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[All quotes are taken from The Complete Bible Answer Book, by Hank Hanegraaff, Collector's Edition, copyright 2008, Thomas Nelson]
See also, Does God Have Faith?
As so many others in the false Christian world (see our article on suicide), Hank Hanegraaff teaches you can kill yourself and go to heaven. Hank thinks as long as you “sincerely desire forgiveness” you'll be OK. This is a very destructive heresy (2 Peter 2:1), especially for those who despairingly want out of this life. This advice can easily lead people literally straight to hell.
In his book, The Complete Bible Answer Book, Hanegraaff claims,
those who sincerely desire forgiveness can be absolutely certain that God will never spurn them. (p. 398)
This statement is made in the context of the question, “Is Suicide An Unforgivable Sin?” Hanegraaff answers,
First, no single act is unforgivable. The unforgivable sin is a continuous, ongoing rejection of forgiveness. Those who refuse forgiveness through Christ will spend eternity separated from his love and grace. Conversely, those who sincerely desire forgiveness can be absolutely certain that God will never spurn them. (p. 398)
This is so foolish. It is not that “a continuous, ongoing rejection of forgiveness” is “unforgivable.” It is that anyone who dies in their sins is not forgiven (Revelation 21:8). Obviously, if a man lived for 100 years and had “a continuous, ongoing rejection of forgiveness,” but then repented (in Truth), he would be forgiven (John 3:16). Only if a man were to die in such a state would he not be forgiven. But, this is not because rejecting God's forgiveness is an unforgivable sin, but because,
it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
When unbelievers die in their sin (as in John 8:24), any and all sin they have committed is not forgiven. It is not because those sins were “unforgivable.” It is because they died in them, and now they face God's judgment (Amos 4:12). Thus, the sin of “a continuous, ongoing rejection of forgiveness” is no different. It is simply one sin among many that is not forgiven, if a person dies in that state.
All men will be judged according to their deeds, just as both the Old Testament (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) and New Testament warn (Romans 2:6-10; John 5:28-29). And unless their sins are washed away in the blood of the Lamb (as in 1 John 1:7), they will be “judged according to their works” (Revelation 20:12), not forgiven, and “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
Nevertheless, Jesus did speak of a sin in Matthew 12:22-32; Mark 3:22-30; and Luke 12:10 that He explicitly said will never be forgiven. It is an “unforgivable” sin. Those there committed it, as it is written,
"but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation " - because they said, "He has an unclean spirit." (Mark 3:29-30)
In the face of Christ Himself with the undeniable works of the Holy Spirit manifest before them,1 they said, “He has an unclean spirit.” That sin Christ said, “never has forgiveness.”
Hanegraaff turns the unforgivable sin into a forgivable sin (“no single act is unforgivable”) and twists suicide into a forgivable event for “those who sincerely desire forgiveness.” Indeed, an unsuccessful suicide attempt could be forgiven. But a successful one is an entirely different matter. Such a feat seals the fate (Hebrews 9:27).
Although Hanegraaff warns, “those who take the sacred name of Christ upon their lips dare not contemplate it” (p. 398), his warning has no teeth. Hank says, “suicide is the murder of oneself” (p. 399). But, according to Hank's scheme, as long as you “sincerely desire forgiveness” “God will never spurn” you. Thus, Hanegraaff gives the green light to those in despair to blow their brains out and supposedly go to heaven. After all, “God will never spurn them.” What a hellish lie! Matthew 24:13; John 15:1-6; Romans 11:22; 1 Corinthians 15:2; Colossians 1:23; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 12:25; and 1 John 5:4 all reveal and thus warn such an act (successful that is) will damn the soul to hell. For those who do so show their faith and hope is not in Christ, and thus God will spurn them (Romans 2:8-9). For more, see our article on suicide.
The Complete Bible Answer Book writes at the end of the book in “About the Author:”
Hank Hanegraaff serves as president and chairman of the board of the North Carolina-based Christian Research Institute International. He is also host of the Bible Answer Man radio program, which is broadcast daily across the United States and Canada – as well as around the world through the Internet at www.equip.org.
Widely considered to be one of the world's leading Christian apologists, . . .
Those with a discerning eye should note “one of the world's leading Christian apologists” does not fit a godly man (Luke 6:26; John 15:19).
In Hank's The Complete Bible Answer Book Hanegraaff answers the question, “Does God Have a Gender?” After quoting Genesis 1:27 Hank answers,
As God created both male and female in his image, he does not participate in one or the other gender, but rather transcends gender. (p. 102)
Despite the fact that the Bible nowhere teaches this concept that “he does not participate in one or the other gender” (Proverbs 30:5-6), the very passage Hanegraaff cites points to the very opposite of Hank's claim. God made beings like Himself, male and female, duh (Genesis 1:26 “them”).
Furthermore, it's evident Hank forgot about Jesus.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).
Jesus is a Man (1 Timothy 2:5) and He is God (2 Peter 1:1). He clearly does “participate in one or the other gender” in Christ.
Moreover, God “participates” and clearly reveals Himself to be a Man over and again throughout Scripture (e.g. Genesis 3:8; 18:1-19:1; 32:22-30/Hosea 12:3-5; Judges 13:2-23). He explicitly calls Himself a Man (אִישׁ ['iysh], e.g. Genesis 32:24; Joshua 5:13; Zechariah 6:12/Jeremiah 23:5-6), is called by others a Man (e.g. Judges 13:6, 8, 10-11), and in Judges 13:11 the Lord specifically confirms He is the Man (הָאִיש).
So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man, he said to Him, "Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?" And He said, "I am." (see also Judges 13:22-23)
Hanegraaff brushes these aside calling them “anthropomorphisms or personifications that reveal God to us in ways we can understand” (p. 103). In other words, Hanegraaff is telling people not to believe their Bibles.
Also, God is revealed in the female as well. Christ is wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24), yet wisdom is a “she” (e.g. Proverbs 1:20; 8:1; 9:1). Jerusalem is also noted in the female (Jeremiah 33:16) and is “the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:25-26).
Instead of reasoning these away as some form of misinformation to communicate with lower mankind, they ought to be received and believed to the glory of God.
As should be already apparent, the God of Hanegraaff is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is further illustrated by his answer for question #49, “How can Christians legitimize a God who orders the genocide of entire nations?” Hank answers,
First, a text without a context is a pretext. God's commands to destroy the nations inhabiting the promised land of Canaan must never be interpreted in isolation from their immediate contexts. The command to “destroy them totally” (Deuteronomy 7:2) is contextualized by the words: “Do not intermarry with them . . . for they will turn your sons and daughters away from following me to serve other gods . . . This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire.” (vv. 3-5). As such, the aim of God's command was not the obliteration of the wicked but the obliteration of wickedness. (p. 156, underlining added)
Hank does not know the God of the Bible. The Lord's aim every day, all day long, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, hour by hour, moment by moment, minute by minute, for causing “the dawn to know its place” is “that it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it” (Job 38:13). In other words, God's aim in every new day is “the obliteration of the wicked.” He is constantly and continually causing "the dawn to know its place." “God is angry every day” (Psalm 7:11) and He fulfills His anger every day, as He kills thousands every day and sends them to hell (Proverbs 27:20a).
Immediately following the gender question above (question 27), Hank deals with question 28.
Can God create a rock so heavy that he cannot move it? (p. 104)
Hank's answer? No.
. . . just as it is impossible to make a one-sided triangle, so it is impossible to make a rock too heavy to be moved. What an all-powerful God can create he can obviously move. Put another way, God can do everything that is logically possible. (p. 104-105)
So, even though the angel said,
For with God nothing will be impossible (Luke 1:37),
Hank confines God to “logically possible” things. “Nothing” (Luke 1:37) is quite encompassing, and “impossible” is by definition “not possible.”
. . . with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27).
Evidently, Jesus was thinking illogically here, or He forgot to add, “logically possible” to the parameter of “all things.” Hank confines Christ's “all things” and limits them to man's “logically possible” mind (Jeremiah 17:5). But, Scripture is not so restrained (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Part of Hank's answer includes the following argument.
While it is true that God can do anything that is consistent with his nature, it is absurd to suggest that he can do everything. God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18); he cannot be tempted (James 1:13); and he cannot cease to exist (Psalm 102:25-27). (p. 104)
It is true that God cannot lie, but when You are the Truth (John 14:6), and everything You say becomes reality (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:16), this reality (Titus 1:2) is not a limiting factor.2 Moreover, it is indeed true. “God cannot be tempted by evil” (James 1:13). Yet, He was tempted nonetheless (Matthew 4:1; Hebrews 4:15). And, as for not existing, who says He can't pull that off? Hank does, but God doesn't (Proverbs 30:5-6).
Actually, that's virtually what Jesus asked for in the garden. It was utterly impossible what Christ asked for. He requested,
Take this cup away from me (Mark 14:36).
The “cup” of which Jesus spoke was the cup of suffering and death He was about to face (Mark 10:38; 14:23-24; John 18:11). Jesus asked that this would not happen! That was utterly impossible. God had already given His Word on the matter (e.g. Isaiah 53; etc.). Christ was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). He is the One and Only Savior (Isaiah 43:11) “who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). He basically asked that He not be who He is.
Yet, Jesus said God could do it. In the very context of this request the Lord said,
Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. (Mark 14:36)
That equals, “Father, You can do it.” Christ pushes over the edge of eternity “all things.” Jesus was not under any delusion of “logically possible” limitations upon God and what He could do.
Finally, Hank begins answering question 28 with these words:
This question is a classic straw man that has most Christians looking like the proverbial deer in the headlights. At best, it challenges God's omnipotence. At worst, it undermines his existence.
First, there is a problem with the premise of the question. (p. 104)
No, there's a problem with Hank's answer. It is a perfectly legitimate question, and it is Hanegraaff who challenges God's omnipotence and undermines His existence. The answer is “Yes, and then He could lift it.” The Almighty God has already proven Himself on this kind of thing. He lost a wrestling match with a man whom He made (Genesis 32:22-30; Hosea 12:3-4). Truly, “all things are possible for You” (Mark 14:36).
Under question #40, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” Hank writes,
First, Christian theism acknowledges that God created the potential for evil because God created humans with freedom of choice. We choose to love or hate, to do good or evil. The record of history bears eloquent testimony to the fact that humans of their own free will have actualized the reality of evil through such choices.
Furthermore, without choice, love is meaningless. God is neither a cosmic rapist who forces his love on people, nor a cosmic puppeteer who forces people to love him. (p. 135-136)
So, according to Hank, a “cosmic rapist” is One “who forces his love on people.” The problem is, that's exactly what God does. As it is written,
God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5).
We were dead. God in His love made us alive. That's as forceful as it gets, especially considering we did not want to be made alive (Proverbs 8:36). We sought “only rebellion” (Proverbs 17:11). We did not seek God (Romans 3:11). We hated Him (Romans 1:30), so much so we couldn't stand to think of Him (Romans 1:28; Psalm 10:4). We refused to come to Him (John 3:20), but instead followed after Satan (Acts 26:18; 1 John 5:19). Our father was the Devil (as in John 8:44; 1 John 3:8, 10) and the desires of our father we wanted to do (as in John 8:44; Romans 3:15).
Yet, God “made us alive” together with Himself (Colossians 2:13). That is most profoundly forcing One's Self upon another. Hank calls Him a “cosmic rapist.” He blasphemes (2 Timothy 3:2) and denies the Lord who bought him (2 Peter 2:1).
Hank also calls Him a “cosmic puppeteer who forces people to love him.” Thank God He does force us to love Him, otherwise we would not; and any claim to the contrary is a proud boast against God and His Word. How dare anyone take credit for any good they might do. As David wrote,
My goodness is nothing apart from You. (Psalm 16:2)
And as Paul wrote,
it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
If it is not Paul, but Christ, then it is Christ in Paul loving God. That's about as “forced” as it can get.
All men have within them a “desperately wicked” heart (Jeremiah 17:9) that “renounces the Lord” (Psalm 10:3). If God did not force us to love Him, we never would; and we'd suffer in hell forever for it. “He saved us,” not we ourselves (Titus 3:5). He gave us, forced upon us, a new heart (as in Ezekiel 36:26)3 We were incapable of loving Him (Jeremiah 13:23), didn't want to love Him (Romans 1:30), and He saved us from such a miserable state.
But, to follow Hank's logic, God is the great “cosmic puppeteer,” because not only is salvation (loving God, etc.) forced upon people, “all things” are forced upon everyone and everything everywhere at all times.
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
There is not a single thing in existence or non-existence (e.g. Ecclesiastes 4:3) that is not included in “all things” (Romans 11:36). God even creates evil (Isaiah 45:7 KJV), causes it (e.g. 2 Samuel 12:11-12), and orchestrates it (e.g. 2 Chronicles 18:18-22). The reason men are sinners, is because He has made them so (Romans 11:32; Proverbs 16:4).
Men know all too well this is so, but they suppress the truth (Romans 1:18-32) and hate the light (John 3:20). They know. They are quite acquainted with the many inescapable facts of life of which they had no power over whatsoever, and of which clearly God was, is, and will be the only One to control. There is an entire universe of which men know little about and had nothing to do with its existence and continued function. There is likewise a massive earth of which they know little about (contrary to man's proud claim) and had nothing to do with its existence and little to nothing to do with its continued function. Within this universe and earth they were born, not by their choice or doing, and they were born sinners, not by their choice or doing. They are evil by decree (Romans 11:32), not by free will (Romans 9:16, 18). But Hank fights against the Truth.
Hank pushes his false doctrine of free will to an extreme lunacy in question #155. In answering “Why should I believe in hell?” Hanegraaff writes,
Furthermore, the concept of choice demands that we believe in hell. Without hell, there is no choice. And without choice, heaven would not be heaven; heaven would be hell. The righteous would inherit a counterfeit heaven, and the unrighteous would be incarcerated in heaven against their wills, which would be a torture worse than hell. Imagine spending a lifetime voluntarily distanced from God only to find yourself involuntarily dragged into his loving presence for all eternity; the alternative to hell is worse than hell itself in that humans made in the image of God would be stripped of freedom and forced to worship God against their will. (p. 472-473)
This is so full of nuts, it needs to be broken down a little. First, Hank claims,
the concept of choice demands that we believe in hell.
Wrong! Scripture does not teach this concept (Proverbs 30:5-6), but it does teach what demands that we believe in hell. God demands that we believe in hell, both by precept (Proverbs 13:13) and by His existence (Luke 12:4-5). He does not tell us to believe in hell, or demand us to believe in hell, or warn us about hell, because of choice. Choice is not God. Choice does not decide who perishes or who doesn't. God does (Romans 9:11-23). We do not even decide if we perish or not. God does (Romans 9:18). Even our choice to turn to Him is not our choice but His (Romans 9:16; John 15:16). The reality of hell has everything to do with God. The concept of God demands that we believe in hell.
Nevertheless, Hank continues,
Without hell, there is no choice. And without choice, heaven would not be heaven;
In this statement Hanegraaff blasphemes the Heavens and declares the real Heaven “not . . . heaven,” because what he is arguing against is actually the reality God has made. There is no choice, in the sense in which Hanegraaff speaks.
Hank's idea of choice, as illustrated above, is without the control of God, without the truth of Romans 11:36; Proverbs 16:4, 9; 20:24; Jeremiah 10:23; Lamentations 3:37-38; etc.. Therefore, Hank's “freedom of choice” (p. 135) is apart from the sovereign hand of God, outside of His absolute control. Hank writes,
God, the personification of love, grants us the freedom of choice. Without such freedom, we would be little more than preprogrammed robots. (p. 136)
Please note God's preprogramming in Isaiah 46:10.
Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ”My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10-11)
in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:16)
David did not have a choice in the matter. His days were already written down, already determined, already declared “from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10). This is true for all mankind and all existence (Romans 11:36). The “choice” of which Hanegraaff speaks does not exist and never has. Therefore, since Hank's premise “without a choice” is actually reality, then Hank declares “heaven would not be heaven,” calls heaven “a counterfeit heaven,” and thereby speaks evil of Heaven Himself.
In the large quote above Hank dives off the deep end and writes,
The righteous would inherit a counterfeit heaven, and the unrighteous would be incarcerated in heaven against their wills, which would be a torture worse than hell.
So, what Scripture calls “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11) Hanegraaff calls “worse than hell.” Jesus called heaven “Paradise” (Luke 23:43).4 To “be incarcerated in heaven against their wills” equals to “be incarcerated in Paradise against their wills.” Yes, indeed, that sounds really tough, but seriously “torture worse than hell”?
Imagine spending a lifetime voluntarily distanced from God . . . .
Here again Hanegraaff's canine teeth (John 10:12) reveal themselves. “Voluntarily” (as Hank is using it) is not in the picture. The wicked are made wicked by God (Proverbs 16:4) and can do nothing but wickedness (Jeremiah 13:23). That's not very “voluntary.” Indeed, at the same time, “they have brought evil upon themselves” (Isaiah 3:9), but Hank excludes the former truth and reasons to his own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).
Finally, in the large quote above Hank writes,
Imagine spending a lifetime voluntarily distanced from God only to find yourself involuntarily dragged into his loving presence for all eternity; the alternative to hell is worse than hell itself in that humans made in the image of God would be stripped of freedom and forced to worship God against their will.
Can you image being “involuntarily dragged into his loving presence for all eternity”? Doesn't that just sound like an eternal bummer? And imagine, sitting there in Paradise being forced to worship God against your will, instead of being tormented in the lake of fire. Which would you choose? We know Hank's “choice.” He considers Paradise “worse than hell itself,” if you are forced to worship God there. Hanegraaff is truly insane.
By the way, the wicked will be forced to worship God (Psalm 22:29; 86:9; Philippians 2:10; Revelation 15:4). They will also be in His presence, but in torment (Revelation 14:9-11; 21:8).
Finally, Hank reveals his free-will duplicity and hypocrisy in his answer to, “Can a person be argued into the Kingdom of God?”
First, no matter how eloquent you may or may not be, you cannot change anyone else's heart- only the Holy Spirit can do that. Thus, while it is your responsibility to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15-16), it is God who changes the heart.
Furthermore, the problem is not that people cannot believe, it is that they will not believe. (p. 113)
So, immediately after saying, “only the Holy Spirit can” “change anyone else's heart,” and God is the One who “changes the heart,” he says, “the problem is not that people cannot believe.” If only God can change the heart, then “people cannot believe” unless He changes their heart. Just as it is written,
Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them." (John 12:39-40; see also Romans 9:16, 18)
Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:11-12,
Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. (see also 1 Timothy 3:15)
Paul likewise declares to the Corinthians,
Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)
Hank is asked,
Must women be silent in church? (p. 172, question #56)
Anyone who truly knew and believed the Bible wouldn't need to ask this question. Nonetheless, Hank answers,
First, Paul obviously does not intend to say that women must always be silent in church. (p. 172)
So to begin with, Hank deceives the simple (Proverbs 14:15) by telling them virtually, “Paul didn't mean what he wrote.” Then Hank continues,
Rather, in a culture in which women were largely illiterate and unlearned, Paul is saying that until a woman learns she must not presume to teach. (p. 172)
This extra revelation must be in the Hank Hanegraaff manuscript, 1st Hank, for it certainly isn't found in holy writ (Proverbs 30:5-6). Hank continues,
If Paul had intended to say a woman must always be silent, he would not have given women instructions on how to pray or prophesy publicly in church (1 Corinthians 11:5). (p. 172)
This too must be found in the extra-biblical manuscript evidence of 1st Hank, for “in church” is nowhere found in 1 Corinthians 11 in Paul's instructions on praying and prophesying. Women could indeed prophesy publicly (outside of church). There is no prohibition against that. But, Paul was not lying when he said, “it is shameful for women to speak in church” (1 Corinthians 14:35) and “the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). Hank discards His commandments.
In this same section Hanegraaff continues in his extra-biblical revelations and claims,
Paul chastises the Jewish men of his day for excluding women from learning, thus leaving them vulnerable to deception. (p. 172-173)
Again, you will search in vain to find that in Scripture (Proverbs 30:5-6). Hank continues,
Just as Adam was responsible for failing to protect Eve from deception, so too the men of Paul's day would be held responsible if they hindered women from studying and growing in their faith. (p. 173)
None of that is in the Word. This is Hank's imagination gone wild, or it's a borrowed addition. Either way, it's not the Word of God, but rather the word of Hank (Jeremiah 17:5).
Further evidence of an awol brain can be found in Hank's profound statement that he knows,
Satan cannot read our minds (p. 341, question #113 “Does Satan have access to our minds?”).
Hank gives no Scripture to substantiate this statement (which sadly is not a problem for many), but nonetheless, this is quite a claim. The god of this age is able to blind every unbelieving mind on the planet (2 Corinthians 4:4) and deceive the whole world (Revelation 12:9). He “works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2) as they are “captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26) and under his power (Acts 26:18; 1 John 5:19). Satan is able to reach into the hearts of men and take out the Word that was planted therein (Mark 4:15; Luke 8:12). He can put into the heart (John 13:2), fill the heart (Acts 5:3), enter a man (Luke 22:3), and sift a man (Luke 22:31).
Satan is very powerful. Whether he can read our minds or not is never specifically addressed. Nonetheless, this doesn't slow down Hanegraaff from finding an answer.
Conveniently fitting for a heart trained in covetous practices (2 Peter 2:14), Hanegraaff claims the tithe is still in effect. He says,
tithing is as important today as it has ever been. (p. 444)
The only New Testament verse Hanegraaff gives to justify this claim is Matthew 23:23.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. (Matthew 23:23)
Jesus was speaking to a group that rejected Him and who were under the law, as Jesus says, “weightier matters of the law.” But,
Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:4)
Matthew 23:23 is no passage to prove “tithing is as important today as it has ever been.” People are indeed free to give ten percent (as Abraham and Jacob did, Genesis 14:20; 28:22), and indeed should be giving, as is characteristic of any godly person,(Proverbs 4:9-10; 11:24-25). But, the tithe (specifically ten percent) is not a command found in the new covenant.
Hank believes people become disembodied souls when they die. This simply is not Scriptural. In answer to the question, “When do we receive our resurrected bodies?” Hank writes,
This is a question I encountered frequently after the death of my father. Family members and friends wanted to know whether my dad had become a disembodied soul or whether he received his resurrection body the moment he died.
First, Scripture clearly refers to the moment of death as disembodiment, not re-embodiment. (p. 450, underlining added)
Actually, Scripture clearly refers to both.
In his answer Hanegraaff refers to 2 Corinthians 5:6 & 8 regarding the disembodiment, but the verses just prior speak of the re-embodiment God promises immediately after death.
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:1-4)
When Paul says, “we have a building from God” he is talking of a heavenly body God has for us, so that “we shall not be found naked.” In other words, we won't be a disembodied spirit.
This is further seen in Christ's conversation with the Sadducees about the resurrection when He said,
But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob “? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Matthew 22:31-32)
Here Jesus points out that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, though indeed their bodies are dead in the grave, yet they are alive in resurrected bodies nevertheless.
In the parallel passage in Luke 20 Jesus even goes so far as to point out,
For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him. (Luke 20:37)
“All live to Him.” In other words, all are in resurrected bodies, even the wicked. Luke 16:19-31 well illustrates this. The rich man dies and goes to Hades, and he finds himself in a body (“my tongue”). He is in Hades very much alive, but in physical torment (“this flame”). He communicates with Abraham, who is also depicted in a physical body (“Abraham's bosom”), about Lazarus, who is also noted to be in flesh (“dip the tip of his finger in water”). The afterlife is very physical. Indeed, “all live to Him,” either in Paradise or in torment.
Hank's clouds are non-clouds, and he makes Jesus out to be a liar when he answers question #159, “Is 'coming on the clouds' a reference to Christ's second coming?”
First, when Jesus told Caiaphas and the court that condemned him to death that he was the Son of Man who would come “on the clouds of heaven” he was not speaking of his second coming but of the coming judgment of Jerusalem (Matthew 26:63-64). As Caiaphas and the court well knew, clouds were a common Old Testament symbol pointing to God as the sovereign judge of the nations. In the words of Isaiah, “See, the Lord rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them” (Isaiah 19:1, emphasis added). Like the Old Testament prophets, Jesus employs the symbolism of clouds to warn his hearers that as judgment fell on Egypt, so would judgment soon befall Jerusalem. (p. 484-485)
First, who says God did not literally ride “on a swift cloud”? Hank does, Scripture does not. Second, Hank claims, “clouds were a common Old Testament symbol pointing to God as the sovereign judge of the nations.” This is totally bogus. It's so common it doesn't exist. He conveniently gives not one example.5
Finally, to make Jesus' words “symbolism” is to make Him a liar, because He told Caiaphas very clearly,
hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven. (Matthew 26:64)
Christ spoke the truth, just as John did in Revelation 1:7.
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. and all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
More of Hanks fiction can be seen in his answer to the question, “What does it mean to interpret the Bible literally?” Hank argues it should not be taken literally.
In evidence one need only read the preceding verses which are packed with prophetic hyperbole: “Wail for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame” (vv. 6-8, emphasis added). Even the most pedantic literalist intuitively recognizes that Isaiah is not literally intending to infer that all hands will literally go limp and that every heart will literally melt. Nor is he literalistically predicting that every Babylonian face will be on fire any more than John is using wooden literalism to prophesy that the two witnesses in Revelation will literally emit flames of fire from their mouths (Revelation 11:5). (p. 527, reference is Isaiah 13:6-8)
Evidently, if Hank can't picture it happening, it must not be real. Hank's standard of “intuitively” equals “your own understanding” which Proverbs 3:5 counsels against. The standard is the Word itself for light of understanding (Psalm 36:9; Proverbs 6:23).
There is nothing in the Word dictating every hand couldn't go limp, and the heart melting is a way the Word describes faint heartedness (e.g. Deuteronomy 1:28; 20:8).6 Nonetheless, it's evident Hanegraaff rejects the Word of the Lord on the two witnesses in Revelation 11. There is nothing indicating anything but that being literally fulfilled.
Finally, it is crucial to correctly interpret fantasy imagery in apocalyptic passages – such as an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns (Revelation 12:3); locusts with human faces, women's hair, and lions teeth (9:7); and a beast that resembled a leopard, but with feet like a bear and a mouth like a lion (13:2). What is distinct about such fantasy images is that they do not correspond to anything in the real world. But while fantasy images are unreal, they provide a realistic means by which to ponder reality. (p. 527-528, underlining added)
Unreal fantasy to realistically ponder reality? Is that like clean filth or true lies?
Within this pile of manure, Hanegraaff also writes,
dragons are the stuff of mythology not theology. (p. 528)
Hank has a rude awakening coming. Dragons are as real as the sky is blue (Job 41; Psalm 104:26; Isaiah 27:1). Satan himself is called, “the great dragon” (Revelation 12:9) and this in language to identify not obfuscate.
Hank's idea of “unreal” “fantasy imagery” is the making of his own thoughts (Isaiah 65:2). It is not a Scriptural concept. Indeed, there is allegory (e.g. Galatians 4:24) and parables (e.g. Hebrews 9:9),7 but God uses real things to illustrate real things.
With Hanks deceit above, he rejects what is revealed about the two witnesses and believes not God's terrifying warning of the day of the Lord (Isaiah 13; Revelation 9), which by the way, is like no other this world has ever seen (Matthew 24:21). And, unless he's seen Satan, how would he know he isn't a literal dragon with seven heads and ten horns (Revelation 12:3)? Actually, even if he had seen him, that wouldn't necessarily prove anything (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Finally, after calling dragons “stuff of mythology,” Hanegraaff writes,
Thus, the danger does not lie in the use of fantasy imagery but in uncritically impregnating these images with unbiblical notions. (p. 528)
What a hypocrite! This is exactly what he does. He impregnates the Word with unbiblical notions and comes up with his own unreal fantasies.
As already noted, Hank's eschatology is way off, and what he says about the two witnesses of Revelation 11 further illustrates his unreal fantasy. On page 495-496 Hank writes,
In light of biblical imagery, the two witnesses are revealed not as two literal people, such as a future reincarnation of Moses and Elijah, but rather as literary characters in John's apocalyptic narrative representing the entire line of Hebrew prophets in testifying against Israel and warning of soon-coming judgment of God on Jerusalem.
So, in other words, according to Hank, Revelation 11:3-12 is a bunch of gobbledygook and it doesn't mean what it says.
Instead of believing the 144,000 are “the children of Israel” 12,000 from every tribe, like it says (Revelation 7:4-8), Hanegraaff does his share of “impregnating these images with unbiblical notions.” Under question #161 “Who are the 144,000 of Revelation” he writes,
First, the 144,000 and the great multitude are not two different peoples but two different ways of describing the same purified bride. (p. 489)
So to begin with, he starts by saying they are not what Scripture says they are. That's a good way to deceive people. Just brush aside the truth right at the first and then fill their head with lies thereafter.
The text is not unclear. Revelation 7:4-8 records 12,000 out of each tribe of Israel, and then John writes,
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, . . . (Revelation 7:9).
It's not a complicated passage. Revelation 7:4-8 records 144,000 out of the 12 tribes of Israel, then Revelation 7:9 records a great multitude “from every nation,” which would include Israel as well. The 144,000 is a special group that is specifically sealed by God (Revelation 7:3-4) and protected particularly from the plague of the fifth trumpet (Revelation 9:1-12). The great multitude (Revelation 7:9) is not given this seal and protection. The 144,000 are seen again in Revelation 14:1-5.
So, the 144,000 is a distinct group of saved people. But Hank thinks not.
First, the 144,000 and the great multitude are not two different peoples but two different ways of describing the same purified bride. As Richard Bauckham explains, literarily, the 144,000 and the great multitude are comparable to the Lion and the Lamb. Just as John is told about a Lion and turns to see a Lamb (Revelation 5:5-6), so he is told about the 144,000 and turns to see a great multitude (Revelation 7). Thus, the 144,000 is to the great multitude what the Lion is to the Lamb, namely, the same entity seen from two different vantage points. (p. 489)
This is Hank's and Bauckham's own fantasy. There is no turning in either passage, and Christ being called both a Lion and Lamb does not parallel in similitude with the 144,000 of Israel and the great multitude of all nations.
Since Hank in his fantasy initially turns the number of 144,000 into meaningless non-sense, he attempts to recoup his scheme into something meaningful and writes,
As such, it is far more likely that the 144,000 is a number that represents the 12 apostles of the Lamb multiplied by the 12 tribes of Israel, times 1000. (p. 490)
So, instead of simply believing what the Bible says, Hank gives us his best man made guess as to what it supposedly means and then writes at the end of this section,
Indeed, the 144,000 is the limitless great multitude of all whose names are written in the Book of Life and who will inhabit the courts of God for all eternity. (p. 492)
In other words, the 144,000 are not 144,000, but rather “the limitless great multitude” of any and all who are saved of all time (“all whose names are written in the Book of Life”).8 So, Hank not only rejects the 144,000 for who they are, but also rejects the great multitude of Revelation 7 who “are the ones who come out of the great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14). So again, Hank's message is, “Don't believe God, believe me.” This is a classic example of how false teachers divert the trust off of God and onto themselves (Jeremiah 17:5), and by this they lead people to hell (Revelation 21:8 "unbelieving").
The following is Hank's take on the mark of the beast.
Twenty-first century believers, like their first-century counterparts, can be absolutely certain that 666 is the number of Nero's name and that Nero is the beast who ravaged the bride of Christ in a historical milieu that included three and a half years of persecution. In the end, Peter and Paul themselves were persecuted and put to death at the hands of this Beast. Indeed this was the only epoch in human history in which the Beast could directly assail the foundation of the Christian Church of which Christ himself was the cornerstone. (p. 502)
Revelation 19 & 20 dispel the folly above. Revelation 19 reveals the Beast's demise comes when Christ returns with His army from heaven (see also Daniel 2:44; 2 Thessalonians 2:8). There is no way Nero was (past tense) the Beast of Revelation 13, as if Revelation 13 has already taken place, which is Hanegraaff's claim.
Someone might argue that Hank is just identifying Nero as,
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. (Revelation 17:8)
In other words, Hank is claiming Nero “was, and is not, and will ascend” yet in the future. But that is not Hank's claim.
Hanegraaff begins this section in answering the question (#164) “What is the meaning of 666?” with,
Multitudes today assume that 666 is a number representing a modern-day beast about to be revealed. Placing the beast in the twenty-first century, however, may well pose insurmountable difficulties. (p. 500)
Then, he argues against Revelation 13 being a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. Hank continues,
First, John, the author of Revelation, told a first-century audience that with “wisdom” and “insight” they would be able to “calculate the number of the beast, for it is a man's number. His number is 666” (Revelation 13:18). (p. 500)
That is a lie. John did not tell “a first-century audience that with 'wisdom' and 'insight' they would be able to 'calculate the number of the beast.'” Here is what John wrote,
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Revelation 13:8)
John said, “Let him who has understanding.” That's a very qualifying statement. It says nothing either way whether the first-century reader or any other would be able to calculate the number of the beast. It specifically identifies one “who has understanding.” Who gives understanding? God (Job 38:36). So, it is determinative upon God giving someone understanding. It is not determinative upon the time in which John wrote.
Moreover, the book of Revelation is indeed written to the seven churches for that time (Revelation 1:11), but it clearly goes beyond this as can be seen in chapter one verse 3.
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Also, at the end of each church in Revelation 2 & 3 it says,
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22)
Nevertheless, Hank continues,
Obviously, no amount of wisdom or insight would have enabled a first-century audience to calculate the number of a twenty-first-century beast. (p. 500)
Hank here is devoid of God and His ways (Job 32:8; Proverbs 2:6).9 Hank continues,
It would have been cruel and dangerously misleading for John to suggest to first-century Christians that they could identify the beast if, in fact, the beast was a twenty-first-century individual or institution. (p. 500)
So, it is quite clear Hanegraaff thinks Nero 2000 years ago was the Beast of Revelation 13. If this were so, we should be beyond the Millennium of Revelation 20 by now (see Revelation 6-20), but obviously we are not. Clearly, Hank not only perverts certain parts of Revelation, but twists “also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16) to his own destruction and to the destruction of those who hear him.
There is much more false doctrine found in Hanegraaff's The Complete Bible Answer Book. For example, Hank condemns polygamy (p. 146) and slavery (p. 148), but the Bible does not (Proverbs 30:5-6; Matthew 15:8-9). Hank claims God did not harden Pharaoh's heart “in a direct or deterministic fashion” (p. 159), when Scripture teaches He did (Exodus 4:21; Romans 9:16-18). Hank redefines forgiveness into “a two way street” (p. 67) obliterating Christ's one way command in Mark 11:25-26. Hank rejects “owe no one anything” (Romans 13:8) and twists it into “repay their debts (Romans 13:8)” (p. 440).10 Hank condones the pagan (“Christian” style) celebration of Christmas (p. 78)11 and Halloween (p. 81-82) and teaches the Catholic fitting but unbiblical notion of “changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday” (p. 83).12
Hank also teaches the false doctrine that the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 is found in Isaiah 8:3 (p. 220),13 teaches the “descendants of Cain” (p. 350) for Genesis 6,14 turns Israel into the harlot of Revelation 17 (p. 509),15 and by Hank's standards laid out on pages 244-245, Jesus was a cult leader.16
Finally, Hanegraaff teaches the common false gospel “essentials” lie (p. 25f)17 thereby opening wide (Matthew 7:13) the door for deceit, and by this he finds room, for example, for some Seventh-Day “Adventists who are thoroughly orthodox” (p. 314).18 Conversely, Paul has such people cursed along with Hank and anyone else who preaches any other gospel (Galatians 1:8-9).
1Note what the Pharisee Nicodemus said in John 3:2: “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” See also John 9:29-33.
2See, for example, 1 Samuel 2:30. God Himself says, “Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, 'I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever'; but now the LORD declares, 'Far be it from Me-- for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.” See also the following verses, 1 Samuel 2:31-36.
3See also Ezekiel 18:31.
4See also 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7.
5There are plenty of references regarding clouds and God. See, e.g. in the NKJV Exodus 13:21-22; Leviticus 16:2; Deuteronomy 33:26; 2 Samuel 22:12; Job 26:9; Psalm 68:34; 97:2; 104:3; Lamentations 3:44; Nahum 1:3; Matthew 17:5.
6The Hebrew verb for “melt” in Isaiah 13:7 is יִמָּֽס (yimmâs). It is used for literally melt, e.g. Exodus 16:21, and also for a discouraged or distressed heart (e.g. Deuteronomy 1:28 NKJV “discouraged”; NAS “melt;” 20:8 NKJV “faint”; NAS “melt”).
7“symbolic” NKJV in Hebrews 9:9 is actually, “parable” in the Greek, παραβολὴ (parabolê).
8See Revelation 20:15; 21:27.
9See also Proverbs 8:1, 14; 9:10. God is understanding.
10If the first part of Romans 13:8 means “repay,” then the second part means “don't love,” for Romans 13:8 very clearly states, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
11Christmas is not “in truth” (John 4:24). It is a pagan practice of worship nowhere commanded or taught in the Word (Deuteronomy 13:29-32; Proverbs 30:5-6). It is the covetous practice of the world in the worship of a Catholic false Christ, who is loved by the world (John 15:19).
12In Hank's comments he further claims,
Within weeks, thousands of Jews willingly gave up a theological tradition that had given them their national identity. (p. 83)
Besides the simple fact that Scripture nowhere teaches Hank's claim, Acts 21:20 well dispels his lie. Long after Acts 2, the believing “many myriad of Jews” are marked as “all zealous for the law.” The Sabbath is part of “the law.”
14For Genesis 6:1-4, see 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6-7.
15By Revelation 17 Israel is depicted as just the opposite, not apostate, but rather saved. See Romans 11:25-27; Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7; 7:4-9; 12:1, 5-6 (“fled”), 13-16; Zechariah 14:1-5 (“flee”).