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Denying the Lord Who Bought Him (2 Peter 2:1)
They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, . . . (Titus 1:16).
I. Twisted Image
Speaking in the context of “THE CREATION” Rosenthal claims,
Man alone, of all creation, was made in the image and likeness of God. (Zion's Fire, Vol. 26, No. 2, p. 5)2
The Bible clearly teaches man was created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27), but it nowhere teaches man alone was made in His image. Proverbs says,
Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar (Pro. 30:6).
Immediately after the above statement Rosenthal continues,
Only of man is it said, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul [being]” (Genesis 2:7).
These concepts are not only of man, but of animals as well. They too were formed of the dust of the ground, given the breath of life, and became a living soul. As it is written,
Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. (Genesis 2:19)
For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20)3
Both men and animals, they “all are from the dust” and “they all have one breath.” And, they all became, as man, a “living soul,” in the Hebrew a “nephesh chayyâh” (נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה). As it is written,
And God said, Let the earth bring forth living souls after their kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth, after their kind. And it was so. (Genesis 1:24, Darby, see also Jubilee Bible 2000 “living soul”)4
and to every animal of the earth, and to every fowl of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth on the earth, in which is a living soul, every green herb for food. And it was so. (Genesis 1:30, Darby)
Even the fish are "living souls," as it is written,
And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living souls, and let fowl fly above the earth in the expanse of the heavens. (Genesis 1:20, Darby, see also Jubilee)
Immediately after the above in the next paragraph, Marvin claims,
The image and likeness into which man was created was not a physical image or likeness. (Zion's Fire, p. 5)
This is a lie. Man is a physical being, and the context of both the passage itself and the Bible itself speak otherwise. Genesis 2 is an extremely physical context. Likewise, the terms used, “image” and “likeness” are physical terms, repeatedly used for physical realities throughout the Word.
The term used in Genesis 1:26 for “image,” צֶלֶם (tselem), in the Hebrew Bible is always used for a physical image.5 The term used in Genesis 1:26 for “likeness,” דְּמוּת (demut), in the Hebrew Bible is used for something that physically is like and looks like another (e.g. 2 Chronicles 4:3), or has the characteristic of another, as in Psalm 58:4 “like” the poison of a serpent.6
It is not that the image and likeness of God in man (Genesis 1:26-27) is limited to a physical image and likeness (e.g. Colossians 3:10). It is that claiming it is “not a physical image or likeness” is a lie.
Marvin goes from bad to worse immediately after the above.
Man is not like God in terms of physical appearance. God is not physical or corporeal; that is, He does not possess human form. (Zion's Fire, p. 5)
This is an outright denial of “the Lord who bought” him (2 Peter 2:1), “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).
God is physical. He does possess human form. He is “the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:5). He is “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
Later in the article Marvin acknowledges,
Jesus is the Son of God, but He is also God in flesh. (Zion's Fire, p. 12)
Somehow in his twisted theology, “God in flesh” does not equal “He does . . . possess human form.”7
Furthermore, Mr. Rosenthal attempts to contrast man and God saying,
Man's substance is physical.
God's substance is spirit. (Zion's Fire, p. 5)
Yet, it is also true that,
Man's substance is spirit.
God's substance is physical.
As it is written,
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17 ὁ δὲ κολλώμενος τῷ Κυρίῳ ἓν πνεῦμά ἐστι).
Man is made of “spirit, soul, and body” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). He is spirit. He is soul. He is body.
Likewise, “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). God, Jesus Christ, is “a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). He is Soul. “His Soul hates” (Psalm 11:5). He is body. He even goes “stripped and naked” (Micah 1:8). Therefore, Rosenthal's distinction is no distinction at all.
Furthermore, Marvin limits “the image and likeness of God” in man to “intellect, emotion, and will” (Zion's Fire, p. 6), of which Scripture never explicitly speaks. Nevertheless, Rosenthal does, and he claims his dog also has “intellect, emotion, and will.”
My wife and I have a pet dog at home. We think that she has a wonderful personality. Cookie possesses the qualities of intellect, emotion, and will. We can teach her some tricks; she gives evidence of loving us; and “sometimes” she chooses to obey our commands. But there is a difference between an animal and a man – and it is a critical difference.
Cookie cannot exercise her intellect, emotion, and will God-ward. (Zion's Fire, p. 6)
So says Marvin. He must have missed that the lions “seek their food from God” (Psalm 104:21). The ravens “cry to God” (Job 38:41). And, they all know “that the hand of the Lord has done this" (Job 12:9). Thus, these distinctions between man and animals are bogus. Marvin's idea of man in God's image is twisted. His teaching on God is a lie.
Furthermore, in Marvin's twisted theology he makes another false claim.
God created man in His image and likeness to be king of the earth.
Satan responded by soliciting Adam and Eve to sin, resulting in death and forfeiture of man's right to rule the earth. And Satan usurped man's right to rule. (Zion's Fire, p. 14, underlining added)
The underlined is a lie. After the fall the Psalmist wrote,
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen-- even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:3-8)
16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's; but the earth He has given to the children of men. (Psalm 115:16)
At the same time it is also true that,
the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. (1 John 5:19)
Likewise, Jesus called Satan “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), and all who are lost are under “the power of Satan” (Acts 26:18). And, at the same time, the “earth is the Lord's” (Psalm 24:1), and He is “the ruler over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5).
II. Twisted Plan
Marvin adds to God's Word and writes,
Since man was created in the image and likeness of God, there had to be the fullest opportunity for man to exercise his intellect, emotion, and will God-ward. Therefore, God put a tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden. In unambiguous words, God commanded that Adam and Eve not eat “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:16-17). [Zion's Fire, p. 6]
Nowhere does the Bible teach this is the reason “God put a tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden.” Scripture never specifically gives Marvin's claim, but it does give His general plan to glorify Himself via vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy (e.g. Romans 9:11-23; Psalm 92:5-7).
Rosenthal also claims to know Satan's intent, when Scripture reveals no such thing. Marvin writes,
The murder of righteous Abel by his brother Cain, in its most evil, naked purpose, was the satanic attempt to keep “the seed of the woman” from coming into the world. (Zion's Fire, p. 8-9)
Scripture teaches no such thing. Who says God's plan was for Abel to be involved in bringing “the seed of the woman”? It's not like Adam and Eve couldn't have more children and bring about other “sons and daughters” (Genesis 4:25; 5:4). Rosenthal's claim is silly, but sadly not uncommon.8
1 John tells us why Cain killed Abel.
not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous. (1 John 3:12)
But, Marvin has deeper insight than God, and tells us the “naked purpose” of Satan.
Rosenthal likewise claims to know another Satanic purpose upon which God's Word is silent. Marvin writes,
The central issue to be understood is this: The union of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” was an attempt by Satan, through fallen angelic beings, to corrupt the bloodline of humanity through a progeny, part angelic and part human. If Satan could achieve that goal, the “seed” of the “woman” - who was to crush his head – could never be born, and the divine attempt to redeem men from the fall would be thwarted. (Zion's Fire, p. 11)
That might make for a good novel or movie, but it doesn't make good on God's Word. The Lord doesn't say any such thing (Proverbs 30:5-6). And, if the Nephiliym, הַנְּפִלִים (Genesis 6:4), were of concern, they are present after the flood. As it is written,
There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight. (Numbers 13:33 NAS)
Marvin also claims the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 “indwelt men” (Zion's Fire, p. 10-11), but this too is Rosenthal fantasy, and it contradicts his seed scheme. If the angels simply “indwelt men,” there would be no “part angelic and part human” as Marvin wrote. It would simply be human men having sex with human women. The physical reality would be the same.
Moreover, not only is there nothing saying they “indwelt men,” but there's something saying there was no such need.
6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 1:6-7)
Jude lets us know the angels committed sexual immorality and went “after strange flesh.” The statement, “as Sodom and Gomorrah” links the two events marking them both as “sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh.” This reveals the angels themselves literally had sex with the women.
A man and a woman having sex is not strange, but normal and natural. But, “men with men committing what is shameful” is “against nature” (Romans 1:26-27). Both, “men with men” (Sodom, Genesis 19) and “angels with women” (Genesis 6) is going “after strange flesh.” Both are strange and against nature, for angelic flesh is not the same as human flesh. As it is written,
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (Hebrews 2:16 KJV)9
Christ took on human flesh (John 1:14). He did not take on angelic flesh (Hebrews 2:16). For an angel to have sex with a human, as the sons of God did, is a “strange flesh” union, and the Lord marks it as “sexual immorality;” and both the angels and the Sodomites have been suffering for thousands of years since.
Now, if someone argued angel's don't have bodies, besides the fact that Genesis 6 explicitly notes “they bore children to them,” they might want to note “the man Gabriel” (Daniel 9:21), “the angel Gabriel” (Luke 1:26).
III. Twisted Nimrod
Marvin falls for the Nimrod fable (2 Timothy 4:4 “turned aside to fables”). Marv writes,
His name was Nimrod (Genesis 10:8). It is said of this man that “He was a mighty hunter before [in opposition to] the Lord” (Genesis 10:9); a hunter in the fields perhaps, but preeminently a hunter of the souls of men. (Zion's Fire, p. 12)
Scripture nowhere teaches Nimrod hunted souls. But obviously, that doesn't bother Marvin. It does bother God. He shall prove him to be a liar (Proverbs 30:6).
Rosenthal also lies about “before” meaning “[in opposition to].” “Before” in this text is the Hebrew word לִפְנֵי (liphnêy). It simply means “before.” It is a very common word in the Hebrew Bible, and it is used in Genesis 10:9 in a common Hebrew phrase “before the Lord,” לִפְנֵי יְהוָה (liphnêy yehvâh). The next time this phrase is used is when “Abraham still stood before the Lord” (Genesis 18:22). Marvin conjures up an “in opposition to” that is not there.
He likewise spins his witchcraft10 on the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel.
The purpose of the Tower of Babel was not to literally reach heaven but to build an elevated platform from which to better observe the heavenly bodies and practice astrology (astrology is pagan and not to be confused with astronomy, which is a legitimate science) in their worship of the sun and heavenly bodies. (Zion's Fire, p. 12)
So, even though God says,
they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens . . . ” (Genesis 11:4),
the Tower of Babel was not to literally reach heaven . . . .
And even though God says,
they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:4)
Rosenthal claims it was,
to build an elevated platform from which to better observe the heavenly bodies and practice astrology . . . in their worship of the sun and heavenly bodies.
Evidently, this is what one comes up with when one reads between the lines.
In the next paragraph Marv has more.
The Tower of Babel was also intended to unify mankind into one religion and language. The followers of Nimrod said, “Let us make us a name” (Genesis 11:4); that is, a “sem,” - a banner or mark of confederation and organized unity in defiance of God.
This is ridiculous! They already had one language (Genesis 11:1). There's nothing said about one religion. Name simply means name (shem in the Hebrew, שֵׁם). It by no means has any loaded meaning as Marvin stuffs into it.
Also, although “the beginning of his kingdom was Babel” (Genesis 10:10), Marvin assumes some kind of “followers of Nimrod.” Subjects and followers are not always synonymous. Other than being a ruler at Babel, to what extent Nimrod and his influence (or lack thereof) played a part, it simply does not say; so neither should we (Proverbs 30:5-6).
Rosenthal displays his adherence to the Nimrod fable when he writes,
I feel confident in stating that all false religion, by whatever name it is called, has its origin in Babylon with Nimrod, his wife Semiramis, and their son Tammuz.11 (Zion's Fire, p. 13)
Marvin's confidence is not in God's Word, but in the myths of man (Jeremiah 17:5). You will not find Semiramis in the Bible, but you will find her in the writings of story tellers. For more on this Nimrod fable, see our article on Jack Chick's Babylon Religion.
1Marvin Rosenthal is Executive Director of a false Christian ministry called Zion's Hope (zionshope.org).
2All Rosenthal quotes in this article are from this edition of this magazine.
3Speaking of both man and animals Psalm 104:29 says,
You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
4For “living soul,” “nephesh chayyâh” (נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה), see also Genesis 2:19; 9:12, 15-16; Ezekiel 47:9; etc..
5Genesis 1:27; 5:3; 9:6; Numbers 33:52; 1 Samuel 6:5 (2x), 11; 2 Kings 11:18; 2 Chronicles 23:17; Psalm 39:6 (“shadow” NKJV); 73:20; Ezekiel 7:20; 16:17; 23:14; Amos 5:26.
6Genesis 5:1, 3; 2 Kings 16:10 (“design” of the altar NKJV); 2 Chronicles 4:3 (“likeness” of oxen); Isaiah 13:4 (The noise “like” that of many people); Isaiah 40:18 (To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?); Ezekiel 1:5 (2x), 10, 16 (“likeness), 22 (“likeness”), 26 (“likeness” 3x), 28 (“likeness”); 8:2 (“likeness”); 10:1 (“likeness”), 10 (“looked” alike), 21-22 (“likeness”); 23:15 (“like”); Daniel 10:16.
7Someone might argue that Marvin is speaking of the Father when he says, “He does not possess human form.” But, this is a lie. Not only in Jesus Christ (John 14:8-9; Colossians 2:9), but recorded about 80 times in the New Testament Jesus called Himself, “the son of the man” (e.g. Matthew 9:6 ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου). Jesus is the Son of only One Man, the Father.
8For example, biblelineministries.org (Calvary Community Church, Tampa, FL) writes in their article “SATAN AT WAR WITH CHRIST”,
Eve evidently believed that Cain, her first-born, was already the promised seed. But Satan knew that Abel was to be in the line of the seed, and so he uses Cain to destroy Abel, the supposed promised seed, believing that in this way he could defeat God's promise of Genesis 3:15. (www.biblelineministries.org/articles/basearch.php3?action=full&mainkey=SATAN+AT+WAR+WITH+CHRIST)
9οὐ γὰρ δήπου ἀγγέλων ἐπιλαμβάνεται, ἀλλὰ σπέρματος Ἀβραὰμ ἐπιλαμβάνεται, (Heb 2:16), more literally,
For indeed He does not take on angels, but He takes on the seed of Abraham.
Note the context of this verse:
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Heb 2:14-17 KJV)
ἐπιλαμβάνεται (epilambanetai) “take on” - present indicative - used for “caught” (Matthew 14:31); “took” (Mark 8:23; Luke 9:47; 14:4; Acts 9:27; 17:19; 18:17; 21:33; 23:19; Hebrews 8:9); “seize” (Luke 20:20; Acts 16:19; 21:30); “catch” (Luke 20:26); “laid hold” (Luke 23:26; 1 Timothy 6:12, 19). ἐπιλαμβάνεται (epilambanetai) is a compound word. It is the prepostion ἐπι (epi) “upon” or “on,” with the verb λαμβάνεται (epilambanetai) “take” or “receive.”
10“For rebellion is the sin of divination” (1 Samuel 15:23, a more literal translation)
11For the Tammuz mentioned in Scripture, see Ezekiel 8:14.
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