In my previous article in this series, I identified some historical trends which have brought us to this sorry moment in world history. In this final article, we’ll look at its spiritual underpinnings.
The Final QuestAs mentioned in my first article on humility, Rock Joyner’s book The Final Quest has had the single hugest impact upon my life and walk with Jesus outside the Bible itself.
If I could mandate a single extra-biblical book to be required reading for all Christ-followers, it would be this one. I reread this book at least annually. God uses it each and every time to refresh and reinforce the message He showed me in my first reading.
Though it was first released in 1996, the opening chapter of the book has proven itself truly prophetic of what we are seeing 25+ years later in both pop culture and the Body of Christ. Since I believe, as Solomon opined in Ecclesiastes, “there is nothing new under the sun,” I am equally convinced this is not a recent phenomenon.
Because Brother Rick said it so much better than I could ever summarize or paraphrase, I will simply quote verbatim the first 7 pages or so from the opening chapter and then comment afterwards.
Here we go!
The Hordes of Hell Are Marching
The demonic army was so large that it stretched as far as I could see. It was separated into divisions, with each carrying a different banner.
The foremost divisions marched under the banners of Pride, Self-Righteousness, Respectability, Selfish Ambition, Unrighteous Judgment, and Jealousy. There were many more of these evil divisions beyond my scope of vision, but those in the vanguard of this terrible horde from hell seemed to be the most powerful. The leader of this army was the Accuser of the Brethren himself.
The weapons carried by this horde were also named. The swords were named Intimidation; the spears were named Treachery; and the arrows were named Accusation, Gossip, Slander, and Fault-finding. Scouts and smaller companies of demons with such names as Rejection, Bitterness, Impatience, Unforgiveness, and Lust were sent in advance of this army to prepare for the main attack.
These smaller companies and scouts were much fewer in number, but they were no less powerful than some of the larger divisions that followed. They were smaller only for strategic reasons. Just as John the Baptist was given an extraordinary anointing for baptizing the masses to prepare them for the Lord, these smaller demonic companies were given extraordinary evil powers for “baptizing the masses.”
A single demon of Bitterness could sow his poison into multitudes of people, even entire races or cultures. A demon of Lust would attach himself to a single performer, movie, or advertisement and send what appeared to be bolts of electric slime that would hit and “desensitize” great masses of people. All of this was to prepare for the great horde of evil which followed.
Although this army was marching specifically against the church, it also was attacking anyone else that it could. I knew it was seeking to preempt a coming move of God, which was destined to sweep great numbers of people into the church.
The primary strategy of this army was to cause division on every possible level of relationship — churches with each other, congregations with their pastors, husbands and wives, children and parents, and even children with each other. The scouts were sent to locate the openings in churches, families, or individuals that such spirits as Rejection, Bitterness, and Lust could exploit and enlarge. Through these openings would pour demonic influences that completely overwhelmed their victims.
On The Backs of Christians
The most shocking part of this vision was that this horde was not riding on horses, but primarily on Christians! Most of them were well-dressed, respectable, and had the appearance of being refined and educated, but there also seemed to be representatives from almost every walk of life. While these people professed Christian truths in order to appease their consciences, they lived their lives in agreement with the powers of darkness. As they agreed with those powers, their assigned demons grew and more easily directed their actions.
Many of these believers were host to more than one demon, but one of the demons would clearly be in charge. The nature of the one in charge dictated which division it was marching in. Even though the divisions were all marching together, it also seemed that the entire army was on the verge of chaos. For example, the demons of Hate hated the other demons as much as they did the Christians. The demons of Jealousy were all jealous of one another.
The only way the leaders of this horde kept the demons from fighting each other was to keep their hatred focused on the people they were riding. However, these people would often break out in fights with each other. I knew that some of the armies which came against Israel in the Scriptures had ended up destroying themselves in this same way. When their purpose against Israel was thwarted, their rage was uncontrollable, and they began fighting each other.
I noted that the demons were riding on these Christians, but they were not in them as was the case with non-Christians. It was obvious that these believers had only to stop agreeing with their demons in order to get free of them. For example, if the Christian on whom a demon of Jealousy was riding just started to question the jealousy, that demon would weaken very fast. When this happened, the weakened demon would cry out and the leader of the division would direct all the demons around that Christian to attack him until the jealousy would build up on him again. If this did not work, the demons would begin quoting Scriptures, perverting them in a way that would justify the bitterness, accusations, or other satanic influences they were spreading. The power of the demons was clearly rooted almost entirely in the power of deception, but they had deceived these Christians to the point where they could use them and the Christians would think they were being used by God. This was because banners of Self-Righteousness were being carried by almost everyone, so that those marching could not even see the banners that marked the true nature of these divisions.
As I looked far to the rear of this army, I saw the entourage of the Accuser himself. I began to understand his strategy, and I was amazed that it was so simple. He knew that a house divided could not stand, and his army represented an attempt to bring such division to the church that she would be powerless and ineffective.
It was apparent that the only way the Accuser could do this was to use Christians to war against their own brethren, and that is why almost everyone in the forward divisions was a Christian, or at least a professing Christian. Every step these deceived believers took in obedience to the Accuser strengthened his power over them. This made his confidence and the confidence of all his commanders grow with the progress of the army as it marched forward. It was apparent that the power of this army depended on the agreement of these Christians with the ways of evil.
Trailing behind these first divisions was a multitude of other Christians who were prisoners of this army. All of these captive Christians were wounded, and they were guarded by smaller demons of Fear. There seemed to be more prisoners than there were demons in the army. Surprisingly, these prisoners still had their swords and shields, but they did not use them. It was a shock to see that so many could be kept captive by so few of the little demons of Fear. If the Christians had just used their weapons, they could easily have freed themselves and probably done great damage to the entire evil horde. Instead, they marched submissively along.
Above the prisoners, the sky was black with vultures named Depression. Occasionally these vultures would land on the shoulders of a prisoner and vomit on him. The vomit was Condemnation. When the vomit hit a prisoner he would stand up and march a little straighter for a while, and then slump over, even weaker than before. Again, I wondered why the prisoners did not simply kill these vultures with their swords, which they could have easily done.
Sometimes the weaker prisoners would stumble and fall. As soon as they hit the ground, the other prisoners would begin stabbing them with their swords, scorning them for their weakness. The vultures would then come and begin devouring the fallen ones even before they were dead. The other Christian prisoners stood by and watched this approvingly, occasionally stabbing the fallen ones again with their swords.
As I watched, I realized that these prisoners thought the vomit of Condemnation was truth from God. Then I understood that these prisoners actually thought they were marching in the army of God! This is why they did not kill the little demons of Fear or the vultures — they thought these were God’s messengers! The darkness from the cloud of vultures made it so hard for these prisoners to see that they naively accepted everything which happened to them as being from the Lord. They felt that those who stumbled were under God’s judgment, which is why they attacked them the way they did — they thought they were helping God! The only food provided for these prisoners was the vomit from the vultures. Those who refused to eat it simply weakened until they fell. Those who did eat it were strengthened for a time, but with the strength of the evil one. Then they would weaken unless they drank the waters of bitterness that were constantly being offered to them. After drinking the bitter waters, they would begin to vomit on the others. When one of the prisoners began to do this, a demon that was waiting for a ride would climb up on him and ride him up to one of the front divisions.
Even worse than the vomit from the vultures was a repulsive slime that these demons were urinating and defecating upon the Christians they rode. This slime was the pride, selfish ambition, etc. that was the nature of their division. However, this slime made the Christians feel so much better than the condemnation had that they easily believed the demons were messengers of God. They actually thought this slime was the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
I had been so repulsed by the evil army that I wanted to die. Then the voice of the Lord came to me saying, “This is the beginning of the enemy’s last-day army. This is Satan’s ultimate deception. His greatest power of destruction is released when he uses Christians to attack one another. Throughout the ages he has used this army, but never has he been able to use so many for his evil purposes as he is now. Do not fear. I have an army, too. You must now stand and fight because there is no longer any place to hide from this war. You must fight for My kingdom, for truth, and for those who have been deceived.”
This word from the Lord was so encouraging that I immediately began yelling to the Christian prisoners that they were deceived, thinking they would listen to me. When I did this, it seemed that the whole army turned to look at me. The cloud of fear and depression that was over them started to come toward me.
I still kept yelling because I thought the Christians would wake up and realize what was happening to them. Instead, many of them started reaching for their arrows to shoot at me. The others just hesitated, as if they did not know what to make of me. I knew I had spoken out prematurely and that it had been a very foolish mistake.
The Battle Begins
Then I turned and saw the army of the Lord standing behind me. There were thousands of soldiers, but they were still greatly outnumbered. I was shocked and disheartened, for it seemed there were actually many more Christians being used by the evil one than there were in the army of the Lord. I knew that the battle about to begin was going to be viewed as the Great Christian Civil War because very few would understand the dark powers that were behind the impending conflict.
As I looked more closely at the army of the Lord, the situation seemed even more discouraging. Only a small number were fully dressed in their armor. Many only had one or two pieces of their armor on; some did not have any at all. A large number were already wounded. Most of those who had all their armor still had very small shields, which I knew would not protect them from the onslaught that was coming. Very few of those who were fully armed were adequately trained to use their weapons. To my further surprise, the great majority of these soldiers were women and children. Behind this army was a trailing mob, which seemed very different in nature from the prisoners who followed the evil horde. Those in the mob seemed overly happy, as if intoxicated. They were playing games and singing songs, feasting and roaming about from one little camp to the next. This reminded me of Woodstock.
I ran toward the army of the Lord to escape the onslaught I knew would be coming at me from the evil horde. In every way, it seemed we were in for a mostly one-sided slaughter. I was especially concerned for the mob that was trailing the Lord’s army, so I tried to raise my voice above the clamor to warn them that a battle was about to begin. Only a few could even hear me. Those who heard gave me the “peace sign” and said they did not believe in war.
When those in the mob assured me that the Lord would not let anything bad happen to them, I tried to explain that He had given us armor because we needed it for what was about to take place. To this they retorted that they had come to a place of peace and joy where nothing like that could happen to them. I began praying earnestly for the Lord to increase the shields of those with the armor, and to help protect those who were not ready for the battle.
Then a messenger came up to me, gave me a trumpet, and told me to blow it quickly. When I did, those who had at least some of their armor on immediately responded, snapping to attention. More armor was brought to them, which they quickly put on. I noticed that those who were wounded did not put armor over their wounds, but before I could say anything about this, enemy arrows began raining down on us. Everyone who did not have all of his armor on was wounded. Those who had not covered their wounds were struck again in the same wound. Those who were hit by arrows of Slander immediately began to slander those who were not wounded. Those who were hit with Gossip began to gossip, and soon a major division had been created within our own camp. I felt that we were on the verge of destroying ourselves, just as some of the heathen armies in Scripture had done by rising up to kill each other. The feeling of helplessness was terrible.
The Vultures Appear
Then vultures swooped down to pick up the wounded and deliver them into the camp of prisoners. The wounded still had swords and could have easily struck down the vultures, but they did not. They were actually carried off willingly because they were so angry at those who were not wounded like they were.
I quickly thought about the mob behind the army and ran to see what had happened to them. It seemed impossible, but the scene among them was even worse. Thousands lay on the ground, wounded and groaning. The sky over them was darkened by the vultures that were carrying them off to become prisoners of the enemy.
Many of those who were not wounded just sat in a stupor of unbelief. They, too, were easily carried away by the vultures. Even though a few had begun trying to fight off the vultures, since they did not have the proper weapons, the vultures did not even pay them any attention. The wounded were so angry they would threaten and drive away anyone who tried to help them, but they became docile and submissive to the vultures.
Those from this mob who had not been wounded and had tried to fight off the vultures began running from the scene of battle. This first encounter with the enemy was so devastating that I was tempted to join them in their flight. Then, incredibly fast, some of those who had fled began reappearing with full suits of armor on, holding large shields. This was the first bit of encouragement that I remember seeing.
These warriors who were returning no longer had the mirth of the party, but an awesome resolve had now replaced it. I knew that although these had been deceived once, they would not be easily deceived again. They began to take the places of those who had fallen, and even began forming new ranks to protect the rear and flanks. This caused such great courage to spread through the army that the determination of everyone to stand and fight again began to rise. Three great angels named Faith, Hope, and Love immediately came and stood behind the army. As we looked at them, all of our shields began to grow. It was amazing how quickly despair had turned to faith. It was a solid faith too, tempered by experience.
Now everyone had swords named The Word of God and arrows named for different biblical truths. We wanted to shoot back, but we did not know how to avoid hitting the Christians that the demons were riding on. Then it occurred to us that if these Christians were hit with Truth, they would wake up and fight off their oppressors. I fired off a few arrows, as did some of the others. Almost all the arrows hit Christians. However, when the arrows of Truth went into them, they did not wake up or fall down wounded — they became enraged and the demons riding on them grew much larger.
This shocked everyone, and we began to feel that this was an impossible battle to win. Even so, with Faith, Hope, and Love we were confident that we could at least hold our own ground. Another great angel named Wisdom then appeared and directed us to fight from the mountain behind us.
The Final Quest Trilogy (pp. 17-24) by Rick Joyner. MorningStar Publications, Inc.
If you were wondering:
- How we got into this hand-basket, this is it.
- Why shooting arrows of biblical Truth at misguided folks proclaiming themselves to be believers doesn’t work, this is it.
- Why pietists, atheists, and skeptics don’t respond well to the whole Gospel, this is it.
We indeed have the Truth, but speaking that Truth by itself is not nearly enough.
We must speak the Truth in love.
This battle is not about what we perceive with our sin-corrupted senses and intellects, but what is taking place in the spirit realm. And you cannot solve a spiritual problem with natural weapons.
Jesus spoke the Truth in love.
Who are we to think we can do successfully do it any other way?
It takes prayer. Sometimes, prayer and fasting. But diligent prayer. Continuous prayer.
Yes, the task appears overwhelming. It is.
But none of this is about our feelings of overwhelmed-ness. Truthfully, it’s not about our feelings at all.
It’s about love.
- Loving those who mock Jesus on social media
- Loving those who proclaim themselves as believers and call us heretics
- Loving those who hate us.
- Loving those who despitefully use us.
- Loving those who think we are total idiots talking to a sky fairy.
- Loving those who cannot and will not see Jesus except as He appears in and through us.
We can have all the right theology, preach powerful, well-researched sermons, and pray the right spiritual-warfare prayers, but if our behavior is contradictory to the selfless love Jesus personifies, all we are doing is wasting precious time and good air.
Recently, I heard a sermon where we were exhorted to pray for divine appointments and listen to the Holy Spirit for when they occurred. The simple message was, “I’m a follower of Jesus. Is there anything I can pray for you about?”
I’ve put that into practice. And the times it’s occurred since then, I’ve never been rejected, though that was indeed a very real possibility.
In each and every case, Jesus showed up.
And the people were blessed.
You want to help change the course of this flaming hand-basket (at least temporarily until Jesus takes us out of here), I’ve just told you how.
Thanks for reading.