This month Iíd like to share with you an open vision illustrating the devastating warfare that takes place when thereís a sovereign move of the Spirit. The setting is that of a charming 18th century village in Europe.
As the players emerge in this drama, faces from your own experiences may appear to you, but this is not for you to point a finger. If we are honest, we will see a part of ourselves in each of the actors.
In this vision, I saw that the village had experienced a powerful outpouring of the Spirit but the fire had been slowly and ever so subtlety allowed to flicker out, opening the way for religious spirits of witchcraft and manipulation to move in and threaten its destiny.
I watched, in horror, as an enormous red dragon moved through the village, undetected, exuding poisonous sulfur with fire erupting from her gaping mouth. Her leathery scales rubbed abrasively, tearing and bruising all who came in contact with her. Pregnant with vile offspring, she laid her gruesome eggs of manipulation, self-promotion and politics throughout the village.
As I continued to watch, dark fiendish figures burst forth from her eggs, seeping into every home that was open to her deception and flattery. Her victimís eyes became dim and their tongues forked as they took on the characteristics of their unseen enemy. A veil of darkness covered the hearts and minds of many in the small community.
Standing their watch on the ancient walls, prophetic intercessors recognized the raging dragon and sounded their trumpets in alarm. "Strange fire is being released in our midst! The fire of the Holy Spirit is being put out," they cried. The Emperor and his Counselors had deaf ears to the warnings of the Watchmen and ignored their call to repentance and fervent prayer.
Guarding their stance they mutter, "After all, our village has been known for the outpouring of the Spirit." To reinforce the faith of the people, the Emperor decreed a festive celebration to take place the following month. The whole village eagerly prepared for the extravaganza!
Allowed to continue her work, the dragon and her offspring infiltrated even further, cloaking their deeds behind the busy activities taking place as they spewed out even more of their evil venom.
The next scene materialized as the day of the celebration arrived. I looked as the Emperor and his Counselors marched down the middle of town with dancers, musicians, and singers following. The music and glittering multi-colored banners drew the crowds. The loud speakers announced how beautiful the Emperor was dressed as everyone looked on.
The bright sunlight shimmered off his robes, causing them to sparkle like diamonds, dazzling the eyes of the onlookers. The people were so amazed Ö some of them bowed down in awe and reverence, no one daring to come near such splendor.
As the procession moved through the village, the Emperorís Counselors drew near to whisper their sage advice, "Surely the Lord is with us. The anointing is growing like never before and all the peasants love you."
"Oh yes," another whispers, "they do love you. Have you noticed how the treasury has increased? And look how the people are dancing in the streets, intoxicated with the new wine and music! You, Oí Emperor, are covered in a glorious mantle the likes of which others only dream of. We are at the beginning of great things!"
In the distant crowd a childís voice can barely be heard above the clamor, "Mommy! Daddy! The Emperor has no clothes on. Heís naked!"
Moving quickly the Counselors barked out orders, "Silence that child!" But the child would not be still, "Canít you see Mommy? Heís naked! Doesnít anyone see it?"
The truth spoken with child-like faith resulted in gleaming angelic swords being drawn, readied for battle. The Watchmen had been interceding day and night for reinforcements. Quickly heavenly warriors moved among the crowd to circumcise hearts and open the eyes of those bowing low to the Emperor.
They gasped, "Heís naked! The Emperor is naked! Whereís the anointing? I thought the mantle of Godís government was upon him? What has happened? I canít bare to look at him!"
The Emperorís ears were finally opened to hear the sounds of the battle taking place. Swords were clashing as the host of heaven wages war against the dragon and her children. Furiously spinning around to face his Counselors, the Emperor charged them, "You lied to me! Why is it that I had to hear the truth from a child?"
Hot tears fell from the eyes of the Father to melt the Emperorís heart and open his spiritual eyes. "I have no covering. The anointing has left. Iím naked!" Embarrassed, he grabbed one of the banners and frantically covered himself.
Looking over the crowd lining the narrow winding streets, he began to discern the horde of dark spirits invading his village. The once powerful and anointed man fell helplessly to the ground, "The village is being destroyed. Oh, God, what have I done?! How did I become so deceived? What am I to do now?"
Fear and panic hit the crowd as the raging dragon became visible to the townís people. They scattered in all directions, searching for a safe place to hide. Some became casualties on the battlefield once known as the "City of God."
Above the town square stood a huge, fiery Angel proclaiming, "When we ushered in the glory of the Lord, His consuming fire broke off all that hindered love. The whole village was glad and rejoiced. We also brought the First Sword and passed it over your hearts, bringing repentance and reawakening your first love."
"The Father watched to see how your hearts would respond to this powerful outpouring of His Spirit. Many of you were promoted and given mantles of authority, but some of you used your position to control the Holy Spirit and manipulate His people. You challenged Him on how much fire you wanted in this revival."
"Not desiring His holy fire, you settled for a political agenda and gave in to the fear of man, causing you to become lukewarm. Without His tangible presence, you became blind to the dragon invading your village and deaf to the warnings of His Watchmen."
Now a second Sword is coming - a Sword of Judgment! Many of you have operated in pride and self-promotion. Others received beautiful prophetic words but tried to fulfill them in your own strength and timing. These things opened the doorway for strange fire to fall on the altars of your hearts."
I watched as the Angel passed the Second Sword over the people. Those who stood in pride and opposition to God unknowingly called forth the dragon and brought devastation to themselves and their children.
This same Sword of Judgment was used to knight those who had a history of prayer and humility. Many fell on their faces and cried out, "Oh Lord, have mercy! Save this village and destroy the dragon. Bring a fresh consuming fire!"
The Angel continued, "You were called not only to be His servants, but also His Bride, and to become a prophetic womb, impregnated by His Spirit and bringing forth His Manifest Presence to the nations of the earth."
"Thereís always a contesting and heavy spiritual warfare that occurs when the dragon rages to abort the things of the Spirit into the earth. The Lord has placed the Watchmen strategically on the walls to sound the alarm and to intercede. Birthing is bloody but it is also a tremendous privilege. Thereís a price behind the anointing."
I saw the Father extend prophetic invitations to the Emperor and his Counselors once again to repent for grieving Holy Spirit. Seduced by their need for power, they ignored the invitations so graciously extended. Infighting and jealousy over positions began to blind and deceive once valiant warriors. Confusion increased as the war raged and the Emperor was torn between pleasing the prominent villagers and following the Spirit.
Holding secret meetings behind closed doors, they tried to resolve their debates over how much of the Manifest Presence they would allow and so determined the fate of Holy Spirit. The seducing dragon continued to plant her malevolent eggs of pride and elitism in the minds of the rebellious, which eventually closed the city gates to the move of God.
The Bridegroom sadly watched as His fire went out on the altar and His precious Spirit was delegated outside the walls. The angels bowed low as He wept over the village and the Father sorrowfully declared, "The fragrance of My Son has left."
Meanwhile, the Counselors were busy trying to defend their position and to rationalize away the fears of the Emperor, while the dragon destroyed more lives and ministries. Disease and death spread throughout the ravished village as the dragon moved in for the ultimate kill. People became numb to their pain and slowly - ever so slowly - they moved into denial.
The naked Emperor stood alone looking over the blood-soaked battlefield. Unable to overcome his fear of man and break out of the bondage of the dragon, he told himself, "Everything should be done in decency and order. Our prominent businessmen and wealthy folk expect their village to be a safe place for everyone to come. After all, itís Godís wisdom not to offend the unbelievers. Most people want to be part of something respectable."
The dragon sent out a death warrant for the Watchmen, the seers of God. If her henchmen couldnít take their lives, they would try to silence their voices and gouge out their eyes. Sadly, some of the seers became political in an effort to save their lives. Manipulating with prophetic words to gain the Emperorís favor, they became power brokers in this devastating war.
Driven out, other Watchmen just slipped away silently in the night, desperately asking God where to go next. With the city gates no longer opened to them, they were left as prophetic voices crying out in the wilderness. "Oh, Lord, have mercy! Forgive them even though they know what they do." Those left behind watched in fear as yet another one disappeared. One by one the ax fell and heads rolled.
The loud speakers broadcast false reports of how Watchmen were being sent to new works in other nations. Everything was covered with flattery and deception but where was the commissioning prayers and laying on of hands? It seemed that broken hearts and torn covenants were all that were left.
Fear of the tremendous power of the Emperor and his Counselors silenced those remaining. No one talked; control and order became the rule of the day. Barrenness was the high price they paid for respectability.
Finally, Holy Spirit was pushed out of the village and the dragonís deception spread like a deadly plague. The heavens wept as the war continued and destinies were aborted prematurely. Helplessly, I looked on as this terrible war continued to destroy them. The altar of the peopleís hearts became colder and colder as the fire went out and the Presence of God left. The glory lifted!
Who is wrong? The Emperor? The Counselors? The Villagers? The Watchmen? All of the above! The Emperor was guilty of compromise and control. The counselors were guilty of flattery and lies. Letís not forget that some of the villagers were guilty of idolizing a man and some of the Watchmen abused their prophetic gift.
History repeats itself and Holy Spirit is often put outside the camp. He desires for each of us to look at our own hearts and responses. The bottom line is - we are responsible for keeping the fire lit on the altar of our hearts instead of passing judgment on others. We need to desperately cry out, "Do not caste me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me." (NKJV Psalm 51:11)
Looking at the players more closely, arenít we all "Emperors" in different arenas of our lives? Are you really clothed or are you naked? Are you a counselor who builds up someone to gain credibility and political access? Or, as one of the villagers or watchmen, do you flatter the ears of the Emperor to win position and favor? Or have you just become apathetic, giving into silence just to survive?
Are you really prepared for the next move of God? When He comes - and He will come - He will shake, expose and challenge all of our agendas, exposing our nakedness. So letís get personal. Are you on your face in repentance and humility? Do you have the revelation and strategies to oust the dragon and her children from your midst? Or have you shut the gates of your heart and city to the move of God?
Remember, history repeats itself!
© 2000 by Master Potter. All rights reserved.