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Prophecy: God's Presence As A Provider Of Refuge-Part 1
February 9, 2016

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The Bible introduces the God of Israel to the reader before there is any hint that a nation of Israel will ever appear. God is presented as creator of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible. God has a man, named Adam, but that man and his wife suffer a great falling away from the idyllic life of God's provision in the Garden. Man then is presented to us, from generation to generation, as enduring life in a fallen world and suffering many things that seem very similar to those difficulties and calamities that we must deal with today. Seven generations in to this creation, we find a man, Enoch, of whom it is said that he walked with God, and was not. We are not given the slightest glimpse as to just what that walk with God availed Enoch of on the Earth. Noah arose three generations later and had divine communication that enabled him to construct an Ark so that he might escape from a flood that God had forewarned him of. Still, Noah had to do the work to build that Ark and stock it with supplies. God had not bared his holy arm in the sight of men just yet.

God did move supernaturally to destroy the tower of Babel and Sodom in the Genesis story, yet we wonder who the witnesses were who survived these calamities? Would those witnesses have subscribed those disasters to the actions of an offended Holy God? We have no problem ascribing them in just such a manner, yet just how many witnesses were there to these destructive events? We do not really know. It seems likely that, once again, God probably hid his direct supernatural involvement. God begins to get Himself a people with Abram, later named Abraham in the twenty first generation from Adam and we have detailed stories that stretch through Jacob, later named Israel, in the twenty fourth generation. Still, these men endured many hardships. Abraham had to endure invasion and then fought a war to recover those things the invaders had stolen. Apart from the supernatural assistance that Sarah received in the conception of Isaac, we do not find many creative miracles. Jacob endured terrible grief as his son Joseph was sold into Egyptian slavery. God did not intervene to prevent these hurts or soften the blow of suffering in any way until Jacob received Joseph back, as it were, from the dead. Certainly, the fifty chapters of Genesis present us with stories of the help God gave to his early followers and believers, yet in most cases, these believers endured the normal hardships that people must face as we go through life in a fallen world. We have few stories of dramatic miraculous deliverance from trouble or resurrections from the dead in Genesis. We have not yet fully met the supernatural God at this point.

God begins the process of introducing man to His supernatural attributes very early in the book of Exodus. We meet the burning bush in chapter 3 and by chapter 14, we have read some incredible stories of how God inserted a cloud and a pillar of fire in between the Israelites and the Egyptians. God has now actively intervened to fight for Israel and He continues this work as He literally splits a body of water into two parts and allows His people Israel to pass through the seabed as if it were dry ground. God quickly uses the withdrawal of this supernatural enablement as a method with which to judge the Egyptians. The law of Moses is then introduced, which as we know, no man could ever fully keep. Yet, fully part of that covenant are the ideas that God has promised to heal all the diseases of the Israelites. He promises to be their ever present help in time of need and assures them in the Psalms that He is a refuge and a fortress. We are taught that our God is trustworthy to provide protection from all sorts of troubles that are common to worldly men. We then continue on to Exodus 32 and 33, where we begin to find material for the thesis of my arguments as the Lord is pressing them out of me just now. To cut it short, Israel goes a whoring after idols in chapter 32. In 33, God drops the hammer on Israel: He instructs them to depart, but then He tells them that He cannot go with them. He will send His angel instead. Moses and Israel mourned at this news and considered it to be evil tidings. Moses departs, but only somewhere up the hill with the tent of meeting, which he moves outside the camp. The cloud of God's presence then descends upon the tent and Moses, through intercession, persuades God to relent and to accompany Israel still further in their journey. God tells Moses in verse 14: "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." Here, we discover that God's presence will depart, even from Israel, if Israel indulges in idolatry and harlotry, but fervent intercession or repentance may be able to reverse the evil tidings. Physical defilement is shown to have spiritual consequences. Moses and Israel had already seen that when God was with them with His presence, they had full protection and deliverance from their enemies. They did not want to find out what might transpire without His abiding presence in their midst.

Those of us who have gone to bible study after bible study in the churches that are known as "full gospel" have been taught all of these bible promises: we have been taught to "work the word"; believe God for our healing and trust in God for our supernatural provision and protection. We have also found, for the most part, that something is wrong; something is broken; something is not working as we are told that it should in the church. There is a short: a power outage in the church. The denominational churches simply ignore these scriptural promises. Their adherents are left to ponder whether God really ever did anything supernatural. Perhaps the writers of the Old Testament books were simply engaging in hyperbole? Or perhaps these miraculous deliverances were only to be performed by God for a limited time and we are now left to fend for ourselves. But the "full gospel" adherents are not without blame either, for they teach these things as reliable and trustworthy, and yet, their many failures are not discussed and as it were, are swept under the rug. So today, all of us are left to wonder why?

I have had many experiences with the presence of God since my calling by God to the office of prophet in June, 1992. But, I have also had many questions. I am only now in possession of sufficient experience that I might begin to write about these things. The presence of God, as it is experienced by the Christian disciple, is a very personal thing. As such, it is only natural that each individual believer will experience these things in a very subjective manner. I have ministered with many others and have discussed these things with others and so, there are some common elements where God allows his disciples to recognize that He is present. 1) An "electric chill" that covers the hands, arms, back of the neck and head when the hands are raised in worship, 2) a feeling of peace and 3) a sudden joy. There are other sensations that I have experienced that are less common: 1) Fire emitted from the hands and fingers, 2) A burning or heat sensation in the hands or feet and 3) a very light cloud of mist. These experiences have taught me certain lessons that are similar to the lesson Moses learned in Exodus 33. I witnessed a total removal of God's presence from a church where I was one of the song leaders of worship. I was then led to leave that church for that reason and two weeks later, the Lord informed me that I would have been spiritually defiled had I remained in that church. Two years later, I discovered that the pastor had been in fornication with one of the female church members at the time when I experienced the departure of the presence of the Lord from the church. So, even in these New Testament days, idolatry, harlotry and filthiness in the life of one leader can have spiritual consequences that can affect a whole church.

God had begun teaching me about the power of His presence many years earlier in 1991, directly after I was baptized by the Holy Spirit. Then, a few years prior to the event described above, God began "flashing" His presence: coming and going as I was leading worship from the platform. I was terrified when it began happening as, quite naturally, my first assumption was that I must have some problem or controversy with God for Him to "flash" His presence. I inquired of God and He revealed to me that when He would "flash" His presence in that way, He was delivering a warning similar to a flashing yellow light. Many Sunday afternoons and Friday nights, I would lift my hands during worship and feel Him depart during one song, only to feel Him return on the next. I would then go home, feeling great concern and lift my hands, only to find that His presence was strong and steady upon me at home. Through this, I came to realize that it was the church that had the controversy with God and not me personally. I described above that the final result came with a total removal of God's presence from that church and God did this because of the actions of one man: the Senior Pastor! God had only one recourse for me: I had to leave to avoid defilement.

A few years after this, I was in Kenya, during 2005, doing many meetings and outreaches. One meeting was held in a private home with about forty souls present. There was worship and two pastors spoke before I was asked to take over the meeting. This worship and the preaching of two men lasted more than and hour and a half! There was absolutely no presence of God that I could discern through the entirety of the meeting up until that point and it seemed that not a single one of the ministers and none of the attendees were bothered by that fact. So when it came to me to take over the meeting, I informed the group of our problem and told them that I could not minister without the presence of God being manifest, and that He had not been manifest at all up until that point. So, I directed them to pray. I quickly had a vision of a bull, standing in the middle of the room, dripping blood from a knife slit that stretched across the neck. I asked the owners of the home about it, but they said that they had owned the home for forty years. They were very upset with me, indignant, and said they had never engaged in any sacrifice to the ancestor gods. I asked if there were any aged people living nearby and I was told of a woman, above ninety, living a few huts to the South. She was brought to the meeting, where she revealed that fifty years prior, she witnessed a sacrifice of a black bull in the empty lot where this present house had later been built. I instructed the pastors to go the four corners of the property, anoint it with oil, and we broke the curses against that property in the name of Jesus. We then returned to the meeting and recommenced it. The presence of God was now with us in a very strong way. I then told the owners of the home, by word of knowledge, that for forty years, they had never had any peace in that house; they had been unable to pray or study the word of God there; they had been in constant fighting and bickering and that their children had been rebellious. I then began to preach. I realize today, as I write this, that all of these problems and more can result when we try to serve the Lord but we are doing it without His presence. This is one of the primary reasons for ministerial burnout.

I have also learned that God's presence and our knowledge of how He pours this presence out upon His disciples can be very helpful in ministry situations. I discovered, for example, that I can lift my hands over this computer screen while I am writing this article to determine just how pleased the Spirit of God is with my work so far. I have, many times, done much work of editing to previous articles because the presence of God was simply not strong enough to convince me that God was pleased with the work. Likewise, I have employed this as a method during prayer for individuals. I have lifted my hands over the hands or head of one for whom I am praying and if no presence is discerned, the problem usually is the result of unconfessed sin. I have seen such persons turn to confess their sin to someone whom they have chosen and then return for prayer, with a measure of the presence of God then restored to them. I have learned that to pray for such a person where no presence of God rests upon them is a waste of time.

Still, I have had many questions about the intricacies and implications of this. God gave me my "defining vision" in 1991, where Jesus came to strike the Senior Pastor controlled pyramid church. So, I have been warning all of the churches of my generation, with no success, that they need to level out the top of the pyramid. This is a very serious warning that God gave me via open, Ezekiel style vision, yet I have felt the presence of God many times in churches where a Senior pastor controlled much of what was being done there in the ministry. And so, I have wondered about this for many years: this has really puzzled me. Why would God indicate to me that the Senior Pastor system was such a serious problem that He will one day destroy it and then, tolerate it for the purpose of allowing believers in such churches to experience His presence? I obtained the answer in 2009 when I was in prayer after an elder, who desired the preeminence, took the position of Senior pastor in a church where I was one of four elders who had previously shared authority equally. The Lord spoke this to me at that time:

"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 aberrant, 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."

I was taking dictation from the Lord when He spoke this word to me, and I draw the readers attention to this one line: Where the function of the church is proper, but the structure of the church is aberrant, I will put upon that church no special measure of My presence and My power." Notice what the Spirit is saying here: there are measures and there are special measures of God's presence and God's power. God has revealed in the book of John, chapter 3, that the Spirit was given to Jesus WITHOUT MEASURE. Jesus told me, in this word, that He has given a measure of the Spirit to the harlot church, but Jesus was saying that a special measure of His presence is necessary for there to be protection and deliverance for a body of believers.

This is why the "Defining Vision", accessible on the top of the Home page of this website, is so important for you to read and to understand. We have entered into a time where the double judgements are about to commence. These will fall upon the harlot church and the presence of a single, controlling pastor is sufficient to defile a church to such an extent that no special measure of God's presence will rest upon that church. In short, to have refuge: to have GOD AS YOUR FORTRESS, you must have more than God's discernible presence. You must have a SPECIAL MEASURE of God's presence. We are in a time when God's people are going to have to have refuge from the troubles that are about to fall upon our nation and upon the world. The only refuge will be God's Special Measure of His presence where He will manifest protection, deliverance and provision: God will meet every need of such a remnant. This is why the call of the Holy Spirit to increased holiness and separation from the perversion of this world has been so strong during the last year. We must come out of her! We must separate ourselves from this perverse generation and come up higher, so that God might overshadow us with this special measure of His presence and that we might have protection from trouble in our time of need.

Come quickly Lord Jesus!

This is part 1 of the series "God's Presence As A Provider Of Refuge". Part 2 may be found at Prophecy: God's Presence As A Provider Of Refuge-Part 2

Stephen L. Bening

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