By Learnmore Zuze
“The god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of many –instead of worshipping the Creator they have gone after the creatures.”
Imagine you are living in the days of the Biblical Prophet Isaiah and you are one of the devout worshippers of the time. On a typical day of worship you are in the large temple together with scores of other worshippers.
The temple is filled to capacity and a couple of people have had to stand outside the temple. All the worshippers are waiting for the arrival of Prophet Isaiah. A narrow red carpet stretches from the temple door to the pulpit.
Outside the temple, a top-of-the-range horse-powered chariot arrives and a heavily guarded Prophet Isaiah sits comfortably in the chariot being chauffeured. As the iron chariot nears the temple entrance there is jostling to catch a glimpse of the man of God.
The chariot stops at the entrance and dozens of security personnel disembark from white horses wielding swords and start shoving away the crowd.
The prophet slowly disembarks from the chariot clad in a long and shiny robe. He also spots a glittering gold ring. The glamorous Isaiah is flanked by aides and body guards. One can easily mistake his arrival for a king’s arrival given the splendor and security.
The prophet then enters the temple to a deafening roar of appreciation as believers kneel down before him. Question: Do you honestly think the Biblical prophet Isaiah’s conduct was anything near this imaginary scenario? Could Prophet Isaiah have worn expensive garments?
Did he possibly dress in fine apparel? Could he have been chauffeured in a chariot? Might he have worn a gold ring? Would he let worshippers kneel down before him? Was he escorted by bodyguards? That certainly does not sound like the conduct of a Biblical prophet.
However, this exact scenario is precisely the order of the day at today’s prophet-led churches the world over. I tried to imagine prophet Isaiah doing the same but I failed. Foremost, I failed to picture a true prophet of God allowing any one to kneel down before them.
There has been a sharp rise in the number of people calling themselves or at least being called prophets and thousands of people have wondered after them. I am glad that the Bible does not leave us without the means to identify a true prophet of God.
Currently, Harare alone has an estimated fifty-one prophet-led churches. That means Harare alone has fifty-one prophets not to mention well-known prophets in other parts of the country. Come to think of it, if Israel, an entire (chosen) nation could only be allocated one prophet at a time, what of Zimbabwe?
Does it mean our land has suddenly become more blessed as to receive an avalanche of prophets?
Touch not my Anointed
I am one person who believes in standing for the truth even if it means standing alone. Militant followers of today’s prophets are quick to demonize and vilify anyone who speaks to the contrary.
It is my personal conviction that, “Touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm.”(1 Chronicles 16:22) is the most abused verse of our time. The ‘Lord’s anointed’, is a reference to the kings and prophets of the nation of Israel.
When they were a few in number and strangers they wandered from one nation to another, God permitted no one to do them wrong and rebuked kings for their sakes, saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.”(1 Chron16:19,20,21).
In this highly abused Scripture, God protected His anointed (Israel) and His prophets from the enemies of Israel from inflicting physical harm on them. The word touch in fact means physical harm. I really pray for the day when zealous followers of the New Age prophets will understand this verse in its context.
The mention of prophets is used exclusively in the Old Testament. No apostle in the New Testament ever ran away from scrutiny of his teaching or conduct by saying, ‘Touch not’. In fact, Paul actually praised the men of Berea for checking whatever he taught.
I will devote a whole article to the verse. Most of the so called anointed teachers have protection from their followers whose minds they have trained to repel anything new. Failure to tell people to search the Scriptures and expose false teaching is abdication of responsibility for any apostle of God.
Therefore, unless someone is speaking the Word correctly, they are not teaching the truth and it does not matter if they call themselves anointed, they are misleading and we have a duty to tell.
Verses like, “Judge not…” (Matt 7:1) have become defense lines for people engaging in abhorrent practices hiding behind the name of Jesus Christ. But I am glad that we have full backing from the Bible which allows us to test the prophets.
The Bible instructs us not to believe every spirit but to “…test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone into the world.”(1 John 4:1). I covered a great deal of this work in a book entitled ‘Identifying God’s true prophets.’
A true prophet has to be in complete harmony with Biblical teaching.
Contrary to flamboyance, one characteristic of God’s true prophets was humility. God’s prophets were simple men who were easily accessible. You did not need to be one of the highest tithe-payers to get a front row seat in the synagogue.
They needed no guards nor did they bother living in expensive luxury. Biblical prophets are depicted as people whose hearts and lifestyles were far removed from the things of the world. In fact, they labored for God to turn back people from the love of the world.
They had no business predicting people’s identity numbers or addresses. They received messages from God which concerned the entire nation not personal you-will-own-a-house prophecies. They were not mere foretellers.
As for John the Baptist whom the Bible recognizes as the greatest of them all, he stayed in the wild and never performed any known miracle. Prophet Elijah lived in a forest for close to three years and had to be fed by ravens (1Kings17:3, 4).
For three years Prophet Isaiah walked in sack-cloth on bare foot as a sign against Egypt and Cush (Isa 20:3). Even more, a prophet does not choose his life; it is laid out by God.
A true messenger of God exalts Jesus Christ and humbles himself. Apostle Peter downplayed himself when he healed a cripple at the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:12). Instead of taking the glory which the crowd sought to give him he refused, instead choosing to exalt Christ.
What Peter displayed is a quality not to be found in today’s prophets who love the glory and honor. Even their churches are identified by their names. The fact that a stranger can tell you the directions to your home and predict soccer match outcomes hardly makes them a prophet.
Biblical Prophets led humble servant-like lifestyles.
On the contrary, today’s prophets are champions in loving things of the world and teaching the same. Talk of sleek cars, leafy suburbs and expensive garments! They have acquired wealth and gathered expensive fortune for themselves through an earthly-focused gospel.
They pride themselves for performing miracles.
A day spent at these churches will leave you thinking that poverty and not sin is at the center of the fight between God and Satan. Luke 15:7 tells us that “… there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents…” not over the acquiring of wealth of one poor man.
Biblical prophets detested showy tendencies and upheld the principle of humility. Christ is an embodiment of humility; he was equal to God in every sense yet he strongly warned the people he healed against telling the world but today’s prophets jostle to claim glory and media attention for ‘their’ miracles.
The act of kneeling
What of the common practice of kneeling down before the ‘men of God’?
Apostle John, after having been shown visions by an angel of God fell on his knees to worship it but the angel quickly stopped him from kneeling saying, “…Do not do it! I am a fellow-servant with you and with your brothers the prophets…” (Rev 19:10).
Now, if the powerful angel Gabriel does not deserve to have people kneeling down before him, what of a mere human being? The truth is: If you kneel down before any person or angel and they do not stop you from the act then you have definitely worshipped a spirit other than that of God.
Brethren, do not be deceived; there is no name in Heaven and on earth beneath given unto man that we should kneel down before except the name of Jesus Christ. The act of kneeling has got only one clear Biblical interpretation.
The act of kneeling is the ultimate show of worship. It is a show of submission to God’s incomparable supremacy. People may try to sugar-coat this blasphemous practice to mean respect but the Biblical truth stands clear for all to see.
Philippians notes that only Jesus Christ was given a name above every name such “…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth…” (Phil 2:9, 10). Ask yourself, which Biblical prophet had people kneeling down before him?
Prophets aside, even an angel of God commits a serious sin if it lets anyone kneel down before it. In all Biblical history, no angel and no true man of God ever let anyone kneel down before them. We are fellow servants before God.
Even Satan knows too well what kneeling means hence he said to Jesus, “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me” (Matt 3; 9). It is amazing how the devil has twisted the minds of people not to see things plainly revealed in Scripture.
Thousands upon thousands of people today have become members of cults disguised as Christian churches. God is calling his children out of human worship; it is a form of idolatry which our jealous God detests passionately hence he made it the first of his Commandments to desist from other gods.
Kneeling down is no simple matter as naïve followers are made to believe; in Christian history, many martyrs have died by the sword for refusing to kneel down for a human being.
A misleading definition of a prophet
Today’s definition of a prophet is highly misleading and foremost responsible for the blasphemous practices rife in today’s churches. The world today defines a prophet as anyone who can foretell future events. This is dangerous because pharaoh’s magicians and soothsayers where experts at this practice.
Predicting of the future is also Satan’s specialty as evidenced in the Bible account in which apostles Paul and Silas met a slave girl “…who had a spirit by which she predicted the future”(Acts 16:16) yet she was led by an evil spirit.
The Bible actually records that she made a lot of money through predicting the future just like we are witnessing today. Brethren, prophets of God are not simply anyone who can predict the future.
Zecharia puts it in the clear that a prophet is a servant of God who speaks forth the words and commands that he or she receives from God.(Zech 1;6).Also, according to second Peter 1;21 a prophet speaks for God as he or she is moved by the Holy Spirit.
In other words, a prophet does not speak anything of his own but that which he or she receives from the Lord. A prophet does not express what is in his own thoughts but simply expresses the mind of God to the people.
A prophet acts as a mouthpiece of God to men “…for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort (1 Cor 14:3). Question: do you honestly think Almighty God above and his Heavenly host would sit a council to deliver a prophecy concerning an AFCON final soccer match to the people?
Honestly, do you think a prophet who predicts a soccer match result is expressing God’s mind to the people? Surely, how does foretelling the death of a prominent person strengthen or comfort the church? How about a prophet who prophecies a bumper harvest for a tobacco farmer?
What of a prophet who allows people to kneel down before him against all Biblical evidence? How about a prophet who boasts of his ability to predict passport numbers? You have surely seen newspaper advertisements with the inscription, ‘The only prophet in Zimbabwe who can tell your correct identity number.’
Surely, these men can’t be expressing the mind of God to the people. This I say without fear or bias. Yes, they may work signs and wonders; they may have thousands following after them but Biblically they stand way off the mark.
Remember Jesus Christ advised that one key indicator of the last days is the rise of false prophets who will deceive many (Matt 24:11).
The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord, Satan will work, with all power “…in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and lying wonders and in every sought of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”(2 Thessalonians 1:9).
Sooner or later Christ comes to take those who have not been defiled with human worship. The Lord’s battle cry today is for his people to come out of this great deception and repent for Jesus is coming quickly.
Choose whom you will kneel down for this day, as for me and my household we will worship the Lord of Heaven.
This is the last hour. Take heed that no one deceives you.
In the next article I will be discussing the key ways of identifying a true prophet of God.
Learnmore Zuze is an author and speaker and can be e-mailed at [email protected]