This message is adapted from Pastor Frangipane’s revised book, The Three Battlegrounds. As we considered how many political and religious leaders have fallen to immorality, as well as so many others, it seemed right to us that a fresh reminder of this enemy’s deception be added to our discernment.

Elijah, Jehu, and the War Against Jezebel

There is a war, a very ancient war, between the spirit of Elijah and the spirit of Jezebel. In this age-old battle, Elijah represents the interests of heaven: the call to repentance and the return to God. Jezebel, on the other hand, represents that unique principality whose purpose is to hinder and defeat the return of the church to God.

To The Victor Goes Our Nation
To understand the conflict between the Elijah spirit and the spirit of Jezebel, we must understand these two adversaries as they are seen in the Scriptures. Each is the spiritual counterpart of the other. Is Elijah bold? Jezebel is brazen. Is Elijah ruthless toward evil? Jezebel is vicious toward righteousness. Does Elijah speak of the ways and words of God? Jezebel is full of systems of witchcraft and words of deceit. The war between Elijah and Jezebel continues today. The chief warriors on either side are the prophets of both foes; to the victor goes the soul of our nation.

In the tradition of Samuel, Elijah was the head of the school of prophets. Under him were the sons of the prophets—literally hundreds of seers and prophetic minstrels—who proclaimed the Word of the Lord. In this war, however, Jezebel had viciously and systematically murdered all of God’s servants until only Elijah remained (see 1 Kings 18:22). Elijah, as the last of the prophets, then challenged the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the Asherah to a demonstration of power: their gods against the power of the Lord.

These 850 men were the false prophets, the satanic priests “who ate at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18:19). They were the most powerful, demonized individuals that the hosts of darkness could produce. King Ahab, Jezebel’s husband, sent a message out to “all the sons of Israel” (v. 20), and the nation came to witness the war between the God of Elijah and the demons of Jezebel.

The terms of the challenge were simple: Each was to place an ox upon an altar. Elijah then said, “You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, He is God” (v. 24). Six hours later the cult priests still could produce no fire; twelve hours passed and Elijah began to mock them, “Call out [to Baal] with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside . . . perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened” (v. 27). Then, just before evening, Elijah prayed over his sacrifice and “the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering.” The Scriptures continue: “When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God'” (vv. 38-39). Immediately after this powerful witness of the Lord, Elijah had the Hebrews secure the prophets of Baal and all of them were put to death.

We would suppose that, at this point, Elijah would have gone into Jezreel and asked God to finish off Jezebel, but he did not. In fact—and this may surprise you—Elijah came under spiritual warfare. When Jezebel heard what had happened to her servants, in a fit of rage she released a flood of witchcraft and demonic power against Elijah that put fear into his heart, and Elijah fled.

You may ask, How could such a mighty prophet turn and run? The answer is not simple. In fact, the situation worsened. We then see Elijah sitting under a juniper tree, bewailing that he is no better than his fathers—actually praying that he might die! (see 1 Kings 19:4) What pressure overwhelmed this great man of God that he would fall prey to fear and discouragement? He succumbed to the witchcraft of Jezebel.

And now, let the reader understand: When you stand against the principality of Jezebel, even though you resist her lusts and witchcrafts, you must guard against the power-demons of fear and discouragement, for these she will send against you to distract you from your warfare and your victory!

The Drama Continues . . .
It is a mystery, yet biblically true, that under certain conditions the Holy Spirit will transfer a leader’s anointing to one or more uniquely prepared people. This occurred when the Lord took the “Spirit who was upon [Moses], and placed the same upon the seventy elders” (Num. 11:24–25 NKJV). Again, we see the effect of this principle with Joshua, who “was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him” (Deut. 34:9). Of course, our very salvation reaps the reward of this precept, for Christ is not just a religion, but His actual Spirit and virtue have been imparted to us.

With this concept in mind, we can better accept how the spirit of Elijah was sent to minister through the person of John the Baptist. Once before, Elijah’s spirit had been placed upon another individual. You will remember that Elisha, the prophet who succeeded Elijah, received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (see 2 Kings 2:9-11). Now, again, the spirit of Elijah was ministering, activating, inspiring and creating in John the Baptist that same kind of intensity that dwelt in Elijah himself. John was to go “as a forerunner before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17).

Jesus said of the Baptist, “John himself is Elijah who was to come” (Matt. 11:14, see also 17:11-13). John even looked like Elijah. The spiritual influence of Elijah had returned to the world in the person of John the Baptist. Like Elijah, John proclaimed the need for repentance wherever he saw sin. One such area was in the adulterous lives of King Herod and his wife Herodias. When John confronted them, Herodias had him imprisoned (see Mark 6:17-18).

But who was this manipulating and working through the dark, psychic side of Herodias? As Elijah’s spirit ministered through John, so Jezebel had resurfaced through the rebellion of the seductress, Herodius. Remember, through Jezebel’s many witchcrafts (see 2 Kings 9:22), she attacked Elijah, causing fear and discouragement, which led to Elijah’s time of self-doubt and confusion. Now Herodius had come forcibly against the Baptist. This is the prophet who had visibly seen the Spirit descend upon Christ; he heard the Father’s audible voice announcing His beloved Son; he gazed with awe upon the purity of Israel’s Messiah. Now, fear and discouragement are weighing upon the prophet’s shoulders. Doubt floods his soul about Christ: “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” (Matt. 11:3).

“A strategic day came when Herod . . . gave a banquet” (Mark 6:21). “Strategic” is the perfect word to describe the timing of this event. For in this war between the spirits of Elijah and Jezebel, Herodias had her daughter dance before Herod, enticing out of him a promise to give whatever she asked. At her mother’s request—more truly, at Jezebel’s request—she demanded and received the head of the Baptist. And temporarily, the confrontation between the spirits of these two eternal enemies subsided.

Elijah Is Coming!
Two thousand years ago, Jesus stated that the ministry of Elijah was not over. He promised, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things” (Matt. 17:11). Also, Malachi the prophet wrote, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore . . .” (Mal. 4:5-6). Elijah is coming to war and restore. He came before the great day and he is returning before the terrible day of the Lord.

Remember, however, the principle of impartation. For today, even as God did with Elijah, Elisha and John the Baptist, the Lord is raising up an Elijah company of prophets, Spirit-filled men and women sent forth to prepare the way for the return of Christ!

Let it also be known that if Elijah is coming before Jesus returns, so also is Jezebel. Indeed, do you not see her in our land in the abundance of witchcraft and harlotries? Do you not hear her brazen voice rejecting God’s authority and exalting her rebellion in radical feminism? Have you not, with shame, beheld her as she caused God’s “bond-servants” to “commit acts of immorality” (Rev. 2:20)? Seeing Jezebel so blatantly manifest herself only confirms that the spirit of Elijah is also here bringing repentance and raising up warring prophets throughout our land. In fact, if you are going to serve God during the reign of a “Jezebel,” the warfare itself will thrust you into a prophetic anointing simply that you may survive!

In the Old Testament we see how God destroyed Jezebel. Jehu, the newly crowned king of Israel, was sent by the word of the Lord through Elijah’s successor, Elisha, to fulfill God’s promise. As Jehu and his men furiously drove their chariots toward Jezreel, the kings of Israel and Judah came out to meet him. They asked, “Is it peace, Jehu?” And he answered, “What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” (2 Kings 9:21-22) And Jehu slew the two kings. Immediately afterward, he rode into Jezreel to confront Jezebel.

The Word tells us that when she saw him, “She put paint on her eyes and adorned her head” and looking out an upper window, she called to him, “”Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?’ And he looked up at the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?’ So two or three eunuchs looked out at him. Then he said, “Throw her down.’ So they threw her down, and some of her blood splattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot” (2 Kings 9:30–33 NKJV).

There was something in Jehu’s spirit that we must possess today. While we must be compassionate toward those captured by her influence (see Rev. 2:21), we must show no mercy to the Jezebel spirit itself. Jehu offered Jezebel no hope for reform, no compromise whatsoever. So we must offer this demon no opportunity to probe our soul and unlock vulnerabilities to her “many witchcrafts.” She must be cast down from her high place of influence. Indeed, as she lay bleeding and near death, Jehu “trampled her underfoot!” Likewise, we must follow Christ and fearlessly walk upon this serpent, crushing it under our feet (see Luke 10:19; Rom. 16:20).

So also with us, we must have no tolerance whatsoever for this spirit. There can be no peace, no relaxing under our “fig tree” until the spirit of Jezebel is conquered! We must stop living for comfort as long as her harlotries and witchcrafts are so many in our land. We must refuse to settle for a false peace based on compromise and fear, especially when the Spirit of God is calling for war!

It is significant that the eunuchs cast her down. Some of you who are reading this have been made eunuchs, slaves to this evil spirit. Today, right now, God is giving you the privilege of participating in the eternal judgment against Jezebel. You cast her down! Side with God, and let the judgments of God come forth.

It is time for the prophets to unite against this spirit. Even now, we wash ourselves in the precious blood of Jesus. Under the anointing of Elijah, in the power of the Holy Spirit, let us arise in the indignation of Jehu and cast Jezebel down!

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, I submit my heart to You. In the name and authority of Jesus Christ, I turn now against the spirit of Jezebel. As a servant of Jesus Christ, I release those who have been Jezebel’s captives, even those reading my words right now! I speak to Jezebel’s “eunuchs”: if you are truly on the Lord’s side, then cast down your sympathetic thoughts toward this evil, cruel master, Jezebel! Renounce her evil imaginations from your mind! In the power of Jesus’ name, I release you from her psychic grip upon your soul. In the authority of the living Christ, walk free from the spirit of Jezebel! Amen.

–From The Three Battlegrounds

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anthony Weiner, Mark Sanford, Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Kobe Bryant, and on and on. The list of famous people who have fallen into adultery or sex scandals seems endless. Yet the sequence is always the same: temptation, moral failure, lying to cover up, initial exposure, more evidence mounts, more lies and, finally, public confession, tearful apologies and deep humiliation.

There may be many reasons for the breakdown of marital fidelity, but one primary issue is the influence of the Jezebel spirit. This spirit stimulates heightened sexuality, then exploits these unfulfilled desires in both men and women. It corrupts political leaders and church leaders alike. It runs rampant through the heated hormones of the young and, as a result, is a major cause of abortion.

The church needs to discern the influence of this spirit, especially since so much of Jezebel’s corruption occurs in the darkness and secrecy.


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Unrelenting Love

We simply must have more of Jesus. In the face of increasing wickedness in the world, human ideas have fallen short. Those who understand the hour are seeking God. Possessing more of Christ Himself is our only strategy and hope.

Yet, to seek God is to embark on a journey that will include obstacles and spiritual enemies along the way. We must not give ourselves reasons or excuses to fail.

As a pattern, therefore, we will look at the Song of Solomon 3:1-4. Here we find a bride and bridegroom who both are intolerant of the distance between them. The bride in the passage symbolizes the church in her deepest longings for Jesus; the bridegroom represents the Lord.

The bride: “On my bed night after night I sought him whom my soul loves.”

On the highest level, seeking God is an action born of love. It is not a matter only of discipline, it is first an awakening of desire. It is not a question of sacrifice but of the passions stirred by unrelenting love. The bride’s ability to sleep is gone because her beloved is gone. She must seek him, for such is the nature of love.

Some will say, “But I already know the Lord. I have found Him.” In reality, it was He who found us. Our salvation rests securely upon this truth. But while many rest upon Christ having found them, they have little interest in possessing a greater relationship with Him, nor do they realize His desire for us. The bride loves because Christ first loved her (1 John 4:19). She arises now to find Him. In the very love that He inspired, she pursues her beloved.

The apostle Paul wrote, “As many as are perfect, have this attitude” (Phil. 3:15). To seek and know Christ is the attitude of the mature; it is the singular obsession of Christ’s bride.

In this maturing process, there will come a point when your love for God will take ascendancy over mere intellectual or doctrinal understanding.
The bride of Christ cannot contain her longing or patronize her aching heart; she cannot simply adjust to feeling empty. There is simply no reconciling the passion of her soul with the absence of her beloved.

Note also that there is an unfolding dimension to seeking the Lord. Genuine love for God is an ever-increasing hunger. As one would die without food, so we feel we will die without Him. The bride says, “Night after night I sought him.” She has come to love the Lord with all her heart, with all her soul and with all her mind (Matt. 22:37). Her love has become all-consuming; to accept his absence is impossible.

Overcoming Resistance
Note: the Lord will allow obstacles and delays to deepen and test the character of our love. Thus, the bride acknowledges, “I sought him whom my soul loves. I sought him but did not and him.”

Her first attempts at seeking her beloved proved fruitless, yet she does not terminate her quest. Augustine said it well: “God is not on the surface.” There is indeed a “secret place of the Most High.” Although hidden, it can be found and accessed.

One common deterrent, ironically, is the benevolent effect that comes with drawing nearer to the Lord. Inevitably, the blessings of an answered prayer or a new understanding of Scripture will greet us on our way to God, but we must guard against these signposts becoming our final destination. We must not be content with edification or comfort, only encouraged.

Let us also understand, we will not find His fullness by seeking Him merely in convenient times and comfortable places. Rather, our quest is a determined and continual pilgrimage. It will not end until He is disclosed to us (Phil. 3:12). We are confident, though, for He has promised that in the day we seek Him with our whole heart, we shall find Him (Jer. 29:13). He assures us, “And I will be found by you” (v. 14).

Christ Our Life
The bride continues, “I must arise now and go about the city; in the streets and in the squares I must seek him whom my soul loves.”

This inexorable woman has risen from the security of her own bed. She has left the comfort of her warm house and now is seeking her beloved in the streets and in the squares. Pastors, be aware: Not all who wander from church to church are uncommitted or superficial Christians. A significant number are honestly searching for Christ. They are asking, “Have you seen Him?”

Not only is the bride in the streets and squares of Christianity; she is facing the force and the power of darkness as well. Yet nothing stops her – not her own need of sleep or her fear of the night. The love of Christ compels her.

However, again she is disappointed: “I sought him but did not find him.”

We might think that after so great an effort – and in the face of the seeming reluctance of Heaven to answer her cry – she would feel justified to return home. But she does not. We too must guard against becoming satisfied with our opinion of ourselves: “We prayed; we waited; we searched for God. We did more than other men.” This false reward fills the soul with self-exaltation. If we truly want to find Him, we must stay empty and hungry for God alone.

“The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me, and I said, ‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves?'”

From her bed, to the streets, and now to the watchmen, the bride is seeking her lover. Notice that “the watchmen” found her. The watchmen are the modern-day prophetic ministries. Their highest calling is to find the searching bride and direct her to Jesus. While many may come to the seers for a word of encouragement or revelation, the bride is looking for Jesus. Her singleness of purpose is undistracted; she asks the watchmen, “Have you seen Him?”

“Scarcely had I left them when I found him whom my soul loves.” This is the greatest motivation for seeking the Lord: The time will come when you find Him! You will pass your tests and overcome the obstacles; you will be secure in the embrace of Christ.

She says, “I held on to him and would not let him go.”

I am reminded of Mary at the empty tomb of Christ (John 20:11-18). The apostles came, looked in the cave, and went away astounded. But Mary lingered, weeping. The death of Christ was horrible, but the empty tomb was unbearable. She had to find Him whom her soul loved!

The Scripture says that Jesus Himself came to her, but in her sorrow she did not recognize Him. He said, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” It is interesting that Jesus connected Mary’s inconsolable weeping with her seeking. Blinded by her tears, she supposed He was the gardener.

“Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away” (v. 15).

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher)” (v. 16).

Immediately Mary burst from her kneeling position to embrace Christ; she held Him so tightly that, like the bride, she too could say, “I held on to him and would not let him go.” I see Jesus smiling, and with great love He gently pushed her back, saying, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father” (v. 17).

This is a most astounding event. It is a marvel, I admit, that is beyond comprehension. In the mysterious process of the Lord’s resurrection – during an interlude between the grave and some stage of His ascension – Christ interrupted His triumphant ascent to appear to Mary. Jesus was drawn – no, compelled – toward Mary’s weeping!

I am staggered by this event. Jesus demonstrated that love is the highest, most powerful law of His kingdom. It brings His living presence into the hearts of those who seek Him.

You Have Made His Heart Beat Faster
One last thought, and it is a profound reality: Where was the Bridegroom during the time when the bride was searching? Was He aloof, indifferent, sitting detached in Heaven? No, from the beginning, He had been watching, actually longing, for His bride to find Him.

He now speaks:

“You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes.” —Song of Solomon 4:9

You are His bride. He is returning from Heaven for you! The single glance of your eyes toward Him makes His heart beat faster. Such love is inconceivable. He sees your repentance from sin as your preparation for Him – His bride making herself ready. He beholds you kneeling, weeping at your bedside. He shares your painful longing. He has been watching. And the bridegroom says, “The glance of your eyes has made my heart beat faster.”

The Lord has a promise for His bride. There is coming a fresh baptism of love that will surpass all our knowledge of Him. We will know the height and depth, the length and the breadth of His love. While yet here on earth, we will be filled with His fullness. (See Eph. 3:18-19 Amplified.)

We have many tasks, even responsibilities, which have come from Heaven. However, the greatest need of our soul is to be with Jesus. The areas of sin in our lives exist simply because we have lived too far from Him. Let us commit our hearts to seeking our God. Let us find Him whom our soul loves and bring Him back to the house of the Lord!

Lord, even now we lift our eyes toward You. Jesus, grace and truth are realized in You. Grant us grace that the truth of this message will change our lives and compel us in unrelenting love to You! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Written by: Francis Frangipane

http://frangipane.org/

 

When Kings Go Out to Battle

Beware of a Passive Spirit
Scripture contains many examples of David’s valor. As a young man, for instance, while others trembled, David was ready and eager to face Goliath. David is an example of one whom God chose, whose passions for God sustained him for most of his life.

Yet David also provides for us an example of what can happen even to good people when we surrender to a passive spirit. For there was an occasion when David did not pursue his enemies, and the consequences were grave. It happened because he allowed a passive spirit to subdue his will.

“Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem” (2 Sam.11:1).

During a time of war, the king allowed a passive spirit into his soul. Soon we find this great warrior king almost helpless to resist the unfolding spiritual attack.

“Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance” (2 Sam. 11:2).

The woman was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. From the moment David accepted the influence of that passive spirit, his resistance was weakened. A paralysis of conscience occurred. Scripture says that “when evening came David arose from his bed.” Perhaps it was customary to rest in the afternoon, but it strikes me as inconsistent for David to nap while his men fought. It is possible that this nap was not a response to a bodily need, but an expression of the slumber that gripped his soul. He was in bed until “evening.”

This heaviness of soul resting on David was actually part of a larger, synchronized spiritual attack. The other part of that battle was the quiet, inner prompting that stirred Bathsheba to bathe in a place where David could see her. Finally, David, unable to resist and in defiance of his noble qualities, “sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her” (2 Sam. 11:4).

Dear friend, remember: This terrible moral failure was not driven by David’s lust or flagrant rebellion to God. A passive spirit introduced David to his sin! The problem was simply that, in a time when the kings went forth to war, David stayed at home.

We ourselves are in a time of war. The Spirit of God is calling us to fight for our souls as well as our families, cities and nations. Indeed, God’s Word reveals that “The Lord will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies” (Isa. 42:13).

Is that holy fight in you? Is there a war cry in your spirit? If you are born again, that cry is within you, even if it has been muted by lethargy.

We will never succeed as overcomers without carrying in our spirits the war cry of God. We must stop resisting the call to prayer; we must embrace the reality of spiritual warfare; and we must fight with the weapons of warfare that God has given us, both for our own progress and also on behalf of those we love.

Conversely, the moment you surrender your will to a passive spirit, you should anticipate that a temptation appropriate to your weakness will soon follow. It may not be Bathsheba; it may be pornography on the Internet. Or it may be a coworker who begins to look attractive at a time when you and your spouse are struggling. Whatever the area of weakness in your life, Satan will seek to exploit that area. Remember, the enemy’s first line of attack likely will not be bold and obvious. He will first work to disarm you with a passive spirit. If the enemy succeeds in his assault, you will find yourself wrapped up in something that can devastate you and your loved ones.

One may argue, “I’m walking with God. I’m a bond-servant of the Lord. I’m not vulnerable.” Remember what the Lord warned the church in Thyatira: “I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols” (Rev. 2:20) .

Jesus was concerned, not only for the corrupting influence of Jezebel in the world; He was concerned that the leaders of the church had grown tolerant. More, her seductions not only targeted the wayward or new believers, but she led God’s bond-servants astray.

In the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon also exposes this spirit. He does not use the name “Jezebel,” but instead, describes her as “the woman of folly.” He says she calls out “to those who pass by, who are making their paths straight: Whoever is naive, let him turn in here” (see Prov. 9:14-18).

Who is this spirit after? It seeks to corrupt those who are trying to make their paths straight. Do not think that such corruption could not happen to you should you turn spiritually lukewarm. Indeed, the very man who exposed this spirit in the Bible, King Solomon, later fell into both idolatry and immorality, two primary manifestations of the Jezebel spirit (Rev. 2:20).

Beloved, it is springtime here in the northern hemisphere. It is that time of the year when seduction begins to call out “to those who pass by.” Let us not become passive in a time of war. Rather, let us fight for our nation, our cities, our families and, especially, our own souls.

It is time for kings to go to war.

Written by: Francis Frangipane

http://frangipane.org/

 

 

When Passover is Fulfilled in God’s Kingdom

“Easter” Or “Passover”?
We all know that the early church did not celebrate Easter with jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chickens. Their children never went on Easter egg hunts. Of course, the death and resurrection of Jesus stood above all the cultural trappings, but it was Passover not Easter, that the early Christians honored.

The word Easter actually comes from the Anglo Saxon Eastre, the goddess of spring. As Christianity spread, it became church policy not to undo pagan holidays, but instead inject Christian meaning into the celebrations. Although I enjoy eating chocolate bunnies, I recognize that the colored eggs, rabbits and chickens were originally symbols through which the locals paid homage to the “gods” that governed sexual fertility.

Although most Christians, myself included, still refer to the season of Christ’s resurrection as “Easter,” in my heart I look past secular traditions and into the reality of spiritual truth. Indeed, even when I am with one who celebrates Easter with eggs, etc., I overlook these cultural traditions and call everyone’s attention to the great miracle: the resurrection of Christ.

Church Celebrated Passover
While we can forgive and cover unbiblical traditions in love, it remains important that we steadfastly pursue the truth of God’s Word. Thus, we should recognize that the early church did not celebrate Easter as we do in modern times. They celebrated the Feast of Passover. This annual tradition was not only commemorative; it was also prophetic in nature. Additionally, we would expect that the Jewish disciples would celebrate Passover, but so also did the Gentile believers. We see this clearly in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. He wrote, “…Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

These Gentile Corinthians were urged by Paul to celebrate the Hebrew Feast of Passover. True, they did not celebrate the Old Testament ritual as did the Jews with unleavened bread, etc. Rather, they approached the feast from its spiritual perspective, focusing on “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (v. 8). Indeed, the Christian Church kept the Passover, not in remembrance of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, but in remembrance of what Christ—their Passover—fulfilled in delivering mankind from the penalty of sin and judgment.

Listen again to the Lord’s statement to His disciples. He said, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16).

Jesus desired to eat the Passover, not looking back, but looking forward in prophetic anticipation of Passover being fulfilled on a whole new level in the Kingdom of God. Through Christ’s sacrifice, a new Passover would be established far greater than that of Israel’s deliverance from Pharaoh. This Passover would affect the entire world. While it would still be a type of Passover, it would be kept “in remembrance of [Jesus]” (v. 19).

Hebrew Passover Versus Christian Passover
The Old Testament Passover, for all its powerful intrinsic and literal value, was actually a shadow of what Christ would fulfill on behalf of the world. Therefore, let’s look at this first Passover.

The Hebrew Passover occurred in ancient Egypt when the Israelites were slaves. We are familiar with the story: God had sent Moses to bring deliverance to His people. Each time Pharaoh refused, divine judgments fell upon Egypt; the last and most decisive judgment occurred the night before the Israelites left Egypt. The Lord commanded the Hebrews to kill a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts and lintels of each house. That night, as the angel of death went forth and killed every first-born male in Egypt, he “passed over” every home whose exterior door was covered by the blood of the lamb. From this “passing over” comes the term “Passover.”

Yet, the Israelites were required to do more than put lamb’s blood upon their doorposts. They also had to roast the lamb they’d slain and then eat it entirely; any remains were to be burnt. It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, and eaten in haste with their loins girded and a walking staff ready. They also had to remove all leaven from their dwellings and bake unleavened bread for their journey into the wilderness. The next morning the entire nation of Israel along with their sheep and cattle were victoriously delivered from their time of bondage. Every year from then on the Israelites were required to commemorate God’s great deliverance. This commemoration was also known as the “Feast of Unleavened Bread.” It lasted for eight days and was considered a mandatory feast for all of Israel.

When Christ came, one of His singular purposes was to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17). This mission to bring fulfillment included Israel’s feasts; in a profound way, the Passover would become central. Remember also, the feasts were shadows of something greater than themselves. Paul said their “substance belongs to Christ” (Col. 2:17). It is absolutely remarkable that, of all days in the calendar year, Christ, the Lamb of God, died on Passover. As the high priest was offering a lamb for the sins of the Jews, on that day God was offering His Son for the sins of the world! It is Christ’s blood that protects us today in the same way the blood on the doorposts symbolized God’s protection for Israel in Egypt.

But let’s take the Passover further into its great, end-time fulfillment. During this last Passover celebrated by Jesus, I believe He not only had the forgiveness of the world on His mind, but also the great, end-time fulfillment of Passover – an event which is yet to come. Thus, as He ate that last Passover with His disciples, He said, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22: 15-16).

Jesus said that the Passover will have yet another great fulfillment when He eats it with us “in the kingdom of God.” After that last supper Jesus did not again celebrate Passover. His statement refers to something yet to come, something that will unfold at the end of the age. When Jesus speaks about the Passover being fulfilled in the kingdom, He is saying that there will be yet another fulfillment to the Feast of Passover, a time when those who are truly Christ’s, who have “eaten” the Lamb’s flesh and partaken of His blood covenant, are divinely protected during the time of the end. So regardless of whether you believe in a pre-, mid- or post-tribulation rapture, God has not destined us for wrath. The Kingdom Passover, fulfilled by the Lamb of God, positions us in the eternal protection of the Almighty.

In whatever manner Jesus’ words shall be fulfilled, let us require of ourselves to partake of the whole Lamb and not merely nibble at the comforting verses. Let us diligently apply the Lamb’s blood over the doorways to our hearts, as well as over our families and loved ones. And even as the world around us continues its rush toward sin and judgment, let us instead press into God’s kingdom. For during these very days of shaking, we shall receive a “kingdom which cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28).

Beloved, let us live in holy expectation of that day when Christ shall return and we shall eat the Passover with Him in the Kingdom of God.

Written by:

Francis Frangipane

http://frangipane.org/

 

You Give Them Something to Eat”

“Consequently, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision.” —Acts 26:19

What I have come to believe concerning the Lord’s glory and its manifestation in the church is supported by many Scriptures. Yet, it was through a night vision in 1971 that God granted me insight into His plan. In this spiritual encounter, I saw a great metropolis languishing under the weight of a deep and terrible darkness. Chiseled upon the faces of those in this wretched society was the image of hopelessness. The place was desolate of real life and the time for a recovery seemed long past.

I was with a group outside the city. We were not part of the darkness, but had been “baptized” in a glorious and powerful light. During the vision, I actually experienced the power of this light surging up from my innermost being. It coursed out through our hands like streams of laser light; a visible splendor shone from our bodies, especially our faces.

Suddenly, out from the city the great multitude began to grope their way toward us — thousands of people. Soon all were calling on the name of the Lord. As we laid our hands upon them and prayed for them, they also received the light.

The vision passed, and though I continued to lie in bed, I did not return to sleep. As dawn broke, I opened to the book of Isaiah. As a new Christian, this was the first time I was reading through the Bible. I turned the page from the previous day’s reading and there, for the first time, I read Isaiah 60. The words bolted into my mind like lightning, then shook my insides like thunder.

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth,
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you,
And His glory will appear upon you.
And nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
—Isaiah 60:1-3

It says, “darkness will cover the earth.” This was exactly what I saw in the vision! It proclaimed, “the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you,” precisely describing what I had seen in the vision! It was as though I had actually stepped into the future and experienced a fulfillment of this prophecy. The Holy Spirit and the Word, working in divine symmetry, revealed that the glory of the Lord would be manifested in His people at the end of the age, and that “nations,” currently languishing in darkness, would come to Christ!

Today many people are excited about the harvest. However, in the early seventies and through the eighties the idea of “multitudes coming to Christ” was not a common expectation. With the threat of nuclear war ever present, most Christians were not thinking, praying, or acting like revival was coming. What most expected was a nuclear war with the USSR and either the rapture of the church or the beginning of the great tribulation.

It was against this backdrop of fear and unbelief that the Lord spoke to me of the harvest. Today several hundred thousand souls each week come to Christ worldwide. Still, even this is small compared to what God is going to do in the days ahead.

As important as the harvest is, however, the primary focus of the vision was not winning the lost; it was on the ascendancy of Christ’s presence in the church. The Father’s priority is that the Lord Jesus be lifted up: The coming great harvest will be the result of Christ’s presence! It will not be our programs or methods that bring this harvest into God’s barns; it will be the glory of the Lord.

A Third Witness
The vision released within me lofty expectations for the future, while the text in Isaiah grounded my feet on the firm path of God’s eternal Word. Still, the Lord was not done with me, and one more witness was about to come. After I read Isaiah, my next reading in my daily progression took me to Matthew, chapter 14. As I read, I paused after verse 15, which reads, “The disciples came to Him, saying, ‘The place is desolate, and the time is already past; so send the multitudes away.'”

This Scripture recalls the time when Jesus miraculously fed the multitudes. As I read, I noticed similarities between the vision of the multitudes in darkness and this scene from the Gospels. Both depicted a place of desolation and both communicated the sense that the situation was beyond remedy. Yet in spite of the apparent hopelessness of each, multitudes were ministered to in both.

Of course, there was no theological connection between the two texts; not even the most imaginative Christian would ever reference Matthew 14:13-21 with Isaiah 60:1-3. Yet, the Lord was speaking something that would personally affect me for the rest of my life. In response to the disciples urging Jesus to send the multitudes away, He answered,

     “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!”
     And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
     And He said, “Bring them here to Me.”

The result was that “He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward Heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes” (Matt. 14:16-19).

Jesus had taken bread, blessed it, and then broken it. Again, I paused. This time it was because of a peculiarity concerning my last name: in Italian, Frangipane actually means “to break bread.” Was the Lord using the meaning of my name to connect the feeding of the multitudes with the the conversion of the city in the vision?

Later that morning, I related the vision and the Lord’s promise from Isaiah to my wife, Denise. I then told her about the feeding of the five thousand. I mentioned how I felt, that during the time of the end, when the world would seem utterly desolate and lost, the Lord would use us like He used the loaves to feed the multitudes. Then, in an effort to truly amaze her, for the first time in our young married life I explained that our last name, Frangipane, actually meant “to break bread.” It was at that point my wife told me the meaning of her maiden name, Piscitelli. Incredibly, her name meant “little fishes.”

Little Is Much With Jesus
Long before God had called Noah, Abraham, Moses, and many others in the Bible, He had affirmed the foreknowledge of His eternal purpose in the meaning of their names. For us, He did likewise: He revealed the DNA of our destiny in the meaning of our names!

Between the vision, the text in Isaiah, and the meaning of our names, I am convinced that a period of great glory and harvest awaits the church. Through the account of Christ’s feeding the multitudes, the Lord also warned us to expect people without a similar vision to try to dampen our spirits. In this regard, you may have read criticism of this ministry on the Internet. Every critic is angry about one primary doctrine: the teaching I present that there is one last great outpouring coming before the church is raptured. I love it that I am persecuted because of a vision from God! Hallelujah! The fact is, while the critics seek to distort and slander, the vision of God and the great harvest is continuing in nations around the world.

Thus, when Christians complain the harvest “is already past,” or that society has become too “desolate,” it would be an error for any of us, either by our words, doctrines or actions, to ask to “send the multitudes away.” The Lord has made it plain: it will not be too late or desolate for Him.

The Lord has proven many times that, as Christians, we do not need to stockpile resources before we attempt the “impossible.” As long as we remain “blessed and broken” in the hands of the Master, our few loaves and fish are enough. What we have learned is that Jesus does not need a lot to work His miracles; He just requires we give Him all we have.

Scripture Cannot Be Broken
To my wife and me, the prophetic meanings attached to our last names tell us that the purposes of God are preordained. However, for all that these things mean to us personally, it is upon the Scriptures that faith must rest. Dreams, visions, and supernatural “coincidences” are still subjective experiences which must be confirmed and established by the written Word of God. We rest upon God’s Word because Jesus said, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

Thus, the Lord assures us that His Word “. . . shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:11). Regardless of the current spiritual condition of Christianity, every promise God has made concerning His glory in the church, His purpose with Israel, and the harvest at the end of the age — every word will have its day of fulfillment! With the Almighty, it is never a matter of if His word will come to pass but when and with whom.

Yes, the hour is late; true, our cities are desolate. Yet Jesus still speaks powerfully to my spirit. As little qualified as we may be, if we truly give our all to Christ, He will bless us and break us, and then fill us with glory to reach multitudes. Indeed, what He said to His disciples, He says to all: The multitudes do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.

Written by:

Francis Frangipane

http://frangipane.org/

The Summing Up of All Things in Christ

“He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to his kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth” (Eph. 1:9-10).

God and Time Are on My Side
Paul tells us that the price Jesus paid has not only brought the church into salvation, but Christ’s atonement will also redeem all of creation as well. The apostle explains that a unique season would occur at the end of the age. During the last years of this dispensation God would actually begin to gather “all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth.”

This great gathering together of all things is not so much a singular event as it is a series of divine initiatives. Thus, the word translated “summing up” was an accounting term used by the ancient Greeks. It simply described the sequence of addition used to bring separate items to a singular total. Other translations use the phrase “gathering together” or “gathering into one” all things in Christ. Those who love Him will be consumed by Him in love; those who hate Him will be consumed in judgment. Either way, God will leave nothing but the fullness of Christ permeating the universe.

What is important for us to know now is that we are in that season spoken of by Paul in the Scriptures. Indeed, even now there is an energy, a power, from God that has begun the process of gathering. We see evidences of His power as He gathers Israel to its land and the church to its unity and destiny. This is a profound truth. The world is being carried forward into a reality that shall ultimately be filled with Christ. Whether it takes five years or fifty years, this is the great “mystery of [God’s] will” which shall occur at the end of the age.

To win our war for righteousness we must keep focused on this larger, cosmic perspective of a world consumed in Christ. Yes, the world remains darkened in its fallen state. Yet, every time we pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” we are asking for the Holy Spirit to enter us, and then use us to redeem and transform every darkened facet of human existence.

We look at the system of the world and believe it is beyond hope. We see the entertainment industry, for example, and believe that God must destroy it to keep it from contaminating the rest of the world. But what if, at this time, it isn’t God’s plan to destroy the world, but to invade and transform it? What if He wants to sum it up in Christ? We must pray as if a time will come when godly movies will become commonplace, where the world will be ministered to by the Christian morals that reveal Jesus Christ. Imagine a day when the power of the cross would permeate the entertainment industry so much so that it would be known as “Holywood” instead of Hollywood.

We might look at world governments with the same cynicism and unbelief, but remember God is going to sum up “all things” in Christ. The time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:10,11). So, we must learn to look at the wickedness of the world with the vision of the kingdom of God. For at some point in time, worldwide, it will be proclaimed with great shouts of joy, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” (Rev. 11:15c).

God’s plan for the end of the age is to invade every single dimension of life and sum all things up in Christ. Whatever refuses to yield to Christ will be destroyed; what yields to Him will be transformed. This is the mystery of God’s will. This is the big picture.

When I hear of terrible natural disasters such as we’ve seen in Japan and other places in recent years or when I watch the turbulent upheavals in the Arab world, I pray as though, somehow, the outcome of what I see is ultimately going to be fulfilled in Christ. When I pray concerning evil in the world, I don’t look at the illusion of permanence that appears to protect evil; I look right past it toward the day of God’s kingdom. I see what’s wrong, but I’m also saying, God’s will is to sum this thing up in Christ. I pray as though God and time are on my side.

Becoming Like Christ
The big picture, the wide-angle view, is that all things shall ultimately be summed up in Christ. Certainly, the Lord will use many mighty ways to fulfill this great plan. However, there is one dimension integral to the process of divine consummation that directly pertains to us. Paul writes, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men . . . He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” (Phil. 2:5-8).

Paul says, “Have this attitude in you . . .” What attitude? The attitude Christ demonstrated when He saw mankind’s sin and vileness. He didn’t destroy evil people. He didn’t isolate Himself from mankind’s wickedness. He didn’t sit in heaven criticizing man. Christ, who “existed in the form of God,” took upon Himself the actual form of man. He completely identified Himself with humanity, even to the point of being found in man’s very likeness.

In Christ we see the pattern of how to transform our world: We enter it, take its very form upon ourselves, and by becoming bond-servants (not judges), we give ourselves to whatever it takes to redeem it. To better understand this, substitute the idea that Christ was “being made in the likeness of men” with this: He took upon Himself “the form of need.”

So, even though Christ existed in God’s form, He knew He couldn’t transform the world without taking man’s form. As God, He could destroy mankind, but could not redeem mankind. Keep this in mind: You cannot transform anything from the outside. You have to enter the need and take its form to bring redemption.

The Bible clearly and repeatedly states that Jesus is not alone in the mission of redemption. He began alone and set the pattern, but He also is the first born among many brethren. Just as Christ entered us in order to redeem and transform us, so those whom He raises up at the end of the age will do what He did, but on a smaller scale. They will see the need, take its form, and work from the inside to bring redemption.

For example, let’s look at the political arena. As Christians, we are so quick to judge politicians and think that the whole system is irreversibly corrupt. Yet, Christ desires that people with His nature enter the system and be a light there. Transformation is an inside job. The church, however, has taken an outside position to things in need, standing aloof from the world in need of redemption. Our only contribution has been to judge and criticize what is wrong.

When we simply judge something without praying for it or seeking to transform it, we can remain isolated from the nature and pattern of Christ. Not until we have the attitude that was first in Christ, do we begin to truly grow in our Christian experience. We must allow Christ to manifest Himself through us. It is the very area of need that we see and remedy that is the “land of our anointing,” where the nature of Christ has opportunity to be unveiled through us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Here again, God’s pattern is to identify with the need, not putting Himself above it, but sacrificing Himself for the redemption of that need. He shoulders the need Himself. This is the nature of the cross. Christ became “sin on our behalf.” He identified with our need so that we could be transformed by His righteousness. Whether it is a school, a neighborhood or place of employment, God desires that we identify with that need and bring light into it.

So the big picture is that everything will be gathered in Christ. The incremental movement within that big picture is measured in each of us seeing the need of the world around us, identifying with people who are trapped in sin, and bringing freedom to them by revealing Christ. After you have identified yourself with the need, you will no longer judge it. As a part of it, you desire its redemption rather than God’s wrath. You pray for it like you pray for yourself.

May God deliver us from prayers of judgment and destruction. God’s will is not to judge or destroy, but to redeem. He hears our prayers if we pray according to His will. Why then would we pray otherwise? So pray instead, Lord God, raise up people from the inside to transform (my school or our government or the entertainment industry).

We must stop thinking and praying negatively. God is doing something today that is so marvelous and so wonderful that He says: If I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Picture taverns becoming churches. Picture churches working together to see cities changed. This is the mystery of God’s will, to see everything summed up in Christ. Let us look at nothing as though it cannot be transformed. Rather, let us remember that in what we desire to see redeemed, eventually all things shall be filled with Christ. God and time are on our side.

Written by Francis Frangipane

To read more of his great articles please follow the following link:

http://frangipane.org/

The Afflictions of Love

by Francis Frangipane

Wounding is inevitable if we are following Christ. Jesus was both “marred” (Isa. 52:14) and “wounded” (Zech. 13:6), and if we are sincere in our pursuit of His nature, we will suffer as well. How else can love be perfected?

Yet, let us beware. We either become Christlike and forgive, or we enter a spiritual time warp where we abide continually in the memory of our wounding. Like a systemic disease, the hurtful memories destroy every aspect of our reality. In truth, apart from God, the wounding that life inflicts is incurable. God has decreed that only Christ in us can survive.

Intercessors live on the frontier of change. We are positioned to stand between the needs of man and the provision of God. Because we are the agents of redemption, Satan will always seek the means to offend, discourage, silence, or otherwise steal the strength of our prayers. The wounding we receive must be interpreted in light of God’s promise to reverse the effects of evil and make them work for our good (Rom. 8:28). Since spiritual assaults are inevitable, we must discover how God uses our wounds as the means to greater power. This was exactly how Christ brought redemption to the world.

Jesus knew that maintaining love and forgiveness in the midst of suffering was the key that unlocked the power of redemption. Isaiah 53:11 tells us, “By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.”

Jesus possessed “revelation knowledge” into the mystery of God. He knew that the secret to unleashing world-transforming power was found at the cross. The terrible offense of the cross became the place of redemption for the world. Yet, remember, Jesus calls us to a cross as well. (See Matthew 16:24.) Wounding is simply an altar upon which our sacrifice to God is prepared.

Listen again to Isaiah’s prophetic description of Jesus’ life. His words, at first, seem startling, but as we read, we discover a most profound truth concerning the power of woundedness. He wrote,

“But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand” (Isa. 53:10).

How did Jesus obtain the power of God’s pleasure and have it prosper in His hands? During His times of crushing, woundedness, and devastation, instead of retaliating, He rendered Himself “as a guilt offering.”

The crushing is not a disaster; it is an opportunity. You see, our purposeful love may or may not touch the sinner’s heart, but it always touches the heart of God. We are crushed by people, but we need to allow the crushing to ascend as an offering to God. The far greater benefit is the effect our mercy has on the Father. If we truly want to be instruments of God’s good pleasure, then it is redemption, not wrath, that must prosper in our hands.

So, when Christ encounters conflict, even though He is the Lion of Judah, He comes as the Lamb of God. Even when He is outwardly stern, His loving heart is always mindful that He is the “guilt offering.” Thus, Jesus not only asks the Father to forgive those who have wounded Him, but also numbers Himself with the transgressors and intercedes for them (Isa. 53:12). He does this because the Father takes “no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezek. 33:11), and it is the pleasure of God that Jesus seeks.

Is this not the wonder and mystery, yes, and the power, of Christ’s cross? In anguish and sorrow, wounded in heart and soul, still He offered Himself for His executioners’ sins. Without visible evidence of success, deemed a sinner and a failure before man, He courageously held true to mercy. In the depth of terrible crushing, He let love attain its most glorious perfection. He uttered the immortal words, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Christ could have escaped. As the Romans came to arrest Him, He told Peter, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). In less than a heartbeat, the skies would have been flooded with thousands of warring angels. Yes, Jesus could have escaped, but mankind would have perished. Christ chose to go to hell for us rather than return to heaven without us. Instead of condemning mankind, He rendered “Himself as a guilt offering” (Isa. 53:10, emphasis added). He prayed the mercy prayer, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34).

Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also” (John 14:12). We assume He meant that we would work His miracles, but Jesus did not limit His definition of “works” to the miraculous. The works He did—the redemptive life, the mercy cry, the identification with sinners, rendering Himself a guilt offering—all the works He did, we will “do also.”

Thus, because He lives within us, we see that Isaiah 53 does not apply exclusively to Jesus; it also becomes the blueprint for Christ in us. Indeed, was this not part of His reward, that He would see His offspring (Isa. 53:10)? Beloved, we are the progeny of Christ.

Read these words from Paul’s heart:

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Col. 1:24).

What did the apostle mean? Did not Christ fully pay mankind’s debts once and for all? Did Paul imply that we now take Jesus’ place? No, we will never take Jesus’ place. It means that Jesus has come to take our place. The Son of God manifests all the aspects of His redemptive, sacrificial life through us. Indeed, “as He is, so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).

Paul not only identified with Christ in his personal salvation, but he was also consumed with Christ’s purpose. He wrote, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:10).

What a wondrous reality is the “fellowship of His sufferings.” Here, in choosing to yoke our existence with Christ’s purpose, we find true friendship with Jesus. This is intimacy with Christ. The sufferings of Christ are not the sorrows typically endured by mankind. They are the afflictions of love. They bring us closer to Jesus. United with Him, we increase the pleasure of God.

Father, I see You have had no higher purpose for me but to manifest through my life the nature of Your Son. I surrender to Christ, rendering myself not merely as a judge or critic, but as an offering for those who have brought wounding to my soul. May the fragrance of my worship remind You of Jesus, and may You forgive and cleanse the world around me.

To read other great articles by Pastor Francis Frangipane please click on the folowing link:

http://www.frangipane.org/

Pursuing the Stature Of Christ

by Francis Frangipane

In a most profound verse the apostle Paul unveils God’s supreme plan for the church. He tells us we are called to nothing less than “the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). The Father’s glorious intention is to exhibit through us all the attributes and power of Jesus Christ. He has purposed that, not only in eternity but here in the midst of our battles and temptations, we are to grow “in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (v. 15).

We have put such limitations upon our call in God! The Almighty’s goal for us is not that we merely become nice, but become Christ, literally partakers of His nature (1 Cor. 12:12; 2 Pet. 1:3; Heb. 3:14; Gal. 2:20). There is a difference between hallowed doctrine and hollow doctrine. Let us quickly abandon the boundaries of spiritually empty religious traditions: God has invited us to partake of the fullness of Christ! The depth of His grace has rendered us capable of climbing the heights of His holiness. Through the Holy Spirit, the responsibility of wielding Christ’s very authority has been delegated to us!

Having received the expanse of Christ’s love, we are now called to reveal it in its full redemptive power. Indeed, whatever we see in Jesus is what God has purposed to reveal in us. It is this vision of attaining Christlikeness that centers us firmly upon the path to doctrinal purity. Once we clearly grasp the vision of Christlikeness, an amazing change occurs: “we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14).

Let us also note, Paul did not specify whether these “winds of doctrine” were simply false teachings. Indeed, dogma does not have to be false to be misleading; even a true doctrine with an overly exaggerated emphasis can sidetrack us from Christlikeness.

It is here, where we boast in our doctrines and spiritual gifts that many of us are being led astray. For what compels us forward into new religious activity is not always the leading of God. If we do not see conformity to Christ as central to our future, what may be guiding us is a wind of doctrine.

In the church today there are a number of doctrines which have grown bigger than their scriptural proportions and, thus, tend to obscure our vision of Christlikeness. Teachings concerning personal prosperity or the timing of the rapture have become, for some, unbalanced precepts, which easily distract us from the ultimate truth which is in Jesus.

Some churches overemphasize the doctrine of “speaking in tongues.” I firmly believe that all the gifts are for today, but gifts, too, can become winds of doctrine for many. Again, we are not talking about false teachings, but true beliefs that have become caricatures of the Gospel. Correct and balanced doctrinal understanding is fundamental to our spiritual well-being. But when our energies are absorbed more with a particular doctrine than attaining the character and power of Christ, we are probably being misled.

Paul also said our pursuit of Christlikeness would keep us from being “tossed here and there by waves.” A wave is a spiritual phenomenon that sweeps over a church or a city. It is a spiritual “high tide,” where we can be washed and healed. A true spiritual wave can release wonderful joy and bring healing to areas within us otherwise untouched by God. Yet, if we are following after waves, we should consider: the tide that comes in with manifestations and blessings also goes out. When the wave is over, it does not mean that God has abandoned us or that His ultimate purpose has changed.

A genuine stirring of God’s Spirit, either through a fresh doctrinal understanding or through unique spiritual manifestations, is given by God to empower us toward conformity to Christ. The fact is, whether we are in a time of preparation or in the glory of a visitation, whether we are carrying the cross or soaring in resurrection power, our focused, passionate goal must still be Christlikeness.

If you are confused about what is happening in the church at large, or even in your own personal life, remember: God does not want you tossed by waves or carried by doctrines. The issue is not whether we are following a doctrine or falling under a wave. The real question is whether we will rise to the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Beware of the Stronghold of Cold Love

by Francis Frangipane

(En Español)

Is your love growing and becoming softer, brighter, more daring and more visible? Or is it becoming more discriminating, more calculating, less vulnerable and less available? This is a very important issue, for your Christianity is only as real as your love. A measurable decrease in your ability to love is evidence that a stronghold of cold love is developing within you.

Guard Against Unforgiveness!

“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). A major area of spiritual warfare that has come against the church is the sphere of church relationships. Satan knows that a church divided against itself cannot stand. We may enjoy temporary blessings and seasonal breakthroughs, but to win a citywide war, Jesus is raising up a united, citywide church. An earmark of this corporate, overcoming church will be its commitment to love. Yet, because of the increasing iniquity in the end of this age, true Christian love will be severely assaulted.

There is no spiritual unity, and hence no lasting victory, without love. Love is a passion for oneness. Bitterness, on the other hand, is characterized by a noticeable lack of love. This cold love is a demonic stronghold. In our generation cold love is becoming increasingly more common. It shuts down the power of prayer and disables the flow of healing and outreach. In fact, where there is persistent and hardened unforgiveness in a person or church, the demonic world (known in Matthew 18:34 as “torturers”) has unhindered access.

The Scriptures warn that even a little root of bitterness springing up in a person’s life can defile many (see Hebrews 12:15). Bitterness is unfulfilled revenge. Another’s thoughtlessness or cruelty may have wounded us deeply. It is inevitable that, in a world of increasing harshness and cruelty, we will at some point be hurt. But if we fail to react with love and forgiveness, if we retain in our spirit the debt the offender owes, that offense will rob our hearts of their capacity to love. Imperceptibly, we will become a member of the majority of end-time Christians whose love is growing cold.

Bitterness is the most visible symptom of the stronghold of cold love. To deal with cold love, we must repent and forgive the one who hurt us. Painful experiences are allowed by God to teach us how to love our enemies. If we still have unforgiveness toward someone, we have failed this test. Fortunately, it was just a test, not a final exam. We actually need to thank God for the opportunity to grow in divine love. Thank Him that your whole life is not being swallowed up in bitterness and resentment. Millions of souls are swept off into eternal judgment every day without any hope of escaping from embitterment, but you have been given God’s answer for your pain. God gives you a way out: love!

As we embrace God’s love and begin to walk in Christlike forgiveness, we are actually pulling down the stronghold of cold love in our lives. Because of this experience, we will soon possess more of the love of Christ than we had previously.

Love Without Commitment Is Not Love

“And at that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matt. 24:10-12).

Allow me to be perfectly clear: there is no such thing as love without commitment. The measure of one’s love is found in the depth of his or her commitment to others. How often we have heard people say, “I loved once, but I was hurt.” Or, “I was committed to Christian service, but they used me.” When someone withdraws his commitment to a relationship, he is withdrawing his love. It is not one’s commitment that grows cold; it is their love. It may not seem like they have become cold—they may still attend church, sing and look “Christian”—but inside they have become hard and separated from others. They have withdrawn from love. Because their commitment is shallow, they will be easily offended.

Jesus said, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come” (Matt. 18:7). In your walk there will be times when even good people have bad days. As long as you live on earth, there will never be a time when “stumbling blocks” cease to be found upon your path. People do not stumble over boulders but over stones—little things. To stumble is to stop walking and fall. Have you stumbled over someone’s weakness or sin lately? Have you gotten back up and continued loving as you did before, or has that fall caused you to withdraw somewhat from walking after love? To preserve the quality of love in your heart, you must forgive those who have caused you to stumble.

Every time you refuse to forgive or fail to overlook a weakness in another, your heart not only hardens toward them, it hardens toward God. You cannot form a negative opinion of someone (even though you think they may deserve it!) and allow that opinion to crystallize into an attitude; for every time you do, an aspect of your heart will cool toward God. You may still think you are open to God, but the Scriptures are clear: “The one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). You may not like what someone has done, but you do not have an option to stop loving them. Love is your only choice.

What do I mean by love? First, I do not merely mean “tough love.” I mean gentle, affectionate, sensitive, open, persistent love. God will be tough when He needs to be, and we will be firm when He tells us to be, but beneath our firmness must be an underground river of love waiting to spring into action. By love, I mean a compassion that is empowered by faith and prayer to see God’s best come forth in the people I love. When I have love for someone, I have predetermined that I am going to stand with them, regardless of what they are going through. I am committed.

We each need people who love us, who are committed to us in spite of our imperfections. The fullness of Christ will not come without Christians standing with each other in love. We are not talking about salvation, but growing in salvation until we care for each other, even as Christ has committed Himself to us.

Many people will stumble over little faults and human weaknesses. These minor things are quickly pumped up by the enemy into great big problems. Oh, how frail are the excuses people use to justify withdrawing from others. In reality, these problems, often with a church or pastor, are a smokescreen which masks the person’s lack of love.

We need to overcome our hang-ups about commitment, for no one will attain the fullness of God’s purposes on earth without being committed to imperfect people along the way.

“Well, as soon as I find a church that believes as I do, I will be committed.” This is a dangerous excuse, because as soon as you decide you do not want to forgive, or God begins to deal with the quality of your love, you will blame your withdrawing on some minor doctrinal difference. The kingdom of God is not based on mere doctrines, it is founded upon relationships—relationships with God and, because of God, with one another. Doctrines only help define those relationships. We are not anti-doctrine, but we are against empty doctrines which seem like virtues but are simply excuses that justify cold love.

The Greatest Commandments

An expert in the Law once asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment. His reply was wonderful: ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Mark 12:30-31). Jesus said that the second commandment is like the first. When you love God, your love for others will actually be like your love for God. The more you unconditionally love God, the more you will unconditionally love others.

To those whose attitude is, “I am content with just Jesus and me,” I say it is wonderful you found Jesus. But you cannot truly have Jesus and simultaneously not do what He says. The outgrowth of love and faith in Christ is love and faith like Christ’s, which means we are committed, even as He is, to His people.

You see, the kingdom of God is most perfectly revealed in our relationships with one another. We are being perfected into a unit (see John 17). To have the kingdom, we must be committed to one another as individuals and as churches. If Christ accepts us while we are still imperfect, we must also accept one another. The people who possess the kingdom of God in its reality are people who overcome the obstacles of each other’s faults. They help each other become what God has called them to be: the living body of Jesus Christ.

Remember, the goal of pulling down the stronghold of cold love is to see the oneness of Christ’s body revealed. You will be challenged in this, but if you persist, you will discover the height and depth, the length and breadth of Christ’s love. You will become a body filled and flooded with God Himself.

To view other wonderful articles by Francis Frangipane please follow the following link to his website:

http://www.frangipane.org/