Category Archives: Other Writings

Generational Spirits?

The title’s question mark gives away my conviction concerning this popular teaching.

It’s too long a message for a blog entry, so I’ve put it on my Other Writings page.

Here’s how it begins:

Let me lead into this subject by sharing my personal experience with a fellowship that used the term “familiar spirit” to refer to evil spirits that (according to this fellowship) entrench themselves in the families of mankind. For example, if Grandpa and Uncle Bill and cousin Jack are alcoholics, this is the work of a “familiar spirit,” and inevitably the new generation will grow up and be victimized by the same. Or, if Great Grandma and Grandma and Dad have heart disease or Alzheimer’s, this is no doubt the work of a “familiar spirit.”

The elders of this fellowship would sometimes visit the fellowship I was part of, bringing this teaching with them—to the point that just about every sin and problem and sickness in our midst was credited to the evil working of familiar spirits. Prayer times were invariably filled with their loud declarations binding the familiar spirit in So and so, and the familiar spirit over Such and such a family, or breaking the curse of a familiar spirit over this one who was sick… and so on….

Those interested can read the full message here:  Generational Spirits?

 

The Realm Of The True

Here is another excerpt from my book The True Worshippers, which is available on Other Writings (see menu bar above). This excerpt is from Chapter Two entitled The Realm Of The True.

**************

Neither in this mountain…

…Jesus, in saying to the woman at the well that the hour was at hand when people would no longer worship in “this mountain,” that is, Samaria—what he had in mind was the way the Samaritans attempted to worship God. The Samaritan religion was a mongrel mix of the idolatrous rites of foreign gods along with certain traditions rooted in the Law of Moses.

“Ye [Samaritans] worship ye know not what,” Jesus told her. “We know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.”

Now, any Jew listening in on this conversation would have given his resounding Amen to this Man (also a Jew) for that statement. Yes, salvation is of the Jews—more specifically of the house of David of the tribe of Judah. It’s what the Man had said just prior to this that caused all the trouble.

Nor yet at Jerusalem…

Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

Blasphemy! Nor yet at Jerusalem? God Himself established the religion of the Jews, and Jerusalem was the exclusive city that He Himself ordained His temple to be built in! This was His habitation, and He Himself had called and inspired Moses the man of God to set forth in the Law all the ritual and sacrifice that was to be centred in this great city and temple! Blasphemy! Who is this heretic to say, “nor yet at Jerusalem”?

But this Heretic was speaking of the great transformation that this same God had sent Him to inaugurate, by which all the types and shadows of the Law would be fulfilled in Himself and His new covenant community the Church in the Kingdom of God. It was a transformation from type and shadow to the true.

For, in Scripture, the word true is contrasted not only with false, but also with type and shadow. Many of our fathers in church history saw this and embraced it, but in our day (to our great humiliation), Christian teachers in great numbers have carelessly relinquished this understanding. “Woman, believe Me,” Jesus had said: what He was about to reveal to her was going to take some faith.

Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

Do we ourselves hear the same promise? The same call to faith? Do we believe Him?

It seems we do not. These days many Christian teachers and their followers are glorying in rituals and types and shadows that were once observed in old Jerusalem, but which Scripture clearly teaches are done away in Christ and His new covenant. They insist that God will one day soon suddenly rapture the Church out of the picture and return to His original plans with natural Israel. Apparently, we are told, He will have the temple in Jerusalem rebuilt so Messiah can come to His temple and be worshipped with all the types and shadows of the Law again, in the process necessitating that Isaiah Chapter 66, verses one and two, be struck from the scriptural record, and repudiating Jesus’ own words here in John 4:21. Earlier generations of the church had greater light than that. Even in my old King James Bible there’s a superscription above Psalm 72 that reads, “David, praying for Solomon, sheweth the goodness and glory of his kingdom in type, and of Christ’s in truth.”

That sets forth very well the nature of truth. Jesus, in talking of the true worshippers, is not saying that those who worshipped under the Mosaic system were false worshippers. They certainly were not; the Samaritans were the ones involved in the false worship. The Jews’ religion was the divinely-ordained one. But—oh for eyes to see—it was just in type and shadow. Jesus, in using the word true here, is contrasting the true with type and shadow.

Neither in this mountain…

The true worshippers, He was telling the woman, shall not worship in Samaria. That is false religion; that is comparing true and false. But the Jews were not false worshippers; they worshipped the one true God—even though they themselves were not true worshippers. Not yet, that is. The worship their God had ordained in Jerusalem was only the type and shadow of the true. And this is why Jesus adds these words, which were difficult back then and are still difficult to this day:

Nor yet at Jerusalem…

That is comparing true and type. And the time had come when the true worshippers need not go to the earthly Jerusalem centre anymore; to worship the Father they need not get involved in what were but representations of reality. How would they worship Him, then?

In spirit and in truth…

Truth? Perhaps reality is a better word, and for a start we want to look at a few of the many facets of this that are revealed to us in our New Testament.

The True Worshippers

The following is an excerpt from Chapter One of my writing The True Worshippers, which is now available on Other Writings (see menu bar above). I hope to publish this book eventually, and made some beginnings via Createspace (hence the ISBN numbers on Page 4) but at the encouragement of friends recently (in the mouth of two or three witnesses…) decided to put it here for a start. It’s a 224-page pdf document with bookmarks.

***************

And so, God—we take note that Jesus calls Him the Father—He is a seeker. There is great emphasis in Scripture on seeking God; this is very important. We are to be seekers. But, God Himself a seeker? Surely this must lay hold of us. Our own seeking is not going to get us very far if it is not in line with what He Himself is seeking.

What is He seeking, then? Jesus says the Father is seeking true worshippers. You mean He wants to teach us how to really get into it on Sunday morning when the “worship team” leads us in worship? Or maybe He wants to counsel us where to worship? Christians sometimes ask one another, “Where do you worship?” They want to know what church you attend. Does that define worship, then, and set its boundaries—where people go to church and what they do in church on a Sunday morning?

Or, serving God. A little further on in this writing we will see how closely worshipping and serving God are linked. This becomes a powerful pursuit for many who turn to Christ. They don’t want to waste their precious moment of mortal life serving themselves anymore; now they want to serve God. I knew such a young man myself long ago. He had wasted his youth seeking after all the things the Gentiles seek. Now he wanted to serve God, and there was no time to lose. He was thinking in terms of what has been called the “five-fold” ministry of the church—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. This, of course, might be God’s will for certain ones, those He calls to this.

But it is not His ultimate calling—even for them. In a message I listened to recently the speaker said something like this: “If God is grooming you for a very high calling, then know that He will first take you into the depths.” That is true, yet it saddened me that the man was speaking in terms of the apostolic calling. I wondered how many in his audience might have felt left out, that they had not been “marked out for a very high calling.” Yet Paul, himself a called apostle, wrote that he was giving his all in order to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). This ought to cause those who have been called to the ministry to search their hearts, and it ought to encourage also those who are not called to this. For, God’s ultimate call for one and all is, simply, to become true worshippers. The Son of God says that this is what the Father is seeking. True worshippers.

You mean this is all He wants? All He is seeking? Yes. All. If that seems kind of a letdown to us, it’s only because we have not yet discovered how utterly breathtaking this is—being one of the Father’s true worshippers. It is something they are more than something they do. Oh, for vision, then: open our eyes, Father. For, once we discover what becoming a true worshipper is all about, we will lose interest in our own ideas of something fulfilling for our lives.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.

This is what, or should I say, who, the Father is seeking. True worshippers. We must ask the searching question, then, and it will take some courage. In all the activity that falls under what we know as church—all the ministry, all the preaching and teaching, all the outreaches, all the Bible studies, all the programs… all the activity we have come to consider church… is Father finding what He is seeking? If He is seeking true worshippers, is He finding them? Let’s bring that closer to home. Am I one of them? Am I at least becoming one of them? Hopefully this question causes me to pause, and then stop, and check my bearings… lest somewhere down the road I discover to my great sorrow that what I was seeking and what God was seeking were two different things, and I have arrived at a destination far from where God, if He had been given His way, would have led me.

The encouraging thing is that in asking this searching question—and asking God Himself to search our hearts about it so we may know for sure if He is or is not finding what He is seeking in our lives—we are right there becoming engaged in the Father’s own seeking. He is seeking true worshippers, and as we respond with an open and honest heart, a heart that is willing to give Him the desire of His heart, we are right there beginning to enter into the true worship He has in mind. We are totally helpless to come to this on our own. We would have no idea what steps to walk in to get to this destination, much less know what the destination actually looks like. But since God Himself is seeking this in our lives, we have much assurance. If we are truly desirous of becoming one of these true worshippers of His, He will see to it that we are not disappointed. He will not disappoint the desire of His own heart.

Jesus defines the true worshippers as those who worship the Father in spirit and in truth. What is this all about, then? We want to look at this, and hopefully discover in some measure, with His help, what He means by this. For, it is a beautiful discovery in our walk with God—the day we begin to see that, whatever our lot in this earthly life, the greatest of all fulfillments is ours in simply becoming one who worships the Father in spirit and in truth. This is all God is really after in our lives. There is nothing greater, nothing higher, nothing more fulfilling that we could possibly hope for, or attain to, than becoming a true worshipper. Coming to this, we have arrived at the destination of the walk of the disciple of Christ—only to discover that this destination is actually an eternal Way—and the deepest desire of God’s own heart. In fact there is a realm of worship that, as far as finding fulfillment is concerned, is exceedingly abundantly above anything we could ever ask for… or even think.

We think of worship as something we do on Sundays for an hour or so—the worship service. Our concept of worship must be enlarged. We think of ministry, of serving God, as something the man behind the pulpit is involved in. Our concept of ministry must be enlarged. There is a ministry beyond ministry: I mean beyond ministry as we are accustomed to think of it. In fact, when the ministries God has set in the church become an end in themselves and not a means by which the people of God are equipped to give Him the desire of His heart, those ministries have failed God’s purpose for them.

And so, let us examine this. What does it mean to be one who worships the Father in spirit and in truth? What is a true worshipper?

But let us ask first:

Just what is worship? 

I Brought You Unto Myself

Following are a couple of exerts from Segulah on the Other Writings page:

When the King James Bible was translated, peculiar meant singular, or belonging solely or especially to.  It was a good choice for the word segulah back then.  But these days peculiar has come to mean odd, or eccentric, even weird.  So the newer English translations have chosen other words to translate segulah.  The New American Standard has my own possession, with a note in the margin reading, special treasure.  The New International Version has treasured possession.  Putting these all together, we have some idea of the meaning of the word.  We are a special treasure God possesses, a treasure that is singular, unique; there is none other like it; and it is solely His own….

*****

….And so God’s segulah becomes uniquely His own.  No one else has possession of it—no one.  His segulah is solely His own.  With the precious blood of Christ He has redeemed us from the iron furnace, from Egyptian bondage, has purchased us to become His segulah, His own unique and special treasure, a people for His own possession.  But for what purpose?  Lord, help us to comprehend the beauty of this.  For what purpose?  Just… for Himself!

“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself.”

“Ye shall be unto Me a peculiar treasure…”

“Ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation…”

Unto Me, He says.  I brought you unto Myself.  When with the eye of the Spirit we catch a glimpse of the implications of this, it makes us tremble.  For this is saying far more than that God brings His people into some sort of proximity with Himself.

Isaiah says,

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name: thou art Mine.                                    (Isa. 43.1)

Thou art… Mine.  And a few verses later He goes on to tell us specifically what becoming His own means.

This people have I formed for Myself: they shall show forth My praise.                                                                                    (Isa. 43.21)

This people whom He has formed for Himself… God, in forming us and bringing us unto Himself, it means that we become the unique expression of Himself, the revelation, the very outshining of Himself… to show forth His praise.  It is a thought so astonishing, and so beautiful, and so utterly holy, that it just causes you to take your shoes off.

Peter surely had this verse from Isaiah in mind in the passage we started to quote earlier.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…                (1 Pt. 2.9)

This has to be one of the most beautiful passages in the whole of the Bible.  We who were once darkness… God with creative Voice calls into the darkness, calls Light out of the darkness, and we who were once darkness now become Light in the Lord: we shew forth the praises, the virtues, of the One who called us—all the beautiful aspects of His own heart and character of Light.  Thus, we are created, formed, for Himself.

The Lord told the people that He carried them on eagles’ wings, and brought them unto Himself.  What can this be saying but that the whole story of their redemption from Egypt with the blood of the passover lamb was entirely His own sovereign work.  He did the impossible: broke the yoke of their bondage to a cruel and powerful tyrant; He bore them on eagle’s wings, and brought them unto Himself.

We ourselves have been in the same place, chained in Egyptian bondage, deeply aware that our situation was utterly impossible; there was no power on earth that could ever set us free from the pull of gravity of the sin that pressed down upon us.  We are slaves of a tyrant—sin.  But then the kindness and love of God our Saviour appears… with His strong eagle’s wings.  And there is no sin too great, no problem too difficult, no circumstance too heavy for Him; He redeems us with the blood of a… yes, a Lamb: and thus liberates us, lifts us up, bears us up on strong eagle’s wings, and brings us unto Himself.

How does He bring us unto Himself?  By that Way that is too wonderful for us—the way of the Eagle in the air.  It’s the Spirit-Way, the Way of the Spirit… that no man knoweth (Pr. 30.19, Eccles. 11.5).  It’s by:

…the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit
Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by His grace we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.                                  (Titus 3. 4-7)

All the popular routes and methods of man are but the ways of the flesh, and we must not walk in those ways, however attractive and right in our own eyes they might seem at the time.  For they will not bring us to God.  Again I say—they will not bring us to God.  They lead to death.  We must learn the Way of the Spirit, and walk therein. He will lead us in the Way of the Cross.  But there is no other Way that brings us unto Himself.

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit.                                                                    (1 Pt. 3.18)

What wondrous words.  “That He might bring us to God…”  To God Himself!  And so the Passover Lamb is slain, and the precious blood applied to our doorposts, and the days of our Egyptian slavery are over right then and there.  But that is just the beginning.  For God says, “Now get up here, up on these Wings: we’re going on a journey in which you will discover the implications of this great redemption, the full emancipation that is yours, not only from Egypt and sin, but from yourself.”

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.                                                                                         (Rom. 5.10)

Segulah—God’s Special Treasure

Years ago… let me modify that… many years ago… I was part of a fledgling group of Christians the Lord had brought together.  We met in homes.  A few times we had a visit from a man from the United States—Lee Ellenwood by name.  He ministered in our midst a word that was… well… let’s just say it was “different.”  For one thing he liked to act out what he was teaching.

One day he told us about the sheep in the sheep pen contentedly eating their routine fodder when suddenly one of them lets out a roar.  Brother Ellenwood demonstrated.  It was different all right.

Here are the sheep in the sheep pen contentedly eating their rations.  But—and Brother Ellenwood acted it out before our eyes—here is this young sheep hungrily looking off to the mountains in the distance.  Suddenly he lets out a roar.

His fellow sheep feeding beside him are not a little shocked.

This happens again and again to the consternation of the other sheep in the pen.

“What’s gotten into you, brother?  What do you mean by all this roaring?  Sheep don’t roar.  And what’s this about prey out there in the mountains?  We’re beginning to wonder about you.”

All of this fell strange on our ears, and there were some among us who began to wonder about Brother Ellenwood.

But his message could have been given in two words.  “There’s more.”

I liked Brother Ellenwood.  There was a gentleness about him.  Yet he spoke of lions and prey in the mountains of God–our heritage in the Spirit–and of not resting till we had brought down that prey and made it our own.  He told us of the different names for lions in the Bible.  The old lion, the young lion… the hunting lion… the great lion… I forget them all now.  But what he taught was entirely scriptural.  Jacob prophesied of Judah the lion’s whelp– the lion of the tribe of Judah– who has “gone up” from the prey (Gen. 49.9)– speaking, I believe, of the ascension of Christ the Lamb of God after the “prey” this Lion brought down at Calvary.  Balaam too prophesied of the people who would rise up “as a great lion… and not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain” (Num. 23.24).  (It’s interesting to note here how Balaam speaks of “the people” (plural) and then suddenly is speaking of “he” (singular).

Another time as Brother Ellenwood was ministering he picked up a dinner plate from a table nearby and began to chew on it.  “My,” he said, “isn’t this plate good?”  We laughed.  But how often do we do the same thing, he said, when we focus our attention on some great minister more than on the message he has given?  We eat the plate admiringly and forget the food on it.

I remember the time he told us about the twinkies.  Apparently it’s some kind of sugary treat sold in the U.S.   “How many Christians live on twinkies?” he asked.  He meant Christians who have a perpetual taste for superficial things—such as ministries who get the people’s attention with some gimmick or novelty or focus on the spectacular.  Or some new thing making the rounds of the churches.  The latest innovation someone has come up with to ward off Christian boredom.  And people get so full of this stuff they have no appetite for solid food.  Strong meat.  Lion’s food.

Now I come to the title of this blog entry.  I remember once Brother Ellenwood told us of the Hebrew words sether, and segulah. He spoke the words as though savouring something very tasty, something very rich and satisfying.  And he said he would come back some time and tell us about these.

That never happened.  I don’t really know why, but he didn’t make it back our way.  Maybe he was out in those mountains of God somewhere looking for prey.

But the words stuck with me.  Sether.  Segulah.  Eventually I searched out their meanings myself.  They are indeed rich with truth.  Solid truth.

I’ve written about them both, and now have added Segulah—God’s Special Treasure to the page Other Writings.  (It’s too long for a blog entry.)

Perhaps someday I’ll add something on Sether as well.

New Page: Other Writings

Greetings to all this snowy day in March!

I have added a new page called Other Writings to A Mending Feast, which you will find under the banner at the top.

So far there are four writings there:

Apostolic Order In The Church

Be Strong And Very Courageous

The Day Of The Double Portion

The Morning Star

There’s a brief description under each title giving an overview of what it’s about.

I will add other writings from time to time, so if you are interested in reading them please check that page once in a while.

Blessings to all,
Allan