Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mass Murderer Suicide George Sodini and False Teacher Rick Knapp

On Necromancy and the Woman of Endor - Anastasios Kioulachoglou

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

On necromancy and the woman of Endor

Because of the belief that the souls are living somewhere in heaven and the dead are conscious, many people have fallen victims to the practice of trying to contact the dead. A whole movement called “spiritualism” is devoted in exactly this. Deuteronomy 18:10-12 tells us how the Lord feels about this practice:

“There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD.”

Necromancy is put in the same category as that of sorcery, practicing divination, burning kids as offerings, fortunetelling (put here also astrology), interpretation of omens, mediums, charmers. As The Word makes clear: “whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord”. Whoever is tempted to supposedly get in contact with the dead or do any similar practices (including astrology and fortunetelling), let him be clear that he practices something that the Lord considers detestable and he will of course bear the respective consequences. Nobody who comes in contact with devil spirits, nobody that opens himself up to the darkness, will get out without devastating consequences. But let’s continue to see some other passages on the matter:

Leviticus 19:31
“"Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”

Leviticus 20:6
“If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.”

Leviticus 20:27
"A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them."

2 Kings 21:6 (speaking about king Manasseh)
“And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.”

It is I believe clear from the above that necromancy, contacting the dead, is not something innocent. It is a detestable sin. Why? Because the one who does this, essentially contacts devil spirits and the occult. There is nothing innocent and real in this. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 (and many other passages) tells us very clearly that:

the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.”

In contrast to the popular belief that wants the “souls” of the dead floating around in heaven and watching over us, and therefore having knowledge and perhaps a share in what happens in our world, the Word of God in no unclear terms tells us that the dead know NOTHING! Imagine if the Church really taught what the Bible teaches on the matter of the dead i.e. that they are sleeping, unconscious, awaiting the resurrection! The devil would have much less ground to deceive many people, even Christians, to get in contact to what supposedly are the spirits of the dead.

The woman of Endor

Towards the end of 1 Samuel we find the incidence of a certain necromancer used by King Saul for divination concerning his last battle with the Philistines. The related record is in 1 Samuel 28. There we read:

1 Samuel 28:3-8
“Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, "Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.""

As soon as Saul had difficulties hearing from the Lord he sought for a medium, a woman with a devil spirit to perform divination for him! He knew that this is abominable to the Lord, for because of this he himself had driven out all mediums (necromancers), from the land. And yet here he is, ready to go and do the detestable to the Lord act of contacting a medium. Really could he expect that God would answer to him through something that he considers disgusting! But let’s continue:

1 Samuel 28: 8-14
“So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you." The woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?" But Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" He said, "Bring up Samuel for me." When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul." The king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth." He said to her, "What is his appearance?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage. ”

We have read earlier that necromancers and their likes are abomination, detestable to the Lord. The same practices (necromancy etc.) were also done by the nations that inhabited the land before Israel. Necromancy has NOTHING to do with the Lord. We have also seen that the dead know nothing and can no longer have part in what is happening under the sun. Behind necromancy is no other than the Devil. He is the father of lies and there is nothing true in him and what he is doing. It was a devil spirit therefore who pretending Samuel, appeared to Saul and passed to him the information that his end was very close:

1 Samuel 28:15-20
“Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Saul answered, "I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do." And Samuel said, "Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy? The LORD has done to you as he spoke by me, for the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. Moreover, the LORD will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The LORD will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines." Then Saul fell at once full length on the ground, filled with fear because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night.”

What the medium told Saul, indeed came to pass. Because of this many have come to assume that it was indeed the dead Samuel who said these things prophesying to Saul. This however cannot be true, unless we are ready to assume that the dead not only are alive and know information (while Ecclesiastes in no unclear terms told us that they know nothing) but also that they are available on request from people who do detestable things to the Lord i.e. we are ready to assume that the devil and his servants are able on request to bring up everybody including such great servants of God as Samuel and have them prophesy! It is obvious that such an assumption is plain folly. They could not possibly do this! Therefore what we have here is clearly a devil spirit pretending to be Samuel. And the information? How could the devil spirit acquire what appears to be right “information”? We cannot know for sure but what the devil spirit said had devastating effects on Saul. Could then it be that what it said became a self-fulfilling prophecy, bringing by itself Saul to the point of total defeat? The devil definitely knew the negative mood in the Israelites camp that they were perhaps fearful, ready to disperse in front of their enemies (1 Samuel 28:5 tells us how terrified Saul felt when he saw the army of the Philistines, which could perhaps be a hint of how the Israelites also felt). To this fact he added making Saul, their king, even more terrified. These two together could be the perfect recipe for a complete defeat. Well, as we said, we cannot know for sure. What we can know for sure though, is that whoever is contacting “the dead” is not actually contacting the dead. Instead he contacts devil spirits, who pretend the dead, with all the horrible consequences that this means, including that by his act is doing something absolutely disgusting to the Lord. Similarly, Saul that day did not speak to the dead Samuel but to a devil spirit that masquerading itself as Samuel.

7 Things You May Not Know About the King James Bible - Translation

Brethren, there is an absurd teaching going around claiming the King James Bible is the only bible. This is truly insane and groundless.  The KJV bible is a wonderful "translation" , but only in the English world could such foolish claims that the KJV is the only bible. There are translations in dozens of different languages and several bibles which are in English are very good.  The New American Standard and NIV being two. One book that should not be read is the Shack. At its heart is is blasphemous.

Do not be deceived and be found worshiping a translation of the bible, and condemning those who Christ died for. He died for all and is not willing that any should perish, but have everlasting life.

7 things you may not know about the King James Bible

For Anne’s friend.
The King James Version of the Bible is a great translation and has helped countless thousands of people to find and know God, to receive his gift of salvation, and to effectively serve him and his people.  The Bible was beautifully written by some of the best scholars of the day, and its reputation as fine literature is deserved.
Some Christians today maintain that the KJV is the superior English translation.  Some Christians and churches are so enamoured with the KJV that they refuse to use, or give credit to, any other Bible.  The stance of these Christians has been referred to as King-James-Onlyism .
The KJV is an excellent English Bible and if you can easily understand it there is no real reason to change to another English translation.  However, one of the biggest shortcomings for most people is its dated language.
The KJV uses many archaic words: words such as “jangling”, “subtil”, “privily”, and “holpen”, etc; and it uses archaic expressions that are unfamiliar to modern readers and audiences.  For instance, how many people readily understand “Charity vaunteth not itself” (1 Cor. 13:4c).  The earlier editions of the KJV also used spelling that is outdated, such as sunne for “sun”, while the edition of the KJV that is still commonly used contains several words which have changed in meaning over time.
Words such as “flowers”, “suffer”, “vile”, “conversation” and “quit” convey a very different meaning to modern readers than was intended by the translators. (See Lev. 15:24KJVMatt. 19:14KJVPhil. 3:20-21KJV1 Cor. 16:13KJV, etc.)  The fact that the KJV uses the word “unicorn” nine times (see here andhere), and “satyr” twice (Isa. 13:21KJVIsa. 34:14KJV), is also problematic, as unicorns and satyrs are regarded as a mythological creatures rather than the real animals which are mentioned in the original Hebrew Scriptures and in more contemporary translations.
Apart from its dated language, there are a few other shortcomings of the KJV.  KJV-only people seem unaware of these shortcomings.  Moreover, many accept incorrect statements that are frequently made about the KJV.  The following paragraphs contain seven pieces of information that some KJV-only Christians may not be aware of.
(1) The KJV was not the first English translation. 
A few King-James-Only Christians believe that the King James Bible was the first English translation of the Scriptures.  This is incorrect.  John Wycliffe’s Bible was translated from Latin into English and hand copied in the 1400s.  In 1526, almost 100 years before the KJV was first published, William Tyndale’s English translation of the Greek New Testament was published.  “After Tyndale’s, a number of other versions were produced.  Among them were the Coverdale Bible, the Matthews Bible, the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, and the Bishops’ Bible.”[1]  In fact much of the KJV borrows heavily from earlier English translations, especially the Bishop’s Bible.
(2) The KJV has been through several editions.
Some King-James-Only Christians believe that the King James Bible perfectly preserved the Scriptures for all time.  If this is the case there would have been no need for further edits.  The current edition of the KJV is different from the original 1611 translation and several other early editions.  “The KJV Bible we use today is actually based primarily on the major revision completed in 1769 – 158 years after the first edition.”[2]
(3) All early editions of the KJV contained the apocryphal books.
The 1611 version, and all other editions of the KJV that were published for the next fifty years, contained the Apocrypha.  Protestant Christians do not regard the apocryphal books as uniquely inspired and authoritative.  The 1666 edition was the first edition of the KJV that did not include these extra books that are not included in the canon of Holy Scripture.
(4) King James authorised the new Bible translation for political reasons.
King James believed that a single ‘authorized version’ was a political and social necessity. He hoped this book would hold together the warring factions of the Church of England and the Puritans which threatened to tear apart both church and country.  Most of the translators, however, were clergymen belonging to the Church of England, but at least some had Puritan sympathies.[3]
King James issued over a dozen rules that the translators had to follow. King James disliked the Geneva Bible, the Bible used by the Puritans, because he believed that some of the commentary in the margin notes did not show enough respect for kings.[4]  James’ new translation was to have no commentary in the margins.
King James favoured the hierarchical structure of the Church of England and wanted the new translation to keep words that supported a bishop led hierarchy.  In keeping with James’ preferred views on church government, he specified, “The old ecclesiastical words [are] to be kept; as the word church [is] not to be translated congregation.”  (I personally believe that congregation is a better translation in some instances.) King James also ruled that only his new Bible could be read in England’s churches.  The translation rules of King James can be found here.  The political motives of King James had a direct influence on the translation of the KJV.
(5) The translators of the KJV 1611 were untrained in Koine Greek. 
Koine (common) Greek is the original language of the New Testament.  Koine Greek had been a dead language for over a thousand years when the KJV was published for the first time in 1611.  The translators of the KJV didn’t even know what Koine Greek was.  Some people believed that the Greek language of the NT was a unique Spirit-inspired dialect.[5] It was not until the late 1800s and during the 1900s, when tens of thousands of papyri documents were discovered – many written in Koine, that we could begin to understand the language more fully.[6]  Unlike the translators of the KJV, modern translators of the New Testament are scholars of Koine Greek.
(6) The KJV translation of the NT is based on relatively recent Greek manuscripts.
As well as relying on previous English translations, the 1611 edition of the KJV relied on a critically edited Greek text that was “for the most part based on about half a dozen very late manuscripts (none earlier than the 12th century AD).”[7]  These late manuscripts include editions of the Greek New Testament by Erasmus[8], as well as Robert Estienne’s (a.k.a. ‘Stephanus’) edition (1550), and Theodore Beza’s edition (1598).  Unfortunately, one of the manuscripts Estienne and Beza used for their Greek editions contained a few “corrections” that downplayed the importance of women in the church.[9]
(7) The early editions of the KJV are not based on the Received Text.
Most KJV advocates claim that the KJV was translated from a Greek text known as the Textus Receptus (TR) and that the TR is especially accurate and inspired.  However the TR did not exist in 1611 when the first King James Bible was published.  The first TR was written in the 1633.  “The TR used today is normally the one created by Scrivener in 1894, which took as its basis the English translation of the KJV, giving the reader the Greek textual choices made by the KJV translators.”[10]  Conversely, most modern translations of the New Testament are based on critical texts which take into account much more ancient, and much less handled, Greek manuscripts.  A few of these Greek manuscripts date from as early as the third century.
Other Criticisms and Considerations
One of the criticisms leveled at some newer English translations is that the New Testament was translated from the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament.  However, the 2011 edition of the New International Version (NIV) is based on the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland/United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament which is a critical text that takes into consideration all known Greek manuscripts (and ancient lectionary quotes) of the New Testament.[11]  Any criticism of the Westcott and Hort text, or the men themselves – and much of the criticism has been misleading and outright slander – has no relevance whatsoever to the latest edition of the NIV and other modern translations.
Another criticism of newer translations is that some words and phrases, and even a few passages, that are included in the KJV are absent in newer translations.  These are not omissions.  Rather, these words and phrases are additions in the KJV.  These additions are absent in the more ancient Greek manuscripts.  Most modern translations still acknowledge the traditional additions in some way (e.g. in margin notes, in footnotes, or printed in a different font, etc.)
The King James Version is a good translation, but I believe the NIV (2011) to be better.  I mostly read the New Testament in Greek, but the English translations I use, roughly in order of preference, are: the NIV (2011), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), and the King James Version (KJV).  Most of the other, better known English translations are fine too.
It is most important that we read a Bible that we can understand.  The New Testament was originally written in common, everyday Greek – a language that almost everyone in the Roman Empire (the world of the New Testament) could easily understand.  We need modern English translations of the Bible for modern audiences.
So much more can be said, and has been said by others, on this topic.  More information is here.  A video series is here.
KJV Page decoration of 1611 edition

[1] Rick Wade, “The Debate over the King James Version”, Probe Ministries International, 1998  (Source)
[2] Jack P. Lewis, The English Bible From KJV to NIV: A History and Evaluation (Grand Rapids, MI:Baker, 1984), p. 39. Quoted here.
[3] This paragraph uses information from N.T. Wright, “The Monarchs and the Message: Reflections on Bible Translation from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-First Century”, presented at SBL 2011 (Source)
[4] “For example, a note in the margin beside Exodus 1 said the Hebrew midwives in the time of baby Moses were right to disobey the Egyptian king’s order to kill newborn baby boys.  And a note beside 2 Chronicles 15 criticized King Asa fro not executing his idol-worshipping mother.” Stephen M. Miller and Robert V. Huber, “The Bible: A History” (Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2003) p.178.
[5] Greek scholar Bill Mounce writes, “For a long time Koine Greek confused many scholars.  It was significantly different from Classical Greek.  Some hypothesized that it was a combination of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic.  Others attempted to explain it as a “Holy Ghost language”, meaning that God created a special language just for the Bible.  But studies of Greek papyri found in Egypt over the past one hundred years have shown that this language was the language of the every day people . . .” “The Basics of Biblical Greek” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993, 2003) p. 1.
[6] Before the discovery of the papyri documents in Egypt and elsewhere, the only thing available in Koine Greek was the New Testament.  But now we have numerous letters, business receipts, census statements, novels, and other writings that were written in the language of the New Testament.  We can now compare the language of the New Testament with these other writings to see how words were used in the first century.  Among the discoveries were ancient manuscripts of the biblical texts that were older than the manuscripts used by the KJV translators.
[7] Daniel Wallace, “The Conspiracy Behind New Bible Translations” at
[8] Erasmus was a Roman Catholic priest.  He dedicated the first edition of his Greek New Testament to the Pope.  (I include this bit of information for those who wrongly accuse the new translations of being unduly influenced by Roman Catholicism. See also endnote 11.)
[9] Robert Estienne, also known as Stephanas, based his text on the work of Erasmus but also used a text taken from the Codex Bezae.  Theodore Beza primarily based his text on the Greek New Testament of Stephanus, but he may well have also used the Codex Bezae (which was given to him and bears his name.  This book is also known as Codex Cantabrigensis as Beza later presented it to the University of Cambridge.)
“Several scholars have observed the apparent anti-feminist tendencies of the writer of the Codex Bezae.  The reviser represents the western tradition dating back to the second century, and clearly reveals the trend of thought among his contemporaries by rephrasing the received text of Acts 17:12 to read: ‘and many of the Greeks and men and women of high standing believed.’  The smoother reading serves to lessen any importance given women in Luke’s account of the conversion at Berea, and proves to be a typical alteration of Bezae in Acts.” Lesly Massey, “Women and the New Testament: An Analysis of Scripture in the Light of New Testament Era Culture” (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1989) p. 46-47.
[10] James R. White, “Is your Modern translation Corrupt? Answering the Allegations of KJV Only Advocates” p.2. (Source)  
Barbara Aland editor[11] The 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland text was edited by eminent scholars Barbara Aland (Protestant), Kurt Aland (Protestant), Ioannes Karavidopoulos (Greek Othordox), Carlo Martini (Roman Catholic), and Bruce Metzger (Protestant).
Image Credits: Page decorations are copied from the 1611 King James Bible as is the image of the frontispiece below. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
KJV -King-James-Version-Bible-first-edition-title-page-1611

Friday, January 30, 2015

God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob - Anastasios Kioulachoglou

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob

A passage that some think that is supporting the doctrine of “souls” continuing living after death is in Matthew 22:32. There we read:

“I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

So people say: “you see: God is the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and since He is not a God of the dead but of the living, therefore Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, though they died, they are alive”. However such an isolated consideration of the passage completely ignores its context and can only give wrong results. In fact if you read the above passage you will understand that the first part of it is a half sentence. What happened is the following: the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, came and challenged Jesus asking him whose wife a woman that married seven times will be in the resurrection. Then Jesus gave them the following reply:

Matthew 22:29-32
“Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?” God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."”

All that Jesus said was about the resurrection! When he said “have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ' I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?' God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.", his sentence did not start there! Instead he said this speaking about the resurrection: “But concerning the resurrection of the dead…”. Indeed, God is not a God of dead but of living. Why? Not because the dead are now living somewhere, but because God will raise the dead and they will live again. It is “concerning the resurrection of the dead” that “He is not a God of dead but of living”.

The References to the Souls in Revelation 6:9 and 20:4 - Anastasios Kioulachoglou

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

The references to the souls in Revelation 6:9 and 20:4

(Note: This article is part of the study with title: Resurrection or life immediately after death ? The reader is advised to also read the other articles of this study.)

A Bible reference that is frequently used by the tradition that wants the dead living without resurrection is in the book of Revelation and in the following passages: Revelation 6:9 and Revelation 20:4. These two references relate closely to each other and therefore we will see them together in this article. Starting from Revelation 6:9 we read:

Revelation 6:9-11
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until boththe number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.”

Much of the misunderstanding here is caused by reading the word “soul” and immediately interpreting it as the souls of the dead people who are living now somewhere. This is because all these years we have been taught that once somebody dies then “his soul goes to heaven, where it lives with God or it goes to hell where it is tormented forever.” But we have to define a word as the Bible defines it. And soul is not used with this meaning in the Bible. The article “Body, Soul and Spirit”, gives insights to this, clarifying what is the soul. In short, the soul is what gives life to the body. As long as you have life you have a soul, soul-life. Life and soul are words used many times as synonyms. 40 times the KJV translates the Greek word “ψυχη” (psuchi) which in Greek means “soul” as “life” and not as soul.
Apart from this usage the word soul is also used in the Bible with the meaning of “person”. There is an expression in today’s English that is used in a similar way: thus when somebody says that he has 10 hands working for him, we don’t understand 10 isolated literal hands but 10 persons. The word hand is put for the whole person. The same also happens for the word soul: it is put for the whole person. For example in Acts 27:37 we read:

Acts 27:37 
“And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls (Greek: psuches).”

What does this mean? It simply means 276 persons. The NKJV has it in fact like this:

“And in all we were two hundred and seventy six persons on the ship”

Here are some more examples:

I Peter 3:20 
“when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water”

Acts 7:14 
“And Joseph sent, and called to him Jacob his father, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.”

Genesis 12:5 
“And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.”

You will find more such examples in the Bible. In all these examples the word “soul” is simply put for the person. Instead of saying “persons”, it says “souls”. The meaning however is the same. Now returning to the passage in Revelation, when we read that John says that he: “saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held” what it means is that he saw the persons who had been slain for the Word of God and their testimony. How did He see these persons? In a vision. “I was in the Spirit..” we read in Revelation 1:10, while Revelation 9:17 says: “And this is how I saw in the vision…”. What was John seeing was a vision and seeing something in a vision does not mean that it is literally there or that it is happening literally1.
Actually, there is a crystal clear proof that these martyrs of Revelation 6 were NOT living somewhere in heaven when they appeared as speaking. This proof is in fact in the second reference to the “souls” in the book of Revelation. This is in Revelation 20:4-5. There we read:

Revelation 20:4-6 
“Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand;and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”

“The souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God” of Revelation 20:4 are obviously the same with “the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held” of Revelation 6:9 plus the martyrs that had died in between. These are not “souls floating around” but persons, the martyrs that were slaughtered for their testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God. What do we read for them in Revelation 20:4-5? We read that “they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” “They came to life” obviously means that were not living before! Otherwise they wouldn’t come to life! They would already be living! Verse 5 makes it also clear “the rest of the dead did not come to life…” In other words before Revelation 20:4: none of them was living. After Revelation 20:4, those who were beheaded because of the word of God , from dead became alive. How? By the only way a dead can become alive: by resurrection! We read it in the above passage: “This is the first resurrection”! All the others continued to be dead (“they did not come to life” says the Word of God).


Having seen the above, we can go back to Revelation 6:9-11. What did John saw there? Those who were slain for the Word of God and their testimony. They were speaking and asking God to avenge their blood. Were these dead people, alive - though they had not been resurrected - and were they literally speaking ? No. What John saw was a vision. As we say in the article about the transfiguration of Christ: “The fact that something or somebody is shown in a vision does not require its physical presence in the vision. It is a picture that God gives to communicate a message to the one to whom He shows the vision.” The reader is referred to this article for a detailed examination of the word vision in the Bible. We also saw that Revelation 20 make it crystal clear: these dead are not alive now. They will be made alive in the future, with a resurrection, and will reign with Christ 1000 years. It also makes clear – referring to the dead that had not yet been resurrected - that “the rest of the dead did not come to life”, which means that they remained dead. And dead means dead - no living with Christ, no lake of fire yet. This all comes later, in verses 11 to 15 of Revelation 20.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Who is holding back the Anti Christ Beast?

I do not know the man who introduces this. There are several pictures of angles fighting then the speaker comes on. This video is how I see the end time unfolding. False teachers fill the pulpits. They sell books to people who do not know the New Testament and give them their opinions.

Only in the West could we think that after centuries of believers being martyred, we will go up in the rapture and miss the tribulation that the true believers have been going through since Jesus went to the Father.

Please prepare your heart. As the 5 virgins did not have enough oil to go meet the bridegroom, multitudes will fail on the day of testing. There is a Great Falling Away coming and is already at work. False teacher John MacArthur, told the world they can take the mark of the beast, then repent later. Jesus clearly disagrees with this proud man:
  •  9Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb11“And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” 12Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Revelation 14 
  • MacArthur appears to be in more trouble than he could ever imagine. Jesus says - 18I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. Revelation 22 

Moses and Elias in the Lord's Transfiguration - Anastasios Kioulachoglou

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

Moses and Elias in the Lord's transfiguration

(Note: This article is part of the study with title: Resurrection or life immediately after death ? The reader is advised to also read the other articles of this study.)

One other record that is sometimes a source of confusion on the topic of whether the dead are actually living today or not is the record of the Lord’s transfiguration. In this record we have Moses and Elias appearing together with the Lord and from this sometimes people conclude that these prophets must have been alive in order to appear in the scene of the transfiguration. As we will see from a careful examination of the text this needs not to be the case. The record of transfiguration is given in the gospel of Matthew from verses 1 to 9 (we can also find it in the gospels of Mark and Luke). There we read:

Matthew 17:1-9
“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid." When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the VISION to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”

In this passage it appears that Moses and Elijah had a conversation with Jesus and the question is: does this mean that these two prophets were alive, though at least for Moses we read explicitly in Deuteronomy 34:5-6

Deuteronomy 34:5-6 
“So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Bethpeor”

And in Joshua 1:2 God said:
Moses my servant is dead

According to what we have seen in the main article the dead are NOT alive now. They are all sleeping waiting for the resurrection. The only one that was dead and is alive now is the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God raised from the dead. Therefore Moses could not be alive and physically speak with Jesus on the day of transfiguration. The resurrections had not happened and thus Moses was not alive on that day. What then happened in the transfiguration? The key word to understand this is the word “vision” in Matthew 17:9, where Jesus told the disciples to “tell the vision to no man”. When Moses and Elias spoke to Jesus this was a supernatural vision and therefore didn’t require nor it meant that these two prophets were alive at that time. We can understand this even better by looking at the New Testament occurrences of the Greek word that is translated as vision here. This Greek word is the word “όραμα” (horama).

Occurrences of the word “horama” - vision in the New Testament

The case of the Paul and Ananias

In Acts 9:10-12 we read:
“Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. "And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”

Paul had seen Ananias in a vision, without Ananias even knowing it! The Lord told this to Ananias afterwards. In other words the fact that a person appears in a vision does not mean that this person is there physically. God can use his image to communicate a message to somebody. But this does not mean that this person is there at the time of the vision. In turn, the fact that Moses and Elias appeared in the transfiguration vision does not mean that they were there physically nor it means that they were alive at the time of the vision.

The case of Peter and the sheet with the various animals

Acts 11:5-10 (see also Acts 10:17 and Acts 10:19)
“I [Peter] was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. “When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four–footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. "And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ "But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ "But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ "Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.

The great sheet, led down from heaven and its content was shown to Peter in a VISION. We all understand reading this passage that God didn’t have to physically get all these animals, put them in a table and present them to Peter. We understand reading the word “vision” that what Peter saw was something that God showed to him and didn’t require the physical presence of these animals. The conclusion is the same as previously with Ananias: the fact that something or somebody is shown in a vision does not require its physical presence in the vision. It is a picture that God gives to communicate a message to the one to whom He shows the vision.
In the same way we need to understand that the fact that Moses and Elias appeared in the transfiguration vision, does not mean that these two prophets were alive or physically present in the vision.

The case of Peter and his deliverance from the prison

Acts 12:6-10 
“And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly!" And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and tie on your sandals"; and so he did. And he said to him, "Put on your garment and follow me." And he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.”

Now this is NOT a vision. An angel came and literally woke up Peter and delivered him from the prison. This did require physical presence of the angel and it was a physical presence. Look now what Peter thought initially:

And he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.

Peter thought initially that what was happening was NOT TRUE BUT IT WAS A VISION. This makes a contrast between a vision and reality: Had this incidence been a vision it would not be physically real. If it was physically real then it wouldn’t be a vision. When Paul saw Ananias healing him in a vision, it was not physically real i.e. Ananias was not there nor he actually healed Paul at the time of the vision. When however Ananias went, knocked Paul’s door, put his hands on Paul’s eyes and healed him it was no longer a vision but it was physically real.
Applying this to what happened in the Lord’s transfiguration we are told that this was a vision i.e. it was something that God showed, a message that God wanted to convey, and it was important for this message to have Elias and Moses appearing there. But God didn’t have to make these prophets physically alive in order to have them in the vision. Their appearance in this vision didn’t require their physical presence there.

The case of Paul and the man of Macedonia

Acts 16:9-10 
“And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

Now did this man of Macedonia come all the way from Macedonia and stood there literally? Nobody of us thinks so. Right? We all understand that since the text says that he appeared in a vision it was not there literally, physically. In the same way, and though we may be repetitive, it is again obvious that Elias and Moses didn’t have to be physically there to be shown in the vision of the transfiguration. God can present whatever and whoever He desires in a vision in order to convey His message. What is presented in a vision does not have in any way to be physically there.

The case of the Lord speaking to Paul

Acts 18:9-11
“Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; "for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city." And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

Now the person speaking here is very important, because it is the Lord Jesus Christ. This person IS ALIVE for God raised Him from the dead. He is the only dead that is alive now and he appeared to Paul in a vision telling him to continue preaching the gospel in Corinth. I have no reason whatsoever to argue whether Jesus was physically there or not, for Jesus is ALIVE and has a spiritual body with supernatural abilities. This is a case much different than any other one.

The case of Moses and the burning bush

Acts 7:31 
“When Moses saw it [the burning bush], he wondered at the sight [Greek: horama]: and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him,”

This is the only case where the word “horama” is translated “sight” and not “vision”. Reading the detailed record of this incident in Exodus we see that “God called unto him [Moses] out of the midst of the bush” (Exodus 3:4) and a whole conversation took place between God and Moses there (see Exodus chapters 3 and 4). Some visions are shown in the night, may be in the sleep, as in the case of the Lord speaking to Paul to continue his preaching in Corinth and in the case of the Macedonian through whom the Lord told Paul to go and preach the gospel there. Others again happen with the eyes wide open, as in the case of Peter and the sheet with the various animals. What is important to understand is that a vision is a supernatural way which God can choose to communicate a message to His people. The fact that something appears in a vision does not mean that it is physically there. What appears in a vision is important in relationship to the message that God wants to convey. It is part of this message. Visions can also be shown to me and you. As it says in Acts 2:17:

Acts 2:17 
“And 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[Greek: horaseis, from the same root as horama] and your old men shall dream dreams: ”

We understand that these visions, are supernatural messages that God can show to us and whatever is involved there does not have to be physically there not to physically exist at all for us to see it.
We could go on and examine the usage of the word vision in the Old Testament but I think we have exhausted the subject. We know from the Scripture that Moses and Elias appeared in the transfiguration in what was a vision. From what we have seen, it is I believe obvious that the fact that they appeared in this vision does not mean require nor it means that they were alive during the time of the vision.