Daily Archives: March 13, 2014

Questions about the Holy Spirit: What Is the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy?

 

The spiritual gift of prophecy is listed among the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:10 and Romans 12:6. The Greek word translated “prophesying” or “prophecy” in both passages properly means to “speak forth” or declare the divine will, to interpret the purposes of God, or to make known in any way the truth of God which is designed to influence people. Many people misunderstand the gift of prophecy to be the ability to predict the future. While knowing something about the future may sometimes have been an aspect of the gift of prophecy, it was primarily a gift of proclamation “forth-telling,” not prediction “fore-telling.”

A pastor/preacher who declares the Bible can be considered a “prophesier” in that he is speaking forth the counsel of God. With the completion of the New Testament canon, prophesying changed from declaring new revelation to declaring the completed revelation God has already given. Jude 3 speaks of “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (emphasis added). In other words, the faith to which we hold has been settled forever, and it does not need the addition or refinement that comes from extra-biblical revelations.

Also, note the transition from prophet to teacher in 2 Peter 2:1: “There were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you” (emphasis added). Peter indicates that the Old Testament age had prophets, whereas the church will have teachers. The spiritual gift of prophecy, in the sense of receiving new revelations from God to be proclaimed to others, ceased with the completion of the Bible. During the time that prophecy was a revelatory gift, it was to be used for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of men (1 Corinthians 14:3). The gift of prophecy has the same purpose today, declaring the truth of God. What has changed is that the truth of God has already been fully revealed in His Word, while in the early church, it had not yet been fully revealed.

Christians are to be very wary of those who claim to have a “new” message from God. It is one thing to say, “I had an interesting dream last night.” However, it is quite another matter to say, “God gave me a dream last night, and you must obey it.” No utterance of man should be considered equal to or above the written Word. We must hold to the Word that God has already given and commit ourselves to sola scriptura—Scripture alone.[1]


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

Questions about Miracles: Why are the biblical miracles different from those in other accounts of the miraculous?

 

Some people feel that the miracles recorded in the Bible betray the fact that the Scriptures are to be taken seriously. They are compared to Greek mythology and other tales of both the supernatural and bizarre. Instead of investigating their foundation, they class them immediately with legends and folklore.

Admittedly, there are many stories from our Lord’s day among the Greeks and Romans which are so fanciful and ridiculous that they are not worthy of serious consideration. This is in complete contrast to the biblical miracles, which never offer a mindless display of the supernatural.

To simply say that, because some reported supernatural events are ridiculous and untrue, therefore any reported supernatural occurrence or miracle is untrue denotes faulty reasoning. It is “guilt” by association, or a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Of the words used in the New Testament for miracles, the common words are those expressing the ideas of “supernatural powers.” These are the words used not only by the New Testament authors, but also by the Greek and Roman writers in their stories and myths. However, in the biblical account an additional word is used, wich is seldom if at all used by the Greek and Roman authors.

The word used is “sign,” which means attesting miracle or a miraculous proof. John states at the end of his Gospel, “Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30, 31, NASB).

The miracle stories as recorded in the Bible are always for a definite purpose and never to show off. There is always a logical reason for them. For example, there were 5,000 people who were in immediate need of food, which was promptly provided by miraculous means (Luke 9:12–17).

At a wedding feast in Cana, the wine had run out. The need for wine was met by Jesus, who turned water into wine (John 2:1–11). The miracles of Jesus were performed out of love and compassion to those who were afflicted. They were also meant to be objective signs to the people that He was the promised Messiah, since one of the credentials of the Messiah would be signs and miracles.

Jesus pointed out this fact when questioned by two messengers of John the Baptist about his identity. “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:4, 5, KJV).

When reading the miraculous accounts in the Bible and especially in the Gospels, a person has to note the fact that the miracles weren’t denied by the critics. In the life and ministry of Jesus, He was never asked if He performed miracles; He was always asked how He was able to do them. They wanted to know where He derived the power and authority (Matthew 21:23).

It was impossible for them to deny that He was doing miraculous things; literally hundreds of people had been cured, and there was no other explanation. The fact of His miracles was not in dispute. They couldn’t be denied.

On the day of Pentecost, less than two months after the crucifixion of Jesus, Simon Peter told a large gathering, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22, KJV).

Peter here, in front of a hostile crowd, states that the people themselves were aware of the miracles of Jesus. Just the fact that he wasn’t immediately shouted down demonstrates that the wonders Jesus performed were well known to everyone.

The first hand testimony to the miraculous is something that does not occur either in other religions or in Greek or Roman mythology. The straightforward account of the supernatural works breaking into the natural order are recorded for us in the Bible by eyewitnesses to these events.

All of these considerations demonstrate the qualitative difference of the biblical miracles. It is important now to consider why miracles are rejected. One reason why these miracles are rejected is because they do not fit with many people’s view of the world. They have never witnessed a miracle, and they conclude therefore that miracles cannot happen or that they are impossible.

Instead of investigating the evidence for the miraculous, the whole idea is ruled out ahead of time as being totally impossible. This is not a proper way to deal with this issue, since only a person with all knowledge of events past, present, and future could exclude the possibility of miracles.

There is an appropriate historical example of this folly of ruling out something ahead of time because it does not fit with one’s view of the world. When explorers first came to Australia, they encountered an animal that defied all known laws of taxonomy. They discovered a semiaquatic, egg-laying mammal, having a broad, flat tail, webbed feet and a snout resembling a duck’s bill. They named this animal the platypus.

Upon returning to their native land, they related their finding to the world. The people regarded their report as a hoax, since no such animal with the above characteristics could possibly exist. Even though there was reputable eyewitness testimony, it was rejected because of their world view.

They went back a second time to Australia, and returned with the hide of a dead platypus. The people accused them of rigging a hoax again. It seems that those people took Benjamin Disraeli’s dictum seriously, “I make it a rule only to believe what I understand” (The Infernal Marriage, Pt. 1, Ch. 4). However, as Charles Caleb Colton has pointed out, “He that will believe only what he can fully comprehend must have a very long head or a very short creed” (Frank Mead, Encyclopedia of Religious Quotations, p. 17).

Many people, unfortunately, hold this type of attitude and determine the verdict before examining the evidence. This attitude is not only unscientific, but also it can be dangerous to the one holding the view. If there is a God, and if He has revealed Himself through the miraculous, then an individual is cutting off his only chance of finding this out.

By refusing to accept the possibility of God breaking into history in a supernatural way, he is destroying his only hope of understanding what life is all about. Therefore, it is of the highest importance at least to look into the possibility of miracles occurring because of the eternal stakes which are in view. There are indeed “more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”[1]


[1] McDowell, J., & Stewart, D. D. (1993). Answers to tough questions. Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

Questions about Creation: If Adam and Eve Hadn’t Sinned, Introducing Death into Creation, Wouldn’t the World Have Gotten Overpopulated?

 

When God first created Adam and Eve, when they were still in the Garden of Eden, He charged them to be “fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). When He cursed Eve in Genesis 3:16, He told her He would greatly multiply pain in childbirth. Both passages imply that it would have been possible for Adam and Eve to have children in Eden (although there is no indication they did). If death had not entered the world, and if all of Adam and Eve’s descendants had followed God’s admonishment, eventually, the world would have been filled. But would it have been overpopulated?

This is one of those questions that usually come from a deeply entrenched modern mindset. Fear of pollution and famine and unemployment permeates our world. Almost one third of our land mass is desert. It is very likely that, in our world, if fertility rates were untainted by sin, and if no one ever died, the world would indeed become overpopulated.

However, the question does not concern Adam and Eve in a fallen world but in a perfect, sinless world—a creation imbued both with eloquent natural law and God’s miraculous power. Imagine an unfallen world with no desert, no wilderness, no unproductive land at all. Imagine a sinless creation producing many times more than our fallen world ever could. Imagine unfallen, sinless man wisely overseeing the earth’s resources and living in a charitable harmony with each other. Such a world would be completely foreign to us.

Eventually, however, the perfect, sinless world would have been filled. What then? To assume that an unfallen world could slide into something less than ideal is to doubt God’s sovereignty and creative power. He told Adam and Eve to fill the earth, and He would have had a plan once that was accomplished. Perhaps He would have simply stopped births. Or allowed the people to colonize other planets. Or just made Earth bigger.

If we believe God is perfect and sovereign and all-powerful, we have to believe He had a plan, and that it was sufficient to accommodate the number of people His plan called for. After all, He Himself said that His creation, including the charge to fill the earth, was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).[1]


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

Drug Marketing and Manufacturing Madness

The Marketing of Madness: Are We All Insane?

The definitive documentary on psychotropic drugging—this is the story of the high-income partnership between drug companies and psychiatry which has created an $80 billion profit from the peddling of psychotropic drugs to an unsuspecting public.
But appearances are deceiving.
How valid are psychiatrist’s diagnoses—and how safe are their drugs?
Digging deep beneath the corporate veneer, this three-part documentary exposes the truth behind the slick marketing schemes and scientific deceit that conceal a dangerous and often deadly sales campaign.

Manufacturing Madness & Pill Popping Profits

The Obama Peace Plan Includes Permanently Dividing The City Of Jerusalem

Barack Obama’s “two state” peace plan would not just permanently divide the land of Israel. It would also permanently divide the city of Jerusalem. It is anticipated that the “Kerry Plan”, which is expected to be revealed to the public soon, will call for a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem without specifying the exact borders. According to some media reports, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has approached Palestinian leadership with the idea of locating the Palestinian capital in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Of course the details of any peace agreement will change as negotiations progress, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear – the Palestinians will never accept an undivided Jerusalem and the U.S. government is going to pressure Israel to hand part of the holy city over to them. But if Israel gives in and accepts a “peace plan” that includes the permanent division of Jerusalem, it will end up being absolutely disastrous for Israel, for the Palestinians and for the United States. Read more

Is “Dr. Copper” Foreshadowing A Stock Market Crash Just Like It Did In 2008?

Is the price of copper trying to tell us something? Traditionally, “Dr. Copper” has been a very accurate indicator of where the global economy is heading next. For example, back in 2008 the price of copper dropped from nearly $4.00 to under $1.50 in just a matter of months. And now it appears that another big decline in the price of copper is starting to happen. So far this year, the price of copper has dropped from a high of $3.40 back in January to a price of $2.95 as I write this article, and many analysts are warning that this is just the beginning. By itself, this should be quite alarming to investors, but as you will see below there are a whole host of other signs that a stock market crash may be rapidly approaching. (Read More….)

Big Brother Surveillance – It Is Not Just For Governments Anymore

Traditionally, when we have thought of “Big Brother technology” we have thought of government oppression. But these days, it isn’t just governments that are using creepy new technologies to spy on all of us. As you will see below, “Big Brother surveillance” has become very big business. In the information age, knowledge is power, and big corporations seem to have an endless thirst for even more of it. So it isn’t just governments that are completely obsessed with watching, tracking, monitoring and recording virtually everything that we do. Corporations have discovered that they can use Orwellian technologies to make lots of money, and this is likely only going to get worse in the years ahead. Below, I have shared a few examples of this phenomenon… (Read More.….)

GodLife: Help! My Partner Is Not a Believer

Help! My Partner Is Not a Believer

Perhaps you, or someone you know, is married to a non-Believer. The Bible has advice for God’s people about this. The Bible teaches, “Don’t become partners with those who reject God” (2 Corinthians 6:14). But if you’re already in this situation, be encouraged! The Bible says the godly life of a Christian can testify to unbelieving spouses, who “will be won over [to God] by observing your pure and reverent lives” (1 Peter 3:1-2).

Just for You

What does a biblical family look like? Click to learn more about understanding family and marriage from God’s Word in the Articles for Growth series.

Personal Help

Do you ever wonder about helping your spouse or mate find God’s truth in Jesus Christ? We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out! Click here to share your story with us. You will hear from someone shortly.

Prayer Points

Will you pray this week:
• To thank God for blessing us with loving relationships and marriage
• To thank God that spouses can share His love with unbelieving partners
• That God will guide Christians who are in relationships with non-Believers
• That Christian partners can live godly lives that encourage their spouses to follow Jesus
• That God will build you into the person He wants you to be

GodLife Family

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The Doctrine Of Justification By Faith

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17 ESV)

The Protestant Reformation was used by God to restore the lost doctrine of Justification by Faith. Also, all of the reformers were adamant that the Bible be available to all people in a language they could read and understand. The Roman Catholic Church of that era was apostate and taught a corrupt gospel based on works. The Bible was kept locked up and away from non-scholars. It was always read verbally to the people in Latin, which few understood. As the Bible was translated from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into German…

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