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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With Whom Did God Make the New Covenant?

With Whom Did God Make the New Covenant?

 

I often hear Christians, even ministers, say that Christians have a Covenant with God. That God made that Covenant with the Church/Christians on the Cross at Calvary. But is that statement totally accurate? The answer is, “No.” I understand what they mean, that we have God’s assurance of salvation through Jesus Christ, and that is true. However, the statement, “God made that covenant with the Church/Christians on the Cross at Calvary” is not technically correct. And that’s a good thing.

 

Remember the Old Covenant; the one God made with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai? Did the Israelites keep their end of the deal? No! In fact, they broke that Covenant, also called the Law of Moses, almost immediately (Exodus 32). Why did this happen? Because sinful humanity is unable to keep the Law, unable to remain totally and completely faithful and obedient to God. Fallen humanity is imperfect and will fail sooner or later along the way. This is why the New Covenant was not made between God and the Church/Christians. We fail, fall short, sin, and that would be the end of the Covenant, if it were dependent upon us keeping our end of the bargain. Unlike the Covenant God made with Abraham (Genesis 15), both the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28:15-68) and the New Covenant have conditions (John 14:23-24; 15:10). Therefore, the New Covenant had to be made between two parties who could neither one fail—two perfect parties (Galatians 3:15-18; Hebrews 7:1-28). Those two parties were God the Father and God the Son—Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7, 8, 9, 10).

 

In fact, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was made, first and foremost, as the representative of Israel (Hebrews 8:1).

 

Hebrews 8:1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — 9 “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. 10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. NKJV

 

Salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and Jesus came first to the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matthew 10:5-15; 15:21-28). The Greek text of John 1:11 says, “He came to His own things, and His own people did not receive Him.” In fact, even Paul makes it clear in Romans 9-11, especially Romans 9:1-5, that the Covenants (plural, meaning all the covenant promises of God) belong to national Israel—Israel according to the flesh.

 

Romans 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. NKJV

 

Romans 11 states that through unbelief the natural branches were broken off—not all the natural branches, but the unbelieving natural branches. However, wild olive branches, that is believing Gentiles, have been grafted into the olive tree (Romans 11:11-24), but if the natural branches return to Him in faith, they will be grafted back in (Romans 11:23). Furthermore, the blindness of national Israel is only in part, or temporary, until the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in (Romans 11:25). Then God will restore national Israel to finish His dealings with them as a nation. That is what is called the Great Tribulation (Revelation 6-19), or the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7, read all of chapter 30).

 

In conclusion, we as Christians get to be part of an Everlasting Covenant made between God the Father and God the Son—Christ, neither of Whom can fail. We are now part of the Commonwealth of God through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:13-18). However, that Covenant is not between us and God, but rather between God the Father and Jesus Christ. This should be counted as Good News because God cannot fail like sinful humanity. Even when we fail, He remains steadfast and true, and we have a refuge to return to for salvation and safety in the midst of the storm. I wrote this today because with all the terrible things taking place in the world, we need to hear some Good News!

The Reason for Christmas

The Reason for Christmas

Text: 1 John 3:1-8

Theme: The ultimate reason Jesus came to earth as a man.

I don’t often use The Amplified Bible in messages anymore. Partially because it tends to insert every conceivable meaning of a word into a text, whether it fits the context or not. The other reason being that it is abused by fellow Charismatics and Pentecostals, usually out of context, to prove things the Bible doesn’t prove at all. But for this post I violate my own rule because I think the subject warrants it. If you disagree, then please forgive me.

1 John 3:1-8

1 SEE WHAT [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.

2 Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.

3 And everyone who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure (chaste, undefiled, guiltless).

4 Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect — being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will).

5 You know that He appeared in visible form and became Man to take away [upon Himself] sins, and in Him there is no sin [essentially and forever].

6 No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him — deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived, or understood Him, or has had an experiential acquaintance with Him].

7 Boys (lads), let no one deceive and lead you astray. He who practices righteousness [who is upright, conforming to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action, living a consistently conscientious life] is righteous, even as He is righteous.

8 [But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated the divine law) from the beginning. The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done]. AMP

Introduction: At this time of year there are all kinds of “meanings” given to the season.

  • We hear that it’s a season of giving.
  • It’s a season of peace.
  • It’s a season of goodwill.
  • It’s a season of charity & love, and so on.

Even the Bible includes a number of things that Jesus accomplished in His earthly life and ministry.

  • He revealed who God is and what He is like.
  • He delivered us from spiritual darkness into spiritual light.
  • In the words of Luke 4:18-19, Jesus said,

18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” NKJV

In the main passage at hand for this message, the Bible says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

  • Everything Jesus did was for the ultimate goal of destroying the works of the devil.

So this message this morning will focus on 1 John 3:8b:

The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done]. AMP

The rest of this post is in the form of an attachment, which you will find linked here and below. May the Lord Jesus Christ truly bless you with the True Spiritual Riches that are found in Him this Christmas Season, and throughout the coming year.

2015-12-17 The Reason for Christmas

Jesus Christ—The Alpha & Omega

Jesus Christ—The Alpha & Omega

Today’s post is a break from some of the controversial posts I have made lately, exposing the unfruitful works of darkness and false shepherds.

While this post is not intended to be theologically exhaustive in scope, I do hope it will give the reader food for thought and some encouragement for the work of the Lord.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8, NKJV).

The Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In saying that He is the Alpha and Omega, Jesus Christ is showing us that He is the all-sufficient One to meet your needs. He is the A to the Z and everything in between. Whatever the struggle or the need, Jesus Christ is the answer.

What are the characteristics of the alphabet, whether it be Greek, Hebrew, English, or whatever?

First, the alphabet is inexhaustible.

There are still new ideas being communicated through use of the alphabet in every language. You cannot come to a place where everything that can be said has been said, and there is nothing else that can be said through the use of the alphabet and language. In fact, our human knowledge is growing at an exponential rate.

Jesus Christ is also inexhaustible—you can never exhaust all that He has to offer you. You can never exhaust all that He can & will do for you. No matter how exponential our understanding of Him and His Word may seem to be, there is more that we don’t know than what we do know. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction” (NKJV). Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (NKJV; cf. Psalm 111:10). If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom, then the must be to stand in His presence eternally.

Second, the alphabet is adaptable.

Those who write filth and deceitful things use the same alphabet that teachers and ministers use to communicate biblical truth. The same alphabet used to write about theology as is used to write science, math, history, and poetry. You can write about love or hate, joy or sorrow, good or evil, God or Satan, and so on. The atheist uses the same alphabet to deny God that the theologian uses to glorify God.

Likewise, Jesus Christ is adaptable and applicable to every life and every area of life in every generation in every culture. Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (NKJV).

There is no life, or generation, or culture in which Jesus is irrelevant. It is the height of arrogance for Christians to think they can make the Gospel relevant—the Gospel is the ultimate relevancy. That is if what we’re giving is really the Gospel. Preach the Word of God in context, exegeting, or drawing out, its meaning, and you have an inherently relevant message for every living soul, in every place, in every situation, in every time.

Third, the alphabet is the key to understanding.

The first thing you learn when you learn a new language is the alphabet of that language. In English: A B C D E F G H I, etc.

The first thing you have to learn before you can understand the language of the Bible is who Jesus Christ really is. A lot of people have no clue about wisdom, knowledge, or understanding because they don’t the One who is the Key to Understanding. If you do not know Jesus Christ, you are reading someone else’s mail, and it won’t make any sense. Without Jesus Christ you don’t have the key to understanding life or the Bible. Regarding Jesus’ discussion with two believers while He walked with them to Emmaus, Luke 24:27 says, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (NKJV; Read Luke 24:13-35). Wow! Jesus said the Scriptures are about Him. It’s not about you, me or what we can do in our own human strength. It’s about Jesus Christ, Who He is, what He has done and is doing, and that He is returning again someday. Those great Old Testament stories we love to tell are typological records of how Jesus ministers to, and delivers, His people.

Fourth, the alphabet is the key to life.

Everyone is looking for meaning and purpose today, but it can only be found when you find the key to life—Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ, nothing in life or the world makes any sense. What is our purpose? Our purpose is to serve and please God. But we cannot find that purpose unless we are in Christ.

John 20:30-31 says, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (NKJV). When we understand that Christ is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament word Messiah, we realize that John, by the Holy Spirit, is telling us that the signs written in the Gospel of John were written so that we might believe that Jesus is the Messiah. The Messiah of whom? Israel. It is not Israel that has been grafted in, but we Gentiles. Israel is the natural olive branches that have been cut off, but we Gentiles are the wild olive branches grafted into the natural olive tree. It is due to Israel’s rejection of their Messiah that they have been temporarily cutoff, and Gentiles have been given such a broad opportunity to be grafted into the natural olive tree to God’s glory (Romans 11:11-24). Yet too many Gentiles are rejecting God’s gift of salvation, as did the Jews—the natural branches.

Without Jesus Christ you don’t have the key to understanding life. In fact, one reason there are so many books designed to show Christians the meaning and purpose of life is because the Scriptures are not being taught to most of the Church, so most Christians don’t have a clue what their purpose is in life. If you want to know purpose and meaning, it is found in knowing Jesus Christ—intimately not superficially. Knowing Jesus begins with a knowledge of His Word, which is the only way one can even be saved (1 Peter 1:23; Read 1 Peter 1:13-25).

Fifth, the alphabet is the key to Scripture.

The first thing you have to learn before you can understand the Bible is Who Jesus Christ really is. Again, if you do not know Jesus Christ, you are reading someone else’s mail, and it won’t make any sense. Without Jesus Christ you don’t have the code that is the key to understanding the Bible. 1 Peter 1:22-23 says, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (NKJV). We cannot even be born again to know Jesus without His Word.

Studying the supposed secret codes of the Bible has been very popular in recent years, but a lot of the authors of this stuff ignore the plain meaning of the Bible for esoteric nonsense. Some of the authors are well-meaning brothers who have been caught up in a frivolous pop theology trend. Others are outright pagans who don’t even believe in God, but rather believe in extra-terrestrials. We should be a lot more concerned about understanding the plain meaning of the Bible, than with understanding some supposed secret Bible codes. When we get caught up in looking for secret codes, we usually miss the plain meaning of the text. The Bible is a Book about Jesus Christ. To paraphrase the late Mark Twain, who was not noted for being a religious man, “It isn’t the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that trouble me most; it’s the parts I do understand.” At any rate, these things serve as a distraction to what we should be doing—teaching, preaching, and living out the Word of God before an ungodly generation as witnesses to our neighbors.

Sixth, the alphabet is the key to history.

Why do we have BC and AD? BC means “before Christ”, and AD means “anno dominum” (year of our Lord). Modern liberal scholars like to use the terms BCE and CE. BCE means “before the common era”, and CE means “common era”. What’s missing is Jesus Christ. Most modern historians reject Jesus Christ and the Bible, and this is why their writings often make little sense. They don’t know the Key to History—Jesus Christ. In fact, the very word history testifies of God—His Story.

Even though many of them refuse to use the designations BC and AD, preferring instead to use the terms BCE and CE, they still can’t get away from the division of history. Again, BCE means “before the common era”, and CE means “common era”. But what divided the timeline? Actually, it wasn’t a what, but a Who. His name is Jesus Christ. Knowing Him is the only way the divided timeline makes sense.

Seventh, the Alpha & Omega (Jesus) is the A-Z.

He won’t drop you at M or N. No matter how many times you fall, He will keep picking you up, if you let Him. He isn’t going to give up on you. He isn’t going to accidentally lose His grip and let you drop. If you get dropped, it’s because you jumped out of His hand of protection. Yet He waits to receive you back.

He is all you need for every situation in life. He’s all you need in your time of prosperity and abundance. He’s all you need when things are going great in life. He’s all you need in your time of sickness or sorrow. He’s all you need at the time of death.

Jesus is all we need for everyday living. We will find Him in His Word—the Bible, and in the place of prayer.

I hope this encourages you today to rely on Jesus Christ as your Everything. Now, go forth and do His business till He comes back (Acts 1:8).

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.

What Are They (er, ah, We) Thinking? Part 3

What Are They (er, ah, We) Thinking? Part 3

This post was edited for spelling, grammar, and extra content on 05-28-2015.

So the world’s Pentecostal leaders met in Jerusalem for what was billed as “Global Congress Jerusalem 2015” during Pentecost Week, which began on May 20th and ran through May 25th.

Although the Assemblies of God has officially opposed the Positive Confession movement (also known as Word of Faith, Prosperity Gospel, etc.), our General Superintendent George O. Wood has seen fit to be the co-chair of the Empowered 21 movement, which has as fellow members and leaders some of the worst Word of Faith (hyper-faith) proponents on the planet, including Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey, Brian Houston, Cindy Jacobs, and Bill Johnson. I ask you, are we so desperate in the Assemblies of God to be accepted by the religious globalists that we are now willing to compromise on anything to get invited to the party? I noticed that Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison is also a member of Empowered 21.

However, the Empowered 21 movement is just the tip of the iceberg. When one considers how the Purpose Driven heresy, the seeker driven heresy, and the postmodern Emerging Church heresy have invaded and infected the church, including the Assemblies of God, one sees we are well on the way to the last days apostasy predicted in the Bible (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jude 5-23).

Of course, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by all this when we consider that George Wood is a good friend of Rick Warren, and Warren will compromise with anything and anyone to be part of the party, and the evidence for that is so widespread that one can simply Google it, or look on You Tube to find his compromises. Yet, when you try to show our leaders the problematic or outright heretical teachings of the popular pastors, authors, ministers, and conference speakers these days, you are labeled as “negative”, “troublemaker”, or “divisive”. You can give them the evidence, but they probably won’t even look at it. Just as often, when you try to give them the evidence in person they will refuse to even take the evidence to look at it. They are willfully ignorant. I know this for a fact because I have sent evidence to leaders, which they never looked at, and I have tried to directly hand the evidence to leaders who refused to take the CD on which I had the evidence. This seems to be a widespread spiritual disease afflicting the church, especially the so-called church leaders, these days.

So what has happened to teaching and preaching sound doctrine? It has been thrown out the window in favor of scratching itching ears, and soothed ears give more money and bring in others who need their itching ears scratched, and they likewise will give more money. And the cycle goes on and on ad infinitum ad nauseum. This is the Laodicea mindset. Laodicea means “people justice” or “people judgment”, but today we would say “people opinion” or “human opinion”. And that’s where we are. We are doing the work of the Lord according to human opinions.

Instead of teaching sound doctrine, pastors and other leaders are giving the church their ideas called “vision casting”. Fortunately, the pastor of the church I attend doesn’t do this. While I’m sure my pastor and church leaders have goals for the work of the Lord, they aren’t consumed with their own ideas in lieu of God’s Word. I know the Bible says that where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). But that refers to prophetic revelation. If people today want a prophetic revelation, they should read the Bible. As a Pentecostal, I believe in the gifts of prophecy, tongues and interpretation, words of knowledge and wisdom. However, those things are used to confirm some biblical truth to us for a specific time and situation. They are not NEW REVELATIONS. Anyone claiming to receive new revelations is either a kook or a false prophet. And there are a lot of those these days. Just turn TBN, Daystar, or GOD-TV (more like Godless TV). I would like for someone to show me the practice of “vision casting” from the Bible. I’ve looked and it isn’t there. The vision and mission of the church is the Great Commission. Seeking the Lord for how He wants us to accomplish our part in that is one thing, but “vision casting” for new ideas, practices, and mandates is quite another.

I know, and I teach, that we are supposed to respect our leaders, but it is hard to respect leaders who display this kind of outright corruption. That’s what it is: Corruption. Our first loyalty is to Jesus Christ, and not to earthly leaders, whether spiritual or political. We can only be loyal to earthly leaders as they are loyal to the teachings of the Bible. The prophets and the apostles spoke out against the corrupt leaders in their day, so where are the influential prophetic voices condemning this corruption in our day?

It is my conviction that unless there are enough ministers who will take a stand for truth at the 2015 General Council in Orlando, Florida this summer to reel in these out of control leaders, that the Assemblies of God will be permanently set on a path toward blatant liberalism and apostasy. We already see this liberalism and apostasy right in Springfield, Missouri, the hometown of the Assemblies of God. Our leaders are not unaware of this. In fact, I have heard them laud these liberal A/G churches and their pastors.

At this rate, our numbers may increase, but that does not mean we will have an increase in real Christian believers and disciples. When people are given spiritual pablum about how wonderful they are, or what champions they are, they are not brought to saving faith in Jesus Christ. They are being sent to destruction with a positive outlook. The pastor who would do this kind of thing is not a real pastor (shepherd). He is either a hireling or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. God will judge that.

Finally, instead of the stupid “Soar” campaign slogan they have chosen for this year’s General Council meeting, they should try something more “relevant” to the time, such as “REPENT and MOURN”. Unless we repent of our sin and compromise, God will not continue to bless us. Instead, He will write ICHABOD over our doors. Honestly, I am not encouraged that things will move in the right direction this summer, but I pray it will nonetheless.

Have a blessed day in the Lord Jesus Christ!