2003 Letter to Todd Bentley-By Malcolm Wilson-RE: Todds controversial teaching

Malcolm Wilson:
( In the pursuit of clarity and biblical accuracy, I reproduce extracts from a letter I sent to Todd Bentley in 2003 on the subject of healing angels.)


Dear Todd,

I have been waiting for a release from the LORD to write you this letter.On reading your newsletter received today I now have that release and know that the time is now. I simply have to write to you in order to that we two might ‘reason together’ on a controversial teaching that you have gradually introduced into your ministry. I am aware that we have corresponded on this previously. You know that I have been a supporter of yours both materially and spiritually, and I will continue to support you in those gifts and that calling that God has on your life which are from Him and are ‘irrevocable and without repentance’ .

However the teaching of yours that I continue to have great problems with, concerns angels and how God uses them.

You maintain that God sends ‘healing angels’ in order to ‘stir up the healing anointing’ and create the conditions for healing to occur. I believe that you have reached this conclusion as a result of your own understanding of John 5: 1-9, the passages you quote as a scriptural basis in support of your teaching.

The New King James Bible translates John 5. 1-9. as follows

“After this there was a feast of the Jews and Jesus went down up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda (margin note. NU Bethzatha), having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; and whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water,was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The man answered Him, “ Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me"” Jesus said to him, " Take up your bed and walk. And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”

But are you aware that many Christian Theologians more learned than you or I, have long described major difficulties surrounding this particular passage of scripture.

1. The King James Bible published in 1611, is based on the manuscript known as Textus Receptus and it agrees in detail with the Peshitta, Italic, the Old Latin Vulgate and the Waldensian versions, produced in the 2nd Century. In these translations the angel is described as ’an angel’ never an ‘angel of the Lord ‘. In many other similarily based translations, the entire episode is completely omitted.

2. The use of the description, “angel of the Lord ”is confined to those bible translations which are based on the Minority Text or Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. These were not used in the King James version because they were (and still are) considered to be unreliable and full of hundreds of omissions and errors.

The Roman Catholic bible is based on these Minority Texts. The Catholics include the Apocrypha in their Bible and there the angel that stirred the waters is named as ‘Raphael’. Many Catholics pray to Raphael for healing. (The Christian church to which you and I belong, does not accept the canonicity of the Apocrypha or that Raphael is an angel of the Lord. )

3. The Bethesda pool is generally believed to be the one discovered in 1888 in N.E.Jerusalem, during excavations near St Annes Church. Whilst uncovering a wall a faded fresco was discovered depicting an angel ‘troubling’ the water.The pool at Bethesda was known by the early church as Bethzatha or Bethsaida. Bethesda means, as you know, ‘ house of mercy or outpouring ’, but did you know that Bethzatha or Bethsaida means ‘house of snares’ ? It seems that the early church may not have accepted that the angel concerned was of God either.
The question you need to ask yourself is, “What were all these sick people doing at the pool ?” It would seem that they were all lying there, hoping to get LUCKY ! i.e. the fittest or the fastest who could get to the pool first, would be the one healed. Unfortunately it was too bad for the rest ! One day Jesus turned up and in His mercy, healed the one who probably had been unsucessful the longest. The exact opposite of the ‘pool method ‘!

4. The probable scenario is that local superstition held that an angel turned up occasionally and troubled the waters. First in got healed. The trouble with this is that it seems to be something of a lottery ! There are no other examples of God healing like this in the Bible. Where is there any other example of angels being involved in healing ? Water was used in miraculous healings, but always in a specific way, like Naaman who was told to wash in the Jordan seven times. Even in the case of the bronze serpent everyone who looked up to it was healed. There is something very suspect about the claimed healings at Bethesda. Would God really send His Holy angels there to only heal the person who could shove, push and elbow others out of the way and be the first in ? On the contrary, the Bible shows that God heals people individually and specifically, not in some ‘free for all’ scramble of the fittest of the sick !

Imagine the scene, a multitude of sick and incurable people gathered around the pool. Suddenly the waters begin to move and pandemonium breaks out.Only one person will be healed, so the race is on! The first in is probably the least sick and least needy of healing. The sickest and most needy of healing can’t get in first. The fittest is healed. All the others are bitterly disappointed and begin to struggle out and get back to their places around the pool to wait for another opportunity. And we’re meant to believe that this is God’s divine healing grace in action ?

5. The time was not right for these‘miraculous’ pool healings to be that of God. There were 400 years of silence between the last book of the Old Testament and the birth of Jesus. The Prophets too, were silent during this period. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, but John performed no signs (John 10:41) It was Jesus and HE ALONE who broke the silence.
Why would God be performing miracles for those who were waiting for an angel to ‘trouble the waters’, when it was not a time for miracles ?

7. Many people who are severely afflicted are often tempted to turn to almost any remedy to find relief. Jesus did not help the man into the water. Jesus healed the man Himself. He later told the man to ‘sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you. ‘ I am inclined to believe that Jesus was warning the man not to indulge in superstitious practices in future, for they are snares. It is interesting to read the margin notes in the King James 1611 version, which links this statement of Jesus to the scripture; “ Then goeth he and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself and they enter in and dwelleth there and the last state of the man is worse than the first.”

So you see, that for me, any linking of what seems to be the angelically stirred ‘magical’ healing properties of the water at the pool at Bethesda to God’s divine healing power is at best tenous and at worst, unbiblical. John 5:1-9 simply does not demonstrate that God has ‘healing angels’ or angels which cause, stir or bring ‘healing anointings’ . Your teaching is not supported by the scriptures which are based on the best and most ancient manuscripts available. It has to be remembered that the devil has his angels too ! (Matt. 2) If, as many suspect, that it was not one of God’s angels ‘ troubling ‘ the waters, then you will surely accept that the whole notion of angelic involvement in healing is incorrect, extremely misguided and potentially dangerous.

Further I think you need to be need to be careful when citing ‘angelic‘ involvement with the healing ministries of Lake and Branham in order to prove your teaching. John.G.Lake never claimed to heal with angelic involvement. The only mention of an angel in connection with Lake, is when one came to him with a message. I myself have had visits from angels with messages, protection or assistance, as have many Christians. On the other hand, many believers conclude that Branham’s ‘angel’ displayed all the hallmarks of a familiar spirit. It is true that His words of knowledge were way above anything that anyone has moved in at that time or since. But I have met spiritualist mediums who were even more accurate than Branham.
Maybe the source was the same !


He publicly denied the Trinity and said it was a doctrine of the devil. Asked whether the Holy Spirit did the healing at his meetings. Branham replied,’ No,my angel does the healing !’ As you may know, Branham’s ministry gradually became more and more bizarre, he eventually claimed that he was none other than Elijah the Prophet, claiming that the Gospel was also contained in the Zodiac and the Pyramids and that the Lord would return in 1997. He baptised people in the name of Jesus only, taught that Adam was a minor God and a creator himself and that Eve had sex with Satan. Branham died a tragic premature death.

You claim to have been given his mantle. Brother, if I were given a mantle like this I would want to be rid of it - pronto!

You may or may not choose to continue your teaching on ‘healing angels’ That is your choice. But if you do, you must recognise that certainly this part of your ministry would not be acceptable in many quarters because it is not founded on sound biblical exegesis .

Remember it was Jesus who healed the man - not the pool .

I have seen your video, ‘ Healing and Revival Mantles’.

There are a couple of issues there I would also challenge.

(i).“ Angels are waiting to bestow healing mantles to believers “

Really ? Which scripture supports this strange notion?

Read the Word carefully – there are none!

Are you claiming new revelation ?

New doctrine cannot be justified by someone’s dreams or visions, whether it is Bob Jones or anyone else.

The only angels that I know of that are waiting to bestow ‘healing mantles’ to humans are the demonic spirits who deceive ‘healing’ mediums and spiritists. These people can ‘heal’ too you know !

Come on Todd, you surely know that it is the Holy Spirit and Him alone, that bestows healing mantles and anointings to believers ! What you are teaching is a different Gospel !

(ii) You are even in error when you link the events at the pool of Bethsaida with the signs and wonders in Acts that were done through the hands of the Apostles in Solomon’s Porch. Solomon’s Porch was on the eastern part of the Temple until 70 AD, when the Temple was destroyed. The site of the pool at Bethsaida in Jerusalem, is north of the Temple Mount. The five porticos or porches mentioned in John 5:1-9, were part of a completely different building.!

Yours in His service

Malcolm Wilson
Marvellous Light Ministries International