This past week I finished reading the script of the Hungarian translation of the book “Re-discovering God’s Church” by Derek Prince. I received the script from the translator himself. This book presents the Biblical pattern of the Church in great details, which had a great impact on me.
One morning before awakening from my sleep I saw a dream, which then continued forming after I woke up from my sleep.
I saw a great globe-trotter ship that got stranded several centuries ago, and was rotting on the shore. I saw people around the ship; they seemed to be in a daze, as if they drank something that made them woozy. There were some other people there who tried to help them, trying to gather these people, but they all continued on their own. They had no leader. All of them stood on the shore looking at the wracked ship. There was little left of the ship, only its frame and the stern. Most of the deck, all the boards on the sides of the ship, and the bottom were missing. You could actually just look through the ship. The rigging and the sails were torn. The ship bore the marks of time. Looking from far away you would see a ship, but when taking a closer look you would realize it is a sea-wreck that cannot be taken out to sea.
A group of people arrived to fix the ship. They tried to patch it and mend it, but couldn’t fix it all up. Several groups have come to fix it up, but the devil never allowed them to understand the original picture of the ship, thus they could never rebuild it the proper way.
Interestingly enough I didn’t see very many people, only a few people hovering on the shore. There were only few of them because they were the crewmen of this ship, the ones entrusted to guide and care for this ship.
I also saw a great monster on the shore. This monster had a poisonous sting and kept stinging people to daze them. The monster looked kind of like a crab, and it was watching people from a whole it dug in the sand. It kept the ship and the shore under control.
The spiritual state of the crew reflected hopelessness. The poison of the devil made them believe that this ship can never be rebuilt and it will never go out to sea; there is no point of trying to fix it. The monster blocked the brains of the crew from understanding the truth about this ship; instead he made them believe lies about it. The people were languishing in a total hopeless state. The total picture showed: this ship that was wrecked because of the waves of the sea, and a crew that lost hope to ever get back on the ship and serve on it.
I also noticed that the crew members only cared about their own selves. They didn’t care about what was going on in the ocean or even about the ship. It seemed as though they had lost their identity. I realized they were not concerned about anything. Satan’s poison gave them a unique dazing joy, which they kept craving after – they became addicted to it. (2 Timothy 3:1-4) They looked like they were constantly drunk. They would lie in the sand, walk around in dirty clothes and would not care about anything. They had no purpose, no responsibilities; they were bored of life. They lived like crabs that hide in the sand and only come out when they get hungry. These people were hiding from God and from their problems. A few of them knew it was the devil blinding the crew members, but the task of bringing the people out from under this power, and restoring the ship seemed impossible. These few felt helpless and their trying to do something seemed to be in vain. They managed to keep their own purity, but they got tired of constantly fighting.
Then all of the sudden I saw paratroopers landing, coming from the sky from the Lord as a gift to the people. These people had the ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11: apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors. These men were trained soldiers who understood their mission (their understanding of their identity was correct) and had a vision for the restoration of the ship.
I saw, as the paratroopers were landing the enemy sent out thousands of small crabs from his hole and had them attack the paratroopers who came to rebuild the ship. These small crabs lined up in ranks, but the trained soldiers burnt up the crabs with their fiery guns. This frightened the big crab (the monster) and he retreated for a while. So, the devil could not stop the ship from being rebuilt, because God gave power to these troops to overcome the enemy. These coming from the sky -apostles and prophets-, with the help of teachers passed their vision on to those trying to mend the ship. The evangelists were preaching the good news and freedom to the used-to-be ministers who were only caring about themselves. The pastors gathered all the ministers back around the ship, and they were the ones (the pastors) providing all the food needed for the workers. There were some who were still influenced by the devil, and Satan was able to spread hopelessness through these on to others, who then were kept from joining the work. These people were representing religiosity, proclaiming the “truth”, yet denying its power. After a while God took these and removed them from ministry, or they died.
The paratroopers are God’s new generation, but there were some among the old crew members who were able to receive the vision the troopers brought.
Some got injured while working and the pastor provided them aid. He took care of them, providing for their physical, spiritual and mental needs. The apostles were coordinating the work; they were working with courage and joy. They basically were at home in every area of the work. They were engineers who made plans, yet they also participated in the hard physical labor.
The prophets with the help of the teachers measured every piece of the ship, and together with the apostles they drew up a plan for the new ship. Their main source was the Word of God, and when they disagreed about something they studied the Scriptures to see how it was done originally (in the Word). The Holy Spirit often helped them out in their work.
They all had a clear picture of what this ship should look like, but in the details they needed to communicate with each other. God gave them authority to rebuild the ship and provided them with every needed instrument (tool) to complete the job.
Each one had their responsibility, so with skilled hands they started building. They built a new ship according to the pattern of the old one. They measured the parameters of the old ship and made every plank, every log an exact match.
God gave them authority to equip the crew (ministers) and to bring them back to serving, and building the ship together. Everything was done according to the old plans, just as God had planned it originally. They put up new sterns and new bunting. They took the old ship apart and studied each little piece of it. They figured what goes where, what matches what, how big each piece is, what material they used to make it, and then they built an exact copy of the ship with newly made pieces. They built a ship that was able to go for long distances. (Like the ship ofColumbus)
The people’s hearts and minds were united as they worked together in love and humility. This community of workers spent day and night together, they ate and drank together and they worked together in harmony, building the ship. They had one purpose, to take off with the new ship to take the Gospel of the Kingdom to every nation and language, and then make disciples of them, who will also build ships to sail on.
They were utterly depending on the wind (the Holy Spirit), and He took them on, the whole ship. When the wind was down the people grabbed oars and started paddling towards the goal. The crew worked in perfect harmony. There were no disagreements, because each one respected the others’ God-given gifts. The storms of the world did attack the ship, and often, but the crew was immovable, they never retreated in the face of trials, but held on to the holiness of our Lord. They met hostile ships on the sea, and these regularly put them under heavy fire, but they won every battle, because they had the necessary weapons. The hostile ships were ships of religious denominations and church organizations that brought false teachings (these ships had banners with different names on them). Their purpose was to win people to their religion. These ships aimed at other ships and tried to shoot at the other ships as many of their ideas as possible.
Some organizations had more than one ship, they cruised as “one united fleet” -this was the New Age movement with other religious organizations- on the great sea of the world. Despite of the hostile forces, the new, Spirit lead ship could not be overtaken by any other ship, because the crew members held tightly to their faith and were willing to risk their very lives for the ship.
The ship sailed from one town to another. It rested different lengths of times at each town. The ship anchored at the port, and the crew members went into town to begin a new center. It seemed like they were building a whole chain of commercial seaports. Sometimes they would leave a couple of their crew members at the new center to oversee it, and the ship sailed on to a new town to further their chain of seaports. The crew members remaining in a town would collect new crew members, training them and preparing them really well to go and serve on the ship. Once the ship returned they were able to send a few of the new members on the crew, so they could learn about life on the sea and about building new centers. At the new seaports people would also begin building ships, according to the pattern of the original one.
The explanation of the dream, and a few additional thoughts from the Lord:
The old ship is the church in its present state – shipwrecked in the storms of life, injured by the enemy and thrown on to the shore by the waves of the sea. This ship cannot fulfill its original purpose, because the enemy had managed to stop it from fulfilling God’s original plan.
The people on the shore who were trying to patch and mend the ship –the way it seemed wise in their own eyes- were giving their best, yet never succeeded because they had no vision from God.
As I was writing this vision down I remembered Matthew 9:16-17, where Jesus says you don’t put new wine in old wineskins, only in new ones. Jesus told them the following:
„No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment… Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Jesus invented a “new wineskin” for the “new wine”. The new wineskin is the Lordship of Christ, the church-leadership of equals (teamwork), working in the ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11, and the discipleship and priesthood of believers. Jesus, with the new wineskin began a new type of church leadership as well. He called Himself the Head of the Church (High Priest, Great Shepherd) and He called the believers priests. He entrusted the flock in the care of “leaders among them”, to leaders surrendering to Him, as to the Head of the church. The Word also tells us to “submit to our overseers” and that the church is built on the “foundation of the apostles and prophets”. The apostles and prophets are “more influential” members of a group of church leaders (1 Peter 5:1, Acts 13:1), and they have a weightier responsibility in the leading of theChurchofGod.
The Church cannot have earthly overseers or “heads” over the leadership (presbytery) of a local church – though it’s tempted to do so after a worldly patterns pushing Christ aside, even replacing Him. In the past centuries church leaders have moved from an apostolic church leadership to a “one man” type of leadership (pastoral leading), which has become a system of powers, thus making the new wineskin old: pushing the apostolic and prophetic ministries and all the priesthood aside, thus making the Church unable to fulfill its original purpose. You cannot pour new wine (Holy Spirit) into old wineskins, and that is why the Church needs the original kind of brand new wineskin.
This is the reason why the old ship cannot be patched and mended, because over the centuries it has become totally defected. You need new material to build a new ship after the old pattern.
The rest of the crewmembers on the shore have become worldly, just like Paul said they would in 2Timothy 3:1-5:
„…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”
The poison of selfishness totally infected these people, and the devil with his deceiving spirit had brought them to the point of utter hopelessness, so they could not serve the Lord anymore.
In the last days God will send troops from the sky to stand against the devil, so the Church can be restored and be made the kind of Church that “the gates of Hades will not overcome”.
These ministry gifts are necessary for the building of the ship. These people have the vision and they know how to build it properly. Their guideline is to build up a new ship with the leading of the Holy Spirit, according to the remaining parts of the old ship and the Scriptures. They don’t want to repair the old ship; they want to build a new one, from new material.
After the ship was built they let it on the water and sent it on its way. This is the ship of Grace and of the Kingdom, which takes the Good News everywhere, proclaiming that theKingdomofChristis soon going to return and reign over the earth, wiping all other kingdoms, and bringing peace on earth. The crew represents Christ and His Kingdom with power and authority against the fleets of Satan.
The ship must “beseech” every town it reaches with the gospel. In each town I saw the church as a seaport, which is a center as well. At these seaports there are new ships being built, so they can take the Good News to more places. When the first ship anchored, some of its crew members remained in the town to build a dockyard. They had to train people from town to become builders. Where there are no workers and there is no dockyard, there will be no new ships built.
When these new seaports and ships built in them will be spread all over the world, only then we can take the Gospel of the Kingdom to every spot of the planet, thus hasten the return of Jesus.
A few days after this vision, as I was thinking about it, a picture flashed before my eyes. I saw two ships, one big ship and another one of the same kind, but smaller. I understood the big ship to be the one that goes to the big cities, thinking and working big, founding great spiritual centers; the small towns do not have to build huge ships, they can build ones that will just cruise in the neighborhood.Antiochmost likely had a bigger ship since it was a spiritual center (seaport), the place where the very first missionaries set out to the Gentiles. Paul the apostle had to sail on a big ship, but the churches he founded only had to build smaller ships that were able to reach the nearby villages. The size of the ship depends on the calling of the local church, on God’s plan for them to spread the gospel.
Each “seaport” is a local church, and each church in its “dockyard” builds a “new ship” and sends it out. This new ship is actually an apostolic team consisting of the strongest ministers of the local church.
Putting this dream together with Derek Prince’s book I conclude, that the book reveals the structure and function of the church, as a goal to be achieved, and the dream reveals the way to reach that goal.
September-October, 2009. Written by Csaba Tasi