Interesting and eye opening documentary examining “Christian Zionism” and the issues of peace in Israel.
Interesting and eye opening documentary examining “Christian Zionism” and the issues of peace in Israel.
You may have seen this Los Angeles Times article mentioned on Tony Ortega’s blog yesterday. A lone outlier precinct in Hollywood voted for Trump — the precinct that has half its registered voters living in “Big Blue.” So what is the lie? “The Church does not engage in election activities and cannot do so,” Scientology spokeswoman…
Interview with cult expert Steve Hassan. I hope this helps anyone who is in any controlling group (Christian or otherwise).
Reblogged from Absolute Truth from the Word of God
We have been searching for a Bible based church. For a long time, my husband and I have been worshiping from home; watching pastors and preachers whom we have come to trust and love via Youtube. We…
The Book of Hebrews
The Revelation of Eternity
The Preparation of the Priests.
The Kingdom of PRIESTS– Mount Zion!
April 25, 2014
In examining the Book of Hebrews, if we are really attentive to its message, we might be astounded by what it clearly says.
To neglect this message is to ignore God’s Eternal Purpose and the tremendous salvation He has provided for us under the New Covenant.
This book is so unique from Chapter 1 to Chapter 13 that this document will point out some of this remarkable and unusual content.
This is the ONLY Book in the New Testament that bears this unique testimony.
While there are seven references to Zion in the New Testament, there are only two references to Mount Zion and only the Book of Hebrews tells us what that means.
Heb 12:18 For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them.
20 For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.” 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.”
Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the Mediator of a New Covenant, and to the sprinkled Blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
(1) Mount Zion,
(2) The City of the Living God,
(3) The Heavenly Jerusalem,
(4) To Myriads of Angels,
(5) To the general assembly and church of the first-born,
(6) To God, the Judge of all,
(7) To the spirits of righteous men made perfect,
(8) To Jesus, the Mediator of a New Covenant,
(9) To the sprinkled blood.
Is there any other Book in the New Testament that gives us this revelation?
Not even close!
It should be obvious that to dwell on Zion and in the location of these nine tremendous disclosures would be a very HIGH and important calling.
Most Christians are seriously lacking of any preparation to live in that high and lofty place.
Many Christians have barely left “Egypt” and its world system, let alone coming to Mount Sinai.
Some only have one Foundation for dwelling on Zion laid experientially in their life.
Some Christians have come as far as the foot of Mount Zion but the ascending up the Mountain to the Throne of God is the major problem for most Christians and the church in general.
How could that still be true since there are about 85 references to this Heavenly Zion in Scriptures?
“Anyway, the Bible says we have already come to Mount Zion, so what IS your point?”
The point is this; the example we are given is Israel when THEY came to Mount Sinai.
However, the reality is that in the same way they came to Mount Sinai we have come to Mount Zion and to the mighty Presence of God.
While the Presence of God was terrifying at Mount Sinai, that is NOTHING compared to Mount Zion where His Extreme Presence is much more terrifying.
The big Santa Clause waiting in heaven for you to take your turn sitting on His lap vaporizes into fantasy when we see Mount Zion as it is displayed in Scripture.
1Cor 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.
1Cor 10:11 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.
Rom 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
The trip out of Egypt by Israel is an example for us and is reckoned by God as instructions for those upon whom the end of the ages has come.
They came to the foot of the mountain but refused to climb up the mountain.
If Israel had:
they could have become a Kingdom of Priests.
They forfeited their calling and destiny simply because they stayed at a safe distance from the Mountain and insisted that Moses go up the Mountain and then bring God’s Words down to them.
They were terrified by the extremely unpleasant and intense fire that was His Presence when He came down on Mount Sinai.
Deu 5:4 “The LORD spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire, 5 while I was standing between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the Word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain.
The Eternal City of God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, is directly related to Mount Zion.
Paul referred to this destiny as the High or Upward or the Ascending Call of God in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3:7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ,
9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
Phil 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect,
but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what liesahead,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
The “DEBILITATING GOSPEL” (that has seriously weakened the church) which is being nearly universally preached could soon be reversed if the total underlying message of this Book was accurately preached and taught.
Since there are 156 references to Zion in the Old Testament, much of our additional understanding must come from those Scriptures.
However, this document will focus upon the Book of Hebrews and why its message is essential for the universal church today.
It is the Book of Hebrews that should and could reverse the casual attitude and pitiful and pathetic testimony of the modern believers.
Psalm 50:1The Mighty One, God, the LORD, has spoken, and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.
3 May our God come and not keep silence; Fire devours before Him, and it is very tempestuous around Him. 4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, to judge His people: 5 “Gather My godly ones to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” 6 And the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself is Judge. Selah.
We are identifying the pressing onward and upward call to Harvest Perfection as our ascending call to the top of Mt. Zion and to the Throne of God.
This Mount Zion and His Sovereign Throne is central to the Eternal Kingdom and Purpose of God!
Our goal is to grow into Sonship and become a member of the Body of Our High Priest and His eternal function as the Sovereign King over the Kingdom of Priests.
The King / Priests will be the Government over the nations and our Great King will rule from Mount Zion over ALL the works of God’s Hands.
Psalm 48:1 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, His Holy Mountain. 2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the City of the Great King.
3 God, in her palaces, has made Himself known as a stronghold.
4 For, lo, the kings assembled themselves, they passed by together.
5 They saw it, then they were amazed; they were terrified, they fled in alarm.
6 Panic seized them there, Anguish, as of a woman in childbirth.
Even in its Eternal Dimension, this Mount Zion will be a terrifying place to be for anyone not fully:
to dwell there.
Isa 33:14 Sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling has seized the godless.
“Who among us can live with the consuming fire?
Who among us can live with continual burning?“
15 He who walks righteously, and speaks with sincerity, he who rejects unjust gain, and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; he who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from looking upon evil;
16 He will dwell on the heights; his refuge will be the impregnable rock; his bread will be given him; His water will be sure.
17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will behold a far-distant land.
When we truly understand that it is His Bondservants who see His Face, the whole area of Mount Zion takes on a much higher and intense goal within His Kingdom Government.
Rev 22:1 And he showed me a river of the water of Life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,Rev 22:2 in the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the Tree of Life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations.
Rev 22:3 And there shall no longer be any curse; and the Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His Bondservants shall serve Him;
Rev 22:4 and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
Rev 22:5 And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever. Rev 22:6 And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His Bondservants the things which must shortly take place.
While the law of the Bondservant applies in this application to Mount Zion, we must leave that explanation to a former study.
It should be clear that His Bondservants, in this verse, are a special people that have attained to the ascending call and became “perfect” as Paul was anticipating.
While Paul considered himself to be a Bondservant he also knew he must still be made perfect like the Prototype Son.
Even though this “high calling” seems much too impossible, it is clear that this Eternal position will be attained by all those who are identified in Revelation 22 and those who stand on Zion.
The Throne on Zion is the source of the River of Life that flows out to the nations.
The LEAVES of the Tree are for the healing of the nations but the fruit belongs to the residents of the Eternal City.
While the “nations of the New Earth” will also be called “heaven” they will be inhabited by those who barely escaped the world system (Egypt) or those who only came to the base of Mount Zion.
This understanding of Mount Zion and the Throne of God is an integral part of the FULL GOSPEL of the KINGDOM which has been nearly totally neglected.
Without the Book of Hebrews this evaluation of Zion would be very obtuse.
Much of what we share about the Priesthood and God’s Eternal City originates in this Book.
Understanding that the Tabernacle of God is related to the World yet to Come originates in this Book.
Without this Book of Hebrews we would be ignorant of the two distinct and separate Altars from which the two priesthood Covenants have a right to eat.
Since our Covenant is so much higher than the Old Covenant, we must be equipped to eat from the OTHER altar that is forbidden to the lesser priesthood.
Nevertheless, it is this Book of Hebrews, coupled with Revelation 21 and 22, that defines the ultimate Purpose of God to have a Kingdom of Priests who are Bondservants and have grown up in ALL things to become the Bride of Christ.
“But, Brother, how do you arrive at that conclusion?”
That is because it seems untenable that the Bride would not see His Face and rule with Him. She will sit with HIM on His Throne.
The fact that she will also be called “Mature Sons” or a “Kingdom of Priests” who are Bondservants should not seem strange.
Mature Sons refer to those who receive the Full Inheritance while these other names will define her function in the Tabernacle of God.
The Throne will be the seat of His absolute and Eternal Government so we should reject the foolishness that there will be a honeymoon that will last for eternity.
The seriousness of these five warnings in the Book of Hebrews should indicate the demanding and distinctive character of God’s Ultimate Purpose.
To approach eternity in the casual manner presented by the visible church indicates a pitiful lack of understanding.
To say that these warnings only apply to the Hebrews is ridiculous.
While we can see the warnings that Paul gives about going back under the Law, only the Book of Hebrews explains why the Law was set aside.
It clearly says that the Law could make nothing perfect because it was weak and useless.
Only the Book of Hebrews tells us why the priesthood after the order of Aaron was changed and a higher Priesthood was established.
That former priesthood could bring no one to perfection.
This clearly indicates that this higher Priesthood can and should bring the church to perfection.
Even though the Book of First Peter speaks about the Royal Priesthood, it does not evaluate it in relation to the former priesthood.
However, Peter does relate this Royal Priesthood to Zion.
1Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
1Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light;
Only the Book of Hebrews tells us the limitation and value of the blood of bulls and goats as it relates to “sins.”
Heb 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
That earthly blood could only cleanse the flesh but could not cleanse the conscience.
Only the Book of Hebrews explains the limitation of the animal sacrifices and how they were offered for the cleansing of the flesh but could provide nothing further.
The implication is that now with the Higher Blood of Jesus:
The former sacrifices could not provide us with an Eternal Redemption.
It is the Book of Hebrews that introduces us to the fact that ONLY Jesus and His Sacrifice can correct these deficiencies of the Old Covenant.
It had to wait for Jesus to come to establish a totally New Covenant.
It is the Book of Hebrews that clarifies for us that Jesus is the ONLY Mediator of the New Covenant which is built upon much better promises.
Whatever was lacking in the Old Covenant that prevented anyone from coming to perfection is now available to those who are participating in the New Covenant.
The Greater Priesthood, after the Order of Melchizedek, administers the New Covenant which is now sufficient to bring the Church He is Building to Perfection.
It is ONLY the Book of Hebrews that gives us a detailed description of the Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek.
Without this revelation the Kingdom of Priests would be another lifeless doctrine.
When we ignore the “Kingdom of Priests” and the Eternal Government of God, we might falsely assume that everyone who said “yes” to Jesus was a member of this Eternal Priesthood.
It is the Book of Hebrews that makes a clear distinction between the earthly sanctuary and the Heavenly Sanctuary.
Aaron and that priesthood ministered in the earthly sanctuary but now this Eternal Priesthood ministers in the Heavenly Sanctuary.
The First Covenant was limited to the earthly sanctuary but the New Covenant relates us to the Heavenly Sanctuary.
However, the main point that we are sharing is that without the Book of Hebrews, the Tabernacle of Moses would only berelated to the Old Covenant and have NOTHING to say to us.
In this book alone is the Tabernacle of Moses declared to be a copy, a type and a shadow of heavenly and eternal things.
The Tabernacle of Moses is a picture of heaven itself.
No other Book gives us this revelation that ultimately reveals the Tabernacle of God. Why?
The Tabernacle of Moses is an earthly copy of the real Tabernacle that is currently in Heaven.
This fact alone gives LIFE to Revelation 21 and the final and ultimate Tabernacle of God.
The Tabernacle of Moses is an inadequate and ineffective picture of the Tabernacle of God, but it reveals enough to define Heaven as in three distinct places.
This fact, when understood and accepted, will reveal the real reason the Church He is Building MUST come to perfection if it is going to participate in God’s Eternal Purpose!
It will clearly explain why each individual in the Body of the High Priest must come to the measure of the full stature of Christ Jesus.
This is the reason that we all are called to grow up in ALL things into the Head, which is Christ Jesus.
It is the Tabernacle of Moses and the preparation of the Priests to function in the Holy Place ministry (the Heavenly Sanctuary) and to stand before the Lord to minister to HIM that gives us the insight to pattern our own development and maturity in the Christian Life.
The Seven Foundational Preparations for the Old Covenant Priesthood are a pattern for us and relate to our seven stage preparation for the Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek.
Without the Book of Hebrews we would be very limited in our understanding of the Kingdom of Priests and how they are prepared to function in the Eternal Government of God.
Hebrews is the Book that reveals that AFTER the prescribed Foundations are laid experientially in our lives, we MUST still go on to perfection or what we refer to as Harvest Maturity.
It is this Book that warns us not to remain as baby Christians. Of course everybody begins there.
We are instructed to at least press on to become teachers rather than those who can only consume the very least of spiritual food, the milk.
These babies must NOT always need more teaching instead of becoming teachers for the next generation.
To be a “baby Christian” is a shameful thing if by this time you ought to be teachers.
In the visible church to be a “baby Christian” is considered as normal.
Even to have a “baby Christian” in the pulpit is acceptable if they have been trained by the leadership of that group.
It is this tremendous Book of Hebrews that confirms again that within the New Covenant provision God has chosen Man and appointed Man to be over all the works of God’s Hands.
It is exclusively in this Book that we learn that God has chosen to bring MANY MATURE SONS to the same glory as the only begotten Son, Christ Jesus.
It is in this Book that the Son of God is called “God.”
It is disappointing that this Book does not explain what that means but the mystery will be revealed within the preparation expounded in this Book.
It is this and similar reasons that I have guessed that this BOOK of Hebrews was Ultimately written by the Holy Spirit, even though a man must have held the pen.
It is for that reason that we insist that all who will not embrace the necessary transformation will eventually stagnate into a lifeless religion.
I am NOT using “necessary change” as a cliché or as an abstract term.
This means transitioning into the “New Covenant Priesthood Ministry after the Order of Melchizedek.”
This is the ultimate reason He is insisting upon and expecting “Harvest Maturity” (pure Gold) within the Church He is Building.
This will be required to participate in the end time Priesthood Ministry.
While the “titles” of these 6 Foundations are listed in Hebrews 6, the details are not given.
However, it is the Book of Hebrews that focuses upon the Tabernacle of Moses as a copy of the Eternal Tabernacle that alerts us to the reality of the preparation of those priests.
It is the preparation of those former priests that we arrive at the details for the preparation of the Ultimate Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek.
These details, found in the Book of Exodus and the Book of Leviticus are essential for us to understand the New Covenant Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek. Why?
Jesus became our Great High Priest after that ultimate Order.
Psalm 87:1 His Foundation is in the holy mountains.
2 The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.
3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O City of God. Selah (pause and understand).
In the beginning “GOD” (Genesis 1) at least implies that we must always begin our understanding with God.
When we always begin with the absolute Sovereignty of God, we will begin on His Holy Mountain.
Beginning with man (and earth) and reasoning UP to God is the source of so much wrong emphasis.
God always BEGINS His Foundations in the ultimate realm of His Sovereignty.
That means on HIS HOLY MOUNTAIN, Zion and His Design for the City of God!
When man begins with man and his needs it turns into a man-centered gospel that is stupefying to the believers.
This is what we are referring to as the “DEBILITATING GOSPEL.”
The Book of Hebrews BEGINS with God and how He spoke.
Now He speaks in His Son.
Then it exposes the wonderful Superiority of Christ Jesus and His position at the Right Hand of God.
From there it reasons down to “What is Man?”
It was GOD, His God, Who anointed Jesus above His companions.
Even though the current heavens will perish and disappear, the Ultimate Son will remain and retain His Ultimate Glory forever, seated at the Right Hand of God.
This IS the Stone that was laid in Zion.
Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a Stone, a tested Stone, A costly cornerstone forthe Foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
17 “And I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the level; then hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the secret place.
This “Higher Priesthood” seems to be the underlying and the basic message of this Book.
It lays a background for the coming New Jerusalem, the City of the Living God.
It presents Jesus as the High Priest Who is the sole Mediator of the New Covenant reality so that we may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
This is NOT referring to “going to heaven when we die.
Hebrews 5:8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,
10 being designated by God as a High Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek.
It should be forcefully pointed out that our Eternal Salvation is directly related to our obedience to our High Priest (the Perfect Son) after the Order of Melchizedek.
The authenticity of this statement may be challenged by the ignorant who esteem doctrine above reality.
Unless we clearly understand that our Salvation is so much greater than the salvation under the Old Covenant, some will attempt to disparage the Book of Hebrews as Not for us.
The warning in Chapter 2 addresses this point of our higher and greater salvation.
Heb 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? 3 After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His Own Will. Heb 2:5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. 6 But one has testified somewhere, saying, “WHAT IS MAN, THAT THOU REMEMBEREST HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT THOU ART CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? 7 “THOU HAST MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; THOU HAST CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAST APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS;
8 THOU HAST PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”
For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him.
But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
9 But we do see Him Who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting for Him, for Whom are all things, and through Whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the Author of their salvation through sufferings.
It is the Author of this Great Salvation Who relates us directly to the world yet to come.
At last now God has provided everything for “man” to fulfill what He purposed in the very beginning.
That is to give “man” dominion over all the works of His Hands.
Following Calvary God has received His First Man with this ultimate calling, Christ Jesus.
Now God’s Purpose is to bring MANY SONS to this same glory.
What other Book can we mention in the New Testament that reveals this extreme and achievable calling?
It would be wonderful if we could boldly proclaim that this is an ultimatum and Not a suggestion to the visible church, but who would permit that today?
The “DEBILITATING GOSPEL” has been dumbed down to a doctrine of just believe something about Jesus and be “saved.”
What is the real message?
Don’t turn back or be dissuaded for the ultimate goal but be faithful to the Word of God which He spoke through Jesus, which we have now heard.
Remember, we have received so much greater Salvation than anyone that came before Calvary.
Still, we have their testimony in Chapter 11 before us that was so real that many gave their lives for that lesser salvation.
We must reject any ignorance that compares our New Covenant salvation with the salvation of any who came before Calvary and the Kingdom / Priesthood Dimension of Eternal Salvation. Why?
That is because of all the tremendous provision that is available to us, that was NOT available to them.
All these excuses offered today for the pitiful state of the visible church will prove to be invalid and rejected simply because of this testimony from the Book of Hebrews.
To reduce this “provision” down to a very simple statement we could say “Everything is BETTER now.”
Of course this is a colossal “UNDERSTATEMENT.”
It is because of these much greater and more powerful provisions offered to the New Covenant believer that the warnings which are given are valid and necessary.
The ignorance of rejecting these warnings by offering some ridiculous doctrine about grace is difficult to understand.
(How ignorant is this; “The God I know would not require that!”)
Heb 2:1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense,
3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,
4 God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His Own Will.
“SO GREAT A SALVATION” is certainly not another mystery.
This is clearly explained by what follows.
This “so great a salvation” is positively linked to the dominion over all the works of His Hands and the “Bringing many Sons to that Ultimate Glory.”
This wonderful fact was first revealed by Jesus and then it was re-told by those who heard Him say it.
What Jesus told His disciples involved this “So great a salvation” and the dominion over all the Works of God’s hands and in bringing many Sons to Glory.
Jesus obviously taught His disciples many things that are not recorded in the four Gospels and this is one of them.
However, in John 6 several of His disciples were offended by what Jesus taught about Passover and quit following Him.
John 6:66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have Words of Eternal Life.
Peter reported that Jesus used to teach them about the coming Holy Spirit and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and must have informed them about speaking in tongues because of Peter’s witness in Acts 11.
Act 11:14 and he shall speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He did upon us at the beginning. 16 “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
17 “If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
My point is this; Jesus, obviously taught His disciples many things that are not directly recorded but that show up several months or years later in other letters.
I am guessing that Peter’s references to the Royal Priesthood and the Spiritual House in 1 Peter 2 is one of those things.
1Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light;
Again, I am guessing that the Book of Hebrews contain many of those things that were recalled a few years later by someone who heard Jesus teach them.
Maybe before and maybe during those 40 days when He taught them about the Kingdom of God after His Resurrection.
Regardless of the way we received the Book of Hebrews it is certainly apparent that this Book contains:
That reason revolves around the World Yet to Come which is called “the Tabernacle of God” in Revelation 21.
Why anyone would set out to deny this obvious reality is a great mystery.
If the devil could persuade us this Book of Hebrews is invalid he would enlarge his days and delay his demise in the same way he deceived Adam and Eve and is still here after 6000 years.
Understanding the underlying message of this Book will reveal the “issues of Life” as viewed from God’s Eternal Viewpoint!
This was first spoken to my wife and me in December of 1970 and is still true today.
By Pastor Larry DeBruyn
The book The Physics of Heaven (TPOH) boldly attempts to launch a new theology. Pastor Larry DeBruyn’s 12-part series has provided our readers with a solid apologetic to refute both its pseudo-science and mystical teachings. When he wrote Part 1 Pastor DeBruyn observed that “some within the Charismatic movement are asserting that a Quantum merger is taking place between the powers of heaven and the energies of earth.” He summarized the book’s emerging eschatology:
READ the 12-part review series:
Part 1: The Physics of Heaven
Part 2: The Power of the Zero-Point Field
Sidebar: Jesus’ Lesser Works
Part 3: Extracting the Precious From the Worthless
Part 4: Vibrating in Harmony With God
Part 5: BILL JOHNSON: Squandering Our Spiritual Inheritance
Part 6: Unsagacious Seers
Part 7: Bad Vibes
Part 8: Sound of Heaven, Symphony of Earth
Part 9: Quantum Charismatics
Part 10: “The Energy Angel” and the Energy Crisis
Part 11: God’s New Sound
IHOP Promotes Centering / Contemplative Prayer
I recently had an email exchange with a friend of mine who is into the signs and wonders movement. She told me she was reading 5 books on how to interpret dreams. When I wrote back and remarked that one of the authors she was reading from was involved in creative visualization back in the ‘80’s, she sent me several emails explaining exactly how she visualizes things in prayer and how she prays. I then sent her some apologetics sites to read that described contemplative prayer and the dangers of the practice. She finally wrote and told me that she dismissed their criticisms because the Holy Spirit led her in how to pray, and she didn’t need a book to tell her what to do. I thought that this was very amusing, since she was reading books to teach her how to interpret dreams. Go figure, but that’s how it is with a lot of people. Even after you give them solid evidence about something they purposefully ignore it (to their own peril, I might add).
How easy it is for someone to be deceived! Having come out of a cultic church in the 1980’s that was headed by a very insecure man , I know that anyone can be brainwashed.
The following was left as a comment on my blog post “Is IHOP a Cult”. It is included here with the writer’s permission:
“Last week I was contacted by a parent whose son has been going to IHOP for the past year. We spoke on the phone – the father, myself AND the son.
The dad had questions since he’s been financially supporting his son while he’s been ‘doing the IHOP’ this past year. (I don’t know if the son had some major questions of his own or was basically just willing to sit and listen but he was on the call.)
I think the turning point in our phone conversation was when I explained exactly what centering prayer was. Then I explained ‘how’ to do it, ‘what’ to expect when entering ‘the silent place’ and ‘where’ it originated. That it WAS an occult practice.
Now the dad says, “(name omitted), are you doing this?”
Long pause…. “Uh huh………”
To all the IHOP supporters: those of us who are speaking out against IHOP are NOT haters of Mike Bickle or any of the speakers who are regarded as ‘really being up there’. What we ARE against is the deception. That very deception is what the body of Christ has been warned about numerous times in the New Testament.
What I do not want to see is anymore people getting sucked unto believing that “because Mike Bickle or Lou Engle or Allen Hood or Misty Edwards said it (or sang it) that ‘it is of God!'” Because they have bought into error and they’re spreading it to anyone who will listen.
‘TOUCH NOT GOD’S ANOINTED’ does not apply to the leaders at IHOP because what they are teaching is not anointed. It is error.” (thanks SP!)
I have written previously about Mike Bickle promoting the practice of contemplative prayer, so I won’t go into a long explanation of it. It is simply put, Transcendental Meditation with a Christian twist. You can read the previous post here.
“Contemplative Prayer—A mystical prayer practice that leads one into the “silence” but in actuality leads away from God.
Definition of Contemplative Prayer: As it is expressed in a modern day movement is mystically (i.e. based on a technique or method) in which one empties the mind of thought through repetition, usually of a word or phrase or focus on the breath. In this case the silence would be an absence of thought, all thought.
The purpose of contemplative prayer is to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to find one’s true self, thus finding God. This true self relates to the belief that man is basically good. Proponents of contemplative prayer teach that all human beings have a divine center and that all, not just born again believers, should practice contemplative prayer.”i
Here’s another definition I found online:
“The root of all prayer is interior silence. Though we think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words, this is only one expression. Contemplative Prayer is a prayer of silence, an experience of God’s presence as the ground in which our being is rooted, the Source from whom our life emerges at every moment.
Contemplative Prayer is the opening of mind and heart – our whole being – to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions. We open our awareness to God whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than choosing – closer than consciousness itself.
Centering Prayer is drawn from ancient prayer practices of the Christian contemplative heritage, notably the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, Lectio Divina (praying the scriptures), The Cloud of Unknowing, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. It was distilled into a simple method of prayer in the 1970’s by three Trappist monks, Fr. William Meninger, Fr. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating at the Trappist Abbey, St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts.” ii
The following definitions are from Wiki:
“ Christian mysticism, Contemplative prayer can refer to: repetitive chanting, breathing in a controlled manner or silent concentration to quiet the thoughts and feelings and commune with a spirit that some believe to be God.
Centering prayer, (Centering prayer’ is a popular method of contemplative prayer, placing a strong emphasis on interior silence.) which is sometimes called contemplative prayer, although “It is not contemplation in the strict sense, which in Catholic tradition has always been regarded as a pure gift of the Spirit, but rather it is a preparation for contemplation.” iii
“Christian mysticism is traditionally practiced through the disciplines of:
- prayer (including oratio, meditation, contemplation, and, in some forms of esoteric Christianity, invocation of the Holy Spirit as a means of manifestation;);
- fasting, broadly understood as self-denial in general; and
- service to others, broadly called almsgiving.
In the tradition of Mystical Theology, Biblical texts are typically interpreted metaphorically, for example in Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5–7) the text, in its totality, is held to contain the way for direct union with God.” iv
“Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός, mystikos, an initiate of a mystery religio) is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight. Mysticism usually centers on a practice or practices intended to nurture that experience or awareness. Mysticism may be dualistic, maintaining a distinction between the self and the divine, or may be nondualistic.”v
All the disciplines of “Christian” mysticism are promoted and practiced by IHOP. Here is quote that includes the list from the recent IHOP OneThing 08 conference:
“It is the morning after our yearly onething conference here in KC. I truly believe that this conference was one of the most important moments in the history of our ministry. Over the past four days we have laid the groundwork for the coming ‘revolution’ of the Lord which will transition this age into the next. Last night I was privleged to witness one of the greatest moments in Christian ministry. We called the men and women at the conference to make a vow unto the Lord to position themselves as forerunner messengers to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
We called them to commit to a seven part ’sacred charge’ unto the Lord for the next years. Some of the points were ‘pray daily’, ‘fast weekly’, ‘live holy’, ‘do justly’, etc.”vi
THESE ARE THE EXACT SAME DISCIPLINES THAT ARE PROMOTED UNDER CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM! (see definition above). It is important to note here that this kind of prayer in the exact opposite to the kind of prayer that is taught in the New Testament by Jesus, who said to pray to “Our Father, WHO ART IN HEAVEN”
Here are a few direct quotes from Mike Bickle:
“The Protestant wing of the western church, which is a tiny percentage of the Body of Christ…, is nearly completely (98%) unaware that the Holy Spirit is restoring contemplative prayer—center stage—to the church… The Holy Spirit is restoring this precious jewel (contemplative prayer) to the body of Christ. This is the God ordained means of attaining the fullness of God.”
“Every one in the Body Of Christ is called to live lives of contemplative prayer…”
“Everybody is called to live in the contemplative lifestyle. Everyone! Everyone! Everyone! That’s one of the great strongholds we have to overcome (resistance to contemplative prayer).vii
Here is an explanation of the dangers of Centering Prayer from a Catholic web site:
“Many people assume centering prayer is compatible with Catholic tradition, but in fact the techniques of centering prayer are neither Christian nor prayer. They are at the level of human faculties and as such are an operation of man, not of God. The deception and dangers can be grave.
Centering prayer differs from Christian prayer in that the intent of the technique is to bring the practitioner to the center of his own being. There he is, supposedly, to experience the presence of the God who indwells him. Christian prayer, on the contrary, centers upon God in a relational way, as someone apart from oneself. The Christian knows a God who is personal, yet who, as Creator, infinitely transcends his creature. God is wholly other than man. It is also crucial to Christian prayer that God engages man’s whole being in response, not just his interior life. In the view of centering prayer, the immanence of God somehow makes the transcendence of God available to human techniques and experience.
Centering prayer is essentially a form of self-hypnosis. It makes use of a “mantra,” a word (or verse of scripture TS ) repeated over and over to focus the mind while striving by one’s will to go deep within oneself. The effects are a hypnotic-like state: concentration upon one thing, disengagement from other stimuli, a high degree of openness to suggestion, a psychological and physiological condition that externally resembles sleep but in which consciousness is interiorized and the mind subject to suggestion. After reading a published description of centering prayer, a psychology professor said, “Your question is, is this hypnosis? Sure it is.” He said the state can be verified physiologically by the drop in blood pressure, respiratory rate, lactic acid level in the blood, and the galvanic conductivity of the skin. Abbot Keating relates that, when they began doing the centering prayer workshops in the guest house, some of the monks and guests ” complained that it was spooky seeing people walking around the guest house like ‘zombies.”’ They recognized the symptoms but could not diagnose the illness.viii
Contemplative prayer brings you into a meditative state (like hypnosis) and changes your brain waves!
Everyone’s brain produces waves, which can be measured as electrical activity. There are 4 major classifications of brain waves and they range from the most active to the least active. They are: beta, alpha, theta and delta.
Beta is the state you are in when you are awake and are associated with normal waking consciousness. The front part of the brain is in operation where you are conscious and in a state of critical thinking. In beta you are most aware, conscious, alert, focused, and analytical. Beta waves are the fastest of the 4 kinds of brain waves.
The next stage, which is when your brain slows down, is a relaxed state called alpha. Where beta represents arousal, alpha represents non-arousal. Alpha waves are slower and higher in amplitude than beta. Taking time to relax after completing a task, taking a walk in a garden or meditating puts the brain into an alpha state. In alpha you are alert but not mentally processing anything.
The third stage is theta which has an even higher amplitude and slower frequency that alpha. The brain enters theta when you begin to day dream or engage in a repetitious activity, like highway driving. Theta is the stage we enter when we are in deep meditation or under hypnosis. Any repetitive movement or sound can take you into theta easily. ix This is the state where much of the subconscious mind lies. When we are doing tasks like brushing our teeth automatically, we are in theta.
And finally the delta state is what we enter into when we are sleeping where the brain waves are the slowest. x
State of Consciousness
|Fully Awake and Alert
Generally associated with left-brain thinking activity – conscious mind
Generally associated with right-brain
thinking activity – subconscious mind
– a key state for “relaxation”
|Deeply Relaxed, Dreaming
Generally associated with right-brain
thinking activity – deeper subconscious to superconscious
Access to insights, bursts of creative ideas – a key state for “reality creation” through vivid imagery
Generally associated with no thinking
– unconscious / superconscious
Access to non-physical states of existence – a key state for healing, “regeneration” and “rejuvenation”
Some research has been done associated with the activities and benefits of other brainwave frequencies, such as Super Beta, Gamma, etc.
The lower your brainwave cps, the more is your awareness turned toward your subjective experience, toward your inner world and the more effectively are you able to use the power of your mind to create changes in your body. With each lower state you become more fully aligned with the source of power within you, with your unconscious, or if you prefer, with that part of you that is greater than you (your body).
Generally in Beta state, your attention is focused outward. In alpha it begins to turn inward, and in theta and delta it goes further and further inward. The deeper you go, the more effectively are you able to enter your subconscious. xi
Contemplative prayer, and its concurrent meditative state, brings the practitioner into the theta level of brain waves. It is in this state that the brain is most open to suggestions, which is why hypnosis works. In contemplative or centering prayer the person goes inward to the God within, rather then praying outwardly to “Our Father who art in Heaven”.
What is hypnosis?
“It is a trance state characterized by extreme suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination. It’s not really like sleep, because the subject is alert the whole time. It is most often compared to daydreaming, or the feeling of “losing yourself” in a book or movie. You are fully conscious, but you tune out most of the stimuli around you. You focus intently on the subject at hand, to the near exclusion of any other thought.” xii
“With meditative practice and self-hypnosis, you develop ability to remain conscious while getting progressively into deeper and deeper states. For example, a person without any mind training will tend to fall asleep when getting into theta state, while a person who has undergone some form of meditative mind-training will be able to be very deeply relaxed, yet conscious.” xiii
Whether you practice contemplative prayer or hypnosis you enter the theta state where you are conscious but highly suggestible! Therefore any church or group that promotes contemplative, centering or soaking prayer is actually bringing the practitioners into a hypnotic state where their minds are no longer using critical reasoning and they are highly open to suggestion. The more you practice this the easier it is to go into this trance state and it is often done with repetitive music which is now played in may modern churches. Normally when we are listening to a preacher and he says anything that we know is unbiblical, our brains will tell us this is untrue. But when the listeners are in the theta state the part of the brain that filters this information (critical thinking) is turned off!
Then the speaker can easily impart any teaching or twist any scripture they desire and the followers will believe it. This is a brainwashing technique used very effectively at places like IHOP.
Where did the modern contemplative movement come from?
The modern contemplative movement began around 1974 when Fr. William Meninger, a Trappist monk at St. Josephs Abbey in Spencer, Mass. Found the book The Cloud of Unknowing in the abbey library. This book, written in the 14th Century by an unknown author “presented contemplative meditation as a teachable, spiritual process enabling the ordinary person to enter and receive a direct experience of union with God” xiv
This form of prayer, called “centering prayer” in modern times (a term coined by Thomas Merton), has been around for centuries in the Catholic tradition and was practiced by the Desert Fathers and the ancient Catholic mystics.
IHOP lists 32 books under the heading “contemplative” in their online bookstore. Among the authors are:
1. Madame Jeanne Guyon— Mystic and Contemplative 1647-1717
“Here [the contemplative state] everything is God. God is everywhere and in all things.” —Madam Guyon
“May I hasten to say that the kind of prayer I am speaking of is not a prayer that comes from your mind. It is a prayer that begins in the heart…. Prayer that comes out of the heart is not interrupted by thinking!”—Madam Guyon, Experiencing The Depths of Jesus Christ p. 4]
“The school of mysticism that Guyon adhered to, sometimes called Quietism, was an extreme form of Roman Catholic mysticism that emphasized the cleansing of one’s inner life and included the belief that one could see Christ visibly. Before Guyon’s day, in the Middle Ages, this took strange forms in erotic “bride mysticism” with some visionaries believing they were married to Jesus. Guyon and the Quietists went further, into something called essence mysticism. They believed that their being was merged with God’s being and the two became one. This unbiblical idea survives today in the New Age and other non-Christian religions.xv
Guyon, thinking that God had always been in her heart, also believed that the fire would “devour all that was left of self” and that here would be no more “troublesome faults or reluctances,”14 bringing about a perfect, sinless state of life. xvi
Sinless perfection is also one of the main doctrines of Manifest Sons of God teachings.
2. Richard Foster author of Celebration of Discipline
“Foster is the leading evangelical-type pioneer of contemplative spirituality (also known as the spiritual formation movement) and is considered to be a key player in the emerging church movement” xvii
“A particular statement made by Guyon is very indicative of what contemplatives believe, and quoting it here can give a good example of the nature of mysticism. Guyon stated: “May I hasten to say that the kind of prayer I am speaking of is not a prayer that comes from your mind. It is a prayer that begins in the heart…. Prayer that comes out of the heart is not interrupted by thinking!”
This prayer of the heart that contemplatives such as Richard Foster teach is a “prayer” that eliminates distractions (thoughts) through meditative practices such as lectio divina, centering, ect. If a word or phrase is repeated or the breath focused upon, a type of self-hypnosis is achieved and the mind is rendered to a neutral state (the alpha state). But no where in Scripture are we instructed to produce a mystical state in order to hear God’s voice. On the contrary, divination (seeking to contact the spirit world through self-induced mystical means)is strictly warned against.” Keep in mind that the “fruit” of practicing contemplative prayer is a change in spiritual outlook. That change comes in the form of believing that God is in all things. All the “great” mystics have believed this. It is the heart of Satan’s lie because if he can convince man that he is divine, then he can convince him he needs no Savior” xviii
Other Ministries Promoting Contemplative Prayer:
In case you thought that contemplative / centering prayer was only being practiced by Pentecostals, think again! The Baptist General Association of Virginia’s partner organization, Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia is sponsoring the Woman’s Silence Retreat 2009 with the theme of Celtic prayer.
According to the brochure, the goal of the retreat is for women to reconnect with God in a contemplative atmosphere.
Rev. Judy Bailey, facilitator of previous retreats says “there are times when we need to be alone so that we can connect in another way with the Spirit that both dwells within and transcends. In silence we may most effectively listen to God and to our innermost self. Without other voices to distract us we may focus our attention and understand more clearly what is there for us.” xix
vii audio message Comtempolative Prayer pt1 by Mike Bickle