I have a dear friend that I met a few decades ago.
He takes great pride in being a “Messianic Jew“.
He came out of a very ruff environment as a youth but eventually softened and met a wonderful LDS girl and converted to the LDS Church.
Years later he became a fundamentalist Mormon and he acquired two additional wives.
After years of study he arrived at the conclusion that he had been deceived and he left Mormon fundamentalism but retained his wives.
His life has not been an easy one.
In some ways he has gone into a religious free fall and has traveled down several rabbit holes in search for greater truth.
Fortunately he has not lost his faith in God.
Although he still claims to believe the Book of Mormon, he seldom reads it any more and he does not hold the D&C in as high of esteem as he does the Book of Mormon.
He loves to study the Bible in Hebrew and he is always reading the latest book on Judaism.
Over the years we have had lots of long talks and study sessions together.
Since we are both religious fanatics and tend to be very passionate and eccentric, we have both been known to call each other between the hours of 2 and 4 AM after an all night study, to share our latest ah-ha with each other.
Mrs Watcher is not impressed with those early morning phone calls from him and his wives take my name in vain frequently as well.
Yesterday he called to chat.
He informed me that some fundamentalist friends of his that are in the Allred Group have lost their faith in the leadership of the group (thanks to him).
Since they still have a firm belief in the necessity of paying tithing, they have begun sending their tithing to the LDS Church.
When the local LDS Bishop got their tithing he was somewhat befuddled because the fundamentalists are not in good standing in the church although their children are allowed full fellowship if they renounce the beliefs and lifestyle of the parents.
The implications of the LDS church accepting the tithing from these apostates create some interesting theological questions.
Does acceptance of the money imply good standing?
Are spiritual blessings attached to the official acceptance of the tithe?
Is the Church accepting any implied obligations by accepting the money?
Do the Fundamentalists have an implied obligation to the church by sending tithing to them?
The local Bishop called the Stake President for guidance on whether to accept the money.
The Stake President called a general authority for guidance on whether to accept the money.
My friend informed me that the church has decided to accept the money.
My comment was, of course they are going to accept the money and of course the fundamentalists are still blocked from fellowship in the church. Who is going to refuse their money? They are welcome to send it to me!
During the course of the conversation the topic changed and my friend began ranting once again about the importance of the true name of God and how all of secular Christianity are rejected by God for using the corrupted name of Jesus Christ.
He went into a convoluted pontification regarding history and the Hebrew and Greek translations, and how the Catholic Church and the translators of the New Testament have corrupted the true name of God and bla bla bla.
Most messianic Jews like my friend and Johnathan Cahn and Mark Biltz prefer to use terms like Messiah, and Yahweh and Yeshua, etc., instead of the name of Jesus Christ.
Many messianic Jews like my friend really look down their nose at latter day Christians and consider their use of the name of Christ to be a perversion of the name of God or his Son.
I had heard this rant many times before but for some reason something snapped in me this time and I went postal on my poor friend. I gave him a tongue lashing that he is not likely to forget for a long time.
I told him how unfortunate it is that he has strayed so far from the word of God in his effort to become more enlightened by the philosophies of men.
In the midst of my own rant I warned him that if he is ever saved, it would only be through the name of Jesus Christ and that the holy name of Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven by which a man can be saved.
He seemed taken back by that pronouncement and asked which scripture in the D&C I was quoting.
I quickly did a keyword search to find the scripture I was thinking of.
Luckily it was from the Book of Mormon which holds much more credibility with him.
Here is the scripture I yelled at him
19 For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
20 And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err. And as the Lord God liveth that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and gave unto Moses power that he should heal the nations after they had been bitten by the poisonous serpents, if they would cast their eyes unto the serpent which he did raise up before them, and also gave him power that he should smite the rock and the water should come forth; yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.
As I read the above passages I was taken back myself by the fact that the narrative takes place 600 years before Christ and incorporates Old Testament history and theology and seems to be specifically directed to Messianic Jews as it recounts the events of Moses and ancient Israel and how they had been looking forward to the Messiah, etc., before clearly declaring the name of Jesus Christ to be the name of the Messiah and the only name under heaven by which a man can be saved.
After yelling that scripture at him in a fit if rage and in a rather unChristlike way, I followed up by stating that I agreed with him that all of latter day Christianity is in apostasy but I reminded him that according to the Old Testament, all of us apostate gentile Christians do use the proper name!
I quoted the following passage from the first chapter of Malachi showing that God has no pleasure in latter day Christianity nor does he accept our offerings because we profane his holy name, NEVERTHELESS, we do know his true name and we have made it great in the eyes of the nations. It is because we do know his true name and yet we have profaned it and have taken his word lightly and corrupted his pure gospel that we have brought ourselves under condemnation.
..I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye have profaned it..
I was screaming so loud into the phone that Mrs Watcher came running into the room to referee the fiery discussion between me and my friend.
I felt badly about yelling at my friend so I sent the following apology by email..
I am sorry I yelled whilest reading that scripture to you
Please don’t ever blaspheme, diminish, belittle or marginalize the name of Jesus Christ ever again when we speak. It will be the end of the discussion if you do.
If you are ever saved it can only be through that most holy name.
You are better than that and you should know better than that.
You have really strayed far and wide from the revealed word of God. I hope you return to his word.
I don’t want to enter the next stage of action without my favorite co-pilot
I love you brother.