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Abijah And The Doctrines Of Grace 1 Kings 14:1-18

Posted by Job on January 1, 2012

I have the opinion that the case of Abijah in 1 Kings 14:1-18 can be used as an example to explain the doctrines of grace. My example does not deal directly with the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Old Testament saints; yet the principles of the doctrines of grace are still present. The text from Biblegateway appears below.

At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people. And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child. And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age. And the LORD said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman. And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings. Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back: Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone. Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it. Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die. And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam. Moreover the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now. For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger. And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin. And Jeroboam’s wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died; And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by the hand of his servant Ahijah the prophet.

The TULIP acronymn is often used to simplify and summarize the presentation of the doctrines of grace, often referred to as Reformed theology or Calvinism. Consider this to be TULIP as it pertains to this Abijah.

Total Depravity: 1 Corinthians 15:22 tells us “in Adam all die”, a reference to original sin condition of all mankind that is the result of the disobedience of Adam, the originator and thus federal head of the entire human race. As Abijah is a descendant of Adam, he was considered a sinner, an enemy of God, separated from God, and dead to spiritual things. Romans 5:10-14 makes these facts, i.e. the state of our enmity with God, that this state and with it death was passed on to Adam’s descendants, clear. Note that it is because of this total depravity due to original sin that God can declare a death sentence on an entire family based on the actions of one person – as God did to the line of Jeroboam, father of Abijah, because of Jeroboam’s wicknedness and idolatry – and not be called unjust.

Unconditional election: God declared that of all the house of Jeroboam, only Abijah would receive an honorable burial. The reason for this was not because of the righteousness of Abijah, for Abijah was a child (so described by Hebrew word na’ar in verse 3 and yeled in verses 12 and 17). And God did not make a special case for Abijah because of his age, as God ordered the destruction of juveniles in many other cases, including the firstborn in Egypt. Instead, the reason why Abijah alone of the line of Jeroboam was given honor by God before all Israel was “because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel.” This good thing was grace; of God’s choosing Abijah and Abijah alone “in the house of Jeroboam”, the wicked king who turned Israel to idols. The election of the child Abijah was an act of a sovereign God alone, which Abijah having no ability to either consent to or reject the decree of El Shaddai.

Limited Atonement (though I prefer the Baptistic term particular atonement instead): in a dream the angel of the Lord revealed to Joseph concerning Jesus Christ that He would save His people from their sins (Mat 1:21). “His people” does not refer to national Israel, but the church, those called righteous and redeemed in both Old Testament and New Testament times. Jesus Christ stated that His death was not intended for all, but only for His friends in John 15:13-14. Note that Jesus Christ spoke those words not in public, but only to the apostles at the last supper, and moreover after Judas Iscariot, the son of perdition, had been dismissed from the room – and from the scope of Jesus Christ’s words as pertaining to whom Jesus Christ called His friends and for whom He was going to die – in John 13:27. God gave Abijah an honorable physical death because Abijah was considered by the calling and election of God – and God so chose Abijah and not Abijah God in accordance to the words of Jesus Christ in John 15:16 – and as such Abijah was God’s friend. Jeroboam and the rest of Abijah’s house, however, was not.

Irresistible grace:  Revelation 13:8 reveals that Abijah’s name was written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4 reveals that Abijah was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Abijah was called to God as a juvenile, and died as a juvenile. As such, Abijah had no opportunity to resist, defy or undo God’s plan to save him. As a result, the standing of Abijah before God declared in 1 Kings 14:13, “in him there is found some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel”, was going to be retained; this decree of God was going to come to pass.

Perseverance of the saints: Abijah was a child in a household that was totally given over to idolatry. Jeroboam, his father, chose idolatry to retain his political power. Further, his mother was the daughter of the Egyptian pharaoh Shishak. Had Abijah lived to adulthood, he would have been reared and molded in this revolting spiritual environment. A study of the Kings and Chronicles books of the Bible reveals that pagan queens (of Judah and Israel) generally resulted in their sons’ being pagan kings. This Abijah should be considered an Old Testament “type” of the “once saved always saved” doctrine where Jesus Christ stated “no one will snatch them out of my hand” (concerning those given to God the Son by God the Father) in John 10:29.

So, the case of young Abijah, a child redeemed from the wickedness of the house of Jeroboam, was honored in death (though premature death was considered regrettable in Israel, the manner of his death was still preferable in that culture to that of the rest of his family) and had this honorable state and status before God preserved in the the Bible by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, can hence be used to understand the doctrines of grace. This is not some mere exercise, but rather our understanding of the doctrines of grace should give us ever more reason to worship, praise and glorify the God who grants this grace, for it is only by this grace that we are able to receive so great a salvation.

Have you experienced the grace of God? If you have not, I urge you to follow

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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How The Penn State University Child Molestation Case Demonstrates The Existence Of God

Posted by Job on November 11, 2011

Make no mistake friends, God exists. God is real. Should you countenance thoughts otherwise, this case involving Jerry Sandusky and his committing unspeakable crimes of violation against a number of young boys proves it. This case demonstrates the existence of God by demonstrating the existence of evil. Now of course, evil is not some deity that is the opposite of God who contests God, as dualistic religions and philosophies propose. Neither is evil some force (whether personal or impersonal) as again some religions or philosophies claim, i.e. the “karma” of eastern religions and the New Age ideas that influence them. Instead, Gotquestions.org (a Christian ministry) provides a very suitable Bible-based definition:

A dictionary definition of evil is “morally reprehensible, sinful, wicked.” The definition of evil in the Bible falls into two categories: evil against one another (murder, theft, adultery) and evil against God (unbelief, idolatry, blasphemy). From the prohibition against eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9), to the destruction of Babylon the Great, the embodiment of evil to come (Revelation 18:2), the Bible speaks of evil.

So allow it to be said, from a reverse-logic standpoint, that because evil exists – as the Bible clearly bears witness of – then God must necessarily exist also. Moreover, God must exist as the answer to evil, the one who defeats evil, which the Bible also bears witness of. Great, unspeakable, incomprehensible craven crimes against the innocent is evidence of the existence of evil, evidence of a great problem with our existence that must be overcome lest we be destroyed by it, and evidence of a solution to this pressing existential problem and threat that only God can provide. If there is nothing more powerful than evil save God, then God must exist. It is said that love is more powerful than evil. This is so, and the Bible bears witness that God is love and that God is loving.
‘Tis tempting to deny that the actions of Jerry Sandusky were in fact attributable to evil, which one might accuse of being some abstract idea. Instead, one can propose a more rational, reasonable scientific root cause: that Sandusky is simply disturbed, one possessing an abnormal brain biology or chemistry that causes him to both have abnormal urges and be unable to restrain himself from acting on them; that indeed he might have an inability to discern or respond to reality. Legitimate medical science has proven that such is the case with a number of people, indeed those that have committed monstrous crimes against individuals and humanity. And yes, the problem of evil must be explained in such a way that deals with cases as these, just as explanations are needed for such things as natural disasters, epidemics, and stillborn children that lack an identifiable human villain, antagonist or cause.

But in this case, one not need to consider (solely) Jerry Sandusky when it comes to evil. Instead, we have other figures with regards to this case such as Mike McQueary, Joe Paterno, and many other figures at Penn State University and the surrounding community who had knowledge of the crimes of Sandusky for many years and failed to act in a manner that would have punished the guilty and protected the innocent. These figures chose not to act because of the wealth, power and prestige associated with college athletics, in particular Pennsylvania State University football. 1 Titus 6:10 says “For the love of money is the root of all evil!” At other points in the Bible, the contrast between mammon – the desire for money, power and privilege – and the things of God are given, as are the people who seek the former verses the latter. Thus, even if we deny that Sandusky is evil, then the actions of those who chose not to act in the interests of those that Sandusky victimized and to protect him from committing further harm most certainly was! So the monstrous behavior associated with this case was clearly evil, and evil on this scale demonstrates the need for one with the power and desire to defeat it, and this need can be met only by God.

If God hates and can overcome evil, why does He suffer its existence in the first place? The reason is that the existence of evil was the cost of accomplishing creation. Only God is perfect, containing perfect power, knowledge and righteousness. Thus, anything and everything that is not God will inevitably come to a state of imperfection, and this imperfection is either evil itself, or allows for evil events to occur. So, though creation was not evil at the time that God finished it, creation did what was inevitable, which was lapse into an imperfect, evil state.

The Bible describes this occurring both with Satan in Ezekiel 28:13-19 and Isaiah 14:12-17, and with Adam in Genesis 2-3. The Bible states that both Adam and Satan were created perfect (see Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 1:31 concerning Adam and Ezekiel 28:15 concerning Satan) but that they both abandoned that perfect state of their own accord, through no fault or action of God and without being attributable to any flaw or defect in their making or original condition. God did not create evil, but instead evil was the inevitable result of creation. As God did not cause or force the actions of Adam or Satan, being responsible for creation does not make God responsible for the evil in creation.

That creates the question: if God knows all things, then He knew that His creation would lapse into imperfection and that evil would result. This means that God was willing to allow the existence of evil. Why, then, did God allow the existence of evil, even if He is not to be blamed for evil? The answer is this: God allowed the existence of evil in order to accomplish a greater good: for the glory of His Son. 1 Colossians 1:16 states that all creation was done according to the will of God the Father for God the Son. For God the Father to glorify, honor and please God the Son was the greater good that was accomplished by suffering the existence of evil. This can be put into better perspective when one realizes that though evil will only exist for a time, the exaltation of God’s Son that came as a result of creation will last forever!

It is easy to doubt and mock and say “God was willing to allow the existence of evil because it cost Him and His Son nothing; that His creation that He claims to love – including sentient human beings – had to bear all the negative costs and effects.” Now be not deceived: even were this so, it would be perfectly appropriate and within God’s rights, being that He is the sole Owner and Master of whatever He chooses to create for whatever purposes He chooses to create it. However, it should be said that this is not so! Again, it is not so that creation alone must bear the negative effects of evil; that God kept Himself unaffected and unscathed by such horrible events as what Mike McQueary saw being done to a juvenile boy by Jerry Sandusky yet refused to intervene to save the juvenile, though being a 27 year old former football player he certainly had the ability to. Instead, though He was by no means obligated or required to, God demonstrated the legitimacy and the extent of His love for creation by giving up the very Son for whose glory creation was accomplished in the first place to die on a cross!

You see, the existence of evil in creation was no mere set of bad facts. Instead, it was a situation that required a remedy. It created a debt that had to be paid. It was a crime for which something had to be punished. God could have remedied the situation by simply destroying creation, all of it, forever. But instead, God chose to have His Son, totally innocent and blameless of all imperfection and evil, provide the remedy by paying the debt, by taking on all the punishment upon Himself. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, did this by dying on a cross in place of creation. By paying this debt, this allowed creation – or some part of it anyway – to remain forever for the joy and happiness of God’s Son – who was resurrected from the dead – and as this same Son of God is forever the joy and happiness of His Father, this state of affairs is certainly appropriate. Thus, the logic of the greater good of allowing evil to exist for a time for the joy of God the Son and God the Father for an eternity becomes explicit, apparent and utterly reasonable. Suffering the existence of evil was a great price, but one that God was willing to pay with the blood of His own Son. Far from being the “cosmic child abuse” that some doubters propose, the truth is that God’s Son – also divine and one with His Father and with His Father’s Spirit – is a willing participant, is manifestly pleased with the arrangement, and benefit to Him (and His Father) far outlasts and exceeds (in value and duration) the very real and significant loss.

So whenever you learn of – or experience – any great evil, though you may and should mourn it, always remember: the occurrence of this evil does manage to powerfully demonstrate that God exists. So, remember that the God who does exists has already paid the price of evil – through His own Son on a cross – and will one day put an end to all evil forever. God’s creation will endure, but the evil will not. This does leave one final pressing issue: your fate. Will you be part of the creation that endures forever, providing joy and delight to God’s Son while receiving great benefits from this existence (and absent any and all negative effects or considerations) yourself? Or will you be included in the portion of creation that is destroyed when all evil is destroyed? The answer to this is simple: if you renounce and turn away from all of the evil that you have done and thereby represent and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died to pay the debt incurred by your evil and was resurrected from the dead, then you will be among the portion of creation that remains. Otherwise, you will be among the portion of creation that is destroyed. (As time will no longer exists – for time is part of creation – the process of your destruction will take place in eternity and last for an eternity.)

For make no mistake, even if you had no part in this incident, we have all committed evil, if not according to our own standards, according to God’s standards. Though the debt incurred by your evil actions has already been paid for by Jesus Christ, the Bible makes it clear that only those who renounce their evil actions and ways and believe in Jesus Christ will have their paid debt applied. It is the same as having won a contest, but having to go present yourself and your ticket to those running the contest to claim your prize. Though your debt has been paid, one has to renounce his evil actions and tendencies and believe in the Sonship, Lordship, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to have that paid debt “applied to their accounts.” In order to further explain and assist you in this process, please click on “The Three Step Salvation Plan” link below, which contains information presented in both written and video form. I entreat and implore you to do so – to heed and believe – immediately. Thank you.

The Three Step Salvation Plan

Posted in abomination, Apologetics, atheism, Bible, child abuse, child molestation, Christianity, education, homosexuality, humanism, idolatry, mammon, religion, sex crime, sex demon, sexual exploitation, sexual violence, skepticism, societal decline, sodomy, sports, Theodicy, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

When Hannah Mother Of Samuel Prophesied Of Jesus Christ

Posted by Job on November 11, 2011

1 Samuel 2:1-10 reads:

And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. [There is] none holy as the LORD: for [there is] none beside thee: neither [is there] any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let [not] arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD [is] a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men [are] broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. [They that were] full have hired out themselves for bread; and [they that were] hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

This prayer of Hannah is fascinating in ways that are almost too many to count. I will focus on some things that struck me about it as it read this text this morning.

1. How God uses adversity to bring about His purposes in His elect. This was a time of spiritual crisis among God’s people, during the time of the Judges. In these days Eli was the high priest charged with service of the tabernacle, as were his sons Phinehas and Hophni. However, Phinehas and Hophni were exceedingly wicked, and Eli, though he went through the motions of being outwardly righteous, refused to act to stop his sons, and also was willing to personally benefit from their evil deeds. God does not leave His people without a shepherd, however, so it was his purpose to raise up new spiritual leadership; a special child chosen from before his birth and set apart for this purpose.

In order to bring this about, God selected a righteous man, Elkanah the son of Jeroham, and his righteous wife Hannah. God temporarily closed the womb of this righteous woman, and permitted Peninnah, the other wife of Elkanah and who was bearing children, to vex and torment Hannah over her condition. Now this is yet another occurrence of rivalries between wives that the Bible tells us occurs with polygamy, including to the point of a woman using her children to gain status in the eyes of her husband at the expense of the other wives. However, also remember that during this time, childbearing was associated with God’s blessing and favor being with a woman, so a barren woman was often presumed to be disfavored by God, perhaps due to some sinfulness on her part. When you consider the very strong language that the Bible uses concerning Peninnah’s treatment of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:6 – and her adversary vexed her sore, forasmuch as she upbraided her, because the Lord made her barren – it appears that some very strong accusations were involved, and should make one consider the charges against Job by his friends: that Job’s sins were the cause of his condition.

But rather than her trials and tribulations being evidence of her sinfulness or her not being smiled upon by God, they were instead evidence of the work that God desired to work both within and through her (James 1:2-4)! For God wanted to use the seed of Hannah and Elkanah to raise up new spiritual leadership. God wanted the child of Hannah and Elkanah to be given totally over to Him; to learn about God’s laws and ways to that this child would be able to use this knowledge to execute his leadership more effectively and perfectly. God allowed – or caused! – the affliction of His servant Hannah so that – in her grief – Hannah would make a prayer to the Lord that was acceptable to the Lord. Now of course, this prayer was not of Hannah, meaning of her own flesh and carnal nature, but came as she was carried along by the Holy Spirit. But the point is that the trials and tribulations that God saw fit to have Hannah experience plowed and tilled the ground of her heart, to create the conditions for her to be carried along by the Holy Spirit to make this prayer. She prayed for a man-child (for the spiritual leader had to be male) and dedicated the child to lifetime service to God (thereby renouncing parental or familial rights that were very important in that culture for legal, economic and social status reasons) in her prayer, including the vow that her child would be a Nazerite. Remember the Lord’s Prayer, where we are supposed to petition that God’s will in heaven be done on earth. It was the will of God in heaven for such a child as this to be born and dedicated to Him, so God created the conditions whereby this woman would pray for the birth of this child, and sacrificially offer up her son – and herself – as vessels for this divine service. That Hannah’s motivation may have been to remove her own reproach, take away the ability of her rival wife to torment and provoke her, and thereby gain the peace of her own mind is of little consequence. The main thing is that through her trials, she offered up a prayer that was acceptable to God because it was the will of God, and thus God granted what she requested. And it should be pointed out that by Hannah’s giving the child to God – as opposed to her desiring to hold onto the child herself for the purposes of getting back at her rival Peninnah, the natural thing to do – was evidence of this woman’s righteousness and Godly heart. So, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ that is currently enduring hardships, heartaches, persecution and tribulation, then do not despair but rejoice, because God will use these things to bring about His purposes in you as He did with Hannah! On the other hand, if you are mocker and persecutor of God’s people like Peninnah, well beware! Please note that the Biblical record treats Hannah much more favorably than Peninnah, and moreover just as the evil behavior of Peninnah was recorded for posterity, God is keeping inventory of our behavior in His book!

2. Let us not ignore the positive role and influence that Hannah’s husband, Elkanah played. Though many men did mistreat their barren wives in that day and time, Elkanah did the opposite: he comforted, elevated, loved and had compassion on her! Unlike Peninnah, 1 Samuel 1:5 hints that Elkanah knew that Hannah’s being barren was not any indictment against her value or character, but was of the Lord’s doing. So, rather than despising and rejecting his wife after the worldly manner that his wife took, Elkanah respected and submitted himself to the will of God – to the right and prerogative of God to make his wife barren – and instead loved his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). Rejecting his wife because God decreed her to be barren would have been akin to rejecting the decree of God, and thus rejecting God. But by honoring the will of God through loving his wife, Elkanah honored God. Now perhaps one can fault Elkanah for not intervening when Peninnah persecuted Hannah, but the Biblical evidence in such instances like Abraham dealing with Sarah and Hagar and Jacob dealing with Rachel and Leah leads one to believe that the custom of the day was for men to generally refrain themselves from disputes among their wives.

Elkanah did not merely behave righteously with his wife, but also with his son. Imagine if your wife has a son, and she tells you “No, this is not going to be your child to love, raise, be proud of and carry on your name. No, I am going to give this child – your child – to the church. You are not going to have anything to do with raising this child … you aren’t even going to SEE this child. Instead, I am giving him away.” Even in our modern culture, that would be a difficult, almost unthinkable thing to do: the equivalent of a wife deciding to give up the child – the husband’s child – for adoption. In that culture, where men had almost absolute rights over their wives and children, and where male children gave great honor and esteem to their fathers before society, it was even more pronounced. Yet Elkanah willingly gave up his fatherly rights and privileges and consented to the designs of his wife. Why? Because he knew that the child was the result of God’s blessing his barren wife! He knew that this child came as the result of God’s honoring his wife’s petition, and that this petition included Hannah’s promise to give the child to God’s service. So, just as Elkanah submitted himself to God’s will when his wife was barren, he did the same when his wife was fruitful. This means that Elkanah’s love and obedience to God was not conditional! Instead, he honored and obeyed God regardless of the circumstances. Whether the Lord giveth (allowing his wife to bear children) or the Lord taketh away (causing his wife to be barren), Elkanah honored – or blessed – the Name of the Lord! In this manner, Elkanah reminds us of Joseph, earthly father of Jesus Christ, when he submitted to God’s will in taking Mary as his wife and raising Jesus Christ as his adopted son. Both Elkanah and Joseph chose sacrificial giving over behaving selfishly according to the interests of their own flesh. The union of Hannah and Elkanah was definitely that of a believing, obedient, faithful man and spouse, and such things are blessed indeed. Blessed is the man who has a believing, righteous woman. Blessed is the woman who has a believing, righteous man. And blessed is the God who providently brings the two of them together for His service and to His glory! In this case, God brought together a holy husband and a holy wife for the purpose of producing a child that would lead His people.

3. The angel of the Lord told Joseph in Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus, or Joshua, or Yeshua, means “God saves.” In the opening of her prayer, Hannah rejoiced in her salvation by this same Jesus spoken of in Matthew 1:21. Let no doctrine or teacher deceive you concerning this fact. The Hebrew word used by Hannah was “yĕshuw`ah“, which means salvation by God. Later in this prayer, she states “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up” … a reference to death and resurrection by the will of God, just as the death and resurrection of God the Son Jesus Christ occurred according to the will of God the Father. Further: “He will keep the feet of his saints …” that is none other than a reference to the perseverance of the saints doctrine where Jesus Christ said concerning the redeemed that none could take them out of His hand (John 10:28-29). Instead, “the wicked shall be silent in darkness” which is exactly where the Lord Jesus Christ said that they would be cast (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:30). As for “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them” recall when our Lord said “the spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” in Luke 4:18? Also when Jesus Christ said “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” in the Beatitudes? Further, “The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth” is a summary of “the day of the judgment of the Lord” teachings both given by Jesus Christ and revealed to John in the apocalypse. Thus, this prayer of Hannah was packed with a startling amount of things that Jesus Christ would later teach. By the Holy Spirit, Hannah revealed some of the very things that Jesus Christ would preach many hundreds of years later. But that is not all.

“And he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed!” Keep in mind that this prayer of Hannah was given generations before Saul, generations before David, long before Israel asked for the king or the establishment of the monarchy. Yet here Hannah prophesies concerning the coming king – God’s king – whom she also calls God’s anointed! Christ, or Christos in Greek means the same as Hannah’s term mashiyach (Moshiach or Messiah) in Hebrew: anointed. In this prophecy song of praise, Hannah reveals Jesus Christ as king, savior, and Messiah. And again, as the monarchy had not been instituted and was not even on the horizon or thought process of the Hebrews at the time of the Judges, the context points to a UNIQUE king, savior and Messiah that God will pour out HIS strength upon and that God would uniquely empower, exalt and glorify to the point that through this king God the Father would subdue, rule and judge the entire earth. When one adds the reference to death and resurrection, the only major doctrine apparently absent in Hannah’s Messianic prophecy song is an explicit reference to Christ’s Sonship, and hence His divinity, whereby this anointed king of the latter verse would also provide the salvation of the Lord spoken of in the former verse. Yet by virtue of both being included in Hannah’s song – and one prominently in the beginning and the other prominently in the end, and please remember the nature of Hebrew poetry where ideas that are in the beginning and end of a poem go together, a type of parallelism or harmony – the concept of the divine Saviour and the Messianic king being one and the same is still contained within the prophecy even if it is not yet explicitly given at this point in progressive revelation.

It is amazing to read God’s Word and see how He used His handmaid Hannah to both bear the child Samuel that would lead His people in that time, but also to prophecy of Jesus Christ, who would save and lead His people for eternity! Thus Samuel, the child that Hannah had was the prefigure or the type of the child that Mary would later have. And this came after God created the circumstances for this event by making Hannah (temporarily) barren and having her suffer persecution in her own home for this condition, yet not leaving her alone during this time of affliction but providing her with a believing husband as her minister to comfort her and help her endure it (and view this in the context of the promise of God given to believers in 1 Corinthians 10:13 concerning God’s giving us the ability to bear trials).

The wisdom and might of God knows no end, and neither does His blessings! For these reasons and an infinite multitude of others, let us not be slack in giving God His due praise!

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Messianic Prophecy, Moshiach, prayer, prophecy, religion, Ruach Hakadosh, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

John MacArthur: The Modern Blasphemy Of The Holy Spirit

Posted by Job on November 11, 2011

http://gty.org

Posted in abomination, Bible, blasphemy, blasphemy Holy Ghost, blasphemy Holy Spirit, Christianity, faith, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, religion, Ruach Hakadosh | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Paul Washer: Regeneration Versus Decisionism

Posted by Job on October 26, 2011

In this sermon Paul talks about the misuse of Scripture in the understanding of salvation.
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1021081230111
Regeneration vs Decisionism – DEEPER Conference 2008 Breakout Session (Living Waters & Way of the Master)

Posted in Bible, Christianity, discernment, election, evangelical, evangelical christian, evangelism, faith, false doctrine, false teaching, Holy Spirit, irresistible grace, Jesus Christ, Judaism, limited atonement, Reformed, religion, Ruach Hakadosh, salvation, salvation prayer, salvation through Jesus Christ, spiritual warfare, televangelism, testimony | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Are We All Christian Scientists Now?

Posted by Job on June 17, 2011

Sorry to feature homosexuality in back-to-back posts, but they are in response to a post Is It A New Day For Baptists And Homosexuality? that dealt with the changing approach that many evangelical and fundamental Christians are taking towards the homosexuality issue. Allow me to propose that the “need” to deal with this issue differently is not because of some new or better way to read the Bible that didn’t exist 30 – let alone 300 – years ago, but rather because mainstream society has chosen to view the sin of homosexuality in a different way. And make no mistake: a major reason why mainstream society has moved toward embracing homosexuality is that so many scientists have declared homosexuality to be a natural, in-born “orientation” as opposed to a lifestyle choice. So, the scientists lead, and Christians – along with everyone else – follows.

This, incidentally, includes Christians who take the seemingly orthodox position that being born a homosexual is no excuse, for we are all born in sin, which makes the “born this way” homosexuals as obligated to resist evil as anybody else. I say “seemingly orthodox” because where is the Biblical evidence that anyone is born a homosexual? Are people also born adulterers, thieves and murderers? Is there a “blasphemy gene” or an “idolatry orientation”? While the Bible does tell us that we are all born sinners due to the federal headship of Adam, and that fallen mankind has a sin nature making us predisposed to sin, and that sound Biblical theology lets us know that our lacking God’s perfect attributes means that all who are not God will fall short of God’s standards and thereby sin, where does the Bible say that anyone is born to a specific type of sin?

There is more evidence against it than for it. For instance, though Jesus Christ did call Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him, the “son of perdition”, Iscariot did not betray Jesus Christ because he was “born that way.” Instead, the Bible stated that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ after Satan entered and possessed him! And on the issue of homosexuality, rather than calling this sin a product of nature, the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:26-27 stated that homosexuality is “that which is against nature” and “leaving the natural use of” the body! So, how can one be born a homosexual on one hand, and against nature/leaving the natural use of your body on the other? We only countenance such notions because the scientists say so!

Now if anyone would have an agenda to stand up for science and a need for Christianity and science to be reconciled and integrated, it would be me, an engineer by education who works in technology by trade. Indeed, were science given the highest level of esteem, one that exceeds all reproach, I would benefit in terms of pay and reputation! But despite any personal benefits that I might derive from taking an alternate position, I must endorse the view of John MacArthur when he says that science is not a valid hermeneutic for interpreting the Bible! And as legitimate Christians are Bible-believing and Bible-based, we must choose the Bible over science.

Some say that no such choice has to be made. Why is this belief so common, it must be asked? Why is choosing the Bible over science so much harder than, say, choosing the Republican Party over the Democratic Party (over issues like abortion, homosexuality, school prayer and opposition to communism)? The reason is that in our culture, we have made science into an idol. We look to science, and not to God, for our daily bread! We attribute our wealth and power to our many scientific breakthroughs, which create everything from medicines to keep us alive and healthy to consumer products to drive our economy to weapons that allow us to win wars. And yes, even for many, a religious context is placed on this. How often do we attribute the superiority of our culture to its reliance on science, and then belittle other cultures for being backwards? It is not a far a leap to then state that our culture is superior because of its being shaped by Christianity, while, for example, Middle Eastern culture is backwards because of Islam, or native cultures are undesirable because of animism. It is similar to another idol of our culture, democracy, and yet another – capitalism – and indeed,  the exaltation of science, democracy and capitalism by American Christians is central to the “Americanity” or “Ameritianity” syncretism.

Because of this, few Christians are willing to simply stand up and say “I choose the Bible over science.” Instead, most of us meekly follow behind and adapt to whatever framework the scientists erect, and we strive to find ways where “legitimate science proves the Bible right!” (a major emphasis of apologetics). Case in point: how many Christians are much more comfortable with using psychology to explain moral and social problems as opposed to sin or – gasp! – demon spirits? Thanks to psychology, Christians get to appear “scientific” and therefore “educated” and “respectable” by talking about sin less and less, and about evil spirits practically never.

One should point out that it was not always this way. Science has not always been such a prominent measure of the worth of a society or individual. Indeed, this is a recent phenomenon, a direct result of the absolutely breathtaking scientific innovations that were unimaginable even a few decades ago, plus the similarly unconscionable growth and concentration of wealth and power that resulted. In prior times, people and nations were not judged by their scientific prowess, but by high culture: art, literature and religion. It was the lack of those things, and not of scientific prowess, that caused many people and cultures to be considered “savage”, “barbarian”, “brutish”, “Philistines” etc. That things have changed so dramatically and rapidly is evidence that man’s heart is indeed after mammon, because the way to wealth and power is to build the better mousetrap, not compose the better symphony! We have gone from making it a state priority to sponsor a large, vibrant community of artists capable of making beautiful, Christian-themed music, artwork, architecture and literature because of how those things reflect and communicate God’s attributes to trying to weave evolution into the Genesis narrative because the scientists say so, and done so in an incredibly short time.

Of course, I am not calling for replacing science idolatry with high culture idolatry, but rather to see what both, and in our context particularly the former, for what they are, which is idolatry. Again, go back to the common conceit “science proves the Bible right.” Pardon me, but why should it? For science is every bit the product of fallen man’s depraved nature and all the lusts thereof as is Hollywood. That is a good comparison, because evolution, stem cell research/cloning, weapons of mass destruction, and Stephen Hawking’s insistence that the universe created itself ex nihilo are evidence of the downward spiral of science in our culture just as Hollywood is a reflection of what happened to literature, music and theater. So, there should be no more need to reconcile science with the Bible than an Oscar-winning movie or a Grammy-winning record. (Then again, you have no shortage of preachers seeking Christian inspiration from Hollywood!)

The most that it can be said of science is that it is a product of common grace; that God has providentially used it to show His love for us by giving us things to make our lives better (i.e. medical breakthroughs) and also to fulfill His will (i.e. facilitate the spread of the gospel using everything from roads in the Roman Empire to the Internet today). But just as Satan has perverted other gifts of God through common grace for his own wicked purposes (see culture, religion and government being corrupted almost from the beginning in the Bible) there is no reason for science to be any different. Science is not holy. Science is not under any special protection from God, nor is it afforded any special privileges by God, nor does it have a divine or blessed use by God. The only things that have that special status – the things which Christians should respect and adhere to and center our lives and thoughts around unconditionally – are the supernatural things born of or given by God’s Spirit (John 4:23-24) which include God’s church and God’s word. So then, how amazing that the church is willing to just meekly accept the all out assault on the Bible because of “the science of textual criticism“?

That is why we have to abandon the notion of “all legitimate science confirms the Bible.” It takes the idea that scientists have come together to make this predetermined pact to rebel against the Bible because of a wish to reject God and His authority over their lives. While this is no doubt true in some cases, and while such things as ideological agendas and other biases do indeed exist, the idea that these people are propagating falsehoods and rejecting facts on purpose is untenable. Indeed, such things are unnecessary in the first place. Consider, for example, the text 2 Thessalonians 2:11. I am using it a bit of context, granted, but still “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” Combine that with Romans 1:21-22 (which I am employing in slightly better context) which reads “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

As science is the product of fallen mankind’s imaginations, those texts reveal that they do not have to deny the truth in favor of lies on purpose, after the manner of some conspiracy or overt rebellion against Christianity for instance, but rather that they are going to take lies to be the truth. We have no problem applying this to the politicians, activists, educators, economists etc. (especially if they are liberal), so why claim that the scientists are any different? The scientific method is not scripture. Instead, it is totally reliant on the ability of man to perceive the natural world and interpret its results. The scientific method provides absolutely no insight on the supernatural – save to reveal basic things concerning God’s existence and nature, see Romans 1:20 – which is God’s realm and from which God called the natural world into existence in the first place! Also, all of creation isn’t even “natural” per se … what of angelic spirits, and the spirits of men? So, the scientific method cannot even comprehend the supernatural portion of creation, let alone I AM THAT I AM, the uncreated, self-existing Creator! And even with regards to the natural world, the scientific method has real constraints. (For a somewhat whimsical example, see if you can reliably measure how much rain fell in a town in France 1500 years ago. You can’t … there’s this little problem called TIME.)

But the main limitation is man himself. The fact is that even if the scientific method were capable of perfectly measuring the natural and the supernatural, it still wouldn’t be enough! Why? Because man would have to be able to perfectly interpret the results! Not only does man lack the perfect knowledge – omniscience – required to do so, but the limited knowledge that man does have is compromised by the fall of humanity into sin. Now these things are either clearly revealed in the Bible, or can easily be deduced from them. Yet, why do we still go to great lengths to justify science, to try to evaluate the Bible through the prism of science, and to be respected by the world as “scientific”? (While I do intend to visit the “Creation Museum” at some point, one must consider the underlying rationale for pursuing such a venture in the first place!)

The only answer is idolatry. We make the work of man’s hands into idols, and we do this because of our desire to make man into an idol. We put so much faith in science because deep down, we wish to believe that man has more knowledge, more power, more control than he actually does. That – plus the fact that it makes us rich and powerful and causes us to wonder after such things as great telescopes and micro robots – taps into our desire to worship ourselves. Indeed, the increasingly vain quest to validate the imaginations of scientists using the Bible rather than casting them down like 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to (oh had Paul warned of being led astray by philosophers AND scientists in Colossians 2:8, though I should point out that science is very much the traditions of men!) shows our deep-rooted desire to have a religion that allows us to worship ourselves. Interpreting the Bible in light of science allows us to worship God and ourselves at the same time, and it gives the veneer of respectability to our human idolatry! Indeed, it appears to sanctify it, to make it holy and acceptable!

But instead, the opposite is true, for the first commandment, Thou shalt have no other gods besides me”, is still very much in effect, including when the “other gods” is man. The search to try God, to test God, to worship God inasmuch as His revelation will be subject to science is merely humanism. So, though the homosexuality issue provoked my thoughts on the issue, the truth is that the real issue is in fact the exaltation of humanity through idolatry. It is the pride of life, the same which Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden when he told her that the fruit would make her “as god.” Science gives us a way to be “like God” in our own minds, so just like Eve, we eat of the forbidden fruit, and share it with others! From this evil we Christians must turn away.

Science has its many uses, but one thing that it cannot be used for is to deal with human sin. Because God is holy and righteous, human sin must indeed be dealt with by God, the only one capable of acting as a judge in this matter (for unlike God, all humans are sinners and therefore are incapable of justly judging each other). At the appointed time, God will deal with sin by either forgiving it or punishing it. The punishment for sin is everlasting torment in a lake of fire, and this will happen to all whose sins are not forgiven. The only way to avoid this punishment is for one’s sins to be forgiven, and this occurs only for those who have faith in Jesus Christ. So please, stop putting faith in science or any other false idols, gods or religions today, and instead put your faith in Jesus Christ, the One who became fully man while remaining fully God as He had been for eternity, lived a perfect sinless life, died on the cross to pay for sins of others though He himself never sinned, and rose again from the dead. For more explicit information:

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in Apologetics, Bible, capitalism, Christianity, humanism, Jesus Christ, mammon, rationalism, religion | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Remember The Saints This Memorial Day!

Posted by Job on May 30, 2011

Memorial Day is an observation set aside to remember those who have served our country, chiefly in military service. However, Memorial Day – and every day for that matter – Christians should remember those who have ran the race before us, ‘specially those who earned distinction in Holy Spirit co-authored scripture. A list of such distinguished believers is found in Hebrews 11. This list is a sampling of those who despite their failings and flaws lived and served by faith, and received the reward of the faithful. Let us not forget that without faith it is impossible to please God, and that God is pleased with and rewards the faithful. In addition, we should also remember Jesus Christ, who is the chief example of faith, that being One who was from God, the only begotten Son of God, and is God. Jesus Christ had faith that upon going to the cross to die for the sins of His bride, the church, He would not remain dead and in the grave, but rather would be resurrected, glorified, and receive the bride as His eternal reward. Because of this faith, God the Father not only raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, but gave Him a Name that is above every other Name. At this Name, every knee shall bow and tongue shall confess that He is Lord, and this will be to the glory of God the Father. One day, all things will be placed under God the Son, and God the Son will be given His bride, who will be perfected and conformed into His image. And at this time, the Son will be placed under the Father, so that through the Son, all things will be under the Father! Hallelujah! Praise and glory be to God, who alone is worthy!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Regarding the faithful, we desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Those who died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. The faithful choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. The faithful esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world: for we have respect unto the recompence of our reward. By faith the redeemed sinners perished not with them that believed not, but we receive God’s gospel with peace and reap the rewards with joy.

The bride of Christ through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection. Others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment. Yet today in diverse places many are being (or as if they are being) stoned, sawn asunder, tempted, slain with the sword (not least guns): they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented, tortured, raped, burned alive inside homes and churches, of whom the world was not worthy!!!

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

And the question that must be asked: can the same thing be said about you? Are you in the faith? Are you certain that you are? If you say that you are in the faith, are you faithful? If so, what is the evidence of your faith? What are your works? Faith without works is dead. But works will not save you. Instead, works in the absence of faith will convict you on judgment day all the more. If you have true faith, you will produce works. But works not done through faith in the Name of Jesus Christ and Him crucified will be rejected by a holy and righteous God, for be not deceived, the only way to God the Father is through God the Son, and it is only those who are born of God the Spirit that are with, in and of God the Son. The word of God, the Bible, bears witness of these truths. So, if you say that you are in the faith, Memorial Day could not be a better day to examine yourself to see if it is so.

If you are not in the faith, Memorial Day is your day, your time, to remedy that sad, sad situation. Yes, it is a sad thing if you are not in the faith. Those who are not in Jesus Christ are not experiencing abundant life, the so many great blessings, life everlasting, peace without understanding, forgiveness of sins, spiritual riches that will last for eternity. Who could despise so great a salvation? Furthermore, those who are not with Jesus Christ are against Him. Despite whatever religion or good morals, ethics or works you might possess, all men have sinned, and thus all men who are not with Jesus Christ are sinners. If your life ends without you being reconciled with Jesus Christ, on judgment day you will be counted as a sinner, at war with a God who is loving, but also holy and righteous and for these reasons is bound by His nature to combat all sin and overcome it. If you are a sinner, dear friend, this means you, and by the power, glory, majesty and awesome wonder of God that is continually displayed through His creation, it is self-evident that it is a fearful thing indeed to fall into the Hands of a God who is at war with you because of your sin condition!

So I entreat and implore you right now, end your state of enmity with God! Surrender now! And cast yourself on His Son, on the cross that His Son was sacrificed for sins! Turn away from your sins and beg, plead for forgiveness! Do not fear or fret, because Jesus Christ has promised that whoever comes to Him in sincerity, fear, humility, trembling and penitence, HE WILL NOT TURN AWAY! For it is not God’s will that ANY should perish, and Jesus Christ CAME NOT TO JUDGE BUT TO SAVE! Now be not deceived, when He comes again it will be to judge sin, but when He came the first time, it was to save men from the judgment of sin! So seek the safety, the shelter, the refuge of the only One who can give it to you. That One is Jesus Christ.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in Bible, Christian Persecution, Christianity, faith, Jesus Christ, persecution, religion | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Why We Should Preach The Gospel To All Men

Posted by Job on May 27, 2011

Exodus 7:1-5 is a passage that I find fascinating.

And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, [and] my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

As for “See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh”,  I am not going to touch that text with a ten foot pole. It is not that this text is unimportant, for it is, and has a meaning in this context and in the larger narrative of the interactions between Moses and pharaoh and the Exodus from Egypt. Instead, it is that I simply do not know with a certainty what the text means, and will not pretend to. I will say that this statement is part of why I find this passage to be so engaging, but not the majority part.

Instead, this passage shows us the primary reason for evangelism. Despite what we often believe, indeed what we want to believe, the primary purpose of evangelism is not to convert poor sinners. Again, the primary purpose of sinners is not the conversion of the lost! And that, dear Christian, is precisely why we should not submit to the oft-cited justification for God-dishonoring (i.e. deceptive, abusive, or man-exalting) evangelism tactics, or for having people holding church offices that do not meet the Bible’s qualifications for them: “See how it wins people to Jesus Christ!” If we make winning converts the chief goal of evangelism, and evangelism the chief duty of the church, then so long as converts are being made, anything goes, the “greater good” is being served, and the ends justify the means, right? Well, this passage, this early Old Testament passage from the Torah, reveals the error in that thinking, and the excuse-making and dissembling based on it!

In this passage, God tells Moses to go preach to Pharaoh. The message preached to Pharaoh includes God’s identity – the God of Israel, the God of Israel, and yes Moses did use the Divine Name, YHWH or Jehovah, in the course of stating His identity – and God’s commands, which is to be believed, submitted to, and worshiped according to the manner that God instructs. Also, though this passage does not contain it, the message given to Pharaoh contained a warning of judgment that would come to him and his nation if he responded with disobedience out of faithlessness, or unbelief. Moses and Aaron told pharaoh that regardless of his belief and obedience or lack thereof, God’s purposes would still come to pass, and God’s people would be saved, and those who were not God’s people would be judged for their wickedness. Further, God told pharaoh through Moses and Aaron (maybe that is the meaning of … oh never mind!) that the word being preached to him would be verified with signs and wonders. So, make no mistake, the message that God told Moses (and Aaron) to reveal to pharaoh was a protoevangelism, a prototype or type of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Moses gave to pharaoh a message that was the forerunner of the gospel of the Prophet like Moses who was to come, the message that the church has carried and borne within itself through trials, temptations and tribulations ever since. From this, we can assert that evangelism that omits the identity of God (as not only Saviour but Lord and Judge), the deliverance from sin (which requires repentance), the horrible judgment on those who reject the message out of disbelief, and that this message is verified by the great miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, a fact attested to by above 500 eyewitnesses, is not legitimate evangelism. How could evangelism that actually contains less than the word of the Lord that Moses gave to pharaoh over 1000 years before the coming of Jesus Christ be legitimate, and what excuse is there for withholding any portion of the word that Moses did not other than our possessing a sinful shame and offense towards the word of God because of our love for this present world that Moses did not have, so much so that Moses rejected the pleasures of the Egypt in order to suffer many things in God’s service (Hebrews 11:24-27) ?

Now even the mere fact that Moses preached a type of the gospel to pharaoh is sufficient to fascinate the mind and stir the soul. But wait … there’s still yet more! What is really amazing is that God told Moses in advance that pharaoh would not listen! “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart … but Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you.” So, God told Moses to preach the gospel to one whose heart was hardened! God told Moses to preach the gospel to one that Moses already knew was not elect! God told Moses to preach the gospel to one that was reprobate, and would not be saved! One whose God’s heart had hardened, was irrevocably lost, and as a result had no more chance of believing the gospel than did the son of perdition, Judas Iscariot. Like Judas Iscariot, it would have been better for pharaoh had he never been born. Make no mistake, without faith it is impossible to please God, and faith comes not from man but from God, a gift of the sovereign Holy Spirit given to those that God the Father has elected unto salvation before the foundation of the world. Pharaoh’s heart, hardened by original sin, was going to remain that way despite the preaching of the gospel to him because it was not in the decree of God that pharaoh was one who would be saved.

So, the question must be asked: why preach to a man like this? Is that not a waste of time and effort? Now, the easy answer to this is “We are supposed to preach to all people because only God knows those that He has elected to salvation, and we are not to attempt to act in God’s place by presuming to judge and know who He has elected and who He has not.” While this is 100% factual in general, in this case it is not so, for God had already informed Moses of pharaoh’s state! Again, God informed Moses in advance that pharaoh would not listen, and sent Moses to preach the protoevangelium to pharaoh anyway! Despite the fact that he was going to “fail” (with respect to the attempt to get pharaoh to acknowledge the revelation of God, repent of his sins and obey the revelation), God sent Moses anyway!

And the question is why? Does God set people up for failure? And if God sent Moses to deliver His word, can the Word of God fail? Does not the Bible say that the Word of God does not return null and void, but instead will accomplish the thing that God purposes (Isaiah 55:11)? How can that be true in this case? The answer is simply this: God did not sent Moses to preach the gospel to pharaoh so that pharaoh could be converted. God’s purpose in having Moses preach was not man. It was not pharaoh. Instead, God’s purposes in having Moses preach was God. It was so that God would be glorified. This purpose is hinted at in this specific passage with “And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD” but is given more explicitly later, when God states that through judging Egypt and accomplishing Israel’s exodus, He would be glorified before pharaoh, before Egypt, and before the world!

Make no mistake, this passage establishes convincingly the truth that we preach the gospel primarily to glorify God, and that God is glorified whether converts result or not. Indeed, when converts do happen, God receives the double honor and glory, for God is glorified by the preaching, and God is glorified by the conversion, particularly since it is God who accomplishes conversion and not man. The notion that we evangelize chiefly to win converts is man-centered doctrine and practice and must be abandoned.

The notion that we evangelize primarily to glorify God is Biblical truth, which is God-centered doctrine and practice, and must be internalized by every Christian. And once we realize that the primary purpose of evangelism is to glorify God, then we can no longer suffer God-dishonoring methods and God-dishonoring people or institutions with our support and acceptance. We will also no longer compare the apparent, temporal “success” of the God-dishonoring tactics and people with the true spiritual fruit of those who labor according to God’s will and thereby glorify Him! Should we mock God in the service of exalting the cause of saving man, and then claim that God is served, glorified and pleased by the saving of man? God forbid!

Though man, being the work of God’s Hands, is very precious to God, God is more important than man. Though man has great value, and it is a terrible thing for a man’s soul to be lost to eternal torment, the value of God far exceeds the value of not only each individual man, but the collective value of all men that ever lived and ever shall live! God is more valuable than His creation, and it is the chief duty of God’s creation to obey and glorify its Creator! Suffering practice that dishonors God and leaders who disobey God rejects this truth of Biblical revelation in favor of the lie that man is more important than God, or equal in rank or value with God, and it is the duty of God, that God is somehow beholden, to conform Himself, to lower Himself, to humble Himself, and accept whatever man chooses to give Him. If this is the case, then why did God reject the offering of Cain, and what was His basis, rationale, or justification for it? How could God have been just in His rejection and judgment of Cain? How can God be just in His judgment of anybody? God forbid that this should be the truth!

Instead, the truth is that Jesus Christ the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Jesus Christ! The truth is that God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth. This means that our evangelism must not and cannot be to us-ward with the chief goal and end being man and his salvation but to God-ward with the chief goal and end being God and His glory. That was why God sent Moses and Aaron to preach a type of the gospel to pharaoh, and that is why God’s Son has sent His church to preach the fulfillment of the gospel to every creature. We must first reject the false teachers who claim that the gospel is for some and not all – which apparently is an aberrant unscriptural form of Calvinism that Charles Spurgeon and William Carey contended against in their day – and then reject the leaven who claims that winning converts justifies the corruption in the message, the evangelist and the institution! Please recall that Jesus Christ said that many who will perform evangelism and do many other great works in His Name will be counted as goats and cast into eternal flame (Matthew 25:31-46 with Matthew 7:21-23). The goats are those who do perform work, but as the man-pleasers do, and not in spirit and truth. They are double-minded, calling on God but seeking to please man. As a result, they are disobedient goats, not obedient sheep.

To glorify God, Christians, all Christians no matter their age, sex, race, class, status, church office, etc. must share the gospel oft, and do so in a manner that glorifies God by submitting to God through obedience. It is those who are the true laborers in the harvest of the Lord. So, fellow Christian, I urge that you would pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers into his harvest, and also that you would be counted among those labourers that He sends!

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, I urge, entreat and implore you not to respond with unbelief and rejection as did pharaoh, for if you do, you will receive pharaoh’s reward, which is horrible judgment. Indeed, where pharaoh’s punishment as recorded in Exodus was bad enough, as it was a punishment in this life, it was only a type of the punishment to come, which is exceedingly grievous and eternal in its duration! Do not follow after the folly of pharaoh! Instead, repent of your sins, believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved. Follow the link below to find out how.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, evangelism, Jesus Christ, orthodoxy, orthopraxy, Reformed, religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why Does The Media Focus Only On Harold Camping?

Posted by Job on May 26, 2011

Yes, Harold Camping has been exposed as a false prophet, deceiving many as concerning the timing of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Again. Yes, his deception has caused lots of problems and unnecessary harm, especially for his followers. Again. The question is this: what is the big deal? Why has Camping been the subject of such media attention for months when there are so many pressing stories to cover i.e. wars, famines, diseases, natural disasters, economic failures, political intrigues etc. on a global scale? Clearly the media has an agenda, but what is it?

First off, for the sake of sound doctrine, let it be known that the return of Jesus Christ will not occur until A) the gospel has been taken to all nations and B) a great apostasy, a great falling away from the true faith, occurs. As the great commission is a primary duty of the church, it logical to conclude that the falling away will occur shortly after the great commission is fulfilled, or when the great commission’s fulfillment and with it the time of the Gentiles draws to a close. Anyone who extricates themselves from rapture watching and religious right (or religious left) politics long enough to pay attention to the global missions movements knows that barring a fantastic miracle we are at least 100 years from fulfilling the great commission (the 10/40 window alone is an amazing challenge) and – despite the claims of Camping otherwise – far from there being a great falling away, there are more Christians – or definitely appreciable numbers of Christians in more places – today than at any time in history. So, if we can learn anything from this Camping episode, it is that we should heed the words given by angels and recorded by the physician Luke at the direction of God the Holy Spirit “why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” That was an exhortation to cease waiting for eternity and to get on with the business of living for eternity by loving Jesus Christ and walking in His ways.

With that out of the way, let it further be said that the error of Camping does not undermine the authority of the Bible, Jesus Christ or His church but rather confirms it. How? Because the Bible repeatedly warns against false teachers, including those who would lead people into error concerning His second coming. Jesus Christ said that “false prophets shall deceive many” in Matthew 24:5, and that many will be offended by the true faith in Matthew 24:10. Such false teachings were present even while the New Testament was being written, as the apostle Peter referenced them in 2 Peter 3:4, the apostle John did the same in 1 John 2:18, and the apostle Paul did the same in 2 Thessalonians 2.  Further, Jesus Christ predicted such specifically in Matthew 24:4-5! The New Testament makes it clear that we identify false teachers when they teach things that are in contradiction to the Bible. This truth is what drove William Tyndale to martyrdom, when he stated “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!” in response to being told that common people didn’t need to be knowledgeable concerning the Bible’s contents, because it was better to obey the pope than the Bible anyway. So, in rejecting Jesus Christ when He stated that none knows the timing of His return save God the Father (Matthew 24:36), and in rejecting Jesus Christ when He stated that the great commission will be fulfilled before He returns (Matthew 24:14) and in rejecting the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of Paul concerning the falling away first in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, this Camping teaches against things concerning God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and by his doing so and attracting so many followers he verifies the pages of the New Testament when it said that such a thing would happen. So, Camping did not harm the authenticity or integrity of the Bible by being wrong, but rather verified the Bible’s truth! Instead, Camping’s being RIGHT would have been an occasion to challenge the veracity of the Bible, for were Jesus Christ to return before we reach the many tribes in the 10/40 window or while there are tens of millions of believers risking persecution to worship in Africa and Asia, what would be said of those Bible texts?

So, make no mistake, there is nothing special about Camping. Was not just over ten years ago when there were tons of false prophets claiming based on Bible codes and numerology that Jesus Christ was going to return in 2000? (Never mind that the Bible doesn’t follow our modern calendars, and that Bede almost certainly incorrectly calculated the date of the birth of Jesus Christ that we use for “B.C.” and “A.D.” anyway). Or about 25 years ago Jesus Christ was going to return because it was 40 years after of the establishment of the modern state of Israel? (Never mind that Jesus Christ spoke “this generation” to the Jews of His own time concerning the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., and if the Bible actually does speak of the restoration of the political nation of Israel, it does not link this event to any timetable concerning Christ’s return.) So why all the fuss and the furor? It has to serve some sort of media agenda.

Consider this: how come when the subject in view is Usama bin Laden or some other Muslim terrorist, the media is quick to say “he isn’t a real Muslim” or “he doesn’t represent mainstream Islam that is practiced by hundreds of millions of peaceful followers”, but the media is quick to depict Camping as being in or near the mainstream of evangelical and fundamental Christians? In truth, as Camping rejects the Holy Trinity, he shouldn’t be classified as Christian at all. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and Jews all reject the Holy Trinity, a core foundational doctrine of Christianity that sets it apart from other religions that are either polytheistic or present a false teaching on God’s Unity. But while the media does its best to present Islam and increasingly Mormonism as moderate and mainstream, it uses Camping to create a wild eyed, dangerous fanatical face for Bible-believing Christianity.

Another thing: it isn’t as if Camping is the only false prophet or source of wrong information. Far from it. It is just that when so many others get things wrong and are exposed for their false, anti-Biblical thinking, nothing is ever said about it. Instead, the media, the academy, the elites simply move on. (Or they carry on as if the error was never made.) Consider liberal Christianity, such as the critical “scholars.” Barely a year goes by when an archaeological find of a Biblical site or a scientific breakthrough that confirms Biblical truth or discovery of early manuscripts verifying the existence of historical persons, places and the integrity of Biblical texts that the critical scholars challenged, yet the critical scholars are still accepted as scholars, and their methods – which would never be used in any other field because of their ascientific nature – accepted as reliable.

But that is just the Bible, right? Wrong. Take psychology. The theories of giants in that field like Sigmund Freud and Alfred Kinsey have long been discredited. Yet they are still revered as having made great contributions to science, modern thought and human progress, and furthermore their discredited theories are still being taught as fact in our schools and universities. But psychology, save when it is based on experimentation and observation and does not deal with brain’s biology and chemistry, is a “soft science”, right? Sure, except that the theories in the hard sciences like physics and biology turn up erroneous also. Our schools still teach the long-discredited false leads in evolution theory, i.e. the “evolutionary timeline tree chart” that has long been abandoned as unworkable, and fossils allegedly showing primates evolving into humans that were actually either diseased humans or other animals as fact. You would be surprised to know how many of the things that were taught in science class has been quietly abandoned, how much more needs to be pushed from the classroom, and would be if the media held that community to the same scrutiny that it does evangelical and fundamental Christianity.

But that is just arcane science that has little relevance to our daily lives, so what harm does it do? Fine, except that the realm of false prophets also exists in government and policy. Many fantastic, dire predictions have been made and influenced the direction of governments and leaders to who knows what ends. Example? Global warming. Except that they couldn’t call it “global warming” anymore when many places in the world started experiencing prolonged unseasonably cold weather! So, the cause of the cold weather was attributed to greenhouse gas emissions also and “global warming” became “climate change.” I remember a specific prediction from the global warming prophets that had a lot of people frightened: after Hurricane Katrina and other large, powerful destructive hurricanes in 2005, the global warming community (the “climate change” moniker had not yet been instituted) claimed that the increase in the power and severity of the storms were caused by global warming, and that we could expect worse storms – and more of them – thereafter. They predicted that the hurricane season of 2006 was going to be one of the worst in history! All their models said so! What happened? We haven’t had anything approaching Katrina since.

Another example: peak oil. The experts a few decades back claimed that we had maxed out our oil production, that we had exploited the main reserves, that oil production was heading for an inevitable decline, and that we needed to alter our lifestyles and change our way of life to conserve what oil was left or face a global energy crisis. A few years after those dire predictions, some of the largest oil reserves in history were discovered, as well as technological breakthroughs for accessing oil, and possible new sources of oil, such as from shale and sand. (Do not mistake me for an oil company and fossil fuels advocate, quite the contrary I am fully supportive of alternative energy, and believe that a lot of great technology in that area is not being exploited.) And there was also the “overpopulation crisis.” It was promoted by folks who believed that if the world’s population reached 4 billion, it would become unsustainable, and the result would be mass famines and starvation, diseases, wars and environmental degradation. The only solution was immediate global population control programs! Well, now the world population is 6.75 billion and counting.

There is more. Remember when mad cow disease was going to ravage our food supply? Oprah Winfrey said “I’ll never eat a hamburger again!” (Of course, these folks OPPOSE abstinence from fornication as a defense against sexually transmitted disease as the Bible commands, but constantly promotes abstinence from eating the animals that God gave us dominion over and called lawful to eat.) Remember when bird flu was going to kill thousands, or tens of thousands? What about swine flu? Brought to you by the same false prophets who told you to run out and buy cellophane and masking tape to protect yourself from a nuclear terrorist attack after September 11th.

The prophets told us in the 1980s that AIDS was going to wipe out a significant portion of the U.S. population with little or no regard for lifestyle, and needless to say they were wrong, as AIDS rates only increased among homosexuals, the promiscuous and drug users while declining for everyone else. The lead false prophet was surgeon general C. Everett Koop, who used this false information to promote sex education and condom giveaways in schools starting in 3rd grade. Speaking of sex education, the false prophets told us that it would drastically reduce the venereal disease and teen/out of wedlock pregnancy rates, and it did neither. Instead, both shot through the roof, and further there are now new venereal diseases that even condom manufacturers acknowledge their products are useless against (not that you will ever hear that in any public school sex education program).

But wait, there’s more. The prophets told us that abandoning classical education for new education reforms (often based on Freudian or Marxist theories) would lead to markedly improved results and a transformation of society. They were totally wrong, American academic achievement has fallen off the map, and no one talks about it. The prophets told us that divorce and illegitimacy were GOOD for women, children and even most men, but education, poverty, drug use and incarceration rates say otherwise. The prophets claimed that we could eliminate racism through education. How is that working out? They claimed that we could eliminate poverty through government action, and now not only is poverty still a reality (as Jesus Christ said it would in Mark 14:7, not a favorite text among liberal theologians!) but unprecedented numbers of people in America and worldwide are reliant on government assistance of some kind. The false prophets also claimed that the triumph of Soviet communism was inevitable, and the best course of action was resignation, acceptance and learning from and becoming more like them, only to have the Soviet Union collapse and many remaining Marxist regimes like China and Viet Nam adopt more capitalistic economies. Those who predicted that the war on drugs and the war on terror (especially Afghanistan and Iraq) could be effectively and quickly won? Whatever happened to them?

The sociologists who said that eliminating censorship laws and allowing the free trafficking of pornography would make us more progressive and improve relations between the sexes? They have been nowhere to be found as rapists, child molesters and other sex criminals have proliferated, multiplying like rats. The social theorists who claimed that putting criminals in jail wouldn’t lower crime rates because the root causes were economic? Wrong, and verified when crime rates still remained lower despite two severe recessions and deep cuts in social services. (Well, street crime is lower anyway. White collar crime, the rich in their vain attempt to sate their lust for greed, remains through the roof. But the Bible said that this would happen concerning the wealthy also … see the book of James, which is not a favorite among political conservatives or those who teach the false prosperity gospel.) And another example: remember Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s claim that we had to immediately adopt a stimulus package to keep unemployment from hitting 8%? Unemployment has been at or near 10% for over two years! Anti-Christ? Probably not. False prophet? Definitely.

So, on one hand you have ONE Harold Camping, who again due to his rejection of the Holy Trinity and of many Bible texts (he forbids his followers from fellowshipping in local churches in violation of Hebrews 10:25) should not be considered a Christian is a false prophet. On the other hand, you have MANY worldly prophets who due to their embrace of ungodly, anti-Biblical ideas, doctrines, philosophies and imaginations that exalt themselves against God (2 Corinthians 10:5) that are utterly, totally and completely wrong all the time. Now both groups of false prophets are wrong for the same reason: their rejection of Biblical revelation as true, infallible, inerrant, and the final authority in all matters, and not merely things necessary for salvation. But the media and the elites shine the light on Camping to defame and discredit Christians who actually do adhere to the Bible while doing their best to cover up the fact that they so wrong so often on so many issues to the great harm of so many is appalling. It is hypocrisy at best, and a conspiratorial cover-up at worst. If anything, talking about Camping gives them an excuse to keep from having to address the huge mess that these folks have made of the economies, governments and societies of the world. Further, it allows them to transfer the blame from their failed policies – and the rejection of Jesus Christ and the Bible which reveals Him ideology that motivate them – to Christians, as if Christians are undermining their efforts.

Christians, for instance, are blamed for illegitimacy by opposing sex education. Christians are blamed for AIDS by opposing homosexuality. Christians are blamed for poor educational performance for opposing evolution. Christians are blamed for global warming for opposing climate change legislation. Christians are blamed for the wars and tension in the Middle East for supporting Israel and not a Palestinian state (by the way, I reject Zionism, and “Christian” Zionism is especially repugnant to what the Bible actually says, and John Hagee and not a few other false prophets follow this flawed school of interpretation). Christians are called misogynist for adhering to what the Bible says about the roles concerning men and women in the church, in marriages and homes and in society, and for opposing the murder of abortion. Christians are blamed for “Islamophobia” and “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Mormonism” for refusing to deny that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and accused of undermining cultures with our missionary work. And the list goes on and on.

And it is only going to increase. As more and more ideas based on a rejection of the Bible and even of general revelation (see Romans 1:18-32) causes still more decline and failure, anger will increase against Christians. As the world continues to reap the fruit of the sin and wickedness that it sows, it will increasingly see Christians as scapegoats. Instead of repenting of their sins and acknowledging those as the true source of the misery and calamity, the blame will be on Christians for failing to get with the program.

This will climax in first sporadic but then general and organized attempts to silence Christians and remove us from their midst, in the hopes of keeping us from hindering their “progress.” This is far-fetched, you say? Not in the least, because it has already happened. An example is not merely the brutal repression and murder of Christians on a massive scale in the Soviet Union, China, Germany, Sudan and other totalitarian (whether Marxist, Muslim or fascist) regimes in the last century, but the experience of the church in the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire’s wealth, power and culture were declining due to the decadence and incompetence of its ruling classes, and from Nero to Decius, they saw Christians as a scapegoat.

The legitimate Christians refused to join in their state religion (an odd mix of paganism and patriotism not dissimilar from what goes on in our country today, including in not a few churches) so the Roman “gods” were angry. The Christians refused to join in their public activities (regrettably this is not a mark of contemporary Christianity!) so they were called “divisive” and were accused of undermining the common culture (in addition to not being patriotic!) that was allegedly needed to have a cohesive, strong empire. And Christians preached and taught against the immorality, wickedness and depravity of the people, the rulers and the times. They preached against the rampant adultery, homosexuality, violence and child molestation. They preached against the wanton excesses of the upper classes (again, not a mark of contemporary evangelical Christianity, unless the upper classes in view are Hollywood, government bureaucrats and other liberal elites). And they preached against paganism, not only by the people but the official state religion (again, the evangelical Christian preacher who even speaks of the freemasonry and occult that was vital to this nation’s founding and has been influential in it ever since is rare).

Then, the persecution began as sporadic and localized, but climaxed in a brutal, sustained attempt to completely rid the Roman Empire of Christianity. And despite the estimated ten million Christians that were killed by the Roman Empire (something that you will never see mentioned in history books or depicted in movies, as they are more wont to depict Christians as murderous crusaders and the like) and the carnage of the past hundred years, that is only a shadow of the real bloodbath to come. You see, unlike Harold Camping, I do not adhere to a rapture belief. Instead, I believe the Bible when it says that when the anti-Christ comes, it will be given to him to make war against the saints, and to overcome them. I believe the Bible when it says that the time of tribulation, of great sorrows, will be of such severity that it will be cut short so that the saints, the elect, will survive it. And I believe that the saints that were mentioned in Revelation and Matthew 24 that will see that horrible time are not Jews, or those converted by Jews during the great tribulation, but Christians.

And that is what it is all about. That is why turning an obscure preacher with questionable doctrine into an international news story lasting several cycles was done. It is why Westboro Baptist Church, a cult that has existed for decades, is only now becoming international news. It is why Terry Jones, an obscure leader of a small congregation, became an international pariah for burning a Koran when not only Muslims but the United States military routinely burns Bibles!

It is why terrorists attacks committed by atheists like Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph are attributed to Christians. It is why violence against abortion clinics and doctors is an issue oft raised against Christians despite the fact that less than 5 such incidents have occurred in over 20 years, and only 1 in the past 10. The Hutaree militia drew headlines and a massive sting operation from the federal government as a Christian terrorism threat to rival that posed by Al Qaeda, and it turned out to be just a bunch of guys spinning yarns over the Internet.  Yet, the Marxist “liberation theology” types, not a few of whom were trained Soviet infiltrators, fanned the flames for any number of bloody murderous third world Marxist coups with their organizing and “preaching”, and the truth about their activities – and the level of support that they received from their ideological and religious fellow travelers in the U.S. – has never been documented by the media, Hollywood or our schools. Neither has the true history of our own “civil rights movement” – how it duped the black church and many well meaning white Americans into supporting Marxist subversive tactics, and how that movement was also organized by and rife with Soviet agents and sympathizers – been told, and nor can you expect them to spill the beans on their own false prophets.

The agitation propaganda against Christians will continue in the future just as it did in the Roman Empire. Christians should be heedful of the times, which means that we must be aware of what is going on, aware of where it is headed, and aware of whose agenda it is serving. That is why Christians should end these “battles” over “being represented in Hollywood” and the “culture wars” and “religious right politics” (and religious left politics) in favor of opening our eyes to the true state of affairs. Instead, we should study our Bibles, study about the early church during its time of persecution before Christianity was co-opted by the Roman Empire so that by learning about the church’s past, we can learn about the future – our future. Of course, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ will win in the end and vindicate and save His church. But make no mistake: just as Jesus Christ suffered Gethsemane and His passion before His resurrection and glorification, the church, being less than its Master Jesus Christ, must also suffer many things. Christians must be prepared so that we might stand during the time to come, and endure to the end. This is a battle that will be won not by guns, money or governments but by faith in the God who is fighting on our side and prevail.

It must be asked: which side are you on? The side of God, or of the wicked? Though Camping was wrong, his error only proved the Bible to be correct. The Bible makes it clear that the wicked perish and that Jesus Christ and those who believe in Him will triumph. If you do not believe in Jesus Christ, make no mistake, you will be counted among the wicked, because no matter how good you perceive yourself to be, before a holy and perfect God you are a sinner. I urge you, repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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Which Is Easier To Say?

Posted by Job on May 26, 2011

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This [man] blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. Matthew 9:2-7

I have three observations from this passage.

1. Jesus Christ saw that this man had faith and then acted. Thus, faith was prior. This contradicts the curious doctrine held by many Reformed or Calvinistic believers that regeneration precedes faith. Now this doctrine has some merit, but only from an eternal viewpoint, from the perspective of the transcendent God who exists outside of time. This transcendent God chose His people, the ones who would be saved, from before the foundation of the world, and when He did so, it was done. Those people were considered saved, spared the wrath to come, and nothing could be done to nullify or revoke this fact. However, the eternal viewpoint is not the only viewpoint. God is not only transcendent, apart from time and creation (denying this, making God a part of creation, is the bedrock of so many false religions) but immanent with respect to creation, meaning that God does maintain a presence in time-space – indeed this presence is omnipresent – and sustains it (denying this is deism, among many other false systems), and then there was immanence par excellence by way of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. So while the salvation of the elect was an accomplished matter as soon as God decreed it before the foundation of the world, the regeneration of human beings happens at a specific time and place that God has also decreed. Compare this with the death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the elect on the cross. That Jesus Christ would do this thing was decreed by God the Father in eternity before creation was accomplished. However, God also declared that accomplishing atonement would happen by way of His Son’s entering space-time, dying on the cross at a specified time and place in a manner that fulfilled prophecies from earlier times and diverse places, and being likewise raised from the dead. Though this act accomplished salvation for all the elect regardless of time, the cross nonetheless happened at a particular time. It would be therefore be improper to say “the atonement preceded Jesus Christ going to the cross” if for no other reason than the Bible’s specifically stating otherwise. In like manner, this example shows that one cannot say that regeneration precedes faith. In this text, Jesus Christ saw that faith already present in the man, and forgave his sins. Though faith is not of man but of God, a gift of the Holy Spirit sovereignly bestowed upon the elect according to the decree before the foundation of the world of the Ancient of Days, who is God the Father, this example shows that the Godhead is glorified by the Holy Spirit’s first giving a person faith and then accomplishing the work of regeneration that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross made possible. (I am aware that people were regenerated by the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament prior to Jesus Christ’s atonement, with the deathless ascensions of Enoch and Elijah being the chief examples, but this was based on looking forward to the atoning act that Jesus Christ would accomplish at a particular place in time. Even in these cases, regeneration did not precede faith, and as the epistle to the Hebrews conclusively lays out, atonement did not precede the cross.)

2. Though “regeneration precedes faith” is a doctrinal aberration adhered to by some Calvinists, Reformed soteriology is also confirmed by this text. For at what point did the paralytic man exercise his free will? At what point did this paralytic man ask for his sins to be forgiven and to be saved? This paralytic man did have faith, mind you, and this faith was in whatever relevation of the Person of Jesus Christ that he had access to (for the Lord was not yet lifted up on the cross for sins, nor had He yet risen from the dead). But make no mistake: he came to Jesus Christ expecting to be healed! Even if he presumed that his paralysis was due to sin on his part (and the Bible makes it clear in the book of Job and when Jesus Christ healed the man born blind in the gospel of John that such is a false assumption!) the text and the context of this episode does not reveal that this paralytic had the priestly role of Jesus Christ in mind when he sought the Christ’s aid. It should also be noted that even the unbelievers in this episode did not challenge Jesus Christ’s ability to heal this man, but to forgive his sins! So, this man went to Jesus Christ expecting to be physically healed and thereby fulfilled his human responsibility of exercising his God-given faith (though this faith existed in the context of limited human knowledge) and when Jesus Christ being sovereign God saw that the faith given by the sovereign God the Holy Spirit was present in this man, Jesus Christ acted sovereignly, of His own initiative, unasked and uninvited (this man did not “ask Jesus Christ into his heart” or “say a sinner’s prayer”!) to save this man from his sins! And when the sovereign God acted in this manner, the paralytic had no say in the manner. He could not reject, refuse or undo it, nor could he truly even consent to it! This text, this example clearly demonstrates unconditional election and irresistible grace.

3. Point 1, that regeneration does not precede faith, and point 2, that unconditional election and irresistible grace are true doctrines, should inform our evangelism. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God says God the Holy Spirit in Romans 10:17. Regeneration happens when – in accordance with the time and place chosen by the Ancient of Days – one who has been elected unto salvation and given to Jesus Christ in eternity but from the temporal perspective is unregenerate encounters Jesus Christ through the preaching of the gospel, receives the gift of faith from the Holy Spirit, and is saved by the work of the Holy Spirit. Romans 10:14 asks us rhetorically “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” The Holy Spirit does not give faith apart from the preaching of the gospel, and the Holy Spirit does not regenerate in the absence of this faith.

Yet, the gospel is oft not being preached! A form of the gospel, perhaps, but not the gospel. The gospel of good works is often substituted where we try to draw people to Jesus Christ by being good, loving moral people so that we won’t have to use words. The Roman Catholic Francis of Assisi did say “preach the gospel, and use words if necessary”, but that is not Romans 10:14 or Romans 10:17. Also, a gospel of politics and social action is offered up to draw people to Jesus Christ, whether it is the conservative one of opposing abortion and homosexuality or the liberal one of relieving poverty and opposing political oppression. Yes, the Bible speaks of morality and justice on a personal and societal level, but those are in the interests of revealing God’s attributes and nature to mankind, and accepting only some of God’s attributes and not God Himself is but idolatry. Yet, these and other such flawed, distorted gospel presentations, which amounts to either Christless evangelism or evangelism that presents a false Christ, are common, even dominant.

Why? Well the answer is given in the text. When Jesus Christ presented the gospel – presented Himself in His priestly role and His divine prerogatives that bore witness to His identity as God in the flesh – what happened? He was opposed. He was hated. He was rejected. He experienced trials and persecution. “And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This [man] blasphemeth.” And the same thing happens to us when we present Jesus Christ as God who is not only Savior but Lord and Judge! That is what happens when we tell people that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and unless we repent of our sins, believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation and love Him by keeping His commandments! We experience opposition! We face persecution!

Now instead of accepting what the Bible says when it tells us that we will receive opposition just as Jesus Christ did, that we will be scorned and rejected just as Jesus Christ was, because He is our Master and the servant is not greater than his master, we decide that the problem is either us or the message. We decide that if we are experiencing opposition, it is because something is wrong with us and we need to change. We decide that if we are experiencing rejection, it is because something is wrong with the message and the message needs to change. So, in order to gain carnal acceptance, we take Christ out of the message. When we deny that Jesus Christ is the only way, we deny Christ. When we deny that true repentance means turning away from sins and living in obedience to Jesus Christ, we deny Jesus Christ. When we deny that God alone saves us, and not works or membership in a church, we deny Jesus Christ. And when we deny or omit the reality of eternal judgment and damnation for sinners, we deny Jesus Christ.

And why do we do this? Go back to the text. “For whether is easier, to say, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?” We do it because it is easier! Again, the scribes who persecuted Jesus Christ with their blasphemy in this episode were willing to accept Jesus Christ the teacher, because there were many teachers. They were willing to accept Jesus Christ the prophet, for there had been several prophets. They were willing to accept Jesus Christ the priest, for there were many priests. They were willing to accept Jesus Christ the king, for there had been several kings. They were willing to accept Jesus Christ the miracle-worker, for there had been miracle workers. What they were not willing to accept was Jesus Christ as God, as the one God, as their God! Had Jesus Christ merely been willing to be accepted, He could have just healed the man’s paralysis and ignored that man’s sin. For what? So that man would have been well and whole and therefore able to walk into the lake of fire for eternity instead of being carried there? Is that what would have been in that man’s interests? How? Or had Jesus Christ merely been willing to avoid rejection by His own people and persecution, even the death on the cross, He could have just overthrown the Romans and been made emperor of the world with Jerusalem as the capital and Israel the chief people. After all, didn’t Satan offer Jesus Christ the very same deal during His temptation in the desert? But the people would have enjoyed the earthly benefits of Jesus Christ’s imperial rule during their lives only to be cast into the lake of fire after they died, because no atonement would have been made for their sins!

So, Jesus Christ didn’t just take the easy way in merely presenting Himself to this man as his Healer, a role that He knew that the faithless unelect would accept Him. Instead, He presented Himself to this man as his God, a role that He knew would be rejected by the faithless and the reprobate! Jesus Christ took the hard way! He asked “Which is it easier to do, forgive his sins or heal him” and did the hard part, which was promise this man’s salvation at that time, and then be the personal guarantor, the personal surety of that salvation when He went to the cross later! But now, so many of us who presume to speak and teach in Jesus Christ’s Name despise the hard road that Jesus Christ took for the easy road. Which is easier to say? Repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ lest you perish for eternity? Or “I am pro-life?” Or “I support family values?” Or “America is a Christian nation founded on Biblical principles?” Or “marriage was created by God to be between one man and one woman?” Or “I stand with Israel?” Or “no justice, no peace!” Or “help the poor, the orphans and the widows”? Or “judge not”? Or “let he who is without sin cast the first stone!” Or “we must be good stewards of the environment and of our bodies?” Or “God is love”? While Biblical support can be found for all of those notions (provided that they are given in context) the point is that they fall short of the message of Jesus Christ, and fall particularly fall short of the message of Jesus Christ crucified for our sins and resurrected for our justification! The message of eternal life and worship of God to those who believe, and of woe and sorrow exceeding for those who do not!

And why do we avoid persecution by saying the easy things instead of the hard ones? Because though we profess to love God first with all our heart, soul and strength as the chief commandment requires us, the truth is that we love ourselves more. Because we love ourselves more, we love the world and the things in it more. That is being double-minded, and the epistle of James reminds us that such a person will never receive a thing from God, and that includes the free gift of salvation. So, Christian evangelist, I urge you to make your calling and election sure. Get off the easy way and take the hard way. Bear witness of the true Jesus Christ with the true gospel today, and do not withhold Jesus Christ and the gift of faith from your fellow man because you value yourself so much than you value your fellow man. If you are unwilling to experience persecution to liberate your fellow man from sin and death by preaching him the gospel, how can you say that you love him? And if you do not love your fellow man, whom you see every day, how can you say that you love God whom you do not see? The Bible asks the same question and you know the answer. Do not blaspheme Christ by saying that which is easy! Glorify Jesus Christ by telling the world the truth of Him.

If you have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, I urge you to do so right now.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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Romans 4:17 – Speaking Those Things That Are Not As Though They Were!

Posted by Job on April 8, 2011

Rom 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

Suffer me while I provide three examples of YHWH speaking those things that are not as though they were.

1. Creation

Genesis 1:1 reads “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In the beginning of what? Space, time, matter, all of creation, the entirety of the existence of all things apart from YHWH Himself, for YHWH alone is I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14). How did God accomplish creation? Well, by Jesus Christ were all things made (Hebrews 1:2 and John 1:3) and Jesus Christ is none other than the Word of God (John 1:1). So, when God said (among other things) “Let there be light”, YHWH accomplished creatio ex nihilo, which means that He made something out of nothing. Before God spoke, there was nothing. This means that with respect to creation, God spoke things that were not as though they were.

Let there be light: and there was light. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God called the firmament Heaven. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion … over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female!

After God spoke, these things were. Before God spoke, these things were not! God called these things before they were!

2. Sin

After God created Adam, He gave the commandment: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Note that God did not say “if you eat of it, you will surely die.” God said “in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” We cannot hedge concerning this meaning. It likely did not mean that Adam would drop dead on the very day that he ate it, for that did not happen. Adam lived to be 930 years old. Instead, it was a prediction. God knew that Adam would eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil! God knew that the fall would take place! Do not be deceived. When God spoke those words in Genesis 2:17, He foretold the fall of Adam – and through Adam mankind – into sin though it had not yet happened. Adam ate thereof, and because of this in Adam all die (1 Corinthians 15:22). And for all who die in Adam, their fate is the second death; eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). So, with regards to Adam and all those in him, God spoke things that were not as though they were when He said or in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die! For Adam and those in him are not yet cast into the lake of fire, but rest assured: they will be.

3. Salvation

But do not despair! 1 Corinthians 15:22 also says that in Christ all live! Yes, that text was written after Jesus Christ came, endured His passion, resurrected and returned to God the Father in accordance with the scriptures. But immediately after the fall, in what is called the protoevangelium, God bore witness of this great salvation thousands of years before it occurred! Before the martyrdom of Abel, before the translation of Enoch, before the calling of Abraham, before Moses led Israel out of Egypt, before the star prophecy of Balaam, before the Davidic line was formed, before the children of Israel came out of exile and began longing for the Messianic hope, God spoke a thing that was not as though it were!

To Satan after the fall in Genesis 3:15, YHWH said “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” God did not say “this woman”, referencing Eve, for Eve is the mother of all humanity, both elect and non-elect, both the Godly seed and Satan’s seed (those of Adam). He said “the woman.” Which woman? Revelation 12:1-2 reads “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” And who is this woman’s seed? It is given in Revelation 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” And who is the dragon of Revelation 12:17? Revelation 12:9 tells us. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” So, clearly in Genesis 3:15, God called the mystery of the salvation obtained for the elect by Jesus Christ – something that was not because Jesus Christ was not yet come into the world and lifted up on the cross as payment for sins – as though it was.

Revelation 21:1-7 gives us a picture of the fulfillment of what God spoke in Genesis 3:15, of what His only begotten Son obtained for His elect, those called out before the foundation of the world. Indeed, that is yet another thing that God spoke that was not as though it were, for God decreed the salvation of those that were elect before they were even born; before they even were!

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Why can only God call things that are not as though they were? It is because God is the only One that is capable of making those things that are not be! Only God has the power to transform that which is not into something that is! With this body of facts at your disposal, how can you resist so great a salvation … one that is so great precisely because of the greatness of the One who makes it a reality for all who believe?

Do not be deceived: this has been the plan of YHWH from before the foundation of the world. Evidence of this is God’s creating man in His image and His likeness, and this makes man unique among all creation, including even the angels for whom there is no remedy, no avoidance of eternal damnation, for those who fell. God made man in His own image precisely so that upon His Word’s coming to the world in human flesh as 100% God and 100% man when He was born of a virgin by the Name Jesus Christ, He would so perfectly reveal God the Father to the extent that to look upon Jesus Christ was as looking upon God the Father! So by making Adam in His image, God called the redemption of those who would believe before Adam even plunged creation into sin in the first place. Though salvation through Jesus Christ was not, God called – God planned – as though it were.

So, now that you are confronted with this overpowering evidence, I urge and implore you to resist this Truth no longer. Instead, be saved by the One who speaks things that are not as though they were, and by doing so makes those things reality! Lest you perish in an eternal lake of fire, repent of your sins and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ by:

Following The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in Bible, Christianity, devotional, evangelism, Jesus Christ, prophecy, religion, salvation, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Proverb 18:21 – Death And Life Are In The Power Of The Tongue

Posted by Job on April 7, 2011

According to the Bible, our words have power, even unto life and death. That is why we should not be idle, vain, careless or irreverent with our words, but instead always speak with caution and with purpose. What are some of the ways that we speak death?

Taking the Lord’s Name in vain (Exd 20:7), lying (Exd 20:16), cursing and swearing (Jam 5:12), gossip (Lev 19:16), ranting, promoting unlawful division and vain arguing (1Ti 6:4), subversive speech (Gal 5:19) vulgar/profane speech (Gal 5:20), jealous speech (Gal 5:21) and spreading heretical doctrines (Gal 5:21) are but some examples of sinful speech.

Speech such as this causes sinful and destructive thoughts and deeds in both the speaker and the hearer. Consider as an example the great damage done by the words of Jonadab, which planted into the heart of Amnon a plot by which he could rape his half-sister Tamar as recounted in 2 Samuel 13. Jonadab’s words helped conceive and bring forth gross sin by Amnon, which caused great pain to Tamar, a coup attempt against David by his son Absalom, and the deaths of many people, including Amnon and Absalom.

Another set of examples with even worse consequences was the evil speech of the children of Israel during their wanderings in the desert. Faithlessness, ingratitude, lustings, idolatry, coveting, lying, strifes and seditions were just some of their wicked talk, and of course wicked behavior followed. A particular occasion was the evil report brought by 10 of the 12 spies (Numbers 13:32). This caused a revolt against Moses, the result of which was that none of the adults in that generation were suffered by YHWH to enter the promised land.

A greater still example: the words of the serpent, the dragon, Satan to Eve. They were not many. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Yet they were cunning, filled with malicious intent, and had their malicious effect: the fall of man; original sin.

The greatest example of evil words? “Hail master.” Those were spoken by Judas Iscariot when he revealed the identity of Jesus Christ to those who came to arrest and ultimately murder Him (Mat 26:49)! It did not take many words, and their literal meaning – of honor and respect – belied their abhorrent intent. Despite our attempts to cleverly disguise our words and distance ourselves from their consequences, with words as with actions, God knows the heart (Acts 15:8)! Above all men who ever walked the face of the earth, the wicked speech of Judas Iscariot demonstrates that one can sin with his words, and that the consequences of said sin is death because the soul that sinneth shall die (Ezekiel 18:20)! For who else did Jesus Christ say of but Judas Iscariot that it would have been good for him had he never been born (Mark 14:21)? Proverb 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof! Do not be as Judas Iscariot and speak death! Instead, speak life!

But how can one speak life? By bearing witness of the truth (John 18:37). What is truth? The word of God, ‘specially the gospel of Jesus Christ. Psalm 119:130 says the entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of testimony, which is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). When we speak the gospel, we are not speaking mere words, but we are speaking Jesus Christ Himself (1Cr 1:23, Phl 1:15, Phl 1:16, Act 5:42, Act 17:3, chiefly 2Cr 4:5)! When we give a full, true and legitimate gospel, we are not speaking about Jesus Christ, we are speaking Jesus Christ! And what is Jesus Christ but life? Have you not read John 1:4? In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Go back to Psalm 119:130. God’s Words are Jesus Christ. The entrance of God’s Word into a human heart that is good soil brings light, which John 1:4 tells us is Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ enters that good soil, it brings understanding of spiritual things to babes (Luk 10:21)! The gospel is foolishness to those who do not believe (1Cr 1:18), but it takes a carnal man that is dead to spiritual things and resurrects him (1Cr 2:14)! We know that this is so because when the Word of God goes forth, He does not fail, but accomplishes what God the Father wishes, and prospers in the thing that God the Father sent it to (Isa 55:11)!

So then, why are not all who hear the gospel receive this life? Because though many are called, few are chosen (Mat 22:14). It is only God’s sheep that the Father called out from before the foundation of the world (1Pe 1:20). It is only those sheep who hear Jesus Christ and come to Him in repentance and obedience when He calls to them by way of gospel preaching and Holy Spirit drawing (John 10:27). Those who forbear are not the sheep that God the Father gave to God the Son (John 10:26). The gospel of Jesus Christ never fails. Instead, it prospers in bringing in God’s sheep. It brings life in the dead hearts of those called out by God the Father, which is precisely the thing that God sent His only begotten Son to do (John 3:16)!

Now granted, there are other words that contain a measure or form of virtue, goodness and positive content which can bring forth an edifying result. Against speaking such things there is no law. However, those things should not be spoken to replace the gospel. Those things should not be spoken of besides the gospel. Those things should not be spoken in competition with the gospel. And those things certainly must not be spoken because the gospel is being rejected or because its speaking causes persecution. Why? Because speaking the gospel is speaking Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God, and the first commandment is that God comes first and has no competitor and no equal or rival (Exodus 20:3). Uttering anything else in place of the gospel is sinful speech, and the soul that sinneth shall die! If you are ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then Jesus Christ will be ashamed of us on judgment day. While there is virtue in other words, virtue is not life. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16)!

A key text on why Christians have the mandate to speak life:

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Now after being confronted with Romans 10:8-17, gentlemen, where is there room or need for any more debate? The gospel of Jesus Christ is the Word of faith, and preaching that Word brings life. So gentle Christian reader, you have a choice. Death and life are in the power of your tongue! You can either speak death by giving utterance to lawless, sinful things. Or you can speak life by proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified. With all urgency and sincerity, I entreat and implore you to choose life today, and continue in that choice from this moment forth.

If you are not yet a Christian, please know this: only in Jesus Christ is there life. As a payment for sins, Jesus Christ was slain and then raised from the dead on the third day in accordance with the scriptures. This is a fact beyond dispute, because it was confirmed with the testimony of over 500 eyewitnesses, many of them well known, prominent and reliable people in their day and time. Thus, those who possess unbelief of this fact are without excuse, and they will receive an eternal, everlasting punishment for this belief: death in a lake of fire. Know that Jesus Christ did not come to bring death, but He came to bring life. You can receive the life that Jesus Christ came to bring by repenting of your sins and believing His gospel. You can – and should – do so immediately by:

Following The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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Spiritual Warfare In The Parable Of The Sower

Posted by Job on April 6, 2011

According to many popular spiritual warfare teachers, a major battlefield for spiritual warfare (binding and rebuking demons) and warfare prayer or directed prayer (praying against demons, their areas of influence and their activities) relates to evangelism and missions. These doctrines teach that there are powerful demons opposing the spread of the gospel by acting not just against comprehension and acceptance of this gospel of Jesus Christ in the minds of individuals, but that they keep entire regions, population groups, nations etc. in spiritual bondage. Sometimes it is through false religions and sinful practices, other times it may be government officials working to intimidate Christians, stop the building of churches, limit the distribution of Bibles, etc. There is a huge body of evangelism and missionary literature available that deals with this subject, and many large, respected Christian seminaries and Bible colleges deal with this issue in some fashion or another, including offering entire courses related to it, including how to stage and support successful evangelistic revivals. So it begs the question: how Biblical are the doctrines involved?

To answer, there does not seem to be a wealth of Bible texts that depicts the assumption of this scenario: that there is this huge swath of people that would receive the gospel and be converted if only demonic opposition were removed from the way. This is not to say, mind you, that these references are wholly nonexistent.

Revelation 2 and 3

Revelation 2 and 3 speaks of opposition to the churches in the way of false religious doctrines and persecution that may be influenced by demons. See the reference to the blasphemy of the “synagogue of Satan” as well as the “tribulation ten days” attacking Smyrna. Pergamos being located “even where Satan’s seat is” (a reference to the church’s proximity to a center of pagan emperor worship) and the martyrdom of Antipas, and accepted the false doctrines of Balaam and Balac (idolatry/sexual immorality) and the Nicolataines.

Thyatira adhered to the Jezebel doctrines (idolatry/sexual immorality) which is referred to as “the depths of Satan”. Philadelphia is being persecuted and withstood by another reference to “the synagogue of Satan.” However, no demonic persecution is apparent regarding Laodicea, Sardis or Ephesus. Instead, those churches – and presumably their evangelistic activities – were being hindered by love of the flesh and its works thereof, and this was particularly the case with Laodicea, who fell in love with money, prestige and power.

Also, even the churches that did have problems with demonic influences, it appears that in some cases those problems existed because what the evil influences offered appealed to the flesh – the fallen natures – of the church members, and the churches yielded to the temptation not so much of the evil spirits as of the flesh. This appears to particularly be a problem with Thyatira and Pergamos. By inviting demonic problems with their own carnality, those two churches were really no different from Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus, in that the root cause of their problems was the carnality, not the evil spirits.

That is why Jesus Christ gives Thyatira and Pergamos the same remedy that He gives Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus: repentance and return to true worship of Jesus Christ in holiness, sound doctrine and Godly fear. One should also note that regarding the two churches that did not provoke demonic persecution with their carnality or spiritual immaturity – Philadelphia and Smyrna – Jesus Christ does not tell them to respond to the demonic tormentors with spiritual warfare, but instead tells them to be faithful in the midst of trials by relying on Him and on His work, His promises and His faithfulness (see Revelation 3:8-10 and 2:10)!

So, regarding the demonic opposition that rises up against missionary work (and everything else), from what Jesus Christ told the churches concerning this opposition, we can take the position that His position is the same as that of the Holy Spirit speaking to and through Paul concerning his thorn in the flesh (a demon that tormented him) in 2 Corinthians 12:9’s “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Rather than going into spiritual warfare/deliverance over their oppression, the church was to heed the next verse’s admonition: “take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak , then am I strong.” So, rather than attempting to overcome this opposition with our own warfare tactics, we are to put our trust in the sovereignty and power of God to overcome them on our behalf for His glory. Our duty, then, is to be faithful to God by keeping His commandments.

Simon Magus

Another reference is that of Simon Magus in Acts 8-9. Using false religion akin to witchcraft and the occult, Simon Magus opposed the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Samaria. How was this demonic stronghold defeated? Not by spiritual warfare to bind it, or by directed prayer against it. Instead, Philip the evangelist simply kept preaching, and the Holy Spirit used his preaching to break down that stronghold Himself, and the Samaritans were converted. Demon spirits cannot withstand the power of God! Indeed, even Simon Magus believed the gospel! Though this Magus was not regenerated and went on to become a notorious opponent of the gospel and advocate of a gnostic syncretist system, even his form of belief – that lacked the power of Godliness – was evidence of the triumph of the sovereignty of God over against the works of both man and evil spirits.

The Whole Armour of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 is probably the most vital text to spiritual warfare/deliverance/directed prayer teachings. It reads:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand . 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

This passage may well seem to contain a treasure trove of spiritual warfare teachings, exhortations and methodology, especially if it is interpreted more spiritually than literally. Verse 11-12’s meaning, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places“, is impossible to dispute. However, the problem is that this passage is not quoted in its entirety when spiritual warfare teaches use it. So, consider verses 19 and 20, which complete the section and the thought.

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Recall that Paul is in a Roman prison for preaching the gospel at the time that he wrote this epistle. Rather than being some text on spiritual warfare that fails to reveal any warfare methods or practices and is of a sort that exists nowhere else in the canon of scripture, Paul was merely exhorting the church to preach the gospel, to pray for the spread of the gospel, and to pray for him specifically that he would not succumb to his flesh by allowing the persecution that he was experiencing (in jail) to cause him to either stop preaching the gospel, or even worse, to start preaching it in a way or manner that would minimize offense and better his situation.

Paul did reveal the truth that evil spirits were ultimately behind the spread of the gospel and his imprisonment, and that these spirits were the ones motivating the religious and political leadership to oppose Christianity in general and him specifically. But Paul’s purpose of doing this was to prevent his followers from using secular or temporal methods (i.e. political maneuverings or intrigue) to get him out of jail (recall that from Acts that Festus would have released Paul to the Christians had he been bribed) or overcome opposition to the gospel, but to instead rely on God. And, through the use of a military metaphor to make his words memorable (just as Paul used athletic metaphors for the same reason), Paul stated that this reliance on God and His will, being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might in order to stand against this Babylon system, meant possessing or exhibiting truth, righteousness, faith, prayer, salvation, and the gospel of peace (or of Jesus Christ).

Now had Paul simply written “go and be truthful, righteous, faithful, exhibit evidence of your salvation, preach the gospel boldly, and pray for yourselves and me also”, it would not been nearly as memorable, or as effective in the ears of the original hearers. However, it also would not have been the subject of such curious interpretations and applications as it has been through the years. One problem is that so many spiritual warfare teachers take this text as justification for their binding/rebuking/casting out doctrines and practices while ignoring what the text actually commands, which is truth, righteousness, faith, exhibiting fruits of possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A particularly great irony: Paul wrote this text specifically so that the church would not have temporal aspirations or use secular (or spiritual) means to get them, but instead to keep their eyes fixed on God and eternity. However, spiritual warfare teachers, particularly those in dominion theology, use this verse to mean that Christians should use spiritual warfare against demons that control government and religions for the purposes of asserting political, social and economic control over nations and ultimately the globe. So where the Holy Spirit spoke that text through Paul commanding Christians to be patient, faithful and reliant on God, this verse is being misapplied by men who misuse Christ’s Name while pursuing their own thirst for power.

The spiritual wickedness in high places will be overcome by Jesus Christ, and not by man, and yes man does include Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will overthrow Babylon, not the church taking authority, recovering the dominion that was given to Adam (for the dominion given to Adam transferred not to the church but to Jesus Christ!), overthrowing Babylon, and setting up its own rule in its place. Revelation does not depict the church defeating and overthrowing Babylon, but Jesus Christ returning to defeat Babylon! Recall that it will be given to the beast to make war against the saints and to overcome them (Revelation 13:7) and that Babylon will be filled with the blood of Christian martyrs. Only the return of Jesus Christ will save us from this. Evidence of this is how Paul did not apply this very same text used by spiritual warriors in their quest to take towns and nations for Christ in asking for his fellow Christians to so much as pray to get him out of jail! Instead, Paul ultimately humbly glorified Jesus Christ by dying the death of a martyr.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

This text is explicit. “But if our gospel be hid , it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”  This reminds us of Revelation 12:9, which says that Satan deceives the whole world concerning the truth of Jesus Christ. But what does 2 Corinthians 4 tell us to do about this sad fact? Not spiritual warfare to take on dominions, powers and principalities. Instead, there is merely a brief exhortation to confront this fact by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is curious that in the prior chapter, there is an apparent reference to the blindness of the Jews reminiscent of Romans 11. Both Romans 11 and 2 Corinthians 3 state that the ending of this blindness, the “lifting of the vail upon their hearts” as it is called in 2 Corinthians 3:11-18, will happen when God commands it. The King James Version text states that this will happen when Israel turns to the Lord, and Zechariah 12 supports this. Israel’s turning to God will not occur as a result of Christians binding and rebuking dominions and directing prayer towards them, but after the times of the Gentiles – as mentioned in Romans 11 – ceases. Just as the return of Israel from Babylonian captivity happened when the prophesied 70 years were completed, the coming of Israel to Jesus Christ will occur when the times of the Gentiles end, and this is a predetermined time known only by God the Father. Warfare prayers cannot open the eyes of the blind. Only the Holy Spirit can. The Holy Spirit does this in concert with the preaching of the gospel by drawing sinners, convicting them and opening the eyes of those Satan has blinded.

Parable of the Sower

This brings us to the parable of the sower of Mark 4:3-20, Matthew 13:3-23, and Luke 8:5-15. This parable is probably the best theological treatment of evangelism and missions in the Bible, and all of the apostolic teachings in the epistles, including Paul’s, merely expands on it, or enhances the Christology of it. Jesus Christ is the seed, for His gospel is the seed, and the legitimate gospel presents Jesus Christ Himself: it is Jesus Christ Himself through the reality of His existence, His teachings, His work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead that is being sowed into hearts. Also, Jesus Christ is the sower, for it is the church, Jesus Christ’s own body, that preaches the gospel. For brevity, Luke’s presentation will be given.

5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed , some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down , and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up , it withered away , because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it , and choked it. 8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up , and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried , He that hath ears to hear , let him hear . 9 And his disciples asked him, saying , What might this parable be ? 10 And he said , Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see , and hearing they might not understand . 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear ; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved . 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear , receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe , and in time of temptation fall away . 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard , go forth , and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection . 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Please note first of all that the gospel is not only or merely to be preached where the way has first been paved by spiritual warfare and directed prayer. Instead, the seed is sowed everywhere. The gospel must be taken wherever the Christian goes, and it should be preached for and to the glory of God in addition to the goal of converting sinners. It is not to be preached in some strategic, planned manner desired to produce the most or best results after the manner of some corporate marketing scheme or government program.

Quite the contrary, the sowing of the seed seems almost heedless or arbitrary. The sower is only concerned about sowing the seeds, and the sower then leaves the seeds to their own fate. The reason is that the job of the sower begins and ends with sowing the seeds. (Please note that we are speaking of evangelism only, not discipleship or fellowship.) Just as a human farmer planting corn or watermelon, he simply puts the seed into the ground and allows “nature” (not really!) to take over.

Sure, he may water it, fertilize it, and take actions to remove weeds, but none of those will make the seed grow. Only God (not “nature”) can make the seed grow! And the same as it is with evangelism. Directed warfare prayer does not convert people, only the Holy Spirit does. The only caveat is that for the seed to grow, it must first be planted, so for converts to be made, the gospel should be preached. So, efforts in binding, rebuking demons and praying against them should be redirected towards evangelism, whether personal or public.

Another consideration: of the four groups listed by Jesus Christ, which were the seeds that landed 1. on the wayside, 2. on stony ground, 3. among thorns and 4. in good soil, the works of Satan were only explicitly mentioned in one of those, the ones that landed on the wayside! Now Luke 8:13 does say that Satan does this in order to prevent people from being saved. But Matthew 13:19 states that this is made possible only because of the failure of the person to understand or comprehend the gospel! While this certainly reminds one of Hosea 4:6’s “many people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge”, the truth is that only the Holy Spirit gives one knowledge or comprehension of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14 states that the natural man cannot perceive or understand spiritual things, and that includes the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, binding and rebuking the enemy and directed warfare prayer will not result in the effectual opening of the hearts of the gospel, because this will not happen in a heart where the Holy Spirit is not active to provide comprehension of that gospel!

Now what of the other two groups who are not saved, meaning those among the thorns and those on the stony ground? The failure of these groups are not attributable to evil spirits, but of human nature: the flesh. Those among the thorns do not persevere because they prefer the riches and cares of this world. They are akin to Demas and the aforementioned Simon Magus. While it is true that Satan is behind the Babylon system that tempts men with its illicit pleasures, but going into spiritual battle against that system is to no avail when the issue is not the Satanic availability of the system, but the failure of man to resist it. Again, without the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not so much that Satan that man cannot overcome, but rather his own flesh that Satan appeals to with his temptations: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It was these things that Satan appealed to in order to cause the fall of Adam, and it was also these things that Jesus Christ resisted during His time of temptation in the desert. So, it is not the presence of Satan but the absence of the Holy Spirit that is the key here, and that is something that warring against devils will not fix.

The same is true with the other group, the one that falls among thorns. Though Revelation and other areas of the Bible make it abundantly clear that Satan provokes and controls the persecution of those who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, the issue is those who yield to this persecution because of the weakness of the flesh. The parents of the man born blind refused to testify to the miracle of Jesus Christ worked on their own son because they feared being put out of the synagogues. The gospels refer to many others who believed in Jesus Christ but refused to testify of it because they feared the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Of those like unto them, Jesus Christ said that those who are ashamed of Him in this life will not be saved on judgment day!) The epistle to the Hebrews was written to warn Jewish Christians that they could not be saved if they abandoned the faith due to persecution, and Revelation 2-3 (indeed the entire epistle!) was written for the purposes of encouraging Christians to endure persecution to the very end.

Falling away due to the cares of the world and falling away due to persecution are two sides of the same coin. One is more concerned with pleasing the flesh than pleasing God, and the other is more concerned with preserving the flesh than preserving the relationship with God, and both are of Esau in that they mortgage their future inheritance for much lesser benefits in the present. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives Christians comprehension of the gospel so that Satan cannot deceive them with a lie (i.e. false Babylon religions including atheism), and the Holy Spirit is also the One who seals Christians so that they do not yield to the pressure on their flesh that the Babylon system exerts either through persecution or enticement. So, in all three cases, spiritual warfare and directed prayer will not overcome the lack of Holy Spirit involvement concerning an unbeliever. Doctrines otherwise are those which place the erstwhile spiritual warrior in the place of God.

More Workers In The Vineyard

Now Jesus Christ did tell us to pray on matters concerning evangelism and missions. However, just as Paul exhorted Christians to pray for the protection and the success of the missionaries and evangelists, Jesus Christ instructed us to pray for more missionaries. Matthew 9:36-28 reads “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted , and were scattered abroad , as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

Similarly Luke 10:2 reads “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into his harvest.” Now the prayer was not that the works and workers of Satan would be thwarted and overthrown so that people could be saved. Instead, the prayers were for more workers for the harvest! Why? The key term is “the Lord of the harvest.” YHWH is the Lord of the harvest, meaning that He is utterly sovereign over salvation of men.

The term translated “Lord” in this passage, kyrios, means (in the context that is most relevant here) “about which he has power of deciding.” Do not be deceived: the number of those who will be saved and the identity of those who will be saved is known by God, decreed by God, and is set forth by God from before the foundation of the world (Mat 25:34, Eph 1:4). Otherwise, in what sense could YHWH be the Lord of the harvest? In that case, YHWH could be manager of the harvest. Or CEO of the harvest. But YHWH could not truly be the Lord, the complete and total ruler, of it!

Consider an illustration. If you are selling a product, the manager or CEO can run the operation of manufacturing and marketing the product, but he does not have the power to choose who buys. Even if he breaks down and destroys opposition to the sale of his product by driving all competitors out of business and overcoming tariffs and regulations (the business equivalent of spiritual warfare evangelism) the consumer decides whether to buy or sell or not. Because the manager or CEO, despite all of his efforts and talents, still does not ultimately determine whether his product is bought or not (or by whom it is not) he is not the lord of the marketplace, only a manager or CEO in it. But God, in His sovereignty, is Lord of the harvest. He is Lord of evangelism. He is Lord of missions.

Thus, the number of those who will be saved, set forth from before the foundation of the world, will not be reduced by the plans of Satan, for God’s purposes shall come to pass. His Word shall not return null and void, but instead go forth and accomplish its purposes! Also, this number will not be enlarged by the prayers and warfare of the saints. We are but God’s servants, not little gods with dominion over salvation and those who hold the eternal fates of men in our limited, flawed sinful hands. So, our role is to pray that more Christians would obey God by taking on the duty of active evangelism and missions so that God will be glorified by more people, and so that there will be a further division of labor.

So, the Bible clearly teaches that spiritual warfare missions/evangelism is to no avail. Instead, we should do what the Bible actually tells us, which is to pray for the salvation of sinners, pray for more evangelists and to be evangelists ourselves. In this way we properly apply the Biblical evidence, obey God and glorify YHWH who is the Lord of His harvest.

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, how does this relate to you? It is simple: you must repent of your sins and believe in the deity, virgin birth, atoning death on the cross for sins, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, you will be one of the seeds that did not land on good soil, and therefore lost to an eternal punishment in the lake of fire. But be encouraged: Jesus Christ promised that none of those given to Him by God the Father would be lost. So, one must take on their responsibility of believing in and confessing the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be saved in order to make their calling and election in Jesus Christ sure. Do this now! In order to do so, please click on the link below and:

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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