Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pre-Trib Expert John Walvoord Melts Ice!

     Noted “Anti-Pretribulation Rapture” author Dave MacPherson has been battling the skewed logic of Premillennial Dispensationalists for over 35 years, since writing his first book way back in 1973, (The unbelievable pre-trib origin: The recent discovery of a well-known theory's beginning, and its incredible cover-up).
     Not a day goes by where we don’t see MacPherson being quoted by both believers and non-believers of the Pre-Trib Rapture mythology. Many folks (both eschatology students and new babes in Christ) faithfully watch the debate (primarily on the Internet) to see what new evidence he supplies to the on-going embroglio, especially where Dr. Tommy Ice is concerned. Ice is the Executive Director of the Pre-Trib Research Center in Wash. D.C. The Research Center was founded a few years ago by Tim LaHaye and Mr. Ice to research, teach, proclaim, and defend pretribulationism.
     We are excited to, once again, host and offer “guest writer” status to Mr. MacPherson on The End Times Passover blog by sharing his latest volley in this contorted conjectural conundrum.

Pre-Trib Expert John Walvoord Melts Ice!
By Dave MacPherson

     Thomas Ice - Protector of the shrinking Principality of Pretribulatia - believes that his "texas receptus" interpretation of II Thess. 2:3 is much better than that of his mentor, the late Dr. John Walvoord!
     Ice impudently states (in his widely noticed web article "The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3") that "I believe that there is a strong possibility that 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is speaking of the rapture," adding that "The fact that APOSTASIA [caps mine] most likely has the meaning of physical departure is a clear support for pretribulationism."
     In his book "The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation" (p. 125) Walvoord writes:
     "E. Schuyler English and others have suggested that the word [apostasia] means literally 'departure' and refers to the rapture itself. Gundry argues at length against this interpretation, which would explicitly place the rapture before the day of the Lord, and his evidence is quite convincing. English is joined by the Greek scholar Kenneth S. Wuest but their view has not met with general acceptance by either pretribulationists or posttribulationists. A number of pretribulationists have interpreted the apostasy in this way as the departure of the church, but the evidence against this translation is impressive. In that case Gundry, seconded by Ladd, is probably right: the word refers to doctrinal defection of the special character that will be revealed in the day of the Lord [which "day" Walvoord views as "the great tribulation"]."
                                  Dr. Tommy Ice

     So even though Dr. Robert Gundry's evidence "is quite convincing" and Ice's "has not met with general acceptance" and evidence against Ice's assertion "is impressive" and Gundry and Ladd are "probably right," Thomas Ice keeps beating his desperate dispensational drum in the ears of the Walvoord who was the No. 1 pretrib authority for many decades!
     Gundry's uber-great book "The Church and the Tribulation" (pp. 114-118) dismantles, piece by piece, the doctrinal defectors of II Thess. 2:3. For example, Gundry says that "it is from this least important source [classical Greek - in which "simple departure by no means predominates"] that English draws his argument."
     After English (followed by Ice) seeks support from Reformation-era Bible translations, Gundry points out that "the appeal to early English translations unwittingly reveals weakness, because in the era of those versions lexical studies in NT Greek were almost nonexistent and continued to be so for many years. The papyri had not yet been discovered, and the study of the LXX had hardly begun."
     Gundry adds: "In 2:1 Paul mentions 'our gathering' second in order to the Parousia. In light of the immediately preceding description of the posttribulational advent [II Thess. 1:7-10], it seems natural to regard the Parousia as a reference to that event rather than a sudden switch to a pretribulational Parousia unmentioned in the first chapter and unsupported in I Thessalonians. Several verses later (2:8) the Parousia again refers to the posttribulational advent of Christ."
     If the "falling away" (2:3) is the same (pretrib) rapture Ice sees in "gathering" (2:1), why did Paul use totally different Greek words ("episunagoges" and "apostasia") if he was discussing the very same event?
     A Google article ("Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts") reveals that pretrib rapturism historically has had more than two stages. Stage 1: In 1830 the "rapture" aspect of the Second Advent was stretched forward and became a separate coming. Stage 2: In the early 1900s various teachers stretched forward the "day of the Lord" (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do!). Stage 3: In recent times the "fact" involving "apostasia" has created "the-rapture-must-happen-before-the-rapture" fantasy which Ice etc. can hang on to with at least their eyelids!
     For more info about Ice, Google "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)," "America's Pretrib Rapture Traffickers," and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" - the latter seen in a colorful version on the "Powered by Christ Ministries" site. For 300 pages of recently uncovered and highly endorsed documentation on pretrib history, see my book "The Rapture Plot" which is available at Armageddon Books etc.
     BTW, my recent article "Edward Irving is Unnerving" was posted initially on Nov. 12 on the "Our Daily Bread" blog hosted by Joe Ortiz, author of two books that outright refute the Left Behind notions being propagated by Premillenial Dispensationalist, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, which I emphatically endorse for those who want to peruse (accurate and highly academic) Bible data that lay to rest the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and Left Behind notions that are seducing Christendom into believing and adopting false hopes in a secret escape to Heaven.

     Remember: Ice-colored statements can be as dangerous as ice-covered pavements!

For more information concerning this blog, visit The End Times Passover web site by clicking on Joe Ortiz

Monday, December 28, 2009

To Prophesy: Human Predictions or God’s Proclamations?

     Many so-called ‘Prophets of God’ on the Internet and in church pulpits throughout the country are caught up with making predictions about the end of the world, claiming they can see various signs in media that concur with their interpretation of Bible prophecies. They claim that God tells them (in the Book of Joel, especially) that in the end times they will possess certain powers to discern signs and wonders that reveal to them the imminent return of Jesus Christ, preceded by Armageddon. The biggest sign they believe came about when the State of Israel was formed in 1948.
     They claim that in the book of Acts they read that 'In the last days,' God said, 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,” and that many will have dreams and visions about the impending doom spoken of in the Book of Revelation. They call this “the latter rain” which is supposed to be the fulfillment of what they believe Joel stated in his book, chapter 2: verse 23.
"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord Your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first [month] " (Joel 2:23).
     They claim that the former rain represents the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and the latter rain represents a recent (and) greater outpouring than before. It is not only going to be the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, but he is going to give to His people in these last days a double portion of the power of God!
     First of all, no mention is ever made in this verse about any double portion! Secondly, we know that the "last days" began right after The Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. But, yet, too many people will conveniently introduce their subjective perceptions, inferences and conclusions, rather than reading what God's words truly say:
     The word moderately in Joel 2:23 defines the Hebrew word, ts@daqah {tsed-aw-kaw'}, which literally means justice, righteousness and has nothing to do with proportionality! If one will check through their Strong's or any other concordance, the word, ts@daqah {tsed-aw-kaw'}, is always rendered justice, righteousness in hundreds of usage's, except here in Joel 2:23. Yet, theorists will continue to translate this word as "moderation," as if to mean God disproportionately poured out His Holy Spirit in limited measure on The Day of Pentecost. This is to minimize the glory of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

     This is why we must question most so-called visions, predictions and prophecies (that are not already recorded in God's word), especially those that contain certain (erroneously interpreted) words squeezed into their theorizing. This is dangerous stuff.
     I don't question visionaries intentions. Maybe they feel they do have a special gift of predicting future events based on their interpretation of certain Bible verses. Who knows? Joel did say young men will have visions and old men will have dreams once the Holy Spirit has been poured out. And many of the folks on the Day of Pentecost did have dreams and visions. However, I see no record in the Bible of the disciples proclaiming any new visions or specific predictions after that great day other than what was already written in OT scripture. Holy Spirit power gifts were poured out on them to edify and embolden the already existing ecclesia, a people called out to do God’s work. Those Holy Spirit gifts were poured out on The Day of Pentecost in their fullest power! (See John 3:34) 
Let us examine them, as cited in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11:

"Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines, (1 Corinthians 12:1-11)."
  William Miller, Baptist Preacher

     As a reminder, we must be able to understand the true (etymological) rendering of the word PROPHECY. Too many (well intended) Christians confuse the word PROPHECY in the above verse (10) with the word PREDICTION. There have been many people throughout history who have claimed (and made) many predictions in past times. People like Jean Dixon, Nostradamus, and Edgar Cayce (and even the renowned Baptist preacher William Miller's prediction that the Lord would return in 1843). Some predictions by the above mentioned prognosticators have come true (or were interpreted as or resembled the prediction), but not poor Bill Miller's. His date-setting predictions, as so many other preachers throughout history, have failed to see the return of Christ, much less Armageddon. We must trust the Holy Spirit to believe that many of these so-called visions and predictions derive from satanic origins.
     Let's examine the true rendering of the word, PROPHECY, according to W.E. Vine’s Greek Dictionary:

     A-1,Noun,4394,propheteia; signifies "the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God" (pro, "forth," phemi, "to speak:" see PROPHET); in the NT it is used (a) of the gift, e.g., Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:10; 13:2; (b) either of the exercise of the gift or of that which is "prophesied," e.g., Matt. 13:14; 1 Cor. 13:8; 14:6,22; 1 Thess. 5:20, "prophesying (s);" 1 Tim. 1:18; 4:14; 2 Pet. 1:20,21; Rev. 1:3; 11:6; 19:10; 22:7,10,18,19. "Though much of OT prophecy was purely predictive, see Micah 5:2, e.g., and cp. John 11:51, prophecy is not necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling. It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means, Matt. 26:68, it is the foretelling of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future, see Gen. 20:7; Deut. 18:18; Rev. 10:11; 11:3. ...
     "In such passages as 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20, the 'prophets' are placed after the 'Apostles,' since not the prophets of Israel are intended, but the 'gifts' of the ascended Lord, Eph. 4:8,11; cp. Acts 13:1; ...; the purpose of their ministry was to edify, to comfort, and to encourage the believers, 1 Cor. 14:3, while its effect upon unbelievers was to show that the secrets of a man's heart are known to God, to convict of sin, and to constrain to worship, 1 Cor. 14:24,25.
     "With the completion of the canon of Scripture prophecy apparently passed away, 1 Cor. 13:8,9. In his measure the teacher has taken the place of the prophet, cp. the significant change in 2 Pet. 2:1. The difference is that, whereas the message of the prophet was a direct revelation of the mind of God for the occasion, the message of the teacher is gathered from the completed revelation contained in the Scriptures." (W.E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

     This all brings us back to the whole issue of "Latter Rain.” This is obviously the bedrock of Pentecostalism. While I don't reject that many people have been brought near to Christ through the Pentecostal movement (as I was), I believe the word clearly states that God poured out His Holy Spirit in its fullest measure on The Day of Pentecost, and that power has been here for our asking and taking unto ourselves ever since. It is to insult the power of God (and the Holy Spirit) to believe He didn't have enough power to imbue and sustain the church to its fullest with these great gifts on the Day of Pentecost over two thousand years ago. To make claims that God has plans to "kick it up a notch," (only for certain people) is to support a theory that His power was insufficient at Pentecost, and that He poured out only a certain proportion (or dispensations) as premillennialists’ believe.
     If we do see any future (demonstrative) revivals, such as those people claim happen at evangelical conferences and rallies being held in large auditoriums and football fields throughout the nation by the likes of Kenneth Copeland, Robert Tilton, Rod Parsley, and the other Benny Hinn's of the world, they will not be of God. If we see masses of people claiming to have suddenly come to Christ due to any unique predictions by those who believe they possess the gift of (predictive) PROPHECY, it will not be of God.
     Some see a church grow in numbers and call that a revival. However, numerical growth can take place even in an unrevived organization. Even malignant tumors can grow. But revival is not numerical growth. For others, a revival is a series of special meetings. Feel Good meetings! True revival is not about feeling good; it’s about surrendering your life to God and doing good. Not doing good things to be accepted by God, but doing good things because God has accepted our belief in Him, and what He has done through Jesus Christ. True revival is not manifested by the masses coming to Him at the behest of charismatic preachers who claim to be faith healers and visionaries; and now, a myriad of former celebrities claiming they have become Christians, as well as modern day singers and musicians, however famous, talented and eloquent they may be.
     Revival begins with individual repentance on the part of God’s people: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (II Chronicle 7:14, KJV) Revival is personal and in essence is God’s people individually returning to and pursuing God. It is not about filling of beautiful church buildings or stadiums with people looking for new and or euphoric experiences, but it’s the filling of people minds and hearts with God’s presence through the power of Holy Spirit gifts.
     True revival will be individual. True revival will be in our own back yard and it will not be a revival of the masses. It will come when individual men and woman will begin to turn to God in a humble but yet greater measure. It will come about because more and more people will pursue God with greater measure and access His power to do mighty things. And, these mighty things will not be extolling fanciful predictions about people and places in this time or that time, those vain announcements designed to heap glory unto them, as if they are more holy or gifted than others. By mighty things I mean humbling ourselves before God, praying for Holy Spirit-powered gifts that will help us bring our loved ones and friends to pursue Christ; praying for our respective neighbors and community concerns within our framework of day to day living. It’s being salt in the bland world of carnality. Touching lives in ways that those we come in contact will see Christ in us, not us in Christ! It’s being lights that will illuminate the message, not (us) the messengers. Messengers that ensure God receives the glory, rather than seeing how spirit-filled we in vain glory and fleshly desire want ourselves to be seen by others.
     For people to continue to present themselves as possessing unique and esoteric dreams and visions, as if they are more special or gifted than others, is sheer flesh and seeks wordly glory. To present to others so-called predictive prophecies as if they are coming from God, couched with a King James accented vernacular (as if this gives it greater credence), claiming that God had given them new details about future (and specific) events, is vanity, sheer unadulterated flesh.
     Many who feel compelled to present these sorts of predictive utterances may have been blessed with the gift of wisdom and knowledge. Many have obviously gained much knowledge because they pursue (relentlessly) God and His word. However, I fail to believe that God respects them anymore than any other human being who is seeking God and His truth; and He obviously reveals more to those who actively pursue Him and His wisdom.
     But as we pursue Him through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are assured that His word is complete. As the Holy Spirit reveals God, His nature and His attributes, we should be inclined to praise and worship Him. But, rather than praise and worship Him for who He is and what He has done through Jesus Christ, too many are focused on trying to gain points with God by trying to impress others that they have received specific details about people, places and future events. They believe this is due to a “latter rain” (implying the Holy Spirit) is now being poured out in greater measure than on The Day of Pentecost. They fail to see that the prophecy of Joel 2:23 was fulfilled in all its glory and in all its power on that great day, over two thousand years ago!
     God is here, He is everywhere, and His power is 100 percent active. He has poured Himself out in the personification of the Holy Spirit amongst ALL flesh. It is His creation that fails to pursue this power that He has made available to those who not only believe in Him, but those who praise and worship who He is.
     There is nothing new under the sun! No new esoteric visions, no new predictions about tribulations, wars and rumors of wars and especially about the political machinations related to the country we now know as Israel in the Middle East! This prophetic/vision mentality (interpreting CNN news items as if it’s God's new revelations) is the sifting sand foundation of the Left Behind notions of the Hal Lindsey's, Tim LaHaye's, Tommy Ice's, Benny Hinn's, et al. It is a diabolical tool being used for present day political influence and gains and (most of all) to heap financial profit and vain glory on these ill-fated messengers themselves. Nothing else!
     Sadly, the normally theologically uninformed media and motion picture industry have jumped onto this premillennial dispensationalism bandwagon by producing movies such as “2012” and “The DaVinci Code” and other similar films written by religious speculators and charlatans. Joining them on television are news channels filled with gloom and doom stories as well as those who are producing documentaries on the History, Discovery and Sci-Fi Channels and other cable shows presenting programs concerning the end of the world, Aztec Calendar, Mayan, Hopi Indian and Nostradamus and other esoteric predictions contributing to the ‘apocalyptic’ feeding frenzy that is inundating Christendom today.
     True! The world could end today but the so-called predictions being made by ersatz prophets of God are not the harbingers of “latter rain” induced revivals and new messengers sent to proclaim the end of days through various and nonsensical predictions.
     To my friends and loved ones who seek spiritual validation (call it revival, if you must), I say, seek not new things but let's humble ourselves, and PURSUE GOD! Let's wait upon HIM to reinvigorate our souls through prayer and worship! Praise and worship come first. Then the Holy Spirit can find room in our hearts to receive His power gifts. That's true revival! Then we can read and study and meditate on His word together to guide us in all things that God truly wills in our earthly journey.
     After we humble ourselves, worship and pray to God, seeking His wisdom, if nothing of a predictive nature comes before us, don’t be surprised. If we don't receive any visions concerning floods will occur next week in Memphis, tornadoes in Toledo, scorching heat waves in El Paso, so be it. If we hear or read that President Barack Obama will be captured by UFO’s, Brittany Spears will marry an aborigine from Brazil, or whether Fidel Castro will have a baby in the year 2012, so be it. These novel and fascinating revelations will not be from God!
     If anyone truly believes that God has chosen them to reveal unique and dated information about specific people, places and events (that are not already recorded in the Bible), I encourage you to begin praying and worshiping God before making these public. If these events do not materialize, ask yourself if you have really been spending time with God to know who He is and what His true will in your life is for Him. I would ask you to seek God in greater measure for the gift of discernment. Remember! Not only will you be held accountable to God for your silly date-setting and non-biblically-based predictions of the future, but your message can cause new children in Christ to follow the wrong path.
     Therefore, it is rather more fruitful for ALL of us to wait on Him and continue in praise, worship and prayer. Most of all let us remember that God doesn't need us to forecast the impending horrors that lay in the imminent future as signs of His soon return. More importantly, we must remember and obey the caveat Jesus gave us in Acts 1:7:"It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority." If that warning Jesus gave us about this verse is truth, then the study of Eschatology is actually in contradistinction to the will and the word of God!    We don't need advanced knowledge of the Father's future plans. What is already written in the word of God is sufficient! We need His grace, mercy and loving kindness, and the wisdom and patience to endure all things. Therefore, we need fulfill His edicts and to worship and praise Him for what He has done in Jesus Christ, and for who He is, ALMIGHTY GOD!

Due to the great importance concerning the subject of revival, the following comments made by A.W. Tozer (which we believe confirm this message), were added to this post on September 15, 2010):

 To the Individual Only!

     For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad, (2 Corinthians 5:10)
     No church is any better or worse than the individual Christians who compose it....
     One consequence of our failure to see clearly the true nature of revival is that we wait for years for some supernatural manifestation that never comes, overlooking completely our own individual place in the desired awakening. Whatever God may do for a church must be done in the single unit, the one certain man or woman. Some things can happen only to the isolated, single person; they cannot be experienced en mass. Statistics show, for instance, that 100 babies are born in a certain city on a given day. Yet the birth of each baby is for the baby a unique experience, an isolated, personal thing. Fifty people die in a plane crash; while they die together they die separately, one at a time, each one undergoing the act of death in a loneliness of soul as utter as if he alone had died. Both birth and death are experienced by the individual in a loneliness as complete as if only that one person had even known them.
     Three thousand persons were converted at Pentecost, but each one met his sin and his Savior alone. The spiritual birth, like the natural one, is for each one a unique, separate experience shared in by no one. And so with that uprush of resurgent life we call revival. It can come to the individual only. The Size of the Soul, pp14-15, by A.W. Tozer.

Joe Ortiz is the author of The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation. For more information, visit his web sites by clicking here Joe Ortiz

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do Doctors Really Heal?

Do Doctors Really Heal?

As a blogger, I run across many other folks who try to share wisdom and other pertinent material with which I agree with. Brian Shilhavy is just such an individual. His area of expertise is in the biblical understanding of health issues, an area few ministers rarely deal with. Health is an important issue to believers which, unfortunately, rather than trusting in God for healing, many Christians turn to fad diets, holistic medicine, vitamins and other regimen to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Those things are not bad for you; however, I personally believe that much of what ails us has more to do with our spiritual lives rather than the things we consume. I also believe that there is a place for physicians to deal with severe damage to the body, such as reattaching a severed arm or tending to bullet wounds. Yet, I believe that way too many people trust man-made and conceived modalities to heal much of the physical (and emotional) suffering most folks experience.

I have been impressed with Brian’s work and asked him if he would be willing to be a “guest” writer on this blog in order to share with my audience his biblical wisdom regarding health. Obviously much wiser than me in this area, I excitedly present to you Brian Shilhavy:

Do Doctors Really Heal?
By Brian Shilhavy

     She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. (Mark 5:26)
      To answer the question “Do doctors really heal?” one must first define the term “health.”  As we saw in the article last week, the concept of “health” was understood very different among the ancients in biblical times. Among the people of faith, health was defined in terms of a proper understanding of truth, and a restored relationship with God through the sacrifice of Jesus. So if we understand health the way ancient people in the Bible understood the term, the answer would be that most modern day doctors who are licensed physicians and practice medicine generally are not healers in terms of helping people to understand the truth of God, and come into a restored relationship with him through Jesus Christ.
      As we saw in the last article when we compared how modern English understands the word “health” with how people in biblical times would understand the same concept, so too the word “doctor” or “physician” in modern English takes on a completely different meaning from what people in biblical times would understand when using words that are today translated into “doctor” or “physician.”
      Starting with the verse above from the Gospel of Mark, we see that the term “doctors” is used negatively in terms of being able to heal someone, while faith in Jesus brought about healing:

     A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, "Who touched me?'" But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." (Mark 5:24-34)
      What the “doctors” could not do for 12 years while taking all of her money for their services, Jesus accomplished in a moment through the faith of the woman - free of charge.
      So who were these “doctors?” How was this title used in biblical times? When we use this word today in English, we automatically imagine someone in a white coat at a clinic or hospital who examines people and prescribes medicine or other medical procedures designed to deal with physical sicknesses. We would not think of a “doctor” as someone who looks at spiritual issues in addition to physical issues, and tries to find remedies through invoking certain spirits, through incantations, spells, or magic. We would not imagine someone working in a temple offering up sacrifices to “gods” as bearing the title “doctor.” No, we would not imagine “doctors” like this today in the “modern” world. Since the days of “enlightenment” and since the time of Darwin and the new age of evolutionary science, such practices have for the most part ceased to be a part of popular western culture.
      When you see the English word “doctor” or “physician” in the biblical literature, however, this is just how the word was understood in those days. They bore some resemblance to the doctors people pay to see today, in that they accepted money in exchange for “health” services or products. But the types of services and products were vastly different in the ancient world. Dealing only with the physical realm is a recent development in human history, particularly post Darwin and the theory of evolution. In the ancient world, if you went to see a doctor you would most likely be going to some pagan temple where sacrifices were made to appease the spirits or gods that were causing the illness, and trying to get on the good side of the spirits or gods that supposedly had the power to heal you. There were also physical remedies that were used in the physical realm, as the Greeks were strong in empiricism and rationalism and used empirical examinations to find causes and effects to problems. But they combined this with their belief system in their gods, especially Apollo who for a period of Greek history was considered the mediator of healing between men and Zeus, one of the highest Greek gods. When Paul and Barnabas conducted a healing in the name of Jesus in the Roman town of Lystra on one of their missionary excursions, the people were so impressed with the healing that they concluded the Greek gods themselves, whom they associated with healing, had come down to visit them, and they called out the town priest to offer the appropriate sacrifices.

     In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, "Stand up on your feet!" At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. (Acts 14:8-13)
      Understanding then how “doctors” performed their healing arts in ancient times, it is easy to see why the nation of Israel was forbidden to participate in the healing arts of magic and witchcraft which called upon the spirit world. They were to only worship the one true God and depend solely on him. So when we read about what King Asa did when he was crippled in his feet and how he went to the physicians instead of to the LORD, we may be tempted to think “What was so bad about that?” given modern day Christians' acceptance and high regard of the current medical profession. But what was more than likely happening was that the King of Israel was running away from God and was seeking a pagan priest with his magic, spells, and potions instead of seeking the one true God of Israel through the Levitical priests:
      In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians. (2 Chronicles 16:12)
      This was considered idolatry, and something that God hated. Israel’s belief and service to the one true God was what separated them from all the other pagan nations around them.
      These sins of idolatry are also prohibited in New Testament in the Christian writings. One of the more interesting Greek words that is usually translated as “witchcraft” or “sorcery” in English is pharmakeia, from which we get the English word “pharmacy.” Outside of the biblical texts, it would probably most often be translated into English as “medicine.” It is used in Galatians 5:20:
      The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
      Can you imagine using the English word “medicines” in place of “witchcraft” in the list of sins in the verses above? Obviously the modern translators of the English Bible could not, and yet that was the word the ancients would have used for our modern day word “medicine.” It is also used in the book of Revelations in a couple of places:

     The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Revelation 9:20-21)
      In this verse the word pharmakeia is translated “magic arts.” It is used below in referring to Babylon:
      The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world's great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray. (Revelation 18:23)
      Here the word pharmakeia is translated “magic spell.” Again, “medicine” did not seem appropriate to the translators in these verses, because of the current acceptance and understanding we have in the word and concept of “medicine.”
      When we look at the word group for “physician” in the New Testament, we see the verb form of that word was used quite a bit for the activity of Jesus, such as:
      And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all. (Luke 6:19)
      The verb “healing” here comes from the same root word used in the noun “physician” in Mark 5:26 above. Interestingly, it is in Luke’s writings where this verb form of the word was used most often to describe the healing ministry of Jesus. Could this be because Luke was at one time numbered among the pagan physicians, but now had turned to the true healer and had become like Jesus in looking after men’s souls? When Paul referred to Luke as a “physician” he qualified it with the word “beloved,” no doubt to distinguish him from the commonly understood meaning of that word among the pagans who practiced magic and witchcraft: “Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings…”(Colossians 4:14) I think Luke chose this particular word to describe Jesus' healing ministry to distinguish him from the professional physicians of his day who could not accomplish true healing.

     Who are you trusting in today for your healing? Do you hold on to a belief system based on evolution that sees “health” as purely a physical condition? Or have you come to understand the biblical definition of health which defines health in terms of our relationship to our Creator? There is only one physician who brings true health, and that is Jesus. Physical health may have some value in the short term during this life time, but by itself it holds no value for the future when you enter eternity through physical death and meet your Creator. All the lies of evolution and modern-day science will prove worthless then.

     He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
     But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Brian W. Shilhavy, BA, MA, is the host of the web site Created4Health.Org.
Brian earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible/Greek from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and his Master of Arts degree in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He has previously taught English at the high school and university levels in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. He worked in northern Iraq after the first Gulf War (1991) helping Kurds return to their homes from the mountains of southern Turkey. He lived with his wife, Marianita, and their children in the Philippines for several years studying rural Philippine culture, including traditional diet and nutrition. He is the founder and current president of Tropical Traditions, Inc.  Read his story here.
Brian and Marianita Shilhavy were the first ones to export Virgin Coconut Oil from the Philippines to the US back in 2001, and were instrumental in publishing the truth about coconut oil in the 21st century.
If you want to contact Brian you can reach him through the Google Group, or comment via the blog. To reduce SPAM email addresses are not posted on this site.

 For more information, contact Joe Ortiz

Saturday, November 14, 2009

They That Love Their Lives Will Lose Them!

By Joe Ortiz
     Those who scoff at people who follow Jesus Christ, and what is perceived by them as foolishness, may never see the reality and truth in God’s word. For example, in John 12:25, it states that “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” To them that has to be one of the most stupid verses ever promulgated by any sane human being.
     Probably, to them, they do not understand its profound meaning.
     We have always been inculcated by society that to pursue liberty and happiness is what life is all about; what person of sound mind could deny this as a healthy and even noble purpose. We have been raised to work hard to achieve all (and as much) happiness as possible and there is nothing wrong with that. Yet, for the disciples of Christ (those who have chosen to pick up their crosses and follow Jesus), there is an even more significant purpose for those who not only understand true love, but know what it requires.
     These folks do not prepare for the future by working solely to purchase things that please the flesh, nor do they work solely to enjoy all the recreational and fun things being offered up by the money changers of the world in this roller coaster journey we call life. They don’t even think about their work as a means to save enough to one day retire in comfort.
     Obviously it takes money to purchase necessities, but mostly it should be used to secure resources to help those without. Their work is not geared to buying things many people cherish, the things of the world that amuse and titillate the flesh, to eat at those new restaurants, buying unneeded clothing and jewelry, new cars and homes, and all the other luxuries life has to offer.
     These have chosen the life of a servant to do God’s will, which is to care for the poor, infirm, homeless, orphans and other people in need. They know that all money is God’s money and they are mere stewards who use acquired funds for the service of others.
     Much money is spent for unnecessary items, those things that supposedly provide self-esteem such as the latest fashions, haute cosmetics, gym classes, fad diets, occult awareness sessions and all of those things that (are supposed to) bring us self worth and other intrinsic, ego-stroking pleasure.
     No, these folks who do not love this current (temporal) life are devoted to work that results in their storing their treasures in heaven, those acts and deeds that touch the lives of those less fortunate, not those temporal toys (and tangible) accoutrements that will eventually turn to dust, which will also be tested by fire to see if they last on Judgment Day.
     Once again, Matthew Henry, one of history’s greatest commentators on things biblical, provides deep insights to what it means when God tells His children, that if you love your life (in this temporal world) you will eventually lose it:

     He foretells and promises an abundant recompense to those who should cordially embrace him and his gospel and interest, and should make it appear that they do so by their faithfulness in suffering for him or in serving him.
     In suffering for him (v. 25): He that loves his life better than Christ shall lose it; but he that hates his life in this world, and prefers the favor of God and an interest in Christ before it, shall keep it unto life eternal. This doctrine Christ much insisted on, it being the great design of his religion to wean us from this world, by setting before us another world.
     See here the fatal consequences of an inordinate love of life; many a man hugs himself to death, and loses his life by over-loving it. He that so loves his animal life as to indulge his appetite, and make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof, shall thereby shorten his days, shall lose the life he is so fond of, and another infinitely better. He that is so much in love with the life of the body, and the ornaments and delights of it, as, for fear of exposing it or them, to deny Christ, he shall lose it, that is, lose a real happiness in the other world, while he thinks to secure an imaginary one in this. Skin for skin a man may give for his life, and make a good bargain, but he that gives his soul, his God, his heaven, for it, buys life too dear, and is guilty of the folly of him who sold a birth-right for a mess of pottage.
     See also the blessed recompense of a holy contempt of life. He that so hates the life of the body as to venture it for the preserving of the life of his soul shall find both, with unspeakable advantage, in eternal life. Note, First, It is required of the disciples of Christ that they hate their life in this world; a life in this world supposes a life in the other world, and this is hated when it is loved less than that.
     Our life in this world includes all the enjoyments of our present state, riches, honors, pleasures, and long life in the possession of them; these we must hate, that is, despise them as vain and insufficient to make us happy, dread the temptations that are in them, and cheerfully part with them whenever they come in competition with the service of Christ, Acts 20:24; 21:13; Rev. 12:11.
     See here much of the power of godliness—that it conquers the strongest natural affections; and much of the mystery of godliness—that it is the greatest wisdom, and yet makes men hate their own lives. Secondly, Those who, in love to Christ, hate their own lives in this world shall be abundantly recompensed in the resurrection of the just. He that hateth his life shall keep it; he puts it into the hands of one that will keep it to life eternal, and restore it with as great an improvement as the heavenly life can make of the earthly one.
     Thank you, Matthew Henry, for your gift of discernment, allowing us the privilege to see deeply into God’s word for its illuminating and edifying wisdom.
     Folks, the true followers of Christ throughout history have been persecuted and many have been killed for their belief in Jesus. The early disciples were heavily persecuted, yet they continued to grow in faith. Not only did they have to deal with tribulation, they also had to deal with false teachings. Sadly, some people use Christ as a tool for personal gain in this world. We don’t have to point to the obvious group of electronic church preachers who use their religion as a means to get wealthy; their deeds are known to most people, to the shame of those who truly work to tender the downtrodden. Some so called “Christians” even (today) persecute and kill innocent people for more wealth and power. These corrupt the truth of the gospel to lay up treasures on this earth rather than in heaven.
     It is important to realize that just because one calls themselves a Christian people (or nation), does not mean they will enter the kingdom of God and have eternal life. Those who do the will of the Father which is in heaven will enter the kingdom. Jesus said to love your enemies and to do good to them that hate you. He said to pray for them which persecute you.
     Today, there are still those who do the will of God, and those who do not do the will of God. And, the end of it all, for them, is the eternal promise of God for those who choose to lose their lives for Jesus. That promise is found in the verse (26) that follows:

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor (John 12:26, KJV)


Contact information click on Joe Ortiz

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Discussions, Debates or Outrage, Which of These Should Immigrant Issues Incur?

     Throughout my professional career (as an educator, communicator, social services provider, civil servant and government employee) I have always felt that success in any of these endeavors required establishing strong lines of communication. It was my belief (and still is) that the more informed a person was, the easier it became to make sound and positive decisions, those (which hopefully) benefitted all concerns.
      I have always felt that having discussions (especially if conducted in a civilized manner) afforded all involved with the most positive approach to arrive at decisions (and or conclusions) that make the most common sense. One would like to think that our elected officials (at the local and national levels) would use this approach, too; but by observation their discussions become more debate than discussions, I would say primarily due to the imposed time constraints. And that’s not all bad, either.
      One good thing about debates (as well as discussions, too) is they provide the opportunity to present a variety of facts and data pertinent to the subject under discussion. For example, when discussing funding for local education, school administrators present corroborating data such as student-to-teacher ratio, salaries, books and other administrative costs, and funders usually discuss budget allocation and limitations, and fiscal responsibilities to the tax payers (this is a generalized example).
      Right now, our country is facing two major (and possibly societal and cultural-changing) issues: healthcare and immigration reform. It appears that immigration reform is being pushed onto the back burner by the Obama administration so it can focus more so on the healthcare issue. And one can understand why due to the fact that immigration reform is probably much more volatile than healthcare. Immigration reform has touched America’s main nerve center more than any other issue since whether we should have bombed Iraq or not, which we did.
   During that imbroglio, much data was being presented back and forth by the CIA and other governmental entities, making claims that Iraq did possess Weapons of Mass Destruction, as well as the State Department and other government departments to justify the action taken by the George W. Bush Administration, amid the hue and cry by anti-war protests. This issue was most definitely important because it could have thrown us into Word War lll. 
      However, the immigration issue isn’t really as threatening to our national security as many people make it out to be. Yes, we are definitely concerned about terrorists crossing the Mexican border and officials at both sides have implemented their best respective security measures to prevent that, and have had these systems in place for years. Since 911, pressure from paranoids has increased. However, the hue and cry for security from terrorists coming through the Mexican borders are actually smokescreens to hide the fact that paranoids  are mostly fearful that immigrants will consume America and change its National Identity, therefore the mantra employed is “let’s build the highest fence we can to keep the rift raft out!" Fine! This is all well and good and (trust me) many Latinos understand this psychosis.
      However, what would appear strange and rather disconcerting, as each side prepares the evidence it wants to use in their respective positions concerning immigration, is the inclusion of data that has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue at hand. For example, during the great Iraq debate (as to whether this country should invade and bomb), as it was before the national stage, if in a CIA paper to the President would find information that an Iraqi citizen had raped a little girl, ostensibly justifying we should bomb Iraq, I’m certain that many eye brows would be raised. Most certainly, all crimes against any society must be solved by capturing the individual perpetrator and meting out the appropriate justice. But, should this particular crime (as horrible as it is) be considered as sufficient rationale to bomb Iraq?
      Also, if additional data were included in an NSC (National Security Council) memorandum to the President that it had information about drug cartels in Iraq kidnapping and murdering Iraqi citizens near the borders of Syria, Lebanon and Iran, should this information be considered as evidence that supports the contention that Iraq possesses Weapons of Mass Destruction? If anything this innocuous data would add nothing to the debate but in fact would result solely in agitating and igniting the emotions of certain segments of society to get upset and holler: “Yea! Let’s nuke those suckers! Yea! Nuke the bastards!”
      Well, guess what? ALIPAC (Americans for Legal Immigration), who claim they are dedicated to fighting against illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens, and seek a peaceful solution to the crisis that involves Americans of every race, party, and denomination working together, have injected stories on their web site that can do nothing else but incite its constituents to respond to their cause by using data that is not even remotely connected to the issue of solving the immigration problem.             
     ALIPAC does not provide any empirical data concerning the positive economic impact that immigrants (legal or otherwise) have had throughout history. No mention of the fact that employers deduct all the taxes (social security, state, federal et al) from immigrant payroll checks, no mention of the fact that their mostly disposable income is tossed back into the economy on a 24 hour basis, no mention of fact that they take on and perform work that no natural citizen would accept at the (cheap) prevailing wages employers get away with, nor about how the stoop labor community provides the lettuce on the millions of McDonald’s sandwiches we gulp down each day. Well, why should (or would) they, they oppose immigration!
      But, let some Latino in a faraway country rape a little girl and ALIPAC will make certain it gets front page attention. No mention is ever made by the ALIPAC's of the world about the nineteen hundred Latina woman that have been murdered in 2009, alone, along the Mexican border; but yet news about a missing white female college student in Virginia recently created media swarm on all networks, causing Amber alerts going off and creating alarm and fear throughout our caring nation.
      Read the news items ALIPAC posts on its web site for its constituents, and then let the rest of America know how these contribute to the discussion or the debate as to how we (a united America) can find an equitable solution to the immigration debate:

Honduran Illegal Admits Sexually Assaulting 8 yr old
We are dedicated to fighting against illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens and seek a peaceful solution to the crisis that involves Americans of every race, Party, and denomination working together.

Wednesday, October 21 @ 02:05:12 EDT by illegal_immigration (57 reads)

illegal immigration alien arrests
An undocumented Honduran immigrant, whose bail became the subject of a New Jersey Supreme Court case earlier this year, pleaded guilty today to sexually-assaulting a 8-year-old girl. 

Manuel Fajardo-Santos, 31, admitted today to sexually assaulting his girlfriend's younger sister in Wharton on Aug. 24, 2008 after returning home from a party. Superior Court Judge John Dangler set sentencing for Jan. 29. 

Topics: Illegal Immigrant, Manuel Fajardo-Santos, sexual assault, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, New Jersey Supreme Court

Spillover of carnage in Mexico undeniable
Tuesday, October 20 @ 12:12:03 EDT by illegal_immigration (105 reads)

Mexican Mexico Border illegal immigratio
SAN DIEGO COURTS — Men kidnapped from their homes in broad daylight. Bodies dumped along roadsides and in abandoned cars. Human remains dissolved in acid. 

It's the kind of violence seen all too often in some Mexican border cities, where thousands have fallen victim to a prolonged war between drug cartels. 

But the indictments of 17 men, both U.S. and Mexican citizens, accused of running a drug-trafficking-and-murder crew called Los Palillos in San Diego offer the best proof in recent years that cartel violence has spilled across the border.

Topics: illegal immigration, Mexico, drug cartels, spillover, violence, kidnapping, murder, acid, bodies

     As we indicated at the beginning, a united America can solve the immigration problem in a truly honest, thoughtful and productive manner through calm discussions, and or by debating meaningful and statistically-proven data, or it can continue in the vicious, mean-spirited and vitriolic manner it has evolved into. But, most of all, in cannot continue in the dishonest and inciting fear tactics employed by ALIPAC, who claims in its web site that it seeks a peaceful solution to the crisis that involves Americans of every race, party, and denomination working together.” 


Joe Ortiz is the author of two books that challenge the Left Behind and Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrines, being promulgated by right-wing evangelicals who support military solutions to an historical conflict in the Middle East. For more information about his books, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, visit his web site at: The End Times Passover