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

 

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The 70 Weeks of Daniel

The 70 Weeks of Daniel

As the 70-year Babylonian captivity was drawing to a close, God sends a messenger to tell Daniel there is yet another 490-year period left in Israel’s history in which He will specifically deal with His Chosen People, the Jews, and the Holy City, Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:1-2 says, “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans — in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” NKJV

Jeremiah 25:11-12

11 ‘And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 ‘ Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation. NKJV

Jeremiah 29:10-14

10 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. NKJV

Daniel’s captivity began in 605 B.C., and it was now 538 B.C, about 67 years after the initial fall of Jerusalem. Zechariah says the 70-year period began with the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C. (Zechariah 7:5). This means the time of the captivity was going to end in just a few years, probably in 516-515 B.C. The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes March 15, 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 1-2), and Jesus Christ was cut off 69 weeks (483 years) later.

Daniel 9:24-26 gives the only date prophesied ahead of time in the Bible—the coming of Messiah.

Daniel 9:24-26

24 ” Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. NKJV

Prior to the prophecy of verses 24-27, we see Daniel in fervent prayer, and the prayer is worthy of a separate study of its own. However, for the purpose of this article, we are focusing on the prophecy of verses 24-27, introduced first by verses 1 and 2.

While Daniel was praying, the angel Gabriel, appearing in the form of a man, appeared to him to give him this great prophecy that would cover many centuries, even though the total number of years with which the prophecy dealt were only 490. He introduced the prophecy with these words:

Daniel 9: 20-23

20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God, 21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 “At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision: NKJV

Then Gabriel went on to say,

Daniel 9:24-27

24 ” Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” NKJV

There are several things that must be noted about this prophecy, and the first of those is that it is a time specifically determined upon the Jewish people and Jerusalem. The words couldn’t be clearer, and any effort to make this prophecy apply to the Church is to pervert the meaning of the passage. God IS NOT finished in His dealings with the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. No matter how hard many Replacement Theology teachers and Christians who follow them try to twist the Scriptures to say that God is finished with Jewish people because they rejected Jesus as their Messiah. They have suffered much because of that rejection, but God is slowly bringing them back to Himself. I have a number of earlier articles on this subject posted at this blog, which anyone can read to learn all the reasons why God is still dealing with the Jewish people and the nation of Israel as a whole. Today they are in their own land, mostly in unbelief, which the Scriptures predicted. Again, read my prior articles dealing with this subject for references, but one such reference is Ezekiel 36. Others include Isaiah 25-27. With that said, the 70th week of Daniel is a primarily Jewish time period of 7-years.

What had been the transgression and sin of Israel? Idolatry. Any cursory reading of the Old Testament will reveal that. Every time you turn around, the Israelites are worshiping false gods. And the one lesson the Jews have learned in 4,000 years of history is that YHWH God haters idols worse than He hates anything else because idolatry always leads to other sins, especially sexual immorality.

Then the passage at hand says that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. This accurately describes the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. In fact, in the Hebrew Bible Ezra and Nehemiah are one Book.

Verse 26 goes on to say, “And after the sixty-two weeks [of years] Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” This happened 483 years later to the day. Jesus Christ was cut off, or killed, but not for Himself. In other words, He died not because of anything He had done, but rather He died for us to bring us salvation. Then it says, “And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.” The people who destroyed the Temple were the Romans under General Titus. The prince who is to come in this verse is the still future Antichrist. Verse 27 says this Antichrist, “Shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” NKJV

This means the Antichrist will confirm a covenant with Israel and the Jews for 7-years, giving them the right to rebuild their Temple and make sacrifices, but he will break that covenant in the middle of that 7-year period. There is only one place in the world the Jews can make sacrifices and offerings, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and they must have a Temple rebuilt in order to make it legal in their system. However, when the Antichrist breaks the covenant in the middle, he sets up his image in the Temple and demands to be worshiped as God (Matthew 24:15; Mark: 13:14). And Jesus spoke of it as a future event.

People want to ask why there has been a break between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. This gap is the current Church Age, where the Church is God’s primary agent in the world, with Israel more or less in the background. However, when the Church is taken out of the world in the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), Israel once again becomes God’s primary agent in the world, with Gentiles still being drawn to God too (Revelation 7:9-17). In fact, Jeremiah 30:7 calls this period of time “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Take special note of 1 Thessalonians 4:17—harpadzo means to snatch up, seize up, or catch up with great force, which is exactly what the word Rapture means, hence the class of birds called Raptors. And the Latin word from which we get the word rapture is in the Latin Vulgate.

So to summarize the 70th Week of Daniel in an outline, we see the following.

  1. The 70th Week of Daniel is the Great Tribulation period—7-years in duration, and based on the lunar calendar. That means each year has 360 days, rather than 365 like our solar calendar.
  2. The Great Tribulation is a time specified upon the Jewish people and Jerusalem and has nothing to do with the church.
  3. The 70th week of Daniel is the Great Tribulation (Dan. 9:1-2, 19-27).
  4. When Daniel wrote, the Jews were in Babylon, nearing the end of the 70-year captivity brought on by failure to let the land have its Sabbath every 7th year (Lev. 25:1-6; Dan. 9:1-2; Jer. 25:11; 50:33-34).
  5. The reason for the 70 weeks of years (7 x 70 = 490 years) is to complete the history of Israel. It is a time appointed for Daniel’s people, the Jewish people, and the Holy City, Jerusalem.
  6. Six things happen during the 70 weeks (Dan. 9:24-27):
  7. Finish transgression—the transgression of Israel was idolatry.
  8. Make an end of sins.
  9. Make reconciliation for iniquity (Israel: 70 weeks—For your people and for Your holy city).
  10. Bring in everlasting righteousness.
  11. Seal up the vision and prophecy.
  12. Anoint the Holy of Holies.
  13. The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes March 15, 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 1-2), and Jesus Christ was cut off 69 weeks (483 years) later.
  14. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, but the ultimate fulfillment of the “prince who is to come” is the Antichrist (Dan. 9:26-27).
  15. The “prince who is to come,” Antichrist, will make a covenant with the Jews for one week (7 years), but he will break it after 3 1/2 years and set up the image (“the abomination that makes desolate”) in the rebuilt temple (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14; Rev. 13).
  16. The Holy of Holies will be anointed when Jesus returns (Ezek. 40-48).

 

Below is a link for a PDF file of this post.

2016-09-01 70 Weeks of Daniel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible Translation Perversions

Bible Translation Perversions

In my last post I mentioned that Jesus’ most emphatic warning to His church regarding the last days was against deception. I mentioned that in His last lengthy discourse of Matthew 24-25, being on guard against deception was the primary emphasis—giving that warning no less than 4 times in that passage.

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

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

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

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

I discussed a number of issues in that article, but the issue that seems to have raised the most attention is my criticism of two newer “translations,” The Message and The Voice, which are demonstrably perverted for a New Age purpose. Since it caused concern for some folks, I decided to give some further demonstration of the problems with these products. For the sake of brevity and because it seems ironically proper, I will from here on in this article refer to The Message as MSG and The Voice as TV.

Lest someone accuse me of being a KJV Onlyist, or something, I wish to add that I worked on a multi-volume Old Testament Study Bible, Translation, Commentary, and Lexicon set for over 6 years. Also, my personal favorite English translation remains the New American Standard (NASB), even though I wish they had not relied on the critical text, which relies on the work of Westcott and Hort, and the texts of Codex Sinaiticus and. Codex Vaticanus. Both of which are corrupted texts with thousands of changes that do not even agree with each other. Yet the NASB remains an excellent translation of the Greek text used for the New Testament. The textual issues causing all the problems are almost exclusively related to the New Testament. There are other adequate, even good, English translations, as well. The English Standard Version (ESV) is very popular and quite accurate too. The 1984 New International Version (NIV) was good, so far as thought for thought (dynamic equivalence) translations go, but the new edition of the NIV and a host of others have gone with a gender neutral translation, which cannot be done with losing or changing the meaning of the biblical text. The New Living Translation is not among my favorites, but it isn’t going to spiritually derail someone. I even sort of like the old Living Bible Paraphrase as just a reading Bible for children and those new to the faith, although it is much better in the Old Testament than in the New. The real downside is that you don’t know which English word comes from which Hebrew or Greek work, so it is useless as a study Bible.

So now let me get to the matter at hand. I will repeat some of my material and add new examples that seems fitting to make the point that too many people in the church today don’t see the problems with their favorite translations because they are ignorant of the issues in Bible translation. Worse yet, they are ignorant of the biblical text as a whole.

In what is commonly called the Lord’s prayer, there is a major problem in The Message. First, I will quote the New King James Version of the Matthew 6:8-15 passage. In the formatted version, which I will post as a separate file I will put some other examples side by side for the reader to examine.

Matthew 6:8-15

8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

10 Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

13 And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

NKJV

To read the rest of this article in its formatted form click here or below.

2016-04-16 Perverting The Bible

 

 

Biblical Theology or Experiential Theology?

Biblical Theology or Experiential Theology?

(Revised 11-10-2015)

This is going to be a very long post, but the things that must be said cannot be said quickly. So clean your eyeglasses, put some liquid tears in your eyes, get a large insulated mug of coffee, and get ready for the long haul.

Before I begin my discussion of “Experiential Theology” let me affirm that I believe in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit set forth in the Scriptures, especially in Acts and 1 Corinthians. I am thoroughly Pentecostal, but I believe we should avoid going beyond what the Bible says about these things, as this always puts us on shaky ground. Some of those calling themselves Charismatic or Pentecostal these days are just hyper-emotional spiritual thrill seekers. I will even say that some of them are outright charlatans or kooks. The Bible teaches balance and propriety. With that said, let me address the issue at hand.

Too many so-called Christians are now focused on their “experiences” with God as more authoritative than the Scriptures themselves. “Experiential Theology” is rapidly becoming the new norm in the church, and biblical theology is being downplayed or mocked outright. I hear frequent arguments from the Postmodern Emerging Church and Purpose Driven types that you can’t let the Bible determine your theology or your understanding of the world around you. They assert that you cannot read and study the Scriptures to learn truth. Instead, you must “experience” truth for it to be valid or relevant. (“Relevant”: If there is a more overused word in the English language, perhaps other than “gay”, and whose meaning has become more bastardized, I can’t think of it). However, the Apostle Peter refutes this nonsense. Even speaking of the Mount of Transfiguration “experience” he says,

Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:15-21).

Peter says the Scriptures are more certain than his experience on that mountain. Emotions, attitudes, health, environment and surroundings, and a host of other things can influence experiences. However, the Scriptures do not change because of those things. The Scriptures are unchanging, and God is unchanging. Yet modern “translations” (which aren’t even legitimate paraphrases) of the Bible like The Voice and The Message have taken liberties with the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts that even the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t dare consider.

Those who insist on keeping the Scripture as our unchanging standard for everything are mocked as intellectual eggheads. It is stressed that you do not love, worship or serve God if you defer to the Scriptures as your infallible guide. However, the Bible says that we are to love the Lord with our whole being, including the mind (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). Call me old fashioned, but the written Word of God trumps the notions of those who place their mind over the Bible, rather than under it.

Even some ministers who have been accepted into mainstream Evangelical and Pentecostal circles have grossly aberrant theology, such as Oneness Pentecostal Tommy Tenney. He supports the idea that the Bible is where God has been, but He is somewhere else now. Ridiculous! In his book The God Chasers, Tenney says,

The difference between the truth of God and revelation is very simple. Truth is where God’s been. Revelation is where God is. Truth is God’s tracks. It’s His trail, His path, but it leads to what? It leads to Him. Perhaps the masses of people are happy to know where God’s been, but true God chasers are not content just to study God’s trail, His truths; they want to know Him. They want to know where He is and what He’s doing right now.”

TOMMY TENNEY, The God Chasers

So I would ask mister Tenney and others like him just how it is that we can truly know God apart from what He has revealed of Himself as recorded in the Holy Bible? Any knowledge we have of God must agree with what He has already revealed in the Scriptures. Let me be politically incorrect and say that Tenney and those who agree with him are heretics in the strictest and most literal sense.

There is now a whole group of people in the church, led by former Fuller Seminary professor and author C. Peter Wagner, who think they are 21st century apostles, and that we are seeing a new apostolic reformation. What we are really seeing is the wholesale desertion of the church from sound doctrine and the biblical faith once delivered to the saints, and a clinging to ungodly men with ungodly ideas posing as Christian leaders (Jude 3,4).

We are told that doctrine doesn’t matter, and we should just focus on Jesus Christ. But you cannot even mention the name of Jesus Christ without getting into doctrine. For example, which Jesus are you talking about? Is it the Jesus of the Mormon cult who is the half brother of Satan? Is it the Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who Michael the Archangel? Is it the Jesus of Islam who is the son of Mary and simply a prophet, but not God in the flesh? Is it the Jesus of Roman Catholicism who still hangs on the cross, who must be resacrificed continually, and is embodied in a wafer kept in a tabernacle called a Monstrance? Or is it the Jesus Christ of the Bible who is fully God and fully man—the eternal Son of God who at a point in time became a man to set us free from sin? You see, doctrine matters!

We have plenty of Scriptures that speak of the importance of sound doctrine, and we would do well to once again begin to heed them before the deception goes any further.

Proverbs 4:2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. NKJV

Jeremiah 10:8 But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine. NKJV

John 7:16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.

17 “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. NKJV

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. NKJV

Romans 6:17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. NKJV

Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. NKJV

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,

7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed [anathema=condemned, damned].

9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed [anathema=condemned, damned].

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. NKJV

Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —

16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. NKJV

1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia — remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. NKJV

1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,

9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. NKJV

1 Timothy 4:6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.

7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. NKJV

1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.

15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.

16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. NKJV

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. NKJV

1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. NKJV

1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,

4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,

5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. NKJV

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. NKJV

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. NKJV

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,

9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. NKJV

Titus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:

2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;

3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things —

4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. NKJV

Titus 2:6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded,

7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,

8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. NKJV

2 John 9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;

11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. NKJV

Revelation 2:12 ” And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘ These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:

13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

14 “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

15 “Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

16 ‘Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

18 ” And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘ These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:

19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.

20 “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

21 “And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.

22 “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.

23 “I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.

25 “But hold fast what you have till I come.

26 “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations —

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received from My Father;

28 “and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘ NKJV

Looks like doctrine, sound teaching, and a proper understanding of what is The Gospel is important after all. I guess we must take the Word of God over the nonsensical notions of men.

It was “Experiential Theology” that destroyed the Quaker and Shaker movements. It has been destroying the extreme Charismatic movement for at least two decades. Now it is eroding the sure foundation of more conservative Pentecostal and Evangelical churches as well. This seems like a good time to repeat the question of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: “I say to you, that He will execute the justice to them quickly; but the Son of Man having come, shall he find the faith upon the earth?” (Luke 18:8) YLT (Yes the definite article is in the Greek text when Jesus asks, “Shall he find the faith upon the earth?”). We hear a lot of talk about faith these days, but we must ask, “Is it the faith of the Bible?” (Jude 3)

The latest thing to really make a long-lasting sweep through the church under guise of a “devotional” is a book by Sarah Young, titled Jesus Calling, a book that has been on the market since 2004 and keeps gaining steam. Allow me to say that I know nothing personally about Sarah Young, other than she and her husband have been missionaries to Japan, and she seems like a nice lady. However, that doesn’t matter when talking of one’s theology. I can think of several seemingly nice men and women these days who are leading the church astray, going off into mysticism and all manner of extra-biblical and even anti-biblical revelations and teachings.

I used to ask if anyone knew someone who was reading, or had read, Jesus Calling or had a Jesus Calling Bible. Now I ask if someone doesn’t know anyone who is reading, or has read, Jesus Calling or has a Jesus Calling Bible. Rarely do I come across a professing Christian these days who has not either read Jesus Calling or owns more than one Jesus Calling product (Bibles, etc.). In fact, I overheard a young lady at my own church recently gushing about what a blessing Jesus Calling had been to her. I cringed, and it was all I could do to bite my tongue keep from blurting out the dangers of this occult-inspired book. However, realizing that since this young lady doesn’t know me, that would have probably done little good in that particular moment.

Due to the expressed concerns of some Christians, Sarah Young’s publisher, Thomas Nelson, has taken to making serious edits (make that re-writes) to the book. In fact, author Warren B. Smith calls it “whitewashing the red flags about Jesus Calling” and “damage control for a false Christ”. I will give a few examples by Warren Smith of that which I speak, but these edits cannot change the sources from which Sarah Young herself claimed she received the book.

So allow me to share some of these examples from an article titled, Changing “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ, by Warren B. Smith.

In his article, which can be accessed at http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/11/changing-jesus-calling-damage-control-false-christ/, Smith points out the following:

  1. Jesus Calling was inspired by a book called God Calling, which was written in the 1930’s by two ladies who claimed the book was dictated by Jesus Christ Himself. That book was, and is, a mainstay in New Age circles. That claim by Sarah Young has been removed from the new edition.
  2. Sarah Young originally wrote that she received messages directly from Jesus Himself. That claim has now been revised.
  3. Sarah Young’s Jesus contradicts the Jesus of the Bible. In fact, Young claims 250 of these devotionals are messages directly from Jesus Himself. Smith writes, “In two separate messages, Sarah Young was told by her “Jesus” that the last words he spoke after his resurrection and before ascending into heaven were “I am with you always.” But this statement made by the true Jesus Christ on the Mount of Galilee were not His last words before ascending into heaven. His last words were spoken from the Mount of Olives as recorded in Acts 1:7-9, 12. The two “messages” Sarah Young received from her “Jesus” contradict the words of the true Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible. What her “Jesus” said was totally unbiblical”.

[Smith shows] January 28th Original Statement
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.
These were the last words I spoke before ascending into heaven. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen.18 (bold added)”

[Then Smith shows] January 28th Replacement Statement
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.
  I spoke these words to My disciples after My resurrection. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen.19 (bold added)”

[Smith shows] October 15th Original Statement
TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection.
My final statement just before I went to heaven was: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception.20 (bold added)”

[Then Smith shows] October 15th Replacement Statement
TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection.
After My resurrection, I assured My followers: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception.21 (bold added)”

  1. Sarah Young’s Jesus claimed that Abraham was guilty of “idolatry” and “son-worship”. Smith writes, “Sarah Young’s ‘Jesus’ said that Abraham was a man of ‘undisciplined emotions’ and was guilty of ‘son-worship’ and ‘idolatry’”.

[Smith notes] August 23rd “Message” in the Original Edition
ENTRUST YOUR LOVED ONES TO ME; release them into My protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one—as well as yourself.
Remember the extreme measures I used with Abraham and Isaac. I took Isaac to the very point of death to free Abraham from son-worship. Both Abraham and Isaac suffered terribly because of the father’s undisciplined emotions. I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love.23 (bold added and signifies material that was deleted)”

[Then Smith notes re-write] August 23rd Replacement Message
ENTRUST YOUR LOVED ONES TO ME; release them into My protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one—as well as yourself.
Joseph and his father, Jacob, suffered terribly because Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other sons and treated him with special favor. So Joseph’s brothers hated him and plotted against him. Ultimately, I used that situation for good, but both father and son had to endure years of suffering and separation from one another.

I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love, so beware of making a beloved child your idol.24 (bold added and signifies material that was added)”

  1. Sarah Young has Jesus complaining about the night of his birth. Smith states, “The ‘Jesus’ of Jesus Calling said he was born ‘under appalling conditions’ in a ‘filthy stable’ and that the night of his birth ‘was a dark night’ for him. To many readers, this did not sound like the voice of their Savior—it sounded like the voice of a stranger (John 10:5) and that Satan—not Jesus—would be the one describing the night of Jesus’ birth as ‘that dark night for Me’”.

Now I would add that the human reality is that the place of Jesus birth, being a stable, could be accurately described as a stink hole. However, we never hear Jesus complain of the conditions into which He was born. In fact, as we read Luke 2:1-20, it sounds like an absolutely glorious and joyful occasion. Furthermore, Mathew’s account tells us, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (1:23) That sounds pretty fantastic to me—God with us! Praise the Lord! Furthermore, the Bible tells us that Jesus came to earth and did all the things He did, including going to the cross, willingly (Matthew 10:45; John 10:17-18; 1 John 3:8).

[Smith shows] December 25th Sentence in the Original Edition  
Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions
—a filthy stable. That was a dark night for Me, even though angels lit up the sky proclaiming “Glory!” to awe-struck shepherds.25 (bold added to highlight what was deleted)

[Then Smith shows] December 25th Replacement Sentence
Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions—a filthy stable.
There was nothing glorious about that setting, though angels lit up the sky proclaiming, “Glory!” to awe-struck shepherds.26 (bold added to highlight what was added)

So if anyone reading this post knows someone involved with the writings of false teachers, especially books like Jesus Calling, please give them a copy of this article, refer them to my blog Fighting the Wolves (https://fightingthewolves.wordpress.com/), or refer them to one of the following links on the dangers of Jesus Calling (http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/11/changing-jesus-calling-damage-control-false-christ/, http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/01/is-jesus-calling-in-your-library/, http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2011/10/jesus-calling-devotional-bible.html, http://steakandabible.com/2012/07/04/is-deception-calling-a-review-of-jesus-calling-by-sarah-young/, http://www.searchthescriptures.org/blog/jesus-calling-an-innovative-way-to-sense-god-or-a-dangerous-practice, http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/is-hit-book-jesus-calling-pushing-new-age/, http://www.cicministry.org/commentary/issue125.htm).

Of serious noteworthiness is a new article published by Tim Challies, published today November 11, 2015, and titled, 10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling, which can be found at http://www.challies.com/articles/10-serious-problems-with-jesus-calling.

It’s time for us to get back to sound doctrine, exposing those evil workers who are teaching falsehoods. But I realize this puts me (or anyone else who dares to speak out) in danger of being called uncooperative, angry, rigid, and maybe even dangerous. Maybe I am, but I also think there are things no child of God, especially a minister, should agree to.

It’s way past time to return to the Bible as our ground of being and basis for Christian life and practice and our rule for theology—the study of God. We must also insist that all experiences people claim to have had with God must agree with, or at least not disagree with, the Bible.