Originally posted on Possessing the Treasure:

by Mike Ratliff

1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “ The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zechariah 3:1-2 NASB)

I have had a rough couple of days. For a while I could not figure out what was wrong. Then at 3:30am this morning, not being able to sleep, I asked God for help. Things began to become clear. I was being accused by the enemy. I do not pretend to be righteous by my own merit. If I was I would have lost it a long time ago. However, our enemy loves to attack us, especially when we attack him and his strongholds. It is imperative to know…

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Article by David Cloud

Source: From Southern Baptist to Goddess Worship, Sue Monk Kidd

Originally posted on Michelle Lesley:

false teacherEver heard of Jeroboam? If you’ve read your Old Testament, the name probably rings a bell, but, let’s face it, it’s hard to keep all those Jeroboams, Rehoboams, Ahinoams, and Abinoams straight, right? Well, let’s read a little bit about Jeroboam:

And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. 27 If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28 So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29 And he set one…

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Originally posted on What's Happening...?:

Parliament of the World’s Religions 2015
An Eyewitness Account By Lanette Irwin

WPR main page
Participants lined up for nearly a quarter of a mile on opening day to hear speakers
at the World Parliament of Religions, at a cost of $500 per person.

The 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions was held October 15-19 in Salt Lake City, Utah. They estimated over fourteen thousand people attended this New Age (now called “interfaith”) convention at the cost of $500/person. This convention was well advertised for over a year.

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No, Christianity Should Not ‘Welcome’ or ‘Include’ Your Sinful Lifestyle

By Matt Walsh


I got this email a few days ago insisting Christians need to be more “inclusive” of open homosexuals. It’s a popular notion these days, so I thought I’d share this with you and respond here publicly:

Matt, you put yourself on a pedestal as this “great Christian” but you do more harm to the religion than anyone else. As a gay man I can say I’m happy to see how finally a lot of Christians and different churches are realizing that Christianity has to be INCLUSIVE of the LGBTQ community and other lifestyles. Not judging of them. Gays and trans people have felt alienated by Christianity and now progressive Christians have finally started to pull the religion into the 21st century and reach out to all of us. Jesus preached tolerance for all people and lifestyles not HATE. The prodigal son was WELCOMED back not told to go away! You are still trying to make divisions and tell some of us Christians we are not Christians just because we live differently. You are a truly sh*tty person and you come off as a bad writer and an uneducated idiot. Just stop talking. You make Jesus mad every time you write your garbage.

-A gay man who loves Jesus

Hi. Thanks for writing. A few points.

First, as I’m constantly reminded, the sins of homosexuality and fornication have existed since Biblical times. Still, it was prohibited in the Old and New Testaments (Genesis 19:1-13, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9) and by every Christian church for the first 20 centuries of Christianity’s existence. Since you are a self-identified Christian who thinks the moral teachings of the Bible should now be suddenly updated, I have to ask: What changed?

What was revealed in the last few years that proved the prophets, the apostles and all Christian denominations until recently wrong? What new piece of information did humanity obtain? What great revelation occurred? You think a 2,000-year-old faith that professes timeless Truths should “keep up” with the whims of modernity, but why? What do we know in our time that the Church didn’t know — that God Himself didn’t know — up to now? Be very careful in how you answer that question.

Second, I have never referred to myself as a “great Christian” — or a “great” anything for that matter — so I’m not sure why you put “great Christian” in quotes. I consider myself a greatly flawed Christian, even a “sh*tty” one, as you so helpfully and compassionately noted.

See, you need to stop reading with your emotions and read with your brain, man. Your emotions tell you that anyone who advocates virtue is automatically claiming to be virtuous, because it’s easier to dismiss a point based on the perceived motivations behind it rather than consider the point on its own merits. It’s like I’m saying two plus two equals four, and you’re countering that I’m not such a brilliant mathematician. Well, right, but I never said I was a brilliant mathematician. I just said two plus two equals four, because it does, and because even a stupid man can see that.

It’s difficult to have grown-up conversations these days, because people like yourself see every mention of moral truth as either a personal attack or a statement of superiority. This is the real damage you cause in the Faith. It’s not that you’re sinful — we all are, to be sure — it’s that you want to be coddled. You want to shut down professions of Truth that are inconvenient or uncomfortable. You want to modify Christian teachings not because you tried them and found them wrong, but because, to paraphrase Chesterton, you found them difficult and don’t want to try them.

I have many sins, but I will not tell you they are not sins. I come to Christ a sick and broken man looking for healing. You apparently come a sick and broken man looking to be assured you were never sick and broken to begin with. That is the only real difference between us. Or I should say, it’s the only real difference between Christians and “progressive Christians.” Both groups are sinful, both groups are weak, both groups need Christ desperately, but one wants — though they may so often fail — to go Christ’s way, and the other wants Christ to go theirs.

Third, I’m tired of hearing this “inclusive” stuff. Yes of course the Faith is made for people like you. It’s made for all people. It’s not a cult or a club. There’s no entrance exam or membership fee. Christianity is for everyone. If that’s what you mean by “inclusive,” fine, but a better word would be “universal.” In any case, that isn’t what you mean, is it?

When you ask for an “inclusive” Christianity, you ask for a Christianity that, rather than calling you to serve it, bends down and serves you. You’re asking to be “included” in the Faith on your own terms. That’s just not how this works, brother. As Christians, we have no authority to “include” you in that way. You must include yourself.

We go out into the world and proclaim the Gospel. We offer an invitation. We extend a greeting. We fight to win souls. But the souls must come of their own accord and must accept the Truth of Christ willingly and in its fullness. You must enter into the Truth. You must be the one who accepts it. You must be the one who “includes” the Truth in your life. Your lifestyle must change to accommodate the Truth, not the other way around.

By the way, Jesus never uttered the word “lifestyle,” much less did He preach that they all ought to be tolerated. Recently, we’ve started referring to sins as “lifestyles” and pretending that this rhetorical maneuver somehow changes the morality of the issue. It doesn’t. A sin is still a sin, and He instructs us all to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11), which often means dramatically altering our lifestyles.

Indeed, when people came to follow Him in Scripture, He told them to first leave their earthly pleasures behind and then continue along the road (Luke 18:22). He made it very clear that there is in fact a correct lifestyle, a correct way to live, and that way is narrow. Matthew 7:13 tells us the broad and “inclusive” road is the one that leads to damnation. You must choose, then, to walk through the right path, the narrow path, but it will be difficult and demanding, and it will not and cannot be widened to include you.

We all struggle with sin. But struggle is the keyword. Struggle. Fight back. Plead with God in agony to help you defeat these demons. Go to Christ begging that He help you overcome your temptations and live with chastity and temperance. Don’t demand that your sin be allowed to accompany you into Heaven. It can’t. We can accompany our sins into Hell, or ditch the whole ugly package on the side of the road and come Home.

In “The Great Divorce,” C.S. Lewis said, “If we insist on keeping Hell, we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven, we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.”

That’s our choice, in a nutshell.

Yes, as you mention, the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11) was welcomed back by his father. But have you read the entire parable? The son realizes the error of his ways, makes the journey back home, and when he arrives he pleads for forgiveness. “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Wow, that’s, like, a pretty intense declaration. Notice he didn’t waltz back to his dad’s place and casually brag that he blew his fortune on hookers and booze but he’s not sorry and intends to get right back to it first thing tomorrow. If he had, I think the story would have ended differently.

We see the same sort of thing play out in the passage about the two criminals crucified next to Christ (Luke 23:39-43). One of the criminals is unrepentant and demands that Jesus rescue him from his fate and allow him to continue on sinning. The other realizes he deserves his punishment and, in those final moments before death, professes his faith in Christ and repents of his sin. Christ assures the repentant man he will be with Him in paradise. Our Lord very noticeably does not make this guarantee to the other. A really bad sign for that dude, to say the least.

But for the penitent criminal, imagine the joy. What a beautiful thing, what a privilege it must have been to die next to Christ, to be forgiven everything he’d ever done and welcomed into eternal salvation. Now, that is inclusive. And that is an opportunity open to all of us.

It’s so simple, really. The message is so hopeful and good and joyous, which is why I resent attempts to dilute it into oblivion. All we have to do is follow Christ, spread the Gospel, fight against our sins, and repent for the times when we fail in that fight. That’s all. That’s the “how to” of Christianity. It seems you want to remove, well, all of those ingredients and still call yourself a Christian. You might as well remove all the yeast and flour from a mixture and call the goop of water, butter, and salt that remains “bread.”

I’m reminded of a great moment from a fantastic book called “The Power and the Glory,” set during the persecutions in 1930s Mexico. The protagonist, a sinful, degenerate, alcoholic priest with an illegitimate daughter, is facing execution for his faith. Hours before they march him to death by firing squad, he’s in his cell reflecting on his life and praying for forgiveness:

He felt only an immense disappointment because he had to go to God empty-handed, with nothing done at all. It seemed to him at that moment that it would have been quite easy to have been a saint. It would only have needed a little self-restraint and a little courage. He felt like someone who has missed happiness by seconds at an appointed place. He knew now that there was only one thing that counted — to be a saint.

Powerful. The man knows he has failed God so many times in his life, he lacked even the little restraint and courage that was required to follow Christ perfectly, yet because he believed, because he repented, because in these final moments he hungers for the Lord’s embrace, he will enter Paradise all the same.

Inclusive? Sure. I’d call that inclusive.

The point is, Christianity includes us, Christ includes us, but He will not include our sin. We have to choose to shed our sin, pick up our cross, and follow Him. That’s what it means to “be included.” You say that’s what you want, but do you? Do you want to leave your earthly pleasures behind, cut off whatever parts of your life are causing you to sin (Matthew 5:30), and die with Christ? I can’t answer that question for you. I have a hard enough time answering it affirmatively myself every day.

Christianity is truly a simple formula, but a painful one. If we will not include the pain and sacrifice in our lives, we will not include the Faith.

Fourth, Christians churches in America were never guilty of “alienating” unrepentant sinners like the “LGBTQ community.” They are so attached to their sin that they literally define themselves by it. They look for ”community” not with the Body of Christ, but with those who share their urges and fetishes. They elect to reject the difficult aspects of the Faith. They alienate themselves.

There are many accounts in Scripture where Jesus delivers a controversial message that is hard for people to accept, and many of his followers abandon Him altogether because of it. You’ll notice that Jesus never backtracks and apologizes. He never chases them down as they walk away and explains that He didn’t really mean all that stuff and really they were just taking it out of context.

In John 6, after Christ proclaims Himself the bread of life, many of his disciples are upset and threaten to leave. He does not beg them to turn around. He just continues right along speaking the Truth. He does not change His Word to cater to those who choose not to accept it. They are alienated by their sin, not by Him.

With that said, I do think many churches are guilty of alienating a certain group. As others have pointed out, the minority that rightly feels disaffected are those striving to live the Christian life. While western Christendom has worked so hard to shelter and welcome people who do not even desire to follow His Word and who, in fact, wish to subvert and change it for their own purposes, the ones really left out in the cold are those who try to be virtuous, chaste and faithful.

The Christians who would now be called “extremist” or “fundamentalist” or “conservative,” who stand against the cultural tide, who resist the temptation to succumb to the heretical fashions of the day — these are the Christians we need to include more. They have accepted the Faith for what it is, they are trying, though imperfectly, to walk through the narrow gate, but what do they find? Churches that treat them like nuisances. Church services designed to appeal to the secular crowd at the expense of giving the faithful the sacred and invigorating experience they deeply crave. Christian leaders who provide no leadership. A faith muted and watered down for the benefit of those who wish to destroy it.

These believers are trying their best to keep their hearts pure in a society that heaps mockery and scorn upon such efforts. They despair sometimes wondering how they’ll ever manage to raise their children to love Jesus in a country where even His supposed followers celebrate sin and bestow blessings on the worst kinds of evil. They’ve watched their nation discard virtue and truth and God. They feel isolated. They feel betrayed. They are beaten and exhausted in their fight against sin because they feel like they are fighting alone. They feel like Christ on Calvary shouting,  ”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Of course, God has not forsaken them. But many Christians have. Many churches have. Many pastors have. Many Christian leaders have. They need to be equipped, encouraged and inspired in their mission to defeat sin, follow the Word and walk the narrow path to salvation, but these Christians are frequently left wondering where to turn.

Certainly the culture is no help. The education system is usually just another obstacle. The government, the media, even sometimes their own families are against their quest for holiness. So they run to their churches and their ministers and their fellow Christians and often they are greeted with secularized gospels and “progressive” gospels and “prosperity” gospels and gay gospels when all they want is the Gospel, in all its truth and fury.

John Chrysostom said the Holy Scripture should be “engraved upon our hearts.” There are some Christians who wish to adhere to it with that level of severity. They are the minority that all churches should be bending over backwards to embrace. They are the ones who need to be included again. They are the life of the Faith in this country.

Frankly, the church has not failed if it makes open homosexuals or anyone else feel uncomfortable in their sin. That is a success. That is the church doing what it’s supposed to do.  But it has failed if it makes the faithful and the sincere feel unwelcome. This is the real problem, the real crisis.

I’ll pray Christian churches in this country always “include” the Truth, not liberal sexual dogmas or any other form of blasphemy.

As for you, I’ll pray you leave your sin behind and come to Christ remorseful and empty handed, ready to be His servant.

As for me, please pray I do the same.

God Bless.




Originally posted on My Word Like Fire:

It’s too late. Alcoholics Anonymous has served its purpose. That purpose has been to weaken the church, dilute the theology of Christians exposed to the 12 Step religion, and to point unbelievers away from Christ.

Through A.A. and other 12 Step groups, millions of Christians have placed Christ in a modern day pantheon, a temple of many gods, and have become used to worshiping with non-Christians. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)

Although frequently (and wrongly) portrayed as Christians, A.A. co-founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith delved deeply into the biblically forbidden practice of spiritualism.

“As for the person who turns to mediums and spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My Face against that person and will cut him off from his people.” (Leviticus 20:6)

As one biography notes, “Bill Wilson believed in spirits. There is a ‘spook’ room downstairs in Stepping Stones where he, [wife] Lois, and other like-minded recovering alcoholics…

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Originally posted on My Word Like Fire:

This is how it seems to be going: People are being encouraged into contemplative prayer by men and women such as Rick Warren,Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore, Mike Bickle, James Goll, Beni Johnson, and  many others.

(Rick Warren has also exposed many Christians to Eastern and New Age meditation).

The false church is rising, and its god may well be contemplative, deceptive spirits posing as “christ.” What wonderful (false) visions people will have; what thrilling supernatural encounters will be experienced in the contemplative silence. For all too many already, the lies of the silence are taken as truth, and the truth of Bible matters less and less.

On 9/24/15, before Congress, Pope Francis praised “four representatives of the American people”: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, and the contemplative pioneer, Thomas Merton. [1]

The Pope claimed, “Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time…

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Matthew Henry – Commentary on 2 Peter 2

Chapter 2

The apostle, having in the foregoing chapter exhorted them to proceed and advance in the Christian race, now comes to remove, as much as in him lay, what he could not but apprehend would hinder their complying with his exhortation. He therefore gives them fair warning of false teachers, by whom they might be in danger of being seduced. To prevent this,

  • I. He describes these seducers as impious in themselves, and very pernicious to others (v. 1-3).
  • II. He assures them of the punishment that shall be inflicted on them (v. 3-6).
  • III. He tells us how contrary the method is which God takes with those who fear him (v. 7-9).
  • IV. He fills up the rest of the chapter with a further description of those seducers of whom he would have them beware.

2Pe 2:1-3

  • I. In the end of the former chapter there is mention made of holy men of God, who lived in the times of the Old Testament, and were used as the amanuenses of the Holy Ghost, in writing the sacred oracles; but in the beginning of this he tells us they had, even at that time, false prophets in the church as well as true. In all ages of the church, and under all dispensations, when God sends true prophets, the devil sends some to seduce and deceive, false prophets in the Old Testament, and false Christs, false apostles, and seducing teachers, in the New. Concerning these observe,
    • 1. Their business is to bring in destructive errors, even damnable heresies, as the business of teachers sent of God is to show the way of truth, even the true way to everlasting life. There are damnable heresies as well as damnable practices; and false teachers are industrious to spread pernicious errors.
    • 2. Damnable heresies are commonly brought in privily, under the cloak and colour of truth.
    • 3. Those who introduce destructive heresies deny the Lord that bought them. They reject and refuse to hear and learn of the great teacher sent from God, though he is the only Saviour and Redeemer of men, who paid a price sufficient to redeem as many worlds of sinners as there are sinners in the world.
    • 4. Those who bring in errors destructive to others bring swift (and therefore sure) destruction upon themselves. Self-destroyers are soon destroyed; and those who are so hardened as to propagate errors destructive to others shall surely and suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
  • II. He proceeds, in the second verse, to tell us the consequence with respect to others; and here we may learn,
    • 1. Corrupt leaders seldom fail of many to follow them; though the way of error is a pernicious way, yet many are ready to walk therein. Men drink in iniquity like water, and are pleased to live in error. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the people love to have it so.
    • 2. The spreading of error will bring up an evil report on the way of truth; that is, the way of salvation by Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. The Christian religion is from the God of truth as the author, leads to true happiness in the enjoyment of the true God as the end, and works truth in the inward part as the means of acceptably serving God. And yet this way of truth is traduced and blasphemed by those who embrace and advance destructive errors. This the apostle has foretold as what should certainly come to pass. Let us not be offended at any thing of this in our day, but take care that we give no occasion to the enemy to blaspheme the holy name whereby we are called, or speak evil of that way whereby we hope to be saved.
  • III. Observe, in the next place, the method seducers take to draw disciples after them: they use feigned words; they flatter, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple, inducing them to yield entirely to the opinions which these seducers endeavour to propagate, and sell and deliver themselves over to the instruction and government of these false teacher, who make a gain of those whom they make their proselytes, serving themselves and making some advantage of them; for all this is through covetousness, with a desire and design to get more wealth, or credit, or commendation, by increasing the number of their followers. The faithful ministers of Christ, who show men the way of truth, desire the profit and advantage of their followers, that they may be saved; but these seducing teachers desire and design only their own temporal advantage and worldly grandeur.

2Pe 2:1-3

Men are apt to think that a reprieve is the forerunner of a pardon, and that if judgment be not speedily executed it is, or will be, certainly reversed. But the apostle tells us that how successful and prosperous soever false teachers may be, and that for a time, yet their judgment lingereth not. God has determined long ago how he will deal with them. Such unbelievers, who endeavour to turn others from the faith, are condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on them. The righteous Judge will speedily take vengeance; the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. To prove this assertion, here are several examples of the righteous judgment of God, in taking vengeance on sinners, proposed to our serious consideration.

  • I. See how God dealt with the angels who sinned. Observe,
    • 1. No excellency will exempt a sinner from punishment. If the angels, who excel us vastly in strength and knowledge, violate the law of God, the sentence which that law awards shall be executed upon them, and that without mercy or mitigation, for God did not spare them. Hence observe,
    • 2. By how much the more excellent the offender, by so much the more severe the punishment. These angels, who had the advantage of men as to the dignity of their nature, are immediately punished. There is no sparing them for a few days, no favour at all shown them.
    • 3. Sin debases and degrades the persons who commit it. The angels of heaven are cast down from the height of their excellency, and divested of all their glory and dignity, upon their disobedience. Whoever sins against God does a manifest hurt to himself.
    • 4. Those who rebel against the God of heaven shall all be sent down to hell. There is no place nor state between the height of glory and the depth of misery in which they shall be allowed to rest. If creatures sin in heaven, they must suffer in hell.
    • 5. Sin is the work of darkness, and darkness is the wages of sin. The darkness of misery and torment follows the darkness of sin. Those who will not walk according to the light and direction of God’s law shall be deprived of the light of God’s countenance and the comforts of his presence.
    • 6. As sin binds men over to punishment, so misery and torment hold men under punishment. The darkness which is their misery keeps them so that they cannot get away from their torment.
    • 7. The last degree of torment is not till the day of judgment. The sinning angels, though in hell already, are yet reserved to the judgment of the great day.
  • II. See how God dealt with the old world, even in much the same way that he dealt with the angels. He spared not the old world. Here observe,
    • 1. The number of offenders signifies no more to procure any favour than the quality. If the sin be universal, the punishment shall likewise extend to all. But,
    • 2. If there be but a few righteous, they shall be preserved. God does not destroy the good with the bad. In wrath he remembers mercy.
    • 3. Those who are preachers of righteousness in an age of universal corruption and degeneracy, holding forth the word of life in an unblamable and exemplary conversation, shall be preserved in a time of general destruction.
    • 4. God can make use of those creatures as the instruments of his vengeance in punishing sinners which he at first made and appointed for their service and benefit. He destroyed the whole world by water; but observe,
    • 5. What was the procuring cause of this: it was a world of ungodly men. Ungodliness puts men out of the divine protection, and exposes them to utter destruction.
  • III. See how God dealt with Sodom and Gomorrah; though they were situated in a country like the garden of the Lord, yet, if in such a fruitful soil they abound in sin, God can soon turn a fruitful land into barrenness and a well-watered country into dust and ashes. Observe,
    • 1. No political union or confederacy can keep off judgments from a sinful people. Sodom and the neighbouring cities were no more secured by their regular government than the angels by the dignity of their nature or the old world by their vast number.
    • 2. God can make use of contrary creatures to punish incorrigible sinners. He destroys the old world by water, and Sodom by fire. He who keeps fire and water from hurting his people (Isa. 43:2) can make either to destroy his enemies; therefore they are never safe.
    • 3. Most heinous sins bring most grievous judgments. Those who were abominable in their vices were remarkable for their plagues. Those who are sinners exceedingly before the Lord must expect the most dreadful vengeance.
    • 4. The punishment of sinners in former ages is designed for the example of those who come after. “Follow them, not only in the time of living, but in their course and way of living.’ Men who live ungodly must see what they are to expect if they go on still in a course of impiety. Let us take warning by all the instances of God’s taking vengeance, which are recorded for our admonition, and to prevent our promising ourselves impunity, though we go on in a course of sin.

2Pe 2:7-9

When God sends destruction on the ungodly, he commands deliverance for the righteous; and, if he rain fire and brimstone on the wicked, he will cover the head of the just, and they shall be hid in the day of his anger. This we have an instance of in his preserving Lot. Here observe,

  • 1. The character given of Lot; he is called a just man; this he was as to the generally prevailing bent of his heart and through the main of his conversation. God does not account men just or unjust from one single act, but from their general course of life. And here is a just man in the midst of a most corrupt and profligate generation universally gone off from all good. He does not follow the multitude to do evil, but in a city of injustice he walks uprightly.
  • 2. The impression the sins of others made upon this righteous man. Though the sinner takes pleasure in his wickedness, it is a grief and vexation to the soul of the righteous. In bad company we cannot escape either guilt or grief. Let the sins of others be a trouble to us, otherwise it will not be possible for us to keep ourselves pure.
  • 3. Here is a particular mention of the duration and continuance of this good man’s grief and vexation: it was from day to day. Being accustomed to hear and see their wickedness did not reconcile him to it, nor abate of the horror that was occasioned by it. This is the righteous man whom God preserved from the desolating judgment that destroyed all round about him. From this instance we are taught to argue that God knows how to deliver his people and punish his enemies. It is here presupposed that the righteous must have their temptations and trials. The devil and his instruments will thrust sore at them, that they may fall; and, if we will get to heaven, it must be through many tribulations. It is therefore our duty to reckon upon and prepare for them. Observe here,
    • (1.) The Lord knows those that are his. He has set apart him who is godly for himself; and, if there is but one in five cities, he knows him; and where there is a greater number he cannot be ignorant of nor overlook any one of them.
    • (2.) The wisdom of God is never at a loss about ways and means to deliver his people. They are often utterly at a loss, and can see no way; he can deliver a great many.
    • (3.) The deliverance of the godly is the work of God, that which he concerns himself in, both his wisdom to contrive the way and his power to work out the deliverance out of temptation, to prevent their falling into sin and their being ruined by their troubles. And surely, if he can deliver out of temptation, he could keep from falling into it if he did not see such trials to be necessary.
    • (4.) God makes a very great difference in his dealings with the godly and the wicked. When he saves his people from destruction, he delivers over his enemies to deserved ruin. The unjust has no share in the salvation God works out for the righteous. The wicked are reserved to the day of judgment. Here we see,
      • [1.] There is a day of judgment. God has appointed a day wherein he will judge the world.
      • [2.] The preservation of impenitent sinners is only a reserving of them to the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God.

2Pe 2:10-22

The apostle’s design being to warn us of, and arm us against, seducers, he now returns to discourse more particularly of them, and give us an account of their character and conduct, which abundantly justifies the righteous Judge of the world in reserving them in an especial manner for the most severe and heavy doom, as Cain is taken under special protection that he might be kept for uncommon vengeance. But why will God thus deal with these false teachers? This he shows in what follows.

  • I. These walk after the flesh; they follow the devices and desires of their own hearts, they give up themselves to the conduct of their own fleshly mind, refusing to make their reason stoop to divine revelation, and to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ; they, in their lives, act directly contrary to God’s righteous precepts, and comply with the demands of corrupt nature. Evil opinions are often accompanied with evil practices; and those who are for propagating error are for improving in wickedness. They will not sit down contented in the measure of iniquity to which they have attained, nor is it enough for them to stand up, and maintain, and defend, what wickedness they have already committed, but they walk after the flesh, they go on in their sinful course, and increase unto more ungodliness and greater degrees of impurity and uncleanness too; they also pour contempt on those whom God has set in authority over them and requires them to honour. These therefore despise the ordinance of God, and we need not wonder at it, for they are bold and daring, obstinate and refractory, and will not only cherish contempt in their hearts, but with their tongues will utter slanderous and reproachful words of those who are set over them.
  • II. This he aggravates, by setting forth the very different conduct of more excellent creatures, even the angels, of whom observe,
    • 1. They are greater in power and might, and that even than those who are clothed with authority and power among the sons of men, and much more than those false teachers who are slanderous revilers of magistrates and governors; the good angels vastly exceed us in all natural and moral excellences, in strength, understanding, and holiness too.
    • 2. Good angels are accusers of sinful creatures, either of their own kind, or ours, or both. Those who are allowed to behold the face of God, and stand before his throne, cannot but have a zeal for his honour, and accuse and blame those who dishonour him.
    • 3. Angels bring their accusations of sinful creatures before the Lord; they do not publish their faults, and tell their crimes to their fellow-creatures, in a way of calumny and slander; but it is before the Lord, who is the Judge, and will be the avenger, of all impiety and injustice.
    • 4. Good angels mingle no bitter revilings nor base reproaches with any of the accusations or charges they bring against the wickedest and worst of criminals. Let us, who pray that God’s will may be done on earth as it is in heaven, imitate the angels in this particular; if we complain of wicked men, let it be to God, and that not with rage and reviling, but with compassion and composedness of mind, that may evidence that we belong to him who is meek and merciful.
  • III. The apostle, having shown (v. 11) how unlike seducing teachers are to the most excellent creatures, proceeds (v. 12) to show how like they are to the most inferior: they are like the horse and mule, which have no understanding; they are as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed. Men, under the power of sin, are so far from observing divine revelation that they do not exercise reason, nor act according to the direction thereof. They walk by sight, and not by faith, and judge of things according to their senses; as these represent things pleasant and agreeable, so they must be approved and esteemed. Brute-creatures follow the instinct of their sensitive appetite, and sinful man follows the inclination of his carnal mind; these refuse to employ the understanding and reason God has given them, and so are ignorant of what they might and ought to know; and therefore observe,
    • 1. Ignorance is the cause of evil-speaking; and,
    • 2. Destruction will be the effect of it. These persons shall be utterly destroyed in their own corruption. Their vices not only expose them to the wrath of God in another world, but often bring them to misery and ruin in this life; and surely such impudent offenders, who glory in their shame, and to whom openness in sin is an improvement of the pleasure of sinning, most justly deserve all the plagues of this life and the pains of the next in the greatest extremity. Therefore whatever they meet with is the just reward of their unrighteousness. Such sinners as sport themselves in mischief deceive themselves and disgrace all they belong to, for by one sort of sins they prepare themselves for another; their extravagant feastings, their intemperance in eating and drinking, bring them to commit all manner of lewdness, so that their eyes are full of adultery, their wanton looks show their own impure lusts and are designed and directed to kindle the like in others; and this is what they cannot cease from-the heart is insatiate in lusting and the eye incessant in looking after what may gratify their unclean desires, and those who are themselves impudent and incessant in sin are very diligent and often successful in deceiving others and drawing others into the same excess of riot. But here observe who those are who are in the greatest danger of being led away into error and impiety, even the unstable. Those whose hearts are not established with grace are easily turned into the way of sin, or else such sensual wretches would not be able to prevail upon them, for these are not only riotous and lascivious, but covetous also, and these practices their hearts are exercised with; they pant after riches, and the desire of their souls is to the wealth of this world: it is a considerable part of their work to contrive to get wealth; in this their hearts are exercised, and then they execute their projects; and, if men abandon themselves to all sorts of lusts, we cannot wonder that the apostle should call them cursed children, for they are liable to the curse of God denounced against such ungodly and unrighteous men, and they bring a curse upon all who hearken and adhere to them.
  • IV. The apostle (v. 15, 16) proves that they are cursed children, even such covetous persons as the Lord abhors, by showing,
    • 1. They have forsaken the right way; and it cannot be but such self-seekers must be out of the right way, which is a self-denying way.
    • 2. They have gone into a wrong way: they have erred and strayed from the way of life, and gone over into the path which leads to death, and takes hold of hell; and this he makes out by showing it to be the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor.
      • (1.) That is a way of unrighteousness into which men are led by the wages of unrighteousness.
      • (2.) Outward temporal good things are the wages sinners expect and promise themselves, though they are often disappointed.
      • (3.) The inordinate love of the good things of this world turns men out of the way which leads to the unspeakably better things of another life; the love of riches and honour turned Balaam out of the way of his duty, although he knew that the way he took displeased the Lord.
      • (4.) Those who from the same principle are guilty of the same practices with notorious sinners are, in the judgment of God, the followers of such vile offenders, and therefore must reckon upon being at last where they are: they shall have their portion with those in another world whom they imitated in this.
      • (5.) Heinous and hardened sinners sometimes meet with rebukes for their iniquity. God stops them in their way, and opens the mouth of conscience, or by some startling providence startles and affrights them.
      • (6.) Though some more uncommon and extraordinary rebuke may for a little while cool men’s courage, and hinder their violent progress in the way of sin, it will not make them forsake the way of iniquity and go over into the way of holiness. If rebuking a sinner for his iniquity could have made a man return to his duty, surely the rebuke of Balaam must have produced this effect; for here is a surprising miracle wrought: the dumb ass, in whose mouth no man can expect to meet with reproof, is enabled to speak, and that with a human voice, and to her owner and master (who is here called a prophet, for the Lord appeared and spoke sometimes to him, Num. 22:23, 24, but indeed he was among the prophets of the Lord as Judas among the apostles of Jesus Christ), and she exposes the madness of his conduct and opposes his going on in this evil way, and yet all in vain. Those who will not yield to usual methods of reproof will be but little influenced by miraculous appearances to turn them from their sinful courses. Balaam was indeed restrained from actually cursing the people, but he had so strong a desire after the honours and riches that were promised him that he went as far as he could, and did his utmost to get from under the restraint that was upon him.
  • V. The apostle proceeds (v. 17) to a further description of seducing teachers, whom he sets forth,
    • 1. As wells, or fountains, without water. Observe,
      • (1.) Ministers should be as wells or fountains, where the people may find instruction, direction, and comfort; but
      • (2.) False teachers have nothing of this to impart to those who consult them: the word of truth is the water of life, which refreshes the souls that receive it; but these deceivers are set upon spreading and promoting error, and therefore are set forth as empty, because there is no truth in them. In vain then are all our expectations of being fed and filled with knowledge and understanding by those who are themselves ignorant and empty.
    • 2. As clouds carried with a tempest. When we see a cloud we expect a refreshing shower from it; but these are clouds which yield no rain, for they are driven with the wind, but not of the Spirit, but the stormy wind or tempest of their own ambition and covetousness. They espouse and spread those opinions that will procure most applause and advantage to themselves; and as clouds obstruct the light of the sun, and darken the air, so do these darken counsel by words without knowledge and wherein there is no truth; and, seeing these men are for promoting darkness in this world, it is very just that the mist of darkness should be their portion in the next. Utter darkness was prepared for the devil, the great deceiver, and his angels, those instruments that he uses to turn men from the truth, and therefore for them it is reserved, and that for ever; the fire of hell is everlasting, and the smoke of the bottomless pit rises up for ever and ever. And it is just with God to deal thus with them, because
      • (1.) They allure those they deal with, and draw them into a net, or catch them as men do fish; and,
      • (2.) It is with great swelling words of vanity, lofty expressions, which have a great sound, but little sense.
      • (3.) They work upon the corrupt affections and carnal fleshly lusts of men, proposing what is grateful to them. And,
      • (4.) They seduce persons who in reality avoided and kept at a distance from those who spread and those who embraced hurtful and destructive errors. Observe,
        • [1.] By application and industry men attain a skilfulness and dexterity in promoting error. They are as artful and as successful as the fisher, who makes angling his daily employment. The business of these men is to draw disciples after them, and in their methods and management there are some things worth observing, how they suit their bait to those they desire to catch.
        • [2.] Erroneous teachers have a peculiar advantage to win men over to them, because they have sensual pleasure to take them with; whereas the ministers of Christ put men upon self-denial, and the mortifying of those lusts that others gratify and please: wonder not therefore that truth prevails no more, or that errors spread so much.
        • [3.] Persons who have for a while adhered to the truth, and kept clear of errors, may by the subtlety and industry of seducers be so far deceived as to fall into those errors they had for a while clean escaped. “Be therefore always upon your guard, maintain a godly jealousy of yourselves, search the scriptures, pray for the Spirit to instruct and establish you in the truth, walk humbly with God, and watch against every thing that may provoke him to give you up to a reprobate mind, that you may not be taken with the fair and specious pretences of these false teachers, who promise liberty to all who will hearken to them, not true Christian liberty for the service of God, but a licentiousness in sin, to follow the devices and desires of their own hearts.’ To prevent these men’s gaining proselytes, he tells us that, in the midst of all their talk of liberty, they themselves are the vilest slaves, for they are the servants of corruption; their own lusts have gotten a complete victory over them, and they are actually in bondage to them, making provision for the flesh, to satisfy its cravings, comply with its directions, and obey its commands. Their minds and hearts are so far corrupted and depraved that they have neither power nor will to refuse the task that is imposed on them. They are conquered and captivated by their spiritual enemies, and yield their members servants of unrighteousness: and what a shame it is to be overcome and commanded by those who are themselves the servants of corruption, and slaves to their own lusts! This consideration should prevent our being led away by these seducers; and to this he adds another (v. 20): it is not only a shame and disgrace to be seduced by those who are themselves the slaves of sin, and led captive by the devil at his pleasure, but it is a real detriment to those who have clean escaped from those who live in error, for hereby their latter end is made worse than their beginning. Here we see,
          • First, It is an advantage to escape the pollutions of the world, to be kept from gross and scandalous sins, though men are not thoroughly converted and savingly changed; for hereby we are kept from grieving those who are truly serious and emboldening those who are openly profane; whereas, if we run with others to the same excess of riot and abandon ourselves to the sins of the age, we afflict and dishearten those who endeavour to walk as becomes the gospel, and strengthen the hands of those who are already engaged in open rebellion against the Most High, as well as alienate ourselves more from God, and harden our hearts against him.
          • Secondly, Some men are, for a time, kept from the pollutions of the world, by the knowledge of Christ, who are not savingly renewed in the spirit of their mind. A religious education has restrained many whom the grace of God has not renewed: if we receive the light of the truth, and have a notional knowledge of Christ in our heads, it may be of some present service to us; but we must receive the love of the truth, and hide God’s word in our heart, or it will not sanctify and save us.
          • Thirdly, Those who have, for a time, escaped the pollutions of the world, are at first ensnared and entangled by false teachers, who first perplex men with some plausible and specious objections against the truths of the gospel; and the more ignorant and unstable are hereby made to stagger, and brought to question the truth of doctrines they have received, because they cannot solve all the difficulties, nor answer all the objections, that are urged by these seducers.
          • Fourthly, When men are once entangled, they are easily overcome; therefore should Christians keep close to the word of God, and watch against those who seek to perplex and bewilder them, and that because, if men who have once escaped are again entangled, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
  • VI. The apostle, in the last two verses of the chapter, sets himself to prove that a state of apostasy is worse than a state of ignorance; for it is a condemning of the way of righteousness, after they have had some knowledge of it, and expressed some liking to it; it carries in it a declaring that they have found some iniquity in the way of righteousness and some falsehood in the word of truth. Now to bring up such an evil report upon the good way of God, and such a false charge against the way of truth, must necessarily expose to the heaviest condemnation; the misery of such deserters of Christ and his gospel is more unavoidable and more intolerable than that of other offenders; for,
    • 1. God is more highly provoked by those who by their conduct despise the gospel, as well as disobey the law, and who reproach and pour contempt upon God and his grace.
    • 2. The devil more narrowly watches and more closely confines those whom he has recovered, after they had once gone off from him and professed to be the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mt. 12:45); they are kept under a stronger guard, and no wonder it should be so when they have licked up their own vomit again, returning to the same errors and impieties that they had once cast off and seemed to detest and loathe, and wallowing in that filthiness from which they appeared once to be really cleansed. Well, if the scripture gives such an account of Christianity on the one hand, and of sin on the other, as we have here in these two verses, we certainly ought highly to approve of the former and persevere therein, because it is a way of righteousness, and a holy commandment, and to loathe and keep at the greatest distance from the latter because it is set forth as most offensive and abominable.

Source: New Age False Prophet Deepak Chopra: Jesus, “not the one and only Son of God”

Are There Blood Moons Rising? with Mark Hitchcock (part 2)
Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T. A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in. In today’s program, Tom wraps a two-part series with guest, Mark Hitchcock. Here’s TBC executive director, Tom McMahon.

Tom: Thanks, Gary. This is part 2 of our conversation, a discussion about prophecy, and, in particular, blood moons. That’s a teaching that’s come into the church, and people are excited about it, but it has raised a bit of controversy. And it should, because we have to question whether it’s biblical or not. The perspective – I don’t care who it is – whatever the person is teaching, if they claim to be speaking for the Bible, then we have a resource to check out what they’re saying, just as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11.
So my guest, as we get on with this, is Mark Hitchcock. He’s the pastor-teacher of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, OK, and the author of a number of books dealing with biblical prophecy, and in particular, that addresses this subject, is Blood Moons Rising, which we offer here at The Berean Call.
Mark, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Mark: Yeah, thanks for having me back again.
Tom: You know, Mark, as we ended last week, we did mention Mark Biltz, the author of Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs, and I also mentioned last week that I listened to a kind of casual debate with him over his book and your book, and I’d just like you to just briefly…tell us what [are] your primary concerns about what he wrote.
Mark: Well, I think there are several things. I guess my primary concern is with when it comes to the whole idea of these four blood moons, and there’s this idea out there that these four blood moons that are going to occur on these four Jewish feast days, and there are going to be four lunar eclipses: Passover and Tabernacles in 2014, and then on Passover and Tabernacles in 2015. So that’s a fact, but the real problem I have with that is it’s that really the handling of the Bible to come to the conclusions that he comes to. To me, when you go to the passages that mention the moon turning to blood in Joel 2 and Acts 2 and Revelation 6, and then in Matthew 24 (it doesn’t mention the moon turning to blood, but it talks about the sun not giving its light there). The problem is [that] in all of those passages – the context of those passages is either in the midpoint or the end of the coming seven-year tribulation period, and we’re not in that period yet, because the Rapture hasn’t even happened, so 2015, where they’re claiming all of this is so significant, can’t be the fulfillment of those things because of the timing and the context of those passages.
Another thing is that nowhere in the Bible are four blood moons mentioned! It just mentions the moon turning to blood. It doesn’t mention that it’s going to happen four times. So again, that’s something they’re reading into the Bible that the Bible doesn’t say.
Also, these events in the Bible of the moon turning to blood are supernatural events – they’re not natural occurrences, like a lunar eclipse. When you read the context of these passages, this is God doing this. Also when you go to Acts 2 and to Revelation 6, there are all kinds of other things mentioned other than the moon turning to blood. There’s going to be columns of smoke and all these other different things.
So they don’t take all of those other things – they just cherry pick, kind of, one thing out of there, and then see that as being fulfilled in these four blood moons in these two years.
And so, there’s just really, to me, a host of interpretive problems that you have to make this case: things they’re not…seeing in the Bible that are there, and then other things they’re reading into the Bible that aren’t there.
So I think they’ve built kind of this whole viewpoint and this whole theory and this whole construct of these four blood moons, this blood moon tetrad and how significant it is, really out of passages that don’t say anything close to what they’re building.
Tom: And now, scripturally, Mark, help me out here. Is the blood moon event – is that a one-time event?
Mark: It seems to be. Yeah, it seems to be a one-time event, and, again, you have in Revelation 6, you have a reference there to the moon turning to blood, and then, if you take the passage in Joel 2 and Acts 2 to be the end of the Tribulation, then it could be there, again, another occurrence of this same type of an event, but again, they’re not happening on…it doesn’t mention feast days; it doesn’t mention…so, again, it depends on your chronology in these passages. And some would take it that all of those passages refer to the same period of time, and others would take it that they refer to two different times. But there’s still not four different times, and they’re never really related to Jewish feast days or things like that.
So, my view would be that, yes, there’s an event kind of at the middle of the Tribulation in Revelation 6. These other passages refer to the end of the Tribulation. But, again, that would be…others might disagree on the exact chronology.
Tom: As you know, Mark, Mark Biltz, the author of Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs, and also Jonathan Cahn, who’s the author of The Harbinger and The Mystery of Shemitah, are more than implying that, as you allude to, this September very well could be the time when the blood moon triggers world calamity and financial devastation, and so forth. Now what does that say about the timing of the Rapture and the biblical teaching about the Great Tribulation?
Mark: Well, I think, you know, there’s several problems with what they’re doing. One is…to me, what they’re doing is…I would refer to it as a “soft” form of date setting. And what I mean by that is they’re not setting a date and saying the Lord is coming back in 2015, but to me, the Bible doesn’t tell us that there’s going to be a great economic collapse in 2015 or there’s going to be a war in the Middle East in 2015. It doesn’t give us dates for any of these future events. And so, to me, to their credit, at least they’re not saying, “Oh, 2015 is the Lord’s coming.” But they are saying that it is the time of some other great event. And to me, that’s still date setting. And I think it’s dangerous because, again, they don’t know that from Scripture, and if what they’re saying doesn’t happen, then again, it’s this black eye for the Bible and a black eye for God, when actually, it isn’t God at all; it’s them.
So I think that’s the problem with that. But also, by saying there’s going to be all this devastation and collapse and all of this taking place, it’s almost as if they’re predicting the events of the Tribulation to begin this year with the church still here. And I think it’s a confused eschatology – I think at best a kind of confusing of end-time events. But the other thing is, they seem to often say how these things are going to happen, and they come about as close as you can get to saying that the Lord’s coming back, but then they always kind of back away from that.
Tom: Right.
Mark: And I think there’s a danger there, again, of even though they won’t go so far as to say that, to many people who are listening to them, I think you would clearly get that impression.
Tom: Well, let me give you an example. I think you’re wonderfully gracious by giving them the benefit of the doubt. And we do. We want to err on the side of mercy, and so on. But, Mark, as I’ve tracked these guys, it isn’t just what they write, but you see them on different programs, especially programs like Jim Bakker, Sid Roth, where they’re promoting their books and their ideas.
Now, let me just give you some dialogue here between Mark Biltz and Jim Bakker. This can be found at the…well, here’s the address: jimbakkershow.com/video/mystery-sevens-2/. It starts with actually one of Bakker’s assistants, and he says, “The year of the Jubilee, which is next fall,” and then he declares, “I would suggest to you that something so great is going to happen in the world, and to America, that it’s going to call back God’s people.”
Then Biltz agrees enthusiastically, and Bakker jumps up with Biltz actually grinning approval: “Oh, people! You’d better get ready!” And Bakker then supplies his reasons why the Jews would leave the US and return to Israel: “There has to be a collapse of our economy.”
Biltz responds to Bakker’s “Am I close?” by saying, “Yes, you’re right on.” And Biltz adds that “the Tribulation is a seven-year cycle that will follow the cyclical Shemitah cycle.”
Bakker responds: “You feel like maybe we should prepare for the Tribulation?”
Biltz: “Definitely!” He then adds, “I think we have one year to really prepare for God’s coming.”
Bakker adds: “You say that right out flat! You didn’t even give a disclaimer! Now say that again.”
Biltz: “If it doesn’t begin next year, it won’t begin for seven more years. But I don’t know if we have much time.”
Then Bakker jumps up again: “We have the “Year of Food” [offer] for $550! One of these days it will be all gone. One more event – I’m telling you. We have the “Time of Trouble,” and that’s a seven-year food offer, and that’s for a donation of $3,000. That’s [7,700 (corrected)] meals.”
Mark, at least, that’s kind of a fear-mongering thing. What their motivation is, I’m not going to judge their heart, but it just seems like a promotion not only that’s not supported by Scripture, but it increases fear among people. And, you know, we’ve seen this, as you mentioned before, date setting is always wrong, with regard to the Scripture, but the outcome, the consequences – people sell their homes, people move to the country. They, you know, basically, financially…I’m not saying where their spiritual walk is, but basically working out of fear, it destroys lives, even to the point of suicides, and so on.
Mark: No, you’re right. I mean, it’s tragic, and another problem with what he said there, as you just read, is that destroys imminency.
Tom: Yes.
Mark: Because he’s saying, “Okay, if doesn’t happen now, then it can’t happen for seven more years.”
Tom: Exactly.
Mark: Jesus says we’re to be looking for the Blessed Hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior. He says we’re to be waiting up for our Savior and for His return. When someone says these things, and they don’t happen now then can’t happen for seven more years, to me, that’s problematic. And I agree with you. It is fear-mongering, and it smacks of commercialization and merchandising. And so, it’s not good, but what we see, though, and I see this time and time again, and I try to point this out to folks, is one of the real problems, and I’m aware of this in my own life, in my own teaching, error begets error.
Tom: Right.
Mark: You get one error, and then it tends to compound itself in another error and another error, and so, again, that’s why we want to go back to the Bible. And the Bible is our plumb line, it’s our standard, and what we say, we want it to be consistent with the Bible. When you get off of that, especially in areas like this, where people are…people are very susceptible in these areas. Again, I’ve said this a couple of times, but the days we live in are uncertain. There’s a lot of fear out there, and it’s easy to prey on people’s fear today. It is! And we want to give people hope. We want to tell them that Jesus is coming – that they can have their hope and their trust and their faith in Him and be delivered from the coming wrath. And that’s the message that we have for people today. When that is abused in that way, it’s sad and unfortunate.
Tom: You know, we also – thinking of the body of Christ – we want to encourage, exhort, and I’m thinking about 2 Timothy 4:3, that declares (prophetically, by the way) that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. So our exhortation, you as a pastor, a pastor-teacher, our exhortation is to get into the Word of God. Now, do you see that as a major reason, when people aren’t into the Word of God, why so many Christians are vulnerable to these blatant abuses of biblical prophecy today?
Mark: Sure. That’s the big problem we have. Really, all of these different areas. One of the areas where there’s a great lack today is in discernment. You know that. That’s what your ministry’s about. But people don’t know the Bible, and so they are susceptible to these kinds of things. And I think a lot of people know that. Again, I read these books, and they just pull a few scriptures out of some different places about the moon turning to blood and kind of weave this whole theology out of that, and again, they’re not looking at the context of the passages, the timing of these things, the source of them, how many of them there are stated in Scripture, and all of that. And people who are undiscerning – and I think, you know, people… there’s a sense with a lot of people that they want these things to be true. They read it, and they want it to be true, and they’re looking for things out there to kind of grab onto and hang onto to give them some kind of solid foundation and give them some hope. And there are people that are coming along and giving them these kinds of things.
It’s a serious thing. You mentioned I’m a pastor of a church, and James 3:1: Don’t let many of you become teachers, knowing as such you will incur a stricter judgment. We have a responsibility to handle the Word accurately and to be shepherds for people and not to come in and lead people astray.
So that’s why I write books like this. I do have a passion for God’s truth, and I have a passion for the Lord, but I also have a passion for God’s people, and when I see them being led astray by things like this, then I like to try to do what I can to try to correct the record.
Tom: And certainly where we can equip them, especially as things get more difficult. And, fellowship! So important. Like-minded brothers and sisters in the Lord who are into the Word of God. They need each other. We need each other, and all of that.
Mark, a while ago I wrote an article for The Berean Call, and the title was “Is Your Eschatology Showing?” And the point of the article was that Christians who are ignorant of the events of the Scriptures that are going to take place prior to Christ’s return, really are vulnerable, I think, to unwittingly supporting agendas that are contrary to what the Bible says will take place.
Now, eschatology – some people may not know the term, but it’s just chronology that the Bible lays out about what’s going to take place, and it’s not a mystery, is it? You know, certainly there may be some things where we’re not given all the details, but basically, the chronology is there. But these guys, it seems to me… When I say “these guys,” those who are writing these books, Mark, they couch them in “mystery.” Everything’s a mystery, like “Shemitah.” But I think that’s attractive to people. They say, “Oh, listen to this! This is secret. This is a mystery. This is esoteric.” What do you say to that?
Mark: Well, there is an allure and a seduction to things like that…you know, this new thing that’s been discovered, or whatever they are, and I do think you’ve hit on something there. There is an attraction to that, and, again, with this world we live in, people want to be in the know. If there’s something out there that can give them some special insight, they want to know about it. But, again, we go back to the Bible, the book of Revelation, the very first of the book, it’s called the apocalypsis of Jesus Christ. The word “apocalypis” means to take the veil off something, to uncover it. So, it’s a book we should understand. It’s not the covering, the hiding. It’s the uncovering, and it’s assumed that we can understand it because the very third verse – it’s the only book in the Bible with a blessing attached to it. It says, “Blessed is the one who reads, the one who hears, and the one who heeds the words written in this book, the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.”
So again, this is something we should be able to read, to hear, to understand, to obey, and so when things come, like blood moons – I think that’s why a lot of these things attract people. “Blood moons.” It sounds kind of…I don’t know, kind of creepy almost, or kind of mysterious, or… You know, “blood moons,” “Shemitah,” the whole 2012 thing was based on the Mayan calendar. So, all of these kind of things, I think, have an allure, but again, if you just go back to the Bible and see what the Bible actually says, really, as you pointed out, the overall scenario, or the template, that the Bible lays out for the end times is not really that complicated.
We all believe He’s coming back. We believe there’s going to be a final resurrection, a final judgment, there’s a heaven, and there’s a hell. That’s what we all agree on, regardless of our particular viewpoint on the end times. But there’s all these kinds of things out there, again, to kind of draw people in, and when people see these kinds of things that are new, and new discoveries, the antenna should immediately go up; the alarm button should go off, the flashing lights should go off in the mind that this is something we need to proceed and enter into with caution.
Tom: And, Mark, as you mentioned last week, we see things developing. We see the apostasy growing. We don’t see very specific prophecies being fulfilled, for example, we mentioned 1948, the restoration of the nation of Israel, and so on. You know, from my writings, I’ll take a verse like 2 Timothy 3:1-2, “Mark my words, in the last days, there will be perilous times. Men will be lovers of their own selves,” and I can apply that to a generation – the psychological generation, okay? Because it really deals with loving of self, which is what psychology and humanistic psychology teaches.
So, anyway, without locking things down, as you pointed out, we don’t know the timing of this, when it’s going to happen, but things do seem to be closer than they were. But here’s my concern. As I mentioned, if you don’t have an understanding of the chronology of what will take place according to the Scriptures – now, help me out here, Mark – the next kingdom that I see developing, according to the Scriptures, is the kingdom of the Antichrist.
So again, we don’t know when, but we see this in development, my point being that do we keep our eyes open to certain things that certainly develop that may seem good – for example, Rick Warren has his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. He’s trying to solve all the problems of the world by bringing different religions together – I mean, that’s not my idea, folks. That’s all documented. Or you have, the Kingdom/Dominionists. They believe that Christians need to take over the world before Christ can return. We have, among the young people, we have a popular group Jesus Culture, and their eschatology is Kingdom Dominionism. That’s what the lyrics of their songs – and they’re incredibly, hugely popular. So my point is that if we are not aware, at least for a heads up, if we’re not aware of the chronology of Scripture, we can buy into a program that’s working for the Adversary, not true to Scripture.
Mark: Well, no, that’s right, and you know, it is interesting, in the early church there were things about the end times that were being taught that greatly upset people. We have in the book of Thessalonians, the whole book of 2 Thessalonians – the first part of it, they’ve been sent a spurious letter, a counterfeit letter as if from Paul that they were in the Day of the Lord. That the Day of the Lord had come. And they were confused… So one of the reasons we need to understand prophecy is because we do live in days of great deception, and a lot of the deceptions are about the end times. There’s a lot of cults out there gaining great traction in people’s lives by teaching false views about the end times. Because they know people are interested in this. So that’s kind of their entrée into these things. So, it is very important – and, again, not every person is going to be a Bible scholar and understand all the intricacies of the end times, but it is incumbent upon us as believers to understand what the Bible says about these things so we don’t get pulled in and sucked into these, I would call them “fads,” that come along.
Tom: Right, and some of them have… they’re so much a part of Christendom, for example, I mentioned the article, “Is Your Eschatology Showing?” Last week I mentioned coming to Christ at the time when The Late Great Planet Earth was the most popular book, and I didn’t know about prophecy, didn’t know about the Rapture, and so on. But in terms of eschatology, my church, my former church, the Roman Catholic Church, they were amillennialists, okay? They believe we’re in the Millennium now. So that’s had an effect over millennia!
Mark: Sure it does! It does, and if you believe that we’re going to go through the Tribulation period, that has an effect now. If you believe that you know the day when Jesus is coming back, that affects the way you live now. There’s all of these things…what we believe about the future does have ramifications for now in our lives. And we need to understand. What I see today, this is really an ironic development, I would say today in churches, at least during my lifetime, there’s less being taught about Bible prophecy and eschatology by far than ever before. Less being taught, but we need it now more than ever!
Tom: Exactly!
Mark: We’re the generation that needs it now more than ever, and yet, it’s being taught less. And I do think that that is a plot of the enemy, a strategy of the enemy, to silence pastors and preachers and teachers on this. The people don’t have an appetite for it any more, and I think that again, many people will be caught short and caught unaware because they’re not being taught these things. They’re victims, really, for these kind of things that come along that create all kinds of panic and fear and so on.
Tom: Yeah, and it doesn’t have to be that way, which brings me… Mark, we’ve got just about a couple of minutes left, but here’s my question. As I mentioned to you, you’re really making a wonderful contribution by your prolific writing, and I mean prolific, folks, by informing Christians about erroneous teachings and false interpretations of prophetic scriptures, but, Mark, what would you say, in these last few minutes, to our listeners – how would it be best to help them to avoid being deceived in apostasy as it increases, seemingly exponentially in our day?
Mark: Well, I think, you know, again, the main thing is to be involved in a local church, supporting a local church where the Bible is taught, availing themselves of the resources that are out there today. Every place I can think of in the New Testament – just a few that pop into my mind here where it mentions the idea of apostasy, is in 2 Timothy 3 – a long chapter about apostasy. Of course, that’s where the passage is that says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, that a man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished for every good work.” And you have the book of Jude, you know, all about apostasy. You go down to the end, and it says we’re to be building ourselves up in the most holy faith, which again, is the study of God’s Word and the Scripture. So, when you think about the great need we have today – and, again, it’s not just to study the Bible, though, for head knowledge. We need to know the Bible and be passionate about the Bible and be passionate about living the Bible, and allowing the Bible to be transforming our minds and our lives. And that is, to me, the great defense that we have in this world today, where there are so many ideas out there – so many wrong ideas and so much false teaching. I know that doesn’t sound real flashy, maybe, to people, but I do think that to be Bereans, it is exactly what you always say, to study the Scriptures to see if these things are so. That is the great defense God has given to us in these days.
Tom: Yes, it’s available, and He’s equipped us. He’s given us not only His Word, He’s given us the Holy Spirit, and He’s given us fellowship to encourage one another in all of this.
Mark: Yeah, what I would say, it’s the Word of God, it’s the Spirit of God, and it’s the people of God. Those are three great resources that we have.
Tom: Well, my guest has been Mark Hitchcock, and Mark’s book is Blood Moons Rising, but he’s written a number of other books related to prophecy, so I would encourage one and all to check them out. And, Mark, I really appreciate so much what you contributed, and God bless you, bro, and thanks for being with us!
Mark: Well, thank you very much, and I appreciate you all and the work you’re doing, and may God continue to have His rich hand of blessing upon you and upon that ministry.
Tom: Amen!
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638. Or visit our website at the bereancall.org.
November 2015
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