Sleeper Cells

•04/23/2014 • 2 Comments

Revelation 9:12-21,

12. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
13. And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14. Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
15. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
16. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
17. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
18. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
19. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
20. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
21. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

The following is from: http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-a-sleeper-cell.htm

“One of the most insidious tactics at a terrorist organization’s disposal is the implementation of a sleeper cell. This consists of secret agents who receive specialized training in their home countries and are then assigned to assimilate into another country’s culture and society. These agents may spend years performing their regular duties while living deep undercover, then suddenly receive orders from their overseas handlers to either commit an act of terrorism or provide aid to those who will.

“Individual members of a sleeper cell may not even be aware of each other, since plausible deniability during police interrogations can be vital. One sleeper agent may work for an airline ticket office, for example, while another may work at a car rental company or a chemical plant. When the commanders of the terrorist organization want to activate a cell, each agent may only receive the name of one contact person or receive only his or her specific orders. The airline ticket agent, for example, may only be told to provide tickets for four men traveling from Germany to New York. The car rental agent may only be told to pick up these men from the airport and deliver them to the chemical plant. This process insures that no individual is aware of the entire plan.

“It can be extremely difficult for government agencies to track and dismantle sleeper cells because of their nebulous construction. If the individual members are well-trained and dedicated to their cause, they can easily blend into society without raising any suspicions. A cell doesn’t necessarily need to hold regular meetings or undergo additional training to carry out their missions. Members simply go about their daily routines until a handler contacts them for an assignment. Some agents may not even be fully aware of their obligations, believing that a benevolent government agency simply paid for their education and immigration expenses.

“The events surrounding September 11 pointed out the dangers of such cells, since a number of US citizens did provide material assistance to the actual terrorists. While some may have simply been performing their regular duties, others were most likely members of sleeper cells activated to perform crucial support operations. A student pilot who only studied take-off procedures, for example, would be an ideal member. An airline baggage handler who could smuggle weapons onto a plane without notice would also be useful.

“Some agents may be fully aware of their roles in an operation, while others may be deliberately kept in the dark until called upon to act. This is why an attack can be so notoriously difficult to thwart. A cell is often discovered through covert surveillance and infiltration by a double agent.”

Perhaps this seems too much like a James Bond rip-off, or a bad Tom Clancy send-up. Maybe it’s too super-spiritual. Conspiracy theories, anyone?

But what if I were to tell you that right now, in your community, there is a demonic sleeper cell waiting to be unleashed against you and your church?

Would you believe me? Or would you write this off as just another “devil’s in the cookie jar” alarmist warning that the “boogey-man” is out to get us?

Take another look at what a sleeper cell is.

Now look at these verses:

Galatians 2:4,

4. And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage…

Jude 1:4,

4. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 3:1-7,

1. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

If your regular, old-fashioned backslid (or never really saved to begin with) false prophet/teacher, false brother or sister can creep into the church unawares, don’t you think the evil spirits behind them can do so? And with much more subtlety and ease?

But you say, God will protect us! The Discernment of Spirits won’t let such a thing happen!

Really? Don’t be so naive.

Right now, there is a sleeper cell of demonic spirits in the Euphrates River waiting to unleash hell on earth in the form of approximately 2.66 billion people being killed (if the planet actually stands at 8 billion souls). Something that big is hid right under the nose of the whole world, and yet only those who have taken the time to not only read, but also BELIEVE the Bible know about it. And of that number, how many, do you suppose, actually care enough to prepare their soul for the day that demonic sleeper cell awakens?

So, if such a massive terrorist attack in the spirit realm is waiting to happen, can’t it be possible that something much smaller, in scale and scope, is waiting, right now, to take you and your assembly down?

Can God protect you?

Of course. But what if you are unaware of the danger, or worse, don’t believe it exists? What then? What if the Lord is trying to use this blog to warn His people, but believers everywhere refuse to hear the trumpet as it blows, ignoring the warning of God (Ezekiel 33:1-20)? Then what?

Then entire churches stand defenseless as demonic sleeper cell after demonic sleeper cell are called to duty, to steal, kill, and destroy the souls of those who might otherwise have been protected and spared, had someone listened to this watchman’s trumpet.

I don’t write these blogs randomly or for the fun of it. I write them as I feel led by the Holy Spirit of God to prepare as many people as will read and heed their content, so as to be prepared for the soon coming Great Tribulation.

No one who reads this has to be believe me or take my word for it. Search the Scriptures. Even more so, search what the Spirit of Christ in you is signifying in these last days (See and compare 1 Peter 1:11). Just as the Holy Spirit in the prophets of old testified of the sufferings of Christ, I can only wonder if the Spirit of Christ will likewise testify in the prophets of now of the sufferings of Christ’s Bride, the Church.

Just as the holy men of God in the Old Covenant Era were called and separated unto God to tell His people what was to come, is it not reasonable to believe that the holy men of God in the New Covenant Era are even now being called and separated unto God to tell His people what is to come?

You can laugh and dismiss at your leisure. I hope I am wrong. I would rather be wrong and not know that churches are about to fall, but still have cried aloud, then to have shut up my mouth, worried that churches were going to fall, find out I was right, and not have done a thing.

Pseudo-Spiritual Buzz Words

•04/10/2014 • Leave a Comment

For some reason, using the language of the Bible as given to us by God (as long as it is accurately translated) just isn’t enough for some people. They like to create their own pet terms and ideas, perhaps in the hopes of coining a new phrase? getting their sound bite recognizes by their peers? copyrighting the terms to make bank? I don’t really know the reason. But I feel led to use this blog to warn my brothers and sisters against what I call “pseudo-spiritual buzz words”. I say pseudo and not super for a reason. While pseudo-spiritual buzz words are by nature super spiritual (or at least are created by the super or overly spiritual), “super” in this context doesn’t portray what I feel is the right level of disdain.

“Pseudo-” is an ancient Greek prefix that means false. We see its use, for example, in words like pseudonym, or false name. But we also see its use in the Greek text of the New Testament in words like pseudoprofetes, or false prophet. That’s what I’m after with my use of pseudo to describe these words. I want them, in the mind of the reader, to be categorized with false prophets, false brethren, false apostles, false Christs, and etc.

That seems pretty harsh, doesn’t it? But there is a reason I’m taking such a hard-line stance. Words have meaning and they have power. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. The words we speak can be spirit and life, bringing about a positive transformation in the listener, or they can be cruel and mocking, and utterly, psychologically destroy someone. These pseudo-spiritual buzz words are dangerous, if embraced. They take a believer’s faith out of the Bible and put it into the carnal mind of the one utilizing the buzz word.

Does this mean that every single time these words are used, the person behind their usage is some wicked transgressor intent on injuring the flock of the Lord? No, I don’t think so. Nevertheless, we need to guard ourselves. It is already too easy to reduce the importance and relevance of many of the various topics and concepts found in the Word of God. We don’t need to add to that ease by embracing and using extra-Biblical terminology, which, admittedly, sounds spiritual (and that’s the problem right there: these words sound spiritual, and so, make the users feel and believe themselves to be spiritual, when they might not be anything of the sort).

So with this all in mind, I want to share an in-exhaustive list of what I consider to be pseudo or falsely spiritual buzz words (in no particular order).

(Please keep in mind that I am not attacking anyone for their use. I am attacking the words themselves. If you use them, I don’t dislike you. But I encourage you to refrain from using them while also exhorting you to seek to use correct Biblical terminology.)

1.) Journey

There is nothing inherently wrong with this word. It’s as good as any other word, and in fact, can perfectly encapsulate proper meaning. We’re all on a journey, after all, right?

But beware the context. I have seen time and again, when someone speaks of how they moved away from an orthodox Christian faith, to heterodoxy, that someone often comes along and says something like the following:

“I’m on a similar journey.”

or

“Interesting. I would love to know more about your journey…”

This is perilous territory. What’s really being said is, “I backslid, too” or “I would love to know more about your backsliding”. But notice how journey makes it sound spiritual, as if the person is on some poignant, life adventure deepening their walk with God when in reality they are doing anything but?

There is such a thing as “another Gospel“, “another Jesus“, and “another Spirit” (Galatians 1:7-9 and 2 Corinthians 11:14). These other versions are condemned and accursed. They are false. And so is the word journey, when used this way.

2.) Apostolic

Don’t get me wrong. Like journey, it’s as good as any other word. Denotatively, it means “of or pertaining to the Apostles, especially in doctrine, manner, and lifestyle”. This is a good thing!

So what’s the problem? Follow along:

When you start hearing preachers and other higher ups constantly and only talking about things like “apostolic doctrine”, “apostolic identity”, “apostolic holiness”, “apostolic authority” and etc., you’re finding yourself in, dare I say it, cultish territory (Don’t hate me just yet!).

There is something really wrong with refusing to use the word Christian, in reference to doctrine, lifestyle, holiness, and power, like it’s somehow not good enough to describe what we believe, what we live, what we practice, and how we operate.

But using “apostolic” makes it sound more spiritual, more set-apart, more distinct, more intrinsically apostle-esque. We’ve got such an inferiority complex. Listen, no one group has the corner market on the word Christian. We can use it, too, without compromise. We shouldn’t let another group co-opt Biblical language (Note, too, how Oneness Pentecostals don’t have the corner market on the word apostolic. That right belongs to the Holy Roman and Apostolic Catholic Church).

As great and as necessary as the Apostles were and are, they were not and are not Jesus Christ. Some say they are of Paul, some of Apollos, others of Cephas (1 Corinthians 1:12). All were and are Apostles. But when it comes to our doctrine, identity, holiness, and authority, it is always and only “of and pertaining to Jesus Christ”.

3.) Spirit of…

This one might be my favorite to pick on. It’s so common. All the time we hear how there is a “spirit of liberty” or a “spirit of impartation”, or a “spirit or praise”, “spirit of renewal” or what-have-you. There are only four kinds of spirits, Biblically speaking. The Spirit of God/Christ, angelic spirits, evil spirits (i.e. demons and/or the spirit of antichrist) and human spirits. The Discerning of Spirits, a sorely lacking charismata in the church world today, will not let someone discern a “spirit of” apart from these four.

Listen, I know what people mean when they use such phraseology. But why can’t they just say what they mean, AND STAY WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE WORD, instead of conjuring up a more “spiritual” sounding idea? If there is liberty in and among God’s people, it’s because the Spirit of the Lord is present, not because some random, undefinable “spirit of liberty” is present. Mark the difference.

4.) Bind and Loose

Ever hear someone yell into a microphone the following words:

“I bind every evil spirit that would come against this church and loose the mighty angels of God…” or some such similar thing? How about “I loose apostolic authority…”?

What a bunch of nonsense. Speaking something forcefully with conviction doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Binding and loosing usually only has to do with church discipline in the realm of reconciling or ex-communicating a member of an assembly (See Matthew 18:15-20). Additionally, any other binding and loosing begins and ends with eternal salvation and building the kingdom of God through soul conversion (Matthew 16:18-19). More than this is pseudo-spiritual. It sounds neat, and makes a person feel special when they say it, but it doesn’t mean anything.

5.) Anointed

Nowadays, everything is anointed. From preaching to singing, to the microphone, to whatever. Am I against the anointing God can and does place upon people? No. But note that, in the New Covenant, the anointing is placed upon people, not upon intangible, inanimate objects or ideas (this isn’t the OT tabernacle, after all). The preaching wasn’t anointed, the preacher was. See the difference?

Additionally, here is a simple proof that the way “anointed” is used by the church world at large is pseudo-spiritual. Just use its denotative meaning and see what happens:

  • “Wow! That song was smeared with oil!”
  • “What a smeared with oil sermon.”
  • “I’ve never heard such a smearing with oil on a keyboard before.”
  • “He/she was praying with such a smearing of oil…”

Pretty dumb, isn’t it? Compare that to:

  • “This church is smeared with oil (i.e. anointed).”
  • “The preacher was greatly smeared with oil (i.e. anointed).”
  • “Because the sister is so smeared with oil (i.e. anointed), every time she sings, the presence of God manifests.”
  • “I felt a smearing of oil come over me (i.e. an anointing)…”

These might, at first, sound just as silly. But they are not. These are legitimate, Biblical uses of the word. Here, the symbolism behind what it means to be “smeared with oil” comes across. Being anointed means the Spirit of the Living God has come down and upon a person, to choose, commission, and endow that person with a uniquely qualified right and power to operate and minister in some particular fashion. Songs, sermons, keyboards, prayers, and the like, don’t and can’t have this.

6.) Pastor

Well, if I didn’t lose you on Apostolic, I fear I might lose you here. But please read on before you dismiss this.

Like the word anointed, which is over-used and misunderstood, the word pastor is likewise over-used and misunderstood. Anyone and everyone that has some position in the church gets called pastor these days. There are A/V pastors, Family Ministry pastors, pastors of the usher department, and etc. Pastor, as a word in the church, has become a catch-all to describe just about anyone and anything ministry related. This is a gross mis-use of the term.

A pastor is someone who cares for and tends the flock of God, especially new converts. They do not care for and tend a sound booth! Further, as with anointed, the word pastor has a very specific denotative meaning, that, if used, proves that “pastor”, unfortunately, has become just as much as a pseudo-spiritual buzz word as any of the others. Note:

Pastor is a synonym for shepherd. Sounds good, so far. But what is a shepherd? A shepherd is merely one who herds sheep, i.e. a sheep-herder. Do we now go about calling everyone with the title pastor “sheep-herder”? Imagine it, “Hello, my name is Aaron. I’m the sheep-herder of Spirit of the Anointed Journey Apostolic Church.” Of course, we don’t. But why? Because pastor sounds nicer. Sheep-herder sounds crude, even rude. But “pastor” is flowery, even spiritual sounding. It has a ring to it that a mere herder of sheep will never have.

I’m not against the word pastor. It has a Biblical use. But let’s get realistic. I am not a pastor, have never held the title, and do not consider myself, in terms of the ascension gifts of Christ, to be a pastor. And yet, at various times, someone inevitably calls me “pastor” because I hold a place in ministry. It’s like none of the other words found in the Bible to describe God’s servants are good enough (e.g. elder, deacon, teacher, and etc.).

We feel too comfortable using the word. We say things like “My pastor preached a sermon called…”, or “We should call pastor first…”, or “That’s not what my pastor teaches…”, and etc. Imagine exchanging the word pastor for, I don’t know, say, prophet”.

  • My prophet preached a sermon called…
  • We should call prophet first…
  • That’s not what my prophet teaches…

Now it doesn’t sound so good, does it? It sounds just a little bit creepy, almost bordering on idolatry. No one likes the idea of having a “personal prophet” and yet, for all intents and purposes, we have “personal pastors” everywhere, and no one bats an eye. Weird. Maybe we need to rethink this? Some people even use the word pastor in place of a man’s first name, to the point of basically calling their elder the equivalent of father (I had a conversation with a devout catholic who used to do this all the time. “Father said…” or “Father recommended…” and etc. It’s the same thing, folks).

So, let’s just rein it in a bit, shall we. Being a bonafide pastor is spiritual enough. We don’t have to make it (or the people who are) more spiritual.

7.) Decree, Release, Double, and Portion

Oh, boy. You’d think I was kidding, or just being mean. Think again! :)

Read it and weep:

Lord we agree in Jesus Name for the continue [sic] of Apostolic formation of the worldwide network of Apostles and Prophets. Continue to establish your Kingdom in the hearts of your people thru [sic] the structure of the Five Fold Ministry. Raise and release your Apostles to first Awaken and then Activate the Five Fold Ministry in the Body of Christ. Then Orient and Position these Ministries to posses [sic] and take new territories . I decree the prophetic word for 2014 in the manifestation of Double Portion which includes the release of Double Blesssing [sic] and Double Anointing as well as all things multiplied in your kingdom! 2014 is Decreed as a Year of the Double Portion!

A word for word, copied from the very blog, quote of a famous, self-proclaimed “prophet of the nations” and “apostle” in the Oneness movement. Do I even have to comment, or can you see it for yourself? In case not, I submit the following video for your consideration:

Derek Meets A False Apostle While Out

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What does this all come down to?

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would testify or bear witness of Him. By the eternal desire of God the Father, Christ is to be glorified by His people. This use of pseudo-spiritual language sadly, only glorifies the user, by making him or her sound special or unique. Whenever and wherever a person cannot or will not use Biblical language to describe the things of God, but instead resorts to humanly, carnally constructed words and phrases, you can rest assured you’re hearing someone not sufficiently grounded and rooted in the truth. Either through copy-cat ignorance, or an inability (through flesh or will) to submit to the Word, saints of God the world over have embraced this kind of deceptive speech. And we’re just going right along with it like every thing’s fine. It’s not. When we change the vocabulary, it’s not long before we change the MESSAGE the vocabulary is based on in order to make sense of the new vocabulary.

There is nothing new under the sun. This was happening back in the earliest centuries of the faith. But someone somewhere needs to take a stand. Hopefully, I have done somewhat of my part through this blog. I hope you will do your part, too.

Peace and God bless,

Aaron

Publicly Identifying Backsliders and Other Trouble-Makers

•04/05/2014 • Leave a Comment

Purpose:

The purpose of this article is to present the Scriptural merits of intentionally naming backsliders and other trouble-makers, so that their identities can be made public to the church at large.

Introduction:

There is great Biblical precedence for the use of personal names in the Scriptures. The Bible is replete with tens of thousands of names, some famous, some infamous, some mentioned hundreds upon hundreds of times, some only mentioned once.

Since we know and affirm that the Holy Scriptures is the Word of God and so, is inspired by Him for our benefit (2 Timothy 3:16-17), we must conclude that all names, as preserved in the Word, are there for an ordained purpose.

It just so happens that some of the names written therein, being that the Word is “forever settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89), are placed in the Bible to be eternal reminders of those in whom the Lord had no “pleasure” (See Hebrews 10:38).

Precedence:

The following section will show ample Biblical precedence for the public identification of those unfortunate souls who, for whatever reason, forsook the Lord and His Kingdom (All examples will be from the New Testament). Following the Scriptural references, some comments will be made.

1 Timothy 1:18-20,

18. This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
19. Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
20. Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Note verse 20. These two men, Hymenaeus and Alexander, formally men of Christian faith, where delivered over to Satan. Why? Because they had become blasphemers.

In some way not revealed by the Apostle, Paul fully expected that turning these two men over to Satan was going to “teach them a lesson”, as the saying goes.

And look what he did in the process of writing this passage. He called these two out by name, making their sin and their given course of discipline on account of their sin, public. In Paul’s eyes, blasphemy (either against Christ or others) is a sufficient reason for publicly naming backsliders.

2 Timothy 1:15-18

15. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
16. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17. But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

Note the distinction. Even as God said in the beginning chapters of Genesis, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door” (Genesis 4:7).

Onesiphorus did well in maintaining a righteous fellowship with Paul, who was, at this point in his life, a prisoner in Rome. But compare that to Pygellus and Hermogenes.

While we know nothing else of these two, sadly, we know enough. They, along with many others in Asia Minor, abandoned Paul. We don’t know the reasons why, but we ought to ask ourselves: why would two true men of faith forsake an Apostle of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?

(A side note: “turned away from” is one Greek word, namely apostrepho. It means to turn away from, to tempt to defect, to dissipate allegiances, to desert. The use of this word strongly suggests that these two men didn’t depart from Paul on amicable terms. They cancelled their brotherhood with Paul, literally turning their backs on him.)

2 Timothy 2:16-18

16. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18. Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Is it the same Hymenaeus? We can’t be sure, but we also have no reason to assume it’s not the same man. And what if it is? This is the second letter Paul wrote to Timothy, and it’s also the second time Hymenaeus has been publicly indentified. This also means this time around, this naming of names has occurred after Paul turned Hymenaeus over to Satan as a blasphemer.

So now look at him. Blaspheming wasn’t enough. Being turned over to Satan for some form of spiritual punishment wasn’t enough. Now he’s gone in with someone named Philetus, and they’ve both become false teachers. Not only did Hymenaeus backslide from the faith through unrepentant sin, he stayed on pretending to be a Christian, a teacher of the Word of God no less, but in his deception, he began to ruin the trust other believers in the Christian community had in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the hope of resurrection from the dead His appearance would usher into the world .

Clearly, we see why Paul made the effort to publicly identify these men: they were backslidden, false teaching, trouble-makers seeking to destroy the temple of the Holy Spirit of God.

2 Timothy 4:10

10. For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…

Here, Paul announces a formerly faithful man of God as a backslider (See Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24 for proof that Demas used to be a Christian minister and laborer for the Gospel).

Note, too, the strong language Paul uses, chiefly “forsaken” and “loved”. Forsaken is the Greek word egkataleipo. It is a severe word. It means “to abandon, desert, leave in straits, leave helpless, totally abandon, utterly forsake” and etc. In contrast, the same word is used in Hebrews 10:25, as in not “forsaking” the assembling of ourselves together, and also in Hebrews 13:5, which promises us the Lord will never “forsake” us.

Demas, because he loved (i.e. agapao, meaning to love dearly, to be well-pleased or content with) the present world, even in the face of 1 John 2:15-16, left Paul high and dry.

1 John 2:15-16,

15. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Demas ditched Paul the Prisoner in Rome, right before his martyrdom. He loved the world more than he loved a soon to be beheaded-for-the-Gospel brother in the Lord. The love of the Father was no longer in Demas.

He backslid, and he was publicly identified, with his sin publicly announced in the Scriptures.

3 John 1:9-12

9. I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
10. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
12. Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.

Again, notice the contrast:

One man, an obvious trouble-maker and antichrist (he who receives the Apostles receives Christ, right? So what about someone who rejects the Apostles?), frequently and falsely accused New Jerusalem’s foundation (See Revelation 21:14) of whatever hurtful nonsense he could invent (“prating against” means to utter non-sensical, baseless claims, while “malicious words” means statements intended to inflict pain or be hurtful), and not only, but also rejected brothers sent to him by the Apostle, even to the point of ex-communicating those in his assembly who dared to receive and fellowship with Apostle-approved brothers in the Lord.

Now note what John said: He wasn’t about to forget Diotrephes’ evil deeds any time soon. What does this mean? Well, note how John, after publicly denouncing Diotrephes to the church, commended and showed approval for a man named Demetrius. We cannot know for sure, but it looks like the man “who love[d] to have the preeminence” was disposed by the Apostle and another, like Matthias with Judas, was set up to take his place.

Conclusion:

We have just read five different Biblical accounts, written by two different Apostles, in which seven different men, all formerly Christian disciples of Jesus, with some at least having been ministers, were publicly identified as backsliders and trouble-makers to the church at large.

The Holy Spirit inspired that these names would forever be settled in heaven. Whether these men ever repented or not, we do not know. But in the pages of the Bible, we can only come to one conclusion: these men were fallen, not just lost sinners, but backsliders who forsook the Lord, forsook His Apostles, forsook the Word, and in the process, caused much personal and corporate damage to the Church.

We see therefore a sound precedence in which we, in our day and age, have a right and a duty to do the same as Paul and John. We must make the church aware of any and all backslidden, fallen, false teaching, trouble-making, soul-harming, Christ forsaking former brethren who no longer are saved.

We are not talking about someone walking away from the faith for mere carnal reasons. Many give up on Jesus. But some not only give up on Him, they actively pursue a course of action that detrimentally affects those who have remained faithful.

If someone wants to jump ship, but isn’t causing anyone in the church any problems, they need not be publicly identified. But those injurious persons who, having left the faith, intend to continue to cause problems for the believers, must be named, their sins must be proclaimed, and the church in general must be commanded to keep no company with such, for the sake, not only of their own soul, but for the Church, as well who is a Holy Bride unto the Lord.

From Heresy to Heresy

•03/19/2014 • Leave a Comment

I am the LORD, I change not… (Malachi 3:6).

We all could use a little refinement.

There are certain aspects and principles of God’s Word, that no matter how hard we try, are just going to be a little bit past our ability to comprehend. As Paul wrote “now we know in part” (1 Corinthians 13:9). Much of what we can perceive and understand about God, about Christ, about our future hope, and even the entire spiritual realm, is only revealed to us through a “glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), meaning, these truths are reflected to us, as in a mirror, but the view of these truths is sometimes obscured or hard to make out.

So I while I give great latitude to an unrefined understanding of the person and nature of God (and I do so because I think Scripture permits an un-perfected understanding of Him) there does come a time when a line must be drawn in the sand. Within the window of semi-compatible views, we can be less dogmatic with each other if we all don’t completely agree on everything. But that window is pretty narrow, and when someone steps outside of that window, and embraces a completely, demonstrably false view, we can’t just ignore the heresy in our midst.

What am I talking about?

Specifically, I’m talking about the divergent views on the nature of God, especially in terms of the Incarnation. And I am doing so specifically and especially in regards to what is commonly called Oneness Theology.

Now, anyone who reads my blogs has possibly noticed that while I don’t shy away from hard topics, I rarely if ever address Theology or Christology proper. The reason I do that is because this blog, by design, is devotional in scope, not Theological or Christological. As the articles have developed in the last couple of years, I’ve come to realize through the Holy Spirit that much of what I feel inspired to write is for an End Time generation. The topics are to help my brothers and sisters face the coming Great Tribulation with confidence. I have attempted to clear away a lot of clutter and useless debate, so we can just get down to living for Jesus the way we are meant to live for Him.

But I am finding that in order to properly do that, and in order to continue serving the purpose of this blog, I need to step into some controversial waters, albeit for the same reason: to help my brothers and sisters devote themselves to their Creator and His Redeemer.

There comes a point in time when the version of God one believes in, or the version of Christ they confess, just isn’t accurate. Again, I’m not talking about having a slightly different view within an acceptable window of Biblical truth. I’m talking about people turning to, as Paul called it, “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4), even in and within Oneness circles.

This is how it happens. Any wise master builder knows that if the foundation is off, the end result will be off. But notice the orders of magnitude. A corner stone that is off mere millimeters can result in a roof that is off inches. Imagine trying to frame a house and having to compensate 8 or 9 inches when you’re thirty feet off the ground.

Such compensation is pointless, futile. The whole of the frame will have to be taken down, even as the foundation will have to be re-laid. An exhausting, time-consuming enterprise, to be sure. But how badly do you want your building? How badly do you not only want your building, but how badly do you want it to be plumb and straight, agreeing with the blue-prints? Do you want your life built solidly and squarely upon the Rock or not?

Do you want to find yourself forever having to compensate for a “roof” (read: high level of Christian maturity) that doesn’t quite line up with the Word of God?

Or are you willing to un-do whatever flaws are in, not the design (for that comes from God Himself), but in the execution of the design? Can we handle being wrong? Can we humbly admit our limitations? Can we put down the pride of life long enough to say “I’m not there yet. I need refining. Lord, put me in the fire and make me as you wish me to be.”?

Here’s what I’m getting it. It may seem simple, it may seem obvious, but the ramifications are, I daresay, eternal.

1 John 2:22,

22. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

Notice what I have highlighted in bold. For years, many Oneness believers have attempted to use this verse as ammunition against Trinitarians, hoping to show them how Jesus is the Father, even to the point of labeling Trinitarians as antichrist, as if to say, that if you deny that Jesus is the Father and the Son, you are of the Son of Perdition, the Man of Lawlessness, otherwise understood to be Satan manifest in the flesh.

But note something. Unlike some Oneness people, Trinitarians never deny the Father and the Son, conceptually speaking. We can argue and nit-pick over how they understand these concepts and all of that, but that’s been done before, ad infinitum.

So, instead, I want to focus on an unfortunate, growing trend within the Oneness movement. In an attempt to sound as anti-Trinitarian as possible, some Oneness people have gone in the complete opposite direction, all the way to the point of denying the true, complete, and continued humanity of Jesus Christ, which is His Sonship, as in the “Son of the Father” (2 John 1:3), otherwise known as the “man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

This is “another Jesus”. Look at these verses:

Hebrews 10:12,

12. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…

Notice the past tense? “This man”, talking about Jesus Christ, as we know, nearly two millennia ago, sacrificed Himself for sins and so “sat down” and etc. Most Oneness believers want to rush ahead to explain away the “right hand of God” concept. But take a moment. The Holy Spirit inspired the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews to call Jesus, in His post-resurrection, glorified, ascended-to-heaven body, a “man”, i.e. a human being.

Look at Stephen the Martyr’s testimony:

Acts 7:56,

56. And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

As he fell down to die under the barrage of killing stones, Stephen had a vision of the Heavenly Throne. Look what he saw: the Son of Man! He saw the human male being otherwise known as Jesus Christ our Lord. He saw a man!

And yet, some Oneness believers refuse to allow for the Messiah who saved us to be anything other than, in no uncertain terms, without qualification or explanation, God Himself. No humanity, no flesh, no Sonship. This is antichrist!

I am not saying this is happening by you, the Reader, or your church. Nor am I saying it’s happening in my neck of the woods, either. But it is happening out there in the Oneness movement (wherever “out there” happens to be).

Case in the point:

I recently interacted with a person on an Apostolic Pentecostal forum. He posted a video of the Pope speaking on the nature of Christ. I commented that all that was said of Christ in the video is Biblically accurate. After some incredulity on the part of the original poster, I confirmed that I was serious, and posted SEVEN verses proving my point.

These were all summarily ignored, with the following comments (and I quote):

“Jesus Christ is no longer a man, like you and I.”

“Jesus Christ is GOD, not a man.”

I haven’t replied, and I’m not going to. But take a moment and meditate on what is being said. This person doesn’t believe that Jesus Christ is still a human being, AGAINST the testimony of Scripture. This person, by default, has to believe that if Christ was ever human, His humanity no longer exists. It has dissolved or disappeared, AGAINST the testimony of Scripture.

The fact is, the Son of Man is still alive, still existing, still in Heaven, still coming back in the clouds with power and great glory, presently still, and eternally so, a human male being named Jesus Christ. Or Stephen was a liar and bore false witness against the very One he was calling upon as he died.

Oneness believers have run the gamut from one heresy to another. Fleeing Trinitarianism, they’ve run smack dab, face first into the spirit of antichrist, which denies the Father and the Son.

The above quotes are a mere sampling of what’s really out there in our movement. Take another look at the second quote.

“Jesus Christ is GOD, not a man.”

Compare that to these verses:

Numbers 23:19,

19. God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent…

“Jesus Christ is GOD, not a man” versus “God is not a man”. Which one will you believe?

1 Samuel 15:29,

29. …the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

Whose right? The Word of God or the fellow I’ve been quoting?

Job 9:32,

32. For he is not a man, as I am…

Jesus Christ is…not a man, says the Oneness believer. Here, Job says God is not a man, while Scripture says over and over again in the New Testament, that Jesus Christ IS a man. Some 150+ times, actually.

And most telling of all: Hosea 11:9,

9. …for I am God, and not man…

God Himself, speaking in first person, through the prophet Hosea. We can’t have it both ways, Church. My God doesn’t change. Does yours?

Look, I’m not into “discernment ministry” and/or heretic hunting. But there is going to come a point in time in the Oneness movement when we will either have to break the bed we’ve made, or sleep in the one we’ve got. If we don’t get our Christology sorted out properly, some of us, like the above, are going to, BY THE VERY WORD OF THE LORD AND HIS HOLY APOSTLES, end up as nothing more than antichrist. There is a better way, a truer understanding of God and His Son than we, as Oneness adherents, have heretofore been led to believe (I encourage you to prayerfully meditate and consider John 20:17 if you don’t believe me).

2 John 1:7,

7. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

If we cannot or will not confess the true, complete, and continued humanity of the Son of Man, we are but deceivers and antichrists.

I don’t know about everyone else in the world, but I don’t want to be known to my Creator and His Redeemer as a deceiver and an antichrist.

How about you?

Jesus Our Brother and A Happy Marriage

•03/11/2014 • 2 Comments

votivesoul:

An exceptional insight into Jesus Christ, His Church, and marriage. I highly recommend it to all.

Originally posted on The Home Mission:

Jesus is our brother (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11).

Why is that important?

Well, there are a lot of reasons, but my point will be limited to the scope of this blog.

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Christians, of every denomination that I’m aware of, have a tendency to ignore the humanity of Jesus. We seem to think His sufferings, His temptations, His endurance of hardship and His life in our world were little more than an example laid down for our benefit. We assume that it was not a real struggle of a real man but that it was just a matter of course. Jesus wasn’t human the same way we are, after all.

If that is so, then Jesus was an…

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Theo-sophical Ruminations

A collage of theological and philosophical musings

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