What Is A Prophet

What...or better stated...Who are prophets? And is there really a need for them in the Church today? Many have believed that prophets went the way of the dinosaur after Malachi, the intertestamental period, and the coming of Jesus Christ. To be sure, there are those firmly rooted on each side of the issue. We offer to you a few testimonies, an apologetic, if you will, from a few fellow servants. Remember, we are discussing positions/offices in the Body, not Holy Spirit gifts, such as the gift of prophecy.

There is a difference between an Old Testament prophet and a New Testament prophet!

Beacon University Institute of Ministry Syllabus and Study Guide, BIPT136 Leaders Under Construction, Dr. Mark Allen stated that in the Old Testament, if a prophet misspoke they were stoned but if the people did not obey, they were stoned. The Old Testament spokesmen gave God's very word, guidance, exhortation and confirmation. In the New Testament, it is the Holy Spirit that gave the word (See Acts 21: 10-11). The word given by the New Testament prophets was also to be judged (See First Corinthians 14:29).

Note: Deuteronomy 18:22 "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that it is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."

Binyamin Baruch
Author - "The Day of the LORD is at Hand"
~ excerpts from the book, pp. 74-77 ~

The LORD always reveals His secrets to those who are close to Him. The first example is when GOD revealed to His friend Abraham His plans to destroy Sodom. "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do." GOD always warns His friends when He is ready to bring His judgment. Jesus told us: "Henceforth I shall not call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." If we are His friends, then we will hear His voice. The LORD declared this: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." There is ample precedent for the LORD revealing His plans to His chosen people in advance. With the greatest event in the history of the world about to occur, the LORD is again warning His friends. Wouldn't you warn your friends? I would. That is why I am writing this book. Dear reader, you are being warned. Listen to His voice.

The LORD uses the example of the roaring lion as a warning of the judgment to come. "The lion has roared, who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken, who can but prophecy?" The LORD JESUS CHRIST also refers to the lion as a symbol of this last hour, when the lion has come out of hiding, and the plans of the prince are now being revealed to GOD'S people. "The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant." Who will not fear? "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are as bold as a lion." The people who can hear from the LORD are the true prophets. They bear the indignation of the LORD, and their ministry is to warn the people to turn from their sins, lest they be consumed in the judgment. Their voices are in the minority, and they are always found in the wilderness, rejected by the religious leaders of the day. The true messengers of the LORD are always rejected by the majority of the people, who prefer to listen to the false prophets preach a message of peace and prosperity. Thus it is today as well.

Prophets Still Speak

The Church is in desperate need of the true prophetic voice of GOD to be brought forth in this last hour. The prophets of GOD are the eyes in the body of Christ. They are the seers who announce to the people the warnings of the LORD. The true prophets have always had the spiritual discernment to understand their times. It was the function of the prophet to admonish, to warn, to reprove and to denounce existing sin. The prophets are also called as Watchmen. They are set upon the walls of Zion to blow the trumpet and to warn of coming danger. The true prophets receive their prophetic office directly from the LORD.

The life of a prophet is of hardship and suffering, loneliness and rejection. The true word of GOD has always been hard to bear, and the true messengers of the LORD have always been rejected by the people. "And the LORD, the GOD of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of GOD, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy." The message of the true prophets will cause men to shun their company, and to speak all manner of evil against them. They are cast out by friends and family, and rejected by the nation at large, but the LORD JESUS CHRIST is faithful to send His warnings to the people time and time again.

GOD has chosen a very hard path for the vessel to be used as His mouthpiece. The life of the messenger with the genuine prophetic call is not immune to the valleys of depression. This is all part of the package. He lives a life that is lonely. The revelation of Christ can only come in the solitary place away from the crowds and noise of the vendors and their religious wares. The prophets are burdened vessels, for they see the vision and the lateness of the hour. They know the night is far spent and the day is at hand. The prophet's character is very likely to be one of shifting moods, unpredictable at times and not likely to be found mingling with the religious. He is serious, sober and not easily persuaded to compromise. His lot is most likely found hidden away on the backside of the desert alone with GOD. He is the one with a heart for justice, righteousness, honor and integrity. His words may come across as harsh and cruel, but to the one with spiritual perception, his words are received to awaken to righteousness. The higher the calling into His purposes, the hotter the fires required to purify the servant. The greater the responsibility, the greater and more intense the fires to perfect. This is the cost of prophetic ministry.

The highest prophetic office is held by those who can hear the LORD'S voice directly, and who have been chosen to speak to the LORD face to face. "Hear now My words: if there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?" When a man or woman of GOD speaks the true word of the LORD; their ministry and message will always produce hatred and scorn in the minds of their listeners. "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation."

The prophets of GOD are not trained in the religious schools of man, nor are they raised up from among the leadership of the organized Church... They were all called... by GOD... The appearance of Elijah is such an example. "And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD GOD of Israel liveth, before whom I stand." Elijah's only qualification was that he stood before the LORD GOD of Israel. Nothing more was said of him. He was an ordinary man who knew his GOD. John the Baptist was of similar origins, trained on the backside of the desert wilderness. "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel." John had no university or seminary training. He just appeared as the forerunner of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. GOD'S ways are not man's ways. He still uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Many people have rebuked me for speaking the word of the LORD saying, "By what authority do you speak these words?" My answer: "By the authority of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, the GOD of Israel."

The Judgment Of Ancient Israel

GOD judged ancient Israel for departing from the truth, and turning to the worship of idols and for following the GODS of the pagans. The LORD in His mercy always sent His prophets to warn the people to repent, and return to the LORD, or they would be judged and the nation destroyed. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and many others came and preached the word of the Lord, but the people always refused to listen, turning their ears to the false prophets, while rejecting and in many cases, killing the true prophets of the Most High GOD.

Each of the prophets of Israel spoke of the specific judgment that would come in their time, but they also spoke of the Day of the LORD, which is the final judgment upon the whole earth. This is another example of the principal of dualism, where the message of the prophets would be fulfilled twice. First, to the specific people to whom it is addressed and then again, at the end of the age. Jeremiah is one such prophet, who spoke to the children of Israel warning of the destruction of their nation, for the sins of idolatry and immorality, which had filled the land. The prophecies of Jeremiah also speak to the last day's Church in America. The LORD never judges a nation without first sending a warning to His people. Before addressing the word of GOD to our nation, I must first dispel a widely held error in the modern Church. If you fail to discern this error, you will be wide open for deception.

"Jonathan Hansen is a man of God who has a heart for the Word of God and for the TRUTH. He has the courage to preach the uncompromising Word." - Binyamin Baruch, author of "The Day of the Lord is at Hand"

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Nicky Cruz
Author - "A Final Warning"
~ excerpts from the book, pp. 78-87, 93-111 ~

(pp. 78-87)
Chapter 9
The Incredible Joy of Being There

Gwen has been called the Miracle Woman. In the thirty years that Dave has been in the public eye, she has gone through five major operations for different kinds of cancer. Did she ever think of giving up?

That's a hard question to answer, Nicky. Right now, it's easy to answer the question, but when the cancer first struck me was in Staten Island, New York, when we first moved there.

"I had colon cancer. Dave left on crusades and meetings the week before, he wasn't even with me for that surgery. I was able to go in. I went into the hospital and had the colon surgery. The pastor of the church where our family was attending at that time was able to be with us. My mother came up, of course, but Dave wasn't there."

Through the five surgeries, she never became resentful - particularly when Dave was gone, preaching.

"I never became bitter over it," she said. "I knew God and I said, 'Lord, whatever it takes, whatever I have to go through, it's for Your glory.' And, Nicky, I can say that honestly today, as I look back upon my life: my family, they're serving the Lord and they are married, Christian partners in the Lord."

That sounds just a little too saint-like, I told her. Surely it was difficult - her in the hospital and Dave off being a national celebrity.

"At first it was a sacrifice," she admitted. "I thought, 'Boy, this is a sacrifice for me.' What I learned down the road - through what I had to go through - was obedience to Him, being to what God has called me to do.

"God had called both of us into ministry, but my part was being obedient to God. At the very first, when Teen Challenge started, when everything started going in New York, I asked the Lord, 'What part do I have in this ministry? What part will I have in this?"

After all, she had small children - one of them newborn.

"Lord, 'I prayed, I have to take care of them. I can't be in Teen Challenge in the city. I can't do it.' But God showed me when I was praying. He said, 'Gwen, you be obedient to Me and Minster to your children. When David comes home, you minister to him and God will take care of it.' And I've learned that the hard way, but God has brought me through that."

In all honesty, does she ever resent Dave being gone so much - almost half of their married life?

"I would say that half of our married life was traveling, crusades week after week, month after month traveling everywhere. And, yes, I stayed home with the kids during much of it. As I said before, it's just the grace of God that has kept us."

Didn't she ever complain?

"The devil tried to get me one time. It's in my book, In His Strength, and I became very jealous because I was sick. And I said that Dave was in the limelight and he was getting all the attention and here I am, lying on this bed, I'm sick, I can't do anything."

"I can remember being very, very, very envious about that. I could feel a wall coming between us and I can remember saying, 'Lord, I can't go on any further.' This was the only one time in my life that I can remember when this wall came between Dave and me because of his traveling."

I said, 'Honey, can't you just stay home a couple times with me?' when I was in such pain. And he kept saying, "No, Gwen, I have to go."

"And I learned he had to go and do God's will."

Her children, now all grown, are - indeed - a testimony to her obedience. Each is a very devoted Christian.

"Gary is very gentle-spirited and tender. I don't know that it's me, it's through what I had learned through the years in helping my children to grow up to be godly children, to read the Word. I've read the Bible night after night to them when they were young, read stories with them and did everything I could. Of course, I spanked them a lot too. I mean, I couldn't wait for Dave to get home, so of course I had to spank them."

What did Dave do to make up for his long absences?

"Oh, he sent lots and lots of toys home. And that was all right.

Once Dave said that because of the call on his life, Gwen became the father, the mother, the strength and the spiritual anchor for our children."

How does she feel about that?

She smiled at me in surprise when I asked her that. "That's quite an honor, Nicky. When did he say that about me? I'm very honored that he would say that about me, because I don't feel that I was the anchor behind it all. You know Dave, he's a strong man, strong father. But as I say, I had to raise them, I had to do it."

Did she ever feel neglected by Dave, or did she feel like she wasn't qualified to be his spouse after he became so famous?

"That was a problem. Dave was in the limelight of it all, but I wasn't well known and I'm no star at all. But our love for the Lord through the years kept us together. 'Divorce' is so common that it is just a word today. You know, you just say the word 'divorce' and that's it. Nobody thinks anything of a couple splitting up when they can't make it work. But Dave and I never considered it an option. We never brought the word 'divorce' up. We had our problems, Nicky. You can't go through life like we have for so many years without problems, and we did. But through them God has kept us."

Is Gwen Wilkerson happy with her life?

"Nicky, when God called us to New York this last time, I saw restlessness stirring in Dave's life again, just when we thought we were going to retire. We had a beautiful ranch in Texas, the kids were grown up. I thought, 'Finally we can just sit back and Dave can write more books, and I can travel with him.'

And as I saw him getting restless I just knew there was something happening to Dave again. I said to myself, 'I know Dave, I know him well. I can see it again.' So, I said, 'Dave, do you think this time we are really going back to New York? And he looked at me surprised. He was shocked. He said 'What do you mean?'

"I just smiled. 'I know we're going back,' I told him. As you know, he had been wrestling with how to ask me what I thought about going back to New York. So, it was just God again."

Is Gwen happy to be back in the big city?

"Yes. I tell you, I never seen Dave more electrified than in what he is doing now, Nicky, working with our church in New York City's Times Square. It's just beautiful."

But is Gwen happy?

"Yes, I am, Nicky. And if I could just sit down with every young preacher's wife, Nicky, I'd tell her to be firmly behind her husband. To be the prayer warrior. To take care of their children. To minister to him when he needs ministering. To be there, either way, with children or husband. Be there."

"That's what I've tried to do - to be there for my kids, to be there for Dave. It's been hard, but I've always tried."

I asked Dave about that.

"I was gong to write a book on how to raise children," he told me, laughing. "This was a number of years ago. I got all my children together, and said, 'I want you to tell me what we did right, you are all serving the Lord and I'm very proud of you and what Jesus has done for you.'

I thought they would say, 'Well, Dad, it's been all those long talks you had with us.' When any of my children were having a problem I would pray about it and ask the Lord to reveal the root cause and I would go to them."

"We would sit down on the floor and open my Bible and we would sit in the room and I would tell them what the Holy Spirit had told me. And almost always it would hit the mark and there was always something from the Holy Spirit. It was good, too, because they knew I was concerned."

So, I thought they would tell me it was all those talks I've had with them. But I was shocked when they said, almost in unison, 'Mom was always there when we came home from school. She was always there.'

David grinned at me, wryly. They said nothing about my long talks. But I know it's true. One of the reasons they turned out like they have is because Gwen was always there for them. They came home from school and she was there. I was always gone, but they had that stability of Mother being there all the time."

"They would come home and call, 'Mom,' and they would get their milk and cookies and go out and play. It was just that she was there.

I think maybe that's why a lot of kids are messed up today. There's not that contact when they come home from school."

"They need Mom to be there."

Chapter 10 - On the Road

Does Dave feel guilty about being gone so much of the time?

"I feel more guilty about it now in retrospect because I can't take back those years. I look at my children and I see the work of God accomplished. God has made it up to us. The past ten years have been very good and are getting better. I think it's important how you finish out your days."

"I saw a picture recently of an evangelist being dragged out of a courtroom, weeping and in chains, and my heart went out to him, it just broke. My cry at that time was, 'Lord, I want to finish out my days growing more in Your love and being able to set more of an example.'

I do thank God right now that at this time in my life, I feel that He is drawing me closer to Himself. I'm settled. I know He's put me here in New York City. I feel I am right in His divine order. The Lord said, 'Focus right here. Don't worry about anybody else or any other place. You just stay right here.'

I've had to turn away hundreds and hundreds of invitations overseas and here in the States. I have no desire to travel. I'm called to be there to minister to the flock."

But does he feel badly for leaving Gwen alone so many times?

"My toughest time as a husband is probably looking back. I was gone so much. We had to raise so much money to keep the ministry going."

"Looking back I just can't even conceive how she did it with all the burdens she had to carry. My wife suffered so much with those operations for cancer."

"It hurts, it really hurts. I think if I had to do over again I would have spent less time traveling. I thank God for the time I did have with my children - quality time. I think they would admit to that. But the times I was not there, like when my children were born: Gwen had to go through that alone. I think I was there when only one child was born."

"I was with you, Nicky, when Gary was born. I was obeying God here on the streets in New York. Gwen never complained that I was not there. Sometimes she needed me in the hospitals, when she was very sick and I would be in the middle of a crusade that I couldn't cancel. I think the most difficult thing is to look back at all the suffering she had to go through alone."

"That really hurts."

"I think I could have been more patient. Our marriage did go through some very trying times. But over the years it became stronger and stronger because she had such a commitment to be there."

"She saw her ministry was to me."

(pp. 93-111)
Part III
The Pain and the Vision

Chapter 12
Preacher Turned Prophet

A prophet of doom. That's what so many people have called David Wilkerson.

He went through some humiliating times from the mid-1970s and 1980s when many friends suddenly no longer wanted him in their pulpits.

Why? What happened?

"When The Cross and the Switchblade and Run, Baby, Run were so popular - selling millions of copies - and I was traveling the globe talking about your conversion, Nicky, and about our victories over drugs and gangs, no one bothered me," he remembers.

Honestly, Dave never needed the books for his popularity. He's an exceptional, anointed preacher with a tremendous sense of humor that can make you roll on the floor in laughter. But the public wants sensationalism so much of the time.

And Dave was immensely popular - a Christian superstar - the subject of a smash movie and the two best-selling books that were even being used in the public schools. "Who was going to speak against a preacher who was working with drug addicts and alcoholics?" he asked me with a wry grin. "That's like denouncing the flag and apple pie."

"But when I wrote the book called The Vision, in 1973, that's when the roof caved in. I thought I had a lot of friends. I had been in their pulpits all over America."

All of a sudden, people were saying his message was all doom and gloom. Negativity. Discipline. His friends wanted to hear prosperity and victory. Suddenly, Dave was no longer invited to speak.

It was feared he might plow into his unpopular holiness and righteousness message - or denounce specific sin in their midst - rather than tickle the congregation's ears with tales of his The Cross and the Switchblade experiences.

Well, it was a valid concern.

Time and time again, I have been with Dave when I trembled under the enormous weight of his words. One time at a large church in Anaheim, California, he rebuked the audience over and over, talking about abuses you just shouldn't find in a church crowd.

Dave, I wanted to whisper, hey, lighten up. But on and on he went, decrying drug abuse and the terrible curses it was bringing on a selfish generation - and upon the next generation of kids watching their parents get high on every new recreational chemical that their underground designer druggists could cook up. Dave, I wanted to remind him, listen, these are nice church folks. They don't do ecstasy and crack man!

But he was heavily under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He preached, he lectured, he condemned, he chided and he wept as he talked about such taboo topics as masturbation, incest, and homosexual experimentation. Dave, Dave, I muttered to myself, how are you going to give any kind of altar call after this?

But I was wrong.

Dave alone had heard the urgent voice of the Lord stirring him to denounce horrible sins among the devout. When the altar was opened, the aisles filled. These good church people were in need of detoxification, deliverance, and rededication!

Easy sin. Secret sin. Exciting sin.

But God was not fooled. Nor is He mocked. And in these days, He uses people like David Wilkerson to cry out against the creeping destruction and decadence in the pews of Laodicea.

Dave's is a message of reality, not an easy TV lie of the sweet bye-and-bye.

He believes in prosperity.

"Don't fall for the lie that God is protecting the sinners and cursing the innocent," Dave proclaimed one night. "That's what it looks like sometimes doesn't it?"

"You obey God's laws and can't even pay your bills. But look at the crack-dealing fifteen-year-olds across the street! They're wearing $150 tennis shoes and $300 sunglasses, flashing diamond pinkie rings and satin warm-up jackets."

"Does that mean that God's not fair?"

"No, you and I are protected. The flashy kids crack dealers and the pimps and pushers and hookers are under God's judgment. They live in terrible fear of violence and death - and worry that their glittering possessions will be taken at any moment."

"Well, look at the first verse of Psalms 37, 'Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.' Don't be jealous. Now, listen to me, please."

"A man who once attended Times Square Church who told me he was truly a born again Christian and filled with the Spirit of God was sitting with me in a restaurant one day and he said, 'Brother Dave, I see these young people with all this money and I've seen them drive their cars, and I have to work so hard and sweat for every dollar I get. It makes me so mad I get red.'

Well, don't be envious. There are a lot of housewives and other so-called sane, intelligent citizens who would push drugs if they wouldn't get caught. If they could just get the money. They say, 'I work so hard and these kids come along and they live like kings, it's not fair.'

My Bible says in Psalm 37:16, 'A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.'

They will be cut off in just a little while. The wicked will disappear. You'll look around and they will be gone."

"Hallelujah!" Now, go to Psalm 37:23, 24, 'The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.'

That's true prosperity - not the popular bondage of materialism.

Many people have criticized Dave's book The Vision - and there's no point in claiming that it was Holy Scripture, ought to be included in the Bible or was written under the same inspiration as Paul's Epistles. Regardless of what you have heard, this book from a humble man of prayer seeking God was amazingly accurate.

Dave was bold enough to declare what he had heard in his quiet times before the Lord. The book foresaw the rising homosexual rights movement, the downfall of corrupt Christian ministries, and the crushing inflation of the years that followed the release of the book - and was filled with Dave's heart-cry for holiness and righteousness in a church turning increasingly selfish and hungry for earthly wealth.

Like it or not, prophets of doom often hit the target - and that's why they make people mad.

It was hard to be obedient to the lord as the wrath of men grew, Dave admits: "Even now when I feel God wanting me to speak out against something, it stirs in me" and I say, 'God, I can't do it anymore because nobody wants to listen. Let me say nice, sweet things, let me get up and just talk about Nicky and Israel and Sonny.'

So, Dave took a year off to seek the Lord.

He remembers. "I was on the way to a crusade, Nicky, to Florida. In those days I traveled with two big buses, a Mercedes truck and the whole business that goes with a road show. I was preaching to 10,000 people in crusades."

"One evening, someone handed me a book, Christian in Complete Amour, a big, thick, old book with 1,200 pages, I threw it in back of my coach and said to myself, 'Who has time to read that? I don't have time.'

We were going down the road and the Holy Spirit said to read it. I started reading and I didn't get twenty pages into that book before I was on my face before the Lord. I was on the bus floor weeping, because I realized I didn't know God like this man who'd been dead hundreds of years. And I saw that in the pulpit, I was preaching sympathy and excusing sin. I was giving comfort to the unrighteous."

"By the time I got to my meeting, I felt so empty, I felt so dry, I said, 'Here's a man whose been dead all these years and in twenty pages he revealed Jesus to me like I've never known Him all my life.' I said, 'What am I doing?' I was going the way some of these other ministries have gone - headstrong in my popularity and success. I could have fallen so hard. I know I would have."

"I felt the Lord saying to me 'You don't even know me.' Nicky, it shook me up 'You don't even begin to know Me,' the lord kept speaking to my heart: 'You've been so busy preaching and doing things for Me' You see that a lot of people have that idea that our obedience comes from ministry. No. I believe now that it comes out of intimacy with the Lord. If you're not in communion with Him, you can't be doing what God wants - and you can't do it his way."

"I asked the Lord what I was supposed to do. He said, 'You shut everything down and get to know Me. I want you to do nothing else.'

I got a little hideaway in Arkansas, a little garage place. I just shut myself in and there God began to reveal the emptiness of my ministry."

"I began to see the emptiness in many of the television ministries. There's so much that's being done in Christendom today that is of the flesh. And I was in the flesh.

I was shown that it's never enough to just say 'Well, the need is there so that represents the call. I see a need, so God must be calling me to do it.' That's not enough."

He came back invigorated and excited - and full of warning against the popular glitter Gospel and celebrity Christianity. It was a warning that a great many people did not want to hear.

The hardest part is that David Wilkerson is an evangelist and a pastor - he's a shepherd who deeply loves his flock - not a Jeremiah of a John the Baptist thundering about impending doom. Of course, he is also a bit of a Paul, when you consider his famous letters warning Christian friends in high places to change their ways.

Like Jesus and Paul did, Dave went aside to seek the presence of the Lord - to be taught by the Holy Spirit and to fall on his face before Almighty God in humility as he re-evaluated his life. That's something that all of us must do if we are to keep our faith fresh and our walk intimate with the Lord. We have to be willing to set aside everything and go meet with Him.

When David came back, he had wise words of warning.

"I came back and started writing letters, saying it's all coming down," Dave remembers. "I wrote long prophetic warnings, and I did it out of love." Dave wrote to quite a number of top Christian figures - his friends, he thought.

One of his cautions was: Go into the desert, just like Moses, Elijah and Paul did. Seek the Lord. Put everything down and listen for His voice. Go of you own free will - or else God will prepare for you a desert in which you will be forced to seek Him on your knees.

And, it made a lot of them very angry. "I made some very strong statements about television and ministries that were in the flesh." says Dave. "Sometimes I may have been in the flesh, I don't know, I thought I was speaking what God was telling me."

In the face of such strong reaction, there was a real temptation to just shut up, Dave admits. "I always want in the pulpit to encourage people. So, when I have a burden to speak out against something, I find myself saying, 'God, nobody wants to hear that. Let me preach something nice.'

And if I shrug off the message, the Holy Spirit will convict me so strongly that I can't sleep, I can't eat. It just burns. Nicky, you know what that's like, you get that something that says 'I have to preach this.' It finally comes to the place where you say 'If I don't, I'll die.'

And then you don't worry about what anybody says or thinks."

No, says Dave: "You just obey the Lord."

Even so, rebukes from every side can offer enormous temptations to denounce your detractors even louder until they are shamed and silenced.

Except that is not how the Lord wants us to fight our battles.

"I had to decide that I would not fight back. I was making some strong statements about how we were being given a last chance to return to the Lord. Then I would hear some evangelist criticizing me and my message, and I thought I had to fight back."

"But now, I don't fight back. I don't answer."

Considering the ministries that have fallen, it should be obvious how important it is for Christians to walk closely to the Lord.

"I really don't even want to talk about it hurting me, Nicky," Dave said. "If you are involved in the needs of others, it diverts you from your own hurts, especially in this stage of my life. I'm so happy with what the Lord's doing with me here in Times Square.

"I am content, so I really don't think much about what somebody might have said or done. I know that I can stand before the judgment seat and answer to Him."

Nicky, I've been driven away from the kind of prophecy where you hear a preacher come to the pulpit, and say 'I had a dream last night, or had a prophecy, or I had a vision last night,' Dave told me. I believe in dreams, and I believe in visions."

"But much of it's not anchored in the Word of God. And I tell you the truth, there have been times I have missed it so bad. I thought I had the mind of God, but I didn't have it anchored in the Word."

Because of that, I have been driven to the Word of God to find a Bible principle for every prophetic utterance the Lord calls me to make.

"In fact, Nicky, when God spoke to me about what I was going to preach tonight, I told him I can't preach that until You show me the Bible principle. Father, You take me to the Word, because I want it from Your heart, and from Your Word."

"Nicky, if prophecy isn't anchored in the word of God, you're going to be believing all kinds of foolishness. You're going to be tossed for every wind and wave of false doctrine and you're going to fall for all kinds of prophecies that sound spectacular, but don't have an ounce of truth."

I was with Dave the day that Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart fell. As the scandalous tales were detailed by a delighted press, I saw Dave's pain. "I told him to separate himself - to go to the desert," Dave whispered, his heart aching.

"I told him," He winced. "Well, now he will go."

And then Dave was silent.

Chapter 13 - Walking Away from Battle

Why did God choose David Wilkerson to scold some of the greatest Christian leaders of our time?

Dave doesn't know.

"I think it was hardest because, really, I'm not a prophet. I've had people refer to me as a prophet, but I know I'm not a prophet. I'm an evangelist."

I watched him and saw the familiar pain in his eyes. After all the battles, is David Wilkerson a lonely man? I asked him: What about those who think you are cold, that you don't allow people to get close to you, that you don't have close friends?

He shrugged off the hard words.

"I was listening to a radio program once when they were discussing something I had said. I heard a pastor's voice say, 'We've known Dave Wilkerson for twenty-five years and we've never seen him smile.' And I thought 'that man there is the saddest man I know. And I'm the most contented, happy man in America. I walk with my children and grandchildren and I truly enjoy living. I don't even know where my great joy comes from.'"

I nodded. David Wilkerson is, indeed, filled with the joy of the Lord. But, he can be somber. "Do you have a close friend?" I asked him. "A best friend?"

"I have several very close friends. My best friend is right here, my brother Don, who is co-pastor here. I admire him very deeply. I have two sons who, as they have grown up have become my good friends, too."

"I'd like to go be with my son Gary. He's in London founding a church and working with hurting Christians in Ireland, Romania and Poland. My son, Greg, is in ministry with me here. God told me when he was eleven years old, 'Don't worry about that boy, I've put the Spirit on him never to worry about.' And that's what the Lord did."

"I've been a loner really most of my life" he admitted. "I have not felt the need for a lot of acceptance or friends. I have friends, but my father taught me to go to a secret prayer closet when I am deeply burdened - and I come out of it released. That has been a practice all my life, to go to the Lord and come out totally at peace, knowing what I am to do in His will."

What about prophets from God who speak into his life?

Dave frowned. "Nicky, we've got thousands and thousands of self-acclaimed prophets today. We've got schools of prophets. I've had so many prophets come to this church and they come to me with some message from the Lord that just doesn't ring true to what the Bible says. When I won't listen to what they say, they pronounce curses on me."

"That's right! I've been cursed by some of these so-called prophets. I don't believe a man's prophet if he curses people."

I could see his pain.

And I wondered why so many seek to be prophets. The Bible is so demanding of prophets - particularly in the extreme judgment that God wields against false prophets who claim to speak in His name.

"Nicky, you know what my reaction has been to have all these people declaring in my face, 'thus sayeth the Lord, thus sayeth the Lord'? I've been driven to the Word of God. And I don't proclaim anything anymore unless I can back it by the Word of God."

What does the Bible show Dave that now faces us?

"I am speaking out right now in my ministry about the death of the United States, the downfall of America. We have reached a point where Noah, Daniel and Moses began to pray the Lord would deliver their own souls."

"But people don't want to hear that sort of thing, Nicky!"

Indeed, such a message is no more popular now than in those ancient days.

"Nicky, look how God dealt with other societies who turned their backs on Him. America has passed the hour of grace. America has been turned over to the hour of judgment. There is no question in my mind about that. I do believe there is hope for the church. I'm very hopeful for the church, but as far as our society, we are under divine judgment."

"Go to the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy and you'll see everything that is happening to our Western civilization right now."

He told me of standing on Wall Street the day that the stock market suffered its worst crash in recent history some time ago.

"That was only a taste of what is to come," he told me - describing the hysterical, devastated young brokers and traders whose dream collapsed that dreaded day.

Their god of materialism had failed.

Their $2 million apartments and $60,000 BMWs and gold Rolex watches offered no hope now.

But Dave, I asked him, how can he really believe that everything is about to crash? After all, one of the most popular Christian Movements today proclaims that we Christians will soon rule the earth.

He shook his head sadly. "What they teach flies right in the face of what the Bible clearly foretells. But - " Dave sighed, "I don't get involved in that battle anymore. God's not called me to argue, I'm called to pastor the Times Square Church - and I have plenty to keep me busy here without picking any fights with my Christian brothers in national pulpits."

Chapter 14
What the Bible Says About the Last Days of America

"Dave," I said, thumbing through a newsletter from Times Square Church, "Some of the things you say about America are so hard."

I paused, not wishing to be critical. "People are so used to hearing that America is God's chosen nation. We've been blessed through the centuries. God has used us to protect Israel. Can it really be that such hard judgment is going to fall on the United States?"

"Nicky," he said. "I don't believe America is His favorite any more than Europe, or any other country. We are going to be judged just the way they have been judged."

"But this is such a hard word, Dave."

"Yes, it's a heavy message. The first time that I preached it, I tried to soften it up. I tried even up to an hour before I came to church, but the Lord wouldn't let me. Nicky, America is dying! The country's wound is incurable. It is now in the final throes of a terminal disease. The great empire is crumbling!"

"This country is headed the way of all fallen empires. The time that God warned us about in His Word has come - the "dread release," when even the prayers of godly saints for a doomed land no longer avail."

God said, 'When the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it...and will cut off man and beast from it: though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God' (Ezek. 14:13-14, KJV).

But, I reminded Dave, God never yet has destroyed a society or nation without ample warning. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7).

  • God warned Abraham of the sudden destruction about to fall on Sodom: "And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?" (Gen. 18:17).

  • He warned Noah, too, that He soon would destroy mankind with a flood: "Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear" (Heb. 11:7)

  • God warned Samuel of the downfall of Eli's ministry and of the destruction of Shiloh. "And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle" (1 Sam. 3:11).

  • Jeremiah prophesied judgment upon Israel because "the Lord hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou shewedst me their doings" (Jer. 11:18).

  • God also revealed to Daniel what was to come: "Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision" (Dan. 2:19).

In every age God has communicated His warnings to the people in different ways. He spoke with Moses face-to-face, to Joshua through an angel and to the Old Testament prophets in visions and dreams.

"Nicky," said Dave, "today God is speaking again - loud and clear."

But we're all so tired of hearing gloom and doom.

"Yes, there are false prophets: crazy, immoral, half-mad, self-proclaimed seers who are also crying judgment," agreed Dave. "But these people are sent by Satan to discredit the true word of God-sent watchmen."

Why has there been no spontaneous revival? Why hasn't the church recognized the terrible sin in the land?

"Many American shepherds - or, ministers - have become so blind, lazy and sinful that God has had to call upon secular writers and artists to warn this nation it is dying!" Dave told me. "Nicky, have you seen the prophetic cartoons in our newspapers lately? One depicts the Statue of Liberty standing with her head in her hands, weeping in shame! Another shows a bloody finger inscribing the prophetic writing on the wall: 'Anarchy'

Unlike the blind shepherds, these secularists see the grim reality that is now upon us. In New York City and other urban areas, cartoons portray crowds walking over corpses! Bulldozers are avalanched by mountains of white cocaine - and are unable to make a dent in them!"

"In book after book, financial experts warn of the soon-coming economic crash. They have seen the handwriting on the wall, and they're frightened. One well-known financial advisor has cashed out in preparation for what is being anticipated as the world's worst depression."

"Dave," I chided gently, "what qualifies you to begin predicting ruin and destruction? A lot of people just don't believe it."

The Old Testament prophecies of destruction were based on sound biblical deductions, Dave noted. The prophets were students of the revealed Word of God. They studied history. The saw patterns in societies. They became well-acquainted with God's mercy and His long-suffering endurance. And they were able to discern the trigger points of God's wrath - that is, when He had had enough!

"Nicky," Dave said, "Daniel was a student of the Word. He came to understand the captivity of Israel in Babylon by reading the writings of the previous prophets. From their prophecies he calculated the end of the captivity, the time the Messiah would come, how long He would live and when He would die. Here's what he said: 'I, Daniel, understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet' (Dan. 9:2)."

Daniel listed all the terrible things that were happening to God's people in his day. He compared it all with Deuteronomy 28 and concluded, "The curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him…As it is written, in the laws of Moses, all this evil is come upon us...for we obeyed not his voice" (Dan. 9:11, 13-14).

You, too, can be a Daniel, Dave told me. "Any God-fearing, praying Christian can do as Daniel did. Nicky, compare the Scriptures to see what is happening right before our eyes, and you will know beyond any doubt that America is even now under the fury of God's wrath for disobedience."

How will it end?

Dave winced.

"Only the Lord of the Harvest knows," he said softly. "But here are some signs that Daniel could not ignore - and which we cannot, either."

Dave pulled out a list that caused me to tremble. "Moses listed in Deuteronomy 28 all the signs of the curse, Nicky. We need to be reminded of these dreadful signs which 'shall come to pass, if thou will not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments' (Deut. 28:15)."


Gwen Wilkerson
Author - "Abiding in His Strength"
~ excerpts from the book, pp. 100-110 ~

In the beginning everyone, including myself, expected this phase to pass within a few weeks. Even in my moments of self-condemnation I was sure that whatever evil thing had me in its grip would soon be overcome. The doctor had said that many women go through a difficult period after a hysterectomy. Surely my case was no more stubborn than any other. Time would heal me - time and the Lord.

But as time passed and no improvement occurred, those closest to me began to be worn down by my continuing irritability. I could see the guarded expressions on the faces of my children as they anticipated my next outburst. Even little Greggy was wary of my embrace, so often had he been frightened by my sudden changes of mood. Everyone had clearly had enough of my rotten disposition, but there seemed to be no end in sight.

I think I know when David gave up on me. For more than a year after my hysterectomy, he tried hard to understand and to tolerate my moods. He demonstrated his caring in many ways - sending flowers for no special reason, calling me every day when he was away, and telling me over and over how much he loved me.

As is frequently the case in a marriage, especially one that has been under prolonged siege like ours, the incident that led to the turning point was a tiny one. It happened one night when David was home and I had gone to bed early to read (mainly to avoid having to talk). That night, playing the role of a loving wife had become too much of an effort. David came looking for me - after praying for me, I'm sure. He had gone to the trouble of making me a cup of tea, something I used to enjoy in the evening before bedtime. He came into the room smiling.

"Here you are honey," he said, putting the teacup on the bedside stand and seating himself on the edge of the bed beside me.

I didn't even look up from my book as I said flatly, "No thanks, Dave. I don't want any tea."

What I was really saying was, "Please back off, Dave. I'm not in control now. I'm not up to talking and pretending I feel good."

But David heard another message. He heard, "It's no use, Dave. There is absolutely nothing you can do to please me. I am always going to be like this, so stop trying to change me. Go away!"

He left the room without another word, and I heard the cup and saucer clatter against the sink where he dumped them. I cast about in my mind for something to say, some way to apologize. But when the ready tears came welling up, I just turned out the light and had a good cry.

David more or less withdrew from the situation after that. He was polite and kind, but a coolness and distance had entered our relationship. I discovered then just how much my limited adjustment had been dependent upon David's good will and accommodation. When he stopped walking the extra mile for me, I found myself making him the target of my gibes and sniping. I learned that he was most sensitive about being a public figure, and I could easily hurt him by calling him a "big shot" or "Mr. Show Biz." Such thrusts were delivered in a joking manner, but we both knew they were aimed to wound. As my husband packed for a trip across the country, I'd needle him about being such a great blessing to millions while his family sat at home and wondered what he looked like. More and more often, he left tight-lipped and angry. As soon as the door closed, I'd collapse in tears because I had sent him away once more without the support a loving wife could give.

By now it was clear to me that I was a hopeless case. I couldn't stand myself and I was certain that no one else could stand me either. I had managed to estrange my husband and children, and no one - not even God - could break into my emotional prison. I felt that I was losing my sanity. No longer was I the Gwen that David had married, and it crossed my mind more than once that he would be much better off without me. I wondered why he didn't leave me, but David seemed determined to preserve at least the outward appearance of a successful marriage.

David's coolness had persisted for about a month when he invited me to accompany him on one of his trips to California. I should have been pleased, but I was pretty sure that he was just attempting to create the illusion of a couple in harmony. He called it a "second honeymoon," a term that seemed almost laughable to me. Nevertheless, I agreed to go along. If he wanted everyone to think we still had a going marriage, I would somehow summon the energy to make this appearance with him. At least I'd be giving the children and myself a break from having to put up with each other.

Simultaneous Healings
Chapter 10

David worked harder than I did to make the flight out to California a pleasant one. He did his best to converse with me about the work that was developing on the West Coast among the hippies, who were then taking over some parts of California. I could feel his growing enthusiasm for this ministry and for his work with the young Jesus people, who were also very visible in those days. Preoccupied with my own misery, however, I made little effort to appear interested or even to comment on what he was telling me. I was well aware of his willingness to throw all his energies into whatever mission the Lord had for him. I just wondered why he couldn't put a similar amount of effort and enthusiasm into our marriage.

The possibility of separation and divorce had entered my mind so often of late that the idea was beginning to look almost attractive to me. If my husband was going to spend the rest of his life taking care of everyone's problems but mine, it seemed that a life apart from him was the only answer for me. With such gloomy thoughts to occupy my time during the flight across the country, I succeeded pretty well in shutting out David and his efforts to make me once again a part of his life and his ministry.

Once we got to the hotel, the tables were turned. David had several phone messages, calls to return, and plans to confirm for the evening. Now I was the one who was being shut out, and I began to seethe silently. I have no idea what finally triggered the argument. I only know that for a few unbelievable minutes David and I were shouting insults at each other, and then suddenly I was all alone. David had stalked out of the room and slammed the door with such finality that I knew he would not be back to take me to the dinner meeting that night.

What will he do to explain my absence to all his friends? I wondered. Probably tell them I was too tired from the trip. He'll save face somehow and come out of it looking great - the big phony!

Since there was no one handy to serve as a target for my bitterness, I fumed and plotted the next few hours and finally made the big decision: When I got home to Long Island, I'd begin divorce proceedings. That would show David he couldn't take me for granted! A divorce would serve to tarnish his shining image and show him that Gwen Wilkerson had to be reckoned with. Some how this decision did not make me feel much better.

David didn't call me or return to the room all afternoon. But about 15 minutes before time for the banquet to begin, there came a soft knock on the hotel door. I opened it, prepared to give David another piece of my mind, and there stood a pleasant-looking gentleman, a total stranger to me. After introducing himself, he told me he had come to escort me to the banquet hall. I could think of no way to decline his offer without being very rude or making a fool of myself. After making a hasty effort to improve my appearance and a mental note to get even with David when the opportunity arose, I left with my escort for an evening I'd not soon forget.

David was to be the keynote speaker at the dinner and after that he was to address a citywide rally at the civic auditorium. When my escort and I arrived at the banquet hall, my husband was already seated at the head table, looking for all the world like a man without a single troubled thought. His apparent lack of concern added fuel to my anger. Nevertheless, I made myself smile sweetly at the people to whom I was being introduced as I was seated at a side table. "He's a big hypocrite, that's what he is!" I wanted to tell them all. "He'll get up there and talk about God and everyone will think he's wonderful. No one will know that he doesn't even care about his own wife anymore."

I made it through the dinner by being a good listener. Everyone was glad to tell me what a great man I had married and how happy they were that he was able to speak on the West Coast so often. Biting my tongue to keep from letting them know what was taking place on the East Coast while David was away from home, I hoped my silence and my pasted-on smile would lead them to think I shared their sentiments.

Right after the meal was served, David slipped out, as he always did before he was to speak. I knew that he had gone off by himself in order to pray. He'd better pray, I thought. He's going to need a lot of help from God to pull this one off.

Although I didn't note what time David left, I became increasingly aware that he was gone longer than usual. The master of ceremonies was beginning to look a bit uneasy before David finally reappeared to take the podium. Probably found out that God doesn't listen to a hypocrite, I speculated, as he began his talk. He appeared to be speaking with no difficulty, however. From time to time, I thought that he was looking at me almost as if in apology.

If he thinks I'm going to forgive and forget how he walked out and left me stranded, he's got another thought coming, I fumed silently. Absorbed in "righteous" indignation and self-pity, I never really heard his message. However, I did hear the enthusiastic applause that followed it, and I even clapped politely myself. When the applause died down, I realized that David had been whisked off to the auditorium where he was to speak again in half an hour. I had hoped to avoid the rally by claiming fatigue, but to do so would have inconvenienced the kind people who were acting as my hosts. I resigned myself to another two hours of exposure to David's public image.

After a short ride, I found myself seated near the front of a large auditorium with perhaps 5,000 other people - all of them there to hear a talk on the power and love of God, given by the man I had decided to divorce. Many of the faces around me were young faces - teenagers who were looking for answers to the problems that life poses. They believed that David Wilkerson had some of those answers, and their faces were aglow with expectation and openness. Just looking at them brought me close to tears. How could David introduce them to the One who holds the key, when he was unable to find His help for us? Suddenly I was sure it had been a mistake for me to come hear him speak tonight, but the program was already beginning and it was too late for me to escape.

What followed remains wonderfully inexplicable. David's talk was aimed at the young people and was a simple message about the love of Jesus. I'd heard him present similar talks before. There was nothing unusual about the words he was saying or about his manner of delivering them. Although I was only half-listening, I watched him with what appeared to be rapt attention. Suddenly I became aware that an aura of light surrounded him. I knew I was seeing a work of the Lord - an anointing of His Holy Spirit on this man whom I was reviling in my thoughts.

How can it be, I wondered, that the Lord would use him when everything is so wrong in his private life? How can He fill anyone so unworthy with His own precious Spirit?

Then the Lord Himself gave me the answer to my questions. The glow that surrounded David began to fall also on me and I became aware of the awesome presence of Jesus with me. From head to toe I was immersed in delicious warmth until all of a sudden I felt completely at one with God.

I knew that a healing was taking place, though I could not guess the profound nature of that healing. I only knew when I looked back at David he was looking straight at me, and that special spark of recognition was lit between us once again. The Spirit was clearly working on both of us simultaneously. Tears began to find their way down my cheeks and fell unchecked onto my dress, as I began for the first time in many months to praise God for His goodness and mercy.

Moments later, David ended his talk almost abruptly. Forgetting about everyone around me and unmindful of any unseemliness in my behavior, I ran backstage to find my husband. He was running toward the auditorium to look for me, and we met in a crushing embrace. Laughing and crying at the same time, we carried on like a couple of kids in love who hadn't seen each other for months - and really, I guess, we hadn't.

When we finally realized that we were creating a small scene before the startled eyes of the rally team, David took time to say his customary farewells to the appropriate persons. Then, arm in arm and still grinning at each other, we hurried back to our hotel. We could hardly wait to be alone to enjoy our newfound delight in each other. David even took the phone off the hook.

Extending our stay at the hotel for a couple of days, we enjoyed that "second honeymoon" that had eluded us for so long. It was worth waiting for. At first we just rejoiced in the healing of our marriage without trying to analyze what had happened. We knew that Jesus had done for us what we had been unable to do for ourselves - unlock the door to the love we had for each other, the love which He gave us in the beginning and which had never really died.

Abiding In His Strength - Book by Gwen Wilkerson

Click on book for order information

There is a difference between an Old Testament prophet and a New Testament prophet!

Beacon University Institute of Ministry Syllabus and Study Guide, BIPT136 Leaders Under Construction, Dr. Mark Allen stated that in the Old Testament, if a prophet misspoke they were stoned but if the people did not obey, they were stoned. The Old Testament spokesmen gave God's very word, guidance, exhortation and confirmation. In the New Testament, it is the Holy Spirit that gave the word (See Acts 21: 10-11). The word given by the New Testament prophets was also to be judged (See First Corinthians 14:29).

Note: Deuteronomy 18:22 "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that it is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."

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