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The heresy of the Heaven’s Gate cult September 21, 2011

Posted by Henry in False Doctrines.
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27 comments

I first encountered the heavens gate cult when I read a news article about how the brother of the Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichol’s (who played Lieutenant Uhura in the original series) committed suicide in 1997 in what was a mass suicide conducted by the Heaven’s Gate group to coincide with the passing of Hales Comet by the earth. It was believed by those who were involved that the comet would take their souls to heaven. From a Christian point of view this of course is preposterous but what should be more surprising is the fact that this group claim also to be followers of Christ and cloak their beliefs in scripture. I personally have not studied the beliefs of this group extensively however from what I have learnt about them I know enough to designate them as a cult which promotes false doctrines.

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ warns us many times in His word that we should beware of false christs and false teachers who if it were possible would deceive the very elect. I fear that those who are involved with the heaven’s gate group are both deceiving and being deceived. For instance, where is it written in scripture that believers should commit suicide in order to attain to heaven or even that space objects such as comets would come to take our souls to heaven so that we should take our own lives to gain entry such a vehicle? Anyone who believes this must necessarily believe a different gospel than that written in the Bible. However, as Paul admonishes us we should test every spirit to see if they are of God, in like fashion as the Bereans who examined all that Paul had taught them against the word to see if those things that Paul claimed were so. The adherents of the heaven’s gate group would do well to study the scriptures daily to see if the teachings they received lined up with the Word of God.

 

Jesus Christ came into this world to die for our sins so that through Him – by believing in Him and His gospel message we might be saved and inherit eternal life. Paul writing to Titus said:

11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Rather than committing suicide to accelerate our journey to heaven we are to earnestly continue in the blessed hope, waiting for the appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Moreover, when we die though we be in Christ we do not instantly go to heaven. Rather we remain asleep until the great and terrible day of the Lord when Jesus shall descend from heaven to gather the dead and the living who are in Him to Himself. See the following verses:

 

16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thess 4:16-18)

 

The heaven’s gate group however believes there is actually a different way to get to heaven – mass suicide. To them what is written here in the Word is not true but rather what their teachers tell them is what they believe to be the truth. However you cannot have it both ways – it is either you believe the Word of God as written in the Bible or you make it up as you go along or follow those who make it up as they go along.

 

The heaven’s gate group believes in two characters called Ti and Do who they claim are Jesus and God and at the same time the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11. The first question we need to ask here is whether God can send witnesses who contradict His very word. Let us first of all briefly examine whether these two characters could actually be God and Jesus. Jesus came into this world a messenger of the Father to bring good news to the lost. Jesus however told us that He is going back but will come again to gather those that are His to himself (Matt 16:27, Rev 22:12). Jesus knew however that when He left many false Christ would arise after Him to lead the people astray so He gave the desciples the signs to look for of His coming so that we are not deceived. We read for example:

 

24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25Behold, I have told you before. 26Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matt 24:24-27)

 

In spite of these clear warnings given by Jesus Himself that we should not go after another who is already on earth and claiming to be Him but rather to look for His appearing as the lighting flashes from East to West the heaven’s gate group rejects these very words. They claim that Jesus does not need to appear in this way but that His coming is phased and it is up to us to be able to recognize if when he is here. To reject Jesus’ words here and to say that Ti and Do are God and Jesus incarnate is nothing but a lie in the face of the Bible. Whom do we trust? The Bible, the revealed word of God or do we trust another who contradicts this very word?

 

Could these two therefore be the Two Witnesses of God – not if they contradict the very word of God they cannot be. More importantly they do not fit into neither the prophesy nor the criteria to fulfill the prophesy surrounding the ministry of the Two Witnesses. The Bible makes clear to us that the Two Witnesses complete their ministry during the opening of the 7th Seal at a time when the 5th angel (of the seven having the seven trumpets and the last seven plagues to judge the earth) sounded. These events occur after the 6th seal when the heavens were opened and when Jesus gathers those that are His to Himself. We know this because in Revelations 9 the 5th angel sounded and released the angel of the bottomless pit which I believe is the same beast of the bottomless bit which made war with the 2 witnesses in Revelation 11 and killed them following the end of their ministry. For the heaven’s gate group to therefore claim that the two witnesses have already fulfilled their ministry is again another lie in the face of scripture.

 

This has not been a detailed study on the heaven’s gate group nor was it intended to be but I believe I have left the reader in no doubt about the deceptive nature of the group. Their purpose is clearly not to fulfill the mission of Christ even though they may have been deceived into thinking that it is. I only pray that those who encounter them will stay clear of them and those who remain in the group may see the light of Christ and be awakened out of their deception.

The Church as a Non-Profit Organisation October 6, 2010

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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3 comments

My good friend Glasseyedave, over at “The Gospel According to the Gospel” suggested that I put out a complimentary post to the topic “Should Pastors be Salaried”, to address whether churches should be non-profit organisations and subjected to government rules. In my view these two subjects naturally go hand in hand and this will become clearer later. However the best starting point to looking at this subject is from the position of the early church as well as to take a cursory glance at its evolution.

 When Christ started the church He most certainly did not create so much as an “organisation” but rather established a “social movement”, which in essence constituted a “community” of believers. Whilst individual members of this informal community were subjected to the laws of the state there was no organisation as such which needed to be regulated. People met in each other’s homes or in the open to worship and shared what they had with one another and the pastors (who were the elders) certainly did not draw a salary. The modern church in contrast is characteristic of formal structures that are clearly defined and distinct from each other. Perhaps Emperor Constantine has a lot to answer for here since it was he who first came up with the idea to organise Christianity so it could be more effectively managed, due to its perceived threat to the state. As a result the modern church has inherited a system from the Roman church whereby churches meet as a group of people in a building and with namely one pastor (or priest) presiding as the head. It was Constantine who built the first church buildings (or temples) in Constantinople and elsewhere in 324 A.D (see here for an Historical account). With the advent of church buildings, the priestly class was raised up in order to minister over the affairs of these churches. This resulted in the division between priest and laity and it was during this period that the idea of salaried pastors began. Constantine initially sponsored the building of churches but over time the congregations were required to give contributions in order to sustain the ministry of the priest (or pastor) and the maintenance of the church. Giving was thus seen as tantamount to religious piety and this construct allowed for forms of giving such as the “tithe” to be reinstituted. The system that was instituted in churches therefore was pretty much like the Levitical system of the Old Testament (see here for an historical account on the salaried pastor)

 The reformation movement, which arguably began when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenberg Door, went some way into addressing some of the heretical practices that had seeped into the church as a result of the influences of Constantine, but this did not go far enough. Today the modern church has still not shaken off the shackles of the Roman church and most of its practices in terms of how we “do church” are still intact. However, if we should return to the example of the early church there is clearly no need for the church to operate as a formal organisation, which owns or meets in a specific building. Perhaps however the practices of the established churches are entrenched and therefore somewhat hard to shake and this could be why this model of church is still used. What then is the motivation of newly formed churches today to establish themselves as non-profit organisations, subject to the rules and regulations of national governments?

 I will submit that one of the primary motives for churches today to register themselves as charities/non-profit organisations is because of MONEY. By centralising ministerial activities from a church building this of course necessitates fundraising activities both to sustain the officiating priests/pastors and to maintain the building. There are therefore certain financial advantages for having such a venture registered as a non-profit organisation. In the UK for instance, if charities raise more than £5,000 per annum they are legally required to register as a charity with the Charity Commission (the body which oversees charities). It is evident however that most churches that meet in a rented building or own their own building cannot sustain themselves on a paltry £5,000p.a. because this will not meet the operational costs which includes the salary of the pastor and the maintenance costs. Most churches therefore would need to raise far in excess of £5,000 in order to meet these costs so therefore the way to go about it without falling foul of the law is to register as a charity. The benefit of registering as a non-profit making organisation is that the church would therefore not be subject to income or corporation taxes. Another motive is that when donations are made by the church members/attendees they may give under the Gift Aid scheme. This means that the church can claim back 28p in the £1.00, for every £1.00 of donation given, from the Tax Office (HMRC) which helps to swell the funds of the church. Money is therefore the main reason why churches come under the regulatory framework of governmental bodies.

 I do not believe that the current status quo is what Christ intended for His church though! In my view however, the church is the body of Christ and as such is (should be) regulated by Jesus Christ and He alone since He is the only Head. The church in essence is the Kingdom of God – a spiritual Kingdom – and therefore is not of this world (John 18:36).  As such the Kingdom of God is not (should not be) subject to temporal authority. In God’s Kingdom Christ is King and His commandments are the laws, which govern the operations of His Kingdom – laws not written on tablets of stones but upon the hearts of every believer (2 Cor 3:3). We are in this position today though because of the love of money and also because we have left the true path to follow the heretical path instituted by the Roman church under Constantine.

Do the Jews need Jesus Christ for Salvation? April 3, 2010

Posted by Henry in Teaching Things They Ought Not.
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26 comments

There are some ministers today, even very “high profile” personalities like John Hagee who teach that the Jews do not need to believe in Jesus (or come to faith in Christ) to ensure their salvation. But is this view biblically correct? The implication of this position is that the gospel was given to non-Jews only but what do the scriptures teach? Paul writing in Romans 1 says:

 Rom 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

 Paul made it clear here that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (or Gentile). It is clear then that the gospel of salvation came to the Jew first as well as everyone else. To demonstrate this we may note from scripture that when Jesus called the Twelve Disciples and sent them out to preach the message of the Kingdom, He sent them to the Israelites only (Matt 10:5-7). Why was it necessary then that the gospel be given to the Jew first? We know from the Old Testament that God had made a covenant with Israel and this covenant is referred to as the Law, which was given unto Moses. This Law was to be observed in the Promised Land which God gave the Israelites under the covenant. However, the Children of Israel repeatedly broke God’s commandments and statutes and even went after other gods to worship them. The Lord therefore said He would make a new covenant with this people and we learn of this through the prophet Jeremiah in Jer 31:31-34:

 31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.  (see also Heb 8:7-12)

The new covenant that Jeremiah spoke of therefore is the same covenant that was fulfilled in the gospel through Christ’s death and resurrection. This is the new covenant that was made with Israel hence the reason the gospel came unto the Jew first. To substantiate this fact we may look at Heb 9:15:

 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 (covenant), that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament(covenant), they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. 18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. 21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Emphasis mine!)

The new covenant which we as Christians partake of today is the new covenant that was promised and given to the Israelites. However the Jews in the main rejected it and the word of God came instead unto the Gentiles and we see this in Acts 13:46:

44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

Having examined the foregoing scriptures the question which needs to be asked is how can a minister of the new covenant claim that the Jews do not need to come to Jesus Christ for Salvation? By teaching such heresy these ministers are helping the Jews to continue to reject a covenant that was given to the Jew first and then the Gentiles. Indeed the scriptures, Acts 4:12, tells us that salvation is found in no other but Jesus Christ. Jesus put it this way:

  I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

 May we repent of such heresies and may God forgive us and have mercy upon us and help us to return to the truth of His Word. Amen

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