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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Mar 2008 12:00:47 -0800
This is an outspoken piece!

-by Jennifer LeClaire.

Could the apostolic be leading to a face off between holy and unholy
prophets? Which side would you be on?

Just like Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal, the time is coming
when God's New Testament mouthpieces will confront modern
day merchandisers. The true will defy the false. The holy will
challenge the unholy. Until that day, spirits of divination, with a
little help from the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the
pride of life, are working overtime to woo God's true prophets
to the side of error.

Some merchandising prophets, with their miracle water, prophetic
soap and prosperity oil, are catching naïve Christians hook, line
and sinker. Other Gospel gainsayers are profiting with urgent
announcements that God will heal the first five people who run up
to the altar with $100 bill in hand.

But perhaps the most dangerous merchandisers are those who
use their gift to tap into divination. These prophets announce what
the believer wants to hear in order to sow a false seed of faith in
his heart and reap an improper financial reward, inappropriately
earned position or wrongly received recognition. No matter the
merchandiser's brand of deceit, it is a practice that stinks in the
nostrils of God.

"Then the Lord said, 'These prophets are telling lies in my name. I
did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any
messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have
never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own
lying hearts. Therefore, says the Lord, I will punish these lying
prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never
sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they
themselves will die by war and famine!'" (Jeremiah 14:14-15)

Of course, most false prophets don't start their ministries as false
prophets; rather they are tempted and enticed by the idolatry in
their hearts. Avoiding Satan's snare begins with the fear of the
Lord and the promised wisdom that follows. After all, the
merchandise of wisdom is better than the merchandise of silver,
and the gain thereof than fine gold. Wisdom is more precious than
rubies and all the things that you can desire are not to be
compared to her (Proverbs 3:14-15).

The wisdom in God's Word plainly illustrates that with every
temptation there is also a way of escape. By comparing the
responses of Balaam with Daniel and of Jezebel's diviners with
Elijah, we get a clear view of the trap, the way of escape, and the
ultimate fate of merchandising prophets.

Balaam is best remembered for his talking donkey. He was a true
prophet of God who went the way of divination for the promise of
financial gain when King Balak offered him rewards to curse Israel.
But Balaam did not fall into sin upon the first temptation. In fact,
he refused the king's initial offer. His royal majesty then upped the
ante, promising the prophet promotion, honor and power if he
would curse the Israelites. Balaam once again refused, saying "If
Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go
beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more."
(Numbers 22:18).

Despite his bold confession to obey the Lord's will, Balaam
secretly desired to attain the rewards pledged by the king. And so
the testing begins. Balaam would follow his rebellious heart 320
miles on a donkey's back to curse Israel and claim his coveted
merchandise. But to his surprise, the Lord would not allow him to
pronounce the curse when he arrived in Moab. Disappointed and
still hoping to collect the king's bribe, Balaam shared a strategy to
trip up the Israelites through sexual sin that led to the downfall of
his brethren.

Balaam had a clear way of escape: Telling the king's messengers
upon their first visit that the Lord forbid him to curse Israel. That
would have closed the door to future offers and put an end to the
temptation that would lead to his destruction. The end of Balaam
came by the command of Moses at the sword of his own people
"the Israelites he tried to curse through divination."

Daniel, on the other hand, refused to give in to the temptation
presented in King Belshazzar's dilemma. Belshazzar and his
guests were drinking from gold and silver cups that his father had
stolen from God's temple and giving praises to idols when the
fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the palace wall.
Belshazzar was frightened and summoned enchanters, fortune
tellers and diviners to come, promising riches and power to
anyone who could interpret it. When none could, the king called
Daniel and made him the same offer (Daniel 5).

Daniel was faced with at least three choices at this critical turning
point in his ministry. He could accept the king's offer to interpret
the message, thereby merchandising his gifting. He could exercise
the gift he had freely received from Jehovah to freely interpret the
message, all the while knowing that such a harsh word from the
Lord could land him in the lion's den. Or he could stand on his
credible reputation as God's prophet to falsely interpret the warning
message as a blessing message and in all likelihood collect the
loot anyway.

Unlike Balaam, Daniel unlocked the hard truth in the writing on the
wall. He told the king that his days were numbered and that his
kingdom would be divided up and handed over to the enemies.
Daniel refused to compromise, no matter the consequences, and
God used the king to promote him. As one of his last acts as king,
Belshazzar robed him in purple, draped a great gold chain around
his neck and positioned him as third-in-charge of the entire kingdom.

King Ahab and his wife Jezebel took the tradition of kings calling
on prophets to unlock the mysteries of God a step further, and a
few steps too far. Jezebel had false prophets on her payroll. The
wicked queen regularly fed 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets
of Asherah. Bible scholars estimate that feeding those false
prophets cost her about $12,750 a week or $663,000 a year.That's
a hefty price tag for a good prophetic word.

So while Jezebel's prophets had full bellies in a time of famine, the
queen cut off the prophets of the Lord for fear of the truth (1 Kings
18:4). Obadiah, a type of religious spirit, hid 100 of God's prophets
in caves and fed them bread and water. While this may appear like
a good work on the surface, Obadiah was only facilitating
Jezebel's plan to cut off the uncompromising prophetic word.

While Jezebel's prophets looked well-fed and God's true prophets
looked like sheep being led to the slaughter, the story changes in
a hurry when Elijah confronts the 850 merchandisers at Mount
Carmel in what goes down in Biblical history as the ultimate
showdown between the true and the false. Elijah threw down the
prophetic gauntlet and challenged the false camp to bring fire
down from heaven by calling upon their God. The merchandising
diviners cried to Baal from dawn to dusk with no answer.

When the false camp had finally exhausted itself, Elijah built an
altar holding a sacrifice to Jehovah, drenched it with four barrels of
water, said a simple prayer, and watched as the fire of God fell
from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones,
the dust and even the water in the trench. Then Elijah slew his
false counterparts one by one. So the ultimate fate of the false
prophets came at the hand of the true prophet, who was later
taken to heaven in a chariot of fire.

Like Old Testament prophets, modern day prophets are also being
tempted to merchandise the anointing for fame, fortune or friends
in high places....

Recall Simon the sorcerer, who was highly esteemed among the
Samaritans because he bewitched them. The apostles Peter and
John met up with Simon after praying for the baptism of the Holy
Ghost for the new believers there. When Simon saw that the
people were filled with the Spirit when the apostles laid their hands
on them, he offered them money. "Saying, Give me also this
power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy
Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee,
because thou hast thought the gift of God may be purchased with
money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart
is not right in the sight of God." (Acts 8:19-21). Simon may have
repented and did ask the apostles to pray for him. Repentance is
the appropriate response for New Testament prophets who fall into
the trap of merchandising.

The decision to go the way of Baal and or to go the way of Elijah
lies in the prophet's heart. If pride, self-will, anger, or lust occupies
the place where obedience, love and truth should live, then the
merchandising prophet may succeed in reaping worldly rewards
for a season but the retirement fund built on ill-gotten gains leads
only to death (Romans 6:23). While there is certainly abundant
grace for the true prophet who misses it, the Book of Revelation
makes it clear that the false prophets, those who purposely set
out to lie and deceive God's people, will be cast into the lake of
fire and brimstone and be tormented day and night forever and
ever (Revelation 20:10).