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  Photo by Jerry Harston

Photo by Jerry Harston

Prophets

The new testament states that prophets are a part of the church until we all come to the unity of the faith, to a perfect man, the knowledge of the Son of God, and to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:12). One of the reasons that the church is currently not at the level of maturity described in the scripture, is because much of the church has rejected the prophetic ministry or explained it away with its traditions of men. If we desire to be brought to a level of maturity, we must embrace the word of God. 

The charismatic church has for the most part, embraced the office of the prophet. However, portions of the charismatic church have been developing and teaching false doctrine in regards to the prophetic office. The truth and light from the word of God must shine and expose these false teachings, or the body of Christ will start to be consumed like gangrene. 

There is teaching going around in the charismatic church that says prophets who prophesy judgment are false prophets. This doctrine also states that prophets should not prophesy judgement, because God does not judge. In addition, it says new testament prophets are completely different from old testament prophets. The doctrine states that new testament prophets should only prophesy positive words of encouragement and exhortation. 

This doctrine is being taught by very influential leaders in the church, and is impacting thousands of people. The Bible speaks of great levels of deception in the latter days, and it is extremely important that we do not get swept away into confusion and deception. We must know the Word and stand on the Word at all costs. This teaching will examine the scriptures to determine what the Bible says about the ministry of prophets. 

The Prophets

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19 NKJV)

Jesus states very clearly that the law and the prophets have not yet been destroyed. They will remain until the heavens and earth pass away. Clearly this has not happened yet. Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets, and we must also fulfill the law and the prophets since they are still in existence (Romans 3:31, Romans 8:1-4 KVJ, Galatians 5:13-18). Please see my teaching on "Covenants | Law | Mercy | Judgment" for an in depth explanation. 

The prophets release judgment if the law is not kept. The only way we can keep the law is if we as believers are led by the Spirit of God, and allow Christ to live through us. Christ living and loving through us releases the grace to fulfill the law. A believer can choose to sin instead yielding to the Spirit. If we choose to sin, then we break the law. Unbelievers do not have Christ in them, so they can not keep the law at all. Whenever the law is broken, the prophets prophesy the judgment of the law. This could be the prophets in scripture, or prophets who are currently operating in the church. This is a key foundation for understanding the truth about prophets releasing words of judgment in the new testament church.

Agabus 

And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. (Acts 11:27-28 NKJV)

Agabus prophesied by the Holy Spirit and stated that a famine was coming. This would be considered a "negative" word in the charismatic church. Those who have read the Bible know that every time there is a famine, it is a judgment of the Lord. Agabus does not say this, but we understand this from the totality of scripture. 

And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ” (Acts 21:10-11 NKJV)

Agabus gives another "negative" prophetic word in this scripture. Instead of prophesying words of peace and encouragement to Paul, Agabus tells Paul what the Lord is really saying. Agabus gave Paul a word that suffering was coming, and Paul received it. The word came to pass exactly as Agabus delivered it. The Jews seized Paul and beat him (when someone is holding you and you cannot leave, then you are "bound" as per the definition of the word). Then Paul was turned over to the Gentiles. 

John the Prophet

John the apostle also functioned in the office of the prophet. This is extremely clear as the Lord gave John a revelation of Jesus Christ. John's prophetic encounters were very similar to Daniel's encounters. John is termed as the "apostle of love," because of his Gospel and epistles. Yet John released a prophetic revelation of the wrath and severity of God as no prophet had before Him. 

John prophesies that Satan will give the antichrist (beast) power and authority to rule the world for three and a half years. He prophesies that the antichrist will overcome the saints during this time. Also, that no one will be able to buy or sell unless they take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13). John also prophesies about severe judgments being released upon the earth, in which Jesus Himself actually starts by breaking open the seals (Revelation 6). These events do not happen on the last day of the age, but are spread out over a period of years before the age ends.

John releases a word of judgment to the church both past and present in Revelation 2:12-29. Jesus will judge any believer who does not repent of idolatry and sexual immorality. John even writes that Jesus will actually remove an entire city church, if the church loses its first love and does not repent (Revelation 2:1-7). Jesus would rather there not be any church in a city, than for there to be a church who puts other things like ministry before Him. And if there is no church in a city or region then there is no light. If there is no light, then there are no salvations. And if there are no salvations, there is only darkness and eternal damnation. That is the severity of the Lord Jesus Christ that John prophesied about to the new testament church. 

Jesus the Prophet

Jesus is our example for new testament ministry. Every where Jesus went, the grace of the new covenant manifested. He occupied the offices of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. When He ascended on high (Heaven), He gave those exact same ministry gifts to other men (Ephesians 4:7-11). The same ministry office of a prophet that Jesus ministered in, was given to some new testament believers to minister in. Therefore, Jesus is our perfect example of how prophets function. We must examine His ministry to determine how new testament prophets function. Agabus and John may have been good prophets, but Jesus was the perfect prophet.

Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20-24 NKJV)

Jesus, functioning in the office of the prophet, prophesies judgment on three cities. These cities had experienced the miracles and mercy of God, but refused to repent of their sins. To whom much is given, much is required. Under the new covenant, if we receive grace and light, and fail to repent; we are judged more severely for it (Hebrews 10:26-31). Jesus actually told the whole city of Capernaum that they would burn in Hell.

I have noticed that much of the church ignores the Jesus who prophesies judgment on an entire city of people, and condemns them to Hell. This is because much of the church does not want see, understand, or talk about this aspect of Jesus. We only want to know the parts of Jesus that make us feel comfortable. The rest of Him, we ignore. Because of this, we end up preaching a different Jesus than the one in the Word. God created man in His image, and man has made God into his image.

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44 NKJV)

Jesus, operating as a new testament prophet, releases a word of judgment against the people of Jerusalem. He and the Father were weeping because it was not their perfect will that judgment should come. However, mercy had failed so judgment was necessary. The prophetic word of judgment that the prophet released, came to pass in 70 A.D. (About 40 years after the new testament church age of grace had begun). The judgment was very severe. It involved robbers killing and stealing within the city walls. Women ate their own babies. Anyone who tried to escape the city was caught and crucified by the Roman army. Thousands and thousands starved. At the end of the siege, the temple was burning with fire, and around 1,000,000 Jews were dead. 

Apparently judgment can be released by prophets, and apparently judgment can happen in the new testament church age. The Bible remains a solid foundation for truth and clarity, even if teachers in the church do not. We must trust the living word over leaders with great influence. If the living word has less influence in our lives than the teaching of leaders in the church, we are on a scary path to deception and possibly destruction.

Prophets vs the Gift of Prophecy

There is a big difference between the gift of prophecy and the office of the prophet. The gift of prophecy is primarily used for exhortation and encouragement. It can, however, also be used at times for words or rebuke or judgment (1 Corinthians 14:14-25, Acts 13:6-12). The office of the prophet has a number primary functions: warning the people of coming judgment, calling people to repentance, intercession, confronting the false prophetic, confronting evil political and religious leaders, standing beside and helping good political and religious leaders, releasing the judgments of God on a nation, and perfecting the saints for the work of ministry.

Much of the charismatic church has taught that prophets' main function are to "equip" the saints for the work of ministry. The best translation of the Greek word is "perfect." The KVJ translates this word rightly, and the context of the surrounding verses support it. Prophets are to perfect the saints for the work of ministry. They are to bring saints to maturity, the knowledge of the Son of God, the mature man, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ. Equipping is good, but the Lord is much more concerned about the saints being mature than He is for them to be equipped.

True prophetic ministry is very rare in the modern American church. Much of what the church is currently calling prophetic ministry is nothing more than someone operating in the gift of prophesy. The new testament does not say that the role of the prophet is to encourage, exhort, comfort, and bless. Nowhere in the new testament do we see prophets operating as "blessing machines." A careful study of the prophet Jesus' words will show that He gave many of what the modern church would consider "negative words." Jesus the prophet would not be accepted in many churches throughout America.

Prophesying Falsely 

There are a number of prophets and leaders in the church who do not want to believe that things are going to get difficult as Jesus describes in Matthew 24. These same prophets and teachers do not want to believe that there is any kind of judgment that is released by God. These leaders are choosing to believe what their own hearts want, rather than what the word actually says. Because of this, their teaching and their prophesying is drifting into error and deception. 

I personally do not want there to be severe times as mentioned in Matthew 24, and the judgments of God being released upon the earth. However it is actually irrelevant what I want. It's not about my will, it's His will that matters. What is relevant is the righteousness and justice of God. Relevance is what the Bible actually says, not our own opinions and doctrines. I want the truth in His word more than I want the desire of my own heart. We must love His word of truth more than our own will and desires. If we love our own desires more than His word, we will distort His word to make it fit our belief or doctrine. That is exactly what major leaders in the church our currently doing. 

Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’ ” And the LORD said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. (Jeremiah 14:13-14 NKJV)

Jeremiah had to deal with prophets who prophesied lies in his day. There is nothing new under the sun. Jeremiah had been prophesying to the people that the Lord was going to bring war and famine if they did not repent and turn to God. The other prophets did not believe in God's judgment, so they prophesied to the people out of the deceit (deception) of their own hearts. These prophets told the people that there would be no war and famine. They told the people that everything was going to be okay; things were going to get better and better, and that there would be peace.

Jeremiah stood with the Lord against an apostate nation. It was extremely unpopular to prophesy anything negative. Nobody in the nation wanted to here about God's judgment. No one wanted to hear that God would hold people accountable for unrepentant sin. The people simply wanted to here good things spoken to them; words and teaching that tickled their ears. The people flocked to prophets who only told them good things and words of peace. People listened to the teachings from ministries who told them about their destiny, ministry, the gifts and anointings of God, and how God was going to bless them. Popular teachings included "The Year of Breakthrough," "The Harvest Begins," "The Season of Open Doors," and "Moving in Miracles." The people traveled around to various conferences to hear the latest prophet speak words of peace and blessing over the nation.

The people were locked in a trance from the prophets speaking from their own hearts. The prophets also were so deceived themselves that they actually thought what they were saying was true. They could only hear God according to the desire of their own heart. The nation was falling further and further away from God. The Lord, in is compassion and mercy, gave many years to repent. However people were going to start slipping into Hell if the Lord did not act. The Lord sent His prophet Jeremiah to stand for the truth. Jeremiah prophesied that the judgment of God would come upon the nation unless they repented. The prophets and the people were in such a deception that they could not hear the words of the true prophet. They refused to listen to the prophet, and the Lord was eventually forced to send judgment. War came to Israel. Many were killed by famine and disease. Jerusalem fell and many people were carried off to the foreign nation of Babylon.

Jeremiah had to stand against prophets who believed that God did not judge and would not send judgment. These prophets mocked Jeremiah. They told him that he was prophesying falsely. Yet Jeremiah stood, because he knew the scriptures and he knew the Lord. The Lord does not change. The cross didn't change Jesus, it was intended to change us. Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. Because of this, He has always seen things the same way.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, Not from the mouth of the LORD. They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The LORD has said, “You shall have peace” ’; And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you.’ ” For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, And has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury— A violent whirlwind! It will fall violently on the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly. “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, And had caused My people to hear My words, Then they would have turned them from their evil way And from the evil of their doings. (Jeremiah 23:16-22 NKJV)

This is the living word. It is just as relevant today as it was then. The prophets told the people that they would have peace, even when the nation wasn't repenting. Yet their words fell to the ground when judgment came and swept them away. So will it be in this day in age. Do not listen to the prophets who prophesy that say no evil shall come upon America. They make you worthless and speak a vision from their own heart. The Lord has not sent these prophets.

In the above scripture, the Lord is speaking of judgment coming, and He says, "In the latter days you will understand it perfectly." Most in the church would agree that we entered into the latter days when Peter preached about it in Acts 2:17. Two thousand years ago was the beginning of the latter days, and we are now nearing the end the latter days. The scripture states that we will get a perfect understanding of anger of the Lord not turning back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart, in the latter days. It is then clear that this revelation of judgment has and will continue to be released in the new testament church age of the latter days.

Let us all take counsel from the living word regarding this issue: "The prophets who have been before me and before you of old prophesied against many countries and great kingdoms—of war and disaster and pestilence. As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent.” (Jeremiah 28:8-9 NKJV)

Lying Spirits

In 1 Kings 22, King Ahab desires to go to war. He calls all of his prophets together and asks them if he should go to battle. The prophets all prophesy peace to the King saying, "go, for the Lord will deliver it into the King's hand." The King then called for Micaiah the prophet. Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, “Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Please, let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement.” (I Kings 22:13 NKJV)

But Micaiah stood before the King and gave him the true word of the Lord: “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.’ ” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. And the LORD said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the LORD said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.” (I Kings 22:17-23 NKJV)

America is in the same position that Israel was in. We have received a great light, but have failed to repent. The Lord's mercy and loving kindness has not moved our hearts to repentance as a nation. Symbolically, the American church is now in the same position as Ahab was in. We do not want to hear that judgment is coming. We do not want to hear that severe times are coming to America. So we have gathered prophets around us that are telling us what we want to hear. They are prophesying peace, peace when there is no peace. There are prophets in the church that are speaking according to lying spirits. The Lord has allowed it, because we don't want to hear the truth. The church would rather believe a lie.

The church in America wants to hear the soothing words from the pillow prophets of peace and safety. And the prophets who have been given a lying spirit, don't even know they are deceived. The Lord has simply given them over to the desires of their own hearts, because they loved not the truth. Anyone who does not love the truth, can be given over to various degrees of delusion. It is a scary thing when we reject portions of scripture, because we do not like it or agree with it.

Your prophets have seen for you False and deceptive visions; They have not uncovered your iniquity, To bring back your captives, But have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions. (Lamentations 2:14 NKJV)

The Spirit of Fear and Intimidation

The Lord has revealed to me that a spirit of fear and intimidation has been gaining power and attacking the true prophetic ministry. This spirit operates with the political spirit. Together they put pressure on prophets to intimidate them from prophesying what the Lord is saying. For example, the Lord may give the prophet a vision of judgment coming upon America as He did with A.A. Allen in 1954. Then the spirit of fear and intimidation begins to attack the prophet to prevent him from releasing the word. The spirit may say, "The body of Christ won't receive this word, because it is judgment. If you give this prophetic word, your ministry will be damaged and no one will invite you to speak in their meetings or conferences. This word will ruin your ministry. You have missed it, God doesn't judge anymore. The people and leaders will think you are legalistic, and that you don't have a revelation of the love and mercy of God. They won't believe you have a revelation of the Father heart of God. You won't be accepted anymore by the church." 

So much political correctness has crept into the church that it makes me want to throw up. The political spirit has made the church so politically correct, that we will not even accept words of judgment anymore. The spirit of intimidation and this spirit work hand and hand to oppress the messengers of the Lord, and ensure that their message is not released in the church.

There are some prophets in the church who are bound up in political correctness. In order for their articles to get published on the main prophecy websites, they must prophecy good things. If they were to release a word of judgment, the prophecy website would not want to carry their word. Therefore the prophet yields to the political pressure, and gives a watered down seeker friendly prophetic word that everyone wants to hear. When the prophet yields to this pressure, the prophet will become increasingly deaf to the true word of the Lord. The Lord will cease from speaking to the prophet about certain subjects.

Fleshly Prophetic Words

Many so called prophets in the church are prophesying positive words that our souls love to cling to, such as: "The year of double open doors. The year of breakthrough. The year of favor, blessing, and increase." Prophetic articles on major websites in the charismatic church are littered with these prophetic teachings year after year. The harvest, revival, and miracles were supposed to break out in America every year for the past five years, according to these prophetic articles and teachings. But these things have not come to pass yet. They may have come to pass for a small number of people, but not for the church as a whole, as proclaimed.

I would read these articles year after year and get my hopes up, until I realized that nothing they were saying was actually coming to pass when they said it would. All I have experienced in the last seven years is pressure, crushing, breaking, suffering, affliction, persecution, sorrow, physical illness, spiritual warfare, slander, dying to self, hope deferred, the wilderness, and my dreams and destiny burning on the altar. The exact opposite of what the charismatic church is prophesying. What I have experienced is the truth life of the cross; a life that brings one closer to Christ.

In Matthew 10, Jesus prophesys to His disciples the sufferings, turmoil, and afflictions that await them. Paul, a true disciple, lived the very life that Jesus foretold (2 Corinthians 4:8-12). The weak American charismatic church seems to know nothing about the true life of a disciple of Christ. I guess that is why we are so powerless. Current prophecy in the church is geared toward making the soul feel good. Prophecy in the earth shaking apostolic church of the first century was geared toward the crucifixion of the soul; to the point where it is no longer us living but Christ living in us. I will choose the prophetic words of Jesus that involves the crucified life, over the soul pleasing prophecies of the modern charismatic church.

Incorrect Doctrine

There are a number of prophets in the church that do not believe that God is currently judging or releasing judgments. This improper doctrine actually prevents them from hearing the voice of the Lord in this area. It is very difficult to hear someone speaking to you if you do not believe what they are saying to you. The traditions of men and strongholds of the mind can certainly clog our ears from hearing the truth.

Balance

This teaching is not stating that all words from prophets should be words of judgment. It could be that many of the prophetic words that a prophet gives are encouraging, and what we would consider "positive." My point is that prophets certainly can give prophetic words of judgment as the scripture proves. We do not tell God what He can and can't do. This is incredibly stupid. If the Lord wants to give a word of judgment to a prophet, then the Lord can most certainly do so. The master potter does not need permission from the clay vessel.

Judging Prophets

When we pass judgment on his true prophets incorrectly, we speak against the Lord, and will eventually bring judgment upon ourselves. For example, when Rick Joyner (who is a prophet) gave a prophecy about a massive earthquake coming to the California coast in 2011; a number of other leaders spoke out against that prophecy. This is extremely dangerous. It is very prideful for another leader to speak against the word of the Lord from a trusted prophet. Hananiah found out in Jeremiah 28, that this is not a good idea. The Lord will judge those who speak against His own word. 

Those prophets who are called to the ministry of Daniel should not be judging the Ezekiel prophets, and telling them not to prophesy judgment. Daniel needs to focus on his assignment, and not concern himself with Ezekiel's assignment. Does the hand say to the foot, "Why are you walking that way?" No. The hand keeps its mouth shut and fulfills its role. The hand lets the foot fulfill its role without judging it. The foot allows the hand to fulfill its role. Then the body functions as it should, without division.

There will always be people in the church who are calling for judgment who are not legitimate prophets. This teaching is not addressing those people. They are to be ignored. I am speaking about legitimate prophets such as Rick Joyner, Terry Bennett, Neville Johnson, Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj, and others.

Conclusion

The prophet Jesus prophesies that many calamities will come upon the earth at the very end of this age, and right before His return (Matthew 24). Jesus says that these calamities are the signs of His coming and the end of the age. If another prophet or teacher says things that contradict this, I would highly recommend disregarding their teaching. Jesus warns us: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5 NKJV)

Many teachers and prophets will come in the name of Jesus, saying that Jesus is indeed the Christ. These prophets and teachers will teach things contradictory to the word of God. They will teach things like: "God doesn't judge anymore. Prophets don't prophesy judgment. Things are going to get better and better. The world is going to have peace. The words of Jesus in Matthew 24 are not the signs of the times. Nation will not lift up sword against nation and kingdom against kingdom, even though Jesus said it would happen." These prophets and teachers will be prophesying and teaching out of their own hearts, and will deceive many.