Saturday, February 1, 2014

Is It Always Wrong to Use to Pagan Writings in Teaching?

Dr. Bob Thiel has recently published a video on the subject of Christians referring to pagan prophecies in their teachings. The title is "Do Prophets Cite False Prophecies?". I will give a link below.

In this video, Dr. Thiel uses several passages of scripture to make his case that it is sometimes proper to use pagan prophecies in teaching. In this post, I want to examine this subject from a different point of view than I have in the past. In the past, I have pointed out passages of scripture that indicate we should not look to pagan prophecies to know the future or to gain knowledge from supernatural sources that are not from God, or in other words, from demons. At the end of this post, I will give links to some of my other posts on this subject.

Before going further, I want to mention that Mr. Wally Smith has published an excellent post on the general subject of looking at heathen prophecies to know the future, titled, "Christians and Heathen Prophecy", dated January 28, 2014, link:

I encourage you to read his post in addition to mine, for he gives some of the same points I will give, but worded better than mine, and he gives some additional good points I have not given in my posts.

In this post, I want to focus in more detail than I have in the past on the kinds of usages of non-biblical writings and teachings, and I want to examine in detail what kinds of usage is wrong because it violates the obvious intent of scripture. And in doing so, I want to focus in detail on scriptural passages Dr. Thiel uses in his video to support his case.

I will not try to show how dangerous it can be to use pagan prophecies wrongly. I have done that in previous posts, and I will give one or more links to my past posts on this subject at the end of this one.

I am writing this post, not primarily for those who already agree, but for those who disagree, for those who think it is ok to read about or listen to pagan prophecies predicting the future to learn details of the future that the Bible does not give us.

Dr. Thiel's video is listed as 18 minutes and 52 seconds in length. I watched up to about 11 minutes and 43 seconds into the video, then I turned it off. Up until that time, he used the Bible to try to make his case, but I did not find his reasoning convincing. Then, at about 11 minutes and 43 seconds into the program he began to talk about some specifics of Catholic prophecies, I suppose as an example, but I did not want to hear them. I do not want to hear what Catholic "prophets" say will happen in the future.

Here is a link to his video. If you want watch it, and if you agree with me that we should not be listening to or reading about non-biblical prophecies, I found the first 11 minutes and 40 seconds safe to watch. Up to that point, you will get the main arguments he makes in his video, from the Bible, that I will address here. After that, how much he goes into actual pagan prophecies or if he makes other points from the Bible, I do not know. Link:

The first point I want to make, and this is very important for understanding this issue, is that there is a HUGE difference between non-Church of God religious writings and non-biblical prophecies from claimed supernatural sources, what I call "pagan prophecies". I want to spend some time with this, because it is critical to understanding Bible teaching on this subject. I also want to define my terms so that I am not misunderstood. I am not against using non-Church of God religious writings in every case, only in those cases where the source of the teaching claims to get its information from a supernatural source other than the Bible.

Non-Church of God religious writings is a huge field. It can include every teaching, every article, every book, and every sermon or speech about a religious subject by someone outside the Church of God. Some of these teachings may be true, and some false, and some a mixture.

An example of something true would be a mainstream religious article about the importance of loving your neighbor by doing good deeds for him. It might be written by a Catholic, Greek Orthodox, or Protestant writer, and it may or may not quote the Bible. Perhaps it quotes the parable about the good Samaritan to make the point that we should show kindness to strangers who are in trouble, such as to someone whose car breaks down on the highway.

An example of a non-Church of God article or sermon that would be false, in error, would be one that teaches that the Sabbath is done away and that Christians should work on the Sabbath and rest on Sunday.

The amount of material that falls into the category of non-Church of God religious teachings is enormous. Thousands of books, probably tens of thousands of books, fall into that category. You can go to any large bookstore and find perhaps hundreds of books on the shelves, or go online and find thousands of books, written by Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jewish writers, and others on the subject of religion, with each writer expressing his opinions about God, religious doctrine, moral values, and his personal faith, whether he quotes the Bible or not, whether his opinions are right or wrong. Some of what is taught is right and some of it is wrong. When a writer says, "Christ died for our sins", that is right, but when a writer says, "the law of God is done away", that is wrong, just to cite a couple of obvious examples.

But within non-Church of God religious writings and teachings, there is a more narrow category, what I have called "pagan prophecies". There is much less published in this category. What this category includes are teachings claimed to be from a supernatural source, but not from the Bible and not from anyone we know as a faithful member of God's true Church. The person writing or speaking either claims to be a prophet or to have had some direct communication from God or an angel of God, or is reproducing and publishing what someone else wrote or said who makes that same claim. In other words, it is claimed to have a supernatural source, but not the Bible, and not from the Church of God.

Now, the person who teaches it may believe that it comes from God. But we in the Church of God know that it does not come from God. It might be just the imagination or deception of a man, nothing more. On the other hand, we know the possibility exists that the real source may indeed be supernatural - it could be from a demon or from Satan himself.

How do we know this? We know it because the source is not the Bible and it is not the Church of God, but it is from someone who does not know the truth of God, that is, someone who is part of this deceived world of religious confusion. We understand that God does not give true prophecies and revelation to those who do not know God, who do not understand and believe the Bible, and who are not called in this age, but rather are part of Satan's world, and, like all humanity not called by God to salvation in this age, are deceived by Satan.

This is what I mean by "pagan prophecies".

Another characteristic of these prophecies or revelations is that they claim to reveal things that cannot be known naturally. If someone says, based on current economic data, "I think the world economy will collapse in three years", that is a human opinion based on natural reasoning. It might be right or it might be wrong. But if a man, who is not called by God and who does not believe the Bible, claims that God appeared to him in a dream and told him the world economy will collapse in three years, that is what I would call a "pagan prophecy" or "non-biblical prophecy". He is not basing his teaching on factual analysis but on a dream or vision, and we know that it is possible that he really did have a dream or vision from a supernatural source - but from demons, not from God.

I am trying to define my terminology here so that I will not be misunderstood as I go in this post.

So we have two categories here. There is the large category of non-COG religious writings, most of which do not claim supernatural revelation apart from the Bible. I will simply call these "non-COG religious writings". Then we have what I call "pagan prophecies", teachings that claim to be inspired by the spirit world, supernaturally inspired. And I am particularly concerned about such revelations that claim to foretell the future.

When the Bible teaches us to avoid demons, to avoid the occult, astrology, mediums, magic, witchcraft, seances, wizards, etc., it is teaching us, in principle, to avoid prophecies about the future that may be inspired by demons or Satan.

But I am not trying to say that we have to avoid every religious writing by someone who is not a member of the Church of God. If that were true, we could not use Bible commentaries. We could not quote or refer to false teachings in order to refute them, nor could we study them in order know how to refute them to help others see that they are in error.

So if I want to write an article to show a Catholic that the soul is not immortal, I might read a Catholic article that quotes the Bible trying to show that the soul is mortal. I can then read those scriptures, and then show logically why they are being misapplied.

But if a Catholic writer claims that God came to him in a dream and revealed the exact year the world economy will collapse, I don't want to hear about it. Either that dream was just from the man's imagination, in which case it is worthless, or it is from a demon or Satan, in which case it can be dangerous. Either way, I am not interested. If it is from a demon, he is not giving that dream to help me, but to hurt me. Satan and his demons are enemies of mankind, and Satan's goal is to hurt and destroy God's people any way he can. He will not help us with dreams and visions, and if Satan inspires dreams and visions, it is for our harm, not our good. That is why God warns us to avoid the occult.

Is Satan the ruler of the demons? Of course he is. Do you think, if it came into the mind of a demon to "help" mankind, that Satan would allow it? Absolutely not.

So I am not against quoting a Bible commentary or a Catholic or Protestant article or sermon, necessarily. I am only against quoting or repeating such an article about visions, dreams, or supernatural revelations from the spirit world telling us what will happen in the future, with one exception, which I will explain later in this post.

We should not spread this stuff, in effect, helping to promote Satan's teachings by giving them publicity and traffic among many who otherwise would not even know about them.

What I think Dr. Thiel and others might do when they justify using pagan prophecies for any use is to sometimes mix up these two categories. That is why I am trying to make a very clear distinction between "pagan prophecies" and general "non-COG religious writings". The first I am against, the second I am not necessarily against.

Of course, wisdom should be used in looking at any non-COG religious writings. We should not blindly "feed" on them - we must be spiritually alert to separate truth from error, or avoid those writings altogether. Usually, if we look at them, it would be for the purpose of teaching the truth to someone who agrees with those writings, either to find common ground to establish rapport and credibility, or to identify and prove error in those teachings.

But possibly demon-inspired dreams, visions, and supernatural revelations about the future should be avoided. We should not read these things to try to gain knowledge about the future that God does not reveal in the Bible, and we should not give them publicity and spread them among people who have never heard of them before.

I want to give just one example from Dr. Thiel's blog of the kind of pagan prophecies I am talking about, the kind we should avoid. I will sum up in just a general way, then give a link and you can read his full post if you want. It is up to you if you want to see the details in the posts - I am not recommending that you do. I am walking a thin line here. I don't want to spread what Dr. Thiel has spread, but I want to describe what he did enough to use as an example. So I will be very general without giving the details he uses.

There is probably nothing in the rest of my post that those of you who agree with what I have written in the past about this subject do not already understand, but as I say, I am writing this mostly for those who think that it is ok to read or spread pagan prophecies.

Basically, in the example I will use in this post, Dr. Thiel talked about an obscure prophet in another country saying that someone from their country would be instrumental in destroying the United States. Links:

Link 1

Link 2

I use this as an example of what I mean by "pagan prophecy", and I will be referring to this example in comparing it with Bible passages Dr. Thiel uses to justify what he does.

Now that I have defined my terms, let's look at the Bible passages Dr. Thiel uses in the first 11 minutes and 40 seconds of his video.

"And it happened in the same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, who was from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the Lord in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, 'Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: "I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two full years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. And I will bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah who went to Babylon," says the Lord, "for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon." ' Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and in the presence of all the people who stood in the house of the Lord, and the prophet Jeremiah said, 'Amen! The Lord do so; the Lord perform your words which you have prophesied, to bring back the vessels of the Lord’s house and all who were carried away captive, from Babylon to this place. Nevertheless hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: The prophets who have been before me and before you of old prophesied against many countries and great kingdoms—of war and disaster and pestilence. As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent.' " (Jeremiah 28:1-9).

In this situation, one who was considered a prophet in Israel, Hananiah, spoke directly to Jeremiah in the presence of the priests and people, delivering what he claimed was a prophecy from God. Jeremiah did not directly contradict him, and Jeremiah may not have known for certain at that point if his prophecy was false because of the way Jeremiah worded his reply. But later, in Jeremiah 28:10-17, God tells Jeremiah that Hananiah's prophecy was false, and Jeremiah then directly contradicted this false prophet.

Notice: Jeremiah was not giving this false prophet publicity or repeating his prophecy to others, spreading it around. Instead, he contradicted it, he refuted it, once he knew it was false. And there is no evidence that Jeremiah knew in advance that this man was a false prophet until Hananiah spoke in his presence.

Jeremiah was in a meeting with priests, the people of Israel, and Hananiah. Hananiah spoke and Jeremiah responded, then later refuted him.

Compare this with Dr. Thiel's quoting of an obscure prophet in a minor country predicting that a certain person from that country would help to destroy the United States. Dr. Thiel does not refute this prophecy, which may have been inspired by a demon. And Dr. Thiel does give it publicity and circulation it would not otherwise have among Americans and Church of God members who never heard of this prophecy.

To make clear the comparison in these two examples:

Refuting a possibly demon-inspired prophecy?

Jeremiah, yes. Jeremiah refuted Hananiah.
Dr. Thiel, no. Dr. Thiel did not refute this obscure prophet from another country.

Spreading a possible demon-inspired prophecy to those who have not heard it?

Jeremiah, no. Jeremiah did not spread Hananiah's false teaching to anyone who had not heard it already.

Dr. Thiel, yes. Dr. Thiel spread this obscure prophet's message to probably tens of thousands of Church of God members and others, mostly Americans, who never heard of this prophet or his message before.

Jeremiah did nothing to spread Hananiah's false message. He replied without committing to it being true or false, then when he learned it was false, he refuted it.

Dr. Thiel spread a message that might be demon-inspired to thousands who never heard it and likely never would have heard it, apart from COGwriter blog, and he never refuted it. Rather, it seems to me the whole tone of these posts of Dr. Thiel is that this is an interesting prophecy because there is a good chance it is true. It seems that Dr. Thiel is looking to this prophecy to add detail about how the United States will be destroyed, or in other words, to learn from a demon more details about the destruction of the United States than God gives us in the Bible.

And if that is not Dr. Thiel's intent, then why these posts? What was his purpose in spreading this prophecy? To refute a false prophecy that contradicts the Bible? No, he never refuted it. To help people who have been deceived by this obscure prophet to see that he is false? No, most of the people who read COGwriter never heard of this prophet before, nor does Dr. Thiel prove the prophet false. To establish common ground with and arouse interest among followers of this false prophet? I think that is unlikely, since the overwhelming majority of COGwriter readers are not in this man's country and never heard of him before.

There is nothing in the account of Jeremiah and Hananiah that indicates that Jeremiah sought out this man to learn details about what God planned to do to Israel or Judah, nor that Jeremiah sought to spread this man's message. And if his first reply was an effort to have "common ground" with the audience that was there, remember, everyone there heard Hananiah's message. Jeremiah was just responding, in front of others, to what Hananiah was saying to Jeremiah.

The example of Jeremiah in Jeremiah 28:1-17 does not justify the action of Dr. Thiel in spreading the obscure prophecy in the posts I mentioned because those two events are not alike. What Bob Thiel did is not like what Jeremiah did. Jeremiah did not spread any false or demon-inspired messages to those who never heard it before. He responded to someone who confronted him face-to-face in front of a larger audience. Later he refuted him. But Bob Thiel did spread a prophecy that may be demon-inspired to thousands who never heard it before, and he never refuted it.

Let's look at another Bible passage Dr. Thiel used.

"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you" (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

In this passage, Paul describes the process of establishing "common ground" with those he teaches in order to establish credibility. He speaks to others from their point of view, in other words. Speak their language, speak of things they are familiar with.

Is this what Dr. Thiel does with the posts I mentioned about an obscure prophet from another country predicting one from their country would help to destroy the United States? I don't think so. Why? Because almost all of the COGwriter audience never heard of this obscure prophet before. There is no common ground here. Rather, to most people who read COGwriter, this man and his prophecy would sound very strange and unfamiliar. Dr. Thiel is not using this obscure prophet to speak to the Church of God from our point of view because we do not follow this man. Neither does he speak to Americans, Canadians, Britons, Australians, Frenchmen, Italians, Germans, etc. from their point of view because almost no one in these countries, and in the vast majority of the countries on this earth, follow this man or even heard of him.

So 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 does not remotely justify what Dr. Thiel has done, and does. What Dr. Thiel does in publicizing little-known non-biblical prophecies is completely different from the process Paul describes.

Of course, Dr. Thiel could claim that his websites reach many in this prophet's third-world country. COGwriter gets a lot of traffic, and the Internet being what it is, I have no doubt that at least a few people in almost every country on earth have viewed his blog. But I also have no doubt that the main audience of his blog is the Church of God, plus some additional viewers in the United States and other English-speaking nations. I simply do not believe that a significant number of COGwriter readers are followers of this prophet with whom there is a need to establish common ground. I would need to see reliable statistical proof before I would believe otherwise.

What about Catholic prophecies? There are millions of Catholics all over the world. Would reference to Catholic prophecies be a way of establishing common ground with Catholics?

I was raised Catholic, and most of my family members are Catholic, including every immediate family member. I attended four years of a Catholic high school with religion classes every school day. My sister became a nun. I never heard of these Catholic prophecies that Dr. Thiel spreads with his blog. In fact, I never heard of any Catholic prophecies, not in any religious training in grade school, not in four years of religious instruction in a Catholic high school, not in any sermon by a priest in Sunday mass I attended every week for about the first 20 years of my life, not from any family member. If any such prophecies were mentioned, I do not remember them, so they could not have made any impression. Actually, the first time I remember hearing of a Catholic prophecy was in the Church of God, in a sermon or sermonette given by someone in Worldwide while Mr. Armstrong was alive, long after I left the Catholic Church. Any idea that Catholics are generally familiar with these prophecies is a myth. They are not the focus of Catholic education.

Probably, Catholics who might read COGwriter will become familiar with these prophecies, which may be inspired by demons, from COGwriter and not from their own church! These prophecies are not a good way, in my opinion, to establish common ground with Catholics.

If you want to establish common ground with Catholics, Muslims, or Chinese, you can establish common ground with those doctrines they have that are true. You do not have to refer to their prophets. You can share with Catholics their understanding that Jesus Christ is the son of God who died to pay the penalty of our sins. You can share with Catholics that we are against so-called "gay marriage". You can share with Catholics that we are against abortion. You can share with Protestants, Muslims, and Jews that we are against images and physical idols used to represent what someone thinks God may look like as an "aid" to worship. That is the way to establish common ground. But you do not share in their sins. You do not partake with them of the occult, of demons, of the supernatural spirit world that inspires some of their prophecies. That is not the way to establish common ground.

Look at Paul's statement again in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. He said, "I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." But there are limits to how far Paul could go. Did he become a thief to win thieves? Did he become a fornicator to win fornicators? Did he become a murderer to win murderers? Did he visit pagan temples and share in the worship of idols to win those who did the same? Did he partake of sorcery, witchcraft, astrology, and mediums to win those who did those things? He did not.

Yes, we can establish common ground with those we teach, but only in things that are right, not things that are wrong. There are some things that are good and true in Catholic teachings, but reading of Catholic prophecies is not one of them, and we should not establish common ground that way.

Above all, we should set the right example in what we teach and how we teach it. We should set a right standard, and help people, in terminology they can understand, depending on their culture and background, to comprehend that standard, but we should not lower ourselves to wrong standards to share in their culture.

Here is a third passage in the Bible used by Dr. Thiel in his video:

"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you" (Acts 17:22-23).

And although I do not know if Dr. Thiel referred to this verse, I might add this, because it is similar: "for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring' " (Acts 17:28).

This is simply an example of what Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, what I call finding common ground. But if you look closely, you will see that this is different from what Dr. Thiel does with his posts about an obscure prophet who was inspired (perhaps by a demon) to say that one from his country would help destroy the United States.

When Paul says he found an inscription to the UNKNOWN GOD, he is not quoting or referring to any prophecy. There is nothing here about going to an occult source, or supernatural source, or source in the spirit/demon world to know the future. There is no prophet involved who says, "I received a message from God about the future, and here is what will happen". Moreover, Paul is talking about something most of his audience was no doubt familiar with. They knew of that inscription in their own neighborhood and probably passed by it many times. But the vast majority of Dr. Thiel's audience never heard of that obscure prophet and his prophecy about the United States.

Then a bit later, Paul quotes a poet. Now in this case, perhaps not all of his audience was familiar with that poet. But it doesn't matter. The poet was a poet, not a prophet. There is no prediction of the future involved, no claims to supernatural, spirit world-inspired source of information. No occult, no dreams, no visions, no magic, no sorcery, no mediums, no wizards, no "prophets" - just a poet saying that we are God's offspring.

Once again, to make clear the comparison in these examples:

Quoting or referring to a prophecy about the future?

Paul, no. He refers to no prophecy or prediction about the future in mentioning an inscription to an unknown God, or mentioning that a poet said that we are God's offspring.

Dr. Thiel, yes. Dr. Thiel referred to or quoted a prediction about who would help destroy the United States in the future.

Spreading a possibly demon-inspired prophecy to those who have not heard it?

Paul, no. He spoke of no prophecies or prophets, and probably everyone in his audience knew about the inscription to the unknown God.

Dr. Thiel, yes. Dr. Thiel spread this obscure prophet's message to probably tens of thousands of Church of God members and others, mostly people living in English-speaking nations, who never heard of this prophet or his message before.

Once again, what Dr. Thiel does is totally different from what Paul did and cannot be justified by Paul's example and teaching.

I mentioned before that the first time I remember even hearing that there was such a thing as a "Catholic prophecy" was in Worldwide while Mr. Armstrong was alive, in a sermon I think given by a local minister.

I have heard or read Dr. Thiel mention that writers in Worldwide or maybe in LCG have quoted or referred to non-biblical prophecies. That may be true. I am not familiar with every case he may be referring to. If a minister or writer in Worldwide quoted or talked about a pagan prophecy for the purpose of trying to give details about the future that are not found in the Bible, it was just as wrong then as it is now for Dr. Thiel to do it. Using the examples of others doing what the Bible prohibits does not justify anything. You cannot say, "What I am doing is right because someone in Worldwide did that same thing, even though the Bible condemns it." That is false reasoning. We are to go by the Bible. And the Bible teaches us to avoid demon-inspired prophecies to learn about the future.

To be honest, I don't think I fully realized that it was wrong until Bob Thiel began doing it on a regular basis, but Dr. Thiel forced me to focus on the issue of whether it is right or wrong according to the Bible, and I now know it is wrong. To mention that others have occasionally done in the past what Dr. Thiel does on a frequent basis is no justification.

I said earlier I am against quoting or repeating teachings about visions, dreams, or supernatural revelations from the spirit world telling us what will happen in the future, with one exception, and I will explain that now.

If a pagan prophecy becomes well known, and is false according to the Bible, it is right for the Church of God to refute it, and in refuting it we would have to refer to it and possibly quote it. This is what was done in the Bible.

There is no need to refute something that is so obscure, no one knows about it. But suppose a so-called prophet says, "I received a message from God that Christ will return to the earth in exactly one year". Now suppose that prophet received a lot of publicity. Suppose it was a famous person who said it, and it was in the news. In that case, it would be right for the Church to show, from the Bible, that this prophecy is wrong. And in doing this, we would have to look at it, quote from it, and then refute it with scripture.

Dr. Thiel asks in his video if it is wrong to denounce false prophecies. No, it is not wrong.

But is that what Dr. Thiel has done in his posts about the prophet from a third-world country saying one of his countrymen would help destroy the United States? No, Dr. Thiel does not denounce that prophecy, he spreads it among thousands who never heard it before.

Why am I beating this one example to death? It is a clear example. It illustrates that not all of Dr. Thiel's writings about non-biblical prophecies fall into any category of approved behavior in the Bible using the examples of Jeremiah or Paul, which Dr. Thiel uses to support his practice of using non-biblical prophecies. Is this example unique? I don't think so, not in its essential elements. I no longer read such prophecies in COGwriter, not since I realized they are wrong. I have not read his books, but I have seen their covers (sometimes you can judge a book by its cover).

What are those elements?

1. The prophecy is from a source that claims supernatural inspiration, but is not from the Bible or from the Church of God, and therefore it may be inspired by demons.

2. It predicts the future and adds details about the future that the Bible does not give us.

3. The prophecy is largely unknown to COGwriter's audience.

4. Dr. Thiel does not refute the prophecy.

It is the combination of the above elements that makes the reading of and spreading of these prophecies a violation of the spirit and intent of God's instructions to avoid false prophets and the occult. With the above elements, such use of pagan prophecies means the potential spreading to Church of God members as well as others lies that Satan wants us to believe for our harm. That is why God warns us to avoid the occult.

Moreover, the refuting of false prophecies should not be used as an excuse to spread details that you do not refute. We have to be realistic. Suppose there is a pagan prophecy that few people ever heard of. Maybe one paragraph or a section of this prophecy gives five predictions. You quote the whole paragraph, then refute one small point in that paragraph according to the Bible, but leave the rest unchallenged. You are not refuting Satan's prophecies, you are spreading them. Instead, just teach the truth from the Bible about what the point is that you want to refute. You don't have to quote the prophecy and spread it to refute it - just teach the truth - that is refutation enough.

If there are a million false prophets that teach that Christ will return in one year, I don't have to quote ANY of them to refute all of them. All I have to do is teach from the Bible that the tribulation and Day of the Lord take three and a half years and precede the return of Christ and then show that the tribulation hasn't started yet. With just a few paragraphs and a few scriptures from the Bible, I can refute all those false prophecies without quoting from them, referring to them, or even knowing myself that they exist.

The truth from the Bible will refute every false prophecy that needs to be refuted.

Circulating a false prophecy among thousands or millions of people who never heard of it before, just to show that one small detail is wrong, leaving people to believe the rest of the prophecy, is not protecting others from deception - it is spreading deception - and the "refuting" argument becomes just an excuse.

Let me give a hypothetical example. Suppose there is a false prophecy that says that the anti-Christ will come from heaven in the year 2020 and make everyone keep the Sabbath. Should I quote it to refute it and to show that Satan will try to make people think Christ is the anti-Christ when He returns? I might think I am doing good if I quote it and explain it, but within that prophecy (this is hypothetical, I know of no prophecy that mentions 2020) would be the year 2020, which I could NOT refute. Might this not plant the idea in the minds of some Church of God members that Christ will return in 2020 because a demon says so, so it might be true? Might that be what Satan wants?

Can you see a subtle trap here?

Rather, I can refute this very effectively by showing that the true Christ commands us to keep the Sabbath, and I can prove the truth of the Bible and any truths about the anti-Christ from the Bible without mentioning any pagan prophecies at all. And those who are willing to believe the Bible will then be protected from Satan's deceptions.

I don't think I can out-smart Satan in figuring what parts of his teachings are safe to spread. I would rather trust God when God says, avoid Satan's prophecies about the future. I want to stay away from the edge of the cliff.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, Satan told Jesus to command that stones be made bread. Would it have been wrong for Jesus to make bread? He didn't have to eat it. He could just let it sit there, just to make a point to Satan. But He stayed away from the edge of the cliff. He did not follow any suggestion of Satan. He didn't try to figure a way to listen to Satan without sinning. He knew Satan would not suggest or give Him anything good, so he avoided it all (Matthew 4:1-4).

Pagan prophecies, and the occult in general, can be a temptation, a weakness, and an addiction for some in the Church of God. By spreading information about them, Dr. Thiel may be a cause of stumbling, a cause of sin, for those in the Church who may be struggling with this or may have a weakness for the occult. Some may have come out of a background of the occult and demonism, and he could be leading them back into the sin they came out of. He might quote a prophecy of a certain prophet that most people never heard about, just to refute it, and someone may be curious about the rest of the prophecy he didn't quote, look it up in the Internet, read more of it, then more, then go to other pagan prophets, and so on, with curiosity leading them to go farther and farther into demonism. For Dr. Thiel to push pagan prophecies to these people is like someone pushing an alcoholic drink into the hands of a recovering alcoholic.

"But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ" (1 Corinthians 8:12). Paul said this to those who put a temptation in front of those with weak consciences who thought it was wrong to eat meat sacrificed to an idol, even though it was not necessarily wrong. How much more would this apply to putting a temptation in front of a Church of God member to do something that truly is wrong in God's sight?

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6).

If you want to know the future, you can look to the Bible or you can get known facts and try to estimate, based on logic, what will probably happen. But don't let your curiosity provoke you into going to demons to learn details about the future that God has not given us in the Bible. Curiosity can be a trap. Curiosity can tempt us to disobey God's instructions. Just as curiosity about sex does not justify unmarried teenagers experimenting with sex, so curiosity about the future or about demons does not justify listening to their predictions about the future. Curiosity is one of the temptations we have to learn to resist if we are to obey God. Curiosity can be one of Satan's devices.

The Bible tells us about the destruction of the United States. We don't need to know in advance what person Satan may use to do it or to know exactly when it will happen.

Don't go to Satan for information that God has not given us. You may pay a heavy price if you do.

Here is a related link on this subject. At the bottom of that post are several other links to posts on this subject. See my post titled, "How Should We Prepare to Resist Satan's Deceptions?", dated May 5, 2013, link:


Anonymous said...

My problem is not so much dr. thiel as it is the fact that LCG tolerated him for so long;h should have been kicked out by the leadership, but they never did.

Anonymous said...

Well, I agree that the LCG tolerated him for a little too long; but maybe Thiel's slide was gradual enough to make the timing difficult.

tig1 said...

Also many like to judge those in a leadership position when they are not responsible for the results of having to dis-fellowship someone.

Anonymous said...

It is the Word of God that Judges the leadership...