The Great Snare

In my experience, I’ve found that one “front line” weapon that the enemy deploys against Christians is fear. In fact, I’ve come to realise that the depth of a person’s fear is equivalent to the extent to which the devil and his host can operate in his/her life. From my study in demonology, I can tell you that demons love to feed off human fear.

Fear comes in different forms, but one of its most paralysing variants is the fear of man. Proverbs 29:25 says “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe“.

The fear of offending people, fear of being ostracised, fear of losing friendships, fear of being misrepresented, fear of being rejected by people, fear of being branded as “weird” or “radical” has kept many Christians from making any significant impact in Christianity. It has kept many Christians from serving God totally.

Satan loves using the threat of physical death to try and stop people from unmasking his lies and standing up for Jesus. The Lord Jesus too faced this threat and overcame it, and the same confronts us today.

The Bible talks of “those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Heb. 2:15). People can be so held up in the fear of death that they completely refuse to respond to God’s call in any area of Christian service. That is why Jesus admonished us:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28)

That means our(healthy) fear for God must be far greater than any iota of fear for what man or the devil can do. God is greater and He has our lives engraved in the palm of His hands. Our walls are ever before Him. He told His people:

Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread” (Isa. 8:12-13).

It doesn’t matter the host that are ganged up against you or the fear that tries to assail you, look up to God and have a strong confidence that He will keep you safe.

I remember sometime, like 6 years ago, when a certain Muslim swore that he would deal with me with his curses after I exposed his bogus religion. I replied him there and told him to in fact, circulate my name to all his clerics and his other bearded brothers so he will be convinced that even if he flies in the highest plane of that realm – via Satan – his power source, is still under my feet.

I also added that if he failed to get me down with his deprecatory “prayers,” then he must realise that his “Allah” is a fake, powerless god and Jesus Christ is real.

When I told a friend later, she was visibly afraid. “Did you pray for protection?” she asked, “No. There’s no need to pray over something that has been settled 2,000 years ago.” She looked at me as if I dropped from the moon. She didn’t understand that when Jesus died on the cross, He nailed every handwriting of ordinance against us to that cross and defeated Satan and his host right there.

The depth to which your faith is in what took place at Calvary for you is the extent of your protection and exploit in Christ. By the way, I didn’t have as much as a headache all through the rest of that year.

Now, if I had entertained fear at the first instance, that a possible harm would befall me because of some Facebook threat, even if a mere breeze in my room would have made my hair stand up on end and I’d start to pray in fear, whereas the person who made the threat was just being emotional.

Faith is a shield; it blocks the door of fear. It quenches the enemy’s flaming arrows and protects from the sword of the wicked. But fear opens the door wide. It makes you vulnerable to all manner of superstitions and hysteria. Satan loves causing people to dread because he knows he loses his power when his lies are confronted.

I read a book by a notable Christian author in which she said she awoke one night to hear some noise upstairs. The longer she listened to it, the more frightened she became. Finally shaking from fear, she went upstairs to see what it was and she laughed when she found it. The noise was coming from ice cubes falling in the ice tray from the ice maker. It just happened that the way they were falling, they were making a noise they don’t normally make.

You see, ignorance and fear walk together. But once you have knowledge, especially of how great God is, fear will no longer control you.

In Doreen Irvine‘s autobiography, From Witchcraft to Christ, she said after she left the craft and began to expose them and preach the Gospel, these witches sent her several awful letters, some written in blood, warning her “You will die if you don’t stop running down witchcraft.”

At first, she was really frightened because she knew too well as a former high priestess that black witches always carry out their threats. But courage came when she read Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

She said she added “No witch nor satanist. No, nothing can separate me from Jesus or the truth. My Jesus was stronger than any witch or Satanist.” And that fear melted away like the wax of a candle.

The choice is ours: to keep being enslaved in fear or to stand like a warrior and look fear in the face and say, “No, I will not succumb to you, I will trust in the mighty hand of God. I will keep following him.”

When the three Hebrew boys were made to choose between God and a fiery furnace, they chose to die for God rather than compromise and God showed up and proved Himself faithful.

Daniel could have given up at any point of his persecution, but his confidence in God was stronger than the jaws of any lion or the orders of any Babylonian king.

When David stood before Goliath, he didn’t see his height, expertise, weapons or even curses, he saw the Great and Mighty God of Israel and he brought his head down. That is the way out of the great snare, faith in God and His Word.

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Further Reflections on the Integrity Challenged Warriors – II

 

Doctrinal Aberrations 

Rebecca Brown’s teachings, though good in some aspects, are also plagued by flawed Bible interpretation, warped theology and strange ideas about spiritual warfare that can mislead those who blindly accept them.

  1. Spirit bodies

She taught that the human spirit body can act independently without the person’s knowledge. But a careful reading of the Bible texts she cited (2 Cor. 12:2-4; Rev. 4:12) reveals that while the persons’ spirits left their bodies (or didn’t leave), they were clearly aware of what they perceived. She wrote:

If you hate someone, Satan can step in and use your spirit body to attack the person you hate. Such an attack can produce all sorts of illness, accidents, emotional problems, and even physical death. The person doing the hating usually is never aware that Satan is using his spirit body.” (He Came, p. 177).

This teaching unjustly incriminates Christians as occultists. The Bible calls hatred a sinful work of the flesh (Gal. 5:19); it doesn’t turn Christians into part-time witches.

In her third book she wrote: “Even though we do not see the armor of God, it IS real armor in the spirit world. We can use it in the physical world if the Holy Spirit directs” (Becoming p. 82).

This is an error. We do not wear Roman armour on our spirit bodies! They are spiritual qualities. Just because Apostle Paul employed metaphors such as “helmet”, “breastplate”, “belt” etc. does not mean they are literal pieces.

  1. Standing in the gap

Have you ever experienced a time of intense intercessory prayer after which you felt completely exhausted? That is because, while you were praying with your physical body, God had taken your spirit body and put it into combat with the demonic forces you are praying against … The fatigue you felt is mostly a reflection of the stress your spirit body experienced” (Prepare, 287)

She misapplies 1 Cor. 5:1-4 to support this idea, but there, Paul was using a metaphor. It’s quite common for a person to say he is with us in the spirit if not in person, meaning that he is sympathetic to our situation even if absent. Paul was not astral projecting to be with the Corinthian church. He was simply responding to reports of sin there.

She also wrote: “In other words, any demonic powers directed the minister must get past you first. This will mean suffering for you – both physical and emotional … You will rarely be consciously aware that you are ‘in the gap.’ This is because the Lord has complete control of our spirit bodies” (Ibid, 286-287).

There’s no scriptural precedent for the interpretation of bearing others’ physical pain and sharing in their affliction as “bearing others’ burden.” When Paul told the Galatians to bear one another’s burdens, he was speaking about restoring a brother taken in a fault (Gal. 6:1-5). Yes, we are to help others in need but there is no Scriptural teaching that we are to suffer pain so someone else will not have to.

Rebecca also misapplies Ezekiel 20:30-31 to “prove” her teaching that bearing another’s pain is equivalent to “standing in the gap.” In these verses, God was merely saying that He was going to destroy the land because He found no one to stand in the gap i.e. intercede in prayer for them. Jesus is the One who took our burdens on the cross.

It’s interesting to note that during the hearing for the revoking of her license, eye witnesses testified:

“That Respondent [Rebecca] has stated on numerous occasions that she possessed the capability of ‘sharing’ her patients’ illnesses in fighting the demons, devils and other evil spirits that were allegedly causing the various ailments and conditions and that she was, in fact ‘sharing’ Edna Elaine Moses’ leukemia”  (Finding of Fact, no. 20).

On page 319 of Prepare for War, she alludes to this bizarre idea: “I asked the Lord if He would be willing to remove Rene’s pain and let us share the pain.”

  1. Rebecca as Elaine’s Saviour

Rebecca said God sent an angel with a sword to kill Elaine after becoming a Christian for refusing to enter into a covenant with Him to protect her from being killed by Satanists. Elaine’s words too were revealing:

I can fight and protect us. I know our enemy well. After all, I spent 17 years serving him, I should know him! I’m not a weakling, why should I go running to God to protect us? … God is insulting me. Why should I ask Him to protect us when I can fight just as well?” (Prepare, pp. 16-17).

Note: these are not words that would come from someone who has been born again by the Word of God and has the Spirit of God in him/her. In this scenario, Rebecca says she asks God to let His wrath fall on her instead of Elaine and it so happened.

She cites Moses as an example, but Moses didn’t suffer in his body or spirit for Israel. There’s no scriptural precedent for God pouring His wrath on His children, let alone an innocent child for the sake of a guilty child.

There’s no scriptural evidence that God would destroy one of His children for not entering into a covenant. And there’s no scriptural precedent for God forcing anyone to enter into a covenant with Him. All His covenants are open to rejection or acceptance.

God never forces himself on anyone, let alone send an angel to kill someone who refused to enter into a proposed covenant. We have one God and one Mediator, Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). His blood cleanses us from our sins, not a woman’s idea of self-sacrifice.

  1. Guardian angels

The angel also told me that God created all his angels with so much love that every person has a special guardian angel who guards him or her because he has so much love for that individual that he petitioned the Father for the job of guarding him from his birth” (He Came, p.127).

The idea of every individual having a guardian angel from birth is unbiblical. Here’s what the Bible says: “Are not angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14)

There’s no mention here or elsewhere in scripture of a special guardian angel given to each person. Angels are ministers only to the heirs of salvation. When the Bible says “He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways,” it was specifically referring to God’s people (Ps. 91:11).

Rebecca said she accepted the angel’s teachings because no fallen angel can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. She based this on 1 Cor. 12:3, but she was in error: this verse applies to men, not to spirits of deception.

The historical context of the verse mandated that expression of faith, but the test today is not whether someone says “Jesus is Lord,” but whether what they teach is wholly backed up by the Bible (Gal. 1:8).

  1. Covenanting with God

God makes a covenant with each of us when we ask Jesus to forgive our sins and to become our Lord and Savior and Master … [God still] desires to make a covenant with us even as He did with Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua and so on…” (Prepare, 25).

This is not quite accurate. Jesus established the new covenant with His disciples and commissioned them to invite whosoever will to enter into that covenant (Matt. 26:28; Jer. 31:33-34). There is only one covenant. We do not all have separate covenants in Jesus’ blood, although we have individual relationships with the Father through that one covenant.

When we make Jesus our Lord and Saviour and Master, then we don’t need to make other covenants like Noah, Abraham or Moses did with God because the new covenant is “superior” to theirs and is “founded on better promises” (Heb. 8:6).

Indeed, there could be times when God would lead individuals in a specific assignment and attach certain promises to it, that may be called a “covenant” in a sense, but the type Rebecca teaches is a deliberate kind of formal oath that Christians must enter into with God. God doesn’t require such oaths (Matt. 5:34-37). Besides, God is sovereign; He’s not bound by any covenant we initiate.

She continues: “My first covenant with the Lord was at the time of my salvation. My second covenant was when I made Jesus the total Master in my life by making that total commitment. I was the initiator of these two covenants.”

This statement betrays her lack of understanding of the new covenant. She has it backwards. At salvation, God initiates a covenant with us through Christ’s blood. Making Christ Lord and Master over our lives is part of that agreement.

One cannot enter the new covenant in Christ’s blood without making Him Lord (Rom. 10:9-10). The idea that Jesus can be our Saviour without being our Lord is in error. Where it becomes apparent that her idea of covenanting is legalistic is seen on page 32:

I anguished over the decision for about a week, counting the cost as best as I could. I knew without a doubt that once I made such a covenant, there would be no opportunity for backing out … If I did, I would lose my relationship with the Lord.”

The new covenant is based on grace. We have access to God the Father through the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of grace. It’s heretical to teach that God would condition our salvation on entering into an oath with Him.

Even Rebecca’s personal life evinced her deceptive doctrines. She had claimed God told her to be covenanted to Him and not get married, but she later says God released her from that covenant and commanded her to marry Daniel Yoder (Standing on the Rock, Solid Rock Family Enterprises, 2002, 33, 82).

  1. Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Perhaps in a bid to impress Jack Chick who had much gripe against Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, Rebecca goes out of her way to misrepresent their traditions in order to demonise them.

On page 176 of her second book, she tells a story of a Christian lady named “Lea” who met a woman who tried “to get her to speak in tongues” and when she couldn’t, “the woman told her she was grieving the Holy Spirit. The woman accused Lea of refusing to let Him speak through her in tongues.”

No informed Pentecostal would say the Holy Spirit “speaks through people in tongues,” a more accurate expression would be to “speak as the Spirit gives utterance” (cf. Acts 2:4)

After Lea was prayed for by a guest pastor, she began to speak in tongues. Rebecca said Lea received a demon of false tongues because “she subjected herself to a person whom she did not know, accepting whatever he chose to give her.” On the contrary, it’s the Lord who baptises with the Holy Spirit not man (Lk. 3:18).

Jesus said “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Lk. 11:11-13).

It falls outside the sphere of biblical and balanced thought to posit that when a Believer prays to God to be filled with the Holy Spirit, he/she will receive a demon because the person ministering to him is not known. Our God is not so weak as to leave us unprotected even when we are ignorant. Rebecca’s stories present a warped picture of God

Again on page 181 she throws out another straw man about speaking in tongues: “This is probably the area where Satan has had the greatest success in our day … People involved in TM and many other forms of Eastern meditation speak in tongues.

This is an argument anti-Christians use: “If pagans pray to their gods, then prayer is of pagan origin!” In Transcendental Meditation and other form of Eastern meditation, folks don’t “speak in tongues.” What they chant is called “mantra” and its concept is far different from speaking in tongues as taught by Scripture.

  1. Counter-petitioning Satan

Still on her second book, Rebecca tells of being taken up to heaven where Satan was petitioning God to allow him sacrifice her and Elaine at the Black Mass and she presented a written covenant to counter petition him (Prepare, 22). This is what she calls “counter petitioning Satan.”

She says, “Satan is daily standing before God asking him for various people on the Earth” (Closet #2 A). But she gets alerted by God whenever Satan is petitioning Him for someone or something within the sphere of her work and ministry.

Satan can do so much because God’s people don’t bother to counter-petition his requests.” Because God is just, “He must grant Satan his petition if it is not contested.” (Prepare, pp. 98, 146).

In Standing on the Rock, while Daniel was repenting and praying over his sins, Rebecca claims to be transported in spirit to God’s throne room where Satan was present as well:

Suddenly, as Daniel reached about the fifth ritual, I realized that each ritual was indeed being wiped out!” and then she petitioned God “that Satan will not be permitted to kill or torture him or destroy him [Daniel] in revenge for turning to [Him]” (p. 81).

Where does this leave Jesus Christ our Mediator? Where does this leave His blood of the new covenant? In her visions, she doesn’t see Jesus our High Priest mediating or interceding for Believers before God, she sees herself petitioning on behalf of other Christians. Isn’t that suspicious?

When God allowed Satan to afflict Job and sift Peter, it was to test their faithfulness – and they were restored without being taken to heaven to “counter petition Satan”. To conclude from these two cases that God must honour Satan’s petitions on His people is bad theology.

His Word says “the Father himself loves you” (Jn. 16:27). The Bible shows us over and over how God protects His people from harm and evil orchestrated by the devil. When Satan accused Joshua the high priest, God sent His angel to take away his filthy garments and put on him a rich garment (Zech. 3:1-4). No need for “counter petitioning Satan.”

As Jesus was facing the cross He said: “Now the prince of this world is driven out” (Jn. 12:31). He also said: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Lk. 10:18). Through the blood of Jesus we have peace with God and have become “members of God’s household” (Eph. 2:19). God loves His household!

Yet, in Rebecca’s fifth book, her warped idea is seen in what her “Father” tells her: “Satan’s kingdom is so unified and so persistent and their petitions so numerous that if you don’t do something I will have to honour their petition and allow you to be killed” (Standing, p. 163).

So her “God” answers the prayers of witches and Satanists! Believe me, this book is a riot. Her materials depict a weak Jesus and a powerful Satan and that’s exactly what Satan wishes to plant in the mind of Christians.

Go to Part III