Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Anti-Semitic Church - Part 2

The Bible calls the land Judea in the time of Jesus (cf. Luke 23:5). Why? Because it was the place of the Jews. The name Judea is the Hellenized name for Judah, the land given to the tribe of Judah. By the time of Jesus Judea came to represent all the land of the Jews, including Galilee and the “whole Jewish country” (Acts 26:20). Even ancient secular writers like Strabo, Tacitus, and Philo use the name to include Samaria and Galilee.  The name Palestine was mandated upon the land after the Bar-Kochba revolt in A.D. 132-135 when the Roman emperor Hadrian banished the Jews from the land in an effort to remove any Jewish remembrance of the land. In that revolt a thousand villages and fifty fortress cities were destroyed. Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina, and for several centuries no Jew was allowed in the city (Mal Couch, The Birth of the Nation of Israel, p. 30).

Paul Wilkinson has worked hard to expose the Muslim influence in the Church. He identifies Naim Ateek as the Chief architect of what is called the Christian Palestinianism movement.  Naim established the Palestinian Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in 1994. He is the author of the book “Justice and only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation.”  The book lays out Naim's liberation theology for the Palestinian people saying: “Palestinian liberation theology focuses on the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth, who was also a Palestinian living under an occupation.” (Paul Wilkinson: Southwest Radio Ministries)

What is the problem with this statement? There was no such place called Palestine in Jesus’ day! What was the land called? As stated in the first paragraph, the Bible calls the land Judea in the time of Jesus (cf. Luke 23:5).

The ancient Church, the first 200 years of the Church, predominantly believed in historic premillennialism and interpreted Scripture literally, or what is called, the normal sense. But a shift of political power was moving in the world from the Greek speaking to the Latin speaking world. Indeed Irenaeus of Lyons (b. 140 A.D. died 202 A.D.) was the last of the Church fathers to write in Greek and Hippolytus of Rome (died 235A.D.) was the last Roman writer to write in Greek. After them, the Church communicated in Latin and moved from a literal Christ centered millennialism to an allegorical approach to future things. This shift to a different language combined with the early Church trying to make the Old Testament a “Christian” document moved them to the allegorical method (Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation, p. 29). Dr. Ramm notes, “Two things may be said for allegorizing of the Fathers: (i) They were seeking to make the Old Testament a Christian document. With this judgment the Christian Church has universally agreed. (ii) They did emphasize the truths of the Gospel in their fancies. If they had not done this, they would have become sectarian.”  (Ramm, p. 29).   Today, the liberal Church is essentially sectarian. Their allegory, replacement theology, and pseudo-psychological bent has left them without truth, without the light of the world, and without the power of the Spirit.

By the time of Augustine (b. 354 A.D. died 430 A.D.) the Church was mostly Gentile.  First the Jews persecuted the church, then Rome.  This moved most Christians to distrust both. The spread of the Church into an organized entity was becoming increasingly political and Augustine’s “The City of God” provided a shift from a literal kingdom of God centered in Jerusalem to a spiritual kingdom. The chief mechanism whereby the literal kingdom based in Jerusalem was switched to a spiritual kingdom was by way of allegory.  

When Constantine the Great (272 to 337 A.D.) made his new faith the state religion of the Byzantine Empire a “savage and systematic persecution of the Jews began.” (Nathan Ausubel, Pictorial History of the Jewish People, p. 92). By the early middle ages, Emperor Justinian (527-565) issued what would be permanent Christian state policy: “They [the Jews] shall enjoy no honors. Their status shall reflect the baseness which in their souls they have elected and desired. Under those circumstances it was quite natural that the Church Fathers should have wished to purge Christian belief and practice of their original Jewish elements. For example, the Justinian Code, based on the earlier decisions of the Council of Nicaea and the Laws of Constantine, forbade Christians to observe Easter during Passover week. Even the Jewish Messianic doctrine of ‘The Kingdom of God’ on earth was fundamentally altered to ‘The Kingdom of God’ in heaven.” (ibid, p.92) 

It was not until the reformation age that the study of the original languages of the Bible became important and a return to the normal reading was renewed. However, anti-Semitism prevented the reformers from becoming completely literal in their interpretation of the Scriptures.  Meanwhile, Old Testament promises for Israel that were 'positive' continued to be for the Church while 'curses' were still meant toward Israel. Some exceptions existed, most notable, the great Sir Isaac Newton (1642- 1726), and the noted Baptist theologian and expositor John Gill (1697-1771; Gill’s research into “what did the Jewish sages say?” is still one of the biggest contributions to biblical exposition).

Indeed, it was not until the popularity of dispensationalism that anti-Semitism waned substantially within Christendom. Early dispensationalism was a popular movement that included all the mainline denominations because dispensationalism is the logical outworking of inductive Bible study using a normal reading hermeneutic. Dispensationalism, like Judaism, sees a literal reign of Christ on earth for a 1000 years. The Old Testament foretells a future Great Tribulation, the “birth pains” (Jer. 4:31; 6:24;  22:23; 30:6; 49:22-24; 50;24; Mic. 4:9-10) where both Jews and gentiles will be judged but that a remnant of Israel will be saved and enter into 'rest' in the Messianic kingdom.

With this normal reading of Scripture, the Bible speaks clearly and anti-Semitism is no longer seen on the pages of the Bible. As such, mainline denominations, for the most part divided with Churches that were dispensational and they kept their anti-Semitic stance. So it is today, most of Christendom is still anti-Semitic and has a perverted way of reading the Bible. They do not read any other document the way they read the Bible. This perversion of interpretation helps the Arab hatred of the Jews as they can have a common enemy – the Jew.
Paul Wilkinson presents the following points concerning the beliefs of the Christian Palestinianism movement:

The Bible:                    Christian, not Jewish
The Church:                New Israel, not a new people
The Land:                    Palestine, not Israel
The Holocaust:            Resented, not remembered
14 May 1948:              A catastrophe, not a miracle
State of Israel:             Illegitimate, not prophetic
Israeli Jews:                 Illegal occupiers
Bible Prophecy:           Moral manifesto
The Lord Jesus:           Palestinian, not Jewish

It is easily understood that the movement is anti-Semitic, moving beyond replacement theology of most of the Christian Church of the past, to a pro-Arab and, hence, pro-Muslim stance. Among the world Christian leaders that support the “Freedom for Palestine” movement is the noted Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an Anglican bishop who said, “what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa.” (Wikipedia)

The most active Christians promoting their agenda are Steven Sizer and Porter Speakman who travel extensively speaking against Israel and promote those who commit terrorist acts. Though they would deny promoting “terrorists”, they insist they are supporting the people not the terrorists. After all, Israel has an unfair advantage and when conflict arises, they engage with disproportional force.  

It is understandable why the liberal Church is attracted to this anti-Semitic movement. They have traditionally aligned themselves with any personal-struggle 'cause', whether that cause is just or not. Truth, and what is right, is replaced with emotion and when suffering is seen, the Christian must offer support. But is that what Scripture says? Tough-love is not found within the liberal’s worldview. Are we to ignore sin? Are we to let sin reign, or are we to try to correct the situation by pointing out the wrong and letting God’s Word and Spirit work in the situation?

One can understand the liberal Church stance with the pain of the Palestinian people, but the unimaginable is occurring - the movement has gained ground with the evangelical Church! Liberation theology is popular among the liberal Church. However, those among the modern evangelical Church that support this movement include such recognizable names as Hank Hanegraaff, Tony Campolo, John Stott, N.T. Wright, and Brian McLaren. Is there something in common with all these leaders? They are all replacement theologians – the Church replaces Israel and there is no future for Israel. And they are all against Christian Zionism – the belief that God is not through with Israel and His promises to Israel for a land and a Messianic Kingdom are yet to be fulfilled.

For the anti-Semitic evangelical Church, Zionism is racism. Though Christian Palestinianism condemns the Palestinian violence, they support their cause both financially and through anti-Israel promotions. For example, when Hamas fires rockets into Israel (2500 in 2014 thus far), this group is silent. When Israel takes out rocket launch sites that are placed in civilian areas thus incurring civilian death, Israel is condemned first by the Arab, then by the world who echoes the vial hatred of the Arab league.

Another factor influencing anti-Semitism among the evangelical Church is the shift to mysticism. When the cold hard truth is pushed aside for emotionalism this world is in trouble, and we are deep into emotionalism today. Needs based (psychology based) preaching moves the message away from the grammatical-historical context to whatever emotionally moves the crowd. History is irrelevant, only today and tomorrow matter and what we see on television today is the pain and suffering of Palestinians as they live a life of pain.  But Israel has no voice, and the Church has turned her back.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Anti-Semitic Church – Part I

Most of the organized Christian Church is openly Anti-Semitic. How is it possible to make such a statement? Because, most mainline Christian denominations around the world have voted for an Israeli boycott. They have done this even though boycotting Israel is illegal according to section 8 of the 1976 US Tax Reform Act (TRA).   This includes the majority of the Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians in the United States.

Boycotting Israel was begun by the Arab League after the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. After the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, Palestinian political action groups initiated a resurgence of the boycott in 2005. This group of 22 nations makes up the Arab League which also supports the boycott. In addition to the boycott, most of these nations will not accept an Israeli passport. We shouldn't be surprised that Arab influence continues to spread to many governmental agencies around the world. It is becoming increasing popular among universities to support the boycott, even denying Israeli researchers the opportunity of participating in academic conferences.

Palestinian political action groups have managed to influence several church groups.  For example, the Church of England has voted for disinvestment and in 2010, the British Methodist Church voted to join the boycott as did the World Council of Churches.  Not to be outdone, in 2012, the United Church of Canada (UCC) supported the boycott. All are liberal. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that they all hold to replacement theology, i.e., that the church has replaced Israel. This is the natural outcome when one interprets Scripture loosely, when one spiritualizes some areas of Scripture, picking and choosing Scripture ignoring context whenever it proves a favored theological perspective.

In the U.S., the Presbyterian Church USA has supported the boycott since 2004. Also supporting the boycott is the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church (2012), and the Episcopal Church (2012). Again, all these church organizations are liberal and teach the church has replaced Israel as the “True Israel.”  They interpret the promises given to Israel in the Old Testament as given to the church because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus as her Messiah. The positive promises are thus given to the church while the negative promises are for Israel. Talk about picking and choosing! 

Systematized Interpretation is when the interpreter approaches the text with a theological bent.  Those who utilize Systematized Interpretation call this method the historical-grammatical-theological interpretation. But adding “theological” to the grammatical-historical method destroys both the historical and the grammatical elements. This leaves only the theological intact - a perverted theology.  

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Commerce is “charged with administering and enforcing the Antiboycott Laws under the Export Administration Act. Those laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain other countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott. Compliance with such requests may be prohibited by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and may be reportable to the Bureau.” (From www/

“During the mid-1970's the United States adopted two laws that seek to counteract the participation of U.S. citizens in other nation's economic boycotts or embargoes. These "antiboycott" laws are the 1977 amendments to the Export Administration Act (EAA) and the Ribicoff Amendment to the 1976 Tax Reform Act (TRA). While these laws share a common purpose, there are distinctions in their administration. The antiboycott laws were adopted to encourage, and in specified cases, require U.S. firms to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction. They have the effect of preventing U.S. firms from being used to implement foreign policies of other nations which run counter to U.S. policy.” (From www/

As easily seen from this antiboycott law, it is against the policy of the US to participate in a boycott against Israel. Yet universities and other groups have begun boycotting Israel, including many church denominations.

Why do these institutions participate eagerly with this Muslim influenced boycott? Because the Christian world is shifting away from truth to misplaced emotionalism. From absolute truth to post-Christian mysticism. We have moved from solid literal Biblical truth to maybe we don’t really know because supposedly the Scriptures are 'full of error'. The liberal church interprets Scriptures outside the normal rules of reading for the same reason the ancient Greeks did – they did not like the message! The ancient Greeks had their stories of gods that did unimaginable immoral deeds . Thus in an effort to make the stories acceptable to their world view they created a new way of reading – allegorical. Therefore, they could claim that the god’s incest did not truly happen for it was allegory not literal.

This same concept has gained acceptance into liberal churches. The Bible is not literal but allegory. Thus, everything in the Bible is now fair game to be turned into fable. They teach that the plain literal is the “milk” of Scripture fit only for the layman, but the meat is the allegory. Thus, two levels of Scripture are found with the liberal camp: “the literal was on the surface, but the allegorical represented the deeper, more spiritual meaning. Therefore, anyone who simply interpreted the Bible in its most natural, normal way was simple and missing the great meaning of the Scriptures.” (Mal Couch, Hermeneutics, p. 97)
For the liberal church, Israel has no eternal promise in the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12,15, 17). Israel has no future of peace and rest, no promise of a Messianic kingdom, no land, no ethnic people, no King in the land, and no personal relationship with God. Instead, Israel is reduced to being a bland race of people with no specific rights to the land. This thought has unfortunately been the historical teaching of the Christian Church since around A.D. 250.

What happened in A.D 200 to move the Church into this anti-semitic point-of-view? In the next article I will examine what happened and expose the satanic Arab influence in today’s western societies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Blindness of the Nations

The blindness of the nations is growing greater today and Israel is in their cross-hairs. Growing antisemitism is infecting the world fed by Arab hatred and total intolerance for Israel’s existence. The month of October has seen two western nations vote in favor of recognizing a “Palestinian” state. Britain voted October 13, 2014 to recognize a Palestine state by an overwhelming 274-to-12 vote, though it is non-binding.  On October 4, 2014, Sweden voted to recognize the state of Palestine, and in November Spain will take a vote. 

This is coming just a couple months after Hamas terrorists started a war with Israel firing some 4,000 rockets and committing countless terrorists acts. Hamas executed at least 20 of its own citizens for protesting the war. Hamas also shot 22-suspected “spies” for Israel the day after three senior Hamas military commanders were killed by an Israeli airstrike - apparently guided by “collaborators.” The state sponsored terrorists setup rocket launchers next to UN sponsored schools, which resulted in Israel firing on the school, bring condemnation from the UN.

Then there is the UN that spends millions of dollars on Gaza development even funding the anti-Semitic school textbooks and pays teachers to teach anti-Semitic propaganda. As of October 16. 2014, just two months after the latest war, Gaza has been pledged 5.3 billion dollars from the nations. The Arab terrorists even received $212 million from the US! A terrorist organization Hamas that controls Gaza and listed on the US terrorists list receives support from the US?  What is going on?

The terrorists continue to do what works and extortion has been very profitable for them. The famous Palestinian terrorist leader Yasir Arafat was on the Forbes 400 list, reportedly possessing $1.3 billion. How in the world can a terrorist become one of the richest men in the world? By diverting public funds that were given by the US, UN, and others! 

As Arab immigration into Europe increases and Europe continues toward liberal Christianity and humanism, Europe will increasingly ignore the facts before them – that Palestine is a terrorist state. Europe continues to endorse the terrorists because emotion is high, the surrounding nations will not let them in their countries  and to punish Israel. How foolish can they be? Britain, that very nation that was so important in bringing about the Jewish nation, has clearly lost its way.

Liberal Christianity’s persecution of Israel continues as more and more of these institutions endorse boycotts of Israel. The Christian Palestinian movement is growing. This movement seeks to support Palestinian terrorists in declaring Israel an “occupier.”  

As the US and other nations continue to ignore the extermination of Christians and Jews in the Middle East, suffering and death only increases. Where is the outrage? Why has the US not demanded freedom of religion as a fundamental right in Islamic nations and not support any nation that does not allow its citizens freedom to practice their religion? 

This battle will continue until the King of Righteousness returns. The nations will continue to rage against God’s people until the Lord returns (Ps. 2).

Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. (Psa. 2:1-4 NKJ)

But it is our responsibility to act, to influence policy to stop the injustice and stop the annihilation of Christians and Jews in the Middle-East. It is our responsibility to speak up against taking Jewish land by the governmental bodies of the earth. To point out the terrorism of the Palestinian Liberation Army (PLO), Hamas, Hezbollah, the Brotherhood and others in the region who seek the total destruction of Israel, who play politics in an effort to extort from the foolish nations who seek a peaceful solution.   

Monday, October 20, 2014

Another Theologian Drifts!

It is sad to report that another theology textbook has moved into lordship salvation. I loved Dr. Paul Enns’ “The Moody Handbook of Theology” published in 1989. I even have a signed copy of the book. This was the theology I recommend to everyone as a must have – “the best concise theology out there.” But I can no longer endorse it. I ordered the revised edition last month (2014 edition) and to my complete surprise, Dr. Enns has moved. He now supports lordship salvation and John Macarthur has written the forward. 

What a shock it is to read “Believe Only” is listed among the “erroneous views” section.  The original release of the theology lined up with Charles Ryrie’s Basic Theology.  And when Dr. Couch brought him in to teach Christology at Tyndale I loved the book so much I got his autograph. Now I am afraid, I can no longer endorse the book. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

USA And The Shift In Religious Freedom

When a conflict exists between humanism and Christianity the Obama  administration chooses humanism. The most recent  evidence of this fact was demonstrated on March 25, 2014 with the Obama administration arguments before the Supreme court in the Hobby Lobby verses Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services case.  The administration’s argument centered on individual employees’ right to receive employer mandated birth control including the abortion pill. The lawyers for Hobby Lobby argued employer’s right to religious conscience against abortion drugs. In other words, the government argues that the individual employee has a basic right to abortion independent of the will of the employer.  

This is in essence an argument of two religions: Humanism verses Christianity. Humanism was declared a religion by the Supreme Court and is characterized by the following beliefs:

  • Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.
  • Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of evolutionary change, an unguided process.
  • Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.
  • Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.
  • Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.
  • Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.
  • Respect for differing yet humane views in an open, secular, democratic, environmentally sustainable society

In essence, the Obama administration was arguing that Humanism trumps Christianity. The Humanist religion is promoted by the world’s elitists, with names like John Dewey, Ron Wood Sellars and Raymond Bragg who started the organization in 1933 as an anti-religious (aka. anti-Christian) organization. In more recent times noted humanists are identified as Isaac Asimov, John Ciardi, Alan F. Guttmacher, Andrei Sakharov, Betty Friedan, and B. F. Skinner the preeminent American philosopher of the first half of the century ( 

The rise of humanism means the death of truth, and moral absolutes. With humanism the individual is all-important not God. The result of exaltation of self is the dangerous mentality that “the ends justly the means.” Truth is only valued if it serves the agenda and the individual’s favor.

The humanist wants everyone to believe like them. Notice how the elitist humanists want to take over the country:

“Expanding upon the role the public education establishment should play to bring about the goals described in the Humanist Manifesto II, John Dunphy wrote: "I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers that correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being...The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and new -- the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with the promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of 'love thy neighbor' will finally be achieved.” (

The result of the rise of humanism is a rise in mysticism. Mysticism lets emotion trump fact. Post-Christian America does not want the facts since facts get in the way of some agenda. This Dark Age type mysticism has touched every part of American life. For example, American news does not give the facts as they used to do. Today’s news gives out selective facts skewed toward some humanist message. If a reporter reports something contrary to their stance – that reporter is fired or forced out. 

Science has also fallen victim to emotion and agenda instead of fact. The most notable recent scientific controversy is global warming. The global warming agenda does not care about the facts - emotion has taken over argument. A high school student can understand the data, but the data is pushed to the side because the hard facts contradict their agenda. There is no direct correlation between Co2 and global temperature – that is the fact and what the historical data says.  Again, if a scientist disagrees with the agenda he or she is fired and/or their research is not funded. Only research that positively favors their agenda will be tolerated and truth is suppressed.  

Post Christian America has returned to the dark ages where truth and morals are secondary to mysticism of modern day humanism. The individual is elevated and truth is individual not universal since there is no universal truth except their truth. The reformation brought God, truth, justice and scientific absolutism to light. What is needed today is not reformation, but revival.  It is only a shift back to God and the Bible that will bring truth back to prominence. 

The totalitarian humanist and the loss of the love of truth can only result in what one saw in the middle ages – intolerance, totalitarian governments, socialist economic policy, and loss of religious rights. Where is the constitution in all this change? It cannot coexist with the humanist’s policy and agenda. That is why the Obama administration bypasses congress in order to implement universal birth control. This humanist government is removing religious freedom one step at a time.  My conscience for one is violated because I have no choice not to support my health insurance’s policy supporting abortion. My freedom to practice my religious convictions have been violated and the religion of humanism has legally triumphed over Christianity in the USA.               

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Prophecy of the Seed

There is great confusion today concerning the over-all theme of the Bible. While there are some who overemphasize the salvation aspect, calling the overall theme, “the progress of redemption,” others over-emphasize the kingdom aspect of Christ. The Scriptures themselves testify that the whole of the Old Testament speaks about Christ (Luke 24:27; 1 Pet. 1:10-11; Rev. 19:10). Indeed, Jesus testifies to this fact as He explains who He is to the disciples saying, “And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27).

 The theme of the Bible is Christ – period. This involves both His first and second comings. In order to clarify the theme of the Bible, it is imperative to look at the first prophecy in Scripture concerning Christ - what is called the proteuangelium (Greek lit. “first gospel”) of Genesis 3:11-15. 

 As a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God in the Garden, the Lord provides this prophecy: 

 11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?"  12 Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." 13 And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."  14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.  15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."  (Gen 3:11-15)

 Paul attributes fulfillment of this prophecy to Christ in Romans 16:20. He ascribes this Seed to Christ and His victory over Satan and death (cf. Isa. 25:8; Matt. 12:20;  John 12:31; 1 Cor. 15:54). Who then is the seed of Genesis 3 and what does the Old Testament have to say about the Seed of the woman?  

The Prophecy of the Seed

The Lord Jesus Christ is the prophesied Seed. This Seed has fulfillment in the incarnation of Christ who became flesh. The central verse for the incarnation is John 1:14, which defines the eternal Word became flesh:

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

 Of course a “seed” implies a lineage and this lineage is traced in Luke to Adam and the Seed of the woman of Genesis 3 (Luke 3:38).  However, it is the prophetic Seed of Abraham that we find the Seed of the promise that is satisfied in Christ. There are two important prophetic seed testimonies in Scripture: Abraham and David.  

16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. (Gal. 3:16)

 42 "Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?" (John 7:42)


Romans 1:3:  Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.

 Notice in Romans 1:3, the Son existed and was made according to the flesh the prophetic Seed of David. The reference here is to the Davidic covenant of 2 Samuel 7:12-14, where the prophet Nathan proclaims to David:

 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. “   

  As you can see, the Seed has two aspects: one based on the Abrahamic covenant wherein the blessing portion includes salvation that is extended to all nations; the other aspect is kingly wherein a throne for Israel will be established forever.  

 The Tender Shoot

This Seed also has an important prophetic metaphor called the Tender Shoot of Isaiah 53 – the Suffering Servant of the Lord:    

 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?  2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.  3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.  5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. (Isa. 53:1-5)

This prophecy is said to be fulfilled in Christ by the apostle John in 12:37-38. The main point of the Suffering Servant is Priestly not Kingly. The Suffering Servant came, as John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)  The Suffering Servant that Isaiah proclaimed is fulfilled in Jesus in His first coming:

"I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.  47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.  48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”  (John 12:46-48)

 The Branch

In Scripture, there is also the Branch, which speaks of the kingly aspect of the Son. Isaiah talks about the Rod of Jesse. Who was Jesse? Jesse was the father of David (Ps. 72:20). Notice what Isaiah says:

 1There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

 2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.  3 His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;  4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.  5 Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist.  6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.  (Isa 11:1-6)

 Jeremiah also speaks about this Branch as he writes:

 5 "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.  6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jer 23:5-6)

 Finally, Zechariah prophesied concerning the Branch:

12 Then speak to him, saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD;  13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”  (Zec. 6:12-13)

 As can be seen from the verses of the Tender Shoot and the Branch, this is none other than the Son of God – Jesus Christ, the Anointed Savior. Jesus is the Son of Man, the Son of God, and the Son of David.  All three of these expressions relate to His first and second comings. We cannot have the King without the King coming in the flesh as the Suffering Servant to deal with the sin issue and His completed work on the cross. Likewise, we cannot claim Him King simply by proclaiming the cross; there will be a future day when the King will return to deal with the nation Israel and the nations of the world and sit on the throne of David.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Six Benefits of Bible Prophecy

For those who love Bible prophecy there is a clear motivation to live the Christian life. It is, after all, the Holy Spirit that taught the disciples “things to come” (John 16:13) and there is a special blessing for those who read and understand prophecy (Rev. 1:3). 

 Prophecy accounts for one-third of the entire Bible. What is declared by God as prophecy is as credible and profitable as those portions of Scripture which are categorized as historical narrative. As Dr. Chafer notes, “The language is no more complex, nor is the truth any more veiled” [than historical narrative] (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 4, p. 258).

 There have been six major lines of argument concerning Christian living and prophecy. These six are as follows:

Prophecy Produces Purity of Life (1 John 3:1-3; cf., Tit. 2:11-13; 1 Thes. 3:13; 5:23;; 1 Pet. 1:3-7; 2 Pet. 3:10-13). The expectation of seeing the Lord Jesus Christ at any moment produces purity in the believer.    

1 John 3:1-3 says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Before the great prophet Isaiah began his ministry, he proclaimed, “I am a man of unclean lips,” then an angel touched his lips with live coal, thus securing his lips for prophetic service to the Lord (Isa. 6:1-13). Dr. S. Lewis Johnson said, “prophecy and purity are twines and they should never be parted.”

We have a hope in His imminent return which is based on His love for us and hence results in a motivation to live a pure life; a life that clearly reflects His glory, love and purity. It is here that one finds that prophecy produces purity of life. John links the love of God to His imminent return as we live in anticipation of the return of the Lord in a Spirit filled life. This is the teaching of the parable of the faithful servant and the evil servant as the evil servant says, “My master is not coming for a long time,” as he neglects his duties; whereas, the faithful servant anticipates the master’s return at any moment and performs his duties faithfully (Luke 12:35-48).

Prophecy Produces Stability of Life (1 Cor. 15:58; cf., 2 Thes. 2:2). In the great section of Scripture describing the resurrection of the body, Paul proclaims: 

54So when this corruptible has put on in-corruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”  55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”  56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.  57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Co 15:54-58) 

The two words “steadfast” and “immovable” have to do with being “morally fixed” and “set in place.” Prophecy produces a theologically stable individual who knows where he or she is going and what is to come. Stability and faith go hand in hand. The result is an abundance of good works in their life and giving God glory.   

Prophecy Produces Comfort in Sorrow (1 Thes. 4:13-18; cf., 1 Pet. 1:7-9). Prophecy produces comfort in trials, troubles, and death. The apostle Paul wrote to the troubled Thessalonian Church:

13But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  16For 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.  17 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.  18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.  (1Thes. 4:13-18)

Prophecy is to be used to give aid to those in need. Comfort is in the Greek parakaleo, a compound of “beside,” and “to call,” meaning, “called to one’s side” to one’s aid as a legal counsel, intercessor, or advocate. Outside the legal realm, the word is used as counseling and consoling. The rapture and resurrection of the dead serve are a source of comfort for those in spiritual trouble.  

Prophecy Produces Concern For Service (2 Cor. 5:9-10; cf., John 9:4; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; 1 Pet. 5:1-4). The judgment seat of Christ is that future event when believers works will be judged by Christ whether they were done in His name for His glory. Those works that are not done with the right motivation will be thrown away and only those that are done with the right motivation will be acceptable to the Lord and rewards given. This meeting produces concern for service. The judgment seat is described by Paul in 2 Cor. 5:9-10 (cf., Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:14-15):

9Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.  10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  (2Co 5:9-10)

Prophecy Produces Moral and Social Responsibility (Rom. 13:11-14; cf., 1 Thes. 5:6-11). Personal responsibly differentiates the child of God and it is prophecy that provides the motivation in this short life.

11And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.  (Rom 13:11-14)  

Dr. J. Vernon McGee wrote of these verses, “Are you using your time and what you possess for God? I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye yield your total personalities – all you are, all you have – to God. This is rational. This is reasonable. This is what you are supposed to be doing, Christian friend. If we really are looking for the return of Christ, it will purify our lives. ‘And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure’ (1 John 3:3)… Oh, how many believers are making every provision for the flesh but are making no provision to go into His presence. My friend, I beg you to put Christ first in your life and to get out the Word of God. This is all important.” 

Prophecy Produces Evangelism and Conversion (Acts 3:12-26; cf., Phil 4:5; Heb. 9:26-27). It is by the prophetic word that we understand the Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Son of David, and the Messiah that would die for our sins (Isa. 53). It is through prophecy that we know that the Son of God described in Psalm 2 is both the Savior and King. It is through prophecy that we understand faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). For 700 years before Jesus Christ came in the flesh to die as the suffering Servant, His work of the cross was prophesied (Isaiah 53; cf. Ps. 22). Prophecy is the foundation of the gospel message and not only produces evangelism and conversion, but serves to build up one’s confidence in the faith.     

12So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?  13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.  14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,  15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.  16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.  17 Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.  18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.  19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,  20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,  21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.  22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, `The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.  23 `And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'  24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.  25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, `And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'  26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities." (Act 3:12-1). 

It is by prophecy that the believer comes to know the faithfulness of God in His Word. It is by prophecy that His Word is validated. It is by prophecy that we know the sovereignty of God as He controls history, every moment fulfilling prophecy as He wills (Dan. 9:27; Acts 4:25-29; Phil. 1:6). And it is by prophecy that we have confidence and can rest in His message as He describes the beginning from the end. Indeed, all parts of the Bible have a sanctifying effect in anticipation of Christ’s promised return (John 17:17). 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Will The Seven Year Tribulation Be Shortened?

What does it mean when the Bible says, "Unless those days were shortened no flesh would survive?" ... does it mean that the 7 year tribulation is shortened somehow? Very curious about this. Thanks!

Answer: There are a couple of interpretations that have been offered for Matthew 24:22. First, let me restate the verse:

But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short. (Matthew 24:20-22 NASB).

Interpretation 1 - Short, meaning “shorter than 24 hour day.”

One interpretation is that the days will be shortened to less than a 24 hour day.  

The great Baptist Jewish scholar John Gill wrote of this verse:

 “The shortening of those days is not to be understood literally, as if the natural days, in which this tribulation was, were to be shorter than usual. The Jews indeed often speak of the shortening of days in this sense, as miraculously done by God: so they say (Targum Jonathan ben Uzziel, & Targum Hieros. in Gem xxviii. 10), that "five miracles were wrought for our father Jacob, when he went from Beersheba to go to Haran. The first miracle was that, ‘the hours of the day were shortened for him’, and the sun set before its time, because his word desired to speak with him.''

They also say (R. Sol. Jarchi in Isa. xxxviii. 8.),
 "that the day in which Ahaz died, was shortened ten hours, that they might not mourn for him; and which afterwards rose up, and in the day that Hezekiah was healed, ten hours were added to it.''

But the meaning here is, that the siege of Jerusalem, and the calamities attending it, should be sooner ended: not than God had determined, but than the sin of the Jews deserved, and the justice of God might have required in strict severity, and might be reasonably expected, considering the aggravated circumstances of their iniquities. A like manner of speech is used by the Karaite Jews (Chilluk M. S. apud Trigland. de sect. Karaeorum, c. 9. p. 147), who say, "if we walk in our law, why is our captivity prolonged, and there is not found balm for our wounds? and why are not "the days" of the golden and silver kingdom "lessened", for the righteousness of the righteous, which were in their days?''    

This view seems to suggest that God could not have meant He would shorten the Great Tribulation period. Though that does not necessarily have to be the conclusion of the word “shorten.” 

Interpretation 2 - Short, meaning “short in duration.”

The second interpretation says that the Lord will stop it by shortening (hastening) His coming.

Dr. Wilkins writes in support of this view, “A proverbial way of indicating that God is in control even of these days of horror. If the wickedness of humanity and the wrath of God were allowed to run unchecked, there would be no end to the horror and no one would survive. This is a promise that the time of tribulation will not last indefinitely, because God is in control.” (Michael Wilkins in Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary)

Another proponent of this view is Dr. Walvoord as he writes, “This does not mean that the period will be less than three-and-a-half years, but that it will be definitely terminated suddenly by the second coming of Christ.” (John Walvoord, Matthew)

Dr. Glasscock gives a good summary as he writes, “The issue is not necessarily that the number was reduced from a previous number but was limited, shortened, from a greater possible number that would annihilate the human race. (Ed Glasscock, Moody Gospel Commentary: Matthew)

I agree with Dr. Glasscock.  My interpretation from the Greek is this:

“And if not those days be shortened (Aorist Passive) no flesh at all would be saved; but those days will be shortened (Future Passive) for the elect.”   

The first phrase is an aorist passive verb expressing a 'statement of fact,' while the second phrase uses a future passive (will be shortened) expressing a future reality.  

The word in the Greek for “short” is only used here (and the equivalent verse in Mark 13:20) in the New Testament. The word is “koloboo” meaning, “to mutilate,” from the verb “to prune,” and denotes “to cut off,” or “amputate,” (cf., 2 Sam 4:12 in the Greek OT) hence our translation “to shorten.”   

I believe the verse is not referring to a shortening of the 24 hour day or less days in the tribulation period, but rather, that God will intervene before Israel’s enemies kill all the Jews. The remnant of Israel will come through the Tribulation as promised.

Thanks for asking,

Dr. John Pappas

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Biggest Story of 2013 – The Elimination of Christians in the Middle East

The biggest story of 2013 was the most ignored story by the popular international press – the systematic elimination of Christians in the Middle East and Africa. The facts are well known, but the popular international press refuses to publish or to acknowledge it. The numbers are staggering, leading Prince Charles to address the issue directly, but even so , the press has largely ignored the urgency.

The elimination of Christians is not a new story. During the Iraq war Christians that were targets of violence by Muslims resulting in their flight to safe countries,  greatly reducing their population there. Even as late as Christmas day 2013, twin attacks on Christians in Iraq killed at least 37 people. The attacks are continuously targeted from Muslims toward Christians. The number of Christians in Iraq was estimated to be 1.5 million in 2003; today there are an estimated 450,000! Indeed, the United Nations estimates that a million Christians have fled the country in the last decade. A warning given in 2010 by an al-Qaida front group stated, "The doors of destruction and rivers of blood will be opened upon them [Christians]."

The Christian populations in Libya, Egypt and Syria have found their relative peace broken by the Arab Spring.  According to Mindy Belz in the December 14, 2013 of World Magazine, “In 1944 they [Christians] made up 34 percent of the city [Damascus] population (then 325,000). Before the war began in 2011, they made up about 12 percent (of 2 million residents). By some estimates that number now may have dropped as low as 6 percent.”  The Huffington Post reported, “Church leaders in Syria have claimed that at least a third of the country’s 1.75 million Christians have been forced to flee their homes as a result of war.” Will these Christians be allowed to return after the war?  
Habib Malik, associate professor of history and cultural studies at the Lebanese American University said in an interview by Mindy Belz, “of the three monotheistic religions in the region, ‘Christianity is most beleaguered.’ Muslims have captured territory and control political power. Jews have found sanctuary in the modern state of Israel. ‘But native Christians in the region have none of this. They tend to be weak and scattered communities… repeatedly subjected to pressure from oppressive regimes and Islamist groups.”

Andrew McCarthy writes concerning the most under-reported foreign new stories of 2013, “The most underreported foreign news story of 2013 is the pogrom against Christians in Islamic countries. It is doubtful that there is a close second place finisher. The story is gruesome and the rational for both the killing and the silence about it lies in a mainstream interpretation of Islam – one that is far more prevalent in the Middle East than the West will admit.” McCarthy goes on to write, “The pogrom is the inexorable result of Islamic teaching and Western indulgence. It is, after all, directed at Christians because there are no more Jews left to persecute. The latter have long made their exodus from Muslim countries where Jewish communities once flourished. Despite this fact, and despite that fact that Muslims living in Israel enjoy more freedom and self-determination than in any Arab country of the Middle East, the West – very much including the United States – has legitimized the premise that Jews should be driven from East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, just as they were pressured to evacuate Gaza, in order to birth a Palestinian state.” 

Syria’s Christian community had grown during the Iraq war as thousands fled to Syria, now, they are fleeing Syria. The British government seems to be the only western power acknowledging the problem. The British government, led by Nigel Farage, has proposed to offer asylum to Syrians fleeing the civil war as long as they are Christian. Concern for Christians in the Middle East is echoed by political heads like Prince Charles but not the press. Prince Charles is quoted in The Guardian on December 17, 2013 saying, “I have for some time now been deeply troubled by the growing difficulties faced by Christian communities in various parts of the Middle East, he said. It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants. Christianity was literally born in the Middle East and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ, he added.  Charles said Christians now accounted for 4% of the population in the Middle East and North Africa – the lowest concentration in the world.”

Raymond Ibrahim reported in November that one massacre that took place in October 2013 in Sadad where U.S-supported ‘opposition’ invaders occupied the ancient city for over a week, killing 45 Christians and destroying 14 Churches there. Several were tortured to death, and six bodies were found at the bottom of a well. In Ibrahim’s article in the Christian Post, he quotes Archbishop Selwanos Boutros, “We have shouted aid to the world but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is the human consciousness? Where are my brothers?” 
In Egypt, the Christian Solidarity International group reported in May of 2013, “Since the overthrow of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, attacks on Copts from state and non-state actors have escalated significantly. Over 100 Copts have been killed in sectarian attacks since the overthrow of Mubarak–more than in the entire previous decade. CSI has received reports of at least 14 attacks on Coptic churches in the same time period, including St.Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and 10 pogrom-style attacks on Christian communities.”

Libya’s Arab Spring has likewise resulted in the great exodus of Christians from that country. Phillip Smyth writing for PJ Media wrote in April 2013, “What began as a Western-backed chance to assist Libyans in gaining freedom from an oppressive dictator has resulted, according to some reports, in nearly the entire population of 100,000 Libyan Christians leaving the country. The rising power of numerous radical Islamist militias, which have recently launched a low-scale terror war against Christians, is increasingly being felt throughout the country. This anti-Christian effort by Islamist militias has also been aided by a Libyan government incapable or even unwilling to protect Libya’s Christians. While it is unknown if it is the Libyan jihadists’ goal to have all Christians expelled, the fear created by their operations is producing that effect.” According to Open Doors, 75 percent of expat Christians have left the country of Libya.

In all these countries, freedom of religion, that is, freedom to practice Christianity is greatly restricted. These countries will not allow Christians to share their faith. Everywhere in the Middle East except for Israel, the Christian is imprisoned for sharing his or her faith. In Iran, American pastor Saeed Abedini sits in prison for the second year. In 2010 Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for practicing Christianity. In October 2013, Pakistan Pastor Adnan Masih was arrested and charged with blasphemy. Saudi Arabia, like most Muslim countries allows Christians to enter the country as foreign workers, but does not allow them to practice their faith.

The White House does not mention this Muslim persecution and even elimination of Christianity in the Middle East and Africa. Under this administration, the promotion of Islam at the expense of Christianity seems to be the priority. Indeed, for all administrations for the last 100 years, the appeasement of Arabs at the expense of the Christian and Jew has been the doctrine. Freedom of religion has not been a priority of the US government for some time, so our money is sent overseas to “buy” and “stabilize” oppressive governments. While our brothers and sisters in Christ are systematically eliminated from the Middle East with no voice from the White House and the press.