By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Dec 31, 2012

As one in an online apologetics and discernment ministry (OADM) a large part of my job at Apprising Ministries is to monitor false teaching slithering into the visible church and to then apprise other pastors, who don’t have the time I do to track this skubalon, as to what it is.

There’s a common misconception concerning this type of labor in the Lord that even affects those of us in the few reputable OADMs out there. That is: You sit around all day looking for things to condemn and when you find them, in your “holier than thou” anger, you delight in bashing such.

No legitimate OADMs I know do anything of the sort. The truth is that these things are most often sent to us by others who have come across them. In addition, most of the time we reluctantly cover these issues keeping 1 Corinthians 15:10 in mind and knowing that friendly fire is inevitable.

This is not a line of work you volunteer for and then choose; the fact is, it’s chosen for you by the Lord. Today I was sent this curious bit of news, which concerns First Presbyterian Church (FPC) in Columbia, South Carolina. If you didn’t know, FPC’s senior pastor is the well-respected Dr. Sinclair Ferguson.1

Now for the peculiar part; on the FPC website under Library/Online Media is a section for New Additions to Library where as of this writing, among other resources we find:


I don’t know why these have been added to the FPC library, but they are currently there. If you’re not familiar with Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling (JC) I’ll share with you what I brought out when I covered it back in Beth Moore Recommends “Jesus Calling” Book Claiming Direct Divine Revelation.

JC, which is said to be “Devotions for Every Day of the Year,” is published by Thomas Nelson publishing.2 There really isn’t a lot of information online about Sarah Young:

In his review of JC, which I’ll be returning to, well known Reformed Christian blogger Tim Challies informs us:

Sarah Young is the wife of a third-generation missionary to Japan who has earned post-graduate degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, a Presbyterian seminary.


Young tells us herself in the Introduction to JC:

I began seeking God’s Presence in earnest. My days started alone with God, equipped with Bible, devotional book, prayer journal, pen, and coffee. As I waited in His Presence, God began to reveal Himself to me.


Now, we’ll hear that type of language in charismatic and mystic circles, which are now overlapping with the spread of so-called “spiritual disciplines” of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) under the guise of supposed Spiritual Formation.

However, what Young is describing is a form of divination, the occult; it is the attempt to gain knowledge of God outside of the Bible, a means of grace He has prescribed as the way to come to Him. Some time ago CBN ran Q & A with Sarah Young.

There she’s asked how she learned “to ‘dialogue’ with God?” Her answer should disturb you:

My journey began with a devotional book (God Calling) written in the 1930′s by two women who practiced waiting in God’s Presence, writing the messages they received as they “listened.” About a year after I started reading this book, I began to wonder if I too could receive messages during my times of communing with God.


There’s nowhere in the Bible that we’re taught about waiting in God’s Presence in order to write personal messages we allegedly receive from God. We must understand that the lives of the writers of inspired Scripture are simply not normative for the Christian.

In fact, this all begins to sound like what’s known as occultic automatic writing; and yet, Young still tells us “this little paperback became a treasure to me.”4 I happen to have a copy of that book God Calling (GC), which was cited by Young above.

You can actually find it online at the website of these women, who bill themselves simply as “two listeners.”5 They tell us they were personally receiving direct revelations from God Himself to instruct them, unlike us mere mortals who go to Scripture:

with my friend a very wonderful thing happened. From the first, beautiful messages were given to her from the Lord Himself, and every day from then these messages have never failed us.

We felt all unworthy and overwhelmed by the wonder of it, and could hardly realize that we were being taught, trained and encouraged day by day by Him personally, when millions of souls who are far worthier, had to be content with guidance from the Bible, sermons, their Churches, books and other sources.


As you can plainly see, they do claim divine inspiration for their writings; and like her listening mentors, so does Sarah Young. CBN asks her how “awkward was it initially to begin a ‘dialogue” with God?” Young replies:

It felt a little awkward the first time I tried it, but I did receive a short message… at that point my journaling changed from monologue to dialogue. Day by day, messages began to flow more freely. This new way of communicating with God became the high point of my day.

(source, emphasis mine)

No way around it; Young is claiming she “did receive a…new way of communicating with God.” Those are her words, not mine. Young fully realizes that she’s describing divine inspiration for her messages so she then adds a caveat in order to try and deflect away that charge.

Young tells us, “I knew that my writings were not inspired (as only Scripture is).” But she can’t have it both ways; when God speaks, it is Scripture. Or are we supposed to believe He also speaks non-authoritatively, which is a view common in charismatic circles.7

Here the following from my friend Dr. Gary Gilley will prove helpful when he tells us people like Sarah Young:

would claim that while they believe that God speaks to His people apart from the Bible today, that these revelations are not on par with Scripture. That is, God speaks today but not with the same authority as He did in His Word. So do not accuse us of adding to Scripture, they would say.

Interestingly enough, this brings up another issue. We find in the Bible that God did speak, either orally (including through His prophets) or through the written Word, but in both ways — always,His Word is authoritative. It was nothing less than a word from God — one that must be obeyed and heeded!

(source, bold his)

Like I said before, that supposedly conservative Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore would recommend her readers buy this book by Sarah Young ought to be cause for serious concern about her discernment. All the more curious to see it added to the FPC website.

In his review of JC, which I referenced earlier, Tim Challies now gets to the heart of the matter concerning this kind of neo-gnosticism of these supposedly superior listeners:

As I have spoken to others about the book, I’ve heard some people say that this book is written as if Jesus is speaking to the reader. But it’s important to know that Young makes a far more audacious claim—this is Jesus speaking, through her. The messages he has given her, she now passes on to us.

This is a very good time to pause and consider this claim. Sarah is claiming some kind of new revelation from God. She is saying that God speaks to her and that she then passes these messages to others. Immediately we need to ask what she believes about the Bible. Is she claiming that these messages are equal to Scripture? That they trump Scripture?…

Young begins to share those words of God as daily devotionals, saying [I]“I have continued to receive personal messages from God as I meditate on Him. The more difficult my life circumstances, the more I need these encouraging directives from my Creator.”

James Montgomery Boice once said that the real battle in our times would not be the inerrancy or infallibility of Scripture, but its sufficiency—are we going to rely on the Bible or will we continually long for other revelation? In Jesus Calling we see this so clearly. Young teaches that though the Bible is inerrant and infallible, it is insufficient. It was not enough for her and, implicitly, she teaches that it cannot be enough for us…

Jesus Calling is, in its own way, a very dangerous book. Though the theology is largely sound enough, my great concern is that it teaches that hearing words directly from Jesus and then sharing these words with others is the normal Christian experience. In fact, it elevates this experience over all others. And this is a dangerous precedent to set. I see no reason that I would ever recommend this book.[/I]


So, why has First Presbyterian Church of Dr. Sinclair Ferguson added these dangerous resources to its library?

HT: Discern the Time

Further reading:




Endnotes:, accessed 12-31-12. ↩, accessed 12-31-12. ↩

Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Location 658). ↩

Ibid. ↩, accessed 12-31-12. ↩

A. J. Russell, ed., God Calling [Uhrichsville: Barbour Books, 1989], 10, emphasis mine. ↩


December 31, 2012 Bible Reading

December 31

Reading for Today:

Malachi 1:1–4:6

Psalm 150:1-6

Proverbs 30:10-31

Revelation 21:1–22:21


Malachi 3:1- My messenger. It was a custom of the Near Eastern kings to send messengers before them to remove obstacles to their visit. Employing a wordplay on the name of Malachi, “the LORD’s messenger”, the Lord Himself announced He was sending one who would “prepare the way before Me.” This is “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” (Is. 40:3) and the Elijah of 4:5 who comes before the Lord. The New Testament clearly identifies him as John the Baptist (Matt. 3:3; 11:10, 14; 17:12ff.; Mark 1:2; Luke 1:17; 7:26, 27; John 1:23).

Malachi 4:2- Sun of Righteousness. While the wicked will be devoured by the heat of the Lord’s wrath, those who fear Him will feel His warmth with healing in His “rays” or “beams” (Is. 30:26; 60:1, 3). The reference is to the Messiah; He is “the Lord our Righteousness” (Ps. 84:11; Jer. 23:5, 6; 1 Cor. 1:30). healing. The reference should not be limited to the physical recovery from the harm done by the wicked (3:5). This sickness is inextricably linked with sin, with healing coming only through the suffering of the Servant (Ps. 103:3; Is. 53:5; 57:18, 19; 1 Pet. 2:24).

Proverbs 31:10–31- This poem offers a beautiful description of the excellent wife as defined by a wife and mother (v. 1). Spiritual and practical wisdom plus moral virtues mark the character of this woman in contrast to the immoral women of v. 3. While the scene here is of a wealthy home and the customs of the ancient Near East, the principles apply to every family. They are set forth as the prayer of every mother for the future wife of her son, and literarily arranged with each of the 22 verses beginning with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in consecutive order.

Revelation 21:2- New Jerusalem. This is the capital city of heaven, a place of perfect holiness. It is seen “coming down out of heaven,” indicating it already existed; but it descends into the new heavens and new earth from its place on high. This is the city where the saints will live (John 14:1–3). bride. An important New Testament metaphor for the church (Matt. 25:1–13; Eph. 5:25–27). John’s imagery here extends from the third part of the Jewish wedding, the ceremony. Believers (the bride) in the New Jerusalem come to meet Christ (the bridegroom) in the final ceremony of redemptive history (19:7). The whole city, occupied by all the saints, is called the bride, so that all saints must be finally included in the bride imagery and bridal blessing. God has brought home a bride for His beloved Son. All the saints live with Christ in the Father’s house (a promise made before the church began; John 14:2).

DAY 31: What is the Book of Malachi about?

Only 50,000 exiles had returned to Judah from Babylon (538–536 B.C.). The temple had been rebuilt under the leadership of Zerubbabel (516 B.C.) and the sacrificial system renewed. Ezra had returned in 458 B.C., followed by Nehemiah in 445 B.C. After being back in the land of Palestine for only a century, the ritual of the Jews’ religious routine led to hard-heartedness toward God’s great love for them and to widespread departure from His law by both people and priest. Malachi rebuked and condemned these abuses, forcefully indicting the people and calling them to repentance. When Nehemiah returned from Persia the second time (ca. 424 B.C.), he vigorously rebuked them for these abuses in the temple and priesthood, for the violation of the Sabbath rest, and for the unlawful divorce of their Jewish wives so they could marry Gentile women (Neh. 13).

As over two millennia of Old Testament history since Abraham concluded, none of the glorious promises of the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants had been fulfilled in their ultimate sense. Although there had been a few high points in Israel’s history, e.g., Joshua, David, and Josiah, the Jews had seemingly lost all opportunity to receive God’s favor. Less than 100 years after returning from captivity, they had already sunk to a depth of sin that exceeded the former iniquities which brought on the Assyrian and Babylonian deportations. Beyond this, the long-anticipated Messiah had not arrived and did not seem to be in sight.

So, Malachi wrote the capstone prophecy of the Old Testament in which he delivered God’s message of judgment on Israel for their continuing sin and God’s promise that one day in the future, when the Jews would repent, the Messiah would be revealed and God’s covenant promises would be fulfilled. There were over 400 years of divine silence, with only Malachi’s words ringing condemnation in their ears, before another prophet arrived with a message from God. That was John the Baptist preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matt. 3:2). Messiah had come.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,

Our Sympathetic High Priest

Our Sympathetic High Priest

[COLOR=Red]”Assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:16-18).

In his letters to Timothy, Paul counseled and encouraged his young associate about many things–his health, his critics, his moral and spiritual warfare. His counsel is well summed up in these words: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David” (2 Tim. 2:8).

Like Timothy, we need to be reminded of Christ’s humanity, especially when life becomes particularly tough. Then we can pray, “Lord, You know what You endured while You were here. I’m going through it now.” We can be sure He knows and will encourage us.

Jesus came not only to save us but also to sympathize with us. He experienced what we experience so He could be a “merciful and faithful high priest.” After all, “we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

Jesus felt everything we will ever feel–and more. Most of us will never know the full degree of any given temptation because we usually succumb long before we reach it. But since Jesus never sinned, He took the full measure of every temptation.

Ours is not a cosmic God, powerful and holy, but indifferent. He knows when we hurt, where we are weak, and how we are tempted. Jesus is not just our Savior, but our loving Lord who sympathizes with us. Rejoice in the greatness of His love for us.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Ask God to remind you of your need of Him at all times, not just when times are tough.

For Future Study:

Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13 for quick recall whenever you are faced with any trial.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,[/COLOR]



By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Dec 30, 2012

In Means Of Grace: Searching The Scriptures the other day here at Apprising Ministries reminded you about the spread of what I call a cult of Foster-Willardism deep within mainstream Protestant evangelicalism; and with it, a rebirth of Pietism masquerading as the Spritiual Formation.

A good four years ago in Spiritual Formation: Just Say No I warned that, with an assist from his spiritual twin Dallas Willard and the neoliberal cult operating within the Emergent Church, Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster would successfully perpetrate this reimagined monastic mythology.

This all was accomplished under the guise of so-called “spiritual disciplines,” and Foster-Willardism has now captured the younger sectors of the church visible. You should know that the core practice of this Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) is its crown jewel Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP).

However the truth is, CCP is actually a type of meditation in an altered state of consciousness that’s virtually identical to that practiced in Eastern religions such as Zen Buddhism and the transcendental meditation of Hinduism. It is “Christian” mysticism that forms the basis of spurious spiritual formation.

The fact remains it was really developed in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism; and yet we now see this CSM showing up in more and more mainstream evangelical churches. For example, CSM Invades Evangelicalism With Rick Warren and Kay Warren Leading The Charge.

Sadly, it’s been forgotten that CSM is the Counter Reformation spirituality practiced contemporary to the early Church Reformers, which they rejected in favor of the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura. God didn’t want His Christians practicing CSM then, and He doesn’t want us doing so now.

In closing this here’s John Calvin, one the leaders of the Protestant Reformation, and what he thought about the reimagined form of semi-pelagian Pietism that’s been revived by Richard Foster in these so-called spiritual disciplines of Spiritual Formation:

IT is indeed deplorable that the Church, whose freedom was purchased by the inestimable price of Christ’s blood, should have been thus oppressed by a cruel tyranny, and almost buried under a huge mass of traditions; but, at the same time, the private infatuation of each individual shows, that not without just cause has so much power been given from above to Satan and his ministers.

It was not enough to neglect the command of Christ, and bear anyburdens which false teachers might please to impose, but each individual behoved to have his own peculiar burdens, and thus sink deeper by digging his own cavern. This has been the result when men set about devising vows, by which a stronger and closer obligation might be added to common ties…

[COLOR=Green][M]onks place the principal part of their holiness in idleness. For if you take away their idleness, where will that contemplative life by which they glory that they excel all others, and make a near approach to the angels?… [I]nstead of Christians, we hear some called Benedictines, others Franciscans, others Dominicans, and so called, that while they affect to be distinguished from the common body of Christians, they proudly substitute these names for a religious profession…

This much is certain, that there is no order of men more polluted by all kinds of vicious turpitude; nowhere do faction, hatred, party-spirit, and intrigue, more prevail… It is fine to philosophise in seclusion, far away from the intercourse of society; but it ill accords with Christian meekness for any one, as if in hatred of the human race, to fly to the wilderness and to solitude, and at the same time desert the duties which the Lord has especially commanded.

Were we to grant that there was nothing worse in that profession, there is certainly no small evil in its having introduced a useless and perilous example into the Church. Now, then, let us see the nature of the vows by which the monks of the present day are initiated into this famous order. First, as their intention is to institute a new and fictitious worship with a view to gain favour with God, I conclude from what has been said above, that everything which they vow is abomination to God.

Secondly, I hold that as they frame their own mode of life at pleasure, without any regard to the calling of God, or to his approbation, the attempt is rash and unlawful; because their conscience has no ground on which it can support itself before God; and “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23).

Moreover, I maintain that in astricting themselves to many perverse and impious modes of worship, such as are exhibited in modern monasticism, they consecrate themselves not to God but to the devil. For why should the prophets have been permitted to say that the Israelites sacrificed their sons to devils and not to God (Deut. 32:17; Ps. 106:37), merely because they had corrupted the true worship of God by profane ceremonies; and we not be permitted to say the same thing of monks who, along with the cowl, cover themselves with the net of a thousand impious superstitions?[/COLOR]


Further reading:






By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Dec 29, 2012

Apprising Ministries has been telling you that spiritual darkness continues to fall; and, as it does, much of professing Christendom is sinking into silly superstitions and sappy sentimentality.

This kind of foolishness you’re about to see was once reserved for apostate Roman Catholic parishes; but not anymore. It seems that now we’re being told that a Baptist church reports image of Christ.

Jeff Brumley, assistant editor of Associated Baptist Press, informs us that:

Reports of bleeding religious statues and spiritual images on water towers are usually associated with Catholic and Pentecostal churches. But now you can add some South Carolina Baptists to the mix.

Care Baptist Church in Spartanburg recently alerted local media to the appearance of Christ’s image on a wooden door in the sanctuary. The image includes the face of Jesus, with others reporting also glimpsing the Savior’s flowing robes.


In Care Baptist congregation sees Jesus in their door Dustin Wyatt writes:

The congregation of Care Baptist Church in Spartanburg say they can see Jesus watching them as they worship in their sanctuary. Really, they can.

An image, one they say looks like the face of Jesus, appears in the wood grain of one of the doors beside the pulpit, facing the pews Steve and Cindy Wyatt say they noticed the door and the image when they attended the church five years ago.

“One day I was sitting in my pew and I looked over, and I just kept looking because I was so amazed by it,” Steve Wyatt said. “You can see the face as clear as everything. And the praying hands, that’s kind of obvious.”

Cindy Wyatt said visitors in the past have come in and pointed to the door and immediately said “Look, it’s Moses,” But Cindy offers a correction: “No, it’s Jesus.” The small, 70-member church was constructed more than 30 years ago.

James Burnett, who has been a member from the beginning, said the door was shipped in with the “holy image” already in place. He said he was one of the first ones to notice Jesus. “It’s there, and most people can see it if you look at it.”

He doesn’t know how the image got on the door, or how that door wound up at the church, but he says that God put it here for a reason. (source)

Um, the god of this age maybe. Brumley then quotes Steve Wyatt a bit further:

“God wanted me to get this out so people would come see it,” church member Steve Wyatt told The Herald-Journal in Spartanburg in a story published today. “And if people come here to see the door, they might find God while they are here.”


I dunno, I agree with CRN associate editor Erin Benziger, the image kind of looks like a bunny rabbit to me as well. Brumley then adds some rather interesting information:

The statement may sound odd coming from the member of a church that belongs to the South Carolina Baptist Convention.


If you didn’t know, the South Carolina Baptist Convention (SCBC) is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.1 Care Baptist Church (CBC) itself is with the Spartanberg County Baptist Network of the SCBC:


As this contemplative/charismania continues to spread we’d better be prepared for more of these kinds of superstitions. Finally, Jeff Bromley points out in his report that:

Baptist historian Bill Leonard said openness to the possibility of “the mysterious” as expressed in such sightings is not unheard of in Protestant churches.

“Fundamentalists tend to avoid this kind of image-oriented religious experience, in part because they are suspicious of the claims of Catholics over the years,” said Leonard, professor of Baptist studies and church history at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. For some theological conservatives such claims also smack of Pentecostalism, Leonard said.

But the charismatic movement has paved the way for some traditional Protestants to believe the Holy Spirit may move in unconventional ways, Leonard said. The reported appearance of Christ’s image at Care Baptist Church may illustrate [COLOR=Green]“the influx of various evangelical/charismatic influences in certain old line, traditional Baptist churches,” he said. [/COLOR]


I’m telling you, dangerous times spiritually lay ahead. For you see, the alleged image was first noticed about five years ago and only now are these Southern Baptists finding the climate is right to begin talking openly about it.

But hey, who knows, maybe next for CBC is SBC quasi-elder Beth Moore leading them on a[COLOR=Green] pilgrimage to Lourdes[/COLOR]:

Further reading:




Endnotes:, accessed 12-29-12. ↩

December 30, 2012 Bible Reading

December 30

Reading for Today:

Zechariah 13:1–14:21

Psalm 149:5-9

Proverbs 31:1-9

Revelation 20:1-15


Zechariah 13:7- My Shepherd,…the Man who is My Companion. God spoke of the True Shepherd, that mighty Man who is His intimate associate; thus He identified Christ as His coequal, affirming the deity of Christ (John 1:1; 10:30; 14:9). Strike the Shepherd. In 11:17, it was the worthless shepherd who was to be struck; now it is the Good Shepherd (12:10) whose death was designed by God from before the foundation of the world (Is. 53:10; Acts 2:23; 1 Pet. 1:18–20). sheep…scattered. Jesus applies this prophecy to the disciples who defected from Him after His arrest (Matt. 26:56; Mark 14:50), including Peter’s denial (Matt. 26:33–35, 69–75). the little ones. The same as the “poor of the flock” (11:7). The reference is to the remnant of believers, among the Jews, who were faithful to the Messiah after His crucifixion. Turning God’s hand “against” them could mean they would suffer persecution, which they did (John 15:18, 20; 16:2; James 1:1), or it could be translated “upon” and refer to God’s protection of the faithful.

Zechariah 14:3, 4- His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. To prevent the eradication of His remnant, the Lord will personally intervene to fight against the gathered nations. Just as He fought for His people in the past, so He will do in the future as the ultimate Warrior-King. Jesus will literally return to the Mount of Olives, located east of the Kidron Valley, just as the angels announced at His Ascension (Acts 1:11). When He does, there will be a tremendous topographical upheaval (perhaps an earthquake), a phenomenon not uncommon when God announces His coming in judgment (Mic.1:2–4; Nah.1:5; Rev.16:18–21). The reaction of people is given in Revelation 6:15–17.

Revelation 20:5- first resurrection. Scripture teaches 2 kinds of resurrections: the “resurrection of life” and “the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:29; Dan.12:2; Acts 24:15).The first kind of resurrection is described as “the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14), the resurrection of “those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Cor. 15:23), and the “better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35). It includes only the redeemed of the church age (1 Thess. 4:13–18), the Old Testament (Dan. 12:2), and the Tribulation (v. 4). They will enter the kingdom in resurrection bodies, along with believers who survived the Tribulation. The second kind of resurrection, then, will be the resurrection of the unconverted who will receive their final bodies suited for torment in hell.

Revelation 20:12- standing before God. In a judicial sense, as guilty, condemned prisoners before the bar of divine justice. There are no living sinners left in the destroyed universe since all sinners were killed and all believers glorified. books. These books record every thought, word, and deed of sinful men—all recorded by divine omniscience. They will provide the evidence for eternal condemnation. Book of Life. It contains the names of all the redeemed (Dan. 12:1). judged according to their works. Their thoughts (Luke 8:17; Rom. 2:16), words (Matt. 12:37), and actions (Matt. 16:27) will be compared to God’s perfect, holy standard (Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:15, 16) and will be found wanting (Rom. 3:23). This also implies that there are degrees of punishment in hell (Matt. 10:14, 15; 11:22; Mark 12:38–40; Luke 12:47, 48; Heb. 10:29).

DAY 30: What is the Millennium?

In Revelation 20:2, Satan is bound for “a thousand years.” This is the first of 6 references to the length of the millennial kingdom (vv. 3,4,5,6,7). There are 3 main views of the duration and nature of this period:

1) Premillennialism sees this as a literal 1,000-year period during which Jesus Christ, in fulfillment of numerous Old Testament prophecies (e.g., 2 Sam.7:12–16; Ps.2; Is. 11:6–12; 24:23; Hos. 3:4, 5; Joel 3:9–21; Amos 9:8–15; Mic. 4:1–8; Zeph. 3:14–20; Zech. 14:1–11; Matt. 24:29–31, 36–44), reigns on the earth. Using the same general principles of interpretation for both prophetic and nonprophetic passages leads most naturally to Premillennialism. Another strong argument supporting this view is that so many biblical prophecies have already been literally fulfilled, suggesting that future prophecies will likewise be fulfilled literally.

2) Postmillennialism understands the reference to a 1,000-year period as only symbolic of a golden age of righteousness and spiritual prosperity. It will be ushered in by the spread of the gospel during the present church age and brought to completion when Christ returns. According to this view, references to Christ’s reign on earth primarily describe His spiritual reign in the hearts of believers in the church.

3) Amillennialism understands the 1,000 years to be merely symbolic of a long period of time. This view interprets Old Testament prophecies of a Millennium as being fulfilled spiritually now in the church (either on earth or in heaven) or as references to the eternal state. Using the same literal, historical, grammatical principles of interpretation so as to determine the normal sense of language, one is left with the inescapable conclusion that Christ will return and reign in a real kingdom on earth for 1,000 years. There is nothing in the text to render the conclusion that “a thousand years” is symbolic.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,

Satan's Conqueror

Satan’s Conqueror

[COLOR=Red]”Since . . . the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Heb. 2:14-15).

To be free to live with God and share in all His blessings, someone had to shatter Satan’s death grip on us. Sin is what gives Satan his powerful hold on us, but the power itself is death.

Satan knew that God required death for us because of sin. He knew that all died in Adam–that death became a certain fact of life. And he knew that men, if they remained as they were, would die and go out of God’s presence into hell forever. So he wants to hang onto men until they die because once they are dead, the opportunity for salvation is gone forever.

To wrest the power of death from Satan’s hand, God sent Christ into the world. If you have a greater weapon than your enemy, then his weapon is useless. You can’t fight a machine gun with a bow and arrow. Satan’s weapon is death, but eternal life is God’s weapon, and with it Jesus destroyed death.

How was He able to do it? He rose again, proving He had conquered death. That’s why He said, “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19). His resurrection provides the believer with eternal life.

Nothing terrifies people more than the fear of death. But when we receive Christ, death in reality holds no more fear for us since it simply releases us into the presence of our Lord. We can say with Paul, “To me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Rejoice that you have placed your hand into the hand of the conqueror of death, who will lead you through death and out the other side.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Ask God to give you a greater realization that He has conquered death to help you live life more fully to His glory.

For Further Study:

Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. How are we to live our lives based on what we know about death?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,[/COLOR]

Truth Seldom Goes Without A Scratched Face

Truth Seldom Goes Without A Scratched Face

December 28, 2012

by Mike Ratliff

[16] But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. [17] For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. [18] But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18 ESV)

Even though I have been in a forced sabbatical from writing and posting since September due to relocating from Kansas to Oklahoma, that has not kept me from following what has been going on at CRN and with the continuing growing apostasy in the visible church. I still got to follow the discussion with the rest of the CRN discernment team. It has been very frustrating over the last several weeks not being able to “draw the sword,” so to speak. However, on the positive side, not being actively involved in the fight has enabled me to view what is going on from a unique perspective.

Not only did I keep up with those discussions, I also kept up with Dr. James White’s debates on his The Dividing Line podcasts as well as listening to Dr. Albert Mohler’s “The Briefing” each morning. Now, while I do not agree with Dr. Mohler on everything pertaining to “cultural Christianity” nor would I listen to what the liberal media have to say like he does, his analysis of all that is quite insightful to those with discernment.

What is the difference between apostasy and heresy? We need to know this since the visible church is rife with both in our time. The Greek root word that is translated as “heresy” in the New Testament is αἵρεσις or hairesis, “religious party, false teaching, division.” The ESV translates it as “party” in Acts 5:17 referring to the Sadducees. Heresy is a choice, a deliberate decision to “seize” upon a particular teaching that is not orthodox. The Sadducees, for example, denied the doctrine of resurrection. In Acts 15:5 we have the sect or party of the Judaizers. What did they teach? They taught salvation by works. God used this “heresy” to prompt the Jerusalem Council to define the true principle of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

There has always been the plague of false teaching and teachers. This will only grow worse until our Lord returns. From 2 Peter 2:1 we learn that…[ false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.] These false teachers operate according to three principles. They are deceitful, that is, they smuggle in their false teachings so that those with discernment are not aware of what they are doing. Their teaching is degrading, that is, they deny the Lord and his work in one way or another. This blasphemes him. Their false teaching is destructive. It is damnable in that it destroys right doctrine and the lives of its victims. It also causes the destruction of it’s propagators.

Apostasy is different. When you think of apostasy, think of the cults. They profess to be Christian, but their doctrines actually deny the faith. For example, I have not seen a cult yet that does not in one way or another attack the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Any denial of the deity of Christ or salvation by grace, et cetera, would also mark a group as a cult. What am I saying? These are apostates and apostates are not Christians.

On the other hand, heresy is somewhat broader and can be committed by a true Christian. It occurs while holding to the foundational doctrines of Scripture, but then he or she deviates on a particular doctrine. One historical example would be the Christian Crusades, which were based on the heretical teaching that Christians can use force against unbelievers. Others teach that God demands poverty from Christians while still others teach the opposite “prosperity teaching,” that God returns our “investment” and makes us rich.

The “seeker-sensitive” movement appeals to people’s “felt-needs” to lure them into the church. This is heresy because the New Testament nowhere teaches us to do this. The spirit of “tolerance” in the church today is heretical because, as God’s word clearly says, God commands that we discern truth from error and strongly condemn false teaching in no uncertain terms.

The title of this post comes from a quote of from Puritan John Trapp who said, “Truth seldom goes without a scratched face.” My brethren, I as I have said earlier, I have been listening to debates on The Dividing Line and such and many of those who apostatize then turn around and attack Christianity from the platform of their cultic or new apostate religion say that one of the main reasons they abandoned Orthodox Christianity was that, “In their view” God would never put forth his truth (the authoritative Word of God, which if infallible, et cetera) the way it is, that is, with a scratched face.

However, we who belong to the Lord, bought by him, must understand that we do have his truth, but in this life, we are in a battle to stand firm against the enemy and his seed who seek to destroy us and it. It is through this fight that God perfects us and builds our faith. This world is not our home. We are just passing through.

Soli Deo Gloria!

December 29, 2012 Bible Reading

December 29

Reading for Today:

Zechariah 10:1–12:14

Psalm 149:1-4

Proverbs 30:32-33

Revelation 19:1-21


Zechariah 12:10- I will pour. God, in His own perfect time and by His own power, will sovereignly act to save Israel. This was prophesied by other prophets (Ezek. 39:29; Joel 2:28–32) and by the apostle Paul (Rom. 11:25–27). Spirit of grace and supplication. The Holy Spirit is so identified because He brings saving grace and because that grace produces sorrow that will result in repentant prayer to God for forgiveness (Matt. 5:4; Heb. 10:29). look on Me whom they pierced. Israel’s repentance will come because they look to Jesus, the One whom they rejected and crucified (Is. 53:5; John 19:37), in faith at the Second Advent (Rom. 11:25–27). When God says they pierced “Me,” He is certainly affirming the incarnation of Deity—Jesus was God.

Revelation 19:11- heaven opened. The One who ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9–11) and had been seated at the Father’s right hand (Heb. 8:1; 10:12; 1 Pet. 3:22) will return to take back the earth from the usurper and establish His kingdom (5:1–10). The nature of this event shows how it differs from the Rapture. At the Rapture, Christ meets His own in the air—in this event, He comes with them to earth. At the Rapture, there is no judgment—in this event, it is all judgment. This event is preceded by blackness—the darkened sun, moon gone out, stars fallen, smoke—then lightning and blinding glory as Jesus comes. Such details are not included in Rapture passages (John 14:1–3; 1 Thess. 4:13–18). white horse. In the Roman triumphal processions, the victorious general rode his white war horse up the Via Sacra to the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill. Jesus’ First Coming was in humiliation on a colt (Zech. 9:9). John’s vision portrays Him as the conqueror on His warhorse, coming to destroy the wicked, to overthrow the Antichrist, to defeat Satan, and to take control of the earth (2 Cor. 2:14). Faithful and True. True to His word, Jesus will return to earth (Matt. 24:27–31). makes war. This startling statement, appearing only here and 2:16, vividly portrays the holy wrath of God against sinners (Ps. 7:11). God’s patience will be exhausted with sinful, rebellious mankind.

Revelation 19:20- beast was captured, and…the false prophet. In an instant, the world’s armies are without their leaders. The beast is Antichrist (13:1–4); the false prophet is his religious cohort (13:11–17). cast alive. The bodies of the beast and the false prophet will be transformed, and they will be banished directly to the lake of fire (Dan. 7:11)—the first of countless millions of unregenerate men (20:15) and fallen angels (Matt. 25:41) to arrive in that dreadful place. That these two still appear there 1,000 years later (20:10) refutes the false doctrine of annihilationism. lake of fire. The final hell, the place of eternal punishment for all unrepentant rebels, angelic or human (20:10, 15).

DAY 29: What is the [COLOR=Red]“marriage of the Lamb” in Revelation 19:7–9 about?[/COLOR]

Hebrew weddings consisted of 3 phases: 1) betrothal (often when the couple were children); 2) presentation (the festivities, often lasting several days, that preceded the ceremony); and 3) the ceremony (the exchanging of vows). The church was betrothed to Christ by His sovereign choice in eternity past (Eph. 1:4; Heb. 13:20) and will be presented to Him at the Rapture (John 14:1–3; 1 Thess. 4:13–18). The final supper will signify the end of the ceremony. This symbolic meal will take place at the establishment of the millennial kingdom and last throughout that 1,000-year period (21:2). While the term “bride” often refers to the church, and does so here (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:22–24), it ultimately expands to include all the redeemed of all ages.

“And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen,…the righteous acts of the saints” (v. 8). Not Christ’s imputed righteousness granted to believers at salvation, but the practical results of that righteousness in believers’ lives, i.e., the outward manifestation of inward virtue.

“‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” (v. 9). This is not the bride (the church) but the guests. The bride doesn’t get invited; she invites. These are those saved before Pentecost, all the faithful believers saved by grace through faith up to the birth of the church (Acts 2:1ff.). Though they are not the bride, they still are glorified and reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom. It is really differing imagery rather than differing reality. The guests also will include tribulation saints and believers alive in earthly bodies in the kingdom. The church is the bride, pure and faithful—never a harlot, like Israel was (see Hos. 2). So the church is the bride during the presentation feast in heaven, then comes to earth for the celebration of the final meal (the Millennium). After that event, the new order comes and the marriage is consummated (21:1, 2).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,

He Who Sanctifies

He Who Sanctifies

[COLOR=Red]”Both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise.’ And again, ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ And again, ‘Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me'” (Heb. 2:11-13).

From our own perspective and experience, it is difficult to think of ourselves as holy. Sin simply is too much a part of us in this fallen world. In thought and practice we are far from holy, but in Christ we are perfectly holy.

We may not always act holy, but because of our faith in Christ we are perfectly holy in God’s sight. Just as a child may not always act like his father, he is nonetheless still his son. We are holy in the sense that before God, the righteousness of Christ has been applied and imputed on our behalf through faith. We were made holy through His sacrifice and have become “those who are sanctified.”

“By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). We are as pure as God is pure, righteous as Christ is righteous, and therefore entitled to be called His brothers because we now share in His righteousness.

The Sanctifier and sanctified now have “one Father,” and the Sanctifier “is not ashamed” to call the sanctified His brothers. What an overwhelming truth!

The practical experience of a Christian’s life in this world includes sin, but the positional reality of his or her new nature is holiness. “In Him [we] have been made complete” (Col. 2:10). Yet practically we have a long way to go. So the overriding purpose of our lives is to become in practice what we are in position. Now that we are Christ’s brothers and God’s children, let that be all the motivation we need to live like it.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Thank the Lord for His sanctifying work on the cross, which enables you to be holy.

For Further Study:

Read Romans 1:16. Based on what God has done for you through Christ, can you wholeheartedly echo Paul’s statement?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,[/COLOR]