Part 12. The Sugar-Ice Duck
(A vision received by Arthur on 5th Sept. 1974)
The Crown Agents in London had appointed me to teach in the King George V School, Kowloon, Hong Kong as from the beginning of the autumn term 1974. We flew out there and landed on September 3rd, and were given a suite of rooms on the 8th floor of the Hong Kong Hotel. It was a temporary arrangement until suitable accommodation could be found. Two nights later, after the children were asleep, and my wife had gone to bed, I sat looking at the magnificent view across the harbour. It was a fairyland of coloured lights. The colony is a cameo of all that relates to luxury. The love of money is the paramount factor that keeps everyone going. I was told there were more millionaires per square mile in Hong Kong than anywhere else in the world, and after being there for some time, I could well believe it. Nothing stops in Hong Kong, night or day, unless there is a typhoon. It is a hive of constant activity that can easily get into one’s soul. It is difficult to stand against it when living in such an atmosphere. Looking back I now believe that what happened next was related to the Hong Kong way of life, as it was going to influence the newly forming charismatic churches in the west. Except that the luxury relates mainly to the spiritual realm rather than the material realm.
As I sat looking at this amazing scene I began to see something else, and because of its strangeness my mind was alerted immediately to the fact that God was conveying truth in visionary form. I saw a duck, and I knew that it had been made of icing sugar because a hand was smoothing down the surface with a knife. When all was complete, the strange thing padded along on its webbed feet as though alive, and settled down on a flat surface somewhere. But if this was strange, the next part of the vision took me even more by surprise, because I saw dozens of people arriving at the duck, and it was only then that I realised how large it was. It must have been all of forty feet tall! The people were excited about the coming of the duck, and some of those who were braver than the rest even went up to it and touched it. One of them licked his fingers and the taste was sweet. Breaking a fragment from the surface he ate it, and jumped for joy. Others gained confidence and followed his example until they were all delirious with excitement. I saw them singing, dancing, throwing up their hands in the air, and embracing each other. The festive atmosphere was its own advertisement. People arrived in droves, pushing and shoving, and climbing over the duck with the aid of ladders in an effort to obtain a handful of icing sugar and join in the fun.
This continued for some time until one man gave a very loud shout, which brought everything to a halt. They saw him pointing to a hole that had appeared in the icing sugar. It was therefore not solid as they had originally thought. No one had imagined the sugar icing might give out sooner or later. After this, caution was exercised in the eating. Everyone agreed to ration what was left. But they found to their joy that even the smallest taste produced the same effects as a handful, and they wished they had learned this lesson earlier. In the process of time many more holes appeared. Some tried looking inside the duck, but all was pitch dark. Nothing could be seen. Gradually the duck became wafer thin. All of a sudden the crash came as the remainder of the duck disintegrated in a cloud of very fine dust. The crowd became silent, waiting and watching.
It took a while for the dust to settle, and then I had a shock. Inside the duck there was a terrible black beast about forty feet long, in shape like a scorpion with bulbous green eyes. It also had wings similar to those of a dragonfly. I fully expected the crowd to disperse at great speed, but instead they became delirious with excitement once again, and accepted the beast as their accredited leader. If anything, the excitement became greater than before. At this point the vision changed, and I saw the hand once again. It was outstretched with some white pills on the palm. A small number of people were arriving to receive one, which they ate. The result showed on their faces as an inner sense of peace and tranquillity. And then the two visions merged. Once again I saw people taking the icing sugar from the duck and jumping about in excitement. The group from the second vision were approaching, and mingling with the crowd, warning them, “Don’t eat it! It’s dangerous!” But there was very little response. Some shouted at them, “Go away, you prophets of doom! Don’t tell us that YOU have the Spirit of the Lord. Where is your joy?” Disheartened they eventually wandered away, feeling a dull ache in the pits of their stomachs.
Later on, when I had made a record of the vision, the Lord spoke to me, and I wrote down the message, as follows:-
“The hand that formed the bitter pill fashioned also the duck. This is my work, and by it my name will be magnified. Twenty centuries of progress has not changed the nature of man, and neither has it changed mine, says the Lord. My Son is the Way, the Truth and the Life. All those who reject the bitter pill of the cross will find themselves prey to the lie. I will send them strong delusion, and they will believe it and rejoice in it because their hearts are not set upon the Way. They will accept falsehood in a season of careless security, indulging in spiritual flirtation with powers of darkness dressed up in acceptable guise. They longed for sweet things and I gave them sugar, but it was not in tune with my heart, says the Lord. And each bite of the duck they take, so grows the beast within. And each bite of the duck they take, so blind they become to the truth. And then, when antifaith has done its final work the beast is revealed to the world, enthroned within the temple of God, blasphemously parading divine nature. Mark well my words, says the Lord, there is but one great sign for this world, one marvel, one miracle of challenge that I will accept, and it is the sign of the prophet Jonah. And those who take the bitter pill shall find loneliness, derision and sorrow. And they shall walk the way of their Master, learning of His sorrows, sharing His suffering, conforming to His death. But I shall raise them to life, life on a higher plane, and they shall take my message to the nations. This is my sign, and this shall be their reward. All other ways, however right they may appear to man, shall be disallowed in my sight, says the Lord. And those who eat the duck shall refuse this glory when it is revealed for it shall be folly to them. Choose therefore whilst it is still possible, choose the salt and reject the sugar, says the Lord, for the time is now short.”
Before making any comment about the application of this vision over the last 33 years, it will be best to explain what the symbols mean in practice. And before doing this, I should like to display a brief snatch from another vision, one which my wife received in June 1969. She saw a dam across a narrow ravine, and behind the dam there was initially just a small trickle of water, but over a lengthy period of time the water rose to produce a large lake, and eventually filled the ravine to the top of the dam. At this stage, the dam burst, and the waters flowed out, bright and iridescent, into the valley beyond. The Lord gave the interpretation. The water represented the faith of His people. And the effect of faith was twofold. Firstly, the faith had an effect in the believer’s life and his walk. But secondly, the faith had another effect, which was not appreciated by the believer at all. In heavenly places, each act of faith was like water building up behind the dam. God was preparing for a yet future day when, in His Kingdom, He could liberate the combined effect of all the faith of His elect, and it would flow out to a needy world. I believe the two visions are essentially the same in their interpretation. But the dam refers to God’s work, whereas the duck refers to the counterfeit work.
To understand the duck vision I will set down the various elements of it in sequence.
- The duck. This is of course invisible to the people who approach it.
- The sugar. The Lord said, “They longed for sweet things and I gave them sugar, but it was not in tune with my heart.”
- The eating. What should they have been eating? The Lord said, “I am the bread of life.” He also said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Therefore they were eating the wrong stuff.
- The meaning of eating the sugar. If the TRUE BREAD is the Lord, and what we eat is His living word, then the sugar represents something akin but not wholesome. It must also be a doctrine, an idea, a suggestion, which comes from an alien source. Hence, as Paul put it, it could be a “doctrine of demons.”
- The first effect of eating. There was sweetness in the mouth, and by what followed, there was no “bitterness in the stomach” like John experienced when he ate the little scroll of words. In fact they began to experience a profusion of supernatural effects which gave them what might be called “a spiritual bean feast”, calculated to bring the crowds flocking in.
- The second effect of eating. What they didn’t realise was the gradual blindness coming upon them, blindness to the truth of God’s word written clearly in the sermon on the mount. As time passed, so the new experience took precedence over a sober contemplation of what Jesus asks for in a believer’s life.
- The third effect of eating. This was also beyond their knowledge, and may be compared with the water rising in the dam. There was a beast inside the duck, and the beast was powerless to act out his role at the start, and would have been rejected if it was seen. But the eating had the effect of giving power and strength to the beast, and causing it to grow.
- The collapse. When Satan sees that (a) the blindness of those who have eaten is sufficient, and (b) the beast has grown to the required extent, he causes the duck to collapse. This represents a brief interlude between two phases or waves of activity. The people sense that their original hyper-activity is near its end, but have no knowledge of what lies ahead.
- The beast appears. Their blindness is such that they now pronounce the beast to be their accredited leader. This beast is also invisible, but they recognise “something” that is more powerful and attractive than what had gone before. And they give themselves to it wholly. This is the true antichrist phase, much more powerful than the earlier phase.
- The people who ate the pills. These have fed on the true word, and have seen the nature of the evil. They pray for the others, and whenever occasion arises, they approach them and warn them, but usually to no avail. Hence the sweetness in the mouth gave way to bitterness of soul at the outcome of their endeavours.
- The Lord’s hand. Some might be upset when they realise the Lord was the One who designed the duck. But it must be remembered that in olden days, after King Saul’s disobedience, the Lord withdrew His Spirit from him, and gave him an evil spirit instead. In each of these cases, the Lord takes full responsibility for what happens, even though Satan was the donor of Saul’s evil spirit, as he is also the architect of the duck.
In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul paints an identical picture, but because of the difficulty of some of the verses, coupled with an amazing variety of translations in the Versions, the force of what he said is often lost. He speaks of a “man of lawlessness” who is equivalent to the black beast of the duck vision, and of those who “love not the truth”, who are not outsiders, but those within the larger company of believers. Also he refers to a “restraining influence” which is explained clearly by the duck vision, in that the Devil cannot achieve his plan without the “antifaith” of those who reject the truth. Hence there has been a restraining influence on evil. But when “the great apostasy” has taken place, and crowds of people flock to the duck, eventually the “man of lawlessness” can be revealed, when “he comes out of the midst,” in other words when the black beast is finally seen. But Paul says that this “man of lawlessness” sits in the temple of God saying that he is God.
Which temple is Paul referring to? Many believers today have been tutored to believe that the antichrist will not arise on the world stage until the church is removed to be with the Lord. Hence this section of Paul’s writing doesn’t hold much urgency for them. Likewise they have been advised that the Jews will build a Temple in Jerusalem, and the antichrist will make his throne there. Hence there is a double pressure upon them to discount any present danger signal in this chapter of Thessalonians. But the temple Paul speaks of is the temple of God’s people, and the antichrist seats himself (invisibly) in the midst. The (prophetic) words he delivers are from himself, but presented as though they come from God. The words are believed because of the blindness. Hence the danger is critical to all God’s people.
As for the geographical interpretation, it takes only a moment’s thought to realise that if a man were to establish himself inside a newly built temple in Jerusalem, he would immediately be recognised. His cover would be blown by the world, let alone the church! The newspapers would quote 2 Thessalonians 2, and he would be the laughing stock of the world. Surely we cannot expect Satan to be quite so lacking in strategy! It is a very sobering thought to realise that the antichrist is AT THIS PRESENT TIME enthroned within the whole body of those who call themselves Christians on this earth. Whereas in the past the “mystery of lawlessness” has been at work throughout, in these last days a great change has occurred – the black beast has been revealed. So we are left to consider the “powers and signs and wonders of deceit.” What are they? They must be the supernatural effects that were produced by the eating of the duck in the first phase, and then multiplied to a much greater degree in the second phase when the beast is revealed. This second phase then must be a far greater force of evil and deception than the first. No wonder that John was told, as Daniel was before him, that the antichrist would have power over the saints of God to “make war on them and overcome them.” Words like that cannot possibly refer to a time AFTER the church has been taken up into glory.
But the force of the duck vision hasn’t yet been revealed to its full extent. We must now examine the difference between the “word of God” that believers are enjoined to eat, and the “sugar-icing” that is preferred by so many today. What is the crux of Jesus’ teaching? I have used a play on words. The Latin word CRUX means a “cross”. And the cross is the central hub of all that our Lord taught. Even as He gave Himself up to die on a cross, so also He expected all His followers to do likewise, not literally (even though some did) but in the more important sense of “overcoming” the “flesh”, the nature we have all inherited from Adam and Eve. Again and again in the Gospels, and particularly in the Sermon on the Mount our Lord taught the truth concerning this. “Except a man take up his cross he has no part of me.” “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”What does it mean to “deny ones self”? It means to realise the incipient evil of the human heart, and stamp on its desires, relying steadily more and more on the leading of the Lord in everyday situations of life. Oswald Chambers put it this way. “Our Lord’s illustration of a Christian is salt. Salt preserves wholesomeness and prevents decay. It is a disadvantage to be salt. Think of the action of salt on a wound, and you will realise this. If you get salt in a wound, it hurts, and when God’s children are amongst those who are ‘raw’ towards God, their presence hurts. The man who is wrong with God is like an open wound, and when ‘salt’ gets in it causes annoyance and distress and he is spiteful and bitter. The ‘salt’ causes excessive irritation which spells persecution for the saint.” This was seen clearly in the duck vision. Those who tried to warn the people of the dangers they were facing, only received reviling comments. “Where is your joy?” they asked. But how can you approach such people with a smile, when your task is to warn them of danger? They were drunk with the wine of intoxication, produced by the effects of eating the sugary sweet words of the false prophet, and enjoying the effects.
The Prophet Daniel spoke about the antichrist, calling him “the Little Horn”. And we are told that the Little Horn“takes away the daily sacrifice”. What does this mean? In the days when the Temple services were operating, God’s priests sacrificed a lamb each morning and evening. This was called the “daily sacrifice.” But this all came to an end after the resurrection of our Lord. What significance does it now hold? Some might say “none”, because the system to which it referred has passed away. But our Lord referred to “the abomination which makes desolate”, which Daniel said would take the place of the daily sacrifice. He said the principle still applied, and warned His readers to make sure they understood what He meant. Every believer should have a “daily sacrifice”, a spiritually understood sacrifice. When Jesus spoke about “taking up our cross DAILY” He was making reference to just that. Throughout our lives we should daily remember that we are but dust. Our thoughts and our desires are far removed from divine righteousness, and need constantly to be made new by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Now we are approaching the absolute hub of understanding.
The Holy Spirit’s ministry to believers is essentially towards their re-creation in the Lord’s own image. But in these days, at the beginning of the 21st century, vast numbers of believers look to the Holy Spirit for power, signs and wonders, which instead of crucifying the flesh, tend to feed it. Oh how easy it is to be captivated by all the manifestations of supernatural power today. Many Christians go “conference hopping” in the hope of being present at yet another occasion of “blessing”, where they can witness all manner of effects, not just by the preacher and those called to the front, but throughout the auditorium. If believers persist in praying to the Holy Spirit for signs and manifestations, the Holy Spirit cannot answer. It is contrary to the purpose for which the Spirit has come. But there is always “another” who “comes in his own name”, and “him you will hear.” The crucial decision must be made. Is the flesh being fed, or crucified?
The Lord spoke to my wife some years ago saying, “In these days treat the miraculous very lightly. Look rather to the lives of those who profess to have spiritual powers.” We have found it a most valuable word. The Little Horn “casts truth to the ground and stamps on it.” What item of truth does he stamp upon? It is the daily sacrifice. And in its place he establishes “the abomination that makes desolate.” The word “Abomination” in the Bible is usually connected with idol worship. In this case the idol is “self”, and we can all set it up within the “temple of God”, almost without realising it. But when the “great apostasy” occurs (and it already has) then the idol abounds within God’s church, and the Lord speaks of it causing desolation.
Why does it “make desolate”? Because God cannot own it. Whereas once the Holy Spirit delighted to be present and gently guide flocks of believers, now the Spirit has departed, as the spirit left King Saul. Hence we are told that the Little Horn “scatters the power of God’s people”, (those who eat the duck), and “wears out the saints”, (those who gently warn the rest.) How does the Little Horn obtain such power? “He will flatter those who act lawlessly towards the covenant.” What is the covenant? It is now the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood. And this covenant is based upon the cross in His own life, and also in our lives. Our Lord said that “because of lawlessness the love of the many will grow cold.” It is amazing how hard one may become when striving constantly for “power”. But those who are striving for mastery (lawfully), “walk in the spirit and have no confidence in the flesh.” All such are progressively broken on the Rock which is Christ, and in brokenness they learn to be gentle, even when acting as salt.
Dear friends and brethren, over the last thirty years we have witnessed a tremendous growth in what is now called the Charismatic movement, and it has gone through a number of phases of development. And we remember being told of a “new wave of blessing” that was to sweep this land. One of our family has been present during a church service when this “new wave” was being enacted, and he witnessed people laughing, others crying, yet others jogging on the spot, whilst other were dancing, or raising their hands and speaking in tongues. To an outsider coming into such a gathering, he would wonder whether it was a mad-house. But we are being advised that this is the “new wave” of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Has the sugar-ice-duck collapsed? Has the beast started its awful work of power? All the signs lead us to believe it has, but we leave our readers to decide. Please act wisely and prayerfully. Above all the Lord is teaching us to look upon our brethren caught up in this “duck syndrome” with great compassion and love. It must be understood that at no time have we a mandate to think in terms of what Kipling called “We and They.” His poem is masterly, and shows how invidious the Pharisaic attitude can be.
Daniel was told that “some of the people will fall to try them and make them white.” God is in it all. Those who know and understand may “do exploits” and “save out of the fire” some of those who are ensnared in this latter-day evil, but we must realise that God is using Satan’s device to His own end. The Lord will have His sovereign way, and the Serpent will bite the dust. Two words of prophecy were sent to us, the first was received on July 13th 1994. The force of it is so exactly what is needed at this time, relative to the sugar-ice-duck that we reproduce it here in full, by permission. “Why are you so surprised at what is happening my children? Does it not say in my word that in the last days false prophets and false christs (anointed ones) will come in my name and deceive if possible even the elect? This work of deception will be in my hand as a refining fire to purify, cleanse, and refine my true church, separating those who love the truth from those who do not. There are three things that I require of you in this time of testing. First, be deeply rooted and grounded in my word. Soak yourselves in my word, memorise my word, meditate on my word, and confess my word. This is your greatest protection. Second, pray with great love and compassion for those who are being deceived. Pray that my purposes in their lives will be fulfilled and not hindered by this work of the enemy. Third and most difficult, warn those who are being deceived. Many will turn away from you but I will strengthen you and give you boldness and courage and put words in your mouth. My hand of blessing and favour will be upon you. Above all do not be discouraged but rejoice for my coming is very close.”
The other prophetic word, received in October 1993, contains the following words, “The lights are going out in many local churches where my name was at one time honoured. Many of these churches will be plunged into confusion and darkness, ready to embrace any revelation that comes from men known for their world-wide ministries. Many of them that come are not sent by me. They are false teachers and prophets ready to bring together many followers. For those who love and honour my name, the time is coming when I have to say with great sorrow and heartache, ‘come out from among them, even from those you deeply love, for they are desirous of heaping up their own teachers and they are not willing to embrace my true and unadulterated word.’ Many wish to prostitute themselves for something that appears good and real, but what they experience does not come from me, but from the evil one who is being allowed to send demonic gifts and ministries. It is because many look for signs and wonders as validation of a ministry, rather than to men who come with my pure unadulterated word. To those of you who are faithful: do not be afraid when I say to you, ‘Come out of where you are’, because I am preparing homes of refuge for you to be part of what is real. I will hide you in those places for a time to nurture and strengthen you. You will be part of my true witnessing church in these last days.”
The above message was written in 1994, when we sent it out as a Prophetic Telegraph. I have been through and changed a few dates, to bring it up to date, but otherwise it is unchanged. I believe this message is of the utmost importance, and comes as a clear message of interpretation of what Paul said to the Thessalonians, and which is so often misunderstood. But even if we have only understood a part of what he was saying two millennia ago, the truth concerning “the way of the cross” is timeless, and is the essence of all that the Lord was teaching His disciples during His earthly life.