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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Prophets to no Profit (Jeremiah 23:31) 


Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness. Jeremiah 23:9)

I have been led to a number of interesting Web sites over the last month or so and have become familiar with a number of “interesting” prophetic personalities.  The one thing I find “attractive” about them is that they are virtually unheard of by the “church-at-large” vis-à-vis such notable figures as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyers, and the entire Elijah List cabal. This is a plus, as it quite likely that if the Lord has anything to say to the church today, that it will most likely come from some totally unexpected voice rather than the highly paid, highly esteemed Christian entertainers that pass for prophets and apostles to the enthusiastic applause and financial support of the Christian masses.

Just as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were taken totally by surprise at the sudden appearance out of nowhere of the scruffy and uneducated, unorthodox, and unprofessional baptizer, so I have been searching for a voice certain among the stable of unlikely prophets and apostles that can be Googled from the vast wilderness of Internet obscurity—the familiar voice of the God—a voice with the unmistakable resonance of eternity, a voice that only His sheep can recognize.  A voice that is unfortunately not often discernable among the well-known Christian glitterati.

The disconcerting thing about each of these lesser lights is that for some unknown reason, they are unable to “deal straight” when it comes to relating scripture.  From Sherry Shriner and Harry Walther’s Paul bashing, to Benjamin Baruch and David Eell’s rapture-phobia (a widely prevalent affliction among modern-day prophets), to C. Peter Wagner and Bill Hamer’s confusing eschatological scenario, it seems no one is able to just relax and allow the scripture to be the final authority in these and all other matters.  

I am the first to admit that I don’t know everything and I don’t have every line of scripture totally figured out.  I don’t know if the rapture takes place at the beginning or the middle of the “Tribulation,” and I’m not 100 percent sure how we know exactly what marks the beginning of the Tribulation.

Having said that, here is what I do know for sure.  I know that “the church” is mentioned more than 20 times in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation and then is not mentioned again until the chronological narrative of the end times is concluded in chapter 21. Between the end of chapters 2 and 3 and the opening of the first seal in Revelation chapter 5 a scene strikingly reminiscent of the “rapture” is described in chapter four, i.e., a trumpet blast and a command to “come up hither.”  

I know that every measure of time mentioned in the Book of Revelation adds up to three and a half years—not seven years.  

I know that a group of 144,000 from every tribe of Israel is NOT the church, because there is neither Jew nor Gentile “in Christ.”  I also know that a group of people of said to “without number” and taken from every nation is NOT the same group as the group with a specific number taken from the 12 tribes of Israel.  And I know that this second group is also NOT the church for the same reason that the first group is NOT the church.  I also know that many of those who presume to comment on the “last things” are desperate to make BOTH of these groups “the church.”  What I don’t understand is why.  Why insist on doing such violence to the clear meaning and intent of scripture?  

Where we can we find a commentator that will deal honestly with the scripture as it stands?  Chuck Missler probably comes as close as anyone.  And Ken Parsons of warzonewinner.com seems to be a fairly straight shooter.

According to David Eells, all things will be dissolved PRIOR to the 1,000 year millennial kingdom.  Makes you wonder why John put the chapter describing it AFTER the chapter describing the 1,000 year kingdom.  But according to this brother, the rapture and the resurrection are synonymous, so the rapture does not occur until the end of the 1,000 year kingdom. Either that, OR the Heavens and Earth pass away PRIOR to inception of the kingdom.

It is encouraging to see Mike Bickle somewhat conspicuously back-peddling to a more traditional premillennial view of the coming kingdom, having come to the brink of the abyss of a Wagneresque neo-amillennialism.  He continues to fumble and bumble about when attempting to push the rapture out as close as possible to the actual second coming event, but in the attempt he leaves only a matter of days for all of the vial judgments to take place, as it is incumbent upon him to begin the rapture event and the descent of the Lord Jesus prior to any of the vials being emptied, at the occurrence of the final trumpet judgment. And then he makes the rapture an extended process rather than a suddenly-of-God event that may take a month or longer to accomplish.  That should be enough time to get those seven chronologically inconvenient vials poured out on the earth.

Nevertheless, it is heartening to see that the word “rapture” has reasserted itself into the vocabulary of such an influential teacher as Mike Bickle.  Perhaps we can look forward to the term regaining some semblance of respectability, which it has been totally lacking since falling into disrepute by Stan Johnson and the Prophecy Club club and other Left Behind bashers.

Jack Van Impe is lost to us now, having gone the way of Chuck Colson and Tony Compolo, all the way to Rome.  Apparently none of these men have read Dave Hunt’s “A Woman Rides the Beast,” or if they have, they have not been persuaded.  So there stand Grant Jefferies, Hal Lyndsey, and John Hagee pretty much where we left them not so many years ago.

So where are the prophets the Lord spoke of in Amos 3:7?  A Google search yields precious little worth reporting.  But with the earth about on its last leg, with the earthquakes about to ring out, and the sun flares threatening to scorch the landscape, now would be a really good time to hear from one.

So I’ll keep up my search and if I find anyone interesting—more interesting than Prophet Yahwah or Elija the Tishbite, I’ll be sure to let you know.  In the meantime, if you know of a real prophet on the earth today, drop me a line and let me in on it.

(1) comments
Comments:
Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Cheers
Christian, iwspo.net
 
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