A Voice in the
January 17, 1999
God speaking through dreams? (follow-up to Q/A 'Jesus' visions)
Of course, the prophecies of Daniel, and most of the O.T. prophets were based on dreams. In fact, God instructed, "Hear now My words. If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD will make Myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream. (Nu12:6) But of course, the -false- prophets also rely on dreams as God says, "I have heard what the prophets said, who prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. (Jer23:25)
Recently in communication with a friend the question came up as to whether dreams/prophecy are valid for today. A well-know person has been prophesying certain things about America's coming downfall, etc.
The criteria for discerning a prophet of God from a false prophet, based on the dreams and 'predicting' future events, is 100% accuracy. "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not follow nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You shall not be afraid of him." (Deu18:22) In this way we know that entities like Toronto-Vineyard and Nostradamus which can only boast 70% are -not- of God.
Another criteria is "agreement with Scripture." For today, everything needed -already- has been given. The "faith" [doctrine] has been delivered. (Jude3) And thus, if someone comes along with a "new revelation" ...if it doesn't agree with Scripture, EVEN IF that source is an "angel from heaven" that message and messenger are "accursed." (Gal1:8-9) Many of these same entities which spend a lot of time prophesying the future, also "receive revelations" of "new doctrine." These doctrines do -NOT- agree with Scripture. They are -NOT- of God.
When a person has an out-of-body experience and is told to preach "love" and that "repentance is not necessary, because we are all 'God's children'", such a message is contradictory to Scripture. It is -NOT- of God. When a person has a vision, and there is lust, sensuality, and in some cases, actual "love making" ...that is -NOT- of God. It is contrary to God's laws regarding adultery and fornication. In cases where the person -thinks- it's 'Jesus' they are fornicating with ...it is -NOT- because Jesus would not do that. He said about heavenly matters, "they neither marry nor are given in marriage." (Mt22:30)
Throughout Scripture dreams and visions are an integral part of God speaking to mankind. But we also know that satan uses the same means to spread his lies. When we consider that everything we -need- has already been given, there is not really the necessity for such messages like was the case when mankind didn't have written/printed Scriptures. Thus, anything that comes along in these [last] days must be scrutinized VERY CAREFULLY.
Dreams and 100%?
This opens the subject of subtle differences in God's prophecy. While there is "prophecy" in which God says, "so-n-so is GOING TO HAPPEN" ...such as the coming of Messiah, His death, the downfall of satan, judgement, Millennium, new heavens and new earth, etc.etc. ...those things did/will not change. They were or will-be 100%
However, God also made "promises." In Deut 11:26-28 the "blessing and curse." God promised, "if you do good...I will bless you." And "if you do evil...I will scatter you among the nations." etc.etc. They were "conditional" promises...much as any responsible parent does with a child. And those -were- fulfilled, just as God promised, just as Israel lived.
God promises wrath upon man's disobedience. And most of that will come to pass, because most of mankind will not repent. But inherent in God's promises is -always- His grace and pleading, "As I live, says the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Eze33:11) This verse is to Israel. 2Pet3:9 is to "any/all" mankind. God promises wrath...but throughout Scripture is His "condition" that repentance brings about His grace and mercy.
However...these -conditional- promises are not the same as -foretelling-the-future- kind of "prophecy." The 100% accuracy is in the latter... which is what Deu 18:22 is talking about... "..follow nor come to pass..." For example, "there are going to be ?? years of drought" or "you-fill-in-the-blank"
Knowing God's mercy, wouldn't it be obvious that Nineveh/Jonah fit into God's -mercy- category? All that is recorded is Jonah saying, "in so-many days, this place is going to be destroyed." We don't know if he also spoke the words, "unless you repent." ...or, if God intended for him to say those additional words. It's possible God did, and Jonah didn't... judging by everything else about Jonah. See what I mean..? Jonah's rebellion, anger, and possible -incomplete- message did not change God's mercy. God is always -faithful-. If we do not believe Him [and thus disobey], yet He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself [and His character and fulfilling His own purpose]. (2Tim2:13) He "declar[es] the end from the beginning, and from the past things which were not done, saying, My purpose shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure..." (Is46:10)
Gambling in Scripture?
[Ed: The following question had too many -personal- family details, and was next-to-impossible to edit sufficiently. But I don't think we've ever touched on this subject directly, before. So, I'll just post the answer here... and let you -imagine- the question..]
Gambling essentially entails a person submitting money to some entity in the hopes that, by "chance" there will be a big "pile" to return, for him doing, otherwise, absolutely -nothing-. This might include horse/dog racing, lottos, and various casino games; and on a smaller scale, the office pool/s, bingo, etc. On a more "innocent" level, what about "I bet you ??? dollars that ??? -will-happen-." And the other says, "You're on!"
First of all, gambling is driven by a -lust- for money. Paul writes "For the love of money is a root of all evils, of which some having lusted after, they were seduced from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1Tm6:10) This word "love" comes from a word meaning "avarice". In other words, an overexcessive greed and covetousness for money. 'Gotta have it at all costs.' Covetousness is called "idolatry." (Col3:5) Paul speaks that those in authority in the assembly should not be "greedy of ill gain." (1Tm3:3,8,Tit1:7) KJV uses a more 'colorful' expression, "filthy lucre."
And why is this so? "He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house..." (Pr15:27) This is usually what we see. A person who cannot afford it, puts money he doesn't really have, on a 'long-shot.' And when he looses, the bills don't get paid. Mortgage companies foreclose on defaults. And in worst-case scenarios, when mobster thugs get involved looking to be repaid for those "loans", bones get broken and people get murdered.
Paul said this, "For even when we were with you, we commanded you this, that if anyone would not work, neither should he eat. (2Th3:10) There is nothing like an honest day's work. God had ordained, "in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground.." (Gen3:19) Thus Paul exhorts, "do your own business and...work with your own hands.." (2Th3:11)
As for the stock market...I will admit ignorance in these things. As I understand things, there can be a benefit to 'wise' investments as one takes care of that which he has worked to earn, much as a person would put the money in a bank for safe-keeping at interest. The stock market is not necessarily a "long shot" if one chooses his investments wisely. However, even in that, in modern times it seems like many people pin all their hopes on it as a "get rich quick" scheme. I know of people who sit at their computers, much like a person plugging money into casino machines, and they "play" the stock market...and that's -all- they do. Such stuff would seem to me to be awfully risky...although this latter is my personal opinion.
In running a business, however, there is a certain amount of 'healthy' risk. All of life is a risk. A farmer plants seed and he doesn't know but what there will be a drought that year. The "sluggard" is condemned for not even getting out there and trying, (Pr6:6) and for being lazy and not even "plowing". (Pr20:4) But the "virtuous woman" is praised for her business acumen. (Pr31) And the servants who had made profit were lauded with "well done, good and faithful servant." (Mt25:21,23) There is obviously a certain amount of "risk" and -HARD WORK- involved in making a profit.
But, to boast one's life on -chance- or personal predictions or hunches... "gambling" (as we understand the word)... James exhorts, "Come now, those saying, Today or tomorrow we will go...and make a profit, who do not know of the morrow. For what is your life? For it is a vapor, which appears for a little time, and then disappears. Instead of you saying, If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that. but now you boast in your presumptions. All such boasting is evil." (Jas4:13-16)
No choice -but- to sin?
There is no such thing as "no choice BUT to sin."
"No temptation has taken you but what is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but with the temptation also will make a way to escape, so that you may be able to bear it. (1Cor10:13)
God does not allow an "impossible" situation...where we "have no choice." That was Adam's excuse...the "woman made me do it."(Gen3:12) We DO have choices. God knows what our "personal limits" to endure are.