1996: Hydra and Python
During the time we lived in Seattle, Washington, we always wanted to take some time off work and go to Vancouver Island by ferry through the San Juan Islands. We never seemed to find the time, and then, suddenly, on June 30, 1996 the Lord told us to move to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In praying about WHEN to move, the Lord showed us that our mission in Washington would be finished on August 5. This was precisely 980 days (2 x 490) after the Jubilee Prayer Campaign of Nov. 29, 1993. You recall that we had been sent to Washington specifically to conduct that prayer campaign.
Our preparations to move led me to believe that we would be unable to see Vancouver Island before leaving. But God had other plans. A woman living on that island called me July 11, saying that God had led her to give us a one-ounce gold piece and a silver dollar. However, since it was illegal to send it by mail across the border, she asked what she should do. I realized then that this was God’s way of leading us to go there to receive it in person.
We made arrangements to go on Monday, July 15, 1996 and return July 17. We had a nice little vacation touring the beautiful city of Victoria, and then met our contact the evening of July 16 for dinner. She gave me the coins, and we continued to talk and share until midnight. In the course of conversation, she told me that a few nights earlier, she had been awakened in the night by some kind of spiritual attack on her feet. After prayer, the pain subsided. She had discerned that it was an attack by the spirit of Python.
This spirit is mentioned in Acts 16:16, where the King James Version translates it “a spirit of divination.” Other more literal translations render it “python.” The Greek word in that verse reads puthon, the word for “python.”
When this woman told me her story, it brought back memories of a spiritual battle eight years earlier in 1988. That was the first time I had encountered this spirit of Python. So in order that you might understand what happened next, I will go back to 1988 and tell you of my first encounter with the spirit of Python. This will put the 1996 story in context for better understanding.
Jimmy Swaggart vs. Python
On February19, 1988 the scandal broke in the media about the Assembly of God’s leading evangelist, Jimmy Swaggart and how he had been caught with a prostitute. Swaggart had forced a few other ministers out of the pulpit for similar offenses, and one of these men later discovered that Swaggart was guilty of the same thing. After catching him on film, he gave the evidence to the Assembly of God board on Feb. 17, and Swaggart resigned the ministry on the 21st.
The A.G. board ultimately decided that they had to apply their church law to Swaggart in the same manner as they had done with all the others in the past. That is, they ruled on March 29 that Swaggart would have to stay out of the pulpit for an entire year. After all, Swaggart had supported this law when it had been applied to others.
The problem is that Swaggart’s local congregation voted to discipline him with just a three-month suspension. Swaggart chose to abide by the local church’s ruling and resigned from the A.G. denomination March 30. Thus, in compliance with the local church decision, He was able to return to the pulpit on May 22. It was reported that he justified his refusal to abide by the A.G. decision primarily on the grounds that a year without him would cause the ministry to fall apart.
I kept track of these events in my record books, but soon I forgot the date Jimmy Swaggart was scheduled to return to the pulpit. Meanwhile, I was asked to speak in a nearby town (in Arkansas) Sunday, May 22. That evening, as I drove home, I passed through a small town where a friend of mine named Jimmy Melton was pastoring a church. As I drove through town, the Lord said to me, “Stop and pray with Jimmy.”
I stopped at his home, and as we talked, Jimmy asked me if Hydra and Python meant anything to me. I replied that these were two demonic princes who manifested as serpents about 100 feet long. Jimmy then said, “I think we need to pray.”
“Yes, that is why I am here; the Lord told me to pray with you,” I replied.
We went into the prayer room of the church and began to discuss how to pray. The Lord gave us specific instructions, which are not appropriate to reveal here, since they deal with Swaggart’s personal problems. I will say, though, that we discerned that it would take two people, not just one, to deal with these spirits, and this was why God had me stop and pray with Jimmy Melton.
The bottom line is that we had no trouble overcoming the spirit of Hydra, but when we came next against Python, he had somehow disappeared. This surprised us and confused us just a bit, because we were not expecting this turn of events.
So as we sat back to discuss the situation, Jimmy Melton mentioned that Jimmy Swaggart had gone back into the pulpit that same day. Suddenly, I realized that we had been in spiritual warfare on behalf of Jimmy Swaggart!
By the time we finished discussing the situation, it was 1:30 a.m., and I ended up spending the night at his house. The next morning we were led to write a joint letter to Swaggart and let him know of our discernment and counsel. Then we went out for breakfast.
After breakfast, Jimmy bought a newspaper, and we saw on the front page the heading: “Swaggart clears self of past sins.” It was a front-page story regarding Swaggart’s first day back in the pulpit since his resignation. The article read in part:
“Saying his past is behind him, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart pranced and prayed for more than an hour Sunday at his first service since he stepped down from the pulpit three months ago, amid a sex scandal. ‘I’m here to serve notice on the whole world right here. What’s past is past,’ he shouted, bringing applauding worshipers to their feet. . .
“His refusal to honor a one-year preaching ban prescribed by church elders is what led to his dismissal from the Springfield-based denomination . . .
“Swaggart began his sermon by recalling two dreams he had a year ago in which he fought two serpents—both about 100 feet long. He defeated the first, but asked for God’s help to defeat the second. Without elaborating, Swaggart said, ‘I did not know what it (the dream) meant, but today I know what it meant.’. . .” (from The News-Leader, Springfield, Missouri, May 23, 1988).
In other words, Jimmy Swaggart understood that his problem was spiritual, and that God had warned him of this in two dreams a year earlier (1987). He assumed that he was able to deal with the first spirit (Python) by himself. To deal with the second (Hydra), he “asked for God's help.” In effect, he asked that God would send someone on earth to help him pray and overcome just the second spirit.
He did not know that both of these spirits would require help. And so, he asked for help only with one of them. That was, I believe, why God sent Jimmy and I into spiritual battle the night of May 22, 1988. It was to answer Swaggart’s cry for help against the spirit of Hydra.
Unfortunately, Swaggart incorrectly assumed that he had been able to overcome the other spirit, Python. For this reason, he did not ask for God’s help to overcome it. That was his fatal error, because Jimmy and I were more than willing to do battle with it, but we lacked the authorization to do so. That is why Python disappeared, leaving us somewhat confused and wondering why.
Hydra was one of seven “princes” over South America in Satan's hierarchy. Swaggart's strong South American presence and ministry in South America apparently made him open to attack and oppression by this prince. Hydra was behind Swaggart's attitude shift in 1986, where he began to manifest a strong judgmental attitude toward other evangelists and denominations, castigating them by name with a spirit of self-righteousness and pride seldom seen on television.
Eight years later all of these memories came back to me the night of July 16, 1996 when the woman in Victoria told me of the attack upon her feet by the spirit of Python. I knew then that God had ordained that it was time for us to go back into battle to deal with this spirit once and for all.
When we discerned what was happening, we went into prayer and presented the court case against Python, the serpent, or the red dragon, who had attacked the woman unlawfully and without cause. We prayed also to crush its head, even as it had bruised the heel.
Python Attacks the Feet
Python’s attack upon the woman's feet in Victoria gave us legal cause against that spirit. In fact, it became apparent that God had prearranged our visit two days before the attack, in order that we would enter this battle at this appointed time. We immediately identified Python as the red dragon of Revelation 12 who was said to persecute the woman. Since we were all playing roles as types and shadows, God arranged it from the beginning that Python would attack a woman.
In that the attack came upon her feet, it also fulfilled the pattern laid down in Genesis 3:15, where God told the serpent,
15 He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.
In Rom. 16:20 Paul applied this verse beyond Jesus Christ alone. He applied it us, saying,
20 And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
This signifies that those who come against the serpent, or red dragon, in spiritual warfare should expect to be attacked in their feet in some way. The only way to crush the head of the serpent is to step on its head. We found it quite interesting that this woman was attacked in her feet, and for the next few weeks it seemed that many people around us either broke their ankles or had sore heels and feet. We believe this signified an attack on the “foot company” at the end of this present age. So in attacking her feet, it really signified an attack upon us all at the end of this age, at the time the body of Christ was to engage in spiritual warfare against the red dragon, or Python.
This attack came in July 1996 just before we were to declare the Jubilee that would be the legal foundation for the birthing of the Manchild. For this reason we saw the timing as highly significant. Furthermore, the constellations in the heavens were due to align perfectly each September from 1996-1999 that would portray the scene in Revelation 12.
Signs in the Heavens
In September of 1996 an unusual astronomical event occurred for the first time in history. The moon passed through the womb of Virgo, the Virgin, and moved down to her feet, while the sun was positioned behind her. The moon was like a child being born and laid at her feet.
The constellation, Virgo, is portrayed in the heavens as the virgin who would bring forth the Manchild. She is portrayed having a crown of twelve stars over her head, which is the constellation referred to as Bernice’s Hair, or Coma Bernice.
In other words the heavens actually portrayed what is written in Revelation 12:1-5,
1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth . . . 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.
In September 1996 the sun was behind Virgo, and the moon passed through her, traveling from the womb area to her feet. They say that this was the first time in known history that this has happened. The moon did the same thing in September of 1997 and 1998, each time coming into a more perfect position. The most perfect positioning of the moon traveling from womb to feet occurred in September of 1999.
Greg Killian described this sign in 1996:
“Draco is poised above the woman, waiting to snatch the manchild. The moon is poised in the 'birth canal' of the virgin who is lying down with her feet in the air . . . The constellation of Coma Bernice is the crown of twelve stars above the virgin's head.”
Again, he wrote:
“Those who celebrate Rosh Chodesh (the new moon) have learned that Messiah is represented by Lavanah (“moon). The celebration of Rosh Chodesh, the new moon, includes the announcement of the new moon with the words: 'David, King of Israel, lives and endures!' Lavanah, the moon, represents Messiah in this unique astronomical event. This particular positioning of the mazzaroth (constellation) Bethulah, the virgin, about to give 'birth' to the moon (the Messiah) has never occurred before, and will never again, due to the precession of the equinoxes.”
Revelation 12:6 and 14 tell us that the duration of the red dragon battle is 1,260 days, or “a time, and times, and half a time.” A time in Bible prophecy is 360 units of measure. In long-term prophecy it is 360 years; in short-term prophecy it is 360 days or a year in general. So it is generally understood that a time, times, and a half a time signify three and a half times, or 1,260 years (or 1,260 days). Generally speaking, in long-term prophecy the cycle is precisely 1,260 years, but in short-term prophecy it is often three and a half years, rather than a specific count of 1,260 days.
There was some excitement in various Christian circles, of course, and many thought the “rapture” was about to happen. When it did not happen, they went on as if nothing had happened. It is unfortunate that so many Christians think that every sign can point only to “the rapture,” as if God does nothing else, or as if nothing else is important in the progression of the Kingdom. So when “the rapture” does not happen, they move on to the next sign in hopes that it will bring “the rapture,” forgetting all previous signs.
As I said, this sign occurred four years in a row, and the greatest precision of all came in the fourth year—September of 1999. This was Jesus' 2000th birthday, which we celebrated on September 11, 1999 (Rosh Hoshana). But the first occurrence was in 1996, the month we declared the Jubilee.
This was a major astronomical sign of the birth of the Manchild which, in some way, was being birthed in our day. It began with the Jubilee declaration and ended in 1999 with Jesus' 2000th birthday, after “two days” prophesied in Hosea 6:2,
2 He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him.
In the war against the red dragon, we were dealing with short-term fulfillment of the prophecy at the end of the Pentecostal Age.
Counting 3½ years from July 16, 1996, we come to January 16, 2000. During this time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed at an unprecedented rate, doubling in value during this time. So it appears that the red dragon manifested in some ways in the economic realm.
The DJIA peaked on January 14, 2000, as the stock market hit a high point of 11,722.98. Two days later, on January 16, we reached the end of 3½ years. Over the next year it gradually began to decline, going up and down, but did not regain that high point for many years. As we will show later, the red dragon was finally taken captive on March 24, 2001 at 2:47 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. That was the day the DJIA officially hit “bear” territory, declining twenty percent from its high.
In fact, on that day the Dow dropped 381 points, and hit its low point precisely at 2:47 p.m. before skyrocketing up 281 points in the last hour of trading. (In those days such gyrations were huge.) Months later, after studying the data, the government economists said that the economic recession officially hit America in March 2001.