1 Corinthians 2:14 " But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. "
Much controversy persists about the existence of God, the devil, angels (light/dark), demons, life after death and the whole concept of spirit things. Is this stuff real? Or, is it merely superstition, or perhaps misguided beliefs which grew out of religious ideology? On the one hand, by nature, that which is spirit is not comprised of atoms or matter; and so, although very real, you can`t place a spiritual specimen under a microscope nor observe spiritual patterns or activities through a telescope. On the other hand, the body of knowledge known as science, predominantly, takes the position that all observable phenomena can be examined methodically so as to provide detailed explanation and interpretation.
That said, was it really possible for brilliant scientists/believers throughout the ages who along with some of today`s top molecular & micro biologists, geo & nuclear physicists, neurosurgeons, psychologists, psychiatrist, and creation scientists to have been/remain superstitious for belief in God and the spirit realm? Are they all nutty professors? I believe as many scholars that it`s impossible to make accurate evaluations or reach valid conclusions without having a God-given understanding of spiritual things. I am fully persuaded that one must have a personal encounter or some sort of spiritual awakening with that which is spirit in order to embrace its reality. You see, the impact of such encounters often create a sort of moral compass whereby God becomes the ultimate moral authority moving forward in the lives touched thereby.
Consider other methods, according to scripture, which God employed to approach and communicate with humankind. I refer to theophany, prophecy, visions, and symbolic dreams. For examples, (Exodus 3:2) God appears to Moses by way of a burning bush (theophany)which was on fire but not being consumed. Think of (2 Kings 6:12) God conveys messages to the prophet Elijah about the evil plans concocted in a bed chamber of a king to ambush God`s people. Contemplate (Genesis 28:12) Jacob`s dream of angels ascending and descending upon a ladder which reached into heaven from the earth. Moreover, visualize God standing at the top of the ladder. How about the biblical episode (Matthew 1:20) during which an angel explained what would become described as The Immaculate Conception to Joseph as Joseph slept? Consider (Matthew 4:1-11) Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness and Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 2:11) stating that, " Lest Satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices." Should such things be viewed merely figuratively or only as fictional figments of the imagination?
I`m fully aware of how we humans often project our social beliefs into biblical episodes or other religious texts whereby supposedly confirming and/or supporting whatever personal views each believer brings to the table. Doing this validates and strengthens our own personal convictions. Yet the greater significance, here, is how doing this concretes for most people, the believe that God agrees with whatever they believe. However, keep in mind the following, Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Proverbs 14:12 " There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Therefore, such truth ought to keep us from leaning on our own understanding while simultaneously seeking clarity from God, not just for spiritual discernment, but clear understanding internally and externally. We are always filtering incoming information, forming impressions that lead to interpretations. Oh yeah, the implications for the impact of religious thought on decision-making and judgment is profound. This is why Apostle Paul said Philippians 4:8 "...think on these things."
Someone rightly said, "Those who will not see shall not see." This statement speaks of those who have a made-up mind not to believe in such things no matter what. Yet, this statement also implies that others embrace such experiences and are often compelled to share what they have gained from them. Once more, the question, becomes, "Is this stuff real? Or, is it mere foolishness?"
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 " For ye see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men are called after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty; And the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not to bring to naught things that are; that no flesh should glory in his present."
As stated elsewhere, by God`s grace and mercy, some humans are given spiritual insight whereby they gain experiential understanding of intricately woven spiritual aspects occurring in human affairs. Such insights entail observations of spiritual and physical, natural and supernatural, visible and invisible aspects of good and evil collaborations. It was this God-given perspective which enabled Apostle John (Revelation 9:7-9) to share his personal revelation which describes demonic beings as having "...Shapes of locusts...faces like men,,,hair of women...teeth of lions..."
Relative to both of the above passages I have been graciously called by God. I invite you to read my books The Novice and Watch and Pray where some of my experiences are thematically woven into various chapters. Moreover. I`m humbly compelled to share the following personal experiences with the intent to encourage, strengthen and perhaps inspire others to stand for God. Oh yes, doing so is daunting to say the lest.
DREAMS AND VISIONS: WHY?
Joel 2:28 "And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see vision." Why does God employ dreams and visions? For sure, most dreams are not from God, however, as recorded above, the closer we get to the end of time, the more these methods will be used to battle the acceleration of evil upon the earth. Especially, since that which is evil will appear good and that which is good will to be evil.
Often people fail to understand why God employs dreams and visions. Instead of just speaking openly to us, why does he use them? I strongly suggest that one major reason is because by doing so, he can bypass human rational. Some things are so difficult for us to grasp or believe that God must approach in ways that bypass human logic, and our ability to reason or rationalize. God does it so we will not interfere, distort, or edit incoming information. Real talk; most of us never completely hear or listen when someone else is talking to us. What I mean is that, as soon as we relate to what the person is talking about, in our mind, we stop listening and quickly start preparing how we are going to respond to the topic, and can hardly wait for the person to stop talking so we can share our perspective or knowledge. All of this is eliminated when we`re sleeping.
Oh yeah, he never really wants us to lean on our own understanding. God really wants us to clearly understand right now, as deception is increasing within every system upon the earth. You feel me? You see, while we are awake, we are always filtering sensory information and constructing our perceptions in ways to make sense to us. However, when we are sleeping this filtering process is restrained. Although their is no way to turn off our senses, our cognitive processing of sensations do change. This means that our higher brain functions allow us to ignore certain sensory input. Thus, a heightened superior complexity of spiritual senses over and above bodily senses kick-in. This is also the reason why we fast.
Let`s go deeper. Matthew 1:18-25 God bypassed Joseph`s rational as Joseph slept and spoke directly to his spirit. You see, it would have been nearly impossible for Joseph to believe that Mary was pregnant without having sexual intercourse because back then they they did not have artificial insemination. In Joseph`s mind, the only logical conclusion was that she was not truthful about getting pregnant. So God approached Joseph`s spiritual senses while Joseph`s ability to reason was subdued: he was sleeping. Then, God explained to Joseph, as he slept how Mary was still a virgin, and that this was the method he would employ to enter the physical world.
Therefore when Joseph woke up, no filtering of sensory information had occurred , their was no longer a need to interpret, nor construct any perceptions or seek meaning about Mary`s pregnancy at all. All he had to do was agree with what God had placed in his spirit. God did the same thing with Peter in Acts 10:9-14 when Peter had the vision on the rooftop, and this also occurred when Jacob had his symbolic dream in Genesis 28:10-19. Both Peter and Jacob great difficulty dealing with their circumstances until God brought clarity by bypassing their human rational. Oh yes, God will employ whatever means he deems effective to communicate to us, because he loves us, and would not have us ignorant. Amen
Check out this great video
In the above video I said, "When you examine the graphic, note how in sync the evil beings are marching around in the illustration; even though the Spirit of Bondage head is facing us, it remains in step with the others. You see, the community is rendered completely systematically immersed in and governed by Satan`s will," This truth may be difficult for some to accept. Perhaps considering how Apostle John conveys the same truth may shed more light, He puts it this way: Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Apostle Johns` prophesy sheds much light, however, my focus is based on what is conveyed about the evil one being able to deceive the whole world. I`m fully aware of how difficult this may be for many to believe.
Often when contemplating the different perspectives people have relative to belief and non belief I recall a former co-worker who shared why he did not believe in God or any spiritual things. You see, he could not believe that a loving God would have allowed a close and very young sibling to die suddenly and in such a horrific way. Unbeknownst to him I was praying while listening to him share the trauma-filled details. The complex wounds of trauma surly reach deep into soul, mind and body. It is with much respect, and compassionate understanding of why many different views are pain-filled that I proceed ever so mindful of such pain relative to this subject matter. Furthermore, I am aware of how most people believe that God agrees with whatever they believe. We will deal with this on another page.
Let`s go to Revelation 12:9 To deceive the whole world has multiple meanings. The first meaning, according to John Gill`s Exposition of The Whole Bible records that the evil one did so by " Deceiving our first parents, from whom all mankind spring, and in whose loins they were when they were deceived."
The next view of the devils` capacity to deceive the whole world, points to how he seduces every age and generation of human kind. Another insight, as many have noted, points to the consistency of just how many people Satan convinces that he is not a living being, but merely a symbol of evil.
Barna Grour (https://www.barna.com) provides the following statistical data from their article entitled, "Most American Christians Do Not Believe That Satan Or The Holy Spirit Exist."
Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan is not a living being but a symbol of evil. And additional two out of ten (19%) said they "agree somewhat" with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement one-quarter (26%) disagree strongly and about (9%) disagree somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan."
One reason why most American Christians do not believe Satan is a living being is based on how many scholars attempt to dumb down the reality of the demonic. 2 Tim. 3:13 "In fact, evil men and false teachers will become worse and worse, deceiving many, they themselves having been deceived by Satan." The Believer`s Bible Commentary records the following on 2 Timothy 3:13 "Paul had no illusions that the world would gradually become better and better, until finally all men would be converted. Rather, he knew by divine revelation that the very opposite would be the case. Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse. They would become more subtle in their methods and more bold in their attacks. Not only would they deceive others, but they themselves would be ensnared by the very false teaching with which they sought to trap their hearers. After having peddled their lies for so long, they would actually come to believe them personally."
In his book Powers of Darkness Clinton Arnold says it well, "Since the Enlightenment many scholars have "Demythologized" the powers of darkness in an attempt to relate scriptural statements that refer to evil forces to modern life. For such scholars the idea of the demonic is a cultural or mythical way of referring to evil and actions of an individual person or a corrupt social institution. They claim that principalities and powers are identical to other hostile forces in Paul`s letter specifically the powers of sin, the law, flesh and death." Such reinterpretations of the bible play right into Satan`s efforts to remain cloaked.
I examined the evil ones various names or titles when considering the statistical data Barna Group provided as to how many American Christians are convinced that Satan is merely a symbol of evil, You see, in scripture often the names given were designed to refer to something in the character. The name "Satan" means "adversary" and as shared in the exegesis of Barnes Notes on Job 1:6 "...By leading men to disbelieve and deny his existence , he throws them off their guard." C. Clemance D. D. writes "1. He is one at whom we cannot afford to laugh; and whose existence we cannot afford to deny, 3. He is a foe to whom not an inch of room should be given (Eph. 4:27)" The bible Illustrator on Rev. 12:9 "The great dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan , the foe of God and of His Church. 1. Our foe is a personal one. 11. He is an old one "The devil sinneth from the beginning ( 1 John 3:8, John 8:44 ) C.H. Spurgeon writes "He is styled "The Old Serpent" ; and this reminds us how practised he is in every evil art. He was a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies. After thousands of years of constant practice in deception he is much to cunning for us if we think we can match him by craft we are grievous fools, for he knows vastly more than the wisest of mortals..." Spurgeons goes further, "He come upon us unawares, and gives us wounds which are not easily healed. But yet, powerful as this infernal spirit certainly must be, his power is defeated when we are resolved never to be at peace with him."
In the above video I also shared how the Holy Spirit revealed that the church was the largest edifice because it was my initial assigned focus. Some of the following pages reveal more revelations relative to this symbolic dream. God bless.
2 Timothy 3:13 "In fact, evil men and false teachers will become worse and worse, deceiving many, they themselves having been deceived by Satan"