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Typical of the cults, Marshall Applewhite used Bible quotations, taken out of context, to support his aberrant teachings. Though he used the Bible, when beneficial to him or his point, he had this to say about the Scripture: "We hope you won't misunderstand our use of these Bible quotes. Though most people think of these records [the Bible] as religious, they are for the most part, in spite of their many inaccuracies, the primary historical record we have of periods when the Next Level was relating to man. A great percentage of the materials have been corrupted by mistranslations and councils of so-called scholars. It seems miraculous that the formula for transition from the human kingdom to the level above Human has been preserved in Jesus' requirements for discipleship." (How and When Heaven's Gate May Be Entered - Appendix B, "Bible Quotes Primarily from Previous Representatives to Earth from the Evolutionary Level Above Human")
Of the forty six Bible passages quoted in the appendix, all but two are from the Gospel accounts. The other two are from the Old Testament; one quote being from the Psalms and the other from Isaiah. Applewhite and his followers could not trust the rest of New Testament Scriptures as they believed they were written by individuals, including Paul, who were under the control of Luciferians. One of Do's followers, Jnnody, in his statement, "Incarnating and Discarnating" wrote: "Our anger is with the space aliens [Luciferians] and with the humans who have been their best puppets - including Paul and today's religious leaders." (How and When Heaven's Gate May Be Entered) Interestingly (and inconsistently), to validate his instruction for members to pull away from family and marriage, Applewhite quotes the writinngs of, the "Luciferian puppet," Paul.
In the '88 Update he wrote, "One of Luci's [Lucifer's] favorite tricks is to use the mouths of Christians as well as other awareness groups to point the finger at others as Satan if they interfere with the concepts or behaviors that he wants them to cling to. However, the Bible makes its stand on marriage and family in the final days very clear." To prove his point he then quotes 1 Cor. 7:29, 32-35. As bizarre as it seems, though Applewhite accused Paul of being no less than an agent of Lucifer (one of those who "point the finger at others"), he used Paul's writings to support his "Next Level" teaching.
Rather than allow himself or his message to be tested by the Bible, Applewhite effectively placed himself as the one who had the final say on what portions of Scripture are accurate and trustworthy. Naturally, only those which might be twisted to seemingly support his view were recognized by him as being an accurate or acceptable "historical record." Again, this is a common practice among the leaders of Bible based cults. God gave the Bible as a source of instruction, revelation, and inspiration. But in the hands of Do and his followers, it became simply a manipulative device by which they might control group members and quash the objections of those who questioned them.
One should be particularly alert and on guard when encountering those who hold such a view and make such use of the Bible as did the Heaven's Gate cult. When the standard of truth becomes relative and subjective to the religious leader's own bias, the members and potential members are in great danger. If they buy into the leader's interpretation, he or she, in effect, becomes the sole source of "truth." The member then becomes completely dependent upon the leader(s) for direction.
Rather than placing blind trust in those who make such claims, one should heed the advice of the Scripture they seek to corrupt, which instructs one to examine all things (1 Thess. 5:21) and test the spirits to see if they are from God. (1 John 4:1) If they do not line up with the whole of Scripture, they are of no profit and should be avoided. Rather than testing the Scripture by the views of men, one would do well to test these men by the standard of Scripture.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:20-21)
Peter spoke of people who "wrest" (twist and turn) the scriptures "unto their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:16) Surely this spiritual truth has found no more graphic portrayal in the physical world than in the suicides produced by the quasi-Christian teaching of the Heaven's Gate cult.
Rev. Bob Waldrep, MRE, serves as State Director—Alabama at Watchman Fellowship’s Birmingham, AL office. Bob is also an ordained Southern Baptist Minister and serves as Lay Pastor for the Church at Brook Hills. You can email Bob by clicking here.