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Posts Tagged ‘Albert Pendarvis’

A Question For Premillennial Dispensational Rapture Believers: Explain The Fifth Seal In Revelation!

Posted by Job on September 25, 2009

Revelation 6:9-11 reads

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

The Word of God for the elect people of God. Glory be to God.

For my premillennial dispensational brethren who believe in a pretribulation (or prewrath) rapture that spares the church from the time of sorrow, please explain this text. Who are those slain for the Word of God? Are they Christians? And when will these Christians be slain for their testimony? Does it refer to those believers slain in times past, whether in the Old Testament or at the time that Revelation was written? Or does it refer to believers slain during the great tribulation? (If so, how can any Christian stand under persecution, even martyrdom, without being emboldened by the Holy Spirit, which according to premillennial dispensational doctrine has to be taken from the earth along with the church? Please recall the difference between Peter and the apostles before the Comforter – cowering and fearful and running from their lives – and afterwards – bold and brave witnesses even unto death. As a matter of fact Peter himself went from being the worst – the one who denied Christ three times – to being the boldest. And how can anyone even be saved during the great tribulation without the work of the Holy Spirit? Recall: the Holy Spirit was indeed present during the time of the Old Testament saints. Indeed, the Bible states that the earth’s very existence cannot so much as even be sustained without the Spirit of God.) Or does it refer to believers slain during all ages, from the first (Abel) until the last before the return of Jesus Christ?

To interpret this passage with scripture, let us go to another one in Revelation that touches the martyrdom of the saints, which is Revelation 18:24. Please recall that this chapter refers to the fall of Babylon,  which since the Tower of Babel incident and particularly since the destruction of the temple in 586 has been used to symbolize people and systems that rebel against and oppose God and persecute His elect covenant people, and that Revelation extends this symbolism with personification, describing all that opposes God as a harlot (prostitute), which in this verse is called “her”:  And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Now as much as I love my King James Version, allow me to quibble with their translation of “kai” to “and” in the phrase “and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Many times, “kai” is just used for emphasis, as an amplifier of degree or a focus of attention. This text should probably read:

“And in her [Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints, indeed all [prophets and saints] that were slain upon the earth.”

However, if you go with the King James Version, which granted carries much more weight and authority than my own, and all which follow its tradition on that text, then “and of all that were slain upon the earth” simply means that in Babylon was the blood of every person that has been murdered, all innocent blood that has been shed. This means that the prior clause “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints” means that “the prophets and saints” (a  New Testament idiom which refers to old covenant and new covenant believers) which means that the blood of Stephen and all other Christian martyrs ever since is contained in Babylon. So with reference to the elect the meaning is the same: the blood of everyone killed because of their faith in God is in Babylon.

So, if we interpret Revelation 6:9-11 with Revelation 18:24, when the fifth seal was opened the martyred souls viewed under the altar should very likely be interpreted to include every Christian martyr since Stephen. This would support the idea of a church that has always been under continuous tribulation. Such an interpretation would be consistent with, indeed fulfill the words of Jesus Christ in John 15:18-20.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

The Word of God for the people of God. Glory be to God.

Now one can hardly claim that those words were only aimed at the apostles. Those words are for all Christians for all time. So what basis is there for believing that there will be a rapture to save the church from a persecution that A) Jesus Christ said that we would face and B) Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to withstand? Now this is not an endorsement of the historicist, preterist or amillennial position that there will be no seven year literal great tribulation. Instead, it is to say that if there will be such a seven year literal great tribulation, the church will be present for it just as it has been present for all other tribulations, the “lesser” tribulations.

Now the prewrath (and mid-wrath) rapture adherent does have Revelation 3:10, which reads “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth”, in his favor. However, that could be fulfilled in a number of ways, including 1) a place of refuge (which ironically rapture believers commonly propose will exist for those who will saved during the great tribulation … again these people will have to be saved despite the absence of a church to preach the gospel or a Holy Spirit to perform regeneration) or 2) death. Do not let the “death” option astonish you, but instead study the scriptures, especially the Old Testament but also in the New Testament. It is a consistent theme that death is a way of being preserved, saved, spared from times of great evil … to be absent from the troubles of this world and present with God! Perhaps the best example of this is the death of Abijah, son of the wicked king Jeroboam, who died according to God’s will so that he would not be corrupted by Jeroboam and also not share in their judgment in 1 Kings 14. A New Testament example: at the time that he wrote Philippians 1:20-26, Paul viewed death as being removed from the extremely trying circumstances that he was living and exchanging it for a better fate. In that passage Paul stated “to die is gain”, but it appears that the rapture adherents have transformed it into “to be raptured is gain.”

So, the idea that there must be a rapture in order for Christians to be spared martyrdom seems to be inconsistent with Biblical revelation. It is also an idea that only makes sense for Christians living in the west. Practically everywhere else in the world, Christians face persecution: marginalization, poverty, disease, imprisonment, death. There are two doctrinal systems that have the effect of promoting the idea western Christians should have no part in what Christians in Indonesia, China, Iran, Palestine (and Israel!), India and Mexico (where Roman Catholic/pagan syncretists are persecuting Protestants) by simple right of geography of birth: pretribulation rapture and covenant theology. Pretribulation rapture teaches that Christians not currently under persecution now will never have to face it, because persecution will only come to “the good parts of the world” (i.e. “Christian nations” or “western nations” or “non-socialist nations” … you know, what Glenn Beck was referring to) when the anti-Christ (which 8% of New Jersey residents regard Obama to be) takes over it.

Now ask yourselves … why is it that Christians can be persecuted in some places (including Israel … and read this too!) now without the anti-Christ, but it requires the anti-Christ to happen in others (especially America)? Or that the saints in other places (and times, including in the west … remember the 30 Years War and the Anabaptists?) are not spared persecution, but only the modern American saints are? Only the idea that contemporary western (especially American and possibly British!) Christians are somehow better than Christians living in other times and places, and this fact would be due to America having some special status before God as a unique elect covenant nation, giving us special status within the Body of Christ. Of course, the Bible makes it clear in the Roman and Corinthian epistles that there is no special group or people with a special status, special favor, or special standing before God in the Body of Christ, but instead that we are one Body. Further, the Bible makes it clear that those who are accounted greater according to rank or authority (not standing or value) demonstrate this through being servant roles that cause us to A) serve those who are of lesser rank and authority and B) endure even greater persecution than those who are of lesser rank and authority. So, even if America did have some special standing before God, instead of our being wealthy decadent privileged Laodiceans, we would be poor, oppressed and serving everybody else! If you deny this, read the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ!

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Keep in mind, the version in Luke reads “Blessed are the POOR!”)
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The Word of God for the people of God. Glory be to God.

Now earlier I mentioned the covenant theologians, from whom the modern concept of the “Christian nation” originated. Covenant theologians believe – or at least believed – that people in “Christian nations” would or should be spared persecution only because in a church-state Christians would control the government, economy, military, police, and religion in a theocracy after the manner of Old Testament Israel. That is why such extreme theonomists and reconstructionists as Gary North and Rousas John (R. J.) Rushdoony deny that the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount apply to Christians, instead stating that it only applied to Jews living in that time. (Curiously, hyperdispensationalists believe the same.) While I believe the covenant theology position to be in error, this statement is aimed primarily at premillennnial dispensationalists.

So if America were this special, Christian nation, it would be marked by our poverty and service, not by our decadent delusions of religious nobility which makes us believe that we are somehow exempt from the sufferings of Christians living in Belarus or Namibia, or for that matter the Christians of the early church. After all, when Paul wrote his statement insisting that those in the Body of Christ were equals, the statements were direct AGAINST two groups of people: the Jewish Christians in the Roman church and the wealthy Christians in the Corinthian church. The Jewish Christians regarded themselves to be superior to the Gentile Christians because of nationality, and the wealthy Corinthian Christians regarded themselves as superior to the poorer believers because of their riches. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to tell both groups that they were wrong. So, then, how can we justify believing that a rapture will come and rescue us from the type of persecutions and deaths at the hands of Muslims that are going on all over the Middle East, Asia and Africa right now, such as the two million Christians that were killed in Sudan, many of whom were tortured, raped, doused with gasoline and set on fire, had their limbs chopped off, or were sold as slaves because they refused to renounce Christianity?

Ironically, the world, including the media, the activists, and the government of our own “Christian nation”, did their level best to ignore this genocide, choosing instead to focus on Muslims murdering other Muslims in Darfur. And let us not forget that the term for which the word genocide was originally invented and applied to, that of the Armenians by the Turks, is still not recognized as such by the U.N. or by the government of our “Christian nation.” It is still more ironic when you consider that the Armenian genocide happened in the same general area that the letters in Revelation were sent, in the Turkey region. That persecution kicked off what was the bloodiest period of Christian persecution in history, the 20th century, that saw 45.5 million Christians killed!

So if there were any geographical or political entity within the Body of Christ that had special status, it would be those Christians because of their poverty and persecution who would come first, not us . It is those to whom the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ were addressed, and premillennial dispensationalism completely rejects that truth for the belief that the rapture will save Christians not yet under persecution from ever having to experience it because the saints who have it easier are the ones who fulfill Revelation 3:10! Never mind that the rich church that was not facing persecution was Laodicea, and the church that Revelation 3:10 was addressed to was Philadelphia. Why was the promise of Revelation 3:10 given to the Philadelphians? It is in Revelation 3:8, which reads “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” The Philadelphia Christians were being persecuted, and similar to the Sudanese Christians, they refused to yield to the persecution by denying Jesus Christ. In other words, they refused to do the same as the apostle Peter did THREE TIMES before he was empowered by the Holy Spirit, yet dispensationalism teaches that this Holy Spirit will be taken away, and those converted during the great tribulation will have to face the greatest time of sorrows ever without it, and will yet somehow stand? How? Why? Because of their free will? Or because of their inherently good human nature untainted by original sin? Followers of Reformed/Calvinist believers in the rapture like John MacArthur and Albert Pendarvis (the latter’s bookstore sells the Scofield Reference Bible) have to answer these questions! In any event, those who claim that Revelation 3:10 refers to Christians being raptured to escape persecution have to deal with the fact that the text was in reference to a Philadelphia church that was enduring it!

Make no mistake. I believe in a bodily literal return of Jesus Christ which I believe will occur after a literal great tribulation which will include a literal and personal anti-Christ. However, I also believe that the church will endure this tribulation, and that we need to be preparing ourselves and those who will follow us in the faith for it in a manner that is consistent with scripture as opposed to believing that we – or our WESTERN descendants – will have an experience of escaping it that will be unique to Christians living in other times and places. At the very least, someone must explain why western Christians alone should enjoy this pleasure!

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Will The Holy Spirit Be Taken From The Earth During The Great Tribulation?

Posted by Job on May 2, 2009

Many premillennial dispensational pastors teach that during the time of the great tribulation, the Holy Spirit leaves earth along with the church. Now consider this. As God is a spirit (John 4:24), the Holy Spirit is the presence of God. For God’s presence to be removed from the earth during the great tribulation or at any other times causes real problems, because God sustains and directs creation, which cannot operate without God’s presence and involvement. (The idea that God accomplished creation and left it to itself without His needing to operate, sustain, or otherwise be involved in it is theological liberalism at best and deism at worst.)

But apart from the larger question of precisely how creation will be sustained and operated for seven long years with God’s presence absent from it, there is the issue of salvation. Can anyone name a premillennial dispensationalist who denies that people will be saved during the tribulation? That would be very difficult, because Revelation does make reference to Christians that will be martyred after the time that according to this doctrine the church will have been raptured, and this is so for both the pre-tribulation and mid-tribulation rapture believers. First off, for this to even happen will mean that Jesus Christ’s promise concerning the Holy Spirit of John 14:16-18, that He will not leave us comfortless (meaning that the presence of God will never leave the church) would be broken. So … if John 14:16-18 can be violated, even for a time, then what secures John 3:16 and the other promises of God to the church? 

But again, back to salvation. The Bible explicitly teaches that the Holy Spirit is what accomplishes salvation. The Holy Spirit not only draws the sinner and convicts the sinner of unrighteousness, but the Holy Spirit actually accomplishes rebirth. This must be the case, for salvation is quite literally a miracle, and all miracles are the work of the Holy Spirit. No miracles cannot occur without the presence, moving and working of God. But if the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth, how can salvation occur? Who will draw sinners? Who will convict sinners of unrighteousness? Most important: who will perform the miraculous work of regeneration, of new birth? 

Recall what Jesus Christ told Nicodemus in John 3:5-8, which is that salvation, new birth, is impossible unless someone is born again, and born again can only occur by water and spirit, which is the Holy Spirit. But to repeat, if the Holy Spirit has been taken from the earth, how can the rebirth, the salvation that can only occur by the Holy Spirit occur?

There is only one explanation. It is the doctrine that salvation is not the work of the Holy Spirit, but rather of human decision, of free will. Now claiming that it is totally or completely free will is Pelagianism, or shall we say hyperArminianism. The mainstream orthodox free will doctrine is that the work of the Holy Spirit empowers a free will decision to accept or reject Jesus Christ. An extension of this is foreknowledge, which states that God from His timeless perspective knows in advance who will accept and reject Him, so He elects those who will – or in truth have already – elected Him, and places them in human history in situations where they will hear the gospel. (In other words, God loves us because we first loved Him.)

Now the free will doctrine which states that the job of the Holy Spirit is to empower human decision is necessary to reconcile decision soteriology with what the Bible actually says. However, we see that this really is merely a cover, an exterior. At the heart of this doctrine is that salvation is completely the work of human decision, and that the Holy Spirit is not necessary at all. That is why it is so easy for the very same free will Christians to declare that salvation is made possible by the Holy Spirit’s overcoming the effects of the fall long enough to empower man to make a free will choice to immediately turn around and assert that during the tribulation, the Holy Spirit is gone and yet people will still be saved!

This makes the work of the Holy Spirit to draw, convict, and actually accomplish new birth a mere technicality to free will salvation, an accessory if you will, that while very useful can be discarded if need be, such as during a crisis. And during the great crisis for humanity and creation that is the great tribulation, the presence of the Holy Spirit for those being saved is no more necessary than is the presence of a second lung or kidney. It is nice to have, but ultimately you can get along without it. After all, you still have the other lung or kidney, right? Well, it appears that with free will doctrine, one lung or kidney is God (the Holy Spirit) and the other lung or kidney is human initiative, human decision, human righteousness and self – worth, human works. It is interesting that in a crisis, God is the one which is declared to be superfluous, not truly necessary for life, and therefore sacrificed, while our human freedom, what is truly valued and important above all else, are the horns of the altar to which we hold fast to (see 1 Kings 2:27-34). Perhaps, then, life as a slave or in an authoritarian culture (please recall that Christianity was birthed in the authoritarian, fascist Roman Empire which had no respect for individual rights or freedoms except for that of a privileged few, and most early converts to the religion were noncitizens and slaves!) is better suited to creating a mindset conducive to Christianity than previously thought. After all, the Declaration of Independence was written by a deist, not a Christ.

According to all Biblical evidence including the words of Jesus Christ Himself, the idea that salvation can occur without the Holy Spirit is severe error, a rejection of a truth plainly taught in scripture, and also attributing the work of the Holy Spirit (salvation) to another, giving another credit for what God does. (However, it is not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin, which Jesus Christ states is attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Giving the glory for the work of the Holy Spirit to man is a sin, but quite different than attributing salvation to being the work of Beelzebub.) So is the idea that the church will be left without its Comforter, the Holy Spirit. So, what does that mean for this doctrine? 

I suppose that the rapture doctrine itself can be salvaged for those who choose to adhere to it. However, one simply cannot claim that there will be no Christians afterwards, as the Bible clearly contradicts it … saints will be martyred during the tribulation according to Revelation and the Olivet discourses.  One also cannot claim that the “tribulation church” or the “tribulation saints” will be there without the Holy Spirit, as Jesus Christ said that such a thing would never happen. And one cannot claim that the “tribulation saints” will consist of a single person born again while the Holy Spirit is removed. 

So, the only way to salvage the rapture doctrine is to abandon the claim that the Holy Spirit will be taken from the Earth during the great tribulation, or at any other time that the church will be on the earth or that people will be added to the church. While this is certainly possible, the question must be asked  A) where this “the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth during the tribulation” doctrine came from and B) why it was embraced. Why did not these people, these great pastors, theologians, and eminent Bible scholars, simply ask: without the Holy Spirit how can anyone be saved and “how can any Christian endure daily life, let alone tribulation and martyrdom, without the ministry of the Comforter?”

Now the doctrines of God are supposed to be the head of all doctrines of Christianity and the focus of our faith. We are supposed to look at every doctrine and ask “How is God working in this? How does this glorify God? How does this accomplish God’s purposes? Where is God in this story”? That this “the Holy Spirit will be removed from the tribulation church” doctrine has been able to gain such unqualified support in huge swaths of evangelical Christianity shows that this is not the case. In it, God and His workings are not necessary to bring about conversion, to seal believers, to preserve them in the faith. Man is able to accomplish these things, to save himself, minister to himself, and persevere in the faith himself, without God’s help. Oh what a great, glorious, marvelous, fantastic, mighty to contemplate and behold, inherently virtuous thing this man must be! But if this was the case, then why did Adam, who knew not original sin, fall?

Instead, this shows that for so many premillennial dispensational Christians, the head of their doctrines are not the doctrines of God, but rather the doctrine of the rapture and the doctrine of human decision. Now the Gospel of John depicts the sin sacrifice of God’s own Word on the cross as the climaxing event of human history, the ultimate act of revelation and self – disclosure to creation. Premillennial dispensationalism, on the other hand, places the rapture of the church as the climax of human history, and the cross as merely being an event that leads to it. Why? Because the cross was about God, Jesus Christ. The rapture, meanwhile, us about the church. The cross is about people. Saved people, yes, but still people. The rapture is about US.

Which means, of course, that Christianity basically becomes about the desire to be raptured. Being raptured becomes our hope, our motivation, the main priority. And that explains so many of the strange actions in these last days. For example: our relationship with the Jews and Israel. The ingathering of Jews to Israel and the rebuilding of the temple is the main priority because of its importance to the rapture. So, Christians are required to deny the fact that Jesus Christ replaced Israel and fulfilled Israel’s mission in salvation and world events within Himself. Even further, Christians are required to pretend that modern Judaism is just another godless religion, no different from Islam, and pretend that there is any precious difference between a government and society  based around modern Judaism – a theocracy – and a similar Hindu or Muslim nation like India or Turkey. It has even reached the point where leading pastors can openly advocate dual covenant theology, that there a superior path to salvation for Christians and an inferior, harder, but still attainable and valid path of salvation for Jews, without causing a ripple of controversy. And it has reached the point where investing an incredible amount of resources to lending political and financial support to a theocracy who denies Christ and works to continue and further the denial of Christ by as many people as possible has taken priority over actually doing what Jesus Christ told us to do, which was the Great Commission. Again, where not one scripture can be honestly interpreted in a way that would command Christians to support the modern political state of Israel, the primary thing that Jesus Christ told us to do, evangelize, gets neglected. Why? Because evangelizing the world – the one thing that Jesus Christ actually said would bring about His return – is not as important as ingathering and protecting Jews in Israel, because obeying the commands of Jesus Christ has to take a backseat to getting raptured as soon as possible. So, given the choice between giving money to Israeli causes knowing full well that the Israeli charities forbid evangelizing Jews and also helping to rebuild the temple takes priority over obeying the commands of Jesus Christ by, say, making a concerted effort to evangelize the Palestinians. Why? Because though obeying God by evangelizing the Palestinians is nice and all, I would rather support the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (which adamantly opposes converting Jews to Christianity) and help breed heifers for the new temple (never mind that Hebrews stated that burnt offerings went away with Jesus Christ). Why? Because while obeying God is a good thing and all, supporting anti-missionary organizations and building a temple that rejects the work of Jesus Christ helps me by speeding up the rapture and getting me out of here faster, and pursuing my own interests takes priority over the commandments of God!

So, it is apparent: doctrines of man, and particularly of man’s inherent righteousness and ability to do good works apart from God, including pursue his own interests, and of the rapture,  which provides a doctrinal construct to pursue these things, are at the head of this particular strand of premillennial dispensationalism, and not the doctrines of God. So the question is: does this go as far as being another gospel? Is it another gospel?

This is a question that we must ask Reformed pastors who believe in the rapture as do Albert Pendarvis and John MacArthur. Such people state that salvation and perseverance of the saints are impossible without the Holy Spirit, that free will, human initiative, is impossible in these matters. If that is the case now, how can it be the case after the rapture? Reformed evangelical pastors emphasize grace. But how can the grace of God by which salvation and perseverance is only possible through the ministry of the Holy Spirit no longer be necessary after the rapture? Reformed evangelicals also assert sola scriptura. Well, can any sola scriptura Reformed evangelical who believes that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth and the tribulation church following the rapture show where it states or even implies in scripture where it is so? I dare say that the scriptures that Reformed evangelicals use to support cessationism, a doctrine about which I am very doubtful, make a much stronger case. 

Now my position is that the position that the church will be raptured, whether pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation (before the final bowl judgments) by itself is not. However, the position that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth during the great tribulation is another gospel, because it teaches that man can save himself and can persevere in the faith by himself without needing God to perform – or so much as even aid – either. That is a strong delusion, and from such a false gospel, I urgently beg, entreat, plead, and in the Name of Jesus Christ pray that you will turn away.

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The HyperCalvinist Old Trailblazer On Christmas: A Demon Holiday

Posted by Job on December 19, 2007

This is from the original trailblazer, L. R. Shelton, who died in 1971. His successor is Albert Pendarvis, who a couple of years ago was the first non – Arminian pastor I was ever exposed to.

radiomissions.org/sermons/xmas.html

Posted in Calvinism, Christianity, idolatry, paganism | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Can We Do Anything To Speed The Return Of Jesus Christ? Why I Say NO!

Posted by Job on November 20, 2007

Up until very recently I sincerely felt that Christians could speed the return of Jesus Christ by doing works, such as spreading the gospel. But now I find out by reading “Messiah In The Old Testament” by the (rather liberal but still orthodox) Walter Kaiser out that the Pharisees had that same error. They were correct in presuming that their failure to keep the law resulted in their nation being sent into captivity and subjected to brutal subjugation. They were correct that the prophets who foretold their current fate also spoke of a coming Messiah. So then, what was their error? A perfectly understandable mistake: that if disobeying the law caused them to lose their nation, monarchy, and sovereignty, then keeping the law would cause these things to be restored by the Messiah that their prophets spoke of. Of course, the natural progression was that the Jews could speed the return of the Messiah by being VERY ZEALOUS, but that being “less than zealous” would hinder his coming. That is why their actions against Jesus Christ, who like John Hagee His being Messiah they rejected, were very understandable … they thought that His using His influence with the people to disobey their interpretation of the law was hindering the restoration of Israel and the Messianic age.

This belief did not die, incidentally. The reason why Jews went from tolerating Jesus Christ’s Jewish followers as a sect within Judaism (if an errant bothersome one … though they far from the only ones considered errant and bothersome) to expelling them from their synagogues as apostates and heretics was because they were ultimately scapegoated for the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and Jerusalem in 117 AD. Why? Because they were following the Man who taught them to disobey the law, causing God to punish us as He did in 586 BC. (Of course, this is not said directly, instead they say that the reason why the second temple was destroyed was “the lack of unity.”) And though this is similarly rarely spoken of, some Jewish leaders blamed the Holocaust on a number of Jews going after secularism and liberalism (Conservative and Reform Judaism) and a general failure to keep the Sabbath. And to this day, the goal of rabbinic Judaism is to cause God to grant the Jewish nation their Messiah.

Is it an oversimplification to say that the Pharisees were too preoccupied and self – assured in their doctrines that they could bring cause the Messiah to come through works that they did not recognize the Messiah when He came to them not by their works to do their Will but by God’s grace to do God’s Will? For it must be said: the Word of God says that if a man labors, he must reap the benefits thereof. If even the ox that treads the corn should not be muzzled, how much more so should a man that labors be? So the inevitable conclusion is that with anything that man produces with works, man can take some credit for it. Man can take some ownership of it. Man can have some control over it. As such, the Messiah produced by works would have been THEIR Messiah to do THEIR Will, even if only least in part. So when Jesus Christ came to do not their Will in any sense but God’s, and was so not owned by or beholden to man that He did no so much as have a human father, they rejected Him because He was not the creation of their own hands. Nay, He was not the creation of ANY, but rather the uncreated God, the Word of the Trinity.

That is why our own salvation cannot be the result of works. If we labored in any least sense, in any jot or tittle, then that would give us that much ownership rights and control over our souls. That would deprive God not only of His due glory, but His ownership rights as our sole creator and sole managers of our destiny. And since works produce works, it would give preachers and evangelists ownership rights over those converted by their efforts! Now imagine the effect of this … the great masses of the redeemed dwelling with God in heaven, not only with each having a claim on himself and many having claims on others, but the combined net worth effect of their collective claims! For eternity! (Believe in interest perhaps?) So I say “God forbid!” Such a thing cannot not be and will not be. What say you?

And that brings us to the Imminent return of our Lord and Savior Y’shua HaMashiach, better known as Jesus Christ. If it were possible to facilitate or speed His return by the gospel or any other works, we would have a claim on His Return and Him with it! Since all things were created by the Word (John 1:3) through Him we would have a claim on the entire creation. And since He is one with the Holy Spirit, we would through Him have a claim on the Holy Spirit. And since He is one with the Father, we would through Him have a claim on the Father. And because sinful man would have a valid legal claim on the Father, the Father would no longer be holy and no longer sovereign. The result? He would be a false god, no god at all! God forbid that such a thing should happen. So now, Christian, do you see the error of works based theology?

Yet works based theology is alive and well in Christendom, and it is not limited to the Roman Catholic Church. It is alive and well in the Protestant movement too. Let me give you three ways.

1. Tithing. The practice was for the Old Testament only and for a specific purpose: to support the priests who stood before God’s presence as man’s mediator. The Book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ is our priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. From that, if you continue to tithe to your pastor or church, two things can reasonably be inferred. A. It is your pastor and your church and not Jesus Christ that is the mediator between you and the Father. Please realize that such is the position of the Roman Catholic Church. I cannot help but – after a somewhat whimsical fashion – wonder if Matthew 23:9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” is a prophetic polemic against the Roman Catholic practice to come. B. That Jesus Christ either never came, never died, or never resurrected. Those who continue this practice in ignorance of the truth do so in ignorance of the truth. But to those that have come into the knowledge of the truth, new covenant giving is to be directed by 2 Corinthians 9:7 which reads: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

2. The prosperity/Word of Faith movement, where we are taught that we receive things from God not according to grace, but by works. The prosperity doctrine the works are actually somewhat indirect through obedience (to quote Jesse DuPlantis, “the prosperity doctrine is an obedience doctrine”) and compulsory giving (John Hagee teaches that those who do not tithe will have their wages cursed by God, and that you will receive a greater blessing for giving to Jews and Israel than elsewhere). But the Word of Faith movement is more direct in telling people that you can bit a bridle and harness in the mouth of God, hop upon His back, and drive and command Him to use His Power to control nature and history as you see fit! It was from Albert Pendarvis of http://www.radiomissions.org – who ironically is located a few miles away from Jesse DuPlantis – whom I first heard warn Christians against those preachers that were “commanding God, not respecting Him, and misusing His Name” in the charismatic movement, especially the faith healers. Of course I was a full gospel Kenneth Hagin Word of Faith/prosperity adherent at the time so I rejected him at the time, but now I must acknowledge the truth in his preaching in this matter. These doctrines deny grace and try to co – opt, manipulate, and control God.

3. Christian Zionism. If you are a dispensational pre – tribulation rapture doctrine adherent, I shall not speak against you for believing in that doctrine. What I do speak against is how so many pastors who hold this view teach that we can speed or facilitate the return of Jesus Christ based on it! For instance, some Christians are helping finance the return of Jews to Israel. But the Bible says that it is the Messiah’s job to do this in Jeremiah 23:3-6. Some Christians are helping Jews breed red heifers so that the Jews can restart their sacrifices in the temple. Why are we facilitating that which we no there is no profit but instead is a snare, an act of rebellion against everything that Hebrews says? Are we helping the Muslims practice their religion? Why not? Are they not the children of Abraham too? Are we aiding the Hindus, Mormons, and Scientologists in their abominations? Did Jesus Christ come in the flesh, die on the cross for our sins, and rise again on the third day or not? Did He do such a thing for the Jew first and then the Gentile or did He not? Are we ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Jews’ presence? For the Jews’ sake? Well what John Hagee is now preaching is merely the fruition, the logical conclusion of that mindset!

And speaking of John Hagee, it is not enough to speak of his dual covenant theology, though it is bad. Hagee, Robertson, and their fellow travelers use “defending Israel” as an license to justify whatever level of atrocity and militarization of the Middle East they desire. With Hagee, his running a “Christian AIPAC” gives a third tier televangelist from San Antonio great wealth and power. And as for Robertson, who does own oil interests, how much is his personal wealth increased by oil being over $100 a barrel? And how much higher will the price of oil go if our government assassinates Hugo Chavez as Pat Robertson suggested? How much higher will it go if we invade Iran as Hagee demands? Now Hagee prophesied (back when I was a fan of his show) that we would be at war with Iran by now and that Jesus Christ would come back a few months later. Put all the details in his best – selling books. A false prophet that no one has held accountable? Of course!

But consider what would happen if Hagee was RIGHT. That would mean that it would be possible for even crooks, liars, thieves, and false prophets to have a claim on God if works doctrines be true. Though they are false preachers, the gospel is preached through these fellows, and people are saved by it. But you can see the effects of people perceiving works doctrines to be true? These pastors have tens, possibly hundreds, of millions of people at their command, onward Christian soldiers marching to war! Blood, violence, disease, starvation, death, and poverty for the many. All for the profit of a few. Is that the gospel of Jesus Christ? Maybe a false Jesus Christ that you can own through works, but not the true Jesus Christ obtained only by grace. We are to show love to God’s people and His holy city, certainly, but the way that the Bible tells us to. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Support the legitimate needs of Jews out of love and obedience to God, not expecting blessings in return or in support of a political agenda. And to also give aid to the Palestinians so as to not show partiality.

So in the final analysis we must come to the conclusion that man can do nothing to speed the return of Jesus Christ. No one knows the day or the hour. Jesus Christ is returning when the Father sees fit. The sovereign God will determine when Christ will return. God is not hindered by man, He is not frustrated by man, He is not dependent upon man. God is sovereign. 2 Peter 3:9 declares that it is by the grace of God and not the works of man that has hindered the coming of Jesus Christ to this day, and it will be by that same grace that Jesus Christ comes to rescue the church from this life and punish all else for its uncleanness. Yes, it is said that Christ will not return until the gospel is preached throughout the world, and that does mean that evangelism and missionary work should be done in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth from the least to the greatest, the youngest to the oldest. But even that will not be our doing lest any man should boast, but rather God’s doing. I am going to co – opt the words that so offended the renowned missionary William Carey and say that when it pleases God to evangelize the world He will do it without your help or mine. He will do it without the ecumenical movements. He will do it without the TBN satellites that Paul Crouch asserted in one of his mass mailings was the angel flying around the world proclaiming the gospel in Revelation 14:6.

The sovereign God will do this by His grace! And when history comes to a close, all creation will see that God does not need us. Instead, it is we that need Him. The only question is whether people realize this in due time or in past time. Those who do so in due time will receive eternal life as a reward. Those who fail? Eternal wrath and destruction. Will you do so know? Will you bow before the Great King of creation, acknowledge that you need Him, and submit yourself to Him? I urge you to do so now, for tomorrow is not promised. There are many people that were here yesterday that presumed that they would be here today that are not. Are you better than they are? If so, how? I say this not to frighten or manipulate you but rather because I am concerned about you, and also because it is undeniably true. If you have not acknowledged the sovereignty of God, please do so. Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan right now.

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