I am so excited to finally announce the birth of my new book, and reason this blog was started. My book is called The Narrow Path: Escaping the Grips of Deception While Discovering His Way, Life, and Truth. It is available on amazon (kindle edition) for pre-sales. The paperback will be in pre-sales soon. Final release date in March 30th 2020. 🎉🎊🎂
“Christianized inner healing internally regresses a person into his/her past and, by various mystical and outright shamanistic procedures, then introduces the ‘actual, real, living’ Jesus within the person’s altered state of consciousness. By this procedure the past mystically becomes present. The conjured Jesus figure will not only heal the past, but will change the facts of history in order to bring about the desired healing”~Orrel Steinkamp
SOZO is a popular inner healing method that originated from Bethel Church in Redding California. However, SOZO ministry has spread all over the United States, and is popular in many churches. The name SOZO is used because it means ‘saved, healed and delivered’ in Greek. This particular method was created by Dawna Desilva after attending Bethel Church in 1997. According to the Bethel SOZO team; “Inner healing and deliverance ministry is aimed to get to the root of things hindering your personal connection with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With a healed connection, you can walk in the destiny to which you have been called”. Bethel SOZO ministry gives you the tools you need to bring clients seeking freedom, and puts them in a state of hypnosis, while you bring the spirit of ‘Jesus’ to help them heal of past memories and trauma. SOZO ministry training will train you in either basic SOZO or advanced.
The basic SOZO training includes tools such as, the Father ladder, four doors, presenting Jesus, and the wall. After you have been trained in SOZO, and have been working with these tools for at least six moths, you can go on for advanced training in SOZO. This will give you two additional tools to work with; these tools are called triggers and divine editing. Advanced training can also include prophetic deliverance and Shabar ministry. What does a SOZO session look like? Well, it is actually quite hard to find that information, and even on Bethel SOZO website, what this entails is quite vague; unless of course, you pay for the course, tools, and how to operate in them. Then in the advanced course more secrets!! This is not Biblical, and it reminds me of the occult; oh wait that’s because it is! Everything in the occult uses tools, and secrets.
The only information for what a session consists of is that they usually run for about one and half, to three hours. They are conducted by two members; and it is reiterated that these are not counseling sessions(nobody wants lawsuits), but a time of interacting with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for wholeness and pursuing your “destiny”. The person getting sozoed is basically put into a hypnotic, suggestible state, while these two members walk you through these tools seeking guidance and revelation from the Holy Spirit. First tool is the Father Ladder,”This is to help people connect to the trinity. The Father ladder is a “hearing God exercise”. It is the framework of the session. Then the four doors are used during sessions to attempt to identify four areas of sin that may have opened the person up to demonic possession or oppression. These four doors are hatred, occult, sexual sin, and fear. At this time the person may be asked to confess and renounce those sins so that access via an “open door” can be closed.
Next, is where the presenting Jesus tool is utilized. This is considered “the Jesus in our memories” approach to healing. Jesus presents in our past, and now we can see and hear what he has to say about painful situations to bring healing. Last tool is the wall. This tool “clears a negative blockage in a person’s soul that impedes the flow of God’s love, which can activate that person’s gifting and character in Christ”. Now after the advanced training, this includes the tool of trigger mechanism; which is a good way to bring Jesus into a past time of trauma to heal pain. Then the divine editing tool is potentially good for “jarring the mind into new thought pathways.” This entire system is completely manmade, and Jesus never taught us that in order to be made free we had to seek hypnotic type sessions with mediators. All of these are tools that are adding to Jesus’s finished work on the cross. When I gave my life to Jesus, my whole life changed, I was set free, because “Whom the son sets free, is free indeed”. There was no disclaimer. God is not asking us to seek out some pseudo-spiritual tools to free us from past memories, so that we can now walk in our destiny. God does not care about your destiny, he cares about using you as a vessel for His purpose.
Jesus is all you need. If you are having trouble hearing God, then open your Bible. If you can’t “feel” the Holy spirit, know this, there is nowhere you can flee from His presence. There is no need to pay to go to others to connect with any member of the trinity. God’s Holy Spirit lives inside of you. There is no need to open up one’s self to a false Jesus, so that spirit can regress you to past memories or hurt. For we are now a new creation in Christ, the old has passed away.
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.~Philippians 3:13-14
SOZO and inner healing are really nothing new. A woman by the name of Agnes Sanford introduced inner healing into Christianity. She is the author of many books, one of which was called “The Healing Light”. This book taught healing methods that are a blend of psychological, new thought, and theosophy. “The healing materials that she presented to Christians were not Bible…according to her book, “sealed orders”, she confessed reading anything and everything she could find regarding spiritual healing. She even included the literature of Mary Baker Eddy, spiritual healing, and practical Christianity, the Christian science movement and the metaphysical movement” (Inner Healing, Body Souls and Spirit, pg4).
According to an article by John Whitcombe on the history of Christian inner healing, “In the 1940’s Agnes Sanford blended Carl Jung’s psychologized occult views with her own occult experiences and introduced them to the church. Sanford and her writings and seminars became Christian sources of Jungian occult teachings….pioneered teaching for healing memories, part of positive thinking, she believed God could work through spirits, as well as spirits who died; she taught God used mediums to heal”. Sanford also believed that “experience comes before theology”, and that sounds like many churches today.
There is nothing Christian about inner healing methods, and there have been lives ruined by SOZO. Reports of false memories placed during sessions, and families have been ripped apart.
This is a brief testimony from an article titled, “Victims of Bill Johnson’s Ministry Speak out”:
“My daughter attended a Sozo session at Bethel eight years ago. While in that session she experienced a so called “Recovered Memory” that I had molested her from the age of three to thirteen. That was the end of our relationship and almost the end of my life. Her mother and siblings know and have testified that it is completely false, but the damage is done. None of us in our family will ever be the same.
When I found out about this I tried to contact Bill Johnson for help. Apparently, being falsely accused of a crime that can carry a life sentence (and that resulting from one of Bethels’ ministries) is not quite enough to get his attention. I could not get past the “counseling center”. When I related what had happened to them they expressed how sorry they were at my experience and actually tried to get me to set up a counseling session. Yes, a counseling session. I declined that invitation”.
Unfortunately, I have heard many similar sad, and heartbreaking stories. SOZO is an occult method, and one people should steer clear from. If anyone needs any tools, they ought to be using scripture. God’s word is alive, and pierces through ones soul.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”.~Hebrews 4:11
We have all we need in the fullness of Christ, and His grace is sufficient for every need. Do not let any man captivate you.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ”.~Colossians 2:8
The word here is captive, which means to imprison, through the philosophy of men, and the elemental forces of the world. By seeking freedom outside of anything but Jesus, you instead become bound. Any healing you think you receive is an illusion.
Witcombe, J. (2009, June 29). The History of Christian Inner-Healing. Retrieved from https://amazingdiscoveries.org/S-deception_Sanford_Freud_Jung
Bethel Sozo. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://bethelsozo.com/
What Are The Sozo’ Tools And What Do They Mean? (2014, June 10). Retrieved from https://biblehealing.wordpress.com/what-are-the-sozo-tools-and-what-do-they-mean/
Holliday, P. (2010, February 16). Internet Church-Can Christians Believe Deceptions -. Retrieved from https://www.miracleinternetchurch.com/internet-church-can-christians-believe-deceptions/the-body-of-christ
As I sat in church that day, I had made my final decision to never return. We watched a “prophet” preach from his vain imagination and speak of vibrations and frequencies. He spoke to the congregation about the evils of religion, and the new prophetic ministry, while referring to God as “source”. I don’t recall one scripture spoke. People applauded and never questioned nothing said. Like sheep to the slaughter…..at the end of service, the leaders all stood up. My pastor who calls himself ‘Apostle’, introduced everyone in a row. “Here we have Apostle, prophet, teacher, pastor, and evangelist; the five- fold ministry”. Their eyes were alive with anticipation. God was doing something NEW. But none of this was new. My past involvement was in the occult and New Age, and it was feeling eerily similar.
“What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun”.~~Ecclesiastes 1:9
There is a new reformation happening in Christianity, and it is crossing many denominational lines. It is a movement that is trying to dismantle the foundation of Christianity, and building upon it by the continuation of the office of Apostle and Prophet. These positions hold special authority over churches while new revelations are regularly accepted. Some NAR Apostles consider themselves equal or even better than the original twelve. It is a movement replacing the word of God with feelings, and experiences. The emphasis is on signs and wonders, and elevating man. It is a direct contradiction to the word of God. Instead of being “sober- minded”, we have become “drunk in the spirit”. Instead of fear of the Lord, we have “Holy Laughter”. Instead of Bible studies, we have supernatural schools of ministry where we can learn and pay for the gifts of God. Instead of being “ye separate from the world”, we have “redeemed” the occult, slapped a Jesus label on it and said “I can make it my own”. As we move further away from the word of God, we lose our only weapon of warfare.
Many in the NAR camp will argue that the New Apostolic Reformation doesn’t exist and that those opposing the gifts of the spirit made this title up. Many don’t identify themselves with NAR but instead will use titles, such as, five-fold ministry or the prophetic. However, New Apostolic Reformation is a term coined by its own founder, C. Peter Wagner. Wagner was planning on doing a seminary course on it and needed to come up with a name. This movement was meant to reach between interdenominational lines, to bring it under the guise of unity. As he was coming up with a name, first it was going to be “Independent Charismatic”, but decided that not all churches are charismatic. According to Wagner, “The name I have settled on is New Apostolic Reformation. I use “reformation” because as I have said, these new wineskins appear to be at least as radical as those of the protestant reformation almost five hundred years ago” (Transforming Power of Revival, Chapter 14). This is a real name for a movement that has real intentions to reform Christianity. So those that maintain that NAR doesn’t exist, haven’t done their homework.
C. Peter Wagner gave his own explanation for what this New Apostolic Reformation was all about:
There is a new authority structure. “The amount of spiritual authority delegated by the Holy Spirit to individuals. Pastors are merely employees. But the NAR pastors are leaders of the church” (Transforming Power of Revival, chapter 14)
There is new leadership training. The focus is helping people walk in their gifts. However, even scarier is that Bible school is considered “remote”. “Continuing education for leadership takes place in conferences, seminars, and retreats, rather than accredited institutions”(Transforming Power of Revival, chapter 14). The focus of education is being taken away from the Bible and is taking on an entirely new theology of displaying powerful gifts of the spirit. Something seen at many of these NAR conferences is receiving “impartations” of a different spirit, and then taking it back to other churches. It is spreading like a virus.
New Ministry Focus. “New Apostolic ministries are vision driven”. The question is, who’s vision? Usually that vision stems from whatever vision that leadership believes the Holy Spirit has revealed to them.
New worship style. “Worship leaders have replaced music directors, keyboards have replaced organs, casual worship teams have replaced robed choirs. Ten to twelve minutes of singing is now 49 minutes or more” (Transforming Power of Revival, Chapter 14).
New Prayer Forms.
“Prayer in new apostolic churches has taken forms rarely seen in traditional congregations. Some of this takes place within the church and some takes place outside the church” (Transforming Power of Revival Chapter 14).
New Financing. “Generous giving is expected. Tithing is without apology, and those who do not tithe their incomes are subtly encouraged to evaluate their Christian lives as subpar” (Transforming Power of Revival, Chapter 14).
New Outreach. “Aggressively reaching out to the lost and hurting of the community, the world is part of the New Apostolic DNA” (Transforming Power of Revival, Chapter 14).
New power orientation. NAR churches believe in Holy Spirit supernatural power; they believe all gifts are active for today. “It is common place to observe active ministries of healing, demonic deliverance, spiritual warfare, prophecy, falling in the spirit, spiritual mapping, prophetic acts, fervent intercession and so on. More emphasis on the heart than on the mind” (Transforming Power of Revival, Chapter 14).
So as we can see, the New Apostolic Reformation is not a made up title for those who oppose charismatics. The founder of this movement was “Apostle” C. Peter Wagner, and he had an outline on how this face of Christianity was to change, and his vision has been met with success. The NAR is the fastest growing form of Christianity on a global level, but yet it has crept into most churches unaware. It has infiltrated by way of popular worship music (such as Bethel music and Jesus culture), and more exciting ways of doing church. “No more boring church”! That’s the statement I heard from a “prophet” at my own church. “God will not put up with religious spirits”, he would say. If you don’t submit to this new leadership, you will be missing out on a great world revival. These are statements to prevent you from questioning what these new prophets and Apostles have to say.
Churches now have many supernatural schools of ministry where the emphasis is on encountering the Holy Spirit. After I left the NAR church I was alarmed at the many programs in churches that stem from popular Bethel Church, in Redding California. The New Apostolic Reformation is nothing new, but instead has its roots formed from the Latter Rain movement. The Latter rain movement in the 1940’s, taught that God was pouring out a “latter rain”, just like the day of Pentecost before our Lord returns. This movement was centered around revival meetings in Sasketchawan Canada. This movement like the NAR, believes in divine healing, and the restoration of Apostles and Prophets. Assembly of God churches denounced this movement in 1949. When the latter rain began it was called “The last great outpouring that was to consummate God’s plans on this Earth”. A book called “Atomic Power with God”, by Franklin Hall influenced many involved in the Latter Rain. Franklin Hall taught on revival doctrine centered on fasting, and subduing the Earth, as well a “body felt salvation”. Franklin Hall promoted a baptism where one could be free from sin and sickness called the “Holy Ghost fire”. In this body felt salvation, he claimed that it was 700% greater than ordinary healing power”. His teachings taught that this great baptism would “heal them from all sickness, tiredness and even body odor”. It also promised that one could achieve immortality.
The New Apostolic Reformation differs from the latter rain movement only by name, but it’s doctrines are the same. The latter rain movement was steeped in elitism, and it was believed this outpouring would even be greater than the book of Acts. A man named Bill Hamon wrote a book, called “Apostles, Prophets, and the Coming Moves of God”. Bill Hamon became involved with Wagner and brought the latter rain doctrine into the New Apostolic Reformation from it’s very beginning, and C. Peter Wagner wrote the foreward to his book. Bill Hamon taught on the Manifest Sons of God doctrine. According to Bill Hamon, “The manifest sons of God doctrine teaches that these sons will be equal to Jesus Christ: immortal, sinless, perfected sons who have partaken of the divine nature. They have every right to be called gods and will be gods”(Prophets and the prophetic movement). Bill Hamon taught that the sons of God will be subduing the Earth in order for Christ to reappear. “Widespread spiritual warfare will result with the sons of God doing battle with Satan, the non-Christian nations of this world will be defeated. Once the Earth is subdued, Jesus will come back to Earth”(Prophets and the prophetic movement). Bill Hamon rejects the rapture, and the manifest sons of God doctrine is the birthing place for Kingdom Now or Dominion Theology. Dominionism is a doctrine of the New Apostolic Reformation. We will discuss Dominion theology further down.
C. Peter Wagner was a visionary on how the church was to change. What exactly does that look like? Leadership is completely changing. Those in the church are rising to leadership, not by training at an accredited Bible college but are now being trained in conferences by receiving an “anointing”. There they can just grab and get whatever gift they want “imparted” to them.
The authority structure is changing. Instead of an organization or governing church body, we have sometimes a single Apostle as overseer of the church with no accountability for anything, including finances. Because they are viewed as anointed by God, they are never questioned, and many will follow their leading, not wanting to miss out on a great move of God.
Ministry focus is shifting. It’s no longer about the gospel of Jesus Christ, but about the gospel of the “kingdom”. It is about bringing heaven to Earth, but less focus on the eternity of one’s soul. NAR churches are constantly seeking “revival”, signs and wonders, while also seeking the “presence” of God. Biblical Christianity is about faith, not chasing signs and manifestations of God. “Only an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign”(Matthew 16:4). The gospel of the “kingdom” is related to kingdom Now theology, and is setting up God’s kingdom here on Earth, while forgetting that Jesus said: “My kingdom is not from this world”.
A new worship style has emerged, and it is turning it into a form of idolatry. The music is breathtaking and seductive. The songs played are filled with repetitive words, and often are wrong theologically. Popular music such as Bethel Music, Jesus Culture, and Hillsong have become favorites to play at many churches, while opening the doors wide open to their church programs, and doctrines. We now worship to “shift atmospheres”. Somehow our worship can open “portals” to heaven. Why are we constantly seeking to feel God’s presence? Does the Holy spirit not live inside of us? Psalm 139:7 teaches us “Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
New prayer forms have taken over. Jesus taught us how to pray;
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 1your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:7-13). Instead focus on prayer forms that are straight out of new age practices. We no longer pray for God’s will, but command things, as if we are little god’s. The focus is not on simple prayer, but contemplative forms such as “soaking”, circle prayers, and even labyrinth prayers. These all have more in common with witchcraft than they do with Christianity.
Then we have a new outreach coupled with a new power orientation. There is a huge emphasis on going outside the doors of the church, which is good, but the gospel isn’t being preached, and instead we focus on giving people an “encounter”. Evangelism consists of finding people to pray for healing, and giving them displays of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says faith comes by hearing; are these people hearing the gospel while being evangelized? Or are they merely just having a supernatural encounter of some sort? The NAR conferences such as, the Awakening in Australia, speak to the droves of people coming there to get saved through a power encounter. Just the title alone sounds New Age. What exactly are they awakening? The NAR has seen explosive growth, and has almost taken over places like Africa, South America, Asia, and Australia. Are we truly making disciples or mass false converts? NAR also places an emphasis on strategic level spiritual warfare, and inner healing that adds to Christ’s finished work on the cross. Instead of faith in Jesus to set us free, we now have Christians who are being put into bondage by deliverance ministries, and seeking healing through SOZO. SOZO is an inner healing ministry that has it’s roots in theosophy, and puts people in a hypnotic- like state, even recovering false memories that have torn apart families.
The New Apostolic Reformation is real and it is rising. The way of truth is being blasphemed. The face of Christianity is changing, and it’s going undetected. The church is changing in major ways, as more New Age practices infiltrate, and Biblical understanding is becoming less important. NAR has infected most churches with a very dangerous doctrine known as Dominionism or Kingdom Now theology. The end times church isn’t looking up for the blessed return of our savior; instead the church is busy planning to take over the world, and it’s seven spheres of influence. The seven spheres of influence is something known as the Seven Mountain Mandate. The seven mountains are education, religion, family, business, government/military, arts/entertainment, and media. While this sounds great to just “Christianize” everything, it is also militant and forceful. God does not command world takeover, he commands making disciples and spreading the true gospel.
So here we have a movement taking over churches, disregarding the importance of scripture, syncretizing the occult with Christianity, and preparing for world domination. What about those who won’t conform? What about those who are Christians who do not accept these new wineskins, but choose to trust scripture over man? Well, they will have to be removed, and the Earth cleansed by these new manifest sons of God. Jesus won’t return until his kingdom has been set up on Earth by mere man. It is up to Kingdom Now adherents to usher in Christ’s return. So let’s recap. We have the occult entering the church, coupled with Biblical illiteracy, and we are going to usher in Christ’s return, while cleansing the Earth of those that get in the way, all while welcoming the return of “Christ”. This is close to New Age spirituality, which is also calling for a shift in humanity to become co-redeemers of the Earth, and those who do not evolve will have to somehow disappear.
Rick Joyner from Morningstar Ministries teaches on Dominionist agenda known as “Joel’s army”. Joel’s army sees itself as an end times army that will perform miracles, take dominion of Earth and execute judgement. Joyner speaks of a vision of a coming civil war between Christians. Joyner states, “What is about to come to Earth is not just revival, or another awakening; it is a veritable revolution. This vision was given in order to begin awakening those who are destined to radically change the course and even the very definition of Christianity”. Rick Joyner speaks of destroying those passive Christians who refuse to unite with them. The new order of the Dominionists will take over.
“This army of which Joel speaks is about to be revealed…they will take cities. They will burst through the enemy’s strongholds and take houses. The very heaven and Earth will be shaken because of this great army…..the time has come”. ~ Rick Joyner
This new breed of Christianity does not exist in our Holy scriptures and is leading people into total apostasy. Jesus’s true disciples keep his word, going throughout the world to make disciples, not take over the world by force. The Kingdom Now crowd actually believes they have the right to call down judgments from heaven. There is only one judge and all power has been given to him……..JESUS!! All of this is a lie from the ruler of this world. The same lie echoes….”if you would just bow down and worship me….I will give you all the kingdoms of the Earth”! But the King has already spoken….”MY KINGDOM IS NOT FROM THIS WORLD”!
The New apostolic reformation seeks to restore the office of Apostle and Prophet, although it is so much more. True Biblical Apostles were uniquely appointed as eyewitnesses of Jesus’s resurrection. Jesus chose each one individually and personally. Seeing the resurrected Christ was a requirement for being an Apostle, and Paul understood this. “Then he appeared to James, and then to the Apostles. And last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born” (Corinthians 15:6-8). Here Paul seems to refer to himself as the last Apostle commissioned by Jesus. NAR proponents like to use Ephesians 4…..”And He himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers”…..However, if we look at Ephesians 2, that five- fold office for today diminishes because Apostles and Prophets are listed as the very foundation of the building up of the church. “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together grows into a temple in the Lord”. Jesus as well as the Apostles and Prophets are joined together as the very foundation of Christianity.
The New Apostolic Reformation is trying to lay another foundation other than Christ Jesus. The foundation has already been laid. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). Whatever man tries to build upon this foundation will be tested. But adding something new to it’s very foundation is something other than true Christianity, and it is evil at it’s core. Jesus warned about deception more than anything mentioned regarding the end times. It is more important than ever before to know our Bibles. NAR is a virus infecting far and wide. Keep your eyes open for popular keywords, such as, Apostles, Prophets, destiny, the presence, the glory, revival, unity, awakening, five- fold ministry, portals, visionary, generals, firestarter, influence, Dominion, kingdom now, architect, spiritual mapping, strategic level warfare, spirit of religion or Jezebel, leviathan, Ahab…..insert spirit here.
Tabachnik, R. (2011, September 09). C. Peter Wagner’s Response to Increased Exposure of the New Apostolic Reformation. Retrieved from http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/9/9/133916/9724
Geivett, R. D., & Pivec, H. (2014). A New Apostolic Reformation?: A biblical response to a worldwide movement. WOOSTER, OHIO: WEAVER Book Company.
Wagner, C. P. (2004). Churchquake. Taipei, Taiwan: Phillily Publisher.
Deway, B. (2017, December). The Roots and Fruits of the New Apostolic Reformation. Retrieved from http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue103.htm
Hamon, B. (1997). Apostles prophets and the coming moves of God: Gods end-time plans for His church and planet Earth. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image.
The New Apostolic Reformation: Influence and Teachings. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.apologeticsindex.org/
Rivalland, N. (n.d.). The Doctrine of deification. Retrieved from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/deification.html
The way people think, the way we react to environmental stimuli, the way we relate to one another, the way our backgrounds and experiences shape the way we view and interact with the world absolutely fascinates me. It’s probably what led me to pursue degrees in psychology and counseling as well as every sociology, anthropology, criminology, and every other social science -ology elective I could get my hands on when I was in college. What makes people tick? Why does the human mind perceive things the way it does? Why is it that two people can witness the exact same event and come away with two completely different interpretations of it?
Those human-centered constructs and sciences can be helpful when it comes to studying observable behavior, but that’s exactly where their helpfulness ends – at the line of observable human behavior. Statistical psychology can perform a longitudinal study on people who…
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My heart had searched for you. I longed for truth. For so long I was lost in darkness. I knew of you, but I didn’t KNOW you. But the day I met you, you stood before me, and saturated my spirit with your presence. That day I KNEW. You were my savior, redeemer, and king. You delivered me from evil, and allowed my eyes to see. “Who do you say that I am”? His presence demanded an answer. “You are the son of man, God in the flesh. Besides you there is no other”, I quietly spoke from within. It was you who placed my feet on solid ground, and showed me the path to the life.
JESUS…..quite arguably the most well-known name, and also the most controversial. Virtually all scholars agree on the historical existence of Jesus. His life, teachings, and presence reverberated throughout all history, and forever impacted humanity. We all have heard the teaching, Jesus was born of a virgin, died on a cross, and rose three days later, ascending to the right hand of the Father, and paying the penalty of sin and death. This man challenged religious hypocrites, and performed the miraculous. Remaining humble, Jesus discouraged his followers from boasting. “See to it that no one knows about this”, Jesus would say. Jesus wanted less focus on the miracles he performed, and more on the message he proclaimed. That message was one that none before him could have repeated. It was one of salvation. Many religious leaders tried to show a way, but Jesus proclaimed; “I am the way, the truth and the life. NOBODY comes to the Father but through me”. Man could never work their way to God, you could never be good enough, but God had paid the price with the shed blood of his innocent son.
That salvation message hung not on who Jesus claimed to be, but who his followers would ultimately identify him as.
“Who do you say that I am”?
This was the question Jesus asked his disciples. “One day as Jesus was praying in private and the disciples were with him, he questioned them, and asked them this very question.
“Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others that a prophet of old has risen”, they answered him.
But Jesus asks again: “Who do you say that I am”? Peter replies; “the Christ, son of the living God”. (This same question repeated in Matt 16:13-20, Mark 8:27-30, and John 6:66-71).
Jesus already knew what others’ were saying about him, what mattered was what those closest to him believed. Only those truly belonging to the Father could have possibly known the answer…..He was the ‘Christ’, which means ‘anointed one’. He was the promised messiah. “Blessed are you, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven”, Jesus exclaims.
To truly belong to the Father, you must know the truth about the identity of Jesus. There are only two possible sources which knowledge flows from, that of the world, and that of God. The world will lie to you about the true identity of Jesus. It will tell you he’s just a man, a good teacher, or maybe even a prophet. Possibly even a ascended master, here to teach you the way to enlightenment….awaken the divine within, Christ consciousness. But the truth lies within God’s Holy word. Jesus wasn’t just some man, he was the word manifested in the flesh, and he was fully man and fully God, co-equal in all authority. The entire old testament was Jesus Christ concealed, while the new testament was Jesus Christ revealed.
As a former new-ager I always believed in a Jesus, but what I believed about him was false. If Jesus had asked me this same question, I would have failed the answer. I would have identified him as a man of divine origin, but I would have failed to acknowledge him as the narrow path back to God. Jesus wasn’t the created, he was the CREATOR. Before he was manifested in the flesh he had many attributes throughout the Old Testament that would later connect to scripture in the New Testament. He is the rock, savior, judge, creator, and the great I AM. This is why false religions of the world will always deviate from the truth, and what God’s word has already identified him as.
Jesus’s impact in the world was so immense, that all religions had to account for him in some way. Jews acknowledge his existence, his crucifixion, and that his followers reported him as risen from the dead. However, they deny his divinity and that he was their promised messiah. In Islam Jesus is revered as a prophet, but his godhood denied. And they deny he was crucified or died on a cross, but believe he will return one day and revive Islam. In Hinduism Jesus is seen as a god, the divine modeling of self-realization, and one of many forms of a “Ishta”. In Buddhism Jesus is seen as a teacher, Holy man, enlightened being, but still just a man none-the-less. And then the New age movement, sees him as an ascended master, something we can attain within, to be as gods….Christ consciousness.
The whole world must account for his existence, and lead you astray, because if they didn’t, you may just find out the truth…..and the truth is far too dangerous. So let the world preach unity, peace, and never division. Make that Jesus one of love and acceptance, never one who says “I come not to bring peace, but a sword”. Never one who says, “the world hates me because I testify that it’s works are evil”, and especially not a Jesus that says he isn’t a way, but THE WAY.
After his death and resurrection he promised his disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit would not speak of himself, but lead them unto all truth, exalting Jesus, and illuminating Holy scripture. In Isaiah 11:2 this was prophesied, “the spirit will rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord”. Then according to John 14:17 we know the world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him or knows Him. It is only by the Holy Spirit that you can truly know him….it is divine knowledge and truth. And it is the TRUTH that will set you free from this world of darkness.
It is Christ that is the true light, and able to give you true life. In Exodus 17:6 Moses cried out to God that his people were thirsty. He was instructed to take his rod with which he struck the river, and now strike the rock. “Behold, said the Lord, I will stand before you on the rock of Horeb, and water will come out”. This water that quenched the people’s thirst in the wilderness, would later be repeated by Christ when He says in John 4:13, “whoever drinks this water I give, will never thirst again”. Those in Exodus were given a shadow of that to come. And in Isaiah 8:14 it was prophesied, “that he would become a sanctuary, but to the houses of Israel a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over”. In 1 Peter 2:4, Jesus is spoke of as a “living stone which is rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God”. Jesus is the source of living water, and the rock of ages that we must cling too.
Jesus is savior. “Look to me and be saved. All you ends of the Earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead you will be saved” (Romans 10:10).
Jesus is judge. “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgement to the son” (John 5:22).
Jesus is Light. In Isaiah 60:20 “Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end”. In Psalms “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid”? In John 1:9 “He himself was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. 9The TRUE Light who gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him”.…
Jesus is Creator. In Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness”….Notice the plural ‘us’. This is referring to the Godhead from the beginning. Father, son, and Holy Spirit. In John 1:3 “He was with God in the beginning. 3Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. 4In Him was life, and that life was the light of men”.…
Jesus is the great I AM. In Exodus in the old Testament God tells Moses when asked who he should say sent him, “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ In the New Testament Jesus proclaims in John 8:24 “Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was born, I AM!”
Jesus is the First and the Last. In Isaiah 48:12 ““Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I have called: I am He; I am the first, and I am the last. Surely My own hand founded the Earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they stand up together” In Revelations 22:13 Jesus proclaims at his second coming “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”. All of his creation will praise him, and every knee will bow.
So I ask you….who is Jesus? His true identity is contained and beautifully woven throughout scripture. He is our rock, our savior, our judge, the true light, creator, the great I AM, the first and the last. He is our living water, and the bread of life. Within him is no darkness at all.
But of most importance….HE is the word itself made manifest. It is with His word the world was created, and it is His word that evil will be defeated with. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. The world will try to keep us away from the word and it’s true context. To be able to fully recognize who Jesus is we must have the Holy Spirit who testifies of Jesus through scripture.
“With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me stray from Your commandments. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD; teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:11).…Jesus is my guiding light, I need his word to illuminate my path.
As the world grows dimmer, and deception increases, It is his word you cannot depart from. Hide it in your heart. Jesus is asking all his true disciples…..”who do YOU say that I am”? Only by the power of the Holy Spirit and knowing his word can you answer this correctly. The world and even the church are causing God’s people to perish in ignorance.
What you believe about Jesus matters. If you don’t know the true Jesus, can you be sure Jesus knows you?
“For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:5)
Examine yourself and make sure you are in the faith. Know just who Jesus is. Don’t let the world define him for you.
“If You Abide in My Word, You Are Truly My Disciples”