One afternoon my wife and I watched a Bethel video featuring Bill Johnson, who spoke on subject of the orphan spirit. It was a good message, but apparently the Holy Spirit wasn’t done speaking when I turned the video off. The message continued into my dreams. That night I had a dream in which Bill Johnson and his wife Beni were present, along with one of their sons. (I don’t know which one.) Their presence in the dream was mysterious. I didn’t see their physical bodies. They seemed to be there in the spirit. They had discerned that the orphan spirit was the greatest problem for the body of Christ at the present time. In the dream, I knew their son was in an area that was “locked down.” When I heard this term in the dream, I wasn’t sure what it meant, exactly.
My EMT partner was with me in the dream. We went to the area that was “locked down.” We were met by a young man who looked like a friend from work named Chris Maehren. He had a young woman with him. They were both very pleasant and dressed very nicely—but they were both wearing black clothing, which struck me as strange.
They accompanied me and my EMT partner as we went through a very large cavern. It seemed to be about 1/2 mile in length and it was very well-lit, for a cave. At the far end of the cave, we climbed up a sloping rock wall that led to a door. We went through the door and into a hallway which led to what looked like a mental hospital. Once we were inside, I saw patients walking the hallways.
The man who led us there was going to let us into a room to see a patient. There was no conversation between us during the dream. He simply led us to a room and opened the door.
At this point, I became aware that there were other people with me, besides my EMT partner. Again, it was an awareness I had that other people were with us, more than actually seeing or talking to them. I had a sense that I was leading a group on a mission.
As I thought about going through the open door, I became aware that what we were doing was against the rules of the facility. I felt we were going to get in trouble when we got caught, which seemed certain because the process took longer than it should have taken. It seemed as though we should have been able to get the person (or people) out of their room and leave quickly, but everything took longer than it should have. I decided not to go into the room. I felt like I didn’t need to. So when the door was opened, I just sat on a table in the hallway and waited.
Everyone in the room came out into the hallway. One person in particular seemed very happy that we came there. We talked for a few minutes until an employee showed up and began scolding us for being there. It came as no surprise to me that the employee seemed mentally ill himself, just like the patients. And his sour demeanor let me know that the party was now over.
I don’t recall how I got to the cave, but I had to drive my car home. As I drove, I became concerned that my wife would be mad because I was going to be home late. I looked at a map and determined it would take two to three hours to drive home. As I drove, I suddenly took a mysterious short cut, which I saw as my car driving quickly across a map. I arrived at home sooner than I expected, and found my wife curled up on the couch, watching TV with a group of children that were not my biological children. That was the end of the dream.
There is too much revelation in this dream to adequately cover in a blog post, but I’d like to share a couple of observations:
One of the main messages of the dream is that many of us have taken on a wrong sense of identity. The orphan spirit speaks of a mindset that does not truly believe God is our Father—at least not in the way He wants us to understand this reality. I know many people who say that God is their father, but they live as if He is not. I lived this way for many years, but I’m finally beginning to accept the full implications of what it means to be His son.
A second message is that we’re on a rescue mission to find those who have been held captive by this lie and set them free. When we arrived at the holding room, it wasn’t necessary for me to go into the room they were in. It wasn’t necessary for me to join them in their reality. They had to exercise their free will and leave their place of captivity—they had to believe in a different reality. For those who are being held captive by the orphan spirit, their freedom will come as they begin to understand who they truly are and what it means to be a son of God. They will join us and we will lead them out of darkness.
In the last scene, I was concerned that my wife would be left waiting for me, but God altered time so that I arrived home sooner than I should have. I spend an enormous amount of time writing about healing, the identity of the believer and getting free from religion. I also spend a lot of time praying with and encouraging people through social networks. I sometimes worry that I’m short-changing my wife by spending so much time doing these things. It seems God may be working behind the scenes to provide enough time for us to stay connected as husband and wife. And the fruit of our ministry is a small tribe of people who are learning with us as we take them along on our adventures.
In Matthew 17, there is a record of the disciples trying to cast an evil spirit out of a boy. After they failed, they brought the boy to Jesus who removed the demon and healed the boy. Later, when the disciples asked why they were unable to remove the demon, Jesus said:
“Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matt 17:20 NKJV
He then added this remark:
“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
What did Jesus mean when he said the kind of demon they encountered did not come out except by prayer and fasting?
He implied that there are different types of demons. The word that is translated kind in this verse is the Greek word γένος (genos) from which we get the English word ‘genealogy’. This word describes the differences between related varieties of living beings—between families, races, tribes or nations. There are different families or races of demons and the one they encountered was somehow different. If you’re curious to know how it was different, consider that Mark’s account mentioned that the demon caused the boy to be deaf and mute. Matthew noted that it caused him to have seizures. Both accounts mention only one spirit. This is the only spirit mentioned in the Bible that caused more than one type of physical affliction. (Compare Mt. 17:15 and Mk. 9:25)
Evil spirits specialize. Some specialize in physical affliction, like the spirit that afflicted the woman who had been crippled for eighteen years (Lk. 13:11). Some specialize in emotional trauma, like the one that terrorized King Saul (1Sam. 18:10). Some specialize in divination, like the spirit Paul cast from the woman who followed him for many days. (Acts 16:17-18) Some specialize in lust. Others specialize in fear.
Most of us are influenced by evil spirits on a regular basis. (Note that I said influenced and not possessed.) When a person comes under the influence of an orphan spirit, they may profess to believe that God loves them but they act as if He doesn’t. When a person comes under the influence of a religious spirit, they judge the behavior of others as ungodly and hold them to a legalistic interpretation of the scriptures. When we come under the influence of a poverty spirit, we reject the idea that God wants us to prosper.
The poverty spirit promotes its agenda by slightly twisting the scriptures. “Money is the root of all evil” the spirit will say, omitting the first part of the verse. The full verse, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” reveals that money itself is not the problem but rather, an evil a heart that desires money above all else.
Simon the sorcerer is held up as an example of those who hope to get rich from Christian ministry. The poverty spirit tells us a true child of God would never prosper from such work. The apostle Peter received a word of knowledge from the Lord about Simon’s problem. He had a bitter heart filled with iniquity:
“For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Acts 8:23
If one’s primary desire from ministry is a large paycheck then greed has likely poisoned the heart.
But we should ask if it’s possible to love the Lord with all our heart and serve him out of that passion and still be blessed financially.
Does financial prosperity always indicate a motive of greed?
The poverty spirit insists that financial blessing must always be rejected as evil. It whispers in our ear that it is the poor that God truly cares for. The rich are only rich because they are evil. We should never seek or expect any type of financial blessing. The poverty spirit will coin phrases like, “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”
To those who are under the influence of the poverty spirit, poverty itself is a virtue. It causes them to be satisfied with less than what God wants for them and it becomes an excuse not to expect anything more than what they have.
I have a friend who has worked in banking most of his life. I’ve never met anyone who is as blessed, financially. I’ve also never met anyone who is a more generous giver. When the Lord leads, he’ll drop thousands of dollars in an envelope and hand it to a stranger at a gas station. He thought nothing of spending $10,000 to fly me to Australia to teach his friends about healing. If things went well, he was prepared to spend $100,000 on a much larger kingdom-related project. Does financial blessing always indicate the person has a greedy heart?
Before moving to Arizona in 2011, Denise and I led a comfortable lifestyle. Our two incomes allowed us the freedom to make generous donations. After moving here, our finances took a hit. It’s a long story but in the years since then, we’ve gradually climbed out of that hole and our finances now allow us to give generously to others. We consider it an honor and a privilege. If we had allowed ourselves to be influenced by the poverty spirit, we would have doomed ourselves to a meager, pitiful existence that prevented us from impacting the world in a significant way. We refuse to allow that spirit to influence us.
President Trump has provided all the things necessary for Americans to live a prosperous lifestyle. Sadly, many people will miss out on that opportunity because they’ve chosen to believe a lie. I’m not suggesting that God has a Mercedes waiting for you if you just have enough faith to believe for it. I loathe the “prosperity gospel” as much as anyone. The spirit of greed is just as dangerous as the spirit of poverty. Guard your heart with all diligence. Refrain from allowing any kind of evil spirit to influence you, especially one that promises to make you appear more virtuous. Appearances are seldom what they seem. God looks at the heart.