All Scripture References are NAS unless indicated.
There have probably been few times in history when there were more reasons for expecting a major advance for the cause of Christianity than there are now. Renewal of the church is taking place around the world. Reconciliation movements are confronting important strongholds such as racism, and other roots of division and injustice. Powerful new movements are impacting men, women and children, awakening them to their place and destiny in the church. Worldwide, almost 200,000 new believers are coming to the Lord each day.
In spite of its problems, Christian television has done much to help tear down the barriers between denominations and movements. Catholics now watch Baptists, and Presbyterians watch Pentecostals, with everyone learning that there is merit to the beliefs of others. There are many Christian events that draw believers together from across the spectrum of the body of Christ, and genuine interchange is taking place. There is probably more unity in the church today than at any time in the last one thousand years.
For all of this, there is truly much cause for rejoicing and hope. Even so, some of history's greatest watershed events came at a time and in a way that seemed most improbable. That is why we are warned that when men cry "peace and safety," sudden destruction will come. I believe that this may apply relative to the present progress of church unity. All that is happening to bring us into unity is important, and certainly a worthy pursuit, even more so because of what is coming. However, the greatest test of our unity may soon be upon us, and all that is happening today can be a foundation for a future, greater unity. The enemy intends to use the coming great test of our unity for our greatest defeat, but if we are properly prepared, it can become an opportunity for one of our greatest victories.
The Hordes Of Hell Are Still Marching On February 23rd of this year I was shown for the third time that the church was headed for a "a spiritual civil war." I was first given an impression of this in 1988. At the beginning of 1995 I saw it again in a dream, which I wrote down as The Hordes Of Hell, Part I. On February 23rd I was told that it was time to straightforwardly warn the church, and to begin preparing for this great war with the resolve to fight until there was a complete victory. The definition of a complete victory in this war would be the complete overthrow of the Accuser of the Brethren's strongholds in the church.
Such a victory sounds like a good thing to fight for, but for a long time the battle to win such a victory will look like one of the greatest defeats that the church has ever suffered. The accuser will arise from some of the most unexpected places, and people. This will, in fact, be one of the most cruel battles the church has ever faced. Like every civil war, it will cause brother to turn against brother like we may have never witnessed in the church before.
When we are shown impending negative events it is not necessarily to prophesy them, but rather for the purpose of thwarting the enemy's schemes. However, I do not believe that this one can now be stopped, or that the Lord wants it stopped. This battle must be fought. It is an opportunity to drive the accuser out of the church, and for the church then to come into a unity that would otherwise be impossible. Like the cross, the very thing which Satan thinks will destroy his enemy is the very thing that will cause his own defeat. Regardless of how bad it looks for a time, remember that when the great darkness came upon the world on the evening that Jesus was crucified, the greatest light of all followed it—the resurrection.
What is coming will be dark. At times Christians almost universally will be loath to even call themselves Christians. Believers and unbelievers alike will think that it is the end of Christianity as we know it, and it will be. Through this the very definition of Christianity will be changed, for the better. The church that emerges from what is coming will be full of unprecedented grace, truth, and unprecedented power.
History Repeated The impending civil war in the church will parallel the American Civil War in many ways. The great spiritual issues that must be settled in the church are a counterpart to the political problems that America faced before the Civil War. Until the first battle of the American Civil War, no one on either side expected it to last more than a few months, and at best cost no more than a few hundred casualties. The ultimate cost in lives, property and damage to the soul of the nation was a profound shock to everyone on both sides. Likewise, the kind of conflict that the church is headed for will be unimaginable to almost everyone before it happens, which will work to cause a serious lack of preparation. This in itself will be a primary factor that seriously prolongs the conflict.
The Main Cause Slavery was not tolerable in America, and its presence in a free country with such a spiritual destiny could not be endured. Neither is the spiritual slavery and oppression now existing in much of the church tolerable, and it must be eradicated before the last day church can come into her full purpose. Just as with the American Civil War, spiritual slavery and oppression will become the primary issue facing the church. We may protest that there is no such spiritual slavery in the church today, and most of it is free from such spiritual oppression. Over half of the United States were also "free states" before the Civil War, but the rest had a deadly cancer that had to be removed or the whole would die. The same is true of the church. Nearly half of the believers in the world today are held under a spiritual "plantation mentality"; leaders are only seeking to build and maintain their own spiritual estates, and they are doing it mostly through spiritual slave labor. Some are benevolent toward their people, unless they try to leave, and others are as spiritually ruthless and cruel as most slave owners truly were.
Here we are speaking of spiritual enslavement and oppression, but its perversion of our spiritual character is no less devastating than slavery was. How could America, which was otherwise the most free nation on earth, abide such cruelty? She couldn't. No nation can long abide that kind of contradiction and hypocrisy in its midst. Neither can the church continue to abide many of the present contradictions in her teachings and practices within the half that is so abusing them. These issues must be addressed.
Great Britain, under the leadership of men like John Wesley and William Wilberforce, showed that the terrible institution of slavery could be removed from a nation by the power of the truth revealed. Britain repented and removed the cancer from her midst. They did this first by making the ownership of slaves spiritually and socially unacceptable, and then by passing civil laws to enforce these obvious truths.
America took a different tact, trying for decades to compromise the obvious and appease the offenders. This only made the ultimate cost of the inevitable changes much greater. There are likewise inevitable changes coming to the church. We are right now determining how much these changes will cost us. "Satan's strand of three cords" (the control spirit, the political spirit and the religious spirit), by which he is yoking multitudes of believers, must be confronted and removed from our midst. The longer we compromise with them the more costly their ultimate removal will be. Just as America could never have become the great nation that she did while tolerating having slaves in her midst, neither can the church come into her ultimate glory while tolerating the spiritual strongholds and bondage now forced upon so many.
No Compromise Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (II Corinthians 3:17). For there to be true worship there must be liberty. That is why the Lord placed the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden. There could be no true obedience from the heart unless there was the freedom to disobey. If all that the Lord had wanted was obedience, He could have just created the computer and programmed thousands of them to worship Him. But how fulfilling would worship be from those who had no choice to do otherwise? Freedom is essential for true worship, true obedience, and for any place that the Spirit of the Lord will come. The use of guilt, pressure, manipulation and control to compel men to do what we think they should do is not tolerable in the church of Jesus Christ who came to set men free. The church that the Lord builds is not compatible with the devices many are using as a substitute for His Holy Spirit, and for having true spiritual authority.
Again, the main point in the impending spiritual civil war will be over the institution of slavery--or the institutions of spiritual slavery. When I speak of "institutions of slavery," I am not necessarily speaking of denominations, but rather of any organization, including denominations or movements, that are holding their people in spiritual bondage. The longer we continue to compromise with such institutions, which use manipulation or control, for the sake of unity or for any other reason, the more it will ultimately cost us to remove the cancer from our midst.
Other Causes A major secondary factor in the American Civil War, and one which many contend was the primary factor, was simple economics. One of the greatest powers of bondage at the end of the age will be that of money over people. Money will be the ultimate false god at the end, which is why the "mark of the beast" is an economic mark, and why "the love of money" is called "the root of all evil." A god is not just something you bow down to, but what you trust in. Many of the coming conflicts between movements, denominations and individual churches will be deeply rooted in the power that money now has over the church. Many will use doctrinal differences or other issues as justification for their attacks on their brothers, but the real cause will be over a loss, or potential loss, of money.
Big ministry can be big money. Because many churches and ministries are built with considerable debt, financial pressures can cause leaders to do things they would not otherwise do. Stewardship is one of the most crucial matters for every leader to understand and walk in during these times. If we compromise the biblical standards here, we will fall into one of the most devastating traps of the enemy. As Proverbs 22:7 reads, "the borrower becomes the lender's slave." Another cause for the American Civil War was the compulsion for many in the South to simply "preserve their way of life," or "traditions." This will likewise be a cause of many conflicts in the impending spiritual civil war. There are many good traditions that we should honor, but many are substitutes for a living relationship with the Lord. One of the powers of a religious spirit is to cause men to honor the things that God has done in the past in order for them to justify their opposition to what He is presently doing.
This was a primary reason why the Pharisees, who loved the word of God, and esteemed both the traditions and a hope in the coming Messiah more than anyone else, rejected and opposed Him when He came. They were worshiping their traditions more than God, so when He came without having the same regard for those traditions that they did, they could not receive Him. Those who put their security and faith more in their traditions than in the living God will oppose almost everything that He is in fact doing. There is a huge portion of the church which is held in bondage to the same religious spirit that manifested itself in the Pharisees, and it will attack any new movement that arises in the church. The more anointed a new movement is, the more these traditionalists will be threatened by it, and the more vehemently they will attack it.
Another cause of the American Civil War that will parallel the impending spiritual conflict was the demand for "states' rights" on the part of the secessionists. This seemed like a call for liberty, but it was actually the demand for an unholy right of self-will and independence. If liberty was truly in their heart, why would they also demand to keep their slaves in bondage? Likewise, many who are today vehemently against organizations and denominations, demanding their own independence, often yoke their followers with character-crushing doctrines of fear to keep them under their control. Such people will be some of the primary vessels for the accuser in the conflict that is coming.
The coming spiritual civil war will also be a war between the forces of the Union and the forces of confederacy. There is a true unity movement, and there is a counterfeit one. The first is based on the relationship we have in Christ, which makes us all family. The other is based on political expediency, alliances or organizations made for the sake of maintaining their way of life, which they do not want to change, which must have their institutions of slavery and their traditions.
It should also be noted that the Union itself remained divided throughout the entire American Civil War. There were major problems, with peace movements, riots and demonstrations, with even violent clashes occasionally. Even so, they remained a part of the nation. We, too, can expect that even within that part of the church that is fighting for the freedom of the oppressed, true liberty and the preservation of a true Union, there will still be problems and divisions. Even so, the forces of the true Union will work out their differences and prevail.
Like the American Civil War, the coming spiritual civil war will also be between the Blue and the Gray. In dreams and visions blue often represents heavenly-mindedness (i.e., the sky is blue), and gray speaks of those who live by the power of their own minds (i.e., 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.
Other Parallels It seems to be a contradiction, but after a point the only way that the Union could be preserved was for a leadership to arise which would be willing to fight a civil war in order to preserve it. The church is likewise coming to that point. The only way she can attain a true unity is for her leaders to be willing to fight the forces of spiritual slavery and oppression.
We must never forget that the unity of the church is one of the most important issues with the Lord. This was one of His own most pressing prayers on the night before He laid down His life for the church. However, He also prayed that night for us to be "sanctified in truth" (see John 17:17). He gave His life to set us free from the yokes of the evil one. The unity He prayed for was based on truth, not just political expediency, or compromises fashioned in order to keep the peace at any cost. Peace at the cost of truth, or the liberty of the Spirit, is a yoke of bondage that will only lead to even greater division. Just as the very leaders who seemed to be bringing the greatest division to the nation were the only ones with the vision and resolve to really save it, the same will be true in what is coming upon the church.
Some of the most noble souls in the American Civil War caused multitudes of unnecessary deaths, and greatly prolonged the war, by fighting for the wrong side. They fought for the wrong side because their allegiance was based more on territory than principle. Robert E. Lee claimed to not believe in what the South was fighting for, but said that he could not take up arms against his native Virginia. How much could the war have been shortened, how many lives could have been saved, and how much less devastation would there have been, if he had chosen sides based on principle rather than territory? Unfortunately, the same will be true of the impending spiritual civil war. Those who have more allegiance to a position, or an organization, rather than to genuine spiritual principles will likewise end up fighting on the wrong side, even though they may be able to justify it a thousand ways. These, too, will cause many unnecessary casualties.
It looked for a long time as if the South was going to win the Civil War, and it will likewise look for a time as if the forces of spiritual slavery and rebellion will prevail, but they will not. What will for a time look like a total meltdown of Christianity will ultimately result in one of her greatest victories. As I wrote in The Hordes of Hell, Part I, this war will cause the Lord's champions to ascend the mountain into higher realms of the Spirit than they have gone before. As they do, Faith, Hope and Charity will be revealed, and seen from even greater distances than would have otherwise been possible.
The Forces Of Victory Few today realize that near the end of the war almost one third of the Union troops were black. Some historians have rightly stated that because of the widespread anti-war movements in the North, the Union probably could not have won without them. When leaders of the Christian forces of Union determine to fight for the essential principles of liberty and truth, the black church will arise to fight, and they will be the primary forces to bring about the ultimate victory.
Because of the destiny of the black church in America, she has been subject to the most severe systematic attacks of the enemy. He has continually tried to sow seeds of control and manipulation within the leadership, and he is using Islam to attack from without. However, there will be a generation of black church leaders who will cast off all forms of manipulation and control, and who will be great spiritual liberators who will help lead the entire body of Christ through what is coming.
After this great spiritual civil war, there will no longer be a white church and a black church. Neither will many of the present distinguishing characteristics that categorize Christians into groups continue to exist. There will be an entirely new definition of Christianity, which the Lord Jesus Himself has already written. The world will know us by our love.
A New Breed Of Leader The Lord is going to raise up spiritual leaders like Abraham Lincoln. They will be willing to fight a civil war in order to preserve the union. Like Lincoln, under the greatest of pressures, from forces within the church, through what appear to be constant defeats on spiritual battlefields, they, too, will hold their course and not compromise until there is a complete victory. God gave America Abraham Lincoln, and He will do no less for His church.
Abraham Lincoln is now considered one of the most remarkable leaders of all time. After his assassination, Lincoln was almost immediately recognized as one of our greatest presidents. However, before his death he was one of the most despised to ever hold the office. He was not just despised in the South, but even in the Northern States. He was constantly chided and ridiculed. Many of the nation's best leaders refused to be associated with him, and would not serve his government. Even so, he maintained his resolve, and did the best that he could with what he was given, believing that if the Lord was with him he could not fail. We must be prepared to do the same. The leadership that must lead through what is coming will not be here to win popularity contests. They must do their jobs as unto the Lord, because few men will appreciate them in their own time.
One of Lincoln's greatest accomplishments was to be able to wage such a bloody conflict without once demonizing his enemy. From the beginning of history, the first strategy of every leader in a war is to demonize his enemy in order to galvanize his support and mobilize his forces. It is possible that Lincoln could have won the war much sooner if he had done this, as the North never did fully mobilize for the war. However, Lincoln kept focused on his ultimate goal, the preservation of the Union, which he knew would be much more difficult, if not impossible, if he were to demonize the South. Until the very end he treated his enemies with the utmost dignity and respect. He even visited Southern troops in hospitals, because he continued to maintain that they were all Americans, even if they had been led astray.
In spite of all of the pressures to succeed in the shortest time, even when facing military defeat after defeat on the battlefields, even when it appeared that he would lose re-election to an advocate of peace at any cost, for Lincoln to keep his vision on the ultimate purpose of unity was an extraordinary grace. This was also a characteristic of one of the greatest leaders in the Bible, King David. David also had to fight a civil war with the house of Saul (see II Samuel 3). However, David revealed the same kind of magnanimity when he insisted on always honoring King Saul, even when Saul sought his own life, even when there was war with the house of Saul, and even after the war was over.
As the spiritual civil war starts to unfold, we, too, must always remember that we are not warring with flesh and blood, but we are actually fighting for the liberation of the very ones we may be in conflict with. Lincoln's vision of unity included the South as a part of the Union, and to consider them anything other than Americans was to contradict his basic vision of preserving the Union. Regardless of how deceived someone may be, if they have embraced the cross of Jesus Christ, they are our brothers, and the very ones our Savior gave His life to save. We are not fighting against people, but the forces that deceive and bind them.
Philip Elston had a vision several years ago in which he saw the Lord standing with His arms outstretched. Soldiers in blue and gray uniforms were marching past Him on either side, and were laying their bloody swords on His arms. The Lord resolutely looked into the eyes of each one, saying, "No one who has their brother's blood on their sword will be used to build My house." We must never use our swords against our brothers, but only against the cords of evil that are binding them.
It is true that there are children of "their father, the devil," with great influence in the body of Christ, just as there were in Israel when the Lord walked the earth. These must be confronted and exposed, and either converted, or removed from their place of influence in the church. Neither the Lord nor the apostles refrained from confronting them, naming them, and when necessary, removing them from the church. Just as in the first century, these can be distinguished by their attempts to spy out our liberty and yoke the church with bondage, or sow the doctrines that the Scriptures call leaven.
It is also noteworthy that some of the greatest revivals in our nation's history took place among the Southern troops during the Civil War. Many Southern generals were leaders of the revival. The Lord came to save the rebels, among which we were all found at one time. Let us never forget that we are here to save men, and set them free. The church will soon be singing, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" with much greater understanding.
Summary So what can we do if this is going to happen? First, all the movements that are working to bring about the unity of the church really have been sent by God. These are meant to strengthen our unity for what is coming. I believe we should support every one of them as much as we can. We should also do all that we can to reconcile with those who we have differences with. Some whom we may now think are our enemies will be our best friends in what is coming, and some whom we think may be our best friends, may become enemies. We must do all that we can to strengthen every relationship, and reconcile with those that we can.
We should also do all that we can to strengthen the essential truths of our faith, within ourselves, and any to whom we are called to serve by leading. The true unity of the faith will never have to come at the compromise of our beliefs. We are also called to follow the Lamb, not just an organization. Those who have built their spiritual lives, or positions of leadership, on obeying an organization rather than always seeking to follow the Lord, are in the most serious jeopardy at this time of becoming stumbling blocks.
We are called to overcome evil with good. We cast out darkness with the light. Allow the Lord to search your heart for any way you might be using a control spirit, manipulation, or means other than the Holy Spirit to try to accomplish your purposes. The roots that the enemy has in us through these will cause us much trouble in the times ahead. Let us now judge ourselves, lest we be judged. If we will humble ourselves now, He will lift us up at the proper time.
NOTE: For those who may be wondering, I am a white Southerner, born in North Carolina and raised in Richmond, Virginia. My ancestors were slave owners. I love the South, and believe that where sin did abound, grace will much more abound. In the coming spiritual civil war, the church in the South will be on the right side.
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