Thursday, November 1, 2018

"Double Portion of Your Spirit" Does NOT = Prophet

2 Kings 2:9-15 tells of the time when the prophet Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. At the same time, his office and responsibilities were transferred to Elisha who was to be prophet in his place (1 Kings 19:15-16).

Elisha asked Elijah for a "double portion of your spirit" (2 Kings 2:9). What did that refer to? Did it mean becoming a prophet? Was a prophetic office indicated by the term "double portion"?

No. That is impossible.

The Bible does not specify exactly what was meant by that term and everything it indicated. Perhaps it referred to the power to work signs and miracles. But it did not indicate the office of prophet.

How can we know this?

Elijah knew what it meant, and he was not sure God would grant Elisha's request. "So he said, 'You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so' " (2 Kings 2:10). This actually shows that it could not have been the office of prophet. Why?

Elijah already knew that Elisha was to be prophet in Elijah's place. God had told him.

Turn back to 1 Kings 19:15-16: "Then the Lord said to him: 'Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place' ".

Since God already told Elijah that Elisha was to be prophet in his place, how could Elijah not know it and say, "if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so"? (2 Kings 2:10), if the double portion referred to being a prophet?

I bring this up because some think that if a minister anoints someone and asks God to give that person a double portion of God's Spirit, that is the same thing as ordaining that person as a prophet. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In previous posts I have made the point that making the request for a double portion does not mean God grants the request. Even Elijah did not know if God would give Elisha what he asked. Even today, when a member is anointed for healing, which is promised, God does not always heal even in this lifetime, and a double portion of God's Spirit is not even promised.

But now I am showing that the "double portion" does not even refer to being a prophet.

It can't. Elijah knew Elisha would be prophet from what God had told him in 1 Kings 19:16. He would not have answered Elisha as he did if "double portion" meant the office of prophet. The matter of Elisha being a prophet was not a question at this point. It was already settled. Not so the "double portion". That was something else. Elijah did not know if God would grant that request.

So the "double portion" Elisha requested and the office of prophet were two different things.

How do we know if a man in the Church of God is a prophet? Only God can make someone a prophet. But how do we know if He has done so?

God gives criteria.

One is, he must be faithful, overall, to God's way of life. He must be faithful to strive to believe and live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4). That does not mean he is perfect. But overall, he must be faithful to teach the truth. In particular, he must not try to turn the people to false gods. "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, '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" (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

This includes not pointing the people to demon-inspired messages about the future. "For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you" (Deuteronomy 18:14).

A man who quotes and publishes and spreads pagan and demon-inspired prophecies about the future, trying to learn and teach from demons details of the future that God does not choose to reveal, disqualifies himself from being a true prophet.

But also, a true prophet of God is given prophecy by God. God gives prophecy - sure prophetic messages by direct revelation from God - to His true prophets. And a sign of a prophet is accurate predictions in those messages of future events. When a prediction in a prophetic message comes true in a way that is unlikely by chance, that is a sign that the man is a true prophet.

"And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?'—when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

I find no example in the Bible of a prophet without prophecy. Any man who claims to be a prophet but who has never received a direct prophetic message from God is practicing wishful thinking.

Those are two qualifications for being a prophet - not turning the people to false gods, false doctrines, or messages from demons, and actually receiving prophetic messages from God - messages about the future that can be verified when the future event comes to pass.

Both are needed.

What if someone who claims to be a prophet of God makes a prediction that comes to pass, but also turns people to demon-inspired pagan prophecies? Is that person a true prophet?


God may allow a false teacher to make a true prediction as a way of testing His people to know if they will believe His word, the Bible, or not. See Deuteronomy 13:1-3 which I quoted above.

So even if a man can make true predictions about the future, if he points people to pagan and demon-inspired messages, he cannot be a true prophet of God.

How much less a man who claims to be a prophet, points people to pagan prophecies, and cannot even make his own prophetic predictions.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

My heart breaks for a certain individual who has made an assumption based on the very thing you write about here.

Anonymous said...

Herbert W Armstrong wasn’t, nor is Bob Thiel, a prophet. The former was guilty of making over 200 false prophecies making him a “false prophet” and the latter is likewise self-deceived into believing he is a prophet because of his own selfish ambition. SMH said...

Herbert W. Armstrong was never a false prophet because he never claimed to be a prophet. He gave his opinions on certain future events, and he turned out to be mistaken. That is entirely different from one who claims the office of prophet or falsely claims to get direct divine revelation from God. Mr. Armstrong admitted that the things he taught about doctrine were from the Bible, not from any special revelation to him from God.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to respectfully disagree with you re HWA. He, along with other ministers he ordained (eg RCM), made various statements throughout the decades asserting such false prophecies as, "That is NOT a message to ancient Israel—but to OUR NATIONS TODAY. The 'DAY OF THE ETERNAL'—a time foretold in more than thirty prophecies—is going to strike between 5 and 10 years from now! You will know, then, how REAL it is. You will wish, then, you had heeded. I am not writing foolishly, but very soberly, ON AUTHORITY of the living CHRIST!" ("HOW the U.S. Can END the Vietnam WAR . . . NOW!" (The Plain Truth, Feb. 1967, p. 47, Herbert W. Armstrong).

He even prophesied that Christ would return by 1975 publishing a booklet with the title "1975 in Prophecy" and prophesying that: "Indications of prophecy are that this drought ... will strike sooner than 1975— probably between 1965 and 1972!" ... "Yes, millions of lukewarm inactive professing Christians will suffer MARTYRDOM—and that before the anticipated push-button leisure-year of 1975 dawns upon us!" (1975 in Prophecy, 1956, pp. 10, 20, Herbert W. Armstrong).

You might state that HWA "never claimed to be a prophet" but by making prophecies or predictions about this happening or that happening in the future he was projecting himself as a prophet. And worse he claimed he was making these predictive statements on the "authority" of God! That these prophecies didn't happen as he predicted makes him a "false prophet." said...

Reply to Anonymous, November 14, 2018, 1:46 am:

I am not defending Mr. Armstrong's statement that certain events would happen in 5 to 10 years. That was extreme carelessness on his part. But it doesn't make him a false prophet in the context of the Bible's teaching about false prophets. He made a mistake, that is all.

Was he teaching by the authority of Christ? Yes. His whole work of preaching the gospel to the world and feeding the flock was done by the authority of Christ. Jesus Christ gave him, and the Church of God at that time, an open door (Revelation 3:7-8). He also gave him and the whole Church of God through the ages the commission to preach the gospel, as the Bible makes clear. That is the authority he had from Christ. And Mr. Armstrong mentions that authority as a form of emphasis in the passage you quoted.

But anything he believed and wrote or said and taught to the Church and to the world can come from three sources: the Bible, his personal opinion, or direct, divine revelation from God in the form of a dream, a vision, a voice, or other means - in other words, direct prophetic revelation that would make him a prophet.

If the source is from the Bible, we know it because he gives the proof - he quotes the passages in the Bible that prove the truth of what he said. His statement that certain events would happen in 5 to 10 years is clearly not from the Bible because he gives no evidence in the Bible that this time period is true.

It is not from prophetic revelation in the form of a dream, a vision, a voice, or some other miraculous means because he would have said so.

Therefore it was his opinion. And his opinion was wrong. It was a mistake. And Mr. Armstrong admitted he made mistakes. He never claimed that God's inspiration made him infallible as if everything he said was direct from God.

Any reader with an open mind would be able to see that.

We do not accuse a local pastor of being a false minister if he makes a mistake in his sermon, and neither should we accuse Mr. Armstrong of being a false prophet because he made mistakes. His overall teaching was based on the Bible and was accurate, and any reader or listener could check in the Bible and prove these things for themselves.

Mr. Armstrong never required his radio listeners or Plain Truth readers to believe him personally. He told them to read the Bible and believe what God says.

He made mistakes, even serious mistakes, and I do not defend those mistakes, but he was never a false prophet.

Anonymous said...

Author, you wrote: "...Mr. Armstrong never required his radio listeners or Plain Truth readers to believe him personally. He told them to read the Bible and believe what God says..."

That is absolutely right! I can't tell you how many times Mr. Armstrong, one of God's servants, told the following: "Don't believe me; believe your Bible!"