Chapter Twenty: New powers for Powergirl sister
Jeff opened his eyes and immediately felt a splitting ache racing up the back of his skull. He was in his room lying on his bed. His wife lay beside him, apparently sleeping, but the doctor was hanging over her head and peering into her eyes with a light.
"You cracked your head when you fainted," Stephanie said. She was at the foot of his bed.
"You have a bump but it isn't anything serious," the doctor said. "We can get you a Tylenol if you like."
"I think I'll be alright," Jeff said. "What's wrong with Valerie?"
The doctor pocketed his light. "It seems she is in a coma. I'm not sure why. All we can do is wait."
"She didn't react well to the news about one of our children dying," Jeff said. "Maybe that had something to do with it."
Stephanie said, "Then if she wakes up, I'd hate to see how she'll react to what I told you about Nick."
"If you'll excuse me," the doctor said, "I have some other people to attend to." He left the room.
"Are you positive there is nothing you can do for Nick?"
"Sorry, dad. I don't think so. But I asked Lawrence if I could have a private meeting with him as soon as you woke up. Maybe he can give me further direction. Why don't you stay here and look after mom and I'll go talk to Lawrence?"
Jeff agreed, and Stephanie left the room, heading towards Lawrence's office. Along the way, she thought about Nick's unusual theology and how he was able to use it to torment her mind. His position had felt so believable at the time. He made her feel like she was a demon doomed to hell. Although they only fought over the sons of God phrase, she could sense many other scriptures he was just waiting to use against her, and she could also sense his entire theological system. He had a way of looking at the scriptures that she had never considered before, and it all made sense to her at the moment. She couldn't refute him. If the Lord hadn't helped her, she didn't know what would have happened. She was eager to see what Lawrence had to say about it all.
She approached Lawrence's office and saw him sitting behind his desk, door open as usual. He smiled and invited her in, then rose to close the door behind them. "I don't want us to be disturbed. The Lord tells me you have many questions. Often, He gives me answers before people even ask, but for some reason, He's given me nothing more on you. I'm very curious what this is all about."
There were two chairs in front of Lawrence's desk, and he moved one aside to make room for Stephanie's wheelchair. She whirred to a stop in front of Lawrence's desk, and he sat down across from her, asking her to fire away.
"I left Nick's mind after I strongly heard God tell me Nick had blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Is it possible God can yet save him or is he truly lost forever?"
"Is it possible for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle?" Lawrence asked.
Stephanie shook her head.
"And yet after Jesus said it was easier for this to happen than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, he also said with God all things are possible."
"So there's hope? Even though I clearly heard God say Nick had committed this terrible sin?"
Lawrence smiled. "There's always hope with God. All sin is terrible. As humans, we tend to categorize some sins as worse than others, but to God it's all the same. The Lord's standard of perfect obedience to Him always, motivated only by a pure heart of love towards Him, rather than thoughts of rewards or fear of hell, leaves us all condemned without the forgiveness and mercy Christ's death bought us on the cross. All fall short of God's ideal for us. James 2:10 says if you've committed one sin, it's the same as if you have committed all sins. I have to believe that includes blasphemy of the Spirit, which we've all done to some degree or another, but it seems Nick has gone over to such an extreme that God has given up on him. While there's always room for hope, in the final analysis, your brother's salvation is just between him and God. They have to work it out together, but if Nick's not willing to repent of his sins and accept Jesus as savior and Lord, then God has no choice but to eventually judge him after death and throw him in hell. Most everyone likes the savior part, mercy and forgiveness, but Lord is another matter. Lord implies obedience, which Nick has become unwilling to do."
"But I don't think Nick is even capable. He's not even demon possessed anymore, but he acts exactly as if he were. Stro-kar has corrupted his mind to such a degree that he seems to think he existed as a fallen angel before coming to earth and since all fallen angels are doomed to hell, he's given up hope."
"Ah, then that explains it. Whether or not one goes to heaven depends only on one's relationship with Christ. If Nick believes he is an actual incarnation of a devil, then he will never come to Christ for forgiveness of sins because on that point he is right, the devil and all his fallen rebel angels are going to hell. There is no hope for them."
Stephanie sighed. "I hope that's not the case. I know the idea of preexistence seems to go against what Christianity has historically taught, but I was intimately connected to his mind. I understand why he thinks so. There is certain logic to it all. If there is any hope that I can do anything for him, I need to get your input on it all."
"Well tell me more, and we'll see what we can come up with together."
Stephanie nodded and started. "The beginning of the gospel of John is clear that Christ existed as a spirit being, God Himself, before coming to earth. Correct?"
"Then if God can become human, why is it so impossible to believe that all people might have lived as spirits before becoming human?"
"Well, Christ was a special exception. All other people come into existence at the moment of conception. He is God and has always existed. All other beings were created by Him. Let's not forget, that Jesus was born of a virgin too and the rest of us aren't. We can't compare ourselves too much to Jesus."
"Yes, the prophecy in Isaiah says a virgin shall conceive a child as a sign. But perhaps it was just that, a supernatural miracle done simply as a sign. How do we know that God didn't just supernaturally take genetic material from both Mary and Joseph and combine it to make a fetus, and then place the pure essence of the spirit being of Jesus inside the fetus and plant it in Mary's womb? Having a spirit that was untainted by sin, Jesus was able to perfectly struggle against His flesh and never sin even once. The rest of us, God just lets the natural conception process take place, but He still places the essence of spirit beings into fetuses as His special act of incarnating His spirit children, specifically fallen angels, into flesh existence. Of course, our spirits start life corrupted and we sin from birth. That's why you never have to teach kids to do bad things like lie, cheat, steal, or disobey their parents. The struggle comes in trying to teach children to be good. We naturally do wrong from birth. We are born with a sin nature and now we know exactly where it comes from. Now it makes more sense why Jeremiah 17:9 says the human heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."
"Pure speculation. We'll never know for sure the answer to these kinds of things until we get to heaven."
"Maybe, but this is what Nick believes. I got this directly from his mind, and he believes he received this as special revelation from Stro-kar, a mystery that has been kept from humanity until the very last days."
"He's foolish to believe anything demons say. They are pure liars."
"Granted. On the other hand, if we're to have any hope of helping him, I think we have to understand how he thinks and why. Only then can we shine the light of truth on his errors and help lead him to Jesus."
Lawrence sighed. "Ok, continue."
"The only two types of spirit beings we know exist are those on God's side, Holy angels, and those on the devil's, fallen angels. If you had to choose, which type of spirit being do humans most closely resemble in character?"
"I suppose fallen angels, seeing as how all people sin. But while nobody's perfect, most people aren't as wicked as demons unless possessed, so I just can't agree that's who we were in the past."
"That's because God works with people on the human plane of existence by His Spirit to restrain their evil and purify their characters. Even so, history is replete with examples of many people who acted as cruel and as wicked as any devil, even without apparent possession. However, God is in the business of transforming enemies into friends. He doesn't work with fallen angels on the spirit plane, only once they enter human existence, where as part of their punishment and learning process, they must struggle to find Him, repent, and overcome sin.
"That's why demons in the spirit realm hate humans so much. They know the stakes and what is going on, and they hate that some people are making good on their one life's chance at reconciliation with God the Father. They hate that God has made the way so difficult, many are called but few chosen, narrow is the way to life etc...that kind of thing. Most demons have messed up their human life, many more have yet to get a chance to live a human life, but know they will probably fail. The demons are angry that God will not simply accept them as they are, but that He demands that they learn obedience through suffering on the human plane of existence, and demonstrate it throughout a lifetime of learning to walk in faith, trust, love and obedience, the thing they hate most and couldn't do on the spirit plane. But then even Hebrews 5:8 says Jesus had to learn obedience through suffering. Why should demons be exempt from learning obedience in the same way?"
"I don't agree. God says he will forgive humans but not demons. That's just the way it is."
"I'm just telling you what I got from Nick. He's convinced all humans existed as fallen angels before the world was created. As angels, we had no doubt of God's existence, power, and what He desired of us. But it still wasn't enough and we rebelled with Satan in the angelic rebellion anyway. This is why God is so mysterious and hides Himself and makes things so difficult, because seeing God and knowing exactly His will obviously didn't make a difference and disobedience still occurred anyway. So now we must suffer on earth and struggle to figure these things out and overcome, while God hides Himself, but works with us subtly by His Spirit. Yet God makes a way back home for those who are sincere. This is also why He lets demons attack our minds and thoughts, deceive us, and even possess us because we must learn to overcome the lies of our fellow evil spirit brethren, lies about God's character and ways that we obviously believed or we wouldn't have followed Lucifer, who became Satan the devil. We all chose to become 'devils' before we ever came to earth."
"I have no memory of such things, so it's hard to comment. Again, speculation."
"Just because you have no memory of this, does not mean it's not true. Do you have a memory of, say, being two or three years old?"
"Of course not."
"Exactly, you have no memories of that time but you know you were alive and experiencing life. In a similar way, you were alive and experiencing life as a fallen spirit being before ever coming to earth, even though you have no conscious memory of it, anymore than you have conscious memories of being very young. But the realities of that existence are buried deep in your soul, the same as our childhood experiences form our characters at a young age."
"The unveiling showed us the deceptive power of spin. You can make up nice sounding arguments to 'prove' just about anything. Show me in the scriptures that this is so and I'll believe it."
"Ok, how about the Tower of Babel story where God instantly confused the unified language of men at that time to prevent them from building the tower? Point being, if God can instantly alter people's brains so they start talking in different languages, then for sure He has the ability to suppress the memories of our preexistence as spirit beings. Or how about the example in the book of Daniel of how Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind for seven years? Or Peter being led out of prison by an angel and the guards didn't even see it, or the visions people received in the Bible? All examples of alteration of mental perception."
"I'd like specific scriptures that say humans are angels."
"Ok, when I was battling Nick he repeatedly hit me with this phrase sons of God, which occurs in the Old Testament and refers to angels. Right?"
"Well, the same phrase occurs numerous times in the New Testament and refers to humans. Proof we are one and the same."
"Not necessarily. It could be that sons of God can refer to both humans and angels. To tell which, you would need to consider the context of the passages, and perhaps even special revelation from the Holy Spirit."
"Maybe. Or perhaps it's another clue God is giving us that humans and angels are the same. How about Luke 20:36 where it talks about resurrected humans being equal to the angels, not greater or lesser, but equal, showing we are one and the same type of being."
Lawrence grabbed an NIV Bible to look up the reference, and Stephanie asked that he use the King James, which was her favorite and most accurate in her opinion. Lawrence looked up the reference in the King James, and read it. "Good memory. How did you remember that passage so precisely?"
"I have many passages burned into my memory that Nick was waiting to use on me. He was relentless in attacking me with this concept until the Lord stepped in."
Lawrence nodded. "Ok it does talk about being equal, but that could just be referring to the fact that humans are destined to be resurrected and transformed into spirit children of God, a similar essence of spirit, so equal in a sense, but humans are a higher form of life than angels, and destined to be greater."
"Ok, now I'll say the same thing to you. Prove that to me from the scriptures."
Lawrence turned some pages in his Bible and said, "1 Corinthians 6:3 says we will judge angels. So if we're destined to rule over angels, that means we will one day be greater than them, full sons and daughters of God, a higher type spirit being than angels."
"Not necessarily. You are our leader and you 'rule' over all the people in this complex, but that doesn't make you a higher level being. You are just a human being like the rest of us. Position doesn't necessarily denote superiority."
"Good point, Stephanie. Ok, how about in Genesis where it says that humans were made in God's image, proving we are His master creation, destined for greatness, to be like our Father in heaven. Angels were never made in God's image."
"Angels are recorded in the Bible to have arms, legs, etc...if that's what you mean by image. But to be made in God's image has more to do with having sentient consciousness, to be able to think, rationalize, make moral choices etc... The angels can do these things too. Revelation 22:9 indicates John about to bow down to an angel and worship him, but the angel refused and said John should only worship God, saying he was a fellow servant of God, just like John. Humans and angels are both servants of God, just as they are both called sons of God, indicating sameness."
"I can see you believe what Nick impressed in your mind but--"
"I'm not saying I believe it all, but I can't dismiss everything I got from Nick either. How about this one? Jesus says we're supposed to love our enemies and forgive our enemies, right?"
"Well, don't you think God loves his enemies too, the devil and his fallen angels? Though enemies, Satan and his demons are also God's children, evil though they may be. It's not logical for God to expect something like this from humans that He is unwilling to do Himself. The Lord must love and forgive His enemies too. Don't you think God would make a way for even the devil to be saved if Satan really wanted it?"
Lawrence raised his eyebrows. "Ah...well maybe He does love His enemies, maybe even forgives them on some level, but that doesn't mean they can be restored. The Bible is clear that the devil and his angels are going to hell. Christ died for humans, not angels."
"Not all demons go to hell. Some fully avail themselves of the probationary chance God gives them to live a human experience, repent, and change their ways. That would be you and me and all the rest of the believers in the world. And yes, Christ technically died for humans only, but now we understand that really He died for His fellow spirit brethren, the demons, and even the devil."
"That's crazy. The Bible is clear. The devil is going to the lake of fire."
"Yes, but that's because of his choice. To show fairness, God even gave Satan a human life and worked with him as much as any person, but, of course, the devil rejected Christ. Maybe Satan lived the life of Hitler or something. I didn't get a lot of specific details from Nick's mind, other than the general concept and many scriptures to back it up."
"If your brother is so messed up that he believes this stuff, I don't hold out much hope anything can be done for him. We don't understand all the details of the spirit war, but when we get to heaven, it will all make sense and we will agree God has always been perfectly loving, just, and fair."
"I don't doubt God's character, but I'm trying to understand how Nick thinks, trying to find some way to turn his theology to our advantage. For instance, Nick is convinced he's totally messed up his chances, and his fate is sealed. He also doesn't think the Holy angels need to come to earth and work out their salvation because they never rebelled, as this life is only for the devils. Maybe there is some way I could convince him Holy angels come to earth too, and that he is one of those? The idea might encourage him enough that he can just put his faith and trust in the Lord and accept God's love, grace, and mercy."
"It's a long shot, but I'll support your decision if you want to go back in and try again."
"I think I need to find some way to restore a sense of balance in him. In one sense, his ideas sort of balance both God's love and wrath for His enemies, a wonderful possibility to consider God loves His enemies enough to give them a chance to change their ways on the human plane of existence and avoid judgment. But a terrible truth that even the devils won't be able to complain on judgment day that God hasn't been fair. We all get one human life to get it right, as Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, where we either go to heaven and get reinstated, or go to hell as the fallen angels we are. Nick figures he's already had his judgment day and failed miserably, his entire human existence just an intermediary probationary state, a one time chance to change his destiny that he's messed up."
"I'm still not buying this spin. What about ruling and reigning with Christ in the millennium? Mere angels don't rule with Christ forever. The true children of God rule with Christ."
"It's not forever. Yes, we assist Christ during the millennium, a time when the final batch of devils incarnate and get their chance, proving even under ideal conditions most won't change, as Revelation records another rebellion occurs at the end of the 1000 years. But not even Christ rules forever. This position is just a temporary responsibility, as we lusted after God's power and position in the preexistence, so the Lord is going to give us a taste of how difficult it is to lovingly rule over hardhearted individuals. Even 1 Corinthians 15:28 says after all things have been subdued under Christ, then Jesus Himself will step down and become subject to the Father, so that God may be all in all. Jesus will just be our elder brother then, and we will answer directly to the Father. Jesus won't need to rule anymore, and neither will we, as all those who are willing will have become perfectly obedient immortal spirit children of God our Father. A wonderful future, but then there will still be hell for those rebel angels who refuse to change, which are many. Bible says broad is the road to destruction, many are on it, and many are called but few chosen. At the end of the millennium, everyone's fate is finalized, either heaven or hell forever, all evil spirits having been given their one life to get it right. At least now we fully understand why those destined for hell get exactly what they deserve. I mean they saw God and everything and it made no difference, rebelling anyway!"
"I can see why a demon influenced mind might buy into what you are saying, but it's just not scriptural."
"Look at it this way. You say the vast majority of humans don't know Jesus and are going to hell to burn forever. They are eternal spirit beings and cannot die."
"But you said earlier that people come into existence at the moment of conception. How can that be if we are eternal spirit beings, who by definition are outside of time, being eternal, and therefore must have existed before becoming human?"
Lawrence paused and frowned. "Well, there are certain mysteries. I don't pretend to know everything."
"You also say the devil and all demons are doomed to burn forever in hell. They are likewise eternal spirit beings and cannot die."
"So what's the difference then? Even if you don't believe what I'm saying is true, humans and demons might as well be the same, as the end result of rebellion is the same."
"The difference is God is willing to forgive repentant humans that change their ways, not fallen angels."
"You've proved my point. The human plane of existence is where change must occur. But in many respects, that's the only distinction between humans and fallen angels. In a way, what Nick believes isn't much different than our traditional understanding of things, just a little deeper understanding of the back-story. I've always wondered how it could be fair that an unrepentant person could be sentenced to hell forever for only seventy or eighty years of sinning. But we really are eternal beings that can't die, and prove our willingness or unwillingness to change in this life. Everybody in heaven, and even everybody in hell, will know that God has done everything He could to redeem His creation, even sending His Son to die for our sins. Everyone, redeemed and unredeemed, will then acknowledge that God has no other choice but to execute final judgment, as even millions of more lifetimes would make no difference, everyone having proven their heart and sealed their fate one way or another." Stephanie paused. "Maybe Nick did influence me too much. I'm willing to consider more of your viewpoint. There are many more scriptures I could cite for discussion. Nick had a lot of them."
Lawrence shook his head. "We could go back and forth on this all day. The devil is good at spinning lies and I think he's just really messed up your brother. Satan probably wanted to deceive Nick with these lies so that your brother would despair enough to stay committed to a rebellious and hateful attitude towards God. Without direct revelation from God on this matter, I will never agree."
"Why not ask Him then?"
Lawrence nodded his head, closed his eyes and bowed his head for a few minutes. When he opened them, he said, "I asked the Lord for the truth about this issue. I'm not sure I like the answer I got."
"What did He say?"
"He said, 'It is not for you to know the times of the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power.'"
"What does that mean?"
"I understand what He is saying. I've learned how to interpret His way of talking by using reference, analogy, metaphors etc... This is the same response He gave in the book of Acts, after His resurrection, when the disciples were asking when He would restore the Kingdom of Israel. Basically, He's telling us it's none of our business and He's not going to answer the question."
"Does that mean Nick's right?"
"Not necessarily. I've learned not to jump to conclusions when He says stuff like this, rather just take a wait and see attitude. Obviously, there is much we don't fully understand about the spirit war, what happened before humans came along, and all God's mysterious dealings with His creation. And He's just not going to tell us right now. Faith wouldn't be real if we understood everything."
"In Nick's case, I got the deep sense that he thinks God is vindicating His justice to His loyal angels, as not even Nick argues now that he deserves hell. He has come to fully understand and agree with God that he deserves his fate, and he doesn't think he can avoid it."
"Yes, predestination. People have debated that for centuries, but the mystery is we have a choice too. I don't believe things are set in stone, not for humans anyway."
"Nick doesn't believe this. He thinks he's crossed the line and God will never forgive him. He's full of hatred, rebellion, unforgiveness, and bitterness, towards God. He's jealous and angry that God loves others but not him."
"God loves all His creation but there is such a thing as crossing the line. Maybe he has done that. He seems to have developed exactly the attitude one acquires when they've committed blasphemy of the Spirit. This sin is more of an extreme hardness of heart and total rebellion and hatred towards God, and total unwillingness or ability to love and obey Him. Jesus warned the Pharisees of His day that they were in danger of going to hell because of this attitude, since they accused Him of casting out demons by the power of the devil, obviously not true and they knew better, but they were so full of pride they'd rather burn in hell forever than submit to the truth."
"What takes a person to that point?"
"I guess in many ways the issue is the same for humans and demons. Between free will beings, somebody has to have the final say on things otherwise there would be anarchy. God insists on being the one to ultimately define what is right and wrong, and He expects obedience as a minimum standard. But this has to come from the heart because one loves God. He is the Creator after all and He says love for Him is demonstrated through obedience to His commands, a reflection of who He is. If one wants a relationship with Christ, one has to care how He feels about things. Same goes for a relationship with anybody. If I treated you like crap, we wouldn't be able to have any kind of relationship now would we?"
Stephanie shook her head.
"If God is hurt by your desire to lie, steal, hate, cheat, murder, commit sexual sins like adultery and homosexuality etc...then you shouldn't do those things, assuming you want a love relationship with your Creator that is. God loves all of us, even when we are deeply trapped in sin, be it sexual sin or any other type. It's all the same to God, but He insists we repent and commit to changing our ways if we want to be forgiven. Since we are incapable of loving God fully like we should, He tries to regenerate our heart by His Holy Spirit and show us how to love, but we still have a choice to make. The bottom line is, Nick has totally rejected this convicting work of the Holy Spirit and adopted the fallen angels' definition of freedom, do whatever you want and submit to others only as made to do so by force. Satan rules his demons by pure power, as I believe he could single-handedly defeat them all if he had to.
"Jesus' way is voluntary submission and obedience because you care about God's feelings and desire to love the Lord back in gratitude for dying for your sins, in the case of humans, or simply for giving you life, in the case of angels. Any other motivation just isn't good enough. Nick has lost the ability to understand this, as he thinks like a demon and can't understand love. He thinks the reality of hell makes God no different than Satan, the threat of eternal fire making God just like Satan in a way, as Nick thinks God uses fear to try and force obedience, just like Satan. He's lost sight of the love, mercy, forgiveness, and restoration Christ offers too, and if he can't come to believe in that and submit to God in love, that is why he has no hope.
"We really are saved only by God's gift of grace, through Christ, but if you don't respond in love to this truth, you give power to Satan to corrupt your mind. However, when you accept Christ's regenerative work on your heart, acting out of love for your Creator eventually becomes natural, as the Holy Spirit helps us to love and obey God with a new heart, in a natural and instinctive way, beyond just legal surface-level interpretations of scripture. Even while demon possessed, God worked with Nick on some level but it seems he's totally gone over and may have no hope."
"Yeah, he just can't believe God loves him, or that Jesus would accept his repentance and efforts to try and obey Him," Stephanie said. "He can't receive the forgiveness and love in the right way, to the point that it actually motivates him to love God back and try to obey Him out of love and gratitude. I guess in the final analysis, that's how a person rejects Christ and chooses instead to send themselves to hell. God has already proven His love through Christ's death on the cross, and each person must individually choose to accept or reject that love, our choice shown out by our thoughts, words, actions, and lifestyle."
Just then, Stephanie heard Lawrence's office door quickly open and make a loud thud as it rebounded off the opposite wall. How rude, she thought. The least the person could have done was knock. This was a private meeting after all. She began to turn her wheelchair.
"Stephanie!" she heard her dad say and turned around to see him holding Valerie by the shoulders, her face an ashen grey but awake and alert. "God has given your mom a gift that might help Nick! But it's going to require you to become a stronger warrior than you ever thought possible."