A groaning so powerful, gripped my heart, surging from my inner most being. I lay on our apartment floor, my lips moving wordlessly, crying out for a greater indwelling of His Holy Spirit.
It had now been almost two years since our adventures in Eugene, Oregon. We had moved to Portland, Oregon, my wife had our first baby, and we had joined a band of street preachers, affectionally calling ourselves “The Flames of Fire”. But something needed to change. I needed more. A fresh wave. A more intense move of His Spirit. New wine.
Something deeper and more meaningful.
I cried out that early fall evening for a greater anointing of His Spirit. And I would learn, for the very first time, that when a greater wave of the Ruach fills your life, the enemy also becomes more aggressive, redoubling its efforts.
The cool purple darkness of pre-winter twilight began to end the day earlier and earlier as fall deepened toward winter. About a week before Thanksgiving, I headed out with two young women to preach at a Wallflowers concert in downtown Portland. Lissa, about five years older than me, had been abandoned by her husband, and we had chosen to take her in to live in our spare bedroom until she could get her feet on the ground. Michelle, closer to my age, had just returned from a short missionary trip to Romania and had grown close to both my wife and myself. Because our newborn baby, Isaiah, was not even two months old yet, my wife stayed home that night and fervently prayed for us.
None of us had ever preached at a Wallflowers concert before.
We arrived in front of the Schnitzer Concert Hall, a somewhat gaudy throw back to the 1920’s, replete with glittering lights, ornately carved escarpments and the plush red carpet of a Hollywood long gone. We huddled in front of the building, our breath plumes of white in front of us, waiting for the audience to emerge.
“I have an idea,” Lissa said as she pulled out her cell phone from her crinkly black leather jacket. She looked at me. “I’m going to call your wife and see if she can find some lyrics to a Wallflowers song.”
Within minutes, as my wife surfed the web, she found lyrics to a popular Wallflowers song called “I’ve Been Delivered”.
Two lyrics from the song were: “I could break free from the wood of a coffin.” and “the burning meadows of my mind.”
I knew, somehow, those lyrics would be perfect for preaching on this cold night in late November.
A few minutes later the concert released, and Michelle began warning the sinners to turn from their sin and cleave to the Messiah. After she finished preaching, the crowds still streaming from the building, I suddenly lifted up my voice and said, “You want to break free from your wooden coffin of death? Then you need to turn to Life in Jesus Christ! Tired of the burning meadows in your mind? Of the guilt, the restlessness and the conviction in your mind? You need to turn to Jesus!”
As I began to contrast the fruits of the Spirit with the works of the flesh, a small crowd formed around us, and the use of those lyrics in my preaching began to draw hearts that would have never been drawn otherwise. A thrill shot through my heart. For I knew Messiah was beginning to answer my prayer, giving me a greater filling of His Spirit, to reach more people.
That night, two young men who had been bouncing from one Catholic Church to another, approached us and said how blessed they were to hear our preaching. We exhorted them, and they seemed very encouraged by our words.
It was a night to make me feel, in some small way, a revival -- pent up and building pressure, would soon unleash.
And a revival is exactly what happened.
Just a few weeks later, the roads frosted with December ice, our small 2 bedroom apartment in Portland began to hum with excitement.
Through preaching at various events since the Wallflowers concert, some people began to come to our apartment for Bible studies: a young man who had recently given his heart back to the Lord and burned to preach, an older woman and her twenty-eight year old son who had heard a friend of mine named Grant preaching against a homosexual church, and a number of others. In just a few short weeks after the Wallflowers concert, between 8 and 15 people crowded into our small living room, eagerly opening the Bible.
“I brought a friend who wants to be baptized,” one of the newcomers said after a Bible study one evening.
We all stared at each other blankly. The darkness of night had long since descended, and even if it were daylight, the rivers would be too cold for an immersion.
“Well,” I said and glanced over my shoulder at our bathroom. “We have a bath tub.”
About ten of us crowded into that tiny bathroom. Pulling aside our cheap, plastic curtain, I filled the bath tub with warm water. I asked Tim, a middled aged truck driver, to help me with the baptism.
Her name was Melissa. Brand new to the faith and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, she sat down in the bathtub. As Tim dunked her beneath the water, I prayed for her, and everyone erupted into applause as she came out of the water. Her long damp hair, pressed wetly against her face, could not hide her grin and the glow that radiated from her face.
I could barely catch my breath. What had started as a quiet night several weeks ago of me praying out for a greater move of His Spirit had now turned our humble apartment into a whirl-wind of spiritual activity!
As we headed back into the living room, waiting for Melissa to dry herself, we realized the Bible studies needed something more.
“We need to have prayer times,” someone suggested.
I agreed. “The prayer times will keep our hearts softened. So we don’t jut get filled up with Truth and grow hard.”
From that point on, we alternated every other night with prayer meetings and Bible studies. One week we would have 4 Bible study nights and 3 prayer nights, the next it would become 4 prayer nights and 3 Bible study nights. One week rushed into the next, as the same 8 to 15 people continued to fill our apartment, drawing closer and closer to Messiah.
Because we all had full time jobs, our preaching would always occur on Friday nights and over the weekends. Even before I had any concept of what shabbat was, our Friday night meetings began to become very special.
The older woman, Deanna, who had brought her 28 year old son, began to bring bread and grape juice every Friday night.
“What is that thing?” I asked in bewilderment.
Deanna, bustling into our apartment with joy, lugged a four foot tall white pillar through the door. Four lion faces were carved into each side of the column. She planted the pillar in the middle of our dining room and placed a loaf of bread, along with an ornate glass bottle of grape juice on the square surface of the pillar’s top.
“The lions represent the Lion of Judah. And we are His lions, serving Him. We need to do this every Friday night, before we go out and preach.”
Not truly understanding what we were doing, but knowing deep down inside that this was what His Spirit wanted from us, we solemnly prayed over the bread and juice, taking communion before venturing out into the city night-life to contend with the wicked.
The street preaching over the next several weeks took on a surreal, almost other-worldly quality as the Spirit began helping us convict and bring to repentance many sinners.
One night, a group of us preached in front of one of the most vile homosexual bars in downtown Portland known as Darcell’s. Blue lights from the garish bar spilled out from the building, as we began calling on the homosexuals to forsake their lifestyle and turn their lives over to the Messiah. One older homosexual, who had been stricken with AIDS, looked very broken and talked with us for a long time.
A few stories of apartments overlooked the bar, and agitated homosexuals shoved open their windows, screaming at us to leave. The cool early winter night bit me as water suddenly gushed out one of the windows and poured over me. Soaked to the bone, I continued to preach. The homosexuals repeatedly tried to pour more water on us, but we became adept at dodging the waterfalls.
In frustration, the homosexuals then pulled out Bibles from their rooms and began ripping pages from the scriptures. As we continued to preach, hundreds of fluttering pages from the Bible rained down around us, covering the sidewalk and street.
The Word of God was literally raining down on Portland, Oregon! The Spirit gave me the words to preach. “You don’t even realize that someone is going to walk down this sidewalk, pick up a page of the Word, and get saved from reading it!”
This finally caused the homosexuals to shut their apartment windows and stop bothering us. Two men who were bouncers at Darcell’s came under intense conviction. We learned that one of the bouncers had grown up with a father who had been a Methodist minister and had told him that his homosexuality was normal and to embrace it. But as we continued to minister to him, he knew that his lifestyle was wicked and tears began to fall from his eyes. The contrition and brokenness surprised and encouraged us. Abba’s Spirit was truly doing a powerful work against one of the most powerful strongholds in Portland, Oregon.
Emboldened by the preaching, we all decided to literally stab the heart of homosexual Portland with the Word. Armed with a bull horn, we walked over to a downtown drag in Portland known for its homosexual bars and restaurants. Few preachers ever decided to preach along that street because the violent spirits of the homosexuals can translate into muggings or worse.
As we began to preach out Romans 1 on a brightly lit street corner right in the center of the homosexual street, people began flooding out of the bars, and restaurants, enraged by our audacity to preach against their abomination.
Within minutes, at least 12 police cars, blue and red lights wheeling through the city night, parked along the streets, protecting us from the crowds. We had never seen anything like this.
One police officer, gripping a shotgun in both hands, stood like a sentry right in front of us, guarding us as we preached. Crowds formed right behind us, across the street, on each cross corner, and the police formed a protective ring to keep the mob from hurting any of my friends. I had never seen such favor given to street preachers in downtown Portland. Truly the Spirit was moving in a mind-blowing way.
A few nights later, as we were preaching on New Year’s eve in downtown once more, I saw a huge white wreath backlit by a deep blue wall of light behind a pane of glass. One woman was standing on a street corner, staring at the giant wreath.
I pointed at the wreath and looked at her. “You know what this is?”
She looked at me blankly.
“That represents the crown of thorns that the Messiah wore on the cross before He died for your sins. You had best repent.”
I didn’t pause to watch her reaction, but I knew the Holy Spirit had given me those exact words for that woman at that exact moment.
Later that night, a planned riot began to break out in downtown Portland shortly after New Year’s Eve crossed over the infamous midnight marker. Shattered glass, looting and screams filled Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Two of my street preaching friends and myself climbed onto the roof of our parked van. Because the police were busily trying to arrest the looters, Broadway was jammed with cars. No one was going to leave. Passing the bull horn between the three of us, we began preaching to the trapped cars, crying out from the roof of our parked van, exalting the Word. Normally the police would never have allowed us to preach from the top of a van, but they were too distracted to shut us down. For hours, as the riots raged around us, we faithfully delivered the Word, unhindered and shielded from all harm.
A couple weeks later, after fasting for 3 days, we all decided to preach at a Marilyn Manson concert. We knew the dangers inherit in preaching at such a concert because of the violence and witch craft Manson had become popular for. But we were equally as confident that our heart felt fasting and prayers would shield us.
The results blew us away.
As concert goers dressed in dog collars, coated in black makeup and tattooed in witch craft runes emerged from the building, we began to preach. Several people visibly wanted to hurt us, but as we preached, it was as if invisible walls protected us. A crowd surrounded me, several concert-goers with clenched fists wanting to hurt me, but an unseen force restrained them, as if they were being jerked back by unseen leashes. As we continued to preach, several of the teenagers began to weep, conviction gripping their hearts.
One Satanic high priest, his face pierced through with rings in every imaginable place, exploded with anger at us, screaming about how he wanted to kill all of us, but he could not attack, the unseen Hand restraining him. Eventually his anger subsided and conviction gripped his heart.
Later that night, as we talked about what happened over a post midnight meal at a local restaurant, we knew God had sent an army of angels to protect us from the violent spirit on those kids. To this day, I am amazed that we were not harmed even once that entire night.
As the prayer nights and bible studies continued, week after week, and as our preaching continued to grow more and more powerful, the enemy began to show its ugly head.
For the past two years living in Portland, my wife and I had attended a small holiness church pastored by an elderly black man. Though the building could easily hold around 75-100 people, at most only the first two rows were ever filled with maybe 15-20 regulars. Despite how small the church was, we grew to love the place because of how warmly they embraced us. Each Sunday morning, I would stand to my feet and testify about our previous week’s street preaching, and the black pastor would always grin widely and shout an encouraging -- Hallaluyah.
His wife played on an old grand piano, leading worship, and he stood behind a polished, dark-stained wooden pulpit to deliver his weekly “old time” Pentecostal type sermon.
I remember, to this day, how very beautiful that small holiness church was. With a small steeple on its top, the building’s white clapboards made it look more like a school house out of the 19th century in the old west rather than a church. Nestled in a rundown section of south east Portland, it gleamed brightly against the collapsing houses surrounding it. From the outside, though tiny, it truly looked like a spiritual oasis in the middle of an urban-decayed desert.
Stepping inside the building was even more beautiful. Lush, blue carpet complimented the deep-blue pews. The walls inside shone white, as chandeliers in the ceiling cast golden pinpricks across the small auditorium. The chandeliers themselves, glass and gold-mimicking brass, graced the church with an elegance I had never seen in a house of worship before. Past the snow-white grand piano, and forming the back inner wall behind the pastor’s pulpit, a breath taking full sized glass cross gleamed from backlit blue light. The building just felt holy when you walked into it, and the humble kindness of the pastor only bonded me to the church even more.
But after nearly two years of attending this place, even as the amazing home-spun revival simmered and started to burn in our apartment, something very strange happened.
One Thursday night, the black pastor’s son, who has recently started a cable access tv show in affiliation with the small church, began preaching about a young man whom they had tried to cast a devil out of a few weeks ago. The son conceded that they had been unable to cast the devil out of the young man, and that he was continuing to live a life of gross fornication.
And then, right in the middle of this holiness church, the pastor’s son said, “But you know, I believe you can continue to live in fornication, and the Holy Spirit can still be imbedded within you.”
I blinked, looking at my wife to see if she had heard what I had heard. She frowned at me, concern shading her eyes. We both knew something was very wrong.
Not sure what to do, thinking maybe we had just misheard or misunderstood what the pastor’s son had said, I asked for a copy of the audio cassette of the sermon.
Over the next several days, I listened to the tape over and over again, even transcribing on a computer what had been said. To my stunned disbelief -- I had had not misheard anything. The pastor’s son had actually stated someone could live in fornication while being filled with the Holy Spirit.
During one prayer meeting at the house, after almost everyone had left, Grant Chisolm -- a good friend of mine and a fellow street preacher for the past couple of years ever since we had moved to Portland -- stayed behind.
“I need you to listen to this. And tell me what you think.” I handed the tape to him.
“Oh, is this of that crazy sermon from last Thursday night?” Grant asked as he examined the tape.
“Yes. But I want you to listen to it, see if you still hear what we both thought we heard.”
Grant agreed. He called me a few days later and said, “Yeah, Daniel. You transcribed the thing right. What he said is crazy.”
Because we had attended the church for two years, and the pastor had even let me preach a series of sermons a couple of summers ago from the pulpit. I knew he trusted me. I gave him a call a couple days before the next Thursday night service. “Pastor, do you mind if I deliver a Word from the pulpit? I really believe I have a prophetic Word for the church.”
The pastor did not even hesitate. “Absolutely, Daniel.”
That Thursday night, another man - a newcomer to the church, was scheduled to give the main sermon. He walked with a cane, and something about his countenance made me uncomfortable. As he began to share his testimony, I became acutely aware that he was spending a great deal of time talking about his past life of sin, but nothing about the redeeming blood of the Messiah. Finally, when he reached the moment of his conversion, he said: “And then, it was as if a streaming light from heaven fell from the sky and just filled my heart. It completely and totally changed my life.”
I scrawled a note to my wife -- Did he ever mention the Blood? My wife shook her head.
After the newcomer finished his sermon, the black pastor, pushing his spectacles up his nose, rose to his feet and motioned for me to speak. “And now, brother Daniel wishes to deliver a Word to the congregation.”
Nervously I strode to the pulpit. I looked out over the small, humble congregation. I swallowed. My wife nodded at me, encouraging me to continue.
I opened my Bible to Revelation chapter 2:18. “And unto the angel of the church in--” And instead of using the name Thyatira, I inserted the name of the holiness church. “These things says the Son of God, who has His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass. I know your works, and charity, and service, and faith, and your patience, and your works; and the last to be more than the first.
“Notwithstanding, I have a few things against this church, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication . . .”
Almost as soon as I had said the word “jezebel”, the pastor’s wife, who had been seated at the white piano, shoved back the bench, rose to her feet and stomped across the stage, slamming an office door behind her.
“ . . . and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
“But unto you I say, and unto the rest in this church, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which you have already hold fast till I come.
“And he that overcomes, and keeps My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star.
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto this church.”
I shut my Bible, and a thick silence filled the room. Not a sound.
“I believe God wants to mightily pour out His Spirit on this place. But we need to make sure that we live holy, that we’re not encouraging sin, that our testimony lines up with His Word. And if we do this, I think God is going to use this church more powerfully than anyone can even imagine.”
As I sat down to take my seat, the pastor smiled. “HallaluYah! What a wonderful word of encouragement, Daniel. Thank you! Let us close in prayer.”
After the service ended, I approached the new comer who had given his testimony. “Look, I appreciated your testimony, but you never once mentioned the Blood of Jesus and how He redeemed you. Next time, you may want to talk about that more.”
The man gripped his cane, his fist turning white, and the widest, most Satanic grin I had ever seen curled across his face. “Thank you, very much! I appreciate that.”
Catching Grant’s eye, we both decided to speak with the pastor’s son who had been monitoring the audio equipment in the back of the auditorium.
“Hey, I listened to your sermon from last Thursday, even transcribed it. Grant listened to it as well. What did you mean when you said someone could live in fornication but still have the Holy Spirit imbedded within them?”
The pastor’s son stared at me with wide eyes. “What? I never said that.”
I handed him the transcribed computer pages and a copy of the cassette. “You can check for yourself. You said those words.”
“I heard it too. Sounded very strange,” Grant added.
The pastor’s son shifted nervously, looking at the computer pages and tape in his hand as if it were poison. “Well, I’ll definitely review this and get back to you.”
“Daniel?” The pastor approached me from behind.
I turned around, and a broad smile filled his face. A warmth and kindness shone from his eyes. “I just want to say, I very much appreciated your Word tonight. Just beautiful. I can see the Holy Spirit is filling you more than I’ve ever seen before.” He embraced me, and I knew I had done and said exactly what the Spirit had wanted me to do.
As we drove home that night, frosted rain coating the windshield, my wife reached over and held my hand. “Honey?”
“Wasn’t that great?” I said, my face flushed red with excitement. “I was so nervous about delivering that Word!”
“Honey?” Her tone was hushed. I looked over at her and could tell, even in the ambient light of the dashboard, the sobriety that carved her face. “A war began tonight.”
“A war. It began. Just watch.”
The next morning, my wife awoke, gripping my arm. “Daniel! I had a dream. I need to share it with you.”
In the dream, my wife, Grant, and myself walked into the main auditorium of the small church. The glassed cross, lit with blue, stood as it always did, the chandeliers cast their glittering brilliance over the plush blue pews, the white walls gleamed -- but the entire church was empty. Near the front of the church, past a short lobby area that led to the exit, the pastor’s son waited.
“Where is everyone?” My wife asked as we approached him. But the pastor’s son put a finger to his mouth and said, “Shhhhh.”
Confused by his urgency for us to be quiet, we walked past him. Instead of finding the church exit, we walked down a long, dark corridor that eventually opened into a giant amphitheater. The massive stadium could literally seat hundreds of thousands of people. But, strangely, every bleacher, every seat -- was empty.
An aisle slanted downward for several hundred feet, toward the center of the stadium, where bright white flood lights from high above illuminated a large stage. As we approached the stage, we could see the pastor and his wife, along with a few others, play acting on the stage. They were wearing funny looking masks, and speaking in whispered tones.
When we reached the huge stage, I shouted out, “What’s going on here?” My voice echoed through the empty stadium.
“Shhhhh . . .” The pastor said, lifting a finger to his mouth much as his son had done. “We are pretending.”
The dream abruptly ended. I looked at my wife, searching her deep blue eyes, and could clearly see the reality of the Spirit shining from her face. “This is what you meant. About the war?”
That Friday I went to work, troubled in spirit, but not knowing what else to do. I prayed, asking the Messiah to help me figure out what was going on at this beautiful holiness church we had become so close to.
That night, as our friends began to trickle into our apartment to prepare for a prayer time and then a few hours of city street preaching, my phone suddenly rang.
“Hello, Daniel.” It was clearly my pastor’s voice, but it sounded much lower and more hollow, as if he were speaking from the bottom of a well.
“Oh, hi Pastor! It’s good to hear from you. I had a great day at work. Got to witness to several people, and I really think the Spirit is moving among some of the employees!”
“Good, good.” He said, but his voice sounded like some dark chant. “Daniel, we need to talk about what happened last night.”
“Sure. What’s up?”
“Daniel -- you crossed a line. You crossed a line.”
I waited for him to continue, but only eery silence greeted me. “Umm, well, how did I cross a line, pastor?”
“You’re not the pastor! You are not the pastor!” He screamed at me, his voice distorting over the phone. I held the receiver back in shock. I had never heard this kindly old man ever sound like this before.
“No, no -- I was calling you pastor. I wasn’t claiming to be the pastor. I said ‘pastor, how did I cross the line?’”
“You have devils within you, Daniel. Devils! You are filled with devils!”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My pastor sounded completely different from the man that I had known for the past two years. In fact, less than 24 hours ago, he had warmly embraced me, saying how much of the Holy Spirit he saw in my life.
In disgust, I said, “Well, pastor, thank you so much for revealing your true colors to me.”
“Never ever come back to my church again.” He said icily before hanging up on me.
Shaken, and feeling like I had just entered the twilight zone, I joined my friends in our small living room to let them know what had happened. Deanna, as she placed the grape juice and bread on her white pillar, looked up at me and said, “It’s not finished yet, Daniel. We still need to go back there.”
A week later, I called the pastor. His wife, sounding very nice, answered the phone and agreed to meet with us at the church on Saturday morning.
Deanna nodded in satisfaction. “Good. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this.”
“I’m going to bring a tape recorder,” Grant offered. “Record everything so no one can lie about what is said.”
I realized that the pastor’s son would now probably never get back to me about what he had said that Thursday night two weeks ago. My suspicions would prove to be true. I nodded at Grant. “Sounds like a good idea.”
That Saturday morning, not a cloud touched the sky. The bright sun and yawning blueness was very unusual for a January morning in Oregon. The steepled school house looking church, gleaming white in a coat of fresh paint from just a few weeks ago, looked as beautiful and holy as ever.
Grant, Tim -- the truck driver who had helped with the baptism, Deanna, her son named Phillip, my wife -- holding our small four month old baby -- and myself, walked in through the front doors of the church.
When we stepped into the auditorium, expecting to see the gleaming white walls, beautiful chandeliers, and blue carpet, we gasped in shock. A thick darkness, oily and black, filled the room. The chandeliers were dimmed, a murky yellow -- and the blue back lit cross at the rear of the sanctuary seemed to be shrouded in a cloud of darkness.
Later that day, Tim described the room as if bands of thick darkness streamed through the auditorium.
I had never seen this church look so dark. In retrospect, I now realize that we had finally seen this church on a sabbath day -- and it could no longer hide beneath its “Sunday best” veneer. My wife’s dream, at first a mystery, started to resolve with greater clarity.
As we strode down the center aisle toward the pulpit, the pastor and his wife greeted us. His eyes looked blood shot, and it was clear he had not shaved in a week. “Please, take a seat.”
“I think we would prefer to stand,” I said.
“Very well,” he said, smiling gently.
“Pastor, if you don’t mind, I’m just going to tape record this conversation,” Grant said as he took out the device from his jacket.
“Abomination! Abomination! Abomination!” He suddenly yelled. “Get out -- all of you, get out. Get out of here!”
Realizing the situation was quickly escalating out of control, I turned to Grant. “Just put it away. We don’t need it.” I turned back to the pastor, my eyes pleading with him. “Pastor, please. I just want to know what line I crossed. What is going on here?”
“You are an abomination causing desolation on this altar, Daniel! An abomination!”
I glanced at Philip and we exchanged a “what kind of drugs is this pastor taking?” type of look.
“You need to leave! You all need to leave! Just leave right now!” The pastor pointed his finger behind us toward the exit.
I looked at the pastor right in the eye, realizing I was dealing with a devilish force, and very clearly said, “No.”
As soon as I uttered that word, both the pastor and his wife began to hop up and down, eyes wide and frantic. “Call the police! Call the police! We need to call the police!”
I shook my head in disgust and turned toward the exit. “This is ridiculous. We are not getting anywhere. Let’s go.”
As we began to leave the darkened sanctuary, the pastor’s wife rushed toward us, wagging her finger. “Every Sunday you come in here, testifying about how you preach all across this city, making us feel bad for not joining you! All you do is fill us with guilt! Guilt! That’s all you do!”
I stopped near the entrance of the church, shocked, as the pastor’s wife continued to launch a full tirade at us. I couldn’t believe that all the times we had honestly and innocently testified of how God had used us in preaching, she had taken it as us guilting her. None of it made any sense.
We stepped out of the church, onto the porch, and the bright sunlight starkly reminded us of how dark it had been inside. From a door below the porch that led into the church basement and fellowship hall, the newcomer stuck his head out, a wicked grin on his face.
Reaching the parking lot, Tim, his red beard flying in the wind, turned his burly truck-driver frame toward the small church. It had been Tim who had introduced us to this church almost two years ago.
“Ichabod! Ichabod! Ichabod!” He declared, pointing his finger into the sky. “The glory has departed this place!”
As we climbed into our cars, I heard police sirens begin to wail all around us. The police had not been called by the pastor or his wife. There had been no time. But the spiritual realm -- disrupted by this clash -- was manifesting in the physical.
“You will be beaten with many stripes!” The pastor called out from the church.
“By your own words, you will be condemned,” I shouted back.
As I looked through the windshield of my car, I will never forget the image that has indelibly printed itself into my mind. Standing in the sparkling sun, the black pastor stood on the porch of his white-washed tomb of a church. He smiled, his hands folded in front of him. The sun was so bright, his black skin seemed to radiate a glorious halo-glow. His smile only grew, and an other-worldly peace seemed to hang over him in a brilliant aura.
Then the Voice of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth thundered in my heart. Remember this, Daniel. Remember what he looks like. This is exactly how the anti-messiah and his followers will appear. Exactly.
We drove away into that beautiful winters day, a day on which we would later preach and testify to the lost. But I would never forget that first encounter I ever had with the spirit of jezebel.
Yah was preparing me. Preparing me for the final years on planet earth. Teaching me how to, ever so clearly, identify how the “angel of light” would manifest at the end of the age.