We can dance wholeheartedly before God and still be bound. Too many in the church have hindrances in the mind which prevents us from walking fully in the light/life with which God has called. These can & must be dealt with by the power of God, for God is preparing His people at this hour for the days ahead.
This past night, I had a dream that I was in a shopping mall (which is strange for me as I hate shopping). The store was filled with people buying this and that. Then, a loud voice was heard. It was like it was being spoken over a loud speaker, but it wasn't. The timber & depth of the voice was extremely loud, but it was as if you were hearing it from inside yourself and it reverberated within your soul. As I (and everyone else) turned to see who was speaking, there stood the Grim Reaper towering over the people with the machete held high in his hand. The store erupted in agonizing screams as people ran everywhere looking for cover, but there was no place to hide. This spirit of death marched on after the people and the fear from man was palpable.
As I woke up, three thoughts occurred to me:
- "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:37-39
Before God's judgment came in Noah's day, the people were oblivious to the coming storms. They were going about life as if nothing was happening, in spite of the fact that God had been warning them (II Peter 2:5, 3:20; Hebrews 11:7). They simply didn't believe. Each day they awoke with that day being the same as the last. Because there was no tangible difference, they assumed that time was continuing for them unabated. They assumed that they always had tomorrow.
This is the sense I got in the dream. The shoppers were oblivious to what was about to happen, merely getting caught up in their purchases and plans for tomorrow.
- "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Jesus] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Hebrews 2:14
The first time I read this Scripture many years ago, it stuck with me. I asked God, "Are you saying that the common denominator among men staying in bondage to the devil is that man has a fear of Death? Man is afraid to die?" For some reason, this seemed a strange thing to me. I don't know, I guess I expected some deep reason, but fear of death?
Yet, we know that the nature of fallen man invests all that he is in sustaining and glorifying life in this present, evil world. It is the temporary life that Satan tries to get you concerned about and wrapped up in; it is the same which he uses to try and distract you through entertainment. Anything but have the eternal life available to you in Christ Jesus become more real to you than life in this world. This is why God says whoever finds his (eternal) life must lose his (soulish) life (Matthew 10:39).
In any regard, this fear of the Grim Reaper (a spirit of death) was very real in the dream. People were terrified and you could literally feel it.
- Who can stand against it? As (spiritual & physical) death is released on people, who is prepared to stand? Who is able to confront that evil spirit in the name of Jesus Christ and save souls from its clenching hands? Moe importantly for me, can I stand in such times? And if not, then why not?
In the dream, everyone heard the voice of Grim Reaper who stated, "If only you had known my name." It was like he was taunting the people, indicating that they could have been in a position to stop him, but they were in ignorance. They had not known or believed that there was such an adversary and as a result, they were powerless against him. Even some who claimed to know Jesus ran fleeing from the Grim Reaper, never having really been transformed into the image of Christ and equipped to stand.
In Revelation, God speaks of the king of the demonic hordes released on mankind and says that his name is Abaddon in the Hebrew, or Apollyon in the Greek.
Abaddon: "destruction"; the name of the angel-prince of the infernal regions, the minister of death and the author of havoc on the earth.
Apollyon: "Destroyer", the angel of the bottomless pit, the Destroyer
When I awoke from the dream, I was led to read through Hebrews Chapter 2. While there is lots of meat in that Chapter, certain things stood out at me:
- We must not take lightly the truths God has given us about who He is and the way of salvation. Doing so could cause us to "slip" in our faithfulness to Him and result in us neglecting this great salvation. We must be diligent. (verses 1-3)
- We need the power of the Holy Spirit. This is not an option but is required in order to be able to confront the enemy and release folks from his kingdom. The Holy Spirit breaks the captivity. (verse 4)
- We have the authority in Christ Jesus to do this, and we must. Saving souls is not about changing what people believe but is literally about translating people from one power (darkness) to another (light). It is a confrontation, a war for souls, and we must be ready in spiritual armor in order to engage that enemy and spoil his goods. (verses 7-8)
- We can expect some suffering in the flesh, but this is what will help grow us up in God so that we can be more prepared in the battle. (verses 9-10)
- In it all, we can be encouraged to sing praises to God for the mighty things He has done through & in us by His Son Jesus. (verse 12-18)
This is also my prayer for the meetings next week. As many of you know, there are fellowship meetings occurring in Atlanta from January 6th - 8th. If you feel that you have lost that zeal for the Lord, or you simply want to connect with other believers of a like & precious faith to be stirred up all the more, please consider coming. I am personally praying that these meetings can be just the start of what God will do through His church in this next year. This request is not about raising up any particular person or congregation, but about individual members of the Body of Christ having a renewal of purpose in Christ and coming together to seek God's face to be empowered for that purpose. If there are financial hardships, please call the church to see what is possible. Members are sponsoring others who cannot afford it and some attendees are staying in the homes of members to help defray costs. A lot of times, we do not receive because we do not ask (James 4:2).
Lastly, I don't think it was coincidental that the spirit of death appeared in the dream as a Grim Reaper. I highly recommend a couple of articles done by Omega Church & Ministries Center about the Grim Reaper and its relevance to the present-day Church: Part 1 and Part 2. Please take some time to read these.
I am not one who posts a lot about dreams and visions. However, when I feel like there is something worth sharing I do. I pray that you reflect upon this message and take it to the Lord for anything He might have you to know in it.
In the meantime, may the peace of God be with you and His holy fire burn with increasing intensity within you.