Greetings! Better fasten your seat belt before you read this issue of FRUIT OF D’VINE, as we will address both the massive assault on all Christians (especially on those of us privileged to have heard LOTS of biblical truth) and what we ought to do about it.
Have you noticed the steadily increasing abandonment of biblical principles in the government of the USA (or in your country) and, in fact, the increasing persecution of Christians who stand for what is right? How about the absurd decisions being made by countless judges and elected officials who function with no absolute standard for right and wrong? Have you noticed how loudly the proponents of false “spirituality” (think the “Secret,” New Age, Mother Earth, et al.) hawk their ersatz wares? Are you aware of the insanely illogical fables that pass for Truth among most Christians?
Have you noticed the inundation of the occult throughout our society—vampires, werewolves, witches both good and bad, sorcerers, and, of course, “zombies” (the walking dead)? Hello-o? The pressure is on, dear brethren, and it’s only going to increase. We must meet the Adversary’s aggression with aggressive faith in our God and our Lord and boldly proclaim their love, their goodness, and their TRUTH.
The words of Isaiah written in about 700 B.C. come to mind: “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20 [paraphrased]). How sad that today both non-Christians and Christians are doing just that. I am grieved to say that the latter group includes people I know personally.
A Homeland Security ad says: “If you see something, say something.” If we Christians are to be “Watchmen” of the Truth (cp. Ezek. 33:1ff), we must be able to first discern the counterfeits and then have the courage to SAY SOMETHING about them. For the purposes of this letter, those counterfeits can be broken down into two major categories: (1) the more obvious DOCTRINAL counterfeits and (2) the less obvious BEHAVIORAL counterfeits. Both are discernible by the standard of the written Word of God.
PLEASE REMEMBER that any excellent counterfeit has many characteristics of the real thing. No would-be criminal will go to jail for printing purple $13 bills that are a foot long. A good counterfeit bill looks just like the real thing—UNLESS one has studied the genuine bill in great detail. It behooves us to be En garde and pay attention to what we see and hear, realizing that as an angel of light, Satan is an expert at using people to deceive us. Too many Christians today are being deceived by false teachings and by false brethren, that is, Christians who have allowed themselves to become pawns of the Enemy.
Category #1 is doctrinal counterfeits. If you know and adhere to the beliefs and teachings of The Living Truth Fellowship, then the same-old, same-old doctrinal counterfeits like the Trinity, Jesus being God, “dead” people being “alive,” the “immortal soul,” God being in control and thus responsible for all that happens, losing your salvation, Christians going through all or part of the Tribulation, speaking in tongues being a “gift,” etc., etc., are very obvious to you, as well they should be. But how many of our precious brethren are ensnared and enslaved by those fallacious and debilitating notions? Clearly, the vast majority. If you currently hold to such traditional beliefs, please visit our website www.TLTF.org and give us the opportunity to present a more rational, logical, and intellectually and emotionally satisfying view of Scripture.
It is hard for me to believe that even some of my former peers, who heard the same Bible teaching I did, have abandoned the doctrinal pillars of Truth for such self-contradictory and illogical lies. If our goal as Christians is to give each person in our world the best opportunity to do the next right thing, should we not speak the truth in love to them?
In the secular/cultural realm, a recent poll showed that more than 80 million Americans believe that UFOs exist, and most would welcome a visit from one as long as he was friendly. And you’re thinking, “Well, obviously they polled people under eight years old.” Nope, these were adults, but only a small percentage of them also believe in zombies or vampires, so there is hope. I briefly address the topic of UFOs in The End Times video, (and more so in the forthcoming foundational class, One Day With The Creator) and how I think it may play into what happens after you and I are “out of this world.” In His Word, God tells us why He created the celestial universe, and nothing He says gives us a reason to believe there is life on any other planets. My opinion is that reports to the contrary are either demonic manifestations or fabrications generated by desire for notoriety (or by drugs).
Closer to home, so to speak, and in regard to “the end times,” I was told that some of my former peers (and many other Christians) are embracing the 2012 book titled The Harbinger, a novel by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn (pronounced “con”). You can Google it (I want to become a verb) and find lots of info, but Cahn’s premise is that Isaiah 9:10 sets forth the basis for us today to recognize nine prophetic omens that parallel what happened in ancient Israel with what has happened in the USA since the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11/01.
By way of his storyline, the Messianic rabbi asserts that in our modern world, the USA is God’s chosen nation, and that as He judged and afflicted Israel when they turned away from Him, so He is now doing to America. He lays out nine coincidental elements between the Isaiah 9 record and the events surrounding the tragedy of 9/11, such as what governmental leaders said and did, especially afterward. One of the most important omens is their quoting Isaiah 9:10 and saying, “We will rebuild,” which Cahn says is national defiance to God, who apparently didn’t like the buildings and knocked them over. Cahn indicates that they could not possibly be so similar unless his thesis is correct: God is prophetically warning us as a nation to turn back to Him.
There is no question that Cahn’s assessment of the dire spiritual condition of America today is accurate, but Isaiah 9 has absolutely nothing to do with anything happening today. How do I know? “The Bible tells me so”—when I read what is written to ME. I read some reviews of Cahn’s book, and were I required to write one in six words, it would be: GET A CHART, GET A LIFE! If you’ve seen The End Times video, you know exactly what that means: learn about the administrations in Scripture and what is written to whom—Jews, Gentiles, Christians.
Space prohibits me from going into detail, but suffice it to say that if the Bible is right, and if we distinguish between what is written to/about Israel and what is written to/about Christians, the following truths debunk Cahn’s assertions:
(a) God had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks (or the financial crash in 2008). It was the murderous Devil who worked in the perpetrators.
(b) The USA is a Gentile (non-Israel) nation just like every other, though we can thank God that biblical principles were incorporated into our beginnings.
(c) God is not judging and punishing people now. He quit doing that after the Flood and is waiting for the Lord Jesus to do it when he shows up again. By the way, he will.
(d) As per 1 John 5:19, it is Satan, not God, who is exerting the dominant influence on those running the systems of the world. Thus he can engineer much of what takes place on earth. Here’s my analysis of why the nine contemporary events so closely coincide with the Isaiah account: Satan knew all the history of the USA and how New York City factored in at the start, etc., and he orchestrated the 9/11 event knowing that many Christians would think it was God judging America. I doubt that God would murder a bunch of innocent people in order to get our attention.
Category #2 is the less obvious behavioral counterfeits, that is, deceitful, self-serving Christian “leaders.” Jesus sternly warned his followers about “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matt. 7:15), and Paul admonished the believers that: “…savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!…” (Acts 20:29–31a).
Jesus also had plenty to say about “hypocrites,” i.e., counterfeit spiritual leaders who say one thing and do another, who “draw near with their mouths but whose hearts are far from God.” In Matthew 23:13–29, he “went wild” about such frauds, giving us some characteristics to look for:
- They appear very religious but neglect justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
- They are greedy and self-indulgent.
- They look beautiful on the outside but are putrid within.
- They persecute true spiritual leaders, often motivated by envy.
And here is a classic description of such slick deceivers, showing that flattery is one of their primary tactics. No matter how good their works look, they always have a self-serving agenda.
Romans 16:17 and 18
17 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
“Contrary to the teaching” does not refer only to doctrinal issues per se. It also includes practical deviation from biblical truth, that is, unjust and ungodly treatment of the brethren. It is possible to teach biblical truth and not live it. What does God say to do about that? “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph. 5:11). To do that, one must do his best to get up close and personal and see if there is consistent fruit of the spirit in the life of a spiritual leader.
To weed out hypocrisy in a ministry, its affiliated believers must have both the insight and the gumption to call out people the way men and women of God did throughout the Bible. If there is a dispute between the leaders of a ministry, what are your options? (1) Stick your head in the sand and say you don’t want to take sides (2) Exercise due diligence to dig into the facts and ask the Lord to help you know who is honest and who is not; then stand with the former and confront the latter. Which of those actions do you think God would have you do?
As a famous man once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The Old Testament is filled with God’s leaders boldly confronting false prophets, etc., and, as per the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly did so. Please read the following relevant and revealing verses about how Paul, et al., “blew the whistle” (and named names) when they saw people, even Christians, deceiving God’s family: (1 Cor. 1:10ff, 5:1–5, 11:17ff; 2 Cor. 10–12 re: the “super apostles”; Gal. 2:11ff, 5:8–10; Phil. 4:2; 1 Tim. 1:3 and 4, 4:1–6, 5:20; 2 Tim. 1:15, 2:16–18, 3:1–9, 4:10, 14 and 15; 2 Pet. 2; 2; John 7–11; 3 John 9–11).
Come on, let’s be and do like the heroes of the Bible and stand up for what is right, make some waves, rock some boats, upset some apple carts, and give people the best opportunity to do what is right. Let’s turn the world upside down, which would actually make it right side up. Let’s be living truth.