Fighting the Wild Beasts of Ephesus

Recently I was impressed with a question:

What does it mean that is written,

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome
? Revelation 13:7

That was the question, and the following passages came to mind as I
wrestled with God for an answer:

“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may
reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered
abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”  
Genesis 11:4

“Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they
want is to alienate you [from us], so that you may be zealous for them.”

Galatians 4:17

Here the beast, (man as Satan’s agent) was given power to make war against the saints, and to overcome them.  How can this be, since the saints are “more than conquerors” in Christ?  Surely the “new man” cannot be defeated by the beast.  It must, therefore be the “old man.”  The “new man” reigns with Christ, but to do so, he must first be “beheaded.”  How can Christ be our head, if we still have our old one?  So Satan is in the business of beheading the “old man.”  As it was with Christ, so it is with us, if he had known the result, “he never would have crucified the Lord of Glory.”  The beast can only do what Satan empowers him to do, and he only says what Satan says…This war against the saints is Satan’s idea. Whose idea was it to build the tower of Babel? It was Satan’s idea.  They did it because they thought that they would be scattered if they didn’t have a name and a building. It was a variation on the same lie that the serpent told the woman in the Garden.

It was the wrong name and the wrong building. It has something to do with builders. It does not say, “the stone that some of the builders rejected…” Jesus is the stone that all of the builders reject, because it is either His building or theirs. He is the only one who can build His building. All man can do is submit as building material or mess it up when we try to help. As soon as we build anything, we have something to lose, and so we compromise.

The war against the saints is a war against God’s building. God builds with living stones, and He builds by placing them in right relationship with one another. It is right relationship under God that is the focus of the beast’s attack or warfare against us. “And because iniquity abounds, the love of most will grow cold.”  It is the Love of Christ that binds us together in right relationship. Iniquity is a weapon against love.

If we claim to be lovers but have not love, we are dead meat. And if the love we have is not God’s kind of love, (i.e. the love redefined at the cross) then our love cannot overcome iniquity. The “old man” is incapable of God’s kind of love. Only the “new man” of Christ in us is capable of a love that is “more than a conqueror” in the face of iniquity. The beast has power to make war against the saints, and overcome them, when the saints muddle through with the wrong kind of love. We must be beheaded of that muddle-headed kind of love, and the beast, inspired and energized by Satan, is God’s instrument for the completion of that task. It is the task of the cross, and He who began this work in us, will finish it in us.

Relationships that come from God are the enemy of Satan, and the builders are his agents against such relationships. They make war against relationships that come from God. You have heard that the beast is coming, even now many beasts have come. What else could Paul be talking about, that he “fought wild beasts at Ephesus”? 1 Corinthians 15:32.

If our being one, “as Jesus and The Father are one,” is the way He has chosen and prayed “that the world may know..,”, then our loving one another in that oneness is the greatest possible threat to Satan.  It is no wonder that the builders do everything possible to alienate us from Christ in each other. They want us to be zealous for them and their buildings.

In my experience, the war is horrendous.

By Jay Ferris

P.S. “The Wild Beasts of Ephesus” … That is where they tested them that say they are apostles, wasn’t it?? :-)

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God’s Conditional Love

We hear a lot nowadays about “unconditional love,” but I’d like to make an observation that love is not unconditional. “We love because He first loved us.” That is the conditional source of our love. It comes to us first. It is a source, not a reward. This is the awesomeness of the God Who is Love. His is a love that is good for enemies. Romans 5:10. A love that is only good enough for friends is good enough to “go to church.” It is not good enough to be the church.

Such commitment is much higher than either romantic, erotic, or brotherly love. It exists on the plane of decision – of choosing. This is one reason why most find it so hard to love unconditionally – they are not living in the transparence, and the light, of the unconditional commitment of God. Yet the human race is being pushed towards it by the crisis of the contemporary world.

The Love of God is sourced in God. He Himself is the condition for it. To love like God is not a decision, but a revelation. Once we have the revelation, we just can’t help ourselves. And the gates of hell just have no chance against such a love.

— By Jay Ferris.

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More Grace!

In the moment James 4:6 comes to mind. As I looked at it just now, it seemed to me the whole chapter is on target with the elaboration I had intended.

“… the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” John 14:17-19 NIV

What I want to say here is that the impartation of Grace is a package deal. It not only comes with DNA of God, it also comes with which an “Everlasting Father,” (Isaiah 9:6) to watch over His very own DNA in us.

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” Hebrews 12:7-9 KJV

Our heavenly father is not far from any of us, and for many of us He has gone so far as to come to us with skin on in the fatherhood included among those Jesus promised to us in His “100 times” promise of Mark 10:29, 30.

“Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 4:15 NIV

The truth of this didn’t end with Paul as many would have us believe. The key thing we need to appreciate is that all of this is of GRACE – relationships of GRACE! If we have been given the kind of eyes that are able to see, and the kind of ears that are able to hear, we see, hear and appreciate that this is all the impartation of GRACE. The Grace of Spiritual fatherhood looks after and nurtures the Grace of God’s DNA in us as we grow up into Him who is the Head, even Jesus Christ, Ephesians 4:7-24.

In Short, It’s All GOOD, because It’s All God. :-)

~ By Jay Ferris, Originally posted November 2012

For Related Reading, see the post: A Woman 

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Spiritual Mothers, and “Another Comforter”

I would like to speak a little more about spiritual mothers, near and far. Beginning with the Scriptures: John 14:16-18, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide  with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” 

Notice that there are two comforters in the passage, Jesus is the first, and The Spirit of truth is “another comforter”. Notice both of these comforters have been with the disciples, and both of them are going to be in them. 

And then John 16:12-15: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the spirit of truth come, he will guide you into all truth: for he will not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He will glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore Said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Again, notice here “the Spirit of truth” is not the same person as Jesus. In this discussion, there is clearly Jesus, and the One who will bring us, or show us, the things that are His.

So then, what is the outcome? In First Corinthians 15:45 it is written, “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a life giving spirit.” Jesus became a life-giving Spirit.

The promise of the Father is that we would have all of Him living in us. Jesus is in us, as a life-giving Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is in us as our teacher, our source of power for speaking and doing.

Jesus is in us as our identity, and the Holy Spirit is in us to teach us who we are in this new identity. The Holy Spirit teaches us about this Christ who is now our life, “Christ in us, the hope of Glory”. On the one hand, there is the Life in us, and, on the other hand, the power to understand and live out this Life.

A person with an identity crisis is already defeated. This is Satan’s first point of attack, either preventing us from finding out who we are in God, or making us forget it.

Now where mothers are concerned, the same two things apply: identity, and nurture. For the purpose of illustration, let me take this to the extremes. At the beginning of our life, mothering, for us, is all nurture. There is not yet the capacity for our identity to be formed; the benefit of us having parents comes along later with maturity. But at the other end of life, there is no nurture—only identity. All too quickly, it seems, the nurture flows in the other direction, as children have to take care of the parents in their old age! If everything is working right, by that time the children know who they are, and the flow of life can easily go the other way. (John 13:3-5)

In other words, one of the things that life teaches us, is that as we mature we are nurtured by more and more people. In the beginning, only a mother can give us anything, then a father, then siblings, (although that is not always a pretty sight) then teachers, and friends, and finally strangers. Once that degree of maturity is achieved, the nurturing part of mothering is not so important any more. But the identity part is always important: “Then shall we know even as we are known,” I Corinthians 13:12. Even when your mother goes on to be with the Lord, your identity will be set in her. 

What a great hope we have in Christ! 

~ By Jay Ferris

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An Ego Stake in Ignorance

In recent years I have noticed a stark difference between what is possible with a man, and what is possible with a woman, conversationally. What struck me is how much men seem to have an ego stake in their ignorance. Religion is the codification of ignorance, and fundamentalism is particularly resistant to new information or change.

This problem seems to be indicated in I Corinthians 8:1,2 “... Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”

Women, on the other hand, have little or no difficulty in receiving new information; even in public, they are not threatened by it. In fact, if the experience with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is any indication, they are perhaps a little too willing to take in or embrace new information. Even after we come to a place of recognizing that headship has more to do with source than over-lording, it is clear a women’s identity is not nearly as dependent on intellectual wisdom, even if it’s only “street wisdom,” as is a man’s identity.

If women have an ego stake in anything, it is in the need to minimize their vulnerability. I think this is one reason for their greater willingness to get in your face, including the constant generation of “honey do lists.”

Where the “church” is concerned, this ego stake in ignorance is particularly troublesome, first, because it resists the open dialogue which might result in life, and life more abundantly; but worse than that, it resists speaking the truth in love in a public setting. Male-dominated churchianity is into lectures, not conversation.

God is into conversation in, and by the Spirit. So we have a two fold problem; conversation is not only resisted as a means of change, but it is also resisted as the end goal of our faith.

Part of the problem may be that it is easier to take up an offering for a lecture than it is for a conversation. One thing is very clear, however; it takes a lot more foreplay to have an intimate conversation with a man than with a woman, and the need for privacy is much greater. I believe this is symptomatic of the lack of circumcision, that is the circumcision of the Cross.

  • By Jay Ferris
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Graphics Considered, Life is an Act of Love

Here is my try at the Fatherhood of God.

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, Old things are passed away, behold all things become new.

Paraphrased for a broader and deeper application: “If anyone is in Christ, (which can only happen if He is in them) they are a new race. Their old race has passed away, and like Paul, they can consider their membership in their old race, rubbish. Look, see! Everything about you is new, deriving from your new lineage.”

To explore why it is important to see and understand God as our Father, I want to get very narrow in focus. There is more to His Fatherhood than what I want to say here, and by excluding it for the purpose of this present discussion, I don’t want to imply that the rest is not very important. 

Let me begin by saying that, if we are created “male and female in God’s image,” then God must be male and female. An image ought to look like what it represents, don’t you think? The irreducible significance of male and female is relationship. It was an “us” that said in the beginning,” Let us make…” There is authority in the “let,” there is intimacy in the “us,” there is a new creation in the “make.”

We don’t know what the intimacy of the Godhead must be like in reality, because we are not there yet; but God has made an effort to communicate something of this intimacy by giving us the graphics of our own bodies. It is increasingly apparent to me however, that the graphics are very limited in possibility when compared to the reality that is hidden in Christ in God.

Here, I want to explore what can  be learned from the graphics, however. 

God has promised to redeem the race of the first man Adam, by the seed of the first woman Eve. Keep in mind, that she began in Adam, and was not called woman until she was taken out of him. Was she any less for having come out from him? No, rather she was in some ways more than he was. He was “made,” she was “formed.” In the original, the difference is that He was put together “good enough to function.” She was formed, in addition, like a master creates a work of art.

Where reproduction is concerned, the man contained seed; the woman contained more than seed, she contained egg. The egg not only contains the potential for new life, but the environment for the early nurture of new life. Where his seed is concerned, it could not participate in the creation of a new race. It would take God’s seed to do that, even Christ. All through the lineage of the human race, God kept track of the egg. Abraham was looking for love in all the wrong places. Love was in the egg of Sarah, and her only. Look at Tamar. The Love was in her, and within the limits of Judah, she did whatever she had to do—God helping her—to make sure it would be her egg that would hatch. From the beginning, Satan has been after the woman and her seed. His war has been against her, not against him.

Satan makes war against “hims,” only to the degree that we become “hers” in relationship to Christ.

A father is a seed planter. The life is in the seed. A mother is a place where new life grows. God is the one who gives the growth, or “increase.”

In order to have a new race, there must first be a new father; in this case, a heavenly one. The heart of God is that everyone become a new race. This can only happen by His Fatherhood, which is to say, by His seed, even Christ. In the first instance, what we bring to the process is the egg. He makes us pregnant by Christ through an act of love, the cross.

We then become partakers of the Divine nature, and once that happens, we are no longer the old race of the first man Adam. More than that, we are no longer male or female. In any given situation we might be either in spiritual function. At one point Paul was in labor pains, at another he was taking new believers to his breast for nurture, at another point he was planting Divine seeds. 

Are you any different from Paul in this regard? No, you are not any different. You can be a seed planter. You can be a life nurturer. In Christ, you have it all. All you need is the revelation, and the faith to appropriate what is yours in eternity. You are pregnant with new life, and are able to get others pregnant with new life. 

God certainly wants us to notice that, in the first instance, He has made us male and female. Not to notice is inexcusable, but armed with what we have noticed, He wants to take us to a place of intimacy that leaves what we have noticed, in the shadows of who we used to be. If we just can’t stay out of the shadows, that’s ok, but whatever we do, let’s not miss the light.

Make no mistake, God does not want us to miss the graphics, but in the process, let’s not miss the otherwise invisible reality about God about which the graphics are only a shadow.

When Jesus went to the cross, it was an act of love with the potential of getting the whole world pregnant. We have been caught up in a very exciting and fulfilling  process, if we only could understand it from God’s point of view. 

Properly understood, life is an act of love.

  • By Jay Ferris
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