Dialogs and Commentary

Flesh Prophets?

Extracted from a response to a "prophecy" sent to us that the Spirit of discernment said NO to.

Let us take a quick look at the nature of true prophecy:

Jer 28:8 (NIV) From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms.

1 Thes 5:20 (NIV) Do not despise prophecies.

"Do not despise prophecies" is an interesting verse. Doesn't everyone want to know the future, even if bad? Why are we told--even commanded--not to despise them? The Spirit of prophecy--the Spirit of Christ (Rev 19:10d)--will only and ever encourage the life of Christ IN US, and always mortify the flesh. That is why people who claimed to be seeking God (just like us) killed prophets in the past.

If we could have had medical probes on these people (or us) we would see a PHYSICAL manifestation of true prophecy striking flesh. Blood pressure would rise, headaches would be felt, teeth would begin to gnash (Acts 7:54), and faces would turn red. This mortification of the flesh/edification to the Spirit is one way true prophecy can be recognized. It is part of "all that we must suffer for His name's sake" while in these corruptible bodies. We should not despise it, but let the words strike our carnal natures unto death.

1 Cor 1:29 (NKJ) so that no flesh should glory in His presence.

False prophets aim straight for the flesh--what people want to hear. For more on this, see the archetype case-study of Jeremiah/Hannaniah quoted as an opener, or perhaps better still the case of Micaiah in 2 Chronicles 18, a snippet from which is below:

2 Chr 18:5-6 (NAS) Then the king of Israel assembled the prophets, four hundred men, and said to them, "Shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?" And they said, "Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king." But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?"

The essential message of the false prophet is "peace and prosperity" when there will be neither. This is expanded in-depth in the full Bible study on False Prophecy.

2 Pet 1:21 (NIV) For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

What you sent us was not a FALSE PROPHECY in this sense, as it was not aimed to tickle the ears of the flesh (at least of the hearer). This would fall more into the category of FLESH PROPHECY.

If you are unfamiliar with this as a term, surely you have seen enough of it in practice? It is where someone has either been used as a real prophet previously, or has studied the way true prophets (versus false) really speak (i.e., Jer 28:8, above), and has copped the style. Thus, we have a lot of religious imagery put together in a simulated utterance meant to sound like a prophecy--even having a condemning sort of feel--but originating from the FLESH, not the Spirit.

So, while REAL prophecies will mortify the flesh, all that mortifies the flesh is not real prophecy.

The flesh prophet may even be doctrinally correct. In experience, though, the message of the flesh prophet is usually laced with some erroneous point the speaker wants to get us to buy into, which would not fly unless couched thus. Again, by direct experience, it is often given in an affected style of speech or writing. But it is a cheap imitation, not stirring the coals of the Spirit, but merely sounding a bit like what once did. It aims to come off as prophecy by mortifying the flesh, which it does somewhat (but differently--with real prophecies we squirm, with flesh we groan at the lameness of them), but there is no corresponding edification to the life of Christ in us.

Remember, of true prophecy it is said, "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man". If someone has obviously designed or concocted a prophecy, ought not we be suspicious?

Flesh prophecy has become so common, I suspect I could do it on purpose (i.e., "fake it"--perish the thought) and get 95% of charismatic Christians to "confirm" it. But there are a few whom I know in advance would "know better", having stood in God's council and knowing the real from the bogus. Also, there might be a few surprises of the Spirit in the "babes" miraculously being raised up to confound the "wise"...

As to the "vision" you sent, there was more than the flesh prophet sheen... there were pigs in the parlor as well. There were elements in it that would rebuke Jesus, Paul, Peter, Titus, etc. directly and in kind for what they said and did and emphasized. It directly violated scripture on several points of command, especially in the way of defending the gospel. (Was this not the obvious motive for the rest of the flesh prophecy "wrapper"?) Thus, it could not have been of the Spirit of Christ. Christ (and others) vehemently attacked error, not trying to please men or titillate flesh, but to please God.

We must find our steps with the Spirit to "discern all things". In this, we would do well to stand in the presence of the Lord and His Word so as to be able to detect the bogus.

Lam 2:14 (NAS) Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions; and they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.

Jer 23:21-22 (NIV) I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.

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