false prophets

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Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now then, hear the word of the LORD…” (Amos 7:14-15 NIV)

For some time, Brother Elijah and I have shared this blog. We offer our insights, but neither he nor I claim that we are prophets. Our role is to teach what the Bible says about future events. We have a great responsibility to accurately interpret Scripture (not adding to or taking away from prophecy) so, in the last days, God’s people will be equipped for every good work.

Chiefly, our mission is to separate false prophecy and false prophet from the true. Readers and students will judge if we are right or not. I am only a gardener whom the Lord chose to stand before men and share His Word.

During a recent class, I was asked if I knew any prophets. It was a direct question, so I answered “No, I do not.” I should have added, “I believe I’ll know ‘em when I see ‘em.”

Elijah and I want to help others have the same confidence. (I have written “The Prophets of God: Recognize them, Listen to them, Follow them” on this subject.) Our thesis is: Study the genuine thoroughly; then you will easily identify the counterfeit.

I have known many who either accepted the title or promoted themselves as “Prophet or Prophetess.” (Thank you Lord for your mercy! In my ignorance I was one; that is, before I subjected myself to the test of Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

Foreknowledge may come from God and be spoken by anyone whom He chooses (ex. Balaam and Caiaphas). But know this: Those who possess the full anointing will resemble and sound more like Jesus, Elijah, Jeremiah or John the Baptist than a Wall St. banker.

We must pay careful attention to the prophets of old. Speaking God’s judgment was their role. Not one, not even The Prophet Jesus, placed “Prophet” before their name.

Our posts will continue to encourage a right understanding as well as broadcast the prophet’s saving message. When God reveals his divine messengers—as he surely will—receive them as if they were Our Lord himself (Matthew 10:40-41).

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” Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! (Luke 13:34 NRSV)

Weeks ago my heart was grieved by a letter from someone who claimed to be my best friend. His message was harsh. In no uncertain tone, my friend said: “Stop talking about prophecy because it ‘bums’ me out.” Then the attack became personal when he involved my family. (“I hope you do not tell your children these things.”) This letter was an eye-opener since this man claims to love the Lord, yet has a disdain for prophets and prophecy.

His attitude toward God’s special messengers is nothing new. Prophets in Bible times faced similar challenges. Those with darkened hearts reject God’s warnings. Those open to the light will receive it. Many want to know the truth about the last days. Believers desiring accurate teaching await the Lord’s return yet they expect future trials.

Jeremiah confronted a “hater” of prophecy and prophets in Hananiah. Earlier Judah had gone into a partial captivity in Babylon. Hananiah foolishly spoke for God promising Judah’s exiles would return in two years (Jer. 28:3).

Wisely, the Lord’s servant stood up to this charlatan. Jeremiah said that past prophets foretold times of war, famine and pestilence against countries and kingdoms. They never spoke of peace without first warning of destruction.

Hananiah was exposed. Jeremiah said this pretender would be dead within the year. In Jeremiah 28:17, God’s word was fulfilled. Hananiah died in the 7th month (Tishri, the month of God’s judgment).

As we approach the end of this age, God is raising up prophets. How will we recognize them? They will remain true to God’s word by speaking of a coming day of disaster. “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10b).”

We must be wise to follow the prophets of God as well as their prophecy. If we do not, we will be vulnerable to false prophets. Awake, oh sleeper, so the Day does not sneak up on you! EJ

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“Surely the eyes of the LORD are on the sinful kingdom. I will destroy it from the face of the earth–yet I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob,” declares the LORD. “For I will give the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, and not a pebble will reach the ground. All the sinners among my people will die by the sword, all those who say, ‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’ ” (Amos 9:8-10 NIV)

Reading Revelation invokes a promised blessing. We are doubly blessed if we take the prophecy to heart. The reason why is given: “Because the time is near.” (Rev. 1:3).

Past the middle of the book is a warning that needs to be taken to heart. It involves an evil figure who will dominate the landscape.

“He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.

He who has an ear to hear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. (Rev. 13:7-10 NIV)

Here we have in the Word of God a book to which the Lord has attached blessings and curses (cf. Rev. 22:18-19). In it we are forewarned of an unparalleled disaster and time of distress for the saints. The problem is this: The Church is populated with Pre-Tribulation Rapture (PTR) and Amillennialist teachers who make irrelevant the above prophecy. Many, if not most of the PTR promoters, tell their flock the rapture occurs at the beginning of Revelation 4. They say that in verse 1 a voice calls to John, “Come up here.” So that is it. That’s the rapture in the Bible’s last book. (TV Pastor and evangelist John Hagee is prominent among this group.)

In other words, Pastor Hagee’s flock is supposedly gone before the opening of the seven seals in Chapter 6 and assuredly absent when the antichrist rules in Chapter 13. Those following this Christian teacher–and others like him–have become convinced Christians will not be overtaken by disaster. They believe they will be in heaven wearing crowns after Chapter 4. Then who are “the saints” in 13:7? Who are “the saints” “killed with the sword” in Revelation 13:10?

Though Amillennialists often scoff at the PTR crowd, they are really in the same boat. Little attention is paid by this segment of Christianity to prophecy period. Though, infrequently, they may cherry-pick a verse from Revelation to buttress their teaching, they more or less erase all the warnings. How so? By declaring that Revelation is an allegory or symbolic. Millions of Christians under their influence have swallowed the lie that “Disaster will not meet us.”

What does God call his people who reject a literal judgment or a physical Coming of Christ? Through the prophet Amos, He calls them “sinners”. (See Amos 9:10 at top)

Of course, an Amillennialist could try to make “die by the sword” symbolic. A symbolic sword won’t hurt so much. For my Bible-believing PTR Christian brothers and sisters, I go to my knees. Please, please, question your false prophet teachers. Prepare for the day of disaster before you taste the blade.

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“For I will give the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, and not a pebble will reach the ground. All the sinners among my people will die by the sword, all those who say, “Disaster will not overtake us.” (Amos 9:9-10 NIV)

If we are to understand each other, we need to define our terms the same way. I define Amillennialism as the end-times view that utilizes allegory or symbolism to explain Bible prophecy. (In the Greek, the “A” negates what follows, so A-millennial means “without” a millennium or “no” thousand years.) So, when Revelation 20:4-6 clearly states that in the next age Christ will rule for 1000 years, Amillennialists argue against Christ’s coming kingdom as a literal future event. To their esteemed scholars, I ask , “What if you are wrong?”

Who am I to ask such a question? I realize I am addressing some of the most brilliant theological minds on the planet. In the past, I studied under a few of them. They argue “transubstantiation vs. consubstantiation” and speak of “supralapsarianism” as if it were a common topic. Intellectually, these teachers of the Sovereignty of God are unsurpassed. Their roots are in the reformers of the 16th century who declared “Sola Scriptura” (only Scripture has authority).

Millions of Christians listen regularly to Amillennialist teachers and pastors that deny God will do what he said. They fervently reject God’s solemn promise to David that he will forever have a descendant enthroned over the house of Israel (2 Samuel 7:16, 2 Chronicles 6:10, 15, Acts 1:6). Do these promoters of the doctrine that God has “replaced” the house of Israel with the Church, dare charge the Sovereign Lord with speaking falsely? Do they think they can state with impunity that God lies or changes his mind? “Does he [the Lord] speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19NIV)

If the Lord Jesus declared “I am coming soon!” three times within the last fifteen verses of Scripture, will he not do what he said?

Teachers of prophecy should always ask themselves: “What if I’m wrong?” Those in the Amillennial camp–or Pre-tribulation Rapture (PTR) camp–contend that no disaster or great tribulation will overtake them.

Speaking through the prophet Amos (above), the Lord called the “disaster deniers” sinners. If they are wrong, according to Scripture, then the sword will devour them.

I say to believers everywhere: “Prepare for an imminent catastrophic turn of events, a time that will try the souls of men.” If I am wrong, it is because I take God at his word. I can live with the consequences of believing the Word of God. Some very smart people may have to die as a consequence for not believing their Bible.

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When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on man’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NIV),

America is on life support for a boatload of reasons, in my view, the most threatening to its continued existence is its idolatry. According to the prophet Ezekiel, this seductive form of evil is what did the city of Sodom in (Ezek.16:49). In one way it is manifest as good, old materialism. In another way it appears as the modern-day “cult of celebrity”. Yes, idolatry has even spread its fancy facade over many a Christian Church.

Large sanctuary, theater seating for thousands, a house packed with enthusiastic people, a jumbo tron screen, contemporary music pulsating from the speakers plus a rock star pastor with a dynamite message; it all equals Mega-Church. It doesn’t get any better than that–not as far as the American dream church is concerned. Ever wonder how the Apostle Paul would have fared as a preacher with a TV ministry? How would he have reacted after sitting in on a star-studded service? Or what if Jesus took in a Sunday Spectacular, would he be impressed by the size of the offering?

I ask these questions because someone must. Idolatry that the typical American Christian practices in their worship is rooted in a purposeful ignorance of the prophetic. Maintaining the fancy facade is more important than accurately interpreting Scripture’s future events. The false views of Amillennialism and Pre-tribulation Rapturism (PTR) dominate the contemporary church landscape, simply because both positions cater to the idolator, rather than condemning the practice. Do we need tio be reminded that idolatry is an abomination to God?

False prophets seldom stray from their standard message: “Peace and Safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Their “Don’t rock the boat” attitude encourages the faithful to invest in the new Porsche or fine-tune the golf game as long as the tithes and offerings keep coming. The not-so-subtle message is that God wants his people to be rich so the new multi-million dollar “Welcome Center” can be paid off ahead of schedule.

What about completing the Great Commission instead? The absence of sound Bible-teaching on prophecy eliminates a sense of urgency to get off our padded pew and take the Gospel to the world.

If we flew into Houston, Atlanta or Dallas for a visit at an internationally-recognized church, what Scripture would be heard over the state-of-the-art sound system? Would the prophet’s warning below from the Book of James light up the giant screen?

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh with fire. You have hoarded wealth for the last days… You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. (James 5:1-3, 5 NIV)

Look for God’s prophetic word to soon expose the false prophet and fracture the fancy facade of a fake church.

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Question: How do you know a prophet is a true prophet when sometimes it takes a millennium for the prophecy to come to pass?

 
Wanted to share a question (above) sent from Paul , a friend and reader of “The Prophets of God”. Thought it was worthy of sharing.
 
My answer: In Deuteronomy 18:20-22 we have one way of exposing the false prophet. If they say “by the Word of the Lord such and such will happen” but it does not happen, then we know that prophet did not speak for God. God’s command to Israel was the prophet who spoke deceitfully must be put to death! It is one thing to predict and be wrong–which I have on several occasions. It is quite another to claim to be speaking for God, and then be wrong.
 
The point of your question is perceptive: Can we afford to wait, say 1000 years, to see if what was prophesied in the Lord’s name comes true? We have to know as soon as possible. Which brings us to a second test: “Test the spirits to see if they are from God” (1 John 4:1). This is really the big test since things are going to get “dicey”, shall we say. Few Christians are ready for what is coming. We’re warned of it in Deuteronomy 13:1-5: What do we do when a prophet or dreamer says such and such is going to take place and then it happens? And what if that prophet goes on to lead unsuspecting followers to a false god or to the worship of the antichrist? Even though the prophet has demonstrated supernatural abilities through signs, wonders and miracles, are they then automatically God’s spokespersons? No is the answer.
 
Test the spirits. Do the prophet or dreamer’s words match those of Jesus (sp. Revelation 2-3)? Is the prophet a humble, loving servant with a heart of compassion? Do they display spiritual fruit and are they hated by the world? Do their actions resemble Elijah’s, Elisha’s or John the Baptist? 
 
Do not just look superficially at a teaching supposedly coming from God or the Bible. Do not do as the Thessalonians, but be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11)! Remember that in the last days there will be many false prophets who perform miracles in order to deceive. The deception will be so powerful that, if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived–but that’s not possible (Matthew 24:24). Why isn’t it possible? Because the elect test the spirits.
 
Prophecy in Scripture is supported by two, three or more witnesses found elsewhere in God’s Word. Learn and follow “The 5 major rules of Biblical interpretation”. That way the likelihood we will be led astray is minimal. Ask someone trustworthy, if you are in doubt.
 
When someone, like myself, purports to teach prophecy, listen carefully or take notes, but do not swallow until you know you have truth. Even if an angel of light appears and proclaims some other gospel than that of the apostles, do not believe it!
 
Mohammed believed a spirit named Gabriel. Joseph Smith believed the angel Moroni. They were deceived by angels of light. As a result, we have the cults of Islam and Mormonism with their separate Holy Books, the Koran and The Book of Mormon.
 
I cover all this in The Prophets of God. I could have referred you to a chapter and page, but you gave me a good opportunity to share.
 
Since you are studying Chapter 8, “Bad News”, in The Prophets of God, I will remind you of one more test of the prophet. False prophets have gone out into the world to flood us with counterfeit messengers. The content is important: Are they prophesying “success” for the unrepentant (1 Kings 22:11-12, 20-21)? Are they giving good news (ex. peace and security) for a nation or people that has turned away from God and turned to idols? Are they warning all who will listen of impending judgment (Jeremiah 28, sp. vs. 8-9)? Are they predicting a blessing of wealth and prosperity or are they pleading “Come out of Babylon. Flee before it’s too late!”
 
Your question strikes at a major theme of The Prophet of God. Now that you know this, please share it with others.

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Question 4- Why write The Prophets of God? What are you saying that other prophecy books have not said?

Answer 4- A few years ago, I was motivated to do a teaching seminar on “Prophets” based on a growing conviction that what we have in American Christian culture with the prophet label is quite different than what we see in Scripture. Elijah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Jesus are prophets. I developed an interest in the subject and then the insights came. One revelation was that before Jesus returns, he will send his prophets, forerunners like John the Baptist, to prepare the way for Christ. Prophets will expose the false prophets and priests for the phonies they are. We already have an invasion of false prophets in our day. Soon we will see God counter-attack with the true prophets of God. If there is another guide on this subject out there, I am not aware of it. 

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