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“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

Blog Wordle

“The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20)

“Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23)

“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

“ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)

“My brethren, let not many be masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” (James 3:1)

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1 Tim 4:1)

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”  (2 Cor 11:3-4)

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3)

“And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:3-7)

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-4,7-21)

“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”  (Galatians 4:16)

“There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.” (Psalm 53:5)

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  (Galatians 5:22-23)

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” ((Jeremiah 29:11)

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:15-21)

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:5-21)

“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

“Is this not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” (Isaiah 58: 6-12)

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The Armour of God and Other Pins plus some new in a different view

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The Armour of God and Other Pins

This gallery contains 191 photos.

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The Parables of Jesus

“I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.” Matt 13:35

“He began to teach them many things in parables.” Mark 4:2

“But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” Mark 4:35

Communicating with Images and Stories

Like the rabbis of his time, Jesus used simple word-pictures, called parables, to help people understand who God is and what his kingdom or reign is like. Jesus used images and characters taken from everyday life to create a miniature play or drama to illustrate his message. This was Jesus most common way of teaching. His stories appealed to the young and old, poor and rich, and to the learned and unlearned as well.

Over a third of the Gospels by Matthew, Mark, and Luke contain parables told by Jesus. Jesus loved to use illustrations to reach the heart of his listeners through their imagination. These word-pictures challenged the mind to discover anew what God is like and moved the heart to make a response to God’s love and truth. Like a skillful artist, Jesus painted lively pictures with short and simple words.

A good picture can speak more loudly and clearly than many words. Jesus used the ordinary everyday to point to another order of reality – hidden, yet visible to those who had “eyes to see” and “ears to hear”. Jesus communicated with pictures and stories, vivid illustrations which captured the imaginations of his audience more powerfully than an abstract presentation could. His parables are like buried treasure waiting to be discovered. (Matt 13:44)

How can ordinary everyday images and stories, such as hidden treasure, a tiny mustard seed, a determined woman looking for her lost coin, a barren fig tree, a pearl of great price, and some uninvited wedding guests, portray timeless and extraordinary truths? Jesus taught by use of comparisons. “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed…” (Mark 4:30-31)

God’s kingdom or reign is like what happens in Jesus’ stories. The comparisons have to do with a whole process, and not simply with an object or person alone. While his parables are rooted in a specific time and place, they nonetheless speak of timeless realities to people of every time and place. They underline the fact that God works in every age and he meets us in the ordinary everyday situations of life.

What is a Parable?

A parable is a word-picture which uses an image or story to illustrate a truth or lesson. It creates a mini-drama in picture language that describes the reality being illustrated. It shows a likeness between the image of an illustration and the object being portrayed. It defines the unknown by using the known. It helps the listener to discover the deeper meaning and underlying truth of the reality being portrayed. It can be a figure of speech or comparison, such as “the kingdom of God ..is like a mustard seed ..or like yeast” (Luke 13:19, 21)

More commonly it is a short story told to bring out a lesson or moral. Jesus used simple stories or images to convey important truths about God and his kingdom, and lessons pertaining to the way of life and happiness which God has for us. They commonly feature examples or illustrations from daily life in ancient Palestine, such as mustard seeds and fig trees, wineskins and oil lamps, money and treasure, stewards, workers, judges, and homemakers, wedding parties and children’s games. Jesus’ audience would be very familiar with these illustrations from everyday life. Today we have to do some homework to understand the social customs described.

Jesus’ parables have a double meaning. First, there is the literal meaning, apparent to anyone who has experience with the subject matter. But beyond the literal meaning lies a deeper meaning – a beneath-the-surface lesson about God’s truth and his kingdom. For example, the parable of the leaven (see Matt 13:33) describes the simple transformation of dough into bread by the inclusion of the yeast.

In like manner, we are transformed by God’s kingdom when we allow his word and Spirit to take root in our hearts. And in turn we are called to be leaven that transforms the society in which we live and work. Jerome, an early church father and biblical scholar remarked: “The marrow of a parable is different from the promise of its surface, and like as gold is sought for in the earth, the kernel in a nut and the hidden fruit in the prickly covering of chestnuts, so in parables we must search more deeply after the divine meaning.”

Jesus’ parables often involve an element of surprise or an unexpected twist. We are taken off guard by the progression of the story. The parable moves from the very familiar and understandable aspects of experience to a sudden turn of events or a remarkable comparison which challenges the hearer and invites further reflection. For example, why should a shepherd go through a lot of bother and even risk his life to find one lost sheep when ninety-nine are in his safe keeping? The shepherd’s concern for one lost sheep and his willingness to risk his own life for it tells us a lot about God’s concern for his children who go astray.

How to Read the Parables

Jesus told his disciples that not everyone would understand his parables. “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not hear”. (Luke 8:10)

Did Jesus mean to say that he was deliberately confusing his listeners? Very likely not. Jesus was speaking from experience. He was aware that some who heard his parables refused to understand them. It was not that they could not intellectually understand them, but rather, their hearts were closed to what Jesus was saying. They had already made up their minds to not believe.

God can only reveal the secrets of his kingdom to the humble and trusting person who acknowledges the need for God and for his truth. The parables of Jesus will enlighten us if we approach them with an open mind and heart, ready to let them challenge us. If we approach them with the conviction that we already know the answer, then we, too, may look but not see, listen but not hear or understand.

When reading the parables it is important to not get bogged down in the details of the story. The main point is what counts. Very often the details are clear enough, but some are obscure: for example, why would a rich man allow his dishonest steward to take care of his inventory (see Luke 16:1-8).

A storyteller doesn’t have to make every detail fit perfectly. Each parable will typically present a single point. Look for the main point and don’t get bogged down in the details. In addition, Jesus often throws in a surprise or unexpected twist. These challenge the hearer and invite us to reflect. Jesus meant for his parables to provoke a response. If we listen with faith and humility then each will understand as he or she is able to receive what Jesus wishes to speak to each of our hearts.

Parables from Nature

The Sower and the Seeds: Mark 4:3-9; Matt 13:3-9; Luke 8:5-8

The Grain of Wheat: John 12:24

The Weeds in the Grain or the Tares: Matt 13:24-30

The Net: Matt 13:47-50

The Seed Growing Secretly or The Patient Husbandman: Mark 4:26-29

The Mustard Seed: Matt 13:31; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18

The Leaven: Matt 13:33; Luke 13:20

The Budding Fig Tree: Matt 24:32; Mark 13:28; Luke 21:19-31

The Barren Fig Tree: Luke 13:6-9

The Birds of Heaven: Matt 6:26; Luke 12:24

The Flowers of the Field: Matt 6:28-30; Luke 12:27

The Vultures & the Carcass: Matt 24:28; Luke 17:37

The Tree and its Fruits: Matt 7:16; Luke 6:43-49

The Weather Signs: Luke 12:54-56; c Matt 26:2; Mark 8:11-13

Work and Wages

Master and Servant: Luke 17:7-10

The Servant Entrusted with Authority or The Faithful and Unfaithful Servants: Matt. 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-46

The Waiting Servants: Luke 12:35-38; Mark 13:33-37

The Laborers in the Vineyard or The Generous Employer: Matt 20:1-16

The Money in Trust or The Talents: Matt 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27

The Lamp: Matt 5:14-16; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16, 11:31

The City Set on a Hill: Matt. 5:14

The Body’s Lamp: Matt 6:22; Luke 11:34-36

The Discarded Salt: Matt 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34

The Patch and the Wineskins: Matt 9:16; Mark 2:21; Luke 5:36-39

The Householder’s Treasure: Matt 13:52

The Dishonest Steward: Luke 16:1-12

The Defendant: Luke 12:58; Matt 5:25

The Unforgiving Official or The Unmerciful Servant: Matt 18:23-35

The Rich Fool: Luke 12:16-21

The Wicked Vinedressers: Matt 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16

The Two Builders: Matt 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49

The Two Debtors: Luke 7:41-43

The Hidden Treasure: Matt 13:44

The Pearl of Great Price: Matt 13:45

Open and Closed Doors

The Closed Door: Luke 13:24-30

The Doorkeeper: Mark 13:33-37; Matt 24:42

The Thief in the Night and the Faithful Servants: Matt 24:42-51; Luke 12:32-48

The Strong Man Bound: Matt 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21

The Divided Realm: Mark 3:24-26; Luke 11:17-20

The Unoccupied House or The Demon’s Invasion: Matt 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26

The Importunate Neighbor: Luke 11:5-8

The Son’s Request: Matt 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13

The Unjust Judge or The Importunate Widow: Luke 18:1-8

The Pharisee and the Publican: Luke 18:9-14

Weddings and Feasts

The Sulking Children or The Children in the Marketplace: Matt 11:16-19; Luke 7:31-35

The Arrogant Guest: Luke 14:7-11

The Bridegroom’s Friend: John 3:28

The Bridegroom’s Attendants: Matt 9:15a; Mark 2:18 ; Luke 5:34

The Bride’s Girlfriends or Ten Virgins: Matt 25:1-13

The Tower Builder and The Warring King: Luke 14:28-32

The Wedding Feast or The Unwilling Guests: Matt 22:1-10; Luke 14:16-24

The Wedding Garment: Matt 22:11-14

The Rich Man and Lazarus: Luke 16:19-31

Lost and Found, Father and Son

The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37

The Prodigal Son or The Loving Father: Luke 15:11-32

The Two Sons, The Apprentice Son, and The Slave and Son: Matt 21:28-32; John 5:19-20a; John 3:35

The Lost Coin: Luke 15:8-10

The Lost Sheep: Matt 28:12-14; Luke 15:4-7

The Shepherd, the Thief, and the Doorkeeper: John 10:1-18

The Doctor and the Sick: Matt 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5: 31

The Great Assize or The Sheep and the Goats: Matt 25:31-46

By Don Schwager

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Deforestation and palm oil

This gallery contains 17 photos.

Originally posted on END Trophy Hunting NOW:
Say no to palm oil! Did you know that most of us are unwittingly financing one of the world’s biggest ecological disasters and acts of primate genocide in history? Borneo and Sumatra are…

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The Secret Truth of Roman Catholicism

vatican_alienEcumenical Prayer Meeting at Assisi in 1986 1Ecumenical Prayer Meeting at Assisi in 1986 2Ecumenical Prayer Meeting - No - Palo Mayombe

Palo Mayombe is the dark side of Santeria and is said to be the world’s
most powerful and feared form of black magic.   The difference between
Palo Mayombe and Santeria is those who practice the religion of Santeria
profess to use the forces of light to achieve their goals and magic spells,
while the members of Palo Mayombe use the forces of darkness.
Many members of Santeria avoid being associated with Palo Mayombe.

Ecumenical Prayer Meeting at Assisi in 1986 3Ecumenical Prayer Meeting at Assisi in 1986 4Pope 01Pope 24Pope 23Pope 03Pope 04Pope 05Pope 02

Pope 11Send Bertone 3Pope 13Pope 12Pope 20Pope 06Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates First Vespers And Te Deum PrayersPope 21Pope 10Pope 07Pope in Nazi Uniform

The Pope in Nazi Uniform

This is Pope Benedict XVI wearing the Nazi swastika as a member of the Hitler Youth.

The following is excerpted from “The Crucifixion of Truth” by Tony Bushby:

John Paul II 1978- 2005

In the early 1940`s, the I.G. Farben Chemical Company employed a Polish salesman who sold cyanide to the Nazis for use in Auschwitz. The same salesman also worked as a chemist in the manufacture of the poison gas. This same cyanide gas along with Zyklon B and malathion was used to exterminate millions of Jews and other groups. Their bodies were then burned to ashes in the ovens. After the war the salesman, fearing for his life, joined the Catholic Church and was ordained a priest in 1946. One of his closest friends was Dr. Wolf Szmuness, the mastermind behind the November 1978 to October 1979 and March 1980 to October 1981 experimental hepatitis B vaccine trials conducted by the Center for Disease Control in New York, San Francisco and four other American cities that loosed the plague of AIDS upon the American people. The salesman was ordained Poland`s youngest bishop in 1958. His predecessor was assassinated after a 30 day reign and our ex-cyanide gas salesman assumed the papacy as POPE JOHN PAUL II. William Cooper, BEHOLD A PALE HORSE, (Light Technology Publishing, 1991), pp.89-90

Pope John Paul II: Zyklon B Salesman 

In his book ‘Behold a Pale Horse,’ former US Naval Intelligence Officer William Cooper (who was famously shot and murdered by police outside his own house on 5 November 2001) relates a story associated with the IG Farben Chemical Company.

In the early 1940s, that company employed a Polish chemist and salesman who sold cyanide gas, Zyklon B and Malathion to the Nazis for extermination of groups of people in Auschwitz.

After the war the salesman joined the Catholic church and was ordained a priest. In 1958 he became Poland’s youngest bishop and after Pope John Paul I’s mysterious death, the ex-cyanide gas salesman Karol Wojtyla was elected to the papacy as Pope John Paul II in October 1978.

In March 2000, he publicly apologized not for his war effort, but for the wickedness of the Christian religion. The plea for forgiveness also sought to pardon the use of ‘violence in the service of truth,’ an often used fragile and troubling reference to the Inquisition.

The apology read by the Pope was the result of four years of work by a panel of 28 theologians and scholars and was by far the most sweeping act by a leader of a major religion. On few occasions have ecclesiastical authorities ever acknowledged the faults or abuses of which they themselves were guilty. There was concern that the apology was a major theological miscalculation that could undermine the Pope’s weakening authority and the unanswered question posed by the international media was: “In whose name was the Pope asking for forgiveness?”

Prayers for Renunciation of Catholicism

Prayer for Renunciation of Catholicism I

Prayer for Renunciation of Catholicism II

Prayer for Renunciation of Catholicism III

For further information read

Mystery Babylon the Great

The Truth about Roman Catholicism

 

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4 Minutes That Will Change Your Life

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Should Christians Pray the Imprecatory Psalms?

Imprecatory Psalms contain words that appear at face-value to curse enemies, which become problematic with Christians who strive to love rather than curse their enemies as taught by the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 5:39, 44; Luke 23:24; Romans 12:13; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:15.[1]   Imprecation means the “invocation of judgment, calamity, or curse uttered against one’s enemies, or the enemies of God.[2]  Throughout the Book of Psalms there are almost one hundred verses with imprecations;[3]  however, Psalms 35, 55, 59, 69, 79, 109, and 137 are commonly known as the “Imprecatory Psalms.” This paper intends to examine specific Imprecatory Psalms and the teachings of Christ concerning His follower’s response toward their enemies to determine whether Christians should pray the Imprecatory Psalms.

Psalm 35

Psalm 35 was written by David with intense emotion and urgency.  While the problem that provokes such a prayer is not fully identified, there is “sufficient ambiguity to classify it as an individual lament.”[4]  Since the piety of David is notable, and his nature is given to upholding the things of God, we must start our analysis of Imprecatory Psalms with the understanding that his emotional prayers calling for the vengeance of God should not be classified as sinful, especially since they come only after his enemies repeated attacks.[5]  Thus, it is imperative that we examine the particulars of each Imprecatory Psalm to gain a full understanding of each circumstance and response.

There are two different type requests made by David to God:  those calling God to action, and those calling God to inaction. David asks God to take up the spear and stop the forward progress of those that are persecuting him (3a).  Then David asks God to stand in their way, but do nothing more than allow his enemies be confounded (4a), turned back (4b), be as chaff (5) and their way dark and slippery (6a). Then after the enemies are given over to their natural ways, David asks the angel of the LORD to persecute them (6b).

It is significant that David approaches this problem with his enemies in very specific requests of God.  While it seems natural for some to declare Psalm 35 as filled with curses, a closer examination of David’s requests and intentions fail to show justification for this categorization.

When David’s reasons for this request are considered, the nature of his prayer is understood even better. David tells God that his enemies are persecuting him (3a), seeking his soul (4a), devising ways to hurt him (4b), setting him up to trap him (7a), and digging deeply to find further avenues to hurt his soul (7b).

Up to this point, we do not have an extreme cursing situation unfolding. It would seem reasonable to suggest that David’s access to God’s ear might well have given him hope to speak serious curses like “strike them dead” or “wipe them out” with full expectation of God’s will to protect him. Instead, David prays for measured intervention by God by requesting that He stop their persecution of him by letting them be fully enveloped by the nature they possess, and as a result, fall into their own trap, with God’s persecution replacing their persecution against him. It was a well-thought out strategy in the midst of serious spiritual and physical warfare; at this point in Psalm 35, there is just no existence of serious curses being shouted to God by David. This approach of David to let the nature of the enemies’ trip up their plans is fully revealed in verse 8 when David asks God to let their net, the snare they laid for him, fall upon them instead.

Calvin describes the prayer in Psalm 34 as one that shows David calling curses upon his enemy in vengeance.[6] However, he acknowledges the often mistaken definition of the Hebrew word שואה “shoah” as meaning sometimes “destruction and ruin,” and other times “confusion.” He determines that the word “confusion” is more applicable in verse 8 when it is taken in context with the words of David.  Thus, to declare David’s request to God to allow the enemies to be “confused” is a concept that is seemingly innocuous compared to the curses that David might place upon His enemies.

It is a well-established practice in ancient times to use curses in many different social settings. They are provoked to force others to support causes, to protect property, or to guarantee that transactions are carried through honestly.[7] Curses are also used to promote justice over injustice in legal proceedings;[8] thus, David would have been familiar with all types and degrees of ancient curses that could have heaped misfortune upon his enemies as practiced by his society during the time of his life. Yet, David employs no powerful curse to bring his enemies to end through his prayer to God; at the most, he asks God for their entrapment by their own actions and words, and to do to them what they had intended to do to him.

The measured nature of David’s “curses” in Psalm 34, changes our inquiry.  No longer is the question, “Can Christians pray the Imprecatory Psalms” with the suggestion that invoking those prayers rains curses upon the enemies of Christians against the teachings of Christ; rather, we are led to the consideration of whether followers of Christ are allowed to take defensive and offensive measures when violence or war is declared against them and attack is imminent.

Psalm 55

Psalm 55 is also an individual lament prayer; David seems filled with despair against friends turned to foes in a similar emotion often linked to the betrayal of Judas against our Lord.[9]

Once again, we must look to David’s words and examine specifically what he is asking God to do to those who have been unjust to him, to determine the nature of the imprecatory prayer. A comparison of Psalm 55 to Psalm 33 shows a striking contrast in both request and reason, which requires separate analysis.

David in Psalm 55 asks God to destroy and divide the tongues of (9) his friends who became his enemies. The curse is succinctly stated: “Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell” (15). Many interpreters link this psalm to the conspiracy of Absalom against David; however, Calvin connects it to the time when David was in extreme danger through the persecution period of Saul.[10]  His deeply distressful, fervently emotional pleas to solicit compassion from God to destroy his enemies qualify it as a first-rate curse, asking God to kill those who hate him.

Their offenses against him are presented to God to make a case that wickedness and hatred is visited upon the Psalmist. David encourages God’s attention by noting that not only is he affected, but the he had also seen “violence and strife” (9) and “mischief and sorrow” (10) in the walled city, with “wickedness, deceit and guile” (11) within Jerusalem’s streets.

There is no measured response as we saw in David’s plea in Psalm 33.  It is a blunt request for death and hell to be delivered by a perceived vengeful God who will be upset with those whom have hurt the Psalmist.  It is a curse request, an imprecatory prayer that holds troubling spiritual dilemma that assumes God favors one over another, and that curses can be implicated upon request of those favored by Him.  There is no doubt the Psalmist believes that God would answer his curse requests (18-23); however, it seems far-removed from Christ’s teachings to turn the other cheek and do good to those that hate you (Matthew 5:39). Christians would be well-advised to consider the disobedience to Christ’s teachings if they hold this type of attitude in prayer that is displayed in Psalm 55.

However, that a Christian is able to pray this prayer to God with full expectations of deliverance is part of a valuable intimate relationship with Him. Whether God complies with the request and whether Christ understands the agony of the prayer and forgives the lapse in obedience to His teachings, is really up to them.

A similar comparison might be made to the often spoken phrase by warriors to citizens who abuse the essence of freedom of speech in attacks against military action: “I fought the battle and gave my life, so your freedom of speech was ensured.” Christ died upon the cross for sinners to be given the ability to have relationship with God; their right to speak to Him about anything has been bought by His sacrificed blood.  However, mature Christian faith requires enduring obedience to the teachings of Christ. Psalm 55 should not be prayed by those seeking an obedient relationship with Him, especially if it is spoken for the curse impact, rather than the emotional outburst of a hurting soul coming to God for relief.

Psalm 59

Psalm 59 has a difficult structure that confuses analysis because of its vocabulary and style, and shaky categorization because it can be either an individual or community lament.[11] Regardless, the request by David is certain; he seeks deliverance from Saul’s guards, which were watching his house to seize and apprehend him which could result in his death (1 Sam. 19:11).[12] David declares his faith in God’s strength, defense, and mercy to deliver him from his enemies (16, 17).

Psalm 59 has some similarity with Psalm 35 and asks God to leave the enemy at their own devices that would eventually destroy them through the way intended for him. It differs from Psalm 55 which David literally curses his enemies to die and go to hell.  Rather, Psalm 59 seeks deliverance; David tells God about the predicament he is in, and then asks God to not slay his enemies, but to scatter them (11).  David asks God to allow their pride to develop to the point they begin cursing and lying and then to consume them in His wrath.  Once again, David relies upon the enemies’ nature to create a situation that brings the wrath of God upon them to bear.  The curse is not a specific and definitive action of David to cause his enemies harm; rather, it takes on the similar nature of Psalm 35, allowing his enemies to hang themselves upon their lying words. The measured request asks that when they are scattered, and become overcome with their self-importance, that God treats them like dogs, forcing them to seek out their next meal and hold a grudge deep inside them that cannot be satisfied. (14-15)

Psalm 59 is once again a measure of action that is weighed according to the enemies’ attacks and their reliance upon their fallen nature.   While all mature Christians strive to follow Christ’s teachings and love their enemies, David seems to do a bit of “loving enemies” also; he loves his enemies so much that he encourages God to let them love themselves, to their disadvantage when God’s wrath removes their pride forcefully without David’s direct involvement. It is a brilliant, cunning prayer that does not seem to cross the line of hating enemies that is discouraged later on by Christ’s teachings.

Psalm 69

Psalm 69 is an individual lament by David to reflect his suffering and confirm his hope in God’s redemption which has tones of the Messiah that allows messianic interpretation in his confidence for deliverance.[13] This is a poem of waiting on the Lord; David has full confidence that one day God will revenge those who have caused him to suffer in his life. Once again, in fashion of Psalms 35 and 59, the key request and commonality within the prayer of David against his enemies is for God to “let” the troubles ensnare them (22-28). It is significant in the evaluation of Imprecatory Psalms to note when a Psalmist asks God to “let” the enemies slide down to their natural ways, thereby evoking the wrath of the Lord, while others call direct curses upon the enemies’ lives.

A significant theological point can be argued that Christ did not command us to protect our enemies from themselves or from God.  Many of the imprecatory prayers by David have this character, which seeks a natural order that allows wickedness to fall on their own merits because David knows eventually they will be judged by a wrathful Lord. David is floundering and needs God’s salvation for the mistakes he makes; however, his attitude against his enemies is to let God know how they have hurt him, and wait for God’s righteous judgment and punishment against his enemies to begin.[14]

Messianic interpretation adds another layer, allowing for deeper meaning of David’s “curses.” When verses 21-28 are read, an understanding of what happens to those that reject Christ are expressed and confirmed by other Scriptures throughout the Bible. For instance, “Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not (22) supports the blind condition of the haters of Christ who do not hold faith graced by God (Rom. 11:7-8). Thus, Messianic interpretation that is so keenly associated with the Lord Jesus Christ uses curse metaphors that are literally represented later on.  It is difficult to argue the impropriety of praying Imprecatory Psalms, when the Lord Jesus Christ is connected by this example.

Psalm 79

Psalm 79 is the corporate lamentations of the Church suffering deep persecution; it is a Psalm of Asaph, written a long time after David’s death.[15] It is written after Jerusalem’s fall and their exile to Judah in 586 B.C.[16] There are two specific cures, both directed upon those who hate God; one asks for God’s wrath to come upon the heathen that do not know Him (6) and the other asks for seven times the reproach they first gave Him (12).

Most of the focus of Psalm 79 is crying to the Lord to remember His sheep, with scant words spoken against the enemy. It does not seem to express the nature of hatred that Christ’s teachings would prohibit; instead, it expresses the same convictive hope that one day God’s justice will come to bear against all those who hate Him and His people.

Psalm 109

Psalm 109 is an individual lament that expresses the confidence of God’s covenant with the “unrestrained speech of rage seeking vengeance.”[17] There are numerous imprecations in between the complaint and the expression of gratitude to God that are spoken in words that can be applied to Christ as the head of the church as well as faithful Christians today.[18] Verses 7-19 have the usual “let” requests to God, most of which seem like the typical requests that the previous Psalms have been written.  However, a careful examination of the words shows that the Psalmist, while using the less convicting word of “let” has deep curses interlaced: “Let his children be fatherless  and his wife a widow” (9), “Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg” (10),  “Let his posterity be cut off and in the generation following let their name be blotted out” (13),  are some examples that seemingly ask God to allow these developments to happen, but are actually asking for God to kill the male enemies and allow their families to suffer that pain and loss through two generations.  This qualifies with Psalm 55 as a very strong Imprecatory Psalm that is cursing the enemies to death through the Psalmist’s vengeance stemming from prior persecution.  The teachings of Christ do not allow for vengeance. Vengeance requires the heart to hate and purposely plan persecution against their enemies; Christians would be wise to consider the nature of this Psalm fully.

Psalm 137

There is one tiny curse in the Imprecatory Psalm 137; but it is a very notable and powerful one against Babylon: “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones” (9). It is a communal lament that prays for God’s vengeance “between the return of the exiles from Babylon and the rebuilding of the second Temple.”[19] The Psalmist prays as representative of the Church, reminding God of his enemies’ taunts and actions.[20]

Christ’s Teachings

The Lord Jesus Christ teaches His followers to not fight evil; but rather to turn the other cheek when struck and to love, bless, do good, and pray for the enemies that use and persecute them.  Christians are taught to bless them which persecute, and are prohibited from cursing them (Rom. 12:13). Christians are to endure persecution (1 Cor. 4:12), and see that evil is not rendered against evil to any man (1 Thess. 5:15). The “love your enemies” exhortative teaching by Christ is not found in the Old Testament, and it is unparalleled in it emphatic tone.[21] It is a new way of dealing with enemies that the Psalmists had not known.

It is very evident from Christ’s teachings that curses against evil, or doing evil against evil, is prohibited.  However, through our exegesis of the Imprecatory Psalms, it becomes quite apparent that some curses may not be classified in the prohibition to cursing enemies.  Certainly, Psalms 55 and 109 are Imprecatory Psalms that fall within these teachings of Christ, and seem very inappropriate to be prayed by Christians.

However, the other Imprecatory Psalms (55, 69, 79, and 137) do not pray curses upon the enemies God and His followers.  Rather, they ask God to let the nature of their enemies alone and allow them to develop their wickedness to the point that God’s wrath falls upon them.  A strong argument can be made that this natural development of their enemies that is requested by Christians is not a curse, but an acknowledged reality of the nature of wickedness. The heart of Christ has no room for hatred; however, it does not expect wickedness to prosper by handing Christ’s kingdom’s keys to them and watch as they destroy the faithful.  Christians can watch as their enemies destroy themselves, and they are not obligated to save them.  Just because an enemy is loved by a Christian does not discount that it is still an enemy.[22]  Christians can love their enemies and tell them of Christ while at the same time praying to their Lord about the distress and pain they cause in their lives.

Conclusion

The Imprecatory Psalms stand upon the highest ethical grounds, upholds God’s justness and honor, and calls upon His divine retribution for wickedness that has rampantly oppressed the Psalmist without ceasing.[23]  Both God’s divine cursing and blessing are contained in the Abrahamic Covenant, which is carried through to the end of the New Testament virtually unchanged. Imprecatory prayers’ purposes reflect judgments against evildoers by God, praises to God in anticipated deliverance, gives the ability to men to recognize God judges the earth, demonstrates the sovereignty of God, prevents the wicked from receiving the blessings of the righteous, and causes the wicked to acknowledge God in these human cries for divine justice.[24]

Christ’s teachings do not always give black-or-white options to every situation, especially to mature Christians who have successfully developed their relationship toward Him with their separation from the world, whose faith has been proved through the Anfechtung testing [25] monitored by God, and received reward of increased spiritual knowledge for successful stance upon solid faith.  The Lord places great responsibility and trust in mature Christians’ understandings’ in both His teaching, and the knowledge of the placement of lines that divide the righteous from the profane to determine and weigh judgment and action. Cursing enemies of the Old Testament and loving enemies in the New Testament complement each other when both Testaments are harmonized together in the ever-increasing dispensational teachings of God.[26]

The Imprecatory Psalms must be analyzed on an individual basis, with the curses sorted through with focus upon intentions and reasons for the prayer to be spoken in the first place. However, a case might be made that if Christians are skilled enough to do proper exegesis on these Psalms, then they should be able to form specific, dedicated prayers to the Lord that does not rely upon rote repetition of the Imprecatory Psalms; it is to the mature Christians’ best interests to form their own prayers

Christian leadership should discourage the praying of Imprecatory Psalms by Christians of immature faith, especially Psalms 55 and 109.  The young have neither exegesis skills nor enough knowledge of Christ’s teachings to make discernment in this matter.  A wrong focus can damage their faith by relying upon the Imprecatory Psalms; it can make them feel empowered with magical thinking, corrupt their ability to love, and possibly think that God loves some more than others. However, the Imprecatory Psalms are excellent discussion opportunities that allow Christ’s teachings to be fully expressed as guided exegesis is conducted. The Imprecatory Psalms should not be excluded from liturgical and didactic services of the church; rather, the congregation should be taught that denying the conscience that feels the judicial injustice and not calling for God’s retribution brings dishonor to God.[27] Christians must know that Christ’s love requirements do not remove the justice of God. There are also therapeutic implications to the use of Imprecatory Psalms in the Christian counseling session, that helps guided Christians to voice negative emotions in the midst of justified anger.[28]

Mature Christians should have little need to pray the Imprecatory Psalms specifically. They should be well-versed in their exegesis, marvel at some and reject others, and possibly copy their patterns in their own prayers; but, they should always depend upon their own words to address the crisis of persecution that is at hand.  They should express the greatest of faiths in the example of the Psalmists when they navigate their requests for God’s help with their enemies to be strengthened and equipped through their prayers of distress as they cry out to God in their need for divine justice.

Even Christians have recourse in their prayers to receive power to endure the persecutions of wickedness through the hope of God’s divine justice one day realized against their enemies. Though some may argue that Imprecatory Psalms should not be prayed, citing the higher authority of Christ over the Psalmists,[29] the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6:17) can be wielded as a weapon that includes “the kindness and the severity of God” (Rom. 11:22)[30]  Imprecatory pleadings not only strengthen the believers but bring honor to God in expressing their convictive hope and faith in His divine justice and sovereign judgment.

Bibliography

Allen, Leslie C. Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 101-150 (Revised) Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002.

Aune, David E. Word Biblical Commentary: Revelation 6-16. Vol. 52B Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002.

Bock, Darrell L. Luke Volume 1:1:1-9:50 Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1994.

Calvin, John and James Anderson. Commentary on the Book of Psalms. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2010.

Day, John N. “The Imprecatory Psalms and Christian Ethics.” Bibliotheca sacra 159, no. 634 (2002): 166-186.

Greenough, William, Thayer Shedd and Alan W. Gomes. Dogmatic Theology. 3rd ed. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub., 2003.

Hankle, Dominick D. “The Therapeutic Implications of the Imprecatory Psalms in the Christian Counseling Setting.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 38, no. 4 (2010): 275-280.

Laney, J. Carl. “A Fresh Look at the Imprecatory Psalms.” Bibliotheca sacra 138, no. 549 (1981): 35-45.

Lessing, Reed. “Broken Teeth, Bloody Baths, and Baby Bashing: Is There Any Place in the Church for Imprecatory Psalms?” Concordia Journal 32, no. 4 (2006): 368-370.

Luther, Martin. Luther’s Works, Vol. 51: Sermons I Luther’s Works, Edited by Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann Jaroslav Jan Pelikan. Philadelphia: Fortress PRess, 1999.

Rockwell, William Walker, William Adams Brown and Thomas Cumin Hall. “Three Addresses Delivered by Professors in Union Theological Seminary at a Service in Commemoration of the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of John Calvin: In the Adams Chapel on Monday Evening, the Third of May, Nineteen Hundred and Nine.” Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009.

VanGemeren, Willem A. Psalms. Vol. 5 The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 5: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Edited by Frnk E. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991.

[1] David E. Aune, Word Biblical Commentary: Revelation 6-16, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 52B (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 409.

[2] J. Carl Laney, “A Fresh Look at the Imprecatory Psalms,” Bibliotheca sacra 138, no. 549 (1981): 35.

[3] John N. Day, “The Imprecatory Psalms and Christian Ethics,” Bibliotheca sacra 159, no. 634 (2002): 169.

[4] Leslie C. Allen, Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 101-150 (Revised), Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 286.

[5] Day: 166.

[6] John and James Anderson Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2010), Ps. 35:8-10.

[7] Aune, 409-410.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Willem A. VanGemeren, Psalms, ed. Frnk E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 5: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 5 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991), 392.

[10] Calvin, Psalm 55.

[11] VanGemeren, 409-410.

[12] Calvin, Psalm 59.

[13] VanGemeren, 454.

[14] Calvin, Psalm 69.

[15] Ibid., Psalm 79.

[16] Ibid., 519.

[17] VanGemeren, 689.

[18] Calvin, Psalm 109.

[19] VanGemeren, 826.

[20] Calvin, Psalm 137.

[21] Darrell L. Bock, Luke Volume 1:1:1-9:50, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1994), 588.

[22] Day: 181.

[23] Ibid., 167.

[24] Laney: 41.

[25] Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 51: Sermons I, ed. Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Luther’s Works (Philadelphia: Fortress PRess, 1999), 181.

[26] Day: 186.

[27] William Greenough, Thayer Shedd and Alan W. Gomes, Dogmatic Theology, 3rd ed. (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub., 2003), 937.

[28] Dominick D. Hankle, “The Therapeutic Implications of the Imprecatory Psalms in the Christian Counseling Setting,” Journal of Psychology & Theology 38, no. 4 (2010): 275.

[29] William Walker Rockwell, William Adams Brown and Thomas Cumin Hall, “Three Addresses Delivered by Professors in Union Theological Seminary at a Service in Commemoration of the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of John Calvin: In the Adams Chapel on Monday Evening, the Third of May, Nineteen Hundred and Nine,”  (Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 34.

[30] Reed Lessing, “Broken Teeth, Bloody Baths, and Baby Bashing: Is There Any Place in the Church for Imprecatory Psalms?,” Concordia Journal 32, no. 4 (2006): 370.

By Kathy L. McFarland
Becker Bible Studies
December 2011

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Gods and Gurus of The New Age

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100 Titles of Jesus found in the Bible

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1 John 5:7 AKJV)

One God in Three Persons - The Triunity of God

 100 Titles of Jesus found in the Bible

Advocate 1 John 2:1
Almighty Rev. 1:8; Mt. 28:18
Alpha and Omega Rev. 1:8; 22:13
Amen Rev. 3:14
Apostle of our Profession Heb. 3:1
Atoning Sacrifice for our Sins 1 John 2:2
Author of Life Acts 3:15
Author and Perfecter of our Faith Heb. 12:2
Author of Salvation Heb. 2:10
Beginning and End Rev. 22:13
Blessed and only Ruler 1 Tim. 6:15
Bread of God 1 Tim. 6:15
Bread of Life 1 Tim. 6:15
Capstone Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7
Chief Cornerstone Eph. 2:20
Chief Shepherd 1 Pet. 5:4
Christ 1 John 2:22
Creator John 1:3
Deliverer Rom. 11:26
Eternal Life 1 John 1:2; 5:20
Everlasting Father Isa. 9:6
Gate John 10:9
Faithful and True Rev. 19:11
Faithful Witness Rev. 1:5
Faith and True Witness Rev. 3:14
First and Last Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13
Firstborn From the Dead Rev. 1:5
God John 1:1; 20:28; Heb. 1:8; Rom. 9:5; 2 Pet. 1:1;1 John 5:20 and others
Good Shepherd John 10:11,14
Great Shepherd Heb. 13:20
Great High Priest Heb. 4:14
Head of the Church Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23
Heir of all things Heb. 1:2
High Priest Heb. 2:17
Holy and True Rev. 3:7
Holy One Acts 3:14
Hope 1 Tim. 1:1
Hope of Glory Col. 1:27
Horn of Salvation Luke 1:69
I Am John 8:58
Image of God 2 Cor. 4:4
King Eternal 1 Tim. 1:17
King of Israel John 1:49
King of the Jews Mt. 27:11
King of kings 1 Tim 6:15; Rev. 19:16
King of the Ages Rev. 15:3
Lamb Rev. 13:8
Lamb of God John 1:29
Lamb Without Blemish 1 Pet. 1:19
Last Adam 1 Cor. 15:45
Life John 14:6; Col. 3:4
Light of the World John 8:12
Lion of the Tribe of Judah Rev. 5:5
Living One Rev. 1:18
Living Stone 1 Pet. 2:4
Lord 2 Pet. 2:20
Lord of All Acts 10:36
Lord of Glory 1 Cor. 2:8
Lord of lords Rev. 19:16
LORD [YHWH] our Righteousness Jer. 23:6
Man from Heaven 1 Cor. 15:48
Mediator of the New Covenant 1 Cor. 15:48
Messiah 1 Cor. 15:48
Mighty God 1 Cor. 15:48
Morning Star Rev. 22:16
Offspring of David Rev. 22:16
Only Begotten Son of God Rev. 22:16
Our Great God and Savior Rev. 22:16
Our Holiness Rev. 22:16
Our Husband 2 Cor. 11:2
Our Protection 2 Cor. 11:2
Our Redemption 1 Corinthians 1:30
Our Righteousness 1 Corinthians 1:30
Our Sacrificed Passover Lamb 1 Corinthians 5:7
Power of God 1 Corinthians 5:7
Precious Cornerstone 1 Peter 2:6
Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6
Prince of the Kings of the Earth Revelations 1:5
Prophet Acts 3:22
Resurrection and Life John 11:25
Righteous Branch Jeremiah 23:5
Righteous One Acts 7:52; 1 John 2:1
Rock 1 Corinthians 10:4
Root of David Revelations 5:5; 22:16
Ruler of God’s Creation Revelations 3:14
Ruler of the Kings of the Earth Revelations 1:5
Same, Yesterday, Today and Forever Hebrews 13:8
Savior Eph. 5:23; Titus 1:4; 3:6; 2 Peter 2:20
Son of David Luke 18:39
Son of God John 1:49; Hebrews 4:14
Son of Man Matthew 8:20
Son of the Most High God Luke 1:32
Source of Eternal Salvation for all who obey him Hebrew 5:9
The One Mediator 1 Timothy 2:5
The Stone the builders rejected Acts 4:11
True Bread John 6:32
True Light John 1:9
True Vine John 15:1
Truth John 1:14; 14:6
Way John 14:6
Wisdom of God 1 Corinthians 1:24
Wonderful Counsellor Isaiah 9:6
Word John 1:1
Word of God Revelations 19:13
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Psalm 118:8

Is there anyone who has not been abused, beaten, bullied, derided, violated, degraded, humiliated, hurt, rejected, marginalised, excluded, dismissed, devalued, undermined, tormented, cheated, conned, taken advantage of, coerced, made to do things they didn’t want to do, or felt powerless, or hopeless, worthless, alienated, or despised?  Why is this?

2 Tim 3:3-5 of the Authorised King James Bible says: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

It’s pretty strange how it worked out this way:

Q:   What is the shortest chapter in the Bible?
A:   Psalm 117.

Q:   What is the longest chapter in the Bible?
A:   Psalm 119.

Q:   What chapter is in the center of the Bible?
A:   Psalm 118.

There are 594 chapters before Psalm 118.

There are 594 chapters after Psalm 118.

Add these numbers up and you get 1188.

Q:  What is the center verse in the Bible?
A:   Psalm 118:8

Does this verse say something significant about God’s perfect will for our lives?

The next time someone says they would like to find God’s perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word!

“IT IS BETTER TO TRUST IN THE LORD THAN TO PUT CONFIDENCE IN MAN.” (Psalm 118:8)

Now isn’t that odd how this worked out… or was God in the center of it?

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Two Hour House Cleansing and Blessing Prayer by Brother Carlos Oliveira, Christian Exorcist

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One Hour Intensive Deliverance, Witchcraft and Curse Breaking Prayer by Brother Carlos Oliveira

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The Reformation and the Jews and The Shocking Truth about Martin Luther

The Reformation and The JewsThe Reformation exposed the corruption of the Church. For the Jews it meant more bad news.  Jewish history did not happen in a vacuum, and we have to always keep in mind the events going on in the world at large that impacted the Jews in a major way. One of those huge events that shook up Europe was the Protestant Reformation.

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What brought it about? Simply put, the corruption of the Church in Rome.  As we saw in Part 45 with the decline of the Roman Empire, the Church became the great feudal player in the economic system of Europe. This was a system that, while virtually enslaving huge masses of people, made the Church very rich and very powerful ― both politically and militarily. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” said Lord Acton, and this was certainly true of the Church at this time.

Rolling in wealth, the Church built great edifices and fielded its own armies and sank deeper and deeper into immorality, materialism, and decadence. The list of papal affairs and political intrigues is extensive. For example, Pope Alexander VI bribed some members of the College of Cardinals to insure his election in 1492, the year the Jews were thrown out of Spain. [History of Christianity, Paul Johnson, p. 280, 363] Once in office, he brought the papacy to new heights of spiritual laxity.

A number of popes before him had abandoned celibacy, but Alexander VI openly flaunted his reputation as a great lover. He had a portrait of his mistress ― dressed up like Mary, the mother of Jesus ― painted over the door in his bedroom, and he publicly acknowledged his illegitimate children, who became famous in their own right, Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. [Chronicle of the World, Derrik Mercer ed., DK Publishing, p.391] Giovanni Boccaccio, the great 14th century Italian humanist writer offers us a humorous insight into the corruption and decadence of the Church of his day.

In his classic work, Decameron, a Jew by the name of Abraham is pressured by a Christian friend to visit Rome in the hope that he will be so impressed that he will convert to Christianity. Abraham returns disgusted and reports: “I say this for that, if I was able to observe aright, no piety, no devoutness, no good work or example of life or other what did I see there in any who was Churchman: nay lust, covetise, gluttony and the like and worse … And as far as I judge, meseemeth your chief pastor and consequently all others endeavor with all diligence and all their wit and every art to bring to nought and to banish from the world the [values of the] Christian religion …”

The Truth about Martin Luther

Those wanting to reform the moral stature of the Church were powerless. Even as the hypocrisy of the situation was becoming intolerable, the Church used its power to stifle any signs of defiance. The defiance began in the 14th century with challenges to Church doctrine and attempts at translating the Bible into languages other than Latin (the language of the Roman Empire which few spoke). These attempts were brutally put down.

Why didn’t the Church want the common people to read the Bible? Just imagine what might happen if the serfs should get a hold of a Bible and find out what it actually said about the obligations of every person (even “his lordship” and “his eminence”) of loving his neighbor and of treating him with equality since all human beings were created in the image of God. It is precisely for this reason that the Church refrained from translating the Bible into the vernacular.

Writes Henry Phelps-Brown in Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality (p. 68): “Despite its anxiety to save man’s souls from the perdition of earthly pursuits in order to preserve it for the salvation of the life after death, the medieval Church insulated pupils from the dangerous contamination of Scriptures. Only those entering holy orders were allowed to study theology and delve into Holy Writ. Unsupervised, independent exploration of the Bible was tantamount to heresy and only clerics in good standing were permitted to expound Scripture from a Latin text incomprehensible to the Christian masses.”

Martin Luther

In 1506, the Church of Rome undertook one of its grandest and most expensive projects ― the building of a new St. Peter’s Basilica as the centerpiece of the Vatican. The Church was to be so lavish and so huge that, when completed 150 years later, it was the largest Church ever built and it remained so until 1989. Such an astronomical project would take an astronomical sum of money, and, as a source of fund-raising, the Church turned to the sale of indulgences. The practice of granting indulgences ― remission of punishment for sins through the intercession of the Church ― already had a long history. But early on, indulgences were granted when a sinner performed some hazardous duty for the Church ― like going on a crusade. (A crusade to the Holy Land got you forgiveness for all sins ever committed.)

Later, it became possible to buy indulgences on your deathbed. (Thus, you insured that you would enter heaven immediately, bypassing purgatory.) With the Church engaged in a major fund-raising effort, the sale on indulgences took on new significance. Pope Sixtus IV’s fund-raising campaign touted indulgences which would free your deceased loved ones suffering in purgatory. Church envoys resorted to imitating the anguished wailing of parents who, in the throes of holy purification fires, pleaded with their children to buy an indulgence and ease their torment.

One creative envoy, a Dominican monk by the name of Johann Tetzel, made up a little ditty: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” At the height of the indulgence sale, Martin Luther, an Augustinian friar from Germany, traveled to Rome and was shocked by what he saw. How could the Church sell God’s gifts to the highest bidder? And how could the bishops and cardinals behave with such moral laxity and worldliness? Luther returned home and was plunged into a crisis of faith. He resolved his dilemma by coming up with the theory of grace, which would later become part of the Protestant theology. This theory holds that salvation comes by God’s grace ― or God’s indulgence, so to speak. A gift from God could clearly not be sold by the Church.

Full of youthful idealistic zeal (he was only 34 at the time), Luther posted his protest ― the now famous “Ninety-Five Theses” ― on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, on October 31, 1517. The long and short of it was that his protest reached Rome and he was asked, in no uncertain terms, to recant. He refused, proclaiming his famous defense, “Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.” He was excommunicated four years later. Luther went into hiding in 1521 in Wartburg Castle where he translated the Bible from Greek to German. His translation appeared in 1522 and had a tremendous political impact on the church and on German culture and language. But it was too late to silence him, thanks in part to a remarkable technological advance which would change history forever ― the Gutenberg press.

A mere fifty years before Luther’s protest, Johann Gutenberg had perfected a system of making metal letters in moulds, setting them in rows, and using the templates thus formed to print multiple copies of a document in minutes, which previously would have had to be copied tediously by hand over many hours. When this incredible printing machine was applied to Luther’s “Ninety Five Theses” ― which, in effect, represented an indictment of the Church ― all hell broke loose.

What might have been a local dispute, with the protestant muzzled by his excommunication, became a public controversy that spread far and wide. Martin Luther’s new religion, called Protestantism, got a lot of backing across northern Europe from the nobles who were more than happy to throw the Church out of their land and seize the Church’s wealth. The Church had its allies as well, and Europe was thrown into the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). This war, which was primarily between Protestants and Catholics, meant a lot of bloodshed and loss of life and destruction.(1) And it had a big impact on the Jews.

Luther and the Jews

Luther had seen how shamefully the Church had treated the Jews, and he had a plan to change that(2). He was sure that the reason that Jews did not convert to Christianity was that they couldn’t stomach the corruption of the Church. Now the Jews would see that the Protestants were different and that they would be nice to the Jews. And then, the Jews would all become Christians. He wrote in his work entitled, That Jesus Christ Was A Jew: For they [Church clergy] have dealt with the Jews as if they were dogs and not human beings.

They have done nothing for them but curse them and seize their wealth… I hope that if the Jews are treated friendly and instructed kindly enough through the Bible, many of them will become real Christians and come back to the ancestral faith of the prophets and patriarchs…(3) Naturally, the Jews didn’t go for Protestantism either. Their allegiance to Judaism and the Torah had nothing to do with the Christians being nasty to them. To Jews, Christianity was a false religion from the start, and the behavior of the Christians over the years only proved it. Now Martin Luther would further add to that proof.

As soon as the Jews rejected his overtures and didn’t start converting en masse, Luther, who took this rejection personally, turned into one of the most virulent anti-Semites in history. A few years later, he wrote in his: “Concerning The Jews And Their Lies: What shall we do with this damned rejected race of Jews since they live among us and we know about their lying and blasphemy and cursing. We cannot tolerate them even if we do not wish to share their lives, curses and blasphemy. Perhaps we can spare a few of them from the fire and flames. Let me give you my honest advice…” (4)

Luther’s ‘honest advice’ outlined a plan for dealing with the Jews.

It included:

Burn all synagogues

Destroy Jewish holy books

Forbid rabbis to teach

Destroy Jewish homes

Ban Jews from roads and markets

Forbid Jews to make loans

Seize Jewish property

Force Jews to do hard labor

Expel Jews from Christian towns

Four hundred years later, Hitler and the Nazis, using Luther’s anti-Jewish writings in their anti-Jewish propaganda, would put that plan into action.

By Rabbi Ken Spiro
Part #50 of an excellent series: “History Crash Course” at Aish.com

Rudolph Riege

Woodcut by Rudolf Riege (1892-1959)
for 650 year anniversary of the Pied Piper
of Hamelin in 1934 [Source: Gelderblom]

____________________________________________________________

(1)Although it was ostensibly a religious conflict between Protestant and Catholics, the rivalry between the Austrian Habsburg dynasty and other powers was a more central motive, as shown by the fact that Catholic France supported the Protestant side in order to weaken the Habsburgs, thereby furthering France’s position as the pre-eminent European power. This increased the France-Habsburg rivalry which led later to direct war between France and Spain.
(2)Luther actually lived in a part of Germany from where the Jews had long since been expelled. It may well be that he, like William Shakespeare, never actually met a Jew.
(3)Alexis P. Rubin ed., Scattered Among the Nations: Documents Affecting Jewish History 49 to 1975. (Jason Aronson, 1993), pp 94-96.
(4)Ibid., 89-90.

For further reading there is an excellent article by Emily Paras of Illinois State University:

The Darker Side of Martin Luther

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The Christians and the Jews and Romans 11

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,

Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:

10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.

29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.

Amen.

c967edf410310d72a97423953af1b12d

 

http://truthinreality.com/2012/11/28/rabbi-says-zionists-have-hijacked-the-jewish-religion/

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The Plight of Being Unteachable or The Plight of Knowing Everything

It is sad to observe someone who has at least one half of his life remaining who feels he has no more to learn.  Occasionally we will be confronted with this problem — an individual who does not demonstrate the characteristic (usually not ability) of being teachable. This is certainly not an inherited condition as far as learning is concerned. It is, rather, something that is learned…something that is environmental or experiential…that can account for this trait in an individual. Such a person will have difficulty being discipled.

One of the true characteristics of a disciple is that of being a “disciplined learner” who is teachable. This brief paper is for the purpose of speaking to such an attitude and looking at the dynamics that are involved.

What are the Unteachable Like?

Pride rather than humility. It is not difficult to see this condition in the experience of one who is having difficulty with being teachable. It is usually not that this person has decided that he need no longer learn. Rather, he considers himself the primary source of learning and knowledge and would rather simply pursue on his own any quest for additional growth. Pride is normally involved in such a condition. Humility is an absolute essential if one is to be a growing learner. Scripture speaks of the need for humility. Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Consider what it means to be “clothed with humility”! Again in 1 Peter 5:6,7 we read, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” And yet again in James 4:6, “But He gives us more grace.” That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud But gives grace to the humble.”

Humility is not the derogation of ourselves as persons, but a reasonable attitude toward ourselves that sees and understands with relative clarity how and what we truly are. Therefore, there is a need to learn. Pride tends to see no need to learn from anyone else…that admission assumes that another may have more wisdom than myself.

Dogmatism rather than openness. In academic circles as well as those that are church-oriented, it is pretty well established that the more dogmatic an individual is, the less able he is to learn. Being “unteachable” usually is a demonstration of relatively heavy dogmatism in one’s life. A definition of dogmatism would help. Let’s describe it in this way. “I am dogmatic to the extent that I am unable to process information that is contradictory to my own perceptions without distorting it by my own set of beliefs.” This means that I will not openly look at other points of view without calling up my own beliefs and contaminate the nature of what I may be investigating. The more dogmatic an individual is, the more he will seek to protect himself from contradictory constructs that intrude into his own belief system. In many respects, we are all somewhat dogmatic. But one who is heavily dogmatic will be unteachable. By the same token, one who is unteachable usually possesses a high degree of dogmatism.

A reactionary spirit rather than a submissive heart. Years ago a popular bumper sticker read, “Question Authority!” That was, of course, the battle cry of the generation of youth that had to deal with Viet Nam. Many picked up on that cry and to this day are reactionaries. They are simply unwilling to submit to authority. To learn from another requires submission in some very real sense.

Not that all the learning goes just one way. In every discipling situation, both the discipler and the disciple are learning. Every session together can be a time of sharpening for each person. But for this to be a reality requires one to have a submissive heart. Indeed, this should be one of the leading characteristics of the child of God–submission one to another, Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” It seems that those who maintain a reactionary spirit will never be able to be disciplers in the true sense of the Word. The are truly unteachable.

Insecurity rather than self-acceptance and contentment. It may seem strange to bring up the matter of insecurity at this point. Surely one who wraps the protective cloak of dogmatism around himself will not feel insecure. But this problem strikes deeply into the heart of one who is unteachable. For what other reason might such a person be unwilling to let his barriers down and expose himself to something new? And, of course, change is threatening in all cases. The person who is unteachable is often anxiety-ridden and resistant to change because of personal threat and insecurity. As I think of these things, I cannot but think of some lines I learned from English literature so many years ago:

“A little learning is a dangerous thing,
Drink deep, or taste not Perean spring.
There, shallow drafts intoxicate the brain,
But drinking largely sobers it again.”

Relative anger as opposed to tranquility. It is hard to imagine those possessing this quality as not being somewhat angry people. A dogmatic stance towards learning something new usually includes a considerable amount of anger. So the problems of being unteachable can spill over into psychological aspects of one’s being as well as other areas.

Results of Being Unteachable

When we look carefully at the individual who demonstrates this attribute, the following descriptive characteristics are likely to be present.

It is obvious that such a person will be one who does not grow with any vigor (if indeed there is growth at all). Such an individual deprives himself of opportunities to garner benefit from the growth and experience of others. He refuses to be ministered to and to receive the benefits of the spiritual gifts Christ has given to His body — the gifts of pastor-teacher, and the gift of teaching.

Another characteristic would probably be isolation from the Christian community. This is because Christian fellowship includes learning from one another, and one who becomes unteachable will not wish to interact with others, except in order to overpower them with “superior wisdom.” This, of course, does not lend itself to good fellowship and the individual becomes isolated.

Finally, there will be ultimate lack of productivity in service. To be unteachable is to develop a gnarled approach to life and the world. To be out of touch with humanity and the mainstream of life is to lose one’s cutting edge as far as service is concerned. It puts one in the same position as the Pharisees. Such an one can only expect to surround himself with similar insecure and impotent believers who have dealt themselves out of touch with the realities of the true issues in the world.

What is Being “Teachable”?

There are happy results for those who are teachable. Let me summarize a few of these.

1. Openness to other people. This has all kinds of practical benefits as far as Christian service is concerned.

2. Self-acceptance and a desire to grow personally and spiritually, and to do this in relationships with other people.

3. An inquisitive mind that can sort, process, and integrate.

4. An appreciation of the nature of Scripture and God’s wisdom, Romans 11:33.

5. An uncloistered life that builds relationships.

6. An understanding of growth processes.

7. A willingness to pursue a goal of value and a desire to change.

In this, and any discipleship ministry, it is necessary to remain teachable. We can learn from the very young as well as those who are mature. May each of us always remain teachable! Let’s summarize…

In those who are unteachable, these things are true…

There is pride rather than humility

There is dogmatism rather than openness

There is reaction rather than submission

There is insecurity rather than peace

There is anger rather than tranquility

In review– in those who are teachable we find…

Openness to others

Self-acceptance and desire to grow

An inquisitive integrative mind

An appreciation of wisdom and the mind of God

An uncloistered life that builds relationships

An understanding of growth process

A willingness to pursue a goal of value and a desire to change

From: The Bible.org Team 

What does Bible.org do?

Comprised of gifted Evangelical Christians, we recruit authors and provide them with a multilingual Internet pulpit to reach the 2 billion+ users on the Internet and share God’s truths about what “Matters in Life”

  • We develop Bible study tools and provide resources so Christians in every culture can be equipped for global impact
  • We lay a solid biblical foundation for the next generation (children’s ministry) so they can impact the globe for Christ

Go here to read our doctrinal statement.

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Love Wins – An Orthodox View

 

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Discerning False Teachers by Milton Green

Milton Green was a humble carpet cleaner who, after a terrible childhood with an abusive and violent father and a lifetime of drink and drugs, found himself unable to hold a conversation.

At the age of 43 Milton had a major heart attack and open heart surgery was attempted but Milton’s veins were found to be ‘like wood’ and ‘like the veins of a 90 year old man’. Doctors told Milton they were unable to do anything for him, so that basically he was sent home to die.

At that time Milton had not been married long, as he had married late, and his wife Joyce was a Christian. Milton felt suicidal, he felt his life was all but over and yet for many months was terrified to go to sleep in case he died and woke up in Hell.  Milton prayed to be spared and repented of his wayward life and in the months that followed, Milton repeatedly petitioned God to save Him, and not to let him die.

Milton once told a journalist about his childhood and the journalist found it so difficult to believe he decided to visit the place Milton came from, where he found to his amazement that what he had been told was true. Milton’s hour long video testimony is on Youtube, linked to from the foot of this page.

Milton passed over more than 20 years ago but in his lifetime he was somewhat targeted, ostracized, and even hated by certain others, as a result of some of the things he said and the way he said them.  Milton did not seek the approval of men, which is something people have a tendency to do, though the Bible tells us we ought not to.  He speaks the truth in a straight-talking way and doesn’t mince words.  Unlike so many he does have a great sense of true humour and sense of timing, such as when he says: “What’s the Greek for falling away” and the audience shout in unison: “Falling away!”  Then he asks: “Are all Greeks saved?”  He calls the body the “carton.”  He will say something like: “Overcoming doesn’t mean going to church in the rain.”  Or: “You got your scissors with you?  Then when you see something you don’t like you can just cut it out.”

Milton is an ordinary yet extraordinary human being, and could not perhaps be called over-sophisticated, but then several of the Apostles were fishermen while the ‘learned’ men of the time plotted to murder Jesus.

After his heart attack, Milton went on to live another 15 years during which time he spoke at many seminars around the country, some lasting several days, and recorded many audios and videos, many of which are available on Youtube or on one click downloads at the foot of this blog. After his passing, Milton’s wife Joyce Green also recorded several excellent audios and videos which are available for download from the foot of this page or from Youtube.

Milton only wrote one book, shortly before he passed over, called “The Great Falling Away Today,” which is available free from a link at the foot of this page.

In his sermons, Milton explains simply how we can clearly discern the true gospel from the ‘doctrine of demons’ and separate ourselves from sin, evil and our satanic nature so we can begin to truly walk with God.

David Wilkerson said of Milton Green:

“I was first introduced to the ministry of Milton Green by our friend, Evangelist James Robison. He said, “You need to hear this man; his message is awesome. It has changed my life.” At the time, I was in no mood to hear him or listen to any of his tapes. I had heard rumors that he was teaching “strange delusions,” that all he talked about was demons and that “Spirit-filled believers could be possessed by them.” Others told me he misused the Word of God by spiritualizing everything.

“Recently I took the time to listen to his message. After the first message, I knew I was hearing a true word of repentance, holiness, and heart purity. After three messages, I was on my face before God, having been shattered by the hammer of God’s Word. No other message of repentance had so touched me. I am convinced God has called Milton Green to be one of those chosen vessels to bring the church back to repentance and purity. God has given him a strong message searing, searching, yet healing and uplifting.”

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What the Bible Really Says about Alcohol and Alcoholism

Many religious people believe that God has forbidden any use of alcoholic beverages — that any use of alcohol is wrong and sinful. They claim that the Bible supports this prohibition.

Wine and other alcoholic drinks are frequently mentioned in the Bible. If something sinful or beneficial exists about these beverages, then the Bible will show it. What does the Bible really say about wine and alcohol?

Proper use

One of the first mentions of wine in Scripture is by Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God at Salem (Jerusalem) during the time of Abram, whose name was later changed to Abraham. Melchizedek “brought forth bread and wine” for Abram and his companions: “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” (Gen 14:18)

The Hebrew word translated wine in Genesis 14:18 is yayin. This word is used over 130 times in the Hebrew Bible to mean fermented wine, not grape juice. This same beverage, when used excessively, causes drunkenness.

Gen 9:21 says that Noah drank too much yayin and became drunk: “And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.”

Lot also became drunk on this beverage (Genesis 19:30-36) and so did Nabal: “And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.“  (1 Sam 25:36)

Nevertheless, God told his people to enjoy yayin at the yearly festivals: “And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,”  (Deu 14:26)

In addition to using wine as a beverage, God also commanded the Levitical priests to include in the sacrifices a portion of wine (yayin) as a drink offering: “And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.”

These scriptures make it clear that there can be a right and a wrong use of wine. Naturally fermented wine is between 10 per cent and 14 per cent alcohol. Higher alcoholic wines are fortified wines. On special occasions God even allowed use of what is translated as “strong drink.” This term comes from a different Hebrew word —shekar — which is used 22 times in the Old Testament, and refers to alcoholic drinks made from dates and other fruit.

The high alcoholic drinks called hard liquor today (40 per cent to 50 per cent alcohol, or 80 to 100 proof) did not exist in Bible times. They are produced by distilling grain-based mash or material from other sources. They did not come into widespread use until the Middle Ages. The danger of these high alcoholic drinks is that, unless one dilutes them, they easily lend themselves to abuse, drunkenness and alcoholism. (Liqueurs, flavoured and sweetened distilled liquors, are somewhat different in that they are usually served in small amounts and sipped slowly.)

The Bible says that God gave wine to make men glad: “And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.”  (Psa 104:15)

Why have some people turned this blessing of God into a curse? The answer is that many people do not follow God’s instructions. A blessing of wine was prophesied as a heritage to the chosen people in: “Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine [tirosh]:” (Gen 27:28)

The Hebrew word tirosh, meaning “new wine,” is used in 38 places in the Old Testament. People sometimes conclude that this word means grape juice, or fresh-pressed juice of the vine. However, states: “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.”  (Hos 4:11)  Grape juice could not have this effect. Tirosh is an intoxicating wine if used in excess.

New Testament instruction

John the Baptist did not drink wine (oinos in the Greek) or any other form of alcohol and it was prophesied that he wouldn’t: “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.”  (Luk 1:15)

However, Jesus Christ did drink oinos (wine): “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” (Mat 11:19) and “The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!”  (Luk 7:34)

Jesus did not preach against the use of wine; instead he did like most other Jews of his day. He drank wine in moderation. In ancient times it was normally diluted with water for drinking, and was one of the principal beverages at that time — as it is today. Jesus’ first miracle was to change water into wine (oinos). Some people who preach total abstinence claim that this miracle was to turn water into grape juice. Imagine if you can a Jewish wedding banquet where everyone drank only grape juice! (The ancients did not have refrigeration or any other method of preventing grape juice from fermenting.)

On this occasion, Christ turned six jars of 20 or 30 gallons each into wine (oinos). This was no small miracle. This wine was of the finest quality: “And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”  (Joh 2:10)

At wedding feasts, the hosts normally started with the best wine, and they would bring out lesser-quality wines later. Jesus gave a parable involving the fermenting process of oinos:. “Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”  (Mat 9:17)

At that time, instead of having metal or glass bottles to enclose wine, the skins of animals were used. The fermentation of the wine could burst an old skin, but it would not break a new stretchable skin. Another proof that oinos is fermented wine is the fact that the apostle Paul said: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Eph 5:18)

Paul did not mean to avoid getting drunk on grape juice! Paul instructed Timothy: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”  (1Ti 5:23)

He said to use only a little wine, not a whole lot. The purpose of this wine was Timothy’s frequent stomach ailments; small amounts of wine can help some stomach problems. Some of the Corinthians Christians were getting drunk at the Lord’s Supper: “For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.”  (1Co 11:21)

They were using fermented wine, probably following the example that Paul had set for them. Paul did not tell them that they were using the wrong kind of wine. He simply told them to eat and drink at home, and to participate in the Lord’s Supper in a respectful way.

Paul says: “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” (Rom 14:21)  He is referring to fermented wine; grape juice wouldn’t offend anyone. The implication is that there’s nothing wrong with the wine in itself, only if it offends a weak brother.

Abuse, drunkenness condemned

Both the Old and New Testaments contain many examples and commands against excessive use of alcohol and drunkenness. Drunkenness is listed as one of the works of the flesh: “Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:21)

That means it is the result of the undisciplined, indiscriminate use of alcohol. Jesus warned his followers not to be drunk: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”  (Luk 21:34)

The apostle Paul told the Corinthian church they must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but cannot control his or her drinking: “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” (1 Co 5:11-13)

This refers to people who will not face up to or won’t even try to overcome drinking problems, not people who are working on and overcoming their problems. The Bible says that drunkards will not enter the kingdom of God:

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1Co 6:9-10)

“Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:21)

“No one who abuses alcohol should be ordained in the ministry of Jesus Christ: Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;” (1Ti 3:3), and “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;” (1Ti 3:8)

“For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;” (Tit 1:7)

If a minister drinks, it should be in moderation. Throughout the Bible, God criticizes those who are “heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks”:“Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:” (Isa 5:22)

Excessive drinkers are committing an evil: “Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” (Pro 23:20-21)

“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!  Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.  The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:  And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.

In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,  And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.  But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.  For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.”  (Isa 28:1-8)

“When used improperly, wine is a mocker and deceiver: Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Pro 20:1)

Those who “linger over wine” and spend a great deal of time in drinking will find all kinds of woe, sorrow and trouble:  “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.”  (Pro 23:29-30)

Prohibitionists focus on the verses that condemn or show the results of wrong alcohol use, but neglect those verses that show there can be a proper moderate use.

Outstanding antiseptic

Another use of wine that has been recognized for millennia is the antiseptic qualities of wine. The germ-killing qualities of wine are greater than the same proportion of alcohol in water – and a good natural wine is not as damaging to the flesh as some strong antiseptics are.

Jesus showed he knew the benefits of wine as an antiseptic when he gave the parable of the good Samaritan. In this case a man had been injured and had a severe wound. The good Samaritan “bandaged his wounds, pouring on [olive] oil and wine [oinos]”:  “And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”  (Luk 10:34)

The oil softened the flesh; the wine helped kill bacteria.

Use this knowledge

Some people reject this truth from the Bible about alcohol. They have made up their minds that the use of wine is always wrong. The Bible shows we are not to judge or condemn those who honestly hold such beliefs:

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (1Co 10:23-33)

Alcohol is not a necessity of life. In God’s eyes, one does not have to drink to show maturity, virility or sociability. And because of the enormous destruction caused by alcohol abuse today, many people have decided that it is better to abstain even if the Bible does not require us to (see for example Howard H. Charles, Alcohol and the Bible, published by Herald Press in 1981).

That is a more respectable position than trying to argue that the Bible itself forbids the use of alcoholic beverages. Alcoholics, or anyone who reacts adversely to alcohol for any reason, should not drink alcohol privately or socially at all. Nor should a person use alcohol in the presence of a recovering alcoholic (and often one does not know who that might be). There are many non-alcoholic drinks a person can enjoy instead.

This article was written in 1991 and updated in 2012.

Copyright Grace Communion International. All rights reserved.

Grace Communion International at http://www.gci.org/.

Please note that inclusion of links to other sites does not mean recommendation of everything on that site only the particular article/s referred to.

Other articles about alcoholism at Grace Communion:

Deliverance from Alcoholism

People are delivered from gambling, sex and drug addiction, and alcoholism by Jesus. Salvation in the form of living a godly life, reading and obeying God’s word, praying, giving praise and thanks to God, good fellowship, renunciation prayers for generational inquity, and so on, will help.   There are many Christian and secular organisations who can help with information such as http://www.dryoutnow.com/.

Casting out demons does help with deliverance from alcoholism.  Many deliverance ministers can help with alcoholism.  There is an excellent book by Win Worley available on Amazon called “The Alcoholic Syndrome.”

Even after years of being free of alcohol, someone’s life can be made very difficult by life patterns acquired during the period of alcoholism, and accompanying demons do need to be cast out.

There is an excellent sermon on the subject by John Goguen: “Alcohol and Food Addiction – Digging your own grave with a fork – Parts 1 and 2″.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/omegamanradio/2014/05/21/episode-1526–alcohol-and-food-addiction–digging-your-own-grave-with-a-fork

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/omegamanradio/2014/07/02/7-9pm-john-goguen-9-10pm-john-ramirez-10p-12am-john-torell

 

 

 

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Exposing False Teachers

In his exposure of these false teachers, Paul gives us six identifying marks that can guide us to discern the presence of “wolves in sheep’s clothing” in our midst today.

First, false teachers distract Christians from obeying the truth of the gospel (v.7). Paul compliments the Galatian believers for running a good race. Running a race was one of Paul’s favorite images for living the Christian life. Here this image portrays how well they were obeying the truth. The gospel set the course for their life, and they were running well in that course. The reality of their belief in the truth about Christ was demonstrated by their obedience to Christ. But then they were distracted, tripped and so hindered from running this race.

Paul asks them, Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? The question is rhetorical. Paul knows the answer. But by asking the question this way he exposes the false teachers’ negative effect on the life of the believers. The picture is of a runner who distracts another runner, blocks his way, cuts in on him and trips him. Everyone would have been very angry with a runner who did such a thing. He would have broken the clear rules against cutting in or tripping in the foot races of the Greek festivals. He would be immediately disqualified and excluded from the festival.

The false teachers are hindering the Christians from obeying the truth of the gospel with all their talk about joining the Jewish people and keeping the law. All those who get the church off on a tangent, away from the clear direction given by the central truth of the gospel, are like these false teachers. They should be disqualified and excluded from the churches.

Second, false teachers replace the call of God with their own deceptive persuasiveness (v.8). That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you, Paul informs his readers. When Paul had preached the gospel, the Galatians heard the voice of God calling them through Paul (1:6). But when the false teachers teach, all that can be heard is flattery, boastfulness and empty rhetoric. They are skillful orators.

No doubt they claim to be giving God’s message backed by Scripture. But all one can hear through their strident voices is a harsh repetition of the demands of the law. What a contrast to “the one who called you by the grace of Christ” (1:6) and the God who “called me by his grace” (1:15). Their message is all about the works of the law, not about God’s work of grace in Christ. So obviously their persuasion does not come from God, who always calls by his grace.

Third, false teachers gain control over the whole church (v.9). Just as a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough, so the negative influence of a few false teachers has penetrated the whole church and is quickly coming to control the direction of the church. False teachers are like that; they seek to dominate every situation in the life of the church.

Fourth, false teachers cause confusion and discouragement (v.10). When the Galatians were converted, they related to God with the joyful confidence of children, calling him “Abba, Father” through the Spirit. But their confidence in God’s grace has been badly shaken by the false teachers, who threaten them with the judgment of God if they do not keep the law of God. They are confused and discouraged. So Paul reassures the Galatians of his confidence in the Lord regarding them: I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. And then he turns the tables on the false teachers by putting them under the judgment of God: The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.

Fifth, false teachers spread false reports about spiritual leaders. We may infer that verse 11 is Paul’s response to a false report that had been given about him. Since the immediate context focuses on the corrupting influence of the false teachers, it seems reasonable to suppose that they claimed Paul’s support for their campaign to circumcise the Gentile believers.

We don’t know on what basis they would have done this.  Perhaps if this letter was written after Paul circumcised Timothy, as recorded in Acts 16:3, they may have appealed to that incident. Or maybe they pointed to Paul’s own willingness to continue his Jewish way of life even after his conversion (see 1 Cor 9:20). Whatever their basis may have been, they gave a false report about Paul to strengthen their own position.

Paul had, of course, preached circumcision before his conversion. He had been “extremely zealous for the traditions” of Judaism (1:14). But after his conversion he preached the cross of Christ as the only way of salvation. True, he continued to support Jewish Christian adherence to the traditional Jewish way of life. But he consistently resisted anyone who tried to “force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs” (2:14). That was a key point of his autobiography (1:13–2:21). Paul proves that the report that he is still preaching circumcision is false by pointing to the fact that he is being persecuted (5:11).

Both non-Christian Jews and many Christian Jews fiercely opposed Paul precisely because he did not require circumcision. His refusal to require circumcision clearly implied that it was not necessary to belong to the Jewish nation to belong to the covenant people of God. By denying the exclusive claim of the Jewish people to be the only true people of God, Paul seemed to deny the reason for the Jewish people’s very existence. No wonder, then, that they persecuted him from one country to another. If Paul had preached circumcision, then he would not have been persecuted by the Jews. By preaching circumcision, he would have been communicating that it was necessary to belong to the Jewish nation because the salvation of God was available only to those within this nation.

Paul says in verse 11 that if he has communicated that salvation is only in the Jewish nation by preaching circumcision, the offense of the cross has been abolished. For then the message that salvation is only through the cross of Christ would have been denied. The offense of the cross is that it denies a “most favored nation” status, a “superior race” category, as the reason for God’s blessing. For the blessing of God comes only through the cross, where the judgment of God upon all was removed by Christ’s death (see 3:13-14). The message of Christ crucified is offensive not only to Jews but also to the pride of all who want to claim some personal merit as the basis of God’s approval.

Sixth, false teachers emphasize sensational rituals. Verse 12 sounds terribly harsh and crude, but we must interpret it in its historical and cultural context. It would indeed have been a sensational ceremony if all the male members of the Galatian churches had been circumcised by the false teachers. But then, Paul says, somewhat sarcastically, if they really want to put on a sensational show, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!  He is probably referring here to a barbaric ritual that actually took place in his day in Galatian pagan temples.

The priests of Cybele, the mother goddess of the earth, castrated themselves with ritual pincers and placed their testicles in a box. (Such a box is now on display in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England.) The false teachers were leading the Galatian Christians to think that the ritual of circumcision was a sacred act that would bring them into fellowship with God. But Paul has already said that “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value” (v.6). Now he puts the ritual of circumcision in the same category as the ritual castration of the Galli, the priests of the mother-goddess of the earth, Cybele; it had no more significance to the Gentile Christians than any of the other barbaric, bloody rituals practiced in the ancient world.

So Paul has totally discredited the value of circumcision and the motives of the false teachers who want to impose it upon the churches in Galatia. They only “want to make a good impression outwardly” (6:12); they want to boast in their sensational ceremony (see 6:13). Since their motive is to put on an impressive ritual show, they might as well learn a few lessons from the pagan priests, who really know how to put on a good show when it comes to using a knife on the human body!

It is never pleasant to expose the deceptive, destructive tactics of the “false brothers.” But it is necessary to do so in order to protect the freedom of fellow Christians. Of course circumcision is not an issue today. But we are constantly faced with a choice between different religious options. They are not all the same; they are not all spokes on a wheel leading to the same hub. Some religious options lead to slavery and imprisonment. Only by obedience to the truth of the gospel of Christ can we protect the freedom that is ours in Christ.

Galatians 5: IVP New Testament Commentaries from the full series on Bible Gateway at http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/toc/

Micah Chapter 7

In this chapter, the prophet Micah, in the name of the church, sadly laments the woeful decay of religion in the age wherein he lived, and the deluge of impiety and immorality which overwhelmed the nation, which levelled the differences, and bore down the fences, of all that is just and sacred:

“Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit. The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up. The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity. Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.” (Micah 7:1-6)

The prophet, for the sake of the church, prescribes comforts, which may be of use at such a time, and gives counsel what to do.

1. They must have an eye to God

“Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7)

2. They must courageously bear up against the insolences of the enemy

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the LORD thy God? mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.” (Micah 7:8-10)

3. They must patiently lie down under the rebukes of their God

“I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.” (Micah 7:9)

4. They must expect no other than that the trouble would continue long, and must endeavour to make the best of it

“In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed. In that day also he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and from the fortified cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain. Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.” (Micah 7:11-13)

5. They must encourage themselves with God’s promises, in answer to the prophet’s prayers

“Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things.” (Micah 7:14-15)

6. They must foresee the fall of their enemies, that now triumphed over them

“The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee.” (Micah 7:16-17)

7. They must themselves triumph in the mercy and grace of God, and his faithfulness to his covenant

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” (Micah 7:18-20)

With that comfortable word the prophecy concludes.

Posted in False Prophets Unmasked | Leave a comment

Heretics List

The first sign Jesus gave heralding the last days was deception (Matt. 24:4).  This warning was later echoed by the Apostles John (1 John 4:1); Peter (2:1-3); and Jude.   And of course Paul: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,” (1 Timothy 4:1).

This Heretics List represents a growing collection of false prophets and teachers in the church now promoting the prosperity gospel, the Occult, New Age, the Emergent Church, Latter Rain-Manifest Sons of God, Word of Faith, and a myriad of other chaotic Charismania collectively promoting and employing blasphemous eastern religious practices such as shamanism (occult overtures), kundalini (slain in the spirit), divination (words of knowledge, prophesies, tongues and interpretations so called).

Moreover, we name the perpetrators just like Paul did in 1 Tim. 1:20: “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

In 2 Tim 1:15: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.”

And: 2 Tim 2:17: “And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;”

As John did in 3 John 1:9: “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.”

And Jesus did in Rev. 2:20: “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”

If you discover your favorite “Bible” teacher mentioned, I challenge you to research their message before you attack this messenger thereby proving you have been woefully deceived by them (Matt. 24:24).

For an exercise in doctrinal soundness, may I suggest you acquire – and devour – an Old Scofield KJV Study Bible and a subscription to the Sword of the Lord – POB 1099 – Murfreesboro TN 37133.

From Wikipedia: Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs.  Heresy is distinct from both apostasy, which is the explicit renunciation of one’s religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverance toward religion.

Heresy is usually used to discuss violations of religious or traditional laws or legal codes, although it is used by some political extremists to refer to their opponents. It carries the connotation of behaviours or beliefs likely to undermine accepted morality and cause tangible evils, damnation, or other punishment.

In Abrahamic religions, it also implies that the heretic is in alliance with the religion’s symbol of evil, such as Satan or Chaos. In certain historical Christian, Jewish, and some modern cultures including Islam, espousing ideas deemed heretical was punishable by law.

The term heresy is from Greek αἵρεσις originally meant “choice” or “thing chosen”, but it came to mean the “party or school of a man’s choice” and also referred to that process whereby a young person would examine various philosophies to determine how to live.

The word “heresy” is usually used within a Christian, Jewish, or Islamic context, and implies slightly different meanings in each. The founder or leader of a heretical movement is called a heresiarch, while individuals who espouse heresy or commit heresy are known as heretics. Heresiology is the study of heresy.

According to Tit 3:10 a divisive person should be warned two times before separating from him. The Greek for the phrase “divisive person” became a technical term in the early church for a type of “heretic” who promoted dissension.  In contrast correct teaching is called sound not only because it builds up in the faith, but because it protects against the corrupting influence of false teachers. [Wikipedia]

Ahn, Che [Latter Rain]

Anderson, Fil [Universalism]

Angley, Ernest [Word of Faith]

Armstrong, Garner Ted [Worldwide Church of God]

Armstrong, Herbert W [founder Worldwide Church of God]

Arnott, John [leader Toronto "Blessing", Latter Rain]

Austin, Jill [Latter Rain]

Avanzini, John [lucre lover, Copeland clone]

Bailey, Foster, Alice [Lucis Trust, occult]

Bakker, Jamie [Emergent Church]

Bakker, Jim [lucre lover]

Bell, Rob [Emergent Church]

Bennett, Rita [occult inner healing see Agnes Sanford]

Bentley, Todd [false prophet, kundalini, Lakeland lunacy]

Bernal, Dick [Latter Rain; spiritual war network]

Bevere, John and Lisa [lucre lover, Kingdom Now]

Bickle, Mike [Kansas City Prophets, Int'l House of Prayer]

Blanchard, Ken [Mystic Contemplative Prayer]

Blavatsky, Helena Patrovna [psychic, Theosophical Society]

Boshoff, Jan [false prophet, denies inspiration]

Branham, William [occult spiritist, serpent seed, false prophet]

Brother Lawrence [Contemplative Mysticism]

Brown, Michael L. [Brownsville heresy]

Browne, Rodney Howard [Latter Rain, spirit drunkenness]

Burke, John [Emergent Church]

Burke, Spencer [Emergent Church]

Cain, Paul [Kansas City Prophets/Latter Rain]

Campbell, Wes & Stacey [Latter Rain]

Camping, Harold [false prophet]

Campolo, Tony [liberal professor, author, theologian]

Caycee, Edgar [occult psychic clairvoyant]

Charisma Mag [writers, editors, associates]

Cho, Paul or David Yonggi [Word of Faith, pastor of largest church in the world]

Chvada, Mahesh [Latter Rain]

Clark, Randy [Latter Rain, Toronto "Blessing"]

Clement, Kim [New Apostolic Reformation]

Cloud, Deron [foul-mouthed Assoc of heretic Eddie Long, check web for much more]

Collins, Jim [Mystic Contemplative Prayer Movement]

Copeland, Kenneth and Gloria [Word of Faith]

Corner, Dan [teaches Another Gospel other than Grace]

Craft, Charles [Latter Rain; spiritual war network]

Crouch, Matthew [promotes rank heresies via TBN]

Crouch, Paul Jr. [promotes rank heresies via TBN]

Crouch, Paul Sr. [lucre lover, sodomite, TBN founder]

Crowder, John [New Mystics, Sons of Thunder]

Dake, Finnis Jennings [Bible editor, Charismatic/Latter Rain]

Dawson, John [YWAM, Latter Rain Copelandite]

Dawson, Joy [Latter Rain; spiritual war network]

Daystar Television Channel [Charismania]

De Artega, William [Latter Rain adovocate]

Deere, Jack [Latter Rain, Wimberite]

Dollar, Creflo [lucre lover, Copeland clone]

Dowie, John Alexander [father of Modern Healing Revival]

Driscoll, Mark [previous Emergent Church leader]

Dunne, Benjamin [New Mystics; toking the "Ghost"]

DuPlantis, Jesse [lucre lover, Copeland clone]

Eastman, Dick [Latter Rain; spiritual war network]

Eddy, Mary Baker ["Christian" Science; mind sciences]

Foster, Richard [Mystic Contemplative Prayer Movement]

Frangipane, Francis [Kansas City Prophets/Latter Rain]

Hagin, Kenneth Jr./Sr. [Kenyon clones like Copeland]

Hamon, Bill [Latter Rain]

Hanegraaff, Hendrick Hank [Preterist, plagiarist thief who stole Walter Martin's ministry from his family]

Hayford, Jack [ecumenist Pentecostal RC supporting Latter Rain Dominionist]

Hickey, Marilyn [Copeland clone]

Hill, Steve [lead "evangelist" Brownsville blasphemy]

Hinn, Benny [Latter Rain, fornicator w/Paula White]

Hubbard, Barbara Marx [Foundation for Conscious Evolution]

Hubbard, L. Ron [New Age, Scientology]

Huch, Larry [Copeland clone]

Hybels, Bill [Emergent Church, Chrislam]

Jackson, John Paul [Kansas City Prophets/Latter Rain]

Jacobs, Cindy [Copeland clone]

Jakes, TD [Oneness Pentecostalism]

Jones, Bob [Kansas City Prophets/Latter Rain, not College]

Jones, Laurie Beth [Mystic Contemplative Prayer]

Jones, Tony [national coordinator Emergent Church]

Jordan, Bernard [Hinn clone]

Joyner, Rick [Kansas City Prophets/Latter Rain]

Keating, Thomas [Contemplative Mysticism]

Kelsey, Morton [Agnes Sanford's pastor]

Kempis, Thomas a [Contemplative Mysticism]

Ken Blanchard [Emergent Church]

Kenyon, EW [Father of Word of Faith occult spiritism]

Kidd, Sue Monk [Mystic Contemplative Prayer Movement]

Kimball, Dan [Emergent Church]

King, Patricia [mystical witchcraft via Extreme Prophetic TV]

LaVey, Anton [founder church of Satan]

Kinnaman, Gary D. [Latter Rain spiritual warfare]

Kuhlman, Kathryn [adulterous, faith healer and Hinn's mentor]

Lawrence, Brother [Contemplative Mysticism]

Lea, Larry [Latter Rain Copelandite]

Leonard Sweet [Emergent Church]

Long, Bishop Eddie [lucre lover, sodomite Charismatic]

Lucis Trust [occult, New Age]

MacNab, Francis [Kansas City Prophets/Latter Rain]

Marrs, Texe [rabid anti-Semite]

McClure, Joel [Emergent Church]

Mclaren, Brian [Emergent Church]

McManus, Erwin [Mystic Contemplative Prayer Movement]

Merton, Thomas [Trappist monk and Catholic mystic]

Meyer, Joyce [lucre lover, Copeland clone]

Miller, Calvin [Mystic Contemplative Prayer Movement]

Mills, Joshua [Crowder clone, gold dust, oily hands]

Munsey, Phil [lucre lover, Copeland clone]

Munsey, Steve [lucre lover, Copeland clone]

Murdock, Mike [Copeland clone]

Murphy, Ed [Latter Rain; spiritual war network]

Murray, Arnold [serpent seed, much more]

Nouwen, Henry [Contemplative Mysticism, Emerging Church]

Osteen, Joel [compromiser, positive confession]

Packer, J I [Romanist and Charismatic Sympathizer]

Pagitt, Doug [Emergent Church]

Parham, Charles [sodomite father of modern Pentecostalism]

Parsley, Rod [Kingdom Now, Joel's army, Manifest Sons]

Paulk, Earl [Latter Rain]

Peale, Norman Vincent [positive confession liberal]

Pearson, Carlton [Universalism]

Peck, M. Scott [New Age; Psychology Movement]

Peretti, Frank [Latter Rain; spiritual war network]

Peterson, Eugene [Mystic Contemplative Prayer Movement]

Pierce, Chuck [Elijah List]

Pierce, Chuck [Latter Rain]

Popes, all [idolaters, false Christs, exceeding deceivers]

Popoff, Peter [lucre lover, fake healer]

Price, Fred KC [Copeland clone]

Rand, Ayn [philosophical existentialism]

Richard Foster [Emergent Church]

Rinker, Rosalind [occult inner healing see Agnes Sanford]

Roberts, Oral [deceased, false prophet]

Roberts, Richard and Lindsey [Oral's son and wife, false prophets]

Robertson, Pat [divination, false prophet, aiding wickedness]

Russell, Charles Taze [founder Jehovah's Witnesses]

Rutherford, Judge [past president of Jehovah's Witnesses]

Sandford, John & Paula [Latter Rain]

Sanford, Agnes [occult visualization inner healing advocate]

Savelle, Jerry [Copeland clone]

Scandrette, Mark [Emergent Church]

Schambach, R. W. [deceased Latter Rain]

Schuler, Robert [Peale clone, positive confession liberal]

Seamands, David [Mystic Contemplative Prayer Movement]

Senge, Peter [Buddhist]

Seymour, William [see Parham, Charles]

Shaw, Gwen [Latter Rain; spiritual war network]

Sheets, Dutch [Elijah List]

Smith, Joseph [founding False Prophet of Mormonism]

St. John of the Cross [Mystic Contemplative Prayer]

Stapleton, Ruth Carter [occult inner healing see Agnes Sanford]

Stevens, John Robert [Latter Rain; assoc of Frangipane]

Strader, Stephen [Latter Rain]

Sutton, Dave [Emergent Church]

Talbot, John Michael [Contemplative Mysticism]

Tenney, Tommy [Oneness Pentecostalism, Charismatic]

Teresa of Avila [Contemplative Mysticism]

Thompson, Robb [Word of Faith, lucre lover]

Tilton, Robert [Copeland clone]

Vineyard Fellowship or Churches [Wimberites]

Wagner, Peter [New Apostolic Reformation, Wimberite]

Wallis, Jim [Communist Liberation Theology]

Ward, Karen [Emergent Church]

Warren, Rick [Emergent Purpose Driven, promotes Chrislam]

White, Dr. John [Latter Rain, Word of Faith]

White, Ellen G. [founder False Prophet Seventh Day Advents]

White, Paula[Copeland Clone, fornicator w/Benny Hinn]

White, Tom [Latter Rain; spiritual war network]

Willard, Dallas [Emergent Church]

Wimber, John [deceased, Kansas City Prophets/Latter Rain]

Womack, Andrew [Copeland clone]

Wright, H. Norman [occult inner healing see Agnes Sanford]

Wright, Jeremiah [liberal Liberation Theology, Bible denier]

Xander, Dieter [Emergent Church]

Youth With a Mission Prophets [YWAM- Latter Rain]

Muldoon, Dayna [Word of Faith]

Dear friend, there is no way to include every deceiver in a list of this length. If you are in question about someone, please contact me and I’ll search the person’s credentials for you.

Dr. Mike Johnston, Editor – PMI Centre for Biblical Studies at http://pmicenter.blogspot.co.uk/p/read-1st.html

See the foot of this page for links to discernment ministry sites where it is easy to check and find out whether a preacher is possibly a false teacher.

People are fallible.  God’s word isn’t, so always check against (preferably KJV) scripture.

I would like to add to this list Brennan Manning, Contemplative Christianity along with many other Catholic and Christian authors.  There are some wonderful Christian books, far too many to list, but a very large percentage of these books contain false doctrine and they are also far too many to list.

It would be wise for anyone to check carefully before paying out their hard-earned cash to buy a book that may be attractive in one way or another, but will not do much good and could potentially do great harm as even listening to or reading false doctrine can open demonic doorways.

The enemy looks for a chink in our armour, to get a toehold, then a foothold, then a stronghold, then a stranglehold.  We are warned in God’s word to be wary and watchful, as no one is immune to deception.  The devil even tried to deceive Jesus and are we greater than Him?

“Of all deadly sins, this is the most deadly, namely, that any one should think he is not guilty of a damnable and deadly sin before God:” Martin Luther.  Some say Martin Luther was himself guilty of a degree of anti-semitism which according to the Bible is specifically cursed by God.

It is a cliche, but still it is good policy to be better safe than sorry and keep away from false doctrine and anyone involved in it.  As God’s word tells us that means many, even most, Christian teachers.  The fruit of their false teaching can be quite upsetting and personally damaging as many will testify.

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1)

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)

“Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” (Malachi 3:18)

For further reading please see the article on this blog made up entire of KJV scriptures from the Old and New Testament some of which is God Himself speaking. As no one says it better than God, this is very revealing and can be found here:

http://truthinreality.com/2012/08/17/false-prophets/

The Parable of the Good Shepherd

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an HIRELING and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.  (John 10:1-30)

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11)

Posted in False Prophets Unmasked | 5 Comments

In the face of tragedy, the first question people often ask is “Why does God allow pain and suffering?”

As Jen Hatmaker writes: “Suffering transcends all class, race, ethnicity, culture, privilege. The wealthiest, most successful man on earth could lose his only daughter in a car wreck this afternoon. There is no corner untouched by grief, no demographic, no alliance. If you haven’t suffered, just live longer. With anything so viscerally devastating, the Christian community has long tried to explain it … what we have always wanted to know when tragedy strikes is WHY.”

Hatmaker goes on: “To this end, the church has a history of formulizing suffering, giving it tidy origins and endings and whitewashing the horrid, debilitating middle. We’ve assessed the complicated nuances of universal sorrow and assigned it categories, roots, principles. Or in the face of uncertain causes, we recite some of the coldest, inhumane theology: ‘God is sovereign. Deal with it.’ In an attempt to understand the ordinary grief of human life, I fear we’ve reduced a complicated reality to an unmanageable burden; we’ve put a yoke of despair on people who mourn, assigning accolades to those who ‘suffer well’ and, in ways overt and subtle, urging our brokenhearted to buck up. Then adding insult to injury, we fall into the trap of explaining suffering, as if any one of us could possibly understand its eternal scope.”

She lists several things we do know about suffering from Scripture: sometimes people suffer because of self-inflicted misery; sometimes people suffer at the sin of others; sometimes people suffer through no human fault at all; sometimes people suffer because people get sick and die; sometimes people suffer because we live on a physical earth involving tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis; sometimes people suffer because we have an enemy whose goal is to steal, kill and destroy.

“The point is,” Hatmaker says, “there is no formula for suffering. There is no one answer. There is no pat explanation. … Though it is human nature to master all knowledge, we simply must concede that so much of life is a mystery, as is the way God moves and redeems. How can we possibly fathom it all? We don’t always get the answer to WHY this side of heaven, so we need to stop talking about spiritual mysteries as if we are in possession of all understanding.”

But, Hatmaker writes, as we suffer, as we hold onto one another through the dark night waiting for the sun to rise again, there are some things we can cling to:

  • God is impossibly loving. He loves us. He loves our families. He loves creation.
  • God restores things; all of history points to a God who makes sad things right.
  • God doesn’t tempt, abuse, endorse wickedness, abandon, or hate.
  • In our darkest moment, when we are crushed, Jesus is as close as our own breath.
  • He has given us to one another as agents of love and grace and safety.
  • He told us 100s of times to comfort each other, making sure we are cared for.
  • Jesus wept over death and grief; shed your tears, friend. We have a Savior who cries.
  • It is not the Body’s responsibility to explain why. We are family. We circle the wagons. We make casseroles. We weep with those who weep.

“We may not get a why, but we know the how: together,” Hatmaker concludes. “Jesus is so good and He loves you. The sun will rise with healing in its wings, but until it does, may we all learn to be a soft place to fall, cushioning the blow of suffering until Jesus turns it all into glory.”

The question of suffering is one that will always be asked, and one that countless Christian leaders, authors, writers and individuals will always attempt to tackle in the face of tragedy. What about you? What do you cling to in the midst of overwhelming pain? How do you answer the question of “Why?”

For further reading and different perspectives on this topic, check out the following articles from Crosswalk.com:

Posted in When Things Get Tough | Leave a comment

The Names of God

El Shaddai [Lord God Almighty]
El Elyon [The Most High God]
Adonai [Lord, Master]
Yahweh [Lord, Jehovah]
Jehovah Nissi [The Lord My Banner]
Jehovah-Raah [The Lord My Shepherd]
Jehovah Rapha [The Lord That Heals]
Jehovah Shammah [The Lord Is There]
Jehovah Tsidkenu [The Lord Our Righteousness]
Jehovah Mekoddishkem [The Lord Who Sanctifies You]
El Olam [The Everlasting God]
Elohim [God]
Qanna [Jealous]
Jehovah Jireh [The Lord Will Provide]
Jehovah Shalom [The Lord Is Peace]
Jehovah Sabaoth [The Lord of Hosts]

“Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven.” Psa 148:13

In the Old Testament times, a name was not only identification, but an identity as well.  Many times a special meaning was attached to the name. Names had, among other purposes, an explanatory purpose (e.g., Nabal, whose name means “fool,” is the target of Abigail’s explanation to David: “For as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him:” 1Sa 25:25). Throughout Scripture God reveals Himself to us through His names.  When we study these names that He reveals to us in the Bible, we will better understand who God really is.  The meanings behind God’s names reveal the central personality and nature of the One who bears them.

Who Is God To You

Is He your Most High God, All sufficient One, Master, Lord of Peace, the Lord Who Will Provide? Is He your Father? We must be careful not to make God into an “it” or a “thing” to which we pray. He is our Jehovah Raah, the Lord our Shepherd. God knows us by our name, shouldn’t we know Him by His?

Hallowed Be Your Name

To hallow something is to make it holy or to set it apart to be exalted as being worthy of absolute devotion. To hallow the name of God is to regard Him with complete devotion and loving admiration. God’s name is of the utmost importance (Neh 9:5); therefore we ought reserve it a position of grave significance in our minds and hearts. We should never take His name lightly (Exd 20:7; Lev 22:32), but always rejoice in it and think deeply upon its true meaning.

El Shaddai [Lord God Almighty]
[el shad-di' All-Sufficient One, Lord God Almighty]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament El Shaddai occurs 7 times. El Shaddai is first used in Gen 17:1.

Variant spellings: None
TWOT Reference: 2333
Strong’s Reference: H7706

El Shaddai in the Septuagint: theou saddai - God Shaddai; pantokratôr (for Shaddai) – the Almighty

Meaning and Derivation: El is another name that is translated as “God” and can be used in conjunction with other words to designate various aspects of God’s character. Another word much like Shaddai, and from which many believe it derived, is shad meaning “breast” in Hebrew (some other scholars believe that the name is derived from an Akkadian word Šadu, meaning “mountain,” suggesting strength and power). This refers to God completely nourishing, satisfying, and supplying His people with all their needs as a mother would her child. Connected with the word for God, El, this denotes a God who freely gives nourishment and blessing, He is our sustainer.

Further references of the name El Shaddai in the Old Testament: Gen 17:1; Gen 28:3; Gen 35:11, Gen 43:14; Gen 48:3.

El Elyon [The Most High God]
[el el-yone' The Most High God]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament El Elyon occurs 28 times. It occurs 19 times in Psalms. El Elyon is first used in Gen 14:18.

Variant spellings: None
TWOT Reference: 1624g, 1624h
Strong’s Reference: H5945

El Elyon in the Septuagint: ho theos ho hupsistos - the God most high

Meaning and Derivation: El is another name that is translated as “God” and can be used in conjunction with other words to designate various aspects of God’s character. Elyon literally means “Most High” and is used both adjectivally and substantivally throughout the Old Testament. It expresses the extreme sovereignty and majesty of God and His highest preeminence. When the two words are combined - El Elyon - it can be translated as “the most exalted God.”(Psa 57:2)

Further references of the name El Elyon in the Old Testament: Gen 14:18; Gen 14:19: Gen 14:20; Gen 14:22; Psa 57:2; Psa 78:35

Adonai [Lord, Master]
[ad-o-noy' Lord, Master]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Adonai occurs 434 times. There are heavy uses of Adonai in Isaiah (e.g., Adonai Jehovah). It occurs 200 times in Ezekiel alone and appears 11 times in Daniel Chapter 9. Adonai is first used in Gen 15:2. 

Variant spellings: None
TWOT Reference: 27b
Strong’s Reference: H136

Adonai in the Septuagint: kurios - Lord, Master

Meaning and Derivation: Adonai is the verbal parallel to Yahweh and Jehovah.  Adonai is plural; the singular is adon. In reference to God the plural Adonai is used. When the singular adon is used, it usually refers to a human lord. Adon is used 215 times to refer to men. Occasionally in Scripture and predominantly in the Psalms, the singular adon is used to refer to God as well (cf. Exd 34:23). To avoid contravening the commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” (Exd 20:7), sometimes Adonai was used as a substitute for Yahweh (YHWH). Adonai can be translated literally as, “my lords’ ” (both plural and possessive).

Further references of the name Adonai in the Old Testament: Complete list available here.

Yahweh [Lord, Jehovah]
[yah-weh Lord, Jehovah]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Yahweh occurs 6,519 times. This name is used more than any other name of God. Yahweh is first used in Gen 2:4.

Variant spellings: YHWH, Jehovah
TWOT Reference: 484a
Strong’s Reference: H3068

Yahwehin the Septuagint: kurios - Lord, Master despotês - Lord, Master, denoting the omnipotence of God (TDNT), despot, absolute ruler

Meaning and Derivation: Yahweh is the promised name of God. This name of God which (by Jewish tradition) is too holy to voice, is actually spelled “YHWH” without vowels. YHWH is referred to as the Tetragrammaton (which simply means “the four letters”). YHWH comes from the Hebrew letters: Yud, Hay, Vav, Hay. While YHWH is first used in Genesis 2, God did not reveal Himself as YHWH until Exodus 3. The modern spelling as “Yahweh” includes vowels to assist in pronunciation. Many pronounce YHWH as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.”

We no longer know for certain the exact pronunciation. During the third century A.D., the Jewish people stopped saying this name in fear of contravening the commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” (Exd 20:7). As a result of this, Adonai is occasionally a substitute for YHWH. The following compound names which start with “YHWH” have been shown using “Jehovah.” This is due to the common usage of “Jehovah” in the English of these compound names in the early English translations of the Bible (e.g., the Geneva Bible, the King James Version, etc.).

Further references of the name Yahweh in the Old Testament: Complete list available here.

Jehovah Nissi [The Lord My Banner]
[yeh-ho-vaw' nis-see' The Lord My Banner/My Miracle]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Jehovah-Nissi occurs only once in Exd 17:15.

Variant spellings: Jehovah Nisi; Jehovah nissi
TWOT Reference: None
Strong’s Reference: H3071

Jehovah Nissi in the Septuagint: kurios kataphugê mou - the Lord is my refuge

Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havahmeaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Nes (nês), from which Nissi derived, means “banner” in Hebrew. In Exd 17:15, Moses, recognizing that the Lord was Israel’s banner under which they defeated the Amalekites, builds an altar named Jehovah-Nissi (the Lord our Banner). Nes is sometimes translated as a pole with an insignia attached. In battle opposing nations would fly their own flag on a pole at each of their respective front lines. This was to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a focal point. This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to give us hope and a focal point.

Further references of the name Jehovah Nissi in the Old Testament: Exd 17:15

Jehovah-Raah [The Lord My Shepherd]
[yeh-ho-vaw' raw-aw' The Lord My Shepherd]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Jehovah-Raah (The Lord my Shepherd) is used in Psalm 23.

Variant spellings: Jehovah Rohi; Jehovah Ro’eh
TWOT Reference: 2185, 2186
Strong’s Reference: H7462

Jehovah-Raah in the Septuagint: kurios poimainei me - the Lord shepherds me

Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Rô’eh from which Raah derived, means “shepherd” in Hebrew. A shepherd is one who feeds or leads his flock to pasture (Eze 34:11-15). An extend translation of this word, rea’, is “friend” or “companion.” This indicates the intimacy God desires between Himself and His people. When the two words are combined - Jehovah Raah - it can be translated as “The Lord my Friend.”

Further references of the name Jehovah-Raah in the Old Testament: Gen 48:15; Gen 49:24; Psa 23:1; Psa 80:1. 

Jehovah Rapha [The Lord Who Heals]
[yeh-ho-vaw' raw-faw' The Lord That Heals]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Jehovah-Rapha (The Lord that Heals) is used in Exd 15:26.

Variant spellings: Jehovah-Rophe; Jehovah Rophecha; Jehovah Raphah
TWOT Reference: 2196
Strong’s Reference: H7495

Jehovah Rapha in the Septuagint: kurios ho iomenos se – the Lord your healer 

Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Rapha (Rapa’) means “to restore”, “to heal” or “to make healthful” in Hebrew. When the two words are combined - Jehovah Rapha - it can be translated as “Jehovah Who Heals.” (cf. Jer 30:17; Jer 3:22; Isa 30:26; Isa 30:26; Isa 6:11; Psa 103:3).  Jehovah is the Great Physician who heals the physical and emotional needs of His people.

Further references of the name Jehovah Rapha in the Old Testament: Exd 15:26 

Jehovah Shammah [The Lord Is There]
[yeh-ho-vaw' shawm'-maw The Lord Is There]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Jehovah Shammah occurs only once in Ezekiel 48:35.

Variant spellings: Jehovah Samma
TWOT Reference: None
Strong’s Reference: H3074

Jehovah Shammah in the Septuagint: estai to onoma autês - the name thereof

Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Shammah is derived from the Hebrew word sham, which can be translated as “there.”  Jehovah Shammah is a symbolic name for the earthly Jerusalem. The name indicates that God has not abandoned Jerusalem, leaving it in ruins, but that there will be a restoration.

Further references of the name Jehovah Shammah in the Old Testament: Eze 48:35

Jehovah Tsidkenu [The Lord Our Righteousness]
[yeh-ho-vaw' tsid-kay'-noo The Lord Our Righteousness]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Jehovah Tsidkenu occurs 2 times.  Jehovah Tsidkenu is first used in Jer 23:6.

Variant spellings: Jehovah Tzidkaynu; Jehovah Tsidqenuw
TWOT Reference: None
Strong’s Reference: H3072

Jehovah Tsidkenu in the Septuagint: kuriou tou theou hêmôn elalêsen pros hêmas - the Lord our God spoke to us

Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Tsedek (tseh’-dek), from which Tsidkenu derived, means “to be stiff,” “to be straight,” or “righteous” in Hebrew. When the two words are combined - Jehovah Tsidkenu - it can be translated as “The Lord Who is our Righteousness.”

Further references of the name Jehovah Tsidkenu in the Old Testament: Jer 23:6; Jer 33:16.

Jehovah Mekoddishkem [The Lord Who Sanctifies You]
[yeh-ho-vaw' M-qadash The Lord Who Sanctifies You, The Lord Who Makes Holy]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Jehovah Mekoddishkem occurs 2 times.  Jehovah Mekoddishkem is first used in Exd 31:13. 

Variant spellings: Jehovah M’kaddesh
TWOT Reference: 1990
Strong’s Reference: H6942

Jehovah Mekoddishkem in the Septuagint: kurios ho hagiazôn humas - the Lord that sanctifies you

Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly.  Mekoddishkem derives from the Hebrew word qâdash meaning “sanctify,” “holy,” or “dedicate.” Sanctification is the separation of an object or person to the dedication of the Holy. When the two words are combined - Jehovah Mekoddishkem - it can be translated as “The Lord who sets you apart.”

Further references of the name Jehovah Mekoddishkem in the Old Testament: Exd 31:13; Lev 20:8.

El Olam [The Everlasting God]
[el o-lawm' The Everlasting God, The God of Eternity, The God of the Universe, The God of Ancient Days]

Use in the Bible: El Olam is first used in Gen 21:33.  

Variant spellings: None
TWOT Reference: 1631a
Strong’s Reference: H5769

El Olamin the Septuagint: [ho] theos [ho] aiônios - the everlasting God

Meaning and Derivation: El is another name that is translated as “God” and can be used in conjunction with other words to designate various aspects of God’s character. Olam derives from the root word ‘lm (which means “eternity”).Olam literally means “forever,” “eternity,” or “everlasting”. When the two words are combined - El Olam - it can be translated as “The Eternal God.”

Further references of the name El Olam in the Old Testament: Gen 21:33; Jer 10:10; Isa 26:4. 

Elohim [God]
[el-o-heem' God, Judge, Creator]

Use in the Bible: : In the Old Testament Elohim occurs over 2000 times. Elohim is first used in Gen 1:1.

Variant spellings: None
TWOT Reference: 93c
Strong’s Reference: H430

Elohim in the Septuagint: theos - the standard Greek word for god, “a transcendent being who exercises extraordinary control in human affairs or is responsible for bestowal of unusual benefits” (BDAG). It specifically refers to the monotheistic God of Israel.

Meaning and Derivation: Elohim is translated as “God.” The derivation of the name Elohim is debatable to most scholars. Some believe it derived from ‘êl which, in turn, originates from the root word, ‘wl (which means “strong”). Others think that Elohim is derived from another two roots: ‘lh (which means “god”) in conjunction with ‘elôah (which means “fear”). And still others presume that both ‘êl and Elohim come from ‘eloah.

Further references of the name Elohim in the Old Testament: Complete list available here.

Qanna [Jealous]
[kan-naw' Jealous, Zealous]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Qanna occurs 6 times. Qanna is first used in Exd 20:5.  

Variant spellings: Kanna
TWOT Reference: 2038b
Strong’s Reference: H7067

Qanna in the Septuagint: zêlôtês - jealous

Meaning and Derivation: Qanna is translated as “jealous,” “zealous,” or “envy.” The fundamental meaning relates to a marriage relationship. God is depicted as Israel’s husband; He is a jealous God, wanting all our praise for Himself and no one else. (cf. Exd 34:14)

Further references of the name Qanna in the Old Testament: Exd 20:5; Exd 34:14; Deu 4:24; Deu 5:9; Deu 6:15.  

Jehovah Jireh [The Lord Will Provide]
[yeh-ho-vaw' yir-eh' The Lord Will Provide]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Jehovah-Jireh occurs only once in Gen 22:14.  

Variant spellings: None
TWOT Reference: None
Strong’s Reference: H3070

Jehovah Jireh in the Septuagint: kurios eiden - the Lord has seen

Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Jehovah-Jireh is a symbolic name given to Mount Moriah by Abraham to memorialize the intercession of God in the sacrifice of Isaac by providing a substitute for the imminent sacrifice of his son.

Further references of the name Jehovah Jireh in the Old Testament: Gen 22:14.

Jehovah Shalom [The Lord Is Peace]
[yeh-ho-vaw' shaw-lome' The Lord Is Peace]

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Jehovah-Shalom occurs only once in Jdg 6:24.  

Variant spellings: None
TWOT Reference: None
Strong’s Reference: H3073

Jehovah-Shalom in the Septuagint: eirênê kuriou - peace of the Lord

Meaning and Derivation: Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Shalom is a derivative of shâlêm (which means “be complete” or “sound”) Shalom is translated as “peace” or “absence from strife.” Jehovah-Shalom is the name of an altar built by Gideon in Ophrah.

Further references of the name Jehovah-Shalom in the Old Testament: Jdg 6:24.

Jehovah Sabaoth [The Lord of Hosts]
[yeh-ho-vaw' se ba'ôt The Lord of Hosts, The Lord of Powers]

Use in the Bible: Jehovah and Elohim occur with Sabaoth over 285 times. It is most frequently used in Jeremiah and Isaiah. Jehovah Sabaoth is first used in 1Sa 1:3.

Variant spellings: None
TWOT Reference: 1865a, 1865b
Strong’s Reference: H6635

Jehovah Sabaoth in the Septuagint: kurios sabaôth - the Lord of hosts (sabaôth: Gr. transliteration of Heb. “hosts”)

Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Sabaoth(se bâ’ôt) means “armies” or “hosts.” Jehovah Sabaoth can be translated as “The Lord of Armies” (1Sa 1:3). This name denotes His universal sovereignty over every army, both spiritual and earthly. The Lord of Hosts is the king of all heaven and earth. (Psa 24:9-10; Psa 84:3; Isa 6:5).

Further references of the name Jehovah Sabaoth in the Old Testament: 1Sa 1:11; 1Sa 17:45; 2Sa 6:18; 2Sa 7:27; 1Ki 19:14; 2Ki 3:14; 1Ch 11:9;Psa 24:10; Psa 48:8; Psa 80:4; Psa 80:19; Psa 84:3; Isa 1:24; Isa 3:15; Isa 5:16;Isa 6:5; Isa 9:19; Isa 10:26; Isa 14:22; Jer 9:15; Jer 48:1; Hsa 12:5; Amo 3:13;Mic 4:4; Nah 3:5; Hag 2:6; Zec 1:3; Mal 1:6; Hab 2:13; Zep 2:9.

From: http://www.blueletterbible.org/about/about.cfm

Why are you called the Blue Letter Bible?

Back in 1996, in the early days of the World Wide Web and when the Blue Letter Bible first came out, hyperlinks were pretty much always blue in colour. Our vision has always been to provide free Bible study software in which the Bible is the center of the experience with study resources that link off of every word in the Bible. With hundreds of thousands of links that were all blue, we decided to call it the Blue Letter Bible as a play on the more commonly referenced red-letter editions of Scripture.

The name Blue Letter Bible has endured and is a constant reminder to us all to make the Bible the center of our study.

The Blue Letter Bible is a ministry of the non-profit organization Sowing Circle. For more information about the BLB, please refer to our short piece on the history of the BLB.

We have chosen not to be affiliated with any denomination or ministry; we have people who help from all different denominations and non-denominations. We pray that we might be faithful to the scriptures and glorify Jesus (Ephesians 4).

Know that our statement of faith, mission, and resources are grounded in the historical, conservative Christian faith. While this dictates our publication policy, it does not define the extent of our fellowship.

Posted in Does Our Worship Please God | Leave a comment

My Seven Years Working for the Elijah List by Kevin Kleint

As of this writing (Feb 2011) it’s been about three years since I ended my employment with the Elijah List.

It started around the year 2000. I was working for Hewlett-Packard and, through the grapevine, I learned of this daily email newsletter that published “prophecies” to around 30,000 people. This was back in Elijah List’s “text-only” days, where you received only 1 email per day. At the time, I was going to a “Word of Faith” church and I had a very strong foundation in the Word of God. Still, I knew that there was another element in my Walk with God that I wasn’t experiencing yet. I longed for the Reality of His Presence…. to actually SEE the working of God and to KNOW and EXPERIENCE Him more.

As I daily studied the words that I received from the Elijah List, this desire grew. I grew dissatisfied and frustrated with the church I was attending. “They just don’t GET IT!” I told myself. So I determined in my heart that I would find out where I could learn about this “New Thing” that God was doing and I and my family would be there when God showed up!

At the time, I was listening to our local Christian radio station, and they had an hour of worship where they would play worship music from Vineyard, Morningstar, RevivalNow, etc. Having been exposed to Maranatha, Hosanna Integrity, Ron Kenoly and Hillsong in the 80′s and 90′s, this new “style” of worship music just sent me soaring. I would sit at my computer and just weep, longing for the intimacy with Jesus that they sang about. The only church in our area that played this kind of music in their services was the Vineyard, the home church of Steve Shultz and most of the people that worked for the Elijah List. As soon as I found this out, I said “Goodbye” to my family at the Word of Faith church and started going to the Vineyard.

I didn’t know what I was getting into.

After going to the new church for a couple weeks, I was laid off of my job at HP. I’m a person that gets really antsy (and annoying) when I don’t have anything to do so I set out to find a new job as soon as possible.

One Sunday morning, I bumped into Steve and told him how much I appreciated the Elijah List and that, since I had some spare time on my hands, I could help him out with some computer and web work, if he needed it. Long story short, I was hired on at about the same rate as I would have made being on unemployment.

That’s when my life started to unravel.

My First Conference

After I worked at Elijah List for a few months, I attended my first Elijah List prophetic conference at the Vineyard. I know that Bob Jones, Larry Randolph and a guy named Ed Traut (later removed from Elijah List’s links page for some unnamed “indiscretion”) were some of the speakers (there were a few more, but they don’t come to mind).

During the conference, the extravagant worship and manifestations were in “full effect”. People were moving, twitching and making various noises in every corner of the building. Although I thought it strange that the worship was way more extreme than your typical Sunday morning at the Vineyard, I didn’t raise the question because I didn’t feel qualified to ask (in my mind, I was just a web guy, not a prophet or one with authority).

After spending a few years going to this church and attending these Elijah List conferences (as well as other “prophetic” conferences), I noticed a pattern emerge, where the worship would grow in intensity and volume during a conference where a “big name” prophet headlined, and then died down again once the conference is over.

I was really amazed at how idolized these “prophets” were in the eyes of the conference go-ers. They sat, literally, wide-eyed drinking in every word like it was the Absolute Truth. Even people who worked for the Elijah List were treated with some degree of idolatry. People came up to us and shook our hand saying things like, “Oh you’re so lucky to be able to work in that anointed atmosphere all the time!” They would hang out and ask us questions incessantly and make it really difficult to work (although the appreciation did give us a boost).

I even had some guy come up to me and ask me to lay hands on him and impart a “webmaster anointing”, so that he could do what I did (which wasn’t much talent-wise). I told him that it wasn’t an anointing, but that he should just study books and learn the code. But he was insistent, so not wanting to upset him, I laid hands on him and said a short, polite prayer. From his reaction, you would think that I had shocked him with a cattle prod! He did a few twitches and hit the floor. I walked off laughing, kind of embarrassed by the whole spectacle.

Let me take a small side road: For the record, I am NOT against manifestations. I’ve been “slain in the Spirit”, had Holy Laughter hit me and even physically reacted to the Holy Spirit. Believe me, when God (the Creator of the Universe) touches dirt (you and I), something is going to move. But if God touches us, there is going to be a change, a transformation, a healing of SOME sort. These people who “manifest” outwardly without becoming more and more like Him are NOT under the influence of the Holy Spirit (it’s another kind of spirit). I’ve known several people like this, who can twitch in the middle of WalMart, but have the personality of a troll. They claim to be so in tune with God, but the fruit of their lives speaks otherwise.

First Impressions Crumble

Many of the following things that I have learned happened simultaneously. It is difficult to get this chronologically correct, so I ask that you bear with me. Life was somewhat of a blur during my time at the Elijah List, but I am going to do my best to be as precise as possible.

After the twin towers fell on 9/11, traffic to the Elijah List site, as well as subscriptions to the Elijah List newsletter, increased dramatically and as a result, so did the workload. I was on call 24 hours a day for a few years after that and, although I did get paid for my labor, the demand from Steve (the founder of the Elijah List) was completely unreasonable. If he called and I didn’t drop what I was doing immediately and fulfill his request(s), I knew I would get a guilt trip in the email before the day’s end. I even remember one day, when I was in the shower bathing my dog, covered in dirt and hair, he called wanting me to check something on the web site. I asked him to wait 10 minutes so that I could get cleaned off, and he had the nerve to get upset about it because I didn’t “jump”.

This kind of behavior was a continuous problem throughout the 7 years and didn’t just affect me, but other Elijah List workers as well. Along with other types of mind games, I was called “rebellious” and “insubordinate” on a regular basis. And I found this very strange, because all of my prior bosses felt that I had been very easy to get along with, and that I followed orders great! In fact, my boss from my subsequent job asked me, “Where is your confidence? You don’t speak up and you act like what you have to say has no value.” I had to literally re-learn how to become a contributing part of a work discussion because the emotional and spiritual “beat down” of the prior 7 years at the Elijah List had left me so demoralized and pathetic, that I could hardly function.

Marital Issues

Obviously, living in these circumstances put a strain on my personal life and my marriage as well. I began drinking a lot and being verbally and emotionally abusive to my wife and kids. I’m not going to point the finger and blame Elijah List for all my personal troubles, a man stands by his own decisions and actions,  but I do know that a man’s job can affect all areas of his life …  I’ll just let it rest at that.

I just thank God for His mercy to me. When I came to my senses and realized how I was treating my wife and children, I sat my wife down and profusely apologized to her for how I had taken her for granted and spoken so abusively to her; tears welled up in her eyes. She told me that she had been planning to leave me that very day, but because I repented to her she would stay. We have been inseparable ever since (we’ve been married 17 years now) and I still love her (and my kids) to pieces.

Believe it or not, I don’t have an offense against Steve – I’ve forgiven him. But, in my opinion, if someone who preaches “grace and mercy” from a pulpit and (from their own mouth) bases their whole ministry on it, they need to walk accordingly in “real life”. If you speak of “grace and mercy” from a podium, and yet are rude, obsessive and controlling to your employees, this reeks of hypocrisy and is a far cry from grace (more on this “grace” later).

Elijah List Gets A New Look

At about this time, I noticed that companies, businesses and other web entities started to come out with HTML-based emails. This would give more of an aesthetic value (structure, images, color) to an otherwise drab text-based email. Wanting to keep up with the trend, I did some research and came up with my own simple template for the Elijah List newsletter, hoping to give the readers something nicer to look at. There was even a small right-hand column to put special notes, links and maybe an ad or 2 to help increase income.

The very same day that I created the modest template, I was told by Steve to take advantage of every available space and fill it with product ads. Knowing that this would do nothing to improve public perception of the Elijah List, I was very disappointed. Despite the fact that we had many negative emails from subscribers who didn’t like the change, income actually did increase dramatically. In my opinion, at this time, an increased income began to be perceived by Steve and others as proof of God’s favor. Within a few months, we were sending out 3-4 emails per day, peppered with ads in every available space – only 1 of which would contain any “word” from God.

Mammon and the Fear of Man

With the increased subscribership and the increased income came an increase of contacts from other “prophetic” people who wanted the Elijah List to release their words to the burgeoning Elijah List audience. As a result of exposure through the Elijah List, the “prophetic” people could (potentially) increase their web traffic and, if they had written a book or had a teaching/music CD, increase their income as well. As a result, the product inventory grew immensely and Elijah List sales skyrocketed proportionately.

But, along with the increased contacts and income, came the Fear of Man — in epidemic proportions, and just like the Bible said, it brought a snare (Pr. 29:25). Wanting to keep the income steady and wanting to stay in our contributor’s (the other “prophetic” ministers) and the public’s good graces, most publishing decisions were based upon our relationship with these people and the public perception of their product…. whether or not it sold well.

Occasionally, a contributor would send us a “word” with content that didn’t necessarily jibe with the Elijah List’s “encouraging words only” philosophy. Trying to stick with the “encouragement only” philosophy, Steve would have to write introductions (sometimes 3-4 paragraphs long) to the words and try to “play down” the corrective/repentance-based element of the email. There would usually be an effort to direct people to God’s “softer” side. Occasionally, certain “offending” sentences in the submission would be completely re-worded prior to release. These subtle, and sometimes flagrant, manipulations would usually upset the contributor, especially the more “idealistic” ones.

The last time I checked the Bible, a prophet was told not to regard man’s opinion and give the Word of God…. Undiluted.

It became clear to me that, during this phase, the focus had shifted. Mammon and the Fear of Man had become the “god” of the Elijah List. I say this because, from what I experienced, every effort was made to make more money and to please man. Words were released based upon the popularity of the contributor and the profit to be made from the products they sold — not on the truthfulness or relevance the words held.

The Bible says in Galatians 1:10 that you cannot please man and be a bondservant of Christ. It also says in Matthew 6:24, that you cannot serve both God and Mammon, it’s impossible to have love for both … you MUST love one and despise the other.

Let me be clear … I don’t feel it’s wrong necessarily to make money even in a ministry. People need to pay the bills and the staff. It’s when money becomes the “main thing” that God’s heart is grieved. When you come to a point when your “ministry” becomes all about the money you need to question 1) your personal walk with God and 2) whether or not it is God’s will for your ministry to exist at all.

My Experience with Todd Bentley

After I was employed by the Elijah List for about a year, I had my first exposure to Todd Bentley.

Although Todd Bentley was fiery and charismatic in front of an audience, on a personal level he seemed to be a very insecure person. He wasn’t used to the notoriety that had been thrust upon him, but he definitely enjoyed it.

Over the course of time, Todd asked Steve if he wanted to send one of his (Steve’s) employees on a mission trip to Uganda with Fresh Fire Ministries (Todd Bentley’s ministry). Steve suggested to me that I should go, and even generously offered to pay for the trip and my wages while I was gone. At first, I was reluctant to go (I have never felt called to Africa), but after much prodding from Steve and my co-workers, I decided to go ahead and go.

To this day, the Uganda trip is still somewhat of a big “question mark” to me – I don’t know why God sent me, or if it wasn’t God at all, but a “man made” decision. I did make a few connections with people who are still very dear to me to this day, but overall it was a very strange experience.

Although I have no proof one way or another, it seems like plans were made “on the fly” and there were a couple of times where my life was in danger (or so I was told). One night, when my partner and I were out in the middle of the people praying for them, Dave Bentley (Todd Bentley’s Dad) started screaming at me from the stage “Kevin … GO! GO! GO! GO!” I grabbed my partner and we ran for the bus.

The next morning, he (Dave) told me that he had seen 2 people in Muslim caps coming toward us with spears. Needless to say, I was a little shook up, so that morning, I wrote Steve and asked for prayer. At the time, my wife didn’t have email or a cell phone, so I was hoping that perhaps my boss could contact her, but that didn’t happen. I learned later that he had immediately converted my prayer request to a post (since deleted from the archives) and sent it out as a prayer request to the Elijah List. That wasn’t so bad, but my wife did not hear about my situation until a friend of hers had read the post and had come over to console her.

During the trip, we were told that 2-3000 people gave their lives to Jesus, and that would be great news normally. But from what I experienced when I talked with the people, they were still unwilling to give up their charms, idols, etc – or their ancestor worship. Like most American Christians, they wanted Jesus to be “one” of their gods, instead of their only object of worship.

After we got back, Todd Bentley lied (from the pulpit) to the Vineyard church and said that an even GREATER number of salvations, healings, and miracles took place than actually occurred (no I don’t remember the exact number he said, but it was way higher than what we were told). When I asked him later why he gave that figure, he said that more numbers came in from people who were listening to the radio and television.

I thought, “Can that many people afford radios and televisions in third world countries?” But, once again, I didn’t speak out because I didn’t feel it was my place to question “God’s prophet”.

The Revival, The Divorce, The Cover-up

After the controversial Lakeland Revival and Todd Bentley’s subsequent divorce from his wife, the church was all-too-quick to point the finger at him and accuse him …. and I’m in agreement, for a man to leave his wife and kids is a tragedy. For that same man to re-marry and be reinstated into ministry within a little over a year should be an outrage.

But the church needs to understand that it is just as much their fault as Todd’s that all this went down. We have been trained for generations to look to man for our guidance instead of God. In essence, we are re-living the scenario in Exodus 19-20, where the Children of Israel were in front of Mount Sinai and God was offering personal, one-on-one communication with each and every one of them. The conditions were clear … Israel was to sanctify themselves (separate themselves from all things unclean). But when Israel heard this, and saw the awesome Fire of God burning on Mount Sinai they basically said, “No, that’s OK, you just talk to Moses, and we’ll listen to him.”

It’s the same today … rather than separating ourselves from the sin in our lives, and separating ourselves from the world, we would rather listen to somebody spoon-feed a message to us …. satisfied with half-digested crumbs. To this day, God is longing for those who will forsake this life and become an enemy of this world’s system. Those who would be called a “friend of God” must do this (James 4:4). He is more than willing to give us pure, fresh Revelation from Heaven, if we would only look to Him. Instead we desire the latest conference, the newest book or the next worship CD.

We’ll grasp at anything and everything to fill the void in our lives with a flesh substitute, even if it means taking a young, immature Christian, who may (or may not) have had an encounter with God and stick him behind a pulpit. Being attracted to the new “show”, we reject God’s best (personal communication) …. and then we pay the consequences. And, once again, the name of Jesus is mocked among the ungodly.

I was shocked that Rick Joyner was so quick to put Todd Bentley right back in front of a camera and into the limelight once again. But he, as well as all the other “prophetic elders” who had commissioned/anointed Todd only a short time before were (and still are) in “damage control” mode. In a sense, John Arnott, Rick Joyner, Peter Wagner, Stacey Campbell, Paul Cain and the others put their “prophetic reputations” on the line when they appeared on the stage with Todd to pray for and prophesy over him. But after this blunder, their credibility with the church took a hit, and they had to try and “bandage the wound”. A few tried to explain away the transgression and stress the idea that we need to have “grace” for Todd in this situation (meaning we should accommodate and/or forget about it), and others were strangely silent. But Rick didn’t waste any time in putting him in front of a camera, offering a token apology (with his new wife in tow).

I am all for forgiveness, restoration and grace …. but in a year’s time? Something is definitely wrong with this scenario. Don’t tell me that a young minister can 1) conquer the selfishness it took to leave his wife and children, 2) conquer the lust it took to seek out another young woman, 3) prioritize his life to where God is first, family is next and ministry is third, 4)conquer the need for man’s approval, and 5) any other obstacle that could hinder the work of God in his life ….. in a year’s time — I’m not buying it, and you are a fool, if you do.

The bottom line is this … Todd Bentley is a money maker. He’s flamboyant, edgy, very entertaining and controversial …. ALL of those traits will draw an audience. And if you have an audience, they will come to the $100 conferences and buy the $20 books and CD’s. It’s really that simple. If Todd was a minister with no tattoos, a small following and a more traditional preaching style, you would be amazed at how quickly he would be swept under the rug and forgotten about.

Dismantling the Wall

Touch NOT His Anointed?  Leadership in the prophetic movement, including the Elijah List, has constructed a cleverly crafted wall of deception that has kept them above accountability and immune from criticism and reproach. This wall of deception revolves around the misinterpretation and the misapplication of Matt. 7:1-5 (not judging) and other verses like it.

As a result, no one is able to say that they (the “prophets”) are doing anything wrong. If someone should mention that they see anything wrong with the behavior or deeds of the “prophets”, they are immediately told that they are not walking in love, and that we should give “grace” to the prophet (more on this later). They’re also told that we shouldn’t judge, because we do not want to be judged in like manner … that we should remove the plank from our own eye, rather than point out someone else’s faults (more on this later). And because we put these leaders on a pedestal (in essence, “idolizing” them), it’s really easy for most people to swallow this reasoning and to ignore the sin.

This dynamic also carries over into the church’s relationships with each other, individually. We’re all afraid to say anything about the sin in each others lives because we don’t want to be perceived as “judgmental” or “mean”. Because of this fear, sin in the Body goes unchecked and actually thrives! Why do you think our divorce, abortion, porn use, and drug abuse statistics are equal to the world? Because there is no purity, no holiness, and no Holy Spirit’s Fire in our congregations! Do you know witches and satanists can actually come into our “houses of worship” and feel comfortable? God have mercy on us!

The following verses are conveniently downplayed and/or ignored by the “prophets” and their followers:

1 Cor. 6:3 “Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?” This verse allows us to discern/judge issues concerning this life.

1 Cor. 6:5 “I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?” This verse allows us to judge issues between brethren.

1 Cor. 11:31 “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.”  This verse allows us to judge the sin in our own lives.

To Rebuke, or NOT to Rebuke

Not only does the bible say we are to judge behavior/issues, it also gives us permission to REBUKE!

Luke 17:3 “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.”  This verse allows us to rebuke our brother/sister who is in sin.

1 Timothy 5:20 “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.”  This verse allows us to rebuke an ELDER who is in sin (read prior scriptures for backup).

2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” This verse allows us rebuke as a vital part of our preaching!

Titus 2:15 “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”  This verse allows us to rebuke with authority!

Most ministries associated with the Elijah List, the “prophetic” church, and much of the rest of the church, can’t stand it when you bring up these scriptures, because then the possibility of exposed sin creeps its way into their salvation equation. The weirdest thing is, they want to keep the sin hidden, and yet they wonder why they are some of the most battered, bruised and confused people in the church. I experienced it too! During my 7 years at the Elijah List, I had never experienced such defeat, sickness and confusion in my whole life! Whenever one experiences this, they are told that they are just experiencing “spiritual warfare” … that it’s enemy’s fault they are experiencing this trauma. That sounds great to a carnal mind, I mean, after all … who wants to take the blame?

Wisdom Cries

Wisdom would say something else though. In Proverbs 1:22-31, Wisdom is crying (listen to her!):

Proverbs 1:22-31 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge. Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel,and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, when your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the Fear of the LORD, they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.”

That’s not to say that “spiritual warfare” doesn’t happen; we ARE in a war with spirit beings(Ephesians 6:12). But the bible is clear that He will protect those who walk in the Fear of the Lord and that the battle will be a victorious one, not a continual excuse for the consequences of poor behavior and decisions.

It is clear, the North American church must re-introduce judging and rebuke (based upon the Word of God) back into our “christian culture” post-haste. If we do not clean our house, God will come and clean house for us, and it will not be a pleasant thing. When John Crowder can introduce “huffing the baby jesus” as a means of getting spiritual jollies, it’s time to set a standard.

Well, What About Jesus’ Words

I’m not going to ignore Matthew 7:1-5. Jesus DID say, “Judge not lest you be judged”but it doesn’t mean what you’ve been taught! Let’s take a look at these scriptures in detail.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.“

I clumped all the verses together to help assist us in understanding that this is one continuous thought. This passage does not tell us NOT to judge. The main idea is that we shouldn’t judge someone if we have the same issue in our lives, otherwise we will be judged by the same standard and found to be hypocrites. If we repent of the sin and no longer have it clouding our vision, we are in a place to be able to effectively help remove the sin from our brother. If we’re not supposed to judge, why would Jesus even give us the option to “see clearly” and “remove the speck”?

Hopefully by now you see that when they use the phrase “Judge not lest you be judged”to keep you from exposing sin is to take the scripture completely out of context. The Word says in Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” So, if you see something, say something!

PS: I’ve also created a 3 part teaching series entitled “Judge Not – or “Just Do It”? Feel free to check it out!

Mortar in the Wall

Grace or Licentiousness?  If the Wall of Deception is the misuse of judgment-based scriptures, then the misuse of the term “Grace” is the mortar that holds it together. Grace is a very nebulous term in prophetic circles and is used to replace “mercy” or “covering sin” in most conversations. According to Steve Shultz, the Elijah List’s whole philosophy and foundation revolves around this grace. But when you listen to him preach about grace, usually you walk away with a skewed understanding of it. The “main idea” being that we should be nice to people because God loves them, and after all, He was nice to you, so you need to do likewise. This isn’t necessarily a wrong idea, but this isn’t “grace”, and it also plays in to the mindset of not judging anyone’s actions, thereby strengthening the Wall of Deception.

Let’s see what the Word says about Grace in Titus 2:11-15:

v11: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

v12: teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

v13: looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

v14: who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

v15: Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

So, from the verses above, I know that if you preach a message of Grace, you need to be teaching a few things.

Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts

Live soberly and righteously in the present age

Look for Jesus’ return

From v14:  Be aware of His Work on the cross and how he sought a pure and holy people

What’s more, the message is to be preached (spoke, exhort, rebuke) with Authority. You will not find the above concepts taught in most “grace” messages these days. Unfortunately, what you’ll mostly hear about is more along the lines of “mercy” and how God wants to be your buddy. And to a church culture with itching ears, this is wonderful news! Because Jesus is their buddy, they won’t have to live righteously! They won’t have to live soberly! God has “GRACE” for all of those things!

As a result, licentiousness (unrestrained flesh) reigns supreme in our lives.

Accuracy please

To be an inaccurate prophet in the Old Testament was punishable by death. Thankfully, we don’t have to live under that law today, but as a result, many people prophesy inaccurate “prophecies” and are not held responsible if that prophecy doesn’t come to pass. Just go to any prophetic conference, or do a small search through the Elijah List and you will see/hear yearly prophecies of revival and breakthrough in many major cities in the United States and around the world …. this has been going on for years …. and yet, where is it? If even 10% of these prophecies came true, you would’ve heard about it. They also prophesy these things over the Body of Christ as a whole, but we have yet to experience this.

Do I believe in revival, blessing and outpouring? Absolutely! But I believe they put the “cart before the horse”. See my article “Same Prognostication – Different Year” for more information.

Do I believe a prophet can make a mistake? Yes, definitely! But when a prophet has a continuous bad record, he/she needs to come clean and say “I didn’t hear God” or at least “I made a mistake”. Unfortunately, instead of coming clean, the “prophets” will debate about God’s timing vs our timing …. or, if all else fails, they fall back on the scripture that says “We know in part and prophesy in part”.

Of course we only know and prophesy “in part”, we are not God. But when the prophetic track record is so abysmally low, we really need to stop taking a cheap escape route, humble ourselves and ask if we’re truly hearing from God. The prophets in the Old and New Testament knew exactly what they were supposed to say and would stand behind it to the death, and some DID die. They were so sure of it that they stamped it with a bright, bold “thus sayeth the Lord”! Nowadays, new prophets are instructed NOT to say “thus sayeth the Lord” JUST IN CASE they’re making a mistake. Where’s the faith in that?

In Jeremiah 23:21-22, God tells the prophet a vital characteristic of True Prophecy:

“I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, And had caused My people to hear My words, Then they would have turned them from their evil way And from the evil of their doings.“

The end result of all prophecy should be God’s people repenting …. turning their hearts back to God. Nowadays, teachings on “third heaven experiences”, “the glory realm” and “breakthrough” are labeled as prophecy. Do you see how even our definition of prophecy has become “man-centered”?

The Practice of Lawlessness

The Bible plainly says in Matthew 7:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

Something we must realize about Jesus’ sermons is that they were a continuous thought, they weren’t just random thoughts and separate subjects brought together just to “fill space”. The Word of God was/is God-breathed. The chapter numbers and the sub-headers in your bible translation were put there by man.

Now, there is a reason why God put a warning about false prophets and the good fruit/bad fruit dynamic together in the same subject. It is because false prophets work in such deception, that sometimes the ONLY way you are going to tell a good prophet from a bad prophet is through their fruits.

In fact, in the subsequent verses of Matthew 7, it says:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Up until a few years ago, I never thought this verse could be possible. How could someone use Jesus’ name to do miracles, prophesy and cast out devils unless God was with Him?But we’re seeing it all over the place now.

Wicked Roots

“Fathers” of the Prophetic Movement: It is not my intention to pick on specific people with this next section. I am using Bob Jones and Paul Cain as examples to show that perversion and error has had a firm foothold from the roots of this movement and is being passed on directly to the “younger” generation of prophets and their followers, who revere the “older” prophets unquestioningly, because they’ve been taught to do so. It is SO EASY to just accept what you hear when it comes from a person you admire, but the consequences are great when what you hear is wrong, or worse yet … half right.

Bob Jones and Paul Cain are considered “fathers” or “high level prophets” in this movement. They have been on the scene since the 90′s and are quite well-known to the prophetic crowd. If you ask a prophet who their influences are, 95% of the time either Bob Jones or Paul Cain will come out of their mouth.

According to the Olathe Daily News (11/13/91: “Minister removed after confession of sexual misconduct”), Bob Jones confessed to sexual misconduct with a couple women behind the closed doors of his office. I’ve read and heard a couple different reports as to what exactly went on, but I will not disclose them here as I don’t have a concrete source. The fact that it happened, and was admitted to, should be enough.

Additionally, he has been quoted as saying that God is only allowing a 66% accuracy of the prophetic word. “If I [God] release the 100% Rhema right now, the accountability would be so awesome and you’d have so much Ananias and Sapphira’s going on the people couldn’t grow.” (this was quoted on p. 68 “Beware of the New Prophets” by Bill Randles, 1999) … God forbid we have any accountability.

Even as early as February 23 of this year (2011), Steve Shultz posted on the Elijah List site

“I was honored years ago when Bob Jones came to my property. There are few prophets that I almost ‘insist’ that when they prophesy, I listen. Bob Jones is one of them. When he prophesies, I really tune in. Now, I don’t post anyone unless I trust them, mind you, but some I trust even more than others. Bob Jones is one such person. He is my friend and a high-level prophet. Tune in!”

From the above quote, you can see that Steve Shultz puts unquestioning faith in what Bob Jones says, because he is perceived by Steve (and the rest of the prophetic crowd) as “high level”.

In the exact same post, Bob Jones teaches error. He says that Elohim means “father of the remnant”. I researched that in the following site (http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Elohim/elohim.html) and did not find that definition anywhere. So I decided to Google it, and guess what I found? In August of 2010, Bob Jones says Eliakim means “father of the remnant”. So which is it?

That may seem like nitpicking, and it may be a small error in the middle of a “bigger picture”, but did anybody bother to check their bible/concordance to see if it actually lines up with the Word? It, literally, only took me 5 minutes to do that research …. certainly someone has 5 minutes? How many other errors like this have we swallowed because we were too busy looking to a man for guidance, and not God? These kinds of “little” errors happen all the time in the prophetic movement and no one bothers hold each other accountable.

I guess we can allow Bob this mistake because, after all, prophets are only correct 66% of the time. Let’s move on.

Paul Cain, probably most famous for his “stadium speech“, is another “high-level prophet” who is highly revered among the prophetic crowd.

When confronted by Rick Joyner and Jack Deere in 2004, Paul Cain confessed to being both a homosexual and an alcoholic. Although restoration was attempted, it was not successful. And in 2007, Mr. Cain declared anyhow that he had been “restored” to ministry and started scheduling conferences. In 2008, Paul publicly said in Lakeland that there were “false rumors” about him and that he had lived a “chaste life.”

Adding a new twist to this deception, on May 5, 2008, Paul Cain prayed over Todd Bentley at the Lakeland Revival:

“I thank you that you have answered my prayer that you have let me live to see tokens of this revival and be involved in it in some way or a participant if possible … and Lord, You have never allowed me to say that I have met the New Breed … Absolutely met the New Breed! And when you brought Todd Bentley and I together, the angel of the Lord said ‘you have found what you are looking for,’ ….this is a man without guile …. behold Nathaniel in whom there is no guile! … I’ve stood by the notables and the greats that had the greatest healing ministry of all times and I’ve never met anyone that has the integrity and the possibilities of leading this thing into a worldwide revival. And I just want to confer and bless … whatever I can do,… I just place to myself to hear from the Lord and to transfer and to give to my brother who has given so much to others and soo much to me, everything you have ever deposited into my life that I didn’t know how to give away I’m giving it to my brother tonight to carry on this revival until the stadiums all over the world have been, uh… catching this, have been carriers of it and taking it from one end of the world to the other and thank you I’VE MET THE NEW BREED TONIGHT.”

No wonder Todd fell through sexual sin!! Paul Cain transferred (conferred, blessed, transferred) everything that his “god” gave to him to Todd Bentley! Not too long after, after Todd committed adultery and married his new wife, the Lakeland Revival lost its steam and eventually ended.

Lack of Discernment has a Price

The hard truth is today’s false prophets and their followers boast of great prophetic insights, but actually have little or no discernment at all.

During my 7 years working for the Elijah List (and my 5 years at the Vineyard), I had so many encounters with people influenced by witchcraft (to varying degrees), pornography and the homosexual spirit, and yet NOTHING was said or done about it. As I said before, witches attended these conferences and church services, leaving unconvicted and unsaved. People with homosexual spirits and/or admitted pornography addictions were allowed to give “prophetic words” from the pulpit, unchallenged.

That is sin, people.

Another Broken Dream

Around 2004, I was invited by Jill Austin to attend a conference at Gateway Church in Los Angeles (with Jill, David Ruis and Shawn Bolz). This church was right on Santa Monica Boulevard and provided food, shower and discipling services to the homeless, prostitutes and drug addicts. Having a call to minister to people on the street, I was VERY excited to be able to be at this event.

Santa Monica Boulevard is known to some as “the Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, and I believe that’s an understatement. The destitution and emptiness of that street impacted me more than what I saw in Uganda. Cross dressers, prostitutes, gang-bangers, drunks and drug addicts were everywhere, and not just at night … it was broad daylight. My heart just broke at the vacant look in their eyes …. they were just empty shells. I couldn’t wait to meet the people who were in charge of meeting the needs of these lost souls.

When I met the pastor and the leadership team, I noticed that they were really well dressed and (honestly) quite effeminate. I did my best not to draw conclusions about the people because not everyone has a redneck background like I have. After all, some guys fit into the whole “metro sexual” stereotype, and I figured if Jill Austin approved of them, well then certainly I should too.

The conference itself was confusing, interesting and chaotic. David Ruis was playing techno-type worship music and it attracted the people from outside the church. As the cross dressers, druggies, etc. filtered in, they saw all of the “already saved/prophetic” people dancing and worshiping and an interesting dynamic took place. Many demons manifested, and a lot of the unsaved started “worshiping” with the prophetic crowd, but honestly and sadly, I don’t remember any deliverance or salvation taking place.

Nonetheless, for all of its shortcomings, what I saw at that time was a church actually engaging the world around them and I just “KNEW” that God wanted me to be down there with them. When I got home, I told my wife (in tears) that I had found our ministry home. We began to make preparations to move to Los Angeles.

Two weeks later, I received an email from Jill’s associate saying that the pastor (and leadership team) were publicly confronted by someone in the congregation. I was right in my initial assessment of them. They were all participating homosexuals – both with each other and with others outside their “team”. The pastor ended up stepping down from his position, his wife left him (yes, he was married to a woman) and the church crumbled. (Note: David Ruis was NOT part of the church leadership team, just a guest worship leader. He was not participating in the sin.)

I was really upset about this. The name of Jesus was once again tarnished in the eyes of those who needed Him so desperately. I will never forget what I saw on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

After this incident, I really started to question the discernment of the prophets. I really liked Jill (who has since passed away) as a person, but if she (and other prophetic people) couldn’t see something that should have been so obvious, how could I trust their insight at all?

I’ll probably sound like I’m profiling here, but a homosexual demon (in a man or a woman) is one of the most obvious demons to recognize, and yet if you take just a small glimpse at some of these prophetic people, you will see them comfortable and unchallenged … even among the prophets themselves.

Flabbergasted in Georgia

I was invited to speak at a conference in Georgia with Chad Taylor and a few “lower level” prophets. After the conference, I sat across a table from two of these prophets (I won’t reveal their names because I don’t know where they stand these days) and they looked me in the eye and said, “If two people of the same sex love each other and want to get married, I honestly have NO PROBLEM with that.” I told them that there is no way that they can name the Name of Jesus, preach His Righteousness and Holiness, and adhere to that kind of garbage. I left Georgia very angry and disappointed about that situation.

How can someone agree with this homosexual spirit? How can someone with a prophetic gifting be unable (or maybe unwilling) to recognize it?

It comes back to lack of discernment.

Witchcraft at the Elijah List

The spirit of witchcraft can be recognized by a number of different MO’s (methods of operation), but in order to stay on topic, I will refrain from explaining each one. However, one thing is certain in every situation … it is devious and usually remains “under the radar” until one with discernment comes along and calls it out into the open, binds the spirit and then casts it out in the name of Jesus. Because this was never done in this next circumstance, I can only explain the following situation by telling you what happened to me, from my perspective. I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

A woman came on staff to answer phones, and within a month was elevated to be Steve’s assistant manager and more-or-less in charge of the office while he was gone. A member of the Elijah List leadership told me that people from her prior church wrote Steve many letters, warning him against this woman, some saying that she operated in manipulation and witchcraft, others accusing her outright of being a witch. Despite the warnings, they were ignored and she was hired on anyways.

For the first couple years, I was unaware of these warnings, and honestly, I was quite taken with the lady. When my wife got sick, she actually came to my house and cleaned my hardwood floors on her hands and knees. This was extremely humbling for me, and I thought for sure that this woman was a saint.

She and I developed a “friendship” for about a year and a half. She used to tell me things like how she recognized “God’s anointing” on my life and how we were going to work together on prophetic projects in the future. She kind of fawned on me like a little brother and was always quick to smile and give a hug.

My wife, on the other hand, had a different perspective. Throughout this time, she continued to get sicker and sicker; and the evil presence in my house would sometimes become almost “tangible”. My wife told me, “Kevin, I don’t trust her. She is a bad person!” For quite some time, I told my wife, “Honey, you’re wrong, you just don’t understand her … you don’t know her like I do!”

Well, it turns out my wife was right.

I have only had a couple times where a spirit has actually materialized in front of my face; this was one of those times. One morning I was waking up, and at the foot of my bed I saw a spirit being. I can’t really explain what it looked like …. the air was just “denser”. Anyways, the spirit being turned its face to me, and I recognized the woman’s face!

I said out loud, “OK, I know who you are now. I renounce any relationship or soul tie that I may have with you. Now I bind you in the name of Jesus …. Get out of my house!”

The spirit left immediately and the atmosphere in the house actually changed!

Well, you would think that this incident would be enough to convince me, and it was starting to do so, but when I got to work that day and saw this person, she would not say anything to me, would not smile at me, she would barely even look at me. It happened the VERY DAY I renounced my relationship with her … and she has barely said anything to me since.

Soon after, this woman became very commanding in her personality, and a couple of the weaker willed women from our office immediately fell in line and followed her around as one would follow a queen … carrying her bags, fetching her coffee, etc. The whole office knew about it when this person had a bad day, this drama was almost routine.

Although the Elijah List already had an operations manager, there were frequent power struggles between the woman and the other manager. Enough authority had been delegated to this woman to where she could cause a lot of division and other issues. Many of my co-workers would get one order from the operations manager and the opposite from the woman. Needless to say, this created a very chaotic atmosphere.

As we all know, hindsight is 20/20. There were other signs that I should have recognized, but, like Steve, I too was blinded by this woman’s influence. Looking back, what stands out the most to me was, when she would talk to me (and others) about her intimacy with the Holy Spirit, her words and her body language inferred something more than just a spiritual connection. I know that sounds pretty foul, but that’s exactly what was portrayed.

Anyways, she was eventually laid off from Elijah List after I quit. But Steve is still suffering to this day from weakness and a malady that the doctors can’t explain, and I’m convinced that it was because of the relationship with this woman and the spirits that accompanied her.

The Next Generation

“Prophetic” Youth: If you’ve read this far, you probably agree with me, or are convinced that I am not walking in love and have a vendetta against the Elijah list and/or the prophetic movement. While I admit that it has been very therapeutic to get the events of the past decade out of my head and online, my main concern, and the cause of my grief, is watching an entire generation of young people being sucked in to this deception.

There have been multiple prophecies by people in the prophetic movement aimed toward the youth. The prophecy goes something like:

“There will be a great move of the Spirit among the youth and they will reach everyone in the bars and clubs and on the streets and, because of the signs and wonders, and the fact that the youth look and act different than older people who have been in church, the lost will listen to them and then a HUGE revival will take place!”

Obviously that is not verbatim, but if you research words on the Elijah List and other prophetic sites, you will see words that are very similar.

Preference Given

Because these “prophetic words” have been circulating for years, a mindset has developed in the prophetic movement that gives preference to the youth. Instead of being taught by the older and wiser in the ways of the Word, the youth are encouraged to put priority on looking different, being original and expressing themselves creatively. The older generation are looked upon as “religious” and “out of touch” and, therefore, ignored. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with originality and creative expression; but when God’s Word is downplayed and tattoos, piercings and other forms of bizarre self-expression are emphasized, you get a group of young people who look and act like the world … and that’s about it.

People can argue that I’m being too legalistic and I really don’t care, I’m going to let the fruit speak for itself. Look at your youth groups, prophetic church … look at your twenty-somethings … what impact are they really having for the Kingdom of God? Are they adding to the number of the Church daily? Sure, they look really “cool” with their new tattoos (how original) … are they doing the works of Jesus? Are they daily feeding on His Holy Word? Or are they down at the bars being a “witness” (sarcasm implied)?

Are You Going to Do Anything

I really WANT to come across stronger on this point, more than any other in this series of posts. I WANT you to be offended to the point of ACTION, because it is those same youth who you are raising to be leaders of your “movement” within the next few years. These same youth, who may “worship” more extravagantly than any of the older people in your church, are riddled with addictions and idolatry behind closed doors (read Isaiah chapter 1 to see God’s view on extravagant worship without holiness). Weep and grieve over this, church … we’ve taught them that Jesus is your buddy, and they have no concept of His Kingship! They have no concept of His hatred for their sin!

The Bible says in Revelation:

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

What makes us think that we can turn them into the next Smith Wigglesworth without the Word, or without holiness?

As we draw nearer to the End of the Age, I know that there will be a large influx of people who will come into the Kingdom. But it will be made up of, not just the youth, but babies, children, old people, middle aged people, black, white, Hispanic, etc. No people group should feel a sense of entitlement to God’s coming move. I also know that II Thessalonians speaks of a great falling away before the end of the age. Take heed to this, church; receive the love of the Truth so that you will not be deceived into believing the lie.

A Final Loss

During the final couple years at the Elijah List, I was a wreck. My foundation was all but destroyed, and I had no “anchor point” to judge whether I was hearing God or not. It was at this time that a young guy was hired on who fit the prophetic move’s description of a “cutting edge” christian … approximately 20 years old, black, tattooed and pierced with a very shady past and a “flamboyant” personality. He had already been attending the Vineyard church and was regarded by many as one of the “New Breed” leaders that were rising up to help bring in the great revival that had been prophesied.

He and I developed a pretty close friendship and, in spite of my own spiritual destitution, I kind of took him under my wing. My wife and I provided furniture for his apartment, a place to spend the holidays, and a basic sense of “family” for him. I have to say, we thoroughly enjoyed his company and loved him dearly, like a little brother.

Over time though, I started seeing serious inconsistencies in his walk with God. For example, he would have horror movies like “Saw” and “Hostel” at his house and, when I would point it out to him, he would say things like “It’s OK, the Holy Spirit said it was OK for me to watch them.” or “God understands where I’m at, so don’t worry about it.” Since I myself wasn’t providing the greatest example to him at the time (I drank beer in front of him and our conversation wandered into inappropriate subjects quite frequently), I never challenged him on it.

Also, I noticed that he had several young people (mostly boys between the ages of 14-18) at his house. He told me that they had come from abusive homes, or the street, and needed a place of refuge. “The church isn’t reaching out to them, so if I don’t, who will?” he reasoned to me. I had discerned early on that this kid was sexually messed up, so I felt very uncomfortable with this situation.

On top of all this, the church he was attending had not discipled or corrected him according to the Word of God. Granted, this would have been no easy task; because of the preference given to him earlier, his arrogance and sense of self-entitlement had really gotten out of hand. And, because of his appearance and his personality, people either automatically assumed he was God’s “New Breed” leader, or, despite their misgivings, they didn’t want to challenge the status quo and point out the obvious issues that really needed to be addressed. The young man worshiped extravagantly and “prophesied” just like he saw his church peers doing and he was left alone.

It was at about this time that I determined in my heart to rebuild the foundation of God’s Word in my life. I knew I had to leave the Elijah List at the first opportunity, so I began praying in earnest for a new job. Had I known the blessing that awaited me, I would have just quit.

As my foundation and my conviction started to grow again, the young man and I started to have serious arguments. I would point out to him that it was impossible for him to live the life he was living and name the name of Jesus. Rather than acknowledging what he was doing as sin, he would justify it and say that the “Holy Spirit says it’s OK”. I would tell him that it was NOT God’s Holy Spirit that was telling him it was alright to sin, but another spirit from hell. Obviously things got worse from there, to the point that we didn’t even want him around the house. Believe me, I took great measures to be as gentle and as “nice” as possible, but he continually rejected God’s rebuke.

Finally, one day he came to me and told me, “Kevin, I’m bisexual.”

Knowing he had issues in this area, I told him, “Yeah, I figured that.”

Then he said, “… and God made me this way, so I’m happy with what I am.”

To which I responded, “God did NOT make you that way! Maybe something happened to you before you can remember, or when you were younger, but Jesus does NOT make people bisexual, or homosexual, or anything perverse like that.”

But he justified himself in that, as well, saying “The Holy Spirit told me he made me this way and loves me just the way I am.”

It was at that point that I knew he was lost. He had absolutely no respect for the Word, completely justified himself in his sin, and was determined to continue in it. I haven’t talked to him since, but I know he’s moved to another city and is a practicing cross-dresser and bi-sexual, all the while convinced that he is “witnessing” to others by going to gay bars and dancing with other men.

And my heart grieves for him. He is going to hell, fully confident that he has a close relationship with Jesus.

But you see, he is the Ultimate Fruit of a movement who has no regard for the whole Word of God or holiness. The children grow up, seeing their parents seek after signs, wonders and a christian dog and pony show. They see the futility and hypocrisy of it all and, in the end, basically turn to the world.

I’m just as guilty of providing a shabby example, and I’m still in the process of picking up the pieces. I beg God every day that there will be lasting fruit in my children, and I’m happy to say that I’m starting to see it develop. Please God, let it continue!

My Way Home

Seven years after I started working for the Elijah List, God mercifully let me have another job with another company. I know I tried to leave in good standing with the ministry, but I’m not sure I succeeded, because I was very bitter at the time. It’s taken me 3 years to get to this point, where my foundation is mostly rebuilt and I have been able to forgive, from the heart.

I know, to some of you, it may seem counterproductive to expose the error in people and ministries, but to me and others who regard the Word, it needs to be done for a few reasons:

  • so that we can recognize error when it arises (and it will continue to arise)
  • to check our own lives to make sure that we are not giving place to the same error
  • to not support those who are in error, but to pray that they may repent

I used to buy into the cleverly disguised deception that we all have our own path with God, and that we need to just love each other through everything and not judge. But, you see, now I’ve found the true definition of love!

Love’s True Definition

The true prophets in the Old and New Testament had it right! They LOVED their nation to the point where they would say what God told them to say, even if it meant becoming the object of ridicule and disdain in the eyes of those whom they loved. Their Love begged people to repent and turn back to God, not to continue in their ways and hope to get the next “third heaven experience”. They had no concern for the number of followers they had, what conferences they were invited to, or the bottom line $$. They didn’t say ear-tickling messages that would coddle people into a deceptive slumber; they left that to the false prophets, who ALWAYS had a “positive and encouraging” thing to say.

It’s because of this Love, that I absolutely must write this. Do you think that I did this to gain the favor of man? I know personally at least a hundred people in my own home town who will NOT accept this message and feel the need to “rebuke” me (according to their wisdom) … this is not an exaggeration! It would have been much easier to just walk away and forget about it. But there is a generation at risk … I cannot and will not walk away. I love them too much.

What Really Matters

The day I came home from my last day at the Elijah List, I took my bible in my hands, looked at my wife, and said “All I need is this …. and you.”… then we just held each other for awhile.

That’s pretty much where the story ends, or begins, if you look at it another way. The very day that I walked away from the Elijah List and the prophetic movement, the Blessing of God came back to my house. Although there were battles, there was hope and victory instead of fear and the confusion of not having a foundation. I began to find myself in His Word, to hear His Voice speak to me and to see His Faithfulness in every day.

I know there are good people still in this movement, and there are good prophetic people who still associate with the Elijah List, but unfortunately they are few and far between. Some are just naïve, thinking that the “New Thing” God is doing takes the form of the new prophetic scene, others are simply wicked people.

I would hope that those prophetic people who have a heart for God would follow hard after Him and that their walk with God would not be superseded by their relationships with others within the prophetic community. I pray that they would embrace all of His Truth, not just the parts that are easy to swallow.

As for me and my family, we have found a few friends of like mind and common vision, and we treasure them because they are rare. It is so freeing to be able to tell each other our problems, and receive encouragement AND rebuke, knowing that we love each other too much to see each other perish.

Ironically, I do have to thank the Elijah List for a couple things. Whether it intended to teach me or not, I learned over the past few years that:

The love and discernment of a good woman (my wife) is absolutely priceless

Celebrity and public approval mean absolutely nothing in the eyes of God

Increased income is not a sign of God’s favor

Lastly, I learned that people who name the name of Christ, and ignore Wisdom’s Rebuke are really just “dead men walking”.

As for me? …. I’m alive again.

Last Thoughts: I know many who read this may think that I’m holding a grudge or trying to exact some sort of revenge …. I guess that’s your business. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’ve forgiven Steve Shultz, the Elijah List, its associated ministries and any people who are currently playing a deceptive role in what is known as “the Prophetic Movement” – God will be my witness. I do not wish harm on anyone physically, financially or otherwise.

What I do wish, if anything, is that the Truth would be revealed. I would hope that the Holy Spirit would convict those who need it, that they would repent and get right with God and, either step down, or start being True Prophets. But most of all, I would also hope that all who read this would have their eyes opened and that they would be made free from this growing deception.

Rehab: How to Get Back on Track

I received a letter from someone who, like me, was involved in the Prophetic Movement for quite some time and has only recently had the eyes of their understanding opened to the Truth. They asked what steps should be taken to “rehabilitate” themselves and get back on track.

When you’re involved with the Prophetic Movement, there are so many distractions, half-truths and …. well, junk, that your vision gets foggy and you feel like you’re lost in the middle of a huge forest with no direction as to how to get out. You doubt your ability to hear God’s voice and the Truths and Promises of His Word no longer seem valid or reachable.

Have you had enough of the crazy visions, theories, “warfare”, visitations, psycho-twitches, HO’s and Shabbah’s?

THERE IS A WAY OUT!!!!

This answer is so simple, it’s easy to discredit it and sweep it under the rug.

Here’s the answer: READ YOUR BIBLE AND PRAY ….. A LOT!!!

Could it be this simple?? YES!!

Transform Your Thinking

We are told in Romans 12:2 to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” This is the perfect way to find your way out of the forest … by having your mind transformed!

You’ve been wandering out in this sea of confusion, moved and shaken by every wind of doctrine and teaching of man … you want a way out … you want to chart your course in the direction of Ultimate Truth. The Word of God will do this for you!

The Spoken Word of God has it’s own Power that, when listened to and meditated upon, can actually CHANGE the way you think. It can fine tune your “spiritual” ear to actually be able to discern between the Holy Spirit and “other” types of spirits.

Be prepared to find ways of thinking in the Word of God that conflict with what you’ve learned in the Prophetic Movement. There are many things that I had to re-learn as my mind became more aligned with His Word.

Talk With God

The other thing that needs to happen is a lot of prayer. The Word says in 1 Thess. 5:17 to “pray without ceasing” … in other words, DON’T STOP!! While you may not be able to actually speak out in prayer all the time, you can keep yourself in a position of continually listening for His Voice. Hearing what He has to say is WAY more important than anything we think we need to pray.

As you’re listening, remember that you’ve been part of a movement that allows for other spirits to enter into the picture. This can result in a lot of confusion when listening to the Father’s Voice, so you really need to compare what you hear with what is in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will NEVER NEVER NEVER tell you to do something that conflicts with what the Word says. Never be too prideful to admit that what you heard wasn’t from God … I’ve made this mistake a lot!!! I thought that I heard His voice and then acted before I compared it to His Word and ended up in a real mess!

Another gauge we can use to analyze if we’ve heard correctly is good bible-believing friends who have a proven track record with God. Not someone who sounds “spiritual” (there are plenty of those flakes), but someone who is solid, firm, grounded and steady in the Word … those are the ones you want to glean from.

Get Rid of the Fluff

The church has become entirely too dependent on books, worship CDs, teaching tapes and other “fluff”. Get rid of them … especially if they are from the old way of life from which you are trying to escape – GET RID OF THEM! You don’t need worship CD’s to get into His Presence, you don’t need instruction from these books by people who think they’ve heard from God.

YOU NEED TO HEAR FROM GOD FOR YOURSELF!

When you get alone with God, quiet yourself and rely on Him alone for your spiritual experience … gradually, but faithfully, He will pour out on you such revelation that you will not have room to contain it! The Best Revelation comes directly from God, not from man.

Take the Time

How long it takes for you to be back “on track” really depends on you. How long are you willing to spend with Him daily? Do you really want to be back “on track”?

I want to challenge you to tithe your time and dedicate 1/10 of your day (2-1/2 hours) to spend time with God (not as a religious duty – think of it as an investment) in prayer and in the Word. This is a great way to break through certain ways of thinking and to re-establish a damaged foundation. It worked for me!

Fear the Lord and Watch for His Coming,

For the Love of the Search,

Kevin Kleint

Email: kevin@honorofkings.org

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/honorofkings/

Posted in Personal Testimonies | 1 Comment

Prayer for Binding and Loosing Spirits of God

In the name of Jesus Christ, I bind every spirit that is not the spirit of God.

I break their power and command them to leave me now in the mighty name of Jesus.

Father, I ask in the name of your precious Son that you would send ministering spirits and angels to me.

In the name of Jesus, please loose your spirits of:

Adoption
Blessing
Compassion
Consideration
Contrition
Conviction
Counsel
Courage
Deliverance
Devotion
Diligence
Direction
Discernment
Discretion
Edification
Excellence
Fairness
Faith
Faithfulness
Fear of God
Freedom
Forgiveness
Glory
Goodness
Grace
Gratitude
Harmony
Healing
Holiness
Honesty
Humility
Joy
Judgment
Justice
Kindness
Knowledge
Longsuffering
Love
Meekness
Mercy
Might
Newness
Obedience
Patience
Peace
Power
Powerful anointing
Praise
Prayer
Prophecy
Purity
Repentance
Respect
Resurrection
Restoration
Self-control
Sincerity
Sound mind
Supplication
Trust
Truth
Understanding
Unity
Wisdom
Worship

Thank you Father.  Amen.

Spirit of wisdom (Exodus 28:3)

Poor in spirit (Matt 5:3)

Spirit of God (Gen 1:2)

Spirit of your Father (Matt 10:20)

Spirit of the Lord (Jude 3:10)

Strong in spirit (Luke 1:30)

Right spirit (Psalm 51:10)

Spirit of truth (John 14:17)

Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:11)

Spirit of life (Rom 8:2)

Broken spirit (Psalm 51:17)

Spirit of adoption (Rom 8:15)

Spirit of princes (Psalm 76:12)

Fervent in spirit (Rom 12:11)

Faithful spirit (Prov 11:13)

Spirit of meekness (I Cor 4:21)

Humble spirit (Prov 16:19)

Spirit of faith (II Cor 4:13)

Excellent spirit (Prov 17:27)

Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:19)

Spirit of man (Prov 20:27)

Eternal spirit (Heb 9:14)

Patient in spirit (Ecc 7:8)

Meek and quiet spirit (I Peter 3:4)

Spirit of the ruler (Ecc 10:4)

Spirit of glory (I Peter 4:14)

Spirit of judgment (Isaiah 4:4)

Spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10)

Spirit of understanding (Isaiah 11:2)

Spirit of Elijah (II Kings 2:15)

Spirit of counsel / might (Isaiah 11:2)

Contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18)

Spirit of knowledge (Isaiah 11:2)

Good spirit (Psalm 143:10)

New spirit (Ezek 11:19)

Spirit of deep sleep (Isaiah 29:10)

Spirit of holy gods (Dan 4:8)

Spirit of living creature (Ezek 1:20)

Spirit of grace and supplication (Zech 12:10)

Spirit of holiness (Rom 1:4)

Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9)

Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29)

Quickening spirit (I Cor 15:45)

Free spirit (Psalm 51:12)

 

Posted in Prayers for Release | Leave a comment

Men Who Met God by A W Tozer

I have said it before and I will say it again: This low concept of God is our spiritual problem today. Mankind has succeeded quite well in reducing God to a pitiful nothing!

The God of the modern context is no God at all. He is simply a glorified chairman of the board, a kind of big businessman dealing in souls. The God portrayed in much of our church life today commands very little respect. 

We must get back to the Bible and to the ministration of God’s Spirit to regain a high and holy concept of God. Oh, this awesome, terrible God, the dread of Isaac! This God who made Isaiah cry out, “I am undone!” This God who drove Daniel to his knees in honor and respect.

To know the Creator and the God of all the universe is to revere Him. It is to bow down before Him in wonder and awesome fear.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1)

Without argument, most things are at their best when they are fulfilling their purpose and design.

For instance, a piano is made with a specific purpose: to produce music. However, I happen to know that someone once stood on a piano in order to put a fastener of some kind in the ceiling.

Some artistic women have used piano tops as family picture galleries. I have seen piano tops that were cluttered filing cabinets or wide library shelves.

There is an intelligent design in the creation of a piano. The manufacturer did not announce: “This is a good piano. It has at least 19 uses!” No, the designer had only one thought in mind: “This piano will have the purpose and potential of sounding forth beautiful music!”

Do not miss the application of truth here. God was saying to Abraham, “You may have some other idea about the design and purpose for your life, but you are wrong! You were created in My image to worship Me and to glorify Me. If you do not honor this purpose, your life will degenerate into shallow, selfish, humanistic pursuits. “

Probably the most widespread and persistent problem to be found among Christians is the problem of retarded spiritual progress. Why, after years of Christian profession, do so many persons find themselves no farther along than when they first believed?  Some would try to resolve the difficulty by asserting flatly that such persons were never saved, that they had never been truly regenerated.

With a few this may be the answer, and we would accept this explanation as final did we not know that it is never the deceived professor who laments his lack of spiritual growth, but the true Christian who has had a real experience of conversion and who is sure that he is this very moment trusting in Christ for salvation.

The causes of retarded growth are many…. One there is, however, which is so universal that it may easily be the main cause: failure to give time to the cultivation of the knowledge of God. … Believing for salvation has these days been reduced to a once-done act that requires no further attention….

The Christian is strong or weak depending upon how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God. Paul was anything but an advocate of the once-done, automatic school of Christianity. He devoted his whole life to the art of knowing Christ.

”Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phi 5:8,10,14).

God can be known satisfactorily only as we devote time to Him. The Christian who is satisfied to give God His ”minute” and to have ”a little talk with Jesus” is the same one who shows up at the evangelistic service weeping over his retarded spiritual growth and begging the evangelist to show him the way out of his difficulty.

There is no short cut to sanctity.  Back of it all is the slow buildup and preparation that comes from waiting upon God.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.  But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men.  And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” (John 2:23-25)

Somehow there just doesn’t seem to be a better way of identifying a counterfeit than to compare it with the genuine article.  Who we know is Jesus:

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:23-26)

Posted in Miscellanea etc | Leave a comment

Is the NIV a corrupted version of the Bible as claimed by some – you decide

64,000 Words have gone MISSING in the NIV including the one and only mention of the name “Lucifer” – which astonishingly has been substituted by “morning star” a name Jesus called Himself in Revelations 22:16: “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

MISSING: The one and only mention of “Calvary.”

MISSING: All three mentions of “Godhead.”

MISSING: All six occurrences of “New Testament.”

The following verses are all completely MISSING from the NIV:

Matthew 18:11: “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”

Matthew 11:26: “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

Matthew 17:21: “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Matthew 23:14: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”

Mark 7:16: “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.”

Mark 11:26: “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Mark 15:28: “And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.”

Mark 16:9-20: “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.  And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.  And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.  After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.  And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.  So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

Luke 4:4: “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

Luke 17:36: “Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”

Luke 23:17: “For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.”

John 1:5-7: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”

John 5:4: For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

Acts 8:37: “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

Acts 24:7: “But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,”

Acts 28:29: “And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.”

Romans 16:24: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

1 John 5:7: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

This is a very important verse in the Bible.  It is the only statement in the Bible on the triune nature of God.  It obviously ought not to have been removed. It looks as if it is there, but only because part of the next verse 1 John 5:8 KJV has been made into verse 7 in the NIV.

1 John 5:8 KJV: “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one” has been made into:

1 John 5:7 NIV: “For there are three that testify (bear witness).”

1 John 5:8 NIV: “the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”]

Many positives have been CHANGED into negatives, and negatives into positives, such as:

In Isaiah 9:3, the KJV says: “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy.”

The NIV says: “You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy.”

As well as ‘not translating’ TENS OF THOUSANDS of words, the NIV adds many TENS OF THOUSANDS more.  Take a look at some of the many articles on the internet which give details, word for word.  

Still not sure?

TAKE THE NIV QUIZ [by Rex L. Cobb]

Instructions: Using an NIV Bible, answer the following questions.

The answer must be taken from the NIV Bible not from memory, and not from footnotes (footnotes are not the Bible) but from the text.

1. Fill in the missing words in Matthew 5:44. “Love your enemies, ________ them that curse you, _____________ to them that hate you, and pray for them that __________ and persecute you.”

2. According to Matthew 17:21, what two things are required to cast out this type of devil?

3. According to Matthew 18:11, why did Jesus come to earth?

4. According to Matthew 27:2, what was Pilate’s first name?

5. In Matthew 27:35, when the wicked soldiers parted His garments, they were fulfilling the words of the prophet.  Copy what the prophet said in Matthew 27:35 from the NIV.

6. In Mark 3:15, Jesus gave the apostles power to cast out devils and to:

7. According to Mark 7:16, what does a man need to be able to hear?

8. According to Luke 7:28, what was John? (teacher, prophet, carpenter, etc.). What is his title or last name?

9. In Luke 9:55, what did the disciples not know?

10. In Luke 9:56, what did the Son of man not come to do? According to this verse, what did He come to do?

11. In Luke 22:14, how many apostles were with Jesus?

12. According to Luke 23:38, in what three languages was the superscription written?

13. In Luke 24:42, what did they give Jesus to eat with His fish?

14. John 3:13 is a very important verse, proving the deity of Christ. According to this verse (as Jesus spoke), where is the Son of man?

15. What happened each year as told in John 5:4?

16. In John 7:50, what time of day did Nicodemus come to Jesus?

17. In Acts 8:37, what is the one requirement for baptism?

18. What did Saul ask Jesus in Acts 9:6?

19. Write the name of the man mentioned in Acts 15:34.

20. Study Acts 24:6-8. What would the Jew have done with Paul? What was the chief captain’s name? What did the chief captain command?

21. Copy Romans 16:24 word for word from the NIV.

22. First Timothy 3:16 is perhaps the greatest verse in the New Testament concerning the deity of Christ. In this verse, who was manifested in the flesh?

23. In the second part of First Peter 4:14, how do [they] speak of Christ? And, what do we Christians do?

24. Who are the three Persons of the Trinity in First John 5:7?

25. Revelation 1:11 is another very important verse that proves the deity of Christ.  In the first part of this verse Jesus said, “I am the A _____ and O _____, the _____ and the _____:”

Conclusion: Little space is provided for your answers, but it’s much more than needed.

If you followed the instructions above, you not only failed the test, you receive a big goose egg.

So now what do you think of your “accurate, easy-to-understand, up-to-date Bible?”

If these 25 questions haven’t served to show you that the NIV is a very inferior Bible, based on a very inferior Greek text, write me and I’ll make up another quiz with 25 more questions, or 250, if you wish; but you will still flunk the test.

If you would like to improve your score, and in fact score 100%, you can take this test using the Authorized (King James) Bible.

This is something too important to ignore.

Posted in The KJV and New Age Bibles | Leave a comment

Word Counts: How Many Times Does a Word Appear in the Bible

The table below gives some word counts for four popular versions of the Bible. There is no single correct way to translate the ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Bible manuscripts into English.   The grammar, structure, and style of those languages are very different from English, and a literal word-for-word translation is not possible.  Therefore, the number of times a particular word appears is usually different for each version of the Bible.

Word KJV Old Testament KJV New Testament NIV Old Testament NIV New Testament
Believe 19 124 21 139
Brother 252 115 219 108
Covenant 272 20 264 33
Christ 0 555 0 530
Faith 2 245 16 254
Father 627 352 692 390
Forgive 28 28 42 32
God 3090 1354 2725 1244
Grace 39 131 8 123
Hate 71 16 63 17
Heart 725 105 489 81
Heaven 327 255 186 236
Hell 31 23 0 14
Jesus 0 983 0 1273
Joy 102 63 155 63
Light 177 95 139 93
Lord 7234 712 7143 618
Love 131 179 319 232
Mary 0 54 0 57
Messiah 2 0 0 2
Mother 159 86 152 85
Music 0 0 87 3
Praise 222 26 299 41
Pray 245 68 48 73
Remember 121 27 130 36
Sin 336 112 347 127
Wealth 25 2 99 18
Wisdom 181 53 166 52
Posted in The KJV and New Age Bibles | Leave a comment

What Does the Bible Really Teach About Hell

Does the Bible teach the idea commonly held concerning hell?  Does the hell of the Bible denote a place of burning torment, a condition of suffering without end, which begins at death?  What is the hell of the Bible?  The only way to arrive at the correct answer is to trace the words translated ‘hell’ from the beginning to the end of the Bible, and by their connections ascertain exactly what the divine Word teaches on this important subject.

Before we look into the definitions of hell, think about this fact.  The word “heaven” appears in the Bible over 550 times.  If “hell” is the fate of those who do not accept Jesus as their Lord, how often do you think God should put it in the Bible Scriptures warning all the people of the world the consequences of failing to accept Jesus as their Savior?  Thousands of times?  At least as many times as the word “heaven”?  At least once in each book in the Bible?  The facts may shock you.

Number of times “Hell” appears in the text in English Bible Translations

Bible Translations Old Testament New Testament Total
“Authorized” King James Version * 31 23 54
New King James Version * 19 13 32
New International Version 0 14 14
American Standard Version 0 13 13
New American Standard Bible 0 13 13
Revised English Bible 0 13 13
New Living Translation 0 13 13
Amplified 0 13 13
Revised Standard Version 0 12 12
New Revised Standard Version 0 12 12
Darby 0 12 12
New Century Version 0 12 12
Young’s Literal Translation (1891) 0 0 0
Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible (reprinted, 1902) 0 0 0
Fenton’s Holy Bible in Modern English (1903) 0 0 0
New American Bible (1970) 0 0 0
Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible (1976) 0 0 0
Christian Bible (1991) 0 0 0
World English Bible (in progress) 0 0 0
Original Bible Project (Dr. James Tabor, still in translation) 0 0 0
Wesley’s New Testament (1755) - 0 0
Scarlett’s New Testament (1798) - 0 0
The New Testament in Greek and English (Kneeland, 1823) - 0 0
Twentieth Century New Testament (1900) - 0 0
Weymouth’s New Testament in Modern Speech (1903) - 0 0
Panin’s Numeric English New Testament (1914) - 0 0
The People’s New Covenant (Overbury, 1925) - 0 0
Hanson’s New Covenant (1884) - 0 0
Western New Testament (1926) - 0 0
New Testament of our Lord and Savior Anointed (Tomanek, 1958) - 0 0
Concordant Literal New Testament (1983) - 0 0
The New Testament, A Translation (Clementson, 1938) - 0 0
Emphatic Diaglott, Greek/English Interlinear (Wilson, 1942) - 0 0
The New Testament, A New Translation (Greber, 1980) - 0 0
Orthodox Jewish Brit Chadasha [New Testament only] - 0 0
Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English (1975)** - 0 0
Interlinear NASB-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English (1993)** - 0 0
Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (Berry,1897)** - 0 0
Jewish Publication Society Bible Old Testament (1917) 0 - 0
Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, Old Testament (1985) 0 - 0

*The KJV and the NKJV are the only two translations in the list above to use “hell” in the Old Testament.  Even the NKJV, which was only supposed to modernize the English words of the traditional “Authorized Version,” took many “hell” references out.  The use of the word “hell” is decreasing.  The NKJV, RSV, ASV, NRSV, and NASB are all technically revisions of the original KJV.  From 54 times to 32 and then to 12 or 13 times–who knows–maybe the next revision will bring it in line with the many Bibles which have eliminated the pagan word Hell all together.

** A note about the Parallel Interlinears.  I am referring to the word-for-word translations beneath the Greek in these works, NOT the English versions which are also in these reference works.  Obviously the versions in these books (NIV, NASB, and KJV) contain the word Hell as many times as they normally would.

Definitions of Hell

In the King James Bible, the term “hell” is used 54 times; 31 times in the Old Testament, and 23 times in the New Testament.  What is the meaning of the word “hell” in the bible?  In the Old Testament, it is translated from one word, Sheol. In the New Testament, “hell” is translated from three words, tartaroo, Hades, and Gehenna. Let us look at their meanings.

1) Tartaroo [Greek New Testament]:

“Hell” is translated only one time from tartaroo, which is from the root Tartaros, which means “the deepest abyss of Hades” (2 Peter 2:4).  Apparently, Peter was not writing about a place of flames and torment because “the angels that sinned” are there “to be reserved unto judgment.”  It would not make sense that angels would be burning in hell before judgment is pronounced on them.  If angels are being reserved for judgment, it means they haven’t been judged yet.  After all, an accused murderer wouldn’t serve 25 years and then be judged to see if he belongs there or not.  If the wicked were to live in a burning hell, they’d have eternal life, just as the righteous, differing only in its quality.  The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23), not eternal life.

2) Sheol (Hebrew Old Testament) / Hades (Greek New Testament):

What is the meaning of the word “hell” in the Old Testament? “Hell” is always translated from the Hebrew word Sheol (which is used 65 times in the Old Testament) and means simply “the world of the dead”.  There is no hint of a place of fire (Jonah 2:1-2). Sheol is translated as “grave” 31 times, “hell” 31 times, and “pit” 3 times. “Sheol” is translated as “grave” in Psa.89:48, Job 17:13, where both Job (a godly man) and the wicked go to Sheol (hell). Sheol is described in terms of overwhelming floods, water, or waves (Jonah 2:2-6).  Sometimes, Sheol is pictured as a hunter setting snares for its victim, binding them with cords, snatching them from the land of the living (2 Sam. 22:6; Job 24:19; Ps. 116:3).  Sheol is a prison with bars, a place of no return (Job 7:9; 10:21; 16:22; 21:13; Ps.49:14; Isa.38:10).  People could go to Sheol alive(Num.16:30,33; Ps.55:15; Prov.1:12).

It does not teach a place of the conscious souls.  The Greek Septuagint, which our Lord used when he read or quoted from the Old Testament, gives Hades as the exact equivalent of the Hebrew Sheol, and when the Savior, or his apostles, used the word, they meant the same as is meant in the Old Testament.  Thus, the New Testament usage agrees exactly with the Old Testament.  Literally, Hades means “death” or the “grave”; and figuratively, it means “destruction”.

Hades is used 11 times in the New Testament.  It is translated 10 times as “hell”, and 1 time as “grave.”  Hades means “the place (state) of departed souls, grave, hell.”  In Acts 2:27,31, apparently, both the righteous and the wicked go to Hades, the same as they both go to Sheol in the Old Testament, for Christ went to hell when He died.  In quoting the Old Testament prophecy regarding Christ, the New Testament writer uses Hades.  Compare Acts 2:27 with Psalm 16:10.  It seems more logical to think of Christ in the grave instead of in a burning hell.

1 Corinthians 15:55 illustrates that “grave” is a proper reading for Hades.  This verse is quoted from Hosea 13:14 in the Old Testament where we find the equivalent word Sheol (grave).

Hades is also used in Matthew 11:23; 16:18, Luke 10:23, and Revelation 1:18; 6:8. In Revelation 20:13-14, if one thinks of “hell” as death represented by the grave, it makes sense for hell to be cast into the lake of fire. After all, if “hell” itself is really a lake of fire, how can it be thrown into itself? This does not make any sense. Notice in 1 Corinthians 15:26 that death will be destroyed. What is represented by death? The grave!

3) Hinnom (Hebrew Old Testament) / Gehenna (Greek New Testament):

“Hell is translated twelve times from Gehenna (or, as it is sometimes transliterated, Geenna).  This is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Hinnom, which is the name of a valley outside Jerusalem where garbage and the carcasses of animals were cast into and consumed by fire constantly kept burning.  Thus, Gehenna is the only one of those words translated as “hell” in the Bible, that has any idea of fire or torment resident in it.  Look at Matthew 5:22,29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33 and Mark 9:43,45,47.  It is apparent from these texts that the whole physical body is cast into Hell, and not just the soul.  Gehenna is also used in Luke 12:5 and James 3:6.

“Gehenna was a well-known valley, near Jerusalem, in which the Jews in their idolatrous days had sacrificed their children to the idol Moloch, in consequence of which it was condemned to receive the offal and refuse and sewage of the city, and into which the bodies of malefactors were cast and where to destroy the odor and pestilential influences, continual fires were kept burning.  Here fire, smoke, worms bred by the corruption, and other repulsive features, rendered the place a horrible one, in the eyes of the Jews. It was a locality with which they were as well acquainted.  But in process of time Gehenna came to be an emblem of the consequences of sin, and to be employed figuratively by the Jews, to denote those consequences.  But always in this world.  The Jews never used it to mean torment after death, until long after Christ.  The word had not the meaning of post-mortem torment when our Savior used it.” (J.W. Hanson’s, Bible Threatenings Explained).

Also note, not one single time in the entire Old Testament was this word “Ge-Hinnom” translated as “hell.”  See Leviticus 18:21; 20:2; Joshua 15:8; 18:16; 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6; Nehemiah 11:30; Jeremiah 7:30-33; 19:2, 6; 32:35.

Every Bible reference using the word “hell” is addressed to this world.  It was also employed in the time of Christ as a symbol of moral corruption and wickedness; but more especially as a figure of the terrible judgment of God on the rebellious and sinful nation of the Jews.  It was a place fit only for waste.

Should a Jew, God’s chosen people, ever be given a burial in “Gehenna,” it would be the most humiliating thing that could ever happen to him.  It would be like saying to a Pharisee, that his life, his religious works, his devotion to God were completely worthless, fit only for the dump.

Read the prophecy concerning the apostate Israel in Jeremiah 7:30-34:

Jeremiah 7:30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.

Jeremiah 7:31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom (Greek = Gehenna), to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

Jeremiah 7:32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom (Greek =Gehenna), but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.

Jeremiah 7:33 And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away. (See Matthew 24:28).

Jeremiah 7:34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate. (See Revelation 18:23).

This passage undoubtedly refers to the literal destruction that would befall the Jewish nation in 70 A.D., when many Jews experienced literally the condemnation of Gehenna, by perishing miserably by fire and sword.  Every Bible reference about hell is to this world. Only Jesus and James ever used the term Gehenna. Neither Paul, John, Peter nor Jude ever employed it.  Would they not have warned sinners concerning it, if there were a Gehenna of torment after death?  Neither Christ nor His apostles ever used the term Gehenna to Gentiles, but only to Jews, which proves it is a locality known only to Jews, whereas, if it were a place of punishment after death for sinners, it would have been preached to the Gentiles as well as to Jews.

The Book of Acts contains the record of the apostolic preaching, and the history of the first planting of the church among the Jews and Gentiles, and embraces a period of thirty years from the ascension of Christ.  In all this history, in all this preaching of the disciples and apostles of Jesus, there is no mention of Gehenna.  In thirty years of missionary effort, these men of God, addressing people of all characters and nations, never, under any circumstances, threaten them with the torments of Gehenna, or allude to it in the most distant manner!  In the face of such a fact as this, can any man believe that Gehenna signifies endless punishment; and that this is a part of divine revelation, a part of the gospel message to the world?

Now, if endless punishment awaits millions of the human race, and if it is denoted by this word, is it possible that only David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Malachi use the word to define punishment, in all less than a dozen times, while Job, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Solomon, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Hahum, Habbakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai and Zachariah NEVER employed it thus?  Such silence is criminal, on the popular hypothesis.  These holy men should and would have made every sentence bristle with the word, and thus have borne the awful message to the soul with an emphasis that could neither be resisted or disputed.  The fact that the word is so seldom, and by so few, applied to punishment, and never in the Old Testament to punishment beyond death, demonstrates that it cannot mean endless.

The Apocrypha, B.C.150-500, Philo Judaeus, A.D.40, and Josephus, A.D.70-100, all refer to future punishment, but none of them use Gehenna to describe it, which they would have done, being Jews, had the word been then in use with that meaning.  Were it the name of a place of future torment then, can anyone doubt that it would be found repeatedly in their writings?  And does not the fact that it is never found in their writings demonstrate that it had no such use then, and if so, does it not follow that Christ used it in no such sense.

The first Christian writer who calls Hell Gehenna is Justin Martyr A.D., 140-166

Tertullian, A.D. 200-220, was originally a Pagan; by birth, an African, and a lawyer by profession. He seems to have believed in the strictly endless punishment of the wicked, and to have argued against the doctrine of their annihilation, or, to use his own words, against the doctrine that “the wicked would be consumed, and not punished,” that is, endlessly.  He is the first, as far as can be ascertained, who expressly affirmed, and argued the question, that the torments of the damned would be equal in duration to the happiness of the blessed.

What I find very interesting is that Jesus and James only mentioned it.  Doesn’t it seem absurd that Jesus and James speaking of “hell” to the believers in Matthew 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 9:42-47; 12:5 and James 3:6?  Do they mean it literally?  Seems to me when they speak of “hell”, it is just figurative.  It means a greater judgment while on earth, both the elect and the non-elect.

Where will the wicked be punished?

Proverbs 11:31, “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.”

The Scripture shows that both the righteous and the wicked are to be recompensed in the same place.

Isaiah 24:21, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.”

Here is a plain statement that punishment is to be administered “upon the earth” at some time.

Where is hell located?

Since “hell” means “the grave,” scripture should describe hell as it would the grave. And in fact, this is what we find!

Hell is described as being in the earth, and in the foundation of the mountains – the foundations being under the earth (Deuteronomy 32:22). Hell is deep – underground (Job 11:8). The direction of hell is down (Psalms 55:15, Ezekiel 32:21,27). Hell is low (Psalms 86:13). Hell is beneath us (Proverbs 15:24, Isaiah 14:9). Hell is a pit (Isaiah 14:15, Ezekiel 31:16). We must dig into hell (Amos 9:2). Hell (the grave) follows death (Revelation 6:8).

Men and women cannot live in fire, it will burn them up

Psalms 92:7, “When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:”

Philippians 3:18-19, “…they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction…”

Psalms 37:20, “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.”

When referring to Psalms 37:20, Adam Clarke’s Commentary says: “If we follow the Hebrew, it intimates that they shall consume as the fat of lambs. That is, as the fat is wholly consumed in sacrifices by the fire on the altar, so shall they consume away in the fire of God’s wrath.”

Psalms 104:35, “Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more.”

Malachi 4:1, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”

Matthew 13:40, “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.”

John 15:6, “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

Isaiah 66:24, “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”

In Isaiah 66:24, observe that the objects to suffer the effects of the unquenchable fire and the work of the undying worms are “the carcasses of men.” All must know that the “carcasses of men” are dead men . Living men are not called “carcasses.”

When speaking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in Jeremiah 17:27, “…then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched .”  In A.D. 70, the time came when this fearful prophecy was fulfilled.  Titus intended to save the Temple, but a soldier thrust a firebrand into it, set it on fire, and it was burnt with an unquenchable fire .

Is Jerusalem still burning now?  Certainly not. But the fire was unquenchable.  Suppose a building takes fire, and the fire is declared to be unquenchable, would any one understand that the fire would burn eternally?  An unquenchable fire must necessarily burn up whatever comes within its reach, or else not produce any effect upon the object.  But the wicked are compared with ” tares,” ” thorns,” “stubble,” etc. and never with anything that would resist fire.

Other terms to describe Hell

Brimstone and fire: these verses always speak of brimstone and fire coming from heaven, not hell; and this brimstone and fire is always on the earth, and never in “hell”. Genesis 19:24; Deuteronomy 29:23; 2 Kings 1:12,14, Job 1:16; 18:15; Psalm 11:6; 18:13, Isaiah 30:33; 34:9; Ezekiel 38:22; Luke 17:29; Revelation 14:10; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8

Weeping and gnashing of teeth: This is always speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem when their kingdom was cast out, not in “hell”. Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28.

Unquenchable: is used in Leviticus 6:12-13; 2 King 22:17; 2 Chronicles 34:25; Isaiah 34:10; 42:3; 43:3; 66:24; Jeremiah 4:4; 7:20; 17:27; 21:12; Ezekiel 20:47; Matthew 12:20; Mark 9:43-48

The apparent meaning of “shall not be quenched” is: when the Lord pronounces a judgment of fire on something, that fire cannot be put out by man until it has burned everything up, leaving only ashes.  Obviously, the fire at Jerusalem did go out (Jer.17:27; 52:12-13, 2 Chron.36:19-21) and Jerusalem was rebuilt seventy years later.  What sinners will be unable to deliver themselves from (Isa.47:14) is the unquenchable, eternal, everlasting fire.  The fire will continue to consume everything that is wicked until it is completely destroyed and turned to ashes.

Jude 1:7 clearly states an example of “eternal” fire.  This is the same Greek word that is used for “everlasting” fire and “everlasting” punishment as used in Matthew 18:8 and Matthew 25:41,46 Notice hell is “everlasting punishment”, and not “everlasting punishing”. The punishment is eternal in its results, not in its duration.

Also, in Matthew 25:41, the “everlasting fire” is prepared for the devil and his angles, and not prepared by the devil and his angels).  The fire and brimstone destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and turned them into ashes (Gen.19:24).  Sodom and Gomorrah was an example of what would happen to the wicked (Luke 17:29-30, 2 Peter 2:6, Jude 1:7).  We know that God did not remove Sodom and Gomorrah to burn them somewhere else because Abraham could see the smoke going up “as the smoke of a furnace” (Genesis 19:28).  The cities are not burning today because when everything was burned and turned into ashes, the fire, having no fuel left, went out.  Another example of “everlasting destruction” (2 Thes.1:9) is; once a match is burned, it is destroyed forever, but is not being forever destroyed.  The phrase “eternal torment” does not appear in the Bible.

Hanson wrote, “Many suppose that the words “unquenchable fire” mean a fire of endless duration, whereas, it is a fire that cannot be quenched until its purpose is accomplished.  The meaning is, not that the fire was endless, but that it was not quenched,–it continued to burn–until all the material was destroyed.  So the judgments of God on the Jews were effectually done — the nation was completely devastated and destroyed.  They were like chaff of the summer threshing floor in the consuming fire of God’s judgment.”

Josephus says, [Jewish War, B. ii, ch. xvii:6.] speaking of a fire that used to burn in the temple–though at the time he wrote [A.D.80] it had gone out, and the temple was destroyed:-”Everyone was accustomed to bring wood for the altar, that fuel might never be needed for the fire, for it continued always unquenchable.”

Strabo, (A.D. 70) described the “unquenchable lamp” that used to burn in the Parthenon, though it has long since ceased to burn. [Lib. ix: p. 606.]

Plutarch, (A.D. 110) in Numa, [p. 262] speaks of places in Delphi and Athens, “where there is a fire unquenchable,” (asbeston) though in the same breath he describes it as having ceased to burn.

Eusebius, [A.D 325, Eccl. Hist. Lib. vi, chap. 41] in his account of the martyrdom of Cronon and Julian, at Alexandria, says they were “consumed in unquenchable fire, asbesto puri,” though it burned only long enough to destroy their bodies.

Isaiah 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Where do they look for the unquenchable fire in the above verses? On earth or in “hell”? Very clearly it is on earth, and it occurred in 70 AD.

Furnace (of fire or smoke): is used in Genesis 19:28; Exodus 19:18; Psalm 21:9; Malachi 4:1; Matthew 13:42, 50; Revelation 9:2

How about this passage in Malachi?

Malachi 4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven (See Matthew 13:42); and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. (See Jude 12-13).

Malachi 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

Malachi 4:3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet (John the Baptist) before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD (parousia of Christ):

Malachi 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth (land – destruction of Jerusalem) with a curse.

Clearly, this occurred in the first century when Jerusalem was destroyed. It is nowhere said that God has a furnace in eternity, in which to burn souls.

For ever and everlasting: Does “forever” always mean never ending?  No. In the Bible, “for ever” is used where it has the meaning of lasting only as long as the duration of the event or as long as the man lives.  Jonah calls “three days and three nights”, “forever” (Jonah 1:17; 2:6).  Hannah clearly explains what she means by the term “forever” when she says in verse 28, “as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:22,28).  Here “forever” is “ten generations” (Deut. 23:3). “Forever” obviously is as long as David lived (1 Chron. 28:4).  Leprosy lasted for Gehazi as long as he lived (2 Kings 5:27).  It’s apparent that the meaning of the word is determined by the context in which it is used (Exo. 21:5-6, Deut. 15:16-17, Philem. 1:10,11,15).  Revelation 20:10 can agree with Ezekiel 28:18 by interpreting “for ever” as meaning “as long as they last in the fire or until the fire has burned them up completely.”  This is a good example of letting scripture interpret itself.

More studies on forever and everlasting

Aion (Greek New Testament) / Oham = Hebrew (Hebrew Old Testament) [most Bibles put "forever" or "everlasting"]:

First we need to check the background of these words:

Before the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek (200-300 B.C., according to Prideaux, or during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, 285-247 B. C., say other authorities) this word aionion was in common use by the Greeks.  Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Pindar, Sophocles, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Empedocles, Euripedes, Philoctetes, and Plato, all use the word, but never once does one of them give it the sense of eternity.

Aristotle: “The entire heaven is one and eternal (aidios) having neither beginning nor end of an entire aion.” And still more to the purpose is this quotation concerning God’s existence:  “Life and ‘an aion continuous and eternal, zoe kai aion sunekes kai aidios.’”  Here the word aidios, (eternal) is employed to qualify aion and impart to it what it had not of itself, the sense of eternal.  Aristotle could be guilty of no such language as “an eternal eternity.”  Had the word aion contained the idea of eternity in his time, or in his mind, he would not have added aidios.

Josephus and Philo, Jewish Greeks, who wrote between the Old and New Testaments, use the word aionion with the meaning of temporal duration, always.

Alluding to the Pharisees, Josephus says: “They believe that the wicked are detained in an everlasting prison (eirgmon aidion) subject to eternal punishment” (aidios timoria) and the Essenes (another, Jewish sect) “Allotted to bad souls a dark, tempestuous place, full of never-ceasing punishment (timoria adialeipton) where they suffer a deathless punishment, (athanaton timorian).”

Philo, who was contemporary with Christ, generally used aidion to denote endless, and always used aionion to describe temporary duration.  Dr. Mangey, in his edition of Philo, says he never used aionion for interminable duration.  He uses the exact phraseology of Matthew 25:46, precisely as Christ used it.  “It is better not to promise than not to give prompt assistance, for no blame follows in the former case, but in the latter there is dissatisfaction from the weaker class, and a deep hatred and everlasting punishment (kolasis aionios) from such as are more powerful.”

Here we have the exact terms employed by our word, to show that aionion did not mean endless but did mean limited duration in the time of Christ.

You may point to Jude 6. “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”

Hanson wrote, “The word here rendered “everlasting” is not aionios, temporary duration, but aidios, whose intrinsic meaning is endless.  It is found in one other place in the New Testament, Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.”

Now it must be admitted that this word among the Greeks had the sense of eternal, and should be understood as having that meaning wherever found, unless by express limitation it is shorn of its proper meaning.  It is further admitted that had aidios occurred where aionios does, there would be no escape from the conclusion that the New Testament teaches Endless Punishment.  It is further admitted that the word is here used in the exact sense of aionios, as is seen in the succeeding verse: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of aionian fire.”  That is to say, the “aidios chains” in verse 6 are “even as” durable as the “aionion fire” in verse 7.  Which word modifies the other?

1) The construction of the language shows that the latter word limits the former.  The aidios chains are even as the aionion fire. As if one should say “I have been infinitely troubled, I have been vexed for an hour,” or “He is an endless talker, he can talk five yours on a stretch.”  Now while “infinitely” and “endless” usually convey the sense of unlimited, they are here limited by what follows, as aidios, eternal, is limited by aionios, indefinitely long.

2) That this is the correct exegesis is evident from still another limitation of the word.  “The angels…he hath reserved in everlasting chains unto the judgment of the great day.”  Had Jude said that the angels are held in aidios chains, and stopped there, not limiting the word, it might be claimed that he taught their eternal imprisonment.  But when he limits the duration by aionios and them expressly states that it is only unto a certain date, it follows that the imprisonment will terminate, even though we find applied to it a word that intrinsically signifies eternal duration, and that was used by the Greeks to convey the idea of eternity, and was attached to punishment by the Greek Jews of our Savior’s times, to describe endless punishment, in which they were believers.

But observe, while this word aidios was in universal use among the Greek Jews of our Savior’s day, to convey the idea of eternal duration, and was used by them to teach endless punishment, Jesus never allowed himself to use it in connection with punishment, nor did any of his disciples but one, and he but once, and then carefully and expressly limited its meaning.  Can demonstration go further than this to show that Jesus carefully avoided the phraseology by which his contemporaries described the doctrine of endless punishment?”

And as for the attributes of God it is quite simple.  God is before the ages, he created the ages, he himself wasn’t created, he’s the King of the Ages, he spoke the ages into being, he has no beginning, he has no end, he is the self-existent one, etc.  Therefore “olam” and “aionion” when applied to God (and His kingdom) denote “infinity” or “eternality” because of the object in view.

There are too many scriptures to mention them all using the term “forever” or “everlasting.”  Here are just a few as examples:

“We see the word “everlasting” applied to God’s covenant with the Jews; to the priesthood of Aaron; to the statutes of Moses; to the time the Jews were to possess the land of Canaan; to the mountains and hills; and to the doors of the Jewish temple.  We see the word forever applied to the duration of a man’s earthly existence; to the time a child was to abide in the temple; to the continuance of Gehazi’s leprosy; to the duration of the life of David; to the duration of a king’s life; to the duration of the earth; to the time the Jews were to possess the land of Canaan; to the time they were to dwell in Jerusalem; to the time a servant was to abide with his master; to the time Jerusalem was to remain a city; to the duration of the Jewish temple; to the laws and ordinances of Moses; to the time David was to be king over Israel; to the throne of Solomon; to the stones that were set up at Jordan; to the time the righteous were to inhabit the earth; and to the time Jonah was in the fish’s belly.

“We find the phrase forever and ever applied to the hosts of heaven, or the sun, moon, and stars; to a writing contained in a book; to the smoke that went up from the burning land of Idumea; and to the time the Jews were to dwell in Judea.  We find the word never applied to the time the fire was to burn on the Jewish altar; to the time the sword was to remain in the house of David; to God’s covenant with the Jews; to the time the Jews should not experience shame; to the time the house of David was to reign over Israel; to the time the Jews were not to open their mouths because of their shame; to the time those who fell by death should remain in their fallen state; and to the time judgment was not executed.

“But the law covenant is abolished; the priesthood of Aaron and his sons has ceased; the ordinances, and laws, and statutes of Moses are abrogated; the Jews have long since been dispossessed of the land of Canaan, have been driven from Judea, and God has brought upon them a reproach and a shame; the man to the duration of whose life the word forever was applied is dead; David is dead, and has ceased to reign over Israel; the throne of Solomon no longer exists; the Jewish temple is demolished, and Jerusalem has been overthrown, so that there is not left “one stone upon another;” the servants of the Jews have been freed from their masters; Gehazi is dead, and no one believes he carried his leprosy with him into the future world; the stones that were set up at Jordan have been removed, and the smoke that went up from the burning land of Idumea has ceased to ascend; the righteous do not inherit the earth endlessly, and no one believes that the mountains and hills, as such, are indestructible; the fire that burnt on the Jewish altar has long since ceased to burn; judgment has been executed; and no Christian believes that those who fall by death will never be awakened from their slumbers.

“Now, as these words are used in this limited sense in the Scriptures, why should it be supposed that they express endless duration when applied to punishment?” (Thomas B. Thayer – The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment). See Everlasting. – Gen. 17:7, 8, 13; 48:4; 49:26; Exod. 40:15; LeV 16:34; Numb. 25:13; Ps. 24:7; Hab. 3:6. Forever. – Deut. 15:17; 1 Sam. 1:22; 27:12; Lev 25:46; 2 Kings 5:27; Job 41:4; 1 Kings 1:31; Neh. 2:3; Dan. 2:4; Exod. 14:13; Eccl 1:4; Ps. 104:5; 78:69; Ezek. 37:25; Gen. 13:15; Exod. 32:13; Josh. 14:9; 1 Chron. 23:25; Jer. 17:25; Ps. 48:8; Jer. 31:40; 1 Kings 8:13; Numb. 10:8;18:23; 1 Chron. 28:4; 1 Kings 9:5; Josh. 4:7; Jonah 2:6; Ps. 37:29. Forever and ever. – Ps. 148:5, 6; Isa. 30:8; 34:10; Jer. 7:7; 25:5. Never. – LeV 6:13; 2 Sam. 12:10; Judges 2:1; Joel 2:26, 27; Jer. 33:17; Ezek. 16:63; Amos 8:14; Hab. 1:4.

Hanson wrote, “All these and numerous other eternal, everlasting things – things that were to last forever, and to which the various aionion words are applied–have now ended, and if these hundreds of instances must denote limited duration why should the few times in which punishments are spoken of have any other meaning?  Even if endless duration were the intrinsic meaning of the word, all intelligent readers of the Bible would perceive that the word must be employed to denote limited duration in the passages above cited.  And surely in the very few times in which it is connected with punishment it must have a similar meaning.”

These following words and passages are applied to the kind of life we have:

Heb. 7:15-16, “And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless (akatalutos, imperishable) life.”

1 Pet. 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, (aphtharton) and undefiled, and that fadeth not (amaranton) away.”

1 Pet. 5:4, “and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not (amarantinos) away.”

1 Tim. 1:17, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal (aphtharto), invisible, the only wise God be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen.”

Rom. 1:23, “And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.”

Rom. 2:7, “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality (aptharsain) eternal life.”

1 Cor. 9:25, “Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”

1 Cor. 15:42, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption (aphtharsian).” See also verse 50.

1 Cor. 15:51-54, “Behold I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, (aphthartoi) and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, (aphtharsian) and this mortal must put on immortality (athanasian) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, (aphtharsian) and this mortal shall have put on immortality, (athanasian) then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

2 Tim. 1:10, “Hath brought life and immortality (aphtharisan) to light, through the gospel.”

1 Tim. 6:16, “Who only hath immortality (athanasian).”

Now these words are applied to God and the soul’s happiness.  They are words that in the Bible are never applied to punishment or anything perishable.  They would have been affixed to punishment had the Bible intended to teach endless punishment.  And certainly they show the error of those who declare that the indefinite word aionion is all the word, or the strongest one in the Bible, declarative of the endlessness of life beyond the grave.

Aren’t those who do not hear or accept the Gospel doomed by God?

In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), when the younger son demanded his inheritance and left home to indulge in riotous living, he was not stopped by his father.  His father did not chase him away yelling, “You good-for-nothing impudent, rebellious ass of a boy! You’ll burn in hell!”  Not at all.  Not even remotely.  The father did not threaten the boy with hell-fire and damnation — why should he?  He knew that the boy was going to create this for himself all on his own.  Instead, he let the boy go in peace with the freedom to think, feel, and act as he pleased, without recrimination.

What do you imagine the boy would have thought some time later, when he had lost everything — money, friends, and self-respect — if, when in the depths of desperation, he called to mind his father, and heard echoing through his head, “You no-good-for-nothing impudent, rebellious ass of a boy! You’ll burn in hell!”  Think about it for a moment.  And then ask yourself the question: What was it that made the boy want to return home in the story that Jesus told?  Was it the picture of a father breathing hell and damnation or of a sorrowful man who loved him enough to give him his freedom to do as he pleased?

We are not in the position of passing ultimate judgment on any man. We do not know how God will judge a man or woman in the eternities because we lack those omniscient, omnipotent, all-loving keys of love.  To be sure we are called to make some local judgments of individuals that affect the welfare of the Body (Church), our families, and our countries, but we have never been given the mandate to pass judgment on any individual in his relationship to eternity.  Never!  And I challenge anyone to show me in the scripture where we have been given that mandate.

That Prodigal Son would never have come home had the last picture of his father been of a vengeful, condemning ogre.  Once he had realized his stupidity, his egotism, his selfishness, his rudeness — yes, his rebelliousness and his being an “ass-head” for himself — he had only one picture to fall on that would entice him home into loving care — the picture of a sorrowful but loving father.

It is a serious mistake to conclude that a man is lost just because he rejects our preaching.  Have we suddenly become gods whose message cannot be refused on pain of everlasting destruction?  We do not know the background of anyone fully.  We do not, in truth, know the path any single soul has walked within himself.  Only God knows that.  There are times and seasons when a soul is receptive to the Word, times and seasons which God alone knows.  Anyone who calls him- or herself a Christian must be sensitive to these things to be any use to either man or God.

There are ways to warn people of the consequences of sin that will endear them to God and cause them to repent, and there are ways that will turn them off Him altogether and encourage them to rebel all the more — because they simply can’t see the love in the inadequate human visions of eternity.  God’s chief purpose is to reveal His love to us — to “draw” us to Him, not to “compel” us to Him.  The god of the whip has another name.

It is not for us to judge men whether they are fit for heaven or hell.  That is none of our business, and I would even venture to suggest that those who act as God in this way run the risk of finding themselves in that place they are so busily condemning others to.  It is our duty to warn them not to do it and to protect innocent people from them.  God will convict people of sin in His own way that will lead to genuine and not plastic repentance.  Our job is to point people to the Saviour and His Law and invite them to receive, of their own free will and desire, the Gospel of Salvation themselves.

It should be comforting to us, knowing that nobody will have a consciousness after death.  The thought of my loved ones looking down on me, and seeing the things I do wrong while they are totally helpless to do anything or even give advice, is comforting.  To have a loving mother be conscious of her loving son, while her son she loved so much is burning in hell forever, is not a comforting thought.  To me, that would be a living hell for her.

In conclusion, there is no conclusive or explicit proof in scripture that says people will have a consciousness after death.  In addition, Only God Himself will determine what happens to us after we die.  Opinions about what may or may not happen to us, or to others, after death, is just that…opinions.  For nobody really knows what will happen except God Himself.

Posted in What is the Truth About Hell | 3 Comments

Does Our Worship Please God

From the beginning of time, God has required worship of man.  He has done so because worship is inherent in the Creator-creature relationship, not because He needs anything we are capable of giving Him:

“Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:25)

We can’t survive spiritually without worship to fill our hearts any more than we can survive physically without air to fill our lungs.  But man has not always remembered the purpose of worship — nor has he always obeyed God in the practice of worship.

It is an interesting fact that we can show irreverence and disrespect to God in the way we worship! 

Malachi’s people had greatly perverted the worship of God — and his book deals with the disrespect they were showing at the altar where they should have been honoring Him. 

Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.  And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.  And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the Lord of hosts.  Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.  For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal 1:7-11)

The emptiness of worship that does not come from the heart

It is disheartening to think that, within 100 years of the return of the first Jews from Babylon, their worship had already become vain, but that was the case.

And what God had to say about it is typical of everything else the Scriptures say about vain worship.

The thing they were calling worship was worse than no worship at all.

The rebuke was blistering: “‘Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, so that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in you,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘nor will I accept an offering from your hands.’” (Mal 1:10,11)

God evidently did not judge the crisis to be a minor one

The vain worship of Israel was not merely a futile exercise — it was offensive to God, an actual abomination to Him. (Pro 28:9)

Whatever else their sacrifices and ceremonies might have been good for, they weren’t any good for pleasing the Lord — He did not accept them.

And what was the problem? It was that Israel had settled down to a mechanical concept of worship — they imagined that performance of the bare act itself was sufficient to produce the desired result.

Malachi’s people seem to have had little sincerity or genuineness about their worship.

Even when doing what had been commanded, their heart was not involved. (Mal 1:6)

Isaiah’s words (written long before and quoted by the Lord in Matt 15:8-9) were: “These people draw near to Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men.” (Isa 29:13)

Malachi was simply the last in a long line of prophets God had sent to admonish Israel for the meaningless, useless way it worshiped.

The connection between worship and character

There was widespread social corruption and injustice among Malachi’s people: “I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and the fatherless, and against those who turn away an alien — because they do not fear Me.” (Mal 3:5).

They seem not to have considered how offensive to God these social sins rendered their worship.

They were indifferent to the vital connection between acceptable worship and godly character.

Failing to understand that God was looking for obedience, purity of life, and holiness in the inner man, they evidently assumed God would be pleased with their rituals regardless of what they were doing outside the temple. (Matt 23:23-28)

But Samuel had asked Saul centuries before: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams”  (1 Sam 15:22) Deut 10:12; Psa 51:16,17; Mic 6:6-8.

In the NT, we learn that “to love [God] with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:33)

Jesus rebuked those of His day for their confusion about what God desires from man.

On more than one occasion, in exhorting the ritualistic and self-righteous Pharisees, He quoted Hos. 6:6, where God had said, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Matt 9:13; 12:7

Today, we urgently need to understand the link between worship and the way we live.

The NT is clear — our worship is rendered vain if we do things like these and refuse to repent:

  • ·        Speak with an unbridled tongue – James 1:26
  • ·        Turn a deaf ear to the pleas of the disadvantaged – James 1:27
  • ·        Indulge in secret immorality – 1 Tim 2:8
  • ·        Live lives of bitterness, hostility, and enmity – Matt 5:23-24
  • ·        Mistreat our wives – 1 Peter 3:7

One of the Proverbs says simply, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination” (Pro 28:9

“Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.” (Isa 1:13)

God’s remedy for inconsistency between our way of life and our worship is found in Isa 1:16-17:

“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”

To live unrighteously and then go through the motions of righteous worship is to make a mockery of all that worship is intended to be — it is to treat God Himself with an offhanded contempt worse even than blasphemy.

God has always been more patient with hatred in His foes than hypocrisy in His friends.

The sin of offering the Lord our leftovers

In Malachi’s day, however, the worship of Israel had one other fault: it was a worship of mere convenience, rather than of true sacrifice.

God said, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ”In what way have we robbed You?’  In tithes and offerings.” (Mal. 3:8)

Those to whom Malachi preached were offering animals that were blind, lame, sick, and possibly even stolen Mal 1:8,13,14

Each sacrifice was to be without blemish — it was to be the best the offerer had – Lev 22:17-25; Deu 17:1; etc.

Malachi’s people were doing less by God than by their civil rulers: “Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” (Mal 1:8)

In effect, this was an effort to swindle the Lord: “But cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male, and makes a vow, but sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished.” (Mal. 1:14)

David had exemplified the right attitude about offerings to the Lord. When Araunah offered to give David the materials for a sacrifice, David replied, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” (2 Sam 24:24)

It represents no great love for the Lord to “sacrifice” to Him whatever one can easily get along without. Jesus said of the poor widow who dropped two mites into the temple treasury, “[She] has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mk. 12:43,44)

Though today the Lord does not require tithes and animal sacrifices, we still need Malachi’s admonition.

We are the Gentiles among whom the Lord said, “My name shall be great.” (Mal. 1:11)

Our offering to Him must be “a pure offering.” (Mal. 1:11)

Whether it is time, money, or ourselves we are contributing to the Lord’s cause, it will have to be more than the surplus we skim off of our abundance.

The Hebrew writer urged, “Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb 12:28-29)

God will not be mocked with our leftovers!

Conclusion

The worship which Malachi condemned was one which trifled with the greatness of God — it was of the sort described by Solomon as “the sacrifice of fools” (Ecc 5:1).

But the people had grown tired of playing even this game — they were slouching through worship sneering, “Oh, what a weariness!” (Mal 1:13)

Malachi warned in no uncertain terms that Israel was wasting what time they spent in this way.

Until the day when their worship could be an expression of loving reverence for the Lord of hosts, the doors of the temple should remain shut – Mal 1:10.

Today, when we worship, we need to recover the reverence with which God ought to be worshiped.

When we worship reverently, genuinely, and sacrificially great blessings are in store for us — nowhere is the principle of sowing and reaping more true than in our worship.

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2 Cor 9:6-8)

 by Gary Henry, WordPoints

Posted in Does Our Worship Please God | 1 Comment

Prayer of Renunciation of the Jezebel Spirit and to Break Jezebelic Curses

Father, today I stand before You in the name of your son Jesus Christ, on behalf of myself, as well as on behalf of my ancestors.

I plead guilty for the fact that I have allowed the Jezebel spirit with her five cords to work and rule through and over me, as well as that I have moved in the spirit of Ahab at times.

I choose to submit myself under Your Almighty Hand today, in order that You may lift me up again at the appointed time.

I sincerely repent that I, through my lifestyle and behaviour, have committed the following sins:

Destroyed or opposed Your true prophets (e.g. your marriage partner, child, others, etc.)

Destroyed or opposed Your ordained authority-structures (e.g. parents, teachers, marriage, government, etc.)

Satisfied my own ego

Opposed the work of the Holy Spirit and obstructed the flow of Your Spirit

Idolatry (e.g. knowledge, own views, church, traditions, etc.)

Witchcraft (e.g. the occult, emotional manipulation, controlling behaviour, rebellion etc.)

Walked after the desires of the flesh

Evoked the Ahab spirit in others

Allowed the Ahab spirit to manifest through me

Abused my authority and leadership

Distorted other peoples’ words to look good myself

Distorted Your words, even by speaking in Your name that which You have not really spoken

Opposed leaders

Women: I have undermined and opposed my husband, father, leaders, employers and parent’s authority

Men: I have not treated my wife, family-members (children), subordinates, parents, etc. according to Your precepts and I have not taken up my responsibility as priest, king and prophet

Lies and underhandedness / putting blame and suspicion on others

I have dominated, intimidated and manipulated

I have not obeyed Your Word

I have, through my behaviour, discouraged others from following and obeying You

Rebellion in all its forms in my life

Stubbornness

Pride, arrogance and argumentativeness

Falsely accusing others, discouraging them and caused bitterness in them (e.g. marriage, family members [children], employees, others)

Criticism, lies and breaking down of others

That I have allowed a desire for material wealth to influence me to land myself and others in problems, whilst ignoring the warnings of the Holy Spirit

Sexual immorality in all its forms

Manipulation through sex

I have transferred this spirit to my children and descendants

I have attempted to intimidate others with fear

I have followed tradition instead of revelation

I have followed law instead of the Holy Spirit

I have brought others into bondage (e.g. marriage, relationships, children, subordinates, etc.)

I have tried to control others through a religious mask knowledge, secretiveness, works, long and empty prayers, ‘unique’ experiences and super-spirituality

Anger outbursts and the confusion I have created as a result thereof

That I have stepped on people to get what I wanted. Father, I ask forgiveness for all these sins. I stand before You today on the grounds of Your mercy and the perfect work of the Cross of Jesus, as well as the reconciliation that He has worked for me, with You.

On these grounds, I want to ask You today that You will cleanse these hands of mine from all of these sins, even those sins I haven’t realized yet. Please cleanse my heart also, Father, in the precious name of Jesus.

I also stand before You and petition for every soul and the redemption of every other person whom I have ever polluted with my behaviour.

I humbly ask for forgiveness, for the fact that I have been a stumbling block for them, and I pray that You will remove this foul mantle I have worn up to now – and clothe me with new clothes, fragranced with Your love and acceptance. I ask forgiveness for the fact that I drank from the cup of Jezebel and that I have allowed the following to control me:

1. Occult spirits

2. Compromise (idolatry) through ignoring Your discipline and not having respect for You

3. Immorality and idolatry

4. Domination, intimidation and manipulation

5. False religion

I now ask You to free and redeem me from these 5 cords with which this spirit of Jezebel has controlled me for so long, in the almighty name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Thank You for complete redemption through the name and the blood of Jesus, through the sword of Your Word and the word of my testimony: “And they have overcome him by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony.” (Rev 12:11)

I also pray, Holy Spirit, that You will lead me on this new road and that You will help me in this process of renewing of the mind in all of these areas. I pray that You will take hold now of all the branching and infiltration and working of the Jezebel spirit in all parts of my body and soul, and pull it out of me until nothing remains.

Take these five cords and cut them one by one

1.  I now address you, Jezebel in the spiritual realm, and I declare that I recognize that cord of occultic powers between you and your seat in  …………………

I now take the Sword of the Spirit and I sever this cord of OCCULTIC POWERS in the Almighty name of Jesus Christ!

It is written in 2 Sam 22:32-37: “For Who is God but the Lord? And Who is a Rock except our God? God is my strong Fortress; He guides the blameless in His way and sets him free. He makes my feet like the hinds’; He sets me secure and confident upon the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; and Your condescension and gentleness have made me great. You have enlarged my steps under me, so that my feet have not slipped.”

2.  I now address you, Jezebel in the spiritual realm, and I declare that I recognize that cord of COMPROMISE between you and your seat in …….

I now take the Sword of the Spirit and I sever this cord of COMPROMISE in the Almighty name of Jesus!

It is written in Acts 24:14: “But this I confess to you, however, that in accordance with the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, still persuaded of the truth of and believing in and placing full confidence in everything laid down in the Law of Moses or written in the prophets.”

“And He replied to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37)

3.  I now address you, Jezebel in the spiritual realm, and I declare that I recognize that cord of IMMORALITY – IDOLATRY – between you and your seat in ……………

I now take the Sword of the Spirit and I sever this cord of immorality in the Almighty name of Jesus! It is written in:

Rev.19:7: “Let us rejoice and shout for joy! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honour, for the marriage of the Lamb at last has come, and His bride has prepared herself.”

4.  I now address you, Jezebel in the spiritual realm, and I declare that I recognize that cord of DOMINATION, INTIMIDATION and MANIPULATION between you and your seat in ………………

I now take the Sword of the Spirit and I sever this cord of domination, intimidation and manipulation, in the Almighty name of Jesus! It is written in:

John 10:2-5: “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The watchman opens the door for this man, and the sheep listen to his voice and heed it; and he calls his own sheep by name and brings them out. When he has brought his own sheep outside, he walks on before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him because they do not know the voice of strangers or recognize their call.”

5. I now address you, Jezebel in the spiritual realm, and I declare that I recognize that cord of FALSE RELIGION between you and your seat in …….I now take the Sword of the Spirit and I sever this cord of false religion in the Almighty name of Jesus! It is written in:

“God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

Father, in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son, I now declare:

A divorce with the spirit of Jezebel

A cancellation of all worship she ever received through me, my ancestors or descendants

Nullification of any and every covenant ever made with her

Renunciation of the Ahab spirit

In the authority of the mame of Jesus Christ, I now take this seat in myself and hand it over to the Kingdom of God.

Father, in Jesus name I ask that You will remove the following curses and results due to my ancestors’ and my own involvement with this Jezebel spirit’s activities:

1.   Curse of a bed of anguish and suffering

2.   Downheartedness

3.   Curse of the utmost judgement

4.   Curse of death (Rev.2:22,23)

5.   Curse of humiliation and nakedness

6.   Curse of slavery

7.   Curse of senility

8.   Curse of homosexuality and lesbianism

9.   Curse of cancer

10. Schizophrenia

11.  Curse of divorce

12.  Curse of female domination

13.  Curse of male domination

14.  Incest

15.  Blasphemy

16.  Curse of loss of children

17.  Loss of marriage partner

18.  Curse of disasters and evil

19.  Loneliness and desolation

20.  Curse of witchcraft

21.  Curse of persecution

I pray that You will change each one of these curses to blessings in my ancestor’s, my own, and my descendant’s lives, in the name of Jesus. In the name of Jesus Christ, I now bind and rebuke the spirit of Jezebel from my life.

I speak destruction over the altars where the spirit of Jezebel received worship in my life, and I erect an altar there for God. It is written:

“David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and Israel’s plague was stayed.” (2 Sam 22:25)

The stronghold in my life where Jezebel has lived is now destroyed and a throne for Christ Jesus erected there. In the name of Jesus Christ, I now speak withering and death over all fruits of manipulation through the spirit of witchcraft in my life.

I pray that You will remove all leaven that caused me to walk under the control of this spirit, from my habits of thinking, my will, emotions and body. Father, in Jesus precious name, I pray that the Spirit of Elijah will rise up within me to expose the spirit of Jezebel in the Body of Christ. I pray Father, that the hearts of the fathers will be turned towards the children according to Malachi 4:5,6.

I pray that the disobedient will be turned towards the wisdom of the righteous – that You will enable me to outwork Godly principles to handle problems in my life. I pray that more and more spiritual fathers and mothers will come forth out of our midst to show the way and to take Your children by the hand and to lead them on paths of righteousness.

I pray Father, that You will see to it that, through your spirit, I will be prepared as part of Your Bride without spot or wrinkle.

Thank you, Abba Father, for your great mercy and grace.

I seal this prayer now with the precious blood of Jesus Christ and thank you that you have heard me and that you free me!

Amen

Posted in Prayers for Release | 6 Comments