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Old 9th February 2012, 11:26 AM
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Samuel Doctorian: Vision of the Five Angels

I notice in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in a piece written by a Dr. Samuel Doctorian, a Lebanese Christian and founder of California-based Bible Land Mission. The title of the article was "The Vision of the Five Angels," and first appeared in 1998, the year in which he was supposed to have had the vision. In the vision, five angels appeared to him, each bearing prophetic warnings of dire events taking place in various places around the world. I'm not sure how much interest there was in any of this in 1998; but I have noticed a resurgence of it in 2005, and pockets of interest continuing in it from time to time since that point.

I write this piece, and start this thread, to urge all due caution to anyone who may have come across anything put forth by this man, for reasons which I shall explain. My first contact with Samuel Doctorian was in the late 60's, when he came as one of the evangelists invited to speak at Epworth Camp Meeting in Ninety-Six, SC, where I first gave my heart to the Lord and where I was later called to the ministry. During the camp, there were two services which stood out in my memory, one in which a young woman was supposedly delivered from demonic bondage, and another in which a woman was supposedly healed of lung cancer. I took them both as genuine--until some months after the camp, the minister of our church informed me that Doctorian had been brought up on charges of fraud in the state of Indiana. He also mentioned that after some investigation, they were pretty sure that the events at the camp meeting had been staged. I can't begin to tell you what that did to me. The experiences during those services, which at the time I had taken as genuine, had been so spiritually exhilarating. But those feelings were false. Having them taken away from me in that manner was extremely disheartening.

So, to see a lot of people in a lot of places in Christian circles lending credibility to this account of seeing angels and receiving visions, is particularly disturbing. So I began to look into the matter, searching for anything I could find on the man, to see what had been going on with him during the intervening years since that first contact. Not surprisingly, I found this article from a newspaper in SC:

DOCTORIAN WANTED BY POLICE
By Bob Miller
Herald Staff Writer

ROCK HILL--Officers of the Fraud Division of the Charlotte Police Department were seeking the Rev. Samuel Doctorian this morning after a warrant was issued charging him with soliciting funds without a license, a violation of the North Carolina State Law.
Sgt. William B. Austin, of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, said Mr. Doctorian was charged in a warrant that pointed out "that on Jan. 28, the Rev. Samuel Doctorian, as the founder and president of Bible Land Mission, a Missouri Corporation, and not being exempted by the solicitation provisions of the state law, did solicit benefits for the Bible Land Mission by the use of the U.S. Mails from residents of North Carolina without filing a request with the commissioner of Social Services."
Austin explained that the offense is a misdemeanor and an individual may be imprisoned for a period of not more than six months and a corporation fined not to exceed $500.
The officer explained that to file for a license, it must be shown that there is a responsible and functioning governing board, the need for public solicitation and the purpose and use of the solicited funds. Austin added that Mr. Doctorian has no apparent bookkeeping system.
Officers said they were attempting to locate Mr. Doctorian this morning and had been checking in York, Clover and Charlotte but at noon had been unable to locate him.
Mr. Doctorian conducted a revival in Rock Hill for three days at the end of January and conducted revivals in Clover earlier.
The Rock Hill meeting had originally been scheduled for the Guardian Fidelity Building, but was moved to the Oakland Baptist Church when crowds became too large for the original location.
Mr. Doctorian has offices in Clover, Clarence, Mo., and Zion, Ill.
He was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and was reared in Jerusalem, beginning his preaching in his late teens.
He attended the Christian and Missionary Alliance Bible Institute in Jerusalem and the Nazarene College in Scotland.
Mr. Doctorian has made his headquarters in Beirut and through his mission, according to Doctorian, an elementary and secondary school and an orphanage have been established. He says his ministry has taken him to 63 countries and that he has preached twice in England's House of Commons.
After returning from Scotland, Mr. Doctorian left the Nazarene Church and became an independent evangelist.
Dr. Kenneth Geiger, president of The Missionary Church with headquarters in Fort Wayne, Ind., told the Evening Herald and the Charlotte police that "when Mr. Doctorian came to the United States in the late 1950s he was granted the status of an ordained minister by our denomination. This ordination was later revoked for serious moral and financial irregularities."
Another religious oriented mission, which asked not to be identified, said that Mr. Doctorian's connections with their mission was also severed because of "financial irregularities."

--Rock Hill Herald, February 12, 1971 (lead story) The Rock Hill Herald - Google News Archive Search
My guess as to the "religious oriented mission" would be World Gospel Mission, through which Doctorian founded the organization he still heads, Bible Land Mission. I can't help but notice also that the organization at that time was headquartered in Missouri. So he ran into problems in Indiana; he ran into problems in North Carolina; not much of a stretch to assume he ran into problems in Missouri as well.

Further investigation turned up this article from a South African News Agency:

Dancing angels a fake?
09/05/2003 22:51 - (SA)
Gerjo Hoffman
Die Berger

Cape Town - The authenticity of a photograph of angels, used by a Lebanese bishop at revival services in the Western Cape, is being challenged.

A Cape Town photographic expert said the photograph, showing dancing angels at a church service in Indonesia, had been tampered with and was a fake.

Dr Samuel Doctorian, 73, a world-renowned evangelist and founder of churches throughout the world, during a recent visit to South Africa rendered people speechless with his testimony about seeing angels.

He said he had seen angels on seven occasions in Israel, Egypt, Serbia, England, and most important, at the Greek isle of Patmos four years ago.

Doctorian, who studied theology in Scotland, said the photograph of about 19 000 worshippers was taken during a service in Surabaya in Indonesia.

Neither the photographer, nor the worshippers noticed anything unusual at the time.

The photographer was astounded afterwards when he saw seven bright figures, who appeared surrounded by light, on the photograph.

Doctorian was not present at the service when the photograph was taken, but he "trembled" when he saw it. "They look very similar to the angels I have seen," he told Die Burger. "They are white and about six feet tall."

Mike Beaver, lecturer at the Cape Town photographic school, said one has to acknowledge that digital or ordinary film can register more light than the human eye, but he was not convinced that it was the case in this instance.

Beaver found that where the alleged angels appeared, the glow was cut off at the bottom of the picture. There was a gap between the glow and the reflection of light on the polished floor.

Regretted photograph

"The glow has to be wider to over-expose the image. The glow is also not consistent with other light spots on the floor."

Doctorian said on inquiry from Brazil that he regretted the photograph.

"I honestly thought it was an authentic photograph. I'm visiting Surabaya in July and will personally ask the photographer for details. I do not want to distribute something that's fake."

Meanwhile, church leaders were cautious about expressing an opinion about the authenticity of the photograph. A pastor in Hermanus, where Doctorian delivered a sermon, refused to comment.

Pastor Nico Botha of the Apostolic Faith Mission in Goodwood said he has known Doctorian for the past 20 years and had no reason to distrust him. "If something is wrong with the photograph, the fault must lie with the photographer," he said.

http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1357743,00.html
The stories on Doctorian are a mixed bag. There are many blogsites and forum sites which lend him a lot of credibility, but there are critics out there as well. The Seventh-Day Adventist site ran a presentation on end-times false prophets, and included him on their list with this comment:

June 20, 1998: "Dr" Samuel Doctorian announces this will be the day of a biblically-based end, with pestilence, famine, fire, flood, and earthquake.
The comment appears to be erroneous--this does not seem to have been presented at any time by Doctorian in any "date-setting" manner, but rather, it appears to have been the date on which he first presented the "vision." Another site which has him in its sights is thepathoftruth.com. Problem is, when you look at their list, you find some strange inclusions that are also found there: Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, George Muller, Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin, and Andrew Murray. So it seems that even his critics have not always fared too well in trying to assess what may be the problem points.

I notice also that there is a pattern of attributing to Doctorian the idea that his visions have been prophetic. One claim is that in the 1998 article, he "predicted the events of 9-11." That's a pure stretch of the imagination. For one thing, nothing in anything he wrote about the vision of these angels is tied to any specific dates or time frames. For another, there was nothing specific as to location in the particular prophecy about the U.S. to which this is attributed. Thirdly, the remarks were generalizations, describing calamities that were to come, particularly earthquakes, one result of which would be "skyscrapers collapsing." That's pretty far-fetched to take a generalization like that and telescope it into a "prediction of 9-11." You could as easily take Chicken Little's declaration of "The sky is falling!" and turn it into a prediction of the fall of Skylab!

There are stories also of his having been "awakened" at 3 am and given a premonition of the tragic tsunami ten days before it occurred. I am not as familiar with the details of that one, but from what I have seen of it, it bears the same marks as the others: generalizations that are stretched beyond their limits. These stories all have one feature in common that stands out as well: not one of these things was ever claimed BEFORE the fact; instead, they were all matters of reinterpretation of his earlier comments AFTER the fact of occurrence.

Even more bizarre are the titles of a series of three articles located online by Doctorian, detailing certain "visions" he says he received. The articles are all titled as "The First Letter of Samuel from Patmos," "The Second Letter of Samuel. . .," etc. The first one begins,

John, the Apostle of the Lord, the Apostle of Love. Two thousand years ago, he was in exile, in this Island of Patmos.
The second begins,

John, the beloved, the great Apostle of the Lord.
With those titles, and with those openings, clearly he is trying to associate himself and/or his visions with the apostle John, apparently in an effort to garner greater authenticity for them.

End result: far too many documented instances of impropriety which, when coupled with attempts to claim more than can be verified for the things he wrote, constitutes ample enough reason to steer clear of this would-be prophet.
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