August 28, 2009 ©Homer
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Commentary — From the Margins
“No Prophecy Was Ever Produced by the Will of Man”
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by pneuma hagion [breath holy].
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Pet 1:21–2:3)
In saying that false teachers would bring in “destructive heresies,” Peter anticipates “the way of truth” being labeled as judaizing and being thoroughly discredited by most of Christendom; for Peter goes on to say, “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Pet 3:15–16). Peter even identifies who it is that twist Paul’s writings into epistles of destruction: “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability” (v. 17). It is the lawless that twist Paul epistles and who have brought into the Church damnable heresies.
The lawless—who are the lawless if not those Christians that refuse to submit to the law in this era when the first covenant that is obsolete and about ready to vanish away (Heb 8:13) remains binding on all of Israel, including Christians that are circumcised of heart? For the new covenant will write the Torah (the Law of Moses) on the hearts and place it within every Israelite when it is implemented as the Lord makes from Moses “‘a nation greater and mightier than’” the nation that left Egypt (Num 14:12 et al) on the night when the Lord took the fathers of Israel by hand to lead a people to freedom (Heb 8:9; Jer 31:32).
The lawless assume that Christians are already under the new covenant even though the Law is not written on their hearts, and their neighbors and brothers do not Know the Lord. And it is because the Law has not yet been placed within Israel under the terms of the new covenant that Christians vigorously resist submitting to the commandments of the Lord, going so far as to deny there is need to walk as Jesus, an observant Jew, walked. For these lawless Christians, faith in Jesus is sufficient for salvation, but faith is incomplete when it is not supplemented by virtue. Peter wrote,
For this very reason [because disciples have escaped the corruption of this world], make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
If faith needs to be supplemented by virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love, then faith is not sufficient of itself to save any Christian. A disciple’s faith must be made complete by this faith producing the works of the law, which is love for God and neighbor. Paul wrote, “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts” (Rom 2:12–15). So the Christian who was before conversion either under the Law or not under the Law—with God, the status of the person doesn’t matter—must become a doer of the Law to be justified. The faith of a Gentile convert must be supplemented with deeds great enough for the work of the Law (i.e., producing love for God and neighbor) to be written on the heart. Hence, is there any mistake in saying those who teach that incomplete faith is sufficient for salvation are the ones Peter identifies as false teachers?
Peter, in speaking of these false teachers, says, “For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error (2 Pet 2:18 emphasis added) … who are those “who live in error,” and who are those “barely escaping from those who live in error”? Is it not sons of disobedience that live in error? Is it not those who are of the nations (i.e., Gentiles)? Then those who are barely escaping are Gentile converts, Gentiles that have accepted Jesus as Lord and who believe that the Father raised Jesus from the dead. Thus, the false teachers entice spiritual infants (babes) into falsity; for Peter goes on to write:
They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Pet 2:19–22)
Peter has just described today’s Christian Church, in which infant sons of God barely escaping from the world are promised freedom if they continue to practice sinning, with their sinning again entangling them in disobedience so that they are not covered by grace but are under the law whereas they were not before, thereby making their last state worse than their first.
Of these babes, Paul writes,
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Rom 6:12–16)
And John says,
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:4–10)
That last state which Peter identifies as being worse than being a son of disobedience John calls being a child of the devil.
So that the above passages can better be contextualized, a son of disobedience consigned to disobedience by God (Rom 11:32) because of the unbelief of Adam and thus a bondservant of the Adversary, does not have his or her lawlessness counted against the person (Rom 5:13). But when this person professes that Jesus is Lord and believes that the Father raised Jesus from the dead, this person identifies him or herself as a Christian, a person under grace, a person over whom sin no longer has dominion. Therefore when this former slave of the Adversary returns to sin, to disobedience and transgressing the commandments, this person comes under the law as a child (not a slave) of the Adversary, with the lawlessness of this person no longer being covered by any sacrifice. This person is now as the Pharisees were who said that they see:
Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. (John 9:39–41)
The Christian who has the law but does not keep is as Pharisees were who had the law but did not keep it (John 7:19); for, again, under the new covenant the Torah [the Law of Moses] will be written on hearts and placed in minds so all Know the Lord (Heb 8:10–11; Jer 31:33–34). Until then, disciples remain in need of a guardian until they (as children of God) are old enough to dress themselves in the garment of obedience. And the son of God who has barely escaped, barely ceased living as a son of disobedience far too young to walk uprightly before God, let alone dress himself, but must be dressed in the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness by those to whom authority has been given in the Church—and no authority is given by God to those teachers who are “waterless springs and mists driven by a storm” (2 Pet 2:17). No authority is given to the lawless, or to workers of iniquity that will be denied when judgments are revealed.
The point Peter makes as he feeds the sheep (John 21:17), disciples “who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours” (2 Pet 1:1), is that God will not spare false teachers and false prophets just as He did not spare rebelling angels. Jesus said that He would deny knowing those who did mighty deeds in His name but who taught disciples to sin (Matt 7:21–23). These ministers of Satan (2 Cor 11:13–15) are worthy of death, and they will be cast into the lake of fire. They are beyond repentance, just as Israel in the wilderness of Paran was beyond repentance (Num chap 14) … there comes a day when God cuts a person off from Christ, and when the Father cuts the person off, the person is permanently cut off even though the person still lives physically. It is only sons of disobedience that have the entirety of their human lifetimes to repent. Sons of God have a few fruiting seasons (three or four) to bear fruit. If they haven’t born fruit by then—yes, three or four seasons can be represented by a time, times, and half a time—the Father cuts then off, and what happens after that doesn’t matter for they have been permanently rejected. They become as the generation of Israel was that left Egypt but did not enter into God’s rest even though forty years passed.
Those disciples that bear fruit are “pruned” so that they bear more fruit (John 15:2), and a pruned bough looks like a bare bough in the spring of the year. A disciple who has been pruned by the Father doesn’t look like much: Paul wrote, “To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things” (1 Cor 4:11–13). But a pruned bough is still attached to the Root of Righteousness as a son of God whereas the bough that has been cut off has been returned to the world where it will be gathered and burned in the lake of fire.
If Paul had become like the scum of the world, then do not those “Christian” teachers that hustle the prosperity gospel or the name and claim it gospel differ in message from Paul? Do they not teach a different gospel, one that is diametrically opposed to what Paul taught? Outwardly, they do not look like the scum of this world, and they do not work with their hands; they are not homeless; they are not persecuted. So do endtime disciples have to look far and wide to find false teachers? Are not Christian teachers that place importance on naming things or on how names are pronounced really advocating witchcraft and the worship of demons, worship that does not end anytime during the Tribulation [the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years], for after the sixth Trumpet Plague the portion of humankind that remains alive continues to worship demons (Rev 9:20)?
Between Christian teachers assuring disciples that they do not have to keep the Law and Christian teachers promoting witchcraft, the visible Christian Church condemns itself to death, but as Paul commanded the saints at Corinth to deliver the man who was with his father’s wife to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that his spirit might be saved when judgments are revealed (1 Cor 5:5), the Father and the Son will deliver the Christian Church to Satan for the destruction of the flesh following the second Passover liberation of Israel. The prophet Daniel records,
He [the little horn] shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end. (7:25–26)
The timeframe for when the little horn who appears before the Ancient of Days and who speaks great words to the Ancient of Days and to the court that sits in judgment (Dan 7:11) — flesh and blood cannot enter heaven so this little horn is not a human being; he is not a pope — has his dominion taken away when the single kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man (Rev 11:15–18; Dan 7:9–14) half through the seven endtime years of tribulation. Thus, the “time, times and half a time” has as it primary referent the first 1260 days or 42 months of the seven endtime years when “they shall be given into his hand,” with the pronoun they having sufficient ambiguity to be “the saints” and/or “the times and the law.” Therefore, when what Zechariah records about the Lord of Hosts turning His hand against two parts of the little ones (Zech 13:7–8) is added to Daniel’s words, disciples find that the Father (the Ancient of Days) will deliver the saints (the little ones) into the hand of the little horn who is Satan himself … for three and a half years, the man of perdition who comes by the workings of Satan (2 Thess 2:9) [who is human being possessed by Satan] will “wear out the saints” that have been delivered into his hand for the destruction of the flesh so that their inner new selves, creatures, might be saved when judgments are revealed.
But it would not be necessary to deliver Christians into the hand of the Adversary if these Christians were not like the man with his father’s wife, or like ancient Israel whom the Lord delivered into the hand of the Assyrians (when the northern kingdom of Samaria was taken captive in 721 BCE) and the Babylonians (when the southern kingdom of Judah was taken captive in 586 BCE). However, because the love the Lord has for disciples is great enough that He is unwilling that an entire generation perish in unbelief, the Christian Church will be liberated from indwelling sin and death, will be filled with or empowered by the spirit of God, and will be delivered into the hand of the Adversary so that the faith of this generation can be made complete through resisting sin that is outside of each Christian. With the liberation of Israel, the new covenant will be implemented; for the first covenant will end when God again ransoms Israel by giving the lives of men for His firstborn son as the Lord did in the land of Egypt (Isa 43:3–4).
John said, “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you” (1 John 2:26), and, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit [pneuma—breath], but test the spirits [pneuma—breaths] to see whether they are [of the God], for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1) … how does an endtime disciple test spirits or breaths or voices to determine whether the person speaking says those things that are of the Father and the Son when deceitful workmen (those intent upon deceiving) confess that Jesus came in the flesh—but they add a caveat, saying that Jesus was fully man and fully God, when John’s point is that Jesus was fully a man, tested in every way that disciples are; that Jesus was not God but divested Himself of His divinity when He entered His creation as His only Son.
Those who seek to deceive disciples are usually, unfortunately, sincere in their desire to serve the Lord. They follow in the tradition of lawlessness that began while the first disciples still lived physically. John said of those who seek to deceive, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us” (1 John 2:19), and Paul wrote, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Thess 2:7).
Testing the words of Christian teachers should be easy, but apparently it is not. John writes, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2–3) … if our love of God will have us keeping the commandments, and if under the new covenant the Law of Moses will be written on hearts so that all Know the Lord, then the commandments to be kept are those spoken to Moses from atop Mount Sinai. Thus, the first test of the words of a Christian teacher is, does this teacher [a teacher is only needed because Christians are not today under the new covenant] instruct converts to keep the commandments and live as Judeans (what Peter taught — Gal 2:14) and walk without sin as Jesus walked (1 John 2:1–6).
Those endtime teachers that work as Paul worked do not burden those whom they teach, even when they are in need (2 Cor 11:7–15); their hands are not in the pockets of others, which doesn’t mean that they are not entitled to the tithes and offerings of those whom they teach but means that they don’t ask, don’t beg, don’t extort the support to which they are entitled. They allow God to do His work in those whom they teach, with the Lord convincing those who are being taught that they need to support their teachers.
One further test can be added that pertains to endtime disciples now that the visions of Daniel have been unsealed: every endtime Christian teacher that finds Rome, the Roman Empire, the Roman Church, or the Roman See in the visions of Daniel is false! No caveats added; no exceptions made. The visions of Daniel are not about earthly kings and kingdoms, but about the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4) and about the end of his reigning hierarchy as rebellion within his ranks brings this present age to its conclusion.
The kingdom that the Son of Man receives is not of this world or from this world (John 18:36), but is the kingdom over which the Adversary presently reigns—and this kingdom rules over the mental typography of living things. Thus, when this kingdom is given to the Son of Man even the predatory animal natures of the great predators will be changed (Isa 11:6–9). Human nature will be changed. Human beings will be given the mind of Christ Jesus, and it will finally be time for human beings to bear the fruit of the spirit. Today, disciples are to bear fruit when it is not the season for fruit. And if disciples do not bear fruit out of season, they will be cursed as Jesus cursed the fig tree that bore no fruit.
In order for disciples to bear fruit in the darkness of this world, they must leave the darkness and live as children of light. They cannot continue to sin and bear fruit. So those who teach disciples to practice sinning also prevent disciples from bearing fruit. They are truly murderers.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."