The name of God is blasphemed … because of you.(Rom 2:24)
I believe that Donald Trump IS God’s current choice as president of the USA – but not for the reason his ‘evangelical’ supporters think.
God has no desire or intention to Make America Great ‘Again’.
He who exalts his gate seeks destruction. (Prov 17: 9)
God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5)
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. (Prov 8: 13)
When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. (Prov 11:2)
By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom (Prov 13:10)
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov 16:8)
A proud and haughty man—“Scoffer” is his name; He acts with arrogant pride. (Prov 21: 24)
I have no interest in who America selects as the next president. But I am concerned by the way US evangelicals have embraced and continue to embrace Donald Trump as a saviour figure. From the very beginning this has brought the gospel and Jesus into disrepute -because of evangelical devotion to Trump and his very blatant disregard for truth or morality.
Recently I’ve seen prominent “Christians” proclaiming that a true Christian would have to vote for Trump and not Biden. I find it ironic that in my eyes, Trump’s major achievement has been to bring unity to the extreme charismatic prophets who proclaimed Trump to be a modern day Cyrus, and the extreme cessationists who usually denounce everything associated with those ‘prophets’.
I’m not writing this to promote any politician or political ideology. I write it as a cry to promote JESUS not politicians. To seek and serve the Kingdom of God not worldly kingdoms. And to avoid the idolatry of patriotism.
So many are getting caught up in worldly politics – as if any side of the political spectrum is able or willing to legislate godliness. Christians should be promoting JESUS not any worldly politician or politician ideology. I find this devotion to politics and nationalism (patriotic idolatry) is one of Satan’s strongest holds on the church today.
Even if you can’t take the time to watch these videos, please scroll down and read my written observations.
Is God drawing Muslims to Jesus through dreams?
What are you going to believe?
This? (A video of testimonies of Muslims receiving dreams or visions of Jesus, initiating a journey to faith in Him).
Or the claims of Todd Friel below?
Be a Berean and be sure to check the “proof” texts used by this celebrity cessationist to see whether his claims about scripture are valid. Do your own research and see whether his claims are true.
See below the video for my own observations of his claims
Todd Friels claim number 1:
Hebrews 1 tells us that dreams and visions are over.
Read Hebrews 1 and find where it says that. Read the whole of Hebrews and find where it says anything about dreams or visions. Those words never appear in that letter.
Friel’s only reference is this section of Hebrews: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word”
The implication he tries to make is that in these last days, God only speaks to us by His Son, no longer through prophets (despite obvious references to NT prophets in scripture) or through other “various ways” – only through His Son. Friel must stretch his assumption to include dreams and visions under that “various ways” category. But again, what about the post resurrection dreams and visions recorded in scripture, and what about Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost?
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Was Peter preaching falsehood?
But then again, if in these last days God ONLY speak to us through His Son in a way that would exclude dreams and visions and anything else, wouldn’t also exclude scripture itself? NO! Because Friel’s claim is totally wrong, a desperate attempt to create scriptural justification for his preconceived rejection of the dreams and visions being reported.
Todd Friels claim number 2:
Faith for salvation comes by hearing the Word of God, not through dreams and visions.
Every testimony I’ve heard where a Muslim starts a journey to salvation with a dream or vision of Jesus, it’s NOT the dream that results in their salvation. They don’t go to bed as a Muslim, have a dream and then wake up Christian.
The dreams and visions set them on a path to meet up with a believer who can share the gospel with them. Or will lead them to a situation where they can obtain a Bible to read for themselves.
The situation is no different to the experience of Cornelius in Acts 10.
Todd Friels claim number 3:
Most of those testifying of the dreams reveal they had already heard the gospel.
I’ve never come across this situation in any of the testimonies I’ve read and heard about Muslims in Islamic nations. The only testimony fitting Friel’s claim that I’m aware of, would be one in the first video above. The example of American former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi, who had been in discussion with a Christian friend prior to a dream that confirmed the truth of the gospel to him.
Most Muslims have some awareness of Jesus, known to them as a Muslim prophet Isa. But the image of Jesus portrayed by Islam is flawed. The dreams and visions reveal Jesus as He really is, and not according to the Islamic misrepresentation of Him.
Todd Friels claim number 4:
If the reports of dreams and visions are true, it would be an insult to dead missionaries who lost their lives taking the gospel to dangerous lands.
I’m really not sure how to respond to such a presumptuous claim.
Except to point out that some of those who start their journey to Christ because of a dream or vision directing them to someone who can share the gospel with them, end their journey AS a dead missionary, martyred for proclaiming faith in the Son of God who they first came to know through a dream of Him.
Also, I’ve recently been reading biographies of some of those “insulted” dead missionaries, and I can only imagine them welcoming the newly arrived martyr missionaries into the presence of the LORD they all served unto death.
Onesimus, you’re a coward… you’re also a liar… crazy… moron ……foolish … You can’t even quote the bible properly let alone understand it. That makes you “common”. I’m done with casting pearl before swine. You’re stuck in your own world of hypocrisy. You’re as sounding brass. Loud and noisy and can’t edify anyone with truth. You’re a liar, a fraud and a coward before God and against someone that explained all things…
Just a few of the choice insults and accusations made against me in a single comment posted on YouTube by a man who claims to have been a bible teacher for decades. A cessationist who didn’t like the fact that I didn’t accept to his explanation of scripture in which he claimed to show that only the apostles were given authority to heal, and confirm the gospel they preached with other signs and therefore such things ceased with the last of the apostles.
A few days later another man on the same site also called me a moron as well as, “a little demon” and that I was accursed. I thought my own comment had agreed with what he had previously said, but clearly he didn’t see things that way.
Ironically he signed his abusive diatribe, identifying himself as a “prophet”.
We should make sure we are familiar with what Jesus said, not only to assess where others stand, but to be sure of our own position:
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 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. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Jesus had a strained relationship with the religious leaders and authorities of His time. The following quote shows one of the reasons (see bold type) why He saw it necessary to warn His disciples about them.
… the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him …
In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy”. (Luke 11-12)
Is His warning equally valid today? If so who do we need to beware of? Who would be the present day Pharisees and Sadducees? What individuals or groups reflect the attitudes and behaviors of those bible-era opponents of Jesus and His gospel? What did the historical Pharisees and Sadducess do in their desire to oppose Jesus?
There is one example in the quote above “seeking to catch Him in something He might say“. They scrutinised everything (not with integrity like the later Bereans, who wanted to find whether Paul’s preaching was valid or not) but with the intention of finding fault with anything Jesus was saying. They just wanted ammunition with which they could accuse and condemn Him. Eventually, when they found none, they chose to take His words out of context and give them unintended meaning.
Another trait was their unwillingness to recognise and accept the miracles that Jesus did. Instead, again, they tried to find fault because Jesus didn’t do things according to their own traditions and teachings. They even attributed His works to the power of Satan. When everything else failed they resorted to outright lies.
Eventually they condemned Him because He told them the truth – truth they refused to accept.
I suggest that any present day equivalent of those religious leaders would demonstrate the same attitudes and same tactics as their historical counterparts and similarly deceive their undiscerningly devoted followers, steering them away from the the opportunity to enter and experience the fullness of the gospel and the ministry life that Jesus came to give those who genuinely follow Him.
“Woe to you … For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.” (Luke 11)
Beware of those who deny the power of God and its continuation in the present day.
Beware of those whose major “ministry” is finding fault with what others are saying and doing.
Beware of believing accusations made against others without checking the truthfulness of those accusations.
Beware of those who CLAIM to honour the word of God, and yet see the need to dismiss or reinterpret those parts of it that don’t suit their particular theological agenda and traditions.
Jesus answered [the Sadducees] and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. (Matt 22)
Beware of those who claim there are good days ahead leading up to the return of the Lord: saying that there will be no time of tribulation, instead they say, the world will get better.
Consider their claims against the scriptural warnings about false prophets and their messages quoted below.
I post this because I’ve recently read two disturbing articles by the same man.
I’d read other articles by him that were encouraging and enlightening – but the two latest things on his site show how easy it can be to get things so badly wrong if you allow outside influences to shape understanding of scripture rather than let scripture speak for itself.
The first one promoted a view that a media conspiracy of exaggeration was behind the present Corona virus situation; that things weren’t as bad as they were being portrayed.*
The second presented a view launching from that assertion, claiming that the end times wouldn’t be as bad as commonly portrayed – that things would effectively get better not worse.
As far as I can see the writer came to these topics from a desire to combat fear – fear of the virus, fear of bad times ahead. But fear is not overcome through misrepresentation of reality and truth, or by denying the thing being feared.
Fear is overcome through faith in Jesus who regularly commanded his followers to “fear not”. He didn’t say this because there were no fearful circumstances, but because He was bigger than those circumstances. His provision is greater than any lack we might be afraid of, or any difficult situation we might face, and faith in Him is more than sufficient, equipping for us to overcome fear.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart,I have overcome the world” (John 16)
Jesus told His disciples the following regarding the time leading up to the end of the age and His return.
…you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matt 24 (NIV)
That’s only a small excerpt of what HE said would be ahead, including a warning of the rise of false prophets.
Jeremiah had previously addressed the issue of false prophets, giving description of them and the messages they presented.
This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the Lord.
They keep saying to those who despise me,
‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’
But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord
to see or to hear his word?
Who has listened and heard his word? (Jer 23)NIV
“I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
“Therefore,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord. (Jer 23) NIV
The above excerpts from Jeremiah are referring to false prophets who gave assurances that good times were ahead, despite the sin of the people and approaching judgement from God.
The issue of end time prophecy being misrepresented is not so much assuring God’s people they are not going to be judged, but that they don’t need to face hardships from an increasingly hostile world (despite Jesus’ warnings), because the world will allegedly become more favourably inclined towards them.
Surely there can be no clearer sign of false prophecy than outright denials of the Lord’s own words.
By promoting false expectation of escape for the church from persecution and hostility, these false prophetic claims make end time believers unready for what (according to the Lord) will come upon them. What could be more fear inducing than finding yourself, unprepared, in a terrible situation that you were taught would not eventuate?
* I’m becoming more convinced that the conspiracy claims about the Corona virus are the latest attempt by Satan to bring contempt upon the church and to denigrate the gospel by attacking our credibility.
Instead of denying reality by claiming it’s all media exaggeration – the world needs Christians to preach THE TRUTH of hope and freedom from fear through Jesus.
The title of this blog post may seem to make an extreme claim, and maybe others have come across far more extreme examples of scripture twisting in their personal experience.
However, for me, the example I’m about to give is hard to beat.
I first came across it sometime in the mid 1980s when a friend of mine was trying to convince me of a “revelation” he’d received.
Whether it was a result of his own bible misreading I’m not sure, but he quite probably picked it up from a well-known Texan teacher we’d both followed.
The latter could be the case, because only a few days ago I heard that same teacher making an identical claim to the one my friend had shared with me over 30 years ago.
Firstly the claim is based on a reading from the King James Bible – a bible translation that can be prone to misunderstanding if we don’t take into account the way language use has changed over the many centuries since that version was first published. The distance from 16th Century England and 20-21st Century Texas perhaps increases the potential for misunderstanding.
Secondly the claim takes into account only PART of the intended context, before drawing conclusions about the intended meaning.
The “proof” text is Philippians 2: 5-6.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
The conclusion made, and taught, by that teacher is that we, like Jesus should think of ourselves as being equal with God.
And yet, surely, the whole section – especially the part that remained unquoted at this point, is clearly NOT about the exaltation of the believer (if only in their own mind); it is about the required HUMILITY of the believer.
It is not the fact that Jesus “thought it not robbery to be equal with God” that the believer is intended to emulate. What is required of the believer is stated in the following verse where we are told that the one who was equal with God.
made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
So even though Jesus is equal with God, He humbled Himself, put aside His divine rights, became a servant and was
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
That teacher’s interpretation is not only wrong, it couldn’t be MORE wrong. It twists the intended meaning on its head, proclaiming the complete opposite of the message of humility intended.
The NIV makes the intended meaning much clearer:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!
There is not hint there about believers considering themselves equal with God. Such claims are not only misinformed, they reflect the pride and delusion of the one who long before said :
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
Fortunately my friend many years ago was soon convinced of his error when it was explained to him.
Sadly however, it seems like many followers of the above mentioned preacher, would prefer to believe in their own equality with God.
A while ago I posted some thoughts about the “great delusion” referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2.
That reference relates to God’s future response to those who lack a love of the truth, a condition that will lead them to fall for the lies of the man of lawlessness (commonly known as The Antichrist).
Within that post I mentioned two cases of where that reference to “great delusion” had been adopted to illustrate contemporary events; with the suggestion that the God-sent great delusion had already been, or is currently being, fulfilled.
I tried to point out that those two examples were using scripture to support beliefs that the actual context of scripture didn’t support.
Similarly, my friend Steve recently posted an article on his blog, addressing the way that biblical instructions to pray for our leaders (for a very specific reason) had been subverted, and used in regard to praying for leaders for other purposes – that are different, and arguably contrary, to the reason given by Paul
I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
I recommend a visit to Steve’s blog and read what he has to say.
In my late teens I displayed a sticker in my car warning passengers that their driver could disappear at any time. It was a sticker made possible (and popular) by the expectation of the imminent rapture – when Jesus would return secretly, without warning, to snatch His people from the earth, prior to the period described as “The Tribulation”, when God would start pouring out His judgement on the non- believers who were left behind.
I accepted that “pre-tribulation rapture” teaching for the first few years of my Christian life – after all, that’s what best selling Christian books were teaching, and it was the accepted doctrine of the church I attended. As I’ve said in previous posts, my views changed when I eventually studied what the Bible really says on the topic.
This morning I decided to follow up a little more by looking at the Bible references that speak about the time when Jesus will catch His people up from the earth. In my previous post I listed a few references that I remembered that specifically and clearly spoke of the Lord returning and believers being caught up from the earth to be with Him. So today I looked for websites supporting the “pre-tribulation rapture” to see if they could add any additional references that spoke clearly about that event.
I found that none of the verses they added to the few I’d already referenced, specifically and categorically referred to living believers being taken from the earth to be with Jesus. Only through some very creative interpretation could their additional verses be MADE into references to “the rapture”.
I even saw one site where a pre-trib supporting contributor said: “To be honest, I don’t have a good answer for why Jesus doesn’t mention the Rapture in His Matthew 24 discourse”
I have to shake my head in disbelief at that – because Jesus clearly DOES speak of such an event in that discourse, the only problem for the pre-trib camp is that it contradicts their belief.
So the search left me with the same few verses that I’ve already mentioned. The only additional quote is the gospel of Mark version of my quote from Matt 24.
Here are all of the quotes again:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt 24: 29-31)
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven. (Mark 13: 24-27)
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor 15:51-53)
While those verses from 1 Corinthians don’t specifically refer to a “catching up” they do complement 1 Thess 4: 16-18 (see below) making reference to the same event when some who will be changed without dying, and that the timing of that change will happen “at the last trumpet” when those who have died will be raised from death.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thess 4:16-18)
These things are made clear about the timing of the catching up (rapture) of living saints to be with the Lord forever.
It will happen AFTER the events described in Revelation as the effects of opening the sixth seal:
I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs (Rev 6:12-17)
It will happen after trumpets are blown, and in particular after the “LAST trunmpet. Note that the sixth seal mentioned in the previous quote is followed by the seventh seal, the opening of which brings about the blowing of seven trumpets (see previous post).
Is there any way that the above quoted references – the ONLY Bible references that clearly and undeniably describe the “rapture” of the saints – can indicate something that happens earlier than those events mentioned in Revelation?
I have a request.
Anyone who can provide a clear, categorical and unambiguous reference to a catching up of the saints that places it before the prophesied events of darkened sun, moon turned to blood and falling stars, PLEASE post the reference in the comments section below. But note: the reference has to be straight forward and able to stand on its own without needing the preconceived assumption that it occurs “pre-tribulation”.
I suspect the Lord tailors his teaching to our different capabilities of learning. But while the way we learn may be unique to each individual, the overall intent of the lesson will always be the same: an understanding that conforms to God’s nature and purposes that can be confirmed through a proper addressing of scripture.
But the intended outcome is never knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but deeper relationship with Him and others.
Throughout my Christian life I’ve learned a lot through experience, making a lot of mistakes and taking many wrong paths before stepping back to consider why things went so unexpectedly wrong.
Perhaps out of that, the most important thing the Lord has opened up to me is the need to test everything. What Paul wrote with regard to prophecy can be applied to all areas of revelation and learning: “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil”.
It’s very easy to be attracted by something “good” and then fall for something “evil” – IF we bypass the testing.
I think back around 30 years ago when I was hooked by word of faith teaching. The thing that caught my attention and drew me in was a LEGITIMATE understanding of faith.
A group of friends were bombarding me with arguments recommending the Copelands’ WOF teachings, and in the process (despite their arguments rather than because of them – and I wish I’d realised that at the time) I finally understood something about faith that took it out of the realm of wishful thinking and to a place of greater certainty.
I suddenly saw that Christian faith was simply believing God and His word even when sensory and intellectual evidence seemed to be “proving” something else.
That was the good and if I’d stopped there and studied the Word for myself I might have avoided the bad: a lot of false teaching that took me in a wrong direction. But instead of searching the scriptures for myself to develop my understanding, I searched the Copeland’s teachings and relied on the particular spin THEY placed on the “faith message”.
What I find disappointing now is that I could see that a large portion of their teaching was (at best) questionable, but I pushed my reservations aside.
I can now recognise that by taking that path I wasn’t really believing God and His word, (as per that revealed understanding of faith) I was “believing” what Copeland told me ABOUT God’s word, without actually checking it out for myself to see if he was addressing it correctly, according to its intended context.
I said above that Christian faith is simply believing God and His word. Yes it IS as simple as that. But what is not necessarily so simple is being sure that it is REALLY God and His Word that we are believing. It is extremely easy to pick up wrong ideas that create a distorted understanding of God, and that is where so much of WOF teaching is in error. Its view of God and his purposes are created out of selected parts of scripture, usually applied with no consideration for the intended context of those scripture portions.
It is essential that we develop an overview – an understanding of the broad scope of scripture, and not be satisfied with bits and pieces that seem to support what we want to believe.
One part of this article that I found interesting relates to conspiracy claims that Bible texts are being altered. The author points out one reason for this idea gaining traction: a lack of knowledge of what the Bible actually DOES say – and a reliance on memory, or secondary sources for bible knowledge.
When someone eventually looks to scripture – maybe as a result of being told that certain texts have been changed, they will see that the Bible says something different to what they THOUGHT it said, which to some confirms the conspiracy.
An example is given of a verse in Isaiah 11 about the lion lying with the lamb. It’s a well-known biblical statement, and yet when we go to our bible we’ll see it is different. However it has ALWAYS been different to what it is commonly believed to say.
I think the very fact that people can believe the Bible is being changed is a reflection of how little the Bible has been read, and therefore how little GENUINE Bible knowledge they have. It’s therefore not surprising that people are so easily tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.