A Whole New World

(photo credit Courtesy of Dr. Richard Booker)

Growing up as a Southern Baptist, the only Bible Dr. Richard Booker ever knew was the one his mother gave him as a boy. Because it wasn't "a personal thing," he glanced through it and never really read it or came to know Jesus through God's Word.

That all changed nearly 50 years ago, when business associates asked Booker to attend a weekly Bible study. He quickly became intrigued with the Bible. But it wasn't until he had a miraculous supernatural encounter with God and the Holy Spirit that he discovered the incredible power of God's Word that would turn his and his family's world upside down.

Instead of becoming a high-level business executive and potentially a wealthy man, Booker became an ordained minister, the president of Sounds of the Trumpet ministries founded in 1979, the founder and director of the Institute for Hebraic-Christian studies, an author of 40 books including the best -seller The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread and a developer of seminars and college-level Bible courses.

Booker is also the host of the Sounds of the Shofar Podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network.

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He and his wife of 55 years, Peggy, founded the IHCS in 1997 as a ministry to educate Christians in the Hebraic Culture and the background of the Bible, to build relationships between Christians and Jews and to give comfort and support to the people of Israel. Booker's teachings are designed to help believers better understand the Bible and their covenant God.

Booker knew exactly what he wanted out of life as a secular executive—until God intervened in a huge way. In 1974, he appeared on his way up the corporate ladder as the corporate director of Management Information Systems for the Occidental Petroleum Corporation in Houston, Texas. To that point, he and Peggy had lived what he terms a secular life, knowing about God but not actively pursuing Him.

The invitation to a Bible study took Booker by surprise, but he didn't hesitate to accept. Soon afterward, his life took a dramatic turn.

"When I was invited to go to a Bible study, I had never really even heard of such a thing," Booker says. "At that time, Peggy and I were sort of seeking after God, but we didn't know how to find Him. We were secular, worldly. Even though both of us had been raised in denominational Christianity, God was kind of long distance to us. I don't want to sound critical, but the denominational Christianity we were experiencing was of a God who used to be and not the God of now. We live in the now, so I needed him now.

"And so, I went to something called a Christian bookstore and got a Bible," he says. "If you're going to go to a Bible study, you need a Bible, right? So I purchased one, and I took it home, and I started reading it, starting in the book of Leviticus. Doesn't everyone start there? It was just a random thing because I really didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know I was supposed to start in the New Testament with Matthew or the book of John. I didn't have any guidance, so I started reading Leviticus. When you think about it, the devil tries to keep people out of Leviticus because that's the mother lode of the gospel in the Old Testament.

"Incredibly, the more and more I read it, the more it sounded familiar; you know, all of that stuff about the sacrifices and the tabernacle and those high priests and all that blood stuff," he says. "I turned to Peggy and asked her, 'Doesn't this sound familiar? This sounds like the stuff we heard about when we were kids in church.'"

The more Booker read through Leviticus, he says, the more intrigued he became. He felt compelled to return to the same Christian bookstore, where he bought a "bulky" concordance to help him study God's Word more easily.

Supernatural Encounter

Peggy agreed to begin reading and studying the Bible at the same time Richard did. Like him, she had begun developing a hunger to know more about God. But also like her husband, she didn't know how to go about it.

"The Bible says that if you seek God with your whole heart, you'll find Him," Richard says. "Sooner or later, you're going to run into Him. I'm educated, so I know how to study. I studied Leviticus at first, and then, some time later, I had discovered the whole Bible, and I was reading Luke 24 when Jesus appeared to His disciples and explained that all of this was about Him. In a 'heaven second' ... God honored my seeking Him when he took Luke 24, where Jesus said this was all about Me, and laid it on top of Leviticus."

That is when, Richard says, his supernatural experience took place, and the Word of God became more real than he could ever have imagined. The encounter shook him to his core.

"All of a sudden, the Bible just exploded inside of me," Richard says. "It was like 66 bombs just going off, the 66 books of the Bible. It wasn't like one right after another, but all at once. It was a rare spiritual revelation from heaven. Through images, God downloaded the whole Bible into me in a heaven second. The power of that was so explosive, I thought I was going to die.

"Peggy and I were raised in denominational Christianity that didn't talk about miracles and supernatural things," Richard says. "We had no idea what it was, but it was overwhelming. The Bible talks about the weight of the glory of God, when God comes down upon people. I actually hid under my desk thinking God couldn't find me. I begged Him not to show me any more because I didn't think I could take any more.

"I couldn't walk," he continues. "I just crawled around the house because the weight of God's glory that was on me at that moment was so strong. I crawled up onto the couch until it passed. I couldn't imagine what Peggy was feeling. All she was hearing was me screaming 'glory to God' from the other room.

"So this was the defining moment of my life, when I found my purpose for being here," he adds. "Everything I thought was important to me in my life was no longer important. This was so overwhelming because I had a successful business career and was really at the top of my career path. You might say my career was my God. But the Bible says the things you used to love and glory in; you don't glory in them anymore."

Life Change

Peggy says Richard's supernatural encounter with the Holy Spirit didn't scare her or "freak her out," as might have happened. Instead, she realized she had only one choice going forward.

"The simplest way I can say this is that I can see now, having all of these numbers of years to truly walking with the Lord and trusting and depending upon Him, I know it was all Him to begin with," she explains. "I believe He put his faith in my heart to be able to just go with it. In the Bible, God talks about 'a measure of faith,' and I believe He gave me that faith to know that, even though I didn't know everything that was going on. I didn't know what was going to happen, but I was at ease and at peace with it."

Richard understood that God's plan for his life meant quitting his cushy job and the lifestyle he and Peggy had enjoyed. When Richard left his job, he had no stocks to sell, no bonds to cash, no big checking account, no savings, no insurance, no more first and 15th paycheck, no helpers and no idea where he and Peggy would get money to pay their bills. Peggy knew this decision would have challenging repercussions, but she trusted both God and her husband as they moved ahead.

"I had come to know and love my husband so much and, even though all of this was very new to us, I knew that God had touched his life and was in the midst of changing both of our lives," she says. "God gave me the supernatural peace to not be fretful or anxious. I didn't say that I wasn't concerned, but there is a difference. I remember saying to Richard one time, 'I don't know what all of this means, but I just want to be able to ask the Lord to enable us to always pay our bills on time.'"

God honored Peggy's heartfelt prayer. For the past 47 years, the Bookers have never failed to pay their bills when they have come due. They have been debt free for over 40 years and pay cash for all their major expenses. There were times when there were bills to pay and no money to pay them, Peggy says. But in her heart, she trusted God would come through and He has—sometimes at the last moment.

Along with the other changes the couple experienced, Peggy says their mindset about money had to change as well.

"Once we truly got into the Word, God taught us how to be givers," she says. "He taught us that we weren't the storehouse, that we had to help others. When we started giving from our limited resources, God gave back to us from His unlimited resources."

As they approach their 80 birthdays, Richard and Peggy still live the simple life of faith, trusting God for their daily finances.

Kingdom Work

Richard jokes that "some have accused me of preaching from time to time." But he realized soon after his supernatural encounter that his main kingdom work would come as a Bible teacher, communicating scriptural truth in a way that "brings life out of the Bible and into people's hearts."

"Although I've done a little bit of everything, my calling and gifting is to teach the Bible," he adds. "The uniqueness that God has blessed me with is to be able to take the Bible, which many consider a hard-to-understand book, and to explain it in oral and written form; taking it from the complex to the simple and keeping them focused on Jesus."

In addition to his life-changing books, has has many video teachings on his YouTube page you can watch for free at rbooker.com. He also has courses in Hebraic-Christian Studies you can take by correspondence online at IHCS.teachable.com.

You can also watch his seminar on "The Root and the Branches" from your app store. In addition to this emphasis, Richard and Peggy have led tour groups to Israel for 30 years where, for 18 years, Richard was a featured teacher at the Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem attended by 5,000 believers from 100 nations.

"Not everyone is going to have a supernatural encounter like I had," Richard says. "But I know that people can be taught to understand the Bible like I have been. God wants to reveal Himself to you in supernatural ways. When He does that, He will show you He has something wonderful for your life.

"If you're seeking God with your whole heart, you'll find Him," he adds. "This is true for all of His people. He has something supernaturally special for every one of us. If you seek Him and really get into His Word, He will show it to you. Don't let the Bible be just some book that sits there. Let it come alive to you, and you'll discover a whole new world."


Shawn A. Akers is a content development editor for Charisma Media.

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