Biblical Audio Commentary – Spirit Suckers
Being as fervent of a pre-Tribulation Rapture adherent as I am, I’ve discussed numerous times in my various Commentaries the problems and inadequacies with other end-times positions. In my Awaken Bible Prophecy Update on January 24 titled Preterist Pretensions, I addressed this particular method of Biblical interpretation, and if you’ll recall, I pronounced it a false doctrine.
That’s pretty harsh language, but I believe it’s completely justified given the position of most Christians who believe in it. What is that position? There is a bottom-line belief that God is done with any further prophetic dealings with Israel, and the church is the new Israel – heir to all the promises God made to ancient Israel.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this other than the fact that it conflicts with and dismisses the very Word of God. Take Exodus 40:15 as one of many examples. God is speaking to Moses and giving him instructions about Aaron and his sons:
. . . and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests. And their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.”
Now, what the text obviously forgot to indicate is that God placed an asterisk beside the term perpetual priesthood. That asterisk would have clearly shown that God meant this to apply only until the end of the 1st Century when He finished with the Jews for all time going forward. Those pesty missing asterisks! They really add a lot of confusion to Bible study.
Well, in Job 21:3 following the pronouncement by Zophar that his friend was wicked, Job told him: “Mock on!” I’m afraid we’ll have to do just that with all this foolishness that God has abandoned Israel.
The Preterist message I discussed was delivered at the (a-hem) Berean Bible Church (a misnomer on two counts, i.e. (1) Berean and (2) Bible, if I ever saw one) on October 22, 2023 a couple weeks after the Hamas atrocities perpetrated against Israel. That message titled National Israel is NOT God’s People was taken down from YouTube but then re-posted, causing a little confusion. Hopefully you can still see that message at this new link. As of this writing a 6-minute excerpt is also available. When I first viewed and listened to this particular sermon, I checked out the comments to the video. Scrolling down through a large number of them, I saw that most were very supportive of the message, with some of the people agreeing because they had thought the very things the pastor said for a long time. I encourage you to look at all the supportive comments. In perusing the comments from the excerpt to the original message, there were some that actually contested with what the pastor said. Although such comments in this regard were few, I was happy to see that.
The reason this is important is because of the number of people who are supportive of doctrine of this nature with its destructive ideology. I’ll discuss this more shortly.
What I wanted to do in this Commentary was to add other strongly-held thinking to the list in addition to Preterism – all of which I truly believe are damaging to faith because of how they distort God’s Word and lead people astray. Besides Preterism, we can add to this destructive category such belief systems as a-millennialism, post-Tribulation Rapture, Replacement Theology, and NAR (New Apostolic Reformation), which is a recycling of Dominionism or Kingdom Now.
My thesis in this Commentary is that all these belief systems effectively suck the Holy Spirit from the church and its people. In fact, I would contend that those who lead their flocks by teaching these false beliefs are Christian through head knowledge only and likely not truly born-again by the Spirit of God. If you watch any services and/or teachings from these ideologies, there is a very apparent lack of the Spirit animating them. But what could we expect? If they are teaching doctrine contrary to God’s Word, why would He bless it? Why would His Spirit be resident in such a place?
In many respects, churches like this are like modern day churches of Sardis where Jesus says to them in Revelation 3:2:
Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
What is it that was about to die in this church? The Spirit of God. As such, I contend that the churches promoting Preterism and the others have effectively quenched the Holy Spirit by grieving Him. Who is that on? The pastor.
Here’s another aspect of the problem: There may be, and likely are, people in these churches who are truly saved. However, if someone who is born-again sits under false teaching, absorbs it, and believes in it, will that not leech from that person God’s Spirit? If such teaching is errant, won’t a believer who turns from the truth literally have the Spirit of God sucked out of him and fall into apostasy unless he repents and runs from that place? If it could happen then to Sardis, why couldn’t it happen today? Actually, that’s what Scripture tells us will happen in the last days. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 24:10:
And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.
Strong’s #2624 is the Greek word skandalizó for the phrase “will fall away.” It means “to cause to stumble or to take offense” or literally “to fall into a trap.”
What happens when they fall away, stumble in their understanding, and fall into the trap? They will betray and hate one another. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound very Christian to me. In fact, if Christians exhibit this behavior, one has to question the fruit of their salvation by asking whether they are actually saved – whether from the beginning or by subsequently falling into apostasy. In any case, the Holy Spirit indwelling and speaking to such a person is fading to a very faint whisper or has become non-existent altogether.
Let’s look at Revelation 3:5 to consider the flip side of what Jesus warns:
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
He tells the church that if they conquer through repentance from their false beliefs, then He will clothe them in white garments, i.e. accept them into heaven as His own. Their names won’t be blotted from the Book of Life. But what does that imply? If they do not repent of their false doctrine, Jesus WILL blot out their names! Is it possible to read and understand this in any other way?
If not, then it’s another validation of my position (and that of the Assemblies of God – although I came to my understanding separate from them) that a person has the assurance of salvation by God, but through his own choices can forfeit his salvation. It’s not that he loses it. God does everything possible on His end to keep this person, but if a man desires to abandon God, that’s on him. God will not force anyone into heaven who doesn’t want to be with Him and revere His holy Name forever. Can you imagine God setting up the potential for another rebellion in heaven like what happened in Genesis 6 with the Sons of God, or with Satan in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 who decided to lift himself up in glory in place of God? That’s what happens when rebellion occurs and bad choices are made. The Lord will not allow that to happen in eternity. All those in heaven with Him will be there because they wholeheartedly desire to be in His presence.
Be all this as it may, let’s look at some substantiation for my thesis for today. I think there are multiple things that can significantly harm a person’s relationship with the Lord. My point in my Prophecy Update dealing with Preterist Pretensions is that holding a hostile view of Israel is akin to hating what God loves. That never goes over well with Him.
Belief systems such as Preterism dismiss the book of Revelation as past history, since they think all events chronicled there were fulfilled by the end of the 1st Century. Yet, isn’t it interesting that Revelation 1:3 tells us:
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
But according to Preterists, that blessing is not for us today. Too bad; we lose. God dispensed all His blessing for reading and believing Revelation to believers only to the churches in that 1st Century timeframe who happened to get hold of the scroll that John recorded.
In the same vein, we certainly can’t hold to what Revelation 19:10 says:
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
In fact, from the Preterist perspective, we today have no prophetic hope since Revelation’s events are over and done with.
Nor again can we believe Jesus when He says in Revelation 22:7:
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
. . . since He already came according, to our Preterist friends, in 70 AD and destroyed the temple and the Jews. Yes indeed, I’m so relieved that Revelation is one book of the Bible whose Words we don’t have to keep. Just think of the burden lifted from our shoulders.
It’s exceedingly interesting that followers of Preterism think of themselves as a small remnant. They look upon those who believe in the pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church as a large, expansive body of believers. There are so many of us out there that our numbers simply dwarf these tiny congregations of Preterists.
Remember the Berean Bible Church? On YouTube it has over 19,000 subscribers. The re-posted entire message I’m criticizing has around 250,000 views with about 5600 comments. Just the 6-minute excerpt from the larger message I analyzed in my prior Prophecy Update has around to 8,600 views.
I’m just a tiny minnow in this pond (cancelled completely from YouTube some time ago, BTW), but for comparison there are something over 1,700 subscribers to my Rumble channel and my various Commentaries normally receive 300-500 views. Who is the remnant?
Maybe this is another case of what’s known as projection. We see it in liberal politics all the time where Democrats accuse conservatives of exactly what they themselves are doing. In this case this Preterist church is claiming to be remnant believers and saying that pre-Tribbers have vast numbers, when it’s actually the opposite.
And doesn’t all this make perfect sense? If many are foretold to fall away into apostasy in the final days, and we couple that prophecy with what Jesus said in Matthew 7:13 that the gate to destruction is wide and its road broad, whereas the narrow gate will see few enter it, then lots of people will be following the false teachings of Preterism and the others I mentioned earlier.
Why is this? The world hates Israel and the Jews because its father is Satan, the deceiver and father of lies. If a segment of the church believes exactly what the world believes that Israel is of no account and must be destroyed, does that not make these so-called Christians no better than the world? In fact, the world is alienated from God, so wouldn’t churches embracing worldly thought also be alienated from Him? As I’ve said a number of times: If you hate what God hates, you’re going to be in a world of hurt. Churches in this category are not exempt.
Let’s be honest. How many people in the church today really believe that Jesus is going to supernaturally come and snatch His true flock from the earth? How many are pan-Trib because it’ll all work out in the end from one of these many end-times doctrines? How many think the church must go through the Tribulation? How many believe there won’t be any real Tribulation at all because it already happened or it’s simply allegorical? On the other hand, how many churches actually teach and promote the pre-Trib Rapture and the belief that it will happen very soon?
The reality is that ultimately among these many varied doctrinal systems, only one can be true. It’s like the foolish notion that all religious paths lead to the same God; thus, the crazy notion that Christianity and Islam are totally compatible. Same idea here.
There’s a bottom line in this. Any other eschatological position other than pre-Trib results in people keeping their eyes on the world. They essentially have to do this since they must prep or buckle down to be ready for hard times – if they think those hard times will come at all. Such focus means they must dig deeper into this world to survive. It’s also a doctrine of death since they have to basically be friends with the world to make it through until Jesus’ 2nd coming at some indeterminate time in the future – maybe even generations.
In contrast, we who are pre-Tribbers should be living with the encouragement of our Blessed Hope. We know the world is evil and sin is all-consuming. Who wants all that? Not me.
As a result, we should live in great anticipation of our deliverance – something Preterists and others simply cannot do – while working diligently for God’s kingdom so as to be found worthy on that Day. No other belief system can claim this unique approach to faith. All the other ones suck out God’s Holy Spirit in the lives of their believers.
How dismal a life of faith that is! Actually, it’s not a life of true faith at all.