Faith and Revelation

the azazel goat for dismissal

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Faith and Revelation

Copyright © 2013 Douglas W Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.

The grace of God reveals our sinful and lost condition to us, and leads us to repentance. That is the work of the Spirit of God, creating faith toward God: the realization that He loves us and intends to restore us to a personal relationship with Him. But that is not where God stops working on us. Having restored a position of trust in Him, His goal is to take us further; deeper. The deeper life in the Spirit is the hard part of real Christian living. Often times it entails even ostracism from other Christians. But the cross in our lives is the revelation of God's power and the key that locks the gates of hell.

A feather falls lightly from the grey-blue sky upon a dry land. A sailboat enters from the right, entranced by the sun. Sparks of life and light materialize along the vastness of this shore; along this dessert with waves of grain or of seas filled with fish ready for the harvest. The feather is most prominent, and yet it is most ethereal. It speaks of dimensions outside our own and yet so very much a part of who we are.

Again, because the vision does not retreat, the stars fill a blue sky that languishes at the dawn of the day, only to be superseded by the man on the bench with no hat on his head; his arms clasped behind him in repose. He does nothing, tee-shirted and gazing, interpreting the sky while his shadow rolls backwards upon the field awaiting the dawn.

So are the cover-art depictions of James W. Goll’s two familiar texts, both of which deal with the nature of the prophetic experience, and how to become a prophet. It is almost as though anyone with a little determined effort could be the next John the Revelator who saw the Lord, or Ezekiel who saw the Wheels of the preincarnate Lord. It is possible, yea, probable, now that the Spirit of the LORD has come upon us all, that we may all bring forth utterances and dreams from outside ourselves. Visions and dreams that Joel prophesied would come from the hand-maidens and servants of the Lord.

Goll does great service in awakening the people of God to their inheritance; to the vision promised which so few have attained. I have experienced much of what he encourages us to reach out for. Like him, I have learned from my mistakes, at a time when there were no prophetic forebears in the generation of my own time. We had to learn how to bring the Word of God without fathers and teachers; without mentors and disciplers, except for the LORD Jesus Himself, by His Holy Spirit saying “Speak saith the Lord!” Those were the very first words I brought forth, and they were the Words God gave to me to encourage me in the gift of prophesy. He challenged me to speak before I had any other words, but when I spoke those words, a torrent of words filled with life followed after them which I had not even thought of. They were sound, correct, and pure because they were the Word of the Lord.

Some would say that I experienced a rhema-word from God. Others have disputed the concept of Rhema vs. Logos Revelation. All I know for sure is that when God spoke through me it was His Word, and it was not in any way contradictory to the full counsel of God displayed in Scripture. For years in the Assemblies of God (AG) church, which professes belief in the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues I remained a born again believer who had not experienced this further blessing. As a way of explaining the apparent contradiction between their doctrine and the actual experience (or lack thereof) the AG leadership and laity resorted to a secondary doctrinal position. This was known as “Seek and Tarry”, a doctrine supposedly based on the book of [The] Acts [of the Apostles] in the New Testament.

After years of seeking and tarrying, never having been clearly taught what the Word of God says about the Holy Spirit baptism, I was no closer to the evidence (glossalalia, or speaking in tongues) than a three legged horse is to winning the Kentucky Derby. Clear teaching based on Scripture was what I needed, for Romans tells us most emphatically that “Faith comes by hearing… the Word of God.” But the Pentecostalism of the 1970’s was two generations removed from Azusa Street. Religious systems always find excuses for why things don’t work the way they used to for Grandma and Grandpa. Oral Roberts was dead on the money when he said “God has no grand-children.” Instead of settling our faith on the absolutes of God’s Word, we were caricaturing the Book of Acts experience in ways it did not support, and then building theological roadblocks to our faith based upon our own misrepresentations.

It was only after I gave up trying to prove to God that I was worthy of His Holy Spirit that I was in a position for God to bless me. After all, that is really what the whole seek and tarry doctrine was – an attempt to prove our worthiness to God so that we might obtain the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The free gift promised by Jesus to every believer as a result of His infinitely valuable work on the cross was being reduced by our unbelief to a matter of petty works; of how much one sought and tarried, wept and wailed and banged his head against the wall.

So after a long crisis period in my Christian life I came to a place where I no longer was concerned about things I had heard from pastors and teachers, leaders, laity, and well-meaning friends. The long term crisis had brought me to a place where I was no longer the guinea pig of their personal religious persuasions. It also brought me to a place where my faith in God was all that mattered to me, where at last His written Word was the only thing I needed, because that Word was the standard of Truth. I had finally arrived at a mature understanding of what God had done in saving me, and it was simple. Whatever was there in my Bible, clear as day, was my foundation. The simplicity of God’s word as my foundation and a prayerful heart were all that I needed. That is really the essence of true faith.

While I was in prayer one Sunday evening, at the end of the long crisis of faith that I have described above, I read the following passage in Acts 1: “Within the next few days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately I knew beyond a doubt (I would have had to force myself to disbelieve!) that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues was an experience I was soon to partake of. It was a prophetic Word from God to me, taken out of time and history and made to fit my life. I lived in that utmost confidence for the next three days. The word of God on the written page, which had been true all along, had now become a reality beyond doubt for me.

The following Wednesday evening I went to the Christ’s Ambassadors’ (CA) meeting at my AG church. This was the same CA group that I had been the leader of five years previously, but now I was just one of a small group of young people who were on equal ground, broken, humble, and seeking more of God. At the end of the meeting, we remained in prayer, quiet. And I “heard” in my being the voice of God’s Holy Spirit gently encouraging me “If you are willing you can speak”. I did not speak to the group, but in prayer before the Lord, I spoke out, almost in a whisper, in a language that I had never learned. I had never spoken in tongues before, and now was fluently, effortlessly speaking a language of prayer to God that I did not understand. I did not need to understand it either, because the glory of God suddenly encapsulated my soul, my whole being, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was at last experiencing that deep that calls unto the deep within my own soul.

The foundational experience in every true believer’s life is the cross: that moment when we suddenly realize we are hopelessly lost; that we are sinners in the hands of an angry God as Jonathan Edwards put it. That is the first and foremost crisis in the life of every person confronted by the Word of God. That in itself is the initiatory crisis of faith in the heart of every true believer. It should be easy, after having acknowledged the horror of our lost state, and repenting of our sins to move on to the blessing that follows conversion. But after 2000 years of theological aberrations, it is too easy for the new convert to be lost again in the morass of religious mumbo-jumbo, and become a mere church-goer, assuming that what he was saved into is automatically true. Confessedly, it IS the truth because it acknowledges our salvation. But the wet cement of religious orthodoxy binds our feet ever stronger against the liberty of walking in the Spirit. Only the power of the baptism in the Holy Spirit relinquishes us to a maturity in Christ that is the experience of the Spirit led life. The early church understood this, but the Christian today has much theological baggage to set aside. The cross is not a moment in our personal history that produces our salvation, but is a continual experience of the death to self that becomes personally real through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us.

The real purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit as an experience subsequent to our salvation experience is to take us into the deeper life in the Spirit of God; to lead us, graciously, into the crucified life, where it is no longer my will, my desires, and my attitudes, which I learned as a sinner, but instead, my submission to God. The baptism in the Holy Spirit activates within the believer the power to obey the Word of God even while we are daily confronted by our own will to go our own way. And along with the power to challenge our own lives, comes the power of the Spirit to live miraculously above and beyond our former way of life. In this, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not an end in itself (i.e., merely speaking in tongues). It is the key to the deeper life in the Spirit, which is the crucified life (Galatians 2:20).

“The baptism in the Holy Spirit with the ‘evidence’ of speaking in tongues” is a reality assumed by all those who take the Book of Acts for what it says. It is evident from the text, and therefore the ‘evidence’ part of the above quote must be certain. Well and good. But if we are seeking first for evidences are we not using those evidences as proofs of our relationship to God? In fact, the Book of Acts does not set forth a series of evidences of faith, but really sets forth the realities of God pouring out His grace upon His people. One of those realities just happens to be the common experience found throughout the Acts of a prophetic anointing that was inevitably displayed by the glossalalia experience. Tongues were not proof (as in a court of law), so much as the lingua franca of children all born into the same household: the house of God. Speaking in tongues not learned or studied was and is a part of God’s own self-revelation to those who are His children. It was not then and is not now evidence; so much as it is revelation. It is revelation and confirmation to those of the household of faith that God is there for them through the blood atonement of the cross. Not evidence of works of faith, but reassurance of our relationship to Him. It is the Revelation of the reality of God’s grace towards us. It is the surety and down-payment of grace in our lives. It is not the proof of our salvation, so much as the assurance that we are being saved. That God is continually interested in us even when we are not always interested in Him. In essence, it is the God-imposed Seal of the Covenant; the fact that God is working in us to make us into the image of Christ.

It would take way to much time to set all this forth with proof-texts from the New Testament. I suspect that most of my readers are well enough versed therein. Read your Bible. Consider all the passages in the Acts that show the Holy Spirit coming upon those who had come to faith in Jesus. Tongues are never called an evidence of faith in Christ, but they are invariably a revelational experience that moves the believer into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Faith is our foundation. Revelation is our direction into the deeper life; into the crucified life. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the stepping stone to the deeper life in the Spirit, and the common experience of the believer is speaking in tongues, not as a proof of one’s faith, but as a supernatural experience of the presence of God in our lives that encourages and directs us into the crucified life experience. It is exactly that crucified life that so much of the Church has been afraid of. It is the reason why the so-called Church has for so long rejected the baptism in the Holy Spirit as an experience subsequent to salvation. To accept the validity of the one (Holy Spirit baptism) means acceptance of the other: the total submission of one’s life to God; i.e. the crucified life. We find it easy to accept Christ’s crucifixion for us, but not so easy our living death for Him.

The Church of the new century has emphatically denied the authority of the Holy Spirit to direct it. The authority of the New Testament church was built on the Power of God revealed by His Spirit working in the lives of His people. The 21st century church, having forsaken the anointing of God, is left with a humanistic appeal to the surrounding culture that has no power to change either itself or the culture. It has become a culture club of its own making, lacking the true authority of those who have seriously heard the Word of the Lord. It is now very difficult for a serious believer to find a pulpit or a pew that is committed to the pure Word of God. But God will have His way, for without a vision His people will perish. They are perishing now.

Still, we are assured that the gates of hell will not prevail. It may be as we stand before those gates that we finally realize we have the keys to the Kingdom in our hands and hell’s gates are on lockdown. The Church, all of us, must awaken to our calling, return to our first Love, and find revealed in Jesus Christ the authority that first established us and that bears us up to the end.


It bothers me tremendously that we (my wife Patty and I) can no longer find a church that is open to the wonderful anointing and power of the Holy Spirit. Most churches have sold out to the authoritarian life-style of supporting a pastor or a priest. The hierarchy of religious leadership has taken precedence over the sovereignty of God’s Spirit in many churches. They are left with nothing more than a social club. I have no idea how I could be comfortable seating myself in that kind of place again. I have been in it and out again to many times. They don’t change; they only demand that you conform to their system. Shut up and go along, or you will be made to uncomfortable to stay. It seems there must be a “goat for azazel” sent into the wilderness by most churches so that they can feel good about themselves again. (Leviticus 16 – translated “scapegoat” in the KJV; the Hebrew word azazel means for dismissal, or to remove.) Patty and I have resigned ourselves to roles outside the traditional Church until such time the Lord leads us to a place where spiritual and emotional abuse is not the norm. We cannot go back into the man-centered religions of our day where there is a form of godliness but denial of the power of God. (2 Tim 3:5).

It may be the best thing for the American Church would be her persecution, torture and death. Only when the seed falls in the ground can it begin to reproduce. Only then may we realize the authority of faith that comes through grace: a faith that is more willing to die than to live, and more willing to live than to die rotting on the vine. A church that recognizes God first, and His people, rather than hegemony of leadership committed only to their own social and political advancements.

If that is what it takes, then bring on the tribulation!


Doug Jerving is the publisher of the You may contact him at


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