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Strange Fire: Mystics in the Church of God

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Strange Fire: new mystics in God's Church

Something is wrong, bad wrong! Are there mystics, soothsayers and spiritists in the Church of God?

Many people are pursuing prophetic ministry and it seems there is no lack of confusion surrounding its proper function. Whether you are called to prophetic ministry or just serving Christ with all your heart, you will be faced with many odd, even strange things that will require much spiritual discernment during your walk with God. Spiritual discernment will come from the Holy Spirit and find confirmation in many Scriptures throughout the written Word of God.

Let me say this: The Holy Spirit is not strange, weird or mystical. He is the third part of the Trinity. He is a gentleman, a statesman and a loving Spirit Who lifts up Christ, the only begotten Son of God. He is not a female presence. He is not an “it,” a “thing,” a “mist,” a “feeling” or some orphic force.

History has introduced many divagating leaders with strange manifestations. Your advantage is 4,000 years of written biblical history, from Adam to Christ, to serve as your guide to accuracy. One cornerstone for staying biblical is using that written history as your foundation for measuring truth. When strange things happen, look to the Word for biblical examples. If you can’t find any, then something is terribly wrong.

Experiences, even vivid, powerful, and supernatural ones, are not measurements for truth. In my generation I’ve seen meetings where gold dust, feathers, gems, and people barking and roaring like lions were showcased. A search through the Scriptures gives no evidence that the Holy Spirit used any of these manifestations to confirm Christ’s resurrection. These are only a few examples of strange fire.

Someone may tell you the things of the Spirit can’t be understood by the natural man. That’s not true at all because the Holy Spirit can be understood. He never violates the written Word. The things of the Spirit are understood by the logos, the Bible (Hebrews 4:12). Again, the Holy Spirit is not strange, weird or mystical.

Prophets of Deception

In my generation, Jezebel and Baalim prophets are the prevailing enemies of true prophetic ministry. In the last 20 years these spirits have grown sophisticated. They’ve built their own network of churches, followers and training schools. They’ve written books and produced many training videos. These spirits intend to hijack the prophetic ministry and hold themselves out to be the “experts” in the field. They condemn criticism as irrelevant, unloving, ignorant and judgmental. Hopefully by the time you read this material you will see their folly and will escape their deceptions. More than likely things will grow worse. If so, you will find them as your strongest opponents.

The prophetic groups of Jezebel and Baalim – and others you will encounter – have all types of strange signs and wonders in their meetings. Just remember not all wonders, no matter how mystical and exciting, are from the Holy Ghost (1 John 4:1). Even legitimate miracles in meetings do not confirm these ministers are flowing right. Scripture says, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).

One particular trait among some ministers is the love of money that finance extravagant lifestyles. Some who embrace these spirits are merchandisers. A merchandiser sells prophecies, healings, religious oils, potions and various products that reinforce their message. Typically they work within their own networks, focusing on getting as much money from people as possible. They have all kinds of gimmick offerings that manipulate people. They are always recruiting followers to join their groups. I have seen some work every kind of evil when it comes to stealing from God’s people.

One young man, we’ll call him Scott, hooked up with one of these merchandising networks. He came to meet with me recently, looking to repent. Scott offered up his ordination papers from the various ministers within the network and renounced his involvement. He went on to reveal the purpose of their many conferences: to raise money, not to advance the ministry of Christ. After these services the organizers divide the offerings among themselves. Scott shocked me when he shared the mindset of these merchandisers. They believe that the amount of money one raises confirms the level of one’s prophetic anointing.

For several hours, Scott spoke of many individuals, some well-known and others obscure. He disclosed numerous evil strategies for meetings across our nation. I learned that they even merchandise one another! They look for young naïve upstarts to turn into devils like themselves. There is every sort of evil working behind the scenes among these people. These are “professional prophets.” They watch videos and listen to audio with the intent purpose of learning the sayings and particular mannerisms of true ministers of the Gospel so they can imitate them (Jeremiah 23:30). Avoid them and don’t do any meetings with them – and don’t attend them. Beware their accolades, flatteries and smiles toward you. At first they will flatter you. If that works, then they will merchandise you. If that doesn’t work, they will blackball you. Just remember, if you can be flattered, you can be bought. Christ’s servants are not prostitutes.

Psychics, Mystics and Spiritists

A spirit of rejection may attack you if these leaders shun you. If you feel that way just think of it like this, rejection is protection. You don’t need anybody’s approval save Christ’s. God’s servants can’t be bought at any price! Don’t try to learn anything from them. You are not a psychic, mystic, spiritist or soothsayer. You are a minister of Christ. You have a responsibility to use your gift as a faithful steward to serve the Body of Christ. The purpose of the anointing is to establish and advance the Kingdom of God, give witness to the love of God and confirm to the world the resurrection of Christ our Savior. True prophets are also called to turn the heart of people toward God, walk in holiness, confront sin and build the Church of Christ. Avoid fame, accolades from men and vain glory, and mind your motives in all things (Proverbs 4:23).

The flow of New Testament prophets is primarily used for edification, exhortation and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3). This gift also helps turn logos, the written Word, to rhema, a life-giving Word, as the Holy Spirit wills. Again, New Testament prophets are not physics. A psychic uses demon powers to prophesy. As already said, prophets are not mystics. A mystic is one that uses spirit counterfeits to appear like they have some sort of special access or favor with God.

False prophets can release fear and curses. I have heard some tell people they are endangering themselves if they don’t obey their prophetic words. That type of stuff is nothing but witchcraft. Bind it up and carry on for Jesus. No prophet is anointed by the Holy Spirit to curse people. Paul said “bless and curse not” (Romans 12:14). Cursing is a sure sign of a false prophet. Baalim, a true prophet gone bad, did the same and lost his life for it. God doesn’t send storms, hurricanes and earthquakes to judge people, cities and nations for their sins. Jesus said these things would increase before His return. Yes, one day their will be a judgment of the living and the dead but fear does not lead people to Christ. God’s loving kindness, the good news does, and the offer of forgiveness of sin to the repentant (John 3:16).

Searching Hidden Secrets

Prophets of Christ depend only on the Holy Spirit and the written Word of God. They don’t need objects from people’s clothing, locks of hair or photos to assist their prophetic utterances. Nor will they need to astral project into the spirit world. True prophets will not blend the New Age teachings of the god-self into their teachings or try to unlock hidden meanings or secrets within Scripture. They will not sell prophecies, potions or elixirs. They are not occultists, soothsayers, mediums or shamans. Occultists search for hidden secrets and “knowledge of the hidden.” They use various methods to find obscured ‘truths’ like numerology and the reading of Hebrew symbols and letters. Numerology is the study of relationships between numbers and objects needed by spiritualists for divination. Kabala practitioners, for example, look for knowledge of the hidden in numbers and symbols. This is not biblical!

I have seen people use the Hebrew calendar and its annual symbols to prophesy events of the coming year. This is not the working of the Holy Spirit but the sign of ancient Babylonian soothsayers. Jannes and Jambres are biblical examples. Scripture says the secret things belong to our Lord and what He has chosen to reveal are found in His Word, only occultists search for the forbidden. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Some things will not be easily discerned. In some cases you will have to wait for the appearance of fruit (Matthew 7:17). As you wait for the fruit to appear remember that the Holy Ghost doesn’t produce unstable, bizarre or flaky people. They will be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. They will be full of love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).


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Beware unholy mixtures. Don’t knowingly preach with amoral teachers, preachers, musicians or singers – and don’t sit in their meetings, either. You will find that some in error are very talented but talent does not usher in the presence of the Holy Ghost. Talent is seen in skillful performances and useful for entertaining. Entertainment, however, will not change hearts. New Testament prophets are called to turn hearts to Christ, not put on a show for people.

Avoid the gold, the glory and the girls. This is an old proverb that will help you make it. Yes, God will prosper you because obedience to His Word always brings a measure of prosperity. Scripture says, however, that “The love of money is the root of all evil.” As you minister don’t forget that all the glory belongs to God. Scripture reminds us, “He will not give his glory to another” (Isaiah 42:8). Finally, beware of sexual sins. When you get married, stay faithful to the spouse of your youth. Sexual sin has destroyed the ministries of thousands of people before you arrived on this earth. It can take you out, too.

Polished Showmanship

As already said, avoid strange fire. Strange fire is the introduction of something foreign into the ministry, message, church, prophecy, prayer, offering or ‘anointing.’ The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, offered strange fire and lost their lives (Leviticus 10:1-10). The ministry is a holy ministry with holy servants serving a holy God.

The prophet’s gift is not to put on a show. Prophets are not entertainers. Deceitful prophets are showmen and know how to work a crowd. Polished showmanship, no matter how mystical, seemingly spiritual or entertaining is not the anointing. You may live in a time where the difference is not clear and God may use you to bring clarity. Some revivals attract strange fire. You can read the history of the Welch revival in Whales and the Azusa Street revival in North America for examples of strange fire that got into the meetings.

When you’re not sure of things beware the ministry of novices and seek counsel from the trusted old-timers, those gray haired saints that have been walking with Christ for a long time. The safest are those that have been in the ministry a minimum of 25 years and have lasting fruit. Don’t look to beginners even if they appear to be highly anointed (1 Timothy 3:6). I have seen these young ‘superstars’ come and go. The race for God’s ministers is a long one. It’s a marathon race that’s completed at heaven’s finish line.

The very things that are the strangest, the Jezebel and Baalim prophets, will present themselves as the experts. You should also know that moves of the Holy Spirit are not confirmed by the number of people attending the meetings or by the endorsement of celebrity Christian personalities. Only by the Word, witness and fruit can you know for sure. Even some fruit is misleading. As already said look for lasting fruit, changed lives, salvations and glory for Christ alone.

Some of what I have written will probably grieve you. That’s good. If it doesn’t something might be wrong. If you are going to walk closely with God, you will be required to die much inside along this journey. Many things you see will sadden you. Lamentations, morning and woe will be your traveling companions. These will prompt you to intercede for Christ’ will to be done in the lives of your brothers and sisters in the Lord. The good news is that you can make it and bring honor to Christ along the way. The Apostle Paul said it best, “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). Avoid strange fire and watch for the return of the King of Glory, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ our Lord.


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