Some Thoughts on Isaiah 11:6 and “the Mandela Effect”

The other day a coworker of mine asked if I read the Bible and proceeded to share with me some things that he’d heard about Isaiah 11:6 on a YouTube video claiming to provide “…the three best and most detailed examples of the Mandela Effect.” [time mark 1:27] And In the course of the brief exchange I asked him to send me a link to the video – which has resulted in further conversation and this post that you are now reading.

The Mandela Effect(?)

The video in question kind of opens with a summary of the concept of this theory. And as far as I can tell – considering I had no active knowledge of this concept until watching the video – the event that gave the theory its name does seem somewhat puzzling… Especially when only equipped with the minimal information provided by the video.

However, since my concern is more related to the text of Scripture, as far as this theory goes I will simply offer a short list of thoughts and/or questions regarding said subject and leave the rest to the reader’s opinion and/or knowledge/research.

1: it seems to me that this theory assumes the infallibility of a person’s memory – simply based upon the “vividness” and/or “detail” of the mistaken memory – and this assumption is apparently validated by “many total strangers” having the same mistaken “memory.”

2: building further on this assumption of infallible human memory, it seems this theory is more imaginatively pointless than it is thoughtfully helpful (no offense intended to those who believe or have further studied the idea). After all, if such a theory were actually fact – and we had experienced intersection of dimensions and/or timelines – what could we possibly do about it?

3: from a slightly different angle – but in a similar vein as my question ending the previous point – the proponents and conceivers of this theory seem to be coming from a completely secular-humanist and/or materialistic (if not occult) worldview. Now this thought would mean more to a disciple of Jesus than anyone else – but the point stands that this theory ignores or outright denies the existence of a Sovereign Creator working all things according to the council of His own will.

These were just a few of the more poignant of my thoughts as I watched the first portion of the video. But I would prefer to specifically focus on the second part that the creators of the video titled “Biblical Changes.”

Changes to the Bible? [time mark 6:12]

The first difficulty I had with this section was the language about “Biblical changes” with no qualifications or basis given for the presumptive phrasing. Obviously the discussion of Isaiah 11:6 would be considered an example – but one verse is hardly sufficient to warrant language implying more than a few actual changes to the text of the Bible.

In fact, the first real example cited (outside of a general statement about ‘many Christians misremembering the verse’) is a post by a user on a site called “Reddit” claiming to have gone to “three different churches” to ask ministers about the verse and finding that the people the Reddit person talked to misremembered the verse. [time mark 7:35]

I would submit to the reader several ideas/questions at this point: 1) what evidence can the Reddit user give for their story? What churches did they go to? Who were the ministers? What denomination were the churches? 2) what do three unverifiable examples prove about the “changing” of an ancient, historically verifiable text? 3) should we really allow the mistakes of people’s fallible, often prone to or capable of malfunction minds to cause us to assume the text of an ancient set of books has been changed? 4) does this one story really give the video warrant to say “even those within ecclesiastical institutions incorrectly remember the verse” [time mark 7:30] as if this mistake were a normative thing across Christianity? (NOTE: That may not have been the intent of those who made the video, but it was still implied by their choice of words and the method of presenting the data)

Again, I realize my thoughts would not necessarily be significant to one who is not a disciple of Jesus – but I believe my questions are valid and deserving of consideration by anyone interested in fact/truth.

The next phrase (with no substantiation) that I would think any critically thinking person would take issue with came at time mark 8:15 – “Christians are becoming increasingly worried about what this passage change means…”

Now, again, what grounds are there for assuming that the passage has been changed? I would submit to the reader that subjective human thoughts are no basis upon which to question ANY historically verifiable reality. More important and directly relative to the quote, however, is what documentation do the makers of this video have for such a statement? I, for one, have never even heard of people making this mistake before watching this video… and I follow enough “Christian sources” online that I’m pretty sure I would have heard of this before if it was an actual concern among the greater Christian community – as implied by the statement.

The video follows this statement with some odd thoughts of what the significance would be if the passage had been changed which I will simply provide some of my own thoughts about and leave the video alone for the rest of this post. However, the reader is obviously free to watch the video in its entirety and come to there own conclusions.

Context and Concept of Isaiah 11:6

1: If one will read the entirety of Isaiah, they will see that chapter 11 is a prophetic text – and it seems to me to be of a particularly eschatological bent, although the beginning sets it up as ultimately messianic in nature. The concept of verses 6-9, namely the perfect peace that will be on God’s mountain/kingdom, is set up by verse 6: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” (ESV) The context – and simply the entirety of the verse – taken into consideration removes any need to question the “significance” of the animals depicted. The obvious thrice-emphasized Hebrew parallelism of “wolf and lamb,” “leopard and kid,” and “lion and calf,” make it clear that the verse is simply putting forth the removal of predator and prey distinctions in this land where there is perfect peace (I.e. No natural indicators of struggle and death). The rest of the context of the chapter does not allow for any “secret/hidden” interpretation or meaning to the animals used in the illustration. (NOTE: the parallel passage in Isaiah 65:25 is another indication of the simplicity of the intended meaning)

2: Even if we were to consider this idea that the animals depicted have a “deeper meaning” – there would be no definitive precedent to indicate what that meaning would be. Though Christ is called the “Lion of Judah” (Revelation 5:5) there are plenty of illustrations in scripture that utilize a lion (as well as a wolf) as a ferocious and terrible beast (Isaiah 5:29, Ezekiel 22:27, Psalm 17:12), and the only other illustration I know of in the Bible utilizing a wolf is in connection with false prophets/teachers (Acts 20:29-30, Matthew 7:15)… so there would really be no reason to note such a supposed “change” in the first place.

3: in humoring the video – my wife and I came up with a few potential possibilities for why this mistake of memory is made: 1) the popular “worship song” How Great Is Our God by Chris Tomlin has “Lion and the lamb” as one of its refrains… 2) the imagery of Jesus in the Bible not only utilizes a lamb (Revelation 5:6, etc.) but Jesus is also given the title of “the Lion of Judah” (Revelation 5:5)… and these are just two very commonly experienced/known things among Christians and in “Christian culture” that could reasonably explain the common mistake of misremembering Isaiah 11:6. However, even if these didn’t explain the phenomenon – there is still not enough grounds to claim changes have been made to an ancient text when all you’ve got is a potentially freaky case of common mistaken memory.

Final Note

No intended offense is meant against my coworker or the makers of the video that sparked this post, but it must be made clear to the reader that ancient, orthodox Christianity holds to none of the superstitions or confidence in mankind’s own thoughts and/or memories that seem to have given rise to the presentation in the video linked to above.

The good news of the Son of God taking on human flesh and living a perfect life to fulfill the demands of the Law of God, dying upon the cross to satisfy the Wrath of God and take away the sins of His people, and being buried and rising again on the third day to prove His Work acceptable and His people Justified before God denies any possible confidence in the thoughts and intentions of mankind.

No matter what we encounter that seems unexplainable, these things remain self evident; everything we see and interact with was made and is owned by a Thrice-Holy God, the whole of humanity desires and does nothing but that which is evil, and there is no way for man to stand clean before his Maker unless the Maker first does something to cleanse him… which He has.


Believer’s authority – Part 7

Side NOTE: for a refutation of Hagin’s words simply from Scripture – see an earlier post: “the ‘believer’s authority’ vs Scripture”

“The trouble with us is that we’ve preached a “cross” religion, and we need to preach a “throne” religion. By that I mean that people have thought they were supposed to remain at the cross. Some have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, have backed up to the cross, and have stayed there ever since.

We’ve sung “Near the cross, near the cross.” Yes, we need to come by the cross for salvation, but we don’t need to remain there; let’s go on to Pentecost, the Ascension, and the throne!” – Kenneth Hagin, “The Believer’s Authority” (pages 23-24)

These words display not only Hagin’s lack of understanding when it comes to the cross, but his disdain for the cross. His words have no harmony with our Lord’s:

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…” ~ Luke 9:23

Also, what is meant by “Some have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, have backed up to the cross, and have stayed there ever since”? Well, Hagin gave us an idea by his very next paragraph:

“The cross is actually a place of defeat, whereas the Resurrection is a place of triumph. When you preach the cross, you’re preaching death, and you leave people in death. We died all right, but we’re raised with Christ. We’re seated with Him. Positionally, that’s where we are right now: We’re seated with Christ in the place of authority in heavenly places.” – Kenneth Hagin, “The Believer’s Authority” (page 24)

Now… to a minuscule extent, some of what Hagin has written here is kind of correct. The believer saved by the grace of God has been covered by the righteousness of Christ – they are justified before God because they are found in Christ… but notice the complete disjointedness of Hagin’s doctrine of the cross from how he understands justification and sanctification. To Hagin, somehow the Christian must “leave” the cross – because it supposedly offers so little – and “move on” to bigger and better things… does that sound like the language of Christ or His apostles?

“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” ~ Matthew 10:38

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” ~ Galatians 6:14

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)

Also, notice how once again Hagin has inserted this idea of “authority” into our saved and justified state without any Biblical warrant: “We’re seated with Christ in the place of authority in heavenly places.”

Compare Hagin’s presumptive distortion with the actual text:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV)

Nowhere in this passage is it suggested that the believer’s status of being “seated with Christ” automatically means they are endowed with the same “authority” given to Christ in the previous chapter (Ephesians 1). However, there is quite a bit of language that speaks to our subservience to Christ and our lack of grounds to make any form of grandiose claims for ourselves.

But Hagin continued with his absurd assertions by trying to convince his audience that people like me are second-rate Christians:

“Many Christians know nothing about the authority of the believer. They really don’t believe we have any authority. They believe they’re barely saved and they must go through life being dominated by the devil while living on Barely-Get-Along Street. They magnify the devil more than they do God.” – Kenneth Hagin, “The Believer’s Authority” (page 24)

I don’t know what kind of professing Christians Hagin hung around – but I’ve certainly never met anyone that fit the caricature above. (And, frankly, based upon later chapters of Hagin’s book – it is HIS position that “magnifies the devil more than God.”)

Notice again, though, the underlying presuppositions in Hagin’s statements. 1) he thinks that those who don’t “believe in authority” are “dominated by the devil.” 2) and he believes that Christians who don’t utilize his imagined super-power are “barely saved” – or at least act like they are…

But this is something of a random tangent, Hagin returned to his main thrust when he wrote: “The elevation of Christ’s people with Him into the heavenlies clearly points to the fact that we are to sit with Him, sharing not only His throne but also His authority. That authority belongs to us!” (Page 24)

Once again, I would point out the blasphemous equation of the believer with Christ Himself. Nowhere do the authors of Holy Writ make this kind of connection to Paul’s illustration of how and why our justification is possible and/or happens. Hagin’s assertions are nothing but the normal, FALLEN human ambition to have control of one’s own life.

Granting once again that Hagin does make a few statements about “being balanced” on pages 25 and 26 that could help us hope that Hagin is not intending to BE quite as blasphemous as he sounds – we must still conclude that Hagin’s ideas thus far in his book are Biblically untenable and full of heresy.

An Additional Thought on the Office of Apostle

As I further considered the texts given in my last post, I realized that Acts 1:15-22 was the strongest Scriptural support/documentation of what an apostle is and what the criteria is for becoming one.

Specifically in verses 21-22 of chapter one in the book of “the Acts of the Apostles” – Peter provides the following criteria for their choosing of someone to replace Judas:

“So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” ~ Acts 1:21-22 (ESV)

Here we see where the tradition I mentioned in my last post comes from; the very pages of Holy Writ itself.

This criteria given by Peter – namely that the newly appointed apostle must be chosen from among those who were disciples of Jesus since His baptism until His Ascension.

This alone – aside from any of my reasoning in my earlier post – is enough to come to the conclusion that the office of apostle no longer exists today.


The Office of Apostle

Thanks (I think/believe) to a lot of uneducated, fanciful interpretational methods that were produced by proto-Pentecostal movements there is a lot of confusion about the office of apostle among a majority of professing Christians in our day.

And even within the more orthodox strains of the “charismatic” movement I have heard some odd explanations of how we should view the office today.

Little “a” apostles vs Capital “A” Apostles(?)

One thing I’ve heard from an individual who is more orthodox than those within the “New Apostolic Reformation” (a movement full of self-appointed “apostles” and self-proclaimed “prophets”), is that we should have a concept of two different “kinds” of apostles – the more authoritative, ancient Apostles and the less authoritative, modern apostles, if you will.

But does Scripture give warrant or precedent to this idea?

Well, one of the few epistles that mention anything generic about “apostles” in a teaching context is 1 Corinthians:

“Now, you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you still a more excellent way…” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 (ESV)

NOTE: I encourage the reader to visit the entire context of this passage – and especially to read the following chapter, as Paul has told us it contains instruction on a “more excellent” way of living in the light of God’s mighty work on our behalf.

Though the passage (quoted above) in 1 Corinthians contains mention of “apostles” within the larger context of God’s gifts to His children to build up and strengthen the church – see also Ephesians 4:11-13 – there is no clear instruction given here by Paul on what an apostle actually IS.

What IS an Apostle?

From the accounts in Acts and the authoritative nature of Paul’s instructions and commands in his epistles, one of the obvious things that the apostles were was leaders and/or authority figures in the primitive Church. They led the early followers of Jesus in belief and conduct.

But in the earlier portions of Ephesians we are given something a little closer to actual teaching on what an apostle serves as:

“…So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord…” ~ Ephesians 2:19-21 (ESV) … (see also Revelation 21:14)

In Ephesians Paul informs us that the apostles (along with the prophets of the Old Testament) serve as a “foundation” for the Church of God, but in what way do they serve this purpose, especially for Christians today?

I would argue that it is by the writing of Holy Scripture that the apostles and prophets – subservient to Christ as the all important “cornerstone” – serve to build the Church (or Temple, if you will) of God throughout the ages. I would argue this based upon the temporal, “one time” language that is used in reference to the purpose of the apostles in Holy Scripture – you only build the foundation of a building once. Also, as far as I can tell, most references to true “apostles” in Scripture and the ancient church fathers usually put in the qualifier of “the twelve.”

None of these texts so far, however, give us any specific teaching on how to identify an “apostle” – so what is it that makes someone an apostle?

The Criteria of an Apostle

I would suggest to the reader that there is one primary, time honored “criterion” for how we Biblically identify an apostle of Jesus Christ: an apostle is a man commissioned to preach the gospel by Christ Himself.

We see this exemplified in Acts 1:15-22, and the beginning of Galatians where Paul’s writing is undergirded by an explanation and outlining of his call and experience in becoming “the apostle to the Gentiles” by the commission of the risen Christ Himself… there is also a short reference to this by Paul in1 Corinthians 15:8-9. Also, throughout the Gospels and the book of Acts, there is no reference to “apostles” outside the twelve disciples who specifically participated in Jesus’ earthly ministry.

However, even if there are a few generic references to those who hold the office of apostle in the Church throughout the New Testament, this does not demand that the traditional criterion above is faulty – and thus require we assume some form of the office exists today. Why? Because, although 1 Corinthians 15:6-7 does not exactly say when Jesus appeared to the groups specified, this type of evidence for “apostles” outside the twelve and Paul still falls under the category of the office only being given to individuals who interacted directly with the risen Christ (and I think it is significant to note that except for Paul, all of these individuals interacted “physically” – I.e. Not in a vision – with Him in the presence of others who did likewise).

Another traditional criterion of true, orthodox and ancient Christianity is that the apostles had authority and power by the Holy Spirit to write Scripture (as I have said above, I would also argue this tradition from the text itself). What they said and wrote was authoritative as coming from God – just like the prophets of the Old Testament. (2 Peter 1:19-21)

Side NOTE: it can even be argued that every book of the New Testament is of Apostolic origin – the authors of Mark, Luke, Acts, and Hebrews all having clear connections to one of the apostles of Scripture.

That having been said – and no clear Scriptural evidence of any distinctive “levels” or “types” to the office taken into consideration – if one subscribed to the idea that we do have apostles today (or prophets, for that matter), consistently they would have to add that “apostle’s” writings or speeches to the Bible!

The last few paragraphs are a bit of a rabbit trail, but the ideas put forth within them have existed (been debated or discussed) since the days of the primitive Church, and no one among these modern day groups of “charismatics” seems to care that God’s people throughout history have had something to say about topics we discuss today!

As far as I can see from Scripture, anyone who claims to be an “apostle” (or prophet, as far as I’m concerned) today is either a lying charlatan – like those in the New Apostolic Reformation(NAR); or they have not actually thought about what Scripture says about the office – and thus no one should be listening to them anyway, as that person is obviously a simpleton and shouldn’t have authority over anyone.

To drive this point home, I would encourage the reader to examine Paul’s arguments against the “super-apostles” in Corinth that had apparently begun to accuse Paul of “walking according to the flesh” (2 Corinthians 10-12)… particularly in chapter 11 Paul contrasts his own actions against those of these “super-apostles” using incredibly thick and biting sarcasm.

One of the points Paul makes about himself is his lack of demanding resources from the Corinthians in order to show himself trustworthy to them… I have never heard or seen any indication of a practitioner/leader of the NAR ever discouraging people from giving their money to them – in fact they do the opposite, they have entire doctrines about why and how Christians should be wealthy/prosperous (just look up “great transfer of wealth” in relation to this movement).

For the reader who might be involved in the NAR, I would encourage you to think hard on the following words of Paul before you follow/listen to anyone who claims to be an apostle…

“And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not surprising if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds…” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 (ESV)


Who is the “Thief” in John 10:10?

Now most people who have heard anyone quote/paraphrase the first half of the verse – “the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.” – know that most of those people they’ve heard quote it are intending the listener to understand the “thief” to be Satan.

The problem with this assumption is that nowhere in the text does Jesus mention “the devil.” Granted, the devil can fall into the category of “thief” that Jesus has created in this parable – but I believe we do harm to the text and misunderstand Jesus when we automatically interpret “the devil” in the place of “the thief.”

Side NOTE: I am fairly certain that Scripture nowhere attributes the title of “thief” directly to Satan…

So, who does Jesus have in mind?

Well, first off, if he has anyone in particular in mind, it seems to be any number of those within the decades before His Incarnation (and even within His own lifetime) who had risen up and called themselves the Messiah – trying to amass followers and liberate Israel from the Romans. (John 10:8)

Along with that, however, I do not think it would be too much of a stretch to think that Jesus also meant the Sadducees and Pharisees to fall under this category as well – although they may actually be closer to the “hired hand.” (John 10:12-13)

However, all of this is in keeping with the mistake of those who misquote John 10:10 in reference to the devil – it is missing Christ’s entire point in using this parabolic illustration.

The thrust and purpose of Jesus’ words is obviously HIMSELF. How HE is the door to life, how He is the Good Shepherd, and He is a faithful and mighty master. The thief and the hired hands only serve as a juxtaposing contrast to the goodness, faithfulness, and power of the Good Shepherd. (John 10)

To focus on the contrasting “images” instead of the subject of the parable (I.e. Christ) is an insult to our Lord – not to mention bad hermeneutics.

All of that said – it is true that held within this glorious example of the goodness, faithfulness, and intentional power to save of Jesus, there is an undercurrent of an assumption about the wariness we should have about false teachers and deceiving “leaders.” (2 Peter 2, Jude, Matthew 7:15-23, etc.)

So, is there a group that can fall into these contrasted to Christ categories today?

Well, yes, I believe it would be appropriate to put Kenneth Hagin, Jeff Taylor, Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Benny Hinn, Todd White, Bill Johnson, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Creflo Dollar, Paul & Jan Crouch, Oral Roberts, Rick Joyner, Joel Osteen, Joseph Prince, and all other leaders and “pastors” of the Word of Faith movement and New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) into the category of “the thief” who comes “only to steal, kill, and destroy.” And I believe men like Rick Warren, Robert Jeffress, Carl Lentz, and Brian Houston fall under the category of “hired hands” – not necessarily apostate wolves in sheep’s clothing, but certainly squishy and spineless on the Gospel.

Beware of such men and women, yes; and do not be ignorant of the devil’s devices and rebellious influence in the world, yes… but do not let those things twist your remembrance or reading of the Scriptures.

Christ is the Good Shepherd, and His sheep hear and follow His voice – because He is Able and Mighty and Faithful to save!


Believer’s authority – Part 6

Further examination of the errors taught in Kenneth Hagin’s book “The Believer’s Authority”


After trying to pervert Ephesians 2:5-6 and confusing the believer with the Savior (see “Believer’s authority – Part 5”), on page 22 of his book “the Believer’s Authority” Hagin says:

“If the Church ever gets the revelation that we are the Body of Christ, we’ll rise up and do the works of Christ! Until now, we’ve been doing them only limitedly.

When we realize that the authority that belongs to Christ also belongs to individual members of the Body of Christ and is available to us, our lives will be revolutionized!”

Notice the fundamental assumptions in those statements: 1) the “revelation” that the Church is the “body of Christ” is something other than the metaphor used in Scripture. 2) the “works of Christ” are NECESSARILY something other/more than proclaiming Christ and Him crucified, feeding the hungry, clothing the destitute, visiting orphans and widows, and loving our fellow believers. 3) Christ’s authority is a right and possession that belongs to human individuals. 4) being saved by the Holy Spirit’s regenerative power through the gospel is not enough to “revolutionize” a person’s life.

I ask the reader, are those assumptions primarily and fundamentally Biblical? It is my contention that those assertions are not only UN-Biblical, but completely ANTI-Biblical.

We see this not only in Hagin’s abuse of the Ephesian passages already addressed in previous posts, but in his further abuse of passages from 1 & 2 Corinthians following the assertions quoted above.

In his book – on pages 22 & 23 – Hagin quoted 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27, and 2 Corinthians 6:14 & 15. And in his quotation of verse 12 of 1 Corinthians 12 he inserts this blasphemous interpretation/remark: “[We are Christ. He’s calling the Body, which is the Church, Christ.]” That – along with the piecemeal, “proof-texting” quotations – disqualifies Hagin from any respectable position as “Bible teacher.” However, to further help the reader, let us examine those texts in context.

First let us remind ourselves that in 1 Corinthians Paul is writing to a group of Christians who have come out of utterly pagan religious systems that had them doing all manner of bizarre and evil things as part of their regular “worship” – and so Paul must write to them to correct them where they have reasoned that they could hold on to some of their old ways of public “worship” in the Church that they are now a part of. By what modern translators have sectioned as chapter 12 of the letter, Paul has begun to move into instruction on “spiritual gifts” under the broader category of the unity of the Church. And it is within this category of “manifestations of the Spirit for the common good” (v 7) – under the broader scope of the unity of God’s people because of their being “empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as He wills.” (v 11) – that Paul introduces this metaphor of the children of God being made “one body” in and under Christ.

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the war should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together…” 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (ESV)

NOTE: The reader is welcome and encouraged to continue to follow Paul’s teaching and trail of thought beyond what I have quoted – but for the sake of brevity, I shall stop here and continue my critique of Hagin’s erroneous reading of the text.

As we read the entirety of Paul’s thoughts and follow his instruction we find less and less ground to come to Hagin’s conclusions that this metaphor puts the believer on par with or in the position of Christ himself. Paul’s entire point in using the metaphor of a body is to at once point out believers’ unity and diversity as a corporate group graciously saved and built by God for His own pleasure and glory.

As for the passage Hagin quotes from 2 Corinthians 6 (verses 14 & 15) – I see very little relevance to Paul’s metaphor in the first Epistle, except that Paul is emphasizing again that God has built a temple/people for Himself – and He has made it holy and is sanctifying it for His own pleasure and glory.

After quoting these passages out of context and seeming to completely miss the point(s) – or deliberately twisting their meaning – Hagin doubles down on his man-made “revelation.”

“First Corinthians 6:17 says, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” We are one with Christ. We are Christ. We are seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. All things have been put under our feet.” – Kenneth Hagin, “The Believer’s Authority” (page 23)

I would submit to the reader that the interpretation given of the text used in the quotation above is utter – damnably heretical – blasphemy.

Here is the text in context:

“”All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” – and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (ESV)

First, the reader will note that everything in the context of this passage makes it completely impossible to interpret any of it in a strictly “literal” manner – to do so would be to deny fundamental facts of the reality of how God constructed the physical universe. Second, again the reader will notice that the future tense of verse 14 implies that our true union with Christ will not come until we die or the Judgement.

Once again, an honest reading of the text that seeks the author’s intent devastates Hagin’s assertions – and, in this case, placed his ideas in the realm of blasphemy against the supremacy and uniqueness of Christ.

Nowhere do the Biblical authors imply – let alone explicitly teach – that the world ruling, creation upholding, divinely innate authority of Yahweh (Matthew 28:18, Ephesians 1:20-23, etc.) is available to, shared by, or invested in the believer in Christ Jesus. Though I cannot see into the hearts of men, I would be willing to argue that anyone who says otherwise is either a deceived and/or delusional heretic, a liar and a charlatan, or a demon possessed individual.

The statements of Kenneth Hagin following his blaspheming on page 23, though making it possible to hope he didn’t mean what he said, further display his confusion on other key doctrines of the faith… but considering the current length of this post – and the “random tangent” nature of how Hagin closed his chapter – I’ll pause here…


First Thessalonians 1

“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 1 (ESV)

Side NOTE: The background for the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, from Scripture, seems to be in Acts 17:1-9. And based upon that portion of Acts, and Paul’s usage of the plural in the last sentence of verse 5 (and some brief internet searches) it seems that “Silvanus” named above may very likely be “Silas” from the book of Acts. As I do not yet read the original Greek fluently, I’ll leave that observation there for what it is.

It is interesting how Paul is always about thanking God for the saints whom he knows and knows of. And it is encouraging and/or useful (I think) that his thankfulness often stems from a very practical/personal interaction element of how he came to know or be with the group his Epistle is written to. In the case of the Thessalonians he remembers broadly their “work of faith,” “labor of love,” and “steadfastness of hope in Jesus Christ.” And from the account given to us in Acts 17, these aspects of the Thessalonians may be all the more intense for Paul due to the relatively small group that were initially saved there and subsequently persecuted by the Jews.

The second thing that jumps out at me in the beginning of this Epistle is Paul’s persistent consistency in using language that puts the impetus on God in the matter of salvation. Although he does not go into the depth he did in the Epistle to the Ephesians, it is undeniable that Paul believes God chose the particular Thessalonians who believed.

Now, my soteriologically synergistic brethren may be a little agitated at such an observation, however, verse 4 is quite clear. Paul thanks God for the Church at Thessalonica because he knows that they, being loved by God, were chosen by God. And Paul knows this for one reason that is threefold; because the gospel came to them “in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.”

It seems to me that Paul is using Hebrew parallelism in describing his assurance about God’s choosing and saving the Thessalonians – for where does the “power” of the gospel come from but the working of the Spirit to “fully convict” those whom God has chosen for salvation?

And then Paul reminds his readers of “what kind of men” he and Silvanus “proved to be” among them for their sake. It seems here in the latter half of verse 5 that Paul inserts the beginnings of what is an underlying theme of both the Epistles that he wrote to the Thessalonians; and that is something of a Christian “work ethic” or “code of conduct” – if you will. Though this only becomes blatant in 2 Thessalonians (some of them apparently having missed that point) – I do not think it a stretch to see a little of that reasoning in the things that Paul will bring up later in this Epistle.

However, the primary and actual point of Paul mentioning what kind of men he and his companion proved to be was to continue to commend the Thessalonians – and further the list of things he is thanking and “remembering” before God – for their having been imitators of them “and the Lord.”

And in what way does Paul describe them as imitators of Christ? In their receiving the gospel in “much affliction,” being granted joy by the Holy Spirit because of that word and in spite of the affliction – and in so doing being made an example to other believers in nearby regions. And not only a living example, but proclaimers of the gospel of Christ – evidenced from Paul having heard that their “faith in God has gone forth everywhere,” (verse 8).

And subsequently Paul thanks God and encouraged the Thessalonians by including verses 9 and 10. Making it a perfect transition into the underlying themes of both Epistles to the Thessalonians – that of Christian living and the Eschaton.

It will be interesting to see – as we pick up “chapter 2” – how Paul continues with this personal address as he also weaves in teaching and recollections of imitation-worthy examples for how we as Christians should act and think…

For now, I encourage the reader to walk through the entirety of the Epistle in their own private study, and hope my observations have been at least interesting, if not entirely “helpful.”