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Joseph Prince's "Vision Sunday" Blind to Biblical Literacy

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The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. - Numbers 14: 29-30 (NKJV)

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you, - Numbers 15: 1-2 (ESV)

But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. - Obadiah 1: 17 (ESV)

I have always maintained that while Rick Warren has done the most damage to the cause of Christ through the social reengineering of the design God has for His church, Joseph Prince remains the most dangerous preacher alive today. Primarily for two reasons. The first is that 80% of what he says is absolutely correct. So unless you really do your work as a Berean it is easy to fall prey to the other 20% that will send you right to hell. The second reason is that the errors are exactly what our flesh wants to hear. We all want to hear that we do not have to worry about the laws of God in our lives. That our sins do not matter to God. That God is a never-ending stream of puppies and rainbows. It is for these two reasons so many remain spellbound by Prince and his teachings. I have debated and discussed theology with many adherents of false teachings but none are as biblically incoherent and spiritually apathetic as those that follow this false gospel of grace that Prince peddles. As the years have worn on, Prince has had to expand deeper into the Word to try and prop up his false gospel so the theological errors become far more easier to spot for someone who is testing everything. His goal is to always scratch the itching ears of his listeners with his false gospel premises that the laws of God are irrelevant in the lives of believers and that every biblical instance that may seem wrathful is really just being misinterpreted. He once preached that the flood was an act of mercy because God so loved mankind. This is what happens when you approach the Bible to prop up a conclusion you have already reached. That is what Prince does every week, while claiming it is direct revelation from God. Apparently, 2016 will be no different:

The above link is to a sermon Prince gave last week called "Possessing Our Possessions." This was "Vision Sunday;" the latest scam from the Seeker-Friendly Industrial Complex where the Pastorprenuer pretends to have heard directly from God regarding the upcoming year. To get to his thesis point, he abuses the above three sets of Scriptures to say what he wants to say, not what God has actually said. The first set of verses is after Israel sided with the bad report of the ten spies who advised to not go into the Promised Land. This is a story that most Christians should know well. God had already promised them a land flowing with milk and honey. When they finally got to the borders of that land they sent out 12 spies. Joshua and Caleb said they should go into the land because God had promised them the land. They sided with their faith in the God they served. The remaining ten spies however advised not going in because there were giants in the land.

So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, "The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them." - Numbers 13: 32-33 (ESV)

Forgetting what God had promised they instead saw themselves as grasshoppers. They spread a bad report and the people sided with the grumblers instead of what God had promised. To say the Lord was displeased is an understatement. The Bible says He initially was going to strike Israel with pestilence and disinherit them! This chapter actually makes it abundantly clear that God intended to wipe the entire nation out and start over with Moses! This presents a problem for the sunny-funny god Prince sells. So what he does is so subtle here that it bears some time analyzing it. He takes the NKJV of 14:30 because it uses the phrase "no means" and contrasts it with 15: 2. The point he strives to make is that chapter 14 represents the means of man and 15 represents the grace of God. Huh? There is nothing in this text to support this as Prince is engaging in word games to prop up his false gospel once again. Here are the verses from chapter 14 from a far more reliable translation:

your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. - Numbers 14: 29-20 (ESV)

The issue at hand had nothing to do with the "means of man." What Prince leaves out is that Moses interceded for the people and God relented. God even says that He relented because Moses specifically asked. But He was still angry and His decision was that none of the Israelites except Joshua and Caleb would ever see this Promised Land they had rejected. That is actually what the chapter 14 verses refer to. Not one shall come into the land. They would all wander in the wilderness until the entire generation would die. Somehow, Prince tries to spin a yarn about this being a story about grace when it is really a story about faith and the price for not having faith. Never to let the Bible get in the way of his theology, Prince tries to over dramatize the fact that one chapter later God is again saying "the land you are to inhabit" after having just said "by no means." This is tricky in its deception because the point Prince omits is the people God is referring to in chapter 15 are not the same people in chapter 14. Those who showed no faith will all die by the time God allows Israel to enter "the land you are to inherit" in chapter 15. This is a major point because it reveals the deception of Joseph Prince who is selling the notion that in Chapter 14 Israel was relying on man so God said they would never enter and in 15 they were relying on God so in His grace He reverted back to His original promise. No mention of the entire generation wiped out and dead in the wilderness. Instead, Joseph revels in his false point exclaiming, "What a God!" Yes, a God who will hold us to account if we do not have faith in Him! From a typology standpoint, this is the same way salvation works. Yet there is Prince drawing a completely false dichotomy with these verses by selectively choosing a translation that uses the word "means" to say that chapter 14 shows that everything left to the means of man fails and yet in chapter 15 he declares it is "about God, His goodness, His love, His faithfulness - if it's on God you will come into the land!" Makes for a heck of a sound bite but it is not what God is saying at all and in fact ignores the overall point about faith and the wrath of God. This would all be bad enough but the pivot Prince now makes is so inexcusable and blatantly false. That pivot is to directly cite the third key verse from the Prophet Obadiah:

But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. - Obadiah 1: 17 (ESV)

After transitioning to this verse without any contextual connection, Prince declares that "In 2016 it is time for God's people to enter the land and possess their possessions!" Huh? Where in the world did Prince get that from? The answer is from his wickedly deceitful heart because it certainly is not what God is saying for 2016 or any other year. Beloved, I know it is difficult to follow Prince sometimes but stay with this. Did God divinely inspire the Prophet Obadiah 500 years after Israel finally entered the Promised Land and almost 3000 years before this Prince sermon so that we would know that His vision for us in 2016 was to enter the land and possess our possessions? That is beyond the point of absurdity. Yet this is Prince's "Theme of the Year 2016!" Now, who exactly was Obadiah and why is his record in the canon of Scripture?

Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament, only 21 verses long. Scholars believe it was written around 840 BC and serves as a prophetic condemnation and judgment upon Edom. Who was Edom? The Edomites come from the lineage of Esau. If we remember our Old Testament, Esau and Jacob had more than a strained relationship and that strain lasted for a thousand years. It is also what caused the Edomites to refuse to allow the Israelites to cross their land during the Exodus. This unrelenting pride is the sin to which God now holds them to account for. Included in this promise of destruction for Edom is the promise of restoration for Zion in the last days when the land will be delivered back to them and God will rule them. That is what the key verse is referring to beloved. It is a prophetic declaration of something that still has not come to pass yet! To Joseph Prince however, mugging this verse to sell temporal goodies to his flock is somehow acceptable. It is Israel that will once again possess their possessions when God returns in His glory at the end, not the congregation of New Creation Church and those fortunate enough to be listening to his "Vision Sunday" message for 2016. Well what's the big deal preacher? Glad you asked. There are large problems when people engage in this brand of assault on the Bible.

The first problem is what really ought to bother us as believers and that is accepting someone lying about what God did and did not say. I am constantly amazed how little Christians seem to care if someone is lying about something their God did or did not say. How quickly do we get upset if someone dares to lie about something we may or may not have said, but God? Tied up in this of course is the actual message God wanted to convey is completely butchered and lost. Beloved, the short Book of Obadiah is not only a glorious reminder of the deliverance of the Lord but it also serves as a foreshadowing of the second coming of Christ and the role of His church. One could glean practical applications from it such as the dangers of spiritual pride, our role in helping people in the greatest of need, and overcoming through faithfulness in God our deliverer. Instead, Joseph Prince rebrands the Bible to fit his false gospel. To pretend that this one verse from 840 BC means God is saying to you today the following:

"It is yours! It was bought for you by the precious blood of God's only son! He gave his life for you! It has your name on it! There's a healing package with your name on it! There's a family well being package with your name on it! A protection box with your name on it! All paid for by the blood of Jesus for 2016! But God is telling you to possess your possessions! - Joseph Prince

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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