The False Fruit of The False Christ…I John pt 17

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (I John 4:1-3)

The Spirit of AntiChrist has long been seducing the Church, through false Pastors and teachers, Pseudo Apostles and Prophets, who have substituted the true Christ, and replaced him with an image of Christ who is not really the Messiah of God.

This is what “antiChrist” means.    Not so much “against Christ” but rather “instead of Christ” , or a substitute Christ. The antiChrist wants to spiritualize Christ, and in some way to deny by teaching and ritual, that Christ “has come and remains in the flesh”.

What happens to people who go from worshipping the true Christ of God, as revealed in the scriptures , and by the apostles,  to worshipping another “christ”, subtly presented to the churches by deceivers?

For example what has happened to the disciples of Rodney Howard Browne, who presented Christ as a “Holy Ghost Bartender” and induced the congregations to “get drunk in the Spirit of God?  What happens to a worshipper of the host of the Eucharist? Or what happens to the sensual Pentecostal followers of Bill Johnson, who have been led to believe that the Christ is a “manifest presence” which descends on a congregation imparting artifacts such as gold dust, jewels and feathers?

These are the very antichrists the apostle John is warning about here? One cannot worship Christ falsely and remain all right, there is of necessity very serious implications to being seduced by the Sprit of AntiChrist.

The true worship of Jesus Christ, who is the eternal Word of the Father and eternal life, results in at least three blessings to the worshipper. Those who worship Jesus in spirit and in truth bear the fruit of True Righteousness, True Love and True Truth! Eternal life causes one to want to really be Righteous, and it is the cause of Holy Love for God and others, and furthermore eternal life causes us to abide in Truth, which is spiritual reality as revealed by Jesus Christ the Son of God.

This who are seduced into worshipping a substitute Christ , a spiritualized Christ,  bear the useless fruit of a spiritualized righteousness, and a spiritualized love, and they are left truing to maintain a very spiritualized ‘truth’ which isn’t really truth after all.

What is “spiritualized righteousness”?

Spiritualized Righteousness is a false concept that says, ‘…it doesn’t matter what you do in actuality, in your body, it makes no spiritual difference, as long as you “know who you are spiritually” in Christ”. In other words , it teaches that sin doesn’t and cannot harm your relationship with God at all, as long as you hold to the “revelation Knowledge of the gnostic teaching”.

Of course this is a serious lie, but it is very appealing. It is because of “Spiritual righteousness” , that a deceiver and antiChrist such as Todd Bentley could literally leave his feeble wife and children and take off with his secretary, in adultery and continue to minister “miracles” in the name of Jesus! What kind of righteousness is this?  And perhaps more importantly, what concept of righteousness do the thousands who will continue to allow Bentley to ‘minister’ to them hold to?

A ‘spiritualized christ’ can only give you a “spiritualized righteousness”, and not real, saving Righteousness with God.

To this false teaching John speaks authoritatively,

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”   (I John 3:7-10)

It seems like a ‘no brainer” an obvious statement, to say that sin is of the Devil and that the one who is truly Righteous, does what is right! But the same gnosticism which distorts the person of Christ, distorts the fruit of Christ. True Righteousness makes you go to war with sin and causes us to hate it, (as Jesus hates it). False righteousness says the body is unimportant, what counts is your spiritual and metaphysical life. Nothing you do in the body affects that.

Another modern example of this is the very dangerous teaching of Joseph Prince;

‘But Pastor Prince, how can I differentiate between the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin and the accuser hurling condemnation at me?’…The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit never convicts you [a believer] of your sins…I challenge you to find a scripture in the Bible that tells you that the Holy Spirit has come to convict you of your sins. You won’t find any! The body of Christ is living in defeat because many believers don’t understand that the Holy Spirit is actually in them to convict them of their righteousness in Christ. Even when you fail…”

Prince,Joseph  “Destined to Reign” Chapter 11, pages 134-135

Real Righteousness, which is given as a gift to sinners through the Gospel of Jesus (2 Cor 5:21) is concrete. It manifests in real life, Christians who believe and worship Jesus hate sin and evil and resist it when it manifests. It acknowledges the concrete reality of sin and applies the concrete rarity of the cross of Jesus and the empty tomb.

Fake righteousness is an ethereal concept which has nothing to do with the real world. To Prince, a Christian is never to be convicted of sin again, (regardless of his actual physical concrete experience) , as long as he holds to the “revelation knowledge” of “righteousness”, i.e. spiritualized righteousness.

The same goes for Love. The real Christ will impart a real ,concrete love for God and for man into the hearts of those who worship Him, who came in the flesh. It is a love manifest in deed and in truth, it is the Love which we heard of from the beginning, and it is  revealed in the incarnation ( I John 4:9-10) and in the crucifixion of Christ ( I John 3:16)and in our adoption as Sons,(I John 3:1). .  This Love is real, it expresses itself particularly in love for the brethren.

The gnostics love everyone in the world! Their love is so overpowering, they claim to be “lovesick for God”. Like the Roman Catholic, medeival mystics which they admire, their “love” for God is semi erotic as I illustrate in this passage from my own book,Beware the New Prophets Revised,

But some of the modern “worship lyricists” are going there, unfortunately, due to this misguided emphasis. John Mark Mac- millan, in the song “How He Loves” touches on this in the lyrics:

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes, If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss, And the heart turns violently inside of my chest, I don’t have time to maintain this regrets,
When I think about, the way He loves us,

Why I Wouldn’t Send Any Kids to IHOP 73

Oh how He loves us . . . 9

Perhaps more obvious would be the mass wedding, at the Kan- sas City Convention Center, as reported by CBN reporter Wendy Griffith, on January 6, 2002.

Some 20,000 mostly young people packed the Kansas City Convention Center on New Year’s Eve for a wedding ceremony unlike any other . . . as each person who came embarked on a marriage covenant with the Bridegroom of Heaven . . . From noon until midnight they danced and sang, fasted and prayed, and got ready to get married to Jesus.

“There’s going to be a wedding and God is raising up friends of the Bridegroom to prepare the church, there’s going to be a wedding!”

One by one, thousands of men and women, young and old, made their vows and walked under the prayer shawl symbolizing their commitment to Jesus . . .

Here is an excerpt from a booklet produced by IHOP which was at one time considered required reading—

He [God] has given Himself to both the exhilarations and the woundings of a lovesick heart. When He gazes upon me, He sees through the eyes of love and desire. He comes before me and says, “I am a Man in love. I am a God that burns with desire, and I have set My affections on you. I am an all-consuming fire of love, and you are the inheritance that My Father has promised me. Will you receive My love?”10

Here, again from the same book, are the lyrics to a song.

O Gaze Eternal,
How penetrating are Your Fires

Beware the New Prophets

Rushing through my darkest places With the burning streams of Desire Leaving me naked, purged and bare . . . Yet embraced . . .

You take hold of my weakest places And kiss them with Your mercy Lifting up my low grounds
With your mighty love so holy . . .11

This pseudo spiritual erotic sensuality is rapidly infecting un- wary evangelical and Pentecostal churches, leading people astray from the true worship and awe of God, into an experienced based form of ecstasy that is more akin to the pagan religions that Chris- tianity once defeated. I predict that with this idolatry will come much immorality and even worse forms of darkness.

It should be obvious that this is neither the true righteousness, given as a gift to the worshipper of Jesus, nor is this the real Love of God, which is imparted to us that we be as Christ himself. How could they be? A Pseudo christ, disincarnate and spiritualized, can only impart to his gnostic worshippers a fake and spiritualized, ethereal love and righteousness.

 

 

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The Spirit Of AntiChrist Wants to Spiritualize Everything…I John pt 17

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.( I John 4:1-3)

Through a good many popular ministries on television, radio and the internet, the Spirit of AntiChrist is in the world today, teaching many unwary in the church and of course out of it, redefining the knowledge of God, seducing and deceiving if possible, even the very elect of God.

The denial of the deity of Christ, the validity of scripture, final judgment, heaven, hell, original sin have become routine now, for the very foundations of the Christ6ian revelation are under assault as the scripture predicted of the very last days.

The core of the teaching of Antichrist is revealed here in the writing of the apostle John; AntiChris would deny in some fashion, the ongoing incarnation of Messiah. The malevolent spirit of this Age would spiritualize Christ, either denying the original coming into this world of flesh the God man, or asserting that since the resurrection, Jesus Christ is no longer in a physical body.

The Roman Church does this by insisting that through the priestcraft, the wafer is turned into an incarnation, that Christ is offered over and over again as a sacrifice for our sins. The “once and for”” nature of atonement is denied, the mass is a continual re-presentation of Jesus dying for us.

Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Jesus was not God, and that he arose from the dead in spirit  and not physically.Other cults assert that Jesus is constantly “coming back” to his church not bodily, but in the form of “new anointings” through the ministries of restored “apostles and Prophets”.

There are many other ways the Incarnation is denied and Jesus is spiritualized. One of the heresies afflicting the early church was called “docetism”. Jesus was not really flesh and blood, but only ‘seemed’ to be. He didn’t really suffer on the cross, he only seemed to, for God who is Spirit cannot suffer.

Much of Islam is based upon the heresy of Docetism, because Mohammed was influenced by Docetic heretics. Jesus didn’t really suffer and die on the cross, he allowed Judas to go in his place, he stood afar off from the suffering and shame of the cross, and laughed at Judas as He hung there.

One variation of this was called “adoptionism”, which taught that Jesus was an ordinary human being, a pious worshipper of God, who was “Christed” at the age of 30, when the Holy Spirit descended upon him and he was adopted of God, at his baptism. This empowered him until he went to the cross, and the Holy Spirit lifted from Him, and he became an ordinary man again, and died.

Kenneth Copeland teaches something very similar to adoptionism, when He asserted that He could have died on the cross, if he had had the same amount of “revelation knowledge” that Jesus had. To Copeland and the other Gnostics such as Bill Johnson, Jesus’ miracles and power were a manner of “Revelation knowledge” which Jesus had acquired.

The Spirit of God spoke to me and He said, “Son, realize this. Now follow me in this and don’t let your tradition trip you up.” He said, “Think this way — a twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain.” And I threw my Bible down… like that. I said, “What?” He said, “A born-again man defeated Satan, the firstborn of many brethren defeated him.” He said, “You are the very image, the very copy of that one.” I said, “Goodness, gracious sakes alive!” And I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said, “Well now you don’t mean, you couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?” He said, “Oh yeah, if you’d had the knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you could have done the same thing, ’cause you’re a reborn man too.”

Kenneth Copeland (Substitution and Identification, 1989, tape #00-0202, side 2)

Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah.” It [Christ] is a title that points to an experience [Spirit resting upon Him after baptism in the Jordan]. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title [Christ]. He had to receive the anointing[“Christ anointing” resulting in Christ title] in an experience [Spirit resting upon Him] to accomplish what the Father desired.
The word anointing means “to smear.” The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism. The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit [after water baptism in the Jordan].(Bill Johnson,  Johnson, Heaven Invades, p 79.   Underscore added; other emphasis in original)

One of the marks of AntiChrist is the separation of “Christ” from “Jesus”.  “Christ” , which means ‘anointed’ is a possibility for anyone, according to the Gnostics.It is a spiritual condition.  Jesus was a believer who ‘became Christ’ at the age of thirty , according to the false doctrine of ‘adoptionism’, and he remained ‘anointed’ until he died on the cross. He,Jesus was the Christ for three years, but ceased being anointed when he died on the cross.

This is the false doctrine John was refuting, when he wrote;

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.(I John 5:5-6)

Jesus was already the Christ of God when he went into the waters at his baptism, and remained the Christ when he shed his blood on the cross, He never became the Christ nor did he ever cease being the Christ. Jesus is the only Christ of God, the seed of the woman and Savior of the world, from eternity to eternity!

It is not true that had any born again believer acquired the same ‘revelation knowledge ‘ as Jesus , He too would have been “Christed” and able to do the works of Jesus. It is in the name of Jesus Christ that “greater works ” are done in this world by believers.

Why does the AntiChrist want to “spiritualize ” Christ, and in some way deny that He came in the flesh? “Spiritualizing” Jesus Christ allows the Spirit of AntiChrist to make Jesus just another believer, and to elevate any spiritual experience at all in the minds of men, as being “Christ”.

Remember that all of the accounts of the resurrection are very Physical; Jesus ate with the apostles, and you couldn’t see the fish he ate through his esophagus, because he wasn’t “see through”, Jesus has come and remained in the flesh! Peter had to stoop to enter the tomb, if the stone over the face of the tomb had rolled overPeter’s foot it would have broken it, the cross would have left splinter had you rubbed your hands over it, and We have always confessed that Jesus was “Crucified under Pontius Pilate…”, there was a real governor and a calendar date when Jesus died for us! Jesus is real!

When Jesus comes back (very soon) we won’t need Rick Joyner to interpret it for us, for “Every eye will see Him…and they will look upon him whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son…”. Jesus Christ has come (and remains) in the flesh!

 

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The Love of The Truth…I John pt 16

For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ( 3 John 3-4)

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.( 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

We have been talking about the third sign of eternal life, which is belief in the Truth. Eternal Life, is a gift of God, it can’t be merited only received freely as the gift of Love.

But those who have received the gift of God’s life, manifest it sooner or later and to varying degrees in three major areas. Since God is light, those who have a share in his life have come and remain in the Light of God. They hate sin in their own lives, and resist it consistently.

Since God is love, those who have received a share in the Life of God, now love God and they love the brethren. In fact , eternal life leads them into the development of a life like Jesus, laying down their lives to love, serve and give of themselves as a way of life. “As he is so are we in this world….thus shall we assure our hearts before Him”.

Finally, because God is Truth, eternal life causes us to adhere to the Truth, resonate with it, remain in it, and to propagate it wherever possible.

By the term Truth, we refer not to the general abstract concept, but to a specific Divine revelation of the reality of the Spiritual world; of the person of God, the state of man, and most importantly, of who Christ is and what he has done for us. This is “the truth” that we are born of, and of which Jesus has come to reveal to us.

Those who have eternal life are said to be “of the Truth”. Jesus Christ calls himself “the truth”, and “the faithful witness” of “the only true God”. In his confession before Pilate, Jesus told him that Truth was the reason he came into this world,

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.(John 18:37)

But in the confessing church are those who seem to have no regard for truth in the sense we have been speaking of. These are the ones who ridicule “doctrine” as something which only divides the body of Christ, it is for the “spiritually dead” christians, who “argue over words and teachings, and are in “head knowledge” and not truly “in the spirit”.

There are many teachers who are widely accepted by evangelicals and Pentecostals, who teach that which amounts to a complete denial of the truth as revealed by Jesus and the Apostles.

It matters little, for example , to the followers of the late Kenneth Hagin that he repeatedly denigrated the Incarnation by declaring that “the believer is as much an incarnation as Jesus was”. When this is pointed out to the “WordFaith” followers of Hagin, if they respond at all it is usually with a statement about taking Hagin’s heretical quotes “out of context”.

Nor does it matter much to followers of the heretic Copeland, when his various false teachings are held up, word for word, in the light of the Word of God. Copeland denied Jesus’ deity, and proclaimed that any “born again believer with the revelation knowledge Jesus had could have died on the cross and defeated Satan”.

The Spirit of God spoke to me and He said, ‘Son, realize this. Now follow me in this and don’t let your
tradition trip you up.’ He said, ‘Think this way – a twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain.’ And
I threw my Bible down like that. I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘A born-again man defeated Satan, the firstborn
of many brethren defeated him.’ He said, ‘You are the very image, the very copy of that one.’ I said,
‘Goodness, gracious sakes alive!’ And I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said; ‘Well now you
don’t mean, you couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?’ He said, ‘Oh yeah, if you’d
had the knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you could have done the same thing, ’cause you’re a
reborn man too.’” ( Kenneth Copeland ” Substitution and Identification”, tape 00-0202, side 2)
Why do these conversations with the followers of Copeland and Hagin seem to always end the same way ? Why are these people more offended by criticism of their teachers, than by the manifest distortions of the Word of God done by these teachers? The simple answer seems to be that people have more loyalty to their group or false teachers, than they are to the Word of God. They don’t seem to have the love of the Truth.
I could spend the rest of this report and many others expounding upon the routine denial of the Truth, in the church, and the widespread acceptance of the heretics and false prophets who do so with impunity! Hell is being denied these days, so is original sin, Jesus is being redefined in a thousand different ways, the way of salvation is being contradicted as is the wrath of God, and the doctrine of substitution. The Koran is being read respectfully in many churches, homosexuals are being “affirmed” also!
How could this be possible ? Behold the fruit of fifty years of denigrating doctrine, denying truth, “innovative” preaching, man centered “techniques” of evangelism, and of accommodation to the world spirit, “the zeitgeist”(the spirit of this age) in the name of relevance, and out of a desire to escape the reproach of Christ, who is “the Truth”.
“After all we wouldn’t want to be percieved as being hung up on dusty doctrine now would we?” But what is doctrine? It is the body of Truth, the revelation from heaven, the only reliable guide to the eternal and spiritual world.
Belief and unbelief are not merely intellectual excercises, they are spiritual and moral acts as well. That is why it is a sin to believe “the Lie”, or to embrace any lie. Those who believe in the Kenneth Copelands, and Benny Hinns, betray about themselves a perverse inward affinity for the lies that these charlatons put out. False teachers can only appeal to false motives.

There are a good many who have left the heretics, but are yet unfree because they never really repented of following them. They should have sorrowfully asked themselves what was it in me that resonated with such false teaching? Why would someone want to subscribe to the exaltation of the believer at the expense of the denigration of Jesus? Why would they want to believe that they are “little gods” able to speak reality with their mouths and to shape their own worlds? There must have been an inward affinity for the Lie.
The same is true of the Truth. Jesus said “All who are “of the truth” will hear my voice”…are you ‘of the Truth’?

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Belief In Truth As a Sign Of Eternal Life…I John pt 15

I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by me.(John 14:6)

We have been studying the threefold sign of eternal life, as taught by the Apostle John in His First Epistle. We have stressed that Eternal Life is a gift of God, it cannot be merited, it can only received freely by faith.

But how does one know whether or not he has received the gift of eternal Life?

After all, in our day as well as in John’s there were many teachers, and prophets who were redefining the knowledge of God, and claiming a new, secret, unique and mystical relationship with God, that was much more experiential and elaborate than the salvation taught by the Apostles.

By their “spiritual warfare”, prophecies, “Words” and supposed “Anointing” the new prophets had so confused and beguiled the believers, that some departed from orthodox christianity, seeking the “new and improved” version of the “Knowing ones”,ie the gnostics.

Confusion and demoralization reigned among the remnant believers as to what is the true spirituality, who should they be listening to, and how does one know that they have known God?

The Apostle John’s task was not to bring something new, but to restore their original faith, and to contrast the true knowledge of God as opposed to the false. He does it by re-iterating three simple theological propositions;

* God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all…(I John 1:5)

* God is Love…(I John 4:8)

* Jesus Christ has come (and remains) in the flesh…( I John 4:2)

Out of these John extracts three simple tests of those who claim to have the Life of God. A test of Righteousness, a test of Love, and a test of belief in truth. Eternal Life being the cause of all three of these in a person’s life.

Eternal Life is a cause and not an effect. In other words, I am not turning from sin so that I can obtain eternal life…it is because I have obtained the gift of eternal life, that I now hate sin. Eternal life in me hates sin and won’t allow me to abide in it!

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.( I John 3:9)

Furthermore it is because I have received eternal life that I now love the brothers, not the other way around! God’s gift of eternal life causes me to love, forbear, forgive, and seek to build up my christian brothers.

“Everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God,He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is Love”.( I John 4:8)

In the same way, eternal life causes me to believe the doctrine of Christ, and to continue in that belief. I have been led astray before, but eternal life didn’t allow me to remain in the doctrines of Kenneth Copeland, because they contradicted the doctrine of Christ.

The Life of Jesus in me led me to see through the teaching that we are all just “little gods” and that “any believer is as much an incarnation as Jesus was”. Adherence to the Truth is a major sign of eternal life.

What does the Bible mean by the constant expression, “the Truth”? We are told that “the Truth” will make us free, and that many will be damned because “they received not the love of the Truth”. Jesus said of himself “I am the Truth…” . What does the expression, “The Truth” actually mean?

“The Truth” is not meant to be understood generally, as in all reality, the reality of Geometry, algebra, history, etc. Nor is it a reference to “veracity”, truth telling.The biblical sense is that The Truth is not naturally obtained but can only come by revelation.

We often hear the misguided cliche “All truth is God’s truth”, which misses the point of the biblical expression entirely, because it assumes that there is truth everywhere available, even in false religions. Yes all men indeed do have general truth, a kind of natural revelation, but “The Truth” is something other than that.

When the apostles and Jesus speak of “The truth” they refer to the only reliable disclosure of the spiritual and eternal world. It involves The true nature of God, how God sees man, the plight of mankind, the plan of Salvation, eternity, and primarily, Jesus, who he is why and how he came (incarnation),and what lies ahead for humanity and for the world.

Jesus is the truth, in the sense that He is the ultimate revelation of God, and of the true nature of God. His evaluation of mankind is the eternal evaluation, He is the plan and working of God’s salvation, the future of everything is in His hands. Everything he says is the Truth.

Those genuinely born again are said to be “of the Truth”. That is, eternal life has given them an inward affinity to truth, they resonate with it, feed on it and crave it. They cannot follow the antichrists, because they don’t resonate with anti-christianity. They have to follow the Truth wherever it is proclaimed and lived out.

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.( John 18:37)

Those who aren’t born again constantly oppose or resist the truth. They must of necessity, it is deeper than intellectual it is moral and spiritual. There has to be a Ken Copeland and a Benny Hinn, because there is such a large constituency for them, there are so many who crave what they offer, that if there weren’t a Hinn, Dollar or Copeland, someone would have to invent one!

The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5:31)

The reason some people will always go from the “Prayer of Jabez” to the “Purpose Driven Life” to “Good Morning Holy Spirit” to the false prophecies of a Rick Joyner , to Paul and Jan Crouch, to whatever other form of twisted and distorted christianity emerges, could be because they are Just “Not of the Truth”.

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Syria’s Agonizing Future Foretold…Isaiah 17

The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.(Isaiah 17:2)

To get an idea of just how apocalyptic our times actually are, consider recent events of heartbreaking and shattering significance , in the Middle East , just since the 2011 Arab Sring , which I wrote about in my book A Sword On The Land: The Muslim World in Bible Prophecy ,

Egypt went from being a relatively stable nation run by Hosni Mubarek, an ally in the war on terror and a hard headed realist, then descended into a time of bloody unrest and even civil war, due to Washington DC’s insertion of the once banned Muslim Brotherhood into Egypt’s politics. It took a coup to take the country out of the grip of the brutal Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi , but the country remains in tension.

Libya was also a stable Arab country, which offered her citizens amazing benefits for all of her citizens; full health care, full education, a monthly share of the nations oil revenues, and government help in housing, and basic needs. Libya was Africa’s richest and perhaps most stable Muslim country.

Though he admittedly had participated in terrorism in the past against the West, Gaddaffi co-operated in the war on terror also, and voluntarily relinquished his nation’s nuclear stockpile when the Gulf war 2 began in 2003.

But all of that ended when the Obama administration and the European Union decided Gaddaffi had to go.  The nation’s leader  was paraded through the streets and tortured on live television by a baying Muslim mob, then slaughtered. Libya has descended into a hellish chaos of warring factions, terrorism, corruption, rape, murder and violence to this day.

The hasty withdrawal of the US military from the hard won Iraq theater of war, virtually turned that nation and parts of Syria also into a hell scenario as well, leaving a vacuum which is being contested by factions such as the Kurds, the Shiites of Iran and Iraq, and ISIS, the Sunni militia which seized an area the size of the state of Indiana,and declared the resurrection of the Caliphate, the Sunni central authority which had been disbanded in 1922. This has released a reign of terror, Sharia imposition, sexual slave markets, Christian and Yazidi persecution, the resumption of beheading and crucifixion as punishments throughout the area.

Iraq had been the home of (recently 2,000,000) Chaldean Christians for 2000 years, going back to the days of the Apostles! Their number now, after US and western intervention and hasty withdrawal? Less than 200,000 remain. This is nothing less than genocide.

Then the West turned their attention to Syria, a nation of 22 million people, (almost ten million of which have gone into exile). Do we realize the magnitude of the suffering?  Half of a modern nation’s population has had to leave their homeland? ill ions flowed into Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and now up into Europe and America. (None into the Sunni oil producing nations such as Saudi Arabia).

The double proxy war between Russia and the United States, and between the Sunni and Shiite world of Islam is so savage, whole cities have been deserted and ten million people have been displaced. Almost a million have been killed, and countless others have been maimed or wounded.

These are just four countries, I could go on and on! Egypt, the largest Arab nation in the world, Libya, Iraq, and Syria,   decimated! Dissected and bombed and crushed, with millions streaming throughout the world, uprooted, homeless and battle hardened in many cases.

We often are so overwhelmed by one apocalyptic scenario crowding out the previous and the previous one before that, we are almost benumbed.

But all of this was foretold by the Prophets of the Bible, and what we are seeing is a portent of even more astonishing and nightmarish scenarios.

 

Damascus shall be a heap of rubble, it shall no more be a city…

Damascus is known as the oldest continuously occupied city in the world. The prophets Elijah and Elisha went there to minister to Assyrian Kings. The blinded Saul of Tarsus was led by the hand to a home on Damascus’s Straight street, where he found his Christ, and recovered his sight. That very street still exists in Damascus.

This Ancient city has a rich history spanning thousands of years, encompassing influxes of Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans, Crusaders, Byzantines, and Muslims. The population of Damascus currently is about 85 percent Muslim, 10 percent Christian, and 5 percent other.

But according to scripture, the city is doomed to utter destruction in the last days, as are several other Arab cities.

Presently Damascus is the capital of Syria, which is ruled by Bashir Assad, a secular Arab leader, but also an implacable enemy of Israel. Assad’s Ba’athist ruling party is a relic of the Pan Arabist, fascist, secular experiments of the 1960′s and 70′s. The other notable Ba’athist government was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which has since been dismantled.

Assad is an Alawite Muslim, but his rule has been secular. Assad’s Syria has been a harshly ruled police state, with the Alawite minority ruling over the Sunni majority, breeding much resentment .

Bashir’s allies are the Iranian shiite regime and the Russians, as well as the Shiite south of Lebanon(Hezbullah) and the Shiites of Yemen and southern Arabia.

He is opposed by the Sunnis of Syria,Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and their patron the United States,and the EU.

The Syrian regime has waged a decades long war against the Muslim brotherhood, at one time even cordoning off large sections of Hama(Syria’s fourth largest city, and a long time Muslim Brotherhood stronghold), and carpet bombing entire sectors where Brotherhood sympathizers lived.killing 20,000. Bulldozers leveled the rubble of what were once teeming neighborhoods.

Israel sees Bashir, the Russians and the Iranians as the more dangerous coalition, although they have recently been menaced by ISIS, which is a Sunni expression of terror.

Israel has recently sent air sorties up to Damascus and bombed Syrian stores of weapons  of mass destruction, just outside of Damascus.

A dreadful thing which has not ever happened in history is about to occur, Damascus will cease from being a city, no longer will it be a seat of Government, a heap of rubble is it’s future.

Jeremiah implies that shortly before her destruction, Damascus will be surprised that Jerusalem is not “deserted” as she expected, this causes Damascus to lose heart herself.

Damascus has grown feeble; 
She turns to flee, 
And fear has seized her.
Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor. 
Why is the city of praise not deserted, the city of My joy? 
Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, 
And all the men of war shall be cut off in that day,” says the LORD of hosts. 
“ I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, 
And it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad.”( Jeremiah 49:24-27)

Whatever the provocation, the destruction of Damascus will reflect badly upon Israel in the court of world opinion. The world will turn on Israel, blaming her for what happens to Damascus. What little favor Israel had enjoyed up till then will shrivel up, it will resemble the last few olives left after the shaking of the olive tree by the reapers.

“ In that day it shall come to pass 
That the glory of Jacob will wane, 
And the fatness of his flesh grow lean. 
It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain, 
And reaps the heads with his arm; 
It shall be as he who gathers heads of grain 
In the Valley of Rephaim. 
Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it, 
Like the shaking of an olive tree, 
Two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough, 
Four or five in its most fruitful branches,” 
Says the LORD God of Israel.(Isaiah 17:4-6)

Damascus shall be obliterated in the context of a wider war, which will be destructive of other Arab cities as well, such as the area we call Gaza, which is a terrorist state designated as part of the U.N.imposed “two state solution”, but which God calls, “the nation not desired”…

Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together,
O undesirable nation, 
Before the decree is issued, 
Or the day passes like chaff, 
Before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, 
Before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you! (Zechariah 2:1-2)

For Gaza shall be forsaken, 
And Ashkelon desolate; 
They shall drive out Ashdod at noonday, 
And Ekron shall be uprooted. 
Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, 
The nation of the Cherethites! 
The word of the LORD is against you, 
O Canaan, land of the Philistines: (Zephaniah 2:4-5)

The one positive aspect of these terrible times, is that even the hardest of men will begin to seek the living God,

In that day a man will look to his Maker,
And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 17:7)

Zechariah echoes Isaiah,

The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.(Zechariah 9:1)

The international outcry that will be raised against Israel will be unprecedented. The nations line up to register complaint in the U.N., newspaper headlines will scream, pundits will wax eloquent with moral indignation, religious leaders will pontificate against Israel, her former lovers will leave her, and it will be extremely unfashionable to stand with God’s chosen people in that day.

Woe to the multitude of many people 
Who make a noise like the roar of the seas, 
And to the rushing of nations 
That make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! 
13 The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; …(Isaiah 17:11-12)

But the outcry will merely be the prelude to the outpouring of Divine wrath upon all nations . Tribulation such as never occurred upon the earth, the wind and the sea raging, and men’s hearts failing them for fear…

But God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, 
And be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, 
Like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.(Isaiah 17: 13-14)

But it is as in the evening, which seems always darkest before dawn, such is the tribulation and time of Jacob’s trouble, as Isaiah says,

Then behold, at eventide, trouble! 
And before the morning, he is no more. 
This is the portion of those who plunder us, 
And the lot of those who rob us.(Isaiah 17:14)

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Christ Or Cain…I John pt 14

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.( I John 3:11-15)

Love is the fruit of eternal life. The Love of God, for God and man is born in the heart of the believer. The presence of indwelling love for the brethren is one of the three signs of eternal life, it is how we “know that we have passed from death to life”.

There are only two types of people, God lovers or God haters. This is the teaching of the Bible all the way through, to the end. This concept is found in the Ten Commandments, notably in the second commandment of God,

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.(Exodus 20)

There is no third category of humanity, there are and can only be either God haters, or God lovers. Neutrality is impossible, for indifference to God is the acme of ungodliness, it is pride and hatred according to the Word of God.

In his teaching on the tests of eternal Life, concerning the second test, which is the evidence of love, John echoes this teaching. To the Lord’s apostle there are only two paradigms for all of humanity ; Christ or Cain.

Love one another, is what we have been hearing from the start, ie the onset of our Christian walk. Love pervades the gospels, the epistles, the story of Jesus, indeed, in the whole concept of God seeing us in our sin and misery and sending his Son to suffer in our place as a substitute, Love permeates Christian spirituality.

Yes Love is commanded, but even if not it is so implied that since we have been so loved, in such an unworthy state, how could we not gratefully Love one another? The paradigm for those who have truly received the gift of Life is Jesus, whose love for God and for us was acted out in the Incarnation, and on the cross in the giving up of his own life, and in our subsequent adoption into His family.

But John suggests a second paradigm, one which he warns us not to emulate, for it is the sure sign of spiritual death and darkness, that is Cain. We are told that Cain was “of the wicked One”, that is, he lived out his life at the disposal of and in the character of the Devil.

Cain “slew His brother”. The word “slew” here has a religious and sacramental significance. In other words there is a sense in which Cain offered up his brother as a sacrifice, just as Abel offered up a lamb as a sacrifice. Abel “slew a Lamb”, Cain “slew His brother”.

The whole story of Cain and Abel centers around sacrifice, remember? Both brothers worshipped, both acknowledged God, and both “drew near” with gifts. But God openly accepted Abel’s offering, and openly rejected Cain’s. What was the difference between these two offerings and why was one accepted and the other rejected?

Offerings to God are theological statements. When Abel came before the God appointed altar, with the broken body of a bleeding lamb of the flock in his hands, he was making a statement, “Dear Creator, I have sinned against you and deserve to die for it, under your judgment. But you have appointed a substitute to die in my place and this lamb is a token of that substitute, receive me in the name of the substitute you have appointed”.

This is the theology of the first martyr, substitutionary death, the presupposition of sin and wrath, the necessity for a sacrifice for sin, the humble dependence on the God appointed sacrifice for forgiveness and acceptance, and the patient endurance of persecution for the truth.

But what was the theology of the first murderer? Cain was willing to acknowledge God as his Creator, thus he offered the fruit of the ground which God had blessed, but refused the bloody substitute offering, and rejected the presuppositions that underly it, ie, wrath of God, guilt, death as a penalty for sin, and judgment for sin, satisfied only in the God appointed sacrifice. Unlike Abel, he saw no need for Redemption.

But notice that though perhaps he felt he was above slaying a lamb to offer to God, he didn’t hesitate to slay his brother. In other words, sacrifice is inevitable, someone is going to have to pay for sin, someone is going to be offered up on an altar to a god, if not the true sacrifice to the only true God.

Cain offered Abel up to his own rage, on the altar of his hurt feelings, envy, and rebellion. Thus Cain”slew” his brother. He wouldn’t kill a lamb but he killed his brother. He wouldn’t offer to God but he offered to himself! For humanity sacrifice is going to be offered no matter what!

Why did he slay his brother? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s were righteous…

Cain actually hated his brother for doing rightly, for coming to God in the God appointed way! It was because his brother’s righteousness showed up his own faux righteousness that Cain Killed Abel. He “slew” him for being good, and because He was a sinner!

It was because we are sinners, and Jesus is good, (sinless) that Jesus was slain and offered to God for us.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.(Isaiah 53:9-10)

I sat on a plane next to a Lebanese Muslim, a very nice man named Michael. ( He explained to me that often Muslims take “christian” names when immigrating to “fit in”. His real name was Muhammad!). Michael and I began discussing theology, but when I explained to him that Jesus died for us on the cross, he slammed his hand on the little table and proudly declared “We Muslims need no sacrifice!”.

I cautiously replied, “What do you call 9-11 if not a sacrifice to Allah (the god?)” Why are all of these terror acts being perpetrated by people named Ahmed, Mohammed, and Mehmet? Cain is still “slaying” people.

All people worship someone or something, and of course all worship requires sacrifice, there is no question of it, it is inevitable, the only question is, will it be the God appointed sacrifice, or the humanistic , self-serving sacrifice? Humanity is incurably religious in spite of the best efforts of atheists.

Humanists in our nation have disavowed God, the Bible, worship, prayer, and spirituality. They believe the message of the cross is degrading to man’s dignity, with its underlying presupposition of the wrath of God, Divine justice, and the sacrifice of Jesus as a substitute. How degrading to man! Man has “evolved past such primitive and barbaric religion!

But these same secularists have just passed the milestone of the 50 millionth “legal” abortion in the United States alone! Abortion is definitely a sacrifice to a false god.

There are only two paradigms for humanity, Christ, who offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins, to avert the wrath of a Just and Holy God against sin and sinners. He laid down his Life for us! He poured out his life as an offering! He took nothing from us , rather he gave us his life.

Or Cain, who is above and beyond all of that , too “humane” to kill a lamb, too proud to concede guilt and the danger of wrath. Cain wouldn’t own God as anything more than Creator, he needed no redeemer substitute.

But someone had to pay, therefore Cain “slew His brother”, he offered his brother’s life as an offering to his own rage, jealousy, and insecurity.In little and big ways the world is full of Cains, making others pay by killing them.

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Eternal Life Evidenced By Love…pt 13

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.( I John 3:14)

We have been discussing the theme of First John , which is the threefold test of eternal life, based on three simple theological propositions.

Firstly, because God is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all, those who share in the gift of the life of God, hate evil and sin. Eternal Life is opposed to all that is false and evil, unceasingly exposing and repudiating it . Those who have eternal life confess their sins to God, they neither deny them or seek to hide them, rather they live in the light of God.

Secondly, because God is Love, those who have a share in the life of God , love the people of God. Eternal life causes us to love one another. Beloved, let us love one another, for everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that loves not, knows not God for God is Love.(I John 4:7-8) The one who consistently hates his brother, lacks evidence of eternal life.

Finally, in the proposition Jesus Christ has come (and remains) in the flesh, we are given the doctrine of Christ, the revealed teaching of who Jesus is and what he came to do. Eternal life gives us an inward affinity to the truth. Why do we believe in the Incarnation of Jesus? Because we have received eternal life! The third test is a test of adherence to revealed truth, to doctrine.

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (I John 2:9-11)

To God there are only two kinds of people, those who Love God supremely and everyone else equally, or those who hate God and as a consequence hate their fellows. There is only love or hate for God , but there can be no neutrality. As the Law of God states in the ten commandments,

…for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.(Exodus 20:5-6)

So it is with our fellow-man, in the I John passage above. One either loves his brother, or hates him. One is either in the light of God, or remaining in darkness. The evidence for either is in Love or the absence thereof.

Any confessing Christian who can with impunity hate his brother, is fooling himself, he is certainly not in the Light of God, but remains in darkness. This means that regardless of what he thinks of himself, he is still estranged from true communion with God, unable to comprehend what God is saying and even set in opposition to God.

He doesn’t know what causes him to stumble , for hatred blinds his spiritual eyes to the true cause of his constant fall. Hatred has within it the seed of its own destruction, for bitterness, malice, envy, emulation and unforgiveness which is not repented of actually darkens and skews perception.

It is in knowing and believing the love God has to us, and responding in Love to God that clarity comes to us. Loving God as a response to His saving love, is the only deliverance sufficient to rescue us from Self Love, which is the ultimate cause of the loss of reality in our own lives.

In the gospel we can see that our deepest problems have consisted not merely in our various environments, nor of the multiple wrongs and injustices we have suffered from others. Rather it has been our own sinful alienation from God which has caused our deepest and truest sorrows.

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.(I John 2:7-8)

The commandment to Love one another is not new, it is basic to humanity. We all know we should do it. It is the summation of the Law of God, Love God supremely and all else equally, If we would merely do that, we would never sin!

But we are told by the Lord’s apostle, that “The true light now shineth” upon the oldest commandment,(To Love one another), for in Jesus love has been fully demonstrated for all to see. To see Jesus is to behold love as it is meant to be. Jesus himself is “eternal life”, for the gift of God is a share in Jesus life.

As a man, Jesus has put God above all else, even his own life! This man who “knew no sin” was willing to be “made sin” as an offering for us that we might be reconciled to God! This man never broke faith with God, He is the embodiment of the commandment for man to Love God with all of his being!

In Jesus we are given the model, those who have eternal life, want to follow Jesus’ example, they now want to Love God, and to lay down their lives in large and small ways, as Jesus has done for us. Those who can hate, and nourish malice, envy and spite without spiritual anguish and conviction, are only demonstrating that they don’t truly have eternal life.

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