Sunday, October 7, 2018

Global SITREP D4-18: Recognizing Eisegetical Teaching in Today's Church

Amir Tsarfati at 2018 Understanding the Times

7 October 2018: I need to issue a disclaimer right from the get-go so that some folks do not get the wrong idea. The posting which follows is not intended to disparage Pastor Jan Markell, Olive Tree Ministries or the associated annual "Understanding the Times" prophecy conference. All are very well-regarded by Eschatology Today and within the greater Christian eschatological community. The intent here is simply to illustrate and highlight eisegetical teaching in the church today, in this case it is the teaching presented by Amir Tsarfati one week ago the this year's conference.

Last evening I received an email from Donald Dolmus. For those who don't know Donald, he is a prolific prophecy teacher and minister (En Defensa de la Fe - In Defense of the Faith) who lives in amid the ongoing civil conflict in today's neo-communist Nicaragua. Donald translates articles by Dr. David Reagan and Bill Salus from English to Spanish. 

In that email was the above screen capture from the YouTube video of Amir Tsarfati's teaching. The subject line of Donald's email read simply "This is pure "newspaper exegesis." I searched out and watched the Amir  Tsarfati video linked above. I then slept on my reaction to the video and awoke this morning feeling a very strong urge to respond to our brother's email - not in defense of Amir Tsarfati's teaching, but in brotherly rebuke of the teaching he presented to the Understanding the Times conference.

Here, with Donald's concurrence, is my emailed response. My response was also shared with several other prophecy teachers.

"Donald, 

I understand your intended point with this, however Amir Tsarfati did not engage in "newspaper exegesis" in his monologue at Jan Markell's Understanding the Times conference last Saturday in Minneapolis. 
I say this because Amir Tsarfati clearly did not cite any media article in support of the eschatological claims he made. 

On the contrary, Amir's claims were pure eisegesis, and eisegesis is typically something a little bit worse than run-of-the-mill "newspaper exegesis" in my opinion.  Not that it's necessary, but I will explain my view.

What Amir did was issue a series of eisegetical talking points that are at their core based upon a kind of modern-day Israeli zealotry; they appear to be based upon the rather unique mindset that MIddle Eastern origin prophecy teachers are superior or more knowledgeable than those who've been brought up in the West - as if there's a different Holy Spirit interpreting God-breathed prophecy depending on where one was born and raised. In this way Amir's commentary was more ideological than eschatological. He rightly claimed not to be a prophet; that Old Testament prophets spoke as inspired by the Holy Spirit, but then lauched into several minutes of eisegetical pronouncements forgetting that interpretation of the Old Testament prophets words is by and through the same Holy Spirit. I noted that Amir did not claim ANY Spiritual discernment as underlying and guiding his words.

I quote Amir with my emphasis added:

"I can tell you Israel today is safe, secure and prosperous, and a world power."  

This is a glaring and egregious misstatement of reality. Worse - this statement outright denies Old Testament prophecy that is currently in a process of fulfillment (Asaph, Isaiah, Ezekiel - just to name a few)!  And the worst part of all this is that Amir then attempted to support his first unsupportable contention with more eisegetical contentions. These additional contentions, in and of themselves, actually serve to contradict his original unsupportable contention! 

(My emphasis again in the quote below)

"We (Israel) will not be attacked by our immediate enemies all around us - from the north, to the east, to the south. We're (Israel) not going to be attacked because of who we are - 'The name of Israel will be remembered no more' - . No! We (Israel) are now the eigth most powerful country in the world; we are the most innovative country in the world; we are the start-up nation of the world. We (Israel) even extract water from the air - you sneeze; we drink."

As can be seen, this is a prideful eisegesis as well. It completely ignores the not yet fulfilled text of Psalm 83; Isaiah 11:14; Isaiah 17; Jeremiah 49:23-27 and 34-39, as well as Ezekiel 28:24. These I believe will be the literal fulfillments that will bring about the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38:8-11 just prior to the 70th Week prophesied by the angel Gabriel to Daniel the prophet.

That Israel is currently safe and secure ignores the ongoing war between Israel and Iran and its several proxies within Lebanon and Syria. If Israel is secure then why are there several battalions of Amir's fellow IDF troops on the Golan, and opposite Gaza? Why are Judea and Samaria the scene of repeated terrorist atrocities with knives and guns? Why has the IAF launched over 200 strike missions into Syria, from Abu Kamal on the Iraqi border to Latakia in Syria? Why has Israel's PM recently threatened Hezbollah and the government of Lebanon as he did in the UN recently? Nations which are safe and secure do not engage in such things as these. You know it, I know it and especially Amir Tsarfati should know it.

Amir clearly appears to be within that peculiar group of prophecy teachers which believe and often proclaim that the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38/39 is imminently imminent. This may be a driving impetus to his eisegesis."

35 comments:

Sean Osborne said...

In follow-up, I just found a rather narcistic 2014 blog post on Amir's website (Keep Your Eyes on Damascus), which while confirming that Damascus has an appointment in prophecy, it also says that Isaiah 17:1 merely suggests this result.

To the contrary, Isaiah 17:1 boldly declares that damascus destruction and the cessation of it being an inhabited city will be so.

Moreover, why ignore all of the thirteen subsequent verses found in Isaiah 17?
Why no mention of Jeremiah 49:23-27?

Are these somehow irrelevant?

By no means, if yours is one of the nations engaged in the Syrian war, or more importantly, if you are currently living in that part of Israel previously known as Ephraim, all of those additional prophetic verses are of truly critical importance to you and your family.

They are also critical in understanding the eschatological dominoes which will fall in rapid succession thereafter.

jmoll106 said...

I don't understand the need for "prophecy" conferences in the day of the internet. The exchange of information for the saints is much faster here. Though the berean will have to sift through it all to find the truth.

Sean Osborne said...

For some prophecy conferences are a financial opportunity, for others a chance a gaining notoriety.

I recall Billy Graham Crusades. They were all about preaching the Gospel of Christ for winning souls. Not seeing that too much any more. Shame.

Sean Osborne said...

For the record, Amir was provided opportunity to address the issues of the half-dozen prophecies noted above. Thus far he's declined to even acknowledge the request for him to address those eschatological issues.

Cathi G. said...

Jan's conferences have been going on for many years. I wish I could attend one of them. As she says, people like to attend and hear about Bible prophecy and end-time events. Maybe it is an older crowd as to not preferring to read things on the internet or watch YT videos and so on. Sometimes it is nice to see these speakers in person or to look over any materials at their respective tables before buying, etc. It is a way to be surrounded by like-minded believers which I think is hard to find in an established church or even among one's friends and fellow believers as it seems that many are not really interested in talking about these things.

jmoll106 said...

That's unfortunate for the saints. Iron sharpens iron as they say.
Getting to the truth and being able to explain it would not only strengthen our understanding but would also save a multitude of lives in the area of Ephraim you mentioned above.

Sean Osborne said...

I think the major point of contention is the obvious rejection of the entirety of Asaph's Psalm 83 prophecy and the parallel prophecies of Isaiah 11:14 and Ezekiel 28:24. They are CLEARLY and undeniably a set of unfulfilled pre-70th Week prophecies.

That Asaph was a true prophet was incontrovertably resolved through Scripture on this blog many years ago, and that resolving invalidated the simple imprecatory prayer argument made by some back then. We're well past that issue at this point in time.

Eisegesis is surely a type of false teaching and must be countered in the manner identified in the opening sentences of this SITREP.

Sean Osborne said...

Welcome to Escatology Today blog Cathi G.

Now that it's been determined that you are for real (your profile has no useful information to determine if Cathi G is a real person) your comments are approved for posting.

This is how I defend this blog from those whose intent is to disrupt. I follow this method when there is no viewabke information in the unknown individuals Google profile.

jmoll106 said...

Hi Cathi G,
Thanks for giving that perspective, I never thought of it that way.
God's peace to you.

jmoll106 said...

Sean, I can understand why some of the "higher profile" teachers don't respond to every question that is posed to them. Heck, I don't no how you continually do it. I do hope that you would at least get a response. Two opposing views means either both are wrong or one is right. We are all on the same team and should want to get it right. I do hope you get a response.

Sean Osborne said...

If it happens it will be posted here immediately!

supersignman said...

I've been listening to Amir for a while now and I enjoy the refreshing perspective of a Christian who is also a Jew raised in Israel. I think there are some things that we gentiles raised in the US just cannot understand. Amir has said on multiple occasions that the security in Israel is through strength and there is no comparison to the years from 1948 up until even ten years ago. In the past decades the Jewish citizens of Israel didn't even know if they would have a country from day to day. Sure, we look at Hamas as a terrible threat but the reality is that it's far more dangerous to live in most US inner cities than along the border of the Gaza strip. I don't think this is an issue we need to get worked up about since it's all based on perspective. We could argue all day long but it's hard to fault someone who lives in it on a daily basis while we sit behind our computers reading internet news reports.

TP said...

I had stopped watching Amir for quite some time, I just don't trust him. There had been a lot of wishy washy things to come out of his teaching that seemed to center on a similar them to what you propose in that there was a constant building up of Israel. I support Israel, I also know that they will accept a false messiah first and that they also to this day are lost as a nation because they do not see Jesus as messiah. Hard for me to understand why people do not see this. One of the final straws for me is in support to what you are informing your community of today Sean, he has always maintained Israel is living in a state of "peace" and earlier had gone further saying that they are not living in walled villages. There are plenty of walls, his videos have even shown them from time to time, what am I missing? :) I am thinking of Ezekiel 38:11 of course. If someone finds themselves defending with self justification it is usually eisegesis and this is eisegesis (Amir). On a seperate note Sean, I appreciate how you go to the Word and nothing else. Doesn't mean I agree with your interpretation every time; you would not agree with me every time either; however, God's Word is there and you teach it and do not stray from it. Some things are mysteries and are difficult to work through, being able to understand whether there are walls inside a country and whether they are living in peace is not hard to figure and you are right in citing in this post all the ways Israel is not living in peace at present. With one of the teachings on facebook when he talked about living in peace and there not being walls I questioned him with bible verses in the facebook chat...nothing.

Sean Osborne said...

Are you the original SuperSignMan named Mario in Atlantic Highlands, NJ? Or are you the one, a/k/a Charlie, from Eau Claire, WI.? Just curious if you're the Monmouth County supersignman guy.

There is a larger eschatolgical point to this than some (hopefully just a few) folks are grasping at the monment. It may be because they're not on the cutting edge of prophetic exegesis, or just dabble from time to time in prophecy and not being strong Bereans in searching a thing out in Scripture (the Word of God is ONE living text, each word is directly related to other words in diffent part of the whole Bible). The Bible interprets the Bible, and for us it is only the Holy Spirit which leads us in interpretation. This is not baby food Christianity, this is meat'n'taters real foood for mature Christians.

Anyway, I digress.

The larger eschatological point is addressed (once again!) in the update posted this morning to SITREP D3: The End-Game in Syria (Part III). Amir Tsarfati is utterly convinced that Ezekiel 38/39 are the next prophetic fulfillment we should be watching for. That is the specific fault found in his eisegesis. Within this mindset he pointedly will NOT directly address or respond to questions posed to him about those prophecies which are currently in the process of fulfillment. All of those prophecies lead directly in a discernable sequence to the ultimate fulfillment of Ezekiel 38/39. That he will not address these issues from his Christian brethren is as mindboggling as it is disturbing to us.

And this is not completely about perspective either. We Western-raised gentiles can discern Greek and Hebrew texts just as well as a modern-day Messianic Jewish individual can, sometimes better in fact.

The horse before the cart to put it simply.

On Eschatology Today the focus has been from day one - 452 blog posts and over 10 years ago (18 JAN 2009) - always been on the horse pulling the cart.

Been trying to get folks to see that; it's not working at the moment with the newer arrivals reading here. They ignore the disclaimer and regard what was said in my shared email as a personal attack on Amir. It is not, it is an expression of differences that are otherwise now being addressed as has been hoped for.

And, hopefully, the newer folks reading this will avail themselves some time to read at least a small portion of the material covered in the past ten years. Given the rapid and accelerating pace of things prophetic in the latter part of 2018, I certainly do not have the time necessary to rehash that older material now.

Sean Osborne said...

TP,

Thanks bro! You've communicated exactly as I would have were we in each others shoes. Concise,to the point, on target.

Truth be told, I would not have viewed Amir's video had brother Donald Dolmus not brought it to my attention. Donald has far greater issues occurring outside his front door in Managua, so that immediately told me this was something I had to spend the time on. Believeme when I say that I had also made it a point to not spend valuable time watching his videos for the same reason as you. In my view he should be teaching Bible prophecy to the Israeli's instead of middle America.

Prophecy Depot Facebook said...

Sean, good article. I shared this on our Prophecy Depot Ministries Facebook page.

hartdawg said...

Hey Sean, I don't know if youdy find this interesting or not, but a few weeks ago, I tried to imagine EVERY POSSIBLE SENERIO of how things could go down minus a psalm 83 war. You know what I came up with? Wait for it.... NOTHING! I imagined probably 8 different senerios and compared them with scripture, and if I were to take it literally I came up with nothing. Hopefully you can get over the shock

Sean Osborne said...

Hartdawg,

You know I believe Psalm 83 began its process of fulfillment in 1947-48 and continues to this day. Without this Israel's 70-year history as we know it could not have occurred nor be what it is at this moment, nor would the Middle East be today as it is.

The history of the world took a final and unalterable turn down The Prophetic Road to Revelation in May 1948. And were near to staring at the end of that road at the present.

Sean Osborne said...

If there's one over-arching lesson to be learned in the study of biblical eschatology it is that the Lord has provided us with a specific chronology of the final events.

These events begin Israel's rebirth as a nation (1948) to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the 70th Week.

No man can alter His established chronology.

Donald Dolmus said...

Here is awise advice by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum:

In this area, many ''newspaper exegetes'' have had a field day proclaiming almost every major, world event to be a partial fulfillment of prophecy and another proof that these are, indeed, the last days. However, this is a very dangerous practice. Prophecy must first be determined from the Scriptures and then applied to current events rather than taking current events and forcing them to fit some kind of scriptural passage. Only after one's eschatology has been developed exegetically from the Scriptures should current events be taken into account to determine if any are fulfilling prophecy. And only if the current events fit the demands of Scripture perfectly are these events to be identified as a fulfillment of prophecy.

The Footsteps of the Messiah.

Sean Osborne said...

Thanks Donald! This is the hermeneutic I always seek to follow. Scripture first, then events.

Great Grany 5 said...

Sean,

Been reading but couldn't get my Tablet to stop making types every single word! So agree with your discussing Amir's lack of Holy Spirit discernment and vouch for your very dedicated and Spirit Directed exegesis! If I didn't trust YOU and The ONE who RESIDED within you, I wouldn't be here!

I am recuperating at my daughter's but keep up as I am Able to do. Plz excuse all typing errors but my prayers r all whom I consider my Brothers and Sisters!

GREATGRANY5/SHALOM


Sean Osborne said...

GG5,

THERE YOU ARE! Folks been inquirin' about you, told 'em you'd be checkin in soon.

Get rested, recovered and our prayers are going up for you constantly!

We're all goin' home soon!

Jo said...

Amir absolutely believes the stage is set for the Ezekiel war and that when "they say peace and security, sudden destruction will come upon them." In fact he has a new video explaining all of this in detail. I have found his teachings to be of great insight. He has an enormous social media following and has spread the gospel and explained Bible prophecy to many young people as a watchman through his video updates. I am so grateful to God for Amir and his ministry and the lives he touches through social media and YouTube that would not have been reached through conventional means.

Sean Osborne said...

Jo,

Yes, we all know he believes and teaches that Ezekiel 38/39 is imminent. That's the issue being taken against this teaching because it is seriously flawed teaching.

Ezekiel's prophecy will come to fulfillment, but it is not the imminent prophetic event he making it out to be.

Israel today is in no manner whatsoever living in internal or international safety and security, it is a nation at war against enemies all around it as well as within its own borders! It is completely false for Amir to say otherwise.

This is the truth and fact and reality of Israel's current situation: PM Netanyahu and his security cabinet and the IDF are at war right now trying to achieve the peace and security of Ezekiel. Israel today is a nation at war with several enemies on the north, to the east, and south and within Judea and Samaria. This is the undeniable FACT right now.

Moreover, the war of Isaiah 17 stands to make Israel's safety and security much worse in the imminent days, weeks and months. Try reading Isaiah 17 please.

TP said...

Sean,

For a couple years I have had a "question everything mentality" as a berean more so than ever before because as the lens of prophecy draws closer to fulfilment it seems things become more clear, the increasing of knowledge. For years I had thought Isaiah 17 would happen before the tribulation as a catalyst for the other end times wars. I think it may still be a catalyst, but for years we as a community (prophecy watchers as a whole, not necessarily in your forum) have focused on the destruction of damascus and ignored (for the most part) the rest of Isaiah 17 about Ephraim and about Israel and for 2 years now I have read the rest and been uncomfortable. The interesting thing is that Isaiah 17 is actually in the midst of oracles of people groups within the middle east, I think we should pay attention to that. I submit Isaiah 17 7-11 NKJV:

7 In that day a man will look to his Maker,
And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.

8 He will not look to the altars,
The work of his hands;
He will not respect what his fingers have made,
Nor the [d]wooden images nor the incense altars.

9 In that day his strong cities will be as a forsaken [e]bough
And [f]an uppermost branch,
Which they left because of the children of Israel;
And there will be desolation.

10 Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation,
And have not been mindful of the Rock of your [g]stronghold,
Therefore you will plant pleasant plants
And set out foreign seedlings;

11 In the day you will make your plant to grow,
And in the morning you will make your seed to flourish;
But the harvest will be a heap of ruins
In the day of grief and desperate sorrow.

1. No respect from the world for "holy Israel" is how it starts because nations will rise against her. True today.
2. Israel is not yet "holy." True today.
3. Yet Israel is starting to lead people to holiness as "man" no longer looks to what their hands have made, assuming the aftermath of Israel kicking the nations out of her country. NOT TRUE TODAY.
3. Israel gains victory and kicks out the enemy but still are not with God and so what they plant will not grow. The harvest has not come. It is a day of sorrow as they still do not look to God. NOT TRUE TODAY.
4. Lots of talk about "on that day." HAS NOT HAPPENED YET.

Proof positive Amir is wrong in addition to other stuff that has been said with peace and walls and all that. Also, I question, does this happen later than most people think?

Sean Osborne said...

TP,

You're absolutely correct, other internet sites have paid little if any attention to the whole of Isaiah 17.

Eschatology Today has focused on the whole prophecy from the get-go, the first post published on 19FEB09.

However, just about two weeks later, on 07MAR09 the first "Prophetic Dominos" post was published. Yes, 9 years ago the exegesis published here was that Isaiah 17 would be the catalyst for the ultimate fulfillment of Psalm 83.

Since then there have been a minimum of 100 additional posts here reinforcing this exegesis concerning Isaiah 17 and its place within the pre-70th Week chronology of prophetic fulfillments.

Find another website with this kind of consistent record. I praise God that he gave me this task as a watchman in the digital world. It would not have happened without the increase in knowledge in these last days.

Christina said...

Sean,

From what I've read (and listened to), it's my understanding that Amir believes Psalm 83 has already been fulfilled (in 1967, if I remember correctly).

I could not see this mentioned in the article, or the comments, so thought I would just mention it. Please excuse me if I've missed the mention of it somewhere.
When I read your comments about the view that some hold, that Middle-Eastern teachers have more of a handle on prophetic events in the region, I was immediately reminded of the Scriptures where Paul, the most Jewish of Jews, with an impeccable pedigree (as outlined in Philippians 3), was chosen by the Lord to be a minister to the Gentiles (Romans 15). Sometimes, it seems, our natural advantages get in the way of what the Lord wants to do so so He leads us into ministries where we have to rely on Him above all else (just my opinion).

Thank you for your blog, Sean, it is so informative.
Shalom and prayers to all,
Christina

Sean Osborne said...

Hi Christina,

It's not that some in the west think they have more of a handle on prophetic events in the ME; it that they pridefully declare in their sermons that it is a fact.

There's one Holy Spirit who guides us all irregardless of our ethnic or geographic place of origin on the earth.

Psalm 83 has not been fulfilled. Such a claim is patently ludicrous. The parallel prophecies of Isaiah 11:14 and Ezekiel 28:24 are the proof that Psalm 83 remains a prophecy in a process of fulfillment because neither of them have found fulfillment either. Eschatology 101.

Great Grany 5 said...

AMEN brother and no matter what man has to say about this very real progression to fulfillment According to GOD Almighty's Word, let God's word be the only Guage to the Revealing and not man, who can be deceived! The main reason for this profound warning from God's Mighty living word is this is the Era of so great deception and the authorship is Satanic!

The "calling forth" is now in the direction to bring Israel to repentence and reuniting with The God of ABRAHAM, Isaac,& Jacob. That is all a whole new story to discuss much later but Isreal is not Safe, neither is she in the correct alignment for God to do All the offensive actions that will be required to defeat The Confederate nations who invade from the Northern regions that make up the Mountains of Israel! In order to accomplish that, the Jews will have to be Humbled as only Abba Father can and will accomplish!!!!

GG5/SHALOM,SHALOM

Sean Osborne said...

GG5,

You wrote:

"...the Jews will have to be Humbled as only Abba Father can and will accomplish!!"

I believe that statement is spot on correct, and the humbling before YHWH process for all Israel begins with Isaiah 17.

Great Grany 5 said...

Sean,

Isaiah 17 exactly, and thank you dear friend for waking me up again to Thus saith THE LORD God Almighty! Nothing greater than Hashem's beautiful Living Word!

GG5/SHALOM,SHALOM

Sean Osborne said...

BTW... I'm now deep-deep into studying Jeremiah and the Word of prophecy our Lord gave him. It will be a post here!

Christina said...

Hi Sean,

Thanks for those other Scriptures from Isaiah and Ezekiel, I wasn't aware of the connectedness of them to Psalm 83 (which I, too, believe, has not yet been fulfilled).
You and Ross (from newnews youtube channel) are two of my favourite "go-to" people on this subject as you both hold to Scripture above all else.
Off to do some more reading :)
God bless,
Christina

Great Grany 5 said...

Sean,
I know you will be richly blessed and I will be expecting great and glorious 'reserved for this current Era truths'! Not that there are new revelations but that the depth and degree of the Wholeness will be made even more manifestly related to everyone! Looking forward to all that He shares with you!

GG5/SHALOM,SHALOM