Israel Prayer Teams
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The Prophets of Israel
The Secular Prophets and the Prophets of God

Looking Back on Some Lesson from 2006

By Donna Diorio
December 27 2006

It takes all kinds

Back in the day when a prophet of God would speak into the governing powers of Israel, there was plenty of competition for the ear of the king who was surrounded by a court full of prophets, princes, generals and other in-the-know court wise men. It hasn’t changed much from that day to this. We often do not make the valid biblical connection between the prophets of God and the ‘real world’ advisers—those journalists, political operatives, military and think tank fellows—and the ‘prophetic’ role they fill for governing leaders. If you have studied the historical books of the Hebrew Scripture—Samuel, Kings and Chronicles—then you know that Israel’s kings were advised not just by prophets of God, but also by a court full of well informed advisers.

We have the same deal today, only the communications industry has exploded the privately-given news intelligence once available only to kings and a handful of others, open to almost the whole world, and often simultaneously delivered. Now everyone can be in-the-know if they want to be. Everyone can also voice their take on news events and reports, hence Time magazine named YOU their “Person of the Year.” Not that blogging and talk backs are brand new to the media scene, but the news media did have to come to grips in 2006 with how the rules have been changed by the phenomena. (A “blog” is a web log. It is a journal or newsletter frequently updated and intended for public consumption.)

This year ‘bloggers’ on ‘the information super highway’ kept the mainstream media honest during the Lebanon war by reporting several incidents of faked stories by Arab journalists of supposed Lebanese civilian collateral damage. This was a good thing, too, since such story and photo faking has been going on for years without anyone from the mainstream media challenging faked photos and stories, or even pointing out the truth. There are past incidents racked up too numerous to count in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the world press has always turned a blind eye to Jewish watchdog groups monitoring such things. The bloggers, who aren’t necessarily Jewish or connected to any watchdog groups, played a critical part in unmasking a well broken-in tool of Arab deception that the mainstream news has been ignoring—which has, not coincidently, allowed Israel to get hammered in public opinion.

When the mainstream press won’t do their full job, then common bloggers do have the tools today to step in and whistle blow. (Time made a solid choice for their Person of Year despite the complaining views of the talking heads!) This new media landscape is indeed a real David and Goliath story because one good, smooth stone planted firmly into the forehead of the giant can bring a monster down. But beware bloggers: the mainstream media isn’t happy about YOU. They will come after you for copyright infringements you used to be able to get away with because you were such a flea in their sight.

A lot of Christians miss the reality that the media are very much the ‘secular prophets’ of our day—along with the experts from the think-tanks they call on to substantiate the news message. These are often a great source of information for the prophets of God, as long as we don’t forget that their information must be seasoned with spiritual salt! They are also the greatest competition for the ears of God’s people today. Many Christians just don’t realize that it is not just the American secular press who miss important spiritual realities in news reporting. Israel’s media is just as secular and unbelieving as their American counterparts, so don’t assume their views are ‘solid gold with Divine will’ as it seems so many Christian Zionists do. Don’t let your spiritual wisdom fail you just because they are Israelis!

The ‘secular prophets’ are seriously versed in what’s going on but they also have a collective sense of ‘calling’ not just to report the news of the day but to actually steer public opinion and governmental policies. This is why in recent years the media has left off with the longstanding chorus about their “journalistic objectivity” and now just focus on maintaining a steady drum beat of their talking points.

Since objectivity has ceased to be the lofty goal of news journalists, now everyone can know ‘what side’ the news outlet represents—Left or Right—because no one is seriously presenting ‘just the facts.’ They are unashamedly trying to win hearts and minds by selective and biased reporting. Objective reporting has been thrown under the train and reporters stay on point with the ‘prophetic’ message of the news outlet. Christians need to understand the truth of that and make an effort to discover what the facts really are, or at least what sources are the safest to heed. That includes sources in Israel: Don’t just run with religious right wing opinions that cite chapter and verse to back up their political stance. The Israeli Religious Right wing are just as far from knowing the Divine will as the secular counterparts, and often are even farther than the secularists from sharing God’s heart in matters. (Matthew 21:31)

Secular prophets come from a starting point of a personal vision or bias that many have been trained in at universities and nurtured through the news agencies that hired them (which is why Bill O’Reilly seems to be obsessed with stories about the many crazies and fanatics teaching in our universities). There are few ‘maverick’ independent reporters these days. Not many “fair and balanced” journalists stay on at CNN when they can be true to their belief systems over at FOX News (the exception may be Wolf Blitzer). So take heed what you listen to. Consider the source, as the saying goes.

Secular prophets are sure they have seen through to the end of a thing and have come up with the best possible solution, the best moves to make for the outcome they deem most desirable. They have an ideology, a political theory that all new information is filtered through. This acts as an unintended limitation on being able to see the true potential for other outcomes in any given world situation.

This is where the true prophet should have an extraordinary advantage over secular prophets, knowing there is nothing impossible to God and knowing that God’s ways are not like man’s ways. The true prophet should not be halted at the same discernment barriers as their secular counterparts. Where the secular prophets see opposition and obstacles mounted too high to overcome, the prophets of God should be able to recognize that impossible circumstances are God’s specialty. To the brink of impossibility is often where God chooses to drive us because that is what it takes to work something into us (or out of us) that He wants.

Enter the spiritual prophets

The starting point for any true prophet of God has got to be God Himself. If there is no Divine purpose conveyed, how is it then anything more than just human or even spiritual reasoning?

We should remember that God did not always pick out prophets who had no inkling of political or military realities to deliver messages to Israel’s highest leaders. He also called ‘princes’ with prophetic gifting, like an Isaiah, or a Moses, raised and educated in the courts of the kings and pharaohs. To be a “true” prophet does not mean one has to be completely ignorant of the realm God sends one in to prophesy about. God is not against us being informed or intelligent, but we do have to be more sensitive to His heart and purposes than we are to all the rest.

Spiritual prophets are not completely different from their secular counterparts in that even those with true spiritual prophetic gifting and vision are filtering what they see and hear from the Spirit of God through their own human biases and expectations. Here is the key to pure prophecy: the less likeness of Yeshua within the prophet, the more of our own biases and expectations the prophetic word is filtered through.

The secular media used to claim that their reporting was objective and that they did not allow their personal opinions to influence their news reporting. Now they know that is untrue and some even admit it is impossible.

It is equally necessary for spiritual prophets to realize they face the same issue of ‘spiritual objectivity.’ For the prophets of God, the more they allow Messiah’s likeness to be formed in them, the more spiritually pure their prophetic words will be. So our priority is to be growing in Messiah-likeness so we will more purely have and be able to communicate the heart and purposes of God. But we don’t have to turn our back on knowing what is going on in the world either.

God can use a donkey to speak through, but normally He chooses men and women who are informed of what is happening in their world with discernment of where God is moving, as well as where He is not moving. In other words, one needn’t be ignorant as a donkey about things happening in the world in order to be a pure communicator of the prophetic word to the nations. One can have a grasp of international politics and still be more sensitive and discerning of the Divine purpose than he is to the worldly politics. Prophetic purity does not come from ignorance of the way the world works; it comes from sensitivity to the Father’s heart and purpose.

This is how Yeshua knew what He should do and when He should do it. He knew He was born to be King of Israel just as the prophetic scriptures indicated, but Yeshua did not discern the Father moving Him to that part of His destiny.

Even when His close followers expected that to be ‘the end’ or even the point in His coming, Yeshua Himself was focused on discerning how God was leading Him for the day at hand. Where was the Father moving? That is where Yeshua went to minister. He didn’t get ahead of the Father about what His ultimate end would be, because He was focused on discerning what the Father was doing and saying today.

It is not just what prophetic scripture says is going to happen. It is also the timing of a thing that makes something prophetically accurate or inaccurate. Yeshua knew this so He did not try to prematurely establish the prophetic promises of God which were written of Him. He let God direct His path according to the Father’s own timing. His path was not overwhelmingly dictated by knowing what His ultimate destiny was—to be the King of Israel—but it was directed in His daily maturing in hearing from God and following His direction for life and ministry. Likewise, prophetic scripture assures us certain promises to Israel that will all be fulfilled, but the timing of those matters must be discerned by following God’s leading day by day, issue by issue.

Some of those giving us prophetic vision for Israel are not focusing our attention on discerning God’s direction in our daily lives as much as they are just continually communicating their own political perspectives which are based on prophetic scriptures. For example, how many times in the last decade or so have you heard how the Israelis will probably nuke Damascus in the next few months because of the prophecy in Isaiah 17:1? Oh, Damascus will “be removed from being a city,” alright but scripture did not say Israel would be the remover of it, and so far, the prophets have also been wrong with all their predictions of imminent fulfillment. Could it be because they were not listening for that timing to be revealed, but only making assumptions based on prophetic scripture? We all do this. We all need to do less of this.

Can I just say this is how Yeshua’s followers missed understanding that He was headed first for a personal cross before sitting down on the throne of Israel? Wasn’t it Judas, the one disciple most insistent that Yeshua seek His ultimate destiny as king of Israel, who in the end sold Him out? Judas was focused on the injustices and unrighteous rule of Rome over Israel and it caused Him not to keep his eyes fixed on Yeshua, waiting for the timing of God.

We should walk as Yeshua walked, waiting patiently on the timings of God, and not as Judas walked—wanting what we want when we want it. To inherit the promises of God, we must learn with all Yeshua’s disciples to find our way through discerning the heart and purposes of God. The timing belongs to Him. Just because the promise is in scripture does not mean it is ours for the taking in our timing alone. (I am talking about Israel’s borders, in case anyone missed that.)

This mistake of Judas is often repeated by those whose expectations are predominantly fixed on the doom part of end time prophetic scripture—on the “wars and rumors of war, earthquakes in diverse places, and nations in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.” Those with such a focus rarely, if ever, spend time teaching us about the flip side--the parallel reality that “the gospel of the kingdom” will be preached “in all the world for a witness” unto “all the nations.” Matthew 24:6-7, 14

What we behold, we become. That’s why we are told to fix our eyes on Yeshua and not on the signs of end. Noah was a witness to the world because in spite of knowing that destruction was coming, he was building the prescribed shelter—not just telling people how dark the darkness was getting. Noah was called a “preacher of righteousness” because he personally walked in righteousness. He was a preacher of righteousness because of who he was, not what he said. What he became, not what he preached to others. Our prophetic priority must also be with our foremost focus on righteousness. Detailing the darkness is not the prophetic priority but building the prescribed shelter against it is.

Yeshua said, ‘About those wars and rumors of war and all the other fearsome things that will be happening,’ these are not the end, but are just the “beginnings of sorrows.” The ‘end’ is Yeshua’s disciples enduring past all the prophesied offenses, betrayals, hatred and cold love that are part of “the end time.” It isn’t just huge disasters happening on an international scale—wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes. We may never be involved in one of those events personally but we all are going to have to endure through the “offenses, betrayals, hatred and cold love” that comes to all human beings. This is also a prophesied part of the end time scenario.

Guess what? Only those who endure through the trials that cause us to be transformed into Messiah’s likeness are going to be able to provide a “witness” of the “gospel of the kingdom” to the world. We will not overcome in the big disasters if we can’t even learn to forgive the offenses and betrayals that lead so many of us into a living hell on earth—the hell of hatred and cold love…and all those attending demons. As Jeremiah put it, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses?”

It isn’t enough to know there are going to be shakings throughout the world. Anyone who can read scripture knows that. It is Prophecy 101. The more spiritually mature we become—meaning, the more Messiah-likness we put on—the more we will be motivated by Yeshua’s desire to save the world rather than to judge the world. There is not any other measure of spiritual maturity except how much we have been transformed from our old nature into the likeness Yeshua. It is in possessing His very Nature that our spiritual maturity is measured by.

Almost every new believer dives into prophecy with fascinated gusto. Partially this is due to our thirst for revenge because we want to look into the prophetic judgments of God falling upon the earth. That is spiritual immaturity, pure and simple. So we should watch out for prophets whose thirst for relating the coming judgments exceeds their desire to help all of us find the shelter of the Lord which will protect us.

I think the prophet Amos gave us a hint of how God views this when he wrote (Amos 5:18), “Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light.” If we are “longing” for the judgment to begin falling on a world that we have judged as enemies, then we do not have the Messianic heart of salvation we were called to.

That’s one reason why I hate seeing prophets who maintain a steady drum beat of describing the doom and rolling judgments, and who do not counter-balance their message with the spiritual truth that will help God’s people “endure to the end.”

How can a message of judgment be counter-balanced? The same way Yeshua counter-balanced it: He did not compromise the truth of the coming judgment of sin, but most of His time was spent training disciples to walk as He walked.

Yeshua is our example in all things—even in communicating to people about prophetic events because knowing the exact description of coming judgments does not help people, but teaching them how to enter into the shelter of the Ark of His Presence does. We have to point them to the transforming power of Yeshua, “For the testimony of Yeshua is the spirit of prophecy.” This is in the prophet’s job description, not just giving words about the future.

While “gross darkness covers the people” of the earth, God’s ancient promise is that at the same time “the LORD shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you.” Isaiah 60:2 Only the glory spoken of here can be “a witness” of “the gospel of the kingdom” to “all the earth” in such a day of gross darkness. When affliction, disaster and trial has reached such a fevered pitch as Yeshua described coming upon the world, the only shelter from such things is for us to be found in His likeness and with His nature. Matthew 24:6-12

The glory of the LORD, is the glory of transformation into the likeness and image of Yeshua. How else can we overcome the offenses and betrayals that pile up on us in this life, little by little defeating us by marking us with the hatreds and cold love the enemy has authored in our lives?

So many fret about taking the “mark of the beast” thinking it is computer chips or national identity cards. How much better if we concern ourselves with not taking offenses and betrayals into our hearts? Unattended offenses and betrayals harden into strongholds of hatred and cold love, signs of the end times that Yeshua pointed out in Matthew 24. These are the things we must learn to overcome in order to endure to the end. Preaching these things are also in the prophet’s job description.

It is a mistake to make the end times just about spiritual warfare on a grand international scale, because if we fail to overcome these things that happen to us in our own intimate, personal lives, I can guarantee you that we will not be able to endure these things on a greater scale.

Yeshua also warned that many false prophets would arise and deceive many at this time. Can I tell you that if a prophet has your eyes fixed on just the great and mighty judgments that are going to befall the enemies of God in these last days, and that prophet is not teaching how imperative it is for us to be overcoming our personal spiritual warfare with offenses, betrayals, hatreds and cold love—that is a prophet with a message that will not help us whatsoever to endure to the end, or to be a witness of the gospel of the kingdom!

Earlier I said that every new believer is fascinated with end time prophecy. It is almost a rite of passage to go through a time of immersing ourselves in what the Bible has to say about the final wars of good and evil in our earth. We all have a desire for justice but we don’t really even begin to have a grasp of what God means by justice until we begin to mature in the likeness of Yeshua. If we do not grasp that we must fix our eyes on this one thing—becoming like the One we have made LORD of our heart, mind and soul, then we are going to leave the path that alone can cause us to endure to the end. No other path leads to endurance to the end. Only Messiah likeness.

Yeshua said in the Matthew 24 passage that “because iniquities will abound, the love of many will wax cold, but he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved, and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.”

It is not the wars, the famines, the pestilences and the earthquakes we have to be afraid of. It is in allowing our love—this love which God shed abroad in our hearts by Yeshua—to wax cold in the face of the increase of iniquities we encounter in our day to day life. Forget what the prophets of doom are focusing your eyes on! If you can’t get over the offenses, betrayals, hatreds and cold love that you have to deal with in your family, your congregation, your job, your neighborhood, what chance do you give yourself against a world that all the prophetic voices are telling you is coming at you?

Let me say it plainly: if this is all they’ve got for you, their message is not pure prophecy from God. If they are not encouraging you toward “putting off the old man” in order to “put on the new man in Messiah Yeshua,” then they are not delivering a prophetic vision that will help you endure to the end.

It is going to take “the glory” of the Lord that He has willingly offered to us emerging in us in order to endure as a witness to His kingdom in the darkest of times. Christ in us, the hope of glory.

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