The following review expose the scriptural flaws in Gilliland's beliefs that we can all become God, how God is vulnerable and Christ lacks faith, that there will be a partial Rapture of believers, how the Church is the 144,000 and also Spiritual Israel, and how the Church will bring about Christ's 2nd coming.
Heaven on Earth: Here and Now
by Mary Ellen Gilliland
Published by Zoe Books/Alpenrose Press
The first few chapters in this book try to explain our relationship with God and how we can improve that relationship with messages such as: "God desires to be known. . . God rewards those who seek him. . . drawing on God's goodness. . . God is alive. . . Jesus is life," etc. Mary not only gives us scripture to back up what she's saying but incorporates personal messages from God to further enhance her point.
A good portion of Mary's book speaks the truth of the Gospel--God is love, God is light, God is life, etc. However, these very basic doctrines of the Bible are presented in such a way as to gradually lead you into a NEW interpretation of those phrases. She doesn't come right out and tell you what she believes at first, she first showers you with a repetition of phrases which gradually lead you into these beliefs and then she tells you what "is" after your mind has been prepared to receive it.
It doesn't take long before you realize there is something seriously wrong with this method because there is just too much repetition in this book. Phrases are repeated so often that they resemble the worship services in some churches where they sing the same line over, and over, and over, and over. And then they are "blessed" with the laughter phenomenon or some other strange occurrance that is purported to be from God (which often has no scritpural basis).
For instance in the "I am in You" chapter this phrase (or a similar phrase) is repeated a total of 20 times on just the first page alone, and it's not even a full page of type. This repetition is a well known method designed to produce a hypnotic trance which can lead people to believe anything that is said afterwards.
In the "I AM Light" chapter Mary finally gets around to telling us that God told her, "I am in you. I am you. You are Me" (p 61). What is that saying? God is in us. God is us. We are God. Is that scriptural? This same theme is repeated over and over using different phrases throughout the book. For instance in the "I am in You" chapter we find, "I AM you; the very essence of you is Me. I am in you. You are Me . . ." (p 67). Several times she tries to counter this with "we are not God, BUT . . ." (pp 69, 74), i.e., she always qualifies these statements with a "but," very effectively leaving the door open for the possibility.
Mary also said several things that make God look like a weakling. Speaking about giving up His Son to die on the cross she said, "This love made Almighty God vulnerable." On page 111 Mary claims when Jesus gave his famous speech, "the spirit of the Lord is upon me . . . to preach the Good news . . . to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" in Luke 4:18-19, that when the people tried to throw him over a cliff that this was a blow to Jesus' faith, "their rejection must have been devastating." If she thinks God is vulnerable and Christ lacks faith then it is understandable why she thinks we can be like God.
There were a multitude of places where she doesn't give a scripture reference for her statements, and when she does it is usually from the Amplified Bible or five other Bibles when the need arises. The question is: Why? If one Bible doesn't say it all then it makes it look like one is searching for just the right wording to prove their point.
Also the quotes from a voice from "God" to Mary are italicized, as well as scripture, so that it is hard to tell the difference between the two, i.e., it makes it appear the voice has the same authority as scripture. The massive amount of these "messages" from God take up at least 1/4th of the total text of this 260 page book. God didn't even speak to Moses this often.
The main theme in this book is that God wants to reward us, he wants to give to us all that we ask for, to answer our every need, life in abundance and especially during the time of His wrath. Mary tells us to, "prepare for the Age of the Father's Love. His love abiding in us will set the captives free. His anointing of compassion in us will overcome all the world's hate" (p 46). This goes contrary to what Jesus said, "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, . . ." (Matt 10:34). And Jesus, himself, is the one who opens the seven seals that start the judgement on an unrepentant world during the Tribulation in Revelation 6.
Mary gives us the first glimpse of her eschatological stand on page 58, "the people of light will drive back the darkness. His orchestrated campaign will establish the messianic reign of the Lord Jesus Christ in our time, the latter time," and then she asks the question, "how can we help bring about Christ, the Anointed One's, messianic reign?" This theme progresses throughout the book. This is what is known as Kingdom Now theology--Christ can't come back until WE Christians bring the world to it's knees.
However, the church has been promised apostasy during the endtimes--not revival. And the major part of the book of Revelation is about the Wrath of God on an unrepentant world, "the hour of trial that is going to come upon the WHOLE world to test those WHO LIVE ON THE EARTH" (Rev. 3:10). No one is excluded from this wrath, not even believers so numerous that they can't be counted (Rev 7:9-17).
Mary also believes in a partial rapture, i.e., only those that suffer with Him [in the Tribulation] will share in His resurrection glory (p 78). She claims that those who refuse to grasp the "truth"--that we can achieve the height of Christ's own perfection--will "delay the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ" (p 86) and that the day of the Lord has already arrived (p 98). Mary claims that the church is the 144,000 witnesses (p 104,105) and totally ignores the fact that they come from the 12 tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:1-8). She also believes that the church will be triumphant at the end of the age (p 122) which runs contrary to the apostasy that Paul warned us about in 2 Thess 2. What is even worse is that she believes the Church is Spiritual Israel (p 100, 101,103, 122, 134, etc.) which is nothing more than Replacement Theology--one of the most unscriptural beliefs ever accepted by Christendom.
Two of the "evangelists" she admires are James Robison and Kenneth Copeland, which explains where some of her beliefs are derived from.
The "About the Author" on page 5 says Heaven on Earth is Mary's first spiritual book and her previous books were written about the outdoors, hiking books, etc. What is interesting, as well as scary, is that the "National School of the Prophets" highly approved of this book.
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