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Power of God
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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Spiritual gifts always seem to be a contentious issue! You would think that, with the amount of information in the New Testament, the panoply of contemporary testimonies, and the witness of the Holy Spirit, the argument would be all over. But, no, not at all!
It still rages in some quarters!
The devil is always prowling around, seeking whom he can devour. He deceives anyone he can. And his powers of deception are ubiquitous. Like a radio transmitting station, he is constantly bombarding people via the air-waves with his negativism against God's spiritual gifts.
Why? Because they are the most powerful tools for achieving God's purposes in the earth.
When the gospel is preached without signs and wonders it is a feint witness for God. But when miraculous signs accompany the preaching, how few argue! Many are convicted! You only have to look at black Africa today to see the results of preaching with signs and wonders. Reinhard Bonnke's more than 30 years of such activity has fulfilled the vision God gave him of a blood-washed Africa.
Who would have thought 50 years ago, that Africa today would be so evangelised? It wouldn't have been accomplished without the evidence. That evidence that Jesus is alive and that God is at work comes through manifestations of spiritual gifts.
Raising The Dead!
In 1997 I wrote an article entitled WAIT FOR IT! (In Articles of Faith Vol 5.) What is about to take place in the area of spiritual manifestations is going to make what has already occurred look like child's play!!
One wonders how much more controversy will be engendered by raising the dead! Because that will be very much a part of the next wave of supernatural power the Church is going to be able to wield (according to God's will, of course).
When our son Richard was 17, he received some prophetic words about certain people whom God said He would bring back to mortal life as a testimony of His power and love. One night, Richard was also given a dream. He saw 50 mattresses being towed away behind our car on a trailer we have. I think you can imagine what a spectacle that must have looked! Just a few mattresses on a small car trailer would be enough to turn onlookers' eyes.... but 50!!!!
It must have looked like a moving tower of Babel!
Anyway, he saw this 'thing' in that dream. Puzzled by what it meant, when he awoke, he asked the Lord about it. Jesus told him that the mattresses represented each person who would be brought back to life. These 50 would be so busy telling the world what Jesus has done for them that they would not have time to sleep!
That's some testimony!
God says He has saved the best wine till last. The greater outpouring of power is reserved for the more turbulent times. The most fearsome times of spiritual contest are just ahead, as Satan feverishly tries to prevent the banishment of his kingdom and the entry of Jesus'.
The 2 witnesses (Rev 11) who will be the main voices of 'evangelism' during the Tribulation, will perform great supernatural feats as God directs. Like the fiery character Elijah, their witness will not be so much evangelistic as prophetic. Who welcomes a prophet?! Prophets give a witness that condemns the unjust. Then, usually, they pay with their lives for having answered God's call of duty.
If people are still arguing about the 'elementary' spiritual gifts Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12, how will they cope when God's power is unleashed in much greater measure?!
I hate to think of the satanic lies that will emerge to dismiss resurrecting the dead as:
1) fantasy or illusion (the rational worldly approach), or
2) a contrivance of the devil to deceive (the religious 'justification').
Either way, an excuse is invented so as not to believe in the sign God gives for you to trust in Him. Rather than believe in God, the unconverted human intellect simply 'disposes' of the evidence.
But God will dispose of all who resist Him through unbelief. They will lose their lives in the final lake of fire (Rev 21:8). It is a just fate for those who blaspheme against the purity and goodness of God's Holy Spirit!
Certain religious groups have spawned unbelief. Mostly they are cults, like Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and SDAs (there are many more! – including the Catholic church, the biggest cult of them all!), whose members' attention is directed or drawn to their human leaders, instead of to Christ. The transition can be very subtle, but its effects are profound.
The Reign of Unbelief in the WCG
One such cult is the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). Amazing as this may sound to some, God called me at age 17 into this group, where I remained for the next 20 years. It was a learning experience and an essential part of His plan for my life (and for many others).
I had no idea in 1967 that 23 years later He would get me to challenge their idolatrous system and use me in an Isaiah 61:1-3 capacity for His people trapped inside that group. He is now calling out His bride into a closer relationship with Him.
Looking back now, I can see the guidance of His incredible hand. One Sabbath evening, in my single room bed-sit, I sat up until the small hours of the morning, transfixed by the book of Isaiah! I was only 17 and my mind was not mature enough to grasp even 1% of what it contained. But there was something that was magnetic about his words. I couldn't put the book down.
28 years later, God spoke to me one Monday morning and told me to stand up in the next Sabbath meeting of the WCG and read aloud Isaiah 61, from verse 1 onwards. That action sparked a real furore! "You just don't do that sort of thing in the WCG...."
Why? Because everything has to be approved and directed by the church leaders. 'Worship' is so man-dominated that it is reduced to emptiness – ritual and formalism. Human leadership has replaced Christ. The appointment of man has supplanted that of the Holy Spirit.
Is it any wonder that faith has departed and unbelief reigns!?
Part of our work is to restore the way for those people, so that they can rediscover the Author and Finisher of their faith. But it is a tedious, arduous job trying to penetrate the demonic defences which church leaders have erected to contain (limit and restrict) their members.
The psychology employed by WCG mentors is almost impenetrable. God told us some years ago that the price of deliverance of these people would be £1,000 per word! How many words do you need to say to a person to put them straight when they have believed lies? Multiply that number by £1,000 and you have the financial cost of their deliverance!
It is beyond human capacity to achieve!
Only God can achieve it.
His chosen whom He has allowed to be drawn into cults such as the WCG will be delivered! How will He do it?
How has He ever done it previously?
Miraculously! He withdrew Israel from Egypt by supernatural power. He rescued Daniel from the lions by a miracle; Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego from the furnace by His miraculous presence. He preached the gospel through the first disciples with power signs following, and delivered the captives from the enemy by supernatural force.
It's the anointing that breaks the yoke (Is 10:27) – God's Spirit, and its demonstrative power.
That's why some people's unbelief will be destroyed in a stroke when the dead are raised. The wicked will continue on in unbelief, of course, but the righteous will be delivered through the forcefulness of God's power. God is separating the wheat and the tares.
I know that many from the WCG and its offshoot Churches of God will not be saved. But many of them will. And two days ago (revised on 8th April 2004), God gave me a dream that Worldwiders were finally – at long last! – learning to listen to God! The dream conveyed it as if with a huge gasp, a massive sigh, and the words: "How long it has taken...!!!"
The pride, arrogance, self-reliance and failure to look to the Spirit in that church and its offshoots made those people the most obdurate and slow to accept and receive spiritual gifts! It's amazing that any of them ever do receive a new spiritual awakening, but God revealed it occurring!
For more than a decade, we have been preparing the way for this outpouring of power. Demonic unbelief has stood in our way.
Resistance to Spiritual Gifts
WCG unbelief is shown by their resistance to spiritual gifts. WCG practice denies the supernatural gifts of God!
God looks favourably on the one who is humble and contrite, who responds to what he sees in the Word (Is 66:2). WCG leaders are arrogant or proud, and want to exercise spiritual control. They also manipulate the Word to their own advantage. Hence, spiritual gifts are absent.
So, to cover for their deficiencies, they write waffle about their activities or philosophy and interlace it with references to harnessing the spiritual gifts. WCG-conditioned minds don't see through the cleverness of this deceit. By making mention of the gifts (but never really explaining what they are!), ignorant members think they already have the gifts when they don't. And leaders even convince themselves that their human capabilities are evidences of these spiritual gifts. The devil is a cunning artificer!
Pride keeps many from admitting to their inadequacies. The WCG is not alone. Other Christian groups are trapped by similar myopia, but since God began by sending our prophetic witness to the WCG, I use them as a prime example. God has by no means finished with them yet!
The WCG's apostasy, which accelerated from about 1991, gave rise to the formation of many off-shoot groups. A few are sizeable organisations, parroting the original traditional philosophy. Several are small fellowships and splinter groups. Some are simply ministries run by individuals. The majority of these find it hard to break away from the foundational dogmas that have held the Sabbatarian movement in check for the past 200 years.
For those who know little about the Worldwide Church of God, here is a brief history. It was founded in the early 1930's under the former title Radio Church of God by Herbert W Armstrong, an ex-advertising man who had been challenged into a study of scripture after his wife was convicted about keeping the 7th-day Sabbath. She had seen this truth after contact with a neighbour lady who was affiliated with the Church of God, 7th Day (now of Denver, CO). This Sabbatarian group was an 'off-shoot' of the Seventh Day Adventists (SDAs).
Armstrong could not refute his wife's claims, although he studied frantically for six months to try to disprove them. He became a believer (intellectually, in the veracity of the Sabbath) and in process of time, because of his leadership qualities, also became a minister. After parting from the Church of God 7th Day, (not amicably, according to some accounts) he founded what grew into the current WCG.
He taught many doctrines similar to the SDAs, but with certain differences. But one basic common dogma was against the 'Pentecostal experience' of speaking in tongues, with other associated gifts. That stronghold of Satan still exists in the minds of many WCG adherents today.
We sent many hundreds of booklets, articles and videos in the nineties to WCG members, containing evidence of the manifestation of spiritual gifts. The videos and tapes contained visual and audible proof of their authenticity. They countered foundational dogmas that have spiritually restricted these people, not just in the WCG, but in the Sabbatarian movement as a whole since its inception.
But did people take note, repent and accept the gifts? Hardly! Most videos were wiped and given away to charity or binned!
The Pain of Pride and Prejudice
Pride and prejudice kept most from moving on. An example of how deep-seated this prejudice against the gifts is, was shown by correspondence I had with an ex-WCG minister spanning more than a year. Through more than 21 letters, I tried to convey to him the wonder of supernatural power which God offers us for use in fellowship meetings and to preach the gospel. His pride, however, prevented him accepting it.
A friend in the States recently (this was in 1996) wrote to him:
I find the Sabbatarian movement to be rather brutish and stubborn on the subject of the gift of tongues. On no subject have they been more dishonest and deceitful in their explanations than that one. People like Jim Rector and others will tell you they are not sure what the gift itself is, but that they are sure what it is not! (What a joke! The only way to know a counterfeit, is to know the original.) Why don't they admit what Paul says, that when one prays in an unknown tongue, one's understanding is unfruitful (1 Cor 14:14), nevertheless one's spirit is edified (v 4). It is a gift that must be interpreted, only then does it become understandable. (The gift of the interpretation of tongues is also miraculous.) Tongues is not spoken to other men, but "unto God".
Every description we have in 1 Corinthians 14 fits the Pentecostal explanation of the gift, and flies in the face of the blind, hypocritical stance of sabbatarians, the vast majority of which have never spoken in tongues. It is essentially analogous to the internal machine language inside a computer, which enables the computer to communicate with the user. It is a means by which God circumvents our understanding, our mind, in order to reveal mysteries in the spirit (14:3), for our personal edification, and to address the presence of negative spirit entities in our soul, of which we are sometimes unaware (chronic negative attitudes, anger, malice, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, envy, etc.). The Holy Spirit reveals this information via tongues, and we must pray for the interpretation of what we have said (14:13).
I wish some leader in the Sabbath-keeping movement would stand up and admit that none of us performs miracles, none of us has the gifts of healing, none of us speaks in tongues, not one of us has ever convicted a newcomer into the Church with a word of knowledge convicting him of his sins – as some of the Corinthians were doing, 1 Cor 14:24,25), without prior knowledge of those sins. Why don't we admit that we don't have the manifestations of those gifts that Paul imparted to his churches?
Why? In one word: PRIDE. He continues:
Only a contrite heart and a seeking, hungering spirit that is dissatisfied with the emptiness of the COG [Church of God] experience, will allow you to open your mind to this corrected understanding of the unusual gift of tongues, and to an acceptance of the other gifts.
It is time for the COG movement to stop speaking evil of things they understand not, and to realise God has not left His people Israel comfortless. Despite the charismatics' doctrinal ignorance toward the relevance of the law of Moses [which was GOD'S law, not Moses' – see Mal 4:4] and faulty understanding of the soul, hell, holidays, etc., God is merciful, despises no man, and still uses their spirits as His candle – "the spirit in man is the candle of Yahweh" (Prov 20:27).
They are quite frankly stronger in the faith, trusting in the Lord, in healing, in music, in miracles, and evangelism of the world, than the Sabbath-keepers, on average, by and large. God has given them the realm of the Spirit, and us the area of truth in the Law and [certain] doctrinal understanding. Ours only feeds and satisfies the intellect, theirs soothes and heals the soul and the spirit.
When I go forward for the laying on of hands at a charismatic church such as I have recently, it is like taking my car in for a tune-up. My heart rate goes way down, my insides feel swept and clean, and a peace that passes understanding sweeps over me, almost like being carried into a new dimension. God inhabits the praises of His people. He dwells with them through praise and intense worship. Sometimes the presence of the Lord is so thick in their worship times, that you can cut it with a knife. It is palpable. Those who say you shouldn't try to 'feel' God's presence or power ought to read Paul's speech to the men of Athens recorded in Acts 17:27:
...[men] should seek the Lord, if happily they might feel [grope] after Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live and move and have our being.
[And read also, Mark 5:30, where Jesus felt God's healing virtue go out of Him.]
Our minds are yet carnal, sold under sin (Rom 7:14), so that true praise requires will, a sacrifice of praise to Him. This the sabbatarians have not done, are not going to do, until they recognise that they have fallen short.... There is too much pride, too much of the left hand acknowledging what the right hand has done, to where it becomes our righteousness, instead of His. TD, USA
TD was spot on! He had been part of the Sabbatarian movement and attended many different Sabbath-keeping churches, only to be most disappointed by their lack of the Spirit.
I had a missionary in Africa ask me not long ago, after he learned from us about the validity of observing God's weekly Sabbath as it should be correctly observed from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, where could he meet with others for worship then? He came from a charismatic church background. I told him that, unfortunately, most Sabbatarian churches are spiritually lifeless – 'dead' (Rev 3:1), despite their belief that the Spirit is enlivening them. But it's not! They need to accept gifts.
Part of our function as a ministry is to help create a bridge between the two opposite arms of the Church – Bible-based sabbatarians on the one hand and true charismatic non-sabbatarians on the other. At present, neither segment wants what the other has! Malcolm B Heap
The Ten Virgins (£1.00); Holy Fire! (HF)
An Introduction to the Spiritual Gifts (ISG)
Meetings With Jesus (£2.00) explains how believers should meet with Jesus, to
worship Him in the Spirit, not merely in 'the flesh'. The so-called Churches of God
are 'dead' – spiritually lifeless, as it says in Revelation 3:1. Read more about this in:
Churches of God: You Have A Name That You Live, But You Are Dead!
Also helpful to those from a Church of God background are the booklets:
God Speaks To The WCG (GSW). Dreams From God About The WCG (DrW).
Understanding The Mind of God: A Message To Worldwiders (MG1).
Understanding The Mind of God: A Message To 'Law-Keepers' (MG2).
Understanding The Mind of God: A Message To Sabbatarians (MG4).
Some Dreams From God
On 6th July 1997 I had dreams about two women who depict the two 'opposite' sectors of the Church. The first was blonde; the second was dark-haired. I had an affinity with the first, although she was not physically attractive like the other one.
Meaning: The two parts of the Church which our ministry serves. The first woman represents the sabbatarians. The second, the charismatic 'sector'.
In the first dream, I went into a large old open room with wooden floorboards. There was no furniture. It was not an inviting place. It was very plain and drab. I met a blonde woman. She was not attractive, just rather plain looking. I became engaged in conversation with her. She was sad. There were many other people in the room, but they were in the background in this dream.
Apparently, I was looking for a place to rest. She told me that the floor in the corners at the two ends of the room were rotten, so not to go there lest the floor give way.
As we talked, I discovered that she was bereft after losing her husband. She was lonely and emotionally distraught. I felt sorry for this woman and hugged her to give her the emotional strength she needed. However, the longer this embrace lasted, the more I realised the danger of compromise. I told her that she could not rely upon me for emotional support, but she had to look to God, read the Bible and pray to Him for the strength she needed.
Meaning. An allegory of the sabbatarian sector of the Church. Some extremities are rotten and can't support people spiritually. The main building is not appealing. It is drab. There is no joy there. Most in the church have been separated from their spiritual Husband through the lifeless teaching. It is as though He is no longer around!
Although I have compassion for these people, deep involvement with them is out of the question. If they look to me for spiritual support they are looking in the wrong place. They must look to God. Heed the Bible (not their teachers) and pray to God.
The second dream involved another woman, physically quite different from the first. This second woman was very attractive, but I suspected that she had manipulated her looks by surgery. I asked her if that was so, and surprisingly she was not offended by the question. In fact, she was flattered. But she said all her attractive features were genuine – in other words, they are from God, not surgically supplied by man.
I did not embrace this woman like I did the first one. We simply sat side by side talking. I did not want to get involved in any illicit relationship. Once again, however, the end of the conversation was the same as with the first woman. I said to her that she couldn't look to me, she must look to the Bible and pray to God.
These dreams were not erotic. The sexuality they contained conveys a meaning in symbol.
Meaning: A pictorial analogy of our relationship with the charismatic Church, which is very conscious of the influence of God's power. Like some women flaunt their physical form to lure men, charismatics may tend to display God's power rather openly to attract others.
God does not want us to be drawn away by the enticements that can spiritually border on being adulterous. Nor does He want His power to be used with pride, like some women like to show off their bodies and flaunt themselves! There is nothing wrong with God's power, but it must be used properly, not illicitly.
We are not here to get involved in church activities or to look to man. We are here to prepare the Way, spiritually. People must continually look towards God and His Word, not to the human instruments He uses.
The Outpouring of the Spirit
On 7th July 1997, my wife Helena was given two dreams. One of these was of heavy rain. Helena looked outside the window and the ground around our home was flooded. There was a sizeable lake!
Meaning. The outpouring of the Spirit to come shortly.
Kindergarten at the WCG
9th July 1997. Since this dream given to Helena is recounted in Dreams From God About The WCG and Churches of God, I will not repeat it here. It conveyed the pitiful spiritual state of the WCG. Other dreams given at that time also depicted the WCG's gross spiritual depravity, and flaws in both that mother church and its equally restrictive offshoots.
Will You Be Late for the Wedding?
On 12th July 1997, Helena received 2 dreams.
One was of journey to a wedding. There were obstacles in the way. When she finally arrived, the wedding ceremony was over and people were leaving.
Meaning: Helena was put in the position of some who reject or neglect God and His truths. Some believers won't make it! Many Christians have started on the Christian walk, but they won't arrive. Things come in the way and believers get sidetracked.
Truth In Store
The second dream was about storing loads of egg yolks. They were really large (almost as large as footballs). We had to squash them all into a big round container, like a swimming pool, to protect and preserve them.
Meaning. Depicts God's truth entrusted to us in writing. There is so much. It has been protected and preserved in 'our' publications to nourish others. Since the dream, God has moved more to be written, and this is just one small part of that.
On 24th July Helena had a dream of what she could only describe as a supertrain. It was like a great big centipede! It burst down from the sky, powered its way like a bullet through our house coming through the white gable end at the front and bursting out at the back. It left a huge hole through the house and, coming out at the back, zoomed up again into the sky. It went on its way taking its influence far afield.
Meaning: The spiritual power which God will pour out through our ministry and the terrific impact it will have on many people.
Reinhard Bonnke Pays Us a Visit
On August 18th 1997 I was given a dream about international evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. He came to visit us and was very interested to know what we were doing. He inspected our electrical room and made some suggestions as to how we could alter the wiring to get more output from our equipment. He was very well-meaning and full of enthusiasm for the work we were doing. He was a real joy to be with, and so helpful.
Meaning: We look forward to more spiritual power (God's spiritual 'electricity') to bring Him glory! Reinhard has harnessed God's power, but raising the dead will get him to take note of what we bring from God. Malcolm B Heap
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