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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37229
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 A WORD OF CAUTION by David Ravenhill

For the past forty eight years of ministry I’ve been in love with the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Some of you are familiar with the old saying, “ if you have too much of the Word you will dry up. Too much of the Spirit and you will blow up, but if you have the Spirit and the Word, you will grow up.” While I’m sure one could pick apart that saying, it does nevertheless contain some great wisdom, insight, and common sense. Some churches that major on the Spirit have become overly intoxicated and plain weird, while those majoring on the Word have a tendency to become dead, pharisaical and proud.

When questioned by His disciples as to when the end would come, Jesus warned them that first there would be wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, and pestilence etc. He also spoke about an increase of supernatural activity by saying that there would be many false prophets that would mislead many. He went on to say; ‘False Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead if possible even the elect’.

My immediate response to such a warning is, this could never happen to me. No man is going to fool me into believing that he is ‘the Christ.’ No way! I’m too mature and well grounded than to believe some stranger is going to convince me he’s the Son of God. I’m sure you have had the same response. Right! Well, allow me to explain to you how this could happen, and then maybe you will change your mind as I did. The word CHRIST can accurately be translated as ‘the anointed.’ Now let’s look again at the statement Jesus made. ‘False anointings will arise and deceive many…’ Couple this with ‘great signs and wonders’ and you have all the ingredients for deception.

Over the years I’ve watched in amazement as God’s people flock to sit under the ‘anointed’ ministry of some man or woman who operates in the supernatural realm. Christian television stations quickly air these meetings thereby conveying that all is well. What troubles me the most is that their hunger for the supernatural causes them to hang on every word they are told, regardless of the person’s character. These days, anyone who operates in the supernatural is given a free pass when it comes to his or her personal life. Didn’t Jesus say, “So then you will know them by their fruits…Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name cast out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” When I see more talk than walk, more time given to money than the message, more jokes than Jesus, more convulsions than conviction, more ‘holy’ laughter than holy fire, more carpet time than prayer time, more hype than holiness, more about mantles than the Master, and more liberality with their morals than their miracles, then I have a right to be cautious, regardless of the miraculous.

Another area of concern I have is for the ‘new thing.’ By this I mean some spectacular occurrence, that we haven’t seen in any previous generation. Take for example gold dust, angel feathers or precious gems appearing. What are we to make of such phenomena? Do we blindly buy into the belief that this is from God simply because it’s spectacular? While I don’t claim to have all the answers, I have reached a personal decision that I’m satisfied with. At least until I have some further insight.

Years ago when these things began to take place, I was reading from the Book of Acts where the Lord poured out His Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. As the people observed the hundred and twenty speaking in tongues, they accused them of being drunk. Peter stood to defend what was happening by reminding them that what they were observing was the fulfillment of what Joel had prophesied. Peter declared, ‘This is that…’ As I read those words, it suddenly occurred to me that for many of these ‘new signs’ there was no ‘this’. What I mean is, these things were not what had been prophesied would happen, and must therefore be taken with a great deal of caution. I hope you understand what I’m saying. If for instance, the Old Testament prophets had prophesied in the last days I will pour out gold dust etc, than I could say ‘this is that…’ It seems like wisdom to me to be cautious if there is no THAT to the THIS. Take for example what Isaiah said would take place when the Lord came. Isaiah 35:4-8 “…behold your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy…”

You recall when John was in prison he sent his disciples to enquire of Jesus whether or not he was the ‘Expected One.’ Jesus said, ‘Go report to John what you hear and see: “The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up.’ Jesus was sending a message to John that what He was doing was confirmed through His prophets. His THIS was preceded by a THAT.

Luke summed up the ministry of Jesus this way: “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with him”. I’m always somewhat skeptical when I see the saving and healing power of God replaced by sensationalism.

Jesus justified His own ministry by referring to what Isaiah prophesied when He stood in the Temple and declared “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Here is what He was referring to: “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE DOWNTRODDEN, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” Jesus wasn’t going around making gold dust appear on everyone’s clothing while the sick lay all around Him. Nor was He causing gems to appear in the hands of those in the crowd while lepers went away the same way they came. Am I saying that these things are a work of the devil? No, not necessarily, I’m just saying that we need to be cautious regarding any new thing that borders on the sensational rather than the practical, and has little or no foundation in scripture.

When we focus on the THIS without having a THAT we have a wrong focus and need to return to the tried and true Word of God. The Word without the Spirit can be deadly and the Spirit without the Word can be deceptive. Just as a bird cannot fly with only one wing, so likewise we need to maintain a balance between the Word and the Spirit and the Spirit and the Word if we are to avoid deception.

I long to see an increase of God’s supernatural work in and through His Church. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t find myself longing for greater demonstrations of God’s presence and power. I’m also deeply conscious of the fact that because Jesus ‘loved righteousness and hated lawlessness’ He ministered under God’s anointing. We hear a great deal these days about the Anointing, but so little about God’s holy hatred of sin.

One final word of caution. When discerning the source of the miraculous or supernatural, we need to ask ourselves, who does it bear witness to? Jesus said: “…the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.” If the miraculous doesn’t magnify and glorify Jesus or create in us a hunger for more of God, then something is terribly wrong. If our appetite is simply for the spectacular, and we find ourselves captivated by the messenger rather than the Master, then we are prime candidates for deception.

If false anointings are a sign of the last days, we had better take seriously the words of Jesus when He said; “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many will come in my name saying I am ‘anointed’; and shall deceive many.”


SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2012/5/31 19:11Profile

Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936

 Re: A WORD OF CAUTION by David Ravenhill

For many will come in my name saying I am ‘anointed’; and shall deceive many.”

interchanging the word Christ with anointed sheds much light on that verse. As I have been doing an indepth Bible Study of first John I have found great insight to interchanging the word Christ with anointed to often people just think of Christ as Jesus Last name.

 2012/5/31 19:53Profile

Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1257


A good word of caution!

Something that I have come to understand is that Jesus wasn't just saying that many will come and proclaim they are Christ to lead people astray. No the greatest deception are those who come in Jesus name saying that Jesus is the Christ but only using His name to draw away people into deception and to make merchandise of them.

Notice Jesus said that many will come in my name saying that I(Jesus)am Christ drawing away disciples after them. Jesus said not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. This means many will use the name of Christ but they don't know Christ. The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His and let everyone who nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

 2012/5/31 20:15Profile

 Re: A WORD OF CAUTION by David Ravenhill

Over the years I’ve watched in amazement as God’s people flock to sit under the ‘anointed’ ministry of some man or woman who operates in the supernatural realm.

Yes it is amazing. It would be dumbfounding if we had not heeded the Lord's warning of these things. Given the warning it is become most sad indeed that so many who have known God's mercy in their own lives are still able to follow after men in this way. Perhaps the Lord will show exceptional mercy if we ask Him. And He will lead us into a more perfect trust in Him.


 2012/6/1 1:24

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