ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: 40 YEARS BELOW ZERO, Part 15
March 11, 2016
As noted last week, Rosa Frankson's death as a direct result of persecution for her faith in Jesus Christ had a dramatic impact on the village of Point Hope -- and for that matter, Kotzebue.
Her family as a whole made a strong commitment to Jesus Christ. The Episcopal priest, who had participated in the persecution and was at least partially responsible for the attacks on Rosa, saw with his own eyes what a real commitment to Jesus Christ was, and what genuine faith produces in an individual. It would be an understatement to say that for the first time in his life he experienced true conviction for sin and repented.
It took him some time, however, to come to the place where he could publicly repent and confess his own need for a real relationship with Jesus Christ. I'll come back to this momentarily.
And what about the shaman? The judgment of God came upon him. Like some of the world's leaders we've seen in these modern days who are (have been) totally devoid of any conscience -- Saddam Hussein, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Yasser Arafat, et al -- the death of someone like Rosa Frankson meant nothing. She was a statistic in his thirst and quest for power and control of the people.
Something like two months after Rosa's death, the shaman was found to have inoperable cancer. My memory of the exact sequence in which events unfolded is a bit hazy, but here's what I remember. Whether he committed suicide or whether someone else did him in before he could simply die of his cancer, there was a fire in his sod hut.
He died under mysterious circumstances, the cause of the fire unknown. He was dead only months after Rosa's death, and his death was not mourned in the community. No one stepped forward to take his place as the next shaman. The demonic power he had exercised over the community was broken.
It may sound strange to put it like that within this context, so let me explain. And pardon me if I seem to digress from the story, but I'm not really. This will help you understand why the death of one girl -- within the context of her being murdered for the Gospel -- had such an enormous impact.
John 10:10 tells us that "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
People who, whether by deliberate decision or by deception, think to embrace spiritual power through and by any means other than a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ are going to suffer destruction in one way or another. The shaman had been exposed to the message of Jesus Christ.
Out of the fear of losing his place of perceived authority and power in the community by accepting the promises of Jesus and making Him Lord of his life, the shaman rejected the Lord, choosing instead to hang onto a realm of spiritual power that operates only in the demonic.
The apostle Paul put it like this: "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils." (I Corinthians 10:21)
Now I realize that I've extracted this quote from Paul somewhat out of context since he was referring to partaking of communion or what we have come to call, "The Lord's Supper," but the truth is the same. If a person chooses the demonic sub-natural (I use that term deliberately since to access demonic power lowers our status from being a little lower than God [Psalm 8:5 in the Hebrew uses the plural form Elohim, meaning "the triune God" -- rather than the traditional word for "angels": mal 'ak] to being lower than the "angel-class," of which Satan is a part.
That essentially makes people third class beings and -- sorry to put it this way, but...Oh Well -- sub-humans, living a lifestyle and in a status far beneath that which we were designed and created for. Let's draw a picture.
Satan was -- before he was thrown out of Heaven -- known by the title, Lucifer. This was a title -- NOT a name. The word in Hebrew is -- hey-lel, meaning: bright star (the Chaldean equivalent is translated: morning star), and comes from the Hebrew -- ha-lal, which means: to shine (musically), hence: to praise, to celebrate, to sing (and by so doing, give light or to illuminate).
Without getting too far afield in this description, Ezekiel (28:14) describes him as having been "the anointed cherub that covereth" -- the Hebrew text actually describing him as the one responsible for creating a covering environment -- a surround-sound atmosphere (if you'll excuse the metaphor) -- which would surround the Lord with intimate praise, worship and adoration, and in so doing, give light and glory to the Throne of God.
The descriptive word "cherub" is actually a transliteration of the Hebrew kerub, which describes an angelic being whose created purpose was to overshadow, to protect, and to minister to the very heart's desire of God. (Hence we see the cherubim (plural for cherub) overshadowing the Ark of the Covenant, protecting and watching over the Covenant that God made with His people.
Both Isaiah and Ezekiel describe Satan (Lucifer) being thrown out of Heaven because of his arrogance in thinking that because he had such an exalted place -- a place of intimacy and worship close to the heart of God -- there was no reason why he couldn't just take over God's place. But he was never created with that kind of power or authority. When you comb through every description of Satan/Lucifer/the Serpent -- by whatever name or description he is referred -- NEVER do you see him being given dominion or power or authority.
Thus we come back to Jesus' description of him as a thief who "cometh not, but for to steal, to kill, and to destroy." The ONLY dominion or power that he has is that which he has stolen -- that which he has gotten by trickery or deceit, that which has been given to him by man.
No angelic being has ever been given rulership, authority or dominion in any way over any of the affairs of man. In fact, Paul -- writing to the Hebrews -- says, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)
Thus, any authority or power given to the angels who are available to be sent forth on our behalf to accomplish whatever we need or desire MUST come from us as heirs and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Adam ceded his authority and dominion to Satan. Everyone born in the human race thereafter fell under Satan's illegally-gained dominion until Jesus came and took it back away from him, making the restored place of relationship (and with it, the originally-given authority and power) to all who would acknowledge His selfless act of love and confess His Lordship in their lives.
The shaman in Point Hope operated solely through the façade of Satan's illegally acquired power. It was a tenuous power at best, totally subject to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the shaman conspired in Rosa Frankson's death, he murdered a young girl who had totally given herself to the Lord Jesus Christ. When she gave herself to the Lord, Satan's authority or power in her life was broken.
As I recall, it was Paul Keith Davis who shared an experience in which he saw the death of Stephen (recorded in Acts 7). He saw a very clear vision of the Lord appearing at the scene when Stephen was killed, pointing His finger at Satan and saying, "That one's going to cost you!"
That is precisely what happened in Point Hope. When Satan employed the shaman (and got the local priest to cooperate in the endeavor) to take Rosa Frankson out, the Lord literally said to him, "That's going to cost you -- BIG TIME!"
Did it ever! Those people whom the shaman sought to keep under his control, manipulation and sorcery were delivered entirely from Satan's power when -- as a result of Rosa's stand for Jesus Christ in the midst of persecution to the death -- they saw true life for the first time in their lives. They realized that the power of Satan -- the power that was being exercised by the shaman -- was all fakery and fraud, and that there was no real life and liberty in contrast to what Rosa Frankson demonstrated and refused to give up even at the cost of her life.
That, Folks, is the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on display! When people have an opportunity see clearly the reality of life and freedom in Christ Jesus and compare it to the imitation and counterfeit they've lived, they'll choose life and liberty in Jesus Christ! There is a huge difference between information and revelation. Satan operates through information. Jesus operates through revelation. The difference is night and day!
Had the shaman repented as the Episcopal priest did, he need not have died the horrible death he suffered. As it was, Satan fulfilled again Jesus' very clear description of him as a thief, a murderer, and a destroyer by snuffing out the life of the shaman, who failed to accomplish Satan's goal of stopping the Gospel in Point Hope. The shaman was, after all, Satan's property and Satan had every right to do with him what he wanted. Like the murderer he is, Satan killed his own slave.
Rosa's death followed by the shaman's death could not possibly have provided Point Hope with a better illustration and contrast between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. The subsequent response of the community in turning to the Lord Jesus Christ resulted in a move of the Holy Spirit that caused overflow conditions in the church we had built. There simply was not enough seating room to accommodate everyone.
Thus it came about that Dad was compelled to prepare for a new building for Point Hope. Having seen what the Lord was doing in Barrow and Wainwright had alerted him early on to be prepared for growth.
The decision was made to come up with a two-storey church building that would accommodate all of the present and foreseeable future needs. It wouldn't need to be as big as the second building we had done in Barrow, but it needed to be more than twice the size of the existing buildings. The former or first building we had erected in Point Hope would be converted to more comfortable living quarters as the new church building was erected and occupied.
In the summer of 1961, therefore, Dad placed an order for building supplies to be shipped via the North Star and delivered in September. I may sound like a broken record, but guess who was there to help us build again? Yup. Luke Ikpik. There were no direct flights from Barrow to Point Hope, so he went from Barrow to Fairbanks, to Nome, to Kotzebue, and -- finally -- to Point Hope, a distance of roughly 1300 miles just to cover what should have been a 350-mile trip.
The new, two-storey building was up and the roof tarred in eleven days. There was a mishap along the way, and I think I'll save that story for another time. Suffice it to say that we saw the provision of the Lord at every turn and His intervention in every opposing circumstance. When the new building was opened up for services for the first time, the place was full just like we'd seen twice in Barrow, and again in Wainwright. God was on the move in Point Hope.
But, wait! I think I'm forgetting something. What about the Episcopal priest? In 1963 my folks decided to take a vacation break in "the lower 48" (since Alaska was now a state, we referred to the contiguous 48 states thus). Dad asked Dwain McKenzie -- of whom I have often written -- to fill in for them during their break.
My recollection of some of the details of these events was a bit hazy, so I called Dwain and had him refresh those details since he was an integral part of what happened.
The Episcopal priest -- we'll refer to him only by his first name, Keith -- and Dwain had become friends and got together frequently to share. In the summer of 1963, Keith became sick and had to be hospitalized in Kotzebue. Dennis Bennett, who was the Rector of Saint Luke's Episcopal Church in Seattle at the time (and whose experience of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit had become part of the birthing of the Charismatic movement) "just happened" (Uhh, Huhh, Riiiiiiigghhhhttt!) to be in Kotzebue at the time sharing his experiences in the local Episcopal church.
Keith couldn't attend, being in the hospital at the time, but his wife decided to go and check things out. She came back to the hospital and said to Keith, "I don't know what it is exactly, but there's something really different about Father Bennett. He's tapped into the power of God!" A second visit and time of sharing with Dennis Bennett generated a thirst in her that wouldn't quit, and she communicated it to Keith.
After being released from the hospital in Kotzebue and returning to Point Hope, he came over to see Dwain. "We want to receive the Holy Spirit," he said, "and I want to share this with our church, but I can't do this without you. Will you come and speak at our church and lay hands on us to receive the Holy Spirit?"
For Dwain, it was a stupendous opportunity. That following Sunday evening, he (and folks who had already been baptized in the Holy Spirit who were now a part of the church Dwain was now pastoring) went to the Episcopal church to minister on the life and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When he finished sharing, Keith and his wife were the first to stand in line. Many of the people who were part of that church got in line right behind them.
As Dwain laid hands on them, each of them -- beginning with Keith and his wife -- received the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues exactly as had taken place on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Think the village of Point Hope had been transformed? Better believe it!
But none of this -- NONE OF THIS -- happened until a 12-going-on-13-year-old girl named Rosa Frankson stood her ground in the face of death threats, persecution, beatings, and -- ultimately -- her own death at the hands of her persecutors to say with her actions and her voice, "JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!"
The power of Satan had been broken over Point Hope. The shaman who was the driving force behind the persecution was dead. The boys who had acted as the shaman's servants to carry out the beatings had repented and come to a genuine experience of salvation in Jesus Christ. The Episcopal priest who had been part of Rosa's persecution came to know Jesus Christ personally, had repented publicly, and had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Most of the people who had remained with the Episcopal church had also come into a genuine experience of salvation, and many of them were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
The cloud of darkness that had once hung over the community had been exploded into nothingness. The presence of the Lord now filled the place, and His presence was tangible in Point Hope. Next week we'll finish the Point Hope story, and then take you on to Saint Paul Island in the Pribilofs.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). (For those accustomed to our previous “every Monday” schedule, we’ve had to pare down our schedule because of scheduling conflicts.) Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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