Ladies and Gentlemen and John. If we are saying that the perfect is the return of Jesus, O.K., we are saying that when Jesus returns the gifts of the spirit will be withdrawn. O.K. This has been quite clearly beyond any question what Mr. Liliekas has been saying. However, the fact is that in Hebrews 6:4& 5 we are specifically told that the gifts which were possessed then in the First Century “are the powers of the age to come”, and that age to come is the age after this age has finished, and that is the Kingdom of God. You read the prophecies of God’s Kingdom on this earth, Psalm 72, Isaiah 2, Isaiah 35 the blind people have their eyes opened, the deaf people will hear, how? By the gifts being used by those who are counted worthy to inherit that age and that world to come (Lk. 20:35). So then the gifts of the spirit must be possessed in the Kingdom. Therefore the Spirit gifts are now withdrawn if they will be given then.
Now he says that he doesn’t think that the church is perfect. Well, of course, it’s never been perfect, but I did make it quite clear that the word “perfect” in the New Testament does not mean “sinless”. It means “complete” and it is talking about this state of revelation which we come to from having the complete Word of God. He said that we do not see clearly at the moment. Well, James 1:23-25 clearly tells us that the Word of God, the perfect law of liberty, is a mirror, a glass into which we can see clearly.
Now, Acts 2 and Joel 2 as he said, he is saying that applies to the last days. Now in Joel chapter 2, you will see that it makes prophecies about the outpouring of the gifts upon three groups of people. It says that the old men were going to dream dreams and have the gifts of the spirit when the gifts were poured out and it says that the young men and the young women, their sons and their daughters were also going to have the gifts and that whoever called upon the name of the Lord would be saved. But I submit to you that it is primarily in a Jewish context. And that is exactly how it was fulfilled in Acts 2. There were Jews from every nation under heaven, old men who’d retired and come to live in Jerusalem whom Peter spoke to. And he said that this promise of the outpouring of the spirit, he said “it is to you (those old men) and to your children (that is the sons and daughters of Joel 2) and to all who are afar off, whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord” primarily referring to the Jews of the Diaspora.
Notice how it says in this last day outpouring, “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh”. Now, I am saying that that applies to the Jewish people and that any moment now, the Jewish people will all possess the gifts of the spirit. But of course, you may say, oh, you’re overdoing this Jewish business, it’s really the Gentiles, it’s us. But whether you take it as all Jews or all Gentiles, the fact is that “afterward I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” so we are not seeing this fulfilment until “all flesh”, all Jews, as I believe, or all Gentiles, as you believe, possess the gifts of the spirit.
Now that outpouring was to be afterward, Joel 2 says. After what? Verse 26 talks about the Jews repenting and returning to God. “Ye shall know (God says) that I am in the midst of Israel, and ye shall praise the name of Yahweh your God”. It is after verse 20 when the northern army is removed afar off. The Bible clearly says that in the last days before Christ returns Israel will be attacked and that when that attack is overcome then according to Joel 2 these gifts are poured out upon all the Jews, all flesh.
We are told that at this time, verse 32, in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, shall be deliverance. Joel 2:22 – it will be at a time when there are no more deserts in Israel. But these conditions are not now being fulfilled. Jerusalem is the one place on earth where the name of Christ cannot even be preached. Have the Jews turned to God? Can you say that God is in the midst of Israel? Are they acknowledging Yahweh as their God? By no means! And it is not until the Jews do that that we can say that Joel 2 has been fulfilled.
Now John also talked about Mark 16 and he quoted the prophecy there that ye shall take up serpents; ye shall do all these things, “these signs shall follow them that believe; you will cast out demons, speak with tongues; take up serpents, if ye drink any deadly thing it will not hurt you”. I say to that “oh really, well where is the evidence? Where are the people taking up serpents and things like that?” It doesn’t say well they might do if they are in a tight corner. It says they shall take up serpents, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall do these things, they shall lay their hands on the sick. Now where are those things happening today? Well, you probably know as well as I do the recent things in the press in the States where someone was saying, “yes, these things apply to me”. Holding up the serpent. What happened? I believe it was actually on television itself – he was bitten and he died! Well, I mean, where is it happening? Where are the people taking up the serpents? There they were, they went out into the world, they preached the gospel, people said to them, like they said to Moses, “Well how do we know you’re of God?” So they would have picked up a serpent. They could have healed people. They could then say “Well, there you are, I am of God”. Just like Moses could also handle that serpent and not be bitten. But that, I am afraid to say, is in no way happening today.
Now John also said how do we know (this was in his first speech) we are in the Kingdom of God unless we have the gifts? Now, there I believe is the crux of the problem. We are not now in the Kingdom of God and therefore we do not possess the gifts of the spirit. We are told to pray “Thy kingdom come”. The Kingdom is not here James 2:5 “we are heirs of the kingdom” not in the Kingdom now. We are told to take the bread and wine until we eat it new with Christ in the kingdom of God (Matt. 26:29); 2 Timothy 4:1 that at Christ’s appearing and his kingdom. That is when he returns then the Kingdom will be set up. So we are not now in the Kingdom of God and therefore we do not have the gifts of the spirit because they are held back for us in the age to come. They are “the powers of the age to come” (Heb. 6:4& 5). Therefore Spirit gifts are now withdrawn.
John also started off by saying that the gifts of the spirit are needed to convince unbelievers. Now in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 we are told of God talking to Israel and He said that if a man came amongst them and did miracles, did signs, wonders, they were not to believe that person if he spoke against the Word of God. And God said if that happens, he said, that is a trial to you, he said, it is a test of your obedience to my word. So God was therefore Himself putting very little emphasis on miracles. He was saying the word of God and obedience to the Word of God is far more important than miracles. We also have the fact that the Bible says that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). It is from the Word of God that we derive our faith. Very significantly in John 20 we are told about the miracles that Jesus did, that these were done in order to confirm the word that was spoken and to encourage faith, but then John says, John 20:30, these things were written “Many other miracles Jesus did which I haven’t written, these are written that ye might believe”. So then the written record of the miracles is in order that we may believe. Now if we want proof that there is a God, well the Bible gives us that proof. In Isaiah chapters 43 and 44 you can see God saying, if you want proof that I exist look to Israel. He didn’t say go out and watch all the miracles I do. He said look to Israel.
I would like in conclusion to clarify one point. I do believe that faith is of course real. That, as John said, if you pray that a mountain will be moved, well it will be moved. Faith and prayer are still very real things and after the gifts were taken away from the people of Israel, after they developed as a nation, well the answers to prayer still came, in an apparently “miraculous” way, if you see how I am using that word. But the gifts, the specific power of individuals to do this that and the other at their own discretion; “the spirits of the prophets being subject to the prophets” was not then possessed.
So then I believe quite clearly that these gifts of the spirit are to be possessed in the Kingdom and that therefore we have not reached that perfect man state. Now the Spirit gifts are withdrawn. I therefore believe that Jesus’ return is not the perfect man state because, if it is, it means that when he comes the gifts will be taken away. Now that can in no wise be so because those gifts will certainly be possessed in the Kingdom of God.
Thank you, gentlemen. Now we come to the time when it’s open to you to ask questions to our speakers. We will take it in the order in which they have spoken so far and because of, as I said, the time, we would like to finish by 9:15, we have allowed 10 minutes for each set of questions. So I would ask you to keep those questions brief and, also as I mentioned before, I shall relay those to make sure they get on the tape and that everybody knows what was said. So, first of all, do we have any questions then for Mr. Liliekas?