HAS MR. CAMPING BECOME YOUR HIGH PLACE?
Vincent S. Kluth
Silver Spring, MD
February 16, 2002
Overview of the Refutation *
Overview of the Refutation *
The Author’s Life With Family Radio (FR) *
Summary of Mr. Camping’s (Mr. C’s) Latest Teachings *
The Problem With Mr. C’s OT Analogies *
High Places (HP) - Really? *
A. Mr. C’s description and examples of HP *
B. To use 2Cor 10:4-6 to justify this "plan" is an incredible reach *
C. OT examples of HP *
D. Hypocrisy on Mr. C’s part *
You Call This Tribulation? *
How Can The Church Leave The Church? *
The Blessings of Satan? *
Every Man Doing That Which Is Right In His Own Eyes *
Mr. C’s Pride of Family Radio *
Questions To Ask On The Open Forum *
Recommendations To FR Listeners *
The Author’s Life With Family Radio (FR)
I was in Rancho Penasquitos (San Diego county) when I first heard FR -- and Mr. C in particular -- in 1987. I can still remember the street intersection where I first heard Mr. C, and declaring, "Now that’s a preacher!" I daily recorded the Open Forum and the FR Bible Studies for years, sending tapes as far away as Texas and Florida. I studied 4 nights a week under a man who had listened and learned from Mr. C for 15 years. I joyfully attended FR conferences, day-in-the-word seminars and banquets. I’ve financially supported FR substantially, even taking out VISA cash advances to send Bibles to Russia. I met my wife, a zealous FR listener, at FR’s W. Coast Bible Conference, and got her phone number at Mr. C’s church! Neither of us would dream of marrying a non-FR listener, or living in a city without a FR station. We still listen to FR … and are absolutely flabbergasted at what we are hearing. It grieves my heart to refute Mr. C on this subject, but I do so because his end-time teachings of the last 10 years are now affecting the dear, sweet fellowship I’ve experienced with FR brethren. The time has come for me to speak up.
Summary of Mr. Camping’s (Mr. C’s) Latest Teachings
While Family Radio (FR) is becoming "more and more useful" to the Lord, and is "increasingly blessed" with a "robust and healthy presentation of the gospel" over radio, TV, satellite, and internet, as "marvelously synthesized" by the Bible, churches everywhere are becoming more apostate. The Bible predicted the demise of the church by OT analogy when Israel and Judah, though used of God for a long time, refused to remove their high places triggering God’s judgment upon them. Likewise, as New Testament (NT) churches maintain "high place" doctrines such as divorce, women pastors, "accepting Christ" and unaltered confessions, the time has now come that God will judge all churches by removing His candlestick, marking the end of the church age. We are officially now in the final tribulation period, evidenced by 2 specific items: a worldwide interest in signs and wonders, and the Charismatic practice of being slain in the spirit and falling backwards. The Bible thus teaches that true believers are to leave the church and form fellowships. The "only way they could come under the blessing of God was to be … under the care .. of Satan" as they go into the world, continuing to evangelize, without any spiritual rule or oversight. Baptism and the Lord’s supper are to cease, as well as the offices of Pastor, Elder and Deacon. Anyone caught remaining in the church will not receive God’s blessings as they are "effectively saying they are more holy than God", but will come under God’s wrath as did Lot’s wife.
The Problem With Mr. C’s OT Analogies
"But a serious question must be raised. (sic) It is true that God brought the seven churches spoken of in the book of Revelation into judgment by removing them. But isn't also true that throughout the New Testament era churches or denominations do disappear? (sic) But aren't they replaced by other churches and denominations that are more faithful? (sic) Worldwide hasn't there always been in existence a core group of faithful churches? (sic) For example, even today are there not a sprinkling of faithful churches that are at least as true to the word of God as many churches were several hundred years ago? This is true! But there is a larger plan of God that must be looked at. (sic) This plan shows that a time will come when God will no longer use the churches and congregations to bring the Gospel to the world. They instead will come under the wrath of God.To see this plan and we must carefully examine Old Testament Israel."
Mr. C then examines God’s conditional promises in Deut. and Lev, along with Israel’s rebellion in 1&2Kings, culminating in God’s judgment as foretold and recorded by Jeremiah. This, I believe, is the crucial weakness in Mr. C’s line of reasoning. His major problem is confusion of the Old with the New Covenant, which have 2 substantially different sets of terms and conditions.
• Gal 3:10 Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the ..law
• Deut 27:26 - 29:1 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.
(i) Gal 3:10 ties us to De 27:26. (ii) De 28 outlines the promises of the covenant, both good & bad. What is ironic is that Mr. C looks at Jeremiah’s prophecy to show us God’s alleged plan for the NT church. But consider these crucial verses from Jeremiah which tie us to this covenant:
• Jer 11:3-10 Cursed be the man that obeyeth not .. covenant… therefore I will bring upon them
A lengthy study is not required to show that the OT covenant of blessing was based upon Israel’s obedience. Because they didn’t obey, but went exceedingly contrary to the LORD, God simply did what He had covenanted with them - to bring them under judgment. But this is not the covenant that the LORD God has made with the NT church!!
• Jer 31:31-34 I will make a new covenant … not according to the covenant ... with their fathers
The New Covenant (or New Testament) is "based upon better promises":
• Heb 8:6-13 he is the mediator of a better covenant.. established upon better promises.
Q: Did you hear that covenant? What are the terms and conditions of that covenant? Under what condition would anyone under that covenant come into God’s wrath and judgment?
Point: Brethren, what I’ve just described is God’s legal distinction between being saved by law or saved by grace; between a works righteousness and an imputed righteousness. This is "Gospel 101". Under the OT, God explicitly and specifically told Israel how they would come under God’s wrath. If the church era is to end in a similar fashion, why hasn’t God spelled it out just as clear in the NT? You want to know why not? Because it’s not there!
Q: Which of a believer’s sins (an elect of God, someone who’s saved), will bring him or her under God’s judgment? A: None of them. You can’t lose your salvation.
Warning: Mr. C’s teachings imply (i) a true believer could lose his salvation; (ii) if you stay in the church, you must not be a true believer; and/or (iii) if you’re attending a false gospel church, you must be unsaved, since that church is under God’s judgment, and His judgment only falls on the unsaved. Although Mr. C denies these ideas when directly asked, his teachings certainly threaten you with these ideas. At best, Mr. C has a major contradiction on this point.
High Places (HP) - Really?
Mr. C makes an analogy between OT Israel’s high places and modern-day NT erroneous doctrines and heresies:
"The logical conclusion then must be. (sic) Since the high places of Israel were a dominant cause for the destruction of ancient Israel, it appears that the churches of today are safe from God's judgment because we don't have high places where heathen Gods are worshiped. But is it true, that our churches are free of high places? The Bible shows us that the churches of today are not at all free of the high places. The Bible defines the nature of the New Testament high places in 2 Cor 10:4-6. There we read: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. In this very revealing passage God has set forth His plans for the New Testament church." (underlines, mine.)
I must admit, it took me four times to eke out his teachings from this passage. He makes much out of the phrases "high things" (which he would have us to believe to be the equivalent of the OT HPs) and "obedience is fulfilled" (which he interprets as "church mission will end"). Try to follow the reasoning below, and note Mr. C’s absence of scriptural support as he builds his case:
A. Mr. C’s description and examples of HP
"And as we shall see they are parallel to his plan for ancient Israel. (sic) We can readily see this parallelism if we recognize the nature of the Old Testament high places. True worship faithfully identified with a careful following of the laws of God set forth in the Bible. But many in Israel had their own ideas concerning the nature of true worship. (sic) Out of their own imaginations and rationalizations they designed places of worship to gods that they felt should be honored as Jehovah God was honored. So they designed and constructed their high places. (sic)
"In the New Testament era it was not fashionable to construct places of worship to false gods. But the New Testament individual has the same kind of thoughts and imaginations as the Old Testament believer. (sic) He, too, has opinions as to the proper worship of God that frequently includes ideas from his own mind rather than from the Bible.
"During the Old Testament days it took serious thought as to how to properly design and build a high place in order to make the overall worship scene more complete. In the New Testament serious men have carefully thought about teachings they felt were pleasing to God. They reasoned together in solemn meetings such as church councils, consistories and synods. After prayerful consideration they adopted doctrines which were not always true to the Bible. Some of the erroneous conclusions were even written into and became a part of very prestigious confessions. This was so even though they had arrived at conclusions that were not taught in the Bible. Such conclusions that there can be divorce for fornication, baptismal regeneration, our faith is an instrument that God uses to bring us to salvation, a future millennium, women can pastor a church, universal atonement, our acceptance of Christ as a requirement for salvation, are typical of many doctrines solemnly adopted by churches. But these are high places, in that they have come from the exalted minds of men instead of coming from God." (sic) (underlines, mine.)
B. To use 2Cor 10:4-6 to justify this "plan" is an incredible reach
The idea doesn’t even remotely fit the context! You read the passage in context of the whole chapter, and I find the Apostle plainly exhorting individuals (not the corporate church) to do warfare with the enemy within, namely the sin in our minds.
i) The Gr. word translated "obedience" is never translated "mission" or "era". The only time our (not "the church’s") "obedience" (not "mission" or "era") is fulfilled is when we go to heaven.
• 1Jn 3:1-3 we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him
• 1Cor 15:51-54 this corruptible must put on incorruption.. Death is swallowed up in victory.
• Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body
ii) The Gr. word translated "high thing" (#5313 ‘hupsoma’) is found in only 1 other passage:
• Rom 8:38-39 Nor height, nor depth, .. shall be able to separate us from the love of God …
Point: It’s incredibly ironic that Mr. C twists this very passage to prove the existence of his "end of the church era" idea, when his own hermeneutic (cp Greek with Greek) disproves him!
C. OT examples of HP
But what about his idea that the OT’s HPs were from "their own ideas … imaginations and rationalizations"? A brief search of the phrase "high places" show the following:
• 1Ki 11:7 Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab ... and for Molech
• 1Ki 12:31-32 he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people
• 2Ki 17:11 burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away
• 2Ki 17:24-36 made gods of their own … high places which the Samaritans had made
Basically, a HP consisted of utter pagan worship, often with no form of Biblical worship in it whatsoever. There’s no evidence that any "serious thought" was had prior to the erection of a HP; that is, no gathering of a synod or council is mentioned. It appears that the King simply made a decree, i.e. one man’s opinion was given and a multitude willingly followed.
• 2Ki 22:8-11 When they found and read the Bible, King Josiah knew instantly they were wrong.
Point: HPs weren’t Bible-twisted heresies or debatable doctrines. They were 180 deg. off!
• 2Ki 23:4-7 vessels that were made for Baal ... grove, and for all the host of heaven … sodomites
• Jer 19:5 Baal, to burn their sons .. which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither..in my mind
• Jer 32:35 Baal.. to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech
• 2Ki 23:10 Topheth … make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech
• Jer 7:31 Tophet.. burn their sons.. I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart
• 2Ki 23:13 mount of corruption.. Ashtoreth..abomination of the Zidonians.. Chemosh.. Milcom
• 2Ki 23:24 familiar spirits.. wizards.. images.. idols, and all the abominations
Point: HP’s were a flagrant and total disregard for the Bible and God’s covenant. Jehovah wasn’t even mentioned in a HP. HPs arose from ideas absolutely alien to the Bible, from 0% of the counsel of God, and not out of a half-baked heresy from 50% of the Word.
To further indicate how totally removed these religious rulers were from truth, note the last evil king prior to the King of Babylon’s attack against Judah:
• 2Ki 23:34, 36-24:2 Eliakim=Jehoiakim … in his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up
Now exactly what evil thing did he do, prior to this Judah’s destruction? Grant a divorce? Teach the people to "accept Christ" in order to become saved?
• Jer 36:1-3 fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah ..Take thee a roll of a book, and write
• Jer 36:20-24 king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll.. cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire
He burned the Word of God without any shame, remorse or fear. THAT is evil. THAT is a high place.
Conclusion: Mr. C has fit his own ideas into the scriptures to justify his false teachings. His alleged NT definition of a high place (HP) is unfounded upon closer examination of the Bible.
D. Hypocrisy on Mr. C’s part
"22. Q. What, then, is necessary for a Christian to believe? A. All that is promised us in the gospel (footnote: 1Jn 20:31, Mat 28:19, Mark 1:15) which in part is summarized in the Apostle’s Creed, which has served the Church for many centuries.* (* Although the Apostle’s Creed is true, we believe it is not sufficiently definitive to answer the errors that are in existence in the church today. Therefore, we have formulated the Reformed Bible Church Creed as a substitute.)"
"23. Q. What are these articles? A. I. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth. … IX. I believe a holy universal Church, the communion of saints; …"
The word "catholic" in the Apostle’s Creed was changed to "universal", such that it wouldn’t be confused with the Roman Catholic church. However, let’s read what he said about this "holy universal Church":
"54.Q. What do you believe concerning the holy universal Church? A. That the Son of God (footnote #1: Eph 5:26; Jo 10:11; Ac 20:28; Eph 4:11-13), out of the whole human race (#2: Gen 26:4, Rev 5:9), from the beginning to the end of the world (#3: Ps 71:17-18; Isa 59:21; 1Cor 11:26), gathers, defends, and preserves for Himself (#4: Mt 16:18; Jo 10:28-30; Ps 129:1-5), by His Spirit and Word (#5: Isa 59:21; Rom 1:16, 10:14-17; Eph 5:26), in the unity of the true faith (#6: Ac 2:42; Eph 4:3-5), a Church chosen to everlasting life (#7: Rom 8:29, Eph 1:10-13); and that I am (#8: 1Jo 3:14, 19-21; 2Cor 13:5; Rom 8:10), and forever shall remain, a living member thereof (#9: Ps 23:6; 1Cor 1:8-9; Jo 10:28; 1Jn 2:19; 1Pe 1:5)."
"66. Q. What are the sacraments? A. The sacraments are holy, visible signs appointed of God for this end, that by the use thereof He may the more fully declare to us the promise of the gospel; namely, that He of grace grants us the remission of sins and life eternal, for the sake of the one sacrifice of Christ accomplished on the cross. (footnote: 1Cor 11:25-26; Eph 2:8-9; Gal 5:2-6; Gal 3:2; Gen 17:11; Rom 4:11; De 30:6; Lev 6;25; Heb 9:7-9,24; Ezek 20:12; Isa 6:6-7, 54:9.)"
Although "sacraments" and "ordinances" are used interchangeably, the Bible doesn’t use the word "sacraments" - but the Roman Catholic church does. They do so because they believe that baptism and the Lord’s supper ("Mass") are in and of themselves a way of salvation! Why not be consistent in distancing oneself from the Roman Catholics?
Furthermore, look how their "Church Order for the Reformed Bible Church (RBC) of Alameda" speaks to these issues. Did they throw out all the so-called HP?
"Preamble: The Bible clearly teaches and demonstrates that believers shall congregate together as a congregation. These congregations shall have elders and deacons who minister the Word, exercise prayer, rule over the congregation, administer the sacraments of baptism and communion, serve as examples to the flock, administer discipline, care for the poor within the congregation, exhort, admonish, and in every way be spiritual shepherds over the flock."
"Article 1. RBC recognizes only one source of divine truth and that is the Bible. The Bible alone and in its entirety is the divine message. …"
"Article 4. As a general guide concerning many teachings of the Bible, the RBC recognizes the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort as these documents have been carefully studied and revised by RBC. These confessions are not divinely inspired and therefore are not infallible as is the Bible, nevertheless, their faithfulness to the Bible has served the churches during many centuries."
Point: Mr. C didn’t call the confessions HPs in 1995. Fact is, they were well spoken of! Furthermore, prospective pastors had to agree with them. That is, these confessions were held up as the measuring rod!
"The Pastor - Article 8. When the Consistory believes it is time to call a pastor, they shall seek out a man who has served as a pastor in other congregations and who agrees as closely as possible with the Church Order of the RBC." (underlines, mine.)
In effect, his church exhorted a closer allegiance to confessions in principle, revised though the may be. When a Minister, Elder or Deacon took office, they had to sign the "Form of Subscription", which stated:
"We, the undersigned, Ministers, Elders and Deacons of the Alameda Reformed Bible Church, do hereby, sincerely, and in good conscience before the Lord, declare by this our subscription that we heartily believe that the Bible alone and in its entirety is the divine Word of God and in its original languages is entirely without error to the very letter of each word and, therefore, in all matters of doctrine and practice, is the final authority."
"We further subscribe to the Church Order and Confessions held by the Alameda Reformed Bible Church insofar as they are in agreement with the Bible."
"We promise therefore diligently to teach and faithfully to defend the Bible and the explanations thereof set forth in the Church Order and Confessions, without knowingly contradicting the same by our public teaching, preaching or writing."
Point: Mr. C has been and is guilty of allowing and authoring the very "high places" he condemns others of having. Either FR is part of the present apostasy (by his definition of HP), or his definition of HP is so haywire that it applies to everyone except FR!
You Call This Tribulation?
In light of what we’ve just seen about the exceedingly wicked nature of OT HP’s, it’s certainly obvious that we are nowhere near that level of apostasy. Yet Mr. C insists "there are two" end-time signs signaling our entry into the final tribulation period "that are especially in evidence so that we need have no doubt that we have arrived to that final event." What are these two "clear signs"? Mr. C points to the Charismatic’ practices of tongues and falling backwards.
He points first to Mt 24:24:
• Mt 24:24 arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders
Mr. C relates this to the "interest in signs and wonders, miracles, such as we see today."
In particular, he points to the Charismatics and Pentecostals who speak in tongues.
He may have a valid point here, since we read in 1Cor 14:22:
• 1Cor 14:22 tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not
However, on closer examination of the parallel account in Luke, Christ points us to another sign:
• Lk 21:25-31 Behold the fig tree, and all the trees.. when ye see these things .. God is nigh
It’s interesting to note that during the 1994 debacle, he pointed out that "the fig tree was in leaf" because Israel became a nation in 1948. Add 40 years to get to 1988, plus 6 years of final trib and wallah, you have 1994. However, the passage mentions "all the trees". He never discussed what all the other trees pictured! Why doesn’t he mention this sign?
And what of the other gospel accounts which speak of certain end-time signs, such as:
• 1Th 5:1-3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety …
• Lk 17:26-32 And as it was in the days of Noe… Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot
Nobody is talking about "peace and safety" today. People are concerned about terrorists!
Speaking of Lot and his wife: how did brother Lot leave the city? Willingly, or was he drug out?
• Gen 19:15-22 while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand… I cannot do any thing till …
Point: If Matt 24:24 speaks to a future event, the interest in signs and wonders appears to be valid; however, there are other signs which Mr. Camping avoids speaking about. I suspect because he’s already burned his bridges on them with 1994?, as they undermine his position.
2. "Worldwide evidence of people falling backward". This supposedly fulfills Rev. 13, but takes some incredibly long jumps to equate ‘calling fire down from heaven’ to ‘falling down backward’. (Again, Mr. C is pointing to the Charismatics and Pentecostals.)
• Rev 13:13-14 he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven
Mr. C states that "Satan, of course, cannot literally call down fire from heaven."
But v.14 says the beast indeed "had power to do" those miracles!
However, to make this sign applicable to today, he links Elijah’s fiery destruction of the two bands of 50 soldiers in 2Ki 1:10,12 with Jesus’ arrest at Gethsamene (Jo 18:6), where our Lord said "I am" and the soldiers fell backward to the ground. On this, Mr. C concludes "Satan, therefore, was an eyewitness to the fact that causing people to fall backward to the ground is equivalent to calling down fire from heaven." (underlines, mine).
There are several matters here to which I draw your attention:
• Job 1:12, 16 the LORD said unto Satan … all that he hath is in thy power / fire of God is fallen
Note that they attributed this miracle to God, thus underscoring the previous point that men attribute all miracles to God.
Point: Satan can, in fact, call down fire from heaven, as proved by the Word of God.
• Jo 18:1-9 he .. said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
• Ps 18:8,13 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured
• Isa 30:27,30 his tongue as a devouring fire / his glorious voice .. the flame of a devouring fire
• Jer 5:14 I will make my words .. fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.
The soldiers at Gethsamane weren’t devoured. Furthermore, the Charismatics don’t have a Word from God (as they claim, since the Canon is closed). There is simply no match here.
Conclusion: A further review of all the end-time signs leaves us without Mr. C’s alleged complete, clear evidence that we are in the final tribulation period.
Opinion: Mr C is the President of a large, global organization. In his capacity, he has visibility into worldwide spread of the Charismatics and their foolish practices. He believes this is evidence of the end of time, and dredges up verses to support this notion. It’s interesting to note that Martin Luther, while coming into the light of truth and out of the darkness of Roman Catholicism, thought the Pope was the antichrist, and that he, too, was in the final tribulation period!
How Can The Church Leave The Church?
What is the church? The word translated "church" is the Greek word #1577 "ekklesia", from "ek" + "kaleo"; literally "called out of". 115x church, also translated "assembly" 3x in
[ • Ac 19:32, 39, 41 assembly was confused / in a lawful assembly / dismissed the assembly ]
Thus, "church" has something to do with "assembling". This seems consistent with:
[ • Mt 18:20 where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. ]
Also note that the "church" is not related to a physical building with bricks and mortar:
• Eph 1:22-23 gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body
• Ac 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house…
[ • Ac 11:25-26 they assembled themselves with the church.. disciples were called Christians ]
[ • Ac 14:27 when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all … ]
Point: The church consists of people gathered together in Christ’s name & leadership. To say "the church era is over" is to say "the body-of-Christ era is over", which can’t be (Jn 10:28-29).
Dr. Martin Emmrich (Greek and Hebrew professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia), makes this excellent observation: "Camping's analogy of the OT temple is false. The OT church did not cease to exist after the temple was destroyed. And even if one grants that Matt 24:1ff. have reference to the NT church as a body (although this is not the only way to read the text), the razing of this structure is not the end of the church age. The OT church was never meant to be defined in terms of the Zion edifice, much less the NT church. This is all the more evident when one considers what the temple really was, namely, the place where God and man could meet. This ‘place of meeting’ is now in Christ (John 1:14). This is the only temple left that the NT knows or talks about. No one can take this temple away."
But what about 1Pe 4:17?
• 1Pe 4:17 For the time is come (not "will come") that judgment must begin at the house of God
Here’s where Mr. C’s hermeneutics tend to cloud things. If we only look at the Gr. word for "judgment" (#2917, ‘krima’), we find it to be closely associated with the wrath of God:
• Mr 12:40 Which devour widows’ houses… these shall receive greater damnation.
• Heb 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms… and of eternal judgment.
So according to Mr. C, 1Pe 4 teaches that God’s wrath will come upon the church (‘house of God’), as He abandons the church and executes His wrath upon her.
Now let’s test this conclusion against the rest of the Bible. First, the "judgment" had already begun in Peter’s time! Second, "judgment" cannot refer to the wrath of God upon the elect :
• Rom 8:31-34 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
• 1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus
So the "judgment" in view cannot be "wrath". To what, then, does it refer? Look at the context! Notice the word "suffer" throughout the passage:
• 1Pe 4:12-19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God …a faithful Creator.
The "wherefore" connects the idea of v.17 back to the preceding context. The passage essentially exhorts Christians to bear up through suffering, knowing that it’s for our good and His glory.
Point: God is not abandoning His people in wrath, nor threatening to destroy them for disobedience. God is testing His elect through suffering that they may be refined and purified by means of the difficult times. He does so because He loves them, is for them and with them.
Doesn’t Lk 21:21 command us to leave the church?
• Lk 21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains… depart out.. not..enter
This event is spoken of several parallel passages of the Olivet discourse:
• Mt 24:1-2 buildings .. shall not be left..one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down
• Mt 24:15-21 Notice the sense of extreme urgency - don’t waste a minute, get out immediately
Through some selective interpretation of the words "Judea", "buildings" and "stones", we could arrive at the conclusion that God will send a spiritual army against His church and utterly destroy her.
Is this what Jesus is teaching? Can an abomination enter into the body of mixed believers and incur God’s wrath upon the whole body?
• 1Cor 3:16-17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.. which temple ye are.
• 1Pe 2:4-10 living stone.. a spiritual house.. he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Point: God will not destroy that which He is building. He’s not "Beelzebub" with a divided house. In fact, God promises to protect His building, and He is on constant guard duty:
• Pr 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate.. he that soweth discord among brethren.
• Rev 2:15-16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them (not you)
So what is Lk 21 speaking of? Again, some context will help us make sense of this. This prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction occurs in several places before the Olivet discourse:
• Mt 23:37-39 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem .. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
• Lk 19:41-44 enemies..cast a trench .. they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another
Why would these enemies come? "because they knew not the time of their visitation."
• Lk 20:9-19 This is the heir..let us kill him.. He shall come and destroy these husbandmen
Point: I believe this prophetic warning of Lk 21:21 was fulfilled in AD70. Why can’t the "temple" and "building" refer to a physical building? It was a warning for the early church in Jerusalem. The Old Covenant was to be done away, and in so doing, many of its curses were to be executed - including the gospel going to the Gentiles. History records an incredible fulfillment of this prophecy (Barnes, quoting 1st century historian Josephus):
"Verse 21. There shall be great tribulation. The word tribulation means calamity, or suffering. Lu 21:24 has specified in what this tribulation should consist. "They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled." That is, until the time allotted for the Gentiles to do it shall be fully accomplished; or as long as God is pleased to suffer them to do it.
The first thing mentioned by Luke is, that they should fall by the edge of the sword. That is, should be slain in war, as the sword was then principally used in war. This was most strikingly fulfilled. Josephus, in describing it, uses almost the very words of our Saviour. All the calamities, says he, which had befallen any nation from the beginning of the world, were but small in comparison with those of the Jews.Jewish Wars, book i., preface, § 4.
He has given the following account of one part of the massacre when the city was taken: "And now rushing into the city, they slew whomsoever they found, without distinction, and burnt the houses and all the people who had fled into them. And when they entered for the sake of plunder, they found whole families of dead persons, and houses full of carcasses destroyed by famine; then they came out with their hands empty. And though they thus pitied the dead, they had not the same emotion for the living, but killed all they met, whereby they filled the lanes with dead bodies. The whole city ran with blood, insomuch that many things which were burning were extinguished by the blood."Jewish Wars, book vi. chap. 8, § 5; chap. 9, § 2, 3. He adds, that in the siege of Jerusalem, not fewer than eleven hundred thousand perished (Jewish Wars, book vi., chap. 9, § 3)--a number almost as great as are in the whole city of London. In the adjacent provinces no fewer than two hundred and fifty thousand are reckoned to have been slain; making in all whose deaths were ascertained, the almost incredible number of one million three hundred and fifty thousand, who were put to death. These were not indeed all slain with the sword. Many were crucified. "Many hundreds," says he, (Jewish Wars, book vi. Chap. xi Chap. xi. §1) "were first whipped, then tormented with various kinds of tortures, and finally crucified: the Roman soldiers nailing them (out of the wrath and hatred they bore to the Jews) one after one way, and another after another, to crosses, by way of jest, until at length the multitude became so great that room was wanting for crosses, and crosses for the bodies." So terribly was their imprecation fulfilled--" His blood be on us, and on our children," Mt 27:25. If it be asked how it was possible for so many people to be slain in a single city, it is answered, that the siege of Jerusalem commenced during the time of the Passover, it is estimated that more than three millions were usually assembled. See Josephus, Jewish Wars, book vi., chap. ix., § 3, 4.
A horrible instance of the distress of Jerusalem is related by Josephus. The famine during the siege became so great that they ate what the most sordid animals refused to touch. A woman of distinguished rank, having been plundered by the soldiers, in hunger, rage, and despair, killed and roasted her babe, and had eaten one half of him before the deed was discovered.Jewish Wars, book vi., chap. 3, § 3, 4. This cruel and dreadful act was also in fulfillment of prophecy, De 28:53,56,57.
Another thing added by Luke (21:24) was, that "they should be led captive into all nations." Josephus informs us that the captives taken during the whole war amounted to ninety-seven thousand. The tall and handsome young men Titus reserved for triumph; of the rest, many were distributed through the Roman provinces, to be destroyed by wild beasts in theatres; many were sent to the works in Egypt; many, especially those under seventeen years of age, were sold for slaves.Jewish Wars, book vi., chap. 9,. §2,3."
Disclaimer: There are many questions about the Olivet discourse to which I cannot answer conclusively, but can offer a position, such as:
The Blessings of Satan?
This is even too ludicrous to fully address. Here is his full statement:
"In other words it was God’s plan that no one was to remain in Jerusalem. The only way they could come under the blessing of God was to be as captives under the care of Babylon which represents the whole kingdom of Satan. But God would watch over them utilizing Babylon to give them protection. They would receive no help or guidance from Jerusalem."
How can a believer actually fall for this, when God says: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." (1Pe 5:8-9)? Nowhere in the Bible are we told that Satan will care for us! The last time somebody was put under the "care" of Satan was Job. Behold how Satan cared for Judas - or Eve, for that matter.
Q: Just what is salvation all about?
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Col 1.12-13)"
"To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Ac 26.18)"
Point: The Lord Jesus would not turn over His bride to the enemy and adversary for "protection". This runs contrary to what salvation is all about.
Every Man Doing That Which Is Right In His Own Eyes
Q: If the offices of Pastor, Elder and Deacon are now removed, then what offices are there? Why hasn’t the office of "teacher" also been removed, since:
• Eph 4:14 "And he gave some, apostles.. prophets.. evangelists.. pastors and teachers …"
Notice the purpose (perfecting; work; edifying), the time reference (till we all come to the unity of faith), and the reason (that we be not tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine).
Q: How are believers to structure and organize their gatherings together? Where do you read about this post-church era? God has been very orderly from Day 1, in giving governmental structure over His people throughout time. Now, when we most need a helmsman in the flesh, we’re supposedly left without one. Where do you read about the office of President? Of Vice President? Are we to leave the corporate church and turn to corporate America to figure out how to organize our fellowship? God says:
"These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God … (1Tim 3.14-15a)"
Mr. C’s Pride of Family Radio
Mr. C, President of FR, makes some rather arrogant statements (see "Summary", 1st sentence). He believes the witness of today’s churches --faithful or not-- to be so pathetic that "today they cannot by any means fulfill Christ’s command to go into all the world with the Gospel", and concludes "the situation is hopeless". Mr. C really believes that FR is the only ministry out there that can fulfill the Great Commission! Doesn’t that strike you as rather arrogant, to believe your organization alone can do God’s work -- and that, because you are large corporation, with global presence, technically advanced and savvy enough to do the job? I thought God used the humble, base things of this world:
• 1Cor 1:20-21, 26-29 it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe
• Rom 10:14-15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? Gotta have ‘boots on the ground’!
Consider these 2 "presidents" of old - King Nebuchadnezzar and King Uzziah:
• Dan 4:28-33 Is not this great Babylon, that I have built .. by the might of my power …
Mr. C has indeed built up a mighty corporation. Could it be that pride is getting to him?
• 2Chr 26:1-20 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction …
Questions To Ask On The Open Forum
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 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. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." (Ro 16:17-21)
"A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." (Tit.3:10-11)?
(a) Should they financially support such a ministry? (b) Should faithful men and women continue to labor alongside or be associated with such an individual, when God commands them to reject and avoid such individuals?
Recommendations To FR Listeners