A few weeks ago, Rich Vermillion left a comment on my “Elijah List” post. His response was so filled with wisdom and insight that I felt that I needed to share it with all of you. Please read what Rich has to say about the pressure to perform, and how it affects prophecy.
Fascinating post, Kevin. I am absolutely thrilled that you came out of that mess in once piece, with your faith in Jesus intact after all the apostasy and hypocrisy that you witnessed. Oh, my! Not everyone does that, unfortunately. So I am glad you were developed in your character by these trials (Romans 5:3-5), and not destroyed thereby.
My primary reason for commenting is regard to your observations as to why these Elijah List “prophets” don’t have more discernment. Let me share a couple of thoughts that I believe answer this question:
Ephesians 3:5 ” …which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:”
2 Peter 3:2 ” …that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior… “
Revelation 18:20 “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”
The Missing Ingredient
The missing ingredient is personal holiness with these people. Thus, they have NO foundation upon which to expect the HOLY Spirit of God to provide them with true discernment. Like Eli, whose prophetic AND physical eyes had grown dim, these people (if they ever were true Christians at all, and not false brethren entirely) have lost their discernment through compromise with sin.
Again, there is always the possibility with some among that crowd that they were never born again at all, and are actually false brethren (see 2 Corinthians chapter 11 in its entirety, and Galatians 2:1-5). However, for those who were genuinely born again and perhaps true prophets, there is another common trap: The pressure to perform.
Any genuine prophet is required to be honest with their hearers in accordance with passages like Ezekiel 14:6-8, and saying something like:
“Listen, I will teach from the Word of God today some sound doctrine, because that is the ‘more sure word of prophecy’ according to 2 Peter 1:19. If I get anything from the Lord for one or more of you, or a general word for this group, etc., then I will deliver it as I receive it from the Lord. However, if I do NOT get such a word, I will NOT make one up. I am under NO pressure to perform for you, just because I am considered a prophet. Rather, I am admonished by God to ONLY give the words He provides, and NOTHING more. So I will teach God’s eternal Word to you, and if something more happens, then that is a bonus. After all, God’s written Word is always the highest priority, and people should NOT seek after prophetic words all the time.”
However, few do. Instead, they “act” prophetic, do strange things to “look” prophetic, and utter whatever pops into their heads in order to “sound” prophetic. The Bible says quite clearly what God thinks of such falsity:
Jeremiah 14:14-16 Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them—yet they keep saying, ‘There will be no sword or famine in this land’ — by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end! The people also to whom they are prophesying will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword … “
To connect with what I wrote above: We too often see “prophets” who (even if they are born again) lack personal holiness, and thus, are not discerning. They need to “perform” for the crowd, however, so they put on their “show” as if they are real men or women of God. This compounds their sin and blinds them further to the truth and spiritual things. This spiraling vortex will continue downward until they they are “drowned” in their own iniquity, and some major issue exposes them for others to see (e.g. Todd Bentley).
Another point to add is from Paul’s warning to Timothy about these last days:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
2 Timothy 4:1-4 “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
In these last days, people (including many alleged “ministers”) are motivated by their own greed and lusts. So if the alleged “prophet” happens to be similarly motivated, are they going to speak words of righteousness to their hearers? No, they cannot; and this is for two reasons:
- Their own consciences will only allow them to make a pretense of “holiness” in their messages (few are willing to be as obviously hypocritical as Jimmy Swaggart was, with his holiness teaching during the time he chased prostitutes). So they want to cover their sins by not addressing such issues publicly, and prefer teaching on “love” (perverted from the Bible, of course), “peace,” “unity,” etc., in order to turn attention AWAY from anything searching of their own character. “Let’s all just get along and stop criticizing each other,” is a famous Joel Osteen statement; but he is a heretic, and thus, quite motivated to ask people to “get along” with him instead of pointing out his heresy.
- They can’t make money or get speaking engagements if they are known for confronting sin. Note in the citation above that people in sin “will not endure sound doctrine.” Thus, they “heap up to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” Many people WANT fables. They WANT lies. They are even willing to PAY for it … and the wolves know that, and will “sell” them whatever message they want … even if it takes them the “broad way which leads to destruction” (see Matthew chapter 7). And unless a congregation has a genuine man or woman of God shepherding them, that person is not willing to bring in a bona fide prophet who is known for exposing sin. It might expose THEM … or chase out some of their biggest tithers.
Thank you again for your testimony, and blessings to you, your wife, and your family.
Always in Jesus,
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