How the world views prophets
In these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. These prophets ranked second to the apostles in the framework of God’s Church. (Eph. 4:11.) Their mission seems to have been to receive messages or prophecies direct from God, and to convey these messages from God to the apostles or evangelists or elders. God’s Word had not yet been completely committed to writing. The New Testament was still in process of being written. There is no evidence of the existence of any prophets in the Church since the New Testament was written.
~ Herbert W Armstrong, “Must God’s Ministers Be Ordained by the Hand of Man?“
The above quote proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that almost every so-called “prophet” in the Church of God splinters is nothing more than a liar. I previously wrote in “‘Prophets’ Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Herbert W Armstrong” how all but one that I am aware of prove by their very own words to be false prophets.
In short, you cannot claim to follow the teachings of HWA and also claim to be a prophet. HWA himself rejected that title, and he stated numerous times that the Bible is a completed work, thus making the role of prophet unnecessary.
What a Prophet Is Not
Since there is a lot of misinformation about what a prophet is out there, and a lot of it is promulgated by false prophets themselves, it pays to review just what a prophet is. Wikipedia states that a “Prophet” is:
In religion, a prophet is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and to speak for them, serving as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people. The message that the prophet conveys is called a prophecy.
Notice what is not in this definition:
- It does not say that a prophet must predict the future. Obviously, a lot of prophecies are words from a deity warning about future events, but that is not a requirement in order to be a prophet. Abraham was called a prophet, but did he give predictions of the future? He had promises, which I suppose are close, but they aren’t the typical gloom-and-doom messages we typically associated with prophecies. John the Baptist only predicted that One would come after him.
- It does not say that a prophet must have hands laid on him/her. Elisha had Elijah’s mantel cast upon him for his selection, but there is no mention of hands being laid upon him. Abram did not have oil poured over his head, and in fact it was typically only kings we see that occur. Moses even was not anointed with oil nor had hands laid upon him.
- It does not say that a prophet is an office, a rank or a position. That doesn’t mean prophets are not to be given a measure of respect, but the fact is that prophets often come out of nowhere, are people outside of the system of the group of people being warned and are usually very reluctant messengers. Prophets are sent to stand before kings and even confront religious leaders. So much for made up stipulations like a prophet must “understand God’s government”.
- The definition does not state that a prophet must be able to perform signs and miracles. In particular, John the Baptist and Jeremiah did not perform miracles.
- The definition does not state that a degree in theology or some other recognition by mankind’s organizations is required. In fact, it is very likely that a true prophet won’t even be recognized as one by the world. It is even possible that those who claim to be following God will not recognize a true prophet. In particular, Amos said he was what we might call an agriculturalist or farmer. He took care of fig trees and sheep. Jesus and His followers were criticized for being unlearned, which meant they were outside the religious system. In fact, they often butted heads with the religious authorities! Jesus’ disciples were appointed by Jesus, but who appointed Jesus? It was definitely not the Sadducees and Pharisees.
- For the record, it does not state that a prophet must run around in a funny robe or other weird attire or appear taller, charismatic and adored, sort of like in the picture at the beginning of the article.
What Are We Left With? What Is a Prophet?
What the Wikipedia article and what we see in the cases of the prophets mentioned, they heard from God. Paul could legitimately call himself a prophet because he apparently had visions (including one of the 3rd heaven), but he also saw the risen Jesus Christ and was taught by Him directly.
Notice what GTA (not HWA as some sloppy “researchers” write) said about prophets in the June 1960 The Plain Truth article “Why Prophecy?“:
The prophets were not a special hierarchy, a guild, or a certain “class” of men! Many of them were chosen from various of the tribes, and, unlike those of the tribe of Levi, were not BORN into their office.
“… The prophecy came not in old time by the WILL OF MAN, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Pet. 1:21).
This is the crux of the matter, as this is the verse used to show the NT is complete. There is no need of prophets until the very end, seeing as it is all written. Jesus criticized the Pharisees for not believing the writings that were about Him. How much less will He view present day religion, including those in the COG who would pervert doctrine?
GTA also wrote:
The Hebrew word for prophet, “Nabi” means “one who announces or brings a message from God.” The word “prophet” in the English language means essentially the same thing — “one who speaks by Divine inspiration as the interpreter or spokesman of God,” whether it be a message of duty and warning, or a prediction of future events.
A prophet is one who speaks FOR God; hence, the prefix “pro” (from the Greek language — from which our word “prophet” is derived) which means “for” and “before” so that a prophet is one who speaks FOR GOD, or one who tells BEFORE — one who PREDICTS, foretells, prophecies!
This points to what is the essential definition of “prophet”. An apostle or evangelist is only required to interpret God’s written word, but a prophet “hears” God speak! This is exactly why HWA did not claim to be a prophet.
So, if HWA was not a prophet, then why do so many who worship him want to elevate themselves above him? It is obvious that their motives are anything but pure.
So, how do you tell a true prophet from a false one? It may take time, but it is actually quite easy. The problem with most people is that they don’t want to believe they are wrong. They don’t want to believe that they have invested in nothing but sunk costs. It is too difficult to admit they made a mistake to their friends, family or even themselves.
There really are only three criteria:
- They need to fit the definition. “I’m a prophet but I don’t hear God” is like saying “I’m a passenger in a plane but it doesn’t fly through the air.” A plane flies. If not, it is either not a plane or a very broken one. I prophet hears or sees God (usually via vision or dream, but not physically). If not, that person is not a prophet or a very false one. A prophet needs to be speaking in the name of the LORD.
- When the prophet speaks in the name of God, the thing they speak needs to come to pass (Dt 18:22). We do need to realize that some actions of God have a timing that only He knows. We also need to realize that some prophecies are conditional, like when Jonah prophesied to Nineveh and they repented. However, when pronouncements are made that 3 elders of the splinters will die in one day and that day passes, or that the Tribulation will begin on a certain date and it does not, or that Jesus will return on Pentecost or some other date, and He does not, then that is a false prophecy.
- Their teachings must line up with the Bible (Isaiah 8:20). The whole Bible. Period. When people add things like you must believe in “proper governance”, believe HWA is the endtime Elijah, or other unbiblical lies, then they are false prophets.
I know of none of these false prophets that came out of WCG that do not violate at least #1 and #3 above. Interestingly, one false prophet skirts #2 simply by not making any prophecies (of course, he cannot because of #1, but that goes over his head). It’s an interesting tactic, to say the least.
He might as well be plain and state: “I am a prophet. I am not a false prophet because I have not made any false prophecies. Of course, I have not made any prophecies, in fact, but speculations. Therefore, I am a prophet who does not prophesy.”
How do people not see through such obvious tactics?
Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since #2 should be the most obvious of all! Yet, Ronald Weinland is still technically in charge of a “church”, although much smaller in size (finally!). It is amazing how long it takes some to wise up. If people used more common sense, RCG would be disbanded by now because of false prophet who doesn’t want to call himself a prophet David Pack’s spectacularly false prediction.
Brethren, it is pride. Pure and simple. The human mind doesn’t like to admit it is wrong, so instead of facing the truth, human beings, even “normal” ones, have a tremendous capacity for deceiving themselves into believing a lie.
Why does the Bible talk about “truth” so often? Why does the Bible speak of those who love the truth? Why does the command “be not deceived” occur 5 times in the Bible?
Because deception is destructive. Lies can kill. God is truth, and His children must be children of light. Deception can keep you out of the Kingdom of God!
Discernment: A matter of life and death! Eternal!