Two weeks ago, we talked about Dealing With Unintentional Witchcraft In Prophecy. I said “I can think of three things which make people susceptible to operating in witchcraft when they prophesy. The first is an unhealthy obsession with what the devil is doing. The second is a spirit of control. The third is ungodly judgement.”
In that first article, we talked about how an unhealthy obsession with the devil’s work can influence prophecy. Then last week, we dealt with Recognizing A Controlling Spirit In Prophecy. Today we’ll take a look at the issue of ungodly judgement.
What Attitude Should We Take Towards Wrongdoers?
A person recently told me God gave her a prophecy of judgement against a certain leader. She warned this leader of God’s judgement if there was no repentance.
I don’t believe the word was from the Lord. While this leader was wrong on some counts, the whole issue was loaded with personal offence between the two. When we “hold people’s sins against them” we often want the Lord to do the same! But what is God’s attitude towards wrongdoers and towards this world? He is reconciling the world to himself, and not counting people’s sins against them!
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (NIV) All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
When I was a teenager, some of my favorite preachers majored on God’s judgement. I sincerely thought disaster was going to happen any time. Some of these preachers gave very specific prophecies, including time frames, for impending judgement on America and other nations. They said that things had gotten so bad that these disasters couldn’t be averted by any amount of prayer or repentance. They were inevitable.
Now I’ve lived long enough to see their prophecies fail. There was one good thing about the time frames of the prophesies and the statement that these disasters were inevitable. They made it easy to judge, in a concrete way, whether the prophecies were true or false. Time would clearly tell if they were false. And it has.
Many of these preachers were quite sincere. But they were sincerely wrong. They viewed the world as if God were counting men’s sins against them. It hurt their ministries.
The Wrong Spirit
A culture of racial enmity influenced Jesus’ disciples. Instead of walking in the ministry of reconciliation, they began to operate in the wrong spirit.
Luke 9:51-56 (NKJV) Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”
One of the biggest things that hinders Christians from being effective in healing ministry is thinking as if God is counting men’s sins against them. How can we believe for a sinner to be healed of AIDS if we think God is counting his sins against him? How can we believe for an alcoholic to be healed of kidney disease?
God gave authority on earth to mankind. God is looking for men and women to agree with him. That’s why prophecy is so powerful. Satan tries to deceive mankind, even Christians, into agreeing with him. When we are of the wrong spirit, as Jesus’ disciples were, and ungodly judgement influences our prophecies, it’s a form of “unintentional witchcraft.” We can actually empower evil spirits by agreeing with them.
I’ve seen Christians so angry at what they’ve seen going on in their cities and countries, that they wished God would send a tsunami and wipe everyone out. Evil should make us angry. Yet when our anger is directed as a vengeful spirit against the people Jesus died to save, we are of the wrong spirit. Jesus shed his blood not just to redeem people, but to atone for nations.
Isaiah 52:14 (NIV) …so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
1 John 2:2 (NIV) He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
God has already forgiven men’s sins and the sins of nations. He is not counting men’s sins against them, and he is holding out the offer of salvation. Yet salvation only comes when we respond to his forgiveness with faith and repentance. Jesus said there was one sin which would not be forgiven, and I believe that sin amounts to rejecting God’s gift of salvation.
“Show Me A Storm That Jesus Blessed.”
As I once heard Bill Johnson say, “Show me a storm that Jesus blessed.” I’ve no longer see tornadoes and earthquakes as “God’s judgement” on nations today. They are disasters. In the Old Testament, God looked for a man to stand in the gap and prevent judgement, but he found nobody. God couldn’t find a righteous man to intervene, so he sent Jesus as a man. And Jesus stood in the gap and made atonement for the sins of the whole word. God’s isn’t counting men’s sins against them, and he isn’t behind every tornado and earthquake shaking his angry fist.
Paul said that where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. Why? Because God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, but to save it. And God has the grace necessary to accomplish his salvation in the worst of messes! The law was given through Moses, and it brought wrath, but grace and truth came through Jesus.
Some readers may ask right now, “What about Ananias and Saphira? What about an angel of the Lord striking Herod down? What about Paul’s pronouncement of temporary blindness on the sorcerer Bar-Jesus? Isn’t ‘eternal judgement’ one of the foundations of our faith?” These are common questions, and legitimate ones. I’ve heard some people try to explain them away, but their arguments weren’t satisfactory to me. I’ll share my view on them next week as we talk about God’s righteous judgement.