Review written by Mitch Robbins November 1998 Destined for the Throne
Written by Paul E. Billheimer
The author makes it clear that this book is intended to stir up Christians to prayer, praise and spiritual warfare. He leads the reader through the many passages in the Bible ("the only infallible source Book") that talk about God's plan for creation. As a matter of fact, the purpose of the book is summed up in the title of the first chapter, "The Ultimate Goal of the Universe: The Church". Everything else in the book is instruction in how to become the Church, the Bride of Christ.
He puts it this way in chapter one. "From the very beginning it was God's plan and purpose that out of the riven side of His Son should come an eternal Companion to sit by His side upon the throne of the universe, to share with Him His sovereign power and authority over His eternal Kingdom." He goes on to say, "To be given the kingdom is more than to internalize kingdom principles and ethics. That's only one phase of it. To be given a kingdom is to be invested with authority over a kingdom".
According to the author and the Scriptures he presents, God intends to bring His Church through specific training in order to prepare Her for His eternal purposes. That training includes learning to pray with real faith according to the will of God, learning to properly submit to and exercise spiritual authority, learning to walk in faith and to praise God for all things. All of these things have to do with our warfare against Satan and his forces. God's purpose for His Bride is that they overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. (Revelation 12:11)
God is working in our individual lives and in the church as a whole to teach us that Jesus has completely and utterly destroyed the devil and his kingdom. (Hebrews 2:14, I John 3:8) When Jesus, the willing Lamb of God, hung on the cross Satan was confident that he could defeat Him. He was confident that Jesus would not be able to stand the test of a humiliating death and the ultimate separation from the Father that must take place. He was convinced that Jesus would give in at the last minute and cry for the angels of heaven to release Him from His tormenters. But the moment Jesus died, Satan knew that his day of power was over. When the sun went dark and the graves of many were opened in resurrection, and the veil of the temple was rent, he knew that he had failed to get the Son of God to turn away from God's purpose. His doom was sealed.
Jesus rose from the dead bringing with Him the keys to hell and the grave. (Revelation 1:18) This removed from Satan the last of his power over man, the fear of death. Through faith in the risen Lord people could be completely free from the intimidation of the fear of death. (I Corinthians 15:15, Hebrews 2:15) His promise of eternal life was backed up not only by His infallible Word but also by His own Resurrection and ascension into heaven.
But God's purpose for Satan was not finished. Satan is defeated. This is not a partial defeat. It is complete and sealed with the Blood of Jesus Christ. But Satan is still free to act. His authority has been completely stripped away and given to the Church by Jesus but he is still in the world today. (I Peter 5:8-9) He is still able to work primarily because people believe his lie that he still has real authority in the earth. He is a liar and the father of all lies. If he and the spiritual forces under his command can convince people that he still has authority over their lives and over the earth, then he is able to deceive them and trick them into doing what he wants. His goal is to convince people to disbelieve God and yield themselves to their own lusts and desires and to his spiritual influence. God's purpose in this is for His Church to learn, through prayer and praise, to take authority over the works of the devil and destroy them. He wants us to be trained up so that we are mature in Him. His will for our lives includes winning back the ground that Satan has made false claims to. We are to win back the lives of people who are in bondage to Satan. We are to learn to walk as Jesus walked and to do the works that He did. Then the Church will begin to reflect the glory of God and become worthy of the name "The Bride of Christ".
The author sums it up this way. "Through the plan of prayer God actually invites redeemed man into full partnership with Him, not in making the divine decisions, but in implementing those decisions in the affairs of humankind. Independently and of His own will God makes the decisions governing the affairs of earth. The responsibility and authority for the enforcement and administration of those decisions He has placed upon the shoulders of His Church. 'I say also unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven' (Matthew 16:18-19). This promise is repeated to the Church in general in Matthew 18:18: 'Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' 'Behold, I give unto you power [authority] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you' (Luke 10:19)"
The author then goes on to expound on what I believe to be at least one of the main reasons he wrote the book. "Why should there be any apparently unanswered prayers? If Satan has been legally defeated, dethroned, disarmed, stripped of his weapons and "destroyed"; and if the Church has actually been exalted and enthroned with Christ, with all enemies beneath her feet; if she has been given "authority over all the power of the enemy" and has been deputized by God to enforce His will upon the earth - why does she not more efficiently demonstrate the genuineness of her triumph in Christ?"
It is clear in the book that the author is saying that the Church is commissioned to pray and that Jesus has promised us that He would give us what we pray for. He quotes several scriptures including John 14:13-14. "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do if ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it."
His point is, if Jesus has promised to answer our prayers, why does it appear that so many prayers are unanswered? He lists three main reasons.
1) Selfish Motives - "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3) Many times we pray only out of self will. We pray because we want something or we pray because we think that God is making a mistake or we pray because we think that something should be different in ours or someone else's life. The key element in this kind of prayer (including prayer for others) is self. We want God to do something without the slightest effort to seek God's specific will and timing for the situation.
2) Spiritual Pride - Paul's revelation that the reason God did not heal him of his infirmity was because of the danger of his falling into spiritual pride as a result of the "abundance of the revelations" given to him (2 Corinthians 12:7). God knows that if He were to answer some of our prayers right when we ask, He would put us at risk of falling into the same sin as Lucifer - pride. This is a disaster that God hopes to avoid in all of our lives. The more the Holy Spirit inspires us, teaches us and moves through us to minister to others, the more we need to be on guard against this sin. And even if we don't, God will.
3) Prayerlessness - "Ye have not because ye ask not" (James 4:2) Prayer is God's chosen method for getting His will done on earth. Not to primarily get things done for Himself, but (as the author says), "He ordained prayer as part of the apprenticeship for training the Church for her royal duties which will follow the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Unless she understands this and enters into sincere cooperation with God's plan of prayer, the power needed to overcome and bind Satan on earth will not be released. God has the power to overcome Satan without the cooperation of His Church through prayer and faith, but if He did it without her it would deprive her of enforcement practice and rob her of the strength she would gain in overcoming. This is God's primary reason for inaugurating the system of prayer and unequivocally binding himself to answer. Therefore, there is no authority apart from persistent believing prayer."
We all need to understand and pray about all these reasons for apparent unanswered prayer. Even if we don't see a problem in our lives right now, we need to be alert and keep ourselves submitted to God in every area. The enemy lurks just out of sight, ready to attack any chink in our armor. And when the Holy Spirit reveals that we are giving place to the devil, we know that God is faithful and will forgive us and cleans us from all unrighteousness.
We can with utter confidence believe that God will answer all of our prayers that are according to His will. This is stated clearly in scripture without condition. (John 14:13-14) But God does reserve the right to take the time to work in us until we are ready to receive the answer to our prayer. (Philippians 2:13, Romans 8:28, Ephesians 1:11) Are we willing to yield to Him and continue to pray until the answer comes?
This book has been a real encouragement to me. It has reminded me of many truths that I had not been practicing in my life. Even with a clear call on my life to minister the gospel of Jesus I have let my life drift from these central truths.
My family and I have been working to produce and publish books, audio productions and motion pictures that communicate the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to present the gospel to people who resist going to church to hear a preacher, but would be willing to sit down with neighbors or friends to watch a powerful, Christ centered motion picture on video. I am beginning to see that God wants to see a breakthrough in this ministry much more than I do. But He is waiting for myself and the rest of His Church to pray, step out in faith and take ground from the enemy. As John Wesley said, "God will do nothing but in answer to prayer." If we are going to see God move in reaching people for Christ, it is going to start and end with prayer.