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Posts Tagged ‘Angels’

It’s Christmas Eve 2014 and as the years have rolled by since the birth of the Baby who was to become the Saviour of the world, it seems more and more people no longer believe it ever happened, let alone understand the actual meaning of it all.

But the fact is that the Christmas Story is really the Gospel Story and the two are intertwined because the unique purpose of Jesus, God’s Son, coming here to be born as a baby, was to DIE – specifically because the human race is bound by the curse of sin and death.

The message from the Angel of the Lord to the shepherds was an announcement of good tidings and peace on earth because the special Baby was born. That peace on earth was not to be a patched- up truce between conflicting sides in our  war-torn world though. It was an offering of peace and reconciliation from God Himself to to His sinful and rebellious creation. We all die because every one of us is born in the condemnation of God’s judgement on sin.

Christmas time reminds us what it cost God, in His mercy, to send His Son into this world as a man, to ‘taste death for every man’, to release us from the power of sin and death by His own death and resurrection.

Because Jesus lives – we will too if we believe Him. He requires a response from each individual to His offer. In John 3:16-18 we read :

For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it , but to save the world through Him. He who believes on Him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is already condemned because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God.

In John3:36 we read:

He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: he who doesn’t believe the Son will not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.

He is more willing to give than we are to receive, but may the light of the glorious gospel of Christ shine in your heart this Christmas.  Many blessings,   Eileene

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Before getting into specifics about William Branham I will give a bit of general background to my own experience.

It seems to me that one of the easiest ways for a Christian to be led away from Bible truth is when their admiration for or interest in a particular preacher, ministry or place becomes their main focus.  Add to that the erroneous belief that a true Christian cannot be deceived and you have the potential for a shipwreck ahead – hopefully not permanent!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that when my husband and I were very young in the faith, we joined the local Elim church and were taken under the wing of a very nice man, David, who came regularly to our home to teach us from the Bible.

We were enthralled as he related stories to show us that God  was still doing miraculous things , just as He did in the early church, in the ministries of the great healing Evangelists around at that time [late 60s -70s]. He explained that God was restoring the five-fold ministries [Eph 4:11] to the church and fulfilling Joel’s prophecy as on the Day of Pentecost in Acts.

We were not sufficiently knowledgeable in the scriptures ourselves at the time to question, nor did we see the need to challenge anything we were being taught. He was a lovely Christian man, we got on well with him and he knew his Bible inside out [it seemed to us] –  so what could possibly be wrong? It was years later that we learned these were the heretical teachings of the Latter Rain movement. He also was a member of the Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship who also believe the same.

Well –  the Pastor of our church did not approve and forbade David to meet with us anymore. There was no explanation why , so the inevitable happened and we eventually departed the Elim church and became a small house fellowship. We later met in a small building as our numbers grew.

Then – I think through David – we began to have connections with a church community in Chard, Somerset,  which everyone got very excited about because of the wonderful things that were happening there.

A preacher came from Chard specifically to teach and encourage us all in the gifts of the Spirit. But something he said set the alarm bells ringing. His words were: ” If the [first] voice you hear isn’t the Holy Spirit – then who are you being led by?”  This seemed very unwise counsel to my husband and I – especially as no mention was made of the need for conformity to the scriptures.

Needless to say, things began to happen in the meetings , including being ‘slain’ in the Spirit, as discernment and caution flew out the window in this newfound confidence and freedom.

When we tried to voice our concerns we were faced with anger and the general caution was not to ‘quench the Spirit’ because this was all part of God’s end time outpouring and restoration of signs and wonders to His church.

During our association with David the name of William Branham cropped up regularly. He was much admired and held in almost reverential awe by his followers. We were impressed by the ministry God had given him. We were completely ignorant about him and listened in wonder to the accounts of miraculous healings by this great ‘man of God’.

I am always willing to be objective about people and not to simply accept what may be personal prejudices about anyone , so to that end I read accounts both for and against. I am amazed now at the true picture that emerges from some of those who were close to him and  that William Branham was so accepted [and still is] in pentecostal/charismatic circles without question. There are some enlightening and very interesting videos and articles on line and I’ll put links at the end of this post.

One of the first things I came across was a video by Ed Byskal[?] . It’s titled ‘I Am A Witness’ and begins with a quote from Luke’s opening words to his gospel account. So – you would think it’s a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ wouldn’t you? But NO – it’s his witness to William Branham!

A young looking Ed B. explains that he wants to share his personal experiences so that “you may know with certainty the things of which I am a witness” Luke 1:4   So, the whole video is a defence of and excuses for WB’s many false prophecies and heretical teachings. It seems WB was a humble servant of God with faults and failings, but so exalted and blessed by God with the miraculous, that it made any false teachings and prophecies of no account!  EB , tragically seems to have made it his life’s calling to defend WB – unless of course the selective videos are giving me an unfair picture.

WB had psychic phenomena happening at his birth and throughout his childhood. These included voices, visions and angel visitations, which always frightened him .  This is not surprising when you read that his extremely young parents were not Christians and believed in  fortune telling.

If WB’s followers were/are aware of all this – it doesn’t seem to phase or bother them because they place God’s ‘anointing ‘ above His word. I came across this quote from the FGBMF  ‘Voice’ mag 1961. ‘In Bible days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the sacred records, none of these had a greater ministry than that of William Branham.

I will end with a concerned appeal to those who think that Christians cannot be deceived – you are in a danger zone if your focus and admiration is on a particular person, ministry or ‘revival’ location  – however spectacular the signs and wonders and however humble and sincere they may be.  Your focus must always be on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle’s teachings as they are revealed in the Bible.  ‘Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ Psalm 119:105

And don’t let yourself be put off, if, when you think something is wrong and unscriptural, you are told not to ‘judge’, not to ‘touch God’s anointed’, ‘not everything God does is in the Bible’, ‘you have a critical spirit’, or that Bible believers ‘worship’ the Bible or are legalistic.

These are just fear tactics [probably because they are in fear themselves] to keep you quiet and in bondage to their authority.  Don’t be afraid to follow up your doubts and be a good Bible searching Berean.  Read everything in context and get an overall view of what verses are actually saying and don’t let others do your thinking for you. 2 Tim 2:15 and 2 Tim 3:16,17  seem appropriate here.

NB:

For articles on William Branham I would recommend http://www.Letusreason.org.  If you go to the left side bar on their home page you will be able to scroll down to Latter Rain and click to see them.

A You Tube search will find Ed Byskal’s video titled I Am a Witness. There are several other interesting and informative videos there too.

Another ministry that concerns me is The Healing Rooms  and John G Lake.  Let Us Reason has some excellent articles on him too.

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Some Christians seem to think that walking in the Spirit means to excercise the gifts or be led in their daily walk with God via supernatural means, or to read their Bible a lot or be much in prayer. But to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh, according to the Apostle Paul [Gal 5:16-25]  is to show forth love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,  and temperance.  If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfil the desires of the flesh. If we are led by the Spirit, we are not under law.

How often have we had really strong feelings about something that has turned out to be wrong?  The[ fallen] human mind is a strange and powerful thing and can certainly lead us astray and the Bible has a lot to say about the vain imaginations of the heart.

I wouldn’t pretend to understand or know how and when God moves by His Spirit [see John 3:8] but all too often Christians claim that God is guiding them in specific ways and directing them. I’ve always been extremely wary of those who say – ‘the Lord told me this or that’ because very often they are mistaking their own very strong feelings or impressions for the voice of the Holy Spirit, thinking that because they are a child of God it must be His voice.  When events prove them wrong they are very reluctant to admit they were wrong and will provide other explanations.

When the Lord has clearly shown us something in His word – is it then right to spend much time in ‘seeking His will’ for us ? Are we putting our feelings before everything else? For instance – if we see from scripture that our church is digressing from the path of truth – we obviously should defend the faith. If it’s set on its path then we must ‘come out of her’  – if only for our own spiritual welfare, let alone the Bible tells us to.  It is our fleshly feelings that don’t want to rock the boat or think how much we will miss our friends [or even family] and their fellowship, or even the wonderful music, plus the relative safety of staying.  Our feelings may tell us that the ‘time is not right’ and we hope and pray the church will change …. but eventually it dawns on us that it won’t.

It becomes more serious however when Christians experience visions, dreams, near death experiences or angel visitations and bring little or no scriptural discernment to bear.  Indeed, ‘ discernment’ becomes simply a matter of their own feelings again – it feels right  so it must be right – irrespective of what the Bible says.

From whence come false teachings? Well – from these very ‘supernatural’ sources. All Cults stem from them and unfortunately more and more genuine Bible- believing churches are following mystical experiences and ‘signs and wonders’ – believing them to be from God.

For the Born again Christian, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a straightforward reading of the Bible and a genuine love for the truth will keep you on the straight and narrow. But as sure as eggs is eggs, if you have a separate source of teaching or revelation eg angelic, or prophecy [your own or someone else’s] telling you God is doing a new thing or ‘revival’ is on the way,  then the warning bells should be ringing loud and clear – no matter how trusted, famous, admired or important the ‘channel’ might be.

It is the job of seducing spirits to lure believers away from the Word of God and what better or more effective way than through a paranormal experience?  In our day, whole denominations are falling under their influence as Leaders and followers trust their feelings and experiences over and above God’s Word.

Almost every church website I’ve had occasion to look up, display the same ‘visionary’ message and use the same buzz words/slogans/ religious ‘in words’ and usually present the same evangelistic theme.  All this ‘unity’ would be excellent if it were centered on the true Gospel, but sadly it is encased in the social gospel of Dominionism.

Even those churches who may not have embraced false teachings completely, still show their  influence by the language and methods they use for church growth and evangelism  – probably without even being aware they are. It’s become a mixture of a little bit of Dominionism, a little bit of Latter rain, a little bit of Kingdom Now, a little bit of Word of Faith, a little bit of Shepherding, a little bit of  New Apostolic Restoration, with a little bit of Mysticism and Emerging thrown in. The list of ingredients in this mix is endless!

Oh dear –  this all sounds very gloom and doom I know – but it is undeniably happening and is an important sign of living in the Last days.  The Apostle Paul couples it with the rise of the Antichrist in 2 Thess 2:1-12  BUT – he goes on to say verses 13-17:

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning  chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.  Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught , whether by word or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and stablish you in every word and work.

What a wonderful God and Saviour we have …. His word is so precious !

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I have forced myself , against my natural inclinations, to take a look at the Book of Enoch.   Why? Because it keeps cropping up lately and Christian friends and well known Bible teachers such as Chuck Missler, although saying it is not an inspired book, nonetheless treat it as if it were.  And why do they do that ? Because they believe Jesus,Peter and Jude quoted from it – thereby legitimising it. It sometimes sounds to me as if they even regret that the book isn’t included in our Bible.

So, being completely ignorant of the subject , I turned to the Lord and the  internet for help [tongue in cheek].  It also saved me from having to buy this ‘orrible book.

There seems to be a huge debate about when it was written [ I discovered there are 3 books] Supporters of the book believe it is really ancient while non-supporters say, although old, it quotes and elaborates so much on the scriptures it’s probably copying from the Bible [OT] rather than the other way round. I tend to go with the second view on the basis of its rejection by both the Jews and the early church. I understand it was popular among the masses though. For a full break down of the reasonings of both sides , you may like to do a Google search  … it’s full of surprises.

It is not even in the Apocrypha. It is listed as a pseudoepigraphal book  i.e. it has a false author or has been written under a pen name. Most non-supporters believe it was not written by the historic Enoch of the Old Testament. The Book of Enoch is therefore a product of man and not the Holy Spirit  –  how could it be otherwise when it contains so many obvious errors and describes things not revealed [ and forbidden to us] in the Bible?

You can find the actual text of the book  on line to check it out for yourself.  Although I’ve only read bits and pieces of it, it was enough to make me feel ill, it is so diabolical. If ever Satan had his own scriptures – this is it. The fallen angels have centre stage, they are afforded the dignity of being named and a great show is made of their sins – having the notoriety of producing a hybrid human race – Nephilim – and get this – THEY are defiled by human women !

I find it incredible that any Christian would give this occult book the time of day – but it seems they are doing so – led and encouraged by Chuck Missler and the like.

In light of the book’s peculiar teachings about angelic activity [plus Enoch’s astral travels] much seems to ride on the interpretation of the title ‘sons of God’ in the Bible  –  particularly Gen 6:1-4.  The Book of Enoch says they are angels and supporters tie that in with the same term used in Job 1:6 & 2:1.   It is generally accepted that ‘sons of God’ in Job are indeed angels as is obvious, but they are not ‘fallen’ angels else they would not be called ‘sons’ and they are assembled in heaven, presenting themselves before the Lord.  Then Satan appears and it looks to me as though he has insinuated his way into their company because the Lord asks him where he’s come from.

In Gen 6:1-4 however, these sons of God are not identified [ nor are they indentifiable ] as angels. Their behaviour is sinful , so if they were angels at all – they would be of the ‘fallen’ variety and would hardly merit the title’ sons of God’.  The other compelling evidence for them not being angels is Jesus’ own words in Matt 22:30  that the angels do not marry  – borne out by 1 Cor 15:38-40.   spirit angels can no more cross breed with physical women than birds can mate with leopards. Each to His own.

I would point out here that ‘sons of God’ in the new testament is a term used  for redeemed man and not angels. Significant is Romans 8:14 ‘ For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.’

I am in agreement with those who say that  the sons of God in Gen 6 mean those godly men who began to marry ungodly women -ie believers marrying unbelievers , with the inevitable results. This seems to be the most obvious,sensible understanding of the matter to me.

The result of all the reliance on the Book of Enoch’s fallen angel scenario is that Christians are being given the green light to accept teachings that are not in the Bible. Their trump card is that Jesus, Peter and Jude quoted from it – supposedly- but if you look into it – they do no such thing!  Just because certain words or phrases may appear similar does not make it a quote from a Book of Enoch.  There are many repeated words/phrases from all over the scriptures. No reference is ever made to a Book directly as far as I know…..   Enoch is only ever mentioned as a historic person.  Also even if it were a quote from a book  – that would no more authenticate it as legitimate scripture than if I were to quote from the NWT to a Jehovah’s Witness or the Book of Mormon to a ‘Latter day Saint’.

Jude 14,15  refers to a prophecy by Enoch [not a Book] . How did Jude know of it?  I believe either from Jesus personally  or later by revelation of the Holy Spirit.   And yes –  I would rather believe that than give credence to a book that is full of fantasy.

Referring back to Chuck Missler et al’s teaching on the fallen angels – it seems their production of Nephilim/giants on the earth becomes the reason God had to send the flood and not man’s sinfulness. I found this quote from ‘Alien Encounters’ by Chuck Missler[with Mark Eastman] in one of the articles I read : ‘ Most people, including serious students of the Bible, are unaware of the peculiar circumstances that led to the Flood of Noah. This has been widely misunderstood[and mistaught] for centuries …. this term [perfect – used in Gen6:9 to describe Noah] is used of physical blemishes, suggesting that Noah’s genealogy was not tarnished by this intrusion of the fallen angels ….          and a quote in the same article from L A Marzulli [Christian Author] :  ‘ They[ fallen angels] crossbred with humanity, resulting in the hybrid known as the Nephilim. This was the reason for the Flood ….

And because Jesus said the Last Days would be like the days of Noah, they take that to mean the human race will be [and are being] corrupted in the same way by the same fallen angel activity. This means we won’t  know who is a real human being,  capable of being born again and who is not actually redeemable. Dangerous stuff isn’t it?

Well  – as in any instance where I’m faced with ‘new’ teachings – I ask myself – is this what Jesus and the Apostles taught? To use the Book of Enoch as a kind of authority on angelic activity is to swim in very muddy waters indeed.

What finally makes me so suspicious of this book, apart from its occult nature, is that it so clearly elaborates on and puts the case for a particular ‘interpretation’ of Gen 6. It also, I’m told, takes a pre-trib stance, which seems to up its prestige among those like-minded in the matter.

I hope you can all appreciate the irony that the very Jude who is used most strongly to authenticate the Book of Enoch is the very one who urges us to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints [us] Jude 1:3

Well – as usual I am very conscious of my many limitations as a Bible student and I know that I can be sincerely wrong. However, since the Holy Spirit has promised to lead us into all truth, I leave it all in His hands.  I hope that I didn’t lose you half-way through tedium, in what may have been a bit of a ramble.

Please click on the ‘Comments’ to have a say or put me right on anything I’ve written in ignorance and I apologise for not specifically identifying article sources that I’ve used.

God bless you,     Eileen

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