Author: William Shifflett

Perry Stone and the Book of Remembrance

Perry Stone and the Book of Remembrance

Tennessee evangelist Perry Stone has an unusual teaching series. He asserts that a person’s name must be written in Malachi’s book of remembrance in order to qualify for the rapture. The verses cited for support are these:

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.” -Malachi 3:16,17

For those who don’t know what link there might be between Malachi and the rapture, it is found in the words, “And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.” The term or “rapture” concept, says that, just prior to His second coming, Jesus secretly returns to whisk His faithful followers away from the tribulation judgments. They meet in the air according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, thus being spared the horrors of the tribulation.

The case for this point of view seems strengthened by Jesus’ words to the church of Philadelphia.

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you (spare you) from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Revelation 3:10

Or,

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape (be spared of) all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36

Two more passages from the book of 1 Thessalonians round out this list.

“To wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us (spares us) from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10

“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9

The hour of trial, and the wrath of God are in most people’s point of view, the tribulation period. In the book of Revelation Jesus unseals the scroll releasing the wrath of God upon the earth. Since the verses above convey the sense of being spared from tribulation, it is easy to see how Stone reaches his conclusion. But the case is not as clear cut as it seems.

First, while God’s wrath may be intensified in the tribulation, it’s not limited to that period. Romans 1:18 says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against,…” and Paul goes on to list examples of the manifestation of that wrath which is currently occurring. Consider also Psalm 7:11. “God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day.” (NIV) So the wrath of the Lamb need not be restricted to a future tribulation period.

What about the implications in Revelation 3, and Luke 21 about being protected or spared the terrible events? How can we explain them? Let’s begin with Revelation 3:10. “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

The key word here seems to be keep. It should be noted that “keep from” need not necessarily mean “take from” which would be required if indeed the church were to leave the earth during the tribulation. One could argue that a play on words is at work, “you have kept,.. I will keep” both words being the same in the Greek. The context is perseverance. Is the issue, you have kept my word to persevere so…

  • I will take you where you will no longer need to persevere,

or is it

  • I will continue to empower your perseverance.

The Greek word for keep, “tereo,” is often used that second way. For example, in His departing prayer Jesus says, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” John 17:15. This could easily be the thought of Revelation 3:10. A perseverance through tribulation, rather than a taking from it. This is especially instructive in that the Church of Philadelphia is long gone. But the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ remains upon the Earth.

Luke 21:36 helps reinforce this conclusion. “Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things.” Understanding hinges on the meaning of “counted worthy to escape.” How is one counted worthy? Does escape have a literal or figurative application here?

Again, escape need not mean we are being taken somewhere to be protected from the tribulation judgments. In Christ we have escaped the condemnation which brings those judgments. The phrase counted worthy is difficult, found only three times in Scripture and once with a different word in the most reliable manuscripts. Yet the idea that counted worthy means achieving some level of rapture meriting godliness undermines the concept of grace. A more likely meaning is that we demonstrate our imputed worthiness by enduring troubles and afflictions, including those which are viewed as characteristic of the tribulation. This is also known in reformed circles as persevering grace.

One cannot deny Stone’s creative imagination, though he would no doubt credit God with this so-called revelation. However, the one book the Bible clearly mentions our names being in, is the Book of Life. The idea of another listing in a second book, simply isn’t Biblically credible.

Does The Bible Teach A Transfer Of Wealth From The Wicked To The Righteous?

Does The Bible Teach A Transfer Of Wealth From The Wicked To The Righteous?

One of the key verses used in support of this doctrine comes from Proverbs 13:22 which says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” From this verse with a few other unrelated verses tossed in proponents argue that God is going to give the church this wealth in the last days. What can we say in response?

First consider the similarity between what this verse says and how Jesus approaches the concept of giving. Jesus says, “lay up treasure for yourselves in heaven.” When we give we are storing up riches in heaven. But we won’t have access to those riches until we actually get to heaven. The wicked on the other hand are not setting aside for eternity and that is the contrast we should draw. In Luke 12 Jesus shares a parable that conveys this same idea. Those who are laying up treasure in heaven will benefit in the end. Those who are not will see all they have done pass out of their hands.

“Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ‘ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-22

The teaching rises from a fundamental flaw that argues that ALL Christians should be rich. In my Beware the Wolves book I examine the claims of a book entitled “The Millionaire from Nazareth.” Its central assertion? Jesus was wealthy, we should be too. The book is flawed from front to back.

Like the MFN wealth transfer teaching fails to consider several factors. First, wealth is a subjective measurement. Bill Gates is wealthy to me, but to a Haitian who makes about $90 per year, I am Bill Gates.

Second, since the standard of wealth is so subjective and varying, what standard should we use when speaking of God making us prosperous?

Third, the teaching fails to recognize that only in America and other developed countries can the wealth we enjoy even be contemplated. The average daily wage on planet earth is $2. Daily—not hourly.

Finally and most serious, is the absolute mishandling of Scripture to support the position. Transfer advocate Larry Huch, uses a passage of Scripture from James 5 to validate the claim that ALL Christians should be (not could be which I agree with wholeheartedly), should be rich. Yet James 2:5 says that God chose the poor to be rich in faith (not wealth). Jesus rebukes the Laodicean church which had come to such a place of financial strength that they lost the sense of their need for God.  Revelation 3

Finally Larry Huch himself says that this so-called transfer of wealth happens when the Lord returns not before. In speaking of the James 5 passage Huch says:

“Now it is extremely important that you understand what God is saying here, because this is the key to the end-time transfer of wealth. ‘The cries of the reapers [workers/laborers] have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.’ I think many times people mistakenly read this ‘The Lord of the Sabbath’ But the word is Sabaoth which means ‘leader of a great army or mass.’ In the very last days when the Lord comes for His glorious bride, who will be without spot or blemish, there will be no poverty or sickness. We will cry out to the Master Avenger, and He will take the wealth from the wicked, those who have kept it back wages by fraud, and put it into the hands of the righteous.” (10 Curses that Block the Blessing, p.98, emphasis mine)

I hope that you can see the contradiction. The whole purpose of Huch’s book is breaking curses including the one preventing financial abundance. Yet in trying to bring this liberty he says it doesn’t happen until Jesus comes, when by the way we will no longer need it. Huh?

I will conclude with one striking question. If the prosperity teachers believe God is going to take the wealth of the wicked and give it to the righteous why do they keep asking the righteous for money????

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