The New World Order: Discerning “the Signs of the Times”

See the source image

The New World Order: Discerning “the Signs of the Times”

James R. Aist

“When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and overcast.’ … you can discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.” (Matthew 16:2-3)

Introduction

There seems to be a lot of confusion within the body of Christ concerning major current events, confusion that, I believe, could be cleared up by a better knowledge and understanding of biblical end times prophecies. For example, why are people rioting, looting and burning down homes and businesses during otherwise peaceful demonstrations, and why are governmental officials issuing draconian, unconstitutional orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? In this article, I will attempt to show how these and other world events, or “signs of the times”, are setting the stage for the appearance of a temporary, secular “New World Order” that will precede the everlasting, global Kingdom of God on the earth, as revealed in the Bible.

Before I get into the substance of what I have to say about these matters, it is necessary to review pertinent terminology. Perhaps the most commonly used term for the secular global government I want to discuss is “New World Order.” “Globalism” is the ideology behind the push for a New World Order, and “Globalists” are those who support and/or actively labor for such an all-powerful, secular, global government.

The term “New World Order” refers to the fact that, if the globalists get their way, the present world order of sovereign nations that determine their own form of government, goals, values and policies would be replaced by one centralized government for the entire world, an oligarchy having supreme sovereignty and authority over all the people and all the nations of the world. Capitalism and democracy would be replaced by communism, everywhere.

Global Oligarchy vs. Global Theocracy

The overarching issue here is control; that is, who will eventually gain control of all the peoples and all the countries of the world. Let’s begin with globalism. The ideology of globalism can be summed up best, perhaps, in this way: Ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs; order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Now pause for a moment and ponder the meaning of those words. Then you will realize that they are the exact anti-thesis of our democracy, where government is of the people, by the people and for the people! The “all-powerful sovereign” spoken of here may be a reference a self-chosen group of globalist elites who deem themselves superior to common, ordinary men and women and, therefore, have both a right and a responsibility to rule and reign over the rest of us…for our own good, of course. However, it seems also to be an allusion to the coming anti-Christ, as implied by Paul-Henri Spaak, the first president of the European Parliament, when he said, “What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass into which we are all sinking. Send us such a man and be he god or devil, we will receive him (page 27 in The Book of Signs, by David Jeremiah, see below).” In any case, this is the gist of the globalist agenda: world domination by a handful of elitists, a communistic global oligarchy. Among the most prominent and influential of these globalists in the United States are George Soros, Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama. Several years ago, George Soros opined that the United States was standing in the way of the New World Order. More recently, he said that Donald Trump has almost destroyed the New World Order, a clear reference to Trump’s undoing of much of the “progress” Barack Obama had made toward realization of the New World Order while he was President. This is the underlying reason why there is such an all-consuming hatred and radical opposition among so-called “progressives” to the Trump administration. President Trump is the only thing standing between us and a communist revolution that would be necessary for the New World Order to be implemented.

But, there is another Who has declared His intention to be the One Who will rule and reign, with His followers, over the entire world, forever, anarchists and globalists notwithstanding. His name is Jesus. The fundamental issue here is who will succeed in gaining sovereign power and control over the peoples of this world. Which of these two contenders for global government will win and, thus, determine who is really “on the right side of history?” And, more to the point of this article, are there “signs of the times” in which we live to indicate that this contest may begin in earnest in the very near future? I will focus on apparent preparations going on now for the establishment of a New World Order in light of what the Bible has to say about it.

It is important to keep in mind that the Bible speaks mainly of the “world” of nations in the region surrounding Israel, not the entire world of nations as we now know it. According to the Bible, the New World Order will be established by a trio of individuals: Satan, a person referred to as the “Anti-Christ” and another person, referred to as the “False Prophet.” Satan will confer power and authority to the Anti-Christ, who will gain unlimited governmental control of the affairs of all the people of the world. The False Prophet will use the influence of religion and control of commerce to coerce the people to submit to the supreme authority of the Anti-Christ, or perish. Hatred for God’s chosen people, Israel, will be manifested more viciously and comprehensively than ever before. A “mark of the beast” will be imposed on all people as a means to force them to submit to the authority of the Anti-Christ. No one will be allowed to buy or sell unless they have the mark of the beast on their hand or forehead. At the end of seven years of “tribulation”, Jesus will return to set up His everlasting, world-wide theocracy. Huge armies from Russia, China and northern Africa will unite against their common enemy, the Jews, and converge on Israel to destroy Jesus and His followers, in a series of battles known as “Armageddon.” Jesus will destroy all of them easily and utterly, cast Satan and his minions into a Lake of Fire, and then set up His kingdom on the renewed earth, where Christians – both Jews and Gentiles – will rule and reign with Him forever.

Some “Signs of the Times”

Next, I will give a brief overview of some “signs of the times”, that is, historical or current efforts that are preparing the way, or setting the stage, if you will, for the coming New World Order. If you are keeping up with current events, then you will recognize some of these signs at their mere mention. The three-stage approach for establishing the New World Order goes something like this: 1) create the impression of an imminent, catastrophic, global threat (crisis) that seems unavoidable; 2) with the aid of the predominantly liberal, main-stream media, stir up a reaction among the populace of overwhelming fear and panic (e.g., “Oh no, we’re all going to die!”), anxiety, pandemonium and anarchy; and then 3) promise to restore peace, overcome the global threat and “save the planet” through the establishment of a New World Order, an oligarchy employing the ideology, values, morality and methodology of communism. With that backdrop, here are some of the “signs of the times” that are signaling our march toward a New World Order:

Global Crises

  • World Wars: These world crises led to, firstly, the formation of the League of Nations, and, secondly, to the formation of the United Nations (whose 2030 plan would, in effect, put the entire world into subjugation to them within ten years!). The apparent and express purpose of these world organizations was to put an end to world-wide threats and international conflicts, replacing independent nations with a sovereign, global government led by benevolent world leaders who would achieve peace, justice and protection the world over.
  • The global warming hoax: This crisis, if real, would eventually result in worldwide, coastal flooding and climate changes that would wreak unimaginable destruction and human suffering, including severe famines. But the documented lack of the predicted global rise in temperatures for more than 25 years has shown this crisis to be nothing more than a mammoth effort to coerce the world’s nations into submitting to the supreme authority of the United Nations, which still pushes the global warming narrative.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic: This crisis, if materialized according to the original predictions of the alarmists, would result directly in tens of millions of deaths, and worldwide famine that would kill even more than that. But, based on current projections, this crisis seems now to be much less of a global threat than originally claimed, although this coronavirus is much more contagious and deadly than the average flu virus. However, the worldwide, devastating, economic disasters associated with illegal overreactions (e.g., business shutdowns) to the COVID-19 pandemic by governmental and health officials were a direct result of rampant fear-mongering perpetrated primarily by globalists and the liberal, main stream media, in an attempt to weaken and destroy the Trump presidency and help pave the way for the New World Order.

Fomenting Revolution (using Marxist tactics)

  • Gun Control: Following historical precedent for political revolutions, gun confiscation will render the masses powerless to defend themselves against agents of the New World Order. For decades, Democrat lawmakers have worked tirelessly and relentlessly to confiscate the guns of American citizens, which is an obvious portent of things to come if the globalists have their way.
  • Censorship: Besides controlling the guns, recent political revolutions typically involved controlling the speech of the masses. This gives the conquerors the power to control the thoughts and attitudes of the masses, thereby making overthrow of the government seem more palatable to the citizenry. In america, we are seeing increasing censorship of the speech of Christians and conservatives perpetrated by radical leftists, the main stream media, social networking companies, the Democrat party and globalists. A recent, glaring example of this censorship is the order given by a state governor that bans pharmacies from filling prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine for the early treatment of COVID-19. This order puts state government, instead of licensed medical doctors, in charge of medical prescriptions! Censorship is, at its core, a globalist campaign to facilitate the realization of the New World Order.
  • Cancelling History: Historically, violent revolutions replacing one governmental regime with another involve the removal and/or defacing of historical statuary and monuments. This is currently being done in America and other countries by domestic terrorist groups including Antifa and Black Lives Matter. The immediate purpose is to terrorize the populace and signify publicly the demise of capitalism and democratic government. But, here too, the ultimate agenda is to help create favorable conditions for the establishment of the New World Order.

Biblical Prophecy

  • Lawlessness: In 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8a, the Apostle Paul prophesied this, concerning the coming Anti-Christ, the Lawless One: For the mystery of lawlessness is already working. Only He who is now restraining him will do so until He is taken out of the way. Then the lawless one will be revealed…” Thus, part and parcel with this diabolical scheme is an orchestrated campaign of violence, rioting, looting, killing and burning, designed to further create chaos, fear, panic and civil unrest. The real, underlying motivation of the globalist financiers of such lawlessness is to overthrow capitalism and democratic governments and replace them with the New World Order.
  • One World Religion: Revelation 13:11-15 says, concerning the False Prophet, “He causes the earth and those who dwell on it to worship the first beast. He deceives those who dwell on the earth by the signs which he was granted to do, and he will cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” Thus, the False Prophet will institute a One World Religion by deception and under penalty of death for those refusing to worship the Anti-Christ! This religion will be a perverted form of what we presently know as Unitarianism, the belief that all gods are one and the same god, including the God of the Bible. With that backdrop, here are three pertinent examples illustrating movement toward a One World Religion: firstly, there is the Universalist religion itself, which had its beginnings in the United States in the middle of the 18th century and is currently gaining in popularity, especially among so-called “progressives”; secondly, The New Age Movement, which was popular in the 1970s and still has devotees, is very inclusive of various belief systems; and thirdly, Pope Frances recently endorsed Islam, proclaiming that Allah is the same God as the God of the Bible, and calling for America to relinquish aspects of its national sovereignty to the United Nations. These are just three of the many contemporary examples of shadows of the One World Religion, empowered by Satan, that is prophesied in the Bible.
  • The “mark of the beast”: Revelation 13:16-17, says, concerning the False Prophet, “He causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that no one may buy or sell, except he who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.” Here we have a prophecy that describes the manner by which the Anti-Christ will extort unswerving allegiance from all unbelievers during the Great Tribulation. And we can see the stage being set at this very moment for this prophecy to be fulfilled in the near future: to wit, the coming “cashless society“, a “single currency“, and forced digital identification implants or marks, are recent technological advances that could easily be used to implement a method of commerce in which “no one may buy or sell, except he who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.” All transactions would be digital and electronic, requiring a government-issued, government-controlled digital implant or mark of some kind. The true believers will refuse to receive this mark of the beast (Revelation 13:8), thus maintaining their allegiance to Christ, not the beast. Consequently, they will undergo unthinkable suffering, and eventually, death, being unable to purchase even the bare necessities of life.

Utopia or Dystopia?

The New World Order globalists promise to restore peace, order, justice and security when they gain control of government worldwide. At first glance, this New World Order, with one centralized governing body having supreme and final authority worldwide, may seem logical and preferable to many. After all, who wouldn’t want to have all of their basic needs met by a benevolent, secular government in an atmosphere of peace and security? Sounds like a utopia, doesn’t it. But wait, what are they not telling us? They are not telling us that this will be a communistic, atheistic, elitist oligarchy that will seek to control virtually every significant aspect of our lives according to their worldview, their values, their goals and their morals, not ours. There will no longer be freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to bear arms. Taxpayer-funding of abortion and infanticide will be made available to everyone on demand. Sexual perversions of all sorts (including pedophilia) will be encouraged and protected by law. Homeschooling will be banned, our borders will be opened to any and all who wish to enter, there will be no states’ rights, and private property will be confiscated by the government. Businesses and healthcare will be taken over and run by the government. National sovereignty will become a thing of the past. Our travel, our speech and our purchases will be monitored and controlled by this global, man-made government.

What in the world would motivate the globalists to want to rule and reign over us with such an iron fist? Will these people be driven by an insatiable lust for power and control? Perhaps some will. But many will be driven by an elitist mindset that seems benevolent at its core. They really believe that they are superior human beings by nature and that it is, therefore, their right and responsibility to make the important life choices for the rest of us, for our own good! This will be the “Big Brother” syndrome on steroids. And, Satan will be the driving force to make it happen, secretly conferring power and authority to the Anti-Christ when he is revealed. But, here’s the “catch”: the ruling elitists will be subject to the same moral and ethical weaknesses and failures as are we inferior human beings. In their ranks, as in ours, such things as greed, jealously, dishonesty, lust and hatred will flourish without the acknowledgment of a higher moral power to which they are accountable. Thus, this man-made New World Order will fail to produce the utopia they promise, but will, instead, create unbearable conditions for the governance of mankind, a dystopia, because this New World Order will actually be diabolical and will become malevolent!

What on Earth is Really Going On?

In this section, I will try to reveal more explicitly the true end-game of the New World Order globalists, because, without that perspective, it will be impossible to read correctly the “signs of the times.” First, we must be aware that the globalists are implementing the New World Order gradually, step by step, in order to keep the masses from realizing what they are up to. We can see this strategy being played out currently in the governmental reactions to COVID-19. Governmental officials at the state, county and city levels are issuing unconstitutional orders to close businesses and churches under penalty of law, despite the First Amendment protections and the enormously devastating  economic impacts of such shutdowns. At the very least, these draconian measures are indicators to the globalists of how much and how readily Americans are willing to surrender their legal rights to governments in the face of a global crisis. At the worst, they may lull us into getting used to the idea of surrendering our basic rights to rogue governmental powers, which is precisely how the globalists plan to convince us to accept the New World Order when the time is right! Let me illustrate this point by means of a current, unmistakable and ominous example. One of our Democratic state governors recently issued an order requiring all businesses in the state to refuse doing business with anyone not wearing a face mask. Any business that does not comply is to be shut down. In other words, “no one can buy or sell” in that state unless they are wearing a face mask. This is exactly the same thing as the “mark of the beast” in Revelation 13:16-17, except here, it is a face mask instead of the “mark of the beast” (which will come later on)!” Despite the many documented mentions of the New World Order by national and world leaders for the past 100 years or more, globalists always try to dismiss and deny what they are up to by labeling it as “conspiracy theories.” But, do not be deceived: this is not “conspiracy theory”, its history in the making for those of us who are awake and try to keep up with current events!

Second, to help you better understand what on earth is really going on, allow me to illustrate with an analogy: puppeteers and their puppets. The globalists are the puppeteers, and those whom they are controlling are their puppets. Puppets would include the main stream, fake news media, some of the social networking companies, violent anarchists (such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa), the anti-Trump politicians, the liberal Supreme Court justices and the far-left leaning common citizens, to name a few. Apparently, many of these puppets are not even aware that they are being manipulated by the globalists into contributing to the march toward a New World Order, instead limiting their perspective to the individual issues or events as they unfold. In other words, they are not “seeing the forest for the trees.” For the globalists, its less about issues like racism, immigration, social justice, individual rights, environment or hatred, and more about how they can manipulate such issues to promote the implementation of their end-game, the New World Order.

Finally, let me suggest that the “signs of the times” happening now are just the birth pangs, or shadows, of the coming tribulation that will be orchestrated by Satan through the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet. These current events are, in my opinion, setting the stage for the early end-time events described in the Bible, those tribulations that Jesus referred to as “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). They are preparing the peoples and nations of the world to be willing to subject themselves to the supreme authority of the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet, when the time comes.

“The Right Side of History”: Are You Ready?

In Genesis 11:1-9, we have revealed to us God’s response to mankind’s first attempt at global governance. At that time, all of the people of the earth had the same language. They said to each other, “Come, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top will reach to heaven, and let us make a name for ourselves…” When the Lord saw what they were up to, He said, “The people are one and they have one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do; now nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them.” So, to put and end to their rebellious plans to rule over all the earth, He confused their language so that they couldn’t understand one another’s speech and scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth. This is how God opposed mankind’s first attempt at global government. Even so today, mankind is trying to set up a global government that will eliminate national identity and sovereignty and individual rights and freedoms, but God will intercede to quash that plan as well, and establish His rightful rule, as Creator, over the nations of the earth through the God-given power and authority of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, all of the people who let God save them, by accepting His gift of saving faith in Jesus Christ, will actually end up on the “right side of history”, the futile babbling of unbelievers notwithstanding. Have you let God save you yet? God invites you to “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near (Isaiah 55:6). Don’t wait until it is too late and end up on the wrong side of history!

Key References:

“The Book of Signs”, Dr. David Jeremiah. 2019. W Publishing, an Imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN.

One-World Government (click HERE)

Nationalism vs. Globalism (click HERE)

Davos and the NWO globalist’s summits (Click HERE)

I have provided hyperlinks to a few of the many articles and videos I have accessed in preparation for writing this article. But I urge you to take the time and make the effort to look into these matters more thoroughly for yourself. You can discover other pertinent articles by performing internet searches on keywords found in this article. Then decide for yourself what is really going on. (Warning: Beware of fake news articles and videos that will present false narratives concerning the New World Order that are based on mere rumor or wild speculations. Their authors are nothing more than puppets serving the interests of the globalists to discredit reports of what is really going on.)

(To read more of my articles on biblical topics, click HERE)

When the “Supernatural” Is Not of God

See the source image

When the “Supernatural” Is Not of God

James R. Aist

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

Fore Word

I want to make it clear, right up front, that I am not among those who, in the Last Days, are content to have a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:1-5). After more than 25 years of affiliation with and participation in Pentecostal/Charismatic churches and denominations, as well as more than 65 years of personal encounters with God (click HERE , HERE and HERE), I have the distinct impression that, often, too little consideration is given to the possibility that a supernatural manifestation may not be of God, but of Satan. The default setting seems to be that if it is supernatural, it must be of God, but that is not a biblical approach at all. The Bible clearly instructs us to test the spirits to see if they are of God or not (click HERE), and to hold onto what is of God. So, in this article, I want to relate some unequivocal examples of when the supernatural was not of God, but of Satan, so that a more balanced and biblical approach to the supernatural might become more commonly practiced be Christians going forward.

Introduction

Let’s begin by defining some relevant terms, shall we? “Natural” refers to things that are of this physical world that God created, often referred to as “nature.” “Supernatural”, on the other hand, refers to things that are above or beyond the natural, or not of this physical world. In this context, “supernatural” would refer to the spiritual realm, and, more specifically, to spirit beings or their activities. From the Bible, we know that spirit beings include God, angels (good and evil), demons and spirits (good and evil). Satan is the ruler of the evil angels, demons and evil spirits. Human beings are also spirit beings, but they have a physical body and a soul as well. God, as the Creator of everything, is ultimately sovereign over all of the physical and spirit beings. Jesus said that God is Spirit; consequently, whatever God does is supernatural. Likewise, whatever any of Satan’s spirit beings do is also supernatural.

Whenever we encounter a possible supernatural manifestation, I believe that the first thing we need to determine for ourselves is whether or not it is really a miracle at all. Many manifestations (e.g., random cloud formations appearing like Jesus or a cross, or rust dribbling down a statue) are easily explained by natural phenomena. Other manifestations (e.g., manufactured Words of Knowledge, messages from the “spirit world” or fake healing) may be nothing more than cruel hoaxes perpetrated by humans. Once such natural or manufactured phenomena have been ruled out as the cause, there are two possible sources of a supernatural manifestation: God or Satan.

Now, I assume that we are all familiar with accounts in the Bible of supernatural manifestations that were of Satan, not God. For example, the Bible says that Pharaoh’s magicians turned their rods into snakes (Exodus 7:8-12), and the Gadarene demoniac broke out of heavy chains and shackles using supernatural strength imparted by a legion of demons (Mark 5:1-13). But, to illustrate the point further, I want to give a more detailed account here of two supernatural encounters that I myself have had that were clearly not of God.

An “Angel of Light”

I was 19 years old, a college student and very naive and ignorant concerning spiritual matters and the Word of God. In my frame of reference at that time, anything supernatural was assumed to be of God.

Now, please keep in mind that I was fully conscious and aware during the entire supernatural encounter I am about to share with you. One Sunday afternoon, I was alone in my apartment praying earnestly to God for His guidance concerning a major life decision that I was about to make. While I was praying, I suddenly felt an invisible force pulling on me, weakly at first, but then stronger and stronger until my entire body fell limp and my upper torso was held upright (i.e., levitated) and literally pulled to the other end of the apartment by this force, with my lower legs and feet dragging along the floor. When I arrived at the doorway to my bedroom, the force released me, and I slumped into a full squatting position on the floor, still unable to move of my own accord. Then I saw, out of the corner of my right eye, a bright, round, white light about the size of a basketball. This light was situated at the juncture of the wall and the ceiling. Next, my gaze was turned toward the light, and a voice spoke into my mind. It told me what I wanted to believe as I had been praying to God, and the message was crystal clear and without any confusion on my part. Then my strength slowly returned and I was able to stand and walk.

In pondering what had just happened to me, I assumed that this entire and impressive spiritual encounter was a divinely inspired answer to my prayer. However, it was a frightening experience, and I have been reluctant to share it publicly until now. Believing it was of God, I acted on the message I was given.

As the years went by, it became more and more apparent to me that this “angel of light” had lied to me, because things were not working out as I was told they would. This development put me into a state of utter confusion, because I was, at first, certain that I had heard from God, who cannot lie. I was even in the midst of praying to God when this spiritual encounter occurred! “Surely God would not allow Satan to bring a false response to my prayer to Him!”, I reasoned.

More years passed, and, by now, I had become a student of the Bible and was a bit savvy concerning spiritual matters. But I was not yet fully convinced that this “angel of light” was not of God, even though what it said to me did not square with present reality. Then one day, as I was reading in 2 Corinthians 11, I came upon the verse that says “…even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (verse 14). That caught my attention, but I tried to read on anyway. Each time I tried to read on, my gaze was directed back and glued to “…even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” Finally, I saw the connection between this verse and my earlier experience with an “angel of light”: that wasn’t God, that was Satan deceiving me and setting my life on a course that did not end well! And, there it is. This supernatural experience was not of God at all, but of Satan, no more doubt about it. (Note: It is not uncommon for the Holy Spirit to quicken, or bring alive, the written word of God to a Bible reader in this manner. In Pentecostalism, this experience is sometimes referred to as an example of the “Rhema word” of God. For a sound, biblical teaching by Watchman Nee on the Rhema word, see text pages 51-59 at this link: https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/bfa-media/ebooks/TGC-eng.pdf)

A Slithering Serpent

Early on in my experience with Pentecostalism, I was an active member of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International (Ithaca, NY, chapter). A much larger chapter in nearby Syracuse, NY, invited me to be their keynote speaker at their next monthly meeting, and I accepted. They wanted me to relate my experiences in researching and publishing, on the Cornell University campus and to the Ithaca area, the facts and truth about homosexuality. Of course this was an inflammatory mission I was on, and the area homosexual activists were all up in arms about it, opposing me with every hateful and devious attack they could think of. The devil hates it when someone sheds light on his nefarious deeds of darkness, doesn’t he?

When the day came for my presentation, there was a sizable crowd of about 150 people who showed up to hear what I had to say. No more than about 10 minutes into my speech, I noticed to my left a woman standing in the aisle near the back of the crowd. As I continued to speak, I saw in the corner of my eye that she had laid down on the floor and was moving through the aisle toward me. When she was about half way to the front, I could see clearly how she was moving along the floor: she was face-down, her body taking the shape of a crawling snake and slithering toward me, all the while lifting her head, wagging her tongue at me and hissing audibly – just like a snake! I knew almost immediately that we were seeing a supernatural manifestation that was demonic in nature, so I continued right along with my speech so as not to allow this demon to disrupt my message. When the serpent lady had reached the edge of the open area where I was standing, a couple of the local men of the chapter came and quietly picked her up off of the floor, escorted her out of the auditorium the same way she came in, and ministered to her out in the foyer. This demonic manifestation was very impressive and creepy, but it didn’t spoil God’s purpose for my being there!

My Point

I want to encourage us all to not be too quick to conclude that anything that is supernatural is of God. False prophets can work signs and wonders too (click HERE). While it slanders God when we are duped by “wolves in Sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15), it is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit to attribute to Satan the miraculous works of God (Matthew 12:22-30). So, we must be very careful to always test any supernatural manifestation before we conclude that it is, or is not, of God (See Addendum, below). Peter and John did not believe the report that Jesus had been raised from the dead until they had direct, physical confirmation themselves, and Thomas withheld his worship of the resurrected Jesus until Jesus gave him the physical confirmation he was holding out for. Perhaps we would be wise to follow the example of these Apostles and require confirmation that supernatural manifestations are really of God, rather than being quick to just assume that they are. I have to believe that if God wants us to know what He is doing, He can and will make it clear to us, if we are willing to inquire, listen, watch and wait.

Addendum

I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you, for what its worth, some of the tests I use to evaluate the authenticity and the source of claimed “supernatural” manifestations. So, here is a “short list” of my tests:

  • Is there a verified, natural explanation available?
  • Is there a verified fleshly motivation to fake a miracle?
  • Do the human instruments of the manifestation appear to be trustworthy and reliable witnesses?
  • Does it involve anything that the Bible expressly prohibits?
  • Is it serving God’s purposes or Satan’s purposes?
  • What are my natural and my spiritual gifts of discernment telling me about it, if anything?

(To read more of my biblically themed articles, click HERE)

Prophecy in the New Testament Church

See the source image

Prophecy in the New Testament Church

James R. Aist

In the last days it shall be,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even on My menservants and maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:17-18)

Introduction

It is not my intention here to attempt a comprehensive treatise on prophecy. Others more qualified and authoritative than I am have already done that. Mine is more of an introductory level treatment encompassing personal research and commentary that I have been motivated to explore, assemble and record here, for what it’s worth. Nor will I get deep into the ongoing controversy concerning whether or not prophecy is for today. Suffice it to say that the Scripture verses quoted above say that prophecy is for the Last Days, in which we live. Moreover, a great many born-again Christians, including myself, bear witness to the operation of prophecy in the Christian church today, so my interest lies mostly in understanding it and practicing it, insofar as God gives it to me and to my contemporaries of like faith.

Before Pentecost, God spoke to His chosen people, Israel, through a select, few individuals called “prophets” (Hebrews 1:1), who spoke to the people for God through the working of the Holy Spirit. The punishment for giving a false prophecy was, at that time, extremely severe, even death. But, at Pentecost, God did a “new thing”: He began to pour out His Spirit on all believers, not just a few, chosen prophets, such that all became eligible to prophesy. The old order of communication through a chosen few was replaced by a new order of communication through, potentially, all who would put their faith and trust in Jesus. Apparently, false prophecies were no longer to be punished by the death of the one prophesying; rather, the hearers were to judge the prophecies as to whether or not they were of God, and to firmly hold onto what is good. But, this does not mean that God is no longer offended by false prophecies. Pentecostal theology teaches that there is now sufficient grace to cover false prophecies, but if God were not still offended by them, why would grace be required in the first place? After all, false prophecies, being not really from God, are lies perpetrated about God, are they not, regardless of the good intentions of the prophet?

This “new thing” that God did ushered in a major prophecy makeover that is still in effect today. So, then, what is prophecy in the modern Christian church, and how can we judge whether or not the prophecies are of God?

A Pentecostal Definition of “Prophecy”

Dr. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. has defined prophecy as “A spontaneous manifestation of God’s grace, received by revelation, (sometimes as a vision, at other times as impressions or thoughts) and spoken by the Spirit through a Christian who has been given a gift of prophecy in the language of those who hear the prophetic word spoken.” Such definitions apply specifically to prophecy in a meeting of a church body. In the New Testament, preaching and prophecy are two separate and distinct operations, although preaching can, and often does, incorporate prophetic messages.

From this definition, we can see that there are three things that must happen in order for the prophetic process to be complete: First, the Holy Spirit must give the gift of prophecy to a Christian of His choosing; second, the Holy Spirit must give to that person a revelation from God; and third, the revelation must then be spoken to those whom God wants to hear it. Thus, true prophecy is initiated by the Holy Spirit and manifests first as a revelation given by the Holy Spirit. The one prophesying then turns the revelation into a prophecy by speaking it to those who hear. In other words, the Holy Spirit operates the prophecy, while the human being merely co-operates with the Holy Spirit in the process.

Regarding the aspect of spontaneity in prophecy, let me first point out that spontaneity is commonly present as an element of true prophecy in the definitions of most Pentecostal and charismatic writers. As you will see in the Bible passages below, with true prophecy, the spontaneity is in the giving of the revelation to the human being, which is according to the will of the Holy Spirit, not the will of the human being. However, there appears to be flexibility in when the revelation is to be shared with those who are to hear it: if the revelation comes during the meeting, then it is to be given as soon as possible during the meeting. But if the revelation comes before the meeting, then one is to wait until the meeting has begun and then give it at an appropriate time.

Bible Passages on “Prophecy” in the Christian Church (with my personal commentaries in italics):

Acts 2:17-18 ‘In the last days it shall be,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

All true believers are eligible to prophesy, because God has poured out His Spirit on all flesh. But, 1 Corinthians 12:10 says that they can only do so if/when the Holy Spirit chooses to use them in this way.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies.  Examine all things. Firmly hold onto what is good. Abstain from all appearances of evil.

Examine all prophecies to see if they are from God. Accept those that pass the tests, and reject those that do not. The tests are the written word of God and the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits. Note that there is no explicit judgment of the prophet and no punishment specified for delivering a false prophecy…only grace, instead, according to Pentecostal Theology. But remember, that does not mean that we should celebrate false prophecies and take even more risks in prophesying, any more than we should “…continue in sin that grace may increase” (Romans 6:1-2).

2 Peter 1:20-21 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of the Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. For no prophecy at any time was produced by the will of man, but holy men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

True prophecy does not proceed from the will or the imagination of human beings. Instead, people are moved by the Holy Spirit to relay a message from God. The Holy Spirit, not a human being, initiates and operates the process.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Do not just believe that everything a prophet says is from God, really is from God; there are many false prophecies being floated around. Rather, test every prophecy and decide for yourself if it is from God. This rule applies to even the most famous and esteemed of “prophets.” The tests are the written word of God and the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits.

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.

Paul is about to teach the Corinthians all they (and we) need to know about prophecy in the Christian church body. [If he were to leave out any essential information, then the Corinthians (and we) would still be ignorant after learning all that Paul teaches here.]

1 Corinthians 12:6 There are various operations, but it is the same God who operates all of them in all people.

It is the Holy Spirit, not the human being, who operates the gift of prophecy. We just co-operate with the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:10 …to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.

Note that “discerning of spirits” follows immediately after “prophecy” in this list. Perhaps this order of mention was meant to imply that to effectively “test the spirits to see if they are from God,” one needs to exercise the gift of “discerning of spirits.” The test of the written word of God should always be applied also. The gift of prophecy is not given to all Christians as a result of their conversion; rather, it is distributed only to some, according to the will of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:10 But that one and very same Spirit works all these, dividing to each one individually as He will.

It is the Holy Spirit, not a human being, who distributes the gift of prophecy (cf. Hebrews 2:4) as He wills, and then He works them Himself. Prophecy doesn’t “just happen”; the Holy Spirit, not a human being, initiates the process by giving someone with the gift of prophecy a revelation from God.

1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

Of all of the spiritual gifts, prophecy is the one most to be desired. (One may wonder, then, if maybe some of the time and energy we Pentecostals have been focusing on the gift of tongues might have been better spent on the gift of prophecy. I’m just sayin’.)

1 Corinthians 14:3 But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification and exhortation and comfort.

Apparently, these are the three main purposes that God has in mind for giving us prophecy revelation in and for the church body.

1 Corinthians 14:5 I desire that you all speak in tongues, but even more that you prophesy. For greater is he who prophesies than he who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edification.

Not only is prophecy greater than tongues, but the prophet is greater than the tongues speaker, unless there is an interpretation. A message in tongues with interpretation in a church meeting is a revelation from God to edify those present; it is man-ward directed, whereas tongues spoken privately is God-ward directed to give praise and glory to God.

1 Corinthians 14:12 So, seeing that you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel to the edifying of the church. (cf. Young’s Literal Translation: “So also ye, since ye are earnestly desirous of spiritual gifts, for the building up of the assembly seek that ye may abound.”)

I see in this verse something that goes beyond just “…earnestly desire to prophesy.” What I see here is a call to action, an instruction for us to make every effort to get better at discerning the voice of God, so that our prophecies are true. Thus, teaching about prophecy that is aimed at improving our ability to discern the voice of God may be both biblical and encouraged. (Caution: In my opinion, prophecy practice sessions are suspect at best, because they are based on the false teaching that it is a human being, not the Holy Spirit, who initiates the process of prophecy. See 2 Peter 1:20-21, above.)

1 Corinthians 14:24-25 But if all prophesy and there comes in one who does not believe or one unlearned, he is convinced by all and judged by all. Thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. And so falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

Pentecostal Theology holds that “…the secrets of his heart…” refers to hidden sins. According to this view, prophecies in the church body can convict a hearer of sin.

1 Corinthians 14:26 When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

Tongues, with interpretation, is for the edification of the whole church, just like prophecy is.

1 Corinthians 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.

All present at the meeting are to listen to the prophecy, and judge what is said (to decide if it is from God). There is no mention of judgment of, or punishment for, the prophet if the prophecy is found to be false. Instead, according to Pentecostal Theology, there is grace to cover these human failures. But, that does not mean that we should celebrate false prophecies and take even more risks in prophesying, any more than we should “…continue in sin that grace may increase” (Romans 6:1-2). The two main tools that we have to judge prophecies are the written word of God and the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits.

1 Corinthians 14:30 If anything is revealed to another that sits by, let the first keep silent.

Some prophecy revelations are received during the meeting, and these are to be given priority in the order of presentation at the meeting.

1 Corinthians 14:31 For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.

Prophecies are to be given one after another, not while others are being given, so that all of the prophecies may be heard and judged by all, and all may be encouraged.

1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that what I am writing you is a command of the Lord.

Paul has received these instructions directly from Jesus, so his teaching here about prophecy in the church body is, itself, a true prophecy. It is not subject to challenge.

General Commentary: Notice that all of these verses pertain specifically to the use of the gift of prophecy in the assembly of the saints for the edification of all assembled. Nothing is said here of either revelations about individuals, or whether or not we are to share such personal revelations with anybody. I am presently of the opinion that revelations from God about individuals are just words of knowledge to be kept to oneself, unless God instructs you to share the revelation with the individual or a group, in which case it then becomes a prophecy, by definition. I have yet to find in the Bible any instruction or permission to share God-given personal information about an individual to any group of people (e.g., a small group or class within a church body, an entire church body, a conference or convention of “prophets, a TV audience, a book audience, the internet, etc.). Pentecostal Theology commonly refers to revelations from God about and for individuals as one example of “Rhema.” (For a sound, biblical teaching by Watchman Nee on the Rhema word, see text pages 51-59 at this link: https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/bfa-media/ebooks/TGC-eng.pdf)

Now I am going to tread briefly into an area of the current practice of prophecy (what I call the “modern prophecy movement”) with which I am, perhaps, less familiar. The New Testament clearly presented to the New Testament church the acceptable parameters and practices for true prophecy at that time. But, is God limited today by what He prescribed for the New Testament church regarding prophecy, or is He free to do another “new thing” now, if He wants to? The Bible says that God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3). So, I am currently of the opinion that God may be doing some new, “new things” regarding prophecy in His church, but only insofar as they do not contradict or violate what is written in the New Testament. God does not contradict Himself. So, our challenge and our charge today is to not quench the Holy Spirit as we test the spirits of prophecy and prophets to see if they are of God. And, I believe God would not require this of us if He would not enable us to do it. That said, I strongly recommend that we proceed with very careful scrutiny and great caution in evaluating where the new things in contemporary prophecy are coming from. Just because something is supernatural doesn’t necessarily mean it is of God; it could be of Satan, instead. Unfortunately, for many who are engaged in the modern prophecy movement, “prophecy” has become not only God speaking to man, but includes man speaking to objects and situations (e.g., word of faith, positive confession, fleshly predictions, guesses, name it and claim it, etc.). In this view, any believer can, of his own volition, declare things that are not as though they are, an attribute that the Bible applies only to God (Isaiah 46:11; Romans 4:17). Such a practice is clearly outside of any biblical definition of “prophecy”, was not what Peter had in mind in quoting the prophet Joel in Acts 2:17-18, and trivializes and grossly misrepresents the true meaning of “prophecy.” If it didn’t originate with God, then it is not prophecy, by definition; call it something else, please.

How to Recognize False Teachers and False Prophets

Unfortunately, there are many false teachers and false prophets in the present day Christian church, as Jesus warned us there would be (Matthew 24:11). To help us be prepared to recognize them as we encounter them, I have compiled the following list of Bible verses, with my personal commentaries:

  1. There will be many others like them (Matthew 24:11 and 1 John 4:1)
  2. By their own will they will produce prophecies (2 Peter 1:21)
  3. They will appear to be Christians; ie., they are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15)
  4. They will bear evil fruit (e.g., false prophecies) (Matthew 7:16-20)
  5. They will not endure (i.e., abide in) sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3)
  6. They will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires (e.g., Prophecy Conventions?) (2 Timothy 4:3)
  7. They will teach what men, having “itching ears”, are eager to hear (2 Timothy 4:3)
  8. They will turn from the truth to myths (2 Timothy 4:4)
  9. They will be out of control (2 Timothy 4:5)
  10. They will manifest signs and wonders to deceive even the elect (Matthew 24:24)
  11. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1; Jeremiah 23:14)
  12. Many will follow their ways (2 Peter 2:2)
  13. They will blaspheme the way of truth (2 Peter 2:2)
  14. They will be presumptuous and arrogant (2 Peter 2:10)
  15. They will revel in their own deception (2 Peter 2:13)
  16. They will forsake the right way (2 Peter 2:15)
  17. They will speak arrogant words of vanity (2 Peter 2:18)
  18. They will promise “freedom” (2 Peter 2:19)
  19. They will speak lies in hypocrisy (1 Timothy 4:2)
  20. They will put their own words into God’s mouth (Jeremiah 23:16)

After Words

No one will find it enjoyable to label a prominent personality in Christendom a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, but the many warnings in the New Testament about false teachers, false prophets and false doctrines in the end times are there for a reason and demand our careful attention and appropriate action. We are instructed in the New Testament to test all of these teachings and prophecies to see if they are from God…or not. God’s written word, or logos, is a test that should always be applied. The spiritual gift of discerning of spirits is also available to us and can be used to determine what is and is not from God. If you are not prepared, or willing, to make such determinations, as the Bible instructs us to do (Ephesians 4:11-16), then I challenge you to prepare yourself and muster the courage of your convictions to speak out so that others will not be fooled by the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” that you encounter. In my opinion, there is no better way than this for us to “defend the faith.”

Further Reading: If you are interested in further exploring the topic of prophecy in contemporary Christianity, I highly recommend “What does the New Testament really say about the gift of prophecy?” by Eddie Hyatt (click HERE).

(To read more of my biblically themed articles, click HERE)