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The Thorn In Paul’s Flesh

The thorn in Paul’s flesh has been the topic of discussion for many years. There has been many different ideas as to what this particular thorn was and I believe this is important to understand because many have built theologies and ideologies around what they believe this thorn represented. Some conclude this thorn to be a physical sickness or infirmity, even blindness is widely embraced to be this infirmity. Others believe the thorn to be a struggle with sin Paul was having difficulty overcoming. Yet still, others believe that this thorn represents literal demons oppressing or indwelling Paul in which he needed deliverance from. All of these are schools of thought in which the accurate interpretation and meaning is unsettled even among the greatest biblical scholars.

I will attempt to biblically prove what I believe the thorn in Paul’s flesh represented and the message I believe he was trying to relay to the disciples in the church of Corinth.

“Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my INFIRMITIES. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me. And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, A THORN IN THE FLESH WAS GIVEN TO ME, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:5-10 NKJV)

One of the initial things we have to do in order to create an accurate perspective is bring definition to certain words and concepts. Paul had a unique way of writing and would often use certain words, phrases, and analogies that were familiar to his audience. As an apostle, he would bring revelation to the scriptures by proclaiming what was written, then bringing new definition and understanding as to how the scriptures impact them in relation to the message of grace through Jesus Christ. The “Thorn in the flesh” is not a new concept. In fact, This language has been used throughout the Old Testament. Paul simply used language the people were familiar with in order to get a particular message across. Here are some examples.

“But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and THORNS IN YOUR SIDES, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell.” (Numbers 33:55 NKJV)

“Know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and SCOURGES ON YOUR SIDES AND THORNS IN YOUR EYES, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.” (Joshua 23:13 NKJV)

“Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be THORNS IN YOUR SIDE, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ ” (Judges 2:3 NKJV)

These scriptures plainly show that the use of the word “THORN,” as in “THORN IN YOUR EYES” or “THORN IN YOUR SIDE,” throughout the Old Testament is used as a metaphor. Whenever “thorn in your side” is used it is not referring to sin or sickness. Instead, it refers to literal nations, people, or messengers who were allowed or sent to be irritants or messengers of persecution. This lines up perfectly with Paul’s statement and does not contradict Paul’s revelation about how we are given grace to overcome sin, sickness, and disease. Jesus said persecutions will come, which explains His allowance of this particular messenger (aggelos) of Satan to buffet him.

Now, concerning the term “infirmity” in 2 Corinthians 12, lets look at the context. Although, infirmity can mean sickness or disease. Is this the case in Paul’s discourse? Paul was known to be a very prolific writer and would use words he knew the readers would clearly understand. Why don’t I believe the infirmity spoken of by Paul in 2 Corinthians is physical illness or him being filled with demons? Because, there are several words Paul could have used to describe the nature of the infirmity. In the Greek language, several words are translated as infirmity. Here they are.

Peirasmos: Temptation or test. Paul used this word in relation to sinful temptation or tests.
Nosos: Disease or sickness. This was was used in the Gospels and Acts when referring to diseases leaving people when demons are casted out.
Malakia: Illness, weakness, or sickness
Astheneia: Want of strength, weakness, illness, suffering, frailty. This refers to an ailment or burden that deprives someone of enjoying or accomplishing what they would like to do. This word focuses on the handicaps that come with the weakness.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul uses the last word, astheneia, to describe his infirmity. In fact, a more accurate word to use instead of infirmity is weakness. This word is used because of the nature of his situation which is found in the text. Whatever this thorn in his flesh was became a BURDEN to his ministry. He was HANDICAPPED from being as effective as he could because of this THORN, this MESSENGER OF SATAN. He did not think he would be able to accomplish his assignment while this messenger was in his midst and had to receive the word of the Lord that God’s grace is sufficient. So, I believe the thorn in Paul’s flesh represented persecution that was faced through an individual or group of individuals that were demonically sent to distract him and through the various obstacles he faced at that time. Throughout this discourse of scripture, Paul connects this infirmity or weakness with the many disadvantages that were brought to him and the persecution he has faced as a minister of Christ. Nevertheless, his posture agreed with his co-laborer, James. He was determined to count it all joy and boast when trials, persecutions, and weaknesses were before him because he knew they all added up to his maturity in Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul connects infirmity with persecution.

Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my INFIRMITY. (II Corinthians 11:23-30 NKJV)

His infirmity, according to the context dealt with that descriptive list of persecutions and moments of frailty and weakness which he encountered. Although persecutions may come due to the gospel and heavenly revelation, God’s grace is sufficient!

The “NOW” Jerusalem

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John,saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’” Revelation 21:1-5

Revelation 21 is widely embraced as the fulfillment of the glorious future for the Church. It is understood to be the hope of every saint, both living and deceased. A time when human history as we know it will be changed and the earth as we know it will cease to exist. God will recreate the heavens and the earth and the saints of God will be given new, glorious bodies. There will be a literal, physical NEW city of Jerusalem which shall descend from the heavens upon the earth. This Jerusalem will be the new dwelling place and headquarters for all believers throughout eternity.

Although this teaching is widely embraced, is it the most accurate depiction of our future as the Church? Was John’s Revelation meant to be taken literally or even physically? How are we to understand the nature of the New Jerusalem? Is this still a future reality or could it be a very present reality? In this article, I will demonstrate through scripture how and why the New Jerusalem is a NOW reality!

I do not believe that the New Jerusalem is a future, physical city. It is plainly seen throughout the bible as a New Covenant reality and not a New World, physically attained city. As believers and students of the Word of God we must begin to study out what we claim to believe with the understanding of why we believe what we believe. One of the first questions that need to be addressed when dealing with this issue is, “How many Jerusalems do the scriptures speak of?” This is important in order to bring context to the Word of God. In the NT, four different Jerusalems are mentioned. The most obvious Jerusalem mentioned is First Century Jerusalem. This is PHYSICAL Jerusalem. All of the Gospels were written to the Jews dwelling in this land. Jesus’ earthly ministry was primarily to those dwelling in First Century Jerusalem.

“These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 10:5-7

Jerusalem was the city of the Israelites. It was the Old Covenant capital of God’s people. Not only was Jesus’ ministry to earthly Jerusalem, but the disciples were first commissioned to minister within the boundaries of Jerusalem before spreading the the Gospel to the Gentiles.

The other three Jerusalems spoken of in the NT are the “Jerusalem above”, “heavenly Jerusalem”, and “New Jerusalem”.

“but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.” Galatians 4:26

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,” Hebrews 12:22

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:2

There is much emphasis on the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21, but very little emphasis on the other two discourses where this spiritual Jerusalem is spoken of. If there was more emphasis on the Jerusalems of Hebrews 12 and Galatians 4, I believe it would bring more clarity to John’s intentions while writing Revelation. These three spiritual Jerusalems are not three separate, distinct Jerusalems but rather the same Jerusalem spoken of in three different ways. This spiritual Jerusalem is a New Covenant reality and not a future reality as many would believe. Let’s look at the scriptures in context for clarity.

“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her childrenbut the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written: ‘Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband.’ Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.’ So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.” Galatians 4:21-31

It is clearly stated here that Hagar represented the Old Covenant, while Sarah represented the New Covenant. In like manner, these two Covenants are represented by two Jerusalems. The Old Covenant, Hagar was represented by natural Jerusalem or the “Jerusalem which now is”. This was earthly Jerusalem. It represented the land of the Jews. It represented the Law and those who were held under the bondage of the Law. The New Covenant, Sarah was represented by “Jerusalem above”. This is the land of the free and the “mother of us all”. The spiritual Jerusalem is the mother of those who are in Christ and are not under the bondage of the Law. This is not a future reality, but a Covenantal reality. This Jerusalem above is accessed through the experience of being born again!

Even John emphasized this fact in his Gospel.

“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:1-6

What is interesting about this account in John is the original Koine Greek interpretation. The NKJV translates this as, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” but the Greek transliteration for “born again” is “anóthen“. This is translated as from above, from heaven, again, anew. Anóthen is derived from the Greek, anó. Ais the word used in Galatians 4 for “above”, as in Jerusalem above. It is translated as up, above, things above, heaven, heavenly region. In other words, when someone is born again what they are really experiencing is being born from above. That which is born of Spirit is spirit. So, it is the spirit of a man that is born again. This is a spiritual reality and experience. It has nothing to do with our earthly body or our intellect. We are triune beings. We are made of body, soul, and spirit. It is our spirit that is born from above. In like manner, we are born to a spiritual land. Philippians 3:20 states that our citizenship is in heaven. In other words, we are children of the new Jerusalem. When you are born from above you are born into a city which is from above. This city is the New Jerusalem. It is the Jerusalem above. This is the New Covenant city. This city is the Church, the Bride, The Lamb’s Wife! Christ is married to the New Jerusalem. He is married to you and I.

“For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded: ‘And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.’ And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.’) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:18-24

Here the writer of Hebrews does the same thing Paul did in Galatians 4. But, instead of using Hagar and Sarah as our Covenantal examples he uses Moses and Mount Sinai as our Old Covenant example and Mount Zion as our New Covenant example. It is still clearly seen that the context of the New Jerusalem is the reality of the New Covenant and not a future, physical city. The writer of Hebrews further emphasizes this by his words, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…” There is emphasis on the past and present arrival to the heavenly Jerusalem. We have already come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant and to the Church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven. This is our inheritance as New Covenant believers.

Finally, I will deal with the argument of Revelation 21. Futurists will make the claim that the New Jerusalem is yet future because its arrival is indicated in the last two chapters of Revelation. They will also stand on John’s indication of “Now I saw” as the first three words of Revelation 21 as if it is yet future. However, what is often neglected is the previous account spoken about the New Jerusalem in Revelation 3.

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” Revelation 3:11-12

Both Revelation 21 and Revelation 3 indicate that the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven. At first glance, it appears as if this is a future event, however when the Greek interpretation is investigated a much deeper and specific explanation is given. I want to emphasize the Greek word translated as “comes down”. This Greek word is transliterated as “katabainousa”. Although it is translated correctly, it is important to note that this word is written as a present active participle. What this means is that when John wrote that the New Jerusalem “comes down” he did not intend on the readers to interpret this as a one time event. For readers to translate this as “the New Jerusalem came down from heaven or is going to come down from heaven” is to take away from the text. Present active participles express ongoing activity. An ending point cannot be indicated. It will go on and on indefinitely, or be repeated continuously. In other words, the New Jerusalem will continue to come down. Much like how God will continue to pour out of His Spirit according to Acts 2:17. God did not pour out of His Spirit one time in the last days. He continued to pour out of His Spirit and will continue to pour out of His Spirit. As long as people are being born again, or born from above the heavenly Jerusalem will continue to come down. People will continue to experience the benefits of this heavenly city. This New Jerusalem has become the NOW JERUSALEM of the New Covenant people of God.

Laban Type Leadership: Don’t Be Like Laban

Genesis 30:25-30

“And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go TO MY OWN PLACE and TO MY OWN COUNTRY. Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service which I have done for you.” And Laban said to him, “Please stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the LORD HAS BLESSED ME FOR YOUR SAKE.” Then he said, “Name me your wages, and I will give it.” So Jacob said to him, “You know how I have served you and how your livestock has been with me. For what you had before I came was little, and it has increased to a great amount; the LORD has blessed you since my coming. And now, when shall I also provide for my own house?”

In this story, Laban refused to release Jacob for his services because Jacob was the cause of Laban’s prosperity. Jacob worked for Laban for 20 years before he decided to leave and venture off into his own endeavors. 14 of those years were spent working for the companionship of Jacob’s wives, Rachael and Leah. The other 6 years were spent working for all of the livestock Jacob accumulated. Jacob even stated that Laban changed the agreement for his labor 10 times. Jacob was abused and misused by Laban for 20 years without ever complaining about it.

After having withstood enough, Jacob finally spoke up for himself and confessed to Laban that he wanted his own things. He wasn’t satisfied working for Laban. He knew that there were greater things in store for him. However, Laban did not want to release him. He refused and even tried to make a deal with Jacob to pay him to stay. Eventually, Jacob ran away without telling Laban and made a covenant with him which ultimately allowed Jacob to leave Laban’s land in peace.

Today, we see a very similar scenario take place in many churches. Where there is a senior leader who is afraid or hesitant to release anointed men and women who are under them because of the prosperity and addition these individuals bring to their ministry and personal success. These are LABAN TYPE LEADERS! The “Laban Type Leader” is a leader, who through selfish-motivation, oppress the members of that flock through manipulation and abuse in order to build the work of that house and to build HIS OWN PERSONAL NAME. This particular leader does not have a strong enough anointing nor a large enough capacity to build their particular work through their own resources and gifting, so they rely on the anointing, gifting, and resources of others without having personal concern for these individual’s personal calling, ministry, and mandate.

The Spirit of Laban is a spirit that works primarily through leaders. Like Laban, these leaders are promise breakers. Laban changed Jacob’s wage 10 times in order to ensure his own personal success. (Gen. 31:6-7). These leaders have no consideration or interest in the well-being of their sheep or their leaders. They only do what seems right in their own eyes. These leaders also ignore the concept of personal identity and destiny. They take no interest in the development of any vision other than their own. Some of these leaders may even release someone into ministry but deems it a threat if this ministry becomes more successful than their own.

Laban Type Leaders dread releasing people from their ministry to establish their own. This is a leadership model which opposes the Apostolic leadership model of raising up, sending out, and releasing. There is a fear in Laban Type Leaders to release people because of the possibility of ministerial failure. LABAN TYPE CHURCHES are churches that are primarily dependent upon the anointing of individuals instead of being dependent upon the Spirit of Christ. It is a people focused church instead of a Spirit focused church. Laban Type Leaders and Churches hate to release people because they fear their church and ministry will decrease in numbers and effectiveness or even shipwreck without particular individuals being involved. They need certain people involved in order to “keep the show going”. The problem with this type of ministry is that it neglects the concept of spiritual reproduction. Spiritual fathers reproduce themselves in the lives of others not only to ensure the advancement of the Kingdom of God, but also to reduce the problem of being totally dependent on individuals.

One of the main problems with the spirit of Laban is that it ignores the Word of the Lord spoken over individual’s lives. “Jacob said to Laban, ‘Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my country. Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go…’” (Gen. 30:25-26). Really what Jacob was saying here was, “God spoke over me that He would make of me a great nation and multiply my seed, but I can’t do that here. I need to go to MY OWN PLACE AND MY OWN COUNTRY in order to fulfill the Word of the Lord spoken over my life.” Jacob was thinking according to his destiny. Laban ignored the Word of the Lord concerning Jacob out of selfish ambition. Laban Type Leaders only think according to their personal ministry and do not consider the destiny of those in their ministry unless it is affiliated with that ministry.

This spirit and type of leadership is not one which can be ignored. If these characteristics describe you or your leader you need to GET DELIVERANCE, GET COUNSELING, GET OUT OF THAT CHURCH, and OR A COMBINATION OF THE THREE!
Love you all,

Isaac M. Watson

The Strength of His Resurrection

In prayer today, the Lord led me to cry out for His people to really know the STRENGTH OF JESUS’ RESURRECTION. At first, I didn’t really know what He meant by that, then it dawned on me that there are many believers who truly do not know the benefits and empowerment of Jesus’ resurrection. In many churches, the revelation of Jesus’ resurrection is only limited to the phrases, “He Got Up!”, “Death couldn’t hold Him!”, “He rose with all POWER in His hands!” among other phrases. These are all truths; however, there is little emphasis as to explaining why He got up and how that benefits His Church today.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11

There is much confusion about this verse. Many apply this verse to a physical, future resurrection of the body, but what was Paul really trying to say? How Does the Spirit of God QUICKEN YOUR MORTAL BODY? What is Apostle Paul referring to when he says “MORTAL BODY”? This is actually the second time Paul uses this term. The first occasion is written earlier in this same letter.

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your MORTAL BODY, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:12-14

It can be clearly seen through these chapters that the MORTAL BODY spoken of by Paul can also be called the BODY OF SIN. In other words, it is the body which obeys the sinful nature. It is the body which is made dead by being a slave to sin. This is the body which the Spirit of God QUICKENS. To quicken means to bring to life; to RESURRECT. The mortal body is brought from DEATH to LIFE by the Spirit of God. In other words, because of Jesus’ Resurrection, sin has no power over the bodies of those who walk in the Spirit. We have been resurrected with Christ in the likeness of His body. Where the Law brought about sin Grace brings about obedience unto God. The Resurrection of Christ ensured this Grace. When the Resurrection of Christ is fully understood, then Grace can be fully received and holiness can be fully attained. It is for us to know that holiness cannot be attained in our own strength. It is only by the grace of God brought about by the understanding that we have been crucified with Christ and also in like manner we have been resurrected with Jesus Christ. The Resurrection of Christ allows Christ to live through us both bodily and spiritually by faith. (Galatians 2:20)

Another important element of the Resurrection of Jesus is the fact that those who have been resurrected with Him also reign with Him. Not only have we been given power to live righteously, we also have been given authority to govern spiritually.

“Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 2:5-6

Those who are in Christ are holy priests unto God and were baptized into a Kingdom of kings. You are royalty and authoritative. The Church is God’s governmental BODY. We are the BODY of Christ. Our image is not in Jesus’ earthly body, but in His RESURRECTED BODY! As HE reigns we reign. We are seated above all the powers of darkness and therefore have dominion over them. The earth is the Lord’s and all of its fullness and the Kingdom of God also belong

to Christ. Therefore, we are both stewards of the earth and rulers in the heavenlies. All of this comes from the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. THANK JESUS FOR HIS RESURRECTION!!!

Spiritual Fathering and Sonship, Part 2

Genesis 1:27-28
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

In the book of Genesis, we read in the Creation Story how God made man and commissioned him to steward the earth. I believe this particular commission can also be understood as an apostolic commission to leaders and those who will dare to leave a generational mark in the earth. When Moses wrote this, it was to be taken literally but I believe that it could also be applied to the dynamics of Fatherhood and Sonship. When we pray to God our initial cry should be “Abba”, which means Father. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray He told them to begin by recognizing their God as a FATHER. He told them to pray, “Our Father who is in heaven.” This is an indication that the God we serve is a god of family. God is a god of REPRODUCTION. I will deal with Genesis 1:27-28, going step by step, explaining how these verses relate to the dynamics of Fatherhood and Sonship.

In verse 28, God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply.” When God said to be fruitful He was talking about MANIFESTING THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. He was talking about DEVELOPING INTEGRITY. He was talking about being intimate with Him, furthermore becoming like Him. He was talking about a place of identity. Apostolic Leaders have to bear fruit as fathers (When I say father it is inclusive of both male and female Leaders). As a Spiritual Father and Covering, you cannot pour into individuals when you do not walk in integrity. An Apostolic Father’s purpose is to raise up sons who look like Jesus. They are to raise up those who walk and manifest the fruit of the Spirit.

He told them to multiply. Multiplication speaks of REPRODUCTION. It talks about stepping into the mantle of fatherhood and raising up sons. After God tells them to master integrity, He commands them to reproduce. This is a commission to make disciples and pour your life into those whom you are called to father. This does not just deal with giving them tape series to listen to, church services to attend, and books to read. This deals with developing a COVENANT RELATIONSHIP with the individual. It has to go beyond general conversation and general meetings. The relationship between a father and son is an intimate relationship. Fathers are required to discipline their sons to carry out God’s first command to them. BE FRUITFUL! In other words, fathers are to teach their sons to be integral. This is done through strong accountability and demonstration. Fathers show their sons how they are to live.

He told them to fill or replenish the earth. This is an issue of generations. This is an issue of pouring into generations. Apostolic Fathers raise up sons to affect the next generation. Fathers are replenishing the earth with their sons and daughters. Those sons are replenishing the earth with their sons and daughters, and so on. This will create a spiritual legacy and continual passing of mantles through the generations which in turn will leave an eternal print in the earth which was initiated by your obedience to raise up true sons.

He told them to subdue. In other words He told them to TAKE THE EARTH. Subdue is a military term which means. “to bring into alignment” and “to bring into order that which is out of order.” This deals with the reclaiming of the various mind molders of our culture and society. It is not enough to just get involved. Fathers have to train their children to not be religious but to work to advance in the earth and culture they live in. These mind molders consist of Education, Media, Entertainment and the Arts, Religion, Business, Family, Government, and Science. By stepping into authoritative positions in these various mind molders, the Church of Jesus Christ positions itself for a KINGDOM TAKEOVER!

He told them to have dominion. This is an issue of personal identity. This is an issue of destiny and authority. Once you learn who you are in God, dominion is inevitable. It is not enough to just get involved. Fathers are to train their sons and daughters for DOMINATION! So, it is clear to see that Fathers don’t pour into their sons for their own benefit. They pour into their sons for the benefit of their sons and the benefit of the Kingdom of God.

Spiritual Fathering and Sonship

There are many essential truths that can be addressed when dealing with the subject of Fatherhood and Sonship. Many leaders are assuming the title of “Father” without understanding the biblical definition and apostolic function of Fatherhood. It is a sad reality but many leaders have abused their role as Apostolic Father and Covering over others and as a result many sons and daughters have been left dysfunctional and spiritually desolate. This in turn produces a new generation of dysfunctional leaders who now does not know what it looks like to be a spiritual father due to the lack of being spiritually fathered.

There is a lot of familiarity in the Church when it pertains to the dynamics of spiritual fathering and mentoring. Many people are adopting the terms “spiritual father” and “spiritual son” as if it is a new fad in the Church. There is a distorted picture of what it looks like to be fathered. Some believe that Apostolic Fathering can come from books, cd’s, television broadcasting, and conferences but this is not so. How can you consider someone a spiritual father or covering when you don’t have an intimate, covenant relationship with that individual? The sad reality is that many people don’t understand the purpose and responsibilities of Apostolic Fathers. The same can be said about the role and purpose of spiritual sons and daughters.

The first thing that need to be realized is the reality of the nature of Fatherhood. Good sons turn into good fathers. Spiritual fathers have to master the discipline of sonship before they can walk into the role of fatherhood. Just because there is a call to pastor or father does not mean that you are automatically qualified to step into that role. Fatherhood takes a discipline that can only be learned as a son. This may take years of sitting under a leader who’s life is worth patterning after, but the end result will be the turning of one from a son into a mature man. When you posture yourself in submission to a spiritual father, you are positioning yourself for a blessing and an inheritance that can only be received as a son. When you honor your parents God not only honors you, but there is a transfer of blessing that occurs from you to your children. On the other hand. When you dishonor and bring shame to your Spiritual Father, dishonor is not only placed upon you, it is also placed upon your spiritual seed.

“And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. 21 Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

24 So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. 25 Then he said: “ Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.” Genesis 9:20-25

Notice that Noah did not directly curse Ham. Noah cursed Ham’s seed, Canaan. Because of Ham’s shameful act a curse was placed upon his son. This is why it is important to always place honor on your leaders and spiritual parents. Illegitimacy begets illegitimacy. However, true sons become true fathers and beget true sons.

The Fear Of The Lord

As time passes, I’m finding more and more that the church has lost the fear
of the Lord. We as a corporate body no longer honor God as a holy, righteous,
but yet judging and jealous God. Nor do we respect the house of God as being a
place for our Righteous King to visit us as the corporate Body of Christ. We
abuse our rights as Christians by taking advantage of God’s grace and mercy. As
saints, we are to be the righteousness of God but we make a mockery of his
righteousness by abusing ourselves. Those who turn their back to God for self
pleasure are those who say, “I love God,” but in reality love themselves more.
We have got to get to a point of no return in our walk. We have got to get to a
point where we either want all of God or none of God.

One major aspect the fear of the Lord has is its ability to restrain us from
sinning.

 

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (Proverbs 9:10,
KJV)

 

Now, this wisdom is not the wisdom from man, but the wisdom of God. The fear
of the Lord causes the Holy Spirit to quicken us to be strong counselors and
Godly decision makers. Scriptures tell us that the Holy Spirit brings all things
back to our remembrance. I believe a lot of people misunderstand this particular
scripture. Jesus wasn’t only talking about us being reminded about things we
need to do daily or asking the Holy Spirit to help us during tests. He was
talking about the Holy Spirit being the one who reminds us and quickens us
concerning His Word. The Word of God is alive and His works should be evident in
our lives. When we walk in the fear of the Lord, His wisdom captivates us and
causes His nature to draw us away from the sinful nature. This is an element
that needs to be embraced by the Church in this hour. The fear of the Lord is
vital when pertaining to our walk and believers embracing the lifestyle of
holiness.

 

“And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let
not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not:
for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that
ye sin not.” (Exodus 20:19-20, KJV)

 

Notice from the scriptures that Moses made a distinction between
fearing God and the fear of God. God did not create us so that He could be a
condescending, overloading ruler over powerless, needy people. He gave us
authority, and by embracing the fear of the Lord we gain access to that
authority. The fear of the Lord does not make us afraid of what God can do to us
if we disobey Him. It makes us fear Him in all of His beauty. Furthermore,
beckoning us to move closer to Him and abandoning anything that gets in the way.
With this understanding, I believe the church will be in a better, healthier
state. When we understand and walk in the fear of the Lord God is more available
to us to move in His strength.

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