Today’s post was written by Zac Poonen, pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in India. We have permission to post this in full, and we wanted to do so because we found it to be so powerful—and perfectly in line with the move of the Holy Spirit in our midst. May it bless you as much as it’s blessed us!
True and False Prophets
We read in Daniel 11:32 that those who are influenced by the spirit of the antichrist will use smooth words (flattery) to draw people to themselves. The one unmistakable characteristic of every false prophet in history has been flattery. And the one unmistakable characteristic of every true prophet has been rebuke.
False prophets flatter people in order to win them to their group, or to build their own kingdoms, or to get honor, or to get money, etc. Many of these false prophets correspond faithfully with people, in order to retain their personal hold over them. Their letters will not, however, contain words of rebuke and correction (as in the letters of the Lord and of the apostles – as we read in Revelation 2 and 3 and in the epistles). Instead, they will only contain words of flattering commendation.
Smooth words will only defile your heart with pride and self-satisfaction. Words of rebuke on the other hand will cleanse your heart and make it pure. Jesus said, “Those whom I love, I reprove and I discipline” (Rev. 3:19). Rebuke is one mark of Divine love.
False Prophets vs. True
When God sends a prophet into our midst, to rebuke us, that is a proof of the fact that God loves us. When God forsakes a church, it will “no longer have a prophet in its midst” (Ps. 74:1, 9) to rebuke it. Instead, it will have preachers who preach smooth words (2 Tim. 4:3-4). That is a sad condition for any of God’s people to be in.
In Revelation 2 and 3, we see that even though five of the seven churches there were in a bad shape, yet the Lord had not forsaken them as yet. The proof of this is seen in the fact that He sent a prophet (John the apostle) to rebuke and correct them through his letters.
John had strong words even for the elders – words such as, “You have left your first love… You are spiritually dead… You are wretched and poor and blind and naked…” If those elders and those churches did not respond to those words of rebuke, and repent, they would be forsaken.
When False Prophets Take Over
Once the Lord “takes away the lampstand” (Rev. 2:5), He will not send His prophets to rebuke that church any more. The false prophets will then take over, and smooth words will be heard regularly at the meetings, Sunday after Sunday! This has happened in church after church, in generation after generation, throughout these twenty centuries. And it is happening all around us today.
It is at such a time, that there is a great need for those “who know God, who are strong, and who will do great things for Him” (Dan. 11:32). Because they know God, they will fear no man. But there is only one way to know God – and that is through the daily sacrifice. The veil has to be rent if we are to enter into the Most Holy Place where God dwells. So don’t ever allow the daily sacrifice to be taken away from your life.
If your husband or wife treats you badly – DIE. When you suffer unrighteously – DIE. If your brothers betray you and hate you – DIE. As you die to your Self-life, you will get to know God and Jesus better.
Copyright © 2002 Zac Poonen
* As stated below in the comments, Rival to the Throne is the clearest explanation of what Zac is discussing in this post. If you have struggled with his words, I highly recommend you listen to this life impacting message by Martha. I know it changed me forever.