The Blood Sacrifice
by Art Beebe
Some of the attendees at War College II. THE SECOND SESSION of the War College – held Labor Day weekend – began with a smaller group than the first session.
To provide for maximum involvement without distraction, the agenda was very flexible and there was no financial burden for anyone. The frills of “music by instruments” and the usually expected commercials, announcements, etc., were done away with. Meals were simplified but adequate – to reduce the effect of “stuffed” lethargy.
As the participants came together a more serious tone was set from the start. Because of the smaller group the seating around the tables put us closer to each other. We started off slowly and brought our thoughts together. My thoughts were focusing on ‘What does the Lord want to do this time?’ We always try to maintain an attitude that will allow the Holy Spirit to have optimal freedom to speak and act through any participant.
I recalled my musings after the close of the first college (July 25-27) about the feeling I had of something not quite in tune with what the Lord wanted to accomplish. After having spent some time in prayer about the matter, I had the impression the Lord was telling me that before any fruitful work could be done, the words of the prophet Jeremiah needed to be heeded. There was need of ‘tearing down and rooting out’ before ‘building and planting’ could be done (1:10). I took that to mean that we should tear down any false teachings or bad theology, break up the hardened and thorn-choked earth, before attempting to begin any exploration and teaching about “powers and principalities” or spiritual warfare.
People want to return to the “high places” where their “idols” are kept
Pulling down of strongholds (religious traditions and practices) would be no easy matter, as the leaders in Israel discovered. People want to return to the ‘high places’ where their ‘idols’ are kept. Souls that are not clear of conscience and well-grounded in fundamentals of faith would be poor candidates for doing battle and wrestling with the unseen forces of spiritual reality. I recalled the words of a respected Bible teacher when he said he met the strongest opposition from believers who had not been taught the fundamentals as addressed in the sixth chapter of Hebrews (v. 1,2) – repentance from dead works, faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, the laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. How could we be assured that everyone could pass an examination over these issues of the doctrine of Christ? There would not be enough time, obviously, to correct any such deficiencies.
So, I felt an urgency to begin with the foundation on which the salvation of all souls is based – the blood sacrifice. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin!” Without much waste of time I presented a very basic teaching about why the blood is so important to Believers in Jesus.
Many times we get so caught up with advanced or exotic ministries and teachings that we neglect reviewing such a basic ingredient of our faith. This, I believe, is what the Lord was after – tear down some false conceptions and break up the compacted soil of our minds that had been allowed to harden through neglect. It is difficult to discern how much effect any return to basics really does, but reviews are always helpful.
As we progressed through the rest of the sessions the work was having an effect. One lady was encountering this idea of spiritual warfare for the first time, and gave testimony as to the peace and calm that came over her. She had been struggling with life as she and her husband grew older, and was dealing with health issues. He came with her and their daughter, but couldn’t remain as his health would not permit prolonged time away from his familiar surroundings of home. She had not been made aware that the unseen spirit world could be influencing much of what was happening to her, and them.
There came the recognition that the enemy was at work−and we rallied
A young wife and mother came who knew these unseen evil forces were at work, but had never considered the depth and impact of their strategy to destroy her marriage and family. She said afterwards that she felt strengthened and renewed, and some possible answers came for a long standing problem in her marriage. Her comment – “I have been able to see and experience firsthand koinonia and ekklesia fellowship… I am so thankful the Lord led me here this weekend for this Divine appointed time.”
At the end of the second day the rigorous discussions and activity appeared to have exhausted some of the group, especially following our evening meal. A few questioned whether it would be better to make an early night of it, expecting to be rested and more fit to resume the final day-and-a-half of rich participation and fellowship. A couple others agreed. At first it seemed innocent and understandable enough. But then, there came the recognition that the enemy was subtly at work − and we rallied. Two hours later a woman who was long beset with doubts, inner torments, and weights of grief and depression over the loss of a son realized deliverance was at hand. She received prayer with anointing and instantly experienced release and joy which resulted in a complete change in her demeanor during the remainder of the college being visibly evident in her speech and happy demeanor up until she left for home. Others likewise were stirred and encouraged ─ all resulting from our refusal to listen to the flesh and to instead obey the bidding of the Holy Spirit to press beyond what we did not “feel like doing.”
A well-compiled folder by Peter Brock was presented that contained a valuable review on ‘What is a War College?’, along with statistical analyses from secular and other polls and surveys showing historic trends over the last forty years about today’s Christians and their attitude about Satan, demons, and faith in general. All sources surprisingly agree that by a three-to-one margin, people in all six major ethnographic regions of the world believe in “spirit-possession,” and Christians, by the same ratio, believe in the devil. Yet, traditional churches ignore teaching the existence of Satan, hell, demons and fallen spirits!
This emphasized how the ‘…principalities and powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places’ enumerated in the New Testament are having a ‘heyday’ among Christians as well as the rest of the world population. There is virtually no opposition, let alone any mention of them and their evil deeds coming from today’s ‘end-time church’. Published researches into topics such as the ‘…Flight of Young People from the Church’ and alarming voids of ‘Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults’ are reasons to become serious about ‘wrestling’ with these ‘powers’.
This summer’s war colleges are thus all the more relevant and important. Attention was also called to chapter five, ‘Israel and the Powers of Darkness’, from Art Katz’s latest book The Final Mystery: Israel and The Church. This book along with Hendrik Berkhof’s booklet Christ and The Powers were made available to all participants.
Occult symbols and artifacts creep into our culture and become mini-idols
A session about practices and traditions that have been allowed into the Church over the centuries gave pause for reflection. Even such things as the traditional cross, star of David, the fish sign (icthus or icthys), were called into question. Why? Occult symbols and artifacts creep into our culture and become mini-idols. So, how can we confront the shamans, witch-doctors, medicine men, all with their charms, amulets, medicine bags, etc.? Fear of superstition and “curses” likewise figure into the warfare. Do we really know the meaning behind “signs and symbols,” or do we just accept them as part of our culture? The powers know!
One obvious expression of success in deliverance is the peace of mind that comes afterward. Fear, doubt and unbelief are replaced with peace, calmness, confidence and boldness. When the presence of Jesus Christ settles upon a person the inner change produces an outward effect on the person and all who encounter them. The King reigns within!
We eagerly looked forward to the third and last War College at the end of September.
NOTE: To date, approximately 55 persons have attended, including numerous visitors who have come from Kansas City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Canada, along with regional Native Americans, missionaries, and from local communities.