(5 of 7) Awesome as my ‘rescue’ was, the dream-vision recounted in part 4 didn’t make me want to rush off to church. That visitation’s effect and the ramifications upon my way of life needed careful consideration. For example, I needed to check out New Age claims of the Bible having been compiled and modified by Church councils in the 4th Century after Christ, as well as learn about its history from authoritative sources. [Prof F.F. Bruce’s The Books and The Parchments (1991) was very helpful, especially about the late 2nd Century ‘Muratorian Fragment’ drawn up in the church at Rome. It lists practically all the canonical New Testament literature.]
So not only did I need to assess those implications, but also as possibly a new believer in Jesus Christ I wanted to find well-informed believers who took Him seriously. I soon did so but needed to put their claims of hearing direct from God to the test. After all, they believe we have a relationship with Him and so we have but to ask…
A few months before the dream-visitation, I’d learned some members of the church that had invited me to hear Billy Graham met in the school next door to my house! Later, I heard they’d given young Peter prayer-backing for his discussions with me (as in part 3). That is, they’d targeted me! And God answered their prayers by giving me that ‘dream’.
The first service I attended there in that familiar, small school hall was a culture shock!
Standing before a young man devoid of dog-collar but wearing an acoustic guitar led the meeting in song and spoke without any script or ritual whatsoever – even engaging the congregation in discussion! Some attendees testified to angelic protection in their lives: I’d thought this subject was lost to churchgoers. Starting the ‘sermon’, he said he’s going to look at the shortest gospel, that of Mark, and would continue in the next weeks. In saying, “It’s action packed and full of urgency” he intrigued me, and this fitted in with my intention of checking out the Bible.
Therefore, I thought it might prove useful to come again. At the next session one thing he taught stuck in my mind: “In Mark, who was the first to recognise who Jesus really is?” Answer: an unclean spirit (see Mark 1:24). I was thus reminded of that dream’s events – and of the exceptionally unsettling, very vivid one years earlier of a devouring monster of darkness (as in ‘Reality Revealed’ in part 2).
[I was reminded of that scripture at a school of healing in 2017, when the teacher asked why would Jesus silence a demonic testimony of His identity? The answer: coming from an unclean tainted source, even truth itself gets contaminated! Also, I know that’s been satan’s modus operandi since the Garden of Eden – the father of lies and half-truths. Moreover, this fact points out that being’s pretext for rebellion, and raises questions about the religiously sanctioned practice of ‘taqiya’, as in Islam.]
MOVING TOWARDS FREEDOM
During 1990, therefore, I came into a good place to build upon that dream encounter by learning about the Bible and, more importantly, by listening to God through His written word and to come into a close relationship with Him. As stated above, it was opportunity to test claims about discussing the Bible’s content with its Author without any priest as ‘intermediary’.
The first of many times this happened brought incredibly clear – and shocking! – proof that God really does speak from the Bible, as claimed by many believers in Jesus.
My 1st Question of God
It was important to review my uncharitable views about the clergy. You may understand how difficult it was for me to contemplate attending church, let alone with regularity – not to mention being under the oversight of clergy. I wrongly suspected they couldn’t comprehend the dark situation I’d come from.
And so I put preachers’ claims about the Word of God to the test and asked if God could show me from His book His opinion of clergy and about my attending this church…
My Bible fell open at Hebrews 13:17, giving this most apposite answer and instruction:
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Emphases mine.)
That well and truly put me in my place and enabled me to make my mind up. Thank you Lord for answering and correcting me!
My 2nd Question of God
Later that year I reviewed the occult teaching about Jesus in that brotherhood’s books on His ‘mystical life’ and ‘secret doctrines’. They’d attracted me at 20 years of age, and there were various claims in a massive mound of monographs, as well as teachings of its sister brotherhood based on the dogmatic Kabbalah (Jewish esoteric belief system based upon Creation; eg. the ‘Sepher Yetzirah’).
Initiates of one of that Gnostic initiatory group’s highest degrees were styled as ‘veiled prophets’ on the spurious grounds of using 2 Peter 1:19. Yet the Bible was very rarely discussed throughout my membership. Moreover, not only did this sole reference not quote the subsequent qualifying verse 20 (about the origin of all prophecy being in God’s Holy Spirit) but their practicum also failed to enable such initiates to prophesy! Hardly surprising…YET…
I asked God for His guidance through scripture on my membership and opened my new, pocket-sized Bible. I’ve never been able to repeat what happened next – it immediately fell open at the very same second chapter of Apostle Peter’s second letter. Its first ten verses stood out with startling clarity (the rest were hazily out-of-focus) – they warn about false teachers who:
‘…secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying our sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful way and bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with the stories they have made up. Their condemnation has been long hanging over them and their destruction has not been sleeping. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell…to be held for judgement…then the Lord knows how to…hold the unrighteous for the day of judgement, while continuing their punishment. ‘ (2 Peter 2:1-9 NIV)
The emphases hit ‘bull’s eye’, and the subsequent verses explain that assessment and what happens to such teachers as ‘springs without water and mists driven by storm’. This answer to my question was startlingly exact! It was jaw-dropping and eye-popping, as well as being a chilling condemnation of the teachers I’d known – absolutely awesome!
The Holy Author of the Bible had used it to answer my own personal question (Paul’s letter may be read in full here).
Specifically, that occultic group claimed its information had come from the Essenes and early Christians. Members of that Qumran community by the Dead Sea and across Judea were supposed to have assisted at Jesus’ birth and crucifixion, and as a Roman warrant had supposedly been issued to release Jesus before death, those supporters and ‘secret disciples’ helped to resuscitate Jesus. Also, as God’s Holy Spirit had come upon Jesus during the baptism in the river Jordan and left during the crucifixion this supposedly indicated Jesus was human only, not one with Almighty God.
Furthermore, this group taught the necessity of acquiring initiatory knowledge to enable attainment of illumination and perfection of ourselves through reincarnation, and thus be one of the ‘ascended masters’ or world teachers, as claimed of Jesus the Christ. That is, it had descended from the Gnostics and continued their doctrines, together with many others within the Western esoteric tradition.
The Gnostics and other heretical false doctrines about Jesus had vied for dominance over the early Church, and later greatly influenced the founder of Islam. This is why Apostle John’s first letter speaks so adamantly under direct inspiration of the ‘Author of the Bible’ about the spirit of anti-Christ and its slithering into churches to contend against the One who’d destroyed satan’s authority over humanity:
Beloved, do not put faith in every spirit, but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed from God; for many false prophets have gone into the world. By this you may know (perceive and recognise) the Spirit of God; every spirit which acknowledges and confesses [the fact] that Jesus Christ the Messiah) [actually] has become man and has come in the flesh is of God [has God as its source];
And every spirit which does not acknowledge and confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [but would annul, destroy, severe, disunite Him] is not of God [does not proceed from Him]. This [non-confession] is the spirit of the antichrist, (of) which you heard that it was coming, and now it is already in the world.’ (1 John 4:1-3 Amp Bible)
Therefore, that brotherhood denied the divinity of Jesus Christ and the centrality of His sacrificial death and resurrection – from actual death – for the salvation of human souls, and thereby reconciling us with God and enabling our right of entry – in this life and the next – into His throne-room by the Blood of the Lamb.
Moreover, the Author of the Bible had pointed me to His truth about that group’s motives and its leaders’ dreadful destiny.
Consequently, I wanted to know lots more from the Living Lord God and His Son Jesus Christ. It was a great blessing, therefore, that He soon directed to testimonials like mine (next).
Only upon revisiting this testimony many years later did I realise those passages in Peter’s letter and that to the ‘Hebrews’ starkly contrast both forms of leadership under which I’d served. The first was highly ungodly, and the latter is blessed by Father’s supreme protective cover for all His children.