Updated: Nov 15
I have an important dream from the Lord to share. So, here goes:
In the dream, I was on a bustling marketplace island. There were vendors and merchants selling all kinds of jewelry, beads, stones, baked goods and sweets. There was music and the atmosphere reminded me of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
I desired to shop and explore the tantalizing goods, but there was so much and I didn't have time. I had a vague sense of pressure, regarding the restraint of time, and a knowing that it would be futile to indulge the temptation to linger. I had to go.
Next, I was in a Christian retreat center on this same village island. A woman (or a witch) started to try and "read" me and tell my fortune with tarot, without my permission. I rebuked her. She was so terrified, that she stumbled backwards. I then felt sorry for her, and shared with her the gospel of Jesus. I told her that she was in bondage and under God's judgement and to repent and believe in Jesus for forgiveness -- that the cross and resurrection can bring her freedom through the blood shed for her sin. She listened and then shirked off into the sunset, having been humbled and moved to consider her need for this grace. However, I had no evidence of her repentance.
I walked out after her, leaving the Christian retreat center, because nothing productive was taking place there. The Christians were just "hanging out" or sleeping. I looked across the street at a gas station named, "WISE VIRGINS." I was contemplating the number listed on the sign, 75. Next to it, was a concrete silo with a ladder attached. I noticed a mural painted on it, of a beautiful, golden, ethereal sky with a rainbow that said, "CATCH". That's the end of the dream.
The Island Village Marketplace represents Mystery Babylon, or even the world, according to the description of its luxuries in Revelation 18:11-17:
The Christian retreat center is the church of Thyatira. A corrupt/worldly/sleeping church that has retreated, rather than advanced in obedience and the power of God. The witch in the church is the toleration of Jezebel in this church. (Rev. 2:20) Her witchcraft has made the church sleepy and impotent.
The gas station named, "WISE VIRGINS" represents buying oil, as in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:
The sky was passing sunset, and the clouds were reddish. The church was oblivious and undiscerning of the lateness of the hour, because of their laxity in striving to obey the word of God and because of a lack of intimacy with the Holy Spirit. The presence of Jezebel in the church was contributing to their disobedience. They are the foolish virgins, lacking the diligence and urgency of the wise and watchful virgins, who buy and tend to the oil and flame of deeper intimacy with God.
They were not paying the cost and sacrifice of obedience, but they were very confident and smug that they were in right standing with the Lord, because of their man-made traditions, works, and presuppositions that being a Christian is a parade float to heaven. Yet, God is unhappy with church "culture" that is acting as a substitute for true Christianity. True discipleship. To buy oil, means it costs something.
"As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. And, you can not discern the times?" John 9:4
He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. Matthew 16:2-3
Time is short. Only the wise virgins will catch the glory of God and judgment will befall the rest. The church is being called out of sleeping and retreating. "If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13:36-37)
The number in the dream is the most important detail: 75. It is God's instruction to us on how to fill our lamps with oil (hence, the gas station "WISE VIRGINS). In Strong's concordance, the number 75 is "agonizomai", which is where we derive the word "agony" from.
Buying oil, like the wise virgins, and not the foolish virgins at the Christian retreat center, who were retreating from true obedience and discipleship, means understanding what it means to enter the true rest of God.
The corrupt, but comfortable church, having mixed with the world and its luxuries, as the Israelites did, is too tolerant of sin and idolatry. The spirit of Jezebel in the church has an agenda: to encourage rebellion, permit idolatry and worldliness, subvert God's order and emasculate the church in order to render it powerless and controllable. She does this through seduction, sexual sin and perversion. She is a master of disguise and can even present a form of godliness, that denies the power of God (2 Tim 3).
The spirit of Jezebel uses witchcraft to bring Christians into adultery against God, through sensuality (counterfeit spirituality), the worship of idols and other affections. This spirit is an antichrist spirit, who is more of a Christ "plus" than an against-Christ (which, beneath the surface, makes one against-Christ, or against the Word). Satan uses Jezebel to introduce an impotent gospel that unplugs the power of the church through lies about God. As if he winks his eye at our sin and does not judge or require repentance. She teaches that we can still have the world that Jesus came to save us from, and heaven, too. She is leading people to hell, through subtle deception, materialism and immorality.
The corruption in the church is not only relegated to mega churches gone astray. The church retreat center, in my dream, was was a small, local scene, with blind guides as shepherds, failing to warn the flock of sin and deception.
Strong's concordance points us to the word, "agonizomai" (75, the number at the wise virgin gas station.) It mean's to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or to endeavor to accomplish something. This is important. Agonizomai --
It also means to engage in athletic contest or warfare and to endeavor with strenuous zeal to obtain something. In this case, for salvation and glory. The wise virgins understand and agonizomai for the prize of Jesus, our inheritance and place at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. The wise virgins are the faithful bride of Christ who will be glorified with him.
And everyone who competes* for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 1 Corinthians 9:25
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend* with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive*, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:7-10
Fight* the good fight* of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12
I have fought* the good fight*, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
Strive* to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Work hard* to enter the narrow door to God's Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.
Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling* in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all.
This is how we fill our lamps with oil, as the wise virgins of Matthew 25. This is a stark contrast to the Christians at the retreat center who were sitting around, chatting and drinking lattes (not that there's anything wrong with lattes.)
Vanessa Horabuena, "Surrender"
The agony of the cross, when active in our lives, requires a struggle. It's through many trials and tribulations that one enters the kingdom of heaven. The blessing of the Christian life is that it takes some type of cruciform to manifest the likeness of Christ in us. Hebrews 12:4 says, "In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood."
After his victory over Satan in the wilderness, Jesus went to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit and began his ministry. God often brings people through trials and testing, before he imbues us with manifest power from on high for the sake of bringing people into the Kingdom of God. (Of course, the same power that gives us the grace to resist temptation is the same power that operates the supernatural gifts of the Spirit.) And, the fruit of the spirit is certainly not short of glory - love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
It's good news when we are counted as worthy to partake in the sufferings of Christ, so that we may also rejoice when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:13) It's not a works-based gospel to say that there's a strain to climb to salvation, that God's manifest grace works in us, through the Holy Spirit's guidance and power. We don't earn salvation through our working or obedience -- it is evidence of true saving faith. And it is the reaching for rewards. So, let's talk about the concrete silo, with the ladder and the golden light, rainbow mural that read, "CATCH".
I looked into the use of silos, and discovered that they are typically used for storing wheat or other grain that would otherwise perish. Let's pay attention to the following instructions:
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life". John 3:16
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
For whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:10-11
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1:18-19
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:23
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. John 6:27
The number 75, in my dream, also led me to a very fitting Psalm for the hour. Pay attention to God's warning to the wicked about his judgment and the cup of wrath verses the cup of salvation. It's rediscent of my message to the witchy woman in the church retreat building. Judgement begins in the God.
If only the road of obedience leads to glory, then the sovereign grace of God will infallibly keep his people on the road, that they may get the promised glory. In review, let's summarize God's order for sanctification.
First: God gave his only son to die for our sin on the cross. He made atonement by taking the penalty of God's wrath for the sin of the world, thereby, justifying us for a relationship with God. The power of sin and death were defeated when he was crucified and resurrected. Through faith in the righteousness of Christ, and his blood atonement sacrifice, we are washed clean, and completely forgiven. Through faith, we are welcome into the kingdom of heaven as sons and daughters of God and co-heirs with Christ. With this inheritance, we receive the power of the Holy Spirit to become like him, and to be holy as he is holy.
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
Second: As we pursue relationship with God and obedience, he uses us to preserve the "wheat". We work the harvest by serving Him and his eternal kingdom. The grain silo represents soul preservation from God's wrath, for those who hear and receive the gospel message with faith.
Third: Through obedience, made possible by God's resurrection grace, we receive the promise and "catch" God's glory. (Rainbow = God's covenant promise, and the rainbow around God's throne in Revelation 4:3) This could also refer to the "harpazo" or catching away of the wise virgins that is often called the rapture.
Fourth: Being a part of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and the inheritance of his Kingdom as trusted co-heirs with Jesus. Promise of rulership to those who strive to overcome the flesh, the enemy, sin and the world with the gospel -- those who agonizomai (Revelation 2:26-27). This is what the grace made available through the blood of Jesus calls us to. It doesn't save us, but it is what those who have been saved strive to do.
Those whom God justified through the cross and resurrection, he also sanctifies and therefore glorifies. He wrestled our sin to death on the cross! Through faith, we are born again, as his resurrection takes form in our lives, through the crucifixion of our sin and flesh. It's his cross that saves us, not our cross, but we are called to carry one to the finish line. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever and ever! (Romans 8)
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 12 : 12 - 13