I just finished another course at the Koinonia Institute and, so far, I’m finding the topical courses are not nearly as good as the systematic, contextual reviews of the biblical text by Missler himself.
This course was a two lecture briefing, but it was really odd how it’s title about Demons, and specifically 1 Timothy 4:1 where Paul states, “In latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” But, throughout the course, there is actually little to no mention of demons!
I guess we can chock it up to lesson learned. It is a personal goal to complete all KI courses (at least those on my personalized Study Plan for my uThM Program).
So, let’s go through the Discussion Questions despite the glaring absence of the actual topic in question….
What I Knew Before Starting the Course
The KI curriculum has apparently shifted in it’s approach in the last few years. I’m not exactly certain when the shift occurred (or really why) but from talking with a few students who “attended” courses several years ago, the process was much, much different (and not something I would have enjoyed, if I’m completely honest).
Before, courses were in very high demand, and were test driven. You had to pass a test or multiple tests and there were actual wait-lists to get into some classes.
Fast forward to today, and there are no more tests (or few), and courses are being slowly switched over to the KWL format. This is a writing based approach (which I prefer). It is nearly 100% asynchronous, with little to no interaction with other students. The one thing I do not like about the new format is there are no longer discussion questions for many courses (like this one). I assume this is so the organization doesn’t have to employ someone to write the questions.
But, this is fine. I can just write my own questions! All the more benefit I receive being both instructor and student.
My plan, of course, is to incorporate all aspects of the new format and whatever I liked of the old. So, let me tackle the K portion of the assignment.
What did I already know about the subject, Doctrines of Demons.
There is actually quite a lot. And, if you read my intro to this post, you’ll likely assume my K and L sections will predominantly be the same, since there was really nothing to learn in this course.
But, here we go.
As already stated, Doctrines of Demons (διδασκαλίαις δαιμονίων) is a phrase that occurs only once in the bible (1 Timothy 4:1). It is accompanied at least loosely by 1 Corinthians 10:20, and Revelation 9:20 where “sacrificing to demons,” having “fellowship with demons,” and “worshiping demons” are all discussed briefly in each case.
So what is this idea? Doctrines of demons? Well, doctrine is any teaching, general or specific. Demons, of course, are spiritual creatures that were disembodied during the flood (from the Nephilim). These were described in Genesis 6:1-4 as giants, great and famous men who had near superhuman power and were great warriors. They were the product of the angelic fall, when “the sons of God saw the daughters of men” and fell from their “abode” and “took wives of them.” It was because of the presence of these abominations that the global flood came to the earth, wiping out every living soul save the 8 people in the ark.
Since they were killed and had no entrance into the intermediate state nor in the afterlife (because they have no soul), these beings were stuck on the earth and became what we would describe today as demons.
This is why in Luke 8:30, they begged Jesus not to cast them into the “abyss,” which is where the fallen angels from Genesis 6, Jude 1:6, and 2 Peter 2:4 reside until the Judgment (apparently, they do not get alone with their fathers either).
Demons, somehow, are in league with Satan to thwart the plan of God (though I’m unclear on exactly how they attempt to do that), and desire to shipwreck as many people as possible. Demons seem to be still disembodied, and continually strive in one fashion or another to possess the flesh.
There appears to be an “appointed time” (Matthew 8:29) for their judgment, as they tried to hold Jesus to it at their encounter just outside of the tombs. So they are aware of their impending adjudication?
My personal conviction is, most if not all religion (even the dogmatic and major denominational expressions of Christianity) are actually fronts for the worship of demons or are the teachings of demons, designed to trick humans into forsaking Christ and following something else (or nothing at all). These are the world religions, the new age, and even atheism and evolution (especially the non-theistic religion that has sprung from it).
What I Want to Learn from the Course
What I would like to learn from this course would be confirmation on the origin story of demons. What are they like? What is their agenda? What will be their ultimate destiny? Why are the biblical descriptions we find so cryptic and elusive? Where demons intentional by God? Are they creations of God or of Man (or of Angels)? Why can’t we see demons? Why is the world so enthralled on one hand to discount the existence of demons, yet so apt to follow after their seducing teachings on the other? What are examples of doctrines of demons and how can we identify them?
What I Learned in Lecture 1
So, the two lectures in question were given by Ron Matsen. I’m not certain his position in the K-House Organization (especially now that both Chuck and Nancy Missler have passed away), but he has gotten more and more involved in recording lectures over the most recent years.
I personally don’t care for those lectures.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing necessarily wrong with them or with the teaching. In fact, there were a few things Matsen says that I agree with whole heartedly. But, he’s just no Chuck Missler. I don’t know what it was about that man. I was pretty formative when I was first introduced to his teachings on tape. It was during the time that I was still trying to chart my way in Christianity (and Churchianity). For whatever reason, he’s been a solid voice of reason in my life over the last 30 years.
But, as Matsen points out in this first lecture, we are promised deception in the end. I’ve been watching it for most of my adult life, though, I do have to admit, I had a really hard time imagining the world could produce what is depicted in the bible. Not now, of course! Back in the early 90’s it was impossible to imagine wars and rumors of wars, or a religion that would sweep over the entire world, one that was god like but denied God and his power. I don’t find it impossible to imagine today. I don’t have to imagine it. It is happening right in front of us!
And there is this great delusion that God has promised the world, that it would take them, those who have been turned over to a futile mind. I’m now watching it, the greatest kind of insanity playing out in the minds of men. All logic and rational thought is out the window! Any concept of reason or of God or his promise are discounted and discredited as foolishness (also predicted).
But, we are told, “that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The world has to come to an end. Society has to be destroyed. Madness has to reign.
There has be a lot of talk and speculation over the years about the absence of the United States in biblical prophecy. I’ve seen the Scriptures twisted in on themselves again and again, just to find a glimmer that our country does not destroy itself. But, in the end I think it is undeniable. I remember when Chuck Missler was optimistic about the country. He prided himself in his past military service (as I once did, but no more), in his career, in the culture. But, over the years, it was interesting to see that pride erode as the truth became all too real.
America is, I think, doomed. There is no hope. All that’s left, all that I think is holding back swift and utter destruction is our official (though quite tacit) support for Israel. Once we betray God’s people, I think that will be the end of the country I was born into.
But, I had no say in this matter. I had no way of knowing I would be born or raised an American. And it really doesn’t matter in the end. For, human governments are to God “brute beasts.” Our politicians are all whores and liars. Same with much of what we call clergy today. Business and Wall Street would sooner rob you than help you up the socio-economic ladder.
There is no hope that remains.
What does that mean for this country or the people who live in it? Will we break up into constituent parts? Will we no longer be the United States, but the Free State of Alabama, the Independent State of Florida, the Communist State of Colorado, the Communist State of the Pacific Northwest?
Do I need to relocate?
Interestingly enough, Chuck and Nancy Missler relocated to New Zealand shortly before their deaths. Of course, though, they had the funds to do so. I’m afraid I do not have that luxury. I was born here. For the most part, I’ve lived here. And, I will certainly die here. Even if at the hands of my own people.
And why do I bring all this up?
Simply because the world has been overrun by those who have accepted and believe in doctrines of demons.
Matsen points out in the lecture the big hitters (but the ones that are already well established). Islam. The Mormons. Jehovah’s Witnesses. Charismatics. Catholics. Hollywood. The myriad of Cults.
And, that is a sure sign of counterfeit. A different gospel. A different Jesus than the one found in the bible. And he predicted as much in John 10:1, “he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
I used to be him. I used to be the thief and robber. I used to think salvation was found in nirvana, through meditation, through Buddha’s fourfold noble truths and the eightfold noble path. I used to think it was the escape from this world of suffering and pain and loss and regret.
Thankfully, I was proven wrong.
What I Learned in Lecture 2
In the second lecture, Matsen does bring up the idea of counterfeit. Great wonders, signs and miracles. They were done by Pharaoh’s magicians – rods into serpents, water into blood. There will be power, signs and lying wonders.
And, he tells us we are to “test all things, hold fast to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). And this is certainly true. And the certain test we have is familiarity with the Word. It has been proven again and again to me over the years. As I continue in my study of the bible, in understanding God’s purpose, his nature, his Word, I come away with the ability to see those demonic forces for what they are.
I see what money is.
I see what relationships are.
I see what fame and prestige and privilege will get you.
Possibly the loss of your very soul.
“do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in gehenna” (Matthew 10:28).
There was one comment Matsen made at the very end of lecture 2, in his closing comments, “in what we call the church today” in reference to what it is willing to believe or accept.
But, I think it’s important to note. What we call the church today is not actually the church found in the New Testament. It is not the church God is building. It is not the Church we are called to be.
Unfortunately, I have not seen this church of God, the mystery Paul spoke of. It has either not yet materialized or has been eroded away from countless years of attack and corruption and deceit at the hands of the powers and the principalities (or it has been hidden from me because I am not one of the called).
But, I do believe there is a church universal that will one day be revealed at Christ’s return, when he rains down hell and judgment and fury on the earth. Those who are found justified in his sight (not from their own works but because of Christ’s work on the cross), they will stand at the sideline in awe and wonder and in great humility as they watch the destruction of the only world they’ve ever known.
I hope to prepare for that day. I hope it is not far off. I hope the righteous will be spared and the guilty judged for their wickedness and evil and the corruption of their hearts. May the mercy of God that was extended to me be extended to as many who will accept the gift Jesus has produced for them. May they repent and be saved.
Until my next review….
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Excerpt from Ashen Monk Mountain:
There was an old elm tree near the end of the lawn, with a circular picnic table and several short benches.
“This looks like a lovely spot,” Mr. Eckey said, taking a seat.
He set his briefcase on the picnic table and flipped the latches, opening the lid.
Christopher took a seat opposite him and removed his hood, folding his arms in front of him.
“I have a tablet and a pen here somewhere,” Mr. Eckey said. “I had it when I left, that is. Not sure if I can find it in this disorganized briefcase of mine…”
He chuckled at himself.
“So – ”
Christopher ran a hand over his short cropped scalp.
“I’m confused about all this. I’m not sure I understand why exactly you wanted to meet with me.”
Mr. Eckey nodded.
“How long have you been a novitiate here?”
“Going on seven months now.”
He glanced up at Christopher as he fetched his notebook and ink pen.
“How are you liking it at Saint Joseph’s?”
“It has been – ”
Christopher thought about the question for a moment.
“ – wonderful.”
“I would assume it much different than – ”
Mr. Eckey flipped the first page over, scanned handwritten notes he had on the second page.
“I received some background from the Precept’s office, as well as from Abbot Greenly. You grew up in – North Platte, Nebraska? Is that correct?”
“I’m native of the Boston area myself,” Mr. Eckey said. “Tell me a little about how you came to the decision.”
Mr. Eckey smiled.
“To become a monk. It must have been quite a journey from Nebraska.”
“Not really. I guess. I just – ”
Unwanted images flashed through his mind.
Mr. Eckey took a deep breath before speaking again.
“Mr. Ward, I don’t actually know a whole lot about this request, to be perfectly honest. As you know, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Apostolic Life – that’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it – we are entrusted with monitoring abnormal behavior among those called to the consecrated vocation.”
He tapped his pen on the tablet.
“Tell me, what do you like about Saint Joseph’s exactly?”
“It’s the – well – I feel at home here. Like I belong. I very much enjoy the silence.”
“Yes, I know the Trappists to be quite ardent in their devotion.”
Christopher nodded in agreement as Mr. Eckey took a few notes.
“I enjoy the early mornings, the worship, the offices. The undivided devotion.”
“To God?” Mr. Eckey asked.
“Yes,” Christopher said. “Exactly.”
The stranger focused on his notes for several seconds, silently mouthing the words he wrote.
“Tell me, how does your life now differ from your previous one?”
Mr. Eckey stopped writing.
“Your military career.”
“Oh,” Christopher said, looking down. “I guess – I – I don’t know. There are lots of differences. I’m not – sure I – what is this inquiry about exactly?”
Mr. Eckey put his pen down.
“Mr. Ward,” he said. “The Vatican apparently has interest in your particular gifts and abilities for a – call it – a special appointment. I guess that’s the best way to put it.”
He shifted his weight on the hard bench.
“Normally, the Congregation does not get involved in appointments or a particular monk’s vocational choices. But, sometimes, when the need arises, special arrangements can be made.”
“Are you talking about another monastery?”
“Actually – ”
Mr. Eckey picked his pen back up.
“It’s an entirely different Order.”
Christopher leaned forward as a gust of wind billowed the long sleeves of his tunic.
“I don’t really understand,” he said. “Are you saying the Vatican wants me to move to a different monastery – to a different Order? But…I…”
Mr. Eckey waited a moment.
“Tell me, Mr. Ward, about your military training.”
“What about it?”
“Your experiences. You were a special operator, is that correct?”
Christopher shot him a quizzical look.
“How do you know that?”
“You were part of the 7th SFG? Assigned to operations in Afghanistan for the majority of your enlistment, surrendering your commission as a Captain. Is that correct? What did you like or dislike about your military career? Why was it you left?”
Christopher looked out over the cornfields in the distance.
“Sir,” he said, wringing his hands together. “I don’t really understand why you’re asking these kinds of questions. To be honest, they’re making me a little uncomfortable. I think I – ”
“Please, Brother Christopher,” Mr. Eckey said, putting up a hand. “I don’t mean to pry. As I said, this is a peculiar and rather sensitive situation, not at all normal procedure. So, I do apologize for my rather tactless approach. Let me explain a little, if I can – ”
Christopher tried to relax.
He struggled to repress the memories rising in the back of his mind, the bloody and gruesome images of dead bodies, a horrible, yet all too familiar wave of fear and dread washing over him.
A wave of putrid death enveloped and permeated everything.
He took a deep breath, tried to ignore it.
Mr. Eckey put down his pen again.
“There is a remote monastery in British Colombia. It is of a separate Order, not Cistercian, but similar. It’s rather distinctive, as I am led to believe.”
“What is the Order?” Christopher asked.
Mr. Eckey shook his head.
“You would not be familiar with it,” he said. “There is actually only one monastery in the Order. But it has had a long, and quite fascinating history, to say the least. And, somewhat of a fantastic service.”
“So, why me, then?” Christopher asked. “I’m a novitiate. I don’t have much to offer. I’m not sure what you are asking of me.”
“The Vatican is asking a favor of you, Brother Ward. They are requesting that you take a leave of absence from Saint Joseph’s and visit this other monastery for a time.”
“I’m – I don’t – ”
“I’m honored that the Vatican has called on me,” he said. “I really do feel settled here, though. I would not wish to – ”
Mr. Eckey interrupted.
“Consider it simply a sabbatical of sorts. Without strings attached. We are interested solely in God’s working here in this matter.”
“Are you wanting me to relocate?” Christopher asked.
Mr. Eckey smiled.
“How about we say the Vatican is open and interested in the Father’s call on your life. We simply wish to – test the waters – see if this would or would not be a good fit.”
“So, if I go, and it is not a good fit?”
“Your place here at Saint Joseph’s would be available to you at any time you see fit. Like I said, no strings attached.”
“I would not feel comfortable going without Abbot Greenly’s blessing,” Christopher said.
“You have it,” Mr. Eckey said, his smile widening.
Christopher said nothing.
“Think of it as a vacation. Though, if I’m hearing you correctly, you really are in no need of one. But, then again…. ”
The man shrugged.
“May I – ”
Christopher pondered his words.
“Is it possible to consider this awhile before I decide?”
“Certainly,” Mr. Eckey said. “Because of the situation, though, we would need you to go sooner than later. Is there anything upcoming that you are thinking about in particular?”
Christopher shook his head.
“No,” he said. “I would just like to sit with this for a day or two. Pray about it. How long would the visit be?”
“As long as you need to decide,” Mr. Eckey said. “Preferably a month to start. Longer is encouraged. Like I said, it is a unique situation, so tradition does not really lend itself easily. But, I would ask – ”
He put his notepad and pen back in his briefcase and closed the lid.
“Because of the sensitive nature, the Vatican has requested that you do not discuss this with anyone except me. Not the other monks here, your family, not even Abbot Greenly.”
“But, how – ”
Mr. Eckey put up a hand.
“I’m heading back to discuss the situation with Abbot Greenly before I leave the grounds. He will certainly not have an objection. Not that I can imagine, anyway.”
He fished out a business card from the inside pocket of his blazer.
“Here is my contact information,” he said, handing him the card. “You can reach me on my cell phone any time. Whenever you decide, one way or the other. There is a great need, though, so I do hope you will consider at least visiting.”
Christopher took the card, looked at it, then looked up at Mr. Eckey.
“What kind of need, exactly?”
The man just smiled.
“All in due time,” he said. “Just let us know as soon as you are able.”
Christopher looked back at the card.
“Thank you, Brother Ward, for your time. I do think I can find my way back to the abbot’s office from here.”
He briefly looked around the grounds.
“I do envy you a little,” he said. “What a majestic space you monks have created here. It’s like a slice of Eden. Really.”
He got up, shook Christopher’s hand, then left him there alone, as the stranger retraced his steps to the abbot’s office.
Christopher took a deep breath, then sighed.
The wave of putrid death still lingered as another wind gust blew across the fields, dredging up memories he would have altogether wished could have remained buried, soaking him again in the blood of the past.
He stayed there for a long time, just watching as the endless sea of cornfields waved in the winds.
Buy my book Ashen Monk Mountain to find out what this cryptic and mysterious appointment is the Vatican is asking Christopher to take on. An unheard of monastery, hidden deep in the Canadian Rockies? A secret mission and call? What in the world could be going on?
Click here and grab your copy today! Whatever you do, don’t let this fantastically epic story get away!
But, trust me when I say, you’re not going to believe the truth even when you discover it for yourself. Find out what secrets lay hidden underfoot at Ashen Monk Mountain!