KINGDOM POWER IN THE HANDS OF THE CHURCH
Some of the stones in ancient Jerusalem's walls weighed 570 tons, were forty-five feet long, fifteen feet wide, and twelve feet high. It was in reference to these immense blocks that Jesus shocked the disciples when He said, “Not one stone shall be left upon another.” Matthew 24:2. His warning seemed incredible. Impossible. But more than any other being--Jesus understood the meaning of “power” in both the physical and spiritual realms. He possessed both. Of Himself, He said, “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and on earth ...” Matthew 21:18.
When Pontius Pilate--representing Roman authority and the “Kingdoms of this world”--said to Jesus, “Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?" Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.” John 19:10-11. Pilate saw the extent of his own power in an exaggerated way; Jesus saw it for its’ true limitation and failure. Surprisingly, Jesus extended His heavenly power to the disciples when He said, “Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19. This offer of supernatural power is one which Jesus has never withdrawn. The modern Church, however, weighted under centuries of doctrinal dispute and despair, can no longer accept Jesus’ words as true. Amazingly, pagan Rome believed in its power and purpose more than the modern church believes in the promises of God. The New Testament explains the Church’s “Kingdom authority”:
“The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” Romans 16:20.
“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power ... For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4, 4:20.
“For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit ...” 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11.
The day the Roman General Titus laid siege to Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and brought Jewish nationalism to crushing defeat, one of the power-weapons he used against the city was a gigantic battering-ram named Nico. In a very real sense, the title Nico was prophetic and still speaks to the church today. It means "conqueror". Nico is the same word used in the Greek text of Revelation 2:15, where Jesus speaks to the church in Pergamos of His hatred for the "doctrine of the Nicolaitans.” The word Nicolaitan is a combination of the words, nico, i.e., "conqueror", and laos, meaning "laity", or people of the congregation. The message of these combined words is obvious. In the only instance in Scripture where Jesus is described as hating something, it is used here. He hates the doctrines and deeds that enslave the saints. He not only purchased freedom for them but equipped them with authority to sustain it.
Many of the military-towers which Titus erected against the walls of Jerusalem were over seventy-five feet tall. Some even had wheels and were portable. Such was the ingenuity of ancient warfare; Rome conquered because of its overwhelming military superiority. When the Jewish War was over, not one Temple block was left standing upon another. Titus dismantled everything. This was precisely what Jesus had foretold would happen. Matthew 24:2.
Ancient battering-rams, such as Nico, were usually assembled by invading armies at the battle site and consisted of immense wooden platforms overlaid with iron plates. This metal-covering protected the scaffolding from enemy fire. The ram itself consisted of a huge log, suspended horizontally by chains, that could be swung back and forth by squadrons of men holding onto ropes below. As the huge butt-end struck the wall and bounced back, the men maintained a rhythm much like the pendulum of a clock. The slamming of the ram against individual stones was important, but of equal value was the fact that the constant thudding set up a vibration that affected the molecular structure of the whole wall. Though unknown to the Romans, they employed a principle of physics which would not be identified until much later times. It is this: Energy stored in the log by the "rhythm of input" was transferred into the wall at the instant of impact. This sudden impact overcame what is known as the "moment of inertia" in the stone.
Initially, in the log's striking the stone, it appeared that nothing happened. That, however, was not the case. Though unseen, the energy in the log instantly transferred into the stone. This same pattern occurs in the realm of spiritual warfare: The natural eye may see nothing happening when in reality the kingdom of darkness has been shaken to its core.
Hear this carefully: The power of the Holy Spirit is often transferred through the laying-on-of-hands in such shattering force that a demonic stronghold is instantly jarred to its center. As with the ram’s first blow to the stone this may not be outwardly visible. The receiver, as well as the one ministering, must understand that the power of God operates in a realm beyond their sight. It is not confined to the limits of human sense. In other words, the Holy Spirit works in power in the spiritual realm even though others do not see it.
Keeping in mind that stones in Jerusalem's walls weighed 570 tons--yet were dismantled and pushed aside by the Roman Army--helps us realize the tremendous energy released by the battering-ram. Ultimately, it was battering-rams like Nico, mere wooden scaffolds supporting ordinary logs, manned by teams of soldiers, empowered by a principle of physics, that penetrated Jerusalem's walls and brought the city to defeat.
The fact that Jerusalem's stones were larger, heavier, and stronger than the battering-ram, did not alter the fact that they still had to move. Darkness cannot resist light, death cannot resist life, so the stationary rock wall could not resist the impact of the log. In a parallel way, when the authority of Scripture, spoken by a believing disciple, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, is brought against a demonic stronghold, there is an immediate effect. Outwardly, hell may pretend that it has not happened but inwardly it knows that it has; best of all, the kingdom of darkness panics with the attack. If the saints proceed in faith, believing what their eyes cannot see, and do not quit the battle early, they will win. When believers follow God's battle plans, it is impossible for them to lose.
Jesus' gift of Divine Blood redeemed us from sin, from the hand of the enemy, and from the curse of the law. In addition to these, He made available to us other amazing gifts for spiritual warfare. Here are three:
1. The position of sonship in the Kingdom,
2. The ministry-gifts of the Holy Spirit,
3. The authority of the written Word of God.
These three provisions are ultimate endowments of power. Not only so, but each contains a plethora of accompanying grace-gifts. It is therefore totally unnecessary that the saints become prey to the devil's attack. Quite the opposite, it is Jesus' intention that the offensive of warfare be turned against Satan. Three times, in a progressive extension of His own power, Jesus gave this authority to the saints. First, He gave it to the twelve Apostles. Luke 9:1. Secondly, He gave it to the seventy evangelists. Luke 10:1. Lastly, He gave it to all believers. Mark 16:17,18. Significantly, we find that all whom Jesus sent to preach were equipped with power to cast out unclean spirits. It was because of this established pattern that Paul wrote the Romans that "the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly." Romans 16:20. God always does the crushing. That is absolute fact. But it is equally true that He does it under the feet of the believers. If Satan is not being crushed it is because the Church is not carrying out its mission. Demons are forcibly exorcized wherever the Kingdom of God is present. Matthew 12:28.
We have the exact parallel of God and the saints functioning together in the Old Testament account of Israel's victory over the giants of Anak. Moses identified this two-fold aspect very carefully: "Therefore understand today that the Lord your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire.
(1) He will destroy them and (2) bring them down before you; (3) so you shall drive them out (4) and destroy them quickly ..." Deuteronomy 9:3. Two things were to happen: God would destroy them and drive them out, but, identically, Israel also was to "drive them out and destroy them." Though it is not apparent in most of our English translations, in this verse the Hebrew language uses two different words which are translated as "destroy". The first, referring to God's destruction of Anak, means a total annihilation of the enemy's presence and power; the second use of the word "destroy" in regard to Israel, denotes a less violent operation but still necessary part of God's total battle plan. The point is that in the Old Testament as well as the New, God works in cooperation with His people. Paul portrays the same principle in Romans 16:20: "The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly." God does the crushing but He does it under the feet of His Church. Jesus said, "I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy." The analogy of treading upon the enemy implies that the enemy is under the feet of the Church. Satan's power is therefore subordinate to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. It cannot and will not be otherwise. Again, the Old Testament gives us the physical example of this spiritual truth when Joshua ordered his captains of war to stomp their feet on the necks of the five heathen kings. Joshua 10:22-26. The number five is significant in regards to Satan's kingdom. This is identified for us in Ephesians 6:12. 1) Principalities. 2) Powers. 3) Rulers of the darkness of this world. 4) Spiritual wickedness in high places. 5) Satan. Significantly, the five-pointed star of the pentagram is used as a power-symbol in Satanism and various forms of witchcraft.
The Jewish Wars were neither theoretical nor philosophical; they were literal, bloody confrontations between avowed enemies. By contrast, the invisible-warfare to which New Testament believers are called is wholly spiritual. The Apostle Paul revealed our dependence on Old Testament truth when he said, "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." Romans 15:4. Identical to the Church’s Five-Fold Ministry, Israel’s spiritual structure rested on a Five-Fold priestly foundation: Aaron and his 4 sons. Exodus 28:1. Leviticus. 8. Beginning with Abraham, the following Scriptures illustrate Israel’s five-fold opposition of which I speak:
1. Abraham fought 5 Kings in the Valley of Siddim. Genesis 14:19.
2. Moses' warred with the 5 Kings of Midian. Numbers 31:8.
3. Israel battled the 5 Kings of the Amalakites. Exodus 17:9.
4. Joshua killed the 5 Kings of the Amorites. Joshua 10:16-26.
5. Israel was vexed by the 5 Lords of the Philistines. Joshua 13:3.
6. Israel was constantly attacked by the 5 capital cities of Philistia: I Samuel 6.
7. David chose 5 stones for his battle with Goliath and his 4 brothers. I Samuel 17:40.
8. Prophetically: Joseph had 5 of his brothers stand before Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Genesis 47:2.
Jesus forever settled the question regarding the Seat of Power with His declaration to the early Church that "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations ... teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19,20. The sincere Bible student gladly acknowledges that Jesus not only occupies the Throne of Kingdom Authority but also intended all nations to be taught "all things" which He had given the first disciples. Doctrinally speaking, there is no such thing as an Apostolic Church and a post-Apostolic Church with different Scripture, rules, enemy, and power. Regardless of the age or nation there is simply the “Church,” the “gospel,” and the “power.”
Kingdom authority endows us with power-tools far greater than Rome’s battering-ram. But unlike Rome, which demanded total cooperation from its troops and absolute unison in the men operating the battering ram, the Church is broken into thousands of competitive groups. Figuratively, a town with ten Churches has men pulling the rope in ten different directions. Rhythm is totally lost and the devil’s strongholds feels no impact from the ram. The result is failed warfare and a defeated army. But, thank God!, it is this disunity and division which the Holy Spirit is correcting in our day. All such discord exists only in the earth-bound Church; no such conditions exist in the Kingdom of God. Across the globe, Churches and pastors are suddenly preaching the “Kingdom Message”! Become one of them!
If you are rejecting Kingdom power to protect your position as a “Church” believer or preacher, stop it! Stop it now! You are helping delay the gospel’s victory in the earth. Get on the rope and pull with others in God’s army. The battering-ram which God entrusted to us is far greater than anything Rome ever imagined. If we fail in ministry it will be because we did not properly take our place with Heaven’s Battering-Ram! Chas
My Dear Brother Charles, Greetings and blessings to you this wonderful day of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I sat this AM in Bangkok, Thailand at the Christian Guest House I began reading your June 2017 Gentle Conquest concerning Christians Today Experience The Powers of the Age to Come.
Oh, how I wish someone had boldly shared these truths with me in my college and early seminary days. Thankfully, in 1970 by God’s grace and mercy I was lifted from the depths of “intellectual Christianity” and powerfully thrust forward toward a new dimension that I had been taught all through my education journey had passed.
PRAISE THE LORD, they were wrong. From that day in the spring of 1970 on my knees at Southern Seminary as God’s spirit gently broke me and then guided me into a dimension of walking by faith that I had never known, until today, our Heavenly Father through the work of the Holy Spirit has guided and taught me to “seek first the Kingdom” and then other things begin to make sense.
I know you get many letters of encouragement but I wanted to simply add my few to those of others and say “thank you more than words can express” for your kind, powerful, scripture centered instructions passed on to so many of us over the years. I pray the presence of God’s Holy anointing will increase powerfully in the days ahead as you continue to serve and instruct. Your monthly teaching in the Gentle Conquest feed many and nurture us to press forward for the “much more” of God’s power for today.
God Bless you my friend, Glenn Sheppard