A Plot to Kill Paul, Paul Sent to Felix the Governor, & Paul Before Felix at Caesarea


Acts 23:12-24:27

A Plot to Kill Paul, Paul Sent to Felix the Governor, &

Paul Before Felix at Caesarea

  1. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  2. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  3. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  4. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  5. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  6. Paul, in custody in the Fortress of Antonia, learns from his nephew that there is a plot to kill him. Paul sends the boy to the tribune who makes arrangements to send Paul to the procurator (governor), Felix, in Caesarea.
  7. The tribune, Claudius Lysias, writes a note to Felix and explains the situation, leaving out the part about almost subjecting a Romans citizen to a flogging.
  8. A large contingent of Roman soldiers bring Paul to Antipatris, 23 miles short of Caesarea, and only 70 horsemen bring Paul further on to Caesarea.
  9. Felix, having been a judge in Samaria for years, decides to hear the case when Paul’s accusers arrive in Caesarea.
  10. Ananias, the high priest makes the journey with one Tertullus, probably a Hellenized Jew trained in Roman court procedure.
  11. Tertullus begins with accusing Paul of being one who causes trouble and is a “ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.” Those with Tertullus agreed as well.
  12. Paul somewhat flatters Felix (Felix as not well thought of) and then proceeds to deny the charges made against him.
  13. Paul however acknowledges that he indeed is part of the “way” and that he worships the “God of our fathers” so that he is faithful to the religion of the Jews and believes in all the prophets foretold.
  14. Paul’s focus is on the resurrection of the just and the unjust.
  15. Paul now is left in custody (it would be 2 years) and Felix listens to Paul frequently.

Soaking Prayer—How to Attract Demons

Soaking Prayer

Beyond contemplative prayer is “soaking prayer.” What is called soaking prayer has been around since the beginning of the twenty-first century, yet it is neither widely known nor understood. One’s first assumption might be that it involves long periods of time spent in prayer to God. However, what it really involves is something quite different.

Soaking prayer is in reality a mystical activity. Since it is often described as “resting in God’s presence,” it appears to be innocuous and biblical. This is how many are drawn into it, especially when charismatic church leaders embrace it.

Proponents of soaking prayer are convinced it is nothing more than “positioning yourself to express your love to God.” To get to that stage, however, some quiet instrumental or worship music must pervade the environment, while the participants often lie on the floor. The mind eventually settles down and focuses on God, or so it is thought. The attitude of the participant is to be, “God, do what you want to in me.” After some period, perhaps hours, there might be laughter, crying, or shaking – all supposedly coming from the Holy Spirit. The goal of soaking prayer or a possible end point of it is that the Holy Spirit would give the person a vision or bring a memory to mind that needs healing.

Another emphasis of soaking prayer is that it brings a person into a state of deep rest. Soaking prayer almost always is accompanied by the playing of gentle worship songs, with the participants sitting or lying down. It may involve the repeated praying of short prayers for an extended period of time. It is reminiscent of a devotee of Hinduism chanting a mantra.

Persons practicing soaking prayer attempt to keep their minds free of thoughts and concerns. They continue this until they feel a sensation in the body, perhaps a tingling of the skin, a perception of heat or cold, or a breeze gently blowing upon the body. When this happens, the desired stage has been reached, and one experiences being in the presence of God. The soaking praying may begin innocently enough, but after a while, the participants are in a meditative state of mind. It is here that any connection to biblical prayer has been abandoned.

The following explanation of soaking prayer was found online under the heading “Embark on an intimate journey”: “The Secret Place is not just a listening experience. It is a journey of soaking worship. It is a place of intimacy with the Father, a place where the heart longs for His touch.” In that same website, where music for soaking prayer may be obtained, a soaking prayer facilitator’s comment addressed to a composer of music used for soaking prayer reads:

I prepare the sanctuary to become a resting place for the Lord as people come to soak in His presence. The lights are turned down, there are candles, and the atmosphere is that of intimacy. For three hours we seek His face together and listen to your music, which invites His presence to come. I lead it at our Soaking Prayer Centre at the church and many of our soakers really like it. It is anointed and I have had some awesome visions of angels and God’s glory while worshipping with it in the background.[1]

It is disappointing how similar this sounds to Wiccan techniques used to enter a trance state. And there appears to be an addictive quality to soaking prayer; people crave it and think other forms of worship are boring and devoid of God’s Spirit.

[1]        Found at http://www.secretplaceministries.org


Sozo Ministry or Prayer—Dangerous Spiritual Practice

Sozo Ministry or Prayer

The next step out on our continuum is “sozo prayer,” or “sozo ministry.” Sozo comes from the Greek word for save or deliver. The goal of sozo is laudable, and that is to get to the root of those things that prevent a Christian from entering into a deeper personal relationship with God.

Sozo is very mystical in its approach and departs dramatically from any biblical precedent. Those engaged in sozo prayer are encouraged by a mediator/guide to enter into a mild trance state. The mediator/guide then leads a person “into a series of mental/emotional rooms or stages, where, by connecting to their own deep feelings and thoughts, they believe themselves to have a new experience with God.”[1]

Where soaking prayer is found, sozo will be close by as well. The motive is to “experience God,” and it is difficult to make a case against that desire. However, we have no scriptural mandate to experience God through our emotions or feelings; it is instead a matter of faith. The Bible does not actually teach that we are to experience God; we are to trust in and believe in God. I have found no place in the New Testament where anyone, including Jesus, Peter, John, or Paul, instructs believers to “experience God.” While we may sense that God is present with us, that is a different focus of our attention. Under discussion here is the seeking after sensations or feelings. Christians must be clear; our faith is not feeling-centered. We must not equate human feelings with the Spirit.

[1]        From the website, Got Questions, specifically www.gotquestions.org/sozo-prayer.html.


The Danger of the new apostolic movement

This is my reply to a person who did not like my critique of Francis Chan’s sermon in which he decried speaking against leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation.

Dear Brother,

On loving one another, this does not mean overlooking serious issues. And this one is. Lou Rambo, back in 1978, when he told me COD was cultic he meant it for my good, though it was a staggering blow to me at the time.

I think we are not seeing the same thing. My concern with Chan is his idea that leaders ought not be challenged. After all, they are hearing words from God, at least that is and has been a major theme of apostolic oriented churches and ministries. When someone says to me they have a word for me, well, this is a red flag being waved in my face. This is the new intimidator, the apostle or prophet directly hearing words from above. 

It is characteristic of groups to demonize those who might question them. This is true of Islam today, and so with Mormonism in its early decades. Scientology, perhaps the supreme example of quashing anything having to do with their leadership. 

Chan says God will destroy those who voice what he thinks are attacks against leaders of churches and ministries. Mark, that is a red flag, more than a red flag. You may have already bought in to the apostolic concepts and if so it would be virtually impossible at this point for you to raise questions yourself. How much you might lose is a scary thought.

Chan is not the only one either. Rick Joyner,Mike Bickle, and especially Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson in Redding, wow, how they denigrate those who challenge them. Johnson refuses even to consider anything that does not support their ministry; he only wants, in his spiritual and emotional weak state, words of affirmation.

More and more voices are being raised against the NAR. Mark, have you read my book on it, False Prophets Among Us: A Critical Analysis of the New Apostolic Reformation? From the documents presented by the leading players you will read quotes from them. And these are horrific. And they must be challenged. It is not loving to ignore this. As a pastor I am obliged to watch for the wolf. And I do so and will do so, no matter what others may say. Yet, I know for those who identified with it, especially as we are older now, it is not a simple thing to call out the error.

I have a few videos out on the NAR and I receive, and daily sometimes more than I can handle, feedback from those who view them. How many people are leaving it, including whole churches! How many are damaged and scarred as a result of their being lead around by words from God. How many are listening to angels, being carried away in trances to heaven, and suffering what can only be described as psychotic, and/or demonic episodes. This is no small deal.

Please consider these things.


Paul and the Roman Tribune & Paul Before the Council Acts 22:22-23:11


Paul and the Roman Tribune & Paul Before the Council

Acts 22:22-23:11

  1. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  2. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  3. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  4. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  5. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  6. The crowd in the temple heard Paul’s speech until he announced he would now go to the Gentiles. An awful uproar ensued prompting the tribune to move Paul into the fortress where he prepares to scourge or flog him.
  7. Paul now reveals he is a Roman citizen, just in the nick of time. The flogging could have killed Paul and at minimum maim him.
  8. The tribune, for unknown reasons, calls for a meeting of the Council of Israel and brings Paul before it.
  9. Paul no sooner begins before Ananias, the high priest, orders Paul to be struck on the mouth.
  10. Paul is instantly angered and lashes out with a intemperate statement about the one who ordered the blow. Paul did not know it was the very high priest and apologizes for his outburst citing Leviticus 19:17-18.
  11. Paul knew the makeup of the Council, part Sadducee and part Pharisee. The Sadducee held only the Torah as inspired, while the Pharisee the entire Hebrew Bible thus believing in the resurrection and God speaking directly to the people. Paul states that he is there because of his belief in resurrection. Here he means Jesus’ resurrection.
  12. The two sides end up in a rather wild display making it impossible for the Council to proceed further.
  13. Again the tribune protects Paul and returns him to the safety of the barrack’s prison.
  14. Jesus comes to Paul in the night to encourage him.


Francis Chan’s Effort to squash critical comment on the NAR

Dear Friends, 

Examine once again the video by Francis Chan below. He quotes Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

When someone like myself critiques the NAR—is that destroying God’s temple? Of course not! We must have the courage and ability to critique error in the church. 

Please pause right now and read what Paul wrote to the Galatian churches in Galatians 1:6-9. After Paul’s departure, a false gospel was brought in, and we know what that was pretty much by reading the rest of the letter. Error had entered in and Paul stands to correct it. We must not be so blind just to let whatever in.

Also Paul is speaking of that church known only to God, the invisible church or those born from above, genuinely converted people. Pastors know that everyone who is a member of the church they pastor is not necessarily born again. And what pastor has not had folks with strange and unbiblical doctrines walk in the front door who then seek to draw people away? Goes on all the time. Should we close our minds to this in the fear of being “destroyed” by God. Talk about a fear tactic, and is this not the hallmark of that which is cultic?

Paul did not relish having to deal with error that crept into the congregations he established, but he had to since he acted as pastor, the one who must defend the sheep from the wolves.

Lastly, please examine Matthew 24:24 and Acts 20:17-35. Both the Lord Jesus Himself and Paul warn that fierce wolves will come into the church to attack it. And these wolves do not act like wolves for they intend to be. They, almost always, have new and interesting revelations to bring. 

Both passages, the Matthew and Acts passages, show that it is from within the church itself that attacks will come. Don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself.

Yes, it is not pleasant to present what I have here. But those who know me know I do not follow along meekly or blindly doctrines and practices that are not in line with the New Testament. To do so is to abrogate our work as shepherds of the sheep. We cannot simply go along to get along. Have we lost our ability to think and critique?

Kent Philpott


Francis Chan: “God might kill you if you criticize church leaders”.


Steve Kozar from the “Messed Up Church’ blog over at Pirate Christian Radio alerts readers to a recent sermon from Francis Chan, former pastor of Cornerstone church in Ventura County, California an…

Paul Speaks to the People, Acts 21:37-22:21


Paul Speaks to the People

Acts 21:37-22:21

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Paul shows poise and courage as he asks permission from the tribune to speak to the rioters as he is being carried by the soldiers into the Fortress of Antonio.
  8. Standing now, Paul addresses the people in their native language, Aramaic, which immediately quiets them.
  9. Affectionately he addresses them as “brothers and fathers.” He is going to make an “apologia.”
  10. Paul is a Jewish man and even educated as a rabbi under the famous Gamaliel and thus is a dedicated religious Jew.
  11. He confesses he persecuted those of the “Way to the death.” And this he did under the authority of the Council.
  12. He then goes on to tell of the event that happened on the road to Damascus as he intended in that city to expand his attacks against those who believed Jesus to be the Messiah.
  13. Then suddenly he was stunned by a “great light” and heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He found this voice belonged to Jesus.
  14. Paul (Saul) asked for direction and Jesus tells him to go into Damascus where he will be told what to do.
  15. Ananias, a Jewish believer, comes to Paul and begins to explain to him the meaning of the event. He tells Paul that he will be a witness for Jesus. Paul is then to arise and be baptized.
  16. Paul ends his defense to those opposing him, by saying that Jesus is sending him away to the Gentiles.

Paul Goes to Jerusalem & Paul Visits James & Paul Arrested in the Temple-Acts 21:1-36


Acts 21:1-36

Paul Goes to Jerusalem & Paul Visits James

& Paul Arrested in the Temple

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Not all of Scripture, nor indeed all of the Christian life, is exciting and entertaining. Here we see real-life experiences of the major players in the early Church.
  8. Leaving Miletus, Paul and company sail away across the northern parts of the Mediterranean Sea and come to Jerusalem. At Caesarea, Paul and company stay with Philip (see Acts 6:1-6, 8:4-9), one of the Seven who has four unmarried daughters who prophesied. A prophet, Agabus (see Acts 11:27-30) warns that Paul would be arrested in Jerusalem. Paul nevertheless continues on.
  9. Reaching Jerusalem, Paul visits with James, the Lord’s brother who is the pastor of the church there. It is noted that in Jerusalem many Jews were now believing in Jesus, and the Jewish opponents are spreading rumors that Paul is preaching that Jews were to leave off practicing Judaism. So Paul is asked to take on a vow (Nazarite vow, see Numbers 6:1-5)) in order to prove he, Paul, had not abandoned his Jewish faith.
  10. Paul complies, and with four other members of the Jerusalem congregation enters the temple to make their vows.
  11. The vow is to last seven days. Nearing the end of these days, Paul enters the temple with the four others, but Jews from Asia, where Paul had been preaching, saw him and raised an alarm. A riot is about to break out, especially since it was thought that Paul had brought a Gentile, Trophimus, an Ephesian, into the heart of the Temple.
  12. Paul is rescued from the mob who are shouting, “away with him,” by the Roman tribune and his soldiers.


Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time


Mark 10:32-34

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time

(also read Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53)

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. For the third time in Mark’s gospel Jesus tells (maybe warns is a better term) His disciples what will happen to Him. It is not long now before the actual events will take place.
  8. Jesus is aware of this for any number of reasons: one, His dying as a sacrifice had been noted by any number of O.T. prophets; two, His enemies could not allow Him to go on much longer; three, His arch enemy, Satan, had long been working in the background; four, Jesus reasoned the signs of the times properly.
  9. The “chief priests” and “scribes” likely reference to the Council of Israel, the Sanhedrin, who had the power to see to it the Romans would execute Him.
  10. Jesus spelled out exactly what would happen to Him, just as it was stated by King David 1,000 years earlier and by the prophet Isaiah some 770 years earlier: Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are replete with the events.
  11. The Gentiles was a wider grouping than merely the Romans at the time. Romans 3:23 expresses it more exactly: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The all is absolutely inclusive, both Jews and Gentiles.
  12. We cannot fully grasp why the Son of God should be abandoned (Psalm 22:1) by God the Father, but to say that the Son must receive the righteous judgment for our sin. He literally suffered and died in our place.

Who is Muhammad’s Gabriel?


 Three questions are asked in this essay. First, who is Gabriel? The answer prompts a second question, who is Allah? The answers to these provoke a third question, who is Muhammad? All that is Islam hangs on the answers to these three questions.

Gabriel of the Bible

Gabriel, the name, is found in four places in the Bible: Daniel 8:16 and 9:21, and Luke 1:19 and 1:26. The name Gabriel means, God is mighty.

First, the two passages from the Old Testament book Daniel

When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” (Daniel 8:15-16)

While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. (Daniel 9:20-21)

Gabriel is introduced in the Book of Daniel, and we see more of him in the New Testament.

Second, the two passages from the New Testament book of Luke

 While the priest Zechariah was on duty at the Temple in Jerusalem, an angel of the Lord appeared to him. The angel announced to Zechariah that his and his wife Elizabeth’s prayers had been answered, to the effect that Elizabeth would bear a son and his name would be John. We pick up the story in Luke chapter 1:

And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel who stands in the presence of God and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.” (Luke 1:18-19)

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26-27)

Now we look at the words of Gabriel to Mary, verse 28: “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” Mary, greatly troubled at the greeting, tried to understand what the angel meant. Gabriel continued:

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

The angel in Matthew: Is this Gabriel also?

 Joseph, about to marry Mary with whom he was engaged, was troubled when he learned she was pregnant. Thinking to divorce her quietly, he had a visit from an angel while in a dream. The angel (no name given) said to him:

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”

Is the angel who spoke to Joseph the same one who spoke to Zechariah and Mary? We cannot be completely sure, but it seems as though it must be the case. However, the argument I am about to make does not depend on the answer to that question, as both angels in Luke and in Matthew are clearly angels of the Lord.

What have we learned so far?

 The angelic appearances have to do with the birth of Jesus, the one who would save His people from sin. The birth was miraculous, by the Holy Spirit, and this is all the explanation for the pregnancy we have. The point is clear: no human being had sex with Mary. Neither God the Father nor God the Holy Spirit had sex with Mary. The birth was miraculous, and this fits perfectly with the word God revealed to Isaiah:

There the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

The passage is referred to as “The Sign of Immanuel,” meaning that the virgin’s child is God come to be with us in a miraculous, non-human manner—thus a sign. God actually became flesh, which the Creator of the universe could do. And He did.

The child born to Mary was not called Immanuel but Jesus. Immanuel, in traditional Jewish understanding, is what He, Immanuel, is, which is God become man. The name Jesus refers to what He would do. “Jesus” is a word derived from the Hebrew name for Joshua. It means, “God saves.” Joshua was the one who brought the Chosen People across the Jordan River into the Promised Land of Canaan. Moses would not be allowed to do this, and the concept is that the Law of Moses cannot in itself bring salvation. No, salvation is a gift of God and is not by works of the Law. In His dying for sin, Jesus became the Savior, and this is proven by His resurrection. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us.

However, nearly six hundred years later, there appeared another “Gabriel.”

Gabriel of the Qur’an

 The angel that appeared to Muhammad at a cave on the slopes of Mount Hira near Mecca, about AD 610, also had the name Gabriel. It was the custom of many Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Gnostics to retire to secluded places in hopes of receiving spiritual dreams and visions, a direct connection with deity. Muhammad was one of these.

Ascetics would fast, meditate, and stay awake for days in order to empty the mind and receive dreams and visions. Muhammad, after a time, achieved trance-like states during which the angel Gabriel, as the angel announced himself to Muhammad, spoke to him. We find a hint of this in the hadith of Abu Dawud, Book 12, No. 2247a, which reads, “When the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) came to himself (after the revelation ended)…”

Muhammad reported his visits by Gabriel to his wife Khadija, who supported

the idea that it was indeed an angel speaking to her husband. Muhammad, however, was not sure of the nature of the vision he had, but eventually adopted his wife’s opinion.

At the very beginning of Muhammad’s encounter with Gabriel, he wondered if he was actually in contact with a jinn (demon) rather than an angel. This is stunningly apparent based on a hadith reported by Aisha (the mother of the faithful believers and favorite wife of Muhammad) as found in the most trusted of all hadiths, Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 1, No. 3:

The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Apostle was in the form of good dreams, which came true like bright day light, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food like-wise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, “I do not know how to read.”

The Prophet added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?’ Thereupon he caught me for a third time and pressed me, and then released me and said, ‘Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists) has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.

Muhammad was so harshly treated by what he thought was the angel Gabriel that he doubted it was an angel from Allah at all. He became depressed and considered throwing himself off the mountain of Hira. It was only through the intervention and convincing of Khadija, his first wife, that Muhammad was prevented from doing so.

There is an interesting account referred to as “The Lap.” The story is that Muhammad continued to believe the being that appeared to him was a jinn, a demon. Khadija, in the midst of Muhammad’s fears and doubts, asked him to sit on her lap, first one side then the other. When he did she asked him if he saw the angel. He responded, yes. Then she asked him to sit on her lap and once again asked if he saw the angel. Again, yes. Then she disrobed and asked Muhammad to sit on her lap again. She asked if he saw the angel and Muhammad said, no. With that Khadija convinced Muhammad it was indeed the angel Gabriel by saying that only a good angel would not look upon a woman’s nakedness.

The above account is a paraphrase from the Sira the official biography of Muhammad. Below now is the account, called “The Lap” as reported by Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad’s biographer:

Ibn Ishaq recorded that when the spirit came to Muhammad another time, Khadija tested him:

Ishma’il b. Abu Hakim, a freedman of the family of al-Zubayr, told me on Khadija’s authority that she said to the apostle of Allah, ‘O son of my uncle, are you able to tell me about your visitant, when he comes to you?’ He replied that he could, and she asked him to tell her when he came.

So when Gabriel came to him, as he was wont, the apostle said to Khadija, ‘This is Gabriel who has just come to me.’ ‘Get up, O son of my uncle,’ she said, ‘and sit by my left thigh.’

The apostle did so, and she said, ‘Can you see him?’ ‘Yes,’ he said. She said, ‘Then turn around and sit on my right thigh.’ He did so, and she said, ‘Can you see him?’ When he said that he could she asked him to move and sit in her lap.

When he had done this she again asked if he could see him, and he said yes, she disclosed her form and cast aside her veil while the apostle was sitting in her lap. Then she said, ‘Can you see him?’ And he replied, ‘No.’ She said, ‘O son of my uncle, rejoice and be of good heart, by Allah he is an angel and not a satan.

(Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, tr. Guillaume, 1967, p. 107)[1]

Who or what was the angel that appeared to Muhammad?  

The question is, and it is of incredibly significant importance, is the Gabriel of the Bible and the Gabriel of the Qur’an one and the same?

The reader, of course, will be aware that I am going to make the case that the two are different, in fact, very different.

Let me be clear at once: both are angels. One is an angel of the Lord; the other is a fallen angel, a demon.

The apostle Paul warned the Church at Corinth that demons could disguise themselves as angels.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

(2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

The majority of Muslims today hold that the Qur’an is eternal (eternal as Allah is eternal), was brought down to earth by the angel Gabriel, and was then recited by the angel to Muhammad. Allah spoke each and every verse to the angel Gabriel who then recited them, piecemeal, over the course of about twenty-two years, to Muhammad. Muhammad, unable to write, memorized the recitations and spoke them to others, who then wrote them down. (Qur’an means recitation, or that which is recited.)

My contention is that a fallen angel—a jinn or demon—appeared to Muhammad on Mount Hira. Muhammad was right in the first place.

The Ultimate Offense

 To state that Islam’s Gabriel is a jinn is to state the ultimate offense for Muslims, since it utterly negates the big three: Allah, the Qur’an, and Muhammad. Allah because it is Allah who is relaying to Gabriel what is in the Qur’an. Then Gabriel is no angel but a demon. And Muhammad is merely passing along what a demon is reciting to him. Islam is then based upon absolute error and nothing more.

Such accusations, let alone suggestions, can earn one the death penalty in Muslim-majority societies.

With the understanding of this enormous deception, what must a Christian do? Must we remain silent and not voice even the possibility that the whole of Islam is based on demonic deception? To refrain from speaking out is immoral and unethical.

Writers of Scripture were known for denouncing false religion and the behaviors they spawn. Many paid the ultimate price for standing with the truth. Many are dying today in Muslim dominated nations for speaking their hearts and minds.

The Weakness of Islam

Islam is weak, because it forcefully stifles dissent, often ruthlessly, even in countries where the Muslim population is small. If a Muslim abandons Islam, which is called apostasy, he or she may be punished by death, though this is not clearly spelled out in the Qur’an.

In the face of terror and in light of the great commission given Christians by Jesus Himself (see Matthew 28:19-20, among others), it is necessary to stand up to the murderous lying of the chief demon, Satan. Jesus, while countering the attacks of religious opponents, was clear. Jesus said:

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

It is not disrespectful to challenge error, especially when the difference is between heaven and hell, both of which are eternal.

One last word from Gabriel, the angel of the Lord

Gabriel said to Mary in reference to the child she would bear: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32). This virgin birth, not the result of sexual intercourse, would be miraculous. The child would be of the same nature as the father, God, analogous to the fact that all our children are human, just as we are.

Then Gabriel said, “he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33). The meaning is obvious—the child will be the reigning King forever.

This wonderful news is not new news either. Nearly eight centuries earlier, the prophet Isaiah spoke of the miraculous birth and gave clear information as to the nature of the child who would be born. From Isaiah 7:14 we read: “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Again let me point out that the Hebrew word translated “Immanuel” simply means, “God with us.”

From Isaiah 9:6 we read: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Without question, the Prophet Isaiah states that the child born is God Himself.

Certainly this takes us into the mystery of the Trinity. We will never comprehend how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one and complete God all at once.

The point is plain enough—the child born is God in the flesh. He is Jesus born of the virgin in Bethlehem, the one who would die in our place, taking our sin upon Himself, then on the third day be raised from the dead. He is alive now in heaven, one day to return to receive His own.

Gabriel in the Qur’an and hadith

Gabriel appears in only three verses in the Qur’an: Sura 2:97-98 and Sura 66:4.

Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind)[2]: Who is an enemy to Gabriel! For he it is who hath revealed (this Scripture) to thy heart by Allah’s leave, confirming that which was (revealed) before it and a guidance and glad tidings to believers. Sura 2:97

Who is an enemy to Allah, and His angels and His messengers, and Gabriel and Michael! Then, lo! Allah (Himself) is an enemy to the disbelievers. Sura 2:98

If ye twain turn unto Allah repentant, (ye have cause to do so) for your hearts desired (the ban); and if ye aid one another against him (Muhammad) then lo! Allah, even He, is his protecting Friend, and Gabriel and the righteous among the believers; and furthermore the angels are his helpers. Sura 66:4

Islam identifies Gabriel as the Holy Spirit in both the Bible and the Qur’an.

In Sura 2:87 and Sura 2:253, it is said, and without the word Gabriel appearing, “We supported him with the Holy Spirit” and Islamic interpreters say this “We” is the angel Gabriel. But the plain text of the Qur’an does not so state.

Not only does the Qur’an not identify Gabriel with the Holy Spirit, neither does the hadith. Instead we find just the opposite as illustrated by Sahih Muslim, in book 30: “Gabriel, the Apostle of Allah is among us, and the Holy Spirit who has no match.” Gabriel is not the Holy Spirit.

Gabriel in the Bible

The Bible, both testaments, show the nature and identity of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is deity often referred to as the Spirit of God. Holy Spirit also means that the Spirit is holy and only God is holy. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, is a “He” thus person, and is omnipotent, all-powerful. And the Holy Spirit can only be God as is the Father and the Son.

The second verse of Genesis speaks of the Holy Spirit being involved at the moment of the creation of the universe. “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

2 Samuel 23:2-3 identifies the God of Israel with the Spirit of the LORD.[3]

The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me; When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God;

Isaiah 40:13 reads, “Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD or what man shows him his counsel?” We notice “LORD” in the phrase “Spirit of the LORD” clearly identifying the Holy Spirit with God.

There is much more, however, but now we turn to the New Testament, first to the third chapter of the Gospel of John.

A leader of the Jewish people named Nicodemus approached Jesus at night, presumably to speak with Him in private. He says he knows Jesus is from God because of the miracles Jesus performs. Jesus however redirects the conversation by saying, “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Of course, the elder statesman does not understand how a person can be reborn. Jesus replies, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” To be born of the flesh in one thing, but to born of the Spirit is quite another. And we must be clear, Jesus is not talking about any angel much less one named Gabriel. Only God brings life, both physical and spiritual.

The Holy Spirit works the new birth or conversion. This is clear in the passage in John three and we find the same in Acts 8:14-20. Also in Acts 3:1-4, the Holy Spirit is directly referred to as God. The writer of Hebrews also declares that the Holy Spirit is eternal when in reference to the power of the shed blood of Jesus says, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to sere the living God” (Hebrews 9:14).
Looking back to the passages in Luke’s Gospel, the birth passages, we find in answer to Mary’s question to the angel Gabriel as to how she will have a baby, Gabriel says, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you” (Luke 1:35) Very obvious that the angel Gabriel separates himself from the Holy Spirit. For sure, the Holy Spirit and Gabriel are not the same at all.

It is clear that the Qur’an nowhere identifies Gabriel with the Holy Spirit.

Some dramatic conclusions

The goal of Islamic scholars’ claim that Gabriel is the Holy Spirit is intended to contaminate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Which is it then? Is Gabriel an angel or the Holy Spirit, or maybe, both at once, at least from an Islamic point of view? Part one above however, shows that Gabriel is actually a jinn or demon thus making things even more confused.

There is a danger for Islam in its claim that Gabriel is the Holy Spirit. Islam is supposed to be monotheistic meaning that Allah has no partners. If Gabriel is the Holy Spirit then Gabriel would be deity as well—Allah has a partner. And then again the traditionalists in Islam believe that the Qur’an is eternal in heaven. Another partner? And the reverence shown to Muhammad is so complete that he is actually lifted to the status of deity as well. One more partner for Allah?


“Allah” is the name used by Christians and Jews in the Arabian Peninsula for centuries before the Islamic era. Indeed, the word Allah was used by Jews in the Arabian Peninsula for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob before the Christian era.

To put it another way: Neither Muhammad, Abu Bakr, Umar, nor Uthman invented the word Allah. They would have known the word Allah from childhood.

Is it not the word that counts, it is the content.

To the Jew of that period, Allah would be the creator, the lawgiver, the one who led the family of the patriarchs out of Egypt, and gave them the Promised Land, the land of Canaan.

To the Christian of that period, Allah would be the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ in addition to all that the Jewish people believed about God.

It would be only natural for Muhammad to use the term Allah as well in reference to the creator God. And certainly, Muhammad gave new definition to who or what Allah is.

From what we find in the Qur’an and hadith about Allah is that he is a God transcendent and not immanent. In fact, the God of the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, is transcendent but is also immanent in that He interacts personally with His people. He walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, otherwise known as Paradise. He did so until the Fall, that breaking of a single law we read about in Genesis chapter three. The terrible consequences of that event was that God’s human creation is sent out of Paradise, east of Eden. But he never left them entirely alone.

Out of a burning bush in the Arabian desert, God appeared to Moses; God once again spoke with a human being. In the Tabernacle built under the direction of Moses, which God commanded Moses to erect, there was a special place within it, the Holy of Holies, and God dwelt there with His people.

This was a foreshadowing of what would come later. The prophets pointed to a time when God would arrive in person. This is what the word Immanuel means—God present. We can see this in the word itself even if we are not Hebrew literate. The last two letters of Immanuel, “el” is the English transliteration of the Hebrew word for God, El. Then “imman” and we get our word immanent from it; immanent means present. Simply put, God with us.

Though God took His time about it, from our perspective, John the Baptist, the last of Israel’s great prophets, came announcing the arrival of the Messiah. John pointed clearly to Jesus as the long awaited Christ. (Examine the opening chapters of Matthew, Mark, and Luke to verify this for yourself.)

Jesus, Immanuel, God come to be with us, called to Himself disciples, those whom He would teach, and for some few years did so. Yes, He did many miracles including three resurrections from the dead, healed many hundreds with actual organic disease, multiplied food (perhaps the greatest of His miracles since these broke the universal laws of physics), calmed the sea waves and wind, and much more.

On three separate occasions He told His disciples He would be killed, by crucifixion, and be raised from the dead. Three times. And it happened, exactly fulfilling the ancient prophecies by David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and a number of others.

After His resurrection He set His followers about the work of proclaiming who He is and what He did to the entire world. Then at some time unknown, He will return to save His followers and judge the world. He never said anyone else would show up to carry on the work or to add to it or subtract from it. We are waiting right now for His return.

Muhammad’s Allah


Muhammad is not God, never claimed to be either despite how Muslims tend to view him, and neither is Gabriel. In fact, it is not a stretch to say that Islam has its own trinity, Allah, Muhammad, and the Qur’an.

The story goes that Allah spoke to Gabriel who then spoke to Muhammad, who then recited the revelations that originated with Allah, by way of Gabriel, to other people who at some point committed them to writing.

The narrative of the collecting of the Qur’an is fascinating. There were so many variations going about that Uthman, the third caliph after Muhammad, ordered all the renditions be gathered together in order to make a uniform document. All the other manuscripts were then burned. But the picture of Allah in the Qur’an is interesting.

Allah is distant, speaks through an angel, and loves those who love him and hates those who do not believe in him. And it is a murderous hatred, too. Allah is the greatest of deceivers and will lead astray even the best of Muslims. Though Allah repeatedly refers to himself as the most beneficent, the most merciful, the most forgiving, and so on, there is no evidence of this other than what he says of himself.

It is not unfair, nor a misrepresentation, to say that the God of the Qur’an is very far different from the God spoken of in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.

Is Allah a fiction?

My premise is that Gabriel is indeed an angel, but a fallen angel. Muhammad was correct when he thought the being that presented itself at the cave on Mt. Hira was a jinn, which is an Arabic word meaning demon. It was only his wife Khadija who convinced him otherwise.

The point then is: If Gabriel is a demon, and Gabriel is reciting to Muhammad what is supposedly spoken by Allah, then just who or what is Allah?

It is clear from the Old and New Testaments that Satan, and his demons, are surely angels but fallen angels who become the enemies of God. And Satan is a god, too.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

“The god of this world” Paul says, and some chapters later in the same letter he writes of those who “veil” the gospel,

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

(2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

(Note: An apostle is a messenger, one sent with a message.)

Is Allah a fiction? No, there is an Allah but it is Satan in disguise that directed an underling demon to approach Muhammad while Muhammad was in a trance state and therefore open to demonic invasion.

Have I committed blasphemy and of the worst sort against the Islamic trinity? Yes, indeed I have but not out of meanness or an attempt to deceive.

To say that Allah is a demon (Shayton or Satan), to say that Gabriel is also a demon (jinn), and that then Muhammad was very cleverly deceived, is the only possible conclusion to come to. And this is what most Christians do believe, but it is a little scary to put it out into the public purview, given what we have seen of Islam in these past few decades.


Is Muhammad a true prophet of God?

Was he duped into thinking he was hearing words from Allah?

Did he make the whole thing up?

Was it all a dream?

Was it a scheme to acquire power and prestige?

Is Muhammad a prophet to be trusted?

Is he to be obeyed? Is he to be believed?

Is he a false prophet?

Is Allah a deceiver?

We cannot be afraid to ask these questions. Too much hinges on the answers, for Muslims especially. I am well aware that Muslim people are sincere seekers after God. Even the most radical among them are only following through on what has been communicated to them from the cradle. Muslim people, in my experience are more “religious” than most Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and so on.

Few desire to be with God in Paradise as much as Muslims. And many will do anything to assure themselves of being there. After all, no Muslim can be sure they will make it either as Allah is a great deceiver, schemer, plotter, (these three designations are synonyms and in different versions of the Qur’an they are used to describe Allah) and will lead astray any he chooses.

And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them); and Allah is the best of schemers. Qur’an 3:54 Are they then secure from Allah’s scheme? None deemeth himself secure from Allah’s scheme save folk that perish. Qur’an 7:99 Also see: Qur’an 8:3- and 13:42.

Unlike the Christian who will experience assurance of salvation, the Muslim can only hope and work hard to earn Allah’s favor.

Some commentators doubt Muhammad even existed. I am not one of those. As to whether early Muslims embellished the story, especially in the latter part of the seventh and into the eighteenth century, is a possibility. We are aware Gnostics in the second and third centuries did that with Jesus, made Him into a super hero and magician.

It is well established that Muhammad was not certain in his own mind as to the nature of the entity he encountered on Mt. Hira. At first he thought the ‘angel’ was a jinn, a demon; his wife Khadija convinced him it was an angel of God. Is it fair to ask: Ought one to commit themselves to a “lap dance?”

What is the truth?

That which was revealed to Muhammad differs utterly from what we see of God in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Which account is the true one?

Islam, of course, says that the revelation to Muhammad supersedes or replaces what is found in the Bible. And in a number of significant ways. For instance, Jesus is not God come to be with us. And He definitely did not die on a cross for our sin. Jesus is a prophet, yes, but not of the rank of Muhammad, the final Prophet. Jesus plays a role in the last days, but dies and ends up being buried next to Muhammad. It is rather complex, but the Jesus of the Qur’an (Isa) is not close to the Jesus of Christian Scripture.

Then, God in the Qur’an is separated from humans and speaks through an angel. In the Bible, God becomes flesh and dwells among us. Also, being in Paradise/heaven in the Qur’an depends upon believing that Allah alone is God and that Muhammad is his messenger. But that is only the beginning. Mostly heaven is earned by doing good deeds, working for salvation. In the Bible forgiveness, salvation, and being assured of heaven depends upon God’s gift alone.

My closing statement

Who is Allah? Allah is either a chief demon, perhaps Satan himself, or a fantasy figure invented by Muhammad. Allah is not God at minimum.

Who is Gabriel? Gabriel is either a jinn, meaning a demon, or again is a fantasy figure invented by Muhammad. Gabriel is not an angel of the Lord God.

Who is Muhammad? A seventh century man living in Arabia who was either deceived by a demonic entity or developed a fictional account of being communicated with by God. Muhammad is not a prophet of God; he is a false prophet.

[1] The Sira has for centuries been linked with the Qur’an and hadith as authoritative on the life of Muhammad. In more recent years the Sira has been largely neglected, as the accounts of what Muhammad said and did are rather fantastic, problematic, and embarrassing.

[2] Words in brackets-( )-indicate explanatory notes made by editors of the Qur’an. Without them so very many passages of the Qur’an would be unintelligible.

[3] LORD, all capital letters shows that the Hebrew text has Yahweh, that name spoken to Moses in the burning bush incident. See Exodus 3:14.