The following is an excerpt from our new book The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement: Its History and Error.
It is not uncommon for Pentecostals and Charismatics to claim that they have seen Jesus face to face. He has allegedly been seen by William Branham, Kenneth Hagin, Sr., Paul Cain, Paul Yonggi Cho, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Charles and Frances Hunter, T.L. and Daisy Osborn, Morris Cerullo, Jesse Duplantis, and many others.
In his book Write Your Own Ticket with God, Kenneth Hagin claims that Jesus appeared to him and gave the four steps that “anybody, anywhere” can take to “receive whatever he wants from Me or from God the Father.”
David Yonggi Cho, pastor of the world’s largest church in Seoul, Korea, claims that he received the call to preach personally from Jesus Christ, who supposedly appeared to him dressed like a fireman (“Paul Yonggi Cho,” Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements).
T.L. and Daisy Osborn claim that Jesus Christ has appeared personally in their home and at least once in every one of their crusades (Gospel according to T.L. & Daisy, pp. 19, 20).
Benny Hinn claims to have seen Jesus many times. On the “Praise the Lord” program on Trinity Broadcasting Network, May 2, 2000, Hinn prophesied that Jesus would soon being appearing to Muslims and in Christian meetings and that many would see Him. On that same program Ruth Heflin prophesied that Jesus would soon appear on the platform with Benny Hinn.
Roberts Lairdon claims that he had seen Jesus three times by the time he was 11 years old. The third time Jesus walked in the house while Lairdon was watching “Laverne & Shirley” on television. After a short conversation, Lairdon said, “He got up, walked back out through the door, the TV clicked back on, and I resumed watching ‘Laverne & Shirley’” (Lairdon, I Saw Heaven, Tulsa: Harrison House, 1983, p. 26). Lairdon claims that when Jesus laughs He “leans back and roars with laughter; you’d think He was going to collapse from laughing; He gets into it so much” (Ibid., p. 20).
Though Lairdon might have seen the happiest Jesus, no one has seen a taller Jesus than Oral Roberts. In 1980 Roberts claimed that a 900-foot-tall Jesus told him that He would lift his financial problems and make the City of Faith medical center a healing for the nations. (Oral was forced to close the center in 1989 for lack of funds.)
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
I don’t believe any of these people have seen Jesus Christ. To have seen the resurrected Christ was one of the qualifications of an apostle. Paul said, “Am I not an apostle? am I not free? HAVE I NOT SEEN JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD?” (1 Cor. 9:1).
In 1 Corinthians 15:5-7 Paul lists those who saw Christ after His resurrection and he concludes with himself. “And LAST OF ALL HE WAS SEEN OF ME ALSO, as of one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:8). About 25 years had passed from the time that Paul had seen the resurrected Christ and the time that he wrote the first epistle to Corinth, but he says he was the last one to see Christ. Obviously Jesus was not making regular appearances even in that day.
We know that John saw the resurrected Christ on the isle of Patmos in about 96 A.D. (Revelation 1), which was about 40 years later, but John was an apostle and we believe this was the final time that Christ has appeared to men in this age.
Peter wrote to the Christians of that day and said, “WHOM HAVING NOT SEEN, ye love; in whom, though NOW YE SEE HIM NOT, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8).
The Lord Jesus Christ commended faith over sight. “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
BEWARE OF ALLEGED VISIONS OF JESUS