He Shall Be Called a Nazarene

He Shall Be Called a Nazarene

 

Matthew 2:19-23

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Sheep and the Goats

The Sheep and the Goats

Matthew 25: 31-46

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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.