Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The TRINITY. Is it Biblical doctrine?

Dear friends and readers,

This weeks article examines the doctrine of the TRINITY.  It tackles an extremely complex subject. One  that many people say is a "MYSTERY and cannot be fully understood". Frankly in my opinion, it is difficult for any serious student of the Bible to miss this absolutely Biblical doctrine but many do. Also it is not a deep mystery at all but one that must be understood through the lens of Biblical scripture.

So to begin please allow me to state categorically that the Biblical doctrine of the TRINITY is very real and valid in every aspect.

I will give you lots of scripture to chew on a bit later but want to first acknowledge who does NOT believe in or teach the Trinity. Why would I waist time doing that? Because some of these folks just might come knocking on your door. In all my years of ministry, few I have talked to can actually speak scripturally to the Trinity in the Bible. Most believe in it but few can explain it. In this day and age there are so many cults plying the waters of the average neighborhood, that it can be confusing when they throw out of context scriptures at you or try and leave you with extra Biblical magazines and things not actually reflected in the pages of the Bible.

Both within and without Christianity there are several organizations who's teachings deny the TRINITY.  Among them are  1). The church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints (Mormons).  2). Jehovah's Witnesses  3). Iglesia ni Cristo  4).  Christadelphians  5). Christian Scientists  6). Dawn Bible students  7). Living church of God  8). Oneness Pentecostals.  9). Members of the church of God International  10).  Unitarian Universalist Christians  11). The Way International 12).  The Church of God International.  13). United Church of God. 14). Some independent churches who's "pastors" have self appointed. Don't allow yourself to ever be fooled just because someone comes to your door in behalf of a church or organization that has the name of Jesus in the title or claim to be Christian. Before you buy, sign up or let them in the door, check with your local ministerial alliance to insure you are speaking with representatives of a reputable local Christian church.

The "no Trinity" folks are generally referred to as "NONTRINITARIANS" or in some cases "antitrinitarians".  There are an entire plethora of explanations among these people as to why they deny the TRINITY which would take pages and pages of article to fully report so I will narrow that down to only a few. They frequently claim;  1). Jesus Christ was a created being by the Father and therefore cannot be God. 2). No where in the Bible does the word TRINITY appear. 3). The doctrine of 3 personalities within one God violates the scripture in Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear , O Israel, the Lord our God is ONE". Also they refer to a scripture in Mark within which  Jesus Himself quotes that scripture, therefore (they say) He Himself acknowledges that He is not God. 4). No where is scripture does it ever expressly say that Jesus Christ is God nor does He ever make that claim.

So, in the spirit of refutation, let's take those bogus claims in reverse order. The
"no where in scripture" statement frankly is most absurd. The Prophet Isaiah chapter 9 is speaking about a future time when the Christ is to be born and verses 6-7 leaves zero doubt as to the fact that Jesus Christ is in fact God.  I will add some accents to this scripture for effect. "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. AND HIS NAME WILL BE CALLED (Pay close attention here please), 1). WONDERFUL. 2).  COUNSELOR,  3). "MIGHTY GOD",  4) "EVERLASTING FATHER". 5). PRINCE OF PEACE.  (Did we notice the MIGHTY GOD and EVERLASTING FATHER part)? Hmmmmm? Difficult to miss. Then verse 7 continues "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David (that would be King David), and over His Kingdom.

We have just been told that He, Jesus Christ is everlasting. If the Father chose to do so He could cancel out any created being although thankfully He has mercifully made provision for those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord. But Jesus Christ Himself is everlasting because He is the EVERLASTING FATHER.  Also as far as Jesus never claiming to be God, we must refer to John 10:30 in which Jesus Himself says, "I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE". Also the Apostle John (book of John) says this; (verses 1-14) "In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God and the WORD was God. He was in the beginning with God (note. The term WORD is a definition and name of Jesus Christ). This scripture in John makes it abundantly clear that the WORD---of God, who by divine plan sent His WORD into the womb of a virgin. The WORD  was and is Jesus Christ, an individual both 100% man and 100% God. John 1:3 goes on to tell us why. "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it". Then in verse 14 we are told "And the WORD became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth".

Back in Genesis 1:1-3 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; And darkness was on the face of the deep. And the "Spirit of God" was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God SAID (my emphasis added---God said with His voice---with His WORD) "Let there be light, and there was light". The portion of God's personality who is His Holy Spirit was hovering over the face of the deep and the portion of His personality that is His voice declared---made and order---spoke His "WORD" and something that did not previously exit "BECAME REALITY"! And light became. In the very first three scriptures of the Holy Bible, we are introduced to God the Father using His Holy Spirit and His voice---His WORD to create the heavens and the earth beginning with creating light.  One God, Father, Son and Holy Sprit.

Remember in John verse 14 in which the Bible declares that "The WORD became flesh and dwelt among us"? Who else ever did that except for Jesus Christ? No one--- EVER!

Then there is the scripture in Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is ONE"! An absolutely true statement. God is not three gods, He is ONE.  But here is the mystery. God computes math differently than most men. In school we learn that 1 plus 1 is 2, plus 1 is 3. That's the math you want when computing your monthly savings account. The question is simple? Does God think about things the same way as His created beings? Once again the Prophet Isaiah comes to our rescue in chapter 55:8-9 (GOD SPEAKING) "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts".  We hear about "new math" all the time these days. But how about old math? Very old math. God's old math. Because here is the way He figures it out. In relation to the TRINITY, 1 times 1 is still 1 times 1 is still 1. One God all in all. No violation of Deuteronomy.

So, why would God do that? Why is it necessary for Him (One God) to identify Himself as 1). Father, 2). Son and 3). Holy Spirit? Here is a very simple explanation for you; If God's ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts, it is not even remotely possible for mankind with our finite little minds to really understand all that the Creator of the Universe really is. So mercifully, He demonstrates Himself to us in three distinctly different personalities so we (His created beings) can have an opportunity to understand the not understandable. By breaking down His ONE being to us in three different personalities, it allows us to grasp to a far greater degree who God really is and how He chooses to work with His created beings.

Jesus Christ is not a created being. There was no human father involved in Mary's virgin birth. The Father in heaven literally implanted His very own seed and DNA into a virgins womb. Some might say, God can't have DNA because He is a Spirit. Well then again the Bible tells us we are created in the image of God so if we have DNA??? Let's ask Him when we get there but for now let's act and stand in faith that God knows what He is doing. If Jesus DNA could be tested today we would clearly see Mary's family tree represented but on the Fathers side, if any DNA at all, it would be off the charts. Not recognizable by human scientific standards. To put it another way, God temporarily took off His heavenly royal vestments and implanted Himself into Mary's womb. Of course God is also Omnipresent which means He is capable of being in all places at the very same time.

Why? Why was it necessary for Him to do that? Well the same question holds true for Jesus sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary. Why was that necessary? Could there not have been another, easier way? Mankind always wants to do it better than God but for those who have faith, we realize that God's way is best whether we understand it or not. I also have lot's of questions about why God has done what He has done but I never ever question His decisions. I just accept them as fact through faith.

A short story I am sure some of you have heard will demonstrate the reasons behind God becoming a man. I don't really know who the original author is of this tale but whoever it was, was brilliant to come up with this simple way of explaining the unexplainable.

One day a dad and his little son were walking along a sidewalk and saw an ant hill. The ants were coming out of the hill, walking around it in a single line and each one taking a minute piece of a discarded peanut butter and jelly sandwich, retracing its footsteps and going back down the hole. After watching for awhile the little boy wanted to help. He took his little finger and drew a line through the ant hill so when the ants came up they could see the sandwich and take a short cut in their appointed tasks. The ants ignored the easier way and continued in the line around the ant hill and repeated their tasks. The littler boy slid one of the ants onto his finger and gave him a ride directly to the sandwich through the hole he had created for them. The ant hopped off, retraced his footsteps, got back  in line and continued following the much longer route. At this point the little boy was, to say the least non plussed and asked his dad why he could not show the ants an easier way. The dad said "well son maybe you would have to become an ant and "lead" them into the easier way".

So that's the answer. God chose to become an ant in the form of a baby who grew to be Jesus Christ who was then able to lead mankind into an easier way. To do what? To have a relationship and everlasting eternity with Him as Father.

Lastly, no, the word TRINITY is not in the Bible. But neither is the word Bible in the Bible nor is the word responsibility and yet the Bible is full of responsibility. The word Rapture is not in the Bible either, or is it? Anti rapture folks make that claim all the time but could it be that they are not serious students of the Bible or it's history? The Latin Vulgate Bible was premier from the late 4th century until the 16th century. That edition used a Greek word translated into Latin and the word describing the events of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 in Latin was "RAPIO or RAPIEMUR"which literally means "Caught up or taken away". It was later translated into English as the word RAPTURE! A constant war of words over the Bible can be very confusing so once again check out the source and better yet ask your qualified Christian full Gospel pastor before you become confused by your friendly neighborhood door knockers!

All of the following scriptures reference the FATHER, the SON and the HOLY SPIRIT working together as one entity.  All three are strictly phrased in the male gender in the New Testament and in the Old Testament the Father is always the Father, never in female form. The Holy Spirit is ALWAYS referred to as HE and never "IT"! Matthew 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Ephesians:18, 4:4-6, 5:18-20, 1 Peter 1:2, Jude 20-21.

Each of the three divine personalities of God possess separate and distinct personality characteristics and are clearly distinguishable from the other two but yet together in all things, which can clearly be seen in the following scriptures; John 14:16-17, 26, 15:26, 16:7-15. All three are equal in power, Glory and being and each is called GOD; John 6:27, Hebrews 1:8, Acts 5:3-4. The next time someone tries to tell you that Jesus Christ is not God, refer them to Acts chapter 5 verses 3-4 "But to the SON, He (the Father) says "Your throne O GOD is forever and ever---".

You can also refer to the following scriptures which clearly demonstrate that  all three, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit possess divine attributes; James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8 and 9:14. Each of the three personalities perform divine works as in the case of; John 5:21 and Romans 8:11. Each receive divine honor as stated in; John 5:23 and 2 Corinthians 13:14.

While your at it please refresh yourselves in the passages of "the suffering servant" of Isaiah chapter 53 and then look back to Isaiah 44 1-8 in which God the Father is speaking through His Holy Prophet and says (verse 6) "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts: I AM THE FIRST AND THE LAST (remember Revelation chapter 1 verse 11---? see below) and besides Me there is no God"! Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is the Redeemer and according to these passages in Isaiah, Jesus is therefore God.

I don't want to bury this article in scripture but study will reveal a great deal more for anyone who looks and does not have some sort of ulterior motive or pre determined ideas. Instead let's tackle an answer to one more of the objections from the "nontrinitarian" crowd. Namely the statements in the gospel accounts in which Jesus said things like (John 5:30 and 8:28); 1). "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; And My judgement is righteous, because I do not seek My own but the will of the Father who sent Me". 2). "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you know that I Am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; But as My Father taught Me, I speak these things".

First, as to the the second statement in John 8:28, please refer to the book of Revelation in which Jesus Christ who is speaking in Revelation chapter 1 verse 8 clearly says "I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE BEGINNING AND THE END, WHO IS AND WHO WAS AND WHO IS TO COME, THE "ALMIGHTY"! Only the Creator is the Almighty, never a created being. Also back in Exodus (6:3) God the Father refers to Himself as "THE ALMIGHTY". Once again difficult to miss. Both Father and Son referring to them selves as "THE ALMIGHTY".

And in reference to John 5:30 (and similar other scriptures uttered by Jesus), please take careful note of the 4 gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jesus frequently taught in parables. A parable is a story that demonstrates a poignant (emotionally moving) issue or point. For nearly all of my career as a pastor I took a page out of Jesus book and frequently told stories to demonstrate scriptural issues. It works very well. Without painting with too broad a brush, many of the "nontrinitarians" will claim that the gospels are filled with error because they appear to disagree when it comes to Jesus personality and the manor in which He worked in His earthly ministry. Once again NOT SO!

First of all there are zero errors in the Bible and that includes the 4 Gospels. 2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work".

But many people have not understood a very basic point about the 4 Gospels. What they have in common is that they are all about Jesus Christ. But each has a decidedly different over arching theme. For example in the book of Matthew the theme shows Jesus as "CHRIST the KING". Mark demonstrates Jesus as "CHRIST the SERVANT". First as a servant to God and secondly as a servant to mankind. Yes, Jesus does say He can do nothing apart from the Father. It is clearly a message and way of teaching mankind to follow in His footsteps. He is clearly demonstrating a point much the same way that He did so in the various parables.

Then in Luke the theme changes to "CHRIST the MAN". Remember that in His divinity Christ is 100% God but He also walked upon this earth as 100% man. He came to give us hope, He came to give us a demonstration of what a Holy and righteous life style looks like. He came to provide His own substitutionary death on the cross of Calvary to provide us with something we could never provide for ourselves. Forgiveness of sins and everlasting salvation in eternity with Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever more. Fellowship with the King of kings and the Lord of lords at no cost---except to Himself. For anyone who will repent and accept this free gift because scripture tells us that; (John 14:6---Jesus speaking) "I Am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me".

And finally the theme in the book of John is incredibly important. The entire book demonstrates "CHRIST IN HIS DEITY". John alone records the great "I AM" declarations all spoken by Christ Himself.

1).  6:35 "I AM the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst".

2).  8:12 "I AM the light of the world (note: remember Genesis 1:1-3?) He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life".

3). 10:7 "Most assuredly, I say to you, I AM the door of the sheep".

4). 10:11 "I AM the Good Shepard. The Good Shepard gives His life for the sheep".

5). 11:25  "I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live".

6). 14:6 "I AM the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me".

What does the name "I AM" have to do with the Father in Heaven? Please look back to the Old Testament book of Exodus chapter 3 verse 6 where God was speaking with Moses. "Moreover He (GOD) said "I AM" THE GOD OF YOUR FATHER, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob (Israel)". Then the fait accompli in Exodus chapter 3 verse 14 "And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM". And he said "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel. I AM has sent me to you".

If the FATHER GOD speaking to Moses is clearly the "I AM", then who do you suppose is JESUS CHRIST who 6 times in the Bible refers to Himself as the "I AM"? Also of interest is the fact that "I AM" statements appear at least 12 times in the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy Psalms and Isaiah. All in reference to the Father but then in John chapter 8:58 Jesus Christ while speaking to the Pharisees, says "Most Assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM". Abraham lived very many generations prior to Jesus walking the earth but in John 8:56, Jesus says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see MY day, and he saw it and was glad". Obviously Jesus in the form of the WORD of God was with God in the beginning when He met with Abraham.

Folks, do not be deceived by people who falsely claim that Jesus Christ is not fully God. He is God and He is the great "I AM". He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, who is and who was and who is to come, the "ALMIGHTY"!

Remember that the Bible is 100% correct and always, always explains itself. And please remember two things for your own benefit; 1). We as individuals are responsible for knowing the word of God so we may not be fooled by anyone. 2). James 3:1 "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers (that would mean of the Word of God---my emphasis added), knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment".

If you are attending any kind of fellowship who teaches a "no Trinity" doctrine, get out NOW and find a full gospel fellowship.

If you are a teacher of the Word who is teaching a doctrine of "NO TRINITY", repent NOW before it is too late for you. If you are denying Christ as God you are also denying some of all that God is which includes His Holy Spirit. Matthew 12:32. Be forewarned!

God bless,
Pastor Rance.

Friday, December 15, 2017

EMBASSY MOVE, is it Psalm 83 waiting?

Dear friends and readers,

Peace and grace to all of you in this most uncertain time in world history.

The questions we must ask ourselves today are simple; Is war really in the offing and will it be based on Psalm 83? Will moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem be the spark that ignites the already dangerously out of control Middle East?

My thinking? Yes it will, but how long will it take for the REAL violence to ramp up? Ah, if we only knew for sure.

As always, I file the "no prophet" disclaimer. My calling is to analyze current events and compare them to what I see in the Word of God. But at no time do I ever use the "God told me so" rhetoric that seems to be alive and well with so many authors today.  In this article,  I am going to tell you what I think and then you decide for yourself.

We all know that the Middle East is a dry tinder box rife with threats, violence, extremism, hate and outright lies to try and change history. Of course you do know that it IS possible to change history don't you?  No?  Well, when history is no longer taught in school, then the general populace will believe whatever is fed to them "AS HISTORY" by whom ever is doing the speaking at the time.

EXAMPLE: Frequently when speaking to folks about the timing of the eventual rapture of the church, it is inconceivable to me that so many people (long time church goers) say exactly the same thing; "I thought I was a pre trib, post trib, and then a mid trib believer, but then I read an article by so and so. Then I read another article by old what's his name. Then I read an article by Joe the rag picker.  Everyone disagrees and now I don't know what to believe"!

Seldom, if ever,  do these same folks go back to the Bible itself and check what it says. It is the same with history.  People tend to believe the last thing they heard, not what actually happened in the recorded pages of history.  For example, the issue of who actually owns Jerusalem is clearly recorded in 2 Samuel chapter 24:24.  King David PURCHASED what is now the Temple Mount area from a man named "ARAUNAN" for 50 Shekels of silver.  He even got some oxen thrown in with the deal. King David was the second king of Israel, is the spiritual earthly descendant of the Messiah of Israel, Jesus Christ, and all that happened over 3000 years ago.  Jerusalem has always belonged to the Jewish people and has always been Israel's capital city. PERIOD!

All false claims to the contrary, the so called Palestinian people did not even come into existence until Yasser Arafat decided to change history and declare it to be so.  And factually speaking,  Muhammed, the prophet of the Muslim people did not live and walk the earth until 570 A.D.  That would be about 1,500 years after King David purchased the land.  But now because of attempts to change history, somehow the Muslim Palestinian people "have always" owned Jerusalem?  I don't think so.  Let's get real here shall we.

5 U.S. Presidents had the opportunity to move the US Embassy but out of fear that the flaunted peace deal between Israel and the PLO might some how suffer, they demurred.  Finally a US President had the "chutzpah"to  put into law that which the US congress MADE INTO LAW 5 presidents back!

But according to lots of leaders worldwide, this president is acting with incompetence and failure. One such leader by the way would be the Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran.  What a surprise. (sic)  Is that not the very same Ayatollah who has sworn to wipe Israel off the map? What a shame the United Nations seems completely incapable of connecting the dots........!

Then the European Union's top diplomat claims that moving the US Embassy will undermine the peace efforts? Well maybe that guy failed to remember that Israel had offered SEVERAL TIMES to settle the deal with the Palestinians including giving to them all of the Gaza strip. Maybe he could try a little harder to remember that each and every time it was the Palestinian leadership who refused to settle, not Israel.

Then we have the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh declaring; "This move is an uncalculated gamble that will know no limits to the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim reaction". And further threats and hints of coming war  from the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and very many other Middle East countries.

The pot is boiling and the machines of war are once again ramping up. Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria and others in the region suddenly  have their excuse.  Do I think that war is coming? Yes and I personally doubt we will have to wait long for it to begin. Who knows which spark will ignite this particular forest fire. But ignite it it will. Have no doubt.

In reference to Psalm 83, the belief that this obvious war is yet future is admittedly somewhat of a speculation. Who knows, perhaps something like Psalm 83 already happened eons past (which some do speculate), but it does not mean that the same circumstances cannot once again play themselves out.  An example is the prophesied war of Gog from the land of Magog in Ezekiel chapters 38-39. That will take place sometime after the rise of the antichrist of Daniel chapter 9. BUT it happens again in the book of Revelation in chapter 20 verses 7-10. Many people are confused about this but remember that two such wars 1000 years apart can be launched from the same geographic area but with different people involved. The first war of Gog from the land of Magog is an event brought about by God Himself. The Gog and Magog war in Revelation is clearly stated as being instigated by satan.

Anyway, yes there will be a war and I do think it is imminent , and it may well begin during the first half of 2018.  Yes, I think that the chances are great that this will be the Psalm 83 war. To clarify that you may want to look up my article of February 26, 2017 entitled "PSALM 83, IS WAR IMMINENT"?.  It is listed under the blog archives of www.lastdaysreview.blogspot.com

Finally, yes, I do believe the announcement that the U.S. Embassy will be moved and that the United States finally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital could be the very spark that ignites the Middle East and provides sufficient run up of Biblical prophecy to launch such horrendous events that  could eventually lead to the advent of the antichrist initiating  a peace deal between Israel and her neighbors. A peace deal of 7 years duration. The time of Jacob's trouble also known as the 7 years of tribulation.  When? I don't know and neither does anyone else. No date setting here. But come it will and the clock is counting down.

But first? THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. Come quickly Lord Jesus.  I don't know when but we all need to be prepared.

God bless you all today
Remember that prayer works.

Pastor Rance.