The Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II

‘Tween the Times

In part I, the intertestamental era (the time between the Old and New Testaments) was discussed including the literary works, social developments, and beliefs of the different Jewish sects of this period. Since God had sent no prophets since the time of Malachi, the oppressed Jews turned to writing various works which are known as Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. Much of this literature was fictional, some of dubious origin, while others contained factual historical accounts interspersed with inaccuracies; however, there was a fair amount on the spirit world including the angelic realm, eschatology, and the afterlife.

The Church of today is in waiting in a not too dissimilar way. There have been no prophets since the writings of the Apostles in the first century; and, we are in between the two advents – Jesus’ First and Second Comings.

However, in recent years there has been the claim that God has brought back prophecy through the so-called “restoration of the five-fold ministry” of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers based on an interpretation of Ephesians 4:11-13. Interestingly, the focus is primarily on the first two in this list to the virtual exclusion of the others with some of the self-proclaimed using these titles to define their own personhood as in Apostle __________ or Prophet __________ (with the first letter of their designation capitalized).

It is beyond the scope of this article to do an in-depth exposition on the Latter Rain movement[1] from which the “five-fold” teaching in the previous paragraph and much of the remaining article emanate. Others have already done a fine job such as Tricia Booth (formerly Tillin of Banner Ministries) at The Birthpangs of a New Age[2], Herescope[3], and others.

It would be journalistically improper, unfair and inaccurate to make direct correlations between the Jewish sects of the intertestamental era with Christians of the present; however, general comparisons may prove interesting. The Qumranians as identified in the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) lived a monastic type of lifestyle perhaps not too dissimilar to monks and nuns of the Roman Catholic Church of today. Also, the Qumran group had their “teacher of righteousness” whom they looked to for interpretation of the Scriptures not unlike the Roman Catholic Church looks to the Papacy.

Similarly, Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer (IHOP)[4] in Kansas City, Missouri could be compared to the Qumran community in that both groups are separative – IHOP less so, as they do allow guests. However, once you are ‘in’ at IHOP, it’s not so easy to leave as one ex-IHOPper illustrates[5].

Like the Qumran community had its “righteous teacher,” the International House of Prayer has its leader, Mike Bickle, as primary expositor of the Bible. While Bickle himself says he’s not a prophet, he has relied upon both Bob Jones [see here for article on this blog] and Paul Cain for “foundational revelation” with respect to the vision of the International House of Prayer and its 24/7 worship. And, similar to the Qumranians, Bickle believes we are in the last days; and, likewise, Bickle feels like his congregation has reached a step or two beyond other Christian groups.

More comparisons could be made; but, that would detract from the primary focus of this article. However, in general, it could be said that most people today believe we are currently in the last days much like those of the intertestamental period thought.

Kingdom Now/Dominionism and the Redefined Great Commission

The first paragraph of part I ended with this question: “So, is the kingdom of God NOW?” Bill Johnson answers in the affirmative:

“Jesus taught us how to live by announcing, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand!’ It is a present reality affecting the now.

“…Many say that we must be careful over how much emphasis we put on what we are to become in the now. Why…?”[6] [bolding from italicized original]

While the Kingdom of God is most certainly now, its consummation will come only when Jesus returns bodily [Acts 1:6-11]. Johnson, however, believes Jesus gave the authority to us to “take dominion” over the earth; i.e., to “Christianize” by ‘miracles, signs and wonders’ thus distorting Matthew 28:19-20 and redefining the Great Commission as orthodox Christianity knows it:

“In redeeming man, Jesus retrieved what man [Adam] had given away. From the throne of triumph He declared, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore…’ In other words I got it all back. Now go use it and reclaim mankind…”[7] [emphasis and ellipse as in original]

Johnson states that the “authentic gospel” is actually “the gospel of the kingdom [8] – meaning what is known as Dominionism or Kingdom Now. Interestingly, the part about repentance and sin as in Luke 24:47 – “and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem.” [NIV] – is conspicuously absent or deemphasized amongst those who have redefined the Great Commission. Without the knowledge that we are sinners – the bad news – what good is the Good News of the Gospel? Todd Bentley even goes so far as to say:

“…We can preach the Gospel all day long, but that won’t save souls….” [9]

That’s because it’s all about the ‘miracles, signs and wonders’ according to the Bentley and Johnson viewpoint. In the October, 2009 issue of Charisma, C. Peter Wagner states the same basic thing as Johnson:

“Formerly I thought my task was to go to as many nations of the world as possible and plant as many churches as possible. Now I take the Great Commission more literally when it tells us not to make as many individual disciples as we can but to disciple whole social groups – such as entire nations. This is kingdom theology.

“When God created Adam and Eve, He told them to take dominion over all His creation (see Gen. 1:28). This was God’s plan until Satan succeeded in persuading Adam to obey him rather than God. The result was that Satan usurped Adam’s authority and took dominion himself.”[10] [emphasis mine]

This whole premise of ‘reclaiming lost dominion’ is faulty. The main problem with this logic is that the dominion referred to in Genesis 1:28 refers to ruling over the fish, birds, animals, and “every living thing” on the earth. The next two verses in Genesis explain God’s intent:

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food. And it was so. [NIV]

In effect, the Lord is saying we are to have stewardship rather than ownership over the earth. Who really owns the earth? Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” [NIV] In the book of Job, Satan himself must receive God’s permission to test Job (Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-6). And, in Job 38:33 God states the following as a rhetorical question:

33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth? [NIV]

Obviously, Satan does not have dominion over the earth – he may be “lord of this world” in a sense; but, he doesn’t own it or control it. God is still sovereign. So, regarding Wagner’s and Johnson’s (and others’) claim that the dominion of the earth was lost to Satan at The Fall, Scripture just does not attest to that. From the Adam Clarke commentary regarding Genesis 1:28:

“…God created man capable of governing the world, and when fitted for the office, he fixed him in it. We see God’s tender care and parental solicitude for the comfort and well-being of this masterpiece of his workmanship, in creating the world previously to the creation of man. He prepared every thing for his subsistence, convenience, and pleasure, before he brought him into being; so that, comparing little with great things, the house was built, furnished, and amply stored, by the time the destined tenant was ready to occupy it.” [11]

The more traditional view of postmillennialism (that Jesus will return after the Millennium spoken of in Revelation chapter 20) does not believe that man has any control as to when the coming of the new heavens and the new earth will take place. Yet, this is the basic premise of the late Earl Paulk in his 1985 book Held in the Heavens Until…. In it, he asserts the classic Latter Rain notion that Jesus cannot return until certain things are accomplished by Christians. The back cover of the book explains:

Why must Christ “remain in heaven until the time of restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21)? When will the time come? As Christians, are we responsible for holding Christ?

“…The Church must accept its responsibility in the Second Coming of Christ. Only when the church is in the spirit of unity as the mature Bride of Christ will He return.” [12][emphasis mine]

So, with this view, Christians are either hindering or hastening the Second Coming by our actions or inactions. The book goes into all the Latter Rain doctrines, including Dominionism, in the same way Johnson and Wagner believe. Paulk begins by saying Adam and Eve were not only created in God’s image, but were created as His offspring with the implication, of course, that they were little gods:

“When God created His offspring in His own image, He determined that they would bring order and dominion to the earth. God declared the dominion of His Kingdom over everything throughout the entire universe (Genesis 1:26).…” [13][emphasis mine]

Just like Johnson and Wagner above, Paulk goes back to the Garden of Eden.

Error Incarnates Error

Some of the implications and ramifications of the “errors” regarding one’s view of the kingdom of God are delineated by D. A. Carson in his Common errors in understanding the Kingdom[14].  As indicated here throughout this article, these doctrinal “errors” compound themselves in and with their associated teachings.

[Side note: there are various movements with this same flair such as Reconstructionism[15]; however it is beyond the scope of this article for a full discussion. Herescope[16] has been doing a very fine series on the various flavors of Kingdom Now theology.]

Kenneth E. Hagin says basically the same thing as Johnson, Wagner and Paulk with respect to the Great Commission in his book The Name of Jesus in which he quotes heavily from E. W. Kenyon’s similarly titled book The Wonderful Name of Jesus. The belief is that Christians can do most anything in Jesus’ name because Jesus specifically gave His authority to the “Church” including, of course, taking dominion[17]. Hagin picks up where Paulk left off in the previous section:

“…When someone is born again, he is baptized into, put into, immersed into the Body of Christ.

“Jesus is the Head. We are the Body. The Head and the Body are one.” [18] [all as per original]

Note how “Body” is capitalized. Hagin also references II Corinthians 6:14-16; and, because of the words of verse 15, “…And what concord hath Christ with Belial?” [KJV] he equates this to mean “the Church is called Christ…:”[19]

“…In fact, in the Epistles, the Church is called Christ!

“The Church has not yet realized that we are Christ.” [20]

Curiously though, in the following he does not capitalize “head” or “body” which is assumed to be a typographical error especially as he explains further that we are Christ individually not just collectively:

“…Christ is the head; we are the body. We are Christ.

“…We are here as His representatives – not only collectively, but individually.” [21] [emphasis mine]

Then he quotes Kenyon directly (attributing this to Kenyon):

“When we pray in Jesus’ Name, we are taking the place of the absent Christ; we are using His authority to carry out His will on the earth.” [22]

So, we go from a redefined Great Commission to self as god. It gets worse. Here are well known words of Kenyon which Hagin parroted on more than one occasion:

Every man who has been ‘born again’ is an Incarnation, and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an Incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” [23] [emphasis mine]

This is tantamount to Manifest Sons of God doctrine[24]. By strict definition, the word incarnation infers a preexistence; and, by extension, this also infers the doctrine of reincarnation. Here’s Paulk stating basically the same thing as Hagin/Kenyon:

“…It was the quickening and bringing alive of the Word which was incarnate in Jesus Christ. That Word became incarnate in the Church.

“…Jesus was the firstfruit of God’s incarnation, a man living out God’s perfect will. Now He says, “…My people will bring forth life as they become the ‘incarnate Word’ on planet Earth.” …the Church is the ‘ongoing expression’ of God.” [25] [emphasis mine]

“All things have been given to us, even to the point of allowing us to share the divine nature of Jesus. Sharing His nature is a definition of the ongoing incarnation of God on the earth. ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory.’ His inheritance is already ours.” [26][emphasis mine]

Then Paulk goes on to reference Matthew 18:19-20[27] just as Hagin does in his book[28] in justifying the same doctrine AND; similarly Paulk references Mark 16:17-18[29] in the same manner as Hagin[30]. There is certainly a lot of cross-pollination between Hagin’s teachings and Paulk’s even though Hagin is considered Word of Faith while Paulk is considered Latter Rain. In reality, both Word of Faith and Latter Rain have much in common.

“…The next move of God awaits Christ in us taking dominion, being the standard by which God can judge the world. The next move of God awaits the total oneness of the family of God in heaven and earth…” [31][emphasis mine]

The Changing Face of Christianity

At the time of publication of Paulk’s Held in the Heavens Until…, the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA)[32] was not yet formed; however, one of the major goals of Latter Rain was to establish a hierarchy of leadership which others must be subordinate to. In 1985 when this book was first published the “modern prophetic” was gaining momentum.

“Jesus cannot come until the apostolic ministry is re-established. We are now in the period of the prophets. Today God is raising up prophets who are under the anointing of God, but the period of the apostolic ministry will soon return also. Only then can Jesus Christ return.” [33][emphasis mine]

The ICA’s “Presiding Apostle” is C. Peter Wagner of Global Harvest Ministries[34]. Membership as of November 10, 2009 can be found at this link.[35] The newest version of their website now requires a member login; whereas, previously anyone could access their site. Courtesy of Internet Archive a/k/a The Wayback Machine the following info from their former site is recovered:

“The Second Apostolic Age began roughly in 2001, heralding the most radical change in the way of doing church at least since the Protestant Reformation. This New Apostolic Reformation [NAR] embraces the largest segment of non-Catholic Christianity worldwide, and the fastest growing. Churches of the Apostolic Movement embrace the only Christian megablock growing faster than Islam.” [36][emphasis mine]

Further, on the Prospectus tab the redefined “Great Commission” is identified and its importance explained:

“The fundamental vision of ICA is to speed the completion of Jesus’ great commission to preach the gospel to every creature and to make disciples of all nations. World evangelism is the pulse beat of apostles wherever they might be found. Nothing that we do in ICA should eclipse or even dull this essential vision. The accelerated advance of the Kingdom of God is our highest priority….” [37] [emphasis mine]

Bill Johnson, in his own push for both apostolic authority and unity (at the expense of doctrine) in this “post-denominational era,” compares and contrasts what he terms “fathers” (modern day “apostles”) and “teachers” (those who adhere to sound doctrine). He claims these “fathers/apostles” are humble, they imitate other “fathers,” and they have a ministry of power with a focus on “The Kingdom.” On the other hand, “teachers” are prideful, they “gather around ideas” to the point of being divisive (in sticking to orthodox Christian doctrines) while focusing on the “many words” of said teachings. To him, signs and wonders take precedence over sound doctrine.[38]

Mike Bickle states that Jesus cannot return until the Bride of Christ (the Church) is mature, perfect. Bob Dewaay wrote an excellent piece on Bickle’s Bridal Paradigm[39] which shows the International House of Prayer view.   This belief of Bickle is shared by Paulk:

“The purpose of every move of God is to produce the mature Bride: Christ in us, the power of God’s authority displayed through us, taking dominion of the planet. God waits for us to complete His plan. God cannot move again until we fulfill our mission on earth.” [40] [emphasis mine]

Mike Bickle is also (in)famous for the following quote:

“The Lord said simply, ‘I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity in the earth in one generation.’” [41][Emphasis mine]

Rick Joyner, of MorningStar Ministries[42] on the back cover of his book The Harvest, states a similar thing:

“What is about to come upon the earth is not just a revival or another awakening; it is a veritable revolution. This vision was given in order to begin awakening those who are destined to radically change the course and even the very definition of Christianity.” [43]

And, Bill Johnson, at Todd Bentley’s “commissioning” service at the ‘Lakeland Revival’ on June 23, 2008 said:

“…We shape the course of history by partnering with you giving honor where it’s due. You welcome the glory as well as anybody I’ve ever seen in my life – I long to learn from you in that and I bless you. And, I pray with the rest of these that the measure of glory would increase, that Moses would no longer be the high water mark with the glory shown from his face but instead the revelation of the goodness of God would change the face of the church. And that he would use your voice, he would use your grace, your anointing, to alter the face of the Church before the world….” [44] [emphasis mine]

It seems, unfortunately, the “face of the Church” has changed, and for the worse, in some quarters; but, did God do this or did man? “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” [Hebrews 13:8] “But you remain the same and your years will never end.” [Psalm 102:27] “God is not a man that He should lie or a son of man that He should change his mind.” [Numbers 23:19] The Bible provides the answer. [all Scripture from NIV]

The New Age Kingdom

“The Kingdom of God will be presented to Christ by the Kingdom prototype, a true demonstration of Him in the world. When His Kingdom on earth has been demonstrated in prototype, Christ will return…” [45][emphasis mine]

The words above are those of Earl Paulk. Compare these and the other quotes in this article to Alice Bailey, acting as a medium for “Tibetan Master DK (Djwhal Khul),” in her 1937 esoteric/occult book From Bethlehem to Calvary, explaining the New Age view of the kingdom of God in the chapter titled “Our Immediate Goal: The Founding of the Kingdom:”

“…The question, however, arises whether we may hasten the process; whether, by a right understanding of Christ and His teaching, we could so expedite matters that the kingdom and its laws may hold sway earlier than would otherwise be the case….” [46][emphasis mine]

“…We can produce, and as a [human] race give birth to, the next kingdom in nature, which Christ called the kingdom of God; this is the kingdom of souls, the kingdom of spiritual lives, and herein, uniquely, Christ emerges.” [47][emphasis mine]

Bear in mind that “Christ” here does not refer to the Jesus Christ of orthodox Christianity but rather the occult/esoteric/New Age version. The soon-to-emerge “Christ” above refers to the “Christ consciousness” and; once enough individuals achieve this state – a “critical mass” – the physical embodiment of the antichrist will arise on the scene.

Put another way, the New Age view is that “Christ” is not a person but an “office”[48] or “anointing” which Jesus received; so, in the following quotes, “Christ” refers to this “Jesus” rather than the actual divine Jesus Christ of true Christianity. In the occult/esoteric view Jesus had both a human nature and a divine nature (as do all humans according to this view); and, through effort He attained godhood leaving His humanity behind. This, of course, changes the definition of “church” and the “kingdom of God” as well.

“…the motive must be the one that incited Christ to all His divine activity – the founding of the new kingdom and the attainment of that state of consciousness on a universal and human scale which will make out of the human being a citizen of the kingdom, consciously functioning therein, voluntarily subject to its laws and striving steadfastly for its extension on earth….” [49][emphasis mine]

“The true Church is the kingdom of God on earth, divorced from all clerical government and composed of all, regardless of race or creed, who live by the light within, who have discovered the fact of the mystical Christ in their hearts, and are preparing to tread the Way of Initiation. The kingdom is not composed of orthodox theologically minded people. Its citizenship is wider than that, and includes every human being who is thinking in larger terms than the individual, the orthodox, the national and the racial. The members of the coming kingdom will think in terms of humanity as a whole; and as being as they are separative or nationalistic, or religiously bigoted, or commercially selfish, they have no place in the kingdom. The word spiritual will be given a far wider connotation than that which has been given in the old age which is fortunately now passing….” [50][underline/bold as emphasis in original, additional bolding mine for emphasis]

“How will this condition of God’s kingdom materialize on earth? …by men and women everywhere cultivating the wider consciousness, and becoming more and more inclusive….” [51][emphasis mine]

The exclusivity of the “old age” of Biblical Christianity with its insistence on only one way to salvation is seen as “sin” and “divisive” by the New Ager. Their goal is inclusiveness as the above quote demonstrates. The reasoning is that worldwide unity is critical to the attainment of the next leap in humankind from the homo sapiens of the current Piscean Age to homo universalis in the upcoming Age of Aquarius[52]. Ed Tarkowski, in his work Lord Maitreya: Lord of the Apostasy, (“Maitreya” is the name given for the antichrist) explains:

“New Agers believe that every age has had a teacher who manifested ‘the Christ.” During the past 2,150 years, they say, we have been in the age of Pisces, the energies of which brought divisions into the world. It is believed that now we are in a transition period, and that the new age of Aquarius will be one of synthesis, an age of unity and oneness. This unity of all things will bring fulfillment to humanity through the realization that man is god. Many believe that this realization will be brought forth under the Aquarian leadership of and through the personal appearance of the Lord Maitreya.” [53] [emphasis mine]

A central tenet of New Age teachings is evolution and the accompanying doctrine of reincarnation. In her 1948 book The Reappearance of the Christ – which refers, once again, to the “Christ consciousness” and/or antichrist – Alice Bailey speaks of the ultimate fulfillment of the Kingdom of God on earth. The “Hierarchy” mentioned below is the New Age “spiritual Hierarchy” or “Masters of Wisdom” who are, in reality, demonic spirits. “Christ” in the last sentence is actually the antichrist or Lord Maitreya:

“…It will then be possible for the Hierarchy [Masters of Wisdom], the Church of Christ hitherto invisible, to externalise [sic] itself and to function openly upon the physical plane. This will indicate a return to the situation which existed in Atlantean days when (to use Biblical symbology, Genesis Chaps. 2 and 3) God Himself walked among men; He talked with them and there was no barrier between the Kingdom of men and Kingdom of God. Divinity was then present in physical forms and the Members of the spiritual Hierarchy were openly guiding and directing the affairs of humanity, as far as man’s innate freedom permitted. Now, in the immediate future, and on a higher turn of the spiral of life, this will again happen. The Masters will walk openly among men; the Christ [antichrist] will reappear in physical Presence….” [54][brackets mine for explanation, emphasis mine]

In stating “The Christ will reappear” the actual meaning is the antichrist will appear. This will NOT be Jesus Christ’s second coming as the text may seem to say.

Building the Kingdom on the Firm Foundation

Ethics and religion cannot be legislated as this will not, by itself, change the heart. Only God through Jesus Christ can do that. For a good read on the correct way to ‘build the Kingdom’ see Relevant Bible Teaching[55].

The Kingdom of God is within the true believer (Luke 17:21) by the indwelling Holy Spirit – the one who trusts in the Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible. The Kingdom is constructed by God through Holy Spirit conviction, not man. It is built through preaching the True Gospel and a receptive heart accepting this Gospel – the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the one and only begotten/incarnated Son of God, who took the sins of the world upon Himself and nailed them to the Cross thus providing the means of salvation for all who believe on Him. Raised on the third day, He ascended bodily and is now at the Father’s right hand providing intercession for us. If you confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior you will have eternal life provided you stand firm to the end.

Please dear reader, be sure you are helping to build the right Kingdom. Your eternity could be at stake.

Endnotes:

[1] Wikipedia. Latter Rain <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latter_Rain_(post-World_War_II_movement)>

[2] Booth, Tricia (formerly Tillin). The Birthpangs of a New Age. <http://www.birthpangs.org/articles/latterrain/gloryappx.html>

[3] Herescope home page <http://herescope.blogspot.com/>

[4] International House of Prayer home page <http://www.ihop.org/>

[5] “Ariel” “Why I Believe IHOP is a Cult” The Gospel Masquerade <http://gospelmasquerade.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/why-i-believe-ihop-is-a-cult/>

[6] Johnson, Bill. When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 178

[7] ibid. p 30

[8] ibid. p 27

[9] Bentley, Todd. Kingdom Rising: Making the Kingdom Real in Your Life. 2008; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 67

[10] Wagner, C. Peter. The Case For Dominion. Charisma (2009, October) p 29

[11] Adam Clarke Commentary on Genesis 1:28; studylight.org <http://www.studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?book=ge&chapter=1&verse=28#Ge1_28>

[12] Paulk, Earl. Held in the Heavens Until… 1985; K Dimension, Atlanta, GA; back cover

[13] ibid. p 153

[14] Carson, D. A. Common Errors in understanding the Kingdom. 2008; Evangelicals Now <http://www.e-n.org.uk/p-4197-Common-errors-in-understanding-the-Kingdom.htm>

[15] Wikipedia. Christian Reconstructionism. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Reconstructionism>

[16] Herescope. “The Emerging Order” Part 6: The Next Great Awakening… Or Great Deadening? see parts 1-5 also <http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/10/emerging-order.html>

[17] Hagin, Kenneth E. The Name of Jesus. 1979; RHEMA Bible Church / Faith Library, Tulsa, OK; pp 18-19, 42, 47

[18] ibid. p 66

[19] ibid. p 105

[20] ibid.

[21] ibid. p 106

[22] ibid.

[23] Hagin, Kenneth E. “The Incarnation” The Word of Faith. (1980, December; #13) Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Tulsa, OK; p 14 as quoted in Russell Sharrock’s book Covenant Theology: A Critical Analysis of Current Pentecostal Covenant Theology. 2006, Lulu Enterprises, Morrisville, NC; p 109

[24] Graves, Charles S. “Sonship and Rebellion Anointing or Apostasy: The Latter Rain Legacy. As sourced from Tricia Booth’s website Birthpangs: A New World Order in the Making. <http://birthpangs.org/articles/background/Chas-Graves-Anointing-Apostasy.pdf> pp 22-30

[25] Paulk, Op.Cit. p 163

[26] ibid. p 197

[27] ibid p 198

[28] Hagin, Op.cit. The Name of Jesus. p 20

[29] Paulk, Op.cit. p 198

[30] Hagin, Op.cit. pp 17-18

[31] Paulk, Op.cit. p 198

[32] International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) home page <http://www.coalitionofapostles.com/>

[33] Paulk, Op.cit. p 228

[34] Global Harvest Ministries home page <http://www.globalharvest.org/>

[35] International Coalition of Apostles Membership Directory, November 10, 2009 <http://www.psa91.com/resource/ica.pdf>

[36] International Coalition of Apostles former home page courtesy Internet Archive / Wayback Machine <http://web.archive.org/web/20080204161103/http://www.apostlesnet.net/> par 4

[37] ibid. par 5

[38] Johnson, Op.cit. pp 89-94

[39] Dewaay, Bob. Mike Bickle and International House of Prayer: The Latter Rain Redivivus. <http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue107.htm>

[40] Paulk, Op.cit. pp 230-231

[41] Bickle, Mike. Growing in the Prophetic. 1996; Creation House, Lake Mary, FL; p 30

[42] MorningStar Ministries home page <http://www.morningstarministries.org/> Joyner is the one who predominately “restored” Todd Bentley to “ministry.”

[43] Joyner, Rick. The Harvest 1993; MorningStar Publications. Charlotte, NC; back cover

[44] “nowbelieve” YouTube video “Todd Bentley ‘Commissioning’ of June 23, 2008.” <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A05WQYi7aQ> Bill Johnson; 1:30 – 2:10

[45] Paulk, Op.cit. pp 235-236

[46] Bailey, Alice A. From Bethlehem to Calvary. Copyright 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey; Lucis Trust, 4th paperback edition, 1989; Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, New York; p 262

[47] ibid. p 259

[48] Cumbey, Constance. The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow. 1983, Rev. ed., Huntington House, Shreveport, LA; p 252. This is also available as a free download at <https://public.me.com/cumbey> “HIDDEN DANG…ND COVER.pdf” p 214

[49] Bailey, Op.cit. pp 271-272

[50] ibid. p 273

[51] ibid. p 274

[52] Tarkowski, Ed. “1945: The Signal For The Christ’s Return” Lord Maitreya: Lord of the Apostasy. <http://www.velocity.net/~edju/maitreya.htm>par 5

[53] ibid. “Who Is Lord Maitreya?” par 2

[54] Bailey, Alice A. The Reappearance of the Christ. 1948, Lucis Trust, 9th printing 1979 (4th Paperback Ed.); Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, NY; p 121

[55] Barnett, Brenton M. Relevant Bible Teaching webpage Does the Bible Teach a Cultural Mandate? <http://www.relevantbibleteaching.com/site/cpage.asp?cpage_id=140011557&sec_id=140001239>

33 Responses to The Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II

  1. Pingback: The Kingdom of God is at Hand, part I « CrossWise

  2. Pingback: Bill Johnson’s ‘Born Again’ Jesus, Part I « CrossWise

  3. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Great article, Craig! I often wonder, in regards to Matthew 28:19, 20, “How do you baptize a culture?” Is there a baptismal big enough? I suppose the Mediterranean will suffice, but how in the world do you dunk it in the Sea? Or sprinkle it, if you prefer?

  4. Craig says:

    It comes down to how one defines baptize.

  5. Hi Craig

    I noticed your shortcut link within the latest article of Constance Cumbey’s blog. Really I rarely contribute there as it seems a fruitless task. It is as Jesus said “do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample it under foot and turn to attack you”. I think that describes it there, very well. However, without making any comments on her article or within that site, I thought I would just leave them with a video, which I have posted there which shows what darkness the Catholic system is, hoping that maybe some Catholics might watch it and have their eyes opened by God.

    Anyway, I just wanted to comment on this article (which looks very good). The Dominionists are clear examples of those who take one verse completely out of context – don’t compare it with other scriptures and then make a whole theology out of that isolated verse and then cite other scriptures that they have equally twisted to “prove” their doctrine. The verse “make disciples of all nations” is their whole argument because it doesn’t say “make disciples “within” all nations.

    If they looked at Mark 16:20 they would see that it says “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere”. They did not preach to Nations but to individuals. Then you see examples in Acts where the Apostles spoke to individuals as well as larger groups. THEY understood what Jesus meant, ie go into all the World and preach the gospel, making disciples of all “nationalities” Jews AND gentiles. Often “nations” means “the gentiles”. I would be interested to know what the original Greek said. I am sure (taking the context of how the Apostles understood and practiced Jesus words) it will indicate the gentile nations. This is exactly what Paul did. He went into individual countries outside of Israel: Turkey, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Malta (as a starting point). They understood that they should make disciples of individuals – not whole nations.

    Here is a clear example of latter day prophets who think they have received revelations of truth that even the early church did not understand. Then they say “let’s get back to New Testament practices”. Why would they say that if they think the New Testament church got it wrong? Hmmm!

  6. JD says:

    Craig,

    Great job my friend! You have not only broken down barriers to understanding the dominion mandate, but have begun to show the core New Age teachings contained within. I love how these folks skip right past the warnings of a apostate church since it wouldn’t fit their paradigm. Keep this up, it is needed.

  7. Craig says:

    John,

    I revised your earlier comment as per the revision you posted here. You may post the video here if you like.

    Note that most, if not all, those referenced in this article will use Mark 16:17-18 to justify their “evangelism” by signs and wonders yet they do not go to verse 20 as you mention. They proof-text in order to further their own agendas and a well-defined theology within which to work said agendas.

  8. Craig says:

    JD,

    Thanks for the kind words. Keep up your GREAT work on microcredit (and I know Susanna has contributed her fair share) — even if it is a bit overwhelming and goes a bit over my head!

  9. Okay Craig, will do!

    This is what I wrote on Constance Cumbey’s site:

    “Please check out this Video from Roger Oakland of Calvary Chapel which speaks powerfully about the present gradual decline and apostasy of the Evangelical protestant Church, proving why it is apostate and where its roots lie. Well worth listening to.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2354082808894087473#

    Please also check out my blog on http://www.watchmanforjesus.blogspot.com

    The roots I was referring to is the Catholic Babylonic Church.

  10. Craig says:

    I should point out that Mark 16:9-20 were not in the earliest manuscripts; and, consequently, there’s serious doubt as to whether these verses belong to the Gospel of Mark.

  11. Hi Craig

    I know that there are some doubts, but if we compare scriptures with scriptures – the rule of canonisation, the other gospels and Acts reveal that these verses are backed up by other scriptures. I really think it is the thin end of the wedge for us mere mortals to decide what is inspired and what is not, for all scripture is inspired by God.

    For example compare Mark 16:18 “they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all” with Acts 28:3-5

    “Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects”

    The rest of Mark 16:9-20 was practised within the Acts of the Apostles. So they must have heard Jesus say these things. The question is whether those things were just for those early days of the church, or whether some of them still apply now. I believe that there are times when God will still do these things because Jesus is the same Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. The problem is that most of those TRYING to practise these things are using hypnotism, pretence, the occult or some other method rather than by the Holy Spirit through HOLY believers.

    I believe that the Apostles ended after the death of the 12 because Paul states that a mark of an apostle is that he is an eyewitness of the things Jesus did whilst on Earth. The foundation of the church was based upon Jesus, built by the Apostles. The work of prophets is simply to speak words of edification and encouragement to the church. There was only one prophet mentioned in operation in Acts: Agabus who gave predictive prophesies just twice. No other predictive prophesies mentioned.

    This tells me that the multitude of predictive prophets and apostles, in action today, are false. However, though there are so many false prophets and leaders about we should not kill the baby with the bathwater. 1 Cor 13:8-10 tells us that when perfection comes prophesies will cease. However, in context rt is talking about love – perfect love , ie when we see Jesus face to face. But until then prophesies still remain, but am totally unsure about the predictive element of prophecies. Agabus shows that if urgent action needs to be taken ie a famine was about to break out, God will warn His people in advance. These prophesies are never vague but clear and to the point.

  12. Craig says:

    John,

    I only wanted to point this out as it doesn’t bode well to make whole doctrines out of verses that have questions as to their origins and whether they are indeed part of Scripture. These verses do not contradict any other Biblical passages; however, the content of verse 18 is not found anywhere else in the NT.

    Once a foundation is built there is no need to build upon that foundation; so, I agree with you regarding Apostles. However, the general definition is as a messenger, representative or one sent forth; so, it seems the best application is that of a missionary.

    I also don’t disbelieve in predictive prophecy per se, perhaps on an individual or small group level; however, I would say that there are none which should essentially be thought of as new Scripture for the Church at large. The prophecy Paul is referring to in I Corinthians chapters 12-14 is clearly instructive rather than predictive if read in context.

  13. Hi Craig,

    I did realise your purpose in saying those things, but as other readers may be affected by those words into thinking “can we trust the Bible, if some parts are iffy” I thought I ought to correct this type of thinking. By the way, please check out my blog article which proves why the Bible is fully trustworthy. It is entitled:

    “How The Bible Was Put Together and Proving Why It IS The Inspired Inerrant Word Of God” within
    http://watchmanforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/09/proving-why-bible-is-inspired-inerrant.html

    Regarding your last comment re Mark 16:18. The full verse reads:
    “they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” NIV.

    I have mentioned the example in Acts 28 of the viper not harming Paul. This should be sufficient to support Mark 16:18 re snakes.

    We also know that The apostles laid hands on the sick and they recovered. James even instructs the church to call upon the elders to pray over anybody who is sick, so the practice of praying over the sick to heal them, is still applicable, but it should be done by trustworthy elders who are truly full of the Holy Spirit.

    The only part of that verse that we do not have NT scriptural support for is re poison. However, we have at least one OT example of the “healing of the pot which contained poison”. We are also instructed to pray over our food , giving thanks for it. The reason may well be to ensure we are not poisoned.

  14. I know you are trying to warn people about these false leaders who have introduced a whole stack of counterfeit or lying wonders into the church. Jesus and the Apostles also warned us to watch out for false prophets and false teachers who say “did we not do this and that in your Name” but were NOT sent out by Jesus. But we are also told how to recognise them – by their fruits.

    Some say that He is referring to the fruit of their nature. For example are they practising the fruit of the Holy Spirit, ie love, joy,peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control? Galatians 5:22-23.

    In the context Jesus does not seem to be referring to this type of fruit, specifically as it is difficult to measure unless you actually know the person well or live with them and because the letter to the Galatians was written much later. The context seems to be referring to the words False Prophets speak. However, even if it was referring to their nature it certainly is not referring to Galatians 5 fruit. It is probably referring to the way the message is presented and the attitude behind it. I have observed the following which comes from false teachers, false leaders (apostles?) and false prophets. These tend to be some of their fruits or hallmarks. They:

    – have a craving for: power, fame, ambition (megalamoniacs?)
    – desire to: have riches, seek out experiences, follow the dramatic (supernatural), seek goals and achievements
    – love: sensuality
    – are full of self importance, arrogance, pride, insincerity, dishonesty and inadaptability
    – deliberately misquote scriptures, twisting or distorting the Word of God
    – lack: humility, brokenness, gentleness, purity and lack a zeal for the truth, unwilling to give up on their faulty theology

    As an example of how false prophets behave and what God has to say about them please read Jer 14:13-16 and Jer 23:9-40

    So, yes we should be careful not to fuel these false leaders arguments by using Mark 16, but we can use many more scriptures to prove what they are saying is wrong. I tried to do that by using verse 20 above and by quoting the practises of the Apostles to prove these people are false in their interpretations.

  15. Craig says:

    I should have been more specific as it was just the drinking poison portion that is not in other Scripture.

  16. Craig says:

    John,

    While I don’t disagree with you, at least in part, the “fruit” of Matthew 7 refers to faulty doctrine as shown by Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:21-23 which are further explained in 7:24-27 as the foundation on the rock (Jesus) vs. on sand. If teachings are not on the firm foundation of Jesus, then they will result in the bad fruit of Matthew 7:15-20.

  17. Craig says:

    John,

    Sorry, but I skimmed your comment and initially thought you were talking primarily about the nature or deeds of false teachers rather than their teachings. We seem to be on the same page.

  18. Yes, Craig, I do believe we are seeing eye to eye and reading from the same Bible.

    The reason I mentioned the traits is because some people insist it is not the teaching. I would say it is, but if they want to argue let us look at their behaviour or attitude which we can see from a distance, whereas the inner nature of a person is too subjective (from a distance).

    As Paul said “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?” But we can tell something of what is within a man’s heart by their actions. Jesus said “out of the abundance of the heart a man speaks” also in Hebrews it says “by the fruit of lips”. So surely the “fruit” is what is spoken from lips.

  19. Hi Craig

    Did you know that I discovered Trish’s website (and am in correspondence with her) before I discovered yours? I just noticed that Trish is contributing here. Small world ! Anyway, I thought you might be interested in my latest comments on C Cumbey’s blog. It is on her latest article. I wrote a personal question to Constance. She replied, so I have now responded to her reply. My reply is in a section of 4 comments (one after the other), from comments 2.48am to 4.11am ie comments 69-72.

    Maybe you can write something there in response to what I wrote?

    God bless
    John Chingford

  20. Craig says:

    John,

    I had been well aware of Tricia’s work for a long time; but, I did not know she opened a new blog of her own two years or so ago until someone informed me of this fact in a private email. I would say that her body of work on the Latter Rain is one of the best out there.

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  25. Craig says:

    I feel this post provides some important information similar to some of the quotes above:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/bethel-to-feature-bob-jones-at-upcoming-prophetic-conference/

    The words of Bob Jones in his “New Breed” “word” [fourth paragraph]:

    Then, in this he was saying ‘this then will be a generation that will do nothing apart from the Father.’ So, I think the main thing you’re getting ready for is a generation for the fathers to come back in. And, I think the first one that’s gonna come back is Papa. For Jesus came back over …2000 years ago, The Holy Spirit came over 100 years ago, this last revelation is who your Daddy is. And, I think this is what’s getting ready – is Papa’s getting ready to reveal his family. And, His family, what He lacks in you is what was in His Son. So, there are those who’s gonna begin to shine like the Son. And, that divine nature will have authority over all the works of the enemy. So, we’re in a key time.

    Besides being manifest sons of God doctrine, the bolded portion is similar to the content referenced in the body of the article above (Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II) at footnote [38] regarding “gathering around spititual fathers/apostles.”

  26. dave says:

    It takes several fire departments and a lot of patience and cooperation. A multi-denominational group will sanctify the trucks, hoses and municipal holding ponds from which the water will be drawn. Then, they’ll nail the towns and cities. Might take a while.

  27. Craig says:

    Of course you understand that the Wagnerian “spiritual warfare” model must be done to bind the “territorial spirits” as a prelude to this action — I’m sure that’s what you meant in part by “sanctify.” Yeah, it’ll take a while as the holding ponds will be depleted pretty quickly and new water will either have to be trucked in; or, they’ll have to wait for the next big rain.

  28. dave says:

    RE the Bob Jones prophetic word:
    This doesn’t even line up with Scripture and history. jesus came back over 2000 years ago? Unless he’s referring to the Resurrection, this is just poor English. But the Holy Spirit also came, at Pentecost, roughly 2000 years ago as well, not 100 as he states here. While it’s true that a more visible and certainly well-known event happened at Asuza Street, the Holy Spirit was not absent from the church during the time between the Apostles and the beginnings of the pentecostal movement.
    Papa isn’t getting ready to reveal His family, He’s already seen in His family now, as much as they conform to His character and follow Him, and He’s fully revealed in His Son Jesus, as Jesus said ‘He who has seen Me has seen the Father.’
    The thing is there’s nothing lacking in us, as Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, and ‘in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.’ Craig you and I talked about false dichotomies on the phone the other day. This is another one IMHO. Convince people they’re lacking something and then try to sell it to them. it’s a basic principle of advertising, creating a need or desire.
    Does Christ dwelling in us mean we’re perfect and sinless? No, obviously not, despite Kris Valloton walking around Bethel’s stage talking about going days without sinning. Good for you, Kris. Since a mistake is not a sin, you can make all the ‘mistakes’ you want without sinning, i suppose. The problem is, you don’t look any deeper into the roots of why you’re making those ‘mistakes’ so maybe your sin runs deeper than you think it does. Whoops, that was my soapbox there. I’ll step off it now.

  29. Craig says:

    dave,

    I hope you don’t mind; but, I’m going to take two different parts of your comments above and post them over on the threads which more closely deal with those topics. Part will go the Bob Jones article referenced by me at 1/13/2011 7:26pm, while the other will go to:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/bill-johnsons-born-again-jesus-part-ii/

  30. Craig says:

    I had this quote highlighted but forgot to use it in this article in the second subsection. It clearly shows that Rick Joyner differentiates between “the doctrine of salvation” and “the gospel of the kingdom” — note the difference between “doctrine” of salvation and “gospel” of the kingdom — or as he states more emphatically “THE gospel of the kingdom”:

    “The doctrine of the kingdom is yet to be preached. The doctrine of salvation has gone into most of the world, but not the gospel of the kingdom. There are some today who are preaching A doctrine of the kingdom, but we have not heard THE gospel of the kingdom…The kingdom is going to come far more subtly than we are being led to believe…

    “..We know that we can live in the kingdom now by abiding in the King…We have come to the most exciting and significant time in history, and we’re here to take action.” [The Stock Market and the Titanic from "The Harvest Trilogy," 1989, MorningStar Publications; p 32]

    While certainly not the same, the idea is similar to Bill Johnson’s. And Rick Joyner is listed among Johnson’s friends.

  31. Omar says:

    Good article, I think those titles of Prophet and Apostle are very questionable. But the fact remains that Jesus has left earth, and wants to use us in his place. We are the closest thing this world has to Jesus. The church has as much responsibility as God has given to it. The question is, I suppose, does God want us to share the Gospel and win individual souls, or is his intention to form us into this worldwide, cohesive, political-social collective. The latter is a provocative idea.

  32. Craig says:

    God’s Kingdom is not of this world. If you look at 1st century Christianity via the book of Acts and Paul’s letters you see lots of persecution among the Christians (I’m only speaking post-Cross). If they were supposed to have built the Kingdom on earth, i.e. a political system of sorts, then they failed miserably.

  33. IWTT says:

    “…does God want us to share the Gospel and win individual souls, or is his intention to form us into this worldwide, cohesive, political-social collective. The latter is a provocative idea.”

    I think the latter is anti-biblical. I and fellow believers are of a different Kingdom that is not of this world, will not be of this world and those who think that they will usher in the second coming of Christ are barking up the wrong tree. Read the last book, this is all destroyed. Why try and establish something that will be destroyed, the elements will melt like wax.

    Gods grace is now, but God’s wrath is coming, in whom do you REALLY believe? AND are you telling as many about Jesus and the reason for His atonement or are you playing supernatural warm fuzzy games thinking that is the gospel?

    AS my Doctorate friend would say (who is pentecostal and professor at a pentecostal bible college) the things that have and are coming out of Bethel and the likes are nothing more than a “vain-imagination-man-made-programs” not biblical at all and he has even spoken to Bill Johnson personally and approached him on what he has heard him teach and to this day will stand on the premise that Bills theology and evangelism is not biblical evangelism at all.

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