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Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Passion of the Christ 2: A Warning


As I experienced the last go around, I will assume that I am wasting bandwidth and breath again this time... but I still feel compelled to warn my fellow Evangelicals about an upcoming phenomena which will, no doubt, milk hundreds of millions out of the Body.

I recently blogged about how Satan works. Remember, Satan is not in the Nightclub business, he's in the religion business. He presents himself as an Angel of Light and his ministers are the ministers of righteousness (2 Cor 11).

I documented the nonsense (not sure what other word to use) when The Passion of the Christ was released. It was unbiblical, based in part on visions from "mystics," and its goal was hidden from its audience.

I was told how awesomely biblical it was. I watched 40 minutes on cable and was horrified at how it obviously played with revealed truth. How some people called it "accurate" is beyond me. [Aside: we should avoid trying to harmonize the gospels in any case; the Holy Spirit gave us 4 separate accounts for a reason.]

Ministries declared it would bring national revival. One ministry I documented "prophesied" church services breaking out in theaters (whatever that was supposed to look like).

I think I can safely say, America had no revival and has been in heavy decline since.

But the most damning thing was the goal of its maker. The primary force behind the film (an Anti-Semite) declared his own wife was in danger of hell fire for being Episcopal. The other promoter hit the circuit, speaking at Evangelical gatherings around the country, You can watch these visits on YouTube... but you won't see ALL his visits.

You will not find what he was saying in meetings in his own church. The reason for that was because all attendees were told they could not record what he was saying. I discovered what he was saying via a blog by someone who loved what he had to say and was puzzled by the restriction. Hint: he wasn't telling them about the gospel of the free grace of God.

But we don't even need that evidence. His own words, published in interviews about the film, should have exposed him to anyone with an ounce of discernment. He spoke openly about the filming and what he was about. Sadly, few Christians cared.

Regardless, no film is going to bring revival. Can a film be used by the Lord? Sure, if it has scripture correctly presented. Scripture teaches us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. But when a film mixes truth and error, as Satan did in the Garden and in the Wilderness. it becomes very dangerous.

Unless someone knows of a spiritual transformation and the regeneration of the principals, I will, again, assume the worst.

TPOTC2 will come out. It will be lauded from pulpits across the nation. Errors, omissions and additions will be ignored. It will make its makers another $1 billion... and we'll have no revival.

Imagine what that money could do for real missions?

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"Never before has [Satan] been so successful as now, blinding the eyes of them that believe not. Idolatry and all the perversions of the Truth of God are his work. He is the author and supporter of every cult which denies Christ. He is the real parent of Higher Criticism, Mormonism, Russellism, Christian Science… Romanism, and all other isms which deny the Truth of God… What a happy day it will be when he is shut up."
-A.C. Gaebelein, Commentary on The Revelation, 1915

Friday, February 23, 2018

Daniel's 70 Weeks

I'm not keen on date-setting, but I do believe in prophecy and its accuracy. To that point let me quickly lay out a few scenarios about the return of the King to restore the Kingdom to Israel (the subject of the parables in Matthew we've recently been studying). This was the subject of the Lord's teaching the 40 days after his resurrection to the futures judges in the kingdom (the twelve), Acts 1:6; etc.

It is often noted that in the Gospels, Acts and the Acts-Age epistles there is an expectation of the Kindom. Just yesterday at church, our visiting speaker referenced the Lord's soon coming in James 4 (7-9). Well, 2000 years is a long time to wait at the door.

I'll jump to the chase. Many Bible teachers point to the prophetic 70 weeks (NIV: sevens) of Daniel 9 as a guide. But have we ever considered there are TWO sets of 70 weeks?

9:24 speaks of 70 weeks determined upon Isreal AND Jerusalem, "To bring in everlasting righteousness."

9:25-27 speaks the 70 weeks of the Messiah, his death, the Antichrist and the times of Jacob's Trouble (the Tribulation). However, here the weeks are broken into 7, 62, and 1.

The Temple was restored in 405BC, 49 years (sevens) after the decree went out after the walls were rebuilt in 454BC.

Taking the first date at the restoration of the Temple moving ahead 490 years (70x7) we come to AD85.

But what of the 7-62-1? This is specific to the going out of the decree to rebuild. That started in 454BC. 49 years takes us to 405BC. 62x7 adds 434 years and we arrive at AD29* when "Messiah shall be cut off" (v.26). This leaves 1week wherein the AntiChrist "shall confirm [Hebrew: gâbar, make strong] a covenant with many for one week." This suggests the existence of an already existing covenant.

*It is understood that after adjusting for historical calendar changes, Jesus was most likely born approx 4BC.

But we still have the original 70 weeks progressing. AD29-AD64 is the Acts Age. That would be 35 years or 5x7. At that point, Paul reveals the Mystery of Ephesians 3 and the plans for Israel (and the Kingdom) are put on hold. This follows the events of Acts 28 wherein the Jews in Rome reject their Messiah (the repentance of Israel is necessary for the restoration, Acts 3:17-21.

We are now left with 3 weeks of the original 70 and 1 week of the second 70.

Hosea teaches us the history of Israel as God's people and periods Israel is "not his people." It is best to read the whole book, but chapter 6 speaks of Israel in judgment and then her restoration

"After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up..."

A day is as a thousand years with the Lord (2 Peter 3:8). What we may be seeing in our day is the preparation of Israel for the renewal of the last three weeks. 14 years of rebuilding the temple and institution of a peace treaty. The final week will be the Tribulation of Israel. The treaty is "confirmed" then broken and the cleansing of Israel begins with a remnant rising.

That third day in Hosea 6? That would be the 1000 year millennial reign of the Messiah on earth in the Kingdom ("On the third day He will raise us up").

Putting these dates together, that return would be sometime around 2085 with the 21 years (3 weeks) beginning around 2064 with the Tribulation beginning around 2078.

Now you should ingest a rather large grain of salt.



A Quick Note About Satan

A serious error I see being made today is misunderstanding Satan. Satan is not in the nightclub business (the flesh takes care of that), he's in the religion business.

The virtue signaling on one side (in and out of the church) is Satan's doing. "Spirituality" is disguised in the new Puritanism of virtue signaling. It requires nothing and allows one to declare others damnable for not acquiescing to "accepted" opinions.


On the other side, religion and the traditions of men succor the believer (and assumed believer) into thinking he's spiritual. Satan doesn't care if you're religious, in fact, that's his goal. And the churches gladly accept acts of religious devotion, regardless of their biblical accuracy.

There are churches today with "drive-through ashes" being offered. I guess anything to make people feel religious.

For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
-2 Cor 11:4

I know people who love religion, it's the Bible they hate. It's the cross they hate. I've known Christians who, similarly, love religion and fail to test doctrine lest they be called names. Some get hung up on non-biblical issues in the name of Christian purity because it simply makes them feel superior.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.
-2 Cor 11:14-15

“[Satan’s] temptations are aimed, not against morals, but against faith. He is the ‘god of this world’, and influences and controls, not its vices and crimes, but its religion - hence the neglect and rejection of Christianity.”
- Sir Robert Anderson, (excerpt, The Silence of God)

The Second Parable of the Fig Tree

We now look at the second Parable of the Fig Tree. We first saw the Lord dealing with the fig tree in Matthew 21, we now return to it in context of the end of the age.

Last time we were left with the fig tree cursed, withered, and unable to bear fruit. From our previous study in Matt 21:

"Was this the end of Israel in God’s plan? No. The Lord is saying that Israel, in rejecting her king, was forfeiting her privilege as head of the nations, for a season."

“No more from thee may fruit be -- to the age.”
-Matt 21:19 (Young's Literal)

We now see the withered fig tree again, starting to put forth leaves; showing signs of life and fruitfulness.
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation [Gk: "geneá" descended people, nation, age] will not pass away until all these things take place."
-Matt 24:32-34
A withered Israel will come to life quickly. It will bud and put forth leaves. The Lord says this will be a clue as the closeness of the end of the age. Here is where I would depart from many dispensatonalists. I have placed this discourse in context of the Great Tribulation and there I must stay.

As the horrific events of the the previous passage in Matthew 24 are unfolding, Israel is starting to bloom. I think this represents the early part of the Tribulation. As the Antichrist confirms his agreement with Israel [Dan 9:27], Israel comes to life. This is also necessary for her to eventually bear spiritual fruit.

The Israel of this hour is a precursor, but not a fulfillment of scripture. Israel is in the land in unbelief. She has no sense of safety. Many Jews still live outside Israel. I think it must be there so prophecy can be fulfilled (and this may be semantics), but it is not the fulfillment itself.


Before I end, I must address:
"But concerning that day and hour no one knows..."
-Matt 24:36
As the Lord is giving his disciples signs, he obviously is not saying "nobody will have any idea when any of this will happen, and they won't know even that it's happening." What he is saying is that, in response to the questions, he is not giving a date. Rather, he is giving signs for the prudent to discern.

In the present age (starting after the Book of Acts), we have 2 Timothy 3:1-9 to watch. As we watch there, we can see the stage being set for Matthew 24. But, again, Israel is not experiencing these things yet and the signs of Matthew 24 are not being fulfilled.

Do I believe these things will come to pass soon? Yes. But I base that on a number of scriptures (most recently my note on Daniel's 70 Weeks) and on watching the stage. The players are moving into place, but Matthew 24 concerns Israel at the center of God's plan again, and the events of the Great Tribulation ("the time of Jacob's Trouble").

We're not there yet, but I think we are close. What do I mean by "close?" Perhaps within a decade, perhaps within several decades. If my reasoning on Daniel is correct, the latter would be true (but don't trust me!).

In the Acts Age, we saw that the expectation of the end was "at hand." That expectation will soon be relevant for God's people, Israel. And she shall soon see the son whom she has pierced (Zech 12:10), and she shall soon see her promised kingdom (Zech 8, Isaiah 11, Jer 31, Heb 8, etc.).

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

On the Multitude in Rev 7:9

"After these things I saw, and lo, a great multitude, which to number no one was able, OUT OF all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands..."
-Rev 7:9 (Young's Literal Translation)
This verse is often used to teach that God saves men "of" every nation and language etc. But is that accurate?

The context of Revelation 7 is clearly Israel. Verses 1-8 prophesy of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists called out of the 12 tribes of Israel. These go out and call Jews from the four corners of the earth. This is all yet future. We must "rightly divide" scripture (2 Tim 2:15) and not rip verses from their contexts.

Part of the problem is the translation in Rev 7:9 of the Greek word "ἐκ" by the word "of." The more accurate translation is "out of" (see: Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon). The 144,000 evangelists are calling the elect nation, Israel, OUT OF* all the other nations. We see this in the parables of Matthew (another Jewish book).

Note those in verse 9 are "arrayed in white robes." What does the context tell us about this multitude?

"Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple.
-Rev 7:13-15

1. They came out of (ἐκ) the Great Tribulation
2. They believed in the Lamb of God
3. They serve day and night in His temple

This is a multitude of Jews called out of all the nations.

Unfortunately, verse 9 is often used to rob Israel of her promises. Does the Lord save people of all ethnicity (nations)? Surely he does. We are Gentiles and our promises in this age are not found in the Revelation.

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*I'd say "out from among" is even better. We see this in the "ἐκ" resurrection of Philippians 3:11. There, Paul hopes to attain a special resurrection. Most translations read "resurrection from the dead," but that's ALL resurrections. Paul wishes to attain a resurrection "out from among" the dead. Why would Paul simply hope for resurrection? That is secure in Christ (1 Cor 15). He hoped for a resurrection "out from among" the other dead. 1 Cor 15 speaks of resurrection according to rank and order. In service, we may attain a "better resurrection."

This rare usage of "ex-anástasis" is only used here. However, in Luke 24:46, it is said of Christ:
Thus it hath been written, and thus it was behoving the Christ to suffer, and to rise out of the dead [αναστηναι εκ νεκρων] the third day,
-Luke 24:26
Christ rose "out of" (out from among) the dead.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Introduction to the Olivet Discourse

We are finally going to start on the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24-25, and look at some of the well-known parables of the Lord's earthly ministry. I posted an intro a few weeks ago, but here it is in a different way.

We note again:
  • The Lord's earthly ministry was to Israel
  • The parables are meant to be difficult
  • Israel has a very specific place in God's plan and it revolves promises made to her alone.

We have covered all those previously.

Let's start by setting the stage for the words in this section of scripture:

"There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down..." As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" – Matthew 24:2b-3

Note that this entire section is a response to things surrounding a very specific question… when will the Lord come into His kingdom (GK: parousia – the presence of someone). "Parousia" is a specific word and is not associated with the post-Acts epistles. It differs from "Epiphenea." We need to understand the difference between the Lord's "appearing" (epiphenea) and his presence as king (parousia).

The events laid out in Matthew 24 correspond with the three sets of judgments in the Revelation. The “revelation” is the revelation of the King in His return to establish His throne. This is the “parousia” of the King.

Charting the wording of Matthew 24 against the sequence of events in each of the judgments (seals, bowls, trumpets) will show this. Christ will return according to the prophets and according to the Feasts of Jehovah (given to Israel). The Acts age started with the Jewish feast of Pentecost and will culminate (after the present Age of Grace) with the Feast of Trumpets (“the last trump”).

Confused? Good. No, this is all backdrop. Suffice it to say, the future rulers of Israel's promised kingdom are asking the Lord about the destruction of the temple and the subsequent events leading to his return as king. (After his resurrection and after 40 days of instruction, they will ask again about the establishment of the kingdom. - Acts 1:6)

If you'll recall from the note on Daniel's 70 Weeks, they were expecting the end times events very soon. We see in the Acts age epistles that the kingdom was "at hand." It has not been "at hand" for 2000 years. The plan for Israel was put on hold and the Mystery of Ephesians 3 revealed, but that was a secret (mystery) at that time.

I've covered that elsewhere, so before I dive into Matthew 24-25, I'll remind us of the questions being addressed:
  • When will these things be?
  • What will be the sign of your coming?
  • What will be the sign of the end of the age?
I hope things will become clearer as we move on.

Matthew 24: The End of the Age



We now go back to Matthew 24. We are looking at the Lord's answer to the questions, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

So, the Lord's answer is in context of his coming (return to earth) and the end of the age (not the "world"). This means these events concern the time of the Tribulation ("Jacob's trouble"); Israel's testing. As we have seen in Matthew, the Lord is addressing his brothers according to the flesh (Jews).

We must understand this to understand the parables of this section of scripture. These parable deal with the end of the age.

Just to nail down this point, note what the Lord says of the signs that will precede his return in light of Revelation chapter 6 (the seal judgments). These are not necessarily in order, they are different conditions of that age.

24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. [First Seal: White Horse] 
24:7a For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. [Second Seal: Red Horse] 
24:7b And there will be famines, pestilences [Third and Fourth Seals: Black Horse and Pale Horse] 
24:9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.[Fifth Seal: Martyrs crying out for justice]
24:7b and earthquakes in various places [Sixth Seal: great earthquake and signs in the heavens]
 
24:13-14 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Again, we have the "gospel of the kingdom." This is the gospel to Israel alone as we have seen (cp Matt 4:23; 10:5-7). This section of scripture continues the theme of the whole Book.

At the end, the Lord will deal with his people, Israel. according the promises and hopes revealed to the prophets.

24: 29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn [Zech 12:10], and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [Dan 7:13; 1 Thess 4:17]. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect [Is 45:4; 65:22; etc.] from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

This is a terrible time for Israel, God's elect people:

24:22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

God will return to keep his promise to his elect people, even though they currently do not know him. He will call them out of all the earth, back to the land of promise.

For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.-Isaiah 45:4 

So will I do for My servants’ sake,That I may not destroy them all.I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,And from Judah an heir of My mountains;My elect shall inherit it,And My servants shall dwell there.-Isaiah 65:8-9

This sets the context for the next five parables:

-The Parable of the Fig Tree (2)
-The Parable of the Servants
-The Parable of the Foolish Virgins
-The Parable of the Talents
-The Parable of the Sheep and Goats


We Know Him No Longer According to the Flesh



"From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer."
-2 Cor 5:16

I want to tread lightly this time of year. Christians have liberty to do what they will about days and seasons. I only object when people require it of others or when it becomes a form of false humility or trying to please God in the flesh (Col 2). But there are two other issues which raise their heads this time of year.

The first is the issue of the resurrection. I have covered this repeatedly and suffice it to say, the resurrection of the Lord is EVERYTHING. That is, every freedom. forgiveness, hope, calling, blessing is linked to that glorious event. Since I've been there before, I'll move on to the other issue.

This time of year we see a lot of movies about the life of Christ. I'll refrain concerning whether we should be depicting Christ in an image of our creation and concentrate on the error of focusing our eyes on the earthly Christ. The so-called "red letter Christians" make this paramount in their theology (although, as we have noted, they really don't read ALL the red letters). But should they or we?

Let's look at just some of what the earthly Christ said:
"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
-Matt 15:24
 
"It is not fitting to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs [Gentiles]."
-Matt 15:26
 
"Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not..."
-Matt 10:5

H
is ministry on earth was to Israel, through whom God had promised the whole world would be blessed. She has earthly promises. She will have a kingdom and serve as priests for the nations (Ex 19; Zech 8; Heb 8; etc.). Paul teaches us in Romans that he came "to confirm the promises made to the fathers [of Israel]" (15:8). He took upon himself the sins of the whole world. But in the resurrection, his earthly ministry was complete. Israel looks to her glorified King and we look to a glorified Savior.

The precious Son of God is to be understood as the one in heavenly places today. He was seen in visions by Ezekiel and John. This is who we worship!

"And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings.And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire;[g] and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain [rainbow], so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face..."
-Ezek 1:25-28
 
"In the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters."
-Rev 1:13-15
 
"At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald."
-Rev 4:2-3
 
"Then I saw another mighty [messenger] coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded."
-Rev 10:1-3
Etc.

This is the Lord we serve. This is the resurrected Lord, returned to his full glory as setting it aside to become a man [Phil 2] for our sakes. We now know him no longer after the flesh. We need to see him with clear eyes. He was in his full glory in Ezekiel and he is returned to his full glory today.

"I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed."
-John 17:4-5

He is now the glorified, risen Lord. Let us worship him as our Great God and Savior as we look for his glorious appearing!!

"Renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."
-Titus 2:12-14

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Yet Another Post on Yeshua, Yahweh, Etc.

I came across an Alan Horvath video which teaches that the word "God" and "Lord" refer to Satan. Feel free to look him up. Alan has some good material, but he is a prime example of what I cover in my most recent entry. That is, although he is a dispensationalist, he keeps trying to cram the Body into Israel.

I have covered this in previous blog posts on the use of "Yeshua" (spelling varies), but I wanted to post a short entry directed at the use of God's name in scripture. The Creator God is the great I AM. He is (Anglicized) the Yahweh and Elohim of the Hebrew scriptures (among many other names). He is the thrice holy God of scripture. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. His promises to Israel are yea and amen!

But he is not bound by Hebrew.

It seems from the video as though Alan thinks the entire New Testament was written in Hebrew or Aramaic? If not, I have no idea how he concludes that the Father can only be referred to as "Yahweh." Obviously, Paul uses "theós" to refer to the true God and in Acts 17 that is the same word the pagan Greeks also use (the difference being the object of the use). 
So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god (θεός).’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God (θεός) who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man... - Acts 17:22-24

In Psalm 82, scripture (Yahweh, the Father) refers to men as "'ĕlôhı̂ym" (אֱלֹהִים). But we know from context the object and difference. 'ĕlôhı̂ym is also used of false gods (Deut 32:17; etc.). Context, is the difference.
God (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym) standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym)... I have said, Ye are gods (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym); and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men...
-  Ps 82:1, 6-7a
Scripture also allows for pronouns. Both the Father (Yahweh) and Satan are referred to as "he" (ekeînos); 2 Tim 2:13 cp John 8:44. In fact, Satan is referred to as a "father" in Jn 8:44. I think it's dangerous to start teaching that people are calling on Satan when they use "God." 

There are people who teach "Jesus" means "Son of Zeus." It never ends. Paul never refers to Christ as "Yeshua." He uses "Iēsoûs Christos" (Greek) from which the Anglicized "Jesus" is derived. The post-Acts epistles are given to gentiles. We were never bound by Hebrew versions of the Greek.

Race, Ethnicity, The Traditions of Men, and Lent

Rightly Dividing Israel


I'm still planning on getting to the rest of the parables in Matthew, but I've seen a disturbing pattern recently which is important to the whole series on Matthew.

I'm used to the Replacement Theology folks confusing Israel and the Body. I've documented the fall of dispensationalists from a proper understanding of Israel and the New Covenant to a muddled one. 

But I've noticed as of late a complete blurring of lines. This is disturbing. If we are going to discuss issues such as race, we need to understand God's understanding of race. 

This begins with His distinction in both Old and New Testaments between Israel and the nations (heathen, gentiles, etc.). Scripture knows of three levels of distinction which we will cover in the section below.

At the core of just about every error (as I see it) in Christendom is this blurring of lines concerning the plan of God for ages for Israel and the nations. We're at the point at which Hebrew words are forced upon our Apostle, Paul, declaring his use of Greek of none effect. Paul himself, as the Apostle to the Gentiles, would be appalled. God's choice of Greek for most, if not all, the New Testament is His inspiration. To force Hebrew upon it is to question God's inspiration.

Surely, I believe Israel has a central role to play in the plan of God (laid out in other posts). She has promises and hopes unique to her. But God also has a unique plan for this age which is primarily for gentiles and which recognizes no partition between Jew and Gentile. Many would say they understand this, but in word and deed they display that they do not.

In this present age, theologically, there is no Jew or Gentile. But in the plan of God, ethnically, God still makes a distinction. Scripture has plans for Israel. The Body is part of the greater family of God, but is wholly independent from Israel. Her feasts, rituals (including baptisms and Passover - "Lord's Supper") are hers. They serve nothing in this age apart from robbing from Christ.

Until these distinctions are understood and obeyed, the confusion will continue.

We are soon entering the time on the calendar of great outward displays of religious tradition (Ash Wednesday, Lent Holy Week, etc.). It may make us feel puffed up in the flesh, but we risk losing reward (disqualification).

DO NOT let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. DO NOT let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, WHY, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human [church] commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
-Col 2:16-23


Scriptural Background on Race


Let's now look at some scriptural nuts and bolts. We have three levels of race and ethnicity in scripture (among men):

  1. The Human Race descended from the first Adam 
  2. The separation of the nations after the flood
  3. The descendants of Jacob and the rest of the nations (Israel and gentiles)

These are the only distinctions of consequence. For the Christian, our concern is not race or ethnicity, but biblical standards consistent with this age and our hope and calling.

Enter here, the concept of culture:

But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.-Gen 15:16

God didn't hate the Amorites. He doesn't hate gentiles (thankfully), but he does hate sin. He is patient as he was here with the Amorites. To Nineveh (gentiles) he sent Jonah to offer them a chance at redemption, and they answered.

God does eventually deals with the Amorites. Men are impatient with God's mercy and long-suffering, then critical of his judgments. "Why does God allow sin!" followed by "Why must God judge!" In Jonah's case, Jonah was upset that God showed mercy to Nineveh.

Now to translate that into today. As a Christian, I see all men as equal before a thrice holy God. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All are under the Adamic curse of death and decay. I make no judgment based on anything but God's gracious gospel (which is offered to all).

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
-Rom 2:16

That is in regard to eternal life. However, there is the matter of culture. God does not excuse sin or error merely because it is a matter of one's culture or if it is a matter of one's race.

Manasseh was a king in the line of David from the tribe of Judah in the nation of Israel. He adopted, however, the wicked culture of the Amorites.

Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.-2 Kings 21:11-12

We judge no man by his race or ethnicity, yet we must judge all issues of culture by the Word of God. If something is not addressed directly or by principle, we offer liberty. But if something is opposed to the Word of God, it must be rejected.

We should not seek wisdom or help from Egypt (the world).

The race issue is a simple one in Christendom: we recognize all as equal before the one with whom we have to do. We believe in equality before the Lord. In regard to cultural issues, I will listen only to those who know the Savior, believe his word, and rightly divide it. Anything else is a waste of my time and an insult to God's word.

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
and rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the Lord!
-Isaiah 31:1
 
And yet [the Holy One of Israel] is wise and brings disaster;
he does not call back his words,
but will arise against the house of the evildoers
and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
-Isaiah 31:2
 
The Egyptians are man, and not God,
and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall,
and they will all perish together.
-Isaiah 31:3

We make a colossal mistake when wee seek answers from the unregenerate. Occasionally, they may stumble near the truth (Acts 17:28), but give no heed to their instruction. Bowing to unregenerate men and plead for them to teach us? May it not be so.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

From the Biblical Straining at a Gnat Department

Had an online discussion with someone arguing that contemporary music can't be Christian (he pointed me to some book, I never get any verses). He has a PhD from a respected seminary... so I looked up his program. Turns out, the curriculum is based on the work of four men from the Evangelical Heretics Hall of Fame.

While he's breaking down the secret Satanic message in Petra's "The Coloring Song," he's swallowing garbage from gospel-denying false teachers. I'm sure he tithes, though.

Something for us all to remember:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence."
-Matthew 23

I'm not saying the guy is full of greed and self-indulgence (I'm being hyperbolic to make a point), but if you can't miss huge heretics (or worse, you accept them for the sake of getting the letters after your name), don't try to tell me the Getty's are the spawn of Satan.

No one is more critical of some of the horrid doctrine in and around contemporary artists than I... but we need to apply that to all we do. Test the spirits.

Video warning: Contains the backbeat!