Part 1: Joel's Army
by Jewel van der Merwe
JOEL'S ARMY ERROR!
There is another gospel being taught, today which is in total conflict with the Gospel of Christ. Leaders in this movement allegorize the truth away, place their revelations on par with Scripture, emphasize their thoughts and ideas above Scriptures, and claim that Israel is now and "outcast" who has been replaced by the church in endtime prophecy.
In this booklet, read about:
* The New Breed
* The Overcomers
* The Phineas Priesthood
* The Latter Rain Error
* Manifested Sons Of God
Once again, Jewel van der Merwe has done an excellent job of outlining a growing endtime error.
There are many "new" revelations and "new" winds of doctrine sweeping the Church today. Sensationalism seems to be the "guiding light" leading souls into extremes that are very far from the TRUTH that is laid out clearly in the WORD OF GOD. JOEL'S Army is one term among many that is being used to describe the same teaching. We hear much about the "New Breed", "New Wave" etc. However, all of this is basically the same teaching. Where does it come from? Where is it going? The two booklets, THE NEW ORDER and JOEL'S ARMY attempts to lay out a basis for which you cam further your study.
If you are not willing to have your "pet" teaching questioned, is it because it will not stand in the LIGHT of God's Word? BEWARE! The purpose of my writing is to warn the church to be prepared at all times to give a reason for the HOPE that is within you! If your name is quoted in connection with a statement, be willing to stand straight and tall and say, "But, IT IS WRITTEN'". In other words, be in a position to back up your stand with Scripture. God has given us HIS WORD for the FINAL AUTHORITY. His WORD is RELEVANT for TODAY.
Manifested Sons of God
BLOW THE TRUMPET! Hear the noise of the chariots! The chariots are leaping across the mountains! The ARMY OF THE LORD is approaching! 'The earth will quake before them; the heavens shall tremble....A GREAT PEOPLE and a strange; there hath not been ever the like." UTTERLY AWESOME! This Army is mentioned in Joel. This is the Army that teachers and prophets are declaring that God is raising up in these days. The END-TIME ARMY. Do you want to be a part of it? Just think, you will be able to climb the wall like men of war. Even when you fall on the sword you will not be wounded. Crowds clap and cheer as they visualize the wondrous teats they will be able to perform in the Name of the Lord! No one wants to miss God and not be a part of what He is doing! It all has such a "spiritual" ring. The tears well in the eyes of hungry seekers as they wait for a new experience. Perhaps, even tonight the heavens will open and that "anointing" will be poured out. There is always that expectancy that perhaps this is the time "it" will happen.
The imminence of such a supernatural manifestation was recently shared with Charismatics overseas. "Latter Rain" prophets from the "Vineyard Ministries International" visited England as part of their world outreach. Their "prophetic" message was that God is raising an ARMY in these last days to execute judgment and dominion throughout the earth. They declare that the time is at hand for God to pour out His Spirit (the Latter Rain) on an unprecedented scale on the Church in fulfillment of Joel 2:28, marking the beginning of the great and "new thing" God is doing on the earth.
Vineyard Ministries are holding conferences overseas and throughout the U.S.A. Churches and denominations are being proselytized and preyed on with a "gospel" they claim is ordained to bring forth:
(1) the greatest revival the church has ever known;
(2) the greatest baptism of the Spirit the Church has ever experienced;
(3) the greatest Army (Joel's Army) distinguished by invincibility, immortality and divinity;
(4) the greatest purging (inquisition) in the history of the Church;
(5) the greatest ministry - the Prize of all Ages; and
(6) the greatest miracles, supernatural signs and wonders far exceeding that of the Apostles and Prophets of old.
Their "gospel" shows no regard to:
(1) Israel as an everlasting chosen nation of God and their national repentance and restoration both physically and spiritually in one day at the Second Advent of Jesus Christ (their Messiah). Gen. 17:7,13,19; Is. 66:7-8; Jer. 31:35-37; Zech. 12-14; Born. 11:1-2,25-27;
(2) The great outpouring of the Spirit on Israel (the Jewish nation and on all flesh), Jesus Christ returns from heaven with His saints (The Church) at the end of the tribulation period. Zech. 12:10-13; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16-21;
(3) The Rapture (the catching away of both the dead and the living saints to meet the Lord in the air) I Th.. 4:23-18;;; Th. 2:1;John 14:11-3;; Cor. 15:51-56;
(4) The Judgment Seat of Christ - II Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10-12;
(5) The Seven-year tribulation - Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 24:21,22; Jer. 30:4-7; Dan. 12:1; Rev. 6-19; and
(6) The descent of Christ from heaven with His saints (HIS TRUE ARMY) at the Battle of Armageddon. Zech 14:5; Jude 14; Rev. 29:14.
According to their "gospel", the great out-pouring of the Spirit mentioned in Joel 2:28,29 is to have it's complete fulfillment in these days (this generation), when God will pour out His Spirit in full measure on an unprecedented scale even exceeding that of the Disciples and Apostles on the Day of Pentecost. In fact, they believe that this baptism will empower a "New Breed" of people (JOEL'S ARMY) with supernatural qualities. Their entire "Last Days" views contradict orthodox dispensational views. However, even more serious, this view undermines the gospel of the Deity of Christ. Anything that even remotely undermines the Deity of Christ or ascribes deity to man, let alone an ARMY - is Antichrist.
References in the Book of Joel pertaining to "Israel" and the "Day of the Lord" are spiritualized to apply to the Church. Literal Israel becomes "the Church" and the "Day of the Lord" is seen as the manifestation or "incarnation of God" in Joel's Army, as opposed to the dispensational view; which is that the Day of the Lord refers to the literal Second Coming of Christ with His saints. The proponents of "Joel's Army" are notorious for reading between the lines and spiritualizing Scripture. Now they are even spiritualizing global events to parallel their outlandish prophetic views. lt seems to give them a deep feeling of being spiritually perceptive. In researching their materials, we see this time and again. To all accounts it is "gnosticism" to the core.
In the NEW WAVE theology, we find that whatever God says or promises Israel is dogmatically applied to the Church, and in some cases, to such extremes that the church is deified. The danger of spiritualizing God's Word in this way can result in idolatry and fanaticism. Because of the old gnostic 2nd century allegorical method of interpreting the Scriptures, the modern "prophets" have come to believe that the Church is the exclusive beneficiary of ALL God has promised to Israel. The Latter Rain "prophets and teachers" are so bent on spiritualizing Scripture that even the "sun turning dark", the "moon turning to blood" and the "earthquakes" in Joel are spiritualized to apply to the Church. Sometimes it is absurd, if not blasphemous the way they spiritualize God's Word. This gnostic approach to the Bible diffuses and loses the literal meaning of Scripture completely.
SYMBOLISM FREELY USED
The following quote from a message on JOEL'S ARMY was delivered at a Vineyard conference in Anaheim, California recently. It clearly illustrates how absurd spiritualizing the literal meaning can be:
". . . And here's what I think that the sun and the moon mean on a symbolic level. I think this is a horrible thing He's talking about in verse 31 when He says The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood. . . . because in the Old Testament, the sun frequently stands for the Lord or for the Son, S-O-N. See, it's a perfect symbol for Him, because it brings light to the whole world and it has light of its own that radiates out from its being. . . . it's a more powerful source of light than anything in the world. The sun frequently stands for the Lord Himself and what I think He's saying here is that the Lord Himself will cover Himself with darkness during this time. Psalm 18:11 says that It says that the Lord can and at times will hide Himself with darkness. And so I think that what the Lord is saying is that there's coming a time during the last day ministry when the Son of God will hide Himself from the earth and especially from the rebellious. So there'll be a time when the rebellious will call out and they'll want to come to the Lord, but they won't see Him. They won't be able to come to Him." (Jack Deere--Vineyard Ministry international Audio Cassette 1990)
Question: Is there ever a time that the Lord quits knocking at the door? Where is "Whosever cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out."? The above quote is implying a time when salvation will not be offered. Then why is there a LAST DAY ministry? What is the purpose of this ministry? To what then are they called? Answers to these questions will become clear to you as you read on.
"The second thing He says is that the moon will be turned to blood. Now, the moon, I believe, is a symbol of occult power.. the powers of evil. . The moon is first of all the light of the night.... and there is revelation in the darkness. There is light in the powers of darkness. The powers of darkness, occult powers, do have revelation or do have light, but only it's a light that is characterized by darkness and used for evil and it's ultimately deceptive. The moon is only a reflector It has no light in and of itself. Satan has no light in him at all. . the moon makes a perfect symbol of occult powers. And the moon is also beautiful. And there is a beautiful side of the darkness and the evil and that's why it's so alluring. So, He speaks of the Lord as the sun and He says, 'there's coming a time when I will not be easily found, when I will cloak myself with darkness, but there's also coming a time when the occult powers, the moon - when they'll be turned to blood. Now this could mean two things. It could mean when it says the moon is turned to blood, it could mean the occult powers are put to death, because blood is the sign of two things in the Bible, death or it's a sign of grace and life. And I think He means here the moon is going to be turned into a sign of grace or life. It's the ultimate deception, so that people on the earth will turn to the occult power and they'll look upon it as a source of grace and life just like the blood of Jesus. It will be a counterfeit " (Jack Deere - VMI - Joel's Army Audio Cassette, 1990)
The application is most confusing too say the least. What does the "moon" really mean - life or death? And, is God turning His back on us, so all is lost? These are serious and irresponsible statements. Has Joel's Army now become our salvation?
We are told that we should just accept the differences in theology, but not use these differences as an excuse for breaking fellowship. However, strange enough, it is not us who have broken fellowship. Rather, the testimony I receive over and over is that when someone questions the "new teaching" - they are called divisive and asked to leave the church - sometimes even thrown out physically.
To add insult to injury, however, the Church is being told that some of these literal signs do occur in the LAST DAYS, such as: the sun turning dark, the moon turning to blood and earthquakes but that they do not come as a result of a sovereign act of God's wrath towards wicked men at the end of the tribulation known as the cataclysmic phase of the DAY OF THE LORD (The Second Advent of Christ). On the contrary, we are led to believe that these cataclysmic events are caused by the LAST DAY PROPHETS, two of whom are thought to be END-TIME WITNESSES namely: Prophet Paul Cain and Prophet Bob Jones. We are told that these prophets will manifest these supernatural signs and much more, by their incarnate powers. Their powers will be so great that they will call forth JOEL'S ARMY by their prophetic word.
Jack Deere brings it out aptly in his Joel's Army message:
"You see, everybody every scholar I know, every commentator I know, knows that these passages in Ezekiel 37; 38, and 39 are all talking about the LAST DAY ministry. They all know it's the LAST DAY move of the Holy Spirit and how is it going to be? What's going to happen to this lifeless church? How is it going to start? Well God could just speak a word from heaven. He could just cause a revival to start among us. He could just put the conviction of sin in our heart supernaturally by His Spirit, but that's not how He's going to do it. He's going to raise up the prophetic. What brings the bones to life here? It is the prophetic word inspired by God. 'Prophesy son of man; and then it happens. At each stage of the way prophecy and then life comes. And then what's the result of that prophetic? A VAST ARMY."
Jack Deere continues by proclaiming the prophets now on the scene:
"You see, that really is how He's going to end the last day ministry. You see why we're excited about someone like Paul Cain or Bob Jones coming on the scene? Or others that we've met. We're excited because that's how He's going to end. . it's a signal that the LAST DAYS are very close at hand and this is New Testament also. Revelation 11:3 you know those two powerful witnesses in Revelation? You know what - they are first and foremost? They are prophets. He said they will prophesy for 1,260 days. He's going to end the last days just before His Son returns with a prophetic movement that will sweep the entire face of the earth and will eclipse anything we have ever seen before. . . . the significance of these signs and wonders. They just happen on the earth. But they don't just happen on the earth. They come because they are prayed for and they are predicted by God's people."
"Prophets will predict it. It's already happening. It's like the first time Paul Cain came here. Remember? John told us this story. I was talking to Paul Cain on the phone and I said, 'Paul, when are coming to visit John? We've been talking about it for two months.' And Paul said, 'I don't know, but the Lord told me on the day I come, there'll be an earthquake. . . . you know at 3:38 in the morning, the morning of the day he arrived here on Saturday morning, that earthquake came centered in Pasadena and then the day after he left, that earthquake came in Armenia that took all of those thousands of lives. You see, that's not unusual anymore. That's going to be normal for prophetic people that God wants to endorse. He's done that through Bob Jones four or five times, given cosmic signs in the heavens that could not be contradicted. He's done that through Bob Jones. he will do that regularly now. . ." (Jack Deere, VMI, Joel's Army, 1990).
Question: Can we build on these signs? Do they prove the authenticity of the prophets? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign. (Matt. 16:4).
Why do thousands of devotees flock yearly to a small poor Yugoslavian village? The apparitions of Medjugorje give the pilgrims the sense of their "own" miracles. The pilgrims are enthralled that they can look directly into the sun for several minutes without being blinded. Others say they see the sun pulsating. Some even report physical healing. A seminiarian said he saw a red glow emanating from the sun and saw it start to beat. He asked, "What does that mean?" and he heard the words, "Jesus in the Eucharist and spreading his peace around the earth."
What did this "sign" do for him? It caused him to go out to try and increase devotion to the Eucharist. Needless to say, at the heart of the Eucharist is the doctrine of transubstantiation (the belief that the communion is the actual body and actual blood of the Lord).
Malachi Martin, a Catholic priest who has authored many books including THE JESUITS and THE KEYS OF THIS BLOOD, in a radio interview recently said that the Pope had a special revelation telling him that within his lifetime [the Pope's] he would be authenticated as a moral and religious leader by a sign in the heaven. This sign would be such a clear happening that all men (from New York, Denver, Tasmanian Jungle, Singapore and Bejing) would know he had this role!
Signs and wonders are not limited to the Vineyard prophets". The whole world indeed is seeking after a sign. "But there shall be no sign given them than that which was given by the prophet Jonas!"
The DAY OF THE LORD is interpreted by the "prophets" to mean that Christ will come to His Church and INCARNATE [God in flesh] an ARMY of believers thus giving them SUPERNATURAL qualities to execute judgment on the Church. THE DAY OF THE LORD is also construed to mean a time of judgment starting at the Church. The key text they love to quote is I Peter 4:17: "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the House of God." The common orthodox interpretation of the text that God will punish the righteous when they sin and punish the ungodly at the coming judgment is quite adequate and clear. Ever since the inception of the Church, the Holy Spirit has been in the business of judging and purging the Church. God's sovereign judgment will continue to chasten, cleanse and purge the Church until the judgment seat of Christ when the saints will receive their rewards and the records of service set straight.
The DAY OF THE LORD as seen through the eyes of the NEW WAVE "prophets" will be a time when JOEL'S ARMY led by the "prophets" will pour out God's wrath on the church. Then for the first time in two thousand years the "pure church" will come forth. In other words, the "blood of Christ" did not avail, nor will it in the LAST DAYS because JOEL'S ARMY and the "prophets" will do what the blood could not, i.e., cleanse the Church. If indeed it takes JOEL'S ARMY to purify the Church, then all the preaching of the Cross from the early Church to the present was in vain. And rather than the "cross" being God's final answer to "walking in newness of life" . . . . we do well to look for another. The JOEL'S ARMY doctrine as it applies to the Church and the world is not only in total conflict with the "Gospel of Christ", but is a radical new rendition of the doctrine of redemption and purification. By all analysis, it is "another gospel" and poses a real threat to unstable churches in that it is yet another great deception beguiling the Church.
The following is a further account of Jack Deere's "bloody slaughter on the church by Joel's Army" that will turn the scene of the church to blood and darkness before perfection.
"The Scripture never encourages us to warn the unbeliever of the wrath that is to come. When the prophets speak to God's people, they warn God's people about what's to come. And then he says to God's people, not to the unbelievers, but he says to God's people, let the land, those who live in the land of Palestine, let them tremble' now how could that be? Our Lord Jesus is coming back, we all believe that, but why should God's people tremble?. . He's going to come TO the Church. He's going to come TO the Church before He comes FOR the Church. I Peter 4:17 says that judgment is near and that it's going to begin with the House of God. . . The Lord Jesus before He comes and visits judgment upon the earth, He's going to come and VISIT IT UPON HIS CHURCH. And no one, no one, in His Church is going to escape that judgment.....
"You really want the DAY OF THE LORD TO COME? Woe to you, woe to you who long for the DAY OF THE LORD. THAT DA Y will be darkness, not light.... He's coming in judgment. He's coming to PURIFY HIS CHURCH. He will not come back for that BRIDE. He will come to PURIFY THAT CHURCH and make it HIS BRIDE and that's why judgment is going to come......
"How is God going to bring judgment upon His Church and then judgment upon the land after His Church? He's going to do it with a LARGE AND MIGHTY ARMY. Now what is this ARMY like? He says, first off in verse 3, well first of all He said that this ARMY is totally unique. This ARMY, there's never been one like it and there never will be one like it in ages to come. . . When this ARMY comes, He says it's large and it's mighty. It's so mighty that there's never been anything like it before. .. 'begin the slaughter and begin it in the temple and begin it with the elders, the leaders of my people'. And they walk through the land and they start and they begin to slaughter and you know God has already started that? He has already started with the biggest names in His household? He has already started the slaughter . .and it is coming now among the Church. He'll start with the leaders, but He'll move out into the Church. That's why when He says in verse 2, "It's a day not of rejoicing and happiness, it's a day of darkness and gloom. It's a day of clouds and blackness, like dawn spreading across the mountains.... You really want the Day of the Lord to come? Woe to you, woe to you who long for the DAY OF THE LORD. That Day will be darkness, not light." (Jack Deere, VMI, Joel's Army, 1990). (IT SOUNDS LIKE THE MOTHER OF ALL BATTLES!)
Reading and listening to the kind of war JOEL'S ARMY will wage against the Church in the last days is not only totally unscriptural, but reflects an ominous spirit. Far from being redemptive, it is destructive and even sadistic. It is a spirit that denies Jesus Christ is come in the flesh and that the Church was purchased with His precious blood, "that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
The JOEL'S ARMY "prophets" manifest a bigoted, belligerent and vindictive spirit. "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of". (Luke 9:54, 55) This spirit is identified in the following statement:
"The dismantling of organizations and disbanding of some works will be a positive and exhilarating experience for the Lord's faithful servants a great company of prophets, teachers, pastors and apostles will be raised up with the spirit of Phineas.... " (THE HARVEST, Rick Joyner)
Repeated and regular reference is made to the death Ananias and Sapphira suffered as a result of lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5). Christians are reminded that if they resist or rebel against what God is doing through the "prophets and apostles" they too could suffer the same fate. The Church is being told that the ministry that judged Ananias and Sapphira is being revived and restored to the Church by the "prophets". Fear of this happening is growing widely. Members are afraid to speak out against the errors and abuse. Out of fear, many submit to the "prophets". Not only is this a very dangerous position, but is tantamount to sinning against the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit. We dare not substitute the ministry of the Holy Spirit - God forbid! Would to God these "prophets" would resist the "so-called" spirit of Phineas, the "so-called" spirit of Elijah, etc., and settle for the Spirit of Jesus Christ - full of GRACE AND TRUTH.
JOEL'S ARMY/LATTER RAIN
JOEL'S ARMY shares the same mind-set of the Latter Rain Movement and they are indeed "birds of a feather". Their bizarre claims of new revelation and deep insight conspicuously lacks substance other than subjective feelings (passive or emotional). The ingredients that holds their religious beliefs together are: (1) personal experiences; (2) mysticism - understood only by the elite; (3) allegorizing Scriptures; and (4) subjective preaching (subjecting listeners to their intuition, feelings or perception as the criteria of truth). These ingredients appeal to Christians who are unstable in the Word of God.
The quotation below is a good example of how the Scriptures are allegorized, taken out of context and applied in a typical cultish manner. Note how the term JOEL'S ARMY is presumptuously and conveniently applied to the Church with no regard to : (1) the literal interpretation or meaning; (2) the context; and (3) the fundamental principles of hermeneutics (science f interpretation). Throughout the quote an allegorical and mystical meaning is in evidence.
Paul Cain brought this teaching in through his Latter Rain roots. This comes out very clearly in his "Joel's Army" message:
"This army is also in the New Testament. It's referred to as the MANCHILD. I know some of you are going to disagree with this. Don't you even stop to disagree. Revelation 12:25...if you disagree, just file it in miscellaneous and check it out. And don't bother with it. When we get to heaven we'll check it out and you'll find out I'm right. Here it is, this great army in the New Testament is the MANCHILD. Revelation 12:5, the OVERCOMERS, Revelation 2 &3, THE 144,000 servants, Revelation 7:3, the BRIDE or the LAMB'S WIFE, Revelation 19:7 and 21:9, and the WHITE HORSE, Revelation 6:2, the FIRSTFRUITS, Revelation 14:4, the PRECIOUS FRUITS, James 5:7, the WISE VIRGINS, Matthew 25:1-13, the MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD, Romans 8:19-23 and it's certainly a remarkable fact that none of these names are expressions applied to the saints of God or at any other time in history. But all of them are in their context and promises showing undeniably that THEY BELONG TO THE END OF THE TIME....TO THIS PRESENT GENERATION, Matthew 24:34. You know, it's always today. Of course today the Lord says today, today, today...And God wants us to realize once again in closing that there's going to be a great COMPANY OF OVERCOMERS prepared for this mighty ministry which I call the PRIZE OF ALL AGES. And again,_God's offering to the believers of this generation a greater privilege than was ever offered to any people of any generation at any time from Adam clear down through the end of the millennium." (Paul Cain, JOEL'S ARMY, KCF's Southside Meeting).
MANIFEST SONS OF GOD
That they disregard dispensational truth and claim that JOEL'S ARMY is God's Word incarnated makes them MANIFEST SONS OF GOD. Essentially, that is gnosticism. As Charismatics they owe their "beginnings" to the "Latter Rain" movement - the mother of present day MANIFEST SONS OF GOD teaching. History recalls that this mysterious NEW AGE ARMY concept with all its spiritual trimmings found its way into the classic pentecostal sphere through the Latter Rain movement in 1948. At the time, the Assemblies of God as well as others, noted the unsavory nature of it and its potential adverse effect on sound biblical truth. No time was wasted on the part of the Assemblies of God and others to confront it head on. Since that time, relative stability and great progress has been enjoyed. But, once again the STRANGE FIRE has flared up - history repeating itself.
The gnostic aspect of the "Manifest Sons" can readily be identified in four ways:
1. The claim to perfection through progressive revelations beyond the Scriptures;
2. The written Word of God is held in low esteem and experiential knowledge very high;
3. The Word of God is perceived as a symbolic book;
4. The claim that the "god-man" dwells in every member and is waiting to be discovered and manifest by the believers.
There are very strong traces of these characteristics in JOEL'S ARMY and MANIFEST SONS OF GOD teaching.
An analysis done in the 1970's on Sam Fife defines the same teaching coming forth today.
The first premise that is held is that both the Old and the New Testaments have first a letter (or literal) meaning and then a spirit (or spiritual) meaning. This bring's us to progressive revelation of the Scriptures as they don't claim to have all the spirit mysteries of the Word yet revealed but it is being revealed precept upon precept.
The next point concerning the Scriptures is that the Bible cannot be the final authority for truth, so that they would be subject to the Book; rather the spirit is their final authority followed by the witness of the corporate ministry, so that the Book is subject to them.
Just to illustrate this point Sam has said that in these last days that whatever the corporate spirit in them leads them to do, whether or not they have scripture to stand on or not, that is what they will do. In a private conversation, I asked him if he felt the spirit leading him to kill someone, would he do it? His answer was in the affirmative." (Raymond Yankana, June 12,1978).
A lady called me gasping in horror. A noted evangelist had just come on a Christian television program, held up his Bible and said that he held it in no more esteem than the READER'S DIGEST. This is being done more and more as the "new" revelations take precedence over the written Word of God. Are you gasping in horror, or are you cooing out the soothing words, "touch thou not the anointed". As the Church apathetically sits by, the pastors stand in line at "The Old Country Buffet" or "McDonalds", the teaching on JOEL'S ARMY is taking root in one form or another in many ministries. Here are a few quotes from other ministries in which the same teaching is emerging loud and clear.
Part 1: Joel's Army
Part 2: Joel's Army
Part 3: Joel's Army