HE GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN
Prophets Are Not
To Guide and Direct
New Testament Believers
….Jesus emphasized the role of the prophet under the New Covenant by explaining, "Under the New Covenant, I did not put prophets in the Church to lead, guide, or direct people's lives."
You can see how believers can wreak much havoc in their lives by going to a prophet for direction and guidance, because we are to be led by the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14), not by prophets.
Directing the Lives of Others Is Fortune-telling
I know successful people who went bankrupt in business because they followed some so-called prophet's advice. Some of these people were very successful and had millions of dollars and beautiful, palatial mansions. But they lost everything by trying to follow the guidance of some so-called prophet.
For example, I was preaching in a certain state, and a wealthy businessman came to one of my meetings. I had met him once, and I knew he was wealthy, but I knew nothing else about him. But the minute he came into my meeting, the Lord spoke to me about him. At the Lord's direction, I later told him what the Lord had said to me.
This man owned a palatial home and several expensive cars and was very successful in business; he was worth millions of dollars. He had servants, a private plane, and his children drove brand-new expensive cars. But then he started going to a so-called prophetess for direction and counsel before he would make any business deal. The Lord told me that he was going to lose everything he owned if he kept listening to her.
Actually, people who try to direct other people's lives through the office of the prophet are nothing more than fortune-tellers. Many people don't have enough sense to know that. This woman tried to guide this man's business affairs through "spiritual gifts." But it wasn't the Holy Spirit that was in operation through her; she was nothing more than a fortune-teller.
In First Thessalonians 5:20, 21, the Bible says, "Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,"
We aren't to despise prophesying. But on the other hand, we aren't supposed to believe everything everyone prophesies to us either. The Bible tells us to prove all things to see if they are of God.
This woman's counsel obviously wasn't of God. Believers trying to inquire about God's leading or direction in their lives through a prophet are on dangerous ground. This businessman should have had enough common sense to know that when every one of his business deals failed because of the advice of this "prophetess," her advice wasn't any good!
Besides, a businessman ought to have some business sense! And if he needs direction in business, he should seek God's counsel first. Then if he needs to, he could consult with others who have business expertise.
I told this businessman what the Lord told me to tell him — that he was going to lose everything if he didn't quit listening to that woman who claimed to be a prophetess. But some people hear only what they want to hear. He told someone I agreed with what he was doing. And he kept inquiring through that so-called prophetess until he lost everything he had and went bankrupt.
This businessman was so deceived, he wouldn't make a move in business without calling this woman. Some of these false prophets and prophetesses prey upon people to get their money. They are no more prophets and prophetesses than I'm an astronaut. But just because some people go off into error, that doesn't do away with the legitimate prophetic ministry.
The true prophet doesn't try to run people's lives through that office. A prophet needs to be very careful in the area of personal prophecy. That's why when I'm ministering to people through the prophetic office, I very often say to them, "Does that mean anything to you? Does that confirm what you already have in your own heart? If it doesn't bear witness with your own spirit, don't pay a bit of attention to it."
Prophets Who Open Themselves Up To Familiar Spirits
Because prophets weren't set in the Church to lead and guide people's lives, they will get off-course spiritually if they try to do it. They will open themselves up to occult powers and familiar spirits.
For example, I was holding a meeting in a certain city, staying in the home of a wealthy businessman who was a member of the church where I was ministering…..
This businessman said, “Our church helped sponsor this minister in a meeting here in town. Nearly every day this minister would come into my office and we'd talk or go out to lunch. I had an heirloom — a seven-carat diamond ring — that I'd inherited from my father, which I very seldom ever wore. I had it wrapped up in a handkerchief in the back right-hand corner of the chest of drawers in my bedroom. One day when this minister came into my office, he turned to me and said, ‘You have a seven-carat diamond ring you inherited from your father. It's wrapped up in a handkerchief in the right-hand corner of the third drawer in your dresser. God said you are to get it, and give it to me.’ That's supernatural knowledge, isn't it?”
It's not only supernatural knowledge, it's spectacular knowledge. But, remember, the devil operates in the supernatural realm too. You'd better watch those folks who prophesy rings off your fingers and money out of your pockets into theirs. Don't have anything to do with people like that.
The businessman said to me, "How did that minister know about that ring? I've never told anyone that. No human knew about that heirloom but me and my wife. Naturally I thought, That must be God. So I went home and got it, and brought it back and gave it to him. About a week later, the minister came into my office, and someone crossed him and made him mad, and he started cussing. The minister closed the meeting and left town. Shortly after he left town, two young men came to me, and said, 'While that man was in town, he got us off into homosexuality.'"
This businessman told me, "I thought to myself, Dear Lord, I missed God! That man's not even walking with God. He's off into sin! And now he's got my diamond ring!”…….
But, you see, if a minister isn't careful, he can get lifted up in pride when God uses him, and he can walk away from God and get into sin. Or he can get money-minded and lose the anointing of God…….
There's hope for all of us if we'll correct ourselves, but this fellow eventually wound up on the spiritual junkheap……
You see …. this minister tried to operate spiritual gifts on his own to direct people's lives. And because that’s not scriptural, he opened himself up to the devil and began hearing familiar spirits.
Familiar spirits are evil spirits that are familiar with people. They know facts about people, including believers, and those facts are often correct. They know people's names and addresses and various things about them, and they can tell what they know to those who will yield to them.
Of course, familiar spirits are not omniscient — they don't possess all knowledge, so they don't know everything about people. Only God is all-knowing. But familiar spirits do know some things about people. For example, they could know how much money someone has in his billfold or what he has in his pocket.
The Holy Spirit knows those things, too, and He could reveal that through the gifts of the Spirit, if He wanted to. But why would He want to? What purpose would it serve to know what someone has in his pocket? How would that glorify God? No, that's typically the work of familiar spirits.
The Holy Spirit reveals things that glorify God. For example, He could reveal a disease someone has and then heal the person! That would glorify God.
But this minister would call people out of the crowd and tell them their name and address. Then he would say, “I’ll tell you exactly what you have in your pocket. You've got a pen and a package of cigarettes," and then he'd tell the congregation the brand of cigarettes.
But that wasn't the Spirit of God in operation. He didn't minister to the person and get him delivered from cigarette smoking by the power of the Holy Spirit!…..
God knows all those things, too, and He could move through a prophet like that. But He doesn't very often demonstrate Himself like that, unless it serves a definite purpose to help someone, and it gives glory to God.
But often when familiar spirits operate through people, many dear folks think, Isn't that supernatural! And some folks do get healed because they start believing God.
I saw some ministers operate through familiar spirits ….. They could tell you what you had in your pocket, your name, address, and so forth. But it wasn't divinely inspired revelation. Most of the time people who do that are operating by familiar spirits…….
Sometimes there is just a fine line between fanaticism and true spirituality, and between false and genuine manifestations of spiritual gifts. Many are not able to distinguish the difference, but the Body of Christ needs to be able to do so. The Holy Spirit will always draw attention to God, and exalt the Word and the Lord Jesus Christ, not man……..
Prophecy Taken Out of Bounds
There are so-called prophets today who teach that they can prophesy every time they lay hands on people. That's rubbish! They teach that a prophet can stand in faith to minister prophetically to people. That is not only impossible, it is unscriptural. The prophetic office is only in demonstration by the anointing of the Spirit of God, as He wills…. we have the same problem resurfacing today…… People are taking prophecy and the prophetic office out of bounds……
It seems we either get in a ditch on one side of the road and back off from the prophetic office and prophecy altogether because of the excesses. Or we get in a ditch on the other side into fanaticism and extremes.
But, you see, God wants us to keep the office of the prophet and prophecy based solidly on the Word of God, just as we are to do with anything else.
Tradition tells us that the church at Thessalonica had so much prophesying that the people almost despised it. That's why Paul had to write to that church and instruct them: "Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:19-21).
God wants us to go down the middle of the road spiritually and enjoy the scriptural operation of the prophet's office and the scriptural gift of prophecy.
Be Led by the Inward Witness, Not by Prophets
…..Jesus …. He emphasized that believers are to be led by the inward witness, not by the office of the prophet……
You see, I'm not going to run people's lives through the office of the prophet or through prophecy. And I'm not going to allow people to run my life through prophecy. You shouldn't either. I'm going to get into the Word for myself, and get ahold of God for myself. After all, I am in contact with Him, and so are you if you are a believer.
This does not mean we should be closed to sound, wise counsel in line with the Word, but our lives are not meant to be directed by other people prophesying to us.
Looking for the Spectacular And Missing the Supernatural
Too many believers are wanting someone to come along and prophesy to them and tell them what to do, when they are supposed to be led by their own spirit…
God didn't put prophets and the gift of prophecy in the Church to guide our personal affairs. Tragedy very often happens to folks when they try to be guided by the prophet. They get their lives in a mess.
I told you about the wealthy businessman who lost everything he had because he listened to a so-called prophetess. Now I'll tell you about a businessman who never lost a penny because he learned how to listen to the inward witness — to his spirit. He wasn't led by prophecy or the office of the prophet; he was led just by the Holy Spirit in his own spirit.
I knew this man years ago. He lived in a mansion and drove expensive new cars. This was in the Depression Days. The streets were full of people out of work, but there was no work. I worked myself from sunup to sundown for one dollar and was glad to get it.
This man took ten thousand dollars in those days when money was worth more than it is today and turned it into one million dollars. He didn't do that by listening to some "prophet"! When a person was a millionaire in those days, it was like being a billionaire today.
This man said, “I’ve never lost a penny in any investment. People know I invest, so they come to me with their business deals. I'll listen to their projects, and many times my head will say, 'That's a good deal. You ought to get in on that.' Or someone else will come along with a deal, and my head says, ‘You'd better not get in on that. You'll lose your shirt.’ But I always say the same thing to everyone who comes to me with an investment, regardless what my head says. I always say, 'Give me two or three days to pray about it.' I have what I call my prayer closet. It's a closet off the master bedroom. I know God didn't mean we are literally to get into a closet to pray, but that's where I go to pray. I get in there with my Bible, and I may eat one meal a day, or I may not. I may fast. But I pray about the business deal. I ask the Lord, ‘Should I or shouldn't I invest in this business deal?’”
He said, "I pray and seek the Lord until I get a yes or a no in my spirit. I spend most of the time seeking God, getting my mind quiet before God. Sometimes I have to get my mind quiet to get an answer. And sometimes it takes time to get my mind shut off; it took me time to learn how to do that. But I always get my answer within three days, sometimes in less than three days. Sometimes the very business deals my head said not to get involved in, my spirit also says, 'Don't do it.' Or sometimes the deal my head told me, You'd better not get in on that. You'll lose your shirt if you do,' my spirit says, 'Do it!' So I do."
He said, "I've never lost a dime in all these years."
This man never consulted any prophet; he just followed the inward witness.
I was teaching in a certain place about the inward witness and what it means to be led by the Spirit, and a man came up to me after the service. He said, "Brother Hagin, if I had heard you two years ago, it would have saved me thousands upon thousands of dollars." And he went on to explain.
He told me that two years before, he'd owned all the buildings on a certain city block, which included four or five stores. Then across town, he owned another store, which was full of merchandise. All the merchandise inside the store was paid for, which included much furniture, appliances, and hardware.
He said, "I had a good cash flow and the business was in good shape financially. Then a fellow came along one day with a business deal he wanted me to invest in. I told him I'd have to pray about it. He told me that he needed his answer within three days. After that it would be too late. I'd heard people talk about putting out fleeces," the man said, "so I put out a fleece. According to the fleece, it looked like I should invest my money in the man's business deal, so I went to the bank and mortgaged everything I had. I put all my money in that enterprise and lost every dime of it! For the last two years I have just been paying on the interest I owe, and I still owe thousands of dollars."
He said, "If I had heard this teaching about following the inward witness, I wouldn't have lost all my money. Something on the inside of me kept telling me not to invest in his business deal, but the fleece said to do it."
Nowhere in the New Testament does it say, "As many as are led by fleeces, they are the sons of God."
One year ….. one of our students asked me about a fellow who was supposed to be a prophet. In the first place, if a person has to advertise to everyone he is a prophet, I wonder about his calling. In the second place, people make a mistake running around listening to every so-called prophet.
The Bible says a man's gift makes room for him (Prov. 18:16). If a person is called to the office of the prophet, he shouldn't have to advertise it. People will know it sooner or later by the spiritual equipment that goes along with that office.
Anyway, this student said, "This prophet called me out of the crowd and prophesied over me that God had called me to Africa. He said that in so many months I'd be in Africa."
The student said, "But the thought has never entered my mind, nor have I ever had it in my spirit about going to Africa."
I asked him, "In your spirit what do you sense God wants you to do?"
He said, "I know exactly what God wants me to do. I settled all that through prayer and waiting before God."
I said, "Does it have anything to do with Africa?"
He answered, "No."
"Forget what that man told you then," I said.
"Yes, but that fellow said he was a prophet."
I said, "Just because he said he's a prophet doesn't make him one. Don't pay a bit of attention to what he said. You do what God told you in your own heart to do."
When you are grounded in the Word, you are not going to be moved by so-called prophets or their so-called prophecies. If you are moved by them, you are still a spiritual child tossed about with every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14).
You need to learn to be led by the inward witness of the Holy Spirit in your spirit.
PRETTY WELL RIGHT ON THE BUTTON HERE IN EXPLAINING WHAT A NEW TESTAMENT PROPHET IS OR IS NOT - BEING LED BY THE SPIRIT, AND OFTEN PLAIN COMMON SENSE, BUT THAT CAN BE RARE TODAY; IT’S A REASON WHY GOD GAVE US THE BOOK OF WISDOM—— THE BOOK OF PROVERBS.
YES I’VE WITNESSED AN ORGANIZATION [THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD UNDER HERBERT ARMSTRONG] GET INTO THE MODE OF MINISTRY WHERE JUST ABOUT EVERY FACET OF LIFE WAS GOVERNED BY THE MINISTER/S. THE STORIES ARE ENDLESS. PEOPLE WAY BACK IN THE 1970s GOING TO THE MINISTER TO ASK SUCH QUESTIONS AS “MY WIFE DOESN’T HAVE VERY HEALTHY TEETH, SHOULD SHE HAVE THEM PULLED AND GET FULL DENTURES?” ONE MAN TOLD ME THAT WAS HIS QUESTION TO THE MINISTER, HIS ANSWER WAS “OH NO JESUS WILL BE BACK VERY SOON.” THE MAN THOUGHT ABOUT IT MORE AND DID NOT TAKE THE MINISTER’S ADVISE, HIS WIFE WENT AHEAD AND GOT FULL DENTURES.
THIS KIND OF STUFF THAT CHURCHES OR INDIVIDUALS PRACTICE IS GETTING INTO THE AREA OF A CULT RELIGION.