This review first appeared in the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL, volume 32, number 04 (2009). The full text of this article in PDF format can be obtained by clicking here. For further information or to subscribe to the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL go to: http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/
As we enter the turbulent years of the twenty-first century, there seems to be a growing fixation throughout the church with numerous end-time preachers. Mike Bickle, the founder of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, is positioning himself to become an end-time specialist to thousands of Christian young adults worldwide. He preaches an obscure interpretation of the Book of Revelation and proclaims, with sure conviction, that the world is now entering an “eschatological revolution” that will lead to Jesus’ second coming within the next fifty years. According to Bickle, God is now raising up an elite end-time forerunner prophetic movement within the church to prepare this generation for the soon-coming Great Tribulation and Jesus’ return. Bickle has redefined and repurposed the Book of Revelation by calling it both the church’s “canonized prayer manual” concerning Jesus’ specific end-time battle plan and the “Endtimes Book of Acts.” In the latter function Revelation supposedly foretells a time when Moses’ miracles and the miracles of the Book of Acts will be combined and multiplied on a global level as the praying church releases God’s judgments on the earth. Caution: God alone in His infinite wisdom holds the details of the future within His own sovereign will, and Christians should be on their guard against any Christian leader who predicts the exact season of Jesus’ second coming and claims special understanding of God’s end-time plan that goes beyond the plain teachings of Scripture.
Mike Bickle, the one-time charismatic leader of the highly controversial1 Kansas City Prophets in the 1980s and 1990s, is now positioning himself to become an end-time specialist to thousands of Christian young adults around the world. He preaches an obscure interpretation of the Book of Revelation2 and proclaims, with sure conviction, that the world is now entering an “eschatological revolution” that will lead to Jesus’ second coming within the next fifty years.3
In 2000, the now fifty-four year-old Bickle resigned his senior pastorate position at Metro Christian Fellowship to launch Kansas City’s International House of Prayer (IHOP).4 Today, Bickle is the executive director of the multiple ministries of IHOP and is the senior pastor of Forerunner Christian Fellowship. IHOP boasts more than four hundred full-time staff that identify themselves as “Intercessory Missionaries” and raise their own financial support.
According to Bickle, the launching of IHOP was a direct fulfillment of a prophecy he received in 1983 from Bob Jones, one of the most discredited of the so-called Kansas City Prophets.5 Jones predicted that God would raise up a Kansas City prayer and worship movement “in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David” that would be made up of thousands of Christian young adults.6
The IHOP movement has motivated many Christians toward a passion for Jesus and intercessory prayer. In light of Bickle’s escalating eschatological enthusiasm, however, it is very timely and significant for Christians, especially leaders and pastors, to become more informed concerning his personalized brand of “forerunner eschatology” that he is now spreading far and wide.
The purpose of this article is not to critique Bickle’s personal life, wherein there is apparently much to be admired.7 Rather, I will explain and critique Bickle’s teaching that is embedded in his eclectic interpretation of the Book of Revelation.8 It is my prayerful desire that this introductory article will encourage a broader and more in-depth conversation and evaluation of Bickle’s eschatology.
MIKE BICKLE’S END-TIME TEACHING
Today, the primary interpretative systems of biblical eschatology are known as premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism,9 and within these distinct systems there are varying perspectives. Bickle identifies his end-time teaching as an exclusive brand of premillennialism that he calls “apostolic premillennialism.”
Bickle distinguishes his apostolic premillennialism from dispensational premillennialism by rejecting a pretribulation rapture10 for a conquering church that prays and ministers through Revelation’s Great Tribulation, resulting in the salvation of Israel and the largest mission harvest in history. Otherwise, Bickle’s apostolic premillennialism differs little from dispensational premillennialism11 and incorporates many of the core interpretative and chronological scenarios popularized by Hal Lindsey.12 These include, for example, a literalist hermeneutic13 of the Book of Revelation, separate redemptive plans for Israel and the church, a personal Antichrist leading a revived Roman empire and one-world government, a rebuilt Jerusalem temple and reinstituted sacrificial system, the mark of the beast as a microchip implanted in the hand or forehead,14 a seven-year Great Tribulation, and the earthly millennial reign of Jesus following His second coming.15
Bickle uses the adjective “apostolic” in describing his premillennialism in an effort to emphasize the kind of church he is laboring to build. He believes he is preparing an army of Christians who will triumph during the soon-coming crisis of the Antichrist’s global rule and the Great Tribulation. He preaches a self-identified apostolic Christianity characterized by intimacy with Jesus as bridegroom,16 wholehearted fulfillment of the Great Commandment, self-denial holiness, Sermon-on-the-Mount living, Holy Spirit empowerment, justice, fasting, prayer, and worship. Whereas Bickle has taught many of these worthy topics since the 1980s, my primary concern is that in the last couple of years he has begun to reteach them, wrapping them tightly in his exclusive end-time teaching and his distinct interpretation of the Book of Revelation.
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You don’t have to be around the IHOP movement very long17 before you are exposed to a large glossary of insider terms and phrases, such as wilderness lifestyle, friend of the Bridegroom, Daniel anointing, eating the scroll, fasted lifestyle, burning and shining lamps, wholehearted lovers, zones of glory, corridor of glory, and many more that could be added.18
A cautionary red light should go on whenever we discover any church or Christian movement creating, and extensively using, their own exclusive language. The habitual use of insider language by a Christian movement can develop a we-are-different culture vis-a-vis the greater church. Soon a person’s use of prescribed terms and phrases is the way to determine whether they are true “insiders.” It can also easily create a “us” and “them” attitude within the Body of Christ. Many Christians living within such a cloistered culture can often find it difficult to leave or relate with other Christians, who do not speak “their language,” and who are frequently seen as spiritually lukewarm or compromising.
This becomes especially disconcerting when most inside a Christian movement begin to “talk alike” and parrot the same terms and phrases in their prayers and songs. This emerging reality at IHOP can be demonstrated by listening to the rapid prayer times in their “Prayer Room” or to the lyrics of the songs of IHOP’s quality worship musicians and singers.
More than all of IHOP’s inside terms, however, it is the word “forerunner” that is nearly ubiquitous. Among IHOP’s ministries, there is the Forerunner Christian Fellowship, Forerunner Music Academy, Forerunner School of Ministry, Forerunner Media School, Forerunner Evangelism, and Forerunner Books. It is safe to say that “forerunner” is the brand name of Bickle’s IHOP ministry. The use of the word “forerunner” is no accident. In fact, “forerunner eschatology” provides the greatest insight into the inner ethos and ministry thrust of Bickle and IHOP.
Although Bickle admits that Christians can’t predict the exact “day or hour” of Jesus’ second coming, he firmly claims that we can know the specific “season” of His return and boldly tells his followers that he believes the end of the world will unfold in this generation.19
In light of Bickle’s conviction that we are living in the generation of Jesus’ second coming, he preaches that, as God raised up John the Baptist to be a forerunner preparing his generation for Jesus’ first coming, God is now raising up an elite end-time forerunner movement within the church.20 This movement will prepare this generation for the soon-coming Great Tribulation and Jesus’ return.
Bickle believes God has anointed him to call forth and train these end-time Christian forerunners.21 He is praying for thousands of last-days “forerunner Christians” to be raised up within this generation as special prophetic voices that will emerge in the spirit and power of Elijah and defeat the Antichrist’s soon-coming one-world government and religion by praying the “battle plan” of the Book of Revelation.
The End-Time Forerunner Church
Bickle teaches that Jesus’ second coming can be delayed or sped up according to the degree of the church’s spiritual maturity and readiness. He declares that most Christians are waiting passively for Jesus to return, when in actuality, Jesus is waiting for the church to prepare itself as the pure Bride of Christ and to ready itself to launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth and cleanse it so that it can be filled with God’s love and glory.22
Bickle does not simply preach that the church will go through the Great Tribulation sealed by God’s sovereign power, but that the end-time church will actually cause God’s judgments to be released on the earth through prophetic prayer.23 In other words, the end-time praying church will not simply be helpless martyrs during the Great Tribulation; it will victoriously establish justice on the earth by releasing the devastating Great Tribulation judgments on the Antichrist’s global evil empire.24
At the end of December 2008, Bickle ratcheted up his end-time enthusiasm by passionately announcing that IHOP’s OneThing Conference would mark a major defining moment within the IHOP prayer movement, and would primarily center around his interpretation and implementation of the Book of Revelation.25 Bickle declared that it was time for the prayer movement to realize that it will be the primary agent to transition human history to the age to come through “prayers of faith that not only heal, but also kill,” releasing the heavenly arsenals through intercession that will strike the Antichrist’s political, military, and economic power bases across the earth.26 The end times will reveal a “killing Jesus” who is covered with blood as He marches through Jordan to free Jerusalem while engaging the Antichrist’s army in physical combat.27
Based on Bickle’s end-time teaching, Jesus’ second coming has preconditions. He teaches that Jesus will not return until the global church is crying out “Come, Lord Jesus” with a full understanding of her identity as the Bride of Christ. Jesus will only return when the church is functioning in the unity of the Spirit and is anointed in prayer to release the destructive end-time tribulation judgments.
Bickle envisions that the end-time forerunner church will be an advanced “apostolic” movement. They will experience “greater things” than the apostles themselves. They will function as the last day Moses who through prayer releases God’s plagues on the Antichrist, the end-time Pharaoh. Bickle emphasizes that during the end times, Moses’ miracles and the miracles of the Book of Acts will be combined and multiplied on a global level as the praying church looses God’s judgments on the earth.28 This is why Bickle calls the Book of Revelation the “End-Times Book of Acts,” meaning that the Book of Revelation reveals the acts of the Holy Spirit that will be demonstrated through the end-time praying church.29
Bickle goes even further to add another eschatological interpretive twist to Matthew 16:18–19: “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”30 He claims that Jesus’ statement refers to the end-time church’s possession of the keys of the kingdom through prayer that will drive hell off the planet during the Great Tribulation. The church will exercise binding and loosing end-time authority over God’s judgments assuring that the gates of hell—the Antichrist’s evil empire—will not prevail.31
Forerunner “Wilderness Lifestyle”
Bickle engages in another eschatological twist of the Bible when he exhorts Christians to follow the representative example of John the Baptist and dedicate themselves to live a sacrificial “wilderness lifestyle” of fasting and prayer so that they can emerge one day as “forerunner voices” prior to Jesus’ second coming.32 Bickle claims that “on May 7, 1997, the Lord spoke to me about believing Him to raise up 10,000 forerunners who live in the spirit of John the Baptist as friends of the Bridegroom (Jn 3:29).”33
The primary problem with Bickle’s “wilderness lifestyle” exhortation is that the Bible is basically silent about the specifics of how John the Baptist lived his life. Simply because he lived in the unpopulated Judean region near the Jordan River and dressed and ate like the Old Testament prophet Elijah34 does not mean that John the Baptist lived a heroic sacrificial lifestyle that is to be elevated and emulated by New Testament Christians.
John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets and functioned as a transitional figure between the eras of the Old and New Covenants. This is why Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 11:11 that anyone who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist.
Bickle’s elevation of John the Baptist’s lifestyle seems motivated more by his effort to substantiate his forerunner eschatology than by solid biblical interpretation. The use of an Old Testament prophet like John the Baptist as a stellar model of Christian living can easily result in an unhealthy ascetic form of Christianity. For example, IHOP leader Lou Engle encourages young Christians to take Old Testament Nazarite vows based on Numbers 6:1–21, a practice not taught in the New Testament.35
To undergird his forerunner eschatology, Bickle exhorts Christians to follow the “wilderness lifestyle” of an Old Testament prophet, instead of modeling their lives completely on Jesus’ servant lifestyle as lived out by the New Testament apostles (Phil. 2:1–11), none of whom mention John the Baptist as a life example for Christians to follow. John the Baptist declared that Jesus must increase, and he should decrease (John 3:30). Bickle could return to biblical soundness if he abandoned his eschatological “John the Baptist wilderness lifestyle” emphasis and focused totally on the plentiful New Testament teachings concerning living a sanctified, grace-centered, and Spirit-filled lifestyle as people with a mission to advance the gospel of salvation throughout God’s world (Eph. 1:8; 5:18; 1 Pet. 1:15–16; Matt. 28:16–20).
The End-Time Prayer Movement
There is nothing more central to Bickle’s eschatology than his teaching concerning the end-time prayer and prophetic movement. Building on the 24/7 prayer example of the historic Moravians and the contemporary South Korean practice of fervent prayer and consecrated prayer mountains, IHOP is spreading a passion for intercessory prayer and worship throughout the church.
Bickle’s primary vision is to promote the escalation of the harp (worship music) and bowl (intercession) prayer style derived from Revelation 5:8, which is implemented in the night and day model of IHOP.36 IHOP claims that it has been practicing this kind of prophetic prayer and worship without ceasing since September 19, 1999.
Bickle’s mission is to multiply 24/7 prayer rooms throughout the world that use the Book of Revelation as their prayer guide concerning Jesus’ end-time battle plan. He often quotes Jesus’ statement in Luke 18:7–8, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice and quickly” (NIV), to support his assertion that day and night prayer will quicken the second coming of Christ. However, Bickle’s interpretation of Luke 18:7–8, and his unfortunate intention to create the belief that 24/7 prayer will speed up Jesus’ second coming, is unsound. In the parable of Luke 18:1–8, Jesus is simply teaching His disciples to persevere in prayer. There is no clear warrant for applying this teaching only to the second coming rather than to God’s answer of His elect’s prayers in general, and of their prayers for justice in particular, throughout the ages; and there is even less warrant for understanding Jesus to be teaching that 24/7 prayer is a necessary condition for His second coming.
God is indeed stirring up a fresh intercessory prayer movement around the world of Christians who will consecrate themselves to worshiping Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23–24). The multiplication of 24/7 prayer rooms filled with mature intercessors and worshipers would certainly be a blessing to the church today. However, prayer and worship primarily increases worldwide through the extensive growth of the global church among all the ethnic peoples of the earth. Through a basic understanding of cosmology, the church is praying night and day at all times right now. When it is night in one geographical location, it is day in another. The swelling increase of prayer over the last few decades can be significantly attributed to the growing church, especially in places like China, South Korea, Southern Africa, and Latin America.
One of the more troubling teachings promoted by Bickle through the years relates to the relationship of the Old Testament tabernacle of David and the end-time prayer movement.37 In his Tabernacle of David article published in Charisma Magazine,38 he makes three interpretative errors. He writes:
1. “I believe I have found the secret to a vital prayer life. I came across this secret when I was studying the tabernacle of David in Acts 15:16– 17, the effective model of a 24-hour-a-day prayer and worship ministry.”
In Acts 15:16–17, however, James is speaking about the restoration of the fulfillment of the line of David in the first coming of Jesus as Messiah.39
2. “In Moses’ time, the glory on the ark was hidden in the holy of holies behind a thick veil. But in David’s tabernacle, there was no veil to keep the people from seeing the glory of God. It was unprecedented: David set the ark of the covenant in open view! Instead of the thick veil Moses used, David made musicians and singers into a human veil around the ark.”
This statement has no biblical basis and would have been a complete violation of Mosaic Law.
3. “I believe God will fully restore the tabernacle of David—which is the very embodiment of intercessory worship before the beauty, holiness, and glory of God—in the generation in which the Lord returns according to Acts 15:16–17. I believe it will be the means of releasing the fullness of salvation and revival for all the nations. Through this model of intercessory worship, the Great Commission will be fulfilled so that every tribe, tongue, and nation will be present on the last day.” Again, Bickle engages in a serious misinterpretation of Acts 15:16–17.
I address Bickle’s printed teaching on the tabernacle of David because it originates in wayward Latter-Rain teaching40 and continues to be promoted and taught by many Christians. A hopeful development, however, is that Bickle has told me that he no longer believes most of what is contained in his article. He nonetheless still emphasizes the spirit of the tabernacle of David as a worship and prayer ministry style (1 Chron. 15:1) and emphasizes that the restoration of the tabernacle of David refers to Jesus establishing His Jerusalem millennium throne and ruling the earth in the context of prayer and worship (Amos 9:11–15; Isa. 56:7). Although the New Testament does not teach that Christians should model any Old Testament worship style and Acts 15:16–17 is primarily the fulfillment of the first coming of Jesus as Messiah, Bickle’s teaching concerning the tabernacle of David appears to be moving in the right direction.
The End-Time Prayer Manual
Throughout church history the Book of Revelation has been perhaps both the most ignored and the most abused book in the Bible. Because of Bickle’s absolute futuristic and often highly sensationalized exposition of the Book of Revelation, he has inappropriately elevated Revelation to a preeminent canonical position in the New Testament. He has redefined and repurposed it as the church’s “canonized prayer manual” concerning Jesus’ specific end-time battle plan.41
Bickle imagines that millions of praying Christians will one day be unified in prayer by knowing exactly how and when to pray next because the judgments and events in the Book of Revelation are numbered and in sequential chronological order.42 According to Bickle, since the specific sequential events of the future have been prophetically predicted in the Book of Revelation, the end-time church will be able to loose or bind God’s judgments exactly as they unfold in history.43
Bickle envisions prayer rooms around the world in full agreement as they pray the events of the end-time battle plan into existence. It is because of this belief that Bickle is now attempting to get the global prayer movement to embrace his exclusive interpretation of the Book of Revelation.44 By praying Revelation’s Great Tribulation events into existence, this will result in billions of men, women and children being killed.45
John Piper provides wise correction to those like Bickle who attempt to chronologically predict future events when he writes, “When our future perspective becomes chronological instead of theological, then faith is endangered. The more detailed one attempts to map out the future, the more inferences one must make which are not explicit in the Scripture. Therefore, the tendency of the imagination to fill the gaps increases and the probability of erroneous calculation grows.”46
END-TIME ESSENTIALS AND NONESSENTIALS
One of the mottos I try to live by is “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, diversity; and in all things, love.” Indeed there are eschatological biblical essentials that must be commonly confessed by the church, such as Jesus’ second coming, bodily resurrection, eternal judgment, and God’s ultimate purpose of a new heaven and earth. The proper teaching of eschatological biblical essentials is crucially important to the spiritual urgency and health of the church.
From the beginning of the church, unfortunately, sincere Christians have been left confused and alarmed by wayward end-time teaching47 and often end up spiritually shipwrecked. There always has been, and there are today, church denominations and movements that are preoccupied and isolated by eschatological date-setting and end-time chronological absolutes. This has especially been true when dogmatic end-time teachings are propagated through special revelations, dreams, prophecies, and extra biblical exaggerations that are not rooted in thorough exegetical disciplines of Bible interpretation.
Mature Christians realize that there will continue to be interpretative diversity within the church concerning the specific chronology and details of biblical eschatology because end-time teaching requires us to expound complex Bible passages. As the apostle Paul makes clear, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully” (1 Cor. 13:12 NIV). N. T. Wright reminds us that “all Christian language about the future is a set of signposts pointing into a fog.”48
No one has an exclusive corner on the full truth concerning the specific details of the end times. As long as biblical eschatological essentials are embraced, and sound contextual Bible interpretation is implemented, we need to respect each other’s end-time perspectives. Preachers and teachers should be very careful not to insist or infer that their eschatology is the only “correct one,” an insistence which has often resulted in dividing the Body of Christ.49 The Bible is clear that Christian teachers will give an account to God for whether their handling of the Bible was proper and mature (2 Tim. 2:15). Sadly, Church history is littered with self-confident and prideful preachers who have made end-time claims and predictions that have turned out to be wrong, resulting in Christ’s name being defamed and Christians being deceived.
One of the clear and essential teachings of New Testament eschatology is that the church has been living in the Messianic age of the “end-times” or the “last days” predicted by the Old Testament prophets now for more than two thousand years. Christians are living in the Messianic age of fulfillment,50 and we are called to watch eagerly51 with full assurance and perseverance for Jesus’ second coming and the final consummation of God’s kingdom. However, watching for Jesus’ second coming and predicting it are two totally different things.
Too often, though, watching expectantly, and engaging in world missions, is not exciting enough for Christians, and so we become preoccupied with attempting to predict the exact date or season of the Messianic consummation. Let’s be honest, the topic of eschatology, especially when it is sensationalized and set as a backdrop to the daily news, can easily appeal to our unhealthy heart motives and ambitions, just as fortune telling, horoscopes, and even spiritual channeling attract non-Christians. The idea of knowing the exact season and details of future events can become very tantalizing to finite humans.
Let’s be reminded that Jesus calls Christians to pray for and forgive our enemies, even if we are martyred for our faithful witness. He rebuked James and John when they requested to call down fire from heaven to destroy the unbelieving Samaritans (Luke 9:51–56). We must exercise biblical discernment when influential Christian leaders such as Bickle predict the exact time or season of Jesus’ second coming.52 Jesus’ own words in Acts 1:7–8, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” (TNIV), should lead those inside and outside the IHOP movement to evaluate more closely the details and thrust of Bickle’s end-time teaching and his interpretation of the Book of Revelation.
God alone in His infinite wisdom holds the details of the future within His own sovereign will. The ultimate future belongs to God. As for the church, we must remain focused on Jesus’ great commission of world evangelization in reaching the billions of men and women who are wandering lost outside of the kingdom of God.53
Andrew Jackson, M.Div., Fuller Theological Seminary; D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, is a seminary professor and an ordained minister in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. His latest book is Mormonism Explained: What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice (Crossway, 2008).
1. In many evangelical circles “highly controversial” would be putting it mildly. The Kansas City Prophets are considered disreputable and discredited.
2. Mike Bickle, Overview of Revelation, mp3, 2008. Mike Bickle, Book of Revelation: Study Guide (Kansas City: Forerunner Books, 2009).
3. IHOPU Catalog, 4; IHOP Interships Catalog, 18; The Coming Eschatological Revolution (http://www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.asx?ID=1000042100). Bickle believes that Jesus will return within the lifetime of people alive today.
5. http://www.bobjones.org. This Jones is not to be confused with the one who founded Bob Jones University.
6. Bickle was twenty-seven years old. Paul Steven Ghiringhelli, “Watch and Pray,” Charisma, September 2007, http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/component/content/article/235-unorganized/15949channel-surfing). Also Jones prophesied comparing Bickle to President Harry Truman. CBN YouTube Interview, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDBRgZP7ul8.
7. I have been told by several church leaders that Bickle is a man of integrity. However, I cannot personally verify this viewpoint through first-hand experience.
8. This article is my response to Bickle urging Christians to challenge his end-time teaching. See Bickle, Book of Revelation, 5. I would like to provide a detailed response to Bickle’s interpretation of Revelation. I am, however, limited in this article to an introduction of his end-time teaching. See Gregory K. Beale, The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999); Mark Wilson, Charts on the Book of Revelation: Literary, Historical, and Theological Perspectives (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2007).
9. Stanley J. Grenz, The Millennial Maze: Sorting Out Evangelical Options (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992); Robert G. Clouse, ed., The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1977). However, some recent writing on eschatology does not fit comfortably into these traditional categories. See Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007).
10. Bickle is correct, from my perspective, in rejecting a secret pre-tribulation rapture. See George Eldon Ladd, The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of the Second Advent and the Rapture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980).
11. Keith A. Mathison, Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? (New Jersey: R and R Publishing, 1995).
12. Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970).
13. In studying eschatology, it is important to allow the New Testament to interpret Old Testament prophecies, not the reverse.
14. Bickle, Book of Revelation, 134.
15. Much of Bickle’s end-time teaching is founded on his faulty interpretations of Daniel 9:20–27 (Seventy Weeks) and Jesus’ Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24); see Sam Storms, ”Daniel’s 70 Weeks,” Nov. 6, 2006, http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/daniels-70-weeks/; Sam Storms, “Matthew 24 and the Olivet Discourse,” Nov. 7, 2006, http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/matthew24-and-the-olivet-discourse-part-i/. For a refutation, see R. C. Sproul, The Last Days according to Jesus (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998); John Piper, “Misgivings about Hal Lindsay’s Planet Earth” (Sermon, 1974), http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/1974/2671_Misgivings_ About_Hal_Lindsays_Planet_Earth/.
16. Bickle teaches an almost sensual bridal church paradigm based on his allegorical interpretation of the Song of Solomon.
17. I visited IHOP for one week in January 2009. I participated in their “Prayer Room” for many hours. I generally found the worship, led by quality musicians and singers, to be God-centered and Jesus-honoring.
18. IHOP’s online glossary, http://www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=1000044074. Bickle acted surprised when I mentioned to him that IHOP published an online glossary on special terms. In response to the concerns I raised, he told me that he planned to remove this glossary from IHOP’s Web site. However, at publication, the glossary is still live.
19. Bickle, Overview of Revelation, Session 1.
20. “The prepared prophetic Church alone will have the answers to keep many from being offended by God.” Bickle, Book of Revelation, 96.
21. Bickle does not see himself as uniquely special and he affirms other equipping ministries in the church.
22. 2008 OneThing Conference Podcast Promo, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5FMsDrNyn4&feature= email. Bickle, Overview of Revelation, Session 1.
23. Revelation 8:1–5 reveals that God’s judgments are released by an angel, and not by the direct prayers of the end-time church, as taught by Bickle.
24. Bickle, Book of Revelation, 5.
25. 2008 OneThing Conference Podcast Promo, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5FMsDrNyn4& feature=email.
26. Bickle, Overview of Revelation, Session 1.
27. Bickle, Book of Revelation, 66, 80.
28. Bickle, Overview of Revelation, Session 1.
29. Bickle, Book of Revelation, 4.
30. Bickle includes Matthew 18:18–19.
31. Bickle, Overview of Revelation, Session 1.
32. Bickle, Overview of Revelation, Session 1.
33. “The Coming Eschatological Revolution,” IHOP, http://www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.aspx? ID=1000042100.
34. 2 Kings 1:8.
35. IHOP leader Lou Engle (www.louengle.com) is the founder of TheCall (www.TheCall.com) movement. Lou Engle, “The Nazarite Uprising,” Identity Network, http://www.identitynetwork.net/apps/articles/ default.asp?articleid=37582&columnid.=2093.
36. Bickle told me that he has no theological basis for his emphasis concerning the “harp and bowl” style of prayer. Rather, he is very pragmatic and says that it is simply more enjoyable and attracts young Christians. IHOP 24/7 prayer is led by twenty-five different worship teams comprised primarily of young adults. Without these worship teams, I question whether IHOP could draw and maintain the large crowds of Christians, especially young Christians, attending their 24/7 Prayer Room. In discussing this point with Bickle, he fully agreed with me. This prayer model is very difficult to maintain long-term; it is very labor intensive, requires paid musicians and singers, and also costs large amounts of money.
37. IHOPU Catalog, 7. Mike Bickle, Tabernacle of David Fact Sheet.
38. Bickle told me that a ghostwriter wrote his initial “Tabernacle of David” article (Charisma, October 2000, http://www.davidic247.com/tabofdavid.html), and that he did not review it well before publication. The same article was published online in June 2008 by Charisma (http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/charisma-channels/prayer/18750), but Bickle claims that he did not know that it had been republished. He has now requested Steve Strang to remove it. However, a similar article including teaching concerning the tabernacle of David beginning of was written by Bickle in April 2008. (Mike Bickle, “Enjoyable Prayer,” Charisma, April 2008, http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/ charisma-channels/prayer/ 18744.)
39. John Stott, The Message of Acts the church, (Downers Grove: IVP, 1990), 246–47; Sam Storms, “Acts 15:14–17 and the Rebuilding of David’s Tabernacle,” Enjoying God Ministries, http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/acts-1514-17-and-therebuilding-of-davidstabernacle/.
40. http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Latter_Rain_ Movement.
41. Bickle, Book of Revelation, 4; Bickle, Overview of Revelation, Session 1.
42. Bickle, Overview of Revelation, Session 1.
43. Bickle, Book of Revelation, 4.
44. 2008 OneThing Conference Podcast Promo. http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=K5FMsDrNyn4&feature= email. Bickle, Overview of Revelation, Session 1.
45. Bickle projects four billion people will be killed in the last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation. Bickle, Book of Revelation, 42.
48. N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 132.
49. To my knowledge, Bickle does not allow anyone, even the most qualified Bible teachers, to teach on the end times at IHOP unless they primarily agree with his forerunner eschatology and his interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Unfortunately, Bickle infers that other interpretations of Revelation in the church today are lies, and a Satanic strategy to keep the church from truly understanding Revelation as an end-time prayer manual. (Bickle, Book of Revelation, 96, and Overview of Revelation, Session 1.)
50. George Eldon Ladd, The Presence of the Future (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974).
51. Ladd, The Blessed Hope, 105–19.
52. Bickle states that he is not predicting Jesus’ second coming but is only discerning the biblical signs of the times. ed.
53 IHOP engages in local evangelism. However, it lacks any intentional recruiting and training program for sending long-term cross-cultural missionaries.