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To people who refuse to obey God, He says:
is as the Sin of Witchraft!
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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One day we received a phone call from a woman whom we had never met before. Somehow she had got our number from the web. While I was amazed at that, I was even more surprised by her questioning.
She didn't introduce herself, nor start with the usual small-talk or pleasantries. She launched straight into a clinical interrogation of what we believe.
"Do you keep the Sabbath?" she quizzed.
"Do you keep the Jewish festivals?"
"Well, yes, I observe the festivals of the Old Testament which many call 'Jewish' but they are actually supported by the New Testament also. ...But... er... may I ask who you are? Why do you ask?" I responded cautiously.
I thought it was a newspaper reporter, seeking material for a column. I was completely wrong.
For some reason, which as you will later see is ironic, she had searched the web and ended up looking in a Directory of Sabbath- Observing Groups, where she found our name and address listed. God had led her to find us that way. It is the ONLY inquiry we have ever received from that directory! God certainly moves in mysterious ways.
This lady (I will call her June – not her real name) was a Christian, looking for help. We found out later that she was seriously demonised (yes, Christians can 'carry' demons), but she had not been able to get the deliverance she needed. She had attended various churches, but drifted from one to another. She came to us (God 'engineered' it) looking for help.
After our chat, I offered June some of our literature, which we sent in the post. A short while later, she got in touch again. This time she explained more about the gravity of her problem. It was demons. I told her that Helena has a gift of being able to cast out demons from others, and she made an arrangement to come and visit us, seeking the spiritual help she needed.
So far, so good.
The Power of Praise
June came to stay for a few days. On the Friday evening, we played a CD of praise music. She joined in with gusto, singing and praising God. That rather surprised me. It was clear that she was getting some deliverance just through the music, as she allowed her spirit to submit to God.
Helena commented to her that she was receiving some release through that avenue of praise. But she didn't receive the comment well. You could tell that she didn't want to be told that. Demons were resisting the internal transition.
[You can and should] enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise (Ps 100:4).
Praise and giving thanks to God releases people from spiritual bondages, enabling them to come into God's presence. As the Holy Spirit finds a home within, the evil spirits are pushed out. The onus of this change rests with the person and depends upon their will – what they choose.
Charismatic churches know very well the huge spiritual value in praise and worship, and June knew that. But she needed more.
During our Sabbath fellowship meeting a prophetic word was received which encouraged anyone who has fallen down to pick themselves up and carry on. God will help and strengthen, when we show resolve to obey God and continue in that obedience.
Certain things were mentioned in our meeting about how the prevalent teaching in most churches annuls the Word of God about keeping the Sabbaths of God holy. We didn't spend a long time going through a detailed scriptural exegesis, but enough was said by the Spirit's prompting to be a witness to her about this matter.
As I received some prophetic words in a time of prayer towards the end of our meeting, Helena noticed that June was waving her arms curiously. She was not in control of them, but the silent gestures were dismissive of what the Spirit of God was giving. She was waving away, or brushing aside, what was being given.
After the meeting concluded, she was noticeably more stand-off-ish. She didn't join in with anything we did, and was not communicative. She did make a point of saying that she thought she should get an early train home the next day.
The next morning, she announced to Helena "I have decided not to keep the Sabbath."
Helena adroitly responded: "Don't tell me, tell Jesus!"
What then followed from Helena's lips was a long uninterrupted 'speech' that rebuked June for her stubbornness, showing where she was denying God in her life and welcoming demons in. It was courageous and prophetic. It was not something that just came from Helena. Nor was it an angry outburst, although it was very forceful. It was inspired by the Spirit!
June just sat there, terrified, wanting to get out but glued to the spot. It was not long before her train was due at the station a mile away, so Helena gave her a lift to the station and saw her on her way. But she did not say goodbye without giving her more counselling and helpful advice to encourage her. Unfortunately, June rejected it all!
It was not to be the last we heard from her. Two days later a parcel arrived with all the literature we had given her, along with praise tapes to help her with her deliverance. She sent them all back! She wanted nothing to do with us! It was a last gesture of defiance against God and against us for being His witnesses against her rebellious lifestyle.
The Value Of The Sabbath
God purposefully showed her that she needed to keep His Sabbath each week. It would have helped her more than anything else in finding the deliverance she needed from oppressive evil spirits.
Why? Because it is a discipline that must be exercised every week. It is not a harsh discipline; it is one that is wonderful and uplifting, liberating and restful.
When you take time out – the holy time of the 7th day God has decreed – to worship God, to draw into His presence, He draws near to you. It is the greatest single missing piece of the jig-saw puzzle of holiness that the Church needs today.
But does it want such a good thing? No way!
The Church's Demonocracy
June is not alone. Besides her demons which keep her company, she has many friends in the Church.
The demons that control most churches do NOT want the truth about God's Sabbaths! Labelled as 'bondage', they are actually gloriously liberating! June can find many to side with her in this 'demonocracy'.
There is terrific resentment and hostility against this aspect of biblical truth because it is one of the greatest single themes which can bring freedom to those held in spiritual prisons. June was in terrible bondage, and God wanted to set her free, but He could not help her while she was unwilling to help herself.
Some people may wonder why Helena, since she has a gift of being able to cast out demons (she can do this at a distance, through the exercise of thought coupled with the Holy Spirit), could not simply cast out the demons from June. The answer is simple. Because June made them welcome.
If you open the door to evil spirits through disobedience to God, no one else can put them away from you. They may go momentarily, but they will be back faster than you can say "Jack Robinson"! And if your 'house' is nicely swept clean, they will bring even more back with them to foul it up!
Keeping God's commandments is so basic and so vital to proper moral and spiritual living that it is trite to have to mention it. But it seems the Church is so deceived about obedience to God that it's possibly the biggest issue that must be pointed out.
June is typical of nearly the whole Church. She is in rebellion against God!
If you present the truth of the Sabbaths to the Church at large, you will get as much persecution as Hitler poured on the Jews sixty years ago! Oh, how in need of liberation the Church is!!
There is yet more to this story. God allowed it to occur, and even arranged it, to show the huge strongholds of the devil inside what we refer to conveniently as the Christian Church.
The day June arrived, Helena felt unwell. That was unusual, and it became more unusual as time went on.
Despite her feeling sick, Helena managed to keep going. But after June left, Helena became very ill! The symptoms indicated a severe kidney infection. She was in real pain, could not sleep, and could not pass water or take much in. She could only manage to sip tiny amounts. Her body went into 'shut-down'.
This serious condition lasted for a number of hours and on into the next day. We knew that if it continued, it would be life threatening. Then Helena was moved to ask Zenya to pray in tongues. After that, she slept for some hours and awoke feeling much better. Over the next few days she gradually improved as God totally healed her.
The affliction was caused by June's demons. God allowed it to show the power they hold over the Church. Only intercession and rejection of heresy will bring deliverance!
Further Reading: Apostasy in God's Church! (Apo)
Why is it that the keeping the Sabbath according to the fourth commandment is so hard for many people to do today? Of course, it's not the only difficult test by any means, but it is a 'whopper' for most.
The difficulties with it are tied in with:
Taking the last one first, any who allow fear to cheat them of doing God's will won't be in the Kingdom of God, unless they fight it within themselves. Notice the line-up of those to be destroyed in the final fire of Gehenna. First on the list are the cowardly (Rev 21:8).
People fear for all sorts of reasons. There is no sin in fear by itself, but there is when you allow it to stop you doing something you should. In relation to keeping the Sabbath holy, there's:
All these fears are groundless in real terms. I mean in spiritual terms. If you realistically consider what is important, are other people important really, compared with God? No. Is your job or career that important? Not really. God can arrange a better alternative for you if it suits His plans. And, as for missing out on the things of this life, is there anything that can compare with the wonders, the glories, the bliss of eternal life in God's presence? (Ps 16:11.) Hardly!
Once we have the right focus, all human considerations pale into insignifance. The problem for most people is that their focus isn't in the right place.
I had lengthy communications with a missionary in Africa by e-mail. Because he seemed open – more than most – I was hopeful that he would 'bite the bullet' and start to keep and promote the Sabbath in his region, and to the church which backed him.
I had sent him Our Sabbath Rest, which proves the authenticity, according to the truth of the Bible, of keeping the Sabbath on the seventh day and not on Sunday as church tradition has promoted – by human decree or assumption. He had read Our Sabbath Rest and, admitted that he agreed with it. He now knew what the Bible truly said on that matter.
He also received The Controversy Concerning Law and Grace and Sunday Versus Sabbath: The Final World Crisis, which settle the matter for anyone with any lingering doubts – IF they have an open mind. This missionary certainly seemed to have an open mind! I was impressed.
But I 'spoke' too soon. Then came the awful realisation a few weeks later, when he said that he had not implemented the knowledge of this 'new' truth. He had not yet started to keep the Sabbath for various human reasons. They were several, and I'll mention them here because others will doubtless find equal difficulties and could allow the devil to steal away their obedience in like fashion.
Here were his excuses:
He had asked me where he might find such a church, but I warned him that most seventh day churches are spiritually lifeless – 'dead' (Rev 3:1). They don't welcome the Spirit, or allow such moving in their meetings. They are legalistic, ritualistic, and most of them deny the gifts of the Spirit and do not permit audience participation, other than in a very organised, pre-approved manner. They are humanly led and humanly controlled. There is no door for the activity of the Spirit.
He had been to a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church on a Saturday and discovered it predictably just as dead. That was not for him! And I don't blame him. It's not for anyone who has experienced what true worship should be like.
Here I had been admonishing or exhorting him to keep an immutable Commandment of God, but, to him, that was secondary to other factors! He was saying that he could only keep God's commandment if all the various things that HE considered more important were in place first!
God certainly tested him and he was weighed in the balances and found wanting.
He was putting the cart before the horse.
Just because he could not find others with whom to fellowship was no ground to desist from observing God's Sabbath. What should come first? What God says, or our human desires?
When I first learned the truth about the Sabbath at age 16, there was no one with whom to spend the time. God was there, in it. My observance of His holy day was to Him, for Him, and with Him. So, what more could I want?
Our fellowship is FIRST with Him, then secondarly with one another as John pointed out:
If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another... (1 Jn 1:7).
Isn't that interesting? If you are obedient to God, as you fellowship with Him on the Sabbath, that union draws you into an unseen fellowship with others also. It doesn't matter that you don't see them. There is a common bond through the Spirit.
What God wants us to do is to put Him first in everything. If we put ourselves, with our desires or considerations first, we commit idolatry, and John ended that first letter of his with this stern admonition:
Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 Jn 5:21).
Idolatry is rampant in churches! And the least seen idols are those closest to home – ourselves, OUR ideas, OUR wishes, OUR desires. Our own desires deceive us. That was the missionary's problem.
God gave Helena a dream about him with an idol in his lap. And God gave me a different dream showing that he didn't really want the Sabbath. Although he had been 'forced into a corner', he was not going to keep it. It didn't fit in with his plans or aspirations.
Excuses For Disobedience
If you're self-willed or self-indulgent, it's easy to find excuses to put off doing what you know you should do, but don't want to do.
It's what Saul did. He knew that he should have followed God's instructions implicitly, but he didn't. He made excuses to justify himself. They sounded laudable excuses – to him! But not to the prophet Samuel. When Samuel turned up, he vehemently corrected Saul.
You can read the account in 1 Samuel 15. It all started when Saul lost his humility (1 Sam 15:17). He became lifted up through his position as king. He came to see so much of himself that he lost sight of how great God is. Once he (Saul) took God's place in his own mind, his downfall then became inevitable.
Samuel had to tell him:
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king (1 Sam 15:23).
It was the same thing that led to Judas' demise. He rejected obedience in favour of doing what he wanted. He satiated his own lusts – in his case, greed for money – instead of humbly submitting his own will to God's.
In stark contrast, as Jesus faced the most agonising hours in His life, He lay down every vestige of wanting his own way, saying:
Not My will, but Yours be done (Matt 26:39, paraphrased).
God has a the test of allegiance for all of us. Thankfully, for most of us, it's not as severe as it was for Jesus. But, it is severe to us! You will find it hard. I will find it hard. We will all find it hard to obey at some point. When that moment of truth arrives, we cannot afford NOT to say as Jesus did! Otherwise, we could lose out on the reward He offers everyone who will simply do His will as Abraham did, without arguing or rebellion.
Don't let pride, prejudice or fear cause you to lose out.
Watch Out For Church Leaders!
I have detailed briefly what personally hinders most from moving on as the Spirit leads. But there is another very real and strong threat. It comes from church leaders. Most of them have a compromised agenda, one which places themselves, or their church or organisation above all else. God warned of this in a dream. I pass it on to you here:
26th October 2001. M. Opposition from a major church.
We had managed to get our literature inside what seemed to be a major church or denomination in this country. It may have been the Church of England. Some people were interested to read it.
This caused quite a stir, particularly among the church leadership who didn't like this happening. They tried to put a stop to it, and furtively took steps to pressurise or influence those who were reading our literature.
On the outside the church leaders tried to look completely unbiased and open, but the actual truth was much different. They behaved very defensively and tried to prevent us from reaching church members. I was not shown what steps they would take against us, but the dream indicated that they were actively opposing us, perhaps even slandering us and falsifying what we were saying to try and minimise the good effect of our words.
Jesus faced similar problems with the self-willed religious leaders of His day (Matt 23). Their position was more important to them than obedience to God. It's no different with many church leaders today. They can find many manipulative words to soothe your brow if you get upset by their obdurate or cool stand, but their approach is rebellion!
Beware church leaders!
These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble (Jn 16:1)... They have not known the Father nor Me (16:3).
But you can know Him. Simple obedience is the key. M B Heap
(The leaflet Church Leaders Shut The Door On Jesus! (Shu) contains more on this vital topic.)
Meetings With Jesus (MWJ) explains how believers should meet with Jesus,
to worship Him in the Spirit, not merely in 'the flesh'.
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