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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Is Tartarus A Place Of Water?

The Greek word Tartarus [Tartaroo; Gk: ταρταρόω] is only found once in scripture.
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to [Tartarus], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly... -2 Peter 2:3-5
We first note that those in Tartarus are "reserved for judgment" and they are connected with the flood of Noah's day. At the least, they are put in context with the judgment of the ungodly, which was, of course, by water. We also know these were "angels that sinned."

We now turn to an epistle very similar to 2 Peter, the Book of Jude.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation [Young's Literal: those who did not keep their own principality, but did leave their proper dwelling], he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. - Jude 6
This hearkens back to to the pre-flood contamination of mankind when the "Sons of God" took wives of human women. This study is not about this event directly, I will thus only suggest that these spirit beings (angels) possessed human men and produced a race of "giants."
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose... There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. -Gen 6:1-2,4
Fallen angels are referred to as "sons of God" in Job (1:6; 2:1; 38:7).  Again, this not being the thrust of our argument or topic, we will move onto the idea of water.

We've seen in our studies that water is often associated with judgement. We have the flood of Noah's day and the water that destroyed the original creation at the time of the "overthrow" between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (see our study on the Gap Theory). We'll just quickly look at two passages along that line.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men... -2 Peter 3:5-7
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth [became] without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. -Gen 1:1-2

Again we see water connected with judgment and destruction.

These angels in Tartarus are reserved for judgment. They are in "everlasting chains" (note "everlasting" does not always mean without end). So, we have fallen angels awaiting judgment in Tartarus. In Greek mythology and in most of Christendom, Tartarus is said to be a place of fire (in one form or another).
The name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews. -The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon
To this lake the souls of most of the dead go and, after remaining there the appointed time, which is for some longer and for others shorter, are sent back to be born again into living beings. The third river flows out between these two, and near the place whence it issues it falls into a vast region burning with a great fire and makes a lake larger than our Mediterranean sea, boiling with water and mud. -Plato (Phaedo 112e)
In both Greek Mythology and Roman Catholic (Aquinas, etc.) the fires are either without end or cleansing (purging). The concept of Purgatory is in both faith systems.

The Abyss

This is not an exhaustive study on the "abyss" or "bottomless pit" in scripture, but we will take a look at it in regard to our study here.

We started in 2 Peter and the disobedience of the fallen angels in Noah's day. We now turn to 1 Peter and the flood of Noah again.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. -2 Pet 3:18-20

Here we have the Lord preaching to these angels "in prison." We can only speculate as to the content, but we know their intent was corrupt all mankind and thus the seed which from which the Messiah would arise. So, perhaps it was an announcement that their plan had failed. In any case, let us look at how he handled demons he encountered in his earthly ministry. 
Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. -Luke 8:30-37

These demons did not want to be cast into the "abyss" ("bottomless pit" etc.). In the Hebrew canon ("Old Testament"), the equivalent of the Abyss (Gk: ábyssos) us the Hebrew word "tehom." This word is connected to water. Tehom is used 34 times in scripture. Here are just a few examples:
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. -Gen 1:2

The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. -Gen 8:2

The depths have covered them; They sank to the bottom like a stone. -Ex 15:5

The waters harden like stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen [Literally: imprisoned] -Job 38:30

He split the rocks in the wilderness, And gave them drink in abundance like the depths. -Ps 78:15

Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places. -Ps 135:6
In the Revelation, we see "bound" angels who are released who wreak great havoc on the land. These angels are said t be bound "at the great river Euphrates." We know from Genesis that the Euphrates was somewhere near the garden in Paradise and near Ur of the Chaldees from which Abraham was called. We also know from Gen 15 that the Euphrates is at the eastern edge of the the land Abraham and his dependents are promised in a coming age.    
Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. -Rev 9:13-15
These angels bound in water.

Earlier in the Revelation (fifth angel), it is said to be a place with smoke rising out of it.
And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. -Rev 9:1-2
As this is all speculation, let me continue to speculate. Perhaps it could be that the abyss was emptied at the time the angels were placed in the Euphrates. We see later in the Revelation 20:3 another angel takes a chain which he uses to bind Satan and lock him in the Abyss (bottomless pit). 

In Revelation 16:12 we see that the Euphrates is dried up.


Putting all this together (very much in pencil), it seems as thou water was in the Abyss from the time of the overthrow (foundation) in Genesis. Out from these waters flowed some of the waters of Noah's flood. The Angels who married the daughters of men and produced the giants (Nephilim) were chained and cast into the Abyss. A few are loosed during the Great Tribulation out of the River Euphrates. The Abyss (and the Euphrates) dry up. These angels who left their first estate are now reserved in the empty pit awaiting judgment.

This is all FWIW. I do these things to force myself to forsake any preconceived doctrines of tradition so I may "study to show [myself] approved unto God, a worker who needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." This not being a central doctrine of the faith, it is still useful to display how we cannot blindly trust tradition even on lesser issues.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Heretical Timeline of Those Teaching God Tortures the Lost

We have covered this topic a number of times. Most recently in this POST.

We have looked at the doctrine of men which teaches that God tortures the vast majority of mankind with fire upon death, without hope of relief, for eternity. We have examined this from several scriptural angles.

But I wanted to put their various doctrines together to further highlight its inconsistencies. We did this in our last study with the Gates of Hell. That is, it is often taught that while God is the one who created "hell" and while God is the one who is torturing people there and while Satan is currently roaming the earth and has no desire to be cast there... somehow the "Gates of Hell" are attacking the church?

So let's look at the hellish timeline we are supposed to believe:

  • God tells Adam that the punishment for sin is death and a return to dust.
  • Cain and Abel die.
  • Abel somehow goes to Abraham's bosom (Abraham would not live until 2000 years later)
  • Cain opens his eyes in fiery torture nobody warned him about (God's a liar?).
  • These two can see each other.
  • Cain is being tortured by God moment by moment for the last 6000 years.
  • Even though scripture teaches God alone is immortal, Cain is apparently immortal.
  • Even though scripture teaches that immortality only comes in resurrection, etc...

Nobody in the Hebrew scriptures is apparently aware of Abraham's Bosom or the fact that the dead have any consciousness, so they repeatedly write, under inspiration, that the dead know nothing and are like the beasts when they die.

Hezekiah thinks the "Gates of Hell" is the grave, Isaiah concurs. Isaiah seems to think, under inspiration, that the bodies thrown into the Lake of Fire are corpses.

The Lord decides to reveal the doctrine of Abraham's Bosom to the Pharisees for some reason. And in doing so, teaches that the way to this state of bliss is via poverty and suffering, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented."  So, I guess Abraham's life was full of evil things (disease and poverty)?

Skip to AD 1944

  • Young Jewish mother is taken from her home and placed in Dachau in early 1944.
  • She is starved and her children taken away from her.
  • She is raped then shot in the head that same year.
  • Her body is placed in the oven and is burned to ashes.
  • As Nazis burn her corpse, God got hold of her and she is being tortured by Him beyond any comprehension.
  • She wishes she was back in Dachau.
  • Hitler and her rapist and murderer die. 
  • They all end up under the same punishing fiery torture by God.

The Millennial reign of Christ (1000 years)

  • During Christ's reign, all in "hell" are being tortured by God with fire beyond comprehension (Cain now at 7000 years, Hitler and the Jewish mother at little over 1100 years)
  • All these unbelievers are raised from the dead and brought before the Great White Throne
  • At last a moment of relief! So the torture was not without relief or end!
  • God reads out charges against them, for some reason they care?
  • Back to torture they go (remember, this would apply to the vast vast majority [95+%?] of humans of all ages)
  • Those taken from "hell" are cast into The Lake of Fire (same thing or does it make any difference?)
And during the last 2000 years of earth's history, God's torture chamber has been somehow assaulting his church?

This is what they expect us to believe?

 "You make the Word of God of no effect by your tradition."

Here a few other blog entries on this and related topics:

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Did Adam Die That Day? Was He Ever Immortal? Are You Immortal?

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. -Gen 2:17
The Lord warned Adam that the day he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would die. Did he die that "day?" Well, most theologians who have accepted the Platonic, yet unbiblical, concept of an "immortal soul" and a misunderstanding of "spirit" would tell us that Adam died "spiritually" that day.

From John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on Genesis:
That is, thou shalt lose all the happiness thou hast either in possession or prospect; and thou shalt become liable to death, and all the miseries that preface and attend it. This was threatened as the immediate consequence of sin... Not only thou shalt become mortal, but spiritual death and the forerunners of temporal death shall immediately seize thee.
Adam was always "mortal." "spiritual death" is a loaded phrase which we will not take up here in full.

Back to our question: Did Adam die that day?

Let me suggest two possibilities from scripture.

1. Adam died at age 930, which is less than a prophetic "one day."
2. Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, God offered a blood sacrifice as a substitute.

Scripture is full of prophetic days. We are told by Peter in his second epistle, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." We also see this idea in Hosea in regard to the current age. Speaking of a period after Israel is set aside by the Lord for her "adultery," we read this in Hosea:

Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. -Hosea 6:1-2
This would appear to be the two thousand years after Israel is put aside at the end of the Acts age.

We also see the seven days of creation as a possible application of this biblical principle. There has been roughly six thousand years of the age of man:

  • Two Days, 2000 years from current creation to Abraham [Nations Age]
  • Two Days, 2000 years from Abraham to Christ and the end of the Acts Age [Israel Age]
  • Two Days, 2000 years from the end of Acts until Israel is again God's channel [Mystery Age]

The seventh day then being the 1000 year millennial reign of Christ with Israel in her promised land. This is the coming age of the New Covenant fulfilled in Israel.

A sacrificial death is a substitute death. Immediately after Adam and Even sin, we read this:
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. -Gen 3:21
To be able to make those coats of skins, blood had to be shed. This was a temporary covering picturing the completed work of Christ on Calvary.

The verses which follow are often ignored, yet they carry an important truth:
And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. -Gen 3:22-24
"Forever" here, as translated in Young' Literal, is "to the age." That is, with access to the Tree of Life, Adam would live through the ages of the world. We do not want  to miss that, but more importantly for this study, we do not  want to miss that after sinning, if Adam still has access to the Tree of Life, he would continue to have physical life. Thus this tree was taken away.

We can extrapolate from these verses that the punishment from the Lord was twofold: loss of relationship (as seen in Adam hiding in the garden) and loss of access to the Tree of Life. Without that access, mortal Adam would physically die. Adam was not, in an of himself, immortal.

In Revelation 21, we see the new heavens and the new earth and the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven. In Revelation 22, we see the reward to the overcomer of living in this city.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him... -Rev 22:1-3
We see here the re-entry of the Tree of Life into the story of man. After the nations failed to worship God in spirit and in truth after the flood of Genesis 6 (see the decay into wickedness mapped out in Romans 1), which culminated in the building of the Tower of Babel, the Lord chose Abraham and his descendants as a channel of blessing for the nations on earth. In Romans and Galatians Paul reminds Israel that this was always God's plan (in this age, after Israel was put aside, believers have blessings in the far above the heavens apart from Israel).

In Exodus 15 we see this tremendous prophetic truth pictured:
“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters. -Ex 15:26-27
Note that when Israel obeys the Lord fully (they never have), the Lord will heal the nations.

This is pictured in the 12 wells of water giving life to the 70 palm trees. Israel's 12 tribes bringing life to the 70 nations of Genesis.

But remember, this can only be true if Israel is obeys the Lord's commands and covenant. When will this be true? It will be true under the New Covenant.

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— 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. 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. 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. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” -Heb 8 / Jer 31
Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Although I have cast them [Israel v.15] far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.” ’ Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God." -Ezek 11:16-20

Israel will be restored, in the future, via the New Covenant, and the nations will come to them again.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days [future] ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” -Zech 8:23
We have a picture of the millennium and the coming age beyond that.

Having true "immortal life" only comes through resurrection. Adam did die that "day." He was restricted access to the Tree of Life. He returned to dust. This is the fate of all flesh. Man is not immortal. He must "put on immortality" in resurrection. We read this in the great resurrection chapter, 1 Cor 15:
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
No one apart from God has immortality until then. As Paul reminds us, God alone is immortal (1 Tim 6). Until then, all (believers and unbelievers) return to dust. We are as the beasts of the field. We are souls which die. Animals are souls which die. If you want LIFE it is found in faith in His Name Alone. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will have life. Otherwise, your fate is to perish and return to dust for the ages. Man is full of pride, yet his fate is decay, just like the animals (Ps 49)

Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well.
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“All is vanity.”

-Eccl 12:6-8
Note the last verse. Our "spirit" is the breath of life from God. It is not the "immortal" you. It is vanity to forget we have the same fate as the animals. We are all but dust, and the only hope of life in the ages to come if the free gift of resurrection life by grace through faith in the Son of God.

When the Lord died in the cross, he said, "into your hands I commend my spirit." He is then said to have been in the grave for three days and three nights. We are told his "soul" was in the grave. The greater truth, however, is that he reversed the curse and his body did not return to dust!
For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. -Acts 2:17
He gave up his life and took it back again! He reversed the curse of death and decay! Because of that, we might have life through his name. If you believe that the unbeliever opens his eyes in fiery torment, you are saying he has "life" beyond the grave. That is heresy. Once we understand that our hope is in resurrection and that is how we experience true life, you will find his resurrection is greater than you have ever imagined. The lost have no life in them. They will perish as Adam, but without hope.

Even believers, if the Lord had not raised, would perish. Again we look at the great resurrection chapter of 1 Cor 15:
For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
Resurrection is where we have true life. Those who do not have Christ (unbelievers) will not see life.
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. -John 3:36
He is the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in him, though he die, yet shall he live.

Scripture offers no other comfort than this. No one is "partying with Jesus" in death.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Bible Must Define Our Terms (Follow-Up On CCM Post)

In our last study concerning music used by Christians (David Cloud Makes Up Scripture), we noted that critics of contemporary music throw out the words "worldly" and "carnal" and "sensual" while failing to define these biblically. We looked at the use of "sensual" in Ephesians as Paul implored believers not to walk according the way of the Gentiles.

I wrote in part:
Men may miss the works of the flesh listed by God because men often substitute their
own opinions. This tendency of man clouds his view of scripture because it appeals to his flesh. (We will look at this in our next study.)
In this short follow-up, I want to quickly look at the works of the flesh as they given to us in scripture. We looked at this section of scripture in our series on walking in the new nature. You can review that HERE.

Galatians 5 lays out for us the works of the flesh. In fact, the Holy Spirit tells us these are "evident" [Greek: phanerós - apparent, plainly recognized, shining forth].

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. [NKJV]
Let's also use these translations so we can have a clear understanding of these sins.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. [NIV]
And manifest also are the works of the flesh, which are: Adultery, whoredom, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strifes, emulations, wraths, rivalries, dissensions, sects, envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revellings, and such like... [Young's Literal]

We see some clearly carnal things in here. Sexual sin, drunkenness, witchcraft, jealousy, murders, dissension, rage, selfishness, etc. Yet the critics of CCM such as David Cloud and Way of Life melt "sensuality" and "wordliness" down to the backbeat used in contemporary music. Of course, this is purely speculation on his part and an argument which starts with the conclusion he seeks. Sometimes the critics place their arguments on silly things like music played to plants, etc. Again, these are appeals to the carnal mind looking for justification. They are not biblical arguments.

We know from elsewhere in Paul's warnings that the love of money is behind all sorts of evil (1 Tim 6:10). As Petra was playing concerts in the 1980s and giving altar calls, men like Benny Hinn and Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Bakker were fleecing God's people with hymns. The Catholic Church, for centuries, was home to the worst debauchery you can imagine. Popes and Cardinals with mistresses. Rape, incest, pedophilia was commonplace.

Do you want to see the fruit of sexual sin? Look no further than these. Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, The Mormons, the Catholic Church... all connected to wicked sin we dare not even mention. Shall we blame the hymns? How did their suits and ties and hymns and "sacred traditions" protect them from sensuality? It's all nonsense, but an argument which appeals to pride and to the flesh.

To suggest that CCM bands like Servant or White Heart were producing what these hymns-only, "Christian" ministries produced is to ignore the facts and seek only that which you want to find. Show some clips of drugged out hippies in San Francisco in 1967 at a rock concert and suggest that the same thing happened at all Contemporary Christian festivals. That's the trickery of those who spread slander and the wisdom of men as bible truth. Utter nonsense.

I attended Creation Fest in Pennsylvania in 1986. Creation Fest is a four day Christian music festival featuring multiple artists. While I have an issue with a number of things taught by some of the teachers, I can report that it was hardly like Haight-Ashbury! I attended the festival again in 1992 and I purchased a very conservative book from the book tent. In that crowd were Christians from the progressive to the conservative. The music neither created nor destroyed either.

The more I meditate on this topic, the more I see through the carnality of the accusers. I see "rage" and "envy" and "hatred" and "idolatry" and in some corners "debauchery" and "sexual sin." Latin chants and classical music could not contain the flesh (and still do not), yet the scripture is some contemporary music has changed lives for Christ. I've seen it countless times.

That is not to say there is no room to examine contemporary music. As with all things, we must test the doctrines. We must "convince, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." But to sit back declare contemporary music itself "sensual" is not only lazy, it's unbiblical. It appeals to the flesh and plays on the emotions of the weak. Can we find sexual sin in CCM? Sure. But as we've noted, we can find gross, rampant, horrifying sexual sin among the hymn users (and among the classical composers upon whom many of the hymns are based).

Satan's wiles are clever. His subtlety is in presenting to the flesh that which puffs it up and makes it feel "holy." While the works of the flesh are "evident," his tricks are not. He presents himself as an "Angel of Light" and his ministers are "the ministers of righteousness." Satan stands in the pulpit, not at the local bar. Satan's churches are "sacred" places. They are "solemn" places. Even the unbeliever "feels God" when he enters.

Test all things. Don't be lazy and just believe contemporary = carnal, the Lord wants us to be more discerning. And just because the guy selling you this simplicity is wearing a tie and listening to "In My Heart There Rings A Melody," it doesn't mean a thing. If that matters to you, you may be carnal. You may be washing the outside of the cup while the inside is still filthy.

"Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty..."

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness."

“Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness."

Beware the Angels of Light:

Monday, September 16, 2019

David Cloud Makes Up Scripture (Concerning Contemporary Music)

Way of Life Ministries

There are some good things about David Cloud's Way of Life ministry, but not enough for me to recommend it. He fails to rightly divide the Word of Truth, teaches Greek Mythology, and, ironically, often has an earthly focus. He promotes the blasphemy of the doctrine of God torturing unbelievers with fire without end. He also takes the demonstrably silly position of faith in the infallibility of the King James Bible.

But where he does preach Christ and the sufficiency of his death, burial, and resurrection we can give praise to God and be thankful. For whatever reason he preaches Christ (I am not the judge of another man's servant, I cannot know his heart), I rejoice that Christ is preached.

Cloud and CCM

I would like to just briefly address his position on Contemporary Christian Music from a somewhat different angle than usual. I have covered the arguments against contemporary music elsewhere on this blog and have noted the heresy and weakness in some of the hymns in doing so. But, in the end, this blog is about the absolute sufficiency of scripture. We compare scripture with scripture and, where we can because we should, we allow scripture to interpret itself.

One of the main objections to contemporary music is that it is "worldly." This term must be understood biblically. There are many things which are "worldly" (of the world) which men revere. Men revere the traditions of men. Men revere earthly ordinances. Men revere rules and pseudo-holiness (such as tie-wearing). Men may miss the works of the flesh listed by God because men often substitute their own opinions. This tendency of man clouds his view of scripture because it appeals to his flesh. (We will look at this in our next study.)

Let's look at how subtle this error can be.
The worldliness of Contemporary Christian Music is seen in that the contemporary music itself borrows from the world’s sensual rhythms. Contemporary Christian Music openly and proudly uses any type music in the service of the Lord and refuses to separate from music that is openly used in the worship of the flesh and the devil. 
-David Cloud (Excerpt, Why We Are Opposed to CCM) 

Note what I have underlined. We are to take Cloud's definition of "sensual" and assume it is God's. There is no scriptural basis for this. There are countless contemporary songs which are far less carnally moving than some pieces of classical music. His argument appeals to the pride and self-righteousness of his readers. It feeds their carnal understanding.

Beauty Can Be Deceptive

I once spoke to a pastor who told me the story of a wealthy donor who wanted Ave Maria played at his daughter's wedding in his church. He refused.  Oliver B. Greene tells the story of listeners remarking to him how "beautiful" the funeral mass for JFK was. He responded in disgust that it was not beautiful at all. To their eye is was outwardly "holy," yet this is Satan's greatest tool. He presents himself as an Angel of Light and slips in leaven.

Black Sabbath isn't slipping in any leaven. The local progressive pastor and "sacred cathedrals" (as conservative Prophecy News Watch prefers) are far more dangerous.

How did the hymns serve the Catholic Church for centuries? Did it keep them from carnality? Hardly. The tales of debauchery among the clergy and among the classical musicians themselves is staggering. There are as many dangers in classical music as in any music. Ave Maria appeals to the flesh. Hitler's propagandist, Goebbels, understood the power in Wagner's music. The pro-homosexual movie, Philadelphia, features a soundtrack replete with classical music.

Check out the soundtrack to the wicked film, A Clockwork Orange if you think somehow classical or traditional music cannot be corrupted or be paired with evil.

Way of Life Wants You to Feel Your Theology, Not Test the Spirits

Would any of us conclude that Petra's "Praise Ye the Lord" appeals to the flesh while the works of homosexual composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky do not? Way of Life would like us to believe Tchaikovsky's "9 Sacred Pieces" is from God, while Keith Green's "Make My Life A Prayer to You" is sensual? If that latter moves David to sin, I think he has a larger problem than contemporary music.

Make My Life a Prayer to You (Keith Green)

A lot more convicting than "In My Heart There Rings a Melody."

Let us look at one of our epistles for this age, Ephesians:
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness [sensuality], to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Now, did these believers give themselves over to sensuality because they walked in the old nature or because they listened to contemporary Christian music? That's a rhetorical question if you did not know. If you avoid living a sensual life, learn to walk in the new nature. You cannot do that by imposing the traditions of men on your life. That will lead to pride and failure. For carnality takes many forms.

Staying in that stream of reasoning, are the lives of classical musicians in New York or even in the local College of Music more or less inclined to holy, biblical living and right doctrine than my life and doctrine because I prefer contemporary music? I'm hoping you see how stupid this line of reasoning can get. It is earthly reasoning. It is a vain philosophy not built ion scripture.

There is more hope for the lost classical musician who starts listening to Keith Green than the one content to bathe himself in classical masses. As you listen to Handel's Messiah, remember he also wrote quite a bit of Latin church music for pagan Catholic feast days. Does the latter sully the former (or all of his works for that matter)? No. We are capable (or should be) of judging musical pieces on their own. I can find truth in some of Handel's words, and heresy in others. That is up to me. They delivery of that music, in almost every case, has no bearing.

Scripture is the Sole Arbiter of Truth

Pictured is there church where I grew up. It was part of the most "sacred" of all sacred churches and our parish was in the most conservative Arch diocese in America. I never wore shorts (nor was I allowed). We sang hymns. We had a pipe organ. Meanwhile, some of my fellow altar boys were being brutally, sexually abused. I suppose I should blame the hymns?

I wore a tie every day to school there. There was plenty of sensuality (as there has been since Adam). In fact, ritual and rules empower the flesh.

This is where I fellowship now.

See the source image

Now, in between I fellowshipped at two of the most tie-wearingest, Organ-playinist churches you can image. Lovely people, but just as much in the flesh in many ways as anything I see now (we even had sex scandals in those "old time religion" gatherings).

One main difference from those places and my current fellowship is the numbers of professions of faith. I don't personally remember more than a few during my 14 years in the "traditional" setting, but in the last 7 years where I am now, I've seen literally thousands. I'm not saying there not have been people who received life, but I'd be hard-pressed to name them. Take that back, one kid I knew who is now a great father and husband and committed Christian found life through the witness of the Wednesday night praise band.

We Must Always Rejoice When Christ is Faithfully Taught

Can David Cloud rejoice that Christ is preached at a Petra concert?

No, he's too busy deciding what is sensual.

I've been to all kinds of concerts. In fact, the first altar call I ever heard as a devout Roman Catholic was at a Petra concert (I didn't feel very sensual). The first exposure I had to many scripture verses was found in the music of Petra, Keith Green, and Phil Keaggy. One thing I can assure you, being at a Petra concert was nothing like being at a Prince concert. It's ridiculous to lump them together. It'd be like me saying singing "Saved By the Blood of the Crucified One" is the same as singing "Ave Maria."

[Aside: they both contain theological error, one is just worse than the other]

Now, you might have objected to me lumping Ave Maria in with your hymnal, but I hope some might be able to see through their pride and flesh and see that I was only doing what David Cloud tries to do: lump all music in a particular style together, without cause, just to come to the conclusion he wants you to make.

If we want to employ "guilty by association" on classical music then we not only can point a finger at the Catholic Church and hymns, we can look to the New Age movement and its use of classical music.

If Petra = Black Sabbath, then Holy is the Lord = Ave Maria

And I have a better argument as Holy is the Lord and Ave Maria are both from the music of Schubert.

Here is just one comment from Ave Maria on YouTube:
I just broke down crying in front of my mom because of this song. I wasn't even sad. Pretty embarrassing as a man in his 30s. But, it is just so hauntingly beautiful.
Sounds pretty sensual and carnal to me.

How many Christians would tell you Ave Maria and the ritual of the Catholic Church is beautiful?

Logical Fallacies Create Chaos

All of the other anti-CCM arguments carry similar logical fallacies. Not all Contemporary Christian musicians are ecumenical (do you think I am!).  Keith Green certainly was not. The CCM band, All Saved Freak Band, has a song called "Prince of the International Kaleidoscope" which contains these lyrics:
International bankers and roundtable groups
got all the nations jumpin' through hoops.
But out of their ranks I doubt if there's one
that knows that their father's a Jesuit's son.
With all of these maneuverings.....
There is no hope in the pope
All the king's horses and men
Couldn't put Rome together again

I'm more conservative than David Cloud and less ecumenical. And when David Cloud creates his own definition of "sensual," he is appealing to pride, tradition, anger, and self-righteousness. He is not appealing to scripture. His tradition makes scripture of no effect. Am I guilty of what I am accusing Way of Life of doing? Perhaps so, but the sins I suspect are rooted in scriptural definitions. I am not David Cloud's judge. I only seek to apply his own rules and reasoning to his doctrines and preferences.

Beware Tradition and The Vain Rules of Men

In this age, Paul leaves us a solemn warning in Colossians 2:8
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
By proposing that the music of centuries of Catholic worship is superior to contemporary music produced by those with a new, divine nature, Way of Life is appealing to your conceit. Almost always, the mocking of contemporary worship and the caricature of its proponents is delivered by those with an heir of superiority. They become puffed up and proud. The use of hymns (the words of many they have never truly considered) become their scripture.

They make assessments according to the principles of this world, and not according to Christ. Often they make jokes instead of truly showing concern if they really believe Christians are engaged in open sin (which is why I don't think they believe it's that bad, it's just another thing to puff up the religious ego).

We have looked at this topic before (links below), but the seriousness of the charges brought by men like David Cloud (who embrace fables and the rudiments of the world) moves me to address it again. I had considered addressing all of his arbitrary, worldly objections, but they all seem to fall into the same errors.

I generally do not wear a tie (although I did as a Baptist Supply speaker), I have played and have written contemporary music (yet I have no objection to the hymns unless they are heretical), and I recognize no traditions of the church which I cannot find in scripture. In all these I place scripture above all. It is the final arbiter of truth, not my personal opinion. In this way, I believe I am far more conservative than Way of Life. I base my conclusion on doctrine, not on preference or the arbitrary opinions of men.

And what do we do with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Benny Hinn Ministries? Jimmy Swaggart? All with multiple albums of hymns (they also love the KJV). Guilty by association?

If David Cloud thinks a Bryan Duncan or a Steven Curtis Chapman album is more sensual than Ravel's Bolero or The Love Theme from Romeo ad Juliet, he isn't listening. Now, if one is walking in the new nature, no piece of music, even if its intent is to be sensual, should sway him. Cloud has tie-wearing, fable-believing Christians clasping their ears lest Satan get them to commit adultery after they accidentally hear Run For The Prize by Petra. They are slaves to the flesh and slaves to their guru.

They make the Word of God of no effect.

Run for the Prize (Petra)

Ave Maria (Pipe Organ, classical music, and ties!)
Cathedral of Christ the King

Additional Entries

The Horrible Doctrine of Man's Traditional Hell

Another Look at This Blasphemous Charge Against the God of the Universe

We have looked at this topic in the past. That is, man's traditional understanding of what happens to the lost upon death. The vast majority of Christendom teaches that the God of scripture takes the unbeliever and subjects him to unrelenting, fiery torture without hope or relief. This is quite a charge against the God of the universe.

Even the Nazis didn't use their ovens to torture and kill. Yet even if they had, the fire would burn for a moment, then the suffering would pass. But traditional Christendom teaches that the young Jewish mother, separated from her child, then killed and thrown into an oven by those monsters, opens her eyes in unimaginable horror and torment inflicted by God himself. Suffering we cannot conceive. She then waits her family members who have the same fate. No hope. No relief. All inflicted by the God of the universe.

Blasphemy. And men today joke about this place! They take perverse joy in unbelievers opening their eyes in God's torture chamber. They cheer on God as he tortures them! How horrible!

Understand the implications

We have covered the more technical theological points in other posts (Greek and Hebrew words, contexts, etc. - I will post some of those links at the bottom of this entry), here I want to focus in on the implications.

First, we must understand that this doctrine of men would necessarily apply to vast majority of all men who have ever lived.

According to the tradition, every person who has reached the age of accountability would be subject to God's torture chamber. I'll start with an excerpt from Fr. John Furniss' book, "Little Volume for Children (Permissu Superiorum, New York: P.J. Kenedy, Excelsior Catholic Publishing). The book is fully approved by his superiors and carries this Approbation: "I have carefully read over this Little Volume for Children and have found nothing whatsoever in it contrary to the doctrine of Holy [Catholic] Faith; but, on the contrary, a great deal to charm, instruct and edify our youthful classes, for whose benefit it has been written." (William Meagher, Vicar General, Dublin)

This is the message Furniss and the Catholic Church have to charm the children:
Look into this room. What a dreadful place it is! The roof is red hot; the floor is like a thick sheet of red hot iron. See, on the middle of that red hot floor stands a girl. She looks about sixteen years old. Her feet are bare, she has neither shoes nor stockings on her feet; her bare feet stand on the red hot burning floor. The door of this room has never been opened before since she first set her foot on the red hot floor. Now she sees that the door is opening. She rushes forward. She has gone down on her knees on the red hot floor. Listen, she speaks! She says; "I have been standing with my feet on this red hot floor for years. Day and night my only standing place has been this red hot floor. Sleep never came on me for a moment, that I might forget this horrible burning floor. Look," she says, "at my burnt and bleeding feet. Let me go off this burning floor for one moment, only for one single, short moment. Oh, that in the endless eternity of years, I might forget the pain only for one single, short moment." The devil answers her question: "Do you ask," he says, "for a moment, for one moment to forget your pain. No, not for one single moment during the never-ending eternity of years shall you ever leave this red hot floor!" "Is it so?" the girl asks with a sigh, that seems to break her heart; "then, at least, let somebody go to my little brothers and sisters, who are alive, and tell them not to do the bad things which I did, so they will never have to come and stand on the red hot floor." The devil answers her again: "Your little brothers and sisters have the priests to tell them these things. If they will not listen to the priests, neither would they listen even if somebody should go to them from the dead." Oh, that you could hear the horrible, the fearful scream of that girl when she saw the door shutting, never to be opened any more. The history of this girl is short. Her feet first led her into sin, so it is her feet which, most of all, are tormented. While yet a very little child, she began to go into bad company. The more she grew up, the more she went into bad company against the bidding of her parents. She used to walk around the streets at night, and do very wicked things. She died early. Her death was brought on by the bad life she led.
Horrifying. And remember, man charges God with this torture.

But lest we think that the Catholic Church is alone in this blasphemous charge aging God, we turn to the "prince of preachers" Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Unconverted man, you will sleep in the dust a little while.
When you die your soul will be tormented alone-
there will be a hell for it.
But at the day of judgment your body will join your soul,
and then you will have twin hells--
body and soul shall be together,
each brim full of pain,
your soul sweating in its inmost pore drops of blood,
and your body from head to foot suffused with agony;
conscience, judgment, memory, all tortured,
but more- your head tormented with racking pains,
your eyes starting from their sockets with
sights of blood and woe;
your ears tormented with shrieks;
your heart beating high with fever;
your pulse rattling at an enormous rate in agony;
your limbs crackling like the martyrs in the fire,
and yet not burned up;
yourself, put in a vessel of hot oil, pained,
yet coming out undestroyed;
all your veins becoming a road for the hot feet of pain to travel
on; every nerve a string on which the devil shall ever play his
diabolical tune of Hell's Unutterable Lament; your soul for ever
and ever aching, and your body palpitating in unison with your
There are countless more examples, but I shall spare you.

Never Forget, Men Accuse God of This Torture

Remember as you read, these and others teach this is God inflicting this horrifying torture. Have you ever burned a finger putting your hand into an oven or accidentally grabbing a hot pan without an over mitt? These believe that momentary and limited pain is inflicted over the entire body, without relief, into the eternal future, without hope. And is personally inflicted by God himself.

What a blasphemy. And it is all built on the lie of Satan, "you shall not surely die."

And let us not forget, Catholic friend, a fire awaits even the faithful in your Purgatory. The nuns telling me as my mother passed that she was at peace now and in the arms of my late father deny central Catholic teaching. She is not at peace according to your church. She is suffering pain like we cannot imagine and for a period we cannot know. This is why you will try to sell me masses, to save her soul from the flame. That which Christ could not do, my donation and your mass, and Mary can?

These are all blasphemies against the God of scripture.

Blasphemy should be enough to abandon this doctrine, but it is taught in a contradictory manner. We are told it is God's hell, he created it, he runs it, he does the torturing. Yet, when they come to the "gates of hell," we are told it is also Satan's HQ! Things like "Rock and Roll Music is from the pit of hell!" So, it's from God? This is all superstitious nonsense! It is Platonic theory mixed with Greek Mythology.

Scripture teaches us what the "gates of hell" are. Scripture tells use what the "fire which is not quenched where the worm does not die" is for, to whom it applies, and the time period in which it will be used. The Savior himself tells us who is cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. But men reject scripture and warm themselves by the fires of hate and vengeance and blame God. They'd rather have their Greek mythology then let the scripture teach.

Similarly, scripture tells us what happens to the dead. Scripture tells us how to comfort the bereaved. Yet men would rather have their traditions than submit to God's truth. They do not understand God's plan, so they think the only way to get men to believe is to threaten them with torture.

We do not accept contracts or confessions made under duress or threat, yet this is all some preachers have to offer. We do not consider slowly burning someone's flesh anything less than cruel and unusual punishment. Yet we charge the God of Justice, Mercy, and Love with things we consider cruel and worthless. Pure blasphemy.

How true were the Savior's words to the most religious men of his time:
 "You make the Word of God of no effect by your tradition."

Here a few other blog entries on this and related topics:

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A Quick Note About Theological Deafness

I was recently sent an article by Prophecy News Watch titled, "The Fading Light of Pop-Christianity." You can follow the link and read it for yourself. In general, I think they brush with a very wide stroke.

They make some legitimate points. I know very well that theological knowledge is rather thin these days, but I'd argue it's been thin for close to 2000 years. In the recent past, wearing a tie, not playing games on Sundays, and using a KJV Bible was erroneously thought a sign of intellectual and theological depth.

We've covered the vacuous nature of the latter. But lest I, too, brush with too wide a stroke, let me pull back and put some particulars to my concerns.

I often quote Dr. Bullinger's words in regard to the adopting of another's beliefs and calling it one's own:
The majority of mankind think that they think; they acquiesce, and suppose that they argue; they flatter themselves that they are holding their own, when they have actually grown up to manhood, with scarcely a conviction that they can call their own. So it was, and so it ever shall be.

This is one of the truest statements I have ever read. I came out of a very conservative Catholic parish and Archdiocese. It was rich with tradition, rules, discipline, training, and cathedrals. However, what mostly happened was the regurgitation of  thoughts from men like Aquinas or Augustine or of any number of Popes or Councils or cathecisms.

In a similar way, what passes for depth in many of today's conservative Evangelical (Fundamental) circles is simply the regurgitating of "accepted truths." Some of these truths may very well be truths, but often the holder has not sought them out for himself. He has not tested them. He has not put them through the crucible of reason and objection to truly make them his own.

Having spent the better part of the last seven years in a "contemporary" gathering and all the years before that (after coming out from Rome - where I served as altar boy, acolyte, and teacher - after a personal search for truth) in two very conservative and fundamental movements, I can say (admittedly anecdotally) that I saw childishness, vacuousness, simplicity, and error as much as I saw depth, fervor, spiritual thirst, and genuine faith in all.

I've seen people in the contemporary movement who don't know much, but they "love the Lord" (as defined by them). I've seen people in the conservative gatherings who don't know much either, but they wear a tie and listen to hymns. Neither gives me faith in their store of gold, silver, or precious stones (but that is for the Lord to judge, I am not the judge of another man's servant).

The one common thing I saw across the spectrum was an adopting of the beliefs of others and fidelity to a system and not necessarily to truth (wherever it may lead). Hillsong writer Marty Sampson's apostasy no more surprises me than does the Southern Baptist pastor caught up in a sex scandal. Just two different symptoms of walking in the flesh after adopting a simplistic and shallow theology.

A final note of irony. In lamenting the fall of that old time religion, Prophecy News Watch gives us this tale of woe:
Not to be outdone, the historic Norwhich Cathedral in England had a helter-skelter installed. The Rev. Jonathan Meyrick delivered a sermon atop the carnival ride, saying, "God is a tourist attractions," and "God wants to be attractive to us... for us to enjoy ourselves, each other, and the world around us and this glorious helter-skelter is about just that" ... A sacred cathedral becomes a joke. This after the Anglican church also installed a mini-golf course in another UK cathedral.
Let's count the human traditions in this blurb. 

  • What's an "historic" cathedral, and who cares? 
  • Who gave this man (or any man) the title of "Reverend" (certainly not the Lord)? 
  • Worse than just an historic cathedral, what on earth is a "sacred cathedral?"

And all of this wrapped up in sacramentalist "Anglican" garb.

Hey, PNW, God doesn't care about your "cathedrals," your hymns (many of which written by unbelievers and which teach error), or your ties.

So, yes, lots of problems in the contemporary "system" just are there are many, many problems in the other systems of men. We've covered before the blasphemies of "ancient" and "conservative" movements like Catholicism and Reformed Theology. The problem with both ends of the tie spectrum is being caught up in peripherals.  This makes some sense, as worrying about these unimportant matters is easier than studying to show oneself approved a God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

"Bill wears a tie, carries a KJV, listens to hymns, goes to Sunday School... he qualifies for leadership!" is just as problematic as "Todd is a zany guy, plays guitar, wears colorful shirts, and dances up front at every service, and boy does he love the Lord! He qualifies for leadership!"

Just adopt Calvin's or Luther's or Aquinas' or Piper's or MacArthur's or Laurie's or [fill in your guru]'s theology, memorize the catechism (or whatever your guru calls it) and start pointing fingers at those who have a different catechism.

Build yourself a cathedral or a worship center. Wear the same clothes and listen to the same music everybody else in that building... somebody will think you're a "great Christian" and somebody will think you just don't understand Christianity. 

Again, I don't mind a critique of any theology, but finding the spec of an electric guitar in your brother's eye while you have an enormous cathedral in your own may be cause to step back and reconsider your criteria.