Marcusmaxis’s Blog

June 8, 2014

Paul Least In The Kingdom?

Paul – Least in the Kingdom?

Paul Apostle to the Gentiles Least in the Kingdom? Clint at Awakened Church Introduction: Biblical Inerrancy and the New Testament

Almost all Christian denominations teach biblical inerrancy: all Scripture is without error and true. I have no issue with this concept at all; in fact, I wholeheartedly agree with it. However, I take exception with the modern Church’s implementation of this concept as it is applied to the New Testament. Before you label me a heretic, please hear me out. We all approach the New Testament from the standpoint that it was written to you, or me, or a group of which we have been a part, or that church down the street. And because it was written to me, I instinctively understand all of the concepts and issues that are being discussed. I was even urged to substitute my name in certain passages to make it “real to me.” Consciously or unconsciously we have all been lazy in our study and reading of Scripture. We never take the time to learn about the cultural practices, mindset, religious practices, language and historical background of the biblical time period. In the past when I read seemingly contradictory passages, I would simply shrug and wonder what it meant, or just call it a “mystery,” but I can no longer ignore these types of passages. The following passages are some of the Scriptures with which I am currently wrestling. Paul stated that the law is “done away with” and he appears to promote a “no-law” doctrine.

  • Rom_10:4 KJV For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Jesus appears to promote the opposite “pro-law” doctrine:

  • Mat_5:19 KJV Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

On the other hand, Paul says:

  • 1Co_11:1 ESV Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

In this paper I will attempt to present evidence and evaluate the Scripture adherence to either the “no-law” doctrine or the “pro-law” doctrine. Is it possible for us to reconcile these two opposite passages and still align with biblical inerrancy?

Paul Apostle to the Gentiles Least in the Kingdom?

Mat_5:18-19 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Part One – Jesus’ Relationships

In order to get a sense of the true ministry of Paul, we must first examine the focus of Paul’s ministry: Jesus. We will start by examining the relationships of Jesus. Jesus’ Relationship to the Father:

  • Joh_5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
  • Joh_7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
  • Joh_14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
  • Joh_12:49-50 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. (50) And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
  • Joh_10:37-38 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. (38) But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Jesus’ Relationship to the Religious Leaders of the Day:

  • Joh_7:19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
  • Luk_11:46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.
  • Luk_11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
  • Mat_23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Read all of Mat_23:1-39 and Mark 7 to understand the Savior’s disdain for the hypocritical leaders, the Pharisees.
  • Joh_3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
  • Mat_22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Jesus’ Relationship to the Laws of God, given to Moses, the Writings and the Prophets:

  • Joh_10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
  • Joh_17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
  • Mat_5:17-19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (18) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
  • Joh_14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • Joh_15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
  • Mat_19:1 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
  • Mar_12:29-31 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: (30) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (31) And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

From these words of our Savior, I am forced to come to these conclusions:

1. Relationship to the Father

a. Jesus is not teaching his own doctrine, he is only teaching what the Father has allowed him to speak. b. The words of Jesus are magnifications of the Father’s laws –all of them, not just the famous Ten Commandments.

i. In fact, the commandment Jesus named as the “greatest commandment” is a direct quotation from Deu_6:4-5. Even today, this passage is known as the Shema, the watchword of the Jewish faith. It is the first thing the observant Jew recites when he wakes, the last thing he says when he goes to bed, and is even the last thing on his lips before death. There are accounts of the Nazis hearing desperate cries of the Shema from the gas chambers before the deadly silence during the Holocaust.

c. Jesus is not teaching something new, he is reiterating God’s laws that are eternally true.

2. Relationship to the Religious Leaders of the Day:

a. The lawyers, Pharisees, masters, and scribes may have had head knowledge of the laws of God, but not heart knowledge. b.They were not teaching the laws of God, they were teaching something else.

i.The added laws of man (covered in Part Seven).

3.Jesus’ Relationship to the Laws of God, given to Moses, the Writings and the Prophets:

a.The Scripture cannot be broken.

i. Heaven and earth are still here, therefore, so is the law.

b. Keeping the commandments is the way that our love of Jesus and the Father is manifested. c. Keeping the commandments is how we “abide” in Jesus’ love.

i. According to Webster’s, the word “abide” means, “to remain stable or fixed in a state.”

d. According to Mat_5:19, keeping and teaching the commandments has a direct correlation to rewards within the Kingdom of Heaven.

i. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: ii. but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

e. Teachers are NOT to teach against the commandments (the entire law, not just the Ten Commandments).

i. How can the law of the Father be “done away with” if Jesus’ doctrine is not his, but the Fathers, and the Father doesn’t change? ii. Nowhere in Scripture was it prophesied that the instructions of God, the law, would be nullified.

1. They are prophesied to continue forever.

a. Psa_111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.

Examining Jesus’ relationships portrays him in a very different light than is commonly taught, but consider the following: 1. God’s Word is true – Joh_17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 2. God never changes – Mal_3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 3. God’s Word cannot contradict itself – 1Co_14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

 

Part Two – The Testimonies of Stephen, James and the Elders

In Part One we saw how the words of Jesus are in stark opposition to the doctrine that “the law is not for modern believers.” Do New Testament accounts of the apostles’ actions support that Jesus taught them a “pro-law” doctrine? Or do their actions support a “no-law” doctrine?

Act_6:9-14 (Emphasis Mine) Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. (10) And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. (11) Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. (12) And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, (13) And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: (14) For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

Stephen was falsely accused of speaking against the temple and the law. What was his blasphemy against the law? Jesus would change the customs of Moses! This was the false accusation! Jesus never changed the customs of Moses! Or did the writer of Acts lie?

Act_21:18-26 (Emphasis Mine) And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. (19) And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. (20) And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: (21) And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. (22) What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. (23) Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; (24) Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. (25) As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. (26) Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

There are several points in this passage that strengthen the argument that Jesus’ doctrine is “pro-law.” The Jews who were zealous for the law had been told that Paul was teaching the dispersed Jews to forsake the law of Moses, not to circumcise the children and to go away from the customs of Moses. The latter half of verse 24 tells us that the information was false (nothing). It is plainly stated that Paul walked orderly and kept the law. But there is something of even greater significance going on in this passage, and that is what James and the elders told Paul to do. There were four men who were under a vow, and Paul was to purify himself with them, and pay for the expenses associated with the completion of the vow. It is recorded that Paul began his vow while in Cenchrea:

Act_18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

There is only one vow that appears in the law that involves shaving the head, days of separation, the temple, offerings and expenses: the Nazarite vow. Because we are not familiar with the law, New Testament believers don’t fully understand the significance of what Paul was told to do. Let’s look at the laws concerning the completion of the Nazarite vow given in Numbers:

Num_6:13-21 And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: (14) And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings, (15) And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings. (16) And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering: (17) And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering. (18) And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings. (19) And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven: (20) And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine. (21) This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.

The Nazarite vow has very specific laws, practices, offerings and burnt sacrifices that are commanded to be followed. When a person chooses to take the Nazarite vow, they are choosing to separate themselves unto the LORD. In order for all of the hair of their separation to be able to be sanctified to the LORD, participants are to start the vow with a shaved head, hence, the reference to Paul shaving his head in Cenchrea.

1. James and the elders knew that there was no other set of practices that could confirm and uphold Paul’s adherence to the law more dramatically than the completion of the Nazarite vow at the door of the temple in front of all the zealous believers. 2. In addition, the elders told Paul to “be at charges with them.”

a. In order for the vow to be completed, the lamb, ewe, ram, unleavened bread and wine had to be purchased and made ready.

i. The animals would have been prized, not any old animal from the herd.

1. The cost in today dollars could easily have been $1,000 – $2,000 per person. 2. Paul would have paid $5,000 – $10,000 for himself and the four others. 3. This is an act that would not have been easy to keep quiet.

b. Some translations make this statement to be “pay to have their heads shaved.”

i. This is ridiculous; the person under the vow is to shave their own head at the door of the temple. ii. A better reading would be: “pay their expenses so that they may complete the vow.”

1. History records that it was a common practice for the wealthy to pay for the sacrificial animals of the poor.

a. It is recorded in the rabbinic writings that King Agrippa and his brother paid for the sacrificial animals of 300 poor men who were under the Nazarite vow, totaling 900 animals!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The accounts of real events solidify the assertion that Jesus’ doctrine is “pro-law.” The account in Acts 21 either delivers a devastating blow to the claim that Jesus “did away” with the law and ALL burnt sacrifices, or Stephen, Paul, James and the elders were deceivers and liars! If you are to be intellectually honest, you must explore the possibility that the teachings of Jesus and the testimonies from Stephen, James and the elders bring the “no-law” doctrine into serious question!

Part Three – The Testimonies of Paul, John, King David, King Solomon, Isaiah and other Prophets Paul gives record concerning his personal adherence to the law:

Act_25:7-8 And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. (8 ) While he answered for himself, neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended anything at all. These “grievous complaints” were false. Rom_6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Grace, which came through the Savior, is not a license to sin.

John gives record of the law and the commandments:

1Jn_2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 1Jn_3:4-6 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (5) And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. (6) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 1Jn_3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 1Jn_5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. (3) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous 2Jn_1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. Can these passages be interpreted any other way than “they mean what they say”? To interpret them differently goes against many, many, many New and Old Testament Scriptures. Rev_12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev_14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

The dragon was angry with those who kept the commandments, so those that didn’t keep the commandments were of no concern to the dragon, or worse. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Psalms of David, the man after God’s own heart:

Psa_19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. Psa_111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. Psa_119:44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. Psa_119:47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. Psa_119:48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes. Psa_119:53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law. Psa_119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psa_119:97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Psa_119:126 It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law. Psa_119:136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law. Psa_119:142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. Psa_119:151 Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth. Psa_119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. Psa_119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. The words of Solomon, the wisest man to ever live: Pro_28:4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Pro_28:7 Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father. Pro_28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. The words of Isaiah: Isa_24:5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. From the writer of Chronicles, possibly Ezra: 1Ch_16:15-17 Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; (16) Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; (17) And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,

From the writer of Kings, possibly Jeremiah:

2Ki_17:37 And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods. 2Ki_17:38 And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods.

1. All of these passages align EXACTLY with the teachings of Jesus, and the testimonies of Paul, Stephen, James and the elders!

a. Consistency in message:

i. God’s Word is true – Joh_17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. ii. God never changes – Mal_3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. iii. God’s Word cannot contradict itself – 1Co_14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

2. In order for the “no-law” doctrine to stand, the teachings and testimonies of these great men MUST be overlooked, ignored or twisted.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Can we continue to trivialize the words of these great men that were inspired by God Almighty? Can we continue to discount the words of his Son? Can we continue to ignore the words of the Father, given through Moses? Part Four – God’s Criteria for the Messiah and Prophets Deuteronomy chapters 13 and 18 are the criteria given by God to Moses concerning every prophet and the prophesied Messiah.

Deu_13:1-5 (Emphasis Mine) If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, (2) And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; (3) Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (4) Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. (5) And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. Deu_18:17-22 (Emphasis Mine) And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. (18) I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. (19) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (20) But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. (21) And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? (22) When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

1. The teachings of Jesus from Part One align EXACTLY with these criteria!

a. This is exactly what we would expect.

i. Because God never changes and ii. God’s Word is true and iii. He doesn’t contradict himself

2. The testimonies of Stephen, James and the elders align EXACTLY with these criteria!

a. Exactly what we would expect!

3. The New Testament passages about Paul and the Nazarite vow align EXACTLY with Numbers 6!

Act_7:37-38 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. (38) This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: 1. Stephen also confirms the exact alignment of the teachings and life of Jesus with Deuteronomy 18.

a. As a side note, this passage also talks of the Church in the wilderness at Mt. Sina/Sinai, 1,500 years before the Acts 2 account of Pentecost.

i. Was Stephen lying or perhaps mistaken?

Deuteronomy 13 and 18 was the driving force that sparked the Bereans search of the Scriptures.

Act_17:10-12 (Emphasis Mine) And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. (11) These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (12) Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

1. The Bereans confirm the exact alignment with Deuteronomy!

a. They also confirm the alignment with ALL Scriptures concerning the Messiah! b. If they had discovered that Paul and Silas were teaching about a Messiah that did away with the law, or even slightly changed one point, the Bereans would have had scriptural justification to kill them!

2. The Bereans only used the Old Testament for their study of Scripture!

a. The New Testament was not written yet! b. The New Testament was not written yet!

i. They were LIVING out the New Testament, not studying it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ How can these passages be reconciled to doctrines that “do away” with the law, especially in light of the Bereans searching only the Old Testament? Remember, the New Testament wasn’t even written yet! Is God’s Word true? Does God change? Can God’s Word contradict itself? Part Five – The Testimony of Peter Peter, the apostle, addresses the writings of Paul: 2Pe_3:15-16 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; (16) As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. I have some questions; here are a few:

1. What was the culture of first century Jerusalem like? 2. Were idioms used in the first century culture? 3. What was/were the predominant language(s)? Was Greek really the predominant language? 4. What was the role of the temple in everyday life? 5. What were the methods of teaching used in the synagogue? 6. Was there a difference in how the Hebrews thought vs. the Greeks? 7. What was a Hellenized Jew? 8. What was the relationship between the Pharisees and the Sadducees? 9. What was the role of the scribes? 10. Why didn’t the scribes teach with authority? How did the scribes teach? 11. How did the rabbis, Pharisees and Sadducees come about, because they are never mentioned in the Old Testament? 12. How did the Sanhedrin come into place? 13. What were the differences in what the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ practiced and believed?

Most, if not all, of the first century Church would have known the answers to these basic questions. Even small children would have known the answers to these questions. The learned would have been able to expound and go into great detail in answering each question. Paul was a scholar trained at the feet of Gamaliel; he excelled in his study of the oral laws of Judaism. Even Peter, who was a companion of the Messiah and heard the very words of Jesus himself, says parts of ALL of Paul’s writings were hard to understand. Most Christians aren’t even aware that the oral laws of Judaism exist, let alone study them. We must conclude that virtually all 21st century students of Scripture cannot claim to be learned in regard to Paul’s writings. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Can we consider ourselves learned based on the above questions? Does your pastor or Sunday school teacher know more than a couple of the answers to these questions? We are willingly and wholly naive historically concerning Paul’s audience. If we don’t even know some basic information about the context of Paul’s writings, isn’t it arrogant to believe that we KNOW what Paul is talking about and that he was teaching a “no-law” doctrine?

Part Six – Paul’s Writings: A Witness for the “No-Law” or “Pro-Law” Doctrine? The following are quotations from Paul’s writings regarding the law:

Act_25:8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all. Rom_6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Act_24:12-14 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: (13) Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. (14) But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: 1Co_9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. Rom_3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Gal_2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Rom_7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Gal_5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Rom_7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: Rom_10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Php_3:5-6 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; (6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

1. By analyzing these passages, logic would dictate that Paul was one of the following:

a. A con-man, phony, liar, fake, schizophrenic or bipolar

2. But God’s Word cannot contradict itself!

a. If Paul was following the Messiah, his writings would not contradict other Scriptures.

i. In the book of Acts, it is recorded over and over again that Paul always kept the laws of God!

b. 1Co_11:1 ESV Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

i. Joh_15:10 ESV If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. ii. Joh_7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. iii. 1Ti_6:3-5 ESV If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, (4) he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, (5) and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. iv. So… if we imitate Paul, we imitate Christ, because both kept the Father’s commandments!

c. Hmmm… What else could that mean, except exactly what it says?

i. If we imitate Paul, we keep the commandments of the Father!

1. This is in direct and utter opposition to the “no-law” doctrine. 2. This fits perfectly with the “pro-law” doctrine.

3. When Paul says we “are not under the law”

a. He cannot be talking about the laws of God given through Moses.

i. This would violate dozens, if not hundreds, of Scriptures.

b. He must be talking about some other set of laws from which we are now free.

4. The key to understanding Paul’s writings lies in the study of the culture, mindset, language, Pharisaic laws and practices, and most importantly, the laws of God given through Moses.

a. As you can see in the above passages, Paul seemingly contradicts both the “no-law” and “pro-law” doctrines. He even seems to contradict himself.

5. Paul was an expert on more than one legal system: Pharisaic laws and practices, the laws of God given through Moses, and Roman law. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees.

a. Gal_1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. b. Act_22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. Paul’s seemingly contradictory statements must make us realize that if Scripture cannot contradict itself, then what in the world was Paul talking about? There must have been a reason that Paul was chosen to be the apostle to the gentiles. Could it be to protect the gentile believers from false teachers and ravenous wolves who had a history of adding and taking away from God’s Word? The Father chose to dramatically convert an extremely zealous person and bring him out of this system, which had a tendency toward hypocrisy.

Gal_1:13-17 NET. For you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I was savagely persecuting the church of God and trying to destroy it. (14) I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my nation, and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. (15) But when the one who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace was pleased (16) to reveal his Son in me so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not go to ask advice from any human being, (17) nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me, but right away I departed to Arabia, and then returned to Damascus.

I am persuaded that God chose the best person alive to combat the blasphemous and hypocritical practices of some of the scribes and Pharisees. Who could have been a better choice than their most zealous star pupil, the best of the best?

Part Seven –Pharisaic Judaism and Conclusions The teachings of Pharisaic/Rabbinic Judaism are virtually unknown within Christian churches, but they MUST be understood when studying Paul’s writings.

1. Here is just a tiny sampling of the practices of Pharisaic Judaism known as the Oral Law, today known in Rabbinic Judaism as the Talmud.

a. Adding to Scripture, the rabbis enacted 1,400 additional laws regarding the Sabbath (Scripture has seven). b. The rabbis define three different types of physical male circumcision (Scripture records one). c. The rabbis teach that their enactments supersede Scripture.

i. “If there are 1000 prophets, all of them of the stature of Elijah and Elisha, giving a certain interpretation, and 1001 rabbis giving the opposite interpretation, you shall incline after the majority, and the law is according to the 1001 rabbis, not according to the 1000 venerable prophets.” (Maimonides Introduction to the Mishna) ii. “Even if they instruct you that right is left, or left is right, you must obey them.” (Sifrey Deuteronomy S154 on Deu_17:11) iii. “A person must not say, ‘I will not keep the commandment of the elders because they are not from the Torah.’ The Almighty says to such a person, ‘NO My Son! Rather all that they decree upon you, Observe! As it is written, According to the instruction which they teach you.’ (Deu_17:11) ‘EVEN I [YHVH] MUST OBEY THEIR DECREE, as it is written, You will decree and HE will fulfill it.’ (Job_22:28)” (Pesitka Rabbati 3)

d. It was a sin for Jews to associate with gentiles.

Please take the time to read Matthew Chapter 23. Jesus is speaking to the scribes and Pharisees. Here are excerpts of how the Savior addresses these “out of order” men: (13) But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! … (16) Woe unto you, ye blind guides… (17) Ye fools and blind: … (24) Ye blind guides… (26) Thou blind Pharisee… (33) Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers … The Messiah calls them hypocrites, blind guides, fools, blind, serpents and vipers. He wasn’t exactly trying to win friends! I wonder if the Messiah would have a different message to the pastors and leaders of today’s prosperity-driven mega-churches? I doubt it. Paul left the hypocrisy of Pharisaic Judaism on the way to Damascus. It was Pharisaic Judaism’s oral laws that were burdensome and all but impossible to follow, not God’s Levitical laws. The oral laws were added to God’s laws and were built on the traditions of men. Paul left these blasphemous practices on the road to Damascus. The laws of God were zealously followed by Paul, Stephen, James, John, Peter, all of the apostles and even a great many of the scribes and Pharisees! Nowhere is it ever recorded that true followers of the Messiah taught others to break them. God’s Word is true. God doesn’t change. God’s Word cannot contradict itself. Here is a comparison between the Pharisees and the modern Church: [list]1. According to the Pharisees:

a. The Oral Law was the “truth filter” that was applied to all Scripture, and it is still used by Rabbinic Judaism to this day.

i. The only true interpretation of all Scripture could be attained through this filter

1. This filter ignored contradictory Scripture. 2. If a Scripture didn’t fit, they concocted some method of scriptural interpretation in order to make it fit or explain it away.

a. The seven rules of Hillel, the thirteen rules of Ishmael, the thirty-two rules of Eliezer b. Traditions of the fathers and rabbis became more important than Scripture. c. Through skillful twisting, the Scripture could be made to say whatever they wanted. d. Anyone who disagreed was called a heathen, blasphemer or heretic.

2. According to the modern Church: [list]a. The “no-law” doctrine is the “truth filter” that is applied to all of Scripture.

i. The only true interpretation of all Scripture can be attained through this filter.

1. This filter ignores contradictory Scripture. 2. If a Scripture doesn’t fit, they concoct some method of scriptural interpretation to make it fit or explain it away.

a. Progressive Revelation, Dispensationalism, Supersessionism, Covenant Theology, Ultradispensationalism

b. Traditions of the church and church fathers became more important than Scripture.

i. Even traditions with clearly dubious origins can be overlooked by saying, “That’s not what it means to me,” or, “It’s a mystery.”

c. Through skillful twisting, the Scripture can be made to say whatever is required.

~~~~~Conclusions~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The “no-law” doctrine has taken Paul’s “hard to understand writings” and interpreted them to mean that the laws of God given through Moses are no more, and in so doing, have elevated Paul’s teachings above the teaching of Jesus and the very words of God.

Jesus is the Messiah, not Paul! Salvation comes through Jesus, not Paul! We are to follow the Gospel of Christ, not the Gospel of Paul!

This isn’t easy! Paul’s writings are HARD to understand; the apostle Peter said so! We must realize that the writings of Paul are not exempt from these scriptural truths. We cannot ignore or twist his difficult writings to make them support beloved and long-held doctrines. I have not been able to reconcile “the law is not to be followed by modern believers” with Scripture. The only conclusion I have been able to come to, without going against Scripture, is that the law is still in effect for modern believers, not as a condition of salvation, but as a reflection of how the Father wants us to be a holy and set-apart people, and out of love and obedience to him. This is an EXTREMELY unpopular stance, but what does the Savior have to say about it? Mat_5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Will Paul be called least in the Kingdom? No, he never taught against God’s laws! Paul will be called GREAT in the Kingdom of Heaven! Will your Sunday school teacher? Will your pastor?Will you?

What does “fulfil” mean? New Testament uses of the Greek word G4137 πληρόω plēroō in the form of: πληρωσαι πληρωσαι appears four times in the New Testament:

Mat_3:15 KJV And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Mat_5:17 KJV Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Rom_15:13 KJV Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Col_1:25 KJV Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

Old Testament References from the Greek translation of Hebrew Scriptures: The Septuagint (LXX) For those of us not familiar with the Septuagint (LXX), here is a summary from Wikipedia: The Septuagint (pronounced /ˈsɛptʊ.ədʒɪnt/), or simply “LXX”, referred to in critical works by the abbreviation, is the Koine Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, translated in stages between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE in Alexandria. It was begun by the third century BCE and completed before 132 BCE. It is the oldest of several ancient translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, lingua franca of the eastern Mediterranean Basin from the time of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE). The Septuagint was held in great respect in ancient times; Philo and Josephus (associated with Hellenistic Judaism) ascribed divine inspiration to its authors. Besides the Old Latin versions, the LXX is also the basis for the Slavonic, the Syriac, Old Armenian, Old Georgian and Coptic versions of the Old Testament. Of significance for all Christians and for Bible scholars, the LXX is quoted by the New Testament and by the Apostolic Fathers. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint) Our access to this translation is of immense value because it gives us tremendous insight to the usage and meanings of New Testament Greek words in their first century context. Uses of the Greek word G4137 πληρόω plēroō in the form of: πληρωσαι πληρωσαι appears nine times in the Septuagint – I have placed its English translation (the Brenton) beside the King James for comparison:

  • Num_7:88 Brenton All the cattle for a sacrifice of peace-offering, twenty-four heifers, sixty rams, sixty he-goats of a year old, sixty ewe-lambs of a year old without blemish: this is the dedication of the altar, after that Moses consecrated Aaron, and after he anointed him. Num_7:88 KJV And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed. 1Ch_29:5 Brenton for thee to use the gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for every work by the hand of the artificers. And who is willing to dedicate himself in work this day for the Lord? 1Ch_29:5 KJV The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD? 2Ch_13:9 Brenton Did ye not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make to yourselves priests of the people of any other land? whoever came to consecrate himself with a calf of the heard and seven rams, he forthwith became a priest to that which is no god. 2Ch_13:9 KJV Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods. Job_20:23 Brenton If by any means he would fill his belly, let God send upon him the fury of wrath; let him bring a torrent of pains upon him. Job_20:23 KJV When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating. Psa_20:4-5 Brenton (19:4) Grant thee according to thy heart, and fulfil all thy desire. (5) (19:5) We will exult in thy salvation, and in the name of our God shall we be magnified: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions. Psa_20:4-5 KJV Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. (5) We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions. Isa_8:8 Brenton and he shall take away from Juda every man who shall be able to lift up his head, and every one able to accomplish anything; and his camp shall fill the breadth of thy land, O God with us. Isa_8:8 KJV And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel. Isa_13:3 Brenton I give command, and I bring them: giants are coming to fulfil my wrath, rejoicing at the same time and insulting. Isa_13:3 KJV I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. Jer_33:5 Brenton (40:5) to fight against the Chaldeans, and to fill it with the corpses of men, whom I smote in mine anger and my wrath, and turned away my face from them, for all their wickedness: Jer_33:5 KJV They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.

The context of the instances πληρωσαι in the LXX doesn’t even hint to a definition of “to end” or “completed.” Given that this word πληρωσαι is not only used as fill and fulfil but also as dedicate, dedication and consecrate, it is safe to say that the first century usage of this particular form of πληρωσαι would not and could not be translated as “to end” or “completed.” The dedication of the altar was not “the end of it.” The consecration of one’s self was not “the end” of his service or life, it was a renewed beginning. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Let’s look once again at the New Testament verses using the definition of πληρωσαι as consecrate (to set apart and make Holy) instead of fulfil (to end or completed):

Mat_3:15 KJV And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to consecrate all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Mat_5:17 KJV Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to consecrate. Rom_15:13 KJV Now the God of hope consecrate you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Col_1:25 KJV Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to consecrate the word of God;

Does it make sense? Yes. Does this fit the context? Yes! If this is the correct interpretation of πληρωσαι, does it remove any question of what Mat_5:17 is really talking about? Yes!!

May 11, 2013

He Is The Son Of God

Son Of God

Who is Jesus of Nazareth? When He walked upon this earth over nineteen hundred years ago He asked His disciples: “Whom do men say that I, the Son of man am?” They answered that some declared Him to be John the Baptist, while others claimed that He was Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  He said to His disciples, “But whom say ye that I am?” (Matt. 16:15). Here we find the correct answer as to whom Jesus is. The man who knows and believes this and can give this answer from the depth of his heart in spirit and in truth is blessed. He has had revelation from heaven through the Word of truth. Hear the answer of truth! “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). Unless we come without any strings attached, without any wresting or twisting of these words, and believe them just as they are stated, we cannot know the living God. Neither do we understand His plan of salvation.

“Thou art the Christ,” means, “Thou art the Anointed One.” Now those who contend that Jesus was God Himself or the High God can never believe that Jesus was the Anointed One. Why? Those who advocate that Jesus is God Himself claim there is a triune God and therefore is equal to and co-existent with God the Father.

In Acts 10:38 we find these words: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.” Let us think honestly and clearly before God. If Jesus were God Himself or part of a trinity Godhead, equal and co-existent with two other parts in a God head of three, it would be impossible for Him to be anointed by any one of the other two. That would make one of them greater than He. The Bible clearly states that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.” If God had not anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost and with power, could He ever have accomplished anything worthy of mention? How many sins could He have forgiven? How many sick could He have healed? Could He have raised the dead? You see, Jesus was not God, but was the Son of God and was dependent upon His Father. (John 5:19-21)

Now hear the Word of the Lord. It may change your theology; it may destroy what you have believed for years; but it is the truth.  John 5:19 states, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.” Look closely at this for a moment. If Jesus were God Himself, or even equal with God, then Jesus could do nothing of Himself and neither could God. Someone will say that He can do what He sees the Father do. That is true. Jesus can do what He sees His Father do, but if they are equal, God must also see His father act before He is able to do His wonderful acts. God has no father. Even a child prejudiced to the teachings of men can see the error in this line of thought.

John 5:20 states, “The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” Now if Jesus were God Himself, or equal with God, and had been with God from all eternity, would God have to show Him the works that He did? Friends, the doctrines of the trinity and of the pre-existence are doctrines of the devils that are to destroy men’s faith in the true God and in Jesus His Son.

In John 5:26 and 27, we read, “As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” Now you either believe this or you deny it. Notice, the Father has life in Himself. God only has immortality, but how did Jesus get life? The Father gave it to Him, both natural life through birth, and immortality through a resurrection. If Jesus were God Himself or equal with God, God could not give Him life, for He would already have it even as the Father has it . Then again, how did Jesus get His authority to execute judgment? Hear again the Word of God. God gave it to Him. Could Jesus be as great as the Father, if the Father is the one who anointed Him with power and gave Him life and gave Him His authority? The only reason Jesus has the authority He now has is because God gave it to Him.

In John 5:30 Jesus repeats again, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” Could Jesus do anything of Himself alone? He said He could of His own self do nothing. Did God ever do anything by Himself? In Isaiah 44:24 it is said of God, “I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” Many say that Jesus helped to create the earth or that He was the Creator, but here the speaker said, “I stretched forth the heavens alone and spread abroad the earth by myself.” Jesus said, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” The disciples of Christ knew full well that Jesus was not God, neither any part of a trinity Godhead, but was the Son of God, begotten by the Spirit and power of God according to the Word of God born of the virgin Mary. Born – really born – not incarnated, but born!

I would like to say here that the words “God the Son”, “pre-existent” , “trinity” , and “incarnate” are nowhere found in the Bible. They are terms put to use by the satanic host to deceive ministers and churchgoers and to rob them of ever knowing the real Son of God. This is what Peter had reference to in 2 Peter 2:1 when he said, “There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

Friends, do you deny the Lord that bought you? Do you know which Lord bought you? It could not be God Himself, for God cannot die. It cannot be a trinity Christ, for He would be equal with God. Since God cannot die, neither could a trinity Christ. The Scriptures declare that Christ died for our sins. (1 Cor. 15:3) According to the Scriptures, the Son of God, born of a virgin, brought into existence by the power of God, being anointed with life from God, power and authority from God, died for our sins, thus giving His entire life for us. But, thanks be to God, He raised Him up from the dead.

The world, by accepting the pre-existent theory and the doctrine of the trinity, deny the flesh and bones that God caused to be born to be our Savior. Dear friends, if you deny the flesh and bones that God caused to come forth to life from Mary’s womb, you deny the Lord that bought you. This is what Jesus had reference to when He said that many false Christs would arise and deceive, not a few, but many. Today more people believe and pay tribute to and glorify and pray to a false Christ, who never did die for them, than they that accept a flesh-and-bones Savior who died on a tree for our sins. The false Christ is the pre-existent Christ, the trinity Christ, the Christ that is said to be God Himself. The true Christ is the Son of the living God and the anointed of Him.

In John 6:57 we find, “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father.” Notice that the living Father sent the Son. Could one God be equal with another when one was sent of the other? Notice also Jesus said, “I live by [and through] the Father.” Without the Father, Jesus never would have existed and had life.

In John 7:16 Jesus said, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” If Jesus were God Himself or a part of a trinity God, how could He say, “My doctrine is not mine” ? If Jesus were equal to the Father and the doctrine He was giving was not His, does Jesus have a doctrine just as equal and powerful and strong as the doctrine of His Father? And does the Holy Spirit also have another doctrine? Would their doctrines be the same or different?

Jesus gave us to know that He had nothing to do with the origin of the doctrines which He spoke. They originated with the Father, and the Son spoke the doctrines of the Father. In John 7:28 Jesus said, “Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.” If Jesus were God Himself, would He not have had to send Himself? He said, “I am not come of myself.” Friend, did you or I come of ourself? We had nothing to do with it. We did not come into existence by our will, for we had no will, no life, no intellect, until we were born. The same is true of Christ. Jesus did not come of Himself, but God sent Him. If there were three equal Gods, why would one God send another one of the other two to die? If one could send one of the other two to die, would not the one that had power to send be greater? When God spoke of Jesus in the old testament he said: Deuteronomy 18:18   I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee (Moses), and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.   Deuteronomy 18:19   And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. Jesus spoke Gods words that he himself gave to him. 1 Chronicles 22:10   He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever. Hebrews 1:5   For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

In John 8:28 Jesus said, “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” When one God has to be taught of another God, the God that does the teaching would be the greater. If Jesus were co-equal with God and co-existent with Him, He would not have to be taught from the Father.

Again, Jesus said in John 8:42, “I proceed forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” Jesus told us in John 10:18, “I have power to lay it [my life] down, and I have power to take it again. ” Where did He get this power? He said, “This commandment have I received of my Father.” When one person gives another person commandments, one is supreme to the other. Jesus said in John 10:29, “My Father … is greater than all. “1 Corinthians 11:3   But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Friends, do you not understand that Jesus is the anointed flesh and bones which God brought forth to life by His Holy Spirit, His own power, and that there is no other Savior of truth who could die for us? First John 2:22 says, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Anointed One?” Friend, if you contend that Jesus is God Himself, or a part of a trinity God, or a pre-existent Jesus, with power to create before He was born, then He could never be anointed by the Father.

Understand this, “He is antichrist that denieth the Father and Son.” The Father is God and Jesus Christ is His Son, born of the virgin by the power of God. They are two separate and different beings. Anyone who denies this is antichrist. Which side are you on?

May God help you to believe in His Son, even as the Ethiopian eunuch, who said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

1JN 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

1JN 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

1JN 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

1JN 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

October 27, 2012

The Sabbath Was Never Changed

No such law in the Bible “Nowhere” in the bible do we find that Jesus or the apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is, the Seventh day of the week, Saturday. Today, all Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman] church outside the Bible.” Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3, 1947

“You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctified.” James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 ed.), pp.72,73

“If protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day, that is Saturday. In keeping Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church.” Albert Smith, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, replying for the cardinal in a letter of Feb. 10, 1920.

“Have you not any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?”
“Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her, she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the Seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority” Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism 3rd ed. p. 174

How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holydays?
By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same Church.” Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine (1833 approbation), p.58 (Same statement in Manual of Christian Doctrine, ed. by Daniel Ferris [1916 ed.], p.67)

The Catholic Church,… by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.
” The Catholic Mirror, official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.

“Is Saturday the 7th day according to the Bible and the 10 Commandments?”
“I answer yes”.
“Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the 7th day, Saturday, for Sunday, the 1st day?”
“I answer yes”.
“Did Christ change the day?”
“I answer no!” Faithfully yours, “J. Cardinal Gibbons” Gibbons’ autograph letter.

Some theologians have held that God likewise directly determined the Sunday as the day of worship in the NEW LAW, that he himself has explicitly substituted Sunday for the Sabbath.

But this theory is entirely abandoned. It is now commonly held that God simply gave His church the power to set aside whatever day or days she would deem suitable as holy days. The church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days as holy days.”
John Laux A Course in Religion for Catholic High Schools and Academies 1936, vol.1 p.51

Which is the Sabbath day?
Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemity from Saturday to Sunday.”
Peter Geiermann, The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1946 ed.), p.50. Geiermann received the “apostolic blessing” of Pope Pius X on his labors, January 25, 1910.

The Catholic Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her Founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday.

In this matter the Seventh Day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant. The Catholic Universe Bulletin, Aug. 14, 1942, p.4

“The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] church.” Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today (1868), p. 213

Exodus 20: 8-11,
(8) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (9) Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: (10) But the Seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: (11) For in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the Seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Colossians 2:8 warns us to:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

What power has claimed authority to change God’s law?
The Papacy in Rome.
“The Pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even Divine Laws…The Pope can modify divine law, since his power is not of man, but of God, and he acts as vicegerent of God upon earth.” Translated from Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca (Ready Library), “Papa”, art. 2.

What part of the law of God has the papacy thought to change?
The Fourth Commandment.
“Catholics alledge the change of the Sabbath into the Lord’s day, contrary, as it seemeth, to the Decalogue; and they have no example more in their mouth than the change of the Sabbath. They will needs have to be very great, because it hath dispensed with a precept of the Decalogue.” The Augsburg Confession (Lutheran), part 2, art. 7, in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom (Harper), vol. 3, p. 64.

“It [the Roman Catholic Church] reversed the Fourth Commandment by doing away with the Sabbath of God’s word and instituting Sunday as a holiday.” N. Summerbell, History of the Christian Church (1873), p. 415.

Does the papacy acknowledge changing the Sabbath?
It does.
The Catechismus Romanus was commanded by the Council of Trent and published by the Vatican Press, by order of Pope Pius V, in 1566. This catechism for priests says: “It pleased the church of God, that the religious celebration of the Sabbath day should be transferred to ‘the Lord’s day. Sunday.'” Catechism of the Council of Trent (Donovan’s translation, 1867), part 3, chap. 4, p. 345. The same in slightly different wording, is in the McHugh and Callan translation (1937 ed.), p. 402.

Do Catholic authorities acknowledge that there is no command in the bible for santification of Sunday?
They do.
“You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.” James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 ed.), pp. 72,73.

How did Sunday observance originate?
As a voluntary celebration of the Resurrection, a custom without pretense of Divine authority.

Matthew 28:1 KJV States clearly that Christ Rose on the Sabbath Saturday!! IN the END of the Sabbath, as it began to Dawn TOWARD the FIRST day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher. Mat 28:6 He is not here: for he is RISEN, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Who first enjoined Sunday keeping by law?
Constantine the Great.
“The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday as a legal duty is a constitution of Constantine in 321 A.D., enacting that all courts of justice, inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to be at rest on Sunday (venerabili die solis), with an exception in favor of those engaged in agricultural labor.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., art. “Sunday”.

By what church council was the observance of the seventh day forbidden and Sunday observance enjoined?
The Council of Laodicea, in Asia Minor, fourth century.
What kind of worship does the Saviour call that which is not according to God’s commandments?
“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” Matt. 15:9

Roman Catholic and Protestant Confessions about Sunday

The vast majority of Christian churches today teach the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, as a time for rest and worship. Yet it is generally known and freely admitted that the early Christians observed the seventh day as the Sabbath. How did this change come about?

History reveals that it was decades after the death of the apostles that a politico-religious system repudiated the Sabbath of Scripture and substituted the observance of the first day of the week. The following quotations, all from Roman Catholic sources, freely acknowledge that there is no Biblical authority for the observance of Sunday, that it was the Roman Church that changed the Sabbath to the first day of the week.

In the second portion of this booklet are quotations from Protestants. Undoubtedly all of these noted clergymen, scholars, and writers kept Sunday, but they all frankly admit that there is no Biblical authority for a first-day sabbath.

Roman Catholic Confessions

James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of our Fathers, 88th ed., pp. 89.

“But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.”

Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism 3rd ed., p. 174.

“Question:  Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?

“Answer:  Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her-she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”

John Laux, A Course in Religion for Catholic High Schools and Academies (1 936), vol. 1, P. 51.

“Some theologians have held that God likewise directly determined the Sunday as the day of worship in the New Law, that He Himself has explicitly substituted the Sunday for the Sabbath. But this theory is now entirely abandoned. It is now commonly held that God simply gave His Church the power to set aside whatever day or days she would deem suitable as Holy Days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days as holy days.”

Daniel Ferres, ed., Manual of Christian Doctrine (1916), p.67.

“Question: How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holy days?

“Answer. By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of, and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same Church.’

James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore (1877-1921), in a signed letter.

“Is Saturday the seventh day according to the Bible and the Ten Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the seventh day -Saturday – for Sunday, the first day? I answer yes . Did Christ change the day’? I answer no!

“Faithfully yours, J. Card. Gibbons”

The Catholic Mirror, official publication of James Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.

“The Catholic Church, . . . by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.”

Catholic Virginian Oct. 3, 1947, p. 9, art. “To Tell You the Truth.”

“For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the[Roman Catholic] church outside the Bible.”

Peter Geiermann, C.S.S.R., The Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1957), p. 50.

“Question: Which is the Sabbath day?

“Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.

“Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

“Answer. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”

Martin J. Scott, Things Catholics Are Asked About (1927),p. 136.

“Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that worship should be changed from Saturday to Sunday …. Now the Church … instituted, by God’s authority, Sunday as the day of worship. This same Church, by the same divine authority, taught the doctrine of Purgatory long before the Bible was made. We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory as we have for Sunday.”

Peter R. Kraemer, Catholic Church Extension Society (1975),Chicago, Illinois.

“Regarding the change from the observance of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday, I wish to draw your attention to the facts:

“1) That Protestants, who accept the Bible as the only rule of faith and religion, should by all means go back to the observance of the Sabbath. The fact that they do not, but on the contrary observe the Sunday, stultifies them in the eyes of every thinking man.

“2) We Catholics do not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith. Besides the Bible we have the living Church, the authority of the Church, as a rule to guide us. We say, this Church, instituted by Christ to teach and guide man through life, has the right to change the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and hence, we accept her change of the Sabbath to Sunday. We frankly say, yes, the Church made this change, made this law, as she made many other laws, for instance, the Friday abstinence, the unmarried priesthood, the laws concerning mixed marriages, the regulation of Catholic marriages and a thousand other laws.

“It is always somewhat laughable, to see the Protestant churches, in pulpit and legislation, demand the observance of Sunday, of which there is nothing in their Bible.”

T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18,1884.

“I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ The Catholic Church says: ‘No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.’ And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.”

Protestant Confessions

Protestant theologians and preachers from a wide spectrum of denominations have been quite candid in admitting that there is no Biblical authority for observing Sunday as a sabbath.

Anglican/Episcopal

Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism , vol. 1, pp.334, 336.

“And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day …. The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church has enjoined it.”

Canon Eyton, The Ten Commandments , pp. 52, 63, 65.

“There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday …. into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters…. The observance of Ash Wednesday or Lent stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday.”

Bishop Seymour, Why We Keep Sunday .

We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy Catholic Church.”

Baptist

Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, a paper read before a New York ministers’ conference, Nov. 13, 1893, reported in New York Examiner , Nov.16, 1893.

“There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week …. Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament absolutely not.

“To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years’ intercourse with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question . . . never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated.

“Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history . . . . But what a pity it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!”

William Owen Carver, The Lord’s Day in Our Day , p. 49.

“There was never any formal or authoritative change from the Jewish seventh-day Sabbath to the Christian first-day observance.”

Congregationalist

Dr. R. W. Dale, The Ten Commandments (New York: Eaton &Mains), p. 127-129.

” . . . it is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath – . . ‘Me Sabbath was founded on a specific Divine command. We can plead no such command for the obligation to observe Sunday …. There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday.”

Timothy Dwight, Theology: Explained and Defended (1823), Ser. 107, vol. 3, p. 258.

” . . . the Christian Sabbath [Sunday] is not in the Scriptures, and was not by the primitive Church called the Sabbath.”

Disciples of Christ

Alexander Campbell, The Christian Baptist, Feb. 2, 1824,vol. 1. no. 7, p. 164.

“‘But,’ say some, ‘it was changed from the seventh to the first day.’ Where? when? and by whom? No man can tell. No; it never was changed, nor could it be, unless creation was to be gone through again: for the reason assigned must be changed before the observance, or respect to the reason, can be changed! It is all old wives’ fables to talk of the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day. If it be changed, it was that august personage changed it who changes times and laws ex officio – I think his name is Doctor Antichrist.’

First Day Observance , pp. 17, 19.

“The first day of the week is commonly called the Sabbath. This is a mistake. The Sabbath of the Bible was the day just preceding the first day of the week. The first day of the week is never called the Sabbath anywhere in the entire Scriptures. It is also an error to talk about the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation of such a change.”

Lutheran

The Sunday Problem , a study book of the United Lutheran Church (1923), p. 36.

“We have seen how gradually the impression of the Jewish sabbath faded from the mind of the Christian Church, and how completely the newer thought underlying the observance of the first day took possession of the church. We have seen that the Christians of the first three centuries never confused one with the other, but for a time celebrated both.”

Augsburg Confession of Faith art. 28; written by Melanchthon, approved by Martin Luther, 1530; as published in The Book of Concord of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Henry Jacobs, ed. (1 91 1), p. 63.

“They [Roman Catholics] refer to the Sabbath Day, a shaving been changed into the Lord’s Day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it seems. Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning the changing of the Sabbath Day. Great, say they, is the power of the Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments!”

Dr. Augustus Neander, The History of the Christian Religion and Church Henry John Rose, tr. (1843), p. 186.

“The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a Divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic Church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.”

John Theodore Mueller, Sabbath or Sunday , pp. 15, 16.

“But they err in teaching that Sunday has taken the place of the Old Testament Sabbath and therefore must be kept as the seventh day had to be kept by the children of Israel …. These churches err in their teaching, for Scripture has in no way ordained the first day of the week in place of the Sabbath. There is simply no law in the New Testament to that effect.”

Methodist

Harris Franklin Rall, Christian Advocate, July 2, 1942, p.26.

“Take the matter of Sunday. There are indications in the New Testament as to how the church came to keep the first day of the week as its day of worship, but there is no passage telling Christians to keep that day, or to transfer the Jewish Sabbath to that day.”

John Wesley, The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., John Emory, ed. (New York: Eaton & Mains), Sermon 25,vol. 1, p. 221.

“But, the moral law contained in the ten commandments, and enforced by the prophets, he [Christ] did not take away. It was not the design of his coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken …. Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of God and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other.”

Dwight L. Moody

D. L. Moody, Weighed and Wanting (Fleming H. Revell Co.: New York), pp. 47, 48.

The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since. This fourth commandment begins with the word ‘remember,’ showing that the Sabbath already existed when God Wrote the law on the tables of stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away with when they will admit that the other nine are still binding?”

Presbyterian

T. C. Blake, D.D., Theology Condensed, pp.474, 475.

“The Sabbath is a part of the decalogue – the Ten Commandments. This alone forever settles the question as to the perpetuity of the institution . . . . Until, therefore, it can be shown that the whole moral law has been repealed, the Sabbath will stand . . . . The teaching of Christ confirms the perpetuity of the Sabbath.”

February 4, 2012

Trinity?? Do You Want To Know The Truth? Watch!!!

Please watch this video to learn the TRUTH! about the Son Of God!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXADpdG6Uqc

December 14, 2010

Mark of the Beast Video……You be the judge

Very good video. Worth the watch. God be the judge. A lot of truth in this video.
Make sure you watch the whole video though.

http://blowthetrumpet.org/TheMarkoftheBeastVideo.htm



August 31, 2010

SABBATH DECEPTION

NO SABBATH    (Col 2:16 & Rom 14:5)

COLOSSIANS 2:16 ?

  Whenever the question of the Sabbath is discussed, those who
do not keep it holy will inevitably appeal to Colossians
2:16 as
their authority for disobeying the fourth commandment of God.
What exactly did Paul mean when he wrote:

        “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or
in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath
days:”    Colossians
2:16

   Yes, when Paul said “Sabbath” he meant the seventh day
Sabbath – but that does not mean that Paul was canceling the
requirement for obedience to a commandment of God.  What God
has commanded only God can set aside.  One may search the New
Testament for a thousand years and he will not find a single
verse that says God has abrogated one “jot or tittle” of His
fourth commandment.

  What then was Paul talking about when he said to let no man judge you in respect of Sabbaths?  When we look at this verse in its context it soon becomes apparent that Paul was warning about the “Colossian Heresy” which was another gospel based on asceticism and the worship of angels in order to gain assistance from cosmic powers.  The essence of this heresy was that Christ alone was not sufficient to deliver us from our slavery to sin.

  As you will see from the following verses, Paul was warning
against three things that were being added to the gospel.

        1.  Traditions of men.

        2.  The worship of angels.

        3.  Submitting to doctrines of men.

COL 2:8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and
vain deceit, after the TRADITION OF MEN of men, after the
rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

COL 2:16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink,
or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the
Sabbath days:

COL 2:18  Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary
humility and WORSHIPING OF ANGELS, intruding into those
things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

COL 2:20  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments
of the world,  why, as though living in the world, are ye
subject to ordinances,  (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
Which all are to perish with the using;) AFTER THE
 COMMANDMENTS
AND DOCTRINES OF MEN?

  It should be obvious that KEEPING THE SABBATH DAY HOLY
IS NOT A DOCTRINE OF MEN!

 Paul was not doing away with God’s commandment; he was warning against the false teachers who were saying that if believers did not eat and drink the right food and keep the festivals, new moons and Sabbaths ACCORDING TO CERTAIN HUMAN REGULATIONS they would lose their reward.

According to verse :23 below, they were teaching that without
these ascetic regulations one could not overcome the flesh:

COL 2:23  These [DOCTRINES OF MEN] have indeed an
appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-
abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in
checking the indulgence of the flesh.  (RSV)

  One commentator summed up these verses by saying:

  “We conclude then that in verse :16, the warning is not
against the Sabbath, festivals and dietary laws as such, but
rather against those who promote these practices as
indispensable aids to Christian perfection and as needed
protection from the “elements [evil spiritual forces] of the
world” thus denying the all sufficiency of Christ.
                   (Samuele Bacchiocchi,  From Sabbath To Sunday)

Now really, doesn’t that explanation make a lot more sense than
the notion that Christians are no longer required to obey the
fourth commandment?   It is a true saying that: “The commandment
is not nullified by the condemnation of its abuse.”.

  The question we need to ask is this:  “Was Paul condemning the Sabbath day, or was he CONDEMNING THE DOCTRINES OF MEN who added ritualistic and ascetic restrictions to faith in Christ?”   In order to answer that dispute, one must look at the broad picture.  There is not a single verse in the New Testament which states that Paul taught a new doctrine that canceled the Sabbath commandment; nor is there any record of a controversy between the Jews and Gentile Christians over Sabbath-keeping.  If Paul had been teaching that the Sabbath commandment had been repealed, it would have split the church wide open and he would have had to answer the objections continuously in his epistles.

      Think about it – if the Jewish believers made such a fuss about circumcision being optional, imagine what they would have said about the Sabbath day being revoked.

   At some point we must use common sense and reason to interpret what has been written.  For example, does “Let no man judge you in meat and drink…” mean that Christians can be drunkards?  Of course not, because you know that God’s word forbids drunkenness.  Well, it also forbids Sabbath-breaking!

  It is only logical to assume that if God was going to cancel one of His commandments, he would make that fact very clear. Surely, if someone said to you: “Let no man judge you in respect of murder or adultery”  you would not assume that God had changed His mind about those sins without solid proof. Certainly, you would demand more evidence than one lonely verse in the book of Colossians?   Or would you?
 

          THE CHURCHMEN vs THE SABBATH    (Romans 14)

Many churchmen use Romans 14:5-6 as proof that New Testament
believers no longer have an obligation to keep the Sabbath day
holy.  So let us examine those two verses, just as a Judge
would consider evidence in his courtroom, and then decide
whether or not they testify against Sabbath keeping.  Paul
wrote:

     “One man esteemeth one day above another: another
      esteemeth every day alike.  Let very man be fully
      persuaded in his own mind.

      He that regardeth [observeth] the day regardeth it unto
      the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord
      he doth not regard it.  He that eateth, eateth to the
      Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not,
      to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”

                                                Romans 14:5,6
 

   The Judge would ask: “Where is the Sabbath mentioned in
those verses?”.  The Sabbath is not mentioned there, or in the
entire book of Romans!  No court in the land would allow verses
that do not mention the Sabbath to be used as evidence in an
argument against the Sabbath – so why should we?

   You see, Paul could not have been talking about keeping the
Sabbath day holy because obedience to God’s law is not
optional.  It is ludicrous to suggest that any of the Ten
Commandments can be disobeyed “unto the Lord”.  Think of the
absurdity of saying “He that stealeth, to the Lord he stealeth;
and he that stealeth not, to the Lord he stealeth not.”

   What then was Paul talking about?  He was talking about fast
days.  The whole 14th chapter of Romans is about food and how
people’s beliefs about eating should not be interfered with.
The fast days could be observed according to each believer’s
conscience.  A man could eat -or not eat, keep the day – or not
keep it.  It is as simple as this: Each man could observe
FAST
DAYS, or not observe them, according to his own convictions.

   He that does not eat, regards the day.

   He that eats, does not regard the day.

   The “days” that Paul was referring to were the traditional
fast days mentioned in Zechariah 7:5-6.  The Gentile Christians
in
Rome did not keep them because they had no cultural interest
in the anniversary fasts that were observed during the Jew’s
captivity in
Babylon. 1

   Even the Jews themselves had different convictions about the
observance of those days – because those fasts were never
commanded by God.

   After the captivity (when the temple was being rebuilt) the
men of
Bethel also wondered if they should observe these fasts
unto the Lord.  For example, they asked Zechariah: “Shall I
weep in the fifth month and abstain, as I have done these many
years?” (Zech 7:2-3.)

   When you read Zechariah’s answer, notice the striking
similarity of his words with those of Paul to the church at
Rome

COMPARE   Zechariah 7:5-6 “…When ye FASTED and mourned in
the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years,

        DID YE AT ALL FAST UNTO ME, even to me [The Lord]?
          And when ye did
EAT, and when ye did drink, did ye
          not
EAT FOR YOURSELVES, and drink for yourselves?”

WITH

     Romans 14:6-7 “He that regardeth the [fast] day
          regardeth it UNTO THE LORD; and he that regardeth not
          the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.  He that
          EATETH, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks;
          and he that EATETH NOT, to the Lord he eateth not,
          and giveth God thanks.

          For none of us LIVETH TO HIMSELF, and no man dieth to
          himself.”

   If you were the Judge in the case of the CHURCHMEN VERSUS
THE SABBATH, would you be willing to say that Paul had cancelled
one of the commandments of God based on the evidence you find in
the 14th chapter of Romans?

   In our opinion, the evidence from Romans and Zechariah
demands a verdict for Sabbath observance.  The church must obey
the Fourth Commandment – that is the only decision that will
uphold the Law of God.

                      CASE CLOSED!

Footnote:

  These are the four traditional fasts that were mentioned
   in the book of Zechariah:

   1.  (The fast of the fourth month) In remembrance of the
         breaking of the wall of
Jerusalem.
   2.  (The fast of the fifth month)  In remembrance of the
         burning of the temple.
   3.  (The fast of the seventh month) In remembrance of the
         killing of Gedaliah, which completed the dispersion.
   4.  (The fast of the tenth month) In remembrance of the
        beginning of the siege of
Jerusalem.

   See – Jer 52:6, Jer 52:12-13, 2 Kings 25:25, 2 Kings 25:1

   It is of interest to note that those dates commemorate the
   judgments of God upon a people who refused to keep the
   Sabbath Day holy.  (See Jer 17:19-27)

July 31, 2010

How The Sabbath Was Changed

How the Sabbath Was Changed
Studying the BibleToday I want to answer the question which so many listeners have been concerned about since our first broadcast on the Sabbath question. How did the change take place, substituting Sunday for Saturday as the day of worship? This is possibly one of the most disturbing religious questions among thinking Christians today. Unfortunately, the issue is not examined publicly very often for reasons that we’ll consider today. But multitudes have wondered when, how and why the change came about. We have established in previous broadcasts that the Bible itself speaks with absolute consistency on this subject.

No Change Documented in the Bible
In both Old and New Testament there is not a shadow of variation in the doctrine of the Sabbath. The seventh day, Saturday, is the only day ever designated by the term Sabbath in the entire Bible. Not only was Jesus a perfect example in observing the weekly seventh-day Sabbath, but all His disciples followed the same pattern after Jesus had gone to heaven. Yet no intimation of any change of the day is made. The apostle Paul, who wrote pages of counsel about lesser issues of Jewish and Gentile conflicts, had not one word to say about any controversy over the day of worship. Circumcision, foods offered to idols, and other Jewish customs were readily challenged by early Gentile Christians in the church, but the weightier matter of weekly worship never was an issue. Why? For the simple reason that no change was made from the historic seventh day of Old Testament times, and from creation itself. Had there been a switch from the Sabbath to the first day of the week, you can be sure the controversy would have been more explosive than any other to those Jewish Christians.

History Gives Some Clues
If the change did not take place in the Scriptures or through the influence of the apostles, when and how did it happen? In order to understand this, we must understand what happened in that early church soon after the apostles passed off the stage of action. Paul had prophesied that apostasy would take place soon after his departure. He said there would be a falling away from the truth. One doesn’t have to read very far in early church history to see just how that prophecy was fulfilled. Gnosticism began to rise up under the influence of philosophers who sought to reconcile Christianity with Paganism. At the same time, a strong anti-Jewish sentiment became more widespread. Very speculative interpretations began to appear regarding some of the great doctrines of Christ and the apostles.

The Conversion of Constantine
ConstantineBy the time Constantine was established as the emperor of Rome in the early fourth century, there was a decided division in the church as a result of all these factors. I think most of you know that Constantine was the first so-called Christian emperor of the Roman Empire. The story of his conversion has become very well known to students of ancient history. He was marching forth to fight the battle of Milvian Bridge when he had some kind of vision, and saw a flaming cross in the sky. Underneath the cross were the Latin words meaning “In this sign conquer.” Constantine took this as an omen that he should be a Christian, and his army as well. He declared all his pagan soldiers to be Christians, and became very zealous to build up the power and prestige of the church. Through his influence great blocks of pagans were taken into the Christian ranks. But, friends, they were still pagan at heart, and they brought in much of the paraphernalia of sun-worship to which they continued to be devoted. We mentioned in a previous broadcast about the adoption of Christmas and Easter into the church. At the same time, many other customs were Christianized and appropriated into the practice of the church as well.

Sun Worship
You see, at that time the cult of Mithraism or sun-worship was the official religion of the Roman Empire. It stood as the greatest competitor to the new Christian religion. It had its own organization, temples, priesthood, robes—everything. It also had an official worship day on which special homage was given to the sun. That day was called “The Venerable Day of the Sun.” It was the first day of the week, and from it we get our name Sunday. When Constantine pressed his pagan hordes into the church they were observing the day of the sun for their adoration of the sun god. It was their special holy day. In order to make it more convenient for them to make the change to the new religion, Constantine accepted their day of worship, Sunday, instead of the Christian Sabbath which had been observed by Jesus and His disciples. Remember that the way had been prepared for this already by the increasing anti-Jewish feelings against those who were accused of putting Jesus to death. Those feelings would naturally condition many Christians to swing away from something which was held religiously by the Jews. It is therefore easier to understand how the change was imposed on Christianity through a strong civil law issued by Constantine as the Emperor of Rome. The very wording of that law, by the way, can be found in any reliable encyclopedia. Those early Christians, feeling that the Jews should not be followed any more than necessary, were ready to swing away from the Sabbath which was kept by the Jews.

Historical Accounts
Some of you may be greatly surprised by the explanation I’ve just made, and I’m not going to ask you to believe it blindly. I have before me a multitude of authorities to verify what has been said. Here are historians, Catholics and Protestants, speaking in harmony about what actually took place in the fourth century. After Constantine made the initial pronouncement and legal decree about the change, the Catholic Church reinforced that act in one church council after another. For this reason, many, many official statements from Catholic sources are made, claiming that the church made the change from Saturday to Sunday. But before I read those statements I shall refer to one from the Encyclopedia Britannica under the article, Sunday. Notice: “It was Constantine who first made a law for the proper observance of Sunday and who appointed that it should be regularly celebrated throughout the Roman empire.” Now you can check these statements in your own encyclopedias or go to the library and look into other historical sources.

Here is a statement from Dr. Gilbert Murray, M.A., D.Litt., LLD, FBA, Professor of Greek at Oxford University, who certainly had no ax to grind concerning Christian thought on the Sabbath question. He wrote: “Now since Mithras was the sun, the Unconquered, and the sun was the Royal Star, the religion looked for a king whom it could serve as a representative of Mithras upon earth. The Roman Emperor seemed to be clearly indicated as the true king. In sharp contrast to Christianity, Mithraism recognized Caesar as the bearer of divine grace. It had so much acceptance that it was able to impose on the Christian world its own sun-day in place of the Sabbath; its sun’s birthday, the 25th of December, as the birthday of Jesus.” History of Christianity in the Light of Modern Knowledge.

Looking a bit further into historical statements, Dr. William Frederick says: “The Gentiles were an idolatrous people who worshipped the sun, and Sunday was their most sacred day. Now in order to reach the people in this new field, it seems but natural as well as necessary to make Sunday the rest day of the church. At this time it was necessary for the church to either adopt the Gentile’s day or else have the Gentiles change their day. To change the Gentiles day would have been an offense and stumbling block to them. The church could naturally reach them better by keeping their day.” There it is, friends, a clear explanation by Dr. Frederick as to how this change happened. Another statement very parallel to this one is found in the North British Review.

But let’s move on to a statement from the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 153. “The church after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath or seventh-day of the week to the first, made the third commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s day.”

Catholicism Takes Credit for the Change
St. Peter's Square and BasilicaNow a quote from the Catholic Press newspaper in Sidney, Australia. “Sunday is a Catholic institution and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles. From the beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.”

The Catholic Mirror of September 23, 1894, puts it this way: “The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.”

To point up the claims we’re talking about, I want to read from two Catechisms. First, from the Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine by Reverend Peter Giermann. “Question: Which is the Sabbath day? Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day. Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”

Second, from Reverend Steven Keenan’s Doctrinal Catechism we read this: “Question: Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept? Answer: Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day; a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”

Then from Cardinal Gibbons’ book, The Question Box, p.179, “If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing Saturday with the Jew. Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only teacher should inconsistently follow in this matter the tradition of the Catholic Church?”

One more statement taken from the book, The Faith of Millions, p. 473. “But since Saturday, not Sunday, is specified in the Bible, isn’t it curious that non-Catholics who profess to take their religion directly from the Bible and not from the Church, observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Yes, of course, it is inconsistency but this change was made about fifteen centuries before Protestantism was born, and by that time the custom was universally observed. They have continued the custom even though it rests upon the authority of the Catholic Church and not upon an explicit text from the Bible. That observance remains as a reminder of the Mother Church from which the non-Catholic sects broke away like a boy running away from home but still carrying in his pocket a picture of his mother or a lock of her hair.”

That is a most interesting statement, is it not, friends? And it is a very true statement. There is some inconsistency somewhere along the line, because we have examined the statements of history, and you can check them for yourself in any library. I’m not reading anything one-sided here at all. I’ve tried to give you an unbiased picture. Although we have seen the claims made by the Catholic Church in their publications, we are not reading them to cast any reflection upon anyone, by any means. We are simply bringing you a recital of what has been written and what claims have been made.

– From the Joe Crews Radio Sermon Library

February 13, 2010

The Truth About Colossians 2:16-17

THE TRUTH ABOUT COLOSSIANS 2:16-17

There are those who feel that the Holy Days of God, are all done away by one Scripture in Col. 2:16-17. It is time we asked ourselves a simple question. What do these two verses really say? “Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (is) of Christ.”

First of all it says… ‘let no man judge you.’ That is certainly clear. Don’t let any man upset you, pointing a finger at you, judging you and saying you are in error. What was it that no man was to be allowed to judge you about? ‘In meat or in drink’…the margin shows the meaning of the Greek to be ‘in eating and drinking.’ Thus the judging against you had to do with something you would be doing. It would be ‘eating and drinking.’ But was it to be the normal daily eating and drinking? Let us take care to notice it was ‘in respect of’ particular days. These days elsewhere in the Bible are identified as ‘feast’ days. See Lev. 23:1-2. The margin shows that phrase ‘in respect of’ means ‘part’ or in other words don’t let any man judge you for that part of the Holy Day festivities regarding eating and drinking.

So far that doesn’t sound as if those Holy Days listed are ‘done away.’ On the contrary, Christians were eating and drinking as God intended should be done when observing His feast days.

Why were Christians told to not be troubled while they observed the loving festivities of a feast of God? Troubled by those who would point a finger at the manner in which those days were being observed. Carefully note why. Those days ‘which are shadows of things to come.’ These Holy Days were NOT memorials of past events, but shadows looking FORWARD to the future, things to come.

How is a shadow formed? There has to be a source of light, an object that is real upon which that light shines, and the result is a shadow opposite the source of light. The shadow being opposite leads toward the reality and toward the light, both of which have caused the shadow to be produced.

The feast days of God outline His plan of salvation for all mankind. Christ is the source of LIGHT. His Spirit enlightens the mind of the true Christian to the future reality which each Holy Day pictures. The shadow always points toward the reality and the light source.

Sabbath keepers know these Scriptures do not do away with the weekly seventh day Sabbath even though the Sabbath is specifically mentioned. God has revealed to all the Sabbath keepers this writer knows that the weekly Sabbath rest FORESHADOWS the reality of the 1000 year millennial rest this earth will enjoy when our Savior, the source of LIGHT, returns. Likewise, the annual Holy Days FORESHADOW the whole of God’s plan of salvation, step by step, event by event. It is so clear that these Scriptures uphold the observance of these days; they do not do away with them.

What about ‘the body (is) of Christ?’ If you will notice, the word ‘is’ is in italics. That means it was added by the translators to try to clarify the passage of Scripture. Yet the phrase is strikingly clear without it. “But the body of Christ.” The body of Christ is the Church of God. Read Col. 1:18 and Eph. 1:22-23.

Christians are not to allow any man to judge them in how they observe the festivities of God’s Holy Days, but are to let the Church of God – the body of Christ – teach them how to properly observe them to the glory of Christ, the very Head of the Body, the Church.

Let us rejoice at the precious TRUTH of God’s Holy Days revealed by the very Spirit of God to His people as He promised to those who would turn to Him. Those promises are found in I Cor. 2:10 and II Cor. 3:14 and 16.

October 31, 2009

THE HISTORY OF SUN-DAY WORSHIP

The History of Sun-Day Worship

 What would you think if I told you that sun worship is directly linked with the worship of Satan? Would this be significant? And what if this sun worship also affected the true worship of God? God does in fact have a day of worship and Satan has a counterfeit day of worship and this day is the “Day of the Sun.”

Most of the world is unaware that worshiping on Sunday did not begin with the advent of Christianity; it was in fact a religious day of worship two thousand years before Jesus Christ. It was shortly after the flood of Noah that Nimrod and his mother-wife, Semiramis, founded the great pagan religions. From its beginning at the tower of Babel, sun worship spread throughout the entire ancient world. History reveals that all religions except the true religion of the God of the Bible originated in Babylon. It is admitted by most Bible scholars and historians that the gods and goddesses of the ancient civilizations were all a part of the same religious belief system. However, the names of the various deities were different because of the confusing of the languages at the tower of Babel. (See Genesis 10 and 11) See also “The Two Babylons,” by Alexander Hislop. This remarkable book historically documents sun worship as the leading religion in all the ancient civilizations. God reveals many times in the Old Testament how much He despises sun worship and is why He allowed the destruction of the temple and for Israel to go into Babylonian captivity for seventy years. God calls it an abomination!

Deuteronomy 17:3-5 “And has gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 4 And it be told you, and you have heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: 5 Then shall you bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto your gates, even that man or that woman, and shall stone them with stones, till they die.

Jeremiah 8:1-2 “At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves: 2 And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.

Ezekiel 8:15-16 “Have you seen this, O son of man? turn you yet again, and you shall see greater abominations than these. 16 And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.

Alexander Hislop in his book The Two Babylons, p. 226 quotes, The beginning, then, of sun-worship, and of the worship of the host of heaven, was a sin against the light—a presumptuous, heaven-daring sin.

All the pagan religions, with their many and varied gods and goddesses, worshiped the sun as their main deity. Moreover, sun worship is the direct worship of Satan the Devil under the symbolism of worshiping the sun. One of the names of Satan in the Old Testament is Lucifer, which means “Light bringer.” This was Satan’s name before his rebellion against God.

Isaiah 14:12-14 “How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [Light bringer] how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! 13 For you have said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Fire and Sun Worship
Fire worship was just one of many forms of sun worship that in actual fact was also part of Satan worship.

Fire was worshipped as the enlightener and the purifier. Now, it was thus at the very beginning; for Nimrod is singled out by the voice of antiquity as commencing this fire-worship.(ibid. p. 226)

Ancient Israel not only transgressed the Sabbath of God by profaning and secularizing it when they worshiped Baal but in so doing they were also observing Sunday, because Baal worship is sun worship and Sun-day is the day when the sun is worshiped.

The sun, as the great source of light and heat, was worshipped under the name of Baal. … The sun, under that name, was worshipped in the earliest ages of the world… (ibid. p. 226)

2 Chronicles 34:4 “They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence; the sun-images that were high above them he hewed down; the Asherim and the graven images and the molten images he broke in pieces and made dust of them and strewed it upon the graves of those who sacrificed to them.

Baal was the principal deity of the Phoenicians, which was worshiped by the Semitic nations and means lord or master in the Hebrew tongue. Baal also represents the sun and therefore, Sun-day is Baal’s day and literally but somewhat blasphemously could be called the lord’s day. But Baal is not the Lord God of the Bible; rather it is the lord Satan. Satan is called the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and is worshiped as god by those who have been deceived into believing his lies. Since Baal means lord, every minor god is also a Baal. Note the ancient stone idol of Baal. All Baal’s are referred to as Baalim (Plural). Baal was also worshiped as Baalzebub. Baal just as the Dagon has a symbol. Here is an example of how God feels about Baal worship and the Babylonian Mystery Religion. 2 Kings 23:4-5 NIV “The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the LORD all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. 5 He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem– those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts.

The Sun and the Serpent
Paganism is mainly a religion of nature worship of which the sun and the moon are the predominant deities. The sun is usually the male and the moon the female (as Horus and Isis of Egypt.) It is very interesting to note in ancient mythology, the serpent was UNIVERSALLY THE SYMBOL OF THE SUN. Sun worship and serpent worship began side by side. The sun was proclaimed to be the source of all fleshly life and the serpent the origin of all spiritual life. But remember, Revelation 12 states that the serpent has “deceived the whole world.

Along with the sun, as the great fire-god, and, in due time, identified with him, was the serpent worshipped. “In the mythology of the primitive world,” says Owen, “the serpent is universally the symbol of the sun.” In Egypt, one of the commonest symbols of the sun, or sun-god, is a disc with a serpent around it.

  serpent-fire 

 

… The original reason of that identification seems just to have been that, as the sun was the great enlightener of the physical world, so the serpent was held to have been the great enlightener of the spiritual, by giving mankind the “knowledge of good and evil.” … At all events, we have evidence, both Scriptural and profane, for the fact, that the worship of the serpent began side by side with the worship of fire and the sun.” (ibid. p. 227)

The religion of the serpent has passed down from one occult priesthood to another all the way down through the years as man was scattered throughout the earth from the time of the Tower of Babel. In the Orient today, everything is symbolized by that same serpent. A Buddhist temple in Thailand has two winged serpents adorning the sanctuary entrance. The serpent symbolizes a guardian to the temple in Alexandria, Egypt. Even the United States have adopted the serpent called Aesculapius in the medical field. In Greece, this serpent was the god of drugs and medicines, i.e., a counterfeit healer. The Romans adopted the worship of the serpent as a symbol of power that carries the soul to heaven. In the Archaeological Museum in Rome, a sarcophagus of the dead has two serpents pulling a chariot, taking these people to heaven. Rome also adopted this symbol of the serpent as the healer.

Referencing the previous quote, why is the serpent seen as the great enlightener of the spiritual and giving knowledge of good and evil? We can go to the very beginning of the Bible for the answer to this question where Satan is first pictured as a serpent. We also find that at the other end of the Bible, Satan is still pictured as a serpent. In Revelation 12:3, Satan is called “a great red dragon,” which could also be translated “a fiery dragon” or “fiery serpent.” There can be no doubt that the serpent represents Satan.

Revelation 12:9 “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Revelation 20:2 “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

This historical background is vital to understanding that sun worship was the dominant religion in all ancient civilizations, and that it spread from “Mother Babylon” into all countries: India, China, Africa, Greece, Rome, Mexico, South America, Egypt and Europe. Sun worship was a very prominent religion and Sunday was the main day of worship in the Roman Empire by the time of Jesus Christ, just as it was in ancient Babylon:

In Pagan Rome, this fire-worship and serpent-worship were sometimes separate, sometimes conjoined; but both occupied a pre-eminent place in Roman esteem.(ibid. p. 236)

Now, if this worship of the sacred serpent of the Sun, the great fire-god, was so universal in Rome, what symbol could more graphically portray the idolatrous power of Pagan Imperial Rome than the “Great Fiery Serpent”? No doubt it was to set forth this very thing that the Imperial standard itself–the standard of the Pagan Emperor of Rome, as Pontifex Maximus, Head of the great system of fire-worship and serpent-worship–was a serpent elevated on a lofty pole, and so coloured, as to exhibit it as a recognised symbol of fire-worship. (ibid. p. 238)

The Babylonian sun worship system made the king or emperor the direct representative of the sun god and as such, he was the god-king or king-god. He was the only one in whom the highest level of the spirit of the sun-deity resided. This spirit was NOT the holy spirit of God, but the spirit of Satan the Devil. This is why the pagan emperors were worshiped as gods.

After the kingdom of Babylon fell, the entire system of Babylonian and Egyptian mythology was transferred to Pergamos in Asia Minor. The teaching of the Babylonian religious practices by the Babylonian priests and their direct descendants continued in the city of Pergamum for centuries. They taught astrology (which likely included the science of astronomy) and the making of the amulets with the numbers 1 to 36 on them that totalled 666 in the special arrangements they commonly used and of course represented their supreme god the sun. John tells us in Revelation 2:12-13, Pergamos is called “Satan’s seat,” and was the headquarters of the original Babylonian sun worship until this system was carried into the City of Rome about 129 B.C. where they took over leadership, and is where the Roman Catholic Church now has its headquarters. This system was already beginning to work during the days of the apostles, but its fullness had not been revealed. Paul calls this entire hidden system of Worship “the mystery of iniquities” in Thessalonians 2:7 and in Revelation 17:5, John refers to it as “Mystery, Babylon the Great.” It is HIGHLY significant that Pergamos is called “Satan’s Seat” and not hard to see that God is telling us that this issue of sun worship that became sun-day worship in place of God’s day of worship is Satanic. This alone should tell us that what became of sun worship was Satan’s highest priority. The wise among us will realize that the attack on the fourth Commandment was Satan’s plan from the beginning, and that ALL Ten Commandments are in fact eternal as one SHOULD expect. We need to sit up and pay attention to this issue. The relocation of “Satan’s Seat” began in the person of Julius Caesar when as emperor he had supreme civil and religious rule.

When Julius Caesar, who had previously been elected Pontifex Maximus, became also, as Emperor, the supreme civil ruler of the Romans, then, as head of the Roman state, and head of the Roman religion, all the powers and functions of the true legitimate Babylonian Pontiff were supremely vested in him, and he found himself in a position to assert these powers. (ibid. p. 241)

In the year 46 B.C., Julius Caesar was made “Praefectus Morum” (supervisor of morals), which means he was made the head of Roman religions. And in the year 44 B.C., he was made dictator for life. (See Langer’s Encyclopaedia of World History)

It is crucial to understand that from that time forward, the Emperor of Rome was also the head of the state religions. This did not change until Emperor Justinian, who reigned from 527-565 A.D., submitted to the head of the Roman Catholic Church. From that time forward, the Pope was acknowledged by the Emperor to be Pontifex Maximus (Latin for head pagan priest) over all religions. The Pope now had supreme authority in religious matters, and the Emperors had control of the political power of the state.

Sun-Day: The Main Roman Day of Worship
The names of the days of the Roman week are very revealing in understanding about Sun-day worship before it allegedly became a “Christian” institution. Sun-day, or the day of the Sun, was the main pagan day of worship. Although other pagan gods had days named after them, only “dies solis” (Latin for “day of the sun”) was proclaimed to be holy.

The prominence of sun worship in the Roman Empire was attributed to two factors. First, it had been a part of the religious worship system of pagan Rome for a very long time. It was widespread, but not the official dominant religion. Next, the Eastern cult of sun worship, “Sol Invictus” (Invincible Sun), through the cult of “Sol Invictus Mithra” and “Sol Elagabal,” became the dominant religion of the Empire. Notice the “bal” at the end of the name; this signifies that it incorporated Ba(a)l worship.

Mithraism primarily was more of a private cult, though it numbered among its adherents magistrates and emperors. Sol Invictus Elagabal, on the other hand was a popular cult with grandiose temples and during the rule of the young Emperor Elagabalus (A.D. 218-222) was made the official cult of the whole empire.

It is clearly indicated by the famous astrologer Vettius Valens that the “Day of the Sun” already enjoyed pre-eminence by the middle of the second century. In his Anthology composed between 154-174 A.D., when explaining how to find the day of the week of any given birth date, he states, And this is the sequence of the planetary stars in relation to the days of the week: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn.

The “dies solis” [Day of the Sun] was evidently the most sacred day of the week for those faithful to Mithra and so the days of the week were arranged to the gods, whose names the Romans had dedicated to certain stars. They called the first day of the week the “Day of the Sun” because they believed it was the ruler of all the stars.

The Sabbath to Sunday Change
Jesus said that every stone of the Temple would be “thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1-2) This occurred when the temple was destroyed by the Romans during “The First Jewish War” in 70 A.D. When the Romans made war again with the Jews from 132-135 A.D., the Roman Emperor Hadrian banished all Jews from Palestine. These Jewish Wars took place after the book of Acts was written and resulted in great pressure upon the early Christian Church to move away from anything that “appeared Jewish,” including the Sabbath. Since Sunday was already popular throughout the Roman Empire as a day for sun worship, some Christian leaders (now called the early “Church Fathers”) yielded to temptation and began shifting from “Sabbath to Sunday.” “Jesus Christ rose on Sunday!” became their rationalizing cry. Thus they used the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who “died for our sins,” which is the breaking of God’s Law (1 John 3:4), as an excuse to break one of the Ten Commandments.

Before the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., a strong Christian Church was planted inside the city of Rome itself in the heart of the Roman Empire. Paul wrote his letter, “The Epistle of Paul to the Romans,” to those early believers “in Rome.” Romans 1:7. But because it was surrounded by paganism inside the world’s mightiest capital, this Church soon experienced a “falling away” (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3) from the purity of the gospel and meta morphed into the wealthy and powerful Roman Catholic Church. This transition especially took place during the time of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century who favoured the Roman Catholic Church above all other Churches.

In 312 A.D., prior to his pivotal victory over his rival Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge, Constantine became a “Christian” after claiming to see in broad daylight a vision of “a cross above the sun” with these words emblazoned, “in hoc signo vinces” (by this sign conquer). After defeating his enemies and becoming Emperor of Rome, Constantine presided in full royal pomp over the “First Council of Nicea” in 325 A.D.

As a shrewd political genius, his scheme was to unite Christianity and paganism in an effort to strengthen his disintegrating empire. He knew that pagans throughout the empire worshiped the sun on “the first day of the week,” and he discovered that many Christians and especially in Rome and Alexandria also kept Sunday because Christ rose from the dead on that day. So Constantine developed a plan to unite both groups on the common platform of Sunday keeping. On March 7, 321 A.D., he passed his famous national Sunday law:

On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time [A.D. 321].) Source: Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; trans. in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol.3 (5th ed.; New York: Scribner, 1902), p.380, note 1.

Now a professed Christian, Constantine nevertheless remained a devout sun worshipper.The sun was universally celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of Constantine, notes Edward Gibbon in his classic Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch. xx, par. 3.

Constantine even printed coins which bore on the one side the letters of the name of Christ, on the other the figure of the sun god. Arthur P. Stanley, History of the Eastern Church, lect. vi, par. 14.

Again, Constantine’s promotion of Sunday observance was part of his definite strategy to combine paganism with Christianity: The retention of the old pagan name of dies Solis, or ’Sunday,’ for the weekly Christian festival, is in great measure owing to the union of pagan and Christian sentiment with which the first day of the week was recommended by Constantine to his subjects, pagan and Christian alike, as the ‘venerable day of the Sun.’ Stanley’s History of the Eastern Church, p. 184.

In 330 A.D., Constantine moved his capital from Rome to Constantinople (modern Istanbul), thus preparing the way for the Roman Catholic Popes to reign in Rome as the successors of Constantine. As the Papal Church grew in power, it opposed Sabbath observance in favour of Sunday sacredness and made the day change official in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 363-364). At this time the Catholic Church decreed 59 Canon laws. Canon law 29 is as follows: Canon XXIX: Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.

Constantine’s plan was successful and his sun-day law from sun worship was accepted by the Papal Church and the Sabbath to Sunday change complete.

In spite of the rising popularity of Sunday sacredness, Church historian Socrates Scholasticus (5th century) wrote: For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries [of the Lord’s Supper] on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this. Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, ch. 22. Another historian also confirmed this by stating, The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria. Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, Book 7, ch. 19. Thus even in the 5th century, Sabbath keeping was universally prevalent (except in Rome and Alexandria where the Babylonian religion came to rest), along with Sunday keeping. Many Christians kept both days. But as the centuries wore on, Sunday keeping grew in prominence and especially within Roman Catholic territories.

History and scripture show that in pagan Roman times (before, during, and after the coming of Jesus Christ), Sun-day was the most prominent day of worship in the Roman Empire. Most of the Christian religions today wrongly assume that this pagan day of worship is holy. God knew from the beginning that Satan and man would falsify His appointments by changing the time. His handiwork is His creation which points back to the Creator. The pagan week certainly does not give glory to the Creator but only to the Babylonian pagan gods and we know who is behind them.

Revelation 13:2 says that the dragon (Satan/Serpent) gave power to the beast (Kingdom/Papal Church) and Daniel 7:25 states that they would think to change God’s times and laws. Scripture leaves no doubt that Satan gave power to the Roman Catholic Church. What was Satan’s purpose here? The predominant reason was so he could institute his own day of worship right into the Christian Church and receive worship by representation, and very significantly, in opposition to God’s true day of worship.

One religion absorbed by Rome involved the Philistine idol of the fish-man god called Dagon, which was also referred to as the devil. The most famous temples of Dagon were at Gaza (Judges 16:21-30) and Ashdod (1 Samuel 5:3-7; 1 Chronicles 10:10). Dagon was represented with the face and hands of a man and the lower half the body as the tail of a fish (1 Samuel 5:3-4). The fish like form was a symbol of fruitfulness and as such was likely to be adopted by seafaring tribes in the representation of their gods, which is why Rome who ruled the seas easily adopted this religion.

dagon4

hazor-baal-2

shamash-tablet

hazor-baal

These images are just one of many proofs that this Babylonian system went not just to pagan Rome but also was adopted by the Church of Rome now being the rich and powerful Roman Catholic Church. The first image shown here is the Sun symbol of Baal. Now take a look at the Pope with the symbol of “Baal” (sun worship) at the forefront of his mitre, which also symbolizes the Dagon god. The symbol of the Dagon is in the form of a hat or mitre. The Pope, being Satan’s representative on earth must wear the mitre, (hat), of the Dagon god. Notice the open mouth of the fish at the top of the Pope’s mitre. Also notice the Pope holding the symbol of the sun before him during services. 

dagon-symbolism

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One can also see the body of the fish running down the back of the mitre of the Dagon. Note also the carvings and diagrams of Dagon priests and their fish head hats along side the Pope with his similar fish head hat holding the crooked cross of Mithra. The carving on the left shows the Dagon priests sprinkling holy water.

The pagan week is still named after the seven heavenly lights according to their risings that rule over the first hour of each day, i.e. they are the LORDS or MASTERS ruling that day. The seven-day week as created by God is shown by His weekly Sabbath, not by the risings of these seven pagan gods of the Babylonian Mysteries. So there would be no question as to when His week began and ended, God created the true weekly Sabbath, the appointed time for meeting with God, the day that is sanctified and set apart by God at creation. Exodus 31:13-17 states the Sabbath is God’s sign/mark between Him and us FOREVER so we may know that He is the LORD that sanctifies us. The true day of worship gives glory and points to the Creator.

H226 oth Probably from H225 (in the sense of appearing); a signal (literally or figuratively), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.: – mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token.

A sign and a mark can be synonymous and in the Strong’s dictionary we find that the word translated “SIGN” in Exodus 31:13 and other similar verses can also be translated as “MARK.” We know that Satan counterfeits many things of God and so if the true Sabbath is God’s sign and mark, then the mark of the beast and 666 as Satan’s counterfeit has to be referring to keeping of a false day of worship created by the devil and his Babylonian Mystery System. This false Sabbath and appointed time is Satan’s way of leading mankind away from God. As Revelation 12 says, that old serpent, dragon, Satan the Devil has deceived the whole world. When Israel apostatized and were almost universally worshiping Baal, what appeal did Elijah make to them?

“How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21.

History of Sun-Day worship Summary
Most Christians have no idea how extremely significant the fourth Commandment is to God and yet we find that Satan from the very beginning has been working towards his own day of worship with his intention to have it replace God’s true day of worship. Having a close look at the history of Sun-Day worship reveals that Satan had a long term plan and has gone to a tremendous amount of effort to achieve his goal. Why would Satan go to so much trouble if the fourth Commandment is not pertinent as our adversary would have us believe? Could it be that all Ten Commandments are to last as long as Heaven Earth as Jesus told us? If Christians could only grasp that the fourth Commandment is just as much an eternal Moral law as the other nine.

Why would our God of infinite wisdom place a Temporary law in an Eternal law or a law that is NOT love in a law that IS love? Our God is not a fool and “is not the author of confusion…” 1 Corinthians 14:33. God included the fourth Commandment in His Moral Law of Love because it is a Law of Love and a very special one that is a SIGN it is God we Love and Worship and that we are His children. It is also a SIGN that it is God that sanctifies us and makes us His Holy children. It is NOT a sign when we keep another day. To do so is to profane the Holy and to try and make Holy the profane. Only God can make a day Holy. Having said this, let’s finalise and sum up this important topic.

It was after the great flood of Noah that Nimrod and Semiramis founded the great pagan religions. From its beginning at the tower of Babel, sun worship spread throughout the entire ancient world. This is idolatry at its worst that God detests. What was the driving force behind this?

God frequently punished Israel for the idolatrous practises that involved worship of the sun and other heavenly bodies. What spirit was behind Israel’s disobedience and sun worship?

God eventually sent Israel into Babylonian captivity because of their continual idolatrous practises such as sun worship, which of course had also resulted in them profaning God’s Sabbath. Sun worship of course was Hugh throughout Babylon also being the origin of astrology. What spirit was behind this?

When the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon, (539 B.C.) the Babylonian priests took their mystery religion to Pergamos. In Pergamos, sun worship and their mystery religion flourished. Who was behind this? Revelation 2:12-13 gives that answer and exhorts that Pergamos was the seat of Satan.

From Pergamos the Babylonian priests saw an opportunity and went to Rome (Approx 129 B.C.) and it was not long before Rome filled with their religious teachings and practices also. It became so pervasive that people called Rome the “New Babylon.” Need I ask what spirit was behind this?

From pagan Rome, the practices and beliefs of the Babylonian religion went right into the Church of Rome. Historians have said that it seemed like almost the entire city of Rome converted virtually overnight to Christianity, but what actually happened is the Babylonian religion was simply brought into the Church. What spirit was behind this and what is the goal?

Constantine became a “Christian” after claiming to see in broad daylight a vision of “a cross above the sun” with these words emblazoned, “in hoc signo vinces” (by this sign conquer). Constantine’s scheme was to unite Christianity and paganism in an effort to strengthen his disintegrating empire. He knew that pagans throughout the Roman Empire especially worshiped the sun on “the first day of the week,” so he developed a plan to unite both groups on the common platform of Sunday keeping and passed his famous Sunday law (A.D. 321). What spirit was behind the uniting of paganism and Christianity and Constantine’s vision?

Revelation 13:2 says that the dragon (Satan) gave power to the beast (Catholic Church). We won’t ask who was behind this since we are told. Why did Satan do this? From sun worship in Rome came Sunday worship in the Church. The Roman Catholic Church made keeping the Seventh-day Sabbath illegal in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 364). So what spirit was behind this step by step transition to Sun-day worship? During the dark ages of Papal persecution, millions died in their determination to keep God’s Seventh-day Sabbath Holy and it was nearly murdered out of existence. And again what spirit was behind this? So now when the Protestant reformation began, all the new Protestant Churches that came from it continued keeping Sunday in ignorance. Today most Christians fight with all their heart to avoid the truth about this one Commandment that Satan went to work on right from the beginning so he could receive worship by representation in place of God as he wanted to be like the most High. Pretty obvious what spirit was behind this? Even though there is a growing count of over five hundred different denominations that keep the Seventh-day Sabbath, the majority of Christians are still not keeping God’s true day of worship, but instead keep the day that Satan instituted. This was always Satan’s plan and most do not want to find the real truth but instead have one of hundreds of different perpetuated excuses they have heard. What spirit is behind this? The answer remains the same. It is our adversary Satan that has deceived the entire world!

2000 Years of False Predictions About the End of the World

By Thomas Williamson
3131 S. Archer Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60608

For 2000 years now, misguided Christians have misused the prophecies of the Bible, especially the book of Revelation, to do that which Christ forbids us to do in Matthew 24:36 – set dates for Christ’s Second Coming. Some of the biggest money-making prophecy books of our time have been those which relate events in Revelation to our own time, thus leading to the conclusion that we are now in the “Terminal Generation.” But there is nothing new about this genre of prophetic malarkey.
Jonathan Kirsch, in “A History of the End of the World,”, notes that “More than a few readers of Revelation in every age, including our own, have thrilled at the idea that the end is near. . . . they persist in poring over the text of Revelation in a fresh attempt to figure out the precise date when it will [end]. They have always been wrong, too, of course, but nothing has discouraged the so-called date setters who study the text, crunch the numbers, and come up with dates when the world must end. Not a single century has passed since the ink dried on the first copy of Revelation without some new prediction of the precise date when its prophecies will finally come to pass.” The first known date-setters were the Montanists, who arose about 156 AD. One of their prophetesses, Maximilla, predicted, “After me there will be no more prophecy, but the End.” The Montanist Church Father Tertullian (late 2nd Century) said, “The biblical command, ‘increase and multiply,’ is annulled by the fact that we are living in the last age.” Pope Gregory the Great, about 600 AD, said, ‘I don’t know what is happening in other parts of the world, but in this country where we live the world no longer announces its end but demonstrates it.” In 775 the Spanish monk Beatus of Liébana announced that the end would come about 800 AD: “Every catholic ought to ponder, wait and fear, and to consider these 25 years, as if they were not more than an hour, and should weep day and night in sackcloth and ashes for their destruction and the world’s, but not strive to calculate time.” Pope Gregory VII, in the 11th Century, said, “The nearer the time of Antichrist approaches, the harder he fights to crush out the Christian faith.” Joachim of Fiore about 1184, taught that the final battle between God and Satan “will not take place in the days of your grandchildren or in the old age of your children, but in your own days, few and evil.” He identified the Muslim general Saladin as one of the 7 heads of the Beast of Revelation 13. He informed King Richard the Lion-Hearted that the Saracen army was the Beast rising out of the sea of the book of Revelation, and that the Antichrist (the Pope) was already residing in Rome. The Spiritual Franciscans, in the 13th Century, saw their founder Francis of Assisi as the “Angel of the 6th Seal” and as one of the 2 witnesses of Revelation 11. They also fingered Pope John XXII as the Antichrist. Prophecy experts saw the Mongol invasion of 1237 as a fulfillment of the prophecy of the “Kings of the East” and the drying up of the river Euphrates. Ubertino de Casale, (1259-1330), identified Popes Boniface VIII and Benedict XI as the Land and Sea Beasts of Revelation 13, and calculated the value of Benedict XI’s name as 666. A “Brother John” predicted that 2 Antichrists would arise in 1365 and 1370, and that Jerusalem would soon be rebuilt to serve as the capital of the coming millennial kingdom on earth. Michael Stifel, a German mathematician, used the pulpit of Martin Luther’s church to announce that the end times would begin on October 19, 1533 at 8:00 AM. In 1606 Nicholas Raimarus published a book in Nuremberg, Germany entitled  ronological, Certain, and Irrefutable Proof, from the Holy Scripture and Fathers, That the World Will Perish and the Last Day Will Come Within 77 Years.” The “Fifth Monarchy Men” proclaimed the imminent advent of Christ’s theocratic kingdom, and almost took over the English Parliament in 1653. When Oliver Cromwell sent troops to suppress them in 1656, they cried, “Lord, appear, now or never!” You guessed it – Christ didn’t show up. George Bell announced that Christ would descend to earth on February 28, 1763. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, opposed that teaching and preached all night on the day Christ was supposed to come, to try to calm the nerves of the agitated crowds. In 1971, Ronald Reagan declared a recent coup in Libya to be a sign of the end: “That’s a sign that the day of Armageddon isn’t far off. Everything’s falling into place. It can’t be long now.” Supposedly Libya was to fulfill end-times prophecies by aligning with the Soviet Union. Since that time, the Soviet Union has fallen and Libya is now aligned with the United States. (So much for all the signs of the times “falling into place).” In 1980 televangelist Pat Robertson announced that “The onrush of events toward the end of the year may see the world in flames. I guarantee you by the fall of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world.” In 1979 Jerry Falwell denounced the Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, saying, “This treaty will not be a lasting treaty. You and I know there’s not going to be any real peace in the Middle East until the Lord Jesus sits down upon the throne of David in Jerusalem.” After almost 30 years, the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt has remained intact. These are just a few of the hundreds of examples that could be given, from the 2nd Century up to modern times, of predictions based on the Book of Revelation or other Bible prophecies, that failed to come true. There is a constant torrent of new prophecies of this nature coming forth today, and they need to be regarded with skepticism. Everything that the Bible teaches is true, but the Bible was never meant to reveal the date of Christ’s coming or the other detailed scenarios of end-times events that are falsely deduced from obscure Bible verses lifted out of context.

Delusion of the Millerites – No One to Be Saved After 1844
The story of the Millerite movement in the Northeastern USA, which taught that Christ would return on October 22, 1844, is well known. Their delusion was amply supported by prophecies wrenched out of their historical context from the Books of Daniel, Revelation, etc. Those who refused to embrace the 1844 date for Christ’s return were accused of apathy, of spiritual blindness and of perhaps not even being saved. In 1836, William Miller wrote, “I did not think the door would be closed until about AD 1839 – but what does this general apathy mean. After the door is shut – he that is filthy will remain so.” Joseph Marsh, on October 2, 1844, proclaimed that soon “The door of salvation will be forever closed.” When Christ was a no-show in 1844, some Adventist groups continued to teach the “shut-door” doctrine which insisted that it was impossible for anyone not already saved before October 22, 1844 to come to salvation. After the passage of some years, it became necessary to quietly drop this inconvenient notion, in order for the Adventist churches to be able to admit new converts as members. Whitney Cross, in his book “The Burned-Over District,” reports on how the Millerites and Adventists found “signs of the times” in all the news events and social trends of their day: “The breaking and scattering of churches; reluctance to imbibe sound doctrine; the spread of seducing beliefs like Shakerism, Catholicism and free thought; false prophets and teachers; and the ‘scattering of holy people’ – such occurrences received increasing attention. . . . They found the world beyond rescue, legislatures corrupt, and infidelity, idolatry, Romanism, sectarianism, seduction, fraud, murder and duels all waxing stronger. One of the chief reasons for a sudden terminus was the feeling ‘that every associated body . . . when once occupied . . . has never been regenerated; but has fallen into pollution.’ Church and state alike had filled ‘the cup of iniquity’ and were ‘now fitted for destruction.'”
This type of negative, pessimistic preaching about how things are inevitably and irretrievably getting worse and worse, thus “proving” that Christ must return soon, is as prevalent today as it was during the Millerite excitements. But such preaching has no more predictive value today, as to the timing of Christ’s return, than it did when the Millerites used it to prove the 1844 return of Christ.

Delusion of the Jehovah’s Witnesses – Date Setting Frenzy
In 1917, the Jehovah’s Witnesses proclaimed, “In the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by the millions, it shall be that any escape shall come through the works of Russell.” (Charles Taze Russell was the founder of the Russellites, or Jehovah’s Witnesses). In 1918 the book “Millions Now Living Will Never Die,” confidently stated that “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the conditions of human perfection.” Watchtower magazine on August 15, 1968 stated that “The Battle of Armageddon will be over by the autumn of 1975. It may involve only a difference of weeks or months, not years.”

Delusion of the Branch Davidians, the Wackos of Waco
The Mount Carmel compound of the Branch Davidians, near Waco, Texas, was established in 1935 by Bulgarian-American prophet Victor Houteff, who chose the state of Texas, based on a reference in Isaiah 19:24 to “in the midst of the land” which Houteff interpreted to be Texas. (Such interpretations may seem bizarre, but they are no more so than those of respected prophecy teachers who find references to “the United States in prophecy” in such obscure places as “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,” Isaiah 18:1, and Tarshish or Tartessus, a city in southern Spain, Isaiah 60:9. These are the folks who endlessly boast about their “literal interpretation” of Bible prophecy and yet change Spain and Ethiopia into “the United States.” Or maybe they are just really lousy at geography). In 1955, Houteff’s widow Florence Houteff, announced that God’s earthly kingdom would be established on April 22, 1959. Mrs. Houteff prophesied that on that date, “the faithful would be slaughtered, resurrected and carried up to heaven.” A whole lot of other stuff was supposed to happen on that day: War would break out in the Middle East, all Jews and Arabs would be cleared out of Jerusalem, the Davidic Kingdom would be ushered in, Victor Houteff would come back from the dead, etc. One thousand faithful followers gathered at Mount Carmel to be wafted up to heaven, having previously given up all their possessions. But nothing happened. When that prophecy failed, Ben Roden, who had argued for a 1960 date for the end, formed a splinter group called the Branch Davidians. Vernon Howell eventually made himself leader of this group and changed his name to David Koresh. Koresh saw himself as the Seventh Angel of Revelation 1 and the Lamb of Revelation 5, and believed that he and his followers were living in the time of the breaking of the Seven Seals. When federal agents besieged his compound in 1993, he regarded their activities as the necessary fulfillment of the prophecy of the Fifth Seal, and refused to surrender. As a result, he and almost all of his followers were killed after the compound was set on fire as federal agents sought to break in.

Delusion of Herbert Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God – “Prediction Addiction”
Joseph Tkach, in the book “Transformed by Truth,” noted that Worldwide Church of God founder Herbert Armstrong set dates for the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth: “Mr. Armstrong . . . offered many predictions about its timing (all of which failed to come true). He said that the Worldwide Church of God would first be miraculously transported to a place of safety, probably Petra – an ancient, walled city in the south of Jordan, a place of protection against the terrors of Armageddon – in 1936. He later mistakenly predicted that this event would occur in ‘43 and then again in ‘72. Three and a half years after the church was taken to safety, Christ would return and the battle of Armageddon would commence. When all these predictions failed and numbers of people left the church in response, he became much more careful about setting prophetic dates.” Tkach, himself a prominent Worldwide Church of God leader, goes on to list more false prophecies of Herbert Armstrong that appeared in the Plain Truth magazine: “When the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1980, Mr. Armstrong wrote, ‘In the past 2 weeks, this world has entered into a “whole new ball game.” The intervention of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan changes the whole world picture.’ A few pages later he asked, ‘Can WE discern the signs of the times? END-TIME EVENTS are going to happen FAST from here on! The 80s well might see the END of this present world; WAKE UP!’
“A few months later Mr. Armstrong wrote, ‘Signs are now fast appearing that our Work of the GREAT COMMISSION may be much more near completed than we have realized.’ And in a related article in the same publication he ventured his prediction that ‘God’s great work through His church Philadelphia era) may be FINISHED in a matter of months.’ “On June 30, 1980, Mr. Armstrong wrote, ‘This present election travesty may well be the very LAST political election for the presidency of the United States, with little incompetent men vying for the coveted prize.’ “On March 6, 1981, Mr. Armstrong said that ‘conditions in the world fulfilling biblical prophecies are now fast accelerating, indicating that we are indeed in the last of the last days’ and predicted that ‘terrible, frightful things are going to happen in the next few years that are going to take the lives of probably 2/3 or more of all the people now living on the face of the earth.'” Tkach admits that “We also made more than 100 prophetic predictions that failed. For one, we said that Europe was going to unite and take the American and British people into subjection and slavery. We predicted this would happen by the early 1970s – and of course, it didn’t. “The sad fact is that for 50 years we predicted the end of the world would come in just 4 to 7 short years. When those 4 to 7 years passed into history without our predictions coming true, we’d say that the world would end in another 4 to 7 short years. . . . ”
Tkach goes on to list false prophecies by WCG minister Roderick Meredith published in the Plain Truth: 1957 – “After 1965, we are destined to run into increasing trouble with the Gentile nations. America and Britain will begin to suffer from trade embargoes imposed by the brown and oriental races . . . We will begin to experience the pangs of starvation and the scarcity of goods!” 1963 – “You might as well wake up and FACE FACTS! The world you live in won’t be here 15 years from now!” 1965 – “Frankly, literally dozens of prophesied events indicate that this final revival of the Roman Empire in Europe – and its bestial PERSECUTION of multitudes of Bible-believing Christians – will take place within the next 7 to 10 years of YOUR LIFE!” Tkach concludes his review of false WCG prophecies by saying, “Our prayers are that God will touch the hearts of those still gripped by such cognitive dissonance, those who are suffering from prediction addiction.” It will come as no surprise to some that the Worldwide Church of God discredited itself by propagating so many wacky, zany false prophecies. There was no reason to expect anything different – after all, they were a false cult.
The problem is that there are many basically orthodox, evangelical, Trinitarian ministries that are still putting out their date-setting and prophetic speculations, in the same manner as the WCG used to do. Just as the WCG discredited their whole cultish, anti-Trinitarian, British-Israelite system by their failed prophecies, we who are true evangelicals tend to discredit our basically sound system of doctrine when we put forth our false, speculative prophecies. I respectfully disagree with men such as Hank Hanegraaff and Jack Hayford who felt that the Worldwide Church of God reformed itself enough to be accepted as a true New Testament church with totally sound doctrine. I don’t see it that way. However, I do feel that Joseph Tkach and the WCG deserve credit and gratitude for the way they have publicly repudiated and apologized for the false prophecies and “Prediction Addiction” of their denomination. Many of us as evangelicals and fundamentalists need to make our own apologies, and renounce our date-setting errors and “Prediction Addiction.”

Date-Setting – An Unethical Ministry Tool
Date-setting for Christ’s Second Coming is a ministry tool that has been used by orthodox, Bible-believing groups (Millerites, Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impe, etc.) as well as heretical cultish groups (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Branch Davidians, Worldwide Church of God). It is an effective ministry tool, a tactic that works for various types of groups, because there are always plenty of people who are seeking otherwise forbidden and unavailable knowledge about the details of the future and the timing of Christ’s Second Coming. Any preacher who wants to build up the crowds, donations, and book and video sales needs only to start offering inside information on the dating of Christ’s Second Coming and the signs of that coming. In many cases, the preacher may sincerely believe his own predictions and not necessarily be motivated by desire for monetary gain. Yes, date-setting and signs of the times preaching are effective ministry strategies, but they are ultimately invalid and unethical, because these predictions over a period of 2000 years have always been wrong, and because the Bible tells us we are not authorized to have this type of specific knowledge about the future (Mark 13:32, Acts 1:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2, etc.) The favorite proof text for the date-setters is Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” This, like the other proof texts, they use, has been lifted from its context. Amos is speaking here of God’s promise to reveal the coming judgment on Israel by the Assyrians, which took place in 722 BC. God says He will reveal this secret to His prophets who are under divine inspiration, including Amos. We do not have any such inspired prophets today. We have no promise from God that He will let us know the date of Christ’s return. “Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:44)

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