|Sunday, November 8, 2020|
St. Ann's, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies
s we consider the seemingly failed prophesies associated with the 2020 US Presidential elections; were we dealing with false prophets or false prophesies. It is important that we clarify this because they are not necessarily the same. Let's be mindful of the following Biblical truths.
1) False Prophetic Utterances,
A false prophetic utterance does not necessarily make an individual a false prophet. It just clearly states that the utterance was wrong. It is a false prophecy, period! Many believers would argue this fact using the Scripture in Deuteronomy Chapter 18:20-22.
"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."
Whenever we interpret scriptures it is important to ensure that this is done by looking at the scripture in the context in which it was written. The background to these verses in Deuteronomy 18 showed that God was talking to Moses about Israel that He would raise a prophet among them that would be like unto him, Moses.
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."
This fact that the things this prophet says would come to pass was a sign to Israel that that was the prophet. Any other person who does not have this manifestation would be an impostor. This scripture was not the gold standard of knowing whether someone was a false prophet generally, but an indication to Israel in the context of what God was saying to them. We know this because as we investigate the life of the prophet Samuel, we notice an important incident. Samuel practically missed it when he went to Jesse's house to anoint the next king of Israel. He said that David's eldest brother was the one God anointed. He did not just just suggest this but actually used the word, "surely…"
"And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD's anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." - 1 Sam. 16:6-7.
That did not make him, Samuel, a false prophet. This scripture further demonstrates to us that the Deuteronomy 18:20-22, condition was not the permanent gold standard of who is a real or false prophet. What this does is help us recognize that even true prophets can give false prophetic utterances. This is why we are admonished to judge prophetic utterances.
2) Neither does the fulfillment of a prophetic utterance, necessarily make someone a true prophet. Many people especially Christians have been deceived, and in some cases, scammed because they encountered someone who seemingly told them accurate things concerning their lives. God literally warned Israel about this.
"If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee" - Deut. 13:1-5.
Can you remember the girl that Paul and Silas met who had a spirit of divination?
"And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers" - Acts 16:16-19.
What she said about them was right but the spirit behind it was wrong. This is why the accuracy of a prophetic utterance is not the main stay of judging whether an individual is a real or false prophet as well. There are many more keys regarding the authentication of a prophetic utterance. That is not the scope of this article but I must let you know that one of the major keys, is if the utterance lines up or agrees with the written word of God as found in the Bible. No dream, vision or prophecy is as authentic as the Bible. The written words of God are regarded as a more sure word of prophecy than any dream, vision of revelation.
"For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." - 2 Pet. 1:16-20. Apostle Peter, indicated in the above verses that the objective, (written) Word of God, that we have, is more authentic than the vision he, along with James and John, saw on the Mount of Transfiguration. Remember that that glorious event was marked by Jesus being seen in the company of Moses and Elijah and even the Father-God clearly speaking to everyone in an audible voice. We must never value any prophetic utterance above the objective written word of God, irrespective of the person used to utter the prophecy.
"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints" - 1 Cor. 14:29-33.
"Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil" - 1 Thess. 5:19-22.
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" - 1 Jn. 4:1-4.
Beloved, we are to judge every prophetic utterance, yes, we are to try every spirit. The sad truth is that we generally don't, sometimes because of our laziness and sometimes because we try not to be offensive. Another reason is that we are afraid to be criticized especially if the bearer is a well-respected man of God.
We can indeed share the truth with one another in love so God would be honoured and His name praised. Our growth as believers is hindered, when we do not speak the truth to one another.
"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" - Eph. 4:15.
We can judge prophetic utterances and should do so consistently. However, judging who is a real or false prophet is a different story. God is the one who calls people as prophets and they should be honored as such. This call is also clearly not in any way dependent on their ministry experience or character, as we see with the call of Samuel and Jeremiah. Samuel was a toddler when God's word came to him, while Jeremiah was told by God that he was already anointed as a prophet before he was formed in his mother's womb.
"And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli… That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle." - 1 Sam. 3:1, 4-11.
"Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations" - Jer. 1:4-5.
As can be seen in the above scriptures, God did not call these prophets because of their good character or experience in the ministry. God's sovereignty alone dictated their call. This is another reason why we must judge prophet utterances. The bearers are not epitomes of ultimate godliness. They are human and can be wrong. You cannot take their words (hook, line and sinker) because their human frailty means that those words are not guaranteed to be true even though they are called by God.
The accuracy of their words can hinge on their relationship with God. However, you and I, are not really privy, to their personal connection with God. Hence, we must judge their utterances to ensure that they are in line with the written word of God. These words must also bear witness with your spirit. Do not accept a prophetic word if it does not bear witness with your spirit.
We must remember that prophetic utterances are usually conditional. Hence, their fulfillment can depend on whether the conditions are fulfilled or not. The great prophet Isaiah told Hezekiah, the king, that he was not going to survive his illness. He emphatically told him that he was going to die. He gave this word as being from the Lord and left. Hezekiah, the king, immediately turned to God and after a time of prayer, the same God spoke with the prophet while he was still in the king's court though he had left the king. The Lord told him to tell Hezekiah that he had added fifteen (15) years to his life. Beloved, you are the first prophet of your own life and based on your personal relationship with God prophetic utterances given to you, by someone else, can be reversed. God told John to write to the seven churches in Asia. Many were told what would happen if they did not repent. This meant that those things would not happen if they repented.
The early church was very careful about the idea of calling someone a false prophet. This is why I believe that there is no scripture where a Christian was directly called a false prophet in the New Testament. Once, people are born again, I stay away from labeling them as false prophets, because of the admonition that God alone, knows those who are His.
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." - 2 Tim. 2:19-20ff.
While I cannot judge a man's calling, I can and will judge his actions or utterances. I can also judge the spirit involved because I have been given the parameters to do so in the Bible. Make no mistake about it, there are false prophets in these New Testament times, but they are not Christians. Christians can and many of them do prophesy falsely. I know many of them, who can easily fall into this category, but I do not know any Christian false prophets.
Apostle Peter, actually paralleled the false prophets that were among the Jewish people to False teachers among Christians.
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction". - 2 Pet. 2:1.
Hence, our real problem in the body of Christ, are actually those false teachers who peddle heresies. Once, we can get consistent accurate teaching to flow in the body, we will eliminate all the false prophetic utterances and false "prophets".
God alone calls and anoints people as prophets and though He often tells us about false prophets, He did not give us clear parameters to determine who they are in the New Testament setting of the Church. All He did was to give us criteria for judging prophetic utterances. It was easier for Old Testament Israel because the false prophets were basically heathens.
In the New Testament Church, where we are all supposedly born again, no clear parameters are given to determine a false prophet. The parameters are clearly given to judge false prophesies. We should therefore focus on judging the prophesies and not necessarily the prophets. God is the only one who holds the primary responsibility to judge His servants.
"Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand." - Rom. 14:4.
This does not stop us from judging prophetic utterances. Another key parameter for doing this is to identify the primary focus of those utterances. Hence, we must beware, when the focus of prophetic words are on men and not on Jesus Christ (God). The principal ministry of the Holy Spirit is to exalt Jesus Christ (God) not man.
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." - Jn. 16:13-14.
Hence, our antenna needs to be sensitive to the essence of the prophetic utterance in relation to the ultimate purpose of God and not just what we want to hear or gain from it. Too many of us are excited about prophetic utterance, when they tell us that we are going to succeed and hardly receive them when they speak to us about repentance. The authenticity of a prophetic utterance is not based on how good they make us feel but how much they line up with the written word of God and other parameters which are specified in the Bible.
We must also be mindful that the role of the New Testament prophet is generally different from that of the Old testament prophet. Firstly, Old Testament Israel, functioned under a Theocracy. It was a nation that was covenanted to God. The Church, in this New Testament era is very different; we function in many multi-religious or even atheistic countries. Hence, the primary mandate of the New Testament prophet is not to the nations but to the church.
"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?" - 1 Cor. 12:28-29.
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" - Eph. 4:11-14.
I did not say that the New Testament prophet cannot address or speak to issues that affect nations. All I am saying is that it is not the primary role of the New Testament prophet. The New Testament prophet addressing issues affecting nations, is always generally in relation to the church. When New Testament prophets focus their attention primarily on addressing issues that affect the church, they are stepping out of their remit and this often causes errors. This is why most of the prophets or so called, prophets, who start every year prophesying about what will happen in every nation are usually wrong. Their prophesies often bring ridicule to the church because of the level of inaccuracies associated with them. We need to stay away from such practices.
However, I want us to realize that men or women of God only know in part. They are not always right. Many of us do sin and fall, because of our human frailty. Remember, that it's only the righteous that can fall.
"For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief." - Prov. 24:16.
"Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me." - Mic. 7:7-8.
Yes, only the righteous can fall. This is because the wicked is already down and cannot be deemed to even fall. This means that ALL prophets (apart from Jesus Christ) being human, and part of the righteousness company can and have fallen at one time or the other. They have been wrong at least once. We must, therefore, always judge prophetic utterances.
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." - 2 Cor. 4:7.
The treasure is heavenly and glorious, but the vessel is earthen. The "earthiness" of the vessels lends it to corruption. We must, therefore, judge every prophetic utterance that comes out of any and every mouth and lips of clay. May God continue to help us to discern wisely and bring Him honour.
Having said all that, we must acknowledge that barring any impending court proceedings, the American electorate have finished speaking via the ballot boxes. Our own job now is to pray.
With elections, there are always winners and losers; however, going forward after the elections, there is only one group of people; Americans, who form a significant subset of that larger group - Human beings.
May life be better for all races and classes of people. We also pray that America's global influences will be positive for the advancement of humanity on this planet. Let the healing begin in Jesus name.
Jesus Christ is still THE Lord, not Donald Trump and the Republicans and not Joe Biden and the Democrats. I am therefore not worried for the CHURCH because it is Jesus Christ (not man) that is building the Church.
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." - Matt. 16:18-19.
Beloved, I urge you not to be afraid; yes, fear not, because our future as the church is very bright and not bleak at all.
We are the BODY OF CHRIST; We are the UNCONQUERABLE CHURCH!!!