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Third Party Testimony II:

Charismatic Claims of Visions, Dreams and Prophecy

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Question #1:

Could you please explain what does Paul mean by 'when the perfect comes' and 'then face to face' in Corinthians 13:

8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

You used this passage in your argument that some of the supernatural gifts mentioned in it have come (or might have come) to an end, meaning that this time 'when the perfect comes' has already occurred - what should we associate it with? Is it to do with the completion of the Bible and it becoming available?

Response #1:

I take this reference to "the perfect" (1Cor.13:10) to have a temporal and an eternal application. Eternally, we will all "know even as we are known" in resurrection (1Cor.13:12). Temporally, Paul anticipates a time when all of these so-called "sign-gifts" will be phased out, and that time was already in process while he was writing this epistle. The sign-gifts were gone by the time the apostolic period came to a close; with the death of John, the last sign-gift, apostleship, passed from the scene. What replaced them and the obviated the need for them was first and foremost the completed Bible – which by then had had a chance to be compiled and circulated. See the link: "the gift of tongues".

Question #2:

Could you please clarify the beginning of Is.53:12:

Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong;

This could be interpreted as meaning that there is anyone as great as our Lord, could you clarify why these words are used?

Response #2:

No one is as great as the Lord – but as believers we come into the inheritance of all that He is and all that He has. This passage is describing the distribution of the "plunder" He has won in His victory on the cross, a distribution that will find its initial fulfillment in the spiritual gifts of which every believer in the Church has a part, and its final fulfillment at the judgment seat of Christ when we are all evaluated for what we have done for Jesus in this life and rewarded accordingly (e.g., Rev.2:26-27; please see the links).

Question #3:

Hello again, Dr. Luginbill,

I've listened to a theologian who says that a "spirit filled" Christian is a Christian who has the gifts of tongues, prophecy, healing, etc. . And someone who doesn't has those gifts is a "cessationist". He says both are Christians, but the cessationist isn't spirit filled, Is this theologically correct?

God Bless,

Response #3:

This is the typical charismatic view. It is incorrect. All believers have the Holy Spirit:

And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
Romans 8:9b NIV

Charismatics like to say that the reason they have special gifts like tongues, prophecy and healing is because they have had a "second blessing" by asking the Lord to give them the Holy Spirit (through laying on of hands of through some other means). However, they do not actually have these gifts (they are only pretending), and they already had the Holy Spirit (if they were really believers). This is easily verifiable because none of these people can really speak in an actual foreign language they have not studied, or heal someone miraculously through touch, or prophesy something that actually comes true. They are good at pretending, but any serious attempt to get the truth always very quickly breaks through the patina of emotional hype these types cover themselves with. Some of these folks are good people who are just in the wrong place; but the leadership in particular (and apologists of the sort you are quoting) ought to know better. They are doing just what atheists and other godless people do in trying to convince Christians of the "truth" of their lies, namely, because they have doubts about what they are doing, gaining confidence in spite of their doubts by convincing others that they are correct. It's a sick practice, but all too common in the human condition. Here are some important links to fill in the blanks:

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means

Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Growth

The Gift of Tongues: Part 2

The Gift of Tongues: Part 1

More on: Spiritual Gifts

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for your response. This theologian (Dr. Michael Brown) did say that all believers have the Holy Sprit, but he said that there is a special filling that some believers have. Not all believers have are "filled" with the Holy Spirit. He said that this person filled with the Holy Spirit is can come closer to God and speak in tongues. This theologian says that when he is "spirit filled", he speaks the language of love (tongues of unknown language). As far as I know, he seems to be an honest and godly person.

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #4:

Lots of people seem honest and godly who are not. It's called, the "wolf in sheep's clothing". If someone is teaching something demonstrably untrue – and teachers incur a harsher judgment, after all (Jas.3:1) – we may conclude that either 1) he is just such a wolf, or 2) he is completely unqualified as a teacher. It makes little difference to the believer who accepts the falsehood as if it were true – and what you report is a terrible falsehood. Being filled with the Spirit means being influenced by Him, something that requires our spiritual growth (obedience over time) and our willingness to be lead by Him at every turn (obedience at any given time). But there is no "magic" unction that some believers have which others do not. That is the point. Saying that all believers have the Spirit but that some have more of the Spirit than others is really saying that we who do not buy into the emotionalism of the charismatic movement are not believers – or maybe we are second-class believers. In any case, we are both disobedient and we are "missing out" because we do not participate in these unbiblical, spiritually destructive, emotional excesses.

The problem with this huge deception is that it is very appealing and leads "non Spirit-filled / non anointed" types to join up with the charismatics and fall into their spiritually debilitating false practices. Pretending to speak in tongues, pretending to heal, pretending to prophesy, and pretending to be "more spiritual" – by working oneself up into an emotional lather – has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. It is not biblical, and it is very dangerous. No one who goes down this road will grow; many who go down this road end up in apostasy. That is because when the emotion runs dry and there is nothing left (and there is no substance of divine truth in this movement), depression and disillusionment are often the result. Then there is a tendency to blame God – when it is the person's own fault for believing such lies in the first place. Ask yourself, are you being attracted by this idea/movement because of scriptures you have read? Or isn't it really because these people are promising miraculous and exciting experiences. But we genuine Christians know that this life of following Jesus Christ is not about what we see or hear or feel – its about what we believe from the truth of the Word of God.

Please read the links previously provided, and here are a few more that will be helpful:

All things charismatic

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Third Party reports

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd of the sheep,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Thank you so much for this article on water baptism. I was raised in the Baptist Church, and water baptism was require, if you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, and wanted to be a member of this church. I wouldn’t take anything for being raised in this church, as I learned so much about the Bible, (memorizing many scriptures in our Teen Class), and as a teenager accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. How can I not be glad that my parents raised me up in this church, as I began to learn to love reading the Bible?

When experienced serious troubles later in life [details omitted], I became depressed. Some Pentecostals learned of what happened to us and showed us love (which we desperately needed at the time), so we began going to their church. I spent many years in the Pentecostal Church, (having "fun"), and when things went against my Baptist teachings, I would questioned them. They always had an answer, but their answers did not line up with scripture. I saw them following Signs and Wonders which my Bible also said was something that Christians should not do. I saw "Holy Laughter" in that church, and other weird things. Each time I questioned things, I was made to feel ashamed of myself, and they explained it away. In desperation I finally began to have "fun" too, but something was always nagging at me to leave. The final straw was when the Pastor wanted to take our church group to a Revival led by Todd Bentley. I had watched this man on TV and saw the way he so-called healed people. Even more shocking, was his constant worshiping of Angels. I felt God was telling me to warn my Church, which I did. Needless to say, this did not go over well, as they thought this man, Todd Bentley, was a great man of God. I heard someone whisper to as I walked past that I had been deceived, and was only trying to cause trouble. I loved those people and still do, and I was grieving in my heart that they did not see what I saw about this man. A while later, in our prayer meeting, the pastor explained how great Todd Bentley was, as was Dutch Sheets and other "Prophets", who were working with Todd Bentley. When he finished, he said, "Does anyone have any questions?" He though he had changed my mind. I said, "Yes, my question is this. Why are you not protecting the sheep as scriptures tell you to do? This man is not of God, based on what he teaches, and what he does. You should not lead our church into this mess." The pastor was gentle with me, but tried to convince everyone I was wrong.

To make a long story short, the Pastor began to preach what Todd Bentley was preaching the following Sunday. About how there are special places called portals that we could stand under, so we could hear more easily, God speak. He preached Todd’s message too, that "REVELATIONS FROM GOD WAS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT THE BIBLE HAD TO SAY." I am not exaggerating, when I say that I could almost feel God shoving me out of that church, that Sunday morning, and I knew that I would never return. The Pastor e-mailed me several times, telling me that he wanted me to come back, that I was "just deceived by satan." Shortly after this, the news of the great Todd Bentley's fall was all over the news. And the church closed down too very shortly thereafter. Prior to that the Pastor had asked me to come back, but I wrote him and said, "It is to late. God called me out of that church, and I know that I must never return there, and I choose to obey God." I still and pray for them to get right with God. Who am I to judge. I have been so wrong in following the traditions of the Baptist church, and was just going to the Pentecostal Church because it was exciting and "fun". Thank God that I have awakened from my slumber.

So, I just want you to know that I am in total agreement with this article on Baptism, and I know that there is only one baptism, and that is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I consider Baptism as a work that is not necessary at all, for Salvation. It was required at one time, before Christ’s death on the cross, for the Jews, for repentance. Thankfully, we are now under grace through faith. I also was taught that you give a tenth of your income (most churches teach this), but they are wrong about that too. We are to give "abundantly and with a cheerful heart." Many times, I give more than a tenth, as I have it to give. Works are important after salvation, and I truly believe that if we are genuinely saved, we will feed the poor, help the home-less and widows indeed, etc. strictly out of love for others. But it is wonderful that we are so free in the Lord, and we do not have to live under such bondage. I am finally (about time) learning to "study to show myself approved unto God, a work-man which needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth". I do not need man to teach me, as I have God who leads me into all truths. I do not have to pretend to be "Spiritual" as I wanted to keep up with everyone else in the Pentecostal Church, who seemed so much more Spiritual than myself. It is good to be a free Christian, knowing that God loves me right where I am at.

God bless you for getting the truth out there. Going to read more of your articles, in the next few days, and looking forward to it.

In Christ’s Love,

Response #5:

Very good to make your acquaintance. And thank you for this very encouraging testimony – encouraging, because amidst all the ups and downs you have proven that your faith is solid, strong and genuine, and that you are most certainly an "overcomer", a believer in Jesus Christ who will not allow faith to be quenched regardless of whatever this world throws at you, and regardless of all manner of false influences and lies streaming forth from the devil's world.

You are certainly most welcome here at Ichthys any time! Do feel free to write back.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Are the sign gifts for us today or not?

Response #6:

Sign-gifts and sign-miracles ceased even before the apostles departed, in order that the canon of scripture might be the focus of Christian attention, growth, and authority (see the link: "Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Growth").

Question #7:

G'Day Brother!

Hope your keeping well. Is faith a gift or is it commanded of us?

1 Corinthians 12:9: to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

This verse says it is a gift.

1 John 3:23: And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

This verse we are commanded.

Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Not sure now; I thought the salvation is the gift, and we have it by faith, which is required of us.

But 1 Cor. 12:9 is saying it's a gift.

God Bless

Response #7:

Good to hear from you my friend. There is a "spiritual gift of faith" which was a specific spiritual gift given to some members of the Body of Christ but not to all. But saving faith is believing in Jesus Christ (i.e., freely putting trust in Him, something every human being can do if they are willing to do so). In the passage you quote, Ephesians 2:8-9, the "it" in "it is a gift" is salvation not faith (in the Greek, the "it" or "this" is neuter, but the word faith is feminine). Jesus Christ is the Gift, and God's gracious giving of Him to all that all might be saved.

Yours in the One who died for all our sins, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Brother!

Thanks for responding.

To believe and go on believing is something we do. To have faith and to go on being faithful is something we do. It is commanded of us. That's always been my understanding.

- What is the "gift of faith"?

- Is it a boost to the faith one already has?

- Is it independent of the faith one has or does it work in conjunction?

- Do you have it all the time or is it given in special times when it is required?

For example, the gift of healing, is given in a specific time, to heal a specific person. Someone that has the gift of healing can't walk into a hospital and empty the whole hospital. That is my understanding of the gift of healing.

Can you please give me an example of how the "gift of faith", may be given by God and how it is used by the believer.

God Bless

Response #8:

There are a number of lists of spiritual gifts in the New Testament (notably 1Cor.12; Rom.12; Eph.4), and they are all a bit different. This means that there is no comprehensive list given so as to rule out other gifts; it also suggests that there are many variations of the gifts mentioned (along with combinations of gifts) which constitute "multifaceted grace of God" in gifting Christ's Church (1Pet.4:10). The result is that each believer is a unique part of the Body of Christ, and essential to its proper functioning. All of the dysfunction currently apparent in the church-visible is a result of the deficiency of individual believers in responding to the Spirit so as to grow up spiritually, attain a battle-tested hardness of character (as opposed to heart) through trials and tests, and then offer him/herself up for the particular ministry the Lord has in mind. Pastor/teachers no doubt are more to blame than most (e.g., Jas.3:1), but there is plenty of blame to go around in our lukewarm era of Laodicea.

As to the gift of faith (specifically, "faith in/by the Spirit"), that is only mentioned in 1st Corinthians 12:9, and is mentioned third out of nine on the first list of gifts in that chapter. The Spirit adds the phrase "faith in/by the Spirit" in part to distinguish this as a spiritual gift being different from the heart-aspect of the faith we all have in common. The first two gifts mentioned, "word of wisdom through the Spirit" and "word of knowledge according to the same Spirit", are both communication gifts (as the Greek word logos, "word", indicates), so that it is likely that the "gift of faith" in this context is also a communication gift. The "gift of faith" will then have a similar function to the other two gifts listed here. Just as the "word of wisdom" was given to believers to impart spiritual wisdom to other believers (not necessarily as a pastor but in believer to believer fellowship), and just as the "word of knowledge" was given to believers to impart spiritual knowledge (the former being application of truth to a particular circumstance; the latter being raw truth, learned from scripture and Bible teaching and repeated to other believers), so the gift of faith seems to have been given to believers to impart encouragement to other believers to strengthen their own faith and help them rally their own faith. Since Paul mentions the "visible demonstration of the Spirit" in verse seven of this passage, we conclude that all of the gifts on this particular list are temporary sign-gifts which have now ceased (1Cor.13:8-12) – as the next six certainly are: healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. That is not to day that the functions of "knowledge, wisdom, faith, discernment" have ceased; what it does mean is that however a believer may be specially gifted in these respects today, the truth that empowers those gifts will come in each case from the Bible through the same process of spiritual growth in the power of the Spirit that all believers experience. That is to say, while during the early days of the apostles and before the completion and distribution of the Bible the content of the "word of wisdom" or "word of knowledge" or "[word of] faith" seems to have been supplied directly by the Spirit apart from scripture (which was not complete or completely available) – today, whatever content the Spirit uses in any such empowerment of our spiritual gifts has to come into our hearts through hearing, learning and believing the truth in the same way all our brothers and sisters in Christ receive it. There is no special source of truth today – other than the most special source of all, namely, the Bible.

This is also not to say that all believers are not capable of (and in many cases responsible to) act in and speak words of encouragement in accordance with "knowledge, wisdom and faith". Indeed we are, and, clearly, some of our brothers and sisters are much better at doing this than others are – and no doubt that is a reflection of the gift(s) they have been given. It does mean that the Spirit is not putting wisdom, knowledge and the content of what is believed in faith directly into our hearts in a miraculous way absent our hearing and believing the truth of scripture now that the entire Bible is blessedly available.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hello I read your interesting article on tongues and you state that the perfect which comes is the finished church Bible. I wondered if you could give me your reasoning of the perfect as not being Jesus himself as all knowledge can not possibly be known now. Also could you tell me if the claimed praying in tongues by way of the Spirit is correct, as it appears to me that if the Spirit prays for you in a language you don't understand how can you know if the prayer has been answered and how can you agree to the prayer in this heavenly prayer language? This really confuses me. Thank you for your help

Response #9:

Dear Friend,

Good to make your acquaintance. As to your questions:

1) I am sure that there are those who do interpret the passage this alternate way you suggest. However, I don't know of any other New Testament passage where our Lord is referred to in what would then be a rather cryptic way and with no explanation that this is what is meant in the context. Also, the Greek actually says "the perfect [thing]"; that is, the phrase is neuter, although it could easily be made masculine, and this seems an unacceptable way to refer to the Son of God. "The perfect One" (i.e., ho teleios, masculine, instead of to teleion, neuter, as we have here) would seem to be more likely a phraseology if that is what Paul had meant. Even when he describes the Holy Spirit in an analogous way in the neuter at 2nd Thessalonians 2:6, it is only understandable because the word "Spirit" is neuter in Greek; and Paul then goes on to describe the Spirit in the very next verse as "He who restrains" (switching over to the masculine). Finally, it may be a bit of a circular argument, but for those of us who are convinced not only from this passage but also from scripture generally that the "sign gifts" described in 1st Corinthians 13 have indeed ceased, if "the perfect" were Christ, it would suggest that indeed these "partial" gifts would abide until the second advent (and I would argue that such is obviously not the case).

2) On this, it seems you are supplying some understanding from some group about which you are skeptical – and I can only add my skepticism to yours. Clearly, free will and choice is at the heart of the human experience, and particularly for believers after salvation our reward is all about what we decide. Will we follow the Lord and how energetically and consistently? But if the Spirit were taking over our will entirely, there wouldn't seem to be any room left for choice. In fact, that is precisely what the Spirit does not do; instead, He empowers those who respond to Him. It is true that we are either led by the flesh or the Spirit, but the way we are led is by giving over our will to one or the Other: we choose to follow, either the Spirit or the flesh. In that vein, it would seem that knowing what we pray and deciding how and when and where is part of the decision-making process we are given to be involved in. So I heartily agree, and I think you have hit upon a very potent argument as to why the false view cannot be true.

You might want to have a look at the following links as well:

The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions I

The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions II

The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions III

Peter #16: "The Leadership of the Holy Spirit"

The Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy: explaining James 4:5.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the reply. I also have been reading I Corinthians, and immediately after I Corinthians 13, the following verse appears: 'Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.' This strongly implies that prophecy is a gift that is still being given to the church, because this verse appears chronologically after Paul mentions the ceasing of gifts in I Corinthians 13.

Sincerely,

Response #10:

You're very welcome. As to prophecy still being operational, that doesn't follow by logical necessity, because Paul is writing to a contemporary audience. Everything in the epistles is doctrinal, but there are specific things that apply to the specific congregations – which we are to use by general application rather than duplicating all of the specifics. For instance, Paul also tells the Corinthians in this epistle not to prevent anyone from speaking in tongues (1Cor.14:39) and to pray for an interpreter (1Cor.14:13). Does that mean that people legitimately speak in tongues today? Not necessarily. A person can only legitimately speak in tongues if the Spirit has given the person that gift (which in my view He ceased to do some time in the first century; Paul talks about prophecy ceasing in 1Cor.13:8 as well).

Prophecy is along these same lines. It is desirable – as tongues and all spiritual gifts are desirable – but it may not be being given (as none of the sign gifts are now). So why is tongues desirable? Because, under proper conditions, it gives God's message. And why is prophecy desirable? Because it conveys God's message – and in a way everyone can understand without needing to speak a different language or make use of an interpreter. And why are these gifts no longer being given, if they are so desirable? Because now we have the Bible, the " the prophetic word more fully confirmed" (2Pet. 1:19 ESV), so that we have now moved beyond childhood into adulthood (1Cor.13:11).

The bottom line, of course, is that the Spirit can do whatever the Spirit wills to do. But if He has not given the gift of prophecy, then it is not possible to arrogate that gift (or any other) to oneself. And the effect of continuing to give now such "stop gap" gifts that were necessary then when the entire canon of scripture was not yet available would be to undermine now attention to and the authority of the single repository of God's special revelation, the holy Bible.

Just as soon as person X is taken as a prophet, all of a sudden person X's pronouncements have more weight than scripture because X is getting it "straight from God" – I speak in terms of those who buy into such things. In truth, there are no such prophets today for the reasons outlined above. Even for those who disagree, it is at least true that this is a question of fact: either God is giving the gift or He is not; either the person who claims to be a prophet of God is or is not. In each and every case of reputed modern prophecy which I have ever seen, our Lord's "know them by their fruit" test has made it plain that it was all just so much fakery (see the link). Nevertheless, in the time in which we live, on the cusp of the greatest deception in the history of the world, one which will be empowered by all manner of false miracles (see the link), being doubly skeptical about such things – especially as reported rather than personally witnessed – is all the more necessary for spiritual safety. Here are links to a few things I have written on this:

The Perfect in 1 Corinthians 13:8

The Gift of Tongues: Part 2

The Gift of Prophecy

Prophecy then and now

What does the Bible say about Dreams and Visions?

Beware of third party reports

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

Paul also wrote to the audience he was contemporary with, 'now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.' (1 Corinthians 10:11). He explicitly states that the ends of the ages (that is, the final era, which is the church era) have come upon him and this church, which is also the era we are in. So the instructions given for the contemporary audience to seek gifts would apply to all people in 'the ends of the ages,' unless one believes that there is a special sub-era within the church era, outside of which the command does not apply. Of course, if there is a special sub-era within the church, outside of which certain commands do not apply, then we must accept that it is possible for certain commands in I Corinthians to no longer be relevant to a contemporary audience. However, consider the implications of that interpretation: it would give precedence for a modern fornicator, for instance, to rationalize the commandment to 'flee fornication' as simply bygones of a past time. As you can see, interpreting the New Testament in that matter can be very hazardous for one's spiritual safety.

However, I would be extremely reluctant to characterize prophecy as a 'stop gap' gift, because Paul states in I Corinthians 14:3 that prophecy is given for (1) edification, (2) exhortation and (3) comfort to men, indicating a role for special revelation. These members with the gift of prophecy, though human, speak from God as they are carried along by the Holy Spirit, and they do so in order to build up the church by giving the gifts described in I Corinthians 14:3. Similarly, those entrusted with teaching the Bible are like the scribe, who, once instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven, brings both new and old things out of his storehouse (Matthew 13:52). Both have a role in God's kingdom, and neither is supposed to replace the other. A scribe however, when he interprets the Bible, must do so with the same power that a prophet has when he proclaims prophecies, for nobody can correctly interpret the Bible out of his own human will.(2 Peter 1:20)

As for modern prophets being fake, well, true prophets weren't exactly common in Elijah's time for that matter, so I do *not* find the abundance of charlatans to be evidence that is more consistent with the hypothesis that the gift of prophecy has ceased. People have free will, with which they may follow the truth or follow a lie, and the prevalence of false prophets happens because of the power of human free will. However, those who are sons of the Most High know their Father's voice, and need not fear deception. For those who are weak in their faith, let the strong be vigilant for the sake of the weak, and seek out and protect them so that they may not be deceived.

Do not forget that there is a time for everything under the heavens, including a time to test and a time to have faith. When Gideon tested God by placing the fleece of wool on the threshing floor, he was commended for his testing, for he did so out of fear that he may truly obey God's will. (Judges 6:36–40) On the other hand, when Azariah, Johanan, and all the proud men doubted Jeremiah, they were condemned, for they did so in order to gratify the lusts within their hearts (Jeremiah 43:2). Nobody should always believe what they bear witness to, and nobody should always doubt what they bear witness to. I say this to you so that you may listen to true prophets who come your way, or better yet, that you yourself may seek the gift of prophecy. Paul, by the Holy Spirit, commanded the Corinthians to desire prophecy, and God would not have had them desire something which wasn't being given out anymore. Therefore, God did want the members of his church to seek prophecy, even though they were under direct apostolic authority and thus guaranteed to be the best spiritual leaders possible, as reflected by their eternal status on the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem. None of us are apostles, for none of us have seen the resurrected Jesus, but if God gave gifts to his children even when they were under the best of guidance, why would he not give us such gifts now with which we may edify, exhort, and comfort others?

Sincerely,

Response #11:

As I say, the fact that prophecy is specifically mentioned in chapter 13 as ceasing is pivotal for me. As I also say, God is free to do what He wishes to do, but, given this fact of cessation being prophesied by Paul, and also that there has not been a single instance of which I am aware of legitimate prophecy since the close of the canon, the onus is certainly upon anyone who claims to be a prophet to prove that before the rest of us pay any attention (e.g., Deut.13:1-5).

"I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, 'I had a dream! I had a dream! ' "
Jeremiah 23:25 NIV

And as I also mentioned, the undermining of the truth of the Word of God is perhaps the most important point in explaining why God has in fact not been giving the gift since the age of the apostles. The functions you stress here, namely, edification, exhortation and comfort, are all the province of the Spirit and have all been carried out wonderfully well in the absence of this particular gift, mainly through the ministry of the Word, both directly (pastor/teachers) and indirectly (through the various ministries and gifts of the rest of the Body) – that is, wherever Christians have put the scriptures first (Q.E.D.).

Since you are not claiming to be a prophet, nor are you advocating giving attention to any supposed prophet's words, for our purposes this is a largely academic question. I freely admit that God could – for whatever reason – give someone this gift. However, the default ought to be steep skepticism: I know of no instance where a single Christian has ever been in the least disadvantaged from refusing to believe in some extra-biblical prophecy. On the other hand, the annals of Church and secular history are cluttered with the wreckage of the lives of those who foolishly bought into false prophecy. Is this not another reason, perhaps not to reject even the possibility, but to commend and recommend every wise Christian steering clear of anyone who proclaims him/herself a prophet? The Tribulation is not far off. When it commences, Moses and Elijah – true prophets of God – will direct the worldwide efforts of the 144,000. My biggest concern as one who does battle for the souls of those who partake of this ministry is the potential for deception coming from antichrist and his false prophet in those dark days ahead. For while it is well to sit back in one's arm chair and imagine that no one would be able to pull the wool over our eyes in theory, experience is often a different matter. In my view of things, giving too much credence to all manner of sign gifts now (as well as being too eager to do so), is a posture likely to dispose those not grounded thoroughly enough in the truth to be deceived.

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Matthew 24:24 NIV

One more reason to put this one the back-burner, regardless of the hypotheticals.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob,

You keep mentioning I Corinthians 13 as being pivotal to you, but (1) it never says that prophecy has ceased, but rather that it will cease, sometime in the future. This makes sense – why would we need prophecy in the New Jerusalem? But 'in the future' doesn't necessarily mean 'once the cannon of the Bible is closed' or even 'in the Church age'; it can refer to any time after the present time. (2) It also mentions knowledge passing away alongside prophecy, so a purely literal reading would put knowledge of Classical languages, culture, and textual criticism along side prophecy as a 'stop gap' measure.

There is no fault in you for steering clear of false prophets, nor is there in Christians who tend to exercise doubt and skepticism with regards for improbable epiphanies. In fact, if one takes a 'doubting Thomas' approach to everything in life, he'll probably be right 99.9% of the time. But that kind of misses the point, which is that God purposely intervenes in our life every day, and doubting denies one's right to seek these gifts. So this isn't a purely academic question, because I think it is very prophetable for every Christian to seek prophecy. And if it is so, then we cannot simply abandon its pursuit due to the risk of the End Times.

Sincerely,

Response #12:

While your observation about "ceasing" is technically true, consider: if the end of history is meant, why does Paul limit this cessation to these information-gifts only? Since he is selecting out only a few gifts for cessation, the most natural reading is to understand that this ceasing of the few will take place before the ceasing of all – before the resurrection when we will have need of no spiritual gifts (when we may safely assume that all will cease, not just some). N.B., "knowledge" here is the gift of knowledge, a stop-gap filling in of such information without the need of academic training (such a gift would have saved me about two decades of very hard work in academic preparation!).

On your analogy, I don't think it holds for these purposes. I would not fly on an airline that landed successfully 99% of the time. I would not cross over a bridge that held up 99% of the time. If this is true of things where life and limb in this world only are at stake, how much more is that not the case where one's eternal future is at stake? Make no mistake: false prophecy leads to spiritual shipwreck and apostasy. Every cult and false religion is built upon false prophecy. They claim to have God's words and explain the obvious difficulty that what they teach is not in the Bible on the basis of "prophecy". Consider also the "flip-side" of this: since we do have the complete Bible, anything a "true prophet" would say would not contradict the scriptures; and since the scripture contains everything God meant for His people to know, nothing even a "true prophet" could say at this point would enhance our understanding of the truth (provided we are delving deep into scripture as we should). These logical tenets, plus Paul's words in 1st Corinthians, added to the fact that there has been no demonstrable gift of prophecy since the age of the apostles – and given the fact that false prophecy is more dangerous than the Ebola virus – should combine to make every serious Christian highly skeptical of such claims at any time. But during the Tribulation (which is right on the doorstep at present), we certainly know from scripture that it is precisely this vehicle, namely, false prophecy, that antichrist will use to deceive the world, luring even one third of the church into apostasy. So even when positing the hypothetical, my preference is to approach the subject with a large amount of prudent skepticism. We have no need to "pursue" prophecy; the Spirit is God and will make all gifts known to those who have them when they are ready to use them. For the rest of us, we will know them "by their fruit" (see the link).

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #13:

You raise an interesting point regarding the unique subset of gifts which are information-giving being exclusively called out, one, in fact, that I have not noticed. I also agree with you that all gifts will cease during the last judgment, so I believe it to be rational to conclude that the dispensation of truth for all of humanity by special gifts has ceased. In other words, you have changed my mind on the subject, and I now believe that the dispersion of prophecy has, in all likelihood, ceased with the closure of the Bible.

Nonetheless, 'We know that we all possess knowledge. But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.' (I Corinthians 8:1) I know a great many of believers who believe in the continued dispersion of sign gifts, and while our knowledge might make us feel important, we should never use that knowledge to tear down somebody's belief. Knowledge without love is worse than ignorance, because nobody has perfect knowledge, and by boasting in our knowledge we then become hateful and place burdens on others that we honestly cannot bear ourselves. Anybody who hates their brother is a murderer, and you know what God has in store for those.

PS: I discovered that Isaiah 25:1 has a description of the Trinity!

Response #13:

I certainly agree. My motivation for ever even saying anything about any person or group engaged in such activities is the protection of those Christians who have contact with this ministry who, for whatever reason, may be unwitting or too easily influenced into accepting such things. Our Lord told us to be harmless as doves – but also wise as serpents (Matt.10:16; cf. Rom.16:19; 1Cor.14:20; Prov.14:18). The latter is contrary the inclination of Christians, especially new and/or immature ones, who often assume that anyone who claims to be Christian (and may indeed be) and who seems to be sincere (and may indeed be) will be telling them the truth (and such individuals may indeed think that they are doing so). However, we are responsible for what we believe, even when we have been deceived (whether deliberately or inadvertently: see the link: "the old prophet who lied"). I generally only even discuss such things and such individuals/groups when either 1) I am contacted by one of them and they want to take this ministry and its teachings to task, or 2) I am asked about these matters by someone who makes use of this ministry. In either case, I owe both interested correspondents and naysayers the truth.

I appreciate your no-nonsense "no guile" directness – and your reasonableness and openness to scripture too!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi,

I've been told I carry a Seer Anointing and am called to see dreams and visions. I need someone who can mentor and nurture me in this gifting. Thank you and appreciate your guidance and advice.

God Bless

Response #14:

Good to make your acquaintance. However, I do not find anything of the sort such as "seer anointing" in scripture. Every believer has at least one spiritual gift, but the overtly miraculous gifts of the early days of the apostles were a temporary "stop-gap" measure employed by the Spirit 1) to establish the authority of the apostles at a time when the Church Age had just been birthed, and 2) to make up for the absence of the New Testament which had not yet even been begun. Now we have no more apostles (there were only twelve, after all, and the last one, John, died ca. 70 A.D.); and now we do have the entire New Testament (completed ca. 68 A.D.). So there are now no more such gifts being given by the Spirit: no more tongues, no more prophecies, no more interpretations, no more miraculous healing by touch, no more dreams and visions giving new information not in scripture – and certainly not in terms of specific gifts being given to believers as the focus of their personal service to the Lord. And the reasons are clear enough. Not only are these sorts of gifts no longer needed, since we have the completed Bible, but if there were still independent communications being given from God then of course we would all be flocking to hear the individual being given "new" information by means of them – rather than paying attention to scripture. That is why the evil one is so intent upon encouraging misguided Christians to think that there are such things still in existence, precisely to distract believers from what they should be doing, namely, growing spiritually by paying attention to good, solid Bible teaching (cf. 1Cor.12:28; Eph.4:11).

Love never falls [into inactivity]. But whether [we are talking about gifts of] prophecy, they will cease, or about [gifts of] tongues, they will come to a stop, or [about the gift of] knowledge, it will be done away with. For when we exercise the gift of knowledge, its results are only partial. And when we exercise the gift of prophecy, its results are only partial. But when what is complete shall have come on the scene (i.e., the fully functioning Church with a complete Bible), all partial measures shall be done away with.
1st Corinthians 13:8-10

The partial has passed away because the perfect and complete Bible is now our focus – or should be. The days of childhood are over; the Church is now mature, possessing the entire canon of scripture and enough gifted and prepared men to teach it to satisfy the Body's thirst for the milk of the Word.

You do have a spiritual gift, and Jesus does have a special ministry all for you – as we all do. But none of us is ready to use that gift or to enter into that ministry until we have grown up spiritually through learning, believing and applying the Word of God to the point of spiritual maturity, having accomplished a consistent progress forward up the high road to Zion through applying that truth. When we have gotten a piece down that road, the Lord will make clear what our gifts are (if we haven't already figured it out), at least enough so that we be will led into just the right ministry – if we are truly willing. We can't make this up for ourselves, neither our gifts nor the ministry Jesus wants us to accomplish, and the only way to find out the actual truth and the only way to actually do what our Lord wants us to do is the same way: growing up in the truth of the Word of God. For more, please see the link: "Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Growth".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #15:

I had a vision the other morning I was half awake and half sleeping.

[details omitted]

Please can you maybe give me a Christian meaning of this vision?

Thanks so much and GOD bless from South Africa

Response #15:

I personally don't have any special gift for the interpretation of dreams and visions. In my experience and from my knowledge of scripture, whenever it is genuinely God who gives someone something along these lines, 1) He always makes it clear that it is definitely from Him; and 2) there is never anything given which is inconsistent with the truth we already know (or should know) from scripture.

Here are a few links where these matters are discussed (I hope they prove helpful to you):

Interpretation of dreams

What does the Bible say about Dreams and Visions?

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means

Dreams, Visions, and the Interpretation of Prophecy

Scripture versus Personal Experience

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #16:

Hello again Bob,

1) According to scripture, what is the difference between a vision and a dream?

2) What is your understanding of the following verse and why will the young men see visions and the old men dream dreams?

NKJV Joel 2:28 "And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;

Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.

3) Do you see any significance in the prophets Ezekiel, Daniel, and John all having visions come to them when they were by some form of water? Eze 1:3, Dan 8:15, Rev 1:9

Thanks again

Response #16:

Dear Friend,

Always good to hear from you. As to your questions:

The main difference is that a vision (from God) is something given to a person while awake, whereas a dream (from God) is something given to a person while asleep. The English word "vision" has taken on connotations that are not necessarily biblical, and that can cause problems in how people understand these things. But these are both, along with prophecy, direct communications from God (assuming that they are legitimate God-given dreams and God-given visions). A good example of the former is Joseph's dream of the twelve sheaves and the twelve stars; a good example of the latter is John's vision recorded in (and consisting of most of) the book of Revelation. Joel is poetic, so I do not think we can take the language to mean that old men will not also see visions or that young men will not also dream dreams (from God) – or that women will not be included in these things (in poetic fashion things are divided up for effect, but the language cannot be taken as exclusionary) when these things take place during the Millennium:

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Habakkuk 2:14 NKJV

Here are a couple of links where these matters are considered in more detail:

What does the Bible say about Dreams and Visions?

Dreams, Visions, and the Interpretation of Prophecy

As to water and visions, it's an interesting observation (we might add Dan.10:4-7). All three of these examples you mention are a little different; what they have in common is the use of a particular water feature (or actually in Revelation the mention of an island) to give a definitive location where the vision took place. That was done no doubt for a variety of reasons, but one thing that strikes me about this feature of identifying the place is to reinforce the idea that we have to do with very concrete revelation from the Lord – we even know the precise place where these visions took place, so as to be even more confident in their genuineness. The proximity of water isn't necessary for a vision from God (e.g., Gen.15:1; Dan.2:19).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Thanks for the previous response.

There seems to be a very thin line between dreams, visions and prophecy from God and those that are demon induced. Seeing that not all Angels are Godly, how else can we tell if a dream, vision or prophecy is really from God?

Also, is there any reason that you can see, for God giving some people visions (while awake) and other people dreams (while they sleep) ?

Response #17:

You're welcome, Friend.

To take the last question first, I would only observe that visions tend to be more detailed and longer, consisting of extended prophetic information, whereas dreams seem usually to have a much more limited scope; moreover prophecy is not as visual as either one these two. So the Lord always selects the appropriate method of communication according to what is being communicated.

As to true versus false visions and dreams, the line may seem thin but it is the line between the truth and the lie, between God and the devil, between heaven and hell. We have the whole canon of scripture available at present, so that we can easily determine if something someone claims to have seen in a vision or a dream bears any relation to the truth. In fact, when it comes to the revelation of new information, we can be sure that there is no such thing going on at present – the canon has been complete for nearly 2,000 years now. This is not to say that God may not give a person a dream or a vision about personal rather than general things; however, I lean towards the skeptical side on this when I hear it second hand, and am highly skeptical when I hear third-party reports (people have a tendency to imagine, exaggerate, and outright lie). In addition to the two links already provided which do speak about this topic, here are some links which also deal with these subjects (feel free to write me back about this):

The Testing of our Faith (Pet. #22)

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams

God's Grace is Sufficient

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Dear brother,

subject: Waiting time/Wilderness/hearing God's voice

[details omitted]

Are there any Bible references of this kind of testing. And why does He use this kind of technique? What is He trying to achieve?

Yours sincerely and God bless,

Response #18:

Good to make your acquaintance.

I'm not sure what to tell you when it comes to hearing "audible messages from God". I have never heard God's voice . . . audibly. To paraphrase one former pastor, for Christians today, God's voice through the Spirit is inaudible yet crystal clear. As we learn more and more of His truth, as we believe it thus making it usable in our hearts, the Spirit then works with our consciences and the truth in our hearts to guide us in the way He would have us to go. I have never heard God's voice "out loud", nor have I ever met anyone who has made this claim face to face (it seems to be a very rare thing, even in scripture). But that is fine with me, since I along with all brothers and sisters in Christ today have the entire Bible:

And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
2nd Peter 1:18-19 KJV

Even though Peter personally heard the Father speak of the Son on that wondrous day, yet he considers scripture, the "Word of prophecy" as something "more sure", and recommends it, that is, the Bible, to his readers as the thing to which they ought to "take heed" until the return of the Day Star, our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I often say, we Christians should believe the truth of scripture even if our eyes, our ears, and our feelings consistently tell us that we are wrong; we should prefer the Bible and its teachings to any experience or experiential phenomenon, regardless of how special or how powerful. If God really is speaking to us, then nothing said will contradict His Word. If God really is giving us a dream or a vision, then whatever these communicate will in no wise be contrary to what the Bible says.

The same goes for any and all trials or testings that we are given to endure. We may think that we have come to the end of our patience and our strength. But if God requires us to go a little farther down the road, then we can trust Him that we can do so, and that He will make it possible for us to do so. He will never test us beyond our capacity (1Cor.10:13), but that does not mean that we may not think that we are being asked to do more than we can bear – and so we must trust Him regardless of our own obviously fallible estimates of the situation.

The days of darkness are closer to descending with each passing day. From what I have observed and personally experienced, it does seem as if the Lord is preparing us for the Tribulation and those hard times ahead. Whatever we are enduring, whatever testing it be our lot to face now, it is certainly wise to put that in perspective by comparing it with "the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth." (Rev.3:10 NIV).

Hang in there my friend. "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil.3:19 NKJV).

Here are some links I hope will prove helpful:

The Testing of our Faith (Pet. #22)

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams

God's Grace is Sufficient

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #19:

Hi!

I'm enjoying reading Satan's Rebellion and Fall from Grace, and it surprises me that there the heavens are not explained to be our souls, as Christian mystics of old did, for example St. Augustine. Heaven and earth meaning soul and body. Also, they are not outside us as if somewhere "up there", as no matter how far man has ventured into outer space -including with unmanned space probes- God has not been found there. It is all too often forgotten that God is found in us, in His Kingdom, and not outside of us anywhere (Luke 17:21). God has indeed given Himself to you: He has blessed you with Himself, to the point that He has taken on the appearance of your flesh. And not only in a far away past, but now. It is God reading this now in His human disguise -as St. Augustine called God's humanity- as you.

Response #19:

Good to make your acquaintance.

Truly, God is everywhere. However, our spirits are within us (the "soul" is the heart or the life, the person or inner-person which is the combination of the spirit and the body; see the link).

I'm not much on mysticism and no great fan of Augustine, but I do love the Bible, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the SR series.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your kind response. Mystics are the one's who experienced -or are experiencing- oneness with God -enjoying the Holy Spirit- and wrote from that "deified" state. Mostly to helps all of us who read their messages to also come to God. So it's mostly the practical spiritual aspect of religion. The part that will never be taken away from us, while all other human activity will, (Martha and Maria). As you know we can do God's work, meaning that it is God doing His work in us as we when we do it. And this divine work is believing in Him Whom God the Father send. This believing is an activity which takes place in the one who believes, so that if we are asked to believe in God's Son, we are asked to believe that our believing is God's activity of believing in Himself in us. He then believes that He is God as we, His human appearance of the sinful flesh into which He made Himself for our eternal benefit. The mystics inspired by the Holy Spirit say that the soul is that which reasons, remembers, and wills. Interesting that first we experience being a living soul, and next have the potential in us to experience being a life giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15:44-46). In the old Covenant of God with humanity it was prohibited to consume the blood of the animals because their blood is also called their soul; that which gives life to the flesh. And the circumcision symbolizes the laying off of the flesh. Both were wise admonitions to not identify with our human thoughts, memories, and will. While in the new Covenant it is said on order that we may assimilate the Self-awareness of God as body and soul (John 6:53-55).

To those who understand St. Augustine says: "Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ."
St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 21,8:PL 35,1568.

As some mystics have written inspired by the Holy Spirit: "God is closer to me that I am to myself." Let us not judge by appearances... the News is Good. It's God being our true Identity which saves us from who we but seem to be and have been, and what we but seem to do and have done.

God has blessed you with Himself.

In Christ, yours,

Response #20:

I'm still not sure what your question is.

In any event, as explained, the soul is not a tertium quid (see the link).

As to mystics/mysticism, now you've really got me confused. God spoke to prophets, and they penned the scriptures under the Spirit's guidance (inspiration). That all ended in the first century. Since then, there has been no communication directly from God – except in the direct teaching ministry of His Spirit through the scriptures. If there were an extra-biblical font of truth, no one would pay attention to the true font of truth, the Bible. As it is, there are many who seek or claim or pay attention to extra-biblical "sources", but these are all false, and their theology and spirituality suffers according (suffering complete shipwreck, in fact, if taken too far).

There is a big difference between God and us. Jesus is the God-man, the Creator. We are creatures. Blessedly, we have been given the image of God that we might choose for Him and be with Him forever. But we all have to do it His way, according to His actual truth.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

If humans are making an effort by communicating with each other to help each other to come to God and know their Creator, shall God and His angels no longer help humanity? Have they become inactive? Become lazy and taken a vacation forever, leaving us with a book written a few thousand years ago which they inspired then, but nothing more after that? This is a blasphemous view of God. It says that humans are more helpful to each other than God and His messengers. Speaking of human arrogance. The anti-Christ wants us to believe that God appeared in this world a long time ago, and has since left us to our own devices, abandoning us to a book, and that no new inspiration is not being given anymore. As if the Holy Spirit and becoming anointed is a thing of the past. It does not say in Scripture "He came in the flesh" -past tense- but "Is come in the flesh" -present tense (1 John 4:3).

I could go on and on, but it's God Who decides as you. He left all judgment to His Son in His humanity. With that which reasons, remembers, and wills: your soul, the soul God was willing to experience having as you now. Human "life" is the crucifixion, reason Paul calls his human body "the body of this death" or "this body of death." But realizing that he loves the law of God -the law of Love -which teaches in two parts; first how to love oneself, and second how to love one's neighbor as being the same love and loving the same Being: God- Paul no longer identifies with his human body and it's human will, but with God in His human appearance, and thanks the Father for His gift; that he lives, and yet not he but Christ lives in him.

I pray God may come to His holy joy in you, that His joy in you may be yours.

God has blessed you with Himself.

Response #21:

You have a way of extrapolating an abundance of conclusions from a small response; in many cases, however, your assumptions about what I believe are incorrect. That is unfortunate – and completely unnecessary, inasmuch as there are thousands of pages of material available at Ichthys on all manner of biblical subjects, including the ones you are addressing. For example, when you say "shall God and His angels no longer help humanity?", it would be impossible for a person to read more than a few pages of the materials I have posted and get the impression that I believe this or teach this or in any way imply this.

If you wish to find fault with me and this ministry, I would prefer it to be for something I have actually said and/or for something I actually believe and teach.

Again, I am still trying to find out what your question is.

Finally, there are only two types of revelation, natural revelation (i.e., the truth of God written large in His creation and accessible/available to and indeed undeniable by the entire human race); and special revelation (i.e., direct communication from God to certain human beings containing information not otherwise known or knowable; see the links). Only prophets of God have ever received the latter. Could God give you or me or anyone else such a gift and such a communication or series of communications? Indeed He could. He is God. Has He done so? That is really the question: it is a question of fact, not of theology. In my understanding of these things garnered from many years of careful study of the scriptures, all such special prophecy ceased when the Bible was completed – in order that during the Church Age the attention of the believer might be focused on that one unique source of truth without possibility of deception.

Many have claimed to be prophets who were not. Antichrist and his false prophet will be the premier examples of this, and that great deception is only a few years away at present. One of my concerns for you and for all who access this ministry is to protect you/them from all such false prophecy. The fact that there have been no genuine prophets or prophecy since the close of the canon certainly sets a very high bar for any who claim to be "hearing directly from God". And there are biblical standards to hand to test any who proclaim themselves such (see the link: "the fruit test"). What no Christian should do is to assume prima facie without anything more to go on than the person in question's assertions that the "new prophecy" is genuine. All prophecy, if there is such a thing today (nothing is impossible for God but that does not mean that anyone who asserts they have God's new message really does), it will agree with scripture – because the Bible is the truth.

Here are a few links you may find helpful in all this:

Beware of third party reports I

Beware of third party reports II

Beware of third party reports III

Beware of third party reports IV

Beware of third party reports V

Beware of third party reports VI

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Dear Bob,

Thank for taking the time to respond. I did not mean to suggest that you did anything wrong. It is that through a series of experiences God has taught me that it is He Who is now experiencing as us what we experience. I wanted to share that with you, and have no question for the moment.

There are the to me pivotal events spread out over decades which led me to that understanding.

I grew up an a family in which the existence of God was never spoken of. In that sense my parents were atheists, and so was I. But God came to me in to me completely unexpected ways.

In the mean time I found what I've read so far of your writings very inspired. I like they way you have understood and connected many issues mentioned in Scripture in different places.

I see no contradiction in what I wrote and quoted from the Bible and how it was given me to understand what it means for us and the most intimate relationship God has with us. If I would read anywhere a more respectful and loving interpretation of God's will for us, I would substitute that understanding for what I have understood. But I don't see how denying that God loves us so much that He is even willing to also appear here in our human appearance now entirely for our benefit could be more loving towards Him than believing that He is indeed willing to do that for us. I could write a book on this subject, and God willing that might happen one day. To me what has counted so far are two things: my revelatory experiences and the confirmations of them in Scripture. Added to that continuing inspirations and writings of the most respected mystics, also called saints. I have so far after reading for decades not found one text in Scripture and the writings of the saints that contradict what I have understood.

PS: I have written about a few of my revelatory experiences so you might see how I came to my current understanding of God and His most intimate relationship with us. If you are interested, see annexed attachment. [omitted]

It is God reading this now as you, in His present human disguise.

Response #22:

As long as scripture confirms what we experience and we are not replacing or contradicting or reinterpreting scripture on account of our experiences, then in my view we may rightly and unreservedly praise God for the confirmations He gives us of all His truth.

My main concern in these matters is that all Christians remember and understand that the truth of the Word is more important and more real than anything we may see or do or experience in this world, even if it does come from God. Peter saw the second advent in a vision on the mount of transfiguration, yet here is what he says about that most sublime experience in relation to the Word of God:

For I did not follow concocted tales in making known to you the power and the coming return of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but was an eyewitness to His majesty. For when He had received honor and glory from God the Father, these words sounded forth to Him from God's majestic glory: "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased." And these words I myself heard as they were delivered from heaven, for I was with Him on the holy mountain (cf. Matt.17:1-8). Yet I consider the prophetically inspired Word (i.e. the Bible) even more reliable (i.e. than what I saw with my own eyes). You too would do well to pay the closest attention to this [prophetically inspired Word], just as to a lamp shining in a dark place (cf. Ps.119:105), until the day dawns, and the Morning Star rises (i.e. the Living Word, Jesus Christ, returns), pondering in your hearts this principle of prime importance: no single verse of prophetically inspired scripture has ever come into being as a result of personal reflection. For true prophecy has never occurred by human will, but only when holy men of God have spoken under the direction and agency of the Holy Spirit.
2nd Peter 1:16-21

If this was true for Peter the great apostle, it is certainly true for us. The "prophetic Word" is indeed "more sure" than anything we may experience, even if God is indeed giving us that experience. And that is a very important lesson to remember both for ourselves (since otherwise we will be tempted to put more stock in our experience than we do in the Word of God and that will lead to spiritual dissolution in the end) and for others (who, while they may be impressed by our experiences, need to be placing their faith in the scriptures, not in us or anything we have done or heard or seen).

Yours in Him,

Bob L.

 

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