Cutting down the Tree
By Apostle Eric vonAnderseck
I’d like to talk to you about the “pine tree revelation” finding its way around religious-social media hubs, which God is now challenging.
There is a need to discern the voice of the antichrist spirit directing the church away from the covenant of Jesus Christ to man-made covenants and nationalism.
GOD IS CUTTING DOWN THE PINE TREE (Fotolia)
Learning the Difference Between a God-Given Covenant & a Man-Made Covenant
It's very important to learn the difference between a God-given covenant and a man-made covenant as ignorance in this area has allowed for many false revelations to be shared. So what is the difference between a God-given covenant and a man-made covenant? The major difference is that when God makes a covenant with mankind He initiates it and sets the terms of the covenant for man to serve Him with knowledge at an altar that He designates. Man is to honour God by keeping faith restricted to that which God has sanctified by blood.
When man makes a covenant with God, he initiates it by making appeals to heaven and making promises to God, telling God what he will do to honour Him and then expecting God to reciprocate a blessing. This covenant is not sanctified by blood, but rather by good intentions and fervent prayers related to present distress.
Recently Dutch Sheets stated that God gave him two boxing gloves. One was named “Everlast” and the other was named “Evergreen”. He then made these reaching conclusions, that the pine tree flag adopted by George Washington was somehow linked to the pine tree that Abraham planted and that the pine tree (now the banner for false revival calls) is the sign of the covenant.
Sheets believes that Abraham made a covenant with God and then planted a pine tree to commemorate the covenant. When Sheets says, “You got to go back to covenant” he is not speaking of the covenant for which Jesus shed His blood, but man-made covenants that God is not honouring. He’s speaking of nationalism, not faith in God.
God is not leading the church into nationalism. God is not awakening the church to a national mindset. God is awakening the church to the covenant of Jesus Christ. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of this issue because God is cutting down the pine tree.
The ROOTS of Faith in Abraham
Dutch Sheets is joined by Jennifer LeClaire who is also pushing hard to convince believers that God’s covenant through Jesus Christ is about nationalism. As much as Sheets and LeClaire want to claim Abraham as their authority, stating the founders of our nation made a covenant with God just as Abraham did, scripture does not bear this out.
From looking at Genesis chapter 17 we know that Abraham did not make a covenant with God, it was God that made a covenant with Abraham for salvation, to separate him from the world unto Himself, and then God gave circumcision as the sign of the covenant that was made by blood as a type and shadow of Jesus Christ. When Jesus would come to make a new covenant in His blood He would fulfil this sign. You can’t take the sign from circumcision to the pine tree just to suit your agenda. This is to deface Christ and to make ineffective the blood He shed.
God said to Abraham, “And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.” (Genesis 17:2)
Who made the covenant, God or Abraham? God said that He initiates the covenant. The blessing is given to those who accept the terms and sign of the covenant that God makes. Abraham did not make promises to God to make a covenant with God and then expect God to fulfil his wish-list.
- To accept the covenant God makes is true faith.
- The create your own covenant to address your own agenda is blind arrogance.
The Token SIGN of God’s Covenant With Abraham
When God makes a covenant with mankind He gives a token sign. When God made promise to Noah and to all mankind to never again flood the earth, He initiated the covenant and gave a token SIGN of the covenant.
God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” (Genesis 9:12-13)
What was God’s token sign given to Abraham and how do Christians relate to this sign today?
From Genesis 17:9-11
9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a TOKEN of the covenant betwixt me and you.
Sheets is in conflict with God when stating, “The evergreen tree has been a symbol of eternity and a symbol of covenant. Abraham when he called on everlast, he planted an evergreen tree. It was his way of saying, ‘I’m in covenant with God forever’.”
This is not true. When Abraham called upon the living God he called to mind the covenant God made with him and the sign of circumcision and passed on this sign to his children to teach them that they were in covenant with God.
“And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.”(Genesis 21:4)
Abraham did not teach his children how to plant pine trees as the sign of the covenant. To claim that as a revelation of God is appalling — offensive – blasphemy!
The Pattern Seen in the Book of Romans
When Apostle Paul spoke of the token SIGN Abraham accepted as the symbol of covenant, it was the sign God gave. Abraham did not choose his own way of saying “I’m in covenant with God”. Rather, Abraham accepted God’s way of providing a token that sealed the covenant God made with Abraham.
Romans 4:11, “And he (Abraham) received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also.”
These scriptures do not mention a pine tree being the token sign of covenant between God and Abraham, but rather circumcision. The covenant God made with Abraham was ratified with the blood of an animal.
When establishing the new covenant in Jesus Christ, Jesus shed His blood to seal the covenant in Himself and He gave a new token SIGN – the Holy Spirit, which now circumcises our heart. Can you see how God first set the example in Abraham and why Abraham is called the father of faith? That those who are in covenant with God might carry the token sign. His banner over me is the Holy Spirit – not a pine tree.
We read in Colossian 2:11: "In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ."
2 Corinthians 1:22: "Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."
Ephesians 4:30: "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption."
Acts 7:8: "And He (God) gave him (Abraham) the covenant of circumcision..."
Just as circumcision provided a way for God to mark His people, separate them, and set them apart from the rest of the world unto Himself, under the new covenant of Christ, God gives the seal of the Spirit (baptism of the Holy Spirit) to a believer to provide the token of our faith. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the private mark or sign indicating covenant has been established; this private mark of Christ stamps our faith as being genuine. You must now be responsible to this seal. God is awakening the church to return to this pattern.
What Became of the Evergreen Tree that Abraham Planted?
We’re going to look at Abraham’s grove, what became of it, and what God did to it. But we’re going to look at it in the same context as Gideon’s image. Abraham’s grove and Gideon’s image became a snare to those believers who desired to re-enact the history of these events to show their zeal for God.
Genesis 21:33, “And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.”
Sadly, the grove became the pattern for the high places where false altars were erected. Everyone took it upon themselves to devise their own way of seeking God, their own way of serving Him, to establish what they want, not what God wants – just as Sheets and LeClaire are doing today.
They said it was the right thing to do because Abraham did it. Jezebel set the pattern in her aspiration in the same way and this is why she resourced many tokens of the past to project a favourable religion for herself. This gave her the appearance of religious zeal for God, but it wasn’t the covenant of Moses.
This practice (making one’s own images) reflected the aspirations of one man named Jeroboam the son of Nebat who made Israel to sin and thus provoked the Lord to anger.
1 Kings 15:30, “Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger.”
Exposing Motives that Provoke God
The true motive for Jeroboam wasn’t faith, but control. As Jeroboam pursued the devises of his own heart, God was openly revealing his faithlessness. And this is what God is doing today, openly revealing the hearts of ministers who are not in covenant with God, but claim His name to make their own covenants.
1 Kings 12:31-33 “So he (Jeroboam) offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart.”
1 Kings 12:26-27 , “And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.”
False Traditions Built on Fear and Not Faith
1 Kings 16:26, “For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities.”
History is again repeating itself. Just as Jeroboam introduced a false revelation to preserve his aspirations, so today unconverted believers wander without the true stewardship into many foolish and hurtful lusts which injure faith and snare the imagination with religious zeal.
Striking Down Tradition
As we just read from 1 Kings 16:26 God is provoked to anger when those who claim His name and authority devise flags, altars, and covenants of their own heart. God calls these works “vanity” and “idolatry”.
God raised up a reformer to remove the false-tokens that used history for its justification. This reformer was Josiah the King of Judah.
2 Kings 23:24, “Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord.”
The “groves” Abraham planted in recognition of the God he served were exploited by the ungodly-religious leaders to lend credibility to their faith (false-faith).
2 Kings 23:6, “And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.”
God struck down the grove! Josiah burnt them!
He removed the face of Satan from the covenant.
What Happened to Gideon’s Ephod?
Judges 8:27, “And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.”
What was considered as a token of victory for faith was used for self interest by following generations as it is happening today with the pine tree flag.
Judges 17:5, “And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.”
What was Micah’s motive? Was it to build for God or was it to seek a blessing from God to establish his own peace and security?
Judges 17:13, “Then said Micah, Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.”
So one generation passed this tradition to another which became the culture and norm for the people, to find out how to position oneself for a blessing from God. They view themselves to be a righteous and good people based on these traditions.
But where was covenant faith? The covenant did not exist for them. They recreated the covenant with their own tokens and signs to claim their own peace and security.
The Tribe of Dan Exploits the Ephod
Opportunity knocked for the priest, and again the aspiration took hold of the imagination. The priest Micah hired was propositioned to be a priest for a whole tribe and not just a local town. Wow, God was prospering him, as he thought. Church expansion! Revival!
Judges 18:19, “And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?”
So we come to Jezebel again that exploited religion to add strength and credibility to her own goals for the kingdom of Israel and her husband King Ahab.
Religious leaders today are following that same pattern of error trying to revive the nation for God by claiming the divine for personal interests.
This is the spirit of antichrist that conceals his presence in the sincere motives of his victims. They what God to do something so bad they would jump off the pinnacle of the temple to prove God is real.
Selecting Biblical Events to Stand for Your Faith
Sheets and LeClaire are linking Biblical concepts with modern concepts to promote their aspirations (what they feel is good for social reform) as the will of God, thus turning faith into idolatry.
Conceptualizing the divine promises with personal goals is mixing the good with the evil. We saw this with the efforts of Jezebel to bond the present issues of her kingdom of Israel to history and to demonize any prophet that disagreed with her.
The Woman at the Well Claimed True Faith Founded on History
The woman at the well (John chapter 4) also carried selected Biblical events of history to defend her faith as original and true because she drew from the well that Jacob dug. Who could refute her claim. Was that not the well that Jacob dug? In the same manner, didn’t Abraham plant an evergreen tree?
The woman at the well drew history into her false-faith to claim a truth, thinking, If I can claim this truth (Jacob did in fact dig this well) then certainly no one can refute that I have true religion.
Drawing from history to give the appearance of true faith, she was committing idolatry. Referencing the past with the present issues to lend evidence for faith, was not true faith. So she was inflating her beliefs in God with tokens of history which shows she really didn’t have true faith.
Jesus’ Reproof is Heard Today
Jesus reproved the woman who shared with Him her claims to true faith based on history. He identified her misguided zeal saying, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22)
The true pattern was given to Jesus Christ for your faith and not the traditions of the patriarchs as Abraham’s grove or Jacob’s well.
Beware of these false apostles and prophets who are not following the terms of the covenant for which Jesus shed His blood, they are promoting their own terms and social agendas.
[Eric vonAnderseck serves the Body of Christ as a confirmed Apostle in the government of God. He is the founder of Second 8th Week Ministries & founder of the Network of Apostles Today. He is the IDCCST® Christian Education Curriculum author and author of over 100 ground breaking books and articles, spearingheading the return of the apostolic calling and anointing to the church.
Apostle Eric ministers extensively nationally and internationally. He is the pioneer of the new apostolic age and recognized as the leading authority in the fields of church growth, foundation building, spiritual gifts and spiritual warfare, and the leading voice in the transition of the church into the new apostolic season and reformation.]
Last Revised: 2016-06-19