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