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touchstones

 

Touchstones alt

Prove All Things

© This is a summary of chapter 7 of the book “Toetst Alles” (Test Everything) by drs. W.J.A. Pijnacker Hordijk.

A touchstone is used by a goldsmith or silversmith to determine the level of a precious metal according to the color resulting from striking it on the touchstone. The purpose is to determine its genuineness and worth. In spiritual matters there is much about which we must question whether it is worthy or worthless. How do we test or probe these matters?

What are the testing standards for measuring spiritual matters? The more we practice this correctly, the more the errors become evident as well. The more touchstones we have the more certain the conclusions will be. Let’s look first at the most important touchstone.

The living Word: Jesus Christ.

Jesus Himself asks us the most significant question: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is He? (Matthew 22:42) The answer to this question is fundamental. Jesus Christ is unique and universal, His many names and titles declare His greatness. World religions, sects, religious communities etc. should be investigated concerning their view on Jesus Christ. Answers like “He is one of the prophets, or a special person or a great teacher or the founder of a world religion” are not sufficient.

When dealing with the Gnostics, John makes the humanization or incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ the touchstone. ”Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.”(I John 4:1-3) Jesus became God and man, He died on the cross, He was buried and rose again. “Who is the liar? It is the man whom denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist – he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son, has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” (I John 2:22-23)

The Person of the Lord Jesus Christ receives the fundamental place of honor as touchstone. He is the living stone, which the builders rejected. Nevertheless, by God this One is the chosen and precious One, the cornerstone even (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; I Peter 2:4) “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Mathew 21:44) The Lord Jesus Christ therefore is both the cornerstone and the touchstone. The crucified Christ is and remains fundamental.

How does this work in practice? For example we must determine if all honor is given to the Lord Jesus, or whether a human being (like a charismatic leader) is the center of attention. The Lord Jesus rightfully desires honor, and is even jealous when a certain message is honored more by the speaker than Jesus Himself. In that case you should have doubts about that speaker. Be aware that God affirms His own Word even though the speaker may act wrongly. Naturally this is not an excuse for preachers to live regardless how they feel. A good example is the apostle Paul. He said: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”. (I Corinthians 2:2) He did not bind others to himself but referred to being bound to another; they were bound to one man to be presented as a pure virgin to Christ. Which Christ? A crucified one of course – and that is always received to be foolish and offensive. Prosperity preachers teach a different, exclusively victorious strong-arm man Christ.” For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” (II Corinthians 11:4) Who was who said: ”I am the Alpha and Omega”? Or: “I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” ( II Corinthians 11:2-3) Jesus warned emphatically for many false christs. Through the centuries these have appeared in great numbers and we can expect to meet these deceptive touchstones as we go through life and will need to expose them. Does the person or group we are testing have a holy respect for Him, or do they think they own Jesus or, in fact, can even manipulate Him? Some of them make their own Jesus Christ according to their own image; others think they can trace Christ geographically. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it . For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:23-24) The true Christ of the Scriptures warns us, however, not to believe the false christs and prophets. Save yourself the trouble of climbing into an airplane. “But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:6-9) Christ is not across the ocean, but much closer: in the heart of the believer.

The testimony of Christ is the spirit of prophecy. “Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10) True prophecy must lead us to worship Jesus. ”Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.” (I Corinthians 12:3) Obviously a Christian can also say that Jesus is Lord, but that certainly is a personal confession right from the heart and evidenced in life. Naturally there were only two possibilities: either Caesar was lord or Jesus, and the confession of the latter usually resulted in martyrdom. Also an orthodox confession of the Lord Jesus is not sufficient guarantee. Even the devil and demons fully recognize His lordship, though with grinding teeth and complete refusal to submit to Him. (Mark 3:11; Luke 4:41; Acts 16:16-17; James 2:19) Worshiping Him, obedience to Him and submission to the Lord may never be missing.

The Giver is greater than the (spiritual) gifts, and the one who is manifested is more important than the manifestation. For true Christians Christ is central. Rev. Martin Lloyd-Jones exposes correctly egocentrism in his chapter “Jesus is Lord”. “They are successful in getting people to come forward to give their testimony and to say ‘I always felt sad and unhappy; now I am happy the whole day and I don’t have difficulties and problems anymore and everything is rose petals and wonderful’. But when you listen to them, to such person: where is the mentioning of the Lord Jesus Christ? (1)

If we have clearly discovered the Christology (teachings about Christ) of someone, then we also can discover his soteriology (teachings about the salvation of sinners) and his bibliology (teachings about the Bible).

The written word, the Bible.

Jewish people were expected to be able to discern the truth through the law. “ and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law;” (Romans 2:18) Traditions, emotions, experiences, prophecies, and visions, regardless of their importance, are not decisive, but subject to the Word. They cannot add anything to and may never be placed above the completed canon. Speaking through the prophet Hosea as a complaint, God said that His people had failed due to lack of knowledge, knowledge of God is meant, which the priests using the Pentateuch should have taught them. (Hosea 4:1-10). Priests needed to teach the difference between holy and unholy, between clean and unclean. (Ezekiel 22:26; 44:23). God clearly does not want that we are lost forever: when we listen and obey God’s Word there is salvation and blessing. Do preachers understand their job? Is the Word taken seriously or is it misused as a launching pad for their own ideas? Is the Word allowed to speak or is the power found in jokes, gripping stories and oratorical talents? Is the Bible expounded properly or is something inserted only later to be magically discovered? (2)

Every responsible study of a testworth theological subject will stand or fall with the healthy exegesis of the Word. But which translation of the Bible should be used? Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own ‘New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures’, which in essential places is plain wrong. No translation is perfect, because every translation requires some amount of interpretation. The safest is the Bible in its original languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Agreed that the Bible is not the easiest book and help with reading, translating, studying and applying is therefore indispensable.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

In order to be able to identify what is false, it is crucially important to know what is real and true. An illustration: As a result of his knowledge of the Tora, Nehemiah was able to recognize the cunning intimidation, the false accusation, and the pious temptation to entice him to flee into the temple. This was of course specifically reserved for the priests. The suggestion to do so was in opposition to God’s Word and turned out to be a temptation. He declared clearly that the messenger had not been sent by God and did not heed the false prophecies which had been spoken about him. (Nehemiah 6:1-19)

According to the author of Hebrews it must be possible and important to distinguish if a person is functioning by his spirit or his soul. (3) Jeremiah complains that the prophets are prophesying from their own heart and not from the mouth of God. Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:16) Ezekiel is told by God that the foolish prophets are following their own spirit without having seen something. “Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” (Ezekiel 13:3) The source tells us plainly if it is dependable or not.

Prince writes correctly that worshipping God has nothing to do with amusement or pleasure. That kind has to do with the soul which desires a kick, satisfaction or excitement, while the spirit is ignored. (4) But who really understands this? Is a statement or activity in accordance with God’s Word? Is it Biblical? This touchstone needs explanation. For instance, adultery and murder are “biblical” because they are named in the Bible. What we really mean is: is it in full accordance with God’s will, with the generally accepted truths of the Bible? The devil can cite scripture for his own purpose. Anyone can find a text that supports his own ideas. But is that valid? Does it violate the context where it is found? Is it in accordance with the historical line of interpretation?

Satan, an orthodox believer (!), is convinced of the truth of God’s Word, but refuses to willingly submit to it. Continually he tries in three ways to weaken it: a) by twisting its message b) by adding to it and c) by taking something away. (5) To let the Bible speak one’s own words by ignoring the actual relationships or context, is easily and often done. Are the same accents given which God has placed? Is there, for example, emphasis on the objectionable but saving cross, on purifying sanctification? Is there a beating heart for missions, as the Lord Jesus Himself was the pre-eminent missionary and even yet sends missionaries to reach the lost. Is the entire Word allowed to speak? Sects are called the unpaid balance of the church because they fill up the gaps in the church. Paul hammers by his coworkers Timothy and Titus for healthy teaching, healthy words, healthy faith and healthy preaching. (I Timothy 1:10; 6:3; II Timothy 1:13; 4:3; Titus 1:9, 13; 2:1, 8) An example of an unhealthy accent: Prince observed that when the theme and accent is repeatedly “power”, this often leads to false teaching. Let this be a warning. (6) In the same way worshipping worship is objectionable, because the only object of worship is the triune God.

Jonathan Edwards was convinced that works were not to be judged by their physical effects (for example: crying, shaking, moaning, attacks, falling faint). We agree with him when he claims that in contrast the only true sign of conversion is an increased evaluation of the Holy Scriptures. (7)

Velema correctly warns against falling for extreme spirit-streams as a form of biblicism (taking the Bible literally and one-sided, nonhistorically, self-willed explaining) and against confessionalism (considering the fallible confession to be equal to the infallible Holy Scripture) (8) A Christian should not be pragmatic but fundamental on principle. It is not a mistake to ask someone or an organization for its confession of faith. If the Apostles Creed or the statement of faith of the Evangelical Alliance (or similar in other countries) cannot be agreed on that must raise our suspicion.

The Author of the Word: the Holy Spirit.

The Inspirer of God’s Word is the Holy Spirit. Spirit and Word can never be in contradiction with each other, they are in reality the two rails of the same railroad. (9) Everything that is unholy, crude, abusive or ugly cannot be from the Holy Spirit. (10) We must recognize that the third person of the Trinity is also God and deserves veneration, respect and honor, and, just like the Sovereign and the Son, He cannot be manipulated. As God the Holy Spirit can also be worshiped, even though we find no command nor example in God’s Word to this end. In all honesty it should be mentioned that there is also no place in the Bible where it is forbidden to worship the Holy Spirit. Gods Spirit is like a searchlight, illuminating not itself but Jesus. And Jesus directs us to His Father. Jesus is the way, the way to the Father. Although with all good intentions it is strange and disputable to call on or invite the Holy Spirit by means of a prayer or song. (11) Is it really right for Christians to call on the Holy Spirit just like heathens call to their spirits? The Spirit searches all things (I Corinthians 2:10-16) and glorifies Christ (John 16:14) not giving any attention to Himself. Derek Prince is right when he says: ”Every spirit that calls attention to the Holy Spirit is not the Holy Spirit because that is in opposition to the character and purpose of the Holy Spirit.” (12)

If a person supposedly through the Holy Spirit is brought into a intimidate devotion to Mary, then this can never be from the Holy Spirit. That contradicts the purpose of the Holy Spirit: being a witness of Jesus to glorify our Lord. In addition it also is in contradiction with Mary’s own last words as recorded in the Bible: ”Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 15:26, 2:5) We are not to seek special experiences or manifestations as such. God can give these. The Giver, (Holy Spirit) is more important that the gifts (charismas). Paul’s prayer may also be prayed by us: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)

Small Touchstones

The following tests cannot and may not be applied without taking into account the above mentioned greater touchstones. Whereas clearly the objective criteria are the most important, we should not neglect the subjective ones.

Image of Man

It is not only the image of God but also the image of man which serves us as a touchstone. What do we think about man? Is he in reality good but unfortunately falls into evil because society is evil? Can man save himself and we therefore don’t need a crucified Christ? Can we project the evolutionary controversies through to the future, and expect man to save himself from all of his misery and problem by means of his intellect, technical ability and creativeness? The New Age stream wants everyone to discover his own godliness and then works on self-realization. Humanism is not much different. Or are we expected, in opposition to this optimistic image of man, to choose for pessimism, so that man becomes as person with no responsibility, who can do nothing that is good and thereby neither wills nor needs to do anything, except live?

Not so, the image of man in the Bible is totally different than this: man’s original creation was perfect, through sin became separated from God, but is still created in the image of God. Only the Gospel can change the descending spiral into an upward spiral. In reality it is not about over or under estimating, but correctly determining the true value of the crown of creation. (13)

Edification

There is another touchstone to examine. Former missionary Ger Prakken expresses concern about undiscerning acceptance of all kinds of manifestations. The I-centered mental wave rolls from the world into the church, and instead of bringing sacrifices, the modern Christian – with exception of the good ones – just wants to be blessed. According to Prakken, those who seek a kick just for the kick are wrong. His plea is correct: that we seek a blessing in order to be a blessing to others, that we help building each other up. (14) Is it edifying or constructive for the church (I Corinthians 12:7, 14:12,26), and purposeful to society? Do the words, impulses and activities lead to a deeper surrender to God? This criteria is also relative. First the prophet Jeremiah had to do destructive work four times before he could do two constructive things. “See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10) Desperate cuts (diseases) must have desperate cures.Although the beginning is often cutting down and breaking down before planting and building up can start, the purpose is not destruction but rather solid (re)construction which must be built on the foundation.

Order

God has stated that there should be order in the services of a church. He declared in which order the speakers should be heard. (I Corinthians 14:26-40) This is not to be mistaken as a rigid, fully predictable and boring liturgy. Likewise it is not meant to forbid spontaneity. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul wrote what God will: no chaotic situations with everyone speaking at the same time, where no one can make head nor tail of it. We see God – the Holy Spirit – as a God of peace and not of confusion. Services should be led by the elders, the responsible leaders with authority and who can be consulted about the procedures. They have the task to stimulate or even slow down. At times they may need to correct, because the purpose of building up must always be in function. This must always happen in a spiritual way. Freedom and order are not opposites, but should be able to exist peaceably together. ”Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (I Corinthians 3:17) and therefore order.

Sanctification

A true revival is characterized by radically breaking with sin. Unfortunately this reserve, a fearing of God is often missing by the charismatics. In reality even after our conversion God remains awesome, even as a consuming fire. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29) The balance between the unapproachability of God and a friendly relationship with Him must be maintained. When a speaker or a spiritual organization consistently fails to identify sin, repentance, the cross, and sanctification and replaces them with sphere, show, sensation, manifestations and is really too familiar with the holy God, then we need to reject this implicitly. This is not the HOLY Spirit but an unholy, possibly quite pious, spirit. The Holy Spirit produces a passion for and submission to Jesus Christ, including trials and not requiring automatically miracles and signs. Christ loves His church and has given Himself for it. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) This purifying judgment must start with the household of God and that is the church. “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? …You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 4:17; 2:5) The last judgment has already started in the church. This is seen in the church of Corinth where they were not very careful with holiness in the church and with the Lord’s Table. (I Corinthians 11:27-34). In the words of the apostle Paul God calls us to examine ourselves in order to avoid sickness and even death as discipline.

Evangelism

God’s agenda for now includes ”WORLDEVANGLISM” or “MISSIONS” and this has been His top priority for ages. Gifts of the Spirit, experiences, miracles, feelings all have their rightful place, but it is not Gods plan that we should be spiritual hoarders. It is sinful to shift the accent. The Gospel is not something to store up for ourselves but to share. The entire body, the church, should be carrying out this great commission in the power of the Holy Spirit. Missions is not reserved for a group of super-christian hobbyists. Woe to the church that is nothing more than a Christian entertainment club for self amusement. If evangelism plays an important role in a churches activities – not pitiful stealing of members for a leader, church or own organization but specifically for king Jesus – that pleads for the discernment we need.

God’s specific desire is that all will be saved and that is only possible through one mediator, Jesus Christ, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:3-5) but God’s will in this unfortunately will not be completely fulfilled. Hell is very real and many will go there; total redemption will not happen. Missions with nothing more than social benefits without preaching of the Word is nothing more than humanistic development aid. Of course Word and deed must go together. How can we keep our mouths, hands and purses closed; as we know what the heart thinks, the tongue speaks. No one can earn heaven by countless good works, it is free, Pro Deo, only gained by faith believing and a sincere “Thank you, Lord”. This makes Christianity unique: we do not climb into heaven on our own, rather God’s Son descended to the earth where He suffered a horrible martyr’s death for our sins. No one can ignore the cross of Christ. We are not ashamed of the cross; no, we glory in such grace.

 

Church

God has given us yet another accent, the universal and local church. By means of the church in her totality and particularly through her members God wants to reach and save this world in travail. The church is vulnerable and often experiences attack from outside and inside, but Jesus has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against her. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Even though it is a painful conclusion that, not so much through, but in spite of the church, God gives His blessing, we still need to respect the church with our love and use it as a base to operate from. Whoever neglects or even opposes a local church where the ‘Christ of the Scriptures’ is given a central place, is not pleasing God. Authority exercised in the church is not a nasty word and deserves to be respected.

 

Church History

As of now the Christian church has existed for over two thousand years. Obviously, during this long period much has taken place. We may never think that we are the first to have thought about a certain Bible verse or experienced a problem in the church. There are already theological libraries that are full of books. We can benefit enormously from church history. If we don’t learn from history, we are forced to relive it. An example: the so-called “Toronto movement” seems ultra-modern. This is not the place to analyze this movement, which was the source of much confusion and is even responsible for church splits - for this you are directed to other books. But what happened in revival movements ages ago? Wasn’t that the same? How were revival preachers involved in it then? And what we can learn from that today? History repeats itself unless we decide to learn from it and refuse to fall into the same pitfalls.

The Nation of Israel

Even if we read only quickly through the Bible we soon discover that God “has something special for Israel and especially with Jerusalem”, and that is only weakly expressed. Israel is God’s chosen people, the apple of His eye. “But the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage. “He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” (Deuteronomy 32:9-10, Zachariah 2:8) This nation is blessed by Him and there is no curse over it.” For there is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel; now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel, ‘What has God wrought!’”(Numbers 23:23, Isaiah 8:10) It is in reality quite shocking that through ages of church history, there almost never appears even one word about Israel in the church constitutions. This does not mean that every Christian should have the same thoughts about Israel’s eschatology (even if this were possible) before we could recognize each other as Christians. Israel has a very unique place in God’s plan. To reject it is equal to replacement-theology, which teaches that Christianity is the new chosen people of God because the Jews have rejected the Messiah. Restricting the blessings to Christianity and leaving the curses for Israel is neither fair nor part of God’s plan.

“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3) Jerusalem is like a stone, a touchstone! Undeniably the nation of Israel was not and is not perfect. Nevertheless God has clearly bound Himself to this chosen nation. Do we adhere to the same accents as God? Is there a place is our theology for Israel? There are pulpits where the name Israel seldom or never is mentioned. By others far too often. A healthy, unromantic and unconditional but yet critical love for this unique nation like, for example Paul had, is desired. Paul, the Jewish apostle for the Gentiles wrote that for the Israelites acceptance as sons is possible. And further that the wonderful covenants, the law, worship, the promises, the patriarchs and last but not least, God the Messiah are all meant for the Israelites. (Romans 9:1-5)

Do we bless this nation because God has given us the example? Shameful, indescribable and totally unacceptable is the suffering afflicted to the Jews during ages past. Unbelievers and even believers like Luther, have treated this nation unjustly and have laid hands upon them to their own punishment. Even Christians have done this, and we should have a humble attitude toward them. In contrast there are some Christians who are so enthralled by the Jewish nation that they have established a Messianic church. Agreed, the Bible is largely a Jewish book. Knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic is valuable. Jesus is a Jew. Salvation (the Savior) is from the Jews, and salvation was originally for the Jews. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16, John 4:22) History proves that God has never ended the works of His hand for this special chosen nation. God is continuing His marvelous works with the Jews. The Jewish nation does not have unity. It is just as divided internally as Christianity. You can encounter a great variety, from the ultra-orthodox to atheistic Jews. Everyone sorely needs the Gospel. In every way we surely must be totally convinced that solely and only Jesus Christ, if you prefer Messiah Jesus, must be the central point of attraction in a church, and not a certain liturgy or ritual. He is rightfully a jealous Lord. We need to heed the serious warning of Paul in his letter to the Galatian church not to return to the Judaïsers, meaning to the Jewish law. Be careful for enchantment. Do not accept being brought again into slavery.

A visit to the land of Israel is an enormous enrichment for understanding the Bible. But for fools it can be just as attractive. I am thinking about a formerly respected brother, a married man, who recently insisted on visiting the grave of Rachel with a teenage girl. God insisted on this. Do you believe that? The leader of the sect, the so-called Church of God, Sipke Vrieswijk, fled to Israel when it was too difficult to stay in The Netherlands. He gave the members of the sect a pious story: the conversion of Israel and after that the whole world was his goal. But the real motivation was tax evasion and escaping the child protection laws. (15)

Jerusalem functioned as a magnet for ‘millennium tourists”. Pilgrims expected the millennium to start there and then everything else would be fulfilled. Sect members from ‘Concerned Christians’ wanted to use violent activities to hasten the apocalypse. (16) Psychologists used the expression ‘syndrome of the year 2000’ along with the ‘Jerusalem syndrome’. This latter is characterized by strong feelings of fear, followed by obsessive necessity for purification. The pilgrim starts believing that he has to carry out a godly directive and starts preaching. (17) Especially on the internet there were tens of websites available from Christian organizations calling to meet together on the Mount of Olives on Dec. 31, 1999 for prayer. (18) This actually brings great concern. A spark in the powder keg of Jerusalem can start the third world war. Jesus never called us to gather on the Mount of Olives to await the end of the world. In contrast, he predicted and warned for false christs and called us to world evangelism. As a matter of fact, He told us to beware of tempters, betrayers. Do not overestimate nor underestimate Israel.

 

Fulfillment

We will talk about our last touchstone: it really works! This criteria seems simple, it is, in fact, complicated. Usually there is no stated time given in a prophecy when it will take place and sometimes a prophecy is conditional. If a prophecy was actually fulfilled, then it was from God. “As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet.” (Jeremiah 28:9) Until this is so, we would be wise to act like Jacob, Daniel and Mary, who heard the words and kept them in their heart. (19) Can you wait for the fulfillment as a criteria? Do we actually have enough patience, time and expectation? If we can only respond adequately to the prophecy after it has been fulfilled (as evidenced that it came from God), then we have lost the effect of the prophecy. Perhaps we will never see the fulfillment because it only happens after our death. What would be the value of that prophecy? It is still necessary to be very careful because there have been predictions which came out but they were not from God. If a prophet or dreamer announces a sign or miracle that actually happens, but in the meantime proposes that we serve other strange gods, and in so doing preaches about apostasy, we should not listen to this, this person has described his own death sentence. “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5) This is the way the words of the fortune-teller of Endor were fulfilled. (I Samuel 28:6-20; 31:1-6), even though fortune-telling was clearly and repeatedly forbidden by God. “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer.” (Deuteronomy 18:10, Leviticus 19:26, 20:6) Although fortune-tellers can in fact predict something accurately, we are still forbidden by God to learn about the future through these mediums.

Not only are we looking at the fulfillment of prophecies, but now we also need to look at fulfillment of desires, healings and prayer requests. We should not be hesitant to require proof of a healing. An objective third party, preferably a doctor, can determine the former illness and affirm a healing. The evangelist/doctor Luke writes for instance, that Jesus according to the law, sent the healed lepers to be controlled by the priests. When he saw them he said to them “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.” (Luke 17:14, Colossians 4:14, Leviticus 14) The responsibility of the priests was to determine the clean or unclean condition of the leper.

Once again we need to be careful: establishing that a person has become healthy says nothing about the source of healing. In other words, even satan can heal people, of course not because he has suddenly become a lover of mankind, but much more in order to grab back more than he has given. On the other hand, God desires healing and restoration of body, soul and spirit. A third possibility is the person’s own psychiatric and physical mechanisms. This is the so-called, well-known placebo effect that depends on auto-suggestion.

© drs. W.J.A. Pijnacker Hordijk

translated by Herb Boyd

 

 

Footnotes

  1. Dr. M. Lloyd-Jones, Beproeft alle dingen (translation of Prove all things) (Utrecht: de Banier, 1995) p.100
  2. Strongly recommended: John Boekhout. Verantwoord Bijbelgebruik (Amsterdam: Buijten & Schipperheijn 1998)

3. For the difference between soul and spirit (trichotomy as opposed to dichotomy):

* Tom Marshall, Bevrijd om vrij te zijn (Hoornaar: Gideon, 19192)

* Watchman Nee, De latente kracht van de ziel (Amsterdam: Moria second print : 1987)

* Watchman Nee, Het behoud van de ziel (Amsterdam: Moria, 1981)

* Prof. Dr. C.A.van Peursen, Lichaam-Ziel-Geest (Utrecht: Bijleveld, third print 1966)

* Jessie Penn-Lewis, Ziel en Geest, (Amsterdam, Moria, 1979)

* Derek Prince, Wonderen en tekenen (translation of Protection from deception, navigating

through the minefield of signs and wonders) (Heemskerk: Derek Prince Ministries Nederland.

1997) p. 46-52.

4 Derek Prince, as cited p.58

5 Quoting selectively is complicated. Satan avoided quoting Psalm 91:13 as recorded in Luke 4:9-12 because this spoke of his own defeat. The Lord Jesus did not quote Isaiah 61:2 as recorded in Luke 4:19 because the time for this was not ripe. Peter did not fully quote Joel 2:32 in his speech in Acts 2:21.

6 Derek Prince, as cited p.86

7 Jonathan Edwards, A Narrative of Surprising Conversations – Selected Works, referred to by Douglas McBain in Discussing the Spirits (London, Marshall Pickering, 1992) p.113 Notice these verses:“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” (John 14:21, 23, 24)

8 J.H. Velema, Wat zit erachter? Onderscheiden van geesten (Amsterdam: Buijten & Schipperheijn, 1995) p.67-68

9 See Psalm 33:6 word and breath = spirit. Compare with Isaiah 55:10-11, and compare Ephesians 5:19 with Colossians 3:16.

Spirit without Word is boastful,Word without Spirit dries up,Word and Spirit produces growth.

10 Derek Prince, as cited p. 29, 31

11 In Acts (8:15-18; 9:17;19:6) it is evident that believers by the laying on of hands could receive the Holy Spirit. This was prayed for. To Whom? To the Father and/or the Son that the believers would receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave the promise of the Holy Spirit and poured this out (Acts 2:33) In my opinion this is different than calling upon the Holy Spirit Himself.

*An exception is found in Ezekiel 37:9,14 where the prophet received the directive to prophecy to the wind/breath s(!)S(?)pirit.

* Song of Solomon 4:16 is first of all poetic. To invite the Holy Spirit on the basis of this text is weak.

*Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say to the Bridegroom (Lord Jesus) “Come”. Christians worship the Father and the Son, who is the Lamb for them slain. Their worship is by the Spirit (Philippians 3:3) The Spirit directs us to Jesus and Jesus directs us continually to the Father. Jesus did not teach us to pray to the Spirit, nor did He give us an example in this. There is as well no prohibition.

The Spirit is omnipresent and does not need an extra invitation nor activation. Man needs to challenged by the godly Trinity. Here is where there is a real danger of manipulation (if possible) of the Spirit. We are submissive to Him; He is not submissive to us. In the Greek Catholic church there is a prayer to the Holy Spirit called the epiclese. Compare the Latin prayer ‘Veni Creator Spiritus.’ It remains the question if that is theologically acceptable. It is a difficult problem. We hold the position opposing a magical summoning of the Spirit.

12 Derek Prince, as cited p. 29, 31

13 J.H. Velema, as cited, p.51

14 How does a spiritual experience stand or fall?Ger Prakken, Opwekking Magazine

15 Bram Krol, An article about a church in Velddriel (Hoornaar, Gideon 1998) p. 160-162. At the end of his book, the author gives an explanation of how this sect got started and what the characteristics are of a sect.

16 Al Aqsa mosque is threatened,Reformed Daily Paper, January 1, 1999

17 According to Yair Carlos Bar-el, director of psychiatric hospital Givat Shaoul in Jerusalem, Many illuminati expected in Israel around 2000. Reformed Daily Paper August 8, 1998.

18 Jetteke van Wijk, Waiting or Jesus Christ, HP De Tijd, August 21, 1998, p.20.

19 Genesis 37:11; Daniel 7:28; Luke 2:19; Revelation 1:3

 


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