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The Manifest Sons of God teaching

The Latter Rain movement of the late 40's had given birth to numerous other sub-teachings. The Manifest Sons of God was divided into two major sects. The Walk, and the Body of Christ. The Walk came out of the Latter Rain Movement under the “apostleship” of John Robert Stevens, who like Paul Cain and others was a William Branham disciple. His was the Church of the Living Word in Redondo Beach, California.

The Charismatic Dominionism expressed in spiritual warfare and the current signs and wonders movement is largely an extension of the Manifest Sons of God doctrine. Manifest Sons teachings are Kingdom Dominionist: they believe in restoration of the Church, restoration of the 5 fold ministry with the offices of apostles and prophets, having authority through its leaders by strong shepherding and discipleship. A perfection of the saints, immortalization, and the attainment of being Christ as we become just like Christ in nature and ability. The Manifest Sons of God doctrine has an eschatology of Dominionism through the perfecting of the saints under the leadership guidance of the latter-day prophets and apostles. They mostly deny a rapture in the classic sense. Some replace it with individual raptures, a collective transformation to immortality on earth, or none at all. This quote is representative of the teaching  “the doctrine of the Rapture was a great and effective ruse of the enemy to implant in the Church a retreat mentality ... already this yoke has been cast off by the majority in the advancing church, and it will soon be cast off by all.” (Rick Joyner, THE HARVEST 1989 /1990 revised booklet on pg.121)

We are talking about the great and blessed hope of his return. In its place is triumphalism by installing a new leadership for the Church. If there is no rapture than there is no resurrection, they are simultaneous events!  

Considering what Joyner first said he later changed it in his 1993 printing of the Harvest as it became the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture (p.201) In this he fares no better as he takes the position that the Church will endure through the tribulation. despite the Scriptures teaching that the saints will be overcome in the tribulation, and few will survive. Hardly a scenario that manifest sons of God can agree with. this becomes even more problematic when brought to its conclusion of  the Church found ruling when Christ comes back. Certainly to look forward to the Lords coming as any time is not retreating but hopeful. One does not need to abandon everything to do this and wait on the top of a hill in white robes as some did over century ago.

The modern Spiritual warfare practice that is an attachment to the signs and wonders movement finds its roots in the Latter Rain as well. The revival will come by the Church being led by these leaders in defeating demonic spirits through spiritual warfare prayer, fasting. The spiritual warfare conducted through intense worship and praise, and by spiritual mapping, identifying strongholds, rebuking demonic powers and binding territorial spirits.

“God's people are going to start to exercise rule, and they're going to take dominion over the Power of Satan. They're going to bring diabolical princes down. The dark powers that hover over the Parliament buildings of the nations are going to be paralyzed by the corporate prayer of an authoritative community. As the rod of His strength goes out of Zion, He'll change legislation. He'll chase the devil off the face of God's earth, and God's people together, doing the will of God, will bring about God's purposes and Gods reign. “ (Ern Baxter, National Men's Shepherds Conference, Kansas City, Missouri,  1975)

The apostles will rule the Church through establishing independent churches, unaffiliated with the corrupt denominations (Branham's teaching). The exception which is currently underway, is that denominational churches would abandon  being separate, join the movement coming under their leadership. It is essential to the Latter Rain movement for the church to be unified as one, under a central leadership.  Otherwise Christ cannot be incarnated (manifested) in the Church and give his power to conquer the world for Christ.

That the world will be conquered through an elite group of overcomers who produce signs and wonders unlike anything ever seen, even in the early church by the apostles. This they believe will lead us to the greatest revival of history. An endtime harvest of billions of souls, where the majority of the world will be won to Christ and the kingdom would be established or ready to be received by Christ. “This harvest will be so great that no one will look back at the early church as a standard; all will be saying that the Lord has certainly saved His best wine for last. The early church was a firstfruits offering, truly this will be a harvest! It was said of the Apostle Paul that he was turning the world upside down; it will be said of the apostles soon to be anointed that they have turned an upside down world right side up. Nations will tremble at the mention of their name.” (Rick Joyner, Restoration, may/June 1988, the Harvest)

What does Joyner mean they will turn the world right side up? Are they going to undo the work of the Apostle Paul, or maybe he means a new thing altogether.

“Angelic appearances will be common to the saints and a visible glory of the Lord will appear upon some for extended periods of time as power flows through them. There will be no plague, disease, or physical condition, including lost limbs, AIDS, poison gas, or radiation, which will resist the healing and miracle gifts working in the saints during this time” (Rick Joyner, The Harvest, 128-129)

The apostles and prophets would give blessings upon those whom bless, and curses upon those whom they curse. The power of their words would bring results. They will complete the conquest of the nations before Christ returns. The conquering will be done as “Joel's army “ a group of immortal beings that will bring judgment upon the ungodly and all who do not accept the authority of the NEW Apostles and prophets. The tribulation is replaced with manifestations of power executing Gods judgment through Joels army to cleanse the earth of the evil and bring order to establish his kingdom.

Those who go further into the different levels will achieve a certain degree of holiness under the direction of the apostles and prophets. They will overcome death, and will become immortal.

The manifestation of the Sons of God

Rom.8:19 “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope 21because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

“The Earth and all of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, the time when they will come into their maturity and immortalization... When the Church receives its full inheritance and redemption then creation will be redeemed from its cursed condition of decay, change and death... the Church has a responsibility and ministry to the rest of creation. Earth and Its natural creation Is anxiously waiting for the Church to reach full maturity and come to full sonship. When the Church realizes its full sonship, its bodily redemption will cause a redemptive chain reaction throughout all of creation.” (Bill Hamon p. 385 THE ETERNAL CHURCH) This is what is called in the new age the paradigm shift, while biblical terms are used it is identical in its process and affect .

“I see the great year of Jubilee, when we shall pass through the veil into the very Presence of the fullness of God, to be filled with this fullness and go forth proclaiming liberty to all of creation. Romans 8 calls this the “Manifestation of the Sons of God”, and Says the whole creation is groaning and crying for this day. ...This is the ultimate anointing! This is the fullness of the Spirit! This is the Spirit without measure that Jesus had, spoken of in John 3:34, reserved until the end time for His Brethren!”' (EAGLE SAINTS ARISE, Bill Britton)

This whole teaching is based on a distortion of Romans 8:19 which speaks of the “Manifestation of the Sons of God.” The belief is that some will obtain immortality by incarnating Christ before he returns. What is it that all creation is waiting for? According to orthodox Christianity, all creation awaits the removal of the “Curse of Futility”, sin placed upon it by God from the Fall of Adam. What they neglect is the context and the other passages that explain this event vs.22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”

The adoption the redeeming of our body, when, how?

Phil. 3:20-21: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

1Thess. 4:16-17: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

1 Cor.15:51-54: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

After the Ascension, the angels told the Apostles who watched, Acts 1:11    “ This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” The Holy Spirit was sent soon after he ascended nearly 2,000 years age, there is no new sending of the spirit for the Church, nor any other way for Christ to come back but the Scriptural way. He comes back in the same body he left in, not in the church as the body. Anyone who says differently is denying what the revelation of the Scriptures say.

Heb.9:28: “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” It is Christ who appears and changes us, not some event separate from this. We wait for him, we cannot accomplish this on our own. It his coming that is connected to this even, and whether one believes in a pre, mid, or post rapture does not change the connection of his coming for this to occur.

It has always been understood that Jesus Himself is the One Who would do the restoring of the kingdom. When he comes again at the second coming the curse on the earth will be lifted we would be changed and he would reverse the affects of the curse on the earth. But biblically it is not until after the millennium that the new heavens and earth replace the former and death will be no more(Rev.21:4).

But, those who espouse the Manifested Sons of God doctrine have a different take on this. To them, all creation eagerly awaits the time when the “true sons” of God will finally realize “who they are in Christ,” conquerors and overcomers, and will come into their true Glory and Power as the Sons of God. It is they who will be the ones who will remove the curse, overcome all of God's enemies, even death! The historic church has been waiting for God the son in the 2nd coming. They teach that God is waiting for you and I.

In Jewel Van der Merwe's book, Joel's Army, she quotes Earl Paulk a influential “Kingdom Now” pastor, he explains his application of Romans 8:19 “The last enemy to be conquered is death. Who will conquer it? A mature Church will come forth with the kind of authority and power that will be able to stand in the very face of Satan. When the Church reaches that level of maturity, God will be able to say, 'This generation of the Church does not need to die. She has reached a place of maturity. I will translate her because her maturity pleases Me.'“

“Not only will they not have diseases, they will also not die. They will have the kind of imperishable bodies that are talked about in the 15th chapter of Corinthians ... this army is invincible. If you have intimacy with God, they can't kill you.” ( Paul Cain, “Joel's Army,”  1990 p. 218) [For more on Paul Cain's revelation of Joels army> go here]

Jack Deere says, “ they won't be able to kill this army.” John Wimber as well said, “those in this army will have the 'kind of anointing ...his kind of power ... anyone who wants to harm them must die.” This is Joel's Army.

Bill Hamon writes, “The Church will gain victory over the last enemy, death. Victory speaks of a battle being fought. The last day saints will wage and win a warfare against death. The last generation saints will come to translating faith in preparation for participation in the translation.” (The Eternal Church, P.349)

“Yes, sin, sickness and disease, spiritual death, poverty, and everything else that's of the devil once ruled us. But now, bless God, we rule them -- for this is the Day of Dominion!” (Kenneth Hagin, “Rejoice! This Is the Day Which the Lord Hath Made!” The Word of Faith, Sept. 1996 )

“When the Sons of God are manifested. “The saints will take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever... the Sons of Yahweh, one like the Son of man - not the lonely and blessed Yahshua of Nazareth alone, but the complete body of sons - Yahweh's masterpiece of the ages, the body of Yahshua, the house not made with hands - My Father's house of many mansions, each one whether individually or collectively 'An habitation of Yahweh through the Spirit”...these sons of Yahweh are indeed the 'One like the Son of man.”'(NEW BEGINNINGS, George Hawtin )

Speaking on the feasts (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles)”.... typify the whole Church Age, beginning with the death of Jesus on the cross, and consummating in “the manifestation of the Sons of God”-the “overcomers” who will become perfected and step into immortality in order to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.” (George Warnock, The Feast of Tabernacles,   1951, pp. 14-20)

Quite a difference from the saints inheriting the kingdom when Christ comes and being servants (co-heirs) in it, adopted as sons (Rev.20:6). This is not a kingdom operated by humility but of power and force. This is why the take it by force teaching , and the pulling down of strongholds. Never mind that neither Jesus or an apostle never taught this to others, because this is what God is doing now. Its new, its fresh!

The Central theme to Manifest Sons of God doctrine is the belief that sonship to God comes through higher revelation via apostles and prophets. The Christian life, has levels to go through, to reach maturity. The first level is that of servant of God, the next is that of friend of God, following this is to become a son of God and the realization of gods ourselves; much like the new age potential in man.

The Scriptures teach that we are servants (Galatians 3:10), friends (John 15:14-15), and sons (I John 3:1). There is no Scriptural support that Paul who was the least of the apostles, or any other apostle ever went beyond servanthood attaining sonship. Many epistles begin with the salutation by an apostle as a servant of God. There is no teaching from Paul or any of the other apostles believed they would go beyond these “levels” to become gods themselves.

This teaching today comes disguised in the word faith sector of the church where they teach we can speak things into existence just as God did ( Rom. 4:17)

Christ comes into the Church before he comes for the Church

Some believe that the second coming of Jesus is to be “in the Church,” before he comes for the Church. That the Church, his body will actually become Christ on earth, glorious and triumphant. They will go Conquer the land and then rule the nations with a rod of iron. Some believe that after the Church has taken dominion over the nations, she will hasten the day that will call Jesus back to earth and hand the nations over to Him.

This is nothing new and Charles Taze Russell actually taught this over 100 years ago. If you don't recognize his name he founded the Jehovah's Witnesses cult.

“Our high calling is so great, so much above the comprehension of men, that they feel that we are guilty of blasphemy when we speak of being 'new creatures'- not any longer human, but 'partakers of the divine nature.”“ .it is claiming that we are divine beings- hence all such are Gods,. Thus we have a family of God .... Now we appear like men, and all die naturally like men, but in the resurrection we will rise in our true character as Gods ... Then the whole family- head and body are addressed as one, as they will be under Christ, their head, saying: Arise 0 God, judge (rule, bless) the earth: for thou shaft inherit all nations. The Mighty God, and Everlasting Father of the nations is Christ whose members in particular we are.” (Watchtower, 10 & 11/1881, p. 10, Reprints, p. 301)

“ under him as our head constitute the whole body of Christ, the 'Mighty God' (El-powerful one) to rule and bless the nations- ... and therefore be members of that company which as a whole will be the Everlasting Father to the restored race.” (Watchtower, 10 & 11 / 1881, p. 10, Reprints P. 298)

As we can see this is well over 100 years old from a group that is a cult now, just as they were then. While this teaching may have changed in terms it has remained consistent. The JW's believe in an anointed 144,000 that the earthly class must relate to for receiving the benefits of the new covenant. Sound familiar?  It should since this is exactly what is being taught by the apostle prophet movement. that we must come under their leadership and become an army to be victorious in the last days. This is just as cultic as the JW's view.  There are no Apostles today as there were when the Lord hand picked the 12 and others who were apostolic legates under them. The simple reason is that no one has seen the risen Lord to qualify. All the visions and dreams do not to qualify someone for apostleship (see Acts 1)

But inside the Christian Church they taught no different. From Warnock's manifesto “Christ should visit the saints in the last great Feast, and minister His life 'In secret 'before He is openly manifested! Christians think it is a horrible thing that Christ's second Coming should be spoken of in this manner. When a Christian comes to that place where he really appreciates and understands and enjoys Spiritual things, then he can truly rejoice in the fact that Christ is coming back again to be manifested within. (THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES, George Warnock, Bill Britton 1951, p. 108). When he speaks of Christ he is meaning Christ being the anointing, not the person of Jesus.

William Branham “In them days it was God in a man, His Son, Jesus Christ. ...It was God In Christ, God, in a man, the fullness of the Godhead bodily In a man. God, in a man; now, it's God in men. See? The fullness of God in the Godhead bodily in His entire Church, manifesting Himself, fulfilling His Word. (THE MIGHTY GOD UNVEILED BEFORE US p.20) Here we have a  the Manifest Sons of God teaching in embryo. Branham's misunderstanding of how God was in Christ with no real equivalency he paralleled this to God in the Church. The reason for this is,  “ that God has always had skin on Him.” (ibid.p.21)

“God hid it from the eyes of the wise and prudent and promised to reveal it to the sons of God in the last days, when the sons of God would be made manifest. When God's sons that rejoiced with Him before the foundation of the world, when the great revelation of the Godhead and things would be brought down in the last days, He would manifest these things to the sons of God. You know the Scripture teaches that. And here we are.

That's the reason that God is opening these things to us. God is bringing His sons into manifestation. He's going beyond the limitations of any human knowledge, way into the spiritual revelations and bringing it down. (SERPENT'S SEED)

Earl Paul has been saying for years “We are on earth as extensions of God to finish the work He began. We are the essence of God, His on-going incarnation in the world.” (Earl Paulk, Held In The Heavens, 1985, p.   125).

The Church is not God nor the fullness of God, this denies the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son because it makes the Church on equality with him as many sons with the same nature.

“The completion of the incarnation of God in the world must be in His church...Jesus Christ is the firstfruit, but without the ongoing harvest, the incarnation will never be complete.” (Earl Paulk, The Wounded Body of Christ, p. 43).
“The living Word of God, Jesus Christ, was conceived in the womb of a virgin. The Word became flesh in the God-Man Jesus Christ (John 1:1). Likewise, the Word of God must be made flesh in the Church in order for us to bear witness to the Kingdom which God has called us to demonstrate.” (Earl Paulk, Held In The Heavens, 1985, p.60)

I would think it is apparent that there is a vast difference between the word made flesh by God incarnating in Jesus and becoming man and his residing in his people, the Church.

“The living Word of God, Jesus Christ, was conceived in the womb of a virgin. The Word became flesh in the God-Man Jesus Christ (John 1:1). Likewise, the Word of God must be made flesh in the Church in order for us to bear witness to the Kingdom which God has called us to demonstrate.” (Earl Paulk, Held In The Heavens , 1985, p.60)

Frangipane agrees with Paulk as he says,  “When the Spirit of Christ comes into the physical world, He must enter through a physical body... When Christ first entered our world as a child, it was Mary whom God chose to give Christ birth. Mary's life symbolized the qualities the Church must possess to walk in the fullness of Christ ... [God is preparing us as He did Mary to give birth to the ministry of His Son. Even now, in the spiritual womb of the virgin church, the holy purpose of Christ is growing, awaiting maturity; ready to be born in power in the timing of God ... the virgin Church is “in labour and in pain to give birth” (Rev 12:1-2) ... even now, he trembles and the heavens watch in awe, for I say to you, once again, the virgin is with child. Before Jesus Himself returns, the last virgin Church shall become pregnant with the promise of God. Out of her travail, the Body of Christ shall come forth, raised to the full statute of its Head, the Lord Jesus. Corporately manifested in holiness, power and love, the Bride of Christ shall arise.” (Francis Frangipane, 'In the Presence of God” Now Wine Press, 1994.Chapter: “The Virgin Shall Be With Child)

This is manifest Sons of God doctrine, it may not be called this by the speakers some may not even know of its roots but most to believe are well aware of its implications.

Kenneth Hagin believes the same thing with only a slightly different angle “We [the church] are Christ.” (As Christ is -- So are we, (Tape #44H06)

“Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” (Kenneth Hagin, “The Incarnation,” The Word of Faith, p.13, Dec. 1980).

Kenneth Copeland agrees with his mentor, “[Man] was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God's presence without any consciousness of inferiority...God made us as much like Himself as possible...He made us the same class of being that He is Himself...Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms equal with God...[The] believer is called Christ...That's who we are; we're Christ” (Zoe: The God-Kind of Life, . pgs. 35-36, 41, 1989)

Copeland  states “Jesus is no longer the only begotten Son of God.” (Now We Are In Christ Jesus,  p.24,1980)

This means Christ was the pattern son, not unique, but only the first of a kind of many, many more.

Rod Parsley states, “In the old covenant we did not have Jesus in the flesh. In the next covenant we had Jesus manifest in the flesh. In the next covenant we had Jesus manifest in the flesh in a person but of many in a different form.” (Breakthrough  9/19/2000) Parsleys three covenants has the Church becoming what Jesus was exclusively.  Yet he teaches now “For in him dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily that’s what it said the fullness of the Godhead bodily. .. Now it didn’t say anywhere that you wouldn’t have the same thing. Didn’t say anywhere that you couldn’t obtain unto the same thing.” “In Acts the matter  is you’re an heir a joint heir with Jesus Christ. Jesus said don’t look at what I’m doin, brother what your gonna do is greater than what I’m gonna do. ”  (Ibid.)

Morris Currello leading the unaware in a chant “Who are you? Come on, who are you? Come on, say it: ‘Sons of God!’ Come on, say it! And what does work inside us, brother, is that manifestation of the expression of all that God is and all that God has. And when we stand up here, brother, you’re not looking at Morris Cerullo; you’re looking at God. You’re looking at Jesus.” (Morris Cerullo, The Endtime Manifestation of the Sons of God World Evangelism tape 1)

Benny Hinn, When you say, 'I am a Christian,' you are saying, 'I am mashiach,' in the Hebrew. I am a little messiah walking on earth, in other words. That is a shocking revelation. ...May I say it like this? You are a little god on earth running around” (Praise-a-Thon, TBN,  November 6,1990)

“Are you ready for some real revelation knowledge....you are god” (Benny Hinn, “Our Position In Christ”, tape  AO31190-1)

This certainly is a revelation, to God.

Hagin, Copeland, Hinn and the much of the Word/Faith Movement all are saying basically the same thing. Why? Because they are coming from the same source, the Latter Rain teachings which are enjoying new growth unlike it ever did before. The new anointing that is being dispersed brings their followers to a “new knowledge” of the Scriptures.

D.R. McConnell ( a critic of this ) writes about the new revelation knowledge “When these truths really gain the ascendancy in us, they will make us spiritual supermen, masters of demons and disease. It will be the end of weakness and failure. In the presence of these tremendous realities, we arise and take our place. We go out and live as supermen indwelt by God.” (A Different Gospel, P. 21, D.R. McConnell, 1988.)

Much of this has been birthed through the Vineyard Church via the signs and wonders movement, Bob Jones, “the Church is in no condition for the Lord to come today ... He's going to come for a church that is mature in righteousness... progressively going in this righteousness until you take on THE VERY DIVINE NATURE OF CHRIST HIMSELF and you begin to see Christ in the Church. Christ won't come for the church until you see Christ in the Church until the Church looks like Jesus. PAPA (God) planted Jesus, He sowed Him down here in this earth to have a whole nation of brothers and sisters that looked just like Jesus ... His Son was a ALPHA SON, your children are the OMEGA sons and daughters.” [Mike Bickle interjects here, “Jesus was the beginning, but our children and us, we're included in this ... we're the end of this thing.” (quoted in Discernment newsletter)

To put sinners saved by grace on an equality with Christ shows how deficient these so called “anointed ones” are in biblical understanding.

Today this movement comes in many names, the current and most popular cliché' is “the anointed,” Christ, they say they are “anointed” Christ, exactly what Jesus warned about in Mt.24. That they can do exactly what he did, dispense the anointing and do miracles. Welcome to the Church of the 21st century.

sources used:  

·        Discernment Newsletter  Jewel Van der Merwe

·        Vengeance is ours, by Al Dager                                                     

·        Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements  




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