Spring 1995 Edition - Part Two
Holy Spirit & The Believer - Mike Taylor
On Target to Save The World - Global Evangelisation
Single Currency Now Inevitable - Rachel Tingle
ID Cards on the way? Microchip Implants - Joseph Chambers
Gamaliel - a Model of Godly Wisdom?? - Rev. Stephen Sizer
The Star Trek version of the Toronto Blessing - Tricia Tillin
Matthew Papyrus threatens Liberal Theories - news item
From Earth Summit to Heaven Summit - interfaith meeting
Storm Warning! Gathering Storm Clouds - Tricia Tillin
HOLY SPIRIT AND THE BELIEVER
- A BIBLICAL STUDY
Look At The Scriptures
has been much confusion, especially since the Toronto "outpouring", on
the subject of the filling of the Holy Spirit. Can Christians be "filled"
after their salvation experience? Does the Spirit work within or without?
Is there such a thing as "an anointing" beyond salvation? Mike Taylor,
author of "Do Demons Rule Your Town?" offers us a thorough scriptural
examination of this vital subject.
twofold work of the Holy Spirit in relation to the New Covenant is often
not fully understood.
ancient times, the Holy Spirit was given only to a limited number of people,
for special spiritual tasks. This work of selective empowerment continued
until the time of John the Baptist.
the Baptist was not born again during the time of his life on earth, but
he was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb (Luke 1:15),
and he was the greatest of those born of women (Matthew 11:11). This filling
enabled him to fulfil his prophetic ministry.
great men and women, (but usually men), could not be born again under
the Old Covenant because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given (John
7:39) and Jesus said that he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is
greater even than John the Baptist, the greatest of the Old Covenant prophets
(Matthew 11:11 ).
what is different about the work of the Spirit under the New Covenant?
There are two distinctive aspects:
PERMANENT INDWELLING: NEW LIFE AND SANCTIFICATION
first aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit is a permanent indwelling
in the New Covenant people. God said He would write His Law in their hearts
(Jeremiah 31:33). How? By His Spirit Who would cleanse them from sin and
come to dweII within them:
will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all
your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart
also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will
take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart
of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in
my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
OUTPOURING OF POWER FOR SERVICE
second aspect of the Holy Spirit's work is that of a universalised enduement
of power, instead of a special and temporary anointing with power, as
in the Old Testament. Now, under the new dispensation, all believers were
to be clothed with power to enable them to perform their ministries:
it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of
my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days
of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy" (Acts 2:17-18)
priesthood was now to include all Sons of God, both men and women, and
every priest would be given a clothing of power to enable the allotted
task to be completed.
twofold work of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant can, therefore, be
summarized by the two words indwelling and outpouring. Understanding this
concept - a two-fold work - can illuminate for us the special terminology
the New Testament writers used to describe the work of the Spirit.
"RECEIVING" THE INDWELLING SPIRIT
term "receive the Spirit" is used many times in the New Testament. But
we must be careful to discern the particular meaning each time this term
is used, for it is used in a number of ways. Paul referred to "receiving"
the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians:
you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
... Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect in the flesh?
the context, it is evident that Paul was contrasting the Old Covenant
with the New. The Galatians were in danger of being persuaded to add the
observance of circumcision to their Christianity in order to be doubly
sure of salvation. But Paul pointed out that if their salvation had been
incomplete, they would not have received God's Spirit. Evidently, then,
it would not help them to add ceremonial observances, like circumcision,
to their faith. Indeed, any legal addition would insult the work of Messiah
Jesus on the cross by suggesting that His work was inadequate and that
it was necessary to add something else to complete it. The whole point
of the work of Messiah Jesus is that it actually fulfilled the entire
old ceremonial Law. So how can the Law improve on what Messiah Jesus has
now accomplished? His work is complete, praise God! There is nothing to
in this context, the words "receive the Spirit" actually refer to entry
into the New Covenant blessings. By receiving the Spirit, the Galatians
had actually entered the Kingdom of God. But many times in the Book of
Acts, people are said to "receive" the Holy Spirit. Does this have the
same meaning as in Paul's letters?
"RECEIVING" THE OUTPOURED SPIRIT
is significant that, after the disciples at Samaria had received the Word
of God and been immersed in water, Peter and John were sent to them. When
they had come down to see them, they prayed for them so that they might
"receive the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:15).
was this necessary? Had they not already believed? Were they not already
regenerate, having already been indwelt by the Holy Spirit? Of course,
so why the necessity of receiving the Spirit if they already had the Spirit?
then was this reception of the Spirit? It is explained very clearly in
the passage itself. "For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They
had only been immersed in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands
on them, and they received the Holy Spirit." (Acts 8:16-17)
"reception" of the Spirit is equated here not with conversion and regeneration,
but rather with the Holy Spirit's coming upon people. They were already
regenerate, because they believed and had afterwards been immersed in
water as Christian believers. Yet the Spirit had not yet "fallen upon"
them. So the apostles laid hands on them so that the Lord would pour out
His Spirit upon these Samaritans, which He did. And this work of the Spirit
was accompanied by miraculous signs, as can be seen from the reaction
of Simon, who "saw that through the laying-on of the apostles' hands the
Holy Spirit was given" (vs. 18). This work was, therefore, a clothing
of power for speaking or some form of public ministry. This outpouring
of the Spirit was therefore distinct from the work of the Holy Spirit
in coming to indwell His people at the moment of conversion. Therefore,
the term "receive the Spirit" can refer either to the work of the Spirit
in indweIling God's New Covenant Temple, or! to the outer aspect of the
Spirit's work: the clothing of power for ministry.
note: Both aspects are pre-figured in the Wilderness Tabernacle, for the
Ark of His Presence was the indwelling Lord, but there was also a covering
of cloud upon the Tabernacle that was moveable. Exod 40:34,38]
"FILLED" WITH THE SPIRIT
twofold work of the Spirit (indwelling and outpouring) can also be discovered
in the dual usage of the Biblical phrase "filled with the Spirit".
the term "filled" with the Spirit is almost always used of sanctification,
the enablement to live a holy life. One New Testament example of this
usage is found in Ephesians 5:18-20, where the apostle Paul exhorts the
disciples in Ephesus to [literally] "be being filled with the Spirit"
in order to be strengthened in their spiritual life and to grow in holiness.
This is no exhortation to receive the outpoured unction for ministry,
but rather to go on being filled with the Holy Spirit whom they had already
there is another more common New Testament use of the phrase "filled with
the Spirit". It describes a clothing of power for a special task, even
of those who were not in the New Covenant. The context shows the intention,
for almost each time it is used reference is made to speaking the word
of the Lord.
the mother of John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied
(Luke 1:41-45), as was Zechariah (vss.67-79). John himself was filled
with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb (vs.15), evidently to equip
him to speak the Word of God. Then in Acts, we read that those upon whom
the Spirit was poured out, on the Day of Pentecost were "filled with the
Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave
them utterance." (Acts 2:4)
Pentecost was not the end of the matter. For, even though the apostle
Peter had been "filled" with the Spirit on that Day, he was on another
occasion filled with the Spirit in order to speak the Word of the Lord,
for: "Peter, filled with the Spirit, said ..." (Acts 4:8). Later, the
disciples were "all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word
of God with boldness." (Acts 4:31)
still, Ananias told the apostle Paul that the Lord Jesus, who had appeared
to him already on the road, had also sent him so that he should receive
his sight and "be filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 9:17). Now, note
that this happened after his conversion on the Damascus Road!
the filling of the Spirit here was associated with a miraculous manifestation
with no necessary bearing on the apostle's quality of life. But yet again,
on a much later occasion, Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit in order
to pronounce a curse over the sorcerer Bar-Jesus (Acts 13:6-12).
again, immediately after suffering persecution, Paul, Barnabas, and the
other disciples with them were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit
to enable them to rejoice and to persevere in preaching the word of the
Lord (Acts 13:52).
this way, the dual use of the term "filled" with the Spirit also reflects
the two aspects of the Spirit's work in the New Covenant.
"ANOINTED" BY THE SPIRIT
the same duality is found in the use of the term "anointed" in the New
Testament of which examples can be found of both an inward and an outward
Jesus, quoting from the prophet Isaiah, declared that God had "anointed"
Him to preach the gospel (Luke 4:18). This must refer to God's enabling
power clothing Messiah Jesus to fulfil His special ministry: "The Spirit
of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach ... to preach
... to preach." (Luke 4:18-19)
the apostle Peter testified that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with
the Holy Spirit and with power, Who went about doing good and healing
all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:38)
the apostle John refers to an inward anointing which enables the true
people of God to distinguish truth from error (1 John 2:20-21, 27). The
emphasis here is different from that used of Messiah Jesus. This permanent
inward anointing that "abides" with the believer is not a power anointing
for ministry. Therefore, the dual use of term "anointing" also reflects
both the inward and outward aspects of the Spirit's work.
AND INDWELLING FOR TODAY
see, then, that there are two distinctive aspects of the Holy Spirit's
work under the New Covenant: indwelling and outpouring. The first refers
to the permanent indwelling in the New Covenant people, the Temple of
God. The second refers to the Holy Spirit's coming upon believers to enable
them to fulfil their ministry.
do we today enter into these blessings? Firstly, the indwelling. It is
evident that the Holy Spirit comes to indwell the New Covenant believer
at converson. (Jn 14:23). It is the Spirit's work to regenerate those
who come to God through Jesus. Provided a person is truly born again,
therefore, he or she has received the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to
be a Christian without receiving the Holy Spirit in the new birth, for
"if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." (Romans
to this, the Holy Spirit is also the One Who makes the believer holy.
The believer who is indwelt by the Spirit then has to be daily filled
with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20). This is maintained by bible study,
prayer, fellowship, and communing with God in repentance, praise and worship
- in other words, by observing "the means of grace".
secondly, there is the clothing of power. How are we to experience that?
According to the Book of Acts, there are a number of doorways into this
experience. There is the unasked-for and spontaneous outpouring:(Lk 24:49;
Acts 2: 1-4; 10:44-46). Laying-on-of-hands by the elders at the time of
immersion in water is another opportunity: (Acts 8:14-18; 9:12-18: 19:1-6).
There is also a specific seeking for enablement for our ministry. (Acts
4:29-31) If there is no sin or disobedience involved, we can ask God for
the Holy Spirit, for "your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to
those who ask Him !" (Luke 11:13). The crucial thing is to ask the Lord
to reveal our place in the Body of Christ and to ask Him to enable us
to fulfil the work He has given us to do.
Taylor 15th Nov 1994)
no way is this an endorsement of the Toronto "blessing" which Mr Taylor
believes to be a deception.
TARGET TO SAVE THE WORLD!
Time Is NOW!"
Prayer and Evangelism events
seek to harvest the World's population
by the year 2000AD.
GRAHAM "REACHES FOR THE SKY"
Billy Graham, at a press conference in New York City in Februrary launched
Global Mission, his most ambitious crusade in more than 50 years of ministry.
It has been described as the largest outreach in the history of the Christian
church. Mr.Graham said that beginning March 16-18, Global Mission will
be broadcast from the San Juan crusade to mission sites around the world
-- direct by satellite in every time zone, delayed to run at prime evening
Mission originates from a crusade in Puerto Rico in mid-March, and it
is estimated that thirteen million people will attend satellite crusades
to be held March 16-18, at 2,200 locations in 175 countries in more than
total of one billion people is expected to participate in the video crusades
and the prime-time broadcasts on national television that will follow
it. These will be aired in over 100 countries around the globe.
has never been a time in my life where I have seen people so hungry for
answers and anxious to find something that brings peace and satisfaction
to their hearts," Mr. Graham said, explaining the urgency reflected in
the Global Mission theme, "The Time Is Now." The evangelist explained
that an intensive training program has been launched to help train workers
for the mission. "We have trained 5,000 Christian workers to help us with
this mission," he revealed. "This past year they have gone to their own
countries and in turn trained 1.5 million Christians in Christian Life
and Witness classes. From these 1.5 million will come the 500,000 who
will serve as counsellors in March for the satellite and subsequent video
He concluded, "The technology itself has developed to the point that we
are now ready to bring to a world that is filled with despair and frustration,
the Gospel message, that transcends boundaries of geography and political
CURRENCY NOW INEVITABLE
telephone poll of listeners to a debate on British membership of a European
single currency, broadcast on the World At One in January, revealed that
a majority of the British people are opposed to a single currency. However,
the single currency is virtually inevitable, whatever Mr Major might say.
Furthermore, there are signs that we might be heading towards a cashless
to Sunday Telegraph journalist, Bill Jamieson, an enormous amount of work
is taking place behind the scenes on preparations for a single currency.
It is taking up an increasing amount of time in the Bank of England and
the Chancellor's office, as well as the British Bankers Association (BBA)
which represents the main high street banks.
Midland, National Westminster and Lloyds, together with several non-European
banks operating in London have all taken part in a comprehensive study
organised by the European Banking Federation's Economic and Monetary Union
(EMUFLT) Committee in Brussels to find out how long it would take and
how much it would cost to introduce a single currency.
Mint directors are also looking at such details as the metal mix to be
used in the new ECU coins. Noel Moore who helped Britain introduce decimal
currency in 1971, is advising EC officials on how to handle a currency
the British experience of decimalisation has shown, however, there are
huge logistical problems with introducing any new money, and the same
would certainly be true of introducing a European single currency. An
overnight 'Big Bang', for instance, would entail the simultaneous replacement
of a huge number of notes and coins, whilst a phased switch to the new
currency would result in high costs to the banks and retailers who would
have to duplicate all their existing systems during the transition. The
BBA study has already estimated that the cost of a switch to a single
currency will be up to £116 million for each bank.
Paul Penrose of The Times business staff, wrote an article a couple of
months ago discussing the fact that, because of these high costs of transition,
some financial experts are now suggesting that physical cash should be
phased out altogether. "Under this scenario" he wrote "electronic money
loaded onto a microchip embedded in a plastic card would become the symbolic
common currency of a united Europe."
an option has been urged by Dutchman, Cees Maas, chairman of an expert
advisory group set up by the European Commission to examine the feasibility
of a single currency.
Levitt, the European adviser to Barclays Bank, recently chaired a meeting
of the Association for the Monetary Union of Europe at which this idea
was discussed. According to him, although bankers at the meeting remained
somewhat sceptical about the idea, some commission officials were very
enthusiastic and are watching experiments like those being run by NatWest
and Midland this year with the Mondex smart card system with great interest.
signs are there that by the turn of the century we may not just be living
without pounds in our pockets - we may not have any cash at all.
longer version of this article appeared in the February 1995 issue of
"Freedom Today" the journal of the Freedom Association. Enquiries to:
35 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB
ID CARDS ON THE WAY?
introduction of national ID cards is a subject that surfaces regularly
in the Press and Parliament. In January it was reported that the Home
Office is presently preparing a consultation document on ID cards, with
the likely outcome that the Government will introduce voluntary cards
as a short-term measure. It has been strongly hinted that the ID card
will be based on "smart-card" technology and will contain much more information
about the holder than mere name, address and date of birth. It could eventually
contain such things as digitised photographs, fingerprints, criminal and
medical records, driving licence details, social security and tax data,
and even be used for telephone calls, bank withdrawals and travel tickets.
ID cards are already widely used by EU member countries, except for Ireland
LEAP TO IMPLANTS
Joseph Chambers, writing in his newsletter "The End Times" (Sept. 94)
world planners, including President Clinton and many of our national leaders,
have already envisioned America under the control of the United Nations
and completely eliminating the need for cash in pocket. Here is a quote
from Don McAlvany, editor of "The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor."
bodies] are pushing hard for a single, tamper-resistant INS card for all
Americans (including your Social Security number, photo, fingerprint,
and bar code) to verify employment eligibility. This card would be linked
to a nationwide government data-base and would allegedly solve the problem
of illegal aliens getting jobs.
Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said
in USA Today (14-July-94) that 'It will become a way to monitor people,
like an internal passport.'" Steve Moore of the Cato Institute points
out that just as the government has abused the once private Social Security
number and now uses it as a national ID number which ties together dozens
of US databases on each US citizen, so it will abuse this card.
in the same article, Mr. McAlvany said, "The Clinton Administration is
no longer debating if, but how they can create and introduce this smartcard
(which will interact with any and all government agencies) to all Americans."
(The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, August 1994, page 8.)
further comment stated that "The postal service has acknowledged that
it is prepared to put more than 100 million of the cards in citizen's
pockets within months of Administration approval."
means that this project for the computerized control of all Americans
is not only on the fast track, but is much further advanced than most
people would suppose. The IRS is aggressively pursuing plans for an identity
card for taxpayers. There would be one US Card for every member of your
family. In the not-too-distant future, you are likely to find harmless
looking SmartCards in the mail in an official envelope. You won't be able
to own property, receive government benefits, get medical attention, conduct
bank or credit card transactions, etc. Without it, you can't do anything!
Your life will be completely controlled by the device if the Clinton Administration
adopts the Postal Service proposal. (The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor,
August 1994, page 9)
recent article in the Digital Media (5/94), which was entitled "Ever Feel
You're Being Watched? You Will." stated, "There won't be anything you
do in business that won't be collected and analyzed by the government.
This National Information infrastructure is a better surveillance mechanism
than Orwell or the government could have imagined. This thing is so pervasive
and the propensity to connect it is so great that it is unstoppable."
The writer was William Murray, an information system security consultant
to Deloitte and Touche (May 1994).
the US Military is issuing a card reported to be a National ID prototype.
Of all possible names to use, the military chose a Biblical one: "Marc"
(Multi-Technology Automated Reader Card).
McAlvany described this card, "The MARC Card and its IC chip will be used
by DOD to manage all medical information on all US military personnel
worldwide. It will store all personal information on each carrier, all
legal information, all family information, and all personal data (i.e.,
educational background, police record, religious background - everything
you would expect to be on a highly detailed job resume.)"
SmartCard is just the beginning. The implantable bio-chip is already highly
developed. A type of this bio-chip has been used as an animal identification
for a number of years. Now the biochip is being proposed for human use.
An article in the Los Angeles Times Business Section (August 17, 1994)
recently reported this fact with the following headline, "Giving Surgical
Implants ID's." "The information on the chip would also be recorded on
a computer-linked global registry."
article appeared in The Washington Times (October 11, 1993) that was entitled,
"High-Tech National Tattoo." The author stated: "You see, there is an
identification system made by Hughes Aircraft Company that you can't lose.
It's the syringe implantable transponder. According to promotional literature
it is an 'ingenious, safe, inexpensive, foolproof and permanent method
of... identification using radio waves. A tiny microchip, the size of
a grain of rice, is simply placed under the skin. It is so designed as
to be injected simultaneously with a vaccination or alone.'
does it work? Well, the chip contains a ten-character alphanumeric identification
code that is never duplicated. When a scanner is passed over the chip,
the scanner emits a 'beep' and your... number flashes in the scanner's
digital display." "[It's] sort of like a technological tattoo, and far
more efficacious than the numbers that the Nazis marked indelibly on the
inner forearms of concentration camp prisoners." "True, an implanted transponder
can't yet hold anywhere near as much material as a SmartCard. But if the
desire is there, larger size implants and tiny microchips could soon increase
its data storage capacity."
Willard, managing editor of a bi-monthly magazine "Futurist" and also
executive officer of Washington-based World Future Society (claiming 27,000
members) gave some incredible infor-mation. He spoke of a biochip with
these words, "The technology be-hind.such a biochip implant is fairly.un-complicated
and with a little.refinement, could be used in a variety of human applications.
Con-ceivably, a number could be assigned at birth and follow that person
throughout life. Most likely, it would be implanted on the back of right
or left hand so that it would be easy to scan at stores. Then you would
simply scan your hand to auto-matically debit your banking account."
Willard added, "The bio-chip implant could also be used as a universal
type of identification card that would replace all credit cards, passports
and that sort of thing. It could also become our medical care ID chip.
It could even replace house and car keys someday."
company, Sematech, claims it has invented a biochip that is 1/200th the
size of a strand of hair. This company is the largest employer in the
States, and a maker of the components for advanced weapon systems used
in the Gulf War. This article (January 25, 1993) stated, "the consortium
announced that it had de-monstrated the ability to manufacture integrated
circuits with electronic device widths of 0.35 microns. And it did so
using only American-made tools. To reach this achievement, Sematech has
spent $1 billion since its inception five years ago. Half was invested
by a handful of private corporations that represent 75 percent of semiconductor
manufacturing in the US. The other half was paid by the federal government
through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which has a $1.5
billion budget to sponsor research by universities and national laboratories."
FOR WORLD CONTROL
technology that could control all the world's population has never been
available before. Only in the twentieth century has it been possible to
fulfill the words of John in Revelation that "no man might buy or sell,
save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his
name." (Rev 13:17) Only the incredible capacities of super-fast computers,
integrated circuits, scanners, satellites circling the earth with minute
reading abilities, and other advanced technologies could render this plan
operational. Today, the technology is practically ready and waiting. It
wants only the concerted efforts of a minority ruling elite to set things
in motion and take the reins of World Government.
- A MODEL OF GODLY WISDOM?
Rev. Stephen Sizer
several occasions recently the story of Gamaliel, found in the Acts of
the Apostles, has been advocated by some Christian leaders as a precedent
for how we should respond to theological controversy. "Wait and see the
fruit" we are told. This article is an attempt to evaluate whether indeed
Gamaliel is a model of godly wisdom.
Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather
than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged
on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and
a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost,
whom God hath given to them that obey him.
they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay
them. Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel,
a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded
to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of
Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these
men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody;
to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was
slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to
nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing,
and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as
many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from
these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of
men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow
it; lest haply ye be found even to fight ag! ainst God.
to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten
them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus,
and let them go."
the surface, Gamaliel's advice appears both wise and respectful. In fact
there are two fundamental reasons quite evident from the text why we should
draw the opposite conclusion. Gamaliel is not a model of godly wisdom,
but to the contrary, I believe both he and the Sanhedrin were deceived.
This is evident from what he instructed the Sanhedrin to do with the Apostles
and what they should believe about the Gospel.
What should they do with the Apostles?
did Gamaliel tell his fellow Pharisees to do? "I advise you: Leave these
men alone!" (Acts 5:38).
its immediate context Gamaliel was counselling caution against making
a hasty decision. He appears tolerant for he recognises the possibility
that the Apostles might be divinely inspired. However, ask yourself, would
the Holy Spirit tell someone to "leave the Apostles alone"? No, the Spirit
of God convicts of sin, righteous and judgement. He points people to Jesus.
He challenges people to follow Jesus. He commands people to repent and
believe the Gospel proclaimed by the Apostles. Gamaliel had sufficient
knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures to know what they taught about
the Messiah; he very likely had personal experience of Jesus' life, teaching
and miracles; he would have participated in the decision to crucify Christ;
he had just heard the Gospel proclaimed by the Apostles, men he knew were
simple fishermen, yet powerfully anointed by God's Spirit. Gamaliel had
sufficient information to make a decision to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ
his Messiah, but he refused.
stand he took and the position he advocated was not neutral. This becomes
patently obvious from the way they later treated the Apostles:
speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged.
Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them
go." (Acts 5:40) Yes, the Sanhedrin did let the Apostles go, but they
had them flogged (because they considered them guilty of a crime?) and
commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus (because they recognised
the Apostles believed Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God). Would
the Holy Spirit forbid the Apostles from speaking in the name of Jesus?
actions of the Sanhedrin, and Gamaliel in particular, were inspired not
by the Holy Spirit but Satan. Their actions are not a model of godly wisdom.
And neither was their logic.
What they should believe about the Gospel?
advise you: Leave these men alone!" (Acts 5:38). Gamaliel came to this
conclusion on the basis of previous encounters with Messianic cult leaders.
His deductions from the demise of Thudas and Judas appear to demonstrate
if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if
it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only
find yourselves fighting against God." (Acts 5:38-39) He concludes that
a genuine work of God will succeed, but a religion of human origin will
fail. Gamaliel's logic is seriously flawed because he allows for only
two possible sources or explanations for these religious movements - Human
or Divine. But there is a third source of which he is ignorant, precisely
because it had most likely inspired him to make this very deduction. The
Scriptures warn of a demonic or Satanic origin to much counterfeit religious
belief and even miraculous phenomena.
Gamaliel's logic we would have to conclude that religions such as Islam,
Buddhism, Hinduism, and modern cults such as the Mormons, Bahai and the
Jehovah Witnesses are all inspired by God because they have not "failed".
Communist persecution of Jehovah Witnesses and Islamic intolerance of
the Bahai faith did not crush them. Indeed many cults are growing at frightening
rates. According to Newsweek there are now over 600 cults in Britain,
350 of which actively proselytise. The criteria for spiritual authenticity
and Divine inspiration is not therefore whether something fails or survives
over time, not even the character of its advocates, but how its claims
match up to the revealed Word of God. Does it pass the truth test? It
is truth not experience which must be the criteria for discerning a work
therefore is not a model of godly wisdom, which Christians should emulate.
His counsel, both in terms of what he advised the Sanhedrin to do and
to believe, was seriously flawed and most likely inspired by Satan. As
in the case of Job, God in his mercy and sovereign purposes would not
allow the Apostles to suffer martyrdom on this occasion because their
mission was not yet finished.
apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy
of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts
and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the
good news that Jesus is the Christ." (Acts 5:41-42)
God give us the grace to witness with a similar boldness in the face of
(c) 1994 Stephen Sizer . For more information about a series of short
articles, and helpful scriptural expositions, write to Rev S. Sizer, Stoke
Rectory, 2, Josephs Road, Guildford GU1 1DW, enclosing a S.A.E.
STARTREK VERSION of TORONTO BLESSING
Episode: "The Game"
What we can learn from non-Christian wisdom.
The Next Generation" is a popular TV series, and follows in the footsteps
of the hugely successful original Star Trek. While the former Star Trek
was a routine formula of goodies versus baddies with obligatory shoot-em-up
at the end, the Next Generation has adopted the politically-correct sentimentality
of the new age and rarely allows its characters even to raise their voices
at the numerous aliens they encounter as they "boldly go" where "no ONE"
has gone before. [note the change from no MAN]
Christians will have noticed the various allusions to ethnic and religious
groupings, and from this will have been able to work out just what new-age
propaganda is being fed to the watching public week by week. However,on
Wednesday 25th January the writers provided us with a genuinely helpful
allegory of present events. Indeed, it was more profound than any Christian
sermon on this subject!
me relate the story, and no doubt many of you will grasp the meaning.
begin with a race of aliens wanting to capture the Starship. Their weapons
were inferior to those of the Federation. So they isolated one of the
crew, Lt. Riker, while he was enjoying some time on leave, and an attractive
alien woman got him hooked on a very pleasurable electronic mind-game.
This game seemed perfectly harmless, and the reward for scoring was an
intense boost to the pleasure centres of the brain. Naturally, that made
it highly addictive.
the game was a matter of "letting go" the conscious mind, and yielding
to the gameplay. All you needed to do was to relax and let the game play
itself. The pleasure obtained from reaching higher and higher levels of
the game was immense and could not be resisted.
returned to his duties with a new evangelical zeal. He wanted everyone
to try his new game, and everyone who tried it was also hooked. He replicated
and handed out headsets, and pretty soon most of the crew were walking
around like zombies with silly smiles on their faces.
anyone who has not yet cottoned on - Riker and all the crew got zapped
by the "Toronto Blessing"]
over the Starship, everyone was zealously playing the game. If you refused
to play, you became a social outcast. The game became the crew's one and
only abiding passion.
they didn't know was that, along with the game, went a hidden mental programming
that was working in the innermost recesses of their brains. And it was
causing the crew to defect to the aliens. Gradually, all the crew changed
their allegiance and began working towards a rendezvous with the alien
they could succeed, they had to eliminate two threats - one was Data,
the Android. He, being without feelings, was not susceptible to the game
and therefore remained mentally alert. Trusted members of the crew lured
him to sickbay and there cut his neural cords, rendering him comatose.
second threat was the one member of the crew who had worked out the real
nature of the insidious game. This was a young engineer called Wesley!
Even Wesley's own mother tried to force him to submit, but by various
ruses he resisted. Wesley took his fears to the Captain of the ship, who
promised to take action. Little did Wesley know - the Captain was also
hooked on the deadly game!
Wesley was captured, and forced by his own mother to put on the game headset.
He yielded to the game. The aliens prepared to dock with the Starship,
welcomed by Captain Picard and all the crew. They made arrangements to
join forces and to hand out game headsets to a wider audience - reaching
to Federation headquarters itself. Was the human race overpowered? Was
Enter Data, the Android. Wesley had managed to reassemble him before succumbing
to the game. Data pointed a hand-held device at all the crew members of
the Bridge, which sent out a strong beam of LIGHT. [note: Jesus is our
Light, and brings the illumination of Truth to the mind of man. It is
Gods' truth applied to the mind that sets us free]
The light contained a program that reversed the game's mental effects,
and returned the crew to normal. Everyone who saw the light was saved.
Phew, another threat to the human race averted. The aliens were thwarted
and retreated in great haste. End of story.
it is superfluous to explain this little parable - but for the sake of
those who have missed its importance, I will say that it reminded me strongly
of the current advance of the Toronto Experience, the way it is passed
on, its addictive nature, the aggressive treatment of any who refuse to
"yield" to it, and even the underlying threat of a secret programming
that is taking place to realign Christians to another Plan and another
is only those who see clearly, who think independently and who refuse
to yield to mindless pleasure who remain alert enough to resist this deception.
PAPYRUS THREATENS LIBERAL THEORIES
small scraps of the Gospel of Matthew written on papyrus may destroy liberal
views on the New Testament, views which have been held for more than a
hundred years. German papyrologist Carsten Thiede dates these three small
fragments at 75-100 AD, about 100 years earlier than liberal scholars
say that the Book of Matthew was written. Thiede has concluded that the
Gospel of Matthew must be an eyewitness account of the life of Christ.
If so, that would destroy the popular, but unsubstantiated, Q documentary
is currently a scholar at the Institute for Basic Epistemological Research
in Germany. His article on these three small scraps and their significance
will appear in the German "Journal for Papyrology and Epigraphics." The
scraps are from a page of what was once a papyrus copy of the Gospel of
Matthew, and they are currently in the Magdalen College's library at Oxford
University. They were given to the library in 1909 by an former student
of the college who acquired them in Upper Egypt near Luxor.
scraps had earlier been studied and dated at ca. 200 AD, but Thiede argues
that the style and script used to write these papyrus fragments clearly
dates them in the last quarter of the First Century AD Thiede told "The
Times", "Even a hesitant approach to the questions of dating would...seem
to justify a date in the first century about a hundred years earlier than
was previously thought." Thiede went on to say that the dating of these
three small fragments to 75-100 AD "would mean that the original Gospel
would be earlier still, since these are copies."
Thiede's discovery, the oldest copy of any New Testament book was thought
to be a fragment of John 18 which has been dated in the first quarter
of the second century AD [100-125]
fragments are part of Matthew 26, the story of Christ's resurrection.
Thiede has made another discovery in these fragments which if correct
will destroy another old liberal theory. Many liberal scholars have argued
that the belief in the deity of Christ was not developed by Christians
until long after the death of Christ - the late second century, or even
the early fourth century.
argues that these papyrus fragments from Matthew 26 prove that first-century
Christians believed not only in the resurrection of Christ but also in
His deity. Thiede says the name of Christ is abbreviated in these fragments
just like Jews used to abbreviate the name of God in the Old Testament.
dating of these three papyrus fragments has already come under fire by
liberal scholars. Peter J. Parsons, professor of Religion and Greek at
Oxford University, called Thiede's dating "sloppy" and said that his conclusions
were based on "wrong assumptions." Thiede however, an expert in Greek
palaeography, maintains that his dating is correct.
Thiede's dating proves true, it will sweep away as chaff over 100 years
of liberal scholarship on the New Testament. One article in "The Times"
calls Thiede's discovery the most important discovery dealing with the
Bible since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.
all early Christian writers state that the Gospel of Matthew was the first
Gospel written, and that it was originally written in Hebrew by Matthew
for Jewish believers. For those of our readers who are scholars of New
Testament Greek, the Nestle-Aland text lists these three fragments as
on articles from The Times, Reuters, and the Associated Press.]
The Institute for Biblical Archaeology Newsletter, Jan-Mar 1995. To subscribe,
contact IBA Newsletter, 2175, Bicentennial Court, New Brighton, MN 55112,
USA The IBA only reviews news items and articles and does not vouch for
EARTH SUMMIT TO HEAVEN SUMMIT
report on the interfaith environmental effort to save the planet,
the Worldwide Fund For Nature newsletter.
heard of the Earth Summit - here comes the Heaven Summit! In April/May
1995, leaders of nine of the world's major religions will gather at Windsor
Castle with leading environmentalists. Their purpose is to survey what
the main faiths have done for the natural world in the last nine years,
and to plan what they will do in the coming nine years.
all began in 1989, when WWF invited leaders of five religions (Buddhism,
Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism) to Assisi in Italy to see how
the teachings and practises of the faiths could help save the planet.
Since then, three other faiths have joined - the Bahai's, the Sikhs and
the Jains. One more will be joining at the Summit - Taoism.
faith has developed its own way of tackling the environmental crisis through
education and specific projects. Through such faith-based initiatives,
the environmental message has reached millions who would not hear it otherwise.
The United Nations estimates that the religious conservation network established
by WWF has reached more people than any other initiative.
the faiths are coming together to the UK to take stock; to plan the next
stage; to listen to eachother's experiences.
NOTE: The Charismatic environmental plan is the "Whose Earth" campaign,
a Spring Harvest initiative in association with Tear Fund.
paper entitled "Shalom, a biblical understanding of God's plan for making
peace with his planet" says that "the effect of the restoration is universal
and eternal" and that "since sin has affected the whole planet, our salvation
must also affect the whole planet".
Seaton, author of "Whose Earth" [Crossway Books 1992], condemns the "eschatological
gloom" of believing in judgement, and deliverance out of this planet.
This restricts evangelism"to rescuing people out of this world rather
than bringing wholeness within it." (P.100) The classic Christian belief
in going to heaven is wrong, he says. Instead John in Revelation saw that
heaven was to be firmly located in the transformed physical universe.
Thus, Christians are to apply their God-given dominion mandate to both
mankind and the creation in order to restore harmony and the "shalom"
two judgements of God upon the earth are FIRE and FLOOD.
they are used by God to sweep away the wicked. (Gen 19:24/ Ps 90:5)
the Toronto Experience claims both fire and flood as integral parts of
the blessing they are bringing to the Church. They call down the fire,
and boast of the flood of the "river of life" flowing from their renewed
others have had strong impression for the last few years that a tidal
wave of deception is sweeping across this planet. The verse that many
have pointed out is: Isa 59:19 "When the enemy shall come in like a flood,
the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him".
to this testimony from a Vineyard church in Germany:
first Pastor was preaching, when the second Pastor came forwards because
he had to tell "a word of God". So the second Pastor took the microphone
to tell the congregation just three words "THE FLOOD RISES". Then he gave
the microphone back to the first Pastor who then spoke these same words
to the second Pastor, with the effect that the second Pastor was thrown
down as if a bomb was exploding beside him.
power was there, and so the first Pastor went to the first row where the
leaders were sitting, just telling them the very same words "THE FLOOD
RISES" - with the same effect that they were thrown down, "slain in the
spirit". Then he went from row to row, most of the people being "slain
in the spirit", too".
some discerning folk heed the Lord's warning to fortify themselves against
a flood from the enemy, it seems that others treat it like a blessing,
and revel in its power to deceive! What insanity is this?
the night of Wednesday 23rd February, 1994, just before the visible signs
of the Toronto Experience began in this country, I had a striking dream.
first part of the dream was taken up with a struggle, under the leadership
of a Man, to prepare and navigate a small craft in a narrow channel. I
was part of a team; the work was very difficult and dangerous.
was a storm continually blowing, and lots of ordinary people stood around
mocking and jeering. We ignored them, and simply carried on with what
we had to do - although none of us knew precisely what that was, except
that there was a plan in the Man's mind. We seemed to be preparing the
craft for embarkation.
second, and most dramatic and striking part of the dream was when the Man
and our team returned to the house in which we all lived. I suppose we had
finished work for the day. The Man called us all outside and pointed to
the sky. It was like the livid sunset you sometimes get after a storm. He
said, "What do you think of that?"
said, "Good, it looks like the storm has ended, and it's the calm after
he said, surprised that I didn't see it, "it's the calm BEFORE the storm.
Look again". Then I could see what he meant. Underneath the dark lowering
clouds, just above the horizon, there was flame coming down! Not lightning,
but continual sheets of flame, as if from a flame-thrower.
first it came down on a small hillock - the high places - and then other
areas of flame started to come down, this time on the lower land. As the
fire descended and roared across the countryside, the land was burnt up
as in a forest fire.
on the team, sensed that it was the mocking people who were going to be
burnt, but we were also afraid for ourselves, because it was very powerful,
like a thunder-storm, only worse. The fire moved over the countryside
like a fast-moving wall, like a bush fire, only it was travelling at hundreds
of miles an hour!
one wall of fire headed towards us! The Man ushered us all back into the
house, for safety. (The house was just a bungalow made of white-painted
wood - it didn't look very safe!) The fire came directly towards us like
an express train! It burnt all the land as it went. I was gripped by the
destructive power of the fire, and that nobody could escape it. I said
"God have mercy", because I was thinking of those people, those who had
mocked and jeered at us - they were outside the house.
we went inside the house, and the flame came right over us and passed
on, not touching the house. We didn't even feel the house shudder. It
was completely untouched! Now, I believe that firestorm is raging around
us. Just recently, the verse that keeps coming to my mind is this:
26:20 "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors
about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation
was encouraged to believe this is the way the Lord is leading His people,
when I received a letter containing this word: "Storm clouds are gathering...Hide
in the shelter of the Rock, hide in the Rock, my children, everyone of
you hide in the Rock till the storm be past. I will keep my sheep as they
look to Me. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; My Truth will prevail
against the lies of the devil. In the storm there will be lies and deceptions,
a storm of deceptions will come against the Word of Truth. You will be
set free; put on my armour. Many will speak against you falsely for my
Name's sake, but keep short accounts. Speak my word without fear or favour;
many are being deceived. Look not to the world or world system; do not
look to man, for vain is the help of man. Look to Me; I will keep you
on that solid Rock of My Son. Under my feathers, under my wings shall
you be safe, until the storm be past". (FG. Bristol 12.1.1995)
afterwards, I was sent a verse of scripture torn from a calendar block.
It was: "In the shadow of His hand hath he hid me" Is 49:2.
IN THE ROCK
then, I have discovered many other verses that call upon the Lord's believing
people to hide themselves in the Rock, the Lord Jesus. As to what that
means, it is an individual call to each one, and each one must pray about
how to respond - yet the scriptures speak only of the Lord as our shelter
and shield. There is no human being, no organisation or church, no system
of belief or ministry that is adequate to shelter God's people during
this storm. My advice is - flee to the Rock!