Joel - Part 2
First posted: March 20, 2023
In this series of articles, we shall be meditating on the book of Joel and what God is shouting to today's deaf generation through Joel's prophecy.
1978-1997 - Musical independence
As we have shared so far, 1978 was a significant transition year that took humanity from the first generation of 1948-1977 (the "children" of Joel 1:3) into the second generation of 1978-1997 (the "children's children" of Joel 1:3). That second period was one that saw a great deal of spiritual and literal independence in all aspects of human life, an independence that fostered a great deal of individual creativity. This creativity can be seen in music, for example.
As we also saw earlier, 1978 brought an injection of creative and freshly anointed music from groups such as the Bee Gees (yes, God just said, "freshly anointed"). The music world then blossomed into a new age of music in the 1980s. Consider Michael Jackson, for example. As indicated on wikipedia.org, Michael and the Jackson 5 became independent from Motown in 1975 and signed with another recording company, Epic Records, changing their name to "The Jacksons". In 1978, during this initial breakaway period, Michael Jackson, the group's main songwriter, wrote the song "Shake your body (down to the ground)", which began to manifest the group's and Michael's new and unique musical style. Two years later, in 1980, he wrote the song "Can you feel it", a song written with a strong anointing of the Lord's Second Coming, an anointing that is unfortunately not present in most of the matriarchal Church's "Gospel" music.
Just prior to 1978, in 1977, Michael Jackson moved to New York City to star in a film called "Scarecrow and the Wiz". Even though the film was not financially successful (in keeping with black-horse scarcity), it enabled Michael Jackson's exposure to the early hip-hop style that was burgeoning in New York, especially when he visited the Studio 54 nightclub. This exposure helped to enrich his musical style in the years that followed. It was also during this "failed film" experience that he came across Quincy Jones, who arranged the film's score. This connection with Q. Jones set the foundation for a musical relationship that would yield prolific musical success during the 1980s.
In 1979, Michael Jackson released the 5th solo album of his career, called "Off the Wall", which helped to finally break him away from the Jackson family group and establish him as a solo artist internationally. The album not only freed him from being perceived as a "Jackson 5 member" but also freed him from being associated with the more innocent "child-star" music that the Jackson 5 had become famous for. Off the Wall's more complex musical patterns yielded 4 Top 10 songs in the US, peaking at No. 3 in the album charts and earning Michael Jackson 3 American Music Awards the next year (1980), with all the awards related to Soul/R&B categories. Given the album's clear success in the pop charts, Jackson justifiably felt that his album should have received more generalised recognition beyond the Soul/R&B categories, and he determined to make a wider impact with his next album. That next album, Thriller, produced with Quincy Jones and released in late 1982, achieved just that. It is probably unnecessary to go into the details of how impactful that album was, especially if you were alive when it came out. Suffice it to say that it certified that the 1980s were a different decade, a decade of unique and creative music.
The early 1980s also saw the rise of 2 other stars besides Michael Jackson who had also been born in the fateful year of 1958: Madonna and Prince. Regardless of what you may think of them personally, it cannot be ignored that, just like Michael Jackson, they produced a new and eclectic musical style. This rich new dimension of music was expanded by a multitude of musical acts such as The Police, U2, Culture Club, The Eurythmics, Def Leppard, The Clash, Blondie, Fleetwood Mac, Hall and Oates, Bananarama, etc. The depth and variety of all this new music (unlike anything ever seen before in human history) is a manifestation of the spiritual prosperity that begins to flourish when the black horse of the Apocalypse begins to gallop. This writer would dare say that the musical productivity of that period peaked in 1987-1988, after which it began to decline. Even so, it stayed at a high level late into the 1990s until the spiritual atmosphere transitioned yet again.
1978-1997 - Freedom through Reagan
The 1980s also saw prosperity at the economic level, not only in America but around the world. After Reagan came into office in 1981, America adopted free-market economic policies that included lower taxes, which, as per the Laffer Curve principle, paradoxically increased government revenue whilst liberating people from the chokehold of government taxation. Thus, the malaise and stagflation of the Carter years slowly dissipated and America entered into a period of remarkable economic growth and stability. And, as Americans became a little more independent from government control on the domestic front, political independence exploded throughout the rest of the world. Under Reagan's leadership, America began to spend heavily on defence, which pushed the stagnant Soviet economy to the brink as they tried to keep up. Eventually, as God killed off the old Soviet leaders and put Gorbachev in place, freedom came to long-oppressed Eastern Europe. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the biggest enforcer of Communist slavery in Europe was gone. In the meantime, Latin America had an explosion of democracy the likes of which it had never experienced in its corruption- and dictatorship-laden history. As the work of the 3 red-horse popes (studied earlier) took effect, Latin Americans became free from the oppression of catholicism and were free to pursue Protestant Christianity, leading to a remarkable spiritual revival, one that saw some Latin American countries become saturated with Christian radio stations in their air waves and with unashamed references to Jesus and the Bible in public places everywhere, something that was ironically deemed "strange" and "irregular" during the period of catholic stranglehold.
1978-1997 - The law of prosperity
Spiritually, the 1980s saw the expanding influence of prosperity preachers such as Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland, as well as the rise of new prosperity preachers such as Creflo Dollar (in 1986) and Jesse Duplantis (in 1978). Unfortunately, these preachers became so obsessed with material prosperity that they fell into the trap of Balaam, thereby nullifying the spiritual potential of the (often fruitful) message that they were preaching.
Having said the above, it must be clarified that the "prosperity gospel" is not inherently evil or devoid of spiritual validity. God always blesses righteousness, and individuals who work in righteousness will have a higher level of material and emotional prosperity --- on account of that righteousness --- than they normally would have had. This is why nations and races that abide by the truth and righteousness tend to be wealthier, more advanced, and more peaceful, whereas nations and races mired in corruption tend to be poorer, more backward, and constantly embroiled in violent turmoil. Does that mean that you are not right with God if you are not wealthy? No, and this is what the prosperity preachers fail to comprehend.
Your righteousness will bring God's loving blessing upon you. And, as a consequence, you will have an inevitable increase in material and emotional prosperity. However, your righteousness is not the only factor that determines your final level of visible prosperity, for you must take into account the righteousness (or unrighteousness) of others, along with God's purposes for you. Other people's unrighteousness may lower the level of (tangible) prosperity that you would have otherwise harvested, but, the more righteous you are, the harder the unrighteous will have to work to get you to a state of relative poverty, and, as they do this, you sow greater and greater judgement from God into them.
The wilful surrender of prosperity
Aside from the wealth-reducing effect of others' unrighteousness, God may ask you to wilfully surrender your prosperity as a prophetic sacrifice in order to forge His redemptive purposes on Earth, in which case your relative poverty is not a sign of your unrighteousness but rather an indication of the high price you are willing to pay to forge God's Kingdom on Earth. Clearly, the more righteous you are, the more "wealth" you will have available for God's sacrificial purposes, just as a millionaire has more money available to donate to others than a person who is not a millionaire. If you have doubts about this, consider the following passages:
"11 And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death. 12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. 13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: 14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him." (Genesis 26:11-14)
"19 And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. 20 And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him. 21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah. 22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land." (Genesis 26:19-22)
Notice how the unrighteousness of the Gerar pastors made life more difficult for Isaac by harassing him and blocking sources of water for him and his flock, meaning that they took away from the emotional and material prosperity that Isaac had, even as God continued to prosper him and was with him throughout.
"29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first." (Mark 10:29-31)
Notice that the Lord explicitly speaks of rewards "in this time". The word "time" was translated from the Greek word kairos, which, as we have shared before, refers to doors of opportunity more than to literal chronological time. This does not nullify the idea that Yeshua is speaking of receiving a recompense in this temporal lifetime, for the Lord clearly contrasts "this kairos" against "the world to come" and "eternal life". Hence, the Spirit's use of kairos (instead of chronos) means that, in this temporal lifetime, God will open doors of opportunity for the righteous through which they can receive a just temporal reward for what they have sown, a reward that will also have an eternal manifestation in the world to come. Righteous believers do have the option to "trade in" these kairos "investment options" as sacrificial offerings to further God's Kingdom and purposes on Earth as He leads them to do so. It is worth emphasising that these sacrifices cannot be done on arbitrary, masochistic whims to further things that we think might further God's Kingdom. Instead, these "investment opportunities" to trade in the temporal kairos opportunities that we have reaped will be subtly (and, sometimes, not so subtly) presented to us by God. He will make us aware of an "investment need", and it will be up to us to volunteer our temporal options as investment into these "needs". He will never pry these investments out of our hands, for that would strip the sacrificial prophetic anointing from them and render them useless in His hands.
"1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. 11 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate," (Isaiah 6:1-11)
"25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon." (Luke 24:25-34)
Notice that, after scolding them, Yeshua did not say, "I now demand that you give me lodging and that you show me the hospitality that you ought to show a stranger, especially one who just spoke such powerful prophetic words into your hearts". Instead, He just kept walking as if leaving them behind, meaning that it was up to them to volunteer their hospitality towards Him. This illustrates God's tendency to wait and see how much we are willing to give of ourselves, especially when we are about to enter a "green-horse" resurrection event such as the one that the disciples experienced when Yeshua broke bread with them. Believers who are stuck in the black-horse stage (such as the prosperity preachers that litter the matriarchal Church) are incapable of offering a profound voluntary sacrifice from their temporal coffers, which is why they never progress into the green-horse stage and will never partake in God's eternal glory. Whenever these believers feel a subtle prompting to make a sacrifice, their knee-jerk response is,
"God is not a mean and evil God!! He is not demanding that I surrender anything in my coffers!! I have earned everything in those coffers, and I will not just give it away to please your masochistic, religious soul, damn it!!"
They are right in saying that God is not a sado-masochistic, Old-Covenant god who is constantly asking us to live ascetic and miserable lives full of unnecessary sacrifices just to please his religious whims. That is the "god" that Cain promotes in order to control God's people, and that is the "god" that these stuck-in-black believers left behind in the red-horse stage when they entered into the black-horse stage. They are also right in saying that God is not demanding anything from them, for we are not to live by the law of sin and death. However, they fail to understand that God has called us to live by a higher law, the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2), a law under which we are to feel a constant sense of debt, a debt to love others:
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8)
"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." (Romans 15:1)
As we have detailed before, the words "owe" in Romans 13:8 and "ought" in Romans 15:1 were translated from successive occurrences of the Greek verb opheilo (meaning "to owe"), and the words "strong" and "weak" in Romans 15:1 were mistranslated from the Greek words dunatos and adunates respectively, which actually mean "powerful" and "powerless". Since being "powerful" or "powerless" is intrinsically associated with one's ability to execute something, we can say that those who are materially rich are by definition more "powerful" (at least in the natural realm) than those who are not (by virtue of the things that they can literally pay for). Hence, the fact that we are no longer under the obligation of the Old Covenant and the law of sin and death does not mean that we can disregard our "love debt" and still be in the centre of God's perfect will. Again, we will not be coerced (in the form of an external pressure) to make the required sacrifice, and we will be "allowed" to live our lives as if everything was "relatively OK" unless ... unless we open the ears of our spirit and hear what the Spirit of God has to say. It is until then that we will feel a strong internal pressure. And, as long as we desire to be in the centre of God's will, that pressure will only intensify until we yield to God's perfect desire.
Completing Yeshua's incomplete work
Notice the intense internal pressure that the Lord Yeshua experienced at Gethsemane:
"41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:41-44)
Believers stuck in the black-horse stage find the green-horse pressure described above to be "foreign" and "unnatural", as something that only the "devil" can bring upon a "saved believer". They do not deny the spiritual legitimacy of this pressure when they see it applied to Yeshua in Scripture, but they never project the possibility of that pressure on themselves because their soul's immediate shield is the popular phrase, "Jesus did all the work for us". They then add, "If we pretend to do that type of work, we nullify God's grace and return to the curse of the Law". When they say such things, they fail to understand that their words apply to the work that enabled us to become righteous spirits. This is a work that cannot be produced through human effort and can only be received by faith. Once we embrace that work and have a righteous spirit (the "new man") born inside of us, we are to operate in that spirit, flowing in it in yielded submission to God and not in the strength of the flesh. Because that spirit is made after God's very nature (Ephesians 4:24), we will begin to do the same works of righteousness that Yeshua produced whilst on Earth, meaning that we will also go through Gethsemane experiences like the one described in the passage above. When we are born again, we are raised from the spiritually dead to walk in Yeshua's righteous steps, not to lounge around like a lazy panda bear, comfortably enjoying the spiritually non-nutritious bamboo that grows around us as we sit on our back sides.
"16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:16-17)
Notice that the Spirit of God does not say, "Now that you are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, sit down and enjoy the spoils that Jesus gathered for you because the work has been done!!". Instead, He speaks of "suffering with Him" immediately after pointing out that we are joint heirs with Him. This writer does not recall a (BHS) prosperity preacher ever pointing this out when quoting this passage, but that is to be expected due to a spiritual disease that plagues matriarchal believers: SSMS.
"17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:17-18)
Notice how the Spirit of God seems to "contradict" Himself by first saying that God's will may call us to suffer (v17) and then immediately saying that Christ suffered once for us so that we may be vivified (mistranslated as "quickened") by the Spirit. This means that the popular phrase "Jesus did the work once and for all" can only be applied to the work that He did to revive us into spirit beings so that we may walk in His steps, meaning that we will often have to "suffer for well doing", just as He did. The phrase "well doing" was translated from the Greek verb agathopoeio, which is derived from the words agathos meaning "good" and poeio meaning "put into practice". As we have shared before, agathos (i.e.- "good") is intricately related to God's righteousness and judgements (and not to "God being nice", as the matriarchal Church is so wont to believe). Hence, when we embrace the work that Yeshua "has already done for us", it is so that we may put into practice (poeio) the righteousness (agathos) that is now possible through the righteous spirit that His "completed work" produced in us. And, as we do so, we will also suffer and pay a sacrificial price just as Yeshua did throughout His earthly life.
Was Paul a prosperity preacher?
Notice what Paul says in the Spirit in the following passage:
"8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." (Philippians 3:8-11)
Notice how Paul made no effort to capitalise on any supernatural power to acquire material wealth, suffering the loss or damage of all things instead (v8). Notice also how the Spirit of God yet again speaks first of a righteousness (v9) that is not "mine own" (thus referring to the work that was "done for us") and then immediately proceeds to speak of what we are to do with that righteousness, which includes "fellowshipping in His sufferings" and being made "conformable unto His death" (v10). The word "conformable" was translated from the Greek verb symmorphizo, which is derived from the prefix sun or syn meaning "with, beside" and morphe meaning "form, shape". Hence, the Spirit of God is declaring that we are to take Christ's form all the way to His sacrificial death as we walk in the righteousness that was made available by His "completed work".
"10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:10-13)
Notice that Paul learnt how to be "abased" and how to "abound" (v12). This means that he did not see material wealth as a validation of his faith, but it also means that he did not masochistically see abundance as an "unholy" thing that must be abhorred in order to be more "spiritual". The word "strengtheneth" in verse 13 was sorely mistranslated from the Greek verb endynamoo, which is derived from the word dunamis meaning "power". Hence, Paul is declaring that through Christ we receive power. And, as we shared above, material wealth is a literal manifestation of power, for it literally empowers us to do many things that cannot be done without money. Thus, Paul is implicitly declaring that walking in Christ opens us to access to a level of material wealth that we would otherwise not have. However, as we continue to walk in the righteous inner man that was made available to us by Yeshua's "completed work", we will have no problem sacrificing that additional wealth (just as Paul did) to achieve God's higher purposes on Earth.
"21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:" (Colossians 1:21-24)
Notice how Paul very explicitly declares that he rejoices in his sufferings for the Colossians, which points to Paul's willingness to part with any temporal benefits that he may have "earned" through his righteous walk. This willingness stemmed from His desire to fulfil his "love debt" towards others. Notice also how Paul declares that, through his sufferings, he was "filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ" on behalf of the Church. The phrase "is behind" is a poor translation (at least in modern English) of the Greek word hysterema that literally means "deficiency, want, that which is lacking" and is translated as such in the KJV in all its other 8 appearances in 7 other verses. Hence, Paul is boldly stating that the afflictions of Christ were "lacking" or "deficient" and that he was cooperating in the completion of the lack that Christ had left behind, a lack that He left behind not out of "negligence" or "incompetence" but because it was not His lack to fulfil. This means that, when it comes to suffering, Christ's work is actually "incomplete", and it is our voluntary "duty of love" under the New Covenant to complete it. If you review the passages that we quoted earlier, you will see that this principle of Yeshua's "incomplete sufferings" is present throughout Scripture and is not just in one "isolated" passage in Colossians.
As shared above, Scripture shows that God will never "force" us to complete Messiah's sufferings, at least not in the Old Covenant way. However, if you surrender your life unto Him, you will feel an inner pressure to complete His sufferings, and God will even "make it easy" for you to yield to that pressure by putting you in situations of suffering even when you don't "want to" or were "planning to" suffer. This will be because you already "signed" the spiritual contract to pay the necessary price whenever or wherever He deems it necessary. This will make it "easier" on your will because it will not require a constant and explicit effort on your part to align your will with His, even if it will not be "easy" on you per se.
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not." (John 21:18)
If you choose not to sign any green-horse contract to go through Death and Sheol, you are free to stay stuck in the black-horse stage. You can then "cash in" your righteousness credits and enjoy all the temporal rewards that you are "entitled" to, but you can rest assured that there will be no eternal rewards left to receive when your temporal period on Earth is up.
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matthew 6:5)
Not suffering for the dead
The willingness to sacrifice our earned prosperity for the sake of others is implicitly declared in the following passage:
"40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." (Matthew 5:40-42)
The Lord then goes on to say the following:
"43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48)
The passage above speaks of acknowledging our "debt of love" towards others by loving them in the Spirit and not in a way that is familiar and comfortable to the soul (i.e.- in a soulish way), which is what people in the first Adam (the "publicans") are inclined to do. However, it is very important to emphasise that, if you interpret the passage with a matriarchal and literal soul, you will miss the fullness and the nature of the Spirit's message. When the Spirit says that we are to "bless them that curse you", He is referring to you being willing to pay the price for those who curse you and who do so because they are opposed to God and, hence, to God's nature in you. It means being willing to make a sacrifice for those who have done nothing to "deserve" that sacrifice. This, however, does not mean a carte blanche for endless sacrifices, for that would result in "giving the holy unto the dogs", as the Spirit declares 2 chapters later (Matthew 7:6). Once the other person has committed the "sin unto death" (1 John 5:16-17), sacrifices for that person are no longer called for.
Contrary to what matriarchal believers are prone to thinking, this "sin unto death" is not some specific and mysterious type of "evil, immoral deed". It is, instead, a moment when the person has, after many warnings, made an ultimate commitment to the "sin system", which, as we have described before, refers to a way of thinking that permanently places the soul above the spirit. Usually, this "sin unto death" can take the form of a specific decision, a specific action or inaction through which the person (often unwittingly) affirms his or her eternal commitment to placing the soul above the spirit.
In the case of Saul, for example, this happened when he committed the apparently-innocent act of sparing the Amalekites' sheep and oxen (1 Samuel 15), planning to offer many of them in sacrifice to God whilst gifting the rest to the Israelites, who had convinced him to do this because they wanted to enjoy the spoils of their victory over the Amalekites (sound familiar?). Samuel thought that he could have his "Amalekake" and eat it too by gaining favour with the people whilst at the same time giving God some sacrifices that He had not asked for. After failing this last of many tests, Saul was discarded and relegated to spiritual oblivion, immediately losing the right to be king of Israel, becoming eternally labelled as a man who refused to please God on the Spirit's terms and not his soul's. This is how Saul "sinned unto death". With others, the specific action or inaction that will become their "sin unto death" will vary, but this writer has found that it always seems to be associated to a specific decision that God confronts them with, a specific fork in the road that God tests them with. Almost always (if not always), the person committing the sin unto death will not even know that they have sinned unto death, and they may even have no awareness that there was a fork in the road to begin with. This is because they will have already reaffirmed their commitment to continue their life in the same way that they are convinced that they should live it. As a result, they will take the wrong side of the fork without thinking, acting on auto-pilot as they have so many times before.
"11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city." (Matthew 10:11-15)
[Notice that, when the Lord sends us into an environment or situation, He does not say, "Stay there no matter what; I was the one who sent you there to begin with, so you are to stay there forever and ever and ever; you must never give up, never give up, never give up, and you must show unconditional love to the people I am sending you to; you must be willing to throw your life away for their sake, regardless of whether they respond or not to My message spoken through you, because that is what I would do." Instead, the Spirit is saying above that we are to exercise discernment in the Spirit to determine whether any continued sacrifice is correct or not.]
A surrender of prosperity gave birth to Paul
When a person has not yet committed the "sin unto death" and you are sent to be in his or her sphere of influence, you immediately bring a blessing upon that person's life by the mere virtue of your presence (if you are walking in the Spirit). On top of that, you will be blessing them as you explicitly or implicitly declare to them the ways of the Spirit that they need to take up. You will also bless them as you explicitly or implicitly declare to them the potential greatness that is available to them if they choose the truth of the Spirit and leave behind the falsehoods of the matriarchal soul. Thus, it is important to understand that to "bless" them is not necessarily what a matriarchal believer associates with the word "blessing". It is not a "blessing" in God's eyes to stand in front of them with a lame and naive smile whilst saying, "I bless you in all that you do; I hope that you prosper in everything; I wish you much success in all your unrepentant, evil projects so that you will succeed in suppressing God's Kingdom and drag others down with you, all whilst feeling reaffirmed by your success that you are on the right path and do not need to change in any way".
When you are truly blessing God's enemies in the Spirit, you will expose them to a peace and a purpose that they may have never experienced before, but you will also expose them to God's purifying judgements. As we have shared before, when Stephen blessed his enemies as they were in the process of stoning him to death, he was not reciting matriarchal well-wishes at them in a soft and tender tone. Instead, he was confronting them with harsh words of judgement, shouting loudly just before dying so that the Spirit of God would take a sledgehammer and tear down the wall that they had established against Him. This is how Stephen enabled Paul, known then as Saul, to escape from sinning unto death. The Lord God struck Saul down on the road to Damascus with Stephen's sledgehammer, leaving Paul blind but restored to fulfil God's purpose for him. That blindness lasted for 3 days, but the restoration that was wrought through it lasted for the rest of Paul's life and into eternity.
Believers stuck in the black-horse stage would never carry out the green-horse sacrifice performed by Stephen. Through his life and his decision to be aggressive and confrontational on that fateful day, even as the religious Jews and Saul stood over him with stones in hand, Stephen made a sacrifice with his very biological life that opened the door for the restoration of Saul and for the ministry of the most influential apostle of his time, the man who would go on to write 13 of the 27 books of the so-called "New Testament". On that day, Stephen was not being an immature, mouth-out-of-control believer who "got himself killed" because he was unable to "restrain" himself. He was speaking under the full anointing of the Spirit, and he must have discerned, deep inside his being, that his actions were going to result in his physical death that day. Yet he continued speaking, knowing that the permanent sacrifice he was making that day was in the centre of God's perfect will, and he must have also discerned, deep within his being, that God was in the midst of transforming someone's life through his obedient sacrifice.
Even though a few believers are aware of the connection between Stephen and Paul, fewer realise the level of "success" that Stephen abandoned as he died. As described in Acts chapter 6, Stephen was popular and well-respected by fellow believers, to the point that he was elected as the first of the "seven" to do the "daily ministration" (Acts 6:1). Everyone was quick to recognise that he was "full of faith and power", doing "great wonders and signs amongst the people" (Acts 6:8), and no one was able to resist the wisdom with which he spoke (Acts 6:10). All of this points not only to an apostolic anointing of wisdom but to an evangelistic anointing on Stephen that would prompt people to follow him, like soldiers following a mighty leader to victory. This means that, had Stephen continued to live, he would have gone on to be a very successful minister, feared and respected by the brethren, performing impressive miracles. However, Stephen was not interested in a "career path" in the ministerial world, and he was more concerned with God's eternal truth and purposes than with any peace or prosperity in this temporal realm. Ironically, it was this zeal that enabled him to do "great wonders and signs amongst the people". Had he decided to coast on his wave of "ministerial success", he would have remained loved and respected by the brethren, performing a few signs and wonders here and there, of a lower calibre than before, mind you, but he would still have been able to "soar through the ranks" and become a well-known and prosperous figure in the Church. Had he done so, however, he would have died in the black-horse stage, and he would have never enabled the birth of Paul and his world-transforming ministry.
One can only wonder what would have been of Saul had Stephen not been willing to perform his green-horse sacrifice. It is possible that God would have raised up someone else, but that would have made Paul's conversion more painful and would have led to an irredeemable eternal loss in what Paul would have been able to achieve. It is also possible that Saul was near the end of his rope and was on the verge of perishing in his fallen state, meaning that there was no more time available to wait for someone else to step up. It is also possible that there would have been no one else to take Stephen's place, in which case Saul would have perished in his fallen state. Fortunately, Stephen chose to "go green", sacrificing any temporal black-horse ministerial prosperity so that Paul could be born "as one out of due time", i.e.- "an abortive birth", ektroma (1 Corinthians 15:8). From all of this, we can safely conclude that, no matter how many private jets and immense auditoriums they possess, neither Kenneth Copeland nor any of the other great prosperity preachers that rose during the 1978-1997 period would have been able to give birth to Paul's ministry out of a dead Saul, for the dead cannot resurrect the dead.
Leaving Cain, only to return to him
BHS (i.e.- black-horse stuck) believers never become aware of the need to make sacrifices such as Stephen's because they are not seeking God's "perfect", i.e.- complete will. This is because they feel "complete" in their current state and their current understanding, so they never endeavour to be "perfect", i.e.- "complete", as the Father in Heaven is "perfect" or "complete" (Matthew 5:48). Why bother making a sacrifice for others when those others should be able to "get what they need" from God on their own? Why bother to "complete" God's work when God is Almighty and "self-sufficient" and can get "whatever He needs" on His own without our help? This is why the "language of the green horse" is a language that BHS believers cannot understand. In their language of black-horse independence and self-reliance, the only thing that matters is to find a way (through their faith) to "tap into" the "reservoir" that God has already prepared for them to "enjoy". As a result, they inadvertently revert to the ways of Cain because they insist on asking the question, "Am I my brother's keeper?". Thus, the very people who are quick to boast about their red-horse escape from the religious house of sado-masochistic Cain become like the very man they claim to have conquered when they heeded God's red-horse shout and ventured into the black-horse wilderness.
As we have shared before, when we are in the red-horse stage, we become acquainted with God the Son, who comes "at our level" of weakness, so to speak, to call us out of the house of Cain. Once we embrace the Son, we become acquainted with God the Father, who begins to raise us as children who no longer rely on earthly, natural ways to function and who become aware of His supernatural grace. When we complete our walk through the black-horse wilderness and enter into the green-horse stage, we become acquainted with the Holy Spirit, and we are then prepared by Him to die in green-horse sacrifice in order to rise in green-horse resurrection. This is how we complete our process and become like Him in every way, for God's ultimate intention for His children is not to have a bunch of little brats who are constantly relying on Him by "tapping into their faith" (like a faucet) to obtain natural things. His intention is for us to manifest God's very nature, i.e.- to become like God Himself so that we can become ehad with Him for eternity. Therefore, it is ironic that the proudly-independent BHS believers actually turn themselves into eternally-dependent spiritual children who cannot create what has not already been created and pre-packaged by God for their immediate "enjoyment". This is because they cannot manifest the full-blown nature of God, which is why they cannot be life-giving spirits who can truly create what has not yet been created. This is also why BHS believers cannot produce God's apostolic wisdom at a supernatural scale; this is why they cannot influence human events in a transcendent way and decree the life or death of entire races and nations through God's prophetic anointing; and this is why they cannot produce creative evangelistic healing miracles and forge the spiritual cities where deep restoration of deeply rooted issues becomes available.
The loaded gun of black suicide
This writer must share that, out of all the "renowned" BHS prosperity preachers in the American Church, the one who came the closest to crossing the River Jordan and "turning green" was Kenneth Copeland. He came the closest to having an understanding of the manifestation of God's nature in man, and he came the closest to understanding the notion of obedient submission unto death (for there is a great part in his heart that sincerely yearns to be obedient to God, hence his ministry's motto "Jesus is Lord"). Unfortunately, this writer believes that he committed his "sin unto death" (the one that kept him from crossing the Jordan) when God confronted him with the following passage:
"7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Years ago, this writer stumbled by "accident" upon one of his sermons on television, and he was preaching about this passage. He clearly knew in his heart that this passage effectively contradicted two pillars that he had stood on for years: One, that God's will is for us to be wealthy and healthy and that anything that comes against that is not of Him; and, two, that by faith we can overcome anything that dares to come against our wealth and our health. Why did he know that his 2 pillars were being challenged? Because, in this passage, Paul is insinuating that he had a humiliating health issue and that he had fervently prayed to God for its removal (and we can also safely assume that those prayers were filled with faith), yet the healing would not come. As Kenneth Copeland struggled with this, he had what could be Scripturally described as a "Sisera revelation", i.e.- a "revelation" derived from a clever mental argument that came to derail him from the truth. This "revelation" was the following:
"When God said, 'My grace is sufficient for thee', he was saying to Paul, 'I have given you all the grace that you need to remove this infirmity from you. Instead of coming to me over and over again, waiting for me to give you something to defeat this illness, use the loaded gun of grace that I have already given you and use it to shoot down this infirmity!!"
Mind you, this writer heard that sermon many years ago, so I cannot recall the exact words, yet I would dare say that the above words are very close to what Kenneth Copeland literally said that day. I remember how his face and eyes lit up as he shared this thought with everyone congregated there that day. He was clearly thrilled at how clever his reasoning was, and he seemed excited to share with "the rest of the class" this escape hatch that he had discovered, thinking that it would be useful to his audience in case they ever felt trapped in a situation similar to his. I do not remember if I continued listening too long after that, but I believe that I almost immediately changed the channel after hearing enough to be certain that I was not misinterpreting his words. At the beginning, I was taken aback by what I had just heard, and, for a moment, I began to wonder, "Is he right?". But, then, without realising it, I applied the two things needed to expose and kill any Sisera revelation: "milk" and a "covering" (Judges 4:18-21).
The milk of Elisha's disease
As we have studied before, "milk" refers to "basic doctrine", i.e.- "simple" and clear fundamental principles that do not require "complex" mental gymnastics to understand. These basic principles can help us when linear but deceptive reasoning comes our way, a reasoning that strays away from the truth just enough to make us deny basic truths without realising it. In this case, there are two "glasses" of milk that we can give to the Sisera that Kenneth Copeland ran into. One is the fact that Scripture says the following about the prophet Elisha, a man who performed many remarkable green-horse miracles and who clearly knew how to use the "loaded gun" of grace that Kenneth Copeland was referring to:
"Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." (2 King 13:14)
"20 And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. 21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet." (2 Kings 13:20-21)
Notice how Elisha is said to have "fallen sick" of a "sickness", and notice also how Elisha did not die immediately of it, meaning that he must have had enough time to use the "loaded gun" if he wanted to. Scripture does not insinuate that Elisha had "fallen" spiritually towards the end of his life and was therefore no longer capable of healing his sickness. In fact, the phrase "fallen sick" is a mistranslation of the Hebrew verb hala, which literally means "to become weak, grieved, sorry" and does not have a literal connotation of "falling". Also, the verses in between the 2 passages quoted above speak of Elisha putting Joash to the test and declaring a prophetic judgement on him for failing the test, meaning that Elisha is not being portrayed as a man who became spiritually weak but was, instead, continuing in the full exercise of his anointing, even as he became physically sick. In fact, as verse 21 above indicates, the anointing at the end of Elisha's life remained so strong that a man was brought back to life when his dead body touched Elisha's bones. Hence, this glass of milk from Scripture, which is well known by many believers, clearly brings into question the Sisera reasoning that Kenneth Copeland expressed. Some may want to argue, "that is an Old Testament passage, and Elisha did not have access to the 'New Testament' grace that we have access to, so the above does not count". That, however, implies that there are two types of anointing: an "Old Testament" anointing and a "New Testament" anointing, which is utter falsehood, for the anointing is One. The fact that Elisha lived in "Old Testament" times amongst people comfortable with living under an Old Covenant paradigm does not mean that Elisha was not living under the New Covenant, even when the New Covenant was not yet "official" because Yeshua had not yet come. This is because, with God, there are no time limitations, and Elisha (as well as David, Daniel, Elijah, and so many others) could operate in the New Covenant by faith, for faith can transcend time. The only difference is that it required more effort to access the New Covenant in those times, as opposed to now, when the New Covenant is so readily available to anyone who reaches out for it (because Yeshua has already come). If this is not enough to convince someone that Elisha (and so many others) lived in the New Covenant even in "Old Testament" times, consider the following passage:
"14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." (James 5:14-18)
If the anointing on Elijah was "inferior" to the anointing on "New Testament" believers, why does the Spirit of God use him as an example for "New Testament" believers, even using the word "anointing" explicitly (v14)? If Elijah did not have access to the "New Testament" faith that can move mountains, how could he pray and make it not rain for 42 months, and how could he pray and make it rain again? What is so sad and ironic about all of this is that those who place the faithful men (and women) of the "Old Testament" in an inferior category of anointing, claiming that they were not in the "New Covenant", would not be able to accomplish even a tiny fraction of what these men (and women) accomplished, even if their very lives depended on it! These foolish matriarchal Christians believe that, by sticking a "New Covenant" label on themselves, they become superior to all the "Old Testament" believers of the past, all without realising that they are in fact living by the Old Covenant of intermediaries, even when they only read from the "New Testament" because the "Old Testament" is so passé and "judgemental" to them.
The milk in the surrounding verses
Aside from how Elisha died, there is another "glass of milk" that can be given to the "Sisera revelation" that Kenneth Copeland ran into, and it can be obtained from a mere re-reading of what the Spirit of God says through Paul immediately after the phrase "My grace is sufficient for thee" in 2 Corinthians 12:9. If Kenneth Copeland's Sisera revelation was correct, wouldn't Paul have said, "And then, after hearing that, I got up and used the loaded gun of grace that God had already given to me and blew my disease to smithereens"? Instead, Paul goes on to say, "gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ (i.e.- the Anointed One) may rest upon me" (v9). He then adds, "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake (i.e.- the Anointed One's sake)" (v10). He then finishes with the phrase "when I am weak, then am I strong" (v10), which correlates with how Elisha became "weak" (hala) with the disease from which he died. Does any of this sound consistent with Kenneth Copeland's Sisera revelation? Of course not. It does not take a degree in divinity or a profound analysis of the 7 seals of the Apocalypse to see that. Again, this is a straightforward glass of basic milk that evidences the falsehood of the Sisera revelation, clever and scintillating as its reasoning may seem.
A stubborn believer could argue that Paul's response to God's words may be more a sign of how Paul "just did not get it". However, such an argument would require Scriptural proof that Paul's refusal to understand God led to his ministerial decline and/or to the unnecessary suffering of many. It would also mean nullifying many similar statements that Paul says, not only in the rest of 2 Corinthians chapter 12 but in many of the other epistles that he wrote, and it would send us into a dangerous territory where we would be forced to seriously question the credibility of his epistles and their inclusion as books in the New Testament. There are times in Scripture when a supposedly righteous man's actions are not an example of what the Spirit is telling us to do but are instead manifestations of spiritual flaws in that righteous man. For example, we have studied extensively on how David's refusal to kill Saul (because we are not to "touch the anointed of the Lord") was actually a manifestation of a flaw in David's character and not an example of "righteous respect for God-given authority" that we must emulate. In these cases, however, the person's flawed response is usually described by the Spirit in a brief manner, and the negative consequences of that flawed response are usually described at length, either immediately or in subsequent passages (being "plain to see" if you are willing to admit that they are there). By contrast, Paul's reaction to the words "My grace is sufficient for thee" is described at length, and there is no description (explicit or implicit) anywhere in Scripture on how Paul's "misinterpretation" of God's words led to unnecessary suffering for others or the spiritual decline of himself (or others).
In fact, as we have studied before, it becomes evident as one meditates on Paul's life that there was a spiritual root (of blasphemy) for the infirmity he endured and for why God was unwilling to heal him. It can even be argued that Paul never dealt with the root that made that infirmity necessary, and that it was not a matter of using a "loaded gun of grace" but rather dealing with an attitude in his heart that he was having trouble with. This writer believes that there was a point in Saul's/Paul's life (probably when he stood overlooking Stephen's murder or when he dragged one Christian too many by the hair out of their house) that Paul crossed a line after which it became almost impossible for him to exterminate that attitude in his heart, so God was forced to place this thorn in his flesh so that he could operate as a faithful servant without this attitude in his heart destroying his spiritual work. Thus, Paul's infirmity was, oddly enough, an act of deep love on God's part. And Paul, aware of the limitations of his heart, was glad to embrace this act of love so that he could fulfil God's purposes and achieve the eternal crown of righteousness that he longed for. That was more important to Paul than some temporary health and comfort. This writer believes that Paul's thorn could have been removed had he been able to overcome the damage that the spirits of Jebusite legalism and Amorite pride had inflicted on his heart during his "Saul" years, but the damage went beyond a certain point, after which it was either impossible to remove or beyond Paul's spiritual eyesight, so God was "forced" to work with what He had in Paul, maximising Paul's spiritual growth through an infirmity that He refused to remove. No amount of "grace bullets" from a "loaded gun" would have been enough to dissuade God, that is, unless Paul decided to relinquish his quest for the crown of righteousness and opted instead for a comfortable life as a "reputable minister and beloved apostle".
The faulty covering of Kenneth Hagin
Now that we have described the 2 "glasses of milk" that Kenneth Copeland should have given to his "Sisera" visitor (i.e.- Elisha's life-ending disease and Paul's own reaction to God's words), the question becomes "What covering should Kenneth Copeland have placed over this Sisera?". As we have shared before, this may entail taking the Sisera revelation in the spirit (not the soul) and presenting it before someone that you respect and under whose care you have been placed or under whom you have grown spiritually. This "presenting" does not even have to be through a literal, physical meeting and can at times be done by you praying and "projecting yourself" (for lack of a better expression) into a meeting in the spirit realm with this person (this is especially useful if the person in question has soul issues that may contaminate his/her answer if the meeting were literal). In this case, the first "covering candidate" for Kenneth Copeland that came to my mind was Kenneth Hagin, a person who had a very strong influence on Kenneth Copeland's life, for, as is indicated on wikipedia.org, he and his wife Gloria founded Kenneth Copeland Ministries in 1967 after attending Kenneth Hagin's Pastor Seminars.
When I did an online search to see if I could find Kenneth Hagin's thoughts regarding Paul's thorn, I was surprised to find that Hagin had in fact been asked often about it and had a very distinct answer to it, which you can read at cfaith.com. I must admit that his answer is so clever and authoritative that it sincerely sent me for a loop and caused me to suddenly question everything written above. But, after giving Hagin's answer some basic, simple "milk", it became clear that his reasoning was an even more subtle (and dangerous) Sisera revelation than the one Kenneth Copeland ran into. Once Hagin's answer is given this basic milk, it becomes evident that it is a mixture of deep spiritual insight and outright stupidity.
In short, Hagin came up with a "brilliant" workaround by questioning the very assumption that Paul's thorn was a sickness. He asks, "Where does it say that?" He then argues that the thorn was, as Paul literally said, a messenger of satan that always went ahead of Paul to stir trouble before he arrived there. He then points to passages such as Numbers 33:55 that declare that, if we do not drive out the Canaanites from the land, they will become "pricks" in our eyes and "thorns" in our sides. Hence, Hagin argues that the thorn can only refer to an evil spirit and nothing more. Interestingly, he also argues that Paul could not simply command the evil spirit to leave the Earth because "the devil has the right to be here until Adam's lease runs out". He also argues that all disease is from the devil, and, since we are to fight against the devil, then that means an all-out, uncompromising war against any disease, which implies that a disease could never be part of God's will. There is so much brilliant insight in Hagin's answer that it becomes difficult to spot the serious flaws in it, but this tiny glass of milk uncovers those flaws immediately: If the thorn of 2 Corinthians 12:7 was not any disease, why does Paul say 3 verses later, in verse 10, that he "takes pleasure in infirmities"? The word "infirmities" was translated from the Greek noun astheneia, which very clearly refers to physical sickness/weakness everywhere it is used in Scripture, as in the following passages:
As you can see, the astheneias that Paul was taking "pleasure" in refer to physical ailments and diseases. If we can categorically say that "all disease is from the devil", why does Paul dare to take any "pleasure" in enduring physical weaknesses/diseases rather than attacking them uncompromisingly? Thus, Hagin only needed to read 3 verses after 2 Corinthians 12:7 to realise that the thorn was associated to a physical ailment/weakness that Paul was experiencing. Yes, Hagin was technically right in saying that the thorn per se was a spirit, but this spirit was "buffeting" Paul, i.e.- "punching" him, meaning that it was assaulting Paul's physical body and leaving "visible bruises" that were shaming Paul. Said another way, the "thorn" spirit was causing a physical sickness/weakness in Paul's body that God was not removing despite Paul's fervent prayers. This is emphasised further by Luke 8:2, which, as we shared above, speaks of Mary Magdalene being healed of evil spirits and infirmities, meaning that evil spirits are often accompanied by physical consequences, making it ridiculous to claim that the "thorn" was a simple spirit that could not possibly be associated with any physical situation in Paul's body. Hence, we can see that a brief re-reading of 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 makes it evident that Paul was indeed enduring a physical disease/weakness as a result of this "thorn". Paul's clear use of astheneia in verse 10 is the simple glass of milk that quickly undoes the seemingly straightforward and infallible reasoning in Hagin's answer, thereby exposing Hagin's childish idiocy.
What makes Hagin's idiotic answer so dangerous is that it is filled with powerful spiritual truths, making it more difficult to discern Hagin's stupidity. Had he been willing to hear what Scripture had to say to him (rather than telling Scripture what to say), the spiritual truths that he did inject into his answer would have led him to a deeper understanding of what was going on in Paul's situation. When Hagin (by the gift of wisdom that he had) linked Paul's thorn to Numbers 33:55 and the "inhabitants of the land" that the Israelites had not completely cleared out, he was exposing the fact that something similar had happened in Paul's life. As God slowly wore down Saul's pre-conversion defences, Saul held on for dear life to his Jebusite zeal, his Girgashite traditions, and his Amorite pride. The more God wore him down, the more Saul fought back, which is why the Lord said to him, "it is harsh for you to kick at the pricks" (Acts 9:5). As indicated on gotquestions.org, that phrase refers to how a stubborn ox would hurt himself by kicking back at the prick used by the farmer to prod and guide him during ploughing. Saul would kick back at God's prod because he derived immense Amorite pride from being a (Girgashite) Hebrew and a (Jebusite) Pharisee, and his soul was angry that someone would dare try to snatch that away from him. The more God tried to drive the Jebusite, Girgashite, and Amorite spirits away from Saul's soul, the more he clung to them, and the deeper they went into his psyche (i.e.- his soul). At some point, some of these spirits, especially the spirit of Amorite pride, went in beyond a point where it would be easy to extricate (like a splinter that goes in too deep and can no longer be pulled out with simple pliers). When Saul finally relented, submitting to the Lord's prod on the road to Damascus, the Lord drove out most of the spirits that had influenced and controlled him, but a few remained, especially that subtle spirit of Amorite pride that was stuck deep inside of him. This is the point of access through which satan's messenger would "buffet" him. Had he yielded to God more easily, that embedded spirit would not have remained there after his conversion, and he would have had no "thorn" in his flesh tormenting and harassing him. This is the powerful truth that Kenneth Hagin was so close to but missed out on because he was more focused on validating his theology than in hearing what God was trying to say to him.
Hagin also shared a powerful principle in his answer when he said that some spirits cannot simply be expelled because "the devil has the right to be here until Adam's lease runs out". This principle, which most believers do not truly grasp, correlates with Psalm 115:16, which, as we have shared before, reveals that what happens (and does not happen) on this Earth is mostly determined by the will of men, for they are like the "gods" of this realm. This means that bad people, by virtue of being "humans", have been endowed with a certain authority to carry out evil against the good people. It is because of this that good people can suffer unfairly and why sometimes good people are asked by God to pay a sacrificial price (including sickness) to restore some of the bad people (cursing the rest) and to establish the Godship of Yahweh over the misused "godship" of the evil people. Most believers are not aware of this reality, foolishly convinced that God, being Almighty, cannot have His will constrained by anyone else's. Therefore, they think that all that we have to do is wish and believe in something hard enough for God to make it a reality (which sometimes leads to misguided resentment against God because He allowed some bad thing to happen that He supposedly had the "power" to stop but did not).
Mass suicide in an oasis of prosperity
In short, had Kenneth Copeland decided (like Jael) to place a "covering" over his Sisera revelation, he would have had no one reliable to go to in the natural, for even Kenneth Hagin was misled with a Sisera revelation of his own and had no clue as to the real meaning behind Paul's thorn. Even so, this writer believes that, had Kenneth Copeland done this in the spirit, going to Kenneth Hagin in spiritual prayer to get help from him to cover his "Sisera", the spiritually valid principles (described above) that Hagin had already discovered would have been emphasised to him, and he would have been able to use them to expose the fallacy of his "clever" interpretation of 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. He may have also perceived the foolishness of Hagin's answer in the natural when Hagin refused to believe that Paul's thorn was some sort of physical malady. Unfortunately, Copeland was more interested in moulding 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 until it fit the (Balaamite) understanding that he was stuck on, and the "escape hatch" that his Sisera revelation was offering him allowed him to come out of God's "Scriptural trap" with his "faith pillars" intact. This is why he had no interest in applying either the milk of basic doctrine and common sense to it, and this is why he had no intention to apply a spiritual covering over it, either through Hagin or someone else. As a result, the transformational revelation that God was so eager to share with him was lost. This was the revelation that would have freed him from the lies of his black-horse stagnation and propelled him to cross the River Jordan into green-horse territory. When Copeland squandered this opportunity, he committed the sin unto death that rendered him useless in the fulfilment of God's latter-rain purposes on Earth. Sadly, Copeland was the "last hope" that the prosperity preachers had for breaking out of their falsehoods. So, when he went down, the entire generation of preachers similar to him went down with him, and the bold, faith-obsessed, black-horse believers that rose up during the 1978-1997 period were condemned to perish in the wilderness as failed Balaamites. This is how these believers spiritually killed themselves, drowning themselves in a desert oasis of temporal prosperity, an oasis that, in the spirit realm, is only a mirage.
The early black death of Latin America
Just as America's black-horse preachers of the 1978-1997 period squandered all the independence enabled by the faith and revelations that had flowed through them, the Latin American countries squandered the independence from selfish dictatorships that God granted them during that period. As we shared in the previous posting, the 3 "red-horse popes", Pius 12, John 23, and Paul 6, were ironically instrumental in breaking the dictatorship of catholicism in the hearts and minds of the people in Latin America, which helped to set the stage for the political freedom from dictatorships that ensued. As this political freedom flowed, economic freedom also flourished. By God's supernatural grace and mercy, the principles of the Austrian school of economics espoused by men such as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and (to some extent) Wilhelm Röpke somehow made it into Latin America, influencing many countries and governments, leading to prolonged market stability and sustained economic growth.
Unfortunately, as Latin America finally began to develop and Protestantism grew, the once persecuted Protestant Church began to act like their former persecutors, arrogantly acting as if they had cornered the market on truth, an attitude that they felt was validated by the external success that their churches and their countries were experiencing. Convinced that God was with them (as opposed to them being with God), a new hierarchy of Protestant priests began to emerge, an arrogant caste of matriarchal pastors that thought that they were the "new and improved" version of the catholic hierarchs that had lorded over their countries in years past. Many of their churches (the ones strongly influenced by the past work of American missionaries) remained bound under a Protestant version of the catholic Cain. Other churches (the ones strongly influenced by Pentecostalism and the catholic charismatic movement) progressed into the black-horse stage but quickly fell prey to the seductions of Balaam. A very small number of churches (mostly in Argentina) flirted with the green horse but never made the commitment to cross the Jordan because it required their pastors renouncing their Old-Covenant control of God's people, as well as requiring that they embrace the God of Israel, the Fearsome God of Judgements that their hispanic, pastoral hearts rejected so fiercely.
It is no coincidence that the first year of the 1978-1997 featured the World Cup played in Argentina, which, as we have described before, was of great spiritual significance. In the natural realm, the 1978 World Cup forced the world to turn their eyes towards Latin America and its anti-democratic dictatorships, thereby exposing and embarrassing those dictatorships and shaming them on the world stage. This, in turn, led to their increased unpopularity amongst Latin Americans themselves, making them give serious consideration to the possibility of a different form of government. Perceiving that their time was running out, the Argentinean dictatorship fabricated the Falkland Islands War in an effort to make the Argentineans forget about their dissatisfactions by rallying them around a "patriotic" cause. Thankfully, the Iron Lady, the great Margaret Thatcher, did not abandon the residents of the Falkland Islands but chose instead to fight against the Argentineans to keep the islands free. Because of the islands' sparse resources and remote location, many mock the Falklands War as being the equivalent of "two bald men fighting over a comb", but those who belittle Thatcher's willingness to fight for those islands are too blind to realise that that war spawned the freedom of millions of people, not just the British subjects living in those islands. Despite the Argentineans having the logistical advantage by being so much closer to the Islands than Britain, the British soundly defeated the Argentineans, which led to international humiliation and even greater outrage from the Argentineans against the dictatorship. It was not much longer, therefore, before the dictatorship collapsed and democracy suddenly sprung to life in Argentina in 1983. This inspired neighbouring countries such as Brazil and Uruguay to go democratic 2 years later (1985), as well as inspiring Peru to cement the very fragile democracy that had started there in 1980. This permanent move away from military dictatorships spread throughout all of Latin America, to the point that only the now-burning-in-hell whore fidel castro remained as hispanic dictraitor of his own people.
Eventually, the 1978-1997 period ended with Latin America firmly under "Protestant control" but without the fruit that God was expecting after He had poured so much love and sacrifice into her. Out of His mercy, God gave Latin America one last chance as He exposed her to strong apostolic revelation and brief manifestations of His shekinah Glory. Unable to understand that the door was closing fast on her, hispanics doubled down on their spiritual idiocy, forcing God to take the mantle away from them on 29 June 2003 (as we have briefly shared before).
God's desire was for Latin America to become a spiritual launching pad that would spark a revival in America by showing America how He intended to bring the latter rain to the Americas and the world. God wanted Latin America to return the favour of decades upon decades of American missionaries who had sacrificed their comfortable lives in America to preach to a backward and hardened people. After the oft-simplistic but faithful sowing of these missionaries began to produce a remarkable and unbelievable harvest, Latin America was supposed to use the fruits of that harvest to spark transformation in a spiritually-stuck America. Sadly, hispanics began to perceive their spiritual revival as proof that they were "morally superior" to the "decadent and ungodly" United States. So, instead of sowing tears of intercession to restore the brethren and people who had freely done so much for them, they began to stand over a "fallen America" with arrogant pride, convinced that they were now the "new sheriffs in town", America's replacement in God's plans. These hispanic fools were unable to see how morally and ethically limited they remained as a people despite all the "spiritual success" that they were experiencing, equating "church attendance" and "spiritual manifestations" with a righteous character that they never developed. Even as "Christians", they continued in their thievery, their violence, their cheating, and their manipulation of others for personal benefit. This is why they sinned unto death, causing God to take the mantle of restoration away from them, giving it entirely to America. Sadly, America did not fare much better and is a few months away from having the mantle permanently taken away from her as well.
In contrast to Latin America, Eastern Europe has handled the independence that God granted to her in a much better way. Having learnt their lesson about the brutality of white leftism, Eastern European countries have, for the most part, stayed away from communism and have continued to embrace governments that lean towards capitalism and democratic freedom, which is why the enemy is trying, through the whore putin, to enslave them again. Even so, Eastern Europe is still under the partial grip of Perizzite and Hittite spirits that prevent it growing into the fullness of their spiritual potential.
God willing, in the next posting, we will meditate on the 3rd generation of 1998-2017 referred to in Joel 1:2-3.