Excerpt from an article posted by the Christian Research Institute. Insight into the foundational structure of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) movement.
The End-Time Prayer Movement
There is nothing more central to Bickle’s eschatology than his teaching concerning the end-time prayer and prophetic movement. Building on the 24/7 prayer example of the historic Moravians and the contemporary South Korean practice of fervent prayer and consecrated prayer mountains, IHOP is spreading a passion for intercessory prayer and worship throughout the church.
Bickle’s primary vision is to promote the escalation of the harp (worship music) and bowl (intercession) prayer style derived from Revelation 5:8, which is implemented in the night and day model of IHOP.36 IHOP claims that it has been practicing this kind of prophetic prayer and worship without ceasing since September 19, 1999.
Bickle’s mission is to multiply 24/7 prayer rooms throughout the world that use the Book of Revelation as their prayer guide concerning Jesus’ end-time battle plan. He often quotes Jesus’ statement in Luke 18:7–8, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice and quickly” (NIV), to support his assertion that day and night prayer will quicken the second coming of Christ. However, Bickle’s interpretation of Luke 18:7–8, and his unfortunate intention to create the belief that 24/7 prayer will speed up Jesus’ second coming, is unsound. In the parable of Luke 18:1–8, Jesus is simply teaching His disciples to persevere in prayer. There is no clear warrant for applying this teaching only to the second coming rather than to God’s answer of His elect’s prayers in general, and of their prayers for justice in particular, throughout the ages; and there is even less warrant for understanding Jesus to be teaching that 24/7 prayer is a necessary condition for His second coming.
God is indeed stirring up a fresh intercessory prayer movement around the world of Christians who will consecrate themselves to worshiping Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23–24). The multiplication of 24/7 prayer rooms filled with mature intercessors and worshipers would certainly be a blessing to the church today. However, prayer and worship primarily increases worldwide through the extensive growth of the global church among all the ethnic peoples of the earth. Through a basic understanding of cosmology, the church is praying night and day at all times right now. When it is night in one geographical location, it is day in another. The swelling increase of prayer over the last few decades can be significantly attributed to the growing church, especially in places like China, South Korea, Southern Africa, and Latin America.
One of the more troubling teachings promoted by Bickle through the years relates to the relationship of the Old Testament tabernacle of David and the end-time prayer movement.37 In his Tabernacle of David article published in Charisma Magazine,38 Bickle makes three interpretative errors. He writes:
1. “I believe I have found the secret to a vital prayer life. I came across this secret when I was studying the tabernacle of David in Acts 15:16– 17, the effective model of a 24-hour-a-day prayer and worship ministry.”
In Acts 15:16–17, however, James is speaking about the restoration of the fulfillment of the line of David in the first coming of Jesus as Messiah.39
2. “In Moses’ time, the glory on the ark was hidden in the holy of holies behind a thick veil. But in David’s tabernacle, there was no veil to keep the people from seeing the glory of God. It was unprecedented: David set the ark of the covenant in open view! Instead of the thick veil Moses used, David made musicians and singers into a human veil around the ark.”
This statement has no biblical basis and would have been a complete violation of Mosaic Law.
3. “I believe God will fully restore the tabernacle of David—which is the very embodiment of intercessory worship before the beauty, holiness, and glory of God—in the generation in which the Lord returns according to Acts 15:16–17. I believe it will be the means of releasing the fullness of salvation and revival for all the nations. Through this model of intercessory worship, the Great Commission will be fulfilled so that every tribe, tongue, and nation will be present on the last day.” Again, Bickle engages in a serious misinterpretation of Acts 15:16–17.
I address Bickle’s printed teaching on the tabernacle of David because it originates in wayward Latter-Rain teaching40 and continues to be promoted and taught by many Christians. It is the foundation of the IHOP movement; a foundation that is flawed. A hopeful development, however, is that Bickle has told me that he no longer believes most of what is contained in his article. He nonetheless still emphasizes the spirit of the tabernacle of David as a worship and prayer ministry style (1 Chron. 15:1) and emphasizes that the restoration of the tabernacle of David refers to Jesus establishing His Jerusalem millennium throne and ruling the earth in the context of prayer and worship (Amos 9:11–15; Isa. 56:7). Although the New Testament does not teach that Christians should model any Old Testament worship style and Acts 15:16–17 is primarily the fulfillment of the first coming of Jesus as Messiah, Bickle’s teaching concerning the tabernacle of David appears to be moving in the right direction.
The End-Time Prayer Manual
Throughout church history the Book of Revelation has been perhaps both the most ignored and the most abused book in the Bible. Because of Bickle’s absolute futuristic and often highly sensationalized exposition of the Book of Revelation, he has inappropriately elevated Revelation to a preeminent canonical position in the New Testament. He has redefined and repurposed it as the church’s “canonized prayer manual” concerning Jesus’ specific end-time battle plan.41
Bickle imagines that millions of praying Christians will one day be unified in prayer by knowing exactly how and when to pray next because the judgments and events in the Book of Revelation are numbered and in sequential chronological order.42 According to Bickle, since the specific sequential events of the future have been prophetically predicted in the Book of Revelation, the end-time church will be able to loose or bind God’s judgments exactly as they unfold in history.43
Bickle envisions prayer rooms around the world in full agreement as they pray the events of the end-time battle plan into existence. It is because of this belief that Bickle is now attempting to get the global prayer movement to embrace his exclusive interpretation of the Book of Revelation.44 By praying Revelation’s Great Tribulation events into existence, this will result in billions of men, women and children being killed.45
John Piper provides wise correction to those like Bickle who attempt to chronologically predict future events when he writes, “When our future perspective becomes chronological instead of theological, then faith is endangered. The more detailed one attempts to map out the future, the more inferences one must make which are not explicit in the Scripture. Therefore, the tendency of the imagination to fill the gaps increases and the probability of erroneous calculation grows.”46