There is much talk these days about lost books of the Bible. From cults to the New Age, people make all sorts of claims about how the Bible is missing books, books that help justify what they hope to believe. Sometimes people claim that the Bible was edited to take out reincarnation, or the teaching of higher planes of existence, or different gods, or ancestor worship, or "at-one-ment" with nature.
The "lost books" were never lost. They were known by the Jews in Old Testament times and the Christians of the New Testament times and were never considered scripture. They weren't lost nor were they removed. They were never in the Bible in the first place.
The additional books were not included in the Bible for several reasons. They lacked apostolic or prophetic authorship, they did not claim to be the Word of God; they contain unbiblical concepts such as prayer for the dead in 2 Macc. 12:45-46; or have some serious historical inaccuracies.
Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic church has added certain books to the canon of scripture. In 1546, largely due in response to the Reformation, the Roman Catholic church authorized several more books as scripture known as the apocrypha. The word apocrypha means hidden. It is used in a general sense to describe a list of books written by Jews between 300 and 100 B.C. More specifically, it is used of the 7 additional books accepted by the Catholic church as being inspired. The entire list of books of the apocrypha are: 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, the Rest of Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, (also titled Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, The Letter of Jeremiah, Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, The Additions to Daniel, The Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 and 2 Maccabees. The books accepted as inspired and included in the Catholic Bible are Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees Wisdom of Solomon Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch
The Pseudepigraphal books are "false writings." They are a collection of early Jewish and "Christian" writings composed between 200 BC and AD 200. However, they too were known and were never considered scripture.
The deuterocanonical (apocrypha) books are those books that were included in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) but not included in the Hebrew Bible. The recognized deuterocanonical books are "Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (also called Sirach or Ben Sira), Baruch (including the Letter of Jeremiah), 1 and 2 Maccabees, and additions to the books of Esther and Daniel. The canon of the Greek Orthodox community also includes 1 Esdras, the Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, and 3 Maccabees, with 4 Maccabees as an appendix."1
1. Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper’s Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.) 1985.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Now contrary to what some teach, Job’s problem wasn’t a lack of faith. It was a lack of knowledge. Job was righteous. Job was God-fearing. Job was a good father. Job was like us; he didn’t really understand God’s ways or the sovereignty. In the end God had to show Job how little he really understood about theology.
40:1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,
2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God let him answer it.
3 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
5 Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
6 Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
9 Hast thou an arm like God? Or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
It amazes me when I hear preachers talk about how they just quote the right verse and God HAS to move. God doesn’t have to DO anything but be God. What God does require of us is a relationship. God is not an ATM machine. He is an intelligent and passionate being that wants to know us and wants us to know Him.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt. 7)
5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. (Job 42)
6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
6 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
Even though Job was a good man, he really didn’t know God on an intimate level. The bottom line in our walk with God is not prosperity or how much God can give us, but it is do we know Him? Job realized this after his ordeal; he acknowledged this by saying, “now mine eye seeth thee.” If you notice God did not give Job an explanation about his ordeal, but Job came to a realization. The realization was I know God now.
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things, which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
13 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul explained it best in Philippians; Paul believed that the knowledge of Christ and a relationship with Him is so vital that everything else is simply dung. God considered Job because Job was a good man that needed to know God better.
A Man after the Heart of God
4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27)
David in my opinion was the most God centered man in scripture. David was not perfect mind you, in fact he sinned greatly. But David had a relationship with God at a young age. David faced adversity at a younger age than most individuals. I believe that those closest to God will face the most adversity. Show me an individual serving the Lord and I’ll show you a target for the devil. But remember Job! Every challenge isn’t always just devil generated, some are God allowed. David like Job was up to the challenge of facing the onslaught of Satan because of his hunger for God. David didn’t do everything right, but he did love God like no one else.
When David faced Goliath he boldly proclaimed, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that challenges the Army of God.” David focused on his relationship with God by acknowledging that Goliath did not know God. When will we get it through our thick religious heads, that our relationship with God is the most precious thing we have? It tears my heart apart when I hear these preachers of prosperity treat God like He is some cosmic ATM machine. Yes God blesses us materially…but! The real blessing is in knowing Him. Do you recall when the 12 disciples ran to Jesus all excited because they could cast out demons in His name? Jesus reply to them was, (paraphrased) don’t get excited because demons are subject to you in my name, rejoice because your name is in the Lamb’s book of life. I am sad to see so many Christians that their happiness is based on material blessings. In reality the spirit realm we are awaiting is more “real” than the here and now because the here and now is going to fade away. Only what we do for Christ will last. Paul said he wanted to know Christ in the fellowship of His suffering. Let’s examine Christ suffering:
26:1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,
2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him.
If you preach the truth of Jesus Christ you will face persecution. No one will persecute you for preaching a prosperity gospel, which tickles the hearer’s ears. Preach repentance and salvation by grace through faith and watch the devil attack. I personally am not a very popular preacher. Why? I primarily preach repentance and salvation messages. When I preach to a saved crowd I try to preach what the Lord gives me for them. Sometimes it can cause me angst but like Paul said “woe unto me If I preach not the gospel.” I have been criticized for preaching against homosexuality in the church, pre-marital sex, and the traditions of men in the church. I have been called "too hard”. Please read some of Paul’s sermons! I’m a cream puff compared to him. Paul was so adamant about the truth being preached he publicly rebuked Peter for straying away from the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. Truth has to be more important than our feelings. Paul never apologized to Peter either.
11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision.
13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
15 we who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Salvation by grace is one the enemies’ main doctrine he attacks. Why? It infuriates Satan that man; a creature of dust can receive not only redemption but also an inheritance from the Lord. We don’t deserve eternal life in glory, but because of GRACE! Oh I love the sound of that word…GRACE! It almost brings tears to my eyes when I hear it because I know how wretched I am. I know how capable I am to commit some of the most evil of sins, yet God extended to me His grace. The enemy for preaching the gospel will attack you. But don’t be afraid; be encouraged in the Word of God:
17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. (Isa. 54)
18 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun? When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (Isa. 59)
29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
31 For who is God save the LORD? Or who is a rock save our God?
32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
Because we are emissaries for the Lord, He will protect us from the enemies’ onslaught. The righteous WILL be attacked! The Word tells us many are the afflictions of the righteous, BUT the Lord will deliver us from them all. We may not want to deal with the issue, but suffering is very real scenario for the people of God. Something many Christians fail to remember is that the rain falls on the just and the unjust.
Hab 1:1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
3 Why dost thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? For spoiling and violence are before me: and there are those raise up strife and contention.
13:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? Forever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2 how long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
The testimony of David and Habakkuk both prove that godly men are not exempt from stressful moments. God’s answer to Habakkuk was simple; “The just shall live by their faith.” Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is what sustains us, just as His relationship with His Father kept Him through His trials. The spirit of the martyrs is long gone in our society. We want prosperity and power, but no cross. We must be willing to bear our cross daily.
If the disciples had the attitude of today’s believers the Gospel of Jesus Christ would have never been spread. Peter was crucified upside down for the Gospel sake. John was boiled in oil and banished to the Isle of Patmos. James was beheaded and Stephen stoned to death. Horses dragged Mark till he died. Nero beheaded Paul. What is my point? These men were all devoted and sold out for the cause of Christ and they paid the price for it…their lives. Can we do any less?
10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
10 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (Jas. 5)
22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14)
People with a heart after God cannot avoid trouble because they have become public enemy number ones for the enemy. Look at David again; he received an anointing from God, and WHAM! Here comes a Goliath. Anointed people will always have to face the enemy. We aren’t anointed to sit still; we are anointed for battle. David had a relationship with the Lord at an early age. I believe we are sadly mistaken if we think God fills us with the Holy Ghost just so we can go to church and brag about being “spirit-filled”. We are filled to fight! The church has established a “Members Only Club”; we asked each other questions like “are you Spirit-filled?” “Do you speak in tongues?” or “Are you Full-Gospel?” And if you don’t answer the question right you are not really saved or you are lacking spiritually. The reason we are Spirit-filled is for SERVICE! (Acts 1:8) In the Old Testament when the Lord anointed someone it was time to get busy! Gideon was anointed to go to war, Samson was anointed to kill Philistines, and we are anointed to win souls and cast out devils in Jesus name. The power of the Holy Ghost is for all that call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
14 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13)
19 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Eph. 5)
9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
10 And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. (Acts 13)
15 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. (Luke 1)
John the Baptizer had to be Spirit-filled before Pentecost ever happened because he was called to proclaim Christ and repentance, two things you need the Holy Spirit to assist you in doing.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (John 15)
If you call yourself “Spirit-filled” and you don’t obey God’s Word and witness to the lost, you are fooling yourself. I don’t care if you speak in tongues and dance in church every Sunday. Anointed people are often misunderstood, even hated.
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
So often I hear Christian’s say they want to be like Paul, Peter, or some other early church father. Could we really bear what they bore? Could we sacrifice as much as they did? I’ll give you two examples of modern day saints that had to endure hardness like good soldiers. While stationed in Turkey during Desert Storm I had the blessed pleasure of leading 2 Turkish Moslems to Christ. I was excited and on fire about this experience, until I found out what happens to Christian converts in Islamic countries. Usually they lose their jobs, their family, and in some instances their very lives. People had to be baptized in bathtubs for fear of their faith being discovered. To this day I wonder and worry about my two brothers in Turkey. You see how trivial the message of prosperity sounds in light of people who count it a blessing just to live another day in the faith.
Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min
First of all let me say that nothing in life happens by accident. There are no big bang theories at work in our lives. The Lord is an intelligent being that not only has a plan for mankind but plans for each individual. We are God’s creation and we are not cosmic accidents that go through life depending on luck and chance. God touches every aspect of our life. He is a God of reconciliation. The Lord’s number one concern is moving us into a loving relationship with Him. God is not some aloof character in the heavens. God is our father that wants certain things from us: 1. Our worship 2. Our love 3. A relationship with Him. I believe our every step is ordered by the Lord. He even takes our mistakes and uses them to our advantage. He chastens us when we need it and he leads even when we don't realize it.
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. (Psalm 37)
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. (Psalm 139)
11 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
13 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. (Psalm 27)
The Lord is definitely interested in our activities. He wants to lead and guide us in His ways. Some of us grew up in horrible environments, some with a silver spoon. It is the Lord that determines the final outcome. His brothers abused Joseph. Falsely accused and imprisoned. Yet in the final analysis God said the brother did it for evil, but God allowed it for a greater good. Joseph was the reason his family (Israel) was able to survive a famine.
We often question God’s goodness when suffering or trial takes place but we must understand something I call “The Greater Good”. Often blessings come as a result of someone else’s sacrifice. In Hebrews 11 the “Hall of Faith” list those that endured plenty of hardship for Israel and the future church age.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
16 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. (Heb.11)
Notice the fact that Abraham was tried. Abraham was handpicked by God to be the Father of a Nation. With any movement or action someone must be the forerunner or leader. It is 1999 and African-Americans take for granted that they could vote, go to any college, and ride on the front of the bus. The truth of the matter is many Black men and women died and suffered so we could have these rights. Just praying that everything would change was not enough, there had to be some action as well. Remember faith should cause works to be birthed in each of us. Name it and claim it is not really scripturally accurate. God is not a cosmic ATM machine. He is a being with feelings and concerns for our lives and well being. He wants us to communicate our thoughts and feelings to Him not just quote some verses
And demand His attention.
19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.
20 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. (Lev.26)
Notice how it says God will break the pride of their power. Sometimes we are full of selfish motivation and our own self will. God will intervene in our lives to turn us in the right direction. This often comes in the form of chastening. The bottom line is this if your walk is contrary to your talk you will get some hands on discipline from God.
16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. (Job 33)
Our purpose must be hid in His; we are the sheep of His pasture. We have to seek His will for our lives. The Lord will unfold His will as we open our hearts to Him and renew our minds in His Word. God even operates through the lives of non-believers. I call this divine providence or in some cases divine intervention. I’ll give you an example. I was activated for Operation Desert Storm 1 month after the bombing of Baghdad. I was sent to Loring AFB, Me. I stayed there for about 30 days. I was supposed to stay there 6 months. Through some treachery by my superiors my assignment got changed and I was sent to the border of Syria in Turkey. I was angry and upset because I felt like the enemy won. Why did I have to be away from my new wife for 4 ½ months? I’ll tell you why, there were 2 Moslems the Lord wanted me to lead to Him. God has plans for our lives. He allowed a lie to be told in order for my assignment to be changed. The souls of those two Turks were more important than my being home in New Jersey.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?(Romans 8)
Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Jesus' male ancestors trace a line from Shem. However, ethnically and racially, they were mixed Semitic and Hamitic from the times spent in captivity in Egypt and Babylon.
Rahab and probably Tamar were Canaanites. Although Canaanites spoke a Semitic language, they were descendants of Ham through his son Canaan. Bethsheba, who had been the wife of Uriah the Hittite, probably was a Hamitic Hittite herself.
In the United States today the general view on whether someone is "black" is the One-Drop Rule -- if a person has any black ancestors s/he is considered "black", even with a clearly Anglo skin color, e.g., Mariah Carry, Vanessa L. Williams, LaToya Jackson. (cf., for example, The Politics of Egyptology and the History Kemet (Egypt)) We have already established that Jesus had black blood, I am not writing this book to promote Blackness but to promote truth. We have been forced for centuries to believe that not only is Jesus white, but everyone in the Bible except a couple of exceptions. Why am I making a big deal about this, because the story we have been given is a lie. When Black people were slaves we were told God was WHITE, His Son was WHITE and everyone in the Bible was WHITE! This caused severe inferiority in the Black race, and it also supported the myth of white superiority. I firmly believe the most important thing about Jesus is that He died for our sins and that He is the Son of God, that He is 100% man and 100% God, but promoting a false image of Jesus is just as bad as when Muslims deny His deity, if we give a false impression of His humanity that is wrong also.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Pre-incarnation Appearances of Christ
“The Angel of the Lord”
Jesus appeared to men in the Old Testament on several different occasions. He appeared to Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar and he was called The Angel of the Lord.
- He could speak (Gen. 16:7,8)
- He could be seen (Gen. 16:13)
- He could eat (Gen. 18:1,8)
- He could see (Gen. 18:16)
- He was limited in time (Gen. 32:26)
- He made promises only God could fulfill (Gen. 16:8)
- He kept men from evil (Gen. 48:16)
- He was worshipped (Exodus 3:1-5) *note regular angels are not to be worshipped!
- The Angel of the Lord is not the Father, but the Father sent him.
- He declared Himself to be God (Gen.31: 11-13) Jacob also called him God, by declaring the place he met the Angel of The Lord “Peniel”, The place I saw God.
- 13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
- 14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank. (Gen.32)
- He appeared to Joshua as “The Captain of the Lords Army”, He commanded Joshua to take off His shoes and worship Him. (Remember Moses and the burning bush)
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.(Joshua 5)
Something we must realize about God, he appeared in many different forms: Moses saw Him as a burning bush / Joshua as a mighty warrior / Isaiah saw Him high and lifted up with a train of glory that filled the temple / Ezekiel saw Him as a wheel in the middle of a wheel. Why am I saying this? We have a tendency to put God in a box called “perception”. God can and has appeared in many different ways, why? I really believe God is unique to the individual, my experience with God might be different than yours. The 3 Hebrew boys were in the fiery furnace with a being that the King said, “He looks like the Son of God!”. Even though the Lord Jesus put on flesh by being born through the Virgin Mary, I believe that there has always been a Father/Son relationship in the throneroom of heaven (I John 5:7 KJV/NKJV/Amp.) Hebrews 13:8 also indicates this fact as well, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
Romans 8:3 tells us, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” It says God sent HIS SON! I believe The Word (Jesus) always had a father and son relationship, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh. The triunity of God has always existed.
The fact that Jesus is called the Only Begotten Son, is a major stumbling block for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is their excuse to believe Jesus is a created being. This term does not speak of His origin, but his unique position as the Son of God. Jesus didn’t materialize for the first time in a manger. He always existed (John 1:1). Jesus on many occasions while speaking to his disciples would speak of His pre-existence. He told them He prepared a place for them, a place He had been before. He spoke of His Kingdom and the relationship he had with the Father. His title “First Born” speaks of His pre-eminence and the fact that all things were created by Him.
(Romans 8:29; Col. 1:15; John 1:3; and Phil.2: 6)
14 Augustus died on August 19. On September 17, the Senate in Rome decreed that Augustus Caesar was one of the gods, and it named Tiberius emperor. (If Luke 3.1 dates “the reign of Tiberius Caesar” from this year, his fifteenth year was 28/29 A.D.)
30, 33? Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
39/40 Philo of Alexandria (15/10 BC - 45/50) led an embassy of Jews from Alexandria to the emperor Caligula (37-41) in Rome. The Jews of Alexandria were then the subject of a Roman pogrom, which Philo and his companions hoped to end. Caligula, however, cut Philo off as he spoke. Philo later told his fellow ambassadors that God would punish Caligula, who was soon assasinated.
Philo was a theologian who sought to harmonize Jewish theology with Greek (largely Platonic) philosophy. Many ideas found in later Christian theology are present in Philo, though sometimes in a form unacceptable to the Church. Philo taught that Greek philosophy had been plagiarized from Moses. He believed that the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint, dating from the third century BC) was divinely inspired. Philo referred to the Logos (the residence of the Platonic Ideas) as the first-begotten Son of God - though, in his view, the Logos was definitely below God, distinct from the Godhead. He interpreted the theophanies of the Old Testament as appearances of the Logos (as for the Fathers they were Christophanies). He stressed the allegorical interpretation of scripture, though this must be balanced. With the later Eastern mystical theologians, Philo discussed the incomprehensibility of God in essence, and how knowledge of God can be attained in an ecstatic state.
In some ways, Philo was more akin to the Gnostics and Manichaeans. For instance, like Plato, Philo viewed the body as the prison for the soul. This reveals a distinctly non-Christian view of matter.
41 Jerusalem expanded. New city walls were built, bringing the site of Jesus’ crucifixion within the city.
42James, the brother of John, was beheaded (Acts 12.2).
43 The emperor Claudius (41-54) conquered Britain.
Barnabas brought Saul to Antioch (Acts 11.25-26).
44 Death of Herod Agrippa I, King of Judea and Samaria (Acts 12.23).
45 The church in Antioch sent famine relief to the Christians of Judea by the hands of Saul and Barnabas (Acts 11.29).
47-49 First missionary journey of Saul and Barnabas (Acts 13-14).
49 According to the Roman historian Suetonius (70-122) in his The Twelve Caesars, Claudius “expelled the Jews from Rome since they rioted constantly at the instigation of Chrestus.”
49/50 The council of Jerusalem was held (Acts 15). As a result, Gentiles were not required to be circumcised.
Death of Helena, queen mother of the kingdom of Adiabene, a Jewish state in northern Mesopotamia. Adiabene was frequently allied with Persia in wars against Rome.
The emperor Claudius promoted the cult of the Great Mother (Magna Mater) of the Gods and her consort Attis. The two had been introduced into the Roman pantheon around 200 B.C.
50 Paul’s second missionary journey began, with Silas (Acts 15.40). Paul and Silas visited Philippi (Acts 16.11-40), meeting Lydia, the seller of purple, and being rescued from prison, with the consequent conversion of the Philippian jailor (Acts 16.33); Thessalonica, where there was a riot on their behalf (Acts 17.5); Boroea, where the Jews willingly examined the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah (Acts 17.11); Athens, where Paul preached in the Areopagus (Acts 17.22-31); Corinth, where he met Aquila and Priscilla, refugees because of Claudius’ expulsion of the Jews from Rome (Acts 18.2); and Ephesus, Caesarea, and Jerusalem before returning to Antioch (Acts 18.22).
51 Paul wrote the epistles to the Thessalonians, from Corinth.
53 Paul’s epistle to the Galatians written from Antioch (?). Beginning of the third missionary journey. Paul in Ephesus, 53-55/56. (Acts 19)
55 Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, from Ephesus.
55/56 Paul departed Ephesus (Acts 20.1), visiting Macedonia and Corinth. 2Corinthians written from Macedonia.
57 Paul wrote Romans from Corinth. Departed Greece (Acts 20.3), and after passing through Troas (Acts 20.7-12), and preaching to the presbyters of the church in Ephesus (Acts 20.18-35), came to Jerusalem (Acts 21.17), ending the third missionary journey.
57-59 Paul imprisoned in Caesarea (Acts 23.33-26.32), under Felix and Festus.
60 Paul arrived at Rome (Acts 28.16).
61/62 Paul wrote the epistles entitled Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians and Philippians.
62 According to tradition, James the Just, bishop of Jerusalem, was killed in the temple by an angry mob, apparently struck in the head with a sledgehammer.
Tradition has it Bartholomew was martyred in Kalyana, a city state on the west coast of India, near modern-day Bombay. Bartholomew was skinned alive and crucified.
Paul tried and acquitted in Rome.
63-66 Paul traveled to Macedonia, Asia Minor, Crete, and possibly Spain. 1 Timothy and Titus written.
641st Persecution of Christians, under Nero. When Rome burned for six days, Nero (54-68) blamed the Christians. In 62, Nero had married Poppea Sabina, a proselyte to Judaism. Of Nero’s persecution, Tacitus wrote, “First Nero had self-acknowledged Christians arrested. Then, on their information, large numbers of others were condemned. ...Their deaths were made farcical. Dressed in wild animal’s skins, they were torn to pieces by dogs, or crucified, or made into torches to be ignited after dark as substitutes for daylight.” Suetonius was more succinct: “Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief.”
A third century legend has it that Simon Magus (Acts 8.9-24) and St. Peter had confrontations in Rome. Simon, wishing to gain an advantage over Peter and to impress Claudius with his ability to fly, fell to his death from the top of the Roman Forum.
64 The church in Alexandria founded by St. Mark, the disciple of Peter.
64 Herod’s temple in Jerusalem completed. See 20 BC and 66.
66Jewish rebellion began and war between the Romans and Jews ensued. Jerusalem was taken in 70 and destroyed, as was Herod’s temple. Later, in the second century, Justin Martyr would teach that this destruction was the judgment of God upon a nation that had rejected its Messiah and failed to discern that, under the new dispensation, the temple sacrifices were abrogated.
67 Some date the book of Revelation to this year. Most place it toward the end of Diocletian’s reign (81-96).
Paul’s second trial in Rome. 2 Timothy written.
66 First known public reference to Mithraism in Rome. King Tiridates of Armenia visited Nero in Rome. To Nero he said, “I have come to thee, my god, to worship thee as I do Mithras.”
67/68 St. Paul martyred on the road from Rome to Ostia. Beheaded by the sword. About this same time St. Peter also martyred, crucified upside down.
69 According to tradition, St. Andrew was crucified in Patrae, on the Peloponnesus peninsula.
69Ignatius became bishop of Antioch in Syria.
69Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, was born. He died in around 157. Irenaeus stated that Polycarp had known St. John at Ephesus. Polycarp was martyred and was noted for doing nothing to provoke the authorities, but waiting quietly for them to come arrest him. Irenaeus wrote, “Polycarp also was not only instructed by the Apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also by Apostles in Asia, ordained Bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, having always taught the things which he had learned from the Apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true.”
70 Near this date, R. Jochanan ben Zaccai founded a rabbinical school in Jamnia (Palestine).
Matthew and Mark’s gospels were probably written shortly after this year. Luke’s gospel may have been composed as late as 80.
72 Tradition has it Thomas was stabbed to death by Brahman priests in Mylapore, India.
79 According to tradition, Jude and Simon were torn apart by a Persian mob after this date. Simon had joined forces with Jude after a trip to Britain. Jude had been in Armenia.
80 The Coliseum at Rome opened.
90 The Jewish Synod of Jamnia established the Hebrew canon, the modern Protestant Old Testament. Esther, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, and Ezekiel were nearly left out of the canon, while Sirach was a strong but unsuccessful contender for inclusion. Rabbis at Jamnia also articulated the theory that every letter in the Hebrew has a meaning. It is thought by many that, as a natural consequence of this view of scripture, a standard text was chosen around this time and non-standard readings were suppressed.
The language of the early church was Greek, and the version of the Old Testament in use among both Christians and Jews of the diaspora was the Septuagint. The Septuagint contains books (sometimes termed “the Apocrypha”) not included in the Jamnian canon. As the Septuagint’s prophecies of the Messiah frequently were used polemically by Christians, the translation fell out of favor among the Jews. In time, non-Palestinian Jews accepted the decisions of Jamnia. New translations of the Old Testament scriptures were made based on the Jamnian standard text.
90 According to tradition, Philip was crucified upside down (like Peter) in Hierapolis, Asia Minor. (Some say that Philip the apostle and Philip the evangelist were two distinct individuals, and it was Philip the evangelist who was buried at Hierapolis.)
90 According to Hippolytus, Matthew died a natural death, in Hierees, Persia.
92Clement elected bishop of Rome. Served through 100. He wrote a letter to the Corinthian congregation which had deposed its old clergy and replaced them with new men. He asked that they retain the former clergy on the grounds that these stood in due succession from the apostles. “The Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that contentions would arise about the office of the Episcopate; and for this reason, being endued with perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those already mentioned, and handed down a succession, so that when they should depart, other approved men should succeed to their ministry.” (~97.)
In 2 Clement, which may be a second century document, it is written, “Brethren, we ought so to think of Jesus Christ as of God ... for if we think meanly of him, we shall hope only to receive some small things from him.”
93 2nd Persecution of Christians, under Domitian (81-96). The apostle John banished to Patmos.
Flavius Josephus (37/38-100) published his Antiquities of the Jews. Book 18 refers to Jesus Christ. Scholars believe the statement was tampered with by Christians at a later date, because it refers to Christ as divine. Josephus had been a leader of troops against the Romans in Galilee during the war (66-70). When captured, he predicted that Vespasian would become emperor, a move that saved his life. Josephus wrote a history of the war, and, because of the favoritism he received from the Roman emperors, was detested by his fellow Jews as a traitor.
100 Around this time St. John died at Patmos. (Eusebius, Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria agree that John lived into the reign of Trajan, which began in 98.) The Didache, written in this era, indicates worship was on Sunday: “Assemble on the Lord’s day, and break bread and offer the eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one.” Note also the implication that the communion was regarded as a sacrifice.
100? Around this time the heretic Cerinthus flourished. He taught that the world was made, not by God himself, but by a lower being. He also claimed that Jesus was simply the natural son of Joseph and Mary, and that a separate supernatural being, the Christ, came upon Jesus at his baptism and departed at his crucifixion. According to the third century bishop Dionysius of Alexandria, “the doctrine he taught was this: that the kingdom of Christ will be an earthly one.” Cerinthus “was himself devoted to the pleasures of the body and altogether sensual in his nature.” In Dionysius’ day, some claimed that Cerinthus wrote the book of Revelation.
Touch Not My Anointed!
Touch Not My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.’” (Ps 105:15)
Whom Do They Think They Are Kidding? (below)
Benny Hinn once stated,
'You cannot win attacking the servants of the Lord, no matter who they are or what they've done ...if the anointing ever comes upon a man, don't touch that man, even if he turns away from God, and serves the devil, Don't touch him. You are in deep, serious danger.”
One is quite likely to come across different versions of this statement) apart from the obvious flaws in this particular one) So what does the Bible mean when it says not to touch God’s anointed and do His prophets no harm?
Who are the Lord’s Anointed?
There are several verses in The Old Testament that speak about the 'Lord's anointed'.
1) In 1 Sam. 12:3,5; 24:6,10; 26:9,11, 16,23; and 2 Sam. 1:14,16; 19:21 it is a reference to the kings of Israel.
2) In Psalm 20:6; the ‘anointed’ king is the divinely appointed means of the Lord’s deliverance.
3) In Lamentations 4:20 it either refers to the nation of Israel as a whole or the king at the time of the Babylonian invasion.
The mention of prophets in Psalm 105:8-15 and 1Chron. 16:15-22 is a reference to the patriarchs. They are called ‘anointed’ in the sense of being set apart by God’s Spirit, a phrase elsewhere used specifically for prophets (I Kings 19:16), priests (Ex 29:7), and kings (1Samuel 2:35).
(The patriarchs are called ‘prophets’ in the sense of being recipients of God’s special revelation, which was a title later used for those who proclaimed God’s revealed will, although some of the patriarchs did make specific predictions).
So the ‘anointed’ were the patriarchs, the prophets, the kings andr the priests
What does the Bible mean by “do not touch”
Again it is well to clearly define what God means when He says “Do not touch….”. Does touch mean physical injury or verbal opposition?
When God told Saul (His anointed) to “Smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not...” (1 Sam. 15:3) Saul disobeyed and “spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord...” (v.15). Upon which Samuel wasted no time in publicly denouncing Saul’s disobedience, telling him that “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft”. (v.23), and that God had rejected him as king. The Lord’s ‘anointed’ was verbally condemned by Samuel for his disobedience.
David who was anointed before God took away Saul’s position refused to touch Saul physically. When David and two other men sneaked into Saul’s camp at night one of the two men asked to strike Saul with a spear as he felt God had delivered Saul into David’s hand. But David refused and said, “Who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” (I Sam 26: 3-11). In verse 15-16 David even rebukes Abner for not guarding Saul and says he deserved to die for not protecting his master.
However this does not stop David from rebuking Saul for pursuing him since he was innocent and had done nothing to harm Saul. Saul then repented of his actions and called himself a fool. He added he would not harm David any more since his (Saul’s) life was precious in David’s eyes. David returned Saul’s possessions and said, “For the Lord delivered you into my hand but I would not stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed.” (v. 17-24).
The story of Saul ends with David kept from the Battle that Saul and Jonathan lost their lives in, instead he fought the Amalakites. An Amalakite messenger came back with torn clothes and dust on his head showing he was in mourning, David inquired of him and he told David he killed Saul. “So David said to him, “How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the LORD's anointed?” Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go near, and execute him!” And he struck him so that he died. So David said to him, “Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, 'I have killed the LORD's anointed.’”(2 Sam 1:13-16).
The Bible makes it clear... to touch the anointed means to bring physical harm and/or death.
“Saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance,’ When they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it. When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, “He permitted no one to do them wrong; yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, Saying, ‘Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.’” (Ps 105:11-15)
Again we are told that God protected His anointed (Israel) and His prophets from the enemies of Israel who would have done them bodily harm.
Are there any ‘anointed’ persons today?
“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 1:20-22).
“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (I Jn. 2:27).
These verses are unambiguous ...The entire body of Christ is ‘anointed’, not just certain people in the body, and all Christians have the same anointing… the same Holy Spirit.
Too many evangelists to day use Bible threats such as “don’t touch God’s anointed” or “You are blaspheming the Holy Spirit” in an effort to silence critics who expose their false gospels and un-Scriptural teachings. They claim the critics are speaking against a ‘Man of God’. This bears a striking resemblance to the situation in 1 Samuel where Saul, whose position was threatened, pursued the man who was innocent. Moreover when David became king he accepted rebuke and correction from Nathan the prophet. He did not say, “don’t touch God’s anointed” to protect himself.
Incidentally ‘blaspheming the Holy Spirit’, if read in context, referred to those that insinuated that Jesus’ miracles were performed by Satan. It has nothing to do with questioning another man’s doctrine, claims of healing etc.
When someone says they are “anointed” or “led by the Spirit” but consistently teach contrary to the Word in its accurate context, you can be assured that they’re not being led by God’s Spirit nor is the truth in them.
Furthermore if you are really anointed you don’t have to make threats since it is God who protects His anointed, “Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:6-7).
Interestingly Paul, who was questioned, never once hid behind “Touch not God’s anointed” or “do my prophets no harm”. On the contrary he applauded the Bereans and called them “noble” for checking Scripture to see if what they were being taught was truthful. If someone is truly anointed, they would want to encourage people to discern what is true and what is not. They would encourage people to pursue the truth no matter what.
Sadly there seem to be few Bereans in our church today. People are quite willing to tell others not to touch the so-called anointed but never spend the time to open their Bibles and see if there is any validity to the claims of critics. It is so easy in this day and time for the purveyors of false doctrines to quote a verse of Scripture and have their listeners swallow it hook, line and sinker, little realizing that the verse is way out of context and their interpretation of it is far removed from it’s original meaning.
But to find out what is true or false they must look into the matter and hear both sides and test both arguments by Scripture before they make a final judgment. “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (Proverbs 18:15).
Many so called leaders will tell you to not bother with doctrine since all the ‘proof’ you need is in your experience, yet the Bible states “Whosoever transgresses and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, HATH NOT GOD. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9). Emphasis added.
Another common protest thrown at those who take a stand for the truth is that we are not supposed to judge. However there are innumerable verses in the Bible dealing with false teachings and refuting the errors. [See Section Judge Not?] Hebrews 5:14 tells us that mature believers, those who are of “full age,” are those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern (judge) both good and evil.” In 2 Timothy 2:17 Paul not only warns of the heresies of two men, he also names them. Jesus Himself said: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9). “That you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3).
“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 17:150
WHOM DO THEY THINK THEY ARE KIDDING?
There is a international anthem among an elite class of Charismatic celebrities today. It’s a stern warning repeatedly directed at their critics with a residual effect upon their devotees. It’s the frequent and methodical strategy that they recite against anyone who opposes their unscriptural doctrine and practice. It’s a charge of “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” and “touch not the Lord’s anointed.” The threats are sometimes delivered with trance-like (with a deep voice) intonations of various sicknesses, pox and plagues that will befall all the children of the detractors, “pharisees” and “heretic hunters.”
These indictments, however, are a flagrant misuse of Scripture and a tactic to ward off substantiated biblical criticisms of their Scripture twistings and lack of integrity. It is a diversion to hold the scripturally illiterate at bay and keep their faithful from questioning their most outlandish conduct and off-the-wall teachings. It is, in no uncertain terms, a form of blatant manipulation and spiritual terrorism. And the intensity of their assaults only heightens when they see their dishonesty and deceitfulness about to be exposed. Spiritual dictators always resort to pummeling and manipulation.
But just who is blaspheming whom? And who is really touching God’s anointed?
As has been carefully exegeted and shown in a previous PFO article: “the ‘anointed’ are the whole people of God! ... It is wrong to suggest that only a few select leaders are the anointed of God.” (See further, “Touch Not the Lord’s Anointed — Divine Command or Cop-out?”, The Quarterly Journal, Vol. 13, No. 3, pg. 4.)
Additionally, it should be noted, the Scriptures never give to any Christian unquestionable authority. No leader, in the Old or New Testaments or even today, is endowed with such an exclusive calling as to not be examined in their faith and practice or even chastised when found derelict. The command of “touching not the Lord’s anointed” is clearly an injunction against soliciting or initiating physical harm against God’s people. Context bears this out.
Consider, for example, the very persons — David and Saul — who are the chief participants involved in this “touch not” command (1 Samuel 24:6, 26:9). Both of these men, while kings, suffered rebuke in their lives. Saul by the reproof of both David (1 Samuel 24:10-15) and Samuel (1 Samuel 13:13-14), and David himself by the powerful admonition of Nathan the prophet (2 Samuel 12:7-12).
In the New Testament, we find Apollos (“a learned man with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures”) being corrected and instructed by Priscilla and Aquila in Acts 18:26 and the Apostle Peter being confronted “to his face” by Paul in Galatians 2:11-21. These men did not act in defiance to these rebukes, but accepted them. They did not set themselves upon a pedestal of distinction so as not to be challenged or questioned. They did not curse those who corrected them or wish harm on their children. The clear injunction of the New Testament for leaders and teachers was demonstrably at work here: James 3:1 — a more strict judgment, not a circumventing of scriptural accountability as well as Galatians 6:1.
More alarming, however, is the fact that these self-appointed spiritual aristocrats and demagogues are guilty of violating the very command of God which they flagrantly accuse others of doing. In the course of many years of evaluation and criticism, PFO and the ministries with which it closely aligns, have never stooped to name-calling or inviting disease and devastation to come upon those against whom we disagree. Yet, consider just a brief sampling of what has proceeded out the “anointed” mouths of some of the more prominent superstars:
“I place a curse on every man and every woman that would stretch his hand against this anointing. I curse that man who dares to speak a word against this ministry” (Benny Hinn at his July 1999 Denver Miracle Crusade as shown on the Praise the Lord show, Sept. 10, 1999).
“I have been disturbed by a bunch of, oh I’m just going to say it, a bunch of crap. ... Go ahead and tape it, put it on your slime-ball radio broadcast. You’ll have to pray it through Pastor Phil, but this old German, I’d say sue the bastards” (Paul Crouch on the Praise the Lord show, October 1994, cited in Christian Sentinel, Spring 1995, pg. 9).
“[Our detractors] continue to oppose Jesus Himself. ... Soon the Lord may say, ... ‘I rebuke you for speaking falsely in My name. Repent while there is still time. My kindness toward you is running thin.’ Are you willing to wager your salvation on the fact that you are correct?” (Michael Brown in Let No One Deceive You, pp. 19-20).
“Be careful! Your little ones may suffer because of your stupidity. Now I’m pointing my finger today, with the mighty power of God on me, and I speak. ... And your children will suffer. If you care for your kids, stop attacking Benny Hinn” (Benny Hinn at the World Charismatic Conference, Aug. 7, 1992).
“Several people that I know had criticized and called that faith bunch out of Tulsa a cult. And some of ’em are dead right today in an early grave because of it, and there’s more than one of them got cancer” (Kenneth Copeland, “Why All Are Not Healed,” tape #01-4001).
“I refuse to argue any longer with any of you out there. Don’t even call me if you want to argue doctrine, if you want to straighten somebody out over here. ... I think they [i.e., those he labels ‘heretic hunters’] are damned and on their way to hell and I don’t think there is any redemption for them. I say, ‘To hell with you.’ I say, ‘Get out of God’s way, quit blocking God’s bridges or God is going to shoot you if I don’t’” (Paul Crouch on TBN’s “Praise-A-Thon,” April 2, 1991).
The type of judgment issued by these men is that which our Lord was truly addressing in Matthew 7:1. Never in any of its criticisms, has PFO been so bold to pass judgment on the salvation of these teachers, nor has it ever wished sickness, death and damnation on them (or their children). These teachers, who claim to be so greatly “anointed” of God and at a spiritual apex, demonstrate the absence of one of the most fundamental teachings of Christ and the inspired New Testament writers (Luke 6:27-28; Romans 12:14; James 3:9; 4:11-12; 1 John 2:9).
Christians are instructed to judge doctrine and actions, to test the spirits, and to expose the fruitless works (Matthew 7:15; Romans 16:17-18; 2 Corinthians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1; Ephesians 5:11). We are not, however, permitted to judge motives or salvation — those are judgments which belong solely to our Lord (1 Corinthians 4:5). We are never to crassly wish ill and evil on others.
Then too, there’s the question of “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.” Once again, modern-day teachers have wrenched a passage from its proper context in an effort to sidestep accountability for their doctrine and conduct. They give new meaning to the title of “The Untouchables.”
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, as recorded in the Gospels (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30 and Luke 12:10), is an historical event which involved having a complete revelation of Jesus Christ and rejecting it by attributing His works to Satan. It has nothing whatsoever to do with religious superstars, latter-day revivalists and faith-healers. What sheer arrogance it is for these “untouchables” to suggest that a testing of their “signs and wonders” and their “revelation knowledge” is tantamount to the person, life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
The “unforgivable sin,” as it is also called, is one that has, no doubt, caused every sincere believer a moment of anxiety. As such, it is repeatedly and wrongly used to bludgeon away discernment and is worked to the advantage of these false teachers. Truly, as Christ said, “men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
Adam Clarke offers this sane and sound advice regarding blasphemy of the Holy Spirit:
“Many sincere people have been grievously troubled with apprehensions that they had committed the unpardonable sin; but let it be observed that no man who believes the divine mission of Jesus Christ ever can commit this sin” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, pg. 794).
But then there’s the question of Paul’s admonition not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Does an examination of the teachings and conduct of the men who claim a celestial calling cause one to grieve the Holy Spirit? Paul did not equate such action by the Berean believers, but rather commended them for their diligence and faithfulness to the Word (Acts 17:11). He also instructs Christians that their ways are not to be “secret and shameful” (2 Corinthians 4:2). We can grieve the Spirit by engaging in any of the bad behaviors laid out in Ephesians 4. The setting of the verse makes it clear as to what Paul is warning about.
In reality, if the Holy Spirit is being grieved, it is not by modern-day Bereans, but by men and women like Benny Hinn and his wife, Suzanne, with their reckless and unrestrained speech under the guise of the Holy Spirit. Consider the following:
“Those who put us down are a bunch of morons. ... You know, I’ve looked for one verse in the Bible, I just can’t seem to find it. One verse that says, ‘If you don’t like ’em, kill ’em.’ I really wish I could find it. ... Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun — I blow your head off!” (Benny Hinn on TBN’s “Praise-A-Thon,” April 1990, emphasis added).
“If your engine is not revving up, you know what you need? You need a Holy Ghost enema right up your rear end. ... Be God-pleasers, don’t be people-pleasers. Because if you’re a people-pleaser, you’re a butt-kisser. If you’re a people-pleaser, you’re a butt-kisser. There’s no other word for it” (Suzanne Hinn at the World Outreach Center, July 1997, emphasis added).
“The Lord also tells me to tell you in the mid-nineties, about ’94 or ’95, no later than that, God will destroy the homosexual community of America” (Benny Hinn at Orlando Christian Center, Dec. 31, 1989).
Holy Ghost machine guns? Holy Ghost enemas? False prophetic words of destruction? Can any rational-thinking person believe that God is behind such comments? Can any sane Christian maintain that God is honored by these remarks?
Now, more than ever, the Church needs be on guard against these preachers, with their electronic pulpits and worldwide crusades. They have jaded their followers to where anything is acceptable. Christians must not be terrorized by their idle and angry threats, nor intimidated by their fallacious use of Scripture. Obeying the frequent commands of Scripture, to watch for and defend against false teachers and their teachings, are the activities which bring spiritual growth, discernment and maturity, and honor our Lord and Savior.
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