You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
God never promised believers a physical ‘home’ in a church or anywhere else here on earth. He said He, (Jesus) is the Word of God and the Only Way, Light, Life, Peace, Salvation, Comfort, Deliverance, Blessing, and Healing, and we will endure hardship and much affliction in this broken world, (Jn. 14:6; 2 Tim. 3:12.) We are “pilgrims” while living here on earth, who must focus on heaven; our eternal “homeland, heavenly country, and city,” (Heb. 11;12-16.) Misplaced loyalties lead believers to a dreadfully dangerous position, where they put their trust in false pastors and prophets, and become in danger of losing their eternal lives in heaven. Although these people are “sincerely deceived,” they will not have an excuse when “we all must give an account before the Judgement Seat of Christ for the things done in the body,” (2 Cor. 5:10.)
Þ The Holy Spirit will never leave anyone in such a dreadful position without ‘speaking’ His will into the ‘heart’ or human spirit of that person, which always results in a supernatural “knowing” of what is true, (1 Jn. 5:13; Jn. 7:17-18.) Truth is not a “shot in the dark.” Notwithstanding the false voice of Satan the accuser, all of humanity, deep in down their own “hearts,” “know” exactly where they stand with God, (1 Jn. 5:13.) As said, this is so because the Holy Spirit of the Bible only saves, delivers, and heals through our personal faith in, commitment to Jesus Christ, and the contextual truth of the Bible.
Þ The Spirit has many ways to confirm His will to us for a particular situation. And so, His Voice can never be omitted from our life in Christ, while we must always be wary of the many deceptions our enemy has lined up for us. Mostly, His Voice is so soft and subtle that we mistake it for our own thoughts. He can also speak through the real gifts of the Holy Spirit, (1 Cor. 12:4-11,) and in dreams and visions — which we must also test to know if they really emanated from the God of the Bible.
All our encouragement and leading by the Holy Spirit were unchangeably “engraved in stone” in the truth of the Bible. Should believers choose to reject The Holy Spirit’s counsel, and harden their hearts to His convincing and convicting “Voice” speaking in their “inner man,” bringing them to the Truth of Scripture, (1 Ths. 5:23,) He will not violate their free will. Through their deliberate and unrepentant violations of His written Word, the Spirit will eventually give them over to “strong delusion” to “perish without a love for His truth…” (2 Ths. 2:99-13.)
OLD TESTAMENT MEDIATING AND GUIDING PROPHETS VERSUS THE GIFT OF PROPHECY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
It is vital to understand that in the Old Testament, God called certain people as prophetic “guides” to speak to the Old Israelites, His physical nation at the time, because Jesus had not yet atoned for the sin of humanity, (Heb. 1:1-14.) Thus, His indwelling Holy Spirit was not yet given to true believers from all tribes, tongues and nations, (Jn. 7:39; Rev. 5:9-10.)
God spoke in an audible voice to the Old Prophets because they were under the Old Testament Covenant of the Law, mostly without the means to write His Word on “paper,” and without the indwelling Holy Spirit, (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:18.)
But during the New Testament Covenant in Christ, (with the Holy Spirit living in every true believer,) He speaks personally to every believer “through His Son Jesus Christ” or actually, through the New Testament, written Word of Christ, [Jn. 1:1-4; Heb. 1:1-2.] Jesus Himself Is the Word; the final High Priest, Mediator, and Prophet, (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 1:1-14.)
Þ If we know anything about the indwelling Holy Spirit, we will know that the way in which He “speaks” from within true believers to guide them “into all truth” of His Word, is vastly different from the Voice of God, which audibly guided the Hebrew prophets from outside them during the Old Testament, (Jn. 16:13, KJV.)
What churches keep away from believers to place themselves as ‘mediators,’ (Elijah, Moses, etcetera,) between man and God like in the Old Testament, is the fact that during the entire New Testament era, all Scripturally born again believers, who are the living temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit, (1 Cor. 6:15-20,) “have, [present tense,] the anointing of the Holy One [constantly] abiding inside them…” (1 Jn. 2:20,27.) Therefore, they supernaturally “know all things [deep within their ‘hearts,’ pertaining to the Truth of Jesus’ Word and the situations in their lives.]”
HOW WILL WE KNOW THE VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT OPPOSED TO A FALSE ‘HOLY’ SPIRIT?
Here is the key to know if it is really the Holy Spirit speaking in our innermost being, or if it is a false spirit pretending to be Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit, or a holy angel of God, (2 Cor. 11:4, 14.) The contextual truth of Scripture is our only true measure. As soon as we ‘hear’ or ‘experience’ “the holy spirit” acting and speaking ‘out of God’s Highest, Most Holy, Dignified Character,’ we must know it is Satan impersonating God.
Þ For instance, the Bethel/Jesus Culture Movement’s worship pastor, Jen Johnson, says her ‘holy’ spirit is “a sneaky, silly, funny, blue genie.” Now is this falsification of the Holy Spirit of the Bible pure blasphemy, or what?
In addition, if the ‘holy spirit’ speaks to us apart from, or outside the truth of the Bible to bring us “word;” or supposedly appears in a strange spiritual manifestation that does not fit into the “entirety of Scripture;” (such as the pillar of smoke that allegedly follow Bethel’s Bill Johnson,) or when we encounter an overbearing, controlling spirit that constantly tells us where to sit, stand, what to wear, etcetera, or provides us with humanlike ‘comfort’ and buddy-like familiarity, we must immediately realize that this is not the Holy Spirit of the Bible speaking or manifesting Himself to us. This is gross disrespect towards the Most High, Almighty God, which can only come from Satan.
Þ For instance, contrary to the fallacy that teaches “Abba Father” means “Big Daddy,” “Sky Dad,” “Big Papa,” etcetera, on whose ‘lap they sit in heaven,’ and who ‘plays with them like his little children,’ “Abba” means “Holy Father.” Wikipedia, “The Aramaic term abba (Hebrew: אבא, "father") appears in traditional Jewish liturgy and Jewish prayers to God, e.g. in the Kaddish (קדיש, Qaddish Aramaic: "holy.")” Hebrews would never have called God “Daddy.”
It is a false Jesus (or Holy Spirit) who strikes up “special relationships” with people to become the ‘friendly chum’ of his deceived ones. This false god pretends to be their ‘great playmate’ to lead them away from the Truth Word of God, the Real Jesus of the Bible. As someone once said to me, “You can never understand the special relationship I have with Jesus [outside real Scriptural truth, of course.]” As Jesus Himself Is the Holy Spirit, He will never draw unnecessary attention to Himself, angels, or any human being such as a preacher that covets God’s glory for himself, (Jn. 16:13-16.)
Þ For instance, being the “Holy Spirit of Truth,” the Spirit will never take on human familiarities such as playing and giggling, or jokingly give us deceptive leading, even by quoting from the Bible. Neither will He tolerate false church dogma, call us into an unscriptural ministry, give us false prophesies, give us ‘new or additional revelations’ of Scripture, act as a “tattletale” so that we must consult fortune telling ‘prophets’ and so-called ‘deliverers’ to find the ‘truth’ about our lives. The Holy Spirit of Truth Is Utterly Holy, and will never twist, violate, and abuse the Truth of His own Word, or infringe on His Most High, Holy Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence in any way!
Þ If we want to be certain that we are hearing from God, we must prayerfully search the Scriptures; read them in the context of the chapter, and interpret them in the light of the Testament or Covenant in which they were written. The Old Testament and New Testament are two distinctly different Covenants. God now uses the Old Testament only as an example to show us how He dealt with the Old Hebrews according to His Moral Law — as the Moral Law is the only law New Covenant believers are subject to, (Heb. 8:13; 1 Cor. 10:11, KJV; Jn. 13:34.)
In other words, it is not that God cannot or does not speak in an audible voice anymore, but that He already said everything we need to know in the full context of His Word, the Bible, and in the New Testament Covenant especially. Every time we ask Him to speak to us while we read the Bible prayerfully and in context, God speaks directly to us personally through His Word, Who is Jesus Christ Himself, (Jn. 1:1-13.) Of course the Spirit will then also speak into our minds the things we need to know and understand concerning The Word, our lives, particular situations, and the things in this world, (Mt. 7:7.) But His Voice will be so ‘still’ or subtle, we will mostly accept it as logic, Scriptural thoughts.
The words Jesus spoke are “Spirit and Life.” There is not a human in the world who can speak Spirit and Life, except when he or she quotes Jesus’ real Scriptures and teaches His Truth, which must always relate directly to the true context of God’s Word.
Þ Of course God sometimes speaks in an ‘audible’ voice, but I am very wary of those who claim to hear the voice of God all the time. God mainly speaks through the full context of the Bible, (Heb. 1:1-2.) If we “test” what those people say in the light of “all Scripture,” we will find that they are following a strange voice, (Ps. 119:160; 1 Ths. 5:21 and Jn. 4:1-4.)
A good example of how the Spirit speaks, is illustrated by the following incident. Someone was sitting in traffic on the highway and decided to put the car in gear to quickly move to another lane, when a ‘thought struck’ him: No, be patient! A few seconds later, a huge tanker truck, completely out of control, jammed into the lane next to him, squashing the cars on top of one another. If he did not ‘think that thought,’ he would have been instantly killed. Now, if ever one heard the voice of the Holy Spirit, this was it! Also, we sometimes simply “know” important things without having any real proof of what we think, and, proceeding cautiously, we can later testify that our obedience to that ‘knowledge’ kept us from loss or harm. Surely, that is the voice of the Holy Spirit, “Who came to lead us into all truth, and tell us [important] things to come” - if we desire “all” truth, of course, (Jn. 16:13.)
However, if we heed the voice of the Spirit, and ask Him to reveal to us what we must do in every given situation, He will mostly, if not always, lead us to the truth of the Bible, which we must then obey. But we must be on our guard even when reminded of Bible verses, because the devil knows the Scriptures very well. He even quoted Scriptures out of context to Jesus in the wilderness to prey on His human need such as hunger, (Mt. 4:6-8.) Knowledge (of the Scriptures especially,) applied uncontextually and without Godly love, Holy Spirit leading, wisdom, (and the motivation to save, deliver, heal, restore, and protect the innocent,) even though it might be the truth, can be a destructive weapon in the hand of the devil.
DOES GOD ONLY USE ‘LEARNED’ AND ‘CHURCH ORDAINED’ PROPHETS?'
Jesus said we should believe in Him with faith as pure as that of little children. This does not mean we must be gullible and believe and accept everything like children do, (1 Jn. 4:1-4.) While Jesus’ disciples must live in spiritual discernment to discard everything that is evil, the unpolluted minds of young children are an example of the holiness we have in Christ. Young children are like sponges; taking in everything they perceive as good. This is why, in their childlike sincerity, they belong to Jesus and will inherit heaven (eternal life) should they prematurely die. It is therefore no surprise that God not only uses those with the true Holy-Spirit gift of prophecy, but even little children, (1 Cor. 14:24-25; 32-33; 1 Pt. 1:13.) There is also the wonderful example in Scripture, where God opened the mouth of a donkey to speak human language to prevent the insanity of an 'official' and 'learned' prophet, (Numbers 22:22-40.)
1 Cor. 14:29 commands that New Covenant, human prophecy must be open to the ‘judgment’ of everyone else in the congregation to “test” the origin, intention, and truth of the prophecy, (1 Ths. 5:21; 1 Jn. 4:1-4.)
Also, while God does use prophecy to warn and confirm, it is not predictive as in fortune-telling, but interpretive, declaring God’s will for a specific situation, which He had already revealed to the person receiving the prophecy.
However, knowing nothing about how the true gift of prophecy flows from the Holy Spirit, ‘prophets’ act like prophecy machines, turning out falsities to produce showmanship; misleading believers, and nullifying God's precious gift of prophecy. There exists even a false doctrine that teaches that prophets may prophecy wrong, because they are “still learning how to prophecy!” And so, ‘prophecy schools’ where “prophecy” is “taught” are established all over the globe! In reality, the gift of prophecy is a supernatural unction which “flows” unhindered from the Holy Spirit Himself, and can never be ‘taught’ to anyone. Hence, without any fuss, God clearly prophesies even through innocents like little children and animals.
There is not a single person that is beyond the reach and service of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which He gives “as He wills” to edify, warn, and confirm His will and Word, (1 Cor. 12:11.) However, the true gift of prophecy is directed primarily at believers in Christ. It is one of God’s gifts to serve and build the believing body of Christ. It is a wonderful gift that should flow freely from the Holy Spirit while we live in “thanksgiving to God,” (1 Ths. 5:21; 1 Jn. 4:1-4.)
Paul explained the gift of prophecy as follows. 1 Cor. 14:2; 24-25, “He who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men… If all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. [It is clearly the Holy Spirit speaking here, Jn. 16:8-16.] And thus, the secrets of his heart, [which he already knows, and which the prophets simply confirm to him,] are revealed. And so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.” Spirit Filled Bible 1991 edition, footnote, (beware newer editions,) “[Believers] are to judge the authenticity of the prophetic utterances according to its content, alignment with God’s Word, and relevancy to the [situation or] meeting. The gifts of the Spirit are intended for every member of the body of Christ, not an elite few. It [mostly] brings conviction upon unbelievers [or unrepentant believers,] leading them to repentance [and thus to true salvation in Christ.]”
WHY FALSE PROPHETS SOMETIMES PROPHECY TRUTH
Aren't all false prophets deceivers and liars? Yes, but as fortune tellers also sometimes prophecy truth, sadly, Christians also prophecy lies. This is not how it should be, but the devil was once a holy angel. He knows all about being good. But now he is a fallen angel, who also knows everything about evil, as he himself is the author of all evil, (Jn. 8:44.) Hence, it is for our own protection that, in the Moral Law, God gave us a sturdy guideline to recognize false prophets.
God taught in Deut. 13, "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer, (who can even be your father, brother, son, daughter, etcetera, verses. 6-10,) and he gives you a sign or wonder, and it comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods and let us serve them, [teaching you false doctrine to deceive you while first giving you a true prophecy to win your trust,] you shall not listen to him, for the Lord is [allowing the devil] to test you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. You shall walk after the Lord and fear Him, and keep His [moral law] commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or dreamer shall be put to death, [the New Testament equivalent is exposure and rejection,] because he has spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, Who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which God commanded you to walk in His complete freedom. (The New Covenant application of this verse and principle is Col. 1:13-14; 1 Pt. 2:9-10, “You were called out of darkness [when you were born again in Christ] into His marvelous Light…”) So you shall put away the evil from your midst...You shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; [N.T.: reject and expose,] your hand shall be first against him..."
Þ Using this commandment and warning from God as our constant guideline where prophecy, teaching, and spiritual manifestations are concerned, it should be easy to remember that foul and clean water, and good and bad fruit cannot come form a good spring or a good tree. Jesus said “we shall know them by their fruits,” and He can never be wrong.
Þ Of course none of us are perfect and therefore we are all prone to make mistakes and slip in sin. No one knows it all; we are all in the School of the Holy Spirit until Jesus returns to take us home. However, if a prophet speaks lies and truth, or a teacher teaches false teaching and true teaching, and refuses to regret and confess his sin and repent, we must decidedly expose such a person and turn away from him or her, (Eph. 5:11-19.)
EXAMPLES OF HOW THE GIFT OF PROPHECY FUNCTIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In 1 Cor. 14:24-25, Paul defined the purpose and function of the Gift of prophecy as follows: "If an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in he is convinced... [that God is a reality,] as the secrets of his heart are revealed, [or actually confirmed to him,] and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you."
Þ I emphasize again that God is, (said with utmost respect to our Creator,) not a chit-chat who will tell other people secrets about your life without telling you first. If you refuse to obey Him, He will send someone to warn you, but the gift of true prophecy is never a button God presses to put a prophet ‘on prophetic alert,’ and certainly not all the time.
For instance, God gives a prophet a dream about someone he knows, and in obedience he shares it with the person, “I dreamt you are breaking down your house and throwing everything into the sea, but afterwards you cry a lot...” [“Really, I was just about to leave my spouse and disappear!”] Or a ‘word of knowledge’ in casual conversation, “You know, if we keep on allowing our friends to manipulate us, we are actually in danger of being deceived and losing a lot of money.” [“What? How did you know they wrangle money out of me all the time?”] In the assembly, God’s true prophet is moved by the Spirit to tell a distraught stranger, “Although you get all the blame, what happened was not your fault. God knows it all…” [“Thank You, Father, I knew You would confirm the truth to me!”] Prophecy and a ‘word of knowledge’ are usually confirmation of what is already on your mind, but which no one else knows about. E.g., in casual conversation, someone tries to illustrate the peril of hasty decisions. He says, “We should not simply do things... Say we want to break out that wall to extend the lounge, we must first check to see if the house’s roof is not supported by it...” [“How did you know I was planning to do that?” And on investigation of the roof’s structure, the ‘word of knowledge’ then proves to be true.]
Mostly, (but not always,) real prophets do not even know that they are prophesying. It’s not about "God told me this and that and that" all the time. As all the other gifts of the Spirit, (1 Cor. Chapters 12 & 14,) prophecy simply flows “naturally” to reach the right person at the right moment. The Holy Spirit is not into showmanship, He is really “The Perfect Gentleman, our caring Almighty, Holy Father.”
WHY TRUE, SCRIPTURAL “EQUIPPING AND EDIFYING OF THE SAINTS” MUST TAKE PLACE
Paul explained in Eph. 4:18, “Having their understanding darkened [through false prophecies and church doctrine,] alienates believers from the life in Christ, because of the ignorance [of God’s True Word] that is in them. Because of the blindness of their hearts, [not understanding the Real Word of Christ...] they have given themselves over to [all kinds of immorality because false prophecy and teaching, and strange spiritual manifestations lead them away from Jesus, the Truth.]”
Because Jesus Alone is the Eternal High Priest of His New Testament priesthood, every sincere believer-disciple is part of His spiritual priesthood, (Heb. 7:25-28; 1 Pt. 2:9-10.) So, the gifts of the Holy Spirit work through all true believers “as He wills,” and of course, also through those who were called as pastors, teachers, etcetera, to “equip and edify” the body of Christ with the Truth of His written Word and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, (Eph. 4:11-12.)
Thus, the so-called “five-fold ministry” is not to gain position in the “church” or for self-glorification and self-enrichment, but to bring believers to Jesus Himself: to the truth of His Word, and to obedience to His Moral Law of love, (Jn. 13:34.). In this way, all believers can be effective witnesses or disciples of Christ in their private worlds; evangelizing people to Christ, allowing the Spirit to use their gifts as He wills — all working together to build God’s spiritual Kingdom in the hearts, minds, and lives of believers to glorify God above all else, (1 Cor. 12:11; Mt. 28:19-20.)
The genuine supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit is the complete opposite of unscriptural, hierarchy-controlled church systems. When Jesus said in Mark 10:35-45, “To sit at My right hand and on My left is... for whom it is prepared,” He was not allotting ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ posts in heaven or on earth. Jesus was speaking of the ultimate separation between His obedient disciple followers, His ‘sheep,’ and the disobedient, self-willed, church-doctrine disciples, the ‘goats,’ who also call upon His Name, (read Mt. 25:31-46; 7:21-24.)
True disciples of Jesus must all worship at His feet here on earth and in heaven. Together, they are Christ’s spiritual priesthood of kings and priests, and one is not more important than the other, (1 Pet. 2:9-10.) As true, sincere disciples, we were all saved by the same blood covenant of Christ, indwelt by the same Holy Spirit, and we all occupy important spiritual places in the body of Christ. God’s entire Scriptural truth Is His Holy-Spirit power, and this is what we all need. We must all submit to Him to live by his Word, which is our Living Water and Eternal Bread from heaven, (Acts 1:8.)