PROPHECY TEACHING: The Old Testament Prophet Spirit
March 22, 2001

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I recently was asked to apologize to a brother for a prophecy that came through me. It seems that the brother was under the impression that I had proclaimed judgement and levelled a curse on his ministry work as a result of a separation of our ministries that has occurred.

I had written a prophetic word on 1/2/2001, that mentioned the brother's ministry, but I had not cursed the ministry, or indicated that it would fail. The prophecy in question was, without any doubt delivered to me by the Lord, and had to do with the new work that I began at the beginning of the year: Watchmen-Prophets-Assembly. The Lord gave me Jeremiah 18, and the word of prophecy Jeremiah had concerning the potter. In that word, the potter smashes the pot that begins to wobble on the wheel. I never drew the parallel to the brother's ministry that his ministry would be smashed, but, apparently, some others drew it for me. How helpful people can be!

The truth is that I have prayed for the brother and stood in the gap for him before the Lord. I have grieved for him. I miss his ministry, and his fellowship. But, alas, he has indicated that he wants no further contact. So be it. I leave him with Jesus.

A few days later, a spirit spoke to me, trying to prompt me to proclaim judgement on the man's ministry. That spirit was speaking to me from the latter parts of Jeremiah 18, where Jeremiah goes into a vitriolic rage because the very people he had interceded for were digging a pit for him. This spirit that was speaking to me was very clever, and so close and similar to the voice of the Lord who speaks and brings words of prophecy to me. For an instant, I was ready to write. But, at once, a check arose in my spirit: a lack of peace. And so, I held off doing any prophesying from the last verses of Jeremiah 18.

This morning, I was in the shower, talking with the Lord. I asked the Lord: "What is that spirit that talked to me the other day?" The Lord said back to my spirit: "That is an old testament prophet spirit". At once, Luke 9:54-55 was quickened to me.

"Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."

Jesus clearly teaches here that James and John were "of" some spirit: some spirit they were unaware that they were "of". This is a deceiving spirit: a spirit that makes you think that you are hearing from God, but, alas, you are not. This is a spirit of false prophecy. In this case, it was an old testament prophet spirit, urging James and John to make a prophetic decree after the spirit and power of Elijah.

How were James and John set up for this? This spirit had apparently been watching them, lurking at the doorway of their lives, looking for an opportune time to strike, and this was it. What was it about this particular time that made the approach of a spirit of false prophecy so opportune?

Luke 9 reveals that the twelve were given power and authority and sent out. They did their first miracles. This is heady stuff that tends to puff a man up. Then, they witnessed an awesome miracle: the feeding of the 5,000. Then, Jesus admitted that Peter was correct when Peter identified Him as the Christ: Messiah! Then, as if that were not enough already, Peter, James and John were separated from the other 9 disciples and the Lord brought them up to the mount, where they saw Jesus transfigured and they saw Moses and Elijah.

Imagine if you and I were James and John. We are with the Messiah. We don't have a new testament. The last prophetic writing we read was from prophet Malachi. The rabbi's have taught us that Elijah will come before the Messiah comes, as an interpretation of Malachi's prophecy.

Now, to top off the setup, Jesus sends the disciples, led by Peter, James and John OUT AHEAD of him, PRECEDING HIM, toward Jerusalem. James and John knew the teaching: Elijah must come first. They therefore conclude that they must be prophets, who will walk in the spirit and power of Elijah. John had said that he was not Elijah. Jesus taught his disciples, in a parallel passage in Mark 9, that John had been the Elijah who was to come.

I believe that this teaching of Jesus in Mark 9:13, where Jesus teaches that John had been the Elijah who was to come, immediately followed the deception of James and John in Luke 9:54-56.

And so, there they were, ready for the approach of that spirit. He coaxed them to call fire down from heaven on that Samaritan city. To their credit, they didn't do it, but asked the Lord whether they should do it. Very smart! Always ask the Lord when you aren't sure.

In any event, this deceiving spirit has not just made one appearance. He has come to me many times. In this last case, I believe it had been 8 years since I heard from him the last time. He was crouching at my door, waiting for an opportune time. And, just like James and John, I did not know what spirit I was of.

Thank God I asked Jesus, and shut my mouth and stilled my pen at his prompting.

I share this word and this experience with you for your edification, and for the unmasking of this spirit who works so subtly to convince prophets and those with a prophetic gift to pronounce curses upon one another in the name of the Lord. May mercy triumph over judgement in your life and in the lives of those you touch.

Stephen L. Bening a servant and prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ

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