Ephesians 4:11-12 (KJV)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
What is the function of the prophet in the church today? The Prophet edifies the church but in what way does this office bring edification to the body of Christ? Many prophets that are in the church believe that the people need to be given easy messages of hope and blessing, and that their “mail” should be read. In the past, I believed this as well and to certain degrees I still believe it. Although, the Lord does want to bring hope and blessings to the people, the prophets of today have left out the “how” or the map on how to reach that place that “the Lord has prepared Exodus 23:20”. This has been the greatest down fall of the prophet in the church today.
The prophet points out the path of progress that the apostle has laid down. If the prophet fails to bring correction to a church that is going down a wrong path, then that prophet is failing their office given by God. Sadly, this prophet, in most cases, does not even know the path that is to be taken. The way of the cross is a narrow path and few find this path, not because it is hard to find but because few ever commit to the narrow way. The broad path is easily taken, because it is the natural way.
Matthew 7:13-15 (KJV)
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
We must ask the question, why does Jesus bring up false prophets within the context of the strait gate and narrow way? In order to answer this question we need to understand what ravening wolves means.
According to the Strong’s Concordance ravening means rapacious :- extortion (extortioner i.e. exacting: rigid or severe in demands or requirements Dictionary.com), ravening. (emphasis mine)
Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
These prophets “have standards or other criteria that are difficult to meet.” When the way of the cross is not the focal point of a believer’s life, then the “broad way,” that of the flesh will attach itself to a person’s walk by means of “work.” Outwardly there is an appearance of the cross, but underneath there is always a “ravening wolf.” What this means is that although the cross may be mentioned, invariably a requirement will be place upon the people. Man will readily accept walking through “hell and high water” to accomplish something, and be quick to reject the way of the cross.
Paul in the book of Acts teaches about “grievous wolves” entering the church.
Acts 20:29 (KJV)
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
In this case grievous means weighty, i.e. (figurative) burdensome, grave. (emphasis mine)
Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
We can find this type of usage in Matthew 23:4.
Matthew 23:2-4 (KJV)
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
“As teachers of the law of Moses the scribes and Pharisees were the only religious guides whom the people had, so they were obliged to follow them as expounders of that law, but they were no means to look to them as living exemplification of that law.”
The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.
By sitting in “Moses’ seat,” the Pharisee claimed they understood and could interpret the writings of Moses. The Pharisees believed full heartily in their teachings, but through scripture we know that they were wrong. It is easy to see their errors because scripture plainly points them out, but we have difficulty when it comes to seeing our own errors when we try to understand the Word of God. We see “the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in (our) eye Matthew 7:3 (KJV).”There are many ministers that are “sitting” in “Moses’ seat” and expounding upon the bible. All those that “sit” in this seat will ultimately be passing forth law to the people, because Moses was the “lawgiver,” all those that sit in his seat will be too.
The word of faith doctrine binds a person’s mouth with fear, making the believer believe that what a person speaks affects their future. Their blessing or cursing is dependant upon what they are speaking out of their mouth. “Praise your way to victory” is something else believed within the church that is law. Victory is given by the cross of Christ, therefore praise will come forth. Praise happens not because victory is needed but because victory has been attained. Now it is easy to see how this particular belief is “backwards.” Another binding doctrine is the movement that teaches a believer’s financial prosperity abounds just as long as certain criteria’s are met i.e. giving and tithing of money. These are just a few examples of “laws“ being passed by ministers who are sitting in Moses’ seat. The “requirements” are hidden underneath sheep’s clothing. There are many more practiced within the modern Church. Outwardly these doctrines appear right because they are “wrapped” in scripture, but just as the Pharisees that sat in Moses’ seat they are erroneous in their teachings.
Now we know why Jesus loops the “false prophets” along with entering the “strait gate.” The broad path is always contrary to the narrow path. The flesh and the spirit are adversaries toward one another, “Galatians 5:17 (KJV) …Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to each other…” Being after the Spirit, the message of the cross opposes every doctrine that is after the flesh. Many prophets that do not have a proper understanding of the cross will give the people “false doctrine” and “requirements.” The proper way of progression that a believer is supposed to walk is totally within the framework of the cross, and if it does not fit within those confines then it should be considered a “broad” path.
1 Kings 18:22 (KJV)
Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
In the Old Testament, the word “false prophet” is not used even when scripture is referring to a prophet that could be considered “false.” Baal means a husband or master, and the people believed they were worshipping the true “God.” In God’s eyes, however, they were worshipping in “vain.” “Mark 7:7 (KJV) Howbeit in vain(their worship was imperfect or had a mistake i.e. something wrong with it) do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (This is the error with their worship, it contained “doctrines of men;” for example “Praise you way to victory”).” Within the modern church “Baal” worship is taking place, and the pulpit has been at the forefront. When the cross of Christ is not properly understood, then believers will not have a proper understanding of God, therefore their worship will in vain. God requires us to worship him “in spirit and in truth John 4:23 (KJV).”
There are two perspectives within scripture and they are, God’s viewpoint in relation to mankind and mankind’s view towards God. The bible gives us God’s perspective. In 1 Kings 18:22 God shows us how he perceives Elijah and the four hundred and fifty men, but both Elijah and the four hundred and fifty men believed they served the “God.” The point is that NO ONE believes that their beliefs are wrong. Baal worship is so prevalent throughout scripture that it begs the question, why? Could it be that Baal appeals to the heart of man so much so that it “feels right?”
Today it would seem that we have substituted “Baal” with “Jesus,” but in God’s eyes it is nothing more then “Baal” worship! Apostles of Baal, prophets of Baal, evangelists of Baal, pastors of Baal, and teachers of Baal, far “out-speak” the true ministers of the Lord by at least 450 to 1.
2 Corinthians 11:4 (KJV)
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus (a cross-less Christ), whom we have not preached (The cross of Christ is the only message that is to be preached), or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel (The true gospel is the cross of Christ), which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
For those that are “truth seekers,” we must search within ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith and serving the Lord. By doing this we are ensuring that we are not in Baal worship.
Ezekiel 13:3 (KJV)
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish (Stupid referring to a lack of ability) prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
These prophets were blessed with abilities and spiritual “potential,” but God refers to them as “stupid” because they trusted in their own “earthly” abilities and not HIS. To follow “their own spirit” meant that they were lead by the flesh and not by the Holy Spirit. They preached and prophesied what the people wanted to hear, and in the case of Ezekiel 13, restoration. God does want his people to prosper, but before restoration can happen people must return to the “strait and narrow path.” How many prophets and pastors stand in the church today and preach this same message of restoration?
The “foolish prophets” in Ezekiel 13 were trying to bypass the message of God and give the people their desired outcome, but an outcome of victory, prosperity, and abundant life can never happen until we walk down the correct path. “They have seen vanity and lying divination… Ezekiel 13:6 (KJV)” These prophets believed their own lies and tried to confirm these lies by saying “thus saith the Lord Ezekiel 13:7.” They delivered a message of peace and prosperity while slandering the prophets that were bringing correction to the people.
Ezekiel 13:10-11 (KJV)
10 Because, even because they have seduced (lead astray) my people (Just as the Lord refers to “my people” to those that were slaves in Egypt, here again the Lord shows us that it is HIS PEOPLE that are being seduced), saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall (a defense), and, lo, others daubed it with untempered (foolish things) morter:
11 Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.
Jesus tells us that everything that is not planted upon the right foundation when the storm comes and the wind blows will fall and be destroyed “Matthew 7:25.” In this passage Jesus refers to a city denoting a person’s salvation, sanctification, and justification. A person’s life must be founded squarely upon the cross of Christ. The cross of Christ is the ONLY FOUNDATION that will stand the test of time.
Ezekiel 13:14 (KJV)
So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed (end) in the midst (sever; to seperate) thereof: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
God held these “foolish prophets” accountable and God is going to hold accountable every minister today that continues to “seduce” the people. A minister with a good motive but does not preach the cross of Christ is just as guilty as the minister that has evil intentions. God knows the foundation of everyone. He perceives where we are standing. The problem is whether we truly know our foundation from God’s prospective? The Lord will “break down the wall” meaning that he will tear down every doctrine (i.e. the bricks that make up the wall) that is being held together by false way/s (i.e. the untempered morter). My prayer is that the Lord does this now rather than later. God can only move us from the “broad path” unto the “narrow path” when the wall has been torn down and the foundation discovered. Then “ye shall know that I am the Lord,” and the only way we can move from Baal worship to worshipping the Lord is by tearing down.
Each brick of the wall would represent a doctrine and/or belief(s) ranging from the doctrine of grace “favor”, the doctrine of sanctification, the doctrine of prosperity, the doctrine of the Lord’s blessings, etc … and it is held together by “morter.” Morter is the “way” an individual believes these doctrines come to pass or are empowered. The cross of Christ is what allows “favor,” prosperity, blessings, and everything else God has to be given unto believers. Tempered morter is the cross of Christ and it is the morter that holds everything together. It touches everything, and without it we are left with a wall that cannot stand. “Untempered morter” is a wall that has left out the cross of Christ and substituted it with “other” ways i.e. “praise your way to victory,” “speak your desired future into your life,” etc.
1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (KJV)
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
As stated in the beginning of this paper, the prophet points out the path of progress that the apostle has laid down. The foundation that the apostle Paul laid down is Jesus Christ and him crucified. “Another buildeth thereon” could give hints towards the prophetic. In Ezekiel 13 the Lord was angry with the “foolish prophet” for building a false wall on a false foundation.
Every foundation (i.e. what a person stands on) whether it be a person’s relationship with God, handing out water bottles, praying, going to church, etc.. will not stand the test. Without the proper foundation of the cross of Christ a person’s relationship with God will be blemished. Only through the sacrifice can mankind have a relationship with God, and if we try to circumvent the cross of Christ then we are as Cain.
Amos 3:7 (KJV)
Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
According to Vine’s Topical Dictionary a prophet is “one who speaks forth or openly,” “a proclaimer of a divine message.” This passage in Amos sums up the role of a prophet. The prophet is one that the Lord has revealed his secret unto. Many who stand in the office of the prophet believe that the Lord reveals secrets “plural” to them. The Lord stated plainly that there is only ONE SECRET to be revealed. Woe unto the ministers that have not humbled themselves and searched diligently for the Lord’s secret. If the secret has not been revealed by the Lord then it is easily missed. Woe unto the ministers that pervert the Lord’s word with their own spirituality. Woe unto the ministers that stand behind the pulpit and lead the people astray.