Archive

Archive for the ‘Apologetics’ Category

What’s Dispensational Bible Study?

November 4, 2018 1 comment

Shawn Brasseaux

BEHOLD THE CONFUSION: RELIGIOUS TRADITION

Have you ever wondered why there is so much confusion and debate among and within “Christian” circles and churches? These professing Christians all quote the Bible, they all claim to believe the Bible, and yet, it is quite a surprise to learn that they all disagree regarding what the Bible actually teaches! All 38,000-plus denominations in Christendom claim to be serving and following “Jesus Christ,” and yet, they all believe mutually exclusive doctrines and practice opposing rites and rituals. How can they all be following Jesus Christ while all doing different things?! The Church the Body of Christ is supposed to be united; nevertheless, schisms, strife, and contradictions abound. Why?

Let me give you some of the most popular examples of the literally thousands of major arguments in Christendom:

Many churches believe that faith and works are necessary for salvation, quoting Matthew 19:17 and James 2:24; the remainder of churches believe that salvation is by faith alone, using Romans 3:28, Romans 4:5, and Ephesians 2:8,9.

Some groups believe that water baptism is necessary for salvation, relying on Mark 16:16 and 1 Peter 3:21; others hold that it is merely a testimony of salvation, citing Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38; still others do not water baptize at all, relying on 1 Corinthians 1:17, 1 Corinthians 12:13, and Ephesians 4:5.

Some churches participate in “snake handling,” “devil exorcism,” “tongue talking” and “healing services,” citing Mark 16:17,18 and James 5:15; others completely reject those practices, quoting Romans 8:18, 1 Timothy 5:23, and 2 Timothy 4:20.

Some churches argue that we must observe the Saturday Sabbath, citing Exodus 20:8-11, while others believe there is no Sabbath day to keep today, quoting Romans 6:14 and Colossians 2:16. (There are even groups that argue that we must observe Sunday, the alleged “Christian Sabbath!”)

Some groups teach that Christians can lose their salvation, following Psalm 51:11, Matthew 24:13, and Hebrews 6:4-6; other groups believe Christians are eternally secure in Christ, relying on Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 4:30, and 2 Timothy 1:12.

Some churches teach tithing, according to Malachi 3:8-11, while other churches believe that we are not under an obligatory giving system, citing Romans 6:14 and 2 Corinthians 9:7.

Some argue that we should confess our sins to God daily, quoting Matthew 6:12,14,15 and 1 John 1:9. Other groups believe that we should confess our sins to priests, using John 20:23 and James 5:16. Still, others believe that confession of sins is unnecessary because Jesus Christ died to pay for our sins and we are already forgiven of all of our sins, citing Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 2:13.

Some groups say we are bound to keep the Mosaic Law, using Exodus 20:1-17 and 1 John 2:3,4, while others say we are under grace, not law, citing Romans 6:14 and Galatians 5:1-5.

Amazing huh? All of these groups are using Bible verses to support these opposing views!! How is this possible?! If the Bible has all of these conflicting views, then exactly what does God expect us to believe?! What is the solution to this abounding confusion and these so-called Bible “contradictions?” Firstly, understand that “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33). The problem is not God’s Word; God’s Word is infallible, perfect, and completely sound. Sinful mankind and Satan, not God, are to blame for the gross theological errors and false teaching in Christendom. Never, ever blame God for the confusion that Satan and mankind generate using religious tradition and human “wisdom.”

If people would simply use the Bible God’s way, all of the doctrinal confusion in Christian circles would disappear. Alas, people prefer their religious tradition, so they do not care to submit to God’s Word. The Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the religious leaders of His day: “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition“ (Mark 7:9 KJV). These people approach God’s Word with denominational biases and reach denominational conclusions, instead of seeing what the Bible actually said and to whom it said it. What makes it all the more disturbing is that the pastors and teachers who should be dispelling confusion and doubt are only adding to the preexisting confusion by failing to use God’s Word God’s way themselves. These church leaders only teach God’s Word as their denominational system interprets it, instead of letting the Bible’s testimony speak for itself and mean what it says, where it says it, and to whom it says it.

BEHOLD THE SOLUTION: 2 TIMOTHY 2:15

If we use God’s Word, God’s way, there will be no contradictions and no confusion. The Bible will only make sense to you if you approach it the way God designed it to be studied (that is “rightly divided”). Read what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15, as found in the King James Bible:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The only verse in the Bible that tells you to “study” the Bible tells you how to study it. When you “rightly divide the word of truth,” you are recognizing the distinctions/divisions that God has made in His Word. Through various dispensations (sets of directions), God gave different instructions to various groups of people. (For instance, compare the differing diets that God gave in Genesis 1:27-29, Genesis 9:1-4, Leviticus 11:2, and 1 Timothy 4:3-5.) We must be careful to never insert directions into the dispensations in which they were never given. Confusion results when we combine all of the Bible’s instructions as though they were spoken to one group of people. There are several dispensations in Scripture given to different people at various times and we must never confuse them. It is this very failure to rightly divide the word of truth that gives rise to all of the conflicting doctrines (what we discussed in our introductory remarks).

Let us now discuss the basics of “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

THE TWO PROGRAMS IN GOD’S WORD

Genesis 1:1 KJV, the first verse in the Bible, reads: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” God divides the heaven from the earth. (This is true even at the end of the Bible, in Revelation 21:1.) Furthermore, God has designed one program to operate in each of these realms. There are two programs in the Bible: the “prophetic program” and the “mystery program.”

The Apostle Peter says in Acts 3:21 KJV that he is preaching that “which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 16:25,26a KJV that he is preaching “according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest….”

Obviously, if words mean anything, Peter and Paul are speaking of two different things. Something “spoken since the world began” cannot be the same as something “kept secret since the world began.”

The prophetic program focuses on the nation Israel and an earthly kingdom (Exodus 19:5,6; Deuteronomy 4:20), where Gentiles (non-Jews) receive salvation through that kingdom (Isaiah 60:1-3). On the other hand, the mystery program focuses on the Church the Body of Christ and a heavenly kingdom (Ephesians 2:6,7; Ephesians 1:22-23), where Gentiles receive salvation without Israel’s kingdom (Romans 11:11,12,25). Surely, if we are to avoid confusion, we must keep those two programs and their respective directions separated (“rightly divided”).

Sadly, most of Christendom combines all of these Bible verses into one program, ignoring the differences between the program that involves Israel’s kingdom and the mystery program that does not involve Israel’s kingdom. Again, this haphazard handling of the Bible is the source of the spiritual confusion and the alleged Bible “contradictions.” They are mixing opposing directions God gave in different dispensations (these directions were not given in the same dispensation).

Today, the Apostle Paul writes that the prophetic program that was operating in the “Old Testament,” the Four Gospels, and the early Acts period is temporarily suspended. We are currently living in the “Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2), the mystery program, which the Lord kept secret in the Old Testament but has since revealed it to mankind through the ministry of the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:1-11). Why did God hide it prior to Paul? It was to keep the devil from knowing His entire plan, so Satan could crucify Jesus Christ, and thereby would actually defeat himself  (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)!

WHOM SHOULD WE FOLLOW TODAY?

It is often mistakenly assumed that we need to “follow Jesus” (that is, the red letters of the Four Gospels). Yet, when we consider the Scriptures, this makes no sense whatsoever. Can we sinners follow the sinless Lord Jesus Christ? OF COURSE NOT!

Romans 11:13 KJV says that Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles.” As previously stated, the ascended Lord Jesus Christ revealed to Paul alone “the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25,26), His secret (mystery) program to deal with the whole world (Jews and Gentiles) on the basis of grace and Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary. On the other hand, the Lord Jesus Christ ministered to Jews only in Matthew through John (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 15:8). Jesus had no ministry to us Gentiles because He had to save Israel first! It is not until we come to Paul’s ministry when God begins to deal with Gentiles. This is one basic fact of Scripture that most church members have never been told.

Jesus Christ urged His followers to obey the Mosaic Law, and commanded them to teach others to do the same (Matthew 5:17-19). Contrariwise, God through Paul tells us, “ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14,15). Obviously, we cannot follow both of these instructions. We cannot follow Jesus’ earthly ministry because we are not Jews. Furthermore, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16). We do not know Jesus Christ after His earthly ministry (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Rather, we follow Him according to His heavenly ministry (as He is revealed in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon).

God set forth Paul to be our “pattern” as to how we receive salvation (1 Timothy 1:15,16). In addition, Paul writes, “Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). In the Christian life, we follow Paul as he follows Christ. In Paul’s epistles alone we find the doctrine, duty, walk, and destiny of the Church the Body of Christ. Paul is God’s spokesman to you, just as Moses was God’s spokesman to Israel. If you want to learn what God has to say to you today, you must go to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. To reject Paul is to reject Christ who sent Paul to you, and to reject Christ is to reject God the Father (Matthew 10:40; John 13:20). Paul wrote: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). The test for spirituality today is NOT following Jesus in His earthly ministry, but obeying what God the Holy Spirit says today through the Apostle Paul.

YOUR CHRISTIAN LIFE AS A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST

We are not the nation Israel, for in our dispensation, Israel is temporarily “fallen,” “cast away,” and “spiritually blinded” (Romans 11:11,15,25). We Christians are members of the Church the Body of Christ, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 1:22,23). What God has to say to us is different from what He told the nation Israel in the “Old Testament,” the Four Gospels, and the early part of Acts. It is important to understand how your Christian life operates as a non-Israelite, as a Gentile living in the Dispensation of the Grace of God and a member of the Church the Body of Christ. If you want to be spiritually “edified” (“strengthened”) and spiritually “perfected” (“matured”), you need to study and believe the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon (Ephesians 4:12).

God wants to “stablish” (stabilize) your Christian life and inner man by using a three-fold process. God wants you to understand the life that He has given to you in Christ Jesus, so that you can better understand what He is doing today, and then you can, by faith, follow Him and do the same. This is how we discover and do God’s will for our lives. The Bible says in Romans 16:25,26 KJV:

“25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:”

Notice the three-fold process of Christian edification:

“my gospel“—Paul’s Gospel, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, is the foundation of the Christian life

“the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery“—this is Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, the sound doctrine (building materials) which we use to build on that foundation

“the scriptures of the prophets“—this is all of the Holy Scriptures, in light of the doctrine revealed to Paul.

This is why studying the Bible rightly divided is so important. We study all of the Bible, Genesis through Revelation, but we follow the design of Christian edification as laid out in Romans 16:25,26. If we refuse to follow the dispensational layout of Scripture, and most people do refuse it, then we will be going against what God is doing today, and our Christian lives will be in shambles (which is why Christendom is in such pitiful shape!).

DO WE ONLY STUDY PAUL’S EPISTLES? (NO!)

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). All of the Bible is God’s Word, so we study all 66 books of the King James Bible (Genesis to Revelation). But, unlike most churches and professing Christians, we study the entire Bible according to the “revelation of the mystery,” (in light of the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon). All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us and not all of the Bible is about us (remember, most of the Bible is written to and is about the nation Israel, not us). We follow God’s design for Christian edification, and we seek God’s approval, not man’s approval (2 Timothy 2:15).

When studying a particular Bible passage, you first need to establish the following, in this order:

  1. who is writing/speaking,
  1. to whom are they writing, and
  1. what are they writing.

Again, keep in mind that Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon are what God has to say to you, and the rest of the Bible deals with another program, Israel’s program.
 If Paul does not instruct you to do it, then God does not expect you to practice it in your life.

WHY HAVE I NOT HEARD THIS BEFORE?

Are you shocked by what you have just read? Does the Bible make more sense now? So, why have you never heard this before? I would strongly suggest that you ask your pastor, Bible teacher, or priest why he never told you any of this. You might be surprised at his answer! [1]

[1] Copied from https://ambassadorsfortherisenchristministries.org/whats-dispensational-bible-study/

The Sabbath Belongs to the Hebrews

Dr. J. Vernon McGee

THE SABBATH DAY OR THE LORD’S DAY — WHICH?

 

One man esteemeth one day above another;
another esteemeth every day alike.
Let every man be fully persuaded in
his own mind.
 (Romans 14:5)

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore, the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.(Exodus 20:8-11)

The Sabbath day is Saturday. It is the seventh day of the week according to our calendar. Furthermore, the Sabbath day has never been changed to Sunday.

The present-day controversy over which day of the week Christians should observe hinges upon a false premise, which resulted in a warped and distorted viewpoint of the real meaning of the Sabbath day as found in the Word of God. Many Christians have a woeful misconception of why the church has always observed the first day of the week. Nothing but abysmal ignorance has permitted the protagonists of the Sabbath day to traffic in their legalistic system.

The question, “When was the Sabbath changed to Sunday?” is like the old chestnut asked of the man who was very much a Mr. Milquetoast: “Do you still beat your wife?” You cannot answer that question without getting into a peck of trouble. If you say, “Yes,” you are wrong. If you say, “No,” you are wrong, and you are immediately in difficulty. For the same reason, “When was the Sabbath day changed to Sunday?” is one of those questions that cannot be answered in a word or two since it is based upon a false premise. I am going to ask that you think with me as I deal with this subject, for I believe this to be one of the most important of the commandments, and it is essential that we understand what it means.

The Ten Commandments are given first in Exodus 20. They are repeated in Deuteronomy 5, but it is interesting to note that in no instance is this a repetition of the Law — it is rather an interpretation of the Law in the lives of the people and nation after forty years of experience with it in the wilderness. Therefore, all the commandments that we find given in Deuteronomy are identical to those given in Exodus with one exception: The fourth commandment, the one that has to do with the Sabbath day. Thereby hangs a tale, and this is something our legalistic friends never call to our attention.

Continue reading: https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mcgee_j_vernon/eBooks/sabbath-day-or-the-lords-day-which.cfm

The Church and Israel Differences in a Bible Overview

Dr. Mike Johnston

The church is as distinct from Israel as heaven is from the earth and the two separate programs God orchestrated from the creation of the world to govern them (Gen. 1:1; Jer. 33:25). [1]

His program for heaven involves the church Body which was unknown, revealed only to Paul as a “mystery kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25). Its theme is Christ in us (Col. 1:27) and our inheritance in heaven there with Christ (Eph. 1:6; 11, 14; 2:6; Col. 3:1-6). [2] His program for earth, however was well known. It involves prophecy for Israel’s earthly kingdom (2 Sam. 7:13-16) that was progressively unfolded “by the mouth of the prophets since the world began” (Luke 1:70; see Acts 3:21).

Immediately following creation, God’s focus is on the establishment of an earthly Kingdom with man as a steward of its bounty and beauty (Gen. 2). However, when man disobeyed God’s Word and ate from the forbidden tree (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-7), the Lord revealed His gracious predetermined plan featuring a coming Redeemer and triumphant Ruler (Gen 3:15-21; see Rev. 13:8) who would reconcile the world back to Himself (Rev. 21-22).

All of this inspired information flowed from God to His elect nation Israel (Isa. 45:4) through anointed messengers called prophets who progressively exposed and explained God’s will and His word concerning earth and Israel (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21). Their prophecies featured, among other things, five Covenants God made with Israel to guard her and guide her earthly journey spanning the calling of Abraham through the inauguration of the Kingdom. They included the selection of a special man (Abraham) who would be father to a special nation (Israel) [3]  with special Laws (Mosaic) governing them in a special land (Canaan aka Israel), from which a special ruler (Christ, the seed of David) would reign in a special Covenant Kingdom (Davidic). However, the prophets – including John the Baptist – predicted the Kingdom would be preceded by a time of wrath (Isa. 2; Jer. 30-31; Matt. 3:7; Rev. 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:10, 19; etc) first mentioned [4] by Moses as Tribulation in a maiden prophecy linking it to Israel’s return to the Abrahamic Covenant (Deut. 4:30-31; see Exod. 2:24; 19:5; Lev. 26:41-46). This Covenant relationship has always been a key factor in Israel’s continued blessing which includes her possessing the Covenant Land with the ultimate inauguration of the Kingdom in view (Lev. 26; Deut. 28). Nevertheless, timing for this Covenant Kingdom was unknown until Daniel codified the final 490-years into a prophetic calendar of seventy weeks of seven years with two fundamental stipulations: it MUST be fulfilled by “thy people” (Israel), and it MUST involve “thy holy city” (Jerusalem) (Dan. 9:24-27).

Therefore, when the Lord Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, it was precisely as Daniel – and the prophets – had predicted (Dan. 9:24-27; see Matt. 26:56; see Acts 3:18-26). His mission was to inaugurate the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (Luke 1), so He preached repentance in the gospel of the kingdom to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 4:17, 23; 15:24). However, God knew that Kingdom prophecy would be put on hold when the King was “cut off” (Dan. 9:26) precisely at Daniel’s 70th week. This left one final seven-year period still to be fulfilled by Israel before the Kingdom can begin. This 70th Week of Daniel’s prophecy – also called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) was outlined by Jesus in a thrilling discourse from Mount Olivet.

Scholars call this teaching the Olivet Discourse. It began as a response to urgent questions from Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) concerning the recently rejected King Jesus and His return to earth to inaugurate the Covenant Davidic Kingdom (Matt. 24:3; see Acts 1:6). Bear in mind, when Christ delivered this the New Testament in His blood was future making the entire discourse part of the Old Covenant narrative (Heb. 9:16-17). It had nothing to do with the mystery church Body of Christ which Christ didn’t mention to the disciples who had no frame of reference for anyway. Instead He described signs for a coming holocaust featuring Israel and using Moses’ term Tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29). This same word was later used by John (Rev. 7:14) in summing up Daniel’s 70th week of 7 years from commencement (Rev. 6) through to its completion (Rev. 19), when the Lord Jesus returns to earth in Jerusalem as Israel’s Messiah to install the Kingdom in fulfillment of the promises made in the 5 Covenants and the panorama of God’s word “spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21 KJV).

Summary Reflection

Now, in light of what you’ve just read, please consider this summary observation. The Tribulation is for Israel (Isa. 2:12; 13:6; Joel 2; Zeph. 1; Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29). The entire period called “trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15) is for purification and punishment before the earthly Kingdom begins (Isa. 24; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zephaniah; Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19). Israel’s prophets did not know about the church Body. We were completely unknown to them and thus never mentioned in any of their prophesies. To wit, there isn’t a single prophecy specifically naming us or placing us here on earth for a single moment of Israel’s trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15) without redefining words like “saints” and “elect” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation specifically refer to Israel or Tribulation converts.

[1] “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 KJV). “Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant [be] not with day and night, [and if] I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;” (Jeremiah 33:25 KJV).

[2] Peter pointed out how Jewish Christians struggled with Paul’s mystery to their theological detriment: “And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” (2 Peter 3:15-17 KJV)

[3] “For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.” (Isaiah 45:4 KJV)

[4] The Law of First Mention teaches that the first time a subject is mentioned in the Bible is how it stands connected in the mind of God throughout Scripture.

Refuting the “Gift of Gibberish” Tongues

Dr. Mike Johnston

Charismatics snub correction by claiming those who oppose them do so in ignorance because they haven’t had THE “experience.” That isn’t true here. I understand the spiritual gifts and tongues issue very clearly. I was a practicing Charismatic for the first few years after I was saved (1975) and an avid apologist for the gibberish movement. Since I was a partaker in this experience, I made it my business to ignore any unspiritual oaf trying to correct me with evidence. Frankly, that was easy. I enjoyed very much the special feelings of spirituality that accompanied being a member of what I’d been told was the enlightened few who sought and received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”. After all, I’d been singled out for a universe of expectation where anything is possible, and the more bizarre the better. Extemporaneous words of knowledge, tongues, and interpretations – even those conflicting with Scripture – flowed constantly from circus like meetings where so called “prophets” stood and almost shouted predictions that were seldom fulfilled.

However, in this “anything is possible” atmosphere, NOTHING was to ever be challenged if it was performed under the “Jesus name tag”.

Then one day, when the inner nagging got the best of me I decided to study spiritual gifts and the Charismatic claims outside of anyone’s influence. My suspicion was corroborated. Here’s what I found.

The Purpose of Tongues

Everything God does is with purpose (Eph. 1:11). Tongues are no different; they were a sign to unbelieving Israel (1 Cor. 1:22; 14:22; see Isa. 28:11-12). My friend, lest we forget, Israel was chosen to herald God’s goodness to the world and Jesus was the promised Messiah of a glorious coming earthly kingdom. However, knowing they would reject Him, the Lord Jesus instituted a parenthetical group known as the church Body of Christ (Romans through Philemon) to carry on His message up until the “fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).

Two facts stand out in the five major passages dealing with tongues (Acts 2; 19:6; 1 Cor. 12, 14; and Mark 16:17): They were always “known languages of the world”, and unbelieving Jews were in view as a sign: Acts 2 tongues are given to validate Peter’s message–Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 10 confirms Gentile salvation which Jews would otherwise reject. Acts 19 validates the conversion of some of John’s disciples. In 1 Corinthians 12-14, they signify Messianic fulfillment to unbelieving Jews attending services at Corinth. Please listen my friend. Nowhere does the Bible state that speaking in tongues is a test of salvation or sanctification as maintained by some groups. While the gospel of John was written specifically to show people how to be saved (John 20:30-31) not one mention of tongues. And while God surely wants all Christians to be spiritually mature, 1 Cor. 12:29-30 clearly implies that not all will speak in tongues. To spin the purpose of tongues in another direction is disingenuous, or worse devious.

The Corinthian Chaos

It’s a bit ironic. Much of what we see passing for spirituality in the church today has been adopted from the antics of the most carnal church in the New Testament: the Corinthians. Paul the converted Rabbi, had become an apostle, missionary, evangelist-church planter preaching and teaching multitudes of Gentiles in multicultural settings (Rom. 11:13).

On his Second Missionary Journey all his skills and gifts were tested when he landed in Corinth for a year and one half. It was the capital of the Greek province of Achaia, located on a narrow isthmus 50 miles west of Athens, and served as the major sea trade route between Asia and Italy. By the time Paul penned his first letter to the church, Corinth was a cosmopolitan melting pot for some 400,000 diverse residents. The Jews had captured the banking industry from the heathen priests which of course brought about a constant influx of Jews into the city where tongues, the sign to unbelieving Jews, were necessary and used extensively to prove God was moving in the Gentile community.

Occult Practices and Ecstatic Utterances

The confusion about tongues in Corinth is easy to understand when you analyze their indigenous make-up. Besides Greeks and Jews, people of all nationalities, languages and dialects lived there or passed through. As a result, Corinth was religiously pluralistic and steeped in idolatry (1 Cor. 12:2) which ultimately morphed into an occult mecca where soothsayers, diviners, and spiritists filled the streets along with 1000 temple prostitutes who facilitated wild orgies at the altar of the sex goddess Aphrodite.

Unintelligible prayer “tongues” was common in the Corinthian community but it is not orthodox or Christian. It is a desperately faulty ruse built upon one verse-1 Cor. 14:14- by practitioners that stubbornly ignore its lack of Scriptural support and occult link. Aside from heretics like Montanus, it was not seen in church until the 1900’s (order New Age Charismatic Corruption).

When the gift of speaking in previously unlearned languages surfaced in Corinth, the reference point for those who heard it was tied to idolatry in two ways: To those who were natives of the area, it sounded like the same old gibberish they heard from occult worshipers at the altar of Aphrodite’s temple. But to Gentile visitors who were ignorant or unsaved it appeared as the ranting of rogue madmen (1 Cor. 14:23). So, in order to maintain authenticity and edification God instituted the gift of interpretation of tongues (1 Cor 12:10, 30; 14:5, 13, 26-28). Let me illustrate.

Let’s suppose you speak French and attend a multi-cultural Jewish-Gentile fellowship. One morning a gentleman across the aisle begins to preach in German which to you sounds like “gibberish.” However, if someone in the congregation can translate that German into French, you will be edified (1 Cor. 14:5, 13)

Conclusion

The gift of tongues is the miraculous ability to preach the gospel in a specific language and dialect previously unknown by the speaker (Acts 2:11). Corinth was the only church that had a problem with it. As you can see, their confusion stemmed from their multicultural worship and long history of occult experiences. Those today claiming that ecstatic utterances are the same tongues we find in the Bible are doing so at the expense of sound exegesis and a long history of orthodox truth. What passes for tongues, interpretation of tongues and the word of knowledge today is linked to soothsaying and divining in Israel (Deut. 18:14). When tongues are studied in context utilizing the recognized laws of hermeneutics and spiritual wisdom, we believe the serious student of Scripture will quickly see how real Biblical tongues explains itself.

 

Watch the Christians dance to Dave MacPherson’s Huckster Hustle

Dr. Mike Johnston

It’s impossible to discuss the end times apart from the Tribulation and the rapture. It’s also impossible to discuss the rapture without hearing it’s a satanic hoax [1] never taught until 1830.

This of course is the huckster hustle popularized 4 decades ago by Dave MacPherson a neurotic, rapture-loathing reporter from Missouri. I’ve often thought of MacPherson like the neighbor’s Chihuahua that sneaks outdoors, piddles on your bushes, and grabs your pant leg when you try shooing him away.

The mainstay of MacPherson’s mendacity is his rowdy insistence that the church Body must participate in Israel’s Tribulation and everyone who doesn’t believe it is a Luciferian loon. This he continually contends in spite of the evidence disputing it leaving no question in anyone’s mind Dave isn’t in this for the facts; he’s in it for the fight!

Clearly Dave’s greatest ambition is the wholesale destruction of the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) and all proponents of it. Believe me, if you‘ve read MacPherson’s materials you know he exercises a vast amount of creative license to get there. This hatred however has corrupted his conscience since he blames the rapture and its teachers for virtually all of his misfortunes, beginning with his expulsion from BIOLA College for opposing it. This he complains caused him to go on a drunken binge in Mexico, followed at some point by a car accident, his mom’s death, his sister’s inability to have more children, the demonic possession of his dog, all his father’s pastoral woes; and on and on ad nauseum. In short, MacPherson lays on the shoulders of the “evil” PreTrib rapture and equally evil teachers every one of his misfortunes. [2]

That said, understanding Dave’s dark documented background will allow you to connect the dots leading to the inspiration for his incendiary irrationality.

The Malevolent MacPherson

In the 1970s, the crestfallen MacPherson [3] created the “straw man” rapture origin argument to help him fight against the PreTrib rapture; the nemesis he couldn’t defeat by simply using the Bible. He cultivated his con from the undocumented claims of Textus Receptus enemy and fellow truth twister Samuel Tregelles, to sculpt what has become a lucrative career featuring a multi-volume fantasy franchise under defamatory titles like “The Rapture Plot”, “The Incredible Cover Up”, “The Great Rapture Hoax”, “Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin” and “Late Great Pre-Trib Rapture,” etc.

Regardless of the cryptic title on the cover, Dave’s books all coalesce around one consistently unproven three step theme:

  1. The PreTrib rapture didn’t exist until 1830 [4]
  2. A demon possessed charismatic member of Edward Irving’s[5] Catholic Apostolic Church by the name of Margaret MacDonald – conjured it up in a vision [6]
  3. John Nelson Darby [a dispensational scholar who considered charismatics mystics and spiritualists anathema] embraced it as a revelation from God and pilfered [7] it for CI Scofield to publish in his reference Bible.

MacPherson is like the car salesman peddling autos he doesn’t possess hoping you won’t check the lot. In fact for over 40 years he’s expected others to trust a baseless allegation about a sinister plot Darby and Scofield cooked up in some – who knows where – dimly lit room to deceive Christians for no apparent reason other than the indescribable joy both men received from misleading people.

However, there are many problems associated with thesis. Let me list three:

First, Miss MacDonald’s “prophecy” doesn’t contain the indisputable elements required of a pre-trib rapture proponent. [8] In fact, if you read her prophecy you’ll find she believed in several raptures and that the church would suffer under Antichrist. Therefore, in order to get his theory in line with the narrative, MacPherson had to edit the two accounts of Margaret’s vision. This is softened to creative eisegesis in some circles. The one I fellowship with sees it as dishonest journalism and it’s practiced constantly by gainsayers (Titus 1:9).

Second, no one has ever demonstrated from historical records that Darby was influenced by MacDonald’s “prophecy” even if it had contained pre-trib elements – which it certainly did not.

Third, according to biographer historian Roy Huebner R. A. Huebner, “Precious Truths Revived and Defended Through J. N. Darby”, Vol. 1 (Morganville, N. J.: Present Truth Publishers, 1991), Darby clearly held to an early form of the PreTrib rapture by January 1827. This is a full three years before MacPherson’s claim of 1830.

So did – or would – Darby steal the PreTrib rapture teaching from a babbling charismatic whom he would have considered occult influenced? He didn’t because he wouldn’t! In fact, no one – including Tregelles, MacPherson, nor anyone in their league of loyal lackeys – has ever provided a shred of credible proof linking directly Darby or Scofield to plagiarizing MacDonald’s mystic utterances – except of course MacPherson. I’ll quote Brethren researcher Frank Marotta,

“It is significant that MacPherson is the lone “historian” who has argued a connection between Macdonald and Darby. Considering that there have been numerous historical examinations of both the Irvingites and the Brethren, yet MacPherson stands alone in exposing the “plot,” is rather a testimony to polemical bias, not the facts. Those anti-pretribulationists who have adopted MacPherson’s revision have done so merely on the basis of his word, not as a result of original research.” [9]

The verdict of this debate will turn on the evidence you’ve heard. If you’re outcome oriented, follow Dave; if you want an objective conclusion, you’ll reject him. After full consideration of MacPherson’s muttering, here’s the analysis by respected Theologian Dr. John Walvoord, “The whole controversy as aroused by Dave MacPherson’s claims has so little supporting evidence … one wonders how he can write his book with a straight face. Pretribulationists should be indebted to Dave MacPherson for exposing the facts, namely, that there is no proof that MacDonald … originated the pretribulation rapture teaching.” [10]

[1] CAVEAT: The fact that they label satanic whatever they don’t agree with tells you about the content of their heart. Although I used to discuss the rapture with them, I finally came to my senses no longer give a moment to them

[2] http://www.raptureready.com/dave-macpherson/

[3] Dave has positioned himself and his father Norman as victims of the PreTrib rapture. First, as a pastor his dad flip flopped on the PreTrib rapture and was asked to resign the church he pastored. This, he said, ruined his life. Dave’s woes began when he was allegedly run out of a Bible college for teaching Post Trib rapture. My instincts tell me after reading Dave’s belligerent blustering; there is more to it than that.

[4] Roy Huebner documented that John Nelson Darby held a form of the Pre-Trib view by January of 1827, three full years before Dave MacPherson’s 1830 claim. His came from marking the distinction between Israel and the church, not from an occult influenced Scottish lass.

[5] Edward Irving was a Scottish clergyman, generally regarded as the main figure behind the foundation of the Catholic Apostolic Church which believed in modern day apostles and sign gifts. In other words they were charismatics. [THE TRIBULATION OF CONTROVERSY: A REVIEW ARTICLE Timothy C. F. Stunt]

[6] “It is only with some difficulty that one can identify what MacPherson calls her ‘pretribulationist’ teaching in the transcript of 1840, and when in 1861 Norton quoted from her prophecy he omitted the passage which referred to ‘the fiery trial’ which ‘will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus’—a passage which clearly assumes that Christians will go through the tribulation.” [THE TRIBULATION OF CONTROVERSY: A REVIEW ARTICLE Timothy C. F. Stunt]

[7] If Margaret MacDonald is the originator of the PreTrib rapture, why are there no records of her contesting Darby’s theft?

[8] I’ve studied this carefully. There isn’t clear PreTrib teaching here and those who claim otherwise do so more from an agenda than they do academics. You may request a copy from PMI. Please include a SASE.

[9] Quoted from: http://www.according2prophecy.org/macphers.html. There is a wealth of info unveiling the mocking MacPherson.

[10] More information available at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret: MacDonald: (visionary)

============================================================================

May 16, 2018: Here’s a “reasonable” response from a rapture hater to the above factual evidence:

“You’re an idiot if you believe in the rapture. There is absolutely ZERO biblical evidence for it, and Revelation clearly states there is no rapture . You spend more time on ad hominem attacks than you do proving your fault. Why are you trying to spread false hope for an event that won’t happen? Stop fooling yourself.”

Email: rjpel43@XXX.com

%d bloggers like this: