Even Sodom!

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

It is not God who hinders the healing of our land. Rather it is our apathy, our own unbelief, that keeps us from grasping the potential offered in the Gospel of Christ! Do not marvel when I say entire cities can be saved. The Scripture tells us that nations will come to our light and kings to the brightness of our rising! (Isaiah 60:1-3)

All We Lack is Christlikeness!
"He then began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent" (Matt. 11:20). Jesus has a word to say, not only to us as individuals, but to entire cities as well. In anger He rebuked Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum (Matt. 11:21); with tears, He cried out to Jerusalem (Luke 13:34). If He expected cities to repent in the first century, He expects cities today to repent as well.

Love Involves Pain By Asher Intrater


Asher Intrater is the senior leader of a Messianic congregation in Israel. Asher's perspectives and insights are highly valued both in the Holy Land and beyond. He is also personal friend of Pastor Frangipane. Our ministry is committed both to Israel and to the many excellent leaders in Israel's emerging church. For more information about Asher's ministry, please visit their website:
www.revive-israel.org
.

(En Español)

Love is the highest value of the kingdom (I Corinthians 13:13). It is the central motivation of all the commandments (Mark 12:30-31). It is the character of God Himself (I John 4:8). It is the motivation behind the life mission of Yeshua (John 3:16). And it involves pain.

Love involves a relationship, which in turn involves another human being. All of us human beings cause trouble. We sin. Sin hurts other people. If we love people, we have to deal with the pain that sin causes.

I have wonderful, loving, faithful relationships with people in all spheres of my life - marriage, family, work, congregation, partners and friends. Yet they all involve pain. Faithfulness and patience means bearing the pain of relationships over a long period of time. The beauty of love is well worth the pain involved, but it does cost the price. Pain is the price of love.

America's Future: Christ or Chaos

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

There is a chosen race. However, this race is not born of ethnicity or fleshly pride; its origin is heavenly. It is spiritual and its citizens come from every "tribe and tongue and people and nation" --- individuals who have been purchased by the blood of Christ (Rev. 5:9). Their homeland is Heaven, and in their love for each other, they display Christ as God's answer for ethnic strife and conflicts.

Exodus of the Gentiles
While the return of the Jews to Israel is last century's most remarkable exodus, it is not the only restoration of ethnic peoples in recent years. Indeed, Israel's restoration is but one of scores of cultures resurfacing in today's world, each seeking to be defined by the best aspects of its heritage.

Building Site of the Temple

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

The building of the house of the Lord involves more than finding help in our time of need. There are costs to attaining God's best. If we want to have His greatest provisions, we must yield to Him our greatest loves.


Two Temples
The Scriptures refer to two types of temples: one made of stone, which was built in Israel, and the other made of flesh, which is the church. The first temple, Solomon's, was built at a predetermined site that God selected. Even as the Lord carefully chose the building site for the temple of stone, so He is looking at the landscape of our hearts, seeking to make us His temple of flesh.

A War in Heaven

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Lucifer's terrible crime was not simply that he rebelled against God, as evil as that was. Even worse, through slander against God and deception, he stole away a third of the angels as well. Though banished to hell, Lucifer's war against the Almighty continues. Indeed, every time he divides another church, he accomplishes part of his goal, which is to strike against the heart of God.

If you have ever been through a church split, you are all too familiar with the terrible churning of emotions and the inconsolable distress that accompanies this descent into hell. If you are unfamiliar with the experience, expect that large factions of otherwise nice Christians will be pitted against one another. They will participate in slander, anger, deception, fear, bitterness, hatred, gossip, unforgiveness, strife, rebellion and pride.

When Becoming Nothing is an Improvement

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

In the beginning, the earth was formless and void, but that did not deter the Almighty. He looked into the fathomless depth of its darkness and concluded, "All it needs is light!" Likewise, in the beginning of our spiritual lives, we also are "formless and void" and God, just as confidently, is still saying, "All they need is a little light!" Remember: it's the Lord's responsibility to create and our responsibility to submit to His creating.

The Lord only needs three things to fashion life. First, He needs a "nothing." The Almighty always begins His great, creative works with a "nothing" (this is very important because this is where we come in!). Then, His Spirit needs to be hovering over the "nothing." And, finally, He needs His Word, which is the "something" He's going to put in the "nothing's" place.

The Last Great Harvest

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

In the midst of terror attacks, blatant rebellion and worldwide conflicts, is there yet one more "great awakening" in God's heart that will sweep multitudes into His kingdom? Or is the future irreversibly clocked, ever ticking toward catastrophic conflicts and doom? I, for one, am convinced that the Lord's heart burns for the nations. I believe that a great harvest season awaits us.

It is easy to see sin and predict doom. Yet, the very fact that God gives us the privilege of prayer tells us He desires we participate with Him in the transformation of our world. Indeed, even when a nation seems fully in the grip of evil, the heart of God is searching for one who would "stand in the gap before [Him] for the land." God's heart is to redeem, "not destroy" (Ezek. 22:30). What a tremendous insight into the nature of God, that if just one person embraces Christlike transformation---if he or she stands in the gap in unoffendable intercession---that individual can alter the future of a nation! Before you think I am exaggerating, both the Bible and secular history tell us this is exactly the case. Singular individuals have stood for their families, churches, cities and nations, and throughout time God has used them to alter the course of history (see Heb. 11; Eccl. 9:15).

Removing the Burden of Regret

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

"Why did I disobey the Lord?"

"If only I had kept my mouth shut."

"If only such and such hadn't happened, my life would be so much better."

Regret. The gift that keeps on giving. Nothing so chains us to our past failures like regret.

I know too many Christians who were running well, yet at some point fell into sin. The worst thing is they knew better. They were not ignorant of Satan's devices yet they fell. The outcome of their failure was that, in the very place where their joy once shone brightly, now a wearisome oppression exists. This oppression looks like an aspect of repentance, but it is not. It is demonic. It is a vision-stealer forged in the fires of hell.

The Seeking God

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Question: What will happen if, in your spiritual walk, you turn lukewarm instead of steadfastly seeking the Lord? The answer is, nothing will happen. Meteors won't fall from the sky and hit you. Nothing that is not common to man will happen to you. You will simply remain the same as you have been: unchanging. An unchanged life is judgment enough.

If we don't steadfastly walk with God, we simply cannot be transformed. Yes, one's spirit can still be saved even if we have built our lives with "wood, hay and stubble" (1 Cor. 3). But we will have accomplished little toward our eternal destiny. The glory awaiting us will be barely noticeable, a flicker, compared to those who embraced their transformation on earth and now, in eternity, "shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matt. 13:43).

With the Glance of Your Eyes

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

"Who is this that grows like the dawn, as beautiful as the full moon, as pure as the sun, as awesome as an army with banners?" ---Song of Sol. 6:10

In spite of all the controversy and strife in our world, regardless of the clashing opinions in today's religious wars, the focus of Christ still remains upon His bride. It is our quest to fix our gaze upon Him.

Most of us sincerely love the Lord and are thankful for all He has done. However, too many are more comfortable celebrating what Jesus has done than accepting who He desires to be to us. We sing of His victories and teach of His mercies, yet rarely do we quiet our hearts and surrender to His presence. We want Him near enough to protect us but not so close that our consciousness is captured by His presence.

Bitterness in the Garden of Our Hearts

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

"See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled" (Heb. 12:15).

It is impossible to pass through this world without being struck by injustice or heartache. Unless we process our struggles in Christ, a single wounding of our soul can create a deep bitterness within us, poisoning our very existence. In my forty-plus years of ministry, I have known far too many Christians who have perfected the art of looking polite, while living inwardly with an angry, cynical or resentful spirit. They have swallowed the poison of bitterness and they are dying spiritually because of it. The problem is that, as Christians, we know it is wrong to react with open anger toward people. However, rather than truly forgiving and surrendering that injustice to God, we suppress our anger. Anger is a result of perceived injustice. Suppressed anger always degrades into bitterness, which is, in reality, unfulfilled revenge.

Be Anxious For Nothing

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Jesus warned that, in the last days, the world would face unfolding trauma. There would be wars, earthquakes and many other disasters. Yet, to His disciples, He said, "Do not be terrified" (Luke 21:9). He also said that, because of world conditions, men's hearts would fail "from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth" (Luke 21:26 NKJV). Not only would actual events generate worldwide fear, but the expectation of difficulties would cause men's hearts to fail.

Today, heart failure is the number one cause of death in North America. Approximately every thirty-four seconds a heart stops beating and another person dies, usually suddenly. There may be many contributors to heart failure, but one major source is the inability to handle stress.

Not Judgmental, But Prayer-mental

By Francis Frangipane

Mercy, Not Wrath
The church is created not to fulfill God's wrath, but to complete His mercy. Remember, we are called to be a "house of prayer for all…nations." Consider passionately this phrase: "prayer for." Jesus taught His disciples to "pray for" those who would persecute or mistreat them (Matt.5 44). When Job "prayed for" his friends, God fully restored him (Job 42:10). We are to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Ps. 122:6), and "pray for" each other so that we may be healed (James 5:16).

According to the Word of God, the Lord “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4). Therefore, Paul urged "that entreaties and prayers…be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority" (vv. 1-2). You see, the call is to pray for people.

"But," you argue, "my country (or city) is a modern manifestation of ancient Babylon."

The Commitment of an Intercessor

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)


Our nation needs prayer. I'm encouraged by the governors, mayors and other political leaders who are holding large gatherings for the purpose of humbling themselves, seeking God and asking for forgiveness. Our nation needs to return to God. If we do, it is possible that the best days are ahead for the USA. Remember, what is not possible for man, is possible for God. In fact Jesus said, "All things are possible with God" (Mark 10:27).
~~~~~~

Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, "Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin---and if not, please blot me out from Thy book which Thou hast written!" (Exod. 32:31-32)

The prayer of Moses is remarkable. Moses was not only the leader of Israel, he was an intercessor as well. Ultimately, an intercessor gives up all personal advantage for the sake of those for whom he prays. Moses knew he personally had favor with God. Yet he presented himself as a remarkable portrait of one irreversibly committed to Israel's transformation. He said, "If Thou wilt, forgive their sin---and if not, please blot me out from Thy book."

The Divine Obsession

By Francis Frangipane

There are three basic categories of Christians. The largest group consists of people who, though they try to avoid the darkness in the world, have no hope that the world can be redeemed. Assuming Christ's return is imminent, they retreat into what seems a shelter of apathy concerning the non-Christian world around them. Yet most are not truly apathetic. Their souls, like Lot's, are vexed by the conduct of unprincipled men (2 Pet. 2:7-8). Their compassion, though, is kindled even if it's limited. Rarely do they extend themselves beyond the needs of their immediate family and closest friends. They love the Lord, but they don't know how or what to do to change society or even to positively impact their neighborhoods.

The second group of Christians consists of those who would rather rail at the darkness than adjust to it. Though much smaller in number than the first, they are by no means apathetic; in fact, they appear exactly opposite. They rage at the depravity of the ungodly and protest the audacity of the wicked. They pound the pulpit and the pavement; they are both vocal and visible. Yet their ability to transform their culture is, for the most part, neutralized by their negativity and rage. They are dismissed as judgmental extremists. Most sinners simply cannot endure the harshness of their approach.

To Walk With God

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

In the days ahead many will be stirred by proclamations, both true and false, of ominous events set for fulfillment on specific dates. However, we are not being prepared for a "date" but for a marriage. It is the depth of our day-by-day relationship with Christ that defines walking with God at the end of the age.

The confidence we have as we face tomorrow is rooted in the quality of our walk with God today. Thus, as these days unfold, the way of the Lord will be revealed for what it truly is: a narrow path upon which we walk with God. It is an indisputable truth: the only way to prepare for Jesus' second coming is to faithfully obey what He commanded in His first coming---and His first command was "Follow Me" (John 1:43).

What does it mean to "follow" Jesus but that we walk faithfully with Him throughout our life. The fact is, we anticipate the nearness of the Lord, but we do not know when He might return. While I believe we are very near to the end of the age, still it may be many years before some of the unfulfilled prophecies come to pass. Regardless, our call is to follow the Lamb---to walk with Him every day.

Faithful Friend By Asher Intrater


One of the most important characteristics of a godly person is to be faithful. That means to be faithful to your friends, a faithful friend. The edition of our book "Covenant Relationships" in Hebrew is called, "Faithful Friend." Yeshua said that the ultimate goal of discipleship was to produce friends for Himself (John 15:15).

"Pursue love" - I Corinthians 14:1

To pursue love means to pursue people by means of love. Being a faithful friend demands initiative and effort. It does not just wait for someone to come along. It reaches out to demonstrate faithfulness to others. Saul (Paul) blessed Onisiphorus because he searched and found Paul when he was in prison (II Timothy 1:17). Paul also rejoiced to do the same thing; he left a successful ministry opportunity to search out his friend Titus. Finding Titus was considered a greater "triumph" than success in ministry (II Corinthians 2:14-15).

"He loved them to the end" - John 13:1.

Yeshua loved His disciples all the way to the end. Being a faithful friend involves a process. It is a series of tests. It has a price to pay. That price increases along the way until it demands faithfulness even unto the death (Revelation 2:10). Faithfulness is a long path of dialogue, confrontation, forgiveness, disappointment, pain, and sacrifice. To be faithful is to go all the way with another person.

"If your brother sins against you go to him and rebuke him between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have won your brother" - Matthew 18:15.

This verse more than any other describes the process of covenant dialogue from a faithful friend to another when there is a problem. The purpose is not just moral confrontation but an effort at restoring relationship. To be faithful you must continually enter into honest loving conversations to correct problems and restore relationships. There is no such thing as human relationship without problems.

If you love Me, keep My commandments" - John 14:15 (13:34; 15:9; 15:10; 15:12; 15:16).

Love is something we are commanded to do. It is based on obedience, not on emotions. Love has emotions but is not dependent on them. It is not even dependent on other people. Trust is dependent on others' trustworthiness. However, we can love people before they are trustworthy. Yeshua loved the whole world (John 3:16), but He trusted no one (John 2:25).

All people are basically unfaithful in their "human" nature, but God is faithful to us in spite of our unfaithfulness to Him (Romans 3:4). Likewise to be faithful to someone is a unilateral decision on our part. Be faithful even if no one else in the world is. Choose to walk in loyalty and integrity; in humility and grace.

A good relationship demands the mutual faithfulness of both sides. However, your being faithful to that relationship is your side alone. A good husband will decide to be a good husband to his wife regardless of what kind of wife she is (and vice versa). We do what is right "as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:21, 22; 6:1, 6:7)."

"A brother is born for adversity" - Proverbs 17:17.

To be faithful is to be aware when a friend is in need or in trouble. That is the time to run to be close. It is hard to demonstrate faithfulness when everything is going well for the other. When the going gets rough is when we get going to help. Those are the choice opportunities.

"Make for yourself friends through unfaithful mammon…" - Luke 16:9.

Yeshua emphasizes here the simple point that friends are more important than money. He does not mean to "buy" friends in a manipulative, controlling manner. Rather, money can be a tool in building relationships. Anything you can buy with money is less important than friendship. Everything in this world is temporary. Only faithful relationships are eternal.

Money is not a means to purchase goods for ourselves, but a means to bless people. People are often in financial need. Money can be used to demonstrate faithfulness. When you use money to help others, you raise the opportunity to develop trust.

"Many a man declares his own loving-kindness, but a man of faithfulness, who can find?" - Proverbs 20:6.

In this world today, many people speak of love, but a person who is faithful to his friends is a rare commodity. Let's be one of them.


Asher Intrater is the senior leader of a Messianic congregation in Israel. Asher's perspectives and insights are highly valued both in the Holy Land and beyond. He is also personal friend of Pastor Frangipane. Our ministry is very committed both to Israel and especially to the emerging church there. For more information about Asher's ministry, please visit their website: www.revive-israel.org.

Declaring War on Ungratefulness and Grumbling

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

From my earliest Christian years I've heard questions about Jesus' comment concerning Judas Iscariot: "Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?" (John 6:70).

What did Jesus mean? Was Judas genetically a devil and not a man? (Jesus didn't say Judas had a devil; He said he was a devil). Can a devil actually live among people as a human? While I am no scholar in ancient Greek, I think truth is better served reading the literal translation of this verse. The word translated as "devil," diabolos, is the same word translated elsewhere in the New Testament as "slanderer" or "malicious gossip" (see 1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:3).

Elijah, Jehu, and the War Against Jezebel

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

There is a war, a very ancient war, between the spirit of Elijah and the spirit of Jezebel. In this age-old battle, Elijah represents the interests of heaven: the call to repentance and the return to God. Jezebel, on the other hand, represents that unique principality whose purpose is to hinder and defeat the return of the church to God.

To The Victor Goes Our Nation
To understand the conflict between the Elijah spirit and the spirit of Jezebel, we must understand these two adversaries as they are seen in the Scriptures. Each is the spiritual counterpart of the other. Is Elijah bold? Jezebel is brazen. Is Elijah ruthless toward evil? Jezebel is vicious toward righteousness. Does Elijah speak of the ways and words of God? Jezebel is full of systems of witchcraft and words of deceit. The war between Elijah and Jezebel continues today. The chief warriors on either side are the prophets of both foes; to the victor goes the soul of our nation.

In the tradition of Samuel, Elijah was the head of the school of prophets. Under him were the sons of the prophets---literally hundreds of seers and prophetic minstrels---who proclaimed the Word of the Lord. In this war, however, Jezebel had viciously and systematically murdered all of God's servants until only Elijah remained (see 1 Kings 18:22). Elijah, as the last of the prophets, then challenged the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the Asherah to a demonstration of power: their gods against the power of the Lord.

These 850 men were the false prophets, the satanic priests "who ate at Jezebel's table" (1 Kings 18:19). They were the most powerful, demonized individuals that the hosts of darkness could produce. King Ahab, Jezebel's husband, sent a message out to "all the sons of Israel" (v. 20), and the nation came to witness the war between the God of Elijah and the demons of Jezebel.

The terms of the challenge were simple: Each was to place an ox upon an altar. Elijah then said, "You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, He is God" (v. 24). Six hours later the cult priests still could produce no fire; twelve hours passed and Elijah began to mock them, "Call out [to Baal] with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside . . . perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened" (v. 27). Then, just before evening, Elijah prayed over his sacrifice and "the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering." The Scriptures continue: "When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, 'The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God'" (vv. 38-39). Immediately after this powerful witness of the Lord, Elijah had the Hebrews secure the prophets of Baal and all of them were put to death.

We would suppose that, at this point, Elijah would have gone into Jezreel and asked God to finish off Jezebel, but he did not. In fact---and this may surprise you---Elijah came under spiritual warfare. When Jezebel heard what had happened to her servants, in a fit of rage she released a flood of witchcraft and demonic power against Elijah that put fear into his heart, and Elijah fled.

You may ask, How could such a mighty prophet turn and run? The answer is not simple. In fact, the situation worsened. We then see Elijah sitting under a juniper tree, bewailing that he is no better than his fathers---actually praying that he might die! (see 1 Kings 19:4) What pressure overwhelmed this great man of God that he would fall prey to fear and discouragement? He succumbed to the witchcraft of Jezebel.

And now, let the reader understand: When you stand against the principality of Jezebel, even though you resist her lusts and witchcrafts, you must guard against the power-demons of fear and discouragement, for these she will send against you to distract you from your warfare and your victory!

The Drama Continues . . .
It is a mystery, yet biblically true, that under certain conditions the Holy Spirit will transfer a leader's anointing to one or more uniquely prepared people. This occurred when the Lord took the "Spirit who was upon [Moses], and placed the same upon the seventy elders" (Num. 11:24–25 NKJV). Again, we see the effect of this principle with Joshua, who "was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him" (Deut. 34:9). Of course, our very salvation reaps the reward of this precept, for Christ is not just a religion, but His actual Spirit and virtue have been imparted to us.

With this concept in mind, we can better accept how the spirit of Elijah was sent to minister through the person of John the Baptist. Once before, Elijah's spirit had been placed upon another individual. You will remember that Elisha, the prophet who succeeded Elijah, received a double portion of Elijah's spirit (see 2 Kings 2:9-11). Now, again, the spirit of Elijah was ministering, activating, inspiring and creating in John the Baptist that same kind of intensity that dwelt in Elijah himself. John was to go "as a forerunner before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17).

Jesus said of the Baptist, "John himself is Elijah who was to come" (Matt. 11:14, see also 17:11-13). John even looked like Elijah. The spiritual influence of Elijah had returned to the world in the person of John the Baptist. Like Elijah, John proclaimed the need for repentance wherever he saw sin. One such area was in the adulterous lives of King Herod and his wife Herodias. When John confronted them, Herodias had him imprisoned (see Mark 6:17-18).

But who was this manipulating and working through the dark, psychic side of Herodias? As Elijah's spirit ministered through John, so Jezebel had resurfaced through the rebellion of the seductress, Herodius. Remember, through Jezebel's many witchcrafts (see 2 Kings 9:22), she attacked Elijah, causing fear and discouragement, which led to Elijah's time of self-doubt and confusion. Now Herodius had come forcibly against the Baptist. This is the prophet who had visibly seen the Spirit descend upon Christ; he heard the Father's audible voice announcing His beloved Son; he gazed with awe upon the purity of Israel's Messiah. Now, fear and discouragement are weighing upon the prophet's shoulders. Doubt floods his soul about Christ: "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?" (Matt. 11:3).

"A strategic day came when Herod . . . gave a banquet" (Mark 6:21). "Strategic" is the perfect word to describe the timing of this event. For in this war between the spirits of Elijah and Jezebel, Herodias had her daughter dance before Herod, enticing out of him a promise to give whatever she asked. At her mother's request---more truly, at Jezebel's request---she demanded and received the head of the Baptist. And temporarily, the confrontation between the spirits of these two eternal enemies subsided.

Elijah Is Coming!
Two thousand years ago, Jesus stated that the ministry of Elijah was not over. He promised, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things" (Matt. 17:11). Also, Malachi the prophet wrote, "Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore . . ." (Mal. 4:5-6). Elijah is coming to war and restore. He came before the great day and he is returning before the terrible day of the Lord.

Remember, however, the principle of impartation. For today, even as God did with Elijah, Elisha and John the Baptist, the Lord is raising up an Elijah company of prophets, Spirit-filled men and women sent forth to prepare the way for the return of Christ!

Let it also be known that if Elijah is coming before Jesus returns, so also is Jezebel. Indeed, do you not see her in our land in the abundance of witchcraft and harlotries? Do you not hear her brazen voice rejecting God's authority and exalting her rebellion in radical feminism? Have you not, with shame, beheld her as she caused God's "bond-servants" to "commit acts of immorality" (Rev. 2:20)? Seeing Jezebel so blatantly manifest herself only confirms that the spirit of Elijah is also here bringing repentance and raising up warring prophets throughout our land. In fact, if you are going to serve God during the reign of a "Jezebel," the warfare itself will thrust you into a prophetic anointing simply that you may survive!

In the Old Testament we see how God destroyed Jezebel. Jehu, the newly crowned king of Israel, was sent by the word of the Lord through Elijah's successor, Elisha, to fulfill God's promise. As Jehu and his men furiously drove their chariots toward Jezreel, the kings of Israel and Judah came out to meet him. They asked, "Is it peace, Jehu?" And he answered, "What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?" (2 Kings 9:21-22) And Jehu slew the two kings. Immediately afterward, he rode into Jezreel to confront Jezebel.

The Word tells us that when she saw him, "She put paint on her eyes and adorned her head" and looking out an upper window, she called to him, "'Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?' And he looked up at the window and said, 'Who is on my side? Who?' So two or three eunuchs looked out at him. Then he said, 'Throw her down.' So they threw her down, and some of her blood splattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot" (2 Kings 9:30–33 NKJV).

There was something in Jehu's spirit that we must possess today. While we must be compassionate toward those captured by her influence (see Rev. 2:21), we must show no mercy to the Jezebel spirit itself. Jehu offered Jezebel no hope for reform, no compromise whatsoever. So we must offer this demon no opportunity to probe our soul and unlock vulnerabilities to her "many witchcrafts." She must be cast down from her high place of influence. Indeed, as she lay bleeding and near death, Jehu "trampled her underfoot!" Likewise, we must follow Christ and fearlessly walk upon this serpent, crushing it under our feet (see Luke 10:19; Rom. 16:20).

So also with us, we must have no tolerance whatsoever for this spirit. There can be no peace, no relaxing under our "fig tree" until the spirit of Jezebel is conquered! We must stop living for comfort as long as her harlotries and witchcrafts are so many in our land. We must refuse to settle for a false peace based on compromise and fear, especially when the Spirit of God is calling for war!

It is significant that the eunuchs cast her down. Some of you who are reading this have been made eunuchs, slaves to this evil spirit. Today, right now, God is giving you the privilege of participating in the eternal judgment against Jezebel. You cast her down! Side with God, and let the judgments of God come forth.

It is time for the prophets to unite against this spirit. Even now, we wash ourselves in the precious blood of Jesus. Under the anointing of Elijah, in the power of the Holy Spirit, let us arise in the indignation of Jehu and cast Jezebel down!

Let's pray: Heavenly Father, I submit my heart to You. In the name and authority of Jesus Christ, I turn now against the spirit of Jezebel. As a servant of Jesus Christ, I release those who have been Jezebel's captives, even those reading my words right now! I speak to Jezebel's "eunuchs": if you are truly on the Lord's side, then cast down your sympathetic thoughts toward this evil, cruel master, Jezebel! Renounce her evil imaginations from your mind! In the power of Jesus' name, I release you from her psychic grip upon your soul. In the authority of the living Christ, walk free from the spirit of Jezebel! Amen. 


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Three Battlegrounds" available at www.arrowbookstore.com. Read Amazon book reviews.

Standing Behind Our Wall

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

The sense of distance we often feel between Christ and ourselves is an illusion. As we enter the days prior to Christ's Second Coming, the Lord shall begin to remove that falsehood. Indeed, He promises, "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you" (John 14:20).


The Scriptures tell us that Christ is the vine, we are the branches; He is the head, we are His body; He is the Lord and we are His temple. From start to finish, the Bible declares the Lord not only has a dwelling in Heaven, but that He also abides perpetually in redemptive union with His people. The ever-present focus of His activity is to guide us into oneness with Himself.

Because He First Loved Us

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Do you love Jesus Christ? Isn’t there a part of your heart that not only accepts the truth of Christ's death for you but, in response, actually loves Him for the price He paid? Don’t you love His Word, even when it hurts; and don't you appreciate the many times He's rescued you, even from battles caused by your own sin?

For too many people, however, knowing Jesus is superficial; it goes no deeper than agreeing to the historical fact of His existence. Loving Him is a distant, almost unnatural reality for them. Some even take His name in vain or anger.

For you, however, the very sound of His name, Jesus, calms the troubling in your heart. You often cry at movies that reverentially mention His name. Even if you fall short of your own spiritual aspirations, still you love His righteousness.

The fact that you possess love for Christ, even if your love is imperfect, proves something vital about you. The very existence of your love has been cultivated and awakened by God’s love for you. The living Christ has actually approached you. You love Him because He has revealed Himself to you. As it is written, "We love, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

Christ, Our Source of Unity

Today, Christians argue about doctrines and divide over perceptions of end-time events. Yet, let us look at the deeper issue: Do we each love Jesus Christ? If so, our love for Him is the result of His love for us. Even if we disagree with one another on minor doctrines we should treat each other with reverence, for Christ has personally loved us.

You see, the proof that we truly know Jesus Christ is not measured by the degrees we post on a wall but by the degree of love for Him that burns in our hearts.

Do you not love Him? Your love is a response to the relentless warmth of God’s love for you, and His love has proven itself irresistible. He says, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:16). Again, He says, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44). Even our coming to Him is a product of His love for us.

When I say, "I love You, Jesus," it is because at some point long before I knew Him, before I could discern His voice or recognize His influence in my life, a power born of His love was drawing me to Him. Yes, I know I am not worthy, but still Christ loved me. True, I have no righteousness of my own, but I imagine there was a moment in Heaven when the Son turned to the heavenly Father and said, "I love Francis. I will bring him to Myself, show him My ways, and become the strength of his life."

Behold How He Loves Us

Our capacity to actually dwell in Christ’s presence is based upon knowing the true nature of God. If we see Him as a loving Father, we will draw near; if He seems to be a harsh judge, we will withdraw. Indeed, everything that defines us is influenced by our perception of God.

If we do not believe God cares about us, we will be overly focused on caring for ourselves. If we feel insignificant or ignored by Him, we will exhaust ourselves seeking significance from others. Once we accept the profound truth that God loves us, that He desires we draw near to Him, a door opens before us into His heart. Here, in the shelter of the Most High, we can find rest and renewed power for our souls.

Our Lord is not distant from us, for He is actually "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Heb. 4:15 KJV). He feels the pain of what we experience on earth. He participates in the life we live, for "in Him we live, and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28 KJV). He is not removed from our need; we are His body.

The truth is, we are never alone in our battles. However, if we believe we are alone - if we accept the lie that God does not care - our darkened thinking will isolate us from the eternal commitment of our heavenly Father. Beloved, even in our times of sin or rebellion, the heart of God is not far. Consider the Lord’s relationship with Israel. Though Israel had sinned and was suffering oppressive consequences, we read that, when the Lord "could bear the misery of Israel no longer," He raised up deliverers (Judg. 10:16; Neh. 9:27). God wasn’t distant; He was with them, actually bearing them and their misery!

At Lazarus’ tomb, the Bible tells us that Jesus wept. Of course, Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus; He knew it six days before He raised Lazarus from death. He wept because those He loved were weeping. The Spirit of God feels our heartache. He is with us in our conflicts and fears. At the tomb of Lazarus, some suggest that Christ’s weeping was actually over the unbelief of His disciples. I think not. When the Lord wept over Lazarus, those who saw Christ saw a man touched by the sorrows of others, and they marveled, "See how He loved him!" (John 11:36).

Our healing comes when we behold how He loves us. We are raised from the dead when He comes to the tomb of our spiritual failures and pain (Eph. 2:4-5). He calls us out of death by name.

You see, we must accept the personalization of God’s love. He gave His Son for my sins, He enlivens His Word for my guidance, and His Spirit is with me as my helper. If the Almighty is for me, who can be against me?

Never wonder if God loves you. Rather, look at your heart. Do you love Him? If so, your love for Him is proof of His love for you. We love because He first loved us.

Dear friend, with wide-eyed wonder, let us behold how He loves us, and be healed of our aloneness.

Heavenly Father, help us to pause, to absorb into our consciousness the impact of Your purposed love for us. Let this wondrous love influence everything we think and all that we do and become: I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. Your banner over me is love. Let my life be flavored by Your unfailing mercy until, with all my heart, I love You, even as You have loved me.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "And I Will Be Found By You" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

Purity of Heart: Open Vision

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Spiritual perception is based upon purity of heart. What we see in life and how we see it is rooted in the soil of our inner thought life. If we would experience clear and open vision concerning the kingdom of God, a pure heart is most essential.

Revelation Perception At the Throne of God
In the book of Revelation there is a marvel: ". . . in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind . . . around and within" (Rev. 4:6, 8). Our purpose here is not to spend ourselves in speculations about these creatures. Our goal is to possess that purity of heart that comes from living in the awareness of God. We're seeking the open vision that is manifested at His throne.

Though these "living creatures" may represent many things, one thing is fairly certain: John was not seeing a nightmarish vision of six-winged beasts with dozens of eyes covering their bodies. What John saw was a symbol of a deeper truth. The many "eyes" represent the open, all-inclusive vision that is the result of being in God's presence.

Let it be known, where the Lord is, there also is His throne. If you have had a meeting with the Lord, it is because your spirit is at His throne. When you were spiritually reborn, you were born again from above (John 3:3 Amplified). At this very moment, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, your spirit is "seated" with Christ upon His throne in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). Where His presence is, there also is open vision.

These "living creatures" are symbols of the life one finds as he abides in God's presence. In Him our eyes can think: they see with discernment and understanding. The mind of Christ fuses with our vision, revealing what was impossible to be seen by the narrowness of our perception; we see "in front and behind." Our vision also comes from "the center . . . [of] the throne." Not only do we see distant spiritual realities, but we are close enough to penetrate and search the depths of God Himself (1 Cor. 2:10).

Yet, at the same time, being near to God also gives us "eyes . . . within," eyes which monitor the motives that guide self, inner eyes which stand guard against sin. The more our vision opens up, the greater we see God in His holiness. The slightest sin in our lives becomes significant; we are compelled to live pure before Him.

The "four creatures" at the throne of God do not cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty" (Rev. 4:8). Day and night, God is holy. When our spiritual eyes are open, the utterances of our mouths are all, "Holy, holy, holy."

A True Israelite Has Spiritual Perception
Jesus spoke concerning Nathanael, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" (John 1:47). What kind of man was this young disciple, that Jesus should praise him? There was no guile, no deceit in this young man's heart. Oh, how we should desire this purity for ourselves! Nathanael had "eyes . . . within." He kept himself free from self-deception. When you cleave to the truth inwardly, you will perceive the truth outwardly. Nathanael looked at Jesus and declared, "You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel" (v. 49).

Jesus said to Nathanael, "You will see greater things than these . . . I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man" (vv. 50-51). Because of Nathanael's honest heart, Jesus knew open vision would be inevitable. Open vision is the consequence of a pure heart. To those who fight against sin, who hate falsehood, who diligently pursue walking in holiness, your struggle is a preparation for seeing God. You shall see the heavens opened.

Because of our dullness of heart, we have come to expect spiritual blindness as an unfortunate condition of this world. The truth is, in the Old Testament one of God's judgments against sin was that the heavens became "bronze" (Deut. 28:23). Most Christians similarly see the heavens closed. Few see with open vision either into the heavenly realms or into their own hearts. The heavens are always "bronze" to a hardened heart. But the Lord promised, "You shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God"!

God wants us to have true spiritual vision. One sign that the Holy Spirit is involved in a church is that, "young men . . . see visions, and your old men . . . dream dreams" (Acts 2:17). There is continuity between God's kingdom in Heaven and His kingdom on earth.

Oh, there are those who say the supernatural was strictly limited to the first century, that today we "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). Yes, we often do take steps of faith, where we walk without prior knowledge of what each step involves. But we do perceive Him who is with us! Ours is not a blind trust; it is a proven, seeing trust! Walking by faith and having spiritual vision is not an either/or situation. Just moments before Paul stated he walked by faith, he wrote, “We look . . . at the things which are not seen . . . things which are . . . eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). Paul had revelation perception of the spirit realm. He saw the eternal spiritual body that was prepared and waiting for him in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1, 4)! He knew how "a man . . . was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words" (2 Cor. 12:3-4).

We could continue concerning Paul's spiritual perception, but the fact is, he authored one-third of the New Testament out of his open vision of Christ. How did he see the things he saw? Just after he declared "with unveiled face [we behold] . . . the glory of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18), he wrote, "But we have renounced the things hidden because of shame" (2 Cor. 4:2). Later he continued, “Having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1). Out of a purified heart, out of his perfected holiness, came open vision of the glory of God.

Remember, we are not seeking experiences, we are seeking a pure heart. We are not running after visions; we want holiness. Even as the supernatural realm was an expected phenomenon in the primitive church, so also was purity the expected condition in their hearts. Therefore, do not be as the foolish ones who seek visions. You must seek sanctification, and when you are ready, if God wills, He shall speak to you in supernatural ways (Acts 2:17-18). Do not seek to conjure up an "experience" with Jesus; seek to have a clean heart, allowing Christ to examine and purge you daily. And as He washes you with His Word and chastens you with His holiness, He will draw you into His presence. He will open your eyes to "things without and things within."


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

When Passover is Fulfilled in God’s Kingdom

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

"Easter" Or "Passover"?
We all know that the early church did not celebrate Easter with jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chickens. Their children never went on Easter egg hunts. Of course, the death and resurrection of Jesus stood above all the cultural trappings, but it was Passover not Easter, that the early Christians honored.

The word Easter actually comes from the Anglo Saxon Eastre, the goddess of spring. As Christianity spread, it became church policy not to undo pagan holidays, but instead inject Christian meaning into the celebrations. Although I enjoy eating chocolate bunnies, I recognize that the colored eggs, rabbits and chickens were originally symbols through which the locals paid homage to the "gods" that governed sexual fertility.

Although most Christians, myself included, still refer to the season of Christ's resurrection as "Easter," in my heart I look past secular traditions and into the reality of spiritual truth. Indeed, even when I am with one who celebrates Easter with eggs, etc., I overlook these cultural traditions and call everyone's attention to the great miracle: the resurrection of Christ.

Church Celebrated Passover
While we can forgive and cover unbiblical traditions in love, it remains important that we steadfastly pursue the truth of God's Word. Thus, we should recognize that the early church did not celebrate Easter as we do in modern times. They celebrated the Feast of Passover. This annual tradition was not only commemorative; it was also prophetic in nature. Additionally, we would expect that the Jewish disciples would celebrate Passover, but so also did the Gentile believers. We see this clearly in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. He wrote, "...Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast" (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

These Gentile Corinthians were urged by Paul to celebrate the Hebrew Feast of Passover. True, they did not celebrate the Old Testament ritual as did the Jews with unleavened bread, etc. Rather, they approached the feast from its spiritual perspective, focusing on "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (v. 8). Indeed, the Christian Church kept the Passover, not in remembrance of Israel's deliverance from Egypt, but in remembrance of what Christ---their Passover---fulfilled in delivering mankind from the penalty of sin and judgment.

Listen again to the Lord's statement to His disciples. He said, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:15-16).

Jesus desired to eat the Passover, not looking back, but looking forward in prophetic anticipation of Passover being fulfilled on a whole new level in the Kingdom of God. Through Christ's sacrifice, a new Passover would be established far greater than that of Israel's deliverance from Pharaoh. This Passover would affect the entire world. While it would still be a type of Passover, it would be kept "in remembrance of [Jesus]" (v. 19).

Hebrew Passover Versus Christian Passover
The Old Testament Passover, for all its powerful intrinsic and literal value, was actually a shadow of what Christ would fulfill on behalf of the world. Therefore, let's look at this first Passover.

The Hebrew Passover occurred in ancient Egypt when the Israelites were slaves. We are familiar with the story: God had sent Moses to bring deliverance to His people. Each time Pharaoh refused, divine judgments fell upon Egypt; the last and most decisive judgment occurred the night before the Israelites left Egypt. The Lord commanded the Hebrews to kill a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts and lintels of each house. That night, as the angel of death went forth and killed every first-born male in Egypt, he "passed over" every home whose exterior door was covered by the blood of the lamb. From this "passing over" comes the term "Passover."

Yet, the Israelites were required to do more than put lamb's blood upon their doorposts. They also had to roast the lamb they'd slain and then eat it entirely; any remains were to be burnt. It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, and eaten in haste with their loins girded and a walking staff ready. They also had to remove all leaven from their dwellings and bake unleavened bread for their journey into the wilderness. The next morning the entire nation of Israel along with their sheep and cattle were victoriously delivered from their time of bondage. Every year from then on the Israelites were required to commemorate God's great deliverance. This commemoration was also known as the "Feast of Unleavened Bread." It lasted for eight days and was considered a mandatory feast for all of Israel.

When Christ came, one of His singular purposes was to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17). This mission to bring fulfillment included Israel's feasts; in a profound way, the Passover would become central. Remember also, the feasts were shadows of something greater than themselves. Paul said their "substance belongs to Christ" (Col. 2:17). It is absolutely remarkable that, of all days in the calendar year, Christ, the Lamb of God, died on Passover. As the high priest was offering a lamb for the sins of the Jews, on that day God was offering His Son for the sins of the world! It is Christ's blood that protects us today in the same way the blood on the doorposts symbolized God's protection for Israel in Egypt.

But let's take the Passover further into its great, end-time fulfillment. During this last Passover celebrated by Jesus, I believe He not only had the forgiveness of the world on His mind, but also the great, end-time fulfillment of Passover - an event which is yet to come. Thus, as He ate that last Passover with His disciples, He said, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22: 15-16).

Jesus said that the Passover will have yet another great fulfillment when He eats it with us "in the kingdom of God." After that last supper Jesus did not again celebrate Passover. His statement refers to something yet to come, something that will unfold at the end of the age. When Jesus speaks about the Passover being fulfilled in the kingdom, He is saying that there will be yet another fulfillment to the Feast of Passover, a time when those who are truly Christ's, who have "eaten" the Lamb's flesh and partaken of His blood covenant, are divinely protected during the time of the end. So regardless of whether you believe in a pre-, mid- or post-tribulation rapture, God has not destined us for wrath. The Kingdom Passover, fulfilled by the Lamb of God, positions us in the eternal protection of the Almighty.

In whatever manner Jesus' words shall be fulfilled, let us require of ourselves to partake of the whole Lamb and not merely nibble at the comforting verses. Let us diligently apply the Lamb's blood over the doorways to our hearts, as well as over our families and loved ones. And even as the world around us continues its rush toward sin and judgment, let us instead press into God's kingdom. For during these very days of shaking, we shall receive a "kingdom which cannot be shaken" (Heb. 12:28).

Beloved, let us live in holy expectation of that day when Christ shall return and we shall eat the Passover with Him in the Kingdom of God.

Those Who Make A Covenant With God

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

The Covenant-Keeping God
Throughout the history of God's dealings with man, He has revealed Himself as a covenant-making God. The Almighty made major covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses and David; He renewed His Abrahamic covenant in His call to Isaac and Jacob. Each covenant initiated a new wave of redemptive power into the world and forever impacted the human condition.

The word covenant means "to fetter" or chain together. It was the highest form of commitment that two individuals could share. Any of several rituals were employed to express the covenant partners' unity: A sword might be passed, signifying that the two would be united against the enemy as one. They might pass a sandal between themselves, which symbolized they would travel any distance to be at one another's side. Or, they might cut an animal in two and pass between its halves. As the two halves, though separated, were still one animal, so the two covenant partners would become as one individual.

When the Lord initiated His covenant with a man, He did so as an extension of His eternal purpose; the man was a component in a series of divine initiatives. Contained within the Lord's covenant was His divine intervention, His supernatural wisdom and strategies, His love and forgiveness, and His provisions.

Thus, if we look at the Lord's call to Noah, we see that it was not the ark but the covenant of God that preserved Noah and his family during worldwide judgment (Gen. 6:18). Noah was a component, a factor in a series of divine initiatives, which accomplished the Lord's predetermined plans. God established the covenant, designed the ark and brought the animals. The Lord even shut the door after Noah entered the ark (Gen. 7:16).

When the Lord established His covenant with Abraham, twice a flaming torch passed through the halves of the animals Abraham offered in sacrifice. The two passes signified that God would keep His part of the covenant and, remarkably, He would also be the strength in Abraham to fulfill his part of the covenant as well! Today, a restored Israel testifies to God's faithfulness in His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And it is God's covenant with Abraham, not merely the Israeli military, that preserves Israel in our times.

The agreement the Lord cut with His covenant partner was not only for His servant, but it extended to His servant's descendants as well. The promise God made could be passed on generationally.

Payment And Pattern
Similarly, we are saved and sustained through life by Christ's covenant with the Father. Our salvation has been secured not only because Jesus died for our sins, but because His death was part of a covenant He had with the Father. The fact that Jesus suffered on my behalf is staggering, but His crucifixion was a component of an even more powerful reality: His covenant with the Father.

The terms of Christ's covenant were such that, if He would live His life blamelessly and offer that holy life upon the cross for sins, everyone who believed in the Son of God would be granted forgiveness by God. The Father would look to Christ's sacrifice and see justice; sinners would look to Jesus and find mercy. We are saved by this New Covenant.

Yet, as maturing disciples, we find in Christ's covenantel mission not only our peace, but also a pattern Christ calls us to follow. He told His disciples, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21). Having laid down His life in covenant surrender, He now bids us to follow Him (Matt. 16:24). Of course, our cross does not replace His cross, nor do the local covenants we make with God supersede Christ's eternal covenant. The truth is, our cross extends the power of Christ's cross into our world and times. Indeed, our covenant with God finds its backing because of Christ's covenant with the Father.

Thus, the Lord invites us to follow Him; even as He covenanted with God for the sins of the world, so we covenant to God for our homes, cities and nations. The covenant positions us in the same attitude expressed by Christ, revealed again through us for our families, cities and nations.

The Harvest and Covenant Power
To many, the idea of making a special covenant with God is unfamiliar. Yet, besides the major covenants we mentioned earlier, the Bible tells of many other times when men made a localized covenant with God. (See 2 Kings 11:17; 2 Kings 23:3; 2 Chr. 29:10; Ezra 10:3; etc.) I believe that many have already felt the Holy Spirit speaking, urging them to deepen their commitment to Christ on behalf of their families, cities and nations.

Even so, covenants, and our obedience to them, must not be made casually. They must come from our hearts in response to the Lord's initiative. You will know the depth of your covenant by the vision, faith and depth of burden God has given you.

A new authority is coming to those who desire full conformity to Christ. For a great harvest is indeed prophesied for the end of this age (Isa. 60:1-3; Acts 2), and those leading the way will be individuals who understand Christ's covenant and, in surrender to Christ’s initiative, have themselves covenanted with God for those they love.

Lord Jesus, You are my inspiration and pattern. I desire to be like you in all things, even as Paul said, to be "conformed to [Your] death" (Phil. 3:10). Master, open my eyes to the realities granted me through Your covenant with the Father. And lead me into the power of covenant prayer for my loved ones, church and city. In Jesus' name.



Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Power of Covenant Prayer" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.


Unoffendable, Part 1

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezek. 36:26).

God has a new heart for us that cannot be offended, an "unoffendable" heart. Beloved, possessing an unoffendable heart is not an option or a luxury; it's not a little thing. An offended heart is in danger of becoming a "heart of stone."

Consider: Jesus warns that, as we near the end of the age, a majority of people will be offended to such a degree that they fall away from the faith. Listen carefully to His warning:

"Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another . . . and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:10-12 KJV).

"Many" will "be offended." The result? The love of "many" will grow cold. My prayer is that we will hear His words with holy fear.

When we allow an offense to remain in our hearts, it causes serious spiritual consequences. In the above verse Jesus named three dangerous results: betrayal, hatred and cold love. When we are offended with someone, even someone we care for, we must go to them. If we do not talk to them, we will begin to talk about them. We betray that relationship, whispering maliciously behind their back to others, exposing their weaknesses and sins. We may mask our betrayal by saying we are just looking for advice or counsel, but when we look back, we see we have spoken negatively to far too many people. Our real goal was not to get spiritual help for ourselves but to seek revenge toward the one who offended us. How is such action not a manifestation of hatred? For an offended soul, cold love, betrayal and hatred are a walk into darkness.

People don't stumble over boulders; they stumble over stones, relatively small things. It may be that the personality of someone in authority bothers us, and soon we are offended. Or, a friend or family member fails to meet our expectations, and we take an offense into our soul. Beloved, if we will "endure to the end," we will have to confront the things that bother us.

When Jesus warns that we need endurance, He is saying that it is easier to begin the race than finish it. Between now and the day you die, there will be major times of offense that you will need to overcome. You might be in such a time right now. Do not minimize the danger of harboring an offense!

No one plans on falling away; no one ever says, "Today, I think I'll try to develop a hardened heart of stone." Such things enter our souls through stealth. It is only naiveté that assumes it couldn't happen to us. I know many people who consistently become offended about one thing or another. Instead of dealing with the offenses, praying about them and turning the issue over to God, they carry the offense in their soul until its weight disables their walk with God. You may be doing fine today, but I guarantee you, tomorrow something will happen that will inevitably disappoint or wound you; some injustice will strike you, demanding you retaliate in the flesh. Will you find more love, and hence, continue your growth toward Christlikeness? Or will you allow that offense to consume your spiritual life?

The Root Of Offense
An offense can strike at our virtues or sins, our values or our pride. It can penetrate and wound any dimension of the soul, both good and evil. I once brought a series of messages about gossip. Most people saw their sin and repented, but a core group of gossips were greatly offended and ultimately left the church. When the Holy Spirit exposes sin in someone's soul, if we refuse the opportunity to repent, we often become offended at the person who brought the teaching. Instead of humbling our hearts, we are outraged at the person who exposed us. Truthfully, most of the time, I have no idea who specifically needs to hear what I'm teaching, but God knows.

Paul told Timothy to "reprove, rebuke, exhort" (see 2 Tim. 4:2). He didn't say, "exhort, exhort, exhort," but exhortation is what we receive in most churches. Certainly, we need to be encouraged, but there are also times, beloved, when we need to be reproved and rebuked. Today, there are preachers who are afraid to preach truth for fear people will react and leave the church. The end result is a church of easily offended people who cannot grow beyond their inability to accept correction.

People don't change by exhortation alone. There are areas in all of us that need to be confronted and disciplined. The pastor who refuses to discipline and correct those in sin is in disobedience to God. He is unable to lead people into any truly transforming changes in their lives; they will not "endure to the end" if they cannot be corrected (see Matt. 24).

We need to become a people who say, "Lord, show me what needs to change in me." I'm talking about growing up. A wise man will receive a rebuke and he will prosper. But a fool rejects his father's discipline (see Prov. 15:5).

Personal Offense
It is often our pride that suffers offense most easily. Pride leads us to expect more than we deserve. Pride is a form of self-worship. God must destroy our pride, and to do so, He will allow offenses to expose what we lack in humility. It is not wrong to expect encouragement for our good works, but we cannot be offended when it doesn't happen in the timing we are expecting.

Years ago when I was a young pastor, I attended a conference where the main leader decided to personally greet each minister and spouse. He greeted the couple on our right and then turned to his staff to ask a question. A moment later he returned, but passed us by and went to the couple on our left. Everyone around us saw we were bypassed. We were embarrassed and offended. But my wife wisely observed that we could allow this thing to hurt us or we could see it as an investment in sensitivity toward other people's feelings. The offense taught us how others feel when they are ignored. Do you see this? You must make that offense become an opportunity to become more Christlike.

The occasions for taking offense are practically endless. Indeed, we are daily given the opportunity to either be offended by something or to possess an unoffendable heart. The Lord's promise is that He's given us a new heart - a soft, entreatable heart that can be filled with His Spirit and abound with His love.

Lord, forgive me for being so easily offended and for carrying offenses. Father, my heart is foolish and weak. Grant me the unoffendable heart of Jesus Christ. Amen.



Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "A House United" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

The Summing Up of All Things in Christ

By Francis Frangipane

"He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to his kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth" (Eph. 1:9-10).


God and Time Are on My Side
Paul tells us that the price Jesus paid has not only brought the church into salvation, but Christ's atonement will also redeem all of creation as well. The apostle explains that a unique season would occur at the end of the age. During the last years of this dispensation the Lord would actually begin to gather "all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth."

"You Give Them Something to Eat"

By Francis Frangipane

"Consequently, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision." ---Acts 26:19

What I have come to believe concerning the Lord's glory and its manifestation in the church is supported by many Scriptures. Yet, it was through a night vision in 1971 that God granted me insight into His plan. In this spiritual encounter, I saw a great metropolis languishing under the weight of a deep and terrible darkness. Chiseled upon the faces of those in this wretched society was the image of hopelessness. The place was desolate of real life and the time for a recovery seemed long past.

Possessing the Redeemer’s Mind

By Francis Frangipane

As Christians, we spend too much time battling basic, elementary battles: "Am I truly saved?" "Am I really forgiven?" The fact is, God has so much more for us. He seeks to conform our thought-life to the actual thought-life of Christ. Indeed, the Holy Spirit comes, not just to give us goose bumps and chills, but to restructure our attitudes and perceptions until we think the thoughts of Jesus.

Consider Paul's remarkable insights. He wrote,

"But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:14-16).

This revelation is stunning: we have the mind of Christ. God wants us to have Christ's very discernment.

Or consider again what Paul wrote to the Galatians. He said, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you" (Gal 4:19).

Critics will call the revelation of Christ in us a heresy, as though all we were to have was the name, but not the nature of Jesus Christ.

You see, God's goal is not only to see us saved and go to Heaven, but for Christ to be functionally formed and living through us on earth. We are not just to have a religion about what Jesus did; we are called to possess the very substance of who Jesus is.

Yes, it means we indeed will go to Heaven; but it is more. Through our knowledge of Christ's word and our yieldedness to the Holy Spirit, the actual person of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, gains living access to the needs of man. As His body, we give Him flesh and blood contact with this world. True, we face conflicts, but these difficulties are staged by God so He can showcase His Son through us. Indeed, we face persecution, but it's only so Christ, in the midst of injustice, will reveal how His life overcomes death.

Again, Paul wrote,

"For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor. 4:11).

Isn't this exactly what you desire, the "life of Jesus . . . manifested in [your] mortal flesh"? Aren't you tired of the cycle of judging people and then, because of pride, being judged by God in return?

What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? Does that mean we walk on the water or do great signs? Miracles are indeed a part of Christ's life, yet there is something greater than miracles to attain: Our hearts can be filled with the redemptive, creative thought-life of God! (See 1 Cor. 2.)

Lord, deliver us of our fleshly motives! Free us from our human instincts and fallen passions. Grant us, Lord, the motives of Jesus. Teach us to think, not as a prosecutor whose quest is to condemn, but as the Savior whose heart is to redeem.

The Virgin Shall Be With Child

By Francis Frangipane

The Bible is a book of reversals. Old things become new, the dead come to life, the lost are found. Even those who were the vilest of sinners are now empowered by grace to become the virgin bride of Jesus Christ.

The Virgin Bride Of Christ
We are called to become a holy bride, the spotless wife of Jesus Christ. But before we become a bride, we must first become a virgin. In the Bible a virgin was not just one who was free from the sins of premarital sex or immoral behavior; a virgin was also one set aside for another. The sense in which the church is to become virginal involves being uncorrupted, pure and undefiled by the world. It implies being untouched by man's ideas, traditions or sinfulness. To reach the goal of spiritual virginity, we must first be perfectly consecrated, wholly set apart for Jesus (2 Cor. 11:2–3).

Like everything in true Christianity, the purity of the church is not that which originates from herself; it is that which is imparted as virtue from Christ. It is true, living virtue, but it is Christ's virtue. Jesus, you will remember, was also a virgin. He had set Himself aside for us.

Indeed, it is with reference to Christ's union with the church, the marriage ceremony of the Son of God and man, that Paul wrote,

For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. ---Ephesians 5:31-32

Christ and His church: the two become one flesh! The apostle said, "This mystery is great." Do not presume you understand this just because you can read. This mystery is great. Jesus left His positional relationship and privileges as God's Son and clothed Himself in human flesh, that He might absorb and then resurrect humanity into His own divine stature: the two become one! Jesus will always be the Son of God, but in love He chose to cleave unto His wife, the church. And while He is forever one Spirit with the Father, He is forever married to the church. Indeed, has this not been the eternal purpose of God: to bring the Spirit of His Son into the church, thereby creating man in both the divine image and the divine likeness (Gen. 1:26)?

Scripture calls Jesus Christ the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). He is the first-born of the new creation as Adam was the first-born of the old creation. The first Adam, however, in cleaving unto Eve, fell with her in sin. But Christ, in cleaving unto His church, has redeemed us and raised us up, seating us with Him in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6).

The marriage of Adam and Eve, where Eve literally emerged and was born out of Adam's substance, is a prophetic type of the church born out of the actual substance of Christ. Paul tells us that our bodies are the physical members of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15; 12:12). We are not simply metaphorically the body of Christ, but spiritually we are "bone of [His] bones, and flesh of [His] flesh" (Gen. 2:23).

This truth is not "New Age" theology; it is not heresy. It is the unalterable Word of God. Christ Himself is in us. To believe otherwise is heresy. The test of Christian orthodoxy, according to Scripture, is in 2 Cor. 13:5:
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?

We must recognize this about ourselves: Jesus Christ is in us. Yes, it is heresy to say we are Christ. Yet it is also error to deny He is within us. Paul expressed this mystery when he wrote,

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.     ---Galatians 2:20

The Preparation of Christ's HumanityChrist Himself is in us. However, for Him to come forth through us, we must become a pure virgin. Revival comes as Christ prepares for Himself a people; as He is raised up within them, He draws all men unto Himself. Their Christlikeness is a door through which Jesus Himself enters the world.

"Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, ‘Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired, but a body thou hast prepared for Me'" (Heb. 10:5). While descriptive of Christ's first coming, this verse is also applicable of His presence during revival.

Secure this thought in your mind: when the Spirit of Christ comes into the physical world, He must enter through a physical body. As was stated, the people or "body" Christ uses, of necessity, must be holy. They will have been prepared, set apart for Him, beforehand. The purpose of that body is not to offer ritual sacrifices typical of the time and customs of the people. Rather, when Christ enters the world through them, He repeats His eternal purpose: "I have come . . . to do Thy will, O God" (Heb. 10:7).

We must not despise this time of preparation. Jesus Himself lived for thirty years before He was revealed and empowered as the Messiah. Although Jesus was always the Son of God, He "kept increasing in wisdom" (Luke 2:52). He could not learn of the kingdom of God in the rabbinical colleges of His day; neither could any man teach Him the mystery of the miraculous. All this had to come directly from the Father Himself. Jesus was always sinless and obedient, but Hebrews 5:8–9 tells us, "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered . . . having been made perfect." The destiny the Father planned for Christ was something Jesus grew into, just as we must.

Hebrews plainly reveals Christ as the pre-existent Creator; He is God from all eternity (Heb. 1:8). Yet, in the unfolding of Christ's earthly life there was a point in time when His Messianic calling was announced from heaven, where it commenced on earth. Until He was baptized by John, Jesus had been in "labor" to bring forth His destiny, "pregnant" with the promise of God within Him.

After the water baptism, while Jesus was praying, the Spirit descended visibly upon Him in power, heaven opened and out thundered the voice of the Father, "Thou art My beloved Son---" (Luke 3:22). And all those promises and dreams, prophecies and visions, the thirty years of learning obedience and becoming acquainted with grief, stood poised in perfect surrender, focused upon this one incredible moment in time "---in Thee I am well-pleased!" (v. 22) Instantly, the power of heaven flowed into the Spirit of Jesus and the ministry of the Messiah was birthed.

The voice of God spoke, not to the crowds, not only for the sake of John the Baptist, but to Jesus. The requirements and days of preparation were fulfilled. The ministry of the Messiah was birthed upon the earth in power.

Mary, A Type of the Church
In another sense, Mary, the mother of Jesus, also was "a body [God] hast prepared" (Heb. 10:5). When Christ first entered our world as a child, it was Mary whom God chose to give Christ birth. Mary's life symbolized the qualities the church must possess to walk in the fullness of Christ. She was humble, considering herself a bondservant of the Lord; she unwaveringly believed the word spoken to her (Luke 1:34–38). And, Mary was a virgin. These traits qualified her to be used by God in carrying, and giving birth to, Christ.

Like Mary, our humble state as the Lord's bondslaves is but a preparation for the coming forth of Christ in our lives. Yes, we have been "chastened" of the Lord. However, the goal of the Lord's chastening is not merely to punish; He seeks to make us chaste: pure and spiritually flawless. Indeed, our purity, our spiritual virginity as the body of Christ, is nothing less than God Himself preparing us, as He did Mary, to "give birth" to the ministry of His Son. Even now, in the spiritual womb of the virgin church, the holy purpose of Christ is growing, awaiting maturity; ready to be born in power in the timing of God!

Embracing the Pains of Birth
We live within a time frame the Bible calls the "period of restoration" (Acts 3:21). Since the Reformation, the truth of Christ has been progressively restored to His church. Since the dark ages of apostasy, every time Christ's presence has been more fully revealed, it is because a "virgin church" has been in labor to bring Him forth. The Holy Spirit impregnates a Martin Luther or a John Wesley, a housewife or a teenager in Bethlehem---a person whom God knows will continually say "yes" to Him---with a vision of the Living God. The vision spreads to others where it is tested with persecutions and refined with fire, but it spreads. Yes, those people are flawed. Truly, not a one of them is perfect. But along the way their vision of God possesses their souls. They become the "woman clothed with the sun," the virgin church who is "in labor and in pain to give birth" (Rev. 12:1–2).

As her hour nears, this virgin church lays aside her many tasks to focus on her one great commission. Through intense prayer and the agonizing of the Holy Spirit, in groanings too deep for words, she embraces her appointed destiny—until the very voice of Christ Himself is heard again through her prayers: "Lo, I have come to do Thy will, O God!" Birthed in His Spirit and in His power, fused together through love and suffering, this holy people becomes, as it were, a "body [God] hast prepared."

Even now, hell trembles and the heavens watch in awe. For I say to you, once again the "virgin is with child."

Before Jesus Himself returns, the last virgin church shall become pregnant with the promise of God. Out of her travail the body of Christ shall come forth, raised to the full stature of its Head, the Lord Jesus. Corporately manifested in holiness, power and love, the bride of Christ shall arise clothed in white garments, bright and clean. During this last and greatest move of God, great darkness shall cover the earth. Even as in the judgment of Egypt, it will be a "darkness that can be felt." Yet, in the midst of darkness, the visible, powerful glory of the Lord Jesus shall rise upon the virgin church. His glory shall be seen upon them. Nations shall be drawn to their light, kings to the brightness of their rising. Radiant shall they appear, for their hearts shall possess the beautiful star of the morning. In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, their light shall exult like the dew! (Eph.4:13; Rev.2:26-27; Ex.10:21; Isa.60:1-3; 2 Pet.1:19; Ps.110:1-3)


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

Beware: It is Easy to Fake Christianity

By Francis Frangipane

Our experience of Christianity must go beyond just being another interpretation of the Bible; it must expand until our faith in Jesus and our love for Him becomes a lightning rod for His presence.


Prove All Things
"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21). Would you buy a car without driving it? Would you purchase a house sight unseen? Of course not! Yet, many of us accept various "plans of salvation" that do not really save us from the distresses of hell. In spite of the fact that Jesus came to give us abundant life, we remain sinful and selfish. A car may look nice, but if it will not drive across town we should not trust it to take us across the country.

Likewise, if our Christianity does not work in this life where we can test it, it is foolhardy to hope it will successfully transport us into eternity where, if we fail the test, we suffer eternal separation from God.

I do not wish to imply, however, that unless we get every doctrine right and every interpretation perfect we will be refused entrance into heaven. Christianity is more a matter of the heart than the head; it is a maturing of love more than knowledge. The test of truth is not an intellectual pursuit but whether you are drawing closer, week by week, to knowing and loving Jesus Christ.

At the same time, we should not be afraid to test what we believe. Paul says, "Test yourselves . . . examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Cor. 13:5).

The power and person of Jesus Christ is in us; to believe in Him is to progressively become like Him. As it is written, "as He is, so also are we in this world" (1 John 4:17). However, if we have been indoctrinated to believe that the kingdom of God, and Christianity itself, does not really have to work, or if the absence of holiness and power fails to trouble us, something is seriously wrong with our concept of truth.

We should seek answers to three very important questions. First: is my faith effective? Do not gloss over that question. Honestly ask yourself if your prayers are being answered and if your life is becoming godly.

Second: if my doctrines do not work, then why not? Perhaps your theology is fine but you are lazy. Perhaps you need to turn off the television set and dedicate that time to seek the Lord instead. Or maybe you are very earnest but you have been taught wrong. Either way, you must seek to find out why things are not working for you.

And third: if I do see the fruit and power of the Holy Spirit revealed in another's life, how did he (or she) receive such grace from God? Do not be afraid to sit as a disciple under the anointing of another's ministry. The Word tells us, "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward" (Matt. 10:41). God gives "rewards" of impartation, knowledge and other spiritual gifts to His servants. Learn from those whose faith is working.

The final test of any set of doctrines is seen in the kind of life they produce. As it is written, "By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked" (1 John 2:5-6). Continual, persistent walking with Christ will produce a life like Christ's. We will walk even as He did walk with holiness and power.

The fact is, however, that if the "god" of some of our Christian religions died, most members of those churches would be either too spiritually dead or too physically busy to notice his absence. All too often, Christians accept teachings "by faith"---not faith in the Living God but faith that their church doctrines are correct. We unconsciously hope that whoever is teaching us has not made a mistake.

Jesus said, "See to it no one misleads you" (Matt. 24:4). Remaining free from deception is a responsibility each of us must assume as individuals. Without becoming suspicious or mistrusting, in humility let us re-examine what we have been taught. The virtue of any teaching is in its ability to either equip you to do God's will or empower you to find God's heart. If either objective is missing, that teaching will be of lesser value.

The Power of a Godly Life
This lesson is not addressed to "bad people" or sinners; it is for all of us "good people" who have thought being nice was of the same essence as knowing the truth. It is not. We can thank our parents that we are nice, but to know the truth, we must seek God and be willing to obey Him.

Five times in Matthew 24, Jesus warned against deception in the last days (vv. 4, 5, 11, 23–24, 26). If we are not at least somewhat troubled by those warnings, it is only because we are guarding our ignorance with arrogance, presuming that our thoughts must be right simply because we think them. There are areas in all of our lives that need to be corrected. And unless we can be corrected, unless we are seeking God for an unfolding revelation of His Son, our so-called "faith" may be, in reality, just a lazy indifference, a deception concerning the things of God. Subconsciously, we may actually want a dead religion so we do not have to change.

Yes, we should accept many things by faith. But faith is not blindly sticking our hand out to be led by another blind man. It is not an excuse to justify impotent doctrines. True faith is freighted with the power of God.

The Power in Holiness
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be . . . having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" (2 Tim. 3:1–5 KJV). Holiness is powerful. Have you ever met a truly holy man or woman? There is a power in their godliness. If, however, one has never known a Christlike soul, it becomes very easy to fake Christianity. Remember this always: being false is natural to the human heart; it is with much effort that we become true. Unless we are reaching for spiritual maturity, our immaturity shapes our perceptions of God. We point to the Almighty and say, "He stopped requiring godliness," when in reality, we have compromised the standards of His kingdom. Know for certain that the moment we stop obeying God, we start faking Christianity.

And as we mature, we begin to realize that the Spirit of Christ is actually within us. The cross emerges off the printed page, it stands upright before us, confronting us with our own Gethsemanes, our own Golgothas—but also our own resurrections through which we ascend spiritually into the true presence of the Lord.

With Paul we say,

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.    ---Galatians 2:20


Do not let yourself be misled! Place upon your theology the demand that it work---your eternal salvation depends upon it! If Christ is within us, we should be living holy, powerful lives. No excuses. If we are not holy or if there is not the power of godliness in our lives, let us not blame God. As it is written, "Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar" (Rom. 3:4). Let us persevere in seeking God until we find Him, until we discover "what [we are] still lacking" (Matt. 19:20). Let us press on until we "lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:12).

How long should we continue to seek Him? If we spent all our lives and all our energies for three minutes of genuine Christlikeness, we would have spent our lives well. We will say like Simeon of old, "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation" (Luke 2:29–30). We do not want to just give mental assent to Christian doctrine; we want to see, have contact with and live in the experienced reality of Christ's actual presence. The moment we settle for anything less, we begin faking Christianity.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

Holiness Precedes Power

By Francis Frangipane

Many Christians look for shortcuts to the power of God. To try shortcuts is to become, at best, frustrated; at worst, a false teacher or prophet. Listen very carefully: there is tremendous power for us in God but not without holiness. Holiness precedes power.

When John Saw Jesus
Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?" But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he permitted Him. After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."   ---Matthew 3:13-17

Let us understand this prophet, John the Baptist. According to the Scriptures, John was filled with the Holy Spirit "while yet in his mother's womb" (Luke 1:15). We are also told his coming was in the spirit and power of Elijah. Historians tell us that John's penetrating, uncompromising ministry led nearly one million people to repentance. Vast multitudes left their cities and towns and went into the wilderness to hear the prophet and be baptized into repentance in preparation for the kingdom of God.

Only Jesus knew the fallen condition of the human heart more perfectly than John. No class of people escaped the Baptist's judgment: soldiers and kings, sinners and religious leaders alike were all brought into the "valley of decision." John's baptism was more than a simple immersion in water. He required a public confession of sins as well as the bringing forth of righteousness (Matt. 3:6, 8).

Jesus testified that John was "more than a prophet." He said, among those born of women, "there has not arisen anyone greater than John" (Matt. 11:9-11). John was a "seer prophet," which meant he had open vision into the spirit realm. He testified that "I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven" (John 1:32). He saw "the wrath to come" (Matt. 3:7). He witnessed "the kingdom of heaven" (v. 2). John had insight into the secrets of men's hearts. His vision penetrated the veneer of the well-respected Pharisees; within their souls he saw a "brood of vipers." Understand this about prophets: they are aware of things that are hidden from other men.

But when Jesus came to be baptized, before the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended, John saw something that was overwhelming even to his standard of righteousness. He gazed Jesus' heart, and he saw no sins, no lies, no lusts. John saw a level of holiness that, without knowing he was gazing at the Messiah, caused him to utter with astonishment, "I have need to be baptized by You" (v. 14).

Jesus, as the "Lamb of God" (John 1:36), was without spot or blemish. This is exactly what the prophet beheld in Jesus: spotless purity of heart. Christ's virtue took John's breath away! The powerful emanation of Christ's inner purity made John immediately aware of his own need. When John saw Jesus, he discovered a level of righteousness that was higher, purer than his own. This great prophet looked into the heart of Jesus, and in the brightness of Christ's holiness he cried, "I have need."

And so it is with us. Each time we see Jesus, each successive revelation of Christ's purity makes our need more apparent. As Christ's holiness unfolds before us, we cannot but echo the same cry of John the Baptist: "I have need to be baptized by You!"

Yet, in the beginning of our walk, we embraced life in our own strength, trusting in our own skills for success and attainment. Yes, we turned to God, but mainly in times of grief or trial. However, as the Lord brings us into maturity, what we once considered strengths are actually discovered to be weaknesses. Our pride and self-confidence keep us from God's help; the clamor of our many ideas and desires drown the whisper of the still small voice of God. Indeed, in God's eyes, the best of human successes are still "wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked" (Rev. 3:17).

In time, we discover that all true strength, all true effectiveness---yes, our very holiness itself---begins with discovering our need. We grow weaker, less confident in our abilities. As the outer shell of self-righteousness crumbles, Jesus Himself becomes God's answer to every man who cries for holiness and power in his walk.

We may think we have spiritual gifts, we may presume we are holy, we may rejoice with human successes, but until we see Christ and abandon our reliance upon our self-righteousness, all we will ever have, at best, is religion.

Oh, let us grasp this truth with both hands; let it never slip from us. Jesus Himself is our source of holiness! We are so eager to do something for Him---anything, as long as we do not have to change inside. God does not need what we can do; He wants what we are. He wants to make us a holy people. Let us not be anxious in this process. Allow Him to do the deep inner work of preparation. Jesus lived thirty years of sinless purity before He did one work of power! His goal was not to do some great work but to please the Father with a holy life.

Hear me; our goal, likewise, is not to become powerful but to become holy with Christ's presence. God promises to empower that which He first makes holy. Do you want your Christianity to work? Then seek Jesus Himself as your source and standard of holiness. Do you want to see the power of God in your life? Then seek to know Christ's purity of heart. If we are becoming the people Jesus calls His own, we should be growing in holiness. A mature Christian will be both holy and powerful, but holiness will precede power.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.