The International House of Prayer (IHOP) hosts an annual year-end conference called OneThing, which Republic of Gilead commented on in 2010. OneThing 2011 took place on December 28-31, 2011 at the Kansas City Convention Center, and IHOP has since posted videos and MP3 files of the event at its website.
IHOP director Mike Bickle gave several talks at OneThing 2011, including a Friday talk entitled, "Jesus, the Bridegroom King: Waging a War." Bickle explored the Revelations image of Jesus as conquering warrior, refusing to shy away from Revelations' graphic violence. Amidst his amusing comments about vampire movies and the occult was an unsettling excitement when discussing the Bible's violence.
At the 14:52 mark, Bickle explained that Revelations 19 is so violent because the world will be a wicked place in the end times.
"The nations will be blaspheming god. The nations will be walking in unprecedented levels of wickedness. They will walk in wickedness far beyond any other time in history. The occult is going to explode. Immorality is going to go far beyond what it is now. What's happening in the internet, realm of immorality is going to go so far beyond in the next ten, twenty, thirty years than it is right now. We can't even imagine."I find it interesting that Bickle lists occultism and internet foulness, rather than war, poverty, or oppression, as the wickedness that will characterize the end times. Bickle goes on, condemning films and television shows with vampires -- films and shows he admits he has never seen -- as a means of "desensitizing" society into accepting "demon activity." At the 15:29 mark, he had this to say about pop culture.
"These kind of cute, kind of romance new films or shows with demons and beautiful women and beautiful men that are demons, or whatever-whatever. Haven't watched any of them, but I've heard about them, and believers thinking, 'oh, it's cute.' Video games. This stuff is really bad. It's not cute. It's calculated to desensitize an entire generation of the earth so that they are not scandalized by demonic activity and what demons do. This vampire this, or whatever it is that, the cute guy, but he's really this guy, or he's a demon ... Never watch that stuff. It's not cute, it's not innocent, it's desensitizing you, and it's a setup for the occult explosion that's about to happen ... And then the devil's going to pull his mask off, and they're not even going to mess with the cute guy and the romance and the vampire. It's going to be straight demon activity, straight on, face-to-face."I loathe Twilight as much as the next person because of its toxic messages (see here and here), but not because it supposedly promotes demonic activity. As consumers of entertainment, we need to be media savvy, not paranoid about demons.
Bickle tells listeners that Jesus will march on Jerusalem in the end times to liberate it from its enemies. At the 24:26 mark, he launches into a pro-Israel speech, warning that the devil will try to destroy the Jewish people once again.
"The nations are going to gather, surround the city of Jerusalem with the intention of annihilating and exterminating the Jewish people. That's where history is going. Someone said is anti-Semitism going to break out again. It is going to reach all-time levels like never before. The devil wants to exterminate the Jewish race. He tried to do it through Adolf Hitler, and he failed. He's going to try again in a far more dramatic way through the Antichrist, and I have good news. He's going to fail again, but I have another news. The body of Christ is going to stand with Israel like no time in history, and we're going to be there as the first line of defense under Jesus' leadership."Bickle describes in detail the graphic violence of Revelations, including how Jesus will "tread the wine press of the wrath of God" as he slays the armies at Jerusalem. With regard to the bloodshed that Jesus will unleash, Bickle asserts that "it's terrifying, but it's glorious in its end result." So that the land will be clean after the conquest, Jesus will gather birds to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the slain. Jesus' garments will be stained red, as if discolored from stomping grapes in a wine press. Bickle's euphoria as he described Jesus' violence was disconcerting, even if the violence he described would supposedly "clean the planet of evil once and for all."
Bickle's glorification of divine bloodshed made my blood run cold. After my fellow Americans have returned from a bloody and traumatizing war in Iraq, and having just read Child, Victim, Soldier, I have little patience right now for anyone who imagines war as "glorious." War is ugly, savage, dehumanizing, and corrosive to our fundamental humanity -- sometimes necessary as a last resort but never "glorious." What kind of vision of God is this, in which God is depicted as a conqueror who engages in mass bloodshed? What does it say about the authors of Revelations that they depict divine war in such celebratory terms? What does it say about Bickle that he revels in the image of Jesus as a blood-spattered warrior?