Sheep in the Midst of Wolves
"Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves; be therefore prudent as the serpents, and guileless as the doves. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to Sanhedrims, and scourge you in their synagogues" (Matt. 10:16-17 DARBY)
"And God did unusual and extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or towels or aprons which had touched his skin were carried away and put upon the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists (men who adjure evil spirits) also undertook to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, I solemnly implore and charge you by the Jesus Whom Paul preaches! Seven sons of a certain Jewish chief priest named Sceva were doing this. But [one] evil spirit retorted, Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you? Then the man in whom the evil spirit dwelt leaped upon them, mastering two of them, and was so violent against them that they dashed out of that house [in fear], stripped naked and wounded. This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, and alarm and terror fell upon them all; and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled and magnified. Many also of those who were now believers came making full confession and thoroughly exposing their [former deceptive and evil] practices. And many of those who had practiced curious, magical arts collected their books and [throwing them, book after book, on the pile] burned them in the sight of everybody. When they counted the value of them, they found it amounted to 50,000 pieces of silver (about $9,300). Thus the Word of the Lord [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] grew and spread and intensified, prevailing mightily" (Acts 19:11-20 AMP).
Today, the world is seeing an awakening of spiritual insight in ways that were not even heard of just a few decades ago. On one side the Christian faith is rejoicing, and on the other side they are living in fear. The explosion of technology and knowledge availability has opened doors to the macros and micros of life that history has not seen until now.
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are warned by Jesus to be wise as serpents while being harmless as doves while we present ourselves to the world, but not to become part of the world. Believers in Christ have come into an awareness of moving beyond tradition, doctrines, and bondages of the Christian faith only to accept teachings where the pendulum swings far to the other extreme into the psychic realm that they have justified as truth from God by the misuse of Scripture. If we do not spend time knowing the voice of our Heavenly Father through His WORD, Jesus Christ, and the witness of the Holy Spirit, many of the elect will be deceived at this moment and hour. "The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27 AMP).
"If anyone says to you, See, here is the Christ (the Messiah)! Or, look, there He is! Do not believe it. False Christ (Messiahs) and false prophets will arise and show signs and [work] miracles to deceive and lead astray, if possible, even the elect (those God has chosen out for Himself). But look to yourselves and be on your guard; I have told you everything beforehand" (Mark 13:21-23 AMP).
There are many religions and spiritual teachers manifesting themselves around the world that are not easy to discern whether they are teaching what Jesus and Paul taught. They are not categorizing themselves under a common religion, yet they take on such similarities that those that do not know Jesus Christ in an intimate way in their daily personal Life may become guilty of spiritual adultery. Paul tells us in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Jesus Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Jesus Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the (only begotten) Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (AMP).
I beseech you to read this verse over and over! Yes, we are to awaken to the mystery of Christ in us, the hope of glory. Yes, as He is so are we in this world. It is our inheritance from God our Father to fill the earth with His glory as sons of God! All of this is Scriptural, but there is a strong power of deception that is flowing that we must awaken to. Remember, if Adam and the woman, the High Priest and Levites, along with Solomon, and David, could all be deceived, why would we think our Christian beliefs that we have stood for couldn't be shaken also? The enemy of God does not need to kill us, but deceive us. A good counterfeit will in every way to our natural understanding, senses, and reasoning seem like we are involving ourselves into a deep walk with God our Father. However, we do not need to raise up an old Adam who knew that he was the son of God (Luke 3:38) found in Genesis 1 & 2 before the fall.
"For just as [because of their union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their union of nature] shall all in (Jesus) Christ be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22 AMP)."Thus it is written, the first man Adam became a living being (an individual personality); the last Adam (Jesus Christ) became a life-giving Spirit [restoring the dead to life]" (1 Cor. 15:45 AMP)
If we look for one man to be the antichrist, then we are already deceived. If we look to one religion then we are already deceived. The "antichrist" is a spiritual awakening that looks like the way, the truth, and the life of God. It calls himself Christ and gets wisdom from a spirit that it calls the holy spirit. It gives allegiance to God as Father. It seeks forgiveness and holiness for all. It focuses on the inner man of what is truth and reality, conscious and subconscious. It knows how to use Scriptures to justify the means. Miracles of healing are manifested and obtaining peace is encouraged by putting aside the delusion of Ego for the truth that is within a person as "I AM."
With all of this said, ask them, "Who do you say Jesus is?" This is the question that Jesus had asked his disciples. The key distinction I beseech you to seek is that Jesus Christ is not a way maker, but He is: THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. No man comes to the Father except by HIM. It is IN HIM (Jesus Christ) that we live, move, and have our being (identity) as a son of God, as part of a many membered body (For the body is not one member, but many 1 Cor. 12:14) of Jesus Christ. "For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread" (1 Cor. 10:17).
"I'm telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread-living Bread!-who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live-and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self." (John 6:47-51 Mess.). "For anyone who eats and drinks without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that [it is Jesus Christ's] body, eats and drinks a sentence (a verdict of judgment) upon himself" (1 Cor. 11:19 AMP). For we [no matter how] numerous we are, are one body, because we all partake of the one Bread [the One Whom the communion bread represents]" (1 Cor. 10:17 AMP).
Many times we have become complacent in using the word Christ thinking that we are all referring to the resurrected Jesus Christ. The antichrist spirit does not see Jesus as the only begotten son of God, that we as the church are a "many membered body of Him." This spirit does not necessarily deny the cross, but justifies that Jesus was the first to awaken to a truth of being a son of God that has always been there, and now that we have an example to follow, we can all obtain that same position as Jesus the Galilean has pointed a way for us to go.
The book of Revelation is the clarification to us that the Scriptures are the Revelation of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 1:20 Jesus addresses his body as seven churches, and says there is a mystery within. God does not keep mysteries a secret, but is telling us in order for us to understand it, the mystery must be revealed with the mind of Jesus Christ and not with the natural mind of man's understanding. Paul refers to this mystery in Ephesians 5:32, I Corinthians 2:7, and 15:51. Jesus shares this mystery before Calvary in Matthew 13:11. In Proverbs 25:2 we read, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter."
Ask yourself, why did Jesus choose these seven churches in Revelation chapter 2? He doesn't mention the church in Jerusalem, Rome, or Corinth, yet these were churches that were very well known during this time. If you take the churches in their order they portray creation in Genesis Chapter one. What Adam did to de-create in Genesis chapter 3, Jesus brought re-creation. These churches are structured and placed in an order to bring forth God's plan on this earth. Not just a plan of redemption for man, but a plan that manifests the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Revelation 1:12, John is placed in front of the candlesticks. This symbolizes the churches' understanding of what it means to be in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of God. The promise of overcoming for each church is in the Holy of Holies. It is not about keeping or loosing their salvation. There is a veil that separates these two chambers: The Holy Place of chapter one, and the ability to overcome and enter the Holy of Holies of chapters 2 and 3. Revelation has never been about sending non-believers to an eternal hell on earth, but a spiritual transformation of christ in each of us revealed that causes transfiguration of the body of Jesus Christ in the earth. When we look closely at the experience that took place in Acts 19 that is referred to at the beginning of this teaching, we notice, we read that Paul uses the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and evil spirits flee, but when those that don't know Jesus Christ the way Paul does, the spirit talks back and questions, "who are you?" From this occurrence the Scripture takes us to the city of Ephesus which is also the first church that John addresses in Revelation:
Day one: (Genesis 1:3) Let there be light.
Church of Ephesus - If they didn't repent their light would be removed. If they overcame they would eat of the Tree of Life. Aaron's rod, which is a tree, supernaturally budding in an ark (coffin) found in the Holy of Holies. The veil is rent by the death of Jesus Christ. If we see His death as our death, then we see His Life as our Life.
"I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name's sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary. But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love]. Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God's will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent. Yet you have this [in your favor and to your credit]: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans [what they are doing as corrupters of the people] (religion), which I Myself also detest. He, who is able to hear, let him listen to and give heed to what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant to eat [of the fruit] of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:3-7 AMP).
"Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [ in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour" (1 Peter 5:8 AMP).
"Then one of the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin] said to me, stop weeping! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root (Source) of David, has won (has overcome and conquered)! He can open the scroll and break its seven seals!" (Rev. 5:5 AMP).
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is not the time in HIS-story for us to be fearful falling back into the traditions of doctrine seeking out the security of "getting our place in heaven if we die before the Lord's return." Neither do we need to run after every religion that declares that the Messiah is over here or over there.
Jesus says to us today, "I am (Jesus Christ) the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord God, He Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty (the Ruler of all)" (Rev. 1:8).
I leave you with a prayer from the words of Paul:
"FOR THE rest, my brethren, delight yourselves in the Lord and continue to rejoice that you are in Him. To keep writing to you [over and over] of the same things is not irksome to me, and it is [a precaution] for your safety. Look out for those dogs [Judaizers, legalists], look out for those mischief-makers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the Spirit of God and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances" (Phil. 3:1-3 AMP).
"But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Jesus Christ's sake. Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (intimately) and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power out flowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]" (Phil. 3:7-11 AMP).