Thursday, October 30, 2014

The End Times Sign of False Teachers: Reasons People Join Cults

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

What are some of the reasons people join cults?

I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.

The Truth Will Set You Free

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll look at the very first sign Jesus gave in Matthew 24 which tells us that we are living in the end times — the sign of false teachers.

Play MP3


Reasons to Join a Cult

Vic: There were certainly cults in Jesus' day, but many more have risen up as we get closer to the end of the Church Age. Nathan, can you give us the number of cults here in the United States alone?

Nathan: Sure, if you go to watchmen.org, which is a cult-watching website founded by a Christian man who was a former Mormon named James Walker, he states that there are over 1,200 non-Christian religious organizations in the world today and 500 cults are in the United States alone.

Like you so well stated, Pastor Vic, the rise in the number of false teachers proves that we are getting closer to Jesus' return at the Rapture. Because Jesus said in Matthew 24 that there would be more false teachers and more false prophets in that day, and the number of cults continues to swell, that's an important indicator showing we are in the last days. Satan is doing everything he can to try and confuse people and keep them from the true God of the Bible and His salvation through Jesus Christ.

Vic: The Bible says in 1 John 3, "By this we know love because He laid down His life for us, and we also are to lay down our lives for our brethren." And 1 John 4:1 says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirit whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

These false, occult religions that are rising up today don't share the same Jesus that we share. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses don't either, though they tell us they do. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but through me." Cults do not believe that.

In our ear we've seem false messiahs like Jim Jones gather many followers. People just seem to flock to them. Why is this the case?

Nathan: There are a few strong reasons.

1) Told They'll Become a God — Well, take Joseph Smith, for instance. He's the man who founded the Mormons. He went back as most of these cults do to the lie that Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden, and that is that we'll all become gods one day. That kind of thinking resulted in the fall of humanity, and that sin nature still lives in us today. We burn with a desire to be more than just humans. We wish to be gods, and guys like Joseph Smith taught that we will indeed become gods one day.

Joseph Smith also taught other heretical teachings that don't jive with the Bible. He passed Jesus off as the brother of Satan and said that one day we will be just as "evolved" as Jesus to become gods of our own planets. People loved hearing that lie. They loved the idea of becoming their own god. Isn't it amazing how we still fall for that old lie from the Garden of Eden that Satan told Eve.

So, the promise of godhood is one of the reasons people tend to go for cults.

Vic: Even Oprah taught that in a sense, right?

Nathan: Oh, don't get me started on Oprah. Can you believe she grew up in the Church? But, she got to a point in her life where she heard the verse about Jesus being a jealous God. You remember God often said that He is jealous of other people worshiping others and not Him. She misinterpreted what God said to mean that Jesus is jealous of her. She was like, "Why would I want to follow a God that is jealous of me? I must therefore be a god myself."

As long as Oprah has been on the air, she's brought in as guests every New Age teacher and astrologer. She brought on her show anyone who would teach that we are gods or will become gods one day. Oprah is a huge, huge factor influencing primarily women across the world, teaching them that we are going to become gods one day. She is very much into the New Age scene.

That mankind are really gods is basically what the New Age teaches. It has an occult background in Satanism, of course. They are looking for this Lord Maitreya, this false Christ, to come and usher in a new age — this Age of Aquarius. During this age humanity will transcend ourselves and become like gods.

New Agers are anxious for the rapture of the Church to happen because they want all believers off this planet. They believe that Christians are holding the world back from finally evolving into the gods they were meant to be.

2) Become Part of a Family — Another reason people get swept up into these cults is because they are disenfranchised with society. They tend to be lonely people, outcasts even, looking for something to believe in. Cults seem very warm and welcoming to these people. They give them a purpose.

As a matter of fact, we were reading recently about the first American who was killed in Iraq fighting for ISIS. This is the very Islamic terrorist organization that's slaughtering Christians left and right. You wonder, how can American's join such a blood thirsty Islamic group like ISIS? This man's step-brother said it was because he was lonely and disenfranchised and these people showed him attention and love and a sense of brotherhood. That's what some of these people who join cults go for — a sense of family.

Vic: That's exactly what these cults do. They try to make you feel good. They lure you in.

Vic: That's why when we talk about deception, I'm still amazed that people don't seem to understand what is truth and what is a lie. We have these modern-day false prophets and false teachers; these individuals who are filling people's hearts and minds with feel-good lies. How could so many people be swallowing it?

Nathan: To answer that, I used to have a supervisor at another job who was a Jehovah's Witness. We talked about Jehovah's Witness theology a lot.

3) Lose Everything if You Leave — Jehovah's Witnesses is another cultic group that was founded by Charles Taze Russell. He taught that Jesus was the Archangel Michael. They say that Jesus isn't the Son of God. He's just Michael the Archangel. They also deny that there is a Trinity — Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. They've prophesied that the world would end multiple times. They said the world would end in 1914, and then again in 1918, 1925, 1975 and 1989, but nothing happened. Again and again and again the Jehovah's Witnesses have said that the world would end.

All we have to do is go back to Deuteronomy 18:21-22 where God told the Jews, which they've passed on to us, how we are to know if a message is from the Lord. God said when a prophet speaks the name of the Lord, if the things they say do not happen or come to pass, then that is a thing that the Lord has not spoken. If the prophet therefore has spoken presumptuously, you should not be afraid of him. Using that passage as our guide, we know from all the failed prophecies that Jehovah's Witnesses are following a false teaching group, which is the Watchtower Tract Society out of New York City. Their followers need to leave this group because it is unbiblical in its teachings.

The reason members of cults rarely leave is because the are pulled into that sense of community, that sense of family. This is another reason why people stay in the cults, Pastor Vic. If you try to leave one, you're not just giving up your faith in whatever they teach, but you're also giving up your family. If you do leave, you are shunned by everyone in the cult, and that can include your immediate family and best friends. If you leave them they will disown you.

Vic: Nathan, that's what a lot of people don't understand. That's the trap they fall into when joining a cult. These cults come to us as very family-oriented organizations.

I was doing some thrift shopping with my wife the other day, because we cannot afford the malls, and when I went to the thrift store I saw the Watchtower's magazine all over the place. On the front page of the Watchtower's magazine, they have this great picture of three young guys along with those guys as older, portraying how they are friends forever. Who wouldn't want to when looking at that inviting cover to open and start reading it?

Nathan: Satan is described in the Bible as an angel of light. He doesn't come as some ugly, bent-up, old, forked-tongued, pale, demon creature. He comes as himself — the most beautiful being that God ever created. Satan knows to use family and beauty to attract people into the cults.

4) Dynamic and Controlling Leaders — Another trait that cults have is their leadership. They are almost always founded by very dynamic, charismatic type people. These leaders either consider themselves to be Jesus Christ or at least the last prophet of God. Amazingly, people are swept up under their leadership.

Do you remember a cult called the Branch Davidians back in the early 90's. That's only about three hours from here in Dallas down to Waco, Texas. They followed a man by the name of David Koresh. David Koresh was a well-liked, dynamic and charismatic founder. He believed that he was Jesus, and everybody who followed him believed he was, too. But, then people started wondering, especially when he began molesting the daughters of the members. They were then like, "We need to get out of here!" But they couldn't. This cult would send out hit squads if anyone tried to leave and say, "You're not going to leave our group."

It's not long before people find out it started out pretty good, but soon you realize you're trapped, and you lose everything. When people finally do leave a cult, they not only lose their friends, but all of their possessions. They are basically shunned from their society. They literally have to give it all up to follow the true Jesus of the Bible.


In the sixth and last part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the end times sign of false teachers, we'll discern where all these prolific deceivers are leading us.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The End Times Sign of False Teachers: Zealous Yet Wrong

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

Can a person be zealous in their faith, yet be totally wrong?

I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.

The Truth Will Set You Free

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll look at the very first sign Jesus gave in Matthew 24 which tells us that we are living in the end times — the sign of false teachers.

Play MP3


Zealous Yet Wrong

Vic: Nathan, could you explain Matthew 24:3-5 for us and then give a little recap?

Nathan: Certainly, this passage marks the beginning of Jesus listing ten different signs of the end times. The ten different signs answer the three questions the Apostles had for Him. They wanted to know:

  1. When will the Temple fall? And we know that happened in history in 70 AD.
  2. What will be the signs of the end of the age? That is the end of the Church Age. The Church Age is the time we are living in right now.
  3. What will be the sign of Jesus' coming? In other words, the things that will happen during the coming 7-year Tribulation just before Jesus returns at the end.

Jesus starts with the first sign we read about in Matthew 24:4, "And Jesus said to them, 'Take heed that no one deceives you, for many will come in my name saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.'" Then in verse 11 He says the same thing, "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." And verse 24, "For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive if possible even the elect."

Pastor Vic, false teachers are one of the most prolific signs of the end times that Jesus gives us. As we get closer to the last days before Jesus' returns to Rapture His Church, we will see more false prophets and more false teachers. They will come onto the scene more frequently and more intensely too as Satan tries to drown out the Word of God and confuse people, including possibly even believers in Christ, so that they aren't following the true Jesus Christ of the Bible.

Vic: Excellent point. That's exactly the focus here. We see one of the signs in verse 4 which says, "And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Take heed to no one deceives you for many will come in my name saying 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many."

Nathan, you shared with us in a previous segment that throughout history we have had these groups rise up with leaders calling themselves Christ.

Nathan: I'm reminded of the Apostle Paul. He was definitely zealous in his Jewish faith. Paul was a Jew thoroughly, an Orthodox Jew, and he was a follower of the five books of Moses to the letter. He was a terrible persecutor of the Church. Acts 7 tells the story of how Paul, then called Saul, stood there watching Stephen being stoned to death for his faith in Jesus. Stephen was one of the first people to come to Christ after Jesus' ascended up to Heaven. Paul was very zealous for the Lord.

As Paul was traveling along on the road to Syria's capital of Damascus on his way to punish and throw Christians into prison, Jesus Himself stepped before him and asked, "Saul, why are you persecuting me?" That's when Saul gave his life to Jesus and realized that he had been persecuting the Jesus of the Bible who is the fulfillment of all those prophecies about the Messiah. His eyes were opened, literally and figuratively, because he was blinded by Jesus and had to have some kind of scales fall off his eyes to see again.

Jesus had another apostle called Simon the Zealot. The Zealots were actually followers of a false teacher named Judah of Galilee. And you can read this in the historian Josephus' book Wars and in Acts 5:37. This man came around about ten years before Jesus was born. Judah the Galilean told the people that it was shameful for them to consent to pay any more tribute to the Romans or tolerate their mortal masters because God was their God alone. He had a false prophet, an Elijah, named Saddok. The two of them, both Judah and Saddok, founded this cult called the Zealots. That's where we find Simon the Zealot, though Simon was saved out of that cult.


In the fifth part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the end times sign of false teachers, we'll look at some of the reasons why people join cults.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The End Times Sign of False Teachers: Stories About Fakes

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

Who were some of the false prophets during Jesus' time, and today?

I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.

The Truth Will Set You Free

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll look at the very first sign Jesus gave in Matthew 24 which tells us that we are living in the end times — the sign of false teachers.

Play MP3


False Prophets of the First Century

Vic: All the deception of false christs and false doctrines are leading us towards the ultimate deceiver of all times, the one who is spoken of in 2 Thessalonians, right?

Nathan: Yes, the False Prophet of the Tribulation is the ultimate fulfillment of the end times sign of false teachers. He actually is the answer to the third question about the signs the world will witness before Jesus' Second Coming.

Sure, there have always been false prophets and false teachers. You can go back to Acts 5:37 and read about a man named Josephus, who was a historian at that time. He wrote in one of his book Wars of the time about this man named Judah the Galilean. This was about 10 years before the birth of Jesus. Judah the Galilean told all the Jews that it was shameful of them to be consenting to pay tribute to the Romans and tolerating mortal masters after having God for their Lord. Judah even had this false priest named Saddok, and his priest went around telling people that he was the Elijah who was proceeding the coming of the Messiah. Judah and Saddok founded a group which you will probably recognize, called the Zealots.

Which famous apostle was a former zealot? That would be Simon the Zealot. Simon was part of this cult, but he was saved out of it. That would be like a radical Islamic jihadist getting saved today and becoming a Christian.

So, there were these false prophets at that time period. Satan knew that he had to try and confuse people when Jesus came, so he put in place all these false prophets and false teachers so people wouldn't recognize the Messiah when He came.

Also, Josephus wrote in his book Antiquities about a man named Theudas. He came about 12 years after Jesus' death. This man named Theudas came and told everyone to take up their possessions and follow him to the Jordan River. When they got to the Jordan River, they would know that he was the messiah because he would part the waters and the people would cross over. Well, they got to the Jordan River, and obviously the waters did not part. Just as Deuteronomy 18 said, you can't believe these people because their prophecies are false. A lot of Theudas' followers were killed.

Vic: We also have so many modern-day false prophets. They carry the self-proclaimed title of prophet and claim they're supposed to be doing signs in the name of Jesus Christ, but 90%+ of the things they claim don't ever come true, and yet people still continue to follow them.

Nathan: Go to watchmen.org, that's James Walker's website. James was a Mormon who got saved out of Mormonism and since has dedicated his life to helping people escape the teachings of false teachers and false christs. His website reports that there are 1,200 religious organizations in the world, and 500 cults just here in the USA alone. That's 500 cults!

Satan is working so hard now as the end times draw closer. He's trying everything he can to water down the Gospel.


False Prophets Deceiving Today

Vic: People don't understand that these religions like the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons who supposedly teach about Jesus, they are not teaching about the real Jesus of the Bible, right?

Nathan: That's right. Take Joseph Smith for instance. Back in 1830, he founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, also known as the Mormons. It's the world's largest cult as there are about 5 million members today. Smith went around teaching that Jesus is the brother of Satan and that we'll all become gods one day. We will all have our own planets. Our wives will populate our own planet. Get this, our wives will populate an entire planet, being pregnant for all of eternity. Just tell your wife that! That's what they are looking forward to.

Can you believe Mormonism has grown to five million members today? Joseph Smith was a known conman at the time period, and yet even today people still follow his teachings.

One of the signs of false teachers and false christs is they usually say that God revealed something to them and them alone. Joseph Smith said that the angel Moroni came to him and gave him golden tablets which held God's messages. There was nobody to verify his claim, of course.

The story behind Mormonism is the same as Islam with Muhammad back in 600 AD. He said that the angel Gabriel came and visited him with a message from God. He was told that only Allah is to be worshiped out of the 360 gods of Mecca in what is now Saudi Arabia. Very convenient, Muhammad's family god was already Allah, which happened to be the moon god. Muhammad went and told his family in Mecca, but no one believed him, that is until he had an army standing behind him. Then they are like, "Sure, we believe you!"

These false witnesses come out of nowhere and claim that God has talked to them, though I'm sure that a demon was really talking to them. Then they go around pretending to be either a prophet of God like Muhammad or they claim to be Jesus Christ himself.

As a matter of fact, there was one guy who was very popular in recent history. His name was Jim Jones. He founded the People's Temple Christian Church. Jones claimed to be God, Buddha and Lennon all rolled up into one. Back in 1978, he took his followers down to Jonestown, Guyana. There were over 914 of them there. They decided to commit mass suicide. They took Kool-Aid and poisoned it and then fed it to their people. After they'd drank it down, the entire group of people including Jim Jones were killed. Jim Jones was a false teacher who lead 914 people to their deaths.

Vic: Many people may be wondering if these false prophets are real in our day. You once shared with us a true story that anyone can Google and find out for themselves the truth.

Nathan: The most recent example of a false messiah is José De Luis De Jesús of Growing in Grace International. He goes as far as claiming to be Jesus himself. He actually goes around saying that he's Jesus Christ. He said back before June 30, 2012 that he would usher in his government of the 666 on that date. All his followers have 666 tattooed on them. Obviously, when the government of the 666 didn't get ushered in on June 30, 2012, his followers started to dwindle and he kind of disappeared from the scene after that. But, just like Deuteronomy 18 said, when a false Christ or false prophet gives a prophecy that doesn't come true, then you know they are false and you should have nothing to do with them.

Vic: I remember when José said that. He actually has a congregation here in the area of Miami which is maybe a half hour from where my church is. One of the things they were doing is having their congregation tattoo themselves with 666.

Nathan: Are they still functioning?

Vic: I'd need to double check, but I know he was moving back and forth from the ministry here to another ministry he had. It was a big deal in Miami. It so amazing how people's eyes were so shut. You would think that it would be so obvious that the guy was not Jesus when he said to put 666 on your body. You should know somethings wrong with that, right?

Nathan: Exactly! I've seen pictures on the Internet of teenage girls proudly showing off their wrists with 666 tattooed on them, as if that was a good thing.

Vic: When we talk about deception, we want people to understand that it's very real and it comes in many forms. Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father but through me." But, these deceivers want people to think that there are other ways to salvation.

Nathan: Yes, it's either because they are demon possessed, or they are egomaniacs. They want the world to worship them. Isn't that exactly what Satan promised Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, that if they ate of the fruit they would be like God and they would become gods themselves? Godhood has always had an appeal with humanity. People love power, but it goes to their heads. We want to be worshiped as gods. It's in our sin nature.

Mankind needs to give up that desire to become a god, because there's only one true God, and that's God the Father, Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ His Son, three in one. That's the God of the Bible — Jehovah God — He's the one true God.


In the fourth part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the end times sign of false teachers, we'll continue to learn about the false teachers and messiahs of our own time.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The End Times Sign of False Teachers: The Litmus Test

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

What is the Bible's litmus test for discerning a false prophet?

I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.

The Truth Will Set You Free

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll look at the very first sign Jesus gave in Matthew 24 which tells us that we are living in the end times — the sign of false teachers.

Play MP3


The Sign of False Teachers

Vic: Just watching the news today, we can clearly see the development of all the signs Jesus will present in Matthew 24. The stage is being set and the players are in their positions.

Nathan, could you continue reading for us from Matthew 24:4-5?

Nathan: "And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Take heed that no one deceives you, for many will come in my name saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.'" We can read the parallel passage of this in Luke 21:8, "He replied, 'Watch out that you are not deceived, for many will come in my name claiming 'I am He' and the 'time is near', do not follow them.'"

Vic: Here we see the beginnings of this terrible deception — people who are claiming to be the Christ.

Nathan: This is actually the most prolific end time sign that Jesus gave us. Not only in Matthew 24:5 does He give it, but then again in verse 11 He says, "And many false prophets will arise and mislead many." Then again in verse 24 Jesus warns, "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect." Three times in this passage Jesus said that false prophets and false Christs would come claiming to be Jesus, and they would mislead many people into false doctrines. False teachers was the number one end time sign Jesus gave that would point to His soon return.

Vic: Deception comes in many forms, so people need to be on guard. We have so many televangelists and radio hosts teaching false doctrines today. Many new religions are popping up, even in our own country, with individuals claiming to be Christ or claiming to be some kind of deliverer. And still, so many people believe and follow them. Like you said, Nathan, this is an important sign we are seeing today that points to Jesus' soon return.

Nathan: You're not kidding! There were three different fulfillments of this false christs sign before the Temple fell in 70 AD. Almost as soon as the Church got off the ground, false teaching started coming on the scene.

One such group was the Judaizers. They're the ones who said that to be a Christian you also had to live under the Law. The Apostle Paul told them they ought to go off and emasculate themselves! He had some really strong words for them because he was very angry that they were trying to put the people back under the Law.

There were also the Gnostics. They were Greeks who believed they had superior knowledge about God — it was the Bible plus their knowledge. They also believed that Jesus couldn't possibly have come in human form because they thought that materialism was evil and the spirit is good. Therefore, they reckoned Jesus was a spirit who had inhabited a body and then at the Crucifixion left that body, so He wasn't really crucified.

False teachings have been around a long time. Satan is always trying to water down the message of God as soon as it hits the ground.

Vic: Even the Apostle John began to warn the believers of his time regarding this attack that would come upon the Church, and also tell us how we were to guard ourselves. I believe his message still applies today. First John 4:1 says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirit whether they are of God because many false prophets have gone out into the world."


Litmus Test to Discern a False Teacher

Vic: So, Nathan, do we see clearly that this deception is just going to continue to get worse?

Nathan: Correct. You can go all the way back to the time of Moses for the answer. The people must have been unsure if Moses was actually speaking for the Lord. How would they know if these messengers from God truly speak for the Lord?

Here is our answer. Deuteronomy 18:21-22 advises, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord? If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed." Discerned from that litmus test, we know then that when a prophet speaks their prophecy must come true, or else they are a false prophet. That is our gauge for prophecy. Compare the prophecies given by man compared to given by God, who fulfills His prophecy 100% of the time.

Did you know there were 300 prophecies in the Old Testament? There are 109 distinct prophecies which talk about the First Coming of Jesus. Jesus fulfilled all 109 distinct prophecies about him being the Messiah at the First Coming. One hundred percent! So, we know that Jesus is the Messiah. We then know that we can put our faith and trust in Him. Also, 500 verses in the Old Testament and one in every 25 in the New Testament prophesy about Jesus Second Coming.

So, Pastor Vic, since we know that Jesus fulfilled 100% of His prophecies concerning the First Coming, how sure can we be then that He's going to fulfill all 100% of His Second Coming prophecies?

Vic: We can be 100% sure, because the Word of God is true and it never fails. The Bible is so trustworthy, and it is the only authoritative source that will not mislead a person. I believe 100% of all its prophecies will come to fruition. In fact, some of them we are seeing happen right before our eyes, like Israel becoming a nation again.

Nathan: That's right. What's so amazing about Israel in prophecy is that even before Israel became a nation, God had told Moses that Israel one day would abandon God and be exiled. And, we also read throughout the prophets how Israel would be regathered a second time.

The Northern Kingdom of Israel fell in 722 BC, then Judah and Jerusalem in 586 BC. The Jews had abandoned God, so as punishment He hauled them off into exile. Later God regathered the Jews from Babylon, brought them back to Israel, and rebuilt their nation again. Yet again they abandoned God and rejected His Messiah, so in 70 AD, just as Jesus prophesied here in Matthew 24, God sent the Romans in and the Romans obliterated Israel. They cast the Jews to the four corners of the world. For the last 1,900 years the Jews have been wanderers of the planet, and yet, God said they would be regathered a second time.

This very day we are seeing the Jews being regathered back into Israel again, and that's where God will begin to work on the Jewish people's hearts for the purpose of bringing them back to Him by ridding them of their Humanism and back to a true worship of God and accepting Jesus as their Savior. All that is coming, and getting ahead of ourselves, it's a the tenth prophecy that is one of the signs of the end times that Jesus gave in Matthew 24.

Besides the regathering of Israel, there are just so many prophecies going on today that are direct fulfillments to the answers Jesus gave to the Apostles. These fulfilled prophecies prove that we are indeed living in the end of this age.


In the third part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the end times sign of false teachers, we'll learn about some of the false teachers and messiahs from Jesus' time and our own.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The End Times Sign of False Teachers: The 3 Questions

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

What three questions did the Apostles ask Jesus about knowing when the end times will come?

I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.

The Truth Will Set You Free

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll look at the very first sign Jesus gave in Matthew 24 which tells us that we are living in the end times — the sign of false teachers.

Play MP3


Not Living in the Tribulation Right Now

Vic: Today, Nathan and I will be talking about deception and false Christ's spoken of in Matthew 24. Nathan, but first, I wanted to thank you for that very informative e-newsletter article you sent out regarding the Great Tribulation.

Nathan: Sure, Vic. I wanted to send it out to give people more information regarding our previous discussion of the Great Tribulation. A lot of people have been asking me if we are living in the Tribulation today because of all the evil going on in the world right now. I'd wanted to make it clear that we are not living in the Tribulation right now, just as you and I had discussed, and that's what I say in the newsletter.

Those interested can go to our our website and sign up for this e-newsletter free of charge.

Vic: Thank you, Nathan, for clarifying that for us, because it's important to understand as we continue on in our study that we are not at this time living during the Tribulation.


Jesus Answers 3 Questions

Vic: Nathan, would you read Matthew 24:1-3 and give a short recap?

Nathan: Certainly. The setting of Matthew 24 starts out with Jesus and His apostles at the Temple. Matthew 24:1-3 reads:

"Then Jesus went out and departed from the Temple and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the Temple. And Jesus said to them, 'Do you not see all these things? Assuredly I say to you not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.' Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, which is across from the Temple Mount, the disciples came to Him privately saying, 'Tell us, when will we see these things? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'"

Vic: Nathan, what an amazing passage! This Temple was one of the wonders of the world to the Jews at the time, and so it must have been so surprising when Jesus declared it would be destroyed.

The Apostles were asking three separate questions here. Would you explain what they are about?

Nathan: The Temple in Jesus' time was an amazing building. It was beyond belief to those poor fishermen. It could be compared to the Taj Mahal or Congress or a pro football stadium today. The Temple was the center of worship for Israel. It was where God dwelled.

So, here are the Apostles standing there just gapping in awe at the place, and Jesus just out of the blue says basically, "Do you know what? None of this will be here much longer. It will all be torn down. Every stone will be taken down and thrown away." You can just imagine the shock on the Apostles' faces. They couldn't believe it! This place was supposed to be God's home. Why would God abandon His home?

It wasn't until later that day that the Apostles finally built up enough courage to ask Jesus why He said this. When they arrived at the Mount of Olives which overlooks the Temple Mount, the Apostles asked Jesus three questions about this.

  1. When will the Temple fall?
  2. What will be the sign of the end of the age?
  3. What will be the sign of Jesus' coming?

Those three questions actually refer to three different time periods. Their first question was, "When will the Temple fall? This was near history for them because we know the Temple fell in 70 AD when the Romans completely destroyed it.

Second, they asked, "What will be the sign of the end of the age?" That's the end of the Church Age which we are living in today which will end with the Rapture of the Church.

Third, they asked, "What will be the sign of Jesus' coming?" In other words, what are the events that come just shortly before Jesus' Second Coming?

Jesus then answered their questions by giving the Apostle ten different sets of signs that they could watch for that would indicate when each of these events would come to pass.

As we go through time, starting with the Temple falling in 70 AD, the end of the Church Age which is now, and then the end of the Tribulation which is Jesus' Second Coming — all those signs that Jesus gave would happen more frequently and more intensely the closer time gets to each of these events. The signs started out gradually with the fulfillments of the signs in 70 AD, but they will become a lot stronger and there will be a lot more of them at the end of the Church Age. Then they will be all over the place tearing the world apart at the end of the Tribulation just before Jesus' arrives.

That is the setting and the background that brought the Apostles asking those three questions.


In the second part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the end times sign of false teachers, we'll learn how to use the Bible's litmus test to discern real from fake.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sermons From the Holy Land: The Gate to Prophecy (Part 2 of 2)

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Let's finish up my message which was presented at the Eastern Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. I'll tell you a second story of another event in my life that also got me excited about Bible prophecy.



Gate #2

When I was 12 years old, I discovered something in Bible prophecy that relates to the Eastern Gate that I'll never forget. The only sermon our church ever preached on Bible prophecy was this. The preachers said there's not one verse in the Bible that even implies that Jesus Christ will ever put His foot on this earth again. I heard that over and over again. They taught that not one verse in the Bible even implies Jesus will ever put His foot on this earth again.

We called ourselves a "New Testament Church," and we meant it. If the preacher ever said, "Bring your Bible tonight," we all knew to bring our New Testament, but not the Old Testament, because it had been nailed to the cross. The Old Testament was irrelevant. It was only something to be used for children's stories like Noah and the Ark to children. It's no wonder we didn't understand the New Testament, because we didn't even know the Old Testament.

So, there I was, about 12 years old, and I was flipping through the Bible one day. I happened to turn to Zechariah 14. I started reading Zechariah 14 and I couldn't believe my eyes. It says that in the end times Jerusalem will be surrounded by enemies. We now know that's the enemies of the Antichrist. It says that just as Jerusalem is about to fall the Messiah will come to the Mount of Olives. His foot will touch the ground and cause the mountain to split open. Then the remaining people in Jerusalem will come out and hide in the cleavage of the mountain. It says the Messiah will speak a supernatural word, and when He does, the Antichrist and his forces will be destroyed in an instant. Verse 9 says that on that day He will become King over all the earth.

Not only does it say Jesus is going to put His foot on this earth, but He's also going to reign. He's coming back to reign. He'll be King over all the earth. What a day that will be! I can hardly wait.

I was so amazed by that discovery because I grew up in a church that said, "We believe the Bible, every word of it, just exactly what it says from beginning to end, except for all prophecies concerning the Second Coming because they don't mean what they say."

With the discovery of Zechariah 14, I went to my preacher in fear and trembling, because like I said, I was only 12 years old at the time. I asked, "Sir, you say there's not one verse in the Bible that even implies Jesus will ever put His foot back on the earth again." "Yes, sir, Brother that's right." my pastor replied. I said, "Okay, well what about this?" I gave him Zechariah 14. He read the first nine verses. He just sat there and read them. It felt like an eternity. Finally he turned to me and he stuck his finger in my face and he said, "Son, I'm going to tell you something. I don't know what this means, but I will guarantee you one thing — it does not mean what it says."

You know me. I'm stubborn and persistent, after all my name is Reagan and I'm Irish. Every time a preacher would come to town and proclaim, "There's not one verse in the Bible that even…" I'd counter, "What about Zechariah 14?" They'd always say that it didn't mean what it said.

Finally, when I was about 19, we had a seminary graduate come to our church. In our denomination, seminary graduates were very rare, because our church believed seminaries were repositories of the Devil. I agree, some of them are. This guy came and he got up and said the same thing all the other pastors had said. And so, I went up to him and I asked, "What about Zechariah 14?" He didn't even hesitate. Immediately he said, "Apocalyptic!" Boy, that scared me to death. I turned around and ran off. I didn't know what that meant, but it scared me. Later, when I started preaching and people would come up and ask, "What about Zechariah 14?" I would say, "Apocalyptic!" They'd run. I didn't know whether apocalyptic was some kind of disease or what, but it worked. They'd run off and I'd just stand there grinning.

All this went on until one day a man confronted me and said, "Let me tell you something, David. Are you familiar with the First Coming prophecies of Jesus?" I answered, "Yes." He asked, "Were they literally fulfilled?" I replied, "Yes, every one of them." Then he countered, "Why wouldn't the Second Coming prophecies be the same?"

Suddenly, just like that, something clicked. I thought, "Do you know what? That's right. If the First Coming prophecies meant what they said and were literally fulfilled, then the Second Coming prophecies mean what they say and they're going to be literally fulfilled as well."

As the result of his eye-opening question, I began to study prophecy like never before. I discovered the Golden Rule of Prophetic Interpretation which is, "If the plain sense makes sense, don't look for any other sense, or you will end up with nonsense." Take biblical interpretation for its plain sense meaning.

I"ll never forget when I first started studying the book of Revelation the first commentary I ever read was by Henry Morris, the Founder of the Institute for Creation Research. He said at the very beginning basically, "I'm writing this book because people tell me the book of Revelation is hard to understand. It is not hard to understand, it is hard to believe. If you will believe it, you will understand it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sermons From the Holy Land: The Gate to Prophecy (Part 1 of 2)

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

I have been to Israel 45 times, and every time my spiritual life has been enriched. I recently took a video cameraman with me and had him shoot on the fly as I led a pilgrimage group through the land. We began in Tel Aviv, and went from there to Tiberias in the north, and then back to Jerusalem.

I'll continue to share some of the sermons I presented from that trip with you. As I do so, I think you'll come to understand why a person once wrote, "A pilgrimage to the Holy Land converts the Bible from black and white into Technicolor."

My next message was presented at the Eastern Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. There we will discover why I call the Eastern Gate the "Gate to Prophecy."



Gate #1

The Eastern Gate I call the "Gate to Prophecy." The reason for that is back in 1967, when the Six Day War broke out, I was a Professor of International Law and Politics at a university. At the time I was following very closely what was going on over in the Middle East. It fascinated me.

I was born into a Christian family and grew up in church. Every time the door opened I was there. I was at the church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, Vacation Bible School, gospel meetings, you name it, but I never heard of Bible prophecy. Never!

We were an Amillennial Church, and so we were taught that Jesus is never returning to this earth again. They said He'll never put His foot on this earth again, and also that the Millennium and the Tribulation are going on right now simultaneously. They said that everything is just going to come to a screaming halt when Jesus returns, but He'll never return to this earth. Instead, He'll just appear in the sky and we'll go up to Heaven, and that's it. That's why I didn't know anything about Bible prophecy growing up.

So, I'm reading the newspaper everyday about the Six Day War, and about a week after the war was over, I happened to read this news article that didn't make any sense to me. The article said that when the Israeli Defense Forces were trying to figure out how to take the Old City, it occurred to them that the Jordanians would assume they would attack from the west on the other side at the Jaffa Gate. By the way, there's only one gate on the west side of the city. The Jews decided as they always do, to go around and hit the Jordanians from the other side and catch them by surprise, and that's just what they did. In the middle of the night they moved their forces around to the other side.

The article actually stated that in the process of all of these discussions that somebody suggested the possibility of putting satchel charges on the Eastern Gate and blowing it open to really catch the enemy by surprise. But, the article stated there was a rabbi at the meeting who said something like, "You'll do that over my dead body. Nobody is going to blow open that Eastern Gate, because the Word says that the Eastern Gate will be sealed and it will remain sealed until the Messiah comes."

I thought, "What in the world is that all about?" I got out a concordance as we didn't all have computers back then. I got out a concordance and I looked up the word gate. I looked up every scripture in the Bible that had to do with the word gate. Then I happened to read Ezekiel 44 which says that the Eastern Gate will be closed and will not be reopened until the Messiah comes. Let me tell you, I couldn't believe my eyes!

So then I went to the Encyclopedia Britannica and I wondered, "Why is that gate closed? Has it always been closed? What's the deal?" I started studying on that topic and I discovered according to the Encyclopedia Britannica that nobody knows absolutely for sure why the gate was closed.

The story that has been passed down through history is that while the Jews were in the process of rebuilding the city walls, a rumor swept across Jerusalem that the Messiah was coming. The Turkish officials called the rabbis in and asked, "Who is this Messiah?" They replied, "He's going to come and deliver us from you, and the Messiah is going to reign here in Jerusalem over all the world." The Turkish officials said, "Thank you very much" and dismissed them. Then they brought in their engineers and proclaimed, "We're going to take care of that Messiah. Brick up the Eastern Gate so he can't go through it, and put a Muslim cemetery in front of it so that no Jewish holy man will ever step foot there." And so, they bricked it up and put a Muslim cemetery in front of it to block the Messiah. Whether that is true or not, I don't know, but that is the story I ran across in every source I found.

The point of all of this is that this story got me hooked on Bible prophecy. I never knew anything about Bible prophecy before. I thought, "I'm seeing this fulfilled before my very eyes." I immediately started studying Bible prophecy back then in 1967, and the more I studied it the more amazed I became. As I saw prophecies about the regathering of the Jewish people, the reestablishment of the Jewish State, the reclamation of the land of Israel, the revival of the Hebrew language, the reoccupation of the City of Jerusalem by the Jews, and the growth of Israeli military power — all of that was prophesied. The Bible prophesied that all the nations of the world would come together against Israel over the issue of Jerusalem, which is where we are right now in history.

So, why I call the Eastern Gate my Gate to Prophecy? It's because it's what got me interested in studying God's prophetic word, and finally brought me to the point where I gave up my academic career to spend the rest of my life talking about Bible prophecy.


In the second part of this sermon from the Holy Land presented at the Eastern Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, I'll tell the story of another event in my life that got me excited about Bible prophecy.