Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Holy Spirit Versus Our Own Intellect

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen, (2 Corinthians 13:14).
    Trinitarian. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity boldly declares the equality of the Three Persons and the right of the Holy Spirit to be worshipped and glorified. Anything less than this is something less than Trinitarianism. The Pursuit of Man, 60-61 by A.W. Tozer

    These words of wisdom from Tozer are probably one of most crucial aspect that is ignored in order to walk a true path with Christ. The entire subject matter concerning the need to be empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit is too often ignored. There are well-intended Christians who preach and teach varying doctrines (as they interpret the word of God) who fail to trust in Holy Spirit confirmation. Even the most educated and studious teacher-preacher-evangelist-minister who claims to follow Christ seldom sits back before or after studying the word of God and pray seeking Holy Spirit confirmation, and then (unwittingly or purposefully) writing or commenting on what they have read or studied. In their haste and enthusiasm to share what they believe is new found truth, they oftentimes rush to publish their views without first consulting the Holy Spirit. Unlike many dedicated scholars who go as far as sharing their information with other scholars to get their opinion, and then take those findings to the Holy Spirit for confirmation, independent prophets rush to publish rather than being open to advice from other like-minded disciples.

    Sadly, there are many ersatz prophets who actually claim they received esoteric visions and data from God that supports a unique doctrinal position that (if examined carefully) would not pass canonical muster. Therefore, it behooves ALL folks to be willing to share and compare (not debate and argue) information they may have gleaned from the Bible to test its veracity. Most of the time, this may include deep study into the exact meaning of certain words in scripture, and also comparing those words with how they may be used in other verses. For example, the Greek word topos is rendered as room, place, opportunity, condition, and license to describe a position or condition which a person occupies. A case in point, in describing what a particular person means to me, I can say, I have a special place in my heart for Mary or Joseph. This doesn’t mean that Mary or Joseph can actually and physically occupy their total persona inside my heart, but from a conditional perspective, they been afforded an opportunity, or have the license to be part of my life.
    This same word topos is used in John 14:2 where Jesus said, In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place (topos) for you. Many people interpret the word place here to mean a room, an abode, a mansion, a chamber, a house or a castle, when in reality Jesus is stating He is currently preparing a positional status for us in His kingdom, according to our accomplishments in His service.

    We see the same confusion as we read the story about the baby Jesus in Bethlehem in Luke 2:7, as Mary gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  
    Understanding the deeper meaning of the word room as is used here, the word for room is topos which conveys more so that it wasn’t a case of there being no rooms available, but rather that Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus were actually not afforded the opportunity to stay at the Inn. This is understandable for several reasons, one that King Herod was seeking the baby to kill him, as well as the fact that Joseph and Mary were not married and the Inn keeper could very well say the couple had moral issues he didn’t want to deal with in his reputable establishment. Maybe they didn’t have the funds. Regardless, the word topos has more to do with opportunity (or lack there of) to stay at the Inn as opposd to what most surmise there were no rooms (Greek tameion, a room or a chamber) available.
    Nevertheless, one can see by these two examples how easily a student of the Bible could render an altered perspective on just one verse by not having a true understanding of what the original word truly means and how it has been used in other verses. Many a doctrine have sprouted throughout history on such unsubstantiated foundations, and it continues to this day.
    Therefore, whereas a sound hermeneutical and exegetical formula or system has been considered when Bible students (and scholars) attempt to arrive at a more succinct meaning to certain scripture, even after doing all of this work, we must continue to go to the Holy Spirit and pray for His confirmation.
    In this day in age, with the conveniences of the Internet, Ipods, cell phones and other electronic gadgetry to assist us and get our views into the public arena much faster than say fifty or even a hundred years ago, preachers-teachers-ministers-evangelists and all who proffer doctrine to the general public, should take time before publishing their views for public consumption until they have received that moment of peace, tranquility and assurance that only the Holy Spirit can provide as confirmation the knowledge we pass on to others is correct. We may be surprised to know and realize that it’s really time to go back to the drawing board and reconsider what we think may be Gospel truth. There are way too many variations and self interpretations of God’s word being presented to the church nowadays that is mere conjecture and assumptions being proffered by many preachers and teachers who have not done enough deep study, nor prayed for Holy Spirit confirmation; but yet preach and teach various doctrines as if they are Gospel truth. The sad part of this is their audience accepts it as Gospel truth and unwittingly pass that erroneous information to others.
    Is what we present to others truly the work of the Holy Spirit or is it merely our intellect, which can be mere soothing rhetoric intended to earn praise and "like" approval from our respective audience, who may walk away believing what you stated is Gospel truth? Only the Holy Spirit can confirm God’s truth.
    Remember this, as we are told in James 3:1:  Not many of you should presume to be Masters (teachers), my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly!
    I’m in His Peace!

For information about the author and his two books, click on The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer "Great Tribulation" To access the author’s web sites and blogs, click on Joe Ortiz.

Monday, May 14, 2012

An "Open Letter" to Todd Strandberg of Rapture Ready.Com web site

Dave MacPherson, renown researcher into the origins of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven myth, has been critized severly by many proponents of that unbiblical doctrine. He has written several books and hundreds of article regarding this subject, solely to apprise his fellow Christians that Pre-Trib dogma is not scriptural. He has reached out to many authors, teachers, evangelists and others who promote "Pre-Trib" in an effort to discuss the issue and hopefully that together he and proponents can arrive at a mutual understanding concerning the matter can be resolved for the edification of the church to move forward and be a more effective force to bring unbelievers into the Kingdom of God. Yet, 100% of "Pre-Trib" proponents reject his outreach and, instead, continue to publicly attack him. Why? If proponents of "Pre-Trib" are convinced in their polemic, why do they fear having an open dialogue?

Below is an open letter Dave sent to Todd Strandberg over 10 years ago to discuss this matter, and he has never received so much as an "I'm not interested" response, instead, Strandberg stands by his claims and has never made any changes to his web site!

                  (by Dave MacPherson in 2001)
Sergeant Strandberg (of "Rapture Ready" fame):
     It has come to my attention here at this Air Force base that you, as a supply sergeant, have been accepting items of inferior and even dangerous quality!
     Now, it's true that your actions are far from deserving a court-martial. But let me remind you, Sergeant, that your reputation is in jeopardy, and if you don't improve the quality of the items you distribute, the Commander-in-Chief who's over both of us may have some words with you one of these days!
     Sergeant, now where in the world did you get some of those substandard items that are in your "Margaret MacDonald Who?" article that's in the "Pretribulation Rapture" section of your "Rapture Ready" website?
     You maintain that I "have never been able to prove that Darby ever heard of MacDonald or her vision."
     FACTS: In John Darby's book The Irrationalism of Infidelity (1853), pp. 283-5, he described in great detail his visit with her in her home in Scotland in mid-1830 and even talked about her endtime outlook and the Scriptural texts she used for support! (All this is in my book The Incredible Cover-up.)
     Then you claim that Darby's pretrib view was derived from "the distinction between Israel and the church."
     FACTS: Darby's first clear pretrib teaching, in his "Notes on the Revelation" (1839), p. 206, was based on only the symbol (!) of the man child "caught up" in Rev. 12:5----and this was his pretrib basis for 30 years (from the 1830's to the 1860's)! Interestingly, this symbol was Edward Irving's pretrib basis in his "Interpretation of the Old-Testament Prophecies quoted in the New" (The Morning Watch, June, 1831, p. 301)----a full eight years before Darby "appropriated" Irving's idea!
     You then assert that Darby discovered the pretrib rapture concept in 1827.
     FACTS: Darby himself wrote in his "Short but serious Examination of...'Daniel the Prophet'" (1850), p. 67, that he came to "understand" pretrib in 1830 and not 1827----an understanding that came to him only afterthe Irvingite journal The Morning Watch (which he regularly read) began to clearly teach pretrib in its Sep., 1830 issue (which saw "Philadelphia" raptured, in a partial rapture scheme, before "the great tribulation," pp. 510, 514!).
     And you foolishly declare that Margaret Macdonald (it was spelled this way) couldn't have been a pretrib because she taught that the "Church" will be persecuted by the Antichrist.
     FACTS: For more than 30 years I've emphasized, in my books and articles and while guesting on worldwide talk shows, that the Irvingites, as well as Margaret, taught pretrib before Darby did.
     My critics, wishing to divert attention away from unmistakably clear pretrib teaching by Irvingites, have focused instead on uneducated Margaret and her brief and somewhat unclear revelation account. They also know that she held to partial rapturism which sees PART of the "church" taken in a pretrib rapture and the REST of the "church" enduring the trib. By covering up her pretrib rapture ("one taken and the other left" before "THE WICKED" is "revealed") and emphasizing her posttrib-flavored statements like "The trial of the Church is from Antichrist," they can hopefully discredit her as the originator and give that honor to someone else who seems to have a better reputation! Incidentally, all partial rapturists including Pember and Govett have always described the ones "left behind" as the "Church" (the way Margaret talked) and even John Walvoord's books classify partial rapturists as "pretribulationists"!
     Since some of the emotional and spiritual cripples on your Rapture Ready message board have gotten the impression from someone with little conscience (I wonder who!) that I am a heretical (and even Satanic) liar that no one should ever listen to, I am forced to tell you that since the early 1970's my books on pretrib history have been publicly endorsed by a galaxy of leading evangelical theologians as well as church history experts----scholars from Merrill Tenney and F. F. Bruce to Robert Gundry and Walter Martin. [Google "Scholars Weigh My Research."]
     Finally, Sergeant, in order to shore up your collapsing pillar of pretrib sand, you seem to enjoy dropping names like Thomas Ice, Pseudo-Ephraem, Morgan Edwards, and Manuel Lacunza.
     FACTS: Whenever I see a photo of Ice, I'm reminded that your site considers him the "heavy" artillery who constantly shoots off his mouth about the "pretrib" outlook of the last three names. I wonder, Sergeant, what your fans will think when they discover my "Deceiving and Being Deceived" article (on many sites) which exposes the plagiarism, document revisionism, phony "Dr." degrees, cover-up and other pretrib dishonesty, and which also proves that Pseudo-Ephraem, Edwards, and Lacunza had the historical habit of blending together the rapture and the final advent! [Google "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" and "The Rapture Index (Mad Theology)."]
     Sergeant, since you are dedicated to the Commander-in-Chief and His love of truth and want His promotion, I expect you to wipe that grin off your face and clean up your site!
     "Colonel" Dave MacPherson

Being that Dave MacPherson does not have a web site nor a blog (due to the fact he and his wife Wanda travel all over the country lecturing at various churches and schools), we, at The End Times Passover have offered Dave the use of our site to send out what he considers important messages. If you would like to discuss the open letter or have any questions for Dave MacPherson, please feel free to use our comment section at the end of this message, and we will immediately relay your information to him. Or, you can send him and email, in care of Joe Ortiz, directly to my email address at:

Thank you!

Joe Ortiz