The following is from The Berean Call, June 1999 [P.O. Box 7019, Bend, Oregon 97708. www.thebereancall.org (web site)] --
QUESTION: Could you address this [enclosed audio tape] sometime in the near future in your newsletter? Several [in my congregation] have been attending The Prophecy Club and listening to this [and other] tapes and are planning to move out of the United States shortly. One family is selling their business, home and everything they possess and heading for Belize.
ANSWER: I listened in dismay to the tape you sent by Tom Van Asperen, who heads 4th Angel Seminars out of Paradise, Calif. He sounds like another Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Jim Jones or Kim Miller. On the one hand, his claims are so egotistical (that he is revealing Gods very special secret contained in seven recently discovered last day Biblical languages which are encrypted in the original text!), so bizarre (the United States is Israel and the prophecies of judgment in the Old Testament which were literally fulfilled for Israel will be fulfilled against America, including the practice of cannibalism because of Y2K), and so obviously false (there are already 500,000 Russian troops inside America), that for anyone to believe and follow him is inexcusable. My heart goes out in concern and sympathy to those who have been persuaded by what Van Asperen says and therefore, unable to think rationally, are entrapped by his convincing style into following him.
That there are any secret languages encrypted into the Bible is contrary to the Bibles own claim that any person (Deut. 8:3; Ps. 1:1-2) and even a young man (Ps. 119:9) or a child (2 Tim. 3:15) can understand the Scriptures. Furthermore, every Christian is responsible before God to know and understand the Bible for himself. It is utterly contrary both to common sense and Scripture to imagine that someone has been given a secret interpretation for the rest of us to believe and follow. This is how cults start, and we may very well be seeing the birth of another one in Tom Van Asperen and his followers.
He is warning people that the United States is shortly going to be totally destroyed, six out of seven males will be killed, mothers will be eating their children, and therefore everyone must get out of this country immediately and even change their citizenship. He warns that our military system is not Y2K compliant and will therefore be helpless; it is futile to store food for Y2K because the police of the New World Order will take it away; there is only one hope: Get out! He recommends Belize and some are already selling everything and relocating there.
This kind of misinformation and fanaticism being offered on audio and video tapes could eventually provide government justification to shut down Christians are at least to censor the content of messages from pulpits, books, radio and TV, etc. Burning the American flag seems mild in comparison to persuading his listeners to flee the United States and to change their citizenship!
Van Asperen has been a frequent speaker at The Prophecy Club, which holds seminars across the country and features some of the most popular extremists. In a phone inquiry to The Prophecy Club we were told that they had received many complaints about Van Asperen and no longer offered his tapes. One could only wonder why his tapes would have been offered in the first place and why it took many complaints to finally remove them.
As for said removal, on the same day (May 5, 1999) The Prophecy Club website was still offering Van Asperens tapes along with many others. Under the heading, THE PROPHECY CLUB VIDEOS, the following was included:
BIBLE PROPHECY DECODED: Was taught to Tom Van Asperen by the Holy Spirit. In this 10-hour seminar, Tom will teach you the language of Twice Speak so you can begin to see your Bible like a brand new book. In this encrypted symbolic code language, Tom unveils the sealed words in the books of Daniel, Revelation, and many other important prophesies! Tom says that the messages of Dumitru Duduman line up perfectly in this decoded scripture. This is a must for the serious Bible student. Four 2 1/2 hour video tapes $100. SPECIAL. For $75 receive the 200 code word list and two audio tapes on Toms answer to the rapture called The Secret Hiding Place Free!
The description of one of the audio tapes offered, Secret Hiding Place by Tom Van Asperen, contains this statement: Tom says the Code Language says there is no rapture 2-90 min. audio tapes $10. So much for Pauls assurance that the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
Many of the other audio and video tapes listed on the website, judging by their descriptions, are just as extreme. This is our first exposure to The Prophecy Club and it doesnt look good.
The Berean Call, June 1999 [P.O. Box 7019, Bend, Oregon 97708. www.thebereancall.org (web site)]