Monday, October 31, 2011

Proclaiming an Urgent Message

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Jesus is Coming soon! I have been preaching that message for 31 years ever since I gave up my academic career in 1980 and stepped out in faith to form Lamb & Lion Ministries. At the time, I had become overwhelmed by the Signs of the Times that seem to be shouting from the heavens that Jesus is coming soon. I felt an urgency to proclaim that message to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

During the first seven years of the ministry I often felt a sense of frustration. My outreach was limited to a handful of radio stations, meetings at churches, and audio tapes.

The first breakthrough in reaching a mass audience came with the publication of two books in 1987 and the production of a video program that same year about Israel in Bible prophecy. Still, the outreach was greatly limited. Then, in 1995 I was introduced to the Internet and discovered to my amazement that I could reach the whole world through it.

The next great breakthrough occurred in 2002 when our Board of Trustees decided to switch our media outreach from radio to television. At the time, I had no inkling of what an important decision that would prove to be.

Today, 9 years later, our TV program is being broadcast over five national Christian networks that have access to more than 80 million homes in the United States. And through the satellites of two of those networks, we can reach every country in the world.

Additionally, we decided in 2007 to hire a full time Web Minister, Nathan Jones, to make our website interactive and thus responsive on a daily basis to inquiries from all over the world.

In short, after a slow start, God has provided us with a worldwide outreach that far exceeds anything I ever anticipated. And as I look back now on those "slow years," I can see that God used them to develop my message and to shape me as a messenger.


Signs of the Times

People often ask if I have become tired of proclaiming the same message for so long. The answer is an emphatic "NO!" And that's because the Signs of the Times are even more urgent today than when I began.

Take Israel, for example. There are many prophecies regarding Israel in the end times, many of which are being fulfilled today before our eyes. The four most important are:

  1. The regathering of the Jews in unbelief. This started in the early 20th Century when there were only 40,000 Jews in Israel. Today there are almost six million who have returned from over 100 nations.

  2. The re-establishment of the state of Israel — accomplished on May 14, 1948.

  3. The re-occupation of the city of Jerusalem — accomplished on June 7, 1967.

  4. All the nations of the world coming against Israel — happening now.

We are on the threshold of the Tribulation when God will pour out His wrath on all the rebellious nations of the world. Fortunately for all of us, God never pours out His wrath without warning because He does not wish that any should perish.

The time is short, and I will continue to proclaim the soon return of Jesus as long as I have breath. Victory is on the horizon. And I can hardly wait.

Maranatha!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Matrisciana on the Emergent Church: Warning Signs

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

What are some of the red flags people should watch out for that might indicate their Church is suddenly moving in the direction of the Emergent Church Movement?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of our special guest Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl is a best selling author and filmmaker and is a recognized expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She has been involved in the production of more than 60 documentaries over the past 30 years. Her biographical testimony Out of India explains how she grew up under Hinduism in India and lived it in England and the U.S. as a New Ager before accepted Christ as Savior. She joined us to warn us about the Eastern religious influences inherent in the Emergent Church.


Caryl Matrisciana


Red Flags

Caryl Matrisciana: I would say a major indicator is the way that the Church teaches the Word of God. There are two different types of teaching: there's the thematic way of teaching which starts with an idea and searches for verses that support that idea, and then there's the verse-by-verse way of teaching which allows the Bible to set and define the topic.

The thematic way is based on teaching by topic and is how the Emergent Churches teach. They pull verses out of context to support their topic, usually with only one or two Bible verses. They also pull from non-biblical writings such as Gandhi's writings, Williams Shakespeare's writing, and Churchill's writings to support their view.

They also rely on multiple Bible versions, for example Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life has taken fifteen different Bible versions, and not all of those are even translations. These Emergent teachers will fish around until they find one that says what they want it to say, or half a verse that says what they want it to say. So, I think great danger lies in thematic teaching.

The other type of teaching is based on expository teaching, going line-by-line and verse-by-verse, and is actually based on what God says about topics rather than man. God's opinion found in the Word of God in the full council of God. You will find that a lot of churches if they are not teaching the Word of God in the fullness of its context I am sorry to say will be open to bringing in liberal authors, non-biblical books, foreign ideas such as Eastern Mystical ideas, and in changing the meanings of the words in the verses so that their congregation can go from meditation to contemplation, or from Yoga to "Christian" Yoga and other kinds of false teachings.

Dr. Reagan: The sad fact of the matter is that the Church has ignored the Word for so long, for years now, that the average Christian going to Church faithfully every Sunday knows very little of the Word. You cannot guard yourself against deception if you do not know the Word.

I remember the impact of that book The Shack, which is about as unchristian as it could be in what it's teaching, and yet people thought that it was wonderful. Preachers were advocating people to go out and read it.

Caryl Matrisciana: Look at Harry Potter. When I made my documentary on Harry Potter I had more Christians come to me saying, "What are you doing with our hero?" Well, Harry isn't a hero; he's a witch! He is a 13 year old witch. The author of Harry Potter said it would take seven years to make a wizard, and Harry is 11 in book one, 12 in the next, 13, etcetera. Seven years later the perfect wizard is made. To think of the hundreds and thousands of children reading those books who are then indoctrinated with another non-Christian worldview.


Finding the Right Church

Dr. Reagan: Caryl, do you have anything you would like to say to someone out there who is struggling right now find a solid, Bible believing church?

Caryl Matrisciana: I get so many letters from people saying that their church is going Emergent. Well, don't be discouraged, because we are told in the Bible that in the last days this fall into apostasy is going to happen. There is going to be a falling away from truth. It's great that you have discerned the truth. The Holy Spirit has helped you recognize the false teachers and the false prophets who are coming to mislead the Church. That's really good that you can recognizing them.

I would suggest starting up your own group of believers led by a teacher who teaches line-by-line, verse-by-verse right out of the Bible. Get back to the Word of God alone.

Dr. Reagan: Lamb & Lion Ministries is a non-denominational ministry, so I go to all kinds of churches. One of the things I found out early on is you can never judge a church by the signboard outside. I have been to Methodist churches that were on fire for God, and I have been to Methodist churches that were as dead as a doornail. The same is true of Baptist churches and whatever other denomination.

The key is ask if your preacher up at the pulpit is preaching from the Word of God. Is he lifting up Jesus as the only hope for the world? If that is not happening and he's up there teaching pop psychology or whatever, get out of there. Look for somebody who is preaching the Word and focusing on Jesus Christ.

Caryl Matrisciana: And, look for a preacher who is encouraging you to be strong in the Word so that you can go out and share the Good News of Jesus Christ yourself and make disciples of all nations.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Matrisciana on the Emergent Church: Contemplative Spirituality

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Why does the Emergent Church use so much mystical paraphernalia in their worship?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of our special guest Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl is a best selling author and filmmaker and is a recognized expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She has been involved in the production of more than 60 documentaries over the past 30 years. Her biographical testimony Out of India explains how she grew up under Hinduism in India and lived it in England and the U.S. as a New Ager before accepted Christ as Savior. She joined us to warn us about the Eastern religious influences inherent in the Emergent Church.


Caryl Matrisciana


Contemplative Spirituality

Dr. Reagan: One of the words that I hear over and over from the Emergent Church leaders is the word "contemplative." They're really heavy on that.

Let me read you a quote here from one of their leaders. "The fact is that contemplative spirituality will play a huge part in the church of the future, and I want to assure you that candles are just the beginning."

Caryl Matrisciana: Why? Because we are changing the names. If they said, "Eastern Mysticism is going to play a huge part in the new church," we wouldn't buy it. But, when you say "contemplate," that sounds better. They replace contemplate with meditate, but in Eastern Mysticism the contemplation and meditation is in the snake within you which is the idea that you can become one with everything.

That contemplative idea was by the way once deeply rooted in the desert fathers, and is part of the Roman Catholic mystical idea of connecting to God through silence, which is opposed to the Bible. We don't connect to God through silence, but that is part of the Catholic's centering prayer. It's contemplative spirituality where you go into a silence and you practice the presence.

All of these contemplative practices are for creating emotional feelings. They are based on subjectivity which is based on relative truth. You're experience is as good as my experience.

What they don't understand is that Satan is called an" angel of light" and the "demon of darkness," that "dragon" who is out to deceive the whole world. His job is deception, and he is going to come in as an angel of light. In fact, that same scripture in 2 Corinthians 11 says, "No wonder his ministers appear as ministers of righteousness."

Dr. Reagan: Yes, subjectivity always leads to an openness to deception. It is like people who tell me, "God told me this, or God told me that." They will tell me something that is totally off the wall as if they think that every thought that comes out of our fallen minds comes from God. Even if they had a thought from God, it might be completely convoluted by the time it goes through our fallen minds. We need to test everything by the word of God.

Caryl Matrisciana: We have to. It's like taking a sailor out into the middle of the ocean and sending him wherever the boat and the currents will take him. A sailor has to have a compass. He has to have a direction. Even at night if he doesn't have a compass or a direction he's got the stars to navigate by. Direction with purpose is based on objective truth and reality.

We too have to have our guide book. The Bible is the manual which God has given us to test His character against the character of Satan. We can then truly understand God's well-being, His mercy, His grace, and how to have a truly personal relationship with Him as opposed to the false God created by our subjective feelings.


In the last part of this interview with Caryl Matrisciana on the Emergent Church, we'll ask her what warning signs we should be looking out for in determining if one's church is going Emergent.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Matrisciana on the Emergent Church: Environmentalism

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Why is the Emergent Church so caught up in environmentalism?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of our special guest Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl is a best selling author and filmmaker and is a recognized expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She has been involved in the production of more than 60 documentaries over the past 30 years. Her biographical testimony Out of India explains how she grew up under Hinduism in India and lived it in England and the U.S. as a New Ager before accepted Christ as Savior. She joined us to warn us about the Eastern religious influences inherent in the Emergent Church.

Caryl Matrisciana


Environmental Bent

Dr. Reagan: I become more and more convinced that the people involved in the Emergent Church Movement are moving in the direction of the old liberal mainstream Christianity in saying really what the Gospel's all about is environmentalism. To them it's the protection of nature and it's protection of Mother Earth. They're are also going to be bringing peace to the whole world.

Caryl Matrisciana: It's the Social Gospel.

Dr. Reagan: The leader of the Movement said in a statement, "The Church has been preoccupied with the question what happens to your soul after you die, as if the reason for Jesus coming can be summed up in Jesus is trying to help get more souls into Heaven as opposed to Hell after they die. I just think a fair reading of the Gospel blows that out of the water. I don't think the entire message and life of Jesus can be boiled down to that bottom line of saving souls."

Caryl Matrisciana: How sad. How awful, because Jesus said that He comes so that none shall perish. He came to offer us eternal life so that none should perish if we accept His salvation. That was the whole purpose of Jesus Christ coming to this earth.

Dr. Reagan: This same fellow held a conference in Seattle which our friend Eric Barger attended and he said, "We've interpreted John 3:16 incorrectly. It has nothing to do with salvation of souls. It has to do with the salvation of the world. Jesus came to die for the world." This false teacher invited people to come up afterwards and put their hands into dirt and commit themselves to saving the environment.

Caryl Matrisciana: Within Eastern Mysticism the world is the Mother Goddess. She's the environment who should be worshiped. It is the matriarchal system, not the patriarchal.

If we have to go even further back to Satan, Earth worship is demonic. It's satanic. We have to understand that just as there is a personal God, there is a personal enemy of God, and that is Satan. His attack has been on the Word of God and the authority of God and the purpose of Jesus coming to die for our sins. Satan said to Eve in the Garden, "Surely you won't die." Satan meant if she followed him she wouldn't die. If you follow me you'll get wisdom. If you follow me you can be like God. All of these are the fundamentals of the Emerging Church Movement.


Old Ideas Spun as New

Nathan Jones: Would you say the movement then isn't from a particular denomination?

Caryl Matrisciana: No, it penetrates into all the denominations.

The people who are the leaders of the Emerging Movement claim that they came from evangelical backgrounds. Now, they may have come from evangelical church backgrounds, but they didn't understand the authority of the Word of God because they were raised in a Post-Modern generation. They've been taught the idea that truth is relative, truth is not knowable, and that with truth we need to debate it. We need to get into sort of a protagonist situation where we can debate and create our own truth. We get synthesis rather than thesis.

Nathan Jones: Human wisdom then?

Caryl Matrisciana: It's all about human wisdom over God's wisdom.

Dr. Reagan: That reminds me again of the leader of the Emergent Church Movement who was invited recently to come to Dallas to speak to one of the most outstanding evangelical seminaries in all the world right here in Dallas, Texas. The President of the Seminary was confronted by people who asked, "What are you doing? Why are you inviting this person in who is a wolf in sheep's clothing?" He answered that they were an educational institution and so had to be open to all ideas and allow all people to come in and speak. Those protesting suggested that if he was going to invite a person teaching a false Gospel, he should at least have a faculty member get up and be given equal time to confront him. His response was that, no, that wouldn't be polite.

Caryl Matrisciana: How did I get involved in the New Age? It was because I was given a plethora of beliefs because this world is controlled by Satan. Satan is the god of this world, and I was under the seduction of seducing spirits and the doctrines of demons. If one doesn't understand the reality of Satan's warfare being in this, then we don't really understand the war that we are involved in.

Recently we've had "America's Pastor" named by Time magazine. He invited three New Age completely Eastern indoctrinated, mystical doctors into his health plan to introduce his entire congregation of 22,000 people to a new health and wellness plan. These three doctors between themselves had an Eastern worldview even though one is a Muslim, one is a Jew, and one is a Christian mystic. They come from an Eastern worldview background which teaches that within ourselves is the potential to heal ourselves.

Self healing is an idea that derives from Eastern Mysticism, that within us we can connect to divinity. We can heal ourselves. It's all mind over matter. It is self-hypnosis. This is what the Emerging Church is all about, bringing in "new" ideas from the East. They are not new ideas, though, they are old ideas. It is the old lie from the Garden of Eden.

Dr. Reagan: To see how poorly these ideas work, just look at the society they've produce in the East.

Caryl Matrisciana: It is not a nurturing society, and in fact it is a very cruel system.


In the next part of this interview with Caryl Matrisciana on the Emergent Church, we'll ask her why they use so much mystical paraphernalia in their worship.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Matrisciana on the Emergent Church: Defined

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

What does the term "Emergent Church Movement" mean?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of our special guest Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl is a best selling author and filmmaker and is a recognized expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She has been involved in the production of more than 60 documentaries over the past 30 years. Her biographical testimony Out of India explains how she grew up under Hinduism in India and lived it in England and the U.S. as a New Ager before accepted Christ as Savior. She joined us to warn us about the Eastern religious influences inherent in the Emergent Church.


Caryl Matrisciana


Emerging Defined

Caryl Matrisciana: It is a difficult word. How do you define Emerging? "It hasn't come yet. We don't know what it could turn into or where it is going."

Because it is emerging, it's a very, very clever label for a movement that in actuality is going to be emerging into the one-world religion that is going to usher in the Antichrist. That is what it is emerging to. It is emerging to new truths. It is emerging into a new Christ. It is emerging into the new concept that you don't need to really understand truth.

Dr. Reagan: Basically, isn't the Emergent Church saying that Christianity needs to be reconstructed?

Caryl Matrisciana: They believe the Bible should be reformed, reinvented, and redesigned.

Nathan Jones: In other words, just throw the Bible out?

Caryl Matrisciana: It sounds good initially because in actuality they want to try to reach out to the Post-Modern culture. They claim that traditional Bible believing Christians don't do that well anymore. Well, if you actually look at the back of that concept, they're saying that God didn't know that we were going to be a Post-Modern generation right now. God didn't anticipate that men were going to become such wretched sinners and so God gave up.

Nathan Jones: Really? And, they found that out, how? Out of their own heads then?

Caryl Matrisciana: If you think it through logically, that's what they're really claiming. They're saying that God didn't design the Bible to converse and attract today's generation.

What's really happening is that today's generation is instead pulling away from God's truth which is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Word of God is what we've got to come back to. We've got to realize that we are sinners. We've got to come back to the center.


Evolving Truth

Caryl Matrisciana: Another concept that we've got to realize is behind the Emergent Church is that within Eastern Mysticism and Hinduism is its basis on the idea of Evolution. There are two opposing worldviews: one is that God created the Creation, and other one is that the world evolved. These Eastern religions believe there is evolving truth and so there is evolving religiosity. Truth is evolving and there is where the Emergent Church comes to be based on the foundation of Evolution.

Dr. Reagan: It seems to me like that the Emergent Church Movement simply does not understand the power of the Word of God. They feel like that we have to change the Gospel and present it in a whole different way in order to relate to the modern generation. But, the Gospel is supernatural in its power. Just as you were converted just like that, this can happen to a person in the Post-Modern generation as well if they are confronted with their sin.

Caryl Matrisciana: If they are confronted with the Word. See, I was given the power of God unto salvation. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. If I hadn't been given the Gospel I couldn't have gotten saved. The Gospel says that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. That's what was given to me in those few minutes that opened my eyes. It's the power of the Word that opens the eyes of the spiritually blind.

Satan knows the Word of God has true power. Satan came to Eve in Genesis 3 and questioned, "Surely, God hasn't said?" He immediately attacked the authority of the Word, so it's no different a tactic within the Emergent Church than what Satan's been using all this time since the Garden of Eden.


In the next part of this interview with Caryl Matrisciana on the Emergent Church, we'll learn why they are so caught up in environmentalism.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Matrisciana on the Emergent Church: Evangelical Redefined

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Is the Emergent Church evangelical?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of our special guest Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl is a best selling author and filmmaker and is a recognized expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She has been involved in the production of more than 60 documentaries over the past 30 years. Her biographical testimony Out of India explains how she grew up under Hinduism in India and lived it in England and the U.S. as a New Ager before accepted Christ as Savior. She joined us to warn us about the Eastern religious influences inherent in the Emergent Church.


Caryl Matrisciana


Evangelical Redefined

Dr. Reagan: The Bible prophesies that in the End Times Christianity will come under increasing persecution. That prophecy is being fulfilled today. All across the world millions of Christians are being verbally abused, physically harassed, and yes, even murdered for their faith. But, these attacks as terrible as they may be are not the greatest threat to the Church. The greatest threat comes from within the Church in the form of Apostasy.

Nathan Jones: With that in mind, let's start our discussion with talking about the health of Evangelical Christianity today. When I was little and growing up the word Evangelical meant you went to the Bible for your faith to learn what was true, but the word Evangelical seems to be losing its meaning in this day and age. Would you agree?

Caryl Matrisciana: Absolutely! We are living during what's called the Post-Modern Era or Post-Modern Culture.

The Post-Modern philosophy teaches that there are no absolute truths. This goes against the original, traditional evangelical thought that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth and the life," but now the Post-Modernist is teaching that truth isn't actually knowable. This is an Eastern worldview. In Eastern Mysticism truth is all embracing. Truth is that your truth is good for you and my truth is good for me and in order for the two of us to unite we must dialogue and converse.

Well, we know what happened in the Bible with the first conversation, right? The first conversation was with the Serpent and Eve. She was without sin and pure, made in the image of God. Satan came and tempted her with an extraordinary desire that she could be even more like God, though she was already without sin. Well, what's been happening within Christendom today is that we are also being told we can supposedly become more like God through Eastern Mysticism. Satan used Eve's reason and her imagination. The fruit looked like it was good to eat.

So, all of these concepts of dialogue and conversation have come in where we are talking about each other's opinions all being equal. Opinions are nothing, though, as it's God's opinion only that counts. If God says that evil is evil and good is good then that should be our Evangelical Bible believing standard.


We Are Truth

Nathan Jones: So, we have given up the Bible then as our source of truth and turned to ourselves as a source of truth?

Caryl Matrisciana: Yes, though conversation and dialogue we reach a consensus of what truth should be. For example, we bring in a crisis situation and then you dialogue about it and meet somewhere in the middle. It is a sort of synthesis. You bring in the idea of "let's all get together and try to solve this solution."

The problem with this methodology for defining truth is that if you are with a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and you are all trying to dialogue about sin, there will be no meeting place if you are going to stand on biblical truth. For example, in order for us to bring in what the Bible says will happen during the last days concerning the institution of a one-world religion, we've got to be able to merge all our ideas and remove Jesus as the deity that the Bible says He is. Instead, we will claim we can become the deity, in others words, we can define our own truths. So, a Muslim can define his Allah as being the same as let's say what the Bible describes as God, though they are very much not the same as the Muslim's God is the ancient moon god you see on top of every mosque in the form of the crescent.


Return to Mysticism

Dr. Reagan: The Emergent Church Movement seems to me to be one of the most dangerous movements in America today because the leaders of it claim to be evangelical. They have using that claim been able to infiltrate evangelical seminaries and evangelical churches. I see them showing up at the most conservative denominations in America making their presentations. And yet, these are people who deny absolute truth. The Bible has absolute truth, but they say that it does not. They deny that. Instead, everything gets into touchy-feely based on emotions rather than what the Bible teaches.

One of the things that the Emergents are doing is getting back to mysticism. For example, I know of a major evangelical church where the pastor came in and said, "Okay, from now on we are going to have card tables in the lobby. On each card table will be a Greek icon and there is going to be instructions about how you can kneel and pray to the icon. Now, this is an "evangelical" church!

Caryl Matrisciana: Absolutely, that's the idea of ecumenical discussion. It's conversation with those who perhaps don't believe in your same faith, whether they are those from other religions or who also claim to be Christians. They wonder how can we bring all Christian denominations together under the same consensus beliefs.

Dr. Reagan: A lot of it seems to be getting back to the touchy-feely stuff that was characteristic say of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. It's the idea of you've got to have incense and you've got to have other visuals of that nature like candles and so forth. The thought is that these items will all draw you into a deeper relationship with God. It becomes very mystical.

Caryl Matrisciana: This new spirituality is mysticism. You see, when you don't have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a vacuum in you. You will try to fill it by having a mystical experience. We are made to have a relationship with God.

When you have a relationship with lying spirits and the doctrines of demons, how can we know that true relationship with the Father? You have to know the Bible in order to test the spirits, which we are told to do in the Scriptures. But, if you don't have the living sword, the two-edged sword, the testing ability, then the experience that I feel is my experience and it feels like a good experience and it is a spiritual experience, but it is not the right experience.

I know having come from the New Age that mystical feelings are very powerful. They feel very real and appear to be truthful, but they aren't the truth.

Nathan Jones: Those who seek consensus of truth would just slap a bumper sticker on their car that says "Coexist."


Wolves in One-World Clothing

Dr. Reagan: Brian MacLaren, the recognized leader of the Emergent Church Movement, recently appeared at a very conservative college here in Texas. I wrote the President of that college and I gave him two pages of MacLaren's quotes such as, "Homosexuality, what difference does it make?" That is his attitude. "Absolute truth, no there is no such thing." He went on and on and so I gave quote after quote after quote. I asked, "You are going to have this man speak to your people? This is a wolf in sheep's clothing!." He wrote back and said, "Well, I don't really know anything about him. The Chairman of our Bible Department arranged this. I will have him write you." The Chairman of the Bible Department replied to me by saying, "I am sure you have probably taken all these quotes out of context because I met him and he is such a nice person." He is such a nice person?!?

Caryl Matrisciana: I've met Brian MacLaren and he is a nice person. That's a deluding spirit. See, it's not who we speak to but what we are speaking to. It shouldn't be determined on an emotional level. The Bible tells us to test the spirits. We've got to test on the spiritual level, not the emotional level. That's what is happening with the new Emergent Church. It's plugging into emotions. Subjectivity feels as good as faith. It's only truth is not to be judgmental.

Nathan Jones: Tolerance is the ultimate ethic now.

Caryl Matrisciana: Tolerance is the ecumenical idea of embracing all religions. To achieve that you've got to break down all the denominations within Christianity in order to bring in the new one-world religion.

Dr. Reagan: People say to me, "You really must be exaggerating what these people say." Well, at first they were rather subtle, but now in recent years I've noticed they have become very open. For example, here is a quote from one of the leaders of the movement, "My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a re-catalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ."

Caryl Matrisciana: A re-catalyst for the movement? Which Jesus?

Dr. Reagan: Nobody knows what that means. It's mumbo-jumbo.

Caryl Matrisciana: Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 24 four times that there is going to be religious deception in the last days. There are going to be false teachers in the last days. False teachers are going to come in the name of Christ. They are going to come in His name. His name is Christ. Here is a false Jesus Christ. So the Antichrist, why is he called Antichrist? Well, he's like Jesus.

These false teachers have got to recondition the minds of everybody to think that this new Christ consciousness — this new Jesus Christ — is going to be something that we can all embrace, whether you are Muslim, Hindu or whatever it is. The big peace plan of a leading evangelical movement teacher today is all about bringing in global Christianity, global peace, and global ecumenical ideas.

Dr. Reagan: So what you are saying is that this Emergent Church Movement is really just part of many different movements that exist which are designed to prepare the way for the one-world religion of the Antichrist?

Caryl Matrisciana: Absolutely! It's the ecumenical idea of going into every denomination whether it is Episcopalian, Protestant, Reformed Theology, whatever it is, declaring that we all must come to a consensus of a new Jesus Christ, a new Christ consciousness.


In the next part of this interview with Caryl Matrisciana on the Emergent Church, we'll ask her to define the Emergent Church Movement.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Deadline October 21: Harold Camping's End of the World

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

Is today, October 21, 2011, the end of the world?

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, I was interviewed by host Brian Thomas of Blessings to Israel Ministries on their "God First" program. During the hour long interview we discussed the many failed attempts of date-setters to declare an accurate date for the Lord's return, especially concerning Harold Camping as his October 21, 2011, end of the world deadline approaches.


Blessings to Israel Ministries


End of the World: October 21, 2011

Brian Thomas: We looked at Camping's prediction of the May 21st date for Christ's return and it came and went and nothing happened. Camping now has October 21st circled, and again some people out there who are deceived are looking at that date and thinking that something is going to happen. Who knows when this date comes and goes if there will again be more suicides or attempted suicides.

Harold Camping also has a lot of propaganda out there. From my understanding his Family Radio organization had actually created a cartoon back before the May 21st prediction that explains to little children what is going to happen as far as life ending as we know it. So, they are deceiving people on all levels. Now there are some who are nervously sitting and waiting for October 21st to end the world.

What comments or advice could you give to those people concerning the way we should approach this October 21st end of the world deadline?

Nathan Jones: I remember after May 21st the one of the things that bothered me the most was the number of Atheist parties where they celebrated Christ not returning. Jesus returning was a huge joke to them. Atheists are the perfect example of 2 Peter 3:3 where says, "First of all you must understand in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this coming He has promised? Ever since our fathers have died everything has gone the same as the beginning of creation.'"

The Bible also says in verse 5, "But they deliberately forgot that long ago by God's Word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water." In other words, they say the Creation didn't happen, so this prophecy points to Evolutionists, to Atheists, and to these scoffers. Peter also says in verse 10 about the destinies of these scoffers, "the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction for ungodly men."

What Christian hasn't at some point asked, "Why, Lord, haven't you come? Why is it taking so long?" Well, 2 Peter 3:9 goes on to tell us, "The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises as some understand slowness," (you know, as we humans do), "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." So, for those who are scoffing out there, well they're going to have a party about this no matter what. They have refused the truth, or as the Bible says they themselves have decided to become willfully ignorant by deliberately forgetting about God and about His Creation.

The scoffers will scoff about anything related to Bible prophecy. The media will love to have a party when Camping's October 21st day comes and goes. I can be pretty sure this October 21st they won't have as big of a party as they did on May 21st where the celebrating was in all the media and all the news was just bashing the Bible. It was so sad to see those people out there laughing as if they had escaped.

We can be sure when the Bible says that the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire for those who do not believe Jesus is coming that He will indeed come. Jesus will come in His own time and not the time of Harold Camping, nor the time of other men. Only God knows when and the Bible tells us that Jesus will come. The earth is reserved for tribulation after Jesus finally comes and takes His Church out of here. The scoffers will then endure the Tribulation, that awful seven years of judgment that will come on the world. During that time men will surely know there is a God and they will need to decide one way or another. The choice will be crystal clear as to whether to side with God or not.


Not Saved?

Nathan Jones: If there are folks out there who haven't accepted Jesus as Savior, my advice is please don't listen to these nuts like Harold Camping. Obviously they are false prophets, and obviously they mean to lead you astray. The Lord has a purpose for you. He died on the cross for your sins. He loves you so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son. Jesus then beat death by coming back to life. If we put our faith in Him, we can be saved.

We might not know the date for when the Lord comes back, but we can prepared for it. This is the number one thing you should prepare for — if you are not a believer in Christ you can prepare for the Lord's return by accepting Jesus as your Savior. Jesus will return, the Bible promises. Prepare by giving your heart and your life to Jesus Christ.


Saved Already?

Nathan Jones: For those of us who are already saved, don't listen to false teachers like Harold Camping. Obviously, don't put all your money and your efforts and your faith in a man who according to Deuteronomy 18 is a proven false prophet. He is not a real prophet. There is no reason to put you faith in that man. Instead, put you faith in the Bible. Put your faith in Jesus Christ.

You don't have to know all the in's and out's Bible prophecy. Guys like Brian and I love to understand more about the Lord's return, but even we have to admit that we don't have all the answers. The Lord didn't give us all the dates and times and settings. So, we just have to trust that the Lord will come back and not beat ourselves up trying to find the exact date or moment.

Live your lives holy. Live your lives right before God. I have kids and I don't know how many times I've walk in and they were doing something they know they shouldn't have been doing and they give you this guilty look. You know that look. Oops, they are doing something wrong. We don't want to be looking like that when Jesus returns.

When our Heavenly Father comes for us, what will you be doing? Will we be serving Him as the Bible says we're to be doing, doing those good works which He prepared for us to do, or are we just living for ourselves?

We have to devote ourselves not only to holy living, but in sharing the Gospel as well. There are so many people out there who need to know the Lord. The Lord is actually waiting for the last of those who will accept Him as Savior in this Church Age to accept Him. Again, as 2 Peter 3 said, "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." When everyone who is to be saved in the Church Age accepts Jesus' salvation, then He will come. That is what we are waiting for. And really, thank goodness for that, otherwise if he came even 40 or 50 years ago I wouldn't even exist today, so thank the Lord for His patience!

So, give your heart to the Lord. Devote yourself to holiness. And, devote yourself to evangelizing and sharing the Gospel with others.

Brian Thomas: For the believers, the truth seekers out there who believe in Bible prophecy and study and are looking for the return of Jesus Christ, do not allow this kind of deception with Harold Camping and the fallout from the media to cause you to stray away from proclaiming the soon return of Jesus Christ. He is coming back soon. Many who are out there would just throw us all in the same category as Harold Camping and say we are just fanatics and are crazy. Don't allow them to deter you.

I'm concerned that a lot of pastors will choose to stay solid against the message of the Lord's soon return and not preach about it in churches because they don't want to be categorized as a lunatic. But, Jesus Christ is coming again. You have to just stand on the truth of His Word and not listen to these date setters like Harold Camping.

To all of you out there, Jesus Christ is coming soon. So, be hopeful, be watchful, keep looking up for His soon return is drawing near. Many blessings to you all!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deadline October 21: Harold Camping's Cult

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

Has Harold Camping created a cult?

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, I was interviewed by host Brian Thomas of Blessings to Israel Ministries on their "God First" program. During the hour long interview we discussed the many failed attempts of date-setters to declare an accurate date for the Lord's return, especially concerning Harold Camping as his October 21, 2011, end of the world deadline approaches.


Blessings to Israel Ministries


Reinventing Matthew 24

Brian Thomas: In Matthew 24:36 Jesus Christ stated that only the Father knows the date of His return. Now, for Harold Camping, how does he reconcile this? How does he make the Scripture coexist with his date setting theory considering that Jesus Christ said that only the Father knows the date of His return?

Nathan Jones: Camping believes that was a temporal command for a temporal reality. God alone knew, but that was only for a limited amount of time. Now Camping knows! As a matter of fact, you can go to Camping's website at wecanknow.com and see a scrolling bunch of verses at the top of the page. Each one is about how God will give us this understanding of the return date in the end times. The site has Nehemiah 8:8 which says He causes them to understand the reading. Also, Luke 24:45 explains how He open their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. Another one on the site is Isaiah 30:20, "Yea shall not thou teachers be removed into a corner anymore, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers."

Camping got his view from these misapplied scriptures that in the end times just before Jesus comes that a certain group of people will be given the knowledge that Jesus said only the Father has. Supposedly our eyes will be opened. Now, of course, who is the person whose eyes are opened? It's not everybody; its only Harold Camping. Ta-da! He's the one. Camping just takes these verses well out of context. He's developed his idea that the knowledge about the return of Christ is his and his alone to interpret. God has given him this special blessing of understanding so that the world can know when Jesus is returning, but only through Harold Camping.


Creation of a Cult

Brian Thomas: You said that you believe that what we see here going on with Harold Camping is the emergence of a new cult leader for that is what cult leaders do. They will often spiritualize Scripture in order to brainwash their followers into believing in the things that they are teaching. Here's a clip of what Harold Camping's response was following the failed prediction of May 21, taken on May 22nd by the BBC News.

Harold Camping: We were convinced that on May 21 our God would return here in a very physical way, that is by bringing a great earthquake and by ushering the final five months of the Day of Judgment. And, the fact is when we look at it spiritually we find that He did come. He did come. Now, let me back up, the fact is you are going to find out that I am going to be saying there isn't a new date. There's not a new date. We've already been talking again and again about the end of the world being October 21, in 2011, October 21, but we have not emphasized that because of the first down payment or the beginning of it was the fact that we would see all these things happening and usher into a five month period of very, very terrible times.

Reporter: Are you willing to publicly apologize for what you have said about May 21, for your mistake?

Harold Camping: I can if people want me to apologize, I can apologize, yes. I did not have all of that worked out as accurately as I should have, or I wished I could have had it. That doesn't bother me at all, because I am not a genius, and I pray all the time for wisdom and when I make an error, I say, "Yes, I was wrong." I have said that already more than several times tonight. I was wrong. It was to be understood spiritually, not physically, and yet the sense of it is still the same: That judgment has come. Your world is now under judgment where it was not prior to May 21. Spiritually there is a big difference in the world that we can't detect at all with our eyes, but we can know from the Bible.

Brian Thomas: So what do you say, Nathan? Sound like a cult leader to you?

Nathan Jones: Oh, absolutely!

Before the May deadline we had James Walker of Watchman Fellowship at our ministry. James is great. His whole ministry is about dealing with the cults. He was actually a fourth generation Mormon until he studied and realized that Mormonism is a cult. James listed four ways to define a cult and if I might read them:

  1. They add to God's Word with new Scripture.
  2. They subtract from who Jesus is.
  3. They multiply the requirements for salvation.
  4. They divide their follower loyalty.

So, if you are asking if Harold Camping is a cult leader, based on that criteria I would say definitely. Under number one, the idea that only he has special knowledge from God and he knows the date and time despite what the Bible says and he adds to his Scripture with all his interpretations that are clearly not contextual, then yes he falls under that first definition of a cult.

Does Camping subtract from Jesus? Yes, I would say he does that, too. In one of his books he says that the Archangel Michael is the Lord Jesus Christ. The book is The End of the Church Age and After which Camping put out in 2002. If you want to find that quote it's written on page 56. He even claims that Jesus isn't just the divine Father, and though he does attribute divinity to Jesus, he says he is the Archangel Michael which is a very cultish thing to claim.

Does Camping multiply the requirements for salvation? After he said that God washed his hands of the Church in 1988, he deemed afterwards that every church denomination out there was apostate because there shouldn't be any more churches. What he did was call for all people to leave their churches and join his ministry. It is not a church per se, but they do things like church. They get together, they worship, and they do everything else a church does, but by any other name, right? Still, he calls it a ministry. So, if you join his family ministry then you are good and you will be saved, but if you go to these other churches like the Baptist or Methodist or Lutheran or whatever, then you are not saved. That is a very cultic claim right there. Cults always claim that they have special knowledge and you have to join them in order to be saved.

Also what cults do is they divide their follower's loyalties, as James Walker said, and clearly he is doing that. He is telling people to leave their churches, to leave their fathers, and to put their faith in him and not their faith in Jesus Christ per se. That is a very cultic philosophy as well. So, if we go by Watchman's Fellowship's four definitions of a cult, then I would say, yes, he follows every single one of them to a "T."

Brian Thomas: I agree about Camping dividing peoples loyalties. That reminded me of a report of a lady I think who on May 2nd passed away. When her will was read it was found that she had actually left $350,000 to Harold Camping's ministry and left absolutely nothing to her family. That is indeed another sign of a cult leader.


Shaking Down Their Followers

Nathan Jones: Definitely! Sadly, with cults it always comes down to money. There is always some bottom dollar figure that they are trying to get to, and they will keep people strung along for their money.

Now, I have to admit that Harold Camping is a different odd bird. People could really see after the May 21st date this year came and passed that there was just something wrong with him. He looked physically shaken, like there was something wrong about May 21st ending up uneventful. I don' t know his heart, but I truly believe that Harold Camping genuinely believes in all his numbers and figures and that he is especially assigned by God to have special insight into all this reserved information.

But, it's true, most of the cults exploit God for their own personal gain. They're in it for the money. You can even see that pattern in the Old Testament when all the false prophets would come and mislead the people. They pretended to speak for God for the wealth or fame or power. It is a sad thing. In this case, there is definitely a financial side to what Harold Camping is doing, and a very lucrative financial side at that.


Committing Suicide

Brian Thomas: Yes, exactly. Another characteristic you often see with cults are suicides. Unfortunately, in 1994 after Camping's failed prediction, a man committed suicide. Then this year there was a 47 year old lady in Southern California who attempted suicide by slitting the wrist and throat of her 11 and 14 year old daughters. Fortunately, someone found them before they bleed to death, but that is again another sign of a cult leader when you see people committing suicide as a result of their teachings.

Nathan Jones: It brings me back to those horrible pictures of Jim Jones. They all drank the Kool-Aid and when people came and found the camp there were Jones' followers dead all over the place.

A number of years back if you remember there was a cult out in California who thought a space ship was coming to take them away. They were all sitting on their suitcases ready to go, but when it didn't happen they all killed themselves. That was the real sad thing story.

People today and I guess people throughout all the generations want hope. They want to know that this earth isn't all there is. And so, they will put their faith whole-heartedly into everything but the Bible, or maybe in something quasi-Bible. And when some prediction doesn't happen just like with William Miller's The Great Disappointment, despair is what they get in return. They get sucker punched by their great disappointment and declare, "My leader has betrayed me! The Lord has betrayed me!" And, what hope do they have after that? They feel like there is no future and ask, "What can I believe?" Either they become despondent or they lose all faith in God altogether, or even worse they kill themselves. That is such a sad thing. I can't imagine the severity of judgment that will fall on these false prophets when they stand before God one day.

Brian Thomas: Oh, you are so right there. And, the ones who don't commit suicide, well a lot of them will probably never trust a pastor again. They will turn away from Christianity altogether, which that is a sad thing to do. For these cult leaders who are causing people to turn away from Christ, yes, I think there is definitely a great judgment awaiting them for some time in the future.


Maligning Hell

Nathan Jones: These false teachers, when it comes to teaching about judgment themselves, get that wrong as well. For instance, Harold Camping teaches in his book The End of the Church Age and After that when an unbeliever dies he will be judged by God and then be annihilated, so he doesn't even teach about Hell. Rob Bell also came out with a book recently that teaches that there is no Hell. Cults will try to teach you that there is no punishment for your sins that is going to be terribly bad. I mean, really, nothing is bad about annihilation. Atheist also have that desire to just wink out of existence and be annihilated.

But, the Bible teaches very prolifically about the reality Hell. We're told it's a place of eternal punishment. It is a place where you are separated from God and so you are lonely. It is dark and you can't see anything. It's where you have this feeling of falling all the time. It has this awful smell. There you exist trapped with you regrets. Great pain comes with being sentenced there, for it is called Torment. It is called the Lake of Fire for a reason, as there is burning and suffering. Hell is very real, and yet in our society today we have kind of pushed Hell off as a joke or a place where Satan is ruling, which is not the case. Hell was originally created for Satan and his demons according to Matthew 25:41.

These false teachers give people a universal false hope in Heaven, but also steal away their understanding that their sins matters. There is Hell to pay for our rebellion against God, for without accepting Jesus' sacrifice on their behalf we are all still under God's wrath and sentence to the Lake of Fire, as John 3:36 warns us. It bothers me how cults steal the reality of Hell away from those who are lost.


In the (very? ;) last part of this series "Deadline October 21," Brian and I will look to October 21, 2011 as being the end of the world, or not.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Deadline October 21: Harold Camping's End Time Scenario

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

Can you make sense of Harold Camping's end time scenario?

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, I was interviewed by host Brian Thomas of Blessings to Israel Ministries on their "God First" program. During the hour long interview we discussed the many failed attempts of date-setters to declare an accurate date for the Lord's return, especially concerning Harold Camping as his October 21, 2011, end of the world deadline approaches.


Blessings to Israel Ministries


Camping's Timeline

Brian Thomas: Let's now talk about Harold Camping's end time scenario. It is quite intriguing, or I guess I could call it sort of a" mad scientist" way of an end time scenario. Can you explain his time line and how he perceives things transpiring with end time events?

Nathan Jones: You are asking a lot of me, Brian! It's kind of like going into an insane asylum and trying to make some understanding of the ramblings of a crazy man. Fortunately, Dr. David Reagan the founder and director of our ministry here at Lamb & Lion has done a lot of research into this and if you go to our website at lamblion.com and see the great article he wrote on this. He tries to make sense of that nonsense and he is a better man than me because I had a hard time going through it. So, instead of trying to repeat it into my own words, if I may I'm just going to read the five part of his end times scenario directly and let folks make sense of it themselves. We will all be scratching our heads by the end!

  1. The Church Age ended on May 21, 1988 and the Tribulation began that day.
  2. Between May 21, 1988 and September 6, 1994, the first six years of the Tribulation, almost no one was saved.
  3. On September 6, 1994, God began to pour out His Spirit. This will result in a great end time harvest of souls during the last years of the Tribulation.
  4. Since the Tribulation will last 8,400 days or 23 years, dating from May 21, 1988, the Rapture will occur on May 21, 2011.
  5. Those left behind will be judged by Jesus for a period of five months, until October 21, 2011, at which time the world will come to an end.

Nathan Jones: To summarize, the first thing Camping says in his end time scenario is that the Church Age which we are living in now ended on May 21, 1988. He claims that was the day in which the Tribulation began. Even after 1988, he clings to that date and says that rather than a real thing happening, it was spiritual. So, the Church Age has ended — surprise! We were pretty young then, Brian, when the Tribulation began. We have been living in the Tribulation all this time and haven't even realized it.

Camping also says May 21, 1988, until September 6, 1994, was the first six year of the Tribulation. Now, the Tribulation for him isn't seven years long like the Bible says; it is 23 years to him. He also said no one was saved between '88 and '94. I worked at a Christian camp in 1993 up in Alaska, wonderful place, and I saw many, many kids come to the Lord, so his claim is total bunk.

Anyway, on September 6, 1994, Camping said God then turned around and again began to poor out His Spirit on the world so that we would have a great end time harvest of souls during the last days of this Tribulation we are supposedly living in. So, according to Camping, we've gotten six years of just nobody getting saved, and then all of a sudden God is pouring out His blessing and people are getting saved. Why, I have to ask?

The fourth part of his end time scenario is that the Tribulation would last 23 years. He takes the 84 months of Revelation 11:2 and 13:5 and says that 84 months of Tribulation is really 8,400 days, and that is where he comes up with his May 21, 1988, day for the rapture occurring, which we know it didn't.

Finally, after the Rapture Camping says that those left behind will be judged by Jesus for a period of five months, which will end on October 21, 2011. That is the date you and I are talking about. So, for the last five months since May, Jesus is judging us — right now!

How Camping can explain his five months of judging when we can go to the Bible and read about the Sheep-Goat Judgment portrayed in Matthew 25:31-46. This passage tells us that Jesus will literally be on the earth at the end of the Tribulation and He then separates the good people which he calls sheep and who have accepted Him as their Savior from the people who have rejected Him as Savior which are goats. The goats God sends to Hades to await the final Great White Throne Judgment. The saved "sheep" people get to live on into the Millennial Kingdom. For Camping to ignore all of that and figure that instead Jesus will come to judge and end the earth, well it's a different thing than what the Bible says will happen. To think that supposedly this very day up until October 21st Jesus is judging us and that the world will literally end this month. Remember that it's not this October that Camping is saying Jesus will come back, rather he is saying the earth will end this month.

Brian Thomas: Absolute nonsense, without a doubt! That's why again as you all state at Lamb & Lion Ministries, "When the plain sense makes sense, look for no other sense, or else you have nonsense."

Nathan Jones: Exactly!

Brian Thomas: Well, better you trying to go through Camping's end time scenario than me, because my head has been spinning from the time I first looked at it.

Nathan Jones: Indeed, the scenario is crazy. The problem with it is simple, like we said earlier, Camping takes the biblical numbers and just assigns random meanings to them. So, even if you look at his calculations and try to figure them out, you couldn't without some kind of index that tells you what each of these numbers must mean. When you see these numbers so taken out of context and transformed, you have to scratch you head and ask, "What could these numbers possibly mean?" Then you have to put all those meanings to the dates. Like you said, the numbers make your head spin. They just make no sense whatsoever. You might as well read the ramblings of a crazy man for it would mean just as much.

Brian Thomas: Right, exactly!


End of the Church Age: May 21, 1988

Brian Thomas: How did Harold Camping arrive at his date of May 21, 1988? He claims as you stated that was the end of the Church Age. How did he come to the conclusion that the Church Age ended in 1988?

Nathan Jones: Oh, that is just as convoluted as his other calculations. Again, he took Daniel 8:14 where it tells about the 2,300 days which was fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanies and he just goes ahead and takes the word "days" and says they must be years. He just runs with years for no reason! He comes up with this theory from Daniel 8:14 that it will be 2,300 years which he believes started in 457 BC until when he thinks the Temple will be cleansed, meaning the purging of the earth by fire at the Second Coming of Jesus. If you calculate 2,300 years from 457 BC you get all the way up to 1994 which is when he claims is the re-establishment of the first Year of Jubilee.

The institution of the first Year of Jubilee is the very key to Campings entire thinking. You remember that from when Joshua crossed the Jordan River, every 50 years after that the Lord declared that Israel needed to celebrate a Year of Jubilee. That year would be when people would give their land back to the original owners and forgive each other's debts, and so Israel would have this cleansing so to speak every 50 years. Well, Harold Camping looked at Israel becoming a nation again in 1948 and decided that the Year of Jubilee would be 50 years after that. So, get this, for a guy who loves math so much, he came up with 1994. Now, even I can calculate that 50 years after 1948 would be what? 1998! So, for some reason 1994 is the Year of Jubilee to Harold Camping and that is when the Lord began to pour out His Spirit and save people after a dry spell.

To summarize, Camping has said then that the last part of the Tribulation will be identified by a great multitude which will be saved and that is because the Year of Jubilee happens. The first 2,300 days of Daniel which he says are really 23 years would place the Tribulation from 1994 to 2011. Then he comes up with this idea that well since the Church was established on the Day of Pentecost, then the day before Pentecost must mean that is the last day of the Church Age, and that is where he gets May 21st for 2011 being the day of this year for the Lord's return. So, we put that all together and we get the Tribulation beginning May 21, 1988, until the Rapture occurs (occurred?) on May 21, 2011. So, according to Harold Camping, we have been actually living in the Tribulation since 1988.

Brian Thomas: That'll make your head spin. There really is no other way to respond to that.


Return of Christ: May 21, 2011

Camping seems to love the day of the 21st. We can see that pattern pretty clearly at least. It brings us to his scenario of this year May 21, 2011, being the date for the Rapture of the Church. After his first prediction in 1994 failed, he then came up with May 21, 2011. How did he come up with that date? Before you answer that question, now is probably a good time for a clip of a CBS News Report that was given three days prior to his May 21st prediction:

Harold Camping: You and I are living at the time of the end of the world.

Reporter: 89 year old Harold Camping says his 70 year study of the Bible leads him to believe God will destroy the earth starting May 21st, 2011.

Harold Camping: There is going to be a huge earthquake that is going to make the big earthquake in Japan seem like a Sunday School picnic.

Reporter: The founder of Family Radio in Oakland heard in 48 different languages around the globe has begun a worldwide multi-million dollar campaign to let people know... billboards up all around the US and several other countries. An atheist group calls it a crock and has begun a counter campaign with billboards denouncing the prediction and plan to party hard that day.

Harold Camping: To be candid about it, I am kind of happy for it because it calls attention to us.

Reporter: There is the Mayan prediction of a world ender coming in 2012. Hollywood gave that a big PR bump with a movie. A joke says Camping who has also gone into the multi-media business has a cartoon to help parents explain it to the kids.

Cartoon: This date —May 21, 2011 — is extremely important as it will also be the first Day of Judgment, a time of horrible death and destruction for all those who are left behind.

Man: Just in case this doesn't happen, can we do an interview with you the next day?

Harold Camping: It is absolutely going to happen. There is no way I could schedule an interview because I won't be here.

Brian Thomas: So, there you have it from the mouth of Harold Camping himself. So again, my question is how did he come up with this date of May 21, 2011?

Nathan Jones: The Bible gives us a lot of detail concerning the length of the Tribulation. The length of the Tribulation is seven years long, described in a variety of ways as "one seven" year block (Dan. 9:27), half called "times, time and half a time" (Rev. 12:14), consisting of two "1260 days" periods (Rev. 11:3), or two "42 month" periods (Rev. 11:2; 13:5). So, the Bible in many different ways of telling us that the Tribulation will only last 84 months total, or for a total of seven years exactly, if you take the months as 30 day months which is typical of the Hebrew calendar.

Instead, Camping takes the 84 months and he tacks on two zeros and says it is instead 8,400 days to make the Tribulation 23 years long, not seven years long. The Rapture Camping said would occur May 21, 2011, because that is the 23 years of the Tribulation which he predicted would begin on May 21, 1988. See how he created that first wrong date and now he is building his entire math on that wrong date and producing even more wrong dates? He is just compounding the problem with his calculations.

For those who do not know what this Tribulation we're talking about is, it's a seven year timespan reserved for the judgment of God. He promised in the Bible that He is going to pour out his judgment on the earth, 21 different judgments to be exact, to shock people into turning back to Him. Believers in Christ who are the Church won't be here for the Tribulation. We will be raptured. The scriptures containing 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says we will be caught up and we will be taken away to Heaven. The old Latin word is rapio where we get the term Rapture. We will be taken up to Heaven so we won't be here to suffer through the Tribulation.

For those seven years the earth will face a punishing judgment. Half of the world population will be destroyed during just the first 3 1/2 years. Most of the ecology will be destroyed until Jesus returns. It will also be a terrible time of persecution on the world, especially for the Jews, which will open the eyes of many Jews and turn them back to Christ. The Bible says a third of them will accept Jesus as Messiah.

Harold Camping says we are in for 23 years of Tribulation and technically it should have been over this May, but he got the number wrong. Now, I don't know about you, but I haven't seen comets falling from the sky poisoning the waters and turning it into blood. We haven't seen massive world wars that have killed half the world population. We have had bad wars, but not that bad. We haven't seen a one world ruler which the Bible calls the Antichrist come on the scene. We haven't had all of the fresh water going bad. We don't have plagues. The Bible even talks about demons being released and punishing people with stings for five months, which obviously hasn't happened. Speaking of five months, it's another date that Harold Camping runs with, too. Clearly, since 1988 we have not been living in this type of world chaos. Right there should tell people that his math is just totally wrong.

Brian Thomas: Absolutely! As you said, that goes along with how Harold Camping just loves to play with numbers. You mentioned earlier that he is former engineer and he has that in his background. He just loves to play with numbers and he combines that with Bible prophecy and he just throws all these crazy scenarios out there. I guess he is able to convince some people because obviously he has a large following. Camping has these numbers that on the surface look like they make some sense, and so people just accept his calculation and accept what he says and they go along with it.

Nathan Jones: You hit the nail on the head, Brian. Because most people cringe at the math, we just accept them. It is interesting by faith we accept Christ as Savior and that is great because He is perfect and He is God, but to do that with people and have 100% faith in people that have been proven wrong in the past, you can't have that kind of faith. I mean you can't have that.

Using numbers to overwhelm people is just what Camping does. He is such a profound thinker and he has all this great math so that he overwhelms you. That is typical of a cult. They will overwhelm you with too much information, and you think, "Wow! This guy must be really smart. I can't figure it out, but he's got to have it right." So, Camping's followers put all their faith in him and they believe in whatever he says.


In the next part of this series "Deadline October 21," Brian and I will put Harold Camping to the test to see if he is in truth a cult leader.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Deadline October 21: Harold Camping's Erroneous Interpretation

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What are the blatant errors Harold Camping makes when it comes to interpreting the Bible?

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, I was interviewed by host Brian Thomas of Blessings to Israel Ministries on their "God First" program. During the hour long interview we discussed the many failed attempts of date-setters to declare an accurate date for the Lord's return, especially concerning Harold Camping as his October 21, 2011, end of the world deadline approaches.


Blessings to Israel Ministries


Date Setters Interpretive Errors

Brian Thomas: Harold Camping has some blatant errors when it comes to interpreting Bible prophecy. He uses his own calculations and bases his scenarios on how he perceives end time events occurring. How he finally comes up with his end time dates is based off this faulty interpretation. Can you point out some of these interpretive errors that he uses when it comes to his way of interpreting Bible prophecy?

Nathan Jones: Like any date setter or any cult leader (because this is what the cults do as well),, they look at the Bible but won't take if for its plain sense, literal interpretation. Instead, they spiritualize it.

Camping has been known to say the the Bible is nothing more than a giant parable. A parable defined for us in Bible college is "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning." Camping just runs with the Scriptures and makes them mean whatever he wants.

For example, just like William Miller did in the 1800's, Camping takes Daniel 8:14 where it says, "...Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed," and he just runs with it. Daniel 8:14 was part of a very detailed prophecy that was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanies of the Greek Empire sacrificed a pig on an altar in the Temple back way before Jesus' time, a few hundred years before Jesus' time actually. Antiochus Epiphanies is considered to be a precursor or type of the Antichrist, meaning when the Bible teaches about the Antichrist who will come in the future, we're to look at Antiochus Epiphanies as a forerunner type. We can look at him and get a picture of what the Antichrist will be like. But, Daniel 8:14 has been fulfilled in history. The Maccabean Revolt cleansed the Temple and everything was done with that prophecy. But no, Camping runs with that verse and he finds hidden spiritual meanings in it.

Another example of Camping spiritualizing Scripture is when he read Revelation 11. This chapter talks about two witnesses for Jesus who during the first half of the seven year Tribulation that is coming up will be witnesses for Him. They will be in Jerusalem and they will share the Gospel with the world for 3 1/2 years. The chapter says the Antichrist will kill them, but after three days the Lord will resurrect them. No, says Camping, those witnesses aren't real people but are the Church, and God is going to kill the Church!

On a side note, whenever these groups whether they are date setters or cults, they always feel that the Church needs to be kicked around by God to cleanse it. There is something wrong with the Church they believe and God needs to purify it, as if Christ's blood alone doesn't purify us from our sins as the Bible says. But, no, the Church has it coming to them they believe. These guys base their interpretation of end time events on the Church needing to be beat up by God for awhile to be cleansed, whatever that means.

Camping also takes Bible verses and he just chops them up, throws them into a blender so to speak, and he gets whatever he wants. He takes little bits from here and little bits from there and he glues them all together and that's also how he comes up with his interpretations. Now, proper interpretation is called hermeneutics, which is the art and science of interpreting the Bible. There is a right way and there is a wrong way, and these date setter guys, well they go the wrong way. You just don't take Bible verses out of context. You don't spiritualize them thereby giving them any meaning you want. And, you don't take historically proven events and say they must be all future. Camping does all of that.

To top his bad interpretation off, Camping being an engineer which is his background, loves numbers. He loves to play with numbers. I'm sure Brian you've got emails from people going on ten pages long with all their calculations and astrology signs and moons telling you this meaning and that. Based on their calculations, they come up with these dates for when Jesus could come. Of course, the better ones will append, "We can't know the day or the hour just like Jesus said in Matthew 24." But, it is true, they play with these numbers and come up with their spiritualized views of what the Bible says, which is also how they come up with all their crazy numbers.

For instance, six times in Revelation it says that the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus — when Jesus comes back and rules on this earth for 1,000 years — will be just that, a 1,000 years. But, no, Harold Camping says the thousand is really almost 2,000 years because that is the length of the Church Age so far. He has mixed the Church Age which we are in now with the Millennium which is a future time period. So, that is the problem. I mean, any 5 year old could get in the Bible and do what Harold Camping does in messing interpretations up, throwing verses around, and taking whatever meaning they want out of the text.

Brian Thomas: Exactly! That reminds me of a saying you all often quote at Lamb & Lion that I love that you say about those who spiritualize Bible Prophecy and don't take it literally: "When the plain sense makes sense, look for no other sense, less you end up with nonsense."

Nathan Jones: That is exactly right! That's what Harold Camping has produced — a lot of nonsense. And really, you'd think the last two times that he date set and got it wrong that he would have learned his lesson, but he instead continues to make nonsense.


Test For Determining False Teachers

Nathan Jones: All we have to do is go to Deuteronomy 18:21-22 to see where the Bible gives us the litmus test for determining false prophets. "You may say to yourselves, '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. Do not be afraid of him."

I love that word from that passage — presumptuously. These false teachers presume they have some kind of inner knowledge that God has given them alone. But, God teaches in Deuteronomy how we can know if they're the real deal. You can tell if they create a date or a prophecy and it doesn't come true 100%, then we can know they are a false prophet.

Well, Harold Camping is a false prophet. People should know that about him by now. His followers should have realized that after two failures, but some people have just put their faith in the wrong things.

Brian Thomas: That is exactly right as far as Camping's spiritualizing of the Bible. Once his prediction of May 21st of this year passed and there was no rapture of the Church and no return of Christ, then he kind of turned it around and declared something really did happen, but he was wrong in the literal sense. Jesus Camping said didn't return physically but rather He returned spiritually, so he explained away his false prediction.


In the next part of this series "Deadline October 21," Brian and I will navigate the twisted channels of Harold Camping's end time scenario.