Last week, I alluded to the fact that the soft core false prophets misrepresent the character of Yahweh and twist His words, but I didn’t provide any proof. In this post, I am going to do so. If you haven’t read the prior post (part 1), I highly recommended that you read that first, otherwise you won’t have the full picture.
To recap a little, some of the more distinguished false prophets are not so obvious in their workings of deception. Their smooth words and calm demeanors make them appear more trustworthy and deserving of respect than the usual voices and, oftentimes, they are considered “prophetic fathers,” among their adherents.
This perceived credibility makes their deception even more devious than that of their crazy counterparts because it is hidden under layers of self-deception, partial truth and experience-driven doctrine.
This may (or may not) be intentional, but it really doesn’t matter. Yeshua clearly stated that a false prophet’s intent is irrelevant. But because they claim “We see,” they and their followers will suffer the same judgment as those who willingly reject Him. (Matthew 7:22-23, John 9:39-41)
They will suffer this judgment because they twisted His words and misrepresented His character.
The Enemy has always wanted you to question God’s Word.
Maligning the Word and character of God has always been the goal of the serpent, and his strategy hasn’t changed.
Mimicking his encounter with Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan causes the weak to question the commandment of God (Genesis 3:1) and then uses that “foot in the door” to introduce a greater misconception about His character and intent.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Not much has changed in 6,000+ years, only now we have generations of scriptural error to correct, cultural differences to consider and translation issues to account for. So the enemy has had little trouble promoting a distorted image of Yahweh and most of his deception is kept well-concealed.
I’m going to show just one of these errors, but there are many, many more promoted by these false prophets. It’s a pretty deep rabbit hole (remember, the best deception is not obvious), so I ask that you would please bear with me. It will take a little digging to peel back the layers and get to the crusty corrupted center.
How does Graham Cooke distort the Word of God?
Recently, I looked at Graham Cooke’s Facebook page and saw the following meme:
On the surface, this may sound harmless and encouraging enough, but it is actually a classic combination of clever marketing and (perhaps unintentional) deception.
An Aside – “Getting more bang for your buck”
First, modern day false prophets with high-traffic websites quickly learn how their viewers navigate through their sites. Through much study, trial and error, product ads are strategically placed to get you to buy.
Trust me on this. I was up to my eyeballs in marketing strategy when I worked for the Elijah List and was told to spend many hours studying the behavior of those who visited the site so that we could structure things to “get more bang for our buck.”
False prophets also know that people have short attention spans, so they take advantage of the Facebook meme by condensing a distorted doctrine and putting it on an attractive graphic (or in Graham’s case, a green block). They then use these “tasty morsels” to help guide unsuspecting people toward their products in the hopes that they might fork over their hard earned money.
But that’s just good marketing; I won’t fault Graham for that… heck, the guy’s gotta make a living.
Here’s where the real deception lies…
It starts with establishing false authority.
In this meme, Graham is taking a reference to “the comforter” in John 14 and wrapping it up in a quote extracted out of “a letter from God,” which you can conveniently read in all its glory when you purchase the book from his website.
Graham’s claim that this message is “from God” is the same as saying “I see” or “I speak for God,” much like the Pharisees did when the Messiah walked the earth. Unless you specifically state that your writing is a work of fiction, any claim that a message is “from God” must be taken at face value.
This “thus saith the Lord” message is sure to enhance Graham’s prophetic prowess and bolster product sales, but the enemy also uses it as the foundation to get people to trust in a false portrayal of God’s character.
The misuse of the word “comforter” will reinforce the trendy yet incorrect idea that the Holy Spirit is an entity that we all have within us, whose main purpose is to give us a great big, squishy hug when we feel low.
Readers of this meme – likely already part of the prophetic movement – will have their emotions stroked and their “Jesus-is-my-buddy” ethos strengthened. The error will bode well with their impression that the Son of God went around hugging people all day and left us to send the Holy Spirit, who wants to make you spiritually drunk and cause you to roll around on the floor.
Or maybe, if you’re not one who is given over to prophetic tomfoolery, it will at least strengthen the emotionalism behind the idea of having God’s Holy Spirit for a source of “comfort.”
A Study of “the Comforter” – Paracletos
photo by Pexels
Prophetic error aside, I can see how easily this mistake can be made. After all, the Greek word “paracletos” [G3875] is translated into our English word “comforter,” so the association is there if one does not dig deeper… but is it a true translation?
No, it’s not.
Strong’s says that the definition of “paracletos” is “an intercessor, consoler: – advocate, comforter.”
From reading the Strong’s definition above, we can go two different ways with this:
- either the “consoler/comforter” route ~ or ~
- the “intercessor/advocate” route.
One way will lead you down the path of momma’s hugs and kisses for your boo-boos and the other will lead you down a “legal” path where there are rules, and a price for disobedience and judgment.
And, no you can’t have it both ways, as you’ll soon see. Let’s study a little deeper.
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon’s entry has this to say about the word “parakletos”:
As you can see from Thayer’s Lexicon, the definition leans more toward the intercessor/advocate angle instead of the consoler/comforter angle, and rightfully so. But, in all of of this analysis, we’re leaving out the strongest witness of all… the Scriptures.
So, let’s read our key passage in John 14 with the following question on our minds:
In what way is the Holy Spirit supposed to aid/advocate for/comfort us?
In order to find out the answer to this question, we need to take each use of the word “paracletos” and study it in its Scriptural context.
Let’s start with the well-known, yet much misunderstood Scripture in the gospel of John (the Scripture Graham Cooke is more than likely alluding to):
If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
You should be able to see that, contextually, the word “Comforter” is a very bad translation of the Greek word “paracletos,” in these verses. John 14:15-26 stresses obedience to the Father’s commands throughout the entire passage, and the “paracletos'” role to teach us and remind us of the Savior’s word. But, because we have only been taught about the consoler/comforter angle, our Western eyes are drawn to the word “Comforter,” and we automatically think of our mommas giving us a great big hug when we’ve scraped our knees on the driveway pavement.
But this is NOT what “paracletos” is supposed to mean here. Let’s look at another usage of the same word (“paracletos”) by the same author (John).
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Again, we see the use of the word “paracletos” in 1 John to signify the role of the Messiah, standing and interceding on our behalf before the Father when we disobey His Words (1 John 3:4 – sin).
So, it is a “comforting” thought to know that we have Yeshua, our Messiah, standing before the Father as our “advocate” (“paracletos”) and the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) here on earth as Yahweh’s representative (“paracletos”), reminding us of and comforting us with His Words. But this isn’t the emotional, poetic, come-rest-your-head-on-fluffy-pillows “comfort” that Graham is trying to push on his followers.
Why is this a big deal?
Aren’t you grasping at straws, Kevin? You, yourself said that it’s “comforting” that we have an advocate before the Father. Couldn’t you be in error on this one? Maybe you should give Graham Cooke and the rest of the “prophetic fathers” a break.
Stay tuned for the next post. In it, I will discuss why seemingly “small errors” ARE such a big deal in the eyes of the Father.