LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH PROJECT          September 24, 2019     LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESOURCE SHOP

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“My teachings ‘damaged a lot of people’, says Benny Hinn”
Photo: 2-second clip from a YouTube Video dated 9/3/19: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TQQirZI9Eo. Used in accordance with the U.S. Fair Use Act.

By Staff Writer
From Christian Today
(not Christianity Today)

After turning his back on the prosperity gospel, Benny Hinn has admitted that his teachings “damaged a lot of people”. 

In a sit-down interview with Encounter TV, the televangelist said that he didn’t want to be “known as the prosperity teacher” and that there was “gimmickry” involved in such teachings that “needs to stop”. 

Hinn surprised many in the Christian community when he told his followers during a recent live broadcast that the Holy Ghost was “fed up” with preachers promising blessings in exchange for donations, and that he was “correcting” his theology. Click here to continue reading.

Related Reading:

False Revival Kick-Started by Francis Chan, Rodney Howard Browne, Benny Hinn, Bill Johnson, and Todd White

Slain in the Spirit—Is It a Biblical Practice? by Kevin Reeves

Wycliffe, YWAM, & Other Evangelical Groups to Take Part in Roman Catholic-Endorsed Global Event in 2020

This week, we received a letter to the editor that alerted us to plans for a “2020 Global Year of the Bible.” As you read the information below, please keep in mind, Lighthouse Trails does not oppose the idea that “billions” of people in the world could potentially read the Bible. Of course not! The underlying and significant story here is the ecumenical, “let’s-all-come-together-no-matter-what” aspect and the unspoken but obvious objective ” to “engage in a global conversation” about the Bible in order to draw followers into specific belief systems.

The letter to the editor says:

To Lighthouse Trails:

I just read an article today on the Christian Post regarding a new initiative called “A.D. 2020 Global Year of the Bible.”

[LTRP Note: The CP article begins:

“Missionary leaders from over 34 countries convened at the Museum of the Bible on Monday morning to launch A.D. 2020 Global Year of the Bible, a first-of-its-kind evangelical initiative endorsed by Roman Catholic Pope Francis. . . . In a recorded video endorsement from the Vatican, Pope Francis praised the Global Year of the Bible initiative and told those leading it to ‘be encouraged.’”]

Promoters include over 500 leaders and organizations from 200 countries, YWAM, American Bible Society, Wycliffe Bible Translators, the World Evangelical Alliance and Call2All. Many other Bible translation and missionary groups from around the world are involved. One should read the entire article to get the full scope; it is staggering. And groups like PULSE and others who stage enormous gatherings of youth are also involved. The piece de resistance, however, comes at the end of the article which states that the entire endeavor is being heartily endorsed by Pope Francis in a recorded video from the Vatican.

We are seeing it folks, the one-world religion, not only forming, but gaining momentum and almost at the point of culmination. I do not know how any Bible-believing Christian can be in agreement with such a clearly ecumenical agenda. The Pope will very likely be the head of the false church described in Revelation. He is not “officially, visibly” that yet, but it is there, just waiting in the wings. Millions of evangelicals now eagerly agree with the Catholic Church and going along with what seem to be endless initiatives and efforts to “Christianize the world.” It is dominionism and the one-world religion—there is no other conclusion to come to.

Heidi

The 2020 Global Year of the Bible website is registered with the University of the Nations in Hawaii. Loren Cunningham (YWAM’s leader) is the International Chancellor of that school. You may remember a 2018 article from Lighthouse Trails titled “YWAM—Wants Every YWAMer to Practice Contemplative Prayer!” YWAM has been a big promoter of contemplative prayer and emergent missiology for several years. A “natural” outcome of contemplative/emergent spirituality is a change in spiritual outlook that takes on ecumenism—with all faiths.

In a September 16, 2019 article from Religious News Service titled WEA launches curriculum for the AD 2020 global Year of the Bible,” it also discusses the “2020 Global Year of the Bible”:

Bishop Efraim Tendero, Secretary-General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), today launched a global campaign to mark 2020 as the “Year of the Bible”. Founded in 1846, the WEA represents over 600 million Christians worldwide with national alliances in 130 nations.

Projected to be one of the most collaborative movements in Christian history, the Year of the Bible is also supported by His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic church, the global Lausanne network, Youth With A Mission, the United Bible Societies, The Seed Company, Biblica and many more.

The year-long initiative is expected to achieve the greatest global Bible engagement in history, as billions follow a call to read the Bible and engage in a global conversation on its message. (emphasis added)

Lighthouse Trails can’t help be nervous about this “global conversation” with which “billions” might be involved. If organizations like YWAM and the Roman Catholic Church are instigators of this global conversation with billions, then we can easily speculate what this conversation will look like given that YWAM and the Catholic Church are leaders in promoting the interspiritual, panentheistic contemplative prayer movement (not to mention YWAM’s “new missiology” views that often leaves the Gospel out of missions and the Catholic Church’s overwhelming emphasis on the Eucharist that re-crucifies Christ at every Mass). All the while, Christian leaders either stand by passively and silently or join in helping to bring about a global “revival.”

It’s ironic, to say the least, that the Roman Catholic Church would endorse the 2020 Year of the Bible when the RCC discourages their members in reading the Bible. Historically, the RCC leadership has not wanted Roman Catholics to read the Bible but has taught them to leave the reading and interpretation of the Bible up to the popes and priests. So why would the present Pope endorse such an initiative, unless his reasons are to use the occasion to “bring back the lost brethren” into the “Mother Church”? And tragically, evangelical leaders are helping to accomplish the task, whether they realize it or not.

See Related YouTube video below Related Articles.

Related Articles:

Christian Leaders – A New Openness . . . by Ray Yungen

Wheaton College “Dialogue” Evening – Exploring “Common Ground” with Catholicism in “A Conversation on Unity”

“One World Religion: Pope Francis Signs Historic Covenant With Islam”

Related Video:

First Video: One year ago, the Vatican proposed that 2020 would be the Year of the Bible in honor of St. Jerome who first translated the Bible into Latin (for the Catholic Church). 2020 is the 1600th year anniversary of Jerome’s death. (If you cannot view the video below, click here.)

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

Comments From Our Readers

The following are some of the comments that came in this past two weeks from our readers regarding articles posted on our blog. If you would like to post a comment to one of our articles, you may do so at the blog. You only need to give your first name. We would be grateful to hear from you, and such feedback is helpful for others. You can also post comments on the Lighthouse Trails Research Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LighthouseTrailsResearch.

The New Age: “All the world’s great spiritual traditions and paths.”: Church leaders have adopted some if not all of the seeker friendly church growth methods. They see that it works and conclude that the Lord is blessing them accordingly. They get caught up in the excitement of church growth. Now they begin to put their trust in the purveyors of this movement. Little by little the purveyors introduce a little leaven here and there. They refuse to believe that the purveyors would knowingly or unknowingly lead them astray. This becomes a defensive, don’t rock the boat, of church growth. Do not think for a moment that their personal pride is a stake. They will not risk loosing their reputation by admitting that they have been duped. They like King Saul grab at straws to justify their errors. They make themselves believe the lie to maintain their delusion that they are great men of God. T.I.

Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, Richard Foster - Are We Wrong in Calling Them Emergent/Contemplative?: We knew Dallas for quite a few years and in fact we still visit with his wife occasionally. While Dallas always maintained that he was not part of the emergent church, Brian Maclaren, acknowledged top gun in the emergent church “movement” proclaims Dallas Willard to have been a mentor to the emergent church. Dallas claimed that “the church” has been a miserable failure as a result of rejecting the works of the desert fathers, catholic mystics, etc.. this only led to his claims that he saw no reason why good hindus or good budhists would not have eternal life along with Christians. His works were nonsense in terms of truth but I will confess that his works bring to mind pathways that I left behind when I chose salvation over LSD and eastern religions. Christians should be aware that the deceivers prophesied to come will not be wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the word “DECEIVER”. Gordon

On the Calvinism Issue Being Addressed by Lighthouse Trails: I find it interesting that this site is willing to warn the church about all kinds of error and heresies and yet saves its disdain for the a large portion of the church that believes the Scriptures. Many baptists and others who are funamentalists have been attacked for rightly dividing the word. I am not defending wrong behavior nor arrogance. I have purchased your materials and read them and shared the information with many. I was thankful for what was brought forth. What I don’t understand is vitriol of some readers for those who believe in the soverignty of God. From beginning to end and everything in between. Is God not allowed to make choices? Can God not be trusted with our future. Does He not have the right to have mercy on some and not on others? I don’ t claim to understand it all and sometimes am puzzled by what happens, but I would rather be the one puzzled and not understanding than serve a God that is not soverign. My hope is in Him, not myself. John H.

Response to John H: Your response is slightly alarming and exactly why Lighthouse is doing what they are doing. The sovereignty of God is misunderstood and twisted by the majority (easily) of churches to suit their own manmade agendas, and being led astray by wolves is NOT His will or decision for followers or would-be followers (born again believers). For the deception, look at the wolves behind the pulpits and flowery-worded websites. Christ Himself has warned against those. John J.

Response to John H: All Christians believe in the sovereignty of God. We just don’t believe it is His only trait. Nor do we believe that God has many traits, but His sovereignty is His number one trait and everything else about Him is second to His sovereignty. If you’re going to single out one trait, it wouldn’t be His sovereignty, but His holiness (Isaiah 6:3)! God is sovereign, but He exercises His sovereignty in accordance with His other characteristics (holiness, love, mercy, grace, justice). The problem with Calvinism is they have taken topics like sovereignty, election and predestination and built theological positions that are not Biblical. Craig

Long-Time BSF Leader Steps Down As BSF Heads Deeper Into Emergent Waters: I started BSF in 1976( not continuously) and have done all the studies and I was very anxious to learn from PPL I. NEVER has my spirit , in all these years been troubled as it was this past year. My leader would email us weekly with thoughts from Jesus Calling( purely metaphysical). I had to stop reading and at the end of the year, she gave each class member a ” Jesus Calling ” leatherette edition of the book. Sorry to say, “I am finished with BSF” which saddens me. Diane

The Call for Unity at the Price of Truth: I so enjoyed this article. Those who are falling away from sound doctrine (I.e. RW or BM) have allowed their egos to shut off the promptings of the Spirit and follow their own created interpretations of God’s Word. Kathren

The Call for Unity at the Price of Truth: Wonderful, important article! This Scripture which was quoted — “Ephesians 4:14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”–came to mind when the abominable book The Shack came out. And when I learned that the author of the “Bible” paraphrase called The Message, equally abominable, was friends with the author of The Shack, that made terribly perfect sense.Those are just two examples of the deceptions which are running rampant these days and causing shocking numbers of people to fall into deception, even full-blown apostasy. The Lord says in a letter to the Thessalonians that when people don’t receive His love for the truth, they will readily receive and fall for deception. This is scary! MUCH intercession is needed today NOT ONLY for unbelievers, but MANY people who are within churches, who profess to be Christians but don’t love the truth. I did not realize until fairly recently how much danger they are in! CW

The Call for Unity at the Price of Truth: Jesus said, Suppose ye that I have come to give peace on earth? I tell you Nay; but rather division. …there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. Luke 12: 51, 52. When most of the world rejects our Messiah Jesus and will reject Him in the future how can we have unity? Narrow is the path to everlasting life. Only a remnant of people on earth will accept Jesus as their Savior. Man-made efforts for peace and unity will fail, since Jesus is the Prince of Peace. As long as people reject Jesus and His offer of salvation there will be no unity or peace. Elizabeth

"My teachings 'damaged a lot of people', says Benny Hinn": Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “behold Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor and if I have defrauded anyone of anything I will give back four times as much.” (Luke 19:8) It’s easy to “repent” when you’ve already made your millions and get to keep them…but having said that, I hope he has. True repentance though is making restitution where possible, openly rebuking your past false teachings and aligning yourself with Christ and not the world any longer. Pastor Carl

"My teachings 'damaged a lot of people', says Benny Hinn": Glad to see that I’m not the only skeptical about this sudden so-called “repentance.” If he was truly repentant, he would give up more than half of what he has taken from those gullible Christians and give it to the widows and orphans. He should also repent of all the false teaching he’s done as well. Nina

The Call for Unity at the Price of Truth: People have lost confidence that every jot and tittle in the Bible is true. Thanks You to the wonderful easy to read and understand bibles and their promoters. The poison has been consumed, the death and crippling has been slow but sure. Ralph

LTRP Note: For more comments to our articles, visit our blog. Scroll to the bottom of any article for comments. You may also leave a comment of your own on any article.

“My teachings ‘damaged a lot of people’, says Benny Hinn”
Wycliffe, YWAM, & Other Evangelical Groups to Take Part in Roman Catholic-Endorsed Global Event in 2020
Comments From Our Readers

The Tragic Influence of Catholic Priest Richard Rohr’s Mysticism on Millennial Evangelicals

The Call for Unity at the Price of Truth
Casting Our Cares on God
The New Age: “All the world’s great spiritual traditions and paths.”
“New York City to Repeal Ban on Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ Amid Legal battle”
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The Tragic Influence of Catholic Priest Richard Rohr’s Mysticism on Millennial Evangelicals
Photo: Richard Rohr (photo taken from a 2-second video clip; used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnTC4NNIACk)

An April 2019 Religion News Service article titled, “For Millennials, Mysticism Shows a Path to Their Home Faiths” reveals how young (millennial) evangelicals are “[d]iscovering the Christian mystical tradition through the work of Franciscan friar Richard Rohr.” The article states:

[Anthony] Graffagnino [28] was one of a number of millennials drawn to The Universal Christ—a four-day conference in New Mexico’s capital last month led by Rohr, one of the preeminent Christian contemplatives of the last century. . . . millennials are increasingly finding contemplative spirituality appealing.

Whether it’s in the stillness of silent meditation, walking a labyrinth, or centering prayer; the practice of engaging with scripture through Lectio Divina, the Ignatian tradition’s Daily Examen; or a combination of Buddhist mindfulness, Kundalini breath work and Taizé prayer, many young adults are happy (to borrow a line from Van Morrison) to sail into the mystic. . . . The contemplative tradition is “expansive enough… that it leaves room as you grow,” he said. “To be Christian is to see Christ in everything.” (source)

Lighthouse Trails has been warning about Catholic priest and mystic Richard Rohr’s influence over young evangelical men for awhile now. Ray Yungen reported in his book Simple Answers that one of Richard Rohr’s publishers told Rohr that his biggest group of followers is comprised of young evangelical men. (source) That means that many of the sons and grandsons of evangelicals are under the influence of a man who is panentheistic, New Age-sympathizing, and a mystic.

Evangelical Leaders Endorsing Richard Rohr

In the midst of a current crisis where young people raised in the evangelical church are leaving the faith of their childhoods and becoming New Agers, atheists, emergent, or Catholic, highly popular seasoned evangelical leaders have helped to escalate the crisis rather than help alleviate it. In a 2018 article, Lighthouse Trails wrote about one of these “seasoned” evangelical Rohr endorsers:

In an interview between Gloria Gaither and Catholic mystic monk, Richard Rohr, Gaither said: “First of all, I want to say thank you to you [Richard Rohr] because so many of your books have been impacting my life, especially Falling Upward. I think that changed my thinking about . . . just about everything. We have studied that book in our Monday night Bible study.” (source)

Gaither isn’t the only popular evangelical leader to pay homage to Rohr.

Eugene Peterson also promotes Richard Rohr as is explained in Lois Putnam’s article, “William Paul Young (THE SHACK AUTHOR) & His Connection with Panentheist Richard Rohr.”

Another person who has embraced Rohr is Richard Foster (whose books are promoted to one degree or another by the majority of Christian colleges and seminaries). Foster had Rohr on an advisory board for a 2010 book Foster edited titled 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Devotional Classics.

And then there is IF: Gathering. The leaders of IF are dynamic energetic women who hold large conferences geared primarily toward young evangelical women. While these women may be sincere in what they are trying to do, they promote figures such as emergent leaders Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, as well as Richard Rohr.

Adele Ahlberg Calhoun also promotes Rohr in at least two of her books, including The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (a book that many evangelical groups have turned to, including Saddleback Church, even though it is packed with the contemplative/emergent element).

As our last example (though there are many more), Elisa Morgan, the founder and former director of MOPS International, quotes Rohr favorably in her book The Beauty of Broken.

Are we saying all of these Rohr-endorsers believe in all of Rohr’s New Ageism? Not necessarily, but we are showing how much Rohr has influenced Christianity.

You see, Rohr has found his way into the deepest veins of evangelicalism.

Rohr’s Cosmic Christ

Rohr’s spirituality is in the same camp as someone like Episcopalian panentheist Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ). Rohr wrote the foreword to a 2007 book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest (from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho’s book, he describes an interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity) worship the same God. For Rohr to write the forward to such a book, he would have to agree with Coutinho’s views. On Rohr’s website, he currently has an article titled “The Cosmic Christ.” One need not look too far into Rohr’s teachings and website to see he is indeed promoting the same Cosmic Christ as Matthew Fox – this is the “christ” whose being they say lives in every human; this, of course, would nullify the need for atonement by a savior. Rohr’s newest book is titled The Universal Christ. On his website next to the title of this book, it states: “Another Name for Every Thing.”

In 2016, Richard Rohr participated in an event called SAND16 US (standing for Science and Nonduality). Nonduality is a New Age term basically meaning there is no good and evil, no right or wrong; thus, all is one, all is God (which is why New Ager Neale Donald Walsch said that even Hitler will go to heaven). Rohr was invited to speak at SAND 16 US because New Agers resonate with him. Sharing the platform with Rohr were over 100 other New Agers including Matthew FoxDeepak Chopra, Ken Wilber, and Larry Dossey.

To further explain why we see it as nothing less than a tragedy that Rohr is having such an influence over young evangelicals, consider this: Rohr is a prominent champion for the idea of a global religion that would unify the world. In a 2014 interview, he said that “religion needs a new language.” And that language to bring about this one-world religion is mysticism (i.e., contemplative prayer)! Rohr stated:

Right now there is an emergence . . . it’s coming from so many different traditions and sources and parts of the world. Maybe it’s an example of the globalization of spirituality. (Kristen Hobby, “What Happens When Religion Isn’t Doing Its Job: an interview with Richard Rohr, OFM” (Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, Volume 20, No. 1, March 2014), pp. 6-11.)

This view ties in perfectly with the emerging church’s perspective that is so popular among millennials (and now even Gen Zs – those born around 1996) today. It’s no wonder that Richard Rohr and emerging church leaders (such as Brian McLaren) are so supportive of each other and endorse each other’s books.

In echoing the Catholic mystics Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen, Rohr also advocates the concept of dharmakaya. This is the recurring theme of the “school” of contemplative prayer. Rohr states:

God’s hope for humanity is that one day we will all recognize that the divine dwelling place is all of creation. Christ comes again whenever we see that matter and spirit co-exist. This truly deserves to be called good news. (Rich Heffern, “The Eternal Christ in the Cosmic Story” (National Catholic Reporter, December 11, 2009.)

To dispel any confusion about what he is saying, Rohr makes it clear in the same paragraph what he means by God dwelling in all creation. He uses a term that one finds throughout contemplative literature, which signifies that Christ is more of an energy than a personal being. Rohr explains the term “cosmic Christ,” telling readers that everything and everyone belongs to God’s kingdom. That’s even the name of one of his books, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer.

Without a doubt, Rohr is one of the most prominent living proponents of contemplative prayer today. His organization, The Center for Contemplation and Action, is a bastion for contemplative spirituality. Rohr has essentially become the new Thomas Merton to an entirely new generation of evangelical Christians; and thus, evangelicalism is being robbed of its very ability to even exist.


Other Quotes by Richard Rohr:

Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God’s own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us.― Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, p. 57

The most amazing fact about Jesus, unlike almost any other religious founder, is that he found God in disorder and imperfection—and told us that we must do the same or we would never be content on this earth. ― Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, p. 16, emphasis in original

In his 2011 book, Falling Upward, Rohr implies that we (humanity) are all an “immaculate conception” (p. ix).

 

 
The Call for Unity at the Price of Truth

Today, church sermons, books, commentaries, and lectures are inundated with the call for unity, and are all pushing for the idea that we must have unity at all costs and do “whatever it takes” to accomplish that goal. Over the years, we’ve heard this “unity” cry from various Christian leaders, such as Rick Warren and Beth Moore (two of the most influential leaders in today’s Christianity), and we are being told by “unity evangelists” that unity is what will bring revival and even save the world. But a study of God’s Word shows that such a concept does not fall within the parameters of biblical Christianity. Nor does it reap the fruit which every born-again believer should be hoping for—the building up of Christ’s body of saints for the work of the ministry (i.e., the furtherance of the Gospel).

We can find a perfect example of biblical unity vs. wrongly devised unity in Ephesians 4. The chapter starts off talking about unity; and to our dismay, this verse is often used out of context to support the views of the unity teachers.

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (vv. 1-3)

But when read in the context of the rest of the chapter, we can see that Paul is not talking about a unity at all costs with all groups and all people. It is specifically talking about those who are born from above (i.e., Christ’s church). Harry Ironside gives some insight on that score in his lecture on Ephesians 4:

People talk about heartless divisions that tear apart the body of Christ, but these divisions do not tear apart the body of Christ. The body of Christ is not composed of all the different sects and denominations. If you were to gather all the different denominations and sects together and unite them all in one big church, that would not be the body of Christ. That would contain a great many people who are in the body of Christ, but it would also include a great many who are not. On the other hand, after you had gathered all these denominations together, there would still be a great many outside them who would be members of the body of Christ. The church, which is His body, and the church, which some call the visible body of Christ, are not the same thing. The body of Christ consists only of those who are regenerated and born again by the Holy Spirit and joined to Christ in glory by the Spirit’s baptism. All the divisions in Christendom cannot split that body. . . . The apostle would have us recognize this unity that God Himself established, and so he said, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Again to the Ephesians, after the apostle Paul describes the “one body” (v. 4) and “one faith” (v. 5), he comes back to the subject of unity:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith. . . . (vv. 11-13)

This hoped-for result, “the unity of the faith,” is coupled in verse 13 with our also having “the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

But here is where many of today’s Christian leaders are misleading their followers. They say we need to have unity, in a broad sense, so that the world will be healed and the Kingdom of God can be established. But in Ephesians 4:14, it gives a very different reason for “unity of the faith”:

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

This discussion on unity in the faith in Ephesians 4 is not about being unified for the sake of unity and to heal the world, but it is about the body of Christ not falling into deception and grabbing hold of all kinds of false doctrines.

Misguided leaders of today’s Christian church have bullied and silenced many discerning Christians by convincing them that to challenge these emergent unity leaders and their false teachings is to destroy unity and in their estimation, destroy any chance for there to be revival or for the world to be helped.

Francis Chan is a perfect example of this when he said that God would destroy (even kill) those who challenge Christian leaders and that God wants unity so bad that “it’s an abomination [to God] when there’s some stirring up among the brothers.”

Beth Moore, who has set the stage for this unity without borders, warns her followers to look out for “scoffers” who will thwart plans for a major worldwide revival. She believes these scoffers will stand in the way of a unified church’s revival (one that will include the Catholic Church).

Rick Warren has for years, through his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan, taught that there needs to be a “crossing [of] all barriers, religious, political and other, so that the world’s people will be unified to fight the giants of poverty, corruption, ignorance and sickness.” He says trevival will not come without unity (his definition of unity).

But in the midst of this focus on unity, what Christian leaders fail to do is warn about the reality of spiritual deception and how we have an adversary who is lying in wait to deceive us. They don’t talk about testing the spirits. They don’t warn about New Age teachings and practices that have entered the church. They don’t identify the works of the one of whom the Bible so often warns us and calls “an angel of light” and his ministers “ministers of righteousness” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15). They so often twist and manipulate Scripture to fit it into their own molds. And, thus, they allow multitudes of church goers to be “tossed to and fro” with “every wind of doctrine.”

Romans 16:17 is another verse that associates unity with true biblical doctrine:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. (emphasis added)

This verse is often erroneously used to condemn those who “name names” and call out false teachings, saying that it is they who are causing divisions, when in actuality, the ones bringing in the false teachings are the ones causing division and a break in the unity of the faith.

In closing, remember the exhortation of Ephesians 4:15 that tells us to always be “speaking the truth in love.” In a loving manner, yes, but always speaking the truth, that we “may grow up into [Christ] in all things.”

Appendix: “Tossed To and Fro . . .”
By Harry Ironside

I never knew until I became the father of children how much is involved in the words that occur in a well-known hymn, “No infant’s changing pleasure / Is like my wandering mind.” How children’s minds jump from one thing to another! How hard it is for them to concentrate! And many of God’s children are just the same. Often when one is trying to explain a truth to believers, he is embarrassed by the questions that are asked showing that his students have not been concentrating and therefore have not grasped the truth. As a result people are never truly established in the faith. It is in order to save us from this thing that God has set in His church those who are responsible to instruct and build up His saints, that they should not be like little children tossed back and forth, like leaves carried about by the wind or, using the figure the apostle had in mind, like little sailboats on the water, blown from their course and tossed by every changing wind.

Christians who are grounded in the truth of God are a blessing. But so many people always seem to be running after some new teaching, never seeming to have any discrimination. Let me give you an absurd case. Years ago as I sat in my office in Oakland, there came in through the bookroom a man. He was tall and gaunt, had long flowing hair coming down over his shoulders, and a long unkempt beard. He came up to where I sat writing. I did not want to be interrupted, for I felt that he was going to waste my time with some useless religious argument. He said, “I gather, sir, from the books I have seen in the window that you are a truth-seeker, and I thought I would come in and have a chat with you.”

“You are mistaken,” I said; “I am not a truth-seeker at all.”

“Oh, you aren’t? May I ask why you are not?”

“Why, because, sir, I have found Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and therefore my seeking is at an end. Once I was a truth-seeker, but now I am a truth-finder, for I know Christ.”

“Well, but are there not many things that you still need to know?”

“Oh, yes; there are a great many things that I need to know, but I have found the great Teacher, and I am not going around seeking truth any longer. He instructs me through His Word.”

“Well, as for me, I am always seeking; I go anywhere and everywhere that I think I can learn more.”

“Yes,” I said, “I was reading of you in my Bible the other day.”

“Of me?”

“Yes.”

“What did it say about me?”

“It said, ‘Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth’“ (2 Timothy 3:7).

“Why, that has no reference to me,” he said.

“Pardon me, but you said that you are always seeking and if a man is always seeking, he is never finding. But, you see, those of us who know Christ have found the Truth.”

Then he began to tell me some of his weird gospel.

What a lot of folks there are like him in some degree, just running from one thing to another and never getting anywhere. The apostle said, “Hold fast the form of sound words” (2 Timothy 1:13), and you get sound words in the Book of God and nowhere else.

In our text we read, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). This verse speaks of men who have selfish purposes to serve, and want to make disciples in order to profit from them. When men come to you with strange and new ideas, ask for a “Thus saith the Lord.” Ask them to give chapter and verse in the Bible for the strange doctrines they bring you. If Christians would only do this, they would not be running after these modern religious fads. God’s own Word has stood the test of nineteen hundred years, and you can depend on it. You can live on it; and as you feed on the precious truth revealed in its pages, you will grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

 

Casting Our Cares on God

By Maria Kneas

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

The parable of the sower in Scripture reveals a condition (the third kind of soil) that can be especially problematic for the Christian who is trying to serve the Lord and be fruitful for the Kingdom—namely that of seed sown among thorns (weeds) that would choke out one’s effectiveness. In explaining this part of the parable, Jesus said:

And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. (Mark 4:18-19, emphasis added)

It is obvious that things like lust for money and power, and sexual immorality would prevent Christians from bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. But Jesus also included “the cares of this world” in the list of “weeds” that are deadly enough to prevent the plant from bearing fruit. Therefore, we cannot afford to be overcome by “cares” (fear, anxiety, worry, etc.). Jesus expects us to bear fruit for His Kingdom. And we want to be fruitful for Him.

Peter implies that if we fail to cast our cares on God, then we open ourselves up to spiritual warfare. I’ll repeat the opening Scripture of this article, and add the two verses that come immediately after it. Peter says:

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:6-9)

What happens when we become anxious, worried, and full of cares? Our emotions take over. We act impulsively. We lose sleep, and lose our tempers, and so on. We get so focused on our worries we fail to notice, or take care of, important things in our lives. Well, that is the exact opposite of being “sober” and “alert.” And therefore, we are not in good shape to resist the attacks of the devil.

James said something that relates to part of what Peter said in the quote above:

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:6-7)

How do we submit to God? One important way is by taking His Word seriously and trying to live the way the Bible tells us to live. And that includes not being anxious. Paul said:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)

In the King James, the word “careful” means “full of care.” In other words, “anxious.” So Paul’s point is that we should be praying instead of worrying. We need to give our cares to God. That includes fears for ourselves and for those we love. For example, parents whose children are soldiers fighting overseas have valid reasons to fear for the safety of their children.

We all become afraid at times. The problem occurs when we allow that fear to take over. Going back to the parable of the sower and the four kinds of soil, when weeds first begin to grow, if you pull them up by the roots, they won’t cause any significant harm to the plant. However, if you let them keep growing, then the weeds can choke the plant and prevent it from bearing fruit. In some cases, weeds can even kill the plant. I had some beautiful azaleas that were killed by ivy.

The principle is similar to avoiding long-term anger. God understands that at times, we will become angry, but the point is we cannot afford to remain angry. Otherwise, we may give the devil a beachhead (“place”) in which to attack us.

Similarly, we can’t help getting anxious at times. However, we cannot afford to remain anxious. We need to remind ourselves that God is faithful, and He loves us, and He will take good care of us. His grace is sufficient for us. And He will make everything work out for our long-term, eternal good if we love Him. No exceptions (Romans 8:28).

Praise and worship are a good way to remind ourselves that God is good, that He loves us, and that we can trust Him. David said:

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:3)

The term “magnify” can’t mean making God any bigger than He already is, because that is impossible since God is already infinite. Therefore, it must mean making ourselves become more aware of how great God really is. In other words, as we focus on God and on His greatness, His goodness, His mercy, and His lovingkindness, then He appears greater in our eyes. And because of that, our problems seem so much smaller.

So what we are really doing is seeing things in proper proportion. In reality, any problem we could face is so small compared to God and His great love for us. For God, even death is small by comparison (1 Corinthians 15:53-55). He raised Jesus from the dead; and some day He will raise all believers from the dead.

We need to get our focus off our problems and on to God. On a practical note, we need to be aware of the problems and do whatever we can in practical terms to deal with them. However, when it comes to our emotions and our thoughts, our primary focus needs to be on the Lord God Almighty. The apostle Paul told us:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

True, honest, just, pure, lovely (beautiful), good, virtuous, and worthy of praise are all attributes of God. So although we need to be aware of the bad stuff in our lives and do whatever we can to deal with it, our primary focus should be on God Himself. The Bible says it is the life of Christ in us that gives us the power and strength we need. When we are born again, He lives in us (abides in us), and it is His life that changes and transforms us.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. (Galatians 2:20)

. . . to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27, emphasis added)

When you drive your car, you look at the road ahead of you. You quickly check the mirrors, and you see sideways with your peripheral vision, but your primary focus has to be on the road that is directly ahead of you. Likewise, we can focus on God and look at the bad stuff with our peripheral vision. That will make it easier to cast our cares (concerns about the bad stuff) on God and leave them in His hands, trusting that He will take care of things in the right way—and in the right timing.

Casting our cares on God is a skill we can learn and a habit we can develop. We can ask God to teach us how to do it. We can ask Him to make us willing and able to do it. And we can ask Him to teach us not to grab those cares and take them back again after we have given them to Him.

God told us to do it. He wants us to do it. And His grace is sufficient for us. Therefore, He is willing and able to teach us how to do it. God can enable us to make casting our cares on Him become a way of life for us.

It’s a process. It can take time. When we succeed in casting a care on Him, then we should thank Him for it. When we fail, then we should repent and ask Him to help us do it.

Human parents teach their children how to do what they expect of them. Would our Heavenly Father do any less for us? Of course not.

The more we cast our cares on God, the more we will learn to trust Him at a deeper level. In addition, we will experience a new degree of peace and joy. That will be a blessing for us and for those who are close to us.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

Blessed Assurance
by Fanny Crosby
1873

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love…

(Maria Kneas is author of Strength for Tough Times and How to Prepare for Hard Times and Persecution.)

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

The New Age: “All the world’s great spiritual traditions and paths.”
Note: Ray Yungen’s explanation of what “New Age” shows why Lighthouse Trails says the New Age has infiltrated Christianity. When we realize that mystical meditation is at the heart of the New Age as well as at the heart of contemplative spirituality, we then realize they are one in the same. While the term “New Age” has only been around for less than a hundred years or so, the concept itself (God is all and God is in all) has been around since the Garden of Eden when the serpent said to Eve, You will be as gods.

By Ray Yungen

My first exposure to what I later came to know as the New Age movement was in 1974 when I moved to Berkeley, California, to attend a film institute. From the first day I arrived, I found “Berserkeley” (as it was nicknamed) to be a fascinating and exotic town, a place unlike any I had ever seen. The town surged with a rebellious, wacky vitality. It has been said of Berkeley that the strange and the odd are ordinary and the conventional out of place.

Berkeley had a notorious reputation as a hotbed of student protest dating from the Free Speech movement in 1964. I lived only a few blocks away from the vacant lot called “People’s Park,” which was the scene of bloody clashes between police, street people, and students in 1969. Militant Leftist rhetoric and literature were in evidence everywhere. Telephone poles displayed various manifestos and communiques from groups with formidable sounding names such as “the People’s Revolutionary Underground Red Guerrilla Commune.” Pictures of Chairman Mao and Karl Marx decorated the walls of several co-op health food stores.

There was also a very open and prevalent drug culture. Smoking pot in public was so common that it was taken for granted. I was familiar with the drug culture and radical politics through personal exposure and the media, but it soon became apparent that there was something else happening in Berkeley that I had not encountered before.

Berkeley and its Unfamiliar Terminology
Many unfamiliar terms began to catch my attention. I met people who talked about such things as “karma” and “exploring inner space.” I frequently heard the words aquarius and aquarian, and it was commonplace to ask about a person’s “sign.”

I noticed that many of those who were using these terms were not burned-out street people but rather the articulate and well-educated. Their unusual spiritual outlook intrigued me, but I passed it off as the eccentricity associated with Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay area. Had someone told me this “aquarian consciousness” would someday spread through every facet of Western society, I would have thought them as crazy as the wildlooking street people hanging around the periphery of the University of California.

While living in the Berkeley Film House, I became friends with Brian, a young man from the East Coast. Brian was personable, intelligent, and witty. With both of us being avid film buffs we enjoyed many good times together discussing the cinema, and even made plans to collaborate on a film someday.

After I had completed my film courses, Brian offered to drive me home to Oregon in his rattletrap Volkswagen bug so he could check out the beauty of the Northwest. Eventually, he settled in a city near my hometown enabling us to keep in touch.

During our visits, Brian often talked about subjects he termed spiritual or holistic. Often he spoke about Christ or “Christ consciousness” and the world peace and brotherhood which would eventually be achieved though this. It all sounded very positive.

Each time these sermons took place, I wondered just what it was he was trying to convey. The words he used were familiar, but the meanings he attached to them were peculiar and out of place. The exchanges I had with Brian were very frustrating at times.

Whenever I tried to present a more traditional Christian viewpoint on spiritual matters, he would become highly irritated and respond with, “The Bible is nothing but metaphor to show deeper spiritual truths” or “The churches have completely missed the real meaning of Jesus’ teachings and have substituted rigid rules and dogma to control people instead.” Brian was adamant on this belief.

What perplexed me was how Brian had developed these spiritual ideas which he had tried so hard to make me understand. He didn’t belong to a cult or anything of that sort. I wondered where these ideas came from. I would ask him, “Brian, what is this?” He would shoot back, “You can’t label truth.”

Although I didn’t see it clearly at the time, Brian’s spiritual outlook was a mixture of what he referred to as, “All the world’s great spiritual traditions and paths.” He talked about Jesus and often quoted from the Bible, yet he had a little shrine in his apartment to the Hindu mystic and saint Sri Ramakrishna. He genuinely felt there was no difference between the teachings of Jesus and Ramakrishna. “The great masters all taught the same thing—the kingdom of God is within,” he would declare with great conviction.

What is the New Age Movement?
[A] curious spiritual movement has increasingly made itself known in the Western world. It is collectively referred to, both by its adherents and its foes, as the New Age movement. There is no question that this spirituality has the potential to impact the lives of the majority of the population today, regardless of class, or ethnic background.

An accurate definition of the New Age movement would be: Individuals who, in the context of historical occultism, are in mystical contact with unseen sources and dimensions; receive guidance and direction from these dimensions; and who promote this state-of-being to the rest of humanity.

It is extremely difficult to understand this movement without first understanding the underlying belief systems and practices that accompany its agenda. Equally necessary is an understanding of where these beliefs and practices originated and how they have become pervasive.

The Age of Aquarius

The term “New Age” is based on astrology. Those who believe in astrology believe there are cosmic cycles called “Astrological Ages,” in which Earth passes through a cycle or time period when it is under the influence of a certain sign of the zodiac. These “Ages” last approximately 2,000 years, with a “cusp” or transitory period between each.

Those who embrace astrology say that for the last 2,000 years we have been in the sign of “Pisces,” the fish. Now they say we are moving into the sign of “Aquarius” or the “Age of Aquarius,” hence the “New Age.”

The Aquarian Age is supposed to signify that the human race is now entering a “Golden Age.” Many occultists have long heralded the Aquarian Age as an event that would be significant to humanity. That is why one New Age writer stated that “a basic knowledge of Astrological Ages is of enormous importance in occult work.”1

They believe that during these transitions certain cosmic influences begin to flow into the mass consciousness of mankind and cause changes to occur in accordance with the spiritual keynote or theme of that particular Age. This phenomenon is known as “planetary transformation”–an event they believe will bring “universal oneness” to all mankind. The view is that as more and more members of the human race “attune” themselves to “Aquarian energies,” the dynamics of the “old age” will begin to fade out.

Just what “energies” are we supposed to be attuning ourselves to? New Age thought teaches that everything that exists, seen or unseen, is made up of energy—tiny particles of vibrating energy, atoms, molecules, protons, etc. All is energy. That energy, they believe, is God, and therefore, all is God. They believe that since we are all part of this “God-energy,” then we, too, are God. God is not seen as a Being that dwells in heaven, but as the universe itself. According to one writer, “Simply put, God functions in you, through you, and as you.”2

The Age of Aquarius is when we are all supposed to come to the understanding that man is God. As one New Age writer put it, “A major theme of Aquarius is that God is within. The goal in the Age of Aquarius will be how to bring this idea into meaningful reality.”3

Metaphysics
To fully comprehend the above concept, one has to understand its essence which is built on a belief system commonly referred to as metaphysics. The word translates as meta–“above” or “beyond,” and physical—“the seen” or “material” world. So metaphysics relates to that which exists or is real, but is unseen. The Dictionary of Mysticism describes metaphysics as “a science dealing with intelligent forces or unknown powers.”4

Although the word metaphysics is used in non-New Age connotations, it is used in reference to the occult arts so often that the two have become interchangeable. From now on, when I use the term metaphysics, I am referring to New Age metaphysics. Metaphysics concerns itself with the spiritual evolution of the human soul. This is called the “law of rebirth,” more commonly known as reincarnation.

Metaphysics teaches that there is the seen world known as the physical or material plane, and the unseen world with its many different planes. They teach the “astral” plane is where people go after death to await their next incarnation or bodily state.

Metaphysical thought holds the view that we are constantly caught up in a cycle of coming from the astral plane, being born, living, dying, and returning to the astral existence. They believe that the reason for repeating this cycle is to learn lessons that are necessary for our evolutionary training.

The Earth plane is supposed to be the ultimate school. If a person “flunks” one incarnation, he must make up for it in the next cycle. This is called “the law of karma.” Reincarnation and karma are always linked together as there cannot be one without the other. Ultimately there is no evil, only lessons to be learned. What is the main lesson? That you are God. This is the basic tenet of metaphysical thought. How does one go about “learning” this? How is this perception achieved?

The ultimate goal in metaphysics is attuning oneself to “higher consciousness” thereby gaining an awareness of these higher worlds or realms. It is taught that the most direct way to achieve this is through the practice of meditation. Meditation is the basic activity that underlies all metaphysics and is the primary source of spiritual direction for the New Age person. We need only observe the emphasis which is placed on meditation to see the importance of it in New Age thought. (From For Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen, chapter 1)

Notes:

1. Marion Weinstein, Positive Magic: Occult Self-Help (Custer, WA: Phoenix Pub., Inc., 1978), p. 19.

2. Anthony J. Fisichella, Metaphysics: The Science of Life (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1984), p. 28.

3. Marion Weinstein, Positive Magic, op. cit., p. 25.

4. Anthony J. Fisichella, Metaphysics: The Science of Life, op. cit., p. 11.

 
“New York City to Repeal Ban on Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ Amid Legal battle”

LTRP Note: The following news story is posted for informational and research purposes.

By Samuel Smith
The Christian Post

The New York city council is planning to repeal a two-year-old ban on “gay conversion therapy” to avoid a costly uphill legal fight.

The New York Times reports that the city’s openly gay Council Speaker Corey Johnson introduced a bill on Thursday to repeal a measure passed in 2017 banning the sale of “services intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” 

With a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court makeup, Johnson doesn’t seem to want the law to be tested in the legal system. He vowed that the council would act quickly to repeal the law. Click here to continue reading.

Related Reading:

6 Questions Every Gay Person Should Ask (Booklet) by Michael Tays Carter

Understanding the Times – “Men Love Darkness Rather Than Light” by Maria Kneas

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

Note About Lighthouse Trails Journal Mailed to Homes, Offices, Prisons, and Churches

You may not know that Lighthouse Trails has, in addition to this free e-newsletter, a low-priced subscription-based journal that is mailed out to homes, offices, prisons, and churches. While this free e-newsletter you are reading comes out two-three times a month, the Lighthouse Trails Research Journal comes out six times a year. Each journal is 36-pages long and is packed with numerous articles. The Journal also contains letters to the editor, book and booklet excerpts, information on our latest resources, and more. The cost for a U.S. subscription is $15 a year (no extra shipping costs). Canada is $29 a year, and other international is $42 a year (sorry for those high international costs - it's because of the extremely high international shipping rates).

The Journal contains the most important articles from the previous two months. We have had a lot of feedback about the Journal, and our readers are telling us that they love the Journal.

If you would like to subscribe to the Lighthouse Trails Research Journal, click here. Our March/April issue is going to be mailed out on March 7th. Click here to see a sample copy.

The Editors at Lighthouse Trails

P.S. We do now have a PDF subscription for anyone anywhere in the world for just $6 a year. The PDF Journal will be e-mailed to you six times a year.

And for anyone who has any questions, or if you want to subscribe or renew by phone, call 866-876-3910 (our toll-free order line). Mail in subscriptions should go to: Lighthouse Trails, P.O. Box 908, Eureka, MT 59917.

Lighthouse Trails Volume 15 Catalog - SPECIAL COUPON

This past summer, Lighthouse Trails mailed out our Volume 15 Product Catalog to everyone on our customer database (those who have ever purchased something from our store). We send out a new catalog every two or three years. If you received this catalog and would like to place an order online, you may use CAT-10 for the special 10% off offer that is in the catalog.

If you did not receive one of our catalogs and would like one, please send your current mailing address to: catalog@lighthousetrails.com.

You may also view our digital catalog here and also use the coupon code.

New Booklet: The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day

NEW BOOKLET:The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day by George Zeller is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are available. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day, click here.

The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day
By George Zeller

The Old Testament Sabbath

The Definition
The word “Sabbath” comes from a Hebrew verb meaning “to cease, stop, desist; to come to an end, rest.” The basic meaning of this verb is illustrated in such passages as Genesis 8:22 (the seasonal and day/night cycles “shall not cease,” i.e., they will have no Sabbath); Jeremiah 31:36 (“cease”); and Job 32:1 (these men gave their mouths a rest).

Based on this definition of the word, the Sabbath Day was a “Cease-From-Work Day.” It was a day when God’s people were to cease and stop working. They were to cease from their normal daily routine. It’s important for God’s people to have a break from the business and busyness of the daily work schedule. The Sabbath afforded such a break.

On the Sabbath Day, God’s people were to cease and stop working so that they might think about and remember their God.

According to Exodus 20:8-11, they were to stop and remember their Creator. They were to realize that everything they had (even breath to breathe and strength to work) came from their Creator-God (compare 1 Corinthians 4:7) and that apart from Him, they would have nothing. They were to rest so they might reverence their Creator.

According to Deuteronomy 5:15, they were to stop and remember their Redeemer. They were to remember the awful slavery in Egypt and the wonderful deliverance that God wrought for them. They were to rest so they might reverence their Redeemer.

What Day of the Week Was the Sabbath?
Genesis 1 and 2 clearly state that the seventh day of the week was the Sabbath Day. New Testament confirmation is found in Hebrews 4:4:

For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

Thus, Saturday (the seventh day of the week) was the day of rest for God’s people.

Nowhere in the Bible do we read about the Sabbath Day being changed to some other day. Many believe that the Sabbath Day (Saturday) was changed to the first day of the week (Sunday). Again, nowhere in Scripture is such a change mentioned.

Nothing About Sabbath Observance Until Moses
Genesis 2:1-3 states that God rested on the seventh day (Saturday) having finished His work of creation (cf. Exodus 20:11). It should be noted that although God observed the Sabbath, there is no command given in Genesis 2 that instructs man to observe the Sabbath. Indeed, throughout the book of Genesis, there is no record of any Sabbath observance on the part of men. There is no record that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Joseph observed the Sabbath. Job lived in the patriarchal period or thereabouts, and although we read of him offering sacrifices, there is no mention of any Sabbath observance. After the flood, God gave some key commands to Noah and his sons (Genesis 9), but nothing is said about Sabbath observance. There is no record of anyone observing the Sabbath until the days of Moses.

The first record of any kind of Sabbath observance is found in Exodus 16. These manna-gathering instructions were given just prior to the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai. God was preparing His people for the Sabbath command they would soon be given. The first “Sabbath-breakers” are found in Exodus 16:27-28.

A Sign
The Sabbath was a sign between God and the nation of Israel:

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. (Exodus 31:13)

It was a set-apart day to remind them that they were a set-apart people. It was a perpetual reminder to Israel of their separation unto God. The heathen (other nations) did not observe the Sabbath.

The Penalty
The penalty for breaking the Sabbath law was death (Exodus 31:14; 35:2). In Numbers 15:32-36, there is an account of a man who was stoned for breaking the Sabbath (cf. Exodus 35:2-3).

The Land
The land was to observe a Sabbath. The land was to be worked for six years and rested on the seventh year (Leviticus 25:1-7). God would provide for His obedient people (Leviticus 25:18-22). However, God’s people did not obey this law and did not rest the land during these Sabbath years. This was one of the reasons God’s judgment came upon His people involving the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. During these seventy years, God gave the land rest to make up for all the time that Israel failed to observe the Sabbath year rest. The Lord enforced His Sabbath upon the land. God saw to it that the land got its rest!

And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. (Leviticus 26:32-35)

And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years. (2 Chronicles 36:20-21)

By causing the land to remain uncultivated for seventy years, God gave to the land a time of rest and refreshment, which its inhabitants, so long as they possessed it, had not given it.1

Special Holy Days
In addition to the weekly sabbaths, there were special holy-day “Sabbaths” connected with some of Israel’s feasts (e.g., Leviticus 23:7-8, 21, 24-25, 27-28, 30-32). On most of these “non-working” days, no regular occupational work was to be done. The regulation for the day of atonement was even stronger: even minor household chores were forbidden (vv. 28-32).

The New Testament

The Word “Sabbath” in the New Testament
In the Gospels, the word “Sabbath” occurs fifty times. In the book of Acts, it occurs nine times. In the Epistles (Romans through Revelation), this word occurs once (Colossians 2:16).

It is worthy of note that whenever the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament (e.g., Matthew 19:18-19 and Romans 13:9), the Sabbath commandment is never included in the list. This is important to remember especially for those who believe that observing the Sabbath Day is key to their salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ and the Sabbath
In the Gospels, the Lord Jesus Christ observed the Sabbath Day (Luke 4:16; 13:10, etc.) since He was “under the law” (see Galatians 4:4).

The Sabbath Day was meant to be a blessing to man. It was a special day given to God’s people so that they could stop and remember their Creator and Redeemer and think about their relationship to Him. However, the Jewish religious leaders had added so many restrictions to the Sabbath that the day had become a great burden rather than a great blessing (see Mark 2:23-28 and compare John 5:8-10,16). This is the condition into which the Sabbath had degenerated by the time of our Lord’s earthly ministry; and this is why the Lord Jesus Christ, “the Lord of the Sabbath,” was involved in so many Sabbath controversies during His public ministry.

The New Testament Believers Gathering Together
In the book of Acts, the Sabbath is set forth not as the “Christian day of worship;” rather, it was used as a day of evangelism (see Acts 13:14-16; 13:42; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4). For Paul and the other Christian evangelists, the Sabbath Day was indeed a work day, as they labored for souls!

On What Day Did Christian Believers gather Together?

And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:6-7; emphasis added)

Apparently, Paul stayed seven days so he could be with the believers on Sunday (see verse 6). Note what took place on this day: the disciples came together, they broke bread (communion), they heard the Word of God preached.

Paul requested that a special offering for the poor saints of Jerusalem be collected on the first day of the week, which was Sunday. Why on this day? Because this was the usual day that believers gathered together.

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. (1 Corinthians 16:1-2)

Sunday
The Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead very early on the first day of the week (Sunday).

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. (Mark 16:9; and compare Luke 24:1)

There are some (such as former cult leader Herbert Armstrong) who say that Christ arose on Saturday and not on Sunday. On the contrary, the Bible teaches that Christ rose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Luke 24:7). According to Luke 24:21, the two disciples with whom Jesus walked on the road to Emmaus considered Sunday (even Sunday late afternoon) to be “the third day since these things were done” (compare verse 1). If Christ rose again on the third day, and if Sunday was considered the third day, then He must have risen on Sunday, the first day of the week, not on Saturday.

Beginning with that first resurrection Sunday, the Lord Jesus seemed to set a precedent for His disciples to gather together on the first day of the week. On the first resurrection Sunday, the Lord appeared to the group of disciples, but Thomas missed this “Sunday Evening Service” (John 20:19-23). According to the Jewish method of time computation (the inclusive method), the Lord appeared to the disciples exactly one week later (verse 26: “after 8 days”). On this Sunday, Thomas was in attendance (verses 26-29). It was also on a Sunday that the Holy Spirit came and the church was born (see Acts chapter 2 and compare Leviticus 23:15-16). The day of Pentecost occurred seven weeks after the Lord’s resurrection. The disciples were getting into the habit of gathering together on the first day of the week in celebration of the day when Christ victoriously arose from the dead.

Then, as mentioned earlier, the word “sabbath” appears only once in all the Epistles (from Romans through Revelation) where Paul states:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days. (Colossians 2:16)

And while it is only mentioned here in all the Epistles, Paul proclaims that we are not to constrain anyone to observe “sabbath days.” While there are some who have deduced that Paul is not talking about weekly sabbaths here but special days of rest, a careful reading of this verse makes it plain that Paul has already covered these special days in this verse and, moving in a descending scale, mentions the yearly “holyday,” then the monthly “new moon,” and finally the weekly “sabbath days.” In none of these is the believer bound any longer under the law to observe them.

The Lord’s Day
The Lord’s Day is seen prophetically in Psalm 118:22-24:

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (compare Acts 4:10-12)

“This is the day which the LORD hath made.” What day is the Psalmist referring to? It was the day when God did a marvelous thing in bringing forth His Son from the dead. The rejected Stone (cf. John 1:11) was made the Head of the Corner!

The Lord’s Day, therefore, should be a day of great gladness and rejoicing (Psalm 118:24). It is a day for believers to gather together for worship, for the breaking of bread in remembering our Lord and what He has done on our behalf (1 Corinthians 11:25-26), for the collecting of gifts and offerings (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), and for the preaching and teaching of God’s Word (Acts 20:6-7).

Is Sunday the “Christian Sabbath”?
However, there is no verse in the Bible that commands believers to worship on the first day of the week. We do not do this because of any command. We do this simply because this has been the practice of Christians from the very beginning, based upon the life-changing fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Sunday is not the “Christian Sabbath.” The first day of the week is nowhere referred to as the Sabbath. Many refer to Sunday as the Sabbath, but this is not biblically correct. And we must realize that our coming together is not a salvation prerequisite. We come together with the saints, as we are instructed to in Scripture (see Hebrews 10:24-25, Colossians 3:16), to remember and celebrate together what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us (salvation through the Cross and the Resurrection) and to edify, encourage, and exhort one another.

There is a Sabbath rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9), but this Sabbath rest is not for Saturday or for Sunday—it is for every day of the week!

A Sabbath Rest for Believers

There is a real sense in which every day of the week is the Lord’s Day. We are not to serve the Lord one day out of seven. We are to serve the Lord seven days out of seven! In this sense, the New Testament teaches that every day is equal (Romans 14:5).

Should believers today observe the Sabbath? The answer is yes! But a better way to say it would be, should believers today enter a Sabbath rest? There is a Sabbath rest for the people of God today: “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). Believers in Christ need to rest and to cease from their own works: “For he that is entered into his [God’s] rest, he also hath ceased from his own works” (Hebrews 4:10). When we, as believers, do this, it brings us to a place of humility and recognition that Christ’s work of redemption on our behalf is complete and finished (John 19:30). Now, having ceased from our own works, it opens the way for the living God to work in and through us (Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:21). This “faith-rest life” should be the daily portion of every believer. May we enter into this rest. May unbelief not hinder us.

On what day should we as believers rest? Notice the emphasis in Hebrews 3 and 4 on the word “today” (see Hebrews 3:7, 13, 15; and 4:7). When should we rest? We should rest “TODAY” (today and every day). There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, and we are to enter into this rest today and every day, seven days a week!

The rest to which Hebrews 4:1-11 refers is not the rest that the believer enters into at death, as so many commentators teach. The promised land was not meant to be a picture of Heaven, which the words of many hymns might suggest. Joshua and Caleb entered a land full of enemies. They entered because of their faith in a God who would work on their behalf (see Exodus 14:14: “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” and Numbers 14:9: “the LORD is with us”). If the “rest” of Hebrews 4:11 refers to Heaven, then this verse would be a command to commit suicide!

The person who enters into God’s rest is the person who 1) ceases from his own works (Hebrews 4:10) (i.e., realizes his salvation is not based on his own works but is based on what Christ has done, and thus, he stops striving); 2) mixes the promises of God with faith (Hebrews 4:2-3); and 3) allows God the freedom to outwork and manifest His life in his own life (Hebrews 13:20-21). Harry Ironside adds some helpful insight into the “Sabbath rest”:

If you want to find real sabbath rest for your soul, you can find it only in the Lord Jesus Christ. You have tried other things, you have turned aside to what the world had to offer, but you never found heart satisfaction, and you never will. No one has ever found it. This world has never satisfied any man or woman who lived for it, and you may be certain that it will never satisfy you. But if we could only call them together, we could get testimonies from literally millions of people who say that when they came to Jesus, when they trusted Him and received Him as Savior, they entered into sabbath rest; they found peace of heart, they found a calmness of spirit, they found joy of soul, which they had never been able to find in the world. Yes, there remaineth a sabbath rest for the people of God.2

According to Colossians 2:16-17, the Sabbath, which was given under the law in the Old Testament, was meant to be a picture of a greater Sabbath. It was but a shadow which would find its substance and fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (emphasis added)

Exodus 31:13 declares to the Jewish people in the Old Testament that obeying the Sabbath was a sign between them and God so they would know God had “sanctified” them as a peculiar and chosen people set apart from the world. So too, our Sabbath rest (in Christ) from our works and striving is a sign that God has sanctified the born-again in Christ and set us apart from the world. And when the world sees our rest and trust in the One who promises to save us and deliver us from the snares of death, it will be a witness to them of God’s greatness and faithfulness.

The following chart may help to illustrate how the Old Testament Sabbath foreshadowed and pictured a greater Sabbath:

The Sabbath Under Law The Sabbath Under Grace
The believer was to rest on the seventh day (Exodus 20:8-10). The believer is to rest seven days—“today” and every day (Hebrews 4:1-11).
God’s work of creation took six days (Exodus 20:11). God’s work of the new creation (redemption) took approximately six hours—the time that Christ spent on the Cross (see Mark 15:25,33-37).
After His finished work of creation, God rested (Genesis 2:1-3). God later transferred the significance of His day of rest to the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:11). After His finished work of redemption, Christ rested and sat down at the right hand of God (John 19:30; Hebrews 1:3). Note: Contrast the priests in the tabernacle who could never sit down because their work was never finished (Hebrews 10:11-12).
The Old Testament believer was to stop working on Saturday (Exodus 20:10). The New Testament believer is to stop working and to cease from his own works every day of the week (Hebrews 4:1-11). It is a Faith-Rest Life based on the finished work of Christ, in the power of God the Holy Spirit.3

Yes, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God today! Are you observing it? Are you entering into it by faith? Is Hebrews 13:20-21 true of you? Are you resting and enjoying the happy, healthy, holy working of God in your life . . . Today?

To order copies of The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day, click here.

Endnotes:

  1. Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (in the public domain, see under 2 Chronicles 36:21).
  2. Harry Ironside, Care for God’s Fruit-Trees, chapter 14. (Ironside’s writings are in the public domain. You can read more about him at www.harryironside.com.)
  3. There are many other verses in God’s Word to support the fact that our works do not save us (such as Ephesians 2:8-9).

Publisher’s Note

Today, within what is called the Spiritual Formation movement, many of the movement’s authors are writing books about the Sabbath. The message in most of these books is quite different than the message in George Zeller’s booklet. In the booklet you have just read, the emphasis on a Sabbath rest is based solely on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the finished work on the Cross. Within the Spiritual Formation camp, the focus is on performing certain “spiritual disciplines” so one can become more “Christ-like.”

According to Spiritual Formation advocates, anyone can practice these disciplines regardless of beliefs (a relationship with Jesus Christ is not required). These disciplines include things like fasting, praying, helping the needy, practicing contemplative prayer (a mantra-like mystical practice) and Sabbath keeping (but usually on any particular day). In actuality, Spiritual Formation offers the very opposite of a Sabbath rest as this booklet has described. Spiritual Formation is a very works-based ideology wherein the practitioner must perform the disciplines if he or she hopes to become like Christ (yet, as with any works-based “theology,” there eventually becomes a devastating void, which is why so many in this camp turn to the esoteric experiences of contemplative prayer so they can “feel” Christ-like). Unfortunately, this is a very deceptive substitute for a living relationship with Jesus Christ that is based on the grace of God through faith in Him. If after reading this booklet on the Sabbath, you would like to know more about the dangers of the Spiritual Formation movement, please write to us, and we will send you a free booklet on this topic.

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