May 12, 2005
"Angelic Activity Released to Judge That Which is Holding Back the Destiny That is Over You"
by Todd Bentley & Charlie Robinson
Fresh Fire Ministries
In this teaching, we will examine the angelic realm and how to get into position for angelic encounters that go hand in hand with God's desire to release the fulfillment of His promises in our lives. We'll close by joining together to carry out three prayer assignments.
It's worth repeating -- God's Word always reflects His personality and character. Just like a patient father goes to great lengths to help his children, so does our heavenly Father go all out to help us win the race that He designed for each one of us to run (Hebrews 12:1). One of the most significant sources of help that God created for mankind is the ministry of His angels. However, the church's understanding of the angelic realm today is quite limited so I'm going to share several keys about how we can welcome and also be ready for the angelic realm that God wants to release into our lives.
THE SET TIME
I had a recent encounter with the angel called "Promise" who comes at the set time to announce the fulfillment of a word that we have received from the Lord. There is something about this angel's presence that shakes those things loose that have been tied up and held back in the spirit realm.
I believe that this angel's visit is connected to the set time we are in now concerning God's desire to execute vengeance on His adversaries as well as His desire to fulfill His promises in our lives. Many believers are waiting for their prayers to be answered. Christians have been saying, "God, You spoke this word over our church and over our region." Or, "God, when am I going to see the things You promised me through Your prophet?" So I want you to think back to a prophetic word, a dream, a vision, or a promise, because the Lord showed me, in the spirit, that the answers which have been tied up and held back for years are going to break through to fulfillment. Things are about to change!
ANGELIC SUPERNATURAL INTERVENTION
Just like Daniel experienced a hold up in seeing the fulfillment of the word of the Lord, so have many of us. What God had intended to release to Daniel the first day was held up for 21 days. It took Michael, the archangel, to break through and say, "Daniel, God heard you on the first day. The first day the answer was already released in heaven, but it took 21 days to bring it to earth" (Daniel 10:11-14).
How about 21 years, or 6 years, or 10 years? God wants to release the angelic realm to do battle on our behalf so that what has been held back, even for 20 years, is going to be released. It's going to show up with salvations in our families and with financial breakthroughs. Incredible things that we haven't thought about, all of a sudden, are going to be knocking at our door. This applies corporately, as well as to individuals, and there will be a fulfillment of prophetic words, dreams, and destinies that have been hanging over the Northwest for 20 years.
The angelic realm is coming in supernatural intervention to bring the answer we have been waiting for to our door! Let's remember the story of the apostle Peter knocking on the door after the prayers of the saints released the angel to free him from jail (Acts 12:5-13).
The saints were praying all night for Peter. They prayed fervently because he was in prison and he needed supernatural intervention. Their prayers released the angel to go into the prison to help him escape. When he came and knocked on their door they couldn't believe he was really there! (vs. 14-16)
We're like that too! We're so used to praying for a breakthrough and waiting for it to happen that when the answer is at the door we can't believe it! I've noticed that those with the seer gift usually see so much about the future that they really don't expect anything today. Listen. Angels are going to intervene in our circumstances. All we have to do is open up the door and let the answer in! I'm talking about what we've been praying about for years!
Did you know that there are angels in heaven that not only scribe and record, but there are angels who interpret and give us understanding of dreams and visions? Gabriel came to both Daniel and Mary (the mother of Jesus) to bring understanding. He oversees a host of angels in heaven that help men, women, and prophets in particular, understand world events, times and seasons. He is also the angel that comes during a major transition like when Jesus was to be born (Luke 1:26-33).
I believe that we are in the midst of a move of God and that Gabriel is coming because we are about to break into something new. There is about to be an increase in angelic activity. Feathers, diamonds, gold dust -- a lot of what has come in the past is coming again stronger because we are about to break into something new. I don't know exactly when it's about to hit and I don't know how it's going to hit, but I know it's not just going to hit one place.
POSITIONING FOR ANGELIC VISITATIONS
We're going to discuss three different angelic encounters from the Bible that all have similar key characteristics. This will help us get into position for an increase of angelic supernatural activity, visitation, and intervention. We'll examine in detail the encounter that Abraham had and then take a brief look at the encounters that Gideon and Lot each had.
Abraham had several encounters with the Lord, but I want to talk about the one that is described in Genesis 18:1:
"Then the Lord appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day."
God appeared to Abraham by the terebinth trees of Mamre. Mamre means firmness, strength, and fatness. God visits in the place of strength and fatness and with those who are living in the fullness of the anointing. Is your spirit in a place that is strong? Are you focused? The anointing is a prophetic picture of strength and firmness.
Terebinth means landmark, burial, and judgment. God chose to visit Abraham in the place called landmark, burial place, and judgment. That is the place where God comes in blessing. Firstly, every time God would supernaturally visit the patriarchs, they would make a landmark by building an altar to mark the place where heaven opened and God came down. Bethel was a landmark for Abraham and it was marked as a geographical place that triggered an open heaven. Abraham went back Bethel (Genesis 13:3-4) to the exact place where he had previously called upon the name of the Lord and where he built an altar (Genesis 12:8).
Initially, when Abraham chose to move his tent by the terebinth trees of Mamre in Hebron (Genesis 13:18), which in the spirit is the place of firmness and fatness, he built an altar to the Lord there. There is something about when God sovereignly chooses to visit a city and it becomes a landmark, but there is something about when we choose a city and build an altar and God comes because of what we build.
There are times in which God will sovereignly just move in revival and say, "I'm going to put this city on the map!" But there are other times where God says, "I'm going to visit you because of what you build." Whether God called us to have revival in Abbotsford or not, we will surely have revival. God will come because of the altar we've built.
Today, there are designated places -- landmarks -- found in cities, churches, and ministries where God sovereignly chooses to visit. Modern-day landmarks are Toronto and Pensacola, because God visited these cities. As well, when many believers think about Abbotsford, they are reminded of Fresh Fire Ministries and Fresh Fire conferences. For them, Abbotsford is a landmark where believers come and encounter God's presence because God is visiting there.
So what is Abraham doing by choosing to move by the terebinth trees of Mamre? He's building a landmark! And so God visited him in the very place in which he built his altar (Genesis 13:18). Now, when God chooses to visit Abraham and release the promise (Genesis 18:10), where does God come? To the place that Abraham built. Why? God honors landmarks.
"BURIAL" AND "JUDGMENT"
Secondly, terebinth means burial place. We have to die to ourselves, our agendas, and ideas in order to make room for a visitation from the Lord or from His angels. There has to be a burial!
Thirdly, terebinth means judgment. Examine me, God. Try me. See if there is any error in my way. We don't always understand why the Lord is examining us. When the Lord appeared to Abraham by the terebinth trees, He took on the form of a man (Genesis 18:2). Abraham saw three men standing opposite his tent. This was a test. We'll discuss this later in this teaching under Angelic Encounters Bring a Test.
When Lot encountered the angels he did the same thing as Abraham!
"But he [Lot] insisted strongly; so they [angels] turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate." Genesis 19:3
Lot actually got into an intense discussion with the angels because they wanted to spend the night in the square, but he insisted strongly that they come with him to his house. Little did he realize that his concern for the angels, in the end, would save his life and the lives of his two daughters, because the angels personally escorted them out of Sodom before it was destroyed (vs. 12-22). [Lot's wife died because she didn't follow the angel's instructions (v. 26)]
BECOMING "UNLEAVENED BREAD"
Now let's take a look at Gideon's encounter with the angel of the Lord.
"The Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree . . . " Judges 6: 11
There it is again! We're talking about Gideon, not Abraham! Where does God visit Gideon? Under the terebinth tree. God visits landmarks and burial places. Gideon wanted the angel of the Lord to stay and to give him a sign that it was God speaking to him and sending him into battle against Midian. So Gideon did the same thing that Abraham did!
"So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them." Judges 6:19
In all three angelic encounters (with Abraham, Lot and Gideon), there is the same response. Here is the similar key characteristic that will help us get into position for an angelic encounter -- each one knew how to entertain the angelic realm. They knew how to position themselves for the angelic visitation. Abraham, Lot, and Gideon all prepared unleavened bread for their heavenly guests. There was a feast going on in all three angelic encounters. Each feast symbolizes "The Feast of Unleavened Bread." Isn't it interesting that this Feast also represents Passover and the Last Supper (Luke 22:1-20). I believe that when all three men prepared unleavened bread, their hearts were prophetically in agreement with the very essence of the Last Supper when Jesus shared unleavened bread with His disciples saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19).
It is fitting that they did not prepare bread with leaven because leaven represents iniquity, lust, hypocrisy, uncleanness, wickedness, false doctrine, religion, and legalism. So we need to take this to heart because before the angel can come to our house, we have to get rid of the leaven! God wants unleavened bread! The apostle Paul knew this and he advised the Corinthians:
"Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us." I Corinthians 5:7
It's like Paul is saying that we need to examine ourselves; there must be a consecration in our lives in order to prepare ourselves for a visitation. Let's not miss this! God is looking for those who will examine themselves and allow the Holy Spirit to shed His light on their sin and then take the necessary steps to get rid of the iniquity, the lust, and the hypocrisy.
So there is something about prolonging visitation by baking bread! Sitting down and eating with people we don't know, or with people we do know, builds friendship and intimacy. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:20).
If we want to have angelic visitation and have God come (and prolong our visit when God does come), then we need to learn how to sit down, eat and drink with Jesus. There has to be a place of intimacy.
God always chooses terebinth trees -- landmarks, burial places, and judgment -- of Mamre -- the place of firmness and fatness. God is looking for people who are strong in spirit, people who are pressing in, and for those who are building an altar. Where did God visit? He came to the altar that Abraham built. The altar represented Abraham's attitude of worship, prayer, fasting, and pressing in. Abraham came to a place and said this place is going to become a landmark. I came to a place ten years ago, Abbotsford, and I built an altar there. I've been calling on the Lord ever since, and now God is starting to come and visit because of what we've been building, and He'll continue to come.
ANGELIC ENCOUNTERS BRING A TEST
However, it needs to be said that the Lord usually comes disguised and the only way we can recognize Him is when we have the eyes of our heart opened by the Spirit of God. So often we mistakenly expect to see the Lord on a white horse or a glorious angel like Gabriel decked out in all his shining splendor.
The apostle Paul says, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some [you] have unwittingly entertained angels" (Hebrews 13:2).
Without knowing it, how we treat the stranger is a test as to whether God will visit us with an angelic encounter or pass us by. How can we have heavenly visitors if we can't remember the poor? How can we be trusted with supernatural revelation and heavenly encounters if we don't give consideration to the stranger and the afflicted.
The fact is, most of the time we don't feel comfortable with the stranger. But how we treat the poor, the widow, the broken, the lost, and the stranger will determine whether or not we are in the right position to receive a visitation from heaven. So let every opportunity you have to bless the poor be an opportunity to serve and bless Jesus, because you never know if "they" are angels!
When the Lord appeared to Abraham He hid Himself in the package of three normal men because He wanted to see what kind of treatment He was going to receive. Listen. If we knew an angelic visitation was going to happen at a certain time and place we'd have the best of everything ready! But the fact is we never really know when angels will show up and we never really know how they're going to look. So we always have to be ready. And the test is when the broken and stinky street-person comes and needs ministry. This "person" might be an angel!
DON'T DESPISE OR DEVALUE THE PACKAGE THE MESSAGE COMES IN
It's clear that Abraham was ready in his heart before the Lord and the two angels even appeared to him because he literally ran to them (Genesis 18:2)! Instantly his attitude was warm and he asked them to stay. Nothing was going to stop Abraham from blessing them with a foot washing, offering them a shady spot to rest up, and then preparing a great meal. Sometimes our heart is ready to run right into God's purposes! Have you noticed also that sometimes our heart is ready, but our mind kicks in and argues? It's like our spirit recognizes God or an angelic encounter, but our mind hasn't caught up with the reality of the experience.
The encounter that Abraham had here is absolutely crucial because it's in this visitation that the set time comes to confirm and release the promise that Sarah (his wife) will be holding her son at that same time next year (Genesis 18:10-14). Listen. It is possible to miss something that God has for us if we despise or devalue the package the message comes in. Jesus, Himself, and the two angels came to Abraham in the form of three normal men. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in order to be ready and then recognize God and His angels when they come to visit us. The Lord and the two angels were ready to come and leave right away. Abraham's answer to the test was, "Please, stay a while." Is that the cry of your heart when the Holy Sprit shows up? Do you hope that the encounter will never be over?
Isn't it interesting that the next thing God says is, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?" (Genesis 18:17). Should I continue to hide our plans from Abraham my servant or should I bring him in on what we are doing? [So obviously he passed the test because he is invited into a conversation about Sodom and Gomorrah.] Abraham, I'm thinking about coming down and destroying these cities. Would you like to be in on that because I reveal my secrets to my prophets? You are one of my friends now because of the way you treated us when you didn't know exactly who we were.
ANGELIC ENCOUNTERS COME WITH A COST
We want the supernatural, but are we God's friends, ready to give whatever it costs us? Are we going to sacrifice ourselves and pay our vows? We need to examine our lives and make some decisions. It's the place of judgment, but it brings us into the place of blessing. It's going to cost us something.
When God visited Jacob in a prophetic dream there was an open heaven, angels ascending and descending (Genesis 28:10-15), and Jacob marked the spot where he had the encounter -- he made a landmark (v. 18). He vowed that if the Lord would look after him and bring him back to his father's house in safety, the Lord would be His God and He would give the Lord one-tenth of his wealth (vs. 20-22). Can you imagine? Twenty years later God shows up and says, Hey Jacob! I'm the God of Bethel! Get back to the landmark! Get back to the place! And by the way, fulfill your vow. I want the money! (Genesis 31:13) You see, it's going to cost us something. We won't have a visitation without a burial in our life. Something has to die, change, shift, and move.
What's your cross? I've asked God for an increase in the anointing, but when I ask for an increase I know that more will be required of me, because with every increase comes a requirement. So God responds with, What are you going to give? I'm going to come to your house with three angels and not tell you they are angels, because I told you a year ago I was going to come with the promise and I want to see if you remember what I told you a year ago! I'm going to show up at your house disguised. Why? Because I want to see what you're going to do when I come.
So, I want to ask several important questions. What are you prepared to give to see your set time come to pass? If you're asking for more, then God is asking, What will you give Me? Where is the goat? Where is the sacrifice? You want Me to visit you and to stay? Do you want angelic activity to increase in your life, your church, and your city? I'm about to release angelic assignments, but there is a test in the promise. I'm coming and I want to know how you're going to welcome Me when I come. I want to know what kind of sacrifice you're going to make.
What did you promise God? Have you paid your vow yet? If you haven't fulfilled your vow then that could be hindering your destiny! What are you prepared to give for the increase? What are you prepared to give for the promise that is waiting in heaven?
We need to be like Abraham. He knew exactly what to do when the Lord and the two angels came by. He was ready to give. He was in the right place in the natural and in the spiritual. He built the altar, he was in a place of prayer, and he was calling on the name of the Lord (Genesis 12:8). He positioned himself in a place in which God would come and stay awhile, in a place of firmness and fatness. He realized that he would have to change things in His life when God came, but he was willing to pay the cost. God responded by releasing the set time (Genesis 18:10).
IT'S THE SET TIME TO PRESS IN
The set time or the appointed time comes to fullness exactly when God decrees. For instance, at the set time on the day appointed by God, Jesus came into the synagogue in Nazareth and read a particular passage from the scroll of Isaiah. He told everyone, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21). That passage of Scripture was there for hundreds of years, but there was a set time ordained by God when those particular words would be fulfilled. Just like it was at the set time when Jesus fulfilled the words spoken from the book of Isaiah, I sense that we are at the set time right now to make decrees and see destiny and prophetic words come into fulfillment from today forward.
There is a shaking that is coming to the Northwest. I believe that the fulfillment of God's promises for the Northwest is coming right now. We are saying, "God, open up heaven! Come down! Shake; bring judgment, because it's going to release blessing and answered prayer. Just move whatever you need to move, but let there be supernatural intervention because I want the answer banging on my door." Listen. It's going to happen quicker than we think.
This very day the angel could come. We may not see the angel or angels, but the effect of their intervention is going to be released. I want you to think about this with me now. What are the top two prophetic dreams that you have on your list? It's the set time for the answers to come. It's going to be there on the computer or on the telephone! The check is going to be in the mail and the property is going to sell! The investment is going to come through. Your son and daughter are going to get saved. That miracle is on its way! Revival is about to hit! There are pastors, leaders, churches, and ministries that have been building altars for 12 years, 15 years. This is the year that God visits those very places. Believe it!
How long did Jacob wait? Twenty years! There is that number again. There are angels in heaven that are ready to add incense to our prayers and mix the prayers with the fire of the altar and then take the golden censer that is on the altar in heaven and throw it to the earth (Revelation 8:3-5). It's answered prayer coming down! Mark my words, this message will be confirmed with some natural event, because as answers and blessings come down from heaven, judgments, voices, lightnings, and an earthquake come with it (Revelation 8:5).
God is making His name known against His adversaries (Isaiah 64:1-3). He's judging the very thing that's been holding back the promises from their fulfillment. The very principality that Daniel faced, that held up his answer for 21 days, God judged it by sending the archangel, Michael (Daniel 10:13). There is going to be angelic activity released to judge the very thing that is holding back the destiny that is over your city, region, nation, or church. And there is power in this set time to pray it through.
God has come with a promise again and again for our lives, for our cities, and over our regions! We want to receive it! The next time the angel visits us, this angelic encounter will be different than all the other angelic encounters! That's because it's not the word being spoken and then repeatedly confirmed. The angel that is coming is the angel that comes to release the set time! Let's go for it in the spirit today!
Start preparing your sacrifice, the price, the cost -- whatever it costs! I see destiny hanging in the spirit realm being released and coming down in our lives, our churches, our region, and in our nation. Let's prepare ourselves to go deeper and higher, and let's prepare ourselves to live in the supernatural. Let the angelic presence that we've been sensing today, let it increase. Let it come in dreams and in visions at this set time! We're going to position ourselves before the Lord in a way that is pleasing to Him because He is coming to the terebinth trees of Mamre!
RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PRAYER
So I want to invite you to lift up your voice today and pray. There is power from God right now to pray through, to worship, and to make decrees. Let's cry out to the Lord and lay hold of this appointed time, this set time, for the fulfillment of God's promises, and untie them today as we pray.
Also, there are many believers reading this teaching who live in the Northwest somewhere: Washington, Oregon, and California. We need to pray! Really pray that God will spare the righteous! You know, when we walk in righteousness, principalities and powers are weakened substantially! God can judge His adversaries through the righteous living and righteous acts of the saints. We'll pray into this in a few minutes.
Remember, Abraham was in the right position not only for a visitation from the Lord and angels, but he was also in the right position to hear the secret counsel of the Lord. The Lord was about to judge the principalities and powers promoting wickedness in Sodom and Gomorrah. So He said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?" (Genesis 18:17). Abraham was brought into the situation and, not only that, he was personally involved because his relatives lived in Sodom.
So we're going to carry out three prayer assignments. The first one is that we're going to ask the Lord to release the angel of promise (who comes at the set time to announce the fulfillment of a word that we have received from the Lord). Second, we're going to make a decree. Third, we're going to stand in the gap.
Father, we declare today that we want to build an altar in our heart that is marked by prayer, fasting, and worship because we are desperate to see Your kingdom come and advance in our lives, our cities, our churches, and in our region. We want this altar to be soaked in purity so that we're in the right position to make our requests to You and then to issue a just decree.
Father, loose the set time, the promises, the dreams, and the visions today in the heavens! Let there be encounters, angelic encounters, angelic activity, supernatural intervention in our lives today. God, let the angel of promise come right now. Let the angelic realm that oversees prayer in heaven be released. Release the angel that sends back the answer. Let them fulfill Your Word. Let them do what You promised. Let them bring forth the manifestation of the answer.
Many of us have come to understand that you love decrees of justice, God. So together we want to decree that You will come and oversee this set time for the fulfillment of our destiny and those prophetic words and promises that you have given us. Thank you, God!
Father, we're drawing near with confidence to Your throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and grace to help in a time of need. There's nowhere else to go. We see the upheavals that are happening in the earth today and, in these upheavals, we see Your hand judging Your adversaries, those principalities and powers at work that promote wickedness.
We cannot help but also see many souls struggling in the valley of decision -- those whose consciences are not completely seared. We also see Your children who know You. Father, when Your judgments are released against principalities and powers, many people could die. We want to stand in the gap at Your throne of grace and contend for the salvation of the lost who don't know You, because Your word says that when Your judgments are released there will be some who will turn to You and learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9b). And we want to stand in the gap like Abraham did and contend for the lives and safety of the righteous who do know You.
May both groups receive mercy from You and repent. Please come with a spirit of repentance, O God. May those who don't know You repent and turn to You for salvation and may those who do know You repent for not walking with You with pure hearts. You said that if Your people who are called by Your name would humble themselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from their wicked ways, then You will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land. When we turn from our wicked ways and walk in righteousness then the principalities and powers are weakened substantially. Lord, then powers of wickedness are judged through righteousness prevailing in the land. O God, you are always looking for ways to release your mercy and so we pray that righteousness would prevail so that Your judgments come without a great loss of life. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
by Todd Bentley
Fresh Fire Ministries