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

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.

Mormon Temples

LDS TEMPLE WORK A Ridiculous Work and A Blunder
by Dale Brown

The ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem contained an altar for animal sacrifice which atoned for the sins of the living. A practice within the Mormon Temple however has given rise to one of the worlds largest genealogical research libraries. It revolves around a most questioned religious doctrine, that is, the salvation of those already dead through proxy baptism. This practice is reserved for an elite class of church members.

Perhaps the most embarrassing thing to the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) concerning their doctrine of baptism for the dead is the Book of Mormon itself. The Book of Mormon is supposed to contain the "fullness of the everlasting Gospel." In the Doctrine and Covenants (42:12) we read: "And again, the elders, priests, and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, WHICH ARE IN THE BIBLE AND THE BOOK OF MORMON, IN WHICH IS THE FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL."
Joseph Smith said the angel told him that "the FULLNESS OF THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL WAS CONTAINED IN IT (the Book of Mormon) as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants." (Pearl of Great Price, p. 51, verse 34)

The Bible however tells us that the "fullness" of time was the sending forth of God’s Son (Gal. 4:4).

Even though the Book of Mormon is supposed to contain the fullness of the gospel,
it never mentions the doctrine of baptism for the dead, not even once!

Actually, the Book of Mormon condemns the very ideas that lead to the practice of baptism for the dead. It plainly indicates that there is no chance for a person to repent after death if he has known the gospel and has rejected it.

In Alma 34:33-35 we read: "And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in, and the devil hath all power over you; and this the final state of the wicked."

The Bible says, "And inasmuch as it is appointed to men to die once and after this comes judgment." (Heb. 9:27)

Even though Jesus himself never taught anything about being baptized in proxy for those already dead, the Mormons twist a few obscure verses from the Bible to justify their beliefs. These baptisms for the dead are performed only in temples and the Mormon people are very zealous about this work, for they believe they are saving their ancestors. John Taylor, who became the third President of the church, stated: "...we are the only people that know how to save our progenitors,...we in fact are the saviors of the world, if they ever are saved;. . ." (Journals of Discourses, Vol. 6, page 163) Wilford Woodruff, the fourth President, felt that he had saved John Wesley, Columbus, and all of the Presidents of the United States except three. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, page 229)

They truly believe these temples have some form of power. At the Logan Temple cornerstone dedication, President George Q. Cannon made this statement, "Every foundation stone that is laid for a Temple, and every Temple completed. . .lessens the power of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness, moves the heavens in mighty power in our behalf, invokes and calls down upon us the blessings of the Eternal Gods, and those who reside in their presence." (The Logan Temple, Millennial, 12 Nov. 1877, p. 743)

These "so-called Gods" are actually demons who impersonate the dead people. In L.D.S. President Wilford Woodruff’s words: "The dead will be after you, they will seek after you as they have after us in St. George [temple]. They called upon us, knowing that we held the keys and the power to redeem them." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p. 229)

The Bible says that communication with the dead in any form is detestable in the eyes of God. (Deu. 18:10-12)


In a publication by the L.D.S. Church, entitled "The Mormons and the Jewish People", LeGrand Richards writes, ‘When prophets of the Lord speak, they always have "a familiar spirit."’

The Bible says, "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them." (Lev. 19:31, 20:6) In fact in the Old Testament, King Saul had all of those who had "familiar spirits" killed (1 Sam. 28:3).
The Bible also says, "And when they shall say unto you, seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter, should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isa. 8:19&20).

The Mormons claim that through them the Kingdom of God is to be established "In the Latter Days." They fail to read the Scripture that predicts their own apostasy. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1).
Even if proxy baptism was a legitimate doctrine there is no way for it to reach the needs of the millions of deceased people for whom there are no public records. There is no way of proving the existence of many who have lived and died in third world countries. And for the clerical mistakes in spelling etc., in public records of the deceased, the Mormons are spinning their wheels doing needless rituals for people who may or may not have ever existed. So, in reality God is the one who has to sort out the issues that go beyond our material plain. Being baptized for the deceased is nothing more than religious exercise which appeals to the pride and emotions of man.

My friend, the Bible clearly states the way for a person to escape the wrath of God and enjoy the blessings of eternity in God’s presence. Jesus said, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36) In God’s way of salvation a person must accept certain facts about God, about himself, and about Jesus Christ.
He must understand that God in love provided the method by which man may come to Him. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) This God is not limited by a body of flesh and bones.
Man must also acknowledge that he has fallen short of God’s standard and so deserves eternal punishment and separation from God. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23)
An individual must realize that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man and that He paid the price for each man’s sin. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit." (1 Pet. 3:18)
In God’s plan each individual must personally receive God’s gift in order to be saved. "But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." (John 1:12)
Salvation comes not through man’s works, proxy water baptism, or a belief in Joseph Smith, but by accepting the finished work of Jesus Christ. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." (Titus 3:5)
At the moment of salvation a person becomes a member of the church composed of all individuals who are trusting Him for eternal salvation. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body (the church)" (1 Cor. 12:13).


Apostle Paul wrote this warning, "But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8).

The Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands.(Acts 7:48)

Jehovah's non-trinitarian Witnesses

by Dale Brown

One thing that all non-Christian cults have in common, from Islam to American inventions such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is they attack the doctrine of the Trinity and the deity of Christ.


Scripture tells us that in the last days difficult times will come and some will fall away from the faith and pay attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, and that some will hold to a form of godliness yet denying its power (1 Tim. 4:1, 2 Tim. 3:5). This is precisely the situation today. Apostle Paul warned us in several places that we should not rest our faith in the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (Gal. 1:8, 2 Cor. 11:4, 1 Cor. 2:5).

When Jesus commissioned the original twelve to go preach that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, he did not stop there. He said, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” Then when the seventy were sent out they too rejoiced at the power over demons (Matt. 10:8, Lk 10:17). Is this the gospel you know?


We have also been warned that there would be false teachers and prophets that would rise up and secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master and will not believe the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:1, 2 John 7). The apostle Paul tells us that “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith also is in vain and you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor. 15:14-17) Jesus himself rebuked his disciples, after rising from the dead, because they too had doubts thinking He was only a spirit; “Touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Then He showed even more proof by eating some fish (Luke 24:38-43). Some have thought that Jesus was only an angel. According to the Bible, angels are spirits which have no desire to be worshipped (Heb. 1:14, Rev. 22:9). Jesus however, who has been given a name above every name, has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18) and every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:9-11). After Thomas finally believed in the physical resurrection of Jesus, his response was, “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28)

This Jesus is a God-Man, IMMANUEL, which means God with us. His mother being of flesh, a virgin, and His Father being God the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18-25). The Jews themselves knew what He was referring to when He said, “I and the Father are one,” for they picked up stones to stone Him because they said, “because you being a man, make yourself out to be God.” (John 10:33) When He had forgiven the paralytic of his sins they reasoned in their hearts, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7) This is why Jesus could say, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” while in another place the scripture tells us that God raised Christ up after three days (John 2:19, Acts 3:26).

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. . .” “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-3,14)

Paul’s words were much the same in his letter to the Colossians (1:15-17) “And He is the imagine of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.”

Peter says it in a somewhat different way when speaking of those who mock the promise of the Lord’s return, “it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and earth was formed out of water and by water” (2 Peter 3:5). Jesus being the water of the word (Eph. 5:26).

Jesus said, “For unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” But we have this promise, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. (John 8:24, Romans 10:9)

After the resurrection Jesus commissioned his disciples saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. . .”. Using the triune formula Jesus was referring to His ultimate authority in which He is to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1) as “Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Rev. 17:14), with the same authority as the Lord Jehovah the King of Israel our redeemer (Isa. 44:6). Jesus is the King of the Jews and our redeemer.
Even the dubious Jehovah’s Witness bible, the New World Translation (NWT), agrees that we are to be witnesses of Jesus, “. . . but you will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me (Jesus Christ) both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth”(Acts 1:8&9).

He said, “And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna) (Matt. 10:28). Paul wrote, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved completely, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:23).

These verses show that the body and the soul are separate entities yet make up one person, as well as pointing out the teaching of eternal judgment portrayed as a conscious place of torment, which flies in the face of the Jehovah’s Witness idea of annihilation. The Old Testament used the illustration of the burning garbage dump (Gehenna) as God’s final resting place for the wicked, “Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Isa. 66:24). Jesus continued this illustration in the New Testament (Mk. 9:48) with eternal and everlasting consequences where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 25:30, 41).

As Isaiah the prophet foretold some six hundred years before the event took place, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6)

Jesus spoke of God the Holy Spirit in the first person. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal it, or an energy that can be manipulated by man’s will as some metaphysical cults would try to lead us to believe. He is the third member of the Godhead. Not that there are three Gods. But rather there are three persons within the one God. Of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said He would send Him, and when He arrives, He will convict of sin, He will guide, He will speak, He will declare, etc. (John 16:7-15), for as Paul puts it, “the Lord (Jehovah) is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:17&18).

It is true that the concept of the Trinity is difficult to grasp but that is no reason to dismiss it without first looking at what the Bible really teaches. Even the nature of the Hebrew word for God Elohim is plural, yet it is nearly always translated singular with a singular verb and singular pronoun. This anomaly is present in the famous declaration of God’s oneness, the shema. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord [Yahweh/Jehovah] our God [Elohim] is one [echad] Lord [Yahweh/Jehovah]” (Deu. 6:4).

This brief study of Scripture clearly refutes the ideas of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who have gone to great lengths to twist the facts.
If you are in need of a miracle in your life, Jesus is waiting to answer your prayer. He said, “whatever you ask in My name that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son”(John 14:13).

“He that hath truth on his side is a fool as well as a coward
if he is afraid to own it because of other men’s opinionsDaniel Defoe

The Jehovah's Witness bible, The New World Translation has altered many of the texts in question

Calvinism or Arminianism?

No system of thought can be judged
 by what extremists do in its name
by Dale Brown

The mysterious dichotomy that lies between God’s predestined plan and the free will of Satan and man has been the topic of countless debates over the centuries. Taking their stand on the verses that support their prejudice the two camps remain, to one degree or another, to this day.

Faced with the facts no one with sound judgment can deny the ample Biblical evidence that, "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will." "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast."

On the other hand, there are those uncomfortable verses, both Old and New Testament, that appear to fly in the face of God’s plan thus giving His creation a free-will to choose or reject His program. Paul writes that God our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Peter writes in a similar statement that God is patient toward us, not wishing for any to perish but all to come to repentance.
This would appear that God’s perfect will is that all men be saved. After all, "God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." It seems that man’s choice to believe has a very important part to play. It was man’s ability to make choices that put us in a position that we needed a savior to start with. Man made a choice which got him driven out of the garden of Eden. Later in Genesis man had made such a mess of things that God was sorry He had even made him. The words of Joshua echo any modern evangelist when he proclaimed to the nation of Israel to "choose this day whom you will serve." Jesus said that many are called but few are chosen.

Jesus made a revealing statement to those at Capernaum when they refused to repent. He said that if the miracles had occurred in Sodom that had occurred in Capernaum they would have repented and would remain to this day. That is amazing because it suggests two things. First it suggests that they would have been enlightened by the miracles, and secondly, their decision would have altered history. Jesus, knowing their fate, even wept over Jerusalem because of their willful rebellion against him.

So how do we reconcile stories such as the one of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers which later, after some time as a slave and a prisoner, ends up in a position to save his family when they come begging for food? This story of Joseph is not so much a story of the predestination of one man’s salvation but rather that of the nation of Israel. It is also important to understand that with Joseph and his father Jacob, God was dealing with men who were willing to follow God’s plan not in opposition to it.

The light of God’s word sometimes puts us in a precarious predicament. As with the photon, science claims that light can be described in terms of particles and at the same time waves. Waves are not particles and particles are not waves. Scientists do not divide into two camps and argue about the two contradicting properties. They must admit that both somehow are true.

It is clear from scripture that God has a predestined plan for man, yet man has a will that often muddies the water. Jesus illustrated the clash of the wills this way, "How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling"(Matt. 24:37). Then, thrown in the mix is Satan. It is his will to steal, kill and destroy whereas God’s will is to give us life and life more abundantly.
How one looks at salvation makes a big difference.

Picture the "House of Salvation." A sign above the door on the outside reads, "To Enter, Repent and Believe in the Lord Jesus." After entering you look back at the sign above the door which reads, "There Was Nothing You Did To Get In, For it was by Grace through Faith." Our perspective of salvation depends on where we are. God on the other hand is outside of time and space therefore speaks in terms difficult to wrap our minds around.

King James Bible only?

Evolution of King Jimmy
by Dale Brown

It is common persuasion, usually by those unfamiliar with the difficulties of translating ancient languages, that the Bible translated in 1611 under the authority of King James was not merely authorized by the king of England but rather the "King of the Universe." They compare the style of modern English to that of 1611 and come to the conclusion that all modern translations have been tampered with and are therefore corrupt. Though it is possible for scholars to make mistakes it is generally not their intention. Even within the same language, over time there are spelling and definition problems that arise. Compare the following styles of "Englysh."

The Lord’s prayer in Old English of A.D. 1000:
Fæder ure, thu the eart on heofonum, si thin ama gehalgod . . . Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg.

1300 English:
Fader oure that is i heuen, blessid be thi name . . . Oure ilk day bred gif us to day.

Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name . . . Give us this day our daily bread.

Our father who is in heaven, may your name be hallowed . . . Give us our daily bread today.

The evolution of English can be seen in general greetings outside the Bible as well. The origin of the modern phrase, "Good Bye," shortened to simply "Bye!" came from the gesture, "God be with you," which in 1659 was "God b ‘wy" and later in 1687 was "B’w ‘y."

Most would be offended by the King James description of men, as those who "pisseth against the wall." (1 Sam. 25:22,34, 2 Kg 9:8) However, to urinate in 1611 was nothing other than to piss, and that is how the Bible scholars spelled it. Thus we might haply peraventure to be holden to aforetime terms that no longer make for pleasant communication.  What most English translations have translated "wild ox" the KJV translates unicorn in Job 39:9 and other places.  This gives ammunition for critics who claim the Bible is nothing more than a book of myths.
Geneva Bible
King James Bible Authorized by Who?
The first Bible brought to America by the Puritan Separatists in 1620 aboard the Mayflower was the Geneva Bible.
Few people understand that the Authorized King James Version Bible of today is not an exact copy of the 1611 edition. Most people today would have a very difficult time reading the Bible as it was translated in 1611 simply because of it’s archaic style. This is especially true for people which English is their second language. It was originally printed including the Apocrypha which nearly all Evangelicals reject. Compare John 3:7 with a modern KJV. The 1611 reads, "Marueile not that I saide vnto thee, Ye must be bourne againe." The KJV went through a major revision in 1769 to correct problems in translation, wording and punctuation; and several other revisions since then, yet there are minor problems that remain to this day. In Acts 19:37, is one example. Where the Greek reads hirosulous, "robbers of temples," the KJV incorrectly renders "robbers of churches." The Greek word for Passover pasch has been mistranslated in Acts 12:4 to Easter.

A Hot Topic!
A word study of the word hell in any good concordance of the KJV reveals that there was a bit of confusion regarding hades and gehenna. Though they are two different things they are both translated hell. Revelation 20:14 further adds to the confusion by stating that hell is to be cast into the lake of fire, whereas it should read hades is to be cast into the lake of fire. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are quick to point out this problem. 

How many Devils are there?

The KJV presents us with another problem in the way it translated Devil and demons.  DIABOLOS is the word used for Satan or the Devil, whereas another word Daimon, a demon, is often mistranslated devil.  Therefore we see devils being cast out of people when in fact it should read that demons are being cast out.  There is only one Devil but many demons.  Jesus cast out an unclean spirit and then it is later called simply the devil. (Mark 1:34, 5:2,15)  

Recognizing the weaknesses of the KJV we now have a New King James Version on the market. It must be understood that the apostles did not speak English.

Though we hold to the idea that the scripture is accurate in it’s original language "All scripture is given by inspiration of God"(1 Tim. 3:16), we unfortunately do not have those originals available to us. We therefore strive to examine manuscripts dating as close to the originals as possible.

It’s All Greek Anyhow

It is claimed by some that the KJV was translated from superior manuscripts, mainly the Texus Receptus (or "Received Text"). This is a Greek translation by Catholic priest and scholar Desiderius Erasmus published in 1516, based on a few Greek manuscripts, along with the Catholic standard Latin Vulgate. This group of manuscripts is generally referred to as the Byzantine family of manuscripts. The Hebrew (Masoretic) text used in 1611 is still considered the Old Testament standard.

Since then a family of other manuscripts have been collected which come from outside the Byzantine tradition which are the Alexandrian, Western and Caesarean families. They shed new light on the scripture for a number of reasons. First, they strengthen the credibility of the Bible because though many are much older than previous manuscripts, they still harmonize, differing mainly in style but not content. Where one might say Jesus Christ, another could say Christ Jesus, etc. The 1948 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls dating about 200 B.C. make them the oldest Jewish (Hebrew/Chaldean) manuscripts of the Old Testament. They are hundreds of years older than the standard Masoretic text yet tell the same story. Secondly, these all help clear up some areas that in the past the translators, because of ambiguity in the text, were left scratching their heads. By comparing the most reliable and oldest Greek and Hebrew text we can come up with a clearer picture of what the original author had in mind. Studying the letters or legionaries of early church fathers (especially those who were direct disciples of the apostles) is helpful because we can see how they understood the text.

In order to make the transition from a language which has a different alphabet, different structure, and is addressed to a culture of a different time period, one must use certain liberties yet within the confines of rather strict rules of textual criticism. Should lamp be translated "torch" or "flashlight" or should it remain lamp and simply let the reader bridge the gap for himself. It is often impossible to translate exactly word for word from the original language to the receptor language because one language might have no word equivalent. Or, where one language might have one word, it may require several in the other to get the point across. In English we have only one word "love" to express three Greek words, agape, phileo, and eros.  If a guy says he loves his truck, we usually understand this is something quite different than his love for his wife.
Though the KJV has served us well, one needs to be careful not to elevate any translation to the point of idolatry, and end up straining at gnats and eating camels. Nor do we want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Modern translations have approached the task of communicating a message to a diverse people using different philosophies. A "word-for-word" approach might be more accurate but makes readability wooden. The "thought-for-thought" method makes for easier reading yet leaving more room for error in translation. The "paraphrase" version is an attempt to bridge the cultural and historical gap. It serves well those who do not read well but misses the mark as far as literal meaning. A good study Bible of any version will have notes in the margin where there is discrepancy among manuscripts. It has been said that the devil is in the details. The cults who are critical of the scripture are famous for zeroing in on these minor details, and thus missing the whole picture.

Translations with an obvious cult bias such as the New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witnesses), The Clear Word Bible (Seventh-Day Adventist) and the George Lamsa version based on the Peshitta (Syriac Bible) with it’s Nestorian and anti-Greek bias are best avoided.
Some of the manuscripts housed in the British Library in London that were not available to the translators of the KJV:
The Codex Sinaiticus This is one of the two earliest complete Bibles in Greek. Constantine Tischendor discovered it in the Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai where it had been for a thousand years. It was transferred to the Czar of Russia in 1859. The Russians sold it to Britain in 1933 for £100,000.
The Codex Alexandrinus This 5th-century Greek Bible was in the Patriarchal Library of Alexandria for 300 years. It was presented to Charles I in 1627 by Cyril Lucar, the Calvinistic Patriarch of Constantinople.

Books helpful in understanding the difficulties in Bible translations:
History of the New Testament in Plain language, by Clayton Harrop, Word Inc. 1984
How to Read the Bible for all its Worth, by Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, Zondervan 1993
So Many Versions?, by Sakae Kubo and Walter Specht, Zondervon, 1983
The King James Version Debate, Donald Carson, Baker, 1979
The Men Behind the King James Version, by J.S. Paine 1959

The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English by Geza Vermes 1997
The Story of the Scrolls by Geza Vermes 2010