Lessons from the Past, Part 1
Apr 21, 2014
In the first chapter of The Wars of the Lord, I told how our Heavenly Father called me out of my own church and conscripted me to do spiritual warfare against the “Broken Cross System.” This occurred in late 1981, and I have been involved in many individual battles in that long time of warfare.
The war began through the revelation of Chuck Youngbrandt, better known by his spiritual name, Chuck-JOHNEL, the founder of the Net of Prayer. I was caught up in this warfare first as an answer to their prayer, which was to “free our brethren from the Broken Cross System.” I was then set free from my own broken cross church and prevented from becoming entrenched in a system that I little understood in those days.
This event was the defining moment in my life, for it forever altered the course of my ministry and walk with God. The actual earthly events surrounding this change would take too long to explain, and in the end are not worth reporting after so many years have passed. My detractors accused me of many things. Some things were lies, which came from their own carnal minds, while other accusations were true (or partially true) which only indict my own carnal mind, which, at the time, I thought was the real me.
I have learned over the years, through the Apostle Paul’s example, that one must repent and move on. Repentance is a change of mind and heart, which corrects our course and brings us into greater alignment with the mind of Christ. Those we leave behind, those who do not repent, remain in their carnally-minded state and serve as adversaries and prosecutors to drive us to a more Christ-like path.
God has use for everyone.
The original prayer campaign from Nov. 12, 1981 to Jan. 27, 1982 was the first 76-day cycle of that prophetic year, although we were unaware of it at the time. For me personally, it started a 12-year training period for me that did not end until Nov. 12, 1993. But at the time, I was unaware of this, for I did not learn to hear His voice until the following June (1982). Then one of the Father’s first revelations to me was that I was to walk the path of Joseph, who had been trained in Egypt for 12 years.
And so I grew in revelation and in the knowledge of the word throughout that time. Chuck-JOHNEL was my main “tutor” in those days, although God retained overall responsibility for my training. The outstanding feature of God’s training was to show me the applications of the divine law in spiritual warfare and intercession. By extension, this showed me what Paul meant when he said that “the law is spiritual” (Romans 7:14).
In my earlier days I had studied the law from the perspective of establishing Christian government on earth, but had little or no knowledge of the prophetic application of the law. I certainly did not know that the laws of war applied also to the laws of spiritual warfare—until the Father revealed this to me one day.
I failed a number of times during my training period. A notable failure occurred in 1986 when I received revelation from many witnesses that I was to leave the Net of Prayer. I disobeyed God and remained out of loyalty to its founder, not fully understanding that I was being disloyal to God. I wrote of this sad chapter in my life in The Wars of the Lord, chapter 5. God brought me into judgment for three periods of Cursed Time (3 x 414 days) for being in a calling that was not mine (in this case, no longer mine).
Of course, in those days I was unaware of those time cycles. It was only later that I discovered how God had used Cursed Time to turn me around and bring me to the place of repentance. When I resigned from the Net of Prayer on October 16, 1989, it brought me back into compliance with the will of God. Hence, a few months later, on January 27, 1990, my judgment ended, and on that same day God moved us out of the house of bondage (Memphis) to Leachville, Arkansas.
We moved precisely 3 x 414 days from the start of judgment. Of course, when one comes out of Cursed Time, God always seems to bring us into a cleansing time represented by the number 76. The main reason is that going from Cursed Time (414) to Blessed Time (490) requires the addition of 76 days. (414 + 76 = 490)
So at the end of my Cursed Time judgment, God moved us to a house in Leachville, AR whose address was Rt. 2, Box 76. As long as we lived there, we remained in a cleansing mode. We remained there nearly four years, finally moving to Seattle, Washington on November 6, 1993. My 12-year training period ended a week later on Nov. 12, 1993, and we then launched the Jubilee Prayer Campaign.
God would not allow me to lead people into spiritual warfare until my training period was complete. The people who joined me in spiritual warfare were given leeway to learn, grow, and even to make mistakes without far-reaching consequences. But when a leader disobeys Christ in the course of battle, it affects everyone. So I came to see the wisdom of God in training me for twelve years, for I can honestly say that all of my (major) disobedience occurred during my training period. God Himself judged me in order to correct me, bring me to repentance, and prevent such foolishness thereafter.
I can attest also to the mercy of God, which overcomes the accusations of men. Men who are of a carnal mindset never really forgive, for the carnal mind seems incapable of true forgiveness. Carnal minds may appear to forgive, but it lasts only until the next mistake, at which time they bring up the same old accusations from the past. By contrast, God buries the past in the deepest sea and puts them away as far as the east is from the west.
This is, in fact, a basic underlying principle of biblical law that when a sinner has repented and has paid what restitution is due to the victims, forgiveness is mandatory. This is the spirit of the law, but the carnally minded will hold men’s sins against them forever and pull them out of their bag when it seems useful to them.
Part of my training, I discovered, was to rise above the accusers. First, I was not to accuse in return, even though this perpetuated their sense of self-righteousness. Second, I was not to defend myself in a carnal manner, even though this seemed to confirm their accusations, including the lies, half-truths, and distortions.
Third, and most important, I learned that I was to identify with the New Creation Man within me, who has always been beyond reproach. When we cannot shake off the depression and self-debasement brought about by the accusers, it is because we are still identifying with the old man, the first Adam. If you claim identity from Adam—or any carnal man after him, such as Israel—then the “real you” is the man of the flesh by your own admission. When you function under that identity, your very honesty in seeing the true nature of your flesh will drag you down to the pit of despair. I can attest to this personally, for I have been in that pit more than once. Those who do not know the true condition of their own carnal mind will become self-righteous Pharisees.
Happily, I did find the answer in the writings of Paul, particularly in Romans 7. Paul had two “I’s” within himself, each struggling for mastery over the other. His Adamic man was “of flesh, sold into bondage to sin” (Romans 7:14). On the other hand, the New Creation Man within Paul disagreed with the Adamic man, for it was always in obedience and compliance with the law of God (Romans 7:22).
He concludes in Romans 7:25, “So then on the one hand I myself [Paul’s REAL self] with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh [the old man of Adam’s identity] the law of sin.”
I came to see this great truth as early as 1989, which was still during my training period. I spoke at a conference that year, and my main teaching was entitled, “The New Identity Movement.” I made the point that if we identify with the Adamic man, having confidence that Adam or Israel establishes our credit with God, then we have the wrong father and are not true sons of God. Instead, we are only children of the flesh.
On the other hand, if we renounce the old man of sin, seeing him for who he is, and if we cease placing our confidence in our genealogy from Adam and Israel to give us standing before God, we may then take on the identity of the New Creation Man, as Paul did. This is why Paul said in Philippians 3:3-7,
3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, 4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
To understand Paul’s statement in this passage, one must connect it to Romans 7. He was renouncing any “confidence in the flesh” insofar as his standing with God was concerned. He was giving notice that the real Paul was not what he received from his parents through natural conception, nor did the real Paul trace his genealogy back to Benjamin, Israel, or to Adam himself. He was a New Creature, begotten by the Spirit, having a new Father that was NOT just another carnal man of sin. The new man within him was “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). This was his new Identity, apart from which He could not be a true son of God.
In 1989 I gave that teaching to people who referred to themselves as “The Israel Identity Movement.” Because they could trace their ancestry to lost tribes of Israel—and by extension back to Adam—they had more confidence in the flesh than they should have had. So I gave them a teaching called “The New Identity Movement” and urged them to find a new identity in Christ.
That was 25 years ago. I have a much deeper comprehension of this today, but the roots of my understanding came through God’s training.
Of course, our family heritage, race, nation, and even carnal organizations to which we might have membership all have their place in the divine plan. The men who founded nations had strengths and weaknesses which have been passed down to their descendants. The Moabites and Ammonites were founded by the sons of Lot through incest, and that same spirit pervaded their descendants thereafter, unless they were able to renounce their national citizenship and become a citizen of Israel. In the cleansing ceremony, if done properly (by faith), those people could shed the spiritual curses from their forefathers and come into newness of life with a new identity citizenship card.
Unfortunately, even the Israel nation had its own problems. Neither Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob were perfect, as Scripture shows. In their flesh, which they received through their genealogy back to the original man of sin, they too had to learn to become new creatures in Christ. Even so, their flesh was passed down to succeeding generations. Though they were called Israelites, they were really just Jacobites unless they submitted to the training of God, as Jacob himself had done. Only by a transformational experience of divine revelation could they, like Jacob, become Israelites—true Israelites by God’s definition.
The baptismal cleansing ceremonies, which were applied to foreigners who desired to follow the God of Israel, were not well understood at the time, but greater light has been shed upon this under the New Covenant. Paul and John received the greatest revelation about this New Creation Man and how to shed the curse of Adam that was passed down to us by natural childbirth.
Even so, it is plain that both flesh and spirit have a divine purpose in the earth. Most prophecy is directed at the carnal nations, calling them “beasts.” To understand who these various nations are, one must understand who is who among those nations. Yet the ultimate truth is that the people of all nations can receive a new identity in Christ. It is done by a legal procedure in the divine court, and “the law is spiritual.”
This legal procedure is available equally to all men. The nation of Israel had an advantage in that they had been the first to receive the divine revelation of the path toward Sonship. They were the custodians of the oracles of God and were thus in a position to bless all families of the earth with that revelation. But in the end, the nation as a whole failed in their mission and were cast out. Paul says that the remnant fulfilled the calling that the nation itself failed to fulfill (Romans 11:7).
Who were these people? They were the ones who, like Jacob, found the path to becoming true Israelites. Jesus’ disciples were part of that group. When they preached the gospel to other nations, the way began to open up for many people of other ethnicities to follow in their footsteps. In this way the disciples fulfilled the calling of Abraham in becoming a blessing to all families of the earth. The path to Sonship was always available to other people, but because the nation of Israel was so carnally minded, they failed to be a true witness of the character of God, and so they also failed to bless all nations.
That same problem has persisted to this day in many different contexts. Speaking of the flesh, there are carnally minded Jews and carnally minded Israelites and carnally minded Christians. None of them can fulfill the Abrahamic calling apart from renouncing the old carnal self and identifying with the New Creation Man that has been begotten in us by the Holy Spirit. This is what I learned by the end of my own 12-year training period.
This is the first part of a series titled "Lessons from the Past." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones