Long Live the King?
This is Rabbi Ralph Messer. He leads Simchat Torah Beit Midrash (STBM) – a “congregation and school facilitating inter-faith discussions between various groups, cultures, and denominations worldwide.” He is quoted as saying, “If you have been undecided, unfocused, and unexcited, then start learning about Principles of God. You can Succeed! You have been Redeemed! Yeshua (Jesus) has a plan for your life! It is called the Torah. … Remember, a Torah Principle applied accurately will cause you to prosper Financially, Emotionally, Physically and Spiritually.”
I see. So the Judaizers are apparently still alive and kicking. In summary, Messer’s message is you can have blessings in life if you LIVE a certain way. Let’s kill this notion right now. Paul speaks to folks like this in the book of Galatians,
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
6 Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Paul makes it clear that the reason God blesses you and performs miracles is not by your obedience, but because of the righteousness of Christ given to those who believe. And with His perfect obedience imputed to the believer, such a one is declared completely justified in regard to God’s holy law – even though that person still sins. Believers are simultaneously justified and sinful. And it has nothing to do with our works or effort, but simply agreeing that this is true. It is at that moment that Jesus Christ imputes His righteousness to such a one. Check it:
Similar to the way you are one being (human) and one person (insert name here), God is one being (God) and three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God isn’t one being who wears three masks, and there aren’t three gods. He is one being and 3 persons. Christians describe God’s nature by calling it the Trinity. God has a law that all of humanity is subject to. Whether humanity believes in Him or not, they know that this law exists because we are each created in the image of God. This doesn’t mean that we have good godlike looks (sorry for those of you who think you do), but that we have been created with certain attributes like a sense of morals, logic, reason and justice. Everyone has them. These attributes have no explanation and/or place in a godless world that evolved from raw material. The image of God in us is corrupted though because of our sinful nature. That’s why our sense of morals, logic, reason, etc isn’t perfect and we oftentimes contradict each other and say things like morals are dependant upon the culture.
We inherited this nature from the very first human couple (our great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great… well you get the picture… grandparents). They were created without sin, but disobeyed God. As a result, their sin corrupted their nature and has been passed on ever since. This is why Scripture says that we are enslaved to sin and dead in it. So all of humanity is constantly sinning against God and love to do so. As a result, each and every person is building up a debt against God. This law breaking will not go unpunished. The wrath of God abides on all those who break His law. Not to say that folks aren’t nice or are unable to do nice things. It’s that their works amount to nothing, much like a law breaker attempting to ask a judge to let him off for a crime because of the many times he had done good things. A corrupt judge might. But a judge who is perfect and upholds the law perfectly must execute justice. And one day we will all stand before God our Creator.
So God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, became a man. His name was Jesus and lived perfectly obedient to His own law so that He could credit that obedience to those who believe in Him. He was then killed on a cross in order to endure the wrath of God that was due sinners. His death on the cross was the price tag for the debt built up by those who constantly break His law and yet believe this good news. On the cross, He cried out , “It is finished” or “It is paid for” and then died. Jesus was then buried for three days, but rose from the dead. It was the sign He promised people to prove His claims about being God and the Savior were true. He appeared to over 500 hundred people, as well as His followers and then ascended to the right hand of God the Father where He rules and will continue to do so until all enemies are under His feet, the last enemy being death. He will then return bodily to judge the living and the dead. Everyone everywhere will be resurrected to be judged based on works. For those who have their own works to show, they will be cast into a lake of fire. For those who have Christ’s works to show, they will live with God forever.
Now, let’s get back to the topic at hand –
Here, Rabbi Messer is speaking at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Sound familiar? It is the home of Bishop Eddie Long and about 25,000 members. Long landed in some hot water when on September 21 and 22, 2010 three young men came forward saying that he had been having a sexual relationship with each of them. Eddie denied the allegations, and the lawsuits were settled out of court. In December, his wife filed for divorce, and Long announced to the church he’d briefly be stepping down in order to focus on his family. He returned in January.
This video opens up with Messer showing us a 312 year old scroll that was apparently saved from an Auschwitz death camp after World War II. He explained how priceless scrolls were, mentioning that brand new scrolls start at $60,000. Then he starts allegorizing the scroll and comparing it to certain Scriptures – it’s made from 39 lamb skins, and he says, “by 39 stripes you are healed.” The columns are called leaves, and he says that in the book of Revelation, there is a verse that talks about leaves that were for the healing of the nations. He says that there are seems on the scrolls, and “everyone of us was a lamb that had to die, like Jesus did.” It takes 3 and a half years to write a scroll, he says “Jesus’ ministry was 3 and a half years long.” And he says that these are only given to cities that need to be released into a “new” anointing. Got any Scripture to back that up? Apparently, God needs to give a Hebrew scroll to folks in Georgia in order that they have a “new” anointing. Can anyone in that building read Hebrew? How is this going to work? Does it have magic powers? This reminds me of the Roman Catholic relics – pieces of saints’ skin, clothing, viles of the virgin Mary’s breast milk, the head of John the Baptist. People would flock to these things, believing that they had some sort of supernatural ability.
Then he calls Bishop Eddie Long to the stage. And says that, “He’s a king… a humble man… in him is a king and royalty and the land of Israel. He was brought up through the slaves, raised up in a city, and God now wants to release a new anointing.” Then they wrap him with the scroll and make a point to say that this is what has been done with kings. They put the scroll away and then Messer says something pretty interesting. He says, “This will either arouse the realm of death in you, or the realm of life. You have a choice.” Let me translate: “I’m about to do something, and if you disagree, you are sinning and are in the realm of death.” Messer asks Long to sit down. He gives him the belt of righteousness that clipped the scrolls together, hands him the scrolls and says he is in a position of kingship. He tells Long that he can have the scrolls as a sign of covenant between them. Then four men, representing the four corners of earth apparently, lift the Bishop up and walk him around the stage. And there is an explosion of cheer. Messer says that Long is now lifted in heavenly places, is in a prophetic position, and is “releasing Atlanta, Georgia.” Then they sing the Aaronic Blessing to him, and close out with a song while the Bishop sits and listens.
What in the world is this? What happened to simply opening the Bible, reading a text, and teaching what it means. Not teaching what life application it has, or using it the way Messer is – allegorizing a scroll and coronizing Bishop Eddie Long. Just teach the Word of God. This whole thing is like witchcraft in the church. Rituals that are supposed to have some sort of power behind them? No. Stop. Stop. Stop. The Word of God is powerful. Check it. That same voice that spoke worlds, amoebas, clouds, light, giraffes, flamingos, flowers, and narwhals into existence from NOTHING, is the same voice that is in the Bible. You think it is powerful on its own? I do. That means it doesn’t need your charisma or rituals. Your duty, pastor, is to just teach it. And the way that it had once spoken those things into existence from nothing, is the same exact way it does today when a man dead in sin is brought to life by the forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. I guess i’m just in the “realm of death.”