Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Jerusalem (The Holy City, Coming Down From Heaven) Is The True Promised Land!

New Jerusalem (The Holy City, Coming Down From Heaven) Is The True Promised Land!

[The following is an excerpt from Joe Ortiz' new book, The End Times Passover.In this chapter (12) you will find biblical evidence that the "promised land" spoken of in the bible is not in the current state of Israel, as most Jews and right-wing evangelical dispensationalist believe. The true promised land is the New Jerusalem spoken of in the book of Revelation, which is the Holy City of God that descends to earth when Jesus Christ returns to rule forever, not just for 1000 years, as believed my thousands of Millenarians:

New Jerusalem Is The Promised Land!

In the previous chapter, the author presented scripture he believes clearly state that the Christian Church is not the Bride of the Lamb and that it will not be participating (as a bride) in the great wedding. The author believes scripture also clearly shows that the wedding spoken about in Revelation 19 is really speaking about Jesus possessing and becoming Lord and Master of New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, which descends to earth to henceforth be the dwelling place of the Messiah and His ecclesia forever and ever. We briefly alluded to the fact that the author believes scripture is unveiling that New Jerusalem in actuality is the true Promised Land spoken of in many scriptures, of which Revelation 21:2-3 clearly shows the prophecy of Isaiah 62 is being fulfilled in Revelation 19. Nevertheless, the author feels this Promised Land issue deserves greater elucidation to bring the point home more clearly. He believes that this chapter will help provide profound scriptural answers to this claim, as well as clear up any past misperceptions.

Throughout the Old Testament, we have seen where God made many promises to His chosen people, Israel. One of those promises that theorists allude to, in order to build upon their secret Pre-Tribulation escape to heaven mythology, is the land promised from God to Abraham and his descendants, which they interpret to mean that the eventual and eternal resting-place of national Israel is the current land that mostly Jewish people now inhabit in the Middle East. It is their contention that God promised the genetic nation of Israel the eventual (and eternal) possession of the entire land of Palestine, known today as the Jewish State of Israel. Theorists (and most Jews) believe many prophecies spoken of in the Old Testament are speaking and identifying this Middle East territorial region as the “Promised Land.” Their contention is partially true. One of the major promises God made to the nation of Israel did include its eventual and eternal resting place, and He did call it The Promised Land! However, was that promise solely speaking about a small parcel of land in the Middle East? Is that region in the Middle East the true Promised Land? Or does scripture unveil a greater land promise than either Jew or Gentile perceive? Let’s find out. In Genesis 12:1-7, it reads thusly:

The Lord had said to Abraham, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions, which they had accumulated, and the persons, which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "" To your descendants I will give this land.'' So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him, (Genesis 12:1-7, NIV). [Italics, bold and underline are by the author, solely for emphasis]

First of all, the aforementioned verses are not speaking solely about that land in the Middle East that so many Jews have struggled to return to, who claim complete and divine ownership of, and who are to this very day fighting to control and keep it for eternity. Genesis 13:14-15 does describe certain territorial promises when it stated, “And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” The author is certain the student who takes the time to examine the geography will be able to determine it does speak about the former land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites, which is now the current land being occupied by today’s Jewish community in what is called the State of Israel. The Hebrews of yesteryear and most present day Jewry (and theorists, also) have interpreted this great promise of blessing as speaking solely about geographical (land) promises, as is mentioned in verses 4 through 7. Since the time of that promise, the Israelites and now modern-day Jewry have been consumed with the retention of that Palestinian region. And, surely as the Bible clearly states, this land was given to Abraham and his descendants, forever. However, what many are not aware of is that a specific part of the promise was fulfilled after the 70-year Babylonian exile spoken of in Nehemiah 9:7, 8. It clearly states thusly:

You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites. You have kept your promise because you are righteous, (Nehemiah 9:7, 8, NIV). [See also Nehemiah 9:22-24; Joshua 11:23; Joshua 21:43-45 - Bold and underline by the author, solely for emphasis]

This particular verse (8) clearly states that God already fulfilled that promise and it is not a promise yet fulfilled in the future as theorists claim! Yet, present day Jewry (and theorists, especially) still see these ‘promised land’ prophesies as speaking in future geopolitical inheritance terms. What Jews and theorists misread in these prophecies is that the true Promised Land will not be fulfilled by (nor in) the Jewish State of modern Israel. The true Promised Land is the soon-to-descend Holy City of God, New Jerusalem! Theorists’ unrelenting belief that the Palestinian region known today as Israel is the Promised Land of the Jews is askew from biblical reality. Their belief also that the Bride of the Lamb, New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, is the Christian Church is where they become sidetracked in their eschatological journey. They fail to see that the true Promised Land is not a parcel of land in the Middle East, but the true Promised Land is the city from above, the one that the true faith-believing descendants of Abraham were looking forward to (Hebrews 11:10, 16; 12:22; 13:14). This city from above is what the patriarchs and all called out ones (=Greek word ekklesia, the 'church') were looking forward to. They were not looking forward to a resurrection unto life to dwell in earthly Old Jerusalem. The patriarchs were looking forward to a spirit-infused resurrection from the grave to dwell inside New Jerusalem, the headquarters for the heavenly Kingdom of God, which will dwell on earth for an eternity!

Nor should we view (as do many theorists) the ‘two sticks’ and the “valley of dry bones” prophecies in Ezekiel 37 as conveying any future geopolitical resurrection for genetic Israel (immediately before or at the beginning of any so-called 1000-year-reign of Christ in old Jerusalem), nor were they fulfilled in 1948. The dry bones prophecies allude to the final resurrection, which was insured by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the subsequent outpouring of Holy Spirit power gifts on the Day of Pentecost. Christ’s act on Calvary made it certain the prophecy of the ‘two sticks’ was fulfilled. Matthew Henry ever so eloquently provides us with this discernment:

They shall all be the subjects of one king, and so they shall become one. The Jews, after their return, were under one government, and not divided as formerly. But this certainly looks further, to the kingdom of Christ; he is that one King in allegiance to whom all God’s spiritual Israel shall cheerfully unite, and under whose protection they shall all be gathered. All believers unite in one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. And the uniting of Jews and Gentiles in the gospel church, their becoming one fold under Christ the one great Shepherd, is doubtless the union that is chiefly looked at in this prophecy. By Christ and partition-wall between them was taken down, and the enmity slain, and of them twain was made one new man, Eph. 2:14, 15,” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Ezekiel 37) [Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

Where is the Kingdom of God and what does it represent? First of all, the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom that He has prepared from eternity. The history of His Kingdom is embodied in His chosen people, who go back to the promises He made to Abraham and his faith-believing descendants. The called out ones for this Kingdom were strengthened to become a house that we now call the “church” (ecclesia), which supposedly was not created until the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost. Obviously those who possess the new nature imputed by the Holy Spirit since Pentecost are, “like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 2:5, NIV).” However, when the Lord returns to reign on earth, this spiritual house (of called out ones) will become part of the administrative body that will reside in New Jerusalem, inside the Holy City of God, which descends from heaven to earth. This spiritual house (Gr. oikos, household, inmates) is not speaking about the dwelling place, the City of God. This spiritual house is not the Bride of the Lamb; but, rather, this spiritual house of called out ones is the body of Christ that will dwell inside the Bride of the Lamb, the Holy City of God! Then Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, along with His chosen people, will reign (inside His Holy City) on earth, ruling mankind forever! [Bold and italics are by the author, solely for emphasis]

Theorists will incessantly cling to the belief that the Old Testament land promise means that national Israel will be geopolitically restored with complete dominion of the present State of Israel, and that the geographically located state in the Middle East is the Promise Land. However, the author believes scripture clearly proves that those Old Testament promises in Genesis 12:3 and 1 Chronicles 17:9-14 concerning Israel’s final resting place will be fulfilled in and by the New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, the true Promised Land! We see scriptural proof that the specific promise that God made to Abraham and his genetic offspring concerning the Palestinian region spoken of in Genesis 15:18, 19 has already been fulfilled (Nehemiah 9:8; Joshua 11:23; 21:43-45). Yet, the present day Jewish nation will continue to struggle in battle (with support from many Christians and Zionists) to control this land to this very day. However, the eternal fulfillment to come, the final entering and resting in the eternal and true Promised Land (prophesied throughout the Bible) is not realized until the Holy City of God, God’s present dwelling place, the new City of Jerusalem, comes down from heaven.

The Lord Jesus Himself is presently preparing its administrative (ecclesia) body, which will include the assignment of a positional status (Gr. topos, condition, opportunity) for each called out one according to works accomplished in concert with their individual and spiritual calling. King David was well aware of this concept. He was not looking forward to the time when genetic Israel would inhabit for an eternity a physically located parcel of land on earth; but, rather, David was looking for the eternal home with God, the place from where God’s Kingdom would be administered. In 1 Chronicles 17:9-14, God made that perfectly clear to David in the following statement:

And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 10 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies. 10 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies. "`I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: 11 When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever, (1 Chronicles 17:9-12, NIV). [Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

Verse 10 of this prophecy specifically deals with the spiritual household (Hebrew word bayith, family of descendants, an organized body) that God is building to this very day! [See also Genesis 18:19 for usage of bayith, household] The Hebrew word for build is banah, which (according to Unger and White) the verb, in each case used in the Bible, suggests “adding to existing material to fashion a new object.” That home mentioned in verse 9, that place (Hebrew word maqowm, a standing in one’s own country, city) is that heavenly country Abraham looked forward to inherit, the city (New Jerusalem) that God promised to provide His people (the Israel of God, His ecclesia); a glorious city which is to come to earth, “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come, (Hebrews 13:14).” This city is seen coming to earth in Revelation 21:1-7, and in these verses we see who will inherit this kingdom city;

As stated in the previous chapter, the description of the house spoken of in 1 Chronicles 17 is not the Temple that Solomon built during his reign after his father David passed away. It is not a description of any other temples that were to be built and consequently destroyed repeatedly throughout the remainder of national Israel’s history. The description of the offspring in 1 Chronicles 17:11 is that of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is building the spiritual house of God today. The house in verse 9 that the Lord promises to build is His Kingdom of holy priests, the ecclesia, which is confirmed as whom we know to be the church in 1 Peter 2:5! The word “built” in 1 Peter 2:5 is the Greek word oikodomeo, which (like the Hebrew verb banah) means to edify, to embolden, to strengthen. This is exactly what happened when the Holy Spirit poured out gifts of power on the Day of Pentecost. The Christian Church was not formed nor created on that day; rather, the original assembly of God’s called out ones (God’s historical ecclesia) was built (Gr. oikodomeo, emboldened, strengthened) with power from on high to proclaim the Gospel and to advance the Kingdom of God!

All the patriarchs and the holy fathers, from Abraham on down, understood this. They knew God would strengthen His existing ecclesia, (See Joel 2:28). They knew that all nations would be blessed through Him, (See Galatians 3:29). They also knew there would be a resurrection (Hebrews 11:19), and they also knew that they (faith-believing Israel) would eventually reside with God; not in the land of Canaan, the present day Jewish State of Israel, but in God’s Holy City, New Jerusalem!

In Hebrews 11:8-16, it clearly states that Abraham and his believing descendants were not looking forward to a physical piece of land, nor an earthly geographical country in the Middle East, but rather, a heavenly city, coming down from above:

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the City with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly One. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them, (Hebrews 11:8-16, NIV). [Bold, italics and underline are by the author, solely for emphasis]

Notice in verses 9 and 10, where it clearly states that Abraham admitted his sojourn in that region was as an alien and a stranger on earth, because he was longing for a country of his own, a permanent resting place for his tent. He and the others of faith desired and longed for a city with foundations whose chief architect and builder is God. They (Abraham and the patriarchs) were not looking for a geographical country, which the Jews (and theorists) believe was fulfilled in Palestine in 1948; but, rather, they were looking for a “heavenly city.” Notice, it says a “heavenly” city, not a “city in heaven.” The New Jerusalem is a heavenly city to be married (ba’al, possessed) by Christ for His called out ones, a better country, one that will descend to earth at the Lord’s Second Advent, (Hebrews 13:14).

The size of this heavenly city is described in Revelation 21:16 as being approximately 1400 miles long, 1400 miles wide and 1400 miles high as it is wide and long. If we multiply just the width and length of this great city, we are talking about 1,960,000 square miles. Present day Israel (the region of Palestine) is approximately 7992 square miles, an extreme length of 260 miles, and a width that varies between 10 to 70 miles. It is obviously clear, then, that the true Promised Land cannot be speaking about the geographical territory described in the Old Testament in Genesis 13:14-15.

The actual description and scope of the inheritance that the holy fathers and patriarchs were looking forward to was limited to a certain extent by Israel’s spiritual blindness. But Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew! King David knew! The prophets knew and so did the apostles. When Jesus told the apostles His Kingdom was not of this world, He was not trying to make a distinction between a heaven-based kingdom and an earth-based kingdom. He was telling them His Kingdom is a heavenly kingdom ordained by God, one that flesh and blood cannot enter into but by the spirit of God, who will change our bodies into spiritual, immortal bodies at the last trumpet (1 Corinthians. 15-54), the one sounded as Jesus prepares to descend to planet Earth. Albeit the Kingdom of God is not a worldly ordained Kingdom, it does not negate the fact that Jesus Christ will rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords inside the supernaturally ordained New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, which descends (and will dwell) on earth forever!

But more importantly, one of the true but saddening aspects of this entire scenario is that the Jewish people (and theorists, as well) have been unwittingly clinging to their own interpretation of the land promise God made to Israel and its forefathers concerning their eternal resting place, their true Promised Land. Historically, they have been yearning and striving for the Jews (supposedly speaking about all of the 12 tribes of Israel) to reestablish a geopolitical kingdom in the Palestinian region they now call the State of Israel, as if this earthen parcel of land was their true Promised Land.

And, unlike many who believe and are buying into the popular Messianic Israel doctrine, which speaks about a geopolitical kingdom restoration of the two sticks (Ephraim and Judah) before The Second Advent, based on their interpretation of Ezekiel, Chapter 37, this prophecy was fulfilled through Jesus, as is clearly stated in Ephesians 2:11-22. This is the Kingdom of God! The only Kingdom prophesied in the Bible that will ever be established on earth is the Kingdom of God, and this Kingdom (currently in a spiritual state) will also be established by Christ on earth (Matthew 6:10; Luke 1:2), not for a mere 1000 years, but forever. As Ezekiel 37:28, states: And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forever, (NASB). This verse alone should convincingly negate any and all millenarian doctrines once and for all. The Hebrew word for forever is `owlam, which means, everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity! [Underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

So much war and death and contentiousness have been experienced in belief this small land mass in the Middle East is their (Jews and Messianic Israelites) final resting place. True! God did give Abraham and his descendants the land the Jews currently occupy. True! It is a parcel of land God gave them forever, if they obeyed His commandments. But, that great cloud of witnesses spoken of in Hebrews, Chapter 11, knew that their true inheritance was more than a parcel of land in the Middle East, and it was not going to be a geopolitical earthly kingdom, but a heavenly Kingdom on earth! They knew they were but mere aliens and strangers sojourning on that earthen Middle East territory. They knew that this earthen parcel of land in the Middle East, now being occupied by mostly Jewish people, those members of the tribe of Judah, was not their final resting place. If that were the case, they knew they had the opportunity to return to it, as verses 13 through 16 so clearly state:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them, (Hebrews 11:13-16, NIV). [Bold and underline by the author, solely for emphasis]

This better country is truly a heavenly one, but it is not a city that will remain in heaven, waiting with open doors for born again Christians seeking a secret Pre-Tribulation escape; but, rather it is the glorious City of God that will soon descend to earth. The patriarchs knew this! King David knew this! The apostles knew this! They all knew they were looking for a better country, a city that is to come to earth. God’s words clearly states this fact:

For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come, (Hebrews 13:14, NIV) [Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

No! The Christian Church is not going to be caught up to heaven; but, rather, the Holy City of God is coming down from heaven. God’s called out ones will be co-administrators of His Kingdom inside New Jerusalem, to be members of a royal priesthood, accordingly with the positional status they will receive for their faith works accomplished on earth.

With this promise to look forward to, knowing that our portion of the inheritance is nearer than before, all called out ones should be girding themselves in the knowledge that as they go through great tribulation before Christ returns, greater opportunities will exist for God’s ecclesia to bring many more people into the Kingdom of God, to partake in the glorious inheritance that has been prepared for faith-believing Israel, all of God’s ecclesia, all of God’s children, who will rest forever, in God’s true Promised Land!

[For more information about this topic, or to read (and or download the entire book) click on this URL or cut and paste it to your browser.]

Monday, June 27, 2011

Is The Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven Doctrine Anti-Christian?

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a special series dealing with the issue of the Rapture by author Joe Ortiz. This series argues against a “pre-tribulation” Rapture of the Church in the Last Days.

     The Rapture to Heaven doctrine has probably been the most debated issue in the Bible lo these past 20 to 30 years.
     Not a single second goes by where the debate does not continue to rage in homes, churches and more so now on the Internet. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has their specific take on the Rapture ranging anywhere from a Pre, Mid to Post Tribulation position, as well as the ever increasing Pre-Wrath point of view.
     Most heated discussions usually end up with the often heard comment, “Well, it really doesn’t matter when Jesus comes, as long as we know we are saved?”
     That statement carries more concerns for us because, while salvation is first and foremost the biggest issue we have to concern ourselves with, little do folks recognize that being ignorant of what God really states in His word can cause people to go down the wrong road in all aspects of what the Bible (and God) proclaims in His written word.
     There are several scripture that quantify the positions we take that can have a bearing concerning whether we are truly committed to the specificity of God’s word. One statement from God that comes instantly to mind is found in Matthew 12:30 and Luke 11:23, which clearly state, “He that is not with me is against me and he that gathereth not with me scatterth abroad.”
     What does this statement really mean?
     This statement was made by Christ as He was addressing those who had decided to be part of His team, which in essences is what we do when we accept Jesus Chris as Lord and savior.
     The wonderful change that is made in conversion is Christ’s victory over Satan. The conversion of a soul to God is Christ’s victory over the devil and his power in that soul, restoring the soul to its liberty, and recovering his own interest in it and dominion over it.
     All the endowments of mind and body, the estate, power, interest, which before were made use of in the service of sin and Satan, are now converted to Christ’s service and employed for him. Hence Christ infers that, since the whole drift of his doctrine and miracles was to break the power of the devil, that great enemy of mankind, it was the duty of all to join with him and to follow his guidance, to receive his gospel and come heartily into the interests of it; for otherwise they would justly be reckoned as siding with the enemy: He that is not with me is against me.
     Those therefore who reject the doctrine of Christ, are looked upon as adversaries to him, and in the devil’s interest. Therefore, to deny the Gospel of Christ means that you are antichrist!
     What is the Gospel? It is very simple! The Gospel was preached to Abraham as we see in Galatians 3:7-9, which states, 7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.     
     That’s it! That is the Gospel, period! End of story!
     But, those who promote or believe in the Rapture believe otherwise! They believe there are still future events that have to unfold regardless of or the need of faith in Christ, such as the following:

(a) God has yet to fulfill His land Promises to Israel, although Joshua 23:14 boldly states otherwise!

(b) God will save all Israel, regardless of faith, although Romans 11:23, where the Apostle Paul is speaking about Jews, boldly states that the only way a person can be saved is by faith in Christ!

(c) God will establish a different kingdom for Israel besides the Kingdom of God, although several scriptures boldly state otherwise (1 Chronicles 22:10, Psalm 22:28, Isaiah 9:7, Daniel 2:44, Daniel 7:14, Daniel 7:22-27, Matthew 5:20; 6:10; Matthew 16:28).

(d)God is not powerful enough to protect His children during times of tribulation nor while He pours out His wrath on the unrepentant, therefore He has to Rapture them up to Heaven, although a plethora of scripture boldly state otherwise, such as Psalm 91 and 2 Peter 2:9;

(e)Left Behind, books written by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins have sold over 65 million copies, books of which their theory is based on the scripture in Luke 17:36, which says36Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left, interpreting the word taken is speaking of Christians being raptured to Heaven while unbelievers will be left behind. Yet, the original manuscript does not contain the word “behind” after the word “left.” The word left in the Greek is aphiemi which means to forgive,the same word(aphiemi) which is used twice in The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew6:12. Therefore, 65 million people who purchased those books bought into a theory that is not based on Bible truth.
     We could go on and on and provide scripture after scripture (not theories or conjecture nor quoting the myriad of authors who have written Pro-Rapture books) that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Rapture to Heaven doctrine is not biblical, but many of our readers will still cling to this belief. They will present a variety of theories concerning this chapter and that chapter, interpreting this verse and that verse to mean this and that. These novel notions create “Ahah” and “wow” reactions and they receive many compliments such as, “I never looked at that verse in that manner before; you are so intelligent and gifted and blessed by God.”
     However, after this has been said and done, there is only one quantifiable reality that can truly be considered concerning the legitimacy of Rapture to Heaven doctrine: Do those notions glorify Jesus Christ?
     The five points mentioned above not only do not glorify God, they in essence call Him a liar! Each scripture cited above rebuts without question that those notions go contrary to the word of God. In other words, these man-made concocted theories in essence are claiming that what God has clearly stated in His word is not true and those who posit those notions know more than God! They in essence claim that a certain ethno-religo-political group of people are more important than Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross!
     We need to state that any doctrine that does not glorify Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross – thereby fulfilling the Law and all the prophecies cited in the Old Testament – is not of God! Therefore, if it is not of God, will continued belief in the Rapture to Heaven doctrine have any effect on your walk with Christ? Only the Holy Spirit can confirm this for each individual believer.
     I related to Chad Miles that due to my failing health and other pressing issues, I will not be able to fulfill my original plan of unveiling the entirety of my two books with the preliminary introduction and explanation to each of the respective chapters. The approach I initially used was not to solely write my opinions about the Rapture, but to systematically present the evidence that took me over 25 years of research to compile. I was prepared to do this more as an educational and teaching task, rather than just presenting ‘opinion’ or novel ‘theories’ about the Rapture. I apologize for my inability to do so at this stage of my life.
     I have been physically handicapped for the last 8 years due to injuries I sustained while working as a live-in Manager of a homeless shelter in Palm Springs, California for three years straight without a single day off, not even Holidays, on the average of 18 hours per day. I will turn 70 years in a couple of months, and life’s journey has indeed taken a physical toll.
     Nevertheless, I consider myself to be a “teacher” and an “elder” of the church and have spent close to 40 years of study and research of God’s word. Not in support of any particular doctrinal camp (Pre,Mid, Post, Pre-wrath, amillennial, premillennial, postmillennial, preterist, futurists, etc.) nor any allegiance to any of the existing polemical theories whatsoever.
     My studies have been based on the etymology of Bible words to gain a deeper and greater understanding as to what each word truly means, such as in the case cited concerning the true meaning of the word Left. As we saw in that example, the more correct rendering of that word is to forgive which pretty much turns upside down the entire “Left Behind” theory that is still being preached and taught in churches throughout America on a daily basis.
     I could spend the next ten years providing similar examples (that are all contained in my two books) and, for the most part, Rapture to Heaven adherents would still cling to their belief systems. Sadly, time and space on this great forum prevents this educational task from being accomplished to your satisfaction.
     However, as a parting gift, I have posted links where you may download free PDF copies of both books to examine their contents on your own. It has never been my goal to profit from any sales of my two books; I just wanted to get the information out to the public. This has irritated my publisher, but we have to do what we have to do.
     Click on the following book titles to download free PDF copies of The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation.
     In parting, I have asked Chad Miles to afford me the opportunity to revisit Hearken the Watchman and provide any other scripture that I discover that adds confirmation to the discussion, because our study of the word of God is an ongoing process until He returns.
     I will say that no one truly knows beyond a shadow of a doubt whether Christians will be provided an escape from increasing times of tribulation we see looming in the immediate horizon. Based upon my work, I am convinced this will not be the case. I totally agree that we will be caught up to have a meeting in the air with Jesus Christ as He descends to earth to rule and reign forever; however, the Bible nowhere states He takes us back to Heaven. There is no reason for Him to do so. He can and will protects us until He returns; as Jesus Himself prayed to the Father: I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One, (John 17:15).
     If somehow Christians do get caught up to Heaven, Halleluiah! If they don’t, and they find themselves not prepared to deal with increasing times of tribulation, the reader will never be able to say they were not provided with Bible knowledge that a Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven would not occur, nor that they were not warned ahead of time.

Joe Ortiz has the distinction of being the first Mexican American in US history to conduct a talk show on an English-language, commercial radio station. He began his broadcasting career in 1971 at KABC TALK RADIO 790 AM in the highly competitive Los Angeles media market. He went on to become an award-winning broadcaster, news reporter and newspaper columnist in Los Angeles for over 30 years. Joe writes regularly on his two blogs The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pretrib Rapture Vs. FACTS (No. 3) by Dave MacPherson

The End Times Passover team is honored that prolific author, Dave MacPherson, has chosen us as the vehicle to post his messages to the general public. Dave and his wife Wanda have a "mobile" ministry in the sense they travel all over the country visiting various media, churches and other groups who have a high interest in his over 40 years of research concerning the birth and origins of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven myth. Being on the go all the time, the MacPhersons have little time sitting behind a computer; therefore, his request from us to post his messages is greatly appreciated. If anyone has any questions or comments about his work, he is requesting they be sent directly to us at  Thank You!
Pretrib Rapture Vs. FACTS (No. 3) by Dave MacPherson

     There should be a Claims Court to handle all of the wild claims that pretrib rapturists make! One of them goes like this:
     "None of John Darby's contemporaries taught a pretrib rapture before he did."
     The late Darby idolizer R. A. Huebner seared more than his barbecue gloves when he unconscionably claimed in a 1973 booklet of his that "The Irvingites (1828-1834) never held the pretribulation rapture or any 'any-moment' views."
     Even though Huebner never attended seminary, college, or even Bible school, he was desperately chosen by Dallas Theological Seminary president John Walvoord (over even his own DTS church history profs!) to be the one to throw darts at my highly endorsed historical findings. Charles Ryrie, Thomas Ice and some others soon took Walvoord's cue and have slavishly continued to exalt Huebner to Pretrib Rapture Sainthood!
     FACTS: As early as September 1830, Rev. Edward Irving's journal "The Morning Watch" (hereafter TMW) taught that the most worthy part of the church ("Philadelphia") would be raptured before "the great tribulation" while the less worthy part of the church ("Laodicea") would be left on earth as "the last and dying state of the Gentile church" - "church" used in the same way Margaret Macdonald used it in the second half of her epic pretrib rapture revelation which she had in the spring of 1830.
     The previous TMW issue (June 1830) had been teaching the historic view that "Philadelphia" as well as "Laodicea" would go through the great tribulation. But only three months later (in September and after some TMW writers had visited Margaret in her home) readers noticed a stunning change: the first time ever that any publication had ever publicly taught that "church" members ("Philadelphia") would be raptured off earth before Matt. 24's tribulation!
     Pretrib defenders who wish to credit Darby with originating the pretrib rapture view have a real dilemma. They can't find anyone, other than Margaret, who was teaching the new pretrib view during the summer of 1830. Or any publication before the September 1830 TMW that was teaching it. Darby himself was still defending the historic (and historicist) posttrib view in the December 1830 "Christian Herald" and expecting "to meet Him in the air in order to His judging of the nations"  (Matthew 25:32) - a posttrib event. Darby didn't clearly teach a pretrib rapture before 1839.
     (Interestingly, Darby in that same article recognized the prophetic significance of Islam with his references to "the Saracenic comet," Euphratean horsemen" etc. There are Christian scholars today who view the same Middle East "scourge" as potentially more dangerous now than it was in Darby's time and they believe that God will allow it to persecute and purify Jews and Christians. Ephesians 5:27 reveals the Lord's desire for a spotless and wrinkle-less church which has had 2000 years to "fall away" while Jews have had almost 4000 years to become even more adept when it comes to apostasy!)
     My book "The Rapture Plot" fills many pages with short quotes from TMW issues dated 1830-1833 proving that it clearly taught an imminent pretrib rapture during those years. For example:
     "...the great tribulation (Rev. vii. 14) into which the sealed ones shall never enter."
     "...the translation for the living...of which we may daily expect the accomplishment...."
     "...that period ["the literal time of 1260 days"] does not commence till the moment of the translation of the saints...."
     Pretrib defenders claim that Darby saw the distinction (or dichotomy) between the church and Israel (which supposedly led him to believe in a pretrib rapture) as early as 1827. But they have never been able to prove this. And as late as 1837, Darby (in "Matthew 24, 25" in "The Christian Witness") saw the church "going in with Him to the marriage, to wit, with Jerusalem and the Jews" - a dichotomy that wasn't a dichotomy!
     The champion Irvingism-basher these days is Thomas Ice. In "When Did J. N. Darby Discover the Rapture?" he repeats the falsehood that "Irving never held to pretribulationism." In his "Myths of the Origin of Pretribulationism - Part II" he declares that "One of Dave McPherson's strangest claims is that Edward Irving and the Irvingites taught a pre-trib rapture."
     Ice even speaks disparagingly of "two British theologians" (Mark Patterson and Andrew Walker) who have written that "it is incontrovertible that Irving held to a pretribulation doctrine in a form that is developed and remarkably similar to contemporary dispensational views."
     If you don't have "The Rapture Plot" (my full-length, bestselling book on pretribism's bizarre 181-year-old history), you can obtain it for a low price at Armageddon Books online. You can also type in "Scholars Weigh My Research" on Google to see reactions to my decades of research from fellow scholars. 
     Finally, I urge everyone who's interested in excellent theological contributions to the current rapture debate to acquire two books that biblically and etymologically refute all the tenets postulated in support of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven myth. These two books written by my good friend Joe Ortiz, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, should be used as study texts by both teacher and students of eschatological matters.

[Thank you brother Dave for your endorsement of our books. We greatly appreciate your kind gesture and consider it an honor. We are proud to partner with you and your most needed ministry. And yes, like you, we can and have been taking the heat from theorists who fail to produce scripture to support their distorted doctrines. God's word always provides His children with truth more so than conjecture]

For information about our two books, please click on The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation. To access our web sites and blogs, please click on Joe Ortiz.



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Quick Rebuttal to Premillennial Dispensationalism, Which is Not Gospel!

     We could spend the entire day and provide you scripture that would plainly counter Old Testament verses cited by Christian Zionists and other Premillennial Dispensationalists about the state of Israel, but will only touch briefly on a few.
     Those adherents of the political Zionist dogma claim that Israel (the state, Jews, Judaism?) is God's time clock that will usher the return of Jesus Christ. They also use a Bible verse they believe calls for Christians need to support the political state of Israel (regardless of its military and political actions against perceived enemies) or they will be cursed:

 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed, (Genesis 12:3).

     They fail to realize that prophetic promise was made to Abraham and his faith-believing descendants, and cannot be applied to Jewish residents and their respective government leaders that currently exist in that Middle East region called "Israel" since 1948.

     Sadly, due to the creator of the Scofield Bible, the word of God is erroneously being taught in seminaries and Bible colleges throughout the nation, a Bible version which for over 100 years has distorted and marginalized the word of God to portray a different Gospel than the one taught by the Apostles, and has seduced millions of students, pastors and Bible teachers (and other American Christians) to believe in and promote a different redemption plan than God has ordained, said Joe Ortiz, author of the book, The End Times Passover (Author House Publishers).

     Following are a few key points to have handy whenever others ask you about the dangers of promoting Zionism:

(1)Dispensationalsists believe God deals in different ways with different people at different times denying the glory of a God who is the same, today yesterday and forever!

(2) The eternal promise to Abraham was in regard to eternal salvation in that it would be fulfilled through his "seed" not his ethnic descendants:16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ, (Galatians 3:16).

Sadly, dispensationalists use this verse in an inferential manner to have their minions believe that all of God's promises were made primarily to ethnic Jews and need to be fulfilled before Christ returns. They never follow the road that all promises were fulfilled through Jesus Christ. It would take volumes to cite them all. But we highly recommend (to serious Bible students) that they purchase Hans K. La Rondelle's book, "The Israel of God in Prophecy" which breaks down the varying exegetical and hermeneutical approaches used by dispensationalists as opposed to the orthodox means interpreting of the Bible.

(3) Christian theorists try to make many points by using (actually misusing or abusing) cherry-picked verse and applying them in a haphazard manner.They admonish that all Christians should believe that Jesus has told them that we must deal with Israel from both a land and a people perspective.

 (a) Land: The entire issue of land has been settled and recorded in the Bible. Every land promises God made to Abraham all the way down to the 12 tribes of Israel was fulfilled. You can study the totality of the Book of Joshua to see this in explicit detail. The caveat God gave them after He fulfilled ALL of His land promises, Joshua relayed to his people thus:

14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failedEvery promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.15 But just as every good promise of the LORD your God has come true, so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you, (Joshua 23:14-16)” 
The people of Israel and its land occupiers violate God's covenant daily! Inherent in those promises God made to Abraham was a deeper and more profound message. And it is not solely a "spiritual" one as many imply and infer, but the message that God's TRUE PROMISED LAND was not going to be a restored 'Old' Jerusalem, but a heavenly city, a country of their own, who's architect is God Himself, as we CLEARLY and ever so succinctly read in Hebrews 11:8-16:

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of
the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them, (Hebrews 11:8-16).

In Hebrews 13:11-14, we read about this city (which is confirmed in Revelation 21:1-4) and ever so clearly noted   "The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come."

Old Jerusalem is not The Promised Land! The wars and contentions going back after Rome razed Jerusalem in 70 AD rages on because the Jews (and Christan Zionists) would rather believe the Pharisaical cabal of money-changers who have strived to get the power back Jesus took away from them when He paid the price and redeemed God's Kingdom forever!

 (b) This is so easy we fail to comprehend how Bible-believing Christians cannot understand what happened when Christ ascended to Heaven after His resurrection. There is no longer any Jew or Gentiles that have to be considered in prophetic discussions, as we see CLEARLY in Ephesians, Chapter 2: 

Replacement Theology? Never! We were made One New Man  in Christ Jesus:

11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called uncircumcised by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body
to reconcile both of them to God through
the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached
peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to
become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit, (Ephesians 2:11-22).

What is the relationship the Patriarchs (the faith-believing remnant) were looking forward to, that God intended to accomplish: We see again clearly in Hebrews 11:39, which states:

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect, (Hebrews 11:39).

In conclusion: We can continue to focus (eschatologically) on the political machinations we were warned not to concern ourselves with, which divides the church of God as no other issue) or we can believe in Jesus Christ, who fulfilled ALL prophecy on the cross.
But, yet, unfortunately the devil is deceiving so easily the church that it makes one wonder how they will deal when antichrist (the man of lawlessness) appears on the scene and begins to seduce and deceive so many in the church. This is happening now on such a grand scale, and this is why we wrote our books as a clarion call to explain that by abiding in Christ (and His word) we will be protected by God through what we call The End Times Passover. Many do not understand this and many will not be prepared to deal with the persecutions in the immediate horizon, which is why we wrote the above book's sequel, Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation
In His Peace,

Joe Ortiz -

There is Nothing Puritanical about Promoting Mass Revival for the American Church!

     There is a big hue and cry to take back America from the control of the so-called Immoral Left Wing and return back to godly principles, upon (which adherents believe) this nation was founded. 
     Much of this clarion call is coming from extreme right wing groups who have an agenda that includes more than securing a nation from the immoral pits of hell. It has more to do with implementing a "dominionist" oligarchy to the benefit of vested interest who claim they are fighting the implementation of a New World Order. And these folks claim they are speaking on behalf of God. Mostly comprised of right wing evangelicals, ersatz patriots and those bent on saving a predominately American National Culture, which they believe is primarily Anglo-Saxon, they fail to realize that "America" was based on principles, not ethnicity. Sadly, they believe this can be accomplished through the American evangelical church, which was established primarily by (and for) white Western European groups (such as the Puritans) who landed on Plymouth Rock. However, their hue and cry for REVIVAL is not based on scripture.
     True revival is an individual response to God's will. 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 and access His mighty power to broadcast the Gospel. And, this does not include making 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 power we mean to recognize that we have to humble ourselves before God, pray for Holy Spirit-powered gifts that will help us bring our loved ones and friends to pursue Christ; and 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 insure God receives the glory, rather than seeing how spirit-filled we are in vain glory, and our fleshly desire to be seen by others as something special.

The following is a blog that was posted five years ago on August 2006, which goes into greater detail what TRUE REVIVALis all about:

True Meaning of Revival and Prophecy is not about Predicting Future Events!

     I recently stumbled onto an article in a Christian/prophecy web site concerning Tommy Hick's vision, and subsequent comments by Stuart Dayton. As I was reading it, I saw another example of expositors who read more into scripture than is there, primarily to validate their predictive visions.
I feel led to expound briefly some of my feelings about this whole issue of "latter rain" and the supposed Holy Spirit being poured out in "moderation" on The Day of Pentecost.
     Let's revisit what Stuart Dayton wrote:
Tommy Hicks' Vision
Comment by Stuart Dayton
     I was listening to a tape where Paul Keith Davis was speaking about a dream or vision he had received. In this dream/vision there were "Prophetic Signposts." These "Prophetic Signposts" would mark new spiritual dimensions that would begin to happen when these signposts were seen. One of the signposts was the passing on of Johnny Cash. He stated that Tommy Hicks' Vision was involved in this dream/vision. This would seem like a good time to look at Tommy Hicks' Vision again.
His Blessings,

     Joe Ortiz writes:

     I skip down to this following Dayton narrative, which is the crux of the matter. I underline the word "moderately," the word I researched very carefully for its true meaning. Stuart's premise (as he analyzes Tommy Hicks vision) is that a "double portion" of the Holy Spirit will be poured out in the last days.

     Dayton continues:

     "In the book of Acts we read that 'In the last days,' God said, 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.' I wonder if we realized what he meant when God said, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh." I do not think I fully realize nor could I understand the fullness of it, and then I read from the book of Joel: "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 " (Joel 2:23). 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!"

     Joe Ortiz writes:

     Before we examine the word moderately, let's read Joel 2:23 in the King James Version to refamiliarize ourselves with this profound verse:

     "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]."
     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 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 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 visionary's intentions. Maybe they feel they have a special gift of predicting the future through various dreams and so-called visions. Who knows? Joel did say young men will have visions and old men will have dreams once the Holy Spirit has been poured out. However, I see no recordation of the disciples proclaiming any new visions or specific predictions other than what was already written in OT scripture. Holy Spirit power gifts were poured out on them to edify, embolden, etc. They were poured out on The Day of Pentecost in their fullest power! Let us examine these gifts, as cited in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11:

Spiritual Gifts

     1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3Therefore 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. 4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[1] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[2] 11All 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)
     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 with PREDICTIONS. 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 (even William Miller's prediction of the Lord's return in 1843). Some came true, but not poor Bill Miller's predictions. I 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:

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 forth-telling 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 me back to the whole issue of "Latter rain" and a "new anointing." 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 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. To make claim that He has plans to "kick it up a notch," is to deny His power was insufficient at Pentecost.
     If we do see any future (demonstrative) revivals, such as those people claim happen at conferences and rallies being held by the Benny Hinn's of the world, they will not be of God. If we see masses of people suddenly coming to Christ due to any unique predictions by those who believe they possess the gift of (predictive) PROPHECY, it will not be of God.
     We have seen this phenomenon throughout history. 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 masses coming to Him at the behest of charismatic preachers and celebrities and modern day 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 the filling of beautiful church buildings or stadiums with people looking for a new experience, but it’s the filling of people with God’s presence through the Holy Spirit.
     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 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 insure God receives the glory, rather than seeing how spirit-filled we in vain glory and fleshly desire 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 wordily glory. To present to others so-called predictive prophecies 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” (meaning the Holy Spirit) that is being poured 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, in all its power on that great day!
     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 Lindsey's, 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!
     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 to guide us in all things.
     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 any person claims they have received visions concerning floods will occur in Memphis, hurricanes in Toledo, scorching heat waves in El Paso, whether George W. Bush will be captured by UFO’s, Brittany Spears will marry an aborigine from Brazil, or whether Shania Twain will have triplets in the year 2007, 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, 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. We need His grace, mercy and loving kindness. Therefore, we need to worship and praise Him for what He has done in Jesus Christ, and for who He is, ALMIGHTY GOD!

Joe Ortiz,
Author, The End Times Passover
For information about the author's two books that challenge the Pre-tribulation Rapture to Heaven, and other non-biblical polemics, click on The End Times Passover and Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation. To access the author's web sites and blogs, please click on Joe Ortiz