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Passage: Ezekiel 13-15

On Friday, September 11, 2015, Yujin wrote,

Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all? (Ezekiel 14:3).

Before the idols were before their faces as statues or objects, they were "in their hearts". Idolatry begins in the heart. So Solomon writes, 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).

The heart is the seat of our affections. It is powerful enough to move our will, where the mind is sometimes impotent. It is not enough to know about the Lord if our object is to trust and obey Him with our lives. Perhaps this is why the great command is not "obey the LORD your God with all your heart" but 

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Obedience arising from duty cannot hold a candle to obedience arising from affection. And if we desire to go beyond the letter and embrace the spirit of obedience, our obedience must arise from a passion for God. Simple duty will not energize our frail wills. We must truly and deeply delight in the One who commands us. 

Friends, I urge you, love the Lord from your hearts. Be passionate for Him. For God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. 

Passage: Ezekiel 13-15

On Thursday, September 11, 2014 (Last Updated on 9/10/2015), Yujin wrote,

Thus says the Lord God, “Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins. You have not gone up into the breaches, nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the day of the Lord. They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, ‘The Lord declares,’ when the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word (Ezekiel 13:3-6).

False prophets claimed to have seen divine visions and received messages from God. Then, they went to the people of God and announced, "The Lord declares..." Yet, they had not heard from God. God had not send them. What is more, they had not taken any responsibility for their claims and only hoped for their fulfillment.

Yet, true prophets never hoped for fulfillment. They knew that their prophecies would be fulfilled - 100%. They defended the veracity of their proclamation by putting their very lives on the line. Their messages were not simply impressions but unmistakeable revelations from God. 

Friends, I hear Christians all the time saying things like, "The Lord told me..." or "God was speaking to me..." or asking things like  "Did God speak to you today?" or "What do you think God was trying to tell you?" As ignorant as this is for the average Christian, Christian leaders, pastors, and teachers today speak like this all the time.

Have we learned nothing from the false prophets of Israel?! What gives us such foolish boldness to claim that God said this or that?

As bad as this is, those who make such claims take no responsibility when their words fail. They make excuses when their claims do not come to pass, thinking that they can escape their failed prophesies simply by saying something like "God must have something better in store..." And they just keep making claims, for there is no one to call them out for their false prophecies, their wrongheaded claims, and their blasphemy. Yes, it is blasphemy, even taking the Lord's Name in vain, to claim that God said something that He did not say. 

I know that some of you speak like this. Stop it now! Never again say, "The Lord told me..." or ask someone, "What do you think God is telling you?" Unless you have literally and supernaturally heard God speak, and you are willing to stake your life on it, you have no business blaspheming God by making cavalier claims of God speaking to you or to anyone else. Let your "the Lord declares" be limited to what you read in His written Word. Why be judged for your false claims, bringing harm to yourself as well as everyone who hears you? 

I don't believe there are any prophets today; therefore, anyone who claims to be a prophet or to have the gift of prophecy is a false prophet. If they are adamant about their gift or calling, they better be 100% accurate in their prophecies and be willing to stake their life it.

Now, there are some who neither claim to be prophets nor claim to have the gift of prophecy, yet they speak as if they do. I would not go so far as calling these people false prophets. They are simply ignorant and sinful in their blasphemy, taking God's Name in vain. 

A pastor said that we are all prophets in hindsight. He claimed that while we might not be able to see the hand of God looking into the future, we can clearly see His hand in events past. Really?! People who claim that God told them something before it comes to pass and those that make the claim after it comes to pass are no different in my eyes. Just because something has happened does not mean that God did it as a prophetic event. Prophets were spokesmen for God. Whether they gave predictive oracles or prescriptive instructions, their words were supernaturally revealed and absolutely true. Whether prophets foretold or forthtold, their messages were supernatural, totally authoritative and inerrant. Foresight and hindsight are irrelevant. The New Testament writers, who commented on Old Testament revelation, were giving supernatural, inerrant prophetic revelation, even though not everything they wrote had to do with future events. Teachers and pastors make a fallacious claim when they try to argue that predictive prophecy is supernatural while prescriptive prophecy is not. The Bible supports no such distinction. They are both supertural, both authoritative, both inerrant. 

Friends, why even test God by making such claims? Isn't it enough that we can simply quote the Scriptures? And if we do not know the Scriptures, whose fault is that? Is that any excuse for making foolish claims of God telling you this or God telling you that? I urge you, my brothers and sisters, stop taking God's Name in vain. Even though people may think you are "spiritual" when you talk like that, you are not staying within the boundaries of God's Word. As Paul also warned,

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6). 

Passage: Ezekiel 13-15

On Wednesday, September 11, 2013, Yujin wrote,

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy from their own inspiration, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God, “Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing (Ezekiel 13:1-3).

Everyone wanted to hear news of peace and revival. Every prophecy was fortuitous, promising success, healing, and happy tidings. There was only one problem. These prophecies were not from the LORD. Self-proclaimed prophets, whom God did not send, were speaking "from their own inspiration," "following their own spirit" and had "seen nothing." 

Friends, this very indictment could be made of the so-called prophets from Kansas City/IHOP today. They do not speak for God, for their so-called prophecies, which now come under the cover of "words of encouragement," come from their own imagination. And they are not concerned that their prophecies fail because they have redefined the prophetic gift so that it no longer has to be fully accurate or true. Be on your guard!

They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, ‘The Lord declares,’ when the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word. Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, ‘The Lord declares,’ but it is not I who have spoken?”’” (Ezekiel 13:6-7)

Pastors, elders and deacons are authoritatively silencing argument by simply declaring, "God told me...," even though God never told them anything. There is never any certainty of fulfillment even though they claim divine authority over their words. They are only hoping for it, without taking any responsibility when their words prove false. But the true prophets of old staked their lives on their word.

All of these people, who makes such claims today, would be dead, if they had the same attitude. Instead, when their words fail, they say they have heard something else. They have no accountability even though they claim absolute authority by invoking God's Name. They are certainly taking His Name in vain. Their prophecies are simply "lying divinations," because God had not spoken them.

Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “Because you have spoken falsehood and seen a lie, therefore behold, I am against you,” declares the Lord God (Ezekiel 13:8).

Does God say to such people, who falsely invoke His Name, "It's okay. Keep trying." No! As in Ezekiel, God declares, "I am against you!" It would have been better for such people to have remained silent than to have spoken so foolishly. And it would be better for such people to repent and cease from making such lying claims in the future. It is no small thing to have the LORD against you.

“Now you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who are prophesying from their own inspiration. Prophesy against them (Ezekiel 13:17).

Ezekiel, the true prophet of God, was told to prophecy against the false prophets in his day. Today, the inspired and inerrant Word of God prophecies against the false prophets of our day. Jesus taught,

“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... Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 6:15-16, 22-23).

What is the fruit that Jesus is speaking of here? It is not the fruit of behavior, because they will come "in sheep's clothing," for behavior is easily seen by all. Behavior is the external garb that hides the nefarious teaching within. It is not the fruit of signs done in Jesus' Name, because Jesus will reject those who " out demons...and perform miracles" falsely in His Name. No, the fruit that Jesus has in mind is the the fruit of teaching and doctrine. This is why in the parallel passage in Luke, Jesus describes this teaching in terms of speech:

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Luke 6:43-45).

 Consider also the testimony of the apostle John, who warned against false prophets in his letter:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 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 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 (1 John 4:1-3).

John counseled believers to test the teachings of the prophets. They would know if the prophets were of God if what they taught was in line with the doctrine they had already received from the apostle. Today, we also are to test self-proclaimed prophets by the fruit of their teaching. If their teaching does not line up with Scripture, they are to be rejected. They are false prophets. 

Friends, this is why I have been tirelessly warning you against places like IHOP (International House of Prayer) and people like Mike Bickle, and even organizations and church members that sympathize with them, whether knowingly or out of ignorance. For the average church member, they may do so out of ignorance, and I pray that God will open their eyes to see the fruit of false doctrines taught by these people. Church leaders should know better, but I have discovered that they are often just as ignorant because they are unwilling to search out the doctrines taught by these people. 

Sure, the prophetic movement is exciting. I'm sure the recent Mega Fest (featuring TD Jakes, who rejects the Trinity, Joel Osteen, a prosperity preacher, and Oprah Winfrey, a Universalist and New Age Sympathizer) was exciting as well. But these may very well be wolves dressed in sheep's clothing. All of these groups are whittling away at the focus on biblical truth and the Gospel of Christ and presenting a gospel of man, making their appeal with claims of prophecies and miracles, and promises of prosperity. By this the enemy is drawing people away from the sufficiency of the Word of God and the cross of Christ. Be on you guard!

Passage: Ezekiel 13-15

On Tuesday, September 11, 2012 (Last Updated on 9/11/2013), Yujin wrote,

"Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: 'Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, "The Lord declares," and expect him to fulfill their words. Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, "The Lord declares," though I have not spoken? (Ezekiel 13:2, 3, 6, 7 NIV)

Friends, while the people of Israel had ultimate responsibility for their own false beliefs and wicked behavior, the prophets that guided them were also guilty, and their guilt was greater because they claimed to speak with God's authority. They claimed "God said..." when God did not speak to them. Therefore, the LORD says that what they uttered were false and lies, and for these they would be judged most severely.

I am reminded of the warnings Jesus gave to His disciples regarding the coming of false prophets:

At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:23, 24 NIV)

Paul also warned,

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3, 4 NIV)

Today, we still have people going around saying that God spoke to them, or that God gave them a vision, or even that God told them something about someone else. A few people have taken the trouble to document some of the more famous and bolder claims and found them false or, at the very least, exaggerated. I wish there was a for self-proclaimed prophets, even as there is a to expose inaccuracies, exaggerations and outright lies by politicians. Right along with this, a might be another good site. The problem is that there is no accountability; therefore, uncontested claims are taken as fact, or worse, as actually spoken or given by God. 

While we might give credit to God for every good thing (James 1:17), and even attribute to God's sovereignty every disaster (Amos 3:6), this is far different than saying, "God said..." or "God revealed to me..." or "God gave me a vision..." or "God gave me a dream..." Yet, preachers, teachers, evangelists, and self-proclaimed apostles and prophets do this repeatedly. And when their claims are shown to be false, rather than stop, they either conveniently forget about them, or they try to explain them away as the fault of others' unbelief, or they try to claim a kind of partial or spiritual fulfillment. What is worse, they try to defend their false prophecies from Scripture, so that adding to their false prophecies, they also eschew the Word of God.

Friends, as I said from the start, everyone will ultimately be responsible for themselves. Even if you were led astray, you are still responsible. That is why I never try to tell people to trust me or to follow my words or to shut them up because they disagree with what I teach. Instead I direct everyone to the Word of God. Everyone must read, study, and understand the Scriptures for themselves.

Passage: Ezekiel 13-15

On Sunday, September 11, 2011, Yujin wrote,
Friends, we read in Ezekiel 15:22-23,
Yet behold, there shall be left in it a remnant who will be brought out, both sons and daughters; surely they will come out to you, and you will see their ways and their doings. Then you will be comforted concerning the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, all that I have brought upon it. And they will comfort you, when you see their ways and their doings; and you shall know that I have done nothing without cause that I have done in it, says the Lord GOD.
Most often the term "remnant" is associated with the righteous, but here they refer to a selection from among the wicked that were allowed to survive His judgment. Even after judgment on the rest of the nation, these few will persist in their wickedness. When those in exile see the awfulness of their wickedness, they will understand why God judged the nation. They will not be angry with God and will be able to accept God's judgment on the people.

We find a similar scenario given by Paul in Romans 9:22-23,
What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory
In this text the reason is given for why God does not immediately judge the wicked ("vessels of wrath"). They are to be object lessons to demonstrate His wrath and power. Recall, Pharaoh and Egypt were not immediately destroyed when God brought Israel out of Egyptian bondage. God used many means and over time to produce a kind of "shock and awe" response from the Egyptians, Pharaoh, the world, and especially the Israelites.

Another reason is to set them in contrast to the righteous ("vessels of mercy"), who have been predestined ("prepared beforehand") for glory. Just as white is most appreciated on a background of black, so the righteous stand out against the backdrop of the wicked. Also, God's great mercy stands in relief to His severe judgment. And as this plays out, God's sovereign justice is vindicated.

Please understand, what we are meant to pay attention to is not so much the people but God. Did God have to destroy the wicked? No! How do we know this? He preserved some to live. But He does destroy most of them because it demonstrates His holiness to the living. Did He have to preserve the righteous? Again, no! Although one may question whether the exiles were truly the righteous remnant, God, nevertheless, chose them to live and give Him glory. The central point is not the salvation or destruction of men, but rather what most glorifies God.

Let us understand this too, for we have too high a view of ourselves. Let us focus on God and give Him all the glory, for this is according to God's plan, and those who fight against it will likely perish in their stubbornness. Remember John 3:16 does not read, "the world was so lovely that God gave His One and only Son..." nor does it read "the world was so loved...", but it says "GOD so loved the world..." or even better translated, "God in this way loved the world..." The focus is not on us but God, not on our loveliness but on God's. To God alone be all the glory!