Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Divination And Prophecy

Is there a difference between divination and prophecy? 

The knee jerk reaction, of some orthodox Christians, to immediately attribute to demons anything having to do with the supernatural elements of the faith, is alarming. The alarm is not over the fact  that the church needs to be reminded that Satan roams to and fro, about the earth, seeking whom he may devour, and his sights are always set on the people of God, for Satan would diminish the capacity of the church to move through time, equipped with the demonstrated power of God. One of the ploys of Satan is to mimic the gifts of God. Moses saw this in Pharaoh's court, when the magicians were able to reproduce the staff-to-serpent trick. We see it also today, as there seems to be a satanic supernatural counterfeit gift to every one of God's gifts. Cloaked as an angel of light, Satan would lure seekers and orthodox faithful, by offering them supernatural demonstrations. Through this deception, Satan would have even the faithful following signs and wonders, which he controls. "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." This is indicative of the modern, so-called, Charismatic Movement. The end of this path is spiritual and physical death.  

There is another deceptive ploy, however, for which the alarm must be sounded, for its fiery dart is aimed at the heart of the Church. Alarming, is the propensity of some to so fear the satanic supernatural, that they ignore the fact that the Christian faith is inherently, divinely supernatural. In their initial, sincere effort to keep the false gifts out of the Church, they become unwitting emissaries of resistance to God's good gifts. In this, they have become unwitting emissaries of Satan.  Even with several biblical lists which contain specific, demonstratively supernatural gifts, that God instills in humans, and the clear warning from Saint Paul not to dismember the body by removing any gift, these emissaries relegate those gifts to another time or place. They suggest that such gifts are "not common" or are only seen in "very holy" people, such as monks, bishops, or those who have long since died, and never in contemporary laymen. To bolster this view, the emissaries, will quote their preferred Church Father, with little regard to the context in which the Father wrote. They will find Church Fathers who warn about deceptive supernatural practices or cults. They will ignore, or cast dispersion on saints such as Symeon the New Theologian, who was very specific concerning the ethereal means by which God communicates His will to the "brethren". Then, the emissary will add to their charge, many anecdotes of people who have been deceived, or a gifted person who turned out to be demonized. Some of these things may be factual, however, the emissary ignores the fact that no Church Father ever denied the existence, or operation, or dispensing of all of the gifts of the Spirit as God chooses.  The emissary's conclusion, and his core motivation, is the dogma that anyone who believes in, operates in, or supports the more demonstratively supernatural gifts today is demonized, and must be denounced and silenced. In this, the emissary does the work of Satan, when they attack the Holy Spirit's work in and through His people. The scripture says to "test the spirits to see if they be of God", but the emissaries ignore this God-given method of determining the origins of a gift, and go straight to denouncement.  The emissary, themselves, are deceived into thinking they are doing God's work, as they aggressively attack and isolate even orthodox Christians, making charges, judgments and character assassinations. They lump all supernatural gifts under the term, "charismatic movement", and, in effect, throw the authentic Gifts of God out with the proverbial bathwater, making the gifted person, suspect. In this, they feel justified to make public their accusations and have no remorse toward the destruction they do to the individual on whom they have set their sights. This is demonstrated most often in the attack on God's prophets in the Church. The emissaries will denounce the current authenticity of God's prophets by calling the gift, "divination". But, is there a difference between Satan's diviners and God's prophets?

Divination and Prophecy

"Similarities between inspirational divination and Old Testament prophecy ought never to be allowed to blind one to their radical and essential differences. It is true that both take into account the human instinct for secret knowledge, especially that appertaining to the future, and they agree in the conviction that such knowledge is possessed by certain spiritual beings who are willing, upon certain conditions, to divulge it, and that such secret information is imparted to special classes of men called diviners, seers, and prophets. But the likenesses end here. All the rest is in fundamental contrast.

The Old Testament prophet believed in a personal God. uniquely one, infinitely holy, righteous, and powerful, whose spokesman he claimed himself to be. When he spoke or wrote, it was by direct inspiration from the Spirit of God. "Thus saith Jehovah" was the authoritative formula that stamped his message with finality and infallibility of divine truth. The Greek and the Roman "soothsayer" (mantis), on the other hand, having no sublime ethical God, but gods many and lords many, went through various crude contortions, until he worked himself up to the necessary pitch of ecstasy, by music, drugs, sacrificial smoke, and similar helps. When, finally, in his insane excitement, he did speak, it was not truth by divine power, but error and deception by demonic cunning." (Unger, Biblical Demonology)

Rather than rightly divine the difference between God's prophets and Satan's diviners, the unwitting emissary for Satan challenges the very existence of the Holy Gift and those whom God has gifted. 

The test of a true prophet of God is very specific.

"You may be privately wondering, 'How are we to tell that a prophecy does not come from Yahweh'? When a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh and the thing does not happen and the word is not fulfilled, then it has not been said by Yahweh. The prophet has spoken presumptuously. You have nothing to fear from him."

"This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus, that spirit is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world"

The test of a false prophet is very specific,

 "...the prophet who presumes to say something in my name which I have not commanded him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die."

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

"At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. . . . For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time"

"Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets"

"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping"
The work of the people of God, concerning prophets, is to, first, hear their words. Then, ask, "are their words true and do their words bear fruit?" Testing the truth of a "Thus saith Jehovah" word, often takes time, but Satan's unwitting emissaries are quick to speak and slow to listen. These emissaries, left unchecked, become the real enemies within the gates of the Holy Church, by calling unholy, that which God has called, holy. These emissaries are empowered by the Spirit of Jezebel. They would silence the prophets for they know that,

"...He Himself gave some to be prophets...for the Lord does nothing unless he reveals His instructions to His servants the Prophets." 

In these spiritually perilous times of great apostasy, when supernatural forces of darkness are being unleashed in an unprecedented manner, to deceive, "if it were possible", the very elect, God's prophets are anointed to expose and bring down the strongholds of the enemy and protect the body of Christ. They are diviners of God's will, equipped to root out the diviners of darkness. The irony exists in the fact that it is God's prophets who often expose the false prophets! Satan is working, through his unwitting emissaries, however, to cut of this vital gift, dismembering them from the body. Brethren, let it not be so!

"He who receives a prophet, will receive a prophet's reward."

*COMING NEXT: The Jezebel Spirit, enemy of the prophets of God, and infiltrator of the Church.

Related Articles: Is Orthodoxy Charismatic?

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