Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Now, it possible for a government to attack a Christian organization with false accusations of violence or rebellion. Indeed, it has happened in the past and is happening in the world today. But, that does not appear to be the case here.
Jesus pronounced the verdict for this case when he said, "Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword." (Matthew 26:52)
Christians are to go into all the world to proclaim the gospel and teach those who believe. This will bring the change we desire or, at least, it will bring people to a point of decision. We may face the sword coming against us, but we will never use the sword in place of proclaiming the truth.
Monday, March 29, 2010
I just got back from shopping with my wife. It was Toni’s birthday and I decided during the last year that instead of the usual birthday presents, an evening out or the planned surprise we would do something different. So, instead of planning something or buying a present I simply took her to the mall and carried her shopping bags. Now, I did not do this because I forgot to plan or because I am getting lazy after 29 years of being with her on her birthday. This was an actual plan that required me not to plan. I think it worked! If you see her in the next week or so you can ask her if she thought it worked.
While we were shopping I noticed three things that I would like to mention quickly.
First, have you ever seen the little stores set up in the mall that sell treats and snacks for your dog? I have walked by it many, many times. Today when we walked by and I saw the cute little treats, some having been dipped in chocolate (or, so it appeared), I thought, “Do dogs even care? Do dogs even know?” I do not think a dog thinks about how cute or interesting a doggy treat is or even if it is shaped like a bone (which it really isn’t since a dog biscuit doesn’t actually look like anything a dog would recognize as a bone but is merely shaped into what we have come to except as a characterization of a bone.) I know from past experience that when I have given a dog a tasty piece of left over steak or even a piece of dried bread, they chomp it and swallow it fast. They don’t savor the flavor. They barely chew it. A dog eats. That is what a dog does. But we insert our perspective on the dog. It is easier for us to understand our dog if we allow ourselves to believe that the dog thinks like we think. It is easier to have a relationship with a dog if we imagine he thinks like we think. We assume that during the Christmas season our dog would like the Santa shaped dog biscuit just like they would prefer the green biscuit around St. Patrick’s Day. (As you may know, dogs don’t see color they way we do. For example, dogs see blue-green as white. Green, yellow and orange all look alike to dogs.)
The point: If we find it more comfortable to interact with dogs by assuming they think like we think, taste food the way we taste it and see color the way we see it then it is very likely that we also find it more comfortable to interact with God the same way. We find it easier to imagine that God agrees with what we think, likes the things that we like and sees sin in the same light that we see it. This is wrong. A man and a dog perceive things differently just like man and God perceive things differently.
The second thing I want to mention is the $1,000,000,000 bill Toni saw laying by the cash register at a clothing store in the mall. Toni saw it first and asked the clerk what it was? (Everyone knows that a $1,000,000,000 bill shouldn’t be left lying outside the cash drawer.) When Toni picked up the $1,000,000,000 bill I could see it had a picture of Charles Spurgeon on it. Everyone was surprised that I knew who was on the $1,000,000,000 bill. When we looked closer at the portrait it had in tiny little letters “Spurgeon” and the text on the bill explained the way of salvation. The clerk said that every Sunday someone leaves a $1,000,000,000 bill in their store. Apparently some church or some Christian was bringing the truth of Jesus Christ to the mall with false $1,000,000,000 bills.
The third and final thing I saw was a bumper sticker in the parking lot the said “My Boston terrier is smarter than your honor roll student.” I instantly found myself evaluating the bumper sticker with three personal thoughts:
I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car.
I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car about my dog.
I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car about my dog so I could insult you concerning your child.
I walked into the store thinking how pointless that bumper sticker is.
So this is what I thought about while I carried shopping bags around this afternoon. Toni and I had a good time. She enjoyed her birthday and I thought about how we elevate dogs to our level while we devaluate God; how we use false money to spread truth and why we feel the need to insult others with pointless bumper stickers.
Matthew 7:21 - Everyone who says to Jesus “Lord, Lord” is not one of his children.
To believe in Jesus for salvation you must have the correct definition of who Jesus is. The power of faith does not depend on how much you believe something. The power of faith depends on if that something you believe is true. The power of faith is not how great you believe, but how great and true the object of your faith is.
A person can believe with all their heart that gravity does not exist but they will still fall to the ground if they try to walk on air. Why? Because the power of faith is in the truthfulness and the reality of what you believe. If a person believes in a Jesus who is a genie that gives them the life they want, or the woman they want, or all the money they want then that person does not believe in the biblical Jesus. They believe a lie and there is no power in a lie to save them.
The power of faith for salvation is not how hard a person believes in Jesus but if what they believe about Jesus is true. Jesus went to the cross to pay for the sins of mankind.
The Palm Sunday crowd believed Jesus was going to save them from the Romans, deliver them into a sovereign and free kingdom and meet all their physical needs in the kingdom of God. They cried out “Hosanna” which means “save us”. But, Jesus was going to deliver them from their sins not from the Romans. Forty years after Palm Sunday the Romans would totally destroy Judea, Jerusalem, the temple and kill or enslave the Jewish people. In 30 AD the Jews believed in a political Jesus not in a savor who would redeem them from sin. The political Jesus did not save them from the Romans because it was a false definition of Jesus. The Lord and Savor did die for their sins and they could believe in that Jesus and be saved from eternal damnation.
As Jesus left the palm trees of Bethany on Palm Sunday morning, about two miles southeast of Jerusalem, his disciples went ahead into a small village filled with fig trees called Bethphage (which means “house of figs”) to get a colt that had never been ridden. Jesus got on the colt and ascended the east slope of the Mt. of Olives. As they came over the top of the Mt. of Olives they could see the city of Jerusalem and the temple towering over the valley on the other side of the Kidron. Thousands of people who had already arrived from Judea and Galilee encircled the city and filled the valley and the slopes of the Mt. of Olives with their tents and temporary shelters. Josephus says that 256,500 lambs where sacrificed at Passover in Jerusalem. If each lamb fed an average of 10 people then there would have been at least 2.5 million people in and around Jerusalem as Jesus rode down the western slope of the Mt. of Olives, through the Kidron Valley and up the steep eastern side of Jerusalem. Over half of the entire population of Judea and Galilee would have seen or heard Jesus coming into Jerusalem that Sunday.
This day could be considered the highlight of Jesus ministry. The people shouted key phrases which clearly indicated they where calling him the Messiah:
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Mark 11:9)
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David.” (Mark 11:9)
“Hosanna to the Son of David.” (or, “Save us! Son of David.”) (Matthew 21:9)
Yet it says in Luke 19:41, in the midst of the shouting crowd who welcomed him into their city, Jesus began to weep. Why would Jesus weep as a crowd, which could have been approaching a million Jews, shouted “Hosanna” or “Save Us!!”? Because they did not understand who he was. They had the wrong definition of a savior. They had given Jesus a false identity and had chosen to believe it. Jesus said as he wept among the shouting crowd:
“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:42-44)Our concern today is if we have made the same mistake. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”Jesus said in John 15:14:
“You are my friends if you do what I command.”This is not about being legalistic but it is about believing in the correct Jesus. If a person says they believe in Jesus or they have accepted Jesus but have they have no trouble violating his commands and his expectations of living as a child of God then the assumption has to be that they possibly have not believed in the same Jesus described in the Bible. Along with each person’s name comes the character of the person.
The same is true of Jesus. The Palm Sunday crowd called out to Jesus to “Save us!” They called him “Lord” and “Son of David”. These were the correct names but they had replaced the character and purpose of the Lord with their own desires and plans.
To believe in a Jesus who doesn’t expect you to walk away from sin is to believe in a lie. There is no power in faith in a lie and no power in a belief in something that is not real. The Jews found out that there was no salvation in Jesus when they redefined who he was with their own desires and plans.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:20-21)www.generationword.com
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Although it had been found before the 1960’s, it was only this week that it was brought to my attention in this month’s Biblical Archeology Review (Mar/Apr 2008, p.32) that an ancient seal with the name Jezebel on it had been discovered. In the ancient world seals were used to make an impression into clay that would serve as the signature of the owner of the seal.
This seal is 1 1/2 inches long, which is larger than most. It also contains Egyptian and Phoenician symbols of royalty. The images on this seal also indicate it belonged to a female. Seals belonging to women are rare. There have been thousands of seals discovered but only 35 belonging to women. There have been 24 seals belonging to royal sons but only two belonging to a royal daughter.
Most convincing is the four Hebrew letters placed around the seal that spell the name of the owner. The Hebrew letters are יזבל which translate into English as YZBL and is pronounced JEZEBEL. This is the seal that would possibly have been used to seal letters calling for the death of the prophets of YHWH and also, of the letter sent to Elijah by the queen calling for the removal of his head.
“Based on copious evidence from other ancient Israelite and Judean seals and seal impressions, we should expect to find a ל (”belonging to”) somewhere on the seal, preceding the proper noun. This expectation is not conclusive, of course, but it is quite reasonable—and the only place a missing ל could go would be in the broken area at the top of the seal. In my opinion, doubting the ל would be like finding a busted baseball and doubting that it ever had stitches.”
The extant inscription on the actual piece reads יזבל, but Jezebel’s name is spelled איזבל in the Tanakh—hence the need to reconstruct the missing letters. As you can see from the second photo, Korpel proposes to read לאיזבל, which would be the preposition ל (here, “belonging to”) + the proper name איזבל.
Avigad's cautious approach stemmed from the fact that the seal did not come from an officially-approved excavation.
Two weeks ago on a Wednesday I sent 20 emails to ministries involved in mission work asking for advice (not money) to help me get 3,600 sets of our Bible School Series CDs to Ghana and Nigeria. I was hoping to find a network, an organization or some good advice. It took about a week for the first response to drag in. Now after two weeks I have had four responses from the twenty ministries. One from Tanzania provided some very helpful insight. One Nigerian told me to keep sending CDs and Bibles. Another from the USA told me not to trust the United Nations. And after waiting two weeks, the man in charge of our denomination’s mission outreach emailed me and suggested I might consider putting my messages online!? What??!! It took him two weeks NOT to look at our website and realize that we already have about 700 messages online including RealPlayer files, QuickTime files, video, iTunes, and now, You Tube. The sixteen others have yet to respond.
Well, you say, “The clergy are very busy people. Men of the cloth have a lot of things on their minds and tremendous responsibilities.” Well, I don’t buy that. I have been involved with church ministry now for 22 years. I have been a believer for 32 years. I have raised my family in the church and with all of my boys spending some time (probably, too much time) in Christian schools. You ask, why such negative outrage.
Well, here is one of many reasons. About three days after I had emailed the ministries, I sat down one Saturday morning about 8:00 to email seven businesses that specialize in mass production of CDs. I also asked these seven businesses for advice on getting 3,600 sets of CDs (total 180,000 CD’s) to Ghana and Nigeria. (We have already shipped about 75,000 free CDs in the last four years.) After I had cut and pasted the email (even forgetting to change the name of the first company when I pasted the text on the other emails) I took my son to his Saturday morning basketball game. His game started at 9:00 that morning and by 10:15 my cell phone started ringing. This went on all day with companies calling me and emailing me on a Saturday in response to an email I cut and pasted that Saturday morning. Each of the companies had some idea on how to cut cost or make production and distribution more effective. Most of them were involved in their churches or understood the importance of fulfilling this obligation. Obviously, all of them provided a bid and a price breakdown. The difference was they responded a few hours on a Saturday and by 11:00 that Saturday night I had learned more about CD production and had received several very good ideas. Now, I want you to hear this, these men apologized because they wouldn’t be able to get me a complete bid until sometime on Monday because they wanted to talk with their suppliers and get the best price for this job. By Tuesday I had all the bids on my desk and samples began arriving in the mail.
Meanwhile, back in the world of ministry, by that same Tuesday I had waited seven days now and had received just two emails out of twenty, both telling me to check somewhere else for advice. Sixteen of the twenty ministries have yet to reply. It took seven businesses a matter of hours to respond aggressively. It has been two weeks and I am not planning on ever hearing from the other sixteen ministries.
What does this mean to me as a father of six boys? I never want my sons to be employed in ministry or to run their lives like men of the cloth. Instead, I want my sons to be believers in Jesus Christ, live according to the word of God and run their lives like a business man. I hope they never learn the worthless, inefficient, irresponsible ways of ministry.
So far, of my six sons (ages 12-24), one is training for the Marines, one is a snowboard coach, one is in the engineering program with the Air Force and my fourth son is consumed with the stock market, real estate and reading the Wall Street Journal. When it comes time for them to serve God I want them to be able to respond quickly, confidently and produce decisive results.
I wonder what kind of response I would have received from those same twenty ministries if I had asked them for their mailing address in order to send them a check instead of asking for their advice.
We can become confused when discussing morals and opinions. There is a difference between something that is moral and something else that is simply a matter of opinion. In most cases when discussing an opinion with someone the conversation remains civil, light and unemotional. This is usually the case when discussing what flavor of ice cream you are going to get at Coldstone Creamery, if you cheered for the Celtics or the Lakers or what color you should paint the house. These are opinions with no right answer so it is hard to form a political party based on ice cream or paint and it is hard to split a church over the NBA finals. But, the level of conversation changes when the issue becomes a moral issue such as abortion, marriage, homosexuality, or correct exegetical interpretation of scripture. At this point it is clear to see we have switch from an opinion to the realm of right or wrong.
This little bit of information will help you discern between things that are truly opinions or things that deal with morality. It is easy to accept someone with a different opinion (color, ice cream, team) but you will feel the tension rise and see divisions form when the moral line is crossed.
Just a warning: If you have had personal troubles because of an ice cream flavor or who won the NBA finals you need to refocus and relax. People are entitled to their opinions. But, you also need to get a focus if you think abortion, homosexuality, marriage and scriptural interpretation is simply a matter of opinion. We all live in a universe with absolute rules in physics, math and ethics.
I can’t help but comment on an article in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal concerning how our government spends our money. Besides naming several governmental examples of overspending, the article states that according to a study by the Office of Management and Budget our government on average falls 39% short of meeting their financial goals.
For example, in 2008 the government will spend $2.7 trillion to provide us with only $1.65 trillion of benefit. But worse, this number of $2.7 trillion in cost is really covered up. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Congressional Budget Office the number is actually double that or $5.2 trillion when the damage caused to the private economy by taxation is figured in.
The bottom line is we are forfeiting $5.2 trillion in exchange for $1.65 trillion in services.
Or, if you have a hard time thinking in trillions of dollars let me say it like a shop teacher. For every $1 we give the government we get 32 cents (1 quarter, a nickel and two pennies) of production. Maybe I could provide you with a couple of examples I can relate to:
Imagine buying a gallon of milk and spilling 2/3 of it on the way to the car.
Or, when you pump a $3.80 gallon of gas into your car squeeze the handle and spray the first $2.53 on the ground.
If you pay for a new home you only get the lot, the basement and part of the garage. The rest of the house was lost somewhere between Home Depot and the delivery location.
Why would we want to give the government more responsibility? Why would we want to give them anymore money? Why would a presidential candidate base their campaign on promises of starting more programs for us?
Watch and see. Our nation will demand more governmental services that will spill our milk, dump our gas and lose our houses.
We need a candidate who will say, “Let’s stop the craziness!”
This is an interesting development considering the information in the blog I wrote on Sunday (4/27/08). God has established the world to operate with some basic divinely established institutions. One of these is nationalism. A natural, effective world requires nations. Globalization will not work.
QUESTION: Our current lesson is "The Second Coming of Christ." I asked the students (in the chronology of all end times events) when will the second coming take place. One student said, "After the temple is rebuilt." Maybe I'm forgetting something basic, but I can't think of a scripture that refers to the temple being rebuilt between now and the second coming. I understand what happened in 70 A.D. and the prophecy surrounding that event, but is there scripture relating to this student's answer?
RESPONSE: In the pre-millennial view the 7 year tribulation takes place. 1 Thes. 2:3-9 says the man-of-lawlessness will set him self up as God in God's temple and the Lord Jesus will overthrow him by the splendor of his coming. More details are given in Revelation and Daniel. This is the temple that will be rebuilt by the Jews for the tribulation. They will be allowed to offer sacrifices there for 3 1/2 years before the A.C. says he is God and takes over for the final 3 1/2 years. A sign of the times then would be the rebuilding of this temple. The Jews have already constructed the furniture (I saw some this summer in Jerusalem) and they have pre-cut, pre-formed walls to move in and set up the temple very quickly once the Muslim Dome of the Rock is removed (or, some other arrangement is made.) The Jews, of course, do not believe the end times will occur as the Christians do, but they are walking in the very steps of prophecy as they plan their own agenda. Many Christians that do not believe in either the rapture, or the tribulation, or even the millennium will say the temple in Revelation is the temple that was destroyed in 70 AD and these prophecies are already fulfilled. This is fine but we still have to work 2 Th. 2:4 and 8 into the equation which seems to put these events right before Jesus' second coming. Some say Jesus "coming" was in 70 AD when the temple of that time was destroyed. I also believe this was the Lord "coming in judgment" but not his second coming where he overthrows the anti-christ.
QUESTION: I think this is a light-hearted question, but another student asked me, "Why did God plan the Millennium." I understand where the Millennium fits into the eschatology, with Christians reigning with Christ, and Satan being bound (?), but I don't have any specific answer to why. To me it’s kind of like asking why God created flies (yes I know they digest waste and feed frogs, etc.), but if you have anything to offer, I'll pass it on.
ANSWER: The reason for the Millennium ties together many loose ends and incomplete parts of scripture and God's plans. First, man was to rule and have dominion. This ended quickly in the Garden. The Seed of the Woman, a man/Messiah, was promised who would crush the kingdom Satan and in Hebrews 2: 5-9 the writer quotes Psalm 8:4-6 where it says that God put everything under man's feet, but yet we do not know or see everything subject to man in our present condition. The writer goes on to say, "But we do see Jesus. . .now crowned with glory and honor." So mankind yet has to experience their fullness on earth, this will only be accomplished through the man Jesus Christ the savior and the king of the whole earth (Zechariah 14:9) Second, God chose Israel to fulfill certain parts of his plan. Many of these purposes and promises have not been fulfilled. They will be in the earthly kingdom of God where Jesus will reign as king. Third, there have been several phases in history where man has had to live and interact with God. The plan and means of salvation has always been the same, but God's way of dealing with man and testing man has been altered. The Millennium is the final phase of God's dealing with man. Mankind will live on the earth under the government and personal rulership of Jesus Christ. The apologetics of the millennium will not be like our apologetics. In our age we often have to try to prove the existence of God, or the deity of Jesus Christ. In the millennium the existence of God and the Lordship of Jesus will not be a hot topic of conversation for very long considering Jesus physically present and will be stationed in Jerusalem where people from all nations will travel to hear his explanations and teaching. Isaiah 2:2-5:
"In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established . . .all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord. . .He will teach us his ways'. . . The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations." But, even in this environment multitudes will rebel and reject the Lord and his ways. Thus proving that man's problem is not that he wasn't sure if there was a God. Nor was man's problem his confusion about who God was or if Jesus really was the Lord. These things will all be obvious. Man's problem is his rebellious sin nature that must be recreated or born again. Man's problem is not God but himself. There are other reasons for the importance of the millennium but I have mentioned these three: the successful reign of man on earth, the fulfillment of Israel, and man's final test.
QUESTION: I am familiar with all the scriptures that deal with Church Leadership and being the man of one wife, and I lean toward believing that means that you are only married once and never divorced (to qualify to be a church leader), unless your spouse is deceased then re-marriage would qualify, but I know there are several other interpretations. So please briefly share your beliefs, because the kids' thoughts seemed to be all over the place.
ANSWER: This is one of those questions that I can give 2 or 3 answers for but I have not settled in my heart my convictions. For me it is kind of like women in the ministry or woman being silent in church. I can give an answer but that answer really doesn’t match my convictions or the way I operate. Why is this? I may be ignorant; I may be too liberal; I may be a product of my culture. I may be immature or need my mind renewed to the word of God. Maybe I am in rebellion to God and need to get saved. The same is true when I answer this question. Several years ago I pastored a church and I went to a district meeting with the district pastors. They asked me if I would ever to a wedding ceremony for a couple where one of them had been divorced. I replied that it depended on the circumstances. Why did the person get a divorce? Were they having an affair with the person they now wanted to marry? I’d say no, don’t marry them. Did their husband abandon them with two young children before she was saved? I’d say yes, if the young mother of two has found a responsible believer, marriage would be an answer to prayer. The self-righteous district pastors said “never”. I responded by asking them who officiated all the weddings of the people in our denomination who were remarried divorced people? Easily 1/3 of the congregation I inherited had been remarried after a divorce earlier in life and several were teaching Sunday school. I told them that they could play their little doctrinal game but clearly very few of them were following it. Now, concerning your question: Some scholars say the text could be saying “husband of one wife at a time” or “husband of one wife, ever”. If it means “husband of one wife, ever” are we supposed then start making assumption for the Law of Moses which allowed marriage after the death of a spouse. In that case the concept is “husband of one wife, ever, unless the wife dies” which is basically saying, “husband of one wife at a time.” I do not know the answer to this because I can not settle my convictions. In my mind there are just too many exceptions. Clearly, if a pastor has an affair, he has disqualified himself to lead people and present the truth. But, what about King David? (Two things, he was a king and not a pastor and he was not in the church age, but does that matter?) What about Moses? Zipporah left him or was sent away (Exodus 18:2, “After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah” – “sent away” is a Hebrew verb used later for divorce) and later Miriam got leprosy because she was critical of Moses and his Cushite wife (Num. 12:1). Some say “Cushite” was a term of contept for Zipporah his Midianite wife. It is also possible the Zipporah had died in Midian and Moses was free to marry. But, reading it for what it says, Zipporah left and went back to Midian and Moses had a wife from Cush (from the southern Nile valley.)
QUESTION: What was the actual mode of action for salvation in the Old Testament? We know that ultimately they are atoned by Christ's blood, justified by their faith, and reminded of sins (and maybe somewhat temporarily cleansed) by sacrifice and the law, with their hope in the covenants and the prophecy, but if salvation was by faith, did the Gentiles technically have just as much access to salvation (belief) in the old testament as the Jews? We know about the people of Ninevah, and a few other examples of God interacting with the gentiles in the Old Testament, but this only complicates the question. And assuming that there was eternal security in the Old Testament, how does this coincide with the temporary visitations of the Holy Spirit?
RESPONSE: A quick response to this very good question is that people of all ages (Old and New Testament) are saved the same way: Faith in Jesus Christ. We who live after the cross look back historically to the cross and believe the promise of God. We know historical facts like the name of the Christ, his mode of death, when he lived on the earth, etc. Those who lived before the cross looked forward historically and believed the same promise of God. They may have understood there was the “seed of the woman”, or, the one from the family of Abraham, or, the Son of David, or, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. They did not know his human name, how he would die or the exact date or location of his death but they did know he would be a man, that he would die and that the necessary events would take place according to God’s own promise sometime in the future. In summary, we believe the Christ (“anointed one) came; they believed Messiah (“anointed one”) would come.
In the church age we have Bible teaching. In the age of Israel they had the tabernacle rituals for teaching and the maintenance of truth. We are not saved by Bible teaching but by believing what is presented. They were not saved by sacrifices but by believing what the sacrifices presented or represented.
Yes, God commanded them to offer sacrifices just like God commanded us to teach his word. It is true that many Jews began to trust the rituals as means of salvation. It is also true that the church age is filled with people who believe that going to church puts them in right standing with God. It is painfully true that our nation is filled with people who have spent their whole lives sitting in church pews on Sunday morning but have no idea what they are doing there. Likewise the Jews who spent their entire lives offering up animals to God could live and die with no idea what the sacrifices meant. Many Jews did not understand the rituals. Many people in church do not understand the Bible.
QUESTION: What can you tell me about "Dual Covenant Theology", and about the doctrinal views of John Hagee, TV evangelist and pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX? I have read several opinions online about Dual Covenant Theology, but until I heard John Hagee preaching on TV, I was totally unaware of it. What is your opinion of this man's ministry?
ANSWER: I have always liked John Hagee and read some of his books. I have seen very little of him on TV. His view of "Dual Covenant Theology" is held by others also, but I think it is a corrupt view of the Old Testament covenant and poor interpretation of Paul's writings of the New Testament. I understand dual covenant theology to mean that the Jews are "saved" because they are God's chosen people through Abraham and the covenant from Mt. Sinai but all other people (the Gentiles) must come to God through Jesus and have faith in Christ. This is a completely wrong view of Jewish salvation, I think, with the simplest proof, besides the clear teaching of the New Testament, being that Paul, Peter and John had to place faith in Christ for salvation yet they were Jews. I do not know what Hagee is thinking when he teaches this or how he came to these conclusions (besides misinterpreting scripture) but I am sure he must have some pretty good evidence and also some scripture to prove his point. I have not really sat down to study it or to try to disprove it because I think it is so clearly off base.
We have been going through the book of Genesis for the past eight months in church on Sunday mornings. A couple of weeks ago we finally reached the Flood of Noah. It is always amazing to me how accurate, scientific and practical the Bible is. All the stumbling blocks that stand in the way of believing the Flood happened just as the Bible says are removed with honest study and investigation.
On Sunday mornings we have already seen that the dimensions of the ark are proportionately accurate for a floating barge and there was plenty of room for all the animal families or species on the ark. Also, many ancient cultures including Greeks, Egyptians, Russians, Cree Indians, Cherokee Indians, Aztecs, Peruvians, Fiji Islands, Hawaiians, Chinese and many more from every inhabited continent have relayed an ancient account of a flood. This, of course, is possible since every culture would have had its beginning when Noah’s three sons left the ark to repopulate the earth.
The account of how the flood occurred is another discussion that puts this event right into the realm of reality. Genesis 7:11 says:
“on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.”
The Hebrew word for “burst forth” is “baqa” and is the same word used to describe the earthquake that swallowed Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16:31. In Psalm 78:15 it refers to the splitting of the rock in the wilderness for water (Ex. 17:6). Click the link below to watch a very interesting presentation of how the Flood could have occurred when the earth surface split (earthquake). The results of the Flood are part of our world today. It is worth mentioning that there will be another shaking of the physical earth in the future (Isaiah 24:19-21, etc.):
Click this link to watch a short, interesting video of the physical cause and results of the Flood: http://www.thetaxpayerschannel.org/graphics/creation/fonte23.mov
According to the Professor of Classics at the University of Oklahoma that I am listening to on audio CD, the Roman’s paid taxes that were equivalent to two days of work each year. In 6 AD a group of delegates from Judea petitioned Augustus to annex Judea to the Roman province of Syria. When this was done the Jews then came under a similar tax code that required they pay two days of earnings each year as taxation.
In the United States in 2008 our Tax Freedom Day is April 23. This is the day that Americans will have made enough money to pay all their taxes including federal, state and local. This amounts to 114 days (82 days of labor plus weekends) to satisfy our tax requirements. (The good news is this is three days less than 2007.)
I find it hard to believe that the Roman’s could run an empire on 2 days of taxation and we just hit the $10 trillion debt mark as a nation while we are taking 31% of our citizen’s earnings each year. I am still checking these numbers and verifying this comparison. I can’t believe mathematically and financially it would be better to be annexed to the Roman Empire than to be a free American. Some one say it ain’t so!
While doing an overview of Romans I typed the following chart known as the Roman Road to Salvation. It is something that I have not taught for several years, at least, not step by step. It was very refreshing to look the verses up and type them out. I thought it would be good for everyone to review it for their own understanding and know it so they can explain our salvation to today’s culture. I am thinking this will be my sermon tomorrow but I might wait until some Sunday when all my boys are in church and I have their attention for a whole hour. The way of salvation is both simple and very deep with the richness of God’s wisdom and power.
The Roman Road: The Way of Salvation
Death came to all men
“Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”
All men have sinned
“There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
No one will be declared righteous by obedience
“Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law.”
Christ died for us
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ died for our sins;Christ rose because we were justified
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
Wages of sin is death; God’s gift is eternal life
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Righteousness from God through faith
“Now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.”
Gospel is the power of God for everyone who believes
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God, for the salvation of everyone who believes . . . For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.”
Confess Jesus and be saved
“The word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in you r heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be save.”
Sin shall not be your master
“Sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
All things work together for good of those who love God
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him . . . if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
It’s front page news in Des Moines, Iowa both in the paper and on television station websites: Protestant Christianity is declining and shows no sign of stopping. I tend to believe the report but I also realize that these are the same media outlets that are against Christianity and conservative values in the first place. They may be doing nothing more than trying to create the news story they want. But, I think in this case the numbers speak for themselves as does our culture. Christianity is losing its influence in America.
Some of the quotes from the Associated Press article:
- “Mainline Protestant churches are in decline”
- “The United States is 78 percent Christian and about to lose its status as a majority Protestant nation, at 51 percent and slipping”
- “More than one-quarter of American adults have left the faith of their childhood for another religion or no religion at all.”
If you figure in people moving from one Christian denomination to another along with those switching religions or leaving religion “the number rises to 44 percent” of Americans have left the faith of their childhood.
- “One in four adults ages 18 to 29 claim no affiliation with a religious institution.”
- “Atheists or agnostics account for 4 percent of the total population.”
Less than 1 percent of the total population is Muslim.
0.7 percent of those surveyed are Buddhist.
“Jews accounted for 1.7 percent of the overall population.”
Now we crunch the numbers. Despite the trend and the media’s headlines, 51% of our population is Christian Protestants. Compare this 51% with 4% atheists AND agnostics, less than 1% Muslim and 0.7% Buddhists. Score: Protestants 51 Others 5.7!
In a tournament game that is a blowout!! I know enough about coaching to realize that 51-6 is not as good as 81-3 but I’d still rather take the Protestant team back to the locker room at half time or to the gym for tomorrow’s practice than the atheists and Muslims. The media could have ran a headline on the front page that read:
- “Protestants Still Dominate US Religion”
- “Protestant Major US Religion”
- “Only 3% of US is Atheist or Muslim”
Another thing the numbers show is Americans are thinking. They are thinking about religion. Many of them are thinking something like the following:
- I do not like the church I grew up with and am going to look for a better church (19%)
- I do not think the religion I grew up with is worth continuing so I am switching religions or I am giving up on religion all together (25%)
I have been in one of those above groups for the last 32 years. I am glad I had enough thought and desire to make my religion personal and not just stay with the status quo. To the 44% (19% plus 25%), I pray for success in their adventure. I hope they find fulfillment and meaning in their search and I hope they find Truth.
Surely, if people are leaving a religion, that must mean they are not satisfied. If they are not satisfied that means a good portion of them are still looking for something. And if they are still looking that must mean some of them believe there is something to find. And if that something can be found it must be something that is real with some absolute value. I believe they are looking for reality. Christianity calls it Truth.
The basic game has not changed. The rules, the players and the contest are the same.
People always have free will. People are always faced with many emotions, desires and distractions as they move through life. The goal of life has always been to use wisdom and experience to sort through emotions, desires and distractions. Then each person must establish in their soul the correct values, priorities and morals. This becomes their base of operation. Ultimately, victory is living in agreement with the Truth. Truth is the eternal Reality. Since there is an absolute Truth and there is eternal Reality, it is very, very possible to choose poorly and to lose this game of life. Final Score: the loss of your soul.
Click HERE to see our selection of "stuff" with our logo, slogan, or book covers. These items include t-shirts, hats, mouse pads, mugs and all the typical promotional items people use to promote their projects, businesses, causes, or, in this case, their Bible teaching ministry. I should say here that these items make great Christmas presents, but I really can't imagine that being true, since I don't know anyone who would want a hat or a sticker with the Generation Logo on it for Christmas! But, seriously, you might want to request one of our FREE books: "Framework for Christian Faith" and "Hope for America's Last Generation." If youwant a copy of a book send me a shipping address to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want a magnet with our logo or the image of the book cover on it then go to this provided link and pay for it at our online store.
We have sent over 20,000 audio CDs of sermons into Africa and 100's of Bibles and books (Hope for America's Last Generation and Framework for Christian Faith). This summer we made contact with a person in Maryland who frequently ships 20 foot containers to Rev. Clement Owusu Sarpong and his Word Alive Revival Church in Accra, Ghana filled with supplies, Bibles, etc. It was costing us over $20 to mail one "Framework" book into Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, etc. We can now ship a box of twenty books to Maryland at media mail rate of about $18. That figures out to be less than a dollar a book for shipping to Maryland. From Maryland the box of books is put in the container and the container is put on a freight ship. The delivery time is about 4-6 months, but the savings is worth it. Rev. Clement Sarpong has just emailed us letting us know he has received the books. He sent a list of the names of the people to whom he distributed the "Framework" textbook. Today we have also began to receive thank you emails from those who received our books. Below are a couple of today's emails. The first is from Rev. Sarpong:
We have taken delivery of the 20 FRAMEWORK Books. Thank you and God Bless you. We have distributed them to some needy Pastors and some Bible Schools in Ghana.A thank you email from one of the recipients:
The recipients are:
1. Word Alive Bible Institute - 2 copies
2. Visions Ministerial Academy - 2 copies
3. Alive Evangel Bible Institute - 2 copies
4. Gospel Light Bible Institute - 2 copies
5. Liberty Outreach Ministries of Pokuase - 2 copies
6. International Trinity Christian College - 2 copies
7. Bible Way School of Ministry - 2 copies
1 copy each to:
- Rev. Johnson Adamu of Rural Outreach Ministries;
- Pastor Listowell Appiah of Faith Foundation Ministries;
- Rev Gare Atimpane a Deliverance Minister in the Muslim North of Ghana
- The Youth Ministry of Central University College.
The last 2 copies are left in the Library of Word Alive Revival Church
We told all the recipients to send a 'Thank You' note to. God bless you for the donation. God bless Mrs. Akyea for shipping the books to us freely and God bless Word Alive Revival Church for sponsoring the Customs clearance and Free distributions.
Sir, We pray that we can use this great opportunity of Mrs. Akyea's help to assist the needy, not only in Ghana, but in the West African sub region.
She is prepared to ship up to a 20ft Container of Bibles and/or any ministry tool from the USA to us.
She has visited us in Ghana and can testify of the great work we are doing for the Lord. We are therefore asking you for at least 300 copies of the Framework books through her.
Thank you for the great book you sent to us through Rev Clement. We are students of Central University College ministering to the needy and organizing Christian Fellowships. Our only regret is that the one book is not enough for us and plead for about 10 copies. We know that in the very near future your book will become an official Text Book in our University which is a christian institution.And, one more email from today. This one is from Nigeria:
The President of The Youth Ministry
I have gained access to your book'FRAMEWORK', I have seen the great work you have done to simplified the the bible. Sir, as a student of theology, I found the book important to me. I am using this medium to seek for your help by sending me a copy of the framework and all other materials you can let out for a pastor in tranning. I pray that God will continue to widen your your horizon. I will be glad to seing from you soon.Galyn Wiemers
The list below is taken from Norman Geisler's Article HERE.
Hank Hanegraff, and other amillennialist, can allegorize away the literal truth of Scripture. The examples Geisler lists are:.
* The plain meaning of the Bible into a so-called “deeper” meaning
* Literal promises into spiritual ones
* Unconditional promises into conditional ones
* Jewish tribes into Gentiles
* A thousand years into eternity
* A literal resurrection into a spiritual one
* Land Promises for National Israel into spiritual life in Christ
* A literal mark of the Beast into a mere symbol of identity with him
* Physical clouds into mere symbols of judgment
* A literal earthly throne of David into a heavenly reign of Christ
* Two literal witnesses into literary representatives of the Law and Prophets
* Cosmic judgment into the destruction of a small city (Jerusalem)
All of this Hank is fond of calling “Reading the Bible for all it is worth.” Well, for all it is worth, this is not reading the Bible; it is a serious misreading of the Bible. So serious a misreading it is that were it a reading on an essential doctrine of the Bible – like the virgin birth, the sacrificial atonement, the bodily resurrection, or the second coming–it would be a rank heresy!
I do not desire to attack amillennialism or postmillennialism (I disagree with their interpretation, but not their love of God and pursuit of the truth), but I certainly want to defend historical premillennialism, and even more, dispensational premillennialism. I want believers to have a chance to analyze the scriptures and consider the Bible from a dispensational premillennial position with out having to academically succumb to the label "heretic" as is applied to them by Reformers, Covenantalist (Supersessionists), or their younger counterparts found among the Evangelicals and Emergers.
On our way to and from school each day (total of 50-60 minutes) Jacob and I have been listening to the writings of CS Lewis. We reached chapter 23 of "Mere Christianity" today on the way to school. I have read this book many years ago and listened to it a few years ago. But, it is always amazing to hear Lewis apologize for being a layman, and then, in the next breath make profound statements using simple illustrations and language that cause me to hear things again for the first time. It is as if I know everything he is going to say, but yet, at the same time, know nothing at all. Each time I hear him everything is new information.
Today Lewis introduced the topic of theology. What he said is quoted below:
(From: BOOK FOUR: BEYOND PERSONALITY : or FIRST STEPS IN THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
CHAPTER 23--MAKING AND BEGETTING)
Thank you C.S. Lewis.
Everyone has warned me not to tell you what I am going to tell you in this last book. They all say `the ordinary reader does not want Theology; give him plain practical religion'. I have rejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means 'the science of God,' and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available. You are not children: why should you be treated like children?
In a way I quite understand why some people are put off by Theology. I remember once when I had been giving a talk to the R.A.F., an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, `I've no use for all that stuff. But, mind you, I'm a religious man too. I know there's a God. I've felt Him out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that's just why I don't believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who's met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal !'
Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience of God in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think he really was turning from something real to something less real. In the same way, if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.
Now, Theology is like the map. Merely learning and thinking about the Christian doctrines, if you stop there, is less real and less exciting than the sort of thing my friend got in the desert. Doctrines are not God: they are only a kind of map. But that map is based on the experience of hundreds of people who really were in touch with God-experiences compared with which any thrills or pious feelings you and I are likely to get on our own are very elementary and very confused. And secondly, if you want to get any further, you must use the map. You see, what happened to that man in the desert may have been real, and was certainly exciting, but nothing comes of it. It leads nowhere. There is nothing to do about it. In fact, that is just why a vague religion-all about feeling God in nature, and so on-is so attractive. It is all thrills and no work; like watching the waves from the beach. But you will not get to Newfoundland by studying the Atlantic that way, and you will not get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God in flowers or music. Neither will you get anywhere by looking at maps without going to sea. Nor will you be very safe if you go to sea without a map.
In other words, Theology is practical: especially now. In the old days, when there was less education and discussion, perhaps it was possible to get on with a very few simple ideas about God. But it is not so now. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones - bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties to-day are simply the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected. To believe in the popular religion of modern England is retrogression - like believing the earth is flat.
(Read the whole text here. Read all of "Mere Christianity" from 1941-1944 by C.S Lewis here.)
The question and answer below was taken from an interview with George Barna concerning his 2009 book "The Seven Faith Tribes":
Question for Geroge Barna: With the Casual and Captive Christian tribes cumulatively reflecting more than 80% of the adult population, do non-Christian tribes have any real hope of influencing the nation if those two tribes concur on a matter?
Barna: One of the beauties of living in a democratic republic is that everyone has a chance to influence the development of the nation. A group that is small in numbers but has big ideas and internal unity can have amazing success at shaping the will of the public. We have repeatedly experienced this in recent decades. The sexual revolution of the sixties was driven by a minority. The establishment of equal rights for blacks was accomplished by a tiny minority. The movement toward gay rights is being driven by a segment that is just 3% of the population. The urgency and intensity required to introduce seminal change is often accessible only to tightly-knit, manageable, finely focused bands of vision-driven comrades – what the Bible refers to as a remnant.
Galyn' comment:It is ridiculous that the Christian's have let themselves fall away from God. As a result the nation has lost direction. My generation inherited a Christian culture that was more than 80% Christian. If American history were divided into four quarters and compared to a basketball game, then we are the players on the floor for the fourth quarter. We took the floor in a blow out game ahead 90-10 with 8 minutes to go. In a matter of moments we have managed to blow an 80 point lead. Point: We are emotionally and intellectually (but, not numerically) the remnant now. But, historically smaller remnants than us have turned the tide for the nation. We can make a difference: 1) if we care, 2) if we are not driven by selfishness, 3) if we educate ourselves in areas such as history, worldviews, culture, constitutional government, etc. and our specific areas of influence. The Truth will set you free.
Pastors and parents often try to blame the government and public schools for the cultural decline of our American society. They also throw sitcoms and Hollywood into the boiling cauldron of responsibility. But, the truth of the matter is our children have been lost long before sitcoms, schools and socialism got a hold of them.
Only 19% of a group who call themselves born again have a Christian worldview? (See Barna Research) If pastors were actually teaching the Bible maybe people would believe in absolute truth, a creator, biblical principles of society, sin, the sin nature of man and the existence of evil. Read this except from Barna's report and maybe you can see how far gone we are as a society. If you do not understand this ask your pastor to explain it. He will not be able to and, most likely, will disagree with it, which is why you can kiss your way of life as you know it good-bye!
The research data showed that one pattern emerged loud and clear: young adults rarely possess a biblical worldview. The current study found that less than one-half of one percent of adults in the Mosaic generation – i.e., those aged 18 to 23 – have a biblical worldview, compared to about one out of every nine older adults.0.5% of people ages 18-23 believe in absolute truth, a creator, sin nature, the existence of evil, marriage, family, etc. Now, the argument would be that they once did before they graduated from our public schools, went to our morally corrupt universities and started seeing Hollywood movies. But, you do not have the numbers to support this. These kids are lost before their parents are done with them.
Research shows that 89% of Christian children do not have a Christian worldview when they leave their Christian home for college. But, don't blame the public schools because 40% of children from Christian homes do not have a Christian worldview when the leave elementary school. This means that the secular universities only have to tear down a Christian worldview in 11% of their students because "christian" parents in their "christian" homes have already trashed 89% of the "christian" children.
The failure of our society is the result of incompetent pastors and irresponsible parents. Pastors and parents provide the loudest voices of complaint as they daily lay the blame at the door of the school, the ticket box of Hollywood and legislative hall of a representative government. Experience and research indicates that these numbers are instead the result of the failure of pastors and parents.
Fix the pulpit and the parent and you will fix society.
A corrupt pulpit and a compromised parent will end a Christian culture.
The pulpits and the parents will blame the public school, television and government, but what else would you expect from irresponsible people with no Christian perspective.
More Barna Research
I have given up on the Republican Party ever being able to represent Christian values and Constitutional principles. At the national level I figure that is probably still true. But, last night at the Iowa Christian Alliance meeting I heard bold testimony, powerful conviction and strong words concerning biblical values and Constitutional integrity. Ralph Reed and David Barton both spoke of American Exceptionalism that comes from America's original commitment to living and governing according to God's natural and revealed laws. There were good presentations from candidates running for governor. I know at my level, or the grass roots level, here in Iowa people are tired of "change" and want a restoration to Constitutional government and a revival to biblical standards. Maybe we can begin to restore some Truth into a political party that I had given up for spiritually dead.
Senator Grassley spoke of his personal faith in Jesus Christ and mentioned how difficult it was in the Washington DC area for the Christian faith to be taken serious. Ralph Reed clearly presented the case that the principles of Christianity are the pillars of our society. David Barton applied the founding father's words and the Constitution to Iowa's issues of marriage and abortion.
We, the people, need to know the truth and let our leaders know that we expect nothing but adherence to the truth 100% of the time. We agree with what Steve Deace has been sending out every afternoon on WHO: it is time to reject the 80-20 principle. Accepting a little bit of evil instead of a lot of evil is still not goodness. It is similar to calling a little bit of darkness light because it could be darker. Darkness is still dark no matter how much darker it could be and evil is still evil no matter how much more evil it could be.
I shook hands with Senator Grassley and do appreciate him commenting on my book "Framework for Christian Faith" and allowing me to put his name on the back cover.
Revival of our politics begins in Iowa. We are witnessing historical and biblical movements in our society and in our world. Know the truth and be ready!
View David Barton website http://www.wallbuilders.com/
Visit Iowa Christian Alliance