I started hearing certain teachings for the first time when I began to associate with ministers from the Apostolic movement.
I was actually begining to get into a group that is now called the ‘Hebrew Roots’ movement. Essentially, this movement is a legalistic form of Messianic Judaism applied to gentiles; my initial exposure to the group was a young man wearing tzit-tzith (tassels as prescribed in Numbers 15:37-41) at the bus station and reading some sort of Messianic magazine about modern events in Israel. I had struck up a conversation with him on the bus, and eneded up going to some bible studies with his group. I admit that I was a little dissillusioned when I discovered that they all were gentiles, as their emphasis on the law of Moses, the Old Covenant, and Israel in practice seemed as though hey were devout Messianic Jews.
Neverheless, I moved to another city, and one of my hopes was to find a similar group, or Messianic synagogue to begin to attend. I worked at a Christian camp in the Seattle area, and didn’t presently find any such group, though I had begun to take on the Hebrew roots cultural (emphasizing the law, the Old Covenant, etc.), and even ordered online a set of my own tzit-zith.
I believe my earnest desire was to delve deeper into the things of God, and affiliate with those who were so doing, howbeit, like many, I was led astray by the philosophy of this movement. (Perhaps you have, or are also, though I have now written a good deal about this phenomena and how it is unbiblical and a denial of the atoning work of Christ – feel free to parouse my blog on the topic (see, for example, posts: Jesus Christ, Fulfilment of the Law; Why did the Jews Persecute Paul?; The Rapture and the Return of the Old Covenant)
The rising of a strong ‘returning to the law’ and the old covenant message and philosophy is – I believe – an indicator of the times. Paul wrote at least three books warning us (the Church) about becoming Judaized:
Galatians – this book was written to Gentile Christians (of Galatia) specifically to warn them against Messianic Jews who were coming among them and teaching that they needed to follow the Old Covenant, and the law of Moses. Paul actually teaches in Galatians that reverting to the Old Covenant will make atoning work of Christ inneffective to the believer (Gal. 5:1-4), i.e. it is the one way which scripture in plain statement declares we can lose our salvation.
Hebrews – this book was written to Hebrew Christians in order to explain how the Old Covenant was superceded by the New and Better Covenant of Jesus Christ (Heb. 8:6-13), how the law, the temple and the nation of Israel were never the fulfilment, but the prophetic types and shadows of the kingdom of God (Heb. 10:1); and how Christ, Himself alone has brought Christians (not those who follow the old types) into the True kingdom of God (Heb. 12:18-24; 13:10-14). The Old Covenant, being superceded per Heb. 13 can never return; it was fulfilled and then Christ superceded while it was in a state of fulfilment, thus according to the prophet Zecheriah, it is now permanantly ‘broken’ (meaning, can no longer return) – see post: The Good Shepherd and the Flock of he Slaughter.
Romans – this book was written to show how all mankind are bound under sin, and that the former election of Israel the nation under the Old Covenant has no bearing on the salvation of Jews, but that in his age only faith in Jesus Christ is our salvation (Rom. 10:11-13); that the elect of God is not the nation of Israel, but the church which is the True spiritual Israel (Rom. 9:6-8). (See also post: Romans 9: Calvinism, or the Election of Israel?)
Likewise, according to the book of Acts, one of the most prevalent struggles of the church was learning these things, and preventing the spread of the message of the Judaizers. The fact that these things are intrinsic in the Gospel, and that they are resurfacing in our day is telling.
So I didn’t find a Messianic synagogue when I moved, but I did run into a group of hyper-charismatics – a group now known among cessationists as the NAR (or the ‘Bethel church movement’ (although these preceeded the prominance of Bethel and Bill Johnson; they are the spiritual offspring of the 1994 toronto revival, and of John Wimber’s Vineyard churches (though Wimber disowned the fanaticism that came of the Toronto revival, and recommended they more heavily emphasize God’s word in their revival), I ussually just call it the ‘signs and wonders movement’).
I’ve relayed some of my experience with them elsewhere, so I’ll not go into it much here, but among them werw certain of their prophets with strange doctrines; new (to me) and innovative ones that I had not heard before (at least not to such a degree).
A certain prophet who had influence among them convinced me to investigate he book of Enoch, which he claimed was only excluded from the bible because of its intensely spiritual nature (this is untrue, it was excluded because it is full of heresy that makes carnal the spiritual, and because the book itself is not scripture, but an ancient Jewish fable (see also post: Will there be Nephilim in the Last Days?)). He spoke of other extra-biblical writings and emphasized angelology in his teaching.
As with becoming judaized, I began to follow the rabbit hole of these teachings, I purchased and began reading the book(s) of Enoch, and bought into much of the angelology taught by him (he was widely accepted by other ministers in this circle who also seemed to be enamored of his teaching). The appeal to the book of Enoch is that it is an ancient Jewish writing; in fact, it is a basis for Kabbalah (see post: Humanism, Satanism, Kabbalah, and the Origin of Evil). The book (Enoch) and its teachings are not scripture, in fact we are told in Titus 1:14 not to give heed to Jewish fables; this prophet’s exploration of Enoch itself is therefore decried in scripture.
The same prophet later was teaching expressly (on the basis of his extra-biblical studies, such as that of Enoch) that before the time of the end the whole of humanity would be corrupted by ‘demonic DNA,’ that demons would breed with humans, and only when the whole race was corrupted genetically would the end come. (I hope that all those reading this know it is obvious heresy – everyone who read his teaching on this that responded seemd to be completely taken in by it.) I could then see clearly that this line of thinking was, indeed, the result of Enochian theology and that this ‘prophet’ was simply believing the further rammifications of the fable of Enoch. It is a plainly racist ideology: that genetic corruptions come through ‘demonic DNA.’
In fact, Hitler also believed the fable of Enoch: that the Arian race was derived from the Nephilim, which is why he was so adamant about genetic purity. That is to say: the root of this fable was present also in such a racist, murderous regime; its vine (this teaching) is as the vine of Sodom, and as the fields of Gomorah (Deut. 32:32) – it should be evident by the end conclusions of the doctrine that it is false, for [True] wisdom is justified [not condemned] of all her children (Luke 7:35).
This is now a growing belief in the church, and many are taking these teachings of the Nephilim. They claim that Psalm 82 is writtwn of an angelic counsel of gods, and not unto the redeemed men of the earth, denying Christ’s interpretation (John 10:34-36). (Likewise, as a basis they deny Christ’s plain statement that angels do not marry, and Paul’s plain statement that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (as if there were such a thing as ‘demonic DNA’)).
Just as with the Hebrew roots phenomena, this turning to fables is a sign of the time; Paul prophesied this would happen wide-scale in the church even as it is happening today:
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Tim. 4:3 & 4)
Another fable, which has been yet the more widely accepted in the church (and for a longer time) is that of the rapture – not he ‘ressurection of the dead’ which is a biblically foretold event that will occur at the utter end when Christ returns – but a pre-resurrection event in which living saints are caught up. (See post listed above: The Rapture and the Return of the Old Covenant.)
People like to believe in the rapture because it means they escape the tribulation foretold; our ear itch for such a doctrine! In fact often people I’ve encountered have wanted me to teach them this doctine… though they already know it. Actually, I came to discover it was false when I sought enough biblical understanding to be able to teach it; surely if it is true, there are plain statements of scripture declaring that the saints are called prior to the events of the end. Lo and behold, I could find none, but there are plain – and adamant – statements to the contrary (see 2 Thess. 2:1-3 for just one example).
Additionally, the signs and wonders movement is now making its own translation of the bible (that is, Brian Simmons is making it, and the movement is accepting and endorsing it as legitimate scripture). No longer interested enough in the Truth, they are endorsing a man’s private revelation to re-interpret the bible for them. Please do not be deceived by the Passion ‘translation.’
I am thankful to have been disillusioned, and disenfranchised by some groups and churches because the Lord has taught me through scripture in those things wherein I was for a time deceived, and I now have fuller understanding. So the Lord shall do also with you, for if you seek Him you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart. And the Spirit of truth will lead you into all Truth, but you must heed Him and the word, and not the voices and doctrines of men.
Do not give heed to fables, for they are now prevalent in the church, and will increase more and more.
But watch thou in all things… (2 Tim. 4:5a)