He Shall Be Called a Nazarene

He Shall Be Called a Nazarene

 

Matthew 2:19-23

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” NKJV

 

I’ve heard many people, including some Christians and even some “scholars,” insist that Matthew 2:23 is a glaring error on the part of the Apostle Matthew because no Old Testament prophecy mentions the Messiah being called a “Nazarene.” But is this really the case?

While it is true that the word Nazarene appears no place per se in the Old Testament, it is still a huge leap into the dark (just before landing in the firey pit) to say that Matthew is in error. The problem has to do with the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew, Aramiac, and Greek) that do not easily or readily translate into English. Sadly, ignorance of the prophetic Scriptures on the part of the translators only compounds the problem at times, as do the theological biases of the translators. But to be fair to those who work so diligently to give us GOOD translations, they suffer with the same malady of fallibility as the rest of us, being prone to errors, whether intentional or not.

In reality, this problem can be solved through an examination of the original languages and the theology in the passages involved in this matter.

Matthew did not quote a particular prophet, but alluded to the predictions of the prophets in general. However, Matthew certainly did acknowledge that the Old Testament prophets predicted the Messiah would be called a Nazarene. The Hebrew word nay’-tser means “a branch,” and in Isaiah 11:1, 14:19; and Daniel 11:7 it refers directly to the Messiah as “branch.” And it is believed that “Nazareth” comes from this Hebrew word “nay’-tser.”

Isaiah 11:1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. NKJV

Isaiah 14:19 But you are cast out of your grave Like an abominable branch, Like the garment of those who are slain, Thrust through with a sword, Who go down to the stones of the pit, Like a corpse trodden underfoot. NKJV

Daniel 11:7 “But from a branch of her roots one shall arise in his place, who shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the North, and deal with them and prevail. NKJV

Interestingly, Isaiah 14:19 mentions that this one is cast out of the grave like an abominable branch, and thrust through with a sword. Of course, we know Jesus was pierced with a sword, and that he did rise from the grave because death couldn’t hold Him and had to give him up.

A Nazarene (nay’-tser) is different than a Nazirite (naw-zeer’). They come from different Hebrew words. A Nazarene is a person from Nazareth, while a Nazirite is someone who took a vow to abstain from certain foods and cutting of the hair during a certain period of separation or consecration (Numbers 6:1-21).

Another interesting point to be made in this regard is that Nazareth was a place of low regard among the Jews. Nathaniel asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). It was this very kind of scornful attitude the prophets predicted would await the Messiah (Psalm 22:6; 118:22; Isaiah 53:3; Daniel 9:26; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7).

Therefore, Matthew 2:23 is not an error, and the Apostle Matthew knew exactly what he was talking about when he wrote of Jesus and His family, “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” Our Savior and our Bible are true!

The Sheep and the Goats

The Sheep and the Goats

Matthew 25: 31-46

31 ” When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

33 “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

36 ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

38 ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?

39 ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;

43 ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’

45 “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’

46 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” NKJV

Many people use this passage to try and prove various theological and doctrinal errors, such as that Jesus is in everyone, or that we can be saved by good works, or that everyone is part of the family of God, and will be saved in the end (universal reconciliation). However, this passage teaches none of these things.

First of all, this is an eschatological (end times) passage that deals with the judgment of nations at the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is not the same as the Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15, which takes place after the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:1-10). Matthew 25:31-46 deals with the judgment of Gentile nations (ethnicities) and how individuals within those nations treated believing Jews during the Great Tribulation period (Revelation 11-14). Matthew 25:40 says, “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Not all human beings are the brethren of Jesus Christ, but only those who have trusted Him for salvation through faith.

It is true that every human being is in the image and likeness of God, but that image has been marred by sin. Yet, while the image of God is in everyone, the presence of God does not abide in every person, but only in those who are saved. Therefore, this passage cannot be dealing with our general responsibility to minister to others, especially the poor, the widows, and orphans (2 Corinthians 9:1-15; Galatians 2:10; James 1:27). It specifically refers to those who minister to the persecuted Jews during the Great Tribulation period. So, Christians need to stop saying that Jesus is in everyone because that IS NOT true. Minister to the needs the Lord brings to your attention as best you are able, but tell them about Jesus while you do. Otherwise, we send them to hell with their thirst quenched, their bellies full, their minds educated, and their health improved.

Second, this passage does not mean that all will be saved in the end. In fact, verses 41 and 46 clearly state that those who did not care for the needs of Jesus’ brethren during this time will be sent to everlasting punishment.

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” NKJV.

The obvious reason for their refusal to minister to these needs is that they are unbelievers. Sadly, we are seeing a trend in the Western world even now where unbelievers are becoming ever more belligerent toward believers in Jesus Christ. While this attitude has been pervasive in most of the world for most of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ, it is a relatively new phenomenon in the West. This attitude is also experiencing a resurgence in areas that had been fairly tolerant of Christians until recently, which is largely the result of the resurgence of fundamental Koranic Islam. Again, we should minister to the needs the Lord brings to our attention as best we are able, but let’s tell them about Jesus while we do. Otherwise, we send them to hell with their thirst quenched, their bellies full, their minds educated, and their health improved. Let’s not fail to give them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whether a government likes it or not.

For more information than I can put into this short post, see the following sources:

The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries

AN INTERPRETATION OF MATTHEW 24-25: Part 39 – Matthew 25:31-46 Christ’s Glorious Coming and Judgment, by Thomas Ice

September 23, 2017 the Date of the Lord’s Return?

September 23, 2017 the Date of the Lord’s Return?

Extremist people in the kook fringe of the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation theology camp seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot. Even though the Bible clearly states, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36) regarding the Rapture of believers, there are always those who insist they can tell when the Lord will return for His Church.

This same idea of not knowing when the Lord will return is also related in Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:32; and Luke 12:46, Of course, on the other hand, Matthew 24:50 says, “The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of” (NKJV).

One would think that with the failed prophecy debacles of the late Harold Camping, along with the Shemitah (Jonathan Cahn) and four blood moon nonsense (Mark Biltz, John Hagee) these folks would have learned their lesson, but not so. No, these folks say they have finally figured it all out, and they know when the Lord will return, and it’s September 23, 2017. Why? Because they interpret the woman with the sun, moon, and stars in Revelation 12:1 to be the constellation Virgo aligning with other stars and planets. These people assert this happens only once every 7,000 years, but it actually occurs about every 11 years.

However well-meaning these folks may be, their prophecy will prove to be false, as have the scores of other predictions about the date of the Lord’s Return for His Church. Frankly, I’m sick of these theological midgets who insist on defying the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. With the number of believers I’ve known through the years who have become disillusioned with Christianity and left the Church altogether because of these false predictions, I no longer have any patience or niceties for these supreme blasphemers, who say that God has shown them something, when He has shown them NOTHING. They reject the very Scriptures they profess to believe, and they end up preaching what amounts to another Gospel, which is not THE GOSPEL. Paul proclaims ANATHEMA (damnation) on such people. May they repent or be silenced before they discourage and destroy the faith of more believers.

Revelation 12 is actually a prophecy about God’s protection for national Israel during the second half of the Great Tribulation period. If we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, we learn that this woman with the sun, moon, and stars is found only one other place in the Bible, and that is in Genesis 37:9-11. It clearly refers to Israel. The child Israel bore is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and the devil tried to destroy Him. Although Jesus died, He was caught up to heaven as the firstfruits of resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). Although the devil tries to destroy the woman during this time of tribulation, God protects her in the wilderness, and the archangel Michael and his angels fight against the dragon (Satan) and his fallen angels. Michael and his angels prevail, and Satan and his angels are thrown out of the heavenly realm altogether. Since the woman is protected in the wilderness, the dragon goes to make war with the rest of her offspring who are not in the wilderness camp.

Revelation 12:1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” 13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. NKJV

TO ALL STUDENTS OF PROPHECY, PLEASE STOP SETTING DATES! YOU WILL BE HUMIULIATED AND PROVEN A FALSE PROPHET. YOU ARE HARMING THE VERY MESSAGE YOU CLAIM YOU WANT TO PROMOTE WITH YOUR FALSE PROPHECIES AND DATE SETTING!!!! REPENT!!!

106 Faith-Leaders Sign Letter to Congressional Leadership

I wish so-called “Christian” leaders would do as good a job at preaching the true Gospel as they do pontificating about our responsibility to “protect the International Affairs Budget.” Considering the demonstrated morality, or rather lack thereof, of some of the signatories to this letter, it sounds more like a propaganda piece for the Marxist Social Justice Warrior crowds.

Furthermore, bringing Muslims to this country from countries that have no government structures to allow us to vett those who are coming into this country as part of some “refugee program” is just asking for trouble. And why is it that about 80% of these so-called refugees are men of military fighting age? This is the cultural invasion of Islam going on throughout the Western world, and we need to wake up and smell the Sharia coming our way, or else we are doomed to face the same cultural collapse that all of Europe is facing this very moment.

If we really want to help as many of these people as possible, then we can set up safe zones in their countries, and take care of 12 refugees for what it costs to settle 1 refugee here in this country. It really isn’t about helping refugees, or getting the Gospel to them, it’s about the agencies that are bringing them in and resettling them getting big bucks from the federal government. Now some ill-informed religious person will say, “But we’re giving them the Gospel!” The truth is, these Muslim refugees aren’t being given the Gospel. How do I know they’re not getting the Gospel? It’s because every one of the agencies bringing the Muslims into this country have signed contracts with the federal government expressly forbidding them to proselytize or evangelize the Muslims. Anyone who says differently is either ignorant or lying.

Also, I reject the notion that showing compassion means we must risk national suicide. It is a fact that Muslims DO NOT assimilate into any culture where they go. Even in our own country, just look at cities like Dearborn, Michigan, which is called such things as “Little Mecca,” or Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is being called “Little Mogadishu.” Look at any place the Muslims go—they do not assimilate!!! Just look at Europe right now. Even after having been in Europe for several generations, there are Muslims committing horrific terrorist acts. They are homegrown terrorists. We are either stupid or insane to think it will be different for us. When I hear these “leaders,” both political and spiritual, going on about compassion, I NEVER hear them talking about compassion for the citizens of this nation, the welfare of said citizens, or the preservation of our culture, however messed up it currently may be. I must insist it is better than any so-called “culture” Islam has, or ever has had, to offer. I’m certain these leaders WILL NOT step up and bear the responsibility of showing compassion to, and caring for, the victims of the terrorist attacks these people are bringing. Yes, over 70 terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by people from the countries President Trump is trying to put a temporary travel restriction on. And many political and religious leaders act like it’s the worst thing since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think the victims, and the families of any future victims, of Islamic terrorist attacks should call these very signatories to give an account of themselves for aiding and abetting terrorists to enter the country and attack our citizens.

Finally, I’m sick and tired of ivory tower intellectuals and religious elites who live in gated communities with private security guards trying to tell the rest of us how bringing in these non-assimilating people will all be okay. Right!!! Perhaps they should forego their closed gates, private security, and securely alarm systems on top of that, then their reassuring words might be a lot more reassuring. Well, I doubt it! They just need to stop trying to act like they know what’s best for the rest of the citizenry. I dare one of these turkeys to start talking this smack in a meeting where I’m in attendance. I will have my own very LOUD protest. It’ll be peaceful, but LOUD!!!

And I will reiterate something I’ve said many times in the last few years. NOBODY HAS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO ENTER THIS COUNTRY!

Here is the link to the letter “106 Faith-Leaders Sign Letter to Congressional Leadership Supporting U.S. International Affairs Budget“.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Revelation 6:1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. 3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. 5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” 7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. NKJV

TEXT: Revelation 6:1-8

THEME: Judgment is coming

INTRODUCTION: Our world is crying out for someone to come and fix the problems of the nations—the collapsing economies, the wars, the turmoil between nations, and the turmoil within nations that are collapsing from within. There is an old adage that says, “Be careful what you ask for; you may get it!” This is where we are today in the world, in our nation, and in the church. The world is asking for a leader and a government that they won’t want when they get it. We are—I believe—standing at the precipice of a world catastrophe unlike anything the world has ever seen, and many political and religious leaders are dumb dogs. Isaiah captured this thought when he spoke of the leaders of Israel.

The rest of this lesson is posted in this file.

2017-02-06-four-horsemen-of-the-apocalypse-revised-sermon

His Name Is Salvation

Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS. NKJV

Introduction:   If this passage teaches us anything, it teaches us that God is sovereign and faithful. He keeps His promises & blesses those who obey Him.

Mary & Joseph lived in a time when God’s people had no hope and no expectation of deliverance, liberty, or prosperity in the natural sense. They lived under the iron fist of Rome, and Rome placed a heavy burden on those peoples and nations it occupied. Rome’s treatment of the Jews was certainly no less oppressive, and was likely more oppressive, than their occupation of other lands. This was the time in which God chose to send His Deliverer—His Christ or Messiah.

This account reveals God’s dealings with a faithful girl of probably 13 or 14 years of age, and young man of probably 19 or 20 years of age. They were poor and lived in Nazareth—a city of which it was said that nothing good came from it. The religious people of that day considered it a useless place with equally useless inhabitants. Even the godly Nathaniel, who became a disciple of Jesus Christ asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (NKJ John 1:46).

Yet Mary & Joseph were thrust into the limelight of human history from this stage—both their lives and history would be changed through these events.

The name Jesus literally means YHWH Is Salvation.

2016-12-10-his-name-is-salvation

The Beginning of Sorrows

The Beginning of Sorrows

 Matthew 24:1-8

1 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 “All these are the beginning of sorrows. NKJV

Of all the things Jesus teaches the disciples, and us, in this chapter, His overriding warning is against being deceived. Verses 4, 5, 11, and 24 all include this warning, as follows.

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.

Matthew 24:5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

Matthew 24:11 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

Matthew 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect

Verse 3 makes clear that Jesus had given the disciples enough teaching regarding the end times for them to know the difference between His “Parousia” or coming for the Church, and the “End of the Age.”

So, the three questions of the disciples are:

  1. When will these things be? (What things? The destruction of the Temple).
  2. And what will be the sign of Your coming? (Parousia).
  3. And of the end of the age?

In Matthew 24, Jesus doesn’t answer their first question about the destruction of the Temple because He is dealing with the end of the age when the Jews will turn to Him in faith as a nation. Luke 21:20-24 deals with the destruction of Jerusalem. Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 are all apocalypse chapters and while there is a great deal of overlap in teaching, there are also some differences in emphasis and details. The main point of this posting is Jesus’ warning to His people not to be deceived, especially at the “end of the age.”

There is little interest in Bible prophecy or Eschatology in most Church circles these days, and at least some of the blame lies squarely at the feet of those who teach on prophecy. On the one hand, we have people trying to predict the date of the Lord’s return, contrary the Lord’s own words in Scripture (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44, 50; 25;13; Mark 13:32), and trying to play pin the tail on the Antichrist, even though he won’t be revealed until Christians are taken out of the world by the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). On the other hand, there is a new breed of prophecy teachers with a Postmodern worldview who are looking at the merging of man and machine or man and spirit beings, called Transhumanism. This is the flipside of the kook factor in the Bible prophecy movement, and it is gaining ground by leaps and bounds. Popular teachers are embracing it, and it is leading to great deception regarding the potential of humans. However, it’s basic ideas mesh very well with the human potential movement. Basically, it communicates the idea that mankind’s potential is unlimited, and presents an almost evolutionary view of humanity, but this is a deception and a delusion, and may well play a part in leading to what the New Testament calls “the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). At any rate, the study of Bible prophecy is being discredited by those within our own ranks who go beyond Scripture and get into wild speculations, and they don’t admit their speculations (Numbers 22:18; 24:13). Those of us also who are students of prophecy are responsible to expose these false teachings, so that we are not taking part in their unfruitful deeds.

While we all think a lot about the enemies of the Church without, the main emphasis probably should be on the enemies of the Church within. The enemies without have always been savage and persecuting the Church, trying to destroy it, which never succeeds. Today, however, we are facing enemies within the Church, perhaps to an extent not known before because they are accepted as true teachers by so much of the visible Church. This being the case, there is rampant false teaching within the Church, just as we were warned (Acts 20:29; 1 Timothy 4:1).

Yet most pastors are not warning their flocks of false teachers for any number of reasons. Perhaps Pastors and leaders are unaware of the teachings being promoted by so many today. Perhaps there is ignorance of the nature problems on the part of the Pastor or leaders of the Church. Perhaps the Pastor or leaders are not well versed enough in the issues to know how to refute them, so they decide to just be quiet about it, and hope it will blow over. But it almost never does. Another reason is that too often Pastors and leaders unwittingly embrace false teachings because they trust the teacher or author whose work may have been recommended to them by someone they respect.

These Pastors and leaders may be on top of it when it comes to apologetics (defending the faith from outside attacks), but they are not aware of, or willing, to deal with matters that require a polemic response (attacking and refuting false teaching from within the Church). Leaders often prefer to avoid the whole subject and practice of polemics because it is aggressive and controversial on its face. It is the nature of polemics to be controversial and aggressive in attacking error. Unfortunately, this is VERY unpopular today, as we are told never to be aggressive or controversial, and certainly we aren’t supposed to attack anything or anyone as false. However, this isn’t the pattern of the Bible. The New Testament deals forcefully with error and with enemies of the Gospel message within the Church. The Book of Galatians is a prime example. The Churches of Galatia were the only Churches Paul gave no thanks for, and because of his love and concern for them, he rips them to shreds verbally for relying on works added to faith for salvation. The Book of Galatians is not a nice or gentle book. It is angry, confrontational, and even condemning of the people teaching errors that are leading the believers away from faith in Jesus Christ. Paul even says, “Let them be damned” (Galatians 1:8-9). The Greek word is anathema, meaning cursed or damned. Strong language to be sure. However, Paul was afraid the Galatians had departed the faith and gone back under the Law, which no one can keep.

In conclusion, let us be watchful not to be deceived by anything or anyone in this last time, especially as it pertains to our faith in Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him and His Body, the Church. Anything you read or watch, do it as a good Berean (Acts 17), with a discerning eye and an open Bible you are searching daily to know whether what someone is saying is true. The Bible is the authority.

P.S. I am including a chart that presents one possible scenario of the time leading up to the Great Tribulation period and beyond into the New Heavens and New Earth.

 

revelation-timeline-chart-with-covenant