Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Promises Made to Israel Find Fulfillment in the Church

By Hazel Holland

The Bible reveals that God’s elect of all the ages are one people, with one Savior, and have one eternal destiny. This continuity can be seen by examining the following Old Testament passages of Scripture and noticing that promises made to Israel find their fulfillment in the New Testament church, and words spoken to Israel are applied directly to the church. 

Promise to Israel

 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’” Hosea 1:10 (NIV)

Fulfillment in the church

 “What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?  What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?  As he says in Hosea:

“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’” 
Romans 9:22-26 (NIV)

Promise to Israel 

I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.  I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’” Hosea 2:23 (NIV)

Fulfillment in the church

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV)

Promise to Israel

“On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages;  I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old.”  Amos 9:11 (NKJV)

Fulfillment in the church
 “Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.  And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: ‘After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the LORD who does all these things.’  “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” Acts 15:14-18 (NKJV)

Spoken to Israel 

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.   And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.   And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:  blood and fire and pillars of smoke.   The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.  And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.   For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls.” Joel 2:28-32 (NKJV)

Applied to the church 

 “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place… But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your  sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. and on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.  I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath:  Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.  And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’” Acts 2:1, 16-21 (NKJV)

Spoken to Israel
“You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” Exodus 19:6 (NIV)

Applied to the church
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Peter 2:9 (NIV)

Spoken to Israel 
My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Ezekiel 37:27 (NIV)

Applied to the church
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God:.  As God has said: “ I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God,  and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16 (NIV)

Spoken to Israel

“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.’”  Leviticus 19:2 (NIV) 

Applied to the church
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV)

Spoken to Israel 

"The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.” Jeremiah 31:31 (NIV)

 Applied to the church 

“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:20 (NIV)


If the church (comprised of both Jews and Gentiles) fulfills these promises made to Israel, shouldn't we be repenting of teachings that view Israel and the church as having two distinct eternal destinies?  

According to the New Covenant there is not an eternal earthly Kingdom for Israel, and an eternal heavenly Kingdom for the church.  There is only one eternal inheritance for both the church and Israel.  That eternal inheritance is Jesus Christ! 

Link:  What God Joined Together at the Cross
Link:  Promised Land Issues 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A New Kind of Love

By Hazel Holland

Where is God made visible? The apostle John tells us that,  "If we love one another, then God abides in us, and his love is made complete” (1 John 4:11-16). Does this mean that His love reaches its final end in us when the indwelling Spirit of God becomes visible as we manifest love one to another? Then Paul reminds us, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the debt to love one another" (Romans 13:8).

No one has any idea that God is around as long as we are only nice to our friends or to those who are nice to us.  But when we are nice to those who are nasty to us, and return good for evil, then people get the sense that God is close at hand.  When we start being patient, thoughtful, and considerate of those who are stubborn, obstinate, and selfish, then people get the sense that God is in the situation.  Then God's Spirit in us becomes visible to them.

But we can only love like this if we have the life of God within us. God in us can love through us and will love through us.  All He is waiting for is for us to be willing.  Then He will do the loving. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Aroma of Grace

By Hazel Holland

I had already posted this painting and post in Art From His Heart, but felt like I should re-post it here for those who may not check out the art blog, but would be blessed by the post.

While I was painting these watercolor flowers the  other day I was reminded that Christians are called to be the aroma of grace in this world.  But the message of God's love for sinners is often drowned out by our images of ungrace.  Sadly all others see and smell of us at times is the scent of ungrace.  Perhaps that's because Christians are increasingly perceived as religious moralists who want to control other people's lives.
Thus, our real challenge as Christians, particularly here in the USA, should not be to try and Christianize America, or any other country for that matter, but be God's hands and feet as we share His heart of love and mercy for all people.  That's what Jesus did.  He attracted the most unlikely people... the moral outcasts of society.  And let's not forget that it was NOT the notorious sinners who called for His death, but the moralists.

Jesus came to establish a new kind of kingdom that could co-exist in Jerusalem, and also spread into Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.  That's why in one of His parables He warned that pulling up weeds may also destroy the wheat along with the weeds.  So He advised us to leave all judgment to the one true Judge.

Although Paul had much to say about the immorality of individual members of the church, he had little to say about the immorality and abuses of pagan Rome.  Both Jesus and Paul concentrated not on the pagan kingdom around them, but on the alternative kingdom of God.

So this leaves us with a very clear message of what we as believers need to be focused on.  We're not called to restore morality to the United States, but to concentrate more on spreading the aroma of grace from the kingdom that is not of this world.♥ 

To see a larger copy of this painting or order a print of it, please click here.  Then click on "Art Print" and you will be shown the different sizes that it comes in.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Does Grace Hit a Nerve in Your Heart?

By Hazel Holland

Jesus' life was a living demonstration of the gospel.  In His preaching and teaching He showed love and forgiveness to people.   He never shunned publicans, or shamed prostitutes, or exposed someone caught in the act of adultery.  That's why sinners loved Him.  He always gave them mercy and grace.  And that's why the religious people hated Him... 

They hated Him because He loved sinners.  They hated Him because He was a continual threat to their religious traditions.  They hated Him because they saw Him as loose on morality.  They hated Him because they felt He was compromising the Law at a time when they needed Him to stand up against the Romans.

Jesus' life was
a continual stumbling stone to the religious people of His day.  So much so that they saw that if they didn't do something to stop the spread of His message of love and forgiveness and grace to sinners, it would change the world.  Although they saw that His message had the power to change lives, they didn't want it to change their lives.  That could mean that they might lose their place and position in society.

But Jesus was always one step ahead of the religious people of His day.  He willingly gave up His life for them as well as for those who knew they were sinners.  He showed His grace and love to all when He died on the cross so that all might have the opportunity of responding to His goodness and grace. 

What about today?  Does Jesus' message of love and forgiveness still hit a nerve in the hearts of His hearers?  Jesus was willing to allow Himself to be seen as a compromiser of the Law so that He might reach us all with His gospel of grace.  Are we willing to do the same?  Are we willing to be seen as loose on morality in order to minister to someone in their hour of need?  Does grace hit a nerve our hearts, too?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Glory in Nothing Except the Cross

By Hazel Holland

Why is it that neither the prophet Daniel in the book of Daniel, or the apostle John in the book of Revelation, ever mention a great spiritual revival of believers in the last days?  Neither does Jesus in Matthew 24, or the apostle Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians, even hint of a great end times revival where multitudes are brought into the church.

Instead, the time period before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is characterized as a perilous time of great deception.  It’s a time of apostasy from faith in Jesus Christ.  It is a time of persecution for the saints.  Scripture clearly says that this end time departure from truth is spearheaded by false prophets who use miraculous signs and lying wonders to support their false teachings, and lure many away from saving faith in Jesus Christ.

So where did this idea of a great Christian end time revival come from?  After studying the Scriptures I wish that I could say that I found the answer to this question, but I did not.  Apparently God never foretold of this happening.  Instead, Jesus asked the question, "When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?" 

In other words, when Jesus Christ returns will He find saving faith in you and me?  Surely He wouldn't be asking this question if there was going to be a great end time revival where the preaching of the new covenant gospel brought multitudes to Jesus Christ, would He?
So I decided to do a little research into the background of this teaching of a great end time revival that is prevalent in the body of Christ today.  What I discovered dismayed me greatly.  This great push for an end time revival where millions will be swept into the gospel net is a controversial teaching originally taught by the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God movement, and is part of Dominion Theology.[1]
Apparently, these questionable teachings from the fifties and sixties have made their way back into the mainstream church.  They have gained a large following, not only in the Charismatic body of Christ, but also in the Evangelical world as well.  False prophets have been able to get in under the spiritual radar of many unsuspecting believers, and are dispensing many “new” and “sacred truths" that are not being questioned by many in the larger body of Christ.  

These “truths” are often prefaced with familiar words such as, “Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church.”  Since the spiritual experiences and words of these “prophets” are believed to be given by the Holy Spirit, they are not examined by fellow believers in the light of Scripture, and often take precedence over the written Word of God.  It seems that these “prophets” do not have to necessarily line up their messages with Scripture, because the Spirit tells them that this is what the word of God means when it says such and such…  

One of these alarming "new revelations" is that the end-time Church is God’s Joel 2 army being recast in the context of Ezekiel 9.  This end time army is supposed to judge the Old Order of things and bring in the Kingdom of God.  It teaches that an elite army of "overcomers" will subdue or destroy all the enemies of Christ until the they gain power and authority throughout the world.  Then when all the secular authorities, governments, and kings have finally submitted to them, Christ will finally return, and this elite army of "overcomers" will present the Kingdom to Him.

Unfortunatelythis revelation of an end times Joel 2 army that subdues and destroys the enemies of God is not a picture of God’s agape love revealed in the Bible, or in the lives of His followers.  God’s agape love that calls believers to love even their enemies is not found in this end time teaching at all.  Revelations like this are not only inflammatory, but totally undermine the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and the unity of believers. (John 17)

So could it be that  “revelations” like this are given by another spirit to those who do not receive the love of the true gospel that they might be saved?  Could it be that God will send strong delusion upon those who refuse the new covenant gospel so that they will believe the lie? (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11)  Could it be that these “revelations” have been given by another spirit to awaken those who will radically change the definition of Christianity, but not in a good way?  

Captivated by miraculous signs and lying wonders I believe that these false prophets and their agendas are leading many in the body of Christ to be easily assimilated into the Mystery Babylon religion, foretold in Revelation 17 and 18.  These false teachers preach about ANOTHER JESUS, and a DIFFERENT GOSPEL which the apostle Paul says is no gospel at all. (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians1:6).         

Miraculous signs and lying wonders are the fruit of a "gospel of works" rather than the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ alone.  To believe that the new covenant gospel of Jesus Christ now includes our works, and a militant church that executes Tribulation judgments is not only heresy, but pure fantasy!  

I believe that this is happening because the fruit of the gospel (and this fruit is bad indeed) has taken the place of the Root, Jesus Christ!  This false gospel of works which is no gospel at all is leading a vast religious system into terrible spiritual deception! 

The belief that God’s going to end the last days just before His Son returns with a prophetic movement of elite "overcomers" that will sweep the entire face of the earth, and will eclipse anything we have ever seen before, is a seedbed for pride, greed, adulation and power.  It is a false gospel that appeals to a prideful heart, and will continue to bear bad fruit within the church.

Gone is the cross of Jesus Christ and the understanding that we are called to be cross-bearers.  Gone is the agape love of God that expresses itself by loving others as He has loved us…even to loving our enemies.  Instead, cold love is seen to be the order of the day in these end times, and expresses itself in subduing and destroying the enemies of Christ, enemies for which Christ died.  

This false gospel of vain imaginations is leading many within the body of Christ into terrible spiritual darkness.  Sadly, it is so camouflaged by deceptive words like “spiritual growth” and “paradigm shifts” that believers need the agape love of God in their hearts, and the power of the Holy Spirit to help them discern these counterfeit teachings from the true gospel.   

We must not glory in the vain imaginations of a church that has bought into the world’s ways of achieving power and recognition by using the sword.  Instead we must glory in nothing except in the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord!

[1] Kingdom Now/Dominion Theology, Progressive Revelation, Revival/Harvest, Joel’s Army, Replacement Theology, Post-Millennial Eschatology, Signs and Wonders, Territorial Warfare, Ecumenism, Restoration of Apostles and Prophets, Jubilee/Feast of Tabernacles, and the Post-denominational Church.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Faith that Pleases God

By Hazel Holland

Which road will you choose?

We have all heard these familiar Scriptures time and time again. 
But unfortunately they often produce a works oriented response in us. 

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7   

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

If we are honest with ourselves we must admit that sometimes we start doing an inventory on our behaviors to see if we measure up.  We become concerned and wonder if we are walking by faith...or if we have enough faith to please God... as if faith in itself is a virtue to be desired. 

Unfortunately, because the words of Scripture are sometimes interpreted without our understanding the new covenant gospel, a works-based religious mindset is often the result.  Faith becomes laced with legalism.  Faith becomes the object to be sought after... and the more faith we have the better.

However, the truth is that faith in and of itself is not what these Scriptures are talking about.  Faith must have an object upon which it is focused... and that object must be the Person of Jesus Christ.  Without placing our faith in the glorious finished work of Jesus Christ, it is impossible to please God!  Faith that pleases God is faith that believes in the One He has sent. (John 6:29) 

In Christ we are totally pleasing to God.  This means that we do not strive to be pleasing to God by our own dead works that we can see.  But we rest in Jesus Christ's good work for us on the cross that we cannot see.  We know that we are pleasing to God because our faith is placed in Jesus Christ's work alone for our salvation.  We are in Him and He is in us.  Now we can rest from our own works, and be free to enter into the joy of His good work.  This is faith that pleases God.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Is the Law of Moses your "Bushido"?

By Hazel Holland

Saturday morning, January 13, 2007 God clearly spoke the words, “The Last Samurai” into my mind as I was in the bathroom getting ready for church. I was surprised to hear the title of a movie about a Japanese warrior that I had no interest in seeing at the time it was shown.

As I mused about this word, wondering what was on God’s heart, I received another word two days later on Monday morning, January 15, 2007. God spoke the words, “Custer’s Last Stand” into my mind the same way.  Again I received a witness in my spirit that God was drawing another important parallel between “The Last Samurai”, “Custer’s Last Stand”, and the reluctance of Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) leadership to let go of their Adventist heritage even when it falls short of being in agreement with God’s Word, and does violence to the gospel.

Not having seen “The Last Samurai”, and knowing very little about Japanese history, I emailed my friend, Ramone Romero, who lives in Japan, and who wrote the Forward to this book, hoping to find the needed historical background to this movie so that I could discover what God was saying.  Ramone not only gave me the historical background of “The Last Samurai”, but also “Custer’s Last Stand.” Along with both background summaries came an interpretation that God had given him for these two words, and it lined up with what I had already received from the Spirit.

As you prayerfully read the background summaries of these two words, along with the interpretation Ramone received from the Lord, I pray that the eyes of your heart may be opened to see how God is pouring forth His heart of concern and love toward His children who remain stuck in the malaise of Adventism. This word is given to forcefully remind us that history has a way of repeating itself. Men in positions of leadership and power who are blinded by pride often make tragic errors in judgment. Unfortunately, they are often exonerated by their followers who also believe the lie, and perpetuate the deception by passing it on to the next generation... 

 Background of “The Last Samurai”

The “Last Samurai” is a fictional character who rebels against the government because of  its  immorality  as  it modernizes.  The movie portrays noble motives for the samurai’s rebellion based on honor, honesty, better ethics and a better way of life.

However, in the real life historical samurai rebellion, the primary motive was self-preservation of their unique and privileged social class. The true-life samurai rebellion was a last desperate attempt to hold onto a traditional social caste and position of power that crippled the country by marginalizing and denigrating a great many of its people.   Modernization was resisted because it would put an end to the old system. The movie ignores the historical truth and adopts the myth of the superiority of the old bushido system.   It is filmed through rose-tinted glasses, portraying a noble fight to preserve a fictional ideal that never quite was.

What is God saying?

Like old “bushido”, the Law also “keeps people in their place.”  This “Ancient Stronghold that  is called a “ministry of condemnation and death”, keeps people from rising above sin and death in their lives, be-
cause a veil covers their eyes.  The abolition of the Samurai class and feudal Japanese society spelled freedom for many people.  Of course it took many years for attitudes to change (and some things are still being changed), but in general, it was this crumbling of an ancient stronghold (“bushido”) that liberated many classes of people in society.

I believe God is saying that “The Last Samurai” applies to many Adventist leaders who are unwilling to let the “old” go.  They are looking through rose-tinted glasses at Adventism’s heritage and insist on holding onto a delusion.  They may feel like they are fighting to the death to preserve a noble code of honor, a noble Adventist history.   But, in truth, it  is a  fictional  ideal, because  the history never  really existed as  they want  to believe.  The mythical heritage of Adventism  they  invoke  is  a creation of imagined self-importance.  It glorifies Adventist pioneers and their teachings while glossing over the deception, error, condemnation and spiritual abuse that existed from the beginning.

Additionally, Adventism has always felt it  as more  correct  and more “moral” because  it  re-instituted  the Old Covenant Law.  It returned to the old written code and pointed the finger of accusation at Christians who did not do the same.  It sang the virtues of the old system and claimed that without the Law, we are deficient and morally lost.  In  truth, however,  the Bible states  that we are no  longer under the old code (the Law), because the purpose of the Law was to reveal sin  and death  so  that we might cling  to  Jesus  instead!   The Law was “the ministry of  condemnation”  and “the ministry of death”.     In  the presence of Life Himself how could the ministry of death hold greater
appeal?  How could the Adventist pioneers have been induced to prefer condemnation?

The old samurai looked upon suicide as noble and as an honorable way out of a situation.   In a sense, it was often seen as the consummation of an honorable life, deed or heroic effort.   It fulfilled the Bushido
code of honor and was, in a way, the perfection of honor.   After the “last samurai” lost the battle and stabbed himself,  his dying words were “It’s perfect”.

Just as the bushido, Adventism is committing spiritual suicide.  Adventism honors the Law of death as the way to perfection, just as the samurai viewed suicide as the summit of perfection and honor?  

Background of “Custer’s Last Stand”

Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer had gained renown during the 1800’s  for his  valor  in  leading American  army  forces  into  battle with Native Americans in the “Indian wars”.  He is remembered best, however  or his monumental underestimation of  the combined forces of the Sioux and Cheyenne nations  in  the battle of Little Bighorn in eastern Montana. Custer  came with  a  force of between 200- 600 soldiers, while those who were defending their ancient ways of life had amassed an army nearing 1800 warriors.

Some  estimate  that  within  half  an  hour  the  defending  Native   Americans had decimated Custer and all of his soldiers from the Seventh U.S. Cavalry.   America tried to redeem the debacle by calling  it “Custer’s Last stand”, implying that a brave American army officer had nobly given his life to defend his country against the invading savages.  The over-confident, short-sighted  Custer  was  transformed  into  an  icon of bravery and courage.   Truth, however, was much  less complimentary.   The Native Americans were,  in  fact, making  a  last  stand  to defend a way of life that went back many centuries against newcomers who were  trying  to eradicate  them  from  the  face of  the Earth.  The  Americans  had  corralled  them  onto  reservations with  the  arrogant claim of  generosity–giving  them back  a  fraction of  the  land  that was theirs to begin with. The European immigrants had brought with them disease, suffering and death. With the confiscation of their lands went the very commodity that constituted their identity. 

What Are the Parallels?

Historical  revisionism  has  plagued Adventism  from  the  beginning.  Just as Custer’s defeat was recast as a heroic stand against encroaching  evil, so was Adventism’s erroneous  date-setting  for  the  Second Coming  reborn  as  the  Investigative  Judgment,  spawning “The  Great Advent Movement”. Adventism’s  last  ditch  strategy was to turn the “Great Disappointment” into a glorious new truth. But just as in many other  distortions, Adventist teaching has redefined  the word “truth” to  stand  for error.  The words of God will stand against them as He searches their motivations and continued cover-up of His truth. 

 “So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.  Truth  is  nowhere  to be  found,  and whoever  shuns  evil  becomes  a  prey. The  Lord  looked and was displeased  that  there was no  justice. He saw  that  there was no one, he was appalled  that  there was no one  to  intervene.” (Isaiah 59:14-16, NIV)  Behind propaganda is the desire to hide the truth with bravado.

Perhaps  you,  too,  have  believed  the myths  about Adventism—its noble, heroic heritage, its moral code, its last-day prophet. Perhaps you have taken comfort in the culture that appears to have been prospered by God and believe that the whole package is of great worth. Perhaps you have determined that you will not cheaply throw away this pearl of great price.  Take another look.  The “moral code of great worth” (the Law of Moses) is Adventism’s “bushido”.  It's Adventism’s ancient stronghold that has brought unexpected bondage and immorality.  The history of “Adventism’s  Stand”  in  refusing  to  jettison  the  failed  1844  prophecy  has  led to numerous doctrines  that do  violence  to  the  gospel. Within  those doctrines hides a stubborn defiance against repentance for willfully covering up the haughty legacy of pride, control, power, and an institution built on false prophecy.  

Do you think that other Christian denominations besides SDAs have the law of Moses as their "bushido" in some of their teachings?  If so, what are your thoughts on this subject?   

See: The Naked Truth: Exposing the Deception of Adventism, Chapter 12: "Adventism's Ancient Stronghold", p. 154-158.