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August 2015

The Morning Star


What is the Morning Star? Is it the planet Venus, or is it Lucifer, or is it the Lord Jesus?

In this series, Revelation Revisited, we are still exploring the letters to the seven churches. At the end of the Letter to the church in Thyatira Jesus makes an enigmatic but intuitively wonderful promise: “To him who overcomes… I will also give (him) the morning star” (Revelation 2:28). What could the Lord be meaning here?

In Revelations 1:20 Jesus gives the key to interpreting the book of Revelation when He identifies the stars in his hand as symbols of the angels of the churches, and the candlesticks as symbols of the churches themselves. This symbolism is derived in part from Old Testament passages such as Job 38:7 which describes the creation of the cosmos as a time when ‘the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy’ (NIV). However, the specific phrase used in Revelation 2:28 is ‘Morning Star’, so something more specific than angels in general is in view here.

In ancient times the planet Venus was commonly referred to as the ‘Morning Star’ because of its appearance as the brightest visible object in the eastern night sky just before sunrise. Peter used this symbolic phrase when he wrote, ‘And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts’ (2 Peter 1:19). Scholars are divided as to what this text means but my understanding is that Peter is giving Christians the third of three evidences of the divinity of Jesus:

  • In verses 16 to 18 he testifies that he was on the mount of transfiguration and personally heard the voice of God the Father proclaiming that Jesus is His Son.
  • Peter points the believers to the prophecies of the Old Testament that foretold the coming of the Son of God into the world.
  • He tells them that they themselves will fully believe that Jesus is God as the Spirit of Christ rises up in them and testifies to this truth.

The matter is settled when Jesus personally concludes the book of Revelation by saying, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” (Revelation 22:16) So when Jesus promises persevering believers the ‘morning star’ he is assuring them of his presence in their lives; his authority, his power, and his indwelling companionship. A wonderful promise indeed!

I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

Of course, as usual, the devil seeks to distract and delude. In the book of Isaiah God castigates the king of Babylon for his presumptuous pride but it appears that the Lord is also reprimanding the sinister power behind the king of Babylon, Satan. “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit”. (Isaiah 14:12-15) The Hebrew word translated in this passage as ‘morning star’ is Heeyleel, meaning ‘to shine’ but in the late fourth century Latin Vulgate version of the Bible it is translated as ‘Lucifer’. From then on a number of commentators used the word ‘Lucifer’ as a synonym for Satan. This is a serious error! Jesus is the one who shines with glory, not Satan! Jesus is the source of the light of truth, not the devil! The ascription ‘Morning Star’ is reserved for Jesus alone.

truth-is-the-word-revelations-email-20-body-picWe shouldn’t be surprised at Satan’s deception because he wants to appear to the world as illuminator and saviour. He is the anti-Christ. The word ‘anti’ means both ‘against’ and ‘instead of’, and Satan is both against Christ and seeks to present himself as a substitute Christ. Interestingly, although the planet Venus is known by most as the ‘morning star’, Mercury sometimes also appears in the Eastern sky before the dawn and has also been referred to as the Morning Star. Mercury is of course much smaller and duller than Venus, just as Satan is nowhere near the status and glory of the Son of God. Satan was cast out of Heaven because he persuaded a number of the angelic host to obey him rather than God; he wanted to be his own ‘god’. Then he used the same subversive tactic on Adam and Eve. An early Gnostic interpretation of the Genesis 3 account of the fall could be paraphrased as follows:

“Listen you two, God is lying to you. He just wants you to be his slaves to do the hard labor here on earth while he reaps the rewards. He wants to keep you ignorant and that is why he has forbidden you to gain the knowledge of everything, including good and evil. Lissssssten to me. I am telling you the truth. Obey me and I will make you the real gods of this planet.”

The devil makes all sorts of false promises to those who choose to believe him and ‘masquerades as an angel of light’ (2 Corinthians 11:14). Jesus, however, is the light of life and makes the greatest promises of all to His faithful disciples … eternal life, purpose, peace, and most of all, himself! He says, “I will give him the morning star”.

The Morning Star Read More »

Pass it On – Your TITW Newsletter


Hi, I do hope you are gaining a lot from My goal is to let as many people know the glorious truth about the centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ as I can…  but I need your help.


How can you help?

I have designed a Newsletter TruthNews in pdf format which contains highlights of various sections of my website, what’s new in TITW world, Information on the current series, and more. Simply download and forward TruthNewsAugust2015.pdf using the send file function in your pdf reader, or forward this post on using any of the share buttons directly under this post.

In this way you can forward the Newsletter to your friends and family (add a personal message if you like) – whoever you feel will be interested. You will be helping me and I hope blessing your friends and family.

And in appreciation…

You can download the Revised Edition of “Truth Is the Word” (the book) in electronic format. This has been on-sale since publishing but I want to give you the opportunity to get it free. Each person you forward the newsletter to will also be able to download a free electronic copy of the book. Please check your downloads if either TruthTalks or the book don’t open automatically.




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Satan’s Deep Secrets



In the early days of the church Satan’s deep secrets came in the form of pagan idolatry, in later years he promoted his lies through the philosophical gnostic (knowledge) cults, but today they come better disguised.

In the last few posts I have picked up some points from the letters to the first three of the seven churches and in this article I will tie together three threads that appear in the letter to Thyatira. I have commented in previous posts on Jezebel, who is a focal interest in the letter, but now I want to bring together the ‘so called deep secrets’ she taught with Jesus’ injunction to ‘hold on to what you have until I return’, and his declaration that those who overcome will have ‘authority over the nations’.

truth-is-the-word-revelations-email-19-body-picDuring the twentieth century there have been many Christian and pseudo-Christian heresies who’s originators have claimed special, and often secret, revelation. In the last couple of decades we have seen the emergence of the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ (NAR). Sometime in the future I will be writing extensively on this movement but for now I will need to describe it in, perhaps, oversimplified terms. The NAR, contrary to what its name suggests, is not really new at all. Much of its core theology comes from the Latter Rain movement of the 1950’s and 60’s. To this has been added Postmillennial Dominion theology (I will explain this shortly) and what is often referred to as Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare. (One definition of this is ‘praying against territorial spirits, seeking to “map” their strategies over given locations by discerning their names and what they use to keep people in bondage, and then binding them so that evangelism may go unhindered’).

Postmillennialism is one of the various end-time teachings and enjoyed some support before the World Wars. The core idea is that Christianity will become so dominant in human affairs that the world will experience a golden age of peace and prosperity (the millennium) at the end of which Jesus will come again to claim his now perfected bride, the church. The horror of two world wars demonstrated conclusively that human society was not getting progressively better and so postmillennialism quickly fell out of vogue. Now it’s back in a particularly aggressive form labeled Dominionism, a belief that Christ will rule the world through the church by gaining either direct or indirect control over education, government, business and so on. This is how NAR teachers would understand the application of Jesus’ words, “I will give authority over the nations” (Revelation 2:26).

Earthly dominion was never on Jesus’ agenda, the first disciples certainly did not see it as the church’s mandate, and it cannot reasonably be argued from an exhaustive study of scripture

Verses 26 and 27 of Revelation chapter two are complex and require far more analysis than I can give in a short article. These verses quote from Psalm 2 which is generally accepted as a messianic prophecy fulfilled in Christ Jesus. When Jesus began his public ministry the devil tempted him by offering him authority over all the kingdoms of the world, but he rejected this out of hand.. At the end of his public ministry Jesus was asked by Pilate if he indeed was an earthly king and his answer was, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Earthly dominion was never on Jesus’ agenda, the first disciples certainly did not see it as the church’s mandate, and it cannot reasonably be argued from an exhaustive study of scripture.

When Jesus instructs his church to “hold onto what you have until I return’ he is commenting on what his disciples have been taught by the apostles as opposed to the teachings of Jezebel. In other words, “Stick with what I have taught you and do not get caught up with any so-called deep teachings”. If Jesus and his Apostles did not teach what NAR ‘apostles’ teach then what do they claim as their source of authority? Well, they claim to receive special ‘revelation knowledge’ and by this they usually mean that the Holy Spirit gives them special insight into the meaning of certain scriptures. How this occurs is often by way of allegorical interpretation of types, patterns, and isolated texts, usually drawn from the Old Testament. For instance, the army of locusts in Joel is understood as a type of the end-time church army that will gain dominion over the earth, and so on.

There is some room for responsible allegory because Paul used it on occasions (Galatians 4:21-24 1 Corinthians 10:4) and Jesus sometimes spoke allegorically (John 10), but a good rule for interpreting allegorically is to ensure that any ‘deeper’ meaning is consistent with the literal first intended meaning of the text. By this I mean that any additional meanings of a Bible passage must be consistent with the more obvious meaning of the text and not contradict or present something unrelated to its essential message.

Much of what we hear taught as ‘prophetic revelation’ is based on unfounded allegorical interpretations of Old Testament scriptures. These are not the deep things of Jesus, so we are left to wonder at their source and the validity of those who teach them.

In my next post I want to focus on the phrase ‘morning star’ that Jesus used at the end of his letter to the church in Thyatira, and I am sure you will find it ‘illuminating’.

Satan’s Deep Secrets Read More »

The Comet is coming

There are numerous sites on the internet containing ‘facts’ proving that something big is about to happen. A comet is set to strike the earth on 24th September, 2015! Blood moons confirm this and the Shmita year supports it. So batten down the hatches folk because we are in for a near extinction event…. not!

In my latest sermon I show how these predictions are biblically incorrect and logically flawed. If listened to before the end of September, 2015 the sermon should prove instructional… after that it will be more entertaining than anything else.


The Comet is coming Read More »

Healing under the scalpel

I am painfully aware that as I take a surgical knife to the subject of healing I will be cutting into a number of sensibilities and run the risk of being carved up myself. Yes, healing is a gift of God, but it can also be a satanic present that carries bondage and distress under its colorful wrapping.

In the last few posts in the Revelation Revisited series I have been dealing with the seven letters to the churches. Last week I focused on pornography as one of the societal problems in the city of Pergamum. In this post I want to develop another aspect of that cities serpentine god Æscalapius’ influence both then and in our day. Strange as it may seem, healing was a gift that this pagan deity bestowed on its devotees. But healing is a good thing, a gift of God… isn’t it?

Although, regrettably, modern medical science claims as its heritage from Greek myth,  I regard it as part of God’s overall provision for us and I consult doctors and take antibiotics when they are needed to restore my health. I see divine healing as a more direct and immediate gift of grace. Medicine can heal and is seldom linked directly to God’s goodness and mercy, but divine healing, true divine healing, always points us back to God and evokes praise and gratefulness. If it were not for divine intervention in my life when I was a baby I certainly would not be here now writing this article. I believe in the present-day reality of divine healing both on biblical and experiential grounds.

But supernatural healing, or what appears as such, is not necessarily from or of God. The pagan priests of ancient Pergamum healed by operating in satanic power and their modern- day equivalents do the same.
truth-is-the-word-revelations-email-18-body-picAbout 20 years ago the Philippine Faith Healers  were in the spotlight and thousands flocked to them for healing. They were the product of Roman Catholicism and indigenous Voodoo and practiced a sort of ‘psychic surgery’. A person with a stomach problem would be laid on a table and the priest would run a dirty thumb nail down her belly. A scarlet incision would appear and the priest would seem to plunge his hand into the wound and then pluck out bloody material of some kind. He would then run his thumb back over the gash and the wound would disappear. The person was then pronounced healed.

Sleight of hand? Crude but effective showmanship? Most certainly, but I suspect that there was more going on than that and that some malign force was also at work. From the reports I have read it seems that the ‘patients’ almost all felt better immediately after the ‘surgery’ but the symptoms soon returned leaving the poor person, well…. poorer.

More recently, the Nigerian Prophet Joshua [] has attained notoriety and once again Christians by their tens of thousands have been flocking to Lagos to be healed. I have watched hours of documentary video evidence and have had firsthand experience with a misguided member of my local church. I am convinced that something more than smoke-and-mirrors is involved. Certainly there is a lot of powerful psychological pressure and suggestion, but I discern more. There appears to be a spiritual power at work which, although manipulated in the name of Jesus, does not conform to anything I know of the Lord Jesus’ ways as revealed in the Bible.

Then there is the leg-stretching  so favored by itinerant and TV evangelists. Are we supposed to believe that so many physical ailments are caused by one leg being shorter than the other and that instant healing occurs when the offending limb is ‘grown out’ before the amazed eyes of the faithful? Pull the other leg, why don’t you!

Most of these ‘healing’ events stimulate a rush of adrenalin and a resultant feeling of well-being. But it doesn’t last and the sufferer ‘losses’ their healing. Say what?! When Jesus healed people they stayed healed irrespective of whether they continued to confess their healing and avoid all negative thoughts. When the disciples of the book of Acts healed someone there is never any mention of conditions and the possibility of losing the gift from God.

I don’t see any biblical warrant for psychic healing, leg-stretching, or losing a genuine healing gift from God. In my opinion these are a machinations of Æscalapius, not the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
I must stress again that I believe that divine healing is valid in our day as a ministry of the church of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God the Father. I see it in scripture, in the life of the Lord Jesus, in people I know, and in my own life. I urge Christians to believe in and be open to receiving divine healing and I counsel them as urgently to run from the false and manipulative ministries of the serpent, no matter how ‘Christian’ they are presented as being.

In my next post I am moving on to uncover some of the spiritual wealth contained in the letter to the church in Thyatira… can’t wait!

Healing under the scalpel Read More »

About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.