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Sunday, 27 November 2022

ONE CHURCH LEICESTER: VISION SUNDAY IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY

(16) One Church Together LIVESTREAM - VISION SUNDAY | 13th November 2022, 11.30am - YouTube

The leadership of One Church Leicester (formerly Trinity Life Church) spent over two hours relentlessly touting for money during their recent Vision Sunday eventNew Apostolic Reformation false prophet Simon Braker was in attendance declaring "a new mantle" upon One Church, namely "the mantle of generosity". The prosperity gospel was not far behind. Braker: "..and the Lord says to you, don't expect delay in heaven's response, because as soon as you act, heaven acts straight away, so expect the immediate and the suddenlies in your finances, in your family, in your prayers, everything you are believing for."  Disturbingly David Hind was rocking to and fro during Braker's alleged word from the Lord. I really do feel sorry for those who have been taken in by these so-called "apostles and prophets". Those people who endured over two solid hours of intense pressure on the 13th of November almost certainly felt compelled to give. (2 Corinthians 9:7). I believe that berating people for over two hours with false promises of recompense "from heaven" probably falls within the guidelines of "misleading or excessive requests for donations". {1} 


Brian Niblock, the previous pastor of Trinity Life Church, did exactly the same thing when I attended some years ago. It was suggested by Niblock that we even donate our jewellery in order to contribute to the expansion of the modest church building in Highfields. I was a newish Christian at that time and I did put jewellery into the offering. This is something I now deeply regret, not just because I lost my jewellery, but because such a suggestion should never have been made to impressionable believers. The improvements and expansions became more and more ambitious, eventually resulting in a white elephant; a state-of-the-art building that is no longer required in an area of chronic poverty. All the sacrifices made by believers went into the TLC money pit and the incessant appeals for money became increasingly wearisome. The crunch came for me when David Hind became the pastor of TLC. At that time the Lord made it very clear to me that TLC was no biblical church.

I regard the building at Frog Island as a very dark place spiritually. It was previously All Nations Church Leicester (ANCL). This "church" was responsible for heavily promoting the so-called "Toronto blessing" and Todd Bentley's Lakeland deception in Leicester. ANCL's failure and subsequent merger with TLC is the catastrophic result.

What is evident within the Pentecostal/Charismatic NAR movent is that they have a very low view of the scriptures. They insert their own interpretations rather than relying on sound principles of biblical exegesis to guide them. This results in many false doctrines and practices such as the false prosperity gospel, Word-Faith theology, over-emphasis on money and buildings, distorted authority models, the ordination of women pastors and many other things. We see all this being manifested at One Church at such a time as this when globalism is ramping up and perilous times are almost upon us.

In my last post about One Church in May 2022, I noted various prophecies read aloud by Hind concerning the false hope of imminent revival. Six months later these so-called prophecies have not been fulfilled. 

Hind: "He has an amazing plan for One Church. We believe we are about to grow, plant out, see hundreds of people finding Jesus, being baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit. We are expectant of a move of God and a fresh demonstration of His healing power."  {1} 

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. (2 Timothy 3:1-8).


1. Make a complaint | Fundraising Regulator
2. WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING: FALSE PROPHETS AND BIBLE TEACHERS IN THE LAST DAYS: ONE CHURCH LEICESTER (FORMERLY TRINITY LIFE CHURCH) DAVID HIND WANNABE MEGACHURCH PASTOR (bewareofthewolves.blogspot.com)

Thursday, 17 November 2022

BILL SALUS # JOEL ROSENBERG # ANDY WOODS: PROPHETIC EISEGESIS

Two major players within the pre-trib camp are Mark Hitchcock and Andy Woods. Woods recently debunked various speculations regarding alleged unfulfilled "Now/Next" Old Testament prophecies in his series The Middle East Meltdown. Woods' main source is Mark Hitchcock's book Showdown with Iran Appendix 1 and 2, in which he explains why certain Old Testament prophecies, specifically: Elam (Jeremiah 49:34-39; Ezekiel 32:24-25); Damascus (Isaiah 17:1-2; Jeremiah 49:23-27) and Psalm 83 are not futuristic prophecies. Woods took a deep dive into this subject and he delivered a stinging rebuttal against various "prophecy experts" including Bill Salus and Joel Rosenberg, who for the most part have been left unchecked in their bid to sell their wares to the Body of Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:17).

Unfortunately, Hitchock and Woods have so far missed the elephant in the room, namely, the false hope of a pre-tribulation rapture. It is a constant source of amazement to me that intelligent bible scholars believe in and support the pre-trib rapture. Thankfully a number of believers are now ditching the pre-trib theory in favour of the prewrath position. {1} Additionally, their alleged timing of the Gog/Magog war in Ezekiel 38 and 39 has serious issues. The reference to "unwalled villages" in Ezekiel 38:10 is highly problematic when applied to our own time period. It makes much more sense to take these chapters literally together with Revelation 20:7-10 i.e. this prophecy will be fulfilled at the end of the millennium as the scriptures indicate. Woods' promotion of the obscure "two-phase theory" regarding Ezekiel 38 and 39, including a bizarre connection to Ronald Reagan, is not supported by any other bible scholar. {2}

Woods' critique of the "Now/Next prophecies" is summarized below.


Summary: 

Jeremiah 49:34-38 refers to Elam (Persia/Iran) and was fulfilled in the 6th century BC by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.
Jeremiah 49:39 is eschatological.
Ezekiel 32:24-25 is a lament concerning Pharoah king of Egypt ~ Pharaoh will go down to the pit (the depths of the earth/Sheol) where he will see Assyria, Elam, Meshech and Tubal, Edom, and the Sidonians. The destruction of Egypt was fulfilled in 663 and 571 BC.


Summary: 

Isaiah 17:1-2 is the oracle concerning the destruction of Damascus in Syria. This prophecy was fulfilled in 732 BC by Tilgath-Pilneser, the king of the neo-Assyrian empire. The fulfillment of this prophecy is described in Isaiah 37:36 and 2 Kings 19:35.

Debunked: Rosenberg's claim that Isaiah's prophecy against Damascus was given to him in 715 BC. In the year that King Ahaz died came this oracle: ( Isaiah 14:28-32). The oracle that Rosenberg refers to is limited to Philistia; it does not refer to Damascus, or to any other of the nations listed in Isaiah's oracles against the nations. (Isaiah 13-23). 


Summary:

Jeremiah 49:23-27 was written about a hundred years after Isaiah and it should not be regarded as the same prophecy as Isaiah 17:1-2. The evidence: And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad. (Jeremiah 49:27). "The fortresses of Ben-Hadad ('Ben-Hadad' lit., 'son of [the god] Hadad') was the name of the dynasty that ruled Damascus in the ninth and eighth centuries. (cf. 1 Kings 15:18,20; 20:1-34; 2 Kings 6:24;8:7; 13:3,24..)"  It is likely that this prophecy was fulfilled during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon when he conquered Aram or Syria. The dominant aggressor in the passages surrounding Jeremiah 49:23-27 is King Nebuchadnezzar: Jeremiah 46:1,13,25-26 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations. (plural) beginning with Egypt. The army of Pharaoh Neco was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. Jeremiah 49:28-33: Nebuchadnezzar's defeat of Kedar and Hazor immediately follows the judgement on Damascus in Jeremiah 49:23-27. 


Summary:

Psalm 83 is Asaph's imprecatory prayer against Israel's enemies in 950 BC, it is not a prophecy. No war or battle is found in Psalm 83. Other imprecatory prayers are not prophetic. 

The Response from Bill Salus and Mondo Gonzales (Prophecy Watchers)

(3) The Isaiah 17 Misconception | Bill Salus - YouTube
(3) Prophecy Update | Why Jeremiah’s Iran Prophecy is Unfulfilled - YouTube
Are Jeremiah 49:34-39 and Ezekiel 38 the same event? What about Psalm 83? (prophecydepotministries.net)

In the above videos Salus advises his audience to be Bereans. In fact that is precisely what Hitchock and Woods have facilitated, and in my view, they have demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that these things are not so. (Acts 17:11 cf. 1 John 1:4). My own independent studies agree with the research done by Hitchock, and on this occasion Woods has done the Body of Christ a service in exposing these questionable speculations. (Ephesians 5:11). {3} Nevertheless his pre-trib eisegesis is a deplorable misapplication of God's word. There is no doubt in my mind that the "Now/Next prophecies" are contrived, and that Salus and others have taken advantage of the inherent complexities within certain Old Testament passages in order to manipulate them to their own advantage. (2 Corinthians 4:2). 

Mondo Gonzalez misapplies the meaning of "adding or taking away from the word of God" (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19). Gonzales: "Having a different interpretation of these prophecies is not adding to the word of God.. That's a pretty serious slanderous label simply to put on somebody, and to say that because they disagree, all of a sudden they are adding to the word."  Salus and Gonzalez claim that the discussion centers around "differences of opinion" and they object that the accusations of "adding to the word of God" does not have a place within "brotherly dialogue". There is a vast difference between friendly disagreements/discussions about minor details and serious objections about teachers who distort or falsify the word of God. Such distortions do add to the word of God. A further warning in the New Testament is not to go beyond what is written. (1 Corinthians 4:6). Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary puts it very well: "Revere the silence of Holy Writ, as much as its declarations: so you will less dogmatize on what is not expressly revealed (De 29:29)." {4} 

Problematically, and despite their denials, Salus' and Rosenberg's so-called "opinions" are reckless speculations based on newspaper exegesis. These men sell a lot of materials, they attract many viewers, and they fill conference seats. Ironically they themselves fulfill bible prophecy: For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.. (2 Timothy 4:3).

Gonzalez referred to Dwight Pentecost as a credible example of a scholar who believed that Jeremiah 49:23-27, 34-39 and Isaiah 17 were future prophecies that would happen during "the tribulation". Pre-trib teachers constantly make the error of referring to the first half of the 70th week of Daniel as "the tribulation". {5} Dwight Pentecost was a pre-trib scholar whose contradictory understanding of eschatology has been exposed in a PDF by Doug Eigsti. {6} 

I know that Arnold Fruchtenbaum is a very well-respected scholar within the pre-trib camp. It is worth noting however that he attends and supports the ecumenical Lausanne Movement. I did publish a link in a previous post verifying this, but I have noticed that it has been removed. {7} *I have added a link at the end of this post regarding Fruchtenbaum's blatant inaccuracies. 

As far as I can ascertain, John Walvoord did not support a future fulfillment concerning Elam in Jeremiah 49:34-38. He simply mentioned this passage in connection with other miscellaneous Old Testament prophecies. Walvoord: "The more extended prophecies as found in Isaiah 17:1-14 and Jeremiah 49:23-27 have all been fulfilled as well as the occasional references found in Isaiah 7:8; 8:4; Amos 1:3-5; 3:12; 5:27..  A brief prophecy concerning Kedar and Hazor is contained in Jeremiah 49:28-33. It is a prediction of judgment upon them at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. A similar judgment is pronounced upon Elam in Jeremiah 49:34-38.{8}  

Arno Gaebelein: "The final prediction is as to Elam. Elam was east of South Babylonia and the lower Tigris, later known as Susians. This prophecy was given at the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign. Elam became an ally of the Persian kingdom. Here her overthrow is foretold as well as her restoration 'in the latter days.'" {9} It appears to me that this quote from Gaebelein is ambiguous i.e. it is not clear to me that Gaebelein's intention was to include the overthrow and the restoration of Elam in "the latter days". Interestingly, Gaebelein viewed the Gog/Magog war as a millennial event: "The invasion will happen some time after the beastly empire with its beast head, the revived Roman empire, in its final ten kingdom form and the clay, with the little horn as leader Daniel 7:1-28; Revelation 13:1-18 and the false prophet, the personal Antichrist Revelation 13:11, etc. have been dealt with in judgment Revelation 19:19-21."  {10} 

Both Salus and Gonzales claim that the "Now/Next prophecies" are not dogmatic. Really!  Woods gave some clear examples of Rosenberg's dogmatic position in his series The Middle East Meltdown and I will not repeat them here. Below are two examples of Salus' dogmatism: 

The back cover of Salus' book The Next Prophecies: "The NEXT PROPHECIES will happen soon after The NOW PROPHECIES and the stage is presently being set for their fulfillment!" {11}

The back cover of Salus' book The Now PropheciesThe NOW Prophecies book identifies the biblical prophecies that were written centuries ago for THIS GENERATION! {12} 

In my view, the Now/Next prophecy teachers are not so very far removed from the false prophets of the NAR Movement and we should mark and avoid them. (Romans 16:17-18 cf. 1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:23; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Peter 3:16). Salus promotes his speculations through apostate channels like TBN, God TV and Daystar. Tragically, Prophecy Watchers is not much better; their shameless merchandising does not provide a credible witness for Jesus Christ and their promotion of false teachers like Jonathan Cahn etc is highly questionable. In light of this, it is not unreasonable to ask the question: Who are these men really serving? (Matthew 6:24).

Hitchcock's research is compelling and it leaves Salus, Rosenberg et al in a very difficult position. (2 Peter 2:1). The "Now/Next prophecies" are based either on very poor exegesis or they are deliberate misapplications of the scriptures. (1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:23). In either case, these individuals have no business teaching the word of God. (James 3:1). The fact that there is a serious disagreement within the pre-trib camp concerning these passages is a significant development, and hopefully these problems will encourage more believers to test the spirits. (1 John 4:1).

1. Pastor: From Pre-Trib to Pre-Wrath | ESCHATOS MINISTRIES (alankurschner.com)
2. WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING: FALSE PROPHETS AND BIBLE TEACHERS IN THE LAST DAYS: ANDY WOODS: GOG MAGOG TWO-PHASE VIEW (bewareofthewolves.blogspot.com)
2. WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING: FALSE PROPHETS AND BIBLE TEACHERS IN THE LAST DAYS: ANDY WOODS: RONALD REAGAN'S GOG MAGOG VIEW (bewareofthewolves.blogspot.com)
3. WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING: FALSE PROPHETS AND BIBLE TEACHERS IN THE LAST DAYS: BILL SALUS: GOG MAGOG DANGEROUS SPECULATIONS (bewareofthewolves.blogspot.com)
4. 1 Corinthians 4 Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary (biblehub.com)
5. WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING: FALSE PROPHETS AND BIBLE TEACHERS IN THE LAST DAYS: THE SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION FALLACY (bewareofthewolves.blogspot.com)
6. Microsoft Word - Imminency versus Prophecy 3.7.doc (alankurschner.com)
7. WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING: FALSE PROPHETS AND BIBLE TEACHERS IN THE LAST DAYS: BILL SALUS: IS PSALM 83 PROPHETIC? (bewareofthewolves.blogspot.com)
7. Lausanne Occasional Paper: Jewish Evangelism: A Call to the Church - Lausanne Movement
7. Evangelism / Apologetics where has it gone - UK Aplogetics Library (ukapologeticslibrary.net)
8. Chapter XV The Nations In The Millennium And The Eternal State | Walvoord.com
9. Jeremiah 49 Gaebelein's Annotated Bible (biblehub.com)
10. Ezekiel 38 Gaebelein's Annotated Bible (biblehub.com)
11. The Next Prophecies: Amazon.co.uk: Salus, Bill: 9780692176177: Books
12. The Now Prophecies: Amazon.co.uk: Salus, Bill: 9780988726079: Books


* Arnold Fruchtenbaum Archives | ESCHATOS MINISTRIES (alankurschner.com)

Saturday, 5 November 2022

BENNY HINN'S BIRTHDAY BASH

Pastor Benny Hinn’s 70th Birthday Celebration - Benny Hinn Ministries

Benny's "exclusive" 70th birthday bash at the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas to celebrate 70 years of apostasy. 

As you might expect, it doesn't come cheap.

"The unforgettable evening of glittering ambiance will be filled with special guest appearances (including surprise guests), praise and worship, and a lifetime of memories."

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3).



Friday, 4 November 2022

BRIAN (FAITH ON FIRE) CAN WE SEPARATE FAITH AND REPENTANCE?

 (1) Justin Peters Blood Curdling Apostate Rantings and Works Based Salvation - YouTube

I recently recommended a video by Brian (Faith on Fire) in which he rejected Calvinism. {1} While I agree with Brian about Calvinism, I have a number of concerns about some other aspects of his teaching. In the above video, Brian accuses Justin Peters of preaching "works-based salvation" due to a statement he made about faith plus repentance. I absolutely reject the tenets of Calvinism as outlined in TULIP. Nevertheless, faith and repentance is not a false doctrine. Several scriptures demonstrate that faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin and are essential components of salvation. Those who teach faith alone do not take into account all that the scriptures say on this subject. The sum of your word is truth. (Psalm 119 160).

Justin Peters: "The only way to be saved is to repent of your sin, turn from your sin, and turn to the risen Lord Jesus Christ." (14:00 mark) 

A number of false teachers such as Steven Anderson, Jeff Durbin, Bill Weise etc. teach that repentance is not required for salvation. It is very concerning that Brian (Faith on Fire) has bought into this false doctrine. Faith alone minus repentance essentially changes the gospel message and wrongly divides the word of truth resulting in a different gospel. (2 Corinthians 11:14 cf. 2 Timothy 2:15). People do not come to faith in a vacuum - there is a critical reason why people put their trust in Jesus Christ. It sounds very "spiritual" to categorize repentance as a "work" and to look down on those who teach repentance as legalistic. Works-based salvation is the heretical doctrine that we must do certain good deeds in order to merit salvation. Repentance i.e. turning away from sin involves an inward change i.e. a change of heart rather than an outward observance

Strongs: repent = metanoeó: to change one's mind or purpose. {2} 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10).

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: (John 16:8).

..and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15). 

So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. (Mark 6:12).

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17).

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3,5).

..and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47).

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.. (Acts 17:30).

The conversion of the Philippian jailer and his household: "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. (Acts 16:30-33). The conversation did not end at verse 31 .they spoke the word of the Lord to him and his household  i.e. Paul and Timothy elucidated the gospel message in detail to the Philippian jailer and his household, no doubt fully explaining the need for faith and repentance.     

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:37-41). 

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.. (Acts 3:19).

God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:31).

When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” (Acts 11:18).

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’ (Acts 22:16).
 
And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.. (Hebrews 5:9).

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.. (Hebrews 6:1). 
Repentance and faith is foundational.

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8 cf. Luke 3:8). The fruit of repentance is works i.e. the outward actions are the result of the inward reality of repentance. Believers are enabled to do good works through faith by His power. (2 Thessalonians 1:11). Conversely, works done in the flesh are not acceptable to God. 

..but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. (Acts 26:20. A distinction is made between repentance and deeds that follow repentance. 

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.(James 2:18). Works are a demonstration of genuine faith and repentance. Repentance and faith lead to obedience. 

Given the scriptural evidence, how can anyone deny faith and repentance?

Repentance is not an optional extra as some teach, it is an absolute necessity. Faith without repentance may be an appealing message, but it produces false converts and is counterproductive. Easy believism refers to the practice of simply praying a superficial prayer to receive Jesus without the conviction of sin resulting in genuine saving faith. 

The video below gives what I believe is an accurate picture of faith and repentance. I also recommend Mike Winger's video on this subject (see the link below), and also Jason P Perkins: JESUS-POWER - Home (weebly.com) 





Further Links

(1) Repentance is Part of the Gospel: The Mark Series part 5 (1:14-15) - YouTube
(5) WE OBEY JESUS - YouTube
christians_against_faith_alone.pdf (weebly.com)

1. WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING: FALSE PROPHETS AND BIBLE TEACHERS IN THE LAST DAYS: MIKE WINGER VS JOHN MACARTHUR (bewareofthewolves.blogspot.com)
2. Strong's Greek: 3340. μετανοέω (metanoeó) -- to change one's mind or purpose (biblehub.com)

Friday, 28 October 2022

RABBI TOVIA SINGER'S CHALLENGE TO CHRISTIANS: THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD (ISAIAH 7:14)

 (12) Outraged Christian Calls Rabbi Tovia Singer the Antichrist! - YouTube

Rabbi Singer challenges Christians to "take a moment and look it up for yourselves" regarding the claim that Mary was indeed a virgin. In Christian parlance, this equates to testing the spirits or emulating the Bereans. (1 John 4:1; Acts 17:11). 

Singer's assertion: Matthew deliberately altered the Hebrew bible in order to make it appear Christological. He changed Isaiah 7:14 which refers to the virgin. 

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14).

The Hebrew word under discussion is הָעַלְמָ֗ה  hā-‘al-māh - Strongs: 5959 [e] 
הָעַלְמָ֗ה can be translated a young woman, a virgin. {1}

Unfortunately, I do not know Hebrew, but I have looked up הָעַלְמָ֗ה in several lexicons and commentaries.  

Brown-Driver-Briggs: עַלְמָה noun feminine young woman (ripe sexually; maid or newly married); — ׳ע Genesis 24:43 (J), Exodus 2:8 (E), Proverbs 30:19; Isaiah 7:14; plural עֲלָמוֺת Psalm 68:26; Songs 1:3; Songs 6:8; עַלעֲֿלָמוֺת to (the voice of) young women, either literally, or of soprano or falsetto of boys: 1 Chronicles 15:20; Psalm 9:1 (read עַלעֲֿלָמוֺת לַבֵּן [for עַלמֿוּת לַבֵּן], 'voce virginea a pueris decantandum,' Thes), Psalm 46:1; Psalm 48:15 (read עַלעֲֿלָמוֺת [for עַלמֿוּת]; translated probably to Psalm 49:1). {1} 

The word עלמה ‛almâh is derived from the verb עלם ‛âlam, "to conceal, to hide, to cover." {2} This word properly interpreted means a girl, a maiden, a virgin an unmarried young woman of marriageable age. It occurs only seven times in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:16Exodus 2:8Psalm 68:25Song of Solomon  1:3, 6:8; Proverbs 30:19. It is applied to Rebecca in Genesis 24:43, to Miriam in Exodus 2:8 and to the maidens in Psalm 68:25. 

Isaiah 7:14 requires us to understand Mary as a young Jewish woman who was legally pledged to, but not yet married to Joseph. She was regarded as a virgin by default. Given the time and culture referred to, a young unmarried Jewish woman or a girl would necessarily be a virgin.
 
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:18-23).

Singer goes on to quote Genesis 3:15: And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. זֶרַע zera` (zeh'-rah) = a sowing, seed, offspring {3} Singer interprets her seed as the seed of Eve i.e. her children, her progeny, her offspring. In context we are looking at two seeds; the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. The seed of the serpent denotes the wicked. In contrast, her seed i.e. her offspring, is principally identified as Christ. (Galatians 3:16; Galatians 3:19). Zera (seed) is sometimes singular as in Genesis 4:25 when it refers to Seth. There is therefore no problem in translating zera in the singular and identifying Christ as the seed.

Nineteenth-century German theologians Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch are held in very high esteem as Old Testament scholars and Hebrew experts. The following is an excerpt from their commentary on Genesis 3.

"Observe, too, that although in the first clause the seed of the serpent is opposed to the seed of the woman, in the second it is not over the seed of the serpent but over the serpent itself that the victory is said to be gained. It, i.e., the seed of the woman will crush thy head, and thou (not thy seed) wilt crush its heel. Thus the seed of the serpent is hidden behind the unity of the serpent, or rather of the foe who, through the serpent, has done such injury to man. This foe is Satan, who incessantly opposes the seed of the woman and bruises its heel, but is eventually to be trodden under its feet. It does not follow from this, however, apart from other considerations, that by the seed of the woman we are to understand one solitary person, one individual only. As the woman is the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20), her seed, to which the victory over the serpent and its seed is promised, must be the human race. But if a direct and exclusive reference to Christ appears to be exegetically untenable, the allusion in the word to Christ is by no means precluded in consequence. In itself the idea of זרע, the seed, is an indefinite one, since the posterity of a man may consist of a whole tribe or of one son only (Genesis 4:25; Genesis 21:12-13), and on the other hand, an entire tribe may be reduced to one single descendant and become extinct in him. The question, therefore, who is to be understood by the "seed" which is to crush the serpent's head, can only be answered from the history of the human race. But a point of much greater importance comes into consideration here. Against the natural serpent the conflict may be carried on by the whole human race, by all who are born of a woman, but not against Satan. As he is a fore who can only be met with spiritual weapons, none can encounter him successfully but such as possess and make use of spiritual arms. Hence the idea of the "seed" is modified by the nature of the foe. If we look at the natural development of the human race, Eve bore three sons, but only one of them, viz., Seth, was really the seed by whom the human family was preserved through the flood and perpetuated in Noah: so, again, of the three sons of Noah, Shem, the blessed of Jehovah, from whom Abraham descended, was the only one in whose seed all nations were to be blessed, and that not through Ishmael, but through Isaac alone. Through these constantly repeated acts of divine selection, which were not arbitrary exclusions, but were rendered necessary by differences in the spiritual condition of the individuals concerned, the "seed," to which the victory over Satan was promised, was spiritually or ethically determined, and ceased to be co-extensive with physical descent. This spiritual seed culminated in Christ, in whom the Adamitic family terminated, henceforward to be renewed by Christ as the second Adam, and restored by Him to its original exaltation and likeness to God. In this sense Christ is the seed of the woman, who tramples Satan under His feet, not as an individual, but as the head both of the posterity of the woman which kept the promise and maintained the conflict with the old serpent before His advent, and also of all those who are gathered out of all nations, are united to Him by faith, and formed into one body of which He is the head (Romans 16:20). On the other hand, all who have not regarded and preserved the promise, have fallen into the power of the old serpent, and are to be regarded as the seed of the serpent, whose head will be trodden under foot (Matthew 23:33; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8). If then the promise culminates in Christ, the fact that the victory over the serpent is promised to the posterity of the woman, not of the man, acquires this deeper significance, that as it was through the woman that the craft of the devil brought sin and death into the world, so it is also through the woman that the grace of God will give to the fallen human race the conqueror of sin, of death, and of the devil. And even if the words had reference first of all to the fact that the woman had been led astray by the serpent, yet in the fact that the destroyer of the serpent was born of a woman (without a human father) they were fulfilled in a way which showed that the promise must have proceeded from that Being, who secured its fulfilment not only in its essential force, but even in its apparently casual form." {4}

To sum up the context of Isaiah 7:1-9:7: Isaiah predicts the failure of the Syrio-Israelitish invasion of Judah and the fatal results of Judah's alliance (through Ahaz) with Assyria. The text moves forward to the distant future prophecy concerning the certainty of final preservation and the coming of the Messiah. 

Clarke: "But how could that be a sign to Ahaz which was to take place so many hundreds of years after? I answer, the meaning of the prophet is plain: not only Rezin and Pekah should be unsuccessful against Jerusalem at that time, which was the fact; but Jerusalem, Judea, and the house of David should be both preserved, notwithstanding their depressed state, and the multitude of their adversaries, till the time should come when a Virgin should bear a son. This is a most remarkable circumstance the house of David could never fail, till a virgin should conceive and bear a son - nor did it: but when that incredible and miraculous fact did take place, the kingdom and house of David became extinct! This is an irrefragable confutation of every argument a Jew can offer in vindication of his opposition to the Gospel of Christ. Either the prophecy in Isaiah has been fulfilled, or the kingdom and house of David are yet standing. But the kingdom of David, we know, is destroyed: and where is the man, Jew or Gentile, that can show us a single descendant of David on the face of the earth? The prophecy could not fail: the kingdom and house of David have failed; the virgin, therefore, must have brought forth her son, and this son is Jesus, the Christ. Thus Moses, Isaiah, and Matthew concur; and facts the most unequivocal have confirmed the whole! Behold the wisdom and providence of God!" {5}

Jesus necessarily had to be born of a virgin so that He would not inherit the sinful nature of fallen humanity. It was Adam, not Eve, who passed sin on to their descendants. (Romans 5:12). Jesus' miraculous conception by the power of the Spirit is an essential doctrine of the church. The New Testament can meet any challenge to its claim of authenticity and scriptural authority. (1 John 4:6). 

I would advise everyone, not only Christians, to be very wary indeed of Tovia Singer's doctrine. The caller did not identify Singer as "the Antichrist" with the article, he said "antichrist" in general terms. (1 John 2:18, 4:2-3). A person who calls the apostles "liars" and who refers to the gospels a"garbage in garbage out" should expect a strong response from Jesus' followers.

1. Strong's Hebrew: 5959. עַלְמָה (almah) -- a young woman, a virgin (biblehub.com)
2. Isaiah 7:14 Commentaries: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (biblehub.com)
3. Strong's Hebrew: 2233. זָ֫רַע (zera) -- a sowing, seed, offspring (biblehub.com)
4. Genesis 3 Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary (biblehub.com)
5. Isaiah 7 Clarke's Commentary (biblehub.com)

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

RABBI TOVIA SINGER'S DISTORTION OF THE SCRIPTURES

 (5) Christian Zionism, is it possible? With Rabbi Tovia Singer - YouTube

American Orthodox Rabbi Tovia Singer is a fierce advocate for the Jewish faith, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel. Singer moved from Indonesia to Jerusalem in May 2019 and he now lives in the Jewish quarter of the Old City. He is the founder and director of Outreach Judaism, an international organization that responds directly to the issues raised by missionaries and cults, by exploring Judaism in contradistinction to fundamentalist Christianity. {1} Singer is the author of Let’s Get Biblical! Why Doesn’t Judaism Accept the Christian Messiah? 

The interviewer, Dr Roi Yozevitch, observed that an Israeli-loving Christian is an oxymoron from the Jewish point of view. This is mainly due to the historic persecution of Jews by the so-called church. A major obstacle for the Jewish people is historical antisemitism and the accusation that they are "Christ murderers". From the fundamental Christian point of view, we know that God has not rejected his people as some teach. According to the apostle Paul, at the present time, there is a remnant chosen by grace. (Romans 11: 1-12).

As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (Romans 11:28-32).

Yozevitch informed his viewers that Orthodox Jews are not allowed to read, or even to have a copy of the New Testament in their homes. We should be under no illusion that Orthodox Jews are an easy group to evangelize; on the contrary, they present a united front and are extremely hostile to the gospel.

Singer is confident and convincing, but he misrepresents the scriptural position on a number of key doctrines. In this post, I will limit my critique to Singer's misrepresentation of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as "ritual cannibalism".  

Singer: "Christians teach in the eucharist that you have to eat the body and drink the blood of the messiah Jesus through eating the bread and drinking the wine..  ..to the Christian, when you eat the body and drink the blood, literally Christ dwells in you and you become Christ-like.. it is all about worshipping a God-man who died for your sins and resurrected from the dead, and if you believe in that and his body and blood dwell in you then you are saved and you gain the properties of Christ.. This is what is called ritual cannibalism.."

Singer omits to clarify the parabolic element of Jesus' teaching and his distortions are no doubt repulsive to his Jewish audience. Fundamental bible believing Christians do not believe that when they take communion they are literally ingesting the body and blood of Christ, or that his body and blood literally dwell in them. Realism i.e. the real or physical presence of Jesus in the communion i.e. transubstantiation and its variant, consubstantiation, is generally rejected by fundamental Christians. The doctrine held by many Christians is that the bread and wine consumed in communion are symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus. The elements are a remembrance of the atonement Jesus made for our sins on the cross: Do this in remembrance of me - literally, as My memorial, or, as your memorial of Me. (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24).

The New Testament scriptures teach that it is by grace through faith that people are saved, not by any outward observance. (Ephesians 2:8). When the bread and wine are taken, we do not believe that we are taking into ourselves the essence or the "life force" of Jesus into our bodies.  Believers receive the Holy Spirit when they believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:2; Acts 20:21; John 6:63).

Truly, truly, I tell you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh.”At this, the Jews began to argue among themselves, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your fathers, who ate the manna and died, the one who eats this bread will live forever. Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. 
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:47-68).

This graphic metaphor caused no small controversy amongst the Jews: ..they began to argue among themselves.. After this many turned back and no longer walked with him. This speech had the effect of weeding out Jesus' superficial followers. His habit was to explain the deeper meaning of his sayings to the twelve privately. (Mark 4:34).

On other occasions, Jesus said, I am the light of the world (John 8:12), I am the good shepherd (John 10: 11,14),  I am the vine (John 15:1), I am the door. (John 10:9).

This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (Matthew 13:13).


For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. And last of all He appeared to me also, as to one of untimely birth. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Saturday, 22 October 2022

DECEPTION IN THE NAR IDENTIFIED: MICHAEL BROWN + JOSEPH MATTERA

Dr Michael Brown and Joseph Mattera have recently produced a document identifying deception inside the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Incredibly, Brown has previously denied the existence of the NAR. He has been called out repeatedly as someone who facilitates and gives credibility to NAR false teachers and has been dubbed "the apostle of obfuscation". The document below seems definitive and appears to condemn various heretical NAR practices. However, Brown is someone who should be treated with extreme caution, even when he appears to say the right things. Mark and avoid those wolves who identify themselves as "apostolic". (Romans 16:17).


In light of the controversy surrounding the terms “New Apostolic Reformation” (NAR)
and “Christian Nationalism,” we are issuing this statement of clarification.1

WE AFFIRM the importance of Ephesians 4:11 ministries for the Church today and believe that such ministry functions have existed throughout Church history, even if not described in these exact terms.

WE AFFIRM that contemporary apostolic and prophetic ministries are important for the well-being and mission of the Church, just as evangelistic, pastoral, and teaching ministries are important.

  • By “apostolic,” we are referring to visionary leaders who are missional, fathering, and pioneering, such as church planters, networkers, or movement leaders, often marked by their focus on gospel expansion beyond one local region. Such leaders are identified by their function, whether or not they use the term apostolic and whether or not they are Pentecostal or charismatic.
  • By “prophetic,” we are referring to Church leaders who understand and declare the mind of God for specific times and seasons, helping the Lord’s people respond biblically. Such leaders are identified by their function, whether or not they use the term prophetic and whether or not they are Pentecostal or charismatic.

WE REJECT the belief that contemporary apostles carry the same authority as did the original Twelve Apostles.

WE REJECT the belief that contemporary prophets have the exact same function or carry the exact same authority as did Old Testament prophets.2

WE REJECT the belief that every church must be submitted to apostles and prophets to be in right order before the Lord.

WE FURTHER OPPOSE the possible abuse of ecclesial titles that manifests itself in self-proclaimed apostles and prophets claiming territorial authority over pastors in a community, city, or nation.

WE REJECT the belief that “new revelation” is essential for the life and growth of the Church or that contemporary apostles or prophets are the only ones privy to such “new revelation.”

WE AFFIRM the full sufficiency of Scripture for the health and mission of the Church.

WE AFFIRM that the spirit of true apostles and prophets should exemplify the attitude and lifestyle of Jesus (Philippians 2:4-12), coming alongside other church and workplace leaders to serve them, not replace them.

In short, WE DENY any affiliation with what is presently characterized as “NAR” in many circles of both Christian and secular press. We also believe that reports of an alleged conspiratorial, worldwide, dangerous “NAR” movement are highly exaggerated and misleading.

As for “Christian nationalism,” WE RECOGNIZE that for some, this simply refers to a healthy form of Christian patriotism, of loving God and loving one’s country. In that sense, the term is benign. 

WE ALSO RECOGNIZE that some media outlets put the worst construction on our words, take us out of context, falsely associate us with dangerous, fringe groups, and unfairly malign us. For those who genuinely want to separate fact from fiction, we make these clarifying statements.

WE RECOGNIZE that America has a rich Christian heritage, despite its many historic failings, and that to the extent we have honored that heritage, the nation has been blessed. And we applaud those who encourage other Americans to pattern their lives after Christian principles that have helped bring God’s favor to our nation through the generations.

In addition, WE BELIEVE that nationalism is a biblical concept in the sense of nations having defined borders and identities, as mentioned by Paul in Acts 17 and by Moses in Deuteronomy 32. God sets national borders and governments and authority spheres for a purpose. 

WE ALSO BELIEVE in the positive value of respecting national borders and national authority, in contrast with an international one-world government.

At the same time, WE REJECT as unbiblical the belief that America is a uniquely chosen nation, similar to Old Testament Israel being the chosen nation of God. (Although God has used the USA in various ways to bless the world with humanitarian aid and military support, and although the Church of America has sent out missionaries worldwide, in the New Testament, Jesus, as the King of kings and Lord of lords has a special assignment for every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue represented on the earth.)

WE ALSO RECOGNIZE that there is a dangerous and unhealthy form of “Christian nationalism,” one that speaks of a potential Christian uprising against the government or hints at the use of force to advance God’s kingdom.

WE CATEGORICALLY AND UNEQUIVOCALLY DENY any affiliation with or connection to that form of Christian nationalism.

Because WE BELIEVE that God made one human race expressed through different ethnicities and races, all of which deserve dignity and respect as His image bearers, WE REJECT all ideologies and movements claiming ethnic or racial superiority.

WE DENOUNCE calls to violent, armed resistance in the name of Christian nationalism or as an alleged means of advancing the cause of the gospel.

WE REJECT the triumphalist, top-down, take-over of society as part of a so-called “dominion mandate,” also noting that we do not know of any major Christian movement that espouses such a top-down, take-over mentality.

WE REJECT the merging of Christian identity and national identity, as if the Kingdom of God and our particular nation were one and the same.

In contrast, WE BELIEVE the biblical way to influence society is by living the cruciform life in which believers lay down their lives in the service of others, resulting in human flourishing for the glory of God. This can include Christ-like engagement in every sphere of society.

And WE DO BELIEVE that Christians have as much right as any other group to have their voices heard in the public square and to influence society, functioning as the salt of the earth and light of the world, and we encourage such activities as good citizens of our various nations and as part of our sacred calling.

WE BELIEVE that Christians should seek to make a positive impact on every aspect of society, including education and media, along with politics, and that by acting on gospel principles, whole nations can be changed.

WE BELIEVE that Christians should be politically informed, should exercise their right to vote, should hold elected officials accountable, and when called by God, should run for political offices themselves.

BUT WE SEE IT AS SPIRITUALLY DANGEROUS IF/WHEN…

  1. We wrap the gospel in the American flag (or any national or state flag).
  2. We equate our country with the Kingdom of God.
  3. We confuse patriotism with spirituality.
  4. We compromise our ethics to keep our party (or leader) in power.
  5. Our church/denomination/ministry becomes an appendage of a political party.
  6. We put more trust in earthly methods than in spiritual methods.
  7. We marry the cause of Christ to the cause of a political party (or leader) as if they were one and the same.
  8. We become as vulgar and rude as the candidates we follow.
  9. We look to the White House or any branch of government in any nation more than to God.
  10. We make a human being into a political savior.
  11. We equate loyalty to God (which should be unconditional) with loyalty to a party or political leader (which should be conditional).
  12. Our prayers and our prophecies become politically partisan.

FINALLY, WE CONCLUDE BY CONTRASTING THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITH EXTREME NATIONALISM:

  • The Kingdom of God prioritizes the advancement of the gospel. Extreme nationalism prioritizes the advancement of its ideology even at the expense of the gospel.
  • The Kingdom of God produces loyalty to Christ above all else. Extreme nationalism produces loyalty to one’s nation above all else.
  • The Kingdom of God raises the banner of Jesus above all else. Extreme nationalism raises the national flag above all else.
  • The Kingdom of God promotes the interests of God above the world. Extreme nationalism promotes the interests of one’s nation above the Kingdom.
  • The Kingdom of God views the world through a biblical lens. Extreme nationalism views the world solely through a geopolitical lens.
  • The Kingdom of God is dependent upon neither an earthly kingdom nor an earthly ruler but upon Jesus as the King of kings (Revelation 19:16). Extreme nationalism is dependent upon both the ideology of an earthly nation and its ruler.
  • Followers of the Kingdom of God are passionate about a Christ-centered global awakening. Adherents of extreme nationalism are focused primarily on a political/ideological awakening.
  • Christ-followers are primarily identified with the Kingdom of God. Extreme nationalists derive their primary identity from their nation.
  • Christ-followers derive their primary value from being children of their heavenly Father (Romans 8:14-17). Extreme nationalists derive their primary value from being citizens of their country. 

May the Church put God’s Kingdom and His righteousness first so that He can trust true believers, who genuinely represent His heart, to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

1. By “NAR” we are referring to a phrase coined by several leaders in recent years to describe what they perceive as a new church reformation led by apostolic leaders. Because “NAR” means different things to different people, both positive and negative, we wanted to clarify what we do believe and distance ourselves from what we do not believe.

2. For further details of our view of prophetic ministry today, see the statement at PropheticStandards.com

Issued 10/10/22 

NAR & Christian Nationalism Statement – The controversy surrounding the terms “New Apostolic Reformation” (NAR) & “Christian Nationalism” (narandchristiannationalism.com)