The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

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

TEXT: Revelation 6:1-8

THEME: Judgment is coming

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

The rest of this lesson is posted in this file.

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

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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

 

 

Everyone Wants to Experience God

Everyone Wants to Experience God

Today we hear people, Christians and non-Christians alike, talk about “experiencing God.” Most of them are not, however, looking to experience the God of the Bible. Rather they are looking to experience a God that fits their ideas, desires, and spiritual ignorance. How do I know this is so? Because they are looking everywhere and in everything to “experience God,” except in His Word—the Bible.

Right now, I’m about to anger a bunch of my Christian friends by saying this: “If you find God somewhere other than in the Bible or through a biblically prescribed method of seeking Him, you ARE NOT experiencing the TRUE GOD. You will experience a god made up in your own mind and after your own image, but it won’t be the God, or Jesus Christ, of the Bible.

Today we have heretics, apostates, and outright liars telling everyone that all religions worship the same [G]god. Anyone who says that is a damned liar, and they are leading millions of souls to eternal damnation. This is so no matter how high their station in life may be in the worldly realm of religion, politics, business, education, or whatever.

The last lengthy discourse of Jesus recorded in Matthew 24-25 warns of many things in the last days, but of all the things He warned against, He warned us not to be deceived the most—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

This is one way we can tell, at least for those who are paying attention, that we are in the last of the last days. Deceivers in the church are a dime a dozen. In fact, I will repeat what I have said before, that the two most dangerous places for a Christian to be are in a Christian bookstore (or the religious section of a secular bookstore), or listening to a television tuned to a so-called “Christian” station. With so many warnings in such a short span of Scripture, wouldn’t it make sense that deception of the believers in the last days is a real possibility, even a probability? I think yes! Yet most of the popular speakers and authors in Christianity today are doing just that—deceiving the Church of Jesus Christ.

The Evangelical church should now be renamed the “Evangullible” church because so many are deceived, and many seemingly are willingly deceived. Jeremiah 5:30-31 says, “An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” NKJV Furthermore, why are so many teachers using “translations” like The Message and The Voice, which are demonstrably perverted for a New Age purpose.

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.

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

Now here is Matthew 6:8-15 from The Message.

Matthew 6:8-15

8 Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. 9 With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,

Reveal who you are.

10 Set the world right;

Do what’s best —

as above, so below.

11 Keep us alive with three square meals.

12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.

13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.

You’re in charge!

You can do anything you want!

You’re ablaze in beauty!

Yes. Yes. Yes.

14 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. 15 If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

Do you notice any peculiar phraseology in this passage? You should. The worst of it is the phrase, “As above, so below.” This is a widely known and used incantation among, witches, Satanists, occultists, and New Agers alike. Just Google the phrase “As above, so below meaning”, and see what results the search yields you. Here are some of the results I got just typing it in different ways.

https://www.google.com/search?biw=964&bih=603&q=as+above+so+below+meaning&revid=608550214&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjqvMflyIXMAhVExWMKHSMVCGsQ1QIIZSgA

https://www.google.com/search?biw=964&bih=603&q=as+above+so+below+satanic+meaning&revid=616246549&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiKobD8yIXMAhUC3mMKHVIOBWIQ1QIIkQEoBg

https://www.google.com/search?biw=964&bih=603&q=as+above+so+below+meaning+baphomet&revid=616246549&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiKobD8yIXMAhUC3mMKHVIOBWIQ1QIIjgEoAw

The origin of this saying is attributed to a man named Hermes Trismegistus. Various sources confirm this, although I cannot advise one to go to the following websites, I include them here for the strong believer to simply confirm that I’m not making this up.

The Hermetik Library of Hermetik International. (http://www.hermetik-international.com/en/media-library/)

The Hermetic Library. (http://hermetic.com/)

The Hermetics Resource Site. (http://www.hermetics.org/)

The Corpus Hermeticum at The Alchemy Web Site. (http://www.levity.com/alchemy/corpherm.html)

You can also find an introduction to Hermeticism at Wikipedia, although I have an inherent distrust of the website as a whole. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeticism)

This is just one problem with this purported “Bible.” There are many others that in their own way are just as bad. For instance,

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. NKJV

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

As you can see, what Eugene Peterson has done with the text bears no resemblance to what is actually in the biblical text at all. It’s just his idea thrown in. And is God present just in all believers, or is He present in all, as

The Message says. That would be the teaching of Panentheism, that God is present in all. Whereas, Pantheism teaches that everything is God. Either way, it’s a problem.

I trust no teacher, preacher, or author who uses The Message and The Voice because they are misled, or misleading the flock of God. There are too many good, legitimate translations on the market to use such rubbish, and call it a “Bible translation.” Even good teachers like Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah, and John Bevere, who have done much good in and for the Christian church are using these now, and they are undermining their ministries in the eyes of anyone who knows anything about Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Bible translation, or sound biblical theology. Of course, no one who knows anything about the Bible should trust Rick Warren because he quoted a New Age proponent by the name of Dr. Bernie Siegel in his book, Purpose Driven Life. On page 31, Warren introduces the idea of hope with the following statement.

“Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope. Dr. Bernie Siegel found he could predict which of his cancer patients would go into remission by asking, ‘Do you want to live to be one hundred?’ Those with a deep sense of life purpose answered yes and were the ones most likely to survive. Hope comes from having a purpose.”

Yet Warren never warns his readers that Dr. Bernie Siegel, while perhaps being a fine doctor, is also a major New Age leader, and has great influence as a spiritual leader. In fact, Warren Smith tells us that Dr. Bernie Siegel has a spirit-guide named George. That’s a familiar spirit, a demon (Smith, Warren, “A Wonderful Deception: The Further New Age Implications of the Emerging/Purpose Driven Movement. Lighthouse Trails Publishing. Eureka, Montana. 2009. 1st edition. 3rd printing 2010. pg. 16).

In fact, the “translation” being called The Voice is a handbook for New Age spirituality, the radical environmental movement, and other far left ideas well outside the mainstream of biblical Christianity. Some of those involved with it are Brian McLaren, Chris Seay, and David B. Capes.

One problematic example from The Voice is found in 2 Peter 3:18. Where the New King James Version says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” NKJV However, The Voice reads, “Instead, grow in grace and in the true knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed, to whom be glory, now and until the coming of the new age. Amen. (VOICE). Now you can do all the double talking you want, but those two translations are nowhere near the same, nor do they convey anywhere near the same meaning and intent. Until the coming of the NEW AGE? So I guess His glory ceases at a point in time. Until the coming of the NEW AGE is not the same as both now and forever. Forever means forever, and not until the coming of some new age.

In context here’s how they both read.

2 Peter 3:14-18

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation — as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;

18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. NKJV

2 Peter 3:14-18

14 So, my friends, while we wait for the day of the Lord, work hard to live in peace, without flaw or blemish; 15 and look at the patience of the Lord as your salvation. Our dearly loved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, has written about this. 16 He says essentially the same in all of his letters, although uneducated and unstable readers misinterpret the difficult passages, just as they always misread Scripture, to their spiritual ruin.

17 So hear my final words, my friends. Now that I have warned you about what’s ahead, keep up your guard and don’t let unprincipled people pull you away from the sure ground of the truth with their lies and misunderstandings. 18 Instead, grow in grace and in the true knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed, to whom be glory, now and until the coming of the new age. Amen. (VOICE)

The Greek text of that phrase from 2 Peter 3:18 literally reads, “Into [the] day age.” A phrase that means eternity or forever.

It’s time we start watching and listening more closely to those who are teaching us. I will borrow and altar a phrase from the old Arthur Conan Doyle character Sherlock Holmes. Deception is afoot. It’s time for those who sit in the pews of the churches to once again become Bereans who search the Scriptures daily to see whether the things we’re being told are really so (Acts 17:11). Because a lot of what the church is being fed these days just ain’t so! Pardon the grammar, but the point is correct. Another good analogy is that we need to be like Ezekiel’s watchman on the wall, and sound the alarm of impending danger (Ezekiel 33:1-9). Yes, warn the wicked, but warn the church too because the wicked have crept in and gained powerful positions of influence and authority.

So, in conclusion, if you want to experience the God of the Bible, then open the Bible and read and study it on a daily basis. Pray daily, and seek Him according to what His Word says. Worship Him in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and have regular fellowship with other believers in Jesus Christ.

From one sheep to other sheep to be on the watch for the wolves, for there are many.

 

Here is a fully formatted version of this post in pdf format.

2016-04-10 Everyone Wants To Experience God

Did Joshua 21:43-45 Fulfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant?

Did Joshua 21:43-45 Fulfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant?

As a precursor to reading this article, I suggest you read my earlier posts on the subject of the significance of the modern state of Israel and the Jews being back in the land of Israel—Eretz Israel. Those articles are Israel, Back from the Dead, and Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?

In the last article, Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?, posted earlier this month, which was some fifteen pages long, I thought I covered enough of the questions on Replacement Theology to convince anyone of the validity of the current state of Israel and the Jewish people in the overall prophetic scheme of God, except for old die-hard Replacement Theology Ammillennialists, like R.C. Sproul, Sr. However, as is always the case, the one Scripture you don’t address is always the one somebody will bring up, usually out of context, to prove how invalid all of your other argumentation is. Then on top of that, I get criticized for how much Scripture I use to back up my arguments. Imagine that. So those of you from the school of nice please excuse me while I have a mini sarcastic rant. I suppose some would prefer I default to the Rob Bell or Tony Campolo method of using no Scripture, or at least no Scripture left in its context to determine its literal meaning. Sorry, but I won’t do it. So deal with it! There I feel better now.

So, did Joshua 21:43-45 fulfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant? (Genesis 12:7; 15:18; 26:3-4) Again, the answer is no. Now let me show you why it did not fulfill the land covenant.

Again, the first reason I would give for rejecting this idea is that Joshua only partially fulfilled the land covenant. Remember, in the context of the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt, and the life of Joshua as the servant of Moses, he was fulfilling what Moses had been shown on Mount Nebo, immediately prior to his death, which land was only part of the total land God promised to Abraham (Deuteronomy 32:48-52; 34:1-4).

Another factor is that the Book of Joshua seems to repeatedly indicate they had already conquered all the land God promised to Abraham, even though we know this is not the case (Joshua 10:40; 11:16,23). Yet, if you leave those verses in context, it simply shows they conquered all the land in a given area. Even after the campaigns of Joshua 10 and 11, God said to Joshua, “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.” They were taking it piece by piece.

We see in the Book of Judges that Israel did not take all the land and put out all the pagans, and it was because of their disobedience to God (Judges 1-2). The Israelites had been commanded to destroy all the nations, and to completely possess the land (Joshua 6:17-24; 7:11-15; 8:8; 10:28-43; 11:8-23). However, we are also told they did not obey God to do so (Joshua 15:63; 16:10; 17:12-13), and it would become a major snare to the Israelites throughout the Old Testament. So Joshua sternly rebuked them for their failure to obey the God of Israel. Joshua 18: 3 says, “Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?” Clearly they had failed to take the whole land promised to them by the Lord.

Although Joshua 21:43-45 seems to suggest the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Land Covenant, Joshua 23:4-8 indicates something quite different.

Joshua 23:4-8

4 “See, I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, as far as the Great Sea westward.

5 “And the LORD your God will expel them from before you and drive them out of your sight. So you shall possess their land, as the LORD your God promised you.

6 “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left,

7 “and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them,

8 “but you shall hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.

Clearly, in this passage, Joshua speaks of the complete fulfillment of the land covenant as something still future. While God is faithful to His people, their disobedience delayed the complete fulfillment of all God had promised to them, and they are still waiting for the complete fulfillment of those promises, which will come only in the Millennial Kingdom (see Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?). Therefore, the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Land Covenant remains in the future after Israel has been called out of every nation back to the land God promised to them (Ezekiel 20:33-44).

Ezekiel 20:33-44

33 ” As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you.

34 “I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out.

35 “And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face.

36 “Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord GOD.

37 “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;

38 “I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

39 ” As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says the Lord GOD: “Go, serve every one of you his idols — and hereafter — if you will not obey me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols.

40 “For on My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel,” says the Lord GOD, “there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve Me; there I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the firstfruits of your sacrifices, together with all your holy things.

41 “I will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the Gentiles.

42 “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers.

43 “And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed.

44 “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,” says the Lord GOD.’ “

In fact, virtually no commentaries take the stance of the Replacement Theology camp that all the land promises to Abraham have been fulfilled in Joshua 21:43-45. For example, one would expect Reformed commentator M. H. Woudstra to raise such an issue, but he does not do so in The Book of Joshua (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), pp. 314- 15.

Even Colin Chapman, who is an outspoken anti-Zionist, says that there are many indications the land was never fully conquered (Joshua 13:1-32; Judges 1:1-36), and that many of the people the Israelites were supposed to drive out of the land continued to live alongside them (Joshua 9:1-27) (Colin Chapman, Whose Promised Land? The Continuing Crisis Over Israel and Palestine (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002), p. 119).

Numerous pro-Israel theologians mention that Joshua is recording the historical facts that God was faithful, even when the Israelites were not. Keil and Delitzsch explain this matter in this manner:

Notwithstanding the fact that many a tract of country still remained in the hands of the Canaanites, the promise that the land of Canaan should be given to the house of Israel for a possession had been fulfilled; for God had not promised the immediate and total destruction of the Canaanites, but only their gradual extermination (Ex. xxiii. 29, 30; Deut. vii. 22). And even though the Israelites never came into undisputed possession of the whole of the promised land, to the full extent of the boundaries laid down in Num. xxxiv. 1- 12, never conquering Tyre and Sidon for example, the promises of God were no more broken on that account than they were through the circumstance, that after the death of Joshua and the elder his contemporaries, Israel was sometimes hard pressed by the Canaanites; since the complete fulfilment of this promise was inseparably connected with the fidelity of Israel to the Lord (C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel, 10 vols., (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), Vol. II, p. 216).

Therefore, Joshua 21:43-45 must be viewed in the overall context of the Book of Joshua. Otherwise, it can be used erroneously as an argument for the fulfillment of the land covenant, or as an argument of disinheritance of the land from Israel.

Although at the end of the two major campaigns (Joshua 10-11) a summary is given that Joshua took all that land, and the hill-country (Joshua 11:16-20), indicating his work was done, and the Conquest was completed, it is an idealistic summary. It is further confirmed to be idealistic, as seen in chapter 13:1-6, which says, “There remains yet very much land to be possessed,” and then describes a list of unconquered cities (cf. Judges 1:27ff.). This is similar to Joshua 21:43-35, which indicates that Israel possessed all the land, all their enemies were defeated, and all that the Lord promised came to pass. Yet the Book of Judges makes it plain that this was not the case. So, the command to dispossess all the enemies in the land and to occupy their territory (Genesis 15:18; Exodus 23:23-31, Numbers 34:2, Deuteronomy 1:7, 8, etc.) has a similar implication. Ideally, Israel was to dispossess all their enemies, but in actuality many were left behind, and these became a snare to them. In fact it is indicated that this was part of the will of God in order to, discipline them (Joshua 23:12, 13, Judges 3:1,2) (Adrian Jeffers, “Ideal Versus Real History in the Book of Joshua,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Summer 1969), p. 183).

As much as the Israelites sinned, rebelled against God, and repeatedly failed Him, His faithfulness to them and to the covenant He made with Abraham remained intact. This should give us great consolation, as New Testament believers. Not to give us the idea we can do anything we want and get away with it, but to remind us that God is faithful, and we are secure in Christ (Romans 8:38-39), even though He will discipline us when we need it. While ours is not without conditions (John 15:1-17) like the covenant God made with Abraham, we still have great security (1 John 1:5-10).

Although some theologians insist that the statement in Joshua 21:43 means that the land promise of the Abrahamic Covenant was fulfilled then, this cannot be true because later the Bible gives additional prophecies about Israel possessing the land after the time of Joshua (Amos 9:14-15). Again, Joshua 21:43, refers to the extent of the land as outlined in Numbers 34, and not to the ultimate extent it will be in the messianic kingdom (Gen. 15:18- 21). Also, though Israel possessed the land at this time it was later dispossessed, whereas the Abrahamic Covenant promised Israel that she would possess the land forever (Gen. 17:8) (Donald K. Campbell, ” Joshua,” in John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), pp. 364-65).

In fact, many passages written after the time of Joshua promise a future for Israel (Isaiah 60:18, 21; Jeremiah 23:6-6; 24:5-6; 30:18; 31:31-34; 32:37-40; 33:6-9; Ezekiel 28:25-26; 34:11-12; 36:24-26; 37:1-14, 21-25; 39:28; Hosea 3:4-5; Joel 2:18-29; Micah 2:12; 4:6-7; Zephaniah 3:19-20; and Zechariah 8:7-8; 12:10-13:1; 13:8-9). In addition, Deuteronomy 30:3-6 speaks of a still future restoration in belief. According to Zechariah 12:10. it appears that Israel, as a nation, turn to Christ at His Second Coming.

Amos 9:14-15, it is one of the clearest, future restoration passages promising the future restoration of Israel.

Amos 9:14-15

I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,” Says the LORD your God.”

In conclusion, as I demonstrated in my previous blog, Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?, Israel has a national future in which the Jews will be dwelling in the land under the blessing and favor of God. That occurs, or at least begins, during the Millennial Kingdom. By that time, Israel will have been converted to believe in Jesus as Messiah. At the present time, the current regathering of Israel in unbelief is for the purpose of putting God’s covenant people through the fire of tribulation (Jeremiah 30, especially verse 7; Daniel 9:27; Revelation 6-19), which will result in the salvation of the remnant. Unfortunately, Zechariah 13:7-9 makes it clear that only a remnant of national Israel will be saved, that two-thirds of them will die. It is difficult to miss the clear message of this remnant teaching, unless one has a preconceived bias against the future fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham and the Jews. Such is the case with those who hold to Replacement Theology, and I would call some of them blatantly anti-Zionist Evangelicals who have abandoned any pretense of the normal, literal approach to interpreting prophetic Scripture, and instead eisegete their Replacement Theology back into these passages. And some like Steven Sizer are flat-out anti-Semites. Some have even adopted what is called the “Palestinian Narrative,” which totally perverts the Scripture, and some in this camp even go so far as to make Jesus a Palestinian. If their Jesus is a Palestinian, they have a different Jesus who cannot save. The Jesus of the Bible is a Jew, of the House and lineage of David, and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Any other Jesus is an imposter and an abomination who also stands in need of salvation.

By Jess Leeper

Below is a link to the formatted pdf file version of this article.

 2016-03-18 Did Joshua 21.43-45 Fullfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant

The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings

The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings

The terms “Bible” and “Old Testament” are commonly used by non-Jews to describe Judaism’s Scriptures. However, Jewish people typically use the term “Tanach,” which is derived as an acronym from the Hebrew letters of its three components: Torah (Law), Nevi’im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings). Hence the word TaNaKh.

So when we talk about the inspiration, authority, and historicity of the Bible, we need to be careful in saying that God inspired the 39 Books of the Old Testament. Why? Because in the original Hebrew and Aramaic languages the books of the Old testament, they are divided differently, and there are only 24 Books, rather than 39. On top of this, they are arranged differently. Are the Scriptures inspired? Yes! But it is the original languages that are inspired, whereas God has preserved His truth in the translations that have come down to us throughout history. The fact that the books have been divided and arranged differently in no way affects their authenticity, authority, or historicity. Yet skeptics like to make much of this matter, and Christians need to be aware of it and have an answer for it, according to 1 Peter 3:15.

Now maybe I’m just a freak magnet (I resemble that statement), but I get this question at least once every couple of months or so, and sometimes it comes in groups. I’m not getting it from scholars, as I really don’t hang out in scholarly circles too much anymore. I do occasionally engage in discussions with theological and scholarly friends, but it isn’t my crowd at this time. I get this question and others like it when I’m talking to regular people. People who work in a factory, those who just got our of prison, folks I meet when I’m out and about. I frequently find myself engaging in discussions about salvation in Jesus Christ, the authority and historical accuracy of the Bible, and the relevance of the Bible to the moral issues of the day.

Almost immediately people will challenge the authority of the Bible regarding the great moral, ethical, and spiritual issues of our day. They start attacking the Bible as an ancient book that has no meaning for us today, and they will attack the fact that the Bible in English has a different number of books than in Hebrew and the books have been rearranged. While that assertion is correct regarding the number and arrangement of the books, it is irrelevant. The content of the books is the same.

Although there are many issues relating to the moral authority of the Bible for today, here is a guide to help you when skeptics bring up the fact that the Hebrew Old Testament has a different number of books that are arranged differently. This seems to be a hot button issue for a lot of people today, and you need to have an answer for the skeptics.

Here is the order found in the Hebrew Scriptures. Although the order of the books is different and the books are divided differently, the content is the same as we have in our English Old Testaments.

Torah – The Law: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

Nevi’im – The Prophets: Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel

The Twelve: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi,

The Holy Writings or Psalms: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, 1 &2 Chronicles

I hope this little guide to the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures helps you when you run into a skeptic who wants to make an issue of this particular matter.

Rest assured that if you haven’t already had this come up when talking to unbelievers, you will. And you will probably encounter this sooner, rather than later. I have been on Facebook for just over a year now, and I had two people unfriend me during my first six months or so on Facebook over this issue. One of them was a relative. If you don’t think this is an issue, then you’re not talking to any unbelievers, or maybe you’re just not a freak magnet like me.

It is surprising how much unbelievers study to deny the truth of the Scriptures, but their studies are in error. It’s our job to help them find the truth in Jesus Christ.

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).