Daily Archives: February 20, 2014

As Israel gears up to export natural gas, major deals signed with Jordan & Australia while negotiations in motion with other countries.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

israel-gasplatform ( Washington, D.C.) — With Israel gearing up to be a significant exporter of natural gas, companies and countries are lining up to be part of the action.

For Israelis, it is a long-held dream coming true. It may also prove to be the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

“A recently-released report

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Questions about Theology: What Is Kingdom Theology?

 

At its most basic definition, kingdom theology would be the part of theology that studies the Kingdom of God in all its many different aspects, manifestations and elements. In that sense kingdom theology is a legitimate and beneficial part of theology as a whole. But there are also theological “movements” or beliefs that are sometimes labeled as “kingdom theology,” so one must be careful to understand how the term is being used.

One type of kingdom theology that would be considered within the realm of biblical or orthodox Christian doctrine is what is sometimes referred to as the “already but not yet” view of the kingdom of God which simply means that the “end times” began with the ascension of Christ into heaven. It is also called “inaugurated eschatology” because the life, death and resurrection of Christ are seen as inaugurating, or ushering in, the beginning of the last days. Those who hold this view believe that the Kingdom of God is already here but has not yet been fully consummated.

This type of kingdom theology divides human history into two broad periods of time. First is the “present evil age” which started with the fall of man and will last until the Second Coming of Christ. This time period is marked by sin, sickness, death, disease, war and poverty. In it Satan is seen to be ruling the world and the world’s system as seen in verses like Ephesians 2:2 and 6:12, among many others. (Of course we also know from Scripture that Satan’s rule is limited to only what God allows him to do.) The second age is the “age to come” where the kingdom of God rules an age of eternal life, freedom from sin, sickness and suffering. It will be a time of universal peace on earth and God’s absolute sovereign reign over all of creation.

Kingdom theology teaches that both ages are in play today. In other words while Jesus ushered in the Kingdom of God we still suffer from the consequences of living in a fallen world with sin, sickness and disease. So while the Kingdom of God is already here and Christ is already ruling from heaven, the full benefits of the Kingdom have not yet been ushered in. Because the Kingdom of God is still “not yet” here in all of its glory and power, Christians still suffer sickness and death. Although we have eternal life we still live in a world of sin with all the sickness, pain and suffering that brings. Until Christ returns again we will not experience the fullness of the kingdom of God in all aspects and areas. Where the waters start getting muddy among adherents to a kingdom theology point of view is in regards to exactly how much and to what degree the power of the Kingdom of God in the age to come is being manifested today.

Kingdom theology became a popular teaching among some Vineyard churches and was embraced by charismatic leaders such as John Wimber and others. A misunderstanding or distortion of kingdom theology has influenced or led to many different variations and movements such as the Latter Rain Movement. The charismatic leaders of these groups do not see the distinction between the two ages or how the Kingdom of God is manifested differently now than it will be after Christ’s return. This leads to many outlandish and often unbiblical claims concerning miracles, a Christian’s ability to live totally free from sickness and disease, and all types of other errors.

Taking the biblical concept of kingdom theology to unbiblical extremes, some of these leaders began to make claims that the miracles that modern day “prophets and apostles” were performing were greater than anything done by the original apostles. This erroneous teaching has spawned a whole movement of unbiblical and sometimes heretical teachings. The teaching also became popular among “Word of Faith” teachers and spawned related but heretical views such as the Kingdom Now Theology and Dominion Theology.

The basic premise of the kingdom theology movement is that the Kingdom of God is in effect now, and certainly that is a true statement. God is reigning and His Kingdom is in place as it always has been. God is the sovereign ruler over all things and we know from Scripture that Jesus Christ is “at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56) and that He is “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Where some of the proponents of the more extreme kingdom theology movements begin to go wrong is that they believe and teach that all the Old and New Testament promises and descriptions of the Kingdom of God directly apply to Christians today. Therefore they teach that salvation also brings with it total and complete healing of all diseases and problems. Then when that worldview does not match with reality they make the healing dependent on man’s faith and not God’s power or reign.

Another teaching that is somewhat common among those that take Kingdom Now theology beyond what the Bible teaches is that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ has restored the earth to what it was before the fall and that man’s rule and reign over the earth now is the same as it was for Adam and Eve before they sinned. What those who embrace this type of extreme theology fail to recognize is the “now but not yet” aspect of God’s Kingdom. As John Frame writes, “We live in tension between this age and the age to come. In Christ, the age to come has already arrived, but the present age, dominated by sin, will not expire until He returns.” While many kingdom promises do apply to Christians today, many still await a future and more complete fulfillment after Christ’s Second Coming. Where some who teach kingdom theology begin to get off base biblically is that they try to appropriate and apply all promises and verses that pertain to the kingdom of God to Christians today and fail to see the future, fuller fulfillment that is to come.

Kingdom Now or Dominion Theology teachers try to apply Old Testament verses to Christians today in a way that cannot be done through sound exegesis of the passages. Like most false teachers, they selectively quote from Scripture and take verses out of their context to make application that is not supported from the text. Extreme Kingdom Now theology has many problems. First of all it diminishes the need for the return of Christ and what the Bible teaches that He will accomplish when He comes again. After all, if the full Kingdom of God is available and in effect for Christians today, why does Christ need to return at all? Second is that Kingdom Now theology exalts man and makes God dependent on man and his faith in order for God to accomplish His will. God’s rule is diminished and His sovereignty is attacked by many Kingdom Now teachers. Man controls his own destiny through his words and the power of his faith.

Starting with the false teaching that God “lost control” of the earth when Adam and Eve sinned, extreme adherents to kingdom theology believe that God has been looking for a “covenant people” who will take control of the earth back from Satan. Through the power of their faith and by following “last days apostles and prophets,” the church will win back dominion over the kingdoms of this world. These kingdoms extend to all areas of life including sickness, disease and financial problems. They also include such things as education, government, science, etc. Those who embrace this teaching are looking forward to the time when they, as God’s covenant people, take dominion over every aspect of the world ruling and reigning for God. They believe this will be achieved as believers use supernatural gifts given by the Holy Spirit. This particular type of kingdom theology has given rise to many well-known false prophets who have made all kinds of wild claims and prophecies only to be proven wrong time and time again.

Again it is important to recognize that kingdom theology, when correctly understood, is certainly within the realm of evangelical Christianity and those who teach it and embrace it can have sound biblical reasons for doing so. The danger, like many doctrines or theological movements, comes from those who distort the doctrine or take the theological construct to unbiblical places. Proponents and teachers of kingdom theology can run the gamut from being good sound biblical teachers to those who are misguided but not totally unbiblical, all the way to outright heresy. So one should be very careful to avoid broad-brushing the entire movement and instead judge each teacher or church by comparing what they are teaching to Scripture.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Miscellaneous Bible Questions: Is Sleep Paralysis the Result of Spiritual Attack?

 

Sleep paralysis can be a very scary thing. In it, you know you’re asleep, you try to wake up, but you can’t. It’s often accompanied by an irrational feeling of utter terror, and sometimes images of figures in black cloaks. Many cultures have developed supernatural explanations for sleep paralysis. In China, it’s called mèng yǎn, “ghost pressing on body.” In some Muslim countries, it’s associated with an evil djinn. In Africa, it’s called “the witch riding your back.”

However, there is an entirely physiological explanation for the phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. As we fall asleep, our minds may enter a hypnagogic state. It’s what happens when the sleeper’s still-aware mind is faced with dream images. As some people wake up, they experience a hypnopompic state, which is the dreaming mind faced with stimuli from the real world. In both cases, the dreams can seem very real, taking on a vivid hallucinatory feeling. Often these images are of black smudges, which the confused mind interprets as human figures, sometimes called “shadow people.” The hallucinations can also take the form of sounds like a loud bang or a child’s cry. These episodes frequently begin with a falling feeling followed by a “hypnic jerk” where the body’s muscles violently contract.

One of the scarier experiences with sleep paralysis is the inclusion of lucid dreaming and false awakening. The sleeper recognizes they’re asleep and tries to wake up. They open their eyes in relief, but soon realize they’re still asleep. This can go on for some time, sometimes resulting in an actual awareness of their real surroundings—the pressure of the covers, the light of the room beyond their eyelids—but still the inability to fully waken. That awareness can slip away again, returning the sleeper to the hallucinations.

Muscle paralysis in sleep is a necessary thing. People who act out their dreams on a regular basis are prone to accidental injury—even jumping out of windows. Knowing that you’re asleep and paralyzed, however, can be frightening. You tell yourself to open your eyes, just to get caught in another false awakening. One theory is that sleep paralysis affects the larger parts of the body more completely. You can try to wake up by wiggling your toes or fingers. It’s also possible to pray in your sleep. This will often give comfort that lets you fall back into unconsciousness. You may be able to avoid sleep paralysis by getting sufficient rest and avoiding drugs and alcohol.

In probably the vast majority of cases, sleep paralysis is just a quirk in a person’s REM cycle, not a spiritual attack. At the same time, there is no denying that demons can and do attack us. It seems plausible, then, that demons can and do attack us while we sleep. In the Gospels, several instances of demonic attack involved clear physical symptoms. So, it is possible that a demonic attack could result in symptoms resembling sleep paralysis. Whatever the case, we have a God who watches over us, whether we are awake or asleep (1 John 4:4).

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Creation: What Is the Meaning of Pishon in the Bible?

 

The only mention of the word Pishon in the Bible is found in the book of Genesis: “A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there” (Genesis 2:10–12). It’s only when we compare the richness and beauty of the river to that of the Garden of Eden itself, that we are really able to discern the meaning of Pishon.

Besides the lone biblical reference, Pishon is mentioned in Sirach 24:25 of the Apocrypha. It is probably connected with the Hebrew root puwsh, which means “scatter, press on, break loose, or spring forward.” The River Pishon most likely originated from a spring and formed a delta. Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names defines Pishon as “Great Diffusion.”

It is virtually impossible to determine where the Pishon River flowed during the pre-Flood era. The same is true for practically any location during that time, including Eden. Some scientists believe that the Pishon could be the Nile, the Indus, or the Ganges. There is simply no modern river that matches the description given in Genesis. Without question, the world’s topography prior to the worldwide Flood (Genesis 6:17) was totally different from what it is today.

Although Pishon’s location is obscure, its description and purpose are not. The Garden of Eden which God prepared was not only bountiful, it was lush and beautiful. It was a place rich with life-giving water, a land lavished with precious metals and jewels. The gold and onyx associated with the River Pishon are reminiscent of the tabernacle’s furnishings and priestly garments (Exodus 25:1–9; 1 Chronicles 29:2). Gold overlay finished the sacred furniture of the tabernacle (Exodus 25:11). Particularly important was the onyx stone of the priestly ephod, upon which were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes (Exodus 28:9–14), and the onyx of the high priest’s breastplate (Exodus 28:20).

The land of Havilah, ringed by the Pishon, is indicative of the presence and blessing of God. Furthermore, the Pishon and the other three rivers from Eden eventually marked the boundaries of the land pledged to Abraham (Genesis 15:18). As God had prepared and assigned Eden to Adam’s care, the “paradise” of Canaan’s land was given to Abraham and his descendants.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Chaos in Kiev: As truce collapses, Ukraine forces killing protestors. Will pro-Putin forces prevail?

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

 

Map of Kiev, Ukraine (credit: AFP) Map of Kiev, Ukraine (credit: AFP)

(Washington, D.C.) — The chaos in Kiev is going from bad to worse.

  • The brief truce has already collapsed.
  • The killing of Ukrainian protestors by government forces has resumed.
  • Some Western reporters and analysts are suggesting the regime’s hold on power may be slipping.
  • Others, however, are convinced the pro-Putin forces will crush the protestors no matter how many are killed.

Here is some of the latest coverage.

New York Times headline: “Ukraine Leader Strains for Grip as Chaos Spreads.”

“Ukraine spiraled deeper into disarray on Wednesday as the government of President Viktor F. Yanukovych and several thousand grimly determined protesters, along with their supporters in Russia and Europe, faced off in a confrontation over the fate of this fractured country of 46 million,” reports the New York Times.

“As measures of the turmoil, the authorities announced a nationwide ‘antiterrorist operation’ to keep guns…

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Blood Moons, Bible Prophecy, and the Integrity of the Bible

For centuries prophecy writers have been predicting prophetic events based on a whole host of supposed end-time indicators, from wars and rumors of wars to earthquakes and stellar phenomena. The latest prophetic speculation centers around four “blood moons” called a “tetrad. Two will occur in this year and two next year. Some prophecy theorists intimate that they may have something to do with the “rapture” and other last day events like Israel bombing Iran and Russia invading Israel and so much more. – See more at: http://americanvision.org/10106/blood-moons-bible-prophecy-integrity-bible/

When Silence Is Sinful – John MacArthur

 

Ephesians 5:11

 

Ignore it and it will go away. That seems to be the tactic the charismatic movement has adopted when it comes to false prophets, heretical theology, and phony miracles. Many charismatics simply turn a blind eye to the corruption in their midst, assuming that if it’s not happening in their church then it’s not their problem.

But that’s not the biblical pattern for dealing with sin in the church. In fact, it directly contradicts the apostle Paul’s instructions for dealing with false converts and professing believers whose sin is corrupting the church. To the church at Ephesus he wrote, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).

Our Christian responsibility goes beyond abstaining from the “deeds of darkness.” We are also called to expose them. To ignore evil is to encourage it, and to keep quiet about it is to help promote it. The verb translated as “expose” (from elegchō) can also carry the idea of reproof, correction, punishment, or discipline. We are to confront sin with intolerance.

Sometimes such exposure and reproof will be direct and at other times indirect, but it should always be immediate. When we are living in obedience to God, that fact in itself will be a testimony against wrong. When those around us see us helping those in need rather than exploiting them, hear us talking with purity instead of profanity, and observe us speaking truthfully rather than deceitfully, our example will be a rebuke against selfishness, unwholesome talk, and lies. Simply refusing to participate in a dishonest business or social practice will sometimes be such a strong rebuke that it costs us our job or a friendship. Dishonesty is terribly uncomfortable in the presence of honesty, even when there is no verbal or other direct opposition.

Often, of course, open rebuke is necessary. Silent testimony will only go so far. Failure to speak out against and oppose evil is a failure to obey God. Believers are to expose the works of darkness with whatever legitimate, biblical means necessary. Love that does not openly expose and oppose sin is not biblical love. Love not only “does not act unbecomingly” but it “does not rejoice in unrighteousness” wherever it might be found (1 Corinthians 13:5–6). Our Lord said, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private. . . . If he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you. . . . If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church” (Matthew 18:15–17). This is the responsibility of every Christian (cf. 1 Timothy 5:1, 20; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:13; 2:15).

Unfortunately, many Christians are barely able to keep their own spiritual and moral houses in order that they do not have the discernment, inclination, or power to confront evil in the church or in society at large. We should be so mature in biblical truth, obedience, holiness, and love that the natural course of our life is to expose, rebuke, and offer the remedy for every kind of evil.

Sadly, many Christians do not confront evil because they do not take it seriously. They laugh and joke about unadulterated wickedness—things that are immoral and ungodly in the extreme. They recognize the sinfulness of those things and would likely never participate in them; but they enjoy them vicariously. In so doing, they not only fail to be an influence against evil but are instead influenced by it—contaminated to the extent that they think and talk about it without exposing and rebuking it.

Whether the sin is isolated to one small group or congregation, or it thrives on a global scale like the corruption in the charismatic movement, God’s people need to be faithful to expose and deal with it biblically.

 

(Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Ephesians.)


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A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-18-Baptism

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Baptism

 

1. What duty has God intimately associated with Faith?

The profession of that faith in the ordinance of Baptism.

2. What is Baptism?

It is the immersion of the body in water, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

3. Why is it done in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost?

To denote that the person baptized thus professes to believe these three to be God, and to devote himself to His service.

4. What does the use of water in Baptism represent?

The washing away of our sins by the cleansing influences of the Holy Spirit.

5. What does the act of immersion represent?

The union of the believer with Christ in His death.

6. Do the Scriptures assign this union as a reason why we are to profess Christ by immersion?

They do; they tell us…

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