Tuesday, November 27, 2012

“My Proof of Heaven”

A Review and Theological Commentary

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

The “Conversion” of a Skeptic?

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”
Jesus, John 14:1-4, KJV

Recently, Newsweek magazine flaunted a cover title HEAVEN IS REAL, with the subtitle, A Doctor’s Experience of the Afterlife.[1] The experiencer of Heaven is Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who has taught at, among other academic institutions, Harvard Medical School. In other words, he’s familiar with the intricacies and workings of the human brain. As a scientist, Alexander confesses he did not believe in near-death (NDE) or out-of-the-body (OBE) experiences for he “believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-the-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death,” but when he experienced one, his worldview shifted.[2]

Consciousness beyond Cortex
Four years ago, Dr. Alexander contracted a rare bacterial infection that penetrated his cerebrospinal fluid and began to eat away his brain, causing “the part of the brain that controls thought and emotion” to shut down.[3] For seven days he lay comatose with his “higher-order brain function totally offline.”[4] Just as his attending physicians were weighing options of whether or not to continue treatment, Alexander relates that his “eyes popped open” and he returned to consciousness. During the days when he was physically brain dead, Dr. Alexander testifies that his “conscious, [his] inner self—was alive and well.” He states:

While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.[5]

Alexander’s experience might be explained by paraphrasing a description of death given to us by the Apostle Paul; and that is, to be absent from the body is to remain in consciousness.[6]

The Shift
Later he adds concerning the shift that altered his view of reality: “The universe as I experienced it in my coma is—I have come to see with both shock and joy—the same one that both Einstein and Jesus were speaking of in their (very) different ways.”[7] Alexander relates that the universe, as he views it, consists of a quantum reality of unity (Einstein) and love (Jesus). Dr. Alexander has become a believer in an afterlife.

Previously, he considered himself to have been a “faithful Christian,” but confesses that before his experience of heaven, he was more so “in name than in actual belief.”[8] In other words, his Christian faith, like so many other American churchgoers these days, was nominal. His Christianity was forms and feelings absent substance. On this point, it should be noted that while Christianity may be more than cognitive (i.e., doctrine or teaching), it certainly is not less (as nominal Christianity would have it) than teaching. For example, a few key teachings of the Christian faith concern Jesus’ incarnation, substitutionary death for sin, bodily resurrection from the dead, and physical Second Coming. These beliefs form a sine qua non (without which nothing) of Christianity that differentiates it from other of the world’s religions. In other words, devoid of distinctive teachings which are to be believed, Christianity is simply not Christianity. The religion may serve as an ethical guide for life (follow Jesus’ example), or as an aesthetic stimulus for inducing religious experience in a church building through music, stained-glass windows, art, pageantry, liturgy, organ vibes and so on, but provide no assurances regarding the afterlife. So Alexander attributes his transformation into an after-life believer to his OBE. But does his reported experience comport with the scientia of Scripture? Does the account of it fit the biblical paradigm of heaven and the afterlife? As will be demonstrated, it does not.

Currently, Dr. Alexander serves as director of the research division of The Monroe Institute, a retreat center located in the foothills of Blue Ridge Mountains near Lynchburg, Virginia, an organization that specializes in exploring altered states of consciousness.[9] In a 1971 book Journeys Out of the Body, the institute’s founder Robert Monroe (1915-1995) popularized the term “out-of-the body experience” (OBE). About life, Monroe’s assumption was that, “The greatest illusion is that mankind has limitations.” In other words, among other things, Monroe believed that the human soul could explore different worlds. By his association with The Monroe Institute, Dr. Alexander indicates that he is not the most neutral or clinically detached scientific observer of the paranormal.

First, though Alexander’s reported experience appears surreal to others, it was real to him. When his brain died his consciousness personally journeyed to another world. Second, as the director of research at The Monroe Institute, he possesses a vested interest in explaining the afterlife from an occult and New Age spiritual perspective, which is exactly what he does in the Newsweek article, and presumably also in his about-to-be-published book.

New-found Mission
After holding for years, along with the rest of his scientific colleagues, that “the brain, and in particular the cortex, generates consciousness” (in other words, no brain, no consciousness), Alexander now acknowledges that his previously held theory of human awareness (i.e., that when brain matter dies consciousness dies) is bankrupt. So based on his OBE, he intends to spend the rest of his “life investigating the true nature of consciousness” and trying to persuade fellow scientists and the general public that “we are more, much more, than our physical brains.”[10] So during his seven days of being in an altered state of consciousness, how does Alexander describe his journey?

Beyond the Brain: Alexander’s OBE
Of the record of Dr. Alexander’s experience, long-time OBE researcher Raymond Moody exults:

“Dr. Eben Alexander’s near-death experience is the
most astonishing I have heard in more than four
decades of studying the phenomena.
[He] is living proof of an afterlife.”

—Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.,
author of Life After Life

In a wordless state of consciousness independent of his brain’s function, Alexander relates that he found himself floating among clouds—“Big puffy, pink-white ones that showed up sharply against the deep blue-black sky.” In this fantastical world, he observed “flocks of transparent, shimmering beings [Whether birds, angels or butterflies, who knows?]... leaving long, streamerlike lines behind them [like those which can be observed from jets flying at high altitudes].” These beings, these higher forms of life, produced a joyous chorus of scintillating and synchronous sounds, something Alexander describes as “palpable and almost material, like a rain that you feel on your skin but doesn’t get you wet.”[12] In this wonderland of consciousness, Dr. Alexander experienced something he describes as a “hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey.”[13]

The highlight of his consciousness being in heaven involved encountering a goddess-like-young woman who, as they rode together on an intricately-patterned (fractal) wing of a butterfly, exuded a look of love that while similar to and inclusive of the love he had experienced on earth, was a far more dynamic and expansive experience.[14] Her gaze of love communicated a three-part message to him:

“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”
“You have nothing to fear.”
“There is nothing you can do wrong.”

In that Alexander typifies—though he explains his experience from a neurosurgeon’s perspective which seemingly makes his story more credible—what so many, both inside and outside the Christian faith, are experiencing, what are Bible believing Christians to make of it?[16] Regarding his report of his afterlife experience, Alexander tells us that one of the few places where his explanation of the afterlife gets a ready reception is “church.” If untutored in matters regarding the faith’s substance, some churchgoers may un-discerningly believe his report as authentically Christian. So as one who has spent the greater portion of his life in church ministry, and as one who six years ago had a NDE while on a teaching mission in Eastern Europe, I feel compelled to review the Newsweek article that serves to introduce and publicize his book.[17]

One Point of Agreement
Like Dr. Alexander, the Bible teaches that human beings are more that just matter-mind. Foundational to his experience, one must note how he differentiates between the brain’s physicality and function and human consciousness. To Alexander, these two essences of being human are not synonymous. In his view, the reality of consciousness exists independent of brain function, especially that of the cortex.

On this point, Alexander’s view finds vague confirmation in the creation account of Genesis (Though I recognize he is nowise a creationist.). In the account of human origins, Scripture states: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground [the human body, including brain matter], and breathed [naphach] into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul [nephesh, i.e., the human soul, as distinct from brain matter]” (Genesis 2:7). In this narrative, one must envision Adam’s dust-of-the-ground body laying inanimate and immobile until the moment when God fused His “nephish” into Adam’s body, and he became a living soul [nephesh]. From Moses’ description of creation, the reader can observe that human materiality existed prior to and independent of the soul-consciousness that God later infused into the first Adam. Thus, the body (man’s material-corpse) may be differentiated from the soul (man’s immaterial-consciousness). So Alexander does depart from the strictly materialist premise of life that’s foundational for modern speculative science, a premise which assumes that when the human body-brain dies, consciousness (i.e., psuche in the New Testament) ends with it.[18]

Jesus too differentiated between body and soul. He told His disciples: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul [psuche] and body [soma] in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Jesus also promised the dying thief who recognized His innocence and asked to be remembered in the kingdom, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus promised the dying man that in the consciousness of the afterlife, he would be with Him.

But after this general point—that man is more than material—my agreement with Alexander ends. He tells us that he has come to view the universe’s reality to be as both Einstein and Jesus declared it to be. To understand Alexander’s experience of the afterlife, one must be aware of the quantum spiritually upon which the doctor’s experience is premised, a foundation that weds Einstein’s relativity to Jesus’ spirituality. So how does he assert that these two disparate figures of history, one modern and the other ancient, view the universe?

Einstein’s Reality—“Unity”
Alexander informs readers that, “Modern physics tells us that the universe is a unity—that it is undivided.” He goes on to explain:

Though we seem to live in a world of separation and difference, physics tells us that beneath the surface, every object and event in the universe is completely woven up with every other object and event. There is no true separation.[19]

Because in theory “every object... in the universe is completely woven up with every other object,” there hypothetically can be interplay between, in and among any of the places that might comprise the parts and places in the universe. In other words, a person’s soul or consciousness could find itself located in any realm of reality, whether on earth or in heaven. And because “every... event in the universe is completely woven up with every other... event,” persons in their consciousness can find unity with the various happenings in the various realities that comprise a holistic universe. That’s why a church’s stained glass windows could remind Alexander of “the luminous beauty of the landscapes [he’d] seen in the world above,” why the organ’s deep base notes reminded him of “how thoughts and emotions in the world are like waves that move through you.” In other words, by experiencing a real beauty below we experience the ideal Beauty above because the unity of the whole generates synchronicity of the parts.

Welcome to Plato’s world. On this point, it can be noted that Plato’s philosophy inspired the idea that souls enjoyed consciousness before their incarnation. So if, according to Alexander, persons are continuing consciousness after death, why could they not have been continuing consciousness before birth? Why not go back to the future too? The theory of the universe being woven together in a quantum way would seemingly allow for it. (I merely raise the issue.)

A quantum physical worldview theorizes that the universe is all there is (a solitary system), and that its unity consists of a composite of parts and events where every function (or malfunction) of the smallest part (the microcosm) can affect the function of the whole (the macrocosm). As such, quantum theorists postulate that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Congo might stimulate a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. Welcome to Chaos Theory 101. But to Alexander, there exists a fractal power inherent in the universe which can organize beauty out of chaos and turn malevolence into benevolence. It’s the power that Jesus spoke of, the power of love.

Jesus’ Reality—“Love”
After reporting how “church” is one of the few places where his OBE report gets positive reviews, and (to repeat something previously stated) after relating how the stained-glass windows and the organ’s deep and quivering base notes reminds him of the sights and sounds of his experience in heaven, Alexander informs,

And most important, a painting of Jesus breaking bread with his disciples evoked the message that lay at the very heart of my journey: that we are loved and accepted unconditionally by a God even more grand and unfathomably glorious that the one I’d learned of as a child in Sunday school.[20]

Such a worldview, that unites reality and permeates it with love, makes more credible, at least in theory, Alexander’s experience of his version of heaven at a time when though his brain was dead on planet earth, his consciousness was alive and experiencing afterlife. This worldview assumes that reality, both immediate and ultimate, is oneness and love—one soul, one world, as above, so below. Author Graham Hancock explains the latter concept: “There seems to have been an ancient idea, as above, so below, to bring down the perfections of the heavens to earth, and in someway unite heavens and earth.”[21] According to Magee, this Hermetic assumption is “the central tenet of Western occultism.”[22] It is pantheistic monism, a belief system which identifies the divine and nature to be one essence. In other words, to a pantheist if the universe did not exist, God would not exist. So Alexander views that Einstein and Jesus, though from different perspectives, function as revealers of a pantheistic reality of oneness and love. This quantum-spiritual worldview is not Christian for in merging heaven and earth, it denies the separateness of God from nature.[23] Furthermore, in such a quantum-love worldview mysticism becomes the only spirituality by which people can experience oneness with nature.[24]

In describing his OBE, Alexander employs oxymora (i.e., figures of speech that represent the attempt of mystics to describe the spiritual ecstasy they experience upon reaching an illuminated state of euphoria in which contradictions no longer contradict, i.e., shore-less lake, silent thunder, dazzling darkness, inaudible whispers, etc.). The use of oxymora by mystics typifies their attempt to describe spiritual flights into fantasy that they take in their consciousness. For example, Alexander describes the sounds of heaven to be “like a rain that you can feel on your skin but doesn’t get you wet.”[25] In another description, he described seeing in his consciousness an immense pitch-black void, “an inky darkness that was also full to brimming with light.” He claims the duality of darkness-light “was home of the Divine itself.”[26] From time immemorial, this is the way mystics have described “the ecstasy of self-transcendence where we meet the self-transcending, ‘ecstatic’ love of God.”[27] But as have mystics before, Alexander describes his consciousness flying into the dark despite the Lord Jesus’ declaration, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12); and despite John the apostle’s assertion, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5; Compare 1 Timothy 6:16; James 1:17.).

Yet if it is assumed that everything in the universe is woven together (as above, so below), then darkness becomes the equal of light, and mystics are free to speak of the duality as one (as an inky darkness full of light). If however, as Jesus described it, separation (a state which defies the theory of the universe’s quantum unity) from God can exist by being cast “into outer darkness” where there is no light, then darkness is not the equal of light, and approaching it in one’s consciousness does not indicate that a mystic is entering into the presence of the Divine. In fact, the exact opposite might be the case (See Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:20.). Encountering the darkness may well signal an encounter with the deceptive Prince of Darkness and his evil spirits, for Satan and his emissaries are ever about the business of tricking people into equating darkness with light and evil with good.

Consciousness and Christianity
In the aftermath of his experience in heaven, Dr. Alexander tells readers that, “One of the few places I didn’t have trouble getting my story across was a place I’d seen fairly little of before my experience: church.”[28] So it must be asked, is the description of his OBE consistent with the Christian faith? For a number of reasons, it is not.

First, Alexander’s view of the afterlife in heaven may be described as continuing consciousness in a non-material state. This of course, is at odds with one of the great, if not central teachings of the Christian faith—the personal, physical and bodily resurrection of first, the Lord Jesus Christ, and then, the rest of the humanity, both believing and unbelieving (1 Corinthians 15:20-23; John 5:25-29). The New Testament tells us that after death, Christian resurrection involves not only uninterrupted continuing consciousness—and perhaps an intermediate body (Luke 16:19-31; 2 Corinthians 5:1)—but also a future personal, physical and bodily resurrection comparable to that of the Lord Jesus Christ’s, a state of being that will involve a unified reality of soul-consciousness and a material body (1 Corinthians 15:1-58). As John wrote:

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” (Emphasis added, 1 John 3:2)

In the aftermath of His resurrection, Jesus possessed a body that could be seen and touched. Though glorified with the ability to appear and disappear, His body was essentially material (John 20:19-20, 25-28). As Jesus told His disciples: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit [consciousness?] hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39). Dr. Alexander’s explanation of the afterlife as continuing consciousness is Platonic and Gnostic and therefore does not do justice to the Christian promise and prospect of being materially raised from the dead. In the future resurrection, everybody’s somebody!

Second, neither does the three-part message he intuited from the beautiful young woman while riding on a butterfly’s wing with her (You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever—you have nothing to fear—there is nothing you can do wrong.) comport with the reality of Jesus’ message. The message Dr. Alexander received communicates universalism; that is, for reason of divine love eclipsing divine wrath, everybody’s loved and consequently, everybody’s saved. In this life people are free to believe in universal salvation, but to their shock will one day stand before Judge Jesus who will administer a personal judgment to them that will end in either commendation or condemnation forever (John 5:26-29). Though they are free to believe in universal salvation, humans are not free to say Jesus taught it. He did not. And neither did the other prophets and apostles of the New Testament (Compare Acts 17:30-31.).[29]

Alexander informs readers that a picture of The Last Supper hung in church reminds him of the Jesus-message that lies at the very heart of his consciousness journey—that we are loved unfathomably and unconditionally by God. But any pictorial reenactment of this scene begs the question, “What about Judas?” In the biblical reality during that supper, Jesus identified the traitor-disciple in the following dialog:

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. (Emphasis added, Matthew 26:24-25; See also Mark 14:21; Luke 22:21-22.)

Judas’ case, along with other despots of human history, does raise questions about God’s love being unconditional and unfathomable for everybody from all time. William S. Plumer (1759-1850), New Hampshire lawyer, politician and Bible scholar, commented that “The doctrine of universal salvation has no countenance in Scripture.” After stating there is much in Scripture that contradicts universal salvation, Plumer goes on to state:

It is disproven by the case of Judas. If, after many thousand years of suffering, he shall rise to everlasting happiness in the skies, it will be good for him that he was born. Eternal happiness far outweighs all temporal suffering, however protracted. Any existence which terminates in eternal glory will prove a blessing beyond all computation. All temporal suffering can be gauged. But who can fathom the sea of love, the ocean of bliss, made sure to all believers? And eternal misery is as dreadful as eternal glory is desirable. Oh! how fearful must be the doom of the incorrigibly wicked, when in their case existence itself ceases to be desirable, or even tolerable! It is true of every one who dies without repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, that—“It had been good for that man if he had not been born.”[30]

Third, one part of the message Alexander’s consciousness received in heaven was, “there is nothing you can do wrong.” This message he received while in an ethereality of consciousness is polar opposite from what the biblical historians, poets, prophets, apostles and Jesus indicate (See Ezra 9:7; Psalm 106:6; Jeremiah 3:25; Romans 3:10, 23; Mark 7:14-23; etc.). Both testaments provide ample commentary on the fact that there is much that we can do wrong, and for these sins only the atonement of Jesus Christ is sufficient to make our wrongs right before God (Ephesians 2:1-10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19); that is, if the Gospel has any meaning at all (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). If there is nothing we can do wrong, then why did Jesus die? Why the Cross, another one of Christianity’s central teachings? Did He die just to show us a selfless example to imitate?

Fourth (and this point must necessarily be extended), based upon his fairy-tale like description of what he experienced when his consciousness journeyed to heaven, there exist legitimate questions as to whether Alexander visited God’s eternal dwelling place, the third heaven. According to the Apostle Paul’s testimony, he personally visited, whether in the body or out of the body, he did not know, the third heaven, the abode of God (2 Corinthians 12:1-6). From the apostle’s testimony, we can assume that if a third heaven exists, then there also exists a first and second. In order, we might call these three realities the immediate heaven (the air we breathe and the atmosphere planes fly in), the intermediate heaven and the ultimate Heaven (where God dwells). By deduction, the question then arises, “Who-what exists in the intermediate heaven?” To discover that, we need to connect the dots, to follow the clues Scripture provides.

The Scriptures tell us that Satan is “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). The Bible also informs us that our spiritual struggle is not earthly, but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). In his hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” Martin Luther called Satan “the prince of darkness” for good reason. At one time, Satan ministered in God’s presence, but because of his “I-willing,” was cast out of Heaven (Isaiah 14:12; Compare Luke 10:18.). Though banned from residence in the Third Heaven, he still had access there (Job 1:6-7; 2:2). But Scripture also informs us that one day the earth will be judged and God will cast the devil down to earth (Revelation 12:0). It may be fairly deduced therefore, that the intermediate heavens—the high places in which principalities and powers operate—is the primary abode of Satan and the base of his operations. Apparently in this sphere, the archangel Michael disputed with the devil over Moses’ body (Jude 9) and the prince of Persia warred against Gabriel and Michael (Daniel 10:12). In my finite understanding, this middle heavens, the high places Paul wrote of, is not only the base of Satan’s operations, but in addition to earth, a place where he deceives and destroys (John 8:44; 1 Peter 5:8; Job 1:12-2:10). So the question must be asked: Might this be the sphere into which people journey in the illumination of their consciousness during an OBE or NDE? Is this the alternate reality to which people in their consciousness make visitations, see visions of, and hear voices in? I only raise the question.

In their NDEs or OBEs, people so often report passing through a telescoping dark tunnel towards a distant circle of light, which light they assume to be the divine presence or Heaven. But let’s look at such reports through a lens other than experience, the lens of Holy Scripture. The Bible informs us that Satan is the Prince of Darkness (The dark tunnel?). The Bible also tells us that Satan can transform himself “into an angel of light” (The light at the end of the tunnel?). On this point, we also know the name Lucifer means “light-bearer” (Compare 2 Corinthians 11:14 and Isaiah 14:12). Based upon this scriptural evidence, and that Jesus called the devil the father of deception (John 8:44), can any Christian be certain that, whether in a state of contemplation or during the consciousness of an NDE or OBE, the hybrid darkness-light they experience seeing is necessarily beatific? I don’t think so. In the reality of it all, such visions may be of the malevolent “god of this world” who, when it suits his purpose to deceive and/or our desire to fantasize, morphs into a deceptive “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It appears that the devil tempted Jesus’ consciousness in this way.

While the Lord was physically located in the wilderness, the devil first took Jesus “up into the holy city,” and then later “into an exceeding high mountain” where he showed “him all the kingdoms of the world” (Matthew 4:5, 8). Question: How was the devil able to abruptly relocate Jesus to the holy city or on a high mountain even though He was physically in the wilderness? Were the temptations visionary? Was an alternate reality involved? Perhaps there was, and if so, the temptation of Jesus indicates that the devil will employ altered states of consciousness in his deceptions and enticements. Believers beware.

No Graven Images
Jesus stated that God is a Spirit (John 4:24), meaning that in the essence of His being, God possesses no body. He is incorporeal. A theologian comments:

Indirectly, this is implied in the Second Commandment, which forbids us to make any graven image [Hebrew, pecel] or likeness [Hebrew, temuwnah] of him. God has no physical, measurable form. Hence, we are not to make any image of him, either physically, or in our imagination.[31]

The only ordained image (Greek, eikon) of God is to be found in God’s self-disclosure in the person of Jesus Christ, “Who is the image [eikon] of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). As John wrote of Jesus, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:14). All other images (icons) distract people from the unique incarnation of the Son of God witnessed to and depicted in Scripture (John 5:39; Luke 24:27). Obviously then, one temptation for humans is to create graven images to be their gods (Exodus 20:4; See Jeremiah 10:1-5.). But there can be, I believe, a temptation in the opposite direction, into the realm of pure spirit.

No Graven Imaginations
The devil tempted Eve that she might imagine her consciousness to be of the same essence as God’s (i.e., “ye shall be as gods, knowing,” Genesis 3:5). In committing idolatry, men can either make God their material lesser, or imagine they possess consciousness that is God’s spiritual equal. Either way, whether by the images they craft, or by the consciousness they imagine, God’s glory is obliterated.

Forever the Creature
The predisposition of humanity to commit idolatry by assuming a divinity of their non-material consciousness may explain why God has purposed that a physical and bodily resurrection awaits all men, from everywhere and from all time (John 5:28-29). The possession of a resurrection body will eternally remind every human being that God alone is God and He is their Creator! Whether in time or eternity, human beings are not, and will never become, gods. As John saw worship given to the Lord by the creatures in Heaven: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Emphasis added, Revelation 4:11). Seemingly, the reason why much (if not all) religion denies the physical resurrection—believing rather in reincarnation or continuing consciousness after death—is to deny God His rightful place in the universe as the Creator, and somehow incorporate themselves into the spirit of divine consciousness.

Though mystery does surround the afterlife in the Old Testament, Yahweh promised to raise-up a Prophet who would reveal more about it (See Deuteronomy 18:9-*15). Of course, that Prophet was Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). For true believers, it’s enough to know that in accord with His promises, the resurrected Jesus will care for us in the afterlife. To this end, He comforted His disciples:

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1-3)

As such, Christians should not attempt to fill in any void of knowledge regarding the afterlife by engaging in occult activities (Leviticus 19:31) or paying attention to the reports of the OBE or NDE experiences of others because curiosity can kill the Christian and “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Seeking voices other than the Prophet’s regarding matters of the afterlife betrays a heart of unbelief. By His words and His works, the Prophet (Jesus) has informed us about all we need to know of Heaven and how to go there when we die. As Peter answered Jesus when He asked the disciples if they, like others, were going to desert Him: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life (Emphasis added, John 6:68). From eternity Jesus stepped into time. He came from Heaven to earth. But He’s now in Heaven, and from there He’s coming back. So any void we might feel regarding our understanding the afterlife should be filled by faith in Jesus’ promises to us (John 10:27-28). As Paul explained, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (Emphasis added, 1 Corinthians 13:12). In the words of Richard Baxter (1615-1691):

My knowledge of that life is small,
the eye of faith is dim;
but ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
and I shall be with him.

“But as it is written,
Eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared
for them that love Him.”

The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV

[1] Dr. Eben Alexander, “My Proof of Heaven: A Doctor’s Experience with the Afterlife,” Newsweek, October 15, 2012, 28-32.
[2] Ibid. 29.
[3] Ibid. 30.
[4] Ibid. 30.
[5] Ibid. 30.
[6] The biblical text reads: “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).
[7] Ibid. 32.
[8] Ibid. 30.
[9]“Research Collaborations at the Monroe Institute,” The Monroe Institute: Exploring consciousness ~ Transform your life (http://www.monroeinstitute.org/research/research-collaborations-at-the-monroe-institute). On its website, The Monroe Institute describes itself to be “a non-profit research and educational organization dedicated to enhancing the uses and understanding of human consciousness.” Then the site goes on to explain: We are not affiliated with any religion, philosophy, or spiritual practice. We ask only that you consider the possibility that you are more than your physical body.
[10]Alexander, “My Proof of Heaven,” 32.
[11] Front Cover, Eben Alexander, M.D., Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2012). Though now available in digital form, the book is soon to be published in printed copy.
[12] Alexander, “My Proof of Heaven,” 30-31.
[13] Ibid. 30.
[14] One can note aspects of resemblance between Alexander’s experience and that of Mack in The Shack which the author portrays like a Thomas Kinkade painting. Amidst that surreal world, Mack encountered the goddess-like-judge Sophia who caused him “to feel her words rain down on his head and melt into his spine, sending delicious tingles everywhere.” See Wm. Paul Young, The Shack (Los Angeles, CA: Windblown Media, 2007): 153. Like Alexander’s OBE report, Young’s religious allegory also presents a scheme of universal salvation. See chapter “The Shack and Universal Reconciliation: Rebels, Rules, and Reconciliation,” in Pastor Larry DeBruyn, Unshackled: Breaking Away from Seductive Spirituality (Indianapolis, IN: Moeller Printing Company, Inc., 2009): 79-96. See: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2009/10/unshackled.html for more information. Contact 903-567-6423 to order Unshackled.
[15] Alexander, “My Proof of Heaven,” 31.
[16] Betty Malz, My Glimpse of Eternity (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, Baker Publishing Group, 1977). Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2010). Judy Franklin and Beni Johnson, Experiencing the Heavenly Realm: Keys to Accessing Supernatural Experiences (Shippensburgh, PA: Destiny Image, Publishers, Inc., 2011). Dennis & Nolene Prince, Nine Days in Heaven: The Vision of Marietta Davis (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 2006). Choo Thomas, with Foreword by Dr. David Yonggi Cho, Heaven is So Real! (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 2006). See also Lisa Miller, Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2010).
[17] On November 9, 2006, I caught a vicious flu while on a teaching mission in Hungary. Dehydration caused blood clots to form and I suffered a major coronary infarction. On a one and one half hour ride to a public hospital in Budapest, my heart had to be defibrillated seven times. By God’s sovereign intervention I survived. But because my heart attack occurred the “old way” without the administration of needed medications, I developed Dressler’s Syndrome (where excess fluids accumulate around the heart and lungs which constricts breathing). This required seven subsequent hospitalizations upon returning to the United States. On two of those hospitalizations, my life was also endangered. All of which is to say, I too, though not as prolonged as Alexander’s, experienced a NDE (near-death experience).
While recuperating from my heart attack at the Bajcy-Zsilinsky Korhaz (Hospital) in Budapest from November 9-17, 2006, one of my rehabilitation therapists, in her broken English, engaged me in a conversation. She asked me what I saw during my NDE. Without hesitation, I responded, “Nothing.” Then I added, “The only thing I will tell you is, that I saw no darkness.” She smiled and respectfully changed the subject.
About this exchange with the young therapist, I would make an observation and then ask a question. First, she was curious about my NDE because she had, no doubt, been exposed to testimonies of what other people had experienced during their NDEs, and quite naturally was looking for some confirmation of their reports from me. Second, why, to whatever degree, did I not see any sights or hear any sounds of heaven during my experience? Why was my NDE, given the plethora of reports from others about what’s out there, experientially unexceptional (other than I thought I was dying thousands of miles away from home and would never see my wife and sons again in this life)? A Scripture in Hebrews bears upon the question. It says: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Emphasis added, Hebrews 11:1). And “without faith, it is impossible to please” God (Hebrews 11:6). In my NDE I did not experience heaven because I was at the time of it, and still am, living by faith!
So as far as concerns me, all these reports on NDEs and OBEs, especially on the part of those who claim to be Bible believing evangelicals, evidence a deficient faith. As Jesus told a skeptical disciple who finally, upon seeing His wounds and scars, accepted marks as proof of His resurrection, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:28). I feel blessed to believe even though I have not seen. Dear reader, because Jesus told His disciples that He is “the way, the truth, and the life,” we are assured that our Lord delights in those who trust His person and believe His promises. For now, end of story, at least for me.
[18] Differentiating Old Testament nephesh from New Testament psuche is difficult. Nephesh does not carry the meaning of awareness in the afterlife as psuche does. For example, though in life they had possessed nephesh, the inhabitants of Sheol in the Old Testament are not personified to be conscious souls, though those inhabiting the afterlife in the New Testament are (i.e., psuche, Revelation 6:9). But to the point being discussed, it is enough for Christians to know that Scripture declares man to be more than just material.
[19] Alexander, “My Proof of Heaven,” 30.
[20] Ibid. 32.
[21] Graham Hancock, Fox News Reporting: Countdown to Doomsday, November 21, 2012, 9:00 p.m..
[22] Glenn Alexander Magee, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001): 13.
[23] See chapters “The Holy God: Immanence to Idolatry” and “From Cosmos, to Chaos, to Consciousness: Quantum Physics and the New Spirituality,” in my book, Pastor Larry DeBruyn, Unshackled: Breaking Away from Seductive Spirituality (Indianapolis, IN: Moeller Printing Company, Inc., 2009): 17-22, 39-78. The chapters are available online at the Herescope website: (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/04/holy-god.html) and (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/11/emergent-metaphysics.html; part six of a series). See: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2009/10/unshackled.html
[24] “Mysticism is the knowledge and personal experience of, states of consciousness, or levels of being, or aspects of reality, beyond normal human perception, sometimes including experience of and communion with a supreme being.” Adapted from “Mysticism,” Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysticism).
[25] Alexander, “My Proof of Heaven,” 30.
[26] Ibid. 32.
[27] Rowan Williams, “Dark Night, Darkness,” The Westminster Dictionary of Spirituality, Gordon S. Wakefield, Editor (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1983): 104.
[28] Alexander, “My Proof of Heaven,” 32.
[29] For a more in depth discussion of universalism, see Pastor Larry DeBruyn, “Love Loses: The Quantum Spirituality of Rob Bell,” Guarding His Flock Ministries, May 9, 2011 (http://guardinghisflock.com/2011/05/09/love-loses/#more-1774); and the chapter “The Shack and Universal Reconciliation,” in author’s book Unshackled, 79-96.
[30] William S. Plumer, “Lessons from the Life and End of Judas Iscariot,” True Gospel Resources (http://www.truegospel.net/Plumer/001.htm).
[31] Morton H. Smith, Systematic Theology, Volume I (Greenville, SC: Greenville Seminary Press, 1994): 130.

Graphic image of Newsweek cover from: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-evcWUUlH4qo/UHl1mwlBNGI/AAAAAAAAjuM/VpxR8jZNqc0/s1600/Screen+shot+2012-10-13+at+PM+10.05.43.png

This article is republished with permission. Original is posted at http://guardinghisflock.com/2012/11/22/the-proof-of-heaven-a-theological-review-and-commentary/


Monday, November 19, 2012



Exhibit A*

GodDay 12.12.12
Restoring Honor to God and Fathering the Fatherless

 “A Day like no other, GodDay, will begin on 12-12-12. A sound will be released that will awaken a city to awaken nations. This sound of awakening shall go forth and an army of awakening shall arise in kingdom government and demonstration. Supernatural signs, wonders and miracles shall continually increase. Mass deliverance and salvation will break out in cities and regions. Places that were once dead in sin will spring forth in revival. News networks will report locally and globally about this phenomenon. Those who embrace this move will experience economic turnarounds. The very economies of cities shall be revived and awakened as they enter into My Day and embrace my righteous cause. Yes, I will favor those who favor righteousness and the righteous,”[1]

It is becoming an annual occurrence. Once again the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has scheduled an event on a calendar date that has numerological repetition. This year it is GodDay 12.12.12, featuring NAR head apostle C. Peter Wagner. Like the New Age Datesetters who are focusing on 12-21-12, the numbers are given esoteric significance.

The use of month-day-year date annotation is simply a manifestation of the calendar we use. Here is a brief description of our modern calendar system: 

The Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar, is internationally the most widely accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582; the decree, a papal bull, is known by its opening words, Inter gravissimas. The reformed calendar was adopted later that year by a handful of countries, with other countries adopting it over the following centuries.[2]

Yet, the NAR and related evangelical leaders have persisted in this date-setting numerology, especially since the turn of the millenium when it became so easy to combine single digit dates on the calendar, such as 01-01-01, etc. According to NAR critic Sandy Simpson at www.deceptioninthechurch.com,

The brief history of the New Apostolic Reformation is full of the celebration of mythological superstitious calendar dates.  The apostles and prophets of this movement have proven themselves to be false over and over again by their superstitions and alignment with New Age mythology.[3]

Simpson has been documenting the chronology of this "superstitious date setting" since 3-3-3 when Ted Haggard sent out an e-mail calling people at his New Life Church to pray on March 3, 2003. Haggard noted that this was a day with significance to the New Agers, but countered that

The World Prayer Team therefore calls on all Christian churches and individuals to set aside at least 3 minutes to pray at 3:33 PM in their time zone on 03/03/03.[4]

False prophecies seem to go on during these special dates. Benny Hinn reported having a dream about the significance of March 3, 2003, which helped fundraising for TBN:

...God Himself awoke Benny with a prophesy that is frightening to say the least. That's right God told Hinn that "rivers of blood" will come in the near future unless fervent prayer is exercised on behalf of TBN partners and the Body of Christ in general. He told Rod Parsley on this program that great judgment is coming and this is in addition to the fire, shaking, shuddering, and raining that is also supposed to come upon the church as seen in Hinn's past dreams. He said in closing that Mar. 3 will be a day to be remembered because God personally told him that He would do "something" super supernatural that day.... [5]

Simpson noted that "nothing happened of any importance on that day out of the ordinary" and that there were no "rivers of blood."

Simpson reported that on June 6, 2006 "the apostolic networks came together to do "prayer" and "violent worship" to allegedly protect the world against the devil's plans for 6/6/6." This time the NAR called June 6 “A Global Day of Violent Praise.”[6] To carry the numerology further, the NAR started and ended the collective prayers at 6 pm, and even quoted from Isaiah 66:6, Psalm 66:6, and Genesis 6:6. Characteristically, they blew shofars and spoke out decrees.

On July 7, 2007, Lou Engle of TheCall, who is closely associated with the IHOP and NAR movements, gathered at the Titans Stadium in Nashville to try to start a new "Jesus Movement" and renew "covenant vows" with the Lord.[7] At this point Engle was trying to fulfill the old Bob Jones (Kansas City Prophets) false prophecy about the significance of filled stadiums.[8] This event was to launch the long-awaited recruiting for "Joel's Army" to create the "New Breed" of the Latter Rain cult, a teaching popularized by Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner, Paul Cain, and others. See "TheCall 7-7-7 Nashville" HERE and HERE, for example, and note that there are more films from this event posted online.

Rick Joyner, and his pal Lou Engle - who both seem fixated on this numerology - held a "Solemn Assembly" on 08-08-08 to "consecrate the state" of California. The event was coordinated by IHOP. The photos are posted online HERE. They went to San Fransisco, not to share the Word of the Gospel, but rather to "pray and fast" because it was a "city under seige" and "demonic subjugation." They were hoping for "a shift to take place & righteousness to break forth" as a result of their spiritual warfare prayers and identificational repentance.[9] It was all connected with California's controversial Proposition 8 "Marriage Amendment."[10] Interestingly, this prayer event was accompanied by "Christian Native Americans and others are covering the portals as The Big Bear Medicine Wheel Gathering is happening on 08-08-08."[11] Some of the activities sounded downright bizarre and occult!

On the 8th of Aug. of 2008 the nations have convoke a special ceremony to open the portal of Orion. The portal of Orion is a spiritual corridor to establish the powers of darkness over the earth. August 8, 2008 the countries have convocation for a special ceremony to open the portal orion. The portal orion is a corridor to establish the spiritual powers of darkness on the earth.[12]

Numerous prophecies abounded across the Internet about September 9, 2009 with corresponding events. One of the more interesting prophecies on The ElijahList was yet another prediction of a "super shift" to "another season of change and great shaking" beginning in September and "continuing throughout October, and will gain both momentum and velocity by December 31st." This Dec. 31 date was said to be significant because it was a "blue moon."[13] Often the esoteric numerology ties in with signs in heaven and on earth according to these NAR folks.

Another significant NAR September 2009 event took place when Bob Jones had yet another vision. This vision gained special notoriety recently when it was used to justify the David's Tent DC (also see previous post). The original account of the vision was published on The ElijahList:

In September 2009, in a trance, Bob was aboard a train with many other shepherds. Each one had a special seat assigned by the Holy Spirit. Bob asked the Conductor, "What is this train?" The Conductor told Bob it was the glory train and handed him a time capsule that was shaped like an egg. The egg had new life in it! It contained the beginning and end of time. Bob asked the Conductor, "When can I open this egg and when will this train arrive?" The Conductor said the time was within the egg and the egg will be opened in 2012.[14]

The interpretation of this event was that this "glory train" was "The Ellipse" where Davids Tent DC was located, which NAR leader Jolene Hamil said "is an oval shaped park shaped like an egg"

We are now in the final 24 hours of Davids Tent DC. The egg of promise has most definitely hatched. The glory of the Lord is NOW being restored as a bridal canopy across the land.[15]

Rick Joyner was published on The ElijahList on this date, corresponding with his advertised 10-10-10 Ignite Conference (with Todd Bentley), proclaiming a prophecy about getting a "double portion of prophetic revelation." It was a typical Dominionism NAR "prophecy," proclaiming that

We are entering the time of the ultimate clash between light and darkness, but as we also see in this text—the light wins! The nations do not turn to the darkness but to the light.[16]

Lou Engle held yet another youth event, the highly publicized TheCall Detroit. Footage of the event is posted online, HERE and HERE and elsewhere online.

Meanwhile John Benefiel of HAPN (of the NAR) had been busy casting Baal out of America in 2011, and this project culminated at the Lincoln Memorial on 11-11-11. A series of "prophetic" visions on about the significance of this date also formed the basis of the 2012 David's Tent DC event just before the elections. Here is how it was described:

...this effort culminated by presenting to the Lord a Declaration of Covenant this July 4, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Then on 11-11-11, as part of the DC40 initiative, we returned to the Lincoln Memorial as leaders assembled in state capitals across our nation. From coast to coast, we reminded God of His covenant, and asked for His hand in marriage again!

I can say that beyond any doubt, the Lord responded with YES. Here’s just two expressions of His verdict. On the eve of 11-11-11, as we gathered for the DC40 prayer time, Apostle John Benefiel had a vision. A thick, weighty substance began to form and connect from region to region. John realized he was seeing God’s glory being restored in this nation... as a bridal canopy!

As we were resetting covenant with the Lord on 11-11-11, Chuck Pierce and Dutch Sheets were in Kansas, at the very place where the “X” intersected in Cindy’s vision. Chuck and Dutch felt a release to governmentally call for God’s glory to be restored as a bridal canopy to the land!

Exhibit B*

James Nesbit, who creates this mystical artwork[18] depicting the theology of the Latter Rain, Joel's Army,  the New Breed, and the 7 Mountains, described the purpose of these Washington, D.C. 2011-2012 initiatives as follows:

The Biblical Calendar began for us this year with the 51 Days of Fire (DC40) prayer initiative: 40 days praying in Washington DC and 11 days Philadelphia, 10/3/11 through 11/22/11. The power of the initiative was the union of all the states praying "As one” for those 51 days. Each state took a point man position in leading the states in praying for our nations capital through that state, and night after night via conference call each state passed the torch to another, beginning with the state of Hawaii and ending with the state of Delaware....

Now here we are coming to Georgia.... We are coming to release the sounds of heaven, the synergy of intercessions of the year biblical year 5772 and move in the governmental power of the one song.

We have entered into the "Era of His Presence" and the Latter Rain outpouring that will produce a Great Awakening that will never end until the return of the Lord. We are crossing over into the era of  Holy on earth as it is in heaven.[19]

Exhibit C*

All of which brings us to GodDay 12.12.12 in Orlando, Florida, "a day of Divine Order and Apostolic Government" where "Apostolic decrees & Prophetic Proclamations will be made that Shift the atmosphere and release Awakening to America and the nations." Ostensibly the event is about "the Fatherless," but it seems to have a typical NAR agenda to shift things into their version of an awakening. C. Peter Wagner and New Age/NAR leader Mark Chironna are featured with other NAR notables. It has been advertised on TheElijahList.[20]

The Truth:

According to Sandy Simpson, true believers should not have anything to do with this sort of date-setting and significance. It is connected with occult divination, augury and superstition.

False prophets have always been known and identified as using divination and augury to try to set dates for certain events.  The dates they set, though they hold festivals to celebrate them, never produce the results they predict.  Their superstitious behavior and their adherence to these mythologies are one way to identify them as false prophets....

False prophets devote themselves to godless myths (superstitions) and the celebration of certain augured mythological dates.  Yet true believers are not to engage in such things.

1Ti 1:4  nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. (NIV)
1Ti 4:7  Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. (NIV)
2Ti 4:4  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (NIV)[21]

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
(Galatians 4:9-10)

1. "A Prophectic Decree by Dr. Joshua Fowler," posted at http://www.globalawakeningcongress.com/
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar
3. Sandy Simpson, "The New Prophets And Apostles and Superstition," 5-22-07, http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/newprophetssuperstition.html
4. Ibid, quoting from several earlier articles at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/333hinn.html  and http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/answertotedhaggard.html
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. See the February 1996 article by Ed Tarkowski, "The Significance of Filled Stadiums," The Christian Conscience (Vol. 2, No. 2), published online at http://www.discernment-ministries.org/Articles/FilledStadiums.pdf 
9. http://ca4jesus.blogspot.com/2008/08/8808-consecrate-state.html
10. http://injesus.com/message-archives/christian-living/CaPastorsPrayerNetwork/solemn-assembly-more-action-items
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. Larry Randolph: "Urgent: The Court of Heaven is in Session. It's time for the Church to Get on Their Face - The Verdict is NOT IN YET!" The ElijahList, Sept 1, 2009, http://www.elijahlist.com/words/html/textonly-090109-Randolph.html. Note that he contacted Bob Jones of the KC Prophets for verification of his prophecies.
14. Bob and Bonnie Jones, "Peace, Prosperity and the Returning Glory!" TheElijahList, January 16, 2012, http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word_pf.html?ID=10639
15. For an extended discussion on this, with documentation, see "Can the Bible Ever Mean What it Never Meant?" by Dr. Orrel Steinkamp, 11/15/12, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2012/11/can-bible-ever-mean-what-it-never-meant.html
16. Rick Joyner, "He is Releasing a Double Portion of Prophetic Revelation," The ElijahList, Dec 10, 2010, http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word/9402. Bold in original.
17. http://www.lamplighterministries.net/Securing%20the%20Secret%20Place.html
18. http://www.jamesnart.com

19. "Releasing the Sounds of Heaven Across GA! James Nesbit's insights," Kairos Transformation News, e-mail August 6, 2012. http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=bfae996e8e9f5c15009deb17f&id=1c61008801&e=3434bf27b1
20. "Are You Ready for Global Awakening?" The ElijahList, Nov, 11, 2012 e-mail advertisement, HERE.
21. Ibid, http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/newprophetssuperstition.html 

Exhibit A appeared in an e-mail sent out by artist James Nesbit for Prepare the Way Ministries International on March 7, 2012, "DC40 March 12-17 DC Itinerary - DC40 Documentary Webcast." This graphic was widely used to promote the DC40 event in 2011, which culminated on 11-11-11. Note the renaming of District of Columbia to "District of Christ."
Exhibit B and Exhibit C appeared in an e-mail sent out by artist James Nesbit for Prepare the Way Ministries International on October 15, 2012, "Important Notice and Schedule," promoting the David's Tent DC event. These two graphics depict the prophecies about a BRIDAL CANOPY lying over the Washington D.C.  The "bridal canopy" is part of Mike Bickle's IHOP (Latter Rain) false teachings, http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/05/mike-bickles-gigolo-jesus.html

NOTE: This article was co-published in a special arrangement with Apprising Ministries. The AM version is more complete, containing the actual footage of some of these events. It is posted at http://apprising.org/2012/11/19/12-12-12-nar-date-setting/

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Can the Bible Ever Mean What it Never Meant?

Raping Old Testament Narratives
To Promote False Teaching 

GodDay 12.12.12 is a day of Divine Order and Apostolic Government. On GodDay 12.12.12 Apostolic decrees & Prophetic Proclamations will be made that Shift the atmosphere and release Awakening to America and the nations.GodDay 12.12.12 is a strategic model of Awakening that will activate you and many others to release Awakening in other cities around the world!
("Are You Ready for a Global Awakening?" ElijahList, 11-11-12)

 By Dr. Orrel Steinkamp

This title is purposefully alarming in order to get the attention of the reader. Perhaps a little less volatile word could be abuse. Rape or abuse is to take something by force that is not yours for the taking. It is abuse when Scripture is mislabeled and misapplied. Violence is done to the message and meaning of Scripture. Manfred Brauch decribes it in a similar way: 

I very deliberately chose the term abuse to point to the serious nature of misreading the Bible. I am well aware that abuse conjures up terrible images.... My use of the word is an intentional decision to drive home the point that abuse – in the sense of “doing violence to” is precisely what happens when Scripture is misinterpreted and misused: violence is done to its message and meaning.... 
I am particularly concerned about the abuse of Scripture within the tradition of the Christian faith that upholds the Bible as the unique Word of God and affirms its divine inspiration and authority. This tradition which is generally identified as evangelical and of which I consider myself a part... seeks to honor the text of Scripture, claiming it as the irreducible foundation of the faith “once delivered for all and entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). Nevertheless, when on a regular basis, in our interpretation and application of the Bible, we grievously abuse Scripture, and we do violence to its message and meaning.
(Manfred T. Brauch, Abusing Scripture, IVF Academic, 2009, p. 15). 

James R. White in his book Pulpit Crimes highlights the transgression of mishandling the Scripture: 

When the Bible is mishandled and sloppily proclaimed men's ideas replace God's truth. Reading into the text ideas and concepts that would have been foreign to the original writers and beyond their intention is called eisegesis rather than the appropriate activity of exegesis.
(White, Pulpit Crimes, The Criminal Mishandling of Scripture, Solid Ground, 2006, p.55)

These two Greek propositions tell the story, “ex”means “out of” and “eis” means “into.” Very simply eisegesis imports the readers personal meaning into the text and exegesis exports the authors meaning from the text. Those who employ eisegesis must first import their ideas into the text and then suggest that these ideas actually come from the text. This is simply abusing the text. James White states the obvious: “If you desire to bring a certain viewpoint into the scriptures, find ways to isolate any text and create a plausible way around it. There truly is no limitation to the imagination of the heart of man....” (p. 101) Just as there is no end to human imagination to spin historical events for the will of the spinner, so also the desire to find false meaning in a biblical text is only limited by the imagination of the reader. 


Typically only trained Bible scholars commonly use this term. Actually hermeneutics is a transliteration of a Greek verb hermeneu, which means simply to explain meaning. A form of the hermeneu is used in Luke 24:27 which reads: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He (Jesus ) explained (hermenue) to them what was said of Him in all the Scriptures.” Still, for many, explaining what the Bible means seems daunting and difficult. However, people have been explaining things that other people have written for thousands of years. Communication has been going on long before anyone ever took a course in biblical hermeneutics. Robert Stein was a professor of mine in seminary. He gave his life to the study of hermeneutics and how to authentically understand the meaning of Scriptures. Stein states:

Now in all communication there must be present three basic components. There has to be an author, a text and a reader. Various people have argued for each of these three components to determine the meaning. Some argue for the author being the determiner of meaning, others for the text itself, and still others the reader. (Robert Stein, A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible – Playing By The Rules, Baker Academic: 1994, 2011)

The Debate of Our Day

1. Traditional View (first half of the 20th century) – The approach to interpreting any literature , biblical or secular, was to assume that the author determines the meaning and the reader's job is to find that meaning.

2. More Recent Trend (last half of the 20th century) – Critics now argue that the reader, not the author, is the one that determines the meaning.

Affects on Biblical Interpretation – Secular literary criticism has entered into the field of biblical interpretation. Biblical scholars wrestle with the question, What is the meaning? Some have concluded that meaning only applies as a reader interacts with the text – that it takes both the reader and the text to produce meaning. The author is no longer involved. The author has been removed from the equation. The reader now has the freedom to interpret the text any way they choose. The author has control of the meaning only to the extent the reader allows.

Authorial Intent – This position stresses that the author determines the meaning. It holds that the author intends to convey a specific message/meaning through his writing. The goal then is to discern, as a reader, what was the original intent of the author. An illustration of Authorial Intent is to receive a love letter from a spouse/boy/girlfriend. Your desire is to read each line and discern/search for the exact meaning he or she intended.

Conversely, a Reader Response position would be to find a love poem while walking in the woods and the author is not identified. You may not care what the author meant or intended, and you have freedom to interpret it however you want. Your interpretive question would change to what does this mean to me. Key interpretive principle here is that the reader creates the meaning. But this is not playing by the rules of communication. We must seek to discover the meaning that has been placed there by the author. The author is the inspired bible writer directed by the Holy Spirit. (Resourced from John Bohannon, weccva.com, "Authorial Intent Versus Reader Response: Who Controls the Meaning?")

Dr. Robert Stein quoted above was my professor in seminary in my doctoral studies. Below I will paraphrase from his class notes regarding the Authors Intent. Dr. Stein, suggests that it is the author that ultimately determines the meaning of a text. I concur with Dr. Stein. He calls this “authorial intent.” Lets follow Dr. Stein's reasoning.

The prevailing current view is that the text and the reader controls the meaning of a text. This suggests that the text alone is autonomous. It is as if there was never an author. It is as if a text comes to you dropped from heaven without any relationship in time and space to anything without any person being involved with it.... The text is an end in itself. It is as if the text magically appeared without an author, without circumstances, without any particular time and space in view. The text has its own meaning period. It is the text and the reader that gives it meaning totally apart from who actually wrote it and why he wrote it. Its just the text there in front of us.... If you are in a Bible study and you are studying the book of Galatians and you come to a passage and if by some miracle the Apostle Paul entered in the door and said to you “ What I meant by Galatians 3 here is..., this approach would say “That is very interesting Paul, but it is irrelevant. Long ago you Paul lost control of this text. It is now a work of art. It is isolated. It has nothing to do with what you said when you said it.” Now according to this view if people come up with different meanings that are different from what it means for you... well! no problem, because you the reader give the meaning to the text, and the text can apparently have multiple meanings. Therefore, there is no such thing as a single meaning of a text. It is like watching clouds and someone says that cloud looks to me like a dog and another looking at the same cloud says no! it looks like a cow. Well, actually you are both right. Each gives his own meaning according to how it is viewed. But if a biblical text has many different meanings it actually doesn't mean any of them.

Unfortunately this is the the common approach today. Haven't you been in a Bible class and each person is asked what the text means to them and after everyone has had his say the study just moves on. But If we are to attain to the meaning God intended we must seek to understand what the actual author intended to say. Thus the meaning of Romans is what what Paul meant when he wrote Romans. The Bible is not to be treated as some isolated form of art with each beholder able to have their own meaning. No it is a form of communication and we want to know what the author meant when he wrote it. Just as we are perturbed when someone reads into our words meaning we never intended, God I am sure is not impressed when we “edit his word.” God's Word was never intended to treated as a work of modern art in which each viewer finds his own personal meaning in the painting.

The fatal flaw of any biblical explanation that ignores the authors meaning is that it loses the original meaning and thus loses the authority of God's inspired truth. If we simply read into the text our own meaning, the interpretation is severed from the divinely inspired Author. The meaning then is personally derived and depends on the imagination of the reader. “We must never apply a passage to ourselves before we have understood the original purpose of the original author. The Bible was never written to me – the Bible was written for me. When I read a passage in the Bible I must remember I am reading it over the shoulder of the person or group of people to whom the author originally wrote. (Sizer, Zion's Christian Soldiers, p. 21). It is only then that we can understand, the inspired message and only then can we legitimately apply its principles to our our own time.

Biblical Narrative

Biblical narrative is simply a historical record and its purpose is to give us a historical account. It simply does not follow that because God did something in the past (historical narrative) that He will do it again unless He so choses. For example, God parted the Red Sea when the children of Israel were leaving Egypt and drowned Pharaoh's armies. Are we to draw from this story that every time God's children face a sea of water that God will part it? Likewise, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples was that a command for us to do the same? Paul mentions in passing that the Corinthians entertained the idea of "baptizing the dead."( 1 Cor. 15:29) Are we to baptize the dead – something the Mormons routinely practice? Because reluctantly Paul told of his journey to the third heaven, do we now have the same right and obligation as Paul? Does that simple historical reference of Paul's trip to the the third heaven give proven false prophet Bob Jones the right to mystically take people on guided trips to the third heaven describing it in imaginary detail, and referring to the demonic forces he encountered passing through the second heaven, etc., and then tell people all about it – when Paul in his historical account says that he heard things that he was commanded not to be told to anyone?( 2 Cor 12:4).

Without doubt we must distinguish between historical narrative and teaching genres. Generally speaking, normative doctrine is sourced from didactic (teaching) portions of Scripture. Conversely, historical narratives serve only to show us what happened to others in those historical events. Rick Watson gives two examples: First, Moses and striking the rock twice (Ex. 17:6). Obviously, no one would suggest that Christians need to strike a rock twice to get water. Secondly, the apostle Peter apparently had a “shadow ministry” in that sick people were brought to the near proximity of Peter and his shadow healed them. Obviously we cannot institute a “water from rocks ministry,” or the a “shadow healing ministry.” (Rick Watson, sourced from Coffee Time on the Internet.)


One of the must abusive methods of mishandling biblical narrative is to allegorize it. Allegory has unfortunately been imposed on Scripture for centuries. Philo, a Greek-trained Jewish writer, employed this tactic to help his Greek friends to gain some meaning from the Old Testament writings. In the early Christian centuries Origen used allegory extensively. In the early centuries after the New Testament, there developed a school of Christian allegorists in Damascus who used allegory almost exclusively. In the Middle Ages until the Reformation it was simply expected that any passage of Scripture not only have a literal meaning but three other meanings as well. It was called the “quadringa” named after the four horses that pulled the chariots in the Roman horse races.

But the Reformation dispensed with all this and restored the historical-grammatical approach to the biblical text. But in more recent times allegory has made a huge comeback. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. We must first define what allegory is. Just what is allegorical (also called mystical) interpretation? Roy Zuck offers the following description of biblical allegory:

Allegorizing is searching for a hidden or secret meaning underlying but remote from and unrelated in reality to the more obvious meaning of a text. In other words the literal reading is a sort to code, which needs to be deciphered to determine the more significant and hidden meaning.... The allegory [the hidden meaning] becomes the true meaning. (Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, Colorado Springs, Cook , 1991. p. 29)

It is as if the the literal meaning of the text is an outer garment that must be removed to see the deeper and more glorious truth presented as an allegory. In this mystical quest the authority of Bible is compromised. In allegory the reader is relying on his ingenuity and imagination takes various parts of the narrative and assigned to them a meaning as a symbol.

Thankfully, the Reformation brought a return to the literal meaning of the text. Now, there are allegories in the Bible. Paul uses allegory in Galatians. BUT the Bible writers could use allegory because they were the biblically inspired authors. But we, the readers, are not the Bible authors. If we allegorize we are raping and abusing God message. Now, centuries later, allegory is commonly employed. This return of biblical abuse and rape goes without any challenge and the biblically illiterate wolf it down with glee.

 Just Two Examples of Current Allegory Abuse of the Bible

Actually, most current employment of allegory today is normally preceded by new revelations beyond Scripture. First, there is a new revelation expressed, usually coming from one of the myriads of new "prophets" now traversing the globe. See The ElijahList on the Internet for thousands of these new "prophetic revelations." These new revelations have nothing to do with Scripture, for the author is not God but false prophets. But the false prophets, in order to buttress their new imaginary extra-biblical revelations, fraudulently use allegory to give the new revelation the appearance of biblical support. Actually the new revelations stem from the fleshly imaginations of the false prophets, and then they follow up with suggested biblical mystical meanings, often from purely historical Bible passages. Consequently this wedding of false revelation and allegory finds its source in the boundless imaginations of those promoting these new revelations.

1. The Latter-Rain Restoration Eschatology

The simple phrase “Latter-Rain” was abducted from Joel 2:23. In the historical context this reference to a “latter-rain is simply the prophet Joel giving a historical reference to the “early” and “later-rains” that were common to the agricultural year in Palestine. Notice that Joel refers to the early and latter-rains as something that He (Jehovah) has already given to Israel. The passage states: “He has given the early rain for your vindication and He has poured down abundant rain, the early and latter rain as before.”(Joel 2:23). Verse 27 attests that this giving of the early and latter rains had already been given to Israel, and Joel is reminding the people of Israel of the goodness of the Lord already bestowed. But someone decided that this historical reference would make a nice allegory. In fact, it they figured it could be pressed into service as a wholly new view of “salvation history” –  a new eschatology for the end of the age. In fact the whole Latter-Rain allegory became very popular and widespread around the turn of the last century and now has had a long history into our present time.

It is still with us today even though the term “Latter Rain” is not commonly still used. The Latter-Rain advocates allegorically teach that Acts 2 corresponds to, or stands for, the early rain mentioned in Joel. The long period of little or no rain in the Palestine weather pattern stands for the Dark Ages of Medieval Christianity and the latter rain stands for an end time outpouring and revival producing a end time harvest, just prior to the return of Christ. It an ingenious picture conjured from a simple reference to the rainfall patterns and the agricultural year over two thousand years ago. But this allegory is totally unrelated to the intent of the biblical author, but rather stems from the imagination of a biblical reader over 2000 years removed.

Joel never conceived of creating a new view of the work of the Holy Spirit from Pentecost to the the return of Christ. Nevertheless, all current Dominion Eschatology is based finally on this fraudulent allegory of Latter Rain eschatology. Any reference to a great end time revival and the dominion of apostles and prophets finds its foundation untimely in a passing reference to the ancient growing season in Palestine. It is allegory pure and simple yet it has spawned and continues to support a false view of the last days. Any reference to restored apostles and prophets and dominion teaching is based finally on the thin thread of an abusive imaginary allegory referenced from Joel's statement of the rainfall patterns of that day. This abuse of Scripture then becomes a false biblical justification of a supposed extra-biblical revelation. This is biblical abuse. We cannot just create our own meaning, rather we are limited to the meaning that was placed there by Joel the author to his readers of his day

2. The Bridal Paradigm and Bridal Canopy Dominionism

Mike Bickle is not the first to employ allegory to the Song of Solomon. The Medieval church early resorted to allegory in regard to the Song of Solomon. Bernard Clairvaux is representative. He read 1:13 “My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh that lies between my breasts.” Clairvaux could not understand that this verse might mean exactly what what it says, and so he allegorized it. The bag of myrrh stands for Jesus Christ crucified and the two breasts in the text represent the two criminals on either side of Jesus. Allegory searches for a hidden meaning that transcends the literal. Actually, the Song of Songs is a Jewish love poem (probably the 10th century BC) that extols sexual love between a man and woman united in marriage. It is God's endorsement of marital love as wholesome and pure. It was not Solomon's intent to allegorize it.

Mike Bickle, a current Dominion Apostle, has intensified allegory from the Song of Solomon for his own Dominion purposes. Cindy Jacobs and Dutch Sheets of the new apostles and prophets of C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) have stretched even further The Song of Solomon allegory into Dominion territory, especially in relation to the USA. Once again it is an amalgam of imagination prophetic revelation and allegory. In her vision Jacobs saw a line drawn from Washington State to Florida, a connection from the northwest to the southeast. She also saw a line from California to NY. Connecting the southwest with the northeast. Those lines intersected in Kansas in the form of X over our nation. Cindy knew the enemy had a plan to X out our nation and its destiny in Christ.

But then enter Dutch Sheets, another leading apostle/prophet, who enlarged Cindy Jacobs vision. For Sheets the “X” somehow was transformed in a bridal canopy. The geographic center of the nation, where the lines intersected became the center post of the bridal tent and canopy. This visionary bridal canopy or hupah, stretched across our nation as God tabernacled with His people. The bridal canopy is a Jewish marriage tradition supposedly harkening back to the Song of Solomon. Cindy Jacob's vision, and Sheet's enlargement of that vision into a prophetic bridal canopy over the USA, became a Dominion revelation regarding America. The Bridegroom was covering his bride a covenant nation and pouring out His glory over America. Other false prophetic wannabes were further inspired to fill in the blanks of this prophetic vision based on the Song of Solomon.

Jolene Hamil became one of those prophetic enhancers. She and her husband Jon along with John Benefiel and other prophets proceeded to prepare the USA for the promised canopy of God's glory. Jon and Jolene of HAPN (Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network) apostolically are aligned with apostle/prophet Chuck Pierce and members of Wagner's Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE). They further resorted to allegorizing Hosea 2, claiming to have facilitated the divorcement of Baal (in America) and the resetting of America's covenant with Jesus across our nation. This effort culminated by presenting to the Lord a Declaration of Covenant on July 4, 2011, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in DC. Then on 11-11-11 as part of the DC40 initiative, they returned to the Lincoln Memorial as leaders assembled in state capitals across our nation. From coast to coast they were reminded of God's covenant with America and they asked for His hand in marriage again.... The Lord responded with YES. On the eve of 11-11-11, they gathered for the DC40 prayer time, Apostle John Benefiel (HAPN) had a vision. A thick, weighty substance began to form and connect from region to region. John realized he was seeing God's glory being restored [in our nation].... Later, when praying into Cindy's vision, the Holy Spirit supposedly ushered prophetess Jolene into a prophetic experience. She watched as prophetically tent pegs for this canopy were driven into the four corners of the nation. It is suggested that there is a correlation with the four corners and four winds of the Spirit, as portrayed in Ezekiel. Four winds, four corners. Jolene further allegorizes the Song of Solomon 3:6: “Who is this coming up from the wilderness, like columns of smoke. Behold it is traveling couch (throne) of Solomon , sixty might men around it, the mighty men of Israel.” The prophetess then gives us allegorical insight in to this passage:

“This picture from the Song of Songs portrays the romantic journey of the Bridegroom and his bride. They are moving together from the wilderness to the Promised Land.... But note that in Solomon's procession, this traveling “bridal canopy" (also a couch) was also the Throne of governmental authority for all Israel.... But Solomon had the wisdom to surround this tent (couch) of intimacy with 80 valiant warriors. That's where you and I come in. Much like these men of valor, you are being invited to literally surround David's Tent DC in prayer.... Together we can guard against the terrors of the night. As recent events have clearly shown, your prayers can directly effect the course of this initiative. In this critical hour (the election) let us work together to see a throne of worship established at our nations seat of authority. Lets see God move to protect and defend our nation.” (HAPN Forward, Protect and Defend! prayer for David's Tent!, Lamplighter Ministries on August 16, 2012).

An Oval alter (the ellipse on the White House lawn is elliptical) for an oval office. God wanted David's Tent DC to brood over His promises for new life and build a a throne for His presence. Jon and Jolene further state:

"In Sept 2009 Seer Prophet Bob Jones was told an egg with new life would hatch in 2012. This was a move to the restoration of God's glory which Bob saw as a glory train. It is interesting that in Sept 2012 Jolene and I moved to an apartment in DC exactly across from Union Station. Why? The train of His glory is coming in. The Ellipse the sight of Davids Tent DC near the White House is an oval shaped park shaped like an egg." (Lamplighter Ministries, link added)

As the election drew near Jolene said:

We are now in the final 24 hours of Davids Tent DC. The egg of promise has most definitely hatched. The glory of the Lord is NOW being restored as a bridal canopy across the land. He is tabernacling with us. Canopy vision with these words “God loves me and Cindy Jacobs has a plan for my life." (Lamplighter Ministries).

The Bridal Canopy Appears to Have Fallen Down

The presidential election prophetically unfortunately went astray. An egg hatched alright and the tent pegs apparently didn't hold and the glory of the Lord is now heading to China. Chuck Pierce and C. Peter Wagner now in the light of the Obama election are now calling for a new Antioch shift. Cindy Jacobs and other prophets had called 2012 as the tipping point, etc., etc. But, hastily it seems, a redirection of the tipping point is tipping toward China. In terms of Jacobs vision/prophecy the effect of this election is that America has been Xed out. C. Peter Wagner has now issued a new apostolic decree (Nov. 9, 2012) entitled “the America of Tomorrow: How Shall We Pray.” Chuck Pierce stood up and told C. Peter:

"Peter, I feel like I have to give you an assignment. I say this humbly to you, but I know you're quite capable of doing this for us.   There was a word over you, and the Lord said to you, "Open your eyes for I will now reveal to you how the past has come to its closure and the new will begin to be expressed." While you're here, you are going to get a message. I know you are capable because you're a historian and you've got the best commentary on Acts that has ever been written because it makes Acts real today.   You are going to know what is really opening over us here. You're going to understand how one church era is ending and a new church era is being established. You're going to break us out of our nationalism. You're going to cause us to see a kingdom expression in the days ahead that we have not seen. This is the last major assignment that the Lord is giving you and you're going to reinitiate the open door that came into an expression in Antioch, but has never come into fullness for this church age."

            And then: "Lord, I loose this assignment. I feel like angelically you are giving it from heaven to be imparted to him. I know that he might be aged in years, but he is fresh in revelation. We decree right now that the last great message and paradigm shift for this generation's alignment will now be released into Peter in Jesus' name."

C. Peter Wagner later states:

The America of Tomorrow will not be the same as the America we have known....  I believe we should begin looking toward and praying into the America of Tomorrow.... What else did the election show us about the America of Tomorrow? It showed us that there will be no turning back. America's demographics and American culture, for better or for worse, have changed forever.... Some of us have been basking in what has been called American exceptionalism... .But I can imagine some of my Chinese friends might be considering Chinese exceptionalism” as a slogan for tomorrow....

For C. Peter Wagner the Lord has spoken, the new Antioch shift is to China. Why? Because Chuck Pierce told him that he had a new prophetic assignment: "The Antioch door is now reopening over you" and "one church era is ending and a new church era is being established.."

Apparently the pegs weren't driven securely to the four corners of America and just one election destroys the effectiveness of all the divorcement of Baal declarations of the prophets. Johns Benefiel's vision is abrogated and Davids Tent DC at the White House lawn was just a waste of time and resources. David's tent has fallen again. Wagner and Chuck Pierce think the canopy might now be forming over China, although Wagner sees it as far into the future. Jolene of USRPN and HAPN (affiliates of Wagner's NAR) informed us that

as they were resetting covenant with the Lord on 11-11-11 at the Lincoln Memorial, Chuck pierce and Dutch Sheets were in Kansas at the very place where the “X” intersected in Cindy's vision. At that time Chuck Pierce and Dutch felt a release to governmentally call for God's glory to be restored as a biblical canopy over the land.

But at that time they weren't thinking China. But now the prophets are calling it quits on their prophetic dominion allegory for the USA.... C. Peter Wagner wrote: "Chuck Pierce gave this further word from the Lord: 'The Dragon and her children, other Asian nations, will arise to unprecedented control of the economic systems of the earth. . . China is creating a society to advance the kingdom of God."

Doesn't all this seem silly? How can Christians get tied into knots like this? It's this sinking into the slough of continual contemporary imaginative revelations. And when it doesn't work out they just that quickly change prophetic gears, reinterpret their imaginations to mean an Antioch shift and redirect the glory to China. '"

The whole NAR dominion thing is simply continual imagination prophecy that is then linked allegorically to Scripture. What does the historical biblical account of Antioch have to do with America and China today, especially when a few days ago it was linked the American forefathers and resetting a supposed covenant with America. Was Luke the author of Luke/Acts thinking China of the 21st century when he wrote in the first century? Isn't this pure abuse of scripture? First false prophecy, and then lame attempts to link it to Antioch and the book of Acts. This is pure spiritual and biblical abuse and misconduct.


Indeed! Scripture can never mean what it never meant. (Thanks to Eric Douma for the title of this article.) James R. White asserts:

“The Christian doctrine of inspiration sets the scriptures apart from other claimed divine revelations in that Christians believe the Scriptures are God-breathed. This means the written word communicates to be infallibly the very speaking of God in a miraculously personal manner (Matt. 22:31. The authority of the Word is not based upon the interpreter but upon the inspired [author]. The message of the written Word is the same through the course of time. Without this affirmation, the Word becomes a purely subjective document, incapable of communicating divine truth with certainty.” (James White vs. Harold Camping On Iron Sharpens Iron! July 20, 2009).

For the Word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(Heb. 4:12)

*Republished on Herescope with the permission of Dr. Orrel Steinkamp, Plumbline Ministries, http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/plumblinearchive.html