As reflected in Paul’s inbox, it’s evident that the TANC conferences have played a pivotal role toward educating believers on the Platonic philosophy driving the Protestant bus. Therefore, PPT is introducing a weekly video segment called “Gnostic Watch Weekly” wherein Paul and Susan discuss and decipher readers’ contributions of the many examples plaguing Christianity of every denominational stripe. We welcome contributions from any denomination and all nationalities! Please send articles, posts, and sermon examples to firstname.lastname@example.org, then tune-in to “Gnostic Watch Weekly” every Friday at 7pm.
~ Penned and researched by Brian Jonson, West Chester, Ohio
Heart Versus Flesh
There are hundreds of passages that use the term “heart” to describe the seat of human emotion, intelligence, morality, volition and religious life in general. However, most often, “heart” is used in Scripture as an idiom for the mind.
There is also present in scripture the heart of the unredeemed and the heart of the redeemed. Oftentimes the characteristics of the unredeemed heart are applied to the redeemed. I believe this is a critical error. The chart below shows the context of the unredeemed versus the redeemed and how the term “heart” is applied. It is by no means exhaustive, but certainly is representative of all passages. Notice, the application of the description of the unredeemed heart is never applied to the redeemed.
Characteristics of the Heart of the Saved and Lost
|Ge 6:5 – Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Ge 6:6 – The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
Ge 8:21 – The LORD smelled the soothing aroma ; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never * again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.
Ex 4:21- The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.
De 5:29 – ‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always *, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!
De 8:14 – then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
1Sa 7:3 – Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”
2Ch 12:14 – He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.
2Ch 25:2 – He did right in the sight of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart.
2Ch 26:16 – But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God, for he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
Ps 73:1 – Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart !
Ps 78:8 – And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Jer 5:23 – ‘But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; They have turned aside and departed.
Jer 17:9 – “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
Eze 14:4 – “Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will be brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols,
Eze 20:16 – because they rejected My ordinances, and as for My statutes, they did not walk in them; they even profaned My sabbaths, for their heart continually went after their idols.
Mr 7:21 – “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,
Lu 6:45 – “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
Ac 8:21 – “You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
Ro 1:21 – For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Ro 2:5 – But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
Eph 4:18 – being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
|Ge 20:5 – “Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”
Ge 20:6 – Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore * I did not let you touch her.
2Ch 16:9 – “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”
Ps 7:10 – My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart.
Ps 66:18 – If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;
Ps 73:1 – Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart !
Ps 86:12 – I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.
Jer 24:7 – ‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people , and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.
Jer 31:33 – “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people .
Jer 32:39 – and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always *, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.
Eze 11:19 – “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,
Eze 36:26 – “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Mt 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Mt 12:34 – “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good ? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
Mt 15:18 – “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
Lu 6:45 – “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
Ro 2:29 – But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Ro 6:17 – But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
Heb 10:22 – let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
1Pe 1:22 – Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
1Jo 3:21 – Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
Romans 7:25 - Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Hebrews 10:22 – let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
As you look at the references above, you’ll easily see that the Bible never applies the ugly characteristics of an unregenerate heart to a redeemed person. Why then, should we? God has renewed the heart of a believer and it is unbiblical to accuse the Body of Christ of having hearts that are unregenerated.
Where then, is the battle? The Bible teaches that the battle against sin is in the flesh, NOT the heart. Notice, please:
Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Jesus is speaking to a redeemed person. He shows them that the danger is in the flesh, not the heart (perhaps synonymous with spirit in this passage).
For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
Paul teaches here that our sinful passions are from the flesh.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
A critical passage! We know the Bible teaches that our flesh was not redeemed at salvation and, in fact, awaits the glorification described so clearly in 1 Corinthians 15. Therefore, we have a “redeemed heart” incarcerated in “unredeemed flesh.” This is exactly why we struggle. Notice:
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord ! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
and those who are in the flesh cannot * please God.
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh –
for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
The heart is not mentioned anywhere in this key teaching. Romans 6 through 8 contain the key teaching on our struggle against sin. And, it is clear; the struggle is centered on the flesh, not the heart.
Further evidence of this:
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.
How do we cleanse ourselves and appear holy before the Lord?
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
One reason, among many, that I delight in not being a part of the institutional church is I am no longer a serf to American Christian academia. Did I really “tithe” to God in the past? No, I paid taxes to a multi-billion dollar corporation that is in the salvation by membership business. As an elder of a fairly large Evangelical church that was on the cutting edge of doctrinal conservatism, I created somewhat of a stir by recommending that the church start a benevolence fund. I found these types of confrontations surreal and confusing, until I grew up. But even before I grew up, I at least knew that recommending a widows list would be dead on arrival. What jumps out of the passages like an A-Bomb when you read the Bible for yourself is the fact that all giving is need-based, not institutional based.
Like government institutions, there is a separate standard for leaders and serfs. Christians often find themselves in double serfism accordingly, and this is completely unnecessary. Besides, it hinders real ministry. Like government—like church, and this week we have an excellent example accordingly.
The Obamas, for some time, have been attempting to legislate what Americans eat, for our own good of course. Specifically, the First Lady has been in charge of two programs that dictate what we are allowed to feed our children. However, TPNN reports that an upcoming White House dinner boasts a menu that has 1000 more calories than a meal one can order from an establishment of Big Fast Food which is among many capitalistic evils like Big Oil.
That’s the point: the standard is always double. You see, the enlightened can handle life-stuff like food and guns, but such things must be kept from the great unwashed masses because of our unrestrained appetites. This is a simple metaphysical construct that was up and running as soon as God blocked entry back into the garden with the baddest angel in the universe. This herd mentality eventually led to the flood. Even then, God had to later do the confusion of languages thing because men insist on letting others think for them and following bad ideas.
Like government—like church. What do we do when we want to “start a ministry”? We ask the elders for permission. While attending the aforementioned church, still as an elder, I was contacted by an inner city church that simply wanted us to come in and take them over. I thought it was an excellent opportunity for many in our church to serve God in the inner city. The opportunity met with stiff resistance. One man told me that he wouldn’t dream of participating in such a ministry without at least a Master’s degree. Others said that our church already supported a ministry that did the same kind of inner city work. By accepting the offer, we would have been usurping them in some way.
We don’t think of the institutional church as something that hinders ministry because of its huge programs and infrastructure, but let me remind you that those programs are limited to institutionally approved workers while the primary expectation of the Christian serf is to work a job, keep their mouth shut, and tithe at least 10%. In fact, many churches are disciplining members for not tithing. And why is there so much fear among Christians in regard to “church discipline”? Obviously, Christian serfs believe that the institutional church has the authority to declare them unbelievers. Scoff at membership by salvation if you must, but it is clearly how the institutional church functions.
And what is more obvious than the double standard? In the midst of the “church discipline” craze, where is 1Timothy 5:20?
But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.
Members being disciplined/excommunicated is an epidemic while the former is rarer than fine gold; also, rampant fear of elders is ever so evident and can only be chalked up to the belief that salvation is found in the institutional church.
Christian serfism is a plague that can only be cured by a New Testament model of worship.
The Embarrassing, Bizarre Results of Calvinism: John Piper Suggests that the Holy Spirit Leads Us to Go to Bed Early
Sigh. My friends, when justification/salvation is not a finished work, when salvation is a “golden chain,” when we must figure out how to work by faith alone in our Christian life because “justification is running in the background,” the following video demonstrates the kind of confusion that follows.
Come now fellow Christians, let’s look in the mirror and be honest; we are a joke. Why? Because a third of us fawn over this utter silliness that would even make a child blush, and another third will not stand against it, and the remaining third do not know why it’s wrong even though it reeks of silliness.
God appointed these bozos to have authority over us? Really? God tells you in the last day, “Well done faithful servant” because the Holy Spirt went to bed early for you? Are you really going to continue to give these people your hard-earned money? Are you really going to continue to believe that these witless, false teachers have authority over you?
Please, just say “NO!”
Calvinists, Arminians, and Discernment Bloggers: Why They Will Not Accept the Truth About John Calvin
The Christian community continues to belabor the symptoms resulting from the false gospel of Calvinism. This is a doctrine that is no different from any other works salvation and should be categorized with Adventism, Mormonism, and all of the other isms. Election isn’t the issue; the 5 points are not the issue; at issue is another gospel. A couple of articles written this week are good examples. Dr. Jay Adams wrote a good article about the pervasive lack of practical application in contemporary preaching. But that is a symptom of the problem: Calvin believed that Christian living is the New Testament expression of the Old Testament Sabbath. Hence, to do works in the Christian life is the same as violating the Old Testament Sabbath by working. According to authentic Calvinism, we are saved by faith alone, but since salvation is not a finished work in the believer, we must continue to live by faith alone to keep ourselves saved. Therefore, authentic Calvinism expressed in New Calvinism is a complicated theology that enables us to live the Christian life by faith alone. This is nothing new. James had to refute it and it is why Martin Luther rejected the book of James.
That’s why there is no practical application in today’s preaching: it is deemed as works salvation. I have cited John MacArthur in previous articles who has repented of preaching practical application and has stated such plainly. He has stated that we do not apply Scripture to our lives—the Holy Spirit applies it and in most cases we do not even realize that we are obeying. Why? Because it is not us doing the work. He has plainly stated his belief on this. This is the mysticism of realm manifestation that is part and parcel with authentic Calvinism. It enables the living by faith alone in the Christian life by replacing our works with gospel manifestations of good works.
In another post this week, Joel Taylor of 5Point Salt suggested that Christians should show New Calvinist Mark Driscoll more mercy because we all “make mistakes.” Mistakes? Driscoll preaches another gospel. The apostle Paul proclaimed a curse on those who preach another gospel. Why is Christianity refusing to deal with this problem? The reasons follow: 1. Calvinists are in-between a rock and a hard place because the resurgence of authentic Calvinism in the form of New Calvinism has brought to light what Calvin really believed. They don’t want to look stupid because they have been calling themselves Calvinists all of these years and didn’t know what he really believed. 2. Arminians are in-between a rock and a hard place because they have been preaching for all of these years that the issue with Calvinism is the election issue. They, too, do not want to look stupid because the real issue all along has been a fundamentally false gospel. 3. Discernment bloggers want to deal with the behavior (the symptoms) and not the gospel because they are Protestants, and by design, they are theologically dumbed down. They are the least guilty of the three. They are attempting to do something about the problem via what they can understand: behavior, but in doing so, they are focusing on symptoms and not the disease. They need to get beyond Hospice care and find the cure. Unfortunately, and perhaps wisely, they treat the New Calvinists as misguided because they don’t have the theological wherewithal to make the case for a false gospel. But again, it is kinda not their fault as they have been deliberately dumbed down by Protestant ecclesia.
This has been a Reformed tradition for more than 500 years and is grounded in Augustinian Neo-Platonism. But, looking stupid shouldn’t be the issue; a love for the truth should be the issue; the eternal future of people should be the issue. What a difference it would make if notable Calvinists would admit that they missed it. What a difference it would make if Seminaries would preach the truth about New Calvinism.
For almost eight years I have been on this journey that led to the TANC research organization. I have been researching and exposing the truth about Calvinism for around four years now in a fulltime capacity, and never has there been a research gift given to me like the following video that will be the topic of tonight’s discussion.
Apparently, this video is viral among Christians in many nations as a positive depiction of the gospel…and that my friends, is stunning.
Also stunning: this video skit is popular among Calvinists and Arminians alike when in fact it represents Calvinist soteriology to a “T.” I have stated many times that there are two kinds of Christians in the institutional church: Calvinists and Arminians who function as Calvinists.
In her book, Quitting Church, Julia Duin states that she has sensed for years that something is seriously wrong with the American evangelical church. We at TANC would suggest that the problem is the false gospel of progressive justification. It was Calvin’s false gospel, but while the election debate rages, in reality, Arminians function by the same false gospel.
And I have never seen anything that illustrates that better than this precious video.
We will be joined in our discussion by teacher Andy Young. See you at 7! If you have streaming problems, the HD video will probably be posted by 8:30 pm. If you would like to ask questions or comment during the discussion, simply post your comments in the comment section of the post.
John Immel makes one particular statement at every TANC conference each year: Calvinism is the most disastrous body of doctrine ever perpetrated on mankind. He speaks primarily from a societal viewpoint, I speak primarily from a theological viewpoint, and Susan speaks primarily from a life experience viewpoint. That’s how our roles in the TANC endeavor operate. We now have Andy as well who represents a grammatical life application of the theological ramifications, and to a point, the societal implications as well. If you don’t attend the conferences—you are missing out.
But back to John. The yearly statement which is now a tradition is unlike many traditions, in that one’s understanding of the statement grows every year. So, when John makes that statement, there is a marked, deeper refection than the year prior.
When I initially received Christ, the music of the gospel made me cry. Then I became acquainted with the only thing one can be acquainted with in the institutional church: orthodoxy. When orthodoxy became synonymous with truth in my mind, that’s the day the music died. Think what you may of John Immel, but his first series of talks at TANC 2012 introduced me to a unique challenge: orthodoxy as intermediate truth, and church polity as a soft term for the fusion of faith and force. That challenge led me on a journey that has resulted in the enablement to hear the sweet music of the gospel once again.
A combination of circumstances, including my marriage to Susan, enabled me to say to God, “No more listening to men, help me to take these words in Romans at face value. You are not a God of confusion, what is Paul plainly saying?” Pray tell: how do we make two laws, plainly stated as such, two realms? Answer: orthodoxy.
The music is back. My sins are not merely covered, they are ended. My salvation has no judgment. There is no law to be found. There is no condemnation. All I can see now in regard to condemnation is our loving Lord hanging on that cross in unimaginable suffering saying, “It is finished.” We are untouchable. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Christ came to end the law of sin and death for those who believe, and set them free to obey the law of the Spirit of life without fear of condemnation.
When one stops listening to experts and really believes that God rewards those who seek Him, a particular God emerges from the truth: a God who predetermined a means for reconciliation, and pronounced it irrevocable, an irrevocable calling that will stand till all things are new. It’s called, “hope.” It is knowing that a good ending is predetermined. No one can take it from us. We also see a God that seeks man in his weakness and sin, shoving him to the precipice of His kingdom, but stopping short of making the decision for him. Certainly, when Adam sinned, he did not immediately seek God out for a solution—he hid. But God sought him out and reasoned with him, and so it goes in history.
God ordained the means of salvation; put His law on every man’s heart with an internal judge; sent His son to die, and thereby drawing all men to Him; sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin; imputes all sin to the law of sin and death that has already been ended and awaits those who want to be free of sin’s condemnation; and mandates His kingdom citizens to implore all to join God’s kingdom as well. “TURN AWAY! TURN AWAY! WHY WILL YOU DIE?” Moreover, Christ did not come to condemn the world, but to save it. Hell was not created for man, but for the kingdom of darkness. Consider…
And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Note that an unregenerate person can have wisdom. Note that they are drawn to the kingdom’s door. The unregenerate can know truth. The unregenerate can be persuaded. They have the law written on their hearts. They have an internal convicter, an outside convicter, the love of a Savior, the witness of love among His followers, and the testimony of creation.
We are told that God does all of this, but is just sporting with man, for in the final analysis, it is His choice alone. God is within His right, because of His righteousness, to send all to hell. Yet, in contrast, the Bible states that His righteousness is manifested by supplying a way of salvation. Christ didn’t come to obey the law perfectly to display the righteousness of God. Men were declared righteous apart from the law well before the first coming of Christ. Supplying a way to be reconciled with man put His righteousness on display. Christ did not come to condemn, and God desires that all men would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
At the 2008 T4G pastors’ conference, John MacArthur Jr. took opportunity to announce to the Reformed community that he was one of them in the truest sense. He asserted that total inability has always been the dominate teaching of the church from the very beginning. This, of course, is an outright, blatant lie and an attempt to rewrite church history. Free will was the position of many church fathers and theologians of the post apostolic church. But either orthodoxy can be bad and we need neither.
There will be weeping in eternal hell because they will know they had a choice; they “neglected the great salvation.” They said “no” in the face of a God who bankrupted heaven to call them. They will not be weeping because they had no choice. To believe that you have no choice is a choice.
The strongest indictment against predestination of individuals is the source itself, the Reformers…of the Catholic Church. Calvin, in league with the Eastern transcendental meditation that Reformed theology is predicated on, believed that there are three classes of elect: the non-elect; the partially elected; and those given the gift of perseverance. Yes, Calvin taught that some people are temporarily illumined, but God, apparently in conjunction with what He has predetermined, takes away their election and condemns them to a greater damnation. Only those “given the gift of perseverance” are the truly elected. This coincides with Eastern religion and the idea that some are hopelessly enslaved to the shadow material world (and enslaved to empirical reason) while some are partially able to see beyond the material. The third class is completely free from interpreting reality in the shadowy material world.
Because of the kinship that the Reformers had with Eastern mysticism, they were hard pressed to explain how Christ came to earth as a man in the flesh. I have received reports from some in Reformed churches that pastors are teaching the following: Christ did not have the same kind of flesh that we have. This should be of no surprise if you understand the true roots of the Reformation. Martin Luther taught that Christ came as a man to supply an epistemological gateway of understanding into the invisible. He equated ALL works with the material world, and insisted that Christ came to replace all works with suffering. Hence, Luther defined the essence of the Christian life as an endeavor to escape the material world through suffering and a deeper knowledge of Christ’s suffering in life and on the cross. The kinship to Eastern thought here is evident. This led to the cross being the paramount icon of Christianity.
The point here is that part and parcel with these ancient and Eastern ideas from the cradle of civilization is the concept of predeterminism. Predeterminism dominates Eastern thought and is very prevalent in Islam. Yet, in the same message at T4G 2008, MacArthur propagated the well-traveled idea among the Reformed that predetermism is unique to the Reformation. This is a blatant aberration from true history; to the contrary, predetermist ideology saturates human history and has been the fabric of the vast majority of religious and secular movements throughout history.
What has always been rare, and unique to the point of extinction is the idea that man is able. America is unique in history because it is founded on the insane idea that man is able to govern himself. This so grates against the mentality that has dominated world history that America is despised regardless of the steroidal goodness produced by her. In reality, the world lusts to see the American experiment fail, and this by no means excludes the present-day Neo-Calvinist movement. The Reformers, past and present, have sold their package well: the idea that freewill is the common mentality of humanity is perhaps the greatest myth that has ever been propagated upon mankind.
How can a loving God send people to an eternal hell? He doesn’t. They choose to go to a place that was never created for them, but rather for the Devil and his angels. They choose between two kingdoms.
Sin was “found” in Lucifer, either because God was complicit in the creation of sin, or because freewill is a righteous element of His creation power. But if freewill existed before man’s fall, and obviously it did, nothing in Scripture indicates that freewill no longer exists.
I understand that isolated Bible verses seem to propagate predeterminism, but that doesn’t equal plenary determinism, nor are ignorant Protestants qualified to draw conclusions from orthodoxy. The jury is still out because the fruits are from a poisonous tree. To what degree does God intervene and predetermine, and how much does the historic predeterminism running in the background reflect on certain statements in the Bible? For instance, God talking to the disciples in parables so that others could not understand…
“See, that’s because He didn’t elect the others that were listening.”
Then why any fear of them understanding something? Jesus was pushing back against the Gnosticism of that day which propagated the idea that religious leaders only had saving knowledge. He spoke in parables in front of them, and then reveled the meaning of the parables to His disciples later. This was a direct, in-your-face push-back to the Gnosticism of that day, and taught the disciples to stop taking the religious leaders of their day seriously. We would do well to follow that lesson in our own day.
But in the final analysis, this post points to our freedom in Christ. Christ died to purchase all men from the slavery of sin that rules the kingdom of darkness. They are under a law that condemns them, but also protects them in case one day they would follow Christ. The heavy load of law breaking on their shoulders is a law that has been ended if they would only believe in Christ. They are purchased slaves remaining under the dominion of their present master by their own choice. They are also written in a book of life from which God does not desire to blot them out.
If we are in Christ we are free indeed. We are free from condemnation. We must not only tell the world that they serve the master of sin, its king, and its kingdom, but that they have been purchased by the king of glory. They are slaves by choice. This is where Calvinism must claim limited atonement; the idea that Christ only purchased the chosen with His death. The idea that Christ purchased all men from the slavery of sin brings much question upon the idea of individual election. Yet,
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
God prepared the means of salvation and predetermined that the application of it would be undeterred. Mankind is convicted in regard to sin and the judgment to come from within and without. Within by conscience, a judge that administers the law written on their hearts, and without by the Holy Spirit. Christ came to save the world, not condemn it, and to draw all men to Himself. He seeks after all men, initially writes them in the Book of Life, and has purchased them from the master of this world. Even the law that condemns them imprisons their sin until faith comes. It is a law that leads them to Christ, but will indeed condemn them if they do not repent. He also calls on His church to implore all men to be “reconciled to God.”
He does everything but make the choice for us. This is far more compelling than the worn-out un-novel idea of determinism used by every sect and band of religious gypsies that have ever come down the pike. It sets us free from confusion and compels us to glorify God by sharing our life of joy that is able to love God and please Him. It rejoices in the freedom of loving God by loving others without fear of condemnation.
Calvinists only rob us of our freedom in Christ to love by warning us that such zeal could be a mere attempt at self-righteousness. But we know that righteousness is a finished work, and we will not submit ourselves again to the fear of condemnation…
…for there is no fear in love.
Tuesday Night Bible Study
September 9, 2014
Study of the Book of Acts
|Tonight’s Text – Acts 13:48 – 14:7 Brief review
- The word was published
διαφερω – “dee-ah-fer-oh”
To carry through
- Acts 13:6-8
- Acts 6:9-12
- Matthew 27:16-20
- Paul and Barnabas expelled
– εχβαλλω – “ek-ball-oh” – to throw out
- A practice of devout Jews
- Symbolic gesture of derision towards Gentiles
- Used by Jesus to mock the religious elite
- Gesture of judgment upon the Jews
III. Spirit-filled disciples of Antioch
πληροω – “play-ro-oh” –
To make replete; to cram
- Imperfect tense indicates an ongoing occurrence.
- Compare with Galatians 5:13-16
- Bold speaking
- Signs and wonders
- Violent impulses
Used synonymously with “righteousness.” It is the declaration and imputation of righteousness to the believer. This is the very righteousness of God. This is also the salvation of the soul. God NEVER declares anyone righteous unless He makes them righteous. This is not a position only, the person is actually made righteous.
2. The New Birth
Normally, sanctification would be discussed next, but it is important to understand how we are truly righteous—yet we still fall short of God’s standards in this life. The new birth takes place in time when we believe, and is a spiritual reality which lacks the experiential evidence we would expect, yet the Bible is explicit about what takes place. Our old spiritual self dies a literal death “with Christ,” and we are born again with an incorruptible seed. This is pictured in water baptism. We are new creatures. We do NOT have two natures, we only have one nature.
It is the human body. It is not inherently evil, what God created that was good originally became weak in the fall, like creation, but is not inherently evil. This is why we are actually righteous, but fall short of God’s glory: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Sin was found in Lucifer, an angel created by God. It is described in the Bible as a master. Sin masters those who are not saved, but is hindered by the conscience God created in every being. God also wrote His character traits on the hearts of all people because we are born in His image. Unbelievers are not completely mastered by sin because they are born in God’s image. Unfortunately, unbelievers often confuse the image of God with their own righteousness.
When a believer sins, it is a violation of the Bible, but is considered to be sin against God and His family, directly or indirectly, by bringing shame on God’s name. For the unbeliever, violation of the law leads to eternal condemnation while sin for the believer can lead to chastisement and loss of reward.
It means to be set apart for God’s purposes. The gospel is really a call to kingdom living. Escape from eternal judgment is a positive by-product. See Andy Young’s TANC 2014 sessions on sanctification.
The earth is presently ruled by Satan. It is the kingdom of darkness. God’s kingdom is NOT on earth nor is the earth being gradually transformed from one kingdom realm to another via the collective Christocentric psyche of the church. We are ambassadors of God’s heavenly kingdom. Christ will return, destroy Satan’s kingdom, and set up His own. Christians are to make as many disciples as possible until that day. The church has no task in bringing forth God’s kingdom on earth. We display the will of the kingdom, and call people to it, but have NO task in bringing it to earth.
Hell was not created for man, but for Satan and the demons who were never offered salvation. A loving God sends no one to hell, people merely choose what kingdom they want to belong to. The gospel is a call to escape the earthly kingdom and its slavery to sin, and be transformed into God’s kingdom of light.
8. The Bible
“Law,” “scripture,” “holy writ,” “the law and the prophets,” “the word,” “the law,” etc., are all interchangeable terms for the closed canon of scripture. The Bible is God’s law and wisdom for life and godliness. It is also a full-orbed metaphysical treatise. It defines reality.
9. The Law of Sin and Death
It’s the Bible’s relationship to unbelievers. It describes how the unbeliever will be judged in the last day for every violation of conscience.
10. The Law of the Spirit of Life
It describes the believer’s relationship to the Bible. The transformed heart of the believer now desires to obey God, is no longer enslaved to sin, and cannot be condemned by the law. The Bible is a manual for our kingdom citizenship.
There are two: one of condemnation for those who chose the kingdom of darkness, known as the Great White Throne Judgment, and a separate one for eternal rewards known as the Bema Judgment.
This is the other salvation. It is the redemption of the body at resurrection. This salvation is often confused with justification, or the salvation of the soul.
Justice is of paramount importance to God and He is angered when it is not practiced by people whether lost or saved. Fairness matters to God.
The Christian life is NOT a rest. John Calvin believed sanctification is the New Testament version of the Old Testament Sabbath rest. Because Protestantism only sees ONE application of the law, to judge/condemn, Christians must supposedly rest while Jesus fulfills the law for us.
Unwittingly, this defines Christians as “under law.” Who keeps the law is irrelevant, it can’t give life, and it can’t justify. Protestants must wrongly assert this because they reject the two applications of the law and make it strictly for condemnation only. In contrast, Christians can use the law lawfully because it can no longer condemn them. In Protestantism, the condemnation of the law is not removed for the Christian.
I. God declares people righteous without making them righteous. “Sinner” is not past tense.
II. Perfection is defined as perfect law-keeping in this life.
III. The new birth is defined as a realm or ability to see/experience something that is not our own essence as believers.
IV. “Flesh” is inherently evil, not merely weak.
V. “Earth” is not merely weak, but inherently evil.
VI. “Sin” is the essence of the material world, and not a “master” separate from it.
VII. Sanctification (the Christian life) is a rest. John Calvin believed New Testament sanctification is the Old Testament Sabbath rest. It is the belief that the Christian life is a rest from works because all works are still under law.
VIII. God’s kingdom is presently on earth.
IX. Hell was also created for man.
X. Single relationship to the law for both believers and unbelievers.
XI. One judgment.
XII. Salvation of the soul and body happen at the same time.
Originally posted on Paul's Passing Thoughts:
I’m past it now. Most of my spiritual heroes have fallen. I am now ready for the rest of them to fall if they do— the few that are left, which include the dead. It’s a good test for one’s faith—do we follow men or Christ?
They cross my path now and then—those who are going through what I have gone through. Some are in the denial stage—others in the disillusionment stage that will draw them closer to Christ and give them more resolve for the truth. They will be ok; after all, every Christian is born again with a little bit of Noah in them.
Have you ever thought about what it must have been like for Noah? He was one of the few Christians left on the face of the Earth, and beyond him, only family members. Noah was a follower of God and didn’t follow the crowd…
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We now come to chapter four in our study of Romans. Thus far, Paul has emphasized that all men, whether Jew or Gentile, are saved by faith alone. This salvation is a revelation of God’s righteousness, and is imputed to us when we believe in Jesus Christ. We have learned that the gospel is the full counsel of God which of course includes the death burial, and resurrection of Christ. We have learned that Paul was very concerned with a spiritual caste system that would render the Gentiles as second-class citizens in the church. Though the church is uniquely Jewish, God shows no partiality in regard to race and gives the various gifts of salvation to all men freely.
What we have in the book of Romans is a radical dichotomy between justification and sanctification; or said another way, salvation and its imputed righteousness set against the Christian life as kingdom citizens living on earth as aliens and ambassadors. However, there is NO dichotomy between law and gospel. Why? Because both are the full counsel of God. In the Bible, “law,” “truth,” “gospel,” “Scriptures,” “holy writ,” “the law and the prophets,” and other terms are used interchangeably to speak of the closed canon of God’s full counsel for life and godliness. Christ as well as Paul made it absolutely clear: man lives by every word that proceeds from God and ALL Scripture is profitable to make the servant of God complete in every good work.
Now listen: though the life application of some Scripture changes with time and circumstances, it still remains that all Scripture informs us in regard to our walk with God in the way we pray, think, and act. We do not stone rebellious children in our day. Nay, when we have a rebellious teen in the church, we do not gather the congregation together and stone him/her to death. With that said, does the fact that God at one time instructed the Jews to do so inform us in regard to many applications for teen rebellion in our day? Absolutely. Oh my, the contemporary applications in our day are almost endless. Not only that, Old Testament ritual and symbolism offers a built-in protective hermeneutic for the Scriptures as a whole. What do I mean by that? Well, you can mess with words, but symbolism is very difficult to mess with. If it’s a lampstand, it’s hard to change that to a Honda Civic. Right?
Paul delves into a paramount truth for Christians in the book of Romans: The relationship of the law to the unsaved verses the saved. And here it is: the lost are UNDER the law, and the saved are UNDER grace, but informed by the law. Let me repeat that: the lost are UNDER the law, and the saved are UNDER grace, but informed by the law. And we can see this right in the same neighborhood of the text that we are in.
Romans 3:21—But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—
That verse pretty much says it all. We are justified apart from the law, and as we will see, Paul means totally apart from the law. But we are informed by it. Paul states in Romans 3:28:
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Now note what he states after a few verses following in Romans 4:3,
For what does the Scripture say?
Paul strives to make the point in this letter that law is not even on the radar screen in regard to justification. And this is extremely important to know in our day for many teach that law is on the justification radar screen and therefore Christ must keep the law for us in order to maintain our justification. Not so, there is no law to keep in regard to justification—a righteousness APART from the law, the very righteousness of God has been imputed to our account in full. Paul even writes (and this is very radical) that Christians are sinless in regard to justification because there is no law in justification to judge us:
Romans 7:1—Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?
Romans 7:6—But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive….(v.8) Apart from the law, sin lies dead.
Now, the law can judge our sin in our Christian life, but that can’t touch the fact that we are “washed.” Therefore, in sanctification, we only need to wash our feet to maintain a healthy family relationship with our Father God and Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn with me and let’s look at this in John 13:1-11:
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
Clearly, “washing” refers to salvation, and differs from needing the lesser washing of the feet. The example is set against the unregenerate betrayer among them. Note that Jesus said that even though we needed to wash our feet, we are still “completely clean.” My, my, what a strong contrast to much of the teachings in our day; i.e., the idea of “deep repentance” that is the same repentance that saved us and keeps us saved—as long as we are in a Reformed church where such forgiveness is available. (more…)
The proof is in the contemplation:
I was born again in 1983, but being saved by God does not automatically fix stupid in the here and now. The first stupid thing I did was to join a Baptist church because, by golly, I was saved and I was going to do this Christian thing the right way. Though a selfish sinner ruled by lust, like all of humanity, I had some good God-given qualities; i.e., I took satisfaction in doing a quality job. I brought that quality with me into my Christian life.
To some degree I am not at fault. How was I to know that Baptists are Protestants? How was I to know that Baptists would teach me the ways of Protestant orthodoxy? How was I to know that the fathers of Protestantism despised reason?
Are Protestants stupid? Sure they are. What other breed of homosapien would invest thousands of dollars to learn extensive knowledge about a religion founded by men who believed mankind to be totally depraved and unable to properly understand reality? Stupid? Maybe “sane” is the better question; who endeavors to earn a PhD in total depravity? Moreover, consider the fact that men who earn these nomenclatures of knowledge that plunges the depths of man’s incompetence are themselves men of renown and respected as knowledgeable about knowing nothing.
Yes, supposedly, according to Calvin and Luther, when Paul told the Corinthians that he knew nothing but Christ and Him crucified, he wasn’t talking about knowledge of other gospels, he was talking about the “foolishness of the cross.” Hence, the world rejects the cross because they believe man can know something of value other than the salvific work of Christ. They therefore see the cross as “foolishness.” Calvin and Luther mocked the thinkers of their day and ridiculed those who proposed that the Earth was round and the solar system was in motion. Their serial killing children, the Puritans, attributed the exploits of Benjamin Franklin to demonic powers. Any knowledge other than the cross is not the “cross story,” it is the “glory story.” The glory of man rather than the glory of God.
The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. As a pastor, I saw no need whatsoever to learn any “vain philosophy,” and certainly didn’t learn any in high school or seminary. In both cases, Plato is a touchy subject. The Colonial Puritans were ridiculed for being Platonists by their Aristocratic detractors who were children of the same Enlightenment movement that clearly saved Europe from being a third world country shrouded in superstition. The Puritans founded our public school system. They also founded the Ivy League schools from which all of our seminaries came. These were prodigies of Socrates and Plato who defined true wisdom as knowing nothing.
From that gene pool came the Gnostics who defined the “secret knowledge” in the same way. Basically, they were peddlers of happiness in the midst of knowing nothing: “Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” And if you messed up the unity and happiness of the communal group led by those with the gnosis, you died a lot sooner.
So, what in the world philosophy inspired this rant? Some time ago, it came to my attention that an atheist website reposted one of my articles in a favorable light. Even after being awakened to the importance of world philosophy and ideas by church historian John Immel, I was horrified. Certainly, I had to then consider that what Calvinists say about me may be true; am I really an “enemy of the cross”? Worse yet, this is a website that has a global rating of 609 with Alexa, that’s #609 worldwide (Google is #1). This multiplied the horror of my evil deed even more. Certainly, if these atheists liked what I wrote, it was pure evil!
Fearfully, I reread the post in order to come to grips with my horrific folly. Soon the fear turned to utter disbelief. The post pointed to the authoritative wisdom of God in the Scriptures. Huh? I reread it again; why would they promote these ideas on their blog? The post, at least in my estimation, assumed metaphysical interpretation via the Bible. So, I stuck around and read some other articles on the website. Clearly, I perceived more of a problem with stupidity than with God. In fact, I couldn’t find any article that had a problem with God in particular; the consistent theme seemed to be that Christians are anti-reason, and my friends, it is no less a fact that Luther called reason a filthy whore that should have dung rubbed in her face to make her ugly.
Now enter what I perceive going on among contemporary Christian youth in our day, especially after our mission to the Cross Conference in Louisville this past weekend. The youth that were attracted to that conference are thinkers. Granted, they are hindered by Churchianity, but the desire is to be thinkers well equipped for battle in the arena of ideas. That is what draws them to this vein of Calvinism from the T4G camp—it is perceived as being an intellectual Christianity. It’s bogus, but nevertheless, T4G does a good job of selling themselves that way, compliments of hard cash from the working class laity. Hence, this particular group of youth are ripe unto harvest if you make your case. My friends, this is good news.
Now consider the Passion variety of youth (Louie Giglio versus Al Mohler et al). They are where the Louisville group will eventually end up if something isn’t done. The Passion group is quintessential Gnosticism. Louisville really hatched a vision for us, but we are researching in order to ascertain whether or not the Passion crowd is too far gone at this point. Furthermore, the youth we encountered in Louisville are more likely to be heard by those beckoning for Christianity to show itself reasonable. By the way, John Piper is the bridge between the two movements. But with both movements, a transition from less teaching to more experience orientation can be clearly seen.
When it gets right down to it, Western religion and culture is predicated on the debate between Plato and Aristotle. How ironic that the contemporary Calvinists of our day maximize the use of the very technology that their mentors despised. Though they hate Aristotle and the children he bore like Ayn Rand, without them, Al Mohler would be just another Hindu priest adding to the pollution of the Ganges River with cremation grounds. In the same way that those priests proclaim that horribly polluted river a place of purifying, Al Mohler and company are living contradictions.
At any rate, ignorance of these matters has not served Christianity or our society well. Christians do error if they think that they do not have to choose the reality that they will function in. Until Christians can define their reality, they will look stupid and act stupid. The Neo-Calvinist leaders of our day do not want our youth to know that they must make that choice, for if they do not understand the reality that they live in and how it functions intellectually…complete control is imminent.
Our ignorance of these matters is evident because we don’t understand why 900 people would voluntarily stand in line before a giant vat full of flavored poison. This is not complicated: those who interpret realty for others dictate perception. Why was I so horrified that atheists posted my article? Why was I so horrified that they listened?
I still have a lot to learn about how the world works.
Sometime in the night while sleeping, I received an article via email written by the Queen of Anomia, Elyse Fitzpatrick. So as I sit here this morning not without coffee and reviewing emails, I have decided to use this specimen to make some points.
Per the usual, this New Calvinist diva arrogantly pontificates while the following fact runs in the background like Lou Priolo justification: the New Calvinists have been working on running the American church for 44 years now, and have dominated American evangelicalism for ten years; so, where’s the beef?
Second point: New Calvinism is a return to authentic Protestantism which is Gnostic at its core. Of course we can’t be saints in the flesh—flesh is of the material realm. Again, I beseech Christians everywhere to read the foundation of Protestant doctrine, the Heidelberg Disputation; it is expressly Gnostic. I might also add that the New Calvinist movement is a good thing because it is forcing God’s people to come to grips with our evil Protestant roots.
Third point: Queen Elyse, like the commentator “Lori,” states something we hear often that is a smoking gun…pointing out that we aren’t perfect—we don’t keep the law perfectly.
Stop right there. This simply means that they see Christians as still under the law whereof the standard is perfection. This is a twofold error: there is NO law in justification, and justification is a finished work and is no longer to be of concern to the Christian. The unjustified are “under law,” but the justified are justified “apart from the law.” Protestantism fuses justification with the law, and keeps Christians under the law. That’s the Pauline definition of the unregenerate.
Point A under point three: antithetical to Pauline soteriology, this posits the idea that there is life in the law because Jesus keeps it for us. Who keeps it isn’t the point—the point is that there is no life in the law.
Point B under point three: contrary to Pauline theology, if perfect law-keeping can bring life, there are TWO SEEDS and not ONE; Jesus and the law both. No! Jesus came to “end the law.” The Promise did not say that there are two seeds, but only one. The Promise is not of law.
Point C under point three: if law and justification are fused together, there is still condemnation for the believer. Our sins are only covered, not ended.
Point D under point three: if perfection is still the standard for Christians, there is no new birth because the old us who died with Christ is still under the law and not free to serve under the law of the Spirit. See Romans 7:1ff. By the way, this is not to be confused with the GOAL of perfection in sanctification.
Point E under point three: yes, in regard to justification, we are, in fact, perfect because there is no law to judge us. Protestantism therefore makes sin against a law justification (a metaphysical anomaly for the Christian) the same as sin in family relationship. Hence, they are saying we sin under the old seed that died. We are not truly brothers/sisters with Christ—we are not literally born of God.
Point four: This is why Protestantism is a vile and egregious false gospel that turns holy writ completely upside down from Genesis to Revelation.
Point five: almost everyone, Prince, MacArthur, Osteen, Driscoll, Jeremiah, Lawson, Wright, Mohler, Johnson, et al, either believe or unwittingly function according to this progressive justification. They are all theological thieves sitting at the poker table bickering at one another.
Point six: making the law of sin and death the same thing as the law of the Spirit of life is the essence and formal definition of antinomianism, the paramount religion of the last days according to Christ. The king of antinomianism will be the antichrist himself. We know who the queen is.
Point seven: not everyone is wrong; we have “Scott”:
Thanks for this, Elyse. I would like to suggest that in your desire to bring folks to reality, you miss a distinction that is too often overlooked by my reformed brothers and sisters. Paul does not describe us as, by NATURE, sinners. He says we are new creations in which old things have (past tense) passed away. He says we ‘became obedient from the heart’ in Romans 6:17. He commands us to ‘Let not sin reign…’ In Romans 6:12. And in Romans 8:9 he says, after telling us to now expect to see the law fulfilled as we walk according to the Spirit, that we are not even in the flesh anymore! ‘You are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.’ (I’m not making this up.)
So what’s the catch? Certainly we should all agree with you that there is plenty of sin that flows in our marriage and that we are no longer under condemnation. So what’s the difference in what I am saying?
Here it is: Paul says that our problem is not that we are by nature sinners. He says that we are by nature saints. Yes he does, in each of his letters. But he also says that we live in unredeemed bodies where the power of sin still dwells, and he calls that the flesh. Nothing good dwells in my flesh! Nada. But I am no longer in the flesh. I’m in the Spirit, and that is not just “positional truth,” any more than Christ being in us by the Holy Spirit is just “positional truth.”
At this point most people will tune out and say “What’s the big deal? It’s just semantics.” Well, Paul spends two and a half chapters in Romans and many other key verses in Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians talking about those “semantics”.
But here’s the secret: If we remember a few key things in the gospel, we can accomplish what you desire in this article and a lot more.
First, remember that, as you kind of said, any emphasis on technique in marriage that takes our focus away from Christ and Christ in us is law!
Second, remember that if we never get it right, we are still justified and destined to reign with Christ forever!
Third, expect nothing good to come from your flesh. If Paul said nothing good dwells in His flesh, then we need to be comfortable with that! Don’t be shocked. Your flesh is capable of any sin you can imagine.
But fourth, know that you really are a brand new creature in Christ where old things have passed away and new things have come. Expect righteousness to flow as you learn to walk in the Spirit and not after the flesh! Expect Galatians 2:20 to become a reality as you recognize who you are in Christ and live by faith in the indwelling Christ.
If I am finding my joy and peace and identity in Christ rather than in my spouse, then I will, like you and your husband, be in it for the long haul because of the covenant we have made.
Point eight: I would only correct Scott on a few issues. First, you are wrong Scott. Queen Elyse does not have good intentions; she is a wicked false teacher. Secondly, yes, Paul said that there is no good thing in our flesh, but that is not to say that flesh (also “members”) cannot be used for good purposes as you pointed out. Flesh is not inherently evil in and of itself, that’s Gnosticism. It is the sin in the flesh that is inherently evil; the sin is the sin. “In the flesh” does not mean flesh is inherently evil; it refers to when the members are being used for evil purposes rather than holy purposes. Something that is inherently evil cannot be used for holy purposes or “holy sacrifice.” The flesh is “weak,” but not inherently evil. The earth is also weak, but not inherently evil, and groans with us for redemption. The earth also proclaims the glory of God and testifies to His glory.
Last point: Scott, you get it; come out from among them and be separate. Do not continue to touch the unclean thing.
“To emphasize the shadows is to emphasize life itself.”
There is one proof that today’s church is saturated with Gnosticism, other than the tyranny that comes with it. For the most part, when you listen to any given message taught to Christians, you will notice that a neutral or third option is missing. It’s an either/or worldview. The essence of Gnosticism is known as “dualism.” All knowledge is either good or evil. In the case of Protestantism, it’s Luther’s cross story or glory story: the knowledge of good and evil; sound familiar? All reality falls into two categories only: it’s EITHER about you, OR it’s about the cross.
“_______…is not necessarily a bad thing (fill in the shadow element), it’s just not the best thing.” Yes my friend, why do you emphasize the shadows when it is only the Son that gives life? In Protestantism, “Son.” In Platonism, “Sun.” For both: shadows = life and the material realm. To emphasize the shadows is to emphasize life itself.
Shadows are true. Plato never said that shadows don’t exist—he just deemed them useless for true knowledge. The virtuous person does not live in the shadows, he/she lives according to the true, good, and beautiful aka Plato’s trinity. The shadows, viz, life and whatever may be going on, is irrelevant to the wellbeing experience of the true, good, and beautiful. In the same way, good Protestants are deemed happy regardless of their circumstances; it is well with our soul.
If ISIS raises their flag above the White House—it is well with our soul.
If there is a pedophile in our church—it is well with our soul.
“Justice!” you say? If you want self-justice, you are just as guilty as the one who followed his self-desire. Come now, use this preordained opportunity to be the bigger person, to show forth the cross of self-denial. If you deny yourself justice, you are showing forth the gospel to the one who should have denied himself the fulfillment of his self-desire. We must “bring grace to the situation.” We must, “show forth the gospel.” We must show forth the self-death of the cross.
All of these things are just shadows after all. And to the Gnostic, whether an atheist or a good Protestant, the biggest shadow of all is capitalism. The profound spell of Plato is that he appeals to the social scientist and the religionist alike. Self-concept is the waters of the shadow world that we swim in. To the degree that we empty self and live solely for the sake of community, our individual soul is transformed. To the degree that individuals are transformed, society is transformed. Atheists and Protestants must not fuss; here now, hold hands and say, “ahhhmen.” After all, we all want the same thing: community wellbeing.
One is greatly mistaken if they point to the woes of societies living in the rotten fruits of Eastern mysticism as a contention. Those people are deemed virtuous because they are content in the shadows. If everyone would follow their example, the world would be balanced and the true, good, and beautiful would be manifested. The only reason that countries are poor is because capitalism’s greed takes from some and gives to others, and the earth is therefore unbalanced. The only way to a balanced, unified earth is collective self-death. This is where the liberal Democrat and the Neo-Calvinist both walk in the way of Martin Luther’s cross story.
Hence, the likes of ISIS is an unfortunate example of those who are a bit over-zealous. But they understand the importance of devaluing the life of the individual—they are just a bit extreme in demonstrating that truth. They are misguided, but yea, if only the capitalist understood their child-like faith.
Bad results are no pudding test. Capitalism isn’t the cure, it’s the cause. This is where the contrast between Christ who said, “the poor will always be with you,” and the dominion theology of the Neo-Calvinist and the liberal democrat alike should strike terror in our hearts.
An excerpt from a reply to someone about election and covenants:
It’s perpetual covenant renewal. By experiencing perpetual death and rebirth (“mortification and vivification”) you gain assurance of salvation, but you won’t know for certain that you are saved until the final judgement. Calvin held to three classes of election: the non-elect, the called (temporarily elected), and those who persevere (those who stand in the judgement). Calvin actually taught that the “called” were temporarily illumined by the Holy Spirit. Most Calvinists of the Neo-Calvinist resurgence are aware that Calvin believed this and hold to it.
Justification/salvation is a finished work and is completely separate from sanctification/Christian living. There is only one connection between justification and sanctification; one precedes the other. Seeing the radical dichotomy between justification and sanctification is key to much needed revival among Christians. Fusion of the two in varying degrees is the spiritual cancer that presently plagues the Christian community in our day.
A good way to see the vast separation between justification and sanctification is the difference between gift and reward. A gift cannot be earned, but a reward is something that is earned. Something that is earned, or worked for, cannot be a gift. When your employer pays you, he/she doesn’t hand you a check while saying, “This is a gift from me to you.”
In the Bible, salvation is a gift, and kingdom living is rewarded. Calvinism tries to get around this dichotomy by using Covenant theology. Supposedly, Adam violated a covenant of works when he disobeyed God, and the Covenant of Grace is a gift to us by faith alone, but is a result of Christ fulfilling the Covenant of Works (the covenant violated by Adam) for us. This enables them to explain away the following:
Hebrews 6:10 – For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
If God overlooked the work we do in kingdom living, that would make Him unjust. You can compare this to an employer who doesn’t pay an employee what they have earned. A reward is something you earn.
Calvinists say verses like this must be interpreted redemptively and not grammatically. In the grammatical interpretation, “your” means “you.” It is work done by you and you have earned a reward accordingly. If God overlooks what YOU have earned, that would make Him unjust. But if this verse is interpreted redemptively, it becomes the work Christ has done for you rather than by you. It is Christ’s fulfillment of the Covenant of Works that is being referred to, and your reward is salvation accordingly.
So, our “reward” is really a “gift.” And the “gift” is a reward given to us because the work is done by someone else. Hence, one cannot be a grammarian and Calvinist both. In addition, any claim by Calvinists that they use exegesis is not in the realm of reality. Covenant theology is clearly eisegesis. You must go to the Bible with a prism that can explain the contradictions that arise when sentences are evaluated by the plain sense of the words.
It was brought to my attention yesterday that Mr. Reformation himself, John Piper, hands down the most popular Calvinist of our day and the “elder statesman” of the Neo-Calvinist movement, stated the following in The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin ( John Piper, Crossway Books, 2000, page 73):
We need to rethink our reformed doctrine of salvation so that every limb and every branch in the tree is coursing with the sap of Augustinian delight.
This is an outright admission that Plato is the foundation for understanding reality and the Bible. Augustine’s integration of Platonist philosophy with the Bible was well documented by Susan Dohse during the 2013 TANC Conference. Once one pursues knowledge in this information age regarding what was really going on during the Reformation, you see that it was nothing more or less than a philosophy war. You can take that literally because armies in fact brought swords and catapults to the theological debates going on during that time.
So, why did Martin Luther make Sola Scriptura a central focus of the Reformation? Due to the rise of the Age of Reason, the Bible being made readily available to the great unwashed masses was inevitable. Ingenuity invented the printing press, and the handwriting was on the wall. The masses were going to get a Bible in every hut, and it was obvious that Augustinian-like slaughter was not killing people fast enough to prevent mass distribution, so the next best thing was to mandate how people interpret the Bible. That’s what the Heidelberg Disputation was all about. Nothing more, nothing less.
Yes indeed, Scripture alone, but with what interpretation? Not the use of reason. To Luther and the Reformers, a serf believing in the ability to reason is like a toddler playing with a loaded gun. Basically, this is a discussion about grammatical interpretation using reason versus redemptive narrative. Those who would use reason to interpret the Bible were known as the “schoolmen,” and Calvin refers to them 69 times in the Calvin Institutes. The references are not complimentary. Like Luther, Calvin saw the use of reason to interpret the Bible as a rogue hermeneutic and antithetical to Platonist principles of philosophy.
This is an issue that has never been brought to the forefront among Christians for consideration even though most pastors preach via meta-narrative, and most Christians assume the use of reason to reach logical conclusions past, “I am a totally depraved person who can know nothing beyond the foolishness of the cross.” This is why Protestants are the most confused individuals on the face of the earth. Protestant pastors interpret reality in a totally different way than those being led.
And so it goes: Sunday after Sunday, the churches are full of parishioners trying to draw logical conclusions for living from a sermon designed to lead parishioners to one conclusion only: the only thing you can understand is that you cannot understand anything save that you deserve hell, and everything other than that is a an undeserved gift. Principles for living life? What life? Life isn’t for living, it is only to be praised as something done to us, not by us. The only thing we should be doing is hell, not life.
Therefore, if you raise a concern, or ask a question, this immediately reveals the fact that you just don’t get it. You are living for your own glory, and not the glory of the cross story. Knowledge and pride are inseparable, and of course, “pride precedeth a fall.”
Transcripts forthcoming at a later date.
PART ONE TRANSCRIPT
All right. Tonight we’re going to be looking at Revelation 12, if you want to go ahead and turn there. The big news right now is the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and per the usual when Israel is in the news like this, the anti-Israel rhetoric is ratcheted up to a great degree. I figured we’d weigh in on this before we continue on our Roman series next week. Our particular interest coincides with our ministry, which is research on Reformed Theology, and there is no lack of discussion to be found when discussing the Reformed view on Israel. The subject of Israel clashes with the Reformed thought in many areas.
First, let me say this. Anti-Israeli sentiment is simply satanic, all right? When it gets right down to it, the Bible in Ephesians 6:12 says that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. Primarily, that’s a good thing to remember. But against the rulers, against authorities, against cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil and heavenly places. Save that thought. Hold on to that thought because I really want to apply it to what we’re going to be learning in Revelation 12, okay? This is something that we ought to remember often that humanity is in the middle of cosmic warfare between Satan and God. Our subject today is not at all far off from what we’ve been looking at in regard to predestination and election. The more we learn, the more we suspect that God has predetermined the outcome of this cosmic war as way of election. So what we’ve learned is, learned positively from other places in the word of God, that God elects outcomes, okay? We all want a good ending to the story, right? And he’s elected groups of people to bring about that end. But as we move through time from past history to the future, people have free will to take sides in the warfare, okay? The Bible states that God created hell for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:24 states, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into eternal life prepared for the devil and his angels.'” So notice that when people are judged by God in the end, they are sent to a place that was not prepared for them. I think this is worthy of notation that man did not create hell, or that God did not create hell for men. Well, if God has predetermined some for destruction and some for salvation, why wouldn’t it be prepared for them? Add to that that Christ died for all people, John 3:16 and 2 Peter 2:1, and God is not willing that any should perish, 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:3-9. Also, God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, Ezekiel 18:32.
One thing we must understand is that the Reformed tradition struggles with the grammatical biblical view of Israel for a couple of reasons. First, this whole Promised Land thing, the geography thing, emphasis on earthly soil does not fit in to the Reformation’s Gnostic view of the visible or the material being evil and the invisible being good. A plot of land also means a literal kingdom on earth for Israel, which throws their whole progressive justification soteriology and the contradiction in confusion, okay? An actual literal plot of land is good for a dispensational view but not a Reformed view of progressive justification. Secondly, and worse yet, Israel as a nation, having salvation ramification completely turns the Reformed applecart upside down. The Reformed crowd likes to make a very distinct separation between Israel as a nation and what they call spiritual Israel.
Before we get into Revelation 12, a word about confused Calvinists. Always remember that Israel is a big problem for the tie that binds. Gnosticism with progressive justification is the application. There will be many variances of the central idea but progressive justification, the idea that salvation isn’t a finished work, or that justification likewise is not a finished work is still the underlying false gospel that drives most denominations in our day, especially those of the Reformed sort. Now I think around 2009, John MacArthur Jr. opened up an annual shepherd’s conference with a controversial message propagating the following. Supersessionism or replacement theology contradicts election. Israel is elect, so the idea that the Church replaced Israel must be a contradiction. The message caused a lot of stir, and MacArthur’s Calvinist friends thought that they had been ambushed at the conference. But the idea that one’s election can be lost is in no wise contradictory to what Calvin taught. So what John MacArthur was teaching is that, hey, you know, we Calvinists, we believe in election. So how can you not be for a dispensational view to some point of the Bible? MacArthur is confused about many aspects of Reformed Theology, and this is one of them. Calvin believed that the called were a class of elect who are temporarily illumined. And I’m not going to cite the citations. I’m worn out from citing the Calvin Institutes on this. The idea that people can lose their election is not inconsistent with Reformed Theology at all.
This Calvinist approach can also be split up into two groups. What some prefer to call immutable justification and mutable justification. The former believe that three groups are predetermined: the non-elect, the temporary elect, and those who persevere. The latter holds to the idea that people can actually determine their final faith if they persevere by remaining faithful to the New Covenant. What does that entail? For all practical purposes, remaining faithful to a local expression of the institutional church–show up, tithe, and make life easy for the elders. This is the Galatian problem all over again because their justification is progressive. They must do the right things to stay justified. But the requirements are a dumbed-down version of the law in the form of traditions of men. And I’ve talked at length about some Calvinists about this, and they say that it’s not keeping the law per se that keeps you safe, it’s being, and this would be the crowd from the mutable justification or changeable justification, the idea that if you’re faithful to the Covenant, i.e. the local church, and that you’re as faithful as you can be, you’re in. That keeps you justified.
The other immutable crowd comes from the position that it’s all predetermined. There’s absolutely nothing you can do except to work out your own salvation with trembling and fear to see if you make it in the end. And you can come to have an assurance of salvation as long as you see yourself being faithful, but you won’t know for certain whether the called temporarily illumined, or those who receive the gift of perseverance and persevere to the end, okay? And this is arguable. I’ve quoted the Calvin Institutes on this constantly. Paul warned the Galatians that if they wanted to be justified by the law, they were accountable for all of it, not the dumbed-down traditions of men versions. Now that’s Galatians 5:3. Paul goes on to say that justification is a finished work wherein there is no law. Law is now a guide for works of love and sanctification. And that’s in Galatians chapter 5:6-7.
So I got away from my main point a little bit in that let’s look at a few things here from Revelation 12. Let’s kind of go through and look at the verses, and let’s focus on the very important point that I want to make in this passage that Israel as a nation is part and parcel with redemption, the redemption plan, okay? The redemption plan that is elected by God. And we had a study on this from the book of Romans where we went into this pretty – people like to make a big dichotomy between national Israel and spiritual Israel. And the Church is now spiritual Israel and the true Jew is really one who is part of the church that has replaced Israel because it fell from its position. The Bible plainly says Israel is elect. How can they say that that was lost? Especially if you read Jeremiah 31 where it’s absolutely clear. Well, again, in Calvinism and the Reformed doctrine in general, there’s a difference between the called and those who have been granted the gift of perseverance. When you’re saved, you’re entered in to the salvation lottery. You’re entered in to the race. And the race is not for rewards. The reward is salvation.
Now let’s look then at Revelation 12:1. “And a great sign appeared in heaven. A woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and on her head a crowd of 12 stars.” Though this passage uses a lot of symbolism, it is not difficult to interpret. The woman is national Israel, and this passage shows how Israel as a nation cannot be separated spiritually from soteriology. We will see this as we progress. But let me drive the point a little more with Ephesians 2:11-12. So let’s borrow from Ephesians a little bit here in our study. Verse 11, Paul says, “Therefore, remember that at one time, you Gentiles in the flesh,” okay, those once slave to the flesh before they’re saved, “called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision which is made in the flesh by hands,” verse 12, “Remember that you were at that time,” when they were unsaved, “You at that time were separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel.” All right, what’s a commonwealth? We’ve looked at this before in our study of Romans sometime ago. The idea of commonwealth has national connotations to it, and you were strangers to the covenants of promise. And we also looked at covenants being used in the plural there. Why is that? Because all of the covenants in the Old Testament work together to build and culminate on the one final New Covenant in the end.
And I note that in my notes here that we spent a whole lesson on making all these points and the fact that Israel as a nation, Israel’s identity as a nation cannot be separated from God’s salvation plan. And that’s why we love Israel, the nation, and that’s why we look at great interest with what’s going on in Israel today. Well, Israel is a secular nation, and remember, we’re learning more and more that secular is not always necessarily evil. The United States was founded as a secular nation. Obviously, it was a secular nation in regard to the decision that they would stay neutral in religion, that they would focus on freedom of religion but as a government, not take sides, okay? So that’s not necessarily evil for a government to say, “We’re going to rule and not take sides in regard to religions.” Well, Paul, then, what’s their standard? Well, first of all, they were ordained by God. And secondly, as we often talk about, all men born into the world have the law of God written on their hearts with their consciences, either accusing or excusing their behavior. All right? We’ve talked about this before. The Nuremberg trials, what law was used? They got to gather these nations and brought these Nazi war criminals up on charges before I guess you would call the World Court because what they did was horribly wrong. Well, says who? From what law book? Why did men all gather together and agree that really along with the rest of the world that this was absolutely horrible behavior? Where has such a law come from? Only one place. Man is created with that intuitive knowledge of good built in, part of the creation.
Okay. So verse 2, “She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains in the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven. Behold a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns. And on its heads, seven diadems.” Go down to verse 4. “His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth, and the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she bore her child, he might devour it.” Okay, so what’s this a picture of? This is obviously a picture of Christ coming out of Israel, the nation Israel, which gave birth to Christ. This is a woman with, what was it? 12 stars on her head, which is obviously the 12 tribes of Israel, okay? And so the dragon stood before the woman who’s about to give birth so that she bore her children that he might devour it. Well, okay, yes, this could pertain directly to – remember when Herod tried to have Christ murdered by murdering all the infants in Israel, amongst the Jews from two years old down. But I think this speaks generally to the kingdom of darkness trying to destroy Christ.
Verse 5, “She gave birth to the male child, one who is to rule all the nations with an iron rod, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne.” So what we have up until verse 5 is the introduction of national Israel, the fact that the Messiah or the Savior came out of Israel, the fact that the kingdom of darkness, Satan, tried to destroy the Christ who came into the world as a man. And notice that he will rule all of the nations with an iron rod. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. This is literal. This is the millennial kingdom. This is where Christ will rule on David’s throne in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and Israel as a nation will be the head of the world and not the tail. And there’s much, much information about this and the details of the millennial kingdom in the Old Testament. He wasn’t able to destroy Christ. Israel’s child was caught up to God and to his throne. That of course is the resurrection. Okay. “And the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.”
So basically, what we have in chapter 12 is a thumbnail of all redemptive history up to the tribulation period is what we have, and really beyond with the mentioning of the millennial kingdom where Christ will rule the nations with an iron rod. Now we all look forward to heaven for many things, but this is one reason we look forward to redemption. As we study the Bible, it’s not heaven per se, I suppose. We’ll be given assignments and work to do, and I guess that will be in heaven and in the millennial kingdom. But we know that at the end of the millennial kingdom and after the white throne judgment that there is a new heaven and a new earth, and heavenly Jerusalem comes down from heaven, and that’s where God tabernacles with man on earth. Again, this kind of upsets the Gnostic applecart big time, right? You’ve got the invisible coming and dwelling with the physical. You have God coming down from heaven and dwelling with man, which of course the Exodus and everything with the tabernacle with Israel was what God wanted then, right? So basically, that finally comes about. The tabernacle represented God’s desire to dwell on earth with men.
So let’s say instead of talking about going to heaven, let’s talk about redemption. One of the things that we will look forward to enjoying is in the millennial kingdom, there will be justice, okay? This is the point here. Christ will rule from David’s throne in Jerusalem with an iron rod or a rod of iron, and things are going to be done right. There’s going to be justice. There’s going to be fairness, okay? We’re going to be able to look at that and see that happen as set against the injustice that we have to live with all the time in this world. Things are going to be done right, and that’s going to be a glory. Also, another thing that will be glorious as set against what we’re used to, and I look forward to this, Israel will no longer be the ugly stepchild of the world that everybody beats on. They’re going to be the head, the Old Testament said, they’re going to be the head of the nations and not the tail. And all of this frustrating persecution and horrible treatment and anti-semitism that we see against Israel, we’re going to be able to set that against the extreme opposite being true in the millennial kingdom. For me, that’s something to look forward to. And when I see this incessant anti-semitism that we experience in our culture and in history, I’m always encouraged and I always think, even though it makes me angry and frustrates me, the thought that comes to mind is, “The day is coming. The day is coming when all of that is going to be made right.”
Now verse 6, “And the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.” So what Revelation 12 does here is we have the creation of Israel as a nation; we have the fact that the Messiah comes out of that nation, the fact that Satan tries to devour that child, then we have in verse 5 him going back to God and his throne. So this is up to the resurrection, and you can throw the birth of the Gentiles being grafted into Israel in there. Now we’re jumping in to verse 6 which is definitely during the tribulation period, the seven-year tribulation period. Now look, this is the only place 1,260 days fits into anything. That’s what? Three and a half years, right? Okay. There’s no place else in all of scripture to put these 1,260 days. There’s only one place these days can go, and that is the seven-year tribulation period.
What we see here is that there’s a persecution of the woman in these days, and somehow Israel is protected for that many days from being wiped out. I don’t know what happens. One day we will study the book of Revelation. For now, suffice it to say, Israel as a people is protected as a people for these many days. Now a war arose in heaven. Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fight back. This is interesting. Eight, “And he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.” Now we know up until this time from other scriptures, especially in the book of Job, that Satan and his demons have access to heaven and apparently even go there and dialogue with God. I think Satan is also called the Accuser of the Brethren, and what the Hebrew writer talks about in regard to Christ being our advocate, I think this is where Christ is our advocate in heaven. Now the Reformed crowd teaches that he’s an advocate for a continued imputing of his righteousness to us to keep us justified, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think Christ is our advocate in sanctification because even though we’re sanctified and our justification is a done deal, we’re continually accused in heaven by the accuser of the what? The brethren.
So verse 9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent who’s called the devil and Satan and the deceiver of the whole world.” I find this interesting too. The concept all through the Bible as Satan being a deceiver of the world. I just find that interesting in that this is in the mix – how should I say? If our eternal faith is predetermined, why have the kingdom of darkness being capable of deception? Why is that even in the mix? And if we’re so totally depraved, if mankind is in general totally depraved, why do we need a deceiver? So just a thought. I’m not saying that’s a big deal but just something to think about. Anyway, he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Now this is undoubtedly in the middle of the tribulation period. During this time when Israel is protected somehow, whether supernaturally or God used his other nations to protect Israel, I don’t know. I know this for a fact. The book of Revelation is going to read like the daily newspapers during that time. In the book of Daniel, we find that during this time knowledge will increase, we read in the book of Daniel. I think what will increase is the book of Revelation is what’s going to increase. That’s the knowledge that’s going to increase. This is where all heck breaks out on earth. We have the seven-year tribulation period, and I think when Satan is cast out of heaven, I think this is where we have the great tribulation, which is the last three and a half years.
Verse 10, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying now salvation and the power of the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before God.” So again, this is where I believe the Hebrew writer talks about Christ being our advocate. I think this is what’s going on.
Verse 11, “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony for they love not their lives even unto death.” Hold the fort. Wow. What translation do you have?
Susan: King James.
Okay. I believe what I have is the ESV, and I believe we’re missing something. Wow. Okay. It’s going to be in verse 6, okay? “And the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared for God and where she was nourished for 1,260 days.” Is there any more to that verse?
Susan: No. And it’s “prepared by God,” not “prepared for God.”
Okay. Somewhere in there, I’m not finding it, when there’s a – he puts out a flood to try to destroy the woman. But anyway, when he can’t destroy the woman, he wages war against her offspring.
Susan: That’s in verse 15, 13, 14, and 15.
Oh, okay. We’re not there yet. Okay. So anyway, “And they conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell on them, but woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath because he knows that his time is short.” So the heavens will rejoice that he’s finally been cast out, but woe unto the earth because this is when this great wrath comes.
All right, 13. “When the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.” Now who is that?
That’s Israel, the Jews. Verse 14, “But the woman was given the two wings of a great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness to a place where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time,” and again, that’s the three and a half years. So you can kind of coincide this with what Christ said in Matthew 24, I believe, when he said, “When you see the abomination of,” or the…
Susan: Abomination of desolation.
Yeah, abomination of decimation [SOUNDS LIKE] or whatever it was, where Satan goes into the temple and sits there and proclaims himself, he says, “Flee.” He says, “Don’t even go back to the house to get anything. Flee.” So apparently, this happens suddenly. And I don’t know what all happens there, but wherever they flee to or whatever they do, they’re protected for these three and a half years. “So the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman.” And I believe people during that time are going to be able to read in the book of Revelation and know exactly what that’s talking about. I don’t know what that symbolizes, but they’re going to know then what it symbolizes. “So the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to help the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from its mouth.” Again, we don’t know what that’s going to symbolize. It may be some kind of supernatural event or it may be something else.
Verse 17, “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring on those who keep the commandment of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.” And what I think that is referring to, the dragon can’t destroy Israel, so then he goes after her offspring. Who do I think that is? I think that’s the Gentiles, okay?
Susan: The believing Gentiles.
The believing Gentiles who are alive during the tribulation period. He can’t destroy Israel. Somehow Israel is protected for three and a half years. Satan knows his time is short. He can read the Bible too and know what’s going to happen. So basically, here is where you, I believe, get this great slaughter and persecution of Christians during the tribulation period. Apparently, that’s going to be mostly Gentiles. I do believe the offspring spoken of here is the Gentiles because they came out of Israel. Again, I want to make the point here that Israel as a nation is very relevant to God’s redemptive plan, and we got to keep that in mind. Any questions or comments?
Susan: It’s obvious from what is written in Revelation that this is a national Israel and not a spiritual Israel that we’re talking about here.
Right. And that’s my point. I think we make a big mistake in scripture when we try to make this huge dichotomy between spiritual Israel, whatever that is, and national Israel. And that’s why as Christians, we don’t look at Israel as just a “sliver of geography” that people use to eclipse the glory of Christ. And do you know how many Reformed people have said this to me and the dispensational people in general that you’re accused of making a plot of land more relevant than Christ himself, you know? So again, there’s this dichotomy. When it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, their real problem is that we’re talking about material land. And if it’s material land, it can’t have relevance because it’s evil, because it’s material. So yeah…
Susan: Nowhere in the scripture was the material land promised to Abraham given then to David ever described as being evil. It was Promised Land, a land of covenant, a land of promise, a land of hope. Now did evil happen there? Yes. There were evil rulers, et cetera. We all know the history of the nation of Israel. But all throughout scripture, there’s always that connotation that it is a land significant to God, not evil, significant, blessed and important to God for redemptive purposes and for his elect. And how much more we as believing Christians need to bless the land of Israel?
Right. Absolutely. So any other comments? All right, well, we’ll wrap that up for tonight, and hopefully that will be useful for some folks.
PART 2 TRANSCRIPT
PAUL: So we’re going to look at Revelation 12 again, and the reason we are is because Israel, of course, is in the news, and we all know that, and we’ve all been following that. But what is prompting me to look at Israel on the Bible, particularly at Revelation 12 is when Israel is in the news like this, the anti-semitism just comes out of the woodwork. It’s crazy, especially among professing Christians. I was on a back on forth on Facebook till two o’clock in the morning about this. And granted, it’s primarily the Reformed crowd, their unabashed anti-semitism is just over the top. And of course what we’re saying is – the reason we’re saying this is because we’re in an era right now in the American Church that is the return to the hardcore Protestant doctrine and gospel. I mean, this is a return to the authentic article, and that is where this anti-semitism comes from, or replacement theology, this whole idea that Israel fell from grace and has been replaced by the Gentile church, which is exactly what the Apostle Paul warned against in Romans 11, very sternly warned about “boasting against the branches,” so to speak. Okay? (more…)
How do you respond to someone who says they are a liberal Christian?
“It’s hard because they have no clue what they are talking about. Did they use the above placard to clarify?”
Yes, they are using that as a definition (click on to enlarge, then back-arrow to return):
“Then they are an Emergent Calvinist.”
Answer: read or download free pdf ebook here.
Originally posted on Paul’s Passing Thoughts:
The insanely celebrated return to our Reformed roots teaches the following about the law:
We are unable to keep the law perfectly. And since a perfect keeping of the law is the standard for righteousness required to live with God forever, our inability to keep the law perfectly leads us to Christ who must keep/fulfill it for us. As Christians, we continue to use the law in this way to “preach the gospel to ourselves.” The more we use the law to show our innate sinfulness, the more we experience “vivification” (a joyful, perpetual rebirth).
The bogus idea that perfect law-keeping is justification’s standard aside, the most popular text that supposedly supports this idea is Galatians 3:24 –
So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
Originally posted on Paul's Passing Thoughts:
Something has been on my mind for some time that I have never written about. During the 2009 Resolved conference, “Pastor” Steve Lawson preached a sermon on the Great White Throne Judgment. In that message, Lawson claimed that Christ Himself will “be in hell”… “personally inflicting the wrath on unbelievers” for eternity. I know that Calvinism is heavily predicated on fear so I wasn’t surprised that Lawson said it. Rob Bell committed the unpardonable sin among New Calvinists by removing the fear factor in his book, “love Wins.” Calvin himself taught that fear and terror of judgment was efficacious to the mortification and vivification process that enables Christians to stand in the final judgment (CI 3.3.3-7). Bell didn’t merely violate Scripture, he dissed a Reformed mainstay: fear and its kissing cousin control.
Hell, in and of itself, is sobering enough, but apparently Lawson thought the reality of it needed…
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