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Stephen L. Bening

  • Defining Vision Of My Ministry
    The Lord And The Pyramid

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  • TODAY'S WORD
    REVISED May 26, 2016

    Welcome Newcomers! This page is Stop #1 on the newcomer's tour and some of you are probably wondering about the words I wrote on the front page of the site. Just how is the operation of the church that we see in the Earth so far removed from the intended function, design and structure as laid out by our Lord in the scripture? What are the consequences for having strayed so far away from the heavenly plan? Would the Lord really destroy the organizations that bear His name in a lost world?

    Rev. C.I Scofield wrote in his commentary on Titus 1:5 that "The eldership in the apostolic local churches was always plural. There is no instance of one elder in a local church." This is only one area where we have erred grievously. Churches today are almost always organized in one of these three manners: 1) Episcopal, 2) Presbyterian and 3) Congregational. The only really biblical form is that of the true Presbyterian: elder ruled and led. Yet Presbyterian churches today almost always elect a Senior Pastor and function more after the manner of the Episcopal. The open vision I received and will now tell you about reveals that THIS STRUCTURE ALONE is sufficient to arouse the Lord into wrath. Does your church have the position of SENIOR PASTOR? It will defile the whole lump. Does your church sign or church bulletin list one man and call him Pastor or Senior Pastor? It is enough! God can do no great miracles in such a place and divine protection is not to be expected in such a place when the day of trouble arrives!

    You are required by God to DISCERN! The Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth and will show you the correct doctrine. I am required to warn you about that which is coming upon the Earth and most disconcertingly, coming upon an unsuspecting thing that thinks it is His church.

    The Lord began revealing himself to me between 1987 and 1991, He sent me to a particular church in South Florida. There I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and very soon after that, I had my first vision. I was certain that the Lord had sent me to that church, and during my early days there, I felt that it was an almost perfect church with no real flaws. Jesus was about to reveal to me what He thought about it, and the results of that vision still shake up my world and my life.



    THE VISION:

    I was sitting in church meeting on a Sunday morning in a high school auditorium that our church rented for the purpose of holding Sunday meetings. I was in the center of about 600 people, toward the rear, and my pastor was at the pulpit: preaching.

    Now, mind you, this was all happening just as it always did, every Sunday. There was no prior warning given to me that anything unusual was about to happen. I was awake and not in vision and then suddenly, the vision started.

    First, I saw a pyramid appear over the head of my pastor at an elevation of about fifteen feet. It was hovering in the air over his head.

    Next, I saw Jesus appear. He was standing to the left of the pyramid as seen from my vantage point. He was looking kindly and gently toward me.

    After that, I saw lines appear on the pyramid and there were names on those lines, very similar to a corporate organization chart. At the top of the pyramid was the name of my pastor. Below that, in the middle of the pyramid were the names of the elders in the church. The names of the deacons were on a line at the base of the pyramid.

    Finally, a wooden club suddenly appeared in the hands of Jesus and I recognized that club. For those of you who are familiar with "The Flintstones" comic cartoon, it was identical to the club that was wielded by the "Bam Bam" character in that cartoon.

    I looked at Jesus and He looked at me and His countenance began to change. He looked at the pyramid and I could see that He had become upset and very angry. He looked back at me, pointed at the pyramid with the club and said: "I DID NOT BUILD THIS THING".

    With that, the Lord Jesus hit the pyramid with all His might, and it exploded into millions of pieces. The vision ended.

    END OF VISION



    I was totally perplexed by the vision. It came before I was aware of any prophetic call on my life. For all I knew, Jesus had sent me into this church and I had expected that it would be the best possible church to be a part of. I had never previously suspected that Jesus might be so angry with His church, let alone ready to destroy it violently. I had thought up to that moment that my church was the very best church in our area and that God was very pleased with us.

    I now realize that this was the defining vision of the ministry that I was later to receive, for I have been given the specific mission to explain to the church why Jesus is arising to destroy it as it is presently constituted in our day.

    How are we to receive and judge such a vision? Shall we evaluate it by comparing it with what almost everyone thinks is a regular, normal church? Every church is headed by a single pastor/bishop, right? Might we be so rash as to actually consult the word of God to see what the original intent for church structure might have been? I know it amounts to so much tilting at windmills, but here goes, because my Jesus is getting ready to come and begin tilting at those very windmills, and I do not doubt His ability to deal with all of them.

    Please consider the very short, direct and pertinent lessons that Our Lord tried to teach to the apostles when He was here with them on the Earth. I believe that we need to fully return to the word of God and to the instructions that Jesus gave to His apostles. How is it that we have forgotten these in our churches and have strayed so far away from the divinely mandated model of design?



  • 1) They were taught that the path to greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven was to be converted and to become as little children in all humility.

    Matthew 18:2-4
    And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.



  • 2) Only those who sought to be the least among their brethren would be regarded as the greatest in the Kingdom.

    Luke 9:48
    And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.



  • 3) That when men secretly dispute and jostle for the greatest and highest position among their brethren, the Lord will know what is in their hearts.

    Mark 9:33
    And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?



  • 4) Look out! You will be pushed and prodded by your mother or other family members to seek and lobby for the greatest positions in the church, just as the mother of James and John lobbied for her sons seats of importance with Jesus.

    Matthew 20:20-21
    Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.



  • 5) They were taught that authority in the church WOULD NOT operate as it does in earthly kingdoms, where men exercise Lordship and rule over their subjects.

    Mark 10:42-44
    But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.



  • 6) Leaders in the church are not to be benefactors of forced tribute, or recipients of earthly honor and wealth which they forcibly extract, as Kings of the Earth require of their subjects.

    Luke 22:25
    And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.



  • 7) Leaders in the church are not to sit at the table, expecting to be waited upon, but are to serve, as their Lord was among them to serve them and wash their feet.

    Luke 22:27
    For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.



  • 8) Finally, we will deal with the longest admonition last: in the Contemporary English Version. I cannot improve upon it, so here it is as my conclusion, five verses at a time for easier digestion:

    Matthew 23 (The first 13 verses)
    Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are experts in the Law of Moses. So obey everything they teach you, but don't do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else. They pile heavy burdens on people's shoulders and won't lift a finger to help. Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels for everyone to see.

    They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the meeting places. And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers. But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters. Don't call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven. None of you should be called the leader. The Messiah is your only leader.

    Whoever is the greatest should be the servant of the others. If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored. You Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses are in for trouble! You're nothing but show-offs. You lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. You won't go in yourselves, and you keep others from going in."








  • Jesus reserved his strongest condemnations, however, not for the Kings of the Gentiles who were living in His day. No, the strongest, most fire filled words were reserved for the Scribes and the Pharisees: those who were the religious leaders. These men, according to Matthew 23, loved the uppermost rooms at the feasts and the chief seats in the synagogue. They loved to be called, Rabbi, Rabbi,(teacher, teacher) in the market. They loved to wear special clothing, called Phylacteries, to draw attention to themselves that they were a noted religious leader. Luke records at the end of chapter 21 that these men loved to walk in long robes and they loved to to sit in the highest seats in the feasts and the synagogues. He also says that they devour widows' houses (take their inheritances) and that they love to make long prayers in public for everyone to see.

    These are the instructions Jesus left us. There were two situations that came up with the apostles that resulted in two sessions of instructions on the subject. These teachings are left to us in two passages in each of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is very easy to obtain the Lord's mind on these things. He was totally clear!

    Paul followed well, and left us not a single example of a church that he founded where a single elder/pastor/bishop ruled in that place. He left us no mention of church thrones or any such nonsense. Elders were always spoken of, like deacons, in the plural. This is blatantly evident in Phillipians 1:1, where multiple bishops are said to have been present in Philippi. Yet, it did not take very long for the desire of people for a king to take hold. And so it remains the case today, that men love to walk under their little popes, and pay them tithes to make them their benefactors. The day of great tribulation is almost at hand. Jesus Christ shall return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to place all of His enemies under His feet. On that day, He will war against all that carries and uses His name, but that is not of Him.

    He revealed to me in 1991 that He will smash this corporate president headed church into the dust. He showed it to me in a vision and I have done my level best to tell you about it here. I have listed it as my "Defining Vision". It is the very first link at the very top of the front page of my website. That is how important I still believe it is more than twenty years after I first received it.

    The Lord said this to me on October 15, 2009:

    "I the Lord have designed My church to suit my good pleasure, and men have departed from My wishes as they have elevated the desires of their hearts over and above the desire of My heart. They have among them men who desire to be chief, and others who wish to be like the rest of the world around them. All believers in your nation have "a pastor", and so, those for whom you intercede desire "a pastor", so as not to be peculiar in appearance. They are uncomfortable when others in their community regard them as different or strange. I the Lord have called my people to be a peculiar people, and I will abide with those who abide with Me. I will abide with the one who keeps My word and My commandments. Where the function of the church is proper, but the structure of the church is aberant, I will put upon that church no special measure of My presence and My power. As my presence is experienced in the harlot church, so will I be experienced in the church for which you intercede, for the structure alone is sufficient to defile the whole lump."

    This desire for a pastor who, like a king, will rule over the church of God, is something that is pervasive now. The people love it this way. It is into this environment that the glory of God is making an entrance. What will the result of His arrival be as He comes suddenly to His house?

    I think that all of you who are expecting that Jesus is returning as your friend should read this vision and then, pray and meditate on it. When you see Him, will He be friend or foe? Have you been a part of building His House after the pattern He left you? Or, have you been building something that He never designed. When He returns, what will He do to your works? Will He smile in approval that you have built in accordance with His instructions, or will He howl in wrath as He destroys your work with unquenchable fire, while you escape to heaven as through the flames?

    One might say, "prophet Stephen, given that every single church seems to be in trouble under your vision scenario, what should they do?" "What should I do if I am a leader of a pyramid church?" I would advise all pastor/bishop/elders who are operating in total control of all of the operations of a church to:



  • MAIN) Senior Pastor: Resign your position immediately! Demand that your church raise up and ordain a plurality of Elders. Those of you who are members of churches where one Pastor or Senior Pastor has that ruling position, or where a single Pastor is named on a church bulletin or a church sign lists a single Pastor or a Senior Pastor should insist that this un-biblical practice must be changed. Each of you must LEAVE such a church if no such change is made. It does not matter if all the function is correct and if the man or woman shares the pulpit or the decision making: the STRUCTURE ALONE is sufficient to defile the whole lump! Each and every one of you will be defiled spiritually if you do not come out of such a church and everything you do in the ministry will be defiled. God will not be able to do any great works with such a church or with any ministry that you are a leader of or a worker in. You will defile it by your presence.

    "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine, and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her." Revelation 18:4-8


  • 1) Decentralize and turn control fully over to the Holy Ghost. Pray about how to do that. Emphasize prayer. Set up prayer meetings every morning early. Teach on prayer.


  • 2) Fast and pray about the identity of the real elders in your congregation and have meetings with them frequently (weekly, monthly or bi-monthly). Plan out the preaching and the format over the coming period with the frequent participation of those elders. Share revelation with each elder before it is preached and encourage sharing and feedback. Share the pulpit. Elders and five-fold office ministers must lead in prayer. Those who lead in prayer are the leaders of the church. Get the focus off of money and on to Jesus. Chase Jesus, not money. Be sensitive where the Lord's house has been turned into a shopping mall. The true church must not have any hint of the smell of a business.


  • 3) Activate ministry in the homes and rotate the homes where home meetings are held so that all who qualify and who desire to serve are brought into function.


  • 4) Rotate the worship team. Put the Holy Spirit in charge of everything, including worship. Be sensitive when the Holy Spirit may want to take the spotlight off of one individual. Set up multiple worship teams. Send worship teams out to other churches.


  • 5) Put away the watches and the time clocks. Schedule announcements and other business at hand so that it does not grieve the Holy Spirit. Make room for unplanned songs in the worship. Make room for prophetic interruption in all meetings. Give the prophets free movement in all meetings. Take off their chains. Make room for healing and deliverance. Judge all prophecy. Make room for prophetic strangers to function in your assembly, subject to proper order and decency. All prophetic freedom must, of course, be subject to proper oversight so that divination is quashed, unstable people are given no forum and no one is permitted to usurp the authority of the indwelling Holy Spirit in the life of the individual believer through the giving of directional words that bring destructive consequences.


  • 6) Start a prophetic/gifts of the Spirit class. Train the people in how to hear the voice of the Lord. Christian International has a great curriculum for such training. Train up the young leaders and place them in position to actually use their gifts. Send that team out to other churches as the Lord opens the doors.


  • 7) In short, lop the top off the pyramid and flatten the thing out so that when Jesus comes, he does not behold a thing that looks like a Fortune 500 corporation. The true church must NOT be under the control of any one man. It must grow up into the head of the God Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, and must hold to that head.



    Another might say, "prophet Stephen, why now, after all this time, would Jesus make such a big deal out of everything you have talked about?" God has said that He will suddenly come to His temple (Malachi 3). He has also repeatedly come near to His people during certain unexpected times as well (Exodus from Egypt, Ananias and Saphira). When He comes near and comes suddenly to His temple, the glory fills the house, and then the cost of mis-alignment may be fatal. It was so for Ananias and Saphira. It need not be for us if we hearken unto the voice of the Holy Spirit who is crying out and has been crying out for many years that the Bridegroom is coming and that we need to prepare the way for Him.

    Think Now! Examine yourselves now! For things are not as you have assumed they are with Him.

    Stephen L. Bening



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