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Caught Up to Heaven Through Visualizing Jesus? Part 1
by Karl Kemp
9/08/2020 / Book Reviews
Book Review: Experiencing the Heavenly Realm: Keys to Accessing Supernatural Encounters, Expanded edition, by Judy Franklin and Beni Johnson (Destiny Image Publishers, © copyright 2016)
All Bible quotations were taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition, unless otherwise noted. Sometimes I make comments in the middle of quotations using brackets [ ] or [[ ]] to make them more obvious. I am using straight quotation marks ("), hyphens (-) instead of dashes, and a few other things like this because some of the internet sites where I post these articles require it.
1. Introduction and Some Tentative Conclusions.... 2
2. Excerpts from the Video "Something More with Judy Franklin".... 8
3. An Excerpt from the Book Experiencing the Heavenly Realm that Has Much in Common with the Video "Something More with Judy Franklin," which Was Just Discussed.... 11
4. The Primary Thing I Am Concerned About as I Write this Book Review Is that We Are Being Told that God Has Invited All Christians to Be Caught Up into Heaven through Visualization to See and Interact with God the Father, or Jesus, or maybe the Holy Spirit too.... 13
4.1. I'll Give Extensive Excerpts from Chapter 29, "Having Your Own Heavenly Encounter" (pages 213-215).... 13
4.2. Franklin Says that in One of Her Heavenly Encounters Jesus Took Her Back in Time to Observe His All-Important Crucifixion, but There Are Some Serious Problems with this "Revelation": For One Thing, it Includes an Often-Repeated Error; I Believe It Is Clear that this "Revelation" Did Not Come from God (pages 119-120).... 16
4.3. A Few Examples of Franklin's Seeing and Interacting with God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit; Sometimes All Three at the Same Time; All Three Persons Danced and At Least the Son and the Holy Spirit Danced with Franklin.... 17
4.4. Does it Fit the Bible for Us To Be Able To See and Interact with God the Father and the Holy Spirit?.... 18
5. What about Deception?.... 20
5.1. I'll Quote Part of what Bill Johnson Says in the Foreword of this Book (pages 23-24) that Includes the Idea of a Big God and a Little Devil.... 22
6. Some Passages from the New Testament that Supposedly Help Show that Taking these Trips is Supported by the New Testament.... 27
7. Some Excerpts from War on the Saints: A History of Satanic Deceptions in Christianity and the Conflict between Good and Evil by Jessie Penn-Lewis (and Evan Roberts) that Are Relevant to this Book Review.... 31
8. Excerpts Dealing with Visualization - Especially Dealing with Supposedly Visualizing Jesus or even God the Father and then Coming into a Two-Way Dialogue and Interaction with Them. (None of these excerpts include visualizing the Holy Spirit.).... 48
Endorsements: I'll just mention two of them: Kris Vallotton, Senior Associate Leader, Bethel Church, Redding, CA; Co-Founder, Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, gives a four-paragraph endorsement for this book. And Banning Liebscher, Jesus Culture Director, Bethel Church, Redding, CA; I'll quote the last sentence of his endorsement: "My prayer is that you would not only read this book to learn about what is available, but that you would read this book to begin the journey of a lifetime that will lead you into the arms of the Father."
1. Introduction and Some Tentative Conclusions. I believe Judy Franklin (she is the primary author of this book) is a sincere dedicated Christian who believes the Bible and wants to be faithful to God and to be a blessing to His people. I mean that! I became aware of Franklin after reading The Physics of Heaven: Exploring God's Mysteries of Sound, Light, Energy, Vibrations, and Quantum Physics by Judy Franklin and Ellyn Davis and other writers and then writing an 83-page book review on that book. I was disappointed with that book, including Franklin's extensive input. This is documented in my book review that is available on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching). For one thing, there were frequent obvious misinterpretations of the Bible throughout the book used to try to back up what they were saying. (I'm not suggesting that anybody intended to misinterpret the Bible.) One primary problem with that book was their advocating going to the New Age movement to learn helpful supernatural things that were supposedly stolen from us. It was while doing research for that book that I learned of this present book. I want to be cautious, but I'm afraid that it's all-too-possible that this present book will do just as much, or more, damage to the Body of Christ than The Physics of Heaven.
My primary goal in writing this book review is to obey and please God, but I am also strongly motivated to be a blessing to the Body of Christ, very much including Judy Franklin and Bill and Beni Johnson and Bethel church. I totally mean that! We need to be extra cautious in that we are living in the last days before the Lord Jesus returns, and we have been warned that Satan's deceptive workings will be very widespread in these last days ((cf., e.g., Matt. 24:4-5, 11-13, 23-28; Mark 13:21-23; 2 Thess. 2:3-5; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-13; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 4:1; Rev. 13:11-18 [I believe these last verses speak of things that will take place after the rapture, but we need to take them seriously; so too for 2 Thess. 2:9-12.]; also consider 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 1 John 2:18; 4:1; Rev. 12:9 but these verses are not limited to the end times; a few verses listed above are not limited to the end of this age either.))
As I document in more detail later in this book review, Franklin says that the things she is dealing with in this book, and that I am dealing with in this book review, started in 1997. She was in bed praying when she saw a door open about a foot. (This would have been in a vision.) Something came out of the door and laid on her. She was afraid, which isn't surprising, but before long she decided that this was the presence of God and she began to worship.
[[Section 7 of this book review, which is a 16-page section, contains many excerpts from the book War on the Saints: History of Satanic Deceptions in Christianity and the Conflict between Good and Evil by Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts. Much of the content of that book deals with things that happened in association with the 1904-05 revival in Wales and later revivals. Both of those authors were involved with that revival. One of the primary things those excerpts deal with is how demons would subtly and effectively counterfeit the presence of God. See 7.3.1, 7.5.4, 7.5.6, 7.5.7, 7.5.8, 7.5.9, 7.5.10, 7.6.1, 7.6.2, and 7.6.3 in section 7 of this book review. It is quite possible that Franklin was deceived too. This can and has often happened to very sincere committed Christians. If we have been deceived, it is a great blessing to find it out as soon as possible. Then we can get things straightened out by the grace of God in Christ. We certainly don't want to stay deceived!
I'll quote from three of those sections that deal with the presence of God being counterfeited, but first I'll quote a paragraph under 7.3.5 that is more general and make a few comments: "Briefly put, this is a glimpse into the mixed 'manifestations' which have come upon the Church of God, since the Revival in Wales; for, almost without exception, in every land where revival has since broken forth, within a very brief period of time the counterfeit stream has mingled with the true; and almost without exception, true and false have been accepted together, because of the workers being ignorant of the possibility of concurrent streams; or else have been rejected together by those who could not detect the one from the other [the true from the false/counterfeit]; or it has been believed that there was no 'true' [no true supernatural manifestations from God] at all, because the majority of believers fail to understand that there can be mixed workings of the (1) Divine and Satanic, (2) Divine and human, (3) Satanic and human...in the way of source and power." It is also true that many Christians deny that the charismatic gifts and many workings of the Holy Spirit are available for us today.
We have to consider the possibility that some mixed manifestations/workings have surfaced at Bethel Church in Redding, California, and at the Airport Church in Toronto, Canada (which I'll mention later), and other Christian churches and organizations too. It is good that both churches were/are strongly motivated to make room for God to move in supernatural gifts and manifestations, but based on what little I know, they should have put a higher priority on guarding against deceptive demonic counterfeit workings. We must not leave any room for supernatural gifts and manifestations that come from Satan's kingdom, but the demons are very motivated and active to subtly insert their presence into the Christian church. They can do greater damage to the church working from inside. The last I have heard, the Airport church never did take a stand that acting like animals and animal sounds, for example, were to be rejected. I hope I'm wrong on that. We need to understand that not all falling in the spirit and supernatural gifts and manifestations are from God. It seems that some/many Christians never stop to consider that very serious possibility, at least not the possibility that it could happen to them or at their church. There is a tendency to think we are automatically protected. Hasn't God favored us with this supernatural revival? Would He allow demon spirits to do anything here? The answer is an emphatic Yes! So we must not leave any place (cf. Eph. 4:27) for them! We must do everything required to resist them!
Now three excerpts that deal with counterfeiting the presence of God from sections 7.5.6, 7.5.7, and 7.5.8 in this book review: Section 7.5.6 "(Under "Distinction between God and Divine Things.") ... To obtain possession, and control of believers [The authors are speaking here of demons beginning to gain possession and control of believers in very limited ways.], who will not be attracted by sin, the deceiving spirits must first counterfeit the manifestation of the presence of God, so that under cover of this 'presence' they can get their suggestions into the mind, and their counterfeits accepted without question. This is their first, and sometimes their long piece of labor. It is not always an easy task, especially when the soul has been well-grounded in the Scriptures, and learnt to walk by faith upon the Word of God, nor is it easy when the mind is acute in usage, and well guarded in thought, and healthily occupied."
Section 7.5.7. "(Under "The Counterfeit of the Presence of God.") From the counterfeit presence, comes the influence which causes the counterfeit to be accepted. Evil spirits must make something to imitate the presence of God, as their 'presence' does not, and cannot be a counterfeit of it. The counterfeit presence is a work of theirs, made by them, but is not the manifestation of their own persons, e.g., they give sweet or soothing feelings, or feelings of peace, love, etc., with the whispered suggestion, adapted to the ideal of the victim, that these indicate the presence of God.
When a counterfeit presence, or influence, is accepted, then they go on to counterfeit a 'Person,' as one of the Persons of the Trinity, again adapted to the ideals or desires of the victim. If the believer is drawn to one more than another of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, the counterfeit will be of the One he is attached to most. The Father, to those who are drawn to Him; the Son to those who think of Him as 'Bridegroom' and crave love; and the Holy Spirit to those who crave for power.
The counterfeit 'Presence,' as an influence, precedes the counterfeit of the 'Person' of God, through which much ground is gained. ...."
Section 7.5.8. "(Under "Satan's Working Upon the Senses.") Here lies the danger point which first opens the door to Satan. The working upon the senses in the religious realm, has long been Satan's special mode of deceiving men throughout the whole world, of which he is the god and prince. He knows how to soothe, and move, and work upon the senses in every possible way, and, in every form of religion ever known, deceiving unregenerate men with the form of godliness whilst denying the power. Among the truly converted, and even sanctified believers, the senses are still his way of approach. Let the soul admit a craving for beautiful emotions, happy feelings, overwhelming joy, and the conception that manifestations, or 'signs,' are necessary to prove the presence of God, especially in the Baptism of the Spirit, and the way is open for Satan's lying spirits to deceive." (Now continuing to deal with Franklin's initial experience that led to this book and book review.)]]
This experience with the partially opened door was repeated for two or three months. [It's quite possible that the demons were using this time to establish their presence and make Franklin comfortable with their presence, being fully assured that this was the presence of God. Many (very many) Christians would be confident that these strong feelings of love, peace, and such must be from God.] After this Franklin went to a meeting at the Airport church in Toronto, which was noted for a lot of supernatural activity. Based on what I have read and heard there was a lot of Christian reality, but also some room for demonic activity, not realizing that it was demonic activity. "This is good and it is all from God. We dare not reject anything that God is doing, even if we don't fully understand everything. The devil wouldn't heal people or seemingly help people or things like that would he?" Yes, he has been doing things like that throughout the ages for his own purposes, and you can be sure that it never works for ultimate good.
While there in Toronto, Franklin was standing, worshiping with her hands in the air and her eyes closed. When she opened her eyes she saw Jesus standing in front of her. When she noticed the nail marks in His hands, He told her that He did that for her. (Was this really Jesus? It's certainly possible, but in the middle of this demonic deception, IF that is what was really happening, it could have been part of the deception.) After returning to Bethel church, she was asked to testify to what happened in Toronto. She ended up lying on the floor on the stage and couldn't get up. She says she saw and experienced the glory of God in powerful ways. That could have been demonic too.
Demons can be very bold. They aren't afraid to be in church. They aren't afraid of Christians singing or speaking about the blood of Christ. Some people in occult religions do that and things like that, including carrying a Bible. It's part of the demons deceiving work. We must realize that the demons are trained experts in their work. No! They cannot win anything if we know what we are doing and stand in the truth, righteousness, and holiness of God by grace through faith, which includes walking by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis (Gal. 5:16).
Now back to the open door in Franklin's bedroom (which is discussed in more detail below). The next night Franklin was beginning to pray when for the first time the door opened fully. She entered the door and saw two shadowy figures that she knew were God the Father and the Lord Jesus. From this time on she would see them and interact with them on a consistent basis. And eventually she would see the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, sometimes all three of them at the same time. She would speak with each of them and interact with them, including even dancing with them.
My first primary concern (of the three primary concerns I have as I write this book review, but the "third primary concern" is the most serious because it involves large numbers of Christians) was when I read how these experiences started with the partially open door in Franklin's bedroom. A second primary concern was when I read of her seeing and interacting with the Father and the Spirit. For one primary thing, I don’t believe that the Bible leaves room for us to be able to see the Father in any clear full sense, which includes seeing His face, until after we are glorified. Large numbers of Christians believe that the Father doesn't have a body and that He always was and always will be invisible. Essentially all Christians agree that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person in the Trinity, does not have a body and always was and always will be invisible. On whether we are able to see the Father and the Spirit, see section 4.4 in this book review.
A third primary concern, which I believe is the most serious, as I write this book review, is the fact that Franklin has been leading groups to visit heaven, the third heaven where the apostle Paul was taken (2 Cor. 12:2-6). Franklin makes it clear that she and Paul and the people she takes to heaven went/go to the same place, to the third heaven. (("Do they [these heavenly visions] compare with Paul's experience of being caught up in the third heaven or with Ezekiel's visions? Well, they compare, but I don't claim that the things I am seeing and saying are on any level of inspired authoritative Scripture" (page 60). And I'll quote from the back cover of the book: "In this newly expanded edition of Experiencing the Heavenly Realm, Judy Franklin leads you on a step-by-step journey borne out of her own supernatural experiences. Judy will show you how to Biblically encounter the heavenly realm and its life-changing joy, intimacy with God, healing and wholeness - just like she did! Discover how to: Activate your capacity to see into the supernatural. Experience a love in the third heaven realm like you have never known before. Be touched and healed by the Lord emotionally, mentally and physically. Go from knowing about Jesus to knowing Him on an experiential level."))
Franklin makes it clear that she was told she was being prepared to begin to lead Christians to that place (but who/Who told her?), which she has been doing now for a long time. For one thing, every year she leads those who are part of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) to the third heaven. This doesn't mean that every person actually (supposedly) makes it to heaven, but large numbers do. The DVD "Heaven Can't Wait" by Franklin records one of those sessions with the students at BSSM. This book I am reviewing gives instructions for taking this trip to heaven, and she often leads groups to heaven at other places than Bethel church. I believe this third problem is the most serious because it involves so many people who can then begin to return to heaven at essentially any time. IF this is demonic, large numbers of Christians are coming in contact with spirit guides, which is a very serious problem!
In the worst-case scenario, which is all-too-possible, Franklin was prepared over a lengthy period by clever, persistent demons to lead large numbers of Christians into demonic experiences where Jesus or God the Father were impersonated, and apparently the Holy Spirit on occasion too. One of the most problematic features of these trips to heaven that Franklin leads is that (as I will demonstrate in this book review) they start with relaxing and visualizing Jesus or God the Father. On the one hand, as we will discuss further in this book review, there is no Biblical basis for Christians to have person-to-Person relationships with any Person of the Trinity in the third heaven through visualization, quite the contrary, but, on the other hand, the occult world has been using the technique of visualization to contact Jesus, God, Mary, people living and dead, etc. for thousands of years. And in recent history these techniques have been picked up by many in the psychiatric, psychological community starting, at least to a significant extent, through Carl Jung, who had a spirit guide (Philemon, a demon) and who was very active in the occult world, and by some Christians, especially through the inner healing movement. These things are discussed in some detail in section 8 of this book review.
((I don't know much about the inner-healing movement, but I do know that some of the leaders in that movement were not solidly grounded in the Bible and that some of them borrowed from Carl Jung and those who followed him. Some of them had been taught liberal theology to one degree or another, which holds the viewpoint that the Bible contains many things that are not true. Liberal theology started with some Protestants in the 1800s, but many Roman Catholics have picked it up since then. Many Christians would be shocked (I was) to learn how far many liberal Christian scholars around the world (including those teaching in many seminaries and most universities) have gone with a denial of foundational Biblical Christian doctrines: Many don't believe that the devil or demons exist, or God's angels either; many deny the virgin birth, the atoning death of the Lord Jesus, and the literal resurrection of His body. Many don't believe that Moses wrote much of the Mosaic Law, that Daniel wrote the book of Daniel, that Isaiah wrote all of the book of Isaiah. I met a key leader in the Roman Catholic charismatic renewal inner-healing movement who didn't believe the devil or demons exist. That was back in the late 60s. She was a warm, intelligent, and dedicated leader who very much wanted to help people, but she certainly wasn't able to guard against demonic input in her inner-healing ministry.))
2. Excerpts from the Video "Something More with Judy Franklin"; she was being interviewed by Larry Sparks (Destiny Image publisher), Jan. 12 2017, filmed in Sid Roth's Charlotte, NC studio. (At about 1 minute of the video) Larry Sparks: "I believe today an invitation is going out to everyone whoever would receive it to actually come up here [to the third heaven] just as John was told on the Island called Patmos. Come up here and actually experience the heavenly realm [[referring to Rev. 4:1; the fact that the apostle John was caught up into heaven as part of his receiving the all-important revelation of the Book of Revelation does not in any way set a precedent that Christians are invited to visit that realm at any time through the technique of visualizing Jesus or God the Father, which is proclaimed in this video and in the book Experiencing the Heavenly Realm. The experience of the apostle John was clearly a very exceptional experience. I'll say a lot more in this book review about the total lack of Biblical support for what is being recommended throughout the book I am reviewing and related videos, and see section 6 of this book review.]]." (about 1 minute 30 seconds) Franklin was asked when these heavenly experiences started in her life. She said: "When I first recognized it was in February of 1997 and I went to bed and I just started saying my prayers and I saw a door open about a foot. And something came out [of the door] and laid on me and it scared me and I thought what is this [In Franklin's DVD "Heaven Can't Wait" she added that she started feeling really weird]; then I realized it felt so good. I thought what is this? I know now that it was His presence, and I started worshipping. [I want to be cautious, but in section 7 of this book review I demonstrate that demons are experts at counterfeiting the presence of God, including feelings of love, peace, joy, etc. I included some relevant excerpts from section 7 above in section 1 of this book review.] I had never worshiped before. [I'm sure Franklin had worshiped in some ways and to some extent before.] ... I started worshiping Him. After a while it stopped and I saw this presence go back into this door and it shut and I thought I'm crazy. Don't know what that is. And I wasn't going to tell anybody either. ...." (about 2 minutes and 50 seconds) The next night the same thing happened. It happened for two or three months then she went to Toronto [to the Airport church there pastored by John and Carol Arnott]. The last night they were there they were singing a praise song and she had her arms up in the air. She heard a voice, looked down and Jesus was standing in front of her. She noticed the nail scars in His hands and He said "I did that for you." She said that was life-changing. Then back home the next day to Redding CA. (about 4 minutes) Back at Bethel Church she had a powerful experience when they asked her to share what had happened at Toronto. She ended up laying on the floor throughout the whole service; she wasn't able to get up for quite a while. She said she saw the glory of God which permeated every cell of her body; it contained the love of God; it was a life-changing experience; she totally fell in love with God; she knew He loved her.
The next night she went to bed, started praying, but this time the door opened fully. "And I moved in and there were two figures. I knew that one was God [[This causes a serious problem in that, as I discuss in section 4.4 in this book review, the Bible doesn't leave room for seeing God the Father in any clear way, where we could see His face (but Franklin does this all the time), until after we are glorified at the end of this age: I believe we will be able to see Him in a full sense after we are glorified. Large numbers of Christians believe that the Father doesn't have a body and He always will be invisible. See section 4.4.]], and the other one was Jesus. They were shadowy. And I just started talking to them. Whenever I prayed that’s where I would be, talking with them. (about six minutes, 20 seconds) Larry Sparks exhorted those who would receive it that they too are invited to encounter God and to engage Him in these heavenly places. He said that after the break Judy was going to tell those listening how they can encounter God in these heavenly places in their everyday life. (about 15 minutes) Larry said we will be right back and we are going to tell you how you can engage God in this experiential realm where you can actually "come up here" [Rev. 4:1] and experience Him [which very much includes seeing Him]. Judy said God is calling all of you "come up here" and experience Him at a whole new level. (about 22 minutes) Judy insists that God never gets mad at us; it is impossible for Him to be mad at us. She said Jesus' sacrifice paid for everything. [[(This double bracket continues for two paragraphs.) Yes, but what if Christians get into sin and don't repent and receive His forgiveness? See Revelation chapters 2-3 for example: Jesus warned born-again Christians there (and it is clear because of what He said there that He was speaking to born-again Christians) that if they didn't repent He would take away their lampstand and they would no longer be His people (see Rev. 2:5, and it is clear that those Christians had been walking close to God (Rev. 2:2-4). In Rev. 3:5 He warned some other Christians that He would erase their names from the book of life if they didn't repent. And in Rev. 3:16 He warned some other Christians that He would spit them out of His mouth if they didn't repent. These passages are discussed in my paper "Once Saved, Always Saved?" which is on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching).
In the DVD "Heaven Can't Wait" Franklin added that God cannot be displeased or disappointed with us. She thought she was substantiating this by saying that He already knows what we are going to do. I don't believe that begins to demonstrate that He cannot be angry or disappointed with us. On that DVD she also said that God looks at us through a Jesus-filter and He cannot see our sin. I'm not sure how far she would go with this, but some Christians insist that since God is looking at us through the blood of Jesus He doesn't see it when we sin, so we are not even required to repent and ask for forgiveness. That idea is very wrong, but Franklin probably just meant God doesn't see our sins that have been forgiven. It's true that those sins are gone, but if we need to repent there is no satisfactory answer but repenting.]]
Larry says that some think they aren't worthy to enter this heavenly dimension. [[As far as I am concerned, being worthy isn't the issue. The dominant issue, an issue that is discussed in detail in this book review, is that I don't believe God has invited us to visualize Jesus (or God the Father) and be caught up into the third heaven to see and interact with Him during this present age. In the very special cases, like with the apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 12:2 and the apostle John in Rev. 4:1, God took the initiative to take them into heaven; those apostles certainly did not initiate those experiences by visualizing Jesus or God the Father. And while in heaven, I doubt that either apostle was able to look into the face of God the Father (like Franklin does). I agree, of course, that born-again Christians have a very real person-to-Person relationship with the Lord Jesus and God the Father through the indwelling Holy Spirit, but that is VERY DIFFERENT than being taken to heaven to see and interact with them.]] They offered Judy's book for sale and three CDs by the same title, "Experiencing the Heavenly Realm." I tried to get the CDs, but I was not able to find them anywhere.
In the DVD "Heaven Can't Wait," which I purchased from Bethel Church, and in some comments in the book Experiencing the Heavenly Realm, Franklin makes it sound like we cannot have much of a person-to-Person relationship with God the Father or Jesus unless we also are caught up into the third heaven. That is clearly wrong. A big part of what new-covenant salvation is all about is that God's born-again children are called and enabled to have a person-to-Person relationship with Him and the Lord Jesus through the indwelling Spirit of God and in agreement with the New Testament.
3. An Excerpt from the Book Experiencing the Heavenly Realm that Has Much in Common with the Video "Something More with Judy Franklin," which Was Just Discussed (pages 75-79). This excerpt will include some repetition of things already mentioned, but important new information is added. "Clearly, visions played an enormous role in my healing journey [Judy Franklin]. But the rest of the story is that God brought me into these visionary experiences primarily as His way of relating with me, as you will see. This dimension of my relationship with God opened up to me in February of 1997 before my first trip to Toronto. ...
One night I went to bed and as I began to pray, I could see a door open partway. [I remind the reader that Judy included some very significant details to what she says here: "And something came out [of the door] and laid on me and it scared me" and she started feeling weird....] At that point in my life I didn't know it was possible for me to know His presence like that. I had never felt anything like it before. It was so sweet and so holy.
As I experienced His presence [or some counterfeit presence], I stopped praying because all I wanted to do was worship Him. With this amazing awareness of Him came the absolute knowledge of how great and awesome He is. This continued to happen every night - me starting to pray, only to have the door open a bit and finding I could not stop myself from worshiping God. I was compelled [It could be relevant here that one primary characteristic of demons is that they "compel"; the Holy Spirit doesn't compel.] to worship because the atmosphere was so magnificent. ...
THE OPEN DOOR. Then in May of 1997, right after that first trip to Toronto, I started to pray one night when the partially opened door suddenly swung wide open. I found myself in a place with two figures standing in front of me. When the door first opened, I could only see 'through a glass darkly' and I could not distinguish details or features (see 1 Cor. 13:12 KJV). [[The apostle Paul was making the point there that although God fully knows us now, we will not be able to know Him face to face until after we are glorified. (This argues against Judy's face-to-face experiences with God the Father.) Paul says that now, throughout this present age, we see in a mirror dimly, referring to the partial knowledge that we have now that Paul spoke of in 1 Cor. 13:9-11, especially in 13:9-10. He was not including the idea that we can literally see God the Father now but in a dim way, like in Franklin's experience. And she makes it clear as she continues that her seeing God the Father became clear before long.]] There was no real color just a foggy grayness. I did know that the two images I saw were the Father and Jesus. In that first experience beyond the door, I simply stood before them and talked with them.
Every time I prayed I would find myself in this same place. One day I felt a little discouraged and I asked the Father if He would give me a hug - not really thinking that anything would happen or be different than the usual foggy state of the vision. But at that point things became clearer, the grayness dissipated, and my 'eyes' were able to see things more clearly. I saw then that God was on a throne, and the left side of the throne had steps leading up to the Father.
INTO HIS LAP. When I saw this, I ran and climbed up the steps and sat on His lap. In the vision I was the size of a four-year-old in comparison to His adult size. In fact, for the first couple of years in all of my visions I appeared as a little girl, even though my mind was in my present adult state. I tried to wrap my arms around His middle but my arms only came halfway to His sides.... Then He wrapped His arms around me. I actually felt His arms - not just the sensation of being touched, but the substance and weight of His arms around me. Never before had I felt such peace and love. It was tangible. [Again, I want to be cautious, but as section 7 of this book review shows, demons are experts at counterfeiting these things.]
During subsequent visions with Him, I found myself sitting in His lap - me loving Him and Him loving me. How content I was to be there, knowing that nothing mattered but this togetherness. Of course I thought that I was just imagining all of it. After all who sits on God's lap and talks to Him? But I didn't care at all. I physically felt His love [my emphasis] and the deep pleasure He took in my being there with Him. Whenever I was upset or out of sorts about something, all it took to get a proper perspective was to be with Him. He was God. He had all the answers and I trusted Him.
I couldn't find anything in the Word that said what I was experiencing was wrong. So the visions grew more and more real to me. I wondered if I was just imagining these times, but the experiences occurred in such a fashion that I had no forethought as to what was going to happen next. During these experiences I checked my heart constantly. ...yet I seemed to know that it could not be anything but right. It was the right place to be for the rest of my life." Franklin clearly got to the place where she was sure that she was experiencing reality before she started leading others to the third heaven.
4. The Primary Thing I Am Concerned About as I Write this Book Review Is that We Are Being Told that God Has Invited All Christians to Be Caught Up into Heaven through Visualization to See and Interact with God the Father, or Jesus, or Maybe the Holy Spirit too. I don't believe God has made this invitation. As I discuss in this book review, there is nothing in the Bible to back this up. On the other hand, the techniques presented by Franklin and Larry Sparks, the publisher of this book, to enter this dimension are the same as have been used in the occult world for thousands of years and are used now by some/many psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. and the Christians who have adopted these techniques that start with relaxing and then visualizing Jesus or God the Father, Mary, or others.
4.1. I'll Give Extensive Excerpts from Chapter 29 of Experiencing the Heavenly Realm, "Having Your Own Heavenly Encounter" (pages 213-215). "In this chapter I want to help you personally experience the heavenly realm. You will notice some repeat material from Chapter 25. This is specifically geared toward helping you personally engage with heaven in the same way that the Bethel students did. [[The DVD "Heaven Can't Wait" was taken from one of Franklin's leading-others-to-heaven presentations at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM). (Chapter 25 is titled "Taking Others to Heaven." BSSM has had 13,000+ graduates in the past twenty years [taken from the internet].) "Near the start of each new school term, the leadership has invited me [Franklin] to come to 'do my Heaven thing.' I do this at the beginning of the term because that's when heart and relationship issues between the students and the Father are being dealt with" (page 175).]]
The Imagination. The first thing for you to be mindful of is that the experiences look very much like imagination, but they come from the spirit.
While some are leery of imagination, I do not believe it should be an item of concern when it is under the lordship of Jesus. He is the author of imagination. It only brings Him glory when we consecrate our imagination to Him, not emptying it but filling it with heavenly images [by visualizing]. [On page 176 (chapter 25) she says, "I share with them how much it looks like imagination, but it comes from one's spirit, and it is with the leading of the Holy Spirit [this last point is obviously debatable]." [The Christians are the ones taking the initiative here to enter this heavenly dimension, a dimension that we haven't been invited to visit in the way she defines it, far from it.]
The Posture. I encourage you to relax and be peaceful as you cannot enter into an encounter with God when you are striving. Perhaps this has been the great disconnect for so many. Let go of the striving and simply posture yourself to receive from a good Father who delights to draw near to His children. [Keep in mind that Franklin is speaking of encounters with God where we are literally caught up (in the spirit, not in the physical body) into His presence in the third heaven where we see Him and interact with Him or the Lord Jesus.]
The fact remains, there is no closer God can get to you. He lives within you through the Holy Spirit. And yet, you can still draw closer to Him. It's just important that you start out recognizing that the Spirit of God is within you. This truth alone should cancel the need to strive.
The Expectation. James 4:8 reminds us that as we draw near to God, He draws near to us. [[Yes, but it must be understood that James was speaking of drawing near to God through things like making Him and the things of His kingdom top priority (cf., e.g., Matt. 6:33), which includes consecration and repenting if required. There is nothing in James or the New Testament that even hints that James was including any idea like we can be caught up into heaven and literally see and interact with God the Father or Jesus. This is important! James 4:8 doesn't support these trips to the third heaven any more than the very special occasions where God took the initiative and caught the apostle Paul up into heaven (2 Cor. 12:2-4) and the apostle John up to heaven to receive the super-important revelation of the book of Revelation (Rev. 4:1). Furthermore, I don't believe either one of the apostles experienced a face-to-face encounter with God the Father where they could see His face. During this present age, the most they would have seen would be to see something of His glory. I believe we will be able to encounter Him face-to-face after we are glorified (cf. Rev. 22:4; Matt. 5:8; 1 Cor. 13:12). I discuss these things in section 4.4 of this book review.]] I challenge you to expect an encounter with God. While encounters are often different from person to person, the desire is the same - for you to be where He is (see John 17:24 [this verse is quoted and discussed in section 6 of this book review]).
[Sometimes she mentions taking a deep breath.] Close your eyes and keep them closed.
See Jesus. Now I want you to picture [visualize] Jesus out in front of you. [Franklin switches between God the Father and Jesus, but she typically takes seriously the distinction between the three Persons of the Trinity. She often speaks in the book of seeing and interacting with all three Persons, sometimes even all three Persons at the same time.] He doesn't have to be real clear because when I first saw Him it was shadowy.
Pause if you have a picture of Him
If you don't have a picture and aren't seeing anything, I encourage you to rest and soak in His presence until you do start seeing Him. Again, the key is rest. [For one thing, I suppose an altered state of consciousness is required. Some hypnotism could take place here.]
Approach Jesus. Next, I encourage you to walk up to Jesus and then wait. [This could be called guided imagery. It seems that man, not God, is taking the initiative here.] Are you standing right in front of Him?
Pause and simply thank the Holy Spirit for an increase of His presence. You are entering into a heavenly atmosphere and are being set up for an encounter with a loving Father. Expect that He is going to do something. [I'll expand on what Franklin said here from chapter 25, "Then I tell them that He is going to do something. How do I know? Because this is what He told me to do." This helps confirm that a primary motive of Satan - IF he has been and is involved in Franklin's experiences - was to prepare her to lead large numbers of Christians into these experiences. I am totally convinced that Franklin is convinced that she is doing God's will.]
Pause and wait on the Lord.
Identify what Jesus is doing. Keep your eyes closed and fix your attention on whatever Jesus is doing in this moment.
In these times, I've heard so many wonderful testimonies of how Jesus drew near and touched different people: 'He hugged me.' 'He kissed me.' 'He's dancing with me.' 'He put His hand on my head.' ...
Listen to what Jesus is saying. Jesus wants to speak with you! [Man is very much involved with this process.] Wait for a while and listen carefully for His voice. It will always reflect His character and nature. He will not speak contrarily to what's in the Scriptures. Keep these truths as safeguards.
Listen for His affirmations. His words of love and affection. His declarations of destiny, hope, life, and healing. [Where demons are involved they will always work to gain the Christians confidence before they try to introduce demonic gifts or heretical ideas, etc.]
Ask Jesus to take you to your garden. Father told me that He created a special garden for everyone. Ask Jesus, right now, to take you to this special place. A unique place of encounter, reserved for you and Him. Wait and see what Jesus wants to do in these precious moments of intimacy and closeness." Based on what I have read, it is typical for demonic encounters to have a garden (for Silva mind control is was a laboratory) as a place to meet. This place obviously enhances entering these spiritual encounters.
This is the end of Part 1 of Book Review: Experiencing the Heavenly Realm - Visualize Jesus and be Caught Up to Heaven to See and Interact with Him. Part 2 of this book review starts with section 4.2, " Franklin Says that in One of Her Heavenly Encounters Jesus Took Her Back in Time to Observe His All-Important Crucifixion, but There Are Some Serious Problems with this "Revelation": For One Thing, it Includes an Often-Repeated Error; I Believe It Is Clear that this "Revelation" Did Not Come from God (pages 119-120)."
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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