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Thursday, 17 March 2016 01:59

Moriel Israel Bulletin March 2016

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The God Who Responds And The Sin Of Hananiah.


Our Passionate God

 

One of the things that is extremely important to us as believers, is a right apprehension of the nature and character of God. If our trust in God's goodness or His beneficial disposition towards us is compromised, it leaves us vulnerable to spiritual seduction and demonic attack.

One of the things that is extremely important to us as believers, is a right apprehension of the nature and character of God. If our trust in God's goodness or His beneficial disposition towards us is compromised, it leaves us vulnerable to spiritual seduction and demonic attack. Satan is well aware of this, and in fact God's goodness and holy character was one of the very first things the father of lies attacked in the Garden. Quite some years ago, I was quite affected by Calvinistic theology and I can remember that over time it had the subtle but growing effect of undermining my trust in God's goodness and truthfulness. I lost confidence in God's gracious disposition toward me, and thus any confidence in praying for the lost, or any assurance that God was truly interested in saving them, and though I never verbalised it or thought about it in those terms till afterward, I realise now that I had accepted an inner portrait of God that depicted Him as even duplicitous. Praise God, he set me free from those evil teachings, and over the following years I began to learn about the character of God afresh. I am still learning of course.

 

However, another bad thing I learned from Calvinism was a faulty idea of how God connects with His Creation. In the exhaustive determinism of Calvinism, everything, absolutely everything, down to the last movement of the smallest sub-atomic particle, is pre-scripted from Eternity and ensured to happen. This kind of Determinism thus views the Creation rather like a computer simulation. In the same way all human acts, events, thoughts, motives, feelings are also preordained and ensured to happen. Consequently, in such a scenario God's interactions with His Creation as recorded in the Scriptures, are not real at all, but merely pre-scripted sub-routines set to happen at a certain moment in the "run-time" of the Creation simulation, which God watches impassively from Eternity.

Nothing could be farther from the truth! I can not explain how God in Eternity interacts in "real time" with events in our temporal Universe, but the Scriptures make it absolutely clear that the Creator of the Universe is genuinely affected by events in His Creation and genuinely responds to them. A totally impassive God, unmoved by anything, who on a whim calmly and coolly decrees the life or death, destruction or damnation of individuals and nations; is the product of Greek philosophy and paganistic fatalism, not of biblical theology. God's essential nature and characteristics do not change, (Mal. 3:6) but Scripture is absolutely clear that He is deeply moved by what goes on in His Creation. The LORD responds to faith and obedience, (Heb. 11:6) and conversely, He is angered and grieved to the core by the depth of human depravity. His holiness, righteousness and justice is often outraged by Man's sin, yet at the same time God yearns over our lost condition and so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to save us. In fact, if we want to understand how God feels about what is going in His Creation, we have no better proof of God's passionate nature than can be found than in the life and ministry of Jesus himself, where we see this clearly displayed:

"Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?."

Whenever we think about God's nature we need to remember how He is revealed in Christ, because Jesus is the express image of the Father.

Implied Conditions: God reacts to our responses to His promises and warnings.

There are places in Scripture where the LORD seems to threaten or promise something in an absolute way, but it is readily apparent from information given elsewhere that there were implied conditions. For example Jonah was given the message "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown." (Jon. 3:4), there no mention of any possibility that this frightening decree could be ameliorated, but on seeing the people of Nineveh had taken the message to heart and humbled themselves in repentance:

"God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."

After the people of Israel sinned at Baal Peor, Phineas one of the sons of Aaron, intervened to stay the wrath of the LORD by slaying those committing blatant immorality in sight of the door of the tabernacle. Consequently, God made him the following promise:

Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.

During the time of the judges the priesthood had degenerated somewhat, and Eli the old priest did nothing to restrain the immorality and corruption of his sons and the priestly ministry was tarnished as a result. Consequently God responded and intervened.

I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.  And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.  And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age.  (see 2 Sam. 2)

It is clear then, when we look at other parts of Scripture, that what sounded like an unconditional promise to Phinehas had implied conditions; namely that of faithfulness to the LORD in the priestly function. We can see then, how human responses can nullify what seemed sure promises, or even avert seemingly inevitable judgements, because there were implied conditions that were met or violated, and our passionate God responds to our breach or upholding of those conditions.

It is supremely important when interpreting Scripture that we always seek to look at the parts in the light of the whole. Many times as believers, our theology may appear to be based on Scripture, but not be ultimately biblical. This sounds like an oxymoron, but it's nonetheless true. A good example of this is the OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved, also known as Unconditional Eternal Security) doctrine so popular in the USA particularly in Calvinistic circles. There are certain statements made by Jesus that on the one hand appear to be unconditional, just like the examples I gave above; but when compared with other statements made by Jesus himself and the Apostles, it is clear that actually such promises as "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." are conditional in nature. In other words some scriptures may appear to teach OSAS when taken on their own, but in the light of the whole teaching of Jesus and the Apostles (and indeed the rest of Scripture) we see that OSAS is not part of any real biblical theology.

There are some promises which can not be annulled by human misdeeds and whose eventual fulfilment is unconditional and ensured, but our participation in or enjoyment of those promises is conditional. An example of this would be the Land promise made to Abraham; God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants for ever, but they, because of their sin have not truly enjoyed the benefits of that promise. Nevertheless the promise stands, it will never be annulled, and will be fulfilled in its entirety, but only those who are of the faith of Abraham will enjoy it.

God's judgements and our response to them.

Scripture reveals to us that not only can our enjoyment of a promise be affected by our response to it, but the severity of some inevitable judgement can be affected by our human actions and responses as well. This is vividly played out in Israelite history.

From the time of Solomon's apostasy onwards, there was a gradual but definite decline in the spiritual condition of Israel. Solomon's apostasy brought division; the Northern Kingdom went rotten from the outset; on the other hand, the southern kingdom of Judah embarked on a more gradual downward trend with occasional upward "blips" when a national revival occurred during the reign of a good king.

What particularly tipped the kingdom of Judah over the threshold and finally exhausted God's patience though, was the dreadful reign of Manasseh, who not only practised idolatry but even the child-sacrifice of Molekh worship outside the very city walls in the Halley of Hinnom in full view of the Temple Mount.

Things were so bad, that even during his own reign judgement fell on Manasseh, he was carried off to Babylon by the king of Assyria. Astonishingly enough, during his captivity there, he experienced genuine repentance, God had mercy upon him and he was returned to Judah and restored to his throne,--but as a vassal king to Assyria. Manasseh promptly began a clean up, and removed the abominations he had placed in the very Temple courts. Even though his earlier wicked deeds had initially exhausted the LORD's forbearance, Manasseh's true repentance caused the LORD to hold off the inevitable severe chastening for a few more generations.

Of course it was not just Manasseh who was at fault, Judah's sin and apostasy was national. The heavy hand of God's chastening had to fall at some point as he responded to the deteriorating spiritual condition of the nation. After Manasseh there was only one more good king,--Josiah, and after his reign was over things went from bad to worse. It was into this situation that Jeremiah was called to speak.

Jeremiah and his unpopular message.

Jeremiah's message of submission to the yoke of Babylon[1] was particularly unwelcome, because it was directly opposed to a number of vested interests, both political and religious. On the whole, it seems he was mostly preaching to a hostile audience. In fact in the pages of Scripture, Jeremiah was probably the most hated and ill-received prophet apart from the Messiah himself.

The people were bent on their backsliding and enjoying their sin, so to hear messages of Divine displeasure, reproof and approaching chastening was not something that appealed to them, they actually preferred the messages of the false prophets (Jer. 5:31).

Jeremiah's message was not well received politically. For quite some time Judah had been a tributary to the Assyrians, but now the Assyrian empire had almost completely collapsed following internal struggles and the encroachments of a rising Babylonian-led coalition which included the Medes and some northern barbarians. The Judaean national leadership were hoping this would be the opportunity to finally shake off hated foreign shackles by playing off Assyria's former ally Egypt against a Babylon which was now dominating Judah as it filled the vacuum left by a receding Assyria. Jeremiah's message that the LORD required the nation to submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon, was not only a slap in the face to national pride and the currently rising expectations of liberation from foreign oppressors, but it was also diametrically opposed to the national leadership's foreign policy initiatives.

The Temple priesthood, ministering in the name of the LORD, where one would have thought Jeremiah would have found ready allies, and the national religious leadership, were even more antipathetic towards Jeremiah than the politicians and common people, because they were corrupt, spiritually compromised and had mingled the worship of Yahweh with paganism.

Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. (2 Chr. 36:14)

It was the voices of the prophets and priests that clamoured loudest against Jeremiah, (see Jer. 26) and cried out to have him done away with; because they, using the false prophets as their mouthpiece, were ringleaders in the apostasy of the people. They hated Jeremiah's message of judgement and chastening, partly because it affected their position, prestige and (probably) personal incomes.

Hananiah and his very popular message.

And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord's house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon:[2] And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the Lord: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.

Hananiah is listed as the son of Azur the prophet. Prophets, whether of the LORD or otherwise, were often court appointees in ancient Israel. David had a true prophet of the LORD, Nathan, and Ahab and Jezebel had their appointed (false) prophets. There is an Azur listed in Eze. 11: 1-13. Interestingly enough Azur is described as a "prince of the people" so he had political connections, but he is also described as one of those who "devise iniquity" and give "wicked counsel in the city", which the LORD specifically spells out as their saying, "it [judgement] is not near". Though it can not be established with absolute certainty, the son of a court hanger-on with powerful and crooked connections would definitely characterise Hananiah.

What was wrong with Hananiah's message?

Though Hananiah uttered his prophecy in the name of the LORD, that of course did not guarantee it was of the LORD. At that time the worship of Yahweh had become corrupted by syncretism and idolatry, even within the Temple courts. Hananiah's message certainly appeared on the surface to be pro-Israel, that would have sounded appealing today to many within the Christian Zionist community. However the LORD did not view it with approval.

Then the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying,  Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.  For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.  

  • It was inconsistent with the tenor of prophetic revelation.

God had been consistently warning concerning the national situation for a long time. Isaiah, ministering during the reigns of previous kings had clearly foreseen the exile to Babylon and their regathering (Isa. Chas.14, 39, 48). Hananiah's message also explicitly contradicted what the LORD had been saying through Jeremiah for most of his ministry.

  • It mingled truth with error in order to gain an audience.

Effectively, Hananiah's message was an attempt by the false prophet to neutralise the message coming through Jeremiah by taking part of what was true and then mixing it with a lie. Thus Hananiah was saying "Yes, God was angry like Jeremiah said, he was going to judge, but he has done that now, and it's all over. It's all smooth sailing from now on." This was actually a form of what today we would call preterism. Unfortunately this was not true, God had barely even begun to enter into judgment with his sinning people.

  • It by-passed the Divine call for repentance.

It was a message of national restoration, salvation and victory without the much needed repentance and faith that the true prophets had been calling for. This kind of false teaching was particularly dangerous, because it had the ear of the people, who were already predisposed to hearing messages that did not bring conviction to the sin in their lives or any requirement to forsake it. It was a cheap grace message.

  • It appeared to be a calming and comforting message but it presented the people with a false hope that would make matters far, far worse for them in the long run.

"Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron."

The LORD actually lays the responsibility for the heavier judgement that would ensue, directly at the door of the false prophet. He says that ultimately it was their false teaching that made the yoke heavier and stronger.

Modern Day Hananiah's.

"That's All Folks!" a deadly deceit.

Jacob's preaching and Moriel generally, have a specific focus on presenting the prophetic testimony of the Scriptures, both to the Church to prepare her for what is to come, and to the unsaved to exhort them to flee from the wrath that is to come, and in this context Jacob often refers to "et tsara l'yakov", the time of Jacob's trouble.

Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

What may come as a surprise to some, is that just as in Jeremiah's day, there are certain high-profile groups in Israel that are teaching that Jacob's Trouble is already past or doesn't really apply to eschatological events within Israel. The quote below is from Chuck Cohen of Intercessors for Israel:

"According to those verses in Jeremiah, Jacob's trouble occurs before Israel comes back to the land and before Israel becomes an independent nation again. Israel became a nation again in 1948. Did anything occur to Jacob's descendants before 1948 that could qualify as Jacob's trouble? While some believe that the whole 1,900 year exile can be seen as Jacob's trouble - and there can be a good argument made for this - still the event that seems to be the climactic fulfilment was the demonically inspired Nazi Holocaust. Jacob's trouble has been fulfilled."

"As noted briefly before, there can also be a future fulfilment, based on a spiritual principle of 'now-and-not-yet' that applies to some prophetic passages.[3] That principle, if we are being honest with the text, would indicate that if there was another wave of anti-Semitic hatred leading to the deaths of many Jews, it would happen in exile. Jews who refuse to return to Zion are - and will continue to be - in much more danger than those Jews who have come home."

The Cohen's article goes appallingly wrong on a number of levels, one of which is on the timing. While they are correct in establishing that the fulfilment of this passage is in the Last Days, (which biblically can mean any time from the Cross onward) what they fail to give adequate weight to is the phrase:

"Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it"

Jer. 30:7 stresses the historical uniqueness of this period of trouble. This kind of phraseology also occurs in Matt. 24:21-22, Mk 13:19-20, which clearly draw on Dan.12:1-2[4]. All three of these passages, clearly place this unique and unparalleled time of tribulation of Israel's history in the period after the setting up of the Abomination of Desolation, that is, the latter half of the Seventieth Week of Daniel. A period called in Daniel the "Et-haQetz", the "time of the end". Both Daniel and Jesus state emphatically that this time will eclipse all other periods of national and international distress which then means it will be worse than the Holocaust. It is also starkly explicit that the epicentre of the tribulation is within the Land of Israel itself.

Zechariah chapter 13 speaks clearly of a horrifying time when two-thirds of the nation shall be cut off (Zec. 13:8) and this is clearly linked to prophecies connected with the Day of the LORD, however Cohen attempts to evacuate this prophecy of its force:

I.F.I.'s annual Intercessors Prayer Conference in January 2015 included a message[5] on Zechariah 12-14 that explained why its middle chapter refers to the period around the Lord's first coming and not to the one for which we are all still waiting. In short, Zechariah 12 ends with all Israel being saved, as they look upon the One whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as if He were their precious only child (12:10). In the Hebrew, the word in the KJV translated upon, should be to/toward as with spiritual sight.

While grammatically and syntactically it is possible to understand the meaning of the Hebrew word "אלי" as looking to in a non-physical way. There are extremely serious problems with I.F.I.'s handling of the text from Zec. 12:10. Let us compare their interpretation with the Holy Spirit inspired handling of this verse in the New Testament:

But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:  But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. Jn 19:37

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. Apoc. 1:7

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matt. 24:30

The following points are abundantly clear from the texts where Zec. 12:10 is quoted or alluded to:

  1. It refers to literal seeing of the One who we pierced, with our physical It does not in any wise refer to a figurative turning toward Him "as with spiritual sight".
  2. It is clear from the eschatological contexts in which this verse is used in the NT, that this verse refers to Yeshua's coming in power with His angels in the glory of the Father, which Matt. 24 places explicitly after the Tribulation.

What Chuck and Karen Cohen are claiming about this verse is simply patently untrue, it is false teaching of a very dangerous kind.[6] It is the deadly preterism of Hananiah.

There is much more in the Cohen's article that raises concerns; like Hananiah it does not take into account the the depth of our national sin and apostasy, and its inevitable consequences. To be quite honest, in modern Israel, we have exceeded by more than a thousandfold anything that Manasseh ever did. Notwithstanding anything else, we have the blood of more than 2 million unborn on our hands. Severe chastisement will eventually be coming our way because of our multiplied national transgression and our lack of national repentance.

Don't Worry! It Will Never Happen To Us.

Once again just as in the time of Jeremiah, in addition to the "It's already happened" school of false prophecy, there is the "It will never happen to us" school of false teachings as well.

. . . Hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish. But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.

This school of false-teaching is exemplified by such statements as this, which Dr Paul Wilkinson gave at Berean Call:

" . .the Post-Tribulation belief . . . the Pre-Wrath view, these are heretical views. To teach that the Church is going to go through any part of the Tribulation period is an abominable thing to teach. because it robs believers of the blessedness of the Blessed Hope. It doesn't fill believers with joy and expectancy and longing, it fills them with fear, it fills them with a kind of militancy that they have to stand against the Antichrist, they have to face the Mark of the Beast. I have spoken at Churches in England where people have been in fear how they are going to get through the Tribulation, how their children are going to get through the Tribulation. Will they be strong enough to resist the Mark of the Beast when it comes. Praise God the Lord uses many of us to bring freedom and release from that kind of teaching.."

In Jeremiah's time, the weight of national transgression had become so great that judgement was inevitable, and the LORD specifically wanted to prepare His people with the mindset that they would have to endure a yoke of suffering. By presenting the people with a false hope, the lying prophets were dissuading the people from resigning themselves to the Divine chastening and thus teaching them rebellion against the LORD. This in the end would only make their suffering worse and even result in the needless deaths of many.

For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish.

The Hebrew is very strong, the word l'ma'an translated as "to" in the A.V. has the force of in order that or to the intent that, thus the LORD explicitly says that there is a causative link between the teachings of the false prophets and the Exile and perishing of many.

Events that cannot be avoided and how they affect us.

Like God's judgement on the kingdom of Judah, the Tribulation, the Return of Jesus and the Day of the LORD are settled inevitabilities. God, who in Eternity sees all choices, events and possibilities in ways beyond our comprehension, knows exactly when they will happen. There may, from a temporal perspective, be events and choices made that can delay or even accelerate the arrival of these events, but they can not be avoided altogether, at some point they will inevitably occur. The fact is however, that responding in faith and obedience to God's message makes a massive difference as to how those coming events will affect us. A correct understanding of God's goodness and holy character will help us in this, we must understand that we are not dealing with a duplicitous and sadistic deity as portrayed by Calvinism, but an infinitely loving and gracious God, who will (if we are that generation) permit His Body to endure the Tribulation only for their ultimate good and for a the good of a lost world in which God will use them to bear witness, so that He may bring in the final harvest.

In both Joel and Malachi, we have terrifying predictions of the oncoming eschatological Day of the LORD, as the enemies of Israel approach to consume her at the end of the Seventieth Week of Daniel. At the very end of Malachi we read the following:

Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

The word translated "curse" here, is kherem. In the OT it is the word used when something is devoted totally to destruction. The word "lest" tells us that this judgement is conditional. If it were not for the prophetic ministry of Elijah and a positive response from the people the Land would be completely destroyed.

We see also the same pattern in the second chapter of Joel. Where in light of the terrifying events approaching, the people are summoned to seek the LORD in prayer and repentance, and it is the change of heart in the people that prompts a response from the LORD to destroy the invading hosts, because "he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil."

The birth pangs of end-time events may well come upon our generation, just as judgement came upon Judah. But also like them we have an option. We can either close our ears and live in a state of denial, following the modern-day Hananiah's who without any biblical grounds are telling us it's either already happened, or at least won't happen to us, thus leaving us unprepared and easy prey to coming events and effectively predisposing ourselves to spiritual deception and apostasy. Or, we can seek the LORD with ever increasing vigour, that He might arm us with the mindset that is prepared to forsake all, even our own lives for Him in order to be His witnesses. Jesus has a solution for our fears about the future and our worries about our families and children, if the Tribulation does indeed come upon our generation, and it is this:

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. . . . So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

All that we have, including our families and children are a gift of God and do not truly belong to us, we are merely custodians. The God whose very nature is love, who is utterly good, utterly holy and in whom is no darkness at all, must be our highest treasure, and greatest love, and we must trust His character. This is the only solution to fears about the future and the judgements, even the possibility of the Tribulation itself, coming upon us.

We noted above the causative link between false teaching and increased apostasy. We actually see a similar situation in Matt. 24 where contextually the teachings of false prophets and false christs, lawlessness (anomia which in context means divine law) and apostasy are linked. What is particularly interesting though is that the false doctrine that Jesus specifically links to these false christs (and the consequent anomia and apostasy) is the teaching of a coming other than the globally visible, glorious and unmistakeable one He Himself describes and which is preceded by certain signs. This is particularly pertinent, because some pretrib ministers are linking the Gospel proclamation with the Pretrib Rapture Theory in a "believe in Jesus so you won't have to go through the Tribulation" message.

I often wonder how Dr Wilkinson's statement quoted above would be received in places like the Sudan, Nigeria, Vietnam and ISIS controlled territories in Iraq and Syria. Would Christians there, some of whom watch their families butchered before their eyes before they themselves are slaughtered, feel freed and released by pretribulational rapturism, would a message of "you don't have to endure", "you don't have to stand", "don't worry you'll be taken out before the Tribulation hits town," help them? Or would they be better served by "and they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto the death?"

The severity and mercy of God's response to Hananiah.

One of the specific charges God brought against the false prophets of Jeremiah's time, was that they did nothing to prepare the people for what was coming:

O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.  Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord.

The Hebrew word translated "stand" also means to abide or endure. The problem with Hananiah, was not just that his message was false, it was effective at garnering adherents and was popular. It brought "freedom" and "release" from thoughts of divine displeasure, judgement or chastening. It made no demands for amendment of life, repentance and trust in God, and of course this is always an appealing message! However in actual fact, Hananiah and the false prophets were presenting the people with a satanically engineered counterfeit specifically designed to inoculate them against the true message of God's Word, and one which would leave them unprepared for what was coming, and unable to endure it. The LORD's response to this had to be radical:

Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord.  So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.

Hananiah died three months later. Why did God not simply strike Hananiah dead right then and there? I really believe that the LORD was giving Hananiah time to repent. Hananiah knew in his own heart that the message he gave was false. I do actually believe that if he had confessed his false teaching and repented, God would have have responded by sparing his life, because Had already had spared the life of Manasseh who did things far worse. Sadly repentance was not forthcoming.

False teaching is a serious matter, and those who profess to teach the Word are held to a higher standard of accountability (Jas. 3:1). Based on God's past dealings with the false prophets in Jeremiah's day, I can not believe that our God who does not change, will not for the sake of the Body at some point act in response to ministries who stubbornly hold to and promote doctrines that they actually know they have no real biblical warrant for and have been repeatedly warned about;[7] particularly false teaching that leaves the Body unprepared for very serious future events,--and this will include certain elements even within the premillennial pro-Israel camp, who stand against what the Scriptures clearly teach concerning what is coming. God is giving space to repent, and I really do think they need to reassess what they are teaching in the light of Scripture and not repeat Hananiah's mistake. 

 

Every Blessing,

Elon and Hadas Moreh
March 16, 2016

Notes

[1]       Jer. 27:8-12.

[2]       There were actually three deportations of Judeans to Babylon. The first around 605 B.C. (which is probably when Daniel was taken there) under Jehoiakim, the second around 598 and the third after the city fell in 587.

[3]       "For example, while Peter said that the outpouring of the Spirit on Shavuot, the Day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2, was a fulfilment of Joel 2:28-29, many still expect a final fulfilment - when all Israel gets saved, as the context of both Joel and Acts is specifically talking about Jews. We do not see this as applying to some still-to-come future end time global revival that will sweep away the 'gross darkness'. Revival is happening now!" Jacob’s Trouble - Past or Future? Intercessors For Israel Sept. 2015.

[4]       "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." See also Matt. 24:15-21 "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

[5]        "Zechariah 12-14 Today", Chuck Cohen. Intercessors for Israel.

[6]       When they are promoting an error of such magnitude, the reader will not then be surprised to find that the Cohen's are long standing members of Wayne Hilsden's King of Kings Community Jerusalem, which is linked with and thoroughly saturated with the doctrines and practices of the New Apostolic Reformation.

[7]       This is clearly evidenced by the open admission of Pretrib Scholars that they have no scripture that clearly teaches what they claim; the recent withdrawal by major pretrib figures Dr Thomas Ice, Mark Hitchcock and Dr Paul Wilkinson from debating the scriptural basis of their Pretribulational Rapture Theory and their promotion of such things as their "The Apostasy Is The Rapture" teaching. All these things taken together are a more than tacit indicator that they themselves are full aware that their Secret Pretrib Rapture Theory is manifestly unscriptural.

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