Monday, September 05, 2011

Mike Bickle - Transported to Heaven

Evangelical Christianity has historically held to the viewpoint that the office of apostle was foundational to New Testament Christianity. Generally this understanding of "office" is used to describe the function of the 12 Apostles and later Paul, who had also seen the resurrected Lord. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:8, notes that, regarding the post-resurrection appearances of Christ, that "last of all He appeared to me." A full discussion of this topic is here in a position paper issued by the Assemblies of God.

Theologian Wayne Gruedem makes a good case for the connection between the OT Prophets and the NT Apostles- the men who gave us the books of the the bible. He believes in the continuation of the gift of prophecy (but not infalliable - to be judged) but not the office of prophet.

Regardless, we must realize that many restorationist churches in the"Apostolic/Prophetic" teach that God is restoring the offices of the Apostles and Prophets to form the government of the end times church. So strongly do they feel about this that some churches are now sending out apostolic teams to other cities where they "mandate God" to "bestow apostolic keys." Seriously!


Apostles, of course, have great authority. It was the Apostles who wrote the New Testament. And modern day "Apostles" believe they speak with that same Biblical authority, using supernatural visits to heaven to establish doctrine and practice. In fact, those visits to heaven are very important, because they too can claim to have been face-to-face with God.

As we have discussed previously, the IHOP 24/7 prayer movement promotes the present-day office of Apostle. Its foundational prophets claim many heavenly visitations, audible messages from the Lord, and angelic visitations.

Many of these stories are contained in the 1988 recordings by Mike Bickle and Bob Jones called Visions and Revelations.

Bob Jones saw and described a vision in which, "The Holy Spirit took me to a place_this time it wasn't the Lord took me, it was the Holy Spirit. He took me to a place and I saw the Lord, high and lifted up, by some young men and he set upon the golden ark...and I looked and there were men that had hold of the ark and they had the ark upon their shoulders. And the government will be upon their single shoulders." Jones goes on to explain how, by way of allegory, the Lord showed him he would raise up 35 men, to be champions for Christ in the last days. "...They will reign and reveal to the world that they truly are the faithful and true leaders and the government that will be upon his single shoulder." Mike Bickle comments, "I think there'll be 35 like unto Paul...There would be 35 whom the Lord would separate in the highest way. The government rests on apostles and prophets."

Mike Bickle, speaking of a visit to Heaven by Bob Jones, "Paul was anxious to talk to the end-times apostles and prophets more than the end-times apostles and prophets would have been to talk to Paul. He (Paul) said because what they would do would do far more to the glory of God and the Saints in the New Testament would wait in line to greet the apostles from this generation."

In August of 1984 Mike Bickle had a visit to heaven to add to this body of knowledge.

"The Lord took my spirit out of my body... I don't know how it operates but I know your body is where its at but you're not there and you're somewhere else. And its not a dream and its not a vision, you're literally somewhere else...

I stood in this room and it had... clouds, it was a room only maybe 20 by 20 or 30. It  was a little room. It had clouds in the bottom, on the top and the walls... (Bob Jones says "That's the courtroom")... I stood there, I was at the Lord's left hand, and I stood there, this was not a dream, this was as real as life here...I know it wasn't a dream or a vision...

I was standing there looking at the clouds all around and at the Lord's left hand and I could not look at him. There was something I could not look that way...I didn't want to look that way."

Bickle goes on to tell how the Lord sternly rebuked him in the realm of patience. At which point Bickle reports thinking his own carnal thoughts (not Godly thoughts) while in the "spirit before the Lord."

Bickle reports thinking "I'm not impatient" at which point Bickle and Jones start giggling. Bickle goes on to report that he thought (in response to the Lord's rebuke) "I don't agree with that" an in response the audience bursts into laughter.

After God finished rebuking Bickle, he starts falling "I start falling so rapidly. It takes 5 or 6 seconds. And I fall down to my bed. Right through the ceiling...I was going like 'ahhhhh'- I was coming down through the black sky - I was going 'ahhhh' - it wasn't funny at the time. And it's the most holy thing that ever happened to me but I guess it's humorous to you guys and uh, I come right through the ceiling, and I hit my bed and I look for like a half-a-second and I go right back up again and I go 'ahhhh,' I go straight back up again."

After Bickle returns to the courtroom a "whole line of" golden chariots appear. he saw men with those chariots and he believed those to be the 35 or so "super-apostles" that the Lord had previously told Bob Jones would be birthed out of his movement. A chariot appeared and "the Lord said 'get in it' and I knew intuitively, instantly it was an Apostolic ministry." The Lord was not calling me an apostle. He said He was thinking, ‘The days to come, if you’re faithful, you have an opportunity in the grace of God to fill an apostolic calling if you’re faithful to the full measure.’

And so the "apostles" today frequently speak of the heavenly visitations which give them the credentials to call themselves apostles. And the visits frequently contain information that they will base there movements on, information that sometimes is used in the formation of doctrine (in this case the doctrine of the restoration of the five-fold ministry.

Which brings up the question- are visitations to heaven a biblical practice? What should man's reaction to the presence of God be? We know that the bible cites a few examples. Paul states, in 2 Corinthians 12:2

" I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak."

John the Revelator, who was "in the Spirit" and saw Jesus, "fell at His feet like a dead man."

Isaiah, in the presence of God, said "Woe is me, I am undone!"

Paul, at Damascus Road, was struck blind for three days.

Unlike these examples, Mike Bickle was not only permitted to speak of things he saw in heaven, but he recounted them with great laughter. Bickle's story cited above starts at about 01:22:00 in file three of the Visions and Revelations series of 1988. Apparently Bickle, Jones and the audience found the entire story quite funny. This does not come through in the transcript above; actually hearing it is somewhat disturbing.

In Visions and Revelations, Mike Bickle states of Bob Jones:

"You know, I'm going to tell you something about Bob. Ever since that time in '74 when he was filled with the Holy Spirit he began to see the Technicolor visions and the Lord began to visit him. Since that time he has seen many, many times, five, ten visions and dreams a night. And when I first met him, I couldn't hardly comprehend that. I said, “Five or ten a night!” He said, “Oh, yes, all the time. Sometimes more, sometimes three or four.”

In this lengthy video, Bob Jones and Todd Bentley talk about some of these visits to heaven.

To this day Jones is revered as a great prophet at IHOP. It was those "visions and revelations" that form the foundation of IHOP, the basis for their vision and present day direction.  They call it thier "prophetic history." And if we buy into the validity of the heavenly visitations of Bickle and Jones, we have to buy into the whole vision of IHOP - that it indeed is God's strategic plan for the end times. These are serious claims, and they need to be seriously considered.

Looking at Mike Bickle's claim to a heavenly visitation, it seems to be used to bolster his restorationism doctrine. More importantly, when he says "the Lord said 'get in it' and I knew intuitively, instantly it was an Apostolic ministry," it can be seen as self-affirming. Little difference between this and the prophet who proclaims "Thus saith the Lord, hear the words of my prophet."

Compare that self-serving message again with the scriptures cited above and see if you can see the difference.

The casual nature of these third-heaven visitations as promoted by the Apostolic/Prophetic movement today is a seriously disturbing phenomena. If you have the time you may also want to watch this video with Bob Jones and Bill Johnson's friend Todd Bentley. Bentley recalls a rather bizarre third-heaven experience which he had while Bill Johnson was preaching at a meeting on the west coast.

Regarding the foundations of what we know today as IHOP (was KCF) Derek Prince had this to say: "the material circulated by KCF contains many statements which have no basis in Scripture and are frequently contrary to Scripture." He called some of the revelations "absurd and even blasphemous," and warned that "much of the material is permeated by what I consider to be occult influence."

That was twenty years ago. Is anyone paying attention?
Tags: Harrisonburg, JMU-HOP, jmuhop, theprayerfurnace, Fredericksburg Prayer Furnace, 24-7 Virginia, Chi Alpha, IHOP, David Bradshaw, Scott Bradshaw, Bowie Curry, Randy Martinez, Mark Kazmier, FPF Missions Base, The Prayer Furnace, The Burn, The Burn Service, Solemn Assembly, Prayer Room, Campus Strike Force


  1. I find it really amazing that a senior statesman in charismatic circles like the late Derek Prince made such a serious critical statement and the impact of it was so insignificant. But he is not alone. Clifford Hill, a respected British teacher and editor of the long running Prophecy Today Journal wrote several years ago warning of the aberrant teachings and false prophets of the KCF (the IHOP precursor) in his book entitled "Blessing the church"

    Perhaps the covering of the Vineyard in the late 80's was just enough to give the KCF and its off-spring IHOP the covering necessary to perpetuate their hyped up eschatology, and bridal mysticism. The inside truth of the 'break-up' of Vineyard and KCF hasn't been told. But one thing is for sure, it was short lived and nothing of substance by way of correction emerged from it. All the same old Latter Rain Redux is still being put forth by Mr. Bickle and the staff at IHOP.

    What will it take to cause those Mr. Bickle to open IHOP to serious theological scrutiny? What will it take before the serious falsehood perpetrated by the likes of Paul Cain & Bob Jones to be repudiated? How long will myths about angels, and trips to heaven, and conversations with the departed be passed off as some kind of authorization from God that IHOP has a corner on 'calling' Jesus back to earth?'

    Bill, this is outstanding work. Keep it up! It is a loving thing to insist on the truth. Real brothers and sisters don't cover up lies, half-truths and exaggeration because they know that these things do great harm to men's souls.

  2. It seems that Old Testament Prophets would prophesy things that would soon take place (and they did), as well as things that would take place in the future. Because they were correct regarding soon-to-be events, we can trust that that which is yet to happen, will happen.

    Not so Bob Jones, et al. Do current followers realize that the prophecies that took place back in the '80's, prophecies that were specific and not 'cosmic' in nature, DID NOT come to pass? A few did - most did not. Bob Jones had and has a terrible track record - why should he be taken seriously, at all?

    It is my understanding, and this needs to be verified, that Bob Jones has not had a place of physical prominence at IHOP since he fell into sexual sin back in 1992. While he may share a platform with Mike at conferences abroad, etc., has he ever been given a microphone to repeat the kind of interviews so often done in the '80's, as evidenced by these recordings?

    If his prophecies are so important to the foundation of this movement, why isn't he allowed repeated interviews? Are the majority of his prophecies an embarrassment to Mike? Do a select few of his prophecies serve a purpose, and, therefore, they considered accurate?

    What about other foundational prophecies, like the one's regarding Pat Bickle's healing? Is this an example of an inconvenient prophecy (since it didn't come to pass) being rearranged to serve an ongoing purpose?

    Back when Mike was 'taken to heaven', my brain had not yet fully engaged to question such a claim. Mike appeared very humble when he first announced this calling. The brevity with which this interview from 1988 was conducted (fours years after the encounter) reminds me of the 'drunk in the spirit' videos that are available for viewing today. We lacked this drunk in the spirit manifestation in the '80's as this was pre-Toronto time. But, where was the fear of God that should be associated with such encounters?

    This movement has been massaged and manipulated in ways that reveal the worst of fruit being borne. How it has risen to this level of prominence is the most baffling event I have ever witnessed take place.

  3. IHOP is a dangerous cult. It is a false religion. Every parent needs to be warned of IHOP, Circuit Riders, Campus House of Prayer, YWAM, etc. IHOP is so much more than an uber-charismatic Christian movement. I personally know two people (unrelated, living in separate towns, strangers to each other and 40 years age difference between them) whose lives were completely ripped apart and broken once they became devout IHOP followers. One in KC and the other on a college campus in Texas. Both got caught up in the "works" designed by Bickle; such as prescribed mantra-style intercessory and contemplative prayer, commands for near-death long term fasting as a way of life, sleep deprivation tactics and guilt/blasphemy pressures that a healthy Jesus loving Christian could not imagine. Of course they don't tell you it will bring you close to death or mental illness, nor that it resembles tactics one might use on prisoners of war. It's all masked in the emotionality of it all. And isn't emotionality at the heart of most sinful temptations. One of my elder friends is financially destitute and lost her 45+ year marriage to IHOP and announced that she would no longer speak to her family, even her own children, because they did not want to become IHOP followers. The other is a young man on the Dean's list that has never touched a drug or drop of alcohol, but had a psychotic break that lead to an emergency admission to a mental facility. Hallucinations, delirium and paranoia haunts them. Bickle's teachings are not founded in scripture; never having attended any bible school, all of his teaching materials are his own words, by his own publishing company and given directly to him personally by God in dreams and in person. The materials they provide to their followers includes coaching about elders in the "current church" losing their zeal and lacking understanding of the "new church" (aka Bickle's church). And further, if the elders and family members and fellow Christians do not understand his "new church" and you can't convert them, then distance yourself from them because they lack understanding. I guess "seek counsel from many" only applies to Bickle and hia most faithful prophets/apostles. Many followers reject their families, isolate themselves and succumb to the lack of food, sleep deprivation and the giving of every $ or asset they may have or own. Their lives become out of balance, primarily focused on their Bickle-prescribed works that will bring Jesus back to earth. Thousands of well-intentioned Christians are being deceived by Bickle. The enemy is working mightily through his works. Believers fall from the grace of the new testament and suffer greatly trying to manage Bickle's subscribed works; many eventually questioning their own salvation. It reminds me of Paul's writings in Romans about suffering under the law. I am not a theologian. But I applaud blogs like this one. The truth needs to be circulated a million times. Even Bill Johnson parted ways with Bickle. Wake up IHOP followers. Do your homework! Bickle's teachings are not from scripture! I don't hate Bickle's IHOP followers. It's actually quite the opposite. My heart breaks for them. My heart cries out in sorrow for their guilt, pain, grief, loss of family, loss of health and unfruitful and often dangerous toil

  4. Whose teaching should I listen to? It seems Christians differ
    on many things, although all claim to believe the same Bible.
    (But on many
    subjects, there is not agreement.)

    How can I know who to believe? Who is right?

    Fortunately, God gave us His Word, the Bible, so we could know
    the truth, and it gives some guidelines to help with this

    JOHN 8:31-32 NKJ
    31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you
    abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
    32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you

    So an important question is whether freedom is being produced
    in the lives of the people who are following a teaching. If
    not, it cannot be the accurate message of Jesus, which will
    make people free. This does not mean everyone will instantly be
    free, but over time, the fruit of the teaching should be

    In Matthew 7, Jesus taught that we can judge by whether "good
    fruit" is being produced.

    MATTHEW 7:16-17,20 NKJ
    16 "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes
    from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
    17 "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree
    bears bad fruit.
    20 "Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

    Galatians tells us what kind of fruit is produced by followers
    of Jesus who live a spiritual life.

    GALATIANS 5:22-23 NKJ
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
    longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
    23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

    Hebrews 13:7-8 also gives us some important guidelines of who
    we should follow.

    HEBREWS 13:7 NKJ
    7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of
    God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of
    their conduct.

    What has their teaching produced? Is it love, joy, peace,
    gentleness, etc.? Does it result in setting people free from
    bondage? Are broken people being healed and made whole? These
    are questions we should ask when we "consider the outcome of
    their conduct."

    Is love, mercy, and compassion (like Jesus had) a mark of their
    ministry? Or do they more closely resemble the Pharisees who
    loved to focus on keeping a list of rules, instead of helping

    Avoid the teaching of any group that tells you the day of
    miracles has passed and that God no longer does the same things
    He did in Bible days. They are simply wrong. Jesus Christ is
    the same today as He was yesterday!

    People can be wrong, even good, well-meaning people who may
    seem to know the Bible. Plenty of people have studied the Bible
    their entire life and still don't really understand it. The
    Pharisees of Jesus' day were the Bible experts, yet God walked
    among them and they called Him the devil!

    1 CORINTHIANS 12:12,27 NLT
    12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up
    only one body. So it is with the body of Christ.
    27 Now all of you together are Christ's body, and each one of
    you is a separate and necessary part of it.

    God does not make everyone the same, or direct us all to do the
    same thing in the same way. So don't reject or criticize others
    just because they are different. God loves all His children, no
    matter how ignorant, mis-informed, or immature they may be.
    Because God loves them, we should also treat them all with love
    and respect.

    JOHN 13:35 NKJ
    35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you
    have love for one another."

    Most importantly, Jesus told how we could know who were His
    true disciples: they would be known by love. So, if the ones
    you follow are known more for fighting (or for man made prescribed works) than for sacrificial
    love and giving, you need to pray about making a change.

    SAY THIS: Jesus Christ is the One who is right.


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