Report From The Tower
May 17, 2008
We have moved into Day 44 of the “LAKELAND OUTPOURING”. The leaders of it are calling it the greatest revival to ever come to planet Earth.
By now, I am quite sure there are many simple believers who are quite confounded and who simply cannot understand how all these things can be. Many probably don’t know what to do or think.
On the one hand, there are all of these glowing testimonies of seven resurrections of the dead that have been claimed by the leaders of these meetings as being somehow connected with them. There are the multitudes of reports of healings. Many people go there and testify that the presence of God seems to be there. I went, and I gave that testimony in my article on April 27th.
On the other hand, there have been many excellent articles about the demonic associations, female angels, untested angelic visitations, tattoos of Todd Bentley and the like. The past “defrocking” of Bob Jones by Vineyard Fellowship for sexual misconduct has been documented. There are reports that some of the miracles seem to be temporary, and fade away, over time, only to result in a worsened condition for the one who was supposedly healed. There are no authentications of the miracles, as yet. Jesus, in Luke 5:14, sought authentication of the healing of a leper by the high priest. There are no .pdf files of death certificates, or notarized statements from medical doctors that have reached me as yet that would document these miracle claims.
There was, most recently, today’s article by David Eells, found at:
on the association of Revival Spirits with Eastern Religion and Kundalini Yoga. I regard that one as the most exhaustive yet, and the best at articulating what is happening at this time. That is a very special article. You can find these articles and others on Watchmen Prophets Assembly, at Yahoo Groups. I have also criticized many aspects of these meetings, and I have been praying that the doorways that have been opened to the devil would be closed.
These demonic doorways have not been closed, but have been opened further.
Yesterday, I was crying out to the Lord, and pouring out my heart concerning all of this. Is there another way; a simple way, after all, to discern whether we should stay away from these meetings? Or, do we each have to become an expert who is studied approved in scripture? Do we have to become an expert in tattoos and their meanings, or an expert in the manifestations of Kundalini Yoga? Will all of those who simply love Jesus be deceived by this? It certainly appears to be utterly deceptive.
You may not be able to follow some of what has been written by those of us who have found fault with these meetings. Their writing, and all the scriptural references, may give you a headache, and you may feel that you are not qualified to make a decision on these types of things. But, there is always a way. God will always make a way for His little ones to quickly discern the truth if you have, that is, received a love of the truth.
I believe the Lord showed me that He has made a way for those simple believers who love Him to know what to do:
…………….IS THE GOSPEL BEING PREACHED?
……………….That is the question to be asked!
That is the absolute necessity. There is no way to steer around it. I noted in my visit to Lakeland on April the 25th that the gospel was not preached. There was no preaching of the gospel of repentance. There was only a one line prayer of “Lord, forgive us of our sins.”
Since that time, I have watched many times on internet TV, and I have not yet seen or heard the gospel preached. THE GOSPEL MUST BE PREACHED! THIS IS NOT AN OPTION.
This is how the unlearned and untaught, and the young Christian may know for sure that they must avoid these meetings. Please consider this carefully. These meetings in Lakeland are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! It is very likely that unsaved people are wandering in. This is not a Wednesday night prayer meeting at church. This is OUTREACH, and many of those who are attending are lost, and have never repented of their sins, and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and His atoning sacrifice for their sins.
Ask yourself this question: Would Jesus lead men who are supposedly His followers and ministers to hold meetings, open to the general public, televise them worldwide, and not REQUIRE that they preach the gospel?
PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL IS A REQUIREMENT
I begin my scriptural proof now of that which I have asserted above as I wish to leave no doorway open to the enemy. There will be no wiggle room here, for the word of God slams the door with finality on meetings of this type.
We begin with a consideration of Luke 7:20
20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.
22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
Just as many are questioning and wondering about Todd Bentley, John was feeling the same way about the ministry of Jesus. Jesus DID draw attention to the miracles as proof of authenticity, but He added one more proof: that the gospel was being preached to the poor.
Why the poor? Well, to preach to the rich, a man might have an impure motive. But, to preach to the poor, and to raise the ministry up in Galilee, and to come forth out of the despised place of Nazareth, and to begin His preaching among the poor of Capernaum, Jesus gave that as the final proof of the authenticity of His ministry.
All of this came about because of the prophecy of Isaiah the prophet. The ministry of the messiah had to have these certain prophesied elements, as spoken by Jesus at the outset of His ministry, as recorded in Luke 4:18, and earlier found in Isaiah chapter 49:
1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
The phrase “preach good tidings unto the meek”, from Isaiah, is rendered “preach the gospel to the poor” by Luke.
And so, we conclude that the mere performance of miracles would not have been sufficient proof of authenticity of the ministry of Jesus, to the prophet John. Jesus had to have demonstrated that He had preached the gospel unto the poor and that He had proclaimed good tidings unto the meek. Without this proof, Jesus could not have been the messiah. John would have been right to expect another.
The mere performance of extravagant miracles was not enough. The gospel had to be preached to the poor, from the outset.
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
We are told by Luke in chapter 7 that Jesus had already preached the gospel to the poor by that time. What had he preached? In Luke, chapter 4, we are told that Jesus had just come out of the desert temptation and had completed His time of fasting. The first records of it are found in Luke 4:14-15:
14 ¶ And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
So, from the outset, he was not generally known, or perhaps more accurately stated, primarily known as a miracle worker, but as a TEACHER. Hence later, he was called “Rabonni”, or teacher, by His disciples.
We are also told something important, from Luke 5:1, about the main reason why people were coming to see Jesus:
1 ¶ And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
People were coming from all the surrounding regions to hear the word of God. Later, some were rebuked by Jesus, and He said they would not believe unless they saw signs. Others were rebuked because they were coming to witness a miraculous feeding similar to the feeding of the 5,000 or the 4,000. The people were being drawn to Jesus to hear the WORD OF GOD.
Why are people going to Lakeland? Are they going to hear the great teaching of the word of God? Are they going to hear the preaching of the gospel? Is brokenness and repentance breaking forth?
We are told about the content of the early teachings of Jesus in Matthew chapter 4:17:
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Jesus maintained, very early on, that the preaching He was doing was not simply a good idea, or an option. In Luke 4:43, he says:
43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
And, in Luke 5:32, he clearly stated his main ministry purpose:
32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
SIGNS CONFIRM THE GOSPEL
This is perhaps the most telling part of what I am going to present. The last verse of the gospel of Mark has this to say:
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 ¶ So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Do you notice the last verse, number 20? The purpose for the signs following was that they would confirm the preaching of the word that had already gone forth. The preaching of the word must go forth. This is not optional. And that preaching must call the sinner to repentance.
THE GOSPEL MUST COMPEL REPENTANCE
We have already demonstrated how Jesus began by preaching repentance. This must have greatly assured John, for John went forth, demanding that the people must bring forth fruits of repentance, as we find in Mathew 3:3-4
1 ¶ In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Later on, when Jesus had returned to heaven, we find the first preaching of the gospel, by the disciples, and we see what it contained with it in Acts 2:
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 ¶ Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
You see, a great many things may be said when we are preaching. We may tell many stories, and give many testimonies, but it must come down to the result that the hearer must experience a brokenness. There must be the very present terror of still being in our sins before a God who is a consuming fire. Then, repentance must be preached.
PREACHING WAS THE METHOD, CHOSEN BY GOD, TO SAVE
Men may tell you there are other ways, but when you seek to verify the matter in the word of God, there is simply no way of getting around it. The gospel must be preached in order for men to be saved. This is the method that has been chosen by God. The mere appearance of signs and wonders will not save anyone. Consider this passage from 1 Corinthians 1:
17 ¶ For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
We hope that the Spirit of God will help you to clearly see that we are not allowed, when holding meetings of public outreach to the unsaved, to omit the preaching of the gospel. It is the ONLY means by which they may be saved, as is clearly stated in verse 21 above. Yes, I know: to many of you, the preaching of the gospel seems like so much foolishness, and you feel that you have “graduated” on to other things. BEWARE! You are in danger of being deceived. We are never to graduate from the preaching of the gospel. This was the primary purpose we have been left to walk this Earth after the day of our salvation. We have a great commission to fulfill, and it was given by our Lord, and Master, Jesus Christ.
Has Matthew 28 gone out of vogue?
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
THE TESTIMONY OF PAUL
Paul did not regard the preaching of the gospel as an option either, as we find in 1 Corinthians 9:16
16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
I am a prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I have loved to seek out the deep things of God during my 21 year walk with Jesus as a born again believer. Before that time, I learned about Him in Sunday School. But at that time, I was born again, because the gospel was preached to me. I knew there was a hell to shun, and I was headed straight toward it, unless I repented of my sins, and called upon the name of the Lord Jesus. I love revival, and I yearn for a genuine outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I love miracles, but I have always loved to preach the gospel, especially to the poor and to the captives in prison, because in doing so, I have been walking in the footsteps of Messiah. I have been winning souls, and in doing so, I have been wise.
We are constantly ordered in the New Testament to hold to the head, which is Christ Jesus. We are advised to not allow these things, pertaining to our salvation, to slip. We are warned about the deceitfulness of sin, and the absolute deception of the deceivers who have come and who are still coming.
Why are we not hearing these warnings today? Sin is still utterly deceitful, is it not? Why does one have to listen to an audio bible recording to hear the straightforward teaching against sin that demands repentance, and that fruit pertaining to repentance must be brought forth.
The believer who is a new believer, one who is not yet studied approved, should ask this one question about anything and everything he or she is hearing in this day:
……………WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE GOSPEL?
If we cannot directly connect the things that are presently transpiring with the preaching of the gospel of repentance from sins, and our need to baptized for the remission thereof, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit, then we should simply step away from and avoid any and all spiritual manifestations. All things must be related to the gospel. All things must point to the preeminence of Jesus Christ.
Oh, how I would love it if they would begin to preach the gospel of repentance from sin and teach the word of God at Lakeland. But, it is now 44 days and counting. I have been praying, and waiting, and still, I have not seen it. Not only have they refused to repent, but they have justified it, in writing, that they do not need to preach the gospel. They believe signs and wonders are enough.
Now, it is up to you. Those of you, who have been attending and watching these events in Lakeland: You have now been appointed as a watchman.
Watch and see: Is the Gospel being preached? You be the judge. Then, take action. You can no longer plead ignorance. You have been warned. Your eternal soul may hang in the balance.
Stephen L. Bening
HUNDREDS OF CONFIRMING PROPHETIC VOICES
(For example: Position your mouse cursor over California on the map, and click to see a page of California Earthquake Prophecies)
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" Matt 4:4
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