Recently, there have been so many contradictory interpretations of scripture being proffered by self-appointed teachers that I've determined that there needs to be an objective test to keep everyone honest. I Peter 1:20-21 states that any true interpretation of scripture must come from the Holy Spirit, so I am proposing the following test:
If you don't have enough confidence in your interpretation to promise that if your interpretation is proven wrong, then you will confess that the Word of God has an error in it, then your interpretation is wrong. Period. No "if"s, "and"s, or "but"s!
You see, whenever the Holy Spirit speaks, His statement will always agree with scripture and unmistakably come from Him without any room for doubt. Because there is absolutely no room for doubt whenever the Holy Spirit speaks and because His statement will always agree with scripture, nobody who has an interpretation that really came from the Holy Spirit should have a problem with putting it all on the line. However, if there is so much as a bit of hesitation, then we know for a fact that the interpretation didn't come from the Holy Spirit and therefore, by I Peter 1:20-21, cannot possibly be true.
Every Christian is entitled to Christian liberty, but we are absolutely not entitled to open our big, fat mouths whenever we please. Let us take a moment to reflect upon the Bible's fine and most valuable advice on what to do when one is experiencing doubt about whether or not one should speak:
"Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent." (Proverbs 17:28)
"If only you could be silent! That's the wisest thing you could do." (Job 13:5)
"But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken." (Matthew 12:36)
"All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37)
"Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
"Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues." (Proverbs 10:19)
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (James 1:19)
Simply put, very rarely does anyone have anything to gain by speaking; most frequently, the absolute best thing that could happen if you speak is absolutely nothing. The same logic behind Pascal's wager applies here.
Forgive me, I think the language I used in this email was inappropriately strong. But I do think that the plethora of End Times Interpretations, both from the early age of Christianity to the present day, has made me feel extremely frustrated.
Here's another verse apropos of your complaint:
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James 3:1 NIV
It could be frustrating indeed, but it is apparently also necessary. Just as our Lord gave the crowds who were pleased to see His miracles but reluctant to open their hearts "everything in parables", so thereafter finding the truth, while never impossible, has never been completely easy either. That is no doubt to demonstrate in the case of the person searching that the search was genuine and a true reflection from their heart of wanting to know God's truth. Christians today, as they always have been, are personally responsible to for seeking and finding the truth, hearing, learning and believing the truth once found, and holding onto the truth in thought, word and deed thereafter. But since there is so much disinterest in the truth these days, even though there is great interest in entertainment (mega-church and/or charismatic style in particular: analogous to enjoying miracles but being unwilling to believe truth), it is no wonder that false teaching, poor teaching, doubt-plagued teaching, and various histrionics which only approximate teaching abound in our Laodicean age. In fact it has been prophesied:
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
2nd Timothy 4:3 NIV
But for those who truly have "chosen the better part" (Lk.10:42), the Lord always provides – even if it takes some effort to find, accept, learn and apply the truth by "eating" the spiritual food that has been genuinely provided.
Yours in the Name of the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Tonight I woke up almost in a cold sweat, or maybe I was in one, I do not know, having experienced a dream. I am not quite sure where to look on Ichthys for wherever you may speak of dreams, but I also wanted to email you about this anyway. I apologize if this email sounds scatter-minded, but I feel as though my mind is going in a dozen different directions at once. I'll try to put in as many details as I can before it all goes away, and I wish to see what you think of it.
I think I was someone else, or perhaps not, but [details omitted] . . .
I know that the Lord speaks to us in dreams, or is this a case of imagination and a 'dream just being a dream?' I wonder if the Lord is trying to send me a message through the dream, if that makes any sense? I apologize for this email being this long, but I wanted to make sure I put down as much detail as possible. I have had dreams before, some more realistic-feeling than others, but this one I just don't know what to make of. As I said, I know that the Lord sometimes (or all the time?) speaks to us in our dreams, and one of the first things I immediately thought of was recounting this tale to you.
Good to hear from you my friend. I keep you in my prayers day by day, and hope that things are going well for you and yours.
I do receive questions about dreams all the time, and will give you the links to where these things are discussed at Ichthys below. The passage you may be thinking of comes from Job:
For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, that he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
Job 33:14-17 KJV
This is said by one of Job's "poor comforters", but still is appropriate to take as doctrinal (cf. Paul's quoting of Eliphaz the Temanite's words at Job 5:13 at 1Cor.3:19); Job's friend's were not wrong about the truth in general but they were very wrong in misinterpreting Job's situation and in their application of the truth inappropriately to him. What this passage says is that God may indeed use dreams to dissuade us from an inappropriate course of action, and I think it is also true that dreams can be encouraging. The problems come when people try to interpret the details of dreams with too much specificity. For a dream to have very specific meaning, a meaning that gives directions or outlines specific courses of actions, is a very rare thing even in scripture. And every time one finds this in scripture, the dream is either very clear and comprehensible on its face (as to Abimelek in Genesis 20:3ff.), or else God provides a prophet to explain the dream (as with Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel). In other words, very specific dreams whose details are meant to be interpreted precisely are not being given today as far as we can discern from scripture, so it would be a mistake to read too much into the details (or probably to read anything into the details beyond a very clear message or encouragement or dissuasion).
I don't know of any biblical example of a disjointed dream filled with confusing detail (along the lines of what you relate and what I'm sure we have all experienced from time to time) that is later interpreted to yield important revelation or information from God. We all have this kind of dream, and occasionally such dreams may, as in your case, have a spiritual element. Personally, all I would be willing to take from such a dream is 1) comfort: God is reassuring us of His presence and power, and of His superintendence of all things, even our dreams, and 2) encouragement: we are starting in such cases to make the divine point of view so much a part of our thinking that it is overflowing even into our dreams.
In my opinion, the area of dreams is one where the Lord deliberately prevents the evil one from injecting anything "rational" that has to do with spiritual matters or might otherwise be (wrongly) interpreted as guidance (hence the confusing nature of such dreams as this – i.e., we can easily see the problems with building anything on them). In this time of the Church in particular, we are to get that direction from the truth contained in the Bible through the guidance of the Spirit rather than through miraculous, extra-biblical means. So I while I would have no problem with a brother or sister being comforted and encouraged by putative spiritual content in a dream (this happens rather a lot), I would be strongly disposed to recommend not drawing conclusions that are too specific, either about doctrinal principles or about guidance for one's life, from what may occur therein – and all the much more so when, as is almost always the case, the "message" of the dream is highly ambiguous. I think I can say with some authority that to the extent that the Lord is involved in allowing such dreams to occur, we are not meant to agonize over the interpretation of things which could, realistically speaking, never provide a convincing interpretation absent a prophet like Daniel or Joseph (of which there are none currently walking the earth). Here are those links:
Interpreting Dreams and Analyzing Prophetic Claims
What does the Bible say about Dreams and Visions?
Dreams, Visions, and the Interpretation of Prophecy
Scripture versus Personal Experience
How to interpret our dreams?
Dreams and demon influence
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Since it has been awhile since that night of the dream, I've been able to relax more and keep my mentality sound, letting myself see this with a cooler head and reasonable hindsight. I eventually found myself adopting the stance which you have spoken of: there are no prophets who can interpret dreams currently, like Daniel, and I do not have the way of thinking that Daniel did to even be able to begin to draw forth any conclusive messages from this dream, if any. I will just try to take the dream for what it is, and continue to keep running the race. Thank you for your insight in this matter. I really do appreciate the help you give me when I have questions, and need someone else's perspective on the matter.
You're most welcome. Sounds like a very mature and balanced response on your part. As I say, whenever there are spiritual dimensions in a dream, we are right to be encouraged by that fact alone. As long as we don't use dreams to contradict a) the truth we know from scripture, or b) what the Spirit is telling us in waking hours through our "spiritual common sense", we will be alright.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Brothers in Christ,
Greetings. I noticed that you mentioned the term "Easter" in one of your commentaries. Please explain, because it's been my understanding that the term was "inserted" in the gospel erroneously; and that it should read " Passover".
"Easter" is not a biblical word; it does not even occur in any translation of the Bible. The word occurs at Ichthys only when readers have asked about it, as in "Is it wrong for me to celebrate Easter?" (see the link). Easter is a Christian festival ordained by the early church (not scripture) meant to commemorate our Lord's death for us and resurrection (and as such it was and is scheduled in proximity to Passover when our Lord was crucified and rose from the dead).
Here are several other links to related issues:
The Last Passover
Easter Customs and True Christianity
Easter and Christ's "Three Days" in the Grave
How is the date of Easter computed?
Bible Interpretation II: Easter, Abiathar, the Hyssop-Blood Cross
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Thank you for the interesting read about the Holy Spirit. I have only read 25% of the material, but I will eventually finish it. However, while I was reading this, a few ideas came to me:
If you can recall Mark 9:38 & Luke 9:49, how was the individual able to cast out demons, in the name of Jesus, without receiving the Holy Spirit? Or how was he able to do this?
There is another interesting perspective on Jesus Christ's 1000 year reign, the tribulation, and since Jesus paid everyone's sin debt (including Adam & Eve's and the individuals who never had a chance to believe or utilize their faith\loyalty to Jesus), then these people will have a chance during His 1000 year reign. The author's name is Philip B. Brown and his New Wine System.
Mr. Brown's ideas can be read at www.newwine.org
I will finish reading the Holy Spirit article.
Thank you, and may God continue to bless you
You're most welcome – thanks much for your good words. As to your question, in neither place, Mark 9:38 or Luke 9:49, are we told whether or not the unnamed individual was actually successful in doing what he was trying to do; what is indicated there is the action of performing an exorcism ceremony of some sort, not necessarily an effective result. What this fellow was doing may very well have been exactly what the exorcists of Asia were doing in Acts 9:13ff. (that is my opinion). Secondly, since this person was attempting exorcism "in the Name of Jesus", all glory for the act (if successful) would have gone to the Lord (which is His point here in responding to the disciples). Thirdly, if there were any actual exorcism, it could have only been accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
1st Corinthians 12:3 NKJV
God empowered Cyrus the Great, even though he was not a believer – for the purpose of carrying out the Plan of God (Is.45:1-5); and God even uses evil spirits to accomplish all His good purposes (see the link). So it shouldn't seem too surprising if this exorcist who probably was not saved might have been allowed to cast out demons "in Jesus' Name" – to advance the cause of the truth. It's just that there is no evidence that he was successful (and if not his case would be almost precisely parallel to the Jewish exorcists at Ephesus mentioned above). Finally, as our Lord Himself makes very clear, ridding a person of a demon or demons is of no particular value without the person being saved, because the demon(s) may well come back in that case:
"When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."
Matthew 12:43-45 NIV (cf. Lk.11:24-26)
As to the Millennium, there will undoubtedly be many who survive the Tribulation as unbelievers who do become believers in the Millennium – although all who took the name of the beast will be cleansed from the earth at the beginning of our Lord's 1,000 year reign as part of the "thunder judgments" (see the link: "The Baptism of Fire").
In our dear Lord Jesus Christ,
Could you please also explain to me Galatians 1:8's meaning?
Paul is telling us that even if someone of the greatest possible authority tells us something different from what we have learned and believed in scripture, we should not accept it. That is a good lesson. It means that even if everyone you know tells you something you know isn't true, your job is to stick with the truth.
In Him who is the Truth, our Savior Jesus Christ.
I love reading, and searching for truth, and I found none in your article the personality of the holy spirit. It amazes me how you people go to such great distance to distort the truth, specially when the truth is plainly right in front of you.
Jesus was not referring to any holy spirit in the gospel of John, Jesus was speaking about another (allos) one like him, another human being.
I am not a Muslim, and I am here to tell you that your time is up, you have had almost 2000 years to get this right, but I see you are all still struggling to understand something so simple. It amazes me how you all claim to have some holy spirit teacher inside of you, yet you still can't understand a simple teaching, you have all err and you are all blind, why, because you do not use logic to think.
The hour has come, I am in charge now, and I will reveal the real meaning of The Parakletos and this spirit of truth.
I have a video on YouTube, search for it under The Parakletos, watch it over and over until you understand at least enough to question your own previous understanding of the subject.
I am The Parakletos, I am the one Jesus spoke of.
I'm not interested in your video. I have the Bible – which is plain enough for me and anyone who really does love the truth (as opposed to just saying so).
(16) I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter to be with you forever – (17) [He is] the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, for it neither sees Him, nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He abides with you, and will be in you.
John 14:16-17 (cf. Jn.15:26; 16:13; 1Jn.4:6)
Whoever you are, you are not "the Comforter" (Matt.24:11; 1Jn.4:1). You are not God.
There is no salvation apart from faith in Jesus Christ, faith in His perfect person, human and divine, and faith in His perfect work on the cross in dying in the fiery darkness for the sins of the entire world.
Why don't you tell that to everyone that comes to your site. Why don't you tell them that they don't need your website, that they have the bible and the holy spirit to teach them. If the bible is so plain and easy to understand like you say, why do you have to do a website, why do you have to comment or teach the bible.
You wrote: " (17) [He is] the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, for it neither sees Him, nor knows Him"
You and only you inserted that [He is] in verse 17. That is not in the originals manuscripts.
Don't you know that you are not suppose to add or take away from the word of God.
That is such a distortion of the word of God, if God had meant for those two words to be there, he would have placed them there.
You forced that in there because you believe in a trinity, and you have a bias opinion of the word of God.
The only He there, is the Parakletos, not some spirit.
You can continue with your arrogance, but I am in charge, and when I go fully public, I will put you and the likes of you to shame.
You need to humble yourself, and repent of your arrogance, and God will forgive you.
I am The Parakletos and there's nothing you can do about it.
You have been warned.
I use square brackets to complete the meaning of verses in the same way that the KJV uses italics (see the link: "How to use the Bible translations at Ichthys"). Wherever you see italics in the KJV it means that, while the word(s) is not present in the original Greek or Hebrew, the translators have added those English words in order to make the true meaning of the original Greek or Hebrew (as the translators have understood it) understandable in English. That is not deception; that is translation. All languages are different so that there is no such thing as a "precise" translation. That is why knowing the original languages is so important . . . for anyone teaching the Bible.
As to John 14:17, KJV does the same thing I do, translating "Even the Spirit of truth" – adding "even" (in italics) to make it clear that the Holy Spirit is meant here by our Lord when He speaks of the Paraklete. This is legitimate inasmuch as that is what the Greek text means. And even if we removed my "[He is]" and/or KJV's "even", the translation in English still makes it clear enough that the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, is the Paraklete. So it's an unfair criticism on your part. Trying here to divorce the two – the Holy Spirit and His title, "Paraklete" ("the One who encourages") is the mistake (or deception, depending on motivation).
As to needing or not needing Bible teaching, all Christians who are not prepared, practicing Bible teachers need Bible teaching as well as Bible reading. All Christians have the Spirit and most have the Bible (today); these two are sufficient for growing to a certain point but spiritual maturity requires solid food which only substantive, orthodox Bible teaching can provide. With the Spirit and the Bible, however, all Christians are able to find a good source of teaching – as well as to avoid deceptive teachers (such as yourself). That requires really wanting to find the one and avoid the other, however, and since we live in the final era of the Church, the era of Laodicea, there is not only much deception abroad but much willingness to embrace it.
Finally, the fact that you do not believe in the Trinity marks you out as an unbeliever. Jesus Christ must be accepted as the Son of God, fully divine as well as truly human, for salvation, since that is who and what He is: it is only as the God-man that He was able to die for the sins of the world – it is by His blood that we are saved (i.e., His spiritual death for all the sins of the world).
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!
We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God!
2nd Corinthians 5:20b NIV
Our God is a God of mercy, but the stiff-necked reject that mercy to their own destruction (Is.26:10). Please do not persevere in that number but repent and return to God, accepting His Son our Lord Jesus as the only Savior who died for your sins.
In Jesus Christ the LORD.
Another year lies before us and I hope that it will provide good things for both you and me and indeed the World. I passed a church decorated with a poster recently which invited the passerby to step inside for a top up of their faith. How interesting I thought that the Church needs people to survive. And of course to realise that people also need the church themselves in order to survive. But it is even more interesting to realise that God also needs mankind to survive.
You never cease to amaze me, Friend!
God exists outside of time and space – He needs nothing from us or anyone (or anything) else. Indeed, there is nothing we could ever do "for Him".
However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:
"Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the LORD,
Or what is the place of My rest?
Has My hand not made all these things?" [Isaiah 60:1-2]
Acts 7:48-50 NKJV
In fact, "God needs me" is the ultimate in the series of the three satanic lies (see the link). After a person wrongly concludes (like Satan), that "I don't need God" (and therefore am independent of Him and His WILL), what follows is "I am like God" (and therefore am actually now on an equal footing with my Maker so I will make my own decisions about everything regardless of His WILL), and finally this: "God needs me" – which makes a person superior to God, since beyond all argument the one blessing is superior to the one being blessed (Heb.7:7). For that reason, there is no functional difference between saying "God needs me" and "I am God". No doubt Satan rationalized his conspiracy as a "help" to God – whereas in reality it is a (foolhardy) attempt to replace God and eject Him from His own creation. Arrogance is at the root of all three of these lies; while they may end up deceiving others (as in the case of the devil who has been deceiving his followers, human and angelic, since the beginning of his revolt), they also inevitably end up deceiving the practitioner (that is the only way to explain how the devil thinks he has any chance of winning against God).
The world is headed for terrible trouble in a very short time (the Tribulation); in the course of those seven years, Babylon will be destroyed and mankind worldwide will become "as rare as gold of Ophir" (Is.13:12).
Here's wishing you and everyone a heartfelt desire to know and love the truth – it's the only way to be safe (in this life and in the next).
In Jesus Christ, the One Way of salvation,
Thanks for your interesting replies. As it happens I know nothing about '3 Satanic Lies.' So I shall peruse the link/article with interest. However, in your answer, in respect of my "Does God Need Mankind?" you say that:
"God exists outside of time and space -- He needs nothing from us or anyone (or anything) else. Indeed, there is nothing we could ever do for him."
Actually Bob, the Bible contradicts the view that God has no need of Mankind. Witness God's recruitment of Moses and the tasks he needed him for. And of course there was Noah whom God needed to build an impossible boat.
God could have done everything without any assistance from us. He could have created us and the angels in perfection and with no capability to sin. In that case, however, we would not be "us" in any true sense. We had to have a genuine choice, genuinely free will, for us to be "who we are". The world is the place where we demonstrate our true allegiances and our true desires. For those who reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, these have ample opportunity to change their minds, or to demonstrate the resolution of their choice against God – preferring to be their own "gods" rather than submit to His gracious will – so that there will be no doubt whatsoever at the last judgment but that their condemnation is just in every way. For those of us who choose for God, gratefully accepting the Substitute who died for the sins we were neither worthy nor capable of expiating, God provides opportunities to demonstrate the depth of our commitment and the level of determination to serve Him which we are willing to apply (as the basis of eternal rewards):
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
Noah will be greatly rewarded, as will Moses. The work they did could have been performed in an instant by the Lord who made the entire universe without effort in the blink of an eye. But they were given the opportunity to demonstrate their exceptional devotion to the truth and to the Lord who bought them from death. There were plenty of ways to deliver the handful of believers from the universal flood, but the ark was a way of showing the whole world, men and angels both, the goodness and grace of God – those swept away had many years to consider the witness of the ark "abuilding" before the rain began and repent. There were plenty of ways for the Lord in whose hands is the life of every human being to thwart Pharaoh's attempts to keep the Israelites enslaved. But the plagues administered by Moses' hand and the final destruction at the Red Sea showed beyond any question the power of God and the grace of God in the face of unbridled arrogance and irresistible power (irresistible from the human point of view), being mediated by a mere human being.
All things happen for a reason. Those who rely on the Lord instead of on themselves understand that God is good and therefore that His reasons are always good as well – even if we do not always immediately understand:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 ESV
Yours in the dear Lord Jesus who came into this world and died to save us.
Thank you for your interesting comments and reply. Two passing thoughts have intrigued me. First why was Mary, the mother of Jesus ever present at his crucifixion? Second: The position of the Jews in God's eyes. Did not God declare that the Jews were his chosen people and that he would be a god to them. was it not in this regard that he assaulted Pharaoh with all manner of punishments that Pharaoh might let his people go. Yet, in AD 70 he lifted not a finger to prevent the slaughter of his people or destruction of his Holy city by the Roman armies. Even in more modern times he lifted not a finger to prevent the near annihilation of his chosen people from the Nazis. Apparently God has a whole legion of Angels at his command yet he is has never been known to use them-I wonder why?
On the first question, I'm not sure why you find it necessary to have an explanation. If you were to be executed, wouldn't your mother show up?
On the second, God can do anything. The Jewish nation of Jesus' day rejected the Savior of the world. They were, as a nation, disciplined in this special way precisely because they are special – and being special has responsibilities as well as privileges. In all their travails, however, God has always preserved them, even in their unbelief. And those of Israel who have become believers have been the greatest believers of all time. The Bible is entirely a Jewish-penned document . . . inspired by the Holy Spirit of course.
The time will come when Israel will return to the Lord, even though during this present age, the Age of the Church, she is experiencing a "hardness in part" (Rom.11:25). This return will begin during the soon-to-come Tribulation under the aegis of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, and will become a flood when their countrymen see Jesus return, looking upon "Him whom they pierced". For details about the regathering of Israel during the early days of the millennial kingdom, see the link.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior, the One Way of salvation.
I was sent this by a friend on a doctrine of oneness teaching and what he believes. I was told by him that I was never really truly not reborn if I didn't get baptized in Jesus only. I was reborn nearly twenty years ago when I fully understood the meaning of repentance and accepted Jesus as my savior and was baptized in The Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
I went over this some of this. Seems things are twisted in how they teach. Doing away with the Father and the Holy Spirit – it's far fetched if you know what I mean. Have you heard the word called Modalism? Do you have and notes on the matter of the teachings of UPC or any other oneness teaching?
Our Doctrinal Foundation: "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" (Acts 2:42).
The Importance of Doctrine: Doctrine simply means the teaching of God’s Word. In our day most people do not want sound doctrine, but they want preachers who will make them feel good (II Timothy 4:3). Nevertheless, we must love, cherish, and obey the Word of God. Merely knowing and accepting the truth is not enough; in order to escape deception and condemnation we must have a love for the truth (II Thessalonians 2:10-12). Therefore, Paul admonished ministers: "Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.... Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (I Timothy 4:13, 16). "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (II Timothy 4:2). By becoming established in truth, we fulfill the scriptural admonitions (1) to be studious (diligent) workers approved of God, who are not ashamed but who rightly divide (correctly handle) the Word of truth (II Timothy 2:15); (2) to use Scripture profitably for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16); (3) to be strong in our beliefs rather than tossed about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14); and (4) to give answers to everyone who asks about our faith (I Peter 3:15). Some erroneously suppose that study deadens spirituality, but a sincere, prayerful study of biblical doctrine will enhance spirituality. In fact, true spirituality can only develop from a solid understanding of God’s Word. The truth sets us free spiritually (John 8:32). The more we comprehend divine principles, the more God’s power will operate in our lives and in our churches. Another erroneous assumption is that there is little connection between belief and conduct. To the contrary, inadequate or false views will definitely affect our choices and actions. The more we assimilate divine principles, the more Christ-like we will become in daily life. The way to attain maturity in the faith is to have a balance of doctrine and spirituality. We must be zealous to hear, read, and study God’s Word, and we must be equally zealous to pray, worship God, and have fellowship with one another.
The Apostolic Message: What important doctrines did the apostles proclaim? What should we believe, obey, and love? For an initial answer, let us look briefly at the apostle Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost. It is important for several reasons: it was the first sermon of the New Testament church (i.e., after the outpouring of the Spirit), Jesus had ordained Peter to open the doors of the kingdom of heaven with this message, it had the simultaneous support of all twelve apostles, and it succinctly proclaims how to enter the New Testament church.
The doctrine of God: There is one true God, as proclaimed in the Old Testament, and in the last days He wants to pour out His Spirit upon everyone. (See Acts 2:17; Deuteronomy 6:4.)
The doctrine of Jesus Christ: Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for our salvation. He is both Lord and Messiah—both the one true God and the sinless, perfect, anointed Man through whom God reveals Himself to us. In other words, Jesus is the Lord Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, manifested in flesh to be our Savior. (See Acts 2:21-36; Colossians 2:9-10.)
The doctrine of salvation: We enter into the New Testament church through faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, repentance from sin, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial sign of tongues. (See Acts 2:1-4, 36-39; 11:13-17.)
The doctrine of holiness and Christian living: We must separate ourselves from sin and worldly values and dedicate ourselves to God and His will. The new life of holiness will transform us both inwardly and outwardly. It is characterized by prayer, fellowship, giving, joyful worship, miraculous gifts of the Spirit, and evangelism. (See Acts 2:40, 42-47; Hebrews 12:14.)
The doctrine of eternal judgment: The Lord is coming back for His people. The righteous will inherit eternal life; the unrighteous will inherit eternal death. (See Acts 2:19-21; Revelation 22:12-21.) In our day, the Apostolic Pentecostal movement is distinctive for its teaching of the Oneness of God, the New Testament plan of salvation, and aspects of practical holiness.
The Oneness of God: God is absolutely and indivisibly one (Deuteronomy 6:4; Galatians 3:20). In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). He is the self-revelation of the one God, the incarnation of the full, undivided Godhead (John 20:28; I Timothy 3:16). God has revealed Himself as Father (in parental relationship to humanity), in the Son (in human flesh), and as the Holy Spirit (in spiritual action). (See Deuteronomy 32:6 and Isaiah 63:16; Luke 1:35 and Galatians 4:4; Genesis 1:2 and Acts 1:8.) The one God existed as Father, Word, and Spirit before His incarnation as Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and while Jesus walked on earth as God Himself incarnate, the Spirit of God continued to be omnipresent. However, the Bible does not teach that there are three distinct centers of consciousness in the Godhead or that Jesus is one of three divine persons. Jesus is true God and true man as one divine-human person. We can distinguish these two aspects of Christ’s identity, but we cannot separate them. The Incarnation joined the fullness of deity to complete humanity. Jesus possessed all elements of authentic humanity as originally created by God, without sin. Thus we can speak of Jesus as human in body, soul, spirit, mind, and will. (See Matthew 26:38; Luke 2:40; 22:42; 23:46; Philippians 2:5.) According to the flesh, Jesus was the biological descendant of Adam and Eve, Abraham, David, and Mary. (See Genesis 3:15; Romans 1:3; Galatians 3:16; Hebrews 2:14-17; 5:7-8.) We should not speak of two spirits in Jesus, however, but of one Spirit in which deity and humanity are joined. Christ’s humanity means that everything we humans can say of ourselves, we can say of Jesus in His earthly life, except for sin. In every way that we relate to God, Jesus related to God, except that He did not need to repent or be born again. Thus, when Jesus prayed, submitted His will to the Father, and spoke about God, He simply acted in accordance with His genuine humanity. As Jehovah manifested in the flesh, Jesus is the only Savior (Isaiah 45:21-23; Matthew 1:21-23). Thus, Jesus is the only name given for our salvation (Acts 4:12). The Father was revealed to the world in the name of Jesus, the Son was given the name of Jesus at birth, and the Holy Spirit comes to believers in the name of Jesus. (See Matthew 1:21; John 5:43; 14:26; 17:6.) Thus, the apostles correctly fulfilled Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19 to baptize "in the name [singular] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" by baptizing all converts with the invocation of the name of Jesus.
New Testament Salvation: Salvation is by grace through faith and not by human works (Ephesians 2:8-9). The doctrine of grace means that salvation is a free gift from God, which humans cannot merit or earn; in other words, salvation is God’s work in us. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ have made this gift available. The doctrine of faith means that we receive God’s saving work by trusting in Jesus Christ. Faith is more than mental assent, intellectual acceptance, or verbal profession; it includes trust, reliance, appropriation, and application. Faith is alive only through response and action; we cannot separate faith from obedience. (See Matthew 7:21-27; Romans 1:5; 6:17; 10:16; 16:26; II Thessalonians 1:7-10.) Saving faith, then, is (1) acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the means of salvation and (2) obedience to that gospel (application or appropriation of that gospel). The gospel of Jesus Christ is His death, burial, and resurrection for our salvation (I Corinthians 15:1-4). On the Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the New Testament church, the apostle Peter preached the first gospel sermon to the crowds who had gathered to observe the Spirit-filled believers as they spoke in tongues and worshiped God. He proclaimed the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Convicted of their sins by his simple yet powerful message, the audience cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). Peter, with the support of the other apostles, gave a precise, complete, and unequivocal answer: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). As this verse shows, we respond to the gospel, obey the gospel, or apply the gospel to our lives by repentance from sin (death to sin), water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ (burial with Christ), and receiving the Holy Spirit (new life in Christ). (See Romans 6:1-7; 7:6; 8:2, 10.) This response is the biblical expression of saving faith in Jesus Christ. (See Mark 1:15; 16:16; John 7:37-39; Acts 11:15-17.) This threefold experience, viewed as an integrated whole, brings regeneration, justification, and initial sanctification. (See I Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5.) Baptism of water and Spirit is the birth of water and Spirit, the born-again experience of which Jesus spoke in John 3:3-5. The three steps are not human works that earn salvation but divine works of salvation in human lives. Thus, Acts 2:38 is the comprehensive answer to an inquiry about New Testament conversion, expressing in a nutshell the proper response to the gospel. Not only did Jews from many nations on the Day of Pentecost receive the Acts 2:38 experience, but so did all other converts in the New Testament, including the Samaritans, the apostle Paul, the Gentiles at Caesarea, and the disciples of John at Ephesus. In each case, believers were baptized with the invocation of the name of Jesus, even some who had previously been baptized another way. (See Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:3-5; 22:16.) The Epistles also allude repeatedly to the Jesus Name formula. (See Romans 6:3-4; I Corinthians 1:13; 6:11; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12.) Moreover, the examples in Acts show that the baptism of the Spirit is for everyone and is accompanied by the initial sign of tongues. (See Acts 2:4; 10:44-47; 19:6.) The experience signified by tongues is the promised outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:6-17, 33).
The Life of Holiness: The pursuit of holiness is essential to the Christian life. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). God commands us to be holy in all our conduct because He is holy (I Peter 1:15-16). Being holy is a process of growth as we conform to the character and will of God. Although we are imperfect, we are growing into maturity. Throughout this process, we are holy in the sense of (1) separation from sin and (2) dedication to God. (See Romans 12:1-2; II Corinthians 6:17-7:1.) Holiness is both inward and outward. (See I Corinthians 6:19-20; II Corinthians 7:1; I Thessalonians 5:23.) Thus, it encompasses thoughts and attitudes as well as conduct, speech, amusements, and dress. The practices of holiness separate us from the world’s value system, namely, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). Holiness is not a means of earning salvation but a result of salvation. We do not manufacture our own holiness, but we are partakers of God’s holiness (Hebrews 12:10). We are not saved by adherence to certain rules but by our faith relationship with Jesus Christ, which issues forth in obedience and produces spiritual fruit. The Christian life is one of liberty, not legalism. Instead of following the external law, we are motivated internally by faith, love, and the Holy Spirit, which produce greater dedication and power than the law could impart. Christians have freedom to make personal choices in nonmoral matters, but liberty does not negate moral law or scriptural teaching. (See Romans 6:15; 14; Galatians 5:13.) All true holiness teachings are based on Scripture—whether specific statements or valid applications of principles to contemporary situations. We learn holiness from the inspired Word of God, anointed pastors and teachers who proclaim and apply the Word, and internal promptings and convictions of the Holy Spirit. Holiness begins in the heart, as we develop the fruit of the Spirit, put away ungodly attitudes, and embrace wholesome thoughts. (See Galatians 5:19-23; Ephesians 4:23-32; II Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8.) Holiness includes proper stewardship of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are not to become gluttonous or use substances that defile, intoxicate, or addict. (See I Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:12, 19-20.) We are to use our tongue for wholesome speech. (See James 1:26; 3:1-2; 4:11; 5:12.) We are to guard our eyes from evil. (See Psalm 101:2-3; 119:37; Matthew 6:22-23.) Because of the widespread display of evil in modern media, we must be particularly mindful of the dangers associated with television ownership, movies, and the Internet. Holiness extends to outward appearance and dress. (See Deuteronomy 22:5; I Corinthians 11:13-16; I Timothy 2:8-10.) Biblical principles here include (1) modesty, (2) avoidance of personal ornamentation (ornamental jewelry and makeup), (3) moderation in cost, and (4) distinction between male and female in dress and hair. Women are to let their hair grow long instead of cutting it, while men are to cut their hair noticeably short. Other important aspects of holiness include justice and mercy in personal and social relationships; the sanctity of marriage and sexual relationships only within the marriage of one man and one woman; the sanctity of human life; honesty and integrity; wholesome fellowship, unity, accountability, and mutual submission to godly authority in the body of Christ; and regulation of amusements. Holiness is an integral part of our salvation from the power and effects of sin. It is part of abundant life, a joyful privilege, a blessing from God’s grace, a glorious life of freedom and power. The life of holiness fulfills God’s original intention and design for humanity. For the Spirit-filled believer, holiness is the normal—indeed the only—way to live.
When I read, "the Bible does not teach that there are three distinct centers of consciousness in the Godhead or that Jesus is one of three divine persons", I shudder. There is much about this document you paste in here that seems fine enough, but quotes like this one make it clear that the group in question is introducing heretical teaching, even if ambiguously and subtly so. They don't seem to be full-blown Modalists (from what I read here), but that is the effect of trying to reduce the definite, biblical distinctions between the members of the Trinity. As an aside, water-baptism is not necessary for salvation (or even a helpful thing, in my view, since in the Bible it is always John's baptism for Israel which looked forward to the Messiah – but He has now already come), so the formula used for something extraneous to true Christianity is of no moment. However, as you notice, this is another symptom of the problems with the belief-system here. Finally, this group also strays off the road where it wants to make "holiness" the motor for the engine of spiritual growth. That is getting things exactly backwards (in the manner of the Pharisees). Many groups (and all cults) teach this mistaken idea; in fact, holiness, along with all other aspects of a good Christian walk, has to come from the inside out: growth by the truth produces sanctification and all other good things for those willing to grow Jesus' way. Forcing a pattern on believers from the outside may lead to giving good impressions to Sunday visitors but the sin and evil will continue to lurk beneath the whitewash if there is no genuine growth.
Here are a few links at Ichthys which may prove of some use to you:
The Modalism heresy
The "oneness" doctrine
The Trinity (in BB 1)
The Hebrew Word for 'One' and the Uniqueness of God
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Was Adam made immortal or eternal when God created him?
Good to make your acquaintance.
Adam was, as far as we can tell, created perfect. Since death only came about through eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we can presume that through continually eating of the tree of life and avoiding that other tree Adam and Eve would have endured to this day in the same status and situation . . . unless and until they sinned. Blessedly, in the resurrection we will not have any such limitations nor any such further temptations.
Here is a link where these things are discussed in detail: "The Creation of Man".
Looking forward to that glorious day to come!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I am humbled that you took your precious time to respond to me. I have thanked God many times for your life and work. You have fed many who, like me, hunger to understand His Word and who have no one to teach them. Just want to say thank-you. Am studying the reference material you suggested.
It was disturbing to me to hear a couple say in Bible Study that : Adam was made in Gods Image, and since Adam sinned, God must be somehow flawed. This was from older people in the church. How is it possible that they could believe this after going to church for years? I ventured to say that Adam was perfect, and a former pastor there said I was incorrect. Adam was not eternal he was immortal. I had/have no idea where he was going with that. The class went overtime so it shortly disbanded. The couple's heresy was not addressed, nor was there really time to do so. It would seem that one does not know what they are getting when they go to an independent church (to which I go on account of family rather than through personal preference).
You are most welcome. For what it is worth, I agree with your point of view entirely. It is very difficult these days to find any church, independent or denominational, where the Word is taught in an orthodox, substantive way. As a result, the "Bible I.Q." of most Christians in our Laodicean era is appallingly low. Of course, that is as much of a demand problem as it is a supply problem. As with national leadership, people tend to get what they really want . . . and what they really deserve.
Keep fighting the good fight of faith – and feel free to write back any time.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I hope that you do not take my email as an attack against you. I find your teaching to be more than adequate (in fact I find it excellent!), but at the same time, there are several facts that I occasionally wrestle with to accept, because I find them to be somewhat offensive (to my ego?)
Also, when I am resurrected, I'm not sure if being a king, ruler, overseer, or middle-manager over people would be enjoyable, because I find absolutely no joy whatsoever in telling other people what to do. I would rather learn, explore, and adapt, which is why I imagine myself as finding more joy in the participation of human history rather than its oversight. However, it is entirely possible that I simply have bad taste when it comes to joy, and that being a king, ruler, overseer, or middle-manager is objectively better than being an explorer and builder, so I wouldn't be so stubborn as to reject Christ's best will for me.
Don't worry about me (and thanks for your good words). I have said before that you are an exceptionally straight-forward individual. That makes it easier in this case to "diagnose" a spiritual problem. You are a math guy, so let me try to put this in numerical terms: I can assure you that what is on the other side will be only addition without any subtraction; rather it will be massive multiplication to a degree not quantifiable. The blessings on the other side will never come to an end (everything here does). The blessings on the other side will be 100% light and no part darkness. The blessings on the other side will be completely appreciated by us, since we will be perfect and eternal and have no sin nature, and will have a perfect capacity to appreciate all we are given. Eternity will be all gain and no loss – for believers. Whatever we may imagine as uncomfortable or annoying or displeasing – for whatever reason – is only a function of our present ignorance of the glories soon to be and our present incapacities. In eternity, we will not know what unhappiness is; we will know only joy (cf. Rev.7:17; 21:4). How great the joy will be, how wonderful are "the things God has prepared for those who love him" (1Cor.2:9) cannot in any way be appreciated in this life, so great is our ignorance. We can only "salute them from afar" (Heb.11:13) . . . but we do have to trust God that it is so when He says it is so.
There is good reason too why we cannot know in this world how awful hell is and how ecstatically wonderful heaven will be – so that our choices here may be genuine. For unbelievers, distaste for heaven always resolves itself into one key fact: a disinclination to worship/serve God (whether passively expressed in most cases or as with Satan actively expressed in rebellion in others): unbelievers find the prospect of heaven distasteful because God will be there . . . and they know it. When believers express distaste for eternity, a more common thing than might be imagined, it is a different problem, one with two complementary sides: a) doubts about whether "goody goody heaven" will be as much "fun" as this world can be (in their limited, worldly view); and b) a corresponding, subtle lack of trust in the Lord that He really does have their best interests at heart. Loving this world too much is a problem. There are plenty of interesting things "here below", and some of them can be indulged in by believers to no great spiritual disadvantage as long as our priorities are straight, that is, just as long as Jesus is really first in our hearts, and just as long as we appreciate what we have been given to enjoy because He gave it (and would sooner lose everything than the slightest bit of our relationship with Him).
Everything "down here" is dust, when all is said and done, however. There is no true happiness to be had on this earth apart from spiritual happiness (and the basics common to all: e.g., Eccl.2:24; 3:12; 3:22; 8:15; 9:9). Believers need to understand that when they are happy, that when they are engaged in some non-sinful activity that gives them pleasure, they only have the capacity to enjoy it in the first place because the Lord gave them the activity, the capacity and everything else necessary to feel the joy they feel. When that joy is focused first and foremost on the Giver and the true Gift, we can appreciate God's other blessings to us without getting ourselves "flipped" spiritually upside down.
I have no doubt whatsoever that our Lord knows you better than you know yourself, and that what He has in mind for you in the next life will thrill your heart beyond anything presently imaginable. As with all things in the Christian life, this is a matter of faith. But then, we know "whom it is we have believed in" (2Tim.1:12) – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the truth itself, and has proved Himself true and trustworthy and faithful to us, times without number. We have entrusted everything to Him, our lives and life eternal. We can certainly be completely confident that all that is to come will be as wonderful and the One who opened up the door of salvation for us . . . by paying the price beyond prices to purchase us from the grave that we might live with Him in glory forever.
In eager anticipation of being with our Lord, "which is much better by far" (Phil.1:23),
I have determined that a Christian cannot practice idolatry unless he actually believes that using an Ouija board or doing yoga will connect to the false god(s) in question.
I will go even further: drawing a pentagram, lighting candles, saying mystic chants in Latin, and sacrificing a goat to Jupiter isn't idolatry, unless you actually believe that doing so is. (And the case of others believing it to be true is irrelevant, because nobody alive today is a Roman pagan.)
Recently, evangelicals have been protesting yoga because it involves poses taken directly from Hindu scriptures. I'm sorry to say this, but if you believe that the only thing keeping you from Hell is your abstaining from practices which have a pagan origin, then chances are that you need to be far more concerned about Hell than the Christians should (in your mind) be. In fact, I would heavily suspect that you are not even a believer in Jesus. Absent God the Father's extremely gracious forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh, God has every right to send you to Hell right now, so it is purely His grace and love for you that He doesn't.
No one on Earth is Jesus Christ at the moment, so these people should stop using the stupid WWJD cliche. Only Lucifer himself would have the pride to think of God as his equal.
Christians are bound by the law of love, which is this: love God and love your neighbor. If others believe that you are engaging in worship, or if you think that it is worship, you have broken the law of love. But if others think that playing a video game engages in worship or if you think that it is worship, it is just as bad.
At the same time though, do we want to confess with our actions that there is another way to Christ?
In principle what you say is true, and being too legalistic about these matters is clearly problematic; then again, your final statement is a good one and needs to be taken into consideration as well: "do we want to confess with our actions that there is another way to Christ". Is there really a Christian out there who doesn't understand that using Tarot cards (e.g.) is problematic? As with many things in the Christian life, balance is very important (as your final statement recognizes). Eating meat sacrificed to idols is not a problem for those who understand the truth, but for those who don't, eating it destroys their conscience, and for that reason we who do understand should still, out of love, refrain in the presence of our weaker brothers and sisters (Rom.14:1ff.; 1Cor.8:1ff.). The truth lies somewhere in the middle. I don't think a Christian regardless of knowledge can get involved in the long list of clearly idolatrous activities one could mention and do so with impunity; on the other hand, it really is what is going on in our hearts that is the key. So if we are truly playing Ouija "for Jesus", it would be OK, I suppose (though I'm having a hard time imagining that scenario). If we are not really serious at all about any demon activity, it might not be "not OK". But why do it? This gets to your WWJD observation, with which I certainly agree. We are not Jesus, we are not anywhere close to being Him, and even if we were walking with Him in complete maturity, closer than Peter or John or Paul, our role in this life at this juncture in the plan of God is so different from His that the question is foolish. The real question, the one apropos of your larger point, is "what would Jesus have me do?" On that score, most of the things talked about above can be illuminated by this question, honestly responded to. For we know what our Lord wants: our spiritual growth, spiritual progress in our walk with Him, and spiritual production for His Church. Everything that contributes to this is a plus; everything that does not, while it may not be a minus (depending), is by definition at least not contributing to His purpose for our lives. We all have free will. How we use it at any given moment and at every specific moment will be the basis of our evaluation before Him on that great day of days.
In the One who died for all our sins, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Do you know anything about this book:
Introduction to The Unknown God, "AIN SOPH" by Fred. J. MAYER ?
I am interested in how you think he treats the Hebrew, his understanding of it. It seems to be an obscure book and the Web site where it is hosted treats the contents totally different to how I interpret the author's understanding. Now, I know that you are busy and I do not expect you to read it all but, I very much would appreciated YOUR review of a little of it. The author describes how the Hebrew of Moses should be 'interpreted' in reading Genesis's first three chapters (Maybe you have read it or at least heard of it).
Just to see your response of any kind will let me know that you, my brother, is still with me, will be good enough for me.
In brotherly love, in Jesus,
Good to hear from you. I did take a look at this link – I did not read it all (not that this would probably matter). This work is best considered to belong to the genre of "theosophy", a term generally employed for learned (or learned-sounding) works which are neither truly theological nor philosophical, but which make their own hermetic rules for their own purposes in dealing with both disciplines. While philosophy rarely has any true spiritual content (in terms born again Christians might benefit from), and while theology often is wrong-headed (depending upon who is doing the theologizing), theosophy, while it may be attractive, interesting, and stimulating is always characterized by an absence of genuine truth and the inclusion of much dangerous error, even though it skirts the one and conceals the other, often in a very tantalizing way. Such is the case here.
A main characteristic of all things theosophical is a tendency to hide "the point" at each and every turn. This technique has the effect of heightening the interest in it because those who are drawn in by its attractiveness will have much time and effort invested when and if they ever get to "the point" and will be that much more inclined to accept it. This device also allows for a very plastic and flexible application of the half-truths the writing in question contains, and the net effect of that is to permit the use widely and broadly of the theories being advanced. Such is the case here on both counts. I skimmed my way through multiple chapters and could not find anywhere where the author pins himself down on basic questions, such as "is there really a God?"; if so, "what is He really like?"; and "what is the point of creation?" – not side issues for a book that purports to give us the "truth" about Genesis where others have failed (especially since author hints around these issues at every turn without ever committing himself). If he never does/did get to "the point", this work could be equally embraced by deists and evolutionists alike, since the "truths" would seem to be plastic enough to admit both ideas (if author's theory of things would even be able to discriminate between the two).
You asked about the Hebrew. Here is a very telling (and by no means uncharacteristic) snippet. In describing the situation Genesis 1:2 relates concerning the heavens and earth devastated by divine judgment following Satan's revolt, called by the Bible in Hebrew tohu vavbhohu, author says: "We have seen also that when this sign is doubled, it forms the essential ‘living’ root ‘HH’ or ‘HoH’ which, by the insertion of the verbal sign ‘O’ becomes the verb ‘HoH’ ‘to be being’ . . ." and concludes that . . . "earth had been ‘created’ as a spiritual ideal, but it was not yet existing in actual reality". This is pure rubbish (clearly), and a good example of the "garbage in, garbage out" theorem. The method evident in the quote is the one used throughout, namely, the assigning of "figurative and hieroglyphic meaning" (as author puts it) to individual Hebrew letters (!?). This is, on the face of it, a patently absurd technique. It is little different from assigning a numerical value to the letters and finding some sort of "magic code" in the text as a result (I'm sure you've heard of the "Bible Codes" malarkey). It is possible to prove absolutely anything through such a completely subjective technique, and perhaps that is the true point.
This sort of thing appeals to many people, but discerning Christians need apply no great amount of spiritual common sense to see the error of it. Just as when I write in English and use the word "BE", I do not, consciously or unconsciously, assign the word some "magic" numerical significance because "B" is the second letter in the English alphabet and "E" is the fifth; so it would not be convincing to any person of sound mind for me to suggest that "BE" has a special, hidden significance because "B" is the letter "of vibration" and "E" is the letter "of openness" – based upon my own subjective impressions of the sounds (even if I attributed this "knowledge" to earlier mystics). The analogous approach I have just "invented" and described is unlikely to gain disciples, however. Why? Because we all actually speak the English language, because there is nothing about it that could be considered "holy", and because there are no age-old religious texts of note written in English. But Hebrew does have a claim to special status because the Bible, a text which is clearly important in the eyes of all (we believers, of course, know it as the actual Word of God), is written in that language (most of the Old Testament, that is). And since 1) most contemporary Americans do not know Hebrew, 2) fewer speak the modern version of it, and 3) fewer still have any real facility with ancient, biblical Hebrew, the capacity to suspend good judgment and to allow oneself to be drawn in by such theosophical speculations increases exponentially.
What's the motive? Well, people are often interested in making disciples (for themselves) for all the reasons the sin nature can conjure up. But since this sort of thing inherently attacks the truth of the Word of God and will, if given any credence, undermine our confidence in the Bible, you may be sure who is ultimately behind all such activities.
So I commend your very good judgment in applying a "hands off" approach, and satisfying your curiosity by asking someone you trust with a bit of knowledge about these matters. Trust me. There is no "there" there.
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
I was curious did you do this on youtube reason I'm asking I saw from ichtus? It was good very good:
SLAIN IN THE SPIRIT - The Absolute Biblical Truth
From ICHTHUS Films
I was wondering if you have anything on slain in the spirit. Reason why I asked is that a friend of mine told me a guest speaker spoke at the AG church he attends. The speaker went up to him during prayer told my friend a few things and touched him my friend said he fell over. He claims there was such a strong anointing coming from this pastor that it overpowered him after he fell back he says he saw so many things in his mind he couldn't tell what was what it was all so confusing. I told him according to look at 1 Corinthians 14:33 "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." I expressed to him to read and study over the book of Acts and see how the spirit moved in people that they never fell over. Like the day of Pentecost. Could you help do you have and studies on the matter?
I pulled this off google I was researching on slain in the spirit. How would you teach each verse that is being used for it? Like in 2 chron. "could not stand" – I thought it means they where astounded, amazed; you know what I mean. Could you help in breaking down each of these verses in what they actually meant? It be a big help.
Thanks, God bless
Bible verses related to Being Slain In The Spirit from the King James Version
Acts 9:1-43 - And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, (Read More...)
Revelation 1:17 - And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
Ezekiel 1:28 - As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so [was] the appearance of the brightness round about. This [was] the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw [it], I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
John 18:6 - As soon then as he had said unto them, I am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground.
2 Chronicles 5:14 - So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.
Sorry for the delay in response (busy weekend). No, I have not done anything for Youtube. I do recommend Pastor teacher Curtis Omo's Bible Academy on Youtube however (linking here to his website which is now to be preferred).
As to "Slain in the Spirit", simply put, there is no such thing whatsoever, biblically speaking. The passages you found on the internet that purport to be biblical support are all talking about different things – and none of them have anything to do with the basic idea that Charismatics have in mind when they use this phrase (as far as I understand what the Charismatics are trying to say – you are absolutely correct about there being no biblical parallel for people "falling over" having anything to do with the ministry of the Spirit). Here is the one link I have on this at Ichthys:
How does being "slain in the Spirit" relate to being baptized in the Spirit?
As I say there, the phrase is a Charismatic invention based upon their own behaviors and then trying to find some sort of biblical justification for some of the odd things they do. That, of course, is exactly backwards from the way believers should approach the Bible: the Bible should do the teaching in conjunction with the Spirit; we should do the listening.
Unfortunately, some of the behaviors these types indulge in are not just odd but also dangerous in that they may open the person in question up for demon influence of one sort or another. Since there are many people who use this phrase, "slain in the Spirit", and since, because it is not referred to anywhere in scripture, there are no objective criteria for defining the behavior that may be connected to it, it really will depend upon what pastor X or speaker Y or participant Z means when they use it – and that requires an explanation from them (since it's nowhere in the Bible).
I believe that your comment about God not being an abettor of confusion is right on the point. Many people crave exciting and highly emotional experiences – it's a form of entertainment. However, these behaviors are not biblical, and, as I say, can have very dangerous spiritual repercussions.
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Thank for the update.
Let me ask this: I did read a book done by the SDAs that holy days and many celebrations like Christmas were initiated by Roman leaders for the pagan idol worship. If this is true of all, can we quit the Christmas celebration? I usually don't see its importance since here on this continent festivals have high levels of death resulting from people's pleasure.
When it comes to any secular festival there are always parallels with other religions. I wouldn't condemn Christmas on the basis of its possible origins (it's not in the Bible of course); I would evaluate it on the basis of what it means and is "now". It is very true that there is no biblical basis for mandatory festivals like Christmas or Easter in particular, and in fact there is a biblical case to made against them:
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.
Galatians 4:9-11 NASB
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
Colossians 2:16-17 NASB
That said, I try never to criticize other Christians who want to celebrate Christmas or Easter – just as long as I am free to do as I please as well. These have become in my opinion cultural holidays, Christmas especially. The way to grow up spiritually is to hear and learn and believe and apply the truth of the Word of God, not participate in festivals, rituals, observances and the like.
Here are some links on this:
Is it Valid to Celebrate Christmas?
Christmas and Easter
The calculation of Easter
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
I know we have been here before but I need help. Can you please re-explain to me the false testimony of Mary K Baxter? Because the past experiences of the book are haunting.
She is a fraud and a false teacher. We can know that for sure because 1) her "experiences" do not accord with what scripture teaches; 2) there are no prophets in the Church today (and this "new" information would be prophecy – the Bible is completed now); and 3) she is making money and gaining semi-celebrity status through these activities.
I'm happy to address any individual false teaching from her.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Mary K Baxter has said that she was personally shown information about tribulation and the end times. Can you please state why this is false?
If I tell you I have daily conversations with the Easter Bunny, can you prove that this is false?
In fact, the shoe is on the other foot, isn't it? Doesn't she have to prove that she really did have these conversations with God? Let her do a miracle in my presence. Then I might give her time of day. Until then, the fact that she says things which are not in the Bible and which contradict the Bible makes her a false prophet by definition. We don't therefore even have to consider her unless she has been given miracles to perform too (like almost every other prophet who wrote scripture). And even then:
"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ "you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
Deuteronomy 13:1-3 NKJV
See to it you pass the test.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior who is the very Word of God.
True, many people can say they believe miracles occur in a church and they don't. The main reason I disbelieve her is because she said people will be condemned for opening seminars against the Holy Spirit, attribute and teach against him and that person is permanently unforgivable and Jesus gives up on that person because he's hardened.
Ah. I see. The devil is very good at sussing out the chinks in our armor. We have to be on guard against his attacks especially where the wall of defense is weak. I know that you have issues with the so-called "unforgivable sin" (which I have explained many times is the sin of rejecting Christ). Don't worry about her threats – it's merely another sales technique. I would recommend not paying attention to anyone who says anything on this topic for a while, until you have settled down on what you do believe from scripture. Stand fast on that ground and get your footing. There will always be time to torture yourself unnecessarily with this sort of false doctrine in the future, if that is what you wish (I dearly hope and pray for you that it is not).
By the way, I've never heard of a "seminar against the Holy Spirit" (?!). Who would organize such a thing, who would go, and why? Sounds like a straw-man argument to me. But we know of course that this means anyone who disagrees with her in any way.
In Jesus Christ our Lord,