Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that there are so many within the church striving to exercise AND elevate their gifting? Many seem to be prophets. There is a teacher around every corner. Others have the burning desire to be evangelists. There are some who claim to be apostles. It seems that the internet is overflowing with wanna be preachers. At some time or another, I have been handed business cards with the claims of such gifts to validate their standing with God as if a business card could validate such a claim. To top it all off, just take a short hike on just about any social media platform and you will find more theologians than there are academic avenues to produce them. Everyone is a theologian.
What’s wrong with all that? Well, I don’t know that anything is particularly wrong with all that but it’s not biblical. At least I’m not seeing it in my Bible. Those gifts were given to equip the saints of the church. Those gifts are not given to elevate those claiming to harbor the gifts.
And some have asked me, Lonnie is that not what you are doing? Are you not elevating your calling? Are you not elevating the trumpets of the Bible?
May it never be that I act to draw attention to myself or elevate a calling or the horn of a dead animal. I do not elevate my calling. I do not elevate myself. I do not elevate the horn of a dead animal. I, as a watchman, God’s watchman, do not elevate my calling or my trumpet. My existence, my calling, my trumpet elevate God the Father, The Son, and Holy Spirit. Anything other than that and I’m just making noise and drawing attention away from where attention needs to be.
And it has been asked, “Well, isn’t that what these modern day apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers are doing?” The answer to that question is a double edged sword. The truthful answer is, “Yes, some of them are elevating God and equipping His church. But not all of them are. Not by a long shot.” Why do I say that?
Here is what I see. If someone is an apostle, prophet, pastor, evangelist, or teacher you will know them by the fruit of their lives. In other words, apostles will produce the fruit of apostles. Prophets will produce the fruit of prophets. Pastors will produce the fruits of pastors, and so on. No one should have to express to anyone that they have received such gifts. The proof should be in the fruit that their lives produce.
I have known men who have claimed to be five fold gifted. What I mean by five fold gifted is they claim to be apostle, prophet, pastor, evangelist, and teacher. I have only seen one man who exhibited the fruit of all five of those gifts. Claiming the gifts is one thing, living in the anointing to walk out those gifts is quite another matter. It kind of like the transgender or transrace community in that just because one makes the claim doesn’t mean that it is so.
So, if someone hands me a business card to validate their claims of the gifts, or places a title behind their names on a social media post. I am somewhat skeptical. If they hand me a card with their web site address, I’ll check it out. I want to see what they have to say. Are they elevating their claimed gifts or are they using the gifts to elevate God.
And people point to my ending, “I am The Old Watchman, Ezekiel. You have been warned!”, and say, “Isn’t that the same thing?” No, it is not. So, why isn’t it the same?
Because I was given that moniker not by one person but by seven total. Let’s be clear. What is a watchman? Read Ezekiel 33 and you will find out. The watchmen were a lonely lot that were chosen for their trustworthiness. Ezekiel was a watchman. Isaiah was a watchman. So was Habakkuk. Many of the Prophets of Old were watchman. The watchman was and is a symbol of the prophet. Does that mean that I am a prophet?
I have been referred to as a Prophet by three different individuals in different parts of the world who do not know each other. Every time they speak to me or write to me they call me Prophet. I do NOT make that claim for myself. Why?
Because I believe my life exhibits the fruit of a watchman. I’m perfectly happy to defer to the prophets of old. I’m perfectly happy for Holy Spirit to open my eyes to see repeating patterns in the Bible that are repeating today and warn people as the prophets of old did back in the ancient days. The Prophets of ancient days were NOT popular. They were massacred! The lot of a watchman is a lonely one sitting on a wall and warning others of danger. But the lot of a prophet was far more difficult. I do not see the fruit of a prophet in my own life. There are others who claim to see it. I’m fine with that. If it is so the fruit will come to fruition. Personally, I’m not overly concerned with titles.
But what about prophets? Yeah, we got’em by the truck load. They are everywhere. They are thick in the bookstores, on television, on radio, all over the internet and social media. I personally, know one person whom I consider to be a prophet of God. Why is that? Because he doesn’t have a word from God on demand. He goes weeks, months, sometimes years without saying anything. However, when God gives him a prophetic word, he delivers a very distinct, concise oration and then he shuts his mouth. There is no commentary, or “I feel like God is saying,” or “God is about to do something,”. No. His words are very precise, very focused, to the point, and amazingly accurate. He delivers what God gave Him to say and he shuts his mouth and goes on about his business.
Prophets today come complete with business card and promotion packages. They have merchandise to sell and web sites that accept donations. Is this the way the Prophets of old operated? No, I don’t think so. To the best of my recall, God provided for the prophets of old. Theirs was not an easy life. Consider Ezekiel who laid on his side for three hundred and ninety days!
Now I understand prophecy in part. I understand building up people and encouraging others. I have a little problem with some of that but it’s not enough to say it should not be and it’s certainly not enough to break communion with someone, that is until it reaches a certain point.
However I urge all who partake in such prophecy to read carefully Ezekiel chapter 13. Even as a means of building up and encouraging the saints, understanding in part and prophesying in part, there is a greater accountability. Tread lightly.
The purpose of this article is a warning to be careful who you listen to and how much stock you put into what they say. I’ve listened to many of the “modern prophets for profit” and I’ve written down some things I’ve heard them say. The fact is that what they said did not come to pass not only within the time frame they said it would, but they did not happen at all. Did they hear from God or not?
As The Old Watchman, I point to repeating patterns within the Bible that are repeating today and back that up with Scripture. That’s what a watchman does. It is not a popular undertaking. In acting as a watchman I have nothing to gain and everything to lose. I do not ask for contributions. I don’t need them. God has provided for what He has for me to do. Unlike many who seek speaking engagements for pay, who elevate the giftings with their business cards and promotional packages, who have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I am The Old Watchman, Ezekiel. You have been warned!