Uncategorized

Let the Lion Roar: Ending the damage of Replacement Theology

 

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).

Blood Moons by Mark Biltz Lion pride on a mission

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

Revisiting America’s official response to 9/11

 

In the aftermath of 9/11, Senator Tom Daschle was selected to give the official response to the attack. In his remarks, he quoted a passage of Scripture that he said would bring comfort to us at a time like this. This is the passage he quoted, which is also recorded in the official record of the US Senate:
“The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.” Isaiah 9:10 (ESV)
By itself, it sounds good, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you want to rebuild better and stronger after an attack? The problem is that when you examine the context of this Scripture, it becomes apparent that this passage was never intended to be a source of encouragement..

The previous verse is sufficient to establish that Isaiah 9: 10 is anything but words of encouragement. Here is the passage with the context:
The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel; and all the people will know, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, who say in pride and in arrogance of heart: “The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.”
Isaiah 9:8-10 (ESV)
God had faithfully sent prophets to warn them previously what would happen if they rebelled against God, but they refused to listen. When the Assyrians invaded, they ravaged the land, but after a period of time they left. When Israel saw this, the leaders said with an arrogant heart ‘we will build better and stronger so we will be protected next time.’ They did not realize that God allowed the Assyrian invasion to wake them up to the fact that all was not well with Israel. Instead of turning to God in repentance, they arrogantly felt they could make themselves strong enough to stand against the enemy next time. As Israel acted in arrogance after the Assyrian invasion, the leaders and people of America have also acted with pride and arrogance of heart.

What happened after 9/11? The Department of Homeland Security was created. Laws were enacted to allow warrant-less government surveillance of American citizens (to keep us safe, or so they say). Church attendance went up briefly, but there was no national repentance. The leadership placed their confidence in the military might of our nation and its defense technologies. This is no different than the response of Israel. The story didn’t end well for Israel. They stubbornly refused to repent after God gave them a period of grace. Isaiah 9: 11-21 gives chilling details about the judgment that fell on Israel. They were invaded again later, but this time the entire nation was removed from the land and the people were scattered throughout the nations. We are also in a period of grace, and the window of opportunity to change course is coming to an end.

It is like the days after Noah built the Ark, Noah and his family and all the animals were loaded on board. When everything had been completed, God shut the door of the Ark, and no one else could enter to be saved (Gen 7: 16). In the same way, if America disregards the opportunity to repent, time will one day run out. When that happens, God will shut the door against this nation.

Scripture tells us that: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” Psalms 127:1 (ESV). We ought not to be arrogant and prideful in our hearts, as if all our sophisticated weapons and technology will keep us safe. Such confidence is misplaced to say the least. If God removes His protection from a nation, there is no way to replace that protection through our own efforts and strength. Such a nation is destined for destruction.

That means all the sacrifices made by previous generations to preserve this nation on the battlefield will have been in vain. If Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was written about America after the judgment of God has fallen on us, the last words of it might sound something like this:
that we here highly resolve that these dead shall have died in vain, that this nation under God shall not have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall perish from the earth.

God has given America many opportunities to repent, but so far this nation is drifting even farther from God at the precise time she needs to draw closer to God. Time is getting short. For this nation, and each one of us also, we must get our houses in order while it is still possible to do so. The time to prepare is now, like the wise virgins who bought their oil while the markets were still open. I close with these Scriptures:
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:8-10 (ESV)

If only Senator Daschle had quoted this Scripture:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chron 7:14 (ESV)

Please do not neglect this warning.

Standard
Uncategorized

Come over here and help us: A call to stand in the gap.

Scripture text:

And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord God.

Ezek 22:30-31 (ESV)

There have been many articles written about militant groups such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, and ISIS. They are violent and inflexible about their beliefs and objectives, and they have used terror tectics, murder, persecution of Christians and minorities, kidnapping, slavery, building invasion tunnels and firing rockets at civilian targets to achieve their goals. These acts offend the sensibilities of peaceful people, but now that these groups are active, what can we do about this?

Possible solutions have been proposed at the government level, but these solutions depend on the actions of man divorced from faith in God. As such, any results they may achieve are limited and transitory. The fact is that the weapons, wisdom, and power of the world cannot bring the lasting change needed for true healing and reconciliation. If we want to solve the problems created by these terror groups, we need to stand in the gap.

We must realize that God cares about the people in these terror groups, and the story of Jonah is a good illustration of this. The ancient Assyrians were just as violent and cruel in their day, but God graciously sent Jonah to warn them that they would be destroyed if they did not repent. Jonah really wanted to see Nineveh destroyed, and after he preached his warning to Nineveh, he waited outside the city to see what would happen. As he waited, the Lord caused a plant to spring up to give Jonah shade and relief from the heat, but the next day the Lord sent a worm to destroy the plant. As Jonah became faint from the heat, he told God he preferred to die rather than live. God spoke to Jonah:

But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

Jonah 4:9-11 (ESV)

God cared about the people of Nineveh because He cares about those who oppose Him; He is concerned for their welfare. Jesus makes this very clear:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matt 5:43-48 (ESV)

If we hate, it’s the same thing as murder. And we know that a murderer does not have eternal life. Lastly, there is this:

Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.

Ezek 18:31-32 (ESV)

God wants people to repent and live; He takes no pleasure in their death. Seeing that these things are so, what should we do to bring about change? Is there anything we can do to help? Yes there is!

The people of faith can make a tremendous difference in the world we occupy. Long before the occupy movement became commonplace, God made His people the original occupiers. In order to maintain our occupation, God gives us powerful weapons to use, and used properly, they enemy has no recourse against them. The most powerful weapons we have are prayer and faith. The story of the centurion’s servant is a wonderful example:

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

Matt 8:5-13 (ESV)

As we can see in this account, Jesus was able to bring healing to the centurion’s servant by faith from a distance away. Faith pleases God and is not limited! Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. C. S. Lewis wrote that faith is an invasion of the supernatural into our natural world, and it’s true! Faith is a terrifying thing to the enemy because he cannot stop it. By faith God’s people tear down his strongholds, set the captives free, remove stumbling blocks, heal all manner of diseases, and do many wonderful things. If we could see the damaged caused by prayers in faith to the enemy’s kingdom, I think we would see Satan falling from heaven like lightening (Luke 10: 18). As the account of the centurion’s servant demonstrates, we don’t even have to be in the same place to cause change. We can pray for God to deliver the people of Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, and ISIS from the power of darkness in our prayer closets. That’s the power God gives us to work with. Scripture tells us: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” James 5:16 (ESV).

The power of God is so great that He can totally change the worst of sinners and change what was meant for harm into something good. In Paul’s previous way of life, he admitted that he persecuted the church and tried to destroy it (Gal 1: 13), yet God met him on the Damascus road and changed him into one of the greatest Apostles. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, yet God used this as a way to save many people from death (Gen 50: 19-20). If God did all this before, He can do it again.

It is a fearful thing when there is no one to stand in the gap for a land, as Ezekiel 22: 30-31 tells us. I ask all of God’s intercessors to pray for the people of Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, and ISIS so that they will be delivered from the power of darkness and reconciled with God. Pray that the Son set them free so that they will be free indeed! We must love them and pray for them so we will be the children of our Father. Their souls are still precious to God, and He does not want them to perish. We must stand in the gap so that they won’t be destroyed. God wants to be merciful and be reconciled with all of them; please help make this happen with your prayers. Bring light and life to these peoples in darkness with your fervent, effectual prayers!

Standard