From:  Worth’s Scriptural Handbook of Proof Texts                      Return to Home

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.                               © 2012

 

Reproduction of this book for non-profit circulation by any electronic or print media means is hereby freely granted at no cost—provided the text is not altered in any manner. 

 

Selected sections may be left out if desired.  If accompanied by additional, supplemental material—in agreement or disagreement—it must be clearly and visibly distinguishable from the author’s original text.

 

 

 

 

Chapter4:

The Religious Fringe

 

 

 

 

                        041      Christian Science

                        042      “Communalism / Communism:  Did the Early Church

Practice It?

                       

043      Jehovah Witnesses

044      “Eternal,” “Forever,” and “Everlasting:  Jehovah Witness

 Misuse of the Terms

045      Soul—Does It Exist?

                       

                        046      Mormonism

                        047      Apostles:  Testing Today’s              

 

048      Foot Washing

049      Sinless Perfection

                       

                        050      Astrology

                        051      Reincarnation

                        052      Seances and Other “Communications” with the Dead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

# 041 #

Christian Science

 

            1.  Christian Science errs by teaching that no one can rightly understand the Bible without the insights of its religious philosophy.

            Yet 1800 years earlier Paul could insist that the true Divine revelation was already .understandable:  Ephesians 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].

            Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

           

            2.  Christian Science errs by teaching that the Bible is not fully inspired; that there are many errors within it.

            Timothy 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:   17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

 

            3.  Christian Science errs by teaching that Jesus is not Deity.

            John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

            Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:   6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:   7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men

 

            4.  Christian Science errors by depersonalizing God into abstract qualities such as “mind,” “love,” and “intelligence.”  God manifests such attributes because He is repeatedly described in terms of being a “person,” a distinct, concrete being, which is what is necessary to exhibit such traits.  Even the common “God said, commanded, warned, etc” manifest a being is under discussion. 

 

            5.  Christian Science errs by saying that a virgin birth of Jesus did not occur, that it is outright impossible.

            Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.   19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.   20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.   21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.   22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,   23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.   24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:   25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

 

            6.  Christian Science errs by teaching that evil and sin have no objective reality; they are illusion produced by the wrong way of thinking.

            Why then would we need forgiveness of sin if it doesn’t really exist?

            Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

            Romans 3:9 What then? are we better [than they]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.

            1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.   9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

7.  Christian Science errs by saying that sickness and death are illusionary and possess no objective reality.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

Ecclesiastes 3:20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

            Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

 

 

 

 

 

# 042 #

“Communalism / Communism:”

Did the Early Church Practice It?

 

            Some sects require it.  Some—out of political ideology—also try to find precedent for a government run economy because of the example found in the early chapters of Acts.  (Which, of course, was not an example of the government doing anything in the first place!) 

 

            1.  Although a form of “communalism” was practiced in the Jerusalem church, they never attempted to impose it, encourage it, or—so far as we can tell—even advocate it for anywhere else.  What happened was strictly a matter of local option, not precedent setting.

 

            2.  The fact that a contribution was taken up in Corinth, for example (1 Corinthians 16:1-7), was possible only because individuals still had funds left rather than everything being routinely pooled into a joint fund.

 

            3.  The form of “communalism” that was practiced in Jerusalem was to meet a real and pressing immediate need and not to fulfill the abstract dictates of an economic theory that might well be totally irrelevant under any other circumstances.

            From the modest size bad of original disciples, 3,000 were converted on the day of Pentecost.  Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.  

            Shortly thereafter large numbers more were added:  Acts 4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

            Multitudes and no real income—a large / huge percentage being of pilgrims to the city with limited funds.  Drastic measures were naturally sought for an unprecedented situation.   Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.   43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.   44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;   45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.     

 

            4.  The “communalism” related to surplus property of individuals and not to the donation of their total resources.]

 

            A.  If everything had been contributed, then one and all church members would have stood in need of financial / food support and we know that was not the case.  Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.  There were some who did not have need; hence not everything was contributed.

 

            B.  After their conversion, members were still selling property and donating the income.  This would have been impossible if “communalism” had been required as a condition of discipleship.

            Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.   33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.   34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,   35 And laid [them] down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.  36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, [and] of the country of Cyprus,   37 Having land, sold [it], and brought the money, and laid [it] at the apostles' feet.

 

            5.  The “communalism” was voluntary:  until a person willingly gave the proceeds, the money was still his—to give none, all, or whatever proportion he deemed appropriate.  It was not deemed “group property,” with the funds automatically going to the church.

            Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,   2 And kept back [part] of the price, his wife also being privy [to it], and brought a certain part, and laid [it] at the apostles' feet.   3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land?   4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.   5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

            (Weymouth) Acts 5:4 While it remained unsold, was not the land your own? And when sold, was it not at your own disposal? How is it that you have cherished this design in your heart? It is not to men you have told this lie, but to God."

 

 

 

 

 

# 043 #

Jehovah Witnesses

 

 

            The Jehovah Witnesses teach so many false doctrines that even a brief review of all of them would take too much space.  So we have to be content with a representative sampling.  (One cynic—not without a great deal of justification—once said that you could always tell what the Witnesses believe by taking any Bible doctrine and reversing it!)

 

            1.  The Witnesses teach that the kingdom came into existence in the twentieth century.  The Bible teaches that it happened in the first century.

            Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son.

            Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

            2.  The Witnesses teach that Christ returned invisibly.  The Bible teaches that the Second Coming will be visible.

            Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.   10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;   11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

            (Weymouth) Acts 1:11 who said, "Galilaeans, why stand looking into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into Heaven will come in just the same way as you have seen Him going into Heaven."

            Revelation 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

 

            3.  The Witnesses teach Jesus is not Deity.  The Bible teaches that He is.

           

            A.  Paul taught that before Jesus came to earth, that He existed in the “form” of God and on an “equality” with Him.

 

            Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:   6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:   7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:   8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

            B.  Jesus accepted rather than rebuked and rejected Thomas’ description of Him as Deity.

 

            John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: [then] came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace [be] unto you.   27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.   28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.   29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.

 

 

4.  The Witnesses teach that Jesus is a created being.  The Bible teaches the opposite, that He was the creator of all things.

            Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. 

            (Weymouth) Colossians 1:16 For in Him was created the universe of things in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, thrones, dominions, princedoms, powers--all were created, and exist through and for Him.

            John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

            1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.

            (Weymouth) 1 Corinthians 8:6 yet *we* have but one God, the Father, who is the source of all things and for whose service we exist, and but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom we and all things exist.

 

5.  The Witnesses teach that to die is to cease to exist.  The Bible teaches that a part of us survives physical death.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.      

 

            6.  The Witnesses delay the baptism of converts until conventions are held.  In the Bible, baptism was the immediate result of men and women believing in the Lord; there was no delay.

            Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.

            Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.   32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.   33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed [their] stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

            (ASV) Acts 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately.

 

            7.  The Witnesses teach that even those who devote their full time to the proclamation of the gospel, are not entitled to financial support for their effort.  The Scriptures clearly and precisely contradict this claim.

            1 Corinthians 9:3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,   4 Have we not power to eat and to drink?   5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and [as] the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?   6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?   7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?  

8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?   9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?   10 Or saith he [it] altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, [this] is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.  

11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?   12 If others be partakers of [this] power over you, [are] not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.   13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live [of the things] of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?   14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

 

            8.  The Jehovah Witnesses take great pride in their name “Jehovah Witnesses.”  New Testament believers did not call themselves that:  They simply called themselves Christians.

            Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

            The disciples were instructed to glorify God through the name of “Christian,” not through the name Jehovah Witness or any other,  1 Peter 4:16 Yet if [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

            (ASV) 1 Peter 4:16 but if [a man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name.

 

            9.  The Witnesses put great emphasis on the need to use the name “Jehovah” from the Old Testament, even mutilating the New Testament text to include it there, where it is not found at all.  You would find it hard to find many scholars of any religious persuasion who still claim that “Jehovah” is the right English rendering of the Hebrew name, however!

             The best judgment today is that the Hebrew should be rendered “Yahweh.”  I continue to use “Jehovah” a lot outside scholarly writings, because most folks have a far better idea Who is being referred to than when using the more obscure term “Yahweh.”

 

 

 

 

 

# 044 #

“Eternal,” “Forever,” and “Everlasting:”

Jehovah Witness Misuse of the Terms

 

            These terms are used in two senses in the scriptures:

            (1)  Literally—as indicated by their use and the absence of any indication that there will be a time when something is no longer true or present.

            (2)  From the practical standpoint “forever,” because it extends far beyond our lifetime or ability to imagine.  This is the essential approach to preserve the accuracy of scriptures in those cases where

            (a)  other passages explicitly and clearly teach that the “forever” phenomena will cease to be and

            (b)  when “forever” promises hinge upon obeying the prerequisites the scriptures themselves refer to.  (In human terms, think of the Olympics:  If you have a guaranteed spot on the team, but then cease to meet their standards, you lose the spot.)

            Jehovah Witnesses use “forever” language to prove the current physical earth is eternal; Sabbatarians use it to prove the Sabbath (Saturday observance) continues to be obligatory.  Both understand that other scriptures rule out the literal “forever” being applied to what the other group teaches, but rebel against the scriptures—though equally clear—being applied to their own doctrine.      

 

            1.  The physical universe is described in terms of being eternal—for example:  the mountains. 

Habakkuk 3:6 He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways [are] everlasting.

 

            2.  The hills are also described in “eternal” terms.

            Genesis 49:26 The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

            Deuteronomy 33:15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills.

            (Jewish Publication Society, 1917) Deuteronomy 33:15 And for the tops of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the everlasting hills.

 

            3.  The stones left in the Jordan River when the Israelites crossed over it are described in such terms.

            Joshua 4:4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:   5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:   6 That this may be a sign among you, [that] when your children ask [their fathers] in time to come, saying, What [mean] ye by these stones? 7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.   8 And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.  

 

            4.  Yet these things will all be destroyed and removed.

            2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.   11 [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness,   12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?   13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.  What more needed to be said to make us take this literally?  If it isn’t literal, please provide the missing words that would have made it such!

            The writer of Hebrews—quoting Psalms 102:25-27—points out that unlike the heavens and earth, the Lord will never come to an end.  Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:   11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;   12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

# 045 #

Soul—Does It Exist?

 

            For groups such as the Jehovah Witnesses, we are entirely mortal; there is nothing within us that survives physical death.  In order to uphold their theory, Bible references to the “soul” are interpreted to mean the breath of man or as a synonym for the person himself.  (The first seems the most common).  That in many passages neither approach fits can be seen in such verses as those that follow—texts that clearly imply that there is a “part” of us (call it what you will) that survives physical death. 

 

            1.  Part of us returns to God when we die.

            Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

            Either two things happen at death—dust to earth and spirit to God—or the verse is doing a parallelism and expressing the same idea in two ways.  But if “dust” and “spirit” are parallel, then “earth” and “God” must be parallel as well!

 

            2.  Part of us can not be killed when the body is killed.  This would be impossible if the “soul” was only equivalent to the person himself.

            Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

            Some insist that it is only the memory of man that can’t be killed.  But we are always in God’s thoughts / memory—throughout all of life.  It doesn’t just happen at death!  Psalms 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?   8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou [art] there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou [art there].   9 [If] I take the wings of the morning, [and] dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;   10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.   11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.   12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light [are] both alike [to thee].

            Also note that the argument of the text is not about whether we will be remembered, but about whether we will continue to exist.  The “explanation” introduces a subject not even under discussion.

 

            3.  Jesus taught that both the righteous and the unrighteous have continued existence after their physical bodies die.

            Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:   20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,   21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.   22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;   23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  

24 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.   25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.   26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence.

            Even if we concede that this was a parable—and I don’t—the reality is that parables teach truth, they don’t distort and misrepresent truth.  Hence we must survive death if the very foundation assumption of this “parable” is to be considered as true and valid.

 

            4.  Spirits now exist imprisoned in the afterworld—that which doesn’t exist can’t be imprisoned!      

            1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:   19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;   20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

            Whether the preaching was done in the days of Noah or after Christ’s death, those preached to were, as of Peter’s writing, “spirits in prison”—long after their physical death.

 

            5.  Even while faithful Christians were being martyred on earth in the first century, Christians who had already perished in that manner—i.e., were physically dead—pleaded for vindication against their persecutor.  In other words, they survived death and were emotionally and “physically” (for lack of a better word) quite alive and well.

            Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:   10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?   11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.

            Interpret these words in any time frame you wish, these Christians are still described as survivors of physical death, with their reasoning ability and emotions quite intact.

 

 

 

 

 

# 046

Mormonism

 

            1.  The Book of Mormon does not claim to be inspired.

            Representative passages that directly or implicitly deny it: 

                        1 Nephi 1:3; 1 Nephi 19:6

                        Jacob 1:2; Jacob 7:26

                        3 Nephi 8:2

                        Ether 5:1

                        Mormon 9:32

 

            2.  The Book of Mormon extensively quotes from the King James Version even though it supposedly predates the KJV by a thousand or more years.

            3 Nephi 13:1-34, for example, quotes word for word Matthew 6:1:34.

           

            3.  The Book of Mormon even quotes mistranslations found in the KJV.

            2 Nephi 14:5 quotes Isaiah 4:5 including the word “defence.  Modern translations correctly render the Hebrew “canopy,” “protective curtain,” or similar terms.

            2 Nephi 15:25 quotes Isaiah 5:25, including the word “torn.”  Modern versions render it by such terms as “refuse.”

 

            4.  The Book of Mormon and their other modern “revelations” contradict the Bible on clear and easily understood matters.

 

            A.  They contradict as to the place of Jesus’ birth.

            Alma 7:10:  in Jerusalem.

            Luke 2:14-15; Matthew 2:1-6:  Bethlehem.

            Bethlehem is not a “suburb” of Jerusalem; they are distinct cities, several miles apart; in ancient days, a considerable walk.

 

            B.  They contradict as to when people were first called Christians.

            According to their dating, at least by 73 B.C. (Alma 46:13-16) or 72 B.C. (Alma 48:10).

            In the New Testament, however, it was after Jesus’ resurrection and the spread of the gospel to Antioch (Acts 11:26).

 

            C.  They contradict as to the duration of darkness at Christ’s crucifixion.

            1 Nephi 19:10-13:  three days.

            Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44-45:  three hours.

 

            D.  They contradict concerning Adam and Eve:  The book of Mormon (2 Nephi 2:19-25) teaches:

            (1)  That children inherit the guilt of Adam:  “he shewed unto all men that they were lost because of the transgression of their parents (2:21)  This is the old doctrine of original sin / inherited depravity.

            It contradicts the Book of Mormon itself:  Moroni 8:17-19; Mosiah 3:16-21.

            It contradicts the Bible as well:  Ecclesiastes 7:29; Ezekiel 28:15; Ezekiel 18:20.

 

            (2)  That if both Adam and Eve had not eaten the forbidden fruit that they would not have had any children.

            So says:  2 Nephi 2:23, Moses 5:10-11 (part of the Pearl of Great Price).

            In the Bible, however, the command to have children was given before the sin of eating the forbidden fruit.  Therefore they must have been fully capable of having children before the transgression occurred.  Furthermore, there is nothing in the text to suggest that their child-bearing capacity had anything to do with sinfulness or lack of it.

 

            (3)  That a person can do no good unless they have sinned.

            “. . . Doing no good for they knew no sin (2 Nephi 2:23). 

            In contrast the Bible speaks of how Jesus did good (Acts 10:38), but He was sinless (1 Peter 2:21-22; Hebrews 4:14-15).

 

            (4)  That the purpose of life is to have pleasure.

            “ . . . Men are that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). 

Nothing is wrong with joy, but the central purpose of life is to serve God (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

 

            E.  Since the Book of Mormon contradicts the genuine revelations found in the New Testament, it can not be acceptable to God even if—which is utterly unlikely—that an angel actually did reveal the book to Joseph Smith!

            Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:   7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.   8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.   9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

 

            5.  The most commonly cited Biblical “prediction” of the coming of the Book of Mormon isn’t even talking about books at all!

            Ezekiel 37:15 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,   16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and [for] all the house of Israel his companions:   17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.   18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou [meanest] by these?   19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which [is] in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, [even] with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.  20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.

            Among the things wrong with the Mormon “interpretation” of this text are these:

            (1)  The text itself makes plain that the joining is of nations and not books.  Even in the part they most often quote the wording is:  Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which [is] in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, [even] with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.  How could “tribes” be added to the other “stick” unless the other “stick” also represented tribes? 

(2)  This interpretation is confirmed in the next verses, which Mormons are most unlikely to read to you:  Ezekiel 37:21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:   22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

            (3)  The word translated “stick” in Ezekiel 37 is the Hebrew ets.  It is never translated “book” of “scroll.”

            (4)  Ezekiel was the only person instructed to write on the “sticks.”  If the “sticks” are really “books”—and the Bible is one and the Book of Mormon is the other--why is it that there is nothing written by Ezekiel in the Book of Mormon?  If the Book of Mormon is really being predicted by Ezekiel, then they must have cut out and censored his part of it!

             

 

 

 

 

# 047 #

Apostles:

Testing Today’s

 

 

            We use “apostle” here in the sense that Peter, Paul, and Thomas were apostles; we are not concerned with it in the broader sense of “messenger” or “representative”—such as in Philippians 2:25:  And I thought [it] necessary Epaphroditus--my brother, and fellow-workman, and fellow-soldier, and your apostle and servant to my need--to send unto you (Young’s Literal).

 

            1.  Since there were men falsely claiming to be apostles even in the first century, it should not be surprising that there are such people today

            2 Corinthians 11:13 For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.   14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.   15 Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.  

 

            2.  We should test the credentials of alleged apostles just like first century Christians did.

            Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.

            Same principle but a slightly broader target that would include pseudo-apostles but also others not willing to be that outrageous in their claims to authority--1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

 

            3.  No man alive today can meet the Biblical pre-requisite of being a genuine apostle—being an eyewitness of Jesus.

           

            A.  The replacement for Judas has to be an eyewitness.

            Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)   16 Men [and] brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.   21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,   22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

 

            B.  Even the apostle Paul was an eyewitness.  Whether he ever saw Jesus during His earthly ministry we don’t know; we do know that he saw Jesus at least after the resurrection:  

            1 Corinthians 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:   6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.   7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.   8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.  

            1 Corinthians 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

 

            4.  Miraculous Divine intervention was envolved in the choosing of genuine apostles.

           

            A.  The successor to Judas was chosen via the casting of lots that the apostles prayed would reveal God’s will.

            Acts 1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.   24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,   25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.   26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.  

 

            B.  Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, in part, so that he also might qualify to be an apostle.

            Acts 22: 10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.   11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.   12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt [there],   13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.   14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.   15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

 

            5.  A genuine apostle could perform miracles.

            2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

            (Weymouth) 2 Corinthians 12:12 The signs that characterize the true Apostle have been done among you, accompanied by unwearied fortitude, and by tokens and marvels and displays of power.

            Acts 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

            Acts 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.

            The miracles that genuine apostles performed were immediately and completely successful as in the following case of a man born lame--Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.   7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted [him] up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.   8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.  

 

            6.  A genuine apostle was inspired; God’s will was miraculously revealed to him.

            John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

            Hence if a supposed apostle today does not teach what the first century apostles did, they are self-proving counterfeits by the existence of such differences.

 

            7.  An apostle was usually married.

            Paul appears to have been the only exception to this generalization--1 Corinthians 9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and [as] the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

            (Rotherham) Have we not a right to take round, a sister wife,--as even the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

            (Weymouth) 1 Corinthians 9:5 Have we not a right to take with us on our journeys a Christian sister as our wife, as the rest of the Apostles do--and the Lord's brothers and Peter?

 

 

 

 

 

# 048 #

Foot Washing

 

 

            1.  Foot washing existed from at least the time of Abraham and Lot—c. 4,000 years ago.

            Genesis 18:4 Let a little water, I [Abraham] pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

Genesis 19:2 and said, "Sirs, I [Lot] am here to serve you. Please come to my house. You can wash your feet and spend the night. In the morning you can get up early and go on your way." But they answered, "No, we will spend the night here in the city square."

 

            2.  In its normal usage, foot washing was a practical necessity—not a religious ritual.  They wore sandals and not closed shoes like we do.  In the course of a day’s work or travel the feet would get very dirty and need washing.  It was a utilitarian and courteous act.

 

            3.  When Jesus endorsed foot washing (see below), He did so because it was a needed act rather than a ritual one.  There is not one iota of implication that it was to be done in the church assembly rather than everyday dealings with others.

 

            4.  Jesus washed His disciples’ feet to teach them humility, not to create a church ritual.

            John 13:12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?   13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for [so] I am.   14 If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.   15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.   16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

 

            5.  Feet (plural) were washed rather than foot (singular).  Since it would have been done for cleanliness, it would have been utterly silly to wash only one!  The nomenclature change—from feet washing (plural) to foot washing (singular), however--is a dead give away that what is being done has been altered . . . from a humble act of everyday helpfulness to others who needed it . . . to a religious act in a church ritual.

 

 

 

 

 

# 049 #

Sinless Perfection

 

 

            Although sinlessness is our goal, the Scriptures amply testify that it is one that we will never reach:  we’ll become better, even much better, but never perfect.  If we could become sinless and perfect, would we even need a Savior any longer?

 

 

            1.  The inspired apostle John severely rebuked anyone who believed that he or she was living fully above sin.

            1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

            (Weymouth) If we claim to be already free from sin, we lead ourselves astray and the truth has no place in our hearts.

            1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

            (International Standard Version) If we claim that we have never sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.

            (Weymouth) 1 John 1:10 If we deny that we have sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Message has no place in our hearts.

 

            2.  Sanctification does not produce sinlessness.

 

            A.  The Corinthians were sanctified. 

            1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.       

            1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

 

            B.  Yet a reading of Paul’s epistles to that church clearly reveals that they were far from perfect.

            Of the many passages that could be cited—

            1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly [that there is] fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.   2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

            1 Corinthians 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?   5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?   8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that [your] brethren.

            1 Corinthians 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, [this] is not to eat the Lord's supper.   21 For in eating every one taketh before [other] his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.  

            1 Corinthians 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.   28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.   29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.   30 For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  [i.e., are spiritually dead.]

 

 

 

 

 

# 050 #

Astrology

 

 

            1.  To be afraid of heavenly signs is to fall for a popular belief but still a delusion. 

Jeremiah 10:1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:   2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

 

            2.  It is God who has all power and the capacity to intervene on earth for or against us—not the stars. 

Genesis 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

            Luke 18:27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

            Revelation 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

            (Rotherham) Revelation 19:6 And I heard as a voice of a great multitude, and as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of mighty thunderings, saying--Hallelujah! Because the Lord, [our] God, the Almighty, hath become king.

 

3.  All the advice of astrologers will not save us if God decides to inflict His wrath. 

Isaiah 47:13 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from [these things] that shall come upon thee.  14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: [there shall] not [be] a coal to warm at, [nor] fire to sit before it. 15 Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, [even] thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.

            (Rotherham) Isaiah 47:13 Thou hast worn thyself out with the mass of thy consultations,--Let them take their stand I pray thee that they may save thee--The dividers of the heavens--The gazers at the stars, They who make known by new moons, Somewhat of the things which shall come upon thee.   14 Lo! they have become as straw--a fire, hath burned them up, They shall not deliver their own soul from the grasp of the flame,--There is, no live coal to warm them, nor blaze to sit before.   15 Such, have they become to thee, with whom thou hast wearied thyself,--Thy merchants--from thy youth, will every man stagger straight onwards--There is none to save thee.

 

 

 

 

 

# 051 #

Reincarnation

 

 

            1.  The Scriptures teach that we die once, not many times.

            Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

           

2.  The Scriptures teach that our fate—for better or worse—is sealed at death and is unchangeable thereafter.

            Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:   20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,   21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.   22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;   23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.   24 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.   25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.   26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence.   27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:   28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.   29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.   30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.   31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

            (1)  No multiple deaths.  If there were, then one would go to his destiny more than once and this picture only mentions it happens the single time.  Would that “big” a fact be left out and the narrative have any claim to accuracy?

            (2)  Note that if one is to live on earth again it would be by resurrection—“rose from the dead  (verse 31).  Not a physical rebirth and new lifespan from the first day on!
 

            3.  To the extent that there is a concept of “salvation” at all among believers in reincarnation, it is produced by one’s own works standing alone.  It comes as the result of the gradual purging of one’s evil habits over many reincarnations.  Divine grace; a Savior—such things are absolutely needless.

 

            A.  The Scriptures condemn such a concept in the clearest salvation.

            Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.   8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:   9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

            Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,   5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

 

            B.  Furthermore, it is a Christ-less salvation.  His redemptive death is of no benefit to us.  It all hinges on what we ourselves do. 

            In irrevocable contrast note the words of John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

            Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;   12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].   13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:   14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?   15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

 

            C.  Hence God and Christ are entirely left out, it is a salvation by morality alone:  The “better” a person lives, the closer he progresses to his ultimate pleasant destiny.

 

            (1)  The Pharisee who prayed in the Jewish Temple was an extremely righteous man but he was still not acceptable to God.  More was needed.

            Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:   10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.   11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.   12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.   13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.   14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  

 

            (2)  The apostle Paul was a very righteous man prior to his conversion to Christ, but he was still unacceptable to God.  If he couldn’t make it that way, how can we expect to?

            Philippians 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:   5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;   6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.   7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

 

            4.  Reincarnation is inherently a futile theory.

 

            A.  Most people are unaware that they have been “reincarnated” even if the theory be true.  How then does it do a person any good?

           

            B.  There is no authoritative moral code of conduct to determine when one has reached that level of excellence that reincarnation can cease.  Hence the person is left to his own self-serving prejudices to somehow work out—against all odds—what his or her path must ultimately be.

 

            (1)  The Bible warns us that mankind’s inclination to sin is too great for him to be able to create a fully adequate moral code.

            Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.   9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  

            Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.

            Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.

 

            (2)  Hence we should be extremely grateful that God has so loved us that He has revealed all His moral standards to us through the Bible.

            2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.

            2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:   17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

 

 

 

 

 

# 052 #

Seances and Other

“Communications” with the Dead

 

 

            How these can be faked has been exposed time and again.  What we are concerned with, however, is the scriptural evidence that the results of such efforts are fraudulent.

 

            1.  The afterlife that is pictured is different from that described in the Bible.  The Scriptures teach that most mortals are living in rebellion against God and face vigorous retribution.  In the “spiritualist” conception, post life suffering borders on non-existent—certainly the non-ending type pictured in the Bible.

            Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:   14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

            (American Standard Version) Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby.

            2 Thessalonians 1:6 Seeing [it is] a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;   7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,   8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

            (English Standard Version)  1:6  Since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,    8  in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

            Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;   23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.   24 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.   25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

 

            2.  The next world that is pictured through séances and such like is a place where God and Jesus Christ seemingly have no role.  In contrast the Biblical portrait of that world is one in which the presence of both is pivotal and central.  Jesus returns from heaven, resurrects the physically dead, and re-enters with those who had followed Him on earth, and returns His kingdom to His Father.  And neither gets mentioned in supposedly “genuine” communications from the next world?  Really?

 

            3.  Even if séances and such like actually did place us in communication with the next world, we could place no confidence in what is told us if it is contrary to what the Scriptures reveal us about that world.

            Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.   9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

 

            4.  If the dead were allowed to communicate with their living relatives, the message would be one calling for moral reform—not how nice it is “on the other side” since, for so many, it would be anything but.

            Luke 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:   28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.   29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.   30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.   31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

           

            5.  The case of the Witch of Endor is often appealed to as vindication of both the ability to communicate with the dead and the propriety of doing so.  This works brilliantly—until you pay close attention to the text.

 

            A.  Consulting a medium was an act of desperation by King Saul.  It was not something he considered normal, proper, and acceptable behavior.

            1 Samuel 28:5 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.   6 And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.   7 Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, [there is] a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.  

 

            B.  Saul was so ashamed to be seeking out a medium, that he did it secretly and in disguise.  Do those seeking out such assistance have that attitude today?  Rarely! 

            1 Samuel 28:8 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me [him] up, whom I shall name unto thee.   9 And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?   10 And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, [As] the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.  

 

            C.  The medium was shocked and astounded when she was successful in raising Samuel!  It was emphatically not the expected result and she was stunned that—for once—she actually had successfully contacted the dead.

            1 Samuel 28:11 Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.   12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou [art] Saul.   13 And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.   14 And he said unto her, What form [is] he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he [is] covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it [was] Samuel, and he stooped with [his] face to the ground, and bowed himself.

 

            D.  Samuel did not like being disturbed by the living.

1 Samuel 28:15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.

            (Contemporary English Version) 1 Samuel 28:15 "Why are you bothering me by bringing me up like this?" Samuel asked. "I'm terribly worried," Saul answered. "The Philistines are about to attack me. God has turned his back on me and won't answer any more by prophets or by dreams. What should I do?"

 

            E.  Samuel did not engage in idle chatter designed to reassure Saul of his own joy and happiness or that the living do, indeed, survive death.  Instead he pointedly rebuked him for his sin.

            1 Samuel 28:16 Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?   17 And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, [even] to David:   18 Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day.   19 Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow [shalt] thou and thy sons [be] with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.   20 Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.

 

 

            F.  Rather than being reassured by a communication from the dead, Saul was horrified and terrified.

            1 Samuel 28:20 Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.   21 And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me.

            (New International Version)  28:20  Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and night.     21  When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your maidservant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do.

 

            G.  Consulting Samuel through the medium was one of the factors that cost Saul his life.

            1 Chronicles 10:13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, [even] against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking [counsel] of [one that had] a familiar spirit, to enquire [of it];   14 And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.

            (NKJV) 10:13 So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance.   14 But [he] did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

 

            6.  The Bible condemns mediums (and their equivalents) in their efforts to communicate with the dead.

 

            A.  The use of mediums defiled a person.  Leviticus 19:31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I [am] the LORD your God.

            (NKJV)  Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I [am] the LORD your God.

            (CEV) Don't make yourselves disgusting to me by going to people who claim they can talk to the dead.

 

            B.  The use of mediums and their like made one an “abomination” to God.  The use of such was one of the reasons the prior inhabitants of Palestine lost their land.

            Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,   11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.   12 For all that do these things [are] an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.  

            (NKJV) 18:10 There shall not be found among you [anyone] who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, [or one] who practices witchcraft, [or] a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,   11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.   12 For all who do these things [are] an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.

 

            C.  The use of mediums made one God’s enemy.

            Leviticus 20:6 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

            (NASB)  As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.

 

            D.  So serious was the offense of attempting to consult with the dead, that to be a medium / intermediary was to be worthy of execution.

            Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood [shall be] upon them.

            (NIV)  A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.

 

            E.  Rather than consult mediums for knowledge, we should consult God’s written law instead.

            Isaiah 8:19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?   20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.

            (NKJV) 8:19 And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter," should not a people seek their God? [Should they seek] the dead on behalf of the living?   20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.