|The agents of change in the Florida Outpouring|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Saturday, 31 May 2008 15:02|
This will be the last article I will put up on the website about the Florida Revival. I was talking to a good friend of mine, and he cautioned me not to let this consume me. There is demonic deception out there and a lot of it, but we mustn't allow that to throw us of track. It is not good to concentrate on the demonic for too long, it does not do your spirit any good. There is plenty more I could say about this revival. You can look it up for yourselves. But I feel I have said enough. I have sounded a warning. You can judge for yourselves whether this is of God or not.
These words from Paul may sound strange to our ears, but when you consider that some of the most deceitful religions such as Mormonism and Islam have originated from fallen angels, we need to consider this warning. Mormonism was started by a Mason called Joseph Smith, who claimed to have heavenly visitations from an angel by the name of Moroni. Joseph Smith claimed to have received 12 golden plates from this angel, upon which were written the book of Mormon. The prophet Mohammed also received supernatural visitations, which he at first believed were demonic in origin, but later came to accept as from Allah. This angel instructed him to write the book we now know as the Qur'an. Both the Qur'an and the book of Mormon are based on corruptions of the New Testament, and this is why they are so deceitful, because they contain an element of the truth. Todd Bentley also claims to have received visitations from several angels, and he talks about them frequently on his website. There are several angels which feature quite prominently in Todd's writings.
One angel bears the name of "Winds of Change". Kansas City 'prophet' Bob Jones claims to have received a visitation from this angel back in the year 2000. The angel announced to Jones that great changes were coming to the Church. Up until now the Church had known only "winds of adversity", but he had been released to "fill our sails" to help the Church cope with a time of transition ahead. In an early report of the Florida Outpouring, Todd Bentley was asked to describe the angel that he claims to have seen. He replied that those who were familiar with the life of William Branham would recognize this angel, as it was a relevant factor in his healing ministry. Like Bentley, Branham had some controversial beliefs. He believed in the Oneness doctrine, the idea that Jesus became both the Father and the Holy Spirit rolled into one Divine Person. He also denied the doctrine of eternal hellfire. Branham was a faith healer who claimed that an angelic being gave him the power to discern people's illnesses by touching their hands. He claimed that this angel stood at his right hand side when people queued up to receive prayer. Branham said that he could do nothing unless this angel was standing next to him. On one occasion, several born again Christians attending Branham's meetings prayed that if this man's gift was of God, that they would receive healing, and if not, they would be protected from whatever he had. When they went up to receive prayer, Branham said that he could do nothing for them, for there were "disturbing forces" preventing a healing. The fact that Bentley could openly associate with an apostate like Branham, and claim to share his source of angelic authority, gives us an insight into the spiritual deception of this latest Florida revival.
But nowhere in the Bible are angels described to have charge over a healing ministry. There is only one occasion mentioned in the Scriptures where an angel was involved in the healing of people, and that was the one that came down to disturb the waters at the pool of Bethesda (John 5). But the Bible doesn't say that it was the angel that healed the people. I do believe that God can heal people today, but healing doesn't come from angels, as Bentley often claims during his meetings. Healing comes only from the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10). And nowhere in the Bible are angels described as having the kind of authority over the Church that Jones and Bentley describe. The Church has one Head, and that is Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:18). Angels are described in the Bible as being God's messengers (Daniel 10:12, Luke 1:26). They are also assigned to be the ministers of those who shall be their heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14). And they are assigned to be the guardians of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation. "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone", Psalm 91:11-12. I believe that whenever I was involved in my motorbike accident, that angels might have borne me up before hitting the road. I hit a car at 40 miles an hour when riding to work one day. I was catapulted off the bike and landed about a dozen or more feet away from it. I remember seeing the sky spinning round, and then I was getting up off the road. The motorbike was so badly damaged that it was written off. But there wasn't even a scuffmark on my leathers or helmet. I had a couple of burst veins in my legs, a few cuts and bruises and a fractured elbow. The doctors in the hospital were amazed I had no pain. They kept saying I must have landed on my back. When I took the bike to a motorbike shop to be valued for repair, they didn't even bother valuing it, it was so badly damaged. They asked me, "Who came off that?", and when I told them I did, they couldn't believe it. I should have been killed. Angels are sent to minister unto us, but they do not have the authority over the Church that Todd Bentley speaks of.
At one of his meetings, Bentley claimed to have received several visitations from another particular angel. He described this angel has having feet like "pillars of fire", and said he believed this angel is the same one that is mentioned in Revelation chapter ten. Bentley then goes on to say that this angel mentioned in Revelation was not actually an angel, but it was the angel of the Lord or Jesus Christ. Then he says that the angel that came to visit him might not actually have been an angel, but might have been Jesus Christ. So Bentley seems unsure as to whether he was visited by an angel or visited by the Lord. We must ask the question, if He can't distinguish the difference between an angel and the Lord Jesus Christ, how can he distinguish between an angel of God and an angel of Satan? He then describes how he was sitting in a church service in Seattle, Washington, and he started to sense this electric presence around him. Then he starts to get this vision of a "pillar of fire" in front of him. God spoke to Bentley and told him to put his hand in the pillar of fire. Each time he did so, he felt a strange sensation. Bentley then asked God what this pillar of fire was, and God told him it was a "portal" up to heaven. He then relates how God told him to get into the pillar of fire, and when he did so, he says he ascended up through the roof of the church into an operating room in heaven. He then describes how he found himself lying on an operating table in heaven, and he sees four men dressed in white standing around him. Bentley says the first thought that came into his mind was that he was about to be operated on. The four angels then proceed to tie him down to the table and cut open his stomach using some sort of electric saw, after which all his inwards burst out onto the table. He says that he felt he should be screaming in agony but he couldn't feel anything. These angels then begin implanting white boxes into him. Bentley says a verse then popped into his mind, "thou desirest truth in the inward parts", Psalm 51:6, and he started to question God what was happening to him. God told him that "I am supernaturally imparting the character, the revelation, the knowledge, that I need the Church to have, so that they can do the work that I need them to do because the labourers are few. I don't have the thirty or forty years to prepare a vessel". I was sent a video of this sermon by a friend of mine and as you can see it is very disturbing. Again, several questions must be asked. Why do you need an operating table in a place where there is no sickness or death? Why do the angels need to physically restrain people to operate on them? What sort of angels would operate on a person while they were awake, so as to cause such terrible mental anguish? As my friend says, what Bentley describes here is a Christianised version of a classic UFO abduction. The question then must be asked, what sort of angelic beings is Todd Bentley in contact with? They certainly do not seem to be heavenly ones.
Bentley mentions a few other angels on his website. One angel by the name of Promise visited him while he was staying in Kansas city. The angel said, "Todd, my name is Promise, and I’ve come to bring the fulfilment of God’s promises. I’ve come to bring the fulfilment of the prophetic words spoken to intercessors. I have come for those who have been like Hannah-they have prayed, waited and carried a promise in their hearts. There will come a time when God has heard and I will release the Samuel". Once again the Bible does mention angels that were sent to people who were praying to give them messages of encouragement. One such angel appeared to the Roman centurion Cornelius as he was praying in his house in Caesarea. The angel instructed him to contact Peter, who would tell him words whereby he might be saved (Acts 10:31-32). But once the angel's message had been relayed, we see no more heavenly visitations. The angel had no authority to personally answer Cornelius' prayer. This angel called Promise has overstepped his mark, because the Bible clearly states in Psalm 20:5, "the Lord fulfill all thy petitions". Psalm 37:5 also states, "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass". Angels do not have authority to bring the fulfilment of God's promises, and I believe that Promise is a fallen angel. He is the same angel that promised Eve that she would be as God knowing good and evil, if only she disobeyed God's command not to eat of the fruit.
One final angel is mentioned on Todd's website, and this is perhaps the most controversial one. Apparently even too controversial for Todd's FreshFire website, for Todd's description of her has been purged since word got out about her existence on the internet. That's right, she's a female angel. The FreshFire website no longer mentions her name or the fact that she is female. The Kansas City 'prophet' Bob Jones had asked Todd if he had seen an angel called "Emma" yet. He acted surprised that Bob had expected him to have seen her. Bob then related how it was Emma that had "helped birth and start the whole prophetic movement in Kansas City in the 1980s". Bob described Emma as a "mothering-type angel that helped nurture the prophetic as it broke out". After a few weeks of Bob mentioning Emma, Todd was in a service in Beulah, North Dakota, and Emma showed up. Bentley describes Emma in intricate detail. "She floated a couple of inches off the floor. It was almost like Kathryn Khulman in those old videos when she wore a white dress and looked like she was gliding across the platform. Emma appeared beautiful and young-about 22 years old-but she was old at the same time. She seemed to carry the wisdom, virtue and grace of Proverbs 31 on her life. She glided into the room, emitting brilliant light and colours". She started to walk up the isles sprinkling gold dust on people. Bentley questioned God why she was doing this, and God said it was because He was about to release a financial breakthrough in the church. In Todd's own words, during this visitation, the pastor's wife "began running around barking like a dog or squawking like a chicken as a powerful prophetic spirit came on her". She started to receive the telephone numbers of complete strangers and started to phone them up and prophesy over them. Bentley then says "angels started showing up in the church".
As I have said in a previous article, the Bible never mentions female angels. And when angels have appeared to people in human form, they have always appeared as men. The fact that Emma's description has been expunged from the FreshFire website is a damning indictment of that fact. As we saw before, the name "Emma" or "Emma-O" is in fact the name of a demonic spirit in Shinto Buddhism who judges the dead. The same demonic spirit exists in Hinduism under the name of "Yama". There are many religions that worship female deities. For example, Gaia, Medusa, Isis, Ishtar, Mary Queen of Heaven, to name but a few. And fallen angels have appeared to people in the feminine form, claiming to be Mary. The feminine form is very powerful in these religions, for it is symbolic of fertility. Natural motherhood also demands love and respect, and these fallen angels crave to be worshipped and adored as such. The Bible mentions only One Person who is worthy of our love, and that is God. He is the nurturing One, the El Shaddai, who sustains us and provides for all our needs (Philippeans 4:19). Angels do seem to play a role in helping men to understand prophecy (Daniel 8:16), but again they are sent only to convey the message. They have no authority to bring prophetic revelations to people, such as was witnessed by Todd Bentley in this particular church. There is only one Person who nurtures the prophetic, and that is Jesus Christ. "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy", Revelation 19:10.
As you can see, it is dark days we are living in. This end-time deception is extremely strong, as Bentley himself stated, we haven't seen anything like this before. It is catching on so fast. The Lord said of the days prior to His return, that "there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect", Matthew 24:24. Praise God it is not possible for the elect to be deceived, but we still need to "take heed" that no man deceive us (Matthew 24:4).