RSS

Search results for ‘christ the true prophet’

Jesus Christ: The True Greatest Prophet

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1, 2). 

The issue of prophecy is no doubt a big thing, especially, in the African Church today where various people have come

Jesus

Jesus: The True Greatest Prophet

up declaring that God has called them as prophets. I remember a couple of months ago while attending and speaking at a missions conference, a young man came to me and asked, “Confex, what about the prophets?” I wasn’t so sure what he meant by the question and I asked him to elaborate. He then said, “What does Scripture say about prophets today?”

I believe that Hebrews 1:1, 2 helps us to put this matter of prophets in the right perspective. However, before dwelling on the passage, there is a need to go back to the Old Testament where the ministry of prophets began and see what it says about prophets.  Basing on various passages of Scripture, we see that prophets were people who had been called by God to speak on behalf of God. In others words, prophets took the word from God and presented it God’s people.

Now Scripture tells us that all the prophets pointed to one true greatest prophet Jesus Christ.  In other words, all the prophets were a foreshadow of one true great prophet, Jesus Christ. Moses who was the first prophet in the Old Testament prophesied about one true great prophet In Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 when he said: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers – it is him you shall listen. And the LORD said to me, ‘I will raise up for them a prophet like you among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”

Luke 24:27 also tells us that all prophets pointed to Jesus and their work found its fulfillment in Christ. This is what we read in Luke 24:27: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Again in this passage we see that All the prophets spoke about Jesus the true greatest prophet.

Indeed Jesus Christ is the true greatest prophet, first,  because unlike the prophets of the past who had to get their revelation from God, Jesus is the source of revelation. That’s why if you read your Bible you will find that the prophets of the Old Testament would begin or end their prophecy by saying: “Thus says the Lord…..”  But when Jesus speaks, he begins by saying: “I say unto you… or Truly, Truly, I say to you….”

Secondly, Jesus Christ is our true greatest prophet because he reveals the full picture of God to us. The prophets of the old times began to reveal the picture of God to us but their work remained incomplete until when Christ came and revealed the full picture of God to us. It’s like the painter. Before a painter paints a picture, he begins to draw with a pencil and after that he takes the painting brush and paints the picture and eventually we see the full picture as it ought to look.

Like a painter, the other prophets drew the picture of God with a pencil and when Christ came he finished the picture with the painting brush. The Bible affirms this truth when read in Colossians 1:15 and 19 that “(Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” John 1:1 and 14 also says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

In Jesus, the full picture of God is revealed to us. Therefore, if we want to know God, we should realize that we have the greatest prophet who reveals this God to us. He is Jesus Christ.  There is no need for you and me to run to this man and that woman in order to hear from God. We have Jesus the Word who reveals the full picture of God to us.

Jesus fully reveals God to us in Scripture. As somebody said, “All Scripture is all about Jesus and according Jesus.” Immerse yourself in it. Read it with joy and out of love and you will know God fully. You don’t need any prophet any more for you to know God because in these last days,  God has spoken to us through Jesus Christ.  By the way, the last days began with the coming of Christ on earth. From that time to now, we are living in the last days.

Thirdly, Jesus Christ is the true greatest prophet because He reveals the whole will of God to us. In the past God revealed his will through the prophets little by little at different times in history. At one particular time God would reveal his will at that time through one prophet. Then at another time God could also reveal his will at that time through another prophet. You can see this very clearly when you consider the prophets of the Old Testament. Each prophet came at a particular time to reveal God’s will at that particular time and to particular people.

For instance, Prophet Isaiah prophesied about the Babylonian captivity for the Southern Kingdom of Judah and also the fall of Babylon as well as the return of Israelites from Babylon. Prophet Jeremiah prophesied to the Southern Kingdom of Judah about the victory of King Nebuchadnezzar over this nation as means of God’s punishment to unrepentant Judah. Prophet Ezekiel prophesied while in Babylon the return of God’s people to the Promised Land.  Prophet Joel prophesied about the Day of the Lord in which God will come in judgment upon his covenant people for their disobedience and rebellion against God.  Prophet Hosea prophesied in the Northern Kingdom of Israel and he mainly spoke against the mixing of worship of Yahweh with idols also known as syncretism.

So, the prophets kept building on each other as they revealed God’s will to his people. They kept revealing God’s will for his people in stages or phases; however, when Christ came he revealed the whole will of God to us. This is why Hebrews 1:1, 2 says that in the past God spoke to us in various ways through various prophets but now, He has spoken to us once and for all through Jesus Christ.

God wants us to listen to our true greatest prophet Jesus. This is why during the Transfiguration when Jesus took Apostles Peter, John and James to the top of a mountain. Moses and Elijah appeared to them and God the Father spoke from heaven and said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him” (Luke 9:35).

Fourthly, Jesus is our true greatest prophet because He reveals the whole future to us. One of the things that the prophets of the old were known for was their ability to foretell the future. Although prophecy involves more than foretelling future events, still this is an element of prophecy.

Jesus is our true greatest prophet because he does not only know the future but he is also the future himself.  Jesus Christ being fully God he is our future. There is nothing that will come to pass in this world or in the life to come that Jesus does not know or control. While God could reveal some future events to the old prophets, in Jesus the whole future is in his hands. This is why Christ says to us: “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:17).

Bill and Linda Gaither put it well when they composed that hymn, “Because He Lives’ and declared:

 Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

In Jesus the true greatest prophet our future is secured because he does not only know the future but also holds the future and the whole world in his hands. Oh, how I love this true and greatest prophet.

So please, let this truth always linger in you mind: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1, 2).

 
8 Comments

Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Christianity and theology

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Biblical Prophets Vs. Today’s Prophets

A couple of days ago, the social media was awash with a prophecy coming from the West Africa, Nigeria in particular. The so-called Prophet TB Joshua predicted the outcome of USA 2016 Elections. He stated that a female candidate would win. This was a reference to Hilary Clinton. However, come early this morning, the “prophecy” has proved to be another false prediction.

Now this is not the first time that prophets in my beautiful and beloved continent have predicted falsely. They are a number of instances that can be cited, but that is beside the point of this post. I am writing mainly to express my concern over some people’s unhealthy fascination with prophets.

Prophets have become so popular in Africa that they are regarded as semi-gods, which is certainly against the Second Commandment. Prophets have also become the elite and one of rich groups of people, monetary wise, at the expense of their poor followers. But this is very different from the picture we see of Biblical prophets both in the Old and New Testament.

The Biblical prophets were often unpopular. Their message was very offensive to those rebelling against God. The Biblical prophets were not crowd-pullers as our “prophets” today. They were not business magnets as the prophets our time. When one was called to be a prophet in the Bible, it often meant putting your life in the harm’s way.

While it was not all glamour and glitter for the Biblical prophets, it’s all a bed of roses for the contemporary “prophets.” The biographies of modern “prophets” stand in sharp contrast to the biographies of Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, and John the Baptist just to mention a few examples.

Looking at this fact, one thing is certain: the prophets like those in the Bible no longer exist. Without repeating what I have stated again and again, the ultimate fulfiment of the office of Biblical prophets is found in Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus Christ is the Prophet par excellence. He is the only prophet we need today. In fact, he is not only the Prophet but also the Priest and King forever.

Now back to the prophecy of TB Joshua. His so-called prophecy should bring to mind Deuteronomy 18:20-22:

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’  And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’ when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

Now we know how we should respond to TB Joshua and all the so-called prophets.

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

Beware of False Prophets

I believe John Calvin has a better commentary on these words of Christ than I could ever pen down.  Therefore, I will let him speak.

“But beware of false prophets (Matthew 7:15).  These words were intended to teach, that the Church would be exposed to various (impostors), and that consequently many would be in danger of falling from the faith, if they were not carefully on their guard. We know what a strong inclination men have towards falsehood, so that they not only have a natural desire to be deceived, but each individual appears to be ingenious in deceiving himself.

Satan, who is a wonderful contriver of delusions, is constantly laying snares to entrap ignorant and heedless persons. (Jesus) therefore warns his disciples that, if they desire to persevere (in the faith), they must prepare themselves to avoid the snares of Satan. It is the will of the Lord, (as has been already said,) that his Church shall be engaged in uninterrupted war in this world. That we may continue to be his disciples to the end, it is not enough that we are merely submissive, and allow ourselves to be governed by his Word. Our faith, which is constantly attacked by Satan, must be prepared to resist.

It is of the greatest consequence, undoubtedly, that we should let ourselves to be directed by good and faithful ministers of Christ: but as false teachers, on the other hand, make their appearance, if we do not carefully watch, and if we are not fortified by perseverance, we shall be easily carried off from the flock. To this purpose also is that saying of Christ: “The sheep hear the voice of the shepherd; and a stranger. They do not follow, but flee from him,” (John 10:3, 5)

Hence too we conclude, that there is no reason why believers should be discouraged or alarmed, when wolves creep into the fold of Christ, when false prophets endeavor to corrupt the purity of the faith by false doctrines. They ought rather to be aroused to keep watch: for it is not without reason that Christ enjoins them to be on their guard. Provided that we are not led astray through our own sluggishness, we shall be able to avoid every kind of snares; and, indeed, without this confidence, we would not have the courage necessary for being on our guard.

Now that we know that the Lord will not fail to perform his promises, whatever may be the attacks of Satan, let us go boldly to the Lord, asking from him the Spirit of wisdom, by whose influences he not only seals on our hearts the belief of his truth, but exposes the tricks and impositions of Satan, that we may not be deceived by them. When Christ says, that they come to us in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves, his meaning is, that they (will seem to be true), if prudence be not exercised in subjecting them to a thorough examination” ~ John Calvin (July 10, 1509 to May 27, 1564)

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Sound Teaching

 

Tags: , , , ,

Do prophets still exist today?

Quadruple combination opened to the Book of Is...

The Bible: God’s Final Special Revelation

Do prophets still exist today? My answer: Yes and No. Please allow me to explain.

Yes: Basing on Scripture we see that prophets were the men called by God to speak on behalf of God. In other words, prophets took a word from God and gave it to God’s people. In this sense, I would say that prophets still exists in form of preachers of God’s Word. Every time, a preacher stands up to preach from the Bible (God’s Word) he is actually saying: “Thus says the Lord in the Bible.” So in this case, prophets (preachers) still exist today.

No: Prophets both in the Old and New Testament got their revelation directly from God in various forms. So, in this sense, prophets of the caliber of Old  and New Testament (who directly get special revelations from God) do not exist anymore. Why? Because God’s special revelation ceased with the completion of the Bible (66 books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament).

I know the statement ‘God’s special revelation ceased’ has sent cold chills down the spine of some and probably you have began to agitate in anger against me but I beg you to hear me out. So, please read on.

God’s giving of special revelation (the Bible) had to with the redemption or salvation of man after man sinned. From Genesis, God revealed his plan of salvation little by little until when Christ came and completed the plan of saving man through his birth, death, burial and resurrection. So, when God completed his work of saving man through Jesus Christ, God also completed the work of giving out special revelation with the last book of Revelation.

F. Fowler White is right when he writes in his article, “Does God Speak Today Apart from the Bible”

“God’s giving of revelation, spoken and written, is always historically joined and qualified by God’s work of redemption. Now that God has accomplished salvation once-for-all, in Christ, He has also spoken His word, once-for-all, in Christ and in those whom Christ has authorized and empowered by His Spirit (Hebrews 1:1, 2; 2:3, 4; Matthew 16:15-19; John 14:26; Ephesians 2:19, 20). With the completion of salvation in Christ comes the cessation of revelation. Consequently, the church now lives by a ‘Scripture only’ principle of authority,” (Reformed Perspective Magazine, Vol. 9, No. 15, April 8-14, 2007).

Today, we cannot get any special revelation apart from the one that God has revealed to us through the Bible. Please consider this. Suppose a person calling himself a prophet comes to you with a book in which he has written all ‘the revelations’ he has got from God, will you add that book to the Bible so that you have a Bible with 67 books? Would you call that book the Word of God as you call the Bible? Certainly not! Yet what God revealed to the prophets of the old is contained in the Bible as God’s own word. I hope you get my point there!

Also ponder with me on this. When I ask those who believe that prophets still exist on how they know whether a prophecy is true, they say that they weigh it against the Bible. If what is said is supported by the Bible they take it. If what that man calling himself a prophet says anything that contradicts the Scripture, they leave it.

Now, if you always have to compare any ‘new revelation’ with the Bible, it means that there is no single new revelation that can come to you besides the Bible. In other words, you are in essence saying that God’s final revelation is the Bible and whatever ‘revelation’ that is outside the Bible is not God’s revelation at all, isn’t it? By this, you, further,  agree with me that there are no new ‘revelations’ apart from the Bible hence no new prophecies apart from those contained in the Bible consequently also no prophets like those we read in the Bible.

But some would argue for the existence of prophets today by quoting  that familiar verse about various ministries in the church, Ephesians 4:11, 12: which reads: “And he (Christ) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

But before you can conclude that prophets still exist basing on these verses, please just go back to chapter 2 of the same Letter to Ephesians and read verses 19 to 21:

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,” (Underscoring added).

The same Apostle Paul who tells us that God gave the gifts of apostle and prophets to the Church also reminds us that these apostles and prophets are the foundation of the Church. Now, let me ask you. After you have laid the foundation of a house, do you still use the same foundation materials to build the wall of the house as well as roof it? NO! The foundation remains down.

Similarly, the apostles and prophets being foundation of the church are no longer needed today unless we say that the church is still at its foundational level. But most certainly, after almost 2, 000 years since the birth of the New Testament Church no one would say that the Church is still at its foundation level. The church of Christ has grown and it continues to grow.

But what about the ‘predictions’ that the men called ‘prophets’ make and they come to pass, aren’t these a sign that prophets still exist today? First, we should not confuse prophecy with prediction. In as much as prediction is part of prophecy, prophecy is more than prediction. The prophets of the Bible rebuked, taught, encouraged and also predicted.

Secondly, we should realize that the ability to predict does not always and solely come from God. In Acts 16:16-18, we read of a girl who could predict out of powers of a demon. Recently also, during the 2010 World Cup Soccer Finals, there was an octopus called Paul in Germany that also predicted outcome of games before they were played. Did this ability to predict, in the two cases cited, come due to revelations directly from God? No! Would you call the girl and the octopus, prophets? God forbid!

As I wrap up, I would like to highlight that there are some good and well meaning Christians, some of them are my good friends and even relatives, who believe that prophets still exist, probably basing on what is happening, especially, in the African Church today. Of course, I would not call them heretics. However, I would encourage them to sincerely and prayerfully study Scripture and they will find out that prophets no longer exists today except in cases in which a prophet means a preacher of God’s Word.  Bill Crouse says it better:

“The men who challenge the Church to revive the gift of prophecy have good intentions. They want to see significant growth in the Kingdom; they want to see believers have a vital mystical relationship with Christ. They are not heretics, but they are proposing major doctrinal shifts that we sincerely believe will lead to confusion and dangerous consequences. Regardless of spectacular experience being reported by godly men, we must resist the temptation to satisfy our spiritual thirst for anything other than the certainty of the written Word of God” (C.I.M. Outline #57, The Gift of Prophecy: Is it for today?).

 
48 Comments

Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Christianity and theology

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

PREDICTING JUDGEMENT DAY IS ANTI-CHRISTIAN

On May 21, 2011 some people in various parts of the world waited with bated breath for the coming of Christ to take them to heaven. They had believed the prediction of a man from California, named, Harold Camping. But to their dismay, May 21, 2011 came and went just like any other day. No doubt, there were regrets, tears, anger, confusion just to mention but a few.

History is full of stories of people who predicted the end that never was. Most of these people, if not all of them claimed to be Christians and they used Scripture to make their predictions. A latest episode is the one of May 21, 2011. Harold Camping fooled some people into believing that rapture will occur on May 21, 2011 and the complete end of the world will be on October 21, 2011. I don’t have to remind you that both prophecies proved to be a fallacy.

Predicting the Day of Judgment has very serious theological implications. While some might regard it as an element of Christianity, the truth is that prophesying the actual day that the world will end is anti-Christian. This fact is seen when one puts on their biblical and theological lenses and look at the whole issue critically.

The first implication is that if one predicts the end of the world he makes God to be a liar. God has said in his word, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only…Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming…Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44).

God in his word has clearly said that nobody except himself knows the Day of Judgment. Now, if somebody rises and claims that he knows the Day of Judgment he makes God to be a liar. He is in essence saying, “He lied to you that nobody except God knows the Day of Judgment, here I am I know it as well.”

Now if God can lie concerning the Day of Judgment, should we trust him in other areas? Should we trust his word when he says “Believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ and you will be saved”? (Acts 16:31).

If God can lie about the Day of Judgment can we take him at his word when he says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”? (1 John 1:9).

This is the difficult situation in which all those who claim to know the Day of Judgment find themselves in. They imply that God is a liar and should not be fully trusted.

Again, here we need to ask: if God can change like this, can we really trust him? In Acts 4:12, God says that there is only one name by which we must be saved and that name is Jesus Christ. If God changes, how can we be sure that tomorrow he won’t change and give us another name by which we must be saved?

For sure If God could change then there could have been little hope in Christianity. However, the good news is that God can never change. Listen to what he says in Malachi 3:6: “I the LORD do not change.”

Sign for Family Radio's prediction of the end ...

Sign for Family Radio's prediction of the end of the world (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thirdly, predicting the end takes the eyes of people from Christ and his cross which is the basis for salvation of mankind. Those who predict the “doomsday” draw all the attention to themselves. People no longer talk about Christ but the prophets. People will say, “Let me repent because so and so says that the world is ending” instead of saying “Christ loved and died for me on the cross, I need to repent of my sins and be saved.”

It should be Christ and the power of his cross that should lead people to salvation and not the wisdom of calculating years to arrive at a date that the world will end. Apostle Paul knew very well about the futility of wisdom compared to the power of the cross. That is why he challenged the Corinthians who loved knowledge and wisdom and said: “When I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1, 2).

Lastly, predicting the end and claiming that it will lead to salvation of many souls in unbiblical. Salvation is by grace not by fear. It was “Amazing grace…that saved a wretch like me” and not the amazing fear of the end of the world.

Moreover, fear can never truly save anybody. It is God who saves and nothing else. No matter what tricks we can come up with, they can never truly save. They will only produce fake and false conversions. “For it is by grace you have been saved and this is the gift (or the work) of God” (Ephesians 2:8) (italics added).

These are some of very serious theological implications that come along with predicting the day and the hour that the Lord is coming. So, for me,  instead of regarding the prophets who predict the “doomsday” as working for the good of Christianity, I see them as doing otherwise.  It is not my intention to judge or question their Christianity.  Only God can judge them. Nevertheless, one thing I know for sure is that predicting Judgment Day is anti-Christian hence I don’t doubt that it grieves Christ.

Postscript:Following his failed predictions, Harold Camping together with his Family Radio Station have repented of their sin. I thank God for this and I believe that Camping’s repentance is sincere and that Christ has forgiven him. Below is a letter of his confession and repentance which was posted on the website of Family Radio but I got it from the website of Christian Post.

THE BOARD OF FAMILY RADIO WISHES TO POST THE FOLLOWING LETTER FROM MR. CAMPING. IT WAS OUR WISH, OUT OF RESPECT FOR OUR LISTENERS, TO MAIL OUT THIS LETTER BEFORE POSTING IT TO THE WEB SITE. HOWEVER, BECAUSE IT WAS LEAKED TO THE INTERNET WITHOUT OUR AUTHORIZATION, WE HAVE MADE THE DECISION TO POST IT IMMEDIATELY TO AVOID CONFUSION. THIS LETTER WILL ALSO BE MAILED OUT TO OUR LISTENERS.

“God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” Romans 3:4

Dear Family Radio Family,

In this time of confusion and turmoil, God’s Word remains the only truth in which we can trust. God has shown us again the truth that He alone is true. In Romans 3:4 God declares: “Let God be true but every man a liar.” Events within the last year have proven that no man can be fully trusted. Even the most sincere and zealous of us can be mistaken.

The May 21 campaign was an astounding event if you think about its impact upon this world. There is no question that millions, if not billions of people heard for the first time the Bible’s warning that Jesus Christ will return. Huge portions of this world that had never read or seen a Bible heard the message the Christ Jesus is coming to rapture His people and destroy this natural world.

Yes, we humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing; yet though we were wrong God is still using the May 21 warning in a very mighty way. In the months following May 21 the Bible has, in some ways, come out from under the shadows and is now being discussed by all kinds of people who never before paid any attention to the Bible. We learn about this, for example, by the recent National Geographic articles concerning the King James Bible and the Apostles. Reading about and even discussing about the Bible can never be a bad thing, even if the Bible’s authenticity is questioned or ridiculed. The world’s attention has been called to the Bible.

We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world. Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date. God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.

We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours! We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically.

We realize that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ’s return. In fact for a time Family Radio fell into that kind of thinking. But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that “of that day and hour knoweth no man” (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God’s divine plan.

We were even so bold as to insist that the Bible guaranteed that Christ would return on May 21 and that the true believers would be raptured. Yet this incorrect and sinful statement allowed God to get the attention of a great many people who otherwise would not have paid attention. Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible. However, even so, that does not excuse us. We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.

So we must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety. At Family Radio, we continue to look to God for guidance. If it is His good pleasure for us to continue on with our original mission, the proclamation of the Gospel, God’s Word, then we must continue to look to Him.

We consider you to be a real part of this ministry and the tremendous opportunities which God, by His unfathomable mercy and grace, continues to give to us. And, your steadfast involvement and support is so appreciated!

May God bless you,
Harold Camping and the staff of Family Radio.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Christianity and theology

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

False Teachers and Prophets

One of the main challenges that the church has faced over the centuries is that of false teachers and prophets. Even today, the church is not immune to them. The most challenging thing is that these false teachers and prophets come in sheep’s skin so that it’s hard to recognize them at first sight.

This important truth should always been borne in mind by every Christian. False teacher or prophets do not come giving out brochures and declaring to you that they are fake teachers. They don’t blow trumpets and proclaim on top of their voice that there are bogus prophets neither do they put on badges on their coats marked with brighter colors “False Teacher or Prophet.” They all come as angels of light.

However, the good news is that these false teachers and prophets cannot go for long without their true colors being revealed. This is why Christ assured us: “By their fruits you shall know them.”

By this I don’t intend to encourage that you doubt every servant of God but with godly wisdom observe their fruits. For sure this truth remains: false teachers will always be with us but thank God they cannot fool God.

“But you beloved, build yourself up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life,” (Jude 20).

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

If They Cannot Believe the Scriptures, They Will Never Believe…

Some months ago, a Ghanaian online newspaper carried an article of a woman who claims that she went to hell where she saw world leaders and celebrities who died some time ago. She claims that Jesus took her to hell and later brought her back to life to warn people so that they should repent and believe in Christ. Her story can be accessed on this link, http://www.reportghananews.com/i-saw-whitney-houston-gadhafi-in-hell-and-they-gave-me-messages-woman-narrates-her-2nd-visit-to-hell/

Now, this is not the first time for me to read or hear stories like these. Dozens of books and movies have been written and produced of people who went either to hell or heaven or both and were sent back by Jesus to share their experience so that people can believe in Christ and escape hell . Whether these stories are real and true is another topic for another day. However, in this post, I would like to highlight this important truth: If people cannot believe in Christ through the preaching of the gospel, they will never believe in him through these stories.

Why am I saying so? Because the Scriptures say so. In Luke 16:19-31, we read a story of a rich man and Lazarus. Both of them died and were buried. Lazarus was carried by angels to the side of Abraham (Paradise/heaven). The rich man went to Hades (hell) where there was torment.

The rich man later made a request to Abraham who was in heaven with Lazarus and said: “I beg you, father (Abraham), to send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house – for I have five brothers – so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment”(v.27).

By this request, the rich man is asking that Lazarus who had died should come back to life and share his experience of hell and heaven to his own people. Lazarus’ experience should act as a warning to unbelievers so that they should believe in Christ or else go to hell when they die.

Abraham responded: “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them” (v. 29).

“Moses and Prophets” here refers to the books of the Old Testament (see also Luke 24:27) since by the time Jesus was narrating this story, the New Testament had not yet been compiled. In other words, Abraham is saying, “Those people have the Bible, let them believe it.”

The rich man replies: “No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent” (v. 30).

Here now comes an important answer from Abraham. “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets (Bible), neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” ( v. 31).

In other words, Abraham is saying, “If they cannot believe the Bible, even if someone should rise from the dead and warn them of hell, they will never believe.”

Friends, this is an important truth for us. Let’s not underrate the sufficiency of Scriptures in our lives. God has given them to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15). For sure, no single person can be saved without hearing the gospel (Gospel is a synonym for Scripture). Apostle Paul drives this point home in Romans 10:8-17: “But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching…So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Personal experiences of hell or heaven alone can never save anybody. This is why I am reiterating that the Church should remain faithful in preaching the gospel and never let the so called experiences of hell or heaven take her eyes of the main thing which is the preaching of the Scriptures or the gospel.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Christianity and theology

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

My Thoughts and Prayers for the Persecuted Church

This morning as I thought and prayed for fellow Christians who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ and His word worldwide, especially, in Iraq and Syria I was reminded of the following passages of Scripture:

Revelation 6:9-11: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on earth? Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”

Matthew 5: 10-12: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Romans 12: “Bless those who persecute you; bless them and do not curse them.”

1 Peter 4:16: “If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

1 Peter 5:10: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Father, may you watch over and protect your Church. May you keep Her faithful and bold even in times of persecution. In Jesus Christ’s name, Amen!

 

Lessons from John Calvin’s Method of Preaching

Lessons from John Calvin’s Method of Preaching

One major aspect of John Calvin’s ministry was his form of expository preaching of the books of the Bible verse by verse also called lexio continua. On Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Calvin climbed up the steps of the St. Pierre Cathedral’s pulpit and patiently led his congregation verse by verse through book after book of the Bible. He often preached two to four verses in a sermon; however, in some instances he would preach two to three consecutive sermons on one verse as was the case with 1 Timothy 2:5 and 2 Timothy 1:8 respectively. As he tackled each verse, he would explain its meaning and apply it to his congregation.

But what would motivate Calvin to involve himself in this huge but worthy and profitable task. I believe that Calvin’s view of the Bible as the word or voice of God (vox dei) had a great impact and influence on his adoption of lexio continua method of preaching. Calvin’s high regard for Scripture is evidently seen in his magnum opus, Institutes of the Christian Religion, in which he writes:

In order that true religion may shine upon us, we ought to hold that it must take its beginning from heavenly doctrine and that no one can get even the slightest taste of right and sound doctrine unless he be a pupil of Scripture.” (1.6.2)….“We affirm with utter certainty (just as if we were gazing upon the majesty of God himself) that (the Bible) has flowed to us from the very mouth of God by the ministry of men” (1.8.5).

This view had a profound impact on his preaching as he revealed in his sermon on Micah 3:7:

For what ought sermons and doctrines be, except expositions of what Scripture contains? Truly, if we add the slightest nuance, it only results in corruption. Our Lord has left us a perfect doctrine in the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel. Thus, what ought we be preaching today? We ought not be adding anything new to the text, but ought to be providing a clearer exposition that would confirm our understanding of God’s teachings. That, I repeat, is the purpose of any sermon or lecture we hear, that we might each be better instructed with respect to God’s will. That way, whenever we hear anything, we have a basis for inquiring whether God has spoken or not. By the same token, all who are charged with preaching God’s Word know that it is wrong of them to add anything of their own, or anything they might event. They must be certain that what they preach is not of their own conjecture but derives from God, who guides them on the basis of his certain and infallible word.

John Calvin was strongly convinced that a preacher can faithfully proclaim the message of his Master only by letting him speak as he has already spoken in the Scriptures. Preaching on 1 Timothy 3:2, he said,

“(The preacher) should not show off so that everyone applauds him and says, ‘Oh, well-spoken! Oh! What a breadth of learning! Oh! What a breadth of mind! When a man has climbed up the pulpit…It is that God may speak to us by the mouth of man.”

The other significant element that greatly influenced John Calvin to preach verse by verse throughout the Bible was his view of the preacher as the ambassador of God. In his commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:20 in which Paul and other preachers of the gospel are described as Christ ambassadors, Calvin comments that a preacher is indeed an ambassador of Christ and he has been ordained by God to speak as God speaks to him in the Scriptures hence Christ could boldly say that whoever pays attention to the gospel preacher pays attention to Christ himself. Here it is important to highlight that Calvin was very much aware that preaching should not be equated with the Bible hence while preaching from Deuteronomy 1:43, he cautioned:

So the teaching which is put forward in the name of God ought to be as authoritative as if all the angels of heaven descended on us, as if God himself were manifesting his majesty before our eyes (but) it is true that when men speak we must weigh their words carefully. For if one were willing to receive everything that was put forward, there would be no distinction between liars and false prophets who seduce men’s souls and the true ministers of God.

Calvin was also influenced toward lexio continua preaching by his view of the hearer of the gospel as a fallen man. In fact, this view has implications both on the preacher and hearer of the gospel as Calvin states in his sermon on 1 Timothy 4:6-7:

Now, just as many preachers are themselves far too given to ambition and in order to find grace and favor seek only what will please, so also on the other side the people are the cause of making preachers swerve aside from the good way. And why? Because, men have ‘itching ears’ and want to be fed with pleasing stories and buffoonery or ‘old wives’ fables as St. Paul calls them here. Seeing that men have such desires –like pregnant women whose cravings are inordinate –ah well this is the cause of some preachers degenerating and disguising themselves and transforming God’s teaching, which is as bad as destroying it.

Calvin fully understood that due to the fallen nature of man both the preacher and the hearer might lean toward preaching and hearing messages that do not disturb them in their comfort zone. Since due to the fall, man is in constant rebellion against God, the fallen nature in the preacher and the hearer might pull them away from the faithful proclamation and hearing of God’s word. However, when lexio continua is the method of preaching in a congregation both the preacher and congregant are forced to fully submit to the whole counsel of God as it unfolds verse after verse and book after book of the Bible; thereby, fully proving that the Scripture as God’s Word is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

Lexio continua preaching has a lot of benefits for the church today. First, it is one of the real ways in which full submission to God’s word both by the preacher and the congregation is demonstrated. The main challenge that the Church faces today is full submission to God’s Word. Due to the fallen nature of man, we tend to choose what we want to hear, and as the Church is bombarded with liberal and humanistic challenges, the temptation to choose what to obey and practice from the Scriptures also increases. However, where the word of God is preached in lexio continua form, both the preacher and the congregation are compelled to be subservient to God’s Word and to have their minds taken captive by it.

Secondly, lexio continua preaching frees the pastor from the temptation of preaching his mind instead of God’s word. Calvin observed that lexio continua preaching delivers the preacher from the temptation of esteeming or deciding at his pleasure what is profitable to be uttered and what is useless to be omitted. Lastly but not least, related to the above points, Calvin’s type of expository preaching affirms God’s sovereignty in preaching. As he rightly portrayed the preacher as the ambassador of Christ, the minister’s main goal then is similar to an earthly ambassador who is commissioned to advance and protect the interests and of his country. The ambassador demonstrates this commitment both in his words and actions. Similarly, the preacher has no any other agenda apart from seeking to affirm God’s sovereignty in the proclamation of the gospel. God’s sovereignty is affirmed when the preacher allows the Scripture to guide the agenda of preaching in the church or ministry.

The significance of letting Christ speak directly to his Church through the words of Scripture cannot be overemphasized. Ministers and preachers as the carriers of the voice of God should be challenged to consider the importance of lexio continua preaching in their churches or ministries. This form of preaching was essential for a health growth of the church in Geneva where Calvin preached and it also essential even to the present Church. John Leith has profound words for preachers today as he writes, “Calvin the preacher cannot be copied or repeated today in this new time and place, but…we can rightly hope and struggle to do as preachers of the Word in our particular time and place what Calvin did in his. For however much the culture and social matrix change, human existence remains essentially the same.”

John Calvin the Preacher

John Calvin the Preacher

 

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 10, 2014 in Sound Teaching

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

An Appeal to my Pentecostal Brethren

“I have many relations and very good friends who are Pentecostal and I thank God for them all. This post is dedicated to them.”

At the end of each and every year, WordPress experts or helper- monkeys as they prefer to call themselves release statistical report regarding each and every blog they host and Scripture Alone is not an exception. In the report of 2013, WordPress records that the most read article on the blog was “Do Prophets Still Exist?” followed by “Jesus Christ: The True Greatest Prophet.” The third most viewed post was “Of Anointed Water, Stickers, Handkerchiefs, etc.”

Am I surprised by these stats? Not at all! The above topics are real issues that the Church is facing today. People who claim to get direct revelations from God or prophets continue to rise almost every day.  The hunger for miracles and wonders has led to mass production of “anointed staffs” which steadily are taking the place of Christ in the hearts of many.

Now, why am I raising all this? I would like to appeal to my Pentecostal brethren to speak up against these unbiblical developments. Why? Because so many false prophets today claim to be Pentecostal in their beliefs yet what they do sometimes even leave other Pentecostals, I believe, mouth agape. For instance, who among my brethren using the Scriptures could confidently say that God will put money in your bank account or in your pair of trousers’ pockets or your pulse while you are just idling? Would a true Pentecostal, so to speak, agree that the Holy Spirit will direct a pastor to feed his congregants grass as if they are goats?  In case you missed it, check this link, http://www.africanspotlight.com/2014/01/08/south-african-pastor-makes-members-eat-grass-steps-photos-video/

My point again is that please my friends speak up against these things unless you don’t see anything wrong with such pathetic and blaspheming developments. I make this appeal because if you don’t raise your voice the old adage will prove true that silence means consent. By the grace of God, I write and will continue to write against these errors and heresies but I am not Pentecostal and some think I do so merely to score points over you brethren.

However, if truth be told, I write and denounce errors and heresies because I am concerned with God’s truth and the glory of Christ regardless of who is involved. John Calvin once observed: “Even a dog barks when it’s master is attacked, I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is being attacked and yet would remain silent.” I bark when God’s glory and truth is maligned because I can’t help it to see or hear the name of Christ my Master and Savior being brought into disrepute.

So, friends raise your voices against errors and heresies that are coming out coated with your name for Christ’s sake and his Church. Grace and peace.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Sound Teaching

 

Tags: , , , ,