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19/10/2017

Hello Esther,

I have not made the link to this page public, so only you (and anyone you give it to) will be able to see it.

Thanks for sending the links * and sorry to be slow coming back to you, but to be honest I have been feeling distinctly uneasy about it all and needed to give myself time to think and pray about it first. On the one hand I don’t want to be like other people who, in the past, have dismissed something because they have not themselves experienced it, (for example those who said the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the 20th century was from the devil); but on the other hand I am also aware of the many Bible warnings of end-time deceptions and want to be sure I am not being dragged into one.

NOTES



* The first one was Addicted to God:

 

There have been very many people totally sold out for God, as can be seen from the fruit in their lives, including most, if not all, of the key Church leaders during the entire history of the church; but as far as I am aware they mentioned nothing like this – why? It can’t be because they lived at a time when it wasn’t available, because Justin Abraham refers to people like Enoch (who lived near the beginning of the Old Testament) and Paul (who lived near the beginning of the New Testament), and if God wants people to have the experience Justin Abraham mentions, then it must apply to all. If it was possible for people like Enoch and Paul, it must have been possible for all Christians for the whole of the history of the Church. Yet men from the recent past like Smith Wigglesworth (whom he mentions) and from the present like David Hathaway, both of whom have been used mightily in healing ministry and evangelism, make no mention of it.


I am aware this may be countered by the argument that it is something God has released for the end times, but this raises more questions. What does it enable people to achieve that Christians previously were unable to do on the earth? What is so different about our present time today compared to previous generations that we require such a radically different experience from them? Over the past centuries millions have been won to Christ, healed, delivered, etc. What, more than these things, could/should/would have taken place then, or could take place now, as a result of this? Why would God not bring previous generations of His children into the experience, but only reserve it for today’s generation? Above all, why is this teaching not seen explicitly in the Bible?


Justin Abraham certainly quotes from the Bible a lot, but then he puts a particular twist to verses to make them say what he is claiming, and this sounds warning bells for me because the most important issue is how the Bible is treated. For example, one verse is 2 Corinthians 5:13, and he makes it fit his proposal by a narrow definition of the Greek word existemi.* This Greek word appears 17 times in the New Testament, and from the context of these verses, the meaning is not what he claims. Also, one Bible commentator says it is written in the past tense in this verse and is probably referring to the accusation brought by Festus against him that much learning had sent him mad (Acts 26:24). In my past experience, whenever a preacher distorts a Bible verse in this way, he/she is doing it to support an unscriptural teaching.



* Strong’ Greek dictionary defines it as

“to put (stand) out of wits, that is, astound, or (reflexively) become astounded, insane: - amaze, be (make) astonished, be beside self (selves), bewitch, wonder.”

One other question mark in my mind regarding this talk is why was it edited so that just as he starts to say how to move into this area, it is cut off and changes to something else? Is something being hidden here? If so, what and why? If not, why has it been edited out? I also do not understand why these You Tube talks do not show him as he speaks. In some cases the listeners are obviously reacting to what he is doing, but you have no way of knowing what it is. If they were going to be published on You Tube, why were they not created as video recordings?

In the second talk I listened to,* he defends his use of the word mysticism/mystic by quoting the Bible, but in the 27 New Testament verses where the word is used it is regarding mysteries – i.e. things not previously known.

The Greek word is musterion: From a derivative of μύω muo (to shut the mouth); a secret or “mystery” (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites – Strong’s Greek dictionary.

In other words it has a similar meaning to a book that is in the category of ‘murder, mystery, suspense’: the ‘mystery’ means something unknown you have to wait for to hear the truth in the story. This is very different from ‘mystic’, as in ‘mystic Meg’, which means someone who is a psychic, or dealing in the supernatural/occult. So once again there is a twist put in here to make it fit what Justin Abraham is teaching.

* Ekklesia Rising

In the third talk I heard,* he also says some very odd things – for example claiming that if you have a group of people in the same room they will all be living in a different time. As far as I understand it, this is not what Einstein taught on the subject (and we cannot be sure that what Einstein said is absolute truth either – it’s just the best explanation we presently have). Time may certainly be affected by speed and gravity, but if a spirit level shows the floor of a room is level, then everyone in it will be subjected to identical gravity and identical speed as the earth rotates and travels around the sun. So they are bound to be in identical time. Even if one person travels around the world in a supersonic plane at maximum height, it would take a highly accurate atomic clock to measure the tiny fraction of a second difference in time to a person who remained in the same place when they come back together – a difference so small it is not a consideration for all practical purposes. So I fail to see how people could possibly be in different times.

On this topic he says that we need to get away from the time limitation of earth, the sun and the moon, because otherwise, when we travel to other solar systems, time will pass differently and those doing so will return to earth at a different time to those who have not travelled in that way.* But God specifically created the sun and moon in order to control our time and seasons:

Gen 1:14–16 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.

So trying to get away from time as determined by the sun and the moon is in fact rebellion against God!

Now, what is going to happen in the resurrection is a different matter. There is going to be new heavens and a new earth. It is my personal opinion that we will be able to travel to and live in other solar systems throughout the universe at that time; but if this is the case, then it will also be possible to travel between them instantly (perhaps via something like ‘worm holes’?), and if all these solar systems are a similar size to our own (and they probably would need to be for us to live in them) then time will pass at the same rate in all of them. Therefore there would be no problem of time difference at all, as he claims; but of course this is all highly speculative, because God does not tell us these details. We’ll have to wait and see!

* Time








* Or words to that effect.

However, even apart from the science of time, the Bible examples of variation in time are so rare, there is no way they could be used to claim people can ‘time travel’ on a daily basis or for trivial reasons like washing the car faster. And this brings me to the real point – the idea we can fly up through the galaxies, or go backwards and forwards to heaven, or move faster or slower, backwards and/or forwards through time in this lifetime, etc. It simply is not taught in scripture. So when Paul talked about a man being caught up to the third heaven,* he says it was 14 years ago (2 Cor 12:2), so it was clearly not an experience every Christian should expect on a regular basis.




* Whether it was himself or someone else I don’t know: he certainly writes as though it is someone else, in which case the implication is that it is an experience he himself has never had - otherwise he would have talked about his own experience.

The thing that triggered me finally into writing this response came in my regular morning Bible reading a couple of days ago:

2 Cor 5:1–8 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

It is very clear from this that Paul is saying we can only go to be with the Lord when we die – when our earthly house, our tent, is destroyed and we become absent from our body. As it happens, today one of my readings was:

Mark 16:15–18 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

So here Jesus is saying how Christians will act, and while He mentions speaking in tongues,* there is absolutely nothing remotely like the things Justin Abraham is saying. If it was possible to have the experiences he claims, then it would be in these passages of scripture where it would be explained; but it isn’t there (or anywhere else, for that matter!)







* Thus falsifying the objections to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the last century.

However, we have many warnings that false teachings are going to arise:

Matt 24:11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people.

Matt 24:24 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones.

Acts 20:29–30 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following.

2 Cor 11:13–15 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

Rom 16:17–18 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people's faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.

Eph 4:14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.

2 Tim 4:3–4 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.


So I’m sorry Esther, but there are enough question marks in my head about this to make me say I don’t think I feel I can go along with it. I cannot find it in the Bible, while if it was something God really did intend for His church I am sure He would have made it very clear – as He has done for everything else; I cannot see how it benefits the Church with anything more than what has been available for its entire history; but I can see it could be a huge diversion of time and effort into getting people following mystical experiences or becoming distracted from, or discouraged in, their present service for God.


I do appreciate you going to the trouble to let me have the links and I hope my reaction doesn’t upset you; but I can only follow the truth as I understand it. If I am wrong, then I trust the Lord will change me and ensure my feet are on the right path. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that we all want to serve Him in His way and to the best of our ability.


Every blessing,

Les


20/10/2016

Regarding The Rising Ecclesia,* presumably in Ireland, given on 31st December 2013, my thoughts are much the same as for the previous talks. Frequently, deception comes in the form of something that is almost entirely true, with small deviations here and there. In other words it is perhaps 98% true and 2% untrue, but the small deception is enough to move one away from the right path. So here I will simply give the impressions I had of things that I believe to be untrue.


* The Rising Ecclesia

Early on, Justin Abraham (I’ll just refer to him as JA in future) said that the people in the audience are there because the angels have harvested them. This is not what the Bible says. Jesus said the angels are the harvesters at the end of the age, not now, and in the Revelation it is Jesus who harvests the earth at the end:

Matt 13:39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.

Rev 14:14–15 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe."

It is true that Jesus said we should pray that the Lord will send labourers because the harvest is ready and the labourers are few…

Mat 9:37–38 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

…but this is quite clearly referring to humans, preaching the gospel (nowhere in the Bible do angels do this) and thus bringing people into the Kingdom.

JA said that Moses went back to the beginning and met Adam, and that Enoch went back to the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life. This is not found anywhere in the Bible. So where has he got it from? It sounds to me like a fabrication to add to the case he is presenting.


Regarding the idea that dead people return to the earth to converse with us sounds very dubious to me. This was what King Saul did, in disobedience to God’s clear commands:

Deut 18:10–11 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

1 Sam 28:11–12 Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" And he said, "Bring up Samuel for me." When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, "Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!"

Why should it be wrong in the Old Testament to do this, but right in the New? It is true that Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus, but this was a one-off event involving His transfiguration, and not repeated anywhere else. It is also true that there have been visitations spoken of as being by a man…


Acts 10:30 So Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

…but it can equally be claimed that Cornelius was saying what he thought he saw, not realising that the ‘man’ was actually an angel. So it would be very difficult to claim that when the Bible talks about men appearing in miraculous visitations it means people who have come back from the dead, as it is often saying what they looked like to the people they were visiting rather than what they actually were. Evidence of this can be seen in:

Acts 10:22 And they said, "Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you."

So the being Cornelius had thought was a man, was actually an angel!


In Genesis we are told three men came to see Abraham…

Gen 18:2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground,

… but then we are told it is God who is speaking to him…

Gen 18:13 And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?'

… and when two of the three go to see Lot they are called angels:

Gen 19:1  Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.


It was an angel who told Samson’s mother that she was going to have a child…

Judges 13:3 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.

…but she told her husband it was a man who looked like an angel:

 Judges 13:6 So the woman came and told her husband, saying, "A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name.


I would be very interested to hear of any Bible references that show people who have died, coming back to speak to people on the earth, as I can’t think of any.*

* Apart from the transfiguration of Jesus incident, and Saul disobeying God, of course.

JA claims he prevented Ken Livingstone from being elected as mayor and that he was responsible for Boris Johnson’s election to that position, because he was preventing the influence of Islam increasing in London. But now London has an Islamic mayor, so how realistic is this claim? If God needed JA to do what he claims in order to prevent Livingstone’s election in 2008, why didn’t He get him to do the same to prevent Sadiq Khan’s election in May 2016?


The talk ends with him taking everyone into the court room of heaven and speaking change over Ireland. This was December 2013. So what changed? I am aware of no significant change that has taken place in Ireland in any way that could be related to this occasion. So how real is it?


I would love what he says to be true, and be able to do everything he says he can do; but in every talk of his I have heard, there have been enough deviations from what I read in the Bible and from what I see around me, to tell me to steer clear of it. And in all my years as a Christian, I have never met anyone who has made such claims as these * - and I have listened to literally thousands of sermons and read hundreds of books, some by people mightily used by God, whose lives have shown me that they can be trusted.



* Apart from JA now, of course!

One other thing I find very difficult to take is the inane squealing and yells from some of those listening. I guess this can’t be blamed particularly on JA, but it doesn’t help his cause.

I am pleased you are happy to agree to disagree on this, though, Esther, and as far as I am concerned our different viewpoints make no difference to our relationship.

Much love,

Les






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