In Part III of this series, we’re looking at the damsel in Thyatira and how he handled this situation in the light of the Jezebel spirit and false apostles and false prophets. It was in Thyatira that Paul encountered a damsel possessed with a spirit of divination who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling (Acts 16:16).
The “masters” in this verse were governmental officers with natural authority in the jurisdiction just as the apostles were governmental officers with spiritual authority in the jurisdiction. But the thievery of these wicked masters lumps them in with the “sorry bunch” Paul described as pseudo-apostles and crooked workers.
So in Thyatira we see the damsel (false prophetess) making a way for the masters (false apostles) to gain unjust profit (merchandising) through a false ministry gift (divination).
We’re talking about the spirit of Jezebel, and false prophets. You’ll recall that the Apostle Paul spoke against false apostles who sought unjust gain, proclaiming: “I’d die before taking your money. I’m giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money-grubbing ‘preachers,’ vaunting themselves as something special. They’re a sorry bunch – pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers – posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core” (2 Corinthians 11:12-13 MSG).
Apostle Paul was no stranger to the operations of false apostles or demonic governments. Jezebel is likely one of the principalities Paul wrestled against (Ephesians 6) as she attempted to exercise her influence in territories through which he traveled to preach the Gospel. Thyatira was such a territory. Jesus had one thing against the church in Thyatira: it tolerated Jezebel (Revelation 2:20).
Just as true prophets (John the Baptist) make a way for true apostles (Jesus Christ), false prophets make a way for false apostles. Thyatira was the city where a false prophetess made a way for false apostles to merchandise people through soothsaying and attempted to discredit the ministry of true Apostles Paul and Silas.
Jezebel gained her reputation as an enemy to the prophets of God in the Old Testament era. While dogs devoured the wicked Queen Jezebel, her spirit is alive and well in New Testament times. And this depraved principality has earned another reputation in the last days: enemy of the apostolic.
Queen Jezebel is infamous for her antics in the Book of I Kings. Jezebel is charged with murdering many prophets and cutting off the voice of others that fearfully hid in caves (I Kings 18:4, 13). The Book of Revelation exposes this spirit’s operation in the New Testament age as one that calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce the Lord’s true prophets with lust and idolatry (Revelation 2:20).
Jezebel’s attack on prophets has a ripple effect on apostles because these two graces are foundational gifts that work together to build the Church (Ephesians 2:20). Prophets say and apostles do. Cutting off or perverting the prophetic voice, then, hinders the manifestation of the glorious church because apostles are most effective when prophets are in watchtowers instead of caves, in local churches instead of in lust, parking lots and street corners.
Some are speculating that the events in Mumbai are a prophetic manifestation of Senator Joe Biden’s statement that terrorists will test Sen. Obama within first six months of his presidency. This is an error and prophets need to be cautious about speculating over such matters.
While former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright agrees with Sen. Biden — and while they both could be right — the attacks in Mumbai don’t fit this mold. Obama isn’t even in office yet. Anyway, Biden is not a prophet and wasn’t prophesying. He’s an experienced government servant with insight into how the world works.
The storm surrounding Todd Bentley, leader of the “Lakeland Revival” has quieted. Many people were hurt by the false prophetic operations and other strange happenings there. I met a young man just recently who God has called into prophetic ministry. The young man was hesitating to answer the call because he was so turned off by what he saw in the prophetic ministry, including merchandising, Jezebel spirits, witchcraft and the like.
I wrote the Heart of the Prophetic just in time. It was a Holy Ghost thing. The book is a response to a statement someone offered claiming, “Character doesn’t matter.” I submit to you that character absolutely does matter in the prophetic and in the lives of every believer. If you want to understand the true prophetic anointing, purpose and function, then check out my book. I cut to the chase, through the hype and down to the heart of the matter.
There is a true prophetic ministry. I just don’t think we’ve seen much of it in our generation. Jezebel has hijacked much of the movement. It was premature because the apostles weren’t in place. God is going to work all things together for good somehow. He always does. But we have a part to play. We need to work on developing the character of Christ in us, rather than merely working to develop a gift of Christ.
The Lord expressed this to me on Friday, October 10 at about 6:30 p.m.:
The merchandisers will rise during this hour like never before. Fearful of their own economic uncertainties, they will seek to fleece the sheep using fearful tactics. They will opine about the virtues of Kingdom economics, but though their words may ring true on the surface, the spirit that’s driving them is that of Baalim. Don’t heed these voices. Sow, plant, scatter your bread upon many waters, but seek righteous ground that will yield fruit, and fruit abundant.
Do not be fooled. I will not be mocked. Those who sow into merchandising schemes will not see the fruit they are hoping for. They will see further destruction of their finances as the seed bears rotten fruit.
The recent statement by Fresh Fire Ministries about the marital separation of Todd and Shonnah Bentley has brought a lot of pain and confusion to the Body of Christ, admits Stacy Campbell, who prophesied over Canadian Evangelist Todd Bentley at his apostolic commissioning at what will go down in Christian history as Lakeland Outpouring in Lakeland, Fla.
It is especially confusing because of the manifest miracles and demonstrations of power that have occurred, along with the public endorsement and prophetic blessing given to Todd only a month and a half before his separation from his wife, Shonnah.
I gave Todd Bentley a public prophetic word, which was broadcast around the world through GodTV. The essence of the word was as follows: “There is a generation that the Lord has spoken to me about that will operate in both the gifts/anointing of the Holy Spirit and the glory of God at the same time.”
I’ve said it many times, you can’t separate a prophet from prayer any more than you can separate an evangelist from preaching the Gospel. It’s just part of the prophet’s DNA. Not all intercessors are prophets but all prophets are intercessors.
Let’s look at the Message Bible translation of Abimelech’s revelation and God’s instruction in Genesis 20:6-8.
God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know your intentions were pure, that’s why I kept you from sinning against me; I was the one who kept you from going to bed with her. So now give the man’s wife back to him. He’s a prophet and will pray for you—pray for your life. If you don’t give her back, know that it’s certain death both for you and everyone in your family.”
“Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.”
You remember the story. Abram had told King Abimelech that Sarai, so he took her to be his wife and it the Lord intervened. Notice that this is the first time the word “prophet” is used in the Bible — and it’s connected to prayer. We’ll expound on this later as we look at another translation…
More ministers that attended Canadian Evangelist Todd Bentley’s Lakeland Outpouring in Florida are speaking out with concern. Since God TV televised the Lakeland Outpouring worldwide, and many are just as interested in news following the demise of Evangelist Todd Bentley as they were about the nightly meetings in the southern state.
Canadian Todd Bentley filed for divorce from his wife Shonnah, resigned from Fresh Fire Ministries and stepped down from ministry for an undermined length of time because of moral failure.
John Kilpatrick, former pastor of Brownsville Assembly of God church in Pensacola, Fla., along with Evangelist Steve Hill, are both familiar with revival controversy. From 1995 to 2000 they led “The Pensacola Outpouring.” Now Kilpatrick has issued the following statement of “major concern” regarding Todd Bentley’s doctrine:
“But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife.” — Genesis 20:3
The first time dream is mentioned in the King James Version of the Bible, it was when King Abimelech took Abram’s wife for his own. The Lord gave him a dream to warn him of his precarious situation.
Abimelech was not part of the Abrahamic covenant. So does that mean God can give prophetic dreams to sinners? What does the Bible say about this topic? What is the pattern? There are other instances of God giving so-called ’sinners’ prophetic dreams. We’ll take a look at some of those in upcoming posts.
We’ve been looking at Genesis 20:6-8. Abimelech took Sarai to be his wife because Abram told the king she was his sister. Let’s listen in to the New Century translation:
Then God said to Abimelech in the dream, “Yes, I know you did not realize what you were doing. So I did not allow you to sin against me and touch her. Give Abraham his wife back. He is a prophet. He will pray for you, and you will not die. But if you do not give Sarah back, you and all your family will surely die.”
So early the next morning, Abimelech called all his officers and told them everything that had happened in the dream. They were very afraid.
Peter Wagner, founder of the International Coalition of Apostles, is offering a lengthier statement on Canadian Evangelist Todd Bentley’s break down.
The statement reads as follows:
I was in the San Francisco airport on my way to Singapore and Indonesia when the news of Todd Bentley’s separation from his wife became public on August 12. When I arrived back home last week, I found that Doris had received and replied to around 1,700 emails and the stack of correspondence on my desk was unbelievable. It took me the rest of the week to catch up!
Dutch Sheets is finally speaking out on Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Revival, and offers an apology.
Sheets says he was asked numerous times to write his position on Lakeland while it was happening, but always felt checked by the Lord. The waters were too muddy and emotions too high. Now that Bentley’s personal issues are being exposed, Sheets is speaking out.
“It will be arguably one of the greatest risks of my ministry to date, but one I feel must be taken. Fathers, when given the voice to do so, bear the responsibility of giving correction and wisdom. I hope mine qualifies for the latter. I assure you I have spent many hours praying and thinking through the situation. The risks are broad: with some of my dearest friends and co-laborers, I risk harming those relationships; with many in
the charismatic body of Christ, I risk appearing to be an arrogant, “self-appointed” spokesperson for them; to the “I told you so” crowd, I risk the accusation of “spinning” the situation.”
I recently received a question from a prophet in a local church in America. The question went something like this:
What do you do when there you are discontent in your local church? Although I am in an apostolic/prophetic church, I still see so much that makes me want to run. In fact, I believe in being a part of a strong local assembly, but have been so badly wounded by people who know better but are themselves struggling to come into that new place. I just feel “STUCK” in this “PLACE” that I now feel I am “man-pleasing” and going through ritualism just to STAY IN CHURCH!!”
While we don’t understand the total situation of this prophet, there are some guidelines for safety that might help us avoid making the wrong decision about leaving a church God intends for us to stay in.
The pressure was on. Jesus had been arrested and the disciples scattered. Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard of the high priest and time after time people tried to connect him to Jesus. You know the story. Peter denied knowing Him.
But it was the third question that stands out. A bystander came up to Peter and said, “Surely you too are one of them; for the way you talk gives you away” (Matthew 26:73).
Think about it for a minute. The way Peter talked gave him away. Yes, some translations say it was his accent that gave him away. But let’s ponder this New American Standard translation for a moment in light of Peter’s surprising response.