The End Times At TBN
by Jackie Alnor
Paul Crouch, president and founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, believes that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return to planet Earth to set up His prophesied 1,000 year Kingdom. :”(For a good study of Bible Prophecy, see J. Dwight Pentecost’s Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, ‚ ©1958 Dunham Publishing – republished by Zondervan, Grand Rapids.)”: Not all professing Christians believe in this doctrine of the millennial rule of Christ. Many spiritualize away clear passages of Scripture to come to a different conclusion.
For us who take the Bible literally, we anticipate a time when Jesus Christ will return for his Bride, the Church, as He promised.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” [John 14:2-3].
That place is the New Jerusalem that descends out of heaven to earth at the start of the Christ’s reign. :”(Revelation 21:10)”: ‚ The earth will enjoy 1,000 years of peace and harmony at that time. One famous reference to this time of peace is inscribed on the United Nations Headquarters building in New York City. It reads: “And they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks,” as is taken from Isaiah 2:4. This passage identifies this time period as “the Day of the Lord,” :”(Isaiah 2:12)”: and adds that “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” :”(Isaiah 2:4)”: What a wonderful promise!
The prophet Isaiah prophesied this as a literal time on earth when all of nature will be in harmony and the Lord Himself will be ruling from His throne in Jerusalem. At that time people will again live to be hundreds of years old and will live side by side with the resurrected saints who are in their immortal bodies.
But before the return of Christ, there will be a seven-year period of time in which the devil has his last stand in the person of the antichrist. This is known as the “Great Tribulation” or “the time of Jacob’s Trouble.” The Bible gives a lot of details about this time in the book of Revelation and also in the book of Daniel as well as in the Gospels and the epistles.
Christians do well to pay heed to Bible prophecies regarding the last days as a safeguard against falling into error at a time when spiritual deception will be at an all-time high.
There are many indicators that we are nearing the time of the end and the immanent return of Jesus. Jesus gave us a prophetic pattern to look out for in the 24th chapter of Matthew’s gospel. These signs would come in waves like the birth pangs of a woman in labor, stronger and closer together. Here is a list of the beginning of sorrows:
- False Christs, i.e.: false anointings :”(Matthew 24:5; 23-26)”:
- Wars and rumors of wars :”(Matthew 24:6)”:
- Famine :”(Matthew 24:7)”:
- Pestilence, i.e.: disease-causing microscopic pests as well as big ones
- Earthquakes in various places :”(Matthew 24:7)”:
- Proliferation of false prophets, deceiving many :”(Matthew 24:11)”:
The coming Tribulation period is a time of God’s judgment upon a Christ rejecting world. Jesus likened the time to the days of Noah, :”(Matthew 24:37-38)”: which was a time when the wickedness of man was great in the earth. :”(Genesis 6:5)”: He also compared it to the time of Lot, :”(Luke 17:28-29)”: Abraham’s nephew, who lived in Sodom, the town God destroyed along with Gomorrah, when He rained down fire and brimstone.
In the case of Sodom and Gomorra, God was able to isolate His judgment on the wicked to those two towns. But in the case of Noah, all the inhabited land was corrupt, so His judgment was universal — worldwide. After the flood, God promised He would never again destroy all flesh by water, but that the next global judgment would be one of fire:
“But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” :”(2 Peter 3:7)”:
One only has to take a look around and see that the whole earth is ripe for judgment. Evil is not isolated to one locale — it is universal. Therefore God’s judgment will have to be universal since He cannot stamp out evil by destroying one city. But before He can execute judgment, He will rescue those who have the righteousness of Christ by faith, since it is not His will to destroy the good along with the evil. :”(ee Abraham’s argument with God in the 18th chapter of Genesis where God said he would not destroy Sodom if He could find ten righteous men therein.)”:
Futurists make use of the “Armageddon Clock” that is usually set at five minutes to midnight, depending upon the world’s likelihood for a nuclear war. But a bigger factor is the moral condition of the planet. We should look at the “Cup of Iniquity Clock” for clues to the likelihood of God’s judgement being outpoured. From the looks of things, that cup is almost filled to the top.
Recognizing the signs of the times does not guarantee you’ll escape the coming judgments. That all depends on your right standing with God. The prophet Amos warned:
“Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light.” :”(Amos 5:18)”:
Some self-righteous folks are going to be in for a rude awakening on that day. I am convinced that after the Rapture occurs, the churches will still be full of people and TBN and other “Christian” networks will not go black.
TBN in Bible Prophecy?
TBN founder, Paul Crouch, had a long-standing friendship with prophecy teacher, Hal Lindsey, author of the 1970s best seller, The Late Great Planet Earth. It is apparent that Paul’s wife Jan did not share his enthusiasm, since whenever Lindsey would be on the Praise the Lord program, Jan would dismiss herself before he makes his entrance. Then in late 2005, TBN dropped Lindsey’s program when he would not submit to censorship regarding his pro-Israel, Anti-Islam political position. Though Lindsey was a big influence in Paul Crouch’s belief of the end-times, the Crouches’ views of Bible prophecy has changed over the years ” “ they seem to rewrite it as they go along.
Those in TBN’s inner circle are bold to see themselves in Bible prophecy in dramatic ways. TBN has over 5,000 stations and is carried on 33 satellites that beam its programming around the world. Paul Crouch interprets the angel mentioned in Revelation, that flies through mid-heaven, as these satellites although they also happen to carry X-rated programming as well.
“You know I’ve told you this little story so many times, but I have found a scripture in the Bible that talks about satellites,” Crouch asserted during one of their fund-raisers they call Praise-a-Thon. “I promise you! Listen to this! Isaiah 45:8, ‘Drop down ye heavens from above. Let the skies pour down righteousness. Let the earth open. Let them bring forth salvation. I, the Lord have created it.’ That’s satellite, brother! Pure and simple! The heavens are opening and the skies are pouring down righteousness.” :”(Fall 1999 Praise-a-Thon @ TBN)”:
“I heard Billy Graham say that,” Crouch added. “Billy Graham fully believes that Revelation 14:7 — ‘I saw another angel flying through mid heaven’ — Those satellites fly in mid heaven, not the lower heaven, not the far-out heaven, but that’s exactly where they fly — mid-heaven. One — with the everlasting gospel, preaching to them that dwell upon the earth, saying with a loud voice, ‘repent for the hour of his judgment has come.’ ” :”(ibid.)”:
Crouch has been promoting this idea ever since TBN got its first satellite link-up. Since the angel in Revelation is in the singular, it was almost tenable. After all, if the demon locusts :”(See Revelation 9:1-11)”: in the book of Revelation are actually helicopters, according to Hal Lindsey, then you could take it a step further and interpret the angel to be a satellite. But 33 satellites? Now it’s getting a lot harder to swallow.
Crouch interprets another verse as referring to satellites in Revelation 1:7 — “And every eye shall see Him — via satellite” — a headline stated in the March, 1990 TBN newsletter. So according to Crouch, TBN is the vehicle by which God gathers the final harvest, therefore Jesus cannot return until TBN fulfills the Great Commission :”(The Great Commission was given to the church by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20.)”: of sending the gospel out around the world.
“I believe John saw a satellite,” Jan Crouch joyfully proclaimed. “I’ve heard Billy Graham and Chuck Smith and everybody say that. I mean what else would that be? All of heaven opens up and he saw what he recorded in the book of Revelation for us and all of a sudden he saw us. He saw us in his vision laying there when the world thought he was all alone. . . and there he was having this vision of us carrying the good news via satellite around the whole wide world. . . Is that awesome?” :”(Crouch, Jan Macedonian Call Praise-a-Thon – 7/22/91 )”:
Even before TBN got onto a satellite, Crouch read TBN into Bible prophecy. Quoting Acts 2:19, in the July, 1986 TBN newsletter — “And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath” — Crouch wrote, “The FCC had GRANTED EIGHT TV station permits in ONE DAY! This has broken all records at the FCC . . . Surely this must be a part of the SIGNS AND WONDERS IN HEAVEN spoken of by the Prophet Joel” (emphasis in original).
TBN Encoded in the Bible
TBN’s importance has been attested to by many of the Crouches’ friends and TBN regulars. And in every case Paul & Jan Crouch give hearty approval to the visions and revelations that elevate TBN above the competition.
One claim is that Paul, Jan, and TBN are God’s appointed Noah’s Ark for the last days. Their names are supposedly encrypted in the book of Genesis in the passage where Noah loaded the survivors of the flood onto the ark, according to a guest on the Praise the Lord program that aired in early January, 2001.
This revelation was made possible by the Bible code theory, an unorthodox means of finding hidden meanings in the Bible. This method of soothsaying was made popular by non-Christian author, Michael Drosnin’s book, “The Bible Code,” that has become a fad in Bible prophecy teaching circles. However, no reputable Bible scholar acknowledges it as a valid way of studying scripture.
On the program that night with Crouch was co-host, Ben Kinchlow, former 700 Club co-host, who told the audience that this latest discovery was proof that God’s word is of supernatural origin. Their guest that night was Paul Crouch’s personal Bible code decoder, Yacov Rambsel, whom Crouch commissioned to write a book that was a love gift for TBN donors. The book is called, “The Genesis Factor.” “I honestly believe God is revealing it to us in these last days,” said Crouch, “to unseal this book (holds up the Bible) and tell us things that no other generation has ever known.”
The clue as to how the words in the Bible are to be understood is revealed in the book of Daniel, according to Rambsel’s research. “In Daniel, where it says at the time of the end knowledge shall be increased,” explained Crouch, “encoded in that passage right there are the words ‘Bible codes.'”
Rambsel uses what he calls ELS, equidistant letter sequences, to find hidden messages in the Hebrew words of scripture. [It’s reminiscent of the backward masking craze, seeking hidden messages on rock albums by playing the albums backwards.] Various critics of this method have shown that virtually any message can be extracted from the Bible through this method.
Rambsel explains in his book how he found the ministry of TBN encrypted in Genesis 7:13, where Noah is gathering his family and all the animals into the ark. “It’s the ark of refuge,” said Rambsel, “He’s talking about salvation.” “‘So what we find in that little passage,” read Crouch from The Genesis Factor, “as they’re loading everybody on the ark, starting with the third letter in the eighth word and counting forward every 15th letter, spells ‘Paul’ . . . adjacent to his name at the same ELS is ‘Jan,’ which is the name of his wife . . . starting with the fourth letter in the third word, counting every 20th letter spells ‘TBN’. Adjacent letters in the same ELS spell at least eleven different words that are directly associated with the work of TBN; Paul; Jan; last name Crouch; good news; satellite; film; praise; shall be clothed with faith; information and knowledge.’ It’s all there!”
Crouch was quick to point out that his is not the only name encrypted in the Bible. “We honestly believe, Yacov, don’t we? That everybody’s name is encoded in the Holy Bible.” “I know this for a fact,” agreed Rambsel. “Absolutely!” “So this is no special blessing to Jan and me,” Crouch added. “We believe that’s the Book of Life, but there’s another book, the Lamb’s Book of Life. That you have to be born again before you get into that book.”
Perhaps the Crouches and their Bible decoder are picking these ideas up from their friends without realizing it. Back on December 5, 1999, on Benny Hinn’s “This Is Your Day” telecast, faith healer Oral Roberts told Hinn that Hinn and his ministry was the ark.
“They, as a body, are coming together in climax,” said Roberts, referring to Christians of all persuasions. “For example, your crusades is being born up to the faith of the body of Christ [sic] and the pressing needs of humanity in the same way that the ark of Noah and his family was born up by the waters that will destroy the world, the great rain and flood that came also was lifting the ark. And when sin came to a climax, righteousness came to a climax in Noah just like it’s coming to pass in your life, in your ministry.”
The potential of this Bible code trend for evil is almost infinite. Can you imagine the Lord Jesus looking at scripture that way? Obviously not. With God there is “no variation or shadow of turning.” :”(James 1:17)”: Jesus said, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple . . . in secret I have said nothing.” :”(John 18:20)”: God never gave man any such method of interpreting scripture.
TBN: The Source of the Spirit’s Power
Country-gospel singer Betty Jean Robinson has been a TBN mainstay almost from the beginning. She has her own show on TBN called “Up On Melody Mountain.” She is most famous for her beautiful contemporary Christian song, “He is Jehovah.” Inside her Bible, she keeps tucked away a hand-written account of a vision she received some 20 years ago. It reads: “I saw the whole map of America, and in the center was the presidential seal . . . But the eagle on the seal was looking toward TBN in Southern California. From TBN in Southern California great beams of light began to flood up over America and across the world! Written on those beams of light was: ‘Salvation, Deliverance and Power,’ and then a great beam that said, ‘CANNOT BE STOPPED!’ And then I heard the Spirit say to me, ‘I have let my servant Paul in on the secrets for the final days.'” :”(Taken from the June 2000 TBN Newsletter online at www.tbn.org)”:
This vision allegedly occurred years before the opening of TBN’s International Production Center (IPC) in Irving, Texas, that was designed after the White House and where their programming is translated into many foreign languages. It is hard to say if this vision inspired the design of that studio or was a fulfillment of Betty Jean’s vision, which is the TBN interpretation.
But the loftiest claim of TBN’s position in the last days comes from the Crouches’ personal prophet, Benny Hinn. One night he made a statement that flabbergasted Paul and Jan, who listened with their heads bowed and their hands raised to heaven.
“Here’s first what I see for TBN,” Hinn began. “You’re going to have people raised from the dead watching this network.” :”(TBN telecast October 23, 1999)”:
“I’m telling you, I see this in the spirit,” Hinn continued. “It’s gonna be so awesome. Jesus, I give you praise for this — that people around the world, maybe not so much in America. People around the world who will lose loved ones will say to the undertakers, ‘ahh not yet. I want to take my dead loved one and place him in front of the TV set for 24 hours.”
“Placing them before a television set, waiting for God’s power to come through and touch them. It’s gonna happen time and time, so much it’s gonna spread.”
Hinn’s story kept growing as he spoke that night as he testified to seeing caskets lining up in front of TV sets that had TBN tuned in. He said that loved ones would place the cadavers’ hands on the TV set and God’s power would pulsate through it into them and raise them back to life.
According to this same vision, little children would receive an impartation of the Holy Spirit simply by placing their hands on their TV sets. God had really big plans for the future of TBN. “TBN will no longer be just a television network,” Hinn said. “It will be an extension of heaven to earth.”
Just then, Hinn claimed to be hearing the voice of God speak and began to relate what he was hearing. “The Lord just said to me these words. I’m hearing myself say them for the first time. TBN will not be only a Christian network. It will be an extension of heaven to the earth. An extension. It’ll be like a — like a tube from heaven that the earth can look at and say, ‘I’m looking at heaven. I’m partaking of — of heaven. I’m getting connected to heaven through this TBN tube.’ If I can say it, it will be heaven’s signal to the earth. It will be as though heaven is transmitting and earth is receiving through that set. So if you want to go to heaven, you want to see heaven, you want to taste heaven, turn on that channel, because you will.”
Since TBN insiders interpret Bible prophecy and their own dreams and visions as God’s seal of approval on their work, then it is the responsibility of all believers to study Bible prophecy and see if TBN fits into any acceptable scenario of the end times.
How has Bible prophecy been presented by the Crouches and TBN regulars over their thirty-three year history? Is there a consensus among them of the nearness of the return of the Lord and what role TBN plays? These are questions well worth examining to form any conclusions regarding their high-minded claims.
[Read Part 2: The Great Apostasy]