Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Stupidity of Hagee's Blood Moons Prophesy

Is this, like, the year of false teaching? Or is it just because I've spent most of my year in 1 and 2 Timothy that my radar is specifically pointed toward this stuff? Good grief but is there a lot of stupid going on. And if it offends you that a pastor just used the word "stupid" to describe false teachers and those who fall for their nonsense, it's in the Bible.

Everyone survived the first Blood Moon, right? I even stayed up until 4:00 last night (or this morning) watching the eclipse. Why, because I thought some end-times prophesy was going to be fulfilled? No, because I haven't seen one since I was 12. I remember being grumpy about it. My dad woke me up at 2am to tell me the moon was eclipsed. I walked outside, took one look at it, ho-hummed and went back to bed.

The last few times there's been a lunar eclipse, it's been cloudy and I wasn't able to see it. But last night was a beautifully clear night. I got to see my first lunar eclipse in two decades, and it didn't disappoint. It was a very pretty sight, a beautiful sign of God's creation. That's all it was a sign of.

Let me cut to the chase -- John Hagee is a false teacher. He's making bank off of this "Blood Moons" thing. The news is giving him free press for two reasons: 1) They know John Hagee is making Christians look stupid, and 2) Because it's fear-mongering which keeps people glued to the news. The whole thing is a money-making ploy. It has nothing to do with end-times or evangelism or eschatology or any of that.

I just don't see what the big dea--OH MY HEAVENS THERE'S A SKULL IN THE MOON!!

I'm not going to go through Hagee's whole presentation of the Blood Moons. This can actually be scattered very quickly. Here's a quote from John Hagee from a sermon of his about this so-called Blood Moons prophesy...
"God has said through Joel and Saint Peter, 'Listen, when this happens, it's unusual!' Jesus said in Mark 13:24-26, 'But in those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, then they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.' That verse describes a time in the future when the sun and the moon will eclipse at the same time. And God sends planet Earth a signal that something big is about to happen."
Okay, FIRST: Joel and Saint Peter did not say a series of "Blood Moons" was unusual. No where do they say that. In fact, lunar eclipses are very common, even on Jewish holidays (part of Hagee's song-and-dance is that these eclipses occur on Jewish holidays). This has no prophetic significance whatsoever. The Jewish calender is based on lunar cycles. It's not even coincidence that a lunar eclipse should occur on a Jewish holiday. That happens very frequently.

This series of four eclipses in a row has happened before, and it will happen again. In fact, there will be 8 lunar tetrads this century alone. That means 8 times in less than 100 years will there be a series of four eclipses in a row. There have been tetrads since the time of Christ, and yes, there have been periods of no tetrads. But I shouldn't even have to point any of this out, because Joel and Peter say nothing about the frequency or rarity of lunar tetrads.

And SECOND: The sun and the moon cannot eclipse simultaneously. Any third grader should understand how an eclipse works. In a lunar eclipse, the earth is between the sun and the moon. In a solar eclipse, the moon is between the earth and the sun. It is not possible for the sun and the moon to be eclipsed at the same time!

Eclipses are not events that the entire globe can witness. Only a certain portion of the planet is able to observe the totality of any eclipse. Lunar eclipses are limited to the dark side of the earth. The view of a complete solar eclipse covers a much smaller area. Take a look at this map of the next solar eclipse to be viewed from North America in 2017. An eclipse cannot be a sign for the whole earth when the whole earth can't see it!

If anything, this is evidence that Mark 13:24-26 is not talking about an eclipse at all. Hagee even skipped the verse where it says, "and the stars will be falling from heaven." He does go on to say that this "sign" the earth will see is God displaying his control over the sun, moon, and stars. No Christian should doubt that. I absolutely believe that to be true.

But in the last days, God is not going to display that control through common lunar eclipses. He's not even going to do it by creating a second moon to stick up there in the sky so that the sun and the moon are able to eclipse at exactly the same time. (Seriously, that's one of the most bone-headed comments I've ever heard from the pulpit. The verse describes the sun and moon eclipsing at the same time? Just wow.)

Come on, people. Don't be duped by this stuff. Jesus said that prior to his return, "False christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand." (Matthew 24:24-25)

Christ is coming back, and no one on earth will be able to mistake the sign of his return. It's going to be bright, and it's going to be loud (1 Thessalonians 4:16). And it won't be during an eclipse. Hal Lindsey did this exact same thing back in the 80s, and he was shown to be a total fraud. Hagee will, too. Call him what he is. He's a False Prophet.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Review of the Movie "Heaven Is for Real"

This completes a trilogy of movie reviews on religious films that started with the blasphemous depiction of the Son of God and the satanic version of Noah. Next week, Heaven Is for Real hits theaters, conveniently opening right between Palm Sunday and Easter.

Heaven Is For Real is the story of a three-year-old boy named Colton who had to have an emergency appendectomy where he supposedly died while in surgery. When he came back to life, he was able to recall amazing details he wouldn't have previously known.

He said that he saw his father in another room of the hospital getting mad at God. In his death, he also got to see heaven and encountered a sister whom he had never met. Apparently his mom had a miscarriage, but she had never told Colton about the baby she lost.

He was also able to identify a younger version of his great grandfather. When his father, Todd, showed Colton a picture of his grandfather as a young man, Colton confirmed that was the man he met. "In heaven, everyone is young," he said (a quote also in the preview).

Colton described many other details about heaven: he had wings and a halo, he met the Holy Spirit who is "kind of blue," he saw Mary sitting next to Jesus at the throne of heaven, and Jesus rides on a rainbow horse. Everyone there is happy and they all sing happy songs. The angels even sang to Colton while he sat on Jesus's lap.

Speaking of Jesus, Colton later identified a certain painting of a fair-haired, light-skinned, bright-eyed Jesus, and said that was exactly what Jesus looked like in heaven. Ironically, the picture was painted by a girl who has also claimed that she's been to heaven.

Oh, yay. Another white, blonde-haired Jesus.

Colton's father, Todd, is the one who wrote down all of the details of Colton's "miraculous" experience which became the bestselling book, Heaven Is for Real. I'm so grateful they titled the book that, because I really was in doubt until I read Colton's experience (more sarcasm, in case I have to say that.)

Unlike my previous two reviews, I have not seen Heaven Is for Real. I have read the book. The film is simply a dramatic portrayal of the things Pastor Todd spoke of in his book. Yes, Todd Burpo is a pastor. But it's a shame to say that he's a pastor that doesn't know his Bible. His account of what happened to Colton does not in any way line up with what is described in scripture.

Perhaps Colton saw something, but it wasn't heaven. He certainly did NOT visit heaven and come back. I don't need to see the movie or even have read the book to know that. Scripture is clear enough on the subject of heaven that we should be able to discern when someone is pitching us a bogus tale about having been there.

As David Platt has pointed out, quoting also from John Piper:
"All of the accounts of heaven in scripture are visions, not journeys taken by dead people. And even visions of heaven are very, very rare in scripture. You can count them all on one hand. Four biblical authors had visions about heaven and wrote about what they saw: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and John. All of them were prophetic vision, not near-death experiences. Not one person raised from the dead in the Old Testament or the New Testament wrote down what he or she experienced in heaven, including Lazarus who had a lot of time in a grave."
The only person who has ever been to heaven and was alive on earth to speak of it was Jesus Christ. Anyone else who claims such a thing is lying. Proverbs 30:4 says, "Who has ascended into heaven and come down?" John 3:13 answers the question when Jesus says, "No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man."

All of the biblical accounts of heaven speak of God's majesty and glory, fixated on the eternal worship of God. Those few biblical authors who have seen it are completely awe-struck. They're overwhelmed by it. They fall on their faces in reverent fear. It's spectacular and incredible. And again, it's all centered around the glory of God.

The biblical authors give absolutely zero confirmation of any of the things Colton Burpo saw. His account of heaven in Heaven Is for Real is more common to cartoons, paintings, poems, and childish depictions. None of it is grounded in the Bible.

As I've said in my previous reviews, this movie and the popularity of the book it came from (over 7 million copies sold) is evidence of our biblical illiteracy, confusion, and misunderstanding. I'm talking specifically about people who attend church. Who is gobbling up films like Son of God, Noah, and Heaven Is for Real? It's mostly those who claim to be Bible-believing Christians. That's the audience these studios are targeting.

Folks, you're being duped. Hollywood has affirmed that faithfulness to the text doesn't even matter to Christians, and we'll still buy right into it. So why should biblical faithfulness matter to them? They're making mountains of cash, and we're getting dumber.

We simply cannot excuse this stuff by saying, "Well, hey, at least it's wholesome entertainment." That's the K-Love mentality: that everything is good as long as it's "positive and encouraging." You're being handed a film (in fact, three in just a few short months) that is billed as a "true story" but is rather a fanciful lie. How is that wholesome?

Equally as problematic is the defense, "Well, hey, at least these kinds of movies encourage discussion." But what kind of discussion are we talking about? Do you know what the Bible calls discussion not rooted in sound doctrine? Vanity. It says we don't understand either what we say or the things about which we make confident assertions. (1 Timothy 1:6-7)

So please, don't go see Heaven Is for Real. There's no reason to. Don't even bother giving your money to it to know what's in the film. And as I've said before, make sure you're in a doctrinally sound, Bible-teaching church with expository preaching by men who submit themselves regularly to the authority of God's Word.

I've already linked to one video above. The following is one made as soon as previews for Heaven Is for Real started hitting the internet. Between these two videos are all you need to know about the movie, combined with scriptural teaching--

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Noah" Is Satan's Version of the Story

Influential Christian leaders all over the place have been showing their support of the epic film Noah. Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church called the movie "Brilliant." Jim Daly, president of Focus On the Family, put his stamp of approval on the film. Even executives from the American Bible Society showed their excitement for it. Not kidding.

But they really don't know what they're supporting. In fact, I don't know that I fully understood what I was condemning. When I wrote my initial review, I banged it out the same night I saw the movie, trying to get something down while the thoughts were still fresh on my mind. There were some elements of the movie I wanted to research, but wouldn't have the chance to do so until later.

What those elements revealed was something far more sinister than I first understood. I thought I was watching a movie through the worldview of an atheist environmentalist vegan. I mean, that's bad enough. That's pretty much the pagan trinity, right? I'm kind of kicking myself now because the signs were obvious and I didn't catch it right away.

The movie Noah is Satan's retelling of the first 9 chapters of Genesis. Yes, I know it's April 1st. And no, this is not an April Fool's joke. The joke was on us.

Perhaps I should start back at the beginning of the film. After the opening prologue, the first two characters we see are Noah and his father, Lamech (the Lamech of Genesis 5:28-31, not the Lamech of Genesis 4:23-24). They are sitting alone together, and Lamech is giving Noah a history lesson, about to bestow on him a blessing. While he's talking, he's wrapping something around his forearm. It's the shed skin of a snake.

We know from the prologue that the skin is specifically from the serpent in the garden, shown shedding its skin before it slithers off to tempt Eve. At the end of the movie, after the flood and all of that is over, Noah is seen wrapping the same skin around his arm in the same way. It lights up as he speaks, just as it did for Lamech. He blesses his children to be fruitful and multiply over the earth.

That bothered me even when I saw the film. Why was the serpent's skin, essentially a mark of the devil, being used to touch people and issue blessings? But I just tossed up the significance to creative liberties and a careless director. Oh, the snake skin was deliberate alright. But what really broke it for me was when I was looking up the word "zohar."

At one point, Noah and his family come across what looks like abandoned machinery. Someone asks, "Is this a zohar mine?" I thought "zohar" was just some ancient element made up for the movie. Here's Wikipedia's definition of it:
"The Zohar is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the first five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on mysticism, mythical cosmology, and mystical psychology."
I said in my first review that I thought Aronofsky had an understanding of the source material, meaning that he'd actually read Genesis to write his film. I was wrong. The Bible was not Aronofsky's source. It was the Kabbalah, a Jewish gnostic text.

Suddenly, the things I knew about gnosticism started clicking. During a scene that showed a flashback to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they were depicted not as humans but as human-shaped beings of light. When they ate the fruit they weren't supposed to and were driven from the garden, God made them "skins." No, not animal skin. Human skin. The gnostic twist on Genesis 3:21.

I thought that Aronofsky's rock creatures he called Watchers were his version of the Nephilim. They weren't. They were the gnostic beings known as Archons, not quite the same as mere angels as they supposedly helped the Creator in making the physical universe. In fact, the names of these beasts in the movie came from the names of demons mentioned in the Kabbalah.

By the way, the Creator himself, according to the gnostics, is not God. The creator of the material world is an intermediary being, a concept called the "demiurge," and is considered to be imperfect and even evil. One of the names the gnostics had for him was "Yahweh." Yeah.

So even though there are constant references to the "Creator" throughout the film, the reason why Aronofsky never includes the name "God" is because the Creator is not "God." The only one who thinks of him as God are Christians who see the film and impose that perception on this unseen, unheard character that keeps getting referred to as the Creator.

The gnostics think of the Creator as selfish, withholding divine knowledge. It was the serpent that told Adam and Eve they could be like God if they ate the fruit of the tree that the Creator told them not to eat from. So the serpent, according to the gnostics, was right, attempting to grant knowledge, and the Creator is the monster who withholds it. That's why the snake skin is such a prominent piece of the film.

When Lamech is going to bless Noah, they're interrupted by Tubal-Cain, who kills Lamech and takes the snake-skin as kind of a trophy. But Tubal-Cain never uses the skin. He just wears it around his neck. Later in the film, Noah and Tubal-Cain come in contact with one another again. It's about that time that Noah begins his descent into madness and becomes a monster while trying to fulfill the Creator's will. The snake-skin is always in proximity, but never in his possession.

Noah and Tubal-Cain become the same person. They're both monsters, and they both worship the Creator. Yes, even Tubal-Cain, who says he was made in the Creator's image. Essentially, their creator is a monster, so they're both monsters. When Noah defeats Tubal-Cain, who had stowed away on the ark, he gets the snake-skin and starts coming back to his senses. That's how he's able to refuse the Creator's will, which would have required him to kill his own newborn granddaughters.

And it's with the snake-skin that he blesses his family and tells them to be fruitful and multiply.

asdkfj;as;lkjasdf;lkjf;lkjasf (That's the only thing I could think of typing to express the heebie jeebies.)

All of this is deliberate. The film is not just taking creative liberties with a well-known Bible story. It's Satan's version of the first 9 chapters of the book of Genesis. We're such a biblically illiterate culture right now that the gnostic overtones slithered right past us.

Al Mohler writes, "In a lengthy essay for The New Yorker, Tad Friend recounted Darren Aronofsky's road to making Noah. The essay is not for the faint-hearted. In it, Aronofsky declares Noah to be 'the least Biblical Biblical film ever made.' We can't say we weren't warned." And we still didn't catch it. Christian leaders who have been supporting this movie, you will have to give an account for every idle word you speak (Matthew 12:36).

I conclude this follow-up review the same way I concluded the first: Know your Bible, and know it well. This is not the last time something like this will be thrown our way. Say... Wasn't there an earthquake in southern California the same day this Hollywood epic started raking in its millions?