Jehovah’s Witnesses: A History Of Failed Prophecies And Deception
Jehovah’s Witnesses trace their origins to the nineteenth century Adventist movement in America. That movement began with William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843
Jehovah’s Witnesses trace their origins to the 19th century Adventist movement in America. That movement began with William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843
Unlike the bible which never changes, the doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has changed markedly over time as the things that they have predicted to come true…haven’t. In 1920, they published a book called “Millions Now Living Will Never Die“. Well, nearly all of those people are now dead. Do they admit their false prophecy? Of course not.
“And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26 (KJV)
Instead, they simply republish the book with the title of “Millions Now Dead Will Live Again“. (Watchtower, May 1, 1990). This is what is known in the used car business as a cover up. Or a lie. Take your pick.
“The deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914″– Charles Taze Russell
How the Jehovah’s Witnesses got started
Jehovah’s Witnesses trace their origins to the nineteenth century Adventist movement in America. That movement began with William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843. His predictions of the Second Coming or Second Advent captured the imagination of thousands in Baptist and other mainline churches. Perhaps as many as 50,000 followers put their trust in Miller’s chronological calculations and prepared to welcome the Lord, while, as the appointed time approached, others watched nervously from a distance. Recalculations moved the promised second advent from March, 1843 to March, 1844, and then to October of that year. Alas, that date too passed uneventfully.
What Jehovah’s Witnesses Actually Believe:
After the “Disappointment of 1844” Miller’s following fell apart, with most of those who had looked to him returning to their respective churches before his death in 1849. But other disappointed followers kept the movement alive, although in fragmented form. Their activities eventually led to the formation of several sects under the broad heading of “Adventism” including the Advent Christian Church, the Life and Advent Union, the Seventh-Day Adventists, and various Second Adventist groups. An interesting side-note: The Branch Davidians who died at Waco, Texas, under the leadership of David Koresh also trace their roots to the same Millerite source through a different line of descent. In 1935 the Seventh Day Adventist Church expelled a Bulgarian immigrant named Victor Houteff, who had begun teaching his own views on certain passages of the Revelation or Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible. Houteff set up shop on the property at Waco.
After first referring to his tiny new sect as The Shepherd’s Rod, Houteff and his people in 1942 incorporated and renamed themselves Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. Houteff died in 1955, and in 1961 his wife Florence officially disbanded the sect, but a few followers under the leadership of west Texas businessman Benjamin Roden took over the real estate. Roden died in 1978, leaving behind his wife Lois and his son George to lead the group. Then, in 1987, David Koresh took over the leadership position, and the tragedy that followed is public knowledge. Jehovah’s Witnesses, likewise, trace their roots back to the Adventists. But they do not often admit this to outsiders; nor do many Witnesses know the details themselves. JWs are accustomed to defending themselves against the charge that they are a new religious cult. They will often respond that theirs is the most ancient religious group, older than Catholic and Protestant churches. In fact, their book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose asserts that “Jehovah’s witnesses have a history almost 6,000 years long, beginning while the first man, Adam, was still alive,” that Adam’s son Abel was “the first of an unbroken line of Witnesses,” and that “Jesus’ disciples were all Jehovah’s witnesses [sic] too.” (pp. 8-9) An outsider listening to such claims quickly realizes, of course, that the sect has simply appropriated unto itself all the characters named in the Bible as faithful witnesses of God. By such extrapolation the denomination is able to stretch its history back to the beginnings of the human family-at least in the eyes of adherents who are willing to accept such arguments. But outside observers generally dismiss this sort of rhetoric and instead reckon the Witnesses as dating back only to Charles Taze Russell, who was born on February 16, 1852, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
5 Facts Jehovah’s Witnesses Don’t Want You to Know:
Originally raised a Presbyterian, Russell was 16 years old and a member of the Congregational church in the year 1868, when he found himself losing faith. He had begun to doubt not only church creeds and doctrines, but also God and the Bible itself. At this critical juncture a chance encounter restored his faith and placed him under the influence of Second Adventist preacher Jonas Wendell. For some years after that Russell continued to study Scripture with and under the influence of various Adventist laymen and clergy, notably Advent Christian Church minister George Stetson and the Bible Examiner’s publisher George Storrs. He met locally on a regular basis with a small circle of friends to discuss the Bible, and this informal study group came to regard him as their leader or pastor. In January, 1876, when he was 23 years old, Russell received a copy of The Herald of the Morning, an Adventist magazine published by Nelson H. Barbour of Rochester, New York. One of the distinguishing features of Barbour’s group at that time was their belief that Christ returned invisibly in 1874, and this concept presented in The Herald captured Russell’s attention.
It meant that this Adventist splinter group had not remained defeated, as others had, when Christ failed to appear in 1874 as Adventist leaders had predicted; somehow this small group had managed to hold onto the date by affirming that the Lord had indeed returned at the appointed time, only invisibly. Was this mere wishful thinking, coupled with a stubborn refusal to admit the error of failed chronological calculations? Perhaps, but Barbour had some arguments to offer in support of his assertions. In particular, he came up with a basis for reinterpreting the Second Coming as an invisible event: In Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott translation of the New Testament the word rendered coming in the King James Version at Matthew 24:27, 37, 39 is translated presence instead. This served as the basis for Barbour’s group to advocate, in addition to their time calculations, an invisible presence of Christ. Although the idea appealed to young Charles Taze Russell, the reading public apparently refused to ‘buy’ the story of an invisible Second Coming, with the result that N. H. Barbour’s publication The Herald of the Morning was failing financially.
In the summer of 1876 wealthy Russell paid Barbour’s way to Philadelphia and met with him to discuss both beliefs and finances. The upshot was that Russell became the magazine’s financial backer and was added to the masthead as an Assistant Editor. He contributed articles for publication as well as monetary gifts, and Russell’s small study group similarly became affiliated with Barbour’s. Russell and Barbour believed and taught that Christ’s invisible return in 1874 would be followed soon afterward, in the spring of 1878 to be exact, by the Rapture-the bodily snatching away of believers to heaven. When this expected Rapture failed to occur on time in 1878, The Herald’s editor, Mr. Barbour, came up with “new light” on this and other doctrines. Russell, however, rejected some of the new ideas and persuaded other members to oppose them. Finally, Russell quit the staff of the Adventist magazine and started his own. He called it Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence and published its first issue with the date July, 1879. In the beginning it had the same mailing list as The Herald of the Morning and considerable space was devoted to refuting the latter on points of disagreement, Russell having taken with him a copy of that magazine’s mailing list when he resigned as assistant editor. At this point Charles Russell no longer wanted to consider himself an Adventist, nor a Millerite. But, he continued to view Miller and Barbour as instruments chosen by God to lead His people in the past. The formation of a distinct denomination around Russell was a gradual development.
False teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses:
- On the nature of God. They deny the triune nature of God and teaches that such a belief is inspired by Satan and teaches that Jehovah, the name of the one true God, corresponds only to God the Father. JWs also deny that Jesus is God (see next point). They deny the Holy Spirit is a person, and instead teach he is merely God’s active force, similar to electricity.
- On the deity of Jesus Christ. The JW’s that Jesus is a created being who existed as Michael the archangel before being born as a perfect man. JWs believe that after Jesus was buried, God disposed of his physical body. He was raised a spiritual creature and “materialized” to make himself visible. Now in heaven he is once again known as Michael the archangel.
- On salvation. The JW’s teach that only an elite group of Witnesses, known as “the 144,000,” or the “anointed ones” are presently credited with Christ’s righteousness. Only the 144,000 are born again and expect to reign with Christ in heaven. For the vast majority of remaining JWs, known as the “other sheep” or the “great crowd,” the atoning sacrifice of Christ only provides a chance at eternal life on earth. This is interesting because in the bible, the 144,000 are all males, all Jewish, and all from the nation of Israel. This is very much in contrast to the JW teaching on the 144,000.
- On Hell and eternal punishment. Jehovah’s Witness denies eternal punishment and teaches that the soul cannot exist apart from the body. JWs believe that death ends all conscious existence. Hell refers to the grave and those who are ultimately judged by God will be annihilated and simply cease to exist.
- On the Bible. Jehovah’s Witness teaches that the Bible can only be interpreted by the Watchtower Society and no individual can learn the truth apart from them.
Failed prophecies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses:
Jehovah’s Witness leaders for over 100 years have claimed to be God’s only living “prophet” on the face of the earth. However, if one looks at their record, the documented evidence proves they are what Jesus described as “false prophets!” Most Jehovah’s Witneses have no clue about the true history of their organization. The false prophecies that we will list here are barely 10% of the total of false prophecies they have made since 1877.
- 1877 ‘The End Of This World; that is the end of the gospel and the beginning of the millennial age is nearer than most men suppose; indeed we have already entered the transition period, which is to be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation Dan. 12:3.” (N.H. Barbour and C.T. Russell, Three Worlds, and the Harvest of This World, p. 17).
- 1879 “Christ came in the character of a Bridegroom in 1874…. at the beginning of the Gospel harvest.” (Watchtower, Oct 1879, p. 4)
- 1880 “We need not here repeat the evidences that the “seventh trump” began its sounding A.D., 1840, and will continue until the end of the time of trouble, and the end of “The times of the Gentiles,” A.D., 1914, and that it is the trouble of this “Great day,” which is here symbolically called the voice of the Archangel when he begins the deliverance of fleshly Israel. “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince (Archangel) which standeth for the children of thy people and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” Dan. xii. 1. Nor will we here, again present the conclusive Bible proof that our Lord came for his Bride in 1874, and has an unseen work as Reaper of the first-fruits of this Gospel Age. (Zion’s Watchtower November, 1880 p. 1)
- 1886 “The outlook at the opening of the New Year has some very encouraging features. The outward evidences are that the marshaling of the hosts for the battle of the great day of God Almighty, is in progress while the skirmishing is commencing. … The time is come for Messiah to take the dominion of earth and to overthrow the oppressors and corrupters of the earth, (Rev. 19:15 and 11:17, 18) preparatory to the establishment of everlasting peace upon the only firm foundation of righteousness and truth.” (Zion’s Watchtower, January, 1886;Watchtower reprints I, p. 817)
- 1889 “Remember that the forty years’ Jewish Harvest ended October A.D. 69, and was followed by the complete overthrow of that nation; and that likewise the forty years of the Gospel age harvest will end October, 1914, and that likewise the overthrow of ‘Christendom,’ so-called, must be expected to immediately follow.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 245)
- 1908 “True, it is expecting great things to claim, as we do, that within the coming twenty-six years all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved” (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1908 ed.; p. 99)
- 1914 “While it’s possible that Armageddon may begin next Spring, yet this purely speculation to attempt to say just when. We see, however, that there are parallels between the close of the Jewish age and this Gospel age. These parallels seem to point to the year just before us part particularly the early months.” (Watchtower Reprints, VI, Sept 1, 1914, p. 5527)
- 1917 “And the mountains were not found. Even the republics will disappear in the fall of 1920. And the mountains were not found. Every kingdom of earth will pass away, be swallowed up in anarchy.” (The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 258)
- 1918 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection.” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89)
- 1925 “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year.” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3
Can YOU trust an organization with a 100% FAILURE rate?
As Dying Serial Killer Charles Manson Waits For The Flames Of Hell, Could You Pray For His Salvation?
Charles Manson is a sinner, the worst of the worst, and guess what? Jesus shed His blood on the cross at Calvary for him, too.
Eight-months-pregnant Sharon Tate, who, despite pleading for the life of her unborn child, was mercilessly stabbed in the stomach by Susan Atkins. Kasabian told of Atkins’s chilling words to Tate before she stabbed her: “Look, b***h, I have no mercy for you.
Charles Manson is in the hospital and, as one source familiar with his situation tells TMZ, “it’s not going to get any better for him.” We’re told Manson was rushed to a Bakersfield hospital 3 days ago, and has been wheeled around on a gurney for various treatments … escorted by 5 uniformed cops.
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:24 (KJV)
We’re told the 83-year-old Manson, who lays still covered in blankets, looks ashen. Our sources say Manson’s health has been steadily deteriorating and, as it was put to us, “It’s just a matter of time.”
Hmm, this is a tough one, isn’t it? Most Christians would agree that Jesus Christ died to “save sinners”, but we have a funny habit of picking and choosing whom we think should be allowed to be saved. Don’t we? Could you pray for Charles Manson, who is right now on his deathbed, to get saved before he leaves this Earth and slips into the fiery flames of Hell?
Let’s pause for a moment and remember some of the horrific crimes of the Manson Family cult.
- The Manson Family — including Charles Manson and his young, loyal disciples — is thought to have carried out some 35 killings. Most of their cases were never tried, either for lack of evidence or because the perpetrators were already sentenced to life for the Tate/La Bianca killings.
- The first of Manson’s victims were murdered on August 9, 1969, at the home Roman Polanski had rented, located at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, an area just north of Beverly Hills. While Manson himself took no part in the actual killings, he directed four of his most obedient followers — Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian — to the address and directed them to kill everyone.
- Eight-months-pregnant Sharon Tate, who, despite pleading for the life of her unborn child, was mercilessly stabbed in the stomach by Susan Atkins. Kasabian told of Atkins’s chilling words to Tate before she stabbed her: “Look, b***h, I have no mercy for you. You’re going to die, and you’d better get used to it.” Atkins then used Tate’s blood to write the word “pig” on the front door. Instead of this brutal massacre sating the pathological Manson, he instead criticized the murderers for being sloppy. source
I could go on, there’s a lot more, but I think you get the idea. Charles Manson is a bad person, a really, really, really bad person. And all these decades later he has shown little if any remorse for what he did and inspired others to do. But Manson is one of the people Jesus died to save.
Charles Manson is a sinner, the worst of the worst, and guess what? Jesus shed His blood on the cross at Calvary for him, too.
If you have ever read in the Bible about what Hell is really like, and how it never ends, and how the people who wind up there never get out, you wouldn’t want anyone to go there. Not Adolf Hitler, not murders, rapists or even pedophiles.
“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:11 (KJV)
“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Luke 16:23,24 (KJV)
“Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.” Isaiah 5:14 (KJV)
It might shock you to know that when God looks at sin, He sees it the way you and I see Charles Manson. It’s ugly, it’s disgusting, it is trash that needs to be burned. It also might shock you to know that God puts little if any difference between the sin of Charles Manson, and your sin.
The rich man in Luke 16 was not a killer, rapist or otherwise criminal in nature as far as I can tell. He was probably well-liked by his friends and had standing in the community. But he died apart from the saving grace of God, and when that happens, Hell is your destination. If Charles Manson dies unsaved, he will absolutely go to Hell, and there he will see the rich man from Luke, and a whole lot of other “good people” who died with no one to pay for their sins.
The mark of true Christianity is not and never has been how much Bible you can quote, how often you attend Church, or what Bible you use. True Christianity is displayed when you have compassion for the lost and dying who are headed for Hell, and you tell them about new life in Jesus Christ.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJV)
UPDATE: Just days after this article was published, Charles Manson died
So, what kind of “christian” are you really? Can you pray for Charles Manson to get saved? Can you pray for the salvation of someone who has hurt you, used you, lied about you? Can you hand out gospel tracts in your hometown to warn the lost, even though people you know might make fun of you?
“And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Jude 1:22,23 (KJV)
Jesus Christ died for the worst of the worst, we call these people sinners. We are all equally guilty before God. Can you pray for Charles Manson right now to get saved and be spared the punishment of Hell that he so rightly deserves? Remember, if he does get saved, he will be in Heaven with me and you. Can you still pray for his salvation?
Now you know what type of Christian you are.
Was End Times Deceiver Kenneth Hagin Possessed By The Devil? Watch This Video Of ‘Holy Laughter’ And Being ‘Drunk In The Spirit’ And Decide For Yourself
Kenneth Hagin died on September 19,2003. Where his soul is now is anyone’s guess. As a case in point, please watch as much of this video as you can stand to absorb which shows a typical “church” service at Hagin’s House of Rhema church.
At the 8:00 mark, Kenneth Hagin actually starts speaking in complete sentences, but when he does nothing but lies and heresy proceed out of his mouth.
Nearly any Charismatic will tell you that Pastor Kenneth Hagin was a “good preacher”, and that the “anointing” was upon him and his ministry. He is considered by many to be a father of the “Word of Faith” and “Positive Confession” movements, otherwise known as “name it and claim it.” Bible believers, on the other hand, contend that he was a demon-possessed charismaniac preaching a false gospel and fleecing his flock. Kenneth Hagin died on September 19, 2003.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” 1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV)
Where his soul resides now is anyone’s guess. As a case in point, please watch as much of this video as you can stand to absorb which shows what a typical “church” service at Hagin’s House of Rhema church was like. At the 8:00 mark, he actually starts speaking in complete sentences, but when he does nothing but lies and heresy proceed out of his mouth.
Watch these services that have ‘holy laughter’, and you tell me if it’s from God or the Devil:
Even more disturbing, as Hagin wanders amongst his flock, he is shadowed by 3 or 4 hulking bodyguards. What purpose they might serve is beyond me. All through the video, demonic cackles and chilling laughter is emitted from people sitting in the seats. Amount of Bible he has to validate the truthfulness of his message? Zero. His entire service looks like it could have come from the mind of Wes Craven.
“Run!” Carter Conlon Times Square Church New York City:
After listening to the demonic vocal flatulence of what Kenneth Hagin calls preaching, cleanse your mind and soul with the stirring words preached by Carter Conlon at the Times Square Church in New York City, the first Sunday after 9/11.
If you are in either Kenneth Hagin’s church or any other church that conducts their worship service in this manner, you need to first RUN as fast and you can from it and then REPENT of this horrifically false teaching. The only “anointing” that Kenneth Hagin had was the anointing of his father, the Devil.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV)
Sadly, false doctrines and teachings like what you see here live on today in the heart of the modern Charismatic movement. It is not biblical, it is not from the Holy Spirit, and it is part of the end times prophecy of the great end times “falling away” prophesied in the Bible.
The Doctrines And Origins Of The Hebrew Roots Movement Cult That You Should Know About
The Hebrew Roots cult movement usually hides their beliefs and presents itself as simply seeking to educate Christians concerning their “Jewish heritage.” But nothing could be further from the truth.
The issue of how to treat the gentile believers is not a new question in our day, the Apostles themselves dealt with this issue on more than one occasion
In 1995, I purchased a Star of David which I have worn ever since, because I believe that the the follower of Jesus Christ has their roots smack dab in the middle of Israel and the Jewish people. You will do well to note that when Jesus started His Church, there were no gentile believers or converts. Every single one of them was a Jew.
“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29 (KJV)
As a result, I have a deep and abiding love for the Jewish people, and for the only piece of ground on this earth that God has ever called holy, and that is the literal, physical nation of Israel. This should be the mindset of every true follower of Jesus.
I shall build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it
Jesus came to this earth as the promised Messiah to the Jews. and in accordance with the Hebrew prophets, He was rejected and put to death. Speaking of the coming Messiah, the prophet Isaiah said this:
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5 (KJV)
So when He was rejected, and in accordance with Bible prophecy, He turned to the gentiles…and the gentiles received His word with gladness. Thus was born the Church, made up of both Jewish and Gentile believers, following not the Law of Moses, but rather the teaching of Jesus. Because of their rejection, God hit the “pause button” on the Jews, and did not allow the final week of Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks to continue. Paul talks about this mystery in the book of Romans where he says this:
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” Romans 11:11 (KJV)
Paul further goes on to say that the day would come when God would once again turn His full attention back to Israel, and redeem them:
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” Romans 11:25,26 (KJV)
These are the true roots of Christianity and the Christian’s relationship to the Jew. But there are those who seek to pervert that relationship, and add layers of law and works to it where none exists in the Scriptures. This new movement is called Hebrew Roots, and while it uses words and phrases from the bible and Jewish culture, there is nothing either Jewish or Christian about this group as you will see.
Why haven’t I heard about the Hebrew Roots movement?
As a rule, this spreading wave of false doctrine is not being addressed by the church. This is due to several reasons:
- There is a fear of appearing anti-Semitic
- The depth of the movement’s doctrinal heresies is not generally known
- There is within the church in general a reluctance to address false doctrine
The movement usually hides their beliefs and presents itself as simply seeking to educate Christians concerning their Jewish heritage. As they become acclimated to the Jewish orientation the more aberrant doctrines are slowly introduced.
Some of the warning signs:
- All Christians must adhere to a kosher diet
- The Sabbath can only be observed on Saturdays
- The Jewish festivals and holidays must still be observed today
The root of their symptomatic heresies is hermeneutic (having to do with the methodology used to interpret scripture) in nature. The Protestant Reformers used a grammatical-literal hermeneutic when interpreting scripture. In other words, it means what it says unless there is a significant reason to believe otherwise. This movement uses a grammatical-historical hermeneutic with a twist. Their underlying assumptions when approaching any scripture are:
Whatever God has ever commanded of those who seek Him (i.e., the Jews, their ancestors, their descendants, and Christians) is still in effect today (including the Levitical law) Gentile followers of Christ were “grafted into” the Jews which they interpret to mean that Gentiles must assume Jewish customs if they really want to mature and please God.
Based on those unquestionable assumptions, they then decide how they can best interpret a given scripture to support those beliefs. The farther down this rabbit hole they go, the more bizarre their doctrines become. Many see the New Testament as inferior to the Old (or a conspiracy by the Catholic church). More still say that Paul’s teachings are contrary to Christ (since they have trouble with his obvious statements against their beliefs) and, therefore, reject his epistles as scripture. Some say that the only reason we aren’t still sacrificing animals and stoning people for their sins is because there is no Temple and no Sanhedrin. But when they are restored then these will resume. Others go so far as to eventually reject Jesus as the Messiah and simply say that He was just a Rabbi. The inevitable outcome of following this train of thought is to put people back into bondage to the Law.
The proof is in the Scripture
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” Acts 15:5 (KJV)
The issue of how to treat the gentile believers is not a new question in our day, the Apostles themselves dealt with this issue on more than one occasion. Acts 15 shines ample light on not only the question, but the answer as well. As we read in Acts 15, we see the bible “heavyweights” like Paul and Barnabas called on the carpet along with the rest of the apostles to figure this out. And as with most issues in the church, the whole problem started with a small handful of troublemakers:
“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” Acts 15:1 (KJV)
A few bad apples…
Now, we are not told who these troublemakers are, but it was sufficient to throw a monkeywrench into the whole deal:
“When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.” Acts 15:2 (KJV)
And deal with it they did…“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” Acts 15:7-9 (KJV)
They acknowledged that while a gentile does not become a Jew when believing on the Messiah, the line of division between them no longer exists. From God’s perspective then, there is no difference between a Jewish and Gentile believer in Christ. But they didn’t stop there, they continued on to answer this question in a most resolute and final way.
The Apostles settle this question once and for all
“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” Acts 15:10-12 (KJV)
Peter is so bold that he stuns them all into silence, and uses this time to allow Paul and Barnabas to recount all the awesome ‘miracles and wonders that God had wrought among the Gentiles by them’. Just when you think it can’t get any more intense that it already is, James steps in begins to wrap it up:
“And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” Acts 15:13-18 (KJV)
Then, the knockout blow:
“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” Acts 15:19-21 (KJV)
In an amazing display, James through the Holy Spirit, tells us once and for all what God expects from Gentile believers…and it is not to be placed under the Law of Moses. There exists no evidence in the New Testament that mandates that any Gentile believer observe Jewish holidays, eat kosher foods or worship only on the Sabbath day. What was the reaction from the entire assembled group of elders? They said this:
“Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” Acts 15:24-29 (KJV)
Did you catch that line? Go back and reread the Apostles themselves saying that they never gave any such commandment for Gentiles to be placed under the Law of Moses. Never. Ever. Do you believe the Bible? Don’t take my word for it, look it up and read it for yourself…
The believer in Christ is not called to law, but to freedom in Jesus. And for those who still need further proof, Paul provides it in Galatians 2:
“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:11-16 (KJV)
The roots of Christianity grow deep in Jewish culture, and it is highly recommended that all Christians learn about the Jewish feast days, holy days and other customs. They will only deepen our appreciation and understanding of our common ancestry that we have, Gentiles together with Jews. But to suggest that any Gentile believer who follows Jesus must be placed under Old Testament law is nothing but bondage, and it’s a bondage that the Bible speaks against not only in the verses quoted here, but in many other places as well. Regarding the freedom we have in Christ, let me leave you with this verse from the Master himself:
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 (KJV)
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