Chris Gordon

The Cult Following of the Omnicompetent Pastor

Something has gone terribly wrong when the people have come to view the pastor himself as the mediator between God and man, even if this would never be explicitly stated. This is precisely why the pulpit itself is to be a place of great self-denial. Paul’s preaching was most effective because of his humility in communicating that he was the chief of sinners. A pastor, especially any current celebrity pastor, is not the Christ. It’s remarkable that this needs to be said, but it does.

I’m about to make a rather embarrassing confession. It was the early 1990s, and I was driving through the Central Valley CA, listening to the radio. As I skipped through the channels, I stopped immediately upon hearing a voice like I had never heard before. The voice had an eerie sound to it: deep, rough, unpolished, obvious of an older man. In any other scenario I would have continued to scan the channels, but the power of this voice captivated me. The man spoke with authority like I had never heard before. He commanded the audience with power and there was no tolerance for disagreement when callers questioned him. I rarely heard someone speak with this kind of persuasion and certainty. I wasn’t in the best place in my life. I was searching for answers at the time and wasn’t quite sure about, well, anything. But as caller after caller engaged this man, I was drawn to him by the way he commanded people’s lives.
I heard numerous radio preachers over the years, soft, pandering, with nauseating attempts to make people laugh. This was not that. He captivated me. And, he was “Reformed.” Everything he said, in his confident, forceful tone, persuaded me that he was correct and the callers were wrong who challenged him. For the next years I would continue to listen to Family Radio, and the voice of Harold Camping.
Soon after, Camping began to predict the exact date of Christ’s second coming, and it was at this point, having enough discernment of the biblical teaching on the issue, that I could no longer hear him. But I continued to listen with awe that so many, in the face of direct false teaching, could be persuaded by Camping to sell their homes and possessions, fully adhering to his predictions of the end of the world. There was serious devastation when “Camping” failed them.
Since that time, I have sought to think through the issue of authority in preaching. I believe in authoritative preaching, as a herald of God’s Word. But there is something to be learned of the psychology of authoritative preaching and its effects on people that bring me to write this present piece. There is something to be considered and understood of the potential dangers of a popular voice and its effects on people who are searching for truth. A cult-like following is not simply created by the “isms” of this present age, but in something more subtle, that has the power to actually make void the very thing that is often presented.
Master and Commander
This article is not intended to judge the intentions of a well-known pastor and his ministry. That would be a rather arrogant fool’s errand. Nor is it, in what follows, an attempt to judge a man’s ministry as entirely false. There are many failings in the long course of a pastor’s ministry that will happen. One of the most remarkable truths of Christian ministry is that God uses a crooked stick to strike a straight blow. And I have no doubt that many people were genuinely converted even under a man like Harold Camping. I know some of them. But my goal is to think through something that is rarely considered when it comes to the way a pastor commands truth in people’s lives.
We live in an age of much uncertainty. Confusion and division are the hallmarks of our time. What stands out among the masses is a figure who arises with any amount of charisma, who is given a platform, and is able, with great clarity and effectiveness, to speak to people in ways that run against conventional approaches and in whom people believe they are receiving absolute protection from all error. It’s a great opportunity for pastors that few seem to recognize is before them, especially among the masses of pastoral panderers and compromisers in Christian ministry.
This approach will achieve its own kind of success. People want, more than any other period I’ve witnessed, to have someone speak with absolute authority and certainty to the issues of our day. The attempt to speak clearly and authoritatively to the spiritual and moral issues of our day is here not in question. But there is a danger that lurks in the effects on people’s lives. I know of, for example, a local church who, during Covid, aimed their entire ministry to attack the government. The church grew by leaps and bounds. And to question the effects of the approach will earn the strongest charges of compromise and weakness in our climate.
My purpose here is to have us think a bit about, psychologically, what is happening to people in a kind of ministry that presents itself robustly, authoritatively, in the way that truth and ideas are commanded in people’s lives. I was reminded this week of this issue when John MacArthur said by way of authoritative command, that medical conditions such as PTSD and OCD do not exist.
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What Is Good Friday All About?

The final words of Jesus on the cross, “It is finished,” leave nothing in question that still needs to be accomplished. Jesus paid, in body and soul, for all our sins. It is done, finished, and complete. What a marvelous gospel the Christian faith announces: The just for the unjust, he “who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

And he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them (John 19:18).

Jesus carried his own cross to the gate; he was bleeding and fully dehydrated. His physical capacities were exhausted as he carried the cross for about half a mile. Jesus arrived at the Roman place of execution called Golgotha, meaning “place of the skull.” Jesus was brought here as we read dark ominous words, “there they crucified him.”
What was crucifixion?
The soldiers secured Jesus backwards against the cross and drove two heavy square iron nails through his wrists into the wood. Then they took Jesus’ left foot, pushed it backwards against the right foot, both facing downward, to drive another one of these large nails through both, leaving some flexibility in the body for movement. Jesus hung there in such excruciating pain, raising himself up for air until his heart was compressed and he suffered asphyxiation. This is the cruel death of crucifixion.
The soldiers then stripped Jesus of his clothing into four parts. In Roman executions, the victims were left hanging on the cross naked and full of shame. The crucifixion of Jesus ended with him so thirsty that he was unable to swallow as he cried out, “I thirst.”
One of the most painful things one could ever face in this life is to die of thirst. According to an early twentieth-century study by W. J. McGee on death by thirst,

Saliva becomes thick and foul-tasting; the tongue clings irritatingly to the teeth and the roof of the mouth…. A lump seems to form in the throat…. Severe pain is felt in the head and neck. The face feels full due to the shrinking of the skin…. Speech becomes impossible…. The tongue swells to such proportions that it squeezes past the jaws…. The throat is so swollen that breathing becomes difficult…. Finally…there is “living death.”[1]

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Wilson’s Warrior Children

As Christendom has collapsed in the West, Wilson has offered a vision that plays on the fears and emotions of those who are panicking. This is precisely why the mission of the church, all of the sudden, takes a drastic turn in its elevating of cultural transformation while “saving people from their sins” becomes only a means to this greater end. While we might look at the psalm-singing, the community, the safe space, the building of schools and churches in Moscow as good things (and I do indeed admire much of it) we can’t miss what has drawn such an attraction.

This entire article may be a fool’s errand. I mean, it’s easy to watch two men mud-wrestling from afar with the hopes that none of the mud lands me as a spectator. But there are some fights so nasty that the mud is unavoidable. And if you are one to pray for rain, you certainly have to deal with the mud. That’s somewhat how I feel reading the responses to Kevin DeYoung’s article that raised concerns over the “Moscow Mood.” As a whole, I thought DeYoung’s article addressed some very fair concerns about the trajectory of what is clearly a movement that should concern Christians in terms of mission and witness. Yet, the responses indicate, as I suspected, that the issues plaguing Christians over the end of Christendom are far beyond that of a mood.
I’m not convinced you can take on Doug Wilson over style alone. As one friend said, that’s like teeing up your head and Wilson likes to swing with bats. Jared Longshore likes the metaphor since he expressed that DeYoung certainly teed this up for Wilson, but he just didn’t mention the bat. Yet, to engage Wilson over style is a losing battle—every time. Many will silently read a piece like DeYoung’s and say, “just another critique of ‘Moscow man bad’ over tone.” There is much more to the issue, of course—things to which DeYoung alluded—but to make any progress in helping people see clearly through the issues, theological substance has to drive the critique.
But the present confusion of Christ and culture is complex, and we American Christians do not like complexity. There is a sense that something must be done to curb the flood of iniquity coming upon us. It’s a tough pill to swallow in accepting that what happens in the culture is the will of God, especially as he executes his righteous judgments. But exactly what our calling should be in a moment like ours dominates the minds of Christians in the West. Wilson has taken the reins and is offering a vision forward that few seem to have. Yes, it’s all about vision. And I agree, other current eschatologies are not resonating with people at the moment in terms of vision. No matter how many different reasons Wilson may present as to why people are flocking to Moscow, what undergirds it all is an eschatology that gives people a sense of doing something to stop the avalanche of our culture. And therein lies the heart of the issue.
Wilson’s vision stands somewhat alone in its robust, Billy Sunday, strong-man approach, while many quarters of the church are caught up in the pathetic woke ideals that have invited much of this reaction to begin with. Who can forget Mark Driscoll convincing us that he was a tough guy from the other side of the tracks in his constant take down of effeminate men? It worked, certainly–for a while. And let me say that unequivocally, I agree that wokeism is a neo-orthodoxy that also is crippling the church’s witness. I’m only going to assert here that the approach under consideration is not the solution.
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The Danger of Drifting Away from Jesus

Drifting is not something one actively does; it is something that passively happens because of what one is not doing. As one pastor observed, drifting results through “a failure to keep a firm grip on the truth, through carelessness and a lack of concern.” We are called to “pay the most careful attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away.” God calls us to the great responsibility of being disciplined to listen carefully to his Word. The vitality of the Christian life is centered on one’s connection to the Word of God.

All day long we hear voices telling us that the problems of this world are the most important issues of life. We listen to those voices. The consequence is that we are distracted from the most important issues to which the Bible calls us to give our attention.
In the book of Hebrews, many of these early Christians were facing great persecution and were contemplating apostatizing back to Judaism as the solution. The author is deeply concerned about this problem and is making clear the importance of receiving God’s redemptive revelation that is being spoken through Jesus, a revelation far superior to that of the angels.
The Heart of the Concern of the Author of Hebrews Is the Danger of Drifting Away from Jesus’ Voice
It is from heaven that the Son of God is speaking to us in an intimate way through the ministry of the gospel, giving us everything that is needed for us to persevere through this life. But the author of Hebrews, after explaining the superiority of Jesus to the angels and as seated at the right hand of God, now gives a sobering warning:
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? (Heb. 2:1-3)
Some people are concerned that these warning passages in Hebrews, if left alone, will undermine the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. The Scriptures are clear, salvation cannot be lost. All those given to the Son by Father have eternal life, and nothing can take that free gift away. But the effect of these warnings is often lost when we immediately explain them away in fear of insinuating that salvation can be lost. These warnings are not in conflict with God’s preserving power in the believer’s life; in fact, they are precisely one of the means he uses to preserve his sheep.
The Pathway to Apostasy Begins with Drifting
Within any church community, there are those drifting, and God wants everyone to take seriously the call not to drift from the voice of Jesus.
The description of drifting would have been familiar to the audience as the author uses a nautical metaphor to help them. When a ship entered a harbor, everyone knew that a captain had to be extremely well disciplined and trained to bring the ship to the port. Perception can be disorienting in large bodies of water. A boat can drift off course quickly and without recognition. With this metaphor in mind, the author applies the concern to the spiritual state of Christians.
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5 Warning Signs That a Pastor has Not Been Truly Called by God

The greatest evidence of whether your pastor is called by God will be witnessed in his convictions about the doctrine of the church. Does he care enough to discipline wayward members? Is he more concerned about what the church looks like than its holiness and catholicity (the church universal)? Is he more concerned about being relational rather than theological, subjective rather than objective?

All Christians need to see the warning signs of a man who has not been truly called by God to the office of pastor. Here are five to consider:
1. No Formal Theological Training
Some churchgoers avoid asking or even caring whether or not their pastors have been properly trained for pastoral ministry. It sometimes happens in churches that anyone who says that he feels called to do ministry does it. We wouldn’t, of course, do this in any other calling. I would be negligent at best if I sent my sick loved one to a self-proclaimed medical doctor who said that he felt called but who also skipped the MCAT and an accredited medical school. But in some churches this hasn’t stopped us. As long as a person feels led, has a big heart, and can motivate the people, he may be given the title of pastor. Here are a series of questions you should ask your pastor:

From which reputable seminary did you receive your Master of Divinity degree?

Which faithful church body confirmed your internal calling?

When were you ordained to the office and hands laid upon you?

Have you learned the word of God in the original languages?

If the pastor took some classes from some Bible college or other religious university and skirted the hard work of obtaining a Divinitatis Magistrvm (Master of Divinity), why would you expect him to labor faithfully every week in the Word to rightly divide the truth to the glory of God and the profit of your soul?
2. No Creed
What your pastor believes is crucial to the well-being of your soul. I Timothy 4:16 commands a pastor to take heed to himself and to the doctrine, for in doing this he will save both himself and those who hear him. So what is your pastor’s doctrine? Since no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation, to which historical and collective expression of what Scripture teaches has he promised to honor?
This is why Protestants produced creeds and confessions. The Holy Spirit has worked powerfully in Christians who have gone before us.
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God Is Faithful to Forgive Your Sins

The Lord lifts us out of the guilt and defilement that we bring on ourselves. He assures us of his faithfulness to forgive and cleanse us once and for all, based on the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. He renews these objective realities to our hearts when we draw near to him burdened over our sins, with our eyes fixed on our righteous advocate who has already made propitiation for them all (1 John 2:2).

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9
When our lives are under a great amount of stress, it is easy to fall back into the mindset that our acceptance with God is performance-based. The best of saints struggle with this problem. Do you experience the sense of guilt that you are never doing enough to please God? Is there a lingering fear that maybe God does not love or accept you?
Stressful Times Can Lead to the Resurrection of Old Addictions and Struggles of the Past
Most likely, those sentiments arise in connection with certain sins in our lives. Maybe it is that same sin you have struggled with for years without the deliverance you thought would be given by now. Maybe it is because you struggle with how little your devotion is to the Lord. Maybe the experience of constant failure has become overwhelming.
What may actually be happening to many believers in times of uncertainty is not stronger devotion to Christ but rather the resurrection of old addictions and struggles of the past. Stress and anxiety have a strange way of prompting us to reach for old idols. Those idols always have been and still are death to us, and yet we grab them for relief. Through it all we wonder, does the Lord still accept us?
In 1 John 1:9 God Provides Ongoing Help for Those Who Are Already Forgiven of All Their Sins
At times like this, it is good to meditate on the promise of 1 John 1:9. The Holy Spirit inspired these words to reassure believers who are confused and struggling over the continued presence of sin in their lives. Here, God gives his prescription for how we can respond in faith when we find ourselves doing the things we do not want to do, or neglecting to do the things he wants us to do (see Romans 7).
In this remarkable promise, God provides ongoing help for those who are already forgiven of all their sins.
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Hurricane Hilary and Our Culture of Fear

The last thing Hurricane Hilary saw, however, was people desiring to come to church. People were more interested in saving their lives by gathering in long lines for food and water. It was all reminiscent of the same fear that governed the Covid-19 pandemic. In the 90s, David Wells expressed that one of the great problems for people today is that God’s hand rests ever so lightly upon us. The lighter providences we have received in the West, in the face of past atrocities and calamites, has not made us a strong people. We have lived such prosperous lives, having at our disposal the best of medicines and helps afforded to us, that we are convinced that there should be no pain in this life.

One day Henny-penny was picking up corn in the rickyard when—whack!—an acorn hit her upon the head. “Goodness gracious me!” said Henny-penny, “the sky’s a-going to fall; I must go and tell the King…
The past few days on the West coast have been eventful. We were told a massive hurricane was coming our way in Southern California that would wreak havoc on communities and bring in an historic “100-year storm”—an event of such catastrophic proportions that imminent death would follow. Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency, well before the event even occurred. Is that normal? Costco saw long lines of people scrambling to horde water and generators, three at a time. Shelves at the local grocery store were soon found empty as people stocked up on supplies to prepare for what seemed to be the event of a lifetime. We had no idea of what to expect.
Sunday morning, as I was preparing for church, my wife handed me a picture of the Doppler Radar and asked, “where is this storm, I don’t see it.” Other images showed a massive swirl covering the Westcoast, but something seemed off. I then searched the news reports that continued reassure me that the storm was coming and that we should be prepared for the worst.
Then…it happened. The rain fell ever so lightly, and the trees swayed about, knocking down a few leaves, and it was over. I saw pictures of people online walking the beach during what was supposed to be the heart of the storm. All this media hysteria, and this was the extent of the “100-year storm” from which I was told to batten down the hatches?
Some areas did receive significant flooding, and I’m sure there will be reports of damage in desert areas, and even some death, but the most devastating eyewitness testimony I could find was this: “It’s quite amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Sean Julian, 54, a resident of the town. “I’m seeing a lot more trees down. And there’s a big tree that just fell over there, and I probably shouldn’t be out here.” With that account, the article ended. A tree fell over and I probably shouldn’t be there?
Living on the Pacific Rim has always come with the threat of disasters, especially earthquakes and fires. But this is no less true wherever one lives in this world. After all, Jesus told us to expect these things (Matt. 24). While the news captures the worst of images, does this really compare with Atlantic hurricanes?
On the one hand I am thankful that the storm did not bring the destruction that we were assured would happen, but on the other, it’s always wise to assess the larger problem of what is driving our culture of fear.
God’s Light Hand Upon Us
One doesn’t have to look far to finds tracts and treatises of past theologians who wrote about God’s use of calamity and destruction to awaken people to repentance. I have in front of me David Clarkson’s, “God’s End in Sending Calamities.” People faced terrible things. Plague often wiped-out major populations and most people viewed these things as the scourge of God upon people for sin. Whether providence should always be read this way is for another article, but most pastors had no problem using catastrophic events to call people to Christ.
Daniel Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year” is a perfect example. Defoe describes the people coming to the churches in droves crying for prayer and help in the face of bubonic plague. They were certainly coming to the right place. The last thing Hurricane Hilary saw, however, was people desiring to come to church.
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3 Wrong Reasons to Leave Your Local Church — and 5 Right Reasons to Stay

It’s been commonly said that we don’t choose the people who sit next to us in the pew, but God does. Love requires, in response to the gospel, that we invest in the lives of those who are often most difficult and unattractive to us. It’s one of the saddest things to witness someone throw away their entire local church family for selfish reasons. Is our love sincere and absent of hypocrisy? This is an important question when it comes to church membership.

In recent years I have noticed the growing trend of people who leave their local church without any reflection as to whether their departure is a sinful one. To be sure, there are legitimate reasons to leave a local church. That’s what makes this article difficult to write; it’s not an easy task to get to the motivations of why people do what they do.
As a pastor, I have always believed that people should never feel forced to stay in a church where they are struggling. Departures may come for a variety of different reasons. Church leadership has to guard itself from cult-like behavior in seeking to put straight jackets on their members. I cannot imagine a more oppressing church environment than one that makes its members feel forced to stay in membership because the threat of discipline hangs over their head for departure. This creates a bunch of joyless servants in Christ’s kingdom and has a deadening effect on the whole congregation.
It does happen that even though people leave their local church for foolish reasons, they may flourish well elsewhere.
A wise elder once compared a disgruntled churchgoer to a plant that did not grow in his kitchen window. He cared for that plant, watered that plant, faithfully tended to the plant, but it always looked tattered and wilted. One day the next-door neighbor offered to take the plant with the hope that it would do well, and the man, rather reluctantly, offered the plant to the neighbor. After a short time the neighbor celebrated how well the plant was doing—it was vibrant, green, and producing new leaves. I’ve had to submit to this truth of Christian ministry more than a few times, humbling my own pride and recognizing that sometimes, though people leave for foolish reasons, they may flourish well elsewhere. That’s ultimately what we want for the sheep anyway.
Such a reality, however, does not excuse sinful departures from a local church. Pastors know all too well that when people come into their church sinfully running from their former church, it’s just a matter of time before the same problems resurface. The heart of the matter has not been dealt with. Further, it may be that a former church has neglected disciplining a member for unrepentant sin. As that member jumps to another local church—often unreconciled and bitter—and as this member celebrates the new church as the next best thing since sliced bread, the new church will soon realize how damaging the former church’s neglect is upon their own congregation. But that’s for another article.
In my experience, rarely does anyone sit down with their pastor and express their concerns when they want to leave.
With these things in mind, it’s important to think through what unbiblical departure from the local church looks like. Why do people leave the local church today? It would be one thing if a church is failing to preach the Word of God, is compromised on some point of doctrine, worship, or an article of the Christian faith, or there is some significant spiritual abuse by the leadership that is not properly being dealt with. These are legitimate reasons to speak with church leadership and depart the local church to a more faithful church in an honorable, Christ-like manner. But, sadly, doctrinal conviction and spiritual integrity in the truth are not at the top of the list when it comes to church departures in our day.
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The Forbidden Woman: Some Thoughts on Love, Marriage, and Adultery

In Proverbs 5, the father makes clear that adultery, beginning in the mind as sinful desires are entertained, is a pathway to death. Sexual sin destroys one’s strength, life, and has the curious effect of suppressing all truth that was once know as it leads to ruin (read carefully the consequences detailed in Proverbs 5).

Adultery will destroy your life. And, it will destroy a lot of other people’s lives too. This is the testimony of countless people who have testified to its destructive power and how it utterly ruined them. As the statistics go, around 25 percent of men and 15 percent percent of women will commit adultery in the course of their marriage. But this fails to take into account the many other forms of sexual immorality that constitute adultery, especially when considering Jesus’ words that even if a man looks at a woman with lustful intent, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
The fact is that many marriages are crippled with the destructive sin of adultery. It has destroyed homes, livelihoods, causing incalculable damage to children. But why are people willing to throw away everything for a moment of pleasure? And what do the Scriptures say about why people fall into its destructive path? This is what this article explores as we seek for the better solution of love in marriage as God intended between a man and a woman.
Proverbs 5 provides us with great insight into the pathway of adultery.
Adultery, by definition, is the voluntary act of a married person who commits sexual intercourse with someone who is not his or her spouse. Adultery is the ultimate act of betrayal in the great design of marriage that intends for us to love the spouse that we are joined to by God himself.
Proverbs 5 provides us with great insight into the pathway of adultery. As wisdom literature, it comes in the setting of a wise father warning his son against adultery. The son is ready to leave the home and enter into marriage. The father instructs his son to guard and keep the instruction he is receiving as a matter of life and death. He begins by cautioning his son against the “forbidden” woman:

For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,and her speech is smoother than oil,but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,sharp as a two-edged sword. (Prov. 5:3)

The father is concerned that in the course of his son’s marriage, the son will be tempted to commit adultery. The father calls the son to keep his heart because, at some point, an enticing, immoral, and forbidden woman will come down his path and lure him away to commit adultery. The language is graphic. He speaks of her lips as dripping honey and her speech as smoother than oil, even though her pathway is one that will destroy the young man’s life.
The imagery in Proverbs 5 provides a close look into the power of sinful desire as it leads to the actual practice of adultery. The author is using the scenario of an unfaithful wife tempting and luring a man to commit adultery to help us understand the power of temptation in the realm of human sexuality and all forms of unchastity that follow. In this way, the forbidden woman represents anything that tempts us away to sexual sin against God’s good design of marriage.
Entertaining sinful desire is the ultimate starting point to all adultery.
But there is a certain psychology provided for us in this story that helps to understand the problem of adultery. Of great importance is the father’s emphasis on the forbidden woman’s speech. Proverbs 7 captures the same imagery as the wisdom writer presents a youth without understanding who is seduced by a married woman as she lies in wait for him, seizing and kissing him. Her words are powerful:

I have come out to meet you, and seek you eagerly… I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love…with much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. He goes into her committing adultery without knowing it would cost him his life (Prov. 7:1ff).

The father’s purpose is to guard his son’s desires. Entertaining sinful desire is the ultimate starting point to all adultery.
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6 Amazing Parallels Between Exodus and the Gospel of John

Believe in Jesus for eternal life. To reject him is to miss what the whole Bible is about, especially Israel’s deliverance from Egypt as recorded in Exodus, which the entire Old Testament celebrated. Jesus is salvation sent from heaven—our bread, our water, our life, our law-keeper, our everything—there is no other name given by which people can be saved. Believe in him and you will be saved.

The word “amazing” is often overused nowadays but not when it comes to the parallels between the book of Exodus and the Gospel of John in God’s masterful, inspired Word. Here are six events from God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt that point us to our ultimate deliverance in Jesus Christ:
1. Exodus 12-13 records the Passover. In John 6:4-15, the multitudes come to Jesus on the Passover. Jesus feeds them, demonstrating that he is our Passover.

In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.  (Exod. 12:11)
Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do….Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” (John 6:4-6, 10-14)

2. Exodus 14-15 records the deliverance of the Red Sea Crossing as the Angel of the Lord comes to them and brings them to the other side. In John 6:16-21, the disciples struggle to cross the sea.
Jesus walks to them, declares that he is I AM, and, as the one who is greater than Moses, he doesn’t just part the sea but actually walks on it and delivers them by “immediately” bringing them to the other side. All the people recognize this.

Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. (Exod. 14:19-22)
When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. (John 6:16-21)

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