Friday, March 16, 2012

Vision of Soldier


On 9 March 2003, almost exactly 9 years ago, I saw a vision of a Roman soldier.  I believe it is as relevant today as when I saw it.

After listening to, what I considered to be a poor sermon on the need for spiritual warfare, Kobus Oosthuizen, an elder of that particular assembly in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, drove me home, where we continued fellowshipping.

As was usually the case, we randomly discussed a variety of kingdom issues, this time way into the night. We primarily spoke about our callings in Yeshua (Jesus) and the wonderful revelations and encounters we both have had, along with that of brothers and sisters in the Lord all over the world. We also briefly deliberated on what we believed He was doing in our midst or what may be unfolding in future.

Time sped by and at around 1h30 we decided to pray before parting company.  Whilst in prayer my brother-in-the-Lord suddenly addressed me saying, “You are going to see a vision.”  As he uttered those words I was already seeing it.

Standing upright, in full “battle gear,” I was observing (in an “inner” vision) a single stocky, sturdy “Roman” soldier facing me. I could see him from the top of his helmet to just below his knees. I couldn’t make out his face or see any idiosyncratic features of his person (and I do not, on reflection, believe this to be important.) The only distinctive aspect of this man was the fact that he was a soldier “dressed” in battle array.

His head gear was somehow bulkier than I had imagined it to be.  He was clothed in a thick brown, almost impenetrable leather covering, stretching all the way from his shoulders to his thighs, where it turned into leather strips (presumably, I thought, to provide legroom or freedom of movement, without which, I instantly realized, he would be unable to walk).

When I saw this covering I somehow thought of it as a “breastplate,” or upper body protection, but soon realized that it must have been something worn by all soldiers underneath a breastplate. It was of one peace, made of solid leather and slid over the persons’ head. (In view of what I am going to share next, I was of the opinion that the absence of the breastplate, and the feet and other equipment, could be as significant.)

His arms hung straight down his sides and in his hand he held a sword. This noticeably, above all else, captivated my attention—because the blade was missing. The handle of the sword and his hand was obscured from view, being covered by a rounded shield or hand guard, presumably for protection in battle. In appearance the hand shield of the sword looked like that used by shipping outlaws, as seen in drawings or movies of pirates of old. Where the blade should have extended from the sword handle, a round piece of steel of no more than a few centimeters in diameter protruded.  It appeared to be no more than 7 inches or so in length.[1] In observing this, I noticed that this odd extension didn’t line up with the center of the handle, as one would have expected. It seems to have been affixed above the center. I wondered why this was the case.

From my perspective, it seemed obvious to me that the soldier was not capable of using such an instrument resourcefully. A proper sword is a far more effective and lethal weapon.

That was all I saw.

Since it was early in the morning, way past the normal bedtime of most, I didn’t think much of it, but I briefly related what I saw both (immediately) to Kobus and his pastor the following morning, as I considered it to be relevant to his sermon of the previous evening.

What I saw, or more accurately—didn’t see!¾terribly reflects on the Scriptures, as set out in Ephesians 6.10-20:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord [given the nature of the vision I do not think this man was “strong in the Lord”] and in the power of His might [this man had been fighting his own loosing battles].  11 Put on the whole armor [some parts were missing and/or dysfunctional] of God, that you may be able to stand [he was standing, but how successfully is debatable] against the wiles of the devil.  12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  [I seriously doubt if he could defeat any of them] 13Therefore take up [apart from the helmet and broken sword, he had not taken up anything] the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all [again this was debatable], to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having girded [I saw no girding] your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate [I saw no breastplate] of righteousness, 15and having shod your feet [I saw no feet or footwear] with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16above all, taking the shield of faith [I saw no shield] with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one17And take the helmet of salvation [I saw a helmet at least!], and the sword of the Spirit [I saw a broken sword], which is the word of God; 18praying always [he was not praying or being watchful, he just stood there] with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints19and for me [in this case, the author of the vision], that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”  (Annotation and emphasis mine)[2]

On initial reflection I believed it to be significant that the breastplate had been absent and that I could not see his footwear, but reading through the aforementioned text again, I began to realize that mush more was missing (other than the helmet of salvation or, in this case, basic salvation knowledge, the condition, unfortunately, of most contemporary believers).

The whole armor was not worn.  Nothing was being done as the aforementioned text so clearly exhorts.  There was no truth or true righteousness.  The gospel of peace was not brought to people (i.e. the absence of feet, presumably because shoes or sandals were missing, and there was every indication that he was not going to engage in such activity).  Faith was non-existent, perhaps indicating that God wasn’t truly being believed and/or trusted.  It seems as if (spiritually) this person had experienced salvation but was grossly ignorant of what it meant, let alone the offensive and defensive power of particularly God’s word¾the sword—which only the Holy Spirit can truly effectively wield in our lives or in the situations we find ourselves, into which we are deliberately being led by God as a soldier enlisted in His army.  In fact, there was nothing He could use at all!

Given the aforesaid, and the fact that the man was a mature individual, the vision resembled a frightening picture.  Generally, unless clearly revealed by the Lord, one needs to diligently seek His face as to the interpretation and application of a vision in order to respond appropriately.   Through the vision I believe God was testifying to the appropriateness of the sermon subject matter—but, more importantly, that He had something far more meaningful to say—revealing the general situation not only among the flock of this particular pastor, but also the deplorable state of the body of Christ worldwide.

On the positive side, although woefully inadequately prepared, the soldier seemed to have been in battles before and more than willing to engage in future conflicts. I did not get the impression that the man was about to engage in a battle or that he had returned from one, but rather that he simply wore all he had to wear.

Could this mean that his leadership had failed him, not having supplied him with the equipment needed for battle? Or was he merely negligent and ignorant of the provision (God had already made) and of his preparedness for battle. Thinking back to what I had seen, I think both are equally applicable. Although I didn’t get this impression, it may also indicate that as a solitary individual he had discounted the effective impact of fellow soldiers in combat.

I had not been asked by the Lord to share the vision to anyone in particular at the time, but in doing so here, having been prompted to do so now, may He give insight and understanding to us all concerning this revelation.  I am positive He has spoken to others concerning warfare since and/or what needs to be accomplished now or in the days ahead.

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than others, at some future date, reporting that they had seen a vision of a mighty soldier properly attired, yielding a mighty sword in great victories.

I profoundly grateful for the vision and still view it in serious light.

May the Lord richly bless you in the battles He wants fought, with great and awesome victories, as you encounter the living God, as a fully prepared and enlisted soldier in His great army.


[1] 17.78 centimetres
[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Headaches


Standing in a typical African market in Lusaka, Zambia, chatting to two Zairians, selling their goods to the locals, I observed a black woman walking up the dirt road.

Do you see that woman,” the Lord said to me.  “Yes, Lord,” I responded.  “She is on her way to see a doctor.  She has a headache.  A demon is causing it,” He informed me.

I kept her in sight, and as she approached us, stopped her.  “Excuse me,” I said, “where are you headed?”  “I am on my way to see a doctor,” she said.  “A sangoma[1] or a medical doctor?”  I asked.  “A medical doctor.  I am a Christian,” she said.  “What is the problem,” I wanted to know.  “I get terrible headaches,” she said.

“Do you mind if I tell you what the Lord told me as you walked towards us?”  I asked.  I cannot remember her response, but proceeded to tell her what the Lord had told me.  “Do you mind if I deal with your problem?”  I asked.  She did not seem to mind.

I then addressed the demon, took authority over it, bound it and cast it out of her.  It was as simple as that.  She then proceeded towards her intended destination.

I did not see her again for months thereafter, until I eventually found out where she lived (at the bottom of the market).  Early one evening I went to see her.  She courteously and respectfully invited me into her home.  (I am always curious as to what He did, especially when he so clearly spoke about an individual and/or situation.)  She was a widow whose deceased husband had a relatively senior position in the Zambian military.  She shared the house with her children, still attending school. 

Her headaches ceased the very day God spoke regarding her condition, never to return.  She was so impressed, she eventually drove me to the school she owned to address all her pupils and took me to people with all sorts of medical and other ailments.

Having been taught by the Lord about the demonic cause of this woman’s headache, I have since cast out demons from others, similarly afflicted by them.

The second case involved a coloured couple who lived south of Johannesburg, South Africa.  They often visited the Vaal River at Vanderbijlpark, three-quarters of an hour or so further south, to spend a day along its banks simply to relax, escaping the daily grind and pressures from running their own business.

It was New Years Day.  They saw the For Sale sign at the brand new house I was house sitting and knocked on the door late that afternoon, hoping to view it before heading home.  I was reluctant to accommodate them, but when asked, discovered they were Christians, so I invited them in.

The house had been riddled with all sorts of man-made problems.  The foundations were not level.  The roof leaked, with water pouring through the ceiling and down the walls, causing the paint to peal.  All around the house damp crept up the walls, also causing the outside paint to peal.  The Christian owner could not even fit the bath-cum-jacuzzi in the main bedroom—because the walls were not square!  There were all sorts of other problems.

The owner discounted all sound advice given prior to construction.  He contracted a rogue to build him a house.  This man totally ripped him off.  Needless to say, he did not listen to God either!  Apart from an extremely poorly constructed home, he lost in excess of R 100,00.00 (monies advanced to put up the roof, when the owner visited his daughter overseas during its construction).  In addition to all of the foregoing, it was constructed over the municipal boundary lines!  It was a first class mess.

Before the house was completed God told me the owner was going to ask me to move into the property.  Moreover, that he would never move into the property and that I would be stationed there until it was sold.  This is exactly what happened.

Just about everyone who came to view the property directly (or of his or her own accord, i.e. not via a realtor) were, to my astonishment, born again believers.  Given all of the aforementioned, I knew none of them listened to Him or truly sought His face.

Not only did this generally reflect the uncommitted walk of His people with a Being they profess to know and love, they were all (almost without fail) busy building their own houses, sitting on their own thrones—rather than finding their place in His temple and functioning in it, to His glory.

I invited the couple in, made them tea, and began sharing His things with them (as well as her sister and mother, who tagged along for the day).  During the course of our conversation, I noticed from the wife’s facial expression that she was in great pain.  When asked what the matter was she said she had a massive headache.  “I will get rid of it for you,” I said, suspecting it to be caused by a demon, and said so.  She though it was a result of spiritual warfare they had engaged in at their church service earlier that day.

When they got up to leave, her mother addressed me in a challenging manner, “What about the headache?” she wanted to know.  She wanted to determine if I could back up my words, the assertion made earlier.  I politely asked her and her other daughter to step outside the house, and closed the glass sliding door behind them.  I then asked her husband to lay his hands on his wife and addressed the demons in the same fashion as described above.

I could literally see the pain leave her.  Her headache instantly disappeared!

As we exited the house, standing chatting beside their minibus, I noticed a scar on her face.  “A demon caused it,” He said.  “What happened to your face,” I enquired.  As a youngster, she got injured in a car that had overturned.  I instantly “knew” the driver was drunk.  This she confirmed.  I also “knew” the man driving the car was full of demons.

Before they departed, her husband astonished me by saying “I also had a headache.” “It developed as I sat next to you on the couch.”  “When you cast the demons out of her, my headache also instantly left,” he said.

Let me relate two more instances of people who suffered headaches.

Staying in the same poorly constructed property, I lived off a meagre, irregular monthly stipend.  Returning from friends late one evening, I pushed my luck getting home in a car, low on fuel, someone had graciously allowed me to use whilst living there.  I somehow managed to scrape home.  (No doubt, my pleading with Him helped!)  The next morning the car would not start.  I was stuck.

When a man bicycled past the property, I asked if he would mind filling a can for me at the nearest service station.  I offered to pay him for his efforts and so he set off and soon returned with 5 litres of fuel.

When I shared the gospel with him, he suddenly pulled out of his pocket a worn see through plastic bag containing an old prescription, and some pills.  He suffered from debilitating headaches, he said.  When asked how it came about, he recounted how when he sat at his kitchen table one day, blood suddenly started streaming from his nose, followed by an excruciating headache which he has had ever since and struggled with daily.

I explained that demons might be the cause of his problem, but that I cannot effectively address them unless he accepted Jesus as his Saviour.  This he did.  I then cast the demons out (as described above) and he left.

Weeks later, as I stepped outside the house, to observe gardeners and domestic workers heading home, after their daily toil, taking their usual shortcuts across the open veld (surrounding the property), on their way to their respective bus/taxi stops, I noticed this man cycling past the house.

When he saw me, he jumped of his bicycle, allowing it to hit the tar road with an almighty clatter.  Before he even addressed me, I knew his headaches were a thing of the past!  “Hau!” he exclaimed, “I told my people about this (supposedly me) powerful white man!”  I quickly corrected him!  “It is by the stripes of Jesus you were we are healed,” I said.  “He conquered Satan and all his demons, so we can be free from their evil,” I quickly added.

For moths thereafter, I wondered how he was doing.  He was nowhere to be seen.  Then, in the week before God moved me, he came running down from the opposite direction late one morning.  His already dilapidated bicycle apparently ceased functioning altogether.  He had to go to work on foot and was terribly late.

I was low on fuel again and suggested him joining me on my way to the gas station, whereupon I would drive him to his gardening job.  I had an ulterior motive.  I wanted to be sure that he was still healed and free from demons.  He was, thank God!  I dropped him off at his employer’s and have not seen him since.

The last account is of a woman, not so long ago, who worked as casual labourer for a farmer, slicing apricots to be dried and sold to a company packaging it as a component for the well-known Safari dried fruit product range.

I rented the old farmstead at a place known as Kouga Wilderness, approximately three-quarters of an hour inland from Joubertina (on route R62, towards the Kouga Mountains), in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Kouga Wilderness
The farmstead
Farmstead below mountain
(on right)

As I headed up the road for a long walk one evening, I walked past the humble building barely serving as a shelter for the labourers during the week (before being transported back to Joubertina for the weekend).  Somehow, I got talking to them as they prepared their supper.

A woman approached me, saying she suffers from chronic headaches.  I asked if she knew Jesus as her Saviour.  She did not.  I explained that I could not help her unless she had he sins forgiven, having accepted Him for who He is and what He accomplished on the cross.  I intimated that if she does so I will address the demons causing her headaches and that their departure and her healing would be proof of the reality of Jesus’ work on the cross.[2]  I assured her she would forever be freed from the headaches and the demons causing it.

I led her to the Lord in prayer and quickly got rid of the demons in Jesus’ name.  I asked her to let me know on Friday afternoon, prior to their departure for town, if she was cured.

Late that afternoon there was a knock on my door.  (I had completely forgotten about it all!)  “I just want you to know,” she said “my headaches are gone.”  I was overjoyed for her.

When I told the farmer’s wife about what He had done, she told me that she approached her for headache pills every day.  She even gave her fake medication, believing her problems to be psychosomatic.

This was definitely not the case.  For as long as I remained on the farm I regularly checked in with this woman to ensure she was free from pain.  It never returned.  In fact, it so affected others working with her, who soon learnt about what had happened, they started approaching me, through her, to find relief for their ailments (arthritic pain, etc).  God healed them also!

Before you so easily pop a headache pill next time or hand someone a pill to get rid of one, why not ask the Lord if a demon is not perhaps the cause of your, his, or her problem.  If that is the case, no pill on earth will provide an effective, lasting solution.  A cure will only be found if the root cause of the problem—the demon(s)—is addressed.

This is exactly what an elder did in a Pentecostal assembly I briefly attended.  Upon learning of my encounters with the living God solving headaches, he “took a chance” by addressing demons he thought may also afflict the wife of a prominent elder in his assembly.  She got instantly delivered and completely healed.

Had she not stood up in church one evening and testified about it, I probably never would have heard of her deliverance.

Jesus not only died for our sins, He also came to destroy the works of the devil[3] so we could be freed from their evil intent.  We do not need to pop pills for the rest of our lives to mange the pain they cause.  We need to rid ourselves from them forever.

Praise His wonderful name.

























[1] A witchdoctor working with and through demons.
[2] Hebrews 2.1-4 states, “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard [Him], 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?[2] (Emphasis mine).  This passage, together with several encounters I have had with the Lord, bearing testimony to the reality thereof, soon made me realize that whenever we share the gospel He manifests His Presence.  I have since come to expect His manifest Presence, usual through one of the gifts of the Spirit (in my case usually, “the word of knowledge”) whenever I share the gospel.  Thus my boldness in her case!
[3]For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”[3]