The Apostle Paul was appointed by God himself to preach the gospel. Paul says in Galatians 1:11-12, “for I would not know, brethren that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation from Jesus Christ.” Paul was in charge of the presenting the gospel and even correcting on several issues. Let me interject, that does not mean that Jesus didn’t appoint Peter as the first head of the church. Paul simply helped Peter at times to prepare for this most important position. Therefore Paul has the authority to state, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:9) The word “accursed” could be translated as “anathema” which in Greek means dedicated to evil. In this writing, you will see the prosperity cult connection all stating that Jesus had to be born-again and that make it a cult and will lead to anathema.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. (2 Timothy 1:6-9) This is certainly the case today. The most common cults in the past deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ, deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit, and you attain your salvation by your own works. One major cult says there were 10,000 errors in the Bible. At one time in Scotland at a tribunal, their bible expert could not even translate one bible verse from Greek and didn’t even recognize they handed him the Greek bible upside down. It’s certainly not the gospel Paul taught.
Now there appears to be a new type of “Christian” cult. Remember Jesus told us, “let no one deceive you.” This new type is a more deceiving type of cult. This cult is also called the “prosperity preacher cult.” It is actually a network of television preachers. They declare that Jesus had to be born again, that when he descended into hell he had to fight Satan and his angels to win our salvation, and we should send them a lot of money to ensure our salvation. You can clearly see that there is a network since they all preach the same errors. I will give you examples with names of the preachers and what they have said and then later, I will show you their incomes with the possible consequences. I will first address the new (another) gospel that Jesus had to be born again and he had to fight Satan.
The recognized leader of the pack of the new “prosperity” cult is Kenneth Copeland. He was taught by Kenneth Hagin who is now deceased. The following is one of Copeland’s messages from his audio tapes, “The spirit of God spoke to me, and He said, ‘Son, realize this.’” Now follow me on this. Don’t let your tradition trip you up. He said, “Think this way. A twice-born man shipped Satan in his own domain.” And I threw my Bible. I said, “What?” He said, “A born-again man defeated Satan – the first-born of many brethren defeated him.” He said, “You are the very image, and the very copy of that one.” I said, “Well you don’t mean … You couldn’t dare mean that I could have done the same thing?” He said, “Oh yeah. I you’d had the knowledge of the word of God, that He did you could’ve done the same thing because you are a reborn man too.” Note that Copeland is referring to the fact in the Bible it says Christ was the firstborn. This could be confusing unless you look at the original Greek.
There are two words for “born” in Greek. The Greek word used for born is not the word for born of a woman in natural childbirth. It is the word for “begotten of God.” This does not refer to the virgin birth. This is without a doubt, another gospel than what the Apostle Paul taught. Of course if you teach what everyone does you’ll never get noticed. Did you know Jesus had to be born again? Jesus was born with the nature of God. We are born with the nature of Adam. Why would Jesus have to be reborn when he never sinned? The above statement would lead us to believe that Jesus was a mere man instead of God in the flesh. Copeland did say Jesus was twice born. The Apostle Paul made it very clear in Galatians 1:9 when he writes, “If anybody is preaching to you another gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned.” This is certainly another gospel.
I had known about Copeland before that he thought we were all gods. Copeland is a big money man. Years ago, a man told he worked in a bank in Texas and the Copeland ministries would have to use a dolly to bring in all the money they collected. Here are some of the other outrageous statements he made:
• Jesus had to accept the sinful nature of Satan.
• “He [Jesus] allowed the devil to drag Him into the depths of Hell … He allowed Himself to come under Satan’s control … every demon in Hell came down on Him to annihilate Him … They tortured Him beyond anything anybody had ever conceived. For three days He suffered everything there is to suffer.”
• “How did Jesus then on the cross say, ‘My God’? Because God was not His father anymore.”
• Jesus supposedly told Copeland, “They crucified me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God; I just claimed that I walked with Him and that He was in me.”
Another prosperity preacher, Joyce Meyer, will come as a surprise to many of you. Here is a summary of some of her statements:
• There is no hope of anyone going to heaven, unless they believe this truth I am presenting. You cannot go to heaven unless you believe with all your heart that Jesus took your place in hell (page 37). [Joyce Meyer, The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make Booklet, Fenton, Mo.: Life in the Word, Inc./Joyce Meyer Ministries, August 1991 edition, pg. 36 (pg 42 of the current edition). Additionally, Joyce Meyer teaches that hell, not the cross, is where salvation was purchased. If Meyer would not have made this statement, I would think she is just confused. She made the outrageous statement and that, in my opinion, is heresy. There will be no apostolic Christian condemned to hell because of Joyce Meyer’s heresy.
• “He [Jesus] was resurrected from the dead – the first born-again man.”
• “Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ And he meant the Old Covenant. The job He had to do was just getting started. He really did the job the three days and nights that He was in hell. That’s where the job was done.”
• “There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth I am presenting.”
Meyer, like Copeland, teaches that Jesus had to be born again. She also says the shedding of the blood of Jesus wasn’t enough but he had to physically fight his way through Satan and all his demons for our salvation.
Next in line was a favorite of mine, Fred Price. I had lost faith in him when he started bragging about the cars he had. Like Copeland and Meyer, he also preaches that your salvation was not won on the cross but in hell. Price says, “Somewhere between the time He [Jesus] was nailed to the cross and when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane – somewhere in there – He died spiritually. Personally I believe it was while He was in the garden.”
Charles Capps also in this movement says, “When Jesus was in the pit of hell, in that terrible torment, no doubt the devil and his emissaries gathered around to see the annihilation of God’s son.” Jesus was born again before his eyes. Kenneth Hagin who has now passed away said, “Christ’s physical death on the cross was not enough to save us.” He was the original leader of this cult and the mentor of Copeland.
Creflo Dollar is another prosperity preacher who is seen on television regularly. Dollar says, “He [Jesus] went to hell to further suffer to complete the atonement. And there Jesus was in the pit of hell grabbin’ the devil by his collar and says you remember me when you come in my garden illegally. Jesus was born again in hell.” He makes it sound like entertainment like WWE wrestling on television.
Benny Hinn is known for making many prophecies after the lord had spoken to him. Of course none of them came true. In another episode of Hinn’s life, he denied an affair with fellow evangelist Paula White. A tabloid saw Benny Hinn and Paula White walking around Rome holding hands. He then admitted to that but said the affair was over.
Among errors Hinn teaches are that a spirit man enters us at their conversion. He also taught that we are divine like God. Of course the Holy Spirit enters us. Nowhere in scripture does it say a spirit man enters us. He also said, “He [Jesus] who is righteous by choice said, ‘The only way I can stop sin is by me becoming it. I can’t just stop it by letting it touch me; I and it must become one.’ Hear this! He who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan where He became sin!” He teaches that Jesus was born again. Of course this is the “Jesus died spiritually” heresy. According to this, Jesus blood he shed was insufficient for the redemption of man. It denies the blood of Christ and damns those who teach and believe it. Those who teach the original gospel must repent and turn to the prosperity cult gospel.
The next in line is prosperity preacher Jesse Duplantis. According to Duplantis, he personally has gone to heave and received a new revelation. God told him to pray for a Citation X, a 18,000,000 jet plane. Duplantis said, “Let me tell you about Calvary. Calvary was nothing else but unmitigated war. You understand? It was a fight between God and the devil, and the devil thought he won.”
As you can see all these television “stars” mysteriously all believe that Jesus had to fight his way through hell to free those imprisoned there. I think we can establish there is a connection or network. Also they believe Jesus had to be born again which of course made him a sinner and that there is heresy.
There are two issues here. The first is that what they are preaching is another gospel and what the penalty is for that. The second is what a ministry is responsible for when someone sends them money in the name of the Lord Jesus. I will discuss the gospel the prosperity preachers are teaching.
Where does salvation come from? If you look at John 4:22, it tells you, “… for salvation is from the Jews.” The Jews are still God’s chosen people. We Christians and Messianic Jews are God’s children. There is a big difference here. The Jews have been chosen for the rest of the world to see to predict the spiritual state of earth. That doesn’t mean all Jews are saved. I write this because some think God is done with the Jews. That is totally untrue. All we need to do is look to Israel and see that it is the center of the coming turmoil. This is called “replacement theology” and it means the Jews have been replaced.
After Adam sinned there was enmity between God and man. God had given his chosen people, the Jews, what is called “the Law.” It was a specific set of rules and regulations along with the penalties if broken. There was a room in the temple called the “holy of holies.” Once a year, the chief rabbi would enter the room. If he had a sin not confessed he would be struck dead by God. There would actually be a rope tied to the rabbi in case he was struck dead. Of course no one could enter to pull the chief rabbi out. It was the curtain that represented the enmity between God and man.
After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit led him out into the desert to be tempted by the devil. The account of this is in Matthew, Chapter 4. During this meeting, Satan led Jesus to a very high mountain. Jesus was offered all the kingdoms of the world if he would bow down and worship Satan. We must remember that one of those kingdoms was Sheol. Sheol was the actual name of the realm of the dead at the time Jesus descended. Jesus could get all those prisoners back and not go through the crucifixion if he would only bow down to the devil. Of course Jesus didn’t bow down to him. If there was going to be a fight why didn’t Satan and all of his fallen angels attack Jesus then?
In the book of Matthew, Chapter 27, we read that when Jesus cried out again and gave up his spirit, the curtain of the temple, representing the enmity between God and man, was immediately torn. This ended the enmity at this moment and our salvation was attained. It was not torn when Jesus arose from the dead. Also at that time graves of the dead broke upon and many holy people who died were raised to life. Even though they waited until after the resurrection to go into Jerusalem they were raised from the dead after Jesus died. They weren’t raised from the dead after the resurrection. Salvation was won at the time he shed his blood and died. We should also note that Jesus’ final words before his death were, “It is finished.” Salvation had been won. Finally we can see as Hebrews 9:12-15 states, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood he entered into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth (cleanses or purifies) to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead (sinful) works to serve the living God.” Here is more proof that it was the blood of Jesus, and not a fight with Satan and his angels, that won our salvation.
The bible verse in John 1:7 can’t possibly make it any clearer. It says, “The blood of Jesus … cleanses us from all sin.” In the book of Revelation, we read that the elect in the end of time have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. Chuck Swindoll says that some have the viewpoint that Jesus went to Hell or the suffering side of Sheol/Hades in order to further be punished for our sins. This idea is completely unbiblical. Swindoll says, “It was the death of Jesus on the cross and His suffering in our place that sufficiently provided for our redemption. It was His shed blood that effected our own cleansing from sin (I John 1:7-9). As he hung there on the cross, he took the sinful burden of the whole human race upon Himself.” He became sin for us, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21). This imputation of sin helps us understand Christ’s struggle in the garden of Gethsamane with the cup of sin which would be poured out upon him on the cross.” The Catholic Catechism also addresses that Jesus went into the realm of the dead calling out the just people who had lived before him. Interestingly the eastern religions have a popular icon passed down from early Christianity showing Jesus reaching into the realm of the dead to draw out Adam and Eve.
Many times extra biblical sources can be used when they don’t conflict with the biblical source. There is a writing called the Gospel of Nicodemus formerly called the Acts of Pontius Pilate. This can be found in the “Lost Books of the Bible” and “The Forgotten Books of Eden.” The writing has authentic support in that it was being used in the Christian churches at the end of the 3rd century. There was a forgery made and changed by a group of heathens. The writing in this book is not the forgery. Several early Christians felt it should have been put in the Bible. The writing does not conflict with the Bible. It adds more content to the things that happened at the moment of the death of Jesus.
In chapter 8 it states, as in the Bible, that at the sixth hour darkness fell upon the entire earth until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” After this Jesus said, “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit,” and gave up his ghost. When the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom; and the rocks were also rent; and the graves open and many bodies of the saints arose. It agrees with the Bible that the graves of the dead were opened at the death of Christ and salvation was won at the moment of the death of Christ as he shed for us. He did not have to go into the realm of the dead to win a fight with Satan.
The book of Nicodemus does mention three who were raised from their graves at the death of Christ. They were Simeon, the high-priest who took Jesus as an infant into his arms in the temple, and his two sons, Charinus and Lenthius. They were only allowed three days to be risen.
The saints were rejoicing as the announcement of the adequate sacrifice had shed his blood and the saints in Abraham’s bosom would be soon. Satan called the prince of death, and Beelzebub called the prince of hell. Satan bragged to Beelzebub that he even mixed the fall and vinegar and sharpened the spear for Jesus suffering. Beelzebub, getting a little irritated, addressed Satan as to who is this Jesus of Nazareth that by his word hath taken away the dead from me without prayer to God naming Lazarus as an example. Then Beelzebub tells Satan not to bring Jesus to him. Beelzebub tells Satan, “And I know now that he is Almighty God, who could perform such things, who is mighty in his dominion, and mighty in his human nature, who is the Savior of all mankind.”
Their conversation was interrupted by a voice of thunder and rushing winds, saying, “Lift up your gates O ye princes; and be ye lift up, O everlasting gates, and the King of Glory shall come in.” Now Beelzebub, who at this point is very irritated with Satan says, “If thou art a warrior, fight with the King of Glory. But what hast thou to do with him?” He does say here that Jesus did in fact terrify those in the deep darkness of iniquity.
While King David was ordering the evil ones to lift the gates, the Lord, appearing in a bright light broke the fetters holding man from original sin. As you can see there was no fight when Jesus appeared and the evil ones had to lift the gate. The officers of death were seized with fear in several kingdoms. All the legions of devils were seized with fear. We can remember in the temple when the demon asked Jesus if he had come to destroy them. Also does the antichrist put up a fight at Jesus’ second coming? He says he will meekly put out his hands and an angel will bind them.
Clearly the scene in the Book of Nicodemus shows Jesus entering the realm of the dead as a victor. Martin Luther, at his sermon at Torgau in 1533, could not have said it any clearer. He said “graphically describes the descent as a triumphant march of our victorious Savior into the stronghold of the dismayed infernal hosts.” In addition Chuck Swindoll says, “Some have the viewpoint that Jesus went to hell or the suffering side of Sheol/Hades in order to further be punished for our sins.” This idea is completely unbiblical. It was the death of Jesus on the cross and his suffering in our place that sufficiently provided for our redemption. It was his shed blood that affected our own cleansing from sin (I John 1:7-9). As he hung there on the cross, he took the sinful burden of the whole human race upon himself. He became sin for us, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21). This imputation of sin helps us understand Christ’s struggle in the garden of Gethsamane with the cup of sin which would be poured out upon him on the cross. I believe this is compelling evidence from scripture and reputable bible scholars that a “made for television” battle never occurred as Jesus entered into the realm of the dead.
Satan and his armies have one more chance to have that fight with Jesus at the end of the age. And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called HarMagedon. (Revelation 16:16). And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against his army (Revelation 19:19). And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses (Revelation 20:1). Now at this point the armies of Satan have faith in their leader, Satan, to lead them to victory. “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand” (Revelation 19:14) And he (the angel) laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:2) In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south (Zechariah 14:4). Satan again misled his followers and he didn’t even put up a fight. He has never put up a fight. Anyone who preaches that Jesus won our salvation by fighting Satan in the realm of the dead and that he had to be "born again" is preaching another gospel and can expect condemnation.