September 29, 2015
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” —Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
Teaching on the reality of spiritual warfare, the “wrestling” with demonic forces that individual believers and the Church face in every generation, was circulating widely in the body of Christ in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Biblical instruction on using the “spiritual weapons” of prayer, fasting, and calling upon the inherent authority of the name of Jesus Christ was becoming commonplace.
The teachings by Ern Baxter and Derek Prince, which helped establish Intercessors for America (IFA), not only focused on the Holy Spirit’s work of redeeming individuals and restoring the Church, but also carried this heightened emphasis on spiritual warfare. Stirring and inspiring accounts of effective spiritual warfare were encapsulated in Derek Prince’s strategic 1973 book which helped launch IFA, Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting.
Arthur Wallis, well known to Derek Prince and Ern Baxter, had published his first edition of God’s Chosen Fast in 1968. It was in multiple printings by the time IFA was founded in 1973. Wallis’ always-in-print volume stresses that fasting and prayer are God’s Kingdom instruments of deliverance and liberation—for individuals, congregations, institutions, and nations.
Paul Billheimer published his acclaimed study, Destined for the Throne: How Spiritual Warfare Prepares the Bride of Christ for Her Eternal Destiny, in 1975. This book also impacted and imparted much to scores of IFA members in the ministry’s formative years; it also remains a valuable resource in print today.
Church renewal pioneer, Richard J. Foster, followed his widely-circulated 1978 book on spiritual growth, Celebration of Discipline, with Freedom of Simplicity in 1981. In it he declares: “We are not just dealing with facts and figures, people and issues, but with spiritual principalities and powers …. in back of brutal dictators and unjust policies and corrupt institutions are spiritual principalities and powers … evil can and does incarnate itself into human structures.”
The first edition of Frank Peretti’s novel, This Present Darkness, was published in 1986. In this book, and in the five additional novels that followed, Peretti graphically tears back the veil between our physical, everyday worlds and the operations of the unseen, spirit world. Over 10 millions copies have been sold. These noted works of Christian fiction continue to help “bring home” the reality of the spiritual warfare being waged in families, in small towns, in cities across America, and around the world to multitudes of believers.
Derek Prince taught on waging effective spiritual warfare over the course of his entire ministry. He worked for two full years before his death in 2003 to summarize the truths and principles he had learned and demonstrated. War in Heaven – God’s Epic Battle with Evil was published shortly before his passing. The International Publishing Team of Derek Prince Ministries published an additional posthumous compilation, Secrets of a Prayer Warrior, in 2009.
The restored understanding of spiritual warfare and of how to use the “spiritual weapons” of concerted prayer and fasting became a part of the spiritual infrastructure of IFA. This foundational component is the launching pad for IFA’s new Transforming America Through Prayer thrust, The Journey to Transformation program, and for Discovery Weekends and Community Encounters – times set aside where believers can learn how to displace the structures of darkness in their communities with the grace and presence of God. (www.ifapray.org) Throughout our ranks, the Holy Spirit continues to train tongues and prepare hearts for engaging in, and winning, spiritual battles. (Exodus 15:3; Psalm 144:1; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 6:2)
In addition to the reports of salvation, healing, deliverance, and spiritual transformation in the lives of many of IFA’s intercessors, and in their families and churches, IFA has also been privileged to partner with the Lord in significant corporate spiritual warfare victories – some international, some national, and some state-wide or regional in scope. One of the most significant was the breaking of the “Zero Year Curse” or “Van Buren Curse,” a death curse, on the U.S. Presidency in 1980.
It is accepted historical fact that, beginning with the election of William Harrison in 1840, who died of pneumonia early in 1841, all U.S. Presidents elected in zero years died in office; Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1860, was assassinated in 1865; James Garfield, elected in 1880, was assassinated in 1881; William McKinley, elected in 1900, was assassinated in 1901; Warren Harding, elected in 1920, died from food poisoning in 1923; Franklin Delano Roosevelt, elected in 1940, died of a stroke in 1945; John F. Kennedy, elected in 1960, was assassinated in 1963; Ronald Reagan, who was elected in 1980, survived an assassination attempt in 1981.
When “doomsayer” articles and books about the “Zero Year” or “Van Buren” curse began to circulate during the 1980 election campaigns, IFA founding board member Derek Prince became concerned. He asked Gary Bergel and the IFA staff to research the matter. They were instructed to look for legitimate grounds that would permit the outworking of death curses upon the White House. Their research revealed that a “dual” system of death curses was indeed at work.
The first death decree was made by Native American chiefs and medicine men in retaliation for the confiscation of land, breaking of solemn commitments and treaties by the U.S. Government, and related offenses. Shawnee warrior and “prophet,” Tenskwatawa, brother of Tecumseh, Chief of the Shawnees, is reported to have proclaimed a death curse upon then General Harrison, after Tenskwatawa and a tribal alliance were defeated in 1811 at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Native American lore records that Tenskwatawa decreed that Harrison would one day be chosen as the Great White Chief, but that he would “die in office … and after him, every Great White Chief chosen every 20 years … will die.”
Native American tradition also holds that Chief Tecumseh reiterated or decreed a similar death curse as he lay dying in battle in 1813. Seminole Chief Osceola also entered into an “eternal” oath of war and destruction upon the U.S. Government and President Martin Van Buren, who was elected in 1837 during the latter half of the seven-year U.S. Indian war. The very next President, William Harrison, elected in 1840, died shortly after taking the oath of office in 1841.
A second demonic death system was initiated and legitimized through séances conduced in the White House by First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. Some of the séances Mrs. Lincoln convened were lead by Jamaican fortunetellers of West African voodoo lineage. While divination practiced via séances, Ouija boards, channeling New Age spirit guides, reading palms or Tarot cards, Wicca, or magic rituals impart mental disorders and confusion, and sometimes sickness and calamities, such occult practices do not necessarily initiate cycles of death. Voodoo practice, however, with its roots in systems of African sorcery, is rife with death curses.
Research findings were passed to Derek Prince and the IFA Board. The ministry immediately called for the matter to be taken up in earnest prayer and during First Friday corporate intercession and fasting. Providentially, at a major Christian conference in November 1980, a man was present who was both a direct descendent of President Harrison and of Shawnee lineage. This brother publicly acknowledged and asked forgiveness for the “sins of his fathers.” Derek Prince, along with many church leaders and all others in attendance, expressed remorse, and then repented for our nation’s “root sins” of rebelliousness, violence, and witchcraft. (1 Samuel 15:23) There was a time of leader-led governmental prayer to break the curses, and of corporate intercession to ask for the protection of President-elect Ronald Reagan.
Using the January 1981 First Friday Newsletter, IFA called upon all of their members across the U.S. “to repent for any ‘legal basis’ enabling a White House death curse, to pray that the death curse would be broken, and to ask that God in His forgiveness and mercy would protect President-elect Reagan.” Other prayer groups across the U.S. also engaged in warfare prayer as the Lord directed them. These prayer actions worked to “ratify” the November 1980 governmental intercession.
Upon receiving the shocking news of the assassination attempt against President Reagan on March 30, 1981, Derek Prince immediately sought the Lord. He sensed and wrote that “though Satan had clearly tried to re-enact the tragedies of previous Presidencies, God had, in answer to repentance and prayer, placed a boundary beyond which he could not go. We know that the bullet that struck President Reagan was just a short distance from his heart. It was as though God decreed: ‘You can come this far Satan, but no further.’” (Job 38:11) The “Zero Year Curse” was broken.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, various astrologers claimed that “air signs in 1980” provided President Reagan the “luck” to escape assassination, but because conjunctions were “returning to earth signs in 2000,” the President elected “must” die. As this flurry of dire predictions began to circulate, IFA again called upon its members to intercede and “affirm the breaking of the White House death curses in 1980.” Other prayer groups engaged in similar “affirming” intercession. President George W. Bush was elected in 2000, reelected in 2004, served out two full terms, and left office in 2009.
Not to us, but to God be the Glory!
In light of our nation’s continuing steep moral decline, wholesale acceptance of occult and New Age practices, and the incursion of Islamic terrorist death systems, if you are a Bible-believing Christian with a clean conscience reading this, please consider praying the following: Humbly ask our Lord Jesus Christ to again “forgive the sins of our fathers” and the sins of our nation today, again affirm the breaking of the death curses upon the U.S. Presidency in 1980, and petition Him to show mercy and grant protection to these United States.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for
pulling down strongholds.” —2 Corinthians 10:4 NKJV
“And there shall be no more curse….” —Revelation 22:3 NKJV
By Gary Bergel