Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. - Irenaeus

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Allah's 99 names?

As with the Hebrew Bible the Qur’an calls God by many descriptive names; "The Mighty", "The First", "The Last", "the Merciful One", Etc. The Qur’an cites ninety-nine names of Allah which are descriptive of his character and holiness etc. Some of these titles are listed in Surah 59:23&24. They are often recited while fingering the ninety-nine worry-beads of the Muslim rosary.

A tract entitled Concept of God in Islam published by the Muslim proselytizing group WAMY makes the claim that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic. This is simply not true. An Aramaic dictionary will show that there were many names used for God in the Jewish Tenach. El, Elohim, Eloah were general terms for the Deity, even used for false gods. We see it linked with other Jewish words such as Israel, Michael, Daniel etc. Yahweh (Jehovah in Latin) is the common pronunciation of the tetragammaton (YHWH) or "I AM". Adonai (Lord) became the most common word used in reference to the God of Israel because of fear of taking the name YHWH in vain. Allah is nowhere to be found. Muslims speak much of the 99 names of God, however El is never mentioned. Even when words like Jibrail (Gabrael) and Israel appear in the Qur’an they conveniently avoid referring to the obvious connection to the God (El) of the Jews. We might wonder why Israel in the Qur'an is not Isra-allah, or Jibrail is not Jibra-allah.

It seems quite clear that the Arabic word Allah was linked to ancient pagan deities of pre-Islam. Modern Muslims however are quick to dismiss such connections. It is claimed by some that Allah is the God Arabic-speaking Christians worship and that Allah is nothing other than a generic word for God such as the French Dieu, or the Spanish Dios. It seems rather odd that a true Christian would even consider Jesus to be the Son of a Pagan deity, yet that is what the modern Arabic Bible implies. In a tract distributed by WAMY it is claimed Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic. This is simply dishonest. The sister language statement is correct but any person with a simple Strongs Concordance can look in its Aramaic dictionary to get the truth about the many words used for the God of the Hebrews. Many English versions of the Qur’an translate the name simply "God." The question then lies in whether God looks beyond the technical data of history and looks at the intent of the human heart. I would suggest that the heart is more important on the surface of the argument but one must take a serious look at the nature of the God that Islam represents.  Notice that Jews in Jerusalem are facing Mecca.  Neither did Jesus.  The thought of Jesus calling God his father is repulsive to a Muslim because they cannot comprehend that kind of relationship with the divine.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Codex Debunkus

Codex Textus Receptus or Vaticanus and Sinaiticus
by Dale Brown

Mormons are famous for refuting any biblical doctrine that does not harmonize with their modern revelation with the statement, "We believe the Bible in as far as it is translated correctly." Using a similar argument many Christians as well as other cults dismiss certain biblical teachings because of the fact that we have manuscripts available today that predate those that were the source text of the King James and other common translations. This makes it difficult for us who have always been taught that the Bible we grew up with was totally reliable. Those who argue that the older Codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus text are more correct fail to admit that both of those manuscripts contain much apocryphal material that is clearly as questionable as the verses in question in the King James (and the Textus Receptus manuscript that it is based on).

Martin Luther’s German translation used the Textus Receptus Greek text (translated by Erasmus, a catholic priest and scholar) as well, so this is not just an English translation problem. I have a number of Spanish bibles which include many of the same disputed verses that appear in the KJV.

One example of this problem is found in the last chapter of the gospel of Mark. Modern translations have a note regarding verses 16:9-20 pointing out that in many earliest manuscripts these are not included. It is true that if these verses are not balanced by the weight of the rest of scripture some obvious problems can arise. Those who try to support the idea that baptism is essential for salvation are quick to point to verse 16, "The one who believes and is baptized will be saved…". Others who may have an anti-Pentecostal or dispensational bias claiming the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit stopped with the apostles are quick to point to fantastic practices such as snake handling etc. as "proof" that verse 18 is not reliable. For those who drink deadly poison and die, it will be pointed out that this is not good doctrine. So what do we do with these difficult verses which are found in manuscripts with a pre-Vulgate Latin style such as Codex Gigas, and most commonly used translations in Swahili?

The question we must ask ourselves is this, what does the rest of the bible say about these verses? Is there any record of people being healed through laying on of hands? Is there any record of anyone speaking in unknown tongues? Is there any record of anyone casting out demons? The answer is a resounding, yes. However, is there any record of anyone picking up a serpent? There is only one case, and that was an experience Apostle Paul had while collecting firewood (Acts 28:3). He was not, however, looking for a serpent to demonstrate his faith. In the case of drinking deadly poison there is no biblical record. If these verses are to be taken literally then we have to question how they are to be applied. One of these disputed verses (16:19) is found in the writing of Irenaeus (Against Heresies), a disciple of Polycarp, so it appears that they were available in the second century.

At one point Jesus was lead to the pinnacle of the temple and the devil said, "If you are the Son of God throw yourself down; for it is written…" and he quotes from an Old Testament Psalm. Jesus counter challenges with, "it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test’" (Matt. 4:7). He balanced the tempter’s verse with a scriptural reply that brought context to the true meaning.

The safety measure to use in such translation debates is not to throw away anything in which there is doubt, but apply the principle test in which "Every fact is to be confirmed by the mouth of two or three witnesses"(2 Cor. 13:1). That is, do not build a doctrine around a verse which only appears once and is not confirmed by other biblical verses or principles. Though there may be some merit to the manuscript arguments it is not faith promoting to simply debunk a translation when few of us have access to the manuscript evidence. Even if we did how many would be qualified to make such a linguistic decision. If a few verses can be refuted so simply then what prevents the Bible as a whole to be refuted? One needs only to find an old manuscript that agrees with our bias. This is what gnostics and other critics of the Biblical text do. They point to the ancient text like the Nag Hammadi Papyri to challenge the modern Bible authority. In most cases these questionable verses, even if they were to be removed from the text as a whole it would not change the over all message of the gospel.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

God's Eraser

by Dale Brown

Most Bible scholars will agree that there is little doubt what the Bible actually says. What it means however opens many doors for debate. Each side interprets the text, to some degree, on various rules of interpretation, life experience, personal and denominational prejudice. We tend to ignore all that does not fall into our previous conceptions. There are some principles however that are so clearly defined that only the most defiant can reject. The nature of sin, as Isaiah the prophet pointed out, clearly separates man from God. "But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear"(Isa. 59:2). King David who had watched God remove the blessing of the Holy Spirit’s power from King Saul’s life wrote "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me"(Psm. 51:10&11). Some "New Testament" folks suggest that the New Testament God has a different nature, yet, the Bible clearly tells us that God does not change.

When a man who had been a ghost writer for Jerry Falwell came out of the closet as a homosexual one is quickly challenged with a number of questions. Is he saved? Was he ever saved? It is unlikely that Falwell would have allowed someone to be placed in such a position if that person had not displayed the fruit of being a Christian and had passed the doctrinal requirements for ministry. "We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him (1 Jn. 5:18). "No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the Devil are obvious"(1 Jn. 3:9&10). Apparently it was not so obvious to Falwell for some time. Without the balance of other verses the apostles words leave us in a precarious situation. It is for this reason John wrote earlier in the epistle the need to confess ones sins when and if they do happen. The context and spirit of John’s epistle suggests that it is those who continue to practice sin who are those that are "obvious."

Jesus gave us some words of comfort when He said, "My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow Me; I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand"(Jn. 10:27&28). Paul however wrote that, "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 Tim. 4:1). It seems rather odd that someone could fall away from something they were never in to start with.

The BIG BOOK and God’s Eraser

The Old Testament writers held a view of God’s salvation as something not to be taken for granted. God spoke to Moses that "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book"(Ex. 32:33). In one imprecatory Psalm David wrote regarding his enemies, "May they be blotted out of the book of life, and may they not be recorded with the righteous"(Psm. 69:28). Reading these from an old covenant perspective are one thing, but when similar verses appear in the New Testament we often scramble to give them a softer interpretation as though we are dealing with a different God.

The Book of Life is a common reference in biblical literature to a record of the righteous in the heavenly kingdom. Jesus told his disciples to rejoice that their names were recorded in heaven. Those not found in the book of life are to be thrown into the lake of fire. The apostle John picks up the Old Testament illustration of this book in his letter to Sardis. "He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels"(Rev. 3:5). This makes for a very uncomfortable picture in light of Jesus words when He said, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out"(Jn. 6:37). How can one get into the "book of life of the Lamb who was slain" without first coming to Jesus? The reference to what John called a "sin leading to death" which got the person removed from the book seems to imply the "eraser." "If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this"(1 Jn. 5:16) The implication is most likely spiritual death rather than physical death, however there are those who would argue otherwise, based on the death of Ananias and Sapphira who were struck dead for lying to God. If this were the case however we would probably all be dead.

Of those at Sardis He said they had a name that they were alive, (they were Christians) but they were dead. That is simple enough. Then He said, "Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God." This assumes they were alive like a green tree, but with no fruit.

A so-called brother in the church of Corinth who was having an affair with "his father’s wife," Paul, through the power of the Spirit, decided to deliver "to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus"(1 Cor. 5:1-5). This seems a rather strange way to get someone saved. If the man was not a Christian he was already under the power of Satan and dead in his sins. What good would it do to turn him over to Satan?


In the epistle to the Hebrews we "brethren" are confronted with the question of falling away. "Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end." The writer then goes further, "Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end"(Heb. 3:6,12-14). The danger, as it was under Moses, is sin. The writer goes on to illustrate with the history of Moses in the wilderness that there were those who started out in faith but when trials came they quickly doubted and rebelled. Jude uses a similar illustration. "Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe." These were people who believed for a time, at least long enough to get out of Egypt. They had applied the blood of the Passover Lamb to their door post and they had crossed the Red Sea (a type of baptism) in faith. Paul expressed his concerns over those at Thessalonica when he wrote, "For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor should be in vain." There is no doubt that Christ’s work is sufficient. It is our application by faith that is in question. Is it not possible to start out in faith and change our mind along the way?

We often hear sermons with regards to salvation which state that Jesus stands at the door of our heart knocking. The point is well taken. However, the passage out of the letter to Laodicea in the Book of the Revelation where this illustration is taken was written to church folks. Rather strange that Jesus is standing on the outside of the door of those who are supposedly already saved. The admonition to those in that church who are lukewarm is that they are about to be puked out of His mouth.

Some are quick to quote, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you" as a proof text for eternal security, failing to acknowledge that the context of the verse has to do with concern for God’s provision, not salvation. The verse starts with "Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have"(Heb. 13:5). An equally dishonest application is to quote "Hence, also He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them"(Heb. 7:25). The previous verse makes the case for the context, which is that Jesus lives forever as a perpetual priest on our behalf. His intercession is for those who "come to him" and continue in faith. As Paul wrote to the Colossians, "if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard"(Col. 1:23). It is continuing faith that is in question not Christ’s perpetual ability to save.

Paul writes to remind Timothy of some encouraging prophetic words spoken to him, "that by them you may fight the good faith, keeping the faith and a good conscience" but then points out that some among their number, namely Hymenaeus and Alexander, "have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith." Paul’s classic solution is to "deliver them over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme."

The reward is to those "who overcome." Overcoming is not by works of righteousness, but by the application of faith in submitting to the authority and grace of Christ whose work is indeed finished.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

L. Ron Hubbard's Religion

by Dale Brown

"The best is waiting for you..." reads the glossy cover of "SOURCE", the #70 issue of the "Flag Land Base" Scientologist magazine. A woman with a happy face is shown holding a shiny chrome cylinder in each hand. The cylinders are part of a galvanometer which is called an E-Meter. It is a contraption similar to a lie detector (polygraph) which a Scientologist "minister", or auditor as they are called, gives the client a personality analysis. Through this "processing", a form of psychological manipulation which may cost several thousand dollars, one's goal is to become "clear," and thus experience unlimited happiness and power and even gain a higher degree of intelligence. One can even become an auditor himself and buy the top of the line Mark Super VII E-Meter which lists for as much as $4,625 in Source Magazine.

As one reads through the magazine he quickly finds that the "Church of Scientology" has its own vocabulary with its own definitions. If it appears to be almost science fiction, it might have to do with the roots of the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. In the late 1940's, Hubbard had become quite a successful science fiction writer. His writing took a bit of a twist when he wrote "Dianetics" and labeled it as a non-fiction "Modern Science of Mental Health". In 1949 he reportedly said that if a man really wants to make $1 million, the best way would be to start his own religion. Despite the 1971 U.S. court ruling that Hubbard's "scientific" claims were bogus, Scientology continues to prey on uninformed individuals who are willing to part with their cash. Scientology is a prime example of the cash value of false religion in spite of the fact that they have lost their tax-exempt status.

The love of money is the root of all evil.

If one is willing to disclose what becomes the most personal details of their lives through evaluation by the E-Meter, former members claim these details might well become useful for future blackmail by the organization.
Scientology has a colorful history of legal battles against former members and numerous publications who dared to speak publicly about their high pressure and rather questionable business practices. They are not small potatoes. They have fought Forbes Magazine, Reader's Digest, the American Medical Association, the Better Business Bureau, and the American Psychiatric Association.

The church has had its problems. It has lost its tax-exempt status. In 1977 Hubbard's third wife Mary Sue was sentenced to four years in prison by a federal judge in Washington for bugging and burglarizing the Washington offices of the IRS, the Federal Trade Commission, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Treasury, and the Labor departments. With her went eleven top church officials. "Don't ever defend, always attack," has been the Hubbard slogan, yet he and his church have run for cover more than once aboard his 300 foot ship Apollo and to other countries because of pressure from legal investigators.

Since Hubbard's official death 1986, or in 1980 when he quit appearing publicly, or sometime in between (depending on who you listen to), he is no longer with us in the land of the living. Yet, the spirit that empowered him and his organization still continues on as does those of many other false prophets such as Mormonism's Joseph Smith and Mary Baker Eddy of Christian Science. Through the sale of their many books and publications, and the business machine of many employees that have been set into motion these cults continue to grow. As in the prophetic fulfillment of the words of Apostle Paul, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived". (2 Tim. 3:13)

The following words from the Bible paint a pretty fair picture of many modern cults.
"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. ( 2 Tim. 3:1-7)

In such cult systems there are basically two types of people, the deceivers, and the deceived. The deceivers are in it for their own gain, whether it be social, financial or whatever. The deceived, who most often started out simply trying to fill a need, a void in his life, often becomes a deceiver. When he becomes programmed by the system he can become more dangerous than his teacher. Jesus addressed the same problem in His day, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." (Matt. 23:15)
The needs are legitimate. We all have a vacuum within ourselves which longs to be filled. Some fill it with toys, entertainment, sex, drugs, etc. Others find in some cult system or counterfeit religion a placebo which appears to fill that void. That void is longing for the things of God, but for a variety of reasons the seeker of truth often gives up in his search and settles for what in reality is only a counterfeit. Others in their total rebellion of truth fall prey to the cult system which becomes a form of God's judgment for their rebellion.

In Scientology the goal through proper "processing" is to reach what is called "clear". It is a counterfeit salvation. To be "clear" is to be free from something that Scientology calls "engrams". These are negative traits that, of course for a price, the E-Meter has the solution. "Clears," can eventually regress through more stages to become a fully operational god or "thetan."

The Bible says, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Col. 2:8)

Jesus is the true answer to fill one's needs, but one must be willing to throw all of his cares, needs, "engrams" and all, on Him. Put aside your pride. He shed His blood on Calvary for YOU! Let Him take your sins and let Him work out your life. "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." (Rom. 10:11)
If you have need of a miracle in your life, forget Dianetics and Scientology. Jesus is free. Besides, He said, "Whatever you ask in My name that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (Jn. 14:13) How can you argue with that?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mohammed's 7 Sleepers

by Dale Brown
There is a legend that claims that in about 250 AD seven Christians were commanded to renounce their faith during the persecution of Decius. They went into a cave near Tarsus where they were sealed in by some large stones. Two hundred years later the entrance was reopened and these seven fellows awoke as though it had been only a day. When one of them tried spending some of his ancient pocket change he became a public figure and was questioned by the local priest regarding this miraculous resurrection. Then strangely enough all seven fell asleep again. There are at least three caves claiming to be the historical location of this strange event. One is in Ephesus, one in Tarsus and the other one in Amman, Jordan. The Muslims have built a mosque over the cave in Tarsus while yet claiming the cave in Jordan to be the authentic one. The Qur’an has a chapter entitled Al-Kahf (The Cave, Surah 18) giving glory to this myth, however it adds a dog to the number of the seven sleepers and claims the seven men were being persecuted for Tawhid (their devotion to one God, Allah). Mohammed had some problems getting some of these stories straight. So, please don't confuse us with the facts. Mohammed was a prophet after all.
This is typical of Islam which has a history of making claim to various legends and sites. On Mount Sinai (Gebel Mousa) where Moses is supposed to have received the ten commandments next to the Christian chapel sits a small Muslim mosque where they claim Mohammed stopped for a moment on a night-long journey from Mecca to Ararat. They make claim to a footprint of the prophet's flying camel, Burack, on a rock there. This is similar to the claims made of a print on rock in Jerusalem where they have built the famous Dome of the Rock. There are several sites claiming to be the tomb of the prophet Daniel where they have built mosques. One is in Tarsus, Turkey, another in Kirkuk, Iraq. Muslims in Susa Iran, Samarkand Kzbekistan, Muqdadiyah Iraq, Mala Amir Kurdistan in Iran make similar claims.

Muslims elevate books and stories that are loaded with errors, yet reject the Bible because they claim it is not reliable. This all seems rather prejudicial but this is the mind of Islam. Given the fact that the Qur’an claims that the Scripture, both the Torah and the Gospel, revealed God’s truth and no one can change His Words, it is rather strange that the same book claims that all Scripture prior to the Qur’an has been changed (Surah 6:115).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Freemasonry and the Shriners

by Dale Brown

Because of the secretive Masonic tradition, few people are aware of the true nature of it’s beliefs. Much of Masonic literature is both contradictory and misleading. For example, within the Masonic temple, there is an altar, where the member kneels before a deity, the Great Architect. Yet, even with these obvious religious symbols, most members will deny that Freemasonry is a religion. But their own literature speaks otherwise. Albert Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry states, "[Masonry is] that religious and mystical society whose aim is moral perfection on the basis of general equality and fraternity," and, "Freemasonry may rightfully claim to be called a religious institution." Henry Wilson Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia states, "Some think because it [the Lodge] is not a strong or highly formalized or highly dogmatized religion, such as the Roman Catholic can be no religion at all. But the church of friends (Quakers) exhibits even less formality and ritual than does a Masonic Lodge."

Freemasonry is a religion, and a religion that is in direct opposition to Christianity. Masons do not respect the Bible as a divine authority, but only a symbol. Coil states, "The prevailing Masonic opinion is that the Bible is only a symbol of Divine Will, Law or Revelation, and not that its contents are Divine Law, inspired or revealed." Albert Pike says, "The Bible is an indispensable part of the furniture of a Christian Lodge, only because its the sacred book of the Christian religion. The Hebrew Pentateuch in a Hebrew Lodge, and the Koran in a Mohammedan one, belong on the Altar; and one of the these, and the square and Compass, properly understood, are the Great Lights by which a Mason must walk and work."
Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life." To say that all religions have light (as in Freemasonry) is to say that all religions have Jesus, which is not true.

Mackey’s Encyclopedia says, "Be assured...that God is equally present with the pious Hindu in temple, the Jew in the synagogue, the Mohammedan in the mosque, the Christian in the Church." In contrast, Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." He did not say he was one of many ways, many lights or many truths.

Freemasonry views Jesus as a great moral teacher, but not God incarnate. Not only does that contradict the Bible, but it contradicts common sense. Since Jesus claimed to be God several times, he must either be a liar, crazy or what he said he was. There are no other options.
Freemasonry also teaches that after death, admittance into the "Grand Lodge on High" will depend on good works done in this life, not the forgiveness of sins through the substitutionary payment of Jesus Christ. This is no small detail, since Jesus said his whole reason for coming into the world was not to teach us, but to die for us.


I recount an experience I had a few years ago. I visited a large gathering of Freemasons where there was set up a large table with various books and literature for sale. I read to the fellow manning the table the following words from one of his books: "When the Mason learns that the Key to the warrior on the block is the proper application of the dynamo of living power, he has learned the Mystery of his Craft. The seething energies of Lucifer are in his hands and before he may step onward and upward, he must prove his ability to properly apply (this) energy." When I asked if that was truly his belief, I soon found myself being carried out of the building by two rather large and not so gentle men.

The Bible, however, tells us that Lucifer, because of his pride and rebellion, fell from heaven. He is the "Father of lies," the "adversary," who will ultimately be cast into hell.


The name of the Masonic God, Jah-Bul-On, is revealed only to Third Degree Masons who elect to be exalted to the Holy Royal Arch — a Secret Master. This compound deity is composed of three separate persons: Jah represents Jahweh, the God of the Hebrews. Bul stands for Baal, the ancient Canaanite fertility god associated with human sacrifice and occult rituals. And On is Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the underworld.
The Bible tells us, "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

It’s the ultimate insult and blasphemy to put heathen gods on the same level as the God of Israel, much less to try to make them part of the same deity.
Middle Eastern Theme was introduced in 1870

It is clear from its own writing that Freemasonry is a religion, but it is not Christianity. Since the prophets of the Bible condemned the religions that promoted what Freemasonry prides itself in, how is it that we think God will approve of it today?

The Bible tells us that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. He is our only hope of salvation, and yet when verses are read from the Bible in Masonic rituals, his name is omitted. Why? The Bible gives us the true test for anyone who calls himself a Christian: "Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also." Freemasonry rejects every fundamental truth of Christianity. Therefore, no man can truthfully claim to be both a Mason and a Christian. If you are a Mason, now is the time to renounce your secret allegiance to Jahbulon and ask Jesus to be Lord of your life. "If we are willing to confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Jesus warned the hypocrites of his day: "Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops."

Masons take many oaths and vows, using various hand gestures, some of which indicate the type of death the Mason agrees to suffer should he reveal the secrets of the lodge — such as disembowelment and having his throat slit. Jesus said we were not to take oaths of any kind, and that the devil is actually behind them.
Freemasonry is a fraternity, and denies women membership.

Many of this countries founding fathers were Masons, including George Washington. At the George Washington Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, you can see a bronze statue of him in full Masonic regalia.
Thomas Jefferson, also a Mason, wrote the Declaration of Independence on a white lambskin — a Masonic Apron.

16 other presidents were also Masons, including Reagan, Ford, Truman, and both Roosevelts.
The Washington monument is actually an obelisk, or sacred pillar, which is a phallic symbol of the fertility cults, a symbol condemned in the Bible.

The eye on top of the pyramid on our dollar bill is actually the "All Seeing Eye," another Masonic symbol.
The streets around the capitol building in Washington D.C. are laid out in Masonic compass and square design, which can be clearly seen on a map.

Most of the Federal buildings in Washington D.C., including the White House and Capitol building, had cornerstones laid in Masonic rituals, with Masonic paraphernalia placed inside.

The Statue of Liberty was sculpted by a French Mason and financed by the Paris Masonic Lodge as a gift to the Grand Lodge of New York.

The Shriners are high level Masons who seal their solemn oath kneeling before a Koran, in the name of "Allah, the God of Arab, Moslem and Mohammedan, the God of our fathers."  It was founded by William J. Conlin (Florence) and Walter M. Fleming in 1870.  The Middle Eastern Theme was adapted from artist design introduced by Florence, a U.S. actor, after trips to Cairo and Algiers.

Dr. Walter M. Fleming
William J. Conlin (Florence)

Freemasonry prides itself in taking esoteric occult teachings from the ancient religions of the east.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Early Masonic view of Islam

Muslims Fez Cap; Political Correctness

by Dale Brown

The first Masonic book printed in America was produced by Benjamin Franklin in 1734 was a reprint of a work by James Anderson printed in London 1723. Its view of Islam on page 27 is quite revealing, "as the Asiatic and African Nations fell under the same calamity [as by Goths and Vandals] by the conquest of the Mahometans, whose grand design is only to convert the world by fire and sword, instead of cultivating the Arts and Sciences." Turkey, a Muslim country, outlawed the wearing of the Muslim style fez cap in 1925. Today however in the west Masons often wear fez caps and even place a Quran on their altar on special occasions.

G. Margoliouth’s introduction of the 1861 English version of the Koran, translated by J. M. Rodwell and dedicated to the Chief Justice of New Zealand, points out the nature of Mohammed’s book. "From the first flash of prophetic inspiration which is clearly discernible in the earlier portions of the book he, later on, frequently descended to deliberate invention and artful rhetoric. . .Biblical reminiscences, Rabbinic legends, Christian tradition mostly drawn from distorted apocryphal sources, and native heathen stories, all first pass through the prophet’s fervid serve as an encouragement to his faithful adherents, and to strike terror into the hearts of his opponents."
The monument of 800 skulls are displayed in the cathedral of Otranto, Italy as a constant reminder of bishop Stefano Pendinelli who was sawn in two, and the men who were beheaded in front of their wives and families in the valley of the martyrs by the invading Muslims in 1480 because they would not endorse the prophet’s religion of peace.

Should one believe this to be an exaggeration of the facts, consider the commentary of a modern Qur’an in the description of the ultimate goal of Islam under one world ruler. "When you all (Muslims) are united (as one block) under a single Khalifah (a chief Muslim ruler), and a man comes up to disintegrate you and separate you into different groups, then kill that man." It goes on with more supposed words from the prophet, "If the Muslim world gave the Bai’ah (pledge) to two Khalifah (chief Muslim rulers), the first one who was given the Bai’ah (pledge) first will remain as the Khalifah, then kill the latter (second) one."

According to the Qur’an the Muslim is considered free of all obligations and treaties made with Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) Surah 9:1. They often cite a doctrine called taqiyya which is a means of concealing ones true beliefs in order to deceive ones enemy. It is akin to smiling while they look for a soft spot to stick their sword. And they wonder why westerners do not trust them. The Saudi flag, sporting its white sword on a holy field of green does not portray a very peaceful image. I wonder what the world would think if the United States flag had an image of an atomic mushroom cloud on a field of stars and stripes.

Friday, October 9, 2009


by Dale Brown

Jesus said, "For if you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." How to apply this to practical living sometimes presents a dilemma. Suppose a wife is being abused by her husband, should she simply continue to be abused and not take some measure of action for her own safety? On a number of occasions apostle Paul was mistreated by various people and his response was to make a run for his life(Acts 9:25). He even warned other disciples to be on guard against Alexander the coppersmith who had done him much harm (2 Tim. 4:14&15). For those who do not learn from experience (history) they are destined to repeat the same mistake.

Forgiveness is a great principle which helps us keep a proper attitude. It helps protect us from getting ate up with bitterness. The same Spirit however, that inspired the New Testament also inspire the imprecatory psalms which call for God to destroy our enemies (Psm. 137:7-9, 35:1-8). It was Paul who recommended the church turn one fellow over to the devil for the destruction of the flesh (1 Cor. 5:5). In fact he wrote that they should not even eat with the character.

We also must understand that we war not against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers of wickedness (Eph. 6:11-16). It is possible to love the person and yet hate the wickedness working within them. That it no way means however that the evil person should not be held accountable for his actions. We will all reap what we sow. If we get to close to those reaping a bad seed we will find it growing up in our garden as well. There comes a time when God may bring the hammer down on a sinner, or a nation, and we need to know how to respond. Lot was told to get out of Sodom (Gen. 13). His wife was reluctant to follow God’s advice and she too perished.

I recall a situation in Alaska where a Christian fellow we knew was told to get away from a certain evil blasphemer. He did not head the advice and a few months later he was with the blasphemer when they and a few others were gunned down as they were preparing to launch their boat for a boat ride.

The spillover effect of sin is present all around us and we need to be aware of what the Spirit is telling us regarding every situation. John’s second epistle warns us against giving a greeting to someone who is spreading a false message, "for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds"(verse 10&11). We can find ourselves aiding and abetting sin, thus coming under judgment ourselves.

Mothers are often guilty of getting in the way of fatherly discipline which prevents the child from learning to be responsible for his actions. For those who have no self discipline they must learn from imposed discipline, either by parental authority, civil authority or the hard lessons of life which God may throw their way. I watched a man preparing to spank his son, "I hate to do this son" he said, "but if I don’t spank you, God will spank me. And I don’t want a spanking."

Recognizing that the sins of the fathers are visited upon children down to the third and fourth generation (Ex. 34:6&7) it is difficult at times to watch children suffering for the rebellious foolishness of their parents, especially when the parents continue to undermine any righteous aid that is given to the child. As Jesus said, the poor will always be with you. Some you can help others you can’t. Being good stewards of what God has given us we have to be prayerful about where we invest our time and resources lest we find ourselves casting our pearls before the swine (Matt. 7:6), or in more modern vernacular, "throwing our money down a rat hole." Someone once advised me to be careful about being desperate for those who are not willing to be desperate for themselves. They need first and foremost to know that God will judge sin. They need therefore to repent. Then God will come to their aid and His aid is far better than anything we can offer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Leadership & Authority

 by Dale Brown

Church people are often upset when they see the sins of fellow believers plastered across the headlines of the daily news. In light of the pain caused by unrighteous church leaders, spelled out so vividly, we might be reminded of the cautious lessons spelled out in scripture.

When David, King of Israel, committed his great sexual sin with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah whom he had killed, God speaking through Nathan the prophet proclaimed a great judgment against David that would be spelled out for all the world to see. "Indeed you did it in secret, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun." And though David was quick to repent, it did not completely stop the wheels of justice, "because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme..." God said the sword would never depart from his house and evil would rise up within his own household.

As New Testament believers, Christians sometimes get the idea that we serve a different God. Yet, the Bible clearly tells us that God does not change. It is one thing for people who are ignorant of God’s ways to sin but when those in authority sin, things must be viewed from a totally different perspective. "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment" (James 3:1). So, how sorry should we be for those who pervert God’s holiness and abuse their authority? Is there no forgiveness? After all the scripture tells us that "judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment."

It is a shame when people who are immature and unschooled in the scriptures are placed in authority because it is inevitable that they will soon be faced with many stressful tests of their character. They are tested with every lust of the flesh. They will be tempted with greed, power and fame. If they fail any one of these tests they may get the wrong impression of God’s holiness if God does not bring the hammer down quickly. "Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil." God may very well be allowing the person’s character to be more fully revealed. "While some are storing up wrath for themselves for the day of judgment," Paul wrote to Timothy, "The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after." The point being, that all sin will be judged, some sooner than later. Some on this earthly plain, others at the white throne judgment in heaven, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." It was for this reason that Paul warned Timothy regarding the ordaining of elders, "Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thus share responsibility for the sins of others; keep your self free from sin." Very demanding guidelines are laid out in the pastoral epistles of Timothy and Titus as to the qualification of elders, who must be "above reproach," yet many churches elect or hire their leaders as though it were a popularity contest or secular job, with little consideration of their moral or financial history. Not that being a good businessman is a prerequisite for ministry but if one cannot handle his own financial affairs we surely do not want him in control of the assets of the church. Their own families must hold to a high standard, able to teach and guard the congregation from sin and deception. Oftentimes the most entertaining or charismatic personality is the one chosen. Pain is often soon to follow.

It is true that God can use anyone. He spoke through a donkey in the Old Testament, but we don’t don’t ordain donkeys into the ministry.

Paul even warned of the dangers of placing women in places of leadership. Often when women end up in places of authority it is more an indictment against the men than it is of the women. If the men would take responsibility, then women would not feel the need to fill the void.

When sin is exposed here on earth there are always those who are quick to make rash statements and revile the things they do not understand. The priestly family of Korah was such a group. Not understanding authority, they stood up against Moses who had just carried out a judicial decision. Thinking Moses was too harsh, they started a rebellion that cost many of them their lives. Moses warned the crowd to separate themselves from Korah’s bunch or they would be swept away by the spill-over effect of their sin. When judgment came, God opened the earth and swallowed some of them, while others were fried by fire from heaven. Yet, many of the people continued to grumble as though it was Moses rather than God who made such a judgment.


Leaders should definitely be shown the utmost of respect but if they fail to lead a righteous and holy life we have an obligation to take a stand. "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God."Taking a stand, however, must be with cautious reverence. Using Old Testament guidelines Paul wrote, "Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality."
Addressing sin is not merely an issue for the clergy. Jesus gave some guidelines for confronting sin and preserving relationships. "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." "And when your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer."Every time we partake of the Lord’s supper we are told to examine ourselves. "For if we judged ourselves rightly we should not be judged." The principle being, "For if we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins." When it becomes apparent that some do not take this seriously, other measures must follow. When those at Corinth turned a blind eye to a sexual sin in their midst, Paul was furious. He wrote, "I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one." "Remove the wicked man from among yourselves."Even with this sticky situation, Paul’s ultimate goal was to bring the person to repentance. It is not always easy to know whether someone has repented, for some people under pressure will make quick lip service yet their hearts remain the same. They may be sorry that they got caught but not sorry that they sinned. Some time is often necessary to see what kind of fruit is going to grow on the tree. All too often, naive and confused women who have been abused by their husbands, ignore the facts, forgive too quickly and find themselves in a never-ending cycle of torment. Some people stay within cult-like religious systems, which abuses its authority, thinking God is going to clean up the system without any human interaction. Though all things are possible, it is highly unlikely, given there is so much to lose by bringing the sin to the light. Usually the sin must be forced to the light through some form of confrontation. When the church does not judge itself, it most often will be judged by the world. Knowing the nature of God, king David was quick to throw himself on the mercy of God rather than that of man, yet David still suffered the consequence of his sin.
"Then David said to God, "I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man" (2 Sam. 24:14).

Approaching someone trapped in sin is like approaching a large whirlpool in a small boat. There is a great danger of getting sucked in by the strong current. Only an experienced skipper is able to overcome the confusion of the spiritual vertigo. We are warned that these men are hidden reefs in our love feasts which are there to tear large holes in our lifeboats. Christians pray desperately that God will remove them from their midst when in reality Jesus said there will be tares that will grow up among the wheat that must remain until harvest. They will look like the real thing, and say all the right words, yet are headed for the furnace. He has given us His Spirit and His Word, the tools of navigation, to make our way through the obstacles.
"Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted" (Gal. 6:1)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Abundance of Words

& the Question of Authority
by Dale Brown

The words that people speak are most revealing. When describing one way of examining the fruit of someone’s life Jesus said, "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." His illustration is easily taken when we hear a blasphemer in his ignorance spewing forth his reckless words. All one needs to do in order to know where a person stands, is to listen. No one can be a good counselor without learning to be a good listener. It is not merely a matter of words. Two people can say the same words yet have two entirely different meanings. One person might roll his eyes while opening a letter from IRS and shout a defiant, "Hallelujah!" and mean something totally different than another who has been in dire straights and opens an envelope with a large sum of money in it and humbly shouts "Hallelujah!"
Jesus said, "That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt. 12:36).
In an effort to sort out some details of a disagreement with another minister I once submitted a case before a group of local pastors who I felt could weigh out the details fairly. I pulled from my pocket a small tape-recorder and placed it on the table in front of me. One pastor, whom I had the most respect for stood to his feet and stormed from the room claiming he had nothing to say as long as there were tape machines running. He was not even the minister in question, yet he was overcome with fear. Once I reminded him that there was a tape-recorder running in heaven he eventually calmed down and returned to reason.

The apostle Paul understood the awesome responsibility of being a spokesman for God when he wrote to the Corinthians, "And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling." Paul was a man who had been temporarily struck blind by God and carried a thorn in his flesh, which, he claimed was God’s way of keeping him from exalting himself. All the prayer in the world was not going to change that.

While some are quoting Bible verses and claiming their rights, they might be better off confessing their sins. They often make claims that go far beyond their authority. Claiming people "for the kingdom" as though we have the ability to over-ride someone’s freewill is presumptuous at best. If we could claim someone’s salvation we would be the Savior. This is more liken to witchcraft than Christian prayer.

I cringe at times when I hear the words that Christians speak to one another in the name of prayer and prophecy. Though at times they sound very religious, one person rightfully described it as VRG (Verbalized Religious Garbage). It is one thing to pray and give advice, but we enter into a whole new realm of responsibility when we end it with, "Thus saith the Lord" or "The Lord is telling me..." After leaving one such meeting my wife asked me, "well, what do you think." "Too much Yabba Dabba Do," I said, "some people are going to get hurt." And, they did.

One minister obviously wrote from experience: "Persons with many opinions, ideas, and subjective thoughts are to be feared....Those who are naturally talkative, opinionated, and self-conceited need a radical dealing, a basic bending. This is something which cannot be either a doctrine or an imitation. It must be wounds in the flesh. Only after one is scourged by God does he begin to live in fear and trembling before Him."
Jeremiah the prophet wrote, "I did not send these prophets but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds."

These words are often cited to describe cults and obvious spiritual error, yet in the same chapter God speaks through Jeremiah, "I am against the prophets," declares the Lord, "who steal My words from each other." This is a common problem in our day. Someone writes a book and everyone under the sun takes it as their own personal revelation. We can surely learn from other people’s experience, but what might have been good tasting manna for another might have worms in it by the time it gets to us.

"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment." (James 3:1)

The same sword of the Spirit that we use to bring life and restoration can be a tool of destruction when placed in the hands of one who has a selfish agenda. So often leaders who have been successful in bringing new believers into God’s kingdom become threatened when these young believers begin to mature and begin to surpass the understanding of the leader. Being used in ways the leader has never been used brings much tension, and attention. This attention often brings jealousy which results in the same anger that manifested in King Saul as a result of David’s success, because the women sang, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands"(1 Sam. 18:7). Satan takes advantage of this human weakness and uses it for his purpose. In David’s case, Saul eventually tried to kill him. David was able to sooth the angry spirit in Saul with anointed music from his harp for a time, but eventually even this failed and he was driven from the king’s palace.
"For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing"(Jms. 3:16).

Though Watchman Nee was a bit of mystic he was insightful in his observation on authority. "Authority is established by God; therefore no delegated authority need try to secure his authority. Do not insist that others listen to you. If they err, let them err; if they do not submit, let them be insubordinate; if they insist on going their own way, let them go. A delegated authority ought not strive with men. Why should I demand a hearing if I am not God’s established authority? On the other hand, if I am set up by God, need I fear lest men not submit? Whoever refuses to hear me, disobeys God. It is not needful for me to force people to listen. God is my support, why then should I fear? We should never say so much as one word on behalf of our authority; rather, let us give people their liberty. The more God entrusts to us, the more liberty we grant to people. Those who are thirsty after the Lord will come to us. It is most defiling to speak on behalf of our own authority or to try to establish authority ourselves."

In the words of the prophet Ezekiel, "Thus says the Lord, ‘He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.’"

Leaders such as Saul often abuse their authority as did other shepherds of Israel, "...with force and with severity you have dominated them"(Eze.34:4). As a result God rescues his sheep from this authoritarian abuse, "...and I shall demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep"(Eze. 34:10). The remaining verses of chapter 34 record God saying over twenty times "I will" tend to the needs of His sheep, on a personal level. When this happens people find themselves in a lonely place. They are often outside the hub of church activity for the first time in their Christian experience. They feel guilty and are occasionally the target of accusations of rebellion.

Let your words be soft and tender,
For you never know
When you might have to eat them.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Witness Lee & the "Recovery Version" Bible

Reviewed by Dale Brown

Chinese founder Witness Lee’s ministry is an extreme offshoot of the work started in China by Watchman Nee. Lee found his way to Los Angeles where his "local church" movement has its headquarters. Outside some of the peculiar English language used in the Recovery Version Bible it is the vast commentary by Witness Lee that presents the most concern. Often there is three quarters of a page of commentary on less than a quarter page of Biblical text. This gives one the impression that the Biblical text cannot be understood without viewing it through the lens of an interpreter, namely Witness Lee. First one must realize what Lee and his followers mean by "Recovery." This is not a twelve step program. When Dr. Walter Martin wrote about Lee and his theology in his book The New Cults (back in the early 80’s) he noted that the "Lord’s Recovery" was another word for Lee’s movement which described all other churches as off shoots of Babylon, the Catholic church. No mention is made of any other problematic religious systems such as Hinduism, or of Islam which makes up over one fifth of the worlds population. This type of language still appears in the commentary of the Recovery Version. So in essence "recovery" means to recover the global church from Catholic apostasy. And of course Lee and his ministry Living Stream is the means by which to accomplish this. Members of the movement have softened a bit regarding their criticism of other churches yet problems remain. They have a history of authoritarian control which has even been called brain washing by some.

Dr. Walter Martin was careful to point out that Lee’s teaching, though a problem, was not on the same level as the more obvious cults such as Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. A number of other ministries that address questionable religious groups or cults have been challenged by Lee’s Living Stream Ministry in court. The latest being Harvest House for comments by Ankerberg and Weldon in one of their books on cults.


With the Recovery often citing Greek as an authority the average Christian is left unequipped to investigate the reliability of the Recovery Version scholarship. One can easily be overwhelmed. Some problems however stand out quite clearly in plain English to those who are familiar with traditional orthodoxy.

Sin and Satan according to Lee
The Recovery commentary claims that God did not create flesh and that Satan is sin. "Satan injected himself into it (the flesh) at the fall." Commentary on Rom. 7:21 states that, "This must be the evil life, nature, and character of Satan himself, who is the indwelling sin in us. When sin is dormant within us, it is merely sin, but when it is aroused in us by our willing to do the good, it becomes ‘the evil‘." ". . .sin is a person, the embodiment of Satan, and is living and acting within us." In Lee's book "The Holy Word for Morning Revival" (Dispensing of the Divine Trinity, 2009) on page 162 he claims "Hence to put off the old man is to put off Satan." The Recovery commentary on Matthew 16:23 claims that "When we are setting our mind not on the things of God but on the things of men, we become Satan..."
The Bible however teaches that the fallen angel known as Satan is a person, and sin is transgression of God’s law, either by omission or commission. Though Satan or his demons may possess man Satan is not sin nor the "old man".

Recovery - "Sin existed before the law was given, but it was not manifested to man or charged to his account by God." (Commentary on Rom. 5:13) What does Lee do with Cain who not only sinned before the law was given but was also judged for that sin?

Though there has been plenty of past criticism regarding Lee’s modalistic view of the Godhead the Recovery Version continues with a mixed bag of rhetoric on the Trinity, much of which is very problematic. Some of it comes across as the deification of man and the church. Regarding Jesus, Lee claims "Second, He took the step of death and resurrection to be transfigured into the Spirit that He might impart Himself into His believers . . ." "He became the Spirit to be everything and do everything for the completion of God’s building." "Hence, this Triune God—the Father in the Son and the Son as the Spirit—dispenses Himself into us to be our portion that we may enjoy Him as our everything in His divine trinity."

In reference to the Triune God the commentary at the end of Philippians 4:23 states, "Therefore, this is altogether a matter of the union and mingling of the processed Triune God, who has become the all-inclusive, life-giving Spirit, and the spirit of us, the tripartite men, who are being transformed by such a Spirit. We must live and act in our wonderful spirit by the Triune God as wonderful Spirit. Only then can we experience the enjoy the Triune God, who was processed through incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, as the inexhaustibly sufficient grace and thus become His fullness, His expression."

The commentary on Philippians 3:21 says, "In His salvation God first regenerated our spirit (John 3:6), now is transforming our soul (Rom. 12:2), and consummately will transfigure our body, making us the same as Christ in all three parts of our being." In "Dispencing of the Divine Trinity" (pg 16) we read "Having been regenerated by Christ, we have become a part of Him, and now we are the same as He is - divinely human and humanly divine." On page 9 "Since we, the believers in Christ, participate in God's divinity, we are gods". This sounds a bit like Mormonism. Satan's lie that we can become gods got us thrown out of the garden of Eden.
Lee teaches a form of recovery elitism, "We are not here to carry on an ordinary Christian work." (Dispensing of the Divine Trinity pg. 33) And because Paul said he was the least of all the saints Lee claims "This indicates that Paul was even smaller than we are." (pg.33) "Unless we know God's economy, we will not understand the Bible." (pg. 17) God's elite "economy" is something that Lee speaks much of.

Though many involved with Living Stream Ministry may have a heart for God and many are likely Christians, the commentary in the Recovery Bible and Lee's books introduces much confusion. The incarnation and the Trinity is hard enough to define much less grasp without adding Lee’s misleading commentary. Within the nature of the one God, there are three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One did not become the other. All three have coexisted for eternity. Man on the other hand, like Satan, is simply a created being.
Murray Grindlay has compiled quite a list of questionable translation problems and weird language used in the text of the Recovery Version Bible.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

ASTROLOGY Telescope or Horoscope?

Telescope vs. Horoscope by Dale Brown
Many people mistakenly believe that astrology, like astronomy, is based on data obtained through scientific observation of the stars. Nothing could be further from the truth. Astrology is based on occult practices of star worship that originated in Babylon several thousand years before Christ. Stars were once believed to be gods and to have power over the destination of man.
The Bible records how at different times in ancient history the people of Israel began to practice astrology and each time it was condemned by the prophets as being fruitless. Quite often it was linked to other occult pagan practices.

They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger. Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence. (2 Kings 17:16, 17, 20)

The prophet Isaiah (680 B.C.) addressed the astrologers in the most scathing words.
Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you. Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror. All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let now the astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by. (Isa. 47:11-14)

Western "astrology" is based on Ptolemy’s zodiac calculations in the Tetrabiblos that came to be mixed with "science" (A.D. 130). The zodiac was developed on the idea that a flat earth was the center of the universe. The sun, moon, and five planets all circled the earth focusing their power to determine every human being. The idea that the date of a person’s birth could predict their future destiny was advanced as science.

The early church fathers such as St. Augustine and church councils openly condemned the practice of consideration of the constellations (astrology) as did the Old Testament prophets (because it was a form of polytheism which lead to idolatry, and because God was the only source to be consulted for information.
It has been observed that astrology thrives best during times of religious decline and social unrest.
Astrology is big business and it’s advocates rarely discuss the failures of their predictions. It is based on chance probability which has as much possibility as any form of gambling.

Hitler, for example, was a believer in astrology and in fact addressed the International Congress on Astrology in 1936, yet it failed him in the long run. In the April before his death, the astrologers were predicting a glowing future for his Nazi Germany. If astrology were accurate, money brokers on Wall Street would be using it to make millions, but that is clearly not the case.

The Biblical example of the twins, Esau and Jacob in the Bible, is another proof of the weakness of astrology’s predictions (Genesis chapter 25&27). Their lives and personalities were two opposite extremes, as are those of many sets of twins.

Astrology is a religious world view, and form of superstition, that has no place in the life of a Christian therefore should be avoided. Regardless what astrological sign one is born under Jesus said we must be born again. Our sign then becomes the cross.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jesus in the Tenach


If Christians claim Jesus is the Messiah,
and the Law and the Prophets supposedly refer to him,
shouldn’t his name be found in the Tenach?

The name Jesus is actually the English translation for the Hebrew word "Yeshua" and the Greek word "Iesus." But the true meaning of the word is "salvation." This word is found about 100 times in the Hebrew Tenach — the very same word that the angel Gabriel used in Matthew 1:21: "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus (Yeshuah, or salvation), because he will save his people from their sins."
With very few exceptions, whenever the Tenach uses the word salvation, it’s the same word (Yeshua, Iesus, or Jesus) used in Matthew 1:21 and Luke 1:31. Since Joseph and Mary were themselves Jews, they heard Gabriel’s words not in English or Greek or Latin, but in Hebrew — and neither of them were slow to catch the meaning of the name given to this divine Son of God: he would be the salvation of God’s people.

Hebrew names often carry with them a specific and significant meaning. For example, in Genesis 5:29, Lamech called his son Noah (or "comfort"), saying: "He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands."
The same is true of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, whose name means "drawn forth" because he was rescued from the Nile River as a baby (Ex. 2:10).

Here are just a few verses where Yeshua, or Jesus, is in the Tenach: In Genesis 49:18, Jacob cries out from his deathbed: "I have waited for your salvation, O Lord" What he actually said was: "To your Yeshua (Jesus) I am looking, O Lord!" Yeshua (Jesus) was the One in whom Jacob was trusting to carry him safely beyond death. Because of his faith, Jacob was a saved man.

In Isaiah 12:2-3, the word salvation is mentioned three times: "Surely God is my salvation (Yeshua, or Jesus); I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation (Yeshua, or Jesus). With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (Jesus)." See also Psalms 9:14 and 91:14-16.

Arthur E. Glass, himself a Jew, recounts the following conversation: "Something very interesting occurred one spring in St. Louis. I was visiting in the home of our friends, and another Jew was present there. He claimed Jewish orthodoxy for his creed. Of course the conversation centered around Him who is the center of all things — Jesus. This good Jewish brother opposed the claims of Jesus being in the Old Testament verbally, and in a friendly fashion, most violently. His best offensive weapon, he thought, was to fling at me and at all of us there the well-known challenge: "You can’t find the name ‘Jesus’ in the Old Testament."
I did not answer him directly, but asked him to translate for us from my Hebrew Bible, Isaiah 62:11. Being a Hebrew scholar, he did so with utmost ease, rapidity, and correctness; and here is what and how he translated that text verbatim: "Behold, Jehovah has proclaimed unto the end of the world. Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy Yeshua cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him." Just then he crimsoned as he realized what he had done and how he had played into my hands, and he just fairly screamed out, "No! no! You made me read it ‘thy Yeshua’ (Jesus), Mr. Glass! You tricked me!" I said, "No, I did not trick you. I just had you read the Word of God for yourself. Can’t you see that here Salvation is a person and not a thing or an event? "He comes, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him." Then he rushed at his own Old Testament, talking away frantically, saying, "I’m sure mine is different from yours." And when he found the passage, he just dropped like a deflated balloon. His Old Testament was, of course, identical. All he could use as an escape from the admitting defeat was to deny the divine inspiration of the book of Isaiah."

In Habakkuk 3:13 is the greatest demonstration of the name of Jesus (salvation) in the Tenach, where it gives both the name as well as the title of the Savior. Translated from the original Hebrew, it says:
"Thou went forth with the Yesha (a variant of Yeshua, or Jesus) of (or for) thy people; with Yeshua thy Messiah (the Anointed One); thou wounded the head of the house of the wicked one (Satan)."

There it is! So don’t let anyone — Jew or Gentile — tell you that the name Jesus is not found in the Tenach.
When the aged Jew Simeon came into the Temple, led there by the Holy Spirit, he took the baby Yeshua (Jesus) in his arms and said: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people" (Luke 2:25-30).
The first Christians were Jews who knew their scriptures as well as orthodox Jews today. They saw and recognized the fulfillment of God’s words as spoken through the prophets in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha Mashiach). Those who didn’t recognize or accept their Messiah are summed up by his own words: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather you children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’" (Luke 13:34).

And later, Yeshua wept over Jerusalem and foretold the destruction of the Temple, which occurred in 70 AD:
"If you, even you, (Jerusalem) had only know on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you" (Luke 19:41-44).

The offer of salvation through the blood atonement of the Messiah is still open to whoever will accept Him.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Speaking in Tongues

by Dale Brown

When Paul asked those at Ephesus this, their response was, "No we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit" (Acts. 19:2). Paul then laid his hands upon them and the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

Jesus, after the resurrection, breathed on the disciples and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit," (John 20:22) yet about the same time He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, which He said, "for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Then, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you to be a witness to the remotest part of the earth" (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4,5 & 8). We can see that at the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell upon them they spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:3 & 4). Later, at the house of Cornelius we see that as Peter was speaking (notice, no one laid their hands on them) the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message... and they began speaking in tongues and exalting God (Acts 10:44&46). They were then baptized in water.

It is reasonable why some are lead to believe that we receive all that is necessary of the Holy Spirit when we believe and are baptized because of Peter’s statement in Acts 2:38 and because of the perfect pattern established by Jesus when the Holy Spirit descended as a dove and came upon Him after His baptism (Matt. 3:16). A problem arises however, when we read the story of Philip’s ministry at Samaria. We see that a number believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, and they were being baptized, men and women alike, but we read that later, Peter and John came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, "For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them and they were receiving the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:12, 14-17). At this point some may say, "Well of course, only the apostles could impart the Holy Spirit." What about Ananias who laid his hands upon Saul? He wasn’t an apostle (Acts 9:17).

Now some may be asking, "Do I have to speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit?" Apostle Paul writing to the church of Corinth asked this rhetorical question, "All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts" (1 Cor 12:30 & 31). It stands to reason that one does not have to speak in tongues but Paul later writes, "I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all." "Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophecy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues" (1 Cor. 14:18 & 39).
Some may quote Paul and say greater is one who prophesies than the one who speaks in tongues. That may be true, but if you cannot believe God for a lesser gift, how are you going to believe Him for prophesy or interpretation of an unknown tongue, which Paul seems to indicate as being a greater gift. The greatest gift is the one needed at the moment.

I have heard it said that tongues are of the devil. I challenge you to go your nearest bar or strip joint and see how many of the devil’s children there are speaking in tongues. Though it may be argued that the devil may be able to imitate the gift of tongues, counterfeit is the sincerest form of flattery.
Paul wrote that one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. Do you ever need self edification? "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20). Do you ever feel a need to build yourself up? "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful" (1 Cor. 14:14). Paul makes the point that we do not always know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts know what the mind of the Spirit is because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26 727). Ask the Lord to give you words that can take you beyond your intellect. Set your spirit free that you might worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Paul used an Old Testament story to illustrate a point. "I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor. 10:1 & 2). So then, the passing through the Red Sea was a type of the New Testament water baptism and the passing through the cloud was a type of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16). Both are equally important.
If you have the attitude that it is fine for others but you don’t really think it is for you, I would remind you that Paul told the Ephesians to be filled with the Spirit to all the fullness (Eph. 3:19, 5:18). Apostle Paul was not only filled with the Holy Spirit, (Acts 9:17) but scripture tells us that he longed to see the Romans that he might impart some spiritual gift to them, that they may be established; and that in return they might be able to encourage him (Rom. 1:11 & 12). Jesus spoke of ten virgins, five of which weren’t too concerned with having any oil for their lamps and they were rejected (Matt. 25). Do you have enough oil in your lamp?

Have you ever wondered why several days after the day of Pentecost, when Peter and John were praying for more boldness, and for the Lord to perform healing and signs and wonders in the name of Jesus, it says that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit? (Acts 4:29-31). They had just been filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and now they had to be filled all over again. Do you suppose they leaked?
You cannot get by on yesterday’s spiritual blessings! Paul talked of dying daily. Jesus said, "Be on your guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come upon you like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have the strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-36).
If you are not sure whether you have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to seek it without fear for Jesus is not about to give you a snake if you ask Him for a fish. He addressed the people of His day with these words, "If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:13).
It was Paul who said, "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts. . ." (1 Cor. 14:1)

"Ask, and it shall be given to you;
Seek, and you shall find;
Knock, and it shall be opened to you."

It is suggested by some that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were dispensational and ceased after the apostolic age. If that were true there should be no record of them in operation during the church age after the apostles died. In fact, it seems reasonable the church fathers would have made mention of such a loss to the church, however the opposite is true. It appears that these manifestations of the Holy Spirit were under attack during the early church and continue to the present time.

It may be a stretch to say tongues are "the" sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but it is surely "a" sign.