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Earlier this year, arising from the 2015 release of the video documentary "Left Behind or Led Astray" which chronicled the history and origin of the Pretribulational Rapture Teaching; Pretrib Research Centre Director Dr Thomas Ice, on the Berean Call radio show, on the basis of his own interpretation of 2 Thess. 2:3, publicly challenged Pastor Joe Schimmel for the $10,000 offered in the documentary to anyone who could find a biblical text clearly supporting a pretribulational timing for the Rapture event. This challenge initiated an informal debate between pastor Joe Schimmel of Blessed Hope Chapel and himself concerning the subject of Dr Ice's contention that the apostasia in 2 Thess. 2:3 refers not to a departure from the faith, but a spatial departure into Heaven, namely the Rapture. 

Published in Blog Items

Earlier this year, arising from the 2015 release of the video documentary "Left Behind or Led Astray" which chronicled the history and origin of the Pretribulational Rapture Teaching; Pretrib Research Centre Director Dr Thomas Ice, on the Berean Call radio show, on the basis of his own interpretation of 2 Thess. 2:3, publicly challenged Pastor Joe Schimmel for the $10,000 offered in the documentary to anyone who could find a biblical text clearly supporting a pretribulational timing for the Rapture event. This challenge initiated an informal debate between pastor Joe Schimmel of Blessed Hope Chapel and himself concerning the subject of Dr Ice's contention that the apostasia in 2 Thess. 2:3 refers not to a departure from the faith, but a spatial departure into Heaven, namely the Rapture. 

Published in Blog Items
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 16:00

A Reply to Al Dagger from Jacob

Blessings in Jesus.

I consider this to be a fair & accurate assessment by Brother Al and it is fairly comprehensive.

I would personally have no objections if Al wishes to print or web post it in the public domain inclusive of his critical observations of myself in certain specified regards, with which many would likely agree.
Published in Blog Items
Thursday, 11 February 2016 03:58

“Holy Ghost Reborn” (Movie)

Reviewed by Sandy Simpson
January29,2016 

 

I am sorry to say this but Bethel is clearly a cult of Christianity holding to most of the teachings of the Latter Rain and Word of Faith. They have demonstrated repeatedly a manipulative atmosphere targeting young people in particular while preaching rank heresy. This new film is a continuation of those false teachings and practices. I pray for the young people in that church that they will come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and thus come to know the true Holy Spirit.

Published in Blog Items
Sunday, 06 September 2015 01:50

Is Dominionism Working?

Since the counterfeit revivals of the mid 80's there has been a claim by many Latter Rain /Word of Faith groups that the church is going to take over the world, taking control of the governments, businesses and every other aspect of life. Movements such as the Toronto "Blessing", Brownsville "Outpouring", Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation, Emergent Church, and many other related Latter Rain movements have been claiming that they are making radical changes in people's lives due to miracles, prophecies, dead raisings, and growing numbers of people attending mega churches. So by now, in 2014, we should be seeing the effects of this wonderful scenario that the false apostles, false prophets, false teachers, and false Christs of these movements have predicted.

Where is the actual proof that Dominion IS is working?

The answer is that what we're seeing in society and in the church shows that it is not only NOT working but these Latter Rain features may actually be driving the world to hell and the church into apostasy faster than might have been otherwise. To prove my point I want to quote from the latest statistics put out in a new Harris Poll of 12/17/13 entitled "Americans' Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines - Belief in Darwin's theory of evolution rises" to show you what is actually going on and then I will comment on it.  However, just to further prove my point that the Latter Rainers don't have a clue what is actually going on, notice the retitling of this Harris Poll in the CNS News article: "Poll: Americans' Belief in God Is Strong--But Declining"  Note the slant they give the facts that "belief in God is strong" because they are tied to the New Apostolic. But this facts was not the first thing I noticed about the Harris Poll.

New York, N.Y. - December 16, 2013 - A new Harris Poll finds that while a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years as just over four in five (82%) expressed a belief in God in 2005, 2007 and 2009. Also, while majorities also believe in miracles (72%, down from 79% in 2005), heaven (68%, down from 75%), that Jesus is God or the Son of God (68%, down from 72%), the resurrection of Jesus Christ (65%, down from 70%), the survival of the soul after death (64%, down from 69%), the devil, hell (both at 58%, down from 62%) and the Virgin birth (57%, down from 60%), these are all down from previous Harris Polls.

Belief in Darwin's theory of evolution, however, while well below levels recorded for belief in God, miracles and heaven, is up in comparison to 2005 findings (47%, up from 42%).

Absolute certainty that there is a God down vs. 10 years ago: In a separate line of questioning, focused on Americans' degree of certainty that there is or is not a God, two thirds of Americans (68%) indicate being either absolutely or somewhat certain that there is a God, while 54% specify being absolutely certain; these figures represent drops of 11 and 12 percentage points, respectively, from 2003 testing, where combined certainty was at 79% and absolute certainty was at 66%.

Meanwhile, combined belief that there is no God (16%) and uncertainty as to whether or not there is a God (also 16%) are both up from 2003 findings (when these levels were 9% and 12%, respectively).

Outside of specific religious samples, the groups most likely to be absolutely certain there is a God include blacks (70%), Republicans (65%), Matures (62%) and Baby Boomers (60%), Southerners (61%) and Midwesterners (58%), and those with a high school education or less (60%). (emphasis mine).

So, to summarize, belief in God is down while belief in evolution is up. Almost any biblical believer would site the influences of secular schools, TV, movies, books and leaders who are Godless as a reason for these statistics.  But many Christians, following the Dominionists, either willingly or unwittingly, are taught to believe that the Church will usher in the return of Christ by handing Him a Christian world on a silver platter.  The fact of the matter is, the churches (not the Church) are the reason why this is happening.  When the emphasis went off the Gospel and on to signs and wonders, church growth, seeker friendly, contemplative prayer, hyped up revivals with slain in the spirit, and now trending ever more heavily into Inclusivism and Universalism, this Harris Poll only documents the decline of true Christianity in this world and the rise of secularism, humanism, pop psychology, New Age, and pantheism.  How can the world believe in God when they have no internal relationship on which to base that idea?  A person has to be changed from the inside out by hearing and believing the Gospel message and repentance of sin.  They cannot be "Christianized" from without because the Bible tells us that in the end times the churches will apostatize, not secure some glorious victory in this fallen world.  This decline is happening because the Gospel has been left by the roadside.

Published in Blog Items

Don Richardson writes “The theologians responded unwisely by rejecting the sky-god phenomenon as being of no consequence. They in turn persuaded generations of their students to adopt the same defensive posture. Ever since, some theologians have made it part of their career to discredit Bible-paralleling beliefs in folk religions as "distortions" or "satanic counterfeits." “It is true, of course, that falsehoods, distortions and spiritual counterfeits do exist in the world. It is also possible for bearers of the Gospel to get sidetracked by them, just as it is possible for a bee buzzing among blossoms to bumble into a Venus's-flytrap by mistake. But bees do not call a halt to nectar-gathering because of danger from Venus's-flytraps.” (p.53 Eternity in their Hearts)

Richardson’s rigid posturing avoids seeing any of these cultures myths of god (the ones he used) being counterfeits, or piecemeal distortions. This does not help anyone arrive at the truth. It is not just his way or the highway. There are many other researchers besides Richardson who have done extensive research (especially over the last 30 years since his book was released) that have come to some very different conclusions. We will look at several of his best examples and compare it to theirs.

We need a factual and Biblical approach to arrive at what is true. The complete facts and information cannot be dismissed because of so-called old attitudes to have one see them as genuine parallels.

Richardson thinks because the name of god relates to a sky god or is called a “supreme being” that it automatically means it is the same God that was REVEALED to the Hebrews. Again one should not make theories from assumptions or a few similarities. We are speaking of tribes who know nothing specific of God; the Hebrews were not like these tribes. That had a moral system woven into their society with a high degree of law and punishment (all instructed by God). They were given the instructions on how to approach God by a certain system and instructed on how to build the tabernacle that was a replica of what is in heaven (Heb.8:5). You can’t have other nations be like the nation of Israel that was a theocracy, who was given special (direct) revelation for over 1,400 years. You can’t attribute to another tribal people the same knowledge or relationship and make them equal or on the same level by them having only a general belief of a god. For the Gentiles to know God they would have had to have the same system given to Israel. They do not.

The idea of a supreme being found in ancient religions should not be mistaken for the true God. Their god and the ways they worshipped Him show they had a different God than the Hebrews, and it is NOT the Father who sent Jesus Christ. We start with the truth of the Bible, not the culture. The culture does not define the Bible, the Bible defines it.

Israel was a nation which God promised to be with them ALWAYS, protecting them so that they would continue to exist. For nearly 1,900 years, when they were no longer in the land, their identity was preserved and they now fulfill the prophecies written in the book by being brought back in the land today.

In Richardson’s book he does not mention any scriptures that show Israel being unique, receiving the oracles of God. In his statements about the Gentiles he does not mention at all the numerous times the Bible says they did not and do not know God. Why? It’s obvious … it would go against his inclusive theory of the majority of folk religions knowing God.

He turns cultures myths into “truth”. He wants you to believe they are somehow equally true like the Bible (i.e. they had a book from God but lost it).

If God said they (the Gentiles) do not know Him how does Richardson ignore this and say they do? Not only that but he claims the majority do. That God was already present in hundreds of cultures (90% of folk religions, the majority) making them gospel ready?

We have been wrong. In actual fact, more than 90 percent of this world's folk religions acknowledge at least the existence of God. Some even anticipate His redeeming concern for mankind."

Some people want to find Christianity in their culture; they see what they want to see. Some want people to believe they were always with God and that He formed their culture. Others will actually do research and are careful to distinguish Christ from their culture’s religion.

The category Richardson put these god[s] of the various cultures (who had lost a book) is not false, but forgotten, lost. Consider Richardson’s formula for including these cultures into Christianity ... tell the culture there former supreme (sky) god that they do not know today is God the Father who sent his son. Not only is this void of common sense it a myth of Biblical proportions (2 Tim.4:4; 1 Tim.1:4; Titus 1:14).

Second or third hand stories passed on from past generations of 100-200 years to 1,000 years ago are inaccurate, especially when we look at the details left out. Centuries go by; these false gods do not become truer because some missionary made a bridge by their cultural mythical beliefs. One is left trusting the story teller instead of the Bible. And few hold up to any biblical scrutiny today.

We will go through a number of his stories, the main ones, and point out why they are contrary to the Bible as well as flawed research.

Everyone has a prophet

“The apostle Paul called Epimenides a "prophet." One wonders what title he would have ascribed to Pachacuti, whose spiritual insight as a pagan far surpassed even Epimenides' (p.33 Eternity in their Hearts)

Paul called Epimenides THEIR prophet, not God’s. God did not give his truth to the other nations through their prophets, he makes it perfectly clear the only “nation” prophets were given is to Israel, especially through the New Testament. They were His witnesses (Isa.43:10,12; 44:8)

For 2,000 years the Lord developed the one true Religion from the lineage of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob into the nation of twelve tribes. God did not send prophets of these other cultures to correct the Gentiles. He did not give them the law or the tabernacle or priesthood, they received nothing. It is not the same God. As with all the other tribes he points to, God was silent and never corrected them because of what we see in Rom.1 which is the overarching principle of why Abraham was chosen. God made a theocracy with the nation Israel, they were unlike any other.

Pachacuti and 'Viracocha'

Richardson chose Machu Pichu to be the cover of his book and uses Pachacuti as an example. Apparently he thought this was a glistening example of what he is trying to convey. So we must look at what was said of him.

Richardson: “Discovering a man like Pachacuti in fifteenth-century Peru is as startling as finding an Abraham in Ur or a Melchizedek among the Canaanites.”

Richardson asks, “How did a fifteenth century Peruvian king named Pachacuti, recognize that there was only one true God, before the coming of the Europeans? Richardson points to the insight of Pachacuti (p.34-35) who came to understand that 'Viracocha' (the Inca god) really was the God of all Creation - and not merely a sun god. In his own words, Pachacuti described the one true God, they called Viracocha: Within the Inca tradition was the story of Viracocha - the Lord, the omnipotent Creator of all things. When Pachacuti came to his realization that they had been worshipping the wrong god, he had to look no further than his own culture.”

"He is ancient, remote, supreme, and uncreated...He manifests himself as a trinity when he wishes...otherwise only heavenly warriors and archangels surround his loneliness. He created all peoples by his 'word.'"

How does a fifteenth century Peruvian king named Pachacuti say this one God is a “Trinity” (Not three eternal persons but manifests as three in one)? How can this word, that was strictly from New Testament revelation and coined by apologists in the first few centuries, be used? One thing is certain … you do not call God a Trinity without New Testament revelation, as this term was first written by the early church.

Do Christians believe this story? Does anyone think critically and/or biblically anymore, or just accept what someone famous says as the gospel truth? Did this word trinity Pachacuti mentioned (which I cannot find evidence of) have Jesus as the Son of God along with the Holy Spirit? What exactly did Pachacuti know about the nature of God?

There are answers from other researchers.

“The Sun was called INTI, “sun god,” and P’ONCAW, “daylight” (modern P’ONCAY). Polo and his disciples. Acoste and Cobo, say that there were three images of the Sun called APO. INTI? lord sun,” CORI-INTI, “son sun,” and INTI-WAWQI, “sun brother,” for which different explanations were given. (See Cobo, lg99-96, bk. 13.ch. 6.) While the existence of these three statues is perfectly possible, they lock suspiciously like a consciousimitation of the Christian Trinity made up for the benefit of the Spanish missionaries(p.294 Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest by John Howland Rowe)

Pachacuti is over 1,400 years AFTER Christ. How can anyone believe this was separate tradition of those who had no writing without contact with someone else? Like so many other people groups, we don’t know who Pachacuti met, what travelers came through or what he could have heard second or third hand (if he did at all). Certainly stories of Israel’s Exodus spread throughout the nearby lands of how the Egyptian army was defeated by Israel’s God (as with Rahab). Could the story of Christ be spread by travelers that may not be missionaries? Richardson wants us to accept that those who had no revelation had one of the most revealing revelations of God’s nature, a trinity, which only comes from the apostle’s writings. Nonsense!

It is the gospel message given for an individual, a tribe or nation, that makes it possible to be made right with God.

“In the rest of this book (and in companion volumes to follow) I will prove that this assumption is false. God has indeed prepared the Gentile world to receive the gospel.” (p.33 Eternity in the Hearts) .

Then he presents his story on the Inca's and Pachacuti, who never received the gospel.  So Richardson’s reference to Pachacuti’s discovery and reformation becomes a moot point because it did not lead to salvation for him or anyone else.

Yet Richardson says on p.35, He “reached out for and found a God far greater than any popular "god" of his own culture. Unlike Epimenides, however, Pachacuti did not leave the God of his discovery in the category of "unknown." He identified that God by name, and more.”

Pachacuti’s statements of Viracocha have to be understood in the context of his culture and its own history.

Pachacuti realized he had been worshiping a mere thing as Creator!And asked If Inti is not the true God, then who is?” Richardson writes, “Where could a pagan Inca, cut off from Judeo-Christian illumination, find an answer to a question like that? The answer is quite simple—from old traditions lying dormant within his own culture! That such an event is possible was foreseen by none other than the apostle Paul when he wrote that Theos, in the past, "let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony" (Acts 14:16-17, italics added (p.37 Eternity in their Hearts?)

The first problem is that this witness is about supplying man’s basic needs. As it reads “that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” How is that relative to them having God dormant in their culture? And let’s not overlook the premise -- it says he let ALL the nations go their own way. This is actually is a witness against this theory.

The Inca civilization was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America which began in Peru about 1200 AD. Most accounts agree on thirteen emperors.

How far back can we go? The Incas worshiped the earth goddess Pachamama, and the sun god, the Inti. Of equal importance with the sky gods were the female supernaturals, Earth (PACA-MAMA, “earth mother”) and Sea (MAMA-BOCA, “mother sea”). (p.295 Inca culture at the Time of the Spanish conquest, John Rowe)

The old traditions do not help support Richardson’s theory.

the Inca handed down many legends of gods and heroes, quite similar to those with which the Romans of the time of Augustus filled out the blanks in the early history of their city. Most of these legends deal with the origins of men and customs and the adventures of their more remote ancestors. It is not always easy to draw a rigid line between legend and history, but for the purposes of this summary, the historical period can be said to begin early in the 15th century.” (p.202 Inca culture at conquest, John Rowe)

“Viracocha, the creator made a world of earth and sky and left it in darkness. Then he decided to make people to live in it, so he carved statues of stone in the shape of giants and gave them life. After a while, when the giants displeased him, he destroyed them by turning some to stone at Tiahuanaco, Pucara, and other places, and overwhelming the rest with a great flood (ONO PACAKOTI, “water cataclysm”), from which he saved only two assistants. Then he created a new race of his own size to replace the giants he had destroyed. First he gave the world light by causing the sun and moon to emerge from the Island of Titicaca. … Then Viracocha went to Tiahuanaco, where he modeled animals and men out of clay, each species and tribe in its proper shape. On the models of men, he painted the clothes that they were to wear. Then he gave men their customs, food, languages, and songs, and ordered them to descend into the earth and emerge from caves, lakes, and hills in the districts where he instructed them to settle. Viracocha himself set out toward the north with his two assistants’ to call the tribes out of the earth and to see if they were obeying his commands” (P.315 Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest by John Howland Rowe)

There are but a few slim resemblances in word but the meaning is not the same. One can see that going into their past is not helpful to make a case of original monotheism.

Richardson writes, “Pachacuti recalled also that his own father, Hatun Tupac, once claimed to receive counsel in a dream from Viracocha. Viracocha reminded Hatun Tupac in that dream that He was truly the Creator of all things. Hatun Tupac promptly renamed himself (dare we say presumptuously?) Viracocha! (p.37 Eternity in Their Hearts)

His assumption that the ancient Inca god was the true God is absurd. Richardson’s point of general revelation being sufficient is seen as weighed and found wanting in this example. It did not lead to further special revelation as Pachacuti’s own father, Hatun Tupac called HIMSELF God (Viracocha). Who does that when they hear from the true God?

“Pachacuti took action. He called a congress of the priests of the sun—a pagan equivalent of the Nicene Council if you like—at beautiful Coricancha. In fact, one scholar dubs that congress the Council of Coricancha, thus ranking it among the great theological councils of history." (p.38 Eternity in their Hearts)

Really? Greater than two men using the Bible to confirm if Jesus was either a created being or God himself? The fact that Richardson uses this to promote Pachacuti as a great monotheist reforming his culture is problematic when one reads further of their history (even from those Richardson quotes from).

“Instead of trying to replace regional and local deities, Pachacuti had them assimilated into Wiracocha. The Creator adopted the names, attributes, and wakakuna of the principal deities of the provinces. In most cases this was no problem, since many of these deities already were creator gods and gift-bringers. They assimilated into Wiracocha without losing their original names and attributes. Pachacuti used the Situa and the other annual Inca ceremonies and poem-prayer-songs in this cultural revolution.” (Introduction the sacred hymns of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+sacred+hymns+of+Pachacuti.-a0141997146  underline mine

Viracocha (sometimes spelled Wiracocha) created all of the other gods, as well as men and animals, and so ruled them all. This greatest of the gods had no name but only a series of titles. These are most commonly given as Ilya-Tiqsi Viracocha Pachayacachiq, which in Quechua means “ancient foundation, lord, instructor of the world.” The Spanish most commonly referred to him as Viracocha, using one of his titles as a name.” (The Incas New Perspectives by Gordon F. McEwan ABC CCLIO Santa Barbara, California Denver, Colorado Oxford, England) underline mine.

The Incas knew him as Viracocha, but he was not just exclusive to the Inca’s. To the Mayans He is Kukulkan, Quetzalcoatl to the Aztecs, Gucumatz in Central America, Votan in Palenque.

His numerous attributes and aspects included Pachawallpaq, world creator; Pachakama, world governor; and Pachayachachiq, world teacher. We will see why this was assigned to him.

Richardson states, “Further confirmation of the authenticity of de Molina's compilation has surfaced” (p.36 ibid)‘In 1575, in Cuzco, a Spanish priest named Cristobel de Molina collected a number of Inca hymns along with certain traditions associated with them. “Modern scholars, rediscovering de Molina's collection, marveled at their revolutionary content. Some at first refused to believe they were genuinely Inca! Surely, they thought, de Molina himself must have edited his own European thought into the original Inca composition. Alfred Metraux, however, in his History of the Incas, agrees with Professor John H. Rowe who, he says, "has succeeded in restoring the hymns to their original version, [and is] convinced that they owe nothing to the missionaries' teaching. The forms and expressions used are basically different to those of the Christian liturgy in the Inca tongue." (p.36-37 ibid.)

Richardson’s theory certainly has challenges. In the book “the Inca Hymns and the Epic-Makers” we read: “The very elevation of Viracocha as a theistic concept has more than once aroused the suspicion that the Incas did not invent him on their own, and that their surviving hymns underwent the influence of those Spanish missionaries who set to work in Peru immediately after the conquest in 1533. Though it is common knowledge that the Spanish exploited and adapted existing liturgy in the Andes (11), the suspicion is untenable for many reasons. One is that Quechua-speaking Spanish priests like Molina did not fully understand all the hymns they collected, though these have a high degree of internal consistency. Far more important: in dogma and tone the hymns are positively non- or anti-Christian. Man is pre-lapsarian, in need not of redemption but of protection. He addresses god not with Hebreo-Christian yearning (of the kind which creeps into Mossi's translations), nor with the will to appease or atone” (Gordon Brotherston, Inca Hymns and the Epic-Makers) underline mine.

Not all agree with Richardson’s conclusions, especially those who have done extensive research and have no agenda to find the true God in hundreds of cultures.

Rowe whom Alfred Metraux quotes are as important as Molina:

“John Rowe has conscientiously reconstructed Molina's Quechua text (6) and provided a translation into a European language superior to Molina's Spanish "Declaraciones" (p.200 Inca Hymns and the Epic-MakersGordon Brotherston)

Brotherston also mentions “Markham himself was directly responsible for popularizing some quite inadequate versions of Pachacuti's hymns when he Englished M. A. Mossi's Spanish translations of them (4) in his best-seller "The Incas of Peru" (1911); Mossi's notion that Quechua like all other languages in the world derived from Hebrew had not steered him closer to his originals, and indeed later led Means (1931:434ff.) to find them similar to David's Psalms - a truly misleading comparison. More recently scholars like Jesús Lara have reworked these translations (5), while John Rowe has conscientiously reconstructed Molina's Quechua text (6) and provided a translation into a European language superior to Molina's Spanish "Declaraciones" (which Markham had previously rendered into the English of a Victorian hymnal). (p. 200 Gordon Brotherston Inca Hymns and the Epic-Makers)

We need to think biblically, not separate from the Bible, and look at history correctly. Viracocha is known as the feathered serpent god, depicted by a water symbol, that of the serpent or snake. The serpent and snake in the Bible are a symbol of Satan, which changes the whole representation of Viracocha. “Viracocha was one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon and seen as the creator of all things, or the substance from which all things are created, and intimately associated with the sea. (Dover, Robert V. H.; Katharine E. Seibold, John Holmes McDowell (1992). Andean cosmologies through time: persistence and emergence. Caribbean and Latin American studies. Indiana University Press. p. 274)

So we have gods, a pantheon, and he is associated with the sea, (Lake Titicaca). This is who Richardson claims is the God in heaven that created everything?

 

Viracocha was believed to have created humanity at the ancient site of Tiwanaku in Bolivia or on an island in Lake Titicaca near the border between modern Peru and Bolivia. After the creation he traveled through the Andes performing miracles and teaching people how to live. He is said to have appeared as an old man with a long beard wearing plain clothes and carrying a staff.” (The Incas New Perspectives by Gordon F. McEwan ABC CCLIO Santa Barbara, California Denver, Colorado Oxford, England) underline mine.

He is depicted as the sun god of creation [wearing a sun crown] and the moon god. Viracocha was worshipped as god of the sun and of storms, with thunderbolts in his hands, and tears descending from his eyes as rain. In his conquering, “Pachacuti took an image of the Thunder God for his guardian (Sarmiento, 1906, ch. 14; Cobo, 1890-95, bk. 12, ch. 13; bk. 13, ch. 9). (P.297 Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest by John Howland Rowe).

Hymns

“Alfred Metraux, however, in his History of the Incas, agrees with Professor John H. Rowe who, he says, "has succeeded in restoring the hymns to their original version, [and is] convinced that they owe nothing to the missionaries' teaching. The forms and expressions used are basically different to those of the Christian liturgy in the Inca tongue." (p.36 Eternity in their Hearts)

Richardson needs to pay more attention to his research. His statement attributed Rowe’s comment to Metraux's teaching. It does not say Metraux agrees with him.

Metraux's view: “Some have supposed him to be the supreme deity of the mysterious race that built the megalithic monuments of Tiahuanaco, and that the figure carved on the lintel of the Gate of the Sun is his.”

While Richardson claims “Pachacuti did not leave the God of his discovery in the category of "unknown." He identified that God by name, and more:

Actually  Metraux said this “It is more difficult to account for the cult of Viracocha, the Creator, which tended to replace that of the Sun God, who was reduced to a mere creation or "son" of the Supreme Being, from the reign of Pachacuti onward. This change in the hierarchical order of the gods must surely have been wrought by an intelligent clergy given to theological speculation and basing their conception of the supernatural world on the earthly one they knew; but the motives of the emperor in carrying out this reformation are less clear."...What interest could Pachacuti have had in lessening the prestige of his ancestor, the Sun, in favor of Viracocha, the Creator? When he placed above all the nature gods a god whose dominance was undisputed, since he was the Master of Creation, was he encouraging the cult from inward conviction or from policy? A tradition passed on by the Spanish chroniclers suggests that Pachacuti (others say Huayna Capac) had genuine doubts about the pre-eminence accorded to the Sun."(p.125 The History of the Incas, Translated from the French by George Ordish)

Some points to consider - that the sun god was made into the son of the supreme God, it was not abandoned for monotheism like Richardson claims. Metraux was not decisive on who changed the order or why. In fact he writes further on Virococha's "successive acts of creation. First he makes heaven and earth, and a race of men who dwell in darkness these men, for some unspecified sin, he destroys, changing them into statues of stone. In his second manifestation he emerges from Lake Titicaca and at Tiahuanaco creates "the sun and the day, the moon and the stars." That done, he carves from the rock "men with chiefs to rule over them, ..." (ibid). Clearly their myth cannot be considered on equal standing with the Bible. 

Professor Rowe, however, who has succeeded in restoring the hymns to their original version, is convinced that they owe nothing to the missionaries'.

I could not be find what Richardson implied in Rowe’s book, what I did find was the opposite: “Because the ideas of Inca religion were so thoroughly woven into these poems, they were frowned on by the missionaries and none was ever literally recorded. However, summaries of several were preserved in Spanish prose by Sarmiento, Betanzos, and Pacha’cuti” (P.321)

All the types of Inca literature so far considered suffered heavily from Spanish influence or repression since the Conquest, (p.322 Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest by John Howland Rowe) underline mine

“In addition, 16th- and 17th-century writers copied liberally from one another, often without giving credit, so that many works which are usually termed “sources” or “documents” are ’only third or fourth-hand restatements of the original testimony, marred by carelessness and by personal or political prejudice…It is wisest, however, to consult the original text even when an English translation does exist, for much often depends on details of wording, and none of the translations is entirely accurate” (p.194 Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest by John Howland Rowe)

In one of the hymns it says “my Wiracocha, earth spirit, sacred mountain; "Lord." Viracocha was the maintainer of the world and of the other deities. The sun was the tangible manifestation, but the invisible Viracocha was above the sun. Many of these same hymns are secondarily consecrated to the other deities; Pachamama (Earth Mother, in hymn 9) and Inti (the Sun, in hymn 10) are invoked alone.

When one reads what is actually Incan history, they understand for one to make Viracocha into the eternal God becomes more than a Grand Canyon leap. To make Pachacuti a prophet or on the same level as Job, or Melchizedek is also disturbing. Pachacuti may have been divorcing himself from the ancient religious ways but he certainly did not find biblical truth in the way the Bible explains it.

Daniel Kikawa repeats Richardson’s theory and quotes Alfred Metraux in History of the Incas referring to the Virococha cult, who he states is the Lord, also known in mythology as “the ancient one”, “maker of earth”, “old man of the sky”, etc.

In doing research like this it’s imperative to pay attention to details. What both Richardson and Kikawa forgot to include in their quotes of Alfred Metraux is this: “At his side there is usually a second mythological being, the "Transformer,"who completes his work and instructs the people in the rudiments ofcivilization.”

In one of the prayers to Viracocha it says, “Viracocha, Lord of the Universe! Whether male or female”…. being one who, even with his spittle, can work sorcery. Where are Thou?” (From: Ancient Civilizations of the Andes by Philip Ainsworth Means, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1931, pp. 437-439.)

“Where art Thou?” is certainly not a phrase from the language of the Incas and it shows an outside influence. Working sorcery which was part of their cultures belief in spirits does exhibit his association.

Richardson writes, “… Pachacuti, whose spiritual insight as a pagan far surpassed even Epimenides' (p.34 Eternity in Their Hearts.)

That’s not saying much when we look at all the details.

None of this story portrays the monotheism found in the Bible. So if Pachacuti surpasses Epimenedes, a prophet according to Richardson what do we have here? Richardson wants you to believe this story and much more. In fact when we read of Pachacuti, his so called monotheistic conversion does come into question.

The most important servants of the Creator were the sky gods, headed by the Sun, who was believed to be the divine ancestor of the Inca dynasty…. The “Temple of the Sun” in Cuzco housed images of all the sky gods of the Inca and a host of lesser supernaturals besides; its most important image was not of the Sun but of Viracoca. (P.294 Inca culture at conquest John Rowe)

So Viracocha had an idol in the temple of the Sun.

“The high priest then came forward, made a gesture of reverence to the images of Viracocha and the other gods, had the animals led four times around the images, and then dedicated them to Viracocha in the name of the Sun (p.307 Inca culture at conquest John Rowe).

The Inca ruler Pachacuti and his army were conquering the lands surrounding the Cuzco area,

“Certain images, especially those representing tribal ancestors, were regularly carried into battle by the Inca and their neighbors” (p.281 Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest by JOHN HOWLAND ROWE 1946)

The numerous stones, called puruauca, that Pachacuti claimed had turned to warriors to help him defeat the Chanca army during the siege of Cuzco were all worshiped as huacas. (Cobo 1990: 35–36; Rowe 1946: 296).

“Pachacuti cried out that even the stones were turning to men to help the Inca, and after the battle he pointed out a large number of loose stones on the battlefield which had done so. These stones were reverently collected and distributed around Cuzco as shrines (Acosta, 1940, bk. 6, ch. 21; Cobo, 1890-95, bk. 13,ch. 8).

Rowe writes on p.280 (Rowe is cited by A. Metraux in Richardson’s book) “From the time of Pachacuti, religion was used to justify the Inca conquest, on the pretext that the purest and highest form of religion was the Inca way of worshiping the Creator, the sky gods, and the place spirits, and that it was the Inca’s duty to spread this religion throughout the, world.”

On his deathbed he spoke this to Tupac Inca his son: "Son! you now see how many great nations I leave to you, and you know what labour they have cost me. Mind that you are the man to keep and augment them. …When I am dead, take care of my body, and put it in my houses at Patallacta. Have my golden image in the House of the Sun, and make my subjects, in all the provinces, offer up solemn sacrifice, after which keep the feast of purucaya, that I may go to rest with my father the Sun." (Death of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui "History of the Incas" by Pedro Sarmiento De Gamboa, translated by Clements Markham, Cambridge: The Hakluyt Society 1907, pp. 138-139.) underline mine

Consider the statement “rest with my father the Sun!” which certainly brings into question his so called biblical monotheism (besides his image in the temple of the sun). His son Thupa Yupanqui continued his father's conquest campaigns.

What is even more disturbing is “When Pachacuti died in 1447, many of his supporters followed him into death by committing suicide (People in World History p.27)

“For the funeral of the Inca Pachacuti Five thousand llamas were sacrificed and 1,000 children” (Betanzos 1996: 134–137; Rowe 1946: 286). Quoted in The Incas New Perspectives Gordon F. McEwan ABC CCLIO Santa Barbara, California Denver, Colorado Oxford, England)

Is that what a reformed monotheistic culture would do for its leader?

Richardson’s portrayal of historical events is sorely lacking. Again, it’s not just what he wrote but what he omits that can change the conclusion of his theory, for what is omitted is crucial. Few people of any culture in the ancient world were really monotheistic (i.e. Job and Melchizedek are possibly but not likely a few of the Bible’s INDIVIDUAL examples), not hundreds of cultures as he claims.

Richardson does exactly what you would you would expect a cultural inclusivist to do … use the lowest amount of similarity of another culture to be accepted as near sameness of the ancient saints.

“And how ironic that Spanish Catholics, in their zeal to abolish Inca "idolatry," destroyed a monotheistic belief which, in effect, constituted an interim Old Testament to open the minds of thousands to the good news of Viracocha's incarnation in the Person of His Son (p.40 Eternity in their Hearts)

What the Catholics did was certainly wrong but then Richardson’s point of them destroying a monotheistic culture is hardly the case.

In 1438 Pachacuti became the 9th emperor and most agree he died in 1471 AD. That’s a long time period before the Spaniards came and conquered. In 1532 Incan Ruler Huayna Capac died. Two of his many sons, Atahualpa and Huáscar, began to fight each other over his empire. Atahualpa was victorious but the Empire was in ruins. It was then Francisco Pizarro led the Spanish conquistadors to defeat the weakened Inca armies; they were not monotheistic.

Yet Richardson says, I like to call him the "Incan Melchizedek." This statement diminishes Jesus as the Melchizedek priest for all mankind.

There are apologists for Christianity that use this story, repeating the errors of Richardson’s research. This occurs for only one reason, because they have not done their own independent research using what primary resources we have or looked to those who are the experts on this and other cultures. We need to be careful that we do not continue this error. There is a need to correct the inclusiveness that has purposely rejected the false, corrupted and counterfeit myths.

What Richardson has created is another myth from the Incan religious myth. And he does this over and over again. 

Published in Blog Items
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 12:07

When Change is Expressly Forbidden

by Danny Ison
Jan 15,2014

"You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:20)

"Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. (Deuteronomy 12:32)

Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. (Proverbs 30:6)

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. (1 Corinthians 4:6)

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)

There are those who try to tell us that the warning at the end of the Book of Revelation applies exclusively to revisions attempted to only that book of the Bible and not the rest, but as with all things biblical, our understanding of any principle of the Lord comes from the whole of Scripture and not by lifting out and highlighting just a single reference. Moses, Solomon and Paul, at various points of history, provide the foundation for what is finalized in the last verses of the Bible on behalf of the whole of Scripture, that God's entire Word is closed canon and provides no option for human editing, be it in any form of redaction or embellishment. And yet something has taken place within the walls of the Church since the turn of the new millennium for which I can find no previous historic parallel: openly changing God's Word in spite of the express mandate otherwise.Some of the most popular leaders within Christianity have altered God's Word in ways that no Christian cult, no rival religion, nor any enemy of the cross I know of has dared to do. If such distortions of God's Word had been engaged in by the usual suspects working against the true Church, I would characterize it as some kind of desperate attempt to fabricate their lie to give it an outward appearance of authority. But how one explain this coming about at the hands and from the mouths of those whom most of the present-day Church"s membership recognize as their own?

Most of us get why the Mormons had to write an additional book, or the Jehovah"s Witnesses create their own translation, or Islam provides the Quran and Hindus the Bhagavad Gita; cults and false religions ultimately substitute something else in place of Scripture in order to say something that is ultimately contrary to the closed, authoritative Word of God. But when those recognized as members of mainstream Christianity corrupt and misrepresent the very Word of God itself? It disturbs me so deeply I am struggling to find the words to fully express how profoundly I am shaken, so this is much longer than the usual commentary. But I am equally convinced these prominent individuals, accepted inside the mainstream Church, are doing it for the same reason, to inject something into Christianity which God's Word in its uncorrupted presentation does not actually justify.

A Cut-and-Paste Hermeneutic

The first time this was brought to my attention was several years ago in Rick Warren teaching concerning what he sees as a distraction to Christians by biblical prophecy specifically, and the End Times in general. In The Purpose Driven Life, Warren did something which I had never even heard of anyone doing before, but is outrageous just by the fact that he so boldly tries to get this past us as if no one would notice:

Today there's a growing interest in the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. When will it happen? Just before Jesus ascended to heaven the disciples asked him the same question, and his response was quite revealing. He said, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spiritcomes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

He said, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them toconcentrate on their mission to the world. He said in essence, "The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that!" (The Purpose DrivenLife, pages 285-286)

Warren uses the question asked of Jesus by the Apostles in Matthew 24:3 and employs his word processor to cut-and-paste it together with the answer He gave to a completely different question posed in Acts 1:6-7! The net result of this "cut-and-paste" hermeneutic is to nullify Christ"s instructions for Believers to pay close attention to the prophetic signs of the Last Days. Warren switches things around to misrepresent Scripture in the most egregious manner possible, representing the exact opposite of what Christ teaches about His return.

At the beginning of the Olivet Discourse, the Apostles ask Jesus to tell them what will be the sign of His second coming:

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "See it that no one misleads you. (Matthew 24:3-4)

Notice that Jesus not only answers their question, but goes into such length and detail that it takes Matthew two whole chapters to record it all. (Mt. 24-25) In this End Times discourse, Jesus warns at least four times that anyone NOT looking for these things is a high-risk candidate for being deceived. (Mt. 24:4, 11, 24-25, 42-51)

But this is not to be confused with a second and completely different question posed by the Apostles just prior to His Ascension into heaven in Acts 1:

So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; (Acts 1:6-7)

This is a very "Hebraic" question posed by His Jewish Apostles, who are not asking, "What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" as they asked in Matthew 24:3, but inquiring if this is the time when He would establish the Millennial Kingdom as they knew the Messiah must do in order to fulfill all the prophecies about the Messiah in the whole of God's Word which specifically pertain "to Israel". This is not like the previous question about Christ"s second coming, but a completely new and different question about when He would fulfill the messianic prophecies concerning Israel and His Millennial Kingdom. Jesus does not say here that their question is incorrect, but that it is not the subject of their focus for their present work assignment in this current age. They must first carry out the work of the Suffering Servant who came to die for sin for that work to qualify entrance into the Millennial Kingdom to be ushered in at His second coming.

Rick Warren takes the question posed in Matthew 24:3 about Christ"s return, cuts it out, and presumptuously pastes it to Jesus" reply, belonging to an entirely different question in Acts 1:7, and presents us with something which Jesus never actually said. In fact, this translocation of two bits of Scripture into something of Warren"s own creation actually contradicts what Jesus taught about His return:

When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. He said in essence, "The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that!" (The Purpose Driven Life, page 285)

Taken to Warren"s logical conclusion, I suppose the right thing to do would be to publish Bibles without any of the prophetic passages, which are apparently none of our business. Do you have any idea how much of the Bible Warren is telling us to ignore? Shall we publish Bibles without the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13 and Luke 21? Jesus told us not just to simply be aware of these things, but cautioned against our being deceived by not paying attention to them! Who are you going to listen to, Warren or Christ?

I submit that this is one of the many definitive proofs that what Rick Warren has to offer is patently false, because like any other false religion or cult, he has to introduce something to replace God's Word in order to justify his false teachings. A prominent Utah-based group attempts with The Book of Mormon to replace the authority of God's Word in the same manner as Warren with his Purpose Driven books in all their variations.

Ever since this was first brought to my attention, I have held this to be the most egregious abuse of Scripture I have ever witnessed or even heard of. I am not aware of anyone else who simply spliced together different snippets of Scripture to not only fabricate a biblical justification for their own teaching, but in so doing to actually nullify a direct instruction from Christ Himself. Usually a false teacher simply lifts part of a Scripture out in isolation from the rest of the text in an attempt to trick us into believing God's Word says something it in fact does not. As stated before, however, not even a Mormon or Jehovah"s Witness or Muslim has dared employing Warren"s "cut and paste hermeneutic" which can be so easily exposed for its dishonesty, because at least they would be embarrassed to have their academic integrity exposed and ridiculed. But Irecently discovered yet another prominent figure doing this exact, same thing and, in reality, far worse.

When It Becomes a Double Switch-A-Roo

Tim LaHaye, most noted for The Left Behind fictional series on the Rapture and the End Times, is an editor and contributor for The Popular Handbook on the Rapture. In chapter 10, "The Wrath to Come is Not for Believers", he replicates Warren"s cut-and-paste technique in almost the same way by likewise quoting the first part of one question but pasting in the answer from an entirely different, second question.

In 1 Thessalonians 4 the question posed to Paul by that church was what happens tothose who die in Christ before the Rapture takes place:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do therest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and  rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

Later in 2 Thessalonians 3, an entirely different issue at a much later date is addressed by Paul in an entirely different letter when outside agitators were coming into the church and preaching that the day of the Lord had already come:

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,  that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)

But LaHaye states on page 133 of the book:

"During the first century, believers living in the city of Thessalonica were concerned that they may have missed the rapture and were about to enter the Tribulation."

And then follows up with Paul"s answer to their real question of what happens to Believers who pass away in the Lord:

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. — 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

This was Paul"s answer to their question in the preceding two verses about those who have "fallen asleep in Jesus". LaHaye not only pastes an answer from a different question in place of the original, but notice how he even takes it a step further than Warren by performing a double switch-a-roo by altering the question itself!

In 2 Thessalonians they did not express to Paul a fear that they "were about to enter the Tribulation" a very specific term LaHaye capitalizes to unmistakably mean that final seven year period leading into the Millennial Reign of Christ—their question was about the arrival of "the day of the Lord". Even if we buy into the assumption that these two things represent the same, exact thing, Scripture never uses them interchangeably. There is Scripture devoted to "the day of the Lord" and Scripture assigned to the "Tribulation", so let"s at least demonstrate the academic honesty to use the term the actual passage of Scripture is using. (More on why LaHaye is purposely doing this in a moment—it"s not an accident.) But LaHaye does not stop at duplicating Warren"s cut-and-paste behavior and takes it to a whole new level.

Promoting a Single Eschatology

I often qualify my belief in the "inerrant Word of God" with the caveat, "in the original languages". Translators can make mistakes, the discovery of additional ancient documents can refine our understanding of words in those original languages, so our trust is not solely limited to the English renderings but in the infallibility of the original manuscripts in the original languages. After all, just compare the English of the 1611 King James Version to the English of the 1995 New American Standard Bible. The underlying manuscripts in the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic did not change, but four centuries of English history, culture and geo-political influences have certainly and dramatically altered the English language. (Try explaining in today"s English what, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me" from the KJV means.) But we have the assurance that regardless of any language into which the Holy Scriptures are translated, and no matter how much change a given culture undergoes, the original manuscripts written in their originally given languages are an absolute that transcends man"s transitory nature and the way his vocabulary tends to reinvent itself over time.

But what happens when someone alters NOT the English translation, but the original? Rick Warren effected a cut-and-paste of the English—how would you feel about someone reaching in to cut-and-paste the original Greek words? A renowned, self-proclaimed Evangelical leader playing games with the English translation is egregious in itself beyond words, so I am not sure how to articulate the actions of an equally famous and important Christian figure reaching down to manipulate Scripture by cut-and-pasting one Greek word over another in the original, inerrant text so he can get his own message across.

The general editors for The Popular Handbook on the Rapture are listed as Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice and Ed Hindson. Fourteen well-known, mostly multi-degreed and prominent scholars and leaders of present-day Christianity contributed the contents of the book"s twenty-one chapters. While the title might lead one to believe the reader is going to be provided an academic treatment of all the particulars characterizing each of the various main eschatologies and their differing viewpoints on the Rapture, the truth is that this is not a "handbook" in the sense of documenting everything pertaining to the Rapture, but an extremely one-sided presentation of just the Pre-Tribulational view alone. Given that LaHaye and Ice co-founded the "Pre-Trib Research Center", a group of academics who annually meet to exclusively promote Pre-Tribulationism, and the fact that the contributors to this book are all members of or closely aligned with that organization, it should not surprise anyone that this book, in spite of its title, is really only devoted to espousing one eschatology. Granted, this may be an example of poor scholarship, but it is certainly neither a sin nor what is at the heart of the matter in question.

Just in case someone does not actually know this, one of the bedrock platforms of Pre-Tribulationism is that the Rapture of the Church will take place at some point before the final seven year period of history known as the "Tribulation" begins. It is their fervent belief that the Church will not enter into nor experience any part of what takes place in Revelation 6-18 covering God's judgments expressed as seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls.

Various classic arguments have been raised in support of this from within the circles of Pre-Tribulationism, the first being the assumption that this final seven year Tribulational period, and something prolifically spoken of throughout Scripture called "the day of the Lord", are the exact same thing. This actually is an important, key issue which must be scripturally discerned because "the day of the Lord" is not a literal twenty-four hour period, but describing a period when the full wrath of God's final judgment is poured out on the earth in a prelude to Final Judgment. Since Scripture repeatedly and specifically states that Believers will never suffer God's wrath, which is repeatedly associated with "the day of the Lord" in Scripture, most everyone agrees that the greater theological purpose of the Rapture is to remove the Church in fulfillment of God's promise we will not experience His wrath. Even Pre-Tribulationism so stipulates this doctrinal qualification for the Rapture.

It"s this specific point, however, that because non-Pre-Tribulationists disagree as to what constitutes "the day of the Lord", for why we have major differences of opinion as to when the Rapture will actually take place. For Pre-Tribulationists, "the day of the Lord" and the seven year Tribulation are the exact, same thing, so this is one of the foundational reasons why they believe the Rapture must take place at some point prior to the opening of the first seal in Revelation 6. (This sheds some light on the previous discussion of the importance of noting when Tim LaHaye deftly substitutes "Tribulation" when the text explicitly states "the day of the Lord". He assumes they"re one and the same thing and wants us to accept that as well.)

There are also a couple of additional supporting reasons proposed by most Pre-Tribulationists, such as the Church being mentioned so prominently in the first three chapters of Revelation and the word for "church" seeming to disappear with John"s being taken into heaven in Revelation 4:1, the presence of twenty-four elders in heaven in Revelation 5, twelve of whom they believe to represent the Church already in heaven with Christ, and the way that in the Last Days God returns to working through Israel to fulfill all the as-yet-unfulfilled prophecies and promises exclusively pertaining to them.

There are an untold number of books, websites and papers devoted to decades of debate over these points in particular and many related ancillary issues. Personally, for most of my Christian life I have managed to live with these issues and tried to not allow what I characterized as "differences of opinion" to be a source of division. No one will ever convince me, even now, that what one believes about the Rapture gets them sent to heaven or hell; it is simply not foundational to one"s salvation. And I will state what I will expressly elaborate upon again later on, that the primary issue here is NOT the timing of the Rapture, but the right handling of the Word of God!

The Sequence Becomes the Issue

But regardless of the weight of each of these particular aspects of End Times prophecy, what is perhaps the most potent point of scriptural tension when Pre-Tribulationism comes under attack by its opponents is what Paul has to say in 2 Thessalonians:

But regardless of the weight of each of these particular aspects of End Times prophecy, what is perhaps the most potent point of scriptural tension when Pre-Tribulationism comes under attack by its opponents is what Paul has to say in 2 Thessalonians:

Apparently some false teachers visited Thessalonica in Paul"s day who asserted "that the day of the Lord has come", and because of Paul"s previous teaching, the Thessalonians knew there was a specific sequence preceding that event. Taken on its face as the text

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, — 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 here provides, Paul warned against the deception that "the day of the Lord has come" outside of the proper sequence "unless the apostasy comes first", after which "the man of lawlessness [the Antichrist] is revealed", and only afterward could the day of the Lord be experienced. Why is this such a huge scriptural point highlighted by the opponents to Pre-Tribulationism?

Go back to what we discussed as to their belief that "the day of the Lord" and "the Tribulation" are the same thing and that the Church, in their view, has to be extracted before this all takes place. The problem is that a great spiritual falling away—"apostasy", and the visible arrival and working of the Antichrist, are things spoken of inside that part of the Book of Revelation when Pre-Tribulationists say the Church will already be removed. Taken at face value, Paul"s sequence of events directly conflicts with the assertions of Pre-Tribulationism which states we will not be here to witness the arrival of the Antichrist or to experience the full effects of the apostasy preceding him. They are presented with the problem of how to justify their own sequence of events because they agree that the Antichrist will not be revealed until within the seven year Tribulation, but which they assert will be missed in its entirety by the Church, and the apparent contradiction of Paul"s teaching that the Church will still be here to witness the arrival of the Antichrist just prior to the onset of "the day of the Lord" from which all agree the Church will be exempted.

The "problem" for Pre-Tribulationism is in the original Greek text, the word "apostasia" which the NASB here translates as "apostasy". Even more pointed, the original text states it as "ho apostasia", which is why it is rendered as "the apostasy". It is not just a general apostasy that could refer to people who fall away spiritually at any and every period of history, but "the apostasy" to specify a particular and unique time of spiritual falling away like no other which Scripture teaches will characterize the Last Days.

So to justify the Pre-Tribulationists" proposed sequence of events, they must reconcile why Paul teaches something plainly contradicting it. How do they do that? Well, in Tim LaHaye"s and company"s case, he firsts effects his double switch-a-roo with the English translation as previously discussed, but then takes it further to cut-and-paste the original text! But as a prelude to what he is about to do with the Greek, LaHaye performs a another switch-a-roo with the English which only Rick Warren could appreciate.

A Switch-A-Roo within a Switch-A-Roo

In The Popular Handbook on the Rapture, Tim LaHaye personally authors chapter 13, ""Departing" Rather than "Falling Away" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3". The title nicely summarizes what is going to be presented, and the following quote come from that chapter.

Consider how the difference in the translation of a single Greek word can affect a person"s conclusion about the timing of the rapture.

The Pretrib Rapture

Let no once deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the departing comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition(2 Thessalonians 2:3)

The Mid - or Posttrib Rapture

Let no once deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition(2 Thessalonians 2:3)

The quotation of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 on the right-hand side is exactly as it appears in the New King James Version. What a difference the translation of a single word makes? Yes, that may be true, but let"s understand from the outset that it is Tim LaHaye who superimposes "departing" in the left column over the NKJV"s translators" provision of "falling away" for the underlying Greek word "apostasia". In this chapter of the book devoted to this one and only issue, which is one of the longest chapters in the whole book, LaHaye tries to make the case that "ho apostasia" is not actually referring to "the falling away" from the faith spiritually, but is instead referring to the literal "departing" of those remaining faithful—the Rapture of the Church! His very detailed and circuitous arguments are designed to get us to believe that this word means something decidedly opposite of its plain, basic meaning, and he begins by superimposing his own translation over that provided by the NKJV.

In fact, we cannot find an English Bible translation beginning with the KJV published more than 400 years ago up to this present day, when so many are available as never before, which translates "apostasia" in this verse as "departing". More than four centuries of English translations, lexicons and Bible dictionaries offer a range of definitions which all seem to conform to some variation of the unfaithful "falling away" spiritually, but the faithful "departing" in the Rapture is nowhere to be found in any of them. In the twenty-three English translations in my Bible software package I found five which translated "apostasia" as "the apostasy", six as "the falling away", (the Amplified uses both), ten which offer "the rebellion" and one each choosing "the turning away from God" and "until people rise up against God". LaHaye even admits there are no Bible translations from the 1611 KJV onward which employ "departing" in this verse, but that does not inhibit him from doing so himself. Yes, a single word can make a difference, Mr. LaHaye, especially when you are the making the substitution!

Just in case, I checked with the seemingly myriad of Bible dictionaries, concordances and lexicons within my software (and the old fashioned printed books still gracing my bookshelves) which provide English definitions of each respective Greek word. I thought that perhaps there were Greek-to-English resources which might agree with LaHaye"s assertion. The range of what I found never even came close to describing the Rapture of the faithful, but provided a breadth of renderings all conforming to a description of the unfaithful falling away from the faith: "rebellion", "abandonment", "breach of faith", "apostasy", "revolt", "desertion" and "defection". Just as none of the English Bibles in use for the past 400 years provide a hint of justifying LaHaye"s one word difference, neither do any of the supporting Greek-to-English resources.

LaHaye even provides the caveat that normally the Greek word "apostasia" refers to a spiritual falling away, but then offers that this is the one exception.

We who believe the rapture will take place before the Tribulation readily admit there are at least three Bible passages that predict there will be a global apostasy on the earth when Jesus raptures the church. But this is not one of them! (Page 158) [His emphasis.]

Of course, even in the English language, the context of "the departing" could mean exactly the same thing as "the falling away" if they are construed to be both referring to a spiritual "departing", but that is not LaHaye"s position in the least. He insists that instead of referring to a spiritual "falling away", it actually refers to the Rapture—"to mean "departing" (as in the physical departing) rather than "falling away" or "rebellion"". (Page 159) Whereas he agrees that "apostasia" refers to a spiritual falling away of the unfaithful everywhere else it appears in Scripture, in this one instance alone he proposes it suddenly means "the Rapture of the faithful". Instead of the unfaithful "departing" from the faith, it is assigned an entirely opposite meaning of the faithful "departing" this planet! Just like Warren, LaHaye turns Scripture inside out, claiming a meaning that is the exact opposite of what it plainly teaches!

Historical Proof-Texting

If we cannot find an English Bible affirming LaHaye"s substitution, nor any Greek lexicon or dictionary agreeing with that rendering, then how could he possibly justify this assertion? According to him, it can only be explained if we go back to English translations created before the 1611 Kings James Version.

Yes, there were seven major English versions pre-dating the KJV: the Wycliffe Bible (1384), Tyndale Bible (1526), Coverdale Bible (1535), Cranmer Bible (1539), Breeches Bible (1576), Beza Bible (1583) and Geneva Bible (1608). These oldest of the English translations rendered "ho apostasia" as "the departing".

Of course, this begs the question, when these pre-KJV translations used "departing", did they do so because they knew the true meaning of "apostasia" was the faithful Church "departing" from the earth in the Rapture as LaHaye represents? Or were they simply using it in the then-present day English vernacular to mean the unfaithful spiritually "departing" from the faith? In other words, even if someone chose "departing", did they do so in order to describe the Rapture, or were they still actually describing "falling away" spiritually?

Just as Rick Warren so brazenly and publicly proclaimed a cut-and-paste misrepresentation which he seems to have thought no one would check on, so it might appear LaHaye has likewise done in desperately reaching back to pre-KJV English translations. This is a variant of bad exegesis I call "historical proof-texting" where one searches for an obscure exception from antiquity and then insists it must be substituted in place of everything else published since. But the fact is that not all of the ancient sources LaHaye quotes actually support his argument!

First of all, the Wycliffe Bible which he quotes does not say "the departing" but "the dissension"! In fact, it adds a note to help explain what "the dissension" means by adding the qualifier, "departing away"! I guess "departing" is technically in the mix, but certainly cannot possibly allude to the Rapture of the faithful—it agrees with all the modern translations.

Likewise the Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary in relation to LaHaye"s naming of the Tyndale Bible explains that although the term may literally be translated "departure", they concede it "may refer to a departure of doctrine". Not exactly a ringing endorsement for LaHaye"s assertion, is it?

The Geneva Bible literally translates it as, "except there come a departing first", which it then goes on to state, "Note 1: A wonderful departing of the most parte from the faith" and "Note 2: He sheweth them that the day of the Lord shal not come, til the departing from the faith come first". (Pardon the original English spelling, but this is the exact quote.) This is the third resource LaHaye himself cites which not only does not support his assertion, but actually contradicts it!

But that was the Geneva Bible as published in 1560. When it was edited, revised and published in its 1599 form, still 12 years before the KJV (which LaHaye and company blame as the source for the mistranslation of "apostasia" by every English Bible going forward), the Geneva Bible translators DROPPED "departing" and published the updated version with "falling away"!

Let no man deceive you by any means: 3 for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (2 Th. 2:3) - 1599 Geneva Study Bible

Ignore God's prophetic Word when, from the outset, he is obscuring even the most fundamental scriptural presentation of the basic Gospel of salvation.

In Tim LaHaye"s writings, however, we repeatedly find the sound presentation of the I am no Bible savant or gifted researcher with powers beyond the ordinary. I did not go to obscure, alternative resources unavailable to the average seeker or spend months earnestly scratching and clawing to discover these facts. I uncovered all of this in the course of a very basic, cursory search of the references which Tim LaHaye himself cites! Did he bother to determine what these translators meant when they selected "departing", or was he so fixated on assigning his own meaning to the verse that he never bothered to check? Can someone be so arrogant and prideful that they cite sources knowing they not only do not support their assertion but actually contradict it? Or are they so deceived themselves that they never bother doing the most fundamental research required of a first-year college student and assume no one else will either? (Both are equally disturbing.)

Not Just the English, But th Not Just the English, But the Greek

If you"ve stuck with me this long, I cannot sufficiently express my appreciation, but this does not end here—in fact, it gets worse, because only a small part of LaHaye"s chapter tries to justify this double switch-a-roo with the English definition; the majority of space is devoted to the even more egregious action of replacing "apostasia" with a substitute Greek word. He not only does a cut-and-paste with the English, but extends it to the original Greek text itself.

Of course, I have avoided the whole issue, which would involve an equally lengthy discussion to this already long dissertation,  that the Greek word from which "rapture" is derived is actually "harpazo", which literally means a violent snatching away. In the Septuagint it is used to describe ripping a wing from a bird or a leg from an animal at the dinner table or by a hunter, a fairly vivid picture of what it means to be "violently snatched away". "Rapture" has been commonly used because Jerome, in the Latin Vulgate, translated the Greek "harpazo" into the Latin "rapturo" which we then Anglicized into "rapture". But the underlying Greek word is actually "harpazo" when speaking of the Rapture, nothing even remotely resembling "apostasia". Most of LaHaye"s argument after misrepresenting the English, however, involves misrepresenting the Greek.

In a very detailed explanation on pages 160-169, LaHaye is in agreement with the other scholars he cites that "apostasia" must be replaced in this instance with its root, "aphistemi", a word that is indeed sometimes used in Scripture to describe a physical departing, such as in Acts 12:10.

When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. (Acts 12:10)

Yes, the Greek word "aphistemi" is often literally translated to mean someone "departing" physically leaving a place, but we aren"t allowed to just switch Greek words in the original text to suit us! We don"t decide on our own to replace "apostasia" with "aphistemi" any more than we would arbitrarily switch them the other way around. LaHaye and the very same Bible scholars who are so closely aligned with him, as a core aspect of their teaching, often walk us through even the most subtle variations of a Greek word"s usage, placing an importance on even a modest change in case, possession, or the most sensitive context. And yet in this one-and-only case we are to accept replacing the whole, original Greek word with an entirely different Greek word? If they caught anyone else doing this with any other verse in Scripture, they would be the first and loudest to denounce it themselves!

One of the real ironies here is that by doing just a basic, cursory search on the word "aphistemi" itself. By doing so we discover that even this alternative is not always interpreted as being something drastically different from "apostasia":

"After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. (Acts 5:37)

Sometimes this word chosen by LaHaye to replace "apostasia" a spiritual falling away, is actually used to also describe the exact, same spiritual "falling away" in other Scriptures as in…

falls away from the living God. (Hebrews 3:12)

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1)

Do you really think that the underlying Greek word "aphistemi" used in both of these verses is referring to anything other than a spiritual "departing"? Even the substitute Greek word LaHaye and company want to use as a cut-and-paste substitute is found in the original text to be often used to mean the exact, same thing they are attempting not just to simply replace, but to reverse what it plainly says!

This occurs twice in the Septuagint when Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek. They actually chose "aphistemi" to describe a spiritual "departing":

"For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. (Deuteronomy 7:4)

"So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deuteronomy 13:10)

Just as the English resources LaHaye cites not only do not support his assertion, but actually and directly refute them, so works against him this attempt to cut-and-paste the Greek. We are not only supposed to accept his word that the English resources he cites don"t say what they really say but something else entirely, so we are also expected to blindly accept his personal superimposition over the original Greek which again turns out to actually work against him. His switch-a-roo of the English backfires, his second switch-a-roo to pre-KJV Bibles backfires, and his third switch-a-roo of the Greek backfires. Does the phrase, "Three strikes and you"re out" mean anything here?

Different Individuals but a Common Goal

As I stated at the outset, when someone inside or outside of the Church provide something additional to supplant the closed canon of God's Word such as the Book of Mormon, the Quran, their own special version of the Bible, or to cut-and-paste their way to a new conclusion, it is always to justify something that cannot be accomplished with the plain text as provided. In the cases of both Warren and LaHaye (and company), it is important to note that their common target is God's prophetic Word. In Warren"s case it is to entice us to ignore prophecy and all things related to the End Times all together; in LaHaye"s case it is to promote an eschatology which has provided the basis for the sale of tens of millions of books fictionalizing the End Times which cannot be supported by the plain and simple reading of Scripture.

Christ and the Apostles repeatedly warn that in the Last Days the Church will itself become the target of deception where the End Times are concerned. These warnings about false Christs, false prophets and false teaching have surprisingly little reference to cults such as Mormonism and outright false religions such as Islam; the common denominator to them all are repeated descriptions of attacks that will come from within the Church itself.

I readily admit there is a significant difference between Rick Warren and Tim LaHaye. In the course of reading some of Warren"s Purpose Driven books, I was disturbed by not only never finding a clear, biblical presentation of the basic Gospel message of salvation, but alternative presentations which did not merely dilute the message, but more often redefined it into something else altogether. It is not surprising Warren wants us to ignore God's prophetic Word when, from the outset, he is obscuring even the most fundamental scriptural presentation of the basic Gospel of salvation.

In Tim LaHaye"s writings, however, we repeatedly find the sound presentation of the Gospel of salvation. I don"t doubt anyone who testifies that they came to know Christ through one of his books, because when it comes to presenting the scriptural message of salvation in Christ, his preaching is flawless. The presentation of the Gospel is present in spite of a flawed choice of eschatology. This is probably why I was even more disturbed by what LaHaye has done than similar actions by Warren. But the hard truth we must face here is that just because someone"s soteriology is right (the fancy seminary term for the doctrine of salvation), it does not automatically confer legitimacy to their eschatology (End Times theology).

No matter how many books someone sells or how large the attraction to their ministry, their teachings cannot be justified by undermining the ultimate foundation of God's Word upon which the true Body of Christ rests. This is not merely a case of not being able to rightly handle God's Word, but extending way beyond in an attempt to manipulate and change Scripture in order to present something that cannot be justified by the plain, given text. The fact that this common behavior is easily proved in the two men who have, in the past 15 or so years, sold more of their books to Christians than almost everyone else in Christendom combined should bring upon us great sorrow and spiritual remorse.

Because these activities took place in the course of their teachings related to the Rapture and/or eschatology, I have been forced to discuss these topics, but as stated previously, this is NOT the fundamental, core issue of what is wrong. Perhaps the Rapture will take place exactly when Pre-Tribulationism anticipates, but I refuse to believe that any position can be justified by attempting to alter the biblical text to make it appear so. Even more importantly, the ends never, ever justify the means as a matter of biblical principle. We cannot slice and dice God's Word as we see fit regardless of our intentions and no matter how well we might present the basic Gospel message in the process. We are called to a much higher standard.

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20)

In Him,

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Published in Blog Items
Sunday, 16 November 2014 05:22

An Anatomy of a False prophecy

A review of John Mark Pool"s "A Tsunami of God is Coming From the Northwest to This Nation!"

by Sandy Simpson
Nov 3,2014

ElijahList is well known for sending out false prophecies on a daily basis. In fact they send anywhere from 3-5 emails daily. I have saved them all for many years because they are ripe fodder for discernment articles. I am going to use this obvious false prophecy by a long time false prophet of the New Apostolic Reformation as a demonstration of a false prophecy and how to test them according to the Bible and common sense.

Published in Blog Items
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 10:32

The Ecclesiastical Domino Effect

by James Jacob Prasch
Oct 21, 2014

The fizzling of the counterfeit revivals of Toronto, Pensacola, and Lakeland with Lakeland ending in a moral scandal with Todd Bentley and Pensacola ending in an ugly split are almost ancient history.

Published in Blog Items
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