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What is COVID-19 in Prophecy?

Question:

Good day to you  Pastor Andrew Phiri. 

It is our hearts desire to listen to what the word of God told us and always be watchful. We are blessed by your ministry in so many ways and we believed God is working in you. My family together with our brothers and sisters here in our local church would be so glad and thankful if you can share your views in the light of the Word of God on the pandemic and vaccinations happening in the world today.  We are sorry if we added burden to your work. May the Lord God grant the desires of our hearts. Shalom

Reply

Shalom dear brother,

Greetings to you and your family in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whenever something of a wider or global impact happens anxiety takes a hold of people in different ways. Among believers the anxiety may take the form of trying to relate the events with prophecy. This is not unique to believers in this Endtime. Back in the years of the early church when Christians experienced fierce persecution during times of the Roman empire everything seemed to have spelled out the fulfilment of the Great Tribulation as foretold by the Lord in Matthew 24.

At Thessalonica in Greece, in the first century, some believers lived in fear supposing that the Lord’s coming was imminent. “Now we beseech you, brethren” Apostle Paul wrote to them, “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand”  (2 The.2:1-3). Paul went further to explain to the believers the specific signs that would happen to indicate the fulfilment of the prophecy of the coming of the Lord. Dear brother, over the years, various events, troubles, and calamities have happened that seemed to herald the Lord’s coming; such events were in every way like a nimbus cloud but which failed to produce rain. Time and again believers have played with arithmetic to predict events of the apocalypse and others would couple their analyses with dreams but it’s been to no avail.

Am I suggesting that current happenings do not point to prophetic fulfilments? No, but I want us to be aware that the current fanaticism about COVID-19 and its vaccines being the fulfilment of 666, is not a new happening. There was the Black Death pandemic in the 14th century, it was the worst in history; it claimed between 75 and 200 million lives. Then there was the 1918 Pandemic (Spanish Flu) which claimed between 25 and 50 million people. The current Covid 19 pandemic has so far claimed only 4.7 million lives. In all the instances of these pandemics there was a belief that they heralded the end of the world. What is more, whenever interventions of vaccines were provided there has always been an element of people supposing that it was the Mark of the Beast (666).

Here is what I have to say, no matter how interesting some theories may seem, of trying to generate the number “666”  out of the name “COVID-19” and such similar interpretations, the Mark of the Beast has nothing to do with it! Did you know that some Catholics computed 666 out of the name  “Ellen G White” (as a counter-response to her writings which outlined how the Catholic System is an antichrist system)? Well, so many things spell 666 but there are particular ones which consistently manifest prophecy in NAME and in DEED!

The pandemics may fall within the broad prophecy of “pestilences” in Matthew 24 but they are never in themselves the mark of the Beast. It is important to know that when the time is here for us to soon see the Lord, or when something of major prophetic significance is about to happen, and if we truly walk closely with the Lord the way Enoch, Abraham, or Elijah did, God won’t leave us to speculate with our calculators and theories. When it was time for Enoch to go he received a definite sign by which he even named his son Methuselah – “His death shall bring”. Methuselah became a timepiece in that generation. When he grew old and Noah knew that the old man would die any time, and when God began to show him dreams and visions of the end of the world, Noah had enough witness to know that time would no longer tarry. When the time came for Lot to leave Sodom, he saw the two peculiar men and recognised them. He bowed down because they were familiar in his spiritual experiences and so when they told him to leave Sodom, he did not hesitate. And in our time, when the Seals were about to be revealed, different people began to have experiences about it. Brother Branham narrates these in Is this the Sign of the End, Sir? Dearly beloved, when the time arrives for God’s final instructions to be given to the Bride, they won’t be given to us on a white or blackboard in form of a  hard-to-solve arithmetic problem; it will be a simple truth but which will penetrate deep to the hearts of all who have ears to hear what the Spirit shall speak. Your spirit will bear witness that the time is up.

In conclusion, regarding this question of the pandemic and prophecy, no one has said it better than Pastor Billy Joseph Ogundipe of Nigeria:

“COVID 19 IS NOT THE MARK OF THE BEAST. You have to put it under Mathew 24:7 if you are not carnal. The vaccine is not a sin, it does not affect your Eternal life. Nothing put on your external body affects your spiritual Soul. To make it amount to 666 is nothing but 100% carnality.  That is ‘strange fire’ on the Altar, be careful. Every modern day device and hi-tech of every sort, modern day smart phones with all their functions with fastest means of communications ever devised, monetary, systems, BVN, NIM, and others are the ‘John the Baptist’ for the Antichrist but they are not the Mark of the Beast. All those are 2 Thes.2:7 – ‘the mystery of iniquity that already at work’ but not the very mark. They may have evil device behind the vaccine as people were saying about HIV in those days, I don’t doubt nor believe that but don’t tell me it is the mark of the Beast. If the vaccine is the mark then mouth cover and washing of hands which they force more than the vaccine upon people should also be the mark of the Beast. People always love to carnally help God to fulfil His word. We know where the mark will come from and when it will come. I will not be here then, somebody might! Strange fire on the Altar”

I hope this answers your question.

Does the Bible allow women to preach?

1 Corinthians 14:34 says, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law”. This is a “take it or leave it” scripture for many. But to those who believe in the divine inspiration of Scripture (2 Tim.3:16) and earnestly give heed to Paul’s admonition in Galatians 1:8 which stated that “though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed”, it is a very important matter.

It is interesting to note that often when 1 Corinthians 14:34 is brought into discussion with many who wantonly disobey it, they quickly try to look for other scriptures to support their view. But if there is truly another scripture that supports women preaching in church, then either the Bible contradicts itself or it is carnal man who, wittingly or unwittingly, misinterprets the simple truth of Scripture. I hope at the end of my explanation you will see that the latter is the case.

I shall approach this subject by listing the different reasons used in support of women-preaching and examining each reason in the light of God’s Word. May I point out here that there are many Christians who are into the error of women preaching either due to plain ignorance of scriptures or  because of having an indifferent attitude towards Bible doctrines. And there are many women who are sincerely involved in the preaching ministry; they have a sincere desire to serve God and do some work for Him. However, sincerity does not define truth because a person can be sincerely wrong. No matter how we claim to try to please God; if we have no regard to His Word, our fate has already been pronounced – “Because thou hast rejected the Word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee” (1 Sam.15:23).

Common views & scriptures used to support women preachers

The following are the common reasons used to support the view that God can use women in preaching:

  1. “The verse of 1 Corinthians 14:34 was written by Paul to deal with a local problem which occurred at the church in Corinth and is thus not applicable to all Christian churches”

If this view is correct, why did Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:34 emphasise his admonition by using the words “as also saith the law”?  These words clearly indicate that Paul was not introducing some new teaching or a special order suitable for that particular local church; “as also saith the law” is a reaffirmation of an already existing order from the Old Testament era. This can never be overemphasised as there is no record anywhere in the Old Testament of women priests or teachers in synagogues.

In verse 37 of the above scripture apostle Paul further warns that, “If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord”. So, what we read in 1 Corinthians 14:34 was not Paul’s opinion but a commandment of the Lord for the church.

Here is another important thing to consider: If Paul forbade women to preach in the Corinthian church because of an alleged local problem of the church at Corinth, why was the same instruction given to Brother Timothy, the pastor of the church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 2:11-14)? Here are the words of the instruction: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence, for Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression”. Please note that in this instruction a reason was given for why women cannot be in authority of preaching or teaching God’s Word: FOR Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression”.  The word “for” is a conjunction which means “because”.

Reminiscence

One day during a discussion on radio, two clergymen (one a lecturer at a Bible College and another, a female reverend)  challenged my belief in 1 Corinthians 14:34 by stating the following:  When reading scriptures like 1 Corinthians 14:34 we should consider cultural contexts.  Furthermore the issue of ‘women preaching in church’ should be considered as a relative doctrine, not an absolute one. Relative issues are subject to change with times and people’s cultures. During the radio interview the Bible lecturer posed this question with emphasis: Is there anything really wrong in a woman for us to be able to think that they cannot preach?

With all due respect to the reverend I must say that his question would have made sense if it had either come from an atheist or a person of another religion who doubts the inspiration or infallibility of Scripture. If the reverend feels he knows women better than God, he should go on and ask the author of Scriptures this question: “Is there anything really wrong with a woman that she still has to bear birth-pangs pronounced on her in Genesis 3:16” Any sincere person knows the fact that women are weaker vessels and easily fall for deception, sensationalism and fanaticism. That is one simple reason why God established an order forbidding them to hold the authority of the preaching or teaching ministry in the church –  “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7).

Take note that Paul, when dealing with the subject of women preaching in church (1 Timothy 2:11-14), gave reference to the events of Genesis chapter 3 in which God had established the law to put a woman under the headship of a man, after her deception by the serpent. In Genesis 3:16, God said to the woman: “In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee”.

Two things are note-worthy in this verse:

FIRST: If God has now forgotten about the headship of man over a woman and that she now can hold the authority of preaching the Word, then WHY does the curse of great pain in child bearing still occur on women? Were not both the cursing and the giving of headship to a man consequences of her succumbing to the Serpent’s deception? Therefore if any person claims that the grace of God has now annulled the forbiddance of women preaching in church let him explain why that Grace hasn’t taken away birth pangs which were part of the judgement God pronounced on a woman. And are not the verses forbidding women to preach found in the New Testament of Grace? So, women preaching in church can never be a fruit of grace but disgrace!

[NOTE: Some theologians foolishly claim that a woman can be a preacher in church and still submit to the headship of her husband at home. This claim is a serious disregard and bypass of 1 Cor.14:34 which clearly connects (and does not in anyway separate) the issue of preaching in church and submission at home. How can a woman be a preacher without usurping authority over men in her congregation? A person can never be a preacher without possessing the authority of His master to feed His flock. The ascension ministry of Ephesians 4:11 are positions of authority – not carnal authority of proud men, but the authority to teach, expound doctrine and be a wise guide, judge and steward in the household of God (cf. Matt.24:45-46, Heb.13:17, 2 Cor.5:20).]

SECOND: In addition to pronouncing birth-pangs on a woman, God said to the woman that “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen.3:16). Thus, God established the headship of man over a woman right from that point. The question is: TO WHOM WAS THE LAW ESTABLISHED – Hebrews, Arabs, Africans or Americans? Is it hard to see that Adam and Eve were the first parents of all mankind? If a theologian wants to dismiss the headship of man over a woman as a mere cultural, racial, or relative issue, he or she must first establish what race, tribe or culture Adam was! It takes simple common sense to understand that even nature testifies that women folk should be under the headship of a man. By nature they are weak and require the strength and protection of a man. The trouble is we are living in a world in which common sense is no longer common; truth sounds bizarre, and nonsense is rational. Give this world another 100 years and the whole world will discard distinguishing genders of male and female altogether! If we will live up to that time, public toilets will no more have captions of “Gents” and “Ladies”.

  1. “Galatians 3:28 says that ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus’ so women can preach just like men.

Is it not surprising that all processes of nature – the formation of starch in the green vegetables, the process of respiring by all living things, the formation of minerals in the earth – occurs by following prescribed processes (laws). Imagine what chaos would be there if the chemical elements that make water, Hydrogen and Oxygen, also demanded for ‘water rights’ to be allowed to divorce or to have a feel of becoming paraffin. What ‘chaos’ would be there to the fish in the rivers, the water we drink in our homes, the rain that waters our fields and forests? God has created everything in the state it is in for a purpose. Try to challenge the purpose and things will fall out of place.

Now, if Galatians 3:28 means there is literally no difference between a man or woman, then why can’t men also start becoming pregnant to share the burden of women? If this sounds ridiculous, then the verse should be understood in its proper context. Paul, in Galatians 3:28 is explaining of how through Grace salvation no longer belongs to the Jews only and neither is it based on the preference of men to women. In other words, anyone who sincerely repents and accepts the Lord Jesus as his or her Saviour will be accepted before God. Here is what is contained in the scripture beginning from verse 27: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”. Is it really difficult to see that the subject of this scripture is salvation AND NOT the ministry of preaching or teaching.

  1. “Women can preach because Joel 2:28 says that ‘it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy’”.

Joel 2:28 is another scripture that is usually overstretched, exaggerated and quoted out of context. Some theologians take the word “prophesy” and generalise it to mean “proclaiming God’s Word as in teaching or preaching”. Such people have no reverence for God’s Word and would make it say anything they want it to say as long as it satisfies their theological or doctrinal appetites. If prophesying and preaching of God’s Word is the same thing then how could Paul forbid women to preach and then turn around and allow them to prophesy in church? Would he not be contradicting himself?

One does not require a degree in Theology to understand the usage of the word “prophesy” in the Bible. Its usage in the Bible – not according to Oxford or other modern dictionaries –  refers to the act of God speaking using a person’s mouth or voice. The person being used does not plan what to speak. It is God speaking using a human vessel and that is why prophecy is often accompanied by the words, “THUS SAITH THE LORD”. However, today there are so many false prophets and prophetesses who mistake the anointing of God for their self-made sensationalism and hysteria. But that does not rule out genuine gifts which operate in some people.

Now, preaching on the other hand is different from prophesying; it may involve planning and studying what you will preach or teach about, using the wisdom God has given you. Of course one should spend time in prayer and seek God’s inspiration. But yet, even when God speaks to your heart about what to preach, you will use the wisdom God gave you to plan and select the words you will use to build up the sermon for the understanding of the people. Prophesying on the other hand is strictly “THUS SAITH THE LORD”!

Here is another important thing to note: if the prophecy of Joel 2:28 meant that women shall become preachers when the Holy Ghost comes on them, let us go to Acts chapter 2 and examine the events which transpired when this prophecy got fulfilled on the day of Pentecost and the years that followed recorded in the book of Acts.

When the Holy Ghost fell on the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and proclaimed to the crowd that; “THIS is THAT which was spoken by the prophet Joel; ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…’” (Act.2:16-18).

If what happened on the day of Pentecost fulfilled Joel 2:28 and if the word “prophesy” has the same meaning as preaching or teaching the Word, can anyone mention one woman who stood up and began to preach as the result of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost and in the years that followed recorded in the book of Acts? No woman preached following the outpouring of the Holy Ghost in the entire book of Acts. The only thing we read is that of women who prophesied as in the case of the daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-9).

  1. “Phoebe, a woman, is referred to by Paul as a ‘servant of the church’ (Romans 16:1). Also Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned to be helpers of Paul.”

A carnal person knows no limits of extents to overstretch scriptures in order to satisfy an ego and ambition. Some theologians will read a statement like “Paul a servant of God” in one place of scripture, and another one  like, “Phoebe a servant of the church”, and then equate the ministries of Paul and Phoebe. That is quite illogical. Here is an illustration.

Person X is described as B in a verse of scripture;

Person Y is also described as B in another verse of scripture.

Do the above statements make person X and Y the same in every aspect, capacity and role? If yes, try to make sense out of the following this:

The sky looks grey

That cat looks grey.

Is the sky and the cat the same thing. That would be ridiculous, isn’t it? But that is how some educated theologians read scripture. They can define a prophetess as “a female prophet”. I  wonder if they would define a prophet as “a male prophetess”.

Phoebe was not a servant of the church in the role of preaching the Word. Reading the whole passage explains what Paul meant when he called her “servant”. Here it is: “I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also” (Rom.16:1-2). Is it not clear to see that Phoebe was described as a servant of the church because of her charity works. There are other examples of women who fall in this category –  Dorcas who was full of good works and alms deeds (Acts 9:36) and the women who accompanied Jesus and his disciples as they went about preaching the gospel. These women, the Bible says, “ministered unto him (Jesus) of their substance” (Luke 8:1-3). These women were probably engaged in businesses and honoured God by trying to support the ministry of Jesus through their substance. Such women can be called co-workers in ministry but that does not make them preachers!

  1. “Deborah was a prophetess and judge in Israel (Judges 4:4); this shows that God allows women to be preachers and teachers of the Word.”

Women preachers and those who support them should ask themselves this question: “Was it God’s perfect will for a woman, Deborah, to lead Israel? In what spiritual state was Israel in at a time when God raised a woman to lead the nation? Was it an ideal state to take for an example in our spiritual matters? We will let Deborah speak for herself. When it was time for Israel to go for war she said these words to Barak: “And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh” (Judges 4:9). Why did Deborah emphasise her reply with these words “for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman”? Can you not see that it was a shame? If you still can’t see that it was not God’s perfect will for Israel to be ruled by a woman here is what He said in Isaiah 3:12 when Israel was again in a backslidden state, “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”

 The above scripture clearly points out the fact that when a woman ruled Israel it was a shameful thing and only indicated that the nation of Israel was backslidden! And this is exactly so for Deborah became a Judge in Israel when Israel was backslidden and left the ways of God. So, how can any spiritual person point to the permissive will of God in letting Deborah rule Israel when Christ has come to restore us to the perfect will. To use Deborah as justification for women preachers would be the same as justifying polygamy simply because men like David or Solomon had many wives in the Old Testament. Old Testament people were living in the permissive will of God because of the fallen nature of man. But in the New Testament of Grace the Lord Jesus Christ came to restore the perfect will of God. The Pharisees in trying to justify divorce, simply because Moses permitted it, had the Lord Jesus tell them this: “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matt.19:8-9).

  1. “God used women as evangelists; for example, the women who announced the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the woman at the well who went about testifying of what Jesus had done to her (Matt.28:5-7, John 4:1-39)”

How can any sincere person equate giving a testimony to preaching and teaching the Word? When the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) was discerned by the Lord Jesus and He revealed her troubles, she went about testifying of what the Lord Jesus did for her. As stated in the foregoing, every child of God (whether man or woman, boy or girl) is free to testify of what God has done for them. When the people heard of the Samaritan woman’s testimony, many came to Jesus. Did that make her an evangelist? If a person has been sick of cancer and gets healed of God and then testifies to her family of how true God’s power of healing is, by which they get converted and become Christians, will that make her an evangelist or pastor. Was she preaching or simply narrating what God has done for her? Similarly did the announcement of Jesus’ resurrection by the women to the disciples make them preachers? What were they preaching and teaching about? To suggest that the Samaritan woman became a preacher when she testified portrays, not only an extreme case of trying to twist scripture to suit one’s views but also, a lack of simple and intelligent reasoning. If giving a testimony of what God has done makes a person a pastor or evangelist then there is no meaning to the words “pastor” or “evangelist” for every child of God has something to testify about the goodness of God in his or her life!

About notable gifted women

Although we live in a time of much falsehood, fanaticism and fake prophets and prophetesses, I believe that there have been women who rose up in the early days of the American Pentecostal movement with genuine gifts of healings. Many times an anointing of prophecy could genuinely come upon a woman, but as pride and ego took a hold of that person she would begin to think of going further than just prophesying but also teaching the Word. Although the gift could operate, it does not mean God sanctioned it. Through time many women preachers have arisen especially in the Pentecostal movement. Strange as this may seem, the Lord Jesus already warned us about this in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

So, having a gift is one thing and using it in the proper way according to the will of God is another. Every man shall be judged according to what he or she has made of the gift of God – from the basic gift of life that we all have to the different spiritual gifts God has given us (Read 1 Cor.3:8-15).

The Place of a Woman in God’s Family

 There is certainly a wonderful place that God has kept for women in his household. A woman in her rightful place is a great blessing.

  • God can use elderly women to teach younger women the right way to conduct themselves – “The aged women… that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). Doesn’t this verse even make it more plain of what god expects women to be?
  • A sober and virtuous woman takes pleasure and delight in raising up children in the noble and sober way. God has given a woman the blessing of the fruit of the womb, for a woman “shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” and “her children arise up, and call her blessed” (1 Tim.2:15, Prov.31:28). So as apostle Paul admonished, let the women “marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully” (1 Tim.5:14).
  • God can use a woman in a gift of prophecy as in the case of Anna, the daughters of Philip and other prophetesses (cf. Luke.2:36, Acts 21:8-9).
  • God can use women in charitable works as in the case of the women who accompanied Jesus – Dorcas and Phoebe (cf. Luke 8:1-3, Acts 9:36-39).
  • A woman, like any other child of God, can testify of what God has done for her and through that others may be edified and some can even come to Christ – “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did” (John 4:39).

A spiritual man doesn’t abuse his God-given headship over a woman but he loves and respects his wife and together they relate as a bond of intimate friends, raising their family in the happiness and joy of serving the Lord. Husbands should love their wives and wives should respect and submit to their husbands (Eph.5:25-29).

Conclusion

God is a God of order. He has made the sun to shine during the daytime and the moon during the night time, that in no way amounts to God loving the sun more than the moon. Everything is beautiful in God’s eyes when it abides in its place. The moon has a special role which the sun cannot perform, likewise the sun also has its work. Can you imagine how life would have been if everything else wanted to be anything else? Disorder and confusion would reign. It’s only among human species, of all the things that God created, that you find female species wanting to be males, and vice versa. May you keep yourself pure from falsehood, deception and fanaticism that is so rampant in this day we live in is my prayer.

 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev.2:7). And “if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal.1:9).


Download a PDF Copy of this article here:

You can listen to the radio discussion Pastor Phiri had with two prominent Pentecostal reverends here

Can a Believer be affected by a pandemic?

I have been asked: “Can a believer who walks in God’s will get infected during a pandemic?

Well, dear Christian friend, remember that although you are not OF the world you are IN the world (Joh.17:15-16). Our Faith in God should never be based on benefits of provision and protection that He often offers us. Remember Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego when they were threatend to be thrown into the fire? They declared that God was able to save them from the fire but if He would choose not to they would still worship Him (Dan.3:16-17). Have you not read that the great prophet Elisha died of a sickness? (2 Kin.13:14-). But, is it not strange that his dead bones raised a dead man (2 Kin.13:21)? How about Apostle Paul who prayed to God for the healing of his painful sickness and the answer to his prayer was “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor.12:9). So, “NO” can also be an answer to a prayer.

Lastly, are you aware that the twentieth century prophet – William Branham – a man greatly anointed of the Lord was affected by the Aisan Flu pandemic of 1957-1958? In the sermon Sirs We Would See Jesus (57-1211) he said:

“And now, to be here with my good friend, Brother Hutchins and Brother Joseph Boze… And this was supposed to be my vacation. This fall I started a vacation, and I like to hunt real well, so I went out west to go hunting. The party that I went with, including myself, all broke down with this here Asian flu. We didn’t even take our guns from the cases, and come back home”.

Dear friend, in this trying moment trust in God’s protection even as you observe your personal hygiene (remember that God never takes care of carelessness), but fear should not be your portion: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.8:35-39).

Why do people use old ‘KJV’ English when prophesying?

Question

“Why is it that many  people when prophesying like to use the old KJV English words and phrases of ‘saith’, ‘thou’, or ‘thy’? If it’s really the Spirit of God speaking why can’t the prophecy be spoken in normal modern English?”


Well, in the Scripture the Holy Spirit is likened to water (Joh.7:37-39). May I use this symbol of water to illustrate my answer. Water quenches thirst. Water gives life. Water cleanses. All these wonderful properties will still be true whether the vessel containing the water is rectangular or  spherical in shape. The water simply takes the shape of the vessel it possesses. Even so, the vessel never takes away any truth of what the water is. Similarly, when the Spirit of God possesses a person to reveal the mind of God, it will be expressed through that ‘shape’ – that is to say constraint, vocabulary or expressions – of the human vessel.

It is important to know that when the Holy Spirit comes upon a person to speak through him or her, what will be imparted through that vessel is the mind of God. That mind will have to be expressed through words of a language. The words are only ‘vehicles’ to drive the ‘parcel’ (message of God) to the heart of the hearers . In other words, God ‘borrows’ the vehicle of a man’s mouth to speak. And although the ‘vehicle’ may be blue, black or white, the important concern for the receiver of the ‘parcel’ should be the parcel, not the colour or shape of the vehicle that brought it . Let it be known that if a person is inclined to, or has admiration of old KJV Engllish, that will be the vehicle through which the mind of God will be expressed. Thus, although it is the Spirit of God speaking, the person may still be in control of the language. Although he may not be using that KJV English in his or her normal conversations, his spiritual inner man or subconscious may have an admiration or  inclination to it. That one can be in control of his language, thoughts, and actions whilst God has revealed his mind to them is evident in Scripture – “And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.  For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.  The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets” (1 Cor.14:30-32).

One day I was invited to preach in a certain church in Zimbabwe. The Lord granted us grace in the teaching of the Word. Just as soon as I ended my sermon the Spirit of God came upon a woman in the audience who prophesied in Shona, a language I don’t understand. When she was done speaking, someone  interpreted the words of the prophecy to me. The prophecy declared – “This is the Word (referring to the teaching that had been given) that delivers”. To this day I don’t remember how that sounded in Shona, and I don’t even remember the appearance of the person who spoke it, but to this day I still remember the message that was conveyed. That’s what is important, keep your mind on the Message being delivered. Amen.

A C Phiri

How did John receive the Spirit from the womb before Jesus was glorified?

Question

“Did John receive the Holy Spirit?  If yes I think the scripture has been broken because Jesus was the one who unveiled the indwelling of the Spirit.”


Reply

Look at these two statements: 

The sky is grey.

The cat is grey. 

Do these sentences mean the sky is the cat? Does the same description of “grey” make the two objects the same in terms of what they are?  Of course not, but many commit this fallacy when they equate one word or phrase in the Bible to another one appearing elsewhere in Scripture. With this approach, many find themselves in a forest of confusion by failing to reconcile some verses. For example in one place they read “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 Joh.1:5) and He is “dwelling in the light which no man can approach” (1 Tim.6:16), but in another place they find this: “The Lord said that He would dwell in the thick darkness” (1 Kin.8:12).  If the disciples of the Lord had the same misperception of words they would certainly have had prematurely claimed to receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost when the Lord breathed on them and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:20, compare with John 7:39). 

If one is trapped in the ‘Sky and Cat’ analogy error given above, he will read the words “filled with the Holy Ghost” in Acts 2:4 and equate them with the same words found elsewhere in Scripture. For example in Luke 1:41 “Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost” and in Acts 4:31, the disciples, Peter and John and other believers, after a prayer of asking God for boldness “were all filled with the Holy Ghost”. What are we to make of these words? Well, first  we should beware that spiritual things are spiritually discerned – “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor.2:14).

It should not be difficult to see that the infilling of the Holy Ghost that Elisabeth experienced was not the same as the one which occurred on the Day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2. It is very clear in John 7:39, and other places in Scripture, that the Baptism of the Holy Ghost could only come after the Lord was glorified. Likewise, Peter and John had already received the Baptism when they got “filled with the Holy Ghost” in Acts 2:4. Later, when their lives were in danger they prayed and the place where they were shook and they “were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (Act. 4:31). Certainly, that doesn’t mean they received the Baptism twice, and because the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is what constitutes the New Birth it also doesn’t mean they were ‘Born Again’ again!

Let us give close attention to the record of John:  “He that believeth on me , as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living  water. (But this He spake of the Spirit , which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified)” (John 7:38-39). This means that whatever one may read regarding a person being filled with the Holy Spirit prior to the glorification of the Lord Jesus, does not refer to the New Birth experience, which occurs by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

John 7:38-39 refers to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, an experience which could only occur after the glorification of the Lord Jesus. The experience is for the conversion of the heart and it is what had been prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Jer. 31:33, Eze. 36:26-27, compare with Luke 22:31-32). The experience of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost IS MORE THAN an infilling to give someone boldness to proclaim the Word (Micah 2:8), and it is MORE THAN an infilling to sanctify or cause a fetus to kick in the womb of Elisabeth to give her a testimony of the working of God (Luke 1:41). We are speaking of spiritual things and they are spiritually discerned!

Another very important thing to be aware of is that the experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit can never bypass a person’s free-will. The baptism of the Holy Spirit causes the New Birth. With that comes the conversion of a heart, to cause a man to walk in the ways of God – “Repent, and be baptized…and ye shall receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38). In the beginning mankind fell into sin when he used his free-will to live by his way. God let him taste of the fruit of his own way (Pro.1:29-31). The Holy Spirit Baptism involves man realizing that his own way leads to death and hence surrendering his will to God’s will. When that man gets Born Again he begins to get led by the Spirit. He goes where the Spirit leads even when he doesn’t understand it – “the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof , but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth, so is everyone that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). So, the Holy Ghost baptism can never bypass the free-will of  a man; a  person has to decide to give up their own will and surrender it to God in order to be led by the Spirit. The act of repenting to surrender one’s own will to God is simply impractical for a fetus. Even the Lord Jesus had to grow in “stature and wisdom” before the Spirit took a hold of Him (Luke 2:52).

God bless.

A Phiri

Why did God create mosquitoes and flies?

Two children, Josh (9 years old) and Terry (4 years old), asked two interesting questions but the answers given may interest adults. The question asked by the younger boy is too complex for his age and so not much was explained to him.

The Questions

  • First audio: Josh and Terry asks the question
  • Second audio: Question asked by Terry explained

Bro Richard Gan answers

  • Why did God create Mosquitoes and flies?
  • How did God know the future of young boys that they will be bad men and so ended up killing them whilst young?

“Are Christians required to give tithe in the New Testament?” – By Bro. Richard Gan

Note: Bro. Richard Gan wrote the following in response to an article on a social media platform which stated that tithe is not applicable in the New Testament. The article also emphasized that Old Testament saints never paid their tithes in form of money but instead gave their farm produce.

RGan

Bro. Richard Gan

I have been a Bible student from the age of 12 (come January, I’ll be 72), and have studied what Christianity believes in. When it comes to tithing, many who argue against it are those who are not pastors. They might be preachers as they called themselves, and most have a secure job.  Yes, there are a few pastors who preach against tithing, only because they have a secure job and/or perhaps even have a farm that provide their family food. If these pastors are called of God and ordained into a full time ministry in which they would spend much of the time ministering the Word, and ministering to the Lord in prayer, would they have time for secular work?  Of course, some may say YES. That I leave to you to have your own opinion and argument over the kind of Gospel minister many of them would make (I know of pastors who hurriedly prepare their Sunday sermon at the last minute on Saturday because of their secular job).

Truly, TITHING has been mistaught and MONEY misused by covetous pastors and preachers for their own belly.  To say that TITHING is not taught in the New Testament Church is true.  There is no teaching on the subject.  So, then how are the pastors supported?  What will keep a pastor and his family alive?  Prayers, water and air alone? The Church started with Jewish converts.  They had their own collection of money, a tithe.  To say that minted coins were not used, is foolish thinking.  The collection helped in spreading the Word.  Of course, Peter and those disciples of Christ who were fishers could go fish and feed their families.  But when it came time that they had to travel far and wide, were there no support for them and their families while they were away ?  Did all the expenses come from the apostles’ own pockets?

The Levitical Priesthood, those chosen were Aaron and his sons to serve in the Tabernacle or Temple before the LORD.  They had no inheritance, except God Himself. God was their source of sustenance (Read Deu.18:1-8; Num. 18). The Law was then given to Israel to PAY a tenth part of whatever came into their hands.  That’s the Law — PAY!  But wait a minute, did Abraham PAY?  Or did he GIVE?  Abraham was never under the Law.  He was the first to GIVE A TENTH of what God had given him in his victory over the four kings who took his nephew Lot.  God did not asked Abraham for it.  Abraham just gave it back to the LORD who had so graciously blessed him.  Ha! Abraham’s natural descendants were not like him.  They were rebellious in many ways, and hence when the LAW was given at Mt. Sinai, then came the law of PAYING TITHES.  PAY!  Those who did not pay were under a curse.

Now, we are not under the LAW but under GRACE.  Praise the LORD!  So, we do not have to PAY!  Wonderful!  Hmm…which is greater: Law or Grace?  If Abraham be our Father of the Faith, how can we behave as FOOLS to say that we are not under the Law to excuse ourselves from TITHING?  And even to say that the Apostles did not teach Tithing?   Granted, yes, it’s true, they did not teach Tithing.  Of course, BECAUSE Abraham DID NOT PAY TITHE, HE DID NOT TITHE; HE GAVE A TITHE.  He could have given the LORD two tithes, or even three tithes of all that he had.  Isn’t it?  So, the usage of the word “TITHING” is a misnomer.  IT IS ABOUT GIVING. Abraham GAVE ten percent; he could have given twenty percent or even thirty percent.  (We should be glad that he gave only ten percent, otherwise many more believers will grumble.)

Jesus and the Apostles taught about GIVING.  We are not forced into keeping a Law/Commandment.  It should be as what Abraham did, if we be his children of the Faith. Freely we receive, freely we give. The more we give, the more we receive; the more we receive, the more we give.  If Grace be greater than the Law, then our GIVING should surpass the LAW in giving — of ten percent.

So, CHOOSE — to give a tenth or not…it’s your choice.  It’s no use arguing and debating about TITHING/GIVING — whether it was or was not taught in the New Testament.  There is none so blind as he who refuses to see.

The Blessing of Tithing

As I have said, TITHING is a misnomer.  Tithe means a tenth part, ten percent, of what comes into one’s hands. Christians do know that it means paying or giving ten percent of their wages to the church where they worship.  Depending on how they are taught, and because of the religious usage of the word for generations, most Christians think that they are PAYING a tenth part of their wages to the church.  Surely, overtime, some Christians or members of churches would show their displeasure for they feel that ten percent of what they earned is a lot of money.  So, they might find ways to justify not to part that amount of money to the church; excuses are aplenty.

A reality I have come to notice in my earlier years of missionary trips to the Philippines, India and Africa, is that TITHING, or I should say “GIVING A TENTH PART”, was hardly taught, or worse, erroneously taught. Yes, I have noticed that some pastors were nagging at their sheep as if the sheep were criminals who had robbed God and them (the pastors). Then there were the pastors who felt not to preach on the subject because they felt that by so teaching the subject would make them look like beggars.

Now, pastors who do not teach the subject to the congregation are robbing them of God’s blessings.

In 1982, I was invited to teach at a church convention in Butuan City, Philippines.  The church had been around for a good number of years before I was invited there.  I discerned a problem in that church; many of the believers were not giving.  I was led to teach on the subject of GIVING.  Of course, the word TITHING was used because we are so used to the word.  After the service was over, a small group of believers, men and women, gathered around me. A question was posted to me. “Bro Gan, I earn only 3,000 pesos a month. For me to give 300 pesos is a lot of money.”  I replied, “As long as you refuse to give what belongs to the Lord, that 300 pesos, then for the rest of your life you will continue to earn that wages of only 3,000 pesos a month. I challenge you to give and see if God will not bless you.”

On the last day of that convention, I gave the church an open challenge on giving no less than a tenth of what they had every month. I pointed out to them about the condition of their neglected church building. There was a service one morning and when it rained, rain drops were coming down from the holes in the roof. Pots and pails were brought out to contain the rain drops as much as possible, for the floor was just plain earth and mud.  The wooden walls were old and in bad shapes. I told the church that I would contribute $100 USD to have them put concrete on the floor, and that it would be up to them to have the roof and walls fixed.  Well, many were nodding their heads in approval.

The following year I returned to the same church to find a concrete floor, a new roof and new boards for the walls. They were many happy faces.  Then something happened that I least expected.  After the first service, and away from most of the congregation, an elderly sister came up to shake my hand; I felt something in my palm where our hands met.  I knew what it was, and I quietly said to her, “Sister, I don’t need it. You need it more than I do.”  She said, “Bro Gan, I have been blessed by your teachings. I believe what you taught, and God have blessed me.”  I was humbled by her offering.

The following years, in each of my almost yearly trip to the church, I noticed the building was enlarged and the Faith of the believers was built up.

Those unhappy Bible believers who PAY tithes (by a force of law/by a nagging pastor) to the church are under a curse. God hates murmuring. Those Bible believers, who know to GIVE tithes to the Lord and refuse to do so, and even murmur, are also under a curse. God hates murmuring. Many give to churches which propagate false doctrines, or to pastors and preachers who are just self-styled, self-ordained, who have no anointing to handle the Word, but go about spreading false doctrines, lies, and casting words of doubts and controversies over doctrines. It is important to know what, where and how your giving is being used.

“What about those who cannot but give, perhaps, only five percent?” Simply, YOU GIVE AS YOU LIKE; YOU GIVE AS YOU WANT; YOU GIVE AS YOU FEEL; Etc.  But anything less than ten percent is FAITHLESS GIVING.  Am I talking nonsense?  Look at this widow in Mark 12:42-44,

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living“.

Question:  Was the widow in her giving gave under the LAW?  Notice, she gave two mites. If two mites was a tenth part in her giving, then she must have eighteen mites or nine farthings left in her possession. But Jesus said, she gave all that she had.  That’s the Faith of God in her.

Well, some might say that her casting of one farthing into the treasury had nothing to do with TITHING. Granted, tithing, offering, or giving, what difference does it make?  The fact is: she GAVE HER ALL.

When a believer truly has the Faith of Abraham, and freely gives a tenth and more, just watch the blessings that come from heaven above.  I can testify to this.  In 1978, my wife resigned from nursing. I was still in nursing. My salary was S$200. Out of that I gave my tithe, and left with S$180.  I gave my wife about S$100 (for groceries), and out of that S$100, she gave a tenth and she was left with S$90.  Well, the total in giving was 15 percent.  After our two children grew up and entered primary education, Zoel being at age 9 and Zoe at age 6, they were each given pocket money from whatever the amount I gave to my wife (after she had given her tenth). My children were taught to give a tenth of their pocket money. Now, think of the total percentage of the amount given to the Lord and His ministry. It was no less than 20 percent. Yes, there were times when the going was hard, but the Lord always met our needs, not our wants. We were happy and lacked nothing.

Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again“. What we give to God is return to us and more; the same goes in giving to others.

Yes, it is sad to find preachers and Christians asking, “Give me; give me” instead of “Let me give of my best (not my least) to the Master.”

God bless.

R Gan

http://www.propheticrevelation.net