Be Very Alert! No 174

Be Very Alert!- By Val Hollard

On Watch at the Door.                                                               No 174, July 1, 2014

ANOTHER JESUS – FURTHER INSTANCES OF ‘IDENTITY THEFT’

We don’t expect the world to have the right Jesus, so it was no surprise to see that an Australian gambling company sent up a 151-foot hot-air balloon into the skies above Melbourne that looks like Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue, but wearing an Australian soccer jersey with the words “KeepTheFaith” on the back.

The manager of Sportsbet was quoted as saying,“Let’s be honest, the Socceroos need a divine intervention in order to progress past their opponents.” Supporters were encouraged to keep faith in the Socceroos.

Italy’s state TV channel also featured the statue wearing a jersey for Italia. Both stunts have outraged Christians. Can you imagine anyone getting away with a similar insult to Mohammed?

Word-faith teachers have a different Jesus. One of their most blatant heresies, such as taught by Joyce Meyer, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Fred Price and others, is the belief that Jesus paid for our sins by descending into hell where He was tortured by Satan. Kenneth Copeland says, “The emaciated Spirit body of Jesus was dragged up and down the corridors of hell.” But Satan isn’t even in hell yet, and he certainly never will be the owner of the place. He doesn’t even want to go there! He wants to be worshipped in God’s Temple in God’s place.

Joyce Meyer says, “He became our sacrifice and died on the cross. He did not stay dead. He was in the grave three days. During that time he entered hell, where you and I deserve to go because of our sin. He paid the price there.” And, “His spirit went to hell because that is where we deserve to go… There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth.” This is definitely not the Gospel message of the Bible.

What the Bible does teach is that while Jesus was still on the cross He gave His Spirit into His Father’s hands and said, “It is finished.” The Greek is ‘Tetelestai,’ meaning ‘Paid in Full.’ There was nothing more to pay. Isaiah 53 makes it clear that it pleased the Lord to bruise Him and cause Him to suffer and bear the sins of us all. It wasn’t beatings by the Romans or torture by Satan that enabled Jesus to take the punishment we deserve. God the Father, in His great love for us, sent His only begotten Son into this world to die for our sins. Jesus stood in our place and received the punishment we deserve. Only a perfect God/man could do this.

Christian bookstores, as already discussed, are another place to find false Christs. There are now quite a few books written by people who claim to have visited heaven and some have seen Jesus. Among those who claim to have been to heaven are false prophets Jesse Duplantis, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn and Todd Bentley.

Those heavenly tourists who believe they have seen Jesus in heaven have varying descriptions of what he looks like. Some say he has brown hair, others say it is blond. Some report Jesus as having a purple sash about his waist, others say it is blue. Benny Hinn claims to see Jesus often and can even describe what He is wearing from day to day.

One very popular and widely advertised book and movie of a trip to heaven is Heaven is for Real. It is the account of a pre-schooler’s supposed visit. The book made the New York Times Best-Sellers list. The young Colton Burpo says that Jesus’ eyes are blue (others say they are brown). Colton also tells how he sat on Jesus’ lap, petted Jesus’ rainbow-coloured horse, saw Jesus’ wounds and saw Jesus wearing a crown with a pink diamond. Colton also said the Holy Spirit is blue and that everyone in heaven has wings except Jesus.

Many claim that any objections pale in the face of the supernatural knowledge that is revealed to Colton about his family that he could not otherwise have known. No one can say for sure how Colton got this information. However, he was in an operating room and anesthetized at the time. T.A. McMahon of The Berean Call, says that drug-induced conditions can produce a condition in which the mind is like a blank screen open to input, and supernatural entities may be able to take this opportunity to fill this screen with knowledge of events the person did not know beforehand. Satan can transform himself into an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14-15).

Akiane Kramarik began seeing heaven at the age of four. At age nine she drew Jesus from a vision she had had. Colton claims that the Jesus he saw was the same as this one. But Akiane’s faith has been described as more like New Age mysticism.

There are many problems with these accounts of visits to heaven. One big one is that they provide extra-biblical revelation, especially about Jesus. There is an attack on the sufficiency of Scripture to reveal all that we need to know about heaven and everything else (2 Tim 3:16-17). The apostle Paul said that when he visited heaven he was not allowed to repeat what he had heard there (2 Cor 12:4). God has told us all we need to know about heaven at this time. Do we really want to know about Jesus through the eyes of a small child or of any of the other visitors to heaven?

Other titles of books about trips to heaven include The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, To Heaven and Back, 90 Minutes in Heaven and My Journey to Heaven, just to name a few.

Although many describe their visits to heaven and how wonderful it is, hardly any tell people how to get there. There is no proper Gospel message. These days too many Christians are caught up in feel good things and experiences. Instead of reading their Bibles and finding out what is in them about Jesus and heaven, they’d rather have their ears tickled and listen to what others have to say about dubious experiences. We need to be diligent and search the Scriptures to discern if what is presented is true. The true Jesus is to be found in the Bible, not by revelation.

 

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

   Ecumenism – looking for commonalities: Ecumenism is based on the idea that we should look for things we believe and hold in common, not on our differences. All Christians would like to see peace, they all believe we should love one another, they all believe in a Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in sin, salvation, a heaven and a hell and a coming judgment. So why is there no unity among Christians?

True Christianity is identified in the details of how it differs from other religions and cults. These differences are revealed to us in the whole counsel of God. Many who call themselves Christians have redefined basic concepts and we should not unite with them. As Christians turn away from God’s Word as the absolute and complete truth, they will fall for anything and unite on anything.

Supposedly Christian university, Liberty, invited Mormon Glen Beck to preach to its students. Attendance was compulsory for residential students those not attending were fined $10. Beck did acknowledge that he was a Mormon, but asserted that he was a Christian though just from a different denomination. Do not be deceived by people telling you that they share your faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and that they are Christian like you, etc., who are actually from heretical faiths. Remember Paul’s words to Titus. “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”(Titus 1:9)

The Coming Economic Collapse: It’s coming. It’s just a matter of when. In New Zealand we tend to have a “she’ll be right” attitude and are unprepared. Our financial state is very much tied to China because we import so much from there, and to the US dollar and its fate. America has prospered because the dollar has been the world’s reserve currency. But that is changing. Some believe there will be huge financial convulsions by the end of this year and no later than 2016.

Russia is turning its back on the dollar. The largest natural gas producer in the world, Russia’s Gazprom, has signed agreements to switch payments from the dollar to euros. In the meantime, Russia has been pulling money out of US banks at an unprecedented pace.

Putin has also signed a deal with the presidents of Kazakhstan and Belarus to create a vast economic trading bloc which they hope will challenge the economic might of the United States, the European Union and China. China is also seeking to rid itself of the US dollar and its reserve global currency status.

   Rise of Islam: A panel of federal judges in Denver has found that it is perfectly appropriate for a police chief to order subordinates to attend an Islamic mosque where Muslims “discussed Islamic beliefs, Muhammad, Mecca, and why and how Muslims pray” in addition to encouraging officers to buy Islamic books and pamphlets that were for sale.

   Immorality: Tel Aviv held its 16th annual Gay Pride Parade recently with tens of thousands of people participating in the march. The US ambassador to Israel hoisted a gay pride flag over an American embassy for the first time in history to celebrate LGBT Pride Week with the Israelis.

   The Apostate Church: The General Assembly of the US Presbyterian Church has decided to dump its investments in three corporations which it says help Israel to suppress Palestinians in the “West Bank.” It says their decision puts Palestinians and Israelis on equal footing before God. They also voted to allow pastors to marry same-sex couples in states where it’s legal and to change the definition of marriage from a union between a “man and a woman” to “two persons.”

   Rising Anti-Semitism: In France, attacks on Jews have grown progressively worse causing thousands more Jews to consider making Aliyah to Israel. More than 5,000 are planning to leave France this year.

Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine, reports that the Jewish community there is facing an increasingly hostile environment and many are preparing to move to Israel. He blames the violence ripping the country apart squarely on the Russians. There are about 360,000 Jews in Ukraine. An estimated 120,000 are elderly and would find moving to another country very difficult.

   Christian Persecution: Persecution of Christians is occurring on a massive and increasing scale and is underreported. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life says that Christians have been the target for harassment in 151 countries.

In Iraq, the Jews have already been forced out and now it is the turn for Iraq’s Christians. This is a result of the violence from the jihadist terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL). ISIS is inflicting Sharia Islamic justice on anyone in its path and has begun imposing the jizya or poll tax on Christians in Mosul.

In Egypt, more than 550 Coptic Christian Schoolgirls have been kidnapped since 2011. They are often severely abused, converted to Islam and forced into marriage.

   Disease: A massive influx of illegal immigrants from a number of Central American countries, including thousands of children, is pouring across the border into America from Mexico, bringing with them a festering humanitarian crisis. Officials are deeply concerned about the spread of difficult-to-treat diseases. Outbreaks of scabies, lice, dengue fever, tuberculosis and other diseases are being reported.

   Doctors Without Borders report that the Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is now totally out of control. The medical group is stretched to the limit responding. There have been more than 330 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The virus causes internal bleeding and organ failure and there is no cure or vaccine.

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