[anzac] Art Katz on 'FALSE PROPHETS'

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic" <anzac_list@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 07:02:24 +1300
MODERATOR:  The book that the below extract comes from is one of my
all-time favourite books on True Prophetic Ministry. It is incisive and
challenging and pierces straight through the surface to what is really
going on underneath. The whole book is online (-the URL is below) and
I strongly urge everyone to read it.  -God bless you all!   -Andrew Strom.
********************************

"FALSE PROPHETS"
-by Art Katz.
[ http://www.benisrael.org/OnlineBooks/prophetic_call/the_prophetic_call.htm 
]


We need to be jealous for the truth of the prophetic calling, for if the 
church is
built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, then we cannot 
be
careful enough in the consideration of this subject.

In Jeremiah chapter 23, God gives us a powerful statement about true and 
false
prophets. Talk about an indictment! It is one thing to have an indictment 
against
Israel, but when you begin to indict the prophets of Israel, when the 
loftiest and
the best and the noblest thing has become the most profane, then that must 
be
a symbol or a statement of the low condition of a nation prior to its 
judgment.

'"For both prophet and priest are polluted; even in My house I have found
wickedness," declares the LORD' (v.11).

There is a conjunction between prophet and priest:

"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; 
and
My people love it so!" (Jer.5:31a).

It is remarkable how self-serving this reciprocal thing is between heads of
movements or fellowships and the false prophets, and how comfortable they
are with one another and how they affirm one another. The people are in an
unspoken agreement with their ministers: "You present a biblical message. We
will pay the bill and have a Sunday service that will leave our lives free 
from any
kind of demand that would really touch our true vested interest and value. 
We
don't want a message that is going to challenge where our heart really is. 
We
want to be able to say, 'Amen' and 'We've been to church'"�and that kind of
thing. As the priest, so also the people. As the pastor/preacher, so also 
the
congregation. Into that situation we have to come prophetically�and likely 
be
stoned!

'"Therefore their way will be like slippery paths to them, they will be 
driven
away into the gloom and fall in it; for I shall bring calamity upon them, 
the year
of their punishment," declares the LORD' (v. 12).

It implies that there is not an immediate judgment, but that there is an
appointed time in which God judges those that profane His house�those who
originally had authentic and holy callings. That may well be why the Lord is
allowing to continue that which is presently being called prophetic and is 
so
popular, but for them, as with the priests and prophets of old, there will 
be a
year of visitation or a time when God calls a halt.

There is a consequence for false prophecy. It will affect the entire nation 
and
therefore the entire church by the same principle.

"Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets, 'Behold, I 
am
going to feed them wormwood and make them drink poisonous water, for from
the prophets of Jerusalem pollution has gone forth into all the land.' Thus 
says
the LORD of hosts, 'Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are
prophesying to you...'" (vs. 15-16a).

Notice that God still calls them prophets. It is maybe because the gifts and
callings of God are irrevocable. They still retain their official title, but 
what they
are performing under that title is in God's sight an abomination. There is
nothing more profane than when the sacred is no longer authentically sacred.
When we take the sacred phrase, 'Thus says the Lord' and merely employ it
as a device to win the attention of our hearers, then we are desecrating the
sacred. We are making the sacred profane and once we have done that, what
else can be hoped for? If we are not as a priestly people setting forth the
distinction between the profane and the sacred, what can be hoped for in the
world? The ramifications of what we are talking about are beyond any full 
grasp.

"They are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own 
imagination,
not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to those who despise Me,
'The LORD has said, 'You will have peace'; and as for everyone who walks in
the stubbornness of his own heart, they say, 'Calamity will not come upon 
you.'"
(v.16b-17).

This must be the very quintessence of what a false prophet is, namely, the 
giving
of a false comfort and a false assurance of peace that does not regard the 
truth
of the conditions that need to be faced. It is an unwillingness to bring a 
hard
word. The things that are prophesied are normally flattering and encouraging 
to
the flesh, rather than challenging or threatening. False prophets have 
historically
prophesied peace when there is no peace. 'Calamity will not come upon you' 
is
unhappily the kind of prophetic statement that is coming forth even today,
especially in Israel. They are giving a false comfort to those who are not 
even
properly aligned to God. Humanly speaking, we would not see these people as
those who despise God. God sees them, however, as despising Him and we
need to see it as He sees it. The false prophets are actually bringing a 
kind of
encouragement to those people who are already out of right relationship with
God and give them an assurance that their relationship with God is in order.

"But who has stood in the council of the LORD, that he should see and hear
His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened?" (v.18).

Here is the key verse. You almost want to put that verse in a box, as if the
Lord is saying, "Of all those who not only profess to be prophets, but even
those who have been called to be prophets, how many are speaking the word
that can only be obtained in the council of the Lord?" Is it not remarkable 
how
everything in God, in the last analysis, comes down to the issue of 
relationship?
He will never give anything independent of relationship. When He called 
Moses
up to the Mount to receive the tablets of the law in order that he might 
teach
them, Moses was first to come up and be there. How dare we say, "Thus says
the Lord", who have not stood in the council of the Lord and heard His word?
I think it is impossible for a flamboyant, gainsaying, gain-seeking minister 
to
even be in that place. To be in the council of the Lord requires a certain
humility, a certain brokeness, a certain utter dependency upon God, a 
certain
capacity to wait and a certain separation from self-interest, fame, fortune 
and
recognition. Men attenuated to those things cannot be in the council of the
Lord, and yet they are the first ones to so readily say, "Thus says the 
Lord."

"But who has stood in the council of the LORD...?"

That phrase implies a closeness to God. How is it, then, that these prophets
who were speaking prolifically and influencing the nation toward evil were
not in this place? Why did they not get the word of the Lord out of His
council and out of His presence? That there should even be a moment's
hesitation about answering this question is a real statement about us! They
were adulterers and walking in lies, and therefore, how can such men be in
the council of God? This God is holy and you cannot come into that presence
in that condition. You do not even desire to come into that place in that
condition! That is why you get your words from others, or out of your own
skull, because this requires a sanctification. This requires something about 
your
own condition that permits that kind of relationship, particularly if it is 
an abiding.

Moses, who wrote the five books of Moses, could say of himself that he was
the humblest man on the face of the earth. That is true humility, where we
are devoid of any sense of spiritual self-consciousness. We can merely state
the fact of something without any effect upon ourselves, because the 
humility
is not a statement to our honor. Humility is not something that man can work
up by himself on the earth and develop as a character trait. Humility is 
what
God is in Himself, and the only one who will display and exhibit it, is that 
one
who has been consistently in the presence of God. It is humbling to be there
and that is why Moses could state it not as a credit to himself, but to God,
out of whose presence that humility was established. God requires still that
His prophetic men be in His presence.

I want to say that there is nothing more difficult for anyone than this
requirement. Everything contends against it�the dinner bell, the faucet is
dripping, the light bulb needs to be changed, the dogs need to be fed�a
thousand things continually nipping at you that require attention. Even if 
that
were not so, there is something about the pulse of the flesh itself that is
inimical and opposed to seeking the Lord. Seeking the Lord is an 
extraordinarily
difficult thing and few have sufficeint incentive. It is a suffering, and in 
fact,
just to be more ruthlessly honest, it is a dying. Living on the earth, in 
the
flesh, in the world and in time, and to confide and to commune with God, is
an extraordinary and ultimate attainment. If you attain it, then maintain 
it,
because you do not want to have to do it all over again. Can you maintain it
and still go to last night's birthday party, and dancing, and hooting, and
singing, and stomping and not lose it or be jarred from your sensitive 
spiritual
place by what seems to be just a time of fun? We are talking about
something very critical. I would not expect in the earth today many men
who are in this place. What then shall we say for the whole rash of prophets
that have arisen in recent years for there are many men professing to be
prophets, but are we hearing the council of God? God's judgment about the
failure to obtain His word in that place is severe.

"I did not send these prophets, but they ran; I did not speak to them, but
they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, then they would have
announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from
their evil way and from the evil of their deeds" (vs. 21-22).

We can know when the word is out of the council of God because it has
this salutary effect. It will affect the nation or fellowship in turning it 
toward
God, rather than away from Him and from their evil ways and their practices.
I can remember a full gospel breakfast where the speaker was from Sweden,
a leading evangelical personality, but it could have been anywhere. He was
wearing a Gucci shirt and tie and a silk-type suit, and he began by saying,
"The Lord has spoken to me this morning and given me a word for you."
I leaned forward to catch every syllable that had come from the heart of
God. As I heard it, however, there was nothing from God at all, but clich�s,
evangelical phrases and full gospel hogwash. The men who were hearing
that word that morning, and nodding their heads, and "amening", applauding
and affirming, need to know that there are consequences when we allow
that kind of monumental lie to be expressed and not to be contradicted. It
will deaden and dull our sensitivity so that the next time we will be an 
even
greater candidate for deception for anything that comes down the pike.

There needed to be someone in that audience that morning to get up and
say, "I am sorry for whatever pain and dislocation I am going to cause, but 
I
cannot allow that phrase and that statement to be made in our hearing
without being contested. That was not the word of God and we dare not
allow that kind of terminology to be employed merely to sanctify or to give
a kind of credibility to what is otherwise just an ordinary statement." How
often is that being done and to what extent has our failure to do so had a
negative effect on the church today? We have paid much for cheap, casual
references to God, as if we could invoke Him at pleasure or say, "God gave",
when He did not give.

That is why there are false prophets. That is why, if I can say it, the
Charismatic and kindred movements themselves are kind of false movements,
wanting the effulgence of the Spirit and the excitement and the activity, 
but
evading the cross and the necessity for suffering out of which the Spirit of
God is given as solace, comfort and power. We come back again and again to
the cross. The false prophet speaks words of comfort when God would not
have His people to be comforted, but to be agitated. True prophets can bear
the reprisal, the rejection and the mortification of that word coming back 
into
their own teeth. They can bear giving the word and then someone cueing
the piano player to drown it out. Prophetic anguish is to bring the word of
God and then to have it refused and come right back into your teeth. It is
mortifying and the antithesis of the joy and the gratification that comes 
when
the word of God flows out of you, and through, and into the people who are
receiving it. That is like tonic for your soul. We have to be as willing for 
the
one as the other, or we will not speak the other. The call to the prophet is
the call to the cross. It is a frequent, if not continual form of suffering 
of an
exquisite and ultimate kind. Can we say, "Thus says the Lord" without 
actually
articulating those words or implying those words in your statement, except
that your word has come through the cross? It is out of a death. It is not
your own word, but His, which can only come from that cross-centered place.

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