Perilous Times Have Come
By Rev. Robert Liichow
One thing sign-gift devotees have been saying from their inception is that there is to be a huge worldwide earth shaking revival right before the return of Jesus Christ in the secret rapture of the Church.
Originally, the nascent Pentecostal sects in America believed that the restoration of the gift of tongues was actually for the purpose of worldwide evangelization. They were convinced that Jesus was coming so soon for the Church but before He could return “the Gospel must be preached to all nations” (Mark 13:10) and then the end will come, so they thought they’d better get busy preaching the Gospel supernaturally.
One theological problem the Pentecostals faced was they thought the gift of other tongues was for the purpose of evangelism due to the initial example of tongues in Acts 2. In that instance, it was somewhat “evangelical” if you consider praising God and magnifying Him evangelizing. However, it was not until Peter stood up and preached in his native tongue that the hearts of the men were cut by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:15) and they are baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:41). We are never told that this supernatural gift was for the purpose of “winning the lost.”
Nonetheless, they thought there was not enough time to learn languages in the normal manner and this alleged restored gift to grant one the correct, divinely chosen language and thus people to evangelize was there for the taking. The result in the 1900’s was that many people went out from the Azusa revival with Pentecostal fire only to go down in flames on the mission field. None of the people who sold all and went to foreign nations on the basis that had been told that they had received the gift to speak a Chinese dialect, Hindi or some other language —- could actually do so. They end result was the death of many missionaries, failure to reach the people they were sent to reach, spiritual shipwreck, spiritual abuse, despair and the realization that they did not actually possess the gift of tongues.
The other glaring theological problem was the premise that drove them to the mission field, that of a worldwide revival preceding the rapture of the Church. Their belief in such a revival is based loosely on two proof texts (there are others):
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.Acts 3:19-21
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. James 5:7-8
DMI has written about quite a bit about The New Order of the Latter Rain in the past and won’t revisit it here. Suffice it to say that these people believe that Jesus cannot return until “all” things are restored to the Church. This is a driving force behind their staunch belief in restored apostles, prophets, signs, wonders and miracles. Through these “restored” ascension gifts (Eph. 4:8) and supernatural powers much of the world will be converted through what have become known as “Power Evangelism.” For all of their great talk and exalted anecdotal “stories” (which seem to always transpire somewhere else) they have yet to manifest any genuine biblical supernatural divine power in converting the nations, let alone cities! A great deal of talk, a lot of hype and unfulfilled promises are mainly what the power evangelists have delivered. Their greatest miracle is getting God’s people to willingly hand over great sums of money to these liars and frauds.
What does the Bible say about the last days? Are we to expect a huge worldwide revival and a world turning to Jesus Christ and then He comes and catches us away to heaven for seven years (or three and a half depending on whose “camp” you are in)? Are we to expect to see a restoration of all the forms of biblical miracles and signs as done since the beginning flowing through the anointed hands of restored apostles and prophets as has been promised since the late 1940’s? Are massive conversions to Christianity at hand as the restored prophets are proclaiming?
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
The original recipients of Paul’s letter believed they were living in the last days and in a sense they were. Now almost two thousand years later things have spiraled downwards on everything that can be measured with the exception of sin. The Holy Spirit through Paul cites nineteen (19) moral characteristics that prove the last days have come upon us. If you simply consider each one of these expressions you will quickly see that they are all on grand display in our culture. It is not difficult to watch any of the latest movies and find all 19 in one film! The list rightly begins with the love of self, never forget this factoid: “ALL SIN IS SELFISH” a person can only “sin” for themselves ultimately. When anyone loves themselves supremely then that individual will lie, steal, cheat, break covenants in order to serve the one they love. Of the nineteen cited one in particular demands a bit of parsing to get a fuller understanding. When Paul uses the phrase “without natural affection” which has great significance today more so than in any other period of time.
Without Natural Affection — The word(“natural affection”) is one of four Greek words for “love,” but it is never used at all in the New Testament. It refers to the natural love that members of the same family have for each other. It is such a common characteristic of all peoples that there was apparently no occasion to refer to it at all –exceptit ispresent, when people lose their instinctive love for their own parents and children, and thus are “withoutaffection.” One thinks of the widespread abortionism of these last days, as well as the modern breakdown of the family in general. (Obtained from http://www.icr.org/article/without-natural-affection).
The author mentioned abortion. Never in human history have people been so hell-bent to destroy their own seed through abortion as those alive today. In America alone more black babies are aborted than are born in many cities. China is responsible for the slaughter of millions as well, along with most countries in Europe. Several Scandinavian countries are “progressive” enough to encourage their terminally ill and aged to kill themselves through euthanasia. Many family members push their aging parents to go ahead and “make room” (give us our inheritance now) for the next generation. How sick and sad is that? Oh, in America we are coming around to this view also. Currently we just shuffle our parents off to the “old folk’s home” and visit when it suits them, etc. It was not that long ago when families took care of their grandparents and parents. But on a whole we live in a time where there is little “natural affection” evidenced on a large scale. Nothing in this text points to a global revival or Christianizing of the world as the Kingdom Now dominionists proclaim.
Our Lord Himself does not paint a rosy picture of life prior to His return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5) and Judge of all.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Matthew 24:3–5
His disciples ask our Lord a direct question and He gave them a direct answer. Throughout the history of the Church a crackpot here or there has arisen to claim he was Jesus. This number has multiplied and DMI has exposed many of these false Christ’s. José Luis de Jesús Miranda, originally from Puerto Rico claimed to be Jesus Christ, gained a following of several thousand, he died last August 8, 2013 when he met the genuine Article. Right now as you read this there is a man in Siberia, Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop, he too claims to be Jesus Christ and yes, people are following him. Alan John Miller of Australia is also claiming to be Jesus the Christ as well. It would be interesting to see what transpires if these two frauds were ever to cross paths. Philippine “Jesus,” Apollo Carreon Quiboloy have something to say to the other two. All of these liars draw away people from following the Christ of the Bible. The Greek word used for “many” refers to a very large number of people. This too does not sound like “revival,” but He continues to make the future clearer:
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:9–12
Jesus cites wars and rumors of wars, pestilence, famines and all of these horrors are just the beginning of sorrows — then — the end really begins to “kick in” with the last huge full out onslaught against the Church.
Who is the “they” that shall deliver us up? Back in the day of the apostles it was the religious leaders of the Jews and later the Roman emperor(s). Nothing has changed, last month we saw another historic denomination fall to depravity and they attack those of us who stand on God’s Word. The governments of the world are not upholding the cause of the Church. For the first time in 2,000 years there are NO Christians in Mosul, Iraq due to being slaughtered by Islamic forces. Over 200,000+ Christians have been slaughtered over the last two years in Syria, Iraq, China, North Korea, etc. In America our own current regime stands against the Church and Christian religious rights. The world hates the Church and it is expressing this hatred like never before.
These attacks are fairly obvious; someone lopping off your head does not require much discernment. The other realm our Lord warns of us is far more difficult to discern is that of those who stand up in our pulpits and claim to speak for God but do not. Today there are literally thousands of men and women who are claiming to be restored prophets of Jesus Christ. Every “Christian” television network regularly hosts several globally recognized prophets and prophetesses. Here is a SHORT list of living liars:
Cindy Jacobs, Generals of Intercession (received vision for her SINistry from an angel)
Kenneth Copeland, Head of Kenneth Copeland SINistry, new buddy with the Pope
Paul Cain, “greatest living prophet” once, known homosexual, alcoholic (gifts and callings without repentance).
Kim Clement, a darling of Janny Crouch and TBN regular.
Pat Robertson, founder of the 700 Club can be seen profalying on virtually every show.
Bill Hamon, Leader of the restored prophetic movement. “Trained 1,000’s to become profits.
E. Bernard Jordan, replacing Rev. Ike, calls himself a Christian; he is a mind-science fraud.
Dutch Sheets, a Vineyard devotee.
Bill Johnson, leader of Bethel SINistries, huge false prophet and false teacher.
Patricia King, founder of Extreme Prophetic, huge wacko and liar.
Stacy & Wes Campbell, husband & wife tag team liars.
The twelve people I have listed have impacted to one degree or another the spiritual lives of several million Christians and they are expanding their reach as you read this. Hamon has “released” into Pathetic SINistry thousands of excited men and women who believe they are now God’s seers. These tares (see Matt. 13:25) use the Bible, couch their statements in Christian lingo and prey upon the innate trust we have for our leaders in the Church. The twelve wolves I have cited apart from calling disciples after themselves (Acts 20:30); they have syphoned off an estimated BILLION dollars over the years from legitimate Christian ministry work.
During the 1980’s the Church was rocked by the necessary exposure of several well-known televangelists including Robert Tilton, Jim and Tammy Bakker, W. V. Grant, and a few other smaller fish. Due to the many moral scandals revealed both nationally and locally the love of many people has grown cold. When Jimmy Bakker slept with Jessica Hahn the faith of many was shipwrecked (they were not built on Christ but sinful man). The same happened to many who followed Jimmy Swaggart until his fall(s) with prostitutes and their underage children. No one will deny that the massive pedophile revelations within the priesthood of the Church of Rome has caused a large departure of many from their local parishes. Is it just me, or does this not sound like “revival” to you as well? I think not. Our Lord ends His comment by cryptically stating “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” In another place He says of the end times:
For then there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Matthew 24:21–22
The end of time, which I sincerely believe we are entering into right now, is going to be a period that is so horrific that no one in history has ever or WILL EVER experience! I fear most Christians do not take this seriously. If not for the mercy of God no one on earth would be left alive due to the massive multi-fronted judgment that God is releasing. He shortens His wrath for the sake of His people the “elect” (He does not have two elect peoples) this tells me we are still on earth folks.
Here is a snapshot of a FEW examples of the multi-facetted sorrows beginning to impact all humanity:
The entire Middle East is on fire and it is only getting worse.
Virtually every nation has turned against Israel in It’s battle with Hamas.
The area of Ukraine, this too is growing “hotter” by the week.
Christians are being slaughtered by the tens of thousands in Syria and Iraq this year.
Virtually every historic denomination has capitulated to the spirit of this age.
Our southern border has been purposefully collapsed; millions of illegals now soak up dwindling resources in our indebted nation. We are seeing the actual start of the new North American treaty signed by Bush, Mexico/America/Canada – all open.
More people in America are on the gov’t dole than pay taxes (we’ve passed the “tipping point”).
Ebola is spreading, pneumonic and bubonic plague is spreading.
Millions die every year from the flu.
America can expect a huge increase in utility rates & more brown outs & black outs due to the closure of many coal mines & power plants. Our power grid is highly vulnerable.
Diseases unseen in America are back, leprosy, scabies, measles, H1N1, foot and mouth disease, etc.
The U.S. dollar is about to lose its status as the World Reserve Currency and is worth less than half its face value today. The fiat backed dollar is set to collapse in the near future.
Our gov’t spies and manipulates its citizens, our leaders violate the law and their oaths (re-read Timothy)
Abortion, infanticide, euthanasia is widespread.
Transhuman gene splicing experiments.
Vaccines that harm and do not heal.
Societal approval of homosexuality
Rampant immorality, fornication, redefining marriage.
GMO laden franken-food, fluoride in the public water systems, pesticides.
Purposeful dumbing down of the populace via the educational system.
Fukashima meltdown, still leaking radiation into the ocean. Virtually every reactor in the world is leaking to some degree (do the research if you doubt me).
I ask our sign-gift enthusiast brethren AGAIN where they see a world-wide earth shaking revival and a nation-wide turning to Christ in the Bible or in our world? Yet the biblical facts and observable facts do not deter these people from teaching Christian dominionism.
The Kingdom Now folks are wrong in thinking they are somehow going to convert the world to Christianity and then hand it over to Jesus when He returns. Jesus describes a time so dark and punitive that few will survive it which gives no place for their doctrinal drivel.
Those who believe they will be raptured away (as the pre-tribulation Dispensationalists teach) before things really begin to go downhill are equally wrong (this was my previous stance as a charismatic). The danger of holding this belief is that when the storm starts to intensify they will not be prepared, thinking they are getting air-lifted not to mention the other harm that come from clinging to a false doctrine.
Lastly, I am not that impressed with those who rightly believe, teach and confess that the Church will indeed suffer and suffer horribly (such as my beloved LCMS). Unfortunately there will be a people who are the “last” and thus receive the worst. Yet those who believe we shall go through the tribulation are doing little to nothing to prepare to be light houses in practical ways for their communities as things continue to fail.
There is simply no way to sugarcoat what is beginning to befall the world and America personally. The horrors coming upon the earth are unimaginable because there has never been nor ever again will be a time this horrific. To ignore what is taking place all around us is unwise. Our Lord and His apostles have given us more than enough information about what to expect and the common sense to take appropriate steps.
The good news is manifold. First, having read the end of the “Book” I can assure you we have won in Christ Jesus! Secondly, as sin abounds so does the grace of our God (Rom. 5:20) and the darkness of this age only makes His Gospel light shine even brighter. Third, as always we are called to keep our eyes focused upon Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) regardless of our temporal situation.
“Bishop” Tony Palmer Dead
by Rev. Bob Liichow
In January this year Pope Francis sent Bishop Palmer to a charismatic conference hosted by television evangelist Kenneth Copeland, where he unveiled a video message of unity and love that the Pope had suggested he do.1
The man who served as the bridge between head of the Church of Rome, the Pope and the titular head of Charismatic extremism, Kenneth Copeland has died in a motorcycle accident. The meeting of these two movers-and-shakers of the spiritual world was facilitated by a friend of both Bishop Tony Palmer.
Tony Palmer, the charismatic young preacher who enjoyed a friendship with Pope Francis, has apparently died in a motorcycle accident,” Kathy Schiffer reported on her Seasons of Grace blog. “Not a Catholic, Palmer was bishop in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, a group that broke away from the Anglican Church and considered itself part of the Convergence Movement.”2
The Convergence Movement
Standing within the Celtic and Anglican traditions, the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches was created by a convergence of the great historical expressions of faith and practice: the Evangelical, Charismatic, liturgical, and sacramental traditions. The fundamental principles defining inclusion in the Communion are detailed in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886.3
The House of Bishops of the American Episcopal Church met in Chicago in 1886. During their meeting they discussed how they might open themselves up to all other Christian communions who would agree to 4 basic position statements:
The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the revealed Word of God.
The Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith.
The two Sacraments — Baptism and the Supper of the Lord — ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him.
The Historic Episcopate locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.4
The goal of these Episcopalians was laudable; they wanted to see the visible Church united as one Body with a common confession and witness to the world. This is a longing in the heart of every Christian but it will never exist until our Lord returns for us.
Paul told us that there MUST be schisms among us (see 1 Cor. 11:18) and the very nature of truth is that it is in opposition to everything that stands in contradiction to it. Truth is black and white, no shades of grey or as the philosophers like to say “A is A and cannot be non-A.” While their quest was noble, it was and is unattainable. Bishop Palmer was simply one of many who have tried to bridge the “doctrinal gap” that truth so unavoidably creates between us.
Their Four Points
First, The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the revealed Word of God. Sounds good, but what does it say? Is the Bible the only revealed Word of God or can we also use the Book of Mormon, the Divine Principle or the Keys to Science and Health along with the Bible? Is the Bible a totally sufficient revelation from God? Does God still speak through His restored prophets to the Church as the sign-gift enthusiasts proclaim? What of the role of Church tradition in understanding the Bible as the Roman Catholics assert? Episcopalians are not Dispensationalists as are most American evangelicals, how do these vastly differing traditions unite in Bible study?
Secondly, The Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith. All genuine Christians can and do confess that these two creeds are sufficient statements of our faith as Christians. Interestingly enough the American evangelicals and charismatics will initially be unfamiliar with these two confessions in that they never confess them as part of their worship.
Thirdly, The two Sacraments — Baptism and the Supper of the Lord — ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him. So much for unity! Wisely they say “the two sacraments” thus leaving wide open the door for others to add additional sacraments, after all the Church of Rome has 7 of them. However, the visible Church does agree with both of these sacraments inasmuch as they are found within the pages of the New Testament. Apart from that there is absolutely no agreement between the Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, American Evangelicals, Sign-gift independent folks and the remaining liturgical devotees as to what is happens in/with/through/under these two specific sacraments.
There is no scriptural agreement between any of these divergent traditions as to what is being: (1) given and (2) received at communion. What elements to use – wine or grape juice? Is it bread or wafers, gluten free or wheat? Do we use shot glasses or a common chalice? How often, once a week, every service, quarterly? Can children participate? Alter fellowship, closed or open to any and all? There is no agreement between these groups as to the most salient issue — is this bread indeed the Body of Christ and this cup His blood or not? Yes or no, again no “grey” areas here folks!
Baptism, simple enough right? Hold your horses` holy one! What is baptism first of all? Whom do we baptize? Infants, children at the mystical age of “accountability,” adults after strict examination? Do we sprinkle or immerse? Do we believe in re-baptizing people who join us? Into what name do we baptize, that of Jesus only as in Acts 2:38 or in the triune Name as given in Matthew 28:19? Episcopalians and Roman Catholics embrace infant baptism, while American Evangelicals and sign-gift enthusiasts endorse a believers baptism of children of a certain age (it varies) and adults. The first two confessions sprinkle and the last two practice full immersion. So does Bishop Tony’s organization have a hot tub that their priest stands up in to sprinkle the babies and yet is deep enough to drown the kids and adults?
Lastly, The Historic Episcopate locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church. This last point simply says that each “district” can run itself locally, there is no prescribed liturgical format for each Episcopates expression of their faith. This means you never know what you will get when you enter any one of these member congregations. One place may be very high church Episcopalian and another may be happy-clappy tongue-talking rock-band vested prophets.
The following is a chart of what they call their “Paradigm of Ministry” showing a huge mixed-bag of doctrine and practice:
Power of the Spirit [signs and wonders]
Evangelism & Mission
Spiritual Gifts [restored 9 sign gifts]
Charismatic Worship [non-liturgical]
Social Action [aka social Gospel/liberation theology?]
Personal Holiness [aka Methodism/works]
Biblical and Reformational
Spiritual, Organic, and
*the ‘aka’s’ were added by this author to clarify what they really mean
These things look “good” on a chart but if you prick any of these columns with the sword of the Spirit there will be problems.
It makes sense to me that the Pope, a fellow sign-gift enthusiast would embrace a man like Palmer, Palmer had already proven his willingness to compromise God’s truth for human cohesion and feigned pseudo “unity.” To the Pope every professing Christian and denomination are merely lapsed Roman Catholics who simply need some guidance. So this unionistic group was and is an open door to the Vatican. Through Palmer the Pope has now received a hearty welcome by Mr. Copeland and the (hopefully to the Pope) the millions who follow Copeland’s lies.
People ask “was he a Christian?” The answer to that is beyond my pay grade and I can state without equivocation that if he died and went to hell I am not increased one bit. I hope he had a genuine faith in Jesus Christ and was trusting in His work alone on the cross for his sins. One thing is certain Palmer has played a short but vital role in the formation of the coming one world religious body by bringing the Pope and Copeland together and for that he will give an account.