Ps Mantofa

Hi everyone, I’m curious to know how you would defend this. (A friend asked me on behalf of another friend.)

(I’m sorry if this has been brought up before. Please send me to the right link. My quick search didn’t get me any results)

So the question is,

About visions of hell, how do we know if something like what’s mentioned here is true? (I wonder because Ps Mantofa’s an evangelist who came to Kuching, Malaysia recently and I’m trying to be a better Berean.)

https://youtu.be/qfAJV2PH1sc (It is mentioned starting at about 20 minutes and 8 seconds.)

The main thought that I sense is that it comes down to the fruit that a Teacher/ speaker produces.

If it is good fruit, for me I see it as someone who obeys God and play a part with God to change the lives of many according to His words and the Holy Spirit.

And if it’s bad fruit it’s opposite.

Here’s the verse that came to mind.

“The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart.”
‭‭LUKE‬ ‭6:45‬ ‭AMP‬‬
https://www.bible.com/1588/luk.6.45.amp

Is this train of thought on the right track?

Hi, @Adriel.Bong! Thanks for this question. I was very intrigued watching that video. I’d never heard of Philip Mantofa, and I was very moved hearing him tell that story.

I suppose there are a number of ways we can approach the question of how can we know if what he is saying is true?

Your approach is one way. ‘You shall know a tree by its fruit’ and all that (Matthew 7:15-20). We can certainly look at the person who is relaying the story and make some sort of determination regarding whether or not we believe this person to be trustworthy. We can ask questions like: What is his purpose for telling the story? What does he stand to gain (or lose) from telling this story? What kind of life does this man lead; is it one that testifies to integrity and wisdom?

But there may be some weaknesses in this approach. First of all, people who live ‘honesty-challenged’ lives can tell the truth. Even if this guy had a questionable reputation, he could very well still be relaying a real experience. Secondly, we all trust or distrust people for different reasons. If I generally believe that Christians just want to convert me so that they can control me (or something along those lines), then I would, naturally, be highly skeptical of ‘unverifiable’ experiences that are supposed to make me feel a certain way. After all, how are they trying to manipulate me?

Which leads me to the second part: what are we actually questioning the truth of? Is the question, Was his vision of a true thing or place? Was he seeing something that is real? Or are we questioning whether or not he actually had a vision at all? Or are we questioning whether or not his interpretation of his vision is true/correct?

As a Christian, I believe that it is plausible (or, logical, as Ravi Z. would put it) that God would reveal certain things to certain people for certain reasons. God showing this guy the reality of the kingdom of Darkness and evil is something I find easy to believe…because, well, I believe in the reality of the kingdom of Darkness and evil. However, I am sure that there are many who would not find this easy to believe!

If we question whether or not he had a vision at all, well, I don’t think that’s really something that can be proved true or untrue, as it was something that was subjectively experienced. When I watched this interview, I thought to myself, he either had that vision or he has 100% convinced himself that he had that vision…or he’s just an amazing actor/storyteller.

Mantofa’s own interpretation of his vision would make for what I think would be a fascinating discussion with your friends. What would your friends say he was experiencing? How would they interpret what they saw if they saw it? :smirk:

Does that tease anything out for you a bit? Would love to hear what others think!

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Thank you so much for your contribution, @KMac!

Yes, it is a limited approach with the true / false teacher approach.

As my friend was asking on behalf of another, I couldn’t ask the original questioner.

So with her own curiosity (I’m guessing) she asked whether if it’s not written in the Bible that Ps Mantofa could be a false teacher.

I think I was lead to say, it is not written in the Bible about all these seemingly real descriptions of hell.

Beyond the true/ false teacher test, eventually I suggested that it comes down to 2 things. (I think it’s the Holy Spirit coming through.)

  1. Intention.

  2. Understanding the consequences of disobedience.

I mean if it is a matter of saving more people to Christ, I don’t see it as a bad thing as long as the people are not deceived into a cult.

Whether an unbeliever is being manipulated or convinced in the long term, I pray to God that He would protect them.

Secondly, Ps Mantofa mentioned in the rally that he read out loud, 10 Bible chapters a day. (Reference below.)

He has to be very sure that it is God who revealed it to him or he would know the consequences, clearly written in the Bible.

I mean take for example, Moses and Aaron who were punished.

They were not permitted to enter the Promise land when they disobeyed God in Numbers 20:12. (Reference below.)

So I infer from here that is a ‘higher’ penalty for leaders who disobey God. (Maybe this is just for leaders before Christ came. Please enlighten me.)

Likewise I would imagine the same severe punishment/ consequence would be given to leaders who deceive or dishonour God (before Jesus returns again for the judgment of the world).

This would happened when He has given clear instruction. (I mean I could even bring up the Machine Preacher of Africa but let’s focus for now.)

Reference

NUMBERS‬ ‭20:12‬ ‭AMP‬‬
“But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed (trusted) Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, you therefore shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.””
https://www.bible.com/1588/num.20.12.amp

The Kuching Christian Rally

It’s spoken in Indonesian with moments of English.

https://youtu.be/gqyHcf0ZJb0 (Time : ~25:55 minutes)

[Ps Mantofa mentions “Saya baca sepuluh fasal setiap hari”

That’s Indonesian.

When translated to English it’s
“I read ten chapters/ verses every day”

I used Google Translate for this. (Sorry I’ve tried copying the link but it does not easily show this to you, so I’d recommend, seeing it for yourself. Try to make sure that Indonesian is selected since Ps Mantofa is speaking in Indonesian rather than the suggested Malay by Google.)

I speculate that the fasal here means “chapters” since he suggests that it takes him about 4 months to completely read through the Bible from start to finish.]

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Ah, gotcha…so it was probably more a question about him being a false teacher… teaching things that are not the truth.

I do agree with your assessment. His intention definitely needs to be discerned, and his approach to being a bearer of a type of revelation needs to be considered. And, like you mentioned in the first post, the fruit that he bears needs to be taken into consideration, whether that’s the content or the results of his message. (Is he preaching the Gospel and how is it impacting the people who hear?) And also, yes, what kind of man is he? What is his character? (In other words, is the Gospel transforming him as well?)

However, I suppose I am curious as to why this particular vision would bring up questions about whether or not he is a bona fide Gospel preacher? Is it the sort of sensational nature of the vision?

@KMac, thanks so much for responding further. I agree to and appreciate your thoughts!

In response to this,

“However, I suppose I am curious as to why this particular vision would bring up questions about whether or not he is a bona fide Gospel preacher? Is it the sort of sensational nature of the vision?”

So I make myself clear, my conclusion base on some of the discussed methods is that Ps Mantofa is a good representative of God. He has too much to lose if he is a deceiver.

He suggests that he reads the Bible, so he would know that deception using Gods name will result in severe punishment.

For now some further thoughts that come are:

The questioner could be trying to take the Bible as literal as possible. (There’s nothing wrong with this approach for some portions of the Bible.)

It is written in Mark 13:21-23 (AMP),

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it; for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will provide signs and wonders in order to deceive, if [such a thing were] possible, even the elect [those God has chosen for Himself]. But be on your guard; I have told you everything in advance.”
https://www.bible.com/1588/mrk.13.21-23.amp

That said, this taking of the Word of God literally, might not work for some parts of the Bible.

It might not work for some parts of the books of Genesis and Revelation (as far as I know).

Some of these passages are oral accounts and should not be taken as literal accounts.

(Further thoughts below under Point No. 1)

Maybe in this case, the questioner is thinking that

“If it’s not written in the Bible, it might not be true.”

“If it might not be true, I can’t accept everything else.”

If the true/ false teacher test is only based on using one verse, (Luke 6:45), it would be a limited approach.

I would suggest that it is used with the other tools that the Bible suggests. (Some of them mentioned above.)

In this case, just using Luke 6:45, is an approach with the right intentions but incomplete tool to verify and test a prophet.

For me, here’s another thought in light of dealing with situations like visions of hell or Heaven or the future.

It could be that we could ask God for discernment too rather than rely on someone else’s’ faith. It is better to ask God directly, the source.

Also, I would suggest that it comes down to being disciplined to read the Bible daily and rely on the Holy Spirit. It has to be both.

Without the Holy Spirit, the questioner could be in a Pharisee-like state. Despite seeing Jesus, some of them could not even recognise him as a Messiah! Even going to the extend of suggesting that he was the prince of demons!

It is written in MATTHEW‬ ‭9:33-34‬ ‭AMP‬‬

“And when the demon was driven out [by Jesus], the mute man spoke; and the crowds wondered in amazement, saying, “Never before has anything like this [miracle] been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by [the power of] the ruler of demons.””
https://www.bible.com/1588/mat.9.33-34.amp

So I would like to suggest that we need to ask God directly and partner with the Holy Spirit.

If discernment is what you need, I can suggest that you do what these people have done.

Solomon asked God for wisdom with what I think started as the right intentions and God gave it to him. (1 Kings 3:12)

There’s also Nehemiahs’ faith to pray before he asked for permission to return to Israel. (Nehemiah 2:4)

A more contemporary example, is Jesus would always pray and spend time with God. (One example, Matthew 26:39)

This could apply for possibly all the issues we might have rather than fully relying on our fellow humans, imperfect beings being perfected if permitted.

If an answer is required, either the Bible or the Holy Spirit will give us an answer. (At the end of the day, nothing from God will contradict with the Bible.)

That said, I respect the need to be sure and to avoid false prophets. So I will not disrespect these people who at times might be asking out of genuine intentions.

At the same time, I would prefer to spend the time to save the lost.

Most of the time, they would have simpler questions and/ or needs.

It really doesn’t require us to be a bible scholar before we are ‘qualified’ to share the salvation message of Christ. That would disqualify many of our Bible heroes.

Further thoughts from before.
Point 1. This is not my own conclusion. It was suggested to me as I was video recording a conference in Kuching where some Singapore RZIM representatives came June last year, 2018.

I agree to this thought as it is one of the ways to explain some parts of Genesis. Also I’ve learnt about some of the different ways you can interpret the Bible from Bible Study Fellowships’ (BSFs’) studies on Genesis and Revelation.

For example, this could be true in the case of God revealing parts of Revelation to John, one of Jesus’ first 12 disciples.

Regardless of which stance you take about the different visions (as some of it is open to interpretation), I respect it as there is no solid evidence for us to verify it. For me, we could discuss about it until Jesus returns again.

I don’t think it is an essential piece of information to know for sure which is. (For example, currently we don’t see literally beasts so we could conclude that we are not approaching the end times. Use Daniels interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzars’ dream of the statue as a guide.)

The more important fact is to know that Jesus is the Son of God and he resurrected. So all that he said and will say is true. He will be with us until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

It is clarity on this matter and some other questions I’ll be asking God with what I think I want to do with some of the infinite time in Heaven (if it is important then.)

For me, what it comes down is that we need to save as many as possible from Hell and reveal to them that Hell is no fun party (a deception in current society). It is a torture chamber for those who deny a Good and Holy God.

I am of the opinion that the second death, the lake of burning sulphur, is a place that no one deserves. Not even the worst of humanity.

It is a self made choice that too many are choosing blindly even after many opportunities to come back to God. (Revelation 20:7)

I would like to end this writing with this thought.

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
-C. S. Lewis-

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Thank you so much for your insights, @Adriel.Bong! I hope I didn’t detract too much from your original question with my own, but I was curious to understand your cultural context, which I imagine is one that I don’t often (if ever) encounter. :slight_smile: (I don’t very often deal with the question – ‘Is this person a false or true prophet?’ – in my context.)

Did we actually get to the meat of what you were asking or have I completely detracted from it??

@KMac I think you have!

Thanks so much for your input!

I hope this will help the others who might ask about this in the future. :grin:

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