Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Militancy Misplaced - Pete Garcia -
There are many passionate believers out in the world today. Each of us tends to find those issues we hold near and dear to our hearts and we are willing to plant our battle flags on to defend until the death. For some, it is a particular doctrine. For others, it may be a form of religious worship. Still others find smaller sub-sections within Christendom to target in on and focus their efforts on understanding or perfecting. This brief will deal with what I believe to be five non-primary doctrinal issues whose divisions have done more than harm than good to the body of Christ.
For a foundation, let me begin with what are considered the major doctrinal issues by category. I have included a summation from CARM's (Christian Apologetic & Research Ministry) doctrine grid. Today's brief will primarily focus on some of numbers three and four. Anything italicized is copied verbatim.
Let me add my own personal caveat to this. Deviations from or into any of these can cause one to drift doctrinally. Likewise, hyper-focusing on any of the secondary and non-essentials can cause one (or one's ministry) to lose sight of our primary mandate from Christ (Matt. 28:18-20)
I. King James Only
While I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, I do not believe in the inerrancy of translations. Just as I (and many others) are led to write and contend for the faith and teach many things, my own teaching is not without error. I make grammatical mistakes. I do not claim to fully understand all the mysteries as laid out in Scripture. Neither do the translators have everything perfectly translated.
We have a bible that was originally given to us in Hebrew, then translated into Greek, Latin, English and then every other language following. While I understand the different types of Scriptural translations (word for word vs. thought for thought) and the spectrum all the current translations fall into, none of these is without errors, even the KJV.
As Christians, we should not divide over bible translations. It is ok to have your favorite. It is ok for other people to have their favorite. We do not all speak 17th-century English, or any English at all for that matter. I would recommend that Christians avoid translations that seriously deviate from the original text (The Message, CEV, TEV, Living Bible, TNIV, etc.) Absolutely avoid the New World Translation (Jehovah Witness's Bible) which seriously tampers with the integrity of Scripture.
II. Water Baptism
Teaching baptismal regeneration or the emphasis on water-baptism FOR salvation is an error. Scripture does not support this position, but rather, people misconstrue certain passages to come to this conclusion. For the sake of argument, let us break down water baptism and its relation to the salvation of the believer.
1. This word 'for' is the Greek word 'eis.' It can mean a number of different things, and it is unfortunate that English scholars have chosen this word 'for' since it can also mean unto or into. See the above (I) on errors in translations from Greek to English. From CARM;
"In Acts 2:38 the main verb is metanoesate (change mind), the aorist direct imperative (a command) of metanoeo which means to repent (change mind). This refers to that initial repentance of the sinner unto salvation. The verb translated "be baptized" is in the indirect passive imperative (a command to receive; hence, passive voice in Greek 1) of baptizo, which does not give it the same direct command implied in "repent." The preposition "for" in the phrase "for the remission of sins" in Greek is "eis," unto or into, and it is in the accusative case (direct object). It can mean, "for the purpose of identifying you with the remission of sins." It is the same preposition we find in 1 Cor. 10:2 in the phrase "and were baptized unto Moses." Note that both contexts are dealing with baptism and identification. In 1 Cor. 10:2 the people were baptized or spiritually identifying themselves with the purposes and vision of Moses." (Link)
III. Hypercritical Discernment Ministries
Certain discernment ministries, perhaps good intentioned, become so hypercritical that anyone who disagrees with them even on non-essential views, are written off as heretics or apostates. There is a charge by Christ and other contributors to Scripture to contend for the faith in love, with longsuffering and patience. When we exclude love, we are nothing more than clanging brass symbols who come off as self-appointed, self-righteous, biased, and narrow-minded. IOW, while there is absolutely a need for discernment in these last days, we are commanded to do so in love. (See also Matt. 18:15-17, Gal. 6:1-5, 1 Cor. 13, 2 Tim. 2:23-26, James 5:19-20, 1 Peter 3:15, 1 John 4:5-12, Jude 1:3, 22-23, etc.
This is a can of worms doctrine I always hate getting into, simply because it can be argued either way. Therefore, I will surmise this into its simplest form and leave it there.
"It is impossible for us to fully understand the dynamics of a holy God molding and shaping the will of man. Scripture is clear that God knows the future (Matthew 6:8; Psalm 139:1-4) and has total sovereign control over all things (Colossians 1:16-17; Daniel 4:35). The Bible also states that we must choose God or be eternally separated from Him. We are held responsible for our actions (Romans 3:19; 6:23; 9:19-21). How these facts work together is impossible for a finite mind to comprehend (Romans 11:33-36).
People can take one of two extremes in regard to this question. Some emphasize the sovereignty of God to the point that human beings are little more than robots simply doing what they have been sovereignly programmed to do. Others emphasize free will to the point of God not having complete control and/or knowledge of all things. Neither of these positions is biblical. The truth is that God does not violate our wills by choosing us and redeeming us. Rather, He changes our hearts so that our wills choose Him. "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19), and "You did not choose me, but I chose you" (John 15:16)."
Therefore, predestination vs. free will becomes the age-old question that we finite humans cannot fully understand, nor will we this side of the veil. I am not sure why this has ever been such a huge, contentious, church-splitting issue for believers over the centuries.
By far my favorite topic to discuss with anyone is eschatology (the study of last things). I view eschatology as secondary only to soteriology (the study of salvation) and by which all other Christian doctrines hang from. Every doctrine has eschatology built into it, interwoven through, and connects every other doctrine, so to ignore it, is detrimental to the health of the believer and church. We find the first prophecy in the bible in Genesis 3:15 about salvation and the redemption of humanity (the protoevangelicum). Thus by prophecy, we see the salvation story foretold at the very beginning of creation.
There are really three types of believers out there regarding bible prophecy. There are those who zealously passionate about it (in its varying positions), there are those who ignore it completely, and there are those who balance it with all other doctrines.
No believer alive today, nor since Christ, is or has ever been perfect. We, as the apostle Paul appropriately noted, see through a glass darkly (1 Cor. 13:12). We now are two-thousand years removed, have an inerrant bible (in its original form) but translated into our lesser languages by fallible men. We have misunderstandings over particular doctrines given this language barrier, of which God put in place at Babel (Gen 11:7).
It takes our regeneration to even begin to understand Scripture. That is our salvation by His grace through our faith (which He makes possible), placed solely in the finished and redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary and His subsequent resurrection from the dead to change us. We do not go from being unsaved to saved, but from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive with new natures (2 Cor. 5:17-21). We are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the singular, universal, multi-membered, corporate body of Christ here on the earth, sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (2 Cor. 1:21-22, Eph. 1:11-14, 4:30).
While it is important to hold to a doctrine properly (through a literal, grammatical, historical hermeneutic), we must demonstrate love, patience, and humility when we teach, write, instruct, and share with those who do not. Above all, we must love each other, because by this, the world will know we are of Christ. As Theodore Roosevelt was once quoted saying, people do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ-Ephesians 2:11-15
The Idea Of 'Israel Victory' Gains Strength - By Daniel Pipes - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=2379
What do Israelis think of Israel winning and the Palestinians losing?
It's a radical idea, very different from the 50-year-old-and-counting win-win assumption of "land for peace" that has transfixed governments and monopolized their attention. That old idea holds that putting Palestinians and Israelis in a room together will prompt them to settle their differences.
On the cusp of the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, we know precisely how well that worked out: Israelis gave real land, and Palestinians rewarded them with false promises of peace.
Indeed, according to a poll commissioned by the Middle East Forum and carried out by Rafi Smith of Smith Consulting, only 33 percent of Jewish Israelis (and about half that number among those who voted for the current government) still believe in land for peace, and about the same small number still believe in Oslo. So, the old ways not only failed but are deeply unpopular. What takes their place?
One alternative is the Middle East Forum's "Israel Victory" initiative, and it polls well. Respondents were asked, "Do you agree or disagree with the proposition that it will only be possible to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians when they recognize they have lost their war against Israel?" Fifty-eight percent agreed. This has the makings of a revolution.
Drilling down deeper, an identical 58 percent also agree that "despite Israel's many victories over the Palestinians, most Palestinians continue to think they can eliminate the Jewish State of Israel." Fully 65 percent agree that "none of the military conflicts to date with the Palestinians have produced an Israeli victory or a decisive result, and therefore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict perseveres."
An even larger number, 70 percent, hold that "is it necessary for the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as the Jewish state before Israel agrees to continue negotiations with it."
And 77 percent are ready, the next time Hamas attacks from Gaza or Hezbollah from Lebanon, to "let the IDF win," meaning they want Israeli military operations to continue until the other side recognizes it has lost. (That is very much not current IDF policy, which is to halt military operations as soon as the other side agrees to a ceasefire.)
After a quarter-century of lopsided negotiations in which the Israelis gave up tangible benefits (land) in return for false promises (peace), these poll numbers confirm a hunger in Israel for truth and courage. Roughly two-thirds of the population has concluded that the conflict can only be ended by abandoning failed negotiations and instead showing the Palestinians that their case is hopeless.
But Israeli leaders are shy to assert this proposition because every American president from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama has discouraged them from taking bold steps, insisting on the discredited but pleasantly neutral-sounding land-for-peace formulation.
Enter Donald Trump. The Middle East Forum poll asked about him and 59 percent of Smith's Jewish Israeli sample calls him "certainly the most pro-Israel U.S. president to date."
As readers may be aware, I have my doubts about this judgment, seeing Trump as driven by an anti-Iran project of which Israel is but a small part.
But Israel Victory offers the president an unequaled opportunity to prove his Zionist credibility. If he lets Israel achieve the victory that both it and the Palestinians need to move forward, leaving a tedious and harmful conflict behind, he will have made a huge and constructive change for which all sides eventually will profusely thank him.
A Cause for Concern - By Daymond Duck -
First, concerning the approaching Tribulation Period, God also said, "For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head" (Obad. 1:15).
Notice, that God is talking about the Tribulation Period coming upon all the heathen (lost Gentiles, not Christians; think pre-Trib Rapture) and He is saying, "What they have done to Israel, will be done to them."
The attitude of the lost toward Israel will pre-determine their own judgment.
Second, concerning Jerusalem, God said, "And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it" (Zech. 12:3).
Notice, that God said He will use Jerusalem at the end of the age to test the nations and to let them decide whose side they are on.
Nations can avoid God's judgment by leaving Jerusalem alone.
Third, concerning the end of the age, God said, "For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem (after I return the captured Jews to the Promised Land and restore Judah and Jerusalem), I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat (for the Battle of Armageddon), and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land" (Joel 3:1-2).
Thus, we see that the Battle of Armageddon will be the result of two things: 1) World leaders removing Jews from part of the Promised Land after God has put them back on it, and 2) Dividing the Promised Land (the two-state solution).
Fourth, concerning the beginning of the Tribulation Period, God said, "And he (the Antichrist) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (a week of years or seven years): and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" (Dan. 9:27).
Thus, we see that a proposal for seven years of peace in Israel will eventually be presented to the Antichrist for his signature; and on the day that he signs it, the Tribulation Period will begin.
Fifth, God said, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape" (I Thess. 5:1-2).
When the Antichrist signs the proposal, they (the unbelievers) will say "Peace and Safety," but the judgments of God will immediately start falling, and they (the unbelievers) will not escape (think Pre-Trib Rapture again).
This is the point: About one week ago, Pres. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his Middle East Envoy, Jason Greenblatt, recently spent several days in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar.
They met with Israeli Prime Min. Netanyahu twice in two days, and he went to meet with King Abdullah in Jordan.
The purpose of these meetings was to finalize some of the issues in Pres. Trump's Middle East peace proposal including what to do about Jerusalem (the burdensome stone) and where to locate the borders (There was no mention of a division of Israel in the media, but "where to locate the borders" is not without meaning).
The Arab leaders unanimously agreed to support Pres. Trump's peace proposal even if PA Pres. Mahmoud Abbas refuses to do so, as long as the Palestinians have a nation of their own with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Some reports said Mr. Kushner agreed to that, and he is also mindful of the fact that the Arabs want the Al Aqsa Mosque to remain open to all Muslims that want to worship there (this could result in the rebuilt Temple not having an outer court).
One cause of concern for this writer is the fact that Jared Kushner said Israel will have to pay a price for Pres. Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
A second cause of concern is that God has clearly warned everyone not to divide Jerusalem. That includes Pres. Trump and the U.S.
A third cause of concern is the kind of concessions that Mr. Kushner may offer to prove to Mr. Abbas and the Arabs that he is a neutral negotiator.
A fourth cause of concern is that Mr. Abbas may be so angry over the fact that he was bypassed, even by the Arabs for his refusal to negotiate, that he will ask Russia, Turkey, Iran and others to help him to seize what he wants in a war.
That war could be the prophesied Battle of Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38-39).
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
News from Hal Lindsey Media Ministries - Hal Lindsey -
On this week's edition of "The Hal Lindsey Report," I address a subject that has loomed in the thinking of American Christians only as a hazy shadow in the far-off future. Well, that hazy shadow is beginning to come into sharp relief. That shadow is the specter of persecution.
Of all nations on earth, the United States of America seemed to be the last place where the persecution of Christians would be a problem. But it's no longer such a far-fetched idea.
Though religious freedom recently won a modest victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, it suffered a disturbing defeat in a Canadian Supreme Court decision. And what happens in Canada too frequently turns up in the United States!
I believe we are seeing a crescendo of events and changing attitudes -- political, cultural, spiritual, and economic -- that will soon coalesce to put evangelical Christians in the cross-hairs of our society. Many of you are already facing some of these challenges at work, at school (or your child's school), or among your neighbors or family members. "Political correctness" is even now a problem, but I don't believe it will be too long before being "politically incorrect" will land you a fine or a jail term. When that happens, we will be faced with a choice: be "politically correct" or stand boldly and speak out for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In many parts of the world, our brothers and sisters are already facing that dilemma. Some are even paying for their boldness with their lives!
This week, I want to share with you the story of a man who faced that moment and stood tall. In fact, two of the 28 chapters in the Book of Acts are dedicated to "A Man Called Stephen." His defense of the Gospel before the Sanhedrin was so brilliant, powerful, and Spirit-directed that he drove the council of learned scholars into a frenzy. They mobbed him. Then they took him out and stoned him to death.
Now, you're probably thinking that it doesn't sound like Stephen offered a very effective defense if it resulted in his death. Consider this, though. He was an ordinary Israelite who allowed himself to be so completely used by the Holy Spirit that he literally confounded the most educated religious leaders of his day.
When they finally realized they were guilty of the grievous charges with which Stephen accused them, they gnashed their teeth and killed him. Yet during the inquisition, the power of the Holy Spirit was so strong upon Stephen that "his face was like the face of an angel." And when he fell asleep, the Bible implies that Jesus Christ Himself stood in honor of Stephen's obedience!
Not only did this ordinary believer, who allowed himself to be used by the Spirit, so please Jesus that He stood to welcome him home, but his example no doubt inspired one of the young rabbis who witnessed the entire ordeal. Saul of Tarsus would later become history's greatest evangelist: Paul the Apostle.
So, don't despair that days of persecution may lie ahead. Jesus Himself promised that He would give us the words to say when that moment comes. And rather than our darkest hours, those moments will be our brightest.
Don't miss this week's Report on TBN, Daystar, CPM Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com . Check your local listings.
Daily Jot: One God, and he's not allah - Bill Wilson -
In 2014, a friend of mine called upset about the announcement that Islamic prayers were going to be held in the National Cathedral. I said, "What can I say or do about that?" He replied that our founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves to learn of such things. Indeed, the one true God, I'm sure, was not pleased either. The Episcopalians turned the National Cathedral into a house of ill repute. Of course, there are many so-called pastors who are doing the same to their churches. They tell us that allah and YHVH God are the same and that Islam is really a religion of peace. It is no such thing. It is a system where men use a false god to control, recruit and gain power, then to kill, steal and destroy.
In Matthew 24, Jesus explains the end times. He said in Matthew 24:4, "Take heed that no man deceive you." Verse 11 says, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." Even today, there are many false prophets. Those who would say that allah and God are the same are chief among the false prophets. Especially those who call themselves Christians and also preach that allah and God are the same. The basic tenet of the Christian faith is found in John 14:6, where Jesus declares: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me." The Koran, the holy book of allah, in many verses denies that Jesus is the Son of God.
The Koran's Sura 4:171 says, "O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium (Mary) is only a messenger of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His messengers, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one Allah; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector." Sura 19:29: "God forbid that He Himself should beget a son!" Sura 17:111:"Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..."
If allah and God are the same, then why would God tell Jews and Christians one thing and Muslims another in their holy books? Why would there be two holy books? Christian pastors, politicians, Episcopalian administrators of the National Cathedral take heed. You cannot agree that allah and God are the same and at the same time claim that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. You are double minded. Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, "Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what partnership has light with darkness?" If you believe allah and God are equal, then you are unequally yoked, and yoked with the darkness of the Islamic deeds. allah is not God. Those who believe so are badly mistaken and deceived. Run from them.
Daily Devotion: Will You Advance or Retreat? - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. -1 Peter 5:8
Some Christians are surprised to find that life as a follower of Jesus Christ is not a playground; rather, it's actually a battleground. It's interesting that on more than one occasion, the Bible compares the Christian life to a conflict on a battlefield.
In this particular battle, you cannot choose to be a pacifist, or you will die on the battlefield. You have to stand up and fight. The day you committed your life to Jesus Christ, the day your spiritual eyes were opened, the day you turned "from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God" (Acts 26:18 NLT) was the day the devil declared war on you.
The devil had you where he wanted you before. He was quite happy with that arrangement. But you weren't. Nor was I. That is why we turned to Christ. The Bible, speaking of Satan, says that the god of this age had blinded our eyes (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). Scripture tells us that we were taken captive by him to do his will (see 2 Timothy 2:26). We got sick and tired of being ripped off, so we put our faith in Christ.
The devil is not happy about this, and he will do everything he can to trip you up or to defeat you on this battlefield. It has been said that conversion has made our hearts a battlefield. Anyone who chooses to be on the side of the Lord Jesus Christ will face severe opposition from Satan and his followers.
The question is not whether we will be in a spiritual war. The question is whether we will win or lose in this spiritual war. Will we advance, or will we retreat? Will we gain ground, or will we lose ground? There are no other alternatives.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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