ANGELS OR DEMONS?
Todd Bentley and "The Beautiful Side of Evil"
By Berit Kjos - June 26, 2008
"I went into a trance-like state and I saw... the angel of finance.... In that trance I experienced one of heaven’s realities and then that experience became a reality here on earth.... I found myself in a treasure room in heaven. The only item in this room was gold coins, and I began stuffing those coins into my pockets until they were falling out." Todd Bentley
"... my spirit guides, Jesus and Mamacita, where with me, teaching me to overcome the lower spiritual entities. Now, during the many hours spent in meditation waves of light and peace would flow over me...."[2,p.85] Joanna Michaelson, The Beautiful Side of Evil
"... false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed...." Mark 13:22-23
What's driving Todd Bentley? Why do thousands of people flock to his revival meetings?
Some reasons are obvious. Many seek healing, financial success, spiritual experiences and sensual thrills. After all, Bentley puts on quite a show! Known for his heavenly visions, angelic "partners," mystical tattoos, and irreverent "teaching," he makes them laugh. One of his many Youtube performances includes this outrageous dialogue with an unbiblical "God":
"The woman was standing in the back of the room when the faith of God hit the meeting, and her tumor exploded out of her right leg, slid down her leg onto the floor! ... [God] said, '...I want you to grab that lady's crippled legs and bang them up-and-down on the platform like a baseball bat.' [loud laughter] ... I grabbed her legs, and I started going, BAM! BAM! ...banging them.... She got healed!...
"And there is this older lady worshipping right in front of the platform. And the Holy Spirit spoke to me; the gift of faith came on me. He said, 'Kick her in the face with your biker-boot..'... I went like this [kicks and shouts] BAM! And just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God." [laughter]
"You will know them by their fruit," said Jesus. (Mt 7:16) But the genuine "fruit of the Spirit" (God's love, goodness, gentleness...) was missing from this brutal show. God's warnings are becoming increasingly relevant:
"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so!" Jer 5:30-31
COUNTERFEIT ANGELS AND DEMONIC VISIONSBentley is no stranger to demonic forces. "...twenty-five demons were cast out of me," he said in one of the many videos that document his teachings. "...and when I first got saved the demonic started showing up unlike anything that I had seen even before I became a Christian.... I came out of everything involved with the demonic especially in the whole world of music and satanic music." [Transcription]
Yet the supernatural realm remained central to his ministry, and during one of his "heavenly" visions, Bentley met an "angel" named Emma. Bentley described their first encounter in his article "Angelic Hosts."
"In the middle of the service... in walks Emma. ... She floated a couple of inches off the floor... emitting brilliant light and colors. Emma carried these bags and began pulling gold out of them. Then, as she walked up and down the aisles of the church, she began putting gold dust on people. 'God, what is happening?' I asked. The Lord answered: 'She is releasing the gold, which is both the revelation and the financial breakthrough that I am bringing into this church.'"
That's not our holy God! Yet, "Thousands of leaders and pastors have received impartation," wrote Bentley in his Personal Message. "This anointing is very contagious..."
Yes, and the Bible warned us it would happen: "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth." 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
THE BEAUTIFUL SIDE OF EVIL
Back in the eighties I read "The Beautiful Side of Evil" by Johanna Michaelsen. For many years she was caught up in the occult, yet she believed that the "angels" who reached out to her were servants of God, not Satan. One of those "angels" sounds strangely similar to Bentley's "floating" angel, Emma:
"[She was] beautiful with flowing hair and robes of shimmering dark blue spangled with tiny stars.... She took me by the shoulders and gently kissed me on the forehead.... 'Welcome, my child,' she said. Then she turned and floated back through the wall as she had come. I have never experienced such joy, such light and peace, such unspeakable ecstasy. I was on the right path at last."[2,p.83]
No, she was tricked! Masquerading as an "angel of light," Satan used her feel-good experiences to deepen the deception. Through those painful years, Johanna's "fellowship" with demons brought her indescribable depression and despair. The enchanting moments of light were fleeting, while fear and confusion darkened her days. And she would continue to suffer under that cruel master until, in His perfect time, God would set her free.
MESMERIZING THE MASSES
To alter her consciousness and connect with these entities, Johanna used meditation, visualization, concentration -- and the repetitive beat of a metronome. Bentley's tools are different but just as effective. Like tribal shamans, he uses loud rhythmic sounds (drums, etc.), then adds repetitious words and hypnotic music. Pastor Gary Osborne described it in his article, "Revival" in Lakeland, Florida:
"The phrase 'stir yourselves up' was used repeatedly.... A woman led in prayer for the service and ... told the people to 'roar like a lion!' ... People everywhere shouted at the top of their lungs.... This same lady was jerking and twitching.... There was also much talk of 'birthing' and 'signs and wonders.'... People were swaying and dancing.... There was a very sensual spirit....
"People seemed to be in a trance all around me. If the worship leader said, 'raise your hands' everyone did so immediately. If he said, 'drop to your knees' they did.... He tells the people to say to God, 'Intoxicate me, Lord.... Now the people are getting truly wild and the leader says, 'Scream!!!'... Finally the worship leader falls to the floor himself."
SIGNS, WONDERS AND MYSTICAL HEALINGS
"The glory of God is intense," wrote Bentley in a second Personal Message. "[M]iracles continue - tumors disappearing nightly, cancers and deaf ears being healed. It has been reported that more than 55 people in wheelchairs are receiving their healing. Another remarkable turn of events - 13 reported resurrections!"
A male "angel" named "Healing Revival" worked with Bentley in many past healings: "When He comes," said Bentley, "I get... the ability to diagnose people's sicknesses with my left hand.... I get very accurate details from God.... And whenever this angel shows up the miracles go off the charts."
Bentley claims that six angels operated on him during one of his heavenly visions. He saw "a Pillar of fire" rise up through the roof of a church. When "God" told him to "get into the Pillar," he complied -- and landed on an operating table in heaven. Six angels tied him down and began surgery: "[T]hey pick this thing up... and they stuck it in me right here on my neck and it didn’t hurt.... they went right down to my lowards and all of a sudden ... everything inside of me popped out onto the table, my heart, my liver -- like everything.... [T]he angels start taking these white boxes… and they start stuffing these things inside of me... and I heard the verse 'I desire truth in the inward parts.'”
His reference to Psalm 51:6 illustrates his blatant Scripture twisting -- a timeless demonic tool. And his supernatural "surgery" reminds me of the mystical reports about "alien abductions."
It's also similar to Johanna's experiences with painless operations in Mexico. Both claim to have seen countless supernatural healings that clashed with all medical knowledge. But Bentley's "heavenly" experience (while in a trance) occurred only in a psychic realm, while Johanna assisted in numerous operations where patients actually bled. A few incredulous doctors observed this bizarre process and validated the results.
We shouldn't be surprised. Long ago, courageous missionaries to distant tribal cultures described both the source and the effect of shamanic magic. It's not a new phenomenon!
Johanna would assist Hermanito, a demonic spirit that "possessed" a Mexican woman named Pachita and used her body to operate on his patients. Like Bentley's six angels, he often replaced something from the patient's body with special objects.
A former army officer with an inoperable brain tumor came seeking relief from blinding headaches. As his operation began, Hermanito ordered Johanna to hand him the knife: She described the brutal action:
"In a single, violent motion he plunged it into Perry’s skull. The man on the table gasped. 'Do you feel pain, Perry?' I asked him anxiously. “Oh, no," he replied..... Several days after the operation, I called him to see how he was doing. He told me his headaches were completely gone."[2,p.126-127]
To heal David, a young man with terminal cancer, Hermanito called for more concentrated prayer -- using words that blended the Scriptures with occult ideas: "Take a glass of pure water. Go out to the balcony, raise it high in your right hands and say, ‘May the most precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which, when only represented in Egypt brought freedom to the Israelites by the strong arm of God, free us and favor us against all evil.’... Sun and Earth, Moon and Stars... Mosses, Reptiles.... I ask of you this day the health of this patient."
Hermanito raised the scissors in prayer for a long moment, then plunged them into David’s side. He cut for a few moments, then asked 'Do you feel pain...?' David didn’t answer.... Hermanito’s breath drew in sharply.... 'Roll up your sleeve. We must perform a [psychic] transfusion..... Suddenly, David took a deep breath.... The force behind Hermanito had brought him back."[2,p.118-119]
But all was not well in this mystical realm. David died less than four months later. And many other healings were only temporary."[2,p.134] Christians who sought help through demonic forces suffered more than others and were less likely to be "healed."
"...many of our churches are in serious danger of occult contamination," wrote Johanna.[2,p.183] She saw how easily even Christians could trade God's truth for counterfeit promises. After all, she didn't stray into darkness because she loved evil -- but because evil looked so good! Her testimony should be a wake-up call to churches everywhere:
"That first week in college, when the gospel was shared with me, I welcomed it with open arms. I confessed my sins before God and asked Jesus to enter my life as my Lord and Savior. I know, on the basis of God’s word, that I was born again, and I received in my spirit the assurance of my salvation. I gave myself to Him with my whole heart.
"But I did not understand the importance of carefully, systematically studying His Word. I had no real understanding of what I believed or why I believed it.’ And so, in time, I began to build my relationship with God based on my experience. My experience told me the healings and miracles I witnessed at Pachita’s were of God....
"Soon my 'logic' told me the Bible was too narrow.... Gently, a step at a time, I fell away from the faith, unwittingly 'paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.' (I Timothy 4:1).... Ultimately, because I was a child of God, because I wanted more than anything else to know the Truth, He delivered me."[2,p.181-182]
I thank God for His mercy and saving grace that reaches out to all who will hear and heed His Word. As the spiritual war intensifies, may we be ready to hear His call, turn around (repent), resist the deceiver, and follow our Shepherd.
"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God...." Ephesians 6:10-12
1. Todd Bentley, "Heaven's Realities " at http://www.freshfire.ca/printpage.php?Act=teaching&pid=236. See also Trance Dancing Worship Leader, June 4, www.sliceoflaodicea.com/?p=856
2. Joanna Michaelsen, The Beautiful Side of Evil (Harvest House Publisher, 1982).
4. Todd Bentley, Angelic Hosts at www.etpv.org/2003/angho.html. I've been told that some of the documents on Bentley's website have been altered to remove negative evidence.
5. Pastor Osborne, Bentley's "Revival" in Lakeland, Florida at www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/discernment/6-19-bentley-revival-1.htm
6. According to Bentley, "The Lord" revealed to him that the "angel called Healing Revival" was also "involved in the ministry of John Lake, William Branham and John Knox in Scotland." [Do you wonder why this demonic "Lord" would include the faithful John Knox in his list? Might it be to make his lies more credible?] See  above.
7. http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/3399535/ (Video). Read a partial transcript here: http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain39.htm