Outcry Against Sodom

Sodom

The Sodom Series, #2

The Bible reports that the Lord heard a great outcry against the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. What was this outcry about?

The notorious people of Sodom

Genesis 13:13 states, “Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.”

Let’s look closer at the meaning of these three words.

People is enôsh in Hebrew, meaning “mortals,” and is not the word typically used for a male person (’adam) (Strong’s H582). “The basic meaning of enôsh is ‘man’ in the sense of ‘mankind’(Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 582).

The word wicked is ra’a, meaning “bad,” describing experiences which entail physical or emotional pain (TWOT, 2191c). The people’s wickedness caused great anguish.

Sinners is chatta’, meaning “a criminal, one accounted guilty” (Strong’s, H2400).

ALL the people of Sodom—not just the men—were criminally sinful.

In the days of Abraham, a report about these cruel citizens of Sodom had reached heaven. The news was alarming enough that God needed to investigate the situation personally. He confided His plan to Abraham.

The outcry

20 Then the Lord said [to Abraham], “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin!
21 I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.”
–Genesis 18:20–21 NRSV

Outcry means an uproar, a shriek, a crying out in despair, a vehement public protest, “a cry for help in the face of distress” (TWOT, 570).

Many had been crying out to God in despair and protest about how they were treated in these cities. This implies that the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah were doing some extremely rotten things to others, and God heard the complaints.

The outcry was not that of an individual, but of many people over time. Apparently, governing authorities in Sodom refused the wronged an audience; perhaps they were party to the oppression. “‘Though I cry, “Violence!” I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice’” (Job 19:7 NIV).

Considering that Israel—God’s own people—cried out to Him in the misery of Egyptian bondage for over 400 years (Ex. 2:23–25), the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was serious and significant. Their sin was “very grave”: hard, grievous, heavy (TWOT, 943).

They had committed great crimes, so God sends angelic representatives to investigate and make a determination about them.

Two of the angelic visitors depart toward Sodom to experience firsthand if the reports are true, but the one called “the Lord” remains with Abraham, who poses a question.

Abraham intercedes

23 Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it?”
–Genesis 18:23–24 NRSV

To destroy or sweep away is sapâ, meaning, “to scrape, shave, remove, or ruin” (Strong’s, H5595), and is “usually used in a hostile sense, particularly in contexts of judgment” (TWOT, 1531).

Without waiting, Abraham provides his own answer:

25 “Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous 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?”
26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.”
–Genesis 18:25–26 NRSV

The Lord confirms that He will not destroy the city if He finds fifty righteous people there, reassuring Abraham that He is both merciful and just (Gen. 18:23).

Abraham continues to bargain, and the Lord finally promises him, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it” (v. 31).

Reason for the outcry

What were the wicked people of Sodom doing that caused so much pain, resulting in such a grievous outcry against them?

The first post in this series discussed the importance of righteousness and hospitality toward strangers. The lavish welcome Abraham bestowed on his visitors is help up as a paragon of righteous hospitality to strangers.

The outcry against all the people of Sodom pertains to how they were treating strangers—outsiders. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (NRSV).

The citizens of Sodom failed the test. We’ll learn why next time, when the angels arrive at the city.

More information:

In future posts, we’ll find out what happened and what became of this inhospitable society. To read the full story, get my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.
The Sin of Sodom cover

Be Righteous, Do Justice, Show Hospitality

Abraham

The Sodom Series, #1

Abraham is the father of three faiths: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity (see Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:7-9). The root of Abraham’s faith is belief in one God—a God who speaks.

The expression of this faith is hearing, believing, and doing God’s word, personally revealed.

22 You see that [Abraham’s] faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
–James 2:22-24 NIV

To be God’s friend, we must believe what God speaks to us. And then follow this faith with actions that befit the revelation. This is righteousness.

The Bible provides an example of this in Abraham’s reception of the three divine messengers in Genesis 18.

Entertaining angels

The Lord arrives at Abraham’s tent with two angels in the heat of the day. Abraham runs to them, bows low, and prepares a feast in a lavish show of hospitality (18:1-8).

The elaborate and generous hospitality of the Near and Middle East is known the world over, according to the Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler: “For the guest, nothing is too good and nothing too bothersome or difficult.” John Calvin wrote, this is “the hospitality of the holy man.”

Being hospitable to strangers is one way to demonstrate righteousness.

Hebrews 13:2 admonishes us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (NRSV). It specifically says strangers—not family or relatives or friends or other believers.

Promoting righteousness and justice ensures blessings

Abraham did in fact entertain divine messengers.

Because of Abraham’s righteous ministry of hospitality, one of the visitors promises Abraham that his barren wife Sarah—now far past menopause at age 90—will bear him a son, the start of a nation of descendants. This one, called the Lord, takes Abraham into His confidence as a friend.

17 The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
18 seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
19 No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
–Genesis 18:16-19 ESV

To ensure we may receive what God promises, we must promote righteousness and justice.

The blessings of God—prosperity, growth, and expansion—are for those who promote righteousness and justice for everyone else, especially strangers*.

* For further study about strangers, see 1 Chronicles 29:15; Job 29:16, 31:32; Matthew 25:35.

Hospitality, righteousness, justice defined

Let’s define these words.

Hospitality: Webster defines hospitality as “Reception and entertainment of strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality.” We see this in Abraham’s treatment of his divine visitors.

Righteousness: Being in right relationship to God by faith. (See Rom. 3:22; 4:5,9,11,13,22; 9:30; 10:6.) It means believing what God communicates to you and acting on it. Abraham believed what God told him and obeyed, and God counted this as righteousness: see Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:9; Gal. 3:6; Jas. 2:21–22.

Justice: Easton’s Bible Dictionary briefly defines justice as “rendering to every one that which is his due.” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia explains it like this: “Justice has primarily to do with conduct in relation to others, especially with regard to the rights of others. In a larger sense justice is not only giving to others their rights, but involves the active duty of establishing their rights.”

If you want to be righteous, make it your duty to establish rights for those who don’t have them.

Righteousness and justice are closely related* and are summed up in what Jesus calls the two greatest commandments: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:37–39 NIV).

*For further study about righteousness and justice, see 1 Kings 10:9; 2 Chronicles 9:8; Job 29:14; 37:23; Psalm 33:5; 72:2; 97:2; 106:3; Proverbs 2:9; 8:20; 21:3; Isaiah 1:27; 5:16; 9:7; 28:17; 32:1,16; 33:5; Jeremiah 9:24; 22:3,15; 23:5; 33:15; Hosea 2:19; Amos 5:24; Wisdom 5:18; 8:7.

Abraham’s lesson to us

What have we learned from Abraham in this encounter?

  • The importance of hospitality to strangers
  • The requirement of being righteous and doing justice to ensure the blessing of a family, nation, city, or any group of people

Who are the strangers in your midst? Look around; they could be the people you never really see.

Strangers could include your enemies. Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? … But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Luke 6:32a; Matt. 5:44-45 NIV).

Pick somebody you consider to be a stranger—outside your circle of friends and family—someone unlike you in social status, intelligence, faith, sexual orientation, political beliefs.

Then show them some love through a friendly smile, a word of encouragement, an expression of acceptance and understanding. For, in showing them righteous hospitality, you are being a friend to God.

Jesus said, “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me'” (Matt. 25:40 NIV).

More information:

This post was adapted from a portion of my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.
The Sin of Sodom cover

Follow the Spirit

Follow the Spirit

I received this prophetic word on May 14, 2018. May it encourage you to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

My child, I have called you to follow me. I’ve called you not to follow the doctrines of men or the religion of humankind. I’ve not called you to follow the Church, but I’ve called you to follow the leading of my Spirit. For I will lead you and guide you into all truth.

I will make my face to shine upon you and I will show you my way. I will light the way before your feet, for my word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. I will speak my word to you; I will direct you and guide you in the way that you should go.

I will guide you with my eye upon you. I see the way before you, and I will open your eyes to that which I would show you. I will enlighten your eyes.

I will illumine my word within you, and I will grant unto you my revelation. For this revelation comes by my Spirit, and by my Spirit I will open your eyes and I will open your mind and I will open your understanding to that which I desire you to comprehend.

For I have more that I would share with you. I desire to open the heavenlies unto you, that you might see, that you might partake, that you might enter in to all that I have set aside for you. For this is my glory: that you be glorified in me and that you share my glory by contemplating me.

Seek wisdom, and I shall surely grant it, for I am Wisdom to you. I am Peace, I am Life, I am Strength. Follow me. Look not to another, but lean wholly on me. Run after me. I will lead you into all truth and I will make you like my Son.

When You Don’t Fit in at Church

Outcast

Ever feel like you don’t fit in at church? I did.

I was raised in conservative evangelicalism. My father was a pastor, and I spent a lot of time at church.

As an adolescent, I struggled with my faith because I expected it to “deliver” me from same-sex attraction, something that some religions consider to be aberrant and sinful—especially conservative Christianity.

I strayed from God during my college years but returned with a vengeance, committing my life to the Lord and Christian morality and service. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. I was determined to conquer same-sex attraction with God’s grace.

I married a woman and started a Christian ministry and a publishing company. I continued to do everything in my power to allow God to work in me to “cure” me of same-sex attraction. I tried for nearly twenty years.

Prayer didn’t work. Fasting didn’t work. Deliverance didn’t work. A stint in reparative therapy left me hopeless and suicidal. I was still gay.

With the help of my wife, I realized I could no longer deny who I was just because the spiritual community I was part of held narrowly prescribed notions of what was acceptable, moral, and holy.

God hadn’t cured me because I wasn’t sick. Instead, I needed to come out of the closet.

Man in closet

As a result, we disbanded the ministry, divorced amicably, sold our house, and started over again. It was hard but ultimately freeing for both of us. (We’re still good friends.)

After I came out, I thought I had failed God and that God had abandoned me. But I experienced a sovereign visitation of the Holy Spirit, unexpected and powerful, and I received a new calling to leave the ninety-nine and find the one.

This led to another crisis: I needed to come out of the closet about my newfound spirituality.

You see, even while I was in the evangelical/charismatic Christian community, some of my spiritual gifts did not fit with their ideas of orthodoxy. For example, I saw visions of each of my grandparents after they had died. In my religious circle at the time, this was considered to be “of the devil.”

I heard God speaking to me in my heart and wrote down the messages but kept quiet about it. (“You hear voices?! Hmmm…”) I saw visions.

I had prophetic gifts. But I was gay and out.

I concluded that conservative Christianity as I had experienced it would not draw those seeking unconditional acceptance, especially LGBT people. I didn’t feel safe in those churches anymore. I knew I didn’t belong.

So, where could I turn to find genuine fellowship and be released to use my gifts? I had no idea where I would fit in.

I tried a number of churches but felt I was always denying myself or my unique gifts to belong to a particular group.

Either I needed to hide that I was Pentecostal and prophetic to fit in a church that accepted me as gay, or I had to pretend I was straight so that I could enjoy Pentecostal worship and an environment where the gifts of the Spirit operated.

I also wanted to teach and speak inspirationally but didn’t feel called to go to seminary (although I have a masters in biblical studies). I longed to use my spiritual gifts to minister to others instead of simply sitting and listening to endless sermons or participating in scripted religious activities.

Who would understand that I experienced dreams and visions, and heard the voice of the Holy Spirit, whose words I faithfully transcribed? Naturally, I also wanted to be open about and be accepted as a gay man.

I haven’t found the perfect church for me—yet.

I feel the Lord has called me to reach out to the marginalized, those who’ve been rejected by the Church or who simply feel like they don’t belong in an orthodox spiritual community. Let me ask you:

  • The Creator loves you and has a unique purpose for your life. Have you found it?
  • Are you disenchanted with organized religion but still want to cultivate a connection with God through Jesus Christ?
  • Are you hungry for more of the Holy Spirit and desire to be trained in spiritual ministry to others?

If what I’m saying resonates with you, and you want to connect, feel free to comment here or contact me.

In the meantime, you can connect with others like you through social media. Search for people using the hashtags #exvangelical and #FaithfullyLGBT on Facebook or Twitter. There are also organizations such as The Reformation Project and the Q Christian Fellowship where you can connect with others of faith who are LGBT.

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherewith he hath made us freely accepted in his beloved” (Eph. 1:6 GNV).

Misfit toys

More information:
Check out my booklet, Response to a Concerned Heterosexual Christian, available on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle.

John Is Out, Christ Is In

John the Baptist

What are the signs of Christ’s ministry? From a prison cell, John the Baptizer asked the same question. Here’s what Jesus told him—and what I believe will happen someday.

John lands in prison

John did his ministry in the Galilean wilderness. He called people to repentance—a change of heart by turning away from dead religion and worldliness that was confirmed by public water baptism (Matt. 3:1-3).

But John paid the price when he denounced Herod Antipas. Antipas had divorced his wife Phasaelis and married a woman named Herodias, who was previously married to his brother Herod Philip I (Matt. 14:3-4).

Herod Antipas was a tetrarch (“ruler of a quarter”) of the kingdom he’d inherited from his father Herod the Great, who had years earlier ordered the massacre of all male infants in the vicinity of Bethlehem (Matt. 2:16-18).

In the fashion of his father, who disliked contention from the New Age movement (the Magi), Herod Antipas wouldn’t stand for it from the Religious Right (John the Baptizer). So he threw the prophet in prison (Luke 3:20).

Jesus raises a boy from the dead

One day when Jesus and His disciples reached the town of Nain, they met a funeral procession. Men were carrying out on a bier a widow’s only son.

Jesus stopped the procession and commanded the young man’s corpse to get up.

And he did.

The mourners were gripped with fear and said things like, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” (Luke 7:11-17)

Without the help of radio, television, newspapers, email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, the astounding news spread throughout Judea. Even John heard about it in prison.

John questions Jesus

18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples
19 and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”
–Luke 7:18-19 NRSV

John’s ministry was very different from Jesus’. Although John came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17), no miracles are recorded in his ministry.

John’s basic message was, “Change your heart and get your life right. Be born from above.” He did a lot of fasting, denouncing, and baptizing.

When Jesus arrived to be immersed, John declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:29-30).

Jesus, however, came eating and drinking, feeding the multitudes, and changing water into wine. Religious leaders called Him a glutton and a drunkard (Matt. 11:19).

Perhaps John thought that, if his cousin really was the Christ, Jesus should have some other kind of ministry. Still stuck in prison, John apparently expected different results from the Messiah he had spent his life preparing people to receive (Matt. 3:1-3).

Jesus answers with evidence of anointed ministry

Since raising the widow’s son at Nain, Jesus was busy curing many people of diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits—even opening the eyes of the blind. John’s disciples met Him and relayed the Baptizer’s query.

22 And [Jesus] answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.
23 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
–Luke 7:22-23 NRSV

“Are you the Christ?”

Jesus did not answer John’s question directly. Instead, He told John’s emissaries to deliver an eyewitness account of the results of his ministry:

  • Blind eyes are opened.
  • Physically disabled people—paraplegics and quadriplegics—are walking again.
  • Lepers and those with skin diseases are cleansed and accepted back into society.
  • The deaf hear once more (or for the first time ever).
  • The dead are even coming back to life.
  • The poor get the good news delivered to their doorstep.

The theme of these supernormal deeds is freedom for captives. As John had preached deliverance from sin and false religion, his message was only to prepare people for greater freedom that would come through the ministry of Christ.

Unfortunately, Jesus’ good news would not set John free; he was beheaded in prison (Mark 6:17-29). Perhaps this is why Jesus told him not to be offended with Him.

John vs. Christ today

With the rise of the Religious Right in recent years, we’ve witnessed the militant exaltation of a narrow set of religious values (and an even narrower set of “family values”).

These views march lockstep with the condemnation of every class of people who do not conform to their constricted code of morality, one that is often hypocritical—like legislators campaigning on a ticket of family values and the sanctity of marriage while they have had multiple affairs and divorces.

The purity of John’s ministry, though harsh, is corrupted in today’s political right-wing religiosity.

Like the ministry of John the Baptizer, this contemporary hardline stance has served a purpose. Yet it will not last forever; it will fail to usher in a right-wing “kingdom of God.” One day soon, it will overstep its bounds, backfire, and find itself in prison.

What’s coming?

Many dispensationalist Christians—both evangelical and Pentecostal—believe that there will be a great persecution of the faithful before Christ returns to rapture them.

Indeed, the persecution will come.

What they don’t understand is that some will have earned it for all of them by making themselves a stench in the nostrils of everyone else in the world through self-righteous rejection of outsiders. The tide will suddenly turn, and they will find themselves in the minority.

(I’m not talking about those who are truly meek and loving like Christ. I’m referring to those who take part in a churchianity that seeks to impose their views on everyone else through political manipulation and governmental legislation. I’m talking about false religion that rejects the marginalized and cares not for widows and orphans [James 1:27].)

The Kingdom of God does not come riding the beast of politics and prejudice. Bible faith will never be established by burning the Koran or hatefully protesting LGBTQ people.

Soon, those Americans who want to unfairly enjoy financial and societal benefits for themselves while denying them to all those outside their religious comfort zone will find these roles reversed.

When the ministry of John is fulfilled in this present age, it will be decapitated so that the ministry of Christ may come forth to heal and deliver those who have been damaged and rejected by God’s self-appointed “chosen few.”Jesus healing a blind man

Militant religious conservatives will languish in a prison of misunderstanding and betrayal while the Spirit of Christ is poured out on those they sought to socially marginalize and politically squash for so long. As Jesus told John, please don’t be offended.

To the “outsiders,” Jesus’ flock of another sheep pen (John 10:16), the Lord says:

6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
   I will take hold of your hand.
   I will keep you and will make you
   to be a covenant for the people
   and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
   to free captives from prison
   and to release from the dungeon
   those who sit in darkness.
8 “I am the LORD; that is my name!
   I will not yield my glory to another
   or my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have taken place,
   and new things I declare;
   before they spring into being
   I announce them to you.”
–Isaiah 42:6-9 NIV

How to Interpret Your Dreams

Night sky

Ever had a puzzling dream? I have—tons of them. And if a dream contains a message, I want to understand what it is.

14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds,
16 he may speak in their ears…
–Job 33:14-16a NIV

This post presents a method of dream interpretation I developed from that of psychologist David Ryback.

Dreams: prophetic or symbolic?

We experience two basic types of dreams: prophetic dreams and symbolic dreams.

Prophetic dreams

Prophetic dreams are dreams that come true. They usually depict realistic scenes without much symbolism, and their content is literal. Dreamers find them memorable and recount them as being so vivid and strange they must tell someone about it.

Prophetic dreams often contain one or more odd details that, when they come true, are far beyond coincidence. These rare dreams often prove to be precognitive, foretelling some event.

Two out of three people claim to have had prophetic dreams. Those who give credence to their dreams, as I do, remember them and have more prophetic dreams than those who deny the experience.

When they are heeded, prophetic dreams may forewarn or prepare the dreamer for some future event (see Job 33:15-18).

Symbolic dreams

Symbolic dreams are more common and what we’ll focus on in this post.

Symbolic dreams are filled with seemingly nonsensical happenings. They draw images from our life experiences and mash them together in unique and interesting ways.

Although they may not come true in a literal sense, symbolic dreams have practical interpretations that can provide understanding and direction for our lives. That’s why we must learn to understand them.

At center stage are our emotions, which play parts in a drama. Symbolic dreams are disguised and emotionally encoded in story form using symbols that we must interpret.

“Universal dream dictionaries” may be popular, but every dream analysis book I’ve ever read says that symbols used in our dreams are personal, meaning they’re unique to us as individuals and therefore must be interpreted personally. It’s easy, once you get the hang of it. Here’s how.

Training yourself to remember your dreams

Some people say they never dream. But everyone dreams, although not everyone remembers their dreams.

It takes some practice to train yourself to wake immediately after dreaming and then record your dream. I begin by repeating to myself as I’m falling asleep, “I will remember my dreams… I will wake and record them….”

It may take a few nights or a few weeks, but with determination, eventually you will succeed in waking after a dream.

Tips: The longer you sleep, the better your chances of remembering dreams. Get to sleep early so that you don’t need to jump out of bed at the blare of an alarm. Days off are best for recording dreams, when you can awake slowly, enjoying that dawning phase between sleep and waking consciousness.

Summary of the dream analysis process

The symbolic dream analytic and interpretive process follows these steps:

  1. Write down or record your dream.
  2. Identify the dream elements.
  3. Use word association on each dream element.
  4. Divide your dream into dramatic scenes.
  5. Interpret each scene according to its word associations.
  6. Summarize your final dream interpretation.
  7. Seeking the Lord, make a positive response.

This process works on both prophetic and symbolic dreams. I’ll use a recent symbolic dream of mine as an example.

1. Write down or record your dream.

You can’t analyze your dreams unless you in some way record them. Once you’ve trained yourself to wake after dreaming (see above), you must record the dream immediately upon waking.

Tip: Be aware that the less you move your body upon waking, the more you will be able to remember.

Keep a notepad and pen beside your bed. Or use a recording device. (I use the voice memo app on my smartphone.)

Write or speak your dream naturally, as if you’re telling a story to someone else. Don’t worry about the writing or spelling—just get it down quickly.

Include the main ideas, sensory images, strange little details, expressions, reactions, and anything happening on the side. Remain in the dream mood as much as you can. Relate as much detail and emotion as possible.

Let’s use an example of a dream of mine I recorded on the morning of May 31, 2018, to learn the process.

Dream of Class Being Healed, and Me, Dragged by the Power of the Spirit Around the Classroom

I’m in a class, studying spiritual things. And we all begin to get sick with a stomach virus with flu-like symptoms. The teacher says this happens every time she teaches the class and says, “Could you believe for one to be healed? How about if we can believe for the entire class to be healed?”

We close our eyes—I don’t know whether we’re praying or resting or whatever—but at some point I’m sitting up against the wall in the back right corner of the room. I feel something take me by the scruff of the neck or the back of my shirt and begin to drag me across the floor, around the perimeter of the room. [I believe it was the power of God, like the Spirit dragging Ezekiel.]

I was in the back on the right, and it drags me across the back wall and then around the left wall. There must be 300 to 500 people in the room.

I begin to see things, writing appear on the wall, things that she [the teacher] said, like, “By your stripes we are healed.”  I go, “Whoooaaa!”

When I stop, I have a page of notes with me that I’ve already taken some notes on. She finds me in the front right corner like with my neck or back glued against… I don’t know whether it was a radiator. I can’t move; I can’t get up.

I try to and finally go back to where I was, but then can’t find my papers.

It was just the most amazing thing, that healing was released, and everybody got healed. I got dragged around the entire room and saw the writing on the wall change colors. Amazing dream!

Note that I used present tense: “I am in a class,” not, “I was in a class.” Record your dreams in present tense.

If you record your dreams as audio, you must transcribe them. I transcribe all my dreams and store them in my database of journaling words from the Lord.

2. Identify the dream elements.

Read through your written copy and underline every dream element: each person, place, action, emotion, and descriptive word or phrase. Here’s what I did with my dream:

I’m in a class, studying spiritual things. And we all begin to get sick with a stomach virus with flu-like symptoms. The teacher says this happens every time she teaches the class and says, “Could you believe for one to be healed? How about if we can believe for the entire class to be healed?”

We close our eyes—I don’t know whether we’re praying or resting or whatever—but at some point I’m sitting up against the wall in the back right corner of the room. I feel something take me by the scruff of the neck or the back of my shirt and begin to drag me across the floor, around the perimeter of the room. [I believe it was the power of God, like the Spirit dragging Ezekiel.]

I was in the back on the right, and it drags me across the back wall and then around the left wall. There must be 300 to 500 people in the room.

I begin to see things, writing appear on the wall, things that she [the teacher] said, like, “By your stripes we are healed.”  I go, “Whoooaaa!”

When I stop, I have a page with me that I’ve already taken some notes on. She finds me in the front right corner like with my neck or back glued against… I don’t know whether it was a radiator. I can’t move; I can’t get up.

I try to and finally go back to where I was, but then can’t find my papers.

But it was just the most amazing thing, that healing was released, and everybody got healed. I got dragged around the entire room and saw the writing on the wall change colors. Amazing dream!

Now, list these underlined elements on a clean sheet of paper, leaving two or three blank lines between each entry.

Class:

Spiritual things:

Get sick with a stomach virus:

… etc.

3. Use word association on each dream element.

At this time, don’t think about the meaning of the dream. Instead, quickly review your list and, using word association, jot down the first thing that comes to mind upon hearing the element. If several things come to mind, record them all briefly. You especially want to identify the emotions.

Tip: You could have someone read each item on the list for you and take notes as you respond.

Here’s how I fleshed out the above list:

Class:  Place of teaching, learning. Students on the same page, learning.

Spiritual things:  Biblical teaching, things (gifts?) of the Spirit.

Get sick with a stomach virus:  Affects what we’ve ingested. Problem with assimilating the teaching—it doesn’t sit well. Prophetic revelation, like John eating the scroll in Rev. 10:9-10 [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+10%3A9-10&version=NIV].

Flu-like symptoms:  Vomiting, fever. “Like”: fake symptoms?

Every time she teaches the class:  Common reaction. Everyone reacts this way to the teaching when they first receive it. It’s meat, not milk.

Believe for the entire class to be healed:  She doesn’t dismiss the class due to illness. Takes it a step further from individual healing to mass healing. Don’t step back in fear, but surge forward in faith.

Close our eyes:  Traditional posture of prayer. Take our focus off the natural.

Praying or resting:  Seek the lord, rest and trust in the Lord.

Sitting up against the wall in the back:  Not part of the class, on the outskirts (an outcast?). “Back against the wall”—in a hard-pressed situation; as far away as I can get without being totally excluded. But still hungry for the teaching.

I feel something take me by the scruff of the neck or the back of my shirt and drag me across the floor:  The power of God. Unexpected Holy Spirit power encounter. Done by a hand: the hand of the Lord.

Around the perimeter of the room:  Although I’m on the outskirts, I’m still “in the box.”

Drags me: Hand of the Lord. Spirit transportation (Ezek. 3:14,22 [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ezek+3%3A14%2C22&version=NIV])

300 to 500 people in the room:  Teaching is popular; many are hungry for it and want to receive it.

Writing appear on the wall:  Prophetic message like in Daniel (Dan. 5:5,24-28 [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Dan.+5%3A5%2C24-28&version=NIV]). Supernatural breaks into the natural. Done by a hand.

“By your stripes we are healed”: The Scripture being demonstrated prophetically by the power of God.

“Whoooaaah!”: I’m blown away and ecstatic that this is happening to me.

Page with me… taken some notes on:  Traditional way of learning. Learning with my mind instead of spiritually experiencing. The Law vs. the Spirit.

Neck or back glued against… radiator:  God has pinned me down, put the heat on.

I can’t move, can’t get up:  Under the power. God is in control.

Go back to where I was:  To my original place in the back, still on the outskirts.

Can’t find my papers:  My notes, my traditional mental way of learning. Maybe this way is no longer the one to use.

Healing was released:  Power of God demonstrated to bless His seekers.

Everybody got healed:  Not a small feat but a big miracle, like when the children of Israel left Egypt (Ps. 105:37 TLB). A corporate manifestation.

Dragged around the entire room:  Controlled and moved by the power of God.

Saw the writing on the wall change colors:  Technicolor. The ancient Word comes alive. The prophetic, upgraded.

Get the idea? Don’t belabor the process. Think quickly, freely, and listen to your spirit. You may want to make several passes, fleshing out your list over the course of a few days.

4. Divide your dream into dramatic scenes.

Now, divide the dream text and its corresponding associations into four dramatic scenes, like those of a story or play:

  1. Setting: The first scene presents the setting of the dream and its initial situation.
  2. Conflict: This is where some problem or dilemma is presented.
  3. Climax: The situation and problem work out to a crisis here.
  4. Resolution: The conclusion suggests a solution or a change in attitude. If you take this part of the dream seriously, it will reveal its meaning.

Transitions between scenes are often indicated by words like “all of a sudden” or “then.”

Delineate the scenes of your dream according to one of these approaches for the four segments:

Dramatic Scene Approach Symbolic Approach
Setting Situation
Conflict Problem: dilemma, question
Climax Crisis, working out to a climax
Denouement Resolution, answer

Use whatever terms feel right for you. Split your associations list into the same segments.

Here’s how I divided up my dream:

Situation: I’m in a class, studying spiritual things with 300-500 other students, who are sitting in chairs. But I’m sitting on the floor in the back corner with my back against the wall, taking notes.

Problem: We all begin to get sick with a stomach virus thing with flu-like symptoms. The teacher says this happens every time she teaches the class and says, “Could you believe for one to be healed? How about if we can believe for the entire class to be healed?”

Crisis/climax: I’m dragged around the room by the hand of God and immobilized. I see writing on the wall change colors.

Resolution: I return to my original place but can’t find my notes I’d taken on the teaching.

5. Interpret each scene according to its word associations.

Review your associations for each section and translate them into a coherent summarizing thought, the dramatic point of that scene. Here are some helpful questions to spark your interpretations:

  1. Setting/situation: “What is this dream about?”
  2. Conflict: “What is the dilemma?” or “What is the question?”
  3. Climax: “What happens next?” or “How does it work out?”
  4. Solution: “What is the resolution?”

If you have trouble with some of your listed dream elements, you might glean deeper understanding by personifying them. For example, I could consider the teacher in my dream a character and hold a conversation with her, asking her what she wants, how she feels, and so on, and then answering freely for her using my sanctified imagination.

Remember that you’re looking for the emotional meaning of the symbols in your dream.

Here’s how I interpreted the scenes of my dream:

Situation: What is this dream about?
The dream is about… wanting to learn and participate in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I’m as hungry as everyone else, but I’m in a position of being on the outskirts (whether self-imposed or imposed by the class, I don’t know). I’m learning as best I know how, using the methods I’ve always used (taking notes).

Conflict: What is the dilemma?
The dilemma is that… the whole class gets sick. Perhaps the teaching is “hard to swallow,” or stretching us beyond tradition and comfort, dealing with new and advanced prophetic principles. Can we believe not just for individual healing (belief of the past) to corporate healing (challenge of the present)? Can we take it to the next level?

Climax: What happens next?
It works out that… we begin to pray, and the power of the Holy Spirit, the “hand of God,” drags me physically around the perimeter of the room. I see technicolor writing on the wall of things that are being taught. The supernatural breaks into the natural realm in a powerful way. The entire class is healed.

Solution: What is the resolution?
The resolution is that… I am immobilized by the power of God—learning my lesson that God is in control. I cannot go back to the ways of learning the things of the Spirit as I had before. I must not simply study but must experience the power of God.

When you interpret each scene individually, you’ll notice how seemingly unconnected segments now make sense when you analyze and interpret them. I was surprised at what I uncovered through this process.

6. Summarize your final dream interpretation.

Next, take the analyzed segments and weave them into a final interpretation. Here’s what I did:

This dream is about my hunger to learn the ways of God and the things of the Spirit. I’m studying by traditional means and feel that I’m on the outskirts, not belonging with others.

But in this day God is teaching new things, advanced lessons in the prophetic, and they must be learned not by classwork and book learning, but by direct experience with the power of God’s Spirit.

God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above what we can ask or think (Eph. 3:20). God will demonstrate His power not only to me, but to all who believe Him for great things.

Once you see the power of God demonstrated, you can’t go back to former ways. You’ve taken a step up into new prophetic advances. I need to step forward into the things God is doing now.

So this is how I interpreted my dream. Is it accurate? Only time will tell.

If you feel your interpretations aren’t quite hitting the mark, make a first-pass attempt at analysis and then come back for another round in a day or two. Meditate and pray over it. When you have an “Aha!” moment, that’s when you know you’ve interpreted the resolution correctly.

7. Make a prayerful, positive response.

Interpreting your dreams is interesting but serves little purpose unless you respond in some way to their messages.

Each dream presents a lesson that is revealed through your Spirit-inspired analysis and interpretation. Armed with understanding during your waking hours, you must decide if and how to respond to the dream lesson.

My response to my dream is this:

  • Even though I feel like I’m on the outskirts, I’m hungry for God, and God will use me to demonstrate the power of His Spirit.
  • I will submit to God’s hand upon me, even if He wants to use me as an example.
  • There’s no substitute for experiencing the power of God. I will yield myself joyfully to the Holy Spirit and believe Him for great things.
  • I will not worry about past ways of learning but accept the new prophetic things He is revealing in this hour.

I hope this post proves helpful in interpreting your dreams. It’s definitely a process that must be practiced. But once you learn it, the revelation and insight are rewarding.

Until next time, sweet dreams!

 

Renouncing Our Citizenship

Golden Calf

[T]he notion that the U.S. of A. is a Christian nation, or was a Christian nation, or should be, a Christian nation, is pure propaganda; not to mention unconstitutional. As Christians, we should stop trying to pretend otherwise.
The Rev. Henry Galganowicz

Whose law takes precedence?

The rise of Christian nationalism in the U.S. has reached shockingly ugly proportions, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently citing Romans 13 in support of the atrocious practice of separating immigrant children from their parents at the Mexico-U.S. border.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later parroted the same idea: “It is very biblical to enforce the law.”

Whose law?

Although Romans 13 begins with “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities” (v. 1), it leads to verse 10: “Love does no harm to a NEIGHBOR. Therefore LOVE is the fulfillment of the law” (NIV). See Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:43-45; 19:18-19; 22:36-40; Luke 10:27; Rom. 13:9; James 2:8-9.

The current administration’s practices of tearing our neighbors’ children from their parents and refusing to impose gun control measures while our own children are slaughtered in schools demonstrate that it favors the letter over the spirit of the law—the law of its own making, not the law of God.

God told the Hebrew people He delivered from Egypt, “You reside in my land as foreigners and strangers” (Lev. 15:23 NIV) and “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex. 22:21 NKJV).

In whatever nation we live, if we truly belong to God, we are no more than strangers in a strange land (Ex. 2:22).

The idol of Christian nationalism: the abomination of desolation (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15)

While Moses communed with God on Mt. Sinai to receive the holy word, the Law, God’s supposed followers reveled in worshiping the golden calf, an idol of their own making (Ex. 32).

On Memorial Day, I visited an evangelical church where the organist played many hymns that glorified American patriotism and the military, with nothing extolling the Godhead—on Trinity Sunday. The Christian flag stood in one corner of the platform; the U.S. flag in the other.

I would not have been surprised if a golden calf were displayed on the altar between the offering plates.

Just as it took hold in Nazi Germany, Christian nationalism has become an idol of many in the U.S. Church, causing us to turn a blind eye to our neighbors.

The law of the land vs. God’s law

Although Apostle Paul advised obeying governmental authorities and being good citizens, he in no way promoted breaking God’s law or acting against the love and character of Christ. In fact, he was imprisoned many times for his preaching.

When Peter and John were hauled before the religious authorities for healing a lame man in the Temple, they replied to the leaders, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29 NIV)

Because the early Christians did not join in worshiping the Roman emperor or celebrating the pantheon of pagan gods, they were vilified, persecuted, and even executed for following the law of God over that of human governments.

Although we are called to pursue peace and to obey the laws of the nations in which we live, when these laws depart from commands of Christ and the love and mercy of God toward our neighbors, we must choose whom we will serve.

Strangers and aliens in this world

God does not favor the U.S. over other nations. (See Deut. 10:17; 2 Chron. 19:7; Acts 10:34; Luke 4:25-27.)

If we truly are followers of Christ, born from above (John 3:5), God “has rescued us from [out of] the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col. 1:13 NIV).

We belong to the King and are members of His Kingdom, to whom we now owe primary allegiance. This is what biblical heroes of the faith were commended for.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were FOREIGNERS and STRANGERS on earth.
14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.
15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
–Hebrews 11:13-16 NIV

By accepting and following Christ, we have abandoned our earthly citizenship for a heavenly one.

The U.S. church must renounce its earthly citizenship

American Christians must be forsake the “American Dream,” patriotic nationalism, worship of guns and the military, its veneration of white supremacy, oppressive patriarchy, and the ungodly policy of “America first”—as well as all the systems, beliefs, and practices that have distorted the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matt. 24:14). When it does, scales will fall from its eyes (Acts 9:18).

The American Church must take up its cross and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34), who was crucified not as a patriot but as a King whose Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).

As we renounce our worldly associations and accept our heavenly citizenship, we will begin to operate in the Kingdom as Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20) and be freed from the spirit of the world (1 Cor. 2:12)—a world in which America the beautiful is not “one nation under God,” but like all nations, “under control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).

Alien immunity

The golden calf was burned and ground to powder in judgment, and the people forced to drink it (Ex. 32:20). Those who forsake the Lord’s Kingdom for the kingdoms of this world will likewise drink the cup of God’s wrath (Jer. 25:15-16; Rev. 14:10). Judgment begins with the household of God (1 Pet. 4:17).

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?
26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”
27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are RECEIVING A KINGDOM that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
–Hebrews 12:28-29 NIV

God is shaking the world and its immoral institutions. When the American idol crashes, only the “aliens and strangers” (Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet. 2:11) will remain untouched because they are no longer citizens of this world.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
–Philippians 3:20 NIV

If we have received Christ as Savior and Lord—King—we are no longer citizens of this world or its corrupt nations. Since we are members of what cannot be shaken, we can remain steadfast in the Lord as the fallen world system around us crumbles.

When the nations of this world collapse, those who did not turn from the golden calf to embrace God’s word, who refused to renounce their citizenship with the world, also will have scales torn from their eyes. They will see their nation for what it was and mourn that they had trusted in it. See Rev. 18:9-24.

Final exhortation

Although everything will be shaken, we must cling to what remains—God’s heavenly Kingdom, where our true citizenship resides.

Micah 6:8 says, “[God] has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (NIV).

Obeying the law of the land where we can, we must nonetheless honor first the laws of God and live according to the righteousness of Christ so that His Kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as in heaven (Matt. 6:10). God has called us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 22 NIV).