All posts by Anton Bosch

The Beleagured Church

This is the only way I can describe the church at the end of 2022. And yes, I know you think this is an overly pessimistic view but I don’t think any of us really understand how dire the situation is.

Churches, leaders, and believers are falling on every hand. The chaos of Charismania, its false prophets, and the many heresies of the past decades deceived and deluded many, and yet there was a remnant. Many of those who were not deceived by the myriad of heresies that came out of Charismania were caught by the elitism and dead formalism of Calvinism.

But then came Christian Nationalism and those we thought were standing began to fall, one after the other. This spawned a whole new doctrine which can only be described as replacement theology on steroids. It is one thing to say that the church has replaced Israel, it is heresy of another order of magnitude to say that a nation replaces both Israel and the Church. Before you tell me that you have never heard anyone say that, have you listened carefully what is now being preached from almost every pulpit in America? Scripture after Scripture that applies to Israel or the church is being applied to the nation. This is damnable heresy and yet, the most respected preachers in the land are preaching it. One example is the trend to preach that God is judging America. Listen more carefully and you will see how they are applying texts that speak to Israel and/or the church to the nation. America, and every other nation in the world, has always been under God’s judgment because none of this world and its systems has ever been saved or in a covenant with God, and “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19).

To suggest that God has suddenly begun to judge America as though it is a disobedient son is, what is commonly known as, universalism – that we are all children of God and that sonship is bestowed on people and nations because of their national status or something other than being born again. The Bible is clear that only those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ are the children of God. No nation, other than Israel, has ever been, nor will ever be, in such a relationship. In order for any nation be regarded as “Christian”, a majority of its citizens need to be born again and that has never happened and it is certainly further from reality now than ever before.

Here’s the problem. Those preachers and ministries that had set themselves up as watchmen and who were pointing out the error of Charismania, have one and all succumbed to the error of Nationalism. The fact that they did not see this coming and have themselves succumbed to it, shows that even they were not true watchmen. Nationalism left us with a remnant of the remnant.

And yet, that’s not the end. Those who escaped Charismania, fell to nationalism and those who survived nationalism have fallen to populism – the next wave of deception. Populism is the voice of the people, plural. It’s the entirety of the middle or lower class, speaking against, and combating, the elite. Or as Elon Musk recently reminded us Vox Populi, Vox Dei – The voice of the people is the voice of god! Thus in the world, the rabble rousers have stirred up the people against truth, facts, science, established norms, and authority.

What happens in the world should not affect the church, but it does. This spirit of mob-rule has invaded the churches and there has been a rebellion against and a rejection of godly men and God-appointed leaders, orthodox doctrine, and godly traditions. We have plunged headlong into the chaos of the book of Judges where every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6). Every child has become the boss of their family and every dimwit knows more about doctrine than God-given teachers. The worldly, carnal, and immature have taken it upon themselves to run the gifted ministries out of town and to crown themselves as lords over God’s people. As a result, we are truly seeing a fulfillment of Proverbs 30:21-22: “For three things the earth is perturbed, Yes, for four it cannot bear up: For a servant when he reigns, A fool when he is filled with food, A hateful woman when she is married, And a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.” YouTube is glutted with videos by ignoramuses who have set themselves up as teachers, and by clever manipulation, have gathered a large following. There is no room left for humble, gifted and trained men of God. They are regarded as the elite who “by definition are evil” and must be ejected (2Timothy 4:3).

And yet it is not the end. Once the populace have control and have vented their frustrations on the leaders, they turn on one another. What Charismania did not devour, nationalism devoured, what survived nationalism succumbed to populism and the remnant of the remnant has finally begun to devour one another as individualism becomes the watchword. Personal rights trump responsibility to the Body of Christ as each one seeks his own good at the expense of the church. The idea of personal sacrifice is jettisoned as hedonism becomes the spirit of the age and of the church (Philippians 2:21).

Finally, the remnant of the remnant becomes the lukewarm church that Jesus found so revolting (Revelation 3:16). Yes, there is plenty of zeal for everything but for the Lord Jesus and the Gospel. Christians will wax eloquent about politics, conspiracy theories, sport, material things, celebrities, etc, but when it comes to prayer, witnessing and the Word, they are silent. They will binge watch the trash of the world for many hours but cannot read through the shortest books of the Bible in one go.

Yes, this is a fulfillment of Joel 1:4 “What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten.

And just as with Israel in Joel’s day, this is God’s judgment on the (visible) church. Indeed God is judging, but he is not judging the nation, he is judging the church “for the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1Peter 4:17). This is not the time to gloat but a time to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.

We could easily despair that the church could possibly survive, were it not for the promise of the Founder of the church: “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). We must learn from Israel’s history that no matter how apostate the majority become, there will always be the few who remain faithful to the end. So what do we need to do if we want to be those who survive this present evil day?

First, we need to remain humble because “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) and “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12). There is no room for boasting that “we are the remnant”, the elect, or claim like Peter “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” (Matthew 26:33).

Second, we need to rekindle a real and living relationship with the Lord. “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41).

Third, we need to read, believe, and live the Bible. Many, if not most, of those who have been deceived by the above errors have fallen because they listened to the false preachers and accepted glibly their twisting of Scripture because they did not know the Word. But it is no good knowing the Bible, if we are not going to live it out in every aspect of our lives. Deception often catches people who, because of disobedience, have shut their ears to the truth. Forget about the prophetic updates, the latest “revelation”, and the popular preachers. Start reading the Bible with one intent – to hear the voice of the Shepherd direct your steps. Begin right now and put into practice the things that the Lord has been convicting you of through the Bible. Stop listening to the politicians and conspiracy theorists and get your heart tuned to the heartbeat of the Master.

Fourth, strengthen the bonds of fellowship. Get right with your brother. We need the Lord and we need one another. When Israel was in a similar spiritual state, “…those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name.” (Malachi 3:16).

The Lord, knowing the times in which we would live gave us very specific advice: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

And, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Galatians 5:13-15).

The following text really sums up all the above:

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:25-29).

Anton Bosch
December 16
2022

I Alone am Left

I have often heard preachers speak disdainfully about Elijah’s depression when he felt that he was the only one left of those who were faithful to the Lord. (1Kings 19:14). Most of these preachers seem to have great difficulty having any sympathy for a man who, a few days before, had called fire down from heaven and who was now fleeing from a woman. Those who look down their noses at this discouraged and dejected prophet seem to pride themselves in their self-sufficiency and popularity. They have obviously never been in the hole where this great man of God found himself. They think that that makes them superior to a man who so acutely felt the hurt of rejection and loneliness.

What they seem to forget is that Elijah was not unique in his despair and loneliness. Almost every man of God in the Bible found themselves in a similar situation. Moses fled to the back side of the desert and spent 40 years looking after a bunch of wayward sheep until all his hopes and dreams of greatness and destiny had died. Can you imagine the fears, doubts and frustrations that Moses had to cope with as he had to come to terms with his lost privilege, and the apparent purposelessness of his existence as a nomad after having lived in the palaces of Egypt?

Job openly vented his frustrations in chapter after chapter of complaint after losing everything except a wife who berated him for his misfortune and three “friends” who accused him of all sorts of imaginary sins. As you read through the prophets of the Old Testament, you will find that every single one of them felt the pain of loneliness and of hopelessness as they watched everyone around them forsake the Living God for dumb idols. Not one of these men was popular and many of them were imprisoned by the kings and falsely accused by the hordes of false prophets of the time. Many of them were forbidden to preach and thus resorted to writing their prophecies down.

The New Testament opens with the account of John the Baptist who boldly announced Jesus as the Messiah. Yet, soon after, he is thrown into prison where his hope and faith slowly ebbed away until he even questioned whether Jesus was indeed the Promised One. (Matthew 11:3). At the end of Paul’s ministry he looked around and discovered that he and Timothy were the only ones of the many preachers who were likeminded and that all the rest were seeking their own interests. (Philippians 2:21). After one of his hearings in Rome he seems to feel the same as Elijah did when he said: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.” (2Timothy 4:16). The last prophets in the Bible are no different. John was banished and alone on Patmos and the final two prophets will be rejected and killed on the streets of Jerusalem.

Even Jesus was not immune to the pain of rejection. One day thousands were following Him and enjoying the free meals he was providing. A few days later he was preaching in Capernaum when people began to turn their backs on Him and forsake Him until He seemed to be left with only the Twelve. I can imagine the discouragement in His voice as He turned to them and asked “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:68). Can you begin to understand the disappointment and abandonment in His eye as He turned to look at Peter who three times denied that he even knew Jesus? As He hung on the Cross, almost everyone forsook Him and finally, even His Father turned His back on Him.

Elijah’s experience was not unique; it was common to every man of God throughout the Bible. And it is no different today. Those who will stand for, and speak, the truth are not popular but are often slandered, rejected and pitied. Jesus said it would be so. “A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” (John 15:20,21)

So when preachers try to make light of the despondency and despair that many of us feel, they are simply declaring that they are not following in the footsteps of the One Who was “despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:3). Don’t allow them to get to you. When the accuser of the brethren tries to discourage you because you are not popular and lays a guilt trip on you, rejoice because you are found worthy to be made a partaker of His sufferings. (1Peter 4:13).

It is in the darkness and emptiness of discouragement, disappointment and abandonment, that we truly discover that Friend Who sticks closer than a brother. When we look around and see people falling away and turning aside one by one, may we be encouraged by His promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

True Christians and true Christian leaders are not politicians whose success is measured by their popularity. We should never allow this worldly mindset to cause us to feel that we have failed just because the crowds don’t embrace us. Our success is measured by One alone and He is not looking for those who are most popular but for those who are most faithful. One of the curses that has come upon the church today, is the view that a preacher or a church can be measured by its size and popularity. This was never God’s measure. Noah was one in a whole world. Only two out of 600,000 Israelites entered the Promised Land. Of the thousands of Judah who were in Babylon, only three did not bow before the golden image. Jesus’ ministry in Judea produced only 120 in the upper room and Paul and Timothy were the only two of that generation whose ministry did not center on themselves. It is no different today. Do you want everyone to think you are wonderful and thus be rejected by Him who called you, or do you want to discover intimate fellowship with the Fourth Man in the furnace?

I know it is not easy and it is never comfortable when for the umpteenth time someone turns away from you. But the Lord is faithful and as Elijah cried to the Lord, the Lord met with Him. The Lord also assured Elijah, as He does us, that there are others who have also remained faithful and that there will be those who will carry the work forward after we pass on. (1Kings 19:16).

Be strong and of good courage… for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Anton Bosch
March 2010
Updated June 2022

Stop The Preaching!

I often hear it said that the greatest need of the church today is the need for sound Bible teaching and preaching. There is no doubt that there is a tremendous shortage of sound teaching and we are indeed living in the time of the famine of the Word as predicted by the prophet (Amos 8:11). Even though we have dozens of “christian” television stations, millions of “christian” books and sermons on YouTube, and thousands of preachers in the world, there is not a lot of good, sound and orthodox teaching. But is that the greatest need in the church today? I don’t think so.

The greatest need among Christians is not for more teaching, even though good teaching is necessary. It is also not for more churches, more fire in the pulpit, or for more programs. What the church needs today, more than ever, is simple obedience. Yes, that’s what you, I, and every Christian, needs more of. If all teaching and all preaching stopped today and we all began to put into practice the things we already know, we would be busy until the Lord comes and the church would be revolutionized. I am absolutely convinced that every Christian in the Western World, could probably compile a list of at least 100 scriptures that he has not yet been obedient to. While some of those things could take only a few minutes to implement, a lot of them will keep us busy for a very long time.

What percentage of folk who sit in the average congregation leave the meeting with the firm intention of doing what they have heard? Ten percent, five percent or one percent? Of those who actually intend to do what they heard on Sunday, how many have obeyed or still intend to be obedient by Monday lunch time? One, five or ten percent? And by the next Saturday how many have been doers? I guess that the percentage is a small fraction of one percent! As a preacher I wish I had the courage to not preach another message until at least half the assembly actually put into practice what was last preached! Recently I heard that parents are now suing schools when the school will not advance a child to the next grade, even if the child has not even attended class during that year! How ridiculous. Yet, as Christians we expect to advance to the next class every Sunday even though we failed every test from the previous week!

So why do we want more teaching and preaching when we have not applied a fraction of what we already know? There are two reasons. The first is pride. No student wants to be held back or be failed when his friends advance. We all want to sit with the big boys, as though we belong there, and we especially don’t like to be seen to not be making the grade. So, we simply act as though we are learning and progressing when in reality we are way behind God’s schedule for our lives. Thus we come to the meetings week by week like Saul and say: “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord” (1Samuel 15:13). I wish I had the courage of Samuel to reply: “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear” (1Samuel 15:14). Can you imagine what would happen if your leaders were to stand at the entrance next Sunday and ask each one whether they did what the Lord had commanded? I can indeed imagine. That will be the fastest a church either closed its doors or the fastest a church experienced revival. But why do I suspect that the first is more likely? Another thing I wish I had the courage to do, is to preach the same message every week until folk begin to obey the Word! Yes, it is pointless for preachers to keep preparing a new message every week when the previous one was simply ignored.

The second reason why we want ever more teaching and preaching is because each new message helps us forget our disobedience, and we hope that each new message will bring some kind of absolution for our previous disobedience. So we flip the channels of the repertoire of messages, hoping to find a message we really like. Often that message is the one which is least searching and contains just comfort and encouragement.

One of the reasons why many preachers are popular today is because they only preach the “easy” messages. Preachers who preach non-threatening, non-demanding, ear-tickling messages that make people feel good and make them feel there is no need for change, fill their churches with thousands of spectators who come to be entertained. But Christianity is not a spectator thing, it is a participation thing. Real Christianity is about doing not just listening. How many of us would be believers today if it were not for someone actually doing something about their faith and thus impacting our lives? Each of us is the product of a number of others who were faithful and actually did what the Lord told them – praying, preaching, witnessing, inviting and so on.

James says that those who only hear and do not do, deceive themselves. (James 1:22). We are not deceiving the Lord, because He knows exactly what is not going on. Neither do we deceive those around us because they can clearly see the lack of change and the barrenness that comes from our disobedience. The only one who thinks that everything is wonderful is the disobedient one. Off course some feel very comforted by the fact that there are many others like him. And yet others will even erect monuments to their disobedience – just like Saul (1Samuel 15:12). Saul had become so hardened in his disobedience that he could no longer see the difference between obedience and disobedience.

Some may contend that it is unbiblical to call for a stop to preaching. Is it really? Do you know that the Lord once cried out for a man who would have the courage to close the temple down! He said He was tired of Israel’s half-hearted attempt at worshiping Him and said it were better that there be no sacrifice to Him than the people continue to worship Him with their dregs! (Malachi 1:7-11) I am sure that if Malachi lived today he would call for church meetings to be closed down since what we are doing is not different to what Israel was doing when they brought the Lord their cripple and diseased animals as a sacrifice.

There may be some who disregard this message because it sounds like the writer is frustrated. Well, wouldn’t you be frustrated if you had to preach the same message week after week while everyone ignored you? But I am not frustrated. I have long ago learned that I am not preaching to the whole congregation but I preach to the one or two who have ears to hear! Are you one of those who will hear and who will do what He requires today?

He who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25)

Ebenezer

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” (1Samuel 7:12).

The word “Ebenezer” is from “Eben” which means stone and “Ezer” which means help. So literally a stone of help. But it is not the stone that helped them. As Samuel said: “The Lord has helped us this far”. The stone was simply a memorial to remind them of the Lord’s faithfulness. We need to be reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness because we are forgetful and so easily become overwhelmed with our present troubles.

Jacob had a similar experience when he raised the stone he used for a pillow, poured oil on it as a thank offering, and called the place “Bethel” – the house of God (Genesis 28:16-18). The stone was not an object of worship nor was it a talisman, it was simply a reminder to Jacob, and his descendants, that there he had met with God.

When Israel crossed over the Jordan into the Land, Joshua instructed a representative from each of the tribes to each collect a stone from the river and to erect it at their camp site as a perpetual memorial of God’s faithfulness in bringing them across the river and into the Land. (Joshua 4:6-7).

For Israel, the purpose of the feasts was also to remind them of God’s mighty works in the past and His faithfulness. Thus the Lord instituted various memorials, days and symbols to act as reminders to a people who so quickly and so often forgot that the Lord had never failed them.

In the New Testament we no longer raise stones and other memorials but we do have the Lord’s Table which serves to remind us regularly of the cross, our salvation, and the Lord Jesus.

Here in the US we celebrate Thanksgiving this week. Sadly, most people do not even know Who they should be thankful to and the day has degenerated into a day of gluttony, family fights, selfishness (as the poor and lonely are forgotten) and of greed as people flock to the stores before the turkey has even settled in their stomachs. But for the believer, it is a good opportunity to reflect deeply (not just say a hasty prayer of thanks before the gorging starts), on the Lord’s faithfulness.

Indeed, thus far the Lord has brought us, and as the hymn writer says, He will bring us safely home. It does not matter how big the obstacles and problems may be that we face today. And yes, to many of us they seem insurmountable. But, we need to be reminded that God has never failed us. He has saved us, kept us and provided for us in every way. He has proven His reliability and faithfulness in spite of our faithlessness.

David said “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.” (Psalms 37:25). Paul testified before Agrippa: “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand…” (Acts 26:22). He also said “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” (Philippians 1:6).

When King Hezekiah faced an impending invasion by the Assyrians he said: “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles…” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8).

Social and the News Media love to remind us that we have more problems than ever and indeed, Covid, inflation, political upheaval, global warming and a host of other problems may beset us. But, we do not have a single verse in the Bible that tells us to keep record of all our problems. No! We have one task and that is to remember that the Lord has never failed us and he will see us through. We have come thus far, not because of our own skill or ability, but because the Lord has brought us thus far.

May we again remind ourselves of the many waters, fires and wars He has brought us and He has promised: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2). As we sit down to eat, may we remind ourselves and our children of God’s goodness and faithfulness and that His faithfulness in the past is our assurance of His willingness and ability to see us through whatever the future holds.

Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of God’s unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I come.
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wand’ring from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy grace, Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my yielded heart to Thee:
Let me know Thee in Thy fullness
Guide me by Thy mighty hand
Till transformed, in thine own image
In Thy presence I shall stand

Anton Bosch
Los Angeles
11/24/2021

What’s Gone Wrong With the World?

There was a time, not so long ago, in western countries, that society was pretty civil, people were basically decent and business could be done on a handshake. Even when people disagreed, they did so with civility and a certain amount of respect for the other person. Christians, churches and pastors were respected by unbelievers and Christians tolerated one another, even if they did not always love one another.

But now it seems that not a day goes by without someone remarking that they don’t know what has gone wrong with the world. Everyone seems crazy, hate is proliferating, everyone seems to be out to get you and Christians everywhere feel they are losing their rights as everyone tries to enforce their rights at the expense of everyone else. Those involved in politics, whether professionally or as a citizen, left or right, believer or unbeliever have adopted an all-or-nothing, scorched-earth policy. Truth and integrity are concepts from a different era and are almost non-existent among Christians, let alone in the world.

While these changes have been taking place gradually for a long time, they have escalated at an unrepresented rate in the past five years. This has left many in shock, feeling that they world is not the one they had known all of their lives. Some believers don’t know how to process it all, while others have felt that the only way to survive is to out fight, out cheat and out disrespect everyone else. I want to address the first group. It is too late for the second group and there is not much that can be said to them except to call them to repentance.

The question: “what’s gone wrong with the world?” is the wrong question. Nothing has gone wrong with it. What we are seeing is the world in in its natural habitat, doing what it has always done. The world has not been a nice place ever since Cain killed his brother. Fighting, killing, lying, cheating, denying other’s rights is what the world has always done. Nero, Hitler, and the Inquisition were not anomalies, but simply the true nature of unregenerate man being evident.

being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; [they are] whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:29-32).

Man’s heart has not changed. It has always been evil continually “Perversity is in his heart, He devises evil continually, He sows discord.” (Proverbs 6:14); “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). But, for a while there were certain restraints that curbed the evil from being unmasked in all its ugliness.

The fist restraint was the testimony of the church. The Lord called us to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-14) and for a time, the Christian church did just that. By biblical preaching and godly living, the church constrained evil. This had nothing to do with political influence but was a spiritual influence in the world. But the church has forsaken its calling and mission and has become as immoral, materialistic and as carnal as the world. There is little, or no, difference between “Christians” and unbelievers in the way they live their lives. Christians indulge with alacrity in all the sins of the world and often beat the world at their own race to the muck.

Preachers and spiritual leaders have likewise forsaken godly living and the preaching of the truth of God’s word. They have not only embraced the world’s ways and values in their own lives, but have perverted the Word of God in order to hide their personal sin and to keep the money flowing from their donors. The preachers who will preach the truth at the expense of views, likes and clicks on the internet have died out long ago. Even those who preach a holiness message, only do so when they speak of the world outside, but they will never call their supporters to account since they themselves are compromised and their egos need the acclaim of their followers. Holiness preaching has become nothing more than: “God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.” (Luke 18:11)

The second restraint was political leaders, who even though only outwardly, held to Judeo-Christian values. In most cases this was a result of a nominal Christian upbringing and the influence of Christians in the world. But in recent years, and in several western countries, we have seen men rise to power who have no moral compass at all. These are men who do not fear God and know nothing about his Word. I am not suggesting that the former school of leaders were Christians. They were not, but they had the outward form of being somewhat just and were guided by Judeo-Christian norms. But the modern crop of leaders have thrown off all restraints and do not fear God. Sadly, these men are often voted into power by Christians who, because they themselves have no understanding of truth and morality believe them to be good men and trust them to promote conservative values.

Thirdly, as we draw closer to the end, Satan knowing his time is short (Revelation 12:12) and that there is no longer a church and prophets that will stand against evil, is unleashing his deception and evil in a final push to destroy God’s church. Sadly, not only is the church not standing against the evil, but it is actively promoting it.

The question: “what’s gone wrong with the world?” is the wrong question. The question should be “why are we surprised?” We should not be surprised at all. The world is the world and it never has been our friend. It has always been corrupt and evil, under the control of Satan, and in opposition to the true church. This was predicted to become worse: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:12-13).

But we are surprised because the church has become friends with the world and has loved the world, its sin and wickedness “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16). We assumed the feeling would be mutual and that the world would love us back and yes, we have been deceived. No matter how much the church loves the world and tries to be like it, the world will always hate the church. When will we wake up to understand that the world is not our friend but is our enemy? When will we realize that we cannot Christianize the world except through the unadulterated Gospel of the cross? And when will we realize that “… friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

Two thousand years ago John warned us to not be surprised: “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13). So why are we surprised? Do we not believe the Word, or do we think that we have a special dispensation that will exempt us from the persecution that has always been common to all believers?

It is high time (if not too late) for the church to stop its adulterous affair with the world and to be the spotless bride of Christ, to which we have been redeemed.

And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. “For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” (Revelation 18:4-5).

Christ Must be Preeminent

The Lord Jesus Christ must have the preeminence in all things (Colossians 1:18). There is no greater truth than this. He must be the first and last and the all in all. This must not only be true in theory but in practice. He must be the most important in the life of the believer, in the church and in our preaching.

I do not hear anyone denying this truth for indeed, to deny it would be the worst form of heresy. Preachers say it all the time, churches print it in their statements of faith and believers will confess it. But that is as far as it goes. Preachers will preach anything but Christ. A brief analysis of a preacher’s topics will show that many will speak on politics more than on Jesus!

Churches revolve around the pastor, the worship, the coffee and the people more than around Jesus. Believers spend more time on social media than in prayer and more time watching TV than studying the Scriptures. He is not their first thought in the morning and the last thought at night and gets little time in between.

It is time to do an audit of your life, your church and your leaders. What do you spend time, money and devotion on? Is it Jesus? If not then it is time to repent and to give Him the place to which He is entitled.

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:12-13)

The Two Gospel Heresy

The Two Gospel Heresy
AKA Hyperdispensationalism AKA Bullingerism

I have been surprised by the extent to which this doctrine has permeated Bible-believing churches on every continent. In some cases the followers of the doctrine prefer to remain within orthodox churches where they quietly and subtly spread their ideas. At the same time there are hundreds of churches that have formed around these teachings. These churches, at first glance, appear to be orthodox and not unlike other fundamentalist, Bible-believing churches. Some of these churches operate under the banner of the “Grace Gospel Movement” and favor names such as “Grace Bible Church” or “Berean Bible Church”.

This heresy is old and yet, seems to have been able to fly under the radar for decades. This is partly because the language they use sounds orthodox and partly because their arguments are intended to befuddle and confuse. Here are a few phrases that may hint at someone holding to this doctrine:

  • Paul’s Gospel vs Jesus’ Gospel
  • Gospel of Grace vs Gospel of the Law
  • Gospel to the Jews vs the Gospel to the Gentiles
  • Gospel of the Kingdom vs Paul’s Gospel
  • Etc.

Roots
It seems that the heresy finds its roots in E. W. Bullinger in the 19th century and has been picked up and modified by others. One of the main promoters in the late 20th and 21st century is Les Feldick, a popular radio and YouTube teacher.

What They Believe
My intention in this article is not to analyze their doctrine in detail, but rather to focus on sound doctrine that counters their main errors. Others have gone into much more detail (see the sources at the end of this article for more information). The main problem areas are:

  • Jesus and the apostles preached the gospel “of the Kingdom” to the Jews.
  • Paul received the revelation of the true gospel – the gospel of grace to the Gentiles.
  • The change happened around Acts 9 or 13 (Bullinger said Acts 28). Hence the descriptor “hyper-dispensationalism”. According to them the dispensations change, not at the cross, but somewhere in Acts.
  • This results in two gospels – one to the Jews and another to the Gentiles (some proponents have up to four gospels).
  • Thus the church Jesus founded (Matthew 16:18) is not the church of Paul.
  • The teachings of Jesus (in the four Gospels), Acts and the books from Hebrews to Revelation are not binding on us. (Feldick believes that Paul wrote Hebrews but because it is written to the Jews it is not applicable on the Gentile church). Therefore, only the 13 books from Romans to Philemon are binding on us. In this process they have virtually created a different red letter edition with the words of Paul in red and have all but deleted the words of Jesus.
  • There are many consequences of these fallacies, but the practical ones are that repentance, baptism and the Great Commission are part of the Law and therefore not relevant to the Gentile church.

Hyper-dispensationalism
These teachers like to refer to themselves as “dispensational” but this is not classical dispensationalism but rather hyper-dispensationalism.

Covenant and dispensational theology people are agreed that the covenant (testament) or dispensation changed at the cross. There has never been any dispute on that truth. Since covenants are “cut” by blood, Jesus, facing the cross, said “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:20). Paul confirmed that the change from the curse of the Law to the blessing of Abraham coming to the Gentiles happened at the cross (Galatians 3:13-14). There is no Scripture for the idea that the covenant/testament/dispensation changed at any other time. The fact that they differ on the timing (Acts 9,13,28) shows that they have no Scripture to define a change, other than what was instituted at the crucifixion.

Two Churches
The idea that the church Jesus founded, and that was inaugurated at the day of Pentecost, is different to what Paul established is absolutely preposterous. To even suggest that when Jesus said “I will build my church”, he meant a temporary, Jewish only church is to put it kindly, ridiculous. The Lord’s very statement that “…the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) is a clear statement of permanence – He was not building something temporary and inferior that would be replaced by something more superior, not built by the Lord Himself, but by a man!

Two Gospel people make much of the mistaken notion that the word “Ekklesia” changed its meaning. Again there is no Scripture for this at all. The church Paul persecuted in Acts 8 in Jerusalem and the Church he addressed in Acts 20 (Ephesus) is the same church. Paul says to the Thessalonians: “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,” (1Thessalonians 2:14). Paul does not draw a distinction between the mainly Gentile Thessalonians and the Jewish churches in Judea but rather, says explicitly that they are the same and he calls the Judean churches “ekklesia”, the same word he uses for the Thessalonians (1Thessalonians 1:1). Paul does the same in Galatians 1:22.

Two New Testaments
The idea that there are two New Testaments – one for Jews and one for Gentiles is equally ridiculous. This is one of the reasons I call this a heresy since it denies that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, emphasis mine). The unity of Scripture is one of the fundamentals of the faith. They attack that foundation by creating conflict and contradiction between books that is not there.

Paul confirms that the words of Jesus are binding when he quotes Jesus (Acts 20:35; 1Corinthians 11:24-25)

Hebrews is clear that Jesus, and not Paul, is God’s final revelation to us: “GOD, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Furthermore Hebrews contains a severe warning if we neglect the words of Jesus: “For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,” (Hebrews 2:2-3).

While we do not in any way minimize the fact that Paul wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and that the Lord revealed much to him, it was only of Jesus that the Father testified “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Luke 9:35).

Note that I took the above quote from Luke. Feldick is badly mistaken when he calls Luke and Acts Jewish books. They were written by a Gentile to Gentiles. The books are specifically addressed to Theophilus – a Gentile (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1). So, if the words of Jesus have no relevance to Gentiles, why did Luke write, and why did the Holy Spirit inspire him to write these two books addressed to a Gentile? But more, it is commonly agreed that the Gospel of Luke was written after the events of Acts, around AD60 (at the earliest). According to these men by AD60 Paul had received his revelation of the two gospels and churches. According to them by then the church was the Gentile church of Paul and the words of Jesus were irrelevant. So why then, did the Holy Spirit inspire the writing of two complete books (Luke being the longest of the Gospels) when the events in Jerusalem and the words of Jesus were no longer of relevance to “Paul’s church”?

Surely the words of Jesus apply to these teachers: “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19).

Great Commission Rejected
They are adamant that the Great Commission, including the command to baptize was given to the Jewish church and that this is part of the Law (everything before “Paul’s revelation” is Law to them). The first part of the command says: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19). Note that the command is to make disciples of all nations (ethnos) – the Gentiles. Again this makes no sense unless the Lord’s intention was for the church to be one church, made up of Jews and Gentiles.

Two Gospels
The idea of two gospels comes from the mistaken idea that Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and Paul preached the gospel of grace through faith and that these were two different gospels to different groups of people. This is further distorted by the lie that Paul did not preach repentance while John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles preached repentance as a part of salvation (See below). Once again, this can easily be refuted by anyone who has at least read the New Testament.

They correctly emphasize that Paul defines the gospel in 1Corinthians 15:1-4. But then they try to say that this is different to the gospel of the apostles. Let me be clear, you can only come to that conclusion if you did not read the whole of 1Corinthians 15! In verse 5 it mentions Peter (Cephas) and the twelve, in verse 6 it mentions 500 brethren, and in verse 8 it mentions James and the apostles (again). Then in verse 11 he says: “Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.” (1Corinthians 15:11). The “they” are those mentioned in the preceding verses and Paul says “they” and he preached the same gospel and that the Corinthians are established in what was preached by Peter, James, the twelve, the 500 and Paul. There is no difference!

This is the whole purpose of the letter to the Romans. Paul goes to great lengths to prove that Jew and Gentile has both sinned (one with the Law and the other without) (Romans 2:12). Thus all are guilty and all have sinned (Romans 2:23) and both are condemned to death (Romans 5:12). Paul takes two entire chapters (3&4) to prove that those under the Law and Gentiles are both saved in exactly the same way – by faith. Not only they, but Abraham, who came before the Law, was also saved in the same way – by faith. The whole point of Romans is to teach that there is only one gospel for both Jew and Gentile. In fact, he opens the book by saying “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16). There is only one Gospel for both Jew and Gentile.

It is Paul whom these people lift up higher than the Lord Jesus who said: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.” (Acts 20:24-25 Emphasis mine). Paul preached both the Kingdom and the gospel of grace. They are the same thing, preached by the same apostle. These are clearly not two messages or gospels but simply different aspects of the same gospel.

In Galatians 2 Paul proves that the message he preached and that which was preached by Peter and the other apostles is exactly the same gospel. He stresses that he did not receive his message from those in Jerusalem but directly from the Lord. But, then after 15 years he went to Jerusalem to check his doctrine against theirs only to discover that the twelve and he were preaching exactly the same message: “But from those who seemed to be something–whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man–for those who seemed [to be something] added nothing to me.” (Galatians 2:6 My emphasis).

However, the two gospel people hang their whole argument on a misinterpretation of the next verse: “But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter” (Galatians 2:7). From this they build the idea that there are two gospels. But they wrest verse seven out of the context of verse six which says the message is the same. Secondly, they willfully misinterpret the verse when its obvious intention was to say that “Paul would take the gospel to the Gentiles while they would take the gospel to the Jews”. There is not two gospels, but two audiences.

Once again, would these men only read a couple of verses further, the meaning would be clear: “and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” (Galatians 2:9, emphasis mine)

On a personal note, I never cease to be amazed how people who cannot even read one chapter in context get to become influential and popular “teachers”! But that is the key to this whole heresy: verses must be understood in their narrow and wider context – it really is that simple. This is not even about understanding the original languages, but simply reading the entire Bible and understanding individual verses in the context of the entirety of the Word of God.

Paul Preached Repentance
One sign that a person holds to the two gospel error is often visible in the idea that repentance is not part of the gospel to the Gentiles.

Before looking at Paul’s teaching, part of the Lord Jesus’ instructions to the disciples as recorded by the Gentile, Luke, and written to Gentiles is: “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47, My emphasis). Repentance was not just to be preached in Jerusalem but to all nations (ethnos).

In defining the gospel to both Jew and Gentile Paul says: “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).

The word “trinity” does not appear anywhere in the Bible, and yet the concept is all over its pages. In the same way, Paul does not use the word “repentance” much, yet the doctrine is in every one of his letters: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). Is that not a command to repent? Or: “For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). If that is not a description of repentance then what is?

Luke is very specific that Paul did indeed preach repentance to the Gentiles:

  • In speaking to Greek philosophers at Athens he said: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,” (Acts 17:30).
  • how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, “testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:20-21). Notice, the messages to Jews and Greeks is the same: Repentance and faith.
  • In testifying before Agrippa (a Gentile) Paul says he “…declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” (Acts 26:20).

Paul Declares Them Heretics
It is almost as though Paul had these people in mind when he wrote: “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a [means of] gain. From such withdraw yourself.” (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

They do not consent with (agree with) the words of the Lord Jesus and clearly contradict Him on many issues. Paul, their idol, says their minds are corrupt, they have no truth and we must withdraw from (excommunicate) them.

Additional Resources
Bob DeWaay wrote an excellent article on the subject: https://cicministry.org/commentary/issue108.htm


Harry Ironside wrote an entire book on Bullingerism (before the modern iterations) which is very helpful in understanding and rebutting this error and is available free: http://www.biblelineministries.org/onlinebooks/wrongly-dividing-the-word-of-truth/index.html

Anton Bosch
Los Angeles
26 February 2021

False Prophets or Just Mistaken?

Prophets being wrong about their predictions is not new, but at no time in history have more prophets been so dramatically wrong about the same thing. The same prophets who all prophesied that 2020 was going to be a great and wonderful year, and who did not see Covid-19 coming, predicted that Donald Trump would be reelected and would have been installed for the second term. Not only was he not reelected, he was not installed and on the contrary, he has been impeached and may even be barred from public office for the rest of his life. Also, one of the most infamous events in the 245 year history of the United States has to be the 6th of January 2021. Not one of these prophets predicted the events of that notorious day, even though they all contributed towards its shame.

So how do we deal with the endless string of prophets who were not only wrong four times in a row (100% failure rate) but through their false prophecies contributed directly to the insurrection of the 6th of January 2021? And what of the hundreds of thousands who believe their prophecies and empower the prophets by subscribing to their lies with their pocket books?

At least 40 charismatic Christian leaders predicted Trump’s reelection starting around 2018, according to J. Gordon Melton, the compiler of the Encyclopedia of American Religions and an American religious studies professor at Baylor University. They range from Franklin Graham, who said at Trump’s inauguration that the rain was a sign of God’s blessing to Paula White who resorted to summoning demons from Africa to cause Trump to prevail. Some of them speak as though they are God’s direct mouthpiece: “thus saith the Lord” while others under the banner of “prophecy updates” take a more cerebral approach and analyze Scriptures and world events onto which they project their political fantasies.

Quite a few Evangelical leaders, like Dr Michael Brown, are rushing to the defense of these prophets saying that they’re not false prophets but were simply “mistaken” (remember that they had a 50/50 chance of being right!). Much of their defense is based on the work of Wayne Grudem The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, a work that has merit and that I have also quoted from in the past. The argument is that a New Testament prophet may be mistaken without being branded a false prophet. I agree with that premise – to a point. But the warnings concerning false prophets in the New Testament make it clear that there is such a thing as a false prophet (Mark 13:22; Revelation 2:20 etc.) and there is a difference between a true and a false prophet. So, at what point is someone a false prophet?

The Old Testament sets two tests for prophets:

1. “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:22)

2. “…and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ – which you have not known –‘and let us serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:3-4).

So the argument is that since there are differences between Old Testament prophets and New Testament prophets (and I agree that there are differences), prophets of today should not be judged by the tests of Deuteronomy. But, there are two problems with that argument:

First the principles contained in Deuteronomy never change. Therefore if a prophet is constantly wrong, as most modern prophets are, they are clearly false prophets. And, if they divert you from following, worshiping and serving the Lord, they are false, even if their prophecies come true.

Second, these modern prophets do not style themselves on the New Testament prophets like Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32), but rather style themselves after the Old Testament prophets. I can give you many reasons for this statement but in the interests of brevity will confine myself to a couple:

OT prophets were part of the government of Israel. The Lord mostly spoke to the king through them, and they frequently acted as counselors to the king. Even Daniel fulfilled this role to a Gentile king. We do not see the same relationship in the NT. Not one of the NT prophets (or other ministers), including Jesus and Paul, were attached to the court. The only time they spoke to the authorities was when they had been brought before them to be judged. All NT prophets and preachers stood clearly detached from earthly rulers. Not only were they detached from them, they stood opposed to them.

But, these modern prophets have one and all attached themselves to the court of Donald Trump. Some have physically laid hands on him (and become partakers of his sins – 1Timothy 5:22), others have prophesied to him, and over him, and others have promoted him from their pulpits. This places such prophets clearly in the OT and not the New and therefore they must be judged by the standards of Deuteronomy. It is really quite simple: They have predicted that Trump would serve a second consecutive term and Biden has been inaugurated. They were wrong in a spectacular way. So that makes them wrong about 2020, Covid-19, January 6th, and wrong about Trump. Therefore they are false prophets.

The reason given why NT prophets may be mistaken is that the prophecy comes as a vision, a dream, a thought or a “burden” which the prophet then has to interpret and it is in the interpretation that mistakes could happen. There is just one small problem with that argument. These prophets have spoken in the first person “Thus saith the Lord…” Several others claimed that God, or Jesus, appeared to them personally and told them that Trump would be inaugurated for a second term. There is no interpretation – God told them Trump would reign again. This is neither how New Testament prophets operate, nor is it the truth. They have lied. God did not tell them and He did not appear to them. End of story.

They have also committed the second sin which describes them as false prophets: They have encouraged millions to follow another god! I know they (and possibly you as well) will deny this, but they have made Trump into a god. Yes, they say they still worship Yahweh and do not worship Trump, but please stay with me for one more paragraph.

The Children of Israel made a golden calf and declared “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:4). I have lost count of how many (probably hundreds of times) I have heard and read that Trump is the man who will deliver the church from the bondage of liberalism and will set America free. For example, John MacArthur has said that choosing Biden is effectively choosing Satan and choosing Trump is choosing God. Trump has been upheld as the savior of the American church. His son declared that his father “literally saved Christianity”. The worship of this man went so far that many conferred honorary born-again status on him in spite of clear evidence that he is less saved than my shoes. Oh, we do not worship Trump, we worship the Lord they say. That is what Israel also said. The celebration around the calf was a “feast to the Lord (Yahweh) (Exodus 32:4).

These prophets have preached another gospel, the gospel of American nationalism, they live by another Bible – the Constitution and they have another kingdom – America. They have literally seduced the American church to follow another god and they are therefore false prophets. (Deuteronomy 13:3).

So was Trump not “the chosen one” as he himself claimed (after being so convinced by the prophets)? Yes, I believe Trump was indeed chosen by God: “… you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:3-4). Yes, God allowed Trump’s ascendancy, not to save the church, since only Christ can save it, but to test it. And the church failed the test miserably!

Since it has become clear that Trump will not serve a second term, these prophets are responding in one of three different ways: Some are doubling down and against reality and truth insist that he will still serve the second term. Such foolishness does not warrant a response. The second group are adjusting their prophecies to extend to 2024 or by saying that Trump was elected and is therefore the president but the election was stolen. This is no different to the Millerites, and other cults, who had set dates for the Lord’s return and when it did not happen, spun it to say He came in the spirit. They are all false prophets and should be isolated and deprived of their following and money. The third group are admitting they were wrong and are publishing their apologies. I am sorry, but they do not have my sympathy either. How are they going to undo the damage they have done in the lives of their followers, in churches and to the Gospel? I have not seen one of those apologies, as sincere as they appear, offering to return the money they made out of their false prophecies! I also do not see any of them publishing a caveat with every future prophecy, warning that they were very wrong concerning Covid-19, the storming of the Capitol, and the election of Trump. Neither am I hearing any of them say that they will cease the foolishness of trying to read the tea leaves and stick to preaching the Scriptures. In fact, several of them have already pivoted to promise the destruction of America and the church under Biden.

The fact that Trump did not serve a second term means only one of two things: Either God is weak and the Democrats were able to defeat God’s purpose or the prophets have prophesied falsely. Since the first is blasphemy, the second must be true. There are no other options.

Working hand-in-hand with the false prophets are those who operate so-called “prophecy updates”. This has become the quickest path to building a massive following and bank balance. The only difference between the false prophets and the prophecy updates is that one adopts a more “spiritual” approach while the other is more cerebral – watching Fox news and reading Qanon and squeezing what they see into the mold of twisted Scripture. Amir Tsarfati is a prime example. On December 15th he declared that Trump would be confirmed as the president on January 6th and then proceeded to explain how Congress would reject the legitimate electors and overthrow the results of the election in order to elect Trump (https://youtu.be/_R4kUuJtqdQ). The problem was that he was totally wrong about how the process works and blatantly misled the 280,000 viewers who watched that video. Now, here’s the problem: How do you trust a man about future things when he will blatantly lie about facts (what the Constitution says) that can be verified in a ten minute search of the internet? Sadly his subscribers and viewers are still supporting him! All I can say is if you are willing to be led by, and support, a man who will lie to your face, you deserve what you get!

But Tsarafti is not alone. Many others ply their filthy trade of twisting current events and Scripture to suit their political, or private, agenda, and suckers flock to their sites by the hundreds of thousands. Indeed the real prophet has been proven right: “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31)

I know that the thousands that are being misled by these prophets claim they are innocent victims of these deceivers and therefore not responsible. What does Scripture say? Well, in the church of Thyatira there was just such a false prophet. This is what the Lord Jesus Himself says about those who followed her: “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. “I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:22-23). Those who believe and follow false prophets are guilty and will suffer the same judgment as the false prophets because they have the Bible but choose to believe, and follow, men, rather than God.

But this is all part of a bigger picture. The book of Revelation tells of a false prophet (in fact, The False Prophet) who will persuade millions to follow the Antichrist and to take the mark of the Beast. (Revelation 13). What has happened in the past five years is a mini-fulfillment of this prophecy. The false prophets have convinced millions to follow a lawless man and a man of sin and to take his mark(s). This has been a conditioning process to train people, churches and preachers, to not follow Scripture but to follow men. My fear is if you have been deceived by the current crop of false prophets, you will most likely be deceived by the The False Prophet who will be much more convincing and actually perform signs and wonders to verify his “authenticity” (Revelation 13:13).

It is time for you to take stock of who you are listening to and who you believe. He who has an ear – let him hear.

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:19-20)

Anton Bosch – 22 January 2021

Discerning Good and Evil

In order to know who and what to trust we need a number of important spiritual tools. First we need to look at the fruit of someone’s life. For this we simply need a pair of eyes and some basic good judgment. Sadly, unbelievers are able to look at many of the false prophets of today and recognize them for what they are, while Christians are being deceived.

Secondly we need the Bible against which to measure the doctrine. We live in times of relativism where truth has become relative to culture, political expediency and profitability. But truth is not relative and changeable. It cannot be manipulated. Truth is absolute, just as a wall is either vertical or not and it’s trueness can be measured by a plumbline or a spirit level, so a man’s doctrine is either true or false and the measure is the Plumbline of God’s Word (Amos 7:7,8).

But then we need a third tool called “discernment”. Unfortunately in the last thirty years Christianity has become very sensual and subjective and much error has crept in because it “felt” right. This kind of subjectivity is very dangerous in the hands of those who are unskilled or immature and yet godly discernment remains an important tool to the true child of God. Sadly, many who have been burnt by the subjectivity and emotionalism of modern Christianity have over corrected resulting in a cold, heartless and intellectual form of Christianity.

If you watch a skilled craftsman you will notice that he has developed a “feel” for his craft. He can often “sense” that something is not straight or square and will then apply the straightedge or square to confirm or refute his “feeling”. BUT he cannot go by his ‘gut feel’ alone. There are a few amusement places in California where gravity does not seem to operate and where water seemingly flows “uphill”. This is an illusion to fool one’s senses into believing something runs uphill when, in fact, it is running downhill.

One of the realities about being a Christian is that we are led by the Holy Spirit. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14). The problem is that most of us are so fleshly that we often think we are being led by the Spirit when we are actually being led by the flesh. Thus, discernment becomes an unreliable tool in the hands of the carnal or fleshly believer.

However, Hebrews speaks of “those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14). The writer is speaking about spiritual senses that need to be exercised or practiced to discern what is good and evil. Just as one has to exercise one’s mind or body to develop, so our spiritual senses need to be exercised to be useful. In order to develop our muscles or mind we have to use them. If we don’t they become weak and ineffectual, so it is with spiritual senses. In the same way as most of us are very good at hearing the flesh because we are attuned to it, we need to “learn” to listen to the Spirit, tune out the flesh, and hear that still small voice warning us and directing us.

I am not advocating a mystical, airy fairy, dazed eye, mumbo-jumbo, feelings-based religion. But each of us has, at some stage, felt uneasy about someone or something. This uneasy feeling often turned out to be a warning we should have heeded.

This sense or witness does not stand on its own and is not sufficient to accept or reject something but it is an early warning that we need to be alert. Whenever you have that sense, it is an indication that more questions need to be asked. This is when the Plumbline and the microscope needs to be dusted off and applied. If you do this every time you will soon learn to recognize the warnings that come from the Holy Spirit or from other “static”.

Those who are mature and have their ‘spiritual senses’ exercised, are not only able to discern evil but also good. If all we can do is recognize the toxic, we may not die of poison, but we may well die of starvation. We need to sharpen and hone our abilities at recognizing good spiritual food and messengers when they come our way. Again, we cannot just trust our discernment and accept a teaching because it “feels” right. We need to subject everything to the test of the fruit and the Plumbline of the Word.

The ability to be discerning is a spiritual one. This means that it cannot be learnt in a school and it cannot operate in a carnal believer and definitely not in an unbeliever. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things…” (1Corinthians 2:14-15).

Discernment is a direct result of spiritual maturity and a close walk with the Master. The closer we get to Him; the more we will see things the way He does – the further we walk away from Him; the less we will understand and perceive. Solomon asked for “understanding to discern justice” (1Kings 3:11) which the Lord gave him. Nevertheless, as time went on, he began to obey the flesh rather than the Spirit until his judgment became so clouded that he started worshiping idols and plunged Israel into war and spiritual ruin. Samuel, on the other hand, began by confusing God’s voice and that of Eli but as he grew; he became very adept at understanding exactly what the Lord was saying.

“The Lord is my shepherd… He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1,3).
Anton Bosch

Christ our Passover

Most Christians probably know that Jesus is our Passover Lamb and that he fulfilled the type of Himself as shown in the Passover lamb. Yet, when I started looking for a list of the aspects that were fulfilled in the crucifixion, I could not find a complete list. Therefore, this is an attempt to compile a fuller list:

Jesus is called  “the Lamb of God”: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! ” (John 1:29)

  • The lamb was to be selected on the 10th of the month Nisan (the first month of the year). It was then to be examined until the 14th to make sure that it was without blemish (Exodus 12:3-5). Deuteronomy 17:1: “You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep which has a blemish or any defect, for that is a detestable thing to the Lord your God”. Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th of Nisan, riding on a donkey. He was examined by the same chief priests who were examining the lambs until the 14th when He was crucified.
  • Just as the Passover Lamb was to be perfect and without blemish, Jesus was found to be perfectly sinless (Matthew 26:59-60; John 19:4,6; 1Peter 1:19).
  • In preparation of the Passover, the Jews would go through their houses in search for leaven (leaven represents sin and impurity – Matthew 16:6-12, Luke 12:1, 1Corinthians 5:2-8) and clean all the leaven from their houses. In Matthew 21:1-13, Jesus went into Jerusalem and cleansed the temple. Thus at the same time the Jews were cleaning the leaven from their houses, God was cleaning the leaven (sin) from His house.
  • The lamb was to be a year old, meaning it was to be in its prime (Exodus 12:5). Jesus was 33 years old – generally accepted to be when a man is in his prime.
  • The lamb was to be a male just so Jesus was a male (Exodus 12:5).
  • The Passover Lamb was to be slain on the eve of Passover, on the afternoon of the 14th of Nisan. Jesus was hanging on the cross and dying at the very moment that the Passover lambs were being killed in Jerusalem (Matthew 27:45-50).
  • Just as the lamb died in the place of the oldest of the family – Jesus died in our place.
  • The killing of the Passover lamb prepared the way for Israel to be delivered from the bondage of Egypt. The Jews call the Passover, “the festival of redemption”. (The Jewish Festivals by Hayyim Schauss). Jesus’ death also sets us free from the bondage of sin (Galatians 3:13, Titus 2:13-14 etc).
  • The Passover lamb had to be killed in Jerusalem, but outside of the city gates. (Deuteronomy 16:5-6). Christ was killed in Jerusalem, but outside of the city gates. (John 19:16-19, Hebrews 13:10-13)
  • The last words from the high priest as he cut the Passover lamb’s throat was “It is finished” (The Seven Festivals of the Messiah by Eddie Chumney). “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30). That means that at the same time that the high priest was saying, “It is finished” (referring to the Passover sacrifice), The High Priest (Jesus) was saying the exact words (referring to the sacrifice of Himself).
  • Not a single bone of the Passover lamb was to be broken. (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12). In spite of the tremendous trauma He endured, and the custom to break the legs of the crucified, not a single bone of Christ was broken. (John 19:31-36). In both cases it would be expected for bones to be broken, yet contrary to what would be normal, no bones were broken in the Passover lamb and Jesus (Psalm 34:20).
  • The blood of the Passover lamb was to be applied to the wooden doorposts and lintel (Exodus 21:7). The blood of Jesus was shed on a wooden cross.
  • The Passover lamb was to be roasted in fire (Exodus 12:9). Fire is always a symbol of God’s wrath. Jesus endured God’s wrath on the cross (Romans 5:9).
  • Just as the blood applied to the doorposts saved the inhabitants of the house from God’s wrath (Exodus 12:13), so the blood of Christ, applied to the life of the sinner, saves him from God’s judgement (Romans 5:9; 1Peter 1:18-19).
  • The eating of the flesh (body) of the Passover lamb was to be an everlasting memorial of their deliverance (Exodus 12:14). In the same way the eating of Christ’s body, symbolized in the bread, is to be a perpetual memorial of our salvation (Luke 22:19; 1Corinthians 11:24).
  • The Israelites were to remain inside their houses, trusting in the efficacy of the blood to protect them. We cannot work for our salvation. We need to remain “under the blood”, trusting in the blood for our salvation. It did not matter who (even an Egyptian) was behind the blood, he would be safe. It does not matter who we are or how much we have sinned. All God is looking for is the blood in order that his wrath my pass over us. But should an Israelite not apply the blood, he would die, meaning that our spiritual or ethnic heritage does not save us – only the blood of Christ.
  • The Lord decreed that the whole assembly of Israel shall kill the Passover lamb. (Exodus 12:6). In the same way, the whole world, everyone who ever lived, is responsible for the death of Christ through our sin.
  • The lamb had to be consumed entirely on the Passover evening. Nothing was to remain overnight (Exodus 12:10). Jesus was taken off the cross on the same evening of his crucifixion and was not to hang overnight, contrary to custom (John 19:31-36).

Once again, we can only marvel at the unity of the Scriptures and how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament types in the minutest detail. The Bible and our Gospel are not the fabrications of human minds but were marvelously planned and executed by an all-knowing and all-powerful God.