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  1. Michael says:

    So…the last year has been challenging and fascinating at the same time.

    I’ve presented in depth studies of the books of Daniel and the Revelation in my church.

    I’ve also been on heavy painkillers for the last four months.

    My mind is often dulled by pain and painkillers alike….I don’t have much to work with when I’m healthy…

    I say all this to preface where I’m at spiritually…because I believe God is “revealing” things to me (things that have always been there, I just was unable to see them) and He is giving me a sense of urgency to speak to those things revealed.

    I have been deeply impressed by the following;

    The warning to the seven churches were real threats…and they are real threats to the church today.
    Jesus has left many places that continue on the basis of personality and entertainment value.

    Judgment begins in the house of God…the culture gets it in the end.

    The greatest threat to the church is deception and deception in the church and culture is growing exponentially.

    Christians today are very easily deceived…they want things to be set right so badly they are willing to believe in people who are simply using them to grow their own kingdoms, particularly politically.

    We have to set the bar biblically high for truth…and I think we’re running out of time to do so.

    These things are keeping me up nights…

    Is God really speaking to me or do I need to sleep it off?

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    You may need more sleep, but I don’t think it is affecting your judgment. The deception is real and is growing and the end goal of the deception is the acquisition of power. In terms of the church, this is, of course, the exact opposite of the mandate we have received in the Gospels. What is truly worrying is that Christians seem to be inviting the deception.

    For my sins, I am reading the three volumes by Evans on the history of the Third Reich. In good measure, the German church welcomed the deception. They believed that the end justified the means. In the process, truth was left far behind. Those who resisted the deception went into exile, either literally or figuratively. All that mattered was power. This may be the heresy of our age…

  3. Michael says:


    Thank you.
    This “revelation’ seems to be an extension of my understanding that Jesus conquered by suffering and death…and we who follow him “conquer” with the same tools…

    Christians are deceived into thinking that secular power will achieve spiritual goals…and then when they have the power forget the goals in favor of just power.

    I’ve got that book qued up on Audible, but fear nightmares…

  4. Alan says:


    We have seen these things seeping from you and they are coming like rhema to borrow a charismatic usage. God is speaking to and through you. The pain has a sacred function. These things are vastly important.

    My history prof saw this day in the 70s as he was warning of a coming day when we would be so weary with the chaos we will pray for monstrous leaders to save us.

    That day is at the door. We demonize people so much that we can justify any remedy.

    Cry aloud friend.

  5. Michael says:


    Thank you…it means much to hear this from you.

    The Lord brought to my remembrance chastening words from you…I’ve spoken too much as a man with disdain for people and churches…these truths have to be spoken from a love for the church and deep concern for His people…which I am recovering daily.

    I’ll speak, but with a heart open for correction…He speaks to many who are willing to hear.

    Yes, that day is upon us…God help us all…

  6. Alan says:

    Yes much chastening has come from heaven to myself as well. On different grounds but clearly.

  7. Jean says:

    In Matthew, in a discourse about mission, Jesus said:

    “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭24‬-‭25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    In addition to auditing one’s church according to the characteristics of the 7 churches in Revelation, one might ask: Are we discipling our members (and ourselves) to be “like” Jesus? He says it is enough. In what ways are disciples of Jesus to be like him?

    I don’t think a church anywhere on earth could persist as a “mega church” were these words of Jesus to be taken seriously.

  8. Michael says:


    I suppose it would be possible in a mega-church if the church had a large staff of equipped staff and volunteers.

    My big issue is that the teachings to truly disciple people do not draw crowds and are meant to cause real inner conflict with those who are not really following Jesus.

    Teaching biblical ethics, concepts, and behaviors will thin the herd…and that is unacceptable.

  9. Jean says:

    You make valid points. I was thinking about it from the perspective of the suffering that comes also from the outside to those who are discipled to be like Jesus, e.g., compassionate and merciful towards sinners, and maligned for confessing Jesus (and his teaching) as the exclusive means of reconciliation with God.

    Most people don’t want to deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow Jesus.

  10. Shawn says:

    May the same fire that ignited the prophets of old set it’s flame in you. Their message was more often than not a mingling of harshness and hope addressed to God’s people. God does not change, so to borrow your line, make your own application…

  11. Michael says:

    “Most people don’t want to deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow Jesus.”

    I’m not sure anyone wants to…the degree to which we are able to do so is wholly dependent on the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

    I prefer hedonism…but I have been taken captive…

  12. Michael says:


    I think there was a place for being harsh…much of the OT is brutal…but is usually a response to the fact that love failed to move the needle.

    I was mostly retired from what made this blog …notorious. Health and family matters took my time and energy…I suppose if the Lord wants me to do something, He’ll provide what is needed.

  13. Michael says:

    Linda Ronstadt turned 77 today…never have I been as smitten as my 15 year old self was with her…

  14. LInn says:

    Two great videos about Linda Ronstadt (if you haven’t seen them yet):

    Linda Rondstadt and the Mockingbirds (a children’s musical group she takes to sing in Mexico)
    The Sound of My Voice

    They are both excellent!

  15. Pineapple Head says:

    Linda was a force! She now suffers from progressive supranuclear palsy. Amazing to think how someone so powerful in voice and spirit has become very quiet and physically limited. Such a reminder that our strength is only for a short time.

  16. Shawn says:

    The letters to the seven churches are, in my estimation, not much different than the message of the OT Prophets. Your post at the top of this thread only serves to illustrate that mostly retired is not the same as fully retired from. As God wills he gives strength. Hopefully he will guide you through an exploration of the seven churches. But even more so for taking care of your family. Trust me when I say I know about the place where time and energy goes.

    A quick illustration: I aleays find God’s timing interesting to say the least. When I decided to move to South Carolina to attend seminary the president voluntarily stepped down. He was not wrapped in any scandal that I was aware of. Two years earlier I met him at an ABHE conference in Orlando. In the few moments we shared I was struck by his genuineness and wisdom. I had hoped to study under him before leaving to the mission field. I would never took a single class with him. The reason he stepped down was to take care of his wife Muriel. Yet, his absence taught me a greater lesson that I still admire and apply to this day, much as you do with your family. I learned that taking care of a small tribe or even your ailing wife or your family was and is both honorable and God honoring.

    I will pray that whatever sliver of strength and energy you may have left will be judiciously split between caring for cats, this blog, and the letters to the seven churches. Lol. Keep on, brother!

  17. Alan says:

    When I was pastoring I taught the seven letters as the foundational preaching of New Testament revival. A new covenant brings new and better promises and releases a prophecy that is based upon those things.

    The Torah prophets had their standard… the law was the basis of the work of the prophets. They were in essence prosecuting attorneys. Their mandate was always fixed; calling Israel to fidelity to YHWH via alignment with Torah. Their revelatory function was in the timing and precise nature of God’s remedy. II Chron 7:14 clearly applied to them but fails in its application to us.

    The ‘heal you land’ promise of that text had application to Israel. When it gets applied to us it reinforces nationalism. It makes us sick instead of well.

    The 7 letters messages were written to the Jew/Gentile churches of Asia Minor. Words from the risen Christ to his churches. Michael is rising like a new covenant prophet to refocus his work in these latter days.

  18. Michael says:


    I will search out your teachings on this…I always find you helpful on these matters.

    This morning I feel a sense of urgency/terror…my body feels like an enemy to my mind.

    I’ve spoken here of the seven churches and of deception…the third component (I will speak for myself) is the supernatural…in particular, the demonic and angelic.

    The modern mind is taught to neuter such thoughts…we do not give a pause when Daniel tells us that every “nation” has both angelic and demonic forces assigned to to their leaders…surely this is the speech of ancient mythology…and evil grins and carries on it’s work.

    We ignore Paul’s talk of ‘powers and principalities” while the powers and principalities target our children…and take them while we discuss legislation.

  19. Alan says:

    I don’t think those old messages exist in my youtube history. I cannot even find them on my computer. But you’re on track.

  20. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    for powers and principalities discussion in the Pauline literature G B Caird’s little book is a fantastic read and also short! Hardly anyone from the Walter Wink wing has added much, in my opinion, to Caird’s mid-20th century overview. Esther Acolatse wrote a dense but great overview of the history of interpreting the powers and principalities in Eph 6 and provided an African perspective on how to approach the powers and principalities. Robert Ewusie Moses’ book Practices of Power is also a great read on powers and principalities in Pauline literature with an emphasis on the practices Paul urged Christians to embrace and reject to protect them from the influence of the powers. Daniel K Darko’s book on communal identity and practice as bulwarks against the powers is not quite as breath-taking but a pretty good read and David E RItchie drew on Acolatse and Darko in his book warning against the demonic nature of Christian nationalism that I mentioned at Phoenix Preacher a while back.

    There are some actually really good books in the last fifteen years on powers and principalities but I may only know about them because that topic was one of the things I wanted to really dig into if I had ever gone to seminary or divinity school. There’s a big reading list at Wenatchee The Hatchet with 84 titles on exorcism, diabology, powers & principalities, and enochic literature for those who may want to go look that up.

    What’s interesting is that as I’m reading David Nicholls and John Neville Figgis the concept of corporate personality is controversial and contested but it “has” come up in legal theory and arguments about judicial rulings on corporations and whether they have personalities that be considered liable. While people may be skeptical about the idea of powers and principalities as spiritual/personal entities the irony of our age is that in politics the idea that corporations have personalities is something that has been considered in legal theory and practice.

  21. Michael says:


    Your last paragraph is a fascinating observation…especially in light of the destruction of world systems in the Revelation.

    I will not live long enough to get through my reading list, let alone yours….but I’m grateful for your insight and recommendations…oredering Caird if I don’t already have it…

  22. pstrmike says:

    Alan said:

    “When I was pastoring I taught the seven letters as the foundational preaching of New Testament revival. A new covenant brings new and better promises and releases a prophecy that is based upon those things.”

    This makes a lot of sense to me, and am also going to give it more thought. There was also a paradigm shift after the return from exile with a greater focus on the coming Messiah and less about the temple (see Brueggemann, Daly-Denton, and to a lesser extent, Peterson in their work with the compilation of the Psalms) which arguably is connected with Torah. That was short lived, due to the construction of the 2nd temple.

    New Covenant demands a different framework that structures how we engage both with Scriptures and current cultures. I don’t think much of evangelicalism understands that, nor are they even aware of any distinctions.

  23. Alan says:

    The Hatchet always sends me seeking new sources.


    Shows us how we develop as we mature and get more input from various sources.

  24. Officerhoppy says:

    “ When I was pastoring I taught the seven letters as the foundational preaching of New Testament revival. A new covenant brings new and better promises and releases a prophecy that is based upon those things.”

    Is that how the author intended for the book of Revelation to be understood?

  25. Michael says:

    It’s certainly part of the way John intended the book to be understood.

    The Revelation is fundamentally a book written to encourage the church to persevere through the oppressions and persecutions to come…persecutions that in their final form threaten to eradicate it.

    “And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.”
    (Revelation 13:7 NLT-SE)

    The encouragement is that despite what is happening, God is eventually going to crush every malignant system formed against the people of God…He will crush evil completely…but only after it is allowed full reign against all that is good.

    The people of God will overcome the same way our Savior did…by sacrificial love, suffering, and death…the blood of the saints and the blood of the Lamb conquer…but the blood will be shed.

    This is a call to true discipleship…

  26. Alan says:

    What Michael says is very much the way I see it. But Hoppy your question is a good one and it is a question we can ask about every text. The authors see the relevance of what they are writing as being focused upon real situations faced by these churches.

    Our work is to derive meaning that can apply in our own situation.

    Let me say it more directly; the letters to the seven churches are illustrative of the temptations and battles faced throughout history. Prophets of every era use these words of Jesus to press the church of today to repent.

    Those letters are best applied in the same manner as Paul’s letters. And again they are new covenant and thus not applied like Torah but via life in the Spirit. It is as Michael points out a discipleship manual with calls to see wisdom and to endure.

  27. Officerhoppy says:

    Alan and Michael
    Thanks for the response

    Michael did you get an email from me? I don’t know if I have your right address. It’s regarding the live recording of Roby Duke, Bob Bennett and me. It’s out now on streaming apps.

    You mentioned in a previous post that you might be willing to post something about it.
    It would be greatly appreciated.

  28. Michael says:

    I don’t have any email from you.

  29. Officerhoppy says:

    Just sent the info to you

  30. Officerhoppy says:

    Listening to Beth Moore’s audible Book, “All My Knotted Up Life”. Amazing!
    Michael, I owe you an apology for questioning her motives, she’s very candid and extremely graceful.

    She’s not like, as I cynically insinuated, so many evangelists who are driven by prosperity.

    I also learned a lot about the issues in the Southern Baptist movement

  31. Officerhoppy says:

    She talked about something Michael has mentioned in a couple of his posts: suffering.

    I have a question. Does all suffering have a purpose behind it or does it just happen?


  32. Michael says:


    I’m glad you gave her a hearing…I love her like I love my cats… 🙂

  33. Michael says:


    If it has a purpose, that purpose is well hidden most of the time.

    Some suffering is the result of the discipline of God…but the one suffering in that case will understand it.

    I would refer you to Kate Bowler on this one “Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved”

    She’s another one I love…

  34. Miriam Wegemer says:

    Praise God (from whom ALL blessings flow)
    I was fillng my gas tank (56.13) and my card was declined! I said will you take a check? I.d forgotten that my daughter had my checkbook.
    So, I said, “What do we do now?” I didn’t want to walk home (18 miles). The dear clerk said, “justt pay us the next time you are in.”
    Oh, thank you
    I was startiing my ccar when an attractive blond woman came running up. “Don’t worry about paying. I just paid your bill!”
    “You did what?” “I just paid your bill!” I thanked her profusely and drove home.
    Who has that much spare cash to pay an old lady’s bill? She did look fairly prosporous. I hope it didn’t put a big dent in her budget

  35. Michael says:


    Thank God there’s a few good folks still in circulation…

  36. Officerhoppy says:

    I’ll check out Kate!

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