Monday, August 30, 2010

"Will Jews be expelled again from their Land?" by Reggie Kelly

Will Jews be expelled again from their Land?

Below is a link to a long but very interesting article about the return of Israel to their land and how it relates to the second coming of Messiah.

The article is by Reggie Kelly, a close friend of Art Katz.
Art Katz’s understanding of Israel’s future received a lot of opposition, particularly from Messianic believers in Israel.
While many see only good things ahead for the Jews and Israel, Katz understood there are still some very disturbing things to come.

After reading and listening to a lot of ideas about Israel I have come across two major, contradictory viewpoints from those who DO recognise that Israel as a nation has a future in God’s purposes.

One sees the restoration of Israel and the increasing number of Jews turning to Messiah as the forerunner of worldwide revival.

The other view (as seen by Art Katz) is not so optimistic about the immediate future. He saw another exile from the land during the great tribulation/ time of Jacob’s trouble. This period would be relatively brief (3 ½ years) and would end with the return of Jesus, when HE would bring His people back to their land, from which they would never again be uprooted.

For some time I have understood there will be a period in history that will eclipse the horrors of the holocaust. Through the ministry of Art Katz, and also articles like the one below, I have been encouraged that I have not been on the wrong prophetic track.

There is a lot in this article to consider and many supporting references to thoroughly check.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Responsibility With Teaching

For some time now I have been trying to encourage people not to rely so much on man’s teaching. I have stated that all disagreement and division within the church is caused through adopting the teaching of one man above the teaching of another. The only division caused by the truth comes through the exposing of error: the dividing of darkness from light.

There is an urgent need for Christians to accept responsibility. We have the scriptures and we have the promise of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be our teacher. God has provided everything we need to guide us and to keep us in the truth. We need to trust His Spirit to teach us His word instead of putting our primary (and often only) trust in man’s teachings.

When I’ve written about this before a common response has been to point out that teachers are included in the ministry gifts mentioned in Ephesians (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers.*)

There clearly is a God given place for GENUINE teachers.
Genuine teachers not only lead us to understanding in areas where we are lacking, they also train us to search the scriptures for ourselves, thereby decreasing our reliance upon their ministry.

Any teacher who promotes ideas contrary to scripture is not a God given teacher.

Any teacher who makes him or herself above question is not a God given teacher.

Any teacher who makes sure students remain reliant upon him/her is not a God given teacher.

Too often laziness encourages us to rely on teachers more than we should, to the extent that we don’t keep THEM accountable for what they teach. By holding them accountable, not only are we guarding our selves – we are showing true love to the teacher, helping THEM stay on the right path with their doctrine and teaching.
*Ironically, many who readily cling to teachers are equally ready to dismiss any present day reality of the first two ministries in that list

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

God’s Truth Not Man’s Opinion

Two forms of replacement theology which favour man’s opinion above biblical revelation. (1. The church has replaced Israel, 2. Scripture has replaced Spiritual gifts)

In an earlier post, here, I linked to a sermon about Romans 9-11. That sermon helped me to understand why replacement theology gained such a strong foothold in the church.

For most of the church’s history Israel as a distinct and recognisable nation had been erased from the world map. So what understanding could be brought to the NT references to Israel, and in particular Paul’s strong statements that God had not and would not forsake Israel?
Israel was no more – so was Paul mistaken? Was scripture wrong?

It’s not surprising that a different approach to understanding scripture was seen as necessary. Ambiguous hints could be found that might suggest that the position of Israel had been taken over by the church. So references to Israel were seen as being symbolic instead of literal and the church was seen as the NEW or SPIRITUAL Israel.

That was perhaps the most logical position to take…
…until 1948, when Israel again appeared on the map.

Not everyone had accepted the idea of the church replacing Israel. Some remained faithful to a literal reading of scripture and expected Jews to return to the land of their ancestors. They trusted the word of biblical prophecy instead of geographical and political appearances.

Why is it that today, over 60 years after the return of Israel, the majority of the church still rejects the literal word of scripture regarding Israel? That literal word prophesied both the exile of Israel to all the nations, and also the return of Israel to the land of their ancestors.

They still reject it because they prefer the theology and reasoning of men above the clear word of scripture. Loved traditions are hard to abandon. This example also shows how much man prefers to base his beliefs on his own observations and his own reasoning rather than on the revelation of the word of God.

A similar thing can be seen with regard to Spiritual gifts, in particular those mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians. Wide sections of the church deny the relevance of those gifts. They say the gifts were made redundant by the compiling of the scriptures. They even quote Paul:

“But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”

Their explanation is based on the assumption that “when perfection comes” refers to the coming of the scriptures – and therefore scripture has replaced Spiritual gifts within the church.

How can such a leap of logic take place and be so widely accepted?
The foundation of this assumption comes from a very tenuous inference projected into the phrase “when perfection comes”. It is a case of looking for something that can be MADE to support the already held conclusion that Spiritual gifts no longer exist.

Again it’s a matter of looking at the world around us and basing theology upon what is seen and interpreting scripture to support that view, instead of accepting scripture as written and seeking answers about why our experience doesn’t match scripture’s clearest meaning.

The process goes like this:

Example 1: The bible speaks about Israel and God’s continued faithfulness to Israel – but Israel no longer existed, so the church must have replaced Israel.

Example 2: Spiritual gifts are missing from the church, so they obvious no longer exist.

The final step in both of these examples is to find parts of scripture that can be interpreted in a way that supports the favoured conclusions.

The question arising out of all of this is: Do we REALLY rely on the revelation given in scripture and interpret our world and experience according to what God has revealed?

Or do we insist on interpreting the world and scripture according to our experience and what we can see?