… prophets …

… i was reading in The Shepherd of Hermas, which is purported to have been written by a church leader around the year 95 AD or so.  he had some interesting things to say about prophets..

43. He showed me men seated on a bench, and another man seated on a chair. And he said to me, “Do you see those men seated on the bench?” “I see them, sir,” I replied. “These,” he said, “are faithful, but the one seated on the chair is a false prophet who destroys the mind of God’s servants; that is, he destroys the mind of the double-minded, not of believers. (2) These double-minded ones come to him as to a fortune teller, and ask him what will happen to them. And that false prophet, not having the power of a divine spirit in himself, answers them in accordance with their questions and their wicked desires, and fills their souls just as they themselves wish. (3) For since he himself is empty, he gives empty answers to empty inquirers, for no matter what is asked, he answers according to the emptiness of the man asking. But he does speak some true words, for the devil fills him with his own spirit, to see if he will be able to break down any of the righteous. (4) So, those who are strong in the faith of the Lord, having clothed themselves with the truth, do not associate with such spirits, but have nothing to do with them. But   P 407  those who are double-minded and frequently change their minds practice fortune telling like the pagans and bring greater sin upon themselves by their idolatries. For the one who consults a false prophet on any matter is an idolator and lacks the truth and is senseless. (5) For no spirit given by God needs to be consulted; instead, having the power of deity, it speaks everything on its own initiative, because it is from above, from the power of the divine Spirit. (6) But the spirit that is consulted and which answers according to the desires of the people consulting it is earthly and fickle, and has no power, and does not speak at all unless it is asked.” (7) “So how, sir,” I asked, “will a man know which of them is a prophet, and which is a false prophet?” “Hear,” he said, “about both the prophets, and on the basis of what I am going to tell you, you can test the prophet and false prophet. Determine the man who has the divine Spirit by his life. (8) In the first place the one who has the divine Spirit from above is gentle and quiet and humble, and stays away from all evil and futile desires of this age, and considers himself to be poorer than others, and gives no answer to anyone when consulted. Nor does he speak on his own (nor does the Holy Spirit speak when a man wants to speak), but he speaks when God wants him to speak. (9) So, then, when the man who has the divine Spirit comes into an assembly of righteous men who have faith in a divine Spirit, and intercession is made to God by the assembly of those men, then the angel of the prophetic spirit which is assigned to him fills the man, and being filled with the Holy Spirit the man speaks to the multitude, just as the Lord wills. (10) In this way, then, the Spirit of the Deity will be obvious. Such, therefore, is the power of discernment with respect to the divine Spirit of the Lord.”
(11) “Now hear,” he said, “about the earthly and worthless spirit, which has no power but is foolish. (12) In the first place, that man who thinks he has a spirit exalts himself and wants to have a seat of honor, and immediately is arrogant and shameless and talkative and well acquainted with many luxuries and with many other pleasures, and receive money for his prophesying, and if he does not receive money, he does not prophesy.   p 409  Now, can a divine spirit receive money and still prophesy? It is impossible for a prophet of God to do this, but the spirit of such prophets who do so is earthly. (13) Next, he never comes near an assembly of righteous men; instead he avoids them, and associates with the double-minded and the empty-headed, and prophesies to them in a corner and deceives them; everything he says is in accordance with their own desires and characterized by his own empty manner, for he is answering those who are empty. For the empty vessel placed together with other empty vessels is not broken, but they match one another. (14) But when he comes to an assembly full of righteous men who have a divine Spirit, and intercession is made by them, that man is emptied and the earthly spirit flees from him in fear, and that man is rendered speechless and is completely shattered, unable to say a thing. (15) For if you store wine or oil in a storeroom and place an empty jar in among them and then later you wish to clear out the storeroom, you will find that empty jar you placed there still empty. So it is with empty prophets; whenever they encounter the spirits of the righteous, they are found to be just as they were when they arrived. (16) You now have descriptions of the life of both kinds of prophets. Therefore test by his life and his actions the man who claims that he is spirit-inspired. (17) Put your trust in the Spirit that comes from God and has power, but do not trust in any way the earthly and empty spirit, because it has no power, for it comes from the devil. (18) Listen to the parable I am about to tell you. Take a stone and throw it toward the sky; see if you can reach it. Or, for another example, take a water pump and squirt it toward the sky; see if you can penetrate it.” (19) “How,” I asked, “can these things be, sir? For both these things you just said are impossible.” “Well then,” he said, “just as these things are impossible, so also are the earthly spirits powerless and weak. (20) Now take the power that comes from above. A hailstone is a very small pellet, but when it falls on a man’s head, what pain it causes! Or, for another example, take a drop that falls on the ground from the roofing tiles, and wears a hole in the rock. (21) You see, then, that even the smallest things from above falling on the earth have great power; so also the divine Spirit that comes from above is powerful. So put your trust in this Spirit, but have nothing to do with the other one.

Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, Updated ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999).

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:26 AM April 01, 2017.


Then the Lord said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine! As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them.” (Jeremiah 14:14–16, NLT)



Author: orland

.. i was born into an average family in the mid-west of the United States of America. my parents were divorced when i was young. ... i have been fortunate to have experienced many things that only the rich get to see. i once stayed in the Presidential Suite of the Lai Lai Sheraton Hotel, in Taipei, Taiwan. this suite composed the top two floors of the Lai Lai, where my private room overlooked the city of Taipai. ... and i have spent time in the Federal Prison System of this country as well. ... i had a construction company on the road to 'success and prosperity' and fell pray to the lures of the American Christianity Syndrome. but thank the good LORD, He allowed it all to crash around me. ... now i am quite happy to be poor, relying only on Him ....