Ephesians 3:1-13, 20-21:
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory… Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
How many of you have ever seen the movie “The Wizard of Oz”? My favorite part of the movie was its ending, when it showed that behind the thunderous voice and special effects of the Wizard of Oz—who ruled his city with a mighty fist—was a small, insecure man hiding behind a curtain who manipulated reality and scared people into submission with the use of cutting-edge gadgets. It is sort of like going backstage and seeing the use of props by stagehands during a Broadway show.
The movie “The Matrix” was a huge hit because it showed the possibility of people living in a fantasy world designed by computers, and how some humans were liberated and saw the world as it really existed.
The present world is like this. Hebrews 11:3 teaches us that the visible world was not made by that which is visible. That is to say, there is a spiritual world that rules over the physical world.
Previously, Paul told this church in Ephesus that those who are disobedient are ruled by the spirits in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 2:1-4 says:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Thus the spiritual, invisible world rules the physical world. (The call of the church to rule with Christ: Romans 5:17; Ephesians 2:4-6.) These passages clearly teach us to rule with Christ, but where does this start? It has to begin by walking in the Spirit in obedience to Christ and with faith in the finished work of Christ in which Jesus spoiled principalities and powers by the cross. (Read Colossians 2:15.) According to Ephesians 3:8-10 the result of this is that the church is called to manifest the wisdom or will of God on the earth in such a way as to lead the archetypes or principalities (the good angels and demonic beings who are the invisible beings, like the Wizard of Oz), who are the ones who influence events on the earth. Technically this passage is teaching us that the angels and spiritual beings in heavenly places learned about the mystery of the Jews and Gentiles becoming one body in Christ through the church. But there is also a principle in Scripture in which the church is called to exercise authority in the heavenlies by prayer and faith in Christ.
Hebrews 1:14 teaches us that angelic beings serve the servants of God on the earth. Matthew 16:19 teaches us that we have been given the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, which means that we have been given authority to use the name of Christ as His representatives to use the laws of the kingdom to accomplish His work on the earth.
Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
This teaches us that through unified corporate prayer we can use the power of heaven to make changes on the earth. First Timothy 2:1-4 teaches that the destiny of nations and wars can be changed with corporate prayer:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Wars and catastrophes come upon the earth when the people of God don’t take their place in prayer and rule in the spirit world. Revelation 16:13-14:
And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.
The Old Testament illustrates the same principles regarding people of faith influencing the earth by shifting the powers in the spirit world. Abraham came close to sparing two whole cities from destruction because he stood before the Lord and interceded. (Read Genesis 18:16-33.) So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
The Prophet Daniel was involved with high-level strategic spiritual warfare dealing with the ruling principalities that determined which nations and empires should rule in the earth. Read Daniel 10:2-21: And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”
When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute. And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength. How can my lord’s servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.”
Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince”.
God told Ezekiel that He was looking for just one man who would stand in the gap before Him so He could spare the land and not bring judgment upon it, but He could find no one. (Read Ezekiel 22:23-31.)
Isaiah 62:6-7 teaches us that God has placed watchmen on the walls who are not supposed to cease praying until Jerusalem (His kingdom rule) becomes the praise of the earth.
On your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
they shall never be silent.
You who put the LORD in remembrance,
take no rest,
and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it a praise in the earth.
Will you watch? Will you stand in your place?
Can God count on you to pray until a heaven-sent awakening comes and restores our nation back to Him?
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