By David Wilkerson
August 3, 1987
"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.... And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness" (Isaiah 8:20, 22).
Last night I attended a Christian music festival. I will never forget what I saw, and I can truly say it was a heartbreaking experience. Since leaving the concert I have been weeping for hours, groaning in the Spirit feeling the wrath of a holy God burning against what I saw.
I went to the festival because the "star performer" featured last night had been in my office just hours before, crying, telling me how much he loved Jesus, how sincere he was, how he wanted to learn more about holiness. He told me my written messages convicted him. His words sounded right - his attitude seemed humble. At his request I went to hear him and his group because he assured me I would not be offended.
My heart is now so set on the massive human need in New York City, and my great concerns now have to do with rescuing last souls from drugs, alcohol and demon possession. I did not want to get involved anymore in the matter of rock and roll, heavy metal, and punk music in the church. I felt I had said enough on the subject and I told the musician so when he sat in my office. We had prayed together and I hugged him when he left my office.
I went last night with an open heart, full of love and compassion - for him, for all Christian musicians, and especially for the 3,000 or so young people attending the festival. I sat through two devotional-type songs, then I sat attentively listening as the musician testified about what he said Christ had done in his life. No preacher anywhere could have spoken with more conviction and sincerity - the words were right. He spoke of separation, of being obedient to Jesus, of winning souls, of prayer, of holy matrimony (he was married), of living a holy life. I prayed as he spoke, "Dear Lord, maybe I misjudged this musician and his hard rock group. Maybe you are doing something new in using the music the ungodly prefer, to win them - to get their attention, to attract them so they can be ministered to. Lord, I am willing to rejoice in hearing You preached, in any manner, from any group - if You are present in it - if your Holy Spirit is blessing it."
I was honestly questioning if my writings about the music of devils in God's house were just old-fashioned prejudices or simply my distaste for rock music. Was it just so much fuss about nothing? Yet something was not quite right. There was an inner tug at my heart making me ill at ease. I reasoned, "If Satan is camouflaged in this somehow, if there is a leaven of evil - it will be revealed. Satan always reveals himself in one way or another."
Suddenly the singer yelled in the microphone, "Jesus is coming - He is going to crack the skies - get ready!" The song was entitled, "Crack The Skies." Suddenly smoke was billowing out of smoke machines, the pounding beat was turned up to a frenzied pitch, eerie lights began flashing, the musicians stood like phantoms rising from a murky swamp. It was ghostly, weird, strange - and the crowd went wild - they seemed to love it. At the same festival, a wild spiked hair group had entertained - with painted faces, prancing about like homosexual peacocks.
At first, I couldn't believe what I was seeing on stage. I said out loud, "This can't be happening at a Christian festival - they can't do this to my Jesus! These people can't be this blind - the leaders of this youth ministry can't be so undiscerning! Oh God - what has happened to your church that its leaders, its people, can't see the evil of this abomination?"
Suddenly I was on the ground, on my back, weeping and sobbing, and groaning in the Spirit. I sat up and took another look at the stage. I was horrified by what I saw in the Spirit. I saw demonic images rising from that stage! I heard Satan laughing! Laughing at all the blind parents - the blind shepherds - the blind youth - the backslidden church! It was an overt manifestation of Satan - worse than anything I've ever seen on the streets of New York.
I stood to my feet, literally shaking with the fear of God - consumed with a sense of His holy wrath against such wickedness. I rushed into the crowd crying at the top of my voice - Ichabod! (The glory of the Lord has departed!) Ichabod! I ran through the crowd, pushing aside chairs, weeping, shouting at the top of my voice, "Ichabod - this is satanic! Stop! God is grieved!" I was mostly ignored and I think most thought I was a crazy lunatic. I doubt anybody knew who I was - the musicians could not hear me, and the crowd was too tight to allow me near the stage. I wanted to get to a microphone and cry like an Elijah - "This is vomit on the table of the Lord! Who are your teachers, that you could be so blind, so worldly, so deceived!? What kind of blasphemy is this?"
I will not shut up on this matter! I will not be silent while multitudes of our Christian youth are being deceived by smooth-talking wolves in sheep's clothing! True love demands that the truth be told.
What hurt my spirit the most, and what is so hard for me to understand, is that this particular group, and many others, attend Pentecostal churches. The musician I refer to told me he gave up drugs, drinking, evil sex and rock and roll performing when he got saved. He cut his long, feminine hair, he quit dressing like an exhibitionist and began to change all his ways. It was a pastor who encouraged him to "quit looking so square and use rock and roll to reach the kids." A teacher, in his sixties, travels on occasion with them, teaching them and encouraging them in their evil methods. According to their teacher, rock and roll is gong to be the "normal music in all Pentecostal and evangelical churches."
It's now the middle of the night and I can't sleep! I can't stop weeping inside. I am shut in with God in my study diligently asking Him to show me what is happening, because hours ago I saw a few thousand young Christians, with uplifted hands, thinking it was Jesus, when it was most assuredly the devil. Has the church - or what man calls the church - so backslidden that there is no more discernment whatsoever? Has God given up on some who are set on bringing devilish practices into the realm of worship?
Now I wonder - "Who dares teach such a Jesus - a Jesus who winks at deception? How blatantly they are mislearning Jesus Christ! What Jesus are they preaching?"
"But Ye Have Not So Learned Christ" (Ephesians 4:20)
That is what Paul said in his letter to the Ephesians. He was warning them not to walk as some do "in the vanity [pride] of their mind" (Ephesians 4:18). He warned of those who learned Christ in a perverted way, because their understanding was darkened. They were "cut off from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Ephesians 4:18).
Some teacher, some shepherd, had mistaught Jesus Christ to them. The Christ they learned was not the Christ of God, the Lord of holiness, the master of purity. While they speak so sweetly of Jesus, and weep when they mention the name, and tell of a hunger to walk in the ways of Christ - Paul said of them, they "are past feeling and have given themselves over unto lasciviousness [lustfulness], to work all uncleanness with greediness" (Ephesians 4:19).
That is what I saw last night at the music festival - a group of musicians who were pied pipers, leading many young people right into the arms of Satan with their smooth words about Jesus, about celebrating forgiveness - then with an energy of flesh and carnal greediness hard to fathom - they put their stamp of approval on a paganism right out of the devil's treasury. They were saying, by their music and their worldly, ghastly performance - that Jesus and the garbage of this world are compatible. They wore two masks - one of sincere followers of Christ, the other of performing clowns. With their faces lifted up to God, they cursed Him by their blasphemous mockery. Isaiah prophesied of such, "...they shall curse their king and their God, and look upward" (Isaiah 8:21). What they preach and practice are two different gospels.
They are deceived, and consequently they are deceivers themselves. They have mislearned Christ! They have been duped, manipulated and cheated! They should have had a pastor or teacher with enough Holy Ghost discernment, with enough devotion to the true and holy Lord - to warn them, to show them that God does not put up with holding on to the old man and the old carnal ways. Why didn't their shepherds discern that these boys were walking in ignorance and spiritual blindness, not understanding the true demands of Christ? Why wasn't their greed dealt with - not so much for money and fame, but a greed that would not let go of the very thinking that once led them into drugs and emptiness. It's all coming out now - that these groups are falling on all sides, going back to the secular crowd, back to cocaine, back to groupies - playing the part of hypocrites and gospel phonies. Their shepherds are so easily conned, because they are blind in every way. Paul said it right, "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret" (Ephesians 5:12). The very music they perform drives them back to darkness.
Now - it's probably too late! They have rejected the reproof of prophets and watchmen who really preach the truth! They are like those Paul warns about, who have become so lost in spiritual ignorance and blindness, they are past feeling conviction. They are confirmed in their worldly ways! They are so blind they believe they are honoring Christ and blessing multitudes of youth the church "can't reach."
Sin-Soft Preachers Are Driving This Generation Into Darkness
"...they shall be driven to darkness..." (Isaiah 8:22).
I blame their smooth talking, sin soft shepherds. Those same shepherds must one day stand before Christ's judgment seat and answer - not only for the musicians under their care - but for all the Christian young people they in turn have hurt and destroyed. Without flinching, I declare that cowardly ministers, those who want to be loved and honored rather than rejected for preaching truth, are driving this generation into deep spiritual darkness.
We would not be facing a generation of backslidden, pleasure-loving, worldly minded youth in our churches - youth who do not even know the commandments of a holy Christ - if we had more holy, bold preachers and evangelists who could teach and preach the truth of Christ with purity and authority.
I am not accusing all preachers and teachers - thank God for the few who still do not cower to the crowd or compromise for the sake of numbers and success. Maybe the youth won't listen to those of us who cry out against their lusting after the world - but when the judgments accelerate - they will turn to the preachers of holiness for a sure word from God.
There is filth in Zion, and strangers have been exalted in the house of God - by blind, compromised, undiscerning Christian leaders. They are calling evil good, and the counsel of a righteous God is lightly esteemed. Hearts are hardening, ears are closing, eyes are being shut - because pride and flesh and ungodly entertainment is grieving the Holy Spirit right out of His temple.
Isaiah warned, "...their root shall be as rottenness,...because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people..." (Isaiah 5:24, 25).
Hell must be ecstatic at the spectacle of ministers not just abdicating to the immoral music standards of the young - but actually promoting what only demons should be promoting. Who brings these worldly bent groups into the church for concerts? Who encourages the youth to embrace the music of devils? Who ridicules evangelists and prophets and watchmen who cry out against it? Who puts it on radio, T.V. and who promotes the concerts and festivals that are now degenerating into satanic showcases? It is the pastors, youth ministers, Christian radio and T.V. station owners and managers. They will all live to see the wicked harvest of their soft gospel and compromise - as their very own children fall away to the spirit of this age.
Webster's Twentieth Century Dictionary defines whoredom as "the desertion of the worship of God for the worship of idolatry." A whoremonger is one who procures or promotes it. Any spiritual leader who procures or promotes this idolatrous desertion of true worship is truly a whoremonger. And Paul states emphatically, "No whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Ephesians 5:5).
Young people - don't listen to the whoremongers listen instead to the apostle Paul - who warned, "Let no man [even preachers] deceive you with vain [empty] words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be ye not therefore partakers with them" (Ephesians 5:6, 7).
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11).
All spiritual work that is tainted with the least bit of darkness, God calls unfruitful works! This refutes the big lie of the devil being promoted by the pushers of "new wave" music, which argues, "But it can't be of the devil. Look at all the kids getting saved! Listen to their wonderful testimonies. They really reach the youth - many are getting saved. They speak in a way the kids understand - they glorify Christ in their speech."
God never has judged a work by results. No one is more successful in holding converts than the Muslims. No church is richer than the Vatican. The Jehovah Witnesses claim to be winning multitudes to Christ.
God judges everything by light! That means, by how godly, how Christ-like it is - by how clear, how pure, how transparent it is. He repudiates and spits out of His mouth all that has even a part dark. John saw the Holy City descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. That is a holy people, a bride adorned and prepared for the Bridegroom. Its main characteristic is this: "Her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal!" (Revelation 21:11).
Whatever is of God is clear as crystal! It is holiness so pure, it is translucent as a pure jasper stone. Those who are numbered in this holy Zion, this New Jerusalem coming down from God - have all stepped out into the light. There is no darkness in them at all - they have been translated into His light! They walk in the light - they hate darkness - they reprove it wherever it appears. The enemy has come into religious circles to destroy what is pure and clear by introducing a pagan element that creates a shadow or film. If Satan can inject the slightest degree of error, or evil leaven, he knows the Holy Spirit will draw back because of a grieving. That is why no mixture - no shadow of dark paganism must be permitted in Christ's church.
Also, the Bible speaks of every seed yielding after its own kind (Genesis 1:12). An evil seed produces evil fruit, often not recognized until maturity. The rock and roll "prophets" of this generation are yielding a seed after their own kind - a seed that will one day bring forth a fruit that will wither and die. Jude makes that very clear, "...these feed themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots" (Jude 12).
What of the good sounding testimonies, the sincere and convincing sermonettes? Paul has the answer. "Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them... For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Jesus Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting" (Romans 16:17, 18 NAS).
Oh how God's people need discernment. Great deceptions abound every where, not only regarding the rock and punk music of the young, but also in regard to new forms of worship and praise being promoted. Some of it is born of the Holy Spirit, but much is born of the flesh - and only those who walk in the light know the difference.
There is a revival of worship and praise in the land today, and much focus on prayer, intercession and new revelation. There is no question about there being more and more Christians standing for an hour or two - with great congregations singing and praising loudly. There are smiles, laughter, joy, hand clapping, upraised hands, dancing - never in modern times has there been a greater shout in the camp.
Thank God for those in the camp who worship in Spirit and in truth - who lift clean hands and who have pure hearts - who come before His holiness with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. If they are walking in holiness, trembling at God's Word, repentant and free from the bondage of sin - it is a glorious and acceptable offering unto the Lord. God does inhabit the praises of His people - but only if those people are walking in practical righteousness.
But There Is a Shout Which is Shallow and Meaningless!
There is the shout of the over comer and the shout of the idolater - and we had better know the difference. The Lord commanded Moses to "Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it" (Exodus 32:7,8).
As Moses and Joshua approached the camp of Israel, Joshua "heard the noise of the people as they shouted..." (vs. 17). But it was not the shout of those who had overcome the enemy. The true shepherd Moses, having come fresh from the very presence of God's holiness - could easily discern that the great shout coming from the Lord's chosen people was not pure. Something was terribly wrong - it did not ring of the holiness of God.
Moses said, "It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise them that sing do I hear" (Exodus 32:18).
That's all it was meaningless, shallow noise - but an abomination in the ears of a holy God. They had no right to sing; their hearts were lusting after an idol. Their hearts were given to pleasure and fun. They stood before a golden calf - and in the name of the Lord offered burnt offerings. The people "sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play..." (Exodus 32:6).
I received many letters from Christians whom I know have come through the school of Christ. They have come through much suffering and spiritual warfare to a place in God where nothing else matters but knowing Him in fullness. They were driven by such deep hunger for God, they began to thirst for Christ as "the hart that panteth after the water." They tell me how out of place they feel in these great assemblies where the shout in the camp goes forth. It all looks good, and on the surface sounds good. But they can't enter in, because they discern something is basically wrong. They can't even explain it - the Spirit of God within them will not let them partake of it. They discern some kind of unspeakable darkness - something subtle, yet ominous about all the flesh that accompanies the singing, shouting, and dancing. It is almost too professional, too put on, too carnal. They leave, thinking to themselves, "Is it me - is there something wrong with me? Am I too judgmental? Why am I not comfortable amidst all this singing and dancing?"
Those who have stepped out into the light can easily discern the shadow of darkness. They will not be fooled by false shouting, false dancing, false worship, or false praying.
True Zion saints rejoice with trembling! (Psalm 2:11). They know that gladness belongs only to "the upright in heart" (Psalm 97:11). They can sing and dance when the Spirit moves them, but with David they can say, "Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of Thy judgments, O Lord" (Psalm 97:8). Zion saints, "Give thanks to the Lord at the remembrance of His holiness" (Psalm 97:12).
No punk or rock or phony shouting and praising for those walking in the light. They praise Him for both His goodness and because they tremble at His great and terrible name.
"The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people... Let the people tremble... Let them praise Thy great and terrible [awe-inspiring] name; for it is holy" (Psalm 99:1-3).
Used with permission granted by World Challenge, P. O. Box 260, Lindale, TX 75771 USA.
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