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Saturday, March 28, 2015, 10:56 AM
Still trying to remember exactly what I wanted to say yesterday from part one of the post on prophecy. I wanted to bring some Old Testament examples in and to warn people about being aware of false prophets. There have generally been more ‘false’ than ‘true’ prophets. We need to be careful that anyone professing to be a prophet speaks the true word from our Creator. How do we know if a prophet is true? We have at least two ways of telling. First, from our passage yesterday, Deuteronomy 18: 22, we see that anything that a prophet says that does not come true, then that word did not come from the Lord. Secondly, if what a prophet says is not in keeping with every meaning of the Scriptures (not just one verse that may be taken out of context, or not compared correctly with teachings in the rest of the Scriptures).
In the Old Testament Elijah stood against four hundred and fifty prophets of false gods. They were destroyed. Micaiah stood up to Ahab after four hundred false prophets told Ahab he would succeed in battle and Ahab fell. True prophets were rejected, persecuted, and often even executed for their prophecies. Jesus taught that following Him as Christians we could expect to be treated in this world as this world treated Him. Being a true prophet is not being someone that can expect to be treated with praise and adoration. To begin with, someone who is a true prophet would be very humble, and not seeking self attention or personal glory. But one thing to be sure of, a true prophet can generally expect to be persecuted, and false prophets can certainly expect to meet judgment one day.
Jer 2:8 The priests did not say, 'Where is the LORD?' Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit.
Jer 14:14 And the LORD said to me: "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, 'Sword and famine shall not come upon this land': By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.
Saturday, March 28, 2015, 10:10 AM
When Nebuchadnezzar had a structure made to worship, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to it. They violated the law of the land. They were cast into a furnace. When Cyrus made a law that no one should pray to anyone but him, Daniel still prayed to God. He violated the law of the land. He was cast into the lion’s den.
In the US it is said that we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Two Muslims went to pray at the top of the Empire State Building, but they were beaten and sent away. People say that it was wrong for them to practice freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Does that not make the people who say they don’t have the rights hypocrites? Oh, but they say these rights were taken away from us by the government. Then do only certain people have the right to stand up for their rights?
Even so, with regards to prayer, Jesus said that you shouldn’t pray to be seen of people. Prayers should be private between people and their Creator. You can pray in your heart in public, and no one would bother you (except maybe Satan or his demons). Making a public show of prayer often just focuses attention to you. It can make people think you’re religious, even if you’re not; or could make people think you’re making a spectacle of yourself, even if you’re not trying to do that. The Christian is supposed to bring attention to his Savior, not to himself.
Also, Christians are to treat others the way they wish to be treated. Even if people don’t treat you the way you want to be treated, you are still supposed to treat them the way you wish them to treat you. This is part of what is meant by “love your enemy” and “do good to them that persecute you”. So if you call yourself a Christian, shouldn’t you at least learn how to act like one? So if you don’t stand for your right to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom to pray in public (which Jesus taught shouldn’t be done to begin with), then why begrudge two Muslims who do stand up for those rights? Do you realize that makes you hypocrites? If you feel you have been done wrongly, then do you believe what Paul said when he said that sometimes it is best to suffer the wrong than to parade it publicly (not an exact quote, but the meaning is there)?
Beware people- God’s wrath is soon upon us!
Friday, March 27, 2015, 4:41 PM
Numbers 12:6 And he said, "Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream.
Deuteronomy 18:18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.'
21 And if you say in your heart, 'How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
The gift of prophecy may take two posts. I will try to be concise, but some things need to be considered. First, true prophecy comes from the Lord. Any word from the Lord is true, and will never conflict with the written Word of Scriptures. Second, there are false prophets who speak presumptuously. The false prophets may think, feel, and believe they are true, but they are either knowingly false, or they have been deceived by Satan into believing they are telling the truth. False prophets deceived by Satan may even experience ‘miracles’ or ‘seeming miracles’ as Satan uses his wiles in his deceptive program.
Romans 12:6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
1st Corinthians 14:5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. 6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?
Paul told the Corinthians that he could wish that they all could speak in tongues, but more so to prophesy. This does not suggest that all would speak in tongues or that all would prophesy. God gives gifts according to His purposes, not man’s desires. Paul could wish that all would receive all of God’s gifts, but God has His Own reasons for assigning gifts to different people to bring them together to do His will. (Perhaps bringing them together is the main reason, but we cannot say that for certain- only that God knows what His purpose is and who is in the right position at the right time to do that purpose.)
Amos 3:6 Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it? 7 "For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets."
For their day and time, the trumpet in the city represents the alarm going out when danger was imminent or present. Do some people seem to think that our Creator simply wants to pour wrath on the people He created? His desire is that all should come to Him. It is one thing to say that so many will not, but it is another to say that they displease Him so much by their lives (their actions, their desires, their disregard for Him and for others) that it stirs His wrath. Even so, He sends prophets to warn people. Evangelists are given the Word from God to plead with people to come to the Lord. Prophets are given the Word from God to warn the people that they are displeasing Him and if they do not come to Him, His wrath will come. (Actually- the functions of the prophets extend much further than that, but this seems to have been the main function. Moses was a prophet, and even he told the people that in the future they would fail to follow the Lord, and that His wrath was going to appear. Some form of the word ‘curse’ appears sixty-nine times from Exodus through Deuteronomy, and many of those times refer to the curses that would come upon the people for failing to keep God’s commandments.)
Friday, March 27, 2015, 10:00 AM
There are some who believe that speaking in tongues is ‘obsolete’. They say that it was used in the early church to (how can this be put) sort of ‘jump start’ it, but that it no longer applies. The only verse I’m aware of they use is 1st Corinthians 13: 8, where it says that tongues will pass away. Well, this seems flimsy to me, because we know that once this world is consummated there will be no more need for tongues, but I can’t see that this verse can specify any date that they would end, or have ended. I have never (to my knowledge) spoken in tongues myself. I believe the teaching that God has given different gifts to different people for the purposes He has in mind for them. (Not wishing to sound boastful, but I have been told many times that I have a great gift for teaching.) I have many times heard people speaking in tongues and others interpret those tongues.
Many of us have experienced false tongues in various ways (this I have not only seen myself, but others who had the gifts of tongues and discernment have attested to this). There are some who get emotionally caught up in a service and have an emotional experience that sounds to some as tongues; but discernment can detect that the presence of the Holy Spirit is not on them. (I know, because many times I have felt the Spirit’s presence with one speaking in tongues, and times that I didn’t feel any presence of that Spirit.). Also Satan has many powers that can mimic miracles. I have been amidst some speaking tongues and felt a ‘bad’ spirit’s presence, as well as others have informed me of this. Satan and/or his demons use these mimicking powers in deceiving people into thinking they are ‘angels of light’ and ‘ministers of mercy’ to try to convince others to listen to false teachings. (BTW- if anyone is interested, the ‘religious’ term for these tongues is ‘glossalalia’ not sure if this is from Latin, or what.)
Paul was very specific about the use of tongues. As Jesus mentioned that the best praying is done in a private place (not to be for show), Paul echoes this teaching regarding tongues. He says that when used in a gathering, there should be a limited number, and there should be an interpreter present to translate the tongues so that what is said will be useful to all gathered. When there is ‘a big show’ of tongues, then that is generally all it is- a show. When tongues come from the Holy Spirit, they will be orderly (as the Scriptures teach) and there will usually be an interpreter. The following passages from the ESV support this.
1st Corinthians 14:13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?
27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.
Thursday, March 26, 2015, 7:19 PM
The gifts of the Spirit (the Holy Spirit that Christians are baptized by) can cover many long, long posts, but I will only try to briefly touch on a few ideas in the next couple or so posts. The first gifts a Christian receives from that Spirit is the baptism and the seal (John 1: 33; 1st Corinthians 12: 13; 2nd Corinthians 1: 22; Ephesians 1: 13; Ephesians 4: 30). This seal that is placed on us marks us to all the angels (good angels and fallen angels) so that we are known as God’s children. When God told Cain that he would not be murdered He put a sign on him. This sign was God’s seal that protected Cain from revenge killing. When God took Ezekiel from Babylon to Jerusalem, He sent angels to destroy the people, however, He first sent one to put a mark on those not to be destroyed. This served as a seal of protection for those marked. When God’s seal is on His children, they are marked. No one can remove that mark, just as no one will be able to remove the mark of the Beast at the end times. Christians may fall into bad ways that would not please the Lord, but this seal is a sign of their eternal security. As in 1st Corinthians chapter 5, a person may sin to the point that God turns his earthly, physical body over to Satan, that this earthly, fleshly shell may be destroyed, but our life being may be saved from that destruction the body may go through. This seal that God places on His children by the Holy Spirit is a spiritual seal that can never be broken, because even though man may be unfaithful, God is always faithful. This seal is a mark of our eternal security (also termed as ‘once saved, always saved’).
1st Corinthians 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
I also want to mention a few things about the gifts of healing, tongues, and prophecy, but will strive to be comprehensive but concise. The gift of healing is a gift from God given through His Spirit, Who Is One with the Father and Son. It is a gift, and to whom much is given, much is expected. It is a sin to sell a gift that is given by God. God expects His children to care for one another, and a shepherd of the flock, whether called a pastor, elder, deacon, bishop, or whatever should be cared for by the flock, because he serves the flock in whatever capacity God has called him for. God gives freely and expects His children to give freely, trusting God to provide what is needed.