I have recently viewed the new movie “Let the Lion Roar,” and I thought it might be helpful to share some observations about it. The cast includes some big names in the Christian community such as Chuck Pierce, Dani Johnson, Jaci Velasquez, Sid Roth, and Mark Biltz, and this cast was one of the things that attracted me to this production in the first place. I would also like to make some additional inferences that were not directly mentioned in the movie.
The story centers on a vision that Derek Frank received about the church years ago. In this vision, he saw a building with Greek columns and heard the words “finish the reformation.” According to Derek Frank, it took some twenty years before the interpretation of these words became manifest. In the course of time God brought him to the very church building he saw in his vision, which turned out to be the church John Calvin preached from in Geneva during the Reformation.
The Protestant Reformation identified many egregious errors that were commonplace in the visible church of Martin Luther’s day. The Bible was in Latin, which restricted its audience to those who could understand it. This made it unavailable to the general public, and since the people couldn’t read the Bible for themselves, they couldn’t identify or challenge church practices that varied from the Scriptures. The church also used the doctrine of indulgences as a way to raise money. History records that that John Tetzel would tell the people that “as soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” It made a mockery of grace and infuriated Martin Luther. He nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door to invite discussion about these abuses, but instead it mushroomed into a full blown revolt against the excesses of the Catholic Church. One of the most powerful things Martin Luther did to bring reform was to translate the Bible into the everyday language of the people. Now the common people could read the word of God for themselves, and it liberated them from the tyranny of the Catholic Church which sought to keep it for itself. It sounds like we are off to a great start, but as Derek Frank points out, a deception remained unchallenged that has brought all kinds of harm to the Jewish people and weakened the influence of the Gospel.
The problems Derek Frank identifies are anti-Semitism and replacement theology as its origin. Not many people are aware of the anti-Semitic writings of leaders of Martin Luther and John Calvin, but they are out there. Martin Luther’s writings against the Jews were especially tragic because Luther initially welcomed the Jews and wrote favorably about them. Later in life Luther became disillusioned with the Jews because “they didn’t come over to us” as he hoped they would, and so he denounced the Jews in public and in his writings. Hitler would later cite these very writings to justify the actions he took against the Jews. The man who did so much to challenge the abuses and excesses of the Catholic Church ended up advocating replacement theology and reviling God’s chosen people.
The key is “they didn’t come over to us;” Derek Frank points this out as the problem. Should the Jews come over to us at all? Or should we go over to them? Enter the doctrine of replacement theology (or supersessionism); this doctrine maintains that the church has replaced the nation of Israel (because the Jews rejected the Messiah) and that the covenants and promises were also transferred to the church. It also holds the primacy of the New Testament. This doctrine has helped make what should be good fruit on the tree bad.
Derek Frank makes a solid case for the damage caused by replacement theology and for refuting its tenets. I agree that we must rid ourselves of any vestiges of this errant theology, and this production is a good start on that cure, but there is more damage that I would like to discuss that was not mentioned in this production. This is especially needful given the hour we are in.
We are about to witness the second of four blood moons (called a tetrad). The next blood moon will be visible during the Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot) on 8 October 2014. The next two blood moons will be visible during Passover and Feast of Tabernacles in 2015. These events signify that some very serious events are about to take place, but most people do not have any clue about the significance of these blood moons. I believe that the blame for this must be laid at the doorstep of replacement theology. When replacement theology establishes the primacy of the New Testament over the Old Testament, it has essentially put the cart in front of the horse. Let me explain.
The Old Testament is like a compass; it functions like a compass because it points us to the Savior of all mankind, the Lord Yeshua (Jesus). It is like a guide book that contains all the information we need to identify the Savior. Consider God’s instructions to Noah when he was constructing the Ark: it was to have one door (Gen 6: 16). There was only one entrance to the safety of the Ark. If we go to the New Testament, we read that the Lord describes Himself as a door and the only way to the Father (John 10: 7, 14: 6). One may argue, if we have found the Savior, what do we need the compass to find Him with anymore? That’s an interesting and flawed perspective. The fact is that the Old Testament is still a valuable guide to us and helps us understand the New Testament and things to come. The New Testament is woven into the fabric of the Old Testament, and vice versa. Yeshua and the Apostles constantly referred to Scriptures in the Old Testament, and if they needed to reference them, are we so much better that we can get along without the Old Testament? Among the many things the Old Testament tells us are the three times a year God has appointed to meet with us (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles). If we read the New Testament with replacement theology glasses on, we regard these feasts of the Lord with nostalgia for something that no longer applies. That is more damage caused by errant replacement theology, and it needs to be rooted out of our thinking.
The feasts of the Lord are still important, and it is no accident that the blood moons will be visible during feasts when the Jews were to assemble in Jerusalem. When the Jews gathered in Jerusalem two thousand years ago, they witnessed the sacrifice of the Lamb of God during Passover. Later they witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost. At a future gathering of the Jews in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles, Yeshua will return and make His dwelling among us. This is why the Lord God brought the Jews back to their homeland, so that the Jews could gather again in Jerusalem for this future feast of Tabernacles to be fulfilled. Replacement theology dismisses any further relevance of the feasts, but that is not the case. It is unfortunate that many Christians who have unwittingly accepted the tenets of replacement theology (in whole or in part) don’t know anything about the significance of the feasts to the end times. They have neglected to make any serious study of the feasts or the Old Testament because they accept the primacy of the New Testament and regard its predecessor as over and done with.
There is not much time left, and if you are a Christian who has neglected the Old Testament, there is still time to catch up. I recommend the book “Blood Moons: Decoding the Immanent Heavenly Signs” by Mark Biltz (also available as a DVD) as a quick way to understand the feasts and the significance of the four blood moons. Don’t let the day of the Lord come upon you as a thief in the night; I encourage you to be like a wise virgin who properly prepares for the coming of the Lord (Matt 25: 1-13).