Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 5 – The Prophetic Movement in Our Time by Robert S. Liichow
Discernment Ministries International
The Prophetic Movement in Our Time
By Robert S. Liichow
“Christ cannot return until His ascension gift ministries have brought the Church into full manhood.” Prophet Bill Hamon
D.M.I. has received several e-mails expressing concern over the so-called “Prophetic Movement,” and we have been urged to write again about what is going on in this popular and growing segment of the charismatic renewal.
Throughout the post-apostolic history of the Church there have always been people who have claimed to be “prophets” speaking a newly revealed divine word from God. Without exception, every one of these individuals has been rejected by the orthodox Church. Certainly, these deluded individuals have had their followers but by in large these folks remained at the fringes of Christianity and their impact was slight.
It was not until the 1940’s that the concept of God restoring the office and ministry of the prophet became popularized and this mainly through the ministry of William Branham. Branham boldly declared himself “God’s prophet.” The validation for his claim was the alleged sign gifts; the word of Knowledge, the word of wisdom (1) (see 1 Cor. 12:8) and divine healing. Due to his apparent ability to reveal past and present events (including embarrassing sins) of peoples lives coupled with the various testimonies of divine healing proved to the less astute that God was indeed with Branham. In their minds, God was confirming Branham’s word with signs following (see Mark 16:20).
In 1947 a Pentecostal minister named George Hawtin, the head of what was then called “The Sharon Work” in North Battleford, Saskatchewan and several students and faculty attended a Branham meeting they even received an impartation from Branham through laying on of hands. Hawtin and his followers went back to their school marveling at what they had seen and experienced. At the same time a book written by Franklin Hall, a Pentecostal teacher and healer was being widely circulated among Pentecostal believers entitled “Atomic Power with God through Prayer and Fasting.” (2) Hall claimed that God was not only restoring all the sign gifts back to the Church (nothing new in that claim) but that He was going to cause a group of super-saints to arise, believers who would be physically immortal!
These super-saints, aka manifest sons of God (3) (see Rom. 8:19) literally will take dominion over the entire world and then present it, a Christianized planet to the returning Jesus.
The Branham encounter and Hall’s writings had a profound effect on George Hawtin and in the summer of 1948 the Sharon Brethren held a revival meeting which attracted that generation’s hungry sign-seekers (read Jesus’ opinion of such in Matt. 12:39) Hawtin and ministers interpreted the advent of Branham, Hall’s revelations, and the subsequent revival meeting at Sharon as being proof that what was happening to the Church was nothing less than the beginning of the outpouring of God’s “Latter Rain.”
Please understand that sign-gift people throughout Church history have interpreted the Pentecost of Acts 2 as being the “former rain” of God’s which would vastly overshadow anything done in the time of the former rain (see Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23).
Almost every group of restorationists have claimed that their group was the recipient of the “latter rain.” The heretic Montanus (4) in approximately 170 AD was one of the first sign-gift restorers to make such claims. Edward Irving in England, thought he and his group were oing to restore the Church. In America, Alexander Dowie claimed to be Elijah, the Restorer in his “holy” city of Zion, IL. He had planned to build Zion’s all over the world, but after his declaration of being Elijah he was stricken with a stroke, and his plans to establish the Kingdom of God on earth never materialized. The people at Azusa widely claimed to be receiving the latter rain. David Wesley Myland wrote the first Pentecostal treatise on this belief entitled “The Latter Rain and Pentecostal Power.” (5) Now almost exactly 40 years later a new generation of sign-gift folks were laying claim to being those chosen to receive the latter rain of God’s Spirit! These extremists made such a strong claim regarding the latter rain, that their fledgling movement became known as “The New Order of the Latter Rain”.
Restoration of the Church Is Key
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the time of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21.
Ever since Montanus various people have risen up claiming that God is restoring some facet of “lost” truth through them. This is particularly true for Latter Rain disciples. Jesus must remain in the heavens until God has restored all things lost to the Church. One thing all the restorationists agree about is that the Church has been a failure. The Body of Christ seems to have trouble holding onto things the Spirit of God reveals to it. Ultimately such beliefs cast aspersions upon the Head of the Body, which is Christ Jesus.
Bill Hamon, who can probably be rightly considered the father of the modern prophetic movement has written prolifically on the theme of this alleged end-time restoration of the ministry of the prophet and apostle. Naturally, he himself is a restored prophet, who has recently received the mantle of apostle. According to Hamon, there are nine distinct eras in which God has successively restored “lost” truths to the Church.
Not only is the Acts 3:19 text used as proof of the need for restoration, the Prophetic Movement teachers also cite Hebrews 6:1-2 to further bolster their argument:
Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Chrison unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. Hebrews 6:1-2
Hamon and the other Latter teachers interpret this text to be dispensational in the following manner:
When the first six doctrines are restored, then the seventh one, ultimate perfection, can be restored. Doctrine number five, the resurrection of the dead, and number six, eternal judgment, will produce a Church restoration movement before the general resurrection and the great white throne eternal judgment. (9)
Hamon continues to write in his book that it is the Prophetic & Apostolic Movements which will be the key to bringing about the restoration of doctrines 5 & 6 which then ultimately bring to pass number 7, ultimate perfection.
Under the larger aegis of “restoration,” the Latter Rain Movement of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s had other specific doctrinal beliefs, which have become part of the Charismatic movement in general.
** Some of the major distinctions, which separate them from the orthodox Church, are:
Restorationism –This further development of restoration theology viewed God as progressively restoring truths to the church since the Reformation.
Fivefold Ministry– The teaching that God is restoring apostles and prophets to the church to function with the three other gifted offices: evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph. 4:11). Apostles and prophets provide direction with new revelation that will play a major role in paving the way for Christ’s second coming. Remember that Jesus cannot return until the prophets & apostles are fully functioning. Hamon goes so far as to make dispensations oout of these to in the following manner.
Laying on of the Hands– A ritual by which the restored apostles and prophets are “anointed” to impart the Holy Spirit and other spiritual blessings and gifts to yielded vessels.
Prophecy– Views the practice of “personal prophecy” as being restored to the church. Prophecy would no longer be restricted to general words of exhortation, but would include personal detailed revelations for guidance and instruction. Prophecy is also given to entire congregations for direction. All “Spirit-filled” Christians can prophesy, but not all are called to be prophets.
Recovery of True Worship – The belief that God’s manifested presence is dependent upon a certain order of worship involving singing in tongues, clapping, shouting, singing prophecies, and a new order of praise dancing. It is common in most charismatic services to have long praise and worship services, which will include corporate singing in tongues, corporate dancing, as well as dance “ministry.” Waving banners, pageantry, ritualized dance are all seen as a restored truths.
Immortalization of the Saints – The belief that those believers moving in the truth of Latter-Rain restoration, not necessarily all in the church, will attain an immortal state before Jesus returns. This message has been toned way down and it is not currently being taught openly, but it is discussed in private pastor level meetings.
Unity of the Faith– The doctrine that the church, usually perceived to be a band of overcomers in neo-Pentecostal ranks, will attain unity in the faith before Christ returns. The main hindrance to this unity is doctrine. Bible doctrine divides believers, thus all that divides must be set aside and people must unite around the truths (doctrines) being currently revealed by the restored prophets and apostles.
Deliverance – Latter Rain disciples emphasized a strong belief in the power of demons to inhabit Christians. Christians could be demon possessed and various “deliverance” churches and ministries sprang up to cast demons out of believers.
By 1950 these basic tenets of the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) had become dogma to many sign-seekers. However, all was not happiness and joy within the Pentecostal arena. Branham was teaching that all denominations (including Pentecostal ones) were the great whore of Babylon and that true believers must come out from among them in order to be saved.
The Sharon brotherhood was busy telling people that they were the only ones authorized to impart gifts (various other ministries began to claim this ability too). These concepts decimated the Assembly of God denomination. Many A/G pastors left their denomination and became independent congregations and placed themselves under the authority of the new prophetic presbytery of the Sharon brotherhood.
This problem was so severe that the A/G leadership in 1950 held a conference and the leadership produced a statement that denounced the doctrines of the NOLR as heretical. Some pastors returned to the A/G and it seemed that much of the initial energy of the NOLR was diminished. NOLR teachers were more or less shunted to the sideline of the sign-gift believers…yet they did not stop teaching and writing books.
Even though the A/G’s stand for doctrinal truth was commendable, the damage had already been done. The “genie” of restored prophets, and later on apostles, had been let out of the proverbial bottle and there was no way to get him to go back in. Hundreds of independent latter rain congregations were being formed apart from any denominational oversight and from these churches the errors of the NOLR were propagated and expanded.
In 1952, after reading Hall’s book on how to gain “Atomic Power” from God Hamon dedicated himself to fasting. After a long fast, a prophet came to his church and spoke a word over him, a word that changed the direction of his life. What as the result of this prophetic encounter? “For some thirty years later, Bill would be raised up as a pioneer and a worldwide leader in restoring the offie and ministry of the prophet into Christ’s Church with full recognition and authority.” (11) Here is one of Hamon’ more famous revelations:
That company of prophets is being raised up in the 1980’s. God revealed to me that there are 10,000 prophets on the North American continent along being prepared to be released within the Church. (12)
In the 6,000 years of recorded biblical history there are less than 30 individuals named as genuine prophets of the Lord! Yet, Hamon says “God” revealed to him that there are 10,000 prophets in America alone. Hamon’s revelation is more in line with the Bible where it says:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
A plethora of false prophets invaded the early church and now 2,000 years later, we are again being inundated with these deluded people.
Hamon is the individual who is behind the very lucrative concept of holding “School of the Prophets” seminars where people can come for a very high fee and have the prophetic gift imparted to them or released by Hamon or the other prophets participating in the meeting. Remember Hamon is the product of an independent latter rain church that is why he firmly believes he has the ability to bestow spiritual gifts and/or release them in the sign-seekers life.
When the prophet lays hands on and prophesies gifts and callings to a person, his words have the Christ-gifted creative ability to impart, birth, and activate that ministry into the member. (13)
The Role of the Prophet Today
The prophets have been given the anointing and responsibility to receive from Christ the proper revelation and application of these Scriptures. They are hidden from the eyes of men until God’s time for that truth to be restored and established. (14)
The Scriptures Hamon refers to concern those truths, which must be restored so Jesus can return (see Acts 3:19). It is the restored prophet(s) who alone will receive the proper revelation of the Bible and also the proper application of these texts. This is why the Church needs to receive these prophetic men and women. They are the ones who will guide the Church into perfection.
The prophets prepare the way for the second coming of Christ by bringing revelation knowledge on the Scriptures that must be fulfilled before Christ can return. The Church apostles and prophets have been commissioned with that anointing and responsibility. (15)
Prophets do not need to attend seminary or have any formal education whatsoever. What they teach comes to them by divine revelation of God Himself. The prophets today are here to give the Church the “correct” insight and interpretation of the Bible. What is more, these restored prophets claim all the power and authority of the biblical prophets:
Church prophets function in all the ministries of the Old Testament prophets, as well as the New Testament gift of the prophet standing in the role of Christ, the Prophet. (16)
The modern day prophets are parallel to those of the Old Testament. (17)
They declare that they operate in the same manner and same authority as both Old and New Testament prophets. Yet they do not hold themselves to the same biblical standard which governed the words of the Bible prophets.
The full restoration of apostles and prophets back into the Church will then bring divine order, unity, purity and maturity to the corporate Body of Christ. The saints will be equipped and activated in the supernatural power of God to be a witness and demonstration to all nations of the powerful kingdom of God. That will in turn bring about the end of this world system of humanity and Satan’s rule. The fulfillment of all these things will release Christ. (18)
The role of prophets and apostles today is to bring divine order, unity, purity and spiritual maturity to the Church. Well, if Hamon is correct and the prophetic movement was “officially” inaugurated in 1980, they have had 22 years to begin this process. Do we see any manifestation of these claims? Is there any more “divine order” in the Church? How about unity in the Body (Brownsville, the revival vortex in America just went through an ugly split? What about purity? Recently more international charismatic leaders have gotten divorces and remarried. Not to mention the recent exposures of Mr. LIARdon’s homosexual behavior, which DMI broke to the public and “prophet” Paul Cain another now known homosexual. Sadly, purity is not on the increase. What about spiritual maturity? Since the charismatic movement is in disorder, it is not unified by any stretch of the imagination, it is being led by men and women of questionable ethics and morality one can hardly claim any degree of spiritual development. In fact, just the opposite has been taking place. I can speak as one who has personally witnessed the downward spiral the renewal movement has been undergoing for the last twenty years.
God’s miraculous power will increase in the prophets until the Creator himself will arise in them and speak His creative word that can turn dust into living lice. After the third encounter, the magicians and diviners were no match for God’s prophet Moses, and the same will be ture of God’s prophets today (Exodus 5-12). (19)
According to Hamon the prophets today not only have the same authority when they speak as the biblical prophets, they will also have the same miracle working power of God operating in their lives too. As my granny used to say, “put up or shut up.” Where are these creative miracles? What New Testament verses point to anything that Hamon is claiming? Absolutely none! Here are some verses to look up regarding what the New Testament has to say about prophets —Matt. 7:15; Matt. 24:1; Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1
When the prophet lays hands on and prophesies gifts and callings to a person, his words have the Christ-gifted creative ability to impart, birth, and activate that ministry into the member. ((13)
The Bible is also very clear about unfulfilled prophecies. False prophets are “full of hot air.” They prophesy events or hearings that are difficult to disprove. Much like a horoscope, many “words of knowledge” are nothing but generalized predictions that might find hundreds of “fulfillments.” And yet, particularly in end-time prophesy, many modern seers have made repeated predictions that have been demonstrated false. This is a serious matter as far as God is concerned. “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true.” God instructed Moses, “that prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 19:22).
The true prophet, Jeremiah, recorded God’s lamentation over the false prophets: “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?” (Jeremiah 23:25,26). Furthermore, God even gives us instructions as to how we should respond to presumptuous prophets:
If a prophet or priest or anyone else claims, “This is the oracle [word] of the Lord,” I will punish that man and his household. This is what each of you keeps on saying to his friend or relative: “What is the Lord’s answer?” or “What has the Lord spoken?” But you must not mention “the oracle (revelation) of the Lord” again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God. Jeremiah 23:34-36
God is weary now, as He was then, of self-appointed prophets who claim to speak for God.
Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow
1. That the World May Know (Atlanta: K Dimension, 1987), p. 10
2. Ibid., p. 142
3. Ibid., p. 144
4. Paulk, Satan Unmasked (Atlanta: K Dimension, 1984), p. 190
5. Ibid., p. 187
6. Ibid., p. 183
9. Paulk, That the World May Know, p. 125
10. Paulk, Satan Unmasked, p. 170
11. Robert Tilton, God’s Miracle Plan, p. II
12. Correspondence on file with CURE (Christian United for Reform).
13. Paulk, Satan Unmasked, p. 294
The previous article is taken from Rev. Liichow’s book entitled “Blind Guides The Prophetic Movement Past & Present” which is currently under revision.
One fact about the “pathetic” movement is that these people breed faster than rabbits in Australia; which is exceedingly fast if you don’t know. New voices have risen up declaring themselves to be prophets and they are having a devastating effect in many Christians lives. Let me close by saying I have not forgotten our series on the Eternality of the Liturgy nor have I forgotten lil Burpo’s revelations of heaven. Stay tuned these articles are coming along.