, the fact that the "enclosing net" was unable to contain this "spiritual harvest" reveals that the net was not "spiritual" but "carnal and earthly".
The "enclosing net" that broke is a figure of what the Church does with all the new converts. It cramps them into spiritually-limiting Girgashite structures and traditions (kleio), and it tries to keep them "united" within its congregations (sun) by exerting emotional Canaanite pressure. It tries to turn the new converts into a "socially unified flock" where the unity is not derived from the Anointing but from an environment that is "nice and pleasant for the entire family". It promotes "unity" by turning the church into a "theme park" where people can "relate with the brethren" and have a "good time". When believers are unable to attend church due to external circumstances, most of them "miss" church because they miss their "friends", in the same way that a person misses his buddies when he can't join them on their weekly bowling night.
As we have shared before, Scripture reveals two basic reasons why believers are called to "gather together":
In the "church meetings" where these two things are not happening, you have a "social club", not an "assembly of the saints".
Just like the fish in Simon's cramped net, the Church's new converts are forced into a soul unity where they are instructed not to make judgments, for the sake of "unity" and "harmony". This destroys the "atmosphere of apostolic judgments" mentioned above. The new converts are also cramped into human methodologies and traditions that squeeze the prophetic life out of them (Amos 2:9-13), which renders them incapable of shedding themselves in prophetic sacrifice for others; this destroys the atmosphere of "prophetic communism" mentioned above. All of this leads to a Church full of immature and stagnant "kids" who never grow in the Spirit.
After the net broke, they called for help from the other ship:
"And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink." (Luke 5:7)
Notice that the two ships turned into "containers" for the fish. As we have said before, "containers" or "vessels" are equivalent in Scripture to "methods", which are in turn related to the teaching ministry, and to the Girgashite spirit when the teaching ministry goes astray. Girgashites die by "drowning", which explains why the ships began to sink. Those earthly vessels (i.e.- the two ships) were trying to contain all the "supernatural life" of the fish they had caught, and no earthen vessel will ever be able to contain and restrain God's supernatural prophetic life.
The broken net speaks of the pastors' efforts to create an artificial unity through Canaanite, emotional pressure. When that fails, they turn to the teachers who then provide the stability of large, religious Girgashite structures (i.e.- the two ships). Those who refuse the Canaanite unity of compromised convictions are taken in by Girgashite tradition and religiosity. This is what the pastoral matriarchy of the "female" ministries (pastors and teachers) does to the new converts who are converted through the evangelistic ministry.
The first ship speaks of an apostolic, trailblazing ministry that is contaminated by the Canaanite pastoral spirit of "soulish unity", and the second ship speaks of a prophetic ministry curtailed by the Girgashite teaching spirit. As we have said before, the apostolic and prophetic ministries lay the foundation for a mighty manifestation of the evangelistic ministry. When the apostolic and prophetic ministries are tainted or distorted, the spiritual authority of the evangelistic ministry is compromised.
It is interesting to note that the word "fishes" only appears twice in the passage of Luke 5:1-11 -- in verses 6 and 9 -- and the passage does not say what happened with the fish after they were loaded onto the ships. Verse 11 speaks of the ships being brought back to land, but there is no mention of what they did with the fish. There is a prophetic reason for this.
In the eyes of the Lord, "evangelism" is more than just catching the fish. It is bringing the fish back to "land" so that they may be "processed" properly. To the Lord, true "evangelism" is catching the fish and bringing them back to an environment where they may grow and develop in the Spirit. Today's Church catches the fish, but they are left in the boat to stagnate spiritually, and we all know what happens to stagnant fish that are taken out of the water but are left uncooked (with no refrigeration).
A Church dominated by the pastoral and teaching ministries leads to a Church whose evangelism is unable to bring the fish back to land. As one listens to the words of "full-time ministers" all over the Church, it becomes evident that their only concern is to "save souls until Jesus comes", and their definition of "saving souls" is to get them to repeat the sinner's prayer (i.e.- to catch them in the net), and, as a bonus, to get them to attend church regularly (i.e.- to get them onto the ships). Once they are in the ships, nobody seems to care what happens to them, and the fish are left to rot, like the Israelites who came out of Egypt but who died in the desert without entering the Promised Land.
Why is this happening? Because the pastoral and teaching ministries have no major expectations of the people that are converted. They don't expect to see God's Glory manifested in the "sheep". After all, they are just "sheep"!! To them, there is nothing left to do but to sit tight and wait until the Church is raptured up into heaven to continue with its spiritual stagnation there until the end of time.
As we have said before, Scripture clearly shows that "salvation" is a process, not just a "moment" in time. To equate "salvation" with a mere "moment in time" would be the same as equating "life" with the moment of one's birth. When we were physically born into this world, our physical life began, but it obviously did not end there. That moment was the beginning of a whole new process, and that process can be labeled either as a "failure" or a "success" based on what we do with our lives. Many a person have had a "failed" life even after having a "successful" birth.
God did not rescue us from the fire of literal hell just to save us from the pain of first-degree burns!!! He rescued us from literal hell so that we may fulfill the purpose for which we were called. If you try to rescue a young man standing on the edge of a bridge who is about to commit suicide, your main concern will not be to save the young man from the pain of the fall!!! Your concern will be to rescue him so that he may live out the fullness of his life.
We were not "fully saved" when we were rescued from literal hell. Instead, we were rescued from literal hell so that we may have the opportunity to be "fully saved".
A few verses after Luke 5:1-11, the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to write the following:
"17And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. 19And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus." (Luke 5:17-19)
The word "heal" in verse 17 was translated from the Greek word iaomai, which means "to make whole", and has the connotation of a "complete cure". In a spiritual sense, this means that the power of the Lord was present to enable a full salvation, but no one in the multitude was interested in it. They were satisfied with being around the visible Jesus, in the same way that many believers are satisfied with being "born again" and attending church regularly. As long as they "hang around" the visible church building, they are spiritually content.
Notice, however, that a crowd of contented and stagnant fish becomes an obstacle for those who are seeking "full salvation" (v18,19). The fact that the men of verses 18 and 19 were after a full salvation that transcended a mere physical healing is verified by the following verse:
"And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee" (Luke 5:20)
[The fact that Jesus referred to the man's sins before He made a reference to his physical condition reveals that the sick man's heart was longing for a spiritual restoration, and that longing superseded his longing for a physical restoration]
Scripture shows that our salvation is complete when we enter into "eternal life" (Genesis 3:24, Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:10, Revelation 22:14), which is more than just escaping the fire of literal hell. Eternal life means being One with God, with no one "in between" (Revelation 22:1-4, Revelation 21:22, 1 Corinthians 6:17, Isaiah 33:14-17). Therefore, we can say that the "obstructionist multitude of fish" that are brought into the Church through broken-net evangelism become stumbling blocks for those who are seeking to have direct Oneness with God. This obstructionist multitude gets in the way of those who are seeking after "full salvation" both for themselves and for others.
Notice that the men let the sick man down through the tiling (v19). The "tiling" speaks of "clay coverings", which in turn speaks of Girgashite hierarchies. This means that those who seek after "eternal life" for themselves and for others refuse to allow the layers of religious hierarchies and methodologies to stand between them and the Lord.
As a result of the miraculous catch, the ministry of 3 men was born:
"8When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him." (Luke 5:8-11)
Even though Simon Peter, James, and John had all lived under the influence of the Girgashite spirit, the multitude of fish did not get them started on thoughts of expanding their "fishing business". They did not see the miracle as confirmation that they were called to be literal fishermen all of their lives. Instead, the miracle made them aware of a higher calling they had been unaware of all of their lives. They never asked Jesus to use His "spiritual powers" to give them another good "fishing location". They simply "forsook all and followed Him" (v11). This was an act of prophetic sacrifice unto God.
Simon, James, and John used a Canaanite "broken net" and Girgashite boats during the catch, but Jesus proved both to be inadequate for the evangelistic work that He had for them. When they realized that Canaanite pastoring and Girgashite teachings were insufficient, they surrendered to God's way of doing things. Instead of relying on the 2 "female" ministries, they began to rely on the 3 "male" ministries. That's when the apostle James, the prophet John, and the evangelist Simon Peter were born.
After the Lord was resurrected, Peter, James, and John had another "miraculous catch" (John 21:1-14), but, this time, the net did not break. This second catch is a prophetic figure of how the evangelistic ministry will be restored in these latter days. God will destroy the Church's "broken net" pastoral evangelism, and He will do it by removing the pastoral matriarchy. We will share on this in a future article. You may want to reread a prophetic word regarding the "latter-day net", which we received from a brother in Christ, and which we posted two months ago (March 2005).