Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
April 4, 1998
Last Updated :
May 10, 2013
Berg's Prophetic Missteps, Serious Matter To Say "Thus Saith The Lord", Karen Zerby's Devilish Sex-Related Doctrines, TFI Members Engage In Necromancy Contrary To The Holy Scriptures, Danger Of Keeping Statistics, God's Interest In Statistics, God Warns Israelites Regarding Trusting In Arm Of The Flesh, Older Generation Dies In Wilderness Due To Unbelief And Sin, King David's Error: When Strength In Numbers Becomes A Snare, Deadly Census And Humiliation Of A King, God Is Not Limited By Many Or By Few, God Pares Down The Size Of Gideon's Army No Record Of Statistics Being Kept By First Century Church, The Lord Knoweth Them That Are His, Foolishness Of Boasting And Comparing Ourselves To Others, Unwise Lord Lord Group, Danger Of Using Statistics To Boast Of Our Accomplishments, Children Of God: We're Accomplishing This While You Are Not, We Are All Unprofitable Servants, Paul Warns Of An Increase In Wickedness And Deception By Evil Men, Stay Close To Jesus And His Word, Lord Maitreya Buddha And PR Man Benjamin Creme
As I pointed out in part six, while David Berg claimed to be the Endtime Prophet of God, and made a few major predictions during his lifetime -- actually, they should be classified as prophecies, being as he insisted that they came from the Lord -- his prophetic record is extremely dismal to say the least, and consists of one prophetic misstep after the other. While I am not aware of every single prophecy he ever gave, of the ones that I do know about, not one single one of them came to pass. As we saw earlier, God's true Prophet -- Moses -- told us exactly how we should respond to such false prophets and their misguided prophecies. We are to avoid such people, and to disregard what they say, because it is clearly not of the Lord.
In my view, it is a very serious matter to say "Thus saith the Lord". Personally, I never do it. Of course, neither have I ever claimed to be a Prophet of God. To claim to speak for the Creator of the Universe is something which no one should take lightly; yet so many of these self-appointed, wannabe prophets do it all the time. Have they no fear of God? As I thought on this issue, it occurred to me that if David Berg -- a.k.a. Moses David -- had lived during the time of the real Moses, the law would have mandated that he be stoned to death. Wow! Think about that all of you modern false prophets!
While David Berg may have been a wonderful teacher in regards to the Word of God -- that is, if we choose to ignore the way in which he sometimes chose to pervert its meaning in order to justify his wayward doctrines and perverted practices -- and while he may have inspired many of his followers to win literally thousands of souls to Jesus Christ, based on the criteria which we find in the Bible, there is simply no way that we can accept his claim of truly being a Prophet of God, and much less the Prophet of the Endtime.
So what about Berg's lover and successor, Karen Zerby, a.k.a. Maria, a.k.a. Katherine Rianna Smith? Exactly where does she stand as a "prophetess"? To be honest, I am not personally knowledgeable of any prophecies which may have been given by the woman. As such, I can't comment on that particular matter. On the other hand, what I can say without a doubt is that the only things which I have seen coming from her keyboard are a number of very strange, misguided, and to be frank, devilish sex-related doctrines which have no basis in the Scriptures whatsoever. If you do not know what I am referring to, let me encourage you to read my article called "Women Shepherds: The Family Sex Cult Exposed Again!" Trust me; you will be shocked and disgusted.
Speaking of the weird and strange, while I was conducting my research for this series, I also discovered that following the death of David Brandt Berg in Portugal in 1994, certain members of the cult -- I know not who at this point in time -- began to claim that they were in communication with him, and receiving messages from him. This is yet again another blatant contradiction of the Scriptures, which in clear terms condemn the practice of necromancy; that is, endeavoring to communicate with the dead. God's Word states one thing, and The Family International does the exact opposite. Consider the following verses and be warned:
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:31, KJV
"And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people."
Leviticus 20:6, KJV
"There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer."
Deuteronomy 18:10-11, KJV
"And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger."
2 Chronicles 33:6, KJV
"And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger."
2 Kings 21:6, KJV
"Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD."
2 Kings 23:24, KJV
"And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?"
Isaiah 8:19, KJV
"And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards."
Isaiah 19:3, KJV
"But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments . . . Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee."
Isaiah 47:9, 12-13, KJV
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Galatians 5:19-21, KJV
"Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."
Revelation 9:21, KJV
"And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived."
Revelation 18:23, KJV
At this point in our discussion, we are going to examine yet another way in which some churches, organizations and cults endeavor to exalt themselves above their peers. Believe it or not, but it involves the practice of keeping statistics. Now, if it is done with the right attitude, there is nothing wrong with keeping a record of certain statistics, such as who has accepted the Lord, their mailing address and phone number, etc. Such information can be useful in developing an effective follow-up program for those hungry sheep who show additional interest in God's Word, and in your work for the Lord. However there is another kind of record keeping which can quickly lead to self-aggrandizement. This is the kind of statistics which involve numbers, such as how many people have accepted the Lord, how many Gospel tracts were passed out, how many Bibles were distributed, etc.
Some people might argue, "Well, isn't God Himself interested in statistics? Didn't He instruct Moses and Joshua to perform a census of the Children of Israel on at least two occasions? Didn't King David also perform a census? Are we not told in the Book of Revelation that exactly twelve thousand members of each of the Tribes of Israel were given the Seal of God?"
All of this is absolutely true. However, a closer reading of the Scriptures will reveal that this is not the full story. Sadly, once the children of Israel realized how mighty of a nation they had become while living under Egyptian bondage, they became rather proud and self-confident. They began to look to themselves, to their own human wisdom, and to their own military might as well. In a word, once they began to grow in numbers, they also began to astray away from God. I discuss this issue in other articles such as "The Fruits of Disobedience" and "The Children of God and Politics". The Lord already knew that this was going to occur. That is why He specifically warned them in advance regarding what would happen to them in such a case, as we see by this verse:
"And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God."
Deuteronomy 28:62, KJV
The previous verse reveals just one of the many curses the Lord said He would carry out if Israel were to turn away from Him. While over six hundred thousand fighting men left Egypt -- not to mention woman, children and old people -- it may interest you to know that after forty years of wandering in the wilderness, their number remained close to the same, because the Lord had afflicted them a number of times due to their sins of rebellion and unbelief. The rest of the older generation -- everyone who was over twenty years of age at the beginning of the forty-year period -- perished due to old age and other causes, and never even made it to the Promised Land.
Concerning King David's census, as I will now explain to you, this was a serious error in judgment which resulted from the king's own pride. Even Joab -- who was the captain of David's army -- warned the king that taking the census was not of the Lord. Despite this warning from one of his most trusted men, David yielded to his pride and took the census anyway, so that he could relish in and boast of his own might, as we see by the following verses:
"For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people. And Joab said unto the king, Now the LORD thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing? Notwithstanding the king's word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel."
2 Samuel 24:2-4, KJV
After the census had been taken, David repented for having yielded to his pride. However, as a result of his desire to keep statistics so that he could boast of his own greatness, and his own military might, the Lord smote seventy thousand men in Israel, as we see by these verses:
"And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly . . . So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men."
2 Samuel 24:10, 15, KJV
What a heavy price to pay due to disobedience and pride. It is interesting to note that at some point in his life, David also authored the following verse which is found in the Book of Psalms:
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
Psalms 20:7, KJV
As another example which clearly demonstrates that God is not limited by many or by few, let's return to the story of God's hero, Gideon. It is interesting to note that when Gideon first gathered his forces to fight against the Midianites, his army numbered about thirty-two thousand fighting men. However, the Lord informed Gideon that it was too many men, and that as a result of having so great an army, Israel would no doubt try to take credit for any victory which would be wrought, as we see here:
"And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand."
Judges 7:2-3, KJV
After another test, the Lord further reduced their numbers from ten thousand men, to just three hundred men. As crazy as it may have seemed at the time, the Lord used those three hundred faithful men to defeat the Midianite army, which was so large that it could not even be numbered, as we see by the following verses:
"And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place . . . And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude . . . Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon."
Judges 7:7, 12, 8:28, KJV
Clearly then, God is not limited by many or by few. He can accomplish His purposes regardless of the number of people He has to work with. What counts with the Lord is that we are faithful to the task to which we have each been called. This is precisely what Jonathan said to his armor bearer when they went against the Philistines, as we see here:
"And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few."
1 Samuel 14:6, KJV
Continuing our discussion regarding keeping statistics, it will also interest you to know that nowhere in the Books of the New Testament do we find any mention of the Lord or His Apostles actively and continuously keeping a record of how many people had made a decision for Salvation. While there are a few general numbers mentioned, such as how many people were fed by the Lord, and how many people joined the Church on a number of occasions in the Book of Acts, we don't find any evidence of any kind of ongoing records being kept. The Lord does not need for us to keep track of such things for Him. We are clearly told that He knows and recognizes those people who belong to Him. In fact, He knows us so well, that the Lord said that even the very hairs of our heads are all numbered, as we see by the following verses:
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
2 Timothy 2:19, KJV
"But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
Luke 12:7, KJV
As we have seen from the previous example regarding David foolishly taking a census of the Israelite army, there is a subtle danger in the practice of keeping statistics which can quickly turn into a snare, and trap those people who are not wary of Satan's devices. What may start out as a sincere attempt to monitor the spiritual condition and progress of the flock, may eventually turn into a proud boast in which the church, organization or cult brags of its evangelical accomplishments. Before long, they are comparing themselves to others, which only serves to inflate their self-righteous ego even further. Let me remind you of the verses which I shared with you in part one of this series:
"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand. But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
2 Corinthians 10:12-17, KJV
To reiterate, if some of these churches, organizations and cults are keeping track of their witnessing statistics, in my view, it really amounts to a proud boast. Soul-winning for them has become an effort in self-righteous works, and their statistics are used to demonstrate how much better they apparently believe they are than everyone else. Such people remind me of the "Lord, Lord" group, whose error is exposed in the following verses:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Matthew 7:21-23, KJV
Please notice to whom the above verses are addressed. Jesus is in fact directing His words to those people who believe in Him. In other words, they are directed to Christians, and not to the unbelieving Jews. After all, most of the Jews do not even believe in His Name, and thus would not do anything in His Name. If we were to modernize the previous verses, we could very easily read them as "Lord, Lord, have we not won twenty thousand souls in thy name? And in thy name passed out one hundred thousand Bibles? And in thy name distributed over ten million Gospel tracts? Look Lord, here are our statistics to prove it! Surely we deserve to be in your Kingdom, Lord."
Doesn't that sound absolutely sickening? Tragically, I know for a fact that the Children of God cult are guilty of this very practice. They have a long history of keeping accurate statistics; and I am convinced by the evidence which I have presented in this series that their practice is at least in part a result of pride, and their desire to boast about what they claim to have accomplished. This becomes so evident when one reads some of their older publications, and sees some of the proud statements which were made in them by their false prophet, David Brandt Berg. Let's review some of them:
• Berg despised other Christians who belonged to the Jesus Revolution of the late 1960's and the early 1970's. In a taped session -- which was later converted into an actual "Mo Letter" -- he claimed that the Children of God had the only real Jesus Revolution on Earth.
• Berg claimed that the Children of God were the only nation that God recognized on Earth.
• Berg and Zerby claimed to be God's Endtime Prophets, and one could not remain a member of the cult unless they fully acknowledged this lie.
• Some members of the Children of God used to sing a song called "We Are the 144,000" until it was banned.
• Berg was convinced that both the church system and the Jesus Revolution had failed, and that the Children of God were the only ones who were really accomplishing anything for the Lord.
In light of the previous points, it is easy to understand how the subtle message which was being conveyed by their extremely meticulous statistics keeping, was "Look at us! Look at what we are doing! We are accomplishing this, while you -- meaning the rest of Christendom -- are not!" It was a proud boast. It was pure self-glorification and self-aggrandizement. The fact of the matter is that the Lord has His own set of Books; and they are much larger, more accurate, and more complete than ours could ever be. We read all about them in the following verse. Clearly, this is one Book that we all definitely want to be in:
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
Revelation 20:12, KJV
If there is one lesson that I wish to impress upon you, it is that no matter who we are, or where we are, or what we are doing for the Lord, none of us has the right to exalt ourselves beyond our measure. None of us has the right to take the credit for anything positive which may possibly result from our work for the Lord. We must all constantly remind ourselves of our lowly state. We must all constantly remind ourselves that we are nothing but dust. We must all constantly remind ourselves that we are sinners. If there is anything good about us, it is only Jesus. As the Lord said, no matter what we do for Him, in the end, we are all still unprofitable servants, as we see by this verse:
"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do."
Luke 17:10, KJV
Earlier in this series, we took a brief look at the doctrine regarding the so-called Endtime Elijah. We then examined the lives of three men -- Herbert W. Armstrong, Mark John Allen and William Marrion Branham -- who all have been claimed to be this Endtime Elijah. At this point in our series, we will now more closely examine the alleged Scriptural basis upon which the Endtime Elijah doctrine is based, and discuss other peripheral issues which are associated with our main topic of discussion.
To begin, I am going to provide a few examples of men who are undoubtedly workers of darkness; even though they have all claimed to be true bearers of the Light. These people are not just men who claimed to be Divine Prophets of the Lord. No, not by any means. These are men who actually had or have the audacity to actually boast that they are Jesus Christ reincarnated here and now. To introduce these vile vipers of the spiritual underworld, let me first share the following verses with you which were written by the Apostle Paul. You will be familiar with the first verse, being as I already shared it with you twice earlier in this series:
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;"
2 Timothy 3:13-14, KJV
Notice what Paul is telling Timothy here. As I point out in other articles such as "Lying Wonders of the Endtime" and "Age of Deception, Age of Delusion", Paul seems to be saying that these evil men and seducers, or deceivers, are going to grow in number. The word "wax" simply means to increase or to grow. The verse may also signify that these evil men are going to increase insofar as the degree of their wickedness and deception is concerned. In either case, there should be no doubt that we certainly see this very thing happening in our own time.
But then notice what Paul writes to Timothy. He basically tells him to not worry about what is going on around him, and to simply remain on the path on which he finds himself. Paul encourages Timothy to remember what he has learned, as well as from whom he has learned it, meaning of course, Paul himself. So Paul's basic message to Timothy is to keep the vision, and to not be moved, no matter how evil the times become. That is precisely what we must likewise do in these current evil times as more and more false prophets appear on the horizon. We need to stay close to Jesus and His Word. We need to keep our eyes on the Author and the Finisher of our faith, and on no one else. Period. Furthermore, we must ask the Lord to give us His Wisdom, and His Spirit Discernment, so that we can more easily recognize these deceptive snakes.
The first of these evil seducers who I am going to discuss is a man who some people refer to as Lord Maitreya Buddha. The name "Maitreya" is actually derived from the Sanskrit word "mitra". It means "friend" or "friendship". Maitreya is the name which Buddhists give to the future Buddha; that is, the fifth Buddha, according to their beliefs. This evil and deceptive false prophet would have us believe that he is the current physical manifestation of Jesus Christ. The ridiculous claim of those people who believe in this man is that he will soon reveal himself to the world as the "Master" or "World Teacher". Well, I have some news for Mr. Maitreya. Consider what the real Jesus Christ has to say:
"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Matthew 24:23-24, KJV
Supposedly, this Lord Maitreya Buddha character created quite a stir during the late 1980's when he made what some people claim was a "miraculous" appearance in a small village near Nairobi, Kenya. According to a few newspaper articles of that period, he was immediately recognized as Jesus Christ by the local people. This included the followers of an alleged local "prophetess" whose name I cannot currently remember. She may have been linked to the Roman Catholic Church. According to a number of online sources -- which I personally accept with a large grain of salt -- since that time, Lord Maitreya Buddha has secretly resided in the Asian district of London. Based on comments which have been made by his self-appointed public relations man -- and elderly Scotsman named Benjamin Creme -- Maitreya Buddha is patiently waiting for his day of revelation to the world. The Wikipedia website has this to say regarding Benjamin Creme:
----- Begin Quote -----
"He [Creme] asserts that the second coming prophesied by many religions will come in the form of Maitreya the World Teacher. Maitreya is the name Buddhists use for the future Buddha, but Creme claims that Maitreya is the teacher that all religions point towards and hope for. Other names for him, according to Creme, are the Christ, the Imam Mahdi, Krishna, and the Messiah. Creme says Maitreya is the "Avatar for the Aquarian Age" and is currently living in London since 19 July 1977.
----- End Quote -----
On several occasions, Creme has announced that the time of his master's appearance is drawing near. When this happens, it is claimed that he will transmit an important message of peace via all of the television sets in the world. In fact, according to what I have read, these people claim that even if one does not have his television set turned on, he or she will still receive Maitreya's wonderful message. It is also said that Maitreya will provide workable solutions for all of the problems which the world currently faces. This includes hunger, war and disease. Creme's people have a website where they propagate all of their deceptive garbage concerning the world vision that is promoted by Maitreya. In recent years, it appears that the Maitreya fad has been slowly dying out. Benjamin Creme will soon be ninety-one years old, so maybe once he is gone, the Maitreya myth will disappear with him.
Please go to part nine for the continuation of this series.
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