Not What the Inspectors Expect

Have you ever found yourself making a statement like, “Just look at how he is behaving.  I know he can’t be saved,” or “I know he isn’t saved, acting like that.”?  What would lead you to make statements like that?  Are we saved by our actions and deeds or are we saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ?  Lordship Salvation and Calvinism have infiltrated many good churches and have even covertly corrupted the way that many believers think about salvation.  What do I mean?  The “P” of Calvin’s T.U.L.I.P. teaches that the saints will persevere.  It is in this teaching that Calvinists say they believe in eternal security.  But is it the believer that perseveres in their salvation by a godly life, or is it God Who preserves the saints by His power?  The Apostle Peter says in his 1st epistle, chapter 1 and verse 5, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  We will take a look at a few commonly held misconceptions of the day as they relate to the life of the believer and unpack them.

One of the most common comes to us from 2 Corinthians 5:17.  Here, Paul says,  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  I can’t tell you how many people, laymen and preachers, who use this verse to say that a believer just simply will not be sinning anymore.  I have heard people repeat this verse and place emphasis on certain words to illustrate their point.  They look to prove that the verse is saying that a person is a new creature: he has all new wants and desires; all of the old things are gone away: those old things are the desire to sin. But can that really be the case?  Speaking of himself, the Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:14-25, “14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”  I would suggest someone show Paul 2 Corinthians 5:17, except for the fact that he wrote it!  If that verse means what most people say that it means, then what Paul wrote in Romans chapter 7 is in stark contrast to it. That verse has such a richer and deeper meaning than these (mostly) well-meaning people are applying to it.  2 Corinthians 5:17 is a positional verse that describes what has happened to the person that has gone from being an unbeliever to being a believer.  The old conditions of death and an eternal punishment in hell are now gone and have been replaced by many new and wonderful things.  Just a few of the new “things” in the believer’s life include the fact that they have received the new birth, they have eternal life, their sins have been forgiven, they have been passed from death unto life, and many more.

I also hear the book of 1 John often touted as a way of ferreting out unbelievers.  “Look at how John talks about if a person isn’t doing this or that, then they don’t have the truth in them…” is a popular thing for people to say who are of the erroneous belief that John was giving us a litmus test to uncover fake Christians.  So just what is the book of 1 John all about?  Notice that John uses the word “we” quite often; he included himself, a believer, in this group.  We know believers can’t lose their salvation, so what is John talking about?  John is giving us a way to tell if we are in fellowship with the Lord.  You can’t hate your brother, be in darkness, or living in any other type of sin and really expect that you are in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, can you?  You may be out of fellowship, but your salvation is secure.

At this point, the critic is probably screaming, “Then how do you know if someone is saved?  There has to be evidence?”  You can know a person is saved by what they are trusting in to be saved.  The only way a person can be saved is by believing the Gospel.  When is a person saved?  The instant that they trust Christ at Saviour.  How much evidence is available then?  Only the person’s profession of faith and the Word of God that guarantees He will save them.  How much more evidence is needed at that moment?  God can never go back on His Word and salvation can never be lost, so that evidence is good forever.  “Well, a believer is going to grow and have good works,” you say.  They certainly should.  However, that is not automatic and no two believers will mature at the same rate.  Read Paul’s epistles.  Count how many times he gives instructions to his readers in Christian living, or uses phrases like “know ye not.”  If these things were automatic, then these believers would already be doing them, they already would know what he was explaining, and most of those epistles wouldn’t have needed writing in the first place.  Believers have two natures:  we have our new nature, which is born of God, it is perfect and never sins.  But we also still have our old nature which never gets any better, it never improves.  Paul said in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”  What did he mean by that?  These two natures that we have share the same body and they fight for control of it.  The one that wins is the one that you feed.  Misunderstanding the two natures leads to more defeat in the Christian life than just about anything else that I know of.

How did Paul deal with sin in the life of believers?  As I have stated earlier, I see so many today who will bring in to question the very authenticity of one’s salvation if they do not believe that person is ‘living right.”  But exactly what do they consider living right?  How many times is a person allowed to mess up before they are declared “not really saved?”  Suppose that someone sees that other person when they are having an “off day” and judges them to not be saved!  This type of “fruit inspecting” is dangerous and unscriptural.  It can do much harm to the faith of those who are already weak in the faith.  So just what is the answer?  How did the Apostle Paul handle this sort of thing?  I can tell you most certainly that he did not call into question the salvation of the backslider.  It has been my experience that most of the people who will question a man’s salvation based on their observations and their opinions always seem to forget the church of Corinth.  The city of Corinth itself was known for its debauchery.  Those who trusted Christ as Saviour and were now part of the Body of Christ came from this environment.  This was a church made up of men and women who were carnal; they were often found to be walking after the flesh as opposed to walking in the Spirit.  This church had at least 14 major issues that the Apostle needed to deal with in his first epistle to them.  Fornication was a major problem as well.  One such issue Paul refers to as “such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles.”  It was bad. So what did he do?  He covered all of the problems and then he reminded them of the Gospel. He says in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”  What does he mean when he says, “unless ye have believed in vain.”? He is saying here that they believed in vain if Christ was not risen from the grave.  But then he goes on to make a rock-solid case that Christ did rise from the grave; that they did not believe in vain.  If anything, Paul is reinforcing to them that they are saved.  He is reminding them about what they believed when they got saved and reassuring them that Jesus is the Christ Who died to pay for their sins, was buried, and rose again.  He goes on to say that we too will be resurrected with new bodies.  Then when he gets down towards the end of the chapter he begins to talk about Christ’s return for His Church.  Why would he do that?  He made a strong case that He came and did everything He said He would the first time, according to the Scriptures.  And now he is driving home the point to them that this same Jesus is going to come again just like He said He would.  The point being that it might just matter what we do in between those two events.   How different this approach is from the majority today who will berate a backslidden brother or even someone that may be doing something that they just happen to not agree with, and attempt to convince them that they aren’t saved because of it.  This sort of thing causes people to either attempt to work for their salvation or just walk away in frustration; either way it robs them of their joy and liberty in Christ.  Paul gave us our example here of how to help the carnal Christian.  He also exhorts us in Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”  He goes on to say in verse 2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”  If there is any doubt as to what the law of Christ might be, we can find it in John 13:34 and right there in Galatians 5:14.  It can be summed up in one word: love.

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Categories: Misc

Bible Brief

Right Division Overview from Genesis to Revelation

Dr. Mike Johnston

When “God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), He also established two programs with ordinances to govern them (Jer. 33:25).[1] These programs operate separately, never simultaneously.

God’s program for earth was well known, revealed through prophecy. It features Israel as God’s elect nation on earth, promised a coming Jewish King and kingdom (2 Sam. 7:13-16) that was progressively unfolded from “the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21; see Luke 1:70). [2]

Conversely, His program for the church was a mystery, unknown until the Lord Jesus revealed it to Paul (Gal. 1:11-12). It features the church as the Body of Christ and it focuses on heaven and our inheritance there with Christ “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25).

Immediately following creation, God’s focus is on the establishment of an earthly Kingdom, with instructions spoken to Adam, the heir and steward of its bounty and beauty (Gen. 2). However, Satan lusted to rule (Isa. 14:12-14) but knew he must get man to relinquish his assignment so he provided his own contradictory translation of God’s Word [3] which deceived Eve and caused Adam to sin by eating from the only tree God had forbidden (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-7).

Not long after, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden. However, Kingdom plans were not lost. Foreknowing man’s disobedience, the Lord had formulated redemption’s plan (Rev. 13:8) which involved Himself as Redeemer of man and Ruler of the Kingdom man forfeited (Gen 3:15-21; see Isa. 7:14; 9:16-17). Over time, God sent inspired messengers called prophets (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21) to systematically reveal His plans through a prophecy panorama that included five Covenants made with Israel unilaterally. These Covenants – all building upon the initial Abrahamic Covenant – were paramount in guiding her, guarding her, and governing her [4] from the calling of Abraham on through the Davidic Kingdom (Gen. 12; Matt. 25:34; Rev. 21-22). The 5 Covenants are:

  1. The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18): God promised Abraham’s family would become a nation, in a promised land.[5]
  2. The Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 19:25): God constituted the 12 tribes into the nation of Israel giving her Laws and leaders to govern her.
  3. The Land Covenant (Deut. 30:3): God promised Canaan to all of Israel in perpetuity for the Kingdom.
  4. The Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:16): God promised a royal seed from the tribe of Judah in the bloodline of David to rule over the earthly Kingdom.
  5. The New Covenant (Jer. 31:31; see Matt. 26:28; Heb. 8:8): God provided a way for Israel to be permanently reconciled to God in the land, under the Messiah, during the earthly Kingdom located in Jerusalem where His Law would be written upon her heart. [6]

These 5 Covenants form a contiguous prophetic conglomerate featuring Abraham’s Covenant family, under Covenant Law, in Covenant Land, seeking the Covenant King and Kingdom (Heb. 11:8-10). However, although it was well known in an historical sense, it’s date certain was unknown until Daniel codified it into a final 490-year prophetic calendar of seventy-weeks of seven years (Dan. 9:24-27) with two vital stipulations: (1) it MUST be fulfilled by “thy people” (Israel), and (2) it MUST involve “thy holy city” (Jerusalem) (Dan. 9:24-27).

Two-thousand years ago precisely as Daniel had predicted (Dan. 9:24-27; see Matt. 26:56; see Acts 3:18-26) the incarnate God, our Lord Jesus, appeared on earth offering to inaugurate the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (Luke 1). In that capacity, He preached “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17) to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24). However, Daniel’s prophecy contained a slight hiatus that was fulfilled when Messiah was “cut off” (Dan. 9:26) and crucified, in accord with a veiled prophecy of redemption given to Adam in Genesis 3:15 and pictured in Isaiah 53. Research experts such as former head of Scotland Yard Sir Robert Anderson have calculated Christ’s rejection by Israel occurred precisely at Daniel’s 70th week leaving one future seven-year period (week) to be fulfilled by Israel before the Jewish Kingdom can begin. Scholars tell us this week begins when “the prince that shall come” – in some manner – brokers a seven-year covenant for Israel in the Middle East (Dan. 9:26-27). Then will begin a kingdom preparatory judgment on Israel the prophets call “the time of [Jacob’s] trouble” (Jer. 30:7; see Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15). Joel was the first to name it the day of Lord (Joel 2; Isa. 2:21;), followed by other prophets – some simply calling it “that day” (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, etc) who warned it would be a time of darkness (Amos 5:18, 20), wrath, and trouble (Zeph. 1:15; Isa. 13:9-11[7]). This catastrophic period was outlined by Jesus from the Mount of Olives (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21), in a sermon that came in response to urgent questions from Peter, [8] James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) regarding the timing of His return to instate the Davidic Kingdom (Matt. 24:3; see Acts 1:6) promised, presented, and yet rejected out of hand by Israel’s leaders.

During the Olivet Discourse, the Lord Jesus outlined a bevy of disastrous signs related to Israel and her prophets. First, He linked His message to the Jewish prophet Daniel by referring to the “abomination of desolation” which Daniel placed about midway in the Tribulation (Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 24:15). Second, He linked it to Moses’ maiden prophecy which serves as the first mention of a coming Tribulation (Deut. 4:30-31) by using that very term twice (Matt. 24:21, 29). Third, He completed His sermon with details of His return to earth immediately following the Tribulation to establish the Kingdom. As a testament to Biblical continuity, this same epoch period was called Tribulation by John (Rev. 7:14) who described it in detail, from its commencement in Revelation 6 through to its conclusion in Revelation 19 at the return of the Lord Jesus as Messiah to Jerusalem, Israel to install the long awaited Davidic Kingdom in fulfillment of the 5 well known Covenants concerning God’s program for earth and Israel that the four disciples knew about and had initially inquired about, that had been “spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21; see Matt. 25:31-46).

[1] “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;” (Jer 33:25 KJV)

[2] Except for Romans-Philemon which focus on the Body of Christ, the entire Bible is to Israel and the nations in contact with her.

[3] Modernists do this today in concerted effort to impugn God’s Word to English speaking people, the King James Bible.

[4] Study carefully the strict stipulations laid out in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.

[5] References are from the Old Scofield Reference Bible, available from PMI for a gift of $34. Stamps are welcome.

[6] Notice there is no Pauline or body of Christ Covenant. All 5 of these were given to Israel specifically.

[7] “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for [their] evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” (Isaiah 13:9-11 KJV) “And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:” (Revelation 6:16 KJV) “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast [it] into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” (Revelation 14:19 KJV)

[8] Keep in mind Peter’s mission was NOT to the mystery Body of Christ which was yet a mystery. His ministry was to Jews as the apostle to the circumcision (Gal. 2:7-9).

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.

 

THE CONVERSION TO CHRIST OF GENERAL MANUEL ANTONIO NORIEGA

“God can forgive the worst sinner on earth.” How many times have you heard a preacher say something like that? Or, “God loves everyone. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. There is no sinner too sinful for God to forgive, if that person will repent and come to Christ in faith.” And do we believe it? Of course we do. We believe that Jesus Christ would have forgiven Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him, if he would have truly repented.

Question: Would Jesus have forgiven Adolf Hitler? Perhaps survivors of the holocaust couldn’t…and we could understand their difficulty in forgiving.  But Jesus could have forgiven Hitler…if he would have changed his life instead of ending his life by blowing his brains out in a Berlin bunker.

Let’s bring it on down to today.

Would God be willing to forgive a repentant Jeffrey Dahmer, the mass murderer of Milwaukee?

How about Sadaam Hussein, the bloody butcher of Baghdad?

What about General Manuel Noriega, the former Panamanian drug Lord? General Manuel Antonio Noriega was found guilty of international drug trafficking and sentenced to 40 years in the federal penitentiary.

“Noriega, a former Roman Catholic known to have dabbled in the occult, embraced evangelical Christianity and prayed for forgiveness in a three-hour session in May 1990, the Times reported.

“I received Jesus Christ as my Saviour the 15th May of 1990 at 11 a.m.,” he wrote in letters about his conversion. In some letters, he wrote that he had suffered from “illusions of grandeur and a heart hardened to the Gospel.”

His attorney confirmed his conversion at the time, dismissing questions about whether it was all a ploy to curry favor with the judge. “There are people who are just cynical about everything,” the attorney told the Times.”

A prison guard witnessed Noriega’s life after his conversion “I’ve seen seriousness and I’ve seen the lack of it,” said one of the guards who monitor the fallen leader daily. “I haven’t seen any dedication or seriousness greater than his.” 

Stop the questions!

It’s not a moot question anymore. For on October 24, 1992, in a baptistry provided by American Rehabilitation Ministries, General Manuel Noriega was immersed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the chambers of the Honorable William M. Hoeveler, United States District Judge, Federal Court House, Miami Florida.

Noriega was “Public Enemy No. 1” during the time leading up to the U.S. invasion of Panama in December 1989. How did it come to pass that the former general of Panama was buried in baptism in Florida in an A.R.M. baptistry?

The story begins in a maximum security cell in the federal prison in Miami where General Manuel Noriega was awaiting trial on charges of international drug trafficking.

Early in January 1990 a copy of a Spanish New Testament came into the notorious prisoner’s hands. On January 10, 1990, the editor of the Soul Winner’s New Testament (Evangelismo Personal), Clift Brannon, a former attorney turned preacher, received a letter from Noriega.  In the letter, Noriega expressed his appreciation for the copy of the Scriptures. Brannon immediately applied for a visitation permit for the purpose of religious instruction under the rights granted Noriega under the Geneva Accords.

Accordingly, on May 15 and 16, 1990, Brannon and a Spanish interpreter, Rudy Hernandez, were allowed to visit Noriega for a total of 6 hours in the Metropolitan Correctional Center of Dade County, Florida. Following their visit, Noriega wrote Brannon as follows:

On completing the spiritual sessions that you as a messenger of the Word of God brought to my heart, even to my area of confinement as Prisoner of War of the United States, I feel the necessity of adding something more to what I was able to say to you as we parted.  The evening sessions of May 15 and 16 with you and Rudy Hernandez along with the Christian explanation and guidance were for me the first day of a dream, a revelation.  I can tell you with great strength and inspiration that receiving our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior guided by you, was an emotional event. The hours flew by without my being aware. I could have desired that they continue forever, but there was no time nor space.  Thank you for your time. Thank you for your human warmth, for your constant and permanent spiritual strength brought to bear on my mind and soul.

With great affection.

Manuel A. Noriega

Following another visit in July, 1990, Noriega enrolled in a 16-week Bible correspondence course. At the conclusion of his personal study the former drug lord requested permission of the prison authorities to be baptized in accordance to what he had learned from Matthew 28:19,20.

His request, however, was denied upon the advice of his attorneys.

On September 25, 1992, Brannon wrote to the Honorable William M. Hoeveler, united States District Judge in Miami, pleading the court’s permission to immerse Noriega. “Only in this way can he (Noriega) genuinely show his faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3-5).”

The former attorney went on to write:

On October 24th, we ask your authority to have a fiberglass baptistry taken into the court room and for General Manuel A. Noriega to be immersed in accord with the Holy Scriptures and in obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sincerely submitted for Your Honor’s favorable consideration.

Clifton W. Brannon

In the meantime, it was necessary to secure a portable baptistry. To whom would they turn?

To the same ministry that has for the past 31 years placed more than 1000 baptistries in American prisons nationwide. A.R.M. not only responded with a communion table baptistry, but also provided two in-depth Spanish Bible correspondence courses for General Noriega’s study.  A variety of Spanish DaySpring greeting cards were sent from A.R.M. along with several New Testament Gospel tracts in Spanish.

On October 24, 1992 (United Nations Day!), A.R.M’s baptistry arrived at the back door of the Federal Court House in Miami. A Deputy Marshall helped Brannon and his associates take the baptistry into the courtroom and fill it with water.

Noriega’s baptism almost didn’t happen because of his high security status, opposition from the Catholic chaplain and daunting logistical problems.

The baptism was arranged to take place in the courthouse, in an atrium outside the door of one of the courtrooms, using A.R.M.’s Communion Table Baptistry.

“That was a first”, Brannon said. “We were told this had never taken place in a federal courthouse before”.

When the baptistry was filled, the Deputy Marshall brought General Manuel Antonio Noriega into the courtroom to be baptized. Surrounded by 12 guards, Noriega, wearing civilian clothes, took off his jacket and shoes, and got into the baptistry. Brannon preached on the meaning of baptism as Hernandez interpreted, followed by prayer and Scripture reading. Brannon then baptized Noriega in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Brannon says that when Noriega “came up out of the water” you could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room. “Rudy had an accordion, and we all sang Amazing Grace, which reverberated off the marble floor”, Brannon said.

“It’s one of those sacred moments,” Brannon said. “I could feel God speaking that He was well pleased.”

Noriega was allowed to give a brief testimony and be served the Lord’s Supper before being escorted back to his maximum security cell.  Here, in part, is the testimony of General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the notorious international drug lord and ruthless dictator of Panama:

Before, Jesus to me was only an image of that which was learned from Catholicism, an historic being who worked miracles. All was transformed when on Tuesday, January the 16th, 1990, Dr. Clift asked me in a telephone conversation, he in Texas and I in a preventive prison of the court, “Do you know that Jesus loves you?”

Today, this is what He means to me:

He is the Son of God, who died on the cross for our sins, who arose from the grave and is at the right hand of God the Father and who above all things He is my Savior, and has mercy on me, a sinner.”

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/05/30/for-two-evangelical-christians-manuel-antonio-noriega-became-the-ultimate-jailhouse-convert/?utm_term=.8357612c5687

http://www.arm.org:80/bk/noriega.htm  (CAUTION: ARM holds to a doctrinal position resembling baptismal regeneration, which do not)

Question. Are you saved? Have you made peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ? God made His plan of salvation simple enough for anyone to understand:

First, believe that you are a Hell-bound sinner that is totally unacceptable to God in your present condition: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God . . . the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23)

Second, believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins so you could be acceptable to God through Him: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)

Third, believe that Jesus Christ will save you if you will simply believe in Him with your whole heart and call on His name right now: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in  thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation . . . For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-10, 13)

If you have just trusted Christ as your Lord and Saviour, please contact Dr. Mike for a FREE 8 lesson Foundations of Theology Bible study to help get you started right in your New Life as a believer in and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Categories: Evangelism, Salvation

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)

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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

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