The vast amount of Christian treachery is unbelievably more than can be imagined. But I suppose what carries the crown is principally to do with the so-called “Men of God.” It seems it has become fashionable to be associated with any of the mega Churches, led by charismatic leaders, with title: “Prophet” or “Man of God.” These prophets seem to be on the increase.
Clearly, Jesus warned of such treachery, as would come on the last days: “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many”(Matthew 24:11) (AKJV). Therefore, while startling to see such blatant treachery in modern Christianity, one should not be surprised. It is a question of identifying a true prophet from a false prophet.
The simplest way of identifying a false prophet is by checking whether what is prophesied comes to pass: “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him”(Deuteronomy 18:22) (ESV).
We should, however, be clear, right from the outset—the term prophet does not necessarily refer to someone foretelling events. A prophet is someone used by God and speaking on behalf of God. For instance, Moses was known, basically, for promulgating God’s Laws. Yet he declared himself as having been a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15). In His dealings with the Israelites, through Moses, God established provisions that would protect the Israelites from false prophets:
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst”(Deuteronomy 13:1-5) (ESV).
The measuring standard was the word of God. Anyone saying anything that the Lord would have not said; yet pretending to speak for God, would be viewed as dangerous. The Israelites were to put that person to death. Therefore the poignant question to ask is: If the Israelites had such provisions to deal with falsehood, how are God’s people protected, today?
The starting point is in knowing that Christians are different from the Israelites. Their protection is enshrined in the New Covenant, which is different from the Old Covenant. In other words, the Old covenant focuses on physical protection, while the New Covenant focuses on Spiritual protection.
The two Covenants are basically opposed, one to the other. The Old Covenant seeks to eliminate enemies, while the New Covenant seeks to love enemies. This, therefore, exposes the vulnerability of Christians, as the New Covenant does not have the provision to purge false prophets. This is why Jesus declared:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”(Matthew 7:13-14) (NIV).
By engaging in Christianity, one exposes him/herself in serious trouble. The person would be expected to precisely observe—as taking Jesus to be the only stable datum. Most of what is offered in Christianity has got nothing to do with what Jesus taught. It takes only an analytical person to distinguish the truth, as compared with what would be erroneous.
Imagine cases like a person’s wife being raped—in disguise of exorcising evil spirits—by a so-called “Man of God?” No-one would be expected to question—where the scriptural reference is taken out of context to frighten the victim: “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” This would be taken from the last portion of the following passage of Scripture:
“When they were few in number,
of little account, and sojourners in it,
wandering from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another people,
he allowed no one to oppress them;
he rebuked kings on their account,
saying, ‘Touch not my anointed ones,
do my prophets no harm!’” (Psalms 105:12-15) (ESV)
The Psalmist was simply narrating the story of the Israelites, concerning their pilgrimage in the land of Canaan. This scripture is a reminder of the divine protection accorded those Israelites—as codified in the Old Covenant. The question is: why would a Christian preacher, randomly pick on the last portion—using it to frighten his congregants? As we saw, in the Old Covenant, false prophets were to be purged by putting them to death.
To start with, while the anointed ones were not to be touched, in the Old Covenant: The anointed one was badly treated on the cross—as establishing the New Covenant. Apparently, the only measuring standard for true Christianity is being badly treated, rather than being treated comfortably:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12) (NIV). See also [The only time a Christian should be depressed].
A Christian is supposed to rejoice and be glad, only when being ill-treated. The real treachery is in attempting to apply provisions of the Old Covenant into the New Covenant. This is why the prosperity gospel, even appeals to most people, today. Yet the prosperity gospel is advanced by those taking advantage of people, wallowing in poverty.
To such criminals, Malachi 3:10 is the most quoted Scripture in the entire Bible: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it”(NIV).
However, this Scripture has got nothing to do with the entire gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing is wrong with tithing. But Christianity is not for purposes of enriching oneself, as that provision was only applicable in the Old Covenant. In Jesus one focuses on Spiritual riches, rather than physical riches, which can be a curse (Matthew 19:16-22).
After accepting Jesus as personal Saviour, one ceases to think in terms of personal blessings, but blessings of other people. One becomes the anointed of God, but, like Jesus, the person will be persecuted. The Scripture that says “Touch not my anointed ones,” though applicable to the Israelites, is not applicable to a Christian. Treachery will remain, until Christ’s second-coming. But, imagine the scenario that befalls Christians—as described by Jesus:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23) (NIV).
The problem with truth is that it does not come from anyone else, except from the person concerned with searching for truth. Like the nuggets of gold, truth can be obtained from the most obscure places. Just as it can also be found from the most obvious places. See [Truth is outside religion and philosophy].
While Jesus represents truth, one needs to be of truthful disposition to understand what Jesus said. Standing before Pilate, Jesus made it known that only those on the side of truth would listen to Him:
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me’” (John 18:37) (NIV).
This clearly shows that there would be those on the side of truth, while others would not be on the side of truth. Interestingly, you do not necessarily need to be religious, to be on the side of truth. This is why it was the religious people who condemned Jesus on the cross, rather than the infidels.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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