Quite a few years ago I listened as a Prophetic person described the vision God had given them for the western church.
In the vision there was a river and along the river were riverbanks, green and grassy. There were all kinds of people there some were lining the banks watching and many were in the river. God told the prophetic person that this was a vision for the future of the church. The people in the river, numbering more than those on the banks, had followed each other and other churches into the current of the water and had left the safety of the land.
Those on the banks did not participate in the river activities and were sitting, looking on along the sides of the river. However, God said that in the future (how long, not sure) the church would change and with it would come deception and what looked like freedom and many in the church would follow this new deception and leave safety of the banks for this new and exciting lifestyle.
I marveled at how so many people could leave what they knew and follow the crowd – it would be so obvious that I was sure people could see the wrong path.
Little did I know about deception. Deception is sneaky, it is not in your face, rather it creeps in around the edges at first, testing the waters to see if it has anywhere to land.
I feel like we might be in a time where deception is happening at a rapid rate in the churches we know and love. If we are not studying the Bible and or have not read it - the whole book, then we are at risk of following the interpretation (which is different in every church) of our own church, right into the water of that river. Each denomination interprets parts of the Bible differently, livescience.com states that there are over 200 denominations in the USA, with 45,000 denominations worldwide, making up over 2 billion Christians.
I had this statement download into my head from God today – “we are spending so much time trying to ‘make sense’ of the Bible and timelines and dates, anxious to figure out where we are in the God’s timeline that we have given up actually worshiping God Himself.” We are instead trying to be the ones to “get it right” and by doing this we are putting God into “our box” to make Him fit.
God is not human that He will fit into any box, and excuse me, if you have read the Bible – the whole Bible, when did a lot of it make sense to you?
Try to figure these out:
400 years of silence by God to the Jewish nation, after promising to never leave them and forsake them.
The virgin birth – wrap your head around that one.
God’s “chosen people” have had more genocide attempts than any other nation – yet they are God’s special people???
Where are the dinosaurs in the Bible?
Jonah swallowed by a whale and staying alive for 3 days in its stomach.
Abraham being given a miraculous child after he was childless and then being asked to offer that son up as a sacrifice.
12 ordinary guys, going around preaching about some Jewish Rabbi named Jesus and in so doing, changed the entire world!
Why do we, the humans, the created ones, have to make sense of the God who created us?
God does not have timelines, God is not in time, He is past, present and future and if your brain can figure that out, I would love to know how because, I do not.
There are several upcoming versions of Christianity that have me a little nervous because they have come to some conclusions, because it is the only thing that “makes sense” or fits a “timeline”. Who says God must make sense?
I believe the one person who got to ask God some of these things was Job. When God showed up, the first thing He said was:
“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man, I will question you, and you shall answer me.” Job 38:1
And the argument is over before it began……
Every person, every church is in danger of putting God into their version of Him, based on our church, our upbringing, our family and our learning. We attempt, each of us to figure God out in human terms, because it is the only reference we know.
What are some of these versions that I am concerned about? One of them is Preterism. It is gaining huge popularity in many of our churches, even local ones around you.
The word Preterist means “past”. A person who believes in Preterism believes that the book of Revelation has been fulfilled back in 70AD. That the 2nd coming of Jesus has already happened, the tribulation has happened, that the resurrection of the dead has already happened and that the final judgement has happened. This is very real and spreading quickly in many mainstream churches – find out what your church believes, you might be surprised.
This teaching leads to a very destructive, and from my reading and understanding of the Bible and Jesus own words, a very wrong concept – it believes that God’s covenant with the nation of Israel is over and that the “church” has now replaced the Jewish people as God’s chosen people. It is called Replacement Theology – meaning the church replaced the Jewish nation. I actually had a fellow Christian tell me this very thing not too long ago, I was shocked at his belief.
Screech…………….. this is the train falling off the tracks inside my brain!
Nope and nope. That is not how the Bible reads in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Jesus Himself is Jewish! He came to the Jewish nation, was raised in the Jewish nation and studied and taught the Jewish customs. The Jewish nation was always and will always be His bride that God refers to.
The Church, that is believers in Jesus sacrificial death on the cross for them, have been grafted into the Jewish faith. They have not become Jewish nor do Jewish people become Christians. They are and always will be Jews and we will always be Christians and together, we make up the Bride referred to in scripture. Jesus was Never a Christian!
The first teaching I received in Israel at the school I attended over there, was on Replacement Theology. This teaching is an abomination to Jewish people and unfortunately, it is not new thinking. Christians have been involved in many of the attempts to hurt and attack the Jewish people. This should never be!
I am not going into a huge discourse on why, I reached my conclusions but I will give a this scripture as one of my conclusions: God said that His covenant, His promise to the Jewish nation, (and there are 5 of them) were everlasting covenants Genesis 17:1-14. Since God cannot lie, we must take God at His Word. Hebrews 6:18 Everlasting means “lasting forever” – God will not end it.
Eschatology – the study of end times have so many different theories, thoughts and ideas that it is hard to keep up with them. It almost seems like God did not want to give us “all” the details for some reason, and we humans have been filling in the blanks as we go. We have pre-trib, post trib and mid-trib and with Preterism we have “no trib”.
Bottom line: God is God and we are not, not knowing all the answers is called “faith”.
Read your Bible so you know what it says and can spot deception when it comes, because you know if it does not line up with the Word of God. Know where your Church stands on end times doctrine.
Do not follow the crowds into the river. Keep yourself so in tune with God that you will hear Him when He says stop, or if He says proceed. The only way of getting this is to spend time with Him, and I am not talking about 20 minute devotions in the morning. (although those are good, it is not enough).
Practice being Holy Spirit led, rather than simply Holy Spirit filled. Holy Spirit filled is essential, however it is more of a thing to have happen to you rather than a lifestyle. Holy Spirit led is a lifestyle of talking and walking with the Holy Spirit all day long.
The vision I started with at the beginning about the river, the fellow telling us about it said that God stated, the new church, the river church would take Jesus out of the church and He would not be required to save people from their sins. Jesus Himself stated that He is the only way to be saved.
The other things I heard this week were that many churches have kicked the Holy Spirit out of their midst. They have preferred to go with Spirit filled instead of Spirit led and we wonder why we see no great power of God in our churches. The power of God comes only through the Holy Spirit.
There are numerous more ideologies out there, probably more than I could count, so where does this leave us?
God said where 2 or more are gathered together in Jesus name – He is there in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). Band together instead of fight each other on view points. We are to be the hands and feet of Jeus, rather it seems we want to pull our arms off and disjoint our finger and toes with our arguing and in house fighting.
We have become so busy fighting ourselves and making others see our “view point” that we have ceased to be the force that pushes back the gates of hell. While we have been arguing, deception has taken the advantage to sneak right on in, and he says, keep on fighting…. Because he knows how powerless a weak church is.