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What is a "false prophet"?


For most believers, the term "false prophet" conjures up images of leaders of strange cults and of heretics who distort the Word of God and found religions that are contrary to the traditional faith. When studying the Bible, however, we find that the term "false prophet" has a much wider and deeper meaning. There are many false prophets within the "traditional" Christian Church, and God has declared through His prophets in Scripture that the day will come when these false prophets will be driven out of the Church and a new prophetic Church will be raised up, a Church that will transform the world. But, in order for this to happen, the Holy Spirit will raise awareness about the true meaning of the term "false prophet". This article will deal with how the Scriptures describe a "false prophet" so that we, as believers, may be able to identify them and not to be false prophets ourselves.


Index

Lord twice but not thrice

Peace twice but not thrice

A false prophet in action

A true prophet in action: Preliminary condition

A true prophet in action: Steps 1 & 2

A true prophet in action: Step 3

A true prophet in action: Step 4

A final comparison

Psalms 11




Lord twice but not thrice

In Matthew 7:15, we find the Lord warning us about "false prophets":

 

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheepís clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15)

 

Then, in verses 22 and 23, the Lord adds the following:

 

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23)

 

Linking these two passages together, we can see that verses 22 and 23 describe the "methodology" of a false prophet. Notice, first of all, how the false prophet calls the Christ "Lord" twice. Why twice? To answer this, we have to remember that our soul is comprised of three parts (we share this in somewhat greater detail in our previous article "Male and female ministries"):

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The heart: According to Ephesians 6:6, the heart is where our will resides. This is the part of the soul that makes decisions.

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The emotions: This is the most predominant part of the soul. The heart many times "hears" through the emotions to discern what the mind cannot "see". The heart and the emotions, however, are not exactly the same, contrary to popular belief.

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The mind: This is the center of our thoughts and logic. Judgments are made through the moral laws and principles that are stored in our mind.

 

The first "Lord" in Matthew 7:22 refers to their acceptance of Christ as Lord in their minds. Practically all believers accept Jesus intellectually as the "Lord of Lords and the King of Kings", but the book of James declares that

 

"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19)

 

In other words, intellectual acceptance of Jesus as Lord is good, but that is not enough.

 

The second "Lord" in Matthew 7:22 refers to the false prophetsí acceptance of Christ as Lord in their emotions. Most believers get all emotional at church during praise and worship and get all excited when talking about the things of God and when it comes time to participate in church activities. That is not necessarily bad, but many times, believers judge the depth of their relationship by their emotional response to God. However, the Lord declares the following to the prophet Ezekiel concerning His people:

 

"And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them." (Ezekiel 33:31-33)

 

The problem, however, is that, though false prophets consider God to be "Lord" in their minds and in their emotions, they donít make Him Lord of their hearts, and this is the part of the soul that the Lord is really after:

 

"And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15:22)

 

In this passage, the "burnt offerings" refer to emotional actions favorable to God, and "sacrifices" refer to mental actions favorable to Him, but "obedience" refers to a heart (i.e.- a will) that is submissive to His will and purposes. Please donít misunderstand. Manifestations of emotion towards God are not wrong in and of themselves, and mental acceptance of God is not wrong in and of itself, but they are empty if you donít give Him your will.

 

There is an old 1970s song that said,

I want you, I need you
But there ain't no way that Iím ever gonna love you
But donít be sad
ĎCause two out of three ainít bad

Unfortunately, most believers sing these words to the Lord. They are willing to give God their minds and their emotions, but they are never willing to give Him their hearts. For God, two out of three is bad.

 

Peace twice but not thrice

In the book of Jeremiah, the Word reaffirms this "Lord twice but not thrice" syndrome in false prophets:

 

"Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace." (Jeremiah 8:10-11)

 

As you can see, false prophets tend to say "peace" twice. In other words, they tend to emphasize "mental peace" and "emotional peace" with God, but not "peace of wills".

 

Many pastors in well-respected Christian congregations, acting as false prophets, tend to focus on the congregation members accepting Biblical doctrine in their minds and on them enjoying themselves during praise and worship, but are not really interested in preaching a message of yielding oneís life to Godís higher purpose, even if that means suffering and agony. When a member is in terrible financial debt, pastors get all worried and concerned, and start praying to God for supernatural financial provision, without asking God to help them discern the underlying spiritual root of the debt. The congregation member could be in debt because of irresponsible spending, because he is stealing Godís tithe, or because he is a merciless businessman who ruthlessly sues any client who owes him the least bit of money. When a congregation member gets cancer, most pastors get all concerned and pray to God for healing to be manifested, without ever asking God to help them discern the underlying spiritual root of the disease. Anything that is "inconvenient" is automatically labeled as the "devilís work", but there is a passage of Scripture that is ignored in the hearts of most pastors:

 

"As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come." (Proverbs 26:2)

 

In other words, things donít happen by chance. If a disease strikes, there is always, always, an underlying spiritual door that opened the path for that disease to appear. Disease appeared in the world as a result of sin, so all disease can eventually be traced back to sin, though not necessarily to sin of the person with the disease (please refer to the article "Can a believer be sick for the sake of others?" for a more in-depth explanation on this issue).

 

A false prophet in action

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23)

 

In this passage, the Lord delineates the steps that a false prophet follows when doing "the Lordís work":

  1. Prophesying in His name

  2. Casting out devils

  3. Doing many wonderful works

 

To illustrate how most pastors unfortunately follow these steps, we will be considering the hypothetical example of a female member of a congregation with cancer.

 

As we mentioned in a previous article, the manifestation of cancer in a body is the consequence of a spirit called the "Girgashite" spirit, and since spirits donít enter peopleís lives without a cause, the presence of "Girgashite" spirits is the result of a heart full of "earthliness", since Girgashite means "clay dwellers". As we mentioned in our previous article, the heart full of "earthliness" could be the heart of the cancer sufferer herself, or it could be the hearts of people around her, where she is acting as a redeeming influence through her disease. Letís assume in this case, however, that the "Girgashite" heart is the heart of the cancer patient herself. Most of the time (though not always), the person with cancer is the "Girgashite" person himself.

 

We then have a series of three things that led to the hypothetical womanís cancer:

A heart focused on earthliness
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The entrance of a Girgashite spirit
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Cancer in the body

 

When this hypothetical believer goes to the pastor in her congregation to ask for prayer, the pastor will generally be concerned about relieving her of her suffering. As we also explained in the aforementioned article, pastors have a terrible tendency to place a "pastoral shield" over the members of their congregations, with the intent to shield them from any suffering.

 

Without making the slightest attempt to discern the spiritual root of the disease, most pastors will proceed to "prophesy in the name of the Lord", and this prophecy consists of implicitly saying "Peace, peace" to the sick woman, telling her (without words) that God declares that her mind is at peace with Him, because she intellectually accepts Jesus as Lord, and that her emotions are at peace with God, because she loves God in her emotions. Through this declaration of "Peace, peace", the pastor is telling the sick woman that there is no reason why she must continue to be sick. I am not saying that it is always wrong to pray for a healing, but, before doing so, we must discern in the Spirit what God may be up to when He allowed the person to get sick. Is it her time to be redeemed from her disease? Many times, it will be her time, but many other times it will not be, and God wants us to discern His purposes before acting.

 

When we observe the way Jesus operated when He performed healings, we will notice that there was always a "Word process" that took place before the actual healings. Many times He would teach long sermons before performing miracles, and the intention of those teachings was to break spiritual bondages in peopleís hearts, preparing them for His healing work. These spiritual bondages were generally caused by decisions of unbelief, decisions to submit to human authority rather than to God, decisions to rely on earthly methods, etc. As Jesus transformed peopleís hearts through His teachings, He prepared them for the eventual healing. Jesus is more interested in healing your heart than in healing your body, and He will gladly heal your body when the sickness in that body has completed its purpose. For example, remember the lame man at the temple that Peter and John healed after Jesus ascended to Heaven (Acts 3). Donít you think that this lame man was already begging at the temple when Jesus was on Earth? Acts 3:10 declares that everyone at the temple was amazed at the healing because they knew that he was the lame man that begged by the gate called the "Beautiful", and Acts 4:22 declares that this man was over 40 years old when he was healed. Why didnít Jesus heal this man while He was on Earth? He passed by the temple on many occasions and even performed healings there, but He never personally healed this lame man, because Jesus knew that there was a time and a glorious purpose behind the healing of this man. Acts 4:4 declares that, as a result of this manís healing, 5,000 men converted to God in one day!!! If Jesus had healed him before the Fatherís time, this would not have happened. If Jesus had been so concerned about stopping suffering in the world, He would have preferred to heal this man, but would have stifled the Fatherís purposes. A famous passage in Romans declares the following:

 

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)

 

Pastors, donít you think that the lame man is now in Heaven receiving eternal reward for his sacrifice on Earth? Through his suffering, 5,000 spiritually lame men were healed in one day. Would you rather have stopped his suffering 3 months in advance at the price of leaving 5,000 men in their spiritual lameness? What is more important to you, pastor? Is it Godís purposes or your members not having to suffer? Havenít you preached from the pulpit that Godís will is always perfect?

 

"For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:8-11)

 

And, pastors, before you misinterpret the previous passage, remember that, 3 chapters later, the same prophet Jeremiah says the following:

 

"For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them." (Jeremiah 32:42)

 

Jeremiah suffered greatly because he prophesied destruction and devastation when the people of Israel wanted to hear a "good word". They wanted to hear of a God of "love and compassion", a protective God who would shield them from all their enemies, and Jeremiah kept speaking of a God of judgment and justice, a God who would bring the army of Babylon against Israel and make it a nation in forced exile for 70 years. But Jeremiah, being a true prophet, understood that Godís judgments are always for good, not for evil, and that this judgment was necessary to restore the people of Israel spiritually. Why canít pastors accept this? Why are they so bent on shielding Godís people from His judgments?

 

Returning to the hypothetical lady with cancer, the second step that most pastors perform, after prophesying "peace, peace", is to "cast out devils". In the case of the lady with cancer, this will consist of casting out the Girgashite spirit that has been producing the cancer in her physical body. When they start praying for the spirit of disease to leave the ladyís body, pastors are in fact commanding the Girgashite spirit to leave, and, in most cases, the Girgashite spirit will really leave, since the name of Jesus is being used, and there is power in His Name, even if it is used for things that are against His will.

 

After the spirit leaves, there is still work to be done. Despite the fact that the spirit is no longer in the womanís body, her body is still suffering the physical consequences of the spiritís "stay" inside of her. Itís like when a flood invades a house. Even after the floodwaters recede and the house is no longer filled with water, there is still work to be done. The house has to be cleaned up and the furniture has to be dried up and repaired. This is where the false prophet performs step number 3, which, according to Matthew 7:22, is to "do wonderful works". The phrase in Greek from which this phrase was translated is "dunameis epoiesamen", which comes from the words "poieo" and "dunamis". "Poieo", means, "to put into practice" or "to perform", and "dunamis" means, "power" (this is where words such as "dynamite" and "dynamic" come from). This means that a literal translation of the phrase "done wonderful works" in Matthew 7:22 would be "to put power into practice", or "to perform power". It is here where the pastor will generally lay hands on the sick woman and release Godís power into her body, removing all the cancer from her body. The healing is real and it is Godís power flowing from the pastorís hands into the womanís sick body, and she leaves the place completely healed. A miracle took place, and she goes home happy, thinking everything is "OK".

 

However, we need to revisit the chain of events that led to the womanís cancer to realize that everything is not "OK":

A heart focused on earthliness (1)
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The entrance of a Girgashite spirit (2)
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Cancer in the body (3)

 

We can see that "Mr. False prophet", i.e.- the pastor, bypassed the problem in the womanís heart in step #1. When he prophesied "peace, peace", he ignored that her heart was not at peace with God; there were issues in her heart that needed to be resolved, but he simply focused on "mental peace" and "emotional peace", not "peace of wills", that is, peace between her will (her heart) and Godís will (Godís heart). In step #2, when the pastor cast out the Girgashite spirit, he eliminated link #2 in the chain above, and, in step #3, when the pastor "performed power", he eliminated link #3, healing the woman of her cancer. We can see, therefore, that the pastor removed everything but the root of the problem, which was "a heart focused on earthliness", but he is happy and the lady is happy. He is happy that one of the members in his congregation is no longer suffering, and she is happy because her pain is now gone. But itís like cutting off the part of a weed that is above the surface, but leaving the root in the ground. This is one of the reasons why many people receive supernatural healings and then turn up with the same disease again. On other occasions, the disease might not return, but the Girgashite spirit that was cast out will eventually return, and, upon its return, it brings devastating spiritual and physical consequences that greatly surpass the original cancer:

 

"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." (Luke 11:24-26)

 

The consequences of the spirit's return are generally felt not only by the original person with the spirit, but also by everyone around that person. The spiritual future of many sons and daughters (and of entire congregations) are devastated when the spirit returns, but, by then, the pastor has long forgotten his healing, and is prophesying "peace, peace" and healing some other sick member of his congregation.

 

A true prophet in action: Preliminary condition

After seeing how a false prophet operates, letís now observe how a true prophet operates:

 

"8And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. 12And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them." (Matthew 21:8-14)

 

Notice how Jesus is called "the prophet" in verse 11, indicating that these verses speak of the operation of a "true prophet". In verses 4 and 5, the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem is associated to Zechariahís prophecy in Zechariah 9:9:

 

"All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass." (Matthew 21:4-5)

 

Even though Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on a humble animal, the people of Jerusalem recognized Him as "King". God wants you to willingly yield to His Kingship. He does not want you to follow Him because of flashy greatness that is visible to the carnal eye. He wants you to follow Him because you see His Glory with the eyes of your spirit. God can manifest His Kingship and Glory through any human being who yields to Him, but most believers seem to think He can only manifest Himself through renowned ministers who come out of seminary and have an officially recognized title of "pastor" or "reverend". If you expect Him to manifest Himself on a beautiful stallion, you will miss out on His Kingship. You must be willing to expect Him to manifest Himself through any yielded vessel. That vessel could be a renowned minister, or it could be the brother or sister who sits next to you at church. That vessel could be a stranger you met on the subway who talked to you about things you never heard before. That vessel could be your young daughter who gave you a word of advice that she was able to hear from the Lord, a word that you did not hear because of the hardness of your heart. If you are only willing to obey God when He speaks to you through "your pastor", you are useless in His kingdom, because you are denying one of the key elements of the Christian faith: the manifestation of an Almighty God through any weak vessel who is willing to believe. God is willing to manifest Himself through you. You donít have to be a world-renowned evangelist for Him to manifest His Glory through you. All you have to do is to believe and to yield to His will. The Christian Church is trapped in a "cult of personality" that God abhors. He hates it when you worship full-time ministers because, when you do so, you are breaking the two most important commandments:

 

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)

 

You are breaking the first commandment because the one you are called to love with all of your heart is God, not the pastor of your congregation, and you are breaking the second commandment because you are to see all human beings as equals. When the Lord says that we are to love our neighbor "as we do ourselves", He is declaring the equality of all men. If you see your pastor as superior to the other members of your congregation, you are denying this equality, and you are then insulting God:

 

"He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor." (Proverbs 14:31)

 

In Scripture, the "poor" not only refers to people with "no money". In essence, it represents anyone who does not have an importance or value that is visible to the external eye. A rich man is easily respected by society because society can see his expensive attire and jewelry, his brand-new car, and his well-publicized title as "CEO" of a major company. A poor man is generally reproached by society, because he does not have any external sign of being valuable or important. When you declare that such a man is worthless and irrelevant in comparison to "the pastor", you are "oppressing" him, which means, you are demeaning him to a value lower than the value God sees in him. God sees His own image and likeness in man, but He sees it because He sees man with the eyes of His Spirit. It is an image and likeness that is wrapped in human weakness, so it can never be seen with the natural eye. When you demean a fellow human being (i.e.- your neighbor), you are demeaning the image and likeness of God:

 

"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10)

 

"But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors." (James 2:6-9)

 

Many believers, especially full-time pastors, treat "little" believers with a "pseudo-kindness" that is in reality wrapped in a patronizing spirit. They generally see their fellow believers merely as "weak and sickly souls" desperately in need of pastoral love and caresses, but they never see them as spirits, as sons and daughters of God with the potential to manifest His power and Glory on Earth. God has prophesied in Scripture that He will break this patronizing spirit in the Church:

 

"In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people; and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes." (Ezekiel 45:8)

 

"And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31:34)

 

In conclusion, we can say that the manifestation of a "true" prophetic spirit in our lives requires this initial pre-condition:

The willingness of believers to yield to Godís Kingship, and their willingness to see His Glory manifested through any yielded vessel.

False prophets, as defined by Matthew 7:22-23, abound in the Church because most believers are not willing to complete yield to Godís will and because of the cult of personality that has entered into the Church, where many believers are convinced that God can manifest Himself only through those with visible authority.

 

Through the manifestation of pseudo-love that patronizes believers, most pastors are misinterpreting Godís love. To quote an old Bon Jovi song from the 1980s:

"You are to blame. You give love a bad name"

 

A true prophet in action: Steps 1 & 2

Steps 1 & 2 of a true prophet in action appear in verse 12 of Matthew 21:

 

"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves" (Matthew 21:12)

 

According to the following passages, the temple in Matthew 21 represents a believerís heart:

 

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16)

 

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith Ö" (Ephesians 3:17)

 

Therefore, the casting out of the temple merchants represents the casting out of demons dwelling inside the believerís heart. This is step number 1. Then, the Lord proceeds to do something rather interesting: He overthrows the merchantsí tables and seats. This means that the true prophet not only worries about casting out the troublesome demons but also proceeds to overthrow the "shop" these demons have set up in the believerís heart. The act of sitting down in Scripture is related many times to the act of "judging" and to the act of "ruling", as when a king sits on a throne to rule over a people. When a person visits a friendís house, he is likely to sit down only if he plans to stay for a while. If itís a quick visit to pick up or deliver something, the friend will very likely not sit down, so the act of sitting down can also be seen as the ability to visit a place and stay. When a person receives an unpleasant visitor, he will very likely make an effort to prevent that visitor from sitting down because, once he sits down, it becomes very difficult to get him out of the house.

 

In Matthew 21:12, it says that Jesus overthrew the seats of the "dove sellers". In Matthew 3:16, the dove is related to the Holy Spirit, so "dove sellers" represent those who sell the power of the Holy Spirit to purchase the soulish acceptance and/or admiration of others, using that power to promote their own carnal interests and/or the carnal interests of the believer rather than the kingdom and justice of God.

 

The overthrowing of the tables and seats, therefore, means that the true prophet will pluck out the root in the believerís heart that allowed the demon to take residence in the first place. This, therefore, is step number 2 in the operation of a true prophet. When this step is skipped, the Lord warns of the following:

 

"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." (Luke 11:24-26)

 

Notice how the unclean spirit says, "I will return unto my house". This is a claim of ownership, which implies that there is something inside the house which gives it "title rights". Anyone who has kicked an unpleasant guest out of his house knows the importance of making sure that the unpleasant guest goes with all of his possessions. Otherwise, one risks the possibility of him coming back for his "stuff". When the unclean spirit is cast out, the true prophet is sure to overthrow its throne in the believerís heart. If the throne is not toppled, the unclean spirit will undoubtedly return.

 

What does the "sweeping" and "garnishing" in Luke 11:25 represent? To answer this, we must see other passages in Scripture where the original Greek words ("saroo" and "kosmeo") appear:

 

"Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?" (Luke 15:8)

 

"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array" (1 Timothy 2:9)

[The word translated as "adorn" in this passage comes from the Greek word "kosmeo", which is translated as "garnishing" in Luke 11:25]

 

"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." (Revelation 21:2)

[The word translated as "adorned" in this passage comes from the Greek word "kosmeo", which is translated as "garnishing" in Luke 11:25]

 

Notice how Scripture relates the words "garnishing" and "sweeping" to women. This means that the spiritual sweeping and garnishing of a believerís heart is performed by the spiritually "female" ministries, i.e.- pastors and teachers (please refer to our previous article "Male and female ministries" for more details on this). Therefore, we can conclude that the pastoral and the teaching anointing is not designed by God to topple the demonsí thrones in the believersí hearts. The male ministry anointings (i.e.- the apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic anointings) are the ones designed by God to topple these thrones in order to establish the Throne of God in believersí hearts. Most pastors, due to their soulish compassion, are very prone to kick the true apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic anointing out of the congregations they oversee, because these anointings are, in a spiritual sense, "too violent" for them. They want calm and sedated believers who "love" each other, who smile all the time, and who are free from all worries and suffering. Pastors avoid any Word of confrontation in the congregation, for fear it will scare members away. They prefer to adapt their messages to the concupiscence of the membersí hearts, preaching "tougher messages" only when they teach unconditional submission to the pastor. Anyone who says anything contrary to their teachings is automatically labeled as a "Jezebel" and is figuratively stoned, thereby denying the manifestation of the true prophetic spirit, which in Scripture always appears as defiant of earthly authority that opposes Godís purposes (Acts 4:19,23-31, 2 Kings 1:1-18, 1 Kings 13:1-7, 2 Kings 9:1-35, Jeremiah 20:1-6, Amos 7:10-17 just to mention a few examples). Prophets constantly defied kings and priests when their authority defied Godís purposes, but they were never "rebels without a cause", because their lives showed a constant submission to the will of God, and they were willing to pay the price that was necessary to stay in that submission.

 

A pastor who really and truly believes in the Spirit should be willing to allow each member of the congregation to hear from the Spirit so that the resulting unity is produced by Oneness in the Spirit and not through an artificial oneness brought on by humanly imposed submission to a human leaderís word. Most pastors are afraid to let the Spirit rule because they argue that chaos would ensue if everyone believed they could hear from the Spirit on their own. But then, we are faced with the following question: Is the Body of Christ a human organization, or is it a spiritual entity? If itís a human organization, we must impose oneness through artificial submission to the leader. If it really is a spiritual entity, as most of us claim to believe, we must let the Spirit rule, and let the chips fall where they may. If the believers in a congregation are so carnal that the only unity must be imposed through natural means, it is a congregation whose existence is not worth preserving, as this passage reveals:

 

"He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." (Luke 11:23)

 

It is useless to preserve a congregation that cannot be held together in the Spirit. When pastors deny the membersí prophetic spirit (Revelation 19:10), i.e.- their ability to hear from the Spirit on their own, they are stifling the membersí spiritual growth.

 

When pastors kick out the true apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic anointings, they reduce the congregationís ministry to a "sweeping and garnishing" ministry, but the demonsí thrones are not overthrown in the believersí hearts, opening the way for these spirits to return and to produce more dire spiritual and material consequences than the ones they caused at the beginning.

 

A true prophet in action: Step 3

Step 3 of a true prophet in action appears in verse 13 of Matthew 21:

 

"And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." (Matthew 21:13)

 

The word translated "said" in this passage comes from the Greek verb "lego", which is the verb form of the Greek noun "logos", meaning, "word". This word "logos" is the one that appears in the well-known passage of Hebrews 4:12:

 

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

 

Here the logos of God is compared to a "sword" that cuts and is a "discerner" of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The word "discerner" here comes from the Greek word "kritikos", which literally means "judger". The logos of God, therefore, is not portrayed as a "make-you-feel-good" type of word but rather as a word that executes judgment, a word that pierces through external layers and gets to the root of the problem, exposing the spiritual roots of iniquity in a personís heart. When Jesus "lego-ed" the "harsh" words of Matthew 21:13, He was exposing the iniquity of the people of Jerusalem, an iniquity that was wrapped in spiritual religiosity. He did not pronounce words of "love" and "mercy". He pronounced words of judgment, quoting the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah in the process (Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11). He called the Church a "den of thieves". In other words, He is calling the Church a refuge where people who commit spiritual crimes hide out from justice, where people gather to calm their religious conscience and pretend like everything is OK between God and them, because, after all, they are "church-going folk".

 

Matthew 21:13, therefore, shows step number 3 of a true prophet in action: the pronouncing of judgment logos that exposes the lack of peace between the heart of man and the heart of God. Notice how this contrasts with the false prophets of Jeremiah 8:11 that say "peace, peace" when there is no true peace between God and the believer in question.

 

A true prophet in action: Step 4

The final step of a true prophet in action appears in verse 14 of Matthew 21:

 

"And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them." (Matthew 21:14)

 

Here, in step 4, is where the true prophet releases Godís power to restore the physical consequences left behind after the demonsí previous presence, but this is done only after the plucking away of the spiritual root that led to the demonsí presence in the first place. If the people at the temple would have chosen to feel offended by Jesusí words in verse 13, where He said that they, the people of Israel, had turned the temple into a "den of thieves", they would have never approached Jesus for healing. Notice how verse 14 emphasizes that the blind and the lame came to Him. In other words, it was up to them to either ...

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... feel "insulted" by Jesusí violent actions and words in verses 12 and 13

Or

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... accept accept the judgments of God, recognize their iniquity before God, and ask God to restore them spiritually first and physically last.

 

Contrary to popular evangelical belief, the Lord Jesus was not the sweet, flower-carrying, peace-and-love preacher that the world makes Him out to be:

 

"43Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. 44Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them. 45Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. 46And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers." (Luke 11:43-46)

 

Notice how, in verse 45, the scribes (or "lawyers", as the King James version translates it) said to Jesus that they felt "insulted" or "reproached" by Jesusí words in verses 43 and 44; the Greek verb translated "reproached" here is hubrizo, which literally means "to behave insolently, to treat shamefully, to injure another by speaking evil of him". Notice that Jesus offers no apology in verse 46, but continues to "insult" them, and notice what He says in the following verses:

 

"47Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. 49Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: 50That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. 52Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered" (Luke 11:47-52)

 

Jesus begins to condemn them, saying that, on the surface, they appear to be "prophet-lovers" by building sepulchers "honoring" the prophets killed by their ancestors, but who on the inside are prophet-killers and apostle-stoners themselves. To believers trapped in religiosity, the only good prophet is a dead prophet. Their faces are filled with awe and admiration when they speak of the great prophets of the past such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, but when modern-day Isaiahs and Jeremiahs show up, they prefer to kill them rather than accept Godís judgments over their iniquity. In Matthew 23, the Lord declared the following:

 

"29Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matthew 23:29-33)

 

The word translated "garnish" in verse 29 comes from the same Greek word "kosmeo" that appears in the passage of Luke 11:25 discussed above. Again, we see Jesus condemning a Church that has kicked out the spiritually male ministries and left the spiritually female ministries only, establishing the pastoral matriarchy the Church has been under until today (for more details on the "pastoral matriarchy", please refer to the article "Can a believer be sick for the sake of others?").

 

Notice how Jesus never backed down from declaring harsh words of judgment when it was necessary. Some might say that He only used such words with the Pharisees and Sadducees, but the Bible obviously contradicts this. In Matthew 15:26, He calls a Canaanite woman a "dog", and, at the time of this "insult", the woman was pleading for Jesus to heal her little daughter! In Luke 9, Jesus says:

 

"And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you?" (Luke 9:41)

 

He said this after the disciples were not able to cast out a demon from a faithless fatherís son. Paraphrased in modern-day English, Luke 9:41 could be quoted as, "You wicked people, how long will I have to put up with you?" Does this sound like the answer of a sweet, flower-carrying Jesus who flashed the peace-and-love sign with His fingers everywhere He went? If the father of the possessed child would have felt "insulted" by Jesusí comments, he would have simply taken his son and walked away, complaining angrily at how Jesus had so harshly offended him. But, instead, he chose to accept the truth. He discerned that Jesusí words were from God, accepted the judgment of God over his life, and asked Jesus to help him change, as the parallel passage in Mark shows (Mark 9:24).

 

All believers have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, so we all have the capability to discern whether it is God or man speaking to us:

 

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27)

 

When words of judgment are sent our way, we can discern whether or not that judgment is proceeding from God or from man. The truth of the judgment is not determined by the religious title of the person saying it. Many people did not believe Jesus because He did not have the official backing of the religious leadership of His day (John 7:24-29), and many Christians today do not believe Jesus when He speaks through people who are not officially recognized by the congregation as "spiritual leaders". You must discern every word that comes to you, regardless of who says them to you. However, if you do discern that God is speaking to you, you must be willing to submit to that word, even if the word may seem harsh to your soul. Godís purpose for executing judgments on us is to heal us and to restore us spiritually. He is not a legalistic god simply bent on destroying and demeaning people. He is a God who kills in order to resurrect us to a new nature. No man can be resurrected without dying first. If you donít allow Godís logos sword to cut through you, if you have an inherent repudiation for the correction of God, you are useless in His kingdom, because you cannot spread to others a kingdom that you are not willing to accept yourself.

 

A final comparison

Letís summarize and compare the steps taken by a false prophet versus those taken by a true prophet.

 

False prophet steps:

  1. Prophesying peace twice but not thrice

  2. Casting out devils

  3. Putting power to work

 

True prophet steps:

(Preliminary condition: Willingness of believers to yield to Godís Kingship and to accept Godís manifestation through any yielded vessel)

  1. Casting out devils

  2. Overthrowing the demonsí throne

  3. The pronouncing of judgment logos declaring that there is no peace

  4. Putting power to work

 

Notice how both the true prophet and the false prophet cast out devils and put power to work. The false prophet, however, decides to ignore the spiritual root of iniquity in the believerís heart and focuses solely on symptom-removal. The true prophet, however, discerns first if the people are interested in Godís kingship. If so, he not only casts out the devils but also removes the spiritual root through declaration of judgment. If the judgment is accepted, then Godís power is put to work to remove symptoms, if that is in accordance with Godís will.

 

After reading the previous "if", some might argue that it is always Godís will to remove symptoms, but 2 Corinthians denies this:

 

"7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christís sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

 

Once, I was listening to a preacher (whom I personally appreciate a great deal), and he argued that verse 9 means that God was telling Paul to heal himself using the "loaded gun" of grace that he had already been given, but that interpretation goes against the spirit of the passage, especially when we read verse 10, where Paul says that he would take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, and in persecutions, for the sake of the Anointed One. This obviously means that it was not Godís will to remove Paulís symptoms. Since Paul was reproached and persecuted until the day he died, it makes no sense to assume that verse 10 refers to a list of things that God took away from Paulís life, implying, therefore, that God did refuse to take away the "infirmity" he refers to in verse 7. Notice how Paul asked God three times for healing. The number "three" here refers again to Paulís fervent desire to be in "peace thrice". The first time, he asked for removal of the symptom based on his "mental peace" with God. When he received no answer, he asked for removal based on his "emotional peace" with God. When he received no answer, he asked God if "peace of the hearts" between him and God would be lost if the "thorn" was removed. When God said "yes", he decided to stick with the thorn rather than risk losing his peace with Godís heart.

 

In 1 Corinthians, when speaking about the believer who was sleeping with his fatherís wife, Paul said:

 

"In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (1 Corinthians 5:4-5)

 

Again, we see Paulís focus, not on the removal of physical suffering, but rather on the preserving of Godís prophetic purpose in the life of that believer. He delivered that believer to satan for the destruction of the flesh so that his spirit may be saved.

 

Psalms 11

To end, we make a brief reference to Psalms 11. Near the beginning of the article, we mentioned Proverbs 26:2:

 

"As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come." (Proverbs 26:2)

 

The Hebrew word translated "wandering" here is nuwd, and the Hebrew word translated "bird" is tsippowr. The only other verse in Scripture that contains both of these Hebrew words at the same time is verse 2 of Psalms 11. When reading through this psalm, it is very curious to note how it refers to many of the things discussed in this article. We will list each of the seven verses in this psalm and give its interpretation in the light of what we have said about false prophets:

 

1In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?

[False prophet, how can you tell me to flee like a bird from Godís judgment and pretend like I can live in mental and emotional peace with God without being at peace with Godís heart?]

 

2For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.

[Pastors who act as false prophets prefer to kill true prophets and apostles who speak words of judgment and justice. Pastors do this to prevent members of the congregation from "suffering" when confronted with the truth]

 

3If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

[A true prophet is concerned about the believer being on a foundation of truth rather than on avoiding suffering and simply pretending that everything is OK between God and the believer (this is why the Lord Jesus starts speaking of foundations in Matthew 7:24-27 right after speaking of how false prophets operate)]

 

4The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORDíS throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.

[A true prophet is concerned about the establishing of Godís throne and the cleansing of His temple in the hearts of believers, overthrowing any contending throne of the enemy if necessary]

 

5The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

[A true prophet understands that God is a God of "trying", i.e.- a God of judgment who loves those who seek to live in His justice and judgments but hates those who prefer a "God" of blessings and tranquility who does not demand righteousness. He also hates those who commit violence against those who speak a word of justice and judgment, silencing them to prevent any unnecessary "agitations"]

 

6Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

[God will send tempests to test the houses built on a spirit of false prophecy to manifest their bad foundation, to make evident that they were built on a foundation that left roots of iniquity in place. He will "ensnare" those who love Godís "blessings" more than His justice by making them drunk on righteousness-deprived grace before destroying them (Isaiah 8:14-15, Jeremiah 51:57, Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 50:24)]

 

7For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

[God loves those who seek His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:10, 6:33), i.e.- those who seek to do the will of the King and who allow God to mold righteousness in them through His constant judgments (Psalms 19:7-14). Those who are willing to abide in the fire of judgments will be able to abide in God, who is "consuming fire", and behold His Face for eternity (Isaiah 33:14-17, Isaiah 9:7, Hebrews 12:25-29)]

 

The Holy Spirit is giving this exhortation to the Church:

 

"5They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. 6Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. 7For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right. 8Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time. 9Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. 10Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph." (Amos 5:10-15)