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Posts Tagged ‘End Times’

 

I feel I must apologise for the delay in writing a follow-up post as promised [God’s reconciliation]. My only excuse is that age-related ailments again are unpredictable and sap one’s energy – so things tend to take a bit more effort ….. plus, I’m not as efficient as I used to be!

I find that the false teachings in the Church do not affect me in such a ‘personal experience’ way since not being involved in a local Church – that lack of involvement not being out of design or desire on my part I assure you. So I do not have specific things to write about.

My connection therefore with all things spiritual comes through Christian friends,  on line Ministries and of course, my own personal walk with the Lord, prayer and Bible study.

I have found many really good ministries, sermons, articles and videos that are faithful in preaching the Gospel and nurturing believers in the Faith ‘once delivered’ and they are also not afraid to speak out against all the ghastly practises and teachings that are rampant in these Last Days.

I’m convinced though, that the Gospel and the true remnant of believers will, by God’s grace and certainly by His will, grow stronger as tougher  times go on. God is faithful to His word and as we rely on Him more and more- so accordingly He will never leave nor forsake us. Indeed – His strength is made perfect in our weakness. 2 Cor 12:9

Since my husband died suddenly nine years ago, I have lived alone and been fairly restricted by my circumstances. It’s been lonely and difficult at times and if the Lord had ever failed me, I would be in dire straits I can tell you! My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever’ Psalm 73:26

So – to return to the purpose of this Blog – my writing has been very intermittent for some time now and I had thought with what few posts I write, maybe I should focus on the unsaved – however – my audience likely are people who already know the Lord. So I’ve decided [I’m loathe to claim guidance from the Lord!] that I’ll take a slightly different tack.

When I read my Bible, I tend to write notes about things that occur to me and I try not to bring any of my own pre-conceived ideas to a passage. What I read can often make me question things I’ve been taught in the past and  it sets me off on a little scripture reccy. So my idea is that I will sometimes pass these thoughts on here. Whether this would be of help or of interest to anyone else remains to be seen!

My other bright idea is that I will now be  re-blogging  other peoples’ posts – having only just realised I can do this on WordPress at the touch of a button …  neat eh?  This will I hope introduce fellow believers to Ministries of mutual interest. These Ministries tend to have their finger on the pulse of what is currently happening in the Church/false church scene, as well as Bible prophecy fulfillment and Israel. I’m doing this because they write things so much better than I can and are much more qualified to do so. They seem to say exactly what’s on my heart too ….

May the Lord bless and keep you,   Eileen

PS: No promises from now on about the frequency of my Posts !!

 

 

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A very Happy New Year to everyone !

Sad to say – it won’t be for this world, but for we who believe, the Lord tells us to ‘fear not’ as we look to Him. Psalm 27 is good to read when going through trials and tribulations. v14: Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

The ending of an old year and the leading into a new inevitably brings a mood of looking back and looking forward and WordPress is no exception. They kindly supply me with my statistics for the past year, and I must admit I was somewhat surprised, not to say disappointed with myself to see I’ve only managed to post three times !

However – because my advancing age seems to be bringing a change in my ability to write as often as I would like, plus the lack of stamina to do the necessary research, I feel maybe it’s time to hang up my pen and call it a day …..

I have been toying with the idea of changing direction and maybe just writing comments on current events in the world’s politics/news, but I would have been without proper direction. After all – I started writing this blog because I was so concerned about false teaching within the Church and the tolerance of it by those who should know better. But now I believe many more Christians are concerning themselves with these matters and are studying the Word of God for themselves instead of simply relying on their favourite preachers, not because of my own writing of course, but because  many Ministries and individuals are doing an excellent job in pointing Christians to the Word of God and away from false prophets and their deceit, and are not afraid to name names and call things what they truly are.

I think more Christians too, because of their study of the Bible, are seeing the falseness of the Pre-trib Rapture doctrine, with its emphasis of escaping what is to come upon this earth. We need to be prepared for persecution and we can only do that by knowing the Truth and being filled with the Spirit of God and Comfort.

When Jesus walked upon the Earth, the limitations of His physical body meant He couldn’t be with all of His followers all of the time and in all places. He told them that He had to return  to Heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come and do that very thing – for them and all those believers who come after, throughout history ! He said the Holy Spirit would be with them and in them. see John 14:16-18 and  John 16:7   These two chapters give us a lovely picture of how the Godhead [Trinity] works in co-operation and purpose. It is our privilege and joy that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit make themselves known to us through the Ministry of the indwelling Spirit, revealed to us by His Word.  Jesus is the Living Word, the Logos. The Names of the Holy Spirit are so appropriate to our needs as weak and fallible human beings.

Oh how we are going to need the strength, guidance and  comfort of the Holy Spirit in these times, whether it be within the bigger picture, or in our own personal struggles in life. Our Father in Heaven knows our needs and sees every sparrow that falls. Jesus is faithful and true and will never leave us nor forsake us.  Maranatha !!

 

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Well, I believe that it is when you consider it gives a second chance to be saved after the ‘Rapture’ of the church. I will elaborate further:

I subscribe to and receive ‘Prophecy Updates’ from Pastor JD Farag because he supports Israel and I’ve found him to be a very likeable, sincere and engaging speaker. However – the one thing that mars his video presentations [ you can find them on You tube] for me, is his continual references to the soon-to-come ‘Rapture’. No matter how bad things get in this world – the Church will be ok …not because she is trusting in her Lord to get her through, but because she will “soon be out of here”!

In his last two updates he is, it seems to me, getting more foolish and extreme [I don’t mean that in a disrespectful or rude way I assure you] , even though he advocates caution and searching the scriptures for ourselves like good Bereans should.

The reason I think this, is because JD begins with an endorsement of a book called ‘Surviving the Tribulation’ and also mentions an available ‘Rapture Box’ – a box or package containing resources and information, including the Book, that is intended for those who find themselves left behind. Apparently the main message to them is ” Don’t listen to the strong delusion”.

I can’t help asking myself two questions: 1. Who is being deluded? and 2. Does this fall into the category of another gospel?Quotes:

“The Bride of Christ has been raptured by the Bridegroom and that’s why we left here” and ” We are told multitudes will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ [in the Tribulation]”

“It will be very difficult and many will be martyred/beheaded for their faith in Jesus Christ. They will be saved, but they won’t be the Bride. Only the Bride will be taken up. We call them ‘tribulation saints’ ”

“We want to get this book [Surviving the Tribulation] into people’s hands before the tribulation, it will scare people” [ NB -Is someone making a lot of money out of this book ? and how many Christians will end up using their survival boxes themselves I wonder?

The big question is – how is it possible to be saved and not be part of the body of Christ? And how can the Gospel be preached if those who are its commissioned custodians are not here to preach it? This is like the two-tiered salvation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses! One group is more holy and worthy than the other – and notice it is their vast multitudes too who are the less worthy and undeserving and not part of the Bride of Christ. If that isn’t a works- based gospel, I don’t know what is!

Part 2

In his most recent update, Pastor JD begins by saying that people from all over have been urging him to read books by Jonathan Khan and Mark Biltz. – he concentrates specifically on the ‘Blood Moons’ teachings of the latter. He says there is great excitement about things set to happen in September this year.[NB I seem to recall Sept 2012 being the last ‘exciting’ predictions for the ‘Rapture’]  JD even admits to being disappointed when the Lord didn’t return at specific times he’d expected Him to and how devastating that was…. so – WHY is he falling for it again I wonder?

He goes on to say how fascinating it is that the Solar and Lunar eclipses happen on the Jewish Feast Days. He and other pre-tribulation preachers link these ‘blood moons’ to Luke21:25-29.  But these things are set to happen after the great tribulation and distress and just prior to the Lord’s return in judgement for the world, but redemption for believers.

It seems everyone is also very excited about the predictions made by Isaac Newton in his book on Daniel and Revelation. and JD says it is compelling and exciting, but he cautions that we must live as though the ‘Rapture’ can happen at any time and to be ready and occupy until the Lord comes, but he advises that Christians get their affairs in order.

You see, this is the kind of thinking that happens if you believe in a pre-tribulation,any time ‘Rapture’. But the Apostle Paul specifically says in 2 Thess 2:1-3 that we are not to be troubled or deceived and that we will know for sure that His coming is near when we see the great apostasy or’ falling’ away from the faith happening and the man of sin is revealed.

The scriptures everywhere equate the ‘Rapture’ of the Church with the second coming of Christ. It happens simultaneously with the Day of the Lord, which is a Day that can only happen after the tribulation. Some people speculate that the Day is actually a period of time, so it could cover the tribulation. But they have to believe that, in order to try to make the false separate, imminent Rapture teaching fit with scripture.

It’s also been said that if there are specific things to happen before the ‘Rapture’ then it takes away the element of surprise because it comes as a ‘thief in the night’. But it is the Day of the Lord that comes as a Thief in the night in 1 thess 5:2  and Paul tells them in v4 that they are not in darkness and therefore won’t be ‘overtaken’ by it.

Our Gospel therefore is and must be, ‘Repent and believe now – now is the day of salvation’ – not a foolish attempt to save people afterwards with a survival box and explanation that they can still be saved if they don’t take the ‘Mark’

The Day of the Lord/ Day of Christ/ Coming of the Lord/ Appearing of the Lord/ our gathering unto Him – all refer to the same event/Day and show the judgement of the nations/unbelievers and the redemption/salvation/resurrection/rapture of those who belong to Christ in that same time frame. You can’t fail to notice this if you read without the notion of a separate, prior ‘Rapture’ in your head.  You don’t have to make an elaborate attempt at a huge Bible study on the subject, if like me, you are just an ordinary believer with no particular theological training at Bible college. But what you do have is a love for God’s word and truth nonetheless. All you have to do is take note in your daily Bible reading of any references to the end times and the Lord’s return and see what it says. That way – you will get an overall understanding of what is to happen and when, instead of taking it for granted that what you have been taught on the subject must be true. Discern right from wrong and make a stand for truth.  God is faithful to His word.

May the Lord bless and keep you,   Eileen



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The title of this post is a play on the word change of course, as every Bible believing Christian agrees [I hope] that when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to this earth, we will all be changed [living and dead believers] and have new bodies.  We see a description of what will happen in 1 Cor 15:51-53 and 1 Thess 4:13-17,  so the fact is established. The thing that divides however, is the timing of this event – whether it will happen before or after the prophesied great tribulation that is to come upon the earth.  Referred to for convenience as pre-trib or post-trib.

The change in our bodies and our gathering together has come to be known as ‘The Rapture’ – a word not found in scripture, but like the word Trinity it is simply a convenient descriptive word for a Bible truth.

I am writing here more as a personal testimony to my change of view from pre-trib to post-trib belief, and I am not alone as I have discovered.  It is not an in-depth study of the subject by any means, as others far more knowledgeable in the scriptures than I, have covered it so well and comprehensively. In particular there is an excellent free e-book by Steven Straub that can be downloaded at http://www.theposttribulationrapture.com

As a new Christian 50 years ago, I was taught the pre-trib rapture view, accepted it as fact and never took seriously any other viewpoint – it seemed so right, so why would I? Pre-trib theorists [for that is what it really is] are so convincing in presenting their case that it has become THE most predominant view among Christians. However, for me , there were always little things that made me wonder because they didn’t seem to fit the scenario, but I suppose I just shelved them.

The trigger that forced me into re-examining what I believed and what the Bible actually teaches on ‘the day of the Lord’ and the rapture, happened roughly three years ago when I attended a presentation given by a young woman at my then church.  She was very much caught up in the misplaced excitement surrounding  Elenin and blood moons at that time [too distracting for me to go into here]. She thought it her duty to warn us that these planetary happenings and related earthly disasters of one sort and another, were signs and indicators that the Rapture could happen at any time soon and come upon us like a thief in the night, so everyone better be ready, with oil in their lamps etc to avoid being left behind. I’m sure you’ve all heard sermons saying exactly the same thing [maybe not the Elenin bit].

What exactly constitutes being ‘ready’ is never quite quantified, so how can we ever be really certain of our ‘readiness’ in order to qualify?  Well, of course, we qualify by being a Christian believer, with our righteousness’ in Him’ and not in ourselves …..  you are either born again or you aren’t  – you can’t be half-way saved!

I can imagine it was something similar that was exercising the Thessalonians when Paul wrote to reassure them that two things MUST happen before the Rapture on the day of the Lord:  a falling away [from the faith] and the revealing of the Man of Sin [Antichrist] Thess 2:1-3  and in 1 Thess 5:1-11 Paul clearly tells them that they already know the times and seasons, so they are not in darkness and fear about it, but they are the children of light and that Day will not overtake them with shocked surprise, like a thief . They are not appointed to wrath, as the wicked are, but that day is to be their day of salvation instead. So meanwhile, they should live soberly, in faith and love, comforting one another with this knowledge.

Just to go back to the ‘falling away’ spoken of in 2 Thess 2:3   – as far as I’m concerned, it has always referred to the apostasy that is to befall the church, brought about by the deception of false teachers/prophets in the last days. So I nearly fell off my chair when I heard the young lady confidently say it means a ‘departure’ or catching away of the church [ therefore happening before the appearance of Antichrist]   Wow – so we had it wrong all these years?  I don’t think so!

We see then, if we take this verse as it stands, it clearly gives us a timeline for two events: the falling away followed by the revealing of that man of Sin, both to happen before the Day of the Lord.  A short study of what will happen on the Day of the Lord/ Day of Christ shows that the rapture and gathering of the saints/church happens alongside the wrath/judgement of God . Good news for us, bad news for the wicked!

If we are unwilling to accept the implications of the plain statements of scripture, meanings have to be changed to fit what we want to believe and that is manipulation of God’s word. If Paul meant the physical removal/departure of the church I think he would have referred to it in the terms he used elsewhere.  As it is – a huge  ‘departure’ from the faith IS prophesied eg 1 Tim 4:1,2  and  2 Tim 4:3,4  so ‘falling away’ in that sense is in total harmony.

Pre-trib believers also seem to have trouble distinguishing ‘wrath’ from ‘tribulation’.  But tribulation is not  God’s wrath – in fact it is considered in scripture to be a great blessing and honour to suffer for Christ  and be counted worthy to do so.  Jas 1:2 & 5:10.11    God’s wrath is poured out on the wicked  in judgement on that Day.

In John 17:14,15  after stating that the world will hate His disciples, the lord Jesus prays, not for them to be taken out of the world [Rapture escape route] , but that God would keep them from evil – which I believe to mean with their faith intact.  Noah is often used as an illustration of the pre-trib rapture, but Noah and family were still on the earth while all the terror of God’s wrath on mankind was going on all around them.  They were safe ‘in Him’ no matter what – the exact opposite of pre-trib teaching.

When the Lord Jesus Christ comes again it will be heralded with the sound of the last trumpet and everyone will see it. God, in His mercy and  for the sake of believers ,will cut the Tribulation short by His coming, otherwise, we are told, nobody would be left.  There will have been no prior secret removal of the Church, seven or three and a half before the Tribulation, because the resurrection and rapture of believers happens at the last Trump! this is called the first resurrection. The ‘changed’ saints will then rule with Christ in His millennial Kingdom over those who are left, Jew and Gentile, after the destruction of the wicked nations that came against Israel in the battle of Armageddon see Zech 14:16   A most poignant verse is Zech 12:10  ” And I will pour upon the house of  David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem , the spirit of grace and of supplications and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn”  This of course links with Matt 24:30   

I believe the teaching of a pre-trib rescue for the Church ill – equips believers  to be able to face the trials that are to come. We have had an easy time of it in the west when it comes to suffering for our faith in Jesus Christ – but we can see the changes that are beginning to happen even now where our stand on the word of God will bring persecution as our freedoms are being eroded by laws and restrictions. I don’t doubt that the Bible will once again become a banned book for it’s uncompromising truths.  No – I do not look forward to persecution, trials and tribulations – in myself, I suspect like many others, I am just a coward.  But the good news is that we have a wonderful God and Saviour who is with us in our trials and will show Himself strong on our behalf when we trust Him and believe His word.

During my own ‘sortie’ into the subject I have come across web sites and blogs by Christians who have taken a similar path to myself and I have been pleasantly surprised to discover their thoughts and misgivings have matched my own, which has given me confidence that I’m on the right track.  Their own studies have helped me enormously in what could have been an overwhelming task in my old age!  I’m sure I haven’t covered everything that may be in question, but I hope it may be something of a stimulation to begin your own ‘as is’  Bible study. May the Lord make us lovers of His truth for His glory.  Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts – they are most welcome.  Maranatha!

 

 

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Well folks, I guess I’m going to get political in this post …. with all the biased reporting going on in the media, I felt the need to register  my support for Israel and the truth.  I’m really glad to see that the voices that are pro-Israel are getting louder in the continuing conflict . However, I’m also grieved when naive and uninformed christians condemn Israel on the say-so of  Islam.  Anti-semitism is in full flow again it seems.

The media in general and the BBC in particular have always shown their dislike of Israel. For years now Jeremy Bowen has been demonising Israel in his reporting. And apparently the BBC among others will be broadcasting an appeal by DEC  [Disasters Emergency Committee ] for Gaza today, having previously refused to do so.  Today the BBC stated ” The BBC will continue to report impartially in our coverage of the story in the Middle East”   – are they kidding?  Their idea [or deceit] of unbiased reporting is to show one-sided graphic images and distressing scenes from sometimes ‘staged’ events together with voice- overs giving statistics, comparing casualty numbers as if that all proves Israel is the aggressor and guilty party- deliberately terrorising the innocent.  In the interests of ‘balance’ and BBC non-partisanship , a token Israeli family or govt. spokesperson is tacked onto the end or beginning of the reports.  No real, serious attempt is made to understand or report accurately the true situation. it is all taken at face value, which suits Hamas just  fine.

The world is ‘up in arms’, ironically, because of the reported loss of innocent lives and the appalling suffering of women and children. But has the media been fair and honest in it’s reporting? An Israel Defense Forces[IDF] spokesman says of the casualty figures: ” the UN numbers being reported are by and large based on the Gaza Health Ministry – run by Hamas”  and ” when militants are brought to hospital, they are brought in civilian clothing, obscuring terrorist affiliations”.  There also appears to be video evidence on youtube of ‘staged’ dead body scenarios by Hamas – so who would we rather trust?  Mosab Hassan Yousef, now a Christian, said in an interview :” They don’t care about the lives of Palestinians, or of Israelis or of Americans – they don’t care about their own lives”

Before I ever became a Christian , I too used to believe what the media said about the State of Israel and it’s supposed oppression of the Palestinian people. I always wondered why Israel, themselves so terribly terrorised and persecuted ,would act in the same way towards others – they of all people should show compassion shouldn’t they?  But, like the rest of the world I never understood the absolute deception that engulfs the world and the satanic influence behind it all.  Why would a tiny democratic country like Israel command such hatred ?  Why is the world anti-Israel and not anti-terrorist? Who is the true attacker or defender here?  Has Israel not the right that every country has to defend itself against attack?

Hypocrisy is at it’s height when we make one rule for ourselves and another for Israel!  Would we expect our own govt. to take appropriate action if another country bombarded us with rocket fire or would we just sit back and let rockets fall where they will?  Did we do that when Germany attacked us?  Israel would be very foolish if she ignored the situation – it would be suicide !

Now, the US President is authorising air strikes on Iraq – but hey, that’s ok isn’t it – because ISIS could threaten US interests and Personnel in that country ….  BUT – the US wouldn’t intervene in Syria, even though the ‘red line of using chemical weapons’  had been crossed.  So – self interest is the crossing line after all then? US assets etc must be protected at all costs.

It is well documented that Islam seeks the destruction of Israel, but they also want to build an Islamic Caliphate everywhere in the world – hence Muslims entrench themselves in democratic countries that they really despise. Where they gain local political power their aim is to impose Sharia law for all. They would force all people to become Muslim if they could. And why were they allowed to block the Blackwall tunnel with their Gaza protests? And Tower Hamlets seems to be a Muslim enclave these days….

Israel is a tiny democracy in the Middle East and poses no threat to anyone – she is in a land historically given to her by Jehovah God [ see my previous Post], the God of the Bible, Jews and Christians. Islam follows the ‘god’ Allah  and the religion of Islam where love and mercy do not exist.

Our country’s collaboration with the madness of political correctness reared it’s ugly head again recently with the arrest of Paul Weston, [Liberty GB] because he publicly quoted from Winston Churchill’s book, The River War, published in 1899. It set out Churchill’s views on Islam and it’s threats to societies. How times have changed eh?  I daresay eventually quoting from the Bible will be banned , because it speaks truth and is far removed from ‘political correctness’.  But then , the Christian gospel has always been an offense to those who have no love of the truth.

I admire those who are of a high public profile who are willing to speak out in defense of Israel’s position eg Melanie Phillips and I’m so pleased to see that Rev.TV is  making a stand too – good on ’em I say!

Although I haven’t put any specific links here – an appropriate google search will find most of what I’ve stated if you want to check anything out.

Thank God we know the end of the story and evil will not triumph over Israel … primarily because God will fulfill His own purposes and bring glory to His name with the return of Christ.

May God bless and keep you in these troubled times,    Eileen

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The ‘church’ keeps changing and metamorphosing into something else – as fast as I think I’ve got a handle on what’s happening – it changes again , to go along with the latest fad. It’s scary that so many are now following church growth patterns [ all under the supposed guidance of the Holy Spirit] without even bothering to question or compare it all with the early Church pattern.

Rick Warren’s philosophy has invaded the church at large now , traditional, reformed or evangelical – it makes no difference, so that whereas at one time you could at least separate false doctrine from true, it has become almost too much to unravel ,  a mish-mash of influences that are affecting the very preaching of the Gospel itself.

I’ve known for some years about Marxism and what is called the Dialectic Process, but always associated it with politics, as I suspect most folks do. But I’m prone to search out the truth of a matter when faced with teachings/happenings that come across my path. I don’t like being in a fog [how well I remember being in those good old London, thick pea-soupers!] and the mental ones are even worse…..

So it is that I was able to learn more about the Dialectic Process [Diaprax] and it’s infiltration of the Church – hence everything has to change as the old ways are discredited and the new is in. The old sin- convicting Gospel has gone – enter the new Social Gospel. Even the faithful [to the Word], legitimate Churches seem to feel shamed into being more socially and politically active in the world, afraid maybe of being thought too ‘narrow?  The focus  is on ‘relationships’ with each other and the world – ultimately leading to another Jesus of course. 2 Cor 11:4

For a good understanding of what is going on, please take the time to visit the web site of Dean Gotcher  http://www.authorityresearch.com  He is also on You Tube, and Berit Kjos’  web site  http://www.crossroad.to/articles  for insights into the machinations of the UN.

I know there will be many Christians who will find it too burdensome to investigate for themselves, but it’s good to get into the habit of checking out things you hear or read with a little personal Bible study – especially if you have that little nagging doubt that something isn’t quite right.   It’s imperative that we become lovers of the Truth of God’s word – how else will we know if we’re being deceived?

Some will say – the Gospel is simple and following the Lord Jesus Christ and living in harmony with sincere fellow believers is all that God requires of us – he wants us to be as little children.

That is true initially – but God also requires that we mature and grow in our understanding and obedience of His word. [although 1 Cor 14:20 is said in the context of ‘tongues’ , I believe it applies to all spiritual things …]

The Lord gave Ministry gifts to the Church – Eph 4: 11-15  so that we needn’t be children who are tossed about by the false doctrines of cunning men. Sadly, today those Ministers are often failing us in that they tend not to want to be ‘negative’ and believe the Scriptural warnings are for others, not them – after all, don’t they pray to be led by the Holy Spirit ? Haven’t they done many wonderful things in His Name? mmm ….

I always try to approach my re-search with an open mind. I do not want to be prejudiced against any ministry or preacher because of what I’ve read or heard. This has been my position since the very earliest days of my Christian walk. I listened to what the JWs and Mormons had to say and read the literature they gave me, some of which sounded legitimate until I investigated further. I often discovered that the rank and file members , had the truth about their Leaders and origins hidden  from them. BUT – these enthusiastic cult members enjoyed the love and fellowship they had with each other and were convinced their respective Leaders could do no wrong, plus – all their thinking was done for them and even false prophecies didn’t appear  to bother them. {sounds a familiar pattern doesn’t it?}

Later, I came across an ad. by the Catholic Enquiry Bureau for anyone interested in finding out about their beliefs to sign up for a series of booklets – which I promptly did.  Again, my interest was in not wanting to dismiss them on hearsay.  Well, as you can imagine – it was even worse than I’d thought because the authority of the Pope and the church superseded anything the Scriptures might say, so they felt free to add all sorts of false ideas and commandments. Now I had it from the horse’s mouth.

It’s much easier and quicker these days to use the internet to look up the Horses’ Mouths web sites and You Tube videos of actual preaching. Plus of course the enormously helpful discernment ministries articles.

The huge deceptions that have arisen within  Christian churches are, I believe, the result of a lack of trust in and obedience to the Bible as the inerrant and  infallible word of God, together with a faulty view of eschatology [end time things]. I will enlarge on this in my next Post.

see you soon,   Maranatha!

 

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I don’t like to think that I am being overly critical and seeing error where there is none, but in the course of researching the obvious questionable teachings and practices in the current church scene, I come across what appear to be genuine, sincere ministries, committed to the gospel and to the Bible , and I have to re-examine myself and the scriptures to see if I’m wrong after all, because on the surface all seems well …..  they don’t appear to be following or part of any extreme groups.

These churches’ websites show they are very active in evangelism and almost all are proclaiming great blessings, over-flowing congregations, together with prophecies, visions and the like telling of revival in their midst and spreading throughout the whole world.  Undergirding all this is a huge desire for change – as one ministry puts it  – ‘to turn the tide of anti-christian pollution in our society’.     So why – instead of rejoicing with them – do I get an uneasiness that compels me to dig a bit deeper and look behind the scenes so to speak?

This uneasiness is usually triggered by noticing what a high opinion they tend to have of themselves. There is certainly no lack of ‘self-esteem’. Of course, I suppose you could say that their confidence comes from the belief that God is ‘showing up’ at their meetings and in answer to their prayers, sometimes over many years of lean results.  I can so easily find myself confounded in the face of so many testimonies of wonderful changed lives and miraculous moves of God,  which seem to be the proof that God is indeed at work. BUT – I have to return time and again to the solid ground of God’s word and it’s warnings of deception by seducing spirits.

Church growth seems to be what it’s all really about. They may disassociate themselves from the teachings of Rick Warren, but they nevertheless pick up on his ideas, consciously or unconsciously.

The mission these days seems to be less about saving individual souls, than ‘impacting’ and making a difference in your locality and christianising the world. The main aim is to show non-churched people how loving and friendly we are as God’s family and what better way than via a social gospel that will meet their emotional needs.

To that end also, we have to break down the old denominational barriers to achieve unity and co-operate in our common cause  –  no separation from the world for the truths sake allowed here!

Don’t they know the Church needs to be doctrinally sound to be in God’s will?  The Holy Spirit led the Apostles and the early Church into all truth and as we follow their New Testament example, so we will be led too. It’s just as important to follow the right practices and methods of evangelism too.

There is much targeting of young people – they are much easier to manipulate and influence – especially if music is made the attraction. Disturbingly, I came across this quote by James Ryles who had a dream in 1989 : ‘ And I remember the dream thinking to myself, wow – this is like the Beatles music was new. The Lord spoke to me and said, ” What you saw in the Beatles – the gifting and that sound that they had – was from me. It did not belong to them. It belongeth to me. it was my purpose to bring forth through music a world-wide revival that would usher in the move of my spirit in bringing men and women to Christ” [ Harvest Conference, Denver 1990]        I can see no Biblical precedent for using music in preaching the gospel , or ‘worship’ as a means of evangelising the lost, or    for entertaining anyone!

I don’t know when the title ‘Worship Leader’ crept into the church , but it has always made me cringe.  It misuses the word worship and in actuality is simply a ‘churchy’ name for a Musical Director.    I always thought that worship was something from the individual, redeemed heart to his/her Saviour and Creator. My Bible tells me that is the only true worship that God will accept.  ‘ But the hour comes and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in TRUTH: for the Father seeks  such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit and they that worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH’. John 4:23,24

        Christians are told to  ‘be filled with the Spirit; speaking to YOURSELVES in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord’. Eph:5:18

        The gospel of Christ needs no extra trappings to make it more palatable – the gospel itself is the power of God to save. ‘ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek’. Rom 1:16    Genuine gospel preaching will produce genuine conversions and teaching the truth of God’s word will produce true disciples.

           What are all these new converts taught I wonder?  Most likely that they must submit to their Leaders , attend as many church meetings as possible, find their ‘ministry’ in the Lord [ what an asset if they are a musician!] ; but will they be taught to check everything out with scripture? will they be warned to treat any ‘leadings’ with caution? will they be warned of false prophets and teachers and deception in the church? Probably not – we don’t want to be too negative do we??

          So – if todays prophetic utterances are correct and God is moving by His spirit , bringing great revival to the whole earth, in answer to  all the dedicated ‘prayer ministries’ and spiritual warfare activity – then logically, we cannot be in the Last Days – for we are told of a great falling away of the church before the Lord’s return.  And yet – the world is certainly fitting the pattern of ‘as in the days of Noah’ and it is getting increasingly difficult to live as a Christian in our sin-sick world.

           I have known great anxieties and fears in my life and some very stressful situations over the years that have almost overwhelmed me  – but it has always been the word of God that I’ve turned to and it has kept and sustained me.  Christians have been taught to run to other Christians for help, but they are not always the answer and some will let you down. Don’t live your Christian life off the faith of somebody else  – be strong in the Lord. It is the Lord and His word that we need. It is only through the scriptures that we know His will, how to follow Him, how to keep from deception and how to pray.

        I have been fortunate in having to deal with cults and aberrant Christian teachings from the beginning of my Christian walk, so I have been aware, by God’s grace ,when things haven’t been right scripturally. And now that the church at large is falling away , in spite of my own temporary doubts and sometimes confusion  – I have to be true to my own convictions and my prayer to the Lord, as always, is that in His grace and mercy He will use what I write to help others  – just as I myself have been helped by the many articles written by other concerned believers. Their insights and experiences have been of enormous value, often simply confirming what I’d only suspected.

May God bless and keep you,      Eileen

 

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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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Matt 23:8-12      But be not called Rabbi, for one is your Master, even Christ and you are all brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant, and whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

       At the outset, let me clarify that I am not advocating disrespect or lack of honour towards those who serve the church – I am simply questioning the way our church hierarchical systems are accepted as scriptural, when they clearly are not.

So, having mentioned in my previous post my thoughts and observations of the divisions that exist between ‘Leaders’ and ‘Laity’, it led me to wondering about the title and leadership role of the Pastor and how it became an office raised above that of Elders and how did the Elders become raised above ‘ordinary’ church members?

I’ve been wrestling with this Leadership and authority in the church thing and trying to get what the scriptures actually teach about it –  I hope and pray with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

As I’ve found so often with other subjects eg the Rapture, there are times when I’ve had to step back from the ‘given’  teachings and look at the scriptures afresh – forgetting all that’s already been taught to me by others.

I’ve found it very helpfull sometimes, when there appears to be a contradiction or conflict, to temporarily set aside a particular verse[s] to try to get an overall picture in a very general way of how the early church viewed things – what they actually practised and taught.

For example – when faced for the first time with the ‘Gap Theory’ for the Genesis account of creation – it was very useful to see if it was in harmony with what the Lord Himself taught and the early church believed.

In the same way – when it comes to the scriptures used by Pastors and Leaders to enforce their authoritative rule over their respective churches [usually as a last resort to shut up dissension]  – Hebrews 13:17 – if we step back to get an overall view of the Lord’s and the Apostles’ teachings and practise – we see that this verse cannot be understood in the   way wordly ideas and hierarchical systems are.  According to Matt 10:25-28 it is to be the exact opposite !

The pattern for the early church is found in Eph 4:1-16 which shows that the church leaders became leaders by virtue of their functions in the Body of Christ via the gifts of God. They are God’s gifts to the Church:  apostles, prophets, pastors teachers, evangelists. They are there as Ministers [Servants] to all the members – themselves included. Nobody is to have the pre-eminence under Christ – He is the only Head. Indeed Diotrephes is singled out for his bad example.  And Paul has much to say about exalting and following particular men in the church. 1 Cor 3:1-11 & 21-23.

In overseeing the church – it must be by mutual submission – functioning for the benefit and welfare [physical and spiritual] of all. There is no authoritative Hierarchy in sight!

So, how come the Pastor in particular has become so elevated to ‘lead’ the church? It simply seems to be a left-over from the priestly systems of the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions – themselves a left-over from the old Jewish sacrificial system. This was originally instigated by God of course for the sins of the people, but replaced by the Mystery of God in Christ and His once for all time sacrifice – fulfilling  the old covenant and bringing in the new. We are all now priests with direct access to God and we answer to no-one else but Christ our Head.

The church is now to be led by Elders, recognised by their God-given gifts ,  no-one thinking too highly of themselves , submitting and serving one another . What they preach or teach is to be judged by the members and nothing is to be kept secret or hidden.

The fact is that almost all Pastors are the head and in almost total control of their church. Yes- he may consult with and listen to the Elders and Deacons, but his is the ultimate authority and voice in any decisions – right or wrong. There is always that fear of going against God’s wishes by not ‘submitting ‘ to him.

Ironically, there can be a strange supposed humility in showing one’s submission and in some cases even one’s conscience is put in subservience.

Further up the hierarchical ladder is the denomination or power group the individual church is affiliated to, so in his turn, the Pastor and his church come under what has become known as ‘covering’.

In many cases, all this means is that the Pastor will always be supported or backed up should any dispute arise at church level. Covering in other instances becomes something much more sinister and causes all sorts of fear and superstitions. The practise is totally unscriptural as far as I can see. Christ is surely the only covering a believer needs!

Because of this hierarchical system many ‘ordinary’ church members’ God- given gifts lie unrecognised and so the church doesn’t function to its full calling.

By accident I came across a web site for church Leaders and I was truly appalled by the wordly advice it was giving. This should not be so if we are truly following the Lord and being led by His Spirit into all truth.

I am indebted to the many web sites and Blogs that have enlightened me with their insights and obvious concerns about the current state of the church – often confirming the vague suspicions I’ve  had when things haven’t seemed quite ‘right’ to me.

I think the Lord is graciously  forgiving and opening many a believers eye , showing we are not as alone as we sometimes think we are. There are many bad things that invade the internet – but it can be [and is] such a wonderful resource for the truth seeker.

As always, I hope what I’ve written will help and re-assure people. I do not claim to be an expert and this blog is purely my own musings – so please excercise your own God-given judgement and discernment in the scriptures to put me right where you think I am wrong.

Many blessings,    Eileen

PS    I know there are many good, faithful and conscientious Pastors out there. I am in no way doubting their integrity – I’m simply questioning the system they are part of and take for granted.

 

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