"Prophets And Personal Prophecy": A Critical Review
By Norm Springer
There are few more influential yet largely unheralded books currently floating in the Charismatic and Pentecostal streams which have profoundly affected them than Bill Hamon's pioneering work "Prophets And Personal Prophecy," which was first published in 1987. Millions of copies of the book have been circulated around the world in every conceivable setting where Charismatic and Pentecostal circles have embraced the so-called "apostolic/prophetic reformation" and it is viewed as a practical, even foundational textbook for training believers how to "flow with the gifts" of the prophetic and the so-called five fold office of the prophet. But just what is Hamon advancing in this book that would require a critical review? Our good Pentecostal friend and colleague Norm Springer of Arizona explains in this review he has graciously allowed us to web into an article. RDM
This will be a critical look at the book "Prophets And Personal Prophecy" by Dr. Bill Hamon.
The book, in itself has many very good teachings. It teaches that there are prophets today. Also that there is an office in the church called prophet, and is one of the several gifts to the church after the ascension of Jesus. It teaches the miraculous use of the prophetic voice and the miracle working power given to the saints of God through the Holy Spirit who came to us in power on the day of Pentecost. But there are a few things that disturb me in the book and I will enumerate them here. I am sending a copy of this work to Dr. Hamon for his comments.
I do not write these things in order to attack Dr. Hamon. I have heard him speak and I relate to him as a Christian Brother, especially one who has gone through many of things that I have in the Pentecostal circles of the 1950's through the 1980's.
I might first of all, give a background of some of the things I believe relative to the subject matter of the book. Someone may certainly be critical of those things I believe and if so, they are surely welcome to write to me and give their scriptural viewpoints. I am open to criticism and am willing to change any of these beliefs if sufficient scriptures, accurately given, are used for the opposing view.
First of all I believe that we are in the last of the last days. I will not go into the many various and sundry scriptures on that point as I believe that the majority of Christians reading this material agree with me on that view of scripture.
In the book of Hebrews chapter one and verses one and two we find the following. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; ---"
I think that in giving us this scripture that the author is telling us that there is a new thing that has come in "these last days." The last days being the days from the time of Jesus upon the earth and His return at the end of the age. This new thing is that God no longer speaks to us the same as he did in the Old Testament times. In those days he spoke to the fathers through the prophets. We will remember that the children of Israel did not want God to speak to them directly.
The children of Israel pleaded with Moses for the Lord not to speak to them directly because they were afraid of God. From that time on the general way that God spoke to Israel was by the prophets. So, we have this statement in the book of Hebrews that God spoke to the fathers, (the ancestors) by the prophets, but in these last days has spoken and is speaking to us in a different manner. This manner is directly through his son, Jesus. Of course, it is taught in the scriptures that we are also taught by various teachers, prophets, apostles and other saints gifted and endued with the Holy spirit who Himself leads us into all truth.
When Jesus was on the earth he said, "my sheep know my voice and another they will not follow." Each person who knows Jesus is responsible to hear his voice and to follow him alone. Paul said that we should follow him as he followed the Lord. This means that if anyone is actually following Jesus he can follow them in what they do. But it also means that the final responsibility remains upon the follower. He is to judge, by the voice of Jesus, who is following Him and who is not.
I do wish that the reader would keep in mind that this article is not written in the spirit of bitterness or of a judgmental attitude. The writer, in the past had a very critical spirit. I judged everything in the Church with a very wrong attitude. It is my hope that the Lord has taken this attitude out of my heart. Nevertheless, the warnings of Jesus are still very much in my heart. He warned us that in the last days that the love of many would wax cold, and there would be much deception perpetrated upon the world and upon the Christians.
He also stated that many false prophets would come, even in His name, and would deceive many. He warned that if He did not shorten those days that even the very elect of God would not be saved. He gave us many parables of these times and they all warned of a falling away, an apostasy, and a great deception. It is to be something that looks so Godly and so Christ like that even Gods' very elect would be in great danger. Paul warned the same things for these perilous times. That doctrines of devils would be prevalent. Men would speak lies in hypocrisy and that there would be the outward form of godliness but the real power of God would not be in it.
I will ask many questions about this book and its teaching. This is not to cause anyone to stumble from the Lord but to cause them to look to Jesus and to not accept everything that comes down the pike. The days are too dangerous: "Perilous", as Paul calls them; too perilous for us to not be diligent and valiant for the truth. We must continually look to Jesus and listen for His voice. We must know the word of God and remember that every Christian is responsible to God alone for his knowledge of the Bible and the Christ of the Bible.
Anyone, and I repeat, ANYONE who thinks that he can go to church, read books, listen to tapes and not study continually ALL of the things he hears and sees is in great danger of deception that will lead to great heartache and maybe even to destruction. We may sit down to a great banquet with the finest of delicacies on the table. Steak, vegetables, fruits, all manners of delicious desserts. But if there is just one little dish laced with arsenic it can be the instrument of our death.
Satan knows this very well. He does not care how much truth he gives the Church of God as long as he can slip that one dish of poison on the table. When he argued with Jesus he gave him much truth right from the word of God. The problem was that he had just a little twist to it that made it dangerous. It sounded good but the motive was wrong and the end was the way of death. Jesus refused it on the grounds that the fullness of the word of God on the subjects presented by Satan refuted the doctrine the Devil tried to feed Him. We must do the same.
The Prophetic Or The Perilous?
I believe that there are many sincere men and women preaching the word of God with their whole heart and soul whom are deceived in certain areas. I was, and certainly may be now and in the future. We all must leave ourselves open to criticism and to a multitude of counselors wherein there is wisdom and safety. It is my hope that Dr. Hamon will take this writing from one who is saying, "Dear Brother, be careful. You too can be deceived and therefore become a deceiver." It can happen to you, and it can happen to me. Let us watch for one another's souls in these perilous times.
I have seen many people destroyed by personal prophecies. I am thinking of one young man who my wife and I led to the lord several years ago. He was baptized in the Holy Spirit and began a good walk with God. One night he met a man who gave him a revelation supposedly by the Holy Spirit. This personal prophecy was that the young man was chosen as an apostle of God and would have a mighty anointing. From that time on that young man has gone down hill. He began to be filled with the thought of his own importance and at this time no one can tell him anything. He has fallen into open wickedness and claims that since he is special that he has to go through these periods of sin and darkness because he is chosen for deeper things than his brethren.
One of the greatest weapons of Satan is to make one feel that they are especially chosen of God for a great work. If Satan can get someone to get their eyes on their special calling and off of Jesus and their own smallness; then he can lead them down a path to destruction. Pride comes before a fall.
I wish to warn Dr. Harmon on this point for I believe that his book is filled with this little dish of arsenic. I wish to warn him that if this little dish gets blown out of proportion in the church of God it will bring much heartache and possibly destruction. The "covering" or "shepherding" movement of a few years ago is an example of this very thing. This new "prophet" movement has the potential of doing that very thing again to the body of Christ and even has a more deadly potential.
Dr. Hamon has been given several personal prophecies by other prophets, prophecies which he gives much credence to. These are personal prophecies, which have been given by many individuals over a period of many years. One of the earliest given contained these words.
For thus saith the Lord, I have even kept thee unto Mine own purpose. Yea, thou knewest Me not, I even sheltered thee. For Lo, thou art a chosen vessel, saith the Lord. Yea, I have chosen thee and appointed thee .. (1)
Another prophecy Hamon cites:
Yea, My son, even as the Spirit of the Lord burned in the heart, yea, even in the bones of My servant Jeremiah, even so doth the fire kindle and burn within thy heart. Yea, thou art as a steed that stands ready to be loosened to go forth, for thou hast the message in thy heart and thou hast an eye that is single and thy love to God has been made known through the Spirit of the Lord (2).
Also we find,
Yea, is not this the day that thou shalt go forth in His might and His power? Have I not said in my word concerning My own children, 'ye are gods?` Thou shalt to forth as gods with power in thine hands, and minister life and faith unto those that are desolate. Yea, I say unto thee, thou shalt be a leader of leaders. Yea, thou shalt see multitudes running unto thee, for as a light upon a tall hill shalt thou be. Yea, fear shall be in the hearts of those round about thee, yet thou shalt stand as one full of courage, saith the Lord (3).
As we can see, there is a lot of powerful and heady stuff in this kind of prophecy. I do not say that it is not of God, It is not for me to say thus saith the Lord on this matter. But, I will say that there is a danger in this kind of prophecy and the one hearing it should be very careful.
First of all we may take note of the fact that it seems that God cannot really speak in a convincing manner unless He speaks in old King James English. This may give us a clue that the nature of the prophecy may be corrupted. The scripture referred to stating that we are gods is quoted from Psalm 82:1 "I have said, Ye are gods: and all of you are children of the most High." The Psalm is refering to the judges of Israel and states that they, the judges are elohim or gods. They judge between good and evil. The prophecy above states that he will have power to minister life and faith as he goes forth in power. This elohim god has men running to him as a light on a hill. He will be one that fills hearts with fear. These statements are dangerous and a mis-representation of the scripture quoted from the Psalm. The gods refered to in the Psalm are, as we have said, only judges, not those who are endued with supernatural powers.
Secondly, as I mentioned before, I get very suspicious when God himself has to speak in the King James English. It seems that the speaker must give credence to his words by couching them in the old English way of speaking. This also does not mean that it is not of God, but I would certainly be wary of any man coming to me, or an angel for that matter, that had to speak in King James English to make it sound more godly.
From what I understand from the book this prophecy was given to him when he was only eighteen years old. Pretty heady stuff for a young man.
The book leans heavily on personal prophecy. His wife writes these words.
Because of this constant giving, Bill has also reaped in like kind: He has received from others a multitude of personal prophecies. Those that were recorded have all been typed and placed in a five inch ring notebook, which contains over 600 pages of double - and single - spaced text. They amount to over 150,000 prophetic words given to the two of us (4).
Just within the last five years, about fifteen prophecies have been received concerning an apostolic anointing
to be added to the ascension gift office of the prophet. The Holy Spirit said that this has been given for the purpose of pioneering, establishing, and taking a fatherhood responsibility for the restoration and propagation of the office of the prophet" (5).
Notice the word "restoration" "a fatherhood responsibility for the restoration and propagation of the office of the prophet." First of all, I would ask, When did the office of the prophet disappear? Has it been lost? We find all through the book that this office along with the office of the other so called ascension gifts has somehow been lost, or not fully recognized by the Church. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism taught the people that the everlasting true gospel of Jesus Christ was lost and that he had been commissioned to restore it. Thereby he led many millions into the cult of Mormonism and eventually into spiritual death. His premise was that God had to restore the gospel through him and that no one can have the Holy Spirit imparted to them except through the laying on of hands through the authority of the Mormon Church which alone, has true apostles and prophets.
Now we have a book telling us that the Gospel is being restored in these last days and that the author himself is one of the main characters in the restoration of the prophets and apostles in the last days. This bothers me. We will find in our study that the office of the prophet is exalted to a place of great authority and power by this book. I consider it dangerous as it puts too much reliance upon special authority given to men.
We will find that there is an extreme exalting of the office of prophet, even to causing one to fear of "touching the apple of God's eye." The Apostle Paul warns us in the Book of Galatians about our being brought into bondage. He teaches that we must be respectful of all true authority but to never be bound by any person. In Galatians 2:6-9 he speaks in this manner concerning the apostles in Jerusalem:
But of these who seemed to be somewhat,(whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me; God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumsion was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (for he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship;
I am sure that Paul had respect for these men but he was not overly impressed with their authority. He knew who he was and that God had called him to a work and he was not that thrilled with their stature.
Truly the Bible teaches us that there are true prophets in the Church. My contention is that the office of prophet is different than this book would have us believe. The book keeps bringing us back to the Old Testament to assure us that it is on the right track concerning these modern day prophets. I contend that the office of prophet is very different from the Old Testament prophet as to almost do away with that old style of ministry.
Jesus himself proclaimed this - listen to him in Matthew 11:9 and selected verses.
But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.----Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. --- For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
We find here the same thing stated in the book of Hebrews. "Hath (past tense) spoken to us by the prophets." Now we find Jesus saying that all the prophets prophesied until John and now a new thing has happened. The least saint in the kingdom of God is greater than the greatest of all Old Testament prophets.
Now that the King is here there is a new order of things. When Jesus ascended unto the Father He not only sent certain gifts but He sent the gift of the Holy Ghost. Now every believer has the potential of being greater in power and attachment to God than any Old Testament prophet. We need to keep this in mind when anyone begins to magnify an office and to claim great things for themselves and others.
We now hear the book saying this:
Yet not all Christians understand how to recognize the voice of the Lord. Even when they do recognize it many do not know how to respond to it so that it can be fulfilled. In this way, as in many other ways, no individual is self - sufficient in his relationship with God; we all need the rest of the Body of Christ. So God has set within the body the ministry of the prophet as a special voice; He has established the gift of prophecy as His voice in the midst of the congregation; and He has sent the spirit of prophecy to give testimony of Jesus throughout the world (6).
Jesus said "My sheep". Are these sheep Christians? When we say the word "Christian" we must be saying sheep. Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice and another they will not follow." What the book says is true, many so called Christians do not know how to really hear from God. This is where the danger lies. These people can be led astray so very easily by false teachers. The Scriptures tell us that they are led away by every wind of doctrine. If they do not know the voice of the shepherd then how can they discern between a false prophet and a true one?
The book tells us that the voice of the prophet is a special (notice the word special) voice and is the very voice of God in the midst of the congregation. We now see the beginning of the magnification of the office of prophet and the man himself.
Now we come to an amazing statement. "The coming of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church, and the writing of the Bible did not eliminate the need for the prophetic voice of the Lord; in fact, it intensified that need. Peter insisted that the prophet Joel was speaking of the Church age when he proclaimed, "I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy." Paul emphasized that truth when he told the church at Corinth to covet to prophesy."
Now listen to this reasoning as we quote once again.
the writing of the Bible did not eliminate the need for the prophetic voice of the Lord; in fact, it intensified that need (7).
Jesus said that the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost would lead us into all truth. The emphasis in the Scriptures is that in these last days that God himself would write the law in our hearts and that He would cause us to keep his statutes. He also said that there would be no more need for one to teach his neighbor because we will all know the Lord.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:26-28
Now, this book, without any scripture references, tells us that the coming of the Holy Spirit intensifies the need for the prophetic voice. I am wondering if it is referring to the need for the so called "ascension ministry" of the prophet or just the prophetic voice. If he means just the prophetic voice then certainly that voice will be magnified, not so much from need but from the abundance of people who will be filled with the Spirit of God. Even the servants and the handmaids will prophesy, or have the prophetic voice.
The book of Hebrews, in speaking of the great change from the Old covenant to the New, says this:
For this is the covenant that, I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws in to their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his brother, saying, Know the lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:10-13
Now, I will ask again, does this look like the voice of the prophetic office needs to be intensified in these last days, or does the voice of the prophet need to be lessened?
Now we come to the crux of the matter. I quote the book here once again.
Peter insisted that the prophet Joel was speaking of the Church age when he proclaimed, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy' Paul emphasized that truth when he told the church at Corinth to `covet to Prophesy. "God still wants the revelation of His will to be vocalized. So He has established the prophetic ministry as a voice of revelation and illumination which will reveal the mind of Christ to the human race. He also uses this ministry to give specific instructions to individuals concerning His personal will for their lives. ---- The ministry of the prophet is not, of course, to bring about ---- (8)
If I read this right then the book is saying to us that when Joel prophesied that the prophesying of the hand maids, the old men and the young men and also the prophesying of the people in the church at Corinth makes their ministry the ministry of the latter day prophets. These latter day prophets are said by him to be one of the ascension gifts sent by Jesus to the Church. That is Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, and evangelists. These are considered by him to be person gifts or specific ministries.
On page 52 of his book we find the following.
The office of the prophet is designed and endowed to function in a higher realm of ministry than the Holy Spirit gift of prophecy. This gift of prophecy operates within the saints or a minister for the general upbuilding, encouraging, and comforting of the Church (1 Cor. 12:10; 14:3,4). But the office of prophet is authorized and anointed to do much more (9).
First we find the book telling us that the scriptures in 1 Corinthians explain to us the ministry of the prophet and now it tells us that it does not. It then goes on to speak of the greater ministry of the prophetic office with no scriptures to prove it at all. We continue the quote.
The prophet, in fact, has administrative authority. The prophet has the same authority to minister to the church with his preaching and prophesying as the pastor does with his preaching and pastoral counseling. Church prophets function in all the ministries of the Old Testament prophets, as well as the New Testament gift of the prophet standing in the role of Christ, the Prophet (10).
Wow!!! Some very heavy unscriptural stuff again. "The new Testament gift of the prophet standing in the role of Christ." Sounds almost like the Catholic priest being an alter Christi or "another Christ." When the author said he would magnify the office of prophet he was not kidding. I believe this magnifies the office way above that which God intended. Notice the "puffing up" of the prophet giving him AUTHORITY. This is not true authority but the grasping for power and control. It is dangerous.
We find another quote on page 13, which delineates between the ordinary saint prophesying and the office of prophet.
Instead, the prophet brings illumination and further specifics about that which has already been written. And the Holy Spirit's gift of prophecy through the saints is to bring edification, exhortation, and comfort to the Church. (1 Cor. 14:3.) (13).
Here we find another quote to prove the prophesying of the saints and then another statement to show the office of the prophet. And we have no scriptures to show us that the prophet is supposed to be there to enlighten the saints on the written word. If this is the function of the prophet then where does the teacher come in?
On page 214 we find the following.
The prophetic ministry is the only one that Scripture commands us to covet. `covet to prophesy' (1 Cor. 14:39) We are to make love our goal and `desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy' (1 Cor. 14:1). (14)
When he says "prophetic ministry" I understand him to be saying the office of prophet. 1 Cor. 12:31 says to "covet earnestly the best gifts:" 1 Cor. 14:39 tells us to "covet to prophesy,". This book tells us that the only ministry to covet is the prophetic ministry. If this is so then he must be talking about the ascension gift of the office of prophet. If not then why does the Scripture tell us to covet the gifts? To prophesy, according to this book does not make one a prophet. Therefore prophecy is a gift. The question is does Paul speak here of coveting gifts or coveting an office. I doubt very much if he is speaking of an office. So, are we to covet the office of prophet? And is that office the only one we should covet because it is so special? More puffing up? Let us look now at exactly what Paul says to us in 1 Cor. 12:27-31.
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
If I interpret scripture correctly Paul is telling us to covet all of the above gifts. If they are called offices then we are to covet all the above offices.
Hamon's Ascension Assumptions
One of the prevailing teachings we have in the church, which Dr. Hamon seems to believe, is that there are gifts of the Holy Ghost, which are given to the body of Christ. Then there are specific gifts of persons given to the body. The main scripture given for this teaching is Eph. 4:8. "Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." Then Paul speaks of those gifts in this manner in verse 11. "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers." From this we have the teaching of the "ascension gifts of persons ministries." The modern teaching on this subject is that these are the "five fold ministries", and that until they all five are in place and working in the church the church is not operating in its full capacity.
Here is that teaching according to this book:
The ministry of the prophet in the Church is not a gift of the Holy Spirit, but a gift-extension of Christ Himself as the Prophet. Jesus Christ was the full manifestation of the offices of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher all in one human body. After His ascension into Heaven, the fivefold ministry He had embodied on earth was sent back as gifts to the Church in the form of men who filled those offices. No one person received all five, but some received one (15).
Many are teaching today that these are the five main gifts in the Church; that they are the only "person" ministries and that these persons themselves are gifts to the church, in exclusion of the other gifts. They say that the other gifts are given through individuals but are not the so called ascension gifts. As we can see this is taught quite adequately in this book. The teaching exalts certain men and offices and gives them special favor in the church.
The "ascension gifts" are taught in order of importance as Paul lists them in Ephesians. That is, first Apostles, then prophets, then evangelists and then pastors, and last of all teachers. They are called "the five fold ministries." Dr. Harmon speaks of them in this manner, giving them exceptional importance.
The ministry of the prophet in the Church is not a gift of the Holy Spirit, but a gift-extension of Christ himself as the Prophet. Jesus Christ was the full manifestation of the offices of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher all in one human body. After His ascension into heaven, the fivefold ministry he had embodied on earth was sent back as gifts to the Church in the form of men who filled those offices. No one person received all five, but some received one. This gifting was not an external endowment like a birthday present. Instead, it was an investment of Christ's mantle for one of the five ministries of Jesus - a divine impartation of Christ's own nature, wisdom, and power for each particular kind of performance. All five, when moving in full maturity, represent Christ's full ministry to the Church. These ministries are not just an extension of the body ministry but an extension of the headship of Christ to His body the Church (16).
Now we see the importance given to these ministries by modern day teachers. These gifts are special in their eyes because they are not just the normal gifts of the Holy Spirit to the body but special "headship" ministries. This means that more authority is given to these ministries. This doctrine tries to establish men of authority in order that the so called "body" must be in obedience to them. This attitude is prevalent in Dr. Hamon`s writings. The doctrine itself is not so dangerous except in the hands of one who seeks power and authority over people. I feel that this is the intent of this book in order to impress people with the power and authority of the modern day prophets. Let us listen to Paul in another place besides the book of Ephesians.
Once again, 1 Cor. 12:28:
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Now we see a whole different list. If the list in Ephesians is a list in order of importance then this one even more so for Paul says "FIRST apostles, SECONDARILY prophets, THIRDLY teachers, AFTER THAT miracles, THEN ----" Now, if the gifts in Ephesians are so important as this book says they are, then why is this list in a different order, an order that seems to eliminate pastors and evangelists?
As for certain ministries being gifts of persons as opposed to the other gifts being gifts to and through persons, I doubt the veracity of such a doctrine. I believe that when we make a major doctrine of such a thing that we do more than Paul intended in his teachings. Notice in the Corinthian scriptures what he says. "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that - - " Notice that the apostles are persons, prophets are persons and teachers are persons. There is no reason for us to take the scriptures in Ephesians that names five person ministries and make them greater than the rest. After this, Paul mentions ministries as miracles, gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues, and then goes on to ask: "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?" Now we see that the gift of miracles is given to us as a person. That is "A worker of miracles " Thus, there is never any reason given for us to distinguish between the gift and the one using, or being used by the gift.
I ask the question: was Jesus greater as a prophet, or as an apostle? Was He greater as a miracle worker, or as one with the government on His shoulders? All these gifts are a part of Christ Jesus Himself and anyone trying to make a difference is making men out to be greater than others. Truly Paul tells us that it is better to prophesy than to speak in tongues in the congregation that all may be edified. But this does not make the tongue talker any better in authority than the one who prophesies. I certainly do believe that there are those who have the rule over us. They are those who watch for our souls and they are placed in the body as prophets, teachers, pastors etc. But the exalting of them that I see in this book is a dangerous teaching that needs to be looked at very carefully lest it cause many to stumble.
Pidgeonholing The Paraclete
As human beings, we seem to love to put things in boxes and brackets, and to number them. When we teach we love to use these things in order to get people to remember them. There is a danger to this method of teaching. Paul surely was not trying to teach us about a special fivefold ministry in the church. Neither did he teach us of nine gifts of the Spirit. It was man that counted them. There are many more gifts than the nine mentioned in other places and we loose much of the teachings of the scriptures because we limit ourselves by numbers.
One thing that troubles me greatly is that Dr. Bill calls himself a prophet of God. He is introduced to congregations as a prophet of God and proclaims such in his books and his pulpit ministry. I believe with all my heart, the Scriptures bearing me witness, that a true prophet of God, when he comes in the name of the Lord as a prophet should first of all, be Scriptural in all that he teaches. I have found and will bring these things out in this writing, showing that he does a very poor job of using the Word of God in many cases. We will find several doctrines, which are dangerous. He stretches scriptures out of context and things that may even nullify his claim of being a prophet, at least to make us very wary of his teachings.
One example of this is found on page 14 under the heading of "Personal Prophecy Brings Confirmation and Witness." He states the following:
The Holy Spirit whispering the thoughts of Christ within a Christian's heart is obviously God's divine order for communication. But what the individual has sensed in his spirit must be confirmed: God's counsel is that every word needs to be witnessed to and confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses.(2 Cor. 13:1) (17)
There are 3 primary places in Scripture that deal with the establishing of a thing in the mouth of two or three witnesses. The first is found in Deut. 19:15
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
The next is in Matthew 18:16.
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
The next is the one that Bill quotes. 2 Cor. 13:1
This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. I told you before, and foretell you as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that if I come again I will not spare:
The reader will notice that all of these Scriptures have to do with judgment. When a person is accused by another he cannot make an accusation stick without the witness of at least two or three persons. Moses tells us this, Jesus speaks of it, and Paul confirms it. When we say that anyone that hears from God must have at least two witnesses of that fact, then he is not Scriptural. I ask, did Isaiah have to have two witnesses to his vision of God on His throne and his commission to Israel? Did Gideon have to have witnesses to prove his call from God? Did Zacharius have to have someone confirm the words of the angel proclaiming that John the Baptist would be born? I think that maybe if he had asked the angel to wait until he established it in the mouth of two witnessess he may have been struck blind along with being struck dumb. I could go on and on.
It would certainly be nice if God would give us a double or triple witness from a prophet on everything we hear from Him but I think it pleases Him more if we just believe His word. Remember what the angel said to Zacharias in Luke 1:18-20?
And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season (18).
Did the angel, Gabriel, break the law of the witnesses? Of course not. Zacharias should have known the voice of God well enough to discern that the Angel was speaking by the Holy Spirit. This was actually an Old Testament happening before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. How much more should we as Christians, know the voice of God when He speaks. I think the family of Noah would have drowned waiting for more witnesses.
I think it is a very dangerous thing to teach such a doctrine. We have too many people going from place to place, from preacher to preacher, and from saint to saint, trying to find a word from the Lord. There are too many people ready to give it and it smacks of fortune telling and leaves one very vulnerable to Satanic attack. There are many bleached bones lying on the shores of the Christian Church because of this bad practice.
Certainly there is a place for personal prophecy even as Bill points out Scripturally in his book. But the problem is that based on unscriptural teachings such as the one above we have left many saints with a false idea that leaves them open to the wiles of the devil and to unscrupulous men who would take advantage of them for the lust of money and power. I say that we must search the Scriptures continually to check every teaching that is taught today. There are multitudes of false doctrines that have been heard over and over again until anyone challenging them sounds like a heretic. These are the last days, let us be very careful.
We could certainly go through the Scriptures and find many instances where people who heard from God did not need to have the word established by witnesses; but I am sure that what we have given here will suffice.
"The Prophets Are Coming - Prepare"
The above is a heading on page 15 of the book. Here is what Hamon says under that heading:
I believe that this is an age in which God is raising up a multitude of prophets who are anointed and appointed- honest, true, trained, and experientially matured. But mixed in among these will be found those prophets who are ignorant, immature, and even false. There will be no place to hide the saints from them in this day of mass media reaching into every home. So the only true salvation from the enemy's falsehoods will be to expose the saints purposefully and properly to true prophets, educate them to discern true from false, and train them in how to respond (19).
Jesus warned us that there would be many false prophets in the last days. He said that as we saw the day approaching that many would come in His name and deceive many. But, is our only "salvation from the enemy's falsehoods be to expose the saints to true prophets, and educate them to know the true from the false?" Who will train the saints? Will the true prophets train the saints? How will the saints know the true prophets are the ones teaching them about false prophets? Could it be that the deception would be so great that false prophets could teach the saints that the true prophets are false? How are the saints to know? Is this their only true salvation from the enemy's falsehoods?
Surely, it is true that in order to tell the true from the false we must be very familiar with that which is the real thing. The prophets are not the real thing. Even the true prophets are not the real thing. The only real thing is the only true prophet and that prophet is the Lord Jesus Christ, our prophet, priest and King. If we are in intimate fellowship with Him we will know the real thing when he comes along and will know enough to tell the difference.
If we want to know the truth about the witnesses let us look at 1 John beginning at chapter 5 verse 7.
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
It is a wonderful thing when we receive the witness of others confirming what God has spoken to us. What a comfort, and assurance. But if no one else believes then our faith must remain true in Him even as Job who had the witness of highly intelligent and godly men who used scriptural truth in order to sway him from his trust.
This book teaches that there are many ignorant and uneducated Christians who must be taught the true prophets from the false. I say that this is true in a small way but the ministry of the prophet, teacher, pastor, or saint is to lead them to Jesus and to the Word of God, not to the prophet himself. The true spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.
"Special To The Heart Of God"
Under this heading we find the following. I will, rather than quote it in its entirety, try to make it short.
Prophets are special to the heart of God. The prophetic ministry is one of the nearest and dearest ministries to the heart of God. The prophetic ministry and the voice of the prophet were established as God's primary method of communicating with His mankind creation on planet earth." He then goes on to list the old testament prophets and the wonderful things they did and use this to prove the value of new Testament prophets. He then moves on to tell us of the use of Prophets in the New Testament until the end of the age. Then we hear the word "special" again. "Prophets are special and precious to God. ---- God loves his true prophets. He takes special pride and interest in His Prophets." Then we have a most marvellous statement. Listen to it. "It is the only ministry of which He makes the emphatic declaration "Do my prophets no harm." "He that curses one of God's true prophets incurs the curse of God. He that blesses a prophet in the name of a prophet receives the same reward that God gives the prophet (20).
The quote given here is from 1st Chron. 16:22 and Ps. 105:15. Let us begin at 1 Chron. 16:18:
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it and when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, saying, touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
In Ps. 105:15 David recounts the scripture and reiterates the fact. Let us notice that when we are told that the prophets are so special that only their ministry has this curse upon it that only a part of the scripture is quoted. If it had been said "touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm" then we could have seen more clearly what God was speaking. The scriptures surrounding this statement show us very plainly that it is speaking to the whole of Israel as the anointed of the Lord, the prophets being their leaders at the time. The curse is not only upon him that touches the prophet but any one of the anointed Israelites.
Today, we are true Israelites grafted into Israel. The Bible declares over and over again that we are the anointed of the Lord. Anointed means to be endued with the Spirit of the living God. 1 John 2:27 says that we have an unction, or an anointing from the Holy One and have no need that any man teach us. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would come to each individual He would lead us into all truth (John 16:13). The saying still then claims "touch not my anointed." This would take into account all the ministries of the Holy Spirit given to any Christian individual. We are all anointed and the scriptural admonition pertains to all ministries not only to that of the prophet. Jesus pronounced a horrible curse on anyone who harmed one of the little ones who believed in Him. It would be better for him that a mill stone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea. His protection is not just for the mighty prophet but for us little ones also.
Is the prophet special? Is he somebody come? Have we magnified his office above that which God would have us to do? Jesus put it into proper perspective when he said that any one harms one of these little ones that believe in Him that it were better that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were dropped into the sea. He also said that you could say what you wanted against Him but not against the Holy Ghost. It is the witness of the Holy Spirit within our spirit that must not be spoken against. This is the blasphemy that cuts us off from God. Denying a prophet or even the Son of God himself is not blasphemy, but real blasphemy is to stand against the warnings of the Spirit of God witnessing to our own conscience.
Jesus taught us that there was a Gentile principle that we were to beware of, that the Gentiles will "lord it over" (dominate) one another and are concerned with authorities. He said that the greatest among us should be a slave to all the rest (Mark 10:43-44). When we try to show authority and to cause people to fear us as someone sent from God with special powers then we must take another look at humility. Let us not lay claim to more than God is willing to give us.
The fact that Jesus told us that even giving a cold glass of water to a prophet would claim the reward of a prophet shows us that just loving kindness in itself motivated by the love of God puts us all into the same bracket. No special places, all equal in the fact that we submit ourselves one to another in the love of God. The prophet must submit himself to the lowest saint, and the whole body, one to another.
When we come to people saying "you had better obey me because I am a prophet, and if you touch me you touch someone special to God." then we are setting ourselves up for a fall. "Pride cometh before a fall."
"The Apple Of God's Eye"
Hamon's book on page 19 states the following:
God is very sensitive about His PROPHETS.To touch one of His PROPHETS is to touch the apple of his eye. To reject God's PROPHETS is to reject God. To fail to recognize the PROPHETS, or to keep them from speaking, is to refuse God permission to speak (21).
Notice the wording. Even to fail to recognize the prophets is anathema according to the author. By the way, the emphasis on the word prophets by setting the word in bold type is in the book.
The apple of His eye? Notice that this statement is taken out of the air with no reference to scripture. Let us look into the Scriptures and see what they say about the "apple of God's eye" in Deuteronomy 32:9:
For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
God's portion is His people. Jacob, here certainly does not apply to Jacob the man, but as the Bible tells us through and through, Jacob means Israel; for this is the new name for Jacob. He is the representative of the whole nation here and throughout the Bible. The "apple of God's eye" never applies to any office such as prophet.
In Psalms 17:8 David prays for God to keep him as "the apple of His eye." The only other place this phrase is used is in Proverbs 7:2 where we are admonished to keep the law of God as "the apple of our eye".
We continue on page 19 with the following.
Jesus was a PROPHET in His mortal ministry on earth. He has given that ministry of a PROPHET to men today. Jesus still wants to function as a PROPHET within the Church. To accept and to appreciate the ministry of the PROPHET is to accept and appreciate Jesus, the PROPHET. Not to do so is to depreciate that ministry of Jesus to His Church. One reason Jesus is so excited about the restoration of the PROPHET ministry is that it is so near and dear to him. The restoration of the PROPHET within the Church releases Christ to express Himself more fully to His Church and to the world. Jesus is personally involved in the restoration of the PROPHET to full recognition, position and ministry (1 Sam. 8:7; De. 18:15; Gen. 20:7) (22).
Notice once again the emphasis on the word PROPHET. Does it seem to the reader that a greater emphasis than is necessary is being put on the office of prophet? Notice also that it is said that Jesus is very excited about the restoration of the prophet ministry. No real proof of Jesus being excited and no proof that the ministry was ever lost or that it needs to be restored to full recognition, position and ministry.
Certainly it would be a wonderful thing if all the gifts of the Spirit were to be recognized more fully in the Church. I believe that the prophets of God will come into more of a fullness in these last days but the exageration of the office here is dangerous.
New Doctrine Founded On This Special Ministry
Next, we are told with the word prophet boldly emphasized in the text, that Malachi prophesied the coming of the great prophet John the Baptist. We are told also that the ministry of John the Baptist was the Elijah ministry prophesied for the ushering in of the Messiah. These things are true. But now listen to the new teaching brought forth by this modern day prophet, Bill Hamon:
John came in the power and spirit of the PROPHET Elijah. Just as one PROPHET, John the baptist prepared the way for Christ's first coming, now a COMPANY OF PROPHETS will prepare the way for Christ's second coming. That COMPANY OF PROPHETS is being raised up in the 1980s. God revealed to me that there are 10,000 PROPHETS on the North American continent alone being prepared to be released within the Church. This COMPANY OF PROPHETS will come forth in the power and spirit of Elijah. They, as a corporate body of PROPHETS, will fulfill the prophecy of Malachi in relation to Christ`s second coming as John the Baptist fulfilled it in relation to Christ's first coming. A single PROPHET prepared the way for the Messiah of Israel and Redeemer of mankind. The COMPANY OF PROPHETS will prepare the way for Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The one PROPHET prepared the way for Jesus to come and usher in the Church Age; the many PROPHETS will prepare the way for Jesus to come and usher in the kingdom age (23).
Now, what do we have up to this point? We have a distortion of the Scriptures concerning prophets in the New Testament. We have an office of prophet stretched beyond what the Scriptures teach. We then have actual threats of our being in great danger if we touch these apples of God's eye. Then we are told by one of these self proclaimed prophets that he has a new revelation with only one scriptural reference to what he teaches and that reference says nothing of what he is teaching us.
Here is the strongest scriptural basis for this new revelation. We find it on page 20:
There is a real sense in which John the Baptist was Malachi's Elijah-forerunner (Mal.4:5 with Mt.17:12,13); yet it is equally clear that, as a result of our Lord's rejection there is to be a more dramatic, FINAL fulfillment of Malachi's Elijah prediction (Mt. 17:11, 'shall', and Rev. 11). " J. Sidlow Baxter, Explore the Book, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mi,:1966),Pg. 266 (24).
We find in the Scripture referred to that the disciples are asking Jesus about Elijah the prophet coming again. He answers them in this manner in Matthew 17:11-13.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias must first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you , that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whasoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
he reason for the emphasis on the word "shall" in the text is in order to prove that there will be another coming of Elijah in the last days. It is a dangerous thing to bring a new doctrine in on the strength of one word.
The NIV version of the Bible quotes Jesus thusly. "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things." If a child were to say to us. "I was promised that mother was coming." If we replied "Surely mother shall come as promised but she is already come and is here now." What would we say as to the meaning of these words. Would we say that she has come and must come again? I think that if we can make a doctrine out of the word "shall" then we can take tremendous liberties with the whole Bible.
When Jesus told his disciples that he greatly desired to eat the last Passover with them it was because he was to do a marvelous thing in giving them a New Covenant. The Jews, including Jesus had celebrated the Passover for years always with "the cup" on the table. This cup was the cup of Elijah. It was upon every Jewish table. After the cup was filled no one was to touch it because it was reserved for Elijah. They knew that Elijah must first come before the Messiah could come. Every year they were disappointed that Elijah did not come and drink the cup.
On that night of the last Passover, Jesus took "the cup" and said "This is the New Testament in my blood". Such a thing would have been unheard of for Jesus to even touch the cup but He had already explained to them that Elijah had already come and that He was John the Baptist. There is no need to wait any more for Elijah to come. He has come and has drank of the cup that God gave him to drink.
"Prophets Prepare The Way For Christ's Coming"
The above is the heading beginning on page 20. Two scriptures are given to prove that this is true:
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
I will leave it up to the reader to read these verses and to determine if they are any indication at all of the premise that prophets will be the ones to usher in the second coming of Jesus.
Read page 21: Prophets play a vital role in God's predestined plan for the final return of Christ to the earth. Acts 3:21 declares that the heavens must receive (retain, Keep, hold, restrain) Christ in heaven until the times of restitution (restoration) of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy PROPHETS since the world began. There are Old and New Testament prophetic scriptures which must be fulfilled before Christ can return. The PROPHETS have been given the anointing and responsibility to receive from Christ the proper revelation and application of these Scriptures They are hidden from the eyes of men until God's time for that truth to be restored and established (25).
Notice that the revealing of the Scriptures is hidden from men. This would of course include the underlings in the Body of Christ. Those underlings are those who are members from the headship ministry down. They cannot receive these revelations until the prophets reveal it to them. It kind of puts us ordinary saints in a perilous and dependent position, doesn't it? When Jesus said of the Holy Spirit "He will show you things to come" (John 16:13), I wonder if it was spoken only to the prophets.
Now we find that the term "restitution of all things, or restoration of all things" refers to the prophets who must restore all things so that Jesus can come from heaven. It puts a lot of responsibility on the prophets doesn't it?
Let us take a moment and look at the term "restoration of all things." Jesus himself said in Matthew 17:11. "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." Let us say then, with our brother that "Elias must come once again and restore all things." If that is the case the question arises as to what Peter preached in Acts 3:20-21:
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
He then goes on to tell us that all the prophets prophesied of "these DAYS."
Certainly, "these days" are a long time in endurance. John told us that in his time it was the "last days." We are still in the last days. John the Baptist was supposed to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and visa versa in these last days. Now, if Jesus is to be held in the heavens until this restoration of all things then who is the restorer of all things? Is it John the Baptist? Is it Elijah? Is it a company of prophets to come in these last days? Or is it Jesus Himself who will come from heaven with and for his saints and establish his kingdom upon the earth?
Let us look again at the Scripture. The Scripture does not say that anyone on earth will restore all things so that Jesus can come back but "whom the heaven must receive until the TIMES of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken. " Notice how I have emphasized the word "times". When it is time for the restoration of all things then Jesus will come and do the restoring. This is the blessed hope of the Church, not the hope that a company of glorified prophets will do the restoring for a Jesus who is waiting in heaven for them to do their work. He is able to do His own work in His own time and times.
"New Age Approaching"
This heading is found on page 21. I am sure that by this is not meant what we consider the "New Age" doctrine being taught by the secular religionists. But, what new doctrine is this under this heading?
The Church is now in the beginning days of the transition from the age of the mortal Church to the Kingdom Age.
I am sorry, but I was under the impression that the Kingdom was ushered in by John the Baptist and Jesus preaching that the Kingdom of heaven was at hand, or right here, now. I know nothing about the teaching in the Bible of the MORTAL CHURCH.
Then we have this statement.
In his letter to the Ephesian church he explained to them that they had been birthed and built upon the foundational ministries of the apostle and PROPHET (Apostle Paul and PROPHET Silas) with Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. They were being built together as a holy temple in the Lord, and as the corporate Body of Christ in order for God to have a habitation and headquarters here on earth (26).
The scripture referred to is in Ephesians 2:20:
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.
Notice that the Bible has been changed from the plural to the singular by our author. Not only is this done but names are put in like Paul and Silas. This is gross mis-representation of the scriptures. He seems to be teaching us that the Apostle and prophet had to be there to establish that church. Is this done in order to set up some kind of a new hierarchy in order that a modern day church must have these two ministries in order to be called a New Testament church? Notice that it is said "in order for God to have a habitation and headquarters here on earth." This kind of scriptural interpretation bothers me.
Now we have another statement. "Ephesians 3:5 reveals that apostles as well as PROPHETS now have the ministry of revealing new truth to the Church" (27). Let us see if this is what the passage tells us:
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.
We are told in the book that NOW, present tense, this is true, but the Bible says NOW, meaning at the time of Paul those things had been revealed to the apostles and prophets.
"Greatest Sign Of The Century"
The above is the heading on page 23 with the following:
Those who look to the Church for the signs of the nearness of the coming of the Lord can proclaim the restoration of the PROPHET ministry and the COMPANY OF PROPHETS as the greatest sign of the nearness of His coming in this century.---- the majority of denominational ministers will not recognize the greatest sign of the century, the Elijah COMPANY OF PROPHETS that the Holy spirit is raising up to make the proper preparation for the coming of our King Jesus and His dominion over all the earth (28).
Here we have an amazing thing. It seems that even Jesus himself did not realize this great truth. When His disciples asked Him what would be the sign of his coming he stated several other things than this. He did tell them of a large company of prophets that were coming but his warning was that they would be false prophets. "many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:11). He also warned in that same chapter that they would even come in His precious name and would cause many to fall, that the love of many would become cold and that that the Church would be sleeping when he came. Worst of all, in that chapter, He prophesied that some would accuse Him of coming later than they thought and would become nervous and would begin to beat their fellow servants. If the company of Elijah prophets is the greatest sign given to this generation then Jesus completely missed it.
Could it be that the teachings of this book may be a forerunner of a doctrine that would cause God's people to put such a trust in last day prophets that they could be deceived by a great lie in these last days? Did not Jesus warn us that if these days of false prophets and evil works; that if they were not shortened that even the very elect would not be saved? I think we are in perilous times, let us be very careful what we hear and believe.
"The Aaronic Priesthood"
We now come to a portion in the book that really is scary. It shows to us a pattern being set up. A pattern of authority that was never taught in the New Testament Church. I will be quite lengthy in quoting a great portion of the chapter in order that the reader may get the full gist of what is being said.
The following reads on page 55:
In the old Testament there were two groups which recognized and anointed men for leadership ministry. The first, the Aaronic priesthood, laid on hands for ordaining Levites and priests. Both the priests and their candidates had to meet a number of stipulations and requirements in this process. (29).
We are then told that the other group was the prophets; and that the two ministries have their parallel in the New Testament Church:
like the ancient priesthood, many church leaders have established numerous requirements for leadership.
These stipulations are not necessarily found in Scripture, but they are sound guidelines developed over the years (30).
Now we find that this apostate church he is speaking of has developed a process that includes prophets and priests. This process does not have Scriptural background but has sound guidelines developed over the years. The modern-day prophets are parallel to those of the Old Testament, They, too, function without the restrictions of the "priesthood' presbytery." Notice how we are being drawn into the Old Testament rules and regulations. We are re-establishing a "priesthood presbytery" with a definite set of laws and regulations.
In the book of Hebrews the seventh chapter we find a teaching on the Levitical priesthood. It says in the 11th verse, the following.
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Let us continue with our quoting of Hamon's writings:
Today's prophetic presbytery would not even consider a young man like David for candidacy for prophetic presbytery, but a church prophet might nevertheless call him our of the congregation, lay hands on him, prophesy his calling, and anoint him for that ministry. The prophetic presbytery (after the Aaronic priesthood order which was restored in 1948) would not allow themselves to prophesy to a thirteen year old that he is called to be an apostle (king). But the prophet is free to follow the leading of the Lord without the limitations and restrictions of the prophetic presbytery. Every minister needs to be anointed properly with formal ordination to their ascension gift ministry (31).
Now we find that the prophets can do just about anything without accountability and that the Aaronic priesthood order was restored in 1948. Is this part of the restoration of all things? I do not fully understand what is being said here but I do know that Joseph Smith was obsessed with authority. His writings are full of the same stuff we see here. He proclaimed himself a prophet and that he was the one to restore the authority that was lost to the church. He restored the Aaronic and Melchizedec priesthoods. The result is a cult that has led millions of sincere people straight into the fires of hell.
Let us quote again.
Every minister needs to be anointed properly with formal ordination to their ascension gift ministry. Every saint needs a prophetic presbytery for membership ministry, confirmation and activation. The prophetic presbytery is a vital ministry in the New Testament Church (32).
Once again we are seeing Hamon's demand for the setting up of a formal hierarchy to bind heavy burdens upon men. We are coming under the law again and restoring things that Jesus did away with. I feel that we need accountability to one another in the Body of Christ. But it is not a "formal ordination to ascension gift ministeries". I believe that I am calling Dr. Hamon into accountability by this writing. I am a member of the Body of Christ and as a member of the Body I have a right to judge the prophet.
Let the prophets speak by two or by three and let the other judge. 1 Cor. 14:39.
I feel that what is being said in the above quotations is that everyone in the body of Christ including the prophetic ministry is subject to the prophets but the prophets are subject to no one.
Then we have the prophets compared to the prophet anointing David as King. He then relates the office of King to the office of Apostle. Do the prophets have the power to call apostles to their office? Are apostles Kings? Now that the author feels the call upon him to be an apostle (stated in the book) has that call been from another prophet? Does that make him equal to a King in authority? I think we have opened a very large can of worms.
Prophets Or Prophesiers?
We quote again:
In Numbers 11:24-30, the seventy elders of Israel all prophesied when God took of the prophetic spirit on Moses and placed it upon them. At that time two men began to prophesy apart from the others, and Joshua told Moses to stop them. But Moses replied with his famous declaration. "Would God that all the Lord`s people were prophets (prophesiers), and the Lord would put his spirit upon them! Again, in 1 Samuel 10:10, Saul met a company of prophets, and the spirit of prophecy came upon him so that he began to prophesy. These stories should encourage those who want to learn to prophesy that they should find a prophet or company of prophets to train them how to release their faith so they can move in the spirit of prophecy (33).
If this teaches us that then maybe we should find ourselves a group of prophets that may anoint us to be kings and apostles. Maybe this is just a plug for the prophet schools in our land. I am sure that the cost is not too high to find out how to be anointed.
I wonder why the word "prophets" in the above scripture was changed to "prophesiers"? In the original Hebrew the word is nabi or prophet. It does not even indicate what our author tries to make it mean. Why has he changed the scripture? Could it be that he does not want to believe that possibly, one who prophecies was deemed, at the time, to be a prophet? Certainly when these men began to prophesy Moses considered them, at least at that time to be prophets. He says "Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets."
Let us look at the other incident mentioned. We find it in 1 Samuel 10:10:
And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the spirit of God came upon him and he prophesied among them. And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the Prophets?
Doesn't it look like that when the Spirit of the Lord came upon someone and they prophesied that they were considered to be prophets? Was Moses' wish fulfilled in the new Testament? That all God's people are prophets because all are anointed with the Holy Spirit?
Listen to Paul speaking to the congregation in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 14:29-32:
Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
Notice how Pauls thinking flows together and calls us to consider prophecy with the prophet. "For ye may all prophesy one by one," and "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets."
I feel that Paul's thinking is like that of Moses. That anyone who is speaking under the inspiriation at that given moment is considered to be a prophet. This is why God spoke to the fathers by the prophets in the old testament times. They were practically the only ones who were anointed for ministry. Now any saint of God can be anointed and can move in any one of the offices as God pleases. Let us also remember that just because Saul found himself in the company of a group of prophets and prophesied with them it did not do him much good in the end. He died a suicide.
Certainly, I cannot at this time develop this theme in its entirety but have said only a few things in order to show the dangerous way the author has manipulated the Scriptures to prove his pet doctrine of the mighty authority of the modern day prophets.
Possessing The Wealth Of The World
On page 106 we find an astonishing statement as following:
Pastors and Christian businessmen and women have survived and even prospered without the prophet till now. However, since the Holy Spirit has made known that now is the time for the army of the Lord to arise and possess the wealth of the world, the forces of the enemy have been greatly intensified against Christians who have dedicated their businesses to God for the upbuilding of God's kingdom. Now we will need greater supernatural assistance to make Christian businesses prosper. New legions of the hordes of hell have been unleashed to stop the financial and material prosperity of the true Church. But the army of the Lord with its Commander-in--Chief, Jesus Christ, will subdue all the kingdoms of this world under the domain of the Kingdom of God (34).
Well, certainly this revelation must have come from a direct revelation from somewhere. I do not find it anywhere in the Scriptures, and it may seem strange that no Scripture is given for it by the author. This must be another revelation given to us by one who is in this great and magnified office of the prophet. I must warn the church to beware of any doctrine that teaches that the church must take over the finances of the world before the kingdoms of this world can become the kingdoms of Christ. This is unbiblical and demonic. God's warfare is not by might, nor by power, and I might add not by money, but by His Spirit.
Notice that the Christian businessmen and women will not be able to survive financially without the ministry of the modern day prophets. If this doctrine were to be believed by the church then it would be the prophets who would control the finances. Jesus said that we cannot serve God and Mammon.
The Bride Of Christ
Next we have the teaching of the Bride of Christ. The doctrine that is taught is one that is quite prevalent in the Church today. It goes more or less like this. "The church is the bride of Christ. Christ is not coming for a ragged, dirty bride, but she must be beautiful and clothed in white linen. The bride must be perfected on the earth before Jesus can come to get her." I do not have time to go into this doctrine extensively in this writing but will take a little time to familiarize the reader with it.
A study of the Scriptures will show that never does the Bible teach us that the bride must be perfected on earth. The bride of Jesus is seen in heaven having made herself ready. The bride is not just the modern day Gentile Church but God has always been seeking a bride for himself and called Israel such in the Old Testament. The bride of Christ is made up of all the saints beginning with Adam down until the last saint who is taken up at the coming of Jesus to establish His Kingdom.
The false doctrine of the bride of Christ waiting to be perfected on the earth is nothing but a group of assumptions foisted on the Church in these last days. I ask the reader to study this in the light of the Scriptures. This doctrine puts too much emphasis on the ministries trying to perfect a church in the last days in order to bring Christ back. It is not scriptural.
I feel that we have seen enough of the misrepresentations of Scripture in this book so far. I will now go through the book and quickly review the wrong teachings discovered in it.
1. A chosen vessel appointed of the Lord. This emphasis can easily bring a sense of pride.
2. Ye are gods. This was not only quoted out of context but distorted.
3. Special "ascension gifts as persons." This has been disproved.
4. Restoration of the prophetic office. This was never lost.
5. The ministry of the prophet a special voice.
"Today, if you will hear his voice" .. "My sheep know MY voice and another they will not follow."
6. Intensified need for the prophets in the last days.
"(God who) spoke in former times by the prophets hath in these last days spoken by His Son."
7. Confirmation of the voice of God to the saint must be established in the mouth of witnesses.
This has been also refuted.
8. The saints must be trained by prophets to hear prophets. Again, this belief is found erroneous.
9. Prophets special to the heart of God (apple of God's eye). Refuted.
10. Prophets ministry so special that its protected by the admonition "Do my prophets no harm."
11. Elijah company of prophets. Not found in scripture.
12. The prophets restore all things. Not found in scripture.
13. Prophets do a special work in order to bring Jesus back. Refuted.
14. These things hidden from the eyes of men and must be revealed by the prophets. Refuted.
15. We are moving from a mortal church into a kingdom age. Not found in scripture.
16. Paul and Silas were the apostle and prophet referred to as establishing the Ephesian church.
17. The prophets NOW have the job of revealing new truth to the church. Not proved by the scripture
18. The company of the Elijah prophets are the greatest sign given to the church in the last days.
Not found in scripture.
19. Jesus is excited over this happening. ?
20. The bride of Christ must be perfect upon the earth before Jesus can receive her to Himself. ?
21. "The church is crying out for holy and truly God-anointed prophets. And the prophets are
coming, for the Spirit and the Bride are now saying, `come'."
The Spirit and the bride in scripture are not saying "come oh ye prophets." Rather "come Lord Jesus."
I am now going to end this writing with a few statements from the book. The reader may judge them for himself.
Of the fivefold ascension gift ministers, the prophets have the strongest anointing and ministry for impartion and activation of gifts and ministeries.
I believe that the New Testament prophet has been given the equivalent of the Urim and Thummim of the Old Testament.
The pastor will normally use biblical principles and scriptures to direct the person. ----- The prophet, however, will pull from the Logos within him and give a rhema word to the individual that will answer his questions. A mature prophet who is not personally involved in the situation can even give the mind of Christ on the matter without allowing his personal convictions or theology to influence his answer."
Without the working of the Holy Spirit and Christ's fivefold ministry- especially the prophet- the Bible cannot by itself provide specific directions and reveal the Will of God concerning all personal matters.
God still uses the prophet today to give specific, directive words to the saints about their personal lives. These directive prophecies are not usually given through someone moving in the gift of prophecy, but rather through the prophet.Though saints and other ministers may receive a Word of knowledge or wisdom on a matter, a "thus saith the Lord" with specific, directive words should usually come from the office of the
Elisha called the woman to him and said to her, `About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son.' Approximately nine months later she had a son. In this case there is no scriptural indication that God told Elisha to prophesy to her that she would have a son. He seems simply to have pulled upon his mature prophet anointing and faith to speak a creative word to her (2 Ki. 4:8-18).
When we begin to consider the benefits of personal prophecy, we can see why God places such importance on it. Both the gift of prophecy and the ministry of prophesying in the congregation are designed for edification, exhortation, and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3). The anointing and office of the prophet are intended to do even more: Prophets are able to give direction, instruction, correction, motivation, and impartation of gifts, and they deal with more specific areas of an individual's life, addressing him or her more personally. |No wonder, then, that the Bible tells us to believe God's prophets, and we will prosper (2 Chr. 20:20).
We judge a prophecy by considering the content of the words spoken to determine whether they are true or false. We judge a prophet as a person by the quality of his life to discover whether he himself is a true of false prophet." (see Deut. 13:1-5) (Samson would really be in trouble on this one.)
At the same time, we must not be quick to call someone a false prophet simply because something he said was inaccurate or did not seem to apply to us. The man may be honest, righteous, and upright, yet immature in his prophesying. He may have misinterpreted what the Lord was saying.
In Psalm 37:1-11 we have a clear biblical admonition for the proper response to personal prophecy, especially those areas that speak of our ministry and the things to be accomplished: 'rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Commit your way, the way for your personal prophecies to be fulfilled ) unto the Lord; trust also in Him and He shall bring it (your personal prophecy) to pass.Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way (the person whoce ministry is already being fully manifested), because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass (the minister who is prosperous and successful, yet not righteous in all his ways, doing things his way rather than God's). --"
I have heard of some extreme cases of presumptuous personal prophecy and rhema in this regard. The followers of the greatest prophet of the Church in the late 40s to early 60s developed a few fanatic followers during the last few years of his ministry. When he died, these followers were determined that God was going to raise him from the dead. They held his body out for months, believing, prophesying, and decreeing that he would be raised from the dead on Easter morning. But they were finally forced legally to bury him." (He considers the man to be the greatest prophet of the church of that time. I do not. I believe the man was greatly deceived and actually was the cause of the fanatism in his members. I have written extensively on his life in another work.)
Prophets have the special call and anointing to activate spirituality, spirit sensitivity and spiritual gifts within the saints. Prophets can activate gifts of the Spirit within the saints the same was an evangelist can activate the gift of eternal life within sinners. An evangelist preaches the word of truth concerning salvation, then asks for a proper response of coming forward and repeating the sinners prayer. He then declares to those who responded that they have the gift of eternal life."
I wish to emphasize the fact, once again that this is not an attack on Dr. Harmon personally. I do not judge or condemn him. It is for God to judge persons for He alone knows their hearts. But we are admonished by the scriptures to discern between that which is right and wrong. We are to "reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
He that is spiritual judgeth all things. If we, as the saints of God are walking in the Spirit as the scriptures admonish us to do; then we must judge these things. Jesus, when confronted by Satan himself was attacked by Satan using the word of God. Satan just ever so slightly twisted the word in order to trip up the Son of God. Our answer to anyone coming in the name of the Lord with twisted scriptures and doctrines must use the word of God to refute it.
I believe that the deception will be so intense and so close to the truth in these last days that every Christian will be responsible to search the scriptures and to be so close to the savior that he will be able to discern between good and evil and that which is true or false.
Beloved brother and sister, I admonish you in the name of Jesus that you search the scriptures. Seek the Lord with all your heart. Put not your trust in man and make not flesh your arm. Commit your souls unto Him who is able to save you and to present you spotless before the throne of God.
Please beware of False teachers who will come speaking great swelling words of vanity. They are clouds without water, promising moisture but never delivering. They speak great promises of riches, kingdoms, power, and all the things that puff up your flesh and make you feel like you are someone special because you follow their teachings.
Remember that the way up is down. He that humbleth himself will be exalted and he that exalts himself will be humbled. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God and in due time He will exalt you. Beware of people who speak to you of bright futures of Lordships and kingships and rulerships and power. Of wealth and prosperity and things that puff up the flesh.
Let us also remember that the Apostle Paul taught us that it seemed that to him the apostles were last in the economy of God. He was shown by the Lord how much he would suffer for his name. He did not exalt himself but suffered continually for the word of God and considered himself a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not live for prosperity but said that he had learned to be abased and abound.
He also told us, while weeping, that grievous wolves would come in, not sparing the flock but would make merchandise of the sheep and would wreak havoc in the Church of God. Paul also warned us that in the last days perilous times would come because men would be lovers of them selves and would teach doctrines spawned by demon spirits. Please be careful.
I do not believe that Dr. Harmon has deliberately come to deceive the Church. I do believe that he has been deceived. I am sure that he is a Christian and my brother, but I feel that he has been deluded. I warn him to be careful also. I think that he is very sincere. The problem is that sincerety is not what commends us to God.
I saw a "Peanuts" cartoon recently which showed Charlie Brown standing on the pitchers mound of a baseball diamond. He was all alone. The stars and moon were out. All the others had gone home and he stood dejectedly on the mound with the ball in one hand and his mit on the other. His words were something like this.
One hundred and fifty nine to nothing!!!! AND WE WERE SO SINCERE.
All citations from the book "Prophets And Personal Prophecy"