The Final Conflict
We all know that throughout Biblical history, God on occasion spoke to His servants through visions and dreams. On the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted from the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS. Acts 2:17 On July 9,1970 the Lord spoke to me in a spiritual dream. He made it clear to me that I was to minister the truth shown to me through this dream. I pray that it will be a blessing and inspiration to you as it has been to many others with whom it has been shared. The Dream As the dream began I found myself entering a large stadium. The stands were completely filled with people, and there was an air of excitement and expectancy over what was about to take place. It was to be a baseball game, and I was to be one of the players. I was already in my uniform. The uniform my team was red and white. I saw members of the opposing team and they were dressed in black and white uniforms. As I moved onto the field I realized that all of my teammates were on the sideline in a heated controversy with all of the members of the opposing team. I wanted no part in the rhubarb and walked onto the field, hoping that the others would soon join me there. As I moved onto the field one of the opposing team members moved out with me. My mind was filled with concern to get on with the engagement. From the position of the sun I knew there were about two hours of daylight remaining. The action must get started soon. Finally the argument on the sideline broke up, and the teams began to take their positions. Our team was to be in the field and the opposing team at bat. I had walked out into left field realizing that I had not yet been given an assignment as to the position I would play. I looked for my coach and saw that he was in the middle of the field. He motioned for me to cover third base, and I immediately took my position there. Our team began to “talk it up”, as they say. We were all shouting words of encouragement to one another and getting into the spirit of the engagement Next, we began doing our limbering-up exercises -stretching our arms, flexing our knees and bending our backs. It was now time for the game to get started. The pitcher threw the first ball across the plate. The opposing batter slashed into it with all his might. He hit a very high, fly ball. I watched it as it went high over my head and back, back, back falling foul outside the playing field. Fear gripped my heart. I thought, “If all of their players are that strong what chance do we have?” I realized that I must be very alert. I shifted my weight from foot to foot. If the next ball should come in my direction I must be as agile as a cat ready to spring in any direction to catch the ball and get the player out. At this point the dream ended. When I woke up and began to recall the dream my initial reaction was one of disappointment. I love baseball and was disappointed that I did not get to finish the dream. The Interpretation A spiritual dream cannot be figured out - it must be interpreted. As the Holy Spirit recalled the dream to me the next morning He began to give me the interpretation. I grabbed a pencil and paper and began to write the interpretation as fast as I could. The whole thing was made clear in a few moments time. It was written out without interruption just as the Spirit was giving it to me. The playing field represented the whole world. The stands filled with spectators is the picture presented in Hebrews 12:1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses ... The Lord told me that those in the stands were the great cloud of witnesses. They were all of the Christians who have ever lived and were now looking down upon the world from their heavenly position. All of the patriarchs and saints of the Old and New Testament eras were in the stands. There were Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Joseph, David, Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Peter, James and John and all the rest. They were the ones who had been in the “pennant races” in former generations. Many of them had done well and were in the “hall of fame” as recorded in Hebrews chapter eleven. They were looking with keenest of anticipation to see how those of us on the field in this generation would do. Then the Lord said to me, “THIS IS THE WORLD SERIES! THIS IS THE FINAL CONFLICT BETWEEN THE FORCES OF EVIL AND THE FORCES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. THIS IS TO DETERMINE THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!” Then I was told the meaning of the uniforms. Our uniforms were red and white. Red represents the blood of Jesus. It marks us as those who belong to the Lord. The blood speaks of our power in Christ Jesus. “They overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb ...” (Rev. 12:11). The white speaks of purity. Those on the Lord’s team today must be, marked by purity. The Spirit is laying strong emphasis upon personal holiness and practical righteousness. This is no time to be walking with one foot in the world and the other in the Kingdom of God! The opposing team was dressed in black and white. Black is the symbol of evil. It characterizes Satan and his evil works. The opposing team was clearly identified as the Devil and his host of demon spirits. I was puzzled. The devil’s team also had white in its uniforms. What could this mean? While the question was being formed in my mind the Spirit was giving answer... The black and white represents a mixture of evil and good. Satan never comes at us with all blackness and evil. He comes to us with white as well. The black and white represents a mixture of truth and error. This is one of Satan’s greatest strategic mixtures. Today, as never before, there is a mixture of good and evil; truth and error. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. I Tim. 4:1 Why was I in this conflict? The Lord showed me that my presence in the encounter was that of a representative person. I was representative of the many Christians who are moving onto the field of spiritual conflict to carry the offensive against the forces of hell. I inquired, “But, Lord, why are all of my teammates on the sideline in an argument with the opposing team?” The Lord explained that this is just another tactic of the enemy. He tries to get God’s people on the sideline, and out of the main action and keep them tied up. He showed me that this represents the divisions of denominational Christianity. The devil has Christians on the sideline defending their own doctrines and traditions, little realizing that they have been deceived by the devil. It is time for God’s people to come into a unity and get on with the business at hand! In reality this is what is happening as a result of the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout the world today. My concern was that the day was about over. Only a couple of hours of daylight remained. Truly, the night is coming when no man can work. We are living in the final hours of human history. We must make every minute count. We must realize that as Christians we must get onto the field and defeat Satan and his hosts. Finally the teams began to move onto the field. One man does not make a team! The phase of church life that we are moving into requires team work... unity! The Lord then reminded me that there were nine players on a baseball team. The number nine suggests the nine gifts of the Spirit and the nine fruits of the Spirit. Those on the Lord’s team in this final conflict with the forces of Satan will be operating under the direction of the Holy Spirit, The gifts of the Spirit - the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, kinds of tongues and the interpretation of tongues (See I Cor. 12:8-10) - will operate in their ministry. The fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance - will be in evidence. (See Gal. 5:22,23). Praise the Lord! He is bringing His team onto the field in our day. It is a Spirit-filled team. The gifts of the Spirit are being restored to the church. The fruits are being evidenced among God’s people as never before. The barriers which have separated us and kept us side-lined for so long are being overcome. Denominational barriers are crumbling. Dividing doctrinal questions are being buried. Jesus is Lord! We are experiencing the flow of love. We are on common ground. We can worship and minister together under the Holy Spirit. When I moved onto the field an opposing team member moved out with me. In actual experience I moved onto the field of conflict when I experienced the Holy Spirit. It was then that I was endued with power and became a threat to the devil. It was after that experience that the gifts of the Spirit began to operate in my ministry, and most of the resultant power was directed at the devil. The baptism in the Holy Spirit certainly did not spell an end to my problems - in truth my problems seemed greater than ever. Overnight most of my friends became enemies who rejected me and accused me of pride and deception. Fear gripped my heart and I wondered what would become of me. The demon powers had moved onto the field to counter me! At this point I was standing in left field. Do you know what it means to be in left field? This expression has been used to describe a person who is confused and does not know where he is. I knew I was in the conflict and on the field but had no idea what my part was. This adequately and graphically describes my dilemma following the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Does not this describe a lot of Christians? They are in left field. They have never really found the will of God for their lives. They are wandering aimlessly. They are of no real help to the team. The place they are to fill is left empty. There is a gap in the ranks. But the Coach is there ready to give direction! Who is the Coach? He is the Holy Spirit. And where is He to be found? This was a strange feature of the dream. Ordinarily the coach is on the sidelines or in the dugout. But here the coach was right in the middle of the field. Where is the Holy Spirit today? He is right in the very midst of us. He is there to give us direction as we look to Him. He showed me that I was to be at third base. We will come to the meaning of this in a moment. The various team members were quickly finding their positions. The game would soon be underway. We began to shout words of encouragement to one another. Oh, what a beautiful picture of the church. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Heb. 10: 24,25 Then began our exercises. The Lord showed me that the physical exercises of ball players parallel the Christian’s spiritual exercises. If we are to stay in shape for spiritual conflict we must follow the rules and disciplines of spiritual exercise flexing our knees in prayer, lifting our arms in praise, bending our backs in worship! Hallelujah! The participants in a world championship conflict will always be in top condition. Let it not be said of us that... The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. Luke 16: 8b If men in the sports arena can discipline their lives and stay in the best of condition to achieve an earthly crown, how much more should the Christian pay the price to be fully prepared for the greatest conflict of all Now, it was time for the conflict to begin. God showed me that our team was in the field on the defense. He told me that I His people had been in this position long enough. It was time to take the upper hand of the devil and get on the offensive. A good defense is important, but it is the offensive team that scores. Through spiritual warfare the church is taking the offensive today. Demons are being cast out. Principalities and powers of spiritual darkness are being assailed and defeated. Jesus once said... If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. Luke 11:20 This is the day of spiritual battle and spiritual victory. Before the Kingdom of God can ever become a reality in your life or mine, the forces of hell that beset us must be faced and overcome. Before the church can fulfill that which the Lord prophesied concerning His victorious church (Matt. 16:18) it must take the offensive against the devil. The message and practice of spiritual warfare is spreading rapidly today throughout the church. The devil is being resisted and he is forced to flee. For the first time we are seeing the backside of the devil. It is a beautiful sight! I am reminded of the story of the boys who were playing ball out in a field one day. A man was passing by. He asked one of the boys how the game was going. The boy replied that it was going fine. The man inquired as to the score. The boy said it was 35 to 0. The man wanted to know in whose favor. The boy said that it was in favor of the other team. Then the man commented that the boy’s team was getting beaten very badly. The boy looked puzzled and said, “Oh, no, Sir! We are not getting beat.” Now the man was puzzled. He wanted to know how the boy figured that they were not being defeated when they were behind 35 to 0. Whereupon the boy explained, “Sir, we haven’t come to bat yet.” What a picture of the church! The devil has been running up the score. But now it is time for the church to take the offensive and defeat the devil. Amen! Then the first ball was pitched. The opposing batter hit the ball very hard. The ball went very high and far but fell foul. The Lord said, “I want to show you the work of the enemy. It is like that ball that was hit. The enemy does have some power. And what he does is often very high and impressive, but it is ‘foul’ all the way.” The fear that struck my heart is common to many of God’s servants when they see all that the devil is doing. They wonder if there is any chance of victory. They begin to think in terms of being caught off in a rapture. But God is not bringing forth that kind of a church! He is Lord of a militant church. He has been waiting for a generation like ours to take the field. Under his leadership it will be done. The enemy will be defeated. Are you on the team? Are you taking the offensive against the devil? I realized at this point in the dream that I must be ready. I must be my best. I must be able to move in any direction required and get the opponent out. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Eph. 5:15,16 The dream seemed to have ended prematurely. I inquired of the Lord as to why I was not permitted to see the finish of the game. The Lord asked me in return why I wanted to see it through to the end. I explained that I was desirous of knowing the outcome. The Lord then said a beautiful thing to me, “Son”, He said, “you do not need to know the outcome; you already know it. My Word has promised you that you are on the winning team. It will be even as I have said. No, you do not need to know the outcome, but you do need to know that THE FINAL CONFLICT HAS BEGUN!” Yes, dear Christian friend, we are in the end of the age The final conflict between the forces of Satan and the army of God is ALREADY under way. We see the evidences of it on every side. It is the call unto battle. There is no more time to delay. The warfare is on! Are you involved? The Sequel The interpretation of the dream had not ended. I was given the meaning of the bases. First base represented social relationships, second base was business relationships, third base was church relationships. This is why I was assigned to third base. It was my business to put the devil out when he tried to get on third base - in the church. Home base represented just what it signified - home relationships. The Spirit showed me that everything began at home base and ended at home base. When the members of the Lord’s team came to bat they had to start at home and get a hit there. No matter how impressively they ran the bases of social, business or even church relationships, if they had not gotten started right at home they were nothing but hypocrites! God is placing an emphasis upon right home-life today. He is setting our homes in order. He is restoring the husband and father to his place of authority in the home. The home is becoming the center of spiritual life. This is God’s divine order. We cannot be right in any other relationship in life until our lives are right at home. The devil’s team is throwing fast balls and curve balls at home. The devil must be defeated first of all in his onslaught against our homes. Each member of the family must assume the roll that God has ordained: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord ... Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it... Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right. Eph. 5:22,25, 6:1 The first test for Christian living comes at home. If the love, joy and peace of the Holy Spirit does not issue from our lives in relationship with members of our own household, then Satan has gained a victory over us. When it becomes apparent that Satan has already gained a foothold in our home and through oneself, it is a call to spiritual warfare. Defeat the devil in your own life and in your family and then you will be able to carry the warfare on into other areas of life. In His parable of the mote and the beam Jesus showed us that we must get our own life in order before we can minister to others. Let’s be sure there are no pigs in our own parlors.