Sunday, December 24, 2017

FOUR INCREDIBLE NAMES THAT REVEAL WHO JESUS REALLY IS

One of the most clear and compelling revelations of who Jesus is, was declared 600 years before His birth by the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah revealed His identity by applying four compound names to the coming Messiah. The names are “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” and “Prince of Peace.” 
The Significance a Name
In the ancient near East, the name of a person was bound up with that person’s very existence. Parents chose names for their children that embodied their hopes for those children. A change of circumstances or a change of character often called for a new name to express the change that had taken place. In Gen. 17:4-5, for example, God changes the name of Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude) to reflect the change that has occurred in his faith and circumstances. In Gen. 32:28 God changes the name of Jacob (supplanter) to Israel (Prince of God) to reflect the change that has taken place in his life and character.
God Himself revealed His person and character to Israel by the use of names. Names like Yaweh-Jireh, the LORD our Provider, and Yahweh Rophe, the LORD our Healer, revealed the God of Israel as a personal, caring God in whom Israel could put their trust.
Isaiah Names the Coming Messiah
Isaiah 9:6 is a Messianic prophecy and Isaiah’s use of these four compound names make a powerful statement concerning the identity the Messiah. Inherent in these Old Testament names of the Messiah is the revelation of His Deity. Understanding the significance of names, those first readers of Isaiah’s prophecy must have shaken their heads in wonder at the name of their coming Messiah.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end (Isaiah 9:6-7a).
Wonderful-Counselor
Although “Wonderful” and “Counselor” are often spoken separately, most Biblical scholars agree that the two words actually belong together to form one of the compound names of the Messiah. The word “Wonderful” is translated from the Hebrew word pelẽ and refers to that which is marvelous and breathtaking and causes astonishment in those who encounter it. The word “Counselor” is from the Hebrew word yaas, which means to advise or counsel in regards to plan and purpose. What an incredible name! And what an incredible blessing to have this One whose name is “Wonderful Counselor” as our personal counselor and guide.

Mighty-God

“Mighty” is from the Hebrew word gibbor and refers to greatness, power and strength. It was often used as an adjective to describe successful, victorious warriors. It was also used as an adjective for Deity. “God” is a translation of the Hebrew word “El” which was a common generic word for God and literally means “great one” or “mighty one.” It was often joined with other words to form a compound name for God, such as El-Shaddai, commonly translated as “The Almighty,” and El-Elyon, commonly translated as “The Most High.” Wonder of wonders! This “Child” that is to be born is actually gibbor El, the “Mighty God.”

Everlasting-Father

“Everlasting” is from the Hebrew word ad, which refers to time without end or eternity. In Isaiah 45:17 it is translated as “forever and ever.” “Father” is translated from the Hebrew word ab, which, in the Old Testament, referred to a father or protector. From ab came abba, the word Jesus commonly used in addressing God. Abba was a term of endearment, such as Papa or Daddy, and was only used by children in the Jewish household. What a clear picture of the Incarnation. This “Child” that is to be born will be none other than the eternal God, the “Everlasting Father.” 

Prince-of-Peace

“Prince” is a translation of the Hebrew word sar, which refers to a person of authority such as a chief, captain, governor, or ruler. “Peace” is a translation of the Hebrew word shalom, which is usually translated as peace, but has connotations far beyond an inner sense of tranquility. It means completeness, fulfillment, wholeness, and indicates the complete mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and financial well being of a person. Jesus did not come to just take us to heaven some day. He came to bring us shalom, wholeness, blessing, and fulfillment. He has become the Prince (captain or master) of our shalom. Hallelujah!

Conclusion

Jesus told Peter that He would build His church on the revelation of who He is (Matt. 16:15-18). Now you know who He really is. Wonder of wonders! The babe born in Bethlehem is the Almighty God and Everlasting Father. No wonder angels sang, wise men worshipped and shepherds stood in awe. This is Immanuel, meaning "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). Now we understand why Thomas, when he saw Jesus in His resurrected form, exclaimed in awe, My Lord and my God (John 20:28). 
Have you acknowledged who Jesus is and put your faith in Him as your own personal Lord and Savior?  Do it now!

You can make contact with Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt at www.eddiehyatt.com or dreddiehyatt@gmail.com.


Monday, December 11, 2017

THE CHRISTMAS ANSWER FOR ALL OUR IMPOSSIBILITES

When the angel Gabriel announced to the virgin Mary that she would conceive in her womb and give birth to a Son who would be called the Son of the Highest, she was perplexed and amazed, and replied, How can this be, since I do not know a man (Luke 1:34)?
“I do not know a man” was a euphemism for her virginity and the fact that she was not married. Since she had no intimate relationship with a man, what the angel had said was an impossibility, prompting her response, How can this be

In other words, she acknowledged her own inability to make the promise happen. A vision from God will always be bigger than we are and cause us to wonder, “How can this be?”
The answer the angel gave Mary for her impossibility, is also the answer for all our impossibilities. He said, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you (Luke 1:35; MEV). It is the Holy Spirit and His empowering presence that will turn our impossibilities into realities.
We Must Have a Two-Fold Confession
I cannot tell you how many times in over 40 years of ministry I have experienced the Holy Spirit turning an impossible “how can this be?” into a reality. For example, in the early days of my ministry I made a decision that put me in a serious financial bind. In the natural, there was no way out.
However, as I acknowledged how much I needed Him because of my own human weakness, the power of the Holy Spirit came upon me and something miraculous happened. As I acknowledged both my weakness and His faithfulness, a clear directive came to my mind, one that I would never have considered on my own. I obeyed, and the need was abundantly suppled, with an excess left over.
Yes, it is important that we speak words of faith and acknowledge Christ’s redemptive work for us, but that is only one side of the coin. We must also acknowledge our need of Him because of our human frailty.
This is what Jesus was referring to when He said, Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). My paraphrase of this passage reads, Blessed are those who realize how much they need God, for theirs is the kingdom and power of heaven.
Paul Learned this Lesson
Paul learned this lesson and expressed it very cogently in II Corinthians 12:7-10 where he tells how God spoke to him a powerful principle that we must all learn. In regards to a very trying situation, God said to Paul, My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
The word “strength” in this passage is from the Greek word dunamis, which is translated as “power” in passages such as Acts 1:8. The word “perfect” is from the Greek word teleos, which refers to an end, goal, or destination. A more accurate translation of this verse would be, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is maximized in your weakness.
In other words, when God looks for a person to carry out a task or assignment, He does not tap the person who is self-confident and whose response would be, “No problem God, I can handle that.” No, God chooses the person who has no confidence in their flesh and whom He knows will have to lean hard on Him. He looks for those whose response will be like that of Mary, “How can this be?”


Based on this understanding of God’s power being maximized in human weakness, Paul says in 12:9b, I will rather boast in my infirmities [weaknesses], that the power of Christ may rest upon me. The word “rest” in this verse is translated from the Greek word episkenose. It is a cognate form of the same word the angel used in speaking to Mary when he said, The power of the highest will overshadow you (Luke 1:35).
Walk in Integrity in 2018
Interestingly, Paul says that he will boast in his weaknesses, so that the power of God will overshadow or rest upon him. Paul is not talking about being negative or wallowing in his weakness. He is speaking about walking in integrity. He is talking about being real and transparent. And when he lives in integrity, admitting how much he needs God, the power, or dunamis, of God overshadows him and rests upon him.
Do we want the power of God resting upon us in the coming year? Then let’s be people of integrity. Christian leaders, do you want God’s power overshadowing you in 2018? Then forget about trying to enhance your profile and public image. Instead, be real with the people. Acknowledge how much you need God and watch Him vindicate you with people you have been trying to impress.
We can build and accomplish much in this world in our own human strength, but only that which is brought forth under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit will last for eternity. I pray that in 2018 the church worldwide will learn the lesson Mary learned, that it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that our impossibilities will be turned into realities and the kingdom of God advanced in the earth.

Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian, Biblical scholar and ordained minister. He conducts "Revive America" events throughout the nation helping this contemporary generation reconnect with its radical Christian roots. His books on revival and reformation are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com

Thursday, December 7, 2017

COMPELLING HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST

Believing in Jesus Christ and His miraculous birth does not require the so-called “blind leap of faith.” In fact, there is as much evidence for the virgin birth of Christ as any event of ancient history. Here are 5 compelling reasons for believing that Jesus Christ was supernaturally born of a virgin.
1. Documented by a Physician & World-Class Historian
2. Confirmed by Modern Archaeology
3. Confirmed by an Agnostic Professor
4. Predicted by Old Testament Prophets
5. Believed Universally by the Earliest Christians
1. Documented by a Physician & World-Class Historian.
At the beginning of his Gospel, Luke indicates that he has made a thorough investigation of the things about which he is writing, which included his utilization of eyewitness accounts. He spent extended periods of time with Paul in Jerusalem and Judea and would have had the opportunity to interview those who were closest to the event, including Mary herself.
Luke gives the most detailed account of the Nativity and mentions Mary 12 times, more than any other biblical writer. In addition to the birth of Christ, he also gives special, detailed attention to the birth of John the Baptist and many see his gynecological interests to be a result of his training as a physician.
There is no reliable information on how long Mary lived, but some traditions say she lived as much as 24 years or longer after the resurrection. The detail Luke presents does indicate that he has derived his information from a primary source, either Mary herself or someone to whom Mary had relayed the intimate details of the event.
At one time, it was thought that Luke had completely missed the boat concerning the events he portrayed surrounding the birth of Christ (Luke 2:1-5). Critics argued that there was no census and that everyone did not have to return to their ancestral home. They also pointed out that Josephus had dated the governorship of Quirinius of Syria, whom Luke mentions, as beginning in A.D. 6, too late for the birth of Christ.
In every case, however, archaeological discoveries have proved the critics to be wrong. In the case of Quirinius, it was found that he actually served two separate terms as governor, the first beginning around 7 B.C., which fits perfectly with the time of Christ's birth. F. F. Bruce, one of the most respected of New Testament scholars, noted that where Luke has been suspected of inaccuracy by modern critics, archaeology has again and again proved Luke to be right and the critics wrong.
The accuracy of Luke as a historian was confirmed by the famous historian, A.N. Sherwin-White, who carefully examined his references in Luke/Acts to 32 countries, 54 cities, and nine islands, finding not a single mistake.
Sir William Ramsay, who spent years in Asia Minor following and examining Luke's account of Paul's travels, wrote in The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, "You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian's and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment."
Challenging the claims of critics that the story of the virgin birth was based on a hoax, the noted Greek scholar, Professor John A. Scott, reminded the naysayers of Luke's reputation as a historian. Pointing to his attention to detail and accurate reporting, Scott declared, "You could not fool Doctor Luke."
2. Affirmed by Modern Archaeology.
Luke's status as a world-class historian, accurate in even the smallest details, has been brought to light by modern archaeology. For example, Sir William Ramsay, considered one of the greatest archaeologists of all time, originally thought he would scientifically discredit Luke's accounts by visiting and examining the places mentioned in his Gospel and Acts.
Ramsay was a student of the skeptical, German higher criticism of the 19th century and he taught that the New Testament is an unreliable religious treatise written in the mid-second century by individuals far removed from the events described. But after years of retracing Luke's account of Paul's travels and doing archaeological digs along the way, Ramsay completely reversed his view of the Bible and first-century history.
Ramsay became convinced that Acts was written in the first century by the traditional author, and he acquired a very high regard for Luke as a historian. He wrote,
Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense; in short, this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians.
In 1896, Ramsay began publishing his discoveries in a book entitled St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen. The book caused a furor of dismay among the skeptics of the world, for its affirmation of the biblical record was totally unexpected.
Over the next 20 years, he published other volumes showing how he discovered Luke to be accurate in the tiniest details of his account. The evidence was so overwhelming that many atheists gave up their atheism and embraced Christianity.
Archaeology has, indeed, affirmed the Biblical record again and again. As William F. Albright, the renowned archaeologist and late professor of Semitic languages at John Hopkins University, wrote, "Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and brought increased recognition to the Bible as a source of history."
The evidence begs the question that if Luke was this careful to get his facts right about names, places, events and dates, can we not be confident that he was just as careful to get his facts right concerning the more important things about which he reported, such as the virgin birth of Jesus Christ?
3. An Agnostic Professor of Mythology is Convinced.
C. S. Lewis was the agnostic professor of Renaissance literature at Oxford University, a prolific author and a recognized expert of mythological texts. He too had bought into the idea that the Bible was not a book of reliable history and that the New Testament was filled with all sorts of mythical stories, created by individuals far removed from the events described.
But through the influence of his childhood, and friends who challenged his atheism, Lewis began to read the Bible. He was astounded at what he encountered in the Gospels, for it was obviously a different genre from the ancient mythologies with which he was so familiar. His surprised response was, "This is not myth!" Lewis went on to become a dedicated follower of Christ and perhaps the most significant Christian apologist of the 20th century.
At the time, higher criticism was being popularized in German seminaries. Certain theologians, such as Rudolph Bultmann, were claiming that the New Testament accounts of the virgin birth of Jesus, His miracles and His resurrection were myths created by His followers.
Lewis challenged these theologians, saying, "I would like to know how many myths these people have read!" He went on to explain that he had been a long-time professor and critic of mythological literature and knew how a myth sounded and felt. "And the gospel story," he said, "Is not myth!"
4. Predicted Centuries in Advance by OT Prophets.
Genesis 3:15 reads, I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.
These words were spoken by God to the serpent after the fall of our first parents. The "seed of the woman" in this passage is an allusion to a future descendant of Eve who will defeat the serpent and reverse the curse brought on by his deception.
The Bible normally speaks of the seed of men, but in this case it is the "seed of the woman." This is a prophecy that clearly anticipates the future virgin birth of Christ—a birth in which the seed of a man is not involved. The Methodist theologian, Adam Clarke, wrote in The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments with a Commentary and Critical Notes, "The seed of the woman is to come by the woman, and her alone without the concurrence of man."
According to this prophecy, the "seed of the woman" will receive a temporary wound from Satan—"you will bruise His heel"—but the "seed of woman" shall inflict on Satan a final and mortal wound—"He will bruise your head." This Messianic promise was fulfilled through the virgin birth of Jesus and through His death and resurrection.
Isaiah 7:14 says, Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. The Hebrew word translated "virgin" in this passage is almah and refers to a young woman of marriageable age, but would normally include the idea of virginity, since that was expected of a young Jewish woman being married for the first time.
That "virgin" is an accurate English translation is confirmed by the Septuagint, which uses the Greek word parthinos to translate almah. Parthinos specifically means a young woman who has never had sex with a man. Parthinos is the word used by both Matthew and Luke in their description of Mary, affirming that she was a young woman who had never had sex with a man when Jesus was born.
Further evidence that Isaiah 7:14 is a Messianic prophecy referring to Jesus Christ is indicated by Isaiah's statement that he shall be called Immanuel, which means "God with us." This is a clear statement concerning the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, and reminds us of the words of Gabriel to Mary that the Son she will bear, will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest (Luke 1:32).
5. Believed Universally by the Earliest Christians.
That the virgin birth was universally believed by the earliest Christians is verified, not only by the Gospel record, but also by The Apostle's Creed. The Apostle’s Creed is an early confession of faith that dates from the second century and was used throughout Chritendom. By including the virgin birth in their creedal statement, these early believers made clear that they considered it an essential doctrine of the Faith. The Creed reads in part:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary (emphasis added).
This earliest belief in the virgin birth was confirmed by the Nicene Creed of A.D. 325 and has continued to be the belief of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christians everywhere.
Note the words of the 18th century hymn, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," written by Charles Wesley, an Oxford graduate and Anglican minister, and with his brother John, the leader of the great Methodist revival. Because of the references to the virgin birth, this hymn became a popular carol sung at Christmas:
Christ by highest heav'n adored, Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come, offspring of a Virgin's womb!
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail the incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Emanuel!
Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King!
Conclusion
With such overwhelming evidence for the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, it raises the question as to why there remains so much skepticism about this event and other miracles recorded in the New Testament. This question was answered in The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Yale archaeologist and professor, Millard Burrows, who said, "The excessive skepticism of many liberal theologians stems not from a careful evaluation of the available data, but from an enormous predisposition against the supernatural."
In other words, the barrier to faith is not an intellectual one, but a heart that is committed to unbelief. Believing in Christ does not require a so-called "blind leap of faith. Any honest seeker who will lay aside their biased presuppositions and consider the historical evidence will also experience the affirming witness of the Holy Spirit in their heart and will know that Jesus was truly born of a virgin. And if that part of the story is true, then we can have confidence that the rest of the story is true as well.
Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, biblical scholar and ordained minister. His latest book, The Charismatic Luther, is available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com

Sunday, December 3, 2017

THE MISSING WEAPON IN OUR SPIRITUAL WARFARE ARSENAL

What are we missing? In spite of our talk about taking cities for God and pulling down demonic strongholds, American culture has seriously deteriorated over the past twenty years. While we have gloried in our mega churches, our great revivals and our new apostolic church order, crosses and Christian symbols have been systematically removed from public places, prayer has been further outlawed, morality has plummeted and same-sex marriage has become the law of the land.
Something is obviously missing in our approach to spiritual warfare, and our methodology for impacting a nation. I am convinced that the missing key is found in II Corinthians 10:4-5, which reads,
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God . . . (MEV).
A New Belief System is a Must
The Greek word translated “imaginations” in this passage is logismous, from logos, and refers to a message rather than a specific thought, word or saying. The NKJV and NIV translate logismous as “arguments” and Marshall’s Greek-English Interlinear translates it as “reasonings.” Logismous is, therefore, a way of thinking, a belief system or worldview.
The Greek word for “casting down” is kathairesin and is a very intense word. It means “to take down” or “demolish” or “dismantle.” In Luke’s account of Paul’s ministry in the pagan, idolatrous city of Ephesus, it is obvious that he focused his attention on dismantling the false belief system by which Satan held the populace in his grasp.
Paul’s Modus Operandi in Ephesus
Luke says that Paul spent two years “reasoning daily” in a public lecture hall known as the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9-10). The word “reasoning” in this passage is from the Greek word dialegomenos and it means to “dialogue” or “reason.”
This indicates that Paul gave time and space for people to comment, challenge and ask questions about his message. He did this because he knew that if there was to be ultimate change in their lives, they would have to acquire a new way of thinking—a new worldview or belief system.
It is thus clear that a vital part of Paul’s spiritual warfare arsenal was dismantling or “casting down” belief systems. That is why he would dialogue with these pagans for several hours per day, every day. It was not enough for them to come forward, repeat a prayer and fill out a card. They must be given a whole new way of thinking.

This is what Peter was referring to in I Peter 3:15, when he exhorted his readers to always be ready to give a “defense” to anyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in you. The word “defense” in this passage is translated from the Greek word apologian and refers to a “well-reasoned reply” or a “thought-out response” to a question or challenge. 


Only by owning a coherent, Biblical worldview can we fulfill this admonition: And only by articulating and propagating such a worldview will we see transformation on a local and national scale. Great music and feel-good sermons will not suffice; there must be a change of thinking with a completely new, mental template that is Biblical and Christian.

Interestingly, Luke makes no mention of Paul utilizing any of the modern, popular methods of spiritual warfare. There is no allusion to any demonic principalities over the city, or of Paul dealing with a Diana spirit. There is no mention of warfare intercession or of warring angels. Although these things may have occurred, Luke’s account reveals that Paul focused his time and energy on imparting a new belief system.
Paul knew that the stronghold by which the Ephesians were held in bondage was a false belief system. Only a new way of thinking—a Biblical way of thinking—would free them from Satan’s grasp. This is what Jesus was referring to when He said in John 8:31-32, If you continue in My word, you are My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.
Where We Are Falling Short
This is where we are missing it in the modern charismatic movement. We do not seek to dismantle the false belief systems by which people are held in bondage. In fact, with our seeker-friendly, celebrity approach to “church,” we tend to completely avoid challenging people’s belief system for fear of offending them or losing their approval.
For example, I was very disappointed to hear a nationally known pastor dance in circles when asked by a popular TV icon if Jesus is the only way to God. Instead of challenging her worldview with truth, he dodged, swerved and avoided giving a straightforward answer to such a simple question.
I have heard other leaders decline to give an answer when asked about their views on cultural issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. It makes one wonder if they have a Christian worldview with which they are comfortable and committed. It is time for the church to arise, speak the truth in love and dismantle the false belief systems that are ruining this nation and the world.
Martin Luther Dismantled a Belief System
We just celebrated the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation. In my book, The Charismatic Luther, I show how Luther boldly dismantled the belief system of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, and thereby changed the world. He accomplished this by relying, not on entertainment, concerts and feel-good sermons, but on the power of the gospel message itself. He recovered a Biblical worldview.
In later life, when asked how he, a simple monk and teacher, had been able to have such an impact when opposed by both the pope and emperor, he replied,
I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. The Word so weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.
The Results Could be Staggering
Paul’s commitment to truth paid off. As a result of his “reasoning daily” in the idolatrous city of Ephesus, a great exodus from Diana to Jesus occurred, so much so that it affected the economy of the city. Miracles began to occur. With their pagan worldview having been dismantled, multitudes brought their books of magic and sorcery and burned them publicly in a large bonfire. The value of the books burned amounted to about 5.5 million dollars in modern currency.

Yes, it is time for the church in America to awaken and realize that our ultimate purpose is not to be accepted and liked by modern American culture. Our job is to dismantle the false belief systems of modern culture by preaching, singing and testifying to Biblical truth. We must use every means at our disposal.
In this regard, I am reminded of John Wesley’s statement about his brother, Charles, who was the hymn writer of the great Methodist revival that rocked the British Isles. John said, “The best theology book available is my brother’s hymnal.” In other words, Charles’s songs not only stirred the heart, but also communicated powerful Biblical truth that helped the masses acquire a Christian worldview.
Satan’s primary weapon is deception, which is why Jesus said we would know the truth and the truth would make us free. As we become truly serious about articulating and propagating a truly Christian world-view to our generation, we could see the greatest mass movement to Christianity the world has yet seen.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, historian and Biblical scholar with over 45 years of ministerial experience. His books on revival and spiritual awakening are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He presently conducts "Revive America" events throughout America by which he demonstrates how America was birthed out of a great spiritual awakening and founded on a Christian worldview. He can be contacted at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com.

Monday, November 13, 2017

DID MARTIN LUTHER HAVE A THIRD-HEAVEN EXPERIENCE?

One of Martin Luther’s first biographers, Johann Mathesius, mentions various prophecies spoken by him, which were fulfilled, and then remarks, “With many sure prophecies he confirmed his doctrine” (Hyatt, The Charismatic Luther, 29). Indeed, many of Luther’s early followers believed him to be a prophet. Even Melanchthon at one point referred to Luther as Elijah, saying, “Thus the Holy Spirit prophesied of this third Elijah, Dr. Martin Luther” (Hyatt, The Charismatic Luther, 29).
Luther Obviously Had Profound Spiritual Experiences

In his book, Luther and the Mystics, Professor Bengt Hoffman, of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, tells of a conversation in which Johann Cochelus asked Luther if he had received special revelations. Luther was silent for a moment, and then replied, “‘Est mihi revelatum,’ yes, he had had revelations.” According to Bengt, it seems that one of these was similar to Paul’s experience of being caught up to the third heaven (Hyatt, The Charismatic Luther, 30).
Like Paul, Luther was not hesitant on insisting that he had received his gospel from heaven. In his book, The Babylon Captivity of the Church, he assured his readers that the truth he was presenting, “I have learned under the Spirit’s guidance.” And when the German prince, Frederick the Wise, expressed concern for his safety after his condemnation as a heretic, Luther wrote to him that he had nothing to fear, and then said, “Your Grace knows, if not, I make known to you, that I have the gospel, not from men, but from heaven through our Lord Jesus Christ(Hyatt, The Charismatic Luther, 24-25).
He Spoke with Authority

Souer’s work in German, A History of the Christian Church, on page 406 of volume 3, describes Luther as “a prophet, evangelist, speaker in tongues and interpreter, in one person, endowed with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” And in the fourth stanza of his great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” Luther wrote, “The Spirit and gifts are ours.”
Luther’s boldness does seem to stem from personal encounters with the Almighty. This writer vividly recalls his first reading of Luther's own writings and the impact it produced. As I read The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, I was amazed at the clear, concise and bold nature of his message and said to myself, "Luther is speaking with apostolic authority."
He Kept God's Word Central

However, whatever Luther’s personal experiences may have been, these were never the subject of his preaching. He lived and breathed the Scriptures and found in them the ultimate source of his confidence and courage. When, in later life, he was asked how he, a simple monk and teacher, had been able to have such an impact when opposed by both the pope and emperor, he replied,
I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. The Word so weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all (Hyatt, The Charismatic Luther, 28).
You Talked Too Much About Yourself
I will never forget driving home one night from a meeting in which I had just preached. In the dark on the two-lane highway, I mused over the meeting I had just left and wondered aloud why I had a troubled sense in my spirit.
“It was a good meeting,” I told myself and the Lord. “People responded to the invitation and some were obviously touched and were weeping. Why am I feeling this way?” I then heard the voice of the Lord in my spirit, “You talked too much about yourself.”
Ah! What a revelation! Yes, my message was centered around myself and personal stories of my own spiritual experiences. In doing so, I had failed to preach God’s word. What a travesty!
There is a place for personal testimony, but personal testimonies must never take the place of the testimony of God’s word. God's power for salvation is in His gospel message, as Paul so clearly stated in Romans 1:16. They must hear His word! 
Luther learned this and lived and ministered by it.

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, The Charismatic Luther, available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.

Monday, November 6, 2017

THE SECRET PLACE: FINDING A PLACE OF SAFETY IN AN UNSAFE WORLD

Hardly anyone would expect terror to strike a small Baptist church in a small town in central Texas. But that is exactly what happened yesterday during the Sunday morning service at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. An individual, dressed in black and carrying a high-powered weapon, walked in the door and proceeded to slaughter 26 worshippers and wound numerous others.
This heinous act came on the heels of the tragedy in New York City involving a Muslim jihadist who killed eight people with a rented pickup he drove into a crowd of people. And don't forget the recent evil and tragic events at Las Vegas, Orlando and San Bernardino, not to mention the thousands of Christians in the Middle East that are being slaughtered for their faith. What is going on?
In II Timothy 3:1 Paul says, But know that in the last days perilous times shall come. The word “perilous” is translated from a Greek word that means “fierce,” “violent” and “dangerous.” It is the word used of the two demoniacs of Matthew 8:28 who terrorized that region until Jesus came and set them free. In other words, the violent character of those two demon possessed mad-men will be characteristic of the last days, the days in which we now live.
There are also religious terrorists who prey on the naïve and unsuspecting with their alluring doctrines and sensational claims. The New Testament refers to them as false apostles who come as angels of light and propagate doctrines of demons (II Corinthians 11:13-15; I Timothy 4:1). We certainly are living in the perilous (dangerous) times that Paul spoke about in II Timothy 3:1.
What is The Secret Place?
God, however, has provided a place of refuge and safety in this dangerous and unpredictable world. Psalm 91:1 speaks of this place of refuge: The person who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
What is the secret place to which this passage refers, and why is God here referred to by two different names? The answers to these questions provide insight into powerful truths concerning the place of safety God has provided for every believer.
The secret place is a place of personal intimacy between you and God. It is a space known only to you and God. In the ideal marriage, there is a place of intimacy, sharing, and closeness that no one else can breach. In the same way, each of us has the privilege of finding a secret place with God, a place of personal intimacy and closeness where it is just you and God.
How I Found The Secret Place
A number of years ago, I became ill and feared that I might die. To build my faith, I not only read and reread the promises of healing in my Bible, but I also poured over all the faith-building books on healing that I had ever read. As my faith grew, I found myself overcoming questions and doubts. There was, however, one final obstacle to my faith, an obstacle that I could overcome only by finding my own secret place with God.
This final obstacle to faith was tied to the fact that many of the faith-building books I was reading had been written by people who had died of sickness or who had gone through sicknesses from which they were not healed. I knew, for example, that John G. Lake, whose books had greatly helped me, had died of a stroke at the age of 64. Smith Wigglesworth, whose writings were also faith building, had endured a painful ordeal with kidney stones. He did not receive healing for the condition and finally passed them through his urinary tract in a grueling process that took 3 years.
Realities like these raised the question in my mind: “If these people of such great faith had not been healed, how could I confidently expect to be healed by God?” I struggled with this! Finally, I found my own secret place with God, and in this secret place, it was just God and I. I cried out,
Oh God, I don't know why John G. Lake died of a stroke or why Smith Wigglesworth was not healed of kidney stones, or why his daughter was not healed of deafness. I don't know why healing evangelists like Jack Coe died of polio and Kathryn Kuhlman died of heart failure. But Lord, I don't have to know! That is between you and them. This is between you and me. I am here in Your presence with Your promises. This is not about anyone else. This is just You and me and the promises you have made.
As I fellowshipped with God around His word, I found a faith that was not tied to anyone else’s experience. My faith became rooted in my relationship with Him as never before. I found my own secret place with God.
The Significance of the Names For God in Psalm 91
The first name for God in this passage is El-Elyon and literally means “The Most High God.” The nations around Israel all had their gods. The God of Israel, however, was The Most High God. In order to be in that place of safety, one must dwell in the secret place of El-Elyon. This means that our faith cannot be a derivative or reflection of somebody else’s faith. We must find our own place of personal intimacy with God and live there.
The person who finds this place of personal intimacy will abide or remain under the shadow of the Almighty. “Almighty” is a translation of the Hebrew El-Shaddai. El means “strong or mighty one.” Shaddai is derived from the Hebrew word shad, which means “breast.” El-Shaddai thus portrays God as a nursing mother nourishing her infant with her own life. What is more secure than an infant in the arms of its mother being nourished at her breast? 
Under His Covering
Under the shadow is a metaphor or word picture for “a protective covering.” The protective covering is not a pastor, church, denomination or self-proclaimed apostle. It is, instead, a personal thing between the individual and God. God Himself—El-Shaddai—will be our covering when we live in that secret place. This passage is clearly saying that the one who dwells continually in a place of personal intimacy with God will live under His protective care and be nourished and sustained by His own life.
How Do We Live in The Secret Place?
First of all, we must get rid of religiosity and approach God as a friend—with reverence, but as a real Person who wants to have a personal relationship with us.
Secondly, we must give priority to reading and studying His Word, particularly the gospels and the New Testament. Smith Wigglesworth said, "I cannot know God by how I feel; I can only know God from His word." As we read the gospels, we will get to know what God is like. Jesus is God Incarnate and as we are getting to know Him in the gospels, we are getting to know God.
Thirdly, we must worship. Someone has noted that when we pray, we are preoccupied with our needs. When we praise and give thanks, we are preoccupied with our blessings. But when we worship, we are preoccupied only with Him.
In the Secret Place We Come to Know Him
In John 17:3 Jesus prayed to His Father that His followers may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. The word “know” in this passage is the Greek word ginosko and it refers to a knowing that is not merely intellectual, but that is rooted in an intimate relationship between the knower and the object known.
This same word is used of the intimate, physical relationship between a husband and wife. For example, it is the word that is used in Genesis 4:1 that says, Now Adam knew (ginosko) his wife and she conceived and bore Cain.
This is the same word used by Paul in Philippians 3:10 where Paul says that his burning passion and ultimate goal in life is to know (ginosko) Christ. Paul wanted more than anything else to live in that secret place.
How about you? Have you found your own secret place with God? If not, I encourage you to reach out to Him today. He has promised that if you seek for Him you will find Him, when you seek for Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).
Dr. Eddie Hyatt is the founder of Revive America and the author Pilgrims and Patriots, which documents the radical Christian origins of America and how it was birthed out of the First Great Awakening. His books on Spiritual awakening and the nature of the church and Christianity can be found on Amazon. His vision for another Great Awakening can be found at his website, www.eddiehyatt.com

Sunday, November 5, 2017

HOW MARTIN LUTHER MADE CHRISTIAN UNITY POSSIBLE

I sat in a seminary class and listened as a guest lecturer bashed Martin Luther, accusing him of “destroying the unity of the church.” I decided I could not keep silent and so raised my hand.
I told the instructor that I disagreed with his assumption that the church had “unity” at the time of Luther. What the church had, I said, was a “uniformity” that was imposed by force. With the merger of church and state by Constantine in the fourth century, the church gained official, governmental status in the Empire with the power of the state now at its disposal to enforce its doctrines, claims and cause. It became an imperial church!
This is not Unity
Believing the wrong doctrine became a civil crime known as heresy, and heretics were imprisoned, tortured, beheaded and burned at the stake, all in the name of unity. One-hundred years before Luther, the Czeck priest and pastor, John Huss, was found guilty of heresy for preaching the authority of Scripture and saying that Christ, not the pope, is the head of the church. He was publicly burned at the stake. That is not unity!
Luther would have suffered the same fate if it had not been for the protection of the powerful German prince, Frederick the Wise. Nonetheless, because he too preached the authority of Scripture and that Christ, not the pope, is the head of the church, he was excommunicated. A warrant was issued for his arrest and Christians were ordered not to print or read his books, but instead to burn them. That is not unity!


Should Truth be Sacrificed for Unity?
For those who think Luther destroyed the unity of the Church, my question is this, “Should Luther have recanted at his heresy trial?” Should he have renounced his teachings on the authority of Scripture, the priesthood of all believers and justification by faith? Should he have sacrificed truth for an artificial show of unity? Is unity our goal even at the expense of truth?
By refusing to sacrifice truth for an artificial unity, Luther showed himself to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 8:31-32, If you continue in My word, you are My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Those who sacrifice truth for a superficial unity are not true disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Real Cause of the Division
No, Luther was not the cause of the division that took place at the time of the Reformation. The cause is to be found in the rigid authoritarianism of the Roman Church at the time. Hans Kung, the most widely read Catholic theologian in the world today, recognizes this. Referring to the claim of Catholic bishops to be the successors of the apostles, he wrote, “The decade long, indeed century long, predominately unapostolic behavior of the bishops was a major cause of the Lutheran Reformation.”
What Luther destroyed was not unity, but a uniformity that was imposed on the masses by force. Yet, he did not set out to do even this. He wanted to see the Roman Church reformed according to the Scriptures and the glaring abuses, such as the selling of indulgences, addressed. However, the “unapostolic behavior” of the Roman bishops, particularly the bishop of Rome, made this impossible.
Here is Real Unity
Instead of destroying unity, Luther made Biblical unity possible, for there can be no real unity without diversity. The existence of thousands of Protestant churches should not be looked upon as a problem, but a possibility. Just as a symphony orchestra is made up of many different instruments that make many different sounds, so the true church is made up of a rich diversity of individuals and churches.
What brings unity in the symphony orchestra is when all the instruments respond to the maestro and begin playing the same song in the same key and melody. The sound that comes forth is beautiful and rich because of the blend and harmony of the different instruments with their different sounds.
In a similar way, when the many different churches, Catholic and Protestant, stop playing their own song and seeking their own status and power, and begin responding to the true Head of the church--Jesus Christ--and flowing with His Holy Spirit, something beautiful will emerge. God’s power will flow, and the world will see Jesus as they have never seen Him before.
I have experienced sweet Christian fellowship with Catholics and members of various Protestant denominations around the Lordship of Jesus Christ and a common openness to the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Martin Luther, for making such Christ-centered, Biblical unity a possibility once again in the Church of Jesus Christ.

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, The Charismatic Luther, available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.