Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Refuting Shepherd's Chapel: Angel and Humans

Here is a very brief video I did using Hebrews chapter 1 and 2 to refute the idea that we were the angels in the "first earth age".

There is amble evidence in Hebrews chapters 1 and 2 to disprove the notion that we were angels from the first earth age that simply were born into flesh bodies in this earth age.  Here are some of the verses in discussion:

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? (Heb. 1:14 NKJV)

For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. (Heb. 2:16 NKJV)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Jeremiah Chapter 4 and the World that Was

As I have stated in a couple of post on my blog concerning the Katabole/3 Earth Ages and also the Elect, Shepherd's Chapel teaches there was a world that was. In that world Satan fell and 1/3 of the angels (they claim we were the angels) followed him, 1/3 followed God (thus earning the status of elect in this age), and 1/3 were undecided.

There is nothing in the Bible that describes this event or even alludes to it. Shepherd's Chapel, on the other hand, will disagree with that and claim Jeremiah 4:19-31 aptly describes the katabole or the destruction of the world that was. However a thorough verse by verse look at the relevant portions of this chapter and context simply will not support such a thesis that it is describing some destruction of a prior age.

briefly put the events in Jeremiah 4:19-31 describe God's judgment on Judah and Jerusalem. The use of "without form and void",or tohu wabohu in the Hebrew, is likening this judgment to the reversal of the creation order. It is as if the entire universe has been returned to a state of barren uncreation. There is no way contextually or grammatically linking those verses to anything other than a judgment on Judah. To say this is somehow speaking of a judgment in the world that was is to simply ignore the context and read your preconceived theology into the text.

In Jeremiah 4:5-6 we see the context:
Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities. Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. (Jer. 4:5-6 KJV)
This is God foretelling the destruction to come upon Jerusalem. The "from the north" is the direction from which the Assyrian armies came and the Babylonian armies will come.

Again we get a clear note as to the context in verse 9:
And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the Lord, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder. (Jer. 4:9 KJV)
 The "at that day" is when the prophecy of Judah and Jerusalem's destruction takes place. There is no mention that this can be anything other than God's dealing with Judah and Jerusalem.

And again in 4:11-12 we see:
At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people,not to fan, nor to cleanse, Even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them. (Jer. 4:11-12)
We see the phrase "at that day" in verse 9 and "at that time" in verse 11. This all proves that the prophecy is very specifically talking about the time in which God destroys Judah and Jerusalem. It can not be speaking of some prior earth age where there was some sort of judgment.

As you continue to read through the chapter (Verse 13-18) you see some pleas for repentance and warning to flee the destruction.

Now we come to verse 19:
My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart;my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace,because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jer. 4:19 KJV)
This judgment upon Judah has reached even the bowels (heart). The prophet Jeremiah himself is the first to register the pain of this coming judgment, causing Jeremiah great agony.
For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. (Jer. 4:22 KJV)
We know from Proverbs 1:7 that "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge". Those who reject the Lord are "foolish", this applies to moral deficiency as much as intellectual weakness, "sottish" used here. So we see that Judah has abandon the Father (Jer. 3:19) and now face the consequences and judgment that God warned them about if they refused to obey him.

Now that we have established a clear context from the text we get to the verses used by Shepherd's Chapel to try and claim this is speaking of the destruction of the world that was.
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger. (Jer 4:23-26)
Here is where we get the Hebrew "Tohu Wabohu", the same phrase used in Genesis 1:2. This is where Shepherd's Chapel likes to claim that since this is using the imagery of Genesis 1:2 that it is talking about the destruction of the world that was. 

However, as context dictates, this coming judgment on Judah is likened to Genesis 1:2 because it will be so great as if the entire universe has returned to a state of barren uncreation. Jeremiah portrays the coming judgment as a reversal of the creation process. The earth is once again without form and void (Gen. 1:2), the heavens have no light (Gen. 1:3), the mountains and hills quake (Gen. 1:9–11), and mankind (Gen. 1:26–31) and birds (Gen. 1:20–23) disappear. In other words, the destruction will make land as if Genesis chapter 1 had never happened. That is powerful imagery to describe their punishment!

But there is hope! in 4:27 we see the phrase "yet I will not make a full end". God will keep a remnant of Judah faithful which ultimately is fulfilled in the Christian Church of the New Covenant.

Shepherd's Chapel, like most cults, will try twist many scriptures to fit into their preconceived theology. You have to derive your theology from (exegete) the text not read it into (eisegete) the text. Shepherd's Chapel has tried to fit a meaning to these passages that is not present in the text. The context and substance is clear, this is about the judgment on Judah and Jerusalem. It is not describing the events of a first earth age.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Refuting Shepherd's Chapel - The Elect

I briefly went over my history with Shepherd's Chapel in this post. I stated that what first brought some doubts to my mind about the truth of Shepherd's Chapel was their doctrine of election. As I studied what Shepherd's Chapel claimed about election and then compared that to what the Scriptures teach about election I learned there was an irreconcilable contradiction between the two. When their doctrine of election was refuted by Scripture the whole system collapsed. I knew, at that point, Shepherd's Chapel was a non-Christian cult.

Pastor Arnold Murray always said to "check him out" so I encourage you to do that. Unfortunately when you do check him out his interpretations are far from Biblical and some are actually heretical. I believe the most heretical teaching from Shepherd's Chapel (other then denying the Trinity) is their doctrine of election. I will explain why I believe that as we examine the Biblical texts, especially Romans chapter 8 and Ephesians chapter 1.

So what is Shepherd's Chapel view of election?

Shepherd's Chapel teaches that, millions of years ago, there was a first earth age in which we all lived and we were in spiritual bodies. At some point Satan rebelled against God and convinced a third of the angels (us in spiritual bodies) to follow him. Others followed faithfully after God, and still others were undecided. God then destroyed the first earth age with the Katabole and created this present earth age. (See Shepherd's Chapel's studies: #30417, "Elect"; #30146, "Genesis, Chapters 1-6")

According to Shepherd's Chapel we are all now being born into this earth age so that we can choose to follow God or follow Satan. The ones that followed God, in the first earth age, are what the Bible calls elect and they were justified and glorified in the first earth age (see Arnold Murray's study in Romans chapter 8). They earned the right to be the elect of God in this earth age and are the only ones that can discern the deeper truths of Scripture. These elect have no free will, but all others have free-will to follow God or follow Satan. This sets a hard distinction between Elect Christians and Fee-Will Christians.

Does the Bible actually teach this version of the doctrine of election?

There is quite a heated debate among Christians as to the nature of the elect. Yet both sides of the argument (Arminian and Calvinist) agree that when the Bible speaks of the elect it is talking about all true believing Christians. I take the Calvinist (Reformed) understanding of the nature of the elect but I'm not specifically defending that view in this post. I'll be focusing on Romans chapter 8 to see if Shepherd's Chapel's view of election contradicts Scripture.

Romans 8:29 is one of the verses Shepherd's Chapel will use to substantiate their peculiar doctrine of election. Before we look at Romans 8:29 to see if it is speaking of all Christians or just a group chosen in the world that was we must look at the context of Romans 8 and follow Paul's thought.

Romans chapter 8 follows after Paul's writing about our struggle as Christians with sin in Romans chapter 7. Romans 8:1 is very important to our discussion as it sets the context of the whole of Paul's argument in Romans chapter 8.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Paul states here that there is no condemnation (no fear of judgment) for those who are in Christ Jesus. This sets to context of what follows and show that we are talking about all believers in Christ and not just some separate group of special Christians.

Paul goes on in verse 9 to say:
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Romans 8:9)
Again pretty clear language that the whole subject of this chapter is about ALL that belong to Christ.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:16-17)
Paul is talking about those that are the children of God.. ALL Christians are the children of God! I cannot stress enough that if you simply read Romans chapter 8 you see it is talking about ALL Christians and not just a sub-group of elect Christians.

Now let's take a look at the verse in question:
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)
Shepherd's Chapel will claim the "those whom he foreknew" means those God knew in the first earth age (see also this post). Yet look at what the verse is actually saying. God foreknew (new beforehand who he would choose). He predestined this group for a purpose. What is the purpose? "to be conformed to the image of his Son"(verse 29). Compare this to Phil. 3:21, 1 Cor. 15:49, Col. 3:10, 1 John 3:2. The predestined or elect group talked about here is all Christians. This group is foreknown, predestined, called, justified and glorified. Those terms, when taken in context to Romans 8, are talking about all believing Christians. There is no distinction in the text between a group of free-will believing Christians and elect believing Christians.

Christians are justified by the predestined choice of God and not by any action we performed in this earth age or any fabricated previous earth age.

Shepherd's Chapel has to force this separation of the body of Christ by saying there are two types of Christians, an elect group and a free-will group. They then read this unscriptural concept back into the Bible when the Bible does not teach that concept at all in the first place!

As if we needed any more proof that this is talking about all Christians Paul continues:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. (Romans 8:31-33)
 Paul very bluntly proclaims that God's elect are all Christians.

It has been shown that in the full context of Romans chapter 8 that the Shepherd's Chapel view of election is completely false and heretical.

Another part of Scripture that Shepherd's Chapel uses to defend their false belief is Ephesians chapter 1. Let us take a quick look at what it has to say.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:(Eph. 1:1)
Here we see the context and to whom the book is written to. It clearly states that Paul is writing this letter to the the saint who are faithful in Christ Jesus. That is Christians, all Christians.
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,(Eph 1:4-7)
Ephesians 1:4-5 is very common verses used by Shepherds chapel to try and prove their view of election. If you read verses 4-7 very carefully you will see the context and meaning extremely clearly and it is at odds with the teachings of Shepherd's Chapel.

First off God chose us before the creation of the world, for a fuller explanation of katabole and that teaching of Shepherd's Chapel see my post here. Notice what is says next after it shows we are chosen. The text says we were chosen to be holy and blameless before Him (God). That is all Christians not just some sect of special elect Christians chosen in a first earth age.

now in verse 5 it says we were predestined. What does it immediately say after predestined? The text explains itself. We were predestined FOR adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. The purpose of being chosen and predestined is to be HOLY and to be adopted as SONS. That is descriptive of ALL Christians.

The next statement gives how. "according to the purpose of his will". That is God's will. It goes on to state that those that are chosen and predestined are the ones that have redemption through his (Christ's) blood.

Romans chapter 8 and Ephesians chapter 1 does not teach that there is a special group of "elect" Christians that were chosen in a first earth age because they sided with God. Both Romans and Ephesians proclaim very loudly that it is ALL true believing Christians that are Elect and Predestined. The purpose of Election and Predestination is clearly taught in Ephesians chapter 1 to be chosen for holiness and predestined for adoption as Sons (in other words to be Christians!).

Shepherd's Chapel false teaching of election is thoroughly refuted by Scriptures.

But how do we know we are Elect? How can you have confidence that you are an Elect? Is it by knowing some special eschatological position? Thankfully God has provided an answer for that in 2nd Peter chapter 1:3-12
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2nd Peter 1:3-12)
Peter tells us the way a Christian can know he is an elect is by following the qualities he outlines in verse 5-7! Notice it doesn't mention anything about making sure you know Satan is coming first..

Soli Deo Gloria!!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Shepherd's Chapel Kenite & Serpent Seed Refuted!!

In this brief podcast I deal with Shepherd's Chapel Kenite doctrine. Listen and share.

Download Here

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Refuting Shepherd's Chapel - Kenites

One of the defining false doctrines of Shepherd's Chapel is their twist on the Serpent Seed heresy. I have dealt with this topic in other posts in one form or another (See: here, here, and here). My desire for this post, Lord willing, is to expand on what I've already posted and make as concise a refutation as I can.

If one orders Shepherd's Chapel's free introductory CD called The Mark of Beast they will be introduced to the Kenite doctrine. Shepherd's Chapel also has several study CD's that deal with this doctrine in more depth, see their studies entitled Seed of the Serpent #30461, Genesis, Chapters 1-6 #30146, and Kenites #30436. I will give a brief definition of this doctrine, as they believe it, but feel free to order the material from Shepherd's Chapel to get a fuller explanation from their point of view.

So what is this doctrine of the Kenite? Simply put, Shepherd's Chapel teaches that Eve had sex with Satan. Eve then conceived and gave birth to Cain. Cain's biological father was Satan, and Cain's offspring are what the Old Testament identifies by the term Kenite. Jesus, in the New Testament, identifies the scribes and Pharisees as these same literal sons of Cain. Kenites are still in the world today claiming to be Jews. Behind the scenes they control the world by, what Shepherd's Chapel calls, the four hidden dynasties (political, religious, economic, and education). Utilizing their control of these four hidden dynasties, Kenites will bring about the one world system. Only churches that teach the true identity of these Kenites hold the Key of David, know the truth, and will not be deceived in the end-times.

Can any of that be substantiated from the Bible? Shepherd's Chapel does, of course, try to defend these beliefs by selectively utilizing Scripture. I will examine these proofs and show that the doctrine of the Kenite cannot hold up to close scrutiny.

In reality the whole doctrine hinges on the interpretation of Genesis chapter 3. Does this chapter describe a sexual encounter between Satan and Eve? A straight read-though of this chapter would not lead to that conclusion, thus Shepherd's Chapel is forced to take a completely allegorical interpretation of Genesis 3. We read the following in Genesis 3:3-6:
but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:3-6 ESV)
Shepherd's Chapel claims that this eating of the fruit is used here as an analogy for sex. They claim this is describing sex between Satan and Eve; I suppose Adam as well sense it states he took the fruit too. There are, however, some serious problems with this interpretation.

The serpent is using what God said in Genesis chapter 2.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17 ESV)
Now if we are to take that eating of the fruit of the tree is an analogy for sex then we would be forced to conclude that God gave Adam permission to have sex with anything in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That is simply not true. We see from this text that God is giving Adam permission to literally eat of any tree in the garden he wishes. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, however, is forbidden. Sex is not the topic of discussion. Even if one takes the scene in the garden of Eden as allegory we see that sex is not in view here.

You would also have to identify the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as Satan for Shepherd's Chapel's view to work. The problem is Satan is not identified as the tree but as the serpent, see Revelation 12:9. Even if sex was in view it was not with Satan. There are other problems as well. Take a look at Genesis 3:17.
And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; (Genesis 3:17 ESV)
We have read in Genesis 2:16 that God gave permission for Adam to eat of any tree. Now that Adam has sinned in eating the forbidden tree, God curses the ground. Since he ate fruit he wasn't allowed to eat, Adam will have to work hard for his food. We see how the analogy of eating the fruit = sex simply does not work with the point God is making in Genesis 2 and 3.

The most serious and heretical problem with the view of Genesis 3 describing sex is in Genesis 3:22.
Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. (Genesis 3:22-23 ESV)
Arnold Murray, in his study #417 Elect, states that the tree of life is Jesus and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is Satan. Now in verse 22 God states that eating of the tree of life brings eternal life. This verse specifically says "and take also" which means the same action that was done to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil must also be done with the tree of life in order for someone to have eternal life. Are we really to conclude that God is talking about having sex with the tree of life instead of sex with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? That we are to have sex with the tree of life in eternity, see Revelation 2:7? Of course Shepherd's Chapel would deny that, but that is the logical conclusion to their interpretation of Genesis chapter 3.

It is quite obvious from reading the passages in Genesis 2-3 that sex is not in view. The scene in Genesis 3:3-6 is not describing a sexual encounter with Eve and Satan. The point of the story in Genesis 3 is to show the disobedience of Adam & Eve, the fall of mankind, and the consequence of that disobedience.

A student of Shepherd's Chapel may raise the objection that Genesis 3:15 does prove the Serpent Seed doctrine.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 ESV)
It has been shown by reading the texts that it was not the serpent that Eve took the fruit of but rather the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So even in their own view of eating the fruit = sex it was not the serpent that Even could have had sex with.

We see in Genesis 3:15 the enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of Eve. It is clearly shown that the serpent has a seed completely separate from Eve, not coming from Eve. Eve has no part in the serpent's seed and does not give birth, in any way, to the serpent's seed.

We read in Genesis 3:14-19 God hands down his punishments to the Serpent, Eve, and Adam. So literally serpents are cursed after the fall to no longer be as cunning and must go in shame on their bellies eating dust. Serpents and humans will always be at odds with each other with humans having the victory over them.

Allegorically we read in Genesis 3:15 what is called the Protoevangelium, the first announcement of the Gospel. The serpent would be identified as Satan, see Revelation 12:9 and 20:2. His seed would be that of anything that opposes the Gospel and Christ. The ultimate seed of the Eve would be Christ. The statement "he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel" would be Christ's victory over the Devil and death at the Cross.

We see this dual-seed and its meaning most clearly presented in 1st John 3:8-10:
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
(1 John 3:8-10 ESV)
Again sinners are the children of the devil and believers are the children of God. This alludes back to Genesis 3:15 so its meaning is very clear. Genesis 3:15 is not and cannot be talking about literal physical seed of Satan produced by a sexual encounter with Eve. If you read 1st John 3:1-3 you see believers being called the children of God set against the world of unbelievers (children of the devil).

So who is Cain's father? It is claimed by Shepherd's Chapel to be Satan. We see in Genesis 4:1 who Scripture claims Cain's father to be.
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” (Genesis 4:1 ESV)
The statement "Adam knew Eve" is a figure of speech for sex. We see, very clearly, that Adam consummated his marriage with Eve and she conceived and bore Cain. The statement "and she conceived and bore Cain" coming directly after the statement "Adam knew Eve his wife" proves the conception of Cain is in view. Cain was not conceived at some prior time before this.

Shepherd's Chapel will claim that Genesis 4:2 shows that Cain and Abel were twins. Abel was born at the same time as Cain with Cain being conceived at a prior point. This was already refuted in Genesis 4:1 but we will take a look at this claim.
And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. (Genesis 4:2 ESV)
Shepherd's Chapel will claim word "again" used in Genesis 4:2 means "to continue to do a thing". In other words Eve continued in labor and bore Able. The Hebrew word here is yacaph and its meaning is to add, increase, do again. Here are a couple more verses, from Genesis, that use yacaph in a similar context:
And she called his name Joseph, saying, “May the LORD add to me another son!” (Genesis 30:24 ESV)

Yet again she bore a son, and she called his name Shelah. Judah was in Chezib when she bore him. (Genesis 38:5 ESV)
The bold words are the Hebrew word yacaph. It does not mean to continue in labor, but is a connector word indicating two separate events. Not the same event.

Shepherd's Chapel also claims that since Cain isn't listed in the genealogy of Adam in Genesis chapter 5 then he is not Adam's son.

Cain could be included, in sorts, in Genesis 5:4 when it says of Adam "he had other sons and daughters". More importantly the genealogy of Genesis 5 starts with Seth so it is perfectly normal to leave Abel and Cain out.

Genealogies in Old Testament times were often deliberately truncated to remove cursed generations or included only those of note. In the case of the Genesis 5 genealogy only those descendants leading to Noah are mentioned because only those are pertinent to the story. That the Bible does not list every single twig on a family tree does not mean that Kenite theory is a valid doctrine.

Also note in Genesis 5 Abel is not listed either yet Shepherd's Chapel doesn't say he wasn't Adam's son. Cain's genealogy is listed separately because he’s not part of the lineage or Noah, not because he’s the literal biological son of the devil. Like I said before the genealogy starts with Seth and leaves out both Abel and Cain!

It has been fully shown that Genesis 3 is not talking about sex between Satan and Eve, Genesis 4:1 shows exactly who Cain's father is, and Genesis 3:15 is not talking about a Kenite seed set loose in the world.

That leaves us with one question. Who are the Kenites? They are mentioned in 10 verses in the Old Testament and never mentioned in the New Testament.
(Genesis 15:19, Numbers 24:21, Judges 1:16; 4:11; 4:17; 5:24, 1 Samuel 15:6; 27:10; 30:29, 1 Chronicles 2:55)
Nowhere in the Bible are Kenites identified as descended from Cain. We do, however, see in two of these verses how they can be identified.
And the descendants of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, went up with the people of Judah from the city of palms into the wilderness of Judah, which lies in the Negeb near Arad, and they went and settled with the people. (Judges 1:16 ESV)

Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the Kenites, the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh. (Judges 4:11 ESV)
We read from these texts that Kenites are the descendants of Moses' father-in-law, see Exodus 3:1. Kenites are part of the Midianites and came out of Rachab. The name Kenite is probably derived from the name of Kenan the son of Enosh (the grandson of Seth and the great grandson of Adam).

We have already refuted the possibility that Cain was the biological son of Satan. Now we have shown that there is no warrant at all to identify Kenites as sons of Cain. It is known that Cain fathered children, but they all would have died in the flood of Noah. 2nd Peter 2:5 makes the statement that only eight people survived the flood; only Noah and his family.

No we will turn our attention to the New Testament. Shepherd's Chapel uses several New Testament texts to try and prove their Kenite doctrine. One of these texts is what is commonly called the Parable of the Tares and is located in Matthew 13:24-30. Shepherd's Chapel claims that the tares, or weeds, in this parable are identified as Kenites. Lucky for us Jesus explains this parable in Matthew 13:36-43.
Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:36-43 ESV)
Here Jesus does give us the true interpretation of the dual-seed or, if you will, serpent seed doctrine. The good seed is planted by the Son of Man (Jesus). The good seed are the sons of the kingdom. These sons of the kingdom are believers. They are called the righteous in verse 43. The good seeds are Christians, not the literal seed of Jesus. The field where the seeds are sown is the world. The tares, or weeds, are sown by the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, what we would call judgment day (Rev. 20:11-15). Verse 41 identifies the seed of the devil as "all causes of sin and all law-breakers". So the seed of the devil is unbelievers, not the physical descendants of Cain. This is basically the same thing we see in 1st John 3:1-10.

Simply put, the Parable of the Tares describes the activity of God’s kingdom in the world. The enemies of the kingdom (weeds) will always coexist with the sons of the kingdom (good seed). It is talking about believers and unbelievers not physical offspring.

John 8:44 is also a popular text that Shepherd's Chapel uses in an attempt to prove the Kenite theory. Jesus is speaking to the Jews when He says this:
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 ESV)
Shepherd's Chapel claims this text teaches that these Jews are literally the sons of Satan (via Cain). The contrast is being "of the devil" or being "of God" (see verse 47). Jesus is, however, speaking that the spiritual father of these Jews is the devil, not their physical father. Jesus identifies who their physical father is a few verses up in John 8:37.
I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. (John 8:37 ESV)
These are the same Jews Jesus is speaking to in verse 44. Jesus here identifies them as being offspring of Abraham not Cain. So Jesus in John 8:37 identifies who their physical father is and then in John 8:44 identifies their spiritual father. Later in this chapter (John 8:56) Jesus again identifies who these same Jews physical father is.
Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56 ESV)
These passages clearly teach that Jesus did not think these Jews were literal, physical sons of Satan. What they do teach, however, is that the works of these Jews proved that they were spiritually the offspring of the devil. Jesus specifically identifies them as Abraham's physical offspring (twice) and not Cain's!

One New Testament text that Shepherd's Chapel will claim proves a sexual encounter happened between Satan and Eve is 2nd Corinthians 11:3.
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. (2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV)
The Greek word for deceived used here (beguiled in the KJV) is claimed by Shepherd's Chapel to mean sexually seduced. So, to Shepherd's Chapel, this verse says the serpent sexually seduced Eve in the garden of Eden.

The Greek word used here is exapataō, and simply means to deceive. Interpreting the word exapataō sexually brings up problems in other passages written by Paul. 1st Corinthians 3:18 uses the same word in a similar context.
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
(1 Corinthians 3:18-19 ESV)
The word deceive in this verse is the same Greek word exapataō. You can read by the context that exapataō has no sexual meaning whatsoever. Just try replacing deceive in this verse with sexually seduce and you see how ridiculous the assertion by Shepherd's Chapel is. Paul also uses exapataō in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3.
Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (2 Thessalonians 2:3 ESV)
The word deceive is also the Greek word exapataō and shows that it is not used in a sexual manner. Again try to replace deceive with sexually seduced in this verse, it won't work. In fact the Greek word exapataō is only used 5 times in the New Testament, all by Paul, and it is never used in a sexual context to describe sexual seduction. (See: Rom. 7:11; 16:18, 1 Cor. 3:18, 2 Cor. 11:3, 2 Thes. 2:3)

These kinds of arguments are common with Shepherd's Chapel. They will take a Greek word and using a Strong's Concordance try and redefine what the word means, twisting it to fit their doctrines. Although Arnold Murray claimed to be a Greek scholar he was not. It has been shown that he did not know how Greek or Hebrew grammar works and deceived his students by twisting the meaning of Scripture. This is the same kind of tactic that Charles Taze Russell, founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, used.

Another claim one may hear from Shepherd's Chapel is that there are only 2 churches that Christ's finds no fault with and those are the churches that teach the Kenite doctrine. To defend this view Shepherd's Chapel will quote Revelation 2:9 and 3:9. Let's take a look at one of these texts.
“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2:9 ESV)
Jesus is speaking to the church of Smyrna, see verse 8. Smyrna was known as the crown of Asia where the Greeks held to strong emperor worship. They also had a large Jewish community and both the Romans and the Jews strongly persecuted Christians in this city. Although these Jews were Jews physically they spiritually aligned themselves with the Greek pagans in putting Christians to death. This is similar in the church of Philadelphia (briefly named Caesar’s New City) in Revelation 3:9. The Roman imperial cult and a large synagogue were known to be in Philadelphia around this time. Both Smyrna and Philadelphia were dangerous places for Christians to be.

Jesus' statement "they say they are Jews and are not" is not Jesus denying their Jewish genealogy but rather their spiritual genealogy. Romans 2:28-29 declares "For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly... But a Jew is one inwardly...". These Jews denied the Messiah and aligned with the emperor worshipers; thus Judaism became a "synagogue of Satan". The New Testament defines God's people in relation to Jesus, not genealogy. The "key of David" mentioned in Revelation 3:9 is simply Jesus' authority to admit to or exclude from God’s kingdom (see Isaiah 22:22, Mark 16:19).

Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 does not teach or promote the Kenite or serpent seed theory.

We have shown from Genesis to Revelation that the Kenite or serpent seed theory is not taught in the Bible. Cain was the physical son of Adam not Satan (Genesis 4:1). Yet we are to head the warning of 1st John 3:12 and "not be like Cain, who was of the evil one". Yes Cain's spiritual father is Satan, just like our spiritual father is God. Our righteous seed is from God and unbeliever seed is from the Devil just as 1st John 3:10 states "By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother". The point of all these Scriptures (starting with Genesis 3:15) is to differentiate believers from non-believers, not physical sons of Cain from sons of Adam.

Shepherd's Chapel does not condone racism and claims not to teach racism. The fact is, however, the Kenite doctrine breeds this us versus them mentality. Saying that the people we identify as Jews are really literal sons of Cain will, inherently, cause racism and hatred. There are many evil people today in power but it is not Kenites behind the scenes controlling the world.

The Kenite false doctrine of Shepherd's Chapel is dangerous and heretical. It needs to be avoided and Christians warned against it. I pray that if you are stuck in the false teachings of Shepherd's Chapel that you will take serious these warning and that the Lord will open your eyes.

** Addendum 5/3/2017 **
I've had some feedback and criticisms that I did not deal with the "trees" in Daniel chapter 4 and Ezekiel 31 and how they relate to the attributes of Satan and that links Satan to the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil in Eden. Here is a very quick addendum and hopefully I can do a proper post dealing with these texts explicitly.

First let's look at Daniel Chapter 4:
you will see in verses 4-18 Nebuchadnezzar has a dream and wants it to be interpreted. He has as dream about a tree that grew and became strong. Somehow I suppose SC students seem to think this links back to Satan. However we see Daniel interpret the dream in verses 19-27 and Daniel specifically says in verse 22 that the Tree was Nebuchadnezzar. Let's look at the passage

 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. (Daniel 4:20-22 KJV)
We see specifically in verse 22 that Nebuchadnezzar is the "tree" in his dream.

 Ezekiel Chapter 31 is a very popular chapter that SC students love to quote and show some of the attributes of Satan. Ezekiel 31 (also 28) is about judgment on nations. Context begins in chapter 25 about judgment on nations (chapter 26 about King/Prince of Tyre specifically) and Chapter 31 begins the judgment on Pharaoh and Assyria.

The context (starting in chapter 25) is judgment on nations (Ammon 25:1, Moab and Seir v.8, Edom v. 12, Philistia v. 15, Tyre chapter chapter 26-27, prince of Tyre in 28 and Pharaoh/Assyria in Chapter 31 )

The Prince/King of Tyre in chapter 28 is described using Hebrew Poetic imagery which is common in the Hebrew prophetic books. “in Eden” simply shows that the king of Tyre owes his entire existence to the Sovereign God. “Guardian cherub” shows the ordained purpose of a King is likened to the cherub in Eden guarding the way to divine Presence. We see in the prophetic books in the OT use these vivid Hebrew Poetic devices to describe people and nations all the time.

We see similar language used in Chapter 31 to describe Pharaoh and Assyria. The context is clear if you read Ezekiel 31:1-3

And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom art thou like in thy greatness? Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs. (Eze 31:1-3 KJV)
And again poetic allusion in Ezekiel likens Assyria to the trees in Eden. It is not saying Satan was the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But if you go the last verse in this chapter it makes it absolutely clear who this prophecy is talking about:

To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord God. (Eze. 31:18 KJV)

Even if there is a dual meaning in these verses that is attributed to Satan (although I see no contextual reason for that interpretation) they still in no way prove a sexual encounter with Eve. Again even if Satan was the serpent and the tree in Eden it is a long way from saying Eve had sex with him.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Pastor" Ben Heath, and the Serpent Seed doctrine.

* * Please note Ben Heath contacted me and asked that I remove this article. He stated he has changed his beliefs on this subject. I am leaving this article up because it still deals with the issue of serpent seed and Heath's former arguments are still used by Shepherd's Chapel students**

I have been out of the blog-o-sphere and forum discussions for a bit so I'm a little behind on the current events going on at Shepherd's Chapel. I learned that Arnold Murray passed away back in February of this year. Dennis Murray has taken over the teaching full time. Unfortunately he teaches the same heresies as his dad did. I pray Dennis repents before it is too late for him as well. I find it odd that the Shepherd's chapel website doesn't mention Arnold Murray's passing and most of his students don't seem to want to talk about it.

Also I have noticed a new Murrayite named "Pastor" Ben Heath, I put his title in quotations because he is not a Christian pastor. He seems to teach most of the same errors as Shepherd's Chapel does. He is a strong proponent of the serpent-seed doctrine heresy and has many articles that deal with it. I wanted to take a minute and look at some of his errors.

In his article called The Serpent Seed, Mr. Heath lays out a brief argument trying to prove the Serpent Seed doctrine heresy. He labors the point that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was Satan. I tend to agree with that, it was probably Satan in some form or manifestation. Then he goes with Genesis 3:15 (I will use the KJV since that is what he is using)
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15, KJV)
Ben Heath labors to try and prove that this verse is teaching a literal seed of the serpent. In other words, Eve had sex with Satan and produced Cain and Cain's offspring are with us today known by Shepherd's Chapel students as "Kenites". They teach that these Kenites pretend to be what we call Jews today.

Ben is right, this is a prophecy. This verse is often called the “Protoevangelium,” the first announcement of the gospel. The seed of Satan isn't the Kenites or Jews, it is anybody that denies Jesus as Christ. And Christ destroyed the power of Satan and his seed on the Cross!

Of course this is all very easily cleared up if one simply reads Genesis 4:1. We see very clearly who Cain's daddy is:
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. (Genesis 4:1, KJV)
The KJV uses the euphemism of "knew" his wife to refer to sexual intercourse. So we see quite clearly and Biblically that Cain is the literal, physical son of Adam. 

Next Mr. Heath tries to prove the serpent-seed doctrine by twisting some New Testament texts. He starts with the Parable of the Tares and states the children of the wicked one spoken of in Matthew 13:36-38 are literally Satan's literal offspring. Let us take a look at the texts in question, and in context:
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:36-43, KJV)
We see the great reaping of the world at the last day here in these verses. We clearly see that all unbelievers are cast into the furnace of fire and all believers remain in the Kingdom of God! Now let us take a closer look at verse 38:
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; (Matthew 13:38, KJV)
We see that the good seed are the children of the kingdom. This is obviously not talking about literal seed but the same type of seed John speaks of in 1 John 3:9. So the children of the wicked one are not literal kids of Satan but rather all unbelievers. The context is extremely clear if one reads the passages.

Mr. Heath goes on to state that this interpretation is refuted by Matthew 13:35. The secret or mystery spoken of there, though, isn't the seed of Satan but the mystery of the Gospel of Christ that the Jews simply didn't understand.

Ben Heath then goes on to other texts to try and prove Jesus taught serpent-seed doctrine. One of the texts he uses is a favorite of Shepherd's Chapel, John 8:44. 
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44, KJV)
Jesus is speaking that the spiritual father of these Jews is the devil because he earlier identified them as literal sons of Abraham in John 8:37.
 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you (John 8:37, KJV)
 Afterward, in John 8:56, Jesus again identifies that these Jews of John 8:44 are literal sons of Abraham. The context is clear.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. (John 8:56, KJV)
From these passages we can clearly see that Jesus did not think these people were literal, physical sons of Satan, but rather their works proved that they were spiritually the offspring of the devil. Jesus specifically identifies them as Abraham's offspring not Satan's!

In the last section of the Ben Heath's article he claims the Apostles taught serpent-seed and again twists some scripture to try and prove it. One text he uses is again one I've heard Arnold Murray use a lot to prove the sexual union between Satan and Eve. The text is 2nd Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2nd Corinthians 11:3)
The word beguiled used in this verse is claimed by Ben Hearth  to mean sexually seduced. The Greek word used here is exapataōInterpreting the word exapataō sexually brings up problems in other passages written by Paul. 1st Corinthians 3:18 uses the same word in a similar context.
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. (1st Corintians 3:18, KJV)
The word deceive in this verse is the same Greek word exapataō. It is obvious this isn't speaking of anything remotely sexually.

 Romans 16:18 also uses the same word in context with the word kardia, meaning inner self.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:18, KJV)
Again in this verse the word deceive is the Greek word exapataō and proves the word has no sexual connotation with it. The attempt to force this serpent-seed sexual meaning of exapataō into 2nd Corinthians 11:3 makes no more sense than it would in those two passages. 2nd Corinthians 11:3 is simply stating that Eve was deceived by the serpent.

If Ben Heath ever reads this I would love to have a discussion with him about these things. If he would like to I encourage him to contact me. In the meantime I will pray for his repentance and hope that he leaves these doctrines of demons.

*For a fuller refutation of the Kenite theory see my post here.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Judging, Trinity, Millennium, Kenites, and more on Shepherd's Chapel.

Back again after a very long hiatus. I haven't been on this blog in a while and seen there were a lot of comments that needed to be moderated and replied to. One of the recurring themes in these posts was people saying I should not judge other Christian teachers. A person would have a hard time with Paul then. In 1st Corinthians 5:12-13 we see the following:

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
(1 Corinthians 5:12-13 ESV)

The late Arnold Murray claimed to be a Christian teacher/pastor and his son Dennis Murray continues to teach at Shepherd's Chapel. Since they claim to be Christian, then it is right and proper to judge what Shepherd's Chapel teaches and call them out on the errors and heresy they teach and warn other to stay away.

Not to mention the multiple times Jesus and the apostles rebuked and judged those teaching false doctrine. So it is not only a good thing but it is a commandment to call out false teachers and prophets. For that I will never apologize. Murray may never use a group, person or church by name when he criticizes a belief, but Jesus sure did. How can you warn somebody of a false prophet or a false church if you don't use their name?

Shepherd's Chapel, now lead by Dennis Murray, teach false doctrines and a false gospel. How so?

One, Murray teaches that a person has earned their election and justification in a former age based on something they did. Ephesians chapter 2 refutes this completely. If you think you earned your election and thus were judged in a former age then you believe in a works based form of salvation and Paul himself would condemn you based on Galatians chapter 1 and most of Romans.

Two, even though Murray may use some of the same language and even the word Trinity his teachings are purely modalistic. The scriptures teach of three co-existent, co-eternal persons of the one true God. Wrong God, wrong gospel.

Thirdly, Murray teaches an odd form of premillennialism that says that those deceived in this earth age will get a second chance to accept Christ in the millennium. 2nd Corinthians 5:10 refutes this: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." After you die that is it. Hebrews 9:27 shows that. Sorry no second chance. I too am not a fan of the pre-trib rapture doctrine and dispensational theology, but the Scriptures never say that a person will be deceived into following Satan in the end-times if they do believe in pre-trib rapture. As a matter of fact there are lots of scripture that speak otherwise: Revelation 13:8 and Matt. 24:22 and John 10:28-29 just to name a few. True Christians will not be deceived into following Satan. The errors of Shepherd's Chapel far outweigh the errors of dispensational theologians.

Fourthly, the serpent seed doctrine is bad, very bad. There are no physical descendants of Satan running around today. In scripture it is quite obvious that anybody that denies Jesus is a spiritual son of Satan, not literal. Although Cain was a spiritual son of Satan, Genesis 4:1 proves that Cain was the physical son of Adam. I know Murray loves to use John 8 to prove his serpent seed theory. He will quote John 8:44 to prove the Jews Jesus was talking to were literal sons of Satan. Jesus is speaking spiritually in 8:44 because he earlier identified them as literal sons of Abraham in John 8:37 and again afterward identifies they are literal sons of Abraham in John 8:56. The context is clear.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Refuting Shepherd's Chapel - Hell (Matthew 10:28)

Shepherd's Chapel denies eternal punishment in hell (Matthew 25:46). This view is commonly called annihilationism and is very popular in heretical groups (Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah Witness, etc.). Although it is a deep topic and needs much to be said, in this post I want to address just some of the errors that Shepherd's Chapel teaches. 

If one discusses the subject of hell with a student of Shepherd's Chapel probably the first verse that they will quote to defend annihilationism is Matthew 10:28. 
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt. 10:28, KJV)
 Arnold Murray along with his followers will latch on to the word "destroy" in this verse and claim that it means blotted out or annihilation. Thus, to them, this verse teaches annihilationism straight from Jesus' mouth. The word destroy used in this verse is the Greek work apollymi (#G622). A few words must be said about this word. First, as used in Scripture the words “destroy,” “destruction,” “perish” etc. never signify cessation of existence. Second, you can go back in this same chapter in verse 6 and see how this word is used:
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt. 10:6, KJV)
 The word "lost" used in this verse is the exact same Greek word apollymi that is used in verse 28 for "destroy". As you can tell the word does not mean blotted out or annihilated. These sheep (Israelites) that Christ is talking about were not obliterated or blotted out, they were rather lost or separated from the true Shepherd (Christ). This is similar to those "destroyed" in hell, they are separated from Christ for all eternity (Rev. 22:15). This refutes Shepherd's Chapel's claim that the meaning of apollymi in Matthew 10:28 teaches annihilation. The Greek word apollymi is also used in the following verses (the bolded word is the Greek word apollymi):
 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. (Matthew 18:11, KJV)
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? (Luke 15:4, KJV)
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.(Luke 15:24, KJV)
As can be seen the Greek word apollymi does not mean total annihilation, blotted out, or cessation of existence. Arnold Murray, as he has done many times, misuses the Greek or shows lack of understanding of how the Greek language works.

So, briefly, what does the Bible teach on hell? Well here is one thing that Christ said about it:
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matt. 25:46, KJV)
This punishment of hell Christ describes as everlasting. I have heard Shepherd's Chapel students claim that since annihilation is everlasting then it is everlasting punishment. This is not possible in the Greek syntax. the word for everlasting is aionios in the Greek and it modifies the nature of the punishment, not the results of the punishment. In this verse aionios modifies kalasis "punishment", which is an action noun. Greek nouns that end with –sis will focus on the action of the noun and not it's results. You can compare 2 Thess. 2:16 to see a parallel. In that verse aionios modifies paraklesis “comfort”, another –sis ending action noun. So this verse proves that Christ taught an everlasting hell of punishment. Also we have this:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. (Rev. 14:11, KJV)
This again is another favorite verse for Shepherd's Chapel. When you use this verse to prove the Biblical view of everlasting hell then they will jump on you and say "look it says the smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever. Only the smoke.". Ha! Gotcha right? Well no.

First, what is the smoke? It is of their "torment". It doesn't say it was the smoke of their annihilation, but the smoke of their torment. If the smoke ascends forever and ever, and the cause of the smoke is the torment, then it stands to reason that the torment lasts forever and ever. Second, if you continue to read this verse it states clearly that they have no rest day nor night. It does not say they were annihilated and the smoke rose for eternity. This verse clearly teaches that they are tormented for eternity and have no rest day or night.

This verse is very similar to Revelation 20:10
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Rev. 20:10, KJV)
After judgment is passed down to Satan and his minions they are all thrown into the lake of fire and tormented day and night forever and ever. If this verse teaches anything, it at least teaches that Satan is tormented in hell for eternity. If you continue reading Revelation chapter 20 then you will see that all those in hell are cast into this exact same lake of fire (Rev. 20:14, also Matt 25:41). Again since they are cast into the same lake of fire the Devil is then the same punishment is dealt out. Also if you continue reading Revelation and in the last chapter (after all this has taken place) you see that the unsaved were not annihilated in Revelation chapter 20 but cast outside the Great City:
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Rev. 22:14-15, ESV)
I have heard the students of Shepherd's Chapel claim that "forever and ever" does not mean eternity but simply a period of time. This is absolutely impossible in the Greek. The Greek phrase is eis tous aionas ton aionon and is often translated as forever, forevermore, and forever and ever. It is also used of the attributes of God which we know are unchangeable and are eternal. Please compare how this Greek phrase is used in the following verses of Scripture especially the ones in Revelation: Gal. 1:5, Phil. 4:20, 1 Tim. 1:17, 2 Tim. 4:18, Heb. 13:21, 1 Pet. 4:11, Rev. 1:6, Rev. 1:18, Rev. 4:9, Rev. 4:10, Rev. 5:13, Rev. 7:12, Rev. 10:6, Rev. 11:15, Rev. 15:7, Rev. 22:5

If you do your research and actually read those verses you will see that eis tous aionas ton aionon does not mean a temporary amount of time, but is basically the Greek way of saying eternity.

 One last note, even Daniel in the Old Testament saw that evil people are not annihilated at end of this age:
 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2, KJV)
Notice this verse says that in the end at the resurrection and judgement (Revelation 20) the saved receive everlasting life and the damned everlasting contempt (not annihilation).

So in conclusion we have shown that Shepherd's Chapel view of hell cannot be supported exegetically nor systematically from Holy Scripture.

Soli Deo Gloria! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Refuting Shepherd's Chapel - Good & Bad Figs (Jeremiah 24)

In continuing my critique on Shepherd's Chapel teaching, I'll be turning my attention to the Good and Bad Figs. A basic rundown of this teaching of Shepherd's Chapel is that the Good & Bad Figs of Jeremiah chapter 24 is talking about Kenites1 (the bad figs) and true Jews2 (the good figs) returning to the land of Israel (which they say happened in 19483) thus beginning what they call "the generation of the figtree4". Of course this is pure eisegesis and a real exegesis of the text shows that nothing of this sort is taught in Jeremiah chapter 24.

First let's just take a quick read of Jeremiah 24:
Jeremiah 24
The Good Figs and the Bad Figs 
24 After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the craftsmen, and the metal workers, and had brought them to Babylon, the Lord showed me this vision: behold, two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the Lord. 2 One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. 3 And the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. 6 I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7 I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
8 “But thus says the Lord: Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat Zedekiah the king of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. 9 I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. 10 And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they shall be utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.” (ESV)
A brief overview shows a vision of two baskets of figs. The basket of good figs represents those that were exiled to Babylon. The basket of bad figs represents those that will resist the exile. It also shows that the Lord's purpose of the exile is for judgment and salvation. This prophecy simply shows that it is too late for repentance to change the course of what God has planned for the exile. (compare to Jeremiah 21:9).

Now let's break this down, as they say, verse-by-verse:

Verse 1 - shows us that Nebuchadnezzar had taken the king and useful persons (officials, craftsmen and metal workers) into exile (597 b.c.). Then the Lord showed Jeremiah a vision of two baskets of figs (cp Jer. 1:11-16).

Verses 2 and 3  - Jeremiah describes the condition of these two basket of figs. One basket containing good figs (the exiles, v. 5) and one containing bad figs (those that remain in the land, v.8).

Verses 4 and 5  - The Lord identifies that the good figs are those whom He sent away to exile in the land of the Chaldeans. (cp Jer. 29:10-14).

Verse 6  - The Lord promises to restore the exiles. (cp Jer. 1:10; 12:2; 18:9).

Verse 7 - God promises to sovereignly dispense His grace on them so that they will repent and turn to Him. God will again have a covenantal relationship with His people.

Verse 8 - The Lord identifies the identity of the bad figs as the king of Judah, his officials, and the remnant of Jerusalem who remained in the land. Notice that it is not Kenites.

Verse 9 and 10 - The Lord describes the punishment of those that remained as well as those in Egypt. (cp Jer. 15:2-4)

So, as long as somebody does not import their false presuppositions into the text, this text is not describing Kenites and true Jews returning to Israel in 1948. The text is simply explaining the judgment upon those that refused to go into exile as well as the repentance and restoration of those that did go into exile.

Soli Deo Gloria!


  1. Shepherd's Chapel teaches that kenites are the sons of cain that are alive today claiming to be Jews.
  2. Shepherd's Chapel follows the false doctrine of British-Israelism and claim that real Jews (or the 10 lost tribes) are from European Caucasian descent. 
  3. They also claim this may have happened in 1967 after the Six-Day War.
  4. This is the final generation before the second advent according to Shepherd's Chapel teaching.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Refuting Shepherd's Chapel - Katabole and 3 Earth Ages

A couple of years ago I posted some videos on YouTube. In those videos I tried to show some of the errors of Shepherd's Chapel teachings. I also have a post on this blog where I briefly list and refute the false teachings of Arnold Murray. I believe more needs to be said to refute their claims more clearly. I have some posts that deal with their doctrine on Hell and Kenites (serpent seed) in more depth. In this post I want to discuss their doctrine of the Katabole and the Three Earth Ages.

One of the big oversights I can point out is how Shepherd's Chapel followers misuse the Greek word katabolē (Strongs #G2602). Using hyper-dispensationalist E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible, Arnold Murray weaves a false system of belief that there was an "earth age" before the one we live in now and in that age Satan rebelled and caused God to destroy it in what they call the "katabole" or the "destruction of the world that was".

In the New Testament, Arnold Murray claims that when the word katabolē is used in the Greek it is actually a mis-translation in the KJV and should be translated as "destroyed" or "overthrow". For example in Ephesians 1:4 when you see the word foundation (which in the Greek is the word katabolē) used in "before the foundation of the world" it should be translated as "before the overthrow (or destruction) of the world". This, to them, validates their aberrant doctrine.

In the New Testament the word katabolē is used 11 times. 10 of those times it is translated in the KJV as foundation. The other one is the most interesting to our discussion and it appears in Hebrews 11:11.
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11 KJV)
The word translated as conceive in this verse is the same Greek word katabolē that Shepherd's Chapel claims should be translated "overthrow" or "destroyed". This verse shows that the proper understanding of katabole does not follow Shepherd's Chapel view but instead is consistent with the traditional renderings.

In the other uses of katabolē in the New Testament it is translated as foundation and is always in connection with the world. In Hebrews 11:11 when the word is used in connection with the birth of a child it carries the meaning of conceive. When used in the connection with the world it carries the meaning of founding or creating (conceiving the world). It does NOT carry the meaning of destruction, overthrow, destroyed, or ruin in any circumstance. The use of "laying down" or "throwing down" is only correct in the connotation of laying a foundation or creating not in the sense of destroying or judgment.

In fact the proper Greek words used for "destruction" is apōleia (#G684) and the Greek for "overthrow" is either katastrophē (#G2692) or anatrepō (#G396). In Luke 6:49 we have the Greek word rhēgma (#G4485) used for "ruin". If Paul wanted to stress some sort of judgment, satanic overthrow, or ruined state he would have used one of those Greek terms.

Also see HELPS word studies entry on the use of Katabole:
katabolḗ (from 2596 /katá, "exactly according to," down from the most general to the most specific detail, "following all the way along," and 906 /bállō, "to cast") – properly, a foundation, cast according to a blueprint (original design); the substructure which determines the entire direction (destination) of all that follows; the foundation-plan, upon which the entire super-structure is built; (figuratively) the beginning (founding) that purposefully designs all that follows.
A simple survey of how the word katabolē is used in the New Testament gives us a very clear understanding of its meaning.

All verses that use the Greek word katabolē in the New Testament:
Mat 13:35, Mat 25:34, Luk 11:50, Jhn 17:24, Eph 1:4, Heb 4:3, Heb 9:26, Heb 11:11, 1Pe 1:20, Rev 13:8, Rev 17:8 
Here are some notes concerning the supposed "gap theory" of Genesis 1:1-2:

Shepherd's Chapel students often argue that the word translated as “was” in the KJV and most English Translations of Genesis 1:2 should actually be translated “became” as in “the Earth became formless and void.” This, to them, proves the supposed katabole.

This theory of creation is commonly called the gap theory and it suffers from a number of hermeneutical problems:

Time cannot be inserted between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 because verse 2 does not follow verse 1 in time. Verse 2 uses a Hebrew grammatical device that is called a waw-disjunctive. This is where a sentence begins with the Hebrew word for and (waw) followed by a noun such as the earth (erets). A waw-disjunctive indicates that the sentence is describing the previous one and does not follow in time. In other words, verse 2 is describing the conditions of the earth when it was first created. Hebrew grammar simply will not allow for the insertion of vast periods of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 in which a supposed satanic fall took place.

Exodus 20:11 clearly teaches that everything was created in the span of six literal days. This passage  refutes any possibility of vast periods of time between any of the days of creation. This theory suffers from the problem of death and suffering long before Adam’s sin. Romans 5:12 teaches that death came by Adam’s sin. God himself said on the sixth day that creation was very good (Gen. 1:31), how could it be very good if there was sin and death before the fall of Adam?

Another argument you may encounter when dealing with Shepherd's Chapel students is they will claim Isaiah 45:18 substantiates their view:
For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:18 KJV)
The word in vain is the same Hebrew word tohu as used in Geneses 1:2 "without form". Shepherd's Chapel students will claim that God didn't create the earth tohu but it became tohu (that is it became tohu "vian / without form" by the Katabole). But we must look at the context. The context here requires us to translate tohu as "in vain" instead of "without form". Isaiah's point here is that God did not create the earth without a purpose; He formed the earth to be inhabited by man. Genesis chapter one goes on to tell us how God formed the earth and created man and living creatures to fill the earth. Genesis chapter one records for us the whole act of creation and it was not completed until after the 6th day. Isaiah is not saying that God didn't originally create the earth tohu "without form" on the first day, as Genesis 1:2 states, but that he didn't create it without a purpose. God didn't let the earth stay tohu but had a purpose and formed the earth for that purpose. The whole act of creation (from day 1-6) had a purpose and was not vain "tohu".

The word tohu is used in several places in the Old Testament and it is translated 10 different ways in those places. In the Hebrew language it depends on the context as to how to precisely translate a word. Tohu is no exception. In Genesis 1:2 the context shows that the earth had no form to it yet so tohu is use to describe this state. In Isaiah 14:18 tohu is use to show that the whole act of creation had a purpose and was not in vain. There is no contradiction and this verse does not prove there was an earth age prior to this one.

*updated 8/28/2015

Soli Deo Gloria! 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Whosoever Will?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJV

In John 3:16 Jesus loved the world (all mankind including Jew and Gentile) in such a way that he redeemed a particular people (Titus 2:14, Heb. 10:14) for himself that includes all people from all nations and tongues (Rev. 5:9). John 3:16 does not say "whosoever will", it simply says whosoever or whoever believes. This "whosoever" (KJV) is best translated as "whoever believes" (NKJV, ESV, NASB, et al.) or "the believing ones". This verse in no way is teaching universal atonement. It is true that all that believe in Christ will be saved, both Reformed and Arminian are in agreement with that. Those of us that are Reformed truly believe in the free offer of the Gospel, and are commanded to share the Gospel with all sinners. Any sinner that repents and turns to Christ will be saved!

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. – John 6:44 KJV

The question is how do sinners get to the point of belief? Is it free-will (Arminian) or sovereign election (Reformed)? The Bible makes it very clear it is not the will of man (John 1:13, Rom. 9:16) but the divine choice of God (Rom. 8:29; 9:15, Eph. 1:4-5; 11) as to who gets saved. Man is unable to seek God (Rom. 3:10-18), cannot come to Christ (John 6:44, 65), and is dead in sin (Eph. 2:1). Since we are in such a dire situation the only hope for salvation is God changing our hearts (Eze. 36:26) and doing all the work of salvation for us. We can not boast in our own works and even the faith we have is by grace and is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-10). We do come to Christ freely, not forced, but it is God that gives us the ability to come to Christ freely. Just like how God had to first opened Lydia's heart before she could believe (Acts 16:14), he must do the same for all of us. As John 6:37 states, all that the Father gives to Christ will come to Christ. Verse 39 shows plainly that those given to Christ will be raised up on the last day, and verse 40 shows it is the Fathers will that those that believe on Christ get raised up. All those that receive this changed heart and work of the Spirit will come to Christ, it is guaranteed (John 6:37).

So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills – Romans 9:18 ESV

It is only Christ's "sheep" that can hear his voice and those that are not of his "flock" do not have the ability to believe (John 10:26-27). Paul in Romans 9:19-23 explains after answering an objection, similar to the one Arminians ask, that God makes one people for "honorable use" and another for "dishonorable use" (v. 21). He explains that certain people are "prepared for destruction" (v. 22), and others "prepared beforehand" for glory (v. 23). This is how God can hate Esau and love Jacob (Rom. 9:13) even before they are born or done good or evil (Rom. 9:11). Paul even explains that this is the case "in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls" (Rom. 9:11). Peter also says that those that reject Christ do so because they were destined to (1 Peter 2:8). Jude even mentions people "ordained" to condemnation (Jude 1:4 KJV), and Acts mentions those "ordained" to eternal life (Acts 13:48 KJV).

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: – Isaiah 46:9-10 KJV

I believe the problem lies in the inability of people to grasp God's sovereignty. Ask any Christian (Arminian or Reformed) if they believe in God's sovereignty and both would agree wholeheartedly. Ask them if they believe that God knows all events past, present and future and both will still agree. Ask them if God ordains every event that comes to pass and they might agree (some Arminians would say yes and all Reformed would say yes). Ask them if God ordains the salvation of the elect and the damnation of the reprobate and you will get a heated debate (Arminians saying no and Reformed saying yes). The Bible teaches us in Isaiah 46:9-11 that God declares the "end from the beginning" (v. 10) and that he will bring to pass all that he purposed (v. 11). There is simply no event in time or space that has come to pass unless the Lord has ordained it and given a purpose for it. As Romans 9 and others declare that even includes the reprobate (those going to hell).

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory – Romans 9:22-23 ESV

You must understand that even those that believe in an autonomous "free-will" have a problem with those destined for hell. Since God knows all things even before one molecule of the universe is created then he must know who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. Could not God have only created people that would choose him out of their free will? Since God created people that he knew would not free-will love him, then he still created people knowing beforehand they would go to hell. God could have chosen not to create these people but he did. In the Reformed view we see a purpose in the reprobate. God, from eternity passed, elected some to salvation and others to reprobation. He actively works faith and salvation in the elect, but passes over the reprobate so that they will stay in their sins. God is not producing unbelief in the reprobate, since we all reject Christ by nature (Eph. 2:3), he is simply leaving them in their sins and rebellion. God actively works in the elect, passively works in the reprobate. The elect receive mercy, the reprobate receive justice. Nobody gets injustice.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. – 2nd Peter 3:9 KJV

Alas the problems of taking a verse out of context! 2nd Peter 3:9 seems to be the go-to Arminian verse. There are some questions and context that need to be resolved. First who is Peter talking to? The answer is the "beloved" (v. 3:1, 8, 14) or "those who have obtained faith" (1:1) in other words believers. So in 2nd Peter 3:9 when it says God is not willing that "any" should parish and "all" come to repentance who is the "any" and "all"? The answer is quite simple. It is the ones that he is “longsuffering” for, the "you" or "us-ward" (KJV), in other words believers. In following the context and seeing who Peter is talking to it is easy to see that he is addressing believers here. 2nd Peter chapter 3 is stating that God is willing to wait millennia (v. 8) until all the elect are brought to faith (v. 9) before the second coming of Christ (v. 10-13).

In conclusion we as Reformed believe the Gospel message is open to all. We don't know who the elect are and so we proclaim the Gospel liberally to all sinners everywhere (Matt. 28:19). God has ordained the method in which people are drawn to faith and that is through the preaching of the Gospel (Rom. 10:14-17). We can join our Arminian brothers and sisters in proclaiming that whoever believes in Christ will be saved (John 3:16)!

To the Glory of God,

Colby Braden