(Taken from "The Morning Star," Vol. 5, Nos 2-4, by Rick Joyner)
This is a panoramic dream and vision I (Rick Joyner) received in early 1995. This is obviously allegorical, as are most dreams and visions. I have tried to be faithful to what I actually saw and experienced.
The Evil Army
I saw a demonic army so large that it stretched as far as I could see. It was separated into divisions, with each carrying a different banner. The foremost and most powerful divisions were Pride, Self righteousness, Respectability, Selfish Ambition, and Unrighteous Judgment, but the largest of all was Jealousy. The leader of this vast army was the Accuser of the Brethren himself. I knew that there were many more evil divisions beyond my scope of vision, but these were the vanguard of this terrible horde from hell that was now being released against the church.
The weapons carried buy this horde had names on them: the swords were named Intimidation; the spears were named Treachery; and their arrows were named Accusations, Gossip, Slander and Faultfinding. Scouts and smaller companies of demons with such names as Rejection, Bitterness, Impatience, Unforgiveness and Lust were sent in advance of this army to prepare for the main attack. I knew in my heart that the church had never faced anything like this before.
The main assignment of this army was to cause division. It was sent to attack every level of relationship-churches with each other, congregations with their pastors, husbands and wives, children and parents, and even children with each other. The scouts were sent to locate the openings in churches, families or individuals that rejection, bitterness, lust, etc., could exploit and make a larger breech for the divisions that were coming.
The most shocking part of this vision was that this horde was not riding on horses, but on Christians! Most of them were well-dressed, respectable, and had the appearance of being refined and educated. These were Christians who had opened themselves to the powers of darkness to such a degree that the enemy could use them and they would think that they were being used by God. The Accuser knows that a house divided cannot stand, and this army represented his ultimate attempt to bring such complete division to the church that she would completely fall from grace.
Trailing behind these first divisions were a vast multitude of other Christians who were prisoners of this army. They were all wounded, and were guarded by little demons of Fear. There seemed to be more prisoners than there were demons in the army. Surprisingly, these prisoners still had their swords and shields, but they did not use them. It was shocking to see that so many
could be kept captive by so few of these little demons of Fear. These could have easily been destroyed or driven off if the prisoners had just used their weapons.
Above the prisoners the sky was black with vultures named Depression. These would land on the shoulders of a prisoner and vomit on him. The vomit was Condemnation. When the vomit hit a prisoner he would stand up and march a little straighter for a while, and then slump over, even weaker than before. Again, I wondered why the prisoners did not simply kill these vultures with their swords, which they could have easily done.
Occasionally a weak prisoner would stumble and fall. As soon as he or she hit the ground, the other prisoners would begin stabbing them with their swords, scorning them as they did so. They would then call for the vultures to begin devouring the fallen one even before they were dead.
As I watched, I realized that these prisoners thought that the vomit of condemnation was truth from God. Then I understood that these prisoners actually thought they were marching in the army of God! This is why they did not kill the little demons of fear, or the vultures-they thought these were messengers from God! The darkness from the cloud of vultures made it so hard for these prisoners to see that they naively accepted everything that happened to them as being from the Lord.
The only food provided for these prisoners was the vomit from the vultures. Those who refused to eat it simple weakened until they fell. Those who did eat it were strengthened, but with the strength of the evil one. They would then begin to vomit on the others. When one began to do this a demon that was waiting for a ride would be given this one and he or she would be promoted to the front divisions.
Even worse than the vomit from the vultures was a repulsive slime that these demons were urinating and defecating upon the Christians they rode. This slime was the pride, selfish ambition, etc., that was the nature of the division they were a part of. However, this slime made the Christians feel so much better than the condemnation that they easily believed that the demons were
messengers of God, and they actually thought this slime was the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Then the voice of the Lord came to me saying, "This is the beginning of the enemy's last day army. This is Satan's ultimate deception, and his ultimate power of destruction is released when he uses Christians to attack other Christians. Throughout the ages he has used this army, but never has he been able to capture so many to be used for his evil purposes. Do not fear. I have an army too. You must now stand and fight, because there is no longer any place to hide from this war. You must fight for My Kingdom, for truth, and for those who have been deceived."
I had been so repulsed and outraged by the evil army that I had wanted to die rather than live in such a world. However, this word from the Lord was so encouraging that I immediately began yelling to the Christian prisoners that they were being deceived, thinking that they would listen to me. When I did this, it seemed that the whole army turned to look at me, but I kept yelling. I thought that the Christians were going to wake up and realize what was happening to them, but instead many of them started reaching for their arrows to shoot at me. The others just hesitated as if they did not know what to make of me. I knew then that I had done this prematurely, and that it had been a very foolish mistake.
The Battle Begins
Then I turned and saw the army of the Lord standing behind me. There were thousands of soldiers, but we were still greatly outnumbered. Only a small number were fully dressed in their armor so that most were only partially protected. A large number were already wounded. Most of those who had all of their armor still had very small shields which I knew would not protect them from the onslaught that was coming. The majority of these soldiers were women and children.
Behind this army there was a trailing mob similar to the prisoners who followed the evil army, but very different in nature. These seemed to be very happy people, and were playing games, singing songs, feasting and roaming about from one little camp to the next. It reminded me of the atmosphere at Woodstock. I tried to raise my voice above the clamor to warn them that it was not the time for this, that the battle was about to begin, but only as few could even hear my voice. Those who did gave me the "peace sign" and said they did not believe in war, and that the Lord would not let anything bad happen to them. I tried to explain that the Lord had given us armor for a reason, but they just retorted that they had come to a place of peace and joy where nothing would happen to them. I began praying earnestly for the Lord to increase the faith (shields) of those with the armor, to help us protect those who were not ready for the battle.
A messenger came up to me, gave me a trumpet and told me to blow it quickly. I did, and those who had on at least some of their armor immediately responded, snapping to attention. More armor was brought to them, which they put on quickly. I noticed that those who had wounds did not put armor over their wounds, but before I could say anything about this enemy arrows began raining down on us. Everyone who did not have on all of his or her armor was wounded. Those who had not covered their wounds were struck again in the same place.
Those who were hit by arrows of slander immediately began to slander those who were not wounded. Those who were hit with gossip began to gossip, and soon a major division had been created within our camp. Then vultures swooped down to pick up the wounded to deliver them into the camp of prisoners. The wounded still had swords and could have smitten the vultures easily, but they didn't. They were actually carried off willingly because they were so angry at the rest of us.
The scene among those in the camp behind our army was even worse. There seemed to be total chaos. Thousands lay on the ground wounded and groaning. Many of those who were not wounded just sat in a stupor of unbelief. The wounded and those who sat in unbelief were being quickly carried away by the vultures. Some were trying to help the wounded, and keep the vultures off of them, but the wounded were so angry they would threaten and drive away those who were trying to help them.
Many who were not wounded were simply running as fast as they could from the scene of battle. This first encounter with the enemy was so devastating that I was tempted to join them in their flight. Then, very quickly, some of these began reappearing with full suits of armor on, and large shields. The mirth of the party had changed into an awesome resolve. They began to take the places of those who had fallen, and even began forming new ranks to protect the rear and flanks. These brought great courage, and everyone resolved to stand and fight until death. Immediately three great angels named Faith, Hope, and Love came and stood behind us, and everyone's shield began to grow.
The High Way
We had swords named the Word of God, and arrows that were named for biblical truths. We wanted to shoot back, but did not know how to without hitting the Christians that were ridden by the demons. Then it occurred to us that if these Christians were hit with the truth they would wake up and fight off their oppressors. I fired off a few arrows. Almost all of them hit Christians. However, when the arrow of truth went into them, they did not wake up, or fall down wounded-they became enraged, and the demon riding on them grew much larger. This shocked everyone, and we began to feel that this may be an impossible battle to win, but with Faith, Hope and Love we were very confident that we could at least hold our own ground. Another angel named Wisdom then appeared and directed us to fight from the mountain behind us.
On the mountain there were ledges at different levels for as high as you could see. At each higher level the ledges became narrower, and harder to stand on. Each level was named after a biblical truth. The lower levels were named after foundational truths such as "Salvation," "Sanctification," "Prayer," "Faith," etc., and the higher levels were named after more advanced biblical truths. The higher we climbed, the larger both our shields and our swords grew, and fewer of the enemy arrows could reach that position.
A Tragic Mistake
Some who had stayed on the lower levels began picking up the enemy arrows and shooting them back. This was a tragic mistake. The demons easily dodged the arrows and let them hit the Christians. When a Christian was hit by one of the arrows of Accusation or Slander, a demon of Bitterness or Rage would fly in and perch on that arrow. He would then begin to urinate and defecate his poison upon that Christian. When a Christian had two or three of these demons added to the Pride or Self righteousness he already had, he began to change into the contorted image of the demons themselves.
We could see this happening from the higher levels, but those on the lower levels who were using the enemy's arrows could not see it. Half of us decided to keep climbing, while the other half descended back to the lower levels to explain to those still on them what was happening. Everyone was then warned to keep climbing and not stop, except for a few who stationed themselves on each level to keep the other soldiers moving higher.
When we reached the level called "The Unity of the Brethren," none of the enemy's arrows could reach us. Many in our camp decided that was as far as they needed to climb. I understood this because with each new level the footing was more precarious. However, I also felt much stronger and more skillful with my weapons the higher I went, so I continued climbing.
Soon my skills were good enough to shoot and hit the demons without hitting the Christians. I felt that if I kept going higher I could shoot far enough to hit the leaders of the evil horde who stayed behind their army. I was sorry that so many had stopped on the lower levels, where they were safe but could not hit the enemy. Even so, the strength and character that grew in those who kept climbing made them great champions, each of which I knew would destroy many of the enemy.
At each level there were arrows of Truth scattered about which I knew were left from those who had fallen from that position. All of the arrows were named after the Truth of that level. Some were reluctant to pick up these arrows, but I knew we needed all that we could to destroy the great horde below. I picked one up, shot it, and so easily hit a demon that the others started picking them up and shooting them. We began to decimate several of the enemy divisions. Because of this, the entire evil army focused its attention on us. For a time it seemed the more we achieved the more we were opposed. Though our task seemed endless, it had become exhilarating.
The Word Is Our Anchor
Our swords grew as we reached each level. I almost left mine behind because I did not seem to need it at the higher levels. I finally decided that it had been given to me for purpose, so I had better keep it. I drove it into the ground and tied myself to it while I shot at the enemy. The voice of the Lord then came to me, saying: "You have used the wisdom that will enable you to keep climbing. Many have fallen because they did not use their sword properly to anchor themselves." No one else seemed to hear this voice, but many saw what I had done and did the same thing.
I wondered why the Lord had not spoken to me before I had made this decision. I then had a sense of knowing that He had already spoken this to me somehow. Then I perceived that my whole life had been training for this hour. I was prepared to the degree that I had listened to the Lord and obeyed Him throughout my life. I also knew that for some reason the wisdom and understanding I now had could not be added to or taken away from while in this battle. I became profoundly thankful for every trial I had experienced in my life, and sorry for not appreciating them more at the time.
Soon we were hitting the demons with almost perfect accuracy. Rage rose from the enemy army like fire and brimstone. I knew that the Christians trapped in that army were now feeling the brunt of that rage. Unable to hit us they were now shooting at each other. With his arrows now ineffective against us, the enemy sent the vultures to attack. Those who had not used their swords as anchors were able to strike down many of the vultures, but they too were being knocked from the ledges where they were standing. Some of these landed on a lower level, but some fell all the way to the bottom and were picked up and carried off by the vultures.
A New Weapon
The arrows of Truth would rarely penetrate the vultures, but they hurt them enough to drive them back. Every time they were driven back some of us would climb to the next level. When we reached the level called "Galatians Two Twenty," we were above the altitude
that the vultures could fly. At this level the sky above almost blinded us with its brightness and beauty. I felt peace like I had never felt it before.
Previously much of my fighting spirit had really been motivated out of as much hatred and disgust for the enemy as it had been for the sake of the kingdom, truth, and love for the prisoners. But it was on this level that I caught up to Faith, Hope, and Love, which before I had only been following at a distance. On this level I was almost overpowered by their glory. When I caught up to them they turned to me, and began repairing and shining my armor. Soon it was completely transformed and exuded the glory that was in them. When they touched my sword, great bolts of brilliant lightning began flashing from it. Love then said, "Those who reach this level are entrusted with the powers of the age to come, but I must teach you how to use them."
The "Galatians Two Twenty" level was so wide that there was no longer any danger of falling. There were also unlimited arrows with the name Hope written on them. We shot some of them down at the vultures, and these arrows killed them easily. About half who had reached this level kept shooting while the others began carrying these arrows down to those still on the lower levels.
The vultures kept coming in waves upon the levels below, but with each one there would be fewer than before. From "Galatians Two Twenty" we could hit any enemy in the army except the leaders themselves, who were still out of range. We decided not to use the arrows of Truth until we had destroyed all of the vultures, because the cloud of depression they created made the truth less effective. This took a very long time, but we never got tired.
Faith, Hope and Love, who had grown like our weapons with each level, were now so large that I knew people far beyond the battle area could see them. Their glory even radiated into the camp of prisoners who were still under a great cloud of vultures. The
exhilaration continued to grow in all of us. I felt that being in this army, in this battle, had to be one of the greatest adventures of all time.
After destroying most of the vultures that had been attacking our mountain, we began picking off the vultures that had covered the prisoners. As the cloud of darkness began dissipating and the sun began to shine down on them, they began to wake up as if they had been in a deep sleep. They were immediately repulsed by their condition, especially by the vomit that still covered them, and began cleaning themselves up. As they beheld Faith, Hope and Love, they saw the mountain we were on and began running for it. The
evil horde rained arrows of Accusation and Slander at them, but they did not stop. By the time they got to the mountain many had a dozen or more arrows stuck in them, but seemed not to even notice. As soon as they began to scale the mountain their wounds began to heal. With the cloud of depression being dispelled it seemed as if everything was getting much easier.
The former prisoners had great joy in their salvation. They seemed so overwhelmed with appreciation for each level as they began to scale the mountain that it gave us a greater appreciation for those truths. Soon a fierce resolve to fight the enemy also arose in the former prisoners. They put on the armor provided and begged to be allowed to go back and attack the enemy. We thought about it, but then decided we should all stay on the mountain to fight. Again the voice of the Lord spoke, saying: "A second time you have chosen wisdom. You cannot win if you try to fight the enemy on his own ground, but must remain on My Holy mountain."
I was stunned that we had made another decision of such importance by just thinking and discussing it briefly. I then resolved to do my best to not make another decision of any consequence without prayer. Wisdom then stepped up to me quickly, took both of my
shoulders firmly and looked me intensely in the eyes, saying: "You must do this!" I then noticed that, even though I had been on the broad plateau of "Galations Two Twenty," I had drifted to the very edge without even knowing it, and could have easily fallen. I looked again into the eyes of Wisdom, and he said with the utmost seriousness, "Take heed when you think you stand, lest you fall. In this life you can fall from any level."
For a long time we continued killing the vultures and picking off the demons that were riding the Christians. We found that the arrows of different Truths would have more of an impact on different demons. We knew that it was going to be a long battle, but we were not taking any more casualties now, and we had already passed the level of "Patience." Even so, after these Christians had the demons shot off them, few would come to the mountain. Many had taken on the nature of the demons, and continued in their delusion without them. As the darkness of the demons dissipated we could see the ground moving around the feet of these Christians. Then I saw that their legs were bound by serpents called Shame.
We shot arrows of truth at the serpents, but they had little effect. We then tried the arrows of Hope, but without result. From "Galatians Two Twenty" it was very easy to go higher, so we started up to the higher levels. Soon we happened upon a garden that was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. Over the entrance to this garden was written, "The Father's Unconditional Love." It was the most glorious and inviting doorway I had ever seen, so we were compelled to enter. As soon as we did, we saw the Tree of Life in the middle of this garden. It was still guarded by angels of awesome strength. They looked as if they had been expecting us, so we had the courage to pass them and walk up to the tree. One of them said, "Those who make it to this level, who know the Father's love, can eat."
I did not realize how hungry I was. When I tasted the fruit, it was better than anything I had ever tasted, but was also somehow familiar. It brought memories of sunshine, rain, beautiful fields, the sun setting over the ocean, but even more than that, of the people I loved. With every bite I loved everything and everyone more. Then my enemies started to come to mind, and I loved them, too. The feeling was soon greater than anything I had ever experienced, even the peace on "Galatians Two Twenty." Then I heard the voice of the Lord, and He said, "This is now your daily bread. It shall never be withheld from you. You may eat as much and as often as you like. There is no end of My love."
I looked up into the tree to see where the voice had come from, and saw that it was filled with pure white eagles. They had the most beautiful, penetrating eyes I have ever seen. They were looking at me as if waiting for instructions. One of the angels said, "They will do your bidding. These eagles eat snakes." I said, "Go! Devour the shame that has bound our brothers." They opened their wings and a great wind came that lifted them into the air. These eagles filled the sky with a blinding glory. Even as high as we were, I could hear the sounds of terror from the enemy camp at the sight of these eagles coming toward them.
The Lord Jesus Himself then stood in our midst. He touched each one, then said, "I must now share with you what I shared with your brothers after My acsension-the message of My Kingdom. The enemy's most powerful army has now been put to flight, but not destroyed. Now it is time for us to march forth with the gospel of My kingdom. The eagles have been released and will go with us. We will take arrows from every level, but I am your Sword, and I am your Captain. It is now time for the Sword of the Lord to be unsheathed."
I then turned and saw that the entire army of the Lord was standing in that garden. There were men women and children from all races and nations, each carrying their banners that moved in the wind with perfect unity. I knew that nothing like this had been seen in the earth before. I knew that the enemy had many more armies, and fortresses throughout the earth, but none could stand before this great army. I said almost under my breath, "This must be the day of the Lord." The whole host then answered in an awesome thunder, "The day of the Lord of Hosts has come."
We stood in the Garden of God under the Tree of Life. It seemed that the entire army was there, kneeling before the Lord Jesus. He had just given us the charge to return to the battle for the sake of our brothers who were still bound, and for the world that He still loved. It was both a wonderful and a terrible command. It was wonderful just because it came from Him. It was terrible because it implied that we would have to leave His manifest presence, and the Garden that was more beautiful than anything I had ever seen before. To leave all of this to go into battle seemed incomprehensible.
The Lord continued His exhortation: "I have given you spiritual gifts and power, and an increasing understanding of My word and My kingdom, but the greatest weapon that you have been given is the Father's love. As long as you walk in My Father's love you will never fail. The fruit of this tree is the Father's love which is manifested in Me. This love which is in Me must be your daily bread."
The Lord was not what we might consider to be of a strikingly handsome appearance, but was rather ordinary. Even so, the grace with which He moved and spoke made Him the most attractive person I had ever seen. He was beyond human definition in dignity and
nobility. No painting that has sought to capture what He looked like could ever do it, but somehow most of them do resemble Him. I began to think of how He was everything that the Father loves and esteems. He truly is full of grace and truth, to the point that it seemed that nothing but grace and truth should ever matter.
When I ate the fruit from the Tree of Life, the thought of every good thing I had ever known seemed to fill my soul. When Jesus spoke it was the same, only magnified. I never wanted to leave this place. I remembered how I had once thought it must have been boring for those angels who did nothing but worship Him before the throne. Now I knew that there was nothing more wonderful or exhilarating than simply worshiping Him. That would surely be the best part of heaven. It was hard to believe that I had struggled so much with boredom during worship services. I knew that it was only because I had been almost completely out of touch with reality during those times.
Worship in Spirit and Truth
I was almost overwhelmed with the desire to go back and make up those times during worship when I had allowed my mind to wander, or had occupied myself with other things. The desire to express my adoration for Him became almost uncontrollable. I had to praise Him! As I opened my mouth I was shocked by the spontaneous worship that erupted from the entire army at the same time. I had almost forgotten that anyone else was there, but we were all in perfect unity. The glorious worship could not be expressed in human language.
As we worshiped, a golden glow began to emanate from the Lord, then there was silver around the gold. Then colors, the richness of which I have never seen with my natural eyes, enveloped us all. With this glory I entered a realm of emotion that I had never experienced before. Somehow I understood that his glory had been there all along, but when we focused on Him the way that we did in worship, we simply began to see more of His glory. The more intensely we worshiped, the more glory we beheld. If this was heaven, it was much, much better than I had ever dreamed.
Finding His Dwelling Place
I have no idea how long this worship lasted. It could have been months, There was simply no way to measure time in that kind of glory. For a time I closed my eyes because the glory I was seeing with my heart was as great as what I was seeing with my physical eyes. When I opened my eyes I was surprised to see that the Lord was not there any longer, but a troop of angels was standing where He had been. One of them stepped up to me and said, "Close your eyes again." When I did, I beheld the glory of the Lord again and was greatly relieved.
Then the angel explained, "What you see with the eyes of your heart is more real than what you see with your physical eyes." I had myself made this statement many times, but how little I had truly walked in it! The angel continued, "It was for this reason that the Lord told His first disciples that it was better for Him to go away so that the Holy Spirit could come. The Lord dwells within you. You have taught this many times, but now you must live
it, for you have eaten of the Tree of Life."
The angel then began to lead me back to the gate. I protested that I did not want to leave. Looking surprised, the angel took me by the shoulders and looked me in the eyes. That is when I recognized him as the angel, Wisdom. "You never have to leave this garden. This garden is in your heart because the Creator Himself is within you. You have desired the best part, to worship and sit in His presence forever, and it will never be taken from you."
I acknowledged what Wisdom had said, and then looked past him at the fruit on the Tree of Life. I had a compulsion to grab all that I could before leaving. Knowing my thoughts, Wisdom gently shook me. "No. Even this fruit, gathered in fear, would rot. This fruit and this tree are within you because He is in you. You must believe."
I closed my eyes and tried to see the Lord again but couldn't. When I open my eyes Wisdom was still staring at me. With great patience he continued, "You have tasted of the heavenly realm, and no one ever wants to go back to the battle once they do. No one every wants to leave the manifest presence of the Lord. When the apostle Paul came here he struggled for the rest of his life as to whether he should stay and labor for the Lord, or return here to enter into his inheritance; but his inheritance was magnified the
longer he stayed. Now that you have the heart of a true worshiper you will always want to be here, and you can when you enter into true worship. The more focused you are on Him, the more glory you will see, regardless of where you are."
Wisdom's words had finally calmed me. Again I closed my eyes just to thank the Lord for this wonderful experience, and the life He had given me. As I did, I started to see His glory again, and all of the emotion of the previous worship experience flooded my soul. The Lord's words to me were so loud and clear that I was sure they were audible; "I will never leave or forsake you."
"Lord, forgive my unbelief," I responded. "Please help me to never leave or forsake you."
Walking With Wisdom
As I opened my eyes, Wisdom was still gripping my shoulders. "I am the primary gift that has been given to you for your work," he said, "I will show you the way, and I will keep you on it, but only love will keep you faithful. The highest wisdom is to love the Lord."
Then Wisdom released me and started to walk toward the gate. I followed with ambivalence. I remembered the exhilaration of the battle and the climb up the mountain, and it was compelling, but there was no comparison to the presence of the Lord and the worship I had just experienced. Leaving this would be the greatest sacrifice I had ever made. Then I remembered how it was all inside of me, amazed that I could even forget that so quickly. I began to think about the great battle that was raging within me, between what I saw with my physical eyes and what I saw with my heart.
I moved forward so that I was walking beside Wisdom, and asked, "I have prayed for 26 years to be caught up into the third heaven as Paul had. Is this the third heaven?"
"This is part of it," he replied, "but there is much more."
"Will I be allowed to see more?" I asked.
"You will see much more. I am taking you to see more now," he replied.
I started thinking of the Book of Revelation. "Was John's revelation part of the third heaven?" I asked.
"Part of John's revelation was from the third heaven, but most of it was from the second heaven. The first heaven was before the fall of man. The second heaven is the spiritual realm during the reign of evil upon the earth. The third heaven is when the love and domain of the Father will again prevail over the earth through your King."
"What was the first heaven like?" I inquired, strangely feeling a cold chill as I asked.
"It is wisdom not to be concerned about that now," my companion responded with increased seriousness as my question seemed to jolt him. "Wisdom is to seek to know the third heaven just as you have. There is much more to know about the third heaven than you can know in this life, and it is the third heaven, the kingdom, that you much preach in this life. In the ages to come you will be told about the first heaven, but it is not profitable for you to know at this time."
I resolved to remember the cold chill I had just felt, and Wisdom nodded, which I knew to be an affirmation to that thought. "What a great companion you are, I had to say as I was just flooded with appreciation for this angel. "You really will keep me on the right path."
"I will indeed," he replied.
I was sure I felt love coming from this angel, which was unique, since I had never felt this from other angels, which showed more of a concern out of duty than love. Wisdom responded to my thoughts as if I had spoken them out loud.
"It is wisdom to love and I could not be Wisdom if I did not love you. It is also wisdom to behold the kindness and the severity of God. It is wisdom to love Him and fear Him. You are in deception to do otherwise. This is the next lesson that you must learn." he said with unmistakable earnest.
"I do know that, and have taught it many times," I responded, feeling for the first time that maybe Wisdom did not fully know me.
"I have been your companion for a very long time, and I know your teachings," Wisdom replied. "Now you are about to learn what some of your own teachings mean. As you have said many times, 'It is not by believing in your mind, but in your heart that results in
I apologized, feeling a bit ashamed at having even questioned Wisdom. He graciously accepted my apology. It was then that I realized I had been questioning and challenging him most of my life, often to my injury.
The Other Half of Love
"There are times to adore the Lord," Wisdom continued, "and there are times to honor Him with the greatest fear and respect. Just as there is a time to plant, and a time to reap, and it is wisdom to know the time for each. True wisdom knows the times and seasons of God. I brought you here because it was time to worship the Lord in the glory of His love. I am now taking you to another place because it is time for you to worship Him in the fear of His judgment. Until you know both we can be separated from each
"Do you mean that if I had stayed back there in that glorious worship I would have lost you?" I asked in disbelief.
"Yes. I would have always visited with you when I could, but we would have rarely crossed paths. It is hard to leave such glory and peace, but that is not the whole revelation of the King. He is both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb. To the spiritual children He is the Lamb. To the maturing He is the Lion. To the fully mature He is both the Lion and the Lamb. You have known this in your mind, and I have heard you teach it, but now you will know it in your heart, for you are about to experience the judgment seat of Christ.
The Return to the Battle
Before leaving the gates to the Garden I asked Wisdom if I could just sit for a while to ponder all that I had just experienced. "Yes, you should do this," he replied, "But I have a better place for you to do it."
I followed Wisdom out of the gates and we began to descend down the mountain. To my surprise the battle was still going on, but not nearly as intensely as it was when we ascended. There were still arrows of accusation and slander flying about on the lower levels, but most of the enemy horde that was left was furiously attacking the great white eagles. The eagles were easily prevailing.
We kept descending until we were almost at the bottom. Just above the levels of "Salvation" and "Sanctification" was the level "Thanksgiving and Praise." I remembered this level very well because one of the greatest attacks of the enemy came as I first tried to reach it. Once we got here the rest of the climb was much easier, and if an arrow got through your armor it healed much faster.
As soon as the enemy spotted me on this level (the enemy could not see Wisdom), a shower of arrows began to rain down on me. I so easily knocked them down with my shield that the enemy quit shooting. Their arrows were now almost gone and they could not afford to waste any more.
The soldiers who were still fighting from this level looked at me in astonishment with a deference that made me very uncomfortable. It was then that I first noticed that the glory of the Lord was emanating from my armor and shield. I told them to climb to the top of the mountain without stopping and they, too, would see the Lord. As soon as they agreed to go they saw Wisdom. They started fall down to worship Him, but he restrained them, and sent them on their way.
I was filled with love for these soldiers, many of whom were women and children. Their armor was a mess, and they were covered in blood, but they had not quit. In fact. they were still cheerful and encouraged. I told them that they were deserving of more honor than I was, because they had borne the greatest burden of the battle, and had held their ground. They seemed not to believe me, but appreciated that I would say it. However, I really felt that it was true.
Every level on the mountain had to be occupied or the vultures that were left would come and foul it with vomit and excrement until it was difficult to stand on. Most of the ledges were occupied by soldiers which I recognized to be from different denominations or movements which emphasized the truth of the level they were defending. I was embarrassed by the attitude I had maintained toward some of these groups. I had considered some of them out of touch and backslidden at best, but here they were fighting faithfully against a terrible onslaught of the enemy. Their defense of these positions had probably enabled me to keep climbing as I had.
Some of these levels were situated so that there was a view of a good part of the mountain or battlefield, but some were so isolated that the soldiers on them could only see their own position, and seemed not to even know about the rest of the battle raging. They were often so wounded from the slander and accusations that they would be resistant when someone came down to them from a higher level and encouraged them to climb higher. However, when some began to come down from the top reflecting the glory of the Lord, they listened with great joy, and soon began to climb themselves with courage and resolve. As I beheld all of this, Wisdom did not say much, but he seemed very interested in my reactions.
I watched as many soldiers who had been to the top began descending to all of the levels to relieve those who had been taking their stand on those truths. As they did, each level began to shine with the glory they carried. Soon the whole mountain was beginning to shine with a glory that was blinding to the vultures and demons that were left. Soon there was so much glory that the mountain began to have the same feel as the Garden.
I started thanking and praising the Lord and immediately I was in His presence again. It was hard to contain the emotions and glory that was flooding my innermost being. The experience became so intense that I stopped. Wisdom was standing beside me. Putting his hand on my shoulder he said, "You enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise."
"But that was so real! I felt like I was there again," I exclaimed.
"You were there," replied Wisdom. "It has not gotten more real, but you have. Just as the Lord told the thief on the cross, 'Today' you will be with Me in Paradise, you can enter Paradise at anytime. The Lord, His Paradise, and this mountain, are all abiding in you, because He is in you. What were but foretastes before are now a reality to you because you have climbed the mountain. The reason that you can see me and others cannot is not because you have entered the one in which I dwell. This is the reality that the prophets knew that gave them great boldness even when they stood alone against armies."
The Deadly Trap
I then looked out over the carnage below, and the slowly retreating demonic army. Behind me more of the glorious warriors were constantly taking their places on the mountain. I knew there was now enough to attack and destroy what was left of this enemy horde. "Not yet," said Wisdom. "Look over there." I looked in the direction in which he was pointing, but had to shield my eyes from the glory emanating from my own armor to see anything. Then I caught a glimpse of movement in a valley.
I could not make out what I was seeing, because the glory being emitted from my armor made it difficult to see into the darkness. I asked Wisdom to give me something to cover my armor with so I could see it. He then gave me a very plain mantel to put on. "What is this?" I inquired, a little insulted by its drabness. "Humility," said Wisdom. "You will not be able to see very well without it." Reluctantly I put it on and immediately I saw many things that I could not see before. I looked toward the valley and the movement I had seen. To my astonishment there was an entire division of the enemy horde that was waiting to ambush anyone who ventures from the mountain.
"What army it that?" I asked, "and how did they escape the battle intact?"
"That is Pride," explained Wisdom. "That is the hardest enemy to see after you have been in the glory. Those who refuse to put on this cloak will suffer much at the hands of this most devious enemy."
As I looked back at the mountain I saw many of the glorious warriors crossing the plain to attack the remnants of the enemy horde. None of them were wearing the cloaks of humility and they had not seen the enemy that was ready to attack them from their rear. I started to run out to stop them, but Wisdom restrained me. "You cannot stop this," he said. "Only the soldiers who wear this cloak will recognize your authority. Come with me. There is something else that you must see before you can help lead in the great battle that is to come."
The Foundation of Glory
Wisdom led me down the mountain to the very lowest level, which was named "Salvation." "You think that this is the lowest level," declared Wisdom, "but this is the foundation of the whole mountain. In any journey, the first step is the most important,
and it is usually the most difficult. Without 'Salvation' there would be no mountain."
I was appalled by the carnage on this level. Every soldier was very badly wounded, but none of them were dead. Multitudes were barely clinging to the edge. Many seemed ready to fall off at any moment, but none did. Angels were everywhere ministering to the soldiers with such great joy that I asked, "Why are they so happy?"
"These angels have beheld the courage that it took for these to hold on. They many not have gone any further, but neither did they give up. They will soon be healed, and then they will behold the glory of the rest of the mountain, and begin to climb. These will be great warriors for the battle to come."
"But wouldn't they have been better off to climb the mountain with the rest of us?" I protested, seeing their present condition.
"It would have been better for them, but not for you. By staying here they made it easier for you to climb by keeping most of the enemy occupied. Very few from the higher levels ever reached out to help others come to the mountain, but these did. Even when these were barely clinging to the mountain themselves, they would reach out to pull others up. In fact, most of the mighty warriors were led to the mountain by these faithful ones. These are no less heroes than those who made it to the top. They brought great joy to heaven by continually leading others to 'Salvation.' It was for this reason that all the angels in heaven wanted to come to minister to them, but only the most honored were permitted."
Again I felt a terrible shame at my attitude toward these great saints. Many of us scorned them as we climbed to the higher levels. They had made many mistakes during the battle, but they had also displayed more of the Shepherd's heart than the rest of us. The Lord would leave the ninety-nine to go after the one who was lost. These had stayed in the place where they could still reach the lost, and they paid a dear price for it. I, too, wanted
to help but did not know where to start.
Wisdom then said, "It is right for you to want to help, but you will help most by going on to what you have been called to do. These will all be healed and will quickly climb the mountain. They will join you again in the battle. These are fearless ones who
will never retreat before the enemy."
The Power of Pride
I was thinking how descending the mountain was teaching me as much as climbing it had, when noise from the battlefield drew my attention. By now there were thousands of the mighty warriors who had crossed the plain to attack the remnant of the enemy horde.
The enemy was fleeing in all directions, except for the one division, Pride. Completely undetected, it had marched right up to the rear of the advancing warriors, and was about to release a hail of arrows. It was then that I noticed the mighty warriors had not armor on their backsides-they were totally exposed and vulnerable to what was about to hit them.
Wisdom then remarked, "You have taught that there was no armor for the backside, which meant that you were vulnerable if you fan from the enemy. However, you never saw how it made you vulnerable if you advanced in pride."
I could only nod my acknowledgment. It was too late to do anything, and it was unbearable to watch, but Wisdom said that I must. To my amazement, when the arrows of pride struck the warriors they did not even notice. However, the enemy kept shooting. The warriors were bleeding and getting weaker fast but would not acknowledge it. Soon they were too weak to hold up their shields and swords, and cast them down, declaring that they did not need them anymore. Then they started taking off their armor, saying it was not needed anymore either.
Go to Part Two