21st Century, authority, ekklesia, Uncategorized

On Earth as it is in Heaven

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“Coronation Mantle”, Steven Zucker, flickr.com

Sunday July 12, 2020

For most of my adult life, I’ve been perplexed or even confused by a single line in the Lord’s Prayer *  found in either Matthew 6:9-13 or in Luke 11:2-4. To put this thought in context, below is Matthew’s version quoting the words of Christ our Messiah.

“This then is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ “ Matthew 6:9-13 NIV **

What did the Lord mean when He said, “on earth as it is in heaven” ?

This question was burning inside of me when I began my fast on May 11th, 2020 in response to the local and international halting of corporate worship over the Covid 19 virus. (For those unfamiliar with the term, by ‘corporate worship’ I mean being physically present together to: sing, pray, receive Communion, speak with each other and the Lord, hear from each other and the Word, kneel, sit, stand, raise hands, give offerings and tithes, and practicing other forms of showing Our Father that He is worthy of praise and adoration.) I wondered to myself and the Lord, “If worship is disrupted on earth, in many places for the first time in over 1,000 years, does this mean that worship stopped in heaven too?”

Many answers came to me by reading and re-reading two of my all-time favorite books on prayer. The first is “Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting” *** by Derek Prince, and the second is”Ekklesia Rising” **** by Dean Briggs. For me, it’s as if the silver pen of the Holy Spirit fell from heaven into the hands of these brothers, and they started writing His hard fought revelatory lessons. Both books are the intersection of education and revelation, and are worthy of our attention!

In Mr. Prince’s book, the Lord speaks so clearly to us about Our Father’s heart for government and leadership. In the third chapter, “Praying for our Government” he starts with Scripture and ends with an unassailable statement of logic. 

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we made lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior: who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:1-4 Phillips

He contends that one of the most basic functions of any meeting of believers’ is to pray and express gratitude for our government and those in leadership because it is a clear mandate from the Bible. Yet the Body of Christ rarely practices this primary function?!Allow me a quote from Mr. Prince, “Not merely do they not pray for the government “first”, they scarcely pray for it at all!” p.49

Let’s fast forward to how he summarizes the mandate of I Timothy 2:1-4 as only a philosopher of Eton and Cambridge can?

“1. The first ministry and outreach of believers as we meet together in regular fellowship is prayer.

2. The first specific topic for prayer is the government.

3. We are to pray for good government.

4. God desires all men to have the truth of the Gospel preached to them.

5. Good government facilitates the preaching of the Gospel, while bad government hinders it.

6. Therefore, good government is the will of God.” Shaping History p.53

Let’s hold that thought while I tie it to another “big idea” from the book “Ekklesia Rising” by Mr. Briggs?

Again, he starts with the Word and builds into a logical revelation from heaven. 

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18 NIV *****

Though this is one of the most familiar passages of the Bible, Briggs points out that the word Christ used is “ekklesia” and not “kyriakon”. Why does this discrepancy in the original Greek matter so much to Briggs? It’s because words mattered to Jesus; He said what He meant, and we should settle for no less!

So what is the magnitude of this difference? What is the distance between two words with completely different connotations and meanings? Let’s see for ourselves?

Kyriakon – a compound Greek word translated from; “Kyrios”- meaning the Lord “ and “oikas” meaning house, a building. “Kyriakon” literally means the Lord’s house.

Ekklesia – a compound Greek word: “Ek” ‘out of’ and “Klesis” ‘a calling’ or “called out, separated, holy.” p.107

Though this misinterpretation already shows a major difference in meaning between ‘the Lord’s house’, and ‘the called out, separated, and holy’ there’s much more depth when Mr. Briggs zooms in on the meaning of ‘ekklesia’. A few fast facts below:

  • Ekklesia is used 115 times in the New Testament, misinterpreted 112 times as “church” and interpreted, in part, correctly 3 times as “assembly”. p. 108
  • Quoting Oskar Seyfert’s “Dictionary of Classical Antiquities”, “ekklesia was originally used to describe the assembly of the people, which in Greek cities had the final decisions in public affairs.” p.109
  • The idea of the ekklesia would already have been familiar to the Hebrew mind and the Disciples. Deuteronomy 9:10 and 18:16 used the word ‘qahal’ meaning “the day of the assembly”. p.109
  • Quoting William Barclay “New Testament Words”.

“The Septuagint…translates the Hebrew word qahal, which again comes from a root which means ‘to summon’. It is regularly used for the “assembly’ or ‘congregation’ of Israel…In the Hebrew sense it, therefore, means God’s people, called together by God, in order to listen or act for God.” For this reason, Barclay observes, “In a certain sense the word ‘congregation’ loses a certain amount of the essential meaning” because qahal  and ekklesia are both, clearly, summoned together for a purpose, rather than merely “assembling because they have chosen to come together.” Pp.109-110

Mr. Briggs wraps the chapter saying, “the ekklesia was by definition a governmental assembly”. What does Matthew 16:18 sound like with this new information?

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my ekklesia, my ‘called out, holy ones, who are summoned together by my Spirit to govern, listen and act for me, to enact, spiritually, my dominion over the authorities of earth…

and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

All this to say that when we agree in prayer with even one other person, we are authorized by the ruling council of heaven to make changes on earth. The Enemy doesn’t get to “steal, kill, and destroy” anymore without pushback. The political powers of earth must bend the knee to the will of heaven. Those that create false narratives for profit or power must redact their falsehoods before the King of the Universe, or be windmilled by their own judgments and misbeliefs. 

We have an action plan. We have unbreakable hope. We get to invite the place where everything works into the dysfunction of our nation or neighborhood; our family or tribe because we are summoned to do so by G-d. We get to be the “deciders” and the “inviters” of His will; “on earth as it is in heaven”! 

** https://www.biblehub.com/matthew/6-9.htm

*** Prince, Derek. “Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting”. Old Tappan, N.J., F.H. Revell 1973.

**** Briggs, Dean. “Ekklesia Rising the Authority of Christ in Communities of Contending Prayer”. Kansas City, MO.,Champion Press. 2014.

***** https://biblehub.com/matthew/16-18.htm

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21st Century, Faith, G-D, Governors, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, law, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Uncategorized, worship

Open Letter to my Pastor and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

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Please pray for me to stay centered in the Lord. I wake up most days with a sense of heaviness for our state that has publicly weighed the expression of our worship as “non-essential”. Though I know that we serve a Savior that is omnipresent, I feel remorse that we have not responded in grace and truth to the governor, and his limitations imposed on every house of worship. Where is the masculine leadership of the Church of Minnesota to kindly, respectfully, but firmly stand up to the notion that taking communion, common prayer, common worship and fellowship is as valueless to our society as pumping gas?
He is our fuel! He is our grocery store! He is the department store for our spirit! He is worthy of the respect shown to Holiday, Cub, Target, and Walmart. Lord, if Gov. Walz is truly and sincerely acting from a place of benevolence, why is there no public recognition of the sacrifice of the Church of Minnesota? Why hasn’t our Governor made statements to assure our houses of worship that they will fully retain their inalienable freedoms of religion? Where is the law or precedent that a Governor can regulate, monitor, or insert state controls on the practice of our faith and worship?
If you know the answers to any of these questions, please tell me. My understanding of our law is that it based on the idea of apportionment, the idea that we can and should expect an even and proportional application of the law. Does this mean we can expect Walmart to limit itself to 10 shoppers at time like our cathedrals and large sanctuaries? Will G-d’s house be limited to 10 guests at a time irregardless of size? Shall all food sales, whether packaged or fresh or fast foods be restricted like a communion served only through a table at the door?
What about the spiritual ramifications of touch: in prayer? in baptism? in marriage? in mourning? Are the expressions of our humanity less valued if they come in the Name of the Lord than our neighbors who handle sod, install doors, or serve  coffee? Must we wear PPE to remain human?
It seems that these issues all hinge on choice and responsibility. If Governor Walz is the arbiter of health, then it follows logically that we are not responsible for our own health, and the state must make choices for us. Yet, for 244 years, the opposite is the norm.  We have the precedent given us by the 9th and 14th Amendments to retain choices not expressly given to the Federal or State governments.
 “In sum, the Ninth Amendment simply lends strong support to the view that the “liberty” protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments from infringement by the Federal Government or the States is not restricted to rights specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments.” Cf. United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75, 94–95.
Lord, come stand between us and Governor Tim Walz. You have made him our legal authority whom we esteem, honor, and regard. Will You resolve this painful issue between the worshippers of Minnesota, and our Governor? We do not wish to become outlaws, but we must not fail by ceasing to worship You. We need You for our survival! We need Your Body for our survival! Come Lord Jesus; show us again that worship is essential!
“…Therefore love truth and peace.”  Zechariah 8:18
J.D. Orvis         Pray Through History
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21st Century, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Worship is “essential”!

Lord, currently I’m sitting by the liftbridge over the St Croix River in downtown Stillwater, MN. My heart is so heavy. I need a place of tranquility like this to pause and listen to what’s on Your Mind for the North Star State.

9:22AM Stillwater Lift Bridge A symbol that connections need not be rigid.

I began my fast this morning to call the Church to pray. Since March 13, 2020, all houses of worship of all faiths of Minnesota have been closed. Our Governor, Tim Walz, declared a state of “peacetime emergency” in response to the Wuhan pandemic. While I support his initial response to Covid-19, I do not understand or endorse the total ban on all of our normal expressions of worship.

Though I am committed to the way of Christ, my heart aches for those Jewish neighbors blocked from Pesach or Passover, Muslims blocked from kneeling together for Ramadan, just as my spiritual family suffered an Easter without the Last Supper, and the healing fellowship of our brothers and sisters. While quarantines do have precedent in our State’s history, the shut-down of the Church and all houses of worship, including their physical and collective acts of worship is unprecedented! Dear Governor, we love you, and need you to survive, but this is killing us inwardly, crushing our free religious choices, and limiting our own decisions to risk getting a flu versus meeting with Our Father.

Dear Governor, we kindly, respectfully, but resolutely dissent! I respectfully but firmly disagree that Covid-19 “social distancing” necessarily trumps our freedom of religion. I respectfully and firmly call the Church of Minnesota to fast and pray with me until the complete and uninhibited restoration of our “inalienable” rights are restored. I call members of all faiths to join me in this “Holy Protest”.

So we find ourselves in the same conflict as generations of the faithful. We have been served with an avoidable and unnecessary ultimatum; “Social distance, halt worship, or become an outlaw.” About two millennia ago, the Apostles found themselves embroiled in a similar controversy; “Why do our beloved brothers now consider us enemies?” In Acts 5:28,29 we see this conflict in early Church history.

“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us responsible for this man’s blood.” 

29 But Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. 

There surely must be a way to resolve this! We can afford our Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, and Temples the same courtesy to remain open as Target or Wal-Mart! Let us fast and pray to the One until then. We must not fail to meet with G-d for He is worth it! Dear friends, old and new, let us declare to the ages; “Worship is essential!”

James D. Orvis – Pray Through History – May 11, 2020 – Iyar 17, 5780

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