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The Persecuted Church

 

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Joel's Army

Remember the song that went, "Oh when the saints, come marchin' in, oh when the saints come marchin in, Lord I want to be in that number when the Saints come marchin' in." This is not the tune you'll find Joel's army sings because they are not looking to be brought up to Jesus but waiting for Christ (the anointing) to be brought down upon them to march through the land.

The church that once looked toward being taken away to heaven (Jn.14) has been taught by some to change her focus. In about the mid-70's a triumphalist post-millennial doctrine appeared. Instead of watching for the blessed coming of the Lord the goal became to establish the Kingdom on earth. Doctrines about the rapture, tribulation, an end time apostasy with a literal personal Antichrist were taught as deceptions. Without a tribulation ahead, there is no need to be vigilant, discerning or watchful. With no apostasy, there is no need to look for deception, only blessing. The desire for heavenly things has faded out, and Restorationist Christians no longer "look up". They look around them and consider how to transform the world and rule over it. When Christ comes back they will hand over a Christian earth.

"In all revolutions there are noisy and dangerous times as THE OLD ORDER Is replaced by the now ... after the dust settles. WE CAN PROCEED TO BUILD the beautiful kingdom that the Lord has purposed from the foundations of the World" - Vinson Synan, one of the leaders of A.D. 2000 (FULNESS, Jan - Feb. 1990. Vinson Synan. p. 24.)

Many believe Israel was replaced by the Church in prophecy despite it brought back into its land and the city of Jerusalem reclaimed in 1967. The focus of attention became the earth, rather than the eternal heavenly kingdom. The blessings of God are now, instead of rewards later. The nations and all people are to be Christianized. Taking the nations for God will be accomplished by becoming an army fighting a war against spiritual hosts of wickedness and driving them out of the land. With our newly discovered powers that are taught by the new leaders (apostles and prophets)we can now bind and loose the wicked ones and punish evil.

Ern Baxter said in 1975:.We have individual salvation - but in the nation we have corporate salvation...God’s people are going to start to exercise rule and they’re going to take dominion over the power of Satan. As the rod of his strength goes out of Zion, he will change legislation, he will chase the devil off the face of God’s earth and God’s people will bring about God’s purposes and God’s reign. (MacPherson "Can The Elect Be Deceived" 1986)

Deliverance is now throughout cities and nations as well as Christians. Despite there is no example or teaching that a Christian can be so inhabited some of the best selling books are all about this.(oppression is not the same as possession) Through their teaching,  demonization in Christians was also birthed and deliverance ministries through exorcism by the laying on of hands.

Not all Dominionists, Charismatics and restorationists  believe the same things, especially how it is to be accomplished. Few still believe in a rapture, but there are many variables.   So I'm not addressing all but a certain group that has mainly been affiliated with the Vineyard and the prophet/apostle movement from Kansas City and the Latter Rain teachers.

The latter Rain is run on the rail of misinterpreted Scriptures and spiritualizing their context. Hosea 6:3 tells us the Lord will come as the Latter Rain, and James 5:7 speaks of the Latter Rain, but ties it together with the coming of the Lord. The "former and latter rain" refers to the agricultural calendar of the land of Israel although it has a spiritual truth. The latter rain was essential for bountiful crop harvest in Israel. This corresponds to the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost as Peter proclaimed this is like that of Joel but was not the ultimate fulfillment. Joel 2:23 also speaks of a harvest of abundance. But the modern interpreters have given Joel's army new significance. Joel's army will purge the earth (the cleansing) of all wickedness and rebellion and even judge the apostate Church (which is those who do not join their fraternity of miracle workers). They will overcome death itself, they will redeem all creation, and restore the earth. The Church will inherit the earth, and rule the nations all before Christ comes back. When he (Jesus) does come we are to hand the kingdom over to him and he will say job well done, enter into the kingdom. The real Joel's army in Joel 2 does NO miracles and marches strictly through the land of Israel making destruction, there is no blessing from Joel's army marching. If one reads through about Joel's army they find that they will be destroyed in the end.

Because Joel's army is called God's army they think that they are his people. they may be doing Gods will but they certainly are not his Church or saints. In the same way Cyrus was called Gods shepherd Isa.44:28 he was given all the kingdoms of the earth Ezra 1:2, 2 chron.36:23,  He was called Gods anointed Isa. 45:1"Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held-- to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut." Sounds familiar? Nebuchadnezzar was also called Gods servant Jer. 43:10"and say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will set his throne above these stones that I have hidden. And he will spread his royal pavilion over them."One must consider the actions of these men's teachings in light of what Joel is actually saying. So despite their new interpretation, the Bibles definition still stands. They may be called Gods army but they are not his people. Joel's army is the raising up of a devouring army of locusts, (destroyers) to bring judgement upon the land. Whether its Israel or the church, its not good.

Much of this is being preached from the pulpits big and small without the congregant's ever blinking. Without being able to identify phrases they don't know what they are ingesting. Many churches have turned into Latter Rain churches by default or influence, some knowingly and some not.

Benny Hinn shows his latter Rain ties with "The lord said this , this is where my people will rise up as an army and bring millions into the kingdom of God." (Benny Hinn Honolulu Blaisdale Jan.21 1999)

Jack Deere states "This army is unique…when this army comes , its large and mighty. it's so mighty that there has never been anything like it before. Not even when, Moses not even David, not even Paul . what's going to happen, now will transcend what Paul did, what David did what Moses did

Rick Joyner teaches ""What is about to come upon the earth is not just a revival, or another awakening; it is a veritable revolution. The vision was given in order to begin to awaken those who are destined to radically change the course, and even the very definition of Christianity. The dismantling of organizations and disbanding of some works will be a positive and exhilarating experience for the Lord's faithful servants...the Lord will raise up a great company of prophets, teachers, pastors and apostles that will be of the spirit of Phinehas ... this "ministry of Phinehas" will save congregations, and at times, even whole nations. …Nations will tremble at the mention of their name..."(THE HARVEST, Rick Joyner)

Notice Its not the name of Jesus they will tremble at but THEIR NAME. All this from a vision to awaken the destined.

So if one does not involve themselves in this then they are not faithful servants. But our attention should be on the statement of changing the course and definition of Christianity. What person in all of history has ever said this? Certainly Martin Luther's contribution was to bring the Church back to its correct doctrine and purpose. Is this what Joyner and others mean? Certainly not, as we look at the following statements of explaining what they want it to be like.

"In the near future we will not be looking back at the early church with envy because of the great exploits of those days, but all will be saying that He certainly did save the best wine for last. The most glorious times in all of history have not come upon us. You, who have dreamed of one day being able to talk with Peter, John and Paul, are going to be surprised to find that they have all been waiting to talk to you." (Rick Joyner, The Harvest Morning Star, 9, 1990)

This means the apostles were not special in starting the Church and having divine miracles, we are. Think about the ramifications of this proposal. This means if the Church began with them and today's Church with its SUPER apostles and prophets will do greater things. Then the Church really begins all over again.

Nowhere does Scripture teach that the Church will do wonders like this in the end. Jesus actually WARNED that these signs and wonders at the end are to DECEIVE THE ELECT.(MT.24) Is anyone paying attention to the Scripture and the time we are living in?

Mormons are not the only ones who have false modern apostles. John a true apostle said the Church did. Rev.2:2 "And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;" Notice John says they have tested them. Paul said the Church did as well 2 Cor. 11:13 "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ." Notice Paul says they transform themselves to look like they do. How? By their teaching, authority and could very well have had manifestations of power.

" The early church was a firstfruits offering, truly this will be a harvest! It was said of the Apostle Paul that he was turning the world upside down; it will be said of the apostles soon to be anointed that they have turned an upside down world right side up." (Rick Joyner, The Harvest, 128-129) So from what I can gather Joyner says that they are going to reverse what the Apostle Paul did.

Peter Wagner has recently written a book called the New Apostolic Churches which explains the new Apostolic Spirit that is raising international leaders. It is from these Churches that the new Christianity will go forth and be implemented throughout the world.

We are not talking about those who plant churches or are leaders of movements or denominations, but those who claim Spiritual authority JUST LIKE the Apostles, by revelations and miracles. This boasting before the facts is a constant theme throughout these men's writings.

Joseph Smith of the Mormons in May 1844 proclaimed this: "I have more to boast of than any man ever had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a church together since the days of Adam.…Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I." While the boasting may be for slightly different reasons essentially, the end result is the same. Some will do what even the apostles were unable to do.

Jack Deere explains Joel 2 in the context of Ezekiel 9: "When this army comes, He says it’s large and it’s mighty. It’s so mighty that there’s never been anything like it before…‘begin the slaughter and begin it in the temple and begin it with the elders, the leaders of my people.’ And they walk through the land and they start and they begin to slaughter and you know it’s already started with the biggest names in His household? He has already started the slaughter…and it is coming now among the Church."( It Sounds Like the Mother of All Battles, Jack Deere, VMI, Joel’s Army, 1990, "Joel’s Army")

'' ...this army is totally unique. This army, there's never been one like it and there never will be one like it in ages to come. ...Its so mighty that there's never been anything like it before. Not even Moses, not even David, not even Paul. What's going to happen now will transcend what Paul did, what David did .. what Moses did, even though Moses parted the Red Sea ... there'll be a numerous company. . , Revelation hints at this when it talks about the 144,000 that follow the Lamb wherever He goes and no one, no one can harm that 144,000. See, that's a multiple of 12. What's 12? Twelve is the number of the Apostles, 12 is Apostolic government. And when you take an important number in the Bible and you multiply if, it means you intensify it. So, 12, 000 times 12, 000 = 144,000. That is the ultimate in Apostolic government. Revelation talks about that. Well, here Joel is talking about it now in different words, a powerful, a MIGHTY ARMY with many Paul's many Moses', many David's." ( VINEYARD MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL 1990.)

This is portraying an "elite" special group which is exactly what the Jehovah's Witnesses teach. The Jehovah's Witnesses claim that they are the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14. Both The JW's And Deere are wrong. The Bible means just what it says in this instance, they are Jews from the 12 tribes who are evangelists not an army and certainly not a destructive one as in Joel. This genuine Revival they are waiting for (as the main participants) is introduced by the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish Evangelists. Those who respond to their message will literally lose their head over it.

Terry Virgo, in "Restoration in the Church" says this is about God visiting the Church! It is treated as the coming of the GLORY of Christ, in the Latter Rain visitation, not the physical coming. And "the result of that visitation is that the poor misguided flock is UNITED and transformed into a majestic war-horse - a great vehicle of power and energy, a fearsome, awe-inspiring, effective tool of WAR. The sheep become "mighty men treading down the enemy in battle" … and the flock is TRANSFORMED CORPORATELY (they become the Corporate Christ).

As Jewel Grewe so clearly put it," The MANIFESTED SONS believe they are establishing a new and glorious Kingdom - led by a NEW BREED of men of women. The "Joel's Army" now individually manifest as Sons of God. would be revealed to the world as many "saviours" who would take dominion and execute judgment."

Jack Deere speak of an invincible army. He says, "...they won't be able to kill this army." John Wimber also stated, "those in this army will have the 'kind of anointing ... his kind of power ... anyone who wants to harm them must die".

Paul Cain says that out of this unity will come an army, Joel's Army, based on Joel 2: "I told you about ... this recurring [35 year-old] vision I had.... The angel of the Lord said, 'You're standing at the crossroads of life. What do you see?' And I saw a brilliantly lit billboard which reads, 'Joel's Army now in training.' . . . .I believe one day soon Joel's Army will be in training ... until it graduates into the stadium .... But a right understanding of the plan of God for this generation brings this tremendous inclusion.... God's offering to you, this present generation, a greater privilege than was ever offered any generation at any time from Adam clear down through the millennium."

"I had a vision of you people coming from . . . a circle of maybe a hundred miles and I saw people coming from every major city within that circumference and a great conclave was taking place, and it was the training of Joel's Army. . . . I believe that people are going to come together by the thousands and train for the Army of the Lord. Wouldn't that be wonderful? I mean, that's long overdue." (Grace Ministries tape)

Paul Cain has prophesied a day when sporting events throughout the world will be cancelled because the stadiums will be used for revival meetings. He says the Lord gave him this vision around the late fifties or early sixties ,and it his been repeated more than 100 times since then. This spectacular happening will see millions brought to Christ in a short period of time.

"I had a dream that became a recurring dream, and it was about all the stadiums - and we've told this hundreds and hundreds of time all across America, all over the world, in fact - and I saw these stadiums and football fields, soccer fields and sports arenas, all of them filled with thousands of people, sometimes over 100,000 in each place" (Christ Chapel, August 30, 1995). This is much more than what we have seen from Promise Keepers, in fact we may be only seeing the first of these gatherings .

I don't think everyone is in the same way involved but the statements seem uncannily the same. Coach McCartney wants unity and every church involved. In a Promise Keepers gathering in the Detroit Silver Dome stadium in April 1995, founder Bill McCartney, speaks of a great army like Cain and others, "We have a great army that we are assembling. They're the Christian men of this nation. However, our leadership, our clergy are not uniform. Our clergy are divided. . . . There's no unity of command. . . …We have to assume that responsibility. We have to say, 'Are we impacting our clergy in a way that's going to take them and make them all that they have to be in order to lead this army?' Because the shepherds are the ones God's chosen to lead us out of here" (Promise Keepers Meeting, April 29, 1995, Detroit Silver Dome).

The last time I read the Scripture it was Jesus who was the captain of the Lords army, and he was in charge then, as he is now in the Church. Who will be the leaders or leader of this Church army? We have no appointed Generals except self appointed ones today.God has made local church's as part of the universal Church, each is autonomous. None answer to a leadership that controls them all since they are to be called men in the pastorate listening to Gods direction for their communities as well as in the world.

'Why wouldn't you want to be a part of what God wants to do with His hand-picked leaders?' . . . I think Almighty God is going to rip open the hearts of our leaders. I think He's going to tear them open. And I think he's going to put them back together again as one. One leadership. We've got to have one leadership, one leadership only. We've got to have everybody hitting on all cylinders. There's only one race. It's the human race. There's only one culture. Its Christ before culture. Christ culture - that's all that there is." (Promise Keepers Meeting, April 29, 1995, Detroit Silver Dome).

Scripture verse for this? NONE

The bible says no such thing, it says the opposite. And it becomes a dangerous precedent when a few control the many, church or not!  Jesus said the field is the world. The wheat and tares grow up together. And we had better be able to distinguish the difference in our day. This concept of unity was tried by the Catholic Church to integrate religion with the state and politics. And it became the downfall of a Church that was kept pure by persecution. We may yet see the "holy wars" like the early Holy Roman Empire revived to try and produce what only Christ can as the Prince of Peace.

Rick Joyner who seems to be a main promoter of  an end time army wrote from his visions about "a bloody civil war" in the Church. (Latter Rain Revival, 1996) that the blues and the grays in his end-time war scenario in the church is that just likened to the American Civil war. He interprets this with "In dreams and visions blue often represents heavenly-mindedness – the sky is blue - and gray speaks of those who live by the power of their own minds – the brain is often called gray matter - This will be a conflict between those who may be genuine Christians, but who live mostly according to their natural minds and human wisdom, and those who follow the Holy Spirit." (Morningstar Prophetic Bulletin, 5/96 )

Spoken like a true Gnostic. First he has a dream of prophecy that is not biblical, then he himself interprets the meaning by the colors from dreams, which are from the view of his human understanding.

Joyner says, "I do not believe that this [prophecy] can now be stopped, or that the Lord wants it stopped" The main reason for the spiritual civil war is over the institution of spiritual slavery and " to drive the accuser out of the church, and for the church then to come into a unity that would otherwise be impossible." descriptions like 'this is the church's greatest victory, her finest hour, triumphantly marching, empowered for victory' are commonplace for those who want to assert Gods kingdom on earth now. But by this method the are exhibiting a master to slave relationship which operates on power. This is not the servitude that Christ said would be found in his followers.

Joyner contradicts himself by saying "Criticism is one of the ultimate manifestations of pride because, whenever we criticize someone else we are by that assuming that we are superior to them, Pride brings that which any rational human being should fear the most - God's resistance. We would be better off having all of the demons in hell resisting us than God!" (Epic Battles of The Last Days, p.23, Rick Joyner) That's exactly what Joel's army ends up to be, resisted by God and destroyed.

What I see in Joyner's writings is much criticism of the Church, but it is disguised as dreams and visions from the Lord for guidance. All one has to do is read his writings  and it won't be long before they see certain Christians demonized in graphic detail. To be rational one must use their mind, something of which he has already drawn a line in the sand on his own imaginary battlefield as the enemy. As he has accused the brethren of not being spiritual, even to the point of identifying the "Antichrist" as the orthodox church. (Weighed and Found Wanting, Bill Randles, p. 64.) As far as I'm concerned, criticism does not have to be severe, it can be advantageous to ones growth if it presents the truth and is done with right motive's.

May we have the full armor of God on as Joel's army begins to march and challenges the historic view of Christianity. Yes, there just may be a civil war, but it certainly would not be necessary if those who aggressively want to change the Church and the world by power would get back to the literal interpretation of the Scriptures for its guidance, and let God be God.

 

 

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