Exodus 32 is an Old Testament passage that is often cited when people teach
“spiritual warfare” and “intercession.” Moses had been up on the mount
receiving the Ten Commandments. He’d been up there fasting for forty days and
forty nights in the presence of God. After he’d been given these two tablets that
had literally been written on by the finger of God:
The LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which
thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.
It’s interesting how the Lord told Pharaoh through Moses, “Let My people
go.” Yet once the Israelites came out and started worshiping the golden calf they
had made (Ex. 32:1-6), He told Moses, “This is your people.” When a child does
something good and wins an award, their parents say, “My child.” But when the
child does something that isn’t smart, one parent will say to the other, “Look
what your child did.” God said, “Your people” to Moses. God was ticked off at
them because they had corrupted themselves. In fact, He was willing to forsake
them and let them go.
They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded
them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have
sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have
brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I
have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore
let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may
consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
POWER WITH GOD
God was mad at these people. He was going to destroy them and start over
with Moses, making a brand-new nation out of him. Notice how God said this:
Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them,
and that I may consume them.
The Lord was saying, “Moses, don’t try to hinder Me. Don’t try to talk Me
out of this. Don’t plead for mercy because I want to give total vent to My wrath
and destroy these people.” By saying it this way, God meant, “Moses, you have
so much power and influence with Me that if you plead with Me, you’ll keep Me
from venting my anger on these people.”
It’s amazing that Almighty God would be moved by any physical human
being. It’s not that we are greater in power or authority; it’s due to His great love
for us. Moses wasn’t perfect. He had killed a man thinking he was bringing
God’s will to pass. He had failed. However, God loves us so much that when He
finds someone who has a heart for Him, He respects that person. By doing so,
that gives the individual power and authority in His life. That’s awesome!
Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy
wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the
land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
“THEY’RE YOUR PEOPLE”
Moses put it back on God, saying, “Lord, these are Your people. They aren’t
my people. Remember, You’re the One who redeemed them. They’re Your
Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he
bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from
the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil
against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to
whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply
your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I
give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
Moses was reasoning with God, saying, “LORD, the Egyptians are going to
hear about this. They’ll say they were destroyed because You were too weak to
bring these people into the Promised Land.” We saw earlier that Moses had the
audacity to say:
Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
It’s amazing that a man would tell God to repent. Yet, what’s even more
The LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
A CLASSIC EXAMPLE
This is a classic example of Old Testament intercession.
Moses confronted God, told Him to turn from His fierce wrath, and He did.
Moses stood in between the people who were about to be destroyed and pled
with an angry God to repent.
People take this example and use it to teach “spiritual warfare” and
“intercession.” Thinking this is how we need to pray to God today, they say,
“Oh, Lord. Don’t destroy our country.
Have mercy on our city. Repent, and turn from Your fierce wrath!” That was
appropriate for Moses to pray because Christ hadn’t come yet and suffered the
punishment for our sin. Now under the New Covenant, everything has changed.
Jesus became the Intercessor to end all of that kind of intercession.
There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man
1 TIMOTHY 2:5
In the New Testament, Jesus became the Mediator that stood between us and
God was holy, and man was not. We deserved the wrath of God. There
needed to be mediation between God and man.
So before Jesus came, Moses was a mediator. Speaking of Moses, Galatians
3 says that the Old Testament law:
Was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Moses served as a mediator between God and man. A mediator is someone
who stands in between two parties who are in conflict with each other and tries
to bring them into harmony and agreement. God was opposed to man because of
our sin, so under the Old Covenant, Moses served as a mediator. He said, “God,
repent. Turn from Your fierce wrath,” and God did. However, if Moses were to
pray that way today on this side of the cross, he’d be antichrist.
Antichrist means against or instead of Christ. If Moses were to plead with
God to turn from His fierce wrath today, he’d be acting against Jesus’ mediation.
By thinking, What Christ did is not enough; I need to add to it, he’d be trying to
take Jesus’ place. It was appropriate for Moses to pray the way he did under the
Old Covenant because Jesus hadn’t come yet. But now that Jesus has come and
we’re under the New Covenant, there’s only one mediator between God and man
—the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Tim. 2:5.)
That’s why you’re wrong to “intercede,” begging and pleading with God for
His mercy today. God’s mercy has already been poured out to us through the
Lord Jesus Christ. He’s no longer angry with us over sin.
For additional study on this topic, I refer you to my teaching entitled, The
War Is Over. The New Testament is clear. Jesus bore the wrath of God for our
sin. That’s why God’s not mad at you—He isn’t even in a bad mood!
A MAJOR DIFFERENCE
I understand that the truths I’m sharing are contrary to what’s been popularly
accepted, but I encourage you to go to the Word and see for yourself. Many
people think that God is angry at a certain country and that He’s about to bring
judgment upon a specific city so they pray, “Oh Lord, have mercy and don’t
destroy them.” If you’re praying that way, you’re trying to take the place of the
Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus has already satisfied God’s anger and secured His mercy
for these people and places.
Since God’s wrath toward sin has been appeased through the sacrifice of
Christ, does that mean we don’t have any problems? Of course not! Through sin
and unbelief, we’re in the process of destroying ourselves. We’ve opened up
doors to the devil and he’s taking full advantage of them. It’s very appropriate to
pray, “Father, I thank You that Jesus has already secured Your mercy and grace
on our behalf. Thank You that You aren’t out to destroy our city and country.
However, we’re giving place to the devil. We’re about to destroy ourselves. So
Father, please give me wisdom and boldness to share Your Word and
demonstrate Your power to others.”
That’s the reason I’m on radio, television, and the Internet. That’s why I’m
putting out so many books, tapes, and CDs. I’m not just praying and asking, “Oh
God, do something. Change these places and have mercy on us.” God has
already had mercy on us. We just don’t know what He’s done. We’ve been lied
to. Most people are more moved by television, news programs, and movies than
they are by the Word of God. They don’t know the truth, so I’m using every
medium I can to come across people’s paths and share the Word with them.
These truths are changing people’s lives and facilitating revival. Revival comes
through people as the Gospel is preached, the Word is taught, and the Holy Spirit
There is a major difference between the Old and New Covenants. In the Old
Testament, people like Moses pled with God, saying, “Lord, turn from Your
fierce wrath.” But in the New Testament, there’s only one mediator between God
and man, Christ Jesus. He has forever satisfied the demands and wrath of God. If we don’t seek God, there will be plenty of problems. But that’s because we’re
yielding ourselves to Satan, and he’s going to steal, kill, and destroy whomever, whenever, and wherever he can. (John 10:10.) Yes, our city needs to change.
Yes, our country needs to repent and turn to God. But it’s not so we won’t be
judged. Since God has already placed upon His Son the judgment our sins
deserved, we don’t have to be judged.
APOLOGIZE TO WHOM?
I didn’t understand these truths when I first started out in ministry. I liked to
say, “If God doesn’t judge our country, He’s going to have to apologize to Sodom
and Gomorrah.” From my perspective, America deserved judgment because of our sin as much or more than these two Old Testament cities that went up in smoke. Since then, however, God has revealed Himself and His Word to me in such a way that I now say, “If God were to judge our country, He’d have to apologize to Jesus.” Why? The reason is that Christ bore our punishment, judgment, and separation so that we wouldn’t have to. God has already placed
His wrath upon His own Son at the cross, so He’s not about to judge us.
Our country is perilously close to being destroyed—not because of God’s
judgment, but because of Satan’s inroads. When you yield yourself to the devil
through sin, you become his defenseless servant. Remember, he comes for no
other purpose but to steal, kill, and destroy. It’s stupid to yield to Satan. We need to submit ourselves to God.
“WILL YOU SPARE THE CITY?”
Let’s take a closer look at when God judged the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrah. First, the Lord appeared to Abraham and told him He was sending
two angels down to Sodom and Gomorrah to check the cities out. God wanted to see if they were as bad as He had heard because He planned to judge them. As soon as Abraham heard about this, he: Drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the
wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also
destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That
be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the
wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from
thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I
find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place
for their sakes.
Here’s Abraham pleading with God and saying, “LORD, You aren’t going to
destroy the righteous people that live in this city too, are You? That’s not the way
a righteous God would act. If there’s fifty righteous people there, will You spare
And God answered, “If there’s fifty righteous people, I’ll spare the city.”
Then Abraham said, “What if there’s forty-five righteous people? Will You
spare the city?”
“If there’s forty-five, I’ll spare the city.”
Abraham negotiated with God all the way down to ten. If there were ten
righteous people, God would spare the city. Abraham could have gone all the
way down to one righteous person, and that would have been Lot. (2 Peter 2:7-
Without even factoring Jesus’ atonement into the equation and forgetting about the New Covenant—which most Christians tend to do anyway—this passage shows us that God won’t destroy a city or country if there are righteous people therein.
It doesn’t matter what your country is, there are things in it that are
completely contrary to the kingdom of God. Nobody’s country is living totally
the way God wants us to. Yet, despite all this, there are righteous people now in
every country of the world. That alone ought to debunk much of this “God’s
going to judge this country” teaching that’s floating around the body of Christ
today. In America alone, there are hundreds of thousands of righteous, born- again people who love God and are seeking Him. We may not be dominating in every area of society yet, but we’re here. So God will not destroy us.
NEW TESTAMENT REALITY
We also need to factor into this equation the truth of 1 Timothy 2:5. Jesus is
now the one and only mediator between God and man. He forever satisfied
God’s wrath. In light of these truths, this whole pattern of Old Covenant
intercession—begging God not to pour out His wrath and pleading with Him for
mercy— doesn’t fit the New Testament reality.
Most of the “spiritual warfare” and “intercession” ideas that people are
promoting come from the Old Covenant. They’re taking Old Testament
scriptures and teaching them just as if Jesus Christ had never come. Basically,
they’re saying, “You be a mediator. You stand between God and man. You plead
with Him to turn from His wrath. Don’t allow Him to judge this land.” Well, the
truth is that Jesus Christ has already done all those things. He is the only New
If you’re trying to pray the same as Abraham in Genesis 18, you’re standing
against what Jesus has already done. If you’re praying the same as Moses in
Exodus 32, then you’re trying to take Christ’s place. You are acting as if Jesus
hasn’t come and His atonement wasn’t enough. You’re believing that His intercession wasn’t enough, and you have to add to it. That’s antichrist.