Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Unsagacious Seers

Part 6: The Physics of Heaven
A Serial Book Review & Theological Interaction

Read Part 1: "The Physics of Heaven"
Read Part 2: "The Power of the Zero-Point Field"
Read Sidebar: "Jesus' Lesser Works"
Read Part 3: "Extracting the Precious From the Worthless"
Read Part 4: "Vibrating in Harmony With God"

Read Part 5: BILL JOHNSON: Squandering Our Spiritual Inheritance

Unsagacious: having or showing no acute mental discernment and no keen practical sense; not shrewd; not wise.

Review of Chapter 5 authored by Jonathan Welton,
“Authentic vs. Counterfeit”

“I have found throughout Scripture at least 75 examples
of things that the New Age has counterfeited,
such as having a spirit guide, trances, meditation, auras,
power objects, clairvoyance, clairaudience,
and more.

These actually belong to the church,
but they have been stolen and cleverly repackaged.
—Jonathan Welton, The Physics of Heaven, p. 49, emphasis added 

Ironically, this chapter, “Authentic vs. Counterfeit” by Jonathan Welton,[2] proposes that Christians should pursue separating the true from the false in New Age Religion, and reclaim the truths that religion stole from the church. The chapter’s “most important point” is,

If there is a counterfeit, there is an authentic that we need to find and reclaim. Every time we see a masquerade, we need too look closely to properly discern what is being counterfeited, because a counterfeit is evidence that an authentic exists. (TPOH, 42)

“Resistors” and “Fearers”
To advance his bold thesis, Welton needs to discredit conservative Christian critics who question the legitimacy of such a reclamation project and therefore states, “The way that God moves in power looks a lot like the New Age, and this has scared many Christians away from the operating gifts of the Holy Spirit.”(TPOH, 45) So he breaks down the way religious people view the supernatural into 3 Groups—
  1. Those who operate in the supernatural realm authentically (i.e., the signs and wonders crowd of the New Apostolic Reformation); 
  2. Those who operate in the supernatural realm fraudulently (i.e., New Agers, Buddhists, Hindus and Occultists); and 
  3. Those who view the supernatural realm skeptically. 
Welton perceives Group 3 to be comprised of “fellow Christians who believe false doctrines regarding the operation of supernatural power.”(TPOH, 48) In contrast to the charismatic crowd that embraces the supernatural under the “the lordship of Jesus Christ,” Group 3 is comprised of those who fear supernatural phenomena, and presumably do not live under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Welton bio on TheElijahList, 4/27/12

The New Normal
Welton compares these “resistors” to the Pharisees who after they observed the miracles Jesus worked by the Spirit, blasphemed the Holy Spirit by ascribing Jesus’ miraculous power to have been Satan’s (Luke 11:14-15). (Note: Unlike the Sadducees, the Pharisees were not anti-supernatural.)[3] To Welton, the new Christian normal involves free operation in the supernatural realm, performing signs and wonders at will. Yet upon their seeing miracles performed by manifest sons of God, Welton states that, “There will always be those who resist the Holy Spirit,” and “what may surprise you (as you become normal) is that the strongest resistance does not come from the sinner but from the fellow saint.”(TPOH, 49) Therefore, “Being a normal Christian” Welton informs, “is not for the faint of heart.”(TPOH, 49) So we turn to give attention to some of the spiritual activities which will comprise the new normal, activities which it is surmised, originally belonged to the church but were stolen by the New Age Movement. Welton writes:

“I have found throughout Scripture at least 75 examples of things that the New Age has counterfeited, such as having a spirit guide, trances, meditation, auras, power objects, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and more. These actually belong to the church, but they have been stolen and cleverly repackaged.” [Emphasis added, TPOH, 49]

We turn now to deal with the “things” Welton claims belonged to the church but were stolen, repackaged and used to promote New Age spirituality.

1. “A Spirit Guide”
Spirit of the Dead [4]
The New Age variously perceives a spirit guide (i.e., a nonphysical entity) “as the Higher Self, an angel, a highly evolved being or group mind, or a spirit of the dead.”[5] In relationship to the human mind or soul, a spirit guide includes an internal identity (i.e., a highly evolved Higher Self or group mind) or external identity (an angel, a spirit of the dead). If the guide is “a spirit of the dead,” then involvement with it is necromancy (i.e., “one who asks [Hebrew, darash] of the dead.”). This practice the Law forbids for Moses ordered, “When you enter the land... you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you... one who calls up the dead” (Emphasis added, Deuteronomy 18:9a, 11d; Compare Deuteronomy 18:14).
Advertised by TheElijahList, 4/28/13

Angels and Demons
Equating a “spirit guide” to be a “guardian angel” presents another problem. Though the Bible reveals the ministry of angels to children (Matthew 18:10) and believers (Hebrews 1:14; Daniel 4:17; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 11:10), the modern superstitious notion of “guardian angels” is not in Scripture.[6] And one only needs to read the historical narratives of Jesus’ encounter with demonically possessed people to see what havoc “spirit guides” can wreck in people’s lives.

The Guide—the Holy Spirit
So it becomes difficult to understand why any Christian leader would counsel believers to connect or consult with “spirit guides” when they already possess, if they are truly born from above” (John 3:3, 7), the ultimate Guide. “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you....” (Emphasis added, John 16:13). Why should any Christian want to seek after a “spirit guide” when by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ the ultimate Guide already lives in them? (See Romans 8:9; John 14:17.) If Christians seek after other “spirit guides,” do they not insult the Holy Spirit?

2. “Trances”—Visitation
Sometimes invoked to be an avenue for “self-help or improvement,” trances are but another name for Altered States of Consciousness (ASC)[7]; that is, “any of a variety of states [of psyche] characterized by a radical shift in the pattern of one’s ‘normal’ waking state.”[8] Leonard George informs that, “Traditionally, trances were thought to be states in which the soul undergoes a passage to the spirit world.”[9] To experience such passage, he notes two general types of trance have been observed—possession trance in which a foreign spirit occupies a trancer’s body, and visionary trance in which the trancer “is visited by spirit forces, or journeys in an imaginal or spiritual world.”[10] According to Guiley, an ASC or state of “trance” can occur either spontaneously (it just happens), or sought “through disciplines such as yoga, Zen, and other forms of meditation; prayer; and various occult and magical techniques,” as well as induced “through dancing, chanting, intoxication, hypnosis, fasting and diet, sex” and other activities.[11] Trance experiences can also be initiated by visiting mediums or Shamans.

Seeking “altered states of consciousness” contradicts the Scriptures’ teaching that Christians are to cultivate “sober” mindedness (1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 1 Timothy 3:2, 11; Titus 2:2, 4, 6; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:8), and by the Holy Spirit’s work in them grow the fruit of “self” control (Galatians 5:23). The idea of entering into trance contradicts the genuine spiritual virtues of sobriety (being in one’s right mind) and self-control.

3. “Meditation”
Let it be stated that biblical spirituality involves meditation (Psalm 1:2). [12] “Yes, there is a kind of meditation” wrote Kurt Koch (1913-1987), “which is legitimate for Christians, for which we must be open.” He defined it as follows:
Faithful Bible reading accompanied by believing prayer,
Thinking over the word of truth,
Searching one’s conscience in light of God,
All, and more besides, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth.[13]
Such is not however, as they borrow from the religions of the east (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.,) what the New Age Movement and some evangelical contemplatives mean by meditation. This kind of meditation involves transforming one’s “consciousness... with the ultimate goal of union with the Absolute [or God].”[14]

Such meditation is of two types: concentrative meditation where the contemplator fixates upon an object, saying (mantra) or bodily sensation; or expansive meditation in which the meditator does not become “lost in thought, feeling or fancy,” but focuses upon whatever is happening in the reality of the moment.[15] When in New Age meditation the contemplator (i.e., the subject) becomes fixated upon God (i.e., the object), differentiating the subject from the object can become blurred. Meditators can come to believe they are God when they become wholly absorbed with/into God (i.e., the Absolute)! One can note the frequency with which New Age motivational speakers seize the “I AM” statement of Jesus and tell their audiences to apply it to themselves, thus declaring their “oneness” in/with divinity. Thus, there is not but one Son of God (Jesus) who has been manifested, but many sons of God who are waking up to their “oneness” with God and the auric powers of their resident divinity, all of which looks eerily similar to “the manifest sons of God” teaching propounded by the New Apostolic Reformation.

In addition to the fantasy that humans can meditate themselves into union with God, there’s a “dirty little secret” out there among those researching the effects of meditation: the “spiritual discipline” does not always provide practitioners with positive experiences. In some instances, meditation can cause human beings to hallucinate and become mentally deranged and dysfunctional.[16] For example, when his marriage became troubled, something therapy could not remedy, one Mixed Martial Arts trainer “traveled to Cambodia on a vision quest.” The aftermath of his Cambodian visit is described:

He returned a month later a seemingly changed man, dressed in white, the word “love” tattooed on his knuckles along with three black dots representing [his wife, son and himself] . . . He’d taken to meditating every night. He also brought back a series of journals he’d written, unpacking his childhood, his private traumas, pages of frenetic scribbling, the howl of pain purged.[17]

Unable to exorcise the inner demons that haunted him, tragically the man hung himself. With this kind of stuff going on, and more like it, why would this author advocate that within a New Age-Eastern style of meditation there’s something recoverable for Christians? If they’re true “born-from-above” believers, they already possess the tools, as Koch points out, to pursue godly meditation.

4. “Auras”
The Ancient Belief In
Belief in auras was part of the spirituality of the ancient world. Images of gods, goddesses and those who achieved union with them included halos over their heads or around their bodies. “The crowns and distinctive headdresses worn by the kings and priests of antiquity [and modernity] are said to be symbols of the aura.”[18] While halos likely were inventions of art, the pictures “probably arose from experiences of seeing auras, which continue to be reported today.”[19] In the ancient as modern world, an emanating aura (seen clairvoyantly) is believed to indicate that humans are more than a body, but that a soul resides in them. Note: With belief in auras, the possibility of apparitions or appearances of people after they die are introduced, because in the occult world the aura-soul can reappear as it takes the “form” of the deceased person’s body. (Contra Deuteronomy 18:9a, 11d.)

The Modern Belief In
Resembling gravity, auras are perceived as an “envelop of vital energy, which radiates from everything in nature; minerals, plants, animals, and humans.”[20] Therefore, auras may indicate the cohesiveness which New Age spirituality believes radiates from everything, especially humans. In the whole of nature, auras may indicate the subliminal and spiritual Oneness of the Universe, the mystery of the divine soul/energy which New Age spirituality believes permeates everything (panentheism). This spiritual Force, which the New Age identifies as the quantum energy field, is believed to account for why nature physically and spiritually holds together. It might also be assumed that a person’s aura represents the “inner light” indwelling all humanity; the divine spark which Quaker and New Age spirituality believes resides in everybody.[21] As such, in the consciousness of those who believe in them, auras may indicate the relationship, however vague, imaginary or phenomenal, between the material, animal and spiritual universe, between science (quantum physics) and spirituality.

In the Bible?
Believers in auras attempt to find precedent for them in the lives of Moses (when after receiving the tablets of commandments he came down from the mount with, “the skin of his face shown,” Exodus 34:29-35; 2 Corinthians 3:13), the Apostle Paul (when during his conversion experience on the Damascus Road, “a light from heaven flashed around him,” Acts 9:3), Jesus (when at His transfiguration His “face shown like the sun, and His garments became white as snow,” Matthew 17:2), and believers at Pentecost (when “there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them,” Acts 2:3). Contradicting the inference that the manifesting light of Moses, Paul, Jesus and the Pentecost Christians were their resident auras, is that Moses’ aura “was fading away” (2 Corinthians 3:13), that the flashing light around Saul/Paul was not from him, but “from heaven” (Acts 9:3), that in the aftermath of His transfiguration, the disciples “saw no one except Jesus alone” (Matthew 17:8), and that the tongues of fire “rested on each one” of the Upper Room disciples (Acts 2:6). In all of these instances, there was no ghostly glow emanating from these persons’ physical bodies. 

There are also claims that when mystic saints (like St. John of the Cross, St. Philip Neri, and St. Charles Borromeo) reached peak devotion they became illuminated in an auric array of colors.[22] Christian art came to portray these saints with halos around their heads or colored aureola around their bodies. Today the priestly caste’s wearing white gowns and golden crowns symbolize “the auric effect” as also the “stained glass” windows in Christendom’s churches.

In Healers
Clairvoyant-visionaries claim to see auras emanating from the bodies of humans and animals. Guiley remarks that, “Physical health seems related to the part of the aura closest to the body, often called the vital body or etheric body.”[23] Opposite the opening page of Welton’s chapter in The Physics of Heaven, the editors juxtaposed the picture of a glowing hand showing “electrical energy radiating from the hand of a healer,” and then comments: “Scientists have just recently begun to study and measure the energy of healing.”(Healing Energy, TPOH, 40) “Clairvoyant healers” according to Guiley, claim that “illness manifests first in the etheric body, sometimes months or years before its physical symptoms manifest.”[24] As clairvoyantly seen, negative auras (taking the place of X-Rays and CAT Scans) indicate disease’s presence as positive auras indicate disease’s absence. If sickness comes by invading one’s etheric body before entering the physical body, then healing energy should follow a similar protocol, from aura in. As indicated by another page in the book titled Dolphins and Healing Energy TPOH, 10), the authors and contributors embrace the concept of healing from dolphin auras. So the positive auric energy from either charismatic healers or dolphins is believed to possess curative quantum powers (i.e., light, waves, vibrations, etc.). The idea of auras also relates to the Yogic belief in chakras, the seven body points where positive spiritual energy concentrates itself as it flows in and out of the body thereby producing “feel good” physical sensations.

Auras and the Occult
It ought to be noted that by the late 1800s, “aura viewing had become a standard exercise of western occultists.”[25] So despite what the authors in The Physics of Heaven assert, “Much of what is purported to be known about the aura is based on occultism and clairvoyance; no scientific evidence has been found to prove its existence.”[26]

The Aura of His Glory
Auric symbols counterfeit the glorious indwelling presence of Christ in believers, whose presence the blessed Holy Spirit imparts (Romans 8:9; John 14:17). Because of the Pentecost promise, the Spirit of Christ universally indwells the church through Holy Spirit baptism (Acts 1:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:13). Christians are in Christ, and by faith the Spirit of Christ resides in them. Though un-manifested and shielded by our fleshly and sinful bodies, Christ’s glory nevertheless dwells in us. So the divine glory does not radiate from our bodies, at least not yet. At present, we are not like Christendom’s pictured saints with halos around their heads because they reached a point of “peak spirituality” in their mystic devotions and contemplations. Nor are we like Bishops, Cardinals or Popes whose priestly vestments mimic the aura which is believed to belong to holy persons. Neither are we like Charismatic healers whose white garments symbolize the glory of their auric healing power (e.g., Kathryn Kuhlman, 1907-1976, or the 93-year-old Ernest Angley, 1921-    ). No, presently the lives of believers are “hidden (Greek, krupto—‘kept secret, concealed that it may not become known, escape notice’) with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).  But “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then [we] also shall be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). When Jesus Christ returns in the revelation of His glory (Matthew 24:29-30), then the “sons of God” will also be manifested and revealed in His glory. Then His glory will be our glory. Then His aura will be our aura; then and not until then. We await our manifestation as the sons of God.

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be [We are not yet manifested]. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him [Then we will be manifested], because we will see Him just as He is.”
1 John 3:2

5. “Power Objects”
Human Emotions and Earth’s Energy
Jonathan Welton teaches that the New Age has “stolen and cleverly repackaged” power objects that once belonged to the church. But what is a power object? Guiley says it can be,

A location, site, object, or edifice believed to be sacred, or to possess magical or supernatural energies, or to be the dwelling place of spirits of the dead, nature spirits, or gods. The “power” at power points emanates from an ineffable spiritual source, identified as cosmic in origin or part of the living Earth. Coming in contact with it instills feelings of wonder, awe, fear, fascination, and mystery.[27]

Take for example Stonehenge, the “cathedralesque” circle of giant stones in England dating from thousands of years ago. Mysteriously, the location promotes wonder and awe among pilgrims and visitors. In its history Stonehenge perhaps served variously (no one can define with certainty the mystery) as a place of ritual worship, burial ground, and healing center. What the site does is excite the Jerusalem Syndrome which one researcher, Vince Gaffney, defines as

[T]he feeling of intense emotion experienced by pilgrims on their first sighting of the Holy City. In the prehistoric world, there was no conception of God as he was understood by the later Abrahamic faiths. But, said Gaffney, as Stonehenge reappeared before us, “whatever the ancient version of Jerusalem is, that’s what you’re feeling now”.[28]

These feelings are aroused despite Jesus’ statement to the Samaritan woman that after His death and resurrection, there would be no longer any sacred places, not even Jerusalem (John 4:21), or for that matter, Sedona, Arizona. (See TPOH, Chapter 2, “Extracting the Precious” by Ellyn Davis, 13-15) So the question arises, in view of the many “power places” pilgrims visit or power objects they possess from all over the world, from whence do the feelings arise? What we do know is that they’re not sourced in the Father because places and objects do not mediate the Spirit of God to people. The Father and the living Christ do, and by faith they do it anywhere, at anytime, to anybody who believes the Gospel (John 15:26). This explains Jesus’ statement to the Samaritan woman,

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. God is a spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
John 4:23-24

Quantum Energy and World Forces
Though God, as demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of His Son, possesses ultimate power (Greek dunamis) in the world, in the same world Satan possesses immediate power. People can manifest his power by working miracles (dynamei), signs (semeiois) and wonders (terasin). (See Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10; Revelation 13:13; Deuteronomy 13:1.) Satan needs “flesh and blood” (i.e., human beings), even objects, to incarnate his power in and manifest his dunamis through (Ephesians 6:12). So in the world he gives power to the “sons of disobedience” (who perhaps even assume they are God’s prophets and apostles) to reveal his power-works through (Ephesians 2:2; 2 Peter 2:2; 2 Corinthians 11:12-15). The deception of the display of power is that the dunamis is from Satan.
Advertised on TheElijahList, 1/11/13
The Bible has a name for power objects and the belief system to which they belong—Idolatry! Jesus made it clear that there are no longer sacred places and spaces (John 4:21-24). The Apostle Paul declared that idols are “nothing” in the world (1 Corinthians 8:4, KJV). Objects—carved or molded figures, crystals, amulets, mascots, crosses, magic pictures, medallions, beaded trinkets, signs, symbols or the plethora of other good luck charms—though they may be objects by which feel-good occult sensations are channeled, do not possess God’s power. When Christians attempt to manipulate God’s power by perceiving Him to be “like gold or silver, an image formed by the art and thought of man” (Acts 17:29), then God will, as He did Israel, judge them by making their “hearts... insensitive, their ears dull and their eyes dim” (Isaiah 6:10; See Matthew 13:14-15.) This judgment renders the idolaters, as it did rebellious Israel, to become just like the “power objects” they worshipped: “blind, deaf, and heartless!”[29] Yes, idolaters can enter a world where supernatural phenomena will become manifest, but it will not be God’s power on display, but Satan’s. He possesses “power (dunamis) to perform “signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9, KJV).

Divine Dunamis
God’s “power (Greek, dunamis) [grants] to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3; See Ephesians 1:19-20.). As John heard the “loud voice of a great multitude in heaven” say, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power (dunamis) belong to our God...” (Revelation 19:1). So given God’s granting of His power to Christians, why do they need “earth stuff,” whether they be crystals, amulets, angel images, crosses, mascots, talismans (i.e., magic pictures), or any other such thing, for power objects? “Each and every one of them” wrote Kurt Koch, “is just a pitiable effort to compensate for a lack of faith in God.”[30]

6. “Clairvoyance”—Visions
In its lowest dimension clairvoyance, or second sight, involves a person’s “internal seeing of symbolic images,” while in its highest dimension the seeing involves visions “of non-physical planes, the astral, etheric, and spiritual worlds and the beings that inhabit them, and the auric fields surrounding all things in nature.”[31] When clairvoyance and clairaudience are combined, the visionary or psychic experience might be compared to Dr. Eben Alexander’s description of his after-life journey into the heavenly realm which he chronicles in his book My Proof of Heaven. Though clinically declared dead, he describes the tantalizing sights and sounds that his consciousness saw while flying around in the astral plane called heaven.[32]

The Divination of Visions
Jeremiah ministered in times like ours, in a day when prophets were seeing visions, hearing voices and experiencing visitations. So against the backdrop of the prophetic chaos that had consumed the land (here a vision, there a vision, everywhere a vision... vision) the Lord told Jeremiah—“The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision [clairvoyance?], divination, futility and the deception of their own minds” (Emphasis added, Jeremiah 14:14).[33] Then against the backdrop of the cacophony of prophetic “seers” who had proliferated in the Holy Land, the Lord told a confused people through Jeremiah—“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; / they speak a vision of their own imagination [clairvoyance?], / not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:16).

Because the experience can include psychic premonition,[34] Charismatic “seers” might try to equate clairvoyance with spiritual gifts like prophecy and knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:8-12). But Kurt Koch observed that, “Clairvoyance, or second sight, is an area where the Biblical and demonic are constantly confused. Biblical prophecy is of divine character. Second sight has roots in the occult.[35]

7. “Clairaudience”—Voices
As clairvoyance involves seeing abnormal sights, clairaudience involves hearing inaudible voices. Guiley offers the following definition:

“Clairaudience is a phenomenon of mystical and trance experiences. Oracles, shamans, priests, prophets, mystics, adepts, saints, and other holy persons throughout history have been guided by clairaudient voices. The voices have been perceived as those of angels, God, spirits of the dead, spirit guides, and the formless Divine Force, the All That Is, sometimes called ‘The Voice of the Eternal Silence’.”[36]

False prophets claimed to experience visions (i.e., “I had a dream, I had a dream!”—Jeremiah 23:25) in which they received a counterfeit word (i.e., “The Lord declares; Peace. Peace; You will have peace; Calamity will not come upon you.”—Jeremiah 23:31; 8:11; 23:17). Claiming that they heard a word from the Lord, these false prophets authorized their message by prefacing it with the mantra, “The oracle of the Lord... the oracle of the Lord... the oracle of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:33-38). Hearers were then duped into believing that the Lord was speaking through these prophets when He was not. (Does this have a contemporary ring about it?) As the “positivity, possibility, prosperity, and peace” message from the false seers spread, Samaria and Jerusalem continued their downward spiral into decadence. With spiritual chaos consuming the land (here a vision, there a vision, everywhere a vision... vision), the Lord appointed Jeremiah to be His spokesman. He told the prophet to tell the people—“I did not send these prophets, / But they ran. I did not speak to them [clairaudience?], / But they prophesied” (Jeremiah 23:21). Thus, concluded Koch: “Clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience all belong to the list of mediumistic forces and subjections.”[37] So to protect His Holy Name and verify to the truth of His Word, God was forced to oppose the false message of the false prophets and judge His people. (See Deuteronomy 18:19; Jeremiah 14:15-16.) War and calamity, not peace and security, were to come upon the nation (Jeremiah 23:39-40; 25:8-11*).

8. “More”
In addition to the seven “things” Welton asserts the New Age stole from the church, he counts sixty-eight (75 – 7 = 68) other biblical examples where the movement counterfeits Christian spirituality. To determine the identity of the “the stolen goods,” one would have to read the Bible in one hand and an encyclopedia of occultism in the other. (Try the massive 2 volume and 2 thousand page Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, edited by Leslie A. Shepherd.) But asserting that there are aspects of New Age Religion to be reclaimed by the church poses a danger and distraction for Christians.

Point blank, the Lord forbade Israel to play around with occult spirituality. Of where she lived at one time in her life, one Mixed Martial Arts fighter tells an ESPN magazine reporter she believed the house she lived in with her husband was cursed. “‘I believe in energy,’ she says. ‘And that house had evil energy.’”[38] So the reality of occult powers in the world caused Israel’s covenant God to prohibit His children from playing around with it. Through His prophet Moses the Lord ordered Israel:

When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.
Emphasis added, Deuteronomy 18:9-14
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Engaging the New Age to mine for spiritual nuggets which were once the church’s not only forfeits God’s blessing upon Christian believers’ lives, but also invites the influence of “unclean spirits” who work against God and His people. If demonic influence reaches critical mass in individuals or groups of people claiming to know God, then His only recourse is to give them up to Satan’s devices (Deuteronomy 18:12, 19; 1 Timothy 1:20). But in his overall scheme, the author seems little concerned about this danger. In fact he states: “If we are asking the Lord to restore the authentic to us, why should we have so much fear of accidentally operating in the counterfeit?” (Emphasis added, TPOH, 44) In promoting the search for spiritual treasures in the New Age, Welton would have to label Moses, the Old Testament prophets, Jesus, and His Apostles “fearers.”

Immediately after forbidding Israel to engage spiritual activities which invite visions, voices and visitations from the occult world, Moses tells the Lord’s people who they ought to listen to. He said to them,

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee [the nation of Israel] a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.”
Emphasis added, Deuteronomy 18:15, KJV

After Moses’ death, there would be a succession of other prophets culminating in the coming of The Prophet to whom the people were to listen. Thus, the Lord forbade His people from listening to Canaanite diviners, witches and mediums who would distract them from hearing the message of His true prophets (i.e., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc.). To that end, the Lord taught His people how to distinguish His prophets from false ones (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). But as Israel’s history indicates, the contest between the true and the false ended when the nation became fascinated with and seduced by occult spirituality, became “filled with influences from the east,” and became “soothsayers like the Philistines” (Isaiah 2:6). As a result, the Lord allowed them to be taken captive to Babylon. The occult distraction from God’s prophets among the Jews would culminate they refused to accept the Promised Prophet, Jesus Christ (John 1:11).
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So without exception or qualification, God forbade Israel to engage in divination, practice witchcraft, interpret omens, cast spells or call up the dead (mediums and spiritists). To the point Welton is trying to make, the Lord did not view that because the Canaanites or other surrounding nations stole “things” from Moses that Israel needed to reclaim those Old Age things and reincorporate them into the nation’s spiritual life. No, Moses’ command demanded total separation. Is there nothing instructive for Christians from Moses’ command and Israel’s failure to obey it?

New Age spirituality distracts people from the true Prophet of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as His Apostle/Prophets who He appointed to rule in the early church and whose writings remain the foundation for faith and governance in the church until He returns (Luke 9:1-6; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 2:20; 4:10-13).[39] To recommend engaging the New Age to separate the authentic from the counterfeit as The Physics of Heaven proposes, despite the book’s arguments, is a dangerous and distracting proposal.

With the rise of the New Apostolic Reformation over the last few decades, some questions must continue to be asked about the movement despite Welton’s assertion that any Christian who questions the legitimacy of the movement is a resistor and fearer who “believe[s] false doctrines regarding the operation of supernatural power.”(TPOH, 48) There’s a world of difference between being a dissenter against paranormal phenomena and being faithful to the Bible’s teaching on how God works in the Christian life.[40] We turn therefore to Scripture’s description of and warning about false prophets and apostles.

The Masquerade Charade
According to Moses, Jesus, and the Apostles, as predictably as the sun rises and sets, there are false prophets. Currently on this earth, two kingdoms are in conflict—God’s and Satan’s, and we are caught in the middle of the struggle. To announce the coming of His kingdom, the Lord appointed His prophets, and to build the church’s foundation the Cornerstone chose His apostles. In his power grab and to confuse people’s loyalties, Satan empowers his prophets to work his miracles and sends his apostles to speak his message. When they understand Jesus and His Apostles’ miracles (John 20:30-31; 2 Corinthians 12:12) and believe His and their clear message (John 14:6; 3:16; Galatians 1:6-9), people are led into truth. When they trust the counterfeit wonders and conniving words of false prophets, Satan leads people into error. So as we journey through life we must, at the peril of our souls, separate the true from the false. So how can we discern true Apostle-Prophets from those who are counterfeits?

Presumptuous Prophets
First, Christians must realize that based upon the warnings of Moses, Jesus and Paul, there were, are and will be false prophets. Ignoring this warning, Charismatics, especially those within the New Apostolic Reformation, publicize their prophets and apostles to be authentic by offering their “signs and wonders” as proof. Yet Moses wrote that working miracles does not validate a prophet is from God. He told Israel that, “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true,” and yet that prophet says, “Let us go after other gods,” then “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer of dreams” (Deuteronomy 13:1-4). The test of prophetic authenticity is not the evident miracles a prophet might perform, but the message he or she speaks. To coin a phrase from Bill Clinton’s political campaign, “It’s the message, stupid!”

Second, fourteen centuries later, Jesus predicted false prophets would proliferate before He would come again. “For false Christs and false prophets will arise,” He said, “and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24; Compare 24:11.). These false prophets will not use their academic degrees (i.e., B.A., M. Div., Th. M., Ph. D., D. Min.) as credentials, but will promote themselves by working “signs and wonders.” Though their miracles will mimic the authentic, the power of them will be sourced in the satanic/demonic (Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:9).

And third, in one of his earliest letters he wrote after Jesus died, the Apostle Paul warned the Thessalonians about the coming of,

the lawless one [who] will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false.
Emphasis added, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-11
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End Game— Deception, Delusion and Destruction
Upon reading Paul’s prophecy about the coming “lawless one,” one is forced to ask, what is the “deluding influence” which deceives people into believing—to their own condemnation—what is false? It is Satan’s power manifested through a lawless prophet performing seductive “signs and false wonders.” This “man of sin” or “the son of perdition” (KJV) will lead the apostasy, and his calling card will be the real miracles he performs coupled with the false message he preaches (I am God!—2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:5, 15, 23-24). So this raises the question, why does this contest between the true and the false exist?

Moses gives the answer. God is testing people to find out where their real loyalty lies. “The Lord your God” wrote Moses, “is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 13:4). As the Apostle Paul also stated the discretionary principle, “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Corinthians 11:19, KJV). Yet in their magical world of “signs and wonders,” charismatics seem little concerned that in his power play, Satan employs lying signs to deceive people. I am along with many other believers concerned (Call us “fearers” or “resistors” if you want.) that now-a-days real miracles are promoting false messages (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).

This is why I do not accept “signs and wonders” to mean that those prophets working them are authentic. In a world where both God’s and Satan’s power intermingle, the only way to discern which is “bewitched” is the Word of God (Galatians 3:1). The Spirit’s authentic anointing upon a believer involves first a deep spiritual intuition that something is wrong—call it “discerndar”—and then the pursuit of differentiating truth from error based on Scripture (1 John 2:27). Moses, Jesus and Paul warned against a spiritual naiveté which accepts any worker of wonders to be from God. In fact, Jesus warned that He will say to some who worked miracles in His name, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23). But not only do the Scriptures predict the rise of false prophets, but also the coming of false apostles.
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Imposter Apostles
As the early church increased in numbers and influence, other men, like Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24), coveted the position and power of the Apostles. So they appointed themselves to be prophet-apostles of Christ. Because Jesus warned of their coming (Matthew 24:24), this parade of pretenders surprised neither John (1 John 4:1), Paul (2 Corinthians 11:12), or Peter—as false prophets arose in Israel, so also false teachers would arise in church (2 Peter 2:1). These self-appointed and self-anointed power brokers would promote themselves to be “super-apostles,” in some instances asserting themselves to be equal to or greater than the Apostles Jesus appointed (Matthew 10:1-4; 2 Corinthians 10:1-12:13). Amazingly, under the ruse of claiming to be humble, these false apostles, “personality boys” they might be called, arrogated themselves into positions of authority in the church. Their calling card involved seeing visions, having visitations, hearing voices and working wonders (Colossians 2:18; 2 Corinthians 11:13; 12:1-12). In 2 Corinthians Paul wrote about them as follows:

But I will go on doing what I’m doing in order to deny an opportunity to those people who want an opportunity to be recognized as our equals in the work they are boasting about. Such people are false apostles, dishonest workers who are masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, since Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their doom will match their deeds!
2 Corinthians 11:12-15, ISV: New Testament

Commendably, the church at Ephesus resisted the influence of false apostles. Though the Lord cautioned the congregation about having left their first love (Revelation 2:4), He praised them for rejecting false apostles. Through the angel of church at Ephesus the Lord told the congregation,

I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false.
Jesus to the Ephesus Church, Revelation 2:2

It is no credit to Christians that they indiscriminately accept men and women claiming to be God’s prophets and apostles when they are not. Skepticism regarding self-appointed apostles and prophets who function in the supernatural is legitimate because Jesus said so.
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Note Weldon has hooked up with Gary DeMar,
strident Reconstructionist Dominionist

In his chapter “Authentic vs. Counterfeit,” Jonathan Welton makes statements which are true. He notes that Satan is a master counterfeiter, a distorter of God’s kingdom work.(TPOH, 42) As is indicated in this review, I do too. He also states that he has “a lot more faith in the Lord’s ability to keep [him] than in the devil’s ability to steal [him] away.”(TPOH, 44) Again, I do also (1 John 4:4; 5:18). But this chapter contains an admixture to truth and error, and my hope for believers is that the limited truth in this chapter does not provide cover for the serious error it promotes.

When engaging the New Age, Jonathan Welton “tells us that we need to be much more concerned about reclaiming all our stolen goods from the enemy than about being afraid of the deception of the counterfeits.”(TPOH, 41) But what if some naïve Christian seekers inadvertently find themselves operating in the deception of supernatural counterfeits? It’s a necessary risk says Welton, because, “If we are asking the Lord to restore the authentic to us, why should we have so much fear of accidentally operating in the counterfeit?”(Emphasis added, TPOH, 44) So to vindicate taking the risk of reclaiming the stolen goods, Welton says that he and others are commissioned to seek the authentic amidst the New Age counterfeit. He boldly tells readers: “We have been commissioned not to throw out all things, but to ‘Test everything. Hold on to the good’ (1 Thess. 5:21).”(TPOH, 43) So it must be asked, who commissioned the reclamation project? By quoting Thessalonians, Welton suggests the commission comes from God. But if the God of the Bible is the source of the commision, then those who believe the Bible are presented with a number of dilemmas.

First, readers should note the Apostle’s command which follows the verse Welton quotes. There Paul orders, “Abstain from every form [Greek eidos, ‘outward appearance or kind’] of evil” (Emphasis added, 1 Thessalonians 5:22). In context, the Apostle specifically commands Christians to separate false from true prophecies and shun the false even as he generally orders believers to avoid every appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:20). As to the second aspect of the apostolic command, if something appears evil it is evil. Evil does not camouflage good, though the opposite can be the case. In other words, if the outside of a package bears the imprint of a skull and bones, the contents are poison. So presuming that there’s something authentic hidden inside the counterfeited package of New Age Religion is a ruse. The contents of New Age Religion are spiritually viral, the part of one infecting the whole, and those who deliberately contact it.

Second, given the movement’s outward appearance, flirting with New Age Religion violates the Law of Deuteronomy 18:9-14. Though the Canaanites listened to witches and diviners, Moses told Israel that, “the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so” (Verse 14). Moses did not tell the Israelites to take back the spiritual stuff the nations stole from them. Such a reclamation project would only corrupt the Jews and distract them from listening to God’s word from His prophets. In the same way, New Age spirituality, which promotes spirit guides, trances, meditation, auras, power objects, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and more, distracts people from the Prophet—the Lord Jesus Christ—attracts people to other voices than God’s Word, to other visitations than His incarnation, and to other visions than His anticipated Second Coming. That’s why God commanded Abraham and pre and post-exilic Judaism to separate from such “unclean” stuff (Isaiah 52:11), a separation which the Apostle Paul affirms under the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 6:17).[41] This deception is the spirit of anti-Christ for anti not only refers to spiritual stuff which is against Christ but also that which takes His place. Furthermore, it is a God-given command to discern between true and false prophecies (1 Thessalonians 5:20-22). Despite these warnings, The Physics of Heaven, by its promoting Christian engagement of New Age spirituality, turns a deaf ear to the Bible’s warnings.

Third, after commanding believers to separate from unbelievers, the Apostle Paul heaped up a series of questions to the Corinthians (as if one question was not sufficient to denote the seriousness of the compromises they were making): “What harmony has Christ with Belial, or what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16a). Then to cap the questions, the Apostle quotes the prophet Isaiah to seal the inquiry, which quote may be contrasted to Welton’s question.

The Ancient Scriptures
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?... Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing.”
Isaiah 53:11, quoted by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16-17, KJV

A Modern Seer
“If we are asking the Lord to restore the authentic to us, why should we have so much fear of accidentally operating in the counterfeit?”
The Physics of Heaven, “Authentic vs. Counterfeit,” Chapter 5, Page 44

In the above biblical quotation, the reader can note the word unclean—“touch not the unclean thing.” Unclean (Hebrew, tame’) means untouchable and in the Old Testament identifies objects or diseases that could make the Israelite unfit to either come into the presence of God (e.g., contact with a dead person, Numbers 19:11-22) or be in the presence of other people (e.g., contact with a leper, Leviticus 13:1-3). God required segregation of the clean from the unclean for health reasons, physical and spiritual. On the last point, the plot thickens.

The word unclean may connote demons. The cultures and nations of the ancient world, especially Babylon, were haunted by demonic activity (spirit guides, trance meditation, belief in auras, power objects, etc.).[42] In other words, their worldview was supernatural. The Jews recognized the existence of unclean spirits which could influence, even incarnate, people (Mark 3:20). When exorcising the spirits out of the demon possessed man from Gadara of Galilee, the Gospel writer records that the Lord was commanding the demon possessing the man, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” (Mark 5:8). As it turns out, Jesus allowed unclean spirits, at their wish, to leave the man and incarnate themselves into unclean animals. In the biblical reality, there are no counterfeit demons. They are all real.

Based upon evidence like this, one Jewish scholar, Dr. Baruch Levine, goes so far as to suggest that one aspect of being unclean involved “the ‘actualized form of demonic forces’ which even threatened God himself.” Then Yamauchi explains: “Impurity in this view has a quasi-independent power.”[43] So it is that Isaiah orders the Jews exiting Babylon after the Exile, “Touch not the unclean thing” for Babylon is spiritually known as “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5, KJV). Babylon is the ancient seductive source (the geographical center where Satan tempted Eve and Adam) of all spiritual systems which oppose God. Welton states that, “The test of authenticity is always about origin.”(TPOH, 44) Well there is the origin of mystery spirituality—“BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” God called Abraham and the Jews to separate from such Prophet-rejecting spirituality, and so must we.

When they [false prophets] say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.
Isaiah 8:19-20

[1] Jonathan Welton, Chapter 5: “Authentic vs. Counterfeit,” The Physics of Heaven: Exploring God’s Mysteries of Sound, Light, Energy, Vibrations and Quantum Physics, by Judy Franklin & Ellyn Davis (Crossville, TN: Double Portion Publishing, 2012): 41-51.
[2] “A fifth generation believer, Jonathan Welton is propelled by a powerful Christian heritage. Exhibiting extraordinary wisdom and meekness as a teacher, he leads even hesitant individuals to discover fresh experiences of Kingdom realities. With a dual calling of teacher and seer, Jonathan raises the standard for walking in wisdom, character, and power. Carrying a revelatory forerunner anointing, he imparts new understanding and Kingdom perspectives.” This promo about the author and his book Normal Christianity: If Jesus Is Normal, What Is the Church? (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., 2011), can be found at: (
[3] Basically, the Sadducees were a boorish but conservative group of upper class priests who denied the fixity of the Law and rejected the “doctrines of the soul and its after-life, the resurrection, rewards and retributions, angels and demons.” See A. Gelston, “SADDUCEES,” The New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas, Organizing Editor (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962): 1124.
[4] See Herescope’s 7-part review and commentary of the book, Have Heart: bridging the gulf between heaven and earth. All 7 postings (Introductory Comments, Normalizing Necromancy, The “Canaanization” of the Church, Spontaneous Spiritualism, Interpretation by Imagination, Spiritualism’s Slippery Slope and The Symptoms of Seduction by Spirits) can be accessed by logging on to the article “Breached,” Herescope, Tuesday, January 17, 2012 (
[5] Emphasis added, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, “Spirit guide,” Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical & Paranormal Experience (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991): 562.
[6] Henry W. Holloman, “ANGEL,” Kregel Dictionary of the Bible and Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, Academic & Professional, 2005): 19. John MacArthur also states there’s no Scripture that “teaches the idea of an individual guardian angel for every believer, as Jewish tradition in Jesus’ day taught and as many people still believe and teach.” See John MacArthur, “Do Believers Have Guardian Angels?” Grace to You, February 26, 2015 (
[7] Sarah Leslie and Pastor Larry DeBruyn, “Altered States, A Different Gate: The sober Christian in a spiritually inebriated age,” April 28, 2011, Herescope (
[8] Guiley, “Altered states of consciousness,” Encyclopedia: 8.
[9] Leonard George, Ph.D., “trance,” Alternative Realities: The Paranormal, the Mystic and the Transcendent in Human Experience (New York, NY: Facts On File, Inc., 1995): 281.
[10] Ibid: 282.
[11] Guiley, “Meditation,” Encyclopedia: 355.
[12] Pastor Larry DeBruyn, “On Meditating: Adjusted Living in a Maladjusted World,” April 27, 2011, Guarding His Flock Ministries (
[13] Kurt E. Koch, Occult ABC (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1986): 146.
[14] Guiley, “Meditation,” Encyclopedia: 355.
[15] George, “meditation,” Alternative Realities: 171.
[16] Pastor Larry DeBruyn, “Haunted Souls: from Meditation into Hallucinations,” August 21, 2014, Guarding His Flock Ministries (
[17] Allison Glock, “Cat Zingano Will Not Be defeated, ESPN The Magazine, February 2, 2015: 42.
[18] “Aura,” Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Volume One A-L, Edited by Leslie Shepherd (Detroit, MI: Gale Research Inc., 1991, Third Edition): 117. This dictionary defines aura as, “An emanation said to surround human beings, chiefly encircling the head, and supposed to proceed from the nervous system. It is described as a cloud of light suffused with various colors. This is seen clairvoyantly, being imperceptible to the physical light.”
[19] George, “aura,” Alternative Realities: 24.
[20] Guiley, “Aura,” Encyclopedia: 40.
[21] As reported by UPI when on June 29, 2014, when she visited the U.S. border at Brownsville, Texas, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi said of the child immigrants: “What we just saw was so stunning. If you believe as we do that every child, that every person has a spark of divinity in them and is therefore worthy of respect, what we saw in those rooms was [a] dazzling, sparkling array of God’s children, worthy of respect. So... we have to use the crisis—that some view as a crisis, and it does have crisis qualities—as an opportunity to show who we are as Americans, that we do respect people for their divinity and worth,” she said. Emphasis added, “Nancy Pelosi Calls Border Crisis an Opportunity,” US Message Board (
[22] “Aura,” Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology: 117.
[23] Guiley, “Aura,” Encyclopedia: 41.
[24] George, “aura,” Alternative Realities: 25.
[25] Guiley, “Aura,” Encyclopedia: 41.
[26] Ibid: 40.
[27] Guiley, “Power point (also power place, power center),” Encyclopedia: 459-460.
[28] Ed Caesar, “What Lies Beneath,” Smithsonian, September 2014: 41.
[29] G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson, Editors, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2007): 46.
[30] Kurt E. Koch, Occult Practices and Beliefs: A Biblical Examination from A to Z (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1971): 15.
[31] Guiley, “Clairvoyance,” Encyclopedia: 111.
[32] Pastor Larry DeBruyn, “‘My Proof of Heaven’: A Review and Theological Commentary,” Guarding His Flock Ministries, November 22, 2012 (
[33] In that the word “divination” follows “false visions” in Jeremiah’s account of the false prophets, we should note that the word these “seers” claimed to have received from the Lord concerning the “future fortunes” of Samaria/Jerusalem was really sourced in the occult, for “divination” (Hebrew, qasam) involves “seeking after the will of the gods, in an effort to learn their future action or divine blessing.” See W.E. Vine, “TO DIVINE, PRACTICE DIVINATION,” An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, by W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Jr. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984): 100. One English dictionary defines divination to be, “The art or act of foretelling future events or revealing occult [hidden] knowledge by means of augury [interpreting signs or omens] or alleged supernatural agency.” See Webster’s II: New College Dictionary (New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995): 333.
[34] Guiley, “Clairvoyance,” Encyclopedia: 111.
[35] Koch, Occult ABC: 38.
[36] Guiley, “Clairaudience,” Encyclopedia: 109.
[37] Koch, Occult Practices and Beliefs: 33.
[38] Glock, “Cat Zingano,” ESPN The Magazine: 41.
[39] Larry DeBruyn, “Apostasizing from the Apostle: Oh, and by the Way, from Jesus Too!” Guarding His Flock Ministries, April 2, 2010 (
[40] See Warren Smith, The Light that was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2005).
[41] Welton states: “We just have to identify the counterfeits and reclaim our stuff.”(TPOH, 51)
[42] “Archaeologists have found ample evidence of references to demons in spells, incantations, magical texts, exorcisms, and other related phenomena through the Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Greek, and Roman cultures.” See Holloman, “DEMON,” Kregel Dictionary of the Bible and Theology: 105.
[43] Edwin Yamauchi, “unclean,” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, R. Laird Harris, Editor, Volume I (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1980): 350.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Paul and Imminence

Part 2
Read Part 1: Imminence
By Pastor Anton Bosch

Jesus’ teaching on imminence is exceedingly clear: “…the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44; Luke 12:40). (See Part 1 of this series.) His statements on the topic should be sufficient to convince any of us. But what did Paul believe and teach on the subject?

Before we look at Paul’s teaching on the topic, bear in mind that those who deny the doctrine of imminency, try to reason it away by saying that we can die at any moment. They say that Paul was looking forward to death and not the Rapture. While it is true that Paul teaches us not to fear death, and that “absence from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8), he encourages believers to look for the Lord’s return rather than their own death.

To the Corinthians Paul writes: “… eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:7-8). Was Paul mocking them by telling them to wait for something that was not going to happen in their lifetime? Was he using the Lord’s return as a false threat? Obviously not. The soon return of the Lord was very real to Paul, and to all believers of that time.

In teaching on marriage Paul says: “…the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none… For the form of this world is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). In the light of the imminency of the Lord’s return, even legitimate pursuits should be set aside. Remember, Paul is not mistaken since the very principle of imminence means Jesus comes at any moment, and an “an unexpected time.” While Paul was addressing the believers of his day, he is also speaking to all believers of all time, and this truth does not change: The time is short, the Lord is at the door.

Paul also reminds the Corinthians: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Pay attention to the “we” in the above quote. He does not say “they,” meaning those in the distant future, but “we,” meaning himself and those alive at that time. Evidently Paul genuinely expected that some, or all, of those alive at that time would be raptured (even though some may die) before that great day.

To the church in Rome he says: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11-12). Once again notice the words “we” and not “they.” By our “salvation” Paul is clearly meaning the final consummation of our salvation – the transformation of the body. This cannot mean death and can only mean the resurrection which is concurrent with the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18). Once again, Paul is emphatic that the Rapture is imminent and that he was expecting it in his lifetime. Furthermore his reference to the night being far spent and the day being at hand is a reference to the “Day of the Lord” which was soon to arrive.

He reminds the Philippians of the same truth: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21). Remember, death does not transform our body, the Rapture / Resurrection does, and again he writes of “our” and “we” and not “their” or “them.”

But also note that we are not urged to eagerly wait for death or for the Antichrist, but for the Lord Jesus Christ. Our focus is to be on Jesus. It just cannot be more simple or clear: “The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5). Just as with the statements of Jesus, it takes a lot of twisting of Scripture and mental gymnastics to make this verse mean anything but “The Lord is at hand”!

One of the clearest statements that shows that believers of the first century believed that the Lord could return literally at any moment lies in the fact that the Thessalonians had been deceived into believing that the Lord had come and that they had been left behind (2Thessalonians 2:1-2ff). If they had been taught that the Lord would not, and could not, come at any moment, they would not have been deceived. But they were deceived exactly because they believed what Paul had taught them: “…to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Paul therefore says to them: “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober… For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-9). Notice how Paul uses the same reference that Jesus did to the thief coming at an unexpected time (Matthew 24:36-44; Luke 12:35-40). There is absolutely no warrant to link the “night” in this passage to the Tribulation. Only by reading a preconceived idea into the text can you come to that conclusion. The point is obvious: The thief comes at an unexpected time, and the middle of the night is the most unexpected time because people are sleeping. So the Thessalonians (and we) should not be spiritually asleep but sober since the Lord’s return is at the door.

While we do not fear death, we do not have our hope set on dying! We indeed long to be in His presence, but death is not our hope – the resurrection is. (Acts 23:6; 24:15; 26:6; 1Cor 15:19; 1Thes 2:19; 1Tim 1;1; 1 Pet 1:3; 13; 1 John 3:3;). It is against this background that Paul writes to Titus: “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Let me say again, we have no Scripture to look for the Antichrist, the Tribulation or any other event or sign – we are to look for, and expect, our blessed hope – the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. He should be our focus. Paul and the Lord Jesus’ message is exactly the same: Be ready, He is coming soon – when we least expect Him!

To be continued... 

Monday, February 16, 2015


Part 1

By Pastor Anton Bosch

“Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming–in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning– lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.”
(Mark 13:35-36)

 Imminence means “impending” or “about to occur.” We say when the storm clouds grow dark, that the rain is imminent. This word is often confused with two other words that sound similar but have entirely different meanings: immanence and eminence.[i] In Christianity, imminence is a fancy term that refers to the fact that the Lord can return soon, or at any time. As we will show in this article series, the idea of the soon return of the Lord was central to the thinking and living of all those in the New Testament, and it should still be the attitude of the true believer today. The imminence of the Lord’s return was not only part of the doctrine taught by Jesus and the apostles, as contained in the New Testament, but it was a real part of their lives. They genuinely expected the Lord’s return at any moment.

But the longer the Lord delays His coming, the more some of us tend to feel that He is not going to come soon. Peter predicted: “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4). Sadly, this kind of worldly thinking has infected Christians also. But just think about it: Statistically, the longer He delays, the closer we are to His return. So here we are, 2,000 years closer than Peter was. Paul confirms this when he says “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”  (Romans 13:11).

Does that mean that the apostles were mistaken and that the Lord’s return is only close to us, but it was not close for them? Not at all. For example, It has been 20 years since the last big earthquake here in Los Angeles.
[ii] For 20 years we have heard “the next big one is imminent – it could happen at any moment – be prepared.” That was true 20 years ago, and it is even truer today. We do not know when the next big earthquake will happen, just that it will happen. But it is literally around the corner at any moment.

Because believers have not known when God has planned the Rapture of the church (Matthew 24:36), His return was imminent then and is still imminent now. Just like the next big earthquake, He could come for His saints even before I complete this paper.

Jesus’ Teaching on Imminence
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:36-44)

“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:35-40)

The plain meaning of Jesus’ message is clear – you don’t need some fancy seminary degree, nor do you need to learn Greek or Hebrew to understand what He says: He is coming at a time you do not expect, therefore be ready at all times. Any attempt to interpret these texts to mean anything except what they clearly say and mean is a deception.

The simple truth is that if something is unexpected, then there are no warning signs, nor a schedule, which predicts exactly when it will occur. Some have tried to set an exact date, which has caused much trouble for Christians over the centuries. But, by its very definition, “unexpected” requires surprise with no forewarning. Therefore, those who believe that Jesus cannot return for His church today because certain events need to be fulfilled first are in blatant contradiction to the clear words of Jesus. It is really quite simple.

In Luke 12:42-48 Jesus tells a parable that teaches that there will be Christian leaders who, because He delays His coming, will begin to abuse their fellow Christians and begin to live immorally. That is exactly what is happening today. Many Christian leaders have lost sight of His imminent return and have begun to live as though He is never coming back. In the process they also remove the idea of imminence from their theology. This seems to be done in order to salve their, and their disciples’, consciences. Jesus warned that when He returns He will judge such men.

The book of Revelation closes with the words of the Lord Jesus: “Surely I am coming quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20). His words are truth, and the lies of man cannot, and will not, change the facts: He is coming soon, without delay and without warning. Therefore we must be prepared. Are you ready?

To be continued...

[i] Immanence refers to God’s presence in the universe and eminence refers to something being important (sometimes a title as in “your eminence”).
[ii] The Northridge Earthquake in 1994 claimed 60 lives in, and around, Los Angeles and destroyed much property.