By David Wilkerson
Ezekiel stood alone against all the false prophets of
Israel. These prophets would have nothing to do with
the message of righteousness and impending judgment.
Instead, they prophesied an era of peace, ease and
Ezekiel 13 is the very word of Jehovah against
preachers and prophets who accommodate people with
flesh pleasing words they said were from the Lord.
Their words were designed to make God's people
comfortable in the face of impending judgment.
In fact, they were not satisfied to prophesy good times
ahead from their great houses and ivory beds of ease --
they sought to provide a pillow for every elbow
(Ezekiel 13:18). "Woe to those who apply pillows unto
all elbows..." (Original Hebrew by Spurrell)
"...Behold, I am against your pillows wherewith ye
entice souls..." (Ezekiel 13:20).
Ezekiel was horrified at the sight of prophets who had
developed an art of making God's people comfortable.
The Lord had said, "My people have set up idols in
their hearts; they are brazenly setting up stumbling
blocks in iniquity; they are all estranged from me
because of their idols" (Ezekiel 14:1-5).
The true word of the Lord was, "Jehovah says -- eat
your bread with trembling, and drink thy water with
grieving and fainting -- and say unto the people, her
land shall be emptied of its fullness, because of the
violence -- cities will be laid waste, the land made
desolate -- there shall be no more vain visions or
flattering prophecies" (Ezekiel 12:17-24).
While Ezekiel went about calling the people to humility
and repentance, trying to prepare God's people for the
soon coming judgments, these pillow prophets went about
prophesying the dreams and imaginations of their own
hearts. God had not spoken to them, even though they
prefaced their predictions with, "Hear the Word of the
Lord." God said, "I did not send them: they do not
speak for Me.
They carried with them fancy pillows to place under
every elbow for all who flocked to hear their false
prophecies. They placed handkerchiefs on the heads of
every one of their disciples, a statement to others
that meant, "Nothing but good times ahead. I see
nothing ahead but peace and luxury." They walked among
the poor and sick, with a lace kerchief on the head, as
a sign of their confidence in the message of the
prophets of self indulgence and comfort.
Ezekiel thundered the Word of God at them, as the
masses congregated to hear their pleasant words.
"You see for God's people a vision of prosperity, when
there is no prosperity, saith the Lord Jehovah"
(Ezekiel 13:16, Spurrell).
"You follow after your own imagination - when actually
you have seen nothing." (Ezekiel 13:3).
The pillow prophets are still with us! They talk about
the Word of God, about prophecy, and they salt their
soothing messages with a lot of Scripture. But there is
a falseness in what they preach. They are not preaching
the Cross or holiness and separation. They make no
demands on their followers. They seldom speak of sin
and judgment. They abhor the very mention of suffering
and pain. To them, the heroes of Hebrews were faithless
cowards and penniless losers who were afraid to claim
Like the pillow prophets of Israel, their one supreme
desire is to promote luxurious lifestyles and make
people comfortable in their pursuit of the good life.
They are not speaking for God. All they are doing is
passing out pillows. One for every elbow of every
follower. No wonder the crowds flock to sit under their
message -- it's painless. There is not the call of
Christ to deny self and take up a cross.
What is the difference between pillow prophets and
Jehovah's true prophets? The preacher or parishioner
who doesn't know the difference is on dangerous ground.
With so many going about gathering huge followings, it
is imperative to have Holy Ghost discernment. The
confused prophets must be exposed by truth. Most of
them and sound like sincere, Bible loving men of God.
But the Lord has given His people infallible tests to
prove what is true and what is false. We are to test
every man and every message -- by the whole Word of
Let me bring to your attention three characteristics of
a true prophet of God.
1. A true man of God is consumed with
a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He has been so overwhelmed, so mastered by that
glorious vision, he can speak of nothing else. He
preaches the whole counsel of God -- as it relates to
God said of the false prophets, "Woe unto the deceiving
prophets who follow after their own imaginations...
they have seen nothing" (Ezekiel 13:3).
Yet of Moses, it was said "By faith he forsook Egypt,
not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as
seeing Him Who is invisible" (Hebrew 11:27).
Jesus said of Abraham, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day:
and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:5-6).
Stephen had a glorious vision of Him. "And he said,
Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man
standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:5-6).
Ananias said to Paul, "The God of our fathers hath
chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see
that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his
mouth" (Acts 22:14).
To His own disciples, Jesus said, "In a little while
the world will see me no more, but you will see Me"
The one thing every one of these men of God had in
common was their life-controlling vision of Christ the
Lord. Christ was the great and only cause in their
life. They saw Him through the eye of faith.
Moses willingly forsook the ease and prosperity of
Egypt to suffer privation in a wilderness because he
had been mastered by a vision of Christ. Nothing else
mattered now, not even his dream of becoming a great
deliverer He saw beyond all human ambition. He was
weaned from all that was earthly because he had seen
Christ. He could endure anything, for nothing on earth
could compare with what his spiritual eyes beheld.
Abraham became totally detached from this world and
willingly became a foreigner on earth, for his eyes
were fixed on a city whose builder and maker was God.
But best of all, he had seen a vision of Christ on His
throne in that holy city. Never again would he settle
for things temporal or earthly. His faith was built
upon his continual vision of Christ. He rejoiced and
was glad, for he had eyes for the invisible, the
The moment Paul saw Him everything else on earth became
dung to him. The very moment Christ was revealed in
him, he determined to know nothing else among men but
his Lord. He gladly endured hardships, shipwreck,
stoning, beatings, privations, imprisonment; none of
these things moved him because he gloried in his vision
of the Lord.
Any man of God who is tied to this earth or the things
of earth has seen nothing. If he had a vision of
Christ, if he was in constant union with Christ, he
could preach of nothing else. He would stand before the
crowds, proclaiming, "I count it all loss -- it's all
dung! It is Christ and Him alone. He is all; He fills
all things. He is my very life."
Like Isaiah, the true man of God who sees the Lord,
high and lifted up, will fall on his face and weep over
his sins and the sins of God's people. Then he will be
purged and go forth in the power of his awesome vision
to preach Christ.
God warned Israel, "The prophets are like foxes..." In
other words, some have no single eye focused on Christ
alone, but they have eyes filled with covetousness.
They spoil the vine, taking the best for themselves.
They go their own way, feeding their own egos!
These self-seeking prophets claimed to have heard from
God. Theirs, they claimed, was a prophetic word
directly from heaven. "They say, Jehovah saith, when
Jehovah hath not sent them, and they caused others to
hope that their word would be verified" (Ezekiel 13:6).
The multitudes of God's people who run about to hear
only soothing messages need to take a second honest
look at what they are hearing and believing.
"Have ye not seen a deceiving vision and spoken a lying
divination when you said Jehovah saith whereas I have
not spoken" (Ezekiel 13:7)
"They have seduced my people, saying, Peace, when there
was not peace" (Ezekiel 13:10).
Their message was, "God told me all is well. No trouble
ahead. Good times! No trial or tribulation. God's
desire is that all be happy, prosperous and at ease....
" Jehovah calls that deception! I don't think ministers
are taking seriously enough the tragedy of preaching
the wrong message. How dare we preach peace and endless
good times to a nation and a people on the brink of
Israel's sin was about to explode in unbelievable fires
of divine wrath. Ezekiel did not want to preach such a
disturbing message, especially to a people who had
heaped to themselves pillow prophets who went about
telling God's people that all was well.
Listen to what God was trying to say to His people.
"Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: like as the
wood of the vine amongst the trees of the forest, which
I have given unto the fire to devour, so have I given
the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will set my face
against them: from one fire shall they escape that
another fire may devour them.... I have set my face
against them.... I will make this land desolate,
because they have trespassed a trespass, saith the Lord
Jehovah" (Ezekiel 15: 6-8, Spurrell).
The people rejected the true Word of God. The masses
ran off after their favorite teachers to hear the
deceptive message -- "God is not that kind of God. He
desires only the best for us all. Great peace and good
times lay ahead. Don't listen to the old prophets of
doom. God told me, right from His throne room that the
best is yet to come."
I ask you, what will those pillow prophets do when God
begins to judge the sins of this nation and cut off its
bread and its fullness? Think of the unprepared
multitudes of sincere Christians who should be
repenting of lukewarmness; who should be weeping
because of compromise and covetousness; who should be
forsaking all rather than accumulating.
Thank God the Holy Spirit is raising up a holy people
who are sick of all the self-centered ministries, and
their cry is, "We would see Jesus" The man-centered
gospel cannot last much longer. A time of purging is
ahead. We are heading into refining fires. While the
covetous lounge on their beds of ease and comfort
themselves with luxuries, a remnant will break away and
go out seeking the Bridegroom. Christ is going to
reveal Himself to the humble, the poor in spirit, and
the true Word of the Lord will flow forth with unction
and power. Union with Christ will become the pearl of
2. The true man of God preaches
and practices self denial.
Compare this with what the pillow prophets focus on!
God said of them, "They pollute me among my people for
handfuls of barley, and for morsels of bread... they
lie to my people" (Ezekiel 13:19). A modern translation
is, "These pillow prophets have money on their minds.
It has made liars of them." Here is the full picture of
a pillow prophet. He lets his imagination run wild. He
operates on the idea that prosperity will last forever.
He builds on dreams and schemes. To do it, he needs
money -- lots of it. His need for money becomes the
focus of ministry. He ends up telling lies to God's
people to get it. Then he pollutes it all by saying,
"God told me"
The message of Jesus Christ is painfully blunt -- deny
yourself and take up your cross.
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples if any man will
come after me, let him deny himself and take up his
cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).
Self denial -- what a foreign sounding concept in this
day of self-pampering and ease. The pillow prophets
have rejected it flat out. Self denial is the giving up
and forsaking of all and everything that hinders the
constant presence of Christ.
There is no merit in self denial. We are saved and
secured by grace alone. It is not to be entered into to
earn benefits from God. But self denial removes
hindrances to constant communion with Christ. Paul
said, "I bring my body under... and bring it under
subjection: lest by any means, when I have preached to
others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Corinthians
We are not bringing our bodies under control; our
passions and appetites are not under subjection.
Sensuous television programs now whet the appetites
among Christians for pornography. Lust is nearly out of
control, even in the ministry. Almost daily I hear of
ministers that are spending hours viewing X-rated
movies and cassettes.
Multitudes of God's people, including preachers of the
gospel, waste precious hours lounging before the TV
idol. Like Lot, our minds are getting vexed by the
things we see and hear.
Food is becoming the narcotic of believers. We don't
need cocaine or alcohol -- we have a legalized sedative
-- food. Never in all my ministry have I seen so many
Christians with appetites out of control.
The deepest truth about self denial goes beyond giving
up material things. You can sell your TV, shun all
erotic sights and sounds, and bring all appetites under
control, and still not have denied self.
What Christ is calling for is a kind of devotion to
Himself that expels everything in the heart that
hinders. It is a commitment to becoming absolutely
nothing before God and man. It is being able to say
with Paul, "I no longer live-- it is Christ living in
The world must lose its charm to us. We must die to all
self ambition -- to all attachments to earthly things,
until we can honestly say, "I am dead to this world and
all it represents. I no longer live."
Physically alive, yes! But I must die to all that
hinders my vision and love for Christ. Whatever it is
-- it must go. Lust? Self-made plans? Bitterness,
grudges? Recognition, self esteem? I must die to it
all. I must bring it all to the cross and execute self
Why is it that Christians who are about to die become
so detached from the world and material and physical
things? Because eternity is in view. It all pales in
comparison to the joy ahead. Why can't we live like
that all the time? Why not keep our minds fixed on
Christ at all times?
3. A true man of God has
a holy boldness against sin
-- he never whitewashes evil.
The pillow prophets have no foundation of holiness upon
which to build. Ezekiel said, "Their foundation thereof
shall be discovered." (13:14).
The pillow prophets were building walls with untempered
mortar and painting the flaws over with whitewash.
Worst of all, their message and manner "grieved the
hearts of the righteous because of their falsehoods"
And they "strengthened the hands of the wicked." God
accused them of damning souls by ignoring sin. It
grieved God that compromising children of God were
being encouraged rather than exposed. Lightness about
sin only confirmed them in their compromising.
God will not let any minister of the gospel grieve or
trouble His chosen and devoted ones without His express
permission. But neither will He permit prophets of ease
to call evil good and pamper backslidden Christians who
need to repent.
Certainly we are called to proclaim the gospel of
grace, mercy and pardon. But the man of God is also
commanded to "Lift up his voice, cry aloud, and spare
not -- showing my people their sins."
Could it be we can't lift up a holy standard because of
corruption in our own hearts? Have our own sins robbed
us of holy boldness? Do we wink at the sins of others
because of besetting sins in our hearts?
Do you know of a man of God who boldly thunders against
sin? Does his message ring, not of legalism, but of
deep personal purity? Then run to his feet -- sit under
his message, for he has the truth that will set you
free. He is the true prophet of God, and he makes all
other prophets tremble and fear. The pillow prophets
despise him because he walks with truth in the inward
Seek out a man of God who makes Christ real! One who
makes you sit up and take notice that he has been with
Jesus. One who convicts you for wasting time and for
becoming earthly minded. One who will point a finger in
your face, discern sin, and cry out, "Thou art the man
" He is the one who truly loves you and looks out for
The pillow prophets are building their huge walls. They
look very successful and blessed. But Jehovah says,
"Your walls shall fall. I will bring it all down with
my stormy wind. I will demolish your wall and level it
to the ground" (Ezekiel 13:11-14).
God has told us that in these last days our young men
shall see visions. Not of success, of prosperity or of
great achievements. There will be but one vision for
all -- CHRIST!