God’s Presence is the Difference

Gary Wilkerson April 22, 2019

 

When we look at Abraham in the Old Testament, we witness a man whose life was so filled with the presence of God that even the heathen around him recognized the difference between their lives and his: “Abimelech … spoke to Abraham, saying, ‘God is with you in all that you do’” (Genesis 21:22). This heathen king was saying, “There is something different about you, Abraham. Surely God is with you wherever you go.”

In another example of the presence of God, an angel told Gideon, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12). And the Lord himself told Gideon, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” (6:14). Gideon considered himself a coward, but God called him a “mighty man of valor.” The Lord wanted to prove what one can do when his presence is with that person — even if the person considers himself to be insignificant.

God makes a special promise to those he loves, as we see in this word to Isaiah: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God. The Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1-3).

What a wonderful promise. When the Lord’s presence abides on you, you can go through the fires of life and not just survive, but you will be kept and protected through it all.

These accounts from the Old Testament are not just dead-letter stories. They are meant to encourage us to trust God for his presence at all times. Like Abraham, Gideon, Isaiah and many others, we have a powerful testimony of what God’s presence has done for us.

I encourage you today to seek the Lord’s presence and allow him to guide your steps, open doors, move obstacles, and lift your cares and fears. (Click to Source)

Recovery Room 7 is a community of people with similar backgrounds, where people from all walks of drug & alcohol recovery can meet together, share, socialize, interact, join in fun activities, share meals, pray and learn. It’s a place of joy and awakening to their true purpose in life. Jesus Christ is always present and ready to receive everyone in Recovery Room 7. We will be located in beautiful Northwest Montana. If you would like to donate to get Recovery Room 7 up and running, please go to our PayPal Donation Link here.

Jesus Never Fails

Gary Wilkerson April 15, 2019

 

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me from the foundation of the world” (John 17:24, my emphasis). Jesus prayed for his disciples — and that includes us. He asked the Father that we may see his glory, meaning that we would know him.

At certain times in the Old Testament, Jesus revealed himself in human or angelic form, with varying results. For instance, Jacob’s hip was broken when he tried wrestling with the Lord. And when Moses said to God, “Please show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18), the Lord told him, “I have to cover your face and hide you behind a rock, and then you can see only the trailing afterglow of my presence.” In other words, he had to protect Moses from the full revelation of himself.

In the New Testament, when the apostle John heard the Lord’s voice and received the Revelation on the island of Patmos, he fell on his face. The normal response of men and women when they saw Jesus was awe and wonder. I wonder what would happen if we saw him in all his beauty and splendor as Moses or John did.

The truth is, Jesus is beautiful in a sense far deeper than our usual usage of the descriptive word. We remark that someone is lovely or handsome, but Jesus is far more. He is glorious, wonderful, separate, unique, special. He is also tender, kind, precious, full of majesty. He is wondrous, strong, mighty, powerful, wise, outstanding. And he never fails!

Even in his human nature, Jesus remained sovereign, one with God (see Colossians 2:10). Consider some of his beautiful attributes: full of justice (John 8:16); perfectly righteous (John 8:46). And he is love (John 13:34) — a love that is unfathomable.

We are totally undeserving of this love, but that is the beauty of our amazing, incomparable Savior. Give him praise today for his unspeakable sacrifice and gift of salvation. (Click to Source)

 

Recovery Room 7 is a community of people with similar backgrounds, where people from all walks of drug & alcohol recovery can meet together, share, socialize, interact, join in fun activities, share meals, pray and learn. It’s a place of joy and awakening to their true purpose in life. Jesus Christ is always present and ready to receive everyone in Recovery Room 7. We will be located in beautiful Northwest Montana. If you would like to donate to get Recovery Room 7 up and running, please go to our PayPal Donation Link here.

English Bible Versions and Today’s Messianic Movement

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What English Bible version should you use as a contemporary Believer? This is a topic that can not only be rather confusing, but is something that can also evoke some rather strong emotions. Very few English Bible readers, who are committed to a steadfast faith in God, ever stick with one single Bible version or translation to employ in their studies. At the same time, though, it might also be said that various Bible readers can get a bit too comfortable examining a particular version, because they just get too familiar with it, or they are too stuck reading a particular Bible with their personal notes in it, or they get too acclimated to a particular version for some other sentimental reason.

Given both the changing dynamics and components of modern English speech, as well as the immense publishing venue of English Bible translation, we cannot hope to probe all of the pros and cons of various contemporary English versions. We can, though, have a much better idea about the kind of English versions we should be employing, and most especially what to do when we encounter various verses or passages of importance.

Today’s Messianic people are widely astute and aware of how each English Bible version, whether it be Jewish or Christian, is going to have some kind of translation bias to it. Jewish versions of the Tanach in English are not likely to translate various Messianic passages in support of the Messiahship of Yeshua of Nazareth, whereas Christian versions will. Various Christian versions of the Apostolic Scriptures, or New Testament, will not typically translate various passages about the Torah or Law of Moses in favor of its continued validity in the post-resurrection era. Yet, both Jewish and Christian Bible versions are used and employed by the broad Messianic movement. And, the Messianic movement itself has produced several Bible versions of its own which are employed within its ranks. Today’s Messianic versions tend to widely uphold the Messiahship of Yeshua and the validity of the Torah, but may have other limitations.

This article will attempt to explore some of the key details which today’s Messianic people need to be aware of when they encounter various English Bible versions. We will be reviewing some of the contemporary Jewish and Christian versions which are used in sectors of the Messianic movement. Also important will be a review of some Messianic Bible versions, particularly of the Apostolic Scriptures, which tend to be encountered. (Click to Source)

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How America Just Built an Altar for Satanic Worship

By David Hoffman

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Things are shifting in America before our eyes. The state of New York recently passed a bill legalizing abortion right up the moment of birth. The name of the bill was the Reproductive Health Act. It had previously been blocked for years when Republicans controlled the State Senate in New York. Because the Democrats recently took both houses in the New York legislature, it was quickly passed. The Senate passed it 38-24. In the Assembly, it passed by a 92-47 margin. Gov. Cuomo quickly signed into law Tuesday night.

This is an ominous sign concerning the direction of abortion in our country. This bill could play a role in opening the floodgates in the future, as inevitably, other states begin to follow New York’s lead. We cannot take the passing of this bill lightly. Some people may argue that the pro-life movement is stronger than ever, however, just days ago an Iowa judge struck down a state law banning a woman from obtaining an abortion once a fetus’ heartbeat is detected, saying it violated the state’s constitution. There is still a very strong, vocal and bold resistance to the pro-life movement. We must remember that the legalization of gay marriage began with one state which then led to other states adopting similar laws. We have no future guarantee that the same trend will not occur regarding abortion laws in our nation.

As Christians, we have an obligation to stand in the gap for the helpless, and the most helpless lives are the lives of the unborn. Abortion is not just a societal issue. It is not just a cultural issue. Abortion is a moral issue, and all moral issues, at the end of the day, are actually spiritual issues.

When we look at abortion purely from a spiritual lens, abortion is satanic worship. There is truly no way around this reality, and in the following paragraphs, I will explain why this is so.

If we as believers are to be in the truth and in the light, we have to acknowledge abortion for what it really is: the shedding of innocent blood.

The shedding of innocent blood is a clear violation of the fourth commandment, which states in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder.” Proverbs 6:17b also says God hates “hands that shed innocent blood.” The right to life is the most valuable right that has been given to any human being by the Creator. This is why from the beginning of human history, the devil has sought to twist people’s hearts and to tempt them to murder. Murder is always inspired by Satan, whether it be in the womb or outside of it. The shedding of innocent blood is a form of satanic worship. It honors Satan. It never honors God.

Many pagan cultures throughout history had child sacrifice as part of worship to their gods. They would sacrifice children to idols in the hope that it would bring favor, blessing and a better life. The modern abortion industry, at its heart, is no different from the child-sacrifice rituals of the ancient world and pagan cultures. The only difference is that in ancient times they didn’t sacrifice children while they were still in their mother’s womb.

In 2004, the Guttmacher Institute anonymously surveyed 1,209 post-abortive women from nine different abortion clinics across the country. Of the women surveyed, 957 provided a main reason for having an abortion. 92.5 percent of those survey gave purely selfish reasons for why they decided to have an abortion. That means that 92.5 percent of these children were sacrificed in the hope that it would result in a better life for the mother.

We as believers cannot allow culture and the mainstream media to define abortion in our minds. Abortion truly is not an issue of reproductive rights or women’s health. An extremely small percentage of abortions are performed to save the life of the mother. Half of one percent of abortions are done because of rape or incest.The majority of abortions occur because it is the most convenient option for a woman who does not want deal with the consequences of having a child.

The Old Testament deals with this topic of child sacrifice. In biblical times, one of the gods mentioned throughout the Old Testament was Molech. This was a god of the Canaanites and Ammonites. One of the primary ways ancient cultures showed worship to this god was to sacrifice children to it. They would place the children in the idol’s metal hands, which had been heated up to the point that they were red and smoldering hot, or they would just throw the children into the fire pit below the idol.

God judged Israel harshly for participating in this satanic ritual. Jeremiah 32:35-36 says that Israel offered up its sons and daughters to Molech and that God would judge and lead the nation into captivity for doing so. There are other instances where God warns Israel about participating in this practice. It is not a one-time occurrence.

Psalm 106 says, “They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. They defiled themselves by what they did.”

Instead of sacrificing children on an altar to Molech, today, children are sacrificed on the altar to “self.”Therefore, there truly is no way around calling abortion what it really is. It is satanic worship. Satanic worship, in essence, is the love of self above all others. This is what abortion is. Abortion is the love of self above the love of the child that has been conceived. It is an abomination in God’s eyes.

This struggle against the abortion industry will be a long-haul in our nation. This struggle does not look as though it will end soon. We as believers must stand up against abortion and stand for the lives of the unborn. We must always speak unashamedly concerning the issue while conducting ourselves lovingly with those on the other side.

We cannot back down on this issue. We must stand steadfastly for the lives of the unborn. We cannot afford to be on the wrong side of history concerning this issue. Abortion is a moral issue. It is a spiritual issue. As believers, we must understand that there is a real spiritual battle for the lives of the unborn, the lives of the mothers aborting them, and for the future laws of our nation. Our voices matter. Our votes matter.

Ultimately, abortion also hurts the mother who aborts her child. Jesus Christ offers grace and forgiveness to whoever comes to Him in humility and repentance, no matter how big the mistake.

So, as we stand boldly, uncompromisingly, and with the full conviction of truth and righteousness on our side, let us also stand in grace and love as we minister to those who are considering abortion or have already had one.

May we not give up. May we not be discouraged. May we not water down the truth about abortion. And may we one day see an end to abortion in the United States, by the grace of God. (Click to Source)

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How America Just Built an Altar for Satanic Worship

DAVID HOFFMAN

reuters-one-world-trade-center

The One World Trade Center, pictured above, was lit up pink after New York passed a horrific abortion bill. (REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

Things are shifting in America before our eyes. The state of New York recently passed a bill legalizing abortion right up the moment of birth. The name of the bill was the Reproductive Health Act. It had previously been blocked for years when Republicans controlled the State Senate in New York. Because the Democrats recently took both houses in the New York legislature, it was quickly passed. The Senate passed it 38-24. In the Assembly, it passed by a 92-47 margin. Gov. Cuomo quickly signed into law Tuesday night.

This is an ominous sign concerning the direction of abortion in our country. This bill could play a role in opening the floodgates in the future, as inevitably, other states begin to follow New York’s lead. We cannot take the passing of this bill lightly. Some people may argue that the pro-life movement is stronger than ever, however, just days ago an Iowa judge struck down a state law banning a woman from obtaining an abortion once a fetus’ heartbeat is detected, saying it violated the state’s constitution. There is still a very strong, vocal and bold resistance to the pro-life movement. We must remember that the legalization of gay marriage began with one state which then led to other states adopting similar laws. We have no future guarantee that the same trend will not occur regarding abortion laws in our nation.

As Christians, we have an obligation to stand in the gap for the helpless, and the most helpless lives are the lives of the unborn. Abortion is not just a societal issue. It is not just a cultural issue. Abortion is a moral issue, and all moral issues, at the end of the day, are actually spiritual issues.

When we look at abortion purely from a spiritual lens, abortion is satanic worship. There is truly no way around this reality, and in the following paragraphs, I will explain why this is so.

If we as believers are to be in the truth and in the light, we have to acknowledge abortion for what it really is: the shedding of innocent blood.

The shedding of innocent blood is a clear violation of the fourth commandment, which states in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder.” Proverbs 6:17b also says God hates “hands that shed innocent blood.” The right to life is the most valuable right that has been given to any human being by the Creator. This is why from the beginning of human history, the devil has sought to twist people’s hearts and to tempt them to murder. Murder is always inspired by Satan, whether it be in the womb or outside of it. The shedding of innocent blood is a form of satanic worship. It honors Satan. It never honors God.

Many pagan cultures throughout history had child sacrifice as part of worship to their gods. They would sacrifice children to idols in the hope that it would bring favor, blessing and a better life. The modern abortion industry, at its heart, is no different from the child-sacrifice rituals of the ancient world and pagan cultures. The only difference is that in ancient times they didn’t sacrifice children while they were still in their mother’s womb.

In 2004, the Guttmacher Institute anonymously surveyed 1,209 post-abortive women from nine different abortion clinics across the country. Of the women surveyed, 957 provided a main reason for having an abortion. 92.5 percent of those survey gave purely selfish reasons for why they decided to have an abortion. That means that 92.5 percent of these children were sacrificed in the hope that it would result in a better life for the mother.

We as believers cannot allow culture and the mainstream media to define abortion in our minds. Abortion truly is not an issue of reproductive rights or women’s health. An extremely small percentage of abortions are performed to save the life of the mother. Half of one percent of abortions are done because of rape or incest. The majority of abortions occur because it is the most convenient option for a woman who does not want deal with the consequences of having a child.

The Old Testament deals with this topic of child sacrifice. In biblical times, one of the gods mentioned throughout the Old Testament was Molech. This was a god of the Canaanites and Ammonites. One of the primary ways ancient cultures showed worship to this god was to sacrifice children to it. They would place the children in the idol’s metal hands, which had been heated up to the point that they were red and smoldering hot, or they would just throw the children into the fire pit below the idol.

God judged Israel harshly for participating in this satanic ritual. Jeremiah 32:35-36 says that Israel offered up its sons and daughters to Molech and that God would judge and lead the nation into captivity for doing so. There are other instances where God warns Israel about participating in this practice. It is not a one-time occurrence.

Psalm 106 says, “They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. They defiled themselves by what they did.”

Instead of sacrificing children on an altar to Molech, today, children are sacrificed on the altar to “self.” Therefore, there truly is no way around calling abortion what it really is. It is satanic worship. Satanic worship, in essence, is the love of self above all others. This is what abortion is. Abortion is the love of self above the love of the child that has been conceived. It is an abomination in God’s eyes.

This struggle against the abortion industry will be a long-haul in our nation. This struggle does not look as though it will end soon. We as believers must stand up against abortion and stand for the lives of the unborn. We must always speak unashamedly concerning the issue while conducting ourselves lovingly with those on the other side.

We cannot back down on this issue. We must stand steadfastly for the lives of the unborn. We cannot afford to be on the wrong side of history concerning this issue. Abortion is a moral issue. It is a spiritual issue. As believers, we must understand that there is a real spiritual battle for the lives of the unborn, the lives of the mothers aborting them, and for the future laws of our nation. Our voices matter. Our votes matter.

Ultimately, abortion also hurts the mother who aborts her child. Jesus Christ offers grace and forgiveness to whoever comes to Him in humility and repentance, no matter how big the mistake. So, as we stand boldly, uncompromisingly, and with the full conviction of truth and righteousness on our side, let us also stand in grace and love as we minister to those who are considering abortion or have already had one.

May we not give up. May we not be discouraged. May we not water down the truth about abortion. And may we one day see an end to abortion in the United States, by the grace of God. (Click to Source)

 

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A Response to Andy Stanley’s ‘Irresistible’ Replacement Theology

BY 

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Anyone who lives on the north side of Atlanta, like I do, and is connected to the body of Messiah has likely been impacted in some way by the ministry of North Point Community Church and Pastor Andy Stanley.

Pastor Andy founded North Point in 1995, and it has developed into the second-largest church in the United States (according to Outreach magazine). Each week 38,000 people gather at six campuses to attend North Point services. Online North Point has a massive impact globally. Many thousands download Pastor Andy’s sermons and watch his TV show. His books and conferences are popular as well. He is unquestionably one of the most influential Christian leaders in the world today.

I have lived in Atlanta since the late 1990s. I have engaged with Andy Stanley’s church and ministry on various levels. While not agreeing with all that I have heard from Pastor Andy through the years, my opinion of him and North Point has been generally positive. The church has been innovative and caring (and sometimes controversial) in how it has tried to get people to turn back to God, Jesus, the Bible, and church.

Through the years I have conversed with many people in North Atlanta who have been deeply blessed by Pastor Andy’s leadership and the ministry of North Point. Many of them have told me how they had given up on the church but that their time at North Point revived their interest and connection to God. I have also witnessed the great generosity of North Point. Therefore, despite my criticism of Pastor Andy’s new book that I am about to communicate, I felt that it was important to give some relevant history and personal perspective regarding the positives I have witnessed and experienced from Pastor Andy and North Point Church.

In 2018, Pastor Andy preached a sermon series called Reclaiming Irresistible. This series generated a significant response across the body of Messiah. Various Messianic Jews and Gentiles expressed their ire when Pastor Andy communicated that he thought Christians needed to “unhitch” the Old Testament from their faith.

I have several relationships with high-level staff at North Point. I expressed my own concern to them about this statement and other comments that Pastor Andy had made in this series regarding the relationship Christians should have to the Old Testament. In the course of these exchanges, they told me that Pastor Andy would be releasing a new book that would further elucidate his viewpoints. This fall the book Irresistible was released. The subtitle is Reclaiming the New That Jesus Unleashed for the World. As soon as the book was available, I read through it. Sadly, after reading it, my concerns that had been raised during Pastor Andy’s sermon series were not only confirmed but significantly increased.

Pastor Andy conveyed three major problems in Irresistible:

1. Pastor Andy advises that we create a disjunction between the Old and New Testaments (which he mostly uses as synonymous with old and new covenants).

On page 245, Pastor Stanley says, “To love the way Jesus called us to love requires a complete break with the inspired but retired, beautiful but obsolete, old covenant. As long as we continue mixing old with new, we will never be free to love as we have been called to love. Until we dispense with the old and embrace the new, our love will be leverage. And love that is leverage is no love at all.” On page 208, Pastor Stanley says, “When Paul writes, ‘But whatever were gains to me,’ he’s referring to old covenant accomplishments and pursuits. His whatever bucket was categorized and organized around the Jewish Scriptures. Our Old Testament. Paul dismisses the primary relevance of the Scriptures he grew up with.” But throughout his letters, Paul quotes the Tanach that he grew up with as a relevant and primary source of standards for holy living for his emerging communities of disciples. This viewpoint from Pastor Stanley is simply not defensible.

2. Pastor Andy advocates for a strong and clear version of replacement theology.

In my dialogue with a friend who serves on staff at North Point, he told me that Pastor Andy does not believe in replacement theology (the belief that the church has replaced Israel) and that his new book would make that clear. The book did make Pastor Andy’s viewpoint regarding replacement theology clear; unfortunately, what Pastor Andy spelled out was that he indeed believes that God’s covenants with Israel are finished. On page 65 of Irresistible, Pastor Andy says, “This [Israel] was his nation. The nation God had raised up from one man for one purpose — to bless the world. But that chapter was drawing to a close [in Jesus’ day]. God’s covenant with the nation had served its purpose. It was no longer needed … Ancient Israel was a means to an end. The end had come. The new was just beginning.” I respect Andy’s honesty and explicitness. However, this viewpoint is clearly supersessionist (a more theological term than “replacement theology” that refers to the church “superseding” Israel). Many biblical texts speak of God’s continued covenant with Israel.

3. Pastor Andy’s anti-Judaism perspectives can lead to anti-Semitism.

On page 146, Pastor Stanley says, “[Paul] knew the legalism, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and exclusivity that characterized ancient Judaism would eventually seep into and erode the beauty, simplicity, and appeal of the ekklesia of Jesus.” I don’t think Andy Stanley is an anti-Semite. But this kind of rhetoric, which speaks of Judaism as something that has been replaced and that is characterized as “self-righteous” and “eroding” the ekklesia can and has led to common negative Christian stereotypes of both Judaism and Jews. Too often throughout history, such stereotypes and characterizations have led the way toward hostile, violent, and destructive actions toward the Jewish community by the hands of Christians. Pastor Stanley’s words are dangerous.

Again, despite my respect for Pastor Andy in other areas, I found Irresistible to express a deeply flawed viewpoint. I am an avid reader. However, I cannot remember reading a book in which I found so much with which to disagree. Sadly, the reality is that what Pastor Andy expressed is what many Christians believe but cannot articulate with the same clarity and boldness.

Those of us who are supportive of a Messianic Jewish viewpoint could respond to Pastor Andy’s book by dismissing it as irrelevant to our world. But I don’t think we can do that. Pastor Andy’s impact and reach are too significant to treat as unworthy of serious consideration and sufficient response. Since we are Christians and Messianics who stand against supersessionism and replacement theology, it is important that we be aware of what Pastor Andy is disseminating. More importantly, we need to be prepared to respond graciously and clearly with an answer that points out the errors and dangers of all forms of replacement theology—especially a kind that is as bold, forthright, and erroneous as Pastor Andy’s. May HaShem help each of us to be ready for such conversations if given the opportunity. (Click to Source)

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Why Messianic Judaism Isn’t Anti-Semitism

COMMENTARY – By Myra Adams
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While Americans are collectively grieving over last weekend’s horrific mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, a related controversy involving Vice President Mike Pence is sparking headlines and national condemnation in the media.

Monday night, at a political rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., Pence invited Rabbi Loren Jacobs to offer a prayer for the 11 worshipers who were gunned down by a Jew-hating madman. Jacobs began his prayer by saying, “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God and father of my Lord and Savior Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, and my God and father, too.” Continuing, Jacobs asked, “Lord, please work so that instead of division in our nation there is unity and peace.”

Unfortunately, instead of unity and peace, Jacobs’ prayer ignited a firestorm in the Jewish community since he is not a traditional rabbi but a “Messianic rabbi” – one who believes that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah.

It is unclear whether the vice president initially knew that about Rabbi Jacobs. If so, inviting him to the stage was tone-deaf considering the raw emotion of this national Jewish tragedy. Either way, Pence’s actions have cast a negative light on Messianic Judaism, and for this writer — a Jew who also believes that Jesus is the Messiah — it is all very personal.

Although I found much of the media coverage about Messianic Jews riddled with mischaracterizations, exaggerations, and inaccuracies, I resigned myself to letting the storm pass. However, late Tuesday night I read an article in The Hill that embedded a tweet from Steven I. Weiss asserting flatly, “‘Messianic Judaism’ is antisemitism.”

Such incendiary descriptions are nothing new. In over four decades since I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I have experienced various degrees of hostility and insults from my own Jewish family and fellow Jews.

Although every Messianic Jew can attest to similar treatment, we all have unique and fascinating conversion stories. Here are some highlights from mine — shared in the hope that traditional Jews who have read this far will open their hearts and minds and reject the absurd and offensive claim that “Messianic Judaism is anti-Semitism.”

First, let’s begin with some Bible-based facts. Jesus was born and raised a Jew. He preached from the Jewish Bible (Old Testament) and worshiped in the temple. After his crucifixion, he was prepared for burial according to Jewish customs. The major theological differences between Judaism and Messianic Judaism (along with all Christian sects) are the beliefs that Jesus was the promised Christ — that He was resurrected from the dead, is Messiah, Lord, and Savior, and will return someday.

How did I come to believe this? Born and raised Jewish in the Boston suburb of Needham with the last name of Kahn, my parents were culturally Jewish, but religious practice was virtually non-existent in my home.

Growing up I knew only two basic religious facts: I was Jewish, and Jews did not believe in Jesus. I was without faith, but during my sophomore year in college at Ohio State University, Jesus came to me. He pulled me to Him as if He had inserted a ring through my nose. Doubt and resistance were never options nor contemplated. Without ever seeing or hearing Him speak, I instinctively knew that this powerful force was Jesus. I had no choice but to follow Him even though I knew absolutely nothing about Him.

Over the years I have often been asked about my conversion. After describing the “ring through the nose,” I always add, “I had faith before I had knowledge.” Even after 43 years as a Jewish Christian, my quest for Biblical knowledge continues, but I call myself a “completed Jew.” This term is popular among Jewish believers and stems from the notion that the Old Testament prophesies and teachings are “completed” or fulfilled by Jesus and the New Testament.

With my background established, here is why I believe that it is highly offensive for Messianic Jews to be called anti-Semitic — defined as producing hostility, prejudice, and discrimination against Jews.

First, such acts and behaviors toward Jews are evil, sinful and contrary to Jesus’ teachings in Mark (12:29-31) when he quotes from Torah’s book of Leviticus (19:17-18) and declares, “Thou shalt love your neighbor as yourself” is the second greatest commandment. Therefore, Jews who follow Jesus would not knowingly engage in behavior toward traditional Jews that is anti-Semitic — by definition.

Second, Jews believing that Jesus Christ was who He said He was, i.e., the Messiah, does not make us “anti-Jewish.” On the contrary, besides being “completed” in our faith as previously discussed, believing that Jesus is the Messiah makes us proud and privileged to be Jewish disciples of the greatest Jew who ever walked the planet. We also benefit knowing that His Spirit dwells within us. Messianic Jews can’t possibly be anti-Jewish since we follow a Jew who positively impacted and changed the course of human history, and still changes lives every day.

Meanwhile, Jewish believers in Christ, as do all Christians, fully acknowledge that over the centuries mankind has committed evil acts while evoking the name of Jesus — acts that Jesus Himself would never approve of and from which He must be disassociated.

Finally, some loving advice to my Jewish brothers and sisters: learn about the Jewishness of Jesus. Read about His life and teachings in the New Testament without fear of “conversion.” Familiarize yourself with numerous, fascinating Old Testament Messianic prophesies that foretold His birth, life, and death centuries before He was born.

In addition, specifically educate yourself about why the great majority of Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah as opposed to the standard “Jews don’t believe in Jesus,” period.

Throughout my life, I have met many Jews who were unaware that Jesus was Jewish or who thought that He was an enemy of the Jews. Such ignorance only fosters hate and division, resulting in more Jews who believe that “Messianic Judaism is anti-Semitism.”

Most important, learn why “Jesus is love,” because the world could sure use more of that right now. (Click to Source)

Myra Adams is a media producer and writer who served on the McCain Ad Council during the GOP nominee’s 2008 campaign and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team.

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Mega-Church Pastor: The Ten Commandments No Longer Applicable, Un-hitch From the Old Testament

By Nate Brown — @natebro21 —  See Comments

Region: Georgia Published: September 28, 2018  Updated: September 28, 2018 at 7:32 am EST
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Andy Stanley, the Mega-Church pastor, located in the suburbs of Atlanta is now claiming that the Ten Commandments are no longer applicable months after previously stating that Christians need to unhitch themselves from the Old Testament.

According to the Pastor, Jesus rendered the Ten Commandments null and void, because He issues a one new law “as a replacement for everything.”

“You’ve heard the story before: A group of Christians puts up a monument of the Ten Commandments in a public space or on government property,” begins Stanley in his article titled, “Why do Christians want to post the Ten Commandments and not the Sermon on the Mount?” “Someone says it violates the separation of church and state. The Christians say taking it down would violate their freedom of speech. There’s some back and forth in court and both sides say some not-so-great things about the other. Rinse and repeat. But how many times have you seen Christians trying to post the text of the sermon on the mount in a public place? Or the all-encompassing commandment Jesus gave us? ‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another — John 13:34 The one commandment! Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? But if we’re going to create a monument to stand as a testament to our faith, shouldn’t it at least be a monument of something that actually applies to us?”

Stanley then continues that the Ten Commandments are from the ‘Old Covenant,’ which he says; “played a significant role in God’s creation of the nation of Israel. It gave them moral guidelines and helped separate this new nation from their neighbors. This was part of the formal agreement (or covenant) God created with his people, but Jesus’ death and resurrection signaled the end of that covenant and all the rules and regulations associated with it. Jesus didn’t issue his new command as an additional commandment to the existing list of commands. He didn’t say, ‘Here’s the 614th law.’ Jesus issued his new commandment as a replacement for everything in the existing list. Including the big ten. Just as his new covenant replaced the old covenant, Jesus’ new commandment replaced all the old commandments.”

Stanley’s comments directly contradict what Scripture says; In Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus says: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Stanley is teaching his 34,000 member congregation replacement theology. Also, Stanley is teaching his congregation to discard three-quarters of the Bible and only to interpret what’s left.

Furthermore, after Stanley’s stunning commentary he then concludes; “While Jesus was foreshadowed in the old covenant, he did not come to extend it. He came to fulfill it, put a bow on it, and establish something entirely new. The “new” Jesus unleashed made the faith of first-century believers formidable. Their apologetic was irrefutable. Their courage, unquestionable. And the results were remarkable. Dear Christian reader: Why? Why? Why would we even be tempted to reach back beyond the cross to borrow from a covenant that was temporary and inferior to the covenant established for us at Calvary?”

Stanley’s new book, which is available on Amazon, called ‘Irresistible,’ is currently ranked at Amazon as one of the most popular books in the “Church Leadership” category.

The theology presented by the Mega-Church Pastor is precisely what Jesus warned believers about in Matthew 24:5 “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Click to Source)

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Getting ‘Unhitched’ from the Old Testament? Andy Stanley Aims at Heresy

August 10, 2018

Reading the Torah

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.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.

10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

(2 Timothy 3:1-17)King James Version (KJV) Public Domain

 

Eventually, we learn to take an individual at his word. Andy Stanley is a master communicator, and he communicates very well and very often. His preaching and teaching often bring controversy, and he quite regularly makes arguments that subvert the authority of Scripture and cast doubt upon biblical Christianity. He returns regularly to certain themes and arguments — so regularly that we certainly get the point. He evidently wants us to understand that he means what he says.

Earlier this year, Stanley brought controversy when he argued in a sermon that the Christian faith must be “unhitched” from the Old Testament. He claimed that “Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well.”

Later, explaining his statement, Stanley told Relevant magazine, “Well, I never suggested we ‘unhitch’ from a passage of Scripture or a specific biblical imperative . . . . Again, I was preaching through Acts 15 where Peter, James, and Paul recommended the first-century church unhitch (my word, I’m open to an alternative) the law of Moses from the Gospel being preached to the Gentiles in Antioch.”

Indeed, in the sermon Stanley did not argue that any specific Old Testament command should be nullified. Instead, he went even further and told his listeners that the Old Testament should not be seen as “the go-to source regarding any behavior in the church.” In his view, the first century leadership of the church “unhitched the church from the worldview, value system, and regulations of the Jewish Scriptures.”

Again, controversy rightly erupted after those comments, spoken earlier this year. But in recent days Andy Stanley has returned to the same theme, this time in a conversation with Jonathan Merritt on his podcast, Seekers and Speakers.

In this conversation, Stanley speaks of outgrowing a childhood belief about the Bible and coming to understand what he presents as a far more complex reality. How complex? Well, Stanley argues that we must know that biblical references to the Scripture “did not mean the Bible.”

Note his words carefully:

This is something I’m trying desperately to help people understand and every time I try to explain it I get misunderstood so here I go again. There was no “The Bible” until the fourth century. When we think about the Bible we think about a book that contains the Jewish Scripture and the Christian writings and such a thing did not exist until after Christianity became legal and scholars could come out of the shadows and actually put such a thing together.”

There is more:

So the early church no one ever said in the early church, ‘the Bible says, the Bible teaches, the Bible says the Bible teaches,’ because there was no ‘The Bible.’ But the point of your question, there was Scripture but every time we see the phrase ‘the Scripture’ or ‘Scripture’ in the New Testament, as you know we have to stop and ask the question, what was this particular group of people referring to because there was no ‘The Bible’ and there was no book that contained all the Jewish Scripture because it was contained in synagogues and as you know virtually no one could read and write.”

Well, wait just a minute. It is true that Jesus and the Apostles did not have the Old Testament and the New Testament bound together in a book (codex) form. It is, of course, also plainly true that the New Testament did not exist until it was given, book by book, by the Holy Spirit to the church in the first century. But it is not true that references to “the Scriptures” or “the Scripture” by Jesus and the Apostles are any mystery to us. They are plainly referring to what we know as the Old Testament. There are references to “Moses and the Prophets” (Luke 16:29) and to the “Law and the Prophets”(Luke 16:16), but faithful Jews in the first century would emphatically have known exactly what the Scriptures are.

As a matter of fact, Mark Hamilton has documented the fact that the Greek phrase, ta biblia, “the books” was “an expression Hellenistic Jews used to describe their sacred books several centuries before the time of Jesus.”

The fact that the Old Testament Scriptures were at the time in scroll form in synagogues rather than book form is plain, but the fact is that the Jewish authorities made their arguments on the basis of appeal to the Scriptures, and so did Jesus and the Apostles. Both Jesus and the Apostles did make their arguments “according to the Scriptures” (see, for example, Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Consider Jesus preaching in the synagogue in Nazareth:

“And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captive and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Luke 4:17-21)

Jesus was powerfully arguing “the Bible says” in a way that his hearers in the synagogue clearly understood, and that pattern is found throughout the New Testament. Geerhardus Vos underlines this fact when he states, with reference to the Kingdom of God: “The first thing to be noticed in Jesus’ utterances on our theme is that they clearly presuppose a consciousness on his part of standing with his work on the basis of the revelation of God in the Old Testament.” In John 5:46-47 Jesus rebuked those who did not believe in him with these words: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Similarly, the Apostles made their arguments for the gospel of Christ with reference to the Old Testament and its testimony to Christ and the saving purpose of God. At no point in the New Testament is the Old Testament dismissed. Rather, as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”(Matthew 5:17-19)

The pattern is promise and fulfillment, not rejection and repudiation. This is true even in the case of Acts 15, with the apostles citing the authority of Amos 9:11-12 and even citing the binding authority of Genesis 9:4 on the Gentile believers. Again, the pattern is promise and fulfillment. Andy Stanley argues that the Old Testament should not be cited as “the go-to source regarding any behavior in the church,” but the moral law of the Old Testament remains honored by the church and repeated (even intensified) in the New Testament.

Peter, James, and Paul did not “unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish Scriptures,” nor can we.

We are looking here at the ancient heresy of Marcion, who argued that the Old Testament must be repudiated by the church. Marcion, who lived about the years 85-160, taught that the Old Testament revealed a Creator deity who is not even the same God who sent Jesus. Unsurprisingly, he also held to a heretical Christology. The Old Testament deity was repugnant to Marcion, who argued that Christianity just make a clean break from Judaism. The Old Testament, he taught, reveals a vindictive law-giving creator deity who bears no resemblance to the merciful redeeming God revealed in Jesus Christ. As Irenaeus, one of the most significant church fathers argued, “Marcion himself divides God in two, saying that one is good, the other judicial, and in so doing takes God away from both.”

Marcion was embarrassed by the Old Testament, and so are many modern people. Andy Stanley, at the very least, seems to fear that embarrassment in others, even if he does not identify with it himself.

He spoke this way with Jonathan Merritt: “I’m convinced that we make a better case for Jesus if we leave the Old Testament or the old covenant out of the argument.” We can make a better case for Jesus than the case Jesus made for himself?

But the embarrassment comes through clearly in Andy Stanley’s comments in the interview. He spoke of people who have “lost their faith” because they read the Old Testament, and then said this:

It’s the same God. But he was doing two different things. All that differentiating between those things is so important. Again, in this sermon, I said, ‘Hey, it’s time that we face the facts and unhitch our faith and our practice from some of these Old Testament values that we can appreciate in their original context, but we really don’t have any business dragging them into a modern context.’”

To be clear, Andy Stanley does not endorse the full heresy of Marcionism, which was universally condemned by the early church. He actually appears to aim for the heresy of Marcionism, and his hearers are certainly aimed in that direction. He clearly says that God is the same God in both testaments, but says that he reveals himself in two completely different ways. Just like Marcion, he argues that the church must “unhitch” from the Old Testament. He actually says: “I am convinced for the sake of this generation and the next generation, we have to rethink our apologetic as Christians, and the less we depend on the Old Testament to prop up our New Testament faith the better because of where we are in [the] culture.”

The church cannot “unhitch” from the Old Testament without unhitching from the gospel Jesus preached. Speaking of the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus said “it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39)

Alarmingly, in the podcast Stanley questions whether Jesus actually meant his own references to Old Testament narratives to be taken as historical. He said: “Then a person has to decide, okay, well actually Jesus references the Garden of Eden, or he references in the beginning when God created the first two people, he references Jonah. Then you have to decide when the Son of God references these people and these incidences and these prophets, what did he mean? I am comfortable, not everybody is, but I am comfortable letting the conversation go from there.”

It is very instructive to remember that the most influential theological liberal of the twentieth century, Adolf von Harnack, chose Marcion as his theological hero. Why? Because, like Marcion, he wanted to reduce Christianity to what he claimed to be its essence, the benevolent fatherhood of God. All the doctrines of orthodox Christianity, including the doctrines concerning the divinity of Christ, were dismissed as either Jewish or Greco-Roman encrustations.

[By the way, I am sure that Andy Stanley means no anti-Semitism in referring to the Old Testament as the “Jewish Scriptures, but this use does have the implied effect of identifying these Scriptures only with the Jewish people, and not with Christianity. But the Christian identification of the Old Testament as the “Jewish Scriptures” has a dangerous pedigree. In any regard, Adolf von Harnack must also be remembered as seeking to champion Marcion within German Protestantism just as anti-Semitism was rising once again with deadly power in Germany. As Alister McGrath notes, “Sadly, Marcionism is a heresy that seems to be revived with every resurgence of anti-Semitism.”]

The issues actually reach deeper. In recent years, Andy Stanley has encouraged getting over “the Bible tells me so.” He actually claimed in 2016 that the church veered into “trouble” when it began to make its arguments on the basis of the Bible. He cited “deconversion” stories in which people told him that they lost their Christian faith when they lost confidence in the Bible. He said: “If the Bible is the foundation of your faith, here’s the problem: it’s all or nothing. Christianity becomes a fragile house of cards religion.”

In the podcast interview, he gives us another glimpse of what he means:

“Now, for you and me, it is much easier for us to embrace all of those things as historical primarily because of how we were raised, but I totally get when a 25-year-old or a 35-year-old comes to faith in Jesus and then starts reading the Old Testament. They’re kind of looking like, ‘Really?’ Well, you know, that’s difficult, but that doesn’t undermine my faith, and I would never press somebody to say, ‘Well if you can’t accept all of it as historically true, then you can’t really be a Christian.’ I think that’s a little bit absurd.”

But another key question is whether one can be a faithful Christian while denying the truthfulness of Scripture. Jesus himself makes the point that without the Old Testament as the Word of God, we really do not know who he is. Then what does it mean to be a Christian?

As we sing, Jesus Christ is the church’s one foundation, but we cannot know him apart from the Bible.

In this latest interview, Andy Stanley also suggests that “Christianity ultimately and eventually created the Bible.” That is consistent with Roman Catholic theology, but not with evangelical Christianity. In the interview Stanley affirmed again that affirmation of the virgin birth is not necessary. He had earlier stated, “If someone can predict their own death and resurrection, I’m not all that concerned about how they got into the world.”

But the New Testament is very concerned about how Jesus got into the world, and if he was not conceived by the Holy Spirit, then he was conceived in some other way. Here we need to remember that the etymology of heresy is rooted in choice. A heretic denies a belief central and essential to Christianity. But heresy also takes the form of choice. You can choose to believe in the virgin birth or not, Stanley argues; he is not all that concerned about it.

Several years ago, I argued that Andy Stanley represents a new face of theological liberalism. In our day, he is playing the role that was played by Harry Emerson Fosdick in the early twentieth century. Stanley may not intend to play that role — he sees himself as an apologist.

So did Fosdick. He sought to rescue Christianity from itself, from its doctrines and truth claims. He cited his own “deconversion” stories as justification for remaking Christianity.

He also sought to “unhitch” Christianity from the Old Testament. In his famous 1923-1924 Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale, Fosdick called for a new, modern understanding of the Bible. This would require jettisoning what were for him and many others the embarrassing parts of the Old Testament. He described the effort to retain much of the Old Testament as “intellectually ruinous and morally debilitating.” To the young preachers of that day, Fosdick argued: “The Old Testament exhibits many attitudes indulged in by men and ascribed to God which represent early stages in a great development, and it is alike intellectually ruinous and morally debilitating to endeavor to harmonize those early ideals with the revelations of the great prophets and the Gospels.”

Here we go again.

_________________________________

Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Modern Use of the Bible (New York: Macmillan, 1924), p. 27.

Alister McGrath, Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), p. 131.

Irenaeus quote from Judith M. Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 36-37.

Mark Hamilton, “From Hebrew Bible to Christian Bible: Jews, Christians, and the Word of God,”  (PBS FrontLine, April 1998). http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/first/scriptures.html

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False prophets and false teachers

To stone or not to stone

Ron Cantor  – 

Dan Juster, Ariel Blumenthal and Asher Intrater contributed to this article

Is someone who prophesies mistakenly a “false prophet”? Is someone who teaches in error a “false teacher”? For instance, we believe strongly in the Gifts of the Spirit. If another teacher teaches cessation (the idea that those gifts have ceased), is one of us a false teacher?

We maintain that there is a difference between teaching in error and being a false teacher. A false teacher is teaching false doctrine about Yeshua and leading people away from the true gospel doctrine. It is not merely someone who has made a mistake in his or her theology. If our standard is that we must be 100% right all the time in doctrine, then we all are false teachers to some degree—as we have all changed and/or tweaked our doctrinal understanding over the years.

The New Covenant is clear that false teachers and false prophets are not those who merely made a mistake, but are deceivers.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. (1 Peter 2:1)

Yeshua gave us a clear warning about the emergence of false prophets in the End Times:

And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many…(they)will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:11, 24)

false prophet in the New Covenant is not a believer who loves Yeshua, preaches the Gospel, moves in the power of the Holy Spirit, and is a recognized leader of the Body of Messiah, and yet happens to make a predictive prophecy that does not come to pass! (That’s just one way we might prophecy incorrectly).

This might have happened because they allowed their hopes and emotions to boil over, resulting in a kind of presumption—or for any other number of reasons. Biblically, a false prophet is an unbeliever (or former believer!) using demonic inspiration to draw people away from God and faith in Yeshua. The Torah also makes it clear that the primary issue was prophets/teachers whose words would lead the people astray, to abandon their faith and follow after “other gods.” (Deut. 13:1-5; 18:9-22)

Under Moses there were two ways to identify a false prophet.

  1. He spoke in the name of other gods.
  2. His word did not come to pass.

But in the New Testament Yeshua says, referring to false prophets:

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. (Matt. 7:16-18)

So, again, when we speak of false prophets were not speaking of believers who preach Yeshua and have long lasting fruit in the kingdom—but one time publicly gave a presumptuous word, but rather we are speaking about cult leaders like David Koresh, Jim Jones or Charles Manson. In most cases the false prophet claims to be a messiah or the Messiah.

Let’s take a closer look at how the Scriptures teach this whole idea of prophecy under the New Covenant versus the Old.

New Testament Prophet/Prophecy

Revelation contains an important statement about the true nature of prophecy since Yeshua’s death, resurrection, ascension and outpouring of the Spirit. John sees the return of Yeshua and the wedding supper of the Lamb. An angel rebukes John for seeking to worship him and says:

“Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Yeshua is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10)

What does this mean? “For the testimony of Yeshua is the spirit of prophecy.”

This is a fundamental difference between Old and New Covenant prophecy: We prophesy to confirm the Gospel, the message of His life, the cross, resurrection, ascension, the new birth and indwelling and empowering of the Holy Spirit to all who believe, and the hope of His Second Coming to fully establish the Kingdom on earth…we have the full, prophetic revelation of everything God wants men to know in order to be saved!

Before Yeshua fulfilled all of these prophetic acts, the prophets:

…searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Messiah in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Messiah and the glories that would follow. (1 Peter 1:10-11)

By the Holy Spirit, the best the Old Testament prophets could do was to search for and predict the timing and nature of the events of the coming of the Messiah. But for us, we got it! It’s happened, it’s been preached, passed down and recorded in Holy Scripture.  When we respond to that prophetic message—Yeshua can save you—the Spirit of the Messiah himself causes us to be “born again” from above; and then the Holy Spirit makes His home in us, giving us an “anointing from the Holy One,” which leads us into all truth. (1 John 2:20, John 16:13).

This means that NT prophecy, and the gift/office of prophet is not what it used to be! We no longer predict the coming of Messiah, we proclaim it and prophetically call all men embrace it.

The Rock Comes Forth

Just look at Simon Peter (Rock) after Shavuot (Pentecost). Only 10 days earlier he still didn’t understand the gospel (see Acts 1:6-7), but moments after his immersion in the Holy Spirit, he speaks by the Spirit mysteries that had been hidden.

He quotes Joel about the outpouring. He quotes prophecies of King David, showing they were referring to the resurrection and the deity of Yeshua. He speaks like a world class theologian.

Seeing what was to come, [King David] spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.  God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (Acts 2:31-33)

Where is the man who is rebuking Yeshua for saying that he was going to be crucified? Where is the disciple who denied Yeshua three times? Peter is uneducated, but through the spirit of prophecy, he shares the testimony of Yeshua.

In Acts 3, after the healing the crippled man, he speaks of the end times in the most marvelous way.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Yeshua.  Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (3:19-21)

And before the Sanhedrin he was so intense and overpowering, they said:

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

Please go back and read Acts 2-4 and be amazed at how the Holy Spirt works through the uneducated Peter.

But what about False Prophets in the New Covenant?

The phrase false prophet is used 11 times in the New Testament, and it neverrefers to a believer. There is the False Prophet of the antichrist and Bar Jesus of Acts 13, “a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right!”and he was “seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.” (v. 8)

The other references refer to false messiahs and deceivers of the truth. Never, not once, is a child of God referred to as a false prophet—and yet, we know that every believer was encouraged to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1). So, if one claims that someone who makes a mistake in prophecy is a false prophet, they are claiming that he is an unbeliever, presently and always, in line with the devil, seeking to deceive the body—despite repentance, loving Yeshua and bearing fruit for the kingdom—which is absurd.

Furthermore, we must ask ourselves: are prophecy and prophets exactly the same under the New Covenant as the Old Covenant? If so, should one who prophesies presumptuously be put to death? (Duet. 18:20). If that is our conclusion, then a host of others should be killed. But there is a clear difference.

Every Believer Should Seek to Prophesy

In the Old Covenant, God spoke almost exclusively through prophets. In the New Covenant, every believer is encouraged to seek to prophesy:

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy…the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. (1 Cor. 14:1, 3)

The Greek word translated eagerly desire is zéloó—where we get our word zeal. It is an onomatopoetic word, meaning it sounds like itself (like buzz) and it sounds in Greek like “boiling water”. In other words, we are to be boiling over with zeal for the gifts of the Spirit (as we “follow the way of love”). It should be something we pray for every day.

Now, if someone who makes a mistake in prophecy is then cut off from the Lord and deserving of death, why, then, is the apostle seeking to put the everyday believer in such a precarious and perilous position by encouraging him or her to seek to prophesy? And, yet, we know that under the New Covenant, it is not just prophets who prophesy, but every believer can do so. That is Peter’s meaning in quoting Joel in Acts 2—that God’s Spirit is not just for prophets, but all flesh, meaning, any believer who is hungry.

Prophecy is an objective word from heaven, but it is highly filtered through the subjective lens of the human vessel—through our emotions, our intellect, our theology,  and even our wounds and presumptions. Paul said, “We look through a glass darkly” and “We know in part and we prophesy in part.” (1 Cor. 13) Paul also says, “If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith.” (Romans 12:6) So, there must be the possibility of prophesying beyond your faith or presumptuously, as in Deuteronomy. In such cases, leaders should deal with that, but with the goal of restoration, not repudiation.

Paul says, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all; hold on to what is good.” (1 Thess. 5:19-21) What about that which is not good—or bad—and the people who falsely or presumptuously prophesied? Did they kill them? Did they label them permanently as false prophets, excommunicating them from the body of believers?  It seems not.

Something has Changed

The argument is very simple. Michael Brown has a chapter in his 2018 book Playing With Holy Fire: A Wake-Up Call to the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church on the problems and pitfalls of prophecy. He simply says that the standards of I Cor. 14 show that other prophets and leaders weigh prophecy in the New Covenant, and there is no hint that there is a penalty for making a mistake.

Obviously, something has changed. It is simply to note that the consensus of the Charismatic and Pentecostal world (and its scholarship) is that New Covenant prophecy does not function in the same way as the Mosaic covenant standards. It is that all might learn to hear from God and that leaders would be responsible to confirm (or not).

Because they did not have the Scriptures in the way that we do today, the word of the prophet was much weightier. A missed word could be the difference between life and death. With the New Covenant and the fuller revelation of Yeshua and the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are less dependent on prophets today—though they are needed—and more dependent on hearing God through His word and in personal time in prayer.

Need for Accountability

Indeed, there are many self-proclaimed prophets who do damage and take advantage of the Lord’s people. There is a horrible lack of accountability when it comes to public prophecy. We must do better! Please do not take this writing as an excuse for the plethora of silliness that is out there when it comes to prophecy and prophets. But we cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater (or drown him for being a false prophet!).

So, are we going to take the position that anyone who is not 100% accurate is a false prophet? Or can one make a mistake, repent and ask God for forgiveness, and seek to grow? Does not God forgive such things? Or, are we then disqualified for life? We are for mercy, but that should not be interpreted as taking prophecy light. It is no small thing to declare that you are speaking for the Lord. And one who does so presumptuously in public should submit to discipline by other leaders.

Tone it Down

One thing we can do is tone down our proclamations. We rarely, if ever, say, “The Lord told me…,” but use language like, “I sense that God might be saying…,” “The Holy Spirit bore witness with my spirit,” or, “I felt led of the Spirit.”

Making proclamations such as “Thus says the Lord…” places one in a precarious position and will rightly invite rebuke if you are wrong. It is always better to tone down the way in which we deliver prophetic words.

Accept for the account of Agabus in Acts 21, we do not see New Testament prophets saying “This is what the Lord says…” Rather, James’ tone, and he was the most senior apostle, is more low key in Acts 15 when he says, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” (Acts 15:28)

Function of the New Testament Prophet

  • A prophet can know things by the Spirit (Peter knowing that Ananias and Sapphira lied [Acts 5]).
  • He can sense one’s calling by the Spirit (Ananias to Paul [Acts 9] Prophets to Barnabas and Saul [Acts 13:1]).
  • Strengthen the body (Silas and Judas [Acts 15, Eph. 4]).
  • Proclaim the word of God in power. (Many examples such as [Acts 2, 10]).
  • Predict the future (Paul predicts that the false prophet Bar Jesus will be blind [Acts 13] or Agabus predicts a famine [Acts 11:28]).
  • Proclaim judgment on a believer or unbeliever (with Ananias and Sapphira [Acts 5], and Bar Jesus [Acts 13]).
  • Weigh the prophetic words of other prophets and non-prophets (Acts 14).

Final Word

False prophets go to hell or, at least, invite “swift destruction upon themselves” (2 Peter 2:1). They do not go around the world preaching the gospel and loving Yeshua. False prophets lead people away from Yeshua, as do false teachers. Just as a teacher’s doctrine can change over time, and he can make mistakes in his exegesis and hermeneutics, so, too, can a believer make a mistake in prophesy, repent, and be restored.

There can be no question that the New Covenant brings a higher level of mercy in regards to mistakes in prophecy and that believers are never referred to as false prophets. (Click to Source)

 

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