“When a prophet prophesies........”
By Daniel E. Cohran
To any true Christian or rather, one who has God’s Holy Spirit, and using that spirit to discern the times,
it should be easy enough to see that we are indeed in the Laodicean era of God’s Church.
And indeed ALL of God’s people are caught in it at this time. Every single one of us, be it lay member, deacon
or minister, or evangelist, etc. We are, spiritually speaking, ALL in the same boat. (Matt. 25:5) If this is clearly understood, then the process of “waking up” can at least begin. So if this is all true then, that we are all in the Laodicean time period, then there is something we have to do to “wake up” out of it, correct? And if we are ALL asleep spiritually, then that would certainly include the ministry,
correct? Indeed it does, and God has much to say about this in His Word, and about this very time we are in right now.
Many of us in the Church of God today have come through many “groups”
or offshoots of the former Worldwide Church of God since the death of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. Some of us have endured mental and spiritual “torture” in some of the groups. Some of us have
been “cast out” perhaps several times for simply trying to hold fast to the foundational truths restored and revealed
to us through Mr. Armstrong. Some of us are begining to realize that there may not be an “organized” body or group
at this time that Christ is working specifically with or that He is “blessing” in a work. Indeed Christ clearly assigns us all the same condition in Revelation 3.
Christ warns us in Matt. 24, that in the end there will be many false prophets
to come among us. Now something to remember is that the Bible is written primarily to God’s people, and to God’s people now in the very end time. So
this was not a casual warning from Christ about false prophets in the world. They
would obviously not pose a threat to deceive God’s elect. But false prophets from among
us, could and DO pose a threat and indeed this is exactly what Christ is warning about. And indeed many of us today can
now attest to this fact, if we have come from some of the various offshoots from the WCG.
So what does GOD say about how to identify a false prophet, or what to do about one when he has been identified?
Let God’s word speak for itself.
Notice Deut. 18:20-22 (NKJV) It says:
“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My
name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other
gods, that prophet shall die. 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 presumptuiously; you shall not be afraid
So in other words, if someone who is claiming to be a prophet, and that man says that something specific will or
will not happen, and he is claiming to be God’s man (speaking in the name of the Lord), and that thing which he says
does NOT happen, then he is a FALSE PROPHET! Simple as that! God is saying get away from him and don’t be afraid of
God takes this to another level in Deut. 13:1-5, refering to going after “other gods”, meaning departing
from your original faith and belief unto things we have not before known (i.e. “new truth”). Well God says to NOT LISTEN to the words of that prophet because He (God) is testing you, to know
whether you love HIM. (verse 3)
In verse 5 God says that prophet shall be put to DEATH. He doesn’t say by whom, so it could very well be
God that carries out this death sentence. But the point is that someone who prophesies falsely in the name of the Lord is
condemned to death. I wonder if anyone of us today has seen this happen?
Some who have claimed to be prophets here in the end time, and surely it will happen again, have claimed many times
as they read and “interpret” scriptures, that GOD SAYS this or GOD SAYS that, about a certain topic, and many times it is not even saying that, or it may even go against what
Mr. Armstrong taught. That should be an automatic “red flag” to any who have struggled over the past 20 years
to hold fast to all that was revealed to us. So what does God say about this in His word?
Notice Jer. 23:30-32 It says:
“Therefore behold, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who steal My words every one from his
neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who use their tongues
and say, He says. Behold, I
am against those who prophesy false dreams, says the Lord, and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies
and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore
they shall not profit this people at all, says the Lord.”
Notice this same warning in Ezekiel 13:7-8 which says:
“Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, “The Lord says”, but I have not
spoken.” “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have spoken nonsense and envisioned
lies, therefore I am indeed against you, says the Lord God.”
Verse 9 goes on to show the sad result of what happens to a false prophet. And these were or are obvioulsy from
among God’s people because He says there in verse 9 they seduced MY PEOPLE.
And what about the MINISTRY today?
So what about the MINISTRY today or the shepherds as God calls them? Are
there any out there today in Laodicea that are still truly holding fast to what was commanded at the end of the Philadelphia era? And let’s just touch
on that for a moment. In Rev. 3 Christ commands us in Laodicea to REPENT. Well repent of what, and what does repent mean? Repent means
to turn back or turn away from something and go the other way. Well , God doesn’t have much good to say about
but He does have something good to say about the last era or condition of the Church JUST BEFORE Laodicea, doesn’t He? It’s so clear if we just think about it. God wants us to turn back to the condition we were in BEFORE
we got into this Laodicean condition. The condition He says that we should HOLD FAST TO, so that NO MAN can take our crown!
So what were we to HOLD FAST TO? All those truths given to us during Philadelphia of course! And He is saying that
THAT is what we need to HOLD FAST to in order to RECEIVE our crowns, or eternal life!
It’s so very simple.
As was mentioned earlier, ALL of us are now in the Laodicean time period, but that does not mean we ALL have to be
in the Laodicean condition. Most of us who were alive DURING the Philadelphia era and WHILE Mr. Armstrong was
alive, ALL acknowledged that he was the end time Elijah, as HE also did many times. And we ALL acknowledged that he was God’s
Apostle. Jesus Christ gave authority ONLY to His apostles to bind and loosen doctrine and truth into His Church. Mr. Armstrong
was the last apostle of this age. So it should be very clear that no doctrines have (or should have) changed in God’s
Church. Yet what do we see today? Mass confusion!
Yes we were commanded to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But growing in grace and knowledge
does NOT mean receiving “new truth” or doctrine, or changing doctrine or even doing away with some doctrines.
It means growing in grace and growing in knowledge....OF Jesus Christ. Simple as that.
So again, what about the shepherds or the ministry today? Yes they are still ministers of Jesus Christ, BUT Christ
has much to say about them especially for this time period. After all, remember we are ALL spewed into this condition or time
period, and we will ALL be spewed into the great tribulation if we don’t repent and get back to that “silver platter”
or “all things” of Matt. 17:11, that Mr. Armstrong said we were all given.
Now many ministers today that claim they are “holding fast” or who have claimed that, will say something
to the effect that God says there will always be a Levite to perform sacrifices (do God’s work) and that He will never
lack a levite or “true minister” to do His work. Is this what the
Bible really says? Let’s look at the scripture in question, and do like Mr. Armstrong taught us, and see the context in which it is used. And then compare it with other scriptures concerning this time we are living in.
The verse most commonly used is in Jer. 33:17-18. Read it for yourself
and you will remember it. BUT now go back and look at the context of this beginning
in verse 14 where God says: “Behold the days are coming......” and
in verse 15 where it says: “In those days and at that time...” verse 16 says:
“In those days.......” and even past all this down in verse
22 where God says He will multiply the decendants of David AND the Levites...
Well, NONE of this has happened yet! This is all a millennial
prophecy about the Levites who will be sacrificing (doing God’s work) at the Ezekiel temple during the millennium. The
Levites surely have NOT yet been multiplied. They are anything but multiplied today.
They are scattered and almost non existant!
So what is God’s message to us today and to His ministers or shepherds?
Let’s go back to Jer. 23 again but this time in verses 1-3. Notice what the Word of God says.
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy the sheep of my pasture! Says the Lord.
Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: You have scattered My flock, driven them
away, and not attended to them. Behold I will attend to you for the evil of your
doings, says the Lord. But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds, and they shall be fruitful
It is important to pause for a moment and remember something. In Mystery of the Ages and many other of Mr. Armstrongs
writings, he states the two-fold commission of the Church. Number 1 was to preach the Gospel to the world as a witness. Well that has happened and is fulfilled prophecy. Number 2 was to FEED THE FLOCK.
This was the primary mission of the ministers or shepherds. The gospel commission was given primarily to the apostle, but
the ministry was to feed the flock, with meat in due season.
Well that has not happened, nor is it being done today. Oh, they SAY
they are doing that, and they are feeding something, but it is spiritual SLOP,
not spiritual food for spiritual nourishment that is so badly needed at this time.
The book of Malachi as we are all aware is written primarily to the ministry or shepherds. In verse 7 of chapter
one God says they are offering POLLUTED food upon His altar. And God really clarifies this in Isaiah 28:8 where He
says that ALL (not most or some) tables are full of vomit and filth!
So the feeding of the flock or BODY OF CHRIST just is NOT being done today, and yet this very tragedy itself is
So is there any one shepherd today (or even two or three), as
some have claimed themselves to be? Well that would be contrary to God’s
Word as we shall soon see. The Bible makes it clear for us all. But we DO know that just looking at the time order of the
book of Revelation, that after the Philadelphia era, would come the Laodicean era—a time of final exams to see if we
would HOLD FAST to that last command God gave us BEFORE going into that Laodicean condition, THEN we see in the time order
of prophecy, AS the great tribulation begins, the Two Witnesses will be raised up BY GOD HIMSELF, not any man, to do that
final warning work WHILE the tribulation is occuring, while God’s faithful elect are being protected in a place of safety.
It is just as Mr. Armstrong taught us for many years.
So again, the question is: are there, or IS there any one shepherd leading God’s people during this Laodicean
time period? The answer is there in the Bible for all who will see.
Notice first Zech. 10 and verse 2.
“The idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep, They are in trouble beause there is
In verse 3 God says He is against the shepherds. And it must be ALL the shepherds because He says in verse
2 that there is NO shepherd.
Notice also Jer. 50:6 which says:
“My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray......”
There are many many scriptures that show this same condition, many more in fact than one or two that attempt to show that there is any minister truly
holding fast. In fact the more you study realizing that the Bible is written for us today in this end time, we can see that
God is very upset with ALL of the ministry. Jeremiah chapter 23 is a good example of this, where God addresses the ministry
as well as those who claim to be prophets. Now we go to the book and the chapter that really puts it in true perspective.
Ezekiel 34. Notice verse 2 for example:
“Son of Man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and
say to them, Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: Woe to the shepherds of Israel
who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?”
Notice here that God is saying something AGAINST the shepherds, and that it has to do with FEEDING THE FLOCKS.
Notice the plurality of the word flocks, as in many groups or churches.....simular
to Christ’s admonition in Revelation 3 to the church of the Laodicean(s) plural.
Notice verse 5. It says: “So they were scattered because there was no shepherd.....”
So it says NO SHEPHERD, not one or a few, but NO, or none.
In verse 6 God says: NO ONE was seeking or searching for them.
Verse 8 brings more clarity. It says:
“As I live, says the Lord God, surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every
beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed
themselves and did not feed My flock—“
So it’s obvious that there are shepherds, BUT they are all feeding themselves, and there is NO SHEPHERD feeding
“My flock” says God. In other words there is no shepherd holding fast and doing God’s work.
Notice now verse 10. God says: “Thus says the Lord God: Behold I am against the shepherds......”
This whole chapter is about the FAILURE of God’s ministry to feed His flock! But here is the good news, and
the answer to questions we may have about what to do or where to go from this point on. We KNOW we are to hold fast to what
was given us in Philadelphia right? No that does NOT mean we become Philadephian again , but we CAN hold fast to that standard or what was given
to us from Mr. Armstrong or God’s end time Elijah who restored all things.
But God goes on here in Ezekiel 34 to show what HE will do from this point on, because His ministers have failed!
And here is the good news. Notice in verse 11, He says:
“For thus says the Lord God: Indeed I myself will search
for My sheep and seek them out.”
How exciting is that! Notice this again in verse 12, and really on through the rest of this chapter. God says over and over again here that “I MYSELF” will do this! Why? Because the ministry has failed! In verses 12 and 13, God says HE HIMSELF will gather together
His flock, and deliver us and feed us! How awesome!
This is so beautiful and encouraging at this troublesome time in God’s Church. You don’t have to belong
to a “group” or an organization with an “official name” or corporate name. All who are holding fast
ALREADY ARE in the Body of Christ, wherever we may be scattered, one here or two there. God says He will gather us. Remember
this God of the old testament was Jesus Christ Himself. And if we really want
to see how He describes Himself as the true shepherd, PLEASE read and meditate on John chapter 10, in light of these other
scriptures here, and the picture begins to come clear.
We are in Laodicea and almost the end of it. But we don’t have to be OF it. Christ
is talking to each of us as He says in Rev. 3:20:
“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me..”
Christ here is speaking to His Church, His people, but PRIMARILY to us as individuals! If any ONE hears, and how do
we hear? By heeding his command to repent FROM Laodicea, and return back to what He gave us BEFORE we became Laodicean.
THEN, He says, He will COME IN, yes into our lives and homes again, and DINE (FEED) with us! How wonderfully clear!
So what can we do in the meantime? That is if we are truly trying to hold fast to ALL the doctrines and truth (not
just some of them) restored through Mr. Armstrong? We are obviously now very few and very scattered. But we do have an admonition with promise from God Himself. This
is very encouraging.
Notice Malachi 3:16-18
“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of
remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name.
They shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, On the day that I make them My jewels, and I will spare them as a man spares
his own son who serves him. Then you shall again discern between the righteous
and the wicked, Between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”
Answer the knock and hold fast, so that NO MAN take your crown!