A Revelatory Nugget
The enemy of our souls is always plotting strategy to take us out and steal, kill and destroy. But our God has superior "intelligence" or spying ability, and He has a wonderful habit of doing a preemptive strike before the enemy can do what he wants to do. It's like our opponent is about to score the winning touchdown, when God makes the big interception and takes the ball the other way. We need to be encouraged that although everything looks as dark as it could possibly be, God has a plan to thwart the destructive plan against His people.
I believe God is speaking prophetically to His Church, to Israel, America and other nations, which are facing impossible scenarios such as the ISIS crisis, Ebola, moral and financial collapse, and many other attacks of the enemy. He is about to make a preemptive strike to turn His enemy's plans for victory into a stunning defeat. I will be more specific at the end of this article.
While writing my most recent book, called HOLY HOW, on the subjects of Holiness, The Sabbath, Communion and Baptism, I had a nugget of truth dropped into my spirit that still thrills me as much today as it did then. It was a revelatory nugget that will change forever the way I understand communion. May this stir your soul as it did mine.
I had already been teaching some rather radical insights on Communion for some time. But what really blessed me immensely and gave me a new appreciation for God's brilliant redemptive plan had to do with the way that Jesus thwarted his enemy's destructive plan by using a strategy of preemption. We have totally missed this truth, because we have also missed a very important foundational truth about the wonderful experience we know asCommunion.
The Forgotten Foundational Truth
In a nutshell, the truth we have failed to see in the story of the Last Supper, is the fact that what Jesus was saying, as quoted in I Corinthians 10 and 11 about His Body, had a direct connection to what Paul talked about in I Corinthians 12 about Christ's Body. It still blows my mind that I had never seen this till a few years ago, and although I grew up in the Church, I had never heard it preached or taught. (Photo via Wikipedia
What I'm saying is this: In I Corinthians 10:16-17, Paul says that we are one Body and one bread, when referring to communion. He is clearly saying that we together share or have a part in His Body and when we are together, we are also one loaf, with the potential of nourishing others. Please read with an open mind:
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (or sharing) of the Blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion (or sharing) of the Body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one Body; for we all partake of that one bread." I Corinthians 10:16-17
This passage is usually never read or quoted in our communion services, because the next chapter, I Corinthians 11, goes into much greater detail about the Last Supper and the importance of reverence when taking it. However, the terminology used by Paul in chapter 10 is virtually the same terminology he uses again in Chapter 12. But we've been so hung up over the centuries about whether "is" really means "is" that we've missed the truly obvious. So what is chapter 12 all about?
I Corinthians 12 begins with the discussion about how the Holy Spirit has divided up the spiritual gifts among the members of the Body of Christ. Then the heart of the chapter deals with the subject of how important every member of Christ's Body is and how each one has a function – obviously referring to the spiritual gifts which give us our unique function in the Body of Christ. In this chapter, the word "Body" is used 18 times in just 16 verses.
When Jesus declared, "This is My body, which is broken for you," He was not talking about how much His body would suffer, although it did suffer terribly. The word here in the Greek is "klah-o," which means to break or divide up bread to give each person a portion. What He was saying then was that He was dividing up the functions and ministries which He had performed in His physical body, among His twelve disciples, so that they could become His Body and do the work that He had done in His Body up until that point.
This is a very brief summary of the teaching, but I want to move on quickly to the fresher nugget which so blessed me as I was writing my book. Here it is:
God's Preemptive Strategy
Satan was not happy that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit and "went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38). This despicable and angry fallen angel saw how much damage had been done to his own evil kingdom by Jesus Christ, in one human body. He developed a strategy to remove the influence and impact of the "Son of Man" by killing His body and shedding His Blood. (Photo via Wikimedia
I like to ask the question, "Why did Jesus need a body, and why do we need a body when we already have a soul and spirit?" I love the answer I received in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada. A young man spoke up and said, "So we can do stuff."
"Exactly, right on!" I replied. Jesus had a body so He could do stuff – like making clay from spit and dirt and healing the blind man; like lifting poor, sinking Peter out of the raging Sea of Galilee; like writing in the sand when the religious leaders brought Him the guilty woman; like overturning the tables of the money changers in the temple. Yes, Jesus used His body to touch, to speak, to heal, deliver and raise the dead. He used that body to do every good deed He ever did and satan knew it.
Satan thought if he could get rid of that body, he could begin to recover some lost territory. And thus, the strategy was laid out. Satan would get one disciple to betray Jesus. Another would deny Jesus and the rest would forsake Him. Religious Jewish rulers would accuse Him, and the Romans would crucify Him. It all seemed to be working as planned. He would soon put an end to this unacceptable interruption of His continuous success in making people religious without relationship, guilty without forgiveness, sick without a healer, and tormented without a deliverer.
But the Christ who would die on the Cross, with full knowledge of the enemy's schemes, knew exactly what to do that very night in which He was betrayed. This is what was really happening that night in the Upper Room.
Yes, Jesus would give His body to the Jews and the Romans to kill, but in that Upper Room, He would pull a fast one on His enemy. When Jesus broke the bread and divided it up among His disciples, He was saying, "This is My Body, which is divided up among you." In other words, "All that I accomplished through My physical, human body is now being deposited in you, so you can do all the things that I did in My body, if you work together in the same way that all the members of the Body work together."
Let's say it again a little differently. Jesus had a joy set before Him that enabled Him to keep His focus on His disciples and others. The joy was in knowing He was defeating the enemy, who thought he was winning the war. Jesus knew that when the enemy came to kill His Body, which had given him so much trouble, it would be too late. He had already given His Body away in the Upper Room. (Photo via Pixabay)
Instead of one body performing miracles, satan would now have 12, then 120, then thousands to deal with. It reminds me of the road runner always outsmarting the coyote. No matter what scheme the coyote tried, it would always blow up in his face because of the preemptive action of the road runner.
Jesus also knew that His Blood would be shed that night, and His life was in the Blood. Without taking time to prove my point from various Scriptures, I am convinced that the Blood clearly represents the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Blood gets the vital oxygen from the air or breath or wind, which in the Greek is all "Pneuma," which also means "spirit." That breath of life is carried to every member of the Body by the flow of the Blood.
Thus, when Jesus said, "This is My Blood which is shed for you for the remission of sins," He was saying that they would also have a flow of His Spirit flowing through them to activate the ministries and gifts that were given to them, when He broke the bread and gave them each a piece. In John 20:22, after His resurrection, Jesus came to them and breathed upon them the New Covenant breath of Life. He was breathing life into their spirits and preparing them to receive the same power that worked in His life through being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
A Few Illustrations
My favorite modern illustration of a Preemptive God, is the Six Day War in Israel in 1967. The Arab and Muslim world had Israel in their sights. Israel was a tiny nation. It still is, but it was even smaller before that incredible war. I'm not sure how badly they were outnumbered, but let's just say it was by "Biblical Proportions." It certainly looked like they were doomed to annihilation, but God was watching over them and giving them His strategy to turn defeat into glorious victory.
The key to Israel's success was superior "intelligence." They knew what the enemy had planned. That's why they did a "Preemptive Strike," and with the advantage of surprise, in just six days, they had pushed back their enemies on all sides and captured both military equipment and the lands known as Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
A favorite Bible illustration is the story of Elisha and how he would receive his secret "intelligence" from the Lord about where the enemy was going to attack. This enabled the King of Israel to preemptively move his own army in such a way that he could thwart the plans of the king of Syria.
Another recent illustration was our own personal journey, moving from one home location to another. As traveling ministries, living totally by faith, that faith often gets tested. We were getting ready for an expensive move across the country with our 11-year-old diesel motor home, pulling a U-Haul trailer. We would not be having any meetings for income that whole week, and when we arrived in California, we would be spending some time and money with family rather than doing meetings. The big event we were going for was the birth of our 12th grandchild. (Photo via flickr)
God, knowing what would happen and what our needs would be, set us up for special appointments, meetings and unexpected gifts. Before we headed west, we were given more than enough for both the trip and some down time with the family after our arrival. Even some unexpected expenses on the journey were covered by God's preemptive activity.
Prophetic Application and Word of the Lord
I am feeling an anointing to prophesy to both nations and to individuals. In the past you have suffered many things at the hands of ungodly enemies. It seems like God wasn't there for you and you were left hurt and seemingly abandoned, like the man in the "Good Samaritan" story.
But although people and governments let you down, God was watching over you and protecting you from even greater suffering. He found and sent someone willing to help you when you had almost lost hope. Just as Jesus had to suffer, we also will be called at times to suffer with Him.
But listen to the word I'm hearing from the Lord, "I will shorten the enemy's reach to smite you and to steal from you. I will see his plans and reveal them to those who bend their ears towards the sound of My voice. I will share My secrets with you and give you wisdom to strike preemptively in My name and with My power.
"The enemy will see his plans to destroy you turned into his defeat and a greater blessing and victory for you. Even as the small nation of Israel was blessed with more than they had before the Six Day War, so shall I bless you with unexpected rewards when you stand and face the enemy with My wisdom and knowledge."
And the Lord says to America: "I have given the enemy opportunity to do many things against My people in this land, which made a covenant with Me centuries ago. I have allowed him to do things never done before, so that My sleeping Bride would awaken, rise up, shake off her slumber, take up her sword and use My gifts and the power of My love to revive the life of this nation.(Photo via incandvoice.com)
"Yes, the enemy has very evil and destructive plans. Plans that would end America as you know it. But I also have made My plans. My plans are to defeat and expose his plans and to grant you favor in My sight again. There is coming a better day for My people in this land. There will be many tears shed in the coming days and years. Tears of repentance and tears of joy. America's time to lead the nations by example has not come to an end. She will revive and once again breathe deeply the breath of life and will again strengthen and help those that are weak."
It's not time to lose hope. It's time to rise up and be the Body of Christ – in unity and in His power. When we celebrate communion, let's thank Jesus not only for our salvation, but also for the gifts and ministries and the power of His Holy Spirit living in us and empowering our anointings. It's not about us, it's about the "stuff" He wants to get done, and He has made us His Body to get it done.
Ben R. Peters
Kingdom Sending Center
Kingdom Sending Center
Ben and Brenda Peters have said, "YES" to the call of God to challenge, equip and send dedicated lovers of Jesus into the harvest fields of the earth, including the seven mountains of society. Together they have ministered to tens of thousands of individuals in several countries of the world. After establishing churches and Christian schools for almost thirty years, they began a traveling ministry in 1999, under the name, Open Heart Ministries, speaking, teaching and prophesying in conferences, camps, churches, ministry schools (including Wagner Leadership Institute) and homes. More recently, they also founded an Illinois-based ministry, called, Kingdom Sending Center, after hearing from God during a Heidi Baker meeting in Chicago. Ben began writing revelatory books in 2000, and has published 22 of them since them and his newest book is HOLY-HOW? - A fresh look at Holiness, the Sabbath, Communion and Baptism. Ben and Brenda have 5 children and 12 grandchildren.
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