In 2006, author Rick Joyner wrote that a time was coming when churches would look more like military bases than church gatherings. I believe that time is imminent.
With the worldwide pandemic-induced shutdown, the widespread demise of church as we know it, and virtually every one of the seven mountains being shaken, those who now take a stand for Christ must be unusually bold and courageous. In these last days we must be as militant about defending our faith as the enemy is about destroying it.
God is calling soldiers in the Church to arise as mighty warriors and deliverers in this time. Not all will accept the call, but those who press in to pursue the Lord now are the ones whom God can call upon later.
SOLDIER OR WARRIOR?
There is a difference between a soldier and a warrior. Both soldiers and warriors are trained to obey orders. Both are taught external obedience; they learn the ropes, the roles, and the responsibilities. Yet a warrior fights from a place of deep personal conviction; an inward and not just outward obedience. A warrior will always be a soldier. But not all soldiers are warriors!
What sets the warrior apart from the soldier is a strong inner compass, or “code:” an internal sense of “rightness” or right direction. The warrior has a passionate determination to adhere to a principle, a plan, or a person at all costs, even when it means defying the status quo. (1)
A warrior’s passion, properly harnessed by Christ, will cause him to be courageous; to lead in the face of fear; to champion his or her cause in such a way that troops of soldiers are emboldened to follow. While “everyday soldiers” may not have the internal fortitude to lead, they will doubtless be inspired to follow the passionate warrior-leaders who do!
A WORD FOR WARRIORS
I am hearing the Lord call forth warriors from the ranks of His soldiers in this new season. These warriors represent God’s remnant, whom the world and the church will label as “renegades;” but who have a true commissioning from the Lord Himself to champion His Kingdom.
A divine distinction is beginning to show people inside and outside the church who is truly committed to the cause of Christ, and who is still serving self or mammon. These newly-arising warriors do not tolerate idolatry. The “warrior-remnant” is so captivated by the true beauty of the Lord that every other counterfeit is thrown aside.
These warriors are like David’s Mighty Men; spiritual fighters whose hands cling to the sword no matter how fierce or long the battle; men and women who are unafraid when armies march against them.
BETRAYED, YET BOLD
These warriors have been healed of the deepest wounds of betrayal and treachery as God has pulled the roots of betrayal out of His Bride. Like the Shulamite in Song of Songs, they have been struck and wounded even by the “watchmen” - the establishment as they knew it - and stripped of their mantles. (2) They wisely moved past these watchmen to find the One their souls love!
The Lord is currently exposing leaders and shepherds who have not been true friends of the Bridegroom (the Word of God) but lovers of self. There is no middle ground; when the Lion of Judah roars, the only safe place to be is with the Lion! As this exposure happens, the people of God will be forced to take drastic measures to protect what is dear to them and sacred to God.
I believe the Lord is also saying this is a time to “hide the Word in your heart.” (Psalm 119:11.) When the prophet Jeremiah delivered the Word of God to king Jehoiakim, the king burned the entire scroll with fire and sought Jeremiah’s life. The Lord hid Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch, but Jeremiah had wisely hidden the Word in his heart. He rewrote all the words of the scroll and sent them boldly back to the king. (3)
"FREEDOM" OF RELIGION
In 1662, after the Reformation, the Mayflower’s departure, and what is called the “Golden Age” of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, 2000 English pastors preached what they believed would be their last sermons on “Black Bartholomew’s Day.”
In a time when religious freedom was being promoted, the Church of England passed an “Act of Uniformity” which brought persecution and banishment to nonconformists. Those courageous enough not to comply risked losing their parishes and their lives for their preaching. The Lord began to speak to me as I studied these historical events, saying: “this strategy of silencing and persecution by those aligned with demonic agendas is resurfacing today.”
Prophet Terry Bennett has warned that both governments and nations will be deceived in the last days because - contrary to what many believers “believe” - religion will not be eradicated, but promoted and funded (just as it was in England in the 1600s). As an angel of light, Satan desires worship! Yet this watered-down worship will be man-centric, not cross centric; selfish, not sacrificial; powerless, not powerful. (4)
I have heard the Lord say repeatedly: believers need to make a choice now between conformity to uniformity (the common soldier’s path) or adherence to absolute truth, which comes at cost. Many will not pay the cost, not possessing enough “treasure” in their hearts toward the Lord to “afford” such a purchase. While these will not be abandoned by the Lord, they will not see the kinds of victories the warriors will see, either.
When external doors for the preaching of the Gospel close, the internal Word implanted in our hearts remains a doorway into God’s Presence and our place of protection from the enemy.
WHAT ARE WE WARRING FOR?
There are serious attacks against the Bride of Christ in this hour; major obstacles to the Church’s health and growth.
False doctrine maligns the true nature of Christ. Idolatry counters a heart of true worship and obedience to the Father. The spirit of religion subtly seduces believers into unity and conformity, quenching life in those who are Spirit-led. (5)
These tactics of the enemy are meant to stifle soldiers and subjugate warriors. They are aimed at three targets: the minds, the hearts, and the spirits of men. Their strategy is to cripple believers, preventing us from walking in and enforcing divine authority. Those who refuse to conform to man’s authority, like Peter and John in Acts 4, are quickly labeled as outcasts and renegades so that the masses may be kept under control.
In truth, believers who have the discernment to expose these demonic deceptions are the courageous warriors the armies of God should be following!
We must remember that as soldiers in God’s army we are called to serve HIM first, not the organized structures of the world or religion. When mere men - even those in religious establishments - cease to honor the Lord of Hosts, Commander of the Armies, it is time for soldiers to become warriors for truth, not the status quo. How do we do this? Through our prayers and our preaching.
When the world or the church begins to censor the passionate preaching of truth that comes from authentic relationship with Christ, it’s warriors who become courageous enough to say: “Which is right in God’s eyes, to listen to you or to Him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:13-20)
PROTECTION IN PERSECUTION
As I worshiped the Lord this week, He took me back into the story of His own persecution. Instead of highlighting Christ’s love for His enemies, which is what is typically preached, He highlighted the compassionate protection He showed toward His disciples.
In John 13:18-19, Jesus prophesied:
“He who shared my bread has turned against me... I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” (NIV)
Even as Jesus prophesied His own betrayal, He dipped His bread and shared it - culturally, a gesture of love and honor; not condemnation - with the one who would initiate a cycle of death.
In addition, Christ’s words to the disciples at the Last Supper indicate a shift in the way He was prophesying; He no longer spoke of future comfort and victory, but of the harder things both He and they would endure.
The prophetic words themselves became a preemptive strike against the enemy’s worst attempts to scatter and destroy His followers. Because they were prepared beforehand, the disciples came to understand the truth of their Master’s claims later, actually GROWING in confidence when persecution arose in the early church. They saw the truth of Christ’s words confirmed, and became bold as lions themselves!
From avoiding an open accusation of His betrayer to giving a command to Roman soldiers to arrest Him but let His disciples go, we see the sovereign protection of Christ for those He loves; even for His enemies. (In His worst hour, Christ even healed the soldier’s ear that Peter cut off.)
Christ lost none of those whose hearts were fully committed to Him then, and He will not lose those who wholeheartedly follow Him now.
Friends, the manifest Presence of Christ is the only antidote to future betrayal and persecution. Whether we are nurtured through the hidden Word of God, inspired by prophecy, or strengthened by the indwelling Spirit of God, bold and militant believers will have the Presence of God preserving and protecting them in times of difficulty.
1. In the United States, each military branch adheres to its own “code” or set of values in order to enforce uniformity and conformity amongst their soldiers. Military officers also swear an oath upon commissioning. That oath is not to obey all orders. It is to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
It is wrong to say that a soldier has an obligation to follow any order no matter what. His first obligation is to obey the law, and he is expected, as many courts-martial have proven, to have the good sense to know when to defy an unlawful or inhumane order!
Translating this into spiritual terms, while a believer’s “code of conduct” includes loving and serving the church, honoring parents, and obeying civil authorities, these stipulations are clearly subordinate to obeying Christ. One pastor says it this way: “When it comes to obeying the Spirit of God, true warriors for Christ are ‘all in’ or not in at all!”
2. Song of Songs 5:7; 3:3-4
3. Jeremiah 36
4. Terry Bennett, Messengers of Shiloh, 8.2.20: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwGqiaZXEyo&t=6305s
5. Special thanks to Gary Beaton for his insight on these specific types of attacks on the Body of Christ.
© Deborah Perkins / www.HisInscriptions.com
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.