Cessationism: The Witness of a Continuationist

IntroductionShabbat shalom kol beit Yisra’el and Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon and welcome to this last sabbath assembly of Shibi’i haChodesh, the seventh month.

Preaching at Baptist Churches in eastern EuropeMany years ago, just after the fall of communism, I was preaching at a Baptist Church in Novovolynsk in western Ukraine, an area that used to belong to Poland, and I told the congregation my life story and how I had come to Messiah. Those of you familiar with my conversion and my progress through the denominations will know that I had a lot of supernatural experiences along the way. On another occasion, I gave the same testimony at another Baptist Church, this time in Sofia, Bulgaria. Though I was cordially welcomed and shown much grace in both, I was a little surprised that my conversion story was not met with as much enthusiasm as it had been in a Pentecostal Church in Bulgaria where I had also been invited to preach. Indeed, I was never invited back.

Cessationism and ContinuationismCessationism is the doctrine, held by Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, and most of the older Protestant denominations, that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the original twelve apostles. This is generally opposed to continuationism, which teaches that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) may bestow the spiritual gifts on persons other than the original twelve apostles at any time.

False Supernatural Manifestations in Continuationist ChurchesEven though I had come out of the Anglican tradition which is definitely cessationist and studied with various groups which were cessationist, because of my personal experiences with Elohim (God), and my gift of seership, I basically gravitated towards the ‘Continuationist’ position but with a very sceptical attitude towards the kinds of manifestations I encountered amongst the majority of those who claim the continuation the Biblical gifts because I was convinced very early on that these ‘gifts’ I witnessed did not match those practiced by the early Messianic Community (Church). For that reason, I tended to fellowship more with cessationists than with continuationists because I did not want to open myself up to false spirits.

Two Kinds of CessationistClassical Cessationists assert that the ‘sign gifts’ such as prophecy, healing and speaking in tongues ceased with the apostles and the completion of the canon of Scripture. In the minds of its adherents, they only served as launching pads for the spreading of the Besorah (Gospel) and as affirmations of Elohim’s (God’s) revelation. However, to their credit, these Cessationists do believe that Yahweh still occasionallydoes miracles today, such as healings or divine guidance, so long as these ‘miracles’ do not accredit new doctrine or add to the New Testament canon.

Classical Cessationism ExpoundedWhat should be emphasised is that the Classical Cessationist allowance of miracles, healing and divine guidance is different than the Continuationist one. A Cessationist can allow the presence of Elohim’s (God’s) supernatural guidance of the Messianic Community (Church), but not through special chosen nevi’im (prophets) or healers. In this view, Elohim (God) can perform occasional miracles and healings, but as a result of a prayer, and not as a result of a work of special chosen nevi’im (prophets) or healers. Richard Gaffin, John F.MacArthur and Daniel B.Wallace are perhaps the best-known classical Cessationists.

Radical Full CessationismFull Cessationists argue that along with no miraculous gifts, there are also no miracles performed by Elohim (God) today. This argument, of course, turns on one’s understanding of the term, ‘miracle.’ Proponents of this view worth mentioning are B.B.Warfield, John Gresham Machen, and F.N.Lee. [1]

The Importance of ConsistencyBefore we get into a deeper study of this important subject it’s important that we understand the following: consistency is the hallmark of emet (truth), its outward sign and demonstration; and that which is inconsistent is false by definition. I am sure nobody here will disagree.

Observations and Common Sense Reading of ScriptureThat said, let me make some practical observations. If you were to lock a brand-new Christian or Messianic in a room with a Bible and tell him to study what the Scriptures have to say about healing and miracles, he would never come out of the room a cessationist. No one ever just picked up the Bible, started reading, and then came to the conclusion that Elohim (God) was not doing signs and wonders anymore and that the gifts of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) had passed away [2].

The True Origin of CessationismI suggest that the doctrine of cessationism did not originate from a careful study of the Scriptures but rather from personal experience. By that I mean that men and women who did not have these gifts, for whatever reason, invented the doctrine of Cessationism in order to ‘explain’ why they, and others of like mind, were not getting them in their own personal experiences, especially those in leadership positions.

Being a Cautious ContinuationistI like describe myself as a ‘cautious Continuationist’. I am cautious because I agree, 90 per cent of the time, with the critcisms made by Cessationists of modern charismatic Continuationists. The reason I support these Cessationists is because I do not believe the charismatic phenomenon is a continuation of New Testament Christianity but of occultism and paganism. Their erratic jerking and shaking, their uncontrollable laughter, their claims that they have been ‘slain in the spirit’, their claims to the prophetic gift, and their claim to tongues is far more like the experiences in Hinduism and occultism than that of the first messianic Community (Church).

Phineas QuimbyThe heretical practices we see in the charismatic movement can easily be traced back to those who first introduced them. Phineas P.Quimby (1802-1866), the ‘Great Grandfather’ of the Prosperity Gospel that is the hallmark of charismatic ‘Christianity’, was the father of ‘New Thought’, a student of occultism, hypnosis and parapsychology. His theoretic formulations served as the basis for ‘Mind Science’ of the ‘Christian Science’ cult founded by Mary baker Eddy and of the later ‘Word of Faith’ movement.

Essek KenyonNext in line in this dark spiritual genealogy that led to the charismatic movement was Essek W.Kenyon (1886-1948), the ‘Grandfather’ of the Word of Faith or Prosperity Movement. He taught that ‘God’ created by speaking faith-filled words and that we are to do exactly the same. He taught that human beings took on the nature of Satan after the Fall and so forfeited to him their divine dominion, making Satan the legal‘god’ of this world. He taught that Yah’shua (Jesus) died not only physically but spiritually too and that health and wealth are obtainable by the believer’s own positive confession. He had ties to metaphysical cults (‘New Age’ and ‘New Thought’) and attended Emmerson College of Oratory.

Kenneth Hagin and OffspringFinally we come to Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003) who, through his influence Benny Hinn, Jesse Duplantis, Rodney Howard-Browne, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, Joseph Prince and many others in the modern charismatic movement, who like occultists propagate the satanic lie made in the Garden of Eden to Eve that men and women are ‘gods’, became the ‘Father’ of the Word of Faith or Prosperity Cult in our own day and age.

Word of Faith HeresiesYou need to know why we must be exceedingly careful of Continuationist churches and ministries and their claims to possess the supernatural gifts of healing, miracles and tongues. They teach, amongst other things, that Adam was an exact duplicate of Elohim (God) – a ‘mini-god’, that after his fall Adam’s godhood’ was transferred to Satan. In consequence of this, they claim, ‘God’ lost His legal ‘right’ to the Earth and was banished from it, making Satan the ‘legal god’ of this world. Finally, they claim that when a person is saved, he regains his godhood and that the evidence of this is his ‘speaking in tongues’ so-called.

The Problem with False ContinuationistsNow you can understand, I am sure, why a Cessationist would tenaciously hold to his position in the light of such heretical claims because to many Cessationists these false ‘gifts’ are abounding, not because these people have simply been seduced by false spirits but because they are trying to ‘continue’ these gifts, which have permanently expired, and as a result of denying Cessationism are inviting in these false spirits with all these false tongues, miracles and healings plus all the non-biblical manifestations like making animal noises, having spasmic fits, laughing uncontrollably, collapsing on the ground and so on. So there’s a double problem here.

Giving Authentic Continuationists a Bad NameThe charismatic cult gets worse and worse and more and more blasphemous, year after year, as lies are piled on top of lies. Since the leaders are usually mega-rich and have acess to the media, they are the main body of so-called ‘Christians’ claiming to represent Continuationism whom the public ever hears about. As a result, they get a bad reputation for authentic Continuationists like ourselves who reject their heresies and to our our Messiah – and the first apostles – who were undeniably Continuationists and who taught that all the apostolic gifts would be needed until the Body of Messiah was perfect…which very obviously clearly it currently is not:

“It was He (Yah’shua/Jesus) who gave some to be apostles, some to be nevi’im(prophets), some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare Elohim’s (God’s) people for works of service, so that the body of Messiah (Christ) may be built up until we all reach unity in the emunah (faith) and in the knowledge of the Son of Elohim (God) and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Messiah (Christ) (Eph.4:11-13, NIV).

Why Cessationism is ImpossibleSo I must ask you candidly: Has the whole Body of Christ (Messiah) reached unity in the faith, in the knowledge of Messiah? Has it become mature? Has it attained to the fullness of Messiah? Patently not. What about a denomination or a group of believers? Can you name any group of believers that has attained to this goal? I challenge anyone to point to any group that has attained such unity of perfection. Any group who says they have I would declare to be liars. It’s so ridiculously obvious that the Body of Messiah has not attained to this goal of echad unity that by default we haveto declare – if we believe this to be Scripture – that we are still in need of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers! There is no other way you can understand this Pauline admonition. And there you have the problem of the Cessationists because they not only don’t have apostles and nevi’im (prophets) but they deny they will ever be needed again, all the while maintaining that unity will somehow happen without them. Therefore they can never come to the fullness. Therefore I cannot, in all good conscience, become a Cessationist, because I am accutely aware of my imperfection and the need for these ministries.

Classical PentecostalsThat forces us to become Continuationists. Since we cannot become charismatic ‘continuationists’ since they are so obviously not only not Christian but anti-Christian in their doctrines and practices, what shall we do? That leaves us with one other major group of Continuationists, the ‘classical Pentecostals’ who might be called ‘moderate charismatics’ since they by and large do not espouse all the heretical teachings and practices I cited earlier. They are nothing like modern charismatics, but can we trust them?

True Supernatural Gifts of the Pentecostals?The trouble with Classical Pentecostals and modern Charismatics is that they still share some common false doctrines about the gifts. We cannot fault either for, broadly-speaking, being ‘Continuationists’, but are what they continuing the true spiritual gifts?

The Shared Tongues ErrorThere are many indidivual Pentecostals whom I highly esteem and have great respect for. I have good friends who are Pentecostals. And I know of many Pentecostals who do exercise the genuine supernatural gifts of healing, prophecy and tongue-speaking from time to time. The Pentecostal Movement does, sadly, have a bad record when it comes to failed prophecies, temporary healings and false tongues…like their off-spin, the charismatics. Both Pentecostals and Charismatics agree that every true believer must speak in tongues in order to witness true salvation, a teaching that is contrary to Scripture which Cessationists correctly point out:

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Ruach (Spirit) is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Ruach (Spirit) the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Ruach (Spirit), to another emunah (faith) by the same Ruach (Spirit), to another gifts of healing by that one Ruach (Spirit), to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between (discerning) spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues (languages), and to still another the interpretation of tongues (languages). All these are the work of one and the same Ruach (Spirit), and He gives them to each one, just as He determines” (1 Cor.2:7-11, NIV).

Tongues is Only For SomeHere the apostle (a genuine apostle) maintains that not everybody is given the gift of tongues which plainly means – without disputation – that speaking in tongues cannot be a sign of being truly saved or being baptised in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Paul made it clear that Yahweh distributes the spiritual gifts according to His sovereign will. Nowhere does Scripture insist that all believers must speak in tongues but only “some” and this is also true of the gift of miracle-working and healing.

The Purpose of TonguesFurthermore, we are told elsewhere – and I don’t want to get into details today as there isn’t time – that no more than two or three may prophesy or speak in tongues at a time, that those who manifest these gifts can immediately stop at will (they are not ‘possessed’), and that an interpreter of tongues (a separate gifting) musttranslate into a language everyone else can understand. Furthermore, tongues is only given to convert unbelievers and is not for the benefit or pleasure of believers. It’s purpose is evangelism. It is not a ‘private prayer language’ given for anyone at all, let alone everyone. We know the gift was grossly abused at Corinth (the only place named where it took place) and that Paul had his hands full correcting an immature and egotistic congregation that lusted after ‘showy’ gifts for their own pleasure. You can study this phenomenon out thoroughly on our gift of tongues website where you will learn that the ‘tongues’ spoken were contemporary languages, not gibberish. Indeed, as you will also learn on that website, many Pentecostals and Charismatics have sometimes been caught speaking bona fide languages but not for the edification of the congregation – they were unknowingly CURSING their brethren and sisters!

Tongues and OccultismAs we all know, the devil can counterfeit almost anything, including tongues, healings and miraculous signs. And he does, a lot, and not just in pagan settings but in Christianity and Messianism too. That is why I say this ministry is cautiouslyContinuationist because quite honestly I don’t think most of what we see going on in the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches is authentic and I don’t think we yet see very much in terms of genuine apostolic ministry. I believe the charismatic manifestation of tongues is either of the flesh or inspired by devils. I was watching Sid Roth the other day ‘teaching’ people to speak in tongues and it was a farce, a veritable infantile babble. Indeed, I am more and more of the opinion now, and the more so as the doctrines these people teach show themselves to be occultic, thatmost charismatics are not even saved and are not therefore ‘Christians’. They resemble pagans with a Christian veneer. And since they are the ones who most advertise the showy gifts (prophecy, tongues and healing) I would rather call myself a ‘classical cessationist’ than say I am an unconditional ‘continuationist’ and so inadvertantly acknowledge these false manifestations.

All the False PropheciesI do believe that in the coming Judgments of Yahweh most of these false manifestations are going to be exposed. You have only to consider all the false prophecies issued by these groups to know that something is seriously wrong. Think of all the false ‘rapture‘ dates that have been issued. And with few exceptions, these people never apologise for their false prophecies alone admit that they might have been deluded by false spirits, let alone consider why they were susceptibe to such delusion. Even worse, they are usually unprepared to consider themselves candidates for judgment:

“…they refused to love the emet (truth) and so be saved. For this reason Elohim (God) sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the emet (truth) but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thess.2:10-12, NIV).

Admitting You Were DeceivedTheir problem is not so much that they have been deceived…for we have all been deceived at sundry times…but because they lack the humility, and therefore the spirit of repentance, to admit that they might have been wrong and been operatating in the ‘counterfeit’ Holy Ghost all their lives as believers! It’s a shocking admission to make especially when what you have experienced is supernatural which of course is demon-power is.

Immaturity and EntitlementTheir refusal to comply with Scripture and insistance on teaching doctrines radically opposed to Scripture demonstrates at a very foundamental level that they are notChristian or Messianic ‘Continuationists’ at all. What then are they doing in the real world? Like those first Israelites they continue to sin against Yahweh, they rebell against Him, they willfully put Him to the test, they demand what they are not entitled to like immature and undisciplined brats, they speak against the true Elohim (God) and ‘expect’ Him to do this and that for them as though they were divine (Ps.78:17-19). Does this not remind you of that satanic attitude of entitlement that modern man has? They believe they own something they do not, and this makes them cocky and arrogant.

Kenneth Copeland Claims to Be GodConsider what charismatic Continuationist Kenneth Copeland (who is now endorsing Roman Catholicism) pretending to be a ‘prophet’ and relaying a supposed ‘message’ from his ‘Jesus’ said:

“Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you are God…They crucified Me for claiming I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God. I just claimed that I walked with Him and He was in Me. Hallelujah. That’s what you’re doing”[3].

Joel Osteen’s False DoctrineCan you understand why Cessationists are scared to sin as these wicked ministers do? These men and women believe they are equal in power to ‘God’ because they believe they are ‘little gods’ themselves. Joel Osteen once said:

“Why did God take away his speech? It’s because God knew that Zachariah’s negative words would cancel out His plan…See, God knows the power of our words. he knows that we prophesy our future. And He knew Zecharaiah’s own negative words would stop His plan” [4].

Satanists and TonguesNow it is perfectly true that ‘tongues’, at least not the sort practiced by Pentecostals and Charismatics, are not unique to Christianity. Tongues can be practiced in an ignorant, ungodly manner (1 Cor.13:1) – satanists and devil-worshippers do it regularly. Indeed, they infiltrate Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches and prayer raw demonic tongues in their worship and prayer sessions, cursing the cingregation, and they remain undetected. Why? Because the source is the same.

Interpreters Must Always Be PresentWe know that when in public, an interpreter must always be present and must interpret (1 Cor.14:28). In other words, you can’t just spout something and not have it rendered into plain English for all those present to hear it (in countries like the USA, UK and Australia, for example).

When Tongues are a Sign of JudgmentWorse, from the point-of-view of the Pentecostals and Charismatics, tongues are often a sign of judgment!

“Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. In the Torah (Law) it is written:

‘Through men of strange tongues (languages)
and through the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people,
but even then they will not listen to Me’,

says Yahweh”

    (1 Cor.14:20-21, NIV; cp. Is.28:11-12).

The Indictment of the Immature and DisobedientBy means of this contrast in the tongues controversy, Paul was inditing those disobedient and immature qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) at Corinth for being ‘unskilled amateurs’ in connection with this gift because they were the opposite of what Paul admonishes:

“They were experienced in evil, but lacking in wisdom. Yet, mature understanding was especially essential for proper comprehension and use of the gift of tongues, because the conspicuous and fascinating nature of that gift made it so attractive to the flesh. He was asking his readers to put aside emotion and experience, along with the desires of the flesh, to thyink carefully about the purpose of tongues” [5].

The Judgment on Unbelieving JudahBut the second part of the citation I gave you is especially interesting and important. In a paraphrase of Isaiah 28:11-12, Paul then explains that centuries earlier Yahweh had predicted that one day He would use men of other tongues, that is, foreigners speaking unknown languages, as a sign to unbelieving Israel who would refuse to listen to Him. These “strange tongues” are what they knew as the gift of languages, given solely as a sign (in this context) to unbelievers in Israel. That sign would have three components: cursing, blessing and toqef (authority). To emphasise the cursing, Paul quoted Isaiah’s words of warning to Judah of the judgment from Assyria. The leaders thought his words were too simple and rejected him. The time would come, the navi (prophet) Isaiah said, when they would hear Assyrian, a language they could not understand, indicating judgment. Jeremiah spoke in a similar way of the Babylonians, you may recall, who were also to come and destroy Judah (Jer.5:15). When the apostles spoke at Shavu’ot (Weeks, ‘Pentecost’) in all these foreign languages (Ac.2:3-12), the Judahites should have known that the judgment prophesied and historically fulfilled, first by the Assyrians and then by the Babylonian captivity, was about to fall on them again for their rejection of the Messiah, including the destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70) as it had happened in 586 BC under Babylonian power [6].

Judgment of the False Tongue-SpeakersWhat I am trying to say, in a rather roundabout sort of way, is that judgment is coming against the false tongue-speakers for mocking Yahweh – who claim to be the children of Abraham by emunah (faith):

“Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham” (Gal.3:7, NIV).

The Counterfeit Giftings Brought to JudgmentBy their false tongue-speaking and failure to obey Torah they demonstrate that they are not the “children of Abraham” but of the flesh, at least in major part. By the exercise of all those false gifts, they discredit true Continuationism and impede the rise and advancement of the Kingdom of Messianic Israel. Therefore all these counterfeit ‘giftings’ must be brought to judgment! It cannot be avoided. Then those who have the true gifting will be heard and believed, and true apostles and nevi’im(prophets) will be seen, heard and further arise. Those who have falsely taken to themselves the titles of ‘apostle’ or ‘prophet’ will be ashamed and be forced to relinquish them as they must if they are to repent, or otherwise deny Christ and reveal who their god truly is. No unclean thing can dwell in Yahweh’s presence where true apostles and nevi’im (prophets) must reside. All false works must be brought to judgment.

Arising of the True GiftI know a lot of people who have seen the error of their ways in regard to tongues particularly, and have stopped its practice, because they have been convinced of the emet (truth) and sensed the impending mishpat or judgment. Others have vacilated but most insist on clinging onto their fleshy gift. Only after all this has happened can the true gift of tongues arise which is the supernatural ability to speak in a foreign language which one has not learned. This gift is both for evangelism and judgment! Only when the false prophecies are denounced and rejected can the true ones be heard and acknowledged as from the Messiah of Israel.

True Teaching Must Come FirstWhich brings us to the ‘least’ of the offices in Paul’s list, namely the teachers: only when the emet (truth) is taught, when sound doctrine is given out from the assemblies by true teachers, can true pastors, true evangelists, true nevi’im(prophets) and true apostles be once more raised up in the Remnant. Not before! First the rotten vegetation of false teachinghas to be cut down so the fresh saplings can grow up and mature in fresh soil in the Last Generation.

A Sign of Judgment TooNow it is true that the Cessationists use this perfectly valid understanding of the first Messianic Shavu’ot (Weeks, ‘Pentecost’) as a sign of judgment on the nation of Judah but where they err is in denying that the supernatural foreign-language speaking was additionally a part of the divine witness to unbelievers. It must have been else it would not have continued beyond that Assembly in Jerusalem in the early part of the Book of Acts when tongues of fire appeared on the heads of the believers which I am sure you will agree was a positive thing bespeaking an anointing that was to be taken forwards and onwards to the ends of the earth and until the end of the age. And that is why tongue-speaking continues afterwards, to be later abused by the Corinthians which in turn required the apostolic correcting of Paul. The Cessationists tell only half the story whilst the charismatic Continuationists deny that tongues at ‘Pentecost’ were a sign of judgment.

Unbiblical, Irration and Boring?One young Continuationist minister summarises Cessationism as “unbiblical, irrational and, quite frankly, very boring” [7]. I suppose that is to be expected of those lawlesscharismatics who live for the happy-clappy, exciting and emotional/psyche-driven kind of religion that they are famous for. And whilst, it is true, a lot of Cessationist churches are very boring and lifeless, that is not true of all of them. Besides, we do not adhere to the Besorah (Gospel) in order to be entertained by noisy and frankly (more often than not) very worldly music but because we want to know that we are right with Elohim (God). Yes, there is absolutely a place for exuberent, joyful and happy worship, but not at the expense of emet (truth) or purity.

A False DichotomyHaving been around both Cessationists and Continuationists all my life, I simply do not accept the false theological dichotomy that has evolved between Baptist-like and Charismatic-like churchianity. I identify existentially with aspects of both but not exclusively with one or the other. Yes, a lot of Cessationist churches are boring but not because they have avoided the Holywood-type of Christianity (which I frankly find fleshy and repulsive) but because they are missing out on so much of Yahweh’s reality.

The Demise of Deliverance MinistryDeliverance ministry is almost unheard of in Cessationist churches leaving millions afflicted by their demons. By contrast, the Pentecostal/Charismatic Continuationist churches who claim to be doing deliverance are, in many cases, have no clue what they are doing and have made exorcism another kind of psychic entertainment. The two represent two extremes and both are doing damage to the Body of Messiah, with one group left to languish unhelped under spiritual oppressions and the other just ‘playing exorcist’, often times casting out one lot of demons only to have another lot replace them. And so long as both operate lawlessly outside of Torah, they are walking in disobedience.

Giftings Not a Matter of Personal ChoiceI absolutely believe in all the spiritual gifts and that obedient emunah (faith) is what gives a believer the toqef (authority) to exercise them according to Yahweh’s calling to him or her. We cannot choose our giftings. We cannot ‘decide’ to be an ‘apostle’, ‘speak in tongues’, ‘prophesy’ or ‘heal’ someone, and it doesn’t matter that supernatural activity is going on if it is UNCLEAN. Demons are more than willing to put on a show of ‘tongues’, ‘prophecy’ or ‘healing’ and demons are more than willing to convince scared believers, and those hidebound by the traditions of men, that all of these gifts passed away with the first apostles. BOTH ARE WRONG…and dangerously so.

First Purity, Then the AnointingMany Continuationists who see the errors of both the Cessationists and the counterfeit charismatic Continuationists nevertheless get ahead of themselves and fall into other pits of their own making. I have done it myself. We must wait on Elohim (God) while continuing to exercise emunah (faith) in all the gifts just as the first talmidim (disciples) did in Jerusalem before the events of the first post-resurrection Messianic Shavu’ot (Weeks, ‘Pentecost’) happened. The Shavu’ot Messianic Community or Church is today passing away and is being replaced by the Sukkot one but before the latter – which is the Remnant of Bride – can receive her anointing, SHE MUST FIRST BE CLEANSED in both doctrine and in person. Yahweh will not send new apostles or the fullness of the gifts until the Bride is pure, submitted, humble and teachable.

Must Be Called As Aaron WasThe reason I do not allow anyone to call me anything more than a ‘pastor’ is not because I have not had the apostolic, prophetic and other giftings from time to timebut because neither I nor anybody else is ready for such an office full-time. I have had an anointing for deliverance ministry when it has been needed, I have prophesied when it has been needed, and so forth; but I know within my own being that I am not presently called into the office of an apostle or a navi (prophet) or anything like that because these offices have not apparently been restored yet. My first calling, consistently, has been to be a teacher and a preacher, and whilst I may from time to time be called upon to preside over many congregations like a ‘bishop’, it has never been a permanent office. We must all wait and be faithful stewards in what we knowabsolutely we have been called to and what others can testify of. No man can presume to appoint himself to anything, he cannot “take[] this [priestly] honour upon himself; [but] he must be called by Elohim (God), just as Aaron was” (Heb.5:4, NIV; cp. Ex.28:1).

Be Careful What You Call YourselfSo in one respect the Cessationists are correct for now for I do not believe that anyone has been called beyond the offices of a Pastor or an Evangelist for a very long time. So Baptists, in the main, have been right (though for the wrong reasons). However, to dogmatically say that that state of affairs must remain forever is notscriptural and is itself presumptuous. Those going around calling themsemselves ‘apostle’ or ‘prophet’, or possessors of ‘mighty anointings’ or falsely exercising unrestored biblical giftings are, as a result, operating under false spirits and ought to be dead scared. I would be! I would be shaking in my boots! For Yahweh is going to shake those pedistals upon which men (and not a few women) are sitting upon, basking in their own glory while falsely claiming to give glory to Yahweh.

Parable to the PresummptuousWe need to soberly remind ourselves of the parable Yah’shua (Jesus) gave to the presumptuous:

“When [Yah’shua/Jesus] noticed how the guests picked the places of honour at the table, He told them this parable: ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honour, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honoured in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted'” (Luke 14:7-11, NIV).

Brethren and sisters, do you want to be humiliated, and maybe even punished, by the living Elohim (God) for presuming a calling or an office which He has not appointed you to? And whilst I do not want anyone to in any degree deny what having Messiah in you means in terms of toqef (authority) in your own personal life or in your family, I do absolutely want you to seriously be willing to serve in the place of least honour in the Kingdom so that Yahweh may exalt you by the by and not have to pull you down a few rungs when you get carried away by your own self-importance. We have the living Messiah in us by emunah (faith) and we live out that emunah (faith) by being obedient to the mitzvot (commandments) both because we love Him and also to be ready on call by Him at any time.

Stepping Down and Going Silent for a WhileRight now, we need to get ourselves and our families in order. That is critical. And if we are part of a congregation, the leaders in those congregations need to get their ecclesiatical house in order too. Beyond that, there are some lone ‘John the Baptists’ in varying degrees of preparedness with different degrees of anointing occasionally operating in the prophetic – and there are Torah-teachers doing the same…in various degrees of preparedness and with different degrees of anointing. More than likely those prophesying and teaching will have to periodically go silent by stepping downfrom their offices in order to get further cleansed.

Patience in WatchfulnessAs the first talmidim (apostles) awaited for the Shavu’ot Anointing in Jerusalem, so in our day we too must await for the final end-time Sukkot Anointing, whether it be given a little at a time or all in one go, only Elohim (God) knows. We are, as one minister pointed out, “still in the watch season for the first century signs” [8] and must be patient in our watchfulness. Let none step ahead of Yahweh and be rebuked.

ConclusionMay the grace of our Master Yah’shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be with you all until we assemble again in two days for the Rosh Chodesh message. Amen. Endnotes

[1] Wikipedia, Cessationism
[2] Jack Deere, Surprised by the Power of the Spirit (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan: 1993), pp.54,99
[3] Kenneth Copeland, ‘prophecy’ recorded in BVOV magazine, Vol.15, No.2: 1987
[4] Joel Osteen, Discover the Chamption in You (TBN, 3 May, 2004)
[5] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee: 2005), p.1601-1602
[6] John MacArthur, ibid., p.1602
[7] Micael Grenholm, Why Cessationism is Unbiblical, Irrational and Boring
[8] Bob Schlenker, Watch Report, October 27, 2016

Acknowledgements

[1] Charles Powell, Questions Cessationists Should Ask: A Biblical Examination of Cessationism. This is a thorough study and well worth the read

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