Monthly Archives: September 2012

HOW THE EARLY CHURCH UNDERSTOOD THE APOSTLES

by Ken Silva pastor-teacher Features, Roman Catholicism
from apprising.org

By Apprising Ministries special correspondent Bob DeWaay

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone”(Ephesians 2:19, 20).

This article explores the idea of apostles in the church throughout church history…we will review how the early church understood apostles in church history… At a 1996 Fuller Seminary conference hosted by C. Peter Wagner, a movement that Wagner previously labeled “post-denominational” became the New Apostolic Reformation.1

Besides Wagner himself is another person prominent in the movement—Bill Hamon—who is strongly endorsed by Wagner. Hamon is important, as we will see, because his ministry goes all the way back to the early 1950’s and began on the heels of the Latter Rain Movement.

In 97 AD, Clement of Rome wrote an epistle to the church at Corinth. The epistle provides solid evidence that the early church did not believe that the apostles had successors or that new apostles were needed in order to provide direction to the church.

At issue was the fact that certain individuals in Corinth challenged the duly constituted elders’ authority; Clement wrote to correct them. Clement’s testimony is remarkable because he likely was the Clement mentioned in Philippians 4:3, whom Paul called a “fellow worker.”

Clement mentions the apostles in this passage:

The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God.

Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe.2

Although the Roman Catholic Church claims that Clement himself was an apostle of Christ in succession from Peter, Clement claimed no such title and neither did he acknowledge any apostles but the true apostles—the ones Christ appointed personally. What we will see from Clement is that the apostles appointed overseers and elders (the same group), and these were the authorities in the local church.

The apostle Paul had given instructions on the qualifications and roles of elders (Acts 20:28 – 31; Titus 1:5-9; 1Timothy 3:1 – 7) and provided for their continuation (2Timothy 2:2). Clement goes on to discuss this:

Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry.

We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them.3

Clement did not claim the apostolic authority to intervene, but rather pointed to elders who were appointed according to the standards of the Biblical apostles. It is noteworthy that he used the terms “episcopate” and “presbyters” interchangeably for the same people. Soon the church would develop “bishops” over cities (the “monepiscopate” or single bishop over a city), which was an innovation not endorsed by the Biblical apostles. However, Clement, who had been an associate of Paul, used episkopos (overseers or bishops – KJV) and presbuteros (elders) to describe the same group of people. This is precisely what Paul did in Acts 20:17, 28 when he called the elders together and described them as “overseers.”

By 97 AD, the authorities in the church were not apostles and prophets, but elders who had been appointed according to the standards lain down by the apostles. Those who claim that God always intended there to be authoritative apostles in the church who give binding revelation ignore the fact that the apostles themselves never anticipated that they would have successors and gave no instructions for the qualifications of any such successors.

But they did provide qualifications for elders, and these would apply to future generations. Sadly, the fact that there are no qualifications for apostles (other than that they must have seen the risen Lord and have been appointed directly by Him – which qualifications the NAR apostles ignore or reject) has opened to the door the proliferation of apostles around the world, many of whom claim apostolic status even though they do not even have the necessary qualifications to be elders in a local church.

The Roman Catholic Church’s Apostles

As church history progressed, the understanding of church authority as seen in the days of Clement of Rome disappeared very quickly in favor of the monepiscopate and progressed from that unbiblical innovation to the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. This idea eventually led to the Papacy. Later in church history, and in amazing irony, the Roman Catholic Church claimed that Clement was a successor of Peter and had apostolic status. This travesty dishonors the very teachings of Clement himself who taught no such thing.

Roman Catholic innovation removed the status of the Biblical apostles as the foundation of the church4 and replaced it with a succession of apostles who claimed the liberty to give new, binding revelation to the church. Here is how the Roman Catholic Church explains its own position:

We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.5 (Catholic Encyclopedia)

It is ironic that C. Peter Wagner claims we need restored apostles when there have been claimants to the office of apostle going back over 1,000 years. Wagner acknowledges this:

[I]n certain segments of the Church the office of apostle has, indeed, been recognized throughout the past two millennia. The Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican or Episcopal Church and many denominations that have actually incorporated “apostolic” into their name would come to mind as examples. However, just as was true of prophetic movements, the emphases of these apostolic movements had not penetrated the mainstream of what I am calling life-giving evangelical churches that are now the cutting edge of the spread of Christianity. This only began to happen in the 1990’s.6

So, with regard to having apostles Wagner sees the Roman Catholic Church not as guilty of unbiblical innovation as Luther and the other Reformers claimed, but as a positive role model for evangelicals. His new “reformation” claims to have many thousands of apostles and prophets. At least Rome put some reigns on apostles in that they only have one at a time and he speaks “ex cathedra” only occasionally. The new apostles are continually speaking new revelations from God.

The Reformation Teaches “Scripture Alone”

The Reformation rightly rejected the authority of the Pope and church tradition and returned to “scripture alone.” This was a return to the true foundation of the church, the Biblical apostles and prophets who speak to us through the Scripture. This means that the decrees of men in church history are not binding on any believer unless those decrees are valid implications and applications of Scripture.

This brings up an important point mentioned in the previous issue of CIC: God only binds us to what is inerrant and infallible.7 Words from men that contain mixture and error and lack the qualities of inspired Scripture cannot be binding on the lives of believers. This truth was at the crux of the Reformation. The words of the Popes do not have this quality nor do those of latter day apostles and prophets.

Is Jesus a myth?

From gotquestions.org

Question: “Is Jesus a myth? Is Jesus just a copy of the pagan gods of other ancient religions?”

Answer: There are a number of voices claiming that the accounts of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament are simply myths and were the result of the writers borrowing stories from pagan mythology, such as the stories of Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Attis, and Mithras. The claim is that these mythological figures are essentially the same story as what the New Testament ascribes to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. As Dan Brown claims in, The Da Vinci Code, “Nothing in Christianity is original.”

However, once the facts are examined, these claims are proven false. To discover the truth about these particular claims and others like them, it is important to: (1) unearth the history behind their assertions, (2) examine the actual historical portrayals of the false gods being compared to Christ, (3) expose the logical fallacies that the authors are making, and (4) look at why the New Testament Gospels can be trusted as accurately depicting the true and historical Jesus Christ.

First, the claims of Jesus as a myth or an exaggeration originated in the writings of 19th century liberal German theologians. Their claim was essentially that Jesus was nothing more than a copy of the widespread worship of dying and rising fertility gods in various places—Tammuz in Mesopotamia, Adonis in Syria, Attis in Asia Minor, and Osiris in Egypt. None of these works ever advanced in the realm of academia and religious thought because their assertions were investigated by theologians and scholars and determined to be completely false and baseless. It has only been in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century that these assertions have been resurrected, primarily due to the rise of the internet and mass distribution of information that has no historical foundation or accountability.

This leads us to the next area of investigation—do the mythological gods of antiquity really mirror the person of Jesus Christ? As an example, the Zeitgeist movie makes these claims about the Egyptian god Horus:

• He was born on December 25th of a virgin – Isis Mary
• A star in the East proclaimed his arrival
• Three kings came to adore the new-born “savior”
• He became a child prodigy teacher at age 12
• At age 30 he was “baptized” and began a “ministry”
• Horus had twelve “disciples”
• Horus was betrayed
• He was crucified
• He was buried for three days
• He was resurrected after three days

However, when the actual writings about Horus are competently examined, this is what we find:

• Horus was born to Isis; there is no mention in history of her being called “Mary.” Moreover, Mary is our anglicized form of her real name ‘Miryam’ or Miriam. “Mary” was not even used in the original texts of Scripture.
• Isis was not a virgin; she was the widow of Osiris and conceived Horus with Osiris.
• Horus was born during month of Khoiak (Oct/Nov), not December 25. Further, there is no mention in the Bible as to Christ’s actual birth date.
• There is no record of three kings visiting Horus at his birth. The Bible never states the actual number of magi that came to see Christ.
• Horus is not a “savior” in any shape or form; he did not die for anyone.
• There are no accounts of Horus being a teacher at the age of 12.
• Horus was not “baptized.” The only account of Horus that involves water is one story where Horus is torn to pieces, with Isis requesting the crocodile god to fish him out of the water he was placed into.
• Horus did not have a “ministry.”
• Horus did not have 12 disciples. According to the Horus accounts, Horus had four semi-gods that were followers and some indications of 16 human followers and an unknown number of blacksmiths that went into battle with him.
• There is no account of Horus being betrayed by a friend.
• Horus did not die by crucifixion. There are various accounts of Horus’ death, but none of them involve crucifixion.
• There is no account of Horus being buried for three days.
• Horus was not resurrected. There is no account of Horus coming out of the grave with the body he went in with. Some accounts have Horus/Osiris being brought back to life by Isis and going to be the lord of the underworld.

So when compared side by side, Jesus and Horus bear little, if any, resemblance to one another. Another popular comparison done by those claiming that Jesus Christ is a myth is with Jesus and Mithras. All the above claims of Horus are applied to Mithras (e.g. born of a virgin, being crucified, rising in three days, etc.). But what does history say about Mithras?

• He was born out of a solid rock and not from any woman.
• He battled first with the sun and then a primeval bull, thought to be the first act of creation. Mithras killed the bull, which then became the ground of life for the human race.
• Mithras birth was celebrated on December 25, along with Winter solstice.
• There is no mention of him as being a great teacher.
• There is no mention of Mithras having 12 disciples. The idea that Mithras had 12 disciples may have come from a mural in which Mithras is surrounded by twelve signs of the Zodiac.
• Mithras had no bodily resurrection. The myth is told that Mithras completed his earthly mission then was taken to paradise in a chariot, alive and well. The early Christian writer Tertullian did write about Mithras believers re-enacting resurrection scenes, but he wrote about this occurring well after New Testament times, so if any copycatting was done, it was the cult of Mithras copying from Christianity.

More examples can be given of Krishna, Attis, Dionysus and other mythological gods, but the result is the same. In the end, the historical Jesus as portrayed in the Bible is thoroughly unique. The claimed similarities are greatly exaggerated. Further, while belief in Horus, Mithras, and others pre-dated Christianity, there is very little historical record of the pre-Christian beliefs of those religions. The vast majority of the earliest writings about these religions is dated to the third and fourth centuries A.D. It is illogical and unhistorical to claim the pre-Christian beliefs in these religions (of which there is no record) were identical to the post-Christian beliefs in these groups (of which there is record). It is more historically valid to attribute any similarities between these religions and Christianity to the religions copying Christian beliefs about Jesus and placing those attributes on their own gods/saviors/founders in an attempt to stop the rapid growth of Christianity.

This leads us to the next area to examine: the logical fallacies committed by those claiming that Christianity borrowed from pagan mystery religions. Two fallacies in particular are obvious— the fallacy of the false cause and the terminological fallacy. If one thing precedes another, it does not mean that the first caused the second. This is the fallacy of the false cause. Even if pre-Christian accounts of mythological gods closely resembled Christ (and they do not), it does not mean they caused the gospel writers to invent a false Jesus. Claiming such a thing would be like saying the TV series Star Trek caused the NASA Space Shuttle program.

The terminological fallacy occurs when terms are redefined to prove a point, when in fact such terms do not mean the same thing when compared to their source. So for example, the Zeitgeist movie says that Horus “began his ministry,” but Horus had no actual ministry – nothing like that of Christ’s ministry. Those claiming Mithras and Jesus are the same talk about the “baptism” that initiated prospects into the Mithras cult, but what was it actually? The Mithras priests (using a ritual also performed by followers of Attis) would suspend a bull over a pit, place those wanting to join the cult into the pit, slit the bull’s stomach, which then covered the initiates in blood. Such a thing has no resemblance whatsoever to Christian baptism—a person going under water (symbolizing the death of Christ) and then coming back out of the water (symbolizing Christ’s resurrection). But advocates of the mythological Jesus position deceptively use the same term to describe both in hopes of linking the two together.

The last issue to examine on this subject is the truthfulness of the New Testament itself. While much has been written on this topic, no work from antiquity has more evidence with respect to historical veracity than the New Testament. The New Testament has more writers (nine), better writers, and earlier writers than any other document from that era. Further, history testifies to the fact that these writers went to their deaths for claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead. While some may die for a lie they think is true, no person dies for a lie they know to be false. Think about it—if someone was about to crucify you upside down, as happened to the Apostle Peter, and all you had to do to save your life was renounce a lie you had knowingly been living, what would you do?

In addition, history has shown that it takes at least two generations to pass before myth can enter into a historical account. Why? Because eyewitnesses can refute error put in print. Those living at the time could refute the errors of the author and expose the work as being false. All the Gospels of the New Testament were written during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses, with some of Paul’s epistles being written as early as 50 A.D. That early dating acts as a key protective mechanism against any falsehoods being accepted and circulated.

Finally, the New Testament attests to the fact that the portrayal of Jesus was not mistaken for that of any other god. When faced with Paul’s teaching, the elite thinkers of Athens said this: “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean” (Acts 17:18-20). Clearly, if the accounts of Jesus were simply rehashing stories of other gods, the Athenians would not have referred to them at “new” teaching. If dying and rising gods were plentiful in the first century why, when the apostle Paul preached Jesus rising from the dead in Acts 17, did the Epicureans and Stoics not remark, “Ah, just like Horus and Mithras”?

In conclusion, the claims that Jesus is nothing more than a myth, a copy of mythological gods, originated from authors whose works have been discounted by academia, commit logical fallacies that undermine their veracity, and cannot compare to the New Testament Gospels which have withstood nearly 2,000 years of intense scrutiny. The alleged parallels disappear when they are compared with the original historical texts. Similarities between Jesus and the various mythological gods can only be argued for by employing selective and misleading descriptions.

Jesus Christ stands unique in history, with His voice rising above all false gods and continuing to ask the question that ultimately determines a person’s eternal destiny: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)

Recommended Resource: The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel.

Monetary awards

Emails informing me how much
Money I have been awarded.

My Dearest,

Greetings to you my dear beloved,

I am Mrs. Christy Walton a great citizen of

United States of America.

I bring to you a proposal worth $ 9,000,000,000.00 (Nine Billion United State

Dollars) which i intend to use for CHARITY.

Please reply me back if you are interested, so i can provide you with further

details.

God Bless You.

Mrs. Christy Walton.

And this one

The House of Representative

National Assembly Complex

Nigeria.

Attention!! Attention!!

This is to bring to your notice that our office in collaboration with the US Department of States on the fight against scam, fraud and terrorism, we have carried an investigation that proof you as a beneficiary of $2.5million usd being a willed inheritance contract payment from late Mr. Mark Wilson who was a contractor with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and in our investigation result, you are truly the next of kin and beneficiary of the said payment but we are having a counter claim from one Mrs. Sarah McDaniel from New York City of United States of America who is claiming you are incapacitated due to a fatal accident that has permanently disfigured you and that on your sick bed you have authorized her to make this claim to herself and as a proof for our perusal she has ask us to visit the website below which shows series of accident cars where you are involved in one of them, please see the website and confirm if you are actually involved in any of the accident cars.

But if you are not involved in any of these accident cars then confirm immediately as the payment has been approved and authorized for release/transfer to either you or to Mrs. Sarah McDaniel if you confirm she should be paid the money, so in anticipation in hearing very soon from you, ensure to reconfirm your contact address as stated below.

Your full name:

Residential/contact address:

Yours faithfully,

Hon. Dakuku A. Peterside.

Chairman, Contract Award Committee on Petroleum Resources

The really funny thing about this one is that He doesn’t know who I am

and has stated above that “are incapacitated due to a fatal accident that has permanently disfigured you and that on your sick bed” Amazing how it could be both. LOL

Another

Hello,

Did you receive my last email which i sent to you from Thailand? Anyway, the message was to inform you that I have successfully moved the funds to Paris, France. So, I am using this opportunity to thank you for your great effort, time and concern she showed to help me out, even though we did not succeed following one reason or the other best known to you. It was with the help of a french business tycoon who was capable of assisting me in this great venture through the help of the diplomatic means.

Following your perseverance, effort, sincerity, courage and trustworthiness, you showed at the beginning of the transaction I decide to compensating you and show my gratitude with the sum of $750,000. I have authorized my new lawyer who is now also my legal adviser in Thailand to issue you an International certified bank cashiers check which i signed in your favor before leaving Thailand for Paris. I will like you to contact the lawyer for the collection procedure of this international certified bank check, and below is the contact information’s of the lawyer:.

Barr(Mr): Richard Morgan

Bangkok Thailand

At the moment, I’m very busy here because of the investment projects which I and my new partner are having at hand in Paris France. Finally, remember that I have forwarded instruction to the Lawyer on your behalf to send the bank Check to you as soon as you contact him without delay. Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart.

Thanks and God bless you and your family.

Regards, Mrs. Rose George

Another

WESTERN UNION INSTALLMENT PAYMENT ONLY.

Attn: Beneficiary……WESTERN UNION INSTALLMENT PAYMENT ONLY.

We write to inform you officially that the Board of Director of the Debt Reconciliation Centre, In conjunction with the Benin Republic, Federal Ministry of Finance Benin Republic, Western Union Agent Akpakpa with the UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION has approved the payment sum of $2,500,000,00(TWO MILLION AN FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS) as a DEPT RECONCILIATION PAYMENT, for your Winning funds with Compensation Head Office, deposited by the Uk Lottery Organization for payment to you as the Winning owner/Beneficiary of the amount $2,500,000.00usd After the Law Enforcement judgment between the UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION.

Good day to you,

Compliments of the season my dearest friend.

Another

My name is Michael Othello (esq) From Ghana, I hope my message meets you in good health.

I wish to notify you (again) that you were listed as the beneficiary to a total sum of (Four Million Seven Hundred And Fifty Thousand $) in the intent of the deceased (late) Madame. M. Olivia. I contacted you because you bear the same last name with my deceased client and therefore I can present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance, since there is no written will from my late client. I received a notification from the Central Bank (BANK OF GHANA H/Q) that the funds will be confiscated to Government’s treasury account as abandoned funds due to account in-activity for the past 14 Months since she passed away to glory (Natural Cardiac Arrest) at age 71, I have two weeks only to present a beneficiary in order to avoid this action. Please, I am in need of your support, for I cannot do this alone.

I am prepared to provide you with all the documents which might be required by the holding Bank to enable them release this inheritance funds to you. All the papers work required will be processed in your acceptance of this deal as I am prepared to offer you 45%, 50% for me, while 5% will be set aside for any expenses we pay for during this transaction, that is to say that any money spent during the period of this transaction will be fully refunded once the fund has been transferred into your nominated bank account or any other safer means you prefer. I request that you kindly forward to me your letter of acceptance with the below details via my private email:

* At issue here is that these are sent out all the time. I have gotten so many I have lost count.

It would be wonderful if we did not see people fall for this stuff. But people buy into this

all the time. Usually it’s because we have a greedy heart and want to “get over”…

There is a very old and wise saying that states “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”.

If you receive these types of email please just report them and move on.

God bless, Dan

The Doctrine Of The Triunity Of GOD & The Nature Of JESUS

by Yochanan יהוה-הוא-אדיב Lilley

Isaiah 45:5
I am the LORD, and there is none else; there is no God besides Me.

(The doctrine of the Triunity of GOD States: GOD is ONE Being in THREE persons… This is exhaustively found in the Scripture particularly in the Original Hebrew language. This study is not going to be to exhaustive but adequate. The reason I am writing this is I have seen an increase in the Christian community of the doctrine of sabellianism. Also I will be writing about JESUS Nature as both GOD and Man as found in scripture, this is to help people when the jehovah witness’s turn up ( May GOD Save them :)…

The Triunity

FATHER — SON — HOLY SPIRIT

Called GOD: — Phil. 1:2 — John 1:1,14 — Acts 5:3-4

Creator: — Is. 64:8 — John 1:3 — Job 33:4_26:13

Resurrects: — 1 Thess. 1:10 — John 2:19 — Rom.8:11

Indwells: — 2 Cor. 6:16 — Col. 1:27 — John 14:17

Everywhere: — 1 Kings 8:27 — Matt 28:20 — Ps. 139:7-10

All Knowing: — 1 John 3:20 — John 21:17 — 1 Cor. 2:10-11

Sanctifies: — 1 Thess. 5:23 — Heb. 2:11 — 1 Pet. 1:2

Life Giver: — Gen. 2:7 — John 1:3 — 2 Cor. 3:6-8

Fellowship: — 1 John 1:3 — 1 Cor. 1:9 — 2 Cor. 13:14

Eternal: — Ps. 90:2 — Micah 5:1-2 — Rom. 8:11

A Will: — Luke 22:42 — Luke 22:42 — 1 Cor. 12:11

Love: — John 3:16 — Eph 5:25 — Rom. 15:30

*There are many clear references to GOD as One being, being referred to in HIS Three seperate personages in the same passage of text from the BIBLE. Here is just a couple of examples:

Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,

Luke 3:22
and the Holy Ghost(HOLY SPIRIT) descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him(SON), and a voice came from Heaven(FATHER), which said, “THOU ART MY BELOVED SON; IN THEE I AM WELL PLEASED.”

The Truinity of GOD is both seen Theologically in the BIBLE and also seen in Reality-Nature it’s self (Because GOD made the Universe to reflect HIS Glory. The word “Universe” that we use to describe everything comes from it’s Latin meaning which is = “One Spoken Verse”, This happened in the Book Of Genesis in the BIBLE).

Romans 1:20
20For from the creation of the world the invisible things of Him are clearly seen, being understood through the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

THE UNIVERSE = THE TRINITY of TRINITYS (The Universe Consists Of Three Attributes – Time, Space & Matter and these all have a Trinity of attributes)…

TIME: Past-Present-Future

Space: Height-Depth-Width

Matter: Solid-Liquid-Gas

JESUS had Two Natures as found in the BIBLE. HE was Fully GOD and Fully Man. Just as JESUS is the WORD of GOD(Gospel of John) that was made carnate(flesh). So the Scriptures are GOD Breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), written by GOD through men, made carnate on paper. So just as JESUS was Fully GOD and Fully Man, so the BIBLE was Fully written by GOD and Fully written by Man…

Below are some examples of verses from the BIBLE that show both sides of JESUS Nature (GOD and Man)…

GOD MAN

HE is worshiped (Matt.22:11_14:33_28:29) HE worshiped the FATHER (John 17)

HE is prayed to (Acts 7:59) HE prayed to the FATHER (John 17:1)

HE was called GOD (John 20:28 Heb. 1:8) HE was called man (Mark 15:39)

HE was called Son of GOD (Mark 1:1) HE was called Son of Man (John 9:35-37)

HE is Sinless (1 Peter 2:22 Heb. 4:15) HE was tempted (Mat. 4:1)

HE knew all things (John 21:17) HE grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52)

HE gives eternal Life (John 10:28) HE died (Rom. 5:8)

Fullness of deity dwells in HIM (Col. 2:9) HE has a body of Flesh and Bones (Luke 24:39)

BABYLONIANISM AT THE GATES: CHRISTIANS AND THE ENCIRCLING WORLD OF THE OCCULT

from apprising.org
Ken Silva pastor-teacher

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn of Guarding His Flock Ministries, republished here with permission:

And when they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? The Prophet Isaiah, Isaiah 8:19

Introduction
Like many others in the world, our culture has become obsessed with the paranormal, the appetite for it being stimulated and fed by video games played, television programs and movies watched, books read, music listened to, art exhibits visited, spiritual activities engaged in, and more. Recently, a local arts center hosted an exhibit called “Encounter” that was “devoted to dragons, robots and other science fiction and fantasy themes.” [1] The same sectional front page also publicized “LARP-ing” (that is, live-action-role-playing) where participants gather together to act out “vampire-themed” scripts related to “those tabletop Dungeons and Dragons-style games that gained huge popularity in the 1980s and continue to draw a steady base of faithful players.” [2] In his coverage of the vampire-themed games, the reporter issued the following caveat: “They pretend to be vampires, but that doesn’t make them devil worshippers.” [3]

Souls under Siege
At first glance, “LARP-ing” might appear to be the activity of people belonging to one of society’s eccentric fringe groups (perhaps that’s why they consider themselves “nerds”), unless, of course, it is set against the backdrop of our overall culture, a culture fascinated not only by vampires, but also by werewolves, wizards, witches and warlocks (a la the popular Harry Potter novels and movies), Halloween, visits to and visitations from the netherworld (23 Minutes in Hell), near-death experiences (NDES), intergalactic soul travel, alien visitations (E.T., Cowboys and Aliens), spiritist séances, demon possessions (Rosemary’s Baby), Satanism (The Omen Trilogy), fortune telling, horoscopes, psychic readings, apparitions and poltergeists (The Apparition), horror films and TV programs (NBC’s Grimm), drug induced altered states of consciousness (experiencing the divine), extra-sensory perception (ESP), Sci-Fi, and on and on a listing can go. In fact, one can walk in any American shopping mall and see people, from adults to kids, wearing dark T-shirts and sporting tattooed bodies emblazoned with occult themes, grotesque human-like images, skulls and bones, and other occult symbols. The signs and stuff of the occult seem to be everywhere! [4]

A Post-Christian Phenomena
The popularity of paranormal spirituality, as it has now emerged in the United States during the latter half of the 20th century and the beginning of this 21st century, mirrors in many ways what happened at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th in Great Britain. History repeats itself. As the influence of Christianity began to wane amongst the British at that time, there arose a corresponding popular interest in the occult. As one historian describes the spiritual morphing that took place in Great Britain during late 19th and early 20th centuries:

A revival of interest in mysticism and mystery traditions of all kinds, however, abounded . . . and a variety of groups promised access to esoteric readings of the world’s sacred literatures and an unmediated experience of the divine. In this heightened spiritual atmosphere . . . most [of the] spiritually inclined no longer identified in any way with formal Christian observance. They turned instead to the heterodox spirituality of occultism, with its animistic sense of a living universe and a broad range of teachings drawn from sources as diverse as those of mystical Christianity, the Hermetic traditions of the West, and the religions of the East. [5]

As it became in Great Britain then, so it has become in America now. As the influence of Christianity has waned, and our society too has morphed to become a culture besieged by the occult. Seemingly, mankind cannot live without the supernatural. So the question arises, from whence does this all derive?

From Time Immemorial
Since the occult is sourced from a time when before creation Lucifer—a created light-bearer within the angelic realm—aspired to be the Light (“I will be like the most High,” Isaiah 14:14b); and from a time when after creation in the Garden of Eden Satan conned Eve into thinking she possessed the potential to reset her life and become God (“Ye shall be as gods[“like God,” NASB] knowing good and evil,” Genesis 3:5), the influence of unseen forces (i.e., evil spirits) has been pervasive in this universe and our world (See Ephesians 6:12.).

In this world, the occult, sourced in Lucifer’s rebellion against God in Heaven, and then transplanted by him on earth, initially appeared in the Garden of Eden, in the same geographical vicinity where the religious system called Babylon “the mother of harlots and abominations on the earth” emerged (Revelation 17:5). The multifaceted spiritual religious system called Babylon is a magical belief system in which humans think they, if even by digital imagery, can manipulate and control their reality and destiny. Such spirituality totally opposes faith in the sovereign God who rules the universe. Therefore, from the biblical perspective, occultism is at the heart of an “i-am-ness” system of religion that designs to unseat God as the creator and ruler of the universe. Repeatedly, the Lord affirmed His sovereign “I-am-ness” to Israel and the nations when He said: “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me” (Isaiah 44:6; 45:5, 6, 18, 22; 46:9). Then there had developed the competing claim of the Babylonian religion which, amidst her “sorceries . . . enchantments . . . astrologers . . . star gazers . . . monthly prognosticators,” dared to declare its “i-am-ness”: “I am, and none else beside me” (Isaiah 47:8-13; *10).

A Prevalent Worldview
In their godlessness, ancient civilizations became intrigued by and possessed of a magical worldview sourced from ancient Babylon (Isaiah 47:12-13; Ezekiel 21:21; Daniel 1:20; 2:2, 10, 27; 4:6-7; 5:7), and from there, dispensed to the Egyptian (Genesis 41:8; Exodus 7:11, 22), Canaanite (Deuteronomy 18:9) and Assyrian (Nahum 3:4) civilizations and cultures. But in his day (circa2000 B.C.), God called upon Abraham to separate himself from the hotbed of the occult arts that was Ur (Genesis 12:1), and journey by faith to an unknown land which the Lord would show to him. Upon ending their seventy-year exile of captivity in Babylon (circa 520 B.C.), the Lord also instructed the Israelites to “Depart ye [from Babylon], depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing [anything contaminated by the occult Babylonian religion]; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord [the clean things]” (Isaiah 52:11; Compare 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 for commentary; See Revelation 18:4.). All of which is to say, any involvement in the occult is, in God’s eyes, “an unclean thing” and therefore a serious breach of faith!

No “Crossover” Spiritualities
The spirituality of these civilizations posed an ever-present threat to the spiritual life of the nation of Israel for reason of that nation’s necessary commerce with and concourse amongst them. So the great question was, would the Lord’s people, as His priestly nation in that world (Exodus 19:5-6a), maintain a testimony of their abiding faith in Jehovah and remain separate from the heterodox and occult spirituality of their neighbors? Therefore, commanded the Israelites: “Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:31).

Deadly Dispatches
To exhibit their keeping covenant with Him, the Lord through Moses, just before their entering the land of Canaan, the Lord expanded His commandment telling the nation:

When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. (Deuteronomy 18:9-14) [6]

All of the idolatrous activities listed above, and more, served as litmus tests for the faith-keeping of the Israelites. Repudiating those activities would mark them out to be covenant keepers. On the other hand, indulging in those activities would mark them as covenant breakers, as being unfaithful to the Lord their husband (Isaiah 54:6). Unfortunately, much of the Old Testament record portrays how the Israelites spurned their covenant with the Lord, and like a spiritual whore, chased after the abominations of the occult (Isaiah 8:19; Jeremiah 27:9-10; Ezekiel 8:1-18; 13:1-23; Malachi 3:5). So it was to a people who refused to consult “the law and . . . the testimony” (Isaiah 8:20) that God sent Isaiah as His ambassador announcing the coming of divine judgment, all the while knowing that the apostate majority within Israel, having been so mesmerized by a magical worldview, would spurn the Word He had given the prophet to speak (Compare Ezekiel 3:4-11.).

“This People” and “My People”
As our nation is fascinated with, even captivated by, the occult, so was Israel during the days of the prophets. [7] During Isaiah’s days of ministry, there were two groupings of people: the majority, who had been seduced by spiritualities of the surrounding culture, and who Yahweh designated as “this people” (Isaiah 6:9-10; 8:6, 11, 12; 9:16; 28:14; 29:13; etc.); and a minoritywho, by refusing to conform to the religion of the surrounding culture, the Lord called “my people” (Isaiah 1:3; 5:13; 10:24; etc.). [8]

Seducing Spirits
As for Isaiah, the Lord instructed him “not walk in the way of this people,” the majority who, manifesting their denial of the coming judgment, counseled that Isaiah and his disciples should seek a more favorable verdict, and “Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter” (Isaiah 8:11, 19; Compare 1 Timothy 4:1.). Think of it . . .