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God never needs to work through human beings in order to accomplish His will on earth. But He often chooses to, and this makes our lives complicated. Why? Because our Gods are Multitaskers who are always accomplishing multiple agendas at once. Why should They just pass on information in some clear and straightforward manner when They could pack in a bunch of growth opportunities and tests of submission as well?
If Yahweh wanted to demonstrate His supremacy over the Egyptian gods, why didn’t He just wipe ancient Egypt off the map? Why did He send Moses in with a bunch of threats only to then fuss around with ten plagues? And why on earth did He make His own power look dubious by allowing the pharaoh’s demon worshiping sorcerers to duplicate the mechanics of the first few plagues? Yahweh turning water into blood really seems impressive until some dingdong sorcerer does the same thing. Then Yahweh starts looking like just another run of the mill supernatural power who has His share of good and bad days.
Whenever Yahweh works through people in the Old Testament, we find a disturbing pattern of Him intentionally making things a whole lot more complicated than they need to be. Israel was just one dot of a nation in the midst of many other nations. Yahweh raised up Jewish prophets to speak not only to Israel, but to many of the nations around her as well. One time Yahweh wanted to use the prophet Isaiah to warn the nations of Egypt and Cush that they were going to be defeated by the growing nation of Assyria. Well, fine. How hard would it have been for Isaiah to write down some message of doom and have a messenger carry it over to the authorities of those countries? Not hard at all. The prophet Jeremiah sent several prophetic messages out this way. But when it was time to warn Egypt and Cush about their coming spanking, could Yahweh keep things simple? Of course not, He’s Yahweh, and Yahweh doesn’t do simple. Instead of having Isaiah simply write or speak a message, Yahweh told the man to strip down to his birthday suit and go about his daily business in a stark naked state. Really?? And what exactly did it do for Yahweh to associate Himself with some lewd freak?
Suppose some guy showed up in an American church today wearing nothing but his epidermis. When the deacons rush to body block him at the main entrance, he claims that Jesus ordered him to walk around naked as a sign to the nation of Canada. What would you say to such a guy? You might start by suggesting that he go share with Canada directly instead of plaguing America with the unwanted view. No doubt plenty of Jews in Israel wished Isaiah would take his issues down to Egypt and get them out of their faces. You see, once a guy drops his drawers, we Christians instantly drop his name off of our list of potential prophets of God because as far as we’re concerned, God doesn’t speak through naked people in public. Only the awkward truth is that He does, and He’s even made sure to preserve one incident of Him doing so in our Bibles just so we won’t start trying to confine Him to some little box.
Then Yahweh said, “Just as My servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt’s shame.” (Isa. 20:3-4)
Not only did Yahweh speak through a naked guy, He made Isaiah ditch the clothes and shoes for a good three years. There’s just no way we’re feeling good about this. And while we’re trying to avoid those mental images of a naked Isaiah, we’re rapidly closing in on the end times—a period in which God is going to introduce us all to a single human who is going to be functioning as our prophetic host through this disturbing last chapter of human history on earth. So are we ready to deal with God’s end time prophet? Not really. There’s a reason that Isaiah’s three years of exposure is rarely mentioned in Christian circles. We don’t like to face the fact that our Gods would really do something that strange. And yet is avoiding Their disturbing Characteristics helping us prepare for what’s coming? No, it’s not.
The end time prophet is going to be a very disturbing figure who isn’t going to come anywhere close to matching our stereotype of a fully devoted Christian. And yet the irony is that this person will be fully devoted to pleasing the true Gods—which is why we’re going to bring serious trouble down on our heads if we give this person a bunch of flack. Once God publicly associates Himself with a human on earth, that person becomes a symbol of God to us, and when we attack him, our actions are treated as a direct attack on God. When a jealous Levite named Korah tried to start a mutiny against Moses in the desert, Yahweh responded by splitting the earth and throwing Korah and his cohorts into it. When the Israelites started grumbling against Moses yet again the next day, Yahweh mowed thousands more down with one of His instant death plagues (see Korah’s Rebellion). Attacking symbols of God is a dangerous game to play, and one that we’re guaranteed to lose. During the end times, we’re going to see a lot of people assaulting the end time prophet, and many of them are going to be hit with devastating forms of discipline because of their defiant soul attitudes. If you want to stay on the right side of God, you need to respect His representative. You also need to be very clear on this point: respect is not worship. Trying to exalt the end time prophet as God’s handler is going to get you in big trouble for idolatry. So respect is as far as it should go. We don’t worship created beings, no matter how many miracles God performs through them. We only worship our Gods.
God’s prophets are hands down the most disturbing characters in the biblical records. The prophet Jeremiah was the nutcase who ran into town waving a pair of rotten underwear in people’s faces and saying that the gross undies were a metaphor for how Yahweh viewed His chosen people (see Metaphors from Yahweh: Rebellious Underwear). Jeremiah also ran around like a raving lunatic thrusting a cup of wine into the faces of random strangers and shouting at them to drink until they puked. Was Jeremiah off his rocker? No, he was following specific orders from Yahweh (see Know Your Bible Lesson 30: The Yoke of Babylon).
“Then you are to say to them: This is what Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: ‘Drink, get drunk, and vomit! Fall down and never get up again because of the sword I am sending among you!’
If they refuse to take the cup from you and drink, then you are to say to them: This is what Yahweh of Hosts says: ‘You must drink! For I am already bringing disaster on the city that bears My Name, so how could you possibly go unpunished? Indeed, you will not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth.’” (Jer. 25:27-29)
When’s the last time you heard your pastor talk about Yahweh’s dynamic cup of wrath and rotten underwear metaphors? We tend to bury these stories because they disturb us. Do you know what else disturbs us? Yahweh making the prophet Ezekiel lie on his side in the dirt for over a year while he played toy soldiers like some kind of halfwit (see Prophets in Action: Ezekiel & the Siege of Jerusalem). Do you know what it was like to have a normal conversation with the prophet Ezekiel? You couldn’t. Between prophecies, Yahweh stuck Ezekiel’s tongue to the roof of his mouth so that he could not speak coherently. You see, one day Ezekiel was just minding his own business when he looked up and saw a totally freaky storm barreling towards him. What followed was a shocking visitation from a glorious Yahweh during which Yahweh announced that He was assigning Ezekiel the terrifying task of being His prophetic messenger to a bunch of rebellious Jews. This God encounter so deeply disturbs Ezekiel that when he returns to his community, everyone notices that he’s acting very bizarre. After putting up with his aggressive hostility for seven days, they see him go into his house and lock the door. Seizing the opportunity to contain a threat to the community, several guys rush in and tie Ezekiel to a chair with ropes so that he can’t move. It’s the next best thing since they don’t have any strong sedatives on hand. Ezekiel is freaking them out. Yahweh forewarns Ezekiel that this is what is going to happen, and He says that when Ezekiel’s fellow countrymen are in the midst of strapping him down, the prophet will feel God glue his tongue to the roof of his mouth so that he won’t be able to talk.
“Go, shut yourself inside your house. The people will tie you with ropes, son of man, so that you will be bound and unable to go out among them. Then I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious people. But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Yahweh says.’ Whoever will listen, let them listen, and whoever will refuse, let them refuse; for they are a rebellious people.” (Eze. 3:24-27)
How long did this lovely muting system last? Seven long years. Such are the joys of the prophetic calling.
As we said earlier, our Gods are Multitaskers and They love to complicate things and throw us into confusion with unexpected twists and stunts. But why? What’s Their positive purpose in keeping us on our toes like this? Well, whenever you’re feeling stumped by God’s behavior, you need to go back to basics and remember that His top priority for you is to strengthen your personal relationship with Him. In your life, God is going to pitch countless opportunities at you for you to choose how you are going to respond to Him on a soul level. If you are making wise choices, then the fact that God gives you so many chances to please Him with your soul response will turn out to be a great benefit to you. In eternity, you are going to be judged by your soul choices, and the more choices God gives you, the more chances you have to honor Him. But if you’re choosing to be an irreverent fool, then the fact that God is constantly forcing you to choose between submission and rebellion is going to blow up in your face, because the more you defy God in life, the more grim your consequences will be in eternity.
To understand how living in the end times is going to impact your personal dynamic with God, picture a kitchen faucet turned on. That stream of water flowing out represents the stream of opportunities God is currently pouring into your life for you to choose between pleasing or displeasing Him. Every time God convicts you about something, you don’t have the option to give a neutral response. You are forced to choose between an obedient, “Yes, Lord, I want to honor You with my life,” or a rebellious, “Go away, I’m busy.” God might not be asking you to do anything specific—He might just be presenting you with some new insight about who He is and how He operates. The point is that every time God taps you, you’re either responding well or you’re responding badly, and it is those soul choices which you will be judged by.
Now picture that water flowing from that kitchen faucet again. Then picture a firehose blasting a torrent of water at some burning building. That firehose is throwing out a lot more water than that kitchen sink faucet. The difference in volume between these two flows demonstrates how drastically God is going to intensify the volume of choices He is forcing you to make once the end times begin. God is going to kick off this period by performing a destructive miracle which will seize the attention of the entire globe. Right now, it’s pretty easy to ignore most of what God is doing in the world around you. But it’s not going to be possible to ignore God’s end time activities. He’s going to keep thrusting His actions in your face, and when He does, you’re going to be forced to respond to them on a soul level. Once the end time prophet is getting filmed, photographed, quoted, and misquoted in your face every day, you are not going to be able to maintain a neutral attitude towards this person. You will be forming an opinion, and here is where God is going to be intentionally testing you by making His prophet do and say things that you consider to be quite, well, demonic.
At first glance, the end time prophet is going to come across as just one more God spouting nutcase. But when this person starts exhibiting supernatural abilities—such as being able to control the elements of the natural world and kill people simply by pointing at them or speaking a word—then your little Christian brain is going to want to fall back on all of the guff that the Church has taught you about what your good Gods would never do and you’re going to want to say that the end time prophet is working by the power of demons. Gee, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Who else do we know that was accused of working by the power of demons even though He was really God Almighty? That would be Jesus. How well does it go over with our Gods when we accuse one of Them of being Satan incarnate? Not so well. How well is going to go over with God when you accuse His human prophet of performing miracles by the power of Satan? Not so well. And since this is going to be the worst period in human history for you to try to test God’s patience, can you afford to try and assess the source of this person’s power by focusing on irrelevant externals? No.
Trying to judge by externals is going to land you on the wrong side of God’s patience, because you have a problem with God working through naked guys. You take issue with God using corroded underwear as a spiritual metaphor. You find it repulsive that your Creators would yell at people to drink until they puke. You want your good Gods to be a whole lot classier than that. You don’t want to read the verses where Yahweh talks about idols vomiting their followers out or when He says He’s going to sweep people away like so much poop. It’s one thing for us humans to be crude and rude, but we don’t like it when our Gods speak to us on our own crass level by saying that They’re going to smear our rebellious faces with animal poop or saying that our fickle devotion to Them makes Them want to vomit. Our Gods say all of these things and more in the Bible that we spend so much time exalting, but we’re not very familiar with those passages, are we?
The Church has spent centuries trying to distract you from just how crude, rude, and graphic your Gods can be when They’re ticked (see Creating a Different God). If you cling to her as your guide through the end times, are you going to make wise soul choices? No. You’re going to shun God and His prophet as demonic beings while you exalt spiritual rebels in the Church as anointed fountains of truth. You’re going to be like those idiots in New Testament Israel who thought they could shut Christ up by crucifying Him and you’re going to join in Christian efforts to pray God’s prophet down. Well, how do you think it’s going to work for you to ask God to trash His own prophet? Not so well. And while Jesus showed up in human form for the purpose of going through the crucifixion drama, the end time prophet has an entirely different agenda. It will not be possible to kill this person. Of course many will try, and occasionally it will seem like they succeeded only the prophet will then show up again somewhere else to continue expressing God’s displeasure with the general rebellion of the human race.
The end time prophet is going to be a very disturbing individual. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can give serious thought as to what your approach to spiritual discernment should be when you are forced to decide whether you’re going to be for or against this person on a soul level. There is only one correct approach to spiritual discernment, and that is to ASK GOD. God is God, He is not the Church, your pastor, the pope, the Bible, or some self-anointed loudmouth who is spouting epiphanies on the internet. Only God can tell you who is and isn’t accurately representing Him. Only God can show you how He wants you to respond when His freak of a prophet starts going fruit in public.
Now certainly God didn’t have to make His prophet such a dubious character. Just as it suddenly got hard for many Jews to believe in Isaiah’s spiritual maturity when the man showed up in public with nothing on, you are going to find it suddenly difficult to believe that a true prophet of God would spit flesh eating bugs out of his mouth, shake spiders out of his coat and hair, kick dying people in the face, and laugh in amusement at scenes of mass carnage. And if God should choose to further mess with your mind by having His prophet be a woman, well, then you’re really going to be tempted to blow God off and rely on your history with horror movies and the idiocy of the Church instead. Is God intentionally baiting you by making His end time prophet look like the character of some demonic horror film? Yes, He is. You see, talk is cheap, and all of your verbal claims to trust God aren’t worth a hill of beans. Once He sets His prophet in motion, it will become quite clear who it is you really trust and depend on in life by who you go running to for wisdom. Are you going to run to God or not? If you turn to someone other than God for wisdom, do you really think that God is going to bless you for your rebellious behavior? You see, we Christians are great at standing around waxing on about how much we trust and depend on God when we’re rocking out in corporate worship sessions. But when a true crisis arises, is He really the One we’re turning to? Is He really the One we’re clinging to? Isn’t it true that He’s the last One we bother to consult whenever we’re confronted with humans acting evil? Isn’t it true that by the time we start praying about some crisis in the world, we’ve already formed a judgment about what happened without bothering to ask God? Yes, it is, and this is why we’re always telling God to undo what He has done and criticizing His work as bad. Well, God is fed up with us constantly exalting ourselves as wiser than He is. During the end times, He is going to intentionally provoke us into doing what we’ve always done: make spiritual assessments without bothering to ask Him, and then blast Him with a bunch of commands to submit to our agenda. Then He’ll nail us for our defiance. See how it works?
The end time prophet is going to intensely disturb you. On the internet you’re going to see footage of him acting like your stereotype of a demonic psycho, but then you’re going to come across testimonies of people who swear that they had a life-changing God encounter through this person. You will see this person performing many miracles that humans simply can’t do. And just when you’re feeling somewhat comfortable with the idea of him, he’ll destroy someone or something that you personally care about and you’ll find yourself reeling with doubt again.
So what’s the point of God using such a controversial figure? The point is to keep you motivated to cling tightly to God and to depend on Him as your only Source of truth. The end time prophet is going to scare you, but by scaring you, this person is going to help you by motivating you to embrace those four soul attitudes that are so critical to growing closer to God. When the end time prophet is throwing humans around like confetti and knocking skyscrapers over like dominoes, your reverence for God is going to skyrocket as you get a whole new level of understanding of just how powerful He is. When the end time prophet suddenly shows up in your country and starts messing up your personal life, you’re going to be royally challenged to step up your submission to God by remembering that all life is His property. Seeing God’s epic power so magnificently displayed through a human being is going to help us all connect with just how frail and vulnerable we are, and being confronted with our own limitations is a fabulous way to deepen our dependency on God. And lastly, there is our trust in God’s goodness: here is something the end time prophet is really going to put the to the test as we deal with the fallout of this person’s destructive miracles.
So what should we conclude? Is the end time prophet going to be a friend or a foe? It depends on what you’re living for. If you’re all about having a sweet life on earth, then you’re going to despise this person for ripping your dreams away from you. But if you’re serious about wanting to please your Makers, then the end time prophet is going to be an epic blessing in your life. You simply can’t deal with this person without overcoming some major theological hurdles and earnestly clinging to God as your only Source of truth. Gee, who else do we know who blasted sincere believers with theological quandaries and sent them scrambling to God for help? That would be Jesus. Nothing about Jesus met the Jews’ expectations for Israel’s promised Messiah. The Guy didn’t even launch one organized revolt against Rome. He was supposed to come from Bethlehem, but instead He came from Nazareth. He was supposed to be king material, and instead He was some homeless Son of a carpenter. He was supposed to seize the throne in Jerusalem, and instead He died on a cross. Oh, and then He called Himself an atonement sacrifice even though Yahweh said the whole notion of human sacrifices appalled Him. If you can deal with Jesus, you can certainly deal with the end time prophet. The key is to remember where truth comes from and rely on God alone to guide you through this period.
The End Time Prophet: Testing Our Loyalties
God’s End Time Prophet: Forcing The World To Ask Who
Preparing for the End Times: Interacting with God’s Prophet
Your End Times Faith Crisis: Staying Aligned with a Scary God
Soul Attitudes That Please God: What They Are & How We Develop Them