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----- Original Message -----From: Name and Address WithheldTo: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul Stringini)Sent: Friday, August 01, 2008 8:13 PMSubject: Arnold Murray
Hi there,I've watched Shepherd's chapel for a number of years.I thought Arnold Murray knew his Bible inside and out.I'm still so swayed about his doctrines, they seemedso right.I especially believed his thoughts on the rapture theory.Many of my Christian friends believe in the Rapture.This really has me baffled because if we are truly believersof the same Bible why are we getting such differentopinions from it. Doesn't the Holy Spirit want ALL of God's believers to know the truth?I don't watch Shepherds chapel any more, our cablecancelled his spot.One guy said to me after Shepherds Chapel was cancelled that he thought there truly was a God!Thanks for your thoughts and opinions,XXXXXWhy do you believe that there isn't a rapture?
My Response: edits in maroon and in ( ), as in: (this is an example of an edit)
----- Original Message -----From: email@example.comTo:Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 2:13 PMSubject: Re: Arnold Murray
Hi XXXX, thanks for writing. Sorry if My answers are a little disjointed, I had to write this in several sittings and am not able to deeply proofread it. This is a really excellent question:
"This really has me baffled because if we are truly believers of the same Bible why are we getting such different opinions from it. Doesn't the Holy Spirit want ALL of God's believers to know the truth?"In my opinion the answer has to be a qualified, "no."John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.Phil 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.The truth is that all of God's people are of the same mind (or will come to be of the same mind), and all the other opinions are just wrong. The people who hold doctrines which are not the doctrines of Jesus Christ or His Apostles do not have the faith of Jesus Christ, because God is not giving it to them, that is the shortest answer I can give you. If God wishes to reveal himself to someone, he does, if he does not, he does not.John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.If we look back at Jesus time we see that even then all the Jews had the same Torah yet not all received the Savior sent. One may also ask of that time, "Didn't the Holy Spirit want ALL of God's chosen people to know their Messiah?" It is manifest from the four Gospels that Jesus taught things in a certain way in order to conceal the truth from those whom he did not wish to hear it.Mt13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.Luke 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.This is no accident, I believe that this condition exists, because God wants it to be this way. According to God's word there are supposed to be false prophets, false teachers, and false brethren. There will be a lake of fire. There are supposed to be heresies.1Cor 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.In order to fulfill the word of God, God had to hide wisdom from the men of Jesus time.1Cor2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.Everyone things that they way they are following is of the truth. If they did not they would not follow that way. It is reasonable to assume that most people do not have the truth but that some may indeed have it. That being said, why is it that one has the truth of Jesus yet other people do not, when they all appear to be seeking Jesus? Are some just smarter? Did they have better parents? However you look at it, some have many advantages that other people do not. No one created these things within themselves, otherwise they could take credit for being smart/wise/genetically superior over people who do not have the truth. Huge inequalities exist between men. Inequalities which they cannot control of themselves.From my own experience, I know that when I talk with someone who claims to be a Christian and I start declaring to them my God and describing the things he does in the earth, usually right from the bible. They get angry. Why? Because the God I describe is so contrary to the one that they believe in that they can scarcely contain their rage against me for calling my God by the name of Jesus Christ.Sometimes people can overcome this initial reaction, but mostly they can't, this is one of those inequalities I was talking about. They cannot receive my Jesus, they hate him; and I cannot receive their Jesus, I hate him.When I tell people that God created a number of people for the express purpose of destroying them, they are horrified, they think that is a terrible God.When people tell me that God is going to let people whom he expressly loves God to hell or be otherwise exterminated, I am horrified, I think, "what a weak God, he cannot save those whom he loves, and even though he has the power to save them he will not lift a finger."I take comfort in a God who knows what he is doing and who is deliberately planning and executing his plan, I take no confidence in a God who lets souls slip through his fingers, who lets souls whom he supposedly loves die.Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.Prov 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.Eze14:9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.God created the wicked for the evil day. They are appointed to be disobedient.1Pet2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.They were created to be destroyed.2Pet2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
Most people do not have much stomach of the plain old common sense meaning of these words:Rom9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will (does anyone really truly resist the will of God?)
People say that to me all the time, they try to tell me that God cannot judge them if he makes them for the purpose of evil. Wrong.19 For who hath resisted his will ?(Does anyone really truly resist the will of God?)
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?God makes people, he did not have to make any one of us. In fact there are billions and billions of people who God never made. My wife and I have six children, but we could have had many more, or just a different six, if just a few circumstances were different. The fact that I even exist as a conscious being is already a miracle, God is good to me, a living dog is better than a dead lion. But God does not owe us a living, and beyond that, If we are the kind of people that God hates and has created for destruction then we should still be thankful to God for having allowed to exist such people as us whom he finds no pleasure in. God could have created a world with no wicked people in it. That would mean that all the people who God created that are wicked in this world would never have existed at all. So God is Good, even to those whom he created for destruction.21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
What if? Well that would be mighty kind of him to put up with the wicked, let them enjoy life, or even to taste life, even a miserable life, is better than never living at all.There are alot of things that people have taught about God that would make it hard to swallow these truths. Like the idea that God loves everybody. I can get into more detail for you if you should desire. For now I will just simply point you in the right direction. God loves all people, blacks, whites, etc., Jews, Gentiles, males, females, this is a big theme in the New Testament. But God does not love every single person, because if he loved them they would never end up in the lake of fire, because love "never fails." And that is the truth."Why do you believe that there isn't a rapture?"Denying the rapture is one area where I do not disagree with Dr. Murray. But the rapture itself is really just a perversion of the doctrine of the resurrection (Which according to Hebrews 6 is a foundational doctrine of Christianity) and I feel that Dr. Murray's version of the doctrine of the resurrection is horribly wrong. While I agree with Dr. Murray that no one is going to, "disappear," or "fly away," at, "any moment," I do not agree with Dr. Murray's teaching that the resurrection is already past.When I say that, you should immediately be thinking, "Dr. Murray does not teach that the resurrection is past." But he actually does. He would never actually admit it because of what Paul said:2Ti2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.Dr. Murray teaches that the dead have already risen, and that when people die that they go to heaven in a new, spiritual body. That is false and is basically a perversion of the doctrine of the resurrection as taught by Jesus Christ himself.John5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.If they are already in heaven, in new bodies, as Dr. Murray teaches, then why does Jesus speak of raising them from the dead? Jesus certainly talks like the dead are in the ground and dead. According to Christian doctrine the dead are supposed to rise at some point in the future, until that time they remain dead. The resurrection of the dead is a prophetic event. It does not happen 20-30 times per second whenever someone dies.1Thess4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (But all this takes place after the trumpet sounds)This verse is not talking about a "rapture" (as Dr. Murray correctly teaches) but it is absolutely not saying that "They are already with him." (As Dr. Murray incorrectly teaches).It is not just "we who are alive" who do not rise until the last trump. NO ONE rises until the last trump. This is where Dr. Murray is really no different than those who teach the rapture. He teaches an "any moment" theory with regard to the dead, that the resurrection could happen at any moment if you die. But the truth is that the dead do not rise until the last trump.1 Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.Dr. Murray has replaced the true doctrine of the resurrection with a doctrine of transition. Dr. Murray teaches that when any person dies that they experience a transition from one plane of existence to another in which their consciousness is unbroken. I do not know the exact origin of such ideas but they are definitely pagan in origin. The bible teaches that the dead have no thoughts and that they will only live again if they are resurrected.Ps146:3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.Notice that the dead are said to "sleep" and "awake." These idioms do not make much sense if they are walking around awake in a new body up in heaven. These verses are abundantly clear. This doctrine existed in the old testament and continued unchanged into the new testament.When I used to be a student of Dr. Murray, the following verse used to give me alot of problems, it took me a few years to come to terms with the fact that it totally made many of Dr. Murray's theories about the Millennium absolutely impossible.Rev 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
That is very important. The rest of the dead LIVED NOT AGAIN. You may know that Dr. Murray teaches that the "rest of the dead" do live again before the thousand years are finished, he teaches that they live again in spiritual bodies that are still "liable to die" i.e.. mortal. He gets this from a perversion of what Paul teaches in 1 Cor 15:521 Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.Dr. Murray wrongly assumes that "the dead" refers to "all the dead" but it does not. Dr. Murray is not minding his subjects and objects again because the subjects of 1Cor 15 are as follows.1Cor15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (no one else)
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (this is referring to the end of the millennium)
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (this is where the rest get raised, most likely in mortal bodies to be cast in the lake of fire).The rest of the dead do not rise until the thousand years are finished, and Paul here also says it clearly, if indirectly, by simply saying, "afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." The specific inclusion of one group in this manner is the exclusion of the rest. The reference in Revelation 20 is so simple and easy to understand, to quote my old teacher: "even a child could understand.""the rest of the dead lived not "again" " Again.That means that, whatever one wants to say about the millennium, there are going to be many dead people who sleep right through it. Period.More evidence:Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
David is not in heaven. But he will be raised from the dead, that is the promise of Christianity. Notice it says Jesus' soul was not "left in hell," this will become important later, but from the time Jesus died 'till the time he rose again, he was, "in hell," which indicates the Grave. (there is more than one type of "hell" in the bible, one being simply the Grave, you probably understand this)What about the scriptures that cause people to believe otherwise?Let's look first at "Lazarus and the Rich Man." The Parable of "Lazarus and the Rich Man" is not a "true story." It is a mistake to believe that every parable that Jesus told had to be literally true and must have happened somewhere, that isn't how those kinds of stories work. Lazarus and the Rich Man is a parable about false doctrine that should not be taken literally.There are several good reasons for this, the first being the scriptures I mentioned above. The next reason is the formula, in the same chapter that we find "Lazarus and the Rich Man" we find this:
"Luke 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods."
The way we can tell this is a parable, is that Jesus uses the exact same formula to start about Lazarus and the Rich Man as he does to start "The Unjust Steward."
"Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day"
That saying, "There was a certain..." is a formula Jesus frequently used to indicate the start of a parable.
The next problem with this parable being taken literally is the fact that it is so completely untrue compared to the doctrine of the dead established all over scripture. If taken as a literal story, it is contradictory the scriptures. I believe that this is part of the point Jesus is making with this story. There is irony here. The context of the story and the things which are being portrayed as real events are actually Jewish traditions, contrary to what the Law of Moses and the Prophets say is true about the dead.
Eccles 5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
I know this is a repetition, but remember: Ps 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
I know this is a repetition, but remember: Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: That is pretty clear too.
I think the idea that the dead are unconscious is accurate and clear. Remember what Jesus said:
John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
I don't think that day has come just yet, so the dead are clearly in their "graves." And not with "Abraham."
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. 16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. 18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. 19 There was a certain rich man,"
In the matter of the disposition of the dead, the Pharisees had corrupted what was written in the O.T. because of their traditions, again, they did this in a way that pleased men. Dr. Lightfoot did an analysis of the Pharisee's traditions from their own writings and this parable matched them perfectly. When speaking of one who was recently departed they would say, "this day he sits in Abraham's Bosom." (Lightfoot Works vol xii pp159-163) It is not true. The keystone of the truth of this parable is:
"If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
The Pharisees were always corrupting what the scriptures (Moses and the Prophets) said because of their traditions. This parable is making ironic reference to that fact by using the same traditions to make that point. This is very ironic. Remember, Jesus himself said that the purpose of his parables was to communicate things in such a way to make it hard to understand unless you have eyes to see the truth. To be able to see the truth we have to stop looking for what we want to see and just look for that which is true indeed.
Some other things that are wrong with this story are the idea that those in "hell" can communicate with those in "heaven" it cannot be so. For the final disposition of the lost is like this:
2Thes1:8 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power"
That would not be Paradise with people begging for water within earshot of Abraham, and where you can watch them slowly burn yet never burn up.
That is the paradise of the Pharisee's false doctrine. Speaking of death they would say, "this day he sits in Abraham's Bosom." The parable of Lazarus is about false doctrine and the parable of Lazarus contains false imagery in the setting of the story in order to illustrate a point.
The Pharisees' doctrine was contrary to Moses and the Prophets and was more important in their mind so neither would they accept Jesus doctrine, even after he rose from the dead (and even after the real Lazarus rose from the dead). Oddly enough most Christians today accept the Pharisees' heresies over the doctrines of Jesus Christ and His Apostles.(Dr. Murray's doctrine is also like this)
But there is an inescapable fact; while it is true that the Dead "in hell" are punished with "everlasting destruction from the presence" of God; it is also true that the place of Hell is within "walking distance" of the eternal city.
Even as the word declares:
Isa 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh
Another common objection is this:.
"What about the thief on the cross?" You may or may not be aware that the punctuation in the bible is an entirely subjective thing, the Greek text was unpunctuated. So, instead of reading Jesus response to the thief as being, "I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise," we may rather read it as being, "I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise." Just by moving the comma.
And remember, Jesus did not go to Paradise on that day, but he went into the grave/hell. When he rose the third day he declared to Mary Magdalene "I have not yet ascended to my Father." I'd like to point out that I have listed several very clear scriptures in support of a death that is just as it appears and humans instinctively know it will be, an completely nonconscious state. It seems to me that when something like Lazarus or that thief on the cross seem to contradict this clear teaching, that the latter must be interpreted in light of the former. because they can't be logically interpreted in the reverse.
Those references to Ecclesiastes remind me of Dr. Murray's use of Eccles12:7 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."Dr. Murray says that that indicates that when people die that they go to Heaven and are awake up there (but some are still spiritually dead) (though how you can be alive in a "spiritual body" yet be "spiritually dead" is a mystery).I refer back to acts, even if David's spirit is in Heaven, the part of David that is "David," the actual "him" is said to be in the ground. I feel that if it was otherwise the apostle would not use the language he uses.John the Baptist was said to have come in the "spirit and power" of Elijah. The spirit is not the man. John was not Elijah reincarnated, but Elijah revisited. He was a different person with the same spirit.Eze11: And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:'' God can put a "new spirit" in us, and we will change, but we will not become a separate conscious being,A spirit is not a person. So when Solomon says that the spirit returns to God he is not suggesting that the person has returned to God because he has already said, and the prophets have said, and David has said, and Jesus went on to say, and Paul, that the dead are in their graves and they do not know anything. The dead sleep a dreamless sleep, that is what death is, complete nonconsciousness.Obviously I have only touched the tip of the iceberg here, but I do not know how much interest you have in these subjects, if you have any further questions or concerns I am happy to be at your service.Sincerely,Paul
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