HE GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN (published 1992)
Performing in the Flesh vs. Ministering in the Spirit
We've talked about the trouble so-called prophets can get into when they try to direct people's lives through that office. Ministers can also get into trouble when they try to perform or put on something when the anointing isn't there. When ministers fall into this error, it's usually because they desire to be seen of men and to receive glory for themselves.
We had ministers get into this kind of trouble in the days of The Voice of Healing. In those days, there was a young man who stood in the prophetic office and was mightily used of the Holy Spirit in the word of knowledge.
I have personally seen him point to person after person in a crowd of several thousand people, and tell those he singled out exactly what was wrong with them. Each person was instantly healed. He did that under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
But then I also saw him minister by occult powers. When the Holy Spirit wasn't moving through the gifts of the Spirit, he would try to minister supernaturally without the anointing. Because he was operating in the flesh and in the natural realm where Satan is god (2 Cor. 4:4), he opened the door for occult spirits to accommodate him.
One pastor told me that this prophet had ministered in his church too. The pastor said, "We had a woman in our church who became gravely ill, but the doctors couldn't find out what was wrong with her. Finally, she went to a specialist in New York. The specialist told her she had a rare disease and told her the name of it. The specialist told her, 'Only three people in the North American continent have ever had this disease and there is no cure. You'll be dead by the time you are thirty-eight.' The woman was about thirty-six years old at the time."
The pastor continued, "This prophet came to hold a meeting in my church, and the anointing of God was on him to minister in the gifts of the Spirit. He pointed to this woman in the congregation, and said, 'The doctors told you that you have a rare, incurable disease. Only three people in the North American continent have ever had this disease.' Then he spoke out the name of the disease, and said, 'The Lord has healed you.'"
The pastor told me, "This woman was instantly healed. She went back to the same doctors and they couldn't find a trace of the disease in her body.1 "But," the pastor continued, "then the next night when that prophet got up to minister, the anointing wasn't there to minister by spiritual gifts, so he tried to make something happen on his own. He pointed to a woman who was the wife of one of my deacons, and said, 'The Lord shows me that you have chronic appendicitis.'"
The pastor said to me, "Everyone in the church knew she'd never had an appendicitis problem in her life. That confused the people. I'd like to have him come back to preach because he did a lot of good. But I can't for the sake of my congregation. They don't understand how he could be right one time, and wrong another time."
The Word — A Sure Foundation
The Lord later directed me to go talk to this prophet and warn him that he was getting off in his prophetic ministry……
The man wasn't a teacher, but he was a preacher. The Lord said, "If he doesn't develop his preaching ministry, but keeps putting spiritual gifts first, he's going to end up on the spiritual junkheap."
What is a spiritual junkheap? Well, a junkheap is a place for discarded items. So a spiritual junkheap just means that this man's ministry would have to be discarded if he didn't change because it was hurting the Body of Christ and causing confusion.
You see, you can't build a ministry on spiritual gifts. You can't even build a ministry on a ministry office — including the office of the prophet. And you can't build a ministry on the anointing either. In fact, you can't build a ministry on anything except the Word of God.
When ministers build their ministries on the Word, then the Holy Spirit can move and demonstrate Himself as He desires in spiritual gifts.
There were about one hundred and twenty ministers in The Voice of Healing. Many of them had marvelous spiritual gifts in operation in their lives and ministries, but they didn't have a strong foundation in the Word. I once said to some of those ministers, "When all of you fellows are gone, I'll still be out there."
They looked at me in amazement, and asked, "Why?"
I said, "Because you're building your ministries on gifts of the Spirit. I'm building my ministry on the Word of God."
Almost every one of them is gone now, but I'm still out there preaching the Word. [UNTIL HE ALSO DIED OF COURSE - Keith Hunt]. Build your life and ministry on the Word. Put manifestations of the Spirit second. Preach and teach the Word, and let the signs follow the Word (Mark 16:17).
Anyway, I talked to this prophet for about an hour and a half, and I told him exactly what the Lord had told me to tell him. I didn't minister to him publicly. Prophets make a mistake sometimes by getting up and publicly airing everything they see and hear in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not embarrass or humiliate people.
This man was receptive to what I had to say, but then he said to me, "But, Brother Hagin, people come to my meetings, and they expect me to perform."
Preachers Are Not Performers
I could tell he was off-course spiritually the minute he said that. I said, "You're not a performer; you're a preacher."
If a person is off-course a little bit and doesn't correct himself, eventually he’ll be a lot off course! Those called to the ministry aren't performers. If a minister is performing, he needs to get out of the ministry.
After talking to this prophet, he began to develop his preaching ministry more. But before long, he fell right back into the same mistake. He began putting spiritual gifts first and ministering in the flesh when the anointing wasn't there.
There is a real danger in this area, because Satan operates in the realm of the flesh. So people open themselves up to the devil when they try to operate spiritual gifts in the flesh. Any minister who tries to manufacture spiritual gifts when they aren't in operation will mislead people and eventually fail because he's in error……
Is it possible for a person to yield to the Holy Spirit one time, and yield to evil spirits another time? Emphatically, yes! We see it in Scripture.
Peter yielded to the Holy Spirit when he said to Jesus, ". . . Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). Jesus said to him, ". . . flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee . . ." (Matt. 16:17). Flesh and blood didn't reveal it to Peter; the Holy Spirit revealed it to him.
As you go on reading in the same chapter, Jesus began talking about going to the Cross and dying. Peter said to Jesus, ". . . Lord: this shall not be unto thee" (Matt. 16:22). Jesus rebuked him and said, ". . . Get thee behind me, Satan ..." (Matt. 16:23).
Jesus wasn't calling Peter "Satan." Jesus was just saying that Peter was yielding to Satan and speaking what Satan was saying — not what God was saying.
So Peter yielded one time to the Holy Spirit, but then he also yielded to an evil spirit. Therefore, we know from the Scriptures that it is possible to yield to the Holy Spirit one time and to an evil spirit another time.
You see, when you try to operate gifts of the Spirit yourself without the anointing, familiar spirits can accommodate you and tell you things. Paul said it this way: "There are . . . many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification" (1 Cor. 14:10). By operating in the flesh without the anointing, you move out into that realm where there are many spirits and many voices……
Distinguishing the Voice of the Lord
A prophet better know the Voice of the Lord! Sometimes it's difficult to get young ministers to understand that every "voice" they hear is not of God. Not every voice in the spirit realm that speaks to them is the Holy Spirit……
Ministers shouldn't be afraid, but they should be cautious. And they shouldn't go around saying, "Thus saith the Lord" about every voice they hear in the spirit realm either…..
As God's Word abides in us, we begin to learn how to distinguish between the different voices in the spirit realm, and we get to know the Voice of the Holy Spirit. The Voice of the Holy Spirit always lines up with the Word of God (John 16:13,15; 1 John 5:8)……..
The Lord explained this to me. He said, "There are two things that are involved when this happens. First of all, the people in the congregation have something to do with it; they have a responsibility to respond to the Holy Spirit too.
"Many times you've heard the Voice of the Holy Spirit correctly, but people also have their part to play. They needed to respond to what the Holy Spirit said through you, the minister."
The minister may hear God correctly, but people still have free will, and they can choose whether or not they will respond to God.
"Then, secondly," Jesus explained, "there is an evil spirit whose voice sounds very similar to the Voice of the Holy Spirit. That voice is very similar to the voice of prophecy, except that it magnifies and lifts up man, not God.”……
Of course, the genuine spirit of prophecy is the Voice of the Holy Spirit (Rev. 19:10).
You see, there are many spirits and many voices in the spirit realm (1 Cor. 14:10)……
Does that mean a believer has a demon when he listens to the wrong voice? No, of course not. No more than Peter had a devil when he yielded to Satan and reported what Satan said (Matt. 16:21-23). James and John also yielded to the wrong spiritual influence (Luke 9:54-56) and were rebuked by Jesus.
You see, spiritual things — both the Word of God and spirit voices — have to be rightly divided. People can listen to the wrong voice just as they can wrongly "divide" or misinterpret the Scriptures.
Believers don't need to be fearful of following the wrong voice as long as they stay in the Word. But that's why they must line up everything they hear with the Word of God, because the Spirit and the Word agree (1 John 5:8).
Also, the Bible promises that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth (John 16:13). Jesus Himself said, ". . . [His] sheep follow him: for they know his vows. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him:
Therefore, if you hear something in the spirit realm that is contrary to the Word of God, you would know not to follow that.
As every minister and every believer is growing up spiritually, he will have to learn to distinguish between these two voices….. sometimes nothing but growth and grace — time and experience in the Word and in the Spirit — will teach a person some of these things.
Sometimes people desire to be used by God so much that they move out in the realm of the spirit and try to do something themselves in the natural realm where Satan is god (2 Cor. 4:4). And then these spirits come in and accommodate them. Those who do this go into error, because they are trying to call attention to themselves, instead of bringing glory to God.
It's better just to wait and be sure it is the Holy Spirit talking to you. If you're not sure, don't move out on what you hear in the spirit……
What will keep you from getting off and listening to voices other than the Holy Spirit? Stay close to God. Stay in the Word. Desire to exalt and lift up God and His Word, not yourself……
Correct Operation of Spiritual Gifts
…….That's why there must be scriptural guidelines governing the operation of the utterance gifts. The believer has a part to play in cooperating with the Holy Spirit.
Notice that the Bible doesn't say anything about how the revelation gifts and the power gifts operate: the word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits; gifts of healings, special faith, or the working of miracles.
Yes, the believer still has to cooperate and yield to the Holy Spirit and obey His promptings in the operation of these gifts too. However, on the other hand, the believer can't give himself a miracle, produce a vision, or heal anyone.
In that sense, the believer himself has nothing to do with the operation of those gifts. Either the Holy Spirit works a miracle, or He doesn't; you can't make a miracle happen. Either you have a bona-fide revelation of the Holy Spirit, or you don't. You could dream up something and imagine God said something to you, but it won't come to pass…….
That is why the Bible says the utterance gifts, operating as they do in dependence upon the believer, need to be judged (1 Cor. 14:29). Some prophecies are easy to judge……
That's why prophets particularly need to make sure they stay within scriptural guidelines in their ministries, because they operate more consistently in utterance gifts of the Spirit than any other ministry gift.
The Balance Between the Word and the Spirit
Every prophet needs to be solidly rooted in the Word, or it will be too easy for him to get off trying to follow after the "Spirit," and depart from the Word……
I know from experience that if a prophet is not in the Word, he can tend to try to follow too much after the "Spirit," and he can get things in a mess. But if he is solid in the Word, the Word will keep him steady…..
You see, eventually a prophet or any minister will lose the anointing if he's not walking in the light of the Word. In the natural, if you get a freight train going full speed and let it run out of fuel, for a while, it will still keep going. In the same way, some prophets have run out of the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit because their ministries aren't based solidly on the Word to give them spiritual fuel. Yet for a while they still keep going……
But just because a prophet can preach, doesn't mean he's preaching under the anointing. Many people don't know the difference between inspiration and perspiration. Just because a minister is a fast talker, doesn't mean he's inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Don't Pervert the Gift of God
Staying teachable and staying in the Word will help keep a person from getting off spiritually. I don't know about you, but I've always made it a practice to listen to others who have wisdom and knowledge in the Word……
One area where the Body of Christ needs some wisdom from experienced ministers is in understanding that there are religious cons in the ministry. Some of these religious cons call themselves prophets…..
Example, I heard one so-called prophet say, "There is a woman who has $10,000. If she will send it to me, God will save her husband."
Well, there's bound to be some dear woman with an unsaved husband who will send him that money. But any minister who uses spiritual gifts to prophesy money into his ministry is a false prophet! A person like that isn't in the Spirit — he's just learned how to maneuver and manipulate people. He's money-minded, and he's lost the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Many who have perverted spiritual gifts were no doubt at one time used by God. But the anointing on their ministries lifted when they got so money-minded that they perverted the gift of God for personal gain. And when a minister is no longer teachable and open to the correction of others, he is in bad shape spiritually.
[THIS SURELY DID HAPPEN TO HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG; HE WAS USED TO BRING MANY TO SOME GREAT SPIRITUAL TRUTHS IN GOD’S WORD. THERE WAS A TIME HE WAS HUMBLE, AND HIS WORK HELD TWO MINISTERIAL CONFERENCES EACH YEAR TO GIVE EVERY MINISTER AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRING FORTH NEW TRUTH, OR TO SHOW WHERE CHANGE WAS NEEDED IN SOME ASPECTS OF WHAT THEY WERE TEACHING. WHEN LOMA ARMSTRONG DIED (WIFE OF HERBERT ARMSTRONG) ALL THIS HUMBLENESS BEGAN TO DISAPPEAR. THEN “MONEY” BEGAN TO DOMINATE IN THE LIFE OF ARMSTRONG— LIVING THE RICH, OVERLY EXPENSIVE, STYLE OF LIFE, FROM EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE FURNISHINGS, TO A PRIVATE PLANE TO FLY HIM AROUND THE WORLD. ALONG WITH THE “MONEY-MIND” CAME VANITY AND AN EGO THAT WAS FROM ANOTHER WORLD, AND IT WAS NOT THE WORLD OF GOD - Keith Hunt]
…..Anyone prophesying money out of your pocket into theirs is wrong. Never accept the ministry of someone who is always prophesying money out of people!
A prophet should never use spiritual gifts for personal gain. Some ministers tell you to plant your money into their ministries as a seed faith for your healing. But they are walking on dangerous ground. Healing belongs to you even if you don't have a dime!
Ministers need to be careful, particularly where money is concerned. Some ministers just want your financial support, and they try to obtain it by questionable means. They aren't necessarily concerned first and foremost about ministering to people or being a blessing to them. Ministers of the gospel should be in the ministry to help and bless people, not for personal gain.
But, you see, just because any minister, including a prophet, produces fruit in his ministry, doesn't mean his life or ministry is one hundred percent right on with God.
Christians shouldn't be skeptical of ministers of the gospel. On the other hand, there are spiritual cons in the ministry who have perverted the gift of God; they are motivated by personal gain.
So Christians can't always just look at the fruit a minister produces publicly to determine if his ministry is right on spiritually. Does he walk uprightly before God? Does his life reflect the gravity of his high call to the ministry? Are spiritual gifts used according to scriptural guidelines? These are questions which will help the Body of Christ from being taken in by charlatans in the ministry.
True Manifestations of Revelation Gifts
……There is a true manifestation of the revelation gifts in the prophet's ministry….. When the Holy Spirit isn't in manifestation, they try to operate spiritual gifts. But they're in the flesh, and that's a dangerous place to be in.
To stay on course in his life and ministry, a prophet must always make sure he is basing his ministry on the Word and not on spiritual gifts. For the prophet, and every other fivefold ministry gift, the Word of God is the only sure foundation.
TODAY I’M PERSONALLY CONVICTED THAT THOSE WITH THE SPIRITUAL GIFT OF PROPHECY, BESIDES THE FIRST ORDER OF BEING A PREACHER/TEACHER, WILL BE UNDERSTANDING CORRECTLY THE PROPHETIC BOOKS OF THE BIBLE. GOD HAS ALREADY GIVEN US THE PROPHECIES FOR THE END TIMES, OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN THE PROPHETIC BOOKS OF HIS BIBLE. THE GIFT OF THE PROPHETIC OFFICE TODAY WILL BE THE GIFT OF CORRECTLY UNDERSTANDING THOSE PROPHECIES. GOD IS NOT AS CONCERNED TODAY WITH PROPHETIC MESSAGES ABOUT SOME DROUGHT, EARTHQUAKE, MIGHTY STORM COMING AT US FROM THE SEA AND ETC. WE HAVE SATELLITES AND OTHER SPACE-AGE TECH STUFF TO TELL US THOSE THINGS. TODAY THE PROPHET OF GOD WILL CORRECTLY UNDERSTAND THE PROPHECIES OF THE BIBLE AS RELATED TO THE VERY END TIMES.
TODAY YOU HAVE MANY SO-CALLED “PROPHETS” ON YOUTUBE AND THEY ARE ALWAYS MAKING A MESS OF PROPHETIC IDEAS; THEY HAVE THEIR CHARTS AND THEIR DATE SETTINGS; THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE PROPHETIC BOOKS OF THE BIBLE, HENCE THEY BECOME A LAUGHING-STOCK; THEY ARE FALSE PROPHETS.
KNOWING WHO THE NATIONS ARE TODAY THAT ARE MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE, IS ONE MAJOR KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE PROPHETIC BOOKS OF THE BIBLE. THE OTHER KEY IS LETTING THE BIBLE INTERPRET THE BIBLE.
USING THESE TWO KEYS I HAVE EXPOUNDED FOR YOU ON THIS WEBSITE, THE PROPHETIC WORD OF THE LORD THAT WILL COME TO PASS IN DUE TIME.