“If a prophet converts to Jesus Christ, his or her gifts are sanctified and inspired by the entirely new impulses and objectives of God’s Holy Spirit.” – Paula Price
This quote is in the last paragraph of the first section “Why Prophetics?”, and it’s quickly followed by “Believe not every spirit”. Paula is quick to call out Humanism as a problem in the third section of this chapter, but she’s missing a lot of key points. Beginning with a massive omission concerning the Jeroboam’s time.
Jeroboam certainly has a lot of ungodliness within him, and Paula correctly points this out. But what she is missing is what happened to the unnamed prophet that told Jeroboam God was against him.
1 Kings 13:11-33
Now an old prophet dwelt in Bethel, and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel; they also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king. And their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” For his sons had seen which way the man of God went who came from Judah. Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him; and he rode on it, and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. Then he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”
And he said, “I am.”
Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.”
And he said, “I cannot return with you nor go in with you; neither can I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place. For I have been told by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came.’ ”
He said to him, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” But he lied to him.
So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water.
Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back; and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the Lord said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ ”
So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse. And there, men passed by and saw the corpse thrown on the road, and the lion standing by the corpse. Then they went and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.
Now when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard it, he said, “It is the man of God who was disobedient to the word of the Lord. Therefore the Lord has delivered him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke to him.” And he spoke to his sons, saying, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled it. Then he went and found his corpse thrown on the road, and the donkey and the lion standing by the corpse. The lion had not eaten the corpse nor torn the donkey. And the prophet took up the corpse of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back. So the old prophet came to the city to mourn, and to bury him. Then he laid the corpse in his own tomb; and they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” So it was, after he had buried him, that he spoke to his sons, saying, “When I am dead, then bury me in the tomb where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. For the saying which he cried out by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel, and against all the shrines on the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, will surely come to pass.”
After this event Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but again he made priests from every class of people for the high places; whoever wished, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places. And this thing was the sin of the house of Jeroboam, so as to exterminate and destroy it from the face of the earth.
This is one story that managed to make it into the Bible. One might easily say “yeah, but that never happened again”- not in the Bible. But the Bible doesn’t document every single prophet either. Samuel was a Prophet that oversaw prophets, and there were multiple prophets during Micaiah’s time. The fact that these two prophet’s stories made it into the Bible serves as a testimony to future prophets about the necessity to test the veracity of what is being said to them.
The sad truth is, even a prophet may be deceived by another who claims to be a prophet of the Lord. It’s not hard to see just how easy it is for someone to fall into a new trap- one that even Paula begins to bring up but does not go far enough, nor does she apply the information:
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’
Thus says the Lord God: “Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! O Israel, your prophets are like foxes in the deserts. You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the Lord. They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ But the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed. Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, ‘The Lord says,’ but I have not spoken.”
The people which Ezekiel was calling out thought they were prophets. In fact, if the Book of Joel predates Ezekiel (we do not know when Joel’s prophecies were given, some scholars believe it was in the 9th Century BCE while others thing it may have been in the 5th Century BCE), it is very possible that the people misunderstood Joel 2:28 and mixed this verse with the practices of witches in their midst during the exile.
I’ll be the first to admit to you, I have manifested my own visions and mistakenly assigned them as being from God. Only later to find that some of them simply were not coming true. All but one that did come true were what I’d call “safe prophecies”. Things that through sheer determination I was able to self-fulfill the prophecy. The one I can chalk up to pure chance. I received vision that I would get an interview for a job posting I had seen but did not apply to. Two days later, the HR department scrolled around CareerBuilder and found my resume, then called me. But later, after the interview, I got a second dream which said I got the job-I woke up and praised God for the vision more heavily than I did when I got the call for the interview. I never got the job. It’s not like the job I was hoping for was selfish, it was one where I could work with teenagers that were considered juvenile delinquents. And actually, a good number of them were in the home because they were coming out of juvy.
It’s not like I haven’t been able to see the future before though. And that is something so very important to this point. While I was still participating in witchcraft between the time I was visited by an Angel of the Lord and the time I finally vowed to walk with Christ, I had prophecies that came true. There were 2 people I knew would commit suicide before they did- one I didn’t actually know until after the suicide happened and I saw her picture, and times when I could tell someone what they were going through without having to talk with them. But the most vivid of all the prophecies I saw, was a plane crash where I was given the date, the hour, that it would be in the Middle East and that there would be a newlywed couple on board. I couldn’t do anything about it, except write down the details and I told a friend that if something happened on that date and at that time, they would know why I was going out of my mind from fear of that knowledge.
If we believe as Paula states in her quote above, then my previous ability means I am intended to be a Prophetess. I won’t get into it much here, as I’m sure it will be covered later- but there is no denying God once He’s called you to be a Prophet. Jonah couldn’t escape it, Moses couldn’t escape it, not even Jesus could convince God to change His mind about the crucifixion. Only God can take away the gift of Prophecy, and He’ll do so on His terms.
What Paula uses to justify her thought process, however, is the story of Balaam. The error in this is that Balaam was a Prophet of God. In the Hebrew, the first passage we see Balaam speak (Numbers 22:8) he uses the name “Yehovah”, not “’elohim” which was used to describe false gods. From the beginning Balaam was not a false prophet, he was a Prophet of God. But he went against God’s wishes, and as a result suffered the consequences.
As an aside: I think we often overlook the fact that the people dwelling in the land of Canaan were also descendants of Noah. That they had people amongst them which believed in God, but it was God’s decision to work with Abraham’s descendants to the world He was the one they should be following.
Paula goes on to use the fact that Balaam didn’t see the Angel standing in his way as some sort of proof that he was previously a false prophet. But the reason the Angel has been hidden from his view was because the Angel was there to execute God’s Will. Therefore, we must not look at this as being evidence for against Balaam’s authenticity. Instead, we can draw conclusions from the story prior to his disobedience (where he uses the name Yehovah, and not the description ‘elohim) and the story of the unnamed prophet in 1 Kings who also went against the Word of God. What is said of Balaam after this incident is to paint him as a prophet which fell from God’s grace- all because he was greedy (2 Peter 2:15).
Clearly from these two prophets that managed to make it into the Bible, we can ascertain that even a prophet is capable of falling out of God’s favor. We can also see that with the third prophet (the “old prophet”) that intent matters very little. It’s more than likely that the old prophet had intended on helping the unnamed prophet thinking that God would pardon him. It’s even possible that the old prophet was following his own spirit and believed God had sent him to the unnamed prophet to give him food. We can see that there is very clearly remorse by the end of the story in the old prophet for having caused the unnamed prophet to sin, and by proxy brought doom upon Samaria for Jeroboam would surely perceive the demise of the prophet as a sign that God had not sent him.
The Prophetic Gift is not a magical power you are born with. It’s not something you can “repurpose” for the glory of God. Trying to do so will only cause heartache:
Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?…And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.